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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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!


Friday, March 05, 2021

 



GOT MY SHOT

 

I was really nervous yesterday when I was on my way to a new facility to get my first Covid shot. The appointment was easy for me to get since I get updates through My Chart. I worried there would be long lines inside the building and I felt nervous with the possibility that I might be one of those people who have had extreme reactions to the shot.

 

I was so surprised to see how efficiently things were planned to move quickly along. As a trickle of people were going into the building, a similar trickle was leaving through another door. Someone was there to greet each of us as we entered and areas were clearly marked to keep social distancing. Of course everyone wore masks.

 

I was quickly shown to the room where the Pfizer vaccines were administered and my nephew was allowed to stay with me through the whole process. The nurse explained everything about the shot, what to expect, and what the potential side effects might me. I barely felt the shot when she gave it. I got a card to keep with me that attests to the fact that I have been vaccinated and the nurse included on the card when my second shot is scheduled. I certainly won’t miss that second shot.

 

Upon leaving, the nurse gave me a written document about the Pfizer vaccine, what the side effects might be and what to do for each of them. I also received a button attesting to the fact that I have received the vaccine which I thought was nice, sorta like the sticker we get when we vote.

 

It’s been almost 24 hours since I got my vaccine and, so far, I have no side effects what-so-ever except a little soreness in the arm at the injection site.  I feel good about getting the vaccine and knowing that I am now playing a part in ending this deadly pandemic and protecting my loved ones and the community in which I live.

  




Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories

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Amazon Author's Page


Friday, February 19, 2021

 


LET US BE A LIGHT WHEN THINGS GO DARK

In my morning thoughts and prayers I include all those who have suffered power outages in the Midwest and are suffering the extreme cold, hunger, and the need for fresh water. I also keep in mind the homeless everywhere and in my city where they are ordered to be out of their tents into some safer housing since rats have overtaken their encampment and present to them an increased danger of disease along with Covid. It is also is in my prayers that our leaders find just and fair ways to help this nation get through these hard times with plans and visions to benefit ALL Americans and to Lead By Example as we sort out and solve these trials our nation faces. Let us be kind and respectful of one another and all living things on Earth. May we each be a light to dispel the darkness.


Monday, February 01, 2021

February Hits Like A Bomb by Sarah J. McNeal

 



 

Now real winter begins in the month of February. While it’s just chilly with gray skies and drizzle here in North Carolina, many of you have been hit with a major winter storm in the north mid-west all the way up into New England and the Eastern seaboard. I understand from the news that some of you may get 2 foot of snow and more, plus it’s supposed to keep snowing for several days. Where I live the greatest impediment to happiness is freezing rain. The roads get slick and it’s hard to tell where the ice is, and then there’s the icing up that happens on trees and power lines that will surely lead to the loss of power for some. Nothing like losing your power when we need it most in the bitter cold of winter. Then, of course, there is the dread of what to do in a pandemic when the power goes out because we’re all isolating at home and crowded places where we once could seek shelter are now dangerous places to be.

 


I feel so sorry for the homeless people who are growing in numbers due to the economic downturn in the pandemic—like things weren’t bad enough already. Can you imagine trying to keep warm in a tent or just a blanket? Here in Charlotte, the CMPD is taking metal barrels and wood to a group of homeless people so they can have the warm of a fire and people are coming together to bring them warm meals and proper clothes and blankets. It has to be miserable for these homeless people and their families. I am grateful for everything thing I have even though I don’t live in a big house or have lots of money.

 

Snow in my neighborhood a few years back

How are all of you holding up? Do you still have power? Do you have fun things to do out in the snow or are you huddling by the fire with a book or Netflix? Did you make some snow cream, or are you working on seedlings for spring planting?

 

 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

COLLECTIONS By Sarah J. McNeal #TheWildingsSeries

 


I have to confess, I am a collector. I get interested in one thing, and the next thing ya know, I’m trying to find the space to put the MANY items I have collected.

Way back when my grandmother, who was addicted to auctions, got a box full of stuff at an auction and in it was a strange little ivory man with holes in his back which she gave to me. I wondered with all my imaginative might why it had those holes. Was it part of necklace that belonged to an Asian princess perhaps? Astoundingly, my high school sweetheart and I found another strange ivory figure with holes in it similar to the one I had been given by my grandmother at a unique shop, Maison Michelle, in downtown Charlotte. Curiosity really took hold. A few years later my sweetheart, who was then my husband and I found a wonderful shop, The Japonica, where unique Asian items were sold. The owner was friendly and even made us tea. She had several ivory figures with those 2 holes in them, so I asked her what they were. They were Netsuke, and were used as a slide knot with a pouch where the owner would keep things like pen and ink and so on. The item was worn on the belt and the Netsuke was made in such a way that it would always turn face out. Those little figures were actually very expensive, costing several hundred dollars each. I saved my money and bought one whenever I could until I had a nice little collection. I stopped collecting them when I thought about how they were made of ivory, and even though they were antiques, I felt guilty about buying any more.



My collection days were not over, however. I collected PEZ containers until my collection outgrew space. I also collected salt and pepper shakers because they were so cute, and I collected whirligigs until they began to cost more than I could afford. I loved the huge metal whirligigs in the movie “Twister” the auntie made and they were also musical. Awesome! I also collect interesting pens.

I don’t know the psychology behand the need to collect things and, quite honestly, I don’t really care. For me, it’s just fun and exciting when I have a collection of something and I find a new piece that is just too adorable to pass up.

Do you have a collection? What do you collect? How did you get into your collection?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

My Dog Lily's Super Powers #The WildingsSeries by Sarah J. McNeal

 


If the doorbell rings, the mail person deposits letters in the box, a car backfires, or the teenager next door is practicing moves with his skate board, Lily will come running to wherever I am with wide eyes and an anxious expression. I am not fooled into believing she is coming to protect me from an intruder or some such. No. Lily is looking for me to protect HER. She’ll get behind me like I’m her human shield against harm.

If I open the door, but not the storm door which is locked, Lily will bark so much I cannot hear the other person. This is particularly annoying at Halloween. I had to start handing out candy through the bay window because of Lily’s annoying bark. But here’s something interesting, if I open the door and let the person in, Lily immediately becomes an attention hound trying whatever she can think of to get them to pet her.

This is the way it is with Golden Retrievers. If you’re wanting a guard dog, this is not your dog. Now if you need a hug or a dog who will listen to you whine about your life for a while, now THAT would be Lily’s super powers. Golden Retrievers are all about service and kindness.

Lily is also great at chasing squirrels. She has never actually caught one. That was always Liberty and Priss’s (Priss was my cat before Liberty. They looked almost identical) domain (cats). If I lived in the wilderness and had to depend on an animal to fetch dinner for me, I would call the cat—the REAL hunter.

BTW, speaking of squirrels, I haven’t seen Twig today, but I think I saw the daddy sunning himself on the railing of the deck in a spot of sunshine. He looked very well fed and seemed pretty content out there.

When it comes to guardian type dogs, I’ve had 2 of them: Finn and Mac. You would think 18-20 pound dogs wouldn’t be anything to worry about, but I can tell you both those Scotties were determined, courageous, and smart. I wouldn’t have wanted to confront them if I were a stranger. They sounded like big dogs and I think they believed they were big. Those guys were fearless.

Well, Lily has spent all her energy begging for pats on the head from company today, so she’s having to rest to rejuvenate.

Do you have a dog or cat? How would you rate them as guardians? Would they rush in to save you, or hide behind you? What is your favorite thing about your dog or cat that makes you love them even more?