HandeeMade Pals pt 2

“She’s coming back, I know it.”  Layla moaned.  “We have been sitting here like this FOREVER!”

“Nooo. Layyyla, she has gonnne awayyy for that looong time.  Sheee didn’t opppen those looong things overrr therrre , seee?  Ittt isss stilll dark innn heeere.” Copernicus shook back his mane and stood up on all four legs.  He stretched and whinnied.

“You’ll get caught, you know.”  Layla declared. “One of these days, you are going to SAY she is gone and she won’t be and she will catch you. THEN where will we be?  She will KNOW!” Layla stood and stretched her arms out to her sides.

“I wonder why I don’t have those things on the end of my arms like that woman does.” Layla studied the ends of her arms.  They were round and flat.

Copernicus sighed.  He was used to Layla’s complaining.

“Beeecause you arrre a dolll.  She maddde you and you arrre stufffed.” He explained for the thousandth time.  Layla never listened, but he kept explaining.

“Do you think I could get off this bench?  Just once?”  Layla leaned over the side of the white bench to the tiled floor.  It looked to be a very long way down.

“You coulddd falll offf.  Howww woulddd you commme back uppp?”  Copernicus questioned.  He was always thinking.  He never-well, almost never-over reacted and he was never upset or angry.

Layla, as usual, didn’t pay any attention to her partner’s questions.  She only continued to lean over the side of the bench and marvel at the tiles.  She imagined what was under the bench and she wondered what was in the rest of this place the woman called ‘home’.

“I think I am going to explore.  The woman goes in those other places over there.  I hear her in there singing sometimes.  Sometimes I hear her talking and I wonder who else is in there. Who is she talking to?  Those other humans who come in that door don’t stay.  They go back out the door and don’t come back. Who are they? Where do they go?”

Copernicus just shook his head.  Layla made him tired.

“Ifff you gettt offf this bench, Layyyla, you wonnn’t be able tooo gettt back onnn.  The wommman willl come backkk and she willl catch youuu.”

Layla seemed to hear him for once.  She looked at him for several moments, but she always did as she pleased without being sensible.  Before Copernicus could say another word, Layla jumped off the edge of the bench.  Copernicus heard an “ooof” when she landed.

“Arrre you alrrright?” He asked her as he dared a peek over the edge of the bench.

“Of course I’m all right. I’m a stuffed doll, remember?  Anyway, this is interesting!”  Layla slowly stood and glanced around.  There were two of those things the woman wore on her feet sitting under the bench.  There was a box of something sitting at the end.  She barely glanced inside.  Whatever those things were inside, had a flower on the front.  Layla knew what a flower was because the woman had once had a bunch of them in her hand when she walked in that door.  Layla thought flowers were nice, but this one wasn’t real.

Layla began to carefully make her way across the tiles until, suddenly, she was standing on something that wasn’t tile.  It was soft and it was a different color.  Layla stepped carefully until she was sure it was safe.

“Layyyla, you shoulddd come backkk herrrre.  You arrren’t suppposed to be dowwwn therrre.”  Copernicus worried.

“Oh, be quiet, Horse.  This is fun. You should jump down here, too.  Look at these round things over here.” Layla reached to touch a ball of something red.  “HORSE! This feels the same as our skin!”  Layla was fascinated with the balls of different colors.

“Layyyla, thattt’s becaussse we arrre maddde of that stufff.  The wommman callls it yarrrn.”

Layla shrugged her tiny shoulders and continued to explore.  This ‘home’ promised to have many interesting surprises, she was sure.

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HandeeMade Pals

“I don’t think she put enough stuffing in my head.” Layla poked and prodded her own head, causing her frown to shift to the left.

“Layyyyla! Your stufffing is fffine!” Copernicus hunched his back to adjust his saddle.

“I don’t know.  Is my face truly this…round?”  She ran her fingerless hands around and around her face, still poking and prodding.

“Layyyla, please stoppp. She knowwws what sheee is doooing.  She hasss stufffed sooo many of ourrr frrriends.”

“Copernicus, you don’t know what you are talking about. You are only a horse. I…am a lady!”  Layla seemed satisfied with the shape of her face.

