Raising Magnolias

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

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. 🙂

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. 🙂



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