About Deanne Durrett

I was born and raised in Oklahoma. My husband and I raised our family in California and returned to Oklahoma after his retirement. I'm the author of 20+ nonfiction books for kids and the co-author of two memoirs plus more than a hundred newspaper and magazine articles and stories. I'm currently working on three novels I plan to publish in the near future. All the ideas for my writing come from the events that make Ordinary Days special and sometimes extraordinary.

Remember Peter Walked on Water…

I haven’t posted for awhile, mainly because I’ve been overwhelmed with all I need to do and not able to get a handle on much of it. 2017 was a tough year for us. Dan had two heart attacks and a number of other health problems. I lost count of the number of times I called 911 and followed the ambulance to the emergency room. And then there was his helicopter ride. I stayed strong and calm through all of this because my faith remained strong and I knew I was not alone. Thank God, Dan is doing well now, but his age is showing and the health problems remain. As a result, I’ve had to take on most of his responsibilities and it’s now my job to keep our world in order. Sometimes it feels like I have the weight of the whole world on my shoulders. I have a lot to learn and some of it doesn’t allow much time for OJT at this point in our lives. So, some evenings when I head for bed my mind goes into high gear and I fall into a worry well I can’t escape. There’s no sleep for hours as negative thoughts steal my motivation and temporarily destroy my problem-solving skills.

That’s the downside but there is an upside and some days I can see it when I focus in the right direction, that place where I find my strength. All I need to know is found in the book of Matthew. Mark, and John give accounts of Jesus walking on water, but Matthew includes Peter’s experience. And that’s the one I need. I’m so much like Peter!

As long as my faith is strong I can handle it all and imagine what it feels like to walk on water. But when I take my eyes off the source of my strength, and focus on all the problems piling up around me. I don’t know what to do when my faith falters, and just like Peter when he focused on the billowing waves, I begin to sink.

But Peter’s story doesn’t end here and neither does mine.

When Peter began to sink, he cried out to Jesus. Jesus recognize his “little faith,” took his hand, and helped him back in the boat. What is comes down to is this, when I am weak, Jesus is strong. When I trust him, seek His guidance, and do what needs to be done. All is well when I turn my eyes upon Jesus.

My Favorite New Years

Happy New Year 2018!

No one asked, so I asked myself: when was your favorite New Year’s Day? I didn’t have to think long, 1960 stood out above all others.

I was a bride of four months, Dan was midway through his senior year at Southwestern State College in Weatherford Oklahoma, and I was a month away from celebrating my 20th birthday. So, what was so special about ringing in that new year?

My mother’s condition.

We were at Dan’s folks for New Year’s Eve and Dan’s uncle offered us a job helping him inventory his hardware store. So, I was counting nuts and bolts when the call came.

It was my dad. He said something like, Mama’s in the hospital and she’s having a hard time. “It’s rough,” he said.

So I worried until the next phone call came a few hours later, New Years 1960. “Its a girl!” he said. “And Mama’s doing okay.”

That New Year’s Day, my little sister was born. Pretty special, don’t you think?

When we headed back to Weatherford the next day, we took the long way and dropped by the hospital so I could give my mom a hug and peek in the nursery window. That baby tucked in the nurse’s arms is a clear picture in my mind today, 58 years later. I didn’t get to hold Debbie that day. So we saved our pennies for gas money the following week and made another trip home so I could get acquainted with my sister… and begin doing my part to spoil her. (She’s eighteen months older than my first born and I lived to regret some of that spoiling… not really!)

Happy New Year, Debbie! And happy birthday!!!

(Someday I’ll tell you why I’m so glad she’s twenty years younger and not two!)


Do sa do, Circle to the Right, and Promenade Home

I just realized I haven’t posted to my blog in months. I have an excuse that has to do with 911 calls, ambulance rides, helicopter flights, stents, blood clots, and Cardiac Rehab… not me, hubby. But, all seems to be well now, so here I am. A little worn from worry, but we hope we’re done with all that. Now for today’s post:

I poured through hundreds of photos yesterday, looking for a special one when I ran across this…

…and a flood of memories filled my mind with joy. I think our square dance years were among our most enjoyable. Our kids were grown and married (one divorced but that’s another story), we were blessed with grandchildren, and had time to enjoy ourselves. So, we signed up for a square dance class. We loved it from the start.

The first night we learned to circle right and left, do sa do, and promenade. By the end of the six week course, we had mastered the beginner calls and were ready for the next session.