“Layyyla, you are a dolll!  You are a stufffed cudddly dolll!”  Copernicus shook out his mane.

Layla dropped her head and sank to the bench.

“We are always going to be on this bench. You know that, don’t  you?  We have been here FOREVER!”  Layla whined.

Copernicus was obviously accustomed to her behavior. He merely shook out his mane again and turned away.

It was at that moment the pair froze.  The door was opening.  They could never let that woman who created them know they were living, moving creatures.  She was usually so intent upon what she was doing they could get by with some movement even if she was in the room, but they had to be careful.  She was no dummy.  She often turned when they had been moving a bit, but she hadn’t really caught them..yet.

The woman walked in and dropped her bag next to Copernicus on the bench. She reached out and patted his head. She always did that as though she already knew he was alive.  She reached and moved Layla’s hair from her face.  The stuffies were sure the woman knew, but they couldn’t take the chance.. so they remained still.

The woman kicked off her shoes and began to hum a happy tune. She did that a lot.  Layla often said that the woman made happy toys because she was a happy human.  The pair wondered what the woman did when she went out that door.

The woman walked out of the room, so Copernicus turned just a bit so his nose wasn’t pressed against the arm of the bench. Layla wiggled a bit to settle the red dress the woman had made for her.

“Layyyla, she is commming baaack.”  Copernicus whispered.

“No, she isn’t. She is making that noise in the other room. Listen.  What is that noise?” Layla leaned so she could hear more.

“I hhheard her say it wasss whissstling.”  Copernicus yawned and leaned against the back of the bench.  He needed another nap.

The woman returned to the room and sat down across from the bench. She wasn’t facing the pair, but if they moved, she might catch it from the corner of her eye, so the pair settled in for a rest. The woman would go to bed soon and then they could chatter and play with the Love Birds and the newcomers who didn’t look like bears.  The woman said they were “squatchie”.  The stuffie friends had watched other stuffies come and go, but they stayed on the bench.  They weren’t sure if they were happy about that or not.

Where did those other stuffies go?

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Patience

Patience is that elusive fairy that taunts us by flying in and out of our reach as IT sees fit with no concern for our needs.

It is necessary in our lives to develop and nurture patience because we will need it in every area.  We will need patience in our social life. We will need patience in school. We will need patience in the work world and we will need patience, most especially, when dealing with other people, no matter the circumstance.

We each tend to believe that our way of thinking and our way of doing is the right way-perhaps the only way, but we would be mistaken.  In life, there is no 100% right way of thinking and acting with regard to everyday circumstances.

We all come to our decisions and our actions from our own unique perspective.  We learn from our parents, our teachers and our peers. All of this input guides us toward our own way of thinking.  To think that our way of thinking is the only way would be to negate all the input from parents, teachers, peers and even strangers that brought about our thoughts, opinions and actions.  So what do we do when we disagree with others?

We remember that we must allow others the same rights and freedoms we, ourselves, claim as our own. We must allow that everyone has an opinion AND the right to it.  Even when the next person’s opinion or action offends us or goes against the social norm, it is not our place to judge or condemn.  We must use patience.

Here, we can get into a deeper issue of what is socially acceptable, etc., but for the purpose of this article, we center on that basic thing that keeps us from ripping pillows apart and throwing remotes across the room.

Patience.

With patience, we don’t attack the other driver because they don’t know how to change lanes or park properly.  We remember to drive carefully and keep our eyes open. We remember that those people do, eventually, receive their due.

With patience, we don’t slap that coworker because they are lazy and leave work for everyone else. We remember that we must be responsible for ourselves. We must remember that our responsibility is to do our OWN job to the best of our ability.

With patience, we don’t assault our children because they are stubborn or disrespectful. We remember that they are simply finding their way as every child does. We remember they learn a great deal of their actions from us.

With patience, we remember that we live on this rock with billions of other people-each of us with our own personality, our own opinions, our own deficiencies, our own talents and our own mistakes.

Each of us must be allowed to be the person we are [excluding extreme behavior] without fear of judgement and condemnation.

Patience reminds us that we are all one family of humans.  Patience allows us to live together and patience reminds us that we don’t know everything. We do not know the future and we are not meant to be perfect.

Patience is the key to a calm life so take a deep breath, let it out slowly and move forward.

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Coping

Coping is one of the most difficult things we do and yet we do it every moment of every day. I have had the challenge of coping with major events many times in my life. Because of that, I was asked to write this article in hopes it might help someone deal with their own difficulties.

There are many reasons and needs for coping and I will attempt to explore a bit of this, but I will make one statement before moving on.

In your struggle against life, you now have a 100% success rate!! Think about that.  All the things which have been thrown at you, you have overcome.  It isn’t always easy, nor is it always pretty, but you have done it.  GO YOU!

In this entry, I am going to address coping with loss.   In recent months, I have had three friends lose someone very close to them.  Dealing with those losses have taken their toll, as loss always will.  I have heard others tell them that they will be ok because they are strong.  Yes, they are.  There is no doubt about that, but there is more to being “ok” than having strength.

When someone loses a parent, other family member or partner, they will go through a distinct process.

There are five stages of grief.

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

depression

acceptance

None of these five stages follow a set routine, in that they do not represent the same in each person, but they do show themselves.

Denial helps us to survive that initial shock.  We may deny the loss happened at all. We may deny the reason or we may deny that it is devastating for us.  There is always some manner of denial, but it is normal and, in ways, it is necessary.  The denial period helps us to adjust, as I said, to the initial shock, but then helps us to wrap our mind around what must be done and how our life must change. In some ways, denial is what allows us to move on.  We deny that this loss will overcome us.

Anger is a strong contributor to coping. It allows us to expend energies and emotions instead of allowing them to fester within us.  We feel anger at the loss itself. We feel anger at whatever reason for that loss and we feel anger at having to deal with it. We feel anger for reasons we simply cannot articulate, but it all assists in our coming to terms.

Bargaining is human nature. It can help us to find balance. In some cases, we make a bargain with whatever higher power in which we believe-‘make him/her better and I will devote my life to good’, or ‘don’t let them suffer and I will change my life’.  or ‘If you will help me feel better and get over this, I will do good things’. Other times, the bargaining is not even a conscious thing, but it is always there. The bargaining chips number as many as there are humans on this planet. We all have our own needs and thoughts about this area and our ‘bargains’ are as unique as we are.

Depression is when the emptiness finally presents itself.  We tend to be stunned by the sudden quiet once things go back to “normal”.  When we have lost someone close to us, there is the inevitable commotion as friends and family hover and help and offer their love and support. Those are wonderful things, but eventually, those people have to get back to their own lives which leaves us with our life, which is no longer ‘normal’.  Our normal changes drastically and we can’t always cope with that as suddenly as it is upon us-thus the depression.  This is completely normal to feel, but we must also remember that if the depression begins to overwhelm us and cause our daily life to suffer, it is time to talk with someone.  Just talking with someone can help us to see our new normal. Talking with someone can allow us to learn a new way of life.

Finally, there is acceptance.  This means we come to terms with our loss in our own way. We find what works for us in that it allows us to move on with life.  It does not necessarily mean that we are “OK”, because that takes time, but it does mean we are better able to see that our life has changed and we will adapt as needed.  This, too, is normal.

Many times, the person left behind can feel guilt at BEING left behind.  The survivor can feel they should have-could have-said, thought or done something differently.  All of this is normal human behavior in our efforts to come to terms and adapt.

Many times, the person left behind feels guilt at moving on-at living their life again.  It will take time, but you will come to realize you cannot put your life on hold because of your loss. The person you lost would never want you to sell yourself short or cheat yourself out of what life offers.

Losing someone is devastating, make no mistake.  It is not something you can get over quickly.  It will take time-the amount differs with each person and each situation-but you can move on.  You can find your way and you can have a good life.

Give yourself the time you need.  Never be afraid to talk about your loss. Those who care for you will lend an ear and a shoulder. And never be afraid to search out guidance in your journey back from your loss.  Sometimes all it might take is seeing another perspective to help you along that journey.

