Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Oh! The Things I Would Ask Him To Tell Me

It’s Palm Sunday. My favorite Sunday of the year. Tell me the stories of Jesus.

I really do love to hear.

And OH! The things I would ask Him to tell me.

If He were only here!!

I woke up this morning sans little ones and I purposed in my heart that I would rejoice and be glad.

And I was.

For about 2 hours.

2 hours until I stopped just long enough to listen to the silence.

Streaming down, unwelcome and uninvited, they come.

And darn-it-all. I was having a really good make-up day.

I re-apply.

Except my mascara. I have this new mascara that I am telling you, you could cry a river and it.will.not.come. off. Which is totally beside the point, but I’m just saying if you are gonna cry, you might as well try to look your best while doing it. 🙂

I heard a sermon once on Palm Sunday about our tendency to move from celebration to celebration without the cross. We celebrate  the  entrance and his triumphant resurrection, but the week in the middle?

Sometimes.

We skip it.

The dragging and the beating and the clanging of the nails. The tears and the mourning; the betrayal and the deception and that Peter-thing where we do the very thing we purpose not to do.

Missing the Passion is not my problem, though. Getting to Easter is.

Anne Lammott is quoted talking about being an Easter people living in a Good Friday world.

It’s probably more true that we are a  Good Friday people living in a Good Friday world; Good Friday people looking, hoping, waiting.

For Easter.

But who am I to argue with Anne?

Wait. I have totally gone off point.

My make-up was running. I re-apply. My eyes look great.

I will not stay home on Palm Sunday.

I walked into church and I see the children.

All in a row. Palms ready for waving.

And I don’t even try.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

So I don’t even try.

Little guy asks, “Where’s Coulter?”

And I answer truthfully. “He’s at his Grandma’s in Lincoln.”

I leave out the harder truth. He is with his Dad.

And now I understand the term broken. Split in two. Torn apart.

Broken.

Separated from one another.

And my friend sees me and even hidden behind my completely awesome (thank you Dr. Barrett) sunglasses, she can tell. She moves her family; the pastor’s family and they sit with me.

Covenant family.

Worshiping together.

The hardest moments are always the ones that you don’t see coming. My heart is broken and it doesn’t feel like Palm Sunday.

It feels like Friday.

Like a winter that will never end.

Like maybe this is the year that Spring doesn’t come.

There’s a little blondie all dressed in pink. Her heart is precious and her thinking is deep and she spots Ms. Myra Katherine and she stops singing.

Because she’s worried.

For me.

And it is Friday.

And the wind is howling. I can hear it sing through the walls and rattle at the windows.

And there is snow on the ground.

And it is still winter.

The pastor started to preach and I continued to wipe tears  and soak in truths and just everything he had to offer. Everything the Lord was speaking through him and I look over and my friend’s mother, our “Dana” is crying and the pastor himself chokes out his words and again, I think—

Blessed are those who mourn, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.

Good Friday. Jealousy, fear, pride, arrogance and well—

Just plain ‘ol mean.

And mean, I get.

A Good Friday world is mean.

And Easter seems impossible.

A world of forever, away.

And yet I know it comes because it has already—

And those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they will inherit the earth; the Lord will incline His ear to them. We are called to wait and run patiently the race that is set before us.

I’m running. The patient part is getting old, Lord.

Just sayin’.

But I am running. And I will not stop. And I will not be bullied. And I will not be threatened and I will not lose faith in the knowledge that—

Easter is coming.

Because Easter? As it turns out?

Already came.

And the victory?

Already ours.

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Disney, body pump, legos and my black friend who’s actually white.

 (This is what happens when a Momma actually gets to sleep!)

Scientists say we dream every night.

But scientist have been wrong about a lot of things.

Remember the low-fat/high-carb diet in the early 90’s that  made us all fat?

Turns out you can’t eat 4 bagels a day and expect to lose weight.

Dang scientists!

I miss bagels.

And then there’s the whole KABOOM! A monkey just fell from the sky thing, but I’m not really smart enough to take you there. And so I won’t.

I never dream. Possibly because I rarely sleep. It’s a mom-thing.

But last night I slept. And I dreamt.

Or is it dreamed?

I woke up around 11:50. I had taken an advil congestion at 8:30 so I was racked with guilt about taking another one. I’m a rule-follower and the box says every four hours. I do the math.

I can’t wait until 12:30.

I take the Advil.

