Murdo Girl…First Day

I took a picture of a picture at the church garage sale. This is the story it told me.

An Apple for my Teacher

It was time to go to school. I was trying hard to hurry. I couldn’t find my shoes and I began to worry.

Mommy didn’t understand how nervous I was feeling. She said to look under my bed instead of on the ceiling.


I ate all of my oatmeal. I knew I shouldn’t waste it. I held my nose and swallowed so I wouldn’t have to taste it.

I didn’t have to brush my teeth like I usually do. The oatmeal was so soft, I didn’t use my teeth to chew.

Mommy helped me comb my hair. I’m not sposed to wear a cap. I don’t know how to button, and I just learned how to snap.

I think I’m almost ready now to get into the car. Mommy said my school isn’t very far.

I hope I like my teacher, and I hope that she likes me. I’m really going to try to be as good as I can be.

I’m bringing her an apple. It’s juicy, big and red. I just hope she doesn’t want a pinneapple instead.

I guess that I’m a big boy now. That’s what people say, when little boys go off to school…

Today is my first day.


Grandson, Hudson is turning five

Murdo Girl…The corner window

Every year, our church has a garage sale. It is one of our biggest fundraisers and it takes a lot of work. Every year, we wonder if the church members will be able to come through with enough items to make the sale successful. Will there be enough volunteers to pull off such a huge event? Every year the congregation comes through. It takes a huge leap of faith for those who commit to being the leaders, and ever since the inception of this highly successful way to raise funds for the church missions, the right people have taken it on.


I will write more on the numerous benefits of being even a small part of this amazing collaboration in the life of our church another time. I’m too tired to do it tonight. I would, however, like to pass on something the cashiers were discussing, today.

Everyone should teach their children how to count back change.

I learned how when I rented rooms for Mom at the Chalet Motel. It was before people used credit cards to pay for everything. It’s very important for everyone to be able to make change. For instance, a person should be able to take a twenty-dollar bill for a $13.98 purchase and count to themselves first, and then to the customer, the following:

$13.98 plus $.02 makes $14.00, plus $1.00 makes $15.00, and a five dollar bill makes $20.00. Kids shouldn’t rely on a smart cash register to tell them how much change to give back to their customer. One of the guys working on our tiny home said he went to the hardware store to buy a $4.38 (with tax), part. He handed the clerk a five dollar bill. Some sort of computer glitch occurred and it didn’t tell the clerk how much change was owed. The clerk had to ask a supervisor for help. According to the guy who told us this story, the clerk was around thirty… give or take a few years.

That’s all on that subject for now.

I wrote the story below shortly after I wrote the short story about Lily Dale’s house. I’m going to rerun it because I’m still toying with the idea of writing more short stories with the subjects being old buildings, animals, small town living, circumstances, and numerous other things. Some will be serious and others, humorous.

Since I want what I write to appeal to you, I will look for your input. I will also write about any tiny home updates and the trips we take.

You know me, though…tomorrow, I might wake up with a totally different idea.


The corner window


I remember sitting in this old schoolhouse. I could look out the corner 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.

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 hardship 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 dead people, 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.

I also know that learning and living are two different things. I can learn the lesson, but not live it. I can justify, argue, and spin my mistakes, but it doesn’t change the truth. Anyone who doesn’t hold me accountable does me no favors.

I’m an imperfect human being who was lucky enough to cross the threshold of this old building where I gazed out the corner window and saw a beautiful world, because that’s what I chose to see.



Murdo Girl…Lily Dale’s tiny home

Today was a little more productive. I managed to do quite a bit of cleaning with my battery operated vacuum, a broom, and a wet swifter. Kip worked on the things the electric company needs us to do before they can hook us up. It was a gorgeous sunny day.

Yesterday, when we were taking things we had earmarked for the church garage sale by the church, we found a hall tree that fits right by the front door of the tiny home, so we now have one item of furniture inside.


Below, is a story I wrote last year. It’s a little different from what I usually write. I might try to do some more short stories like this in the future. It was kind of fun to write.


My name is Lily Dale and I’ve come to see this house. I want to see if what mamma said was right. She said, “Don’t waste too much time chasing dirt around yur house. It will still be standin long after yur dead and buried.” I guess she was right cause we buried mamma five years ago and this old house is still standin.

My mamma was born and raised here. In fact, she lived inside those broken down walls most all her life. I was born here too. I lived with my mamma and granny till granny died. Mamma got too sickly to take care of herself let alone a little kid, but we managed til her lungs got so bad she had to go to a sanatorium in Colorado. I got sent to live with the man mamma said was my daddy. He must a been, otherwise I doubt he would have been agreeable to that arrangement.

