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Turquoise Frame
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Mules in the Mountains

Mules in the Mountains

I had a lot of neat adventures back in the late 80’s working as a reporter for the Whitley Republican in Williamsburg, Kentucky. There was always something going on in that little mountain town.

Sometimes a little weirdness going on, but interesting nonetheless.

One experience in particular is still dear to my heart – the day we went up into the mountains to do a feature on mules hauling pipeline. My friend and newspaper comrade, Teresa, recently found a copy of that article and sent it to me. Reading it again brought back a lot of memories.

When nothing else works – bring in the mules.

A company working to lay pipeline in the Kentucky mountains were not able to take the big trucks into the area where they needed to go. So the foreman had the bright idea to take mules up there to help do the job. It still kinda fascinates me.

The newspaper photographer, Bill, got wind of the story and off we went to find them. We had to drive a little way up in the mountains. When we got there, we found it just as we’d heard – mules were doing the work where trucks couldn’t. It stands as my favorite experience from my time at the paper. (Well, that and getting free supper every Tuesday night at the Bonanza steakhouse. But that’s another story.)

I interviewed the foreman (and the mules ?), and Bill took lots of photos – it turned out to be a very nice feature spread and we also won photo feature of the year, and feature article of the year from the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association. Cool beans.

I moved on from newspaper work, but never forgot my love of writing about everyday life – neat stories about people, places and things.

In the back of my mind, I missed newspaper life and thought that I would like to do that again.  I wanted my own publication, though. Then I heard about the One Christian Voice network of online news sites.

I messaged the editor of Nashville Christian Voice and found out that they were looking for someone to start another site in Tennessee.

Pick me! Pick me!

Long story short – I’m now the editor of my own news site, ETN Christian Voice! I’ve been slow out of the gate, but it’s coming along. I get to choose the stories to feature, I’m writing about the things I love to write about and my dream is happening.

Don’t ever let go of your dreams. They’re there for a reason.

Keep moving forward and do what you know to do. Pray, give your plans and dreams to God and He will take it from there.

Have faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,  the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1




Doublewide is Back in the Building

I didn’t go anywhere. I just had a little (unplanned) writing respite.

Maybe I needed to let my noodle have a Christmas break along with the rest of me. I’ll admit that I was disappointed when I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to over the Christmas break. I was ready to slay the writing project giant, the cluttered house giant and any other Neanderthals that got in my way.

But all I managed to do was eat too much dessert and take a lot of naps. If there were such a thing as a ‘professional napper’ I could pay off all y’all’s mortgages.

Many of my writer friends made great strides during the holidays and I celebrated them.  I truly am happy for them, as they sign contracts and publish books. It’s quite an accomplishment to take a book from ‘bright idea’ to written form to published product. Then there are the book proposals and pitch letters to go along with it. Anyway – it’s huge.

I’ve not been that encouraging to myself, though. I’ve slumped around and shuffled through, feeling a little low and having pity-parties. (Note to self : always bring chocolate to a pity party)

Then I had a 2019 epiphany of sorts… eureka!

The end is not near. Not yet, anyway.

It’s time to party for real  – I’m back on the writing train heading  on toward my destinations. I feel like the magician in “Frosty the Snowman” (not the evil part and melting snowmen and all, the part where he realizes he needs to get at it). I’ve got to get busy, busy, busy!

Sitting around in the dumps doesn’t accomplish a thing and it’s right where the enemy wants us to be- he thinks we’ll give up.

If you find yourself feeling less than enthusiastic because you think you’ve missed the mark, think again. God says in His Word that His plan will be accomplished. Have faith!

It’s not the end of your dream or goal. The path is still there laid out before you. Just get up and keep on moving forward.

I heard recently that the Christian artist, Lauren Daigle, lost out two or even three times on American Idol. But she didn’t give up and go home, and forget about singing. Now look at her.

When I listen to her, I can’t believe that she lost a singing competition to anyone. Lauren’s phenomenal. I’m really glad she didn’t give up.

So,  happy 2019! Here’s to all of our accomplishments yet to come! This is a new day – grab it and run.








The Kingdom Life

Why is it that we so love stories about fairytale kingdoms, castles, horse drawn buggies (well, I guess they’re called carriages in jolly Old England) and heroes on horseback?

If you don’t believe me, just look at the throngs of people lining the streets when a royal wedding is going on.

I think Americans are even more enamored by the pomp and circumstance. We don’t really have anything to compare to it here, except maybe a presidential inauguration and even that doesn’t captivate the way a royal affair does. The Kennedy family used to be our “royal family”, but that doesn’t even hold true anymore. The Kennedy’s, sadly, have kind of faded into the background.