And then I went to Disney World.

I haven’t been to Disney World since 1995, but my children get to go quite often so I was excited to be there. I’m standing in line with my friend and I notice, strangely enough, that my white friend is now black.

We are having to sign in and it’s the Body Pump sign-in sheet and they won’t let me sign in for my friend and there are all these people and they’re fighting for a body pump bar and we get separated.

I walk into the gates of Disney and I see a bed. And again with the moms never sleep thing, if you see your chance, you take it!

So I climb in and I sleep.

I wake up.

Startled.

I’ve lost my friend.

Coulter’s friend’s Dad is following me around and I keep telling him that I have a meeting with my co-worker.

Who is really my friend.

Who is at Disney.

Who used to be white.

And there is no meeting.

And the dad says, “I’m guessing you weigh about 125”

Uhm. No. But weird that you would guess.

(And I dreamt that because it really happened. Yesterday. For real. In real life.)

And I text my friend. I can’t find him.

And there are people everywhere.

So of course we run into my brother.

And his big farm truck.

And I’m holding Emma Claire and we are doing those circle things (donuts?) in the mud and yelling Wheee!

The yee-haw version of a Disney ride.

Legos start flying out of my brother’s truck.

As we stop to get them, we ‘re in a neighborhood and this older woman and man come running out and steal the legos.

“I’m calling the police!” I yell at her.

And I do.

And she returns the legos.

Seriously. You do not mess with Coulter’s legos.

And I find my friend and he’s white again and my brother’s back in Arkansas but we somehow missed Body Pump and I’m worried that I’m going to gain ten pounds and then Coulter’s Dad’s friend will be right and then I wake up.

For real this time.

And it’s 8:15.

8:15 IN THE MORNING.

This momma slept until 8:15!!!

And I sing a little happy opera and then it hits that I really did miss body pump and I’m a little bummed but then I sing my happy opera song again and I give thanks for the gift of sleep.

And dreams.

And white friends and black friends and brothers with cool toys.

And I think about all the hours and hours and hours of lego-building and relationship building  and separating parts and reading directions and lining up little star wars guys and building a ladder that reaches just almost to the top of the bunk bed and the zip line that they slide across to avoid the hot lava below and I give thanks for the gift of remembering—

We don’t need Disney.

We need lego days and book days and coloring out of the line days. We need balls. Footballs, soccer balls, basketballs.

She didn't feel like sitting at the table so we brought playdough to the couch!

She didn’t feel like sitting at the table so we brought playdough to the couch!

lego zip line

lego zip line

playing in the hosue 010 playing in the hosue 011

And we need to fix the picture frame that fell during yesterday’s indoor volleyball game.

That’s where we play volleyball in the living room and we don’t use our inside voices and we occasionally knock things off the wall.

 

playing in the hosue 009

Kiddos are gone. Volleyball is too hard for the dogs, so we're going with soccer instead.

Kiddos are gone. Volleyball is too hard for the dogs, so we’re going with soccer instead.

 

Oh and I need a bagel. I seriously need a bagel.

Praying Without (mostly, sometimes, rarely) Ceasing.

I asked Coulter. He said no thanks. He’s kind of at that age.

Emma Claire chimes in. I’ll do it!

And she begins.

“God, we just love you. And we thank you for Jesus and thank you for Elena and Miss Jenny and thank you that we get to play and thank you for Mammaw and help her not to die because we know she’s probably going to die pretty soon because she is old and old people die but help her not to die and thank you for Jesus and most of all God, thank you for loving us and help us to love you more everyday.”

She pauses. Coulter see’s his opening. and he’s smart enough to take it.

“AMEN!”

And she looks up. Sullen and offended. I was. not. finished.

But Coulter knew a good ending when he heard one and to be honest I’ve never heard a better one.

Most of all.

 Thank you for loving us and help us to love you more everyday.

I’d like to say she learned it from me, but I kind of have a feeling that it’s the snack-prayer at preschool.

My family is a praying family. And I try hard to move beyond memorization and go deeper and be grateful and I want my children to know, more than they know letters and numbers and reading and writing; more than that I want them to know—

They.

Can talk to God.

How many friends do you have that you’ve never talked to?

Talking to God is how we build relationship.

And I used to be super good at it. I pretty much had the whole praying without ceasing thing down. I prayed in my car and I prayed on my runs and once I even prayed while simultaneously (is that the right word?) singing the National Anthem.

