Thursday, May 2, 2013

A-Z Reflections 2013

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.



Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I enjoyed your stories. You're an adventurous woman.

Brian Miller said...

it was a fun trip through your stories...and you know i am glad it was there when you needed it...having a team behind you makes the load lighter as well...good stuff tina

Mary Hill said...


Enjoyed your reflections and stories this month. Thank you for your leadership.


Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Hi Tina,
Here comes a BIG CONGRATS!
I am so glad to be in your team this year. (though i could not full fill all instructions up to the utmost satisfaction of our team leader :-))What a wonderful experience it is! And ha, your adventurous story series is really an adventurous one.
Keep going my dear friend.
Nice to hear from you again and waiting for May 8th Road Trip announcement.
Congrats to Arlee, Alex and all other in the wonderful team of A to Z. Keep Going!
A i said in one of my earlier comment,
The Journey do not end here, instead again it starts here: hi hi hi be happy even in spite of your infirmities. Sure we will be holding you up in our prayers too
Philip & Ann
An ambassador to A to Z Challenge @ Tina's Life is Good
And My Bio-blog

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Pl. Re-read as "As I said in one of my earlier comments"

Arlee Bird said...

It was a very different year for sure. We held each other up. Your efforts were heroic and the Team all appreciates what you've done--I think I can freely speak for everyone on that.

Now on to the Road Trip!

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Bhavya N said...

You were wonderful throughout the challenge Tina. Congratulations to you, and thank you for stopping by my blog.
Congratulations again :)

Andrew Leon said...

I don't have reflections, yet. Wednesday's post may be as close as I get to that.
It was good to meet you!

Rachel said...

I'm so glad that you were able to make it do the Challenge, despite everything that was happening outside of it. This was a really sweet post. =)

Anonymous said...

A wonderful reflection post and also congratulations on the completion of the challenge.


Jeremy [Retro] said...

you are a strong one, your life is good... and your stories/posts were open and sharing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Heck, I just had to manage a crazy list - I didn't have tubes shoved in all the wrong places while doing so! You are the driving force and the one who keeps us together.
Your stories were fascinating. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Jo said...

I too enjoyed all your challenge blogs, especially as an immigrant myself although somewhat older. Glad you made it through.


Anonymous said...

Tina, you're the best! That's all there is to it! You're right. It became more about the other bloggers this year, the solid good people pushing us forward. I know I couldn't have finished without them. And seeing a small glimpse of what goes on behind the guys are da bomb! Wow! Thank you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Halloower there Viking Chick - yes you sure had some challenges this month, but desperately sadly others had much worse.

I know I couldn't have coped the way you did - especially as we kept on with these major chats in the middle ... still that's what makes the world go round. Well perhaps that's why the Viking Chick pushed on to the States and left the Anglo Saxon girl (hen) behind?!

I struggle so I really admire hosts and co-hosts ... being a minion has been nothing in comparison ...

I hope those medical inserts can be sorted and give you some rest in the future .. and you can find some cures ..

Cheers for now - Hilary

JoJo said...

I hope you are feeling better now! Sorry to hear you were so ill last month! I think what I disliked the most about this year's challenge, which I address in my reflections post scheduled for Sunday, is that we assistants were referred to quite a few times as the 'A-Z police'. I did not like those snide and snarky asides at all.

Silvia Writes said...

Well, Tina, you managed to make me cry. What a nice line there, "I needed YOU."
Pretty sure many of us needed you right back.
I only read three of your posts (I think), so I can't speak as to the format on a whole, but what I read I liked very much.
Thanks again ... will go look for the road trip info.

Sally said...

I always enjoy reading your blog as I 'met' you in the challenge last year. I hope your health improves with the improvement in the weather.

Gina Gao said...

I enjoyed reading your posts! Good job.

Tami Von Zalez said...

From one AtoZ cohort to another ~ cheers!

Laeli said...

It has been a wonderful experience!

Laura S. said...

Thank you for everything you did for A to Z! It was awesome. I hope you're feeling better, Tina!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Carol Kilgore said...

Hope all will soon be well in your corner of the world. Hang on!

Printed Portal said...

Congrats on a successful challenge :)

Claire Gillian said...

Thanks for keeping an eye on us and for visiting. Glad you're feeling better.

Al Diaz said...

Too bad it was only after the challenge ended that I could return to your site. Got overwhelmed too but now that things come back to "normal" I'll be able to visit more often. Sorry to hear your health was not at its best. My best to you!

