When I bought my van, I included Toyota’s offer of lifetime oil changes. This is probably a dumb deal for most people but Toyota has lost money on me for sure — the van is approaching 195K miles and I change the oil every 5K miles.

I suspect they all rolled their eyes and said, “her again?!” when I pulled up to the service department yesterday.

But alas — they did not have the ability to do the oil change within my permitted time frame. The Service Guy checked my mileage and said it would be okay to keep driving and come back next week because the oil is really fine for 10K miles.

Okay, I said, but could you please reset the GET SERVICE NOW OR YOUR VAN WILL BLOW UP lights?

He kindly did that — who knew that was so easy?!

I got in, put on my seat belt OF COURSE — and started the van. Except it did not start and so I shouldn’t say that I started the van — the truth is that I just turned the key.

I marched back in, trying not to look as if I suspected him of some funny business as he reset those lights, and explained that I was now blocking one of their doors since my van would not start.

He was incredulous.

No, really — I said — it won’t start.

Fast forward 45 minutes and I was paying $149 for my brand new battery. This time the van really did start.

I am working with a teenager who doesn’t quite believe that it is possible to CHOOSE how to think and feel about things. I explained this whole story and the teen noted how lucky I was that the battery gave up the ghost in front of the service department!


Yes, I said, but it would be just as easy to bemoan the fact that my battery died and I had to spend $149, which is overpriced, for a new battery. In other words, I pointed out, I was permitted to CHOOSE how to think about my battery — and since thinking results in feelings, I was also choosing how to feel.

Seriously — how often does something like this happen?

Not only did my battery die in front of a garage filled with mechanics instead of on my drive to Boise today where there is no cell service or mechanics or car batteries or tow trucks for miles and miles BUT it also happened conveniently enough that I could (hopefully) make an important point to a teenager.

And what is that point?

How we think determines how we feel. This means unless your brain is possessed, the person controlling your everyday thoughts and feelings is you.

An inconvenient truth at times, I agree, because blaming is so much more fun. But think of the possibilities when you take control of your thoughts and your feelings!

Yes, that is a real backdrop. I took that photo in our yard. #lucky #montanalife

Yes, that is a real backdrop. I took that photo in our yard. #lucky #montanalife