You all know that I recently lost someone dear to me and at the same time, had a relationship with a family member ended abruptly and by their choice and reasons not my own. My foundation has felt shaky and I did what I usually do when confronted with life's hardships, I took to ground and hid, lol. Really, I just retreated into my home as if it were a cave and have hidden away. Being sad, grieving is natural but my friend told me before she died that we are getting too old and life is too short to spend it doing things that we don't thoroughly enjoy. Today, I've had several things happen that feel like my friend talking to me again. First, her brother called this morning to see how I was doing. I've been worried about him and kept wanting to call and check on him. Like me, he's grieving but he's also made some decisions prompted by his sister's death. He's changing his career for one less stressful and more fun. He said, life's just too short and uncertain, we have to start enjoying it. The second thing came in an article that I've been reading and posting daily in my blog. It is the second of two articles. The first was 30 things to start doing for yourself and this one is 30 things to stop doing to yourself. This was today's rule, "Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now." I was surprised that the rule so closely followed my conversation with Charlie. Then, I checked my email and there was a message from a stranger who'd seen my photography and wanted to tell me how much it meant to her, a lifelong horse woman. As I read what she wrote, I realized how I'd been neglecting my horses, my photography and my art during these last few trying months. I remembered how during the most difficult times, my horses were the one constant and they seemed to sense that I needed their affection. I've gotten more unsolicited nuzzles and horsie hugs during all of this than I ever have. All of this might just be a coincidence but I feel like my friend is talking to me and telling me to get on with living. The stranger ended the email with "sending you love and joy." I'm ready to embrace both again.