Budding Photographists

The other day Sadie and Grace asked if they could borrow my camera to take some pictures of each other. It was one of those questions from Grace that started with, “You’re prolly gonna say no, but…..” She asks those questions multiple times daily. And she’s right too. I usually say no. At first I said no to this question too. And then I thought, “Why did I say no? That makes no sense at all. What’s wrong with you, Leslie?” So I called them back in the room and told them I changed my mind. I sent them away with the huge flash attachment on top and everything with no instructions whatsoever on how to adjust any settings, thinking it would be interesting to just let them experiment.

Here are some of what I found on my memory card later:








Fourteen is More Than Thirteen

In so many ways. More height, more depth, more thought, more emotion, more independence, more beauty, more of my heart given over to love…

Yes, Callie turned fourteen last week. So you’ll have to wait for the Thanksgiving pictures. Her birthday was first.

What do you get when you cross five fourteen year old girls with two sisters, ages eleven and eight, with four nephews, ages one through three? Well, lots and lots of pictures, for starters. And a whole ton of a lot of noise. And not much sleep for anybody.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


















My New Favorite Color is Purple (Oh wait, that was my OLD favorite color too)

How can it be that nobody’s ever told me about this delectable fruit?


Me, I’m not a fruit person. I’m a chocolate person. I’m a cream person. I’m a coffee person. Fruits? I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. You know, sometimes I force myself to eat a banana every day so I don’t wake up screaming and hopping around the room with foot cramps in the middle of the night. Apples are supposedly good for something, so sometimes I’ll eat a half of a slice of one. Oranges are just flat out too much work for something that’s almost always bitter and stringy. And don’t even get me started on pineapples and my geographic tongue.

But this month, I was introduced to pomegranates. Did you hear the angelic choir start to sing when you read that word? Pomegranates. They’re amazing. Just one pomegranate can feed a whole family of five for a month. You get to dig in them with your fingers and squirt purple stains everywhere and pop the kernels in your mouth one at a time or by the fistful. I like to experiment. There’s no wrong way to eat a pomegranate. They even crunch when you bite them. Like corn nuts. But a lot softer. And oh, the taste, as the juice bursts into every crevice of your mouth. I’m addicted! And I want to share my addiction with the world!

I’ve even been eating them for dessert. Me. Leslie Linebarger. Eating something other than chocolate for dessert. Trust me. This beautiful, weird fruit is beautifully, weirdly delicious.

So don’t be alarmed next time you see me and my permanently purple-stained lips and fingernails. Where do pomegranates grow, anyway? I want to move there.

Frio Jugar


We just saw Coldplay at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Oh, but they make me feel. The funny thing about their music is that I never really understand the words and even when I read them, I still don’t understand what they’re talking about most of the time. But the feel of the music is what Coldplay’s all about for me. It’s a good, good, hopeful feel.

They did make me cry once. One time. And I totally wasn’t ready for it. The minute they started playing “Fix You,” I was transported in time. Back to this month, two years ago, when I really heard that song for the first time, the week that Nathan died. I’ll never forget flying home from Oregon after his funeral. We flew over the snow-capped mountains of Utah as the sun set in the west and I sat there in my window seat with my face literally pressed against the window, blocking the view from anyone else in my row while I was privileged to witness the most amazing sunset any human eye has ever seen. I’ll never forget that color of orange. I’d never seen it before and I’m quite certain I’ll never see it again this side of Heaven. And I had on my new Bose headphones, plugged into my iPod with “Fix You” blaring in my ears. Tears stream down your face, when you lose something you cannot replace. And as the sun made its final descent, we flew over another mountain peak just in time to see Salt Lake City directly beneath us in that magical time called twilight. I’ll never forget that sight either. The breathtakingly beautiful sight of a city, nestled there somehow, in between all those snow-frosted mountains, with the sky not quite yet black and the lights of the city as brilliantly soft and lovely as any fairy tale could ever imagine. Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you.

And as I sat there tonight, listening once again to that beautiful song, the tears did stream down my face. Because this time it was more than listening. This time it was experienced. Live. In a stadium full of 20,000 or so souls. And the blue light that shone over each one of us made me think about how every single person in there has known loss in some way. But our story isn’t over.

