Raising Magnolias

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


A friend invited me to the Belong Tour.

Think thousands of women with Bibles and totes that say “Jesus Loves Me”, pineapple tights worn as leggings and many, many pairs of comfortable shoes.

Sisters, I don’t mean to be unkind, but there is no need for pineapple tights.

Worn as leggings.


Think basketball arena, not enough parking and mens bathroom assigned to women. Side note: The urinals had been covered up with brightly colored, lid-type thingys.



I’d like to clear-up something for the Pinnacle Bank Arena custodians. There is zero chance that a woman is ever gonna need to go that badly.


So to review. Invited to an event with thousands of other women.

Uhm, Ok. Sure. Yes. Just go ahead and stick a fork in my eye and call it good.

As Glennon Doyle Melton would say, I love humanity, I just don’t really like humans.

You’ve seen the mug that says “I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m lying?”

That’s me.

I’m lying.

Unless there’s maybe one or two of you and you have baked goods.

Then I’ll stay.


Or if your name is Glennon. 🙂

Or if you bring me presents. I love presents.

My birthday is just around the…OK.


It’s close, that’s all I’m saying.

Here’s the thing.

Speaking in front of 100 people? Not a problem.

Singing back-up for Mariah Carey and being called to cover for her while she has to use the men’s restroom?

Again. No problemo.

What? That could totally  happen.

Walking into a room of 50, or maybe like 10 people, and m-m-mingling?

That, my friends, is what the Bible refers to as hell.

What? You thought there were flames? No. Hell is small-talk with people I don’t know.

Or don’t like.

Or both.


I’m certain of it.

Hell is a cocktail party. 

But the event line-up was pretty incredible and included a favorite author of mine, as well as, Nichole Nordeman, a Christian Artist who had walked me through my divorce as my imaginary BFF, was performing.

The event morning came. I hadn’t slept well.

I would text my friend and tell her that I didn’t feel well.

No. That’s no good. I would tell her—

That I forgotten about a meeting.

Yes. At 7 p.m. on a Friday night.

It’s a special organization of Friday night meeting people. Duh!

No. I would tell her that my children were sick. Both of them. Yes. At their dads, but still. I can’t leave town under such dire, fake-sickness circumstances.

But before I had a chance to text her, she texted me and said. “I’ve had a terrible week. Thinking about cancelling but I know that’s the enemy talking. The Lord must have something great planned for tonight.”

My friend didn’t want to go? She was going to cancel on me?

Well that’s annoying. Cancelling is my jam, but whatever.

This is perfect. I will drive so that I’m in complete control of this completely out-of-control experience and I will un-wantingly go with my friend who is also un-wantingly going.

Seriously. What could be more fun?

We drove to Lincoln. I expertly navigated the big city and quickly secured parking for $3. I backed into the stall to secure a quick getaway.

We laughed, we cried, we learned. At 9 p.m., we were dismissed for a short break.

A break? At 9 p.m.?

What the?

Dang it! Where is my inhaler?

I can’t breathe. In addition to being a raging introvert, I’m 96 years old.

My bedtime is 8:30. Right after Matlock.

Just kidding.

Not really.

I’ll have to call Mike. Yes. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll explain to him that has to come and get us. Surely he understands that I can’t be expected to drive after 10 p.m.

We stayed. Strangely enough I didn’t lose my shoe or turn into a pumpkin.

And do you know who wasn’t sick? Who performed in those last 45 minutes?

Nichole Nordeman.

Nichole Nordeman. The Christian artist who grew up loving Jesus. The Christian mom who worried about perceptions and sought approval and had a ridiculous need to be liked until the one who’s marriage should’ve made it, didn’t. Until her 10-year marriage crumbled. The Christian speaker who, when asked if she was allergic to anything, joked, “People.”

I understand why she’s my imaginary BFF. She’s me.

Her story. Her words. Her allergies. That’s what the Lord had for me.

For going. For staying. For saying yes when I wanted to say no.

At 10 p.m. we made our way out of the arena and to our car. There are several one-way streets and you have to turn right.

Never mind that home is left.

The traffic stalled and my anxiety grew. There was a little white sign for pedestrians and a flashing yellow arrow for cars. For the LOVE, people this could not be easier!

And yet there we sat.

I started to sweat. Which was a total bummer because I was wearing my friend’s sweater and I hadn’t really planned to wash it, but now I’d have to wash it because I had anxiety sweat and the sincere belief that the person in front of me—Wh0.


No doubt a Jesus-loving woman wearing pineapple tights as leggings and comfortable shoes with a  “We need Jesus y’all” bag and didn’t understand that  yellow meant caution.

I was not being impatient. I simply believed that we would be stuck there. In that line. Unable to turn left or right or back up or go around and y’all hear me!


And my sweet friend and her awesome sweater. They would find it in a pool of sweat and they would write stories about the two women who—

Ok. She finally turned.

Thank you, Jesus.

I saw the sign that said “Home” and I began to breathe again.

Or, maybe it said 1-80.


We got home around 11:30.

That’s P to the M.  Seriously. Such a girls night out that it was almost morning.

And there were other cars on the street.


Just kidding. I don’t say that.

But seriously, go to bed people and tomorrow, for the Love of us all, please review your wardrobe. Underwear is actually designed to go under something, not to be worn as a stand-alone item even if, or perhaps especially if, they are covered in fluorescent pineapples. Also keep in mind that flashing yellow arrows, when there are no cars coming and no people crossing mean—bless your dang little heart—that you may proceed with caution.


And now. I will proceed. Of course, with caution.

I’ve said lately that writing is hard for me. That’s not really true. Writing is still easy. It’s pushing PUBLISH that’s hard. It’s writing something good that’s hard. It’s walking on a balance beam of appropriate-ness, not hurting feelings, but still telling the Truth that’s hard.


This week, I’m going to write regardless. I’m going to press publish regardless. I’m going to take you on a journey.


Of whether you read.

Of what you think.

Of what you say.

This week. I’m gonna write. Every day.

See y’all tomorrow.



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