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Joined: 10/9/2011
Posts: 7
Many people say this line of their wedding vows without really giving much thought to what the “in sickness” part might look like. When you are healthy, the term “sickness” often means a cold or the flu or maybe bronchitis. But for many, sickness can take on a more sinister turn into the realm of chronic illness.

A chronic illness is, by definition, one that lasts more than either 3 or 6 months; then you have the illnesses and/or injuries from which you recover and those from which you have permanent disability or even death. Sadly, the statistics are not in your favor if you are married and fall chronically ill with 75% of all marriages ending in divorce.

The stress of living with an illness can be incredible; so can the stress of living with someone who has an illness. It turns your world upside down. At first, you are often bombarded by well-meaning friends and relatives who like to diagnose you or pass judgment on what treatment course you chose…and if you do not get better, often, they seem to think you do not want to or have taken the victim role. Not always, but often, they tire of you not being able to do what you once did and move on.

Even the family members grow weary when the disability is severe and even the strongest of relationships can be tested. It was not the future you had planned and there is the loss of your hopes and dreams. Even your faith can be tested as you wonder why this happened; did you deserve this; are you being punished; why me? But the more important question should be this: Where do you go from here?

To borrow from the Marines: You improvise, you adapt, you overcome…together…and you hold on to your faith. You are not being punished…tested - maybe. Is it easy…no. But, who ever said life or marriage would be easy? You learn to communicate and support one another in love and honor the vows you made. They were not just random words spoken that day, but a solemn vow to honor each other “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do you part.” And yes, there is forgiveness if you cannot make it…but there is such great reward if you can. While it may not be easy, it is worth it. Fight for it! Empty Nest…Full Heart

We all have dreams and expectations when we have children and we all have experiences along the way that mold and shape both us and our children into the people we become. We make choices…they make choices…sometimes others make choices that change us forever. I cannot say that things turned out the way I thought it would as my only daughter heads off to college next Fall…there have been many challenges, come very difficult and dark times, and yet she has some through with a wisdom that belies her tender years. I know I am not sending an innocent immature kid off to college, but a confident young woman who has learned to excel past anyone’s expectations in everything she does.

She knows how to comfort because she has experienced loss. She has learned how to deal with real tragedy and trauma because she has seen it first hand. And she has learned you do not give up on love but you persevere for better or worse even when it is really, really hard because she witnessed it. She lost a lot of things and it took her a while for her to find her way, but she always excelled in everything she did and will graduate with honors. She has gone on to participate in leadership programs, and now she herself will lead.

So while if I had had it my way, I would have protected her from all the bad stuff…some of which is her story to tell…without it, she would not be the incredible, strong woman she is today. And while I have already been warned how many times a week I may call my independent soon to be college honors student, I hope she knows that while my nest will be empty, my heart is full of nothing but pride and admiration for that sweet little girl who did not just survive her difficult road - she thrived. And I know there is nothing she cannot do…so look out world…here comes my girl!
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Grandparents blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us is a blogging community for grandparents to share stories about the adventure of grandparenting in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories about grandparenting, or check out the writing contest for grandparents, quotes about grandparents, etiquette for grandparents, videos about grandparenting, discounts for families, and other resources for grandparents on  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your grandchildren (or grandparents), and pass along your wisdom to help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources.

Stage of Life Writing Contests

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Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

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Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

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