The idea of a tiny kingdom with kings, queens and maidens conjures up all kinds of neat stories about love and life. Somebody is always talking to a mirror and being saved from an evil stepmother.

I can imagine the old doublewide sitting upon a hill so chill (that’s fairytale language) with a moat and a drawbridge. In this story, it would have to be expanded to include a dungeon and a tower. All fairytale doublewides have to have that to even qualify.

Can you imagine the Queen of England living in a doublewide…  It would have to have a big ol wooden deck on the front where she could wave to the crowds.

Anyway, back to our story. The doublewide husband would have to ride everywhere on horseback and fight dragons and such.

I really like the part about being part of a royal family. You get to make decrees and everything!

You know what’s cool? We really are part of a royal family. Christians are part of God’s royal family. The Bible says we are a royal priesthood.

I love that – being in a royal family. No matter what goes on around us, we know that we’re in this world but not of it. That means we’re not limited by what’s going on around us.  The world may seem to be in bad shape sometimes, but it doesn’t define those who are in Gods family.

I hope that encourages you! Get into God’s Word and find out what it says about you. You’ll find out a lot more truth about who you are in God’s royal family and just what that truly means. Don’t worry – you qualify even if you don’t have a doublewide.




Be Kind

This is no coincidence.

I started writing this piece several days ago, not knowing that today was “Kindness Day”. I was saving it to post later in the week, but it seems like it was meant for today.

Life is too precious not to be kind every time you can.

It’s not hard to be kind. It doesn’t take extra time from your schedule. So, be kind.

This goes beyond just being “nice”. Sometimes I think I’m too nice, but I hope it’s more than that. I hope that it’s more me being inclined toward being kind.

I don’t understand mean people. They aren’t kind and I don’t like them very much. I don’t hate them … I just don’t like them. Well, maybe it’s really the meanness that I don’t like. They just need Jesus, like the rest of us.

When I encounter a mean person, I’m struck between wanting to kick their shins and needing to be kind to them. I believe this is how the Southern saying “bless your heart” came to be. On second thought, I’m pretty sure that’s for when you decide to be nice instead of telling them off.

Be kind to people, even if they’re mean.

The Doublewide husband and I got to help feed some of the homeless in our community last week. I loved helping serve the meal and showing kindness to people who probably don’t get a lot of that. Many of them thanked us.

I tend to get misty-eyed every time I get to go help out. I don’t know why — maybe I’m a human water park. Being kind will make you misty-eyed sometimes.

I kept hearing down inside me that this is what being the hands and feet of Jesus is. I saw the people there, waiting around the tables, just as they were right at that moment. Just people who needed to be fed. I wanted to be kind to them and show them love.

There are all kinds of ways to be kind.  It doesn’t cost a thing (or very little) and it’s pretty easy to do. I tend to get in a rush sometimes, or get really focused on what I’m doing, and not pay attention. That happens to all of us.

We should take time to look outside our world every once in a while and notice other things that are going on. I bet it would make a huge difference if we all did that.

Here are some tips, in case you need a little help knowing where to start: pray for somebody, encourage a friend or a non-friend (and make a friend), let somebody else have that parking place near the mall entrance, pay for the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru line, serve a meal, help feed somebody’s pets when they’re out of town, open a door, let another person have the seat you love because it has the best view — see, it’s not so hard.

Kindness. It might even help put a stop to all this dad-burned fussing and fighting that seems to be going on everywhere. Now that would be well worth it.




Closet Surprises

I finally got into my closet over the weekend  to start cleaning out some junk.

At one point I found myself sitting on the floor, looking through old shoes, when a bunch of tops, socks and pajamas from the “needs to be washed” pile tumbled down on me. I figure if a tornado ever comes through, I can just get in the closet under all those clothes and be perfectly safe.

Little did I know that I would have a new wardrobe when I started digging. I  found things I had completely forgotten about buying.

Boots that were long forgotten resurfaced. Score!! I love my boots, as I mentioned in an earlier post.

It was like going shopping for free. Well, almost free. Like somebody else paid for it free.

I also discovered that I had not lost as much weight as I thought I had. Score for the “give away” pile!

I think my waist got longer too – a lot of my old tops shrunk while laying  in the closet and  are now too short. The pile leaving the house keeps growing…

What do you do with a big ol box of socks that are multi-colored and match nothing? Ain’t nobody gonna want that.

I guess that’s the box you shove to the back and hope it fades away. I wonder if sock wreaths are in for gift giving this year…

If you’re playing the White Elephant game at a Christmas party this year and I’m there, you might want to keep that in mind.

At this rate, I’ll go into Spring 2019 less cluttered and somebody, somewhere with a short waist will be wearing my shirts.  Score, again!







Dog Language

I just told my dog I would be back with her “in just a minute” and held up one finger like she knew exactly what I was saying.

She knew. I know she did because she nodded in agreement.

Does anybody else do that?

I see memes on Facebook about people who talk to their dogs. Everybody else is laughing hysterically and I’m staring at my phone thinking, “yep, that’s me”, or wondering what’s so funny (or weird) about that?!

Mary Grace and I understand each other. I know what her little dances and whimpers mean, and she knows what I’m saying when I tell her to “wait” or “you’re mommy’s sugar sweet, lovey, huggy, dumplin baby doll”.

I know I’m not the only dog parent who does that.

Or this scenario: you’re at a restaurant and you have some  pizza crust left – you:

A. Forget you’re not in your own kitchen and, out of habit, hold a piece of crust at dog-level beside the chair waiting on your dog to snatch it, until you notice odd stares from people sitting near you (evidently these are not dog people),

B. Remember you’re not at home in your own kitchen and quickly wrap it up in a napkin, along with any other available morsels, to take with you.

This is also a frequent exchange at my house when I’m leaving for work, or going to the store – I hand her a treat and her Kong and then apologize for leaving. “I’m so sorry, but mommy has to go to work and make money to buy more milk bones, baby.”

The Doubwide husband is just as guilty. When we go out, after a few hours he’s checking his watch to remind me how long we’ve been away from her.

We have a Yorkie too. He’s pretty chill about the whole thing, though. His attitude is kind of like… “just keep the Rachel Ray kibble coming and I’m good.”

He does look at us a little funny when we apologize to the Boxer.




The Wild Wild West

The Wild Wild West

I’m fascinated by the old West.

I think it all started with Bonanza and Gunsmoke and just grew from there. I wanted to hang out at the Ponderosa, drink root beer in Miss Kitty’s saloon and eat beans from a big iron pot out on the prairie.

Two of my favorite movies of all time are Young Guns and Tombstone — so it’s no wonder that I got caught up in searching out details about Johnny Ringo when I saw a FB book friend’s post of photos from her tour of Tombstone, Arizona. That would have been a wild time to be alive.

As much as I love reading about the old West and watching movies about it, I don’t know that I actually wish I could have lived back then…

It was a hard life. If you so much as looked crosseyed at somebody, they might have gunned you down, blown the smoke off their gun and kept on going.

Then as my imagination runs away, I wondered what life was like for the preachers back then. How did they get people to come to church — especially the outlaws? I mean, if anybody needed to be in church hearing the Word, it was them!

How would an outlaw have reacted to somebody handing them a tract and inviting them to a church social — hmmmm… I can imagine the conversation.

“I said I don’t want no church. Now I’m gonna give you to the count ‘a two ta git outta here.”

Yep, inviting outlaws to church could have been hazardous to your health.

The other things I like about the Old West are the cowboy boots and that the main mode of transportation was horsepower.

Life seemed simpler back then- sort of. I think they had their own issues to face. It just seems better to us because there were no tv’s or social media and everybody didn’t know what everybody else was having for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I plan to tour the Old West one of these old days. When I do, I’ll be sure to share pics.

For now, I’m going to practice drinking root beer and see what beans taste like from a can.

Shelter In Place

The first day of classes on the main campus at the university where I work saw a little excitement – and not the good kind.

An emergency announcement went out to shelter in place because an assault had happened on campus and there was a man with a weapon on the loose. Even though we weren’t on the main campus, we got the notice too and stayed inside like we were instructed to do. We finally got more information through text and email alerts.

While sitting there in the library basement in a small room with several students who were studying, I thought about the situation and the whole thing irritated me.

I wasn’t mad at the police or the university – they did a great job of keeping us all safe. I had a bone to pick with the nut who was causing the whole thing. It made me downright mad that one person was controlling the situation and disrupting everything.

We didn’t have all the details at first, so we didn’t know how big the threat was. Everything turned out ok and within about an hour the police had the suspect in custody, and they gave us the “all clear”. I’m glad it wasn’t any worse than it was and, as far as I heard, nobody was hurt in the assault that started the whole mess or after the assault when the guy with the weapon ran.

