First Grade and Freckles

Eighteen school days left until summer vacation. Eighteen days before time has passed and life changes again. Sometimes I look at my littlest Grace lying on the floor, feet propped up on the hearth of the fireplace, thumbing through her word wall words, saying each one of them out loud, and I watch the freckles on her nose and it hurts. How can freckles hurt so much? It’s like my heart will explode from holding so much love in there. It’s worse than a stomach ache after eating too much chocolate cake. An actual physical pain that literally makes me want to double over and when I dwell on it, I feel a little insane because I can’t quite grasp the concept of motherly love. It makes no sense. And yet my senses overwhelm me on a daily basis. It’s like I am truly aware with each passing moment that each moment is passing before I can truly be aware of it. I have been thinking a lot lately about how there is such a fine line between joy and sorrow and they both feel pretty painful. This love makes me want to cry and laugh and dance and mourn all at the same time. I would never wish for time to stand still. I would die of boredom for sure. But when I look at the freckles on my baby girl’s nose, it’s like they’re developing right before my eyes. Like watching a flower bloom in fast motion on sped-up film. She wasn’t born with those freckles. And in a few years, makeup will cover them up. And they’re so cute! I want to touch them and pinch the cheeks that they rest upon and smother them with kisses. But they’re not my freckles. They’re her freckles. And though she came from me, she is not a part of me. She is becoming more her own person with each passing day and one day she’ll break away completely.

Soon, we’ll be completely done with first grade. All five people in our family will have completed first grade and we will never do first grade again until one of my daughters has a child of her own. Then it will be time for another time.

Life is surreal. And it makes me want to burst out of my heart.

I Hate HighMAT

I had a bad night last night. I discovered something that made me mad. Hopping mad. In fact, if I were a cusser, I would cuss. If I were a spitter, I would spit. But I’m neither of those things. I’m a crier, so I cried. I made the tragic discovery that all of my pictures that I have transferred to CD over the last couple of years have been significantly reduced in quality and there is no way to get back my originals. I had to back up my pictures some way, right? I mean, they can’t stay on my computer forever. They’re way too big and take up too much room, so the logical thing to do is to put them on a CD and delete them off my computer. Isn’t that what other photographers do? I have no idea, really. I am an artist, not a technician. Here’s an example of how technical I am:

The other day I decided it was high time do something about the mud pit under our trampoline. So I found this bag of grass seed that’s been in our shed for about 50 years, tore it open and began flinging it joyfully and unrestrainedly all over the large circle of mud. It was called a grass seed dance. Once the whole bag was dumped, I thought “Hmmmm, something looks weird about all of this grass seed laying on top of the ground about an inch thick. Maybe some of it should be under the ground.” So I went back to the shed and found this little jabbie hoe thingy and I went back to the mud pit-turned-grass seed bed and I began to jab and fling mud and grass seed everywhere. It was fun. It was called a jabbie hoe thingy dance. So now there is a hole-y mud pit with grass seed laying one inch thick over the top of it and maybe some of the seed is down in the holes too. Only now, since it hasn’t rained in a couple days, it’s not really mud anymore. Maybe I’ll water it today to turn it back into mud. I’ll let you know if grass grows. And I’ll teach you my grass seed jabbie hoe thingy dance, if you’re interested.

Anyway, back to the technical part of digital photography….. Whenever I burn my photos to CD, there’s always this little box that pops up and says, “In order to make your CD HighMAT compatible, it may be necessary to convert some of your files. Do you want to proceed?” What the heck do I know? I only know I don’t want to think too hard about HighMAT. What a stupid word anyway. So I proceeded. For years. And only last night did I discover that my beautiful pictures, which used to be between four and five megabytes are now between four and five hundred kilobytes. Which basically means that what I used to be able to print at a 20×30 size or larger can now be no larger than 8×10. Weep with me, my friends. If you want, you can try to explain to me what the heck HighMAT is and why it’s taking over the world. But I’ll probably just cry harder. I want to go back to film.

Things Grace Thinks About

“Mom, you know something I don’t get? Okay, you know how there’s New York and there’s Mexico… And I know New York is not next to Mexico, but say it was. You know, like now I’m in New York (steps to the left), now I’m in Mexico (steps back to the right), now I’m in New York, now I’m in Mexico…..Well, how come if it’s snowing in New York, then it’s not snowing in Mexico? I mean, is there just a line or something?”


So, Leslie, what are you doing today?

Mmmmmm……just cleaning and stuff.

But I thought you said you were never going to clean again???

Yes, I did say that but sometimes I lie. I have a very wise brother who once said that it’s fun to lie just like the devil. Only the devil lies to deceive people and my brother lies to be funny. I think that’s wise.

Ah. I see.

I also have a very wise friend who commented on my blog yesterday. She told me that the most hospitable people have the least clean houses. She said she likes to clean her house and then go over to hospitable people’s houses so that hers stays clean. I think that might be one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard. My thinking was all wrong. I don’t need to stop cleaning – I need to stop being hospitable.

So you’re never going to have anyone over again?


Is this one of those times when you’re lying for fun?

No. I’m absolutely serious this time. I’ve never been more serious. I’m just going to meet people at the park or something from here on out. My house is going to stay clean that way.

What about your kids? Won’t they make a mess?

I’m glad you brought that up. I’ve been giving it some thought and I’ve decided that they need to go. A person’s got to have priorities and mine is now my clean house. All the wise people that comment on my blog have inspired me. From now on, no more kids. No more company. No more eating dinner. And no more using the bathroom.

Wow. That IS true wisdom.

Thank you. I’ve got more to impart if you ever need it.

Part Two of Too

The following is more than I can handle. It’s probably not more than you can handle, but if it is, I apologize. It’s just that I can’t reduce it. I can’t reduce my life, so why should I reduce my pictures? Some things have got to go. I realize that. I have decided that I shall never clean my house again. Ever. I said the same thing once before about writing blog posts and a lot of people thought I was serious, but I wasn’t. Those same people might be tempted this time around to think that I am joking. I am not joking. I have resigned myself to living in utter chaos and filth for the rest of my life. Forever. Oh well. I’ll keep taking pictures and doing laundry (at least) and making dinner (or ordering in) and loving my kids and hanging out with my family that I rarely see and when they leave (on Wednesday), I’ll cry.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the last week and a half or so of Robbie and Janet and Simeon and Nathanael’s visit and Simeon’s second birthday party and some of the people that are filling my heart to the brink. When it spills over, I’ll be reduced to a puddle. I’m sure of it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Too full.

Too sick.

Too busy.

Too tired.

Too foggy.

Too worried.

Too emotional.

Too surrounded.

Too understanding.

Too close to tears.

Too unsure of exactly what all the toos are.

But it’s where I am today.


It’s a weird word.

The Lord's

A few years ago I had the privilege of being the photographer at a wedding. This was before I was really doing much photography, so it was truly a great honor. It was the wedding of my friends, Nathan and Lauren. Yesterday I was honored once again to be able to take pictures of another significant event. This time Nathan wasn’t in the pictures, but his son was. This time the pictures were taken to show that he is missed by those he left behind. After he went home last November, a number of people who were close to him went out and got a tattoo that he had wanted to get. The tattoo is in Hebrew and loosely translated, it means “The Lord’s.” This weekend, all the people with the tattoo were here in Dallas. His wife, his brothers, his sister, his cousin, his friend (my brother). They were all at church on Sunday and I couldn’t help but get choked up when we sang the last hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

…And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

We’ll all be home soon with Nate. In the meantime, it is a blessing to know this beautiful family and to live this life surrounded by love. Thanks for asking me to do these pictures, Lauren.