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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Just Drive

Get Your Cheesecake Here!

 

The cheesecake in the coffee shop was two dollars.

Only two dollars.

It’s normally four, making it easier to “just say no”. I can get a whole pie at the grocery store for four dollars! This sudden cheesecake sale made temptation harder to resist. It was only. two. dollars. They had cinnamon and pumpkin (my favs), and every piece behind the glass that separated us was calling my name.

Yes, little ones. I hear you, but I really shouldn’t.

Right when I was turning a corner to officially cut down on the sugar in my life. Cheesecake.

On sale. Cheap.

This was not just ordinary cheesecake, either – it was CHEESECAKE FACTORY cheesecake. Need I say more? (See what I was up against?!)

I did get plain ol coffee, no added sugar, to go with my slice of pumpkin with whipped cream on top. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

Then again … you have to wonder… why is the cheesecake on sale in the first place? Is it old? Did it come from the Island of Misfit Desserts?

I think it was probably left over holiday cheesecake that they needed to sell off. It had  been in the freezer awhile and they finally were like, “We can’t keep this till next year — might as well sell it half price today and move it outta here.”

Yes, ma’am, I was in the right place at the right time.

There have been many other times I was in the right place just when I needed to be there. Those moments don’t just happen, ya know.

God orchestrates those “right place, right times” in our lives. If we will give Him our fears and dreads –  and let go of needing to know everything all the time.

Release the strangle hold. You don’t have to control everything.

Guilty as charged. I have tendency to want to make things happen in my life myself – you know, be His little helper. My plans aren’t nearly as good as God’s plans for me.

His ways are above mine and I know He has nothing but the best in store for me.

You too!

He wants to see us succeed, big time. It’s true.

So relax and have a piece of cheesecake. Have faith. Trust. Let The Lord work His plan in your life today.

You’ll be amazed at what He will do.

 

 

 

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Glamorous

The life of a star isn’t all botox and cocktail parties. It takes lot of hard work to make it look easy.

I should know, after all, I got to be a star for a day. Well, sort of a star. For a little bit — actually I was the helper, but I’m immortalized in film. So there’s that.

I didn’t realize how much planning, filming, retakes and outtakes are involved in making a five minute (or less) video. Then there’s the editing to be done.

I was helping my friend, Liz Bushong, who is a designer and tablescape expert, shoot a fun video on how to make Valentine treats.

We got our dialogue down, supplies ready, lighting just right — and  “action”! The camera was set just right, picture checked ….  then we flubbed up the lines. I was the top flubber, but I finally relaxed a little and got used to being in front of the camera.

We were making a Valentine “box of chocolates” with brownies, icing and candy. We had to taste test everything, of course. Decorating brownies requires making sure they’re “fit to eat” and the icing has to be just right.

I can testify that it was all good- and I may or may not have gone home on a sugar high that day…

We had fun, that’s for sure. Laughing is good for what ails ya and we laughed – a lot! I have a couple of “bloopers” that I’ll share on my fb site – connie clyburn.

So, my debut acting stint didn’t last long. If this one gets good reviews, I might try it again sometime. I wonder what Wisdom from the Doublewide would look like on film….

Ohhh — now I’m really dreaming. I could get my own half-hour show, kinda like Reba. The characters on the show would visit the doublewide for biscuits and gravy, with a side of advice.

Maybe the TBN network would be interested.

Ok – see ya later! I’ve got to get started writing the pilot!

 

 

 

Mules in the Mountains

I had a lot of neat adventures back in the late 80’s working as a reporter for the Whitley Republican in Williamsburg, Kentucky. There was always something going on in that little mountain town.

Sometimes a little weirdness going on, but interesting nonetheless.

One experience in particular was dear to my heart – the day we went up into the mountains to do a feature on mules hauling pipeline. My friend and newspaper comrade, Teresa, recently found a copy of that article and sent it to me. Reading it again brought back a lot of memories.

When nothing else works – bring in the mules.

A company was working to lay pipeline in the Kentucky mountains, but the big trucks couldn’t get into the area where they needed to go.

So the foreman had a bright idea to take mules up there to help do the job. It still kinda fascinates me.

The newspaper photographer, Bill, got wind of the story and off we went to find them and get the story. When we got there, we found it just as we’d heard – mules were doing the work where trucks couldn’t. It still stands as my favorite experience from my time at the paper. (Well, that and getting free supper every Tuesday night at the Bonanza steakhouse. But that’s another story.)

I interviewed the foreman (and the mules 😄), and Bill took lots of photos – it turned out to be a very nice feature spread and we also won photo feature of the year and feature article of the year from the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association. Cool beans.

I moved on from newspaper work, but never forgot my love of writing about everyday life – neat stories about people, places and things.

In the back of my mind, I missed newspaper life and thought that I would like to do that again.  I wanted my own publication, though. Then I heard about the One Christian Voice network of online news sites.

I messaged the editor of Nashville Christian Voice and found out that they were looking for someone to start another site in Tennessee.

Pick me! Pick me!

Long story short – I’m now the editor of my own news site, ETN Christian Voice! I’ve been slow out of the gate, but it’s coming along. I get to choose the stories to feature, I’m writing about the things I love to write about and my dream is happening.

Don’t ever let go of your dreams. They’re there for a reason.

Keep moving forward and do what you know to do. Pray, give your plans and dreams to God and He will take it from there.

Have faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,  the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

 

 

 

Doublewide is Back in the Building

I didn’t go anywhere. I just had a little (unplanned) writing respite.

Maybe I needed to let my noodle have a Christmas break along with the rest of me. I’ll admit that I was disappointed when I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to over the Christmas break. I was ready to slay the writing project giant, the cluttered house giant and any other Neanderthals that got in my way.

