Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Why I love Mondays.

I was walking up the stairs into the Sanctuary. She’s seven. She stops me.

“Miss Myra Katherine? Are you staying for the whole church?”

I look at her. Confused.

“Are you staying till the end?”

And I laugh. And I reassure her. Yes. I am staying.

We are staying.

And my whole mood brightens.

I struggle when my children are with their Dad. I grew up filling an entire pew. Even now, up by 7 bodies, we still squeeze into one pew.

One pew in the back that is, because you never know when my brother and I are going to start laughing.


So I don’t like going by myself. I don’t like sitting by myself. I don’t like singing or praying or listening or hearing or praising.

By myself.

So sometimes, I leave.

And evidently I’m not too discreet about it.

And when I stay, I sometimes look around at all the men. The married men. Do not judge me. I’m not looking at them like “that”. I’m looking at them like, wow, here are these men who love the Lord and love their wives and provide for their children and I think not about the verse we are reading; not about the song we are singing; I think Oh. My. Gosh.

And I panic. Just a little.

And I think somebody give me a cat already. Cause I may as well go ahead and start collecting them.

(No offense to my little cat lover friends!).

And the “Oh. My. Gosh.” is a strange feeling because I specifically remember telling my mother that I would never consider getting married again.

Ever. Taylor Swift alert. Like, Ever.

But we’ve been separated for almost 15 months and yes, still waiting for the end but looking ahead, I may have changed my mind.

And why did I just use the “m” word. Good grief. I might scare off the 3 single people in the tri-state area who possibly love the Lord and have a job.

Not that I can judge the whole job thing, ’cause, well, you know. I don’t have one either. But all the more reason that he should have one.

I mean good grief, how else is he going to pay for my dinner? And my ring.

That was a joke. Well not really.

Earlier I’ve shared that I’m not a good cook, I don’t mow the lawn. I hate putting gas in my car and here’s a new one.

I don’t carry a purse.

Because I fully expect you to pay for dinner.

And my ring.

And while we’re on the subject of loving the Lord and buying me a ring, did you know that there’s something called Christian/Other?

Anybody know what that means?

Christian/Protestant, I understand. That’s me.

Christian/Catholic, I understand. That’s 93.7% of my friends in Fremont.

But Christian/Other?

No thank you.

Well maybe. I mean, I guess if you make a lot of money. A lot. A lot. And you’re old. Really, really old.

Oh relax. That really was a joke.

I just thought we needed a little humor after my “I didn’t get the job because nobody likes me blog.” ūüôā

OK, so about 500 words ago, I was talking about why I like Mondays. Actually, I think I was talking about why I don’t like Sundays but y’all know I tend to wander.

On Mondays dads go to work. As a SAHM, it’s normal to be with my kids; sans dad. It’s school and playdates and craft time and reading time and quiet time and I love the routine of Mondays and I love pretending that their Dad is at work (well, technically he is at work, but you know what I mean).

Saturdays are for couples.

Sundays are for families.

But Mondays are Moms-rock-the-routine days.

Mondays start the beating of the drum; the rhythm of the week.

We wake; we snuggle; we dress; we eat; we linger; we linger too long; we rush; we rush too fast; we check school lunches; we laugh at french toast sticks and mixed vegetables (not kidding) and we stuff backpacks and we search for the one pair of socks that are the only pair of perfect socks and we sign the papers and send the checks and we take a deep breath and we pray.

You are a blessing. Go. Be a Blessing.

You have the mind of Christ. You can learn all things.

THe Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you.

Yeah. Yeah. OK, Mom.

One day Sundays will be easier. Maybe. Hopefully.

But today I choose to rejoice in a perfectly Manic Monday! Knowing fully that “this is the day that the Lord has made.” We may not fill a whole pew, but we will fill this house with lots of love and crazy joy!

Happy Monday, Y’all!


Nothing Personal

I was standing in the hallway. Early.

I’m a Hale.¬†We’re always early.

Unless we marry a Strother. And then we quit being early.¬† (tee¬†hee. love y’all!)


My¬†heels click, click, click on the hardwood floors. I miss my tennis¬†shoes.¬†I notice a rug; an ugly¬†rug¬† and I think about the job that I had selling rugs and pens and mugs and I think about how, at the end of¬†our¬†“trial period” a testing phase of sorts;¬†¬†how he said, “I knew that you would never be able to do this job.”

You know, nothing personal.

You know, even though I told you I thought you would be able to do this job.

I was lying. I am a man. I lie.


I walk into a room full of people and I’m not nervous even though it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve had an interview like this. I’m not nervous because I know this is it. This is the job. My job.

Community Advocate/ Early childhood Coordinator.


And I thought it went well. But the letter that came in my mailbox yesterday told me otherwise.

And I can’t quit thinking about this one guy. This¬†guy on the end. (Which makes me laugh a little because¬† dig back far enough in my writings and you’ll hear stories about another guy on the end….the one that became the father of my children). It’s not fair to speak for him (but, you know, it is my blog, so I’m going to anyway).¬†I ¬†just got the feeling that he thought my life has been too easy.

I haven’t seen real poverty; known real neglect; known real abuse.

OK. But did you ask? I missed the asking.

I see the letter. No real need to open it. And I’m so sad.

And I cry.

And then I’m mad.

And this is not fair; not fair to those charged with choosing the best and I¬†wasn’t the best but I have to find a reason.

Am I not¬†able to relate because of the $300 Ann Taylor suit I’m wearing?

The one my sister gave to me?

Three years ago?

Or perhaps because I’m a Kindermusik teacher. Doctor’s and lawyers with their beautiful wives and their perfect children?

That was sarcasm.

Why didn’t I tell them about the¬†custodian’s granddaughter. The one who smelled and never had a clean diaper and whose favorite place to sit was right in my lap. The custodian who would stick around after class hoping to score some leftover snacks for their dinner.¬†Why didn’t I tell them about the boy who punched me¬†straight in the face or the¬†student whose Mother tried to cook him in the stove.

Could they not see my heart? How it bleeds for children. All children? The poor, the forgotten, the privileged, the remembered? Don’t they all deserve our best?

Or maybe the did see the real me. The “opinionated, high-strung, wants only the best-won’t settle for less for my children,” me.

Maybe the did see the real me. The “children should always come first; before committees, before meetings, before grown-ups,” me. Maybe they saw the “I don’t care if I hurt your feelings if you are not taking care of your children me.”

And I don’t.

Care if I hurt your feelings.

Then the guy says,¬†‘and you’re trying to hide it, but I hear a little accent.”¬† And I think he’s joking but lately I’m not too good at taking¬† jokes.

Page 2. University of Arkansas. 1990-1994

Not really hiding it.

In preparing for this interview, I learned that the average income for a single mom in Fremont, Nebraska is $18,000. Counting child support I make less; a¬†lot less. Unlike most, I have an enormous amount of help from my family, but please do not question my ability to relate to those that have less.¬† If it weren’t for my parents (and a good attorney) I would be the very family they are trying to reach.

I know what it feels like to be abandoned. I know what it feels like to be told you are not good enough. I know what it feels like to be stuck. I don’t know it in the same way. But I know it.

And I know how to help children.

And I know that it’s only by God’s grace; only by His amazing, unfailing¬†grace that I am not there. Not living in poverty and abuse and neglect. And I wanted to tell them my whole story. I wanted them to know the story of the past two years. But¬† I know that even our life for the past two years would feel like Disney World to some of these families.

God’s grace.

And I’m only picking on this one dude because he was the vocal one. Maybe they all felt that way. Maybe it wasn’t the poverty thing at all. Maybe they just didn’t like me.

It’s ok. It’s kinda going around. ūüôā

But here’s what I know. I know that it wasn’t the job. My job. I know that God’s ways are higher; God’s ways are better. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we ever imagined. And He is faithful to complete the work he has started.

For me.

For my family.

For Fremont.

Even for the guy on the end who didn’t like this Arkansas girl. ūüôā



Waiting for the End

Y’all know I love quotes. And this is a good one.

“Someday is not a day of the week.”

Quotes are my favorite thing about facebook. Well that and it’s really easy to stalk old boyfriends.

That was a joke.

But only cause I don’t really have old boyfriends.

Anyway, I’m writing a book. I’m going to write a book.


Tonight? Tomorrow?

I don’t know how to start.

How to start over. For me and my two.¬†Stepping out of the old¬†and into the new—

Today Emma Claire and I took a girls trip to the Apple store. Coulter got an ipad¬†for Christmas and he insists on changing the password so that his sister can’t play. He changed it so¬†many times¬†that the ipad became disabled .

I’ve never been to the Apple store. Not even to buy the ipad.

They have to re-boot it. We lose our games.

We lose Mine Craft. This is serious. My heart is beating fast and I feel nauseous at the thought of telling Coulter. And for those of you who don’t know what Mine Craft is, let me just say that I don’t either. I just know it’s gone and it was a sad day at the Hale-Fritz home.

Where was…oh yes. Re-boot.


Like Booty.

“Mom! He said re-boot. Scoot your boot! Scoot your boot. Scoot your BUTT!”

“Emma Claire. We don’t way that word.”

” I wish I could say that at preschool. Scoot your boot. That’s funny. Am I right, Mom? I know I’m right. But Dalton would TOTALLY tattle on me.”

And I thought, yes! 

I wanna¬†¬†put pen to paper and spill words and stories and truths and I wanna write my book and ¬†I wanna shout, “Hey! Scoot your boot!”

But I can’t. Because Dalton will totally tattle on me.

And yes I know I should be writing “want to” instead of wanna.

But I don’t wanna.

Last week Ann Voskamp¬†posted in her blog that we can’t force our life like a bowl of bulbs. (Which totally makes me think¬†of Tom Hanks and¬†life is like a box of chocolates¬†when in fact life is nothing like a box of¬†chocolates).

Back to Ann—We can’t force beginnings and¬†we can’t force endings and we can’t force God.

And so we wait.

We wait for the winter and the cold and the hardening of the old and we wait for the pressing through and it’s slow and there’s a touch of green before the flowers grow and we wait.

But I’ve been waiting wrong.

Waiting, hoping, desperately searching.

For the beginning.

Of new friendships and new jobs and new normals and yes, for a new beginning.

God. Alpha and Omega.

Beginning and End. 

Ann says the endings always come and when they do we give it back to the Lord.

As a gift.

I’m rushing and anxious and¬†waiting on¬†beginnings and I forget.

The ending¬†hasn’t come.

But it will.


I mean, come on! It has to.



And when it comes, I will give it back to the Lord. As a gift. Thankful for the story. Chapter and verse.

I feel so foolish! I’ve been trying to close the book; force the pages; demand the ending as¬†if I’m entitled to say what and where and when.

And how.

And the Lord says to me.

“Wait on me.

Finish this chapter.

Finish it well.

And when that story is over; when that story has ended, I will give you a new one.”

And not just a new chapter.

A new book.




Go ahead. Be perfect. But count me out!



Sounds good, right?

If we’re gonna do it, we might as well do it right?


And by right.

I mean perfect.

A¬†little-known secret. Actually secret would imply that it’s not known at all. And most of you know this.

So here’s a very poorly kept secret.

I am not a perfectionist.

I do not aspire to perfectionism.

And quite honestly, I’m annoyed by those who are; by those who do.


I miss notes. 

I paint outside of the lines.

I don’t use a paper cutter when I’m trimming pictures to fit¬†the frame.

I don’t even use scissors. I just jam it in there till it fits.

And eventually it does. You know, fit.

Take a deep breath. It’s OK.

Perfect is paralyzing.

I can’t do it perfectly.

So I can’t do it at all.

And life is messy. Messy with cancer and divorce and poverty and  kids who are in trouble and parents who are in trouble and sometimes, sometimes, you just gotta do it.


