Of Nieces, Nonsense, and Newspapers

p1190802The day was dull, dreary, and oh-so-ordinary! I had a hundred errands to run…shopping to do…and articles to write—but my grandnieces were raring for Adventure! To them, even ordinary days should be ‘Funtastic!’

“Auntie?” said little Katy as we headed into the Grocery Store together. “Can you be ‘Mary Poppins’ today?”

“Indeed!” I said, grabbing a shopping cart.  “I’m guess I’ll have to be ‘Auntie Poppins’ to get through this shopping trip!”

Resolutely, I pushed the shopping cart past the bins of gum, pop and candy—hurrying the girls along.  But then we passed a Newspaper rack, and I paused.  My brain was thinking fast.

“Look here,” I said to Katy and Avri as I handed them a Newspaper.  “If you’ll behave yourselves today, you might find yourself in the Newspaper, soon.”

Their mouths dropped open.  “How?” said the girls, looking intrigued and excited.  “How will it happen?

The little Darlings had no idea that their ‘Auntie Poppins’ wrote a column for the local newspaper….And they didn’t know that she was pushing a deadline.  Auntie didn’t enlighten them, either!

The girls spent the next half-hour chattering happily—pondering the mystery of the Newspaper in their hands.  They scarcely noticed all the goodies on display throughout the store.

We made quick work of our shopping trip with a minimum of distractions.  I was congratulating myself, when suddenly Katy tripped and fell down in the bakery aisle.  Her smiles turned to tears, and she started to cry loudly.

Heads swiveled as other shoppers turned to stare.

I cringed.  If ever there was a time for gum, pop, and candy it might be now!  But then I reconsidered.

“Be brave, Katy!” I said.  “You’ll want to look like a hero in the Newspaper…Right?”

Her tears dried up immediately, and she gave me a wondering smile. “This will be in the Newspaper?” Katy said.  “How I fell down in the Grocery Store?”

“Absolutely, my little Katydid!…because you are so brave!”

Katy beamed.  She got up from the floor and dusted herself off.             .

“But how is this going to happen, Auntie?”  Avri said.  “I don’t get it!”

“It’s a mystery for you to solve!” I said.  “Now, you stand right here and study the Newspaper while I go check on the fruit aisle.”

Minutes later, I returned to find the dimpled Darlings smiling triumphantly.  They were waving their copy of “Your Country Neighbor” in my face.  “We found you in the Newspaper, Auntie!”  Avri said. “You write articles!”
“Fancy that!” I said.  “And now we need to get out of here!  Time’s a wasting!…We’ve got more adventures awaiting us outside!”

We headed for the Cashier, and were about to check out when we saw a boy sitting on the floor throwing a tantrum.  He was giving his helpless Mom the ‘What-For!’  He wanted gum…pop…candy!  He wanted everything! .

We paused, gazing at the spoiled child and his frustrated Mother.  “Well,” I said.  “I hope this boy and his Mama will recognize themselves in the Newspaper next month!”

My nieces looked at me wide-eyed.  “Auntie!” they said. “Do you mean…?”

“Ah yes!  This bit of nonsense will be in the Newspaper, too,”  I said.  The girls giggled.

“If only he knew how silly he looks!” Avri said, brushing past the pouting child.
We paid for our groceries and sashayed out into the parking lot, leaving behind the pitiful pouter and his helpless Mama.

The sun had emerged and the day was glorious!   We felt exuberant in the sunshine.  We’d turned a dull shopping trip into an Adventure and we hadn’t wasted a penny on foolishness, either!

Little Katy and Avri would soon be ‘famous’ among their peers at school…And best of all, their ‘Auntie Poppins’ had a story for next month’s column!

We’d conquered our little world and had accomplished a great deal!   It was all in a day’s work!

The girls smiled, laughed and twirled in the sunshine while their Auntie unloaded the shopping cart with unmitigated satisfaction.  The day was no longer dull, dreary, or oh-so-ordinary!

It had turned out to be a wonderful afternoon….A splendid day, indeed!
So you see, my Country Neighbor—it’s not hard to turn an ordinary day into a magical one.

You just need a touch of drama and a whole lot of imagination.
It is all up to you!

VickiONeal.com

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From My Heart to Yours…!

13775415_10208810905103542_7708772936445270618_n[1]Valentines’ Day can make single gals very sad!  Just ask me.  I know all about it.  But sometimes, we can be pleasantly surprised and comforted in the most unusual ways!

Take the other day, for instance.  With a big sunhat on my head, I was walking along the water’s edge feeling sorry for myself.  It was a nice day, and I should have been enjoying the sunshine. Instead, I was mumbling and grumbling—feeling lonely and pitiful.

I searched the shoreline carefully, looking for ‘heart-shaped’ rocks—as is my custom—but there were none to be found.

