Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Right now I’m walking around my house in a pink fairy princess gown.


I am.

Or I was.

Now, I’m sitting in my pink fair princess gown and writing about it.

I need an evening gown for tomorrow night. I think it’s a pretty fair assumption that I have more evening gowns than the average person. Several are in Arkansas, nut I have 7 here in Fremont.


And as it turns out, I’m not the same size as I was in 1995.

My children stole my breasts and short of paying for new ones, I don’t think they’re ever coming back.

I knew this, of course.

I just didn’t know to the degree. In the trying on, home runway extravaganza last night, I also discovered that in addition to my real ones, I was sporting some serious false advertising during my competition days. I pulled out pads that were basically cotton implants.

My friend Jenny just laughed.

We looked out how far the dress would stand out away from actual


Really far.

There are many lessons in this, none that you really need but for Me, trying in dresses say last week would’ve been helpful.

The other lesson is that you are consider breast reduction surgery you should first consider having children and if that doesn’t work,


Just kidding.

I was almost 20lbs heavier when I competed at miss America. I had a nutritionist that let me eat unlimited bagels and plain rice and well, your remember the whole low fat, high carb thing.

I had another storybthatvibwas going to write about. You remember my speeding ticket? Evidently I forgot to out my registration papers back in their rightful place and threw the, away. Which, is really just another reason cleaning out ones car is a ridiculous idea! Anyway, to get car insurance, I need the registration papers so I head to the DMV. Some of you may remember that it took me 7 trips to the DMV to get my original car tags so this is not really a happy place for me. P,us it’s in the same building that I just left my marriage behind in a few short weeks ago.

I’m nervous.

I see a friends husband.

I try to make small talk.

Oh, i got a speeding ticket and I lost my registration.

Clerk looks up.

Still small talking.

I know, and it’s so frustrating because I need to get car insurance.

Clerk: “we need proof of car insurance.”

Oh, right! I have it! I’m just getting new.


I have a new name, so I need new insurance and that reminds me I need to have him sign over the title which I’m pretty sure is in Sioux Falls and her face goes white.

And my friends husband thinks I’ve probably been drinking.

For the record, I haven’t.

But then she starts to ask all of these questions about insurance and names and vin#’s and she finally relaxes enough to let me leave and I hand her a credit card and she says, i can only take cash and she thinks she has me!

She thinks, now I will have to leave but I was so excited!

And ready!

And it’s the little things!

“I knew you were going to say that!” I said a little too loudly.

I have cash.

Uhm, ok. Great. I will take your cash.

And the paper work and the names and the addresses and the insurance and its the funniest of things that will take my breath away and today it was paperwork and insurance and I cried out to my insurance friend and then I tried on dresses that I used to wear, that I used to love, that were part of my yesterday life and I thought, ok! What the HALE!

Nothing fits! It never really fit!

Out with boobs and in with the new!

Not new breasts, ya know, a whole new life!

That fits!

Motherhood fits!

This home fits!

My career fits!

And today, after penciling a thousand titles around, the simplest of messages came to me…..

Raising Magnolias
A journey of faith.

A title for my book. It totally fits.

A Season of Exhale

The back of our new home is all windows. I love my windows. Cleaning up for supper last night, I could watch coulter and Emma Claire play. I had promised to join in, but for a few minutes I stood and watched.



Coulter was teaching Emma Claire how to break free from a tackle. I saw her spin out and stiff arm and she would run and run and yell touchdown and he—-

Was teaching her.

Later I joined in and spent 10 minutes trying to explain why he can’t tackle me.

It’s a conversation that probably bears repeating.

He played in his first game on Sunday. And I’m just gonna tell you, it is full-on crazy fun.

They call your name on the loud speaker! As in, tackle on the play by #75, Coulter fritz!

And there were moms with blinged out football t-shirts and running late from church,I was wearing a pencil skirt and 3 inch strappy sandals. My friend Amy offered to order us Team shirts for the next game. I can’t imagine why she thought I needed help. Ya know, with my heels and all.

But we cheered for the boys and we roasted in the late summer sun and it.



Red-faced and playing on the bleachers with her new “brown friend”, Bella, Emma Claire comes snapping over.

Looking for snacks.

I don’t know if anyone else notices it.

But she learned to snap this week.




And sometime she adds a little hip action with her snaps and she talks.


She talks about the naughty kids and the mean girls and her new sight words and the letter F.

We read a prayer last night. Each line started with “For”.

As in, “for the beauty of the earth.”

We give thanks.

For the ground beneath our feet.

We give thanks.

