Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

The Littlest of These

(Disclaimer: I was raised never to talk about money; either how much you make or how much something costs. My apologies  in advance for doing both).

Last week, dust and dirt and corn seeds flying all around like some sort of Nebraska farmland-tornado, I sat watching my favorite little leaguer. We were in the middle of a cornfield and I couldn’t help but think of that Robert Redford movie.

Or was it Kevin Costner? 

Anyway.

Coulter’s friend’s Dad (y’all remember him) shows up with his son to watch Coulter play. I texted a friend sitting two seats over before her imagination ran wild.

He is here for Coulter. (And he was).

Really.

She says, “I don’t know, (sing-songy voice) he’s pretty cute!”

“Oh yeah. He’s cute, but he’s way too poor for me.”

This is my second go-round. I’m not marrying  a poor teacher.

I’m not marrying anyone, actually.

And she looks at me and maybe we’re not quite yet close enough for her to know that I’m totally joking.

Only I’m not really joking.

I mean yes, of course I’m joking.

And her husband is a teacher.

And I’m a teacher. And being a teacher is a calling.

And I refuse to use the word poor, but with a currently salary of about $10, 000 a year, I’m pretty sure I qualify.

Or maybe it’s less. I don’t really know.

Anyway. My calling.

When my husband and I were first married, I followed.

Him.

To Minnesota. And just in case you’re wondering, that’s like next to Canada.

Wait. Actually, we weren’t married.

And I lived in a convent for a year. Literally.

In a convent.

I interviewed and was offered a job. On the first day of the job, I was told that I shouldn’t were red anymore.

Uhm, yeah.

And I wouldn’t of cared so much, but like red is one of my colors.

Right? I mean, it’s in the same family as pink.

And I’ve forgotten, but I’m thinking their colors were orange. And I knew that day it wouldn’t last.

Seriously. Do y’all know how bad I look in orange?

Anyway.

I loved my boss. I did not love my job.

8 to 5 is not really my thing.

Then we moved. I followed.

Again.

And I decided to build a teaching studio.

Because what I learned about myself  during that brief, “you can’t wear red” period, is that I’m not really a team player.

I’m a classical pianist.

A soloist.

I never marched in the band.

Or played team sports.

I did cheer for a season, but I was a terrible dancer (surprising, I know) and we had to dance to “Girl, I Want Your Body” (and I think you’re sexy). Like I could probably sing the whole song right this minute.

But I won’t. And it was. 

Well.

Ya know. Not good.

Not good at all.

And occasionally, I still have nightmares about that dance. And usually I forget to wear a shirt or something equally horrific. (In my dream. In real life I remember to wear clothes).

Anyway, not really a team-sport kind of person but I am good with people.

You know, so long as I’m in charge.

So long as I’m the soloist.

So long as I’m teaching.

And it’s all the same.

Teaching music.

Teaching fitness.

And I love what I’m doing and  I’m humbled and grateful and so full of joy for all the shut doors, and slammed doors and the just really, really icky doors that I’ve had to walk through and I see the Lord’s protection in all of the no’s but it occurs to me lately that missing from my little HALE YEAH empire are little ones.

10 years of twirling and playing and dancing and singing and I miss them.

 The littlest of these.

And since I’m still married I’m thinking it will be just a little while before I can have more babies.

Sorry, Mom. That was a joke. 

Pick yourself up.

Breathe.

Into the paper bag.

Whatever. Since I’m still married and almost 41, my opportunities for more babies have probably passed, but over the weekend the Lord placed into my hands chubby cheeks and giggly gurgles and we dug in the sand and we ate sand and we tried to drink the lake water.

And the next day I scooped up still more little ones and we twirled and we dunked and we escaped the dangers that lurked below.

Alligators in the club pool.

And on my heart all night long—

Were little ones. And music. And hello songs. And jumping and drumming and giggling and singing and—

And teaching.

Music.

So I asked.

And within about 30 seconds of asking, I was offered a place to teach.

Within about 30 seconds of putting a voice to my heart’s desires,

The Lord.

Said.

Yes.

I’m so used to people saying no, that sometimes I just forget to ask.

I forget to anticipate.

A yes.

Which for some reason reminds me—-

Someone who likes to say no recently called me lazy.

Ok, it wasn’t just someone. It was someone’s attorney.

And you can call me a lot of things.

I’m unorganized and often store important documents in my Bible.

I’m emotional and have been known to cry and laugh at the same time.

(And for the record, being emotional is WAY different that being moody.)

I am so not moody.

And usually I would just leave it at that. I would leave you with emotional, unorganized duck trying to be a chick-girl, but not today—

Today you don’t get to call me lazy.

“Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

And I am working.

My beginnings are small, but today they grew.

And the way I see it, it’s time we bring in da music to Fremont.

(And I so wanted to say bring in da funk.)

But we all know I can’t pull off the f-word. Any of them.

Fremonters: Please help me recruit families! Family Music Time for newborns to age 5. Thursday evenings, 6:00-6:45 at Grace Church starting this Fall! Woot!

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Sarah Cooper from Hooper

A few weeks ago, a man that I thought I knew (of) was leaving the gym. As we bumped into each other, I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce myself.

I said, “Hi! Are you Jeff?”

“Yes.”

“Yes! Hi! I think you’re neighbors with my friend Sarah.”

He acts as if he has no idea what I’m talking about, but I DO know what I’m talking about.

Awkard silence.

“Sarah Cooper?” He asks.

“Yes! Sarah Cooper.”

“Sarah Cooper from Hooper?”

“I don’t know.” I turn to Mike. “Is Sarah Cooper from Hooper?”

Mike looks at me and laughs.

“I don’t know Sarah Cooper from Hooper.”

Social cues are not Mike’s strength but even he was able to recognize the bad Dr. Seuss book in all of this and he looks at me as if to say, “what are you doing?”

Quit.

Talking.

Now.

And the punch line of this story is that Jeff is not Sarah Cooper from Hooper’s neighbor and I’m pretty sure he has changed his workout schedule.

You know, to avoid—

Me.

And I have no idea if this story makes sense on paper. You also need to know how to pronounce Hooper. For my Arkansas friends, it’s a Dierks (Derks, Der-ricks) kinda thing.

Later that week, a friend is working in the Y parking lot. He’s a police officer, so it makes more sense than it sounds.

I have a HALE YEAH shirt for him, so I stop.

Friendly conversation ensues. There is no mention of Sarah Cooper from Hooper. Probably because this is a different person, but, you know, I’m just pointing out that it wasn’t a totally uncomfortable conversation.

As I pulled away, I heard a thump-up sound.

I know he’s seen me run over something, but I think it best to pretend it never happend and continue with my departure.

That is until I see that the thump-up sound was my shoe.

My shoe from the night we had dinner and there was a band and it may or may not have been a party, but on the way home I got tired of wearing my shoes and yes-

Well—

It was that shoe.

I pull back in.

I pick up the shoe.

I fake a confident wave as if to say, I run over shoes all the time.

———————————————————————————————————

A friend recently commented on one of my blogs that I’m like a baby chick breaking out of her shell and I loved that thought and I loved her sincerity and I love that she knows me only through my blog and through the connection of social media and yet somehow she knows me.

And there are days that I feel like the baby chick breaking free and then there are days that I feel like a duck.

Trying to be a chick. And this doesn’t sound related but it is….

A few weeks ago, several friends got together to celebrate a birthday.

Pizza.

Laughs.

And a movie.

An R-rated movie with a bunch of 40 something Moms.

Except only 2 of us are 40. I try to block it out, but I think the rest of my friends are like 28.

Pluggedin.com warned of like 826 uses of the F-word. But it had Sandra Bullock in it. And I love Sandra Bullock and I thought, good grief! How bad could it be?

Bad.

Just, really, really bad.

And hysterical.

They used the f-word so many times that I barely spoke the next day. I was fearful that something terribly inappropriate was gonna fly right out.

Seriously! Strong Mike. Get back on the f-ing treadmill.

What? Of course I didn’t say that.

I tried to look up my favorite quote. It was about a bobby pin. A f-ing bobby pin.

Sandra Bullock’s character wears a little bobby pin off to one side. Very much like the one I wear when I can’t find a matching headband. I have them everywhere.

I forgot where I was going with that except to say that this awkard, uptight, uncomfortable around men, uncomfortable in her own skin agent wore a bobby pin. And cool, awesome chick, save for the continual use of the f-word, calls her out on it.

And I’m sitting there, in the dark, surrounded with friends, laughing until we’re crying and it dawns on me.

I’m her.

She’s me.

And I want to be the cool chick, you know, the baby chick breaking free, so I reach up and pull it out.

And then I immediately put it back in.

Fly away bangs drive me crazy.

At the end of the movie Sandra’s lying on a gurney in the hospital. Cool chick sees a man coming down the hallway and she quickly fluffs Sandra’s hair and props up her elbow.

What’s that called when designers come in to stage a home before selling?

That’s what I’m going to need. Someone to “stage me”. Prop up my elbows.

Fluff up my hair.

And rid me of the f—

Wait. I don’t use that word. This is why we shouldn’t go to R-rated movies.

And rid me of my cute little bobby pin.

Wait! It is cute, right?!

For more years than I care to admit, I pretended to be happy in my marriage.

And I’m not sure what’s worse. Pretending to be happy.

Or pretending to be a chick.

When you’re really a duck.

Wait. Let’s go with Mother Hen.

Tonight I got to be both, because this mother hen was one cool chick (at least in the eyes of a 4 1/2 year old.)  Emma Claire made a brilliant connection between books and I called her a smarty.

And then I used the other f-word that my children have never heard me say.

“Emma Claire! You are such a smarty!”

We looked at each other and you know we love to rhyme and I could see it in her eyes.

She knew.

“Smarty-McFarty!”

And never in her almost 5 years have I heard such uncontrollable laughter.

Who knew the f- word could be so funny.

#gigglinginbed #blessedmomma #notacoolchick #andthat’sok

15 Years Ago This Week

OK, so.

Y’all know that I love dates. I love to say things like, “One year ago this week.”

Two years ago this week.

Wait.

15 years ago this week.

We said, “I do.”

And our marriage was crumbling at 13. (And 10 and 11 and 12)

And our marriage was over at 14.

And I was OK.

But there is something about 15.

15 years.

Invested.

And I met my husband when I was 22. So if you’re one for math, that’s 18 years.

My entire adult life.

And again, if you’re one for numbers, I’m 40.

With 2 children.

And starting over.

After 18 years.

And I’m scared. And excited. And super sad.

And I’m blessed. And mad. And forever grateful.

And I.

Am.

Ready.

No I’m not.

Yes I am.

It depends on the day.

It depends on the hour.

So I dug through some boxes and I found my wedding dress. I had a beautiful wedding dress.

And ring. Like, seriously. I loved my ring. I may start wearing it again.

Just because it’s beautiful.

And it sparkles.

And I love to sparkle.

Coulter had to help, but we got it zipped and my eyes, damp and weary, told the truth.

That this is all I have to celebrate.

A wedding dress that still fits. (And HALE YEAH, it fits!) 🙂

A princess dress with a princess bride who promised I do and I will and I can but he didn’t and I won’t and I can’t and

Praise Jesus.

His mercies are new.

Every morning.

New!

I didn’t but He will.

I couldn’t but He can.

Redeem.

And make all things new.

Last night I was putting Emma Claire to bed.

She rubbed and scrubbed  and I thought her eyes would just pop right out and I wondered at what age do children stop rubbing their eyes and in an instant  it’s over and in a blink they’re gone and I lay (lie?) there holding and singing and praying and she turns to me and she says—

“Mom. You are perfect for me.”

“And you, Emma Claire, are perfect for me.”

And what I heard next sounded scary and future-y and very much like a 16 year-old-valley girl.

“Cause, like yeah. Like, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have been born. And if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have been born.

And we need to work out the kinks in that last part but, yes!

If it weren’t for you.

If it weren’t for I do’s.

If it weren’t for grace.

Raining  freely each day.

If it weren’t for a God.

Who makes all things new.

Beauty from ashes.

If it weren’t for You.

______________________________________________________________________

Thursday,  Emma Claire will play dress up and Coulter will roll eyes and we will dance in the tulle and remember the day.

And celebrate.

Not 15 years.

But 15 years ago this week.

Not 15 years.

But 2, like, seriously remarkable children and the miraculous and redeeming work of a Holy God.

summer 2012 018

And His steadfast love which, like, ya know, endures forever.

Maybe it sounds better when Emma Claire does the valley thing?

It’s hard to celebrate and the joy gets hidden and I struggle to choose it and claim it and take it  because this is just not what happily every after was supposed to look like.

 But Emma Claire, child of mercy and light sparkling bright says,

“Mom! Don’t forget!”

I was made for you.

You are perfect for me.

And when He chose you for me.

And when He chose me for you. He knew.

Just.

Exactly.

Where you would be.

15 years after 15 years ago this week.

He knew and He knows and He says.

Just this:

“I will repay you for the years that the locust have eaten….you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for You.” Joel 2:25-27

taught to fly

Dancing on the Page

Recently, a friend invited me to a party.

Actually, I may have invited myself.

Small technicality.

And well, I think it was a party.

There was a band. So that it makes it a party, right?

And my college friends are laughing as they read this because they know I don’t go to parties.

actually, even my grown-up friends are laughing because they know I don’t go to parties.

Well, I mean, except for birthday parties. I do go to birthday parties.

Party day came, and I wanted to back out. Whenever I try for  fun that doesn’t include children; that doesn’t revolve around being a mom, I end up crying.

Remember my dress? That I couldn’t zip?

Or unzip?

And I wasn’t even wearing a dress. I was wearing white pants that needed the loving touch of my Mother’s iron, but my babies were out of town and my mom was out of town, ya know, since she lives in Arkansas and a night of staying home feeling sorry for myself seemed like a much better idea.

But my friend. Let’s see. How did she put it?

Oh yes. “I’m picking you up at 7:15.”

And I love my friend who invites and pulls and whose cup just always seems full.

So at 40, this chick-a-dee has started going to parties.

OK. One.  Whatever.

I’ve been to one party.

And I notice a friend playing bongos. And she’s like this really cute, precious girlie that you kinda want to hate because you’re pretty sure that she’s cute and precious without having to work for it and she has this delicate little voice and I could listen to her talk for hours and she runs over to me and she says—

“Ooooooh! I just luuuuuve reading your blaaahhhhg.” And she teases. “Are you going to write about the girl playing bongos?”

And I’m starting to think that people are scared to be my friend. You know, because of all the truth-telling, but I think we’ve covered this. So long as you are nice to me, I won’t call you out in my book.

Bu-ut.

If you’re not…

Just kidding.

Sorta.

Well, for most of you, I’m kidding.

Anyway, I wasn’t entirely sure how the bongo playing girl would fit into my blog, but the truth is every time I sit down to write, I think about her.

And the bongos.

And I’m trying to think of a better word than jealous. Or covet. And it’s not coming. But it’s sort of like I want to be her when I grow up.  She moves around the room, easy and breezy and free and that’s so not me.  I sit there. 

Landlocked to the table. Even the bathroom seems too scary of a path to walk alone.

And I’m in the 8th grade. And I hated the 8th grade.

And she’s playing the bongos and she makes everything seem like a dance.

She dances brave.

And I saw her again last night. And there was another band. So maybe I’ve been to two parties.

I’m not really sure. It started with dinner.

I’m not sure steak and shrimp kabobs count as a party.

And I met her husband. And she tells her husband about my blog and they go back and forth and back and forth and she says, I will read it to you, but I read at night and he responds, I will read it in the morning and they sounded like a Dr. Seuss book.

I will read it in the morning.

I will read it  in the evening.

I will read it with green eggs and ham. 

I got so tickled and I don’t know them well enough to know if alcohol played any role in the morning/night conversation but  I listened to the sweet little couple play off each other and then her lyrical voice stopped me in my tracks.

She said. To her husband.

“Her words dance on the page.”

Wha-what?

For some reason I’m obsessed with that song.  You know, the wha-what song.

Anyway.

My words dance? Stiff, uptight,can’t go to the bathroom alone, landlocked me?

Have words that dance?

And she’s the second person this week to remind me that words have power.

Her words.

Of encouragement.

I am a mother. Without question, it’s what I do best and it’s what I want to do most.

And I’m a homebody. The three of us in our own little corner, in our own little world and for a time, saying “no” was easier.

And better.

And then a friend started talking to me about living in community. It was a phrase I had never heard before.

I didn’t want to be part of a community.

I didn’t want to be part of this community. (Not new information. Please don’t get mad at me. It’s not you. It’s me. Yada. Yada.)

I’m trying.

And I’m learning that sharing  those days when your heart breaks open, sharing fears and sorrows— and tears and tomorrows—is what living in community means. 

And I’m learning that it means saying “yes’ more than saying  “no.” God calls us to be in the world but not of it. I have failed over and over because I would rather just stay home.

If I can’t be of it, then I don’t want to be in it.

Living in community means learning that I can’t just write about life, but I have to leave comfortable places and easy spaces and I must live life as well.

I’m most likely never gonna be  bongo girl who dances with grace, easy smile on her face, and if I find my way to a 3rd party I will probably shadow my friends and need someone to hold my hand on the way to the bathroom, but I rest in the truth that God has placed me.

For now.

Here.

To live in community.

In this community.

To encourage and to be encouraged; to share and to sit and to listen.

To be still.

And know that He is God.

And to dance.

On the page.

In the rain.

Because, let’s see. What did I just read on pinterest? Oh yes.

“It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning how to dance in the rain.”

I’m learing.

And I’d like to think that I’m getting close.

Ya know, to dancin’ in the sun.

Fighting for Joy.

My Papaw died when I was 14. He was 74.

Looking back—

Pretty darn young.

But grandparents die. At 14 I remember being sad. I remember sneaking into the back of the De Queen hospital so that we could visit him and thinking we were total rebels.

I remember his color.

I loved my Papaw.

I loved the way he put his cornbread in his milk.

I loved the way he turned his biscuits upside down before he poured KARO syrup on the top.

I loved the way he would holler for the mamma cows. Suk, Suk, Suk.

And I was sad, but I don’t remember being sad for others.

I don’t remember recognizing my Mamaw’s loss.

I don’t remember recognizing my Daddy’s loss. He was 41 and they had worked side by side, every day, for almost all of those 41.

It never occurred to my 14-year-0ld senses that my Mamaw would live for the next 25 years.

Alone.

Or my dad, Fatherless at 40.

Or my mom, Fatherless, twenty years earlier.

And we buried my Grandmother.

And we buried aunts and uncles.

And Aunt Ida Margaret who, if she were still living, would so so so much love that song about girls, we run the world.

Because Aunt Ida, from her little corner in SWArkansas? She totally ran the world.

Growing up, my mom modeled what it meant to act out God’s word.

We are to care for the widows and the orphans.

And we did. And she still does.

I visit Merrick Manor twice a week and we sing and we exercise and I physcially touch them and hold them and the close their eyes and they are the widows.

And orphans.

But I get paid and so it’s less “hands and feet” and more, you know, paycheck.

Mostly it’s women, but this week? Men! Lots of them.

And let me just tell you—-

Old men love me.

Not so much with men my own age. But the old guys?

A few weeks ago I was walking into the country club and I held the door for an older gentleman.

He smiles big, “I’ve been waiting all day for a beautiful woman to open the door for me.”

And I’m quick, “Well, I’ve been waiting all day for someone to call me a beautiful woman.”

And we laughed. And it was sweet. But only because he was old.

If the guy had been my age, he wouldn’t have called me beautiful.

And I wouldn’t have spoken.

And I probably would’ve been annoyed that he hadn’t opened the door for me.

Back to the Manor. 

Jim calls me over.

“You are so cute. Really. I just think you are so cute. I like that skirt.”

And he’s holding me a little too tight.

And it’s bordering on inappropriate.

But he’s old.

And he’s alone.

And I think about my Mamaw. And the men that pursued her. One dude even offered to bring over a squirrel.

And cook it.

She politely declined.

She and Papaw? A love story.

And 25 years she’s been alone.

And then I think back several months ago when a dying man, last days on hospice looked straight into me and said,

“You have a nice chest.”

And I laughed long and loud.

Because I have no chest.

And we are called to care for the widows and the orphans and we are called to be the hands and the feet.

And widows are not always old and orphans are not always young

And sometimes it’s not even death that brings you to that place—

There are other ways of becoming a widow.

Of becoming an oprhan.

And this is something I know.

My generation. My friends.

On the cusp (over slightly over it!) of 40.

“We are getting so old!!!”

But there’s my friend. My new friend and my fast friend and I’m not super comfortable with people I don’t know, which is another reason moving to the little railroad town in Nebraska was so super fun,  but I see my soon-to-be friend sitting alone and the Lord nudges me and I’m like, “Jesus, are you crazy?”

I don’t know her! And she’s like awesome cool. And the Lord nudges me again.

And I say again, “Jesus, are you crazy?!”

She has a world of friends. And family. And she doesn’t need me. And I can’t talk to her because she’s not old.

She is so, so, so.

Not old.

But stupid ugly death came and made her a widow.

And Jesus is driving me ever-living-crazy so I leave my comfy group of girls and I stumble and I stutter and I introduce and she is crazy sweet (and still crazy cool) but I’m grateful that I sometime listen to Jesus.

And she says, in repsonse to the almost 40 crowd.

We.

Are not old.

And there was something in hearing her say that. Something in being reminded of our youth and the gift of today and something about the cloud of grief that still sits heavy over Fremont and something about seeing death in an uglier and darker way over the past weeks and months and these are not Papaws.

These are babies. Sons. Husbands. Fathers.

And yes, there is life in death.

And yes, there is a way back to the joy.

And yes, yes, yes! We have to fight hard.

For the joy.

Choosing joy.

For our children.

For ourselves.

