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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne's interview with Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Tell me about your love of horses. When did it begin for you?

My parents owned a riding school called
Sweetbrier.  They moved there when I was a 
baby so as long as I can remember, I wanted to ride well and compete in horse shows. I started riding at about four years old before I could walk very well.
I was born prematurely. At first, doctors said I would be slow at meeting certain milestones. I talked in complete sentences at one-year-old, but when I wasn’t walking at nearly four, my dad took me to a specialist. The doctor said I’d never walk. As you can imagine, my dad was not pleased. He was a determined person who never accepted something he thought he could change. 
Therefore, my dad picked me up and stormed out of the office. My dad told me not to worry about what the doctor said because it was wrong.  Daddy said he’d teach me to ride and I’d be fine. It was the decision that changed my life because I learned to walk and began working toward my dream of becoming an equestrian champion. Incidentally, I always referred to my dad, as “Daddy” because nothing else fit. We had a special bond.

What is your handicap? What specific struggles did you have early on that made it difficult to fulfill your dream?

I was born with cerebral palsy. It means part of my brain was damaged when I was born. In my case, it only affects my legs, not my arms or speech. At first, it was a struggle to take one step without falling. I don’t believe most parents would have considered riding horses when walking was a considerable challenge in the beginning. When I started learning to walk, I could only walk a step without falling, but gradually, my balance improved.

I loved being with the horses so I used to navigate the stairs by sitting down. Then I crawled to the barn, which was probably 500 feet away. 
for more of this interview please visit:

Sweetbrier House

Friday, July 13, 2018

New review for Charlene the Star by Delores Ayotte

I'd like to thank inspirational author, Delores Ayotte, for her extraordinary review of Charlene the Star. Here is her review:

on July 13, 2018
Charlene the Star by Author by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne ( Holly Humphrys-Bajaj ~ Illustrator)

What a delightful children's book! Charlene is born into a family of famous race horses but right from the onset she is concerned about her ability to be a race horse. She is tentative when she mentions this to her mother who encourages Charlene to give it a try nonetheless. She has the opportunity to do just that with her two good friends Ann and Blossom. She quickly realizes that she can't keep up to them and is disappointed in her performance. Thank goodness that Charlene is given the opportunity to excel in another area. Her trainer suggests that she be moved to Jumping for Joy Farm to see how she does with jumping hurdles instead of racing. Elliot, her canine friend helps reassure Charlene and encourages her in bettering her jumping talents.

Author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne utilizes a creative approach to her writing that will definitely appeal to her younger reading audience. The animals are able to communicate with each other which gives the children the opportunity to feel compassion for Charlene's challenges. I enjoyed the questions at the end of the book. They are an additional educational experience sure to provide food for thought. This talented author also demonstrates the benefit of recognizing and accepting the fact that we have different talents. Great lesson to be learned in life. Lovely cover to the book too.

Inspirational Author ~ Dolores Ayotte
I'm Not Perfect and It's Okay: Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self
Charlene the Star and her mom
illustration by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

An interview with Hattie the chicken

Today we're going to interview one of the characters from Charlene the Star and Hattie's Heroes, a children's book told by the animal characters.

"Good morning Hattie, please tell us some of your favorite things to do.
"Hello, I'm hopping around flapping my wings because I'm excited about talking to you today.
I love wearing pretty bonnets, like the polka dot one I'm wearing on the cover of Charlene the Star and Hattie's Heroes. But another thing I enjoy is helping my animal friends do good things. For example, in the story, Wooliam the sheep raises money for charity with his lemonade stand and other things he does. All of my friends were thrilled to organize our fair to help raise money. In fact, I love organizing parties and special events.
How wonderful Hattie. You and your friends are a great team.
Tell us about your friend, Elliott.
 I love Elliott. He's a handsome dog with big brown spots and an over sized head. He loves giving his animal friends confidence to try new things. He shows a lot of wisdom because he doesn't get upset when unexpected things happen. Instead, he takes action to help solve problems. Elliott and I worked together to solve a big problem we had regarding writing a schedule for our clients' training. We'll show you the picture at the bottom of this interview.
Thank you so much for sharing the picture, Hattie. who drew the beautiful picture and the cover for your book?
Holly Humphrys-Bajaj drew the cover and all of the illustrations in the book. Aren't they fantastic?
Holly is so talented. We love how her drawings show our personalities. It's a busy day for me today, so I need to get to work, but thank you for interviewing me today.
It's been my pleasure, Hattie. Thank you so much for answering the questions."