I’m fifteen now. School got out for the summer two days ago and instead of going home, I took a bus here. Mr. Jim doesn’t know I come here. I call him Mr. Jim. It just don’t feel right to call him Daddy. He don’t like my name Lily Dale neither. “Why would yur mamma give you a pretty woman’s name and a second name of Dale?” When he does use my name, he calls me Lil, which I don’t like.

You see that window that’s got cardboard over it? It’s been like that for as long as I can remember. Granny said some mean boys threw rocks at it til it busted. She didn’t see no reason to fix it cause she didn’t enjoy looking out that window, anyway.

Mamma said the house was kinda pretty once. I think she was dreamin that don’t you? She said they had good times here when her daddy was still alive. He kept things up. You know..fixed things when they broke down. I don’t know about that. I never saw this house with a lick of paint on it, inside or out.

No, It’s been a long time since anybody chased dirt around this house, but I guess it did what it was supposed to. It was a roof over people’s heads. We always stayed warm and had food to eat. That’s better than some have it.

Now that I look at it..That front window might a been kinda pretty once. If a person ever lives here again, they should tear the old lean-to that’s hanging off the side door down. It’s nothin but a place for rats and snakes to live under.

Well, I’m guessin it’s time for me to catch the bus back home. I just wanted to make sure mamma was right. The other thing she always said was, “Lily Dale, you gotta put up with trash to rise above it.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I think I gotta go to school til I get my certificate. Mamma sure did want her daughter to get educated.

“Goodbye house. You did what you was supposed to do, now that’s what I’m gonna do too!”






Murdo Girl…Wanted…A new Mrs. to travel with?

Sometimes my input is not appreciated.

Kip and I met with the electric company this morning to find out what the heck they wanted us to do, change, correct, whatever… so that we can get electricity to the tiny home.


A good shot of our electric pole

The guy Kip had been conferring with showed up first. He told us what needed to happen. We got everything clarified, and then he said, “Another guy is on his way to meet us here and he’s the boss of things, so you’ll have to do whatever he tells you. It seemed to me the more they talked the more confusing it sounded. It started out to be a huge deal. We were going to have to tear out a huge chunk of concrete from our newly poured driveway. The end plan sounded a little more reasonable and doable.

We all left, and on the way home I simply started to restate things. I just wanted to make sure I understood what they wanted done… and Kip’s opinion as to how long it would take to get it “really” ready.

I merely said to Kip, “I heard, blah, blah, blah…and then we’ll put you back on the schedule. Kip, do you know what that means? It means back on the schedule as in it will be a week to ten days from the time they put us back on the schedule?”

I was answered by silence. The last thing I said was, “Let’s hope it doesn’t rain. It’s spring. Everyone is building and everyone is behind because of all the rain. I heard the guy say that.”

Some of this I was only thinking as Kip cut me off before I could restate it all.


I’m looking for Queen Murdo girl…I hear she’s in the wilderness. Is this the wilderness?

I could tell Kip was still slightly irritated with me, tonight, so I said, “I’m sorry I restated so strongly. I promise I won’t tell you what I think you should do, again…But if you want to know what you should do, feel free to ask me.”

It’s been very quiet around here tonight, but I’m sure we’ll both be over ourselves by tomorrow. Kip is going to work on getting things ready for the electric company to come back.

I’m going to the tiny home, too. I’m going to sweep and clean out the cabinets with my battery operated hand vac. That’s about all I can do until I get electricity and water.


No new pictures, so I’ll show you the new Beasterhop bicycle some friends found for me among the things people are bringing to the church for the FUMC garage sale. If you live anywhere near Mabank, TX, you don’t want to miss it! The big day is Friday.


I’m looking for the perfect Mrs. Beasterhop to enjoy this beautiful red bicycle. The Beasterhop needs a Mrs. to travel with.

Murdo Girl…Digressing with Dollie



I don’t like being in the middle…I want Pattie to move


I want Pattie to move…MOVE!!…Pattie finally moved

Let’s review…

Have you written a goal? If not, it’s not too late. Everyone has something they want to complete or accomplish. Now is the time! Go for it!

Did you go back and read your written goal? The goal has to be in writing. I may not have clarified that before.

Is your goal a SMART goal? It can’t be SAR, or SMT. It has to have all the letters. Here is my broken down goal…that didn’t come out right.

S- Specific…eliminate clutter and manage accumulations

M-Measurable… All clutter will be eliminated. All excess in clothes and other personal belongings will be banished. My Beasterhop and Nutcracker collections will be displayed appropriately. All mementos and sentimental attachments will have a place or be given to someone who would really like to have it. You don’t have to keep every scrap of paper your kids ever colored on, or your first born’s baby teeth. My mother didn’t keep anything. If she had told us we were adopted, we probably would have believed her.

I’m getting bored with this…are you? It doesn’t matter. I have to complete my goal.

A-Achievable…My goal can be achieved, although, it will have to be revisited from time to time. I’ve met myself.

R-Realistic…Absolutely…no problem

T-Timed…I have committed to completing my goal by one month from the day we move into the tiny home. I need to clarify, here. If something comes up such as an emergency or something else that’s unforeseen and out of your control, you can adjust the time. Just don’t make it too far out.

I’m even starting to annoy myself.

Obstacles I may have to overcome are garage sales, my car turning into thrift shops and Goodwill stores, other good deals, and winning the lottery. I need to clarify, again. I can buy something new, occasionally, but it must replace something else. The whole point is to live with enough; to simplify my life and quit dealing with material things. Quality will replace quantity.

A lot of readers say they have tons of paper to go through. I don’t have that much paper, but the insides of my computer, laptop and phone are a mess. That will be my next project. I have extra storage in all of them, but there is no organization to it whatsoever. That right there gave me pause. It made my heart sink.


This guy is some sort of computer wizard. He’s transfering everything on MG’s PC to her laptop and backing it all up. (hahaha) I wonder if he knows what he’s getting himself into. Says his name is Bear. Think he’s trying to scare old Dollie off?

My tiny home will be stupendous, and Kip is in for a huge surprise. He saw my minima…list book and got a little nervous.

I forgot to tell you I have decided to keep my hat collection, but only the nice ones and I can only have five, which is all that will fit on my hat rack, which might have to go in the shed. No…I don’t want to go to the shed every time I want to wear a hat.

I think I’m done for the night.

wp-1523243341522.jpgFinally…I’ll get some attention

Murdo Girl…Not SMART enough, yet

I don’t mean to hound you. I know how much I hate to be reminded of things over and over again, but I am still in a teaching mode and you are in a learning mode. If you’re not doing this along with me right now, at least tuck it away for future reference.

There is more to SMART goals than the acronym. There are steps to take that will help us through the process. The first one is a big one.

Anticipate obstacles you will be likely to encounter and preconceive, which means think of and idea ahead of time. That way, when the obstacle rears its ugly head, you will be prepared because you preconceived.

Example: Your goal is to take a trip to Hawaii in June of next year. An obstacle might be that you won’t have enough money saved up by then. A solution would be to figure out the total, divide that amount by the number of months you have to save, and commit to putting that amount of money into savings each month. If there is no way you can put away that much, then your goal is not achievable, (The A in SMART.)

A solution to the dilemma might be to extend the timeline. If you can’t do that, don’t give up on your dream or your goal. That’s why God made plastic…Just saying.

If you have to lose twenty pounds before you go to Hawaii, do the division thing and don’t attend any birthday parties, which would be considered an obstacle.

If you’re 5’2” and you want to be 5’7″…your goal is not (R) Realistic.

So, do you get it? Don’t be afraid to pose questions. Teachers like questions.

Queen E is getting rid of her excess hattage. She finally figured out she only has one head and she has to wear crowns sometimes, too. Lav and I have offered to take some off of her head. She said no to the crowns and I only have room for one hat.

Let’s think about my goal, which is to get rid of my clutter and accumulations so that I can float through life unencumbered by material things. I have set the deadline for one month from the day we move into our tiny home. I know what you’re thinking. By the time our tiny home is ready to occupy, I’ll be ready for a medi-pod. That’s the new thing being shown on the internet. It’s designed for the sick and elderly to live in their kid’s backyard. It comes complete with a loud bell and a louder bullhorn.

By material things, I mean stuff. I will keep anything of sentimental value, like my Beasterhops and my nutcrackers. If any of my kids wanted my nutcrackers, they could have them now… except the ones my grand-kids picked out and gave to me for Christmas. I would want to keep those. They’re so adorable.

Camilla needs to grow a bigger head. That first hat looks like a commode seat.

Whatever you keep, you must have room to display. Your clothes must fit in your closet. I guess you can switch out your seasonal clothes. It makes it easier to choose what to wear. You don’t have to look for your sleeveless top hidden under your thermal jacket.

Let me amend that rule. Don’t take me literally. You need not display all of your everyday dishes or any of your linens. I don’t have guest towels. If a towel is hanging on the towel bar, feel free to use it. I try to keep nice towels and I wash the ones in the guest bath after each use. Of course, that’s no longer a worry because I will no longer have a guest bath. That’s okay. My house is so small I can clean it every thirty minutes.

Even Queen E. Cleans. Here she’s shown cleaning her nails.


Enough of that line of unreasoning.

I do intend to rid myself of things like my George Foreman grills in two sizes, my Belgian waffle iron, and the regular waffle iron. I’ll part with the single serving omelet maker, the juicer, and two out of the three diet shake mixers. I’ll also get rid of the spices that are too old to be any good. I have five containers of sage and I have only cooked two turkeys in the last two years. As soon as I’ve wrapped up this blog, I’ll put all of this in my minima…list notebook. I’m sure glad I got the large size. I’ve got a long way to go.

Just look at the size of Queen E’s book!


Murdo Girl…Minima…lists

Day two of the minima…list. That’s a combo word that fits what is going on here. I am reducing clutter and getting rid of accumulations by setting and following through with my SMART goals. Smart goals are specific, measured, achievable, realistic, and timed.

Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet, and filled a bag with clean, seasonal clothes that were in good condition. I threw in a purse and some costume jewelry. I have more clothes, currently in storage, that will have to find a new home, too. It wasn’t easy to give up my things. I have never gotten rid of clothes that were still in good shape, fit, and were still in style. I knew I was going to have to move the bag out of here quickly before I had second thoughts and started to dig through it for things I wasn’t sure I could part with. (Notice I said could, not should. I know that I should, but can I do this?)


In a few weeks, I’ll receive an email from Thred Up telling me how much they’re going to give me for my bag. I can donate the money, keep it, or use it as a credit to purchase things from Thred Up. Since it won’t be that much, I will keep the money and use it to do something nice for someone. I will not buy more clothes with it.

I already experienced the benefit of fewer clothes in the closet. It took me two minutes this morning to decide what to wear. I had cleared out about two-thirds of what was in my closet and drawers. I should take the things I have in storage directly to a resale shop or send them to Thred Up without even looking at them, but I’m not that brave. The shoes are my biggest challenge. I hate to just keep the comfortable ones. Can I keep the cute ones, too and just wear them for short periods of time? NO!!


We all know being a minimalist involves more than cutting out extra clothing. We have to cut out extra everything. I will have to make more minima…lists which will tackle, paper, kitchen items, and what I refer to as props and “put around stuff.”

I don’t want to get too far ahead of my skis, though. Many of you know my cousin, Valerie. She spends a few months each school year testing kids. She said, yesterday, she was telling a first grader he was so smart, he could be a scientist, or a doctor, or even a lawyer. He said, “I just want to learn to color inside the lines.”


We must move quickly, but we can’t throw out the baby with the bath water. We can’t study everything for hours, but we must, at least, look at it.

Are we having fun yet? After completing our second minima…list, we will give ourselves a reward.

** They started the corrections to the foundation of the tiny home yesterday afternoon. They need to learn how to color inside the lines…

Cousins…Valerie, Mary and Andrea


Murdo Girl…Listen up

If you have in your mind that you would like to unencumber yourself from stuff, you will learn everything you need to know right here on the Murdo Girl blog. I won’t let you down. This is not an easy transition, but together we can make it happen.

Several years ago, I was involved in a training the trainer, training and I learned to teach people how to reach their goals. We are going to use the SMART goal method to get where we need to be. Even if this is not the time for you to downsize, or at least get rid of the clutter, you can use the method I am going to teach you, to successfully reach your goals, whatever they are.

1. Take a piece of paper and write your goal on it. Then turn the paper over. We’ll be looking at it later. It won’t be until tomorrow or the next day.

Here is my goal.

I am going to reduce the number of material things I own so I can live comfortably without clutter. I will surround myself with those things that only have meaning or purpose in my life. I told kip he can stay. I will wear only comfortable, good quality, and easy to care for clothing. I will not have more than enough, clothes, product, costume jewelry or serving dishes.

I will, however, keep my Beasterhop and nutcracker collections.

I will reach my initial goal by one month from the day we move into our tiny home.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed…SMART

I’m starting with my wardrobe.

I had to try on some stuff, but I was steadfast and brutal. Sheesh! Look at all those jackets? Can’t have all those hanging around in a tiny home.

It is important to identify obstacles you will face. It took me all day to go through my RV closet. I had already practiced by filling a plastic bag with clothes and putting them in my Jeep. I went out there twice to retrieve something. I traded those things for something else in my closet that weren’t “me.”

The obstacle??? I love, love, love, resale shops and they love me. I confess that I have some pretty great finds, but much of what I purchased doesn’t meet the criteria listed in my goal.

Here is what I did with the items I culled today.

I ordered a bag online from Thred up. You fill it with quality clothing, purses and jewelry and take it to the post office. They pay the postage. In a few weeks, you receive a check for a small percentage of the value of the items you thought were treasures. The point is…it is gone and you cannot increase your left-behind lot in numbers. You can only add to it if you are willing to give up something. I plan to do this a lot as the seasons change.

I made a list of all the things I sent. I will record other goals in my minima list book. Go get yourself one. It will be a treasure you will want to keep.