Favorite #147: The Fourth of July: The Spirit of America

A Day of Celebration and Fun

What a fun way to show American pride.

What a fun way to show American pride.

While there’s no doubt the Fourth of July is a special holiday for Americans, it’s unfortunate many don’t understand the reason why. Do you?

Several years ago during a children’s sermon at Franklin Baptist Church, Pastor Joe Thomas asked the children what the Fourth of July meant to them. The responses were varied and different with some children shouting out fireworks, fire trucks, parades, fun, hanging out with friends, flying the flag, freedom.

Local author and writer, Evelyn Looney, enjoyed the 4th of July parade in Mocksville, NC, so much this year she shared on Facebook. After reading her account, I’m thinking next year I want to go. Printed with permission, here’s Evelyn’s account:

Enjoyed going to the Mocksville, NC Tractor Parade. Amazing how many different kinds of tractors are in the parade: BIG, little, old, new and everything in between. One stood out that made me smile: the tractor was painted a pretty shade of pink, even the wheel rims. . . and was driven by a cute, confident, young lady who drove like she had a lot of practice doing the real thing. The old guys in bibbed overalls made me think of my Dad. He died just a few days after he attended a 4th of July celebration. It always pleased him when they recognized the veterans.

It wasn’t until late afternoon that I noticed a photo Linda Campbell Morrow posted of her husband, Bob, riding through their neighborhood waving the American flag. When I asked Linda the circumstances of the photo, little did I expect the heartwarming story she shared. All I can say is I’m glad I asked.

Linda said Bob woke up early July 4th thinking it would be a great idea to ride around the neighborhood on a bicycle waving the American flag. While on the surface this appeared to be a simple act of patriotism, it’s so much more because the American flag he was waving holds special significance to the family.

Linda explained how in 2009 a neighborhood friend was deployed to Afghanistan leaving behind three children. Two of the children were boys. While deployed, the friend asked Bob if he would watch over the boys. Reassuring his friend he would be glad to, during the coming months Bob spent time with the boys, taking them fishing, playing ball, etc. On July 3rd of 2009, Bob received a package from Afghanistan. Inside was an American flag with the explanation that it had flown over the American headquarters in Kabul in honor of Bob’s birthday.

Excited and surprise, Linda said, The very next day that flag flew high at our neighborhood parade. Every year since, we have proudly displayed that flag, remembering the sacrifices made by those who fought and continue to fight so that we may have our freedom. God bless America.

No matter how we celebrate or what our traditions are, the one common thread for the 4th of July is freedom. When asking my neighbor Randall what July 4th means to him, I wasn’t surprised when he answered, Freedom isn’t free. As a veteran who served in the Army in Germany during the Cold War, he understands sacrifice. Proud of his service, Randall said, I would do it again.

While we all agree July 4th is a special holiday, it’s sad many people don’t understand the history and why we celebrate. It goes all the way back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Wanting to be free from British rule, 56 men willingly put their lives on the line, suffering the consequence for their actions. Some were killed and called traitors, while others had their homes burned and left penniless because of their stand for freedom. Now, almost 250 years later we’re still standing on their shoulders of bravery. Yes, Randall, freedom isn’t free.

Even though some think America is broken, America’s spirit is alive and well. If you don’t believe me, just listen to the voices of those who came before. In the walls and halls of all the buildings in Washington, DC, you can find it. In the voices of the military, you can find it. And, in the faces of the children on the Fourth of July, you can find it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The spirit of America. Now that’s worth a celebration, don’t you agree?

What are you doing to keep the spirit of America alive? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com

Thanks,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

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Favorite#146: Entrepreneur, Tara Safrit

Tara pamering her mom with Arbonne.
Tara, pampering her mom, Betsy Safrit, with Arbonne.

A Bright Future Ahead

Tara Safrit graduated this past May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. Looking to pay off student loans, she hoped to find work after graduation to supplement her income as a preschool teacher. Little did Tara expect an opportunity to materialize so quickly, and yet, that’s exactly what happened. A few weeks before graduating from Catawba she became a part of a company she feels passionate about.

