Saturday, December 3, 2016

Getting our Christmas Tree -

Hey y'all!! I know I've been sooooo absent from blogging here. 
Most of my stories go on Instagram, and never make it to the blog! 

But it's Christmas Time again!! So yesterday, Mama and I went to Lowe's to get our tree like we do every year. 
I loooove the scent of pine! It immediately puts me in the Christmas mood. :)

The first tree I saw, I liked, and wouldn't let go of it!
This is SO RARE for me, because I like to look at ALL OF THEM. Haha.
But we loved it, and took a tree selfie because I'm nothing if not excited to get my hair
all sappy for the Making Memories Box my brain ALWAYS resides in. 

Love getting to make memories every year with my Mama. It's truly a blessing to live with them. 

So apparently our Christmas trees take on life stories of their own: The Ant Farm One,
The Elf Shop Tree Stand Debacle of '15, and this year's tree is already off to a good start....

taking a Christmas tree selfie, and I happily pick up our skinny-trunked tree (read: light and easy to carry). I'm carrying it horizontal like I will be doing multiple times over the weekend and as I walk over to where the guys are manning the tent, Man Bun Dude swivels and his eyebrow quirks and I think "Oh no. I've trampled his manliness by carrