Trying to Be Positive During Setbacks

This morning as I waited in line at the McDonald’s Drive Thru to get some coffee after dropping off my four year old at preschool 15 minutes late yet again, a firetruck drove by at full speed followed by an ambulance with its sirens on. I said a small prayer for whoever was hurt, and realized I had so much to be grateful for.

It had been a week full of setbacks, and near misses.

It started with my mom becoming very ill and my having to take her to the hospital to watch her be whisked into a quarantined room where she was subjected to a weekend full of tests and worried looking nurses and doctors scratching their heads. I was made to wear a mask if I was to go inside and visit. The outcome? Only a severe case of Pneumonia, thank God. Nothing that a course of heavy antibiotics wouldn’t cure. So while I had been so stressed and worried all weekend, at least my mom would be OK, and I had that to be thankful for.

Then my dog was hit by a truck in front of me and my four year old when we went out to get the mail. As my dog flew across the road and the truck sped off, I was sure he would die. But somehow, he got up and walked back across the road to us with a heavy limp. I took him to the vet and miraculously he seemed to be OK, except for a wound on his face that would need stitches. Would I have several hundred dollars to pay for it? While I wasn’t happy about losing that much money unexpectedly, I was happy he was OK, and losing him would have been very sad for the family, me included. I love that guy.

There was also the blowout fight with my husband which I won’t go into publicly, but always seems to happen when I’m putting too much stress on myself.

And then there was the voice mail I missed or picked up two days late because of my stressed week with the missed job opportunity, the kind of opportunity that falls in ones lap every once in awhile and that can be a total game changer. Would I like to work on a film at Disney Studios for a week at studio pay scale starting the next day? One day’s studio pay scale for a costumer is more money than I make costuming a whole play at my local theater where I work sometimes, mind you. And I had only myself to blame for somehow missing that phone call and not checking my voice mail.

Well, missing the job opportunity was OK  I supposed, because I had committed to selling my baby dresses at the Patchwork Handmade Festival in Long Beach that weekend anyway.  I had worked so hard sewing all of my lovely things late into the night and making sure every detail was just right, that I would have been very sad to bail on the craft show to work with celebrities at Disney Studios because I was sure to be a success at the craft show, right? I had had so many setbacks all week, and I hadn’t had the chance to make everything I had wanted to to sell at my first craft show, but I felt I had some nice things to show regardless.

Wrong. While yesterday’s craft show wasn’t a total failure, I sold just enough to pay my booth fee; a dress, a bag, some hair clips, and one banner, the gnawing feeling that I had missed such a great job opportunity for this semi failure at selling my designs secretly chewing at me all day.

However, I met lots of lovely vendors there, and spoke to so many nice and interesting people. And while I didn’t sell much, people responded well to our booth and seemed to really like my things. I even had the pleasure of meeting one of my blog readers in person, Diane from Vintage Zest. What a nice lady she is! I had planned to take lots of photos of my booth I shared with my friend, but when I got there, I got my camera out only to realize the batteries were dead. So sorry, I have no photos to share of the day. But it was a lovely, sunny day and the fair was right on the water. There were bands playing and there was a general air of festivity that lifted my spirits. My friend who I shared the booth with brought her 10 year old daughter and I had Lily, my ten year old, along with me to help. The girls had such fun exploring the vendors booths, eating yummy handcrafted goodies, and playing down at the beach.

It had been a great day after all, and I had spent some quality time with my girl, which was perfect, because I had been so wrapped up in my problems all week that I hadn’t given her the attention she needed. During the hour and a half drive home together she told me delightful stories about the various antics of different fish species; how the clown fish is so mean to male fish and  gets mad at her male mate nanny for something as minor as sitting on her eggs the wrong way and kicks him out, but then has a literal line of suitors waiting to take his place; how the sucker fish climbs straight up the waterfalls in Hawaii by sucking with her lips and fins, a huge job, only to lay her eggs at the pool at the top and then be sent back down again to start all over; and how the mud fish spends its life going between its eggs nest deep under the ground to the surface of the mud to gulp air, and bring it back down to its eggs, a cycle that it spends its life doing. What a weird and wonderful world we live in. I laughed so had at story after story, marvelling at how bright and witty my ten year old is.

So I was deep in thought this morning,  ruminating over all of these things that had transpired over the week, when the siren sped by.

” Wake Up , Justine!” It seemed to say to me. ” Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Today is a new day and it’s time to move on. You have so much to be grateful for! Your family is healthy for goodness sake!”

