Barbara H. McNeely

Author, Coach & Publisher

Author: Barbara (Page 1 of 4)

Facebook Author Takeover

Facebook Author Takeover

Facebook Author Takeover


I wanted to let everyone know about an upcoming event that I have the honor of participating in. The event is called “Sneak a Peek Author Takeover.” What is an Author Takeover? Good question! I invite you to attend and you can see what it’s all about. You can attend from the comfort of wherever you are as it is all online on Facebook.

Here’s more:

We are a group of 11 authors who met online. We are banding together to share about our own books and each other’s books.

Each author chose a time slot for the days in the event. My time slot is 11:00AM Central Daylight Time.

Beginning on Sunday, July 30th, we will be posting on the event page during our time slot.

We will post each day leading up to the Live event. We’ll be sharing about ourselves, our current book, how to reach each of us, any specials we have on our books, and more.

Then, the “Live” event is Sunday August 6th. On this day, during our chosen time slot, we have the stage for about 45 minutes. I plan to go live during my time slot – 11:00AM CDT – and answer questions you may have.

So I invite you to be here on Sunday August 6th at 11AM and ask your questions. If you can’t be there on August 6th, leave your questions in the comments below.

Even if you can’t attend at the specified times, you can peruse the posts within the event to “meet” all the authors and learn about their books.

Hope to “see” you there!

Lessons of an Opening Heart

Lessons of An Opening Heart

Lessons of An Opening Heart


It is here! My book is now published and is available through Amazon as a print book or an ebook! Here’s a preview:

Who is Magic DeeJay?

Who Is Magic DeeJay?

Who Is Magic DeeJay?

In my book, Lessons of an Opening Heart, I talk about Magic DeeJay. I thought that it would be obvious what I was talking about from the context. But even my husband didn’t quite get it. And my editor, Jan, thought I must be talking about an internet radio station. I decided it was better to just describe him as “the music I hear in my head” in the book and write in more detail here. Much of what I write here is taken from a speech I gave in Toastmasters in February of 2017.

I have always loved music, from as far back as I can remember. I got my first radio – a transistor radio – before I was ten. I listened to that radio as often as possible, sometimes listening with it under my pillow when I went to bed. I remember when The Beatles were in their first concert in Houston and I stayed up late listening as the radio played the playlist from the concert. I knew the words to every song on the radio in those days. And I have been adding lyrics and melodies to my collection in my head ever since. Sometimes it’s surprising that I have room for any important information up there.

Years ago I realized that I could readily access a song just by hearing a word or phrase. If someone mentions a day of the week or a city, I just might come up with a song or two that mentions them. Sometimes, I’ll just come up with a partial lyric with no idea what the song is. Other times, things will get a little confused. Like the time we were driving from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Santa Fe and I was singing “Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?” My husband pointed out that the song was actually about San Jose! Oops, but isn’t that interesting? My favorite is the city of Walla Walla, which is mentioned in a song. If you remember the song The Witch Doctor then you might recall this line: Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang!

It was following my open-heart surgery that I began calling this talent “Magic DeeJay.” In the week before surgery, while I was running around getting ‘ready’ for surgery, the words of Gloria Gaynor were running through my head – “I Will Survive.” It was on replay for four days. The night before surgery was when I first really started thinking about what was going to happen. But the song in my head was by Elton John – “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”

It was November of 2015 that I realized that my talent extended beyond lyrics. Part of recovery from surgery included cardiac rehab – a program of monitored workouts. Three times a week for twelve weeks I went to cardiac rehab. At the end of those twelve weeks, they have what they call graduation. No real ceremony, but you do get a nice certificate. And so, on the morning of November 4th of 2015, Magic DeeJay was playing “Pomp & Circumstance” in my head.

In the Spring of 2016, I decided that the one year anniversary called for a celebration. It was, in a sense, a birthday for me. But my husband and his friend would be in Africa on that date. (And our anniversary, I might add.) So I planned to have Sunday brunch with a friend on May 22nd. I even gave myself permission to over-indulge in food since on the same day the year before, I was not allowed to eat anything. And when I woke up that Sunday morning, Kool & the Gang were singing Celebration.

And that is how I decided that there must be a Magic DeeJay working in my subconscious. And almost always, Magic DeeJay is playing a song in my head.

I have since learned that other people have similar talents. So tell me, do you have songs playing in your head?

My Big Announcement

Find out what I'm up to!

