My wife and I live in an old farmhouse on two acres of land with over 100 trees planted on it.  We love our property, yet it’s a lot to take care of.  Over the years, we’ve improved quite a few areas of our home, both inside and outside.  Most of these were to ‘make it our own’, others were to improve our creature comforts.  For instance, when we moved in 2006 (not too long after Eliana was born), we had central air installed.  Another big one was the renovation of our bathroom.  Super annoying during the renovation phase to be without a bathroom, but we were glad when it was finished.

In 2012, the area we live in Northwest Ohio experienced a derecho (pronounced deh-ray-choe…I think).  A derecho is a widespread, long-lived windstorm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.  We experienced prolonged winds of 80+ miles per hour.  It happened during the late afternoon when I was finishing up work at my office about a half hour away.  Meanwhile, my family was hunkered down in the basement of our home while outside, pure chaos was occurring to our property.  Remember those 100+ trees I mentioned earlier?  Well, one of these was a hundred-year-old, 100 ft. tall maple tree that stood at the northwest corner of our home.  And the derecho came from that direction.  Maples are strong, but the sustained 80+ mph winds proved too much for this tree… and it blew over onto our home (see picture above).

Gratefully, they made old farmhouses to last.  Our roof was punctured in several areas, but as fortune would have it, the fallen tree was supported by our home, it did not fall through.  My guess is that some newer homes would not have withstood the sheer weight of the tree, let alone the moment of impact when it actually landed on the house.  We ended up losing 8 large evergreen and maple trees during that storm.  It took a local tree service company several days to clean up the mess, and to gracefully extract that large maple off our home.  Thankfully, my brother-in-law, Mark (Net’s husband) is in construction, and he patched the roof quickly so we were good to go.

Our neighborhood was devastated.  Trees were fallen all over the place.  And thus, the power was out.  We’d soon come to terms with the power being out for the next 6 days.  Now, that might not seem like a long time, until you allow your mind to think back to the last time you lost power for a few hours, and how annoying and disrupted your life became.  Now, imagine that annoyance and disruption for 6 days.  I wanted nothing more than a whole-house generator.  And so, I went shopping online (once the power came back on) only to find these little suckers were friggin’ expensive.  Not just the generator itself, but the labor and prep it takes to install it.

Fast forward 10 years of prudent saving (I am a Financial Advisor, you know) in the midst of a myriad of other financial priorities that every young family deals with, and in 2023, I got my fancy new generator.  I have a great picture of me standing beside it…but I digress.

Well, yesterday morning, our power went out…and the fancy new generator didn’t work.  I mean, this thing wasn’t cheap, and I saved for a long time to get this puppy installed all nice and neat.  And when we needed it most…it failed.  The very thing for which it was designed to do didn’t work.  And, of course, it failed on a Sunday morning, and I had responsibilities at church, and it was the most annoying and disrupting thing that could’ve occurred.  I bought this thing to mitigate the annoyance and disruption for such a moment as this…and it failed.  Thousands of dollars, high expectations, joy unspeakable as I would gander out the window at the other suckers in our neighborhood who wallowed in their darkness who didn’t have a fancy generator like me…and the moment it was supposed to shine…it didn’t (no pun intended).  No lights, no hot water, no coffee, no creature comforts.  I. Was. Mad.

Ever have that happen to you?

The moment arrived when you needed something, and it didn’t come?  The time you expected them to show up, but they didn’t?  The occurrence when you depended on that, but that didn’t occur?  We’ve all been there.




So, what do you do?  Well, for me, after bouncing around below the line for a few minutes as I came to terms that my fancy new generator was a piece of crap, I had to make a choice.

Stay mad…or take action.

Stay angry…or figure it out.

Stay below the line…or solve it.

Stay stuck…or progress to the next best option.

I surmised that I could stay mad until the power came back on, or I could figure out how to get ready and fulfill my commitment to my church responsibilities.

So, I did.  And so should you.  Don’t let annoyances and disruptions keep you down.  Rise up.  Get yourself back above the line.  Sometimes life just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is.  It’s how you handle the circumstance that makes the difference.

Choose life.  Choose power over problem.  Choose a good attitude and a helpful mindset.

Figure it out.

And live on purpose today.

(PS – They ‘fixed’ the generator.  Blamed some odd anomaly.  Said it will work next time.  Here’s to hoping there’s not a next time, but if there is, that the darn thing will work!)