Because singing the National Anthem is scary. Especially if you’ve ever forgotten the words in front of a very unforgiving college crowd. And that, of course, is just a totally random example.

One of my favorite Authors, Anne Lammott  (I think I have a thing for writers names Ann)  has two basic prayers.

Help me. Help me. Help me.

And

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

What I’ve learned from Anne with an E is that sometimes that’s all you need.

What I’ve learned from Ann, plain jane and without an E, is that the thank you should always come first.

Because thank you always precedes the miracle.

And this morning I felt like I needed a miracle. I woke up with this headache.

And I mean like it  hurt.

A lot. A lot.

And I don’t get headaches. And I cursed myself for bragging just the day before about how I never get sick and I’ve been cuddling a sick child for 4 days and cheek to cheek and nose to nose and dangit.

I. Am. Sick.

But I can’t be sick. I won’t be sick. I do not have time.

To be sick.

So I take two Bayer back and body (highly recommend) and two Advil. I take a high-potentcy vitamin D along with a glass of orange juice. I topped that off with two flintstone vitamins and ice-cold diet coke.

And then I asked Coulter to pray with me.

Again. At that age.

“Uhm, no thanks, Mom.”

“OK.” I said, “but you know the Bible says that whenever there are 2 or 3 gathered in His name that He will do what you ask.”

And there are several things wrong with that sentence. First, I took it out of context, second, as I try to find the reference, He actually says in the midst of them so I didn’t even quote it right and third, I totally just used scripture in a guilt-trip kind of way.

But did I mention that my head really, really hurt?

“OK. God, please help my mom’s head feel better.”

Amen.

I want Coulter to know that we can go to God with anything. That with people dying and starving and hungry and lost; with war and poverty and yes, with all of this and so much more, I want my children to know that God cares about my headache.

He is huge and awesome and mighty but He is personal and loving and cares about my head. And all the hairs up on it.

So, in an effort to get back to those days where praying was as easy as breathing, I’ve set up 4 alarms on my phone. Just simple little breaks in the day to bring me back to Him and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving and today was my first day. I was teaching body pump. I was half way through the squat track when above the music, above the mic, I hear the strangest sound.

12:12

And then I remember.

Sorry, y’all!  I tell my class.

That’s just my phone reminding me to pray.

And they probably think I’m Muslim.

But I’m not. I’m just a mom. Who loves her kids. Who loves Jesus and is trying to remember the prayer of a 4-year-old.

Yes, Lord. Most of all. Thank you for loving me and help me to love you more everyday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By-8BN316mM

(Go back! Listen! It will bless you!!!) 🙂

Standing in the Gap

I don’t know Ann.

You know, Voskamp.

If I did, I’m sure we would totally be bff’s.

(For those of you much older and less text-language savvy, that’s best friends forever.)

But I don’t know her.

But I do know this.

She stands in the gap.

For me.

For women.

For moms.

And so on this day that I find myself back at the “there are no words” place and there are actually words; plenty of words, it’s just that a) they will be twisted beyond meaning and abused to lose their meaning and b) they’re not nice enough for this southern girl to use.

But I’m thinking ’em—

And I’m just betting that Ann thinks them every once in a while, too.

She writes about being a mom. The essence of the sacrifice that is not a sacrifice at all, but a beautiful gift of grace.

And she writes about how women should be treated. How moms should be treated. And her argument? Her standard?

Jesus.

And what resonates is this: If Christ is the Truth, then if there is no truth, then there is no Christ. Why would we ever have to be afraid of the truth.

And I’m not.

Afraid of the truth.

I actually like to think of myself as a mini-Ann, (humble little chicky aren’t I?) only, you know, she’s a much better writer, a heck of a lot smarter and doesn’t have my knack (sp?) for witty-sarcasm.

Oh, and she like hardly ever says, “like” or “seriously” or “HALE YEAH!” 🙂

But today, I know I will say things; true things, hard things, but will totally be misconstrued things and so instead, I offer a little Ann.

www.aholyexperience.com

(I’m having trouble with the link. It’s the blog posted for today, March 20th) You can also find it on facebook at One Thousand Gifts. You can like her page and get updates for her blog).

