Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “March, 2016”

Our bodies are decaying. We are all dying. And oh, by the way, Happy Easter.

Emma Claire burst into our room and stared at me. Nudging. This weird expectancy on her face and I said hesitantly,

“Did you find the golden egg?”

“Oh. I don’t know. I didn’t look.”

She continues the weird stare.

“Did the Easter Bunny come?” And for the record, I’m not big on the ol bunny and outed him several years ago. How in the world did pounding nails into a man’s hand, brutalizing him, torturing him with a slow death of bleeding out turn into a Bunny holiday? I don’t get this

But for the record, I love Santa. It’s totally different. ūüėČ

Anyway, she hasn’t looked for the bunny. She taps my shoulder, silently pleading with me to figure it out and finally, “OH!!!!”

“HE IS RISEN!” I yell!

She beams with pride! “HE IS RISEN INDEED!

And that was Easter morning.

It was a blissful moment as a Mom knowing that I, unlike so many parents of the world, am teaching my children what is right and true and good.


She finds her golden egg. Looks at the $20, makes a face that looks like she smelled the now rotting easter eggs and said, “Oh man. I thought it would be 100 bucks!”

And just like that. My bliss had left the building.

In church, we don’t say He is risen. But we do sing it. Then the pastor starts the Super Bowl of Christian holidays out by saying. Guess what?

Our bodies are decaying. We are all dying. Oh and by the way.

Happy Easter.

Emma Claire laughed. Later that night she said, “Hey Mom. We’re all dying. Happy Easter.”

And she giggled.

The Pastor continued. Preaching on hope.

Emma Claire looked up and said, “What does this have to do with the Resurrection?”

Maybe 30 seconds later, Pastor says, “You may be asking yourself what this has to do with the Resurrection.”

So he told us.

Emma Claire. Always one step ahead.

At least, of her momma.

Fast forward 18 hours  hours and Emma Claire bursts into our room crying. She was on fire and complained that her head hurt.

Right behind her eyes.

I snuggled in next to her on the small daybed that is covered with dolls and animals and books and an iPad and earphones and clothes. I struggled to find a place for my feet and searched in vain for a pillow that didn’t have ribbons sticking out of it.

No-one slept.

Fast forward 24 hours. Emma Claire burst into our room crying.


She was on fire and complained that her tummy hurt. We made it just out side our bedroom door where she began to throw-up.

I’ve written about this before and it still dumfounds me. Why do children always get sick at night? When it’s dark and you can’t find your glasses and you can’t find the toilet.

In time.

We head back to the tiny daybed still covered in an array of all things girly, only this time I make a quick stop for my pillow.

The struggle is real. I wanna pull her into my bed, the bed that my friend Kim sold me from Krasnes. The bed that is made for a 43 year-old tired momma with back issues. The bed that literally molds to my every curve. (Even as my dang metabolism slows and those curves grow.) I want to nudge my hubby and kindly suggest that he, ya know, leave. But I don’t.

Instead I took my pillow.

She falls into a restless sleep. I hear the trains. I hear sirens. They stop somewhere close to our house. Not going to a hospital. I think.

Someone is dead. Where is he spending eternity, I wonder.

I hear her struggle for each breath. I hear the wind.

I start on my back and she swings around. Beautiful blond lockets smacking me right in the face. I try my side. Knees up. Knees over. Child’s pose. Please God of Mercy, let me fall asleep. I fall asleep.

And  wake up totally drenched. I know, right?

Night sweats in a child’s bed is all kinds of wrong. Plus she has fleece sheets.

They stick to my sweat and refuse to budge. I think I’m going to have a panic attack trying to free my feet and legs.

To review. My child is sick. My metabolism is in a stalling pattern and I’m developing the onset of menopause.

Happy Easter.

I am so selfish. This I get. What a privilege to care for a sick child and all I can think of is I should’ve had children younger so that I wouldn’t be having night sweats while parenting young children, while simultaneously wondering ¬†how quickly I can get in to see the Chiropracter.

I woke up with the nobody-slept-last-night-hangover. A semi-truck has landed on my head.

I hear my alarm from between the walls. My husband turns it off and I wait. I mean, I heard it. I knew it was 6 o’clock. I knew I needed to wake up Coulter. I knew it was time to start my ¬†adult-ing for the day. But I just lay there.

Completely still.

Like maybe my husband wouldn’t be able to find me.

He found me.

Dang it. I always sucked at hide and seek.

Emma Claire, already awake, bounces up. Is it time to get up?

And that’s the difference between being 7 and 43. Well, at least one of the differences.

I hope there are more. Like maybe I’m smarter.

Actually, I’m not smarter.

“Emma Claire, as soon as they open, we’ll schedule an appointment to see the Dr.”

This is good news. Very good news.

“Oh! I better get dressed.” And she does. In a sparkly shirt and colorful jeans.

“Mom, can I share the story? The whole story? Let’s see. What day is it? Ok, so Monday morning I came into your room and said my head hurt….”

My sick child. Vying for an Oscar.

My husband took over. He got Emma Claire settled with a blanket and netflix and took Coulter to school by 7. I have no idea if there were lunches or instruments or books involved, but I know that Coulter is at school and for that I’m grateful.

I told Emma Claire the doctor’s office opened at 8:30. At 8:31 she barges into my room and announces the time. Then she looked at my wrinkled up, sleepy-looking face and said, “Mom, I’m sorry that I stole some of your sleep.”

This child. Of mine.

I’ve taken 2 advil. The semi feels more like a mini-van, albeit a mini-van with back decal missing and the side door crushed in thanks to the little old lady across the street, but at least it’s not a semi and slowly my morning caffiene takes effect. I feel confident that I’ll be able to adult soon.

After my divorce and especially after my marriage to Mike, I had this pollyanna version of the story that we had pretty much¬†served our time. Everybody has¬†hard stuff and we’ve had ours. Past tense. Happy days are here again. How cool is that for us…your hard stuff may still be coming, but we’ve had our ¬†YUK and so now smooth-sailing to Glory. No more sickness. No more sin. No more hard.


The voice of my Grandmother Pearl rings in my head, “Dummy. Dummy. Dummy.”

Over the past two weeks, I’ve wrestled with issues that come from living in a fallen world. I’ve wrestled with the truth that even “the best of men are still men at best.”¬†I’ve wrestled with parenting well and this dang-hard gig of making decisions that will forever impact my children. I’ve wrestled with the old demons that I’m not good enough or smart enough and Christian-enough (and for the record that’s not really a “thing”.) ¬†At the end of the day, do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing and they turn in their ring.

Their key.

Their heart.

Thanks but no thanks.

Tests are back. Influenza A. This confirms my worst fears. I am not good enough. Or smart enough. Or Christian enough. (again, i know. not a real thing.)

I didn’t give the children flu shots this year. This is my fault.

I remember reading an article about the dangers of the flu shot and how we never know if it’s really going to be effective and how it’s a guess as to which strain is coming and—and—and.

And now we have the flu.

Giving thanks in all things, though, I’m grateful for a husband who won’t turn in or turn back or give up on me. I’m thankful that he’s at work so that I can be home. That I can care for and clean up after and lose sleep over. I’m thankful that we have hope beyond the flu, beyond divorce, beyond the best of men (and mommas) that are men (and mommas) at best. That we have a true HOPE that goes beyond blowing out candles on a cake.

We have the cross. We have the Resurrection.

Our bodies are decaying. Our faces are wrinkling. Our metabolism stinks and we wake up in the middle of the night sweating like we just finished a 5K the Hard Way.

In Texas.

In July.

Our backs are aching. Our hearts are breaking.

Oh, and Happy Easter.

He has Risen.

Yes. Indeed He has!







Why I said I left the Y. Why (maybe) I really left the Y.

I went for a run today.

The first run of the season.

Running for me is like swimming. You only do it during certain times of the year.

My favorite runs are on those days when the ground begins to thaw and the warmth of the sun feels like the hand of God has reached down and touched your face.

Today was that kind of day.

My greatest joy running at 43 (opposed to 23), is that it isn’t about¬† weight-loss.

I run to remind myself¬†that life happens by “taking the next step.”

I run because I need to be alone in my head.

I run because I can, and it’s my way of saying, “thank you.”

I run because it gives me the mistaken, yet awesome feeling,¬†that I’m strong.

Running is the great equalizer. You don’t have to have money or education or talent.¬†Race, faith, gender, politics—none of it matters.

And I like that.

I like that I can literally weep for block after block and no-one notices.

I took my shirt off on 19th street today and no-one noticed that either.

For the record, I did put it back on.

I have 2 secret crying locations. Yes, I know what y’all are thinking. Even those of you who don’t know me¬†have probably seen my cry in more than 2 places. But I said secret.

One is when I run.

And the other is in the shower.

I shower-cry.

It took my forever husband about 48 hours to discover my secret-shower crying. The other morning after I left the breakfast table, he followed me upstairs. I was brushing my teeth. He peeked in.

“Oh.” He said. “I thought maybe you were shower-crying. I wanted to check on you.”

“I was.” I replied. “I’m finished.”

My secret-shower crying started forever ago because it was the only room in the house that locked. Now, it’s the only door in the hour that doesn’t lock.

Or even shut. It’s as if the builders were just a wee bit off when they measured. Or maybe it’s humidity. Or something like that.



For the record there has been no shower or running cry today.

Today I decided to go for a more public cry in front of several clients and trainers.

Ya know, gotta shake things up every once in a while.