My friend’s husband has cancer. I feel helpless. You know, because—I am—actually quite helpless.¬†

But then it comes to me.


We can feed my friend. And her kids. And her husband on the days that he’s hungry.

I can do food.

Which is funny because of all my gifts (and you know there are so many!), food is not one of them.

So now you know two poorly kept secrets. I’m not a perfectionist. And I’m not a good cook.

A few weeks ago my mom had gathered the ingredients to make chili, but the whole ‘there’s gonna be a blizzard’ thing came along and she headed south before we had a chance to eat it.

You really can’t mess up chili so I threw it all in the crock pot and invited two families over.

There were no tables set.¬† I didn’t have enough bowls. I hadn’t vacuumed.

Not perfect.

I tell them.¬†My mom made the chili.¬†It’s safe.

I promise.

And then I grate the cheese.

And I notice this blue stuff. All mixed in with the freshly grated cheese.

And I realize that I’ve grated the blue plastic zipper thing into the cheese.

And then my friends come. And their kids eat. 

The chili.

I don’t understand. It has beans and meat and tomatoes and they still eat.

The chili.

And I didn’t really plan on children who eat.

And I run out of  chili.

Not perfect.

But fun.

Fill up your cup (if not your chili bowl) fun.


I type a quick email. I send it out. Let’s feed our friend.

And immediately I get responses.

From perfectionist.

And I smile. I’ve been married to one for almost 15 years.

I recognize the signs.

The symptoms.

Let’s keep a list of what everyone’s making so we don’t all make the same thing.

Let’s use a website where we can input allergies and likes and dislikes and put in a calendar where people can sign up.

Where should we drop off? Let’s all coordinate to feed them at the same time. Make sure to ask people to include fruit.

A drop center? A call center? A ‘let’s work together to make this perfect’ center.

I’m half joking.


And my sweet, perfect friends who will read this, please know I love you for being perfect.

I just don’t do perfect.

I do cheese with blue plastic.

Not perfect, but really, really good.

And we have dates filled in for meals until the middle of February. And it won’t be perfect.

But the village showed up and there will be food.

This weekend I saw Silver Linings Playbook. And I left smiling.

Looking at Bradley Cooper for two hours will make you smile.

I’m not kidding.

But these people were messy. Mental illness, harsh language, affairs, broken marriages, physical abuse, messy.

But there was love.

And forgiveness.

And there was hope.

And they danced.

And it wasn’t perfect.

But it was good. Really, really good.

And his eyes are blue.

Really, really blue.

And I think he’s single.

And I think I might want to marry him someday. ūüôā



Save a Horse….You Know The Rest.

He says “So, when’s the launch?”

Body Pump 84.

“Valentine’s or Superbowl weekend.”

Then with equal parts sarcasm and woe-is-me-ness, I continue. “I really hope it’s not over Valentine’s, because I am very busy that weekend.”

He looks at me. Another Greg. A happily married, sun is always shining,¬†never¬†give up on love, Greg. And he says, “Hey! You never know. Glass half-full!”

What? Did he just remind me of glass half-full? I’m an eternal optimist. Nobody ever has to remind me of that.

‘Wait!” I wanted to say.¬†”¬†My glass is always¬†half-full.”

Well, sorta.

I suppose it’s possible that my fremont village might be getting a¬†different¬†vibe.

Maybe it’s the in-between track comments.¬†

Slamming Kelly Clarkson and her ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

Maybe it’s the jokes about an imaginary target when the weight goes bam. When the fist goes punch.

When the kicks go jab.

Hmmm. When did I let my glass go dry?

What happened to Myra Katherine glass-always-full? Why doesn’t Body Pump Greg know that girl?

They know the “I can’t live for one more day in the yellow house” girl.

They know the “I can’t stand this place because everybody and their dog smokes even on school property which is crazy ridiculous” girl.

They know the “I’m getting divorced—¬†it’s taking forever—maybe never getting divorced” girl.

But they don’t know me.¬† Myra Katherine.

Optimist. Sunny-side up. Glass very full.

Myra Katherine wearing the crown.

miss ne (3)

Myra Katherine who went to Miss America.

And wore this.

swimsuit (3)

Myra Katherine whose glass was so full, she actually thought she could be Miss America.

I posted the picture on facebook in honor of Miss America weekend. And then I deleted it.

I don’t like looking at it. I don’t know that person anymore.

My High School English teacher whom I adored¬†wrote to me —

“It’s not the tiara that makes the princess.”

I know that.

When I did I forget?

And where the HALE  is that girl?

And where is my tiara?

Last week I introduced a new track for biceps. Old song was Kelly Clarkson. Stronger.

I loved that song.

And then I didn’t.

And then I thought if that girl tells me one.more.time. how strong I’m getting, I’m gonna throw-up.

On her.

So I say, “OK, y’all!¬†New¬†track! ¬†A new theme¬†song for 2013!”¬†

And I push play.

We lift. Up and down and up and down.

And then I listen to the words.

And I listen closer.

And a friend toward the back is starting to laugh.

And then I start to laugh.

And I’m teaching and I’m lifting and the head of the YMCA is in my class.

And I hear it.

Save a horse. Ride a cowboy.

I’ve just told a class of 30 that for me—


Was about saving horses.

And riding cowboys.

It had sounded so much better in my head.

Saving cowboys.

And riding horses.

The difference is significant.

And I hadn’t meant to say theme….I had meant just “new”

The track ends. We stretch.

I try to explain—you know—¬†about riding horses and saving cowboys and I’m making it worse and people are laughing and I know they are thinking “who is this person?” and the voice in my head screams, STOP TALKING!

But I love microphones. Really. I really love them. And I keep talking and—

Instead of crying; instead of  just dying.

Right there. On the spot.

I laughed. And later I was still able to laugh.

And today nothing is better. Not on paper. Not in real life.

Not better.

But I feel better. And my hope is in the Lord.

Not horses.

Not cowboys.

And the princess?

Well, she’s on her way back.

I know there’s gotta be a crown around here somewhere.¬† And a wand. I need a wand.

Wait. I need to focus.

Oh yes. The truth?

My cup?

Well, it overflows.

Learning to Talk Again.

As my Aunt Betty would say, “This is not my story to tell….”

Several years ago my brother was traveling with then Senator Clinton. He was interviewed for a profile piece.  The journalist asked how he stayed in shape. Out of the blue, he answered:

“I eat sunflower seeds.”

Now, I think there were other things said; other true things, but at the time he had never eaten a sunflower seed.


And I remember him saying,¬†“I don’t know. It just came out.”

That story makes me laugh.

And I thought it about last night.

I have a new¬† client. (Yay! New Year’s Resolutions!) The long version of this story is that I will do pretty much anything¬† to avoid the weight room. We will go to the gym, the track, the park, ¬†anywhere, except a room full of treadmills and men lifting weights. But the gyms were full¬† and the track is closed.¬† And it’s January in Nebraska.

There was no choice.

I squeeze her onto a treadmill and we begin.  Immediately, I am distracted by the people; the voices; the music.

And the boys.

I’m not kidding. There were a lot of¬†boys.

I’m 40 years old. I’m married (yep, still married). I teach. I train. I’m confidently raising two children. And all of a sudden I’m starting to get really hot and I’m not even the one running.

Ridiculous. I know.

Somehow we manage to avoid all the boys. It was easy actually. We just didn’t do any weights.

But on they way out, we bump into a friend.

A boy.

He speaks.

I fidget. I stammer. I stumble. I forget to make¬†introductions. I forget that I’m actually working. I forget—

How.To. Talk.

My client is young. She hasn’t forgotten how to talk to boys so she carried the conversation. She talk about¬†the workout. She talked about Jillian (Biggest Loser!) She talk about¬† trying to lose pregnancy weight.¬†She¬†talked¬†about having more babies as in no-way, never again. And I find my voice and I say—

“Oh! I loved being pregnant!”


