Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

A Plan for Purpose

Last week I had dinner with friends. Friends who don’t talk about the weather.

Friends who don’t pretend that it’s warm outside just because we’re above 0.

Friends who don’t pretend to be OK when life is everything but OK.

Friends who love Jesus and speak truth and started the conversation with:

“I read your blog. Purposeful!

So—

How do you plan to do that?”

What? I need a plan? I can’t just write a blog about it and leave it there?

Dang-it. 🙂

But I did have a plan. A small one, anyway.

Evidence of needing a better plan came a few days later—

Yes, mere days into my year of purpose, I lost our dog.

Being purposeful?

Being mindful?

Being present?

Not noticing that the kitchen door wasn’t fully shut and had been thrown open by the wind?

Not noticing, after going back to shut the door, that there was only one puppy in our home instead of two?

Seriously. Who does that?

I do that.

I drive around.

I have friends drive around.

Emma Claire and I drive to the Humane Society.

Closed.

We learn that it was the wrong Humane Society, or more to the point, not the Humane Society at all.

I drive to the actual Humane Society.

Also closed.

Because it’s cold. Really cold.

I drive home.

Emma Claire and Coulter start arguing and fussing and I’m pretty sure that Coulter is bleeding and I start to cry.

They’ve just gotten home from Christmas with their Dad and I’m wondering who are these children he brought back.

Coulter calls his Dad on the emergency cell (which I guess is the divorced version of “I’m telling Dad on you when he gets home from work) and Emma Claire is crying to her Dad and all I hear is that we are never going to see Rocky again and Coulter’s defense at all this post-Christmas (mis) behavior?

“Aren’t you supposed to do unto others as they do unto you? Uhm, ye-ah.  I had to hit her because of that verse.”

We  need to re-visit that.

But first I need to cry.

Because what else is there to do?

I mean pray, yes. But sometimes crying is easier.

Later, when I did re-visit it, the kiddos explained to me that they wrestle with their Dad and since I don’t wrestle with them, they get carried away and have to hit each other.

And then their words tapered into silence. Even they were able to see just how lame the “Well, you don’t wrestle with us” excuse really was.

Anyway.

It feels like 30-sum below 0, I’ve lost all feeling in my fingers and toes, my children are bickering (and bleeding) and mis-quoting scripture in their defense, calling Fun-Dad to save the day and I’m missing a puppy that just months ago I tried to find a new home for but that I’ve since come to see that this is his home.

We are his home.

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And he hates to be cold.

And so, yes. I began to cry.

The phone rang and I blubber out, “This is Myra Katherine.”

The voice on the other end said, “Yes. You called about a missing puppy.”

No tags? Yes!

No tail? Yes!

No boy parts? Yes! Yes! Yes!

The kids pile in, spirits lifted. A trip to the vet for papers and a trip down Luther stopped by a train and a trip around the train and a closed Humane Society that evidently opens if you just knock and a check for new tags and a check for city tags and a check that I suppose is just a polite way of making sure we say “thank you” to your local Humane Society (and one that I was happy to write) and finally, Rocky.

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Back home, a wonderful teaching moment remembering to give thanks for answered prayer. We talked about the difference between luck and faith and blessing and a God who told the Sun where to shine in the morning is intimately concerned with me—-

And my children—

And.

Our dogs.

As a puppy, Tiger broke his shoulder, developed a life-threatening infection and was brutally attacked at the dog park. Rocky has gone wandering more times than I can count. I’ve picked him up at the local funeral home and from  back yard neighbors (after he used their doggy door to help himself inside their house) and twice friends have  performed their own rescues bringing home a puppy I never knew was gone.

Anyway.

Straight from this gold-star parenting—faith vs. luck—moment, Emma Claire chimes in.

“Mom, I wish you and Dad would get back together.”

And I can’t help but wonder where she heard such a grown-up phrase.

Not from  me. 🙂

“Is that impossible?” She continues.

“Yes, Emma Claire, that is impossible.”

“I think divorce is stupid.”

“Yes, Emma Claire, I agree. Very stupid.”

But I thought later. No. There is nothing stupid about my life.

In the super-dark days of not-stupid divorce my friend shared:

“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” Spurgeon

Any. Other. Condition?

I recently read through my prayer journal from 2010—the year before our separation. We don’t always get “happily ever after” here on earth, but reading through and remembering my heart-cries, I see clearly that there is nothing stupid.

Only grace.

Elisabeth Elliot says it best.

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure. God’s story never ends with ashes.”

And isn’t our God just something’? The credit for that quote was her book, “Womanhood with Purpose.”

