Murdo Girl…Trying to envision

I don’t think I ever did make a vision board, but I still think it might be a fun project.

Meanwhile, I still need more old abandoned building pictures. The contest is over 2/15. The ones I have received so far are great! Thank you!

Have you ever heard of a vision board? I’m watching a movie and there’s an interesting story going on. There is a woman in the movie who is at a place in her life where she has reached the pinnacle of happiness.

Meanwhile, her friend is having trouble figuring out what her happiness would look like, and therefore, can’t make it happen.

The woman lets her in on a little secret.

“The “vision board.”

If you drew or painted your personal vision of happiness, what would it look like? If you’re like me and can’t draw or paint, you could cut out pictures and paste them on a poster board.

I don’t think you are ever too old to have a vision board. Things that create your vision of happiness probably change over time. In fact, the older you are, the more important a vision board might be. Just going through the exercise will probably help you see where you’re spending your time and energy.

Would the result surprise you? Would your vision of happiness have too many or too few dreams represented.

I already know I’m going to have to pare down some. I’ll need to prioritize about fifty things I really want to do. I’ve been told by professionals that I go off on too many tangents. I can never quite wrap up all the things I start.

Wow!..I’m already having visions of what I want on my board.

Yes!…I’m going to create my own vision board. I’ll ponder it until tomorrow afternoon and then I’ll make one. Are my dreams worthy? Are they realistic and achievable? (I’ll leave singing off.)

I’m not lying Pinocchio!

What do I need to do to make my dreams come true?

I have a lot to think about. I’ll show you my masterpiece when its completed. We might all be surprised. That is if I finish it!

Too bad I got sidetracked and didn’t watch the rest of the movie. Does anyone know how it ended?

Murdo Girl…I hear you

A short story about one of the entrants in the abandoned building/old barn contest. There is still time to enter. Email your photos to


Mindy thought it was a good idea. I wasn’t so sure. In the end, I agreed to make the twelve hour trip back to our old home town. Mindy was flying into a small airport which was on my route. The plan was for me to pick her up and we would drive the remaining two hours, together.

I was looking forward to seeing my cousin. At one time, we had been like sisters. We even lived across the street from each other all the way through high school.

Our mothers were actual sisters. At times they were close and at times…not so much. Mindy has a much younger sister and I have an older brother. I haven’t seen Bud for I don’t know how long. Our parents as well as Mindy’s have been gone for years.

As I turned into the airport, I tried not to think of the days ahead. I knew I would always remember this trip in terms of before, during, and after. I knew about as much as I wanted to about the before and I wasn’t too sure I wanted to experience the other two.

“Lana! I’m over here! We got in early.”

I looked over to see an attractive middle aged woman dragging a very large piece of luggage to the car. It was Mindy, of course. It had been ten years since she had come to visit me in Chicago, and I hadn’t seen her since, but Mindy always looked like Mindy. I, on the other hand, changed my look quite often.

I got out to help her with her suitcase which weighed more than both of us. We managed to wedge it into the trunk of my car and get in just as the cars behind us started honking.

“Why does everyone have to be so rude?” Mindy had her mask off and was repairing her lipstick. She looked around and seemed rather nonplussed that I had the top down on my old Chevy Impala convertible.

“You have changed everything in your life a hundred times except for this car. Why do you hang on to it?”

I surprised myself by answering her. “Because it was a parting gift from my dad.”

Two hours later, we parked in front of the only motel in town. After we checked in and unpacked, we were both so tired, we ordered a pizza and called it a night. I didn’t sleep much and apparently neither did Mindy. She was knocking on my door at 5:00 a.m. When I opened it, there she was with a box of donuts.

“Let’s go, she said. “We can grab a cup of coffee on the way over. I wonder if that little cafe attached to the filling station is still there. I can’t believe how much this place has changed in the past twenty years. Our houses might not even be there anymore.”

When we turned down the familiar street, I was taken back by the way all of the homes had been left to deteriorate. It looked like no one had lived there in years. I parked in front of my old house. Neither of us said anything as Mindy went to her house and I went to mine.

The front door was locked. I looked around and found an open window to crawl through. It was my brother’s old room. I decided I would save his room for last and walked on into the living room. The only piece of furniture in the room was an old piano. It had been my mother’s. I remember we let it go with the house when we sold it right after I graduated from high school.

I could hear the melody of Mom’s favorite song. “His eye is on the sparrow,” she would sing in her beautiful voice. “And I know He watches me.”

I wanted to stand there with my eyes closed and continue to listen, but the music faded and was replaced by angry voices. Dad was home and on his third beer, as usual. Every morning, Mom chastised him. “Do not bring beer home!!” He somehow always forgot what he had been told.

I thought they hated each other, but this time, I really listened to their voices seemingly coming through the walls.

“Fred,” I really wish you would clean up before you start drinking your beer. You smell like grease.”

“I don’t want to miss a minute of watching you cook for me, Gladys. Something sure smells good. Now why would I want to miss a bit of the smell of your good cooking?”

‘Oh, you’re full of beans. Don’t you know I can see right through you, Fred? You just like to sit there and drink your beer. It doesn’t have anything to do with watching me…does it?”

This time I could hear the smile in Mom’s voice. She said the same things every night and so did Dad. He never drank more than three beers before he gave in to her chasing him off to go wash up. The thing that upset Mom the most was that Dad had a way of winning an argument without arguing. Once again, the voices faded.

I heard their voices several times during my walk through the home I grew up in. There were confusing and sometimes scary times, but I was beginning to see and hear things differently, now.

“She’s gone, Lana. She died in her sleep,” Dad said. I was in the seventh grade.

I was back in my room, now. Dad was crying and I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. I was angry that he wasn’t helping me.

“Where’s Bud?” I asked. “Where is my brother?”

“He went to gas up the Impala. I think he just needed to get out of here.”

I was running out the door. I ran to Mindy’s house. My Aunt was crying, too. She cradled me in her arms and stroked my hair. I couldn’t remember my mother ever doing that.

A different memory replaced the one of me with my Aunt. I could see my Mom brushing my hair a hundred strokes and then braiding my unruly locks into two perfect braids. Was that the way she showed me affection?

The day I graduated from High School, Dad handed me the keys to the Impala Convertible. To me it was an old clunker, but it was Dad’s pride and joy. All these years, I had built up in my mind, things that weren’t true. I was convinced my parents had hurt me, but the truth was I had hurt them.

I heard their voices and I knew it was Mom and Dad. I realized they had done the best they could. I was glad that Mindy and I had come here. I heard things differently and I understood. Tomorrow, I would try to find my brother. Was he also telling himself lies?

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Murdo Girl…The frown turned upside down

This is a fun rerun…appropriate for today’s events.

…Lately I’ve been feeling down. Something’s causing me to frown.

A smile can’t be that far away. What would make me smile today?

It can’t be food, I’m on a diet. I found a hat, should I buy it?

I just got rid of so much stuff. I still have way more than enough.

I’ll phone a friend. Will I feel better? Better yet…I’ll write a letter.

I can’t call or write today. That won’t chase my blues away.


Should I nap or read a book? Or figure out whose frown I took?

I have nothing much to gain if I take on another’s pain.

Drive me crazy?…It’s not that far, I often ride in the crazy car.

Talk to me and tell me more. Listening is what friends are for.

No one else can live your life, solve your problems, feel your strife.

I can’t take away your frown. It will only double down.

I’ll have one and so will you. Then what are we to do?

I’ll sit with you and hold your hand and really try to understand.

There’s one who knows what’s in my head. Should I talk to Him instead?

He’ll give me answers and if I listen… the sun will shine, the stars will glisten.


Think of things you’re thankful for, but never try to keep a score.

You shouldn’t give your frown away and ruin someone else’s day.


A cheery smile is what they need. When we smile, we plant a seed.

So do not give your frown away. Save it for another day.

Give your smiles away instead. Nothing more needs to be said.


A smile is just a frown turned upside down

Murdo Girl…True friends ignore the elephant in the room

When I was leaving my doctor’s office the other day, she asked me if I had any other concerns I would like to talk about.

“Anything?” I asked.

“Sure,” she replied.

“Well, my husband wants to know if there is a medical reason why I can’t finish anything I start.”

“Any other symptoms?” She asked.

“Occasionally, I get a headache that seems to be brought on by the infirmity.”

“Give me an example,” the good doctor said as she looked at her watch.

“The other day, my husband said he was trying to decide if he liked the vacuum cleaner better sitting next to the fireplace or in the hallway by the door. He asked if I had ever considered making a windchime out of the attachments.”

“I see,” the doctor said. “You think you’ll finish vacuuming later, so you don’t bother to put it away, right?”

“What’s your point?” I inquired.

“Do you even know where you keep your vacuum cleaner in case you someday finish up and you want to put it away?” (Now her hand was on the doorknob.)

