"Each reader will have to decide for him or herself the meaning of Barbara's unconscious encounters. But there's no question they are profound and have major implications. for life and death."
"Barbara's story might redefine the concept of a miracle."
"An enthralling exposition of where the psyche meets the soul." This story gives hope, where hope has been lost.
Barbara was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, to a Swiss immigrant father and Canadian mother and grew up in Mitchell, Ontario. In 1979 Barbara attended Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and received a diploma in Interior Design. She went on to study fine art and art history at Wilfred Laurie University in Kitchener Waterloo and University of Toronto. Due to her love for art, design and architecture, it was a natural fit to become one of Canada's first female professional architectural rendering artists. For twenty-five years she worked as a world renowned watercolor rendering artist, producing hi quality paintings for a prestigious clientele.
Barbara moved to South Florida in 2004 wither son Christopher Morello where she continued working as a rendering artist and later married her fiancée Michael O'Donnell in 2014.
Her first book, "In God's Waiting Room," came about as a result of losing partial vision, when struck down by the 2009 H1N1 virus combined with a massive stroke while on life support during a two week coma. Unable to return to her profession, she embarked on a new mission, writing her incredible story of what happened during her coma experience.
Barbara with her husband Mike are the founders of faith based See Horse Miami's Equine Assisted Learning Program. With her second chance at life, she has been on a mission to help children and adults find a relationship with Jesus, understand the importance of prayer and discover their God given purpose through the use of horses.
Her second book, "Barbie's Sea Horse" was inspired by her grown up children to reach the youth through fantastical illustrations. Her goal is to help them approach challenges with a spiritual perspective instead of a worldly one.
The Sea Horse character Toes in the book Barbie's Sea Horse, is based on the real therapy horse at See Horse Miami. A sweet Palomino quarter horse, Toes really does perform tricks, give kisses and plays soccer. He warms the hearts of the many women and kids who have interacted with him, bringing joy, laughter and finding a unique bond.
For more information about our ministry work or our Equine Assisted Learning Program, please visit www.seehorsemiami.org
To know more about In God's Waiting Room, please visit www.ingodswaitingroom.net
Contact Barbara O'Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember the day quite clearly. It was a fresh spring day in 1979 and I was helping my mother out of her London home that had been our house for a generation. I was there to help, to savor the old house one last time and to wave goodbye to the site of my childhood. Reaching up into the distant recesses of a large, dark closet, I found a tattered, plastic bag bulging with papers. As soon as I examined the contents of the bag I knew I had made an important discovery. The real significance of the find, however, eluded me for some time. I had not found an exotic gem or forgotten heirloom but I had recovered something far more valuable. It was my first grade workbook. We stopped, my mother and I, to joyfully experience my first attempts to communicate with the written word.
I have always enjoyed writing. I enjoy the demands it makes on right-brained creativity and what it asks from left-brained technique. While such a whole brain synthesis is necessary for the effective performance of most activities, few depend as completely as writing does on this marriage between creativity and technique, emotion and logic, the abstract and the rules. In the sense that it exercises the brain in this way, writing like other artistic endeavors, does for the mind what aerobics does for the body.
I was in touch with the sheer joy of creative expression long before I appreciated technique. It was only after publishing thirty or more scientific articles and chapters, co-authoring a book and becoming an editor for an academic psychological journal, that I increased my awareness of technique. It is, however, the absolute high that I get each time I express an idea in an original way that makes me want to write. The sheer exhilaration of giving birth to a unique arrangement of concepts is always there no matter how protracted the labor may have been. Neither is my excitement ever dimmed by the omnipresent possibility that today's hilarious, evocative, beautiful brainchild tomorrow will seem boring, dull and plain.
My creative expression has always been intimately connected to a mischievous desire to shun convention and present the world from a different perspective. Unfortunately, scientific writing does not readily lend itself to this approach. The first time my name appeared in print was as co-author of an obscure statistics paper entitled, 'The Concordance Coefficient: A correction for the inequality of interval in underlying rhos.' There were three other authors and at least two of them understood the contents of the paper.
Eventually, however, I managed to find creative expression in a scientific journal. On the way to work one morning I composed a paper in limerick form about an obsessional who could only express herself in rhyme. The editor of a prestigious psychological journal published it and for months I received limericks from around the globe; coarse ones from Australia, old ones from South America and even a humorless one from behind the lron
The limerick served me well. At conferences, meetings and workshops, psychologists would identify me as the "guy who wrote that limerick." I also used the poem to establish contact with the editor of the European version of Psychology Today and for two years thereafter, I wrote a monthly column and regular features for that periodical.
I soon realized, however, that scientific papers weren't places for jokes. I found that I could write academic articles with creative flair and color without resorting to flippancy. I discovered that, to be used effectively especially in scientific presentations, humor needs to be employed sparingly and held back for the right moment. I learned to write for my market, my audience, my point.
With all the emphasis on creativity, my technique left a lot to be desired. I used to horribly split infinitives. Amazingly, no editor tried to seriously question or to effectively challenge this tendency. I also had a problem with prepositions . I never knew which end of the sentence to put them at. When I found out which end of the sentence to put them I was not sure what they referred to at. When I found out which end of the sentence to put them and was sure what they referred, I got confused what they were for to at. The darned things used to collect at the end of my sentences like balls in the corner pocket of a tilted pool table. Fortunately, this is a problem I no longer have to worry about.
Writing, however, is more than the sum of its creative and technical parts. Writing is not just a way of organizing thoughts, writing provides access to the unconscious. Writing is the transport to the very core of personality. It is a mirror that reflects the soul.
That was the remarkable discovery I made from my first grade workbook. As I read through my very first piece of written work, my characteristic style jumped off the page at me. There was the unconventional, there was the humorous, there was the mischievous. Until that point I thought that I had painstakingly crafted my individual style over the years. Reading that first workbook, however, I realized that the style was not fashioned by me but was, in fact, part of me, a reflection of my identity and present at six years of age.
As I progressed through middle school I determined that I wanted to be a writer but in those days there didn't seem many prospects for that career. So, I ended up in psychology and spent over three decades working as a researcher, academic, teacher, therapist, educator, and speaker. I was even an early adopter of brain assessment and training and conducted one of the first studies using the QEEG for assessment in the U.S. Public school system. I was a consultant to the BBC, WHO, NIAAA, Blue Cross NC and others. I appeared on all the major networks including CNN, 'The View" and ABC's '20/20' and in many major publications like the Wall St Journal, L.A. Times, Prevention, etc.
Now I have returned to my first passion. I write in four major niches: neuroscience, coaching/self-help/psychology, business and inspirational memoirs. I have several great books coming out in the next few months as a writer, co-writer and ghostwriter. One of these is on Avoiding Alzheimer's, another an amazing spiritual journey of a woman in a coma and another is about a child of war and her courage, resilience and grace. Two more inspirational books are about a blind Australian boy who became a world champion athlete and a poor Nigerian girl who was enthralled when she saw a plane fly over her village for the first time when she was eight years old and vowed to learn to be a pilot. She went one better -- she is an aerospace engineer!
I realized that spring day in 1979 that because writing is a reflection of identity, a collection of personal written works is a map that charts the contours of an unfolding life-script. Each piece I write is not just a record of my interests and thoughts, but a buoy marking my progress on the voyage through life.
Stewart, R., Powell, R.G., Rankin, H.J., and Tutton, S. (1975) The Concordance Coefficient (W): A Correction for the Inequality of Interval in underlying Rhos. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 40, 487.
Rankin, H.J. (1976) The Successful Treatment of a Compulsive Limerick Composer by Behavioral Methods. Behavior Research and Therapy, 74, 767.
Howard Rankin: www.psychologywriter.com