Turquoise Frame
Turquoise Frame
Turquoise Frame

Hallmark Mystery Rewritten

I’m on the couch with my popcorn and sweet tea, ready for an evening of tv watching. Eyes glued to the set as the eerie music plays during the show’s intro. This mystery feature film opens with the heroine in dire straits — she’s staring down the barrel of her would-be assailant’s gun. She’s trapped — the only way out is to jump from the nearby 20th floor window to the pavement below or face the killer and their weapon. Suddenly, the star manages to pick up a huge 50-pound wooden beam with one arm and knock the bad guy silly. Then she narrowly escapes down a back stairwell just as the police are pulling up to the scene, after they were tipped off by an anonymous caller.

The heroine then joins her friends who are having dinner at a nearby 4-star restaurant. When someone asks why she’s late, she merely shrugs it off and mumbles something about a delayed hair appointment. Oh, and her makeup and hair still look perfect after the fight and escape, half running half tumbling down all those stairs.

I know these mystery shows are nothing like real life, but I love a good whodunit. They grab me by the neck and pull me into the story — then I have to figure out who the killer is, why they did it and all that goes with a late-night mystery. I’m still bummed that Hallmark took “Garage Sale Mysteries” off the air. I know… Lori Laughlin messed up and all, but there are enough actors out there to keep the show going for a long long time. Heck, they use the same people in almost every other show on the network.

Alright, I’ll do it. I’ll star in the remake of “Garage Sale Mysteries”. Do I get to pick out my co-star husband?!

If Hallmark ever decides to cast me for the lead in a mystery show, I also get to write the script. The story would happen somewhere in the South, in the country, maybe in a barn and my friends would be eating at Cracker Barrel. It would be called something like “Yard Sale Mysteries”. The plot, if based on the goings on in my neck of the woods, could involve an ostrich, a naked man and a guy who has his dogs guarding his marijuana garden. The storyline would be so much more interesting than the made-up same old same old that Hallmark produces. Sorry Hallmark guys, but you could use a few new ideas. I’m glad to share mine.

The lead character wouldn’t be all dressed up in fancy high heels and spaghetti straps. She would wear jeans, boots and a baseball cap that says “dog mom” on it. I would definitely add more humor into the dialogue – it would go a little something like this as the characters gathered at the funeral home to mourn the killer’s victim:

Mourner #1 – “Did you see how they had Mrs. Pertneer fixed up. She looked so good, just like she could speak.”

Mourner #2 – “Yes, honey. Did you hear what’s going to happen to her dish collection? They’re putting it all right in the Goodwill.”

Mourner #1 – “Oh, I didn’t know that. Did they say which day they’re taking it over there? I’ve been needin’ a new gravy boat.”

We also have to do something about those immaculate houses the characters on the shows live in. They’re beautiful, but how do you explain someone living on a librarian’s salary living in a house that looks like it came from the pages of Southern Living magazine? The star of my show would live in an apartment somewhere over a store front. Or, better yet, let’s have her live in a doublewide on her momma and daddy’s land. There’s a little dirt road leading up to it. Also, this scenario would make it easier for them to find clues when someone tries to break into the heroine’s house after she “accidentally” mentions in a crowded room that she found a notebook containing letters from the dear departed, possibly calling from the grave, that identify the guilty party. The killer is always lurking around close by, so they hear the whole thing and then try to retrieve the notebook and try to kill the heroine because she knows too much.

The boyfriend, who always shows up just as the killer is about to do the main character in, would have to be a guy from the country who left, for a time, to join the military and has now returned to rekindle his love story with our heroine. Instead of throwing books at the murderer or fighting him or her with a fake sword, this guy would be well equipped with a rifle, a side arm and a good hunting knife.

I think I have a winner here. They’d be crazy not to go for it. Anybody who wants to audition for the role of funeral mourner, see me as soon as the show’s over.





Prayin’ the Possum Away

I find myself out in the yard nearly every night between 2:00 and 3:00am shining my flashlight in every corner, carefully scanning the yard …. looking for little beady eyes staring back at me.

The elusive possum.

My husband calls them “midnight ramblers”. I just call them an aggravation that I have to run out of our dog lot almost every time our Boxer, Mary Grace, has to go out in the middle of the night. Why she can’t go before bed and then wait till morning to go back out is beyond me. So there I stand, in my big baggy pajama pants, jacket and hand-me-down house shoes, shining my flashlight around to see if that dad-burned possum is rambling around inside the lot. Sure enough, I spot it in one corner. There it is with those eyes reflecting in the beam of my super duper bright light. I love my flashlight. The batteries don’t last a long time and they’re expensive, but they’re worth it. (did I ever mention that I love tools and gadgets)

One cool thing I figured out after I panicked the first time I found a possum in the yard — if you shine the light on the possum and walk toward it, the varmint will head for the hills! Well, it heads back to the vines and trees it climbed to get inside the lot and it promptly disappears. I don’t know where it goes. You’d think it would go back out the way it came in. I don’t think possums understand that concept. All I know is that the thing gets gone and I can go let the dog out. Meanwhile, she’s looking out the door, crossing her legs while she waits on me to get the possum out of her space.

