Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “May, 2016”

My Place

I did it again.

Got burned.

I had sunblock. I even loaned sunblock to my fellow baseball mom, burning in the sun.

It never once dawned on me that I, too, should apply.

Good grief. How many times does it take to learn the hard lessons?


Or more.

I think that’s actually how many times we are supposed to forgive a person.

I struggle with that, too.

It feels as though I live my life walking a very thin beam. I fall to the left and I’m too quiet and too reserved and do nothing to speak up for myself.

I fall the right and I can’t shut-up and I can’t turn the other cheek and I have this ridiculous need to keep talking and keep talking and I dig.

The biggest. dang. hole.

The balance of a step-mom is even thinner. It’s like walking a high-wire rope.


And fat.

With big feet.

And dangit. I’d been doing so well. Like the emoji with zipper lips.

And then I stumbled.

“Let’s remember your place, ” She says.

Yes. And. Well.

I so wanted to say.

Let’s remember yours.

But I didn’t. Instead, I kept a quiet heart.


Coulter and I were having “church” in the car. Car church consists of K-LOVE radio with a few side comments thrown in, in an effort to ease the missing-church-for-a-baseball-game-guilt.

We listen.  “Tell me, lest I forget, who I am to you.”

Who I am to You.

I turned the music down and I took Coulter back a night.

We had been driving back from a wedding.

I had the cruise on 65 in a 60.

We came upon a small town and I slowed.

We heard this strange WHOOP sound. Coulter said, “Weird! What was that sound?”

“I don’t know. I think it was a train.”

I turned to him and made a shrugging sign and as I turned back to face forward I noticed that my review mirror was set for my husband.

I lowered it.

And then I saw it.

Flashing lights all over the dang place.

For me!

Evidently when cars don’t stop they give you a “WHOOP”.

The deputy had been trying to pull me over for more than a mile and called in another deputy because I wasn’t stopping.

“Tonight in the heartland. A wild mom and son chase broke out in small-town Pender Nebraska.”


I let the lyrics sink in. Then I confessed.

The reason mom didn’t notice the officer last night was because I was angry. I was distracted by that anger and distracted by what my response would be.

He feigned interest and I took that as a green light to continue.

“But what I forgot, Coulter is that we can’t let others tell us who we are.”

And who we aren’t.

We can’t allow others to put us in our place. Or, more to the point, the place they’d like us to be.

My place is on a Rock. Where He keeps my feet secure. Where I can walk the balance beam.

And not fall.

Only God Almighty can tell us our place.



I was raised to be graceful and kind and generous. I was raised to be a magnolia.

But the steel in our family runs super deep and you mess with my family, threaten my lovelies or remind me of “my place” and I’m gonna bless your heart 10 ways to Sunday.


(Dang generational influence of ridiculously loving, opinionated, and strong-willed women.)

But the minute I go there. The minute I remind you of my place and why I’m here and how I got here, well—

It’s like forgetting my sunblock.

I get burned and it’s so.

Not worth it.

In fitness and aging we talk endlessly about core strength.

Last night when I wanted to lash out, I ran to His Word instead. I spoke His Word out loud. Like a mantra to my stubborn head.

A quiet answer turns away wrath.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly.

We are to….speak evil of no-one, avoid quarreling, be gentle and show perfect courtesy to all people.

Perfect flippin’ courtesy? Really, Lord?

And then I think. Yes!

God’s word is core-strength for living the Christian life.

When we don’t know it, don’t read it, don’t spend time in it, our core grows weak and we fall off the beam.

And when we don’t apply sunblock, we get burned.

From Matthew. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

I’m listening, Lord. Except for the 77X7 times that I forget to listen and even then, I know my place—

Is with You.






Shade from the Sun

I love the sun. I love being warm.

Hot, actually.  I love being hot.

People always say that cold is better because you can layer up and get warm but I don’t find that to be true. There are days when I’m so cold, the only thing that warms me up is a hot bath.

And then you have to get out.

I love the sun. I love being warm.

It’s like a blanket from God. It’s like you’re being wrapped in His arms. At the start of spring I will take any moment I have to lie in the sun.

We recently took a weekend trip to Miami.

I don’t need Mexico. I don’t need passports.

I just need the sand.

The water.

And the sun.

Europeans love Miami. Walking down the beach and through town you hear French and German and Italian. Much of the workforce consist of Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans and African-Americans.

So at the risk of sounding racist or elitist, I see no need to leave the country for a beach. Miami offers all the sun and culture that one could hope for.

When I go on a beach vacation, no planning is needed.

I walk from my hotel room to the beach.

And back to my hotel room.

I’m sure Miami has more to offer, but I’m not interested.

I’m also not interested in umbrellas. Why would one spend $400 on a plane ticket to find the sun only to spend $25 to hide it.

And yet they were everywhere.

No thank you. More sun please.

I read and I slept and soaked.

And I burned.

I burned the living fire out of my skin.

Hot. Fire-y. Didn’t wear a bra for 4 days burn.

Yes. I wore sunblock.

Yes. I reapplied.

I tossed and turned that night as I could feel the sheets tearing into my skin. I tore off layer by layer because everything hurt.

My husband looks at me. Didn’t you start with clothes? As if he’s thinking he should’ve remembered if I’d started the night sans jammies.

I paid $15 for a tiny bottle of advil. Another $20 for solarcaire spray. If you’re counting that’s $10 more dollars than the umbrella would’ve cost.

I spent another $20 on a long sleeve t-shirt so that I could go back out into the sun.

Mike and I went for coffee. I spotted a pregnant woman and her husband. She was a petite, beautiful woman who, looking young and rested, was obviously expecting her first child.

Women expecting their 2nd child look different.

I spoke. Pleasant. We’re Americans in a foreign country after all. 🙂

And then I lost it. Like my husband had to usher me out like I was a crazy person, lost it. I told her to enjoy it, to savor it, that it goes by so stupid-fast and I sounded like the old lady who squeezes cheeks and makes little kids run to the other room.

Mike reluctantly left his crying, burning-like-the-sun wife for a day of training.

I went to the room, put on the plush robe provided by the hotel that I desperately want to steal and flipped through channels.

I decided on a movie about two children dying from cancer. Because nothing says vacation like watching a ridiculously sad movie.

I cry. I spray solarcaire. I pop more advil.

And then I went to the spa. Unfortunately the only thing I’d let them touch were my toes. Toenails don’t  get burned.

Mike returned. A newly certified USA Powerlifting coach and he sees the tissue surrounding the remote.

“Oh no,” He says. “Did you run into more pregnant women?” 🙂

We walked the streets of Miami beach that night. We listened to the accents and the stories. We saw the homeless, the street-sleeping, least-of-these.

We are all.

The least of these.

We’ve been back now for over a week. My tummy is a flaky mess, a reminder of a day well spent. It’s storming and I’m scrolling through Facebook. Seeing pictures of rainbows and lightning, and searching for information on a Fremont child fighting for his.

And praying. For the unknown.

Psalm 91:4.

He will shelter you with his wings. You will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like  a shield or a protective wall.

I’ve prayed that many times. That the Lord would shelter me under His wings but I’m getting it in a whole new way today.

God’s shelter is like a giant umbrella protecting us from our own ignorance of chasing too much sun.

God’s wings offer safety from the burn and when the hurting of this life is too much, we can run there.

My prayer is the hurting families this morning will do just that. Run to Him.

And stay.

And for access, we don’t have to pay the $25 umbrella fee.

Jesus paid in full.





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