Right. And my brother eats sunflower seeds to stay healthy.

Let’s see, I¬†remember being¬†sick and huge and each morning¬†taking medicine that doubled as a sleeping pill. Tea? No, thanks! But here’s a sleeping pill to start your day!

Good Morning!

And I remember that Coulter quit napping. And I remember the sound of Barney as we would try to nap, and I remember that even today the sound of Barney makes me want to throw-up.

And I remember sneaking a 6 oz. diet coke so that somehow I could find the energy to teach.  

Yes, I remember the diet coke and it was like Manna from Heaven and seriously, just ¬†look at Emma Claire. She’s perfect. The Coke people should totally use her in commercials:

Expecting? Drink more diet coke!

And then I remember a Kindermusik mom saying to me,

I am so jealous of you!

Excuse me? Come again?

She continued. What an exciting time in your life. You will never be here again. When will she be born? What will she look like? What does this new future hold and for some reason I believed her.

I believed her because she was right.

Yes! I thought. Be jealous of me!

All 30 extra pounds.

And last night when I randomly blurted out that I loved being pregant, I remembered that mom. And the sunflower seeds.

And the excitement of a new baby and new day and a new way and I thought, HALE yes!

Be jealous of me.¬† Be jealous that I don’t have a job or a husband and that I don’t have family near by and wait.

I’m getting off track.

This is exciting!

I’m getting my life back. Our life.

I’m fighting for my children, for our family, for our future.

Jesus came that we might not have a spirit of timidity. I can humbly, and yet boldly, come before the throne of Grace and fight.

I’ve found my voice. I’m finding my way. And¬†what the heck-0-la,¬†I¬†get to look at cute boys again.

Now if I could just learn to talk to them! ūüôā

(Side note:¬†The divorce has been delayed again. I trust in God’s timing and know that all things are working together for good. I only mention this to say that yes, I am still married and this blog is just meant for fun. I couldn’t talk to boys before I got married, while I’ve been married and I suspect it will continue to be a problem in the future. Again…just for fun. And am I happy to say that my client bought 4 more sessions. Not sure if it’s because I’m a good trainer or if she liked all the boys. ūüôā

Two Steps Back

Yesterday was forward. Marching. Running, even.

No looking back.

Today, I stumbled. A few rocks on the path and there were 2 steps back. 3. Maybe 4.


I cried to my attorney. I said, sorry. I’m¬† just tired.

I cried to a friend. I said, sorry. I’m just tired. (And I would tell you I cried to my friend over coffee, but attorneys love to use things like coffee against you, so whatever you may think, I will tell you for sure—I did not cry over coffee).

I don’t even drink coffee.

Remember the promise? The future? The moving forward? Yes, yes, but oh this restless spirit and oh how I can see it so clearly.

Standing still is easier. The past is easier. I know what happened.

I know that story. I’ve nursed it, cursed it and rehearsed it.

Again and again.

But the story moving forward? I’ve never been there. I don’t know the ending.

And I am tired. 

I’m tired of friends who aren’t really friends¬†and people who promise help but,¬†ooops, never mind and¬†offer no help and of Fridays that come week after week and again they are gone.

And it never gets easier. And it’s never OK.

Feast or famine.

And today she cried. Heavy, heaving, hard tears. She doesn’t want to leave her Momma.

She doesn’t understand.

This was not God’s plan.

And she wants to know if Elena’s Mom and Dad do this….this going back and forth; the push and the pull and they water, but I hold it back and say quite simply.

No. Elena’s parents don’t do this.

But it’s not all like I say because I know I am blessed by¬†good¬†friends¬†who are dear friends; who¬†help and who pray; who listen and stay.

In the gap.

For us.

And I remember a prayer from a Beth Moore study. “God, fill up my empty spaces.”

And I write that on an index card and I lean it up on a picture frame. And I speak it.


“Jesus, fill up my empty spaces.”

Fill up. 

Close up, Cover up, Lift up, Show up.