“Lord,” I said.  “If You would give me a heart-rock, it would really make my day!”  I went on searching for some time without success.  I sighed and was ready to give up when suddenly I noticed someone approaching me from the side. Continue reading

The Full Story of “The Loon and the Lunatic”

During their lifetime, most folks get a chance at “15 minutes of Fame”–or perhaps “15 Minutes of Infamy”–as in my case! At one time or another, we all end up on local or National Television, and it is supposed to be the highlight of our existence here on the planet. Right?

Well, folks–my “shining moment” came and went last month, and it didn’t turn out to be as shiny as I expected. In fact, every time I think of it I am quite mortified.

I was in Northern California, beachcombing on my favorite stretch of sand near Eureka. I’d wandered far down the beach to an isolated area and was about to turn around when something caught my eye.

There in the sand was a big loon flopping about on the seashore. He was entangled in fishing line from his beak to his feet, and there was a large fish-hook embedded in his chest.

Continue reading

Update: The Loon and the Lunatic is on now TV!

RTM - Hey Looney Bird - Don't Bite The Hand That Frees You

My “Loony video” aired today on a TV Show called: “Right this Minute!” 🙂

I don’t know how it happened… but 2 different agencies saw my video on YouTube — and they both contacted me. Then one agency worked out a deal with my daughter, Karissa—who is my “business manager”—and within 24 hours, it aired on their show while their panel reviewed the Rescue.

Watch it on: http://www.rightthisminute.com/post/rtmtv-hey-looney-bird-dont-bite-hand-frees-you

“A loon rescue in Eureka, California turns into an attack on a Good Samaritan. While walking on the beach, Vicki O’Neal came across a loon tangled up in fishing line. She decided to free the bird, but that seemingly easy rescue turned into a 10-minute struggle.
The unappreciative bird bit scratched and kicked at Vicki. All we can hear are Vicki’s screams as she pleads with the bird to cooperate. Despite its stubbornness, Vicki was able to free the loon. She originally posted the rescue video on Facebook.”

“From My Heart to Yours….” (A strange but true story!)

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If you have no faith and you refuse to believe in “miracles”—then don’t bother reading this testimony, because you won’t believe it. But this really happened to Me today! And there are several people who can vouch for it! :

July 23: For some reason, God always deals with me at the Beach…and today was no exception! I was walking along in my big sunhat, feeling a bit sorry for myself because I had no friend to accompany me…No one but the Lord, of course!

“Jesus,” I prayed silently. “I’m sad. Can You at least give me a nice heart-shaped rock to show me that You love me? Surely You can do that for me, Jesus!?”

I walked on, mumbling and grumbling a bit beneath my breath—feeling lonely and pitiful.

I searched the seashore carefully, then sighed and was ready to give up when suddenly I noticed someone approaching me from the side.

It was a stranger—one of the other beachcombers. She came up to me as if she’d known me all her life, and held out her hand. “From my heart to yours!” she said, handing me a stone that she’d just found.

I gaped at it, stunned. It was a heart-shaped rock! I managed to mumble a few words before the woman wandered away with her head down—looking for more rocks.

I walked on in a daze—-all the way down the beach.

Somehow, Jesus had managed to comfort me and chastise me gently—all at the same time. He was showing me that He loved me–and that I was NOT alone.

But how in the world did He get a stranger to do that—just when I needed it most?

I pondered and I wandered. At last, I stopped walking.
I had to know the rest-of-the-story!
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I turned around and began retracing my steps until I found the woman further down the shoreline. I recognized her immediately. She was standing there talking to another woman who was wearing a big sunhat.

They both looked at me expectantly when I approached.

“Excuse me,” I said to the first woman–the one who had handed me the rock. “I just wanted to thank you for giving me the Heart-Rock because I really needed it and—-”

She was staring at me blankly, without recognition in her eyes. She shook her head. “I didn’t give you a rock…!” she said.

I was perplexed. I turned to the other woman—the one in the sunhat. “Did you give me the rock?”

She just shook her head, looking totally bewildered as well.

Something was very wrong. I felt like I’d entered the Twilight Zone.

“Look here,” I says. “I know I’m not crazy. One of you walked up to me and handed me this rock and said: ‘From my Heart to yours!'”
Slowly, a light began to dawn in the first woman’s eyes.

“Oh!” she said. “That must have been me! But I thought I was giving it to my sister here,” she said, indicating the woman in the sunhat.

Then she frowned and shook her head. “How in the world did I do that? Well…I guess it’s because she’s wearing a sunhat too, and is about your size. I got the two of you mixed up!”

Her frown turned to a smile. “Anyway….” she said. “I THOUGHT I was giving the Heart-Rock to my sister, Vic—”

“Vic…? Did you say ‘Vic”? ” I said interrupting her. My Twilight Zone had just deepened. My brain felt like it couldn’t handle any more surprises. “Your sister’s name is ‘Vic’…? But that is MY name too!”

It was too ironic. Too unbelievable. My brain was in a whirl and so was theirs! We all started to laugh.

“So—” I said when we all got done laughing.
“What happened is—you gave the Heart-Rock to the wrong Vic….!”
Then I corrected myself. “No…actually—you gave it to the RIGHT Vic—you just didn’t know it!”

We all burst out laughing again. The irony was too much.

