My First Blog Book

Well, I did it. I worked on it for about a year. I’m not obsessive or anything. Here’s the link if anyone is interested:

The First Year
By Leslie Linebarger

I can’t believe how happy I am with this book. It’s the whole reason I started this blog in the first place. I wanted something in writing for my girls. And now I have it, in a beautifully bound hardcover book. It is such great quality, I’m actually excited to begin working on the second year. And that’s saying something, because I was ready to tear my hair out by the time I got to page 100 or so. This book is 287 pages long too so you can imagine how much hair I’m missing now. The good news is that if there’s anybody out there who wants to do something like this with your own blog and you just have a straightforward regular old blog, then I highly recommend visiting this site by clicking on my book up there. If you’ve got blogspot, wordpress, typepad and probably a couple other regular old blogs, all you’ve got to do is press a couple buttons and SLURP, your blog will be imported, just like that. Me, I’ve got some kind of other party-hosting blog that my fun-loving party-hosting husband set up on our own little site so I was out of luck. We sure do have fun around here! Woooooo!

Anyway, I took the long route and copied and pasted every post and every comment and re-uploaded all my photos at full quality and changed all the fonts individually and basically had not a clue if a year’s worth of tedious work was even going to be worth it all. But it was, my friends. It was. I love this book. I don’t even care that it’s filled with little odd weird things, like comments pushed off to one side or page numbers missing or fonts gone screwy. I’m obsessive, but I am by no means a perfectionist. So here it is, in all its imperfect glory. You can even order a copy, if you’d like. But I realize that at $69.95, probably only my mom will.

I Remember

One year ago today, our dear friend and brother went to be with the Lord. He went home. We didn’t know he was going to do that. I have thought about him every single day since he left. I have thought of his family. I have lifted them up in prayer.

Lauren asked for stories on her blog of ways that Nathan’s life affected people. I have been thinking about this all day. He was a remarkable young man. Through his life and his death, he has inspired many people to live bigger and love deeper. I am one of those people. Seriously, the stories this guy lived are truly amazing.

But I find myself on this day simply remembering. Nathan was a part of my life since the day he was born. He was like family. My memories of him are mostly from childhood. And childhood memories can be kind of fuzzy, but they’re mostly good and warm and feel like home. I have some pictures that I have taken over the years that I want to share here today, so that he can be remembered. It’s good to remember. In fact, I’ve learned a lot about remembering over this last year. Jesus told us to remember Him whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup of communion. I didn’t live on earth when Jesus did, I’ve never looked upon His face and I didn’t watch Him die or see His resurrected body. But His life and death and resurrection have affected my life more than can be expressed. In fact, without Him my life is meaningless. Somehow, that all makes a little more sense to me now than it ever did before. Whenever I walk by my refrigerator and see the picture of Nathan and think about how he’s now with my Lord, I remember. I remember my Lord, even though I’ve only ever known Him in my heart. And when I take the bread and the cup, I remember. I remember better than I did before.

We sang a hymn in church again last Sunday that has become very meaningful to me. I love the whole thing, but I especially love the last verse:

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Nathan 3

Nathan 2

Nathan 1

Nathan 5

Nathan 4

cover page

It Ain't Pretty

Do you see that? That’s my arm. My forearm, actually. One would think that one would know how these things happen, wouldn’t one? But I am one and I don’t. I don’t have the slightest idea how my arm came to look like this. These things happen to me all time. I don’t know if I’m just the clumsiest person alive or what. Last month I was putting clean sheets on Sadie’s bed and for the next week and a half I had the ugliest bruises on both of my hips where I kept bumping into the corner of her bed. Both hips…identical. At least I knew how those got there. This thing on my arm is a mystery though. And it itches! But when I scratch it, it hurts. Speaking of hurt, going to the movies hurts. I went twice this week and I am finally realizing that my knees always hurt all day after I go to the movies because they just make those seats too high. I’m not all that short either. I’m what you call average. But tall people rule the world, I think. Tall people and hot-blooded people. When you have to sit in a seat that’s just a little too high off the ground for two or more hours, it kinda hurts your knees. There are only so many ways to try to get comfortable. I try to cross and uncross my legs a dozen times, put my feet on the seat in front of me, sit criss cross applesauce, and even use my purse as a footstool. But nothing works. By the end of the movie, my knees are aching. Maybe that’s why my legs are always bruised up. Maybe I bruise them when I cross and uncross them fifty kazillion times. Maybe they’re bruised because they’re always cold. Maybe poor circulation makes me be always cold AND get bruised easily. Maybe. But I wonder how this bruise got on my arm…

The Day Before Thanksgiving

I just spent a semi-sleepless night with five 12 and 13 year old girls. In case you don’t remember (or never were one), 12 and 13 year old girls are very silly. There was quite a lot of giggling and stuff. I slept some, waking up every half hour or so to go and check on them. I walked in the living room once and they were all crowded around one of the other girls’ cell phones, yelling silly things to some boy named Trevor. Hmmmmm. I finally came out around 4:00am and found all five of them asleep with all the lights on and the main menu to a movie on the TV screen, loudly repeating its endless loop of a 30 second music clip. It was like five human girls had been turned into statues of stone in Narnia. Four of them were sprawled on the couch, arms and legs everywhere, mouths wide open in deep slumber. One (my daughter) was on the floor with the blanket over her head. She’s slept that way since she was a baby. I used to check on her every night and unwrap the blanket that she had tightly wound around her head. It’s a wonder she’s never suffocated.

It was a fun night. They played three games of laser tag, ate lots of junk food, danced to Grease music, watched M. Night Shyamalan movies and giggled. Boy, did they giggle. Sadie has officially taken over my role as the family photographer. She took a million pictures with my camera last night. I like the way she sees. Every single one of the following pictures was taken by Sadie, except for the one of Sadie, which was taken by Grace. I have been replaced. I can now be the one dancing to You’re The One That I Want instead of the one taking pictures of everyone else dancing.















I didn’t sleep too well. I’m what you might call a not sleeper too weller. Even after I did the final check at 4:00am and all five girls were sound asleep, I just went back to bed and laid there wide awake with my heart pounding, thinking about how I have a teenager now. I didn’t even take the blanket off her face. I used to, when she was two but now she’s thirteen (or will be in four days) and I figure she must have it there because she wants it there.

There’s a cold front blowing through on this, the day before Thanksgiving. You should see the Fall leaves swirling like mad up and down my street. What a great day for a cold front.

This day is the Lord’s. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

The Saturday Morning Before Thanksgiving

I wake up at 6:50, as the first soft light appears through my curtains and bathes my room in a gentle glow. It calls to me. “The day is all yours,” it whispers. “Make something beautiful of it.” I swear to you, I heard it say that to me. I try to go back to sleep, (this is ridiculous after all – it’s not even 7:00am on a Saturday morning) but it’s just not happening. I put my velvety brown warm-up suit on over my nightgown and my striped fuzzy socks in varying shades of blue on my feet and patter out to the kitchen, stopping at the thermostat to turn the heat up to 70. The house is quiet. Everyone’s still sleeping – even Togo. I empty out the beans that are in my lovely coffee machine because I just don’t want coffee made from THOSE beans when the good stuff arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I fill it with the new beans and wait for the blinking red h-e-a-t-i-n-g light to change to r-e-a-d-y while I consider making myself a wonderfully tasty breakfast to go with the coffee. I decide not to because I’m just not hungry yet and I really want to taste great food at the height of hunger. I swear I heard the day whisper again “Wait for it…wait for it…” I take my book, the one that I got yesterday, the one that I’ve really been wanting to read, and settle into my couch in the front room, wrapped in an old comforter from the bedroom my girls used to have, back when they were babies. I read while I sip the delicious, warm, black liquid, lightened by cream. I read and I lose myself in the lives of people I don’t know, people that are not even real and yet, I feel like I am connected to them in some way. Hours pass. I hear bedroom doors open, one by one as my little pie-pooskies wake up and shuffle past me to the kitchen, in search of their own Saturday morning nutrition and routine and comfort. Finally, at 9:30, hunger calls. I reluctantly put the book down, because I can no longer ignore the shaking in my hands and in my blood. I heat up the skillet, I pull a piece of toasting bread out of the freezer, then another one as Grace asks if I’ll make her a piece of toast with jelly on it. I melt the butter on the skillet, enjoying the sizzling sound. I crack open the brown egg and use the spatula to create a perfect circle of white around the yellow as the liquid turns to solid before my eyes. I do not grow impatient with the egg because I’ve learned that the perfect egg requires patience. At exactly the right time, I flip it, helping some of the yellow to leak out. Some, but not all. I butter and jelly the toasts, giving one to Grace. I sit down with her and cut into the egg. A masterpiece, I tell you. It takes one full bite and halfway through another before the minimal amount of uncooked yolk finally finds its way through the larger amount of cooked yolk and spills onto my plate. I look at my kitchen cabinets and think about how I’d like to paint them white before Christmas. I wonder if I can do both the kitchen AND the blue-flowered wallpaper in the living room before Christmas. I think I can. Anything’s possible on this Saturday morning before Thanksgiving.

Grace finishes her toast, takes her paper towel to the trash and says, “Thank you for the toast, Mommy. It was really good.”

You’re welcome, Gracie-pie-poosky.


This day is mine. I have named it and claimed it.

For Those of You Who Have Asked…

Here is a video of the song that our gospel choir sang at church a couple months ago. It’s completely unedited, in all its teal glory, but fun nonetheless. I had fun, anyway. It’s especially fun that all three of my daughters, my husband and both of my parents are singing, as well as many other people that are very dear to me. The wonderful soloist with the angelic face is Sharifa. And hidden behind the choir, unfortunately out of sight of the camera are Cay on piano, Lyles on bass, Cory on electric guitar and Sean on drums. I am very blessed to be a part of this little church body, surrounded by people that I love so much.