Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

Crazy Love

I met with a friend recently who just happens to be a marketing whiz and designed our new logo and she said something to me that stuck.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, it only matters what people think you do.

It doesn’t matter at this point what’s going on inside our studio….what matters from a marketing point of view is what people think is going on inside our studio.

Today after church, our oldest had been invited to a birthday party. Only it wasn’t a birthday party. And I knew it couldn’t be a birthday party because I happened to know that this little guy had a summer birthday and I thought how strange and I suppose his Mother was just confused about it, because to assume that she wasn’t confused would be to assume that she had deliberately lied for some reason and I would never assume that.

So anyway, we were sending him off to what was essentially a playdate with a birthday card and a gift and his Dad said, “Tell Myra Katherine bye” and I reached in for a hug.

And he didn’t hug me back.

And I burst into tears.

I know. Super mature, right?

He leaned. Which I guess for an 11 year-old boy is something, but he didn’t hug.

And I have such a hard time with overly-high expectations. Ann Voskamp says that expectations kill relationships and I don’t want to kill ours. Mike and I have been married for just over 2 months.

Good grief.

It feels longer. And longer in a good way.

We bought a house.

We blended a family.

We started a business.

We even went to flippin’ Disney. How American-family is that?

It’s only been a few weeks.

Saturday we spent much of the day trying to clean out the backyard. There had been a very large deck that we took out, only to uncover a former kitchen, a former hot-tub, pipes, pipes and more pipes.

Massive amounts of sand. Good sand. Fresh, play-in, fun sand. And gross, someone buried a dog back there sand.

Bones. Teeth. I’m not kidding.

We filled our pick-up truck to overflowing.

And yet today, I looked out and thought.

Dear Lord in Heaven. What have we done? Can someone just come back and re-build the deck and we can just cover all this stuff up again?

We are so good at that. Covering up.

Just build over it. And build over it again. And maybe if we keep covering, we won’t ever have to deal with what’s underneath.

Our backyard is one hot mess.

And we’re not going to fix it in one short weekend.

Relationships are messy.

And we’re not going to “fix” our family in one short weekend.

But this I know. We aren’t covering up anything else.

No walls. No Decks. Just truth.

So as I looked out over the mess that’s still there I remembered my friends words.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, it only matters what other people think you are doing.

It doesn’t matter who you are, it only matters who your children think you are.

And if they think you are the reason that Mom and Dad aren’t married or they think that you are the reason they have to go to church or if they think you are the reason that they don’t get to sleep with their Mom anymore—

Then that’s what matters.

That’s where you start.

We have so much left to do.

Many more trips to the local dump.

We aren’t looking for the quick fix. And I shouldn’t have gone for the pushy hug.

We will be pulling weeds and planting seeds for many years to come and I believe that even in this messy life and bless Mike’s heart, I can be such a “messy wife”, yes I believe we will see harvest in our family and we will see the grass begin to grow and smell the sweet fragrance of flowers and we will surely see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

I have this one little spot in our house where I love to write. At this very moment, there are dogs barking (shocking, I realize) and there are little girls screaming and they run in and our friend Jenna is holding up her shirt.


And she was holding them.

In her shirt.

I didn’t bother to get up.

I sent Emma Claire to get trash bags which are underneath the sink which is also where we have a slight mice problem and no, I didn’t even get up.

Life is messy, girls. Dig on in!

p.s. before I could press “publish”, Coulter ran in and in a voice far more horrifying than the “we found bones”, says, “OH MY GOSH! THERE’S A CAT!!!”

So we have 4 children screaming, two dogs barking, one cat, and a lifetime of skeletons. And I just have a sneaking suspicion that Mike is in his home office thinking.

Lord in Heaven. What the HALE have I done?

But don’t let him fool you. That man of mine loves me this whole crazy mess.

pss. Our buddy Joel just ran in screaming “Katherine, Katherine (guessing he forgot the Myra part), Rocky got through the fence and is chasing the cat.

And there’s a police car parked outside.

And you know what? Maybe it’s different in the business world, but when it comes to family, it turns upside down.

It doesn’t matter what everyone thinks is going on, it only matters, inside these walls, what is really going on.

Crazy love. That’s what.

Leaving Home

Proverbs 27:17 “Just as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

I was 17 when I left home for College.

22 when I left home for Nebraska.

I’ve lived in Minnesota, South Dakota and three different cities in Nebraska.

I’m not a fan of all those “home is where your heart is” type quotes. My heart is here with my children and my husband.

But home? Well.

Home is where your journey begins.

And I was longing for my Arkansas home when we moved here 4 years ago. Instead, I found the YMCA.

I found strength and I found courage and I found my voice.

Three years ago I started training. My first (and only!) client was hesitant to join the Y so we would walk around Fremont.

Around and around.

I pushed Emma Claire in a jogging stroller and I pretended to know what I was doing and my client pretended I knew what I was doing and she calls herself my Nebraska mom and I would call myself her Nebraska daughter, but she has a Nebraska daughter, so maybe I’m her Arkansas daughter. Anyway.

She said to me today. Can you believe?

Three years ago. We started.

At the time she couldn’t get off the floor without assistance. Yesterday she did 10 push-ups on her toes.

Eventually, she joined the Y.

And so the Fremont Family Y? It’s where my training journey began.

And two weeks ago, I left home.

There are times in our life when we leave behind people or places or circumstances because their wrong or sad or hurtful.

Other times, we leave behind people or places or circumstances that are wonderful and caring and we leave because there’s a tiny voice inside telling us it’s time.

2 weeks before Christmas I wanted a donut. I don’t eat donuts. I mean, yes, I eat donuts, but not alone. I always take children with me so that the donut people will think they’re for my children. But 2 weeks before Christmas, Coulter broke his toe and even though I knew that he had broken his toe and even though I knew there was nothing that could be done about a broken toe, I just wanted to spend the money on an X-Ray so that someone smarter than I could tell me he had a broken toe and that nothing could be done about it. πŸ™‚ All that to say, we had been to the Dr. I had taken Coulter back to school.

And then I went for a donut.

And I saw a “For Lease” sign in the window next door.

Later that day, I told my soon-to-be-husband. I want to rent that space.

We were in the jewelry store looking for his wedding ring and you know what he did? He left and right that minute called the building owner.

Because I wanted a more personal space. A more private place.

Because I wanted to put scriptures up on the wall and I wanted to play Casting Crowns and Jeremy Camp and I wanted a place where my children could hang out after school and—

I wanted a place where my clients could walk in and feel comfortable and not be embarrassed and not be overwhelmed and I wanted a place where I could offer them a cup of tea and a quiet place to talk if that’s what they needed.

I left home at 17 because it was time. Because my parents had raised me to do just that.

I left home at 42 because it was time. Because the people that I had learned from and trained with and been encouraged by prepared me to do just that.

The Fremont Family Y is an incredible facility and I have lovely friends who give their heart and soul to keeping it that way. My husband was there this morning lifting and my boys are there tonight shooting. As I look at my giving statement for last years taxes. It pretty much has two places.

Our church.

And the Y.

Club Fitness 27:17 is not for power lifters. And the only basketball hoop we have is a mini-one hanging over the bathroom door. And while Emma Claire has figured out a way to use the stretching machine as monkey bars, there is no actual place for gymnastics.

We aren’t trying to be the Y. Opening a new place doesn’t come from a place of arrogance, but rather humility. We’re not trying to be better.

We’re trying to be different.

Last week our Oldest pushed-back on the studio. We were talking about idols and he said to his Dad, “Money is your idol. You just want to make money.”

Uhm, OK except I’m pretty sure we lost money last month. And we lost money because I wanted a seated elliptical for my clients who have a hard time standing.

And we’ll probably lose money this month because I want more kettle bells and softer mats and a hot pink punching bag (come one, you know it would be fun to just wall off and hit something without getting in trouble!)

My desire is that the Lord will bless our business, but my greater desire is that the Lord will bless those people who come into our business. My prayer is that this works because I’m having the absolute time of my life, but my greater prayer is that my children will see what it means to find something that you love and make a living from it. My prayer is that God will bless the work of our hands, but my greater prayer is that He will be honored by the work of our hands.

Ok, so. I have a bird’s eye view of the parking lot outside the donut place. And I’m just here to tell you that Fremont’s got room for our studio and many more. πŸ™‚ Come on, Fremont! Let’s get healthy!

Will this work? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have a husband who believes in me. I have a husband who gave me a training studio, and it wasn’t about money.

It was for no other reason than because I asked.

I guess in the end, I left because my heart found a new love. Maybe “home is where your heart is”, after all.

Please bookmark http://clubfitness2717.com Faith-centered fitness and nutrition blogs coming soon!