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How the Lord does what He does, is just beyond comprehension! And He does it so easily—even though it leaves us befuddled.
Sometimes you just have to Laugh! There’s nothing else to do.

We might be confounded, but our Lord Jesus Christ is never confused. He takes care of millions of similar situations every day. He has His plans and ironies all laid out ahead of time.

We just have to trust Him to take care of us—whether it’s big things or small… He’s got it all under control. He does these “little miracles” to build up our faith for greater miracles just ahead.

There’s one thing that is for certain, Folks…..
Jesus has a wonderful sense of humor.
There is no doubt about that!

Bird Rescue – The Loon and the Lunatic

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Through this unfortunate bird, God taught me a BIG lesson at the beach yesterday… and I shall never forget! The Lord always gives me “object lessons”—and this had to be one of the best! I share it with you now.

>>> Yesterday, I was not very happy with God. As usual, I went to the beach to hash things out with Him. As I walked along the shore, I told Him how dreadful things were going down here on the planet.

“The world is deranged and getting worse by the day! And you aren’t doing much to help us! You are so Big and Powerful—but you let us struggle so horribly! When will you DO something, Lord? So many people are struggling and hurting and in such terrible trials! Why don’t you intervene, God?”

Now normally–the Lord is pretty tolerant of me….but yesterday I could sense His displeasure. I was just too upset to care!

You see—right now the Lord has me “trapped” He has told me that I must leave the City of Eureka, CA—and I have been preparing to do just that!….but now He won’t give me final permission to leave! He is testing my faith to the MAX. I have been “dangling” for weeks now, and I’m not happy about it. I feel foolish. Humiliated. And very frustrated.

So here I was walking along, hashing it out with God… And suddenly, I came upon this unfortunate bird. He was flopping on the beach with fishing line wrapped around his beak and his feet—and worse yet, he had a huge fish hook buried in his chest. He was pitiful and quite helpless.

My heart broke for the little feller, and I immediately went into action. For some crazy reason, I put my cellphone nearby and turned on the video camera—thinking it would only take a minute or two to loose him.

Well. I struggled for almost 10 minutes, and the results were horrendous. I got got sand in my eyes…and I was bitten and mistreated horribly for my efforts. I was this bird’s “Saviour”, but he didn’t appreciate me at all!

Yes—I was “big and all-powerful”….but all my efforts seemed in vain, because he couldn’t comprehend what I was doing for him…and he refused to cooperate in any way!

In the midst of the chaos, I learned a huge lesson. I won’t belabor the point. I’m sure you understand what God was saying to me!

He is a wonderful teacher!
And He knows just how to get a point across to His foolish children!
🙂

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See the rescue here:

Update #1: The Loon and the Lunatic is on now TV!

Update #2: The Full Story of “The Loon and the Lunatic”

 

What an Adventure it has Been!

DSCN0678_121Believe it or not, Country Neighbor, it’s been a whole decade since we first met!

We’ve shared many a cuppa on a cold winter morning… We’ve rejoiced over the first hint of springtime.  We’ve laughed over the pratfalls of Life, and have cried together as we bade farewell to old friends who have crossed over.  We’ve endured a lot of hardship and have learned to be open and honest with one another!

We first met as Neighbors in the Spring of 2006 and we’ve been friends ever since.  Ten years’ worth of words scribbled on the back of napkins and envelopes…Notes penned from the porch swing at the farm—the Old Home Place… Notes written from the Indian Cave… from the River Bluff of the Mighty MO…from the shadowy glens of the Barada Hills….

And of course—lots and lots of postcards sent from the Lost Coast of Northern California!  I’ve been your “Western Correspondent” for many years as I continue to crisscross the nation with my carload of stuffed monkeys.

What a journey it has been!  The good and the bad…the ugly and the sweet…Hope and sorrow. Laughter and tears, all cobbled together in this thing we call “Life”.

If we could remember the last ten years with clarity, we would be amazed at our own resilience—at what we’ve endured…What we’ve gained and lost, and where our dreams have taken us.

You see how quickly the last ten years have gone?  The next ten will go even faster, my Country Neighbor.

We are saddled to a runaway horse that we can’t rein in…galloping…galloping madly toward the Finish Line.  The pace is quickening.  Faster and faster we go… And at the end of that race, it will be determined if we’ve “won or lost”… Whether we’ve lived a profitable life or not!

Will we be surrounded by friends or foes at the end of Life’s Journey?  Will we be cherished…or will we be shunned—living like narcissistic Hermits on a “Mountain of Madness”… only concerned with Me, Myself, and I?

You know, folks…In my line of work as a Caregiver, I’ve seen a lot of people on their deathbeds.  They’ve lived nearly a century, and now they are facing their final moment.  It’s crunch time—a deadline like none they’ve ever seen!  Some people go into eternity peacefully, with joy on their faces…. Just tickled-to-death! But some of them go scared-to-death!—with gritted teeth and clenched fists.  Wishing for just one more day…one more hour…one more moment.  One more chance to make things right. Continue reading