Murdo Girl…Pretty spooky

Kip and I wore our long winter underwear in a Halloween parade and contest in Hendersonville, N.C. last year. There… I’ve said it!

We didn’t win, but nevertheless, they posted our picture in the article below. The parade will be delayed this year due to pending threatening weather. I think they just want us to think it’s on a different day so we don’t come.

Whoops…wrong picture

Below, the article is my video demonstrating a great costume. Believe me…wherever you go on Halloween, no one will be duplicating your costume. It’s very unique.

Another good costume is to take two large boxes (you must have two people) and cut a round circle in both boxes. In one box put clothes inside to make it look like a clothes dryer. (Make sure you can see around the clothes. You can draw knobs and other stuff on it to make it look more authentic.

On the other box, take a large sheet of white cardboard and draw suds and tape it inside the cutout circle. That’s the washing machine. Again, make sure that you can see.  Cute idea, huh? FYI the box doesn’t have to cover your whole body.




Murdo Girl…Let’s get started

I guess it’s time. I should start bloggin, so let me reach inside my noggin. I’ll try to find my brain and then, hope that I can write again.



It’s been a while, so I’ll get started. I’ll look for things that I’ve discarded. If I don’t find ideas there, I’ll pull something out of thin air.


Let’s see…What have I done this week? Let’s go inside and take a peek…

I loaded the dishwasher once or twice. When you cook you pay the price. It’s not my favorite thing to do. I like fast food and Kip does, too.

I wash our clothes, but ironing I skip. Wrinkled is in, (so I tell Kip.) Polyester was my favorite. I tried my very best to save it.


Today I pushed the grocery cart, and shopped for food at Wallymart. A bold faced lie I must confess. Kip did it all so I could rest.

Has your week been that much better? Can’t wait to get your  Christmas letter?

I went to yoga class this week. Linda said I’ll soon be sleek. My bones will no longer creek. I’ll go straight from antique to chic.

Tomorrow I’ll be so excited. I’ll be totally delighted. I’ll drag out all my orange and black, my red gown, foil crown, and queen hat.

I’ll prepare for Halloween. Should I be Yram or a Queen?




Murdo Girl…A little about Loretta

The Sanderson children. L: Jeff, little Elna, Helen Mom, Ella and Wayne

I think humor is the best equalizer, and if you look for it, there is a little bit of humor in the midst of some of the most dire circumstances.

Mom was intelligent, quick witted, funny peculiar and funny haha. Most everything she said was unfiltered. She understood her kids. She knew that Billy and I hated to be late for anything. If our tardiness was unavoidable, she didn’t make us go at all.

She was not always careful with her reactions. That’s the nicest way I can put it. There were a few occasions when she had most of the women in town mad at her. She had to go on more than one “apology tour.”

I’ll give you an example of something most teenagers would have been mortified to experience.

I had a date with a guy who was a basketball star from a neighboring town. That’s all Mom really knew about him. When he came to pick me up, I invited him in to meet my Mother. She said, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you with all your clothes on.” I caught her joke right away, but I was smart enough not to laugh.

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L: Harriet Parish, Marce Lilibridge, Florence Murphy, Marge Bork, Evie Johnson, and Mom

She dumbfounded her sisters and brothers. I’m sure they heard lots of unbelievable stories. When she was little, and they were all about to move from Horse Creek into town, Mom was bragging about going to a big town school. Tiring of hearing about it, one of the Guthrie kids, who went to the country school, said, “We’re going to miss Helen, Elna and Ella, but we’re NOT going to miss you!” Mom wore that to town school like a badge of honor.

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Mom is on the far left

She told me about falling off her horse. She was off by herself somewhere when she fell and she tried her best to keep crying until she got home. She was furious that all the tears dried up and therefore, she wouldn’t be getting much sympathy.

In later years, she sold herself as a skilled horsewoman. This came back to bite her. When I had my horse, Governor, Herman Brost let us winter him at his ranch. Mom and I would go out there a few times during the winter so I could ride him. On one occasion, Herman let Mom ride one of his horses. He took off a little faster than we were prepared for, but Mom held on. She was mad more than afraid. The horse shied from things and was almost impossible to rein in. When we got back to the ranch, she realized she’d been set-up.


Herman said, “Well Loretta, I’m glad you made it back in one piece. That horse bucks.”

These two photos are perfect..from the shocking to the hilarious

I think I pulled a Loretta…I started out with the idea of talking about several women in my life, but I didn’t even get half finished telling about Mom.

One of Mom’s favorite isms was, “Well, that’s enough about me, how did you like my last movie?”



Murdo Girl…I need a minute


I love this sequence of pictures of our granddaughter, Charlie. I know how she feels and what she is thinking.

1) “I know you want me to smile, but I need a minute.”

2) “I’m going to pretend you’re not there. I need a minute.”

3) “You just don’t get it do you? I need a minute.”

4) “Please, just get out of my face for one MINUTE!”

Some people call it “alone time.” Some say, “I need my space.” Some pout, some have a meltdown, some whimper, and some shout. We all handle it differently, but we all have those moments when things just get to be too much and we’re no longer rational. We’re off when others want us to be on. We’re not feeling the gratitude or appreciation.

Here is my theory.. It all started with the starving children overseas. You know, the ones your parents told you about to guilt you into cleaning your plate.

I never heard the word “stress” when I was growing up. If you have an old Webster’s Dictionary, the definition is something about pressed wood. Now stress is the reason for everything we do that’s bad, like drinking, smoking, eating too much, taking too many sick days, and a multitude of other bad things.

