Category Archive Life and Family

Cleft Lip and Palate awareness

As many of you reading this don’t likely know, I was born with a minor cleft lip. I was fortunate to have surgery at Stanford when I was very young but my Mom and Dad were severely traumatized.

While I was lucky and very fortunate to not have major problems in my life, the sad truth is that cleft lip and cleft palate are extremely serious problems for millions of children. I write to bring attention to this important cause because it can have devesting impact on lives whether it be physical or emotional.

Children with serious cleft lip or cleft palate issues might suffer their entire lives with many problems including speech, dental as well as emotional ridicule because of their physical appearance.

As you might tell, I’m passionate about this cause and I would like to do what I can do bring more awareness so if you have a comment or resource, please let me know.

I have not vetted the organizations below but at least here are some references:

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Seeing Clearly

This week I’ve had this epiphany just to share an unvarnished version of my blog.

As I stated in 2009 ( when I started my blog, being transparent was what I will do!

So, against my resistance, I went to a local optometrist who was so wonderful!

After talking with the him for nearly an hour, he assured me that simple age, and especially stress can negativity affect vision. I always thought that the mind can overcome physical issues, but I was wrong. The way that that eye doctor explained was that our eyes naturally are gifted to focus, and there are eye-muscles to do this work even though it’s unconscious to us.

He explained, when we age those eye-muscles that help us focus just don’t work as well. Sort of like when our eye-muscles tend to breakdown then they don’t, coincidently enough, work as expected and cause headaches because it’s such a sincere effort to “see” which is something we are accustomed to naturally.

Also, as far as seeing clearly I know for a fact that this blog is under data surveillance, which is rather pathetic, but it is-what-it-is and those who choose to snoop so low are empty souls.  God Bless them as I pray that they eventually find happiness in their lives instead of the destruction they’ve caused. So, I say “hello and welcome” to our viewers and thanks to contributing to higher viewership.

I hope this valuable data of my Pet Family, Personal Life, Movie Reviews and basic business dealings that you can scrape from my publicly available blog gives you great satisfaction. I will not change my faith in humanity for your selfish, monetary, greed.

Sharen Neal and Matt Neal

Memories of Mom and Matt

This is a wonderful photo of my Mom and my youngest brother, Robert Matthew (a.k.a. “Matt”). These two had a really special relationship and while I miss them tremendously, it warms my heart to know that they are in Heaven together for eternity.

J.C. (Just Cat)

J.C. is the blessing we never imagined

Brandee and I continue to be amazed daily, how lucky we are to have been able to re-home my mom’s cat, J.C.  J.C. (“Just Cat”) truly is a remarkable gift from God that came to us in uncertain times, but has worked out the best.

For those who might not have been following the story, Brandee and I already had four adopted animals with our two dogs of Gracie and Finn, but also our two cats of Bleu and Ella. While our dogs didn’t give us too much concern about integrating J.C. into our home, the unknown of having our two female cats was something we had to take very seriously.  We just couldn’t predict exactly how everyone would interact with each other.

Fast-forward one year later and I’m happy to report that J.C. has assimilated into our family so nicely and I think he’s found his happy place in life.  J.C. is the type of guy that you can sense his feelings, and it’s pretty apparent that he misses my mom and dad (who raised him for his first 10 years), but he also enjoys that zany-nest of his new family with Gracie, Finn and especially Bleu and Ella.

Brandee has given J.C. a new nick-name of “Bubba” which I think fits his funny personality very well. Bubba likes to spend most of his days lounging-around his bed, which Brandee constructed of many fluffy pillows, and leisurely exploring our living room area with the rest of us. Bubba never makes a fuss about himself and he just generally goes with the flow watching the action such as Daddy throwing the ball for Finn to fetch like 200-times nightly!

In summary, I’m so glad that J.C. is part of the Neal Barnhouse Family.  He is such an interesting character that makes Brandee and me so happy plus he’s a good example of an older brother for his four other siblings. It’s also amazing that J.C. is an angel in our house that has experiences with my mom and dad that is only known to him.

We love you J.C.!

-Mommy and Daddy

Ella September Neal

Ella and The Hand

Ella and The Hand

I don’t know why but I’m feeling a strong desire to write this simple message of appreciation for someone that will read this message.

Recently I went on a routine business trip for only two days. While I sincerely enjoyed my trip, meeting new people and getting business done; I missed my wife and our five furry children more than ever. And, frankly, the biggest highlight of my travel was coming home instead of going to the event itself. 

The instant I came in the front door upon getting home, Gracie and Finn “embraced” me with their waggy-tails, big barking mouths and jumpy enthusiasm. I was so happy to see them, and I think they were happy to see Daddy again.

After Grace and Finn finally got settled a little bit, it was time to see how my youngest daughter, Ella Bean September Neal, was doing because she’s a very independent spirit and doesn’t pretend to make a fuss about anything.

So, I headed out to her lazy daytime sleeping bed in our office where she likes to nap in the sunshine and I said ‘hello Ella-bean’.  She responded ‘meow…’, and rolled on her back as a direct invitation for me to rub her tummy like she enjoys so much.

I reached out my hand to scratch her tummy, back of her neck and chin, but I stopped because she was in such a frenzy for me to rub her with my hand that I didn’t know which rub-part was her priority.

So, I just held out my hand and appreciated the gift the God gave me. 

A Hand, with five-fingers, that can move in various horizontal/vertical directions, have nerves to feel sensation such as heat and cold plus effortlessly interoperate with the rest of my body. 

Basically, I had taken touch, with my Hand to scratch Ella’s furry-chin, as sort of an entitlement instead of the gift that this is.

As I held my Hand still for 30 minutes, Ella made the decision whether her chin, belly, neck, ears, back, or wherever she wanted rubbed. It was her choice, not mine, which was really cool.  I spread my fingers out so that she was able scratch several areas in the same pass (she’s so small that she can get a neck, chin and back scratch in one fell-swoop). It was 30-minutes of great reflection that a simple gift, that I don’t appreciate enough such as a Hand with five fingers, can provide such happiness to others.

This 30-minutes also allowed me to consider how Ella’s paws (a.k.a. her Hands), with five nails, are specially created for her purpose in life. She has claws to be able to scale high-fences, climb on roofs as well as defend herself from attacks.

So, while we both Ella and I have similar features with Five digits, we are gifted with specialized purposes with our Hands. The commonality is that Ella and I can touch our Paws/Hands and be bonded forever in our love and happiness for this wonderful gift.