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Wendy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups using Christian values and principles. She also provides consultation services that include seminars, retreats and workshops to clinicians, industry, agencies, and professional organizations. She received her BSW in 2000 and earned her MSW in 2008 from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
She is a member of the American Associations of Christian Counselors and has worked in community mental health for more than a decade. She has clinical experience in child/adolescents, geriatrics and community-based outreach.
This past April, Wendy opened Oasis Counseling & Consulting (Synergy C&C, LLC), which is a professional private counseling and consulting practice based on Christian values and principles. Oasis Counseling &Consulting offers counseling to individuals, couples and families.
Oasis Counseling & Consulting also provides education and Professional Development in leadership, communication, stress management, problem-solving, and conflict resolution strategies to agencies, industries, long-term care facilities, and schools. She offers Retreats and Workshops as well as Motivational/Public Speaking engagements. Counseling services are $60 per session and consulting services are $75 per hour.
In addition Ms. McNeal offers the following Women’s Retreats/Conferences:
“Tangled Up in Grace” or “Live Long and Prosper…God’s Way”
(Full-Day) (9am-3pm) Up to 150 people
OPTION 1- ($3,000) The church provides the location and promotion of the event within the church and community. Oasis C&C provides speakers, music, materials, and lunch.
OPTION 2- ($35 per ticket) The church provides location, ticket sales & promotion of the event within the church and community, lunch, sound/tech person for power point. Oasis C&C provides speakers, music, and materials.
”Blessings” or “A Grateful Heart” (Half-Day)
(8am-12pm) Up to 150 people
OPTION 1- ($1,700) The church provides the location and promotion of the event within the church and community. Oasis C&C provides speakers, music, materials, and snacks.
OPTION 2- ($25 per ticket) The church provides location, ticket sales & promotion of the event within the church and community, lunch, sound/tech person for power point. Oasis C&C provides speakers, music, and materials.
*With OPTION 2, ticket sales must be at least $1,500 (60 ticket sales)
The retreats listed above are examples of what a full-day retreat would cost compared to half-day retreats. The following are titles of other retreats offered.
Nintendo’s first original Zelda title on the 3DS is an incredible return to form. It forgoes the trappings of the modern Zelda and options for its own spin on old school gameplay.
A Link Between Worlds takes much of its inspiration from A Link to the Past, the 1991 Zelda game on the Super Nintendo. You could probably call this new game a quasi-remake of the old SNES game and be pretty much on the mark. It’s the same world, the same setting, and even some of the same characters. If you bust out the map that came with the original SNES copy of the game, you’d find it essentially identical to the locations in the 3DS game. The references to the 1991 classic are legion in A Link Between Worlds, and, hey, A Link to the Past was pretty good, so it’s a flattering comparison to make.
A Link Between Worlds takes place in the all-too-familiar kingdom of Hyrule, generations after the events of A Link to the Past. As usual, the descendants of Link and Princess Zelda take primary roles in the story. Link is an apprentice blacksmith who isn’t too passionate about the trade, as he’s constantly late for work. Luckily for him, tragedy strikes the kingdom as a malevolent sorcerer named Yuga begins kidnapping people by turning them into paintings, which allows Link to put his apprenticeship on hold in order to follow his destiny as a hero of Hyrule.
However, Hyrule isn’t the only kingdom in peril. Link eventually finds himself in the world of Lorule, a dark reflection of his home country. As the game’s title implies, Link will function as, well, the link between the worlds, and it’s up to him to bring salvation to both. Along the way, Link finds allies in a mysterious rabbit-like merchant and Lorule’s own Princess Hilda to help end Yuga’s sinister secret plot.
For the most part, storytelling takes a back seat in A Link Between Worlds. The story is there, but the narrative simply acts as bookends for the game, as the plot is focused at the beginning and the end. Despite the light story, the game does manage to throw some cool characters into the mix. Princess Hilda actually ends up playing a more active role compared to the princesses of past Zelda games, and there are some genuinely intriguing plot revelations near the end.
