Wednesday, September 08, 2021

I LOVE AMERICA by Sarah J. McNeal #TheWildingsSeries

 


I love America. I’m not talking about the government, politics, laws, or Wall Street; I’m talking about the uniqueness of this country in which people from all over the world come together and share their cultures, ideals, and beliefs with others to become “Americans”. I love that we live on a land with such great expanse and diversity, both geographically and culturally. We are cradled between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and rest above the Gulf of Mexico. We have friendly neighbors to the north and the south and we share a common love of freedom.

We may squabble amongst ourselves as most families do, but no matter what happens, no matter how dark or bright our days or history, we will find our way and we will do it together.

 

Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

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Sunday, August 15, 2021

SEARCHING FOR PEACE by Sarah J. McNeal #TheWildingsSeries



There was supposed to be a big meteorite shower a few nights ago. We used to call them shooting stars, but they’re actually meteorites. They’re still beautiful all the same. Anyway, it should be a wonderful sight to behold what with the lightning bugs lighting up the backyard and the shooting stars above. I could certainly use some uplifting lights and happy thoughts.

I’ve been watching too much news lately—too much Covid dangers, Fire and Flood disasters, Climate change heating up the planet, and politicians finding fault with everything. Kinda feel like this lighthouse out in some rough seas.



I tried getting my mind off all this bad news by watching a series on Netflix. Well, that might not have been a good plan because I chose “Chicago Med” which is all about emergency medicine and critical care. It is, in fact, the most realistic medical show I’ve ever seen. I usually avoid medical shows because they made me feel I was at work all day. This particular series just brought back all the intense feelings I had when I worked critical care and replayed them in my head like flashbacks that were sad or angry or helpless. It was like picking at a scab until I made it bleed.



So, my new plan is to be quiet, go out on my deck when the sun goes down (slathered in mosquito repellent), and just enjoy watching nature and listening to the cicadas sing with my dog by my side.

How are y’all doin’ out there? Are you okay? What is your best coping mechanism for dealing with stress? 



If you or a loved one has had difficulty coping with the turmoil of today’s events and the pandemic, or have been having difficulty with emotional distress or depression, you may want to call the following for the help you need:

Healing Direction Therapy, PLLC

Tracey L. Beaty, LCMHC (Therapist)

980-272-8058

Or email her at healingdirection@yahoo.com


Until Next Time...

Sunday, August 01, 2021

NOTHING SAYS SUMMER LIKE AUGUST by Sarah J. McNea l#TheWildingsSeries

 



 

I’ve heard it said that August is like the Sunday of summer. Sunday is that last day before you go back to the work grind on Monday or the last day of freedom before school. It’s the end of sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day, laying in the hammock with a cool drink, sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch and waving to your neighbors when they walk by, and the end of spontaneous trips to the beach or the mountains.

 


Every month has its own particular weather, for August that means it HOT! It also means hurricanes, forest fires, and draught—or here where I live, thunder storms on the daily. Still, we love August.

 

August is when our efforts in the garden pay off. Fruits and vegetables are ripening faster than we can harvest them. I remember how all the gardeners at work would bring in their excess fruits and vegetables and we’d all exchange our abundance for someone else’s who grew something we didn’t have. By the way, my 3 apples came in on my apple tree, but before they were fully ripened, the birds and squirrels feasted on them. I’m okay with that though.





 

August is the month when we try to get that last refreshing swim in the pool or take a trip to the beach and swim in the ocean and eat seafood until we burst. I have a fondness for the Breezeway Seafood Restaurant at Topsail Beach, but I also love the Calabash at Myrtle Beach. Of course, the one seafood you can’t eat in August is oysters…you can only eat them in the months with an “R”, so September will get them back on the menu (provided you like oysters.) Some of us prefer the cooler climate of the mountains and the shady trails and waterfalls. Blowing Rock is mostly my autumn favorite, but it’s great in the heat of summer, too.

 


What is your favorite thing to do in August? Are you a beach person, or are the cooler climes in the mountains more your thing? Do you like to laze around doing nothing or just looking for a place in the shade?  




Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

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Facebook

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Amazon Author's Page

Fantasy and Dreams (sarahmcneal.blogspot.com)



Tuesday, July 27, 2021

HOT SUMMER DAYS by Sarah J. McNeal

 

Left to Right: Matthew (nephew), Mary (sister), Ron (Mary's Husband), Pop, Mom, Me 


 We did not have air conditioning in our house when I was growing up. After some years, Pop got a window air conditioner in the bedroom for Mom because she had heart failure and hard a hard time breathing. We were lucky to live in an old house, part of which was made of logs and later, updated with white wooden siding. We had numerous trees, mostly oaks and elms that shaded the house and helped keep it cool. But even with all those advantages, hot humid summers could become overwhelming. Many nights when the humidity was high, I would wake up to damp sheets from the damp air. There were times when the air was so still and the temperature was so high, thunder storms were a welcome relief because of the wind associated with them.

We kept the windows wide open all over the house. In those days we didn’t worry about break-ins because they just weren’t a thing. Only once, when no one was home did we experience a break-in, but it was kind of a sad thing. A neighbor across the field was suspected of the break-in and the only thing missing was canned goods from the pantry. Pop must have felt compassion for the neighbor because he didn’t report it to the police and didn’t seem to feel anyone was in danger from this person. We did, however, start locking the doors when no one was home after that.

Pop, Mary, Me. Mom: out in the side yard by the screened-in porch

The heat drove us outside for meals and family gatherings. We often went down to the edge of the orchard under the shelter of trees to catch a breeze and some comfort. We spent a lot of time hanging out in the screened-in porch in the evenings and had meals in the side yard during the day. I never felt deprived because we didn’t have air conditioning. Even today looking back at those days I feel a kind of happiness in the way we used to adjust our lives to the heat of summer. We had great conversations and somehow food tasted better outside. We weren’t closeted inside the house staring at a TV or confined under a roof instead of out in the fresh air with clouds and stars overhead. I look back on those days with fondness and joy.

 

Did you grow up with air conditioning? How did you beat the heat of summer when you were growing up? Do you miss those days or are you glad you don’t have to deal hot and humid days in summer? What is your favorite thing about summer these days?





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!

 


Until Next Time...


Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author's Page

Fantasy and Dreams (sarahmcneal.blogspot.com)


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

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author's Page

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