I don’t even want to deal with the aftermath that would ensue if she went out there with the possum in her lot. Have you ever had to get a dead possum out of your yard? Me neither. I want to keep it that way.

There is another (and better) way to get that possum out of my yard. I pray it outta there. Laugh if you want to, but the Lord cares about me having to deal with that thing after my dog gets me up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I know what you’re thinking — why don’t I just lay hands on the dog so she won’t have to go out? I’ve done that too. As you may know, the Lord will let us go our own way when we don’t listen, which is what Mary Grace does sometimes. Sometimes she won’t go back outside before bedtime. Then I hear a faint whimper in the night, following by her nails clicking on the bare floor. By the time I get up, put on my house shoes, find the flashlight and actually get the door open she’s dancing around in circles. I always apologize because I have to take time to go check the yard. She wakes me up out of a cozy sleep and I”m apologizing to her. The things we do for our dogs…

Back to me praying for the Lord to remove the possum from the dog lot. I believe He cares about everything that affects us and that possum definitely affects my ability to quickly let the dog out so we can get back to bed and back to sleep. Drifting off to sleepy land after all that is not an easy task. I lay there pondering life’s greatest questions, like, “why don’t they design turn lanes so cars aren’t in each other’s way when turning…” and other questions in life.

The possum problem isn’t the worst thing in the world. I realize that.  “Just let the dog out and don’t worry about it,” you may think. Please refer back to paragraph #5. It may not even be the same possum. What if  something happened to it. I’m not saying anything will happen – this is purely hypothetical. There could be other possums out there with the same idea, so that wouldn’t solve anything.

I like my idea about talking to the Lord about that possum. He knows if there are others and how to steer them away from the dog lot. I can imagine the scene. Angels out there shooing possums away from going in the dog lot.

Please don’t send hate mail on that last statement. Just pray for me and that possum.



The Great Bar-b-Dog Heist

Alright. Who stole the Bar-b-Dogs?

I’m pretty sure that I know the culprit. It’s the same one that has stolen our family get togethers, our vacation time and our fall festivals. 2020, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent.

It’s one of our favorite fall treats from our little hometown drive-thru restaurant Pal’s. See, every Fall Pals has Bar-b-Dogs on the menu. It’s a once-a-year thing – barbecue on a steamed hotdog bun. Last year the Doublewide Husband and I stopped to get Bar-b-Dogs, fries and Pal’s famous tea on our way to our local University football games. We “tailgated” in the car before going in to find our seats. I know 2020 is the culprit because I emailed Pals and got a response from the CEO explaining that the pandemic caused them to not be able to offer Bar-b-dogs this year. (note: this year also saw the passing of Pal Barger, the man who brought us Pals)

Even if we’d been able to get our beloved Pals barbecue, there would be nowhere to tailgate. Yep, 2020 messed that up too. Those football games have been moved to Spring 2021. Spring ain’t football season, people… The nip in the air, big sweaters and coats, bonfires – that’s all Fall stuff. The country song, “The Boys of Fall” clearly explains it.

What else is 2020 going to try to steal?!

Well, now they’re threatening to cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas. Really? Who are “they” anyway? Let me tell you, they are not getting any more of my 2020! I’m taking it back! If I have to wear a mask while eating my turkey and dressing, I’ll do it. I’m not giving up any more celebrations.

Actually, if you look back on the year since the plague hit, people have been really creative about keeping their beloved traditions. I love the pioneer spirit. Birthday celebrations have turned into parades. Who doesn’t love a parade? People are working from home (me included). Meetings and some family gatherings have gone virtual. Those are not the worst things in the world. I like working from home. Meetings are more casual  and you can wear your pajamas – well the bottom part of your pajamas.

Why cry over spilt calendars?

I think I’ll focus on all the good this year has brought me. It’s easy to focus on the bad things, and there’s plenty of bad that’s come along this year, but I choose to look at the good things. It’s been a year to spend more time with immediate family, cook more at home and eat healthier (unless you’re grilling hot dogs every day).

How about you? How will you remember this year — focusing on the bad things or remembering all the good that happened?


Pandemic Life in Hooterville

Pandemic Life in Hooterville

Is it ok to say this whole “pandemic” thing has had me the least little bit stressed?

I don’t even mean the virus itself. I pray over that whole mess and leave it there. The sudden change to my predictable rut is what’s had me out of sorts. 