Zelda returns to its roots here as a top-down action-adventure game with an emphasis on exploration, which I greatly appreciate. This is the least linear Zelda game yet. In Zelda tradition, you’re given the goal of retrieving a number of trinkets from various puzzle-laden dungeons, but the order in which you take them on is entirely up to you. This is thanks to the new item rental system introduced in this game.
In previous Zelda games, dungeon access required the use of items and tools acquired in other dungeons, forcing you to tackle them in a particular order. In A Link Between Worlds, however, items are no longer locked away in the tomb of whatever such and such evil. Instead, they lay at the table of a rental shop manned by a friendly rabbit-esque merchant named Ravio and his bird companion. Ravio will gladly rent you items like bombs and the bow and arrow for a small fee, and you get to keep those items until you get a game over, which signals Ravio’s bird to remove the equipment from your dead body to be rented out again when you’re revived. It’s not as grim as it sounds, though!
Getting a game over in this game isn’t very common due to how easy the game’s combat is on its normal difficulty. I found myself renting out every single item upon my first visit to his shop and never had to let go of any of them. You can easily start the game off loaded with every single piece of equipment, granting you the privilege of exploring any dungeon you choose (assuming you can find them). After a certain point in the game, you can choose to pay a heftier fee to receive ownership of items indefinitely, which then allows you to upgrade the item further with more powerful attacks. Money isn’t very hard to come by in this game, either. I found myself maxing out my in-game wallet at 9999 rupees very early on.
The rental system can be seen as both a good and bad thing. It’s good in that you’re given free reign on how you choose to tackle the game, but it’s also bad in that it takes away the sense of progression you got from older Zelda games. In the past, starting with an empty inventory and slowly building it up until you’re armed to the teeth with an assortment of weapons and tools granted a certain feeling of accomplishment and growth. However, in the end, it’s a superficial sentiment to be missing, and the game gives you gratification in a number of other fun ways.
The dungeons in A Link Between Worlds feature some of the most impressive puzzle designs in any Zelda game to date. Many puzzles require very unique use of items, enemies, and even the environment itself thanks to the new “wall merging mechanic” that allows Link to turn into a painting and travel along walls. The wall merge really changes your perspective on things, quite literally. Thinking outside of the box is often a requirement, and solving these challenges is one of the most gratifying experiences one can receive from a game. Sure, maybe you’ll be stuck on a puzzle for tens of minutes, but you’ll be praising your ingenuity when you eventually figure it out for yourself. And if your being stumped begins to impede your enjoyment of the game, the game offers a hint system to help you in your troubles. By spending 3DS Play Coins (the coins you receive by walking with your 3DS), you can have Link don a pair of goofy glasses that reveal ghosts inhabiting the environment. At the expense of one Play Coin, they’ll dispense helpful hints toward solving some of the more complex puzzles in the game.
Outside of dungeons, there’s still plenty of exploring to do! The world is full of secrets to uncover. As usual, pieces of heart are strewn about the world to increase your life gauge. Some are given as rewards to the multiple mini-games found within the game. Some are in some obscure areas that are a puzzle in itself as to how to reach. Then there are the Maimais. 100 of these adorable little creatures are hidden in various parts of the world, and collecting them holds the secret to upgrading Ravio’s items. You’ll have two whole worlds to explore in Hyrule and Lorule. They share similar geography, but the means by which you access certain locations differs drastically, requiring some clever exploring to reach every destination.
As I said before, combat in the game isn’t much of an obstacle, especially when you leave Ravio’s store fully equipped. Items such as bombs and arrows no longer need consumable ammunition. Instead, you have an energy meter that governs item use, which recharges on its own, so you’re pretty much free to use items as much as you want, with only a slight waiting period when your meter runs out. Your sword is generally good enough to vanquish most enemies in a few hits. Boss fights are more varied, but still relatively short encounters. The main challenge there is figuring out the boss’s weakness. This often involves clever use of the wall merge mechanic or a specific item. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s time to bash the monster with a sword over and over until it’s dead. Again, it’s the puzzles that drive the game, rather than the combat.
When A Link Between Worlds was first revealed, I wasn’t to keen on the art style. However, the game looks much better in person and in motion. The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second (with a few dips when there is too much on screen and during some wall merge scenarios). The art style is simple, but works as a throwback to a Link to the Past, and that’s just one of the many of callbacks to the old SNES game.
If you were a fan of A Link to the Past, you’ll be experiencing nostalgia heaven in A Link Between Worlds. Sound bites are ripped directly from the old game. The charge up sound on the sword is the same, the guards make the same rattling sound when alerted, and the infamous “puzzle solved” jingle makes a glorious return, seemingly untouched by time. Even the outdated visual pixelation effect is back for certain scene transitions. Classic enemies return with brand new polygonal redesigns (and, might I say, the most adorable Tektites in a Zelda game ever). Almost everything loved about A Link to the Past shows up in one form or another in this game, with the sad exception of a pink-haired Link.
You’ll also recognize a lot of the music from the original game, this time remixed into various new arrangements. Remember the unsettling cave theme from the old game? Well it’s back, and as daunting as ever. One very cool thing about the tunes in the game is that the overworld music changes depending on your progression in the game. The music grows more triumphant as you come closer to your final showdown with Yuga. There are many different remixes of both the Light World and Dark World themes from A Link to the Past, and all of it sounds great. The soundtrack overall is a grand delight to listen to.
The game features fantastic use of the 3D display on the 3DS (sorry 2DS owners!). The overhead perspective really lends itself well to the 3D layering effects of multiple dungeon floors. Link will often pop up out of the screen as he makes leaps across chasms and down mountains. The 3D is even incorporated into gameplay. For example, in one mini-game, you’re tasked with avoiding incoming chickens. With the 3D turned off, your eyes are treated to an almost overwhelming amount of poultry to dodge, but when you turn the 3D on, it adds the element of depth, and you realize that some of the chickens are actually flying above you and can easily be ignored. I highly encourage people to play the game in 3D.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is definitely one of the best games on the 3DS. The return to its roots creates a keener focus on fantastic gameplay rather than dragging it down with exposition. Not to say that story in a Zelda game is bad, but it’s refreshing to go back to basics in this regard. The game gives the player an enormous sense of freedom to explore the world at their own pace and direction. The puzzles are clever and engaging, and the throwbacks to A Link to the Past will please any Zelda fan.
It took me around 20 hours to collect every single item and complete every quest in the game without a guide. Beating the game once will unlock the “Hero” difficulty mode, which makes combat harder for those looking for more of a challenge and some replay value.
I highly recommend A Link Between Worlds as one of the best games of the year. If you’ve grown tired of the modern Zelda formula, this game might change your mind on the series.
I give The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds a perfect 5 out of 5.
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra
It’s also increased the danger as trees snap, crackle, pop and drop their load of ice and branches into yards, homes and streets.
As of 2 p.m. Friday, Oncor reported more than 6,000 without power.
Photos by Jeff Parish and Josh Allen, eParis Extra
“We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”
– Salovey and Mayer.
A leaders’ strongest personality trait is his level of emotional intelligence (EI). An emotionally intelligent person is skilled in four areas: identifying emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions and regulating emotions.
In fact, emotional intelligence is the difference that makes the difference.
Lack of emotional intelligence is what limits people to manage themselves, manage others or manage situations.
An emotionally intelligent leader is effective because he can control his impulses, can deal with stress and instead of reacting, he responds effectively to a compromising situation. An emotionally intelligent leader does not let others push his buttons while connecting with everyone effectively at the same time.