But back to my run. Today I had an “Aha” moment (insert trademark Oprah).

I don’t like being told what to do.


I really don’t.

That’s the Aha.

My family is dumbfounded right now that this is coming as a surprise.

When someone tells me what to do, I often feel very strongly inclined to do the very opposite.

My mom. “Don’t marry ¬†(my ex-husband).

Me. “I’m getting married!”

YAyyyy…(excitement with voice trailing off).

This. Just one of maybe 14,000 other examples.

The careers in which I have excelled, nobody told me what to do. I taught Kindermusik for 10+ years. Each hour 9 or 10 children would join me in a circle, along with 9 or 10 parents and they would listen.

To me.

If I told them to waddle like a duck.

Guess what?

They waddled.

And they had fun doing it.

But at no point did they ever tell me what to do. They never told me to use eggs instead of scarves. They never told me to read a different book or choose a different dance.

I was in charge.

So tonight I’m toying with an idea.¬†I told people that I left the Y because I felt overwhelmed by the size. I told people that I left the Y because I wanted a place where my children could hang out and be with me while I worked. I wanted a place that was more private for my clients.

But maybe.

Just maybe.

I left because I don’t like people telling me what to do.

Just prior to my leaving, the Y staff implemented a new policy that required trainers to wear clothing with a YMCA logo.

I joked with staff. I promise, I said.

I’m not leaving ¬†because of the shirt.

But, oh my gosh!

What if it was because of the shirt?

What if I’m so shallow that I would embark on an insane let’s ¬†run-our-own-business idea because having to wear a shirt made me that mad.

I worked for Schmitt music for a few years and they required staff to where a purple collared knit shirt that added like 15 lbs and was scratchy. Would you like to know what I told the manager of Schmitt Music during my first interview?

I told him that for a salary of $7 an hour, I’d be wearing my own clothes.

I later heard that Taco Bell was hiring for $10 an hour but I was pretty sure¬†they’d¬†make me wear the shirt.

And I’d smell like tacos.

I suppose all of the above is true and at the end of the day,¬†¬†for a multitude of reasons, I wanted— needed—a change.


And it worked.

By some crazy blessing of “OK” from the Lord, it has worked.

It has worked because our business is about relationships. Creating them. Building them. Sharing them.

One of our first clients to join after we opened was a police officer named Joe. The other day as he finished his workout and un-assumingly made his way to the door, I heard about 6 people say, “Bye Joe! See ya, Joe! Love ya, Joe!”

It’s not that I¬†know your name. Everybody knows your name.

We are the CHEERS of Fremont. Just, ya know, without the booze.

Well. There may be booze.

It’s worked because we care about our clients. When Julie walks in, I know. We’ve got to turn the music down and the fans up. When Colleen walks in, we turn off Pandora and play gospel.¬†When Kathy comes in, I know I’m going to learn about mileage increases and the latest in the Republican party (both state and national).¬†She reminds me of my late Aunt Betty, only my late Aunt Betty was a yellow-dog Democrat and Kathy is, ya know, not.

Today an intern looked on as two of my clients covered adoption, abortion, the girl scouts and planned parenthood. For the record, we also talked about surprising ways to get your daily intake of protein.

I pulled the intern aside.

I say to her. For the record. You¬†should never talk politics or religion with your clients. It’s a really bad idea.

But I do. All the time. Everyday. With my little family.

We just finished our taxes for year one.

And by we, I don’t mean we.

But I watched every expense, every purchase, every dollar that came and went during the past year. I don’t watch it because money is super important to me.

Although, admittedly I would rather have it as opposed to not having it.

I watched it because my desire is to be a good steward of the investment that my clients are making in themselves and in Club Fitness.

I watched it because I wanted to be a good steward. I wanted to serve the clients who were believing in us by giving Club Fitness a chance.

My prayer is that the Lord will be glorified in each decision that we make. And while the learning curve has been less of a curve and more like a figure 8 (or, ya know, something harder than a curve), yes, while it has been steep, ¬†I’m so very thankful to the Lord for His provision and protection.

I have know idea what tomorrow will bring. Today, (sidebar and not at all what this blog is about,) brought bitter disappointment. The kind of disappointment that leaves your heart with this weird hollow feeling. The kind of disappointment that makes oreo cookies and milk seem like a good idea even though you can’t remotely figure out why there are¬†oreo cookies in the house. ¬†But I was talking about tomorrow. Wait. We aren’t supposed to worry about tomorrow. So I’ll stick with today.

Today, we have enough $ to pay next month’s rent.

Today, we have enough $ to pay our mortgage, and evidently feed our children oreos.

Today I have a team of incredibly special people who for some crazy reason have chosen me to be their coach.

Today I ran. Starting point was my house. Finish line, the studio.

And the finish line, as I like to say, is only the beginning.

(And for the record I just started saying that yesterday.)




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