“I had no answer.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” she said as she turned the knob.

“Don’t go doc. You have to help me,” I begged. “I have remembered to purchase a birthday card for everyone in the family and several friends. I buy them, but I never manage to send them. I recently had to move them from a drawer to a box. I’m up to 57.”

My doctor stood there in silence. I was beginning to wish I hadn’t asked the fatal question. Suddenly, she began to speak.

“Do you put all of your laundry away, EXCEPT those last two pieces? Have you never once finished the last two swallows of your tea?”

Kip must have called her.

“Yes…that’s exactly right!” I was becoming hopeful. “Is there a cure? What is your method of treatment?”

“Take two Tylenol and lie down until your headache goes away. That’s what I always do…gotta go,” she said.

I had a wonderful time with these two beauties, yesterday. We had a tea party in my cottage. They never even mentioned my new windchimes.

I threw out all of my cards. I came up with a better idea. Yours is in the mail. Well, it will be as soon as I buy some stamps.

Murdo Girl…Recent study shows tinfoil keeps brain cells fresh

My brain is deader than a door nail today. Hmm, I thought door nail was one word, but spellcheck tells me no. I used to think spellcheck was two words, but spellcheck told me it’s one. Sometimes I get tired of spellcheck being so much smarter than I am. The only voice that makes me feel dumber than spellcheck is that of the GPS lady. If I decide to deviate 2 feet from the route Ms. GPS has me on, she gets very excited and says things like, “Make a U-turn in 400 feet!!!” At that point bells and whistles go off, and the screen starts going in circles and flashes, “Rerouting! Rerouting!” I know she’s thinking, “I gave you a route AND an alternate route, can’t you just pick one and stick to it??”

I don’t like my every move put into question. In the first place, it’s rather unsettling to have inanimate objects telling me what to do all the time. Kip and I find ourselves whispering if we’re contemplating an unexpected stop. Is it really worth it if it gives the poor woman a coronary? Do I really have to go that badly? (Shh)

Kip and I all decked out in tinfoil

Truth be told, I’m worried that I can’t live without GPS or spellcheck. It all sounds like an example of a sick and twisted relationship doesn’t it? (According to spellcheck, I have misspelled 4 words so far.)

I think that I am pretty even-tempered. I don’t get ruffled too easily. I have tried to be really good-natured about all the age related teasing. (Spellcheck tried to change natured to matured.) I have listened to all of the advice of well-meaning people who seem to think it’s time for me to change my ways. This all became more of an issue when I reached the age of 65 last week. (This is a rerun. I just turned 69 last week.)

I was standing behind a woman in line at the supermarket checkout yesterday. She was leafing through a health magazine. I guess she thought I needed some helpful suggestions because she said, “Do you know that regular exercise is the best thing you can do to promote longevity?” I said, “I’m over 65. Pushing 70 is exercise enough for me.” Then I added, “These Jelly donuts are for my 102 year old sister.”

I just spelled exercise incorrectly 3 times. I’m glad I finally paid attention. Spellcheck changed it to supersize, then to oversize. Sometimes it tells me, (not in so many words), “Hey, I got nothing for you.”

Mrs. Spellcheck..She looked much younger before she started correcting my spelling.

As far as GPS goes, I can be standing in Walmart and look at my phone to see what time it is, and there will be a message that says. “You are in the Walmart store in Gun Barrel City, Texas. Would you like to add a photo?” Why would I want a photo of myself standing in Walmart? What I would really like to know is why am I there? Please don’t tell me where I am unless you can tell me why.

The way I look at it, middle age is always 10 years older than whatever age I am. You are old if you add, “God willing” to every statement. One of these days I’m going to get brave and drive somewhere without the GPS lady. If I have a map, I know I’ll be able to figure it out, God willing.

For heaven’s sake, our ancestors lived without all the electronics hystrionics. (I spelled hystrionics wrong, but I like it better my way.) I carry so many devices and chargers everywhere I go, I look like I’m ready to climb a telephone pole. Do we even have telephone poles anymore?

I used to try to say growing up in Murdo did not prepare me for automation. Then someone provided me with a list of all the people who graduated from Murdo High School and went on to do things I can’t even pronounce. The list was 3 pages long.

Oh, hello teachers who taught me in High School..Oh, hi John (Thune). Did I ever tell you about the time I won the coveted Miss Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow Award?

You were awarded what?