In this space; in this place.

And in your mercy.

Help me.

Run this race.

“…forgetting what lies behind,¬†and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Phil 3:13

Keeping on! Keeping on!

Yesterday, in her blog www.aholyexperience.com, Ann Voskamp tells the story of her young daughter performing her piano piece by memory. For a judge.

My eyes light up. Yes! I know this. I know performing; I know about judges. Oh! Oh! Does she get first place? All 1’s? Oh, I’m so nervous for her!

Ann describes it so well that I feel as though I’m back on that bench. On the stage. Playing.

Her daughter fumbles, forgets and the presses forward. Afterward, the judge praises her for the simple act of moving forward.

Oooh! I’m¬†so jealous. I want to raise my hand and yell, “Yes! Yes! I know that! That’s what I teach my students! That’s what I teach my children.” Everyone knows what happens when you go back—

At least pageant people know. You end up with a never-ending version of Fur Elise. That’s what.


Everything she writes resonates with my heart¬† and yet today, this music; this moving forward, yeah….well, I already know all that. But then she says it’s not the “going” that’s hard. It’s the “keep going”.

And I see it. This is a choice.

The saying goes, life goes on—as¬†if moving forward is inevitable—but it’s not.¬† Life moves forward, yes, but do we move with it?¬† Each time I tell the story; each time I re-play it in my head; each time I choose not to forgive and not to forget, well that’s me going backward. Starting again.

And¬† Beethoven rolls¬†in his grave and he’s glad he’s deaf so that he can’t hear the never ending version of this song.

(Wait. It was Beethoven, right? I should totally know that….you know, 6 years of music education and 15 plus as a teacher…yes, I should know that. Did somebody go blind? Whatever. My music history teacher was a coach.)

That was a joke. I just like to blame all the stuff I can’t remember on coaches who shouldn’t have been teachers.

Moving Forward. It’s a choice. And somedays I get it right. I’m on a 5K sprint, moving, running, leaping forward, but as Ann says that’s not the hard part.

It’s the keeping. The keeping on, keeping on! Each day. Every day. Choosing to move.


It’s 2013¬†; my¬†year of Promise—the¬†perfect time to remember the performances; the judges, the¬†trophies (I seriously love trophies) and the victories. I made it. I faked it. I always.moved.forward.

I will continue to tell my story; to put to paper what God has put on my heart, but for the living; for the leaping and loving and healing and trusting; yes for the living I choose to move forward.

No going back. No start overs. No re-dos.

Just knowing and growing and keeping on going!


January 2nd. The day I believed.

I remember anniversaries. Even those that don’t deserve remembering. I remember random dates and significant dates and dates better left forgotten.

And Janaury 2nd is just such a date.

A day of truth. A day of knowing. A day that the 2 by 4 slammed down.


And I remember Maya Angelou and how she says “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Believe them.

This was time 486 (but seriously whose counting,) and yet I would never believe; always forget and in a way too easily forgive.

But the lesson came hard and fast and ugly and when they show you, believe.

And on january 2nd, 2011, I believed.

And it dawned on me. I’m gonna need a lawyer!

And so I have a name and I have a number and I  call. And I remember the date because new years was on Sunday last year but observed on Monday. I called and there was no answer.

Well duh.

And then I tried again and then just one more time and this man answers the lobby phone. This man who is the man whose name is on my piece of scratch paper: this man who shouldn’t be at work, who I’m guessing rarely answers the lobby phone and who is saying, yes. This is he. Speaking.

And I start talking and pouring and words are flooding out and I tell him my story and our story and there is this stranger and I’m inviting him into the mess and the tangle and the muddle and for one year….one ridiculously long and scary year…I tell him the secrets and the heartaches and the fear and the anger and he listens (or course, I pay him to listen, something that doesn’t really work other men!), but he listens well and he advises and he is at every turn ethical and professional and right and¬† I drive him crazy and I share too much and I email too often and I think at this one year mark, that he knows more about my life than any other person, any other friend, any other family.

