Challenging Times Are Like A Washing Machine


"Challenging times are like a washing machine. They twist, turn and knock us around. But in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before."


I found the above quote online and thought it was positively brilliant! And it's perfect for what I am about to share with you.

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Part Two: The Lessons

As you know from my previous post, I had a challenging two weeks in October. It was a month in which my insecurity buttons were pushed because my life suddenly changed, initially leaving me frightened with uncertainty and feeling powerless. Yet, I should know by now after going through many bumpy times in my life that challenges happen for a reason and that there is always a lesson or two (or three) I need to learn. And I could sense as I was being wheeled into the emergency room that this was going to be a challenge with some very important lessons.

One of the greatest things about getting older is that I've learned (and am still learning) how to step outside myself when going through life's challenges and observe myself in relationship to the challenge. When I was younger, I would often get so overwhelmed with my emotions that I was unable to see what was really going on. I was only able to see and experience the drama; therefore, couldn't see why the challenge was in my life and what I needed to learn from it. I've also learned that moving closer to the experience instead of trying to fight and run away from it, makes the challenge so much easier to move through.

Health

Pretty much all of my life I've experienced excellent health. Sure, I've had certain things happen here and there when it comes to illness, however, I've never experienced anything quite as life-threatening as I did in October. This experience taught me to never take my health for granted by just arrogantly assuming it will always be. Because that's what happens to some of us who have had good health most of our lives, we sometimes take it for granted until it's no longer there. This experience also taught me to have more compassion for those people who have life-long challenges with their health.

Balance

As I shared in my previous post, prior to getting sick and ending up in a hospital, I was running myself ragged and stressing out over things that I should not have been stressing out about. This experience taught me to be more conscious about living a balanced life and to stop worrying over things that are not worry-worthy. I think on some level I perpetuated this illness because of overextending myself and stressing out. But I also think it was necessary so that I would finally stop, look and listen.

Kindness, Support and Love

One of the things that touched me very much about this experience was that I was reminded of how kind, supportive and loving people can be. With all the things we read in the news about how horrible people can act, it's easy to become tainted and forget that there are also a lot of kind people in this world. I can't tell you how kind and loving I was treated while in the hospital. The medical staff who cared for me went way beyond what their jobs required. Both the doctors and nurses (especially the nurses) did all kinds of extra things, just to make sure I was always comfortable and felt well-cared for. They treated me as if I were a close, personal friend or family member, such as stopping by my room (even when they were not assigned to be my nurse for the day) just to say hello and check up on me.

I also got a great deal of care and support from friends, my brother Tom, and my manager at work.

Everyone reached out to support me while I was in the hospital. And they even continued to support me after I got home.

This experience was an incredible reminder of how much I am loved by the people in my life.

Humbled

I don't know about you, but I need to be humbled every now and then so I can be reminded that I'm just like everyone else - a human being who has struggles, faults and insecurities. And that my life can suddenly change at any given moment; needing the care, support and love from my fellow-human beings. And that it doesn't mean I'm weak. It only means that I'm human.

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So yes, this was a challenging experience for me. And like a washing machine, my life was suddenly twisted, turned and knocked around. But I had two weeks in a hospital room to reflect and learn from it.

And I feel cleaner, brighter and better than before.


Have a fantabulous week, y'all!
X


46 comments

  1. Ron, this reminds me of my recent visit with Amy. She started to blog to help deal with her ENTIRE HOUSE BURNING DOWN. She lost EVERYTHING. Her family and dog were saved. But imagine losing EVERYTHING. I visited her with two other bloggers - stayed at her rebuilt home for the weekend. She was amazing. Not only did they have the fire, but horrible scary health problems, including her daughter who had her spine fused that very year. What did she get out of all of this? A new look at what is REALLY important. Her motto is, "I've seen worse." Kids put a nick in the wall? "I've seen worse." Something lost? Scratched car? "I've seen worse." It is about seeing the good. Appreciating what is around you. Hanging out with the people you like, not the people you really don't. And here you are seeing such similar things. Thank you for this wonderful lesson.

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  2. Katherine, your friend Any sounds AMAZING! I love her attitude! And if you could, please email me her blog address because she sounds like someone I would love to meet.


    And speaking of fire. I didn't blog about this because I was taking a break from blogging at the time, but my apartment building caught on fire in September. It was due to arson in the building next to my apartment building. Many of the apartments on the south side of the building were destroyed because the flames blew over to our building;causing it to catch fire. Thank GOD my apartment was on the opposite side of the building and on an upper floor because it was not affected. However, I felt horrible for the tenants who lost everything and also had to move out of the building and find somewhere else to live until their apartments were refurbished.


    On the night of the fire we were outside on the streets for 13 hours, until we were allowed to reenter our apartments.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing that story, my friend. You've added much to this post!


    Have a super week!
    X

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  3. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comNovember 30, 2015

    People are amazing, aren't they? It's easy to forget that in all the negative media... And health really is our most precious commodity. Keep well, my friend!

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  4. Good stuff, Ron. I'm glad you've found some meaningful lessons out of what you went through. And how kind of you to be grateful for the nursing care you received. Believe me when I tell you that my daughter would probably say that the nurses were probably the ones who were grateful to have YOU as a patient, Ron!!!

    Glad to see you must have survived Black Friday. XO

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  5. Thinking positively, Ron, your illness was a teacher in your life. You had to go through it to come out the other side and to appreciate all that you had. I love the way you wrote about it because I think it will help others. I have a way of dealing with worries... I promise myself I will deal with them tomorrow! It works because as we all know tomorrow never comes, and the problem doesn't seem as bad.


    Say a prayer for my Joe... he's not at all well right now.

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  6. Ron, I love your attitude and ability to see things in a positive light. And I'm sure your positive outlook had a lot to do with how well you did in the hospital and how quickly you healed. What a wonderful quote! I hope you don't mind but I'm going to copy it and place it on my bathroom mirror. I'm going through a personal challenge right now, so I need to repeat these words to myself.


    Beautiful post, Ron. Thank you for sharing your experience with us because I think others can learn from it.


    Have a wonderful week and stay well X

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  7. I love your attitude. Seeing the beauty in difficult life lessons is a beauty and lesson itself. So glad you're well and better than ever.

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  8. "This experience taught me to be more conscious about living a balanced
    life and to stop worrying over things that are not worry-worthy." Outstanding lesson, Ron. My late grandma used to say that worry is a sin (because you're not trusting God). So, the older we become, the more we realize how few things in life are really "worry-worthy."

    I'm so glad the people showered on you the love and attention you so richly deserved. You know, you're the kind of caring person it's easy to do that with! I'm also glad you weren't alone in your ordeal -- being scared AND alone must be an awful way to go through something this unsettling.

    Never taking your good health for granted is another excellent take-away. I think those of us who take care of ourselves and enjoy the benefits of good health can really appreciate those words of wisdom. Serious illness can be scary (so, too, can even a minor illness, when you're used to good health).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences here. Have a splendid week, my friend! xoxo

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  9. Mark PetruskaDecember 01, 2015

    I think it's a wonderful testament to character when you can turn a negative experience such as yours into a positive life lesson. You are a master of finding the silver lining in that cloudy sky, Ron. You'll be better off for that.

    "...that's what happens to some of us who have had good health most of our lives, we sometimes take it for granted until it's no longer there."



    Yes! That was me. Even after my gall bladder surgery and six-night hospital stay four years ago, I still believed I'd be healthy overall and that it was an isolated incident, never mind the fact that I had put on quite a bit of weight by then. And I continued to eat and drink with abandon. When I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, you'd think that would be a wake-up call...but nope. It wasn't until diabetes came along and nearly killed me that I realized, finally, I could take nothing for granted. You've gotta be proactive and take care of yourself if you want to live a long and healthy life; that's been my takeaway from the things I've gone through. Took awhile for those lessons to sink in, but hey - better late than never. You'll do fine, my friend!

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  10. Wonderful lessons learned. We humans were created for relationships...of all kinds. Whether it's reaching out before things get out of control or leaning on others for help during a crisis, humans possess the unique ability to bond with each other on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The fact is, as much as we like to think we're fiercely independent, we need each other in our lives to help keep us grounded and create balance. It usually takes a holy two-by-four upside the head to get our attention but when that happens, we have the opportunity to rise up wiser and stronger than before. Fantastic insights and I'm happy you're back at the keyboard again. Take care!

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  11. Ron, as I said in my comment on your previous post, I learn a lot from you. And I think one of the most important things I've learned is that it's all how we choose to look at things. We can't always change the experience, but we CAN change how we experience it.

    " I've learned (and am still learning) how to step outside myself when going through life's challenges and observe myself in relationship to the challenge."



    What a great observation! Thanks so much for sharing your life with us, dude. I'm so glad you're here and that all is going well with you. Take care and stay strong!

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  12. Thank you, Suzi :) Thank you!

    (((((((( You )))))))

    X

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  13. Yes, they sure are, Fiona! And I was shown that through this experience.

    "And health really is our most precious commodity."



    Amen! Because when we have health, we have everything!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super week!

    X

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  14. Hey there Bijoux!


    Aw... thank you :) The nurses I had were FABULOUS! And I can honestly say that even though I was glad to be released from the hospital after being there for two weeks, I felt sad about saying good-bye to the nurses. In fact, I cried.


    Yup....I survived Black Friday. Yahooooooo! And let me tell you, it was one of the busiest and craziest Black Fridays I've experienced in a long time. Our store did VERY well that day.


    Have a super week, my friend, and thanks so much for stopping by!
    X

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  15. Hello there Valerie!

    "your illness was a teacher in your life. You had to go through it to come out the other side and to appreciate all that you had."

    You're absolutely right, I HAD to go through it to appreciate all that I have.

    "I have a way of dealing with worries... I promise myself I will deal with them tomorrow! It works because as we all know tomorrow never comes, and the problem doesn't seem as bad."



    HA! OMG...I LOVE that!!!! And I'll have to try that. It reminds me of the last line that Scarlet O'Hara says in the movie, Gone With The Wind!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear lady. And please know that I will keep Joe and you in my thoughts and prayers. Sending positive vibes your way....


    ((((((((((((( Joe and You ))))))))))))))


    X to you and Joe

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  16. Hola Denise!


    Thank you :)

    My father was a very positive person, so I think a lot of how he was rubbed off on me. He had the attitude that things would always get better. He always looked on the bright side of things.

    "I'm going through a personal challenge right now, so I need to repeat these words to myself."



    Keep the faith and know that things WILL get better. Sending you a BIG hug...


    (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( You ))))))))))))))))))))))))))


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a great week!
    X

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  17. Hello there Debbie!


    I LOVE your late grandma's saying! And what a wise lady she was.


    And yes, I felt very loved and cared for while going through this experience. My friends, brother and the people I work with called almost everyday. In fact, one of my co-workers came to the hospital to see me. And nurses became almost like family to me because of how caring and attentive they were. I felt very blessed!


    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your sweet and kind words. Have a splendid week too, my friend!


    X

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  18. Hiya Mark!

    Thank you for your kind and supportive words, buddy. And I'm grateful for this experience because it taught me a great many lessons. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the "busyness" of life that I forget to take a moment so that I can feel all the things in my life I have to be grateful for. And this illness forced me to slow down so that I could. As scary and challenging as it was, I'm grateful for it.

    " You've gotta be proactive and take care of yourself if you want to live a long and healthy life; that's been my takeaway from the things I've gone through. Took awhile for those lessons to sink in, but hey - better late than never."



    AMEN to every single word you just said! And you're right, better late than never. Besides, I truly believe that we learn the things we need to learn at the exact time we need to learn them. And your's (and mine) came the right moment.


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing your own experience on this post, buddy. You've added much!


    Cheers and good health to you!


    X to you and Tara

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  19. OMG, Lisa....I LOVE how you expressed this (I read it THREE times)...

    "We humans were created for relationships...of all kinds. Whether it's reaching out before things get out of control or leaning on others for help during a crisis, humans possess the unique ability to bond with each other on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The fact is, as much as we like to think we're fiercely independent, we need each other in our lives to help keep us grounded and create balance."

    That REALLY touched me. And you're absolutely right!



    And yes, sometimes it DOES take a holy two-by-four upside the head to get our attention. But as you said, it give us the opportunity to become wiser and stronger.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your beautiful and wise words, my friend. Have a super-duper week!


    X

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  20. Hiya Matt!


    Aw...thank you, buddy :) And I think because I spent so much time in my younger years trying to fight against and push away the challenges that came my way, I learned that it didn't work. But what did work was changing my perception of the challenges and finding my relationship with them.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your support and encouragement.


    Have a faaaaaaantastic week!


    X

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  21. Ron, I'm sorry I've been out of the blogging loop lately, but right after you took your break from blogging, I took one too. My life suddenly changed and got very busy so I just didn't have time to visit my favorite blogs. But I did catch up with your last four posts and I was so upset to read about what happened to you over the summer and then having to go into the hospital for two weeks in October. But I was so relieved to read that you got healthy again and are doing so well. And judging from this post, you turned that challenging experience around and found the lessons in it. I am so proud of you, Ron! You are such an inspiration to many people!

    And I'm also happy to see that you are blogging again because I missed you. Even my husband, who also read your blog, said the same thing, he missed your posts.

    You take care and continue to get well!

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  22. Hellooooooo there Elaine!

    It is so great to see ya!!!! And no need to apologize because I completely understand. Sometimes life outside of blogging gets busy or suddenly changes and we don't have the time to blog as we used to. And sometimes we just need to take a break.

    And thank you, I feel soooooo much better now. I very fortunate and blessed to have had the medical staff I did while in the hospital because they were not only GOOD at their jobs, but they were also very good to me which I think had a lot to do with how well I got.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and are enjoying this holiday season. Have a super week!

    X

    P.S. please tell your husband I said Hi!

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  23. Ron, I am so very glad that you are feeling better and have come out with a new outlook on life!! Life gets challenging sometimes for one reason or another and it is difficult to even imagine how we are going to cope. But we do. Somehow. Having your health is so important! Keep on feeling better and better!! Glad to hear you survived Black Friday! xo Jeanne and the girlz

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  24. Good to know you're back to your old self again Ron, have a fabulous festive season.

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  25. Thank you, Dale :) And it feels so good to feel healthy and strong again.

    "have a fabulous festive season."

    And you too!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, buddy. Have a terrific week!

    X

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  26. Thanks, Jeanne :) I learned a lot from this experience, for which I'm very grateful.

    " Having your health is so important! Keep on feeling better and better!!"



    Thank you, and you're absolutely right....having your health is soooooo important.


    And yes, I survived Black Friday!!!! It was a very busy and intense day, however, I enjoyed it and our store did very well. Normally Black Friday is not as busy in city stores as it is in suburban mall stores, but this year was an exception.


    Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friend!
    X to you and the gilrz

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  27. Geraldine H.December 02, 2015

    Oh, I just LOVE that photo and quote....so true too. WE CAN GET BETTER as we age, it's not all downhill as the years go by as all too many people like to think. I feel stronger and healthier in many ways now, than I did 20 years ago. And yes, learning NOT to stress about the little things, is SO important and also can affect our health so much too.


    I am so glad you continue to feel better and better and good to hear that you had support from a number of sources, including your employer. The last thing you need in times like that is to be stressing over work.


    Keep getting better, stronger, brighter...love it!!! Hugs, G

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  28. Isn't the quote brilliant, Geraldine? The second I spotted it online, I knew I wanted to use it for this post topic!

    "WE CAN GET BETTER as we age, it's not all downhill as the years go by as all too many people like to think. I feel stronger and healthier in many ways now, than I did 20 years ago."

    Yes, I couldn't agree with you more. At my place of work, I am the oldest of anyone there and yet, I feel like one of the younger ones. Now that I'm older, I also feel more comfortable in my skin.

    "good to hear that you had support from a number of sources, including your employer. The last thing you need in times like that is to be stressing over work."

    I feel soooooooooo blessed to have the manager I do. From back in October, she has been so understanding and supportive. Her first words to me on the phone when I called her from the hospital were, "Ron, just take care of yourself and get well while you're in the hospital. And don't worry, your job will always be here when you get back." She is such an awesome boss and human being.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your supportive and encouraging words, my friend. Have a terrific rest of your week!

    X

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  29. Ron, my husband said Hi back and continue to get well!

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  30. God tickles us with a feather and if we don't listen, He hits us with a brick. Your words are so wise and they definitely hit home with me. In 2006, I broke my neck and, thankfully, recovered completely, but not without learning many of the same lessons. Recently, I was talking about my accident with a friend and he said, "Wow. How awful for you." I replied, "I wouldn't have missed it for the world." Love you oodles & bunches, Ron.

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  31. Jayne, Jayne, Jayne....I freaking LOVE your comment, it's brilliant!

    "God tickles us with a feather and if we don't listen, He hits us with a brick."

    Amen! Boy, is that the truth or what? God gives a little signs and nudges, however, if we don't take note and listen, he brings our the bricks

    " "Wow. How awful for you." I replied, "I wouldn't have missed it for the world.""

    Yes! And I soooooooooooooo agree with you. As challenging as this challenge was, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And even now I look back on it and (not that I would want to have to go through it again), see it (and feel it) as being a wonderful experience. I look back in fondness.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your words and wisdom, my friend! You ROCK!

    X

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  32. Hi Ron,
    I can relate to you for the washing machine quote. Right on.
    It also describes my life right now...
    But as hard as these times are, they are life lessons. They make one grow and expand.


    Wishing you continued strength and health.
    X
    Barb

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  33. i'm still having a hard time breathing after reading your first post. i think i held my breath through most of it.

    "my life can suddenly change at any given moment" i think about this all the time. so very true.



    we all need to slow down, find balance, worry less and love more. we never know when our time is up.

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  34. Hey there Barb!

    Isn't the quote brilliant? The second I spotted in online, I knew I had to use it for this post because it really rang true for me.

    "But as hard as these times are, they are life lessons. They make one grow and expand."

    You are so right about that, Barb. That's why I try to look at a challenge and find my relationship with it because I truly believe it's there for a reason, so that I grow and expand.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Sending you a big "good energy" hug...

    ((((((((((((((((((( You ))))))))))))))))))

    Have a super weekend!
    X

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  35. "we all need to slow down, find balance, worry less and love more. we never know when our time is up."


    That is so very true, Val! And I know that this experience happened to remind me of those things you mentioned. So as challenging as it was, I am grateful for it. Because I learned something.


    Have a super weekend, girl. And thanks so much for stopping by!

    X

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  36. Geraldine H.December 05, 2015

    And I hope things just keep getting better, health and otherwise for you Ron.


    Just stopping in to wish you a grand weekend.


    Thanks for your kind words re: my Michael Landon post. How cool that you actually visited the Bonanza ranch, I'm impressed!!!


    Take care and all the best, G :-)

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  37. Aw....thanks so much for stopping by and for your weekend and healthy well wishes, Geraldine! You're a sweetheart!

    I just got home from work and it was so busy today. Yes, the Christmas shopping insanity has BEGUN - HA!

    Yup, I visited the Bonanza ranch in Tahoe when I was living there while performing in a musical review in one of the casinos. Tahoe was GORGEOUS!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my friend!
    X

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  38. Thanks for the BIG hug, Ron! I felt it! x

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  39. Glad your felt it, Denise! Hope all is going well for you!

    (((((((( You )))))))))

    X

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  40. Wow, Ron, can't believe I missed this one! The washing machine analogy really applies to my life right now, as I expect to be out of work at the start of the new year.

    Naturally I'm pretty scared right now but hopefully I'll come out brighter and better. And stepping outside yourself is so important. I'm still having a hard time doing what my shrink calls "detach and observe" but when I do, i immediately calm down.

    Thanks for the great post, buddy, and do take care!

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  41. Hey there Rob!

    "Naturally I'm pretty scared right now but hopefully I'll come out brighter and better. And stepping outside yourself is so important. I'm still having a hard time doing what my shrink calls "detach and observe" but when I do, i immediately calm down."

    No doubt, I think anyone (including me) would feel the same way. I mean, I still get scared when challenges present themselves in my life, I think it's only natural. But keep the faith, buddy, because I truly believe that everything happens for a reason (including the challenges) which not only teach us lessons, but often lead us to better things.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and have a grrrreat day!
    X

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  42. Indeed. I often think about that when something really bad happens to me or someone I love - to treasure the people in my life and experiences I've had and to try to live in a sane way.

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  43. Amen, my Libra friend...amen!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by. Have a super weekend!
    X

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  44. I'm glad you got the messages you did Ron! I have learned the hardest lesson of all for me - accepting help. I was always the one who was so busy helping others I rarely took care of myself until I got sick with COPD. Now I have to let others help me with a lot of things, especially my hubby. It was tough giving up my independence but I finally got the message - give up & let go. It's my hubby's gift to me when he can help me. By insisting I can still do everything by myself I deprive him of the joy of giving to me.
    I cannot agree with you being ordinary though Ron - you are still super to me!

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  45. " By insisting I can still do everything by myself I deprive him of the joy of giving to me."


    Yes, I too had to learn the same lesson. And it's a lesson that my mother had to learn as well because she was one of those people who had a very hard accepting help. That is, until she got very sick and had to accept help. She and I had similar lessons to learn.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your sweet and kind words, my friend!


    ((((((((((((( YOU ))))))))))))


    X

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