I guess my moral of the story for today is , did I want to be someone who sees the glass as half full or half empty?  I’m trying to see things as half full. So today is a new day and hopefully,new opportunities await.

Now I must go and clean up my messy house. I don’t know about you, but whenever I clean up my house the whole world starts to feel better. And things had gotten very messy after my week.


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  1. says

    Wow, what a crazy week! I’m glad your mom and dog are ok though. It’s a bummer about the missed call but it happens for a reason, ya know? Bigger and better things will come up! And the craft fair… well, I know how you feel! Ours was super quiet. Luckily I made back enough to pay for the booth, and I think our booth was the most popular of the few that were there, but it’s just disappointing when you have higher expectations for an event like that. I did get to spend time chatting with some lovely mamas that I’ve been wanting to get to know better so that was nice, and my baby boy came by to visit (with daddy’s help of course) and would light up every time he saw me. So that made it all better! I hope you have a great week!

  2. says

    What a week. I’m so glad everyone is safe and well, but it sounds like you have had too much going on. I’m sorry hear about the craft fair too. I had a dreadful fair this summer and felt like giving up, but a wonderful fair this weekend has restored my faith in my abilities. Sigh! Thinking of you.

  3. Brenda Kimberlin says

    This made me feel better about my own bad week 2 weeks ago! Seems like every now and then you just get a stretch where too many things go wrong at once, personally and professionally. But as you said, after I had some distance from it I was able to say, well, the world didn’t end and my kids are ok, so everything else is manageable.

  4. cindy coven says

    Just started following your blog because of your sewing. I just learned a mantra that has helped me thru days and years! like you’ve had. “I will open any doors the universe sends my way. i will not waste energy or nourishment feeding missed opportunities.” Remember, the universe always has a plan, nothing is random. I hope you are able to get that costumer’s job you want and sell those items soon. cindy

  5. says

    I ugly cried through a few batkid stories and realized I had a whole lot to be grateful for too. It’s hard sometimes to see it or recognize it when you get smacked with disappointments. Here’s to a better week!

  6. says

    I can’t believe your awful week! I’m glad that everyone was okay, even with some scary circumstances! You were so nice and bubbly when I met you at the show that I wouldn’t have known. I have a few pictures that I took of your booth and I would have taken more if I knew that your camera was dead! I’m so glad that we had a chance to chat, and I hope things start to look up!

  7. Judy says

    I am so thankful your mom [and the dog too] are ok.. What a dreadful week you have had..
    I am so sorry.. Sometimes , I wonder why these things happen? [and seem to keep happening, day after day]. Only God knows.. But, once we past those things, we have the calm of knowing God is with us and had been through it all. With out Him, we would not have had those great outcomes.

    So sorry ,you missed the call for the job.. Such a bummer..

    And the hubby fight.. We all have them and they have to come..ha I think when we get stressed out and over worked, the whole family gets stressed. Making up — makes it all better.

    Sending a big ole hug and prayers for a better week…

    ps.. I have got to head into house cleaning too.. eeeh.. not a fun chore.. But, sure will make things feel better.

  8. says

    So sorry you had such a stressful week. Glad your mom will be ok. It is so scary when loved ones get sick. And then you almost lost your dog and the driver didn’t even stop?! What in the world? You are so right, though. There are so many things to be grateful for. I need that reminder! Thank you for the wonderful post.

  9. says

    Justine, what a lovely message of encouragement. Thank you. I’ve been sad the last two days, but your post reminds me to keep everything in perspective.

  10. says

    I can totally relate this week! My week has been full of stressing myself out causing crying for 30 minutes on Monday morning. The highlights were breaking someone’s iPad that I had to replace and having to pay $700 for an MRI. I guess the good news is all of the bad things happen at once? :/

  11. says

    So sorry to hear about your rough week! You have a great attitude towards these setbacks, which is the best medicine to get through tough times! Keep your chin up 🙂

  12. says

    Hello Justine!
    I’m Carmen (from Italy)
    I read your blog cause I like your honest way you say things.
    I want to tell you: the crafts shows DON’T Work. I’ve attend to one 3 years ago, here in Italy, and I didn’t sell quite anything. I promised myself I’ve never never go to another craft market.
    People are coming at that shows only for walking with family and with their dogs….. I’d never seen so many dogs all in the some day as that day at the crafts market!
    I wish you the best for you and your family!
    Now I have to go to the dentist for my painfull teeth, so wish my luck too!
    Cheers, Carmen