According to The Center For Creative Leadership, 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competences, including inability to handle interpersonal problems, unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.
In the words of Daniel Goleman who popularized the concept of emotional intelligence in his New York Times best seller “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ?” describes: “In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings will determine our success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.”
To be effective, a leader must have a solid understanding of how his emotions and actions affect the people around him. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he will be.
A leader with Emotional Intelligence (EI) focuses on Self Awareness, Self Management, Empathy and Social Skills.
1. Self-Awareness: A leader understands the importance of having a true and clear picture of his strengths and weaknesses while behaving with humility. A leader understands and knows his emotions and he also realizes its impact and affect on the people and situations around him. He examines his emotions when he is angry to know why? He is also aware that no matter whatever the situation is, he always has a choice to respond in a manner he chooses. And once he has chosen his course of action, he takes full responsibility for it and is accountable to it for his people. He does not believe in a blame game. He holds himself responsible when he makes a mistake or when something goes wrong. This behavior makes him earn the respect of those around him.
2. Self –Management: A leader stays in control of his emotions all the time. Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions or compromise their values. Any time a leader is faced with a moral or ethical decision, he will make the right choice since he knows what is important to him. A leader has a very clear idea of his code of ethics and will not compromise on core values.
3. Empathy: A leader with empathy has the ability to put himself in another person’s shoes. He helps develop the people on his team, challenge those who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback and listen to those who need it. It is easy to support one’s own point of view but to look at situation from someone else’s perspective requires a higher level of understanding and empathy. Leaders pay attention to not only ideas of everybody but also to their body language. Learning to read body language can be a real asset in leadership role because you can tell how someone truly feels which gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately.
4.Social Skills: A leader with greater levels of (EI ) is a great communicator. He is just as open to hearing bad news as good news and he is good at making his team support him. A leader understands the importance of giving praise when it is due and earns the loyalty of his team through his empathy and social skills.
Leaders with higher level of emotional intelligence are always open to change and challenges and prefer to resolve conflicts diplomatically. They are motivated and highly optimistic regardless of the problems they face.
Ayesha Shafiq is the Director of Paris Cardiology Center, now in her eleventh year. She is the wife of Khalid Shafiq, M.D. and mother of their 2 children. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations. Mrs. Shafiq runs management with the help of 22 employees.
Last Thanksgiving week was likely a stressful time if you were a Black Friday shopper, as people were going crazy to save on a couple of bucks on personal items and Christmas gifts. But, for those like me who were too fearful of their lives to brave the danger of the brick-and-mortar stores on Friday morning, shopping online was a wonderful alternative. I’m currently waiting on a copy of The Last of Us that I snapped up for $25 during Amazon’s Lighting Deal sales, and it’ll be here soon. Amazon’s usually pretty quick about it. Two-day delivery through Amazon Prime is pretty good, but what if they could cut the wait down to 30 minutes?
In an interview on “60 Minutes” Sunday evening, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled what he hopes to be the future of Amazon’s delivery system: Amazon Prime Air, delivery by drones. The service will work like this: once you’ve hit the order button on Amazon.com, your items at the Amazon fulfillment center will go into small buckets and be taken to your house by way of unmanned octocopters.
The Amazon-branded drones will be able to deliver packages up to five pounds. Not all deliveries will work this way, but it’s ideal for smaller items, which make up 86 percent of all Amazon orders. The drones are completely unmanned, directed by GPS, with a range of 10 miles. If you end up living near one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers, the idea is you’ll get your package within 30 minutes or less of hitting the “buy” button.
Bezos says most of the challenge will come from proving the safety of the drones by the standards of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Once regulations are in place, Amazon Prime Air could become the next standard of home delivery. Bezos estimates that the service is 4 or 5 years away, and Amazon hopes the FAA’s rules for unmanned aerial vehicles will be in place as early as 2015.
Check out Amazon’s official Prime Air page for footage of one of their test flights.
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra