The Good Luck Doll

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This has been one of those stories from childhood that just keeps on getting more and more hilarious…The Good Luck Doll story has been told to me as long as I can remember. Most of this story was told early on, yet the more time has passed? the more stories seem to arise.

I’ll just begin here………

My parents lived in Maryland where my Daddy was a carpenter. He could build just about anything he set his mind to.. his main jobs were building houses. On many job sites there were remnants of other people’s junk to be tossed and a particular huge dumpster that was on their drive every day.. the usual spot for “one mans junk, is another mans treasure” kinda thing. Tales would have it that sometimes there was some pretty good stuff there that people had tossed out. They always made time to take a gander on the way by.

Not long after I was born, my Daddy came home with a surprise. He had found me a Doll!!! it was in pretty good shape and he just knew it was a real find.

My Momma was a little skeptical.

I’m not sure she saw it as the treasure that he did. She went on to tell him that the thing was the ugliest doll she had ever seen in her life, and why in the world did he bring that old thing home? He went on to tell her it was in fact a “good luck” doll…. it even said so on the tattoo stamped shamrock on its left arm. He was so excited about his find. She still held her opinion that it was in fact.. a very ugly doll.

So, from that day on… it was known as “my ugly doll.”

Judge for yourself…. behold.. the “Good Luck Doll”

StumpsDoll2Okay, yes, it does look like a “Chucky Doll”… but I assure you that I made a point to research, and no… it’s not where “Chucky” originated from.. that was a wooden doll.. hahahhhha

Since there were no photographs with me and this Good Luck Doll? I’m sure my Momma put it somewhere out of sight.. like a long-lost closet space.

After my parents had separated, time would move forward to us leaving the house in Maryland and moving back to West Virginia. However, the doll wasn’t part of our luggage. The stories would still come up from time to time about that “ugly doll” and Momma had no idea where it had gotten to. She enjoyed telling the story about it more than she missed it.

The Good Luck Doll apparently moved with my Daddy. Little did I know that it was in good hands with one of my cousins. For most of her childhood, the doll was a part of her baby dolls. The funny thing about her stories? She played with the doll a whole lot, not because she loved it so much, but because she said she had always felt so sorry for it because it was so ugly.. and if she didn’t play with it? well, she just felt so bad for it. (She still has that kind of empathetic heart to this very day)

When my own daughter was very young, my Aunt came across the Good Luck Doll once again. She decided to make the poor thing some clothes. Hand crocheted dress, hat and shawl. So much love poured onto that old ugly doll. You just knew she was worth the trouble.

StumpsDoll3We chuckled so much seeing the doll again.. and of course, we all remarked at just how ugly the doll had remained. Yet, here it was, wrapped in lovingly made clothes, more stories about how it came to be a part of my family. The Good Luck Doll… or “my ugly doll” as it was known.

It had been packed away for almost 10 more years, so when I recently came across it again? I decided that I would use the internet to research. I just wanted to know more about this doll. (okay maybe I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a  “Chucky”  protegé!!!!

And so the antics with this doll had escalated so much – it provided a weeks worth of more stories, and more giggles and laughs. Oh how my Daddy would have loved to have known just how many snorting laughs have surrounded this doll over even the last few weeks.

My daughter had taken special care to go over the doll and retrieving all of the markings and numbers and symbols. We were on a mission to find out the history of this doll. After all, it had been clear that it was an unusually ugly doll.

The more I researched? the more hilarious the doll became.

The first thing I noticed was a pair of dolls. A boy and a girl.

Sitting here looking at the adorable dress and bonnet on my ugly doll… I realize that she is in fact a “He”….. (okay the whole image of the doll has taken a really wide turn)

There was really nothing left for me to do except make the phone call. I’m still laughing when I replay the conversation in my head to my cousin.

Me: “Hey, do you remember the ugly doll?”

Her: “Oh yeah, I could never forget that doll”

Me: “Well, do you know that it is actually a BOY doll?”

Her: “What?” then a lot of  ………………inaudible laughing … “but Mommy made it a dress?”

Me: “Yes. the dolls’  whole existence has been a LIE!” Aunt Mert had no idea.

Let me tell you… the tears from laughing were epic.

For 49 years this “Good Luck” aka my ugly doll has circulated in my family… I felt it was appropriate to blog about it because it’s future must contain this story. It is so fitting.. mainly because my Daddy was a jokester..and was hilariously funny without trying. I wonder today if he, in fact,  knew all along. (giggle)

It would only be fair to reveal the true identity of the Good Luck Doll and a little of its history.

Meet “Stumps Shabby O’Hair” … hang on and let me stop laughing again.. I can barely type…

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Vintage W. Goebel Charlot Byj doll #2902 made in Western Germany, 1957. Made of rubber he has bright red hair and wears the original grey checkered shirt and black felt pants with red pockets in front and a green patch on the back. On the front of his shirt he sports the original cloth tag that reads “Western Germany” albeit frayed, it is legible. On the back of his neck it’s marked “2902 – Charlot Byj – © – W. Goebel – 1957”. These same markings are on his back. On his left forearm is a tattoo that shows a four-leaf clover and reads, “Good Luck”. Another obvious mark is the number “02” on the back of both feet. One of the first dolls created by American artist Charlot Byj who passed away in 1983.

copied from Wikipedia

Charlot Byj (pronounced “bye”) was an artist known for her greeting card designs, posters and advertising artwork in the mid-1940s. She is most famous for the transformation of her artwork into a line of figurines created by Goebel.

Living in New York after art school, Charlot ducked into the doorway of a greeting card store during a rainstorm. She admired the greeting card line, noted the name of the publisher, and called the company for an interview. She was hired by the publisher, and began creating illustrations for greeting cards, featuring the impish, redheaded children that became her trademark, namely, Shabby O’Hair, his sister Raggy Muffin, and their plump mother, M’Lady O’Hair.

Franz Goebel, of the W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik company, took a liking to her artwork and invited her to his German production facility. Working with master sculptor Arthur Moeller, they designed the first figurine, entitled “Strike”, in 1957.

Between 1957 and 1988, when the series was discontinued, more than 100 different figurines were created. The line included both redhead and blonde children. The redhead figurines, as they are known, are mischievous characters, whereas the blondes tend to portray more serene characteristics.

Charlot became ill in 1980 and began cutting back on her designing. On August 7, 1983, Charlot died in New York City.

 

With all of that said…………………long live the Good Luck Doll in my family…

And thanks to Momma and my Aunt and Cousin for the loving preservation of my ugly doll.

and .. thanks Daddy… you have provided laughter once again for your little girl.

 

 

 

 

 

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At the End of the Day

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There are so many obstacles that weigh us down during the days. Often we are overwhelmed by the stresses of every day living whether it be our jobs, making ends meet, getting everyone where they need to be…managing our time and managing our conflicts, and well.. just catching our breath.

I have dwelt somewhat on the whole kit and caboodle lately. Mostly when my head hits the pillow and am supposed to be sleeping. More often than not.. the noise of the day or (clowns in my circus) are at full capacity. Doing their thing.. making too much noise and I lay awake trying to figure out who is going to tame the lions tomorrow? I become overwhelmed just watching the clowns running from one chaotic set to the next. Whoever coined the phrase “Send in the Clowns?” must have made their millions pushing sleep aids. Thankfully, a cuppa hot tea usually works for this old gal.

There are a few tricks up my sleeve on these kind of nights that do not involve my heavy tea drinking. It’s my battle against my own thought pattern, filling in the blanks….

At the end of the day __________________________________.

Focusing on the questions that I can manage – the ones I cannot? are not allowed to go into the empty spaces.

These are my questions I must answer every night.. yes. every night.

Did I learn anything

Did I make sure I said I love you to the people I live with.

How did I make others feel.

Did I make one person smile.

Did i offer/receive Grace –  regardless of being worthy.

Did I retaliate with harsh words when i could have chosen to be quiet. (that’s a hard one!)

Did I say one encouraging word to my spouse/children

Did I spend this day regretting who I am or trying harder to be better than I was yesterday.

Did I make “home” a place where my family wants be most.

Honestly? These are the hard questions. Sometimes the list is shorter.. and even longer.

They are questions I don’t ask about my outside world, even my outside family and friends..they are the questions I have to ask about the people who live inside of these walls I call my home.

I had a wise friend tell me.. in the scheme of everyday living? I have to say to myself. “if it breathes? it matters” nothing more. If I can manage this part of my circle.. the rest will seem small in comparison.

Not my laundry.

Not my cluttered car

Not my social media realm

Not my busy to-do-list

My people. My inner circle. The people who breathe in my air space. That my friend, is enough to manage at the end of any persons day. It takes work. every single day.

It takes trying when you don’t feel like it.

It means doing the kind thing when you feel nothing but the beaten down ugliness of the day.

At the end of the day… if I can answer some of these questions with a good conscious? then I can manage the next day to come. If not, then I ask for one more day to try again…

It’s not about silencing the big clowns.. there will always be noise in that circus.. It’s about quieting the parts I can manage. Choices that I make every hour of the day. Moments I choose to diffuse or attempt to smooth.

It takes a lot of prayer for me also.. I need that most of all. Not the begging kind or complaining about my problems kind either. The kind that simply says.. Here I am, God.. You know. You see. You hear. Help me to do the right thing. It sounds simple? Probably one of the most effective simple things I have ever known – not because of who I am… but because of who He is.  Simple.

Your first “At the end of the day” may start out a little rough and like me? you may come up a little short at times…but given enough conscious effort? It is an amazing process that gets you a little more zzzzz’s as an added bonus.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  I Peter 5:7

Simple….

And there’s always Grace that is new which each new day. Don’t leave home  (or come home) without it!

At the end of the day ________.

 

 

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Saying Goodbye to 2015

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2015…The close of another year. The last sunset of 2015 (only because it didn’t rain one particular day this week) No resolutions here, only reflections of what was and hopes of what 2016 will bring. The year doesn’t change when you look at it from the gains and losses.. they are always there. Change. it always comes with each new year.

There will be the same joys, surprises, heartbreak and disappointment.. the only thing that will change will be the circumstances that surround them.

Each passing year… we grow, change and even regress. Most of the time we learn.. if we choose it.  There are times we move backwards, needing a little more space to process, yet we manage to learn something in that realm as well – if we choose it.

Weeks ago I had envisioned a cold crisp night with some fireworks and a clear starry sky – New Year’s Eve, ringing in the new…

Instead…. this is the sky that has lurked the entire week of vacation

dreary. rainy. blah….blah…. blah….

lastblog2015so much for a blazing sunset whisking away the old.. and in with the new huh?

But…. the same as in 2015? It won’t rain always – there will be other sunsets, sunrises and clear skies in the coming year of 2016.

So many good and bad things happened in 2015. I’m choosing to learn from the bad..take the good stuff with me into the next.. and well, just keep moving forward.

Goodbye 2015… once again you have brought lessons…. but you have also brought blessings (of which I will write in permanent ink)

Here’s to a grace-filled 2016. May we give it as graciously as we receive it. – There are so many good wishes I could leave for you at the close of this year… I prefer to leave my favorite verse from Numbers…

Numbers 6

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

 

Choosing a “Merry” Christmas

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ChristmasBlog1It is no secret that I have a tendency to be a little “nostalgic” especially during the holidays. I can’t help it, I have always loved everything about it. From the memories of a White Christmas more times than not in my hometown of West Virginia, sledding down a hill with my best friends to curling up in front of the fireplace until the glow put me to sleep.. these were some of the best memories a girl could ever have. There were always sugar cookies, hot cocoa and popcorn to be strung. I am nostalgic when it comes to these memories, I hold them a little more tight as every year passes.