Rocky said...

Great job! Congratulations! I like your blog as well. All the best with your writing!

Ida Thought said...

Road trip sounds like fun Tina, I know I didn't get to read your posts everyday, the challenge was like being in a big city with lots of places to visit, but I enjoyed the ones I did read and i hope your health and the problems you are facing right now are handled with ease.

Lucy said...

Wow, I had no idea about all the behind scene problems that is how well you guys did, kudos to you guys. This was my first time and it was really a positive experience for me.
I hope you and your team members are all on the mend.

Lucy from Lucy's Reality

T. Powell Coltrin said...

You did a lot of work and you should be proud.

Hope you're feeling better. If life didn't get in the way, we'd have smooth sailing -- huh?


Trisha said...

I don't know that I saw any of your posts during April, though I might have just forgotten as it was a mad flurry of post-visiting and commenting. But I would like to check some of them out. I too want to try and visit all the blog participants, as I didn't visit nearly as many as I wanted to during April!

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

So glad the A-Z challenge helped you cope with the other things that were happening in your life, Tina. I didn't participate in the blog challenge this time, but I read as many blogs as possible. Best wishes.

Unknown said...

I hope you are feeling better.
This was fun, I had a great time with the Challenge, I will definitely do it again next year. Congratulations for finishing!
Peanut Butter and Whine

Gregg Metcalf said...

Thanks for co-hosting. This was my 4th year. Little less "fun" this year, and I don't know why. Wasn't rushed or anything, as a matter of fact my month was done in advance. Can't wait for next year!

Unknown said...

May 6th, 2013
Dear Tina,
Thanks so much for visiting my reflections post. I aim to read all of your A to Z-posts. I will be student teaching though, so my time for blogging will dwindle fast.
I am always thinking of you, Tina. I wanted to do more posts with a Swedish-connection (inspired by your Swedish-word-theme last year)and some of mine are, but my life has not as much of a dramatic story as yours. (And you look so much cuter in your photos than I would if I were to show pictures of myself).

(Kom ihåg att du är älskad!)

I hope all goes well for your asthma. Give 'the Swede' a hug from me (I miss my Dad so much).

Best wishes & hugs,

Michelle Wallace said...

Tina, a BIG thank you for all the hard work you put in, to ensure that the A to Z was a success! You are AWESOME!

Thanks also for visiting my place during the challenge. I didn't get an opportunity to return the visits. The A to Z was a month of madness (as you know...)
Now that it's over, I'll have an opportunity to check out some blogs that I wanted to, but just didn't have the time/energy to visit...

Writer In Transit

Razgale said...

Congrats on the completion of the challenge! :)

J Lenni Dorner said...

Stopping by from the #atozchallenge . Congratulations my fellow reflector post maker!

Road trip sounds fun!

Mina Lobo said...

Rock on for making it through, Tina. Wishing you smooth healing and great health and rest!
Some Dark Romantic

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

Thank you so much for all the work you put in to the challenge. It was my first year and it was great. Health issues are never fun and I do hope yours are improving.
Tasha's Thinkings

Shannon Lawrence said...

Thanks for all your hard work and awesomeness, as always! I can't believe how much you rocked everything, despite your struggles.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Nicole said...

The challenge would not have been possible without many of the people who kept things moving along behind the scenes and you are one of those people. Your organizational skills and keeping on top of the schedules and reminders of other things that needed to be done so that everyone didn't get lost, confused or sidetracked was definitely an asset to the challenge.

I'm currently Road Tripping my way through and am glad to have stopped on your Reflections post today (I thought I already read this but can't remember, so I figured another visit wouldn't hurt one bit :) especially since I'm trying to get back into the blogging groove) because yes...I agree...the categories caused more headaches than none. Still, I think that might just be due to it being something new. Lots of thinks are wonky in their early days and it takes some time for them to be smoothed out and run without hassle. We shall see how the categories thing works out in the future (for better or worse).

I also agree that the challenge would probably be mayhem if it weren't for the superpowers of our Ninja Captain Alex. My hats go off to him and especially to Arlee, who not only headed this thing well but also knows how to assemble great teams that each bring their own strengths to the table, to make for a smooth running and fun challenge each year.

As Shannon said, between your mommying, co-hosting and health duties, you rocked the 2013 A to Z Challenge! That is a fact.