I sometimes think of something my Mother said in the middle of one of her meltdowns. Someone told her that she had no business acting the way she did because she should be grateful that one of the “what ifs,” wasn’t happening to her. What if you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from? What if you or someone you love was fighting some terrible disease?

Mom’s mood didn’t improve one bit, because she was a worrier. She hadn’t thought about some of those things. Now she was worried AND felt ashamed. Her answer? “If people don’t have big things to worry about, they worry about little things.” She had a point. You’ve heard the expression, “Cheer up. Things could be worse.” Sometimes followed by, “So I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.”

Do we really not have the right to feel like Charlie did unless the very worst has happened? Sometimes, all we need is a minute. If we don’t get it, we might need professional help.

“I need a minute”

The other side of this is that you must recognize when others need a minute. Like our granddaughter Skyler in the picture above. You have just said “No” to a four year old. They might not be able to articulate it, but in most cases they need a minute to come up with plan B…or maybe you need a minute to think about what their plan B will be.

This time of year, is inherently stressful. We’re all looking for that special gift for the person who already has everything. We want our kids and grandkids to understand the meaning of Christmas, but they still make a list as long as your arm. Be easy on yourself. Ask them what they got for Christmas last year. You might get a look like this.


I’m in favor of having a “Give me a minute day.” A day when all you have to say is, “I need a minute,” and everyone will know if you don’t have that minute to gather yourself, or re-center your life, they will suffer the consequences no matter how many children overseas are starving.


I realize not everyone is going to agree with me. In that case, I’ll give you a minute.



Murdo Girl…What I’ve been up to!

This is a text I received from my brother, Billy, this morning.

“It is 3:09 a.m. I just finished your book. It was wonderful. I am off to bed as soon as I wipe the tears one more time!”

Murdo Girl Memories… small town life in the 50’s and 60’s

Tap the link below and read sample pages on any device (no kindle app needed)

Paperback cover                   Kindle eBook

The paperback version of this book is filled with pictures that  are really important to the story. If you buy the paperback, you can get the kindle version for $1.99 and lend it to others. The book has been a labor of love. You’ll laugh out loud from beginning to end.

I have been spending the last few months updating and adding kindle versions to all of my books which include…

Connie’s Story, co-authored with Eddie Jackson, is a story of a brave young girl who, with the help of her forever friend, struggles to find a way to deal with a tragic event in her life. You will feel every emotion as you read about the unique relationships that are  formed and the mysteries that must be solved.

Connie's Story

Dakota’s Story, features incredible photographs by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm. It takes place in the late 1800’s when gold was discovered and the U.S.Government took over the Black Hills and killed off the buffalo herds which were the Native American’s livelihood. Dakotah is a young girl, who after spending her childhood in a government boarding school, goes in search of the family she has never known. (Wait until you meet her dog, Soo’-Tah.) This book is available in full color edition, black and white edition, and kindle format.

And of course my children’s books…

We Shall See what We Shall See, a children’s rhyming story about a character called a Beasterhop.

We Shall See what We Shall See

A Thanksgivington Christmas, a delightful Beasterhop story written with my granddaughter, Charlie.

A Thanksgivington Christmas

All of these books offer special pricing on the kindle version if you purchase the paperback copy or read the eBook free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

All are available on Look under books for Mary Francis McNinch…

These books will make great Christmas gifts. There is not much profit above the cost to publish them, but I intend to make donations to the Jones County Elementary School in Murdo, SD for the Stephanie Miller-Davis children’s reading program, and the Cedar Creek Library in Seven Points, TX.

Thanks for your support.

Murdo Girl…Billy remembers

My brother, Billy, doesn’t talk about his childhood as much as I do, but then most people don’t. He doesn’t understand how I can remember things from the time I was two.

Last night I was talking to him and he was telling me about going turkey hunting with Grandpa Sanderson. Grandpa applied for every hunting permit he could and got any license available to hunt and fish.

On this particular day, they went looking for a turkey. They parked near a big hill, left Grandma in the car, and proceeded to carry out Grandpa’s plan to scare up a turkey.

Billy, who was around ten at the time, walked along one side of the hill and Grandpa walked along the other side. It was in the afternoon, so Grandpa told Billy to make sure the sun was in front of him. That way he wouldn’t get lost. They would meet up as they rounded the hill.

As Billy was walking, the weather started to turn and it began to cloud up and snow. Soon, he could no longer see the sun. He panicked and made the decision to turn around and run towards where he thought the car was. It wasn’t long before he realized he was lost.

Grandpa had always told him that if such a thing happened, he should go down the hill until he got to a creek or fence line. Something he could follow that would most likely lead him to where he would be found.

Thankfully, he remembered Grandpa’s words of wisdom. As he got closer to the bottom, he barely heard Grandpa calling for him. Billy said they were about a quarter of a mile from each other.

As they walked to the car, Grandpa said it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to tell Grandma he had gotten lost.

Their next challenge was to get the car back on the road. It had snowed quite a bit by then and it was getting dark. Billy said Grandpa had a pretty high powered car back then and when he gunned it, it got him places most cars couldn’t go.

I’m sure Grandpa was pretty terrified when he thought his young grandson was lost on that hill. As he waited at the bottom, he must have prayed that Billy would remember what he had told him to do. It was a situation that could have ended in tragedy.

I’ve had a few close calls in my lifetime. I’m sure most people have. That car that barely missed slamming into us or the time we caught a child about to be in harm’s way.

How often do we think about those times when the worst didn’t happen…when we were saved from experiencing a disaster that would have altered our lives forever?

Those recollections will change resentments into gratitude in a hurry!