Once Upon This Time

Once upon a time, I was an archeologist.  The thrill of ancient discoveries eclipsed the drudgery, toil, and sweat until I hardly even noticed them. I also led an exciting life as a special agent, traveling the world incognito. (I would tell you some of the places I’ve been, except that’s classified.) Perhaps one of my more gruesome jobs was serving as a medical examiner, and my most political one involved the underground resistance to an oppressive regime that forced children to fight to the death. I survived the Civil War, held on to Tara, and lost my true love because I held on to the idea of love rather than the reality.

….But since my passport has exactly zero stamps, I must be delusional, a time traveler, or an avid reader!

Losing myself in a book is one of my favorite activities. I get excited about upcoming book releases the way some people get excited about football season. (I also like football season because it gives me an excuse to read while my husband watches the games!)

One of my earliest memories is the day I discovered that I could no longer look upon letters are mere squiggles on a page.  I peered at the newspaper, at billboards, and at roadside signs and marveled at the meaning those squiggles made and the pictures they formed in my head.

Some books I read and re-read so often, they became like close friends. For a moment, while I lost myself in the pages of a book, I was no longer an ordinary, unremarkable, awkward tween.  Instead, I survived on deserted islands, heroically endured hardship at an orphanage, solved mysteries that baffled the police, and traveled on a tesseract in a quest to find my father. Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, and the Berenstein Bears were as familiar — and loved — to me as the stuffed animals on my bed.

Lately I’ve become aware of how much I love stories.  Even within my photography, I love those pictures the most that convey a story and evoke emotion, like this one:

The story here is a bit obvious — Bella has been joyfully digging. A lot. She is reveling in the feel of the grunge on her face and the coolness of the sand under her belly.  It was one of those super-hot Texas summer afternoons.  After this picture was shot, she took off for the pool to do a little wading and muddying!

On the other hand, LittleBit Lacee would not be caught dead with dirt encrusting HER nose.  I melt every time I see this expression on her face.  I don’t know why, but this little girl ADORES me unconditionally.  And I just soak it up.

While I have traveled through books to exotic locales, solved mysteries that baffled the authorities, fled the Yankees through fire in Civil War-era Atlanta, discovered amazing artifacts on archeological digs, protected state secrets, met Mrs. Whatsit, and teamed up with Peeta to confound the corrupt powers-that-be….the stories of my REAL life take my breath away with beauty, and I am awestruck at the blessings God continues to bring, once upon this time.


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