Arbonne is a company similar to Avon where consultants are invited into different homes to share their products. Winning an Arbonne spa earlier this spring, Tara discovered she loved the products and experience so much, she inquired about becoming a consultant. Referred to the regional manager, Ryan Ragsdale, for more information, Tara learned from Ryan the process of booking spas, introducing products to people and making money. The more Tara learned about the company, the more she knew this was a good fit for her. She especially liked the way the products made her feel, the freshness of the natural scents and the emphasis on total health both inside and out. Tara’s first spa as a consultant was April 28th.

In the short amount of time that Tara’s been a consultant she’s learned not only about the business and products, but also how to help customers. Never one to stand in front of a crowd and feel at ease, Tara is so passionate about the products Arbonne has to offer, she has overcome her fears. I’ve seen firsthand the confidence she exhibits in explaining details of each product as if she’s being doing this for years. Enthusiastic about her new career, Tara hopes to continue growing her business, helping ladies feel beautiful both inside and out.

It’s great to see a young person excited about opportunities that come their way. With so many people dreading work each day, it’s refreshing to see someone excited about their career choice and future. Knowing how much Tara enjoys helping others, I’m sure what ever she does will be a success. If interested in learning more about Arbonne or hosting a spa with Tara, click here.

Are you passionate about your career? What is it and how long have you been in that field? Did somone inspire you along the way? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Thanks to everyone who purchased my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, on Amazon.com. this past week. I’m happy to report Tired of Being Obedient made the top 100 list for children’s books in the category of dogs and animals. I couldn’t have done it without you. A special thanks to Glenn Sherrill for his help in spreading the word. If you haven’t purchased your copy of Tired of Being Obedient, it’s never too late. Reviews on Amazon are always appreciated.

Thanks again,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

 

 

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Favorite #145: Mark Rockwell’s Tribute to his Dad

Mark Rockwell and his dad, James A. Rockwell.

Mark Rockwell and his dad, James A. Rockwell, getting together during football season, 2011.

Love and Respect for a Dad

Mark Rockwell and I became colleagues when he began teaching fourth grade at Mt Ulla Elementary School fifteen years ago. I was the music teacher at the time. After retiring, I lost contact with Mark until a few years ago when I discovered he was a teacher at Millbridge Elementary School.

Even though I always knew Mark was a great teacher, I didn’t discover until a few months ago through his blog that hes also a talented writer. The blog described his journey as a Christian facing the terminal diagnosis of his dad with cancer. Seeing such tremendous faith and love and thinking this would be an inspirational Fathers Day tribute for others to read, I asked if I could share his story on my blog as well as our local newspaper, The Salisbury Post. Mark agreed, but only if God gets the glory, he said. Used with permission, here is part of Marks tribute to his dad, James A. Rockwell.

Just after midnight, February 20, 2015, marked three years since my dad passed. Simply put, he was a hard-working man who seemed to routinely get the short end of the stick regardless of the fact that he was usually the first person ready to help somebody else out when they needed a hand. Thankfully, after several conversations with him in his final months, I know he was able to pass with the assurance of having accepted the hope and forgiveness of Jesus.

His character was a testament to the way he was raised by my Grandma and Grandpa on a small upstate New York farm where responsibilities and chores took precedence over personal interests or entertaining distractions that were more available to other kids his age in the forties and fifties. His interactions with others rarely happened without involving some kind of neighborly kindness. He always enjoyed visiting older neighbors, relatives, and friends, and his 1952 John Deere Model M tractor was kept busy plowing neighborhood driveways during every upstate New York winter that I experienced growing up. I’ve always known him to lend a hand when it came to construction projects, emptying water out of the elderly neighbors basement when it routinely flooded after rainstorms, and taking the neighbors trash with him when he was headed to the landfill.

Years later, after he moved south to North Carolina to help provide daycare for our newborn son, he became my dependable partner in getting up at 3:30 AM to prepare and serve Saturday morning breakfast each month at the local homeless shelter. He always modeled what it meant to be a good man without ever opening his mouth to talk about what he was doing or telling others what they should be doing.

He never let his circumstances become either license for arrogance or a calling card for sympathy like so many others do. What started out as a routine trip to the doctors office to figure out why he was having digestive problems led to the discovery of an intestinal blockage caused by a carcinoid cancer tumor and surgery to remove it. It was during his recovery from the surgery and a follow-up visit to the surgeons office that his journey took a turn for the worse. Instead of slowly becoming more mobile and independent while recovering from surgery he began exhibiting diminished motor skills and increased weakness on his right side. His surgeon called some neurological specialists into his office visit to examine him and, as a result admitted him back into the hospital where a CT scan revealed a mass on the left-rear lobe of his brain. The mass was what would turn out to be a grade four, malignant, glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor.

It was just after this diagnosis when I asked him, in a moment when it was just the two of us in his hospital room, what he was thinking and how he was feeling about what was happening. He answered, One day at a time, Mark. Were just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take it as it comes.

… Philippians 4: 5 and 6 (NIV) says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Although Mark was a Christian before his dad passed, several events occurred afterwards that drew him even closer in his walk. As a direct result of these events, Mark became involved with the Hands & Feet Project. The goal of this organization is to provide care for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti, the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere.

When a loved one passes we often look at it as the end, but sometimes its only the beginning. Having lost my husband, Michael, last year I understand that kind of pain and grief. When the loss is fresh, its hard to look past the moment and think of a future without them. For me, as time has passed, I’ve come to realize were left behind for a reason and if we patiently wait and earnestly seek, well find that reason. I believe Mark has found his.

If youd like to read more of Marks tribute to his dad or about his work with the Hands & Feet Project, check out his blog on WordPress.com.

Do you have a special memory or story to tell about your dad? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Thanks,

Dicy
My publisher, Warren Publishing has designated Tuesday, June 23rd as a target date for boosting sales for my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, on Amazon.com. If you get a chance to stop by Amazon.com and purchase on Tuesday, that would be great.  Local dog trainer, Glenn Sherrill, is the main character in the story. Tips for training dogs can be found in the back.

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

 

 

Posted in blog, Inspirational, Medical, Memories, Teachers, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite #144: PostNet (Winston-Salem)

Jennings, Jeanette and Jessica are excited about helping customers at their new Postnet business in Winston-Salem.

Jennings, Jeanette and Jessica are excited and happy to help customers any way they can at their new PostNet business in Winston-Salem, NC.

Service with a Smile

While many people dream of owning a business some day, not everyone is lucky enough to see that dream come true. I was excited to learn my friends, Jeanette and Jennings Nelson along with their son Jason, made their dream come true last year by purchasing and opening a PostNet franchise in Winston-Salem, NC.

Jason already knew about the great service PostNet offered its customers because living in Mooresville, NC, he often stopped in to mail or ship packages at the local franchise there. Jeanette also knew of PostNet’s reputation because she had seen the CEO, Steve Greenbaum, on the popular television program, Undercover Boss. Impressed with the high quality of customer service, she thought this might be something worth looking into. Having many years of experience in business and sales, after much research, soul-searching and prayer, Jennings, Jeanette and Jason came to the decision that purchasing a PostNet franchise was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Once the process began, it took about a year to bring everything together. Choosing Winston-Salem, NC, as the site for their franchise, Jennings said they made that decision for several reasons. One was because Winston-Salem didn’t have a PostNet and the other was because they found Winston-Salem to be a thriving, growing community with an emphasis on helping small business.

With almost a year behind them now, Jennings, Jeanette and Jason believe they made the right decision. Jennings said, We have enjoyed getting to know the people of Winston-Salem during the last year. They have been very supportive and made us feel welcome from day one. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start a new business.