After we finished that class we were welcomed into the world of Mainstream dancing and signed up for a class in the next level, Plus. We graduated Plus and moved on into A1. Had a great time, but things change, Dan retired and we moved to a resort retirement in Arizona. Believe it or not, there was no square dance club! And our square dance years became a memory.

The grandchildren loved my square dance outfits. This is Stephanie giving this skirt and red petticoat a whirl.

We enjoyed the friendship, dancing, music, and all the rest. However, square dance attire was very near the top of my list, maybe number one. There were square dance shops where we bought some of our stuff. My petticoats, I had about a dozen and the grandchildren loved whirling around in them.

I also had sissy panties, and leather soled dancing shoes. Dan bought western shirts, boots, and pants. Needless to say, we were regular customers for the bought items. However, I made my outfits and a matching neck scarf for Dan, so the fabric store got that business.

It was so much fun. Sometimes, I think I might just sew a square dance dress for the pure pleasure of it. Not! I haven’t seen a fabric store in years. And where would I get all that lace today? Besides, it’s way too much work and that job needs to stay into the memory file.

Monday Blues? Not me!

Mama’s Monday included clotheslines, clothespins, and a possible thunderstorm on the horizon. (Photo credit: Bigstock.com)

It’s Monday and I’m sitting at my PC thinking I might put a load of laundry in the washer sometime today. This is not my mother’s Monday, but I remember. And I’m so very glad we haven’t had a clothesline for many years. It’s been about that long since I owned a clothespin. And I never used a wringer washing machine. Thank goodness!

But in days long gone by, I was very familiar with clotheslines, clothespins, and the wringer washing machine and tubs Mama set up early Monday morning.

I think soaking Daddy’s work clothes in gasoline might have been the first step. I’m not sure what came next because I went out to play about this time. I remember the smell of bleach, bluing, and starch. I only remember bits and pieces of Mama’s Monday until the wash was hanging on the line.

I knew better than to run through the sheets (one spanking later), but it was okay to play between the rows of laundry hanging on the line. We had three lines that stretched across the backyard. Dry laundry was removed and replaced with wet laundry as the day went on. In the Oklahoma wind, drying didn’t take long and everything smelled fresh as a spring breeze. (Mondays in winter didn’t leave pleasant memories but frozen laundry dries.)

If a cloud came up… We hurried out to snatch the clothes off the line. Sometimes we were successful in gathering it all in before the first raindrops fell, other times, not.

On a sunny day, when I was old enough to reach the line and put the freshly dried laundry in the basket without dragging it on the ground, “gathering in the clothes” was my job.

It would seem that the “gathered in” laundry was ready to fold by today’s standards. Not so back then. Everything washable was 100% cotton. Mama folded the sheets and towels but the rest had to be prepared for Tuesday. Ironing day. I’m leaving you there, and going back to my computer… I do own an iron and ironing board. One item is in the garage and the other is on a shelf, very high up and out of sight. I do not do Mama’s Monday, or Tuesday, I love today’s fabrics and modern conveniences!


Old Fashioned Christmas Pageant

christmas-pageant-1946This was 1946 and the whole elementary school participated in this Christmas pageant. First and second graders that I recognize are front center, identified as small angels with tinsel trimmed halos and wings plus children who came to worship in black skirts and white blouses. I’m third from the manger on the left, the one in a white blouse, black skirt, and glasses.

Other cast members included the shepherds, three kings, a modern-day choir to accompany the Heavenly hosts on the risers, center back. As a six-year-old, I don’t remember much about the pageant. I think it was mostly singing Christmas carols and not much reenactment. The rhythm band performed first. I played the triangle before hurrying backstage to take my place near the manger before the curtain opened.

This Christmas program was tradition. I think my mom and dad probably had a role in a similar performance twenty years earlier. No one ever heard of any such notion that schools couldn’t celebrate Christmas. Back then in our small town, if you knew someone who worshiped differently than you, that meant you were Baptist and your friend was Methodist. “Happy Holidays” included Thanksgiving through New Years. As December 25th neared, everyone said Merry Christmas.

But times have changed… maybe not so much in my hometown… but definitely in bigger cities. If someone worships differently than you, they may celebrate a completely different winter holiday. I guess schools can’t spend the whole month of December celebrating different holidays… so maybe it is best not to celebrate any. And, I think I’ve just gotten way over my head trying to explain this in a way that is acceptable to everyone who might read this. So, I’ll just say, I’ll be celebrating Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season no matter which holidays you choose to celebrate.