And she talks about men. And how to treat women. And about nursing babies and cleaning up vomit that covers them both and I think of just yesterday lying in bed with my own sick baby and how she was sleeping and I was holding and she woke up just long enough to throw-up on me and then as if she was sleep-vomiting, just went right back to sleep. A mother doesn’t wake her sleeping baby to get clean. A mother holds and waits and like Ann says it is not a sacrifice, but a gift; a grace; a calling on your life and that life is not a race.

Reading her post today reminds me of how grateful I am for the faithful men in our lives; the faithful men who show up and stand up and will.never.give.up and they have built into my life and into the lives of my children and God is the giver of all good things and today instead of anger and sadness and heart – breaking madness, I will just say thank you.

Thank you to my Dad and Pop and the Pappaw that came before. Papa Tom, Uncle Mark; and my brother who couldn’t love them more. To Pastor Doug and Pastor Brian who got them started on their way and Fremont Pastor Kyle whom I could call night or day (but I promise not to! :).

And I didn’t really mean for that to rhyme. But Emma Claire and I have been home together since Sunday night and I’m starting to talk like a 4-year-old.

And I could go on. There’s Eric and Chris. And Papa who’s not really our papa, but you wouldn’t know this. Coach Harmon and Darin and the men of Awana. And reading aloud Emma Claire just added iguana.

Told you we like to rhyme.

And did I mention we are blessed?

#crazyblessed

My Favorite Snow Day.

I hate being cold.

We aren’t supposed to say hate in our family, so please don’t tell my children.

My friends down South think I must be “used to it” by now. But how do you get used to being cold?

You are either cold. Or you’re comfortable. There’s no getting used to it, there’s just learning how to get warmer.

The irony in all of this (or at least I think it’s irony) is that Nebraska is actually the warmest place we’ve lived in the past 15 years.

I’ve tried to embrace cold-weather activities. But I just want to embrace my blanket instead.

But Coulter’s currency is time.

And being outside.

With his mom.

And we are crazy blessed with the gift of time.

But he’s an almost 8-year-old boy and I’m a 40-year-old mom and there’s only so much dribbling,shooting, throwing, hiking, tackling, nerf-war ninja, wrestling and did I mention the tackling that this Momma can take!

Like my friend said recently. Can we just sit and color, already!?

Not today.

It’s almost 60 degrees. Piles of snow left from last weekend’s storm (the storm that the weather people kinda forgot to tell us about), and it’s soft and slushy and perfect for building snowmen and perfect for throwing snowballs and BAM!

Mom’s all wet.

And cold.

And I want to go inside. But I remember the currency; the building in and the building into and the building up in the way that they should go and I literally, instantly have a seriously great idea.

Snow-Baseball.

It is my favorite sport.

Mostly because of the pants.

Just kidding.

Coulter! I’ll pitch the ball to you!

He hits it with his hand.

He runs the bases.

I throw snowballs to get him out.

I miss every time.

He mentions something about “ghost runners” and I’m confused and they seem to score a lot of points because I can’t figure out how to hit the ghost runner but we are together. In the snow. And it’s 60 degrees.

And I am warm.

Time.

His language of love.

march 2013 085 march 2013 087 march 2013 089 march 2013 091 march 2013 094 march 2013 096 march 2013 098 march 2013 100

(Emma Claire was so obviously trying to cut her brother out of the above pic. And let’s not have any comments about my hair, shall we?I have a feeling my Mom’s going to call and gently question as to when my next hair appt. is!) 

Continuing on…

The beginning of our snow day had started at 5:00 a.m. Boot camp with a chick-a-dee who’s a heck of a lot stronger and faster than I.  7:45 conference call for Rodan+Fields (the healthy skin branch of my training and wellness biz). 2 clients at 8:30. A  few hoops at 9:30 with the C man and by 10:30, I seriously wanted to crawl into bed.

And I did. Do the research. Naps are totally essential to healthy living and wellness. 🙂

It’s my lunch hour. Everybody gets a lunch hour.

Afterwards, I suggested family painting hour and that’s when Coulter laughed and said how ’bout a snowball fight.

And it was a beautiful day. A perfect snow day. And while we played I watched cars drive in and out of our normally sleepy neighborhood and I watched as they traded their currency for Ms. Mary’s life. They took out boxes and furniture and piece by piece they filled their cup with her things.

And it was hard to watch. And I wanted to call the police. But turns out having an estate sale is not illegal. But here is a woman who lost her husband, and her home and all of her belongs in about 2 weeks time and then got shipped off to the retirement home and here are these people and their currency.

