The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 9: Cheers for Karen

photo of confetti in the sky

On the bus home after her school report, Karen gets a happy surprise as the other kids cheer her.

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Scene 9: Cheers for Karen

The kids on the bus home from school were rowdier, and happier, than usual. The ones who had seen Karen’s presentation had told the others, and word had spread through the school.

“Karen did an A+ report… Teacher couldn’t believe it… Then she showed him how she did it… He almost cried, he was so happy… We cheered, and then she told us if she could do it, we could do it too.

As Mr. Hinton slowed the school bus near Karen’s house, cheers went up. The students chanted, “Ka-ren! Ka-ren! Ka-ren! Yay!” over and over.

Tammy, who rarely tried to speak to anyone other than Karen, raised her voice and said, “Let’s all remember what Karen said. We don’t have to let our disabilities stop us. If Karen can do it, then so can we!”

Amazingly, her words came out crisp and clear. The uproar in the bus stopped. Everyone looked at Tammy and nodded.

Mr. Hinton stopped the bus and opened the door. Karen stood up. As she walked up the aisle to the front of the bus, all the students who could reached out to shake her hand or pat her on the shoulder. Mr. Hinton said, “Karen, the whole school is proud of you.”

She hopped down to the ground and waved as the bus drove away. She was tired. It had been a great day, but emotionally exhausting.

Mama had warned Karen that she would have to work late, so she would not be home until after Karen returned from school. So instead of going into the house, Karen headed for the stables. She needed to talk with Pegasus and get herself centered.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

(Image attribution: nathanmac87, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)



Tying is Trying

diagram of how to tie a bow knot step-by-step

How many times have you tied your shoelaces? How many times have you looped your ears and pulled the strings through? How many times were they too loose? And how many times did you pull those ears tight enough so you could walk without them falling apart?

It’s not easy tying shoes with one or two fingers, or even with one hand, like me. But if we keep practicing with what we have, we will master bow-tying and anything else in our lives. It took me a long time to get those show laces right. It took a wonderful occupational therapist to show me how. Simple for some, tying laces was not for me, with only one working hand.

We have to keep building up our strength and putting our best effort forward to accomplish our feats (pun intended). It takes a lot of encouragement to use our abilities until we get something just right. When we are children, we need that encouragement. As simple as something might seem, it’s not always simple for us. It takes practice and dedication. Time can be our best friend. Starting is the key.

I affirm: today I will practice, practice, and keep practicing for as long as it takes. I will keep learning how to loop my bows securely. I will learn how to hold them tight enough, in place, and nurture my movements until I’m able to pull the ears through. As a person with a disability, I am committed to learning to tie my shoes.

That’s what I told myself when I was seven years old and struggling with shoelaces. Now I say, if I can do it, if I could do it, then you can learn it too.

Keep your faith in yourself. You can do it too!

Original text ©2022 Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

(Image from OCAD U, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 8: If I Can Do It, You Can Too

map of connecticut

On her first day after spring break, Karen reads her report aloud. At first, the teacher can’t believe she wrote it, but she explains how she did it. He’s so happy, that he almost cries. 

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(Image attribution: cropped by User:Cmprince, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 8: If I Can Do It, You Can Too

The next Monday was the first day of school after break. Karen took her seat in the social studies classroom and carefully placed her report and display on the desk in front of her.

The teacher said, “Welcome back to school, kids! I hope you all had a wonderful spring break, and I’m eager to see your reports. You can take turns reading them aloud to the class, and then we’ll pin your displays on the bulletin board. Who wants to go first?’“

Karen remembered how ashamed she used to be when a teacher asked for a volunteer. She had always been afraid of letting anyone see her work. But that had been then, and this was now.

“Me!” she said. “I want to go first.”

“Karen, that’s a surprise. But come on up to the front and go ahead.”

She carried her report and display to the front of the room and stood with her back to the greenboard. She rested the display part on the chalk tray and leaned it so everyone could see the map of Connecticut. Then she read the report out loud.

The teacher looked at her with his mouth open. He frowned and said, “Could I see that report, please?”

Karen felt something was wrong. His look said he was suspicious of her. He scanned through the report.

“It’s your handwriting, all right. How did you find all the information?”

She got it. He thought somebody else, like Mama, had done the report. He thought she had cheated. She took a deep breath. This was no time to lose her temper. She opened the bag and took out her outline.

“See, I made an outline that followed your written instructions so I wouldn’t leave anything out. Then I looked up each piece of information and wrote down where I found it. Like here.” She pointed. “Page seventy-two of History of the New England Colonies. Then I started with a clean piece of paper and wrote what I found out, but in my own words. After I finished writing, I traced the map and flag. It’s my new study skills. I’m learning to plan ahead and do things a step at a time instead of just jumping in and then getting all disorganized.

The teacher smiled, and she thought she caught the gleam of a tear in one of his eyes. “Karen, this is really good.” His voice sounded husky, like he was feeling emotional. “You don’t know what it means to a teacher and see a student take a giant step like this. You’re always talking about how you want to go to college. If you keep up like this, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.”

Karen said, “Thank you,” but no one could hear her words. The rest of the class was cheering and clapping their hands too loudly. They were cheering for her. They were clapping for her.

When they stopped, she quietly said to them, “If I can do it, you can do it too,” and returned to her seat.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

Changes Are Coming at a Gallop!

photo of carousel horse

Dear readers,

I have decided to make a change in how often I post scenes from The Healing Horse. I have been posting them three times every week, and now I want to cut back to one. Why? Because I have not been able to post much of anything else. The Healing Horse posts keep me so busy! 

So beginning this week, I am going to post a scene from The Healing Horse once a week, on Wednesdays. 

Instead of seeing three scenes from The Healing Horse every week, you will see only one of them and blog posts on other topics, such as how I cured my diabetes and high blood pressure (and, yes, it is possible no matter what your doctor thinks), my interview with Prof. Sean P. Dineen, and other exciting things. 

Please stay tuned and remember

If I can do it, you can do it too!

Lots of love,

Your Kitten (Karen Lynn-Chlup)

(Image by Kim Traynor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 8: Karen Writes the Report

map of USA with Connecticut highlighted

On her first day of spring break, Karen uses her new study skills. She stays calm. She gives herself plenty of time, and then she discovers she can write a report, without help, and a good one at that.

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Image attribution: This version: uploaderBase versions this one is derived from: originally created by en:User:Wapcaplet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 8: Karen Writes the Report

On Monday morning, Karen got up early, just like on a school day. But instead of catching the bus to school, she sat down at the big credenza in the living room and studied the books she had brought home from the library. 

She reread the written instructions the teacher had given her. It listed everything that was supposed to go into the report, like how Connecticut got its name and what its state flower was. Working from it, she wrote an outline of her report, so she would be sure to include everything he wanted. This was the planning part. Then she found the pieces of information by using the indices in the library books. She wrote down the names of the books and the page numbers where she found things on her outline. That was the research part. From there, writing the actual report was easy. She looked up each piece of information and wrote a few sentences about it. After she finished writing, she traced a map of the state and the state flag. After coloring in the flag, she glued them to her display board. She was done by noon. 

She sat back in her chair and smiled. Mama and Pegasus were right. The report was easier after taking the weekend to recenter myself. And with my new study skills, I did the whole thing in one morning. Now I feel like I can organize anything. I’m going to eat lunch and spend the afternoon with Pegasus. 

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 7: Pacing and Renewal

image of Spartan running girlKaren gets carried away with her enthusiasm, but Mama and Pegasus keep her grounded.

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Scene 7: Pacing and Renewal

The next morning, Karen slept in. After she washed her face and brushed her hair, she went back to her bedroom instead of to the kitchen. She scooped up the stack of library books and her school bag so she could start on the report first thing.

In the kitchen, some of her books fell on the floor. She sighed. Always trying to do too much. Carrying too much. She plopped the others down on the big table with her school bag, then picked up the ones from around her feet and pulled out a chair. The toasting bagels smelled wonderful. She swallowed and tried to ignore the aroma.

“Mama, I want to get started on this report, like Miss Natalie said I should. ‘Start immediately, so you have time to get it done.’ And I need the big table. This won’t fit on the desk in my room.”