Hattie and Elliott wring the schedule
illustration and cover by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj

copyright, 2018: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Birthday, America #242!

Happy 4th. of July everyone.  Please remember to celebrate America's 242nd.. Birthday today and I hope you're grateful to live in the greatest nation on Earth. Also, please take a moment to reflect and thank those in the military, past and present, who work every day to preserve our freedoms.

Copyright 2018: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My hero: overcoming fears

My dad was my hero in many ways. For one, he never tried to shelter me from new experiences. He wanted me to figure out my own way to solve problems. For example, if I fell, he wouldn’t rush to pick me up. As a child with a disability, I fell often, but Daddy knew he wouldn’t always be there to help. Isn’t it that way when you start a new venture?  You could have trouble at first, but then you sort it out.Another thing Daddy  said was  having courage didn’t mean not being afraid, but acting even when you felt that fear.
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a champion rider and Daddy never discouraged me. Instead, he said, “You can do anything you want, if you persevere. Certain things will take longer.” He was right about some things taking a long time. For example, I rode for 6 years before even starting to jump. Looking at the tiny cross rail, it seemed as high as Pikes Peak. My horse should have worn glasses just to see the little jump. My lips quivered.”Daddy, couldn’t you make it a little lower,” I pleaded. But his response was, “If I make it lower, there’ll be nothing to jump.” Once the big white horse, Laddie and I successfully made it to the other side of the jump. I jumped around yelling, “Daddy, I jumped.” He kissed me to celebrate the first step in the long journey of overcoming fears to reach my goals.
For more on this story, please click:
Photos from "My Life at Sweetbrier"
copyright 2018: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Before you win, you begin

A view of Sweetbrier from "My Life at Sweetbrier"
Have you ever noticed the hardest thing to do is to begin? It could be you’re writing a book and you’re dreading the beginning. What if you fail? Remember, before you win, you need to begin. No matter what project you’d like to start, you must first overcome your fears and plunge ahead.
Let’s talk about something from my childhood. You may remember I was born with cerebral palsy, which made walking difficult. My single passion was to become a champion horseback rider. In order to reach my goal, I’d need to start. What happened in the beginning?  My legs got tired and I’d slide off my pony, Little Man. Guess what I hated most? Falling off for no reason. It made me feel better if Little Man did something unexpected and I fell off. But just sliding off because my legs felt tired, was horrible, in my mind. One thing Little Man loved to do was relax. In fact, he relaxed so much, he’d lie down with me on his back! At first, I couldn’t tell when he was getting ready for his nap. But, finally, I noticed he walked slower and slower right before he’d lie down. Hooray,problem one was solved.

What happened when I began learning to trot on Little Man? Visualize a little ball bouncing up and down. That’s what it felt like to me. It seemed like forever before I learned to rise and sit, or post, in rhythm with Little Man. But it was another tiny victory along the long road to success. more on this post, please click:
copyright 2018: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Celebrate the small things

Hi everyone,
I hope you had a great week. What happened that was exciting?
Here's what we're celebrating this week:

  • Good weather
  • chats with our boys
  • Father's Day is coming
  • Flag Day
  • My sister in law is doing well recovering from a fall.
Be sure to stop by to say hello to Lexa and keep her spirits up. She's had so much to overcome. I know she'd be happy to hear from you
copyright 2018: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne