Sunday, July 18, 2021

Disasters and Prayers by Sarah J. McNeal, author

 

Forest Fires in Northern California


My thoughts and Prayers go out to our friends Europe from the floods that have taken 180 lives so far, to the people of Northern California experiencing yet another season of devastating forest fires, to the Mid-westerners suffering from the heat and extreme drought along the Colorado River, now estimated to have dropped its water level 140 feet, and to the families of those lost in the collapse of buildings in Florida.

Have any of these disasters affected you or your loved ones? Is there anything the rest of us can do to help you?


The Floods in Europe

Saturday, June 19, 2021

FATHER'S DAY by Sarah J. McNeal #TheWildingsSeries

 



FATHER’S DAY 2021

 

Pop loved fishing. Here he is with his big catch.

Pop wasn’t the kind of dad who gave a lot of hugs and said, “I love you” very often. In fact, he seldom did those 2 things, but he DID show me love in the language he knew best; he showed me almost on the daily the time and energy he was willing to spend on me.

 

He helped my sister and me gather straw and put it in water to “ferment”, and then we looked at it under the microscope taking daily samples to see what going on in the murky water. It was like a microcosm of the universe in a drop of liquid. One celled animals developed, then new ones came in, and the first ones preyed on the second until the third group followed and did the same. Eventually all the living things were gone.

 

Pop showed us how to grow an organic garden without using pesticides, and gave us the knowledge to make compost. We were allowed to grow pollywogs we got from the pond to grow them until they became frogs. Those weren’t the only animals from the wild we were allowed to have; we had lizards and snakes, too. We learned the value of each creature in nature and learned to be respectful and reverent of all living things. “Everything has a purpose on Earth.”

 

He was a huge fan of conservation before conservation was a thing. He joined clubs like the Jacques Cousteau Society to protect nature’s creatures.

 

Pop in his kilt with his dog, Ember

As I have probably said before of him, he was a bit of an odd ball. Our freezer became his animal lab. He found a dead hawk, or maybe it was an owl alongside the road. He picked it up and put it in the freezer until he could turn it over to the Rapture Center for them to examine. Turns out it’s actually illegal to remove feathers or other parts of a bird of prey, so it’s a good thing he preserved it for them.

He dug up an ant hill, put it in a plastic bag in the freezer to keep until he could make the framed glass ant farm for the oldest nephew. It would have worked out fine if he had been able to get the queen, but unfortunately, the ants did not make it.

There were other road kill entries into the freezer hall of fame, so it was with caution that anyone lifted that freezer lid since we never knew what was in there.

 

Pop at work in the U.S. Weather Bureau at Douglas Airport

Pop loved math. He thought it was fun. My sister and I did not inherit that ability. Pop tried to teach me my multiplication tables and I’m certain he found that exhausting. Later, when I became a critical care nurse, his teaching about setting up algebraic equations came in very handy. Calculators had finally come into being by then. To show his pride in my work he gave me my first little calculator to keep in my pocket so I could calculate mixing and dispensing cardiac drugs. That was his “I love you” gift. He also gave me a Littman Master’s stethoscope when I passed the Coronary Care Curriculum to get into Coronary Care—another “I love you and I’m proud of you gift.”

 

Because Pop was a meteorologist, he was asked from time to time by our teachers to come to our classes and teach about the weather. He didn’t mind taking the time to do that for us and I think he actually enjoyed it. He taught my sister and me all about pressure areas, cold and hot fronts, and different cloud formations. Later, when he retired from the U.S. Weather Bureau and worked at WSOC TV, he worked with the filming crew to create little documentaries about wildlife and nature. I think that was something he really enjoyed doing.

 

Pop in the front yard wearing the suit Mom made for him

He was a big personality with a quirky sense of humor. I often went to him for advice on how to negotiate through life, and he always had something helpful to say to get me through. He died August 16, 1981 while he was touring the entire East Coast. While in Wilmington, NC, my favorite town, he had a ruptured aortic aneurism and was gone within 32 hours.

I miss him. I will always miss him. He was a great dad and I was lucky to have had him. He was like a harbor I could sail to in times of trouble. On this coming Father’s Day I honor my dad, James William McNeal. I love you, Pop.