And it was gross.

And I thought, look at all these poor people. Not poor as in ‘bless their hearts’ poor. Poor as in we need money, poor. Looting her life. Icky cars and icky people and her son who needs money and what about her life and what about her memories and —

And.

And I have her piano.

But I convince myself that somehow that’s different.

Because somehow I’m different. And I would tell you how exactly, but I’m still working out that argument in my head.

I shamed myself for these judging thoughts and I shamed myself for cold versus hot and watching her life be torn apart–

 It became clear.

Less “no”. More snow.

Building into your children who cares if you’re cold?

And there is freedom in time. Each day it’s the same. Time blasts into pieces the walls of  status and power; of socio-economics, and race and religion.

And when time is your currency; it’s impossible to feel poor; to be poor.

And so God above all gods, help me remember.

Less “no.” More snow.

More Yes.

To time well spent.

That Girl

There are five stages of grief.

Or is it seven?

I have no idea. I only know that I’m leaving.

The crying stage.

And the complaining stage.

And the woe-is-me-my-life-is-so-much-harder-than-your-life-stage.

And the woe-is-me-my-divorce-is-so-much-harder-than-your-divorce-stage. (And just so you know, is actually is. You know, harder.) 🙂

And  the I-take-no-ownership-and-this-was-in-no-way-my-fault-stage.

Scratch that. I’m thinking I’ll stick around that stage for a while.

It’s not exactly out of maturity and growth. I had a little nudge. 

My Pastor says, “Don’t be that guy.” Actually he was very politically correct (something that I’m thinking is not particularly easy for him) and he says, “Don’t be that person.”

But he meant don’t be that guy.

The my-life-is-so-much-harder-my-divorce-is-so-much-harder-guy.

Preaching in front, his head turned down; my head turned to the side. Please God. Don’t let there be eye contact.

Cause I already know.

And I don’t want to be that girl.

Last week a friend of mine referred to me as “religious.”

Which at first made me laugh and then I stopped laughing and decided my feeling were definitely hurt.

Cause I don’t want to be that girl, either.

I can’t remember if it was too religious or real religious or just what the context was, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant as a compliment.

Religious reminds me of the word lovely. Sounds good, but kinda not?

(Insert southern accent here)

“Well, isn’t that just lovely.” (As in, “Bless her heart! When did she start shopping at Sears?”)

Religion is tied to a church or a doctrine and in my short 40 years I’ve been a Methodist and a Baptist (Southern and American). A Non-Denominationist and a Lutheran and a Presbyterian (both kinds) and an Alliancer (which is not really a word), and a church led by a former Methodist pastor, turned non-Methodist pastor and we were “meet in the park-ers”.

Religion is a set of rules; a doctrine and a human interpretation of the gospel. Faith is a relationship. (And thank you to my friend Chris Estudillo for summarizing about 300 of my words into one sentence).

And I’m just thinking it’s possible that we’ve gotten a lot of it wrong and we are going to be reeeeeal surprised when we finally meet Jesus.

Anyway, this girl is reading “The Story”. It’s the Bible as one continuing story. I would say that it’s a dumbed-down version of the Bible for those of us who, after years of trying to read the Bible through in a year, but continually get stuck in Exodus ( no pun intended), but I can’t say that because some of the people I know reading it are actually quite smart.

Wait. Maybe that wasn’t a pun at all. Did they get stuck in Exodus? They left Egypt and then got stuck. What comes after Exodus?

Anyway, reading. The Israelites (and I’m  nervous to use that word).  Knowing a word like the Israelites definitely makes one sound religious. They were so ungrateful. All the bickering and complaining and whining and Oh. My. Gosh, I am so sick of reading this story. Seriously people, he struck a rock and water came out of it. Food is like literally raining from the sky. What more do y’all want?

And then it happens. I have my little, “OH! So that’s why we have to read the old testament.”

And I text my friend Jodi. I’m an Israelite!

And the Word is on her lips as it is commanded to be and she says, “Yes. They didn’t miss the promise land because of murder or adultery or lying.”

The missed it because the could not shut the HALE up with all their grumbling and complaining.

To be fair, Jodi didn’t say the last part. That was me.

The water always comes from the rock and the manna is there every morning. All we must do is look back on His faithfulness in order to move forward with steadfastness.

Oh Yeah!

Time for the Happy Dance!  (Something I can do since I’m so not religious!) 🙂

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