What an amazing experience.

Some more highlights from the night: Politik; the crazy girl in front of us who stood up and danced the whole night, even though no one else in our section was; the whole band walking to the very back row in the bottom section and playing two entire songs there, acoustically; Chris Martin telling all of us to go buy Guns N’ Roses’ new cd so that we could get a free can of Dr. Pepper; Chris Linebarger sitting beside me and calling all the songs in the order they would be played and being right every time. He’s amazing.

I forgot what it’s like to have the bass drum tell my heart when to beat. Even way up in Section 314, row H, it’s like it was inside of me. I think I love that bass drum. Probably all the other drums too, but especially the bass one. I think I love the drummer that was playing them too.

And I don’t even know his name.

Live the life.

Winds of Change

I’m up to the letter C on my alphabetical journey through my iPod. When I started this journey almost a month ago, I had no idea how seasonal it would be. But I’ve come to realize that the alphabet has its own order just like everything else in the universe. And there is definitely a different feel to the songs that I’m listening to, depending on the letter that they start with. I didn’t so much pay attention when I was in the A’s, since it was the start of my journey and I was not yet aware how things would change. But as soon as I got to the B’s, I noticed a difference. Songs that start with the letter B feel so much better than songs that start with the letter A. They’re songs that start with the word “Baby” or “Be” or “Beautiful” or “Beyond.” I mostly breathed deep through the B’s and rested.

And now I’m on the C’s. Songs are starting with “Can’t” and “Chains” and “Change” and “Cold.” So far, they hurt. A lot. And I’m hurting with them. A lot.

I’ve got some things going on in this, the eleventh month of the year two thousand and eight. I’ve been trying to figure out how to express them. Or even if they need expressed. There is definitely a sense of fullness and pain that goes along with the unexpressed. Fullness isn’t so bad, really. For now, I am just living it, hoping it will be absorbed, rather than expressed. The swelling will eventually go down, right? I like the thought of absorption, actually.

The leaves are finally changing colors here in North Texas. They fly through the air in the autumn winds and they flutter to the ground, sometimes thinking they are lighter than the air and floating up again, but eventually they always come down. They come down because they’re dead, never to live again. In their death, they are kicked around by pedestrians, jumped in by children and eventually mulched into oblivion by lawnmowers. I love that there is so much color in the death of this season. There is a lot of color in my heart right now as well. The language of my heart is especially colorful. More colorful than the language of my mouth. Hopefully, my heart is not dying like the leaves. I have to trust that it’s not. Right now, I’m simply trying to revel in the beauty of this broken heart. What was it that you said, Lord? Your yoke is easy and your burden is light? Can I float upon it for awhile? How about the rest of my life?

I realize that I’m not an easy person to be around. I don’t make people feel comfortable. People often apologize after being around me because they feel like they’ve upset me. I rarely feel upset or even if I do, I try hard not to show it. But something about me exudes upsetness, I guess. I love people but I think I need to hug people more. I want to hug people. I think I put off a “don’t hug me” aura. Next time you see me, hug me anyway. I need it. I’ll take a holy kiss as well. I loved being around the beautiful people of France that I met a couple weekends ago. I wished we kissed each other like that here more often.

I completed another year of life this month. I’m now thirty-six years old. I wonder how old that is in dog years? I never thought that fourteen years into motherhood, I’d still be so unsure about it all. I’m always second-guessing myself. Sometimes I’m pretty sure that I’ve caused irreversible damage to my children. Will I still feel that way when I’m thirty-six years into motherhood? Will I be a grandmother then? Will that be just as hard?

We’re changing churches. We’re changing. I’m changing. Change. The letter C.

I am not piecemeal. I am wholly made. My heart was not randomly picked fragments found on some street corner and fit together like a make-do jigsaw puzzle. It was wholly created, together with my body, mind and spirit. I am whole though I feel broken. I can live with that. I was wholly created and I am wholly loved by a holy God. I am alive in that.

Thanks for reading. Happy November.



* Warning: The above song (Changes Come by Over the Rhine) contains one explicit lyric. Please use discretion if children are present.