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  • Lisa Palanca for Palanca Leadership

Small or Big Stuff?


Here we are….watching the snow fall again.

As hardened Michiganders, we try hard not to have snow affect our daily lives. We know to pump our brakes, layer our clothes, line boots with plastic bags, and to keep a stocked pantry for the “just in case it snows” times. As much as I dislike solid months of snow, I know that there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. I cross days off, clean closets, write on my book, feed birds, and spread salt when I can't get out. These days are here to teach what stamina is, I think.

Up here, we have plenty of it.

Yesterday, I almost had a melt-down.

In an effort to place all my appointments in mid-week, I spent Wednesday in Kalamazoo. After my meeting that evening, I decided to trek back to St. Joe on Red Arrow Highway. The snow was fierce and I knew that it wasn’t only going to be a question of just going slow, I simply could not see a thing and prayed I would stay on the road.

Out there in the open country proved to be more foolish than my fear of big trucks on the expressway. You see, a group of deer came sauntering out of the wood lot in front of my car and before I could squeeze my brakes from 25 to 0, I had hit the last deer. Whispering “Oh no. oh no.” I had to continue on as there was no place to pull off with a truck behind me. I felt horrible.

The next morning, after loosening up my tense muscles, I got back in the car for day 2 of meeting with people in various locations in Berrien and Kalamazoo counties. I hadn’t gotten 10 miles out of town when I heard a THWACK! and watched in amazement, as my back window shattered and crumbled to the ground.

I couldn’t believe my bad luck.

I doubted if anyone else would believe it either.

I turned around, called and rescheduled my appointments, and called my insurance company. They were great and made me feel better with their prompt handling of my claim.

I was doing great. No problem. I was handling everything like a big girl…. until I was asked if I wanted to prepay my deductible. Sounded good so I went to get my card wallet.

It was not in my purse.

Not in my car.

Had I left it at the meeting the night before?

Frantically, I thought, this was going to push me over the edge. As the garage door closed, I spied something near the tire of my car. It was my wallet!

Relief flooded in.

This opportunity to be grateful was a huge game changer.

“Oh thank you thank you thank you”.

At the end of the day, when curve balls try to beat you down and stupid things begin to pile up and seem out of control, how often do you stop to say thank you?

Gratitude is being thankful for the things that are going right.

Thank you for the basic stuff …food, heat, health. The simple things.

Don’t sweat the small stuff is an apt phrase.

I guess it all depends on what stuff you think is small. People seem to worry too much.

They grouse about clothes, friends, parents, having things, doing things, what other people are doing, the snow storms…It is all in the outlook. It has taken me many years to pull out of the spiral. But I am doing it.

So wave to me in my Equinox with the taped on plastic back window. . My car isn’t being repaired until next week. Today is a LEMONADE Day.


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