Find out what I’m up to!

I’m excited to share with you news of my new business.

I help heart-centered professionals share their story with the world by: coaching them through the writing and self-publishing of their book. I’ll guide them through the process and help them find the professionals they may need along the way: editors, proofreaders, cover designers, interior formatters, etc. I also offer some additional services including creating author websites, Facebook pages, and Amazon author pages.

I’m currently offering free 15 minute consultations for heart-centered professionals who are contemplating or have started writing their story and want to publish it.

If you’re interested, you can comment on this post or contact me directly.

If you want to keep informed about what I’m up to, you may use the form on the right to sign up for my newsletter.

I would also be very grateful if you spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested.

P.S. I’m still painting and decorating my new website, but wanted to share my news now.

I’m Published!

The List Junkie's List Journal

The List Junkie’s List Journal

I believe some of my readers already know about this and have made even purchases. And I thank you for that. I wanted to let everyone know about it. I can actually now claim the title of Published Author. Sort of. It feels funny to say that since there are very few words in this journal.

What is it? It was actually a practice piece and a learning experience for me. But it’s a fun little journal for those who are addicted to making lists. Like me. I created various list types and sprinkled them throughout the book. If you want to see some of the inside pages, you can check out The List Junkie’s List Journal on Amazon.

If you want to know a little more, here’s the text from the back cover:

All Your Lists in One Place!

Are you a list maker? Do you have lists everywhere? If you want ONE place for all of your lists, this journal is for you!

Have lists your way! Not all your lists are the same. Some you number, some you check off, some you just list. And some need more space.

The possibilities are endless. Included in this journal are numbered lists, check boxed lists, lines for lists, and space to design your own list. Whether it’s a to-do list, a wish list, a bucket list, a naughty list, or a nice list. It could be a play list, a grocery list, a punch list, a shopping list, or it could even be a list of the lists you want to create! Imagine all of your lists inside one journal. Complete with space to create an index to your lists.

If you’re interested in purchasing my journal visit this link: The List Junkie’s List Journal on Amazon

Aortic Stenosis Symptoms – What are they?

What are the symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?

What are the symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?

A friend of mine contacted me this week wanting to know the symptoms of aortic stenosis. In case you’re new to my blog, I had my aortic valve replaced in May of 2015 because of severe aortic stenosis. The friend was concerned because, like me, she had other family members who had undergone the surgery. She was experiencing occasional shortness of breath when climbing stairs and wondered if she should be concerned about it.

Let me start by answering the initial question. The symptoms of aortic stenosis, according to my cardiologist, are shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, passing out, and swelling in feet. I would imagine that they don’t all come on at one time nor are they all always present. In fact, for me, there was no chest pain, dizziness or passing out.

Should my friend worry? No. Do not worry. That reminds me of the movie “Bridge of Spies” about a man named Rudolf Abel. He was a KGB undercover agent in North America for a period of time following World War II. Several times in the movie he was in impossible situations. Such as when he was on trial for crimes against the US and his life was in the balance. Each time, people would ask him, “Are you worried?” His response was to shrug his shoulders and say “Would it help?” So, no, never worry.

Should she be concerned? Perhaps. But lets look at some of the possible causes of shortness of breath – there are many. They include asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pneumothorax, anemia, lung cancer, inhalation injury, pulmonary embolism, anxiety, COPD, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, obesity, tuberculosis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary artery hypertension, pleurisy, croup, Guillain-Barré syndrome, sarcoidosis, rib fracture, carbon monoxide poisoning, and aerobic exercise. Yikes! That is one long list. And that list isn’t complete. I omitted the ones I couldn’t pronounce.

Notice that the list includes some really nasty, scary things as well as some innocuous things like aerobic exercise.

Should she have it checked out? Absolutely! It is not something to be ignored. I would suggest talking it over with your doctor. Especially mentioning the family history of aortic valve problems. In fact, it may be time for that first visit to a cardiologist. It’s a good idea to see one beginning about age fifty. Just to get a baseline. And to discuss your family’s heart health history.

Is aortic stenosis hereditary? In fact, it just might be. I found a study in Johns Hopkins Medicine that suggests it could be:

Researchers have found a genetic variant that doubles the likelihood that people will have calcium deposits on their aortic valve. Such calcification, if it becomes severe, can cause narrowing or a blockage of the aortic valve, a condition called aortic stenosis.