Here are some gift suggestions that works for everyone!

If you’re in the countdown to your shopping deadline, maybe this will help. It’s the season of chaos and joy. Choose the one you like best!

Christmas Mugs for You!

Here are a few favorites I found while browsing Amazon. If you see something you like, click on the image and do a little browsing yourself!

I have to start off with this one. It’s way more than a mug. It’s a fabulous soup bowl for a cold winter lunch or supper.

Here’s a pretty one followed by a must have – My thinking anyway! I love the green Grinch!


Now for a few ordinary and extraordinary Christmas mugs –

It’s That Time of Year!



A gift mug brings happy thoughts of the giver!

Yikes! December has arrived and shopping days are dwindling! The first things on my list are the fun things… like fun mugs for morning coffee or tea. Okay, I love mugs! So I’m sharing my list. This should get you started on your own list. Click on the image for more information and then browse –


Silly Stuff first:


For Your Best Friend:

For the Moms on your list:

For the Dads:

Keep calm and shop happy!

My Favorites:

I’m a Collector of Lovable Stuff!



A few of my collectibles keep me company while I write.

I’ve been a collector for as long as I can remember. As kid, I collected rocks I scavenged from fresh piles of sand, gravel, or loads of chat. That’s all I could afford, but there was another reason. I loved rocks, and I still do. I’m a sucker for those bins of polished stones in tourist stops in Arizona and I can spend hours in the mineral section of a museum… or a jewelry store. (My tastes have changed with maturity.)

I have collections stored all over the house. I loved the Beanie Baby craze. Before that, it was collector plates. Sometime after that I began to admire lithographs and porcelain figurines. I have collector cards, cups, coins, books, books, and more books! Most of it would look like junk to someone else, just like my mother viewed the rocks I hid under my bed. But I love them, or maybe I just love collecting. Some of us are like that, I think.

There was always the thought that something I collected might turn into a fortune. I’ve read about that happening to other people, and I’ve seen it on TV. So, since I’m between books now, I did a little checking on some of my collected items. Some are worth less than I paid for them while in the collecting frenzy. Others might be worth a little more. And some don’t even get mention. For the most part, I loved the “stuff” than no one wants now. But, I still love it. The sad thing is that if I wanted to get rich in my old age, I had the opportunity. We received the Sunday comics every week. If I’d just had the good sense to save them, preserved in pristine condition, we could be rich. Some Peanuts comic strips being marketed to collectors are worth $30,000 according to the sites I checked this morning. I’m certain; however, if I actually had a comic strip or two, so would everyone else and there would be no demand! So, I’ll just be glad to enjoy my stuff myself.

If you’re inspired to collect and haven’t started yet. Here are my suggestions. Start with rocks, move to Beanie Babies, and then figurines. From there, you can find a whole world of stuff to love. Click on the picture and go. Enjoy!

Tomato Worm, or What?


What’s eating my tomato plant? You know, of course. I thought I did, too, but as it turns out, I didn’t.

Day after day, my tomato plant had more stems without leaves. I kept looking for the culprit but couldn’t spot him. And then when most of the leaves were gone, I found one small green worm with the familiar white stripes and horn on his backside. I couldn’t believe he did all the damage, kept looking, and found his siblings, two of them.

By this time, the tomato plant was almost stripped so I decided to let nature take its course. But… I began to wonder — Where did those tomato worms come from, and what do they become? Since the usual routine requires pulling the little suckers off and a lot of green gore, I figure very few of them make to butterfly stage. But my curiosity was engaged and I had to find out. (I’ve written a lot of nonfiction for kids so I’m trained… when I say I had to find out, I mean, I had to find out.)

So I did a little research.

And the results were surprising! If you want to do your own research, check this out?: http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Pests/tomato.htm

A tomato worm is green, the exact shade as the tomato plant, has eight stripes, and a dark blue or black horn. They mostly eat tomato plants but some other plants as well… mostly veggies. And, they turn into…. drumroll, please… a creature commonly known as the hummingbird moth.

But, the worm on my plant has seven stripes and a red horn. This creature is not a tomato worm. It is a tobacco worm! And, furthermore, its diet is not limited to the list given in my research. After devouring the tomato plant he moved to my nearby, very healthy, petunia! And then he became slimy green gore!


But the most amazing thing I found in my research – another drumroll please – You can order hornworms from Amazon! And some other stuff, see below — Who knew!