Monday, June 26, 2017

*Open Letter to LADL Readers*

I have received so many AMAZING emails from readers. First let me say thank you to all who reached out, some of your emails moved me to tears. This community is a small one, but a very special one!! I have answered each individual email, but would also like to address all of LADL readers.

It has been a tough decision, ending LADL. For five years (September) this little blog has kept me motivated, inspired me and allowed me to make lots of friends around the world. Downsizing was easy at first, I will admit it becomes more difficult as time goes by. It's not that I am so "attached" to the dolls and their collection themselves, it's more the memories and what the dolls have meant to me during a difficult time in my life.

Life has it's ups and downs. Change is inevitable. Since LADL began, my life has undergone several serious changes. I know a lot of you have your own struggles and challenges, so I will be candid here. LADL was a creative outlet yes, but a bright spot in my life as my marriage began to face difficulty. This community kept me going during my two year separation, then carried me through as a source of strength during my divorce.

I don't pretend to be bullet proof, there has been (little) negativity and personal attack towards my integrity in the past. As with any social media, once you "put yourself out there" you are an easy target. MANY of you rallied around me, refusing to believe the gossip, and I will never forget that.   

I have tried very hard to create a place for the doll community that includes ALL ages. A place where collectors and enthusiast can share ideas, feelings and excitement over this beloved hobby. No one is excluded from LADL based on age, race, religion or social background. We meet here daily, 24/7 from around the globe. 

My personal reasons for downsizing are numerous! But I will clue you in on a few....I'm in a transition, I believe God is calling me to walk down a different path during this moment of my life, there are many other things I am eager to explore, to grow as a person, and I have a fear that LADL will soon become redundant and that's not fair to all of you. (And yes, many of you asked, I'm out of room HAHA!) 

LADL will remain online. All of the reference materials, HTM/DIY tutorials, reviews, photo stories, on location and in store reports can be reference any time.

We have six months remaining to share doll news. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Send in photos of what your dolls are doing, we would love to see!!

23 comments:

  1. My heart breaks to see this end. God knows what is best is all we can believe. This Blog has been a incredible part of my Daughter's 7 years of life, She and I will treasure it forever. Thank you for the time and commitment. God bless You.

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    1. Thank you Maxine and Hope Faith. (hugs)

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  2. Thank you Rhonda for all of your hard work. Your blog has been a joy to read and keep up with, and may the road rise up to meet you as your journey takes you down a new path.

    It was my parents' own separation that spurred me into collecting three years ago. I was down and had read an article on Facebook about toys *everyone* wanted in the '90s, and there was Samantha. For weeks I then became obsessed with researching prices, quality, and the differences between dolls online so I could buy a Samantha off eBay. And I did--right before it was announced she was returning to stores. I overpaid, as within a couple months prices dropped considerably. I also didn't read the description close enough, and she wasn't described well enough--she was a buy-it-now with all her accessories and I jumped. Her hair was in sad shape, limbs loose, and the chain of her purse broken, as well as her hat ribbons somewhat dingy. A month later I found a beautiful Sam for $5 at Goodwill in Kirsten's school dress with Molly's brown loafers. I felt like an idiot. But through that eBay Samantha, I learned how to fix dolls (and the chain on Sam's purse). As having two Sams, I had one that, well, there really wasn't anything worse that could happen. Until a headband took part of her wig off. D: So I learned how to glue wigs back on, too.

    I share my "sad Sam" story as a number of the rejuvenation tips I learned from your blog, particularly with hair. Sam needed all the hair help possible--it was kinda crunchy and stuck together. Eventually I sold her, and while I still didn't have the curls restored, it was smooth and brushable again. And that's thanks to you and the folks that have written in. I now find "rescue dolls" at thrift stores and make them happy and shiny again for a new home, usually at cost or just a little more if extra work was put in. My greatest joy was restoring a Kit this last winter for the granddaughter of a teacher from my high school that had loose limbs, head, dry hair, and dark blue marker on all of her limbs. Unfortunately I could only lighten the marker as I live in Western Washington, and we did not get much sun at all during winter. Someone had tried to pierce her ears, too, and the staff at the AG store very graciously put real earrings in her for free. She was very grateful for everything, and it was probably the happiest thing for me this last Christmas, as my parents' separation was turned into a divorce, and the holidays have been rough the last few years.

    So I understand, the building of the collections and setting them up is a welcome distraction from things that feel like they're falling apart. I work only one day a week because my health is a wreck to the point that washing dishes is a challenge. We all have our things, some more than others, but we all have our individual limits, too. Again I wish you the best, and thank you for sharing with us what is going on. That was very brave. I pray that in time you find peace and healing.

    --Jen

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    1. Wow Jen, what a GREAT story. Again, this is what I love about blogging....we can share amazing stories together. Thank you so much!!

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    2. Jen, thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading your journey and with your Samanthas. I picked up a few pointers too using LADL and my collection was restored after years of neglect. When you know better you do better. Now my dolls look shiny and new. Dolls are great at distracting and comforting as we know from a lifetime of welcoming them into our homes at a young age. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thank you for all the fun these past few years. I loved checking your blog every day and seeing the new stuff, reviews, and pictures of your collection. We especially enjoyed hosting Willow in CO. and I was so sad when she never returned from Alaska. But then Tammy came along, and we loved the Belgium pictures. We visited my daughter's future in laws there last fall. Once again, many thanks for the daily joy you gave us. Best wishes for happiness in your new adventures. ❤️

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    1. Hi Kathy!!!
      Yes, Tammy has breathed new life into LADL doll travels and given everyone hope that we CAN share adventures as a community, thanks to everyone who has hosted her so far.
      I appreciate all of what you said. Thank you.

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  4. Rhonda, you are always in my heart of hearts and prayers. Like you my love of collecting dolls have seen me through tough times discrimination, heartbreak and loss of a dear loved one. Seeing you and your blog brought me through and I will never forget your kindness and generous spirit of sharing your love of dolls with us. Your blog was like Raggedy Anne's famous chocolate heart, wrapped in gold and sweet to to the last drop and to collectors unique & worth millions. My family and I just adore you and how you helped me to find my voice again. We are still on the hunt for a unique Gabby but by writing to the company and speaking out, I am now convinced that AG is now making things right again and that is a big nod to your blog by being that channel that allowed me to voice my concern. Like my little one's book, love you to the moon and back. Thank you for sharing and making life and our love for dolls a little sweeter everyday.

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    1. Aww Ticia, you're such a sweet and dear friend. You have been so wonderfully supportive and always there when I've needed you, and I'm grateful. I love you and your family too, very much! Thank you, especially for the Raggedy Anne reference (means a lot!!)

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  5. I remember when Doll Diaries came to an end, now LADL is ending, we're very sad but we wish you happiness.

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  6. I will miss your updates on this blog, & your presence on YouTube as well, but if the Lord is calling, it's best you answer. I'm sure you will be blessed in all you do. ♡

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  7. I'm not even going to look at how long it's been since I've posted. We FINALLY have a settlement date for our new house of August 10th so I should be back posting (probably posts of unpacking for months!) before we're all in LADL withdraw. The doll room is twice as big so there is room for everyone!

    I shall miss your posts and relish your sanity :)

    If you ever want to guest post...

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  8. Aw I am very sad to see LADL end but I understand why it must! Change is very hard but sometimes it can be good! And if God has told you walk a different path then it must be for the best! I cant wait to see what he has in store for you!
    Lots of hugs!

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  9. Dear Rhonda, your blog has given me great joy. I'm an adult collector without any daughters or grandchildren. I live with a supportive and kind hubby who puts up with my doll collection staring at him each night from the windowseat. Your blog is such fun. It took me a while to remember that LADL was an acronym for Living a Dolls Life, as I'm not good with those things! I've read nearly every post, and I've esp enjoyed "Snickerdoodle Street". I still intend to build a house out of foam board, and I'll always be referencing your blogs for ideas. Thank you so very much for all the work you've put into them. I wish you all the best in your new endeavors!

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  10. I'll miss you. I know I don't comment a ton, but I really like reading your blog!

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  11. Dear Rhonda. I am going to miss your blog. Even though I haven't commented in so long I wanted to let you know I read your blog every day. I am sure you are being called to do great things. It was so nice to hear from other doll collectors. I think your blog and all of your followers had a help in making American Girl change a few of their mistakes they made over the past couple of years. Thank you for bring this little community of doll collectors together. I wish you all the best.

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  12. It takes such a strong person to be so open and vulnerable! I have loved reading your blog the past 4 years and will be very sad when you discontinue it this December. I also want to thank you for bringing this community together! I wish you the best and you and your blog shall be missed!

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  13. I will miss doing the reporting, reviewing, and celebrating all things dolls that I have been doing with the LADL community over the last few years! Madelon

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  14. I'm sad to see the blog go, Rhonda, but I completely understand. Time for new challenges, new journeys, new experiences. My daughters and I thank you for all of your committed and hard work on this blog (and the special little treasures that you have gifted them!)--this blog has been so much fun for all of us over the years. We were happy to stumble upon it, to help us explore the dolling community and discover fun crafts and share doll news. Truly--I want to thank you for it, as it allowed my daughters and I to bond over our mutual love of these types of dolls--and has given us a fun project to do together. We have really enjoyed contributing in our small ways and connecting with you and the wonderful LADL community over the years. We'll miss you! All the best in life's new directions! May you find much happiness in your new adventures!

    Thanks again for sharing your world with us!

    Robin :)

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  15. Rhonda, I am so very sorry to hear this! I have always enjoyed seeing your posts come into my inbox. Many have inspired me in my own blogging and I thank you for that.

    More than for inspiration, I owe you a deep debt of gratitude for connecting me with Nonna. We have had such great adventures together since Willow traveled around southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014! I don't think we would have connected without you and Living a Doll's Life.

    As you step into new adventures may you find happiness and peace. Know that you are held dear by your friends here. Go forth and conquer. :-) Thank you, again, for all you've done.
    ~Xyra

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  16. Rhonda, I shall truly miss you and LADL. You gave me a way to express my creativity by posting my doll scenes. Thank you so much! Because of you, I have learned how to download my pictures,etc. I am VERY computer challenged, but in spite of that fact, because I want to continue posting pictures, I hope to start a doll blog of my own. I have NO idea how to go about it though. Madelon, I would love to have you report and review all things doll on my upcoming blog if I can get it up and running! Love you Rhonda. I will be praying for you! LADL will truly be missed!!!

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    1. Linda, I would love to help you with reports and reviews! Madelon

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  17. Thank you Madelon! Wish me luck!

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