“Oy veh! My Krana Layala. Are you in such a hurry you can’t take time to give your mother a hug or eat breakfast? Did Miss Natalie tell you that? And you can do your report on the big credenza in the living room. The kitchen table might have food on it. Those are library books, so we have to be careful not to get them dirty.”

Mama gave Karen a big smile. Her face lit up as Karen put her arms around her and rested her head on her shoulder. “That’s more like it, my Krana Layala.” She hugged her back and sighed.

“I’m sorry. Miss Natalie never said to be rude or skip meals. I’m just eager to use my new study skills.”

Before Mama could reply, they heard a whinny through the window.

“Pegasus!” Karen said. She ran to the window as he stuck his head through it and hugged him, arms around his neck.

“How’s my girl? It’s a beautiful Saturday. No school today. Hop on my back, and we can spend an enchanted day together.”

Karen looked to her mother, but Mama remained silent.

“I can’t, Pegasus. I have a big report to write, and it’s going to take all week. I have to read all these books.” She pointed at the stack on the table. “I can’t even take time to eat breakfast.”

She watched as Pegasus and Mama exchanged looks. She knew she was making a mistake. At least one. Maybe more.

Mama said, “My Krana Layala, I know you’re excited, but does that change your body’s needs? If your brain won’t work right, will that help you do your report?”

“No, Mama. It’ll throw my perception off, and I don’t need that.”

“Then at least have a bagel with a schmear.”

“Yes, Mama. You’re right.” She pushed the books to the back of the table and set her school bag by them.

“There is something else to consider.” It was Pegasus. She looked up at him. He spoke slowly, emphasizing his words. “Your spiritual state, Kitten. You started with Miss Natalie just last week. She has already taught you a lot. That’s good. But you need to let her wisdom settle in so it becomes part of you, deep inside. Besides, you have been in school all week. You need time to regain your center, time to nourish your soul. Trying to learn new material and write a report when you are not centered … You understand.”

She knew it would lead to a disaster or at least to frustration and wasted effort. What had she been thinking? She knew she had to eat, and she needed time to replenish her spiritual well.

“You’re right, too, Pegasus. I can take the weekend off and start the homework project on Monday. It’ll be less difficult if I’m rested and centered. I let myself get carried away with enthusiasm. And with fear I’ll run out of time.”

“Have no fear, Kitten. You will not run out of time. You will write an excellent report. You have the mind for that, but you have to give it what it needs to function. Pace yourself like a long distance runner.” He sighed. “But enough about the report. You have learned another big lesson, one about pacing yourself. Now let’s have some breakfast. Horses like bagels, too, you know. Wink, wink.”

They all laughed, and Karen helped Mama fix their breakfast and clean up before spending a wonderful day renewing her soul with Pegasus.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 6: Library Research

photo of original santa monica public library

Karen has always been full of enthusiasm, but now that she is getting tutored and learning to learn, she is eager to take on a difficult school assignment.

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(Image is of original Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 6: Library Research

That afternoon, as the school bus approached her home, Karen thought about Connecticut. She visualized what her project would look like when it was done. In her mind, she could see the map she would draw, and she read and re-read the list of facts Mr. Jones wanted her to find out.

After running into the house, she said, “Mama, I need to go to the library right now. The social studies teacher gave us a big report assignment that will be due after spring break, and I want to start on it immediately. That’s what my tutors said to do. They said to start everything as soon as possible, so I have plenty of time to finish it.”

Mama and Karen hopped into the Bel Air and raced to the library, where Kitten got help from the librarian and checked out a tall stack of books.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 5: The Spring Break Assignment

image of flag map of united statesWhen Karen’s geography teacher gives a homework assignment to be done over spring break, she does not groan. She thanks him. Her tutoring has given her confidence that she can succeed at academics.

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(Image courtesy of Flagvisioner, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 5: The Spring Break Assignment

Soon after Kitten began studying with Miss Natalie and Miss Wayburn, she was in her geography class.

“Students,” the teacher, Mr. Jones, said, “Spring break will be next week, and I am going to give you a homework assignment that will be due when you get back. You can start work on it today and then finish it over break. Now, I’m going to show you what I want you to do. First, pass these instruction sheets around. Everybody take one.”

