Raising Magnolias

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

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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