Something else I decided – and I know this is a very controversial subject – I want to learn how to defend myself and get a carry permit and a handgun. I’m not speaking for anybody but myself here. I didn’t like the feeling of sitting there with virtually no way to defend myself.

I work on a federal campus so we’re not allowed to have a weapon at work, but I could carry it other places. Incidents like that don’t just happen on college campuses.

Like I said, I’m telling my side of the gun/no gun issue. If there’s somebody with a gun out there running around intending to hurt me, I want to have a fair chance to defend myself if I need to.

But here’s the thing – I don’t want to merely get a good score shooting at a target and then get my little card that says I can carry. I want to know how to handle said gun. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it could get you or somebody else hurt.

I may get hate mail for this one, but that’s ok. I’m giving my opinion and I’m open to hearing what others have to say. Just keep it clean.

Off to Work I Go!

I don’t work on an auto assembly line. Thank you, Jesus.

I’m being thankful for the little things as I get ready for work. Also, Monday is behind me.

Working on an auto assembly line is not necessarily a bad thing — in fact, it’s a nobel occupation. Think of where we’d be without the auto workers! Yay for the auto workers!

That kind of work just isn’t for me. I couldn’t handle it. Staying in one place all day, not being able to talk to other people. I’m a social person. I have to have my visiting time. You know … when I’m not hard at work (just in case my boss reads this).

I dont think I could handle having a little buzzer telling me when I can go to the bathroom, or when I can go to lunch, either. I would definitely have words with that dang buzzer.

I actually worked in similar sutuation once. Oh my goodness – – worse situation ever, for me anyway. This wasn’t an assembly line – it was an attorney’s office…

This is turning into, “Jobs I Probably Shouldn’t Try – Part Two”!

I once worked in the front office for a physicians group. That was actually ok. I handled it, but it wasn’t ideal. And, bless their hearts – I worked with a bunch of women… side by side … every single day. ‘Nuff said.

I’m more of a free-style creative, think it through kind of person. Give me a project to work on and I’m off devising a plan to get it done. I’ve gotten good at herding people. Give me a group and I’ll figure out where to put them. And I can deal with a little whining too. I don’t like it, but I can deal with it.

I’m really good at coming up with Plan B in short order, too. You know, when you have a plan and you’re working that plan, and you think every detail is covered. Then somebody throws a wrench in things, or you realize at the last minute that you’ve forgotten something. Plan B to the rescue!

I think the theme I’m seeing here is that I have learned to be flexible and anticipate that I might need an alternate plan at the drop of a hat. It also helps if you’re creative. I may just be the McGyver of creative planning and the “work smarter, not harder” idea.

It sure cuts down on stress and I’m not running around like my hair’s on fire.

The moral here – think ahead and be willing to be flexible.

It doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B in your hip pocket, either.

Lend Me Your Ear

Ear candling can bring families together.

It’s true – my mom and I bonded over ear candling just the other day. I think it was due to the fact that I didn’t burn her hair up in the process.

She thought she had a bug in her ear and wanted me to see if I could get it out. We don’t go to the doctor for such things; we candle!

Timeout – before I get hate mail for using an alternative method for bug removal – I had an experience with a bug in my ear many years ago. It was no fun. I went to the ER and laid on a table while they dug down in my ear canal for a moth that felt like it was the size of a seagull. I’ll never again walk near an outside light at night without something covering my ears.

So, I read the instructions on the ear candle box, googled “ear candling for dummies” and got started.

I collected the necessary tools – damp towel, bowl of water, metal pie plate, candle…check.

By the time we got everything set up, it looked like she was trying to tune in life from some distant galaxy.

Mom got in place in her chair, I put the candle in her ear (yes, I got the correct end in the ear) and had her hold it while I struck the match.

I don’t like fiddling around with matches so this was a little scary, but I did it.

I lit the big end and away we went. As it burned down, I followed the instructions and kept my fingers on the candle about four inches from her head so it wouldn’t burn down too far. I knew it was time to extinguish the flame when my fingernails started to get warm.

The bowl of water, in case you were wondering, was there to plunge the candle into when we were done. I took the candle out and managed to drop it on the table – ear candles can put off quite a flame, let me tell you.

All was well though – I grabbed the flame-throwing candle off the table and dunked the burning end into the bowl. No one was harmed and mom felt that it was a success.

I can report that ear candling really works! She didn’t find a bug, but it did pull some gunk out of her ear.

She felt better and I may add “ear candling” to my resume.

The moral to this story is – don’t be afraid to try new things. Also, ear candling works as long as you’re careful and follow the directions, and keep a bowl of water handy.

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