I’m always happy to answer questions. Do you have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments below.

Escape To Bella Green

Bella Green Bed & Breakfast

Bella Green Bed & Breakfast

It is 6:55AM on Friday. It is raining and 53 degrees here in Pipe Creek, Texas. I’m warm and dry in the tiny house. I’m packing up this morning and heading home after a lovely little retreat here at Bella Green Bed & Breakfast. A lovely little B&B owned by Karen & Mike Goins. I have had quiet time to write, delicious food, and interesting conversations.

I planned this getaway months ago, not knowing at first where I was going. I just wanted to recharge. And I’ve had a lovely time. Very few decisions that I had to make. Did I want breakfast on the deck or the screened porch?

The tiny house I stayed in at Bella Green.

The tiny house I stayed in at Bella Green.

I also have avoided all the election hype. At first, I thought I could go home without knowing the outcome. And I went to bed on Tuesday night feeling very relaxed. Usually it is an anxious night, made more so by all of the media hype. But, you know what? The outcome is the same whether I stay up and stress about it or not. And all that stress just before bed is not good for me. Nor is it good for anyone else.

What did I do during this retreat? I worked on the book I mentioned in my last post. A lot. I had a lot of notes that I condensed to one list. And I am something like 90% done with the first draft. So I’m pretty sure I can beat my deadline of November 16th. That will be a huge accomplishment. The first book I have ever written!

The screened porch at Bella Green. This is where I did most of my writing.

The screened porch at Bella Green. This is where I did most of my writing.

Today I will ease back into reality. I’ll have breakfast here at Bella Green, then load up the car. I’m going to take the scenic route home. Laundry awaits me at home. But so do my cats, Ronnie and Nancy. And of course, my hubby.

It is now 4:25PM as I get ready to hit the publish button. The last few miles of my trip involved lots of traffic, of course. And it was back to the usual things – unloading the car and doing the laundry. That was after I said hello to my cats! But, I have yet to hear any news or radio or commercials!

As I reflect on the week, I come back knowing that I can focus when I put my mind to it. Sometimes while I was gone I turned off the internet so I could concentrate. I think I’ll try that more often now that I’m back!

Window Art at Bella Green. For some reason, it reminded me of a Stephen King book.

Window Art at Bella Green. For some reason, it reminded me of a Stephen King book.

Sunset at Bella Green.

Sunset at Bella Green.

A back view of the tiny house at Bella Green.

A back view of the tiny house at Bella Green.

A building at Bella Green with a nice message: Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A building at Bella Green with a nice message: Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Happy weekend!

What Have I Been Up To?

What has Barbara been up to?

What has Barbara been up to?

I know I haven’t written here for a while. I had every intention to, but I’ve been working on getting myself organized. Each week there was a reminder to write here. And each week it would get pushed off until the next week. Until, one day I realize it has been over 2 months since I’ve posted anything. So…

Here I am.

Yoga

With an update on some of what I’ve been doing. First the yoga:
I am now in my fourth month of doing yoga. I can tell in many ways that I am building strength. I’ve also seen improvement in various pains. Most notable is something that my orthopod called trochanteric bursitis. The trochanter is the part of the femur that connects to the hip bone. This was good news to me. I was convinced that the hip pain I’ve been experiencing was caused by osteoarthritis. My orthopod gave me exercises to do. And it turns out that the therapeutic yoga that I am doing is the same exercise. And the pain is diminished. It has been many weeks since it kept me up at night. So I continue the yoga at least 3 times a week.

The List Junkies List Journal Cover

The List Junkies List Journal Cover

Creating Journals

I have also been learning how to create journals that can be put on sale at Amazon! How cool is that? Or are you wondering what a journal is? Journals can be many different things. If you’re curious, you can check them out on Amazon by entering “journals in the search box. Basically, a journal can be like a blank or lined journal but it might have additional prompts or information. There are gratitude journals, tracking journals, journals for grief, and many more. I have created one journal already titled “The List Junkie’s List Journal.” If you’re someone who’d makes all sorts of lists, this journal is a good resource. It lets you keep all of your lists together in one book! It was mostly done for practice. Because I have bigger plans for journals! You’ll be hearing about them soon.