My Unrecognizable Life

My husband is upstairs taking a nap.

This, after much coaxing on my part that Sunday afternoon naps are part of our spiritual growth. I mean it’s no coincidence that Sabbath and nap rhyme.

Ok they don’t rhyme.

Yes, my husband is napping. Our boys are playing mini-hoops in the front hall, and every once in a while I hear the jingle of the chandelier crystal. I should probably tell them they can’t play there, but I wanna be the cool mom, so I’ll just let them play and if they break something, I’ll act totally surprised as if I had no idea they were playing there.

Our girls (Emma Claire and Elena) haven’t been seen since just after lunch. I’m thinking they are here somewhere.

Ok, so A friend mentioned this morning that I hadn’t been writing.

I’m stuck, I told her.

Every time I sit down, I stop.

I must have 35 drafts since the wedding.

I went through this time when I absolutely didn’t care if I made anyone mad and I suppose it’s a healthy progression that I started caring again.


Coulter and Emma Claire’s dad has known me for 20 years. Even if I do make him mad, he knows my humor, he knows my heart. My older son’s mother doesn’t have that history with me. She doesn’t know my humor, she doesn’t know my heart and so I get stuck.

Can I tell the story about how our oldest sometimes (always) has a stomachache on Sunday mornings. Could I tell the story that a couple of weeks ago, Mike and I were united. We were finally all in town, there was no snow, there was no cold, there was nothing stopping us, so I gave a 10 minute pep talk about how, no matter what, we would be in church and how even with headaches and even with stomachaches and while I’m carrying on, there’s a knock at the door and I say just a minute.

And I finish. I do not care about stomachaches.

And then I go to the door and it’s Emma Claire. She’s throwing up.

And I would tell this story, not to tease our boys, but to totally throw myself under the bus. I make a declaration that I don’t care about tummies and my baby girl is at that very moment getting sick.

But I don’t know. I haven’t figured out if I can share that?

How do I share my stories now that they’re all blended with the stories of not only my “own” children but my covenant children and ex-wife-in-laws and ex-husband-in-laws and all of a sudden I find myself caring what other people think.

And I hate that word—blended—but I gotta tell you that somedays it’s the only word I can think of.

Like someone threw us all in a blender and took the top off before pushing stop and we’re all just spinning and splattering and some days it’s just a big ol mess.

Our pastor may have mentioned that this would be hard. My mom may have mentioned that this would be hard.

So many times those two have been right and it’s actually pretty annoying. πŸ™‚

Today is March 1st and it’s the first Sunday since we were married 2 months ago that we’ve all been in church. Sometimes, something as simple as getting to church.


Is hard.

I thought there might be a honeymoon of sorts before hard surfaced, but in fact it had showed it’s ugly side before we ever got home from the ceremony. I remember saying to my husband, “Oh my gosh. We have made a terrible mistake. Like, really. What have we done?!”

And I say it at least 2 or 3 times a day.

And he smiles gentle and he lets me have my “holy” vent and he reassures me that I’m wrong, which means we were right and when I close my eyes at night and give thanks to the Lord for a “life that is completely unrecognizable”, I know that he is right.

There have been terrible mistakes but “I do” to this beautiful mess was not one of them.

So how do I write and respect and protect?

I’ll continue to use Coulter and Emma Claire’s name because you know them.

And you love them.

Mike’s youngest is now the oldest son in our home and so that is how I will refer to him. Although I’ve also told Coulter that just because we have an older brother, he’s still a “first born” and a leader and I expect his accomplishments to reflect that. πŸ™‚ Our oldest is a terrific kid who loves sports, hates homework and occasionally gets mad at me but pretends like he’s not mad at me. Often he’ll laugh at me (or stare wide-eyed and I know he’s thinking, “Oh my gosh. Who is this woman that my dad has married?”).

We are slowly figuring this out.

We are slowly finding our way.

Mike’s youngest. I mention youngest because we have 3 adult children that I’m pretty certain have earned the right not to be subjects in my blog. So. No stories about them.

Elena and Emma Claire have emerged, as has my napping husband. The boys are still playing mini-hoops. The chandelier still standing.

And here I am, snuggled up on my couch, enjoying the view of a home that I cannot believe is my own, listening for the voice of God and knowing that my life is a walking, talking, breathing billboard of God’s faithful love.

His redeeming grace.

God keeps His promises, and I have the unrecognizable life to prove it.

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