Raising Magnolias

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

OK. So.

It’s 4:00 a.m. I’ve been awake since 1:00.

I’m sitting in the Hotel bar drinking a $15 cup of tea and while I didn’t use cream for my tea (what my Mother would call white-tea), I did, in fact, just drink the cream straight.

Well. I poured it in my empty tea cup first.

I’ve had a few weird looks.

Evidently most people don’t order room service in the lobby.

But I’m pretty sure we’d all agree, I’m not most people. Most people don’t move from Arkansas, the only home the’ve ever known, to Nebraska because they want to compete in the Miss America Pageant.

Yes. In case you were wondering, that’s how I got here.

Here, Nebraska. Not here, in the Fairmont Hotel bar in Dallas.

Well, that’s how I got “here” the first time.

Second time is a different box of donuts that we won’t open today.

Additionally, most people wouldn’t marry a man they’ve only known for the better part of a year, buy a home, blend a family, quit their job and open a business.

So, now that I think of it, drinking cream from a tea-cup in the middle of the night in a hotel bar isn’t all that weird.


I’m so grateful that after only 6 months in business, my clients have supported us in such a way, that we could come to a place where educators get educated and coaches get coached.

Most people here have been in the fitness industry for years and years. I’ve been around for about 5 minutes.

And yet if I’ve learned one thing (and for the record, it’s more than 1), but anyway it’s this.

I belong here.

5 minutes. 5 years. 15 years. Whatever.

I belong here.

In Dallas. Where it’s warm.

Just kidding.

Here. In the wellness industry. In the fitness industry.

Here. Where we learn how to live well and age well and mind, body and spirit—



I told my husband before we left.

Ok, I said.

We are gonna look old.

Because, ya know, we are.

Who in their right mind starts a career in fitness in their 40’s and 50’s?

So when I got here, I kept looking for the beautiful young people.

The super-skinny, tanned, top-loaded, muscle-bound people, but they weren’t here.

In fact, Mike said the first day. You’re kind hard to pick out here. You look like everybody else.

Uhm, thank you for that.

Said no wife ever.

But I get it. Ponytails, hair bands, spandex, motivational t-shirts and more spandex.

There are the extremely fit and there are the round and the soft and the strong and the aging and there are zumba girls, tabata girls, les mills girls and then there’s Mike.


7:00 came very early on day two. Fitness professionals bopping around who teach those 5:30 a.m. classes and oh my gosh, I wanted to skip!!

But, we came here to learn. Not sleep.


I went to a strength-training circuit class from which I’m still trying to recover, and I signed Mike up for a brain-booster class.

He comes out with 3 words.




Evidently, there may or may not be a video of my husband doing zumba.

I’m still looking.

I also took a Piloxing Knock-out class. It’s a choreographed class and we did things that I’m not exactly sure bodies where designed to do. It took a full three hours for my face to return to a normal color.

Several of the classes I’ve attended have been taught by Chris Freytag who teaches in Minneapolis and works for a company called spri.

Spri produces body bars and the step-360 and ropes and regular steps and just lots of fun fitness stuff.

At the end of each class, she awards a free step-360 to someone who showed outstanding effort in being both the “coach” and the “athlete”.

The first class, she had a partner and so that girl won.
The second class, she had a partner and so that girl won.

I told Mike, I’m going to win that step for my clients.

Third class, y’all and I am hurting. Oh my gosh, am I ever hurting.

We team up. I am coaching the heck out of this girl. Eyes-up, chest-up Shelby. You got this. Yes you can. Challenge yourself to change yourself.

Then it’s my turn.

I am doing these slolumn-thingys where you put your hands on an incline step and use your core to propel your body up and over and I don’t quit.

And I’m clapping and I’m woo-hooing and at one point, I just prayed to the Lord. Please let me win this step.

And please let this class end.


She picks up the certificate. She walks close to me. And I can see it. I competed in pageants. I can see the look in her eyes and I can’t wait to tell my clients what I’m bringing home. She walks a little closer.

Then turns.

And flippin’ gives it to the one other man at this conference who just happens to NOT be my husband.

I wanted to cry.

I found Mike, face beat-red again and he’s like oh my word, what is wrong with you.

I said, I think I’m going to cry.

And I did.

“I worked (sob) so hard (sob) and I was like the best coach ever (sob) and I still didn’t win.”

I am ridiculous.

Yes. I know.

Last week, my girl. My strong “I-am-woman” client, cried on me after a challenging exercise. Disappointed that it was so hard.

I love winning and I love free-stuff but I think my tears were from exhaustion and perhaps a little disappointment at how hard these workouts have been.

Somedays we are “I am woman!” and somedays we cry because a boy beat us.

So I learned that I belong here. People are nice. And they help you. And they cheer for you. You can almost see all the happy endorphins floating around this place.

Like pink little fairies.

I also learned that we are doing many things well.

And right.

I listened to a lecture yesterday and I just wanted to stand up and shout. Yes, I know that!! We do that!


And then he moved from customers and training to technology and marketing and I wanted to stand up and shout.

No. Wait. What the HALE are you talking about?

He spent 15 minutes talking about a “landing page” and how crucial they are for your business and finally I had the courage to raise my hand and I said, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what that is.”

And so patiently explained it.

And, well, I still don’t what it is.

We’re headed home today. I miss my littles. I miss my bed.

I miss my team of athletes.

I miss being in charge. 🙂

Yes, we’re coming home today with new ideas and creative workouts and the latest information regarding health and nutrition and wellness.

But before we leave, I’m going to an hour-long workout with medicine balls.
I’d like to say that it’s so I can get some cool new ideas to use with our balls and originally that was the plan.

But now I’m so tired that the only thing I really want to do is prop my head up on one of ’em and sleep.

But I’m going, dadgummit.

And I’m gonna win us a step!


Praising God from whom all blessings flow!

We’ve had an incredible weekend. And even if I don’t win the step, I’m bringing home a wealth of new knowledge.

Plus, there’s such joy in knowing that I have a power-lifting husband who loves me so much he zumba-ed, and from all accounts, put his hand in the air like he just didn’t care!

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