 


 Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

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Fantasy and Dreams (sarahmcneal.blogspot.com)


Saturday, June 05, 2021


 

LILY THE SQUIRREL WATCHER

 

One of Lily’s favorite things to do is hang out at the door to the deck and watch for squirrels. There of plenty of squirrels to watch, especially since the bird feeder is hanging close to the door and the squirrels like to snack on all the seeds the birds spill out. There’s also a bird bath on the rail of the deck where the squirrels like to go for a drink. Sometimes they lay on the rail and sleep.

 

Now I’d like to think that Lily could out-think a squirrel and at least make a good show of chasing them down, but this is just not the case. The squirrels just leap to the oak tree by the deck and then sit there laughing at Lily’s attempts to catch them. I seriously doubt Lily would know what to do if she ever did catch one. Lily is not the wildlife hunter she seems to think she is. Rabbits like to hang out in the backyard munching on clover and dandelions even in the middle of the day. Lily doesn’t seem to even know they exist, but the few times she shows them any interest, do you think they leap away in fear? Nope. At best, I would call it more like a walk away. They just mosey over to the back fence and move to what I like to call “the rabbit highway.” The highway is the space between the wooden fence and the chain link fence behind it. It’s a space of about a foot where the rabbits are safe from Lily And the pit bull dog on the neighbor’s side of the fence. Rabbits are not as dumb as one might think.

 

Along my side of the fence there’s plenty of blackberry vines. Between my fence and the chain link fence there is a nice overgrowth of privet and other bushes where the rabbits can take cover from hawks.

 

Lily’s greatest joy is to bark at the neighbors when they’re out in their yard or the workmen that seem to be there quite frequently making repairs and such. I guess that’s just a dog thing. Mostly, Lily just sits in her spot under the bench on the deck and keep vigil over the doings in the backyard. She likes to drink the overflow water in the dish beneath the mint plant. I would think that’s just gross, but it’s her thing. She prefers it over her own fresh water in her bowl. Maybe it’s like the popcorn at the movies tastes better than the popcorn we make at home.

This is a picture of Lily in which she’s keeping watch at the door while believing she’s hidden by the curtain.

 

Do you have a dog with weird habits? What does your dog do that you think is funny or weird? What’s your dog’s name? Is your dog a rescue?  




  

THE WILDINGS: A FAMILY SAGA (BOXED SET) only 99 cents

Prairie Rose Publications

BY SARAH MCNEAL

Buy Link:  THE WILDINGS

THE WILDINGS is a wonderful collection of western romance stories that follow the Wilding family through generations of love and loss, joy and sorrow, and wins and losses in life. Get lost in this exciting boxed set of full-length books and novellas that trace the adventures of the descendants of the Wilding family. From the lawless old west days of the early 1900’s in ruthless Hazard, Wyoming, through the generations forward, the action, romance, and suspense is nonstop.

Follow the saga of the Wilding family from the early days that begin with a haunted house, a trunk, and a date with destiny in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. Can Joe and Lola’s unlikely romance last? Next, the dangers of World War 1 in For Love of Banjo, and a Prohibition-era kidnapping with Fly Away Heart will have you on the edge of your seat. Hollow Heart is a post WWII short story with a surprise twist, and The Beast of Hazard will touch you with its romance between a veterinarian and a beautiful circus performer facing danger. In Unexpected Blessings, a couple overcomes a seemingly insurmountable problem, and in Home For the Heart, a determined young woman must find a way into a confirmed bachelor’s heart. A conversation at a wedding spoils everything in It’s Only Make Believe, and in I Dream of You, a recurring dream, a kiss, and deadly secrets could unlock not only love but a very dangerous outcome for everyone. Three Christmas novellas, A Husband for Christmas, When Love Comes Knocking, and A Christmas Visitor are also included to round out the series and bring it to a very satisfying conclusion.

 

This wonderful collection will keep you entertained with richly-woven stories filled with real-life excitement, danger, and love from the heart of romance author Sarah J. McNeal. THE WILDINGS will enthrall you and keep you turning pages as you follow the multi-faceted characters and the stories of their lives! Don’t miss it!






Sarah J. McNeal



Thursday, April 22, 2021

EARTH DAY 2021 by Sarah J. McNeal #TheWildingsSeries

 


There is so much I want to say about celebrating Earth Day because every living thing on Earth depends on what we humans must do before it’s too late. We are at the precipice of disaster. If we humans don’t change what we’re doing, we will ultimately kill the ecosystem on our planet and ourselves.

Many of us live in cities where tall building, highways, and traffic give us the feeling we are separate and more elevated than the other living beings on the planet, but nothing could be more untrue. It won’t matter if the economy dries up and Wall Street crashes if we don’t have clean water, food free from poisons, and soil and oceans rich with life. It is imperative that we take major steps to change right now. It’s on us, in this moment, to prevent the Earth and all living things on it from dying.

So, I hope you will join me in celebrating Earth Day by taking a step toward cleaning up our mess.


Until Next Time...

Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

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Twitter

Amazon Author's Page




Friday, April 16, 2021

The Raccoon Aftermath

 



 

As you may know, three raccoons invaded my attic by going through the roof leaving roof damage in their wake. The raccoons, 2 babies and their mama, have all been safely removed and taken to a wildlife refuge in Clover, South Carolina.

 

So, my roof had to be repaired as soon as possible before more catastrophe occurred. In order to fix the roof, the overgrown quince and red tip shrubberies had to be removed. Matthew and Tracey, my nephew and niece-in-law, removed the scrubs near the oak tree in the back yard. I thought I was done, but the roofers wanted the scrubs that were overgrown at the end of the house where my study and bedroom are. Well, I kinda hated that I had to do that because I liked the privacy those bushes provided, plus I enjoyed the bird nesting in them and my little squirrel friend, Twig, who climbed up those quince bushes (which had grown into practically trees) searching for Quince berries. I took some pictures of him that I’ll post so you can see the overgrowth at the study windows.

 

My lawn care guy, Al and his son, Jake, came and cut all those bushes down to the ground as requested by the roofers so they could get their ladders in to work on the roof. It took a long time for them to get all those bushes down and, by the time they laid out all the debris for recycle pickup, it looked like they had taken down a huge oak tree. I was astonished at the amount.

 

Twig, the squirrel, peaking in the study window. (Notice all the shrubbery behind him.)

But now that the bushes are gone, I can hear every word my neighbors speak when they are out in their driveway and I have a view of the entire street. One good thing is I can see the huge oak tree in my neighbor’s yard 2 doors down and I’ll be able to see the fireworks when that neighbor celebrates the 4th of July this year. I intend to focus on the plus side of cutting those bushes down even though I’m going to miss Twig and the birds building nests. I’ll adapt because I would rather miss out on the privacy and wildlife than to have raccoons living in my attic.  


  Now the neighbor's huge oak tree is clearly visible from the study window.  


THE WILDINGS: A FAMILY SAGA (BOXED SET) only 99 cents

Prairie Rose Publications

BY SARAH MCNEAL

Buy Link: THE WILDINGS

THE WILDINGS is a wonderful collection of western romance stories that follow the Wilding family through generations of love and loss, joy and sorrow, and wins and losses in life. Get lost in this exciting boxed set of full-length books and novellas that trace the adventures of the descendants of the Wilding family. From the lawless old west days of the early 1900’s in ruthless Hazard, Wyoming, through the generations forward, the action, romance, and suspense is nonstop.

Follow the saga of the Wilding family from the early days that begin with a haunted house, a trunk, and a date with destiny in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. Can Joe and Lola’s unlikely romance last? Next, the dangers of World War 1 in For Love of Banjo, and a Prohibition-era kidnapping with Fly Away Heart will have you on the edge of your seat. Hollow Heart is a post WWII short story with a surprise twist, and The Beast of Hazard will touch you with its romance between a veterinarian and a beautiful circus performer facing danger. In Unexpected Blessings, a couple overcomes a seemingly insurmountable problem, and in Home For the Heart, a determined young woman must find a way into a confirmed bachelor’s heart. A conversation at a wedding spoils everything in It’s Only Make Believe, and in I Dream of You, a recurring dream, a kiss, and deadly secrets could unlock not only love but a very dangerous outcome for everyone. Three Christmas novellas, A Husband for Christmas, When Love Comes Knocking, and A Christmas Visitor are also included to round out the series and bring it to a very satisfying conclusion.

