How to Survive Adversity and Yes, Even Thrive!

by Dandy

Hello wonderful blog friends!  Today I’d like to introduce you to Debbie Bills.  She is the creator and author of the fantastic blog Happy Maker Now.   I love Debbie’s no-nonsense advice and her tell it like it is approach.  Her life experience makes her a pro when it comes to giving advice on how to live a happier life.  Please check out her blog at as soon as you can and subscribe!  So please welcome my guest author, Debbie Bills!


How to Survive Adversity and Yes, Even Thrive!

“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be”

 by John Heywood.


Have you ever wished for a world with no problems, no worries, everything just went on day after day with nothing new happening?

Have you every stopped to think the only way that is going to happen is if you are dead?  Dead people don’t have any more problems, worries or adversity in their lives.  So before your start wishing for something you need to stop and think, ‘Is this really what I want.”

Life is a play ground if you look at it from the positive side.  I know you’re saying, “Lady you have no idea how bad it can get.  Yes I do know how bad it can get.  Let me make a list of things that can go wrong and have gone wrong for me.

  1. Growing up my parents didn’t have much money.  Lived from pay check to pay check. (One pair of shoes at a time)
  2. Lived in a house with no running water until I was in the 7th grade.
  3. Was engaged to a man that dumped me without any explain. (He was in the Navy)
  4. Married a child molester, only for 1 ½ years.  (That’s another blog post.)
  5. Remarried someone that was described to me as a husband and wife lying on a slap in a mortuary.
  6. While married the second time, my house was sold right before it was to be foreclosed on.
  7. File bankruptcy also in that marriage.
  8. Divorced with an ex that thought he didn’t need to pay child support for 3 children.  He went 4 years without a job.
  9. Supported and raised 3 children on my own.

There is more I could add, but I don’t want to bore you.  Yes, I do know what adversity is, you do get through it with the right attitude.  Learn to bend in the wind like a tree!

 We all have this in common. That is…at some point in our life, we all face adversity. It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”. The difference between success and failure comes down to choice. When adversity strikes, it’s not what happens that will determine our destiny; it’s how we react to what happens.

 If you drew a picture of your day, you would find that some days the line is pretty straight with few hills and curves in it.  Then there are those days and sometimes weeks where all you have is curves, hills and very low valleys. 

Now if you take a look at a dead person’s day, it is just one straight line all the time.  Day after day, night after night.  Not a good alternative.

How I overcome adversity?

  1.  Prayed a lot.  My heart does go out to you if you aren’t a believer, because I do not believe I would have survived without knowing that God was and still is on my side.
  2. Being raise with little, I did know how to make do.
  3. As for making wrong choice when it came to marriage, that was on my shoulders to figure out what I was doing wrong.  Why all the bad choice.  And I am here to tell you I finally figured it out and I am now very happily married to the right guy for the right reasons.
  4. I learned that you are what you think you are.  If you think you have troubles and problems they are going to come and probably pick up speed as they come.
  5. Regardless of what is going on the sun is going to come up in the morning, so don’t let it go to waste; you can always find a way to have some fun.
  6. Take time out to act like a kid and laugh, because hard times will pass.
  7. Take it one day at a time and at the end of that day, just be thankful for all the little things and you survived with a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your tummy.
  8. Never give up, remember life is a class room and you are always learning new things.
  9. Learn what is really important, like the people you love and love you.
  10. This too shall end and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Take those adversities and see life as a challenge and meet them head on.  Be grateful for those crooked lines in your life it means you are alive and still in the ball game.  Think of an Alzheimer patient, they are not in any pain and have no problems. Isn’t it much better to be aware with pain, than be mindless!

Are you handling the adversities in your life or are you struggling to stay in the ball game of life?

Here are your 3 choices:  1. Give up and be dead.

                                          2. Pray for Alzheimer’s.

                                           3. Except the adversity and learn from it.

Love to know which one of the 3 choice’s you pick.  Just insert it in the comment box.  Thank you and have wonderful life!



50 Comments to “How to Survive Adversity and Yes, Even Thrive!”

  1. Debbie,

    I love your open and positive attitude about life. I also love the line, “Life is a play ground.” It certainly is – what a great reminder to relax, have fun and play more!

    Thank you Dandy for sharing Debbie’s wisdom with us!


  2. Nothing like hearing the voice of experience. Thank you, Debbie, for sharing some of your story. You said it all with your three choices at the end! The first one, especially, highlights the contrast! You are so right–we all experience adversity. It’s how we handle it that matters. As I’ve read, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

    Thank you very much, and thanks to you, Dandy, for the introduction. I will certainly visit Debbie’s blog.

    • Thank you Galen. I kind of like walking around in this world, even on those not so good days. I look at them as my learning time. You are right, Pain is inevitalbe. When it comes to suffering it can be all in the attitude. Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is appreciated. Have a wonderful day.

  3. Debbie,

    Thank you for sharing your personal challenges and also how you overcame adversity. I find that personal testimonies carry much more valuable insight that a post full of facts. Experience gives us wisdom and wisdom gives us the intelligence to change for the better.

    Thanks for sharing again. Hi Dandy!

    • Frank I couldn’t agree with you more. Adversity does build charactor and wisdom. When it comes to my personal challenges, I feel if it can help someone else, I’ll go for it. thank you Frank and have a great day and may happiness always be there.

  4. Whew! Girl, you have had some challenges. Makes your attitude so much more meaningful. I opt for learning. I read in “the Social Animal” that we use our rational mind to make decisions about values that are created by our emotional self. It seems the emotions assign a value to a thought, experience etc and then we decide how to act about it. If we live in fear, then we are going to react to all the negative values assigned to our experiences. We can choose not to and learn – thus changing the value that gets assigned. It is a choice to react, to only feel, not to take action. I liked this post because it was so “real”. I appreciate your sharing this with us.

    • Thank you. Life is full of challenges and the outcome always depends on our own realction to it. I just always choose to learn from the challenges. What can I say, It does make life interesting and not boring. There are many people that have bigger challenges than me, but I do hope that I can teach others, how to react to lifes changes.
      Thanks again and have a wonderful day. Debbie

  5. I like except the adversity and learn from it for in life everyone I meet is my greatest teacher…..great post my friend and challenges do mold us into who we are today…..bitter or better?
    In love and light,

  6. Debbie – Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom straight from your heart. There’s something about this type of information coming from a place of experience, rather than someone regurgitating facts learned from others.
    You said: “Life is a play ground if you look at it from the positive side.” A playground is a place of comfort and fun. If we’re willing to have that a part of our life – it’s just around the corner…but it does require work!

  7. “How to Survive Adversity and Yes, Even Thrive!”

    Debbie, your post is about the most real life, direct, and no nonsense table setting that I have come across since I have been checking out self-improvement blogs…no fancy French gourmet service plates here!

    Your commom person strength brings to mind Carl Sandburg’s ‘From The People, Yes’

    I liked these two:

    4.I learned that you are what you think you are. If you think you have troubles and problems they are going to come and probably pick up speed as they come.

    9.Learn what is really important, like the people you love and love you.

    And yes I am so thankful for the basics of food, home, clothes, and a job.

    I thank God often for these and more when I pray to him.

    Thank you Debbie and Dandy!

    • You are very welcome. As I read about what is going on in Japan, I wonder if people understand how important it is to live everyday and be grateful for that day. Being thankful for the basics is very important. Life is fun when you know how to react to it. Just have to love it. Thank you for your comment, it is deeply appreciated. Debbie

  8. Hi Debbie,

    I love the quote by John Heywood! I do believe that troubles are experiences that help us to grow. They are life’s way of teaching us important lessons to become stronger and better. Only when we have mastered the lessons can we advance to greater things.

    I feel that you are a remarkable example of someone who has survived adversity. You can probably handle most things that come your today as a result. I love all your tips on how to handle adversity! All I can add is to always focus on the solutions and not the problem. Doing so helps us to channel our energy in a productive way and when we resolve the problem, we have no more worries.

    Thank you for writing this article Debbie and thank you for sharing it Dandy! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

    • Thank you many bunches for the comment. I love that quote by John Heywood and totally agree with it. You are right, we have to focus on solutions and not the problem. Problems are just learning experience in this great life. Thank you again and have a wonderful day. Debbie

  9. Debbie,

    …and I thought I knew you!

    Just mentioning some of the challenges you have faced scares me let alone having to deal with them.

    Research says we face, on average 29 adversities a day. Some of course are very small but they are still things that we didn’t expect to happen.

    Great post!


    • Sorry Andrew. Guess I just tell things a little at a time, so I don’t scare anyone. LOL Actual there are more. In good time maybe I shall reveal them. However you do know me better than you may think. Thank you very much for the kind words. Debbie

  10. You’re so right about the purpose of challenges. Imagine you arrive at the gym to work out, lose weight, build muscle, stay fit. But there is no exercise equipment, and no weights. The stairs are escalators. The basketball hoops are the size of full-size trampolines. No-one is playing. That’s what live would be like if it weren’t for … reality. Besides, who goes for the easy life invariably ends up without much of either. I should know – been there done that in younger years … lol

  11. Dandy, thanks for hosting such a gifted writer!
    Debbie, what a powerful and wise post. Thank you for your openness and your story.

    “Life is a classroom and you are always learning.” One of my favorites, for sure! Learning from adversity has been a difficult road for me, but one that I am finally at the point that I welcome! It is amazing, isn’t it, when we look back upon times of trial and realize the rich bits of life lessons we have learned from it, and that almost always something shifted to make our lives more meaningful from the experience.

    I enjoyed this post, and will look forward to spending a bit of time over at your site!

    • Thank you very much Jen. I have to admit when I see people walking through life on an easy straight road, I almost feel a little sad for them, because if they every get on that curved road with all those hills, it may be like trying to slide down hill on ice. Very happy that you enjoyed the post and life is our class room. Sometimes we just have to remember to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
      Have a wonderful day. Debbie

  12. Thank you for your courage to share about your life experiences. I can imagine how challenging it must have been. It’s great that you have managed to survive them all. And not only that, inspire us through letting us know that it is possible to thrive, grow and trust again!

