Raising Magnolias

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

Learning to Merge

19th street.

It’s my favorite way to get across town. It makes no sense, really. There are cars double parked, always. There is an emergency vehicle, an ambulance I think, parked. Always.


Over a period of many, many blocks, there are only 2 stop signs.

Yes. That’s actually what I love.

But when I say no stop signs, I mean none. For any of us.

I, of course, know fully that I have the right-away but I get the distinct impression that drivers going north-south don’t understand this.


For the safety of my children and because of the constant prodding from my husband, I yield.

I slow, I slow, look right, look left, right again and then I go.

Or yield

Or fully stop.

Come to think of it, 19th street is a lot of work.

And now that schools back in session, I’m looking for a new way.

Last week carpool took me one hour. Y’all! One hour to pick up two children in a relatively small town. For 10 years my home was at the eastern most part of a city that holds more than 150,000 residents. I could’ve circled that town three times and it wouldn’t have taken me an hour.

Then again, there is no 5-6 building in Sioux Falls.

My friend says that carpool is a great opportunity to work on your prayer life. I need to remember that. Last week I saw a woman park, get out of her car and start screaming at the woman behind her. I saw children walking in and out and everywhere. I saw cars sneaking in from behind and after about 4 such cars of trying the whole “merge, you’re turn, my turn” except that it seemed never to be my turn that I finally put up my hand, mouthed, “It’s my turn,” gave him a look that I could’ve only learned from my momma, and proceeded down the lane to pick up my child.

Yes praying. Because the alternative is drinking.

Car-pool in Fremont could drive a woman to drink.

I’m just kidding.

19th street.



And for us, blended life.

There’s this constant flow of traffic and people interrupting and failing to stop and honking and blaming and sometimes I feel like the woman who got out of her car. I might just park. Raise my hands in the air and start yelling!

Media calls us blended. It’s better than step, I suppose. I’m still looking for the right word.


I looked up synonyms and found the word merge.

One study I read found that it takes 7 years for a blended family to fully blend? Are you flippin’ kidding me? We’re gonna get good at this just in time for college?

Another study showed that stress levels in re-marriages were twice that of a newly (first time) married couple. The author goes on to say it has nothing to do with poor decisions.

Percentages of divorce are so much greater with 2nd and 3rd marriages, not because you didn’t marry the right person.

It’s because you married like 15 people.

And you some of those people you don’t like very much.


I have two speeds. Down 19th street and in life.

Fast and stop.

Full-speed or I’m takin’ a nap.

I want perfectly blended, melded, smooshed, smooched, tied-together with a beautiful flippin’ bow and I want it.


Not in 7 years.

You can fly down 19th street, hold your breath and hope that the other person stops but more than likely they won’t.

They don’t.

And they crash right into you with their words and their actions and their anger.

So how do we slow down? How do I acknowledge, as my friend recently reminded me, that we are in this for the long-haul.

Not for today.



Turn off the blender?

What day is it?

Our weeks aren’t Sunday-Saturday.

Our weeks are—

Who’s weekend is it? Who’s week is it?

Who’s Thursday is it? Who’s Wednesday is it?

Who’s coming home today, who’s merging back into the family routine and who’s leaving?

Where’s this bag and those socks and it’s at Dad’s and it’s at Mom’s it’s dang hard to maintain a home.

Harder still, at least for this momma, when it’s spread across three.

Last week I had the children choose verses for year. Not so much a “life verse” but a 2015-16 school-year verse.

Mike’s youngest chose “be strong and courageous…..the Lord will be with you wherever you go.”

We don’t live life “normal.”

There’s no rhythm, no routine, no guarantees.

And sometimes all—

For no reason.

And yet, in our coming out and going in. It is the Lord who goes with us.

He is our constant.

And it is to His will, that I must learn to yield.

And it is by His grace, that I must learn to slow.

We don’t have to blend today.

We only have to yield.

And merge.


And out.

Again and again.

I read a prayer recently that said this.

“Help me Lord, until you help me.”

Oh my word, y’all! Just this!

Help us, Lord until you help us!

When I became a mom, I read every parenting book I could find. I’m pretty sure if you’ve heard of it, I’ve read it. It’s part of that 90-to-nothing or napping thing.

I read so much that my mom passed down advice from her mom.

Throw away the damn books!

Mike and I had hoped to attend a conference on blended (merging) families this fall. Instead. We’re gonna read more damn books! 🙂

We’re going to plow (again) through a book called “The Smart Step-Family.” And we’d like to invite other blended, bruised, beauty-from-ashes families in the Fremont area to join us.

We’ll meet once a month or so on Saturdays from 4:00-6:30 ish. Kids can play while we throw on a few burgers, work through the book, share our hearts, listen to struggles and encourage each other on how we can safely and successfully navigate 19th street.

Just kidding.

On how we can honor the Lord with our messy families.

Save the date now for Saturday, September 19th.

Signing off, now.

I need to sit down with a cup of tea and a map of Fremont.

I wasn’t defeated by divorce and will not be defeated by a dang carpool.

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5 thoughts on “Learning to Merge

  1. Most excellent! On hot summer days, we think we can (almost) literally see the corn grow. Right now you’re going through these hot, sticky, messy days, and I can (almost) literally see your faith growing!
    You grow, girl! You’re doing it!
    Keep on growing, and keep on finding new paths to JCAC!

  2. Vickie fuller on said:

    Love you MK! Miss you! Keep navigating and praying:)
    What is JCAC?

  3. Annette Woodhead on said:

    I just love you Myra Katherine. I think I need a coffee date with you, for my sake! 🙂

  4. Excellent, honest and life-giving blog – giving us all permission to consider the 19th Streets in our lives and remember who is traveling with us. “Lord, help us until you help us.” is a treasure. Thanks!!
    Cecelia (Cec)

  5. Hang in there, you don’t have to be perfect just do your best.

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