The List Junkies List Journal Back Cover

The List Junkies List Journal Back Cover

Writing

In addition, I have been writing a book. I’ve been working on it for more than a year. The reality is that it should have been finished long ago. But it has been very hard to write this first book. The good news is that I have made a commitment to have the first draft completed by November 17th! So I decided to make that commitment public. Will I make that deadline? That is my intention. I’m going away this week on a private retreat. I plan to do a lot of writing while I’m going. I’ll report back later on my progress.

What’s that? You want to know what the book is about? I’ll give you a hint. The working title is “Lessons of an Opening Heart.”

Keep me in your thoughts. I’ll report back here soon on my progress!

Re-Learning How To Stand

Relearning How To Stand

Relearning How To Stand

My intention with yoga is to do some yoga movement every single day. Of course, reality and intention don’t always work well together. Which is just another way of saying that I can rationalize just about anything if I want to. This week is a prime example.

I made it to yoga on Monday, to the more intense Therapeutic Astanga Method Yoga (TAM) that I talked about last week. In that class I have to remind myself to do only what I can do. I have no idea how long the others in that class have been doing yoga. Longer than me, for certain. Some, I know, are yoga teachers themselves. Nydia was helpful in showing me the how to modify the movements for my level.

Did I mention that this class is heated? I could definitely feel that, too. Near the end of class, when Nydia turned off the heat, she told use that the temperature had gotten to 85 degrees!

Could Your Posture be Hurting You?

Any class that I have joined and stayed in for very long – yoga, aerobics, Jazzercise, Pilates – has been one that stressed doing movements properly. I’m sure that most classes do, but not all as I’ve been in some that did not. It’s important because if you do movements wrong, you can hurt yourself. In yoga, I have learned that I have been standing wrong for a good portion of my life. Perhaps you have too?

When I stand for long periods of time, I tend to shift my weight to one leg and then lock the knee, also known as hyper-extending the knee. Since I started yoga I have learned that this is a bad idea. Here’s why: You’re not using muscles to stand. Instead you’re relying on the skeletal structure to hold you up. This puts extra stress on your knees and results in joint compression. Over time, this can result in damage to the cartilage – osteoarthritis. In class, we are always reminded to have just a very slight bend at the knees. This reduces the joint compression and forces you to use the muscles of the leg.

Knowing that I have serious arthritis issues in both knees confirms everything I hear in yoga class. In fact, I recall no too long ago when I was standing with most of my weight on one leg. When I needed to shift the weight, my knee hurt when I first bent it. Should be listening to my body, right?

The same is also true when you’re using your arms to support your body. If you’re arms are super-straight, you are not building muscle and are just putting extra pressure on your joints. Yikes! So be careful when you see that meme running around Facebook about 30 days of planks!

Three Weeks of Yoga – Getting Stronger

Week Three of Yoga - My Goals

Week Three of Yoga – My Goals

This is my third week of yoga classes and I am finding that I am stronger already. Due to schedule conflicts, I have only been able to go to class two days per week. I’m working on a way to do three per week. During class on Wednesday, Nydia took us through her “Therapeutic Astanga Method Yoga” or TAM. Our class is usually “Progressive Mellow Yoga” which is less intense than TAM. Wednesday’s class was definitely a workout. So much so that I had no energy the rest of the day. The TAM class is offered at 8 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And I’m just crazy enough to consider switching to it. Why? I know some of you are thinking it’s because I’m crazy. And, you may be right. But my whole purpose in taking up yoga is to build up my strength. And I have some goals of what I want from my yoga.

My Yoga Goals

  • Build up strength in the muscles that support the knee. So that I can either avoid or postpone knee replacement.
  • Build up strength throughout the body. This is important for all of us as we progress in life. It helps to limit the effects of arthritis.
  • Better Balance – The primary reason for many falls is a lack of balance. I want to avoid those falls.
  • More flexibility – I have a friend that can be seated cross-legged on the floor and come to standing without using her hands or arms. I want to be able to do that!
  • Turn cartwheels – I love to turn cartwheels, even though I have not done so in many years. I have a goal of turning cartwheels on the beach!

Benefits of Yoga

I am learning that yoga is much more than body strength and flexibility. It is beneficial to us in many other ways. It can actually be considered a form of meditation and mindfulness. When you’re doing yoga, you are definitely only in the present moment. It’s hard to think of anything else when you’re thinking about the muscles in your feet, your thigh muscles, you pelvic floor, your abdominal muscles, your shoulder girdle, AND your breathing.

I’ll be talking more about benefits as I continue on my yoga journey.

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