    • We just have to remember there is always light at the end of every tunnel we must travel. Just look for the light and it will appear, sometimes not a soon as we may hope, but it will be there with perservence. Thank again and my you always be blessed in life. Debbie

  13. Hi Debbie!

    Thanks for your insightful post! It is true, we think a world with no worries and no problems would lead to a happier life…but I believe a world with no “problems and worries”, would lead to a boring life with little challenges, opportunities, or chances to grow!

    Keep up the great posts!

    If you get a chance, please check out my podcast on facing the fears that are around us, and taking action anyway!

  14. Great choice of subject Debbie. Having once been at the very bottom in life for me the learnings from this time of ultra adversity was to not treat it personally – see it as a call to be your best, test your tenacity, fine tune your responses, and ramp up your self belief. Adversity is actually brilliance turned inside out. Go within and you will win!

  15. Great job John, Maybe you should have written the post. Your comment was really goo! Just kidding, but like the input. This part was really good ” Adversity is actually brilliance turned inside out”
    Thank you lots, Debbie

  16. “2. Pray for Alzheimier’s”. Bwahahahahahaaa! That’s too funny. No disrespect to actual Alzheimer’s sufferers intended (am related to more than one, so I empathize).

    Debbie you’re’ definitely a pro when it comes to giving a much-needed kick in the pants. You go, girl!

    • Thank you Amy. I appreciate that. I have a friend whos mother has Alzheimier;s and she says it is really kind of neat. She is just a happy person with no worries. Just goes with the flow. However I think maybe I can do this still having my mind. Sometimes I might slip a little. But it is fun.

  17. Hi Debbie,

    We have got to look for the positive in every situation and take responsibility for our lives. We can learn from our adversity and use it to our advantage. The key is to not get stuck in the adversity and move on with our lives to achieve our goals. Thanks for sharing Debbie

  18. Hey Debbie,

    It’s good to see your faith is strong. This is where it starts. I think if we pray, eat and love. Life will be much better for all! Wonderful post!

  19. Debbie,
    I just wanted to thank-you again for this post. Your honesty is so very touching. I really appreciate how you encourage us to find strength in the experiences that have hurt us deeply. We can choose not to be victims! Our circumstances do not define us. Weakness is a choice. True wisdom only comes from taking responsibility for the decissions we’ve made. So thanks again for your wisdom & especially your humor! God Bless you Debbie!

  20. Awesome read Debbie! We can all thrive through even the toughest of times, if we only make the choice to. We have the power to choose at any point in our lives. Thanks for sharing Debbie and Dandy – Double D! 😉

  21. Hi Debbie! Great to see you on Dandy’s blog! I love how you thrive on happiness and making the most of your life! I especially love the marriage advice you give – to find out what I’m doing wrong – this puts the blame off everyone else and focuses on solution-finding. Great to see! Great to learn from!

    Dandy, always a pleasure, my friend! Hope you’re well!

    • Thank you Bryan. Life is just to short not to be happy and enjoy every day we are blessed with. When it comes to marriage, becareful not to be to hard on yourself. Remember no one is perfect. Thank you again Bryan, it is always great to hear from you. Debbie

  22. I’m now just learning to embrace adversity and turn that into power and success and opportunities.

    This is a whole new way for me to think and I’m grateful I’ve gotten to where I am here.


  23. Great advice, Debbie.

    The only people without problems are dead people. I can’t agree more.

  24. Wow Debbie, Thanks for sharing so openly and honestly. Powerful stuff. We are not here to be a blind pawn with suffering as our fate. We are born to explore, soar and thrive – not to cope, hide and barely survive. I too came from an impoverished background and learned that life only pays off on our terms when we let it know, in no uncertain terms, what we intend

    • You said that just right Rob. Kind of taking life by the horns on the bull and letting it know who is boss. Makes it into a challenge and we are survivers. Sometimes I feel a little bad for people that have had it easy. Will they really know how to survive if the need arises?
      Thank you for sharing Rob and blessing to you.

  25. Absolutely love your post. I choose number 3 – accept the adversity and learn from it. I too have had some heavy hitter challenges. And I think I’ve grown into taking on life in many wonderful ways, with feelings of joy and gratitude, and a keen appreciation for life.
    This too is my passion – helping people create good lives despite… their adversity. Hence my name, Rebuild Your Life Coach.

    • It is nice to met you rebuildyourlifecoach. Thank you for stpping in. Thanks for chossing number 3, sounds like we need you around. You have a lot to give to people, so they can survive those adversities. Thanks again. Debbie

  26. This is so true Debbie and I love your points here.

    And yes we can always survive this adverse world as long as we thrive and keep ourselves real and growing.


  27. Debbie,
    great article. I pick #3. I’ve handled so much diversity that if they give Ph.D.s in it, I should put on my cap and gown and get my certificate! #2 doesn’t run in my family.

    My head has been shrunk so many times that I’m surprised anyone can still see it on top of my shoulders!


    • Ha, I love your comment Sherri. I’ll have to remember that one. I’m going to tell my therepist that one the next time I see her! Thanks so much for your humor. It would be great to hear from you again!


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