 

This wonderful collection will keep you entertained with richly-woven stories filled with real-life excitement, danger, and love from the heart of romance author Sarah J. McNeal. THE WILDINGS will enthrall you and keep you turning pages as you follow the multi-faceted characters and the stories of their lives! Don’t miss it!


Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author's Page

Saturday, April 03, 2021

My EASTER MEMORIES

 


MOM: Hilda Charlene McNeal


While Pop was the master of gardening, nature, science, and bird watching, Mom’s super power was celebrating holidays. She had an innate gift for making them joyous occasions no matter what. Easter was one of those special happy times she created.

 

It all started with the dying of Easter eggs. It was quite a production. While the eggs were boiling we gathered the magical kit of dye tabs, metal look, paper stickers with pictured of bunnies and chicks, and that wondrous was crayon we could use to write our names and greetings. There were usually 6-8 color tabs in the packet, so we got the same number of old cups we would use to dissolve each tab using water and vinegar. We dipped the eggs into the dye using the metal loop and placed it on a rack until it dried. When we finished we had quite a pile of colorful and decorated eggs. Of course we sampled some along the way.

 

Mom made her own chocolate covered eggs. The filling was made using cream cheese, powdered sugar and something to flavor it. Our two favorite fillings were peanut butter and cherry. Ohmagosh, those chocolate covered sweets were so yummy good.

 

Even after my sister and I were grown, Mom still had those Easter baskets waiting for us on the dining room table every Easter. She crammed it full of jelly beans, marshmallow peeps, some kind of funky hard marshmallow eggs with a colored sugar coating, and of course, that great big chocolate rabbit. There would be fuzzy chicks and other toys in there when we were younger. I still have my basket and some of the toys that she put in it. The chicks with cowboy hats and bonnets are a bit faded now, but most of them are still there. I use it as a center piece for my dining table these days, but with it also comes the memories of Mom and how she made Easter a wonderful happy time.



Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author's Page


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Just in: The Wildings Are now Available in a Boxed Set!

 


THE WILDINGS: A Family Saga

By Sarah J. McNeal

Prairie Rose Publications

Pre-order Link: WILDINGS SAGA 


All my Wildings stories are now in a boxed set available for pre-order and for only 99 cents. The collection will publish on March 18.

 

THE WILDINGS is a wonderful collection of western romance stories that follow the Wilding family through generations of love and loss, joy and sorrow, and wins and losses in life. Get lost in this exciting boxed set of full-length books and novellas that trace the adventures of the descendants of the Wilding family. From the lawless old west days of the early 1900’s in ruthless Hazard, Wyoming, through the generations forward, the action, romance, and suspense is nonstop.

Follow the saga of the Wilding family from the early days that begin with a haunted house, a trunk, and a date with destiny in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. Can Joe and Lola’s unlikely romance last? Next, the dangers of World War 1 in For Love of Banjo, and a Prohibition-era kidnapping with Fly Away Heart will have you on the edge of your seat. Hollow Heart is a post WWII short story with a surprise twist, and The Beast of Hazard will touch you with its romance between a veterinarian and a beautiful circus performer facing danger. In Unexpected Blessings, a couple overcomes a seemingly insurmountable problem, and in Home For the Heart, a determined young woman must find a way into a confirmed bachelor’s heart. A conversation at a wedding spoils everything in It’s Only Make Believe, and in I Dream of You, a recurring dream, a kiss, and deadly secrets could unlock not only love but a very dangerous outcome for everyone. Three Christmas novellas, A Husband for Christmas, When Love Comes Knocking, and A Christmas Visitor are also included to round out the series and bring it to a very satisfying conclusion.

 

This wonderful collection will keep you entertained with richly-woven stories filled with real-life excitement, danger, and love from the heart of romance author Sarah J. McNeal. THE WILDINGS will enthrall you and keep you turning pages as you follow the multi-faceted characters and the stories of their lives! Don’t miss it!