Celebrate

christmas candles

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We measure our lives in time.

Seconds, minutes, hours.

Days, weeks, months.

Years.

Milestones are celebrated.

A child walks, talks, starts school.

Graduates, marries, becomes a parent.

Life is a continuous celebration.

Until we experience loss.

Of a child or parent.

Or spouse.

Someone isn’t here to celebrate a birthday or anniversary.

Or Christmas.

Times of celebration become bittersweet or sad.

Or unbearable.

Someone said grief is love with no place to go.

But love can always be shared with family and friends,

And most of all, with yourself.

Grief should never stop the celebration,

But instead, enhance it.

The pain of loss never ends,

But the celebration of love and memories

Makes it bearable.

And makes you smile.

Merry Christmas.

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Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash

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October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

Great informative post with resources! 👍

I’ve updated this from last year’s post:

Surprisingly, 15-20% of the population has a language-based learning disability and over 65% of those are deficits in reading. Often, these go undiagnosed, written off as “s/he doesn’t like to read”. If this sounds familiar to you, maybe before you became a writer you struggled with adopting the love of reading, check out the International Dyslexia Association’sDyslexia Awareness Month in October.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a condition that affects people of all ages, male and female equally, and causes them to mix up letters and words they read making what for most is a joy-filled act challenging and frustrating.

“Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, that result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia often experience difficulties with both oral and written language skills. … It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia…

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#BookSale Book Birthday #5!

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In the Best Interest of the Child is FIVE years old and NOW is the time to grab a copy for only 99c thru September 18th! (Tonight!)

Praise for In The Best Interest of the Child

“…The characters are deftly drawn and consistent—endearing, charming, greedy, and despicable (this is about lawyers, after all). If I had one tiny complaint, it would be that the extended family of Olivia’s love interest, Bruce Bellamy, is just way too wonderful. I loved Olivia’s strength most of all and her determination to protect her young client. There’s some questionable behavior going on that Olivia is determined to ferret out. Amazon Reviewer

This book was phenomenal! As a former employee who worked with foster children, I was able to relate to the scenarios that revealed Olivia’s passion and determination to work as diligently as possible to give each child the best living scenario possible. Each page left you wanting to read more to find out what would happen next. The book is definitely suspenseful, layered with a romance twist, and thought provoking. The author did a great job captivating readers minds. I think anyone who reads this could start to see our courts and wards of the State in a different light.” Amazon Reviewer

Fantastic debut for Felicia Denise. Incredible character study. Olivia is an advocate for children not only in her work but in all of her life. Now face to face with a client who’s story is a mirror of her life, Olivia must revisit her past or never move beyond it. Without meaning to, she allows Bruce into her life and it will never be the same. Two hearts moving past issues of being abandoned to give each other new life.”  Amazon Reviewer

Synopsis

That day forever changed Olivia’s life.

Severely injured in an accident that forever changed her life, 10-year-old Olivia becomes another faceless, underserved child in foster care. With no time to mourn or grieve, the young girl is easy prey for uncaring social workers and ambivalent foster families.

Olivia quickly learns to hold her tongue and mask her emotions. Even when exposed to neglect, bullying, and assault, no one seems to care. Holding fast to the teachings of her late father, Olivia ages out of the system broken, but no longer a victim.

Now a successful child advocate attorney, Olivia is a passionate voice for children. However, a routine case assignment by the court plunges Olivia back into the trauma of her childhood. If she doesn’t face her demons, a child will be sent into foster care.

Foster care for her young client is not an option. But Olivia’s emotional scars run even deeper than she realized. Reconciling with her past means Olivia must confront the one woman she blames for her battered soul.

A woman who has no idea who Olivia is.

99c thru September 18th!

Amazon

All other online retailers

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2 Years…

I’ve learned a lot since May 30, 2019.

I’ve learned that grief cannot be rushed, that you don’t wake up one day healed.

I’ve learned healing and closure are myths. Loss forces new adjustments to life.

I’ve learned it’s okay to put myself first and I’m not responsible for the feelings—or lack thereof—of others about MY loss.

I’ve learned it’s okay to say no… to everyone.

I’ve learned doctors don’t know everything, or when it comes to grief, anything at all.

I’ve learned who my true friends are.

I’ve learned I don’t have to feel guilty about laughing and enjoying myself.

I’ve learned loss doesn’t change the person I am.

I’ve learned it’s okay to laugh and cry at the same time.

I’ve been reminded how amazing my three children are.

And I’ve learned my grief journey can only be taken one day at a time, one breath at a time… even when it hurts.

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#FlashFiction Frozen in Time, Part IV

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Frozen in Time, Part IV

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15 Years later

“In closing, as we leave this place, let us remember Margaret Jean Merchant for her glowing smile and giving soul. She touched the lives of us all, and lives on in our hearts.”

The tears she’d held at bay spilled down Petra’s cheeks as she watched the mortuary staff remove the flowers from the casket. Ladies from Maggie’s church came forth to gather the arrangements and take them out to waiting vehicles for the ride to the cemetery.

She watched the ladies, trying to look anywhere but at the casket. But when the casket’s latch was slid into place, it echoed against the high vaulted ceilings of the chapel… and straight to Petra’s core, shattering what was left of her broken heart.

A low moan escaped her lips, followed by deep sobs. Leonard wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled his sister close. “It’s okay, sis. It’s going to be okay.”

Petra couldn’t respond, but she knew things would never be the same again.

To be continued

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©2021 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Happy Heavenly Birthday!

Where would I be without my children? They make everything better! ❤

Remembering their dad today on his birthday with another cake themed on his favorite show, “Archer” made by our always amazing friend and cake-boss, Elyse Martinez. (The red cake is from 2017 and he loved it! The flowers are from my sis, Melissa.)

Continue to rest in peace, babe. You are missed every day. ❤❤


#Repost Frozen in Time, Part III

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Originally posted December 2018 as part of my #52Weeks52Stories Challenge

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#52weeks52stories: Week 47

Word prompt: smack

Word count – 724

Reading time – 2 mins, 14 secs

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Frozen in Time, Part III

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Luci Gwynn yammered on about sanity napkins and belts as Petra huddled in the sofa’s corner clutching a hot water bottle against her stomach.

Neither of them heard Vance enter.

“What’s wrong with her?”

Startled, Luci looked up at her husband then smiled toward her daughter.

“My little girl’s growing up and entering womanhood.”

“Damn. Now I’ve got to keep an eye on her little hot ass, so she doesn’t go whoring around like the rest of the women in your family.”

Luci’s mouth gaped open in surprise and outrage, but she never got to respond.

Propelled forward by hate, disgust, and a new influx of hormones, Petra pounced on her father, hitting, biting, and scratching in a frenzy of rage.

Caught off-guard and stunned at first, Vance swept his arms down his body, knocking Petra to the floor.

She rose to her knees, panting like an animal ready to attack again, but Vance backed away looking at his hands and arms and feeling his face.

Undeterred, Petra tried to advance on him, but Luci wrapped her arms around her from behind, holding her back.

Vance left the room without a word, the only sound being the opening and closing of the front door.

Loosening her grip, Luci spun her daughter around. “What is wrong with you?”

Still shaking while hostility and loathing coursed through her, Petra was defiant.

“I hate him.”

“But what if he doesn’t come back?”

“Good.”

Luci’s anger grew to match her daughter’s.

“Good? What’s good about it? What about me, Petra?”

The teen sneered. “No more beatings and bruises.”

She knew the slap was coming and didn’t flinch.

Horrified by her own actions, Luci yanked her arm back, clutching her hands to her chest.

“Petra, baby, I’m so sorry.”

Petra back away, her sneer replaced by a smile, then giggles.

Luci reached out for her daughter, but Petra stepped back farther. Her giggles grew to roaring laughter.

“Petra… -”

Wrapping her arms around her stomach, Petra doubled over and tried to speak through gasps for air.

“This… is great. Daddy gives you a black eye for… something as dumb as wearing the wrong dress… and you take it. But you have no problem slapping me for standing up to the big bully.”

“Petra, baby… you don’t understand -”

“Shut up! Don’t say that! Don’t tell me I don’t understand.”

Her laughter abated, Petra rose to her full height.

“Me, Arnold and Leonard have tried to understand our entire lives. We sneak into each other’s rooms and cry together. We’ve been to the library, digging through books on domestic violence because we can’t tell anybody. We can’t ask for help, because we’ll be separated, and Arnie and Len are all I have. So, we decided you put up with daddy to protect us.” She scoffed. “But now I know we were wrong, mama. We’ve always been wrong. It’s about you, only you.”

“No, you’re wrong, baby. I do it for you and your brothers.”

“None of us should have ever been born. This isn‘t a family, it‘s a prison camp.”

“Don’t say that! You kids are everything to me.”

She hung her head in shame.

“Yes, your father hits me, but he’s never hit you. He’s never hurt any of you.”

“Hurt me? Did you see him, mama? I’m his daughter… a thirteen-year-old girl. He didn’t hit me—he didn’t fight back, and not because he’s some noble father. That was fear in his eyes. He’s not used to being challenged. Not used to anyone fighting back. You should try it sometime.”

Luci’s face crumpled at the truth of her daughter’s words.

“But you know what, mama? You don‘t have to use fists to hurt someone.”

Her words were heavy and toneless, and her body sagged, the emotional burden taking its toll.

Repeating her father’s movements, Petra backed toward the doorway.

“But he can’t hurt me anymore, mama. And he’ll never hurt me again.”

Reaching the doorway, Petra glared at the woman who’d given her life.

“And neither will you.”

“Petra!”

Ignoring Luci, she turned and left the room, not stopping until she reached the sanctuary of her bedroom.

Petra Gwynn remembered that day, not for the onset of her periods and the first step toward adulthood, but as the day both her parents no longer mattered to her.

To be continued

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©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved