Humility makes us real

This is another blog post from last year, the year that we made it through so much that there just was no other way to explain any of it except to credit the reality of miracles….miracles that were meant just for our family…miracles that were incredibly bittersweet, annoying and sometimes very funny and perplexing….like the one below. I still can’t believe this happened. Later on this month, I will give you a follow up story about this car, and the cars that followed…..

The Most Annoying and Amazing Miracle, ever.  The Amazing Cash Machine.

Melody frustrated
This next miracle has been a source of great frustration and stress and humiliation for me….on so many levels….but Heaven stayed with it as I guess I was supposed to learn a great lesson of HUMILITY from great HUMILIATION…..and then…ultimately, another great act of love occurred because of and through it…and then another…(and it ended up saving our bacon more than once…miraculously)

Now…this whole story is just a story that our family and everyone close in our life who has witnessed the Ross Family vehicle crisis of 2009 just laughs and laughs about…because really….the crazy, wild ridiculousness of it….the sheer amazingness of it just makes you laugh….plus…I think everyone has just thought it’s really funny that I have had to drive around in bashed-up vehicles all year….because it serves me right for being so dang prideful to begin with.

This is one lesson that I have been stubborn and reluctant to learn….but, I think…I hope….that I am finally there…..

Ok…it all started with a minivan……….a minivan that I complained, cried about and cursed over….because it was old….and it was embarrassing…because I thought I was too young and too cool to drive a  minivan…and I am a car person, I have been since I was a little girl and my dad used to show me all of the cool cars he liked…he was a car person…..I really love nice cars with sweet interiors and fancy gadgets and drink holders and awesome stereos…….but after our financial conundrum………..I was left with the old, sweet minivan…the SMV as we called it (sweet mini van)

It was in tip top shape. It cost us $2500…it didn’t have a dent or a scratch..the inside was in fabulous condition…it even had a sweet aftermarket CD player….

….then our oldest kiddo started driving…and he ‘learned’ to drive in it…so, by the time that season was over…it pretty much had dents and scratches on all sides…not big ones…just little ones….but…still…if it was embarrassing before……it was even more embarrassing now.

And then..the most awesome part of all with the SMV was that it had a “timing” issue……at random times throughout the day…without warning………when you were stopped at a stoplight or a stop sign…..and you were getting ready to go……..you would push down and down on the gas pedal……and it would rev up with all 4 of it’s cylindars…but it wouldn’t go…like…at all……..then, it would finally get the message that it was supposed to go…and it would peel out and give you whiplash.

…so embarrassing.

One time I was at a 4 way stop. I dreaded those…especially when they were full of cars on all 4 sides. There were some teenagers at the other stop sign. They were busy doing something…so they kept waving me to go…I kept pressing the gas pedal…my SMV kept revving. They were laughing so hard..thinking I was trying to be awesome. My kids were laughing hysterically because I was soooo embarrassed…after about 30 seconds of the revving……and the teenagers saying GO LADY…GO…and waving their arms to get me to go…..the SMV finally got the message and peeled out, whipping our necks back……teenagers at the stop sign laughing and laughing and laughing……my  kids doing the same…..me completely and utterly embarrassed. Sheesh.

I kept cursing the SMV and the fact that I had to drive such a piece……..you gotta understand that I was the only one in the house who had the big issue……my kids thought it was hilarious….never complained.

Not long after that…..the SMV got totalled….I mean the kind of totalled that equates to being DONE and in a junkyard. We only had liability insurance…..so……..you can see where this is going….

I was left with NO car. That was in April of 2009.

Smv 1
Smv 2
I didn’t consider that I might not have a car for quite some time. I thought in my head that maybe this meant that I would finally get a sweet new car and that my humiliation could finally be over. Pretty dumb that I thought that, since the whole Chatterbox gig had just ended, and we had no financial stability on the horizon……….

We DO have a little 1991 Toyota pick-up. It is Marq’s….so it is meticulously kept and runs like a champ. It does have what is called an extended cab…which means if you bend the seats down forward and climb back there, you can ride with your knees at your chin on a piece of carpet covered metal that will fit one of your bum cheeks on it.

THAT is the vehicle that got the Ross family around in the summer of 2009…..when Marq was gone, and Brock was gone (he also drives a little Honda that we also own….but he had several jobs and school…so we shared when we could, but he wasn’t always around) I didn’t have anything to get me around at all…..I was stranded at home.

So…….I had to go to YET ANOTHER stage of swallowing my pride……..and luckily, had some amazing friends….namely Shantel and Maria…..and was often on the phone like this:

Umm hello
Awesome. I felt cooler and more self-sufficient and awesomer than ever.

When I was too proud to give a friend a call….this was my vehicle of choice….Mountain bike

Well……this all sounds so dumb and ridiculous and lame now that this year is over…..but, this was such a huge issue for me. I complained about it a whole bunch……I think my kids and my husband loved making a big game of it…when we would all pile in a tiny toyota pick up and I would hide my head…….that’s a LOT of people in a small truck…kind of like one of those clown cars.

Well…then our oldest son graduated….and so he was home more. I got to start driving the Honda…which I complained about. It doesn’t even have drink holders…and if you know me…you know I love my icy drinks in the summer…………I complained about the stereo and I complained about the fact that it was stick shift. Shame on me.

Our oldest worked all summer and when the summer was almost over….the Honda was parked at work….and someone backed into it. Great…..a great big scratch/dent down the side….a replay of the SMV………

WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL……

Honda 1
Humility makes us real

Who knew that the whole plan for this car was going to be so incredibly miraculous! Read on…..it’s pretty darn cool what happens next…..

In September………the jobs ran dry and the money ran dry and rent was due and we had prayed and prayed and prayed and worked our booties off….and then Marq was asked to volunteer his time for a 2 week training thing for Boy Scouts of America. I was pretty freaked out…..

I told him that I didn’t think it was a good time for that…I mean…we had, seriously $60 left in our bank account and a whole lotta the month left.

He told me…like he always does….that if we do our best, and then give our time….help as many people as we can, whenever we can, wherever we can, however we can…that he knew for SURE for SURE for SURE that things would work out. In this post….you are seeing that I can sometimes be a bit of a pain…..because…still, I was freaked out…worried…………all of it. But, he really just kept reassuring me.

He was to go the mountains for 6 days…no phone service…nothing….no way to get a hold of him.

When  he left he said. “I KNOW that something will happen while I am gone and everything will work out.”

I sort of believed him. I tried REALLY REALLY REEEAAAALLLLLLLLLLY hard to.

Well….

Our oldest son decided the next day that he was going to finally take the Honda in to have the scratch looked at…….he called me a few hours later…completely amazed…

“guess what? that little scratch is worth $1400…..they are writing you a check right now”

FOR REALS!!!!!! Oh my gosh, you have no idea…that might as well have been a million dollars because that was SOOO huge for us.

That week…I also got an old escrow check from 2 years ago, a rebate check from Walgreen’s and a whole lotta happy goodness as I realized that the faith principle really works….while volunteering, Marq also got a few months worth of odd jobs that would get us through the next months.

So amazing…… you never never EVER know how or by what means God will bless you.

OK…so, we didn’t get the car fixed…we used the money to pay the rent…I drove the car around through the Fall with a dent in the side and my heart softened a little more, feeling more and more thankful that I even had a car at ALL. I didn’t complain as much……..

Well….then, guess what? (this is long, I know….but I swear it’s worth reading….)

Honda 2
You can’t see it…but the front and bottom of the Honda is all smashed up….this happened about a month after the awesome insurance settlement saved our bacon.

This one wasn’t quite so fortunate. This was another HUUUUUUUMONGOUS lesson in humility/humiliation….

One morning…I was in quite a mood…..in my sweats….feeling kind of bad about things….tired…freaked out again….money was starting to dry up again….the whole thing was just getting kind of old. I had to run to the store in the dented Honda and don’t think I really even brushed my hair too much…definitely didn’t put on make up….was in frumpy sweats and a too big sweatshirt with paint all over it…my hands were also covered in paint……….I stopped really quickly at the store….and realized I needed gas….

I am not very awesome at putting gas in the car. I am really pretty clumsy and I just really love it that my son or my husband does all that kind of stuff for me. But, I had to do it….so, I pulled up…thought I pulled the emergency break….and….

Started trying to figure out the dang gas pumps…the screen was broken..I couldn’t figure out how to get my card to go in….on and on…i kept hearing honking…..louder…longer….louder………I was already annoyed and getting more annoyed by the minute. Finally…after the honking didn’t cease…I looked up to see that the honking was AT ME…and an old man in a big pickup truck was trying to yell at me through his window…waving his hands all around…his wife was doing the same thing…I looked over…my car was gone.

I looked across the parking lot….and there it was rolling…rolling, picking up speed……rolled halfway across the parking lot…headed into 4 lanes of traffic.

So I took off running in all of my frumpiness…..chasing the run-away car….and…it took a slight little turn, just before it went into the road, and smashed RIGHT into the big Chevron sign….I looked around at people shaking their heads, some laughing……..and looked down to see that the car was all smashed up in the front. I got in, peeled out, and went into the parking lot next door and cried a little…………then I went to a different gas station to fill up…one with no slope in the parking lot.

Now…I spent the next few days riding around with the side all scratched up….the front all banged up….the money in the bank account disappearing………and then….believe it or not….Honda 3
One of my lifelong besties, Carrie……convinced me and my sis that we all needed to get out for a nice Holiday outing…….soooo, I picked her up and my sweet double-dented car…and we headed out to meet my sister.

Of course, I had all sorts of wonderful/sarcastic things to say about the dings and dents in my awesome car….and I told her the stories with drama and passion…….and, I KID YOU NOT…JUST as I finished telling her about how that first little accident paid our rent….and that it really could have been a sweet blessing….and I told her that someday I  hope to have a new car…..but that we were out of cash again….we stopped at an intersection, waiting to turn and

BAM!!!!!!

….some chick was texting and smashed right into the back of me.

Carrie and I looked at each other and just busted up laughing…I think I even put my hands in the air and said YESSS!!!!! ……..in fact…….I laughed when I called the police, when the police came, and when they were writing up my report. I could not STOP laughing…..

I KNEW this was another crazy freaky blessing that was gonna pay our rent again!!!!!

A week later we were picking up a check for $1700 from their insurance office.

I should tell you that we only paid $2700 for that car in the first place….THREE years ago, before my son had driven it all the way across the country and back and it had gotten him through his last few years of High School.

Soooo, needless to say. The rent got paid again……..and….the incredible cash machine took another one for the team.

I got the sweet experience of driving a car that had bashes and dents pretty much in every single place that it could………but, still drives perfectly……tell me that’s not some kind of crazy miracle.

There’s EVEN MORE to this story……which I will tell you tomorrow. But, I just want you to  know that our whole family knows FOR SURE that these crazy things keep happening because we just keep on praying…keep on believing and keep on keeping on…………….

And….we thank God over and over and over for the INCREDIBLE CASH MACHINE…….even if it’s ugly, embarrassing, old and has no drink holders…I have started thanking it patting it on the head every single day…..because it seriously was our LIFESAVER…not once but TWICE at JUST THE RIGHT TIME…EXACTLY WHEN WE NEEDED IT. Our “starting-over” phase has not been uneventful…and as we are starting to get on our feet again….we will NEVER EVER EVER forget these amazing experiences that we have enjoyed/endured as a family.