For those who are gone.

And I’m trying to say it right, and I’m scared I’ll mess it up, but there is something that has happened.

To me.

I’m not angry anymore.

I mean there are days, like today, with my kiddos gone—too far away—and for far too long—and I  miss them and I ache for them and I don’t sleep and I stay up crazy late hours so that when my head hits the pillow, sleep will come more quickly,

But I am not angry.

And I’m fighting hard for the joy.

And I went to an R-rated movie last night.

And I laughed.

And I remember my Papaw’s laugh.

And I am grateful to have remembered my own.

A Summer of Yes

I’m sitting, face to the sun and taking in the breeze coming off  from the lake.

I love the water.

I love the sun.

And I love, love, love the generosity of  close friends.

(Read: So totally excited that my friends have a lake house and so totally grateful that they share!)

Anyway.

Back to the sitting.

I look down.

At my toes.

And I need a pedicure, but I can’t get a pedicure because Emma Claire’s out of town.

With her brother.

And her dad.

For ten days. And I’m too sad to write about that.

So I won’t.

The last time I tried to get a pedicure without Emma Claire, I had all the little women totally confused.

(Best Vietnamese accent)

“Wha-at? You no bring Emma Claire? Why you no bring her? We lo-0ve Emma Claire. She so preeety. She love the design on her toes. She no understand that it cost Momma more (insert giggles). I can’t believe you no bring her.”

So, basically this 40 year-old single mom of two who’s trying to rebuild her life and rebuild a career and who needs a pedicure is too scared of the little ladies—

To go alone.

So, I’m looking at my toes and dipping them in the sand. Burying my feet, like I would do to my kiddos if they were here and toes covered, I notice two tiny scars right at my ankles.

Right on top.

And I remember.

And if you’ve been reading for long, you’ll remember too.

Running.

In the rain.

High heels.

Falling up the concrete stairs.

Blood trickling down.

It was an interview. I’m not sure if I wrote about that part. I was interviewing for a job and I ignored the pain and I ignored the blood and when I need to, I’m pretty good at pretending—

To be OK.

And the guy says to me, “Can I please get you a bandaid.”

And it was embarrassing and how fun that I have scars to remember it by. I was actually offered that job. A really cool job.

With, you know, like benefits.

And a salary.

But while they didn’t say no, others said no—

And so—

It was a no.

Remembering yesterday’s blog about my running girls and looking at my scars and feeling the sun shine hot, I started to list in my head all of the no’s.

And while listing in my head, I moved past my ankles and up my legs and counted the bruises and scrapes and even more scars and I look over at my friend Jenny’s legs and they are perfect.

And it’s like she never falls down.

And I don’t just mean while running.

I see the scars forming from my spill on Military Road (you know, where I heard the voice of the Lord).

Twice.

And I see the bruise from running into the trailer hitch on some dude’s truck in the Y parking lot—

And I see the bruise (and a teeny bit of swelling) from turning too quickly and running knee-first in the basketball goal—

And my fingernail is black from slamming it in the door over two months ago—

And I list.

And I list.

And I list.

The no’s.

And the no’s became a part of me and a part of my journey and I sat there, toes still covered, buried in sand and I thought—

Divorce is verb.

And, OK, while that’s probably not gonna show up on pinterest anytime soon, it’s true.

It’s something you do and go through and it changes.

You.

But as I sat there, surrounded by my covenant family and water rippling up onto the beach, it was easy to see that with every no, there was a better yes.

“No” to the 8-5?

“Yes” to Emma Claire.

diving board

And “Yes” to Coulter.

thron in the lake

And “Yes” to stroller walks with Bitty Baby

bitty baby stroller

And “Yes” to rope swings.

rope swing

And “Yes” to art time.

art

And road trips.

arkansas trip

And “Yes” to being a mom first. With a job she love’s y’all, but that will always come a distant second to this—to these—

yall

I look again at my scars and I remember  a book I just read on grieving. The author likens the scars from his grief to the scars that Jesus bore after being crucified at the cross. After His resurection, He says, see? Look. Here. Touch my scars.

The author learns to live with his grief. He finds joy, but on the course of a new journey, he acknowledges that the scars have become a part of him. They do not go away.

I have a lot of scars. Some come from hits and knocks and pricks. Some come from falls and trips and mis-steps.

And there is a way back to joy, but the scars will always be there. Look. Here. See my scars.

A little tougher. A little stronger.

A little braver.

And little softer.

And ever so grateful for all good gifts that a good God gives.

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