But instead of praying, we counted F’s.

And “for’s”.

And we looked for “the’s”

And we snapped.

Then, her eyes nearly drooping, I knocked her water off the table. I tried to ignore it.

Drip drip drip.

She held it in as long as possible before she erupted into giggles.

“How can I sleep when it sounds like someone’s going potty!”

And so we laugh.

And we count.

And we snap.

And Coulter’s waiting patiently in his man-cave bedroom to read with mom and when I finally get there he talks once again about how much better he sleeps with his new NFL bedding and all of a sudden he asks me to give him a back rub and it reminds me of the very night when he was 3 that he asked me to quit rubbing and start scratching and last night we did both and we prayed and we sang—

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

And I thought back to the weekend. Crazy full. Crazy busy.



My friends came and gathered and helped celebrate our new home. And we sat around tables and we talked and we giggled and we listened to men—husbands and friends—yell at the tv.


Watching football in my house. A party.

And I loved it.

I loved the sounds and the food and the hugs and I loved hearing laughter in my home.

And I love the football and the snapping and the reading and back-scratching and I can’t remember who said it, but this—

For me.

Is a season of exhale.

I feel lighter.

And I can breathe.

And I’ve just written a blog about nothing and you might be wondering, “where is she going with this?”

What’s her point?

The point is nothing!

The point is that for the first time in years, I can write about nothing.

Which is everything.

There are hard things.


I’m overwhelmed with paperwork and insurance and name changes and have you done this and have you done that and I spent an hour looking for my keys today because I was distracted when I walked I inside and I’m teaching more than ever and I’m training more than ever and I am burdened and ever-aware that i have sweet friends who are hurting and reeling from loss and this is not their season of exhale.

My mom reminded me of a verse today in Ezekiel. “I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessings.”

I love that—

In season.

And having walked through the fire, I am ever grateful for a season of exhale.

A season of showers.

A season to stand beside and offer back to others what was so freely given to me.






A season to write about nothing.


As it turns out—

Is everything!


I saw her last week. She was on the interview panel for the job I didn’t get.

The perfect one.

Ya know, that I didn’t get.

She has children at Emma Claire’s new preschool.

And so I saw her again.

And again.

And how super special that I have this almost daily reminder of failure.

And frustration.

And disappointment.

I feel badly about this. She’s a very nice person.

But today when I saw her, it was different. I had this little woo-hoo moment. (That’s kind of like Oprah’s aha moments, but if I’m going to be a famous author, I need my own kind of moment) and so I thought woo-hoo!

I’m off to train clients. I’m in running shoes and running skirts and the Lord is changing lives and the Lord is changing me and she said no and The Lord said no and now every time I see her, I’m going to be reminded—-


There is grace in the no.

Last week I was training with a friend and she joked that I should have new tshirts made that say, HALE NO! Then, clients could pick a shirt to match their mood. That made me laugh because occasionally clients do give me that “Ahhhh!! He-ll No!” look.

But there is grace in the no.

I am humbled beyond words to go back through my prayer journals and see the answers.



Yep, not gonna happen.

Not yet,


I know the plans I have for you.

You do not know.

I promise to work all of this for your good.

Quit interfering.



Ahhhh! HALE NO!

There is grace in the no.

Last night my kiddos were fast asleep. I grabbed a blanket and a devotion book and pretzeled-up into my new chair. The one my friend brought over. The one that I love and I gave thanks for the many.




Its hard to give words to my heart today.

Because for the first time in so many years, my heart is quiet.

Tomorrow will be my 3rd birthday in Fremont. (Hint intended!)

And I have never unpacked.

Not physically. Not emotionally.

But cozied up in my new chair, I can feel it. I’ve unpacked.

And I am lighter.

I am settled.

And my heart?


Y’all know how the old people love me right? Last week a man tried to kiss me on the lips so they didn’t let him come back, but there was this one man who looked at me said, “You have a beautiful smile.”

And I just laughed.

I don’t know about beautiful, but for the first time in a long ‘ol time—-

It is real.

And I love to smile.

Today I mailed off my first rent check. It was big.

Like I had to use a comma, big. 🙂

And I’ve never done that before. Am I scared?

Hale yes, I’m scared!

But as I told strong mike this morning, I delivered two children without any drugs, so do you think I’m going to let fear stop me?

Stop us?

That would be “Ahhhhhhh!”


The Lord has assigned to me my portion and my cup. He has made my lot secure has caused the boundaries to fall in pleasant places. Psalm 16:5,6

A quiet heart in a pleasant place.

Ah! Thank you, Jesus!

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