I’m not a superstitious person. I’m not even sure if that’s how you spell superstitious. I’m a faith person. I’m a jesus person. I’m a person who, when I make a call to an empty office on a holiday and the one person I’m looking for just happens to be randomly¬† walking through the lobby and just happens to answer the phone and wait! I’m a person who doesn’t believe in randomly just happenings.

I believe in miracles. And I believe in God’s hand of protection and I believe that my attorney was handpicked. For me. By God. And if you think that’s crazy well then you don’t know my attorney. Or my God.

Or how much Jesus loves me. ūüôā

January 2nd. The day I saw ugly. The day I believed ugly. And the day my call was answered.

And as we head into year two, I’m just pausing long enough to say thank you….and in some super weird way, I kinda want to say “happy anniversary” but again that’s pretty weird and there is no “happy” in divorce, only gratitude for the guidance along the way.

And I am very grateful.


Just.This.One. Word.

Several years ago when I first started blogging, I heard about a movement called One Word. Instead of a resolution; a word. A word to frame, shape, define the upcoming year. My first word was illumination. Illuminate.

To shine light on.

Holy Cow, as Emma Claire would say (and I have no idea why she says that because cows are not holy and I never say that, except for, well, right now.) Wait. OK, yes, as I was saying, “HOLY COW!” It was¬†a totally random word and had no clue at the time why the Lord would give it to me, but let me just say that in the four¬†years to follow–

There’s¬†been a lot of light.

And even a small child will tell you, you can’t hide in the light.

“….wait on the Lord who will both bring to the light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.”¬†(1 Corinthians 4: 5)

Sometimes the dark is easier. Not better, but easier. So I give you this—

Choose your word carefully.

I don’t remember¬†some of the¬†words. I remember one year with two words, “No Buts.” I will choose joy, no buts. I will speak up for myself, no buts. I will find my voice and remember the light and refuse to be a door mat.

No Buts.

And then last year on this day, there was no word. There was only chaos. And fear. And anger.

And attorneys.

And for the first time EVER; for the LAST time EVER; there was no hope.

And there was no word.  At least none that I can say out loud. Wait, yes I can. PromiseS.

Broken PromiseS.

But this is a new year. And the chaos has calmed and the fear has¬†turned to¬†hope¬†and the anger—whatever, still workin’ on that,—but this is a new year.

And if¬†you drop the “S”.

Just.This. One. Word.


And it becomes totally different.

2013. Holds Promise.

2013. Full of Promise.

2013. The Year of Promise.

For a future and a hope.

For mercies that are new.

For beauty from  ashes.

For restoration and redemption.

For a strong place to fall.

For going before and staying behind and never leaving and never forsaking and never.

Giving up on me.

Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so.

Promise. Keeping,  Holding,  Learning, Teaching, Believing.

The Promise for a new chapter; a new book (figuratively and literally) and the promise, while not exactly Biblical, of a new name!

HALE Yes! 2013 is a year of Promise. And here we are. Walking away from the broken, from the ugly, from the ashes and toward the Promise. Look closely and you will see the ashes. Of smoke. We have walked through the fire. And we have not been burned.


OK, so all my Christmas decorations have been put away. Save for one.

The Baby Lord Jesus. At least that’s what Emma Claire calls him. I guess I’ve always just said Baby Jesus, but I rather like “The Baby Lord Jesus.” And I’ve decided he should stick around¬†¬†as a reminder of the Promise.

Babies hold the promise of a future and a hope; and if you come to my house in 2013 you will see this¬†Baby and you will see¬† new life and you will see joy and you will see ¬†hope and¬†when you come to my house,¬†you will be tempted to think I forgot to put away Christmas and it will probably come out in court papers that¬†somehow this makes me a terrible person, but I tell you¬†this…if you come to my house you will see¬†this baby. This Baby Lord Jesus that¬†holds the¬†promise of¬†what is to come and his birth was the fulfillment of promises before and this—

This is what you will see, and this is what humbly I will try to live and this is my word.


No “S”.

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