Help me write a movie and be entered to win!

Share this post:

My mother and I are in the throes of our annual Hallmark Christmas movie obsession, fueled by visions of Christmas cookies (that we can’t have), beautiful decorations and lots of actors with white teeth and perfect hair.

This starts around Thanksgiving and ends around New Year’s Day. On Saturday afternoons, no matter what I still need to get done around the house, I head to Mom’s, sometimes with Bruce, sometimes without. Husband, being the good sport he is, will watch with us (I think he secretly enjoys some of them).

At the moment, there are no football games to interrupt our viewing, so we veg out for hours. (We may need an intervention!)

Part of the fun of a formulaic movie is saying the lines right along with the characters.

You know, the phrases that are oh-so-predictable and you could write them in your sleep 🙂 — generic phrases in response to predictable plot developments, such as:

There are rules about this kind of thing.

“Rules are made to be broken.”

You know what I mean.

And after a random phrase like that, I’ve been known to exclaim proudly, “I could write these!”

Bruce used to roll his eyes (or ignore me), but lately he has joined in the fun. He could write these movies, too!

We say that with confidence, but it’s only because we’ve never tried. I realize that much more goes on before a movie is ever made, much more behind the scenes than we will ever know. But, still, many of them seem to be manufactured with fill-in-the-blank templates, and I thought I’d give it a try.

So, in the spirit of holiday cookies, movies and ho-ho-ho, I want to know how much Christmas spirit you have.

You’re going to write a Christmas romance with me!

You’ll get two benefits: You’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card (two winners; details in the survey) and Santa will put you on his Nice List. OK, I just thought of a third (and maybe the best) benefit: You’ll have fun!


  • Fill out the multiple-choice survey below to help me with the details of the script. (Title will be chosen after we decide on the basic elements, but feel free to offer suggestions!)
  • We’ll choose a winner at random at 9 p.m. Central on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and will choose from five gift cards (list is in the survey below).
  • Please share this so that your friends can join in the fun! (Not a requirement for participation.)

I can’t end this without a word about the reason we have Christmas in the first place. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, seek out someone in your community who can help you know Him, or reach out to me here for a conversation. No obligation, just a simple conversation about the hope that I have within me.

Be sure to share!

Create your own user feedback survey

Share this post:

Recipe: Deby’s Teriyaki Marinade

Share this post:

The last time I lived in California (post-bachelor’s degree), I was doing what you might call Livin’ the Dream: I had a great job at a newspaper, an awesome church (with accompanying awesome singles group), a house at the end of a cul-de-sac, a cute patio and a yard with beautiful landscaping. Our house was 45 minutes from the mountains, the desert or the beach, depending on your direction (and what time of day you went).

And my favorite: a swimming pool with an in-ground hot tub at one corner. (Doesn’t everyone in Southern California have an in-ground pool and hot tub?)

grilled teriyaki chicken
No photo for my grilling recipe? No problem. My generous friend Talya to the rescue! Photos courtesy of Talya Tate Boerner of Grace, Grits and Gardening.

I rented from my roommate, Deby, who owned the house and paid other people to maintain the property. (Doesn’t everyone in Southern California have a yard guy and a pool guy?)

Yup. Livin’ the Dream. (Except that my closest family units were 4-5 hours away by car.)

Deby and I had lots of cookouts and swim parties – sometimes with her friends, sometimes with mine, but always lots of fun and lasting until the wee hours of the morning (I was young then; I could do that).

One of my favorite things about Deby, besides her generosity (she pretty much let me do whatever I wanted, as long as I didn’t burn the place down), was that she was a gourmet cook. Financial planner by day, food magician by night.

She made creating delicious recipes seem effortless. (She once took a pot of chili I had left simmering on the stove and, after asking permission, turned it from blah to rah! just by sprinkling in some fairy dust a few spices.)

