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  • Corrine Banks

A humdinger of a birthday/Christmas week

This is a long one, but, if you read on, you will see why.

The morning before my 40th birthday, I awoke to see that I had an unwanted surprise party overnight of a rodent variety. There were enough traces left behind in the kitchen and in the closet which stands dangerously close to our bedrooms to confirm my suspicion. I grew up in a 300-year-old farmhouse and throughout my childhood had various encounters with the field mice getting into our home, and one time my cat eating one in my bed while I was trying to sleep. Horrifying. I've developed a very real phobia of the disease-carrying creatures. Pest control was able to investigate promptly and report that there were in fact rats that had attempted to take up residence in our home. Upon inspection of the crawl space, he discovered additionally the cap to the pipe directly flowing from our toilet was missing. He was not a plumber but also confirmed that inside our home, our toilet had been leaking from the bottom as well. Needless to say, I was holding back an anxiety attack with all of this knowledge. I have plenty of amazing people in my life so I knew I would have a place to stay for the next week or so. I thought about the 3 months we were homeless after our house fire and felt both a trigger of anxiety knowing what it is like to live out of a suitcase and strength in knowing I could do it again. Questions raised were: How long have we been living on top of sewage leaking directly under our home during the 3 years we have lived here? Did we attract the rats by trying to do something nice feeding the feral cat? It made sense to me from growing up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that the rats came from the sewer despite what this man from pest control was saying. I found myself running back and forth to gather belongings from the house and continue to work training clients in the detached garage that is my studio (unaffected by the rats thank goodness). Until I finally gave up and took the day off after Christmas. Christmas day was driving up to P.A. and back whilst forgetting all the gifts I had for family and friends during all the chaos and stress surrounding me. The morning after Christmas I was excited to hear reports of waves and meet friends out for a surf session. After all, God bestowed upon us little surprise waves on my birthday and the day after which was part of my mental/emotional saving grace. Driving back to "the rat house" to grab my surf gear I got into a car accident with enough impact to smash in the passenger side door leaving me in shock, shaking. I held it together to speak with the other driver who was calm and cool in the situation as we both called our respective insurance companies. My car was drivable and his car was not, so after I offered to drop him off where he needed to go, I continued to "the rat house" where I lost it. Every time I tried to stop my tears from flowing to call to set up the car repair and rental, I would start again. I let the surf group know I wouldn't be joining. Eventually, I got out all "the feels", and after setting up those appointments which were all that I could control at the moment, I took the advice to just go surf a few hours after the accident. This will sound crazy to any non-surfer. I've been in accidents before where I was in shock and knew the full effects would come later. But, I needed some positivity and surfing is the most positive thing I know. I paddled out and had a ton of fun even if I was off- balance for some of those waves. Yesterday I was back in my house and after a full 9 hours of cleaning starting the night before and back at it at 4 am yesterday, the sun was shining, the temps unusually warm, and the waves were hanging around. I knew I was making it through my storm and rewarded myself with another surf session with friends. During this past week of my nightmare, I also had some hurt feelings by people and literal nightmares causing me to run on very little disrupted sleep. I don't think it is the healthiest response to be positive in every single moment of our trials if that is not our genuine feelings of the moment. I let myself feel all the feelings that came along during my week. Once I sorted through them, I saw all that I was grateful for. The places to stay when my home was unihabitable. How long would I have lived with a leaking sewage system if it were not for the rats? The car accident could have been so much worse than a little stiff and sore neck. No one was seriously injured. Although I will certainly feel the effects of finances so soon after the holiday financial stress, I believe God will provide. Although I felt hurt by some people, there were also so many more in my life that have gone above and beyond. Through this all, I focused my prayer on those I know who have it much worse, as well as my family and other requests. Those who just lost loved ones. Sweet Megan who has been in a diabetic coma over a week.

I am grateful for the journey I started a year ago of prioritizing my spiritual life first thing in the morning. Before any distractions of the day, I read my devotionals, have been very slowly making m way through the old testament, journaling, and praying. A few months ago I added onto that routine 10minutes of meditation, and have been making sure I fit in yoga just about every day. Then a month ago, positive affirmations added in. (I'm still getting used to those ;) These things have made a huge impact on every area of my life. My morning routine takes me a minimum of 30 minutes but, up to a few hours when I have more time. I'd like to encourage you to add all or a few of these things into your morning and let me know what type of impact they have on you. We may have different spiritual beliefs so insert your own there. I have been sharing the meditation podcast I've been using with a lot of people because it is free with no hidden future costs and short enough we can all fit it in. The podcast is by Chel Hamilton called Meditation Minis. She covers a wide variety of topics so there is something for everyone. I find myself stopping to focus on my breath more than once a day. Generally, I am calmer which is huge for my high-strung type-A personality perfectionist self. In my journal for close to 2 years, I have been writing a little snippet about the day before. The good and the bad. The accomplishments and mistakes. But, I always end my entry with at least 3 thoughts of gratitude. Some mornings they are small. Coffee. heat. sleep. More often than not, they are for the people in my life...or the prospect of surf lol. So what am I grateful for in the last week? So many things!

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