Raising Magnolias

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


My kiddos are in Arkansas. This feels right. Lonely, but right. Emma Claire calls and she talks to me like she’s 16 and if I close my eyes for a second too long—

She will be.

But I miss them and tonight I can’t help but wonder.

What the HALE was I thinking?

Why did I not go? Why am I here.


I didn’t go because grandparents deserve time alone with grandchildren.

I didn’t go because I have a committment to my growing (albeit ever so slowly) team.

I didn’t go because I was afraid Strong Mike would freak out about a change in schedule and he would and he did and I’m only telling you that because he would tell you the same.

I didn’t go because I was afraid they would call me lazy.

And I’m not lazy. And I work hard. But it’s never enough.

For them.

And so.

That’s why I didn’t go.

But if you see Mike,  please say it was because of him.


I’ve been reading a book. A short book. A horrible book. A look-at-death book and I can say with a great amount of confidence, it was the worst.



And yet.

Full of hope.

The only book that made me cry harder was a book written by Karen Kingsbury called “Let me Hold You Longer” about how we remember to cherish all the “firsts” but we never recognize or know or understand or see how can it be

“The last.”

One of my dearest friends gave that book to me on Mother’s Day.

She no longer speaks to me. And the last time we spoke? Well, how was I to know it would be the last?

And tonight I’m thinking of her. She makes wonderful chocolate chip cookies.

And salads.

And I don’t remember the last time—

Anyway, in Lament of a Son, this horrible, hopeful book, a father talks about losing his son in a mountain climbing accident. He says:

“My son did not slip. God shook the mountain.”

Yesterday my bed started shaking. Early. Buzzing.

And at first I panic. Someone else has died.

Who died? Who needs me? What did I miss? Why am I not a better friend?

And then I see an email. “I think you’ve been hacked.”

And the hackers come.

And the hackers came.




“You are not good enough.”

“Or smart enough.”

“Or trying ever-so hard enough.”

It’s not enough.

And in the not enough, it becomes too much.

And it’s never enough.

Till fill the hole. To make you whole.

Dang hackers. Hacking. And for those of us who don’t put up the brick and mortar?

There’s no place to hide.



I open my email. Line after line. From the hackers.

Failure notice.

OK, yahoo. I get it!

Till death do us part?

Failure notice!

In good times and bad?

Failure notice!

So I read my emails and I read my book and I visit my friend whose son was taken and I think, God why do You shake the mountains?

And he says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

But how can we be still when you are shaking the mountains? Shaking the very foundation from our feet? And I want to cry back, “OK, Lord, well YOU be still. And show us that You are God.”

And I sound like Coulter trying to think of a cool comeback for ugly friends.

Yeah. So. You know. Come on, Lord. How ’bout that?

And  in my prayers I can be a total child.

And He loves me anyway.

Because that is grace.

Later in the day, I try to clean up the mess. I need to change my password which seriously complicates my life so while most days I think about the looming realities of being a single mom, a working mom, a be-in-the-moment-for-each-of-these-moments-mom; yes while most days I’m focused on children and work and insurance and car payments and breathing, tonight I’m thinking about this dang password. Do I change one? Do I change them all? Do I come up with another favorite word and another favorite number and I can’t decide so I don’t do anything. I just start deleting.




And then I see a real email. You know, one that doesn’t announce to all my friends that I’m taking raspberry energy drops and that I’ve lost 25lbs in the past 9 days.

And I’m surprised. And I love surprises.

And that is a hint for anyone who would like to surprise me. Maybe, say, a trip to the beach?

Or a surprise coffee? (Remember, I like the fake kind with lots of chocolate).

Or even a text. Unexpected.

And kind.

How are you?

How’s your day?

Which totally makes me think of Joey. How YOU doin’?

And it’s possible that in my loneliness, I’ve been watching too many Friends reruns.

Anyway. The email.

It said.

I see you.

It said.

Thank you.

I read it again.

And again.

And there is joy in the surprise.

And in the shaking and the taking—

There is still joy.

And hope.

And some days those hopes are big and bright and they fill the sky and some days those hopes are small and light and not nearly as high. But it is there.

Today Coulter sent me an email from Arkansas. He caught a fish. A fish so small that I struggled to see it.  He’s not a dude of many words and he says simply,

“Look at this!”

Yes. Look at this! And in his face and in his eyes and in her voice and the southern-sized joy that spills over phone lines, I look.

And I can see it.

And hear it.

And the hackers can’t take it. And there’s no way to fake it.


It really does float.

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