Although you may think from my whimsical, Christmas card-like photos – that all is peace and joy and that I just ooze with Christmas Spirit? Not so. I think Christmas can be one of the most depressing, lonely, and desperate times of the year for more people than I can even imagine. It’s true… there are a lot of hurt and broken people out there.

I gave up on the perfect Christmas a very long time ago. It doesn’t exist. What I haven’t given up on? Choosing the “Merry” in Christmas. It ends up being a decision more than a feeling. It’s one that I learned by observing.

I soon learned that just because it is the Christmas Season, people still depart this life, there are still tragedies, disasters and sometimes there are people who make Christmas their platform to “tell it like it is” – unfortunately leaving a wake of hurt.

I have had loss during the holidays just as others have. My maternal grandmother died Christmas Eve when I was a teen..I was very close to her. As hard as it was? the hardest part of losing her was watching my own mother grieve for many, many years to come.. Christmas was a time for mourning her loss.

What I learned from observing her? Eventually, she made a choice. She chose to make every effort to celebrate Christmas in a joyful way once again. Memories and new traditions were formed and we began to heal some.

Yes, I have a few reasons to dislike Christmas if I focus on those things. I have never felt sorry for myself that we had less than some.. more than others where gifts were concerned, but yes, I have felt sorry for myself on many occasion because of the loss of people… not materialistic things. I still fight it every holiday, however, I choose “Merry” in my Christmas. It is a decision that I make each and every year.

I hope that if you are in a position to choose? You can find a way to have “Merry” in your Christmas too. Sometimes it’s a process, it may take a while. It’s worth the effort… Make new traditions and find ways to celebrate those you have been blessed to love in the past and present.

From the first of December I begin with the baking of favorites, old pictures, revisiting Christmas past and lots and lots of Christmas music. Choosing “Merry”

Sometimes I fail miserably during December and that’s okay too. Our feelings are real – our hearts hurt at times, but at least we know that we can still feel things that matter.

So this year, light a candle…buy an ornament..plant something… choose a way to have your own “Merry”

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Our stockings have long been hung….. and the oven is finally having a rest. For the remainder, I will try to hold onto the many reasons I love Christmas.. and push back the negative ones that I could choose just as easily.

If at all possible… my prayer is that you choose a  “Merry” that you can celebrate.

Joy

Peace

Love

Hope

and if nothing else…. this is one that will always make sense. a reason to celebrate the “Merry”…

Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

 

Luke 2:11

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

The Season of Hope

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Christmas2015Blog2Hope –  it comes in all forms this time of year. Sometimes it is a whisper that it is still possible, and sometimes it is a loud voice that takes you by surprise in a burst of heart-felt laughter. It is here.

It has been heard in several of my circles, seen in many displays of giving, and felt in the inner most parts of my soul. I’m here. Seek me. Embrace me.

Thousands of lights we will see this season – lawn decorations, town street lights, and the glow of our own Christmas trees, yet there has been an even stronger light that I have witnessed in the past few weeks.

There are times when the days are dark for us, for our friends and our families.  We often feel nocturnal, being in the dark for so long. Our vision adjusts accordingly until it feels almost normal. We accept the fact that darkness has come to stay. The time comes when we stop looking for even a glimpse of light. Lost. Discouraged. Broken.

The thing is? Light diffuses darkness. Always.

There are flickers of light in our day-to-day. It’s easy to dismiss them, difficult to see when our eyes are closed tight… closed tight, because if we open them? we know there is a chance of further disappointment waiting. It takes courage to allow the light to penetrate what has been dark for so long.

The season of hope.

Light….diffusing our darkness.

It came in the past few weeks……..

Hearing a discouraged friend, find her second wind to keep hoping, clinging to her faith in spite of her disappointments.

Listening to a young girl sing with peace in her voice during a funeral.

Hearing the laughter of my own child… enjoying time with her friends.

The wonder of a child’s first glimpse of Christmas lights.

The gathering of friends in my home.

The classmate that was able to return to work after enduring chemotherapy for breast cancer.

The friend that courageously teaches her child with learning disabilities.. even when she has nothing left to give.

A kind soul that works at the grocery store..that has more to give than bagging your purchases.

The friend in the middle of divorce proceedings during the holidays..yet her heart of gold remains intact to show love to others.

The grandmother that makes every effort to spend time with her grandchildren, although she is physically in need of nothing less than a miracle.

Those that believe unconditional love is a real thing.

The season of hope….. I will embrace. I believe there is always hope. I have to keep my eyes wide open. Sometimes the light is brighter than others.. wear sunglasses. Press on.

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Jeremiah 29:11-29New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

 

 

 

 

Moments in my Lens

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There is nothing more special than capturing a moment that takes your breath away – Honest moments, the kind that you almost forget to exhale.

I realized about two minutes before I had taken this photo that this would be one of those. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I already knew that if I missed it? I wouldn’t be able to get it back.

There are people in our lives that are forever people. Those that you have known for more years than you can remember, and those that you remember the day they were born.

And life keeps right on moving.. sometimes faster than you can catch up – often times there are little glimpses of fleeting memories.

So we hold onto to those a little tighter…and realize that all we have is now. Treasures that only our hearts can measure.

The purest form of love I have experienced by far is that between a Mother and a Daughter. Unconditional. Imperfect. Eternal.

In our own eyes…. we often feel like we will never measure up, miss the mark or struggle to see the difference we try to make in their lives.

But in theirs?

Heroes… strong and wise.. and know no fear.

If we are lucky….. we sometimes get it right, and grace for the times we do not.

I considered it an awesome opportunity to capture this image.. one I am not soon to forget… and I know that there will come a day when I will be on the other side of this lens…

This pictures speaks to my Momma heart…I hope it does to yours also.

Enjoy the link below…

In My Daughter’s Eyes

by Martina McBride

https://youtu.be/eLS0Y40WwlA

 

Hoof Prints leave Heart Prints

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When she has been a pony girl since you could remember? The very large dream of your first horse is a mighty tall order, yet… she didn’t beg, she dreamed.. and above all? she prayed for one.

Although there were no sufficient fencing in place, no saddles, feeding bins, or even a decent lead rope? She believed in what she couldn’t see. A horse of her own. I spoke to her of having patience in waiting.

One of our friends had offered us their Pony. (okay, they are not all horses!) Needing a good home for her, they were sad to let her go, but didn’t want her to be sold to just anyone. Availability = the dream.

So we discussed. We prayed. We waited. We called.

A borrowed horse trailer and an anxious Momma later?… the surprise was about to be out of the bag.

At the age of eight years old…. she fell in love with her first equine friend… that belonged exclusively to her. Dreams do come true.. and yes, prayers do get answered. In the eyes of a little girl, a friend to tell all of her secrets to…sunshine to her rainy days… a pony to love.

Did I mention her given name was “Patience” – fitting…and so it remained

Patience1

She became the first equine “pet” – more of a lead pony.. a companion to feed and the keeper of my little girls secrets. The most memorable things about Patience, was the smiles that she put on my daughters face. We learned a little bit about having a pony full-time and how much attention they required. I think I was just as attached as she was.

Patience2She was a sweet little pony and although she was not broken for a bit? She gave us lots of sunny days and her trust.

Patience4The day would come when we took in Pa’s horses, who were not at all happy to share the pasture with Patience. It was heartbreaking, but as in all things we try to teach our daughter – everything has a season and everything happens for a reason. So we had to figure out what was best for Patience.

Who knew that my daughters’ Aunt had always wanted a pony of her own? Small world of faith and once again patience. We were able to let her go and live out her days in a loving home.

We often stopped and visited her on the way to my sister-in-laws, no matter how much time passed? she never seemed to forget us.

Hoofprints were left on our hearts with this pony – after all, a little girl never forgets her first horse.

And you never forget the pull on your heartstrings when you have to say goodbye…

Rest easy, sweet Patience. You were a promise kept to not one, but two little girls…. that always dreamed of you and for that.. we are thankful to have loved and cared for you.

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