bad day

Photo Credit: Instagram Princess and Empire Builder Extraordinaire J. Burch. Instagram: @jm_burch @theburchhouse.

Sometimes my students grow up to be my friends. Sometimes, strangely, my students even grow up to be extraordinarily special to me in ways I never would have expected, like when they turn out to be hugely successful and I actually seek them out for help or advice.

Under strange and special circumstances, a student even grows up to be the kind of person I deeply admire and envy. Now, that doesn’t happen as often as you might guess, because age and wisdom usually only flow in a single direction, in the way the influence of mentors is supposed to trickle uniquely downward. It happened here though, with this young scribe I once graded and critiqued. She has grown into a mammoth talent, a lifestyle photographer with crazy skillz-with-a-z behind the lens. She is becoming her own Southern wedding empire with three small children in tow, and her #dearjason tributes to her husband belong in Taylor Swift song lyrics.

But that’s not what draws me to her — it’s her writing.

She writes like a person who has totally gone off their meds. She utilizes every piece of punctuation on the keyboard and loves lowercase letters and hashtags more than I love coffee creamer. Her sentences are never complete but neither are her thoughts. She masters stream-of-consciousness like it’s an Olympic sport. And man-oh-man can she convey feeling. Once my eyes adjust to her bizarre formats and I quit trying to subconsciously grade her work, I consume her words like birthday cake. If you could capture in print what your heart is saying, it would look exactly like this. And believe me, she is saying out loud what everyone else is only thinking.

Prepare yourself. This is the mind of Jordan Burch. You won’t find her in bookstores, yet. But one day I think you might.


bad day.

we all have them.
especially as women.
thanks to facebook + instagram, we are instantly connected to the rich and famous, uber beautiful people that we hear about all the time. i mean, did you see George Clooney’s wife. . .she is so stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and then we all have our secret girl crushes as women.
the one with the great hair.
amazing body, even post 4 kids.
the one who “has. it. all”
I am mildly obsessed. with image.
i mean, it’s kind of my job. so i get it, when celebrities post these (what seem like first try “selfies”) and they look magical…..
mine, and millions of other girls major crush is Jessie James Decker.
i automatically double click all of her images on instagram.
she is perfection.
and then i read comments from girls like.
“omg. can this please just be me.”
“need her life ”
and it makes me feel so sad for them. i want to see if they have families. or husbands.
and I won’t lie, I’m like, wow, what a lucky girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
UNREAL genetics.
perfect teeth, and hair.
did I mention she is married to Eric Decker (NFL player who is a beauty as well)
oh yeah, and she has a lovely voice. . . the kind that can sing the National Anthem at her husband’s football game and WOW the crowd.
right.but then all of the sudden after seeing her photo.
my life doesn’t feel as good.
i wouldn’t trade my husband in a million years {most days}
and my kids. i live. for. those. kids. but i start to think. . .
clearly I need extensions too. My hair is so thin textured.
if she can look that way after a baby, after only a few months, and my kid is about to be 4, I mean, what the heck is my problem.
I am so lazy.
my clothes are so frumpy. and i clearly need to whiten my teeth.and then I remember.
Jesus never, ever wanted me to feel that way.
because those things don’t matter to him. even though I want them.  and they are admirable to so many.
all of the sudden, I am self conscious.
random acne has started to appear in strange places since I started working out again.
my hair looks a little thinner every day.
I feel like I will never, ever be my goal weight, or the fittest mom at the park.and this girl, Jessie, well, she just has it all. it’s not fair.but then I remember, so do I . . .and God help me, to not obsess over what I look like in comparison to how much I obsess over being Christ like.
and being Christ-like, isn’t being the prettiest, most liked person in the room. sometimes, being Christ-like means eating my healthy salad, and spending my day washing the dishes from last night in my big girl pants, doing my photography-related duties, folding clothes and picking up jackson’s prints from Walgreens that are due for his school extra credit.
so (for me) it’s not singing the National Anthem at the super bowl, and then spending the evening on a yacht with my NFL husband in my super amazing black heels in my size 2 dress
[although it all sounds sooooooooooooo fun] it’s being kind to the people I talk to at the store.
responding in a much kinder way than I truly want to a harassing message.
taking care of my body and feeding it good, healthy food.
loving my husband and the life that God has blessed me with.
and not even for a minute, lusting after anything (more).
this post is really. long.
the whole reason, that i wrote it, was to talk about how much a great picture of yourself can make you feel so much better.
(now that we are in part 2 of this novel)
yesterday, at the beach, i asked my client to snap a shot of me with her adorable daughter.
and i hated it.
it wasn’t her fault. or certainly her lovely daughter.
but the angle was slightly up, distorting things
(and certainly NOT in my favor)
and I asked the question, most moms ask themselves after seeing a photo that we weren’t really planning for.
hah. but I do. in that picture, it’s me. and unfortunately, not a stand-in who is 20lbs heavier with thinner hair.. . .
but I didn’t cry. because we photogs know a little secret when it comes to making people look good.
thats what. we . get. paid. to . do.
did you hear me there ? ? ?
my job, is to give you a portrait. . .that you LOVE.
and that, is why I believe I am booked solid through the rest of the year. . .
because MOMS TRUST ME.
which is amazing.
they TRUST that I won’t show them, what we all see day in and day out in the mirror when we get out of the shower.
on our bad days.
in those pictures where we wish we would have never seen what we actually looked like in that shirt we picked to wear.
{which happens to be in the goodwill pile now}
they trust me to make them look like Jessie.
to give them images, that allow them to be seen, for exactly HOW BEAUTIFUL they are, and nothing less.
and they are thrilled, to be reminded>> that they’re beautiful.
and these families, that they have sacrificed themselves for so many times,
are even more beautiful because of THEM.
so this is me, saying to you moms.
that I have met.
and that I haven’t.
that today.
at the weight you woke up at this morning.
to the skin you woke up wearing.
and the teeth that you {hopefully} brushed this am.
and the hair that is probably in a messy state of mind thanks to school being back in session that you have tousled on the top of your head (and not in a cute way).
you’re enough. you’re beautiful. because GOD. MADE. YOU.
and he made you for a reason.
without a doubt, God created me to find the beauty in others,
and make sure they see it.
sometimes, it’s harder for me to do for myself, but thankfully I have friends who help out from time to time.
here, an image (from my good friend Chloe)
where i feel like a million dollars.
snuggling my little girl.
with my hair teased as thick as possible.
ps. this isn’t one of those “no makeup, I am so sleepy” someone tell me I am pretty posts, because I need to hear it.
being a child of God reminds me that I am so, adored. and loved. and cherished. even on days where I don’t feel like it.
this was for my moms. who needed to hear this today.
like i did.

Jordan’s Website:

Find her on Facebook:

@jm_burch & @theburchhouse





About Dawn Quarles

Dawn Quarles is a high school political science and American history teacher who moonlights as a blogger and writer. She lives on Pensacola Beach, Florida.

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