Still working on a plan for purpose but this scattered, tear-proned chicky with two-too many dogs that so perfectly complete her family is steadfast in her faith and resolute in her quest to become a Woman with Purpose.

A purposeful woman. (Or chick or girl or momma, but as I recently explained to friends, anything but “gal”, which I think may be a southern thing but I’m not sure so feel free to chime in.)

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(And just fyi—I’m also resolute in my plan that I may do bodily harm to the next person who brags how much nicer the weather is now that we’ve moved into the teens, but I’ll save thoughts on random violence for another blog.)

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My Purpose Driven Life

Several weeks ago, my Kindermusik families had gathered in my home and noticed construction paper signs I had taped throughout.

Goodness.

Gentleness.

Self-Control.

Love.

Peace.

Patience.

Kindness.

Just one word.

My friend says, “Did you get this out of a study or are you just a super mom.?”

Or she may have said, “Rock-star” mom.

Or it’s entirely possible I’m making the whole thing up and I just like to think of myself as a rock-star mom.

I laughed and said, “No, our verse of the week is the fruits of the spirit so the kids colored them and we hung them up to help us learn.”

Please don’t be too impressed. I’ve been a mom for 8 1/2 years and I’ve been committed to scripture memory for the past two weeks.

It started with a sermon of sorts on being intentional about faith in your home. The speaker read from Deuteronomy and that we are called to bind the Word around our necks and hang it from our gates and for me, that means construction paper.

And crayons.

Intentional.

That’s the word that stuck with me.

Some of you will remember that instead of resolutions, I choose one word.

One word, for 2014.

Last year my word was promise. The promise of a new year. The promise of God’s faithfulness. The promise of a future and a hope and as I circled and circled and cried out to the Lord, I reminded Him of His promise to restore the years the locust have eaten.

And He did!

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And He will.

And 2013 was a year of promise, fulfilled.

So I’ve been waiting since early November to tell you my new word. I mean this is more excited that the announcement of the new American Girl Doll for 2014, right? This is big!

Intentional.

Well, that was my word and then on Sunday, Pastor Tom was praying and he used the word purposeful and I liked that word even better.

Yes. That is my word.

Purposeful!

Emma Claire will start Kindergarten this fall. I want to be purposeful in how we spend our time together. (And perhaps a tad more purposeful in how we comb our hair!!)

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Coulter is here and there and a little bit everywhere so when he is home, I want to be purposeful.

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I want to be purposeful in praying with my children, teaching my children, building into, wrapping around and raising  up.

I want to be purposeful in my writing. Sharing my journey, transparent and hopeful and humble. And when I do and as I do there are perhaps some who will wish they had behaved a little better. 🙂

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I want to be purposeful in my training and my teaching and my building and growing.

I want to reach out to my friends and those whom I love and I want to be purposeful.

I feel ready. Like, I’m back, y’all!

No longer reacting to a past that I can’t change.

But purposefully looking forward to a future and a hope.

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Purposeful:

1. having purpose; 2. determined; resolute. 3. full of meaning; significant.

Yes!

I am resolute and determined to make 2014 significant and full of meaning.

Synonyms? Deliberate. Firm. Intense. Intent. Steadfast. Strong-willed. Undeviating. Unfaltering.

And my favorite?

Unwavering.

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Scattered throughout my home are several grapevines wreaths. Not just for Christmas. They are always out. My former neighbor grows grapes and her garage is overtaken so every time I need a new one I make a little visit. I’m a little bit obsessed, actually.

I think they are lovely. They circle round and round and their branches weave in and out in  what sometimes looks like a tangled mess and from that mess came sweet fruit.

God meets us in our mess.

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Oswald Chambers says, if we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes.

You cannot drink grapes.

And you can’t grow them if you’re not hanging on the Vine.

I have no intention; (or purpose!) to grow grapes. And I would like to think that my season of being crushed has come to an end (although I know He’ll keep pruning and crushing and molding and making,) but as I remember back to how this blog started—-how this binding around the neck and hanging on the gates—as I think back to the fruits that we write and we speak and we learn—-I see the circled wreaths and pray that they will serve as a reminder to be purposeful.

Purposeful in Love.

Purposeful in Joy.

Purposeful in Peace and Patience and Kindness and Goodness and Faithfulness and Gentleness and Self-Control.

Shoot! I so wish vine rhymed with 14. Or I wish it was 2009. Hangin’ on the Vine in 2009 only Praise the God from whom all blessings flow it is not 2009!

May your fruits be seen, May your grass be green.

May you life be full of purpose in 2014.

🙂

OK, whatever. C.S. Lewis, I’m not, but good grief, teen is super hard to rhyme with.

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Please keep reading y’all, and Happiest of New Year’s my sweet friends.

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