Thursday, February 21, 2019

Meet My Rescue Squirrel, Sarah ... A Heartwarming Story from Author and Reiki Master Charline Ratcliff PLUS FREE BOOK!

Now, some of you might look at this photo and think, “wow, that is a really brazen squirrel!” and yet, without knowing the whole story, you wouldn’t know about the milestone of trust that she and I have formed.

I first ‘met’ Sarah in the late summer / early fall of 2017. She was a cute squirrel and being silver with two white rings on her tail definitely set her apart from the brown squirrels I was accustomed to seeing. She would always waltz into the fenced side yard and then dig through the various planter boxes, looking to unearth the acorns or peanuts that the Blue Jays had buried for their winter stash.

When Sarah disappeared later that fall, I really thought nothing of it. I simply assumed that squirrels, much like other animals without a winter food source, went into some form of hibernation. (And yes, I’ve since learned that squirrels don’t actually hibernate, although they do sleep a lot.)

Several months later, I was again in the side yard when I thought I noticed another silver squirrel. Initially, I was exuberant because, truth be told, I had been missing Sarah and her mischievous antics. Upon closer inspection though, I realized with horror that this squirrel was actually Sarah.

However, she did not have the same carefree attitude as before. Now, she crept slowly and stealthily across the ground, keeping as low a profile as possible, while she searched for food. It hurt my heart to see her slink through the garden area, rarely daring to lift her head higher than a couple inches. Gone were her cutely perfect, rounded squirrel ears. What was left instead were two ears that resembled a backward capital “L.”

As my eyes continued to travel the length of her body, I was shocked to see that her fur looked as if it had been ripped off; all the way from the nape of her neck to just past the shoulder blade area of her upper legs. While the skin was now whole (minus fur), I’m certain that directly after whatever it was that had happened to her had happened; her back had probably been, at best, an angry, oozing mess. I felt in my bones that she was lucky to be alive and I was grateful that she felt safe enough to still traverse my garden.

Her sad appearance prompted the purchase of shelled (but unsalted) peanuts and as the months went by, Sarah healed and her fur grew back. (Although her ears never will.)

Over time, she has seemingly come to know and trust me. When I return home from a trip, she is immediately aware and I will generally find her in my side yard the following morning. She has even developed ‘manners,’ if one could call them that, but those manners fly out the window if I don’t happen to hear her initial few knocks upon the bottom of the sliding glass door.

She watches me closely, and when she realizes that I haven’t heard her knocking, she will then run up the exterior screen door until she can see me over the chair. At that point, she will bang dramatically (and quite loudly) until she has successfully attracted my attention; only descending from her seemingly precarious perch once she sees me coming toward her with nuts in hand – because then, for her, everything is once again right with the world.

I smile every time this happens; grateful for Sarah’s friendship and trust. Yet, even more than that, I find myself humbled by her ability to release the trauma of such a horrific past experience…


Charline Ratcliff


Mine is not your typical life's story. Growing up, my family life, schooling, and lifestyle were anything but conventional, average or predictable. Being tenacious, an avid reader and hard-working allowed me to prevail against the pitfalls of my unusual upbringing.

It wasn't until my late twenties that the writing muse found me and thus has begun an extraordinary voyage of self-discovery. I began writing novels, blog posts, book reviews, provided author interviews, and even started mentoring other writers.

Having finished the writing of my most recent Historical Fiction, "A Life in the Age of Pompeii," I am about to embark on the writing of my next historical novel, "The Queen's Lost Daughter."

Readers can connect with Charline via:


Thursday, February 7, 2019

#BookReview of #ChildrensBook Mr. Hoopeyloops Meets Rex by Andi Cann

Mr. Hoopeyloops meets Rex, A Very Clumsy Boy (Explore Artists #3)Mr. Hoopeyloops meets Rex, A Very Clumsy Boy by Andi Cann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rex is an accident prone little boy with good intentions. When he hears that Mr. Hoopeyloops needs an assistant, Rex decides he wants the job. Will the arrangement work out for everyone? Read along to find out…

This is a cute story about overcoming adversity, finding confidence and making friends. The illustrations are colorful and attractive. The story is a positive one.

The one thing I’d say is that this book is a little heavy on text, which might make it difficult to hold the attention of younger children. The intended age level, according to the book info, is 1 – 11, which in my opinion is a big age span. I plan to read this to a library group, so I’ll find out if toddlers appreciate the illustrations enough to follow along. However, I feel that older children should enjoy the story and have no trouble with the vocabulary included in the text. I think the book is worth the download.

4 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton,

View all my reviews

Friday, January 18, 2019

Happy Birthday to A.A. Milne Author of the Beloved Children's Classic Book Series Winnie the Pooh!

Happy Birthday to author A.A. Milne. Without him, we'd never have known Pooh and friends! I took this photo last fall when I visited the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston during a Winnie the Pooh exhibit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

First Post of #2019 - Why Do People Like Being #Parents by @WheezyWaiter #Hilarious

It's 2019 (can you believe it?!) and I wanted to start off the year with a bit of parental humor. 

If you've never seen any of WheezyWaiter's YouTube videos then you're in for a treat. With wry (hilarious) humor, WheezyWaiter and his wife talk about all sorts of things, in a comical way. 

I thought "Why Do People Like Being Parents" would be just the thing to share on the DIY Mom Blog. Hope you enjoy it! 


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Truly Magical! James and The Dragon by Theresa Snyder is an Excellent Myth and Magic Middle Grade Book!

James & the Dragon (The Farloft Chronicles, #1)James & the Dragon by Theresa Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Farloft is a solitary dragon who lives a quiet life on his mountain top retreat, where he likes to observe the lives of the villagers below. James is a hard-working orphan who does his best to take care of himself. One day, when James nearly drowns, Farloft rescues and then adopts him.

What a charming story this is. James and The Dragon has something for just about every young reader – action, adventure, team building, problem-solving and, best of all, friendship. Laval the Wizard, is perfect in the antagonist role, where he causes plenty of problems for Farloft and James to work through.

For middle grade readers (and adults who enjoy reading this genre) James and The Dragon is a wonderful way to introduce them to a kid-friendly series of myth and magic. The vocabulary is perfect for the intended age group. Book 1 is an excellent start to what I’m sure is a truly magical series!

5 of 5 Stars, Susan Barton

View all my reviews

Monday, August 6, 2018

#Bookshelfie Collage from My Weekend Adventure at the Dallas Half Price Book Store!

If you happen to find yourself in Dallas, I suggest a visit to the Half Price Bookstore! This place is AMAZING! 

This collage I created shows just a tiny sampling of what this place has to offer. 

c. 2018 Susan Barton