U.S. Senator John Thune receives Department of Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award


I do have something exciting to tell you about. A few days ago I received a package from Billy’s wife Liz. I will tell you more about the contents another time, but one of the items was the William Francis Plumbing and heating pink porcelain, toilet stool ashtray someone gave Billy several years ago. I only know of three of them still in existence. One belongs to my cousin Greg Miller and one of my Murdo Girl readers has one. There used to be bathtubs too, but I don’t know of any that have surfaced.

Liz said in her note to me that she knew how sentimental I was about such things, and Billy agreed that I should have this tangible reminder of days gone by. She said she knew I would welcome this treasure back into my life and that I would appreciate it and give it a great place of honor. I’m trying out a few places. Don’t you think the commode bowl displays my crown perfectly? I think Dad would like the idea, but I will try out a few other places before I decide.


The degree of my success will be a moot point as soon as I get my water tower collection ready to show. Who doesn’t like viewing water towers? I’m sure “The Collection” will finally and forever put my name wherever they put the names of successful people.

Here is just a sampling of those submitted by Murdo Girl readers. If you highlight the photo you will see what I have named each of my beauties and who submitted the photo. I will include the locations as soon as I have them all alphabetized..With the help of spellcheck of course.

Murdo Girl…Don’t lose your story

A picture is worth a thousand words. Some tell a longer story.

The image… person, place, or thing, is never ordinary.

(They did my kind of cut and paste in the 1963 MHS annual. Bob Brost is on the left ? On R)

While looking through a lens, someone makes a snap decision,

And forever captures everything within that narrow vision.

(Can you find me in chemistry class? 1970)

Decade after decade can come then disappear.

Everything is different, but the vision remains clear.

Most pictures tell a story that will change with each new teller.

It can bring few words to mind… or be a new best seller.

(Mrs. Kuhrt 1963 annual… Girl’s BB coach, taught business classes and wrote our school song.)

I treasure all the pictures I found from my childhood.

Stored in a little wooden box, their quality’s still good.

These days we snap hundreds but we barely take a look.

We don’t save the special ones in a photo book.

We store them on the web where they remain neglected.

And never look again at those treasures we’ve collected.

(My cousins, Mark and Stephanie and I are directed by cousin Andrea at a family Christmas Eve gathering. Mom cut my head hole in the sheet a little big.)

If you lose those precious visions someday you’ll be sorry.

Because without the vision you might forget the story.

Yes a picture’s worth a thousand words to you and those you know.

They bring back all the memories of good times long ago.

A favorite picture of two of my granddaughters, Olivia and Charlie

Ryan Constance, granddaughter

Grandson, Hudson with my hat on.

Grandsons, Mason and Ethan

Billy and I flew to California after I ran the Boulder Bolder in Denver. Mom snapped this picture of me with Gus when I got off the plane.

Murdo Girl…An ode to huggers

I still like hugs and I can’t wait to hug again someday. That’s not going to happen until COVID goes away.

I dreamed that I forgot myself and tried to hug someone. I heard the whole world shout, “Here she comes you’d better run!”

Rules before COVID

Hugs are not for sissies. There are rules you need to know. It’s not the way it used to be many years ago.

I learned the rules the hard way, though I still don’t know them all. I’m here to help you hug right, so wrong hugs aren’t your downfall.

I saw a friend walk towards me, and I struck a huggers pose. He saw my arms wide open, and suddenly he froze!

It was an awkward moment. A situation to appraise. Should he walk into my waiting arms, or approach me from sideways?

(My cousin, Mark and me…the sideways hug.)

(Another sideways hug.)

Standing with my arms outstretched, I felt like such a fool. How could my friend know I didn’t know that hugger’s rule?

Unless they’re related, (less than twice removed), guys don’t give girls two armed hugs, unless they’re preapproved.

There is more you must remember. Age comes into play. If hugees are old and feeble, you can hug them the old way.

Wrap your arms around them. Just don’t squeeze too tight. A right hug could go wrong and they might put up a fight.

I must apologize to the men who felt anxiety, when I hugged them without knowing, the degree of it’s propriety.

My hugs are often longer than what’s acceptable today. I only know it’s too long, when my huggee pulls away.

Though I hope all of you know, I think hugging is quite harmless, I’ll follow all the rules or someday I’ll be armless.

So if you’re walking towards me and you think something’s amiss. Stop before you get there and I’ll just throw you a kiss.


