Guest column: Mary Ann’s ’30 things that suck’ and don’t

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mary Ann Otis Mattingly is assistant manager at General RV in Wayland and lives with her husband, Ted, and family in Shelbyville. Ted is facing serious health challenges.

by Mary Ann Otis Mattingly

Since I have not been able to do daily things to be thankful for, I am going to share with you all 30 things that suck all at once. These are not in any particular order for significance as they can change frequently in my crazy life.

Things that Suck

1.  Watching your child fail at, well, anything really.

2.  Not being able to cure your friends/family who are facing mental illness.

3.  Cancer.

4.  Cleaning.

5.  Laundry.

6.  Watching your husband fade away from being sick with cancer.

7.  Listening to your child say they can’t do something knowing that they can if they just tried.

8.  Putting on clothes and seeing that muffin top get bigger because you haven’t fully taken care of yourself properly since June.

9.  Leaving my hubby at home alone all day.

10.  Finding time to get my house ready to sell.

11.  Having construction projects to do in my home before we can sell it.

12.  Not being able to join my son in Mexico for a mission’s trip.

13.  My hubby losing his unemployment benefits because of having surgery to prevent him from being paralyzed.

14.  Loving cake and all things sugary, carbie and bad for me.

15.  Singing Christmas songs in the shower and having my hubby ask me to check the calendar.

16.  Not knowing how to fully do everything  on our property to care for our home. (e.g. start the wood burner for the first time of the season)

17.  Missing my kids’ events.

18.  Cleaning up dog poop in the house.

19.  Not being able to thank people enough.

20.  Creaky joints and sore muscles.

21.  Missing friends I don’t see nearly enough.

22.  Not knowing if our house will sell for the amount we need it to to become debt free and start our financial lives over with a clean slate.

23.  My dyson.

24.  Walking through our barn knowing that my hubby may never be able to enjoy working of vehicles and other things ever again.

25.  Crappy country Internet.

26.  Gray hair and laugh line wrinkles.

27.  Watching all the hate and hypocrisy in our world and not able to stop what has already been done.

28.  Keeping my kitchen table clean (this could also fall into the “things that are darn near impossible” category.)

29.  Having to say goodbye one last time to our animals that are buried in our yard when we do move.

30.  Not knowing what tomorrow will bring and unable to really make plans for anything in the future.

Bonus day 31 — Not able to give your children the Christmas you feel they deserve.

Things that Don’t Suck

1.  Watching your child have the opportunity to learn for their failures.

2.  Being able to pray for, listen to, and encourage friends/family who need it.

3.  Living in a time where cancer is being researched and new medications are being developed every day.

4.  Having a home that needs to be cleaned.

5.  Having clothes to wash.

6.  Knowing that some of the sickness is from medications that will hopefully help to heal him.

7.  Not getting angry at your child’s choice, but rather turn it into a learning experience of actions vs consequences.

8.  Having the motivation and desire to take care of myself and work toward losing said muffin top… and having clothes that still fit… even if they are more snug than I would like.

9.  Being able to call and text him to check on him and call in assistance from friends for support.

10.  Physically being able to prepare my home to sell.

11.  Family and friends that know a lot about construction projects and who are able and willing to help us out.

12.  Being able to sit back and enjoy watching God work in my son as he goes through life learning to live without me.

13.  Knowing that God will continue to take care of us in ways I simply cannot understand.

14.  Being able to eat small portions of the things that I like as well as exercise to get back to where I feel comfortable with me again.

15.  Having the joy of the season in my heart.

16.  Being able to call my hubby for help from inside the house as there will be a time where I may not be able to do that.

17.  Letting my kids still participate in things they enjoy thanks to a great support system around us.

18.  Cuddles with said dog who has an upset belly.

19.  Having people to thank.

20.  The ability to exercise and push through the pain because I know I feel way better about life after a workout.

21.  Getting reconnected with friends out of the blue.

22.  Being able to sell our home and know that God has a plan bigger than I could ever fathom.

23.  My broom.

24.  Knowing that my hubby’s brain is still working along with his heart and that when it is time, he will be able to do more, teach more, than ever thought possible.

25.  Having Internet at all.

26.  Wisdom from aging.

27.  Having the opportunity to show those in my life what real love is even if I disagree with their view points, and teach my children how to do the same thing.

28.  Besides the trend of having a kitchen table to get cluttered…. it also doesn’t suck that my table is covered with medical insurance papers and cards from people showering us with love.

29.  The memories of all those animals that have changed our lives for the better.

30.  Trusting our lives to a God is above all understanding and knowing that no matter how much things may hurt now, our God is an awesome God and he will NEVER ever leave our side.

Bonus day 31.  Receiving a phone call that your family is being adopted by Shields of Hope for Christmas.  We don’t deserve this, and are completely humbled by it.  I can’t wait to start helping others again.


  • Mary,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Your optimism is inspiring and this writeup reminds us to be thankful for everything. There are daily blessings that we sometimes can take for granted.

    Sending warm thoughts and lifting prayers for your family! -Austin

  • Mrs. Mattingly,
    Well done, the support of family and friends is worth more than many folks will ever know. Wishing you and yours the best.

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