But all I managed to do was eat too much dessert and take a lot of naps. If there were such a thing as a ‘professional napper’ I could pay off all y’all’s mortgages.

Many of my writer friends made great strides during the holidays and I celebrated them.  I truly am happy for them, as they sign contracts and publish books. It’s quite an accomplishment to take a book from ‘bright idea’ to written form to published product. Then there are the book proposals and pitch letters to go along with it. Anyway – it’s huge.

I’ve not been that encouraging to myself, though. I’ve slumped around and shuffled through, feeling a little low and having pity-parties. (Note to self : always bring chocolate to a pity party)

Then I had a 2019 epiphany of sorts… eureka!

The end is not near. Not yet, anyway.

It’s time to party for real  – I’m back on the writing train heading  on toward my destinations. I feel like the magician in “Frosty the Snowman” (not the evil part and melting snowmen and all, the part where he realizes he needs to get at it). I’ve got to get busy, busy, busy!

Sitting around in the dumps doesn’t accomplish a thing and it’s right where the enemy wants us to be- he thinks we’ll give up.

If you find yourself feeling less than enthusiastic because you think you’ve missed the mark, think again. God says in His Word that His plan will be accomplished. Have faith!

It’s not the end of your dream or goal. The path is still there laid out before you. Just get up and keep on moving forward.

I heard recently that the Christian artist, Lauren Daigle, lost out two or even three times on American Idol. But she didn’t give up and go home, and forget about singing. Now look at her.

When I listen to her, I can’t believe that she lost a singing competition to anyone. Lauren’s phenomenal. I’m really glad she didn’t give up.

So,  happy 2019! Here’s to all of our accomplishments yet to come! This is a new day – grab it and run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingdom Life

Why is it that we so love stories about fairytale kingdoms, castles, horse drawn buggies (well, I guess they’re called carriages in jolly Old England) and heroes on horseback?

If you don’t believe me, just look at the throngs of people lining the streets when a royal wedding is going on.

I think Americans are even more enamored by the pomp and circumstance. We don’t really have anything to compare to it here, except maybe a presidential inauguration and even that doesn’t captivate the way a royal affair does. The Kennedy family used to be our “royal family”, but that doesn’t even hold true anymore. The Kennedy’s, sadly, have kind of faded into the background.

The idea of a tiny kingdom with kings, queens and maidens conjures up all kinds of neat stories about love and life. Somebody is always talking to a mirror and being saved from an evil stepmother.

I can imagine the old doublewide sitting upon a hill so chill (that’s fairytale language) with a moat and a drawbridge. In this story, it would have to be expanded to include a dungeon and a tower. All fairytale doublewides have to have that to even qualify.

Can you imagine the Queen of England living in a doublewide…  It would have to have a big ol wooden deck on the front where she could wave to the crowds.

Anyway, back to our story. The doublewide husband would have to ride everywhere on horseback and fight dragons and such.

I really like the part about being part of a royal family. You get to make decrees and everything!

You know what’s cool? We really are part of a royal family. Christians are part of God’s royal family. The Bible says we are a royal priesthood.

I love that – being in a royal family. No matter what goes on around us, we know that we’re in this world but not of it. That means we’re not limited by what’s going on around us.  The world may seem to be in bad shape sometimes, but it doesn’t define those who are in Gods family.

I hope that encourages you! Get into God’s Word and find out what it says about you. You’ll find out a lot more truth about who you are in God’s royal family and just what that truly means. Don’t worry – you qualify even if you don’t have a doublewide.

 

 

 

Be Kind

This is no coincidence.

I started writing this piece several days ago, not knowing that today was “Kindness Day”. I was saving it to post later in the week, but it seems like it was meant for today.

Life is too precious not to be kind every time you can.

It’s not hard to be kind. It doesn’t take extra time from your schedule. So, be kind.

This goes beyond just being “nice”. Sometimes I think I’m too nice, but I hope it’s more than that. I hope that it’s more me being inclined toward being kind.

I don’t understand mean people. They aren’t kind and I don’t like them very much. I don’t hate them … I just don’t like them. Well, maybe it’s really the meanness that I don’t like. They just need Jesus, like the rest of us.

When I encounter a mean person, I’m struck between wanting to kick their shins and needing to be kind to them. I believe this is how the Southern saying “bless your heart” came to be. On second thought, I’m pretty sure that’s for when you decide to be nice instead of telling them off.

Be kind to people, even if they’re mean.

The Doublewide husband and I got to help feed some of the homeless in our community last week. I loved helping serve the meal and showing kindness to people who probably don’t get a lot of that. Many of them thanked us.

I tend to get misty-eyed every time I get to go help out. I don’t know why — maybe I’m a human water park. Being kind will make you misty-eyed sometimes.

I kept hearing down inside me that this is what being the hands and feet of Jesus is. I saw the people there, waiting around the tables, just as they were right at that moment. Just people who needed to be fed. I wanted to be kind to them and show them love.

There are all kinds of ways to be kind.  It doesn’t cost a thing (or very little) and it’s pretty easy to do. I tend to get in a rush sometimes, or get really focused on what I’m doing, and not pay attention. That happens to all of us.

We should take time to look outside our world every once in a while and notice other things that are going on. I bet it would make a huge difference if we all did that.

Here are some tips, in case you need a little help knowing where to start: pray for somebody, encourage a friend or a non-friend (and make a friend), let somebody else have that parking place near the mall entrance, pay for the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru line, serve a meal, help feed somebody’s pets when they’re out of town, open a door, let another person have the seat you love because it has the best view — see, it’s not so hard.

Kindness. It might even help put a stop to all this dad-burned fussing and fighting that seems to be going on everywhere. Now that would be well worth it.