Groans from the students filled the air. Some of them put their heads down on their desks, but sat up again to take one of the instruction sheets.

Mr. Jones thumb tacked pictures and a map to the bulletin board.

“This is an example of what I want. I’m using the state of Alaska, but it could be any state. I want a map of the state that you drew. Tracing is okay. Then I want . . .”

Karen scanned her instruction sheet. It had Connecticut written at the top. That must be her state. She listened carefully to what her teacher said.

He finished and asked, “Does anyone have any questions?”

The room was silent. Then Karen could not resist expressing her feelings.

“This is just what I need. Now I can plan ahead and use some of the skills I’ve been learning from my tutors. I’ll go to the library as soon as my Mama can take me. Thank you, Mr. Jones.”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 4: An Apple for Pegasus

graphic of red appleKaren discusses Miss Natalie with Pegasus. He is very clear that she would not have found Miss Natalie without taking action. And she is clear that without him she would not have acted.

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(Image courtesy of DataBase Center for Life Science (DBCLS), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 4: An Apple for Pegasus

On the way home, Karen asked Mama to drop her off at the stables. She would walk the rest of the way later, but for now, she needed to speak with Pegasus.

He was grazing in the pasture. She hugged him around the neck, and he nuzzled her shoulder.

“Thank you,” he said, as he chewed the apple she had brought in her book bag. “How is the math tutor?”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. She’s wonderful. She’s more like a friend than like most teachers. She had me sit beside her instead of across the table. She said she had trouble with math, and she’s going to teach me the way she learned.”

“That is marvellous, Kitten. I sense your uneasiness about academics has disappeared. Something in you has been healed. Miss Natalie is not just another expert rendering an opinion without actually helping. She must really care.”

“Yes, I feel nourished and healed, academically nourished. And she said the tools she’s going to teach me can help with everything in life. All I have to do is try my hardest, like I always do.”

“Maybe Miss Natalie really can help you. But remember, if you not taken action by standing up to the experts at school and asking your Mama to find you help outside school, you would never have met Miss Natalie.”

“You’re right, Pegasus. If I had not taken action, nothing would have changed. But you deserve credit, too. If you had not encouraged me to act, I would never have done it on my own.”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 27, Scene 3: An Easy Lesson

image of arithmetic symbolsKaren finds out her new math tutor struggled with the subject, too. Time flies as she learns new ways to learn an old and frustrating subject.

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(Image created by Elembis, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 3: An Easy Lesson

Karen followed Miss Natalie down a short hallway to a small room. The walls were soft white, and the only furniture was a big wooden table with two wooden chairs side by side along one edge. She sat in one chair after Miss Natalie sat in the other.

Miss Natalie quietly explained, “I really enjoy my work. When I was a kid struggling with math, someone put it all together for me. I hope I can do the same for you, Karen. I’ll be teaching you many new, fun ways to learn. These will become tools for you to use in everything you learn from now on. Learning is something to enjoy. It is fun and enlightening, and it satisfies an otherwise unquenchable hunger we have within ourselves. Learning provides food for our thoughts and for our souls. It is the one thing we never stop striving for.

“My aim is to work with you in mutual understanding and friendship. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I’ll be right by your side. We’ll work together, step-by-step, at your pace, as you master the fundamentals of mathematics. Please ask me anything you like whenever you feel the need. We’ll have lots of fun together! To begin, let’s go over your homework. Seeing what you can do and what you have trouble with will help me understand how I can help you.”

Karen opened her book bag and took out her math homework. Miss Natalie went through it, one step at a time, and slowly guided Kitten through the problems, with Karen doing all her own work, including making, discovering, and correcting her own mistakes.

After what seemed to Kitten like only a few minutes, Miss Natalie stood up and said, “Well, my dear, with this, I think we will call it a day. We’ve been working together for nearly an hour, and you are already making progress. I’m sure that, together, we can get you on track with math. I will see you next week. We’ll check the appointment book at the front desk on your way out.”

“All right,” Kitten smiled broadly.

They proceeded back down the hallway to the front office. Karen felt so reassured that she skipped all the way.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.