The biggest obstacle I’ve had working from home turned out to be unreliable internet. Rainy days ruined any hopes for connecting to the work world. For awhile I felt like I lived in Hooterville –  went outside looking for a telephone pole to climb.

It turns out my former internet supplier had things hooked up inside a plastic box by the side of the road where rain runoff could flood and/or a car could slide into and knock the whole thing to kingdom come. I do live in Hooterville! I even had to set up shop at my neighbor’s house for a few days until we switched over to a new provider.

In the midst of all this, my day job hasn’t slowed down a bit. This is probably the busiest time of year for a medical school, so I have been mucho busy (and stressed!) learning how to lend support via electronic means and making sure the learning environment still happened for our group. 

My technical creativity went up, while my writing creativity took a bit of a nosedive. Writing anything worth reading was just not happening. My brain felt like it had taken one too many rides on the tilt-a-whirl. Jesus take the wheel!

I decided that the tide had to turn or I was going to go get a job at the doughnut factory and forget everything else. That’s my contingency plan, anyway.  Getting up early every morning to go make the doughnuts isn’t the worse thing that could happen.

Until I resign myself to rolling out dough for a living, I will be writing the dough. Maybe I’ll invent blog doughnuts with messages on them. See, I know God has a perfect plan for me. Why else would He give me all these whacky ideas? Some will come to life in this blog, some in books and in other avenues. 

The bottom line is that even though I get stressed, I don’t have to let stress overtake me and have me so turned around that I can’t even find my way out of a paper bag.

I think it’s the same for all of us. Fear will present itself. It tries to look like a big ‘ol bully coming in to steal your lunch, eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then pop the bag  in your face. Fear don’t care.

The truth is, fear is only as big as you let it be in your life. There is a defense that’s way more reliable than gloves and masks (no, I’m not saying don’t wear your gloves and masks). When you get into God’s Word and find out what He says about you and about standing up to fear, you’ll realize that you don’t have to run off and hide from everything. You can stand strong in faith.

So, make a decision to live! Live in the face of all the bad news. In fact, turn off the news. Let go of stress. Live like you’ve never lived before.

Go forward on purpose.

Don’t Fence Me In

Don’t Fence Me In

Thank goodness I have plenty of room to roam during all this quarantining that’s going on. I know everyone doesn’t have a farm next door to wander through or neighbors you can sit with in the driveway waiting for sunset so you can take photos. I’m sorry for all of you living in crowded cities who are in that predicament and I’m praying for you.

I’m praying for all of us.

We aren’t used to this. Saturdays are for running the roads and stopping to eat lunch wherever you have a mind to. Weekdays are for being at work with your workmates and meeting in the kitchen for coffee and talking … ahem … discussing important work matters.

Working from home really isn’t so bad. I’ve always wanted to work from my living room office and have my own private bathroom stocked with all my stuff. Another bonus — my dogs are here! Every day is “take your dog to work” day!! Yep, it’s kinda nice. I know I’ll miss this when we return to our offices. Do you think they’ll let me bring my dogs with me? Pets help relieve stress– it’s been proven.

I also miss going to church and seeing all my friends up close and in person. (well, not too close — I was never one for that even before the pandemic hit)

People, we’ve got to figure out a way to get back to semi-normal and still be safe! I need my Hobby Lobby fix!! You can only shop online so much. I like to browse and look at stuff, feel the textures on the fake wood and imagine how I’m going to decorate a room or whatever I’m fixin’ up. I want to wander through the aisles listening to the church music. It’s so relaxing. I could almost lay down in the floor and take a nap right in the middle of the place. Maybe I should take my pillow and blanket next time — I’ll go in when they’re about to close and hide out in the candle aisle. They’ll never know I’m there until the next morning when the opening crew comes in and finds me snoozing away, with a snowman from the Christmas clearance section tucked under my blanket. Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it. I don’t steal from the Lord’s home decor store (or anywhere else, for that matter)!

I know all of this will be over sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m going to look at all the good going on in my life and enjoy the *pause*.  I am still working everyday, but there’s something to be said for not having to put on makeup and then drive through traffic and redlight cameras to get to work. And gas prices are down!! Though I’m not really using much gas right now. But that’s another point to ponder.

The key is – Count your blessings. Help your neighbor whenever you can. Be kind.  And know that you’re going to have to wait a few minutes outside in line at the Mexican restaurant when you go pick up your order of burritos with extra salsa.

When all this is close to being over, you just might find me by the door at Hobby Lobby waiting patiently for them to open back up. I might spend my whole vacation week in there. Don’t judge.


The Daze After Christmas

The Daze After Christmas

It’s the daze after Christmas and all through the house… someone or something is always stirring, it could be a mouse.

But not likely because the barn cats have given them chase, keeping them away from our dwelling place.

I don’t wear a kerchief and the Doublewide husband doesn’t wear a cap to sleep. The dogs were all settled, with nary a peep.

Until we hear gunshots — don’t they know it’s the middle of the night! I glance at the clock in case the news reports a body found. I’ll be able to to testify what time I heard the sound.

Then what do I hear, when I’m just about to doze off? A truck running up the road with loud mufflers. I scoff.

The temps have been warm, so no snow to reflect the moon. I glance out the window to see that the cats have gathered for their morning food. Getting ready to serve them breakfast of cat chow and leftovers, I put on my jacket and boots.

Back in the house, I make coffee and sit down. What will I do with my time now that Christmas has left town?

I know what to do! This is the ticket! I’ll go after-Christmas shopping for next year and when I get home I’ll hide it.

In December 2020 when I’m looking for all the good gifts I found for 80% off — after I search through all the closets and shelves and up in the loft …. it will be evident it’s all lost and I’ll have to run out again. On Christmas Eve next year, that’ll be me rummaging through the gift card bin.






AARP, I’m not Ready for Thee!

AARP, I’m not Ready for Thee!

Just because I’m watching The Waltons on a Friday night does not mean that I’m interested in a policy for final expenses.

I’ve realized the drug and insurance companies love to advertise on the tv channels I like to watch. They think only senior citizens watch the oldies. I have to endure ads about incontinence and Jitterbug phones right in the middle of  Andy Griffith. The nerve of them assuming that I need any of that, because I’m watching  reruns of shows I saw in their original form in the 60’s and 70’s.

I’m a tad offended.

“Do you have frequent urges to go to the bathroom?”
“Does sitting for long periods of time seem like torture?”

No! I want to watch The Lucy Show and not have to see somebody cringing in pain while dancing to “Boogie Nights” on a gallbladder commercial.  Please get off my tv. Just because I’m over 40 and like the oldie shows does not mean that I have the heartbreak of psoriasis.

I’ll tell you what heartbreak is — having to sit through those commercials.

Pharmaceutical companies are using  pop songs that were popular in the 70’s and 80’s to push their drugs, too. If I have to listen to another Earth, Wind and Fire song while hearing a voiceover tell me all about stool softener… Why do they think I might even need that? My stool habits are none of their beeswax. Watching Lawerence Welk and Gilligan’s Island isn’t fun anymore.

What’s coming next? Nursery rhymes advertising wrinkle cream? The younger set will be combating the aging process before they even start grade school.

I can see it now– the spokesperson would probably be a kid from a baby food commercial. A whole dance team dressed like characters from Frozen twirling around on screen with a jar of snowflakes that claims to freeze everything it’s applied to so little ones can maintain that “just born” look throughout life. “Quick – act before you turn eight — or it will be too late!”

I think I’ll pass. In fact, I’m starting my own revolt against all the so-called experts who  invade my late night tv viewing. While the geriatric ads are running, I’ll make my way to the kitchen and eat something loaded with bacon and butter – all the stuff they warn you about.
Pour some sugar on that.

Rock On, my friends. Rock On.


Just Drive

Just Drive

I’m not always so nice when I drive. I admit it.

There’s something about being behind the wheel, trying to get where I’m going. I tend to see other drivers as the cars they’re in or I identify them by the county on their tag. I either yell at the Lexus or the F-150, or at Sullivan County, Greene County, what in the world are doing on my highway, North Carolina? … you get the picture.

It usually goes a little like this:

“Come on! Let’s get a move on!

“Hello — I’m right here! Road hog!

“Alright, Ford, the light’s green… you can go anytime.”

It’s easy to yell at somebody if you see them as a hunk of metal or an entire region of the country going down the road.

Turn that perspective around.

What would it be like if we drove invisible cars…? We would be able to see everybody around us much better – they wouldn’t be behind tinted windows and doors. Yikes! That means I would have to keep my car clean. Oops. It currently looks like a rolling Salvation Army resale store. Need a shirt, pants or pair of shoes? Just be careful opening the doors!

I think I would definitely see people with a different attitude if I could see them that clearly. I don’t think I would yell and rant … quite so much.

The nicer me would surely be there behind the wheel, smiling and waving them on. I know I would be a lot more thoughtful.

We’re all in the same boat.. er.. car.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus, even after seeing us with all our junk in the trunk, loves us unconditionally? I sure am. I’m glad He gently reminds me that I need to be nice and treat people more like He does.

He knows everything about us. He knows our beginning and our end and accepts us. He sure won’t leave you the same — you can’t stay the same old you after encountering Him.   You’ll see the world around you differently.

You might even be a better driver.  I know I’m going to be more thoughtful when I go down the road.

Now, outta my way! 🙂





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