I guess I have followed in my father’s footsteps, having a great passion for art. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, especially cartoons. I can remember as a little girl living in Nazareth, PA, sitting in a chair behind my dad, watching him paint pictures and being fascinated with how he could take a blank canvas and transform it into a beautiful picture. Just as my father, it has been my dream to share my artwork with the world.
My second passion is my love for animals. Horses, in particular, hold a special place in my heart. I began taking riding lessons at the age of eight. At age 10, I began working at a farm on weekends, cleaning stalls, amongst other chores, to help my parents pay for riding lessons. As my skills improved, my trainer began taking me to some local shows, allowing me to compete on two of her horses; “Benjie”, a rather portly chestnut pony and “Cedar”, a handsome Appaloosa. Through my trainer’s guidance and her two special steeds, I gained experience and confidence. At age twelve, I was introduced to a three-year-old Appaloosa mare, named “Gotcha” aka “Sonny Gotcha Beat”, who was being boarded at the farm. Her owner no longer had a use for her, and was looking for someone to lease her. I fell in love with “Gotcha” after that first ride. After leasing her for a few months, my parents purchased “Gotcha” for my thirteenth birthday. Unlike most teenagers, I wasn’t going out much and socializing. I spent the majority of my time at the farm with “Gotcha”, building a special bond with my horse, or sitting at home and mimicking the cartoons in the evening newspaper honing my drawing skills.
Over the next couple of years, “Gotcha” and I developed a deep connection and a strong trust in one another. During my high school years, we competed on the Appaloosa breed circuit up and down the east coast. After graduating, I officially retired her from the show ring, but continued to ride and fuss over her each day.
In 1996, I moved to Texas to be with my then fiancé, having to leave “Gotcha” behind until I got settled. I missed her so much, but knew she was being well cared for by my friends until she was brought down to me in the spring of 1997. Unfortunately, she and I didn’t live in Texas for very long before moving back to Pennsylvania after the breakup of my first marriage. “Gotcha” helped me through the heartache, and pain. We spent a lot of time together as days went into months as I healed. I found myself beginning a new relationship with someone. One to this day, I regret ever starting. In my mind, I wasted nine years of my life with this person who tried controlling, manipulating, and isolating me from my family and friends. This person spent most of their time out of work, while I held two jobs trying to survive. These nine years are the darkest, most troubled times of my life. I had lost my confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. I turned my attention to my art. I began drawing cartoons of myself and my pets. My art passion soon turned into developing a line of greeting cards called “Pawsitively Precious”.
I tried very hard to spread the word about my cards, by getting them into small pet and gift shops, but sales just didn’t really take off, and I became discouraged. I decided to put my dream of a small business of my own to the side. At this time my relationship had grown worse. It was at this point I wanted him to leave. I had told him to leave a few times through the years, but he always made me feel bad, and everything was my fault, and I would end up allowing him to stay. Until one fateful night when a good friend of mine, who was my guardian angel that evening, was at my house when a heated argument began which led me to telling him to get out. Unlike the past times, having a friend there with me that evening helped me to stand my ground and make him leave for good. Over the next few weeks, I had family or friends stay with me 24/7 because he would stalk me showing up randomly any time during the day and night, until finally he gave up and left me alone.
In the days following, I began seeing an old flame that I had dated 20 years prior. He is a close friend of my brother and my nephew’s godfather. He would drive three hours from Maryland every weekend to see me. It wasn’t long before we knew that we wanted to spend our lives together. We got married the following year in November 2010. It was a glorious day having both of our families and all our friends there to celebrate with us. The following day, my husband and I, with my four cats, two dogs, and “Gotcha” left to begin our lives together in Maryland. Life has been wonderful with my husband. He has shown me what it is like to have someone truly love me with all of their heart. My life really slowed down after moving to Maryland. I became a “happy housewife”, taking care of our home and our pets. Each morning my dogs, “Max” and “Chloe”, and I would head out to the horse farm to see “Gotcha”. I would always take an apple along to share with her. I’d help with chores around the farm and when finished would enjoy sitting and watching “Gotcha” peacefully graze in her pasture. One day while watching her graze, a story came into my mind and I thought to myself, “Hey I better write this down”. I grabbed a pen and paper and started putting the words down. I finished the rough draft in two days and began drawing the illustrations for the story. I would work on them in the evenings after getting home from taking care of “Gotcha” and would stay up into the wee hours of the morning working on them. It felt good getting back to drawing again. My life in general felt great at the time.
I was settling into living in Maryland, enjoying spending time with my husband and pets. Then on January 12, 2012, my whole world stopped. It was the day that I had to say goodbye to my baby girl, my heart, my best friend “Gotcha”. My heart was shattered. In the weeks following I just felt completely lost. Not long after she passed, on May 4, 2012, my dog “Chloe” of sixteen years passed. I was beginning to feel unsure of what my purpose in life was anymore. I struggled with figuring out what I was supposed to do with my life. The following year on May 29, 2013, we again had to make the tough decision to say our goodbyes to our dog “Max”. After “Max” passed, I did a lot of soul searching and found myself getting back to work on my book.
I began sending query letters to publishers and agents, trying to catch someone’s interest. After many rejections, I began to grow discouraged yet again. I was ready to just set it aside, but deep down I knew this was something that I wanted to share with everyone, so I decided to self-publish my book I entitled, “The Horse That Looked Different”. I use horses in my story to address the issue of bullying, which hits close to home after seeing what it was like for my brother who grew up being bullied. I dedicated my story to “Gotcha”.
I stepped out of my comfort zone in many ways through the whole process it took leading up to having a printed copy of my book. I prayed each day asking God to confirm to me in some way if this was what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Jillian Michaels, the fitness guru, who I look up to and use her DVDs to get my butt whooped each day. I gave her the first printed copy of my book and explained the message I was trying to bring across with it. After saying goodbye and as I turned to walk away, she said to me “You’re doing such great things. Keep going with it.” I knew at that moment that was God’s way of giving me my answer I was looking for. I turned back to her astonished, smiled and said, “Thank you, so are you. You do the same”. As I turned to leave, I smiled and looked up and said “Thank You”.
I have enjoyed traveling around to schools, daycare centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, reading my story to children and spreading its positive message. Recently, I was one of seven women selected to receive the 2014 ABC, Channel 7 Tribute to Working Women Award, sponsored by WJLA News Station, out of Washington, DC and Toyota for the work I have been doing with my book in the community.
The success of my first book has allowed me to realize that dreams do come true. I hope I will inspire others to never give up, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.
Just as my first book, my next book, “Be Buddies, Not Bullies” I illustrated and co-wrote with Mr. Bud Collier, founder of ImBullyFree.org, will be available soon on both Amazon.com and Createspace.com
If you would like to follow me or check out any of my links, they are
@stacy_einfalt, you tube video