Recently I have gone through some really hard life experiences that I would like to tell you about. I want to share this with you for two reasons. First, I have promised to share my personal experiences with you. Secondly, I am hoping that my experiences and my new found outlook might help you through some of the tough times that you may be encountering in your own life. I don’t have all the answers, but maybe what I have to share will be helpful to you.

The last two years have been very challenging for me, to say the least. At the beginning of that period of time, I was laid off by my employers and could not find fulltime work. We were struggling to make ends meet on only one income, so I took two part time jobs. Within a year of that, my husband got a good job offer out of our area, but closer to family.  I continued to work both jobs while my husband and I readied our house for sale. We sold our house, and I relocated with my husband, my daughter, my dachshund Dutch, and my cat Misty, away from what had been our home for more than 8 years. Shortly after our move, both my mother and my mother-in-law became seriously ill. They have both have been in and out of the hospital during this past year and we have spent many long hours in emergency rooms and hospitals since September. In January, on the day before my 28th wedding anniversary, I lost my dachshund Dutch to old age and disease. He had been my constant companion for 16 years, and he used to make me laugh everyday. It was so painful to lose him, even though he was an old dog who had lived a wonderful life. I miss him still today.

Most recently, my entire family suffered the most unimaginable heartbreak. On July 4th, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, we lost my darling, beautiful, joyous older sister Robin. She was only 53 years old.

RobinL2   big sis

Beach (2)

Robin in life and in death has been an inspiration to me, and I would like to tell you a little bit about her.
Robin was special. She was just 3 years older than I am. Her loss pains my heart more than I could ever express. She was autistic, but she was so much more than that. Robin approached every day with joy. She lived for the people she loved. She was sharp and witty and she had a great sense of humor. She never lost her childlike innocence, and she never became jaded or cynical. She loved to sing and to laugh, and when she laughed her joy was so pure that it was contagious. She was a gentle free spirit. At the time of Robin’s passing, a spiritual leader told our family that each person was put on earth for a reason, and that Robin had been here to teach us something. He said that he thought maybe she was here to teach us to take care of ourselves and each other. I think that might have been part of her mission, but I also think she had a lot more to teach us all. Robin was a gift to my family, and this is what I learned from her.

Robin loved people for who they were. Money, race, religion, and color meant nothing to Robin. Robin taught me about unconditional love, and she taught me to have compassion, empathy, and patience for others. I have learned to accept and honor people’s unique differences, because of Robin. Robin was also very forgiving and never held a grudge against anyone. This is a difficult lesson that I am also trying to incorporate into my life.

Robin’s sudden passing spoke to me, it told me that tomorrow is too late. I have decided to honor my sister’s memory by no longer putting my own dreams on a shelf for another day.  Robin lived her life with happiness and gusto every day. So I have learned from Robin, to try to live my life fully everyday. I have big plans for the future which I will share with you as they unfold.

During the past two years at times I have been sad, discouraged, and frightened. I am still heart broken, but I have decided not let those things define me, or my entire life. I have chosen to learn from all of my experiences, and because I was given the gift of loving her, to honor my sister’s life by trying to be a better person. I have continued to learn about the things that I am passionate about. I’ve continued to work on my health and fitness. I’ve started this blog. I have learned the value of gratitude. I am so grateful for my family, and all of the love and support, that both my immediate, and extended family have given me. I am also so grateful to all of you! I am hopeful for the future, and I am going for it! I have grown and gained a new perspective on things. I have a positive new outlook on life, and what I have to contribute to the world. The possibilities of happiness in life are limitless.  We all have something valuable to contribute to the world. I have learned that no matter what stage of life you are in, you have the power to make your life better.

Take one small step toward your dreams, goals, and the things that you want most out of life, and then keep on keeping on. Remember that you hold the power to do it all. It will amaze you to see that you can achieve so much more than you ever imagined you would at the very beginning.  All it takes is one small step to make big, positive changes in your life.

Until next time, be brave, be strong, and may you always be well.