Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “September, 2016”

Happy-ish Birthday

I’m kind-of over happy.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want you to wish me a happy birthday.


I’m just over needing to feel happy.

On my birthday or any other day. I’ve decided happy was never the point.

Never the aim of Christ.

I have finished Jen’s book, “For the Love.”  I want to move to Austin and be her BFF.

Except I have beautiful friends here. Oh, and a husband.

And children.

Who, today are gone. Thus my being over the whole need to be happy thing.

*I kinda wanna tell you that I’ve given up a rather huge holiday every year because it falls on their Dad’s birthday. But if I told you that, and told you again how my kids are gone today, my birthday, then I would get sad.

And probably a little bit mad.

And nobody wishes anyone an angry birthday.

“Angry birthday, Myra Katherine!”

Plus I don’t like fireworks.

Fun-hater. I know.

Midwesterners love fireworks.

Love them. I’ve seen regular-ol people spend more on a night of sparkly fun then I make in an entire year.

So, while I feel very righteous and sanctimonious (I think I feel sanctimonious. I need to look that word up.), the truth is I know my kids will have more fun with their Dad.

On his birthday. Which just happens to be a major holiday.

With fireworks.

Anyway, the book. I finished it last night while pretending to watch football with my husband.

We had my birthday dinner at 4:30 so we could be home for kick-off. (My idea. He totally insisted he didn’t need to see the first kick-off. I am smarter than that. And I have no desire to be twice-divorced).

(For the Love, I can’t remember the new rule. Period inside the parenthesis or out? Please help.)

The only problem with dinner at 4:30 is that I pretty much looked fantastic and ya know, nobody else in the entire universe eats dinner at 4:30!

Earlier, birthday shopping and Razorback-football-game-day shopping (woo-pig), Mike was in the fancy chair that is reserved for Mothers and Husbands and I was behind the beautiful curtain that actually fully closes (note to Athleta: your curtains are too short. If I can see you, I know you can see me. Stop it. Get new curtains. It’s weird.)

Side note: The biggest differences between Big 10 football and SEC football is that Big 10 fans wear team apparel. Herby Husker t-shirts. Corn-on-the-cob hats. Sparkly N’s. This is the culture (more relaxed) and functional (it is either blazing hot or freeze-your-face-off cold.) And SEC fans, dress.

You many not be able to afford next month’s rent, and eating that week is optional, but you will be sporting a new game-day ensemble.

Ensemb. As Emma Claire would say.

She also says, “Totes. Adorbs.”

Jesus, help us. Mike is threatening to move to the garage.

Dressing Room. I hear this super high-pitched, “H-hi Mike.”

I have ninja ears. I got so tickled. Someone was way surprised to run into my husband in a women’s dressing room.

I don’t blame her. I can just imagine the feeling. Dang-it!! Why did I wear this herby husker t-shirt. Of all the days!

I tried on 2 or 3 more things. Added shoes. A belt. A purse. Cover the shoulders. Off the shoulders. Wrap it all up. Undress-re-dress. And this woman never came back out of the dressing room.

Does anyone else think this is weird? Maybe she’s a ninja too.

A ninja who apparently, at some point way long ago, had gone out with my husband.

Bless her heart.

I can’t remember what I planned to write about? Oh.

Jen’s book. What?

I am not obsessed.

The absolute funniest line in the book is not a line at all. It’s letters. Poking fun at something I have long poked-fun at.

(I know you’re not supposed to end a sentence with at. DQ friends, ask my Mother where something is at. I dare you.

Or my sister. Or my cousins. Or my aunts. Or anyone who is anyway related to my Grandmother Pearl.

Between the a and the t.)

But you can see how we would immediately be BFF’s, yes? When you make fun of the same things.

The letters.

WWAVD? What would Ann Voskamp do?

I realize that you need to read Ann’s books and Jen’s books for this to be funny, but if you don’t have time for that (and you should so make time for that) then you’ll have to take my word for it.

It’s funny stuff.

She tells a fantastic story of awesome (read: not awesome) parenting and ends the chapter with:


That’s what Jen Hatmaker would do.

This is funny because Christians are obsessed with WWJD? And I’ve always thought that was the dumbest thing (no offense if you have the bumpersticker) ever.

I think I’ve written this before. We don’t ever, ever, ever, have to wonder what Jesus would do.

We have an entire History book that is true and living and it tells us what Jesus did.

He would do what He did do.


For the Love.

I can’t quit saying that.

Bless my heart.


I just noticed that I have a text. What?  It’s 6:00 a.m.

11:39 p.m. Last night.

“Happy Happy Birthday.”

That’s two happy’s


Raising a son who thinks to send his mom a text at 11:39 at night? Raising a son who remembers his moms birthday that late? Raising a son who was still awake at 11:30 p.m. and is so gonna be in so much trouble.


Not kidding.

My lil guy. My heart.

Perhaps it’s gonna be a happy birthday after all.





That’s my word today.

Compromise is good. Compromise is necessary.

Compromise is understanding and listening and finding a way.

You know what else it is?

Settling and conceding and “accepting standards that are lower than is desirable.” (dictionary of some sort when you google compromise).


When do you do it? When is compromise life-giving, and soul-feeding, and relationship-building?

And when is it crushing, life-sucking, light-extinguishing yuk.

I couldn’t think of another word except yuk.

That’s the thing about words. Sometimes you grab hold of a sparkly word like BLESS! And sometimes you think of YUK.

I have compromised and I have defended the compromise and I have excused the compromise and I have celebrated the compromise.

And I have, more times than I’d care to acknowledge, accepted standards that were lower than desirable.

Far lower.

When it’s not give and take and it’s only take—that’s not compromise.

That’s wall-flower. I have paid my dues on the wall.

Sitting down. Staying back.

Yesterday Emma Claire wanted something. Needed something.

It was an emergency, y’all! Life was crashing in and panic ensued in the “I’m an impassioned and precious 8-year-old girl and my every need must be met” kind of a way.

But then she paused and there was an earth-shattering surprise.

She softened. She offered another suggestion. (I know, right? I’m thinking it was my super calm reaction and awesome parenting).


“Perfect!” I said. “What a good compromise!”

I’ll be 44 on Sunday.

Have I mentioned this?

And slowly, the Lord is teaching (well, more like slowly I am learning,) what it means to make a good compromise.

And likewise, what it means to do the hard thing and refuse compromise. Refuse a life “settled for.” To stand-up against  “standards that are lower than desirable.”

Nichole Nordeman sings, “Why did I take this vow of compromise?

Why did I settle?

And why do I continue to find myself there. Here. In the vow.

As if this is holy work.

It’s not.

The middle ground is not sacred ground.

Jesus did not skirt the middle.


And I’m searching for a example of when He compromised.

“Peter, it’s Me. Your Lord. Come on out into the water.”

“Uh, yeah. No thanks. Pretty good here in the boat.”

“Ok, no problem dear Peter. I’ll just walk to you. I don’t want to inconvenience you or make you do one bless-ed thing you don’t want to do.”

Keeping the peace.  Dang middle-child.

Keeping peace is not finding peace.

Keeping peace is not knowing peace.

Jesus says that we must lose our life to save it. Losing is not keeping.

This week I made hard choices.

I did hard things.

And the old demons of failure and rejection and not being good enough or smart enough or anything—


Came circling ’round.

But here’s the thing, friends. I’m seeking peace.

I’m no longer seeking to keep it.


True peace that only comes from the Prince of Peace.

And here’s what I know today.

It isn’t found in the middle ground. Because no-where in His Word can I find him there.

In the middle.

Yesterday, sitting on the deck with a dear friend, I noticed the first colors of fall.

Fall is coming. And the God who makes all things new is about to put on a grand display of just how beautiful change can be.

Just how beautiful letting go can be.

The leaves will fall and settle and land in the middle.

But I won’t.





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