Murdo Girl…Catching up with Queen E

I thought we should check on our favorite Queen from across the pond. We haven’t heard much from her lately. The Queen and I are as close as sisters, so she never takes offense at my leaking certain descriptions of photographs I steal…I mean capture. As you all know, Queen E. has been having some, shall we say, “difficulty” grooming Charles to take over the throne. Today, he wants to go play polo…

“And Princes , they wanna have fun, Mum
Oh Princes just wanna have fun…”
We can’t sit on the throne all day, Charles. I’m already late for my Zoom meeting.
“I hear a baby crying and a dog. Is that a dog barking? Why aren’t you all in your palace offices? Where is Mr. Zoom?
Oh Yes, I remember now…I had the sniffles that day

I always wear orange and black when I go to Murdo Coyote.

I haven’t been able to find my pom poms. That makes me sad.

I know I saw them somewhere.

Murdo Girl…Behind time

I finally finished decorating my cottage for Christmas, today. Christmas is just around the corner and I want to be ready. I’m kidding of course, but you know how fast time flies…pandemic and all. I really didn’t want to miss decorating for my favorite holiday which turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined. It would take pages to describe how wonderful it was. I will remember it for as long as I live..

1) My son and his family came from Wyoming and my two grandsons were baptized in our church.

2) After church, we had a family picnic at the Gun Barrel City Park with everyone else in the family except one son and his family and one grandson and his family.

3) I got to spend two days with one of the families who didn’t make it to the picnic along with the family from Wyoming.

4) I got back just in time to meet my great-granddaughter, Skyler, who shares my New Year’s Eve Birthday, for dinner. Her parents and little sister and her mother, our daughter, Heidi came with her…more family time.

5) Before all of this happened, we took a month long outdoor RV trip. We got back on the 23rd, so there was no time to decorate. (Why am I numbering things?)

My cottage looked all festive today when a friend brought lunch over. I made dessert and we had a great visit. It was time well spent.

I met friends for lunch three times this week. We all needed to talk and laugh and eat. I could cross off that last one, but I don’t want to. I have a friend whose favorite mantra is, “I choose joy!”

I think that’s a good choice to make. Thanks to her, I now have something beautiful that will remind me to make that choice. She’s coming over to the cottage next week and I’m really looking forward to it.

I got the coolest stocking cap for Christmas from another friend. It will be featured in a blog, soon, but if we get the three inches of snow that is forecast for tonight, I’ll have to wear it to church tomorrow…

I really do know how blessed I am and most days I’m very thankful…

D-I-L, Amy had tea with me in the cottage. (There should be 2 slideshows below.)

If you get this before Christmas…Merry Christmas!

If this card gets to you late…Happy New Year!

If you don’t get one at all, please forgive us.

We’re sending you some combo- holiday cheer.

Please be our Valentine on Thanksgiving.

Happy Birthday to an older, wiser, you.

We’re trying to reduce our cost of living.

We’re sorry, but there might be postage due.

May your days be filled with countless Blessings.

May you count them anyway in Gratitude.

God’s Grace should be at the top… I’m guessing

Let us pray for a world with a loving Attitude.

Murdo Girl…This old place

I’m having fun posting my fictional stories about old buildings. I always wonder what their real story is. Keep sending the pics of barns and old buildings like this one. (I believe Dianna Kenobbie Diehm took this photo.) The contest runs until February 5th… or send them on FB messenger.

Time Well Spent

I remember sitting in this old school house. I could look out the last window in the back and see the changes in the seasons. Since it doubled as our country church, I spent six days a week here. On Saturdays I did my homework, so I was being truthful when I told everyone I was here every day of the week.

In this little building out in the middle of someone’s pasture, I learned about life everywhere else. I learned how to count as high as I would ever need to, and I learned to count my blessings.

I learned how people survived hardships and how some did not survive success. I learned the happiest people are those who truly care about others. I learned how to pray for strength, courage, and wisdom. I learned how to be humble, grateful, and compassionate.

I learned that nothing is forever, and life would be better if I learned to embrace change. I figured out that we all come from a long line of people who aren’t with us anymore, and we should be proud of our heritage.

This old building shaped my life. I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t come here when it was too cold, or too hot. I learned everything from how to tie my shoes by watching my classmates, to what love is and isn’t from reading 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Yes, I learned important lessons here. Living what you learn isn’t always easy, and saying and doing are two different things.

My mother was sickly, but she always said, “Living ain’t easy, but life is pretty sweet, so I hang on and thank the good Lord for every day that I can feel the sunshine on my face and look into the eyes of someone I love.”