I experienced many culinary firsts at Deby’s table: I had never heard of cilantro (and now my love for it is limitless), I had never eaten orange roughy; I had never eaten sushi, had never heard of wasabi (no Japanese sushi restaurant has anything on Deby). Artichoke hearts with a creamy dill sauce, yum! And I didn’t have a clue what ceviche was (again, no restaurant can hold a candle). And our refrigerator always – always – housed a dish of fresh garlic butter, which we whipped up ourselves.

I “stole” several recipes from Deby, including the one below, which might embody her motto, and I heartily embrace it:

“Everything is better with garlic.”

(Go ahead. Write that down and tape it to your fridge.)

The first time I experienced her Teriyaki Marinade was when Deby invited me sailing with some friends who owned a sailboat. (Doesn’t everyone in Southern California own a sailboat?) The boat had a little grill, where we plopped down some boneless chicken that had been marinating in the cooler all morning.

salmon teriyaki recipeYou’ll have to experience for yourself how good this is, because I am out of words to describe it. I’ve since tried the marinade with salmon, one Fourth of July a few years ago – why just once? I don’t know! – and I’m sure it would be awesome with shrimp, too.

And, because this is Memorial Day weekend and you have more exciting things to do than listen to someone else wax nostalgic about her Livin’ la Vida SoCal days two decades past, here it is. (Note: I’m presenting it in its original form but have included a couple of healthier substitutions.)

What are you waiting for? Go get your grill on!

Deby, if you should stumble across this post someday, please get in touch. And thank you for everything you taught me about generosity, hospitality and good food.

Print Recipe
Recipe: Deby’s Teriyaki Marinade
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-20 minutes
Passive Time 4-8 hours
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-20 minutes
Passive Time 4-8 hours
  1. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until combined.
  2. Place mixture in a sealable bag or airtight dish with 6-8 boneless chicken breasts OR salmon steaks OR 1-2 pounds of shrimp.
  3. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning the bag at least once to make sure every surface gets plenty of yummy marinade.
  4. Discard unused marinade or boil it for use as a sauce. (I've never done this, but it seems a shame to waste it.)
Recipe Notes

Serve with a fresh green salad, grilled veggies (why not? the grill is already hot!) or a sweet potato smashed with coconut oil or butter and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Share this Recipe
Share this post:

Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 11/02/15

Share this post:

wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:


Fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers member Mary knows what it’s like to be stressed out (don’t we all?), and one way she deals with that is by being organized and helping others do the same.

As we all know, the calendar has rolled over to November and our schedules are about to kick into hyperdrive (as if they weren’t already overloaded). That’s why I was happy to discover Mary’s cute, festive and oh-so-helpful (and did I mention cute?) holiday planning guide, including a checklist for meal planning, travel prep, gift buying and more.

Holiday-Guide-Image-2015Check it out: Holiday Guide: Calendar & Checklists



DoOverCoverSometimes laughter is the best medicine (especially when “someone” has already eaten your square of emergency chocolate). I’ve been following Do Over author and speaker Jon Acuff for a few months, since participating in a Michael Hyattpromoted webinar in the spring. I can totally relate to Jon: He has an unnatural 🙂 obsession with trying to make people laugh (and he doesn’t fall flat on his face nearly as much as I do!); he’s a writer; and he wants to make a difference in the world.

Maybe you won’t get this one if you’ve never thought of writing a book, never worried what others think, never tried to change the world with your brilliance and generosity 🙂 … but I think he nailed it.

Check it out: Writers are crazy. Here’s proof I am.



Elizabeth'sSpaghettiAndTableI didn’t battle a weight problem until I was about 30. By my birthday that year, my hips had grown wider than I was accustomed to, and it only got worse from there. Part of my reason for blogging about my struggles is to help others (while helping myself work through it and to stay accountable).

With all the crazy talk about diet and health, including mega-money spent on marketing and advertising cheap, fake, unhealthful foods, Dietitian Cassie’s blog was a breath of fresh air. I’ve written about her before because I love her sensible, open-minded approach to healthy living. In this post, she gives her thoughts on “cheat days,” which I used to take advantage of until I realized that if I were eating real food in a balanced way, I wouldn’t feel deprived.

Check it out: What About Cheat Days? (5 Considerations)


That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …


Share this post: