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.





Peace and Promise

Peace and Promise

A few weeks ago my friend, Cynthia, had an idea to put together a devotional. She emailed one day and asked me to collaborate on it with her.

Me? Write a devotional? I’m not a preacher. I’m not even a Sunday School teacher. I’ve written a children’s book, articles for magazine and newspaper and a blog. Don’t you have to go to Bible college to write a devotional?

I guess not.

Well, I said yes and we started planning. (Note: both of us learned to say “yes” to the press and then figure it out along the way from teacher and writer extraordinaire, Michelle Medlock Adams). We wanted to create a booklet to encourage people during this crazy year that is 2020. If we could make a difference in any way, it would be worth all the work.

Cynthia and I met a few years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference and became fast friends. That’s a story in itself — she’s from New York and I’m from Tennessee. Yee Haw! We missed not being able to hang out in our favorite coffee shop on the Ridgecrest campus this past spring. We’re looking forward to a grand reunion in Spring 2021!

So, after all the writing, editing, fixing — I actually had one devo in there twice under two different names… had to write a whole new one. And then I used the same scripture on two different devos. That’s a little behind-the-scenes info. Writing is fun. It’s the editing and rewriting that can take you out. In the end, though, when you finally have the finished work ready – that’s the coolest. (I’m never taking the words “cool” “coolest” and “cool beans” out of my vocabulary no matter how old it makes me look, so there).

I have to say a big THANK YOU to Cynthia for thinking of me to help with this project. It was and is a labor of love. When I started my writing journey many years ago, devotionals were never up there on my radar. I didn’t think I had what it took to even attempt it. Just reading scripture and praying about what to write, even if I never wrote a word, strengthened me and gave me an even greater love for God’s Word.

We ended up posting the devotional on Cynthia’s website as a free download. The link will eventually be posted on my site — technical difficulties slowed that down. I’m also posting the link below. I hope you will download it and read it. There are thirty devos — thirty days worth of peace and promise. I also hope that our writings will help you find a place of peace in the war zone that’s going on. Though we need God’s Word, protection and strength every day. We need Him in good times and in bad. We would love to hear your stories of peace and promise. How has God brought you through the tough times?

Download the free devotional Peace and Promise During a Crisis

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.

Pin It on Pinterest