Time to reflect. I HAVE time to reflect! Wow, what a month! I won't bore you with the details, but in addition to participating in the Challenge, co-hosting the Challenge, wrangling my wonderful Terrific Team of assistants who helped me manage the Challenge, it was also a very challenging time for me medically. But I survived! The badge - you have picked yours up, right? It's at the A-Z Blog, or right there in the top corner of my sidebar - really fits me this year. I was in survival mode.
I went back and read my reflections from my first two challenges, and realized that this year's reflections would be very different. No sex analogies. No sports analogies. Just the truth, in plain format.
While Life is Good, sometimes life is very hard. Sometimes God puts us through ordeals that seem insurmountable, un-doable, unconquerable, UNPLEASANT, and unending. However, He also gives us an out. This year, The Challenge was my escape. I needed it to survive. I needed the distraction. I needed the camaraderie that this community provides. I needed YOU.
I am humbled and awed and grateful for the way you responded to my stories of my first year as an immigrant. You empathized with me, you understood me, you told your own stories in the comments, you held me up when I felt like falling down. You encouraged me. You kept me going. I had some posts pre-scheduled, but there were times I was writing my post at 4:30 am while shoveling scrambled eggs into my gut so that I could be picked up by The Swede to go to the hospital to be tortured, um, tested, for the root cause of my asthma.
I also needed my co-hosts. They came through for me as they always do, even though it was a year where many of them had challenges far worse than mine. Still, they were there, ready to help out. Of course, Tina's Terrific Team proved why they're terrific. The behind the scenes work they accomplished was phenomenal!
I suppose I should also talk about some pros and cons of the set up of the Challenge. The categories thing...dying to hear what you all thought of it, because it was last year's Reflections that prompted that change. From a co-host's perspective, that caused more grief than it was worth, in my opinion. Alex deserves a giant round of applause, and to be flown by private jet to some remote island with his wonderful wife for some R&R. How he managed that long list and all our emails about what to fix simply amazes me. All hail the Ninja Captain!
Please don't miss our annual Road Trip announcement post coming on Wednesday May 8. The Road Trip is simply those of us who aren't giving up on the visiting, and will continue to visit the participants using whatever schedule fits our lives. Please join us – it's a great way to stay in touch with friends you've made, and there are more friends out there just waiting. They may turn out to be just the friend you need to get you through the tough times. I'm blessed to have friends like that in you, dear readers. Thanks for holding me up.