Raising Magnolias

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

Last Call

A friend of mine who refs basketball once told me that you’re only as good as your last call.

I don’t think he was trying to be deep

or meaningful

or metaphoric.

(Wait. is that a word?)

Actually, I know he wasn’t trying to be deep

or meaningful

or metaphoric.

(And yes, I’m sure that’s a word).

But I thought of it again last night.

We had broken my golden rule of travel.

We stopped along the way.

I never stop. There is one goal in traveling.

The destination.

Get there.

And this time getting there included an $85 speeding ticket for trying to get there a little too quickly.

And I told the officer, “I haven’t even been pulled over in almost 20 years.” And he said, “Well that’s wonderful but you were going 75 in a 65.”

In my defense, it had been 70. So technically, I was going 75 in a 70.

The officer didn’t see it that way.

Afterwards, I apologized to the kids and asked for their forgiveness. I told them Mom hadn’t seen the new sign, but that was no excuse and we talked about other ways we could’ve spent that $85 dollars.”

Lululemon, anyone?

And then I asked if anyone had remembered when their Dad gotten a ticket in Kansas City.

Just thought it was worth mentioning. 🙂 Ya know, for the record.

Coulter, sensing my frustration and embarrassment and being the ever optimist, says, “Well. At least maybe they can use that money to build new roads, here.”

Well, yes. There’s that.


Headed back to Nebraska.

I wanted to see my friend. I needed a boost that only this girl can give and she’s the one who said, “Yes, life is too short, but sometimes life is too long,”

And life is not too long to pretend to love. I could’ve done that.

But life is WAY too long to pretend being loved.


I couldn’t do.


Anyway, we stopped. We played. And our little ones became instant BFF’s.


And my friend asks, “Who wants strawberry shortcake?’

Emma Claire, excited, says, “Yes! Please! Only, no strawberries, please.”

Ya know. Just the cake and whip cream.

I’m building a life based on health and wellness and my daughter is thrilled at the idea of strawberry shortcake.

Sans strawberries.

And I hear the whispers. Sleepover. Stay. Sleepover. Stay.

I delayed leaving by one hour.

I delayed leaving by two hours.

And then I hear it.

“She’ll say no. Just wait.”

Uhm. Yeah. Excuse me? Anyone here remember our summer of saying Yes! All summer long? Yes. Yes. Yes. And here he is? My precious son whispering to his new, fast friend—

“She’ll say no.”

Assuming the no?

And I thought about our vacation.

The whole past week.

We swam. We rode horses. We drove Rangers. We looked for hide-outs. We built things. I don’t know what kind of things, but ya know, things with sticks and we climbed hay bails and we went canoeing and we drove go-carts and we climbed ladders and jumped onto rope swings (what? it’s totally safe!) and we had sleepovers with our Arkansas friends and we went to VBS at the little red-brick First United Methodist Church that I grew up in and was baptised in and was married in and I said “yes.”

A whole heck-of-a-lot!

Oh wait. I wasn’t baptized there. I was baptized in the Baptist church.

Long story.


The only time I remember saying no all week was when Eli, Coulter’s cousin, came up to the house asking for a BB gun. Evidently they wanted to be prepared should a snake invade their secret hideout.

And there were no BB guns.

And there were no snakes.

And technically, I didn’t have to even say no, because my sister said it first.

I said yes. All. Week. Long.

And his first thought is, “She’ll say no.”

So, ya know—

I did what any mature, capable, single Mother of two would do.

I said, “HALE YEAH! We can stay for a sleepover.”

I’m kidding.

Good grief.

But my feelings were hurt, and I thought back to my friend.

You’re only as good as your last call.”

A week of yes.

What the HALE? A SUMMER of yes!

And yet he we are and I know.

I’m only as good as my last call.

“Yes!” I say, barely audible.


And they scream! And they squeel!

And it won’t last long and you can’t always (and shouldn’t always) say yes, but for me this was an easy call.

Making new memories.

And remembering precious old ones.

The next morning our trip home was rough.



Like terrible alien children invaded the bodies of my sweet, well-mannered, normally awesome (except for the occasional bouts of throwing up) travelers.

They were tired and didn’t want to drive back.

I was tired and didn’t want to drive back.

Coulter said, “I want to stay in Arkansas.”

I said, “I want to stay in Arkansas.”

Emma Claire, piping up like Baby Bear from the Three Little Bears said, “I want to stay in Arkansas too, but I really miss my best friend, Elena.”

And she started to cry.

So we called Elena.

Only I think she talked to Elena’s Mom. But she thought it was Elena, so it was all good.

And we pulled off the interstate.

We took deep breaths.

We prayed.

I asked for their help.

Traveling alone isn’t for the faint of heart.

Chips. Gatorade. Tea.

Fruit chews.

Ice Cream.


More fruit chews.


We do whatever it takes.

Emma Claire soon fell asleep and Coulter and I did a silent celebration dance and the Lord carried us home.

Pulling onto our street, Coulter nudged his sister, “Emma Claire! We’re in Fremont! We’re in Fremont!”

She woke up out of a deep sleep and said, “ELENA!”

I said yes, honey. Momma’s right here.

“Uhm, Mom?” Coulter starts.  A little worried.

“She didn’t say momma. She said Elena.”

Oh, OK.

We pull into the driveway and Emma Claire says, “Thank you for getting us home safely.”

I know, right? So sweet.

“Oh, Emma Claire. Thank you for saying that. That is so kind of you.”

“I wasn’t talking to you, Mom. I was talking to Jesus.”

Uhm, yeah. OK.

You’re only as good as your last call.

And I’m sure I get plenty of them wrong, but considering that Emma Claire remembered to thank Jesus for His traveling mercies, I’m thinkin’ I get a few of ’em right too.

Ya know, humbly speaking.



Great things.

He has done.

And is doing.

And is gonna do.

And I could go on. 🙂

The countdown is on!

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One thought on “Last Call

  1. Well Myra,

    Here we are. Im thinking that maybe I know your Umpire Friend…he just might be the one that told me to check out your blog after a few nights of texting my latest decade of experience…He said that our writings were similar in their straight foreward,vaguely spiritual with overlying notes of pure love for our children and underlying notes of sorrow for what could’ve but couldn’t of been with our marriages.

    I may be completely off base..but I do know this, Being a single mother is probably the biggest challenge God has ever laid out before me, and yet somehow in my “beautiful mess”(The name of the blog I started a couple years ago to only family and close friends, which come to find out wasn’t well taken by family,lol).
    is also the greatest gift HE could have ever given me.

    Do I feel sorry for my 10 yr old daughter and 7 yr old son for being raised without a Godly Father..YES, I do.
    But am I satisfied with the HOME they are being raised in now, even with all my flaws? YES I am.

    You GO Myra Katherine
    Best Wishes,

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