Raising Magnolias

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

We were standing line at the cable company to pay my bill. I’m out of checks. I felt like one of those people whose credit is so bad that they can’t get a checking account (no offense to any of my readers who don’t have a checking account) and we were in line behind two men that, best I could figure out, had never owned a television.

Like, ever.

And for some strange reason it reminded me of our first summer in Fremont when I didn’t have a car and I had to bike everywhere and I felt like one of those people who lose their license because they continually forget that you aren’t supposed to drive after you’ve been drinking.

So I’m standing in this line, totally frustrated by the men in front of me who have just this minute walked into the 21st century and totally frustrated that I even have a cable bill because I bought one of those black box thingys from walmart so that I wouldn’t need cable but when I plug it in, all I see is 19 inches of nothin’ and I’m trying to decide if Dancing with the Stars and The Biggest Loser is really worth $125 a month and I’m wondering when it was that I got so judgy about people with no cars and no checking accounts and good grief, isn’t there a line for special, non-complicated people?

Like me? 🙂

Deep in my random, wondering thoughts I hear a lady say.

“So-oh, I bet you’re in Kindergarten!”

Which is funny, because it was the middle of a school day and she’s, ya know, in the time warner line with her momma.

“Pre-K.” Emma Claire answers proudly. “But! Only 9 days until my birthday and THEN I’ll get to start!”

I swung around and met her eyes.


How did I not know she thought this? How did she come to think this?

Her heart was broken.

“You mean I don’t start Kindergarten in 9 days?”

“No, pumpkin. I’m so sorry. The new school year won’t start for, well, another year.”

“Why do you always call me pumpkin? Pah-pah-pah. P for pumpkin!”

“K-k-k “K” is for Kindergarten!”

And just like that, we were distracted by the beauty of phonics.

The mind of a child. How do you know it and hold it; how do you teach and mold and make and how do you remember that the hard things that we go through, they go through and how do you discover the secrets that linger in their tiny little heads.

I want to hear and I want to know and I want to meet her each—

And every.


I want Kindergarten for her. Next week. Because that’s what she wants.

Ann Voskamp says that expectations kill relationships. I don’t know if that’s true but I know they can—




And yet I have them. And they are high.

And so I wonder.

What if I believed her and learned from her and what if she’s right?

What if my only expectation was for God to keep His promises?

What if I didn’t long for more, better, different?


What if I longed for more of Jesus.

Longed to be better at giving and forgiving.

Longed to be different.

Than the world.

What if I could live for a time; for this season where my only expectation was more of Jesus.

More of being.

Just here.

Loving Him.

Loving others.

More time enjoying the gifts that have already been given.

Better stewards of the gifts that have already been given.

Grateful for what is, instead of expecting what could have been.

I choose gratitude.

I mean, whatever, I will fail. Yes, sometime this winter, I will fail at the gratitude thing. I will put on my stupid gloves and my stupid boots and I will mush through the stupid snow and my ears will burn and my nose will be all red and freezing cold and longing for warmth and I will fail.

Because every winter for the past 15 I’ve expected; I’ve hoped.

I’ve prayed.

That it would be my last.

Not my last, ya know, year. My last winter.


But this is a new year (maybe not THE New Year, although I bet if I did enough research, somebody somewhere probably celebrates New Year’s in October. Kind of like that margareta song? Is that how you spell margareta? It’s 5:00 somewhere. I’m sure it’s New Year’s.


Here, actually.

It’s a new year and I’m lowering my expectations in order to reach the highest expectation possible.

Believing in Him.



I’ve mentioned this before. When Coulter was a baby I was in a Beth Moore Bible Study and one of the prayers that hit my heart was—

“Jesus. Fill up my empty spaces.”

If you were ever in my Teakwood home, you saw that prayer in my kitchen.

Sometimes, I’m so busy asking and expecting that I forget the answering and thanking.

This weekend, I remembered.

He has.

And He does.

And if you visit my new home. You won’t find that postcard.

He fills them surely.

To overflowing.

“All of this and Jesus too.”

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