Could be good, Could be bad

A couple years ago I went to a meeting for my church and I heard this story and it left an impact on me about my outlook on daily life. I looked up the story to share here and apparently it’s a Chinese proverb/parable. The story is as follows:

There was an old farmer in a remote village in China. He was the envy of his village because he owned the only horse in the village.

“This is good,” said his neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

One day the horse ran away.

“Oh, this is bad,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

The next day, the horse came back, bringing another horse with him.

“Oh, this is good,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

The next day, the old farmer’s son tried to ride the new horse, but it threw him and the son’s leg was broken.

“Oh, this is bad,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

The next day, the Chinese military marched into town and rounded up all the young men for military service. Because of his broken leg, the old farmer’s son was the only one spared.

“Oh, this is good,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

And so on…

This wasn’t the ending I expected at the time. I was surprised it ended abruptly and wanted the typical ending with a full explanation; complete with the words “The End.”

That wasn’t the point of the story, it was to show how events in our lives can go up or down, the way we respond to them is what matters. It is up to me how I view my life.

I want to share this story of an incident that happened to me about 2 years ago now and maybe you can decide if it ‘could be good, could be bad’.

We used to own this small maroon car and it definitely had its problems. We didn’t have a problem with the motor, it was mostly cosmetic issues amounting close to $500 which we didn’t want to take the time to fix. It was May of 2015 and we had decided that it was time we started looking at getting a new car, but we were going to take it slow and browse, decide our budget and take the time to sell our car and get what we could out of it which honestly wasn’t going to be much; optimistically maybe $2k. We also decided that May to take a quick trip to CA, just a couple days to check out Sea World, have a day at the ocean; a nice family vacation. For us it is a 5 hour drive, at the time we had a 2 year old and a 6 month old so we assumed it would be a fairly easy trip to take with them. It wasn’t.

We kept stopping for them which was frustrating, lots of crying for everyone. Then as we were about 40 minutes away we were driving up some windy hills and our bummer got ripped right off our car! We stopped and quickly came to the decision that we had to leave it there. We had no place to put it and we were just beginning our trip. The poor car looked terrible. The actual trip in CA went well and we were happy overall to take the time to be together. On the way home was a different story. We had decided that since the trip during the day was so rough then we would travel home close to the evening to get the kids to sleep on the way home. That most definitely did not happen! My youngest cried for the longest time until he finally had a blow out around 9p. After that things did seem to settle down a little bit. We were suppose to take a main highway back to the city but accidentally passed it, so our GPS rerouted us to a back road. Unknown to us the valley had received a lot of rain the past couple of days while we were gone. It was close to 11p at night and I was exhausted. I quickly perked up when I started noticing we were driving through some low laying water as the car dipped with the road. I had let my husband know that I had a feeling that we should mostly definitely turn around. He responded letting me know that he had seen cars coming from our opposite direction and thought we would make it just fine. My final reply was that I was worried with how low our car was though that we would hit some water that we would not be able to get out of, a couple minutes later that’s when we hit a HUGE wave of water. It startled my husband who let off on the gas and caused the car to stall right in the middle of the dip of the road. I honestly started hyperventilating, which is unexpected for me but what was happening was one of my fears! Being stuck in a small car surrounded by water! Plus my tiny children were asleep in my back seat! My husband climbed out of the window to get help from a vehicle behind us, I climb to the back to soothe my youngest who was whimpering a little. As I place my feet down on the floor of the car I quickly discovered that it was filling with water! As I push down the urge to panic I climbed up front with the baby and managed to calmly tell my husband that the car was filling with water. He ran over hurriedly, I put the car in neutral and he pushed us to the other side.  We tried to start the car, when the engine didn’t even turn over we were 99% sure it was dead.

To quickly wrap this up we ended up making several calls to tow trucks who couldn’t reach us and then to friends to see who could come and get us and we could reach no one. We slept in the cold car the rest of the night by holding the children close to keep them  warm. My then 2 year old slept through the whole incident which was a miracle. At 7a we finally found a friend who was able to drive my husband’s truck to come to get us.

Now you’re wondering what happened to our car aren’t you? Well, we were able to get money from our insurance for it which was a lot more than what we would have gotten if we privately sold it and bought our van! One of the most miserable nights of my life ended up being a very big blessing for my family.

Was the trip good or bad? True I received some great blessings but I also endured some hard trials. I felt it was overall similar to the ebb and flow of life. There will be some hard things and there will be many good things, my overall outlook on the situation depends on me. I get that choice, which is amazing! What a wonderful gift it is to determine my own perspective and ultimately my life.

I challenge you to reflect; ponder the bad and look for the good in every situation. Share an experience in the comments below or take the time to email me at happywithimperfect@gmail.com. Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Family Culture and Traditions 

In my home growing up we had typical traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas, a few not holiday traditions like getting a few new things at the beginning of the school year and dinner prayers, but we never celebrated much else. Since I’ve been married I’ve loved the idea to celebrate each holiday, I’m not very good at it though! It takes extra effort to decorate and celebrate when it’s not something I’m used to doing. 

A friend this past Halloween was sharing how her family does this Halloween dinner every year and her mom dresses as a witch, how much fun does that sound?? My children would think it was hilarious! I had never heard of such an idea but I loved it and it has stayed with me. 

Just recently I listened to a webinar from the Power Of Moms blog that I follow (they also do podcasts for anyone who loves them like I do), one part stuck out to me about family culture and traditions. They asked what makes being in your family so special? Why should your child enjoy being in your family? They then went on to share how family traditions bond a family and having something special just for our family creates a uniqueness for us. *light bulb!* 

This is something I’ve wanted for my family, I’ve been working towards creating a bond between my children this past year. I feel as if my own siblings and I don’t have a strong bond, we love each other but we rarely talk and it’s usually through our parents. Because of this I want to create moments for our family to have a bond, I don’t feel as if it just happens. I feel the need to be intentional about it. 

The traditions I’ve been brainstorming about center around our daily, weekly and monthly life. We say daily prayers together, daily scripture reading, weekly family fun activities and something I want to do soon is individual parent-child dates. Monthly traditions include holidays. For this month I’m wanting to do something special for my family. I found this neat idea spreading around on Facebook where for the first 14 days of February makes little hearts with a reason why you love your child and hang it up where they can find it, so I started that this morning, even for my husband! I also want to give them a small card and candy on the actual holiday, I rarely got one outside of school as a kid and I think my children would love it (especially since we’re out of Christmas candy). Last thing I think I want to do, but worried it’s too much for me to remember and do is make a pink breakfast on Valentine’s Day. There is a recipe I’ve saved on Pinterest for pink cinnamon rolls, which I think would be fun! We’ll see if I get there haha 

In my world of imperfection I think the brightest spots in my life is my family so I’m making sure I do what I can to strengthen us; at the end of the day they are my everything. 

Please share your family traditions of what you do to bond and I challenge you to think of new things to add to do with your family. Share in the comments below ❤