 

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Never Give Up

Four days ago, I reached a life long dream.  I had a book signing for MY book.  I wrote it.  It is published.  Those things are part of my dream, but the ultimate thing I always imagined was being able to walk into MY library {where I have gone since I was a little girl} and find MY book on the shelf.  Four days ago, that happened-sort of.

You see, the book IS in the library system. It IS technically there.  The difference?  When I went for my book signing, I was looking for my book on the shelf and it wasn’t there. Why?  Because it had been checked out!  MY BOOK WAS CHECKED OUT OF MY LIBRARY!  Nothing will ever replace that feeling. Nothing. Check that off my bucket list!

Throughout this experience, one thing has become very clear.  You must NEVER give up on your dreams. NEVER.  It is never too late to accomplish those things that are important to you. I am living proof.

I didn’t get my first college degree until I was in my 50s. And I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 60s, even though I have been writing my entire life.  I have published non-fiction articles, short stories and even had a small newspaper column for a while.  But my dream was to write a book.

This book took more than 20 years to complete-research, navigating life, you name it, but I stuck with it because it is a story that needed to be written.  It was deep inside me and had to come out.

But it doesn’t have to be a book. It can be any dream.  Never EVER allow life to stop you.  Your dreams might have to be put on hold from time to time, but never give them up.  NEVER.

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It’s About to be Out There!

One week from today, August 3rd, I will hold my first book signing! All my life I have dreamed of doing this. I have dreamed of a story I wrote being out there and available for others to read. I have read SO many books over the years and I always dreamed of my name being on a book and now that time has come. While it is a really cool thing to actually sell my work, I am looking more forward to having my friends join me for this event. That support is unbelievably important.
Letters to Sarah is the result of years of research and work. This book is just the first of a series where Mary, the main character, tells us-through her journal entries-about her family, her life and the world around her beginning in 1910. Mary and her family are, of course, fictional characters, but the history she relates about the world around her is true and real. It is OUR history seen through Mary’s eyes.
Each book in this series will cover a decade in Mary’s life and will remind us of events which have formed us as a people, a nation and a world.
With the publication of Book One, I find my emotions are jumbled and unsure. I wonder if all authors feel this way with the first book. It is an extremely surreal thing to have someone purchase a book I wrote and want me to sign it. For so many years, I have written short stories and articles,etc., and most of them have been for my own benefit and for my own eyes, but now my words, my efforts, my years of work are out in the world for public consumption and it is like watching your child go off to school for the first time or off to spend the summer at camp. They are away from you and out of your influence. My book is now in the universe beyond my control. It is out there for anyone and everyone to read and critique. That is a terribly frightening thing.
It is also what I wanted. I have stories and characters buried deep inside me just screaming to get out. Mary and her universe have found their way out.
As I said in the beginning, I have dreamed of this my entire life.
I began writing before I knew how. At 5 or 6, I would tell my Mother I needed to write a story. She would drop whatever she was doing, grab a pencil and paper and write whatever I dictated. I am sure it was no more than a sentence or two, but she did it.
Once I learned to write, it was off to the races. I never stopped writing. Over the years, I have written some truly terrible things.. badly written, horribly constructed, etc., but I never gave up my dream.
So, the message is that you must never give up on your dreams. NEVER. It is never too late. No matter what your dream, if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen. I am now living proof.

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Published AT LAST!

Book One of my series, Letters to Sarah, has been published at last!!  It is available NOW on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and can be ordered through your favorite book store.

In Letters to Sarah, you will meet Mary Addison. The year is 1910 and Mary is 14 years old. She has an ideal life.  Mary and her sister, Sarah-who is 2 years older- are as close as sisters could ever be. They share everything.

But, suddenly, tragedy strikes-not once, but again and again-turning Mary’s life upside down.  How Mary copes with her tragedy is to write letters. In these letters, Mary tells us of her own life, but also tells us of our own history as it unfolds.

In this series, you will come to know Mary, her family and your own past.

-This is an easy read, and SO interesting. ~J.S.

-This book is not just for girls.  I love it. ~D.M.

-I already read it and there were tears. ~N.L.Letters_To_Sarah_Cover_for_Kindle

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