Gratitude in the Face of Disaster

You know what sucks? Flooding. I live in central Iowa so my husband and I are fortunate enough to not have to deal with flooding too often. But on the night of June 30th of 2018, we, and many people in the area were faced with 7-10 inches of rain within a few hours and… water in our basement.


My house was built in the 1930s and does not have a sump pump. Though we are in the process of getting the basement waterproofed, we were left with a steady stream of water pouring through the wall. Thankfully, our basement is unfinished with a finished bedroom and bathroom. Because we are planning to waterproof the basement, there are plans in the future to tear up the carpet and drywall in the finished portion anyway. Our total amount of damaged added up to having to throw away a few empty cardboard boxes. We. Are. Lucky.


So let me paint this picture for you. Saturday evening, my husband and I were watching Game of Thrones on Hulu because we’ve never seen it before, DON’T SPOIL ANYTHING! I got up to walk in the kitchen and could hear a heavy trickling coming from the basement. We had expected to have water as we typically do when a lot of rain happens quickly. When we walked downstairs, I was almost speechless. Like I said, I had anticipated there to be water. We walked around to assess the flooding and found water in places we’ve never had it, visible streams coming in, squishy carpet, and a flooded bathroom. But we are lucky.


We stayed up until the weeee hours of the morning using our wet-dry vac and a floor squeegee to get the water to the drain faster and get the carpet dry, well, dryer, well, less squishy.


We called it quits at 3 a.m. to get some sleep and got back at it a few hours later. Eventually, it became apparent that whether we stayed down in the basement and worked on the water or if we let it continue for 3 hours or 6 hours, nothing was going to change. Because we are lucky.


When we finally took a break, I decided to peruse Facebook and Instagram and I saw the devastation that my friends in the area were experiencing. I had a wet basement. People had FEET of standing water in their basements. I’m telling you that drain in my basement had SAVED us. There was somewhere for the water to go therefore it couldn’t go up to our door knobs like it was in neighboring homes. Cars were stahled and totaled all around town. People lost so many belongings in this flood.


As I went back to the basement to keep pushing that water, I thought to myself, Man. I am thankful. And then I was struck with how strange it was to be so thankful in the face of what could easily be considered a national disaster. But here I was, moving water, feet from my husband, and we were in good spirits. We are very “it is what it is” people. There was nothing to do but keep moving the water out of our house. But we were fine. I texted my family to let them know that “We have a bit of water but nothing we can’t manage. People in town have it much worse.”

I am never one to belittle people’s problems and tell them “well, someone else has it worse.” Because frankly, that’s rude. You don’t know how people are dealing with troubles in their lives. But when you’re faced with an obstacle, and hopefully you have a rock in your life like my husband because let me tell you, BLESS UP! But when you face obstacles, remember to be thankful for what you do have. Be thankful that your flooding was only a little problematic. Be thankful that you only have the flu. Be thankful that you only find your spouse annoying when they don’t do the dishes. Find the grace in life and know that in times of trouble you are also offered a chance for solutions.

5 Things to Do When Things Don’t Work Out

You will get through this
— Love, Vodka

If it's meant to be, it'll be

When things don’t go our way and we are left with disappointment, it can be devastating. Sometimes we are so sure that we landed that job or that things would work out the way we planned and life just laughs in our faces. It sucks, it hurts, and here is five things to do to get through it.



Whether it be for 10 minutes, 10 hours, or even 10 days. Girl, give yourself time to wallow. Feel the disappointment, let it sink in and when you’ve cried all your tears, move on. I always believe it is important to feel the pain given to us. Whether you didn’t get that job you were hoping for or the house you were dreaming of got bought by someone else, feel the disappointment and then get up and move forward.



When I, personally, am in my wallowiest wallows, I turn on Harry Potter. I begin to marathon my favorite movies of all time, the Harry Potter films 1-8. Now that’s about 20 hours that I dedicate myself to but you know what? It makes me feel better. I can distinctly remember times in my life when I was sad or disappointed at an outcome and I would curl up on the couch and turn on good ole HP. My husband would walk in and the first thing out of his mouth is, “what’s wrong?” He gets me. So if you have a favorite movie that makes you feel good and will take your mind off of your particular circumstance, pop it in! Turn on Netflix and get comfy. An equally valuable alternative would be to binge watch a new series, or rewatch an old series for that matter. Get your mind off life and be transported to someone else’s world.



Am I specifically talking about multiple pints of ice cream? Maybe. But a significantly less fattening alternative would be to take in something new. Read a book! Learn a new skill or watch a documentary. Listen to a podcast. Take in something and give yourself a new perspective. But don’t get me wrong, ice cream is still a valid option.



A great way to move forward and to continue to grow is to create! I am an artist at heart so I love to clear my head by creating. I love to paint, draw, design and even knit and crochet. There is a level of accomplishment when you create something that you’ll be hard-pressed to find by just sitting around. If you really wanted that job and you don’t get it, you can feel pretty defeated. You were so sure that there was going to be a new opportunity on your doorstep and instead you are left with rejection and self doubt. Now is the perfect time to create something you can be proud of. You need to remind yourself that even though things didn’t work out in your favor, that you are still an incredibly successful and skilled human being. Remind yourself of this every day. You are amazing.



Now that you’ve moved past the grief, or at least doused it in glitter paint and yarn, you need to set a goal. Get your head back in the game and move forward. Setting a goal, big or small, will keep you focused on what’s in front of you instead of wallowing over what’s behind you. Now, as I said in step one, wallowing is great, necessary even. But don’t let it control you. Put some jeans on (or whatever outfit makes you feel powerful) and get back to the grind. Things didn’t go the way you wanted. But you are going to get back out there and make it happen. This is your time. I believe in you! Now go!


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