In addition to mailing and shipping packages, PostNet offers graphic design, print and website layout. Jessica Rhodes, as the graphic designer and only daughter of the Nelsons, knows what is expected, offering that same friendly service that customers love and appreciate.

Seeing the Nelsons serving in their community and church as leaders for over 35 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how they always offer a ready smile, a word of encouragement or a helping hand to everyone they meet. It’s only natural this kind of philosophy transfered into their business.

As a children’s author I’m always needing updated business cards, flyers, brochures and posters. When my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, came out in April, PostNet (Winston-Salem) updated everything efficiently and at a reasonable price. It’s for sure, I’ll be using them again and again.

Congratulations, Jennings, Jeanette, Jason and Jessica for a successful beginning to your new business venture. Here’s hoping it continues to grow and grow.

While many times we’re afraid to step outside our comfort zone for fear of the unknown, when we do, we find ourselves, like the Nelsons, pleasantly surprised. If you could own a business someday, what would it be? What’s holding you back? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

As many of you know my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, is now on Amazon.com. To help boost the ranking, my publisher Warren Publishing in Charlotte, NC, is asking everyone to purchase from Amazon on the target date, Tuesday, June 23rd. Thanks in advance.

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

 

 

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Favorite #143: Mt Ulla Elementary School EBOB Team

Working Together

Mt Ulla EBOB team after winning first place on the county level. Mrs. Sloop is on the right.

Mt Ulla Elementary School EBOB team after winning first place at the county level. Mrs. Sloop is on the right.

Each year the North Carolina School Library Media Assocation sponsors a competition giving elementary school students the opportunity to test their knowledge of books. All 4th and 5th grade students are elegible to participate in what is known as the Elementary Battle of the Books, or EBOB. Even though all elementary schools in the Rowan-Salisbury School System participate, procedures for selection of team members and the methods of preparation for competition vary from school to school.

Students at Mt. Ulla Elementary School, in Mt Ulla, NC, began reading the required books on the list at the beginning of the school year. Each student prepared to the best of their ability, knowing a test in December would determine who made the team. Once team members were selected, Mrs. Mary Sloop, the school librarian practiced with them once a week during lunch. Sometimes the students were divided into two teams to compete against each other, modeling the real event by answering questions and keeping score. With time drawing near for the first round of competition earlier this spring, the team began meeting after school once or twice a week.

Working together for a common goal, with encouragement and guidance from Mrs. Sloop, Mt Ulla’s EBOB team steadily grew ready for the first round of competition at West Rowan High School. They were so well prepared, not only did they win their semi-final round, but later took first place in the Rowan-Salisbury School System. Moving on to the next level at the Region Seven Battle Of the Books, in Hickory, NC, Mt Ulla placed third out of fifteen schools. Even though they didn’t win first place in Hickory, they came home with their heads held high knowing they gave it their all.

Pleased with their accomplishment, Mrs. Sloop said, It was a pleasure to work with these students. They worked really hard. Their parents were extremely supportive and encouraging during the whole process.

Proud and excited, some of the team members wanted to share their thoughts:

Anna: Even though it’s not as easy as it looks, it was lots of fun. I’m glad we get to participate until we go to high school.

Blake: Although it’s hard work, it paid off. We did really well and even won a trophy and some medals.

Laney: I loved it. I liked reading the books best. My favorite book was “The Candy Makers” by Wendy Mass.

Parker: I thought it would be easy, but not so much. It was hard because you had to remember every title and author. It was lots of fun, though.

Madison: I enjoyed being on the team because I learned lots of things like working together with others.

Lilly: I liked being on the team because I had the best teammates ever and learned a lot from them. My favorite book was “Turtle in Paradise” by Jennifer Holm.

Congratulations to Mt Ulla Elementary School EBOB team and Mrs. Mary Sloop for a job well done.

What activity or event has your school excelled in recently? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Don’t forget to check out my new children’s book, Tired of Being Obedient, on Amazon.com. The story includes two dogs who learn that being obedient can be fun. Tips for training dogs can be found in the back. Here are a few of those:

Ty Brown: All dogs speak the same language.

Martin Deeley: Training should be fun.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, any suggestion for the next favorite person, place or thing is appreciated.

Thanks,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

Posted in Children, educational, events, Inspirational, Reading, Teachers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite#142: Michelle Trivette, Dog Groomer, Friend

Bandit, with Michelle after his bath and grooming. He loved his new look.

Here’s a photo of Michelle after grooming my dog, Bandit. Both Michelle and Bandit look happy with his new look.

Michelle Trivette, an excellent elementary school music teacher and long time friend, recently decided to make a career change from music teacher to dog groomer. She admits this decision is a little scary, but after giving it much thought and prayer, knows in her heart she’s doing the right thing. Spending time with Michelle after she groomed my dog, Bandit, this is how she explained her decision.

Even though I’ve always joked I was going to quit everything and be a dog groomer, I never took myself seriously. I didn’t think people would pay me to groom their fur babies and even if they did, it’s not the practical thing to do. I thought I’d better stay in the public school system, build my retirement, and stick to loving my two dogs, Molly and Goldie. Besides, I’ve always wanted to try my hand at being a middle school band director some day, right?

As time passed, I began losing interest in becoming a middle school band director, while my passion for animals intensified. I realized it was much easier for me to remember the names of the doggies I met, than it was to remember the people I met. I kept thinking about dog grooming and realized the only thing holding me back was ME!

Once I decided to learn how to groom dogs, God began opening doors. I even sold a saxophone to pay for grooming school at Groomingdells in Troutman, NC. The groomers of my dogs, Jenn and Piero Sciortino at Uptown Dogs and Cats in Salisbury, NC,  kept up with me through Facebook, sending words of encouragement as I completed grooming school. They even offered a space in their shop for me so I could build my own clientelle and groom dogs! I’m happy to announce I’ll become a full-time dog groomer at Uptown Dogs and Cats this June. So, here I am. I’M A DOG GROOMER AND ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

I plan to keep music in my life by teaching private saxophone lessons in the evenings and becoming more involved with my husband’s band program at West Rowan High School. I’ll have the best of both worlds. Not only will I have music in my life, but I’ll also get to enjoy helping sweet fur babies feel and look their best.

As a music teacher for the past nine years in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Michelle says she had awesome kids who taught her tons about patience, love and acceptance. She hopes and prays her students never give up on themselves, and will always try something new even if it does seem like an unreachable task.

If you’d like to follow Michelle in her journey as a dog groomer, check out her Facebook page.

Do you know someone who changed careers to follow their dreams? Were they successful? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook, or email dicysm@yahoo.com

Don’t forget to check out my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient on Amazon.com. It includes tips for training dogs in the back with Glenn Sherrill as the main character.

Thanks,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

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Favorite #141: Glenn Sherrill: Dog Trainer, Friend

Glenn Sherrill, making his dreams come true one dog at a time, or in this case, seven at a time.

Glenn Sherrill, making his dreams come true one dog at a time, or in this case, seven at a time.

Hopes, Dreams and Visions

Glenn Sherrill and I were colleagues during the years I taught music in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools in Salisbury, NC. After meeting Glenn, it didn’t take long until I discovered he not only had a passion for music, but also training dogs.

As a children’s author, I’m always looking for ideas for my books. Realizing Glenn’s passion for music and training dogs, I envisioned Glenn as a character in one of my stories. Excited about the possibilities, Glenn enjoyed watching and participating in the development of the book, Tired of Being Obedient.

As the main character in the story, Glenn trains two dogs who discover through different experiences that obedience and respect are beneficial for a happy and productive life. The inferred message, of course, is that’s true for people, too. Not only does this book have a message that’s important in today’s culture, but the story will touch your heart.

The illustrator for Tired of Being Obedient, Jean Barlow, drew Glenn’s character from an actual photo. When Glenn saw his likeness in cartoon form, he laughed and said, “I’m skinnier and have more hair.”  Looking at the illustrations, I agreed with him and laughed, too .

Glenn has studied with some of the best trainers in the business, including Cheri Wulff Lucas, Brian Agnew, Rick Denning, Ty Brown, and Martin Deeley. A big thank-you to each of them for their contribution of quotes and photos used with permission in the completion of this book.

Through his business, Train Play Live, Glenn offers group classes, private lessons, doggie boot camp, problem solving and behavior modification. When asking Glenn his philosophy for training dogs, he said, Give your dog respect and boundaries and she will give you calmness, obedience and love. Give your dog constant, unearned affection and freedom and she will give you problems.

Thanks, Glenn for your help and willingness to participate in this project. Thanks also to Glenn’s wife, Heather Sherrill and Eli, Glenn’s son. Although behind the scenes, they still played a vital role in making this book a reality. If interested in learning more about Glenn or his business, Train Play Live, check out his website.

Tired of Being Obedient was published by Warren Publishing and is now available on Amazon.com.

What dream or passion do you hold close to your heart? What steps have you taken to make your dreams come true? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook, or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Thanks,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymculloughbooks.com/blog

 

 

Posted in Animals, Books, Business, Children, educational, Inspirational, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite #140: Carolinas Writing Workshop

Writing, Networking and Fun

Enjoyed getting to meet Chuck Sambuchino at the writers' conference.

Enjoyed meeting Chuck Sambuchino at the 2015 Carolinas Writing Workshop in Charlotte, NC.

As a writer it’s always refreshing and fun to spend time with other writers, networking and sharing ideas. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 Carolinas Writing Workshop in Charlotte, NC, with Chuck Sambuchino as the presenter.

The workshop format gave attendees the opportunity to meet agents as well as pitch their work. Chuck led break-out sessions throughout the day with tips and advice on writing query letters, pitching to agents and marketing. During one of the break-out sessions I learned the coordinator for the event, Jessica Bell, is not only an author, but also a talented musician. Chuck explained he and Jessica met during the 2012 Homeric Writers Retreat in Greece.

Before attending the event in Charlotte, I learned of Chuck’s expertise in the field of publishing and marketing from following his blog. He always has up-to-date information about agents, writing query letters and current trends such as how to define categories of writing. It was through his blog I learned of the workshop in Charlotte.

I was excited not only to have the chance to meet Chuck, but also to have my photograph taken with him. He was very gracious, listening to my concerns, even giving advice for specific problems such as writing realistic dialogue for a middle-grade novel. I was especially interested in his advice on getting more traffic to my blog. He said one way is to include links of similar content. I’m putting that advice into practice today.

Although I did not get to meet Jessica, I did purchase one of her books, Writing in a Nutshell. Written in an easy to follow format, she includes examples of how to “show, don’t tell.” I recommend this book to anyone who needs help with this particular writing technique.

What an awesome time to be a writer. Events such as the Writing Day Workshops give writers the opportunity to network with experts and agents they may have only dreamed about connecting with in the past. Thanks, Jessica and Chuck for your vision and willingness to share your knowledge and expertise in such a hands-on way.

If interested in learning about other writing or networking opportunities, check out this link.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning the journey as a writer? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Now for some more exciting news! My latest children’s book, Tired of Being Obedient, has been released on Amazon.com. If you love dogs, you will love this book. Be sure to check out training tips by professional trainers in the back. Thanks, Glenn Sherrill of Train Play Live dog training for your willingness to be a part of this project.

 

Thanks,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

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Favorite #139: Cool Springs Elementary School

 

Having a great day with students at Cool Springs Elementary School.

Having a great day with students at Cool Springs Elementary School.

          Sharing Ideas

A few weeks ago, Veronica Williams, the librarian at Cool Springs Elementary School in the Iredell-Statesville School System, invited me to share my children’s books and talk about writing.

Although I live only thirty minutes from Cool Springs Elementary School, I had never been there, so wasn’t sure of the exact location. The drive that morning was a beautiful one winding through rural communities with cow pastures, farmhouses and long stretches of meadows followed by trees.

After my arrival, Ms. Williams helped me unload my car and set up for the day. Looking around the library, I was amazed at the size and beauty of the space. An open area with plenty of room for books, tables and chairs, there was also enough room for children to spread out on the floor to read their chosen selection.

During the presentations, the kindergarten through fifth grade classes were well-behaved and seemed to enjoy our time together. The upper grades had great questions, including how long I had been writing, how long it takes to write a children’s book and where I get my ideas. I shared I often get ideas from students not only because they have great ones, but also because they view life from a different perspective.

A few days later I received an email from Veronica saying, “Dicy, thank you for coming to visit. The students, teachers and staff loved your presentations. They can’t wait to check out your books from the library.”

Veronica also said to let her know when my latest book comes out on Amazon.com. I’m happy to say Tired of Obedient has arrived. If you are a dog lover, you’ll especially appreciate the tips for training dogs in the back submitted by five professional trainers. Remember you help authors not only by purchasing their books, but also writing reviews on Amazon.com and leaving comments on their blog or website.

Thanks, Veronica and Cool Springs Elementary School for inviting me to share my books. Cool Springs is a wonderful school with leadership who understands the importance of literacy in a child’s life. Congratulations on being recognized as a North Carolina School of Distinction with all of the No Child Left Behind AYP target goals met during the last six years.

How do you share the love of reading with others? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com

To read about other school visits, click here.

 

Thanks,

Dicy

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www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

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Favorite #138: Essential Oils

Lydia, talking to a customer about essential oils.

Lydia, talking to a customer about essential oils.

Nature at Its Best

Lydia Richmond and I have similar interests in that we both are teachers, write children’s books and have a blog. Lydia and I also have an interest in saving the earth through various means such as recycling and reducing the use of harsh chemicals in our homes by using natural products as much as possible.

One of the ways that Lydia has accomplished this is through essential oils. Now working for Simply Aroma, a company that sells essential oils, Lydia invited me to one of her presentations. After explaining I already had plans for that particular evening, Lydia said she’d be willing to come to my house for a demonstration at a later time. When I shared this info with my daughter, Kelly, she volunteered to have a demonstration at her house.

During that demonstration, Lydia explained because essential oils are derived from plants, they are an amazingly effective way to replace toxic, chemical laden medications, cleaning products and personal care items. She said, “It’s easy once you understand their purpose.”She also went on to explain that essential oils have been used for various reasons ever since Bible days, including when the three wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

I was especially interested in the essential oils that have properties to help with relaxation and stress relieve. Lydia shared that lavender is a popular oil people sometimes use in a diffuser for that purpose. Showing first-hand how it works, she put several drops of lavender in the diffuser. Within a few minutes the aroma spread throughout the room. Lydia then shared that lavender is also good for other things, including cleaning and personal care.

Another essential oil Lydia shared that has many benefits is peppermint. One of the things we learned about peppermint is that spiders don’t like it. Although I’m not particularly afraid of spiders, I couldn’t help but wonder what would keep snakes away. Maybe I should have asked Lydia if there’s an essential oil for that.

From Lydia’s presentation, I realized I’d like to learn more about essential oils. She advised because there are different grades of oil on the market, consumers need to be careful. Sometimes what appears to be oil is only fragrance. She also said although essential oils do not replace medical advice or diagnosis, they can in many ways enhance our health and home environment. Overtime Lydia has replaced many of her personal care items, such as soap, deodorant and chapstick with recipes containing essential oils.

Learning that essential oils are derived from plants without harsh chemicals as a part of the process, if you haven’t given essential oils a try, maybe in celebration of Earth Day this week, now would be a great time to start. I’m sure Lydia would be willing to guide you in the right direction.

If interested in learning more about ways to save the environment, check out this link.

In what ways have you used essential oils in your home? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Thanks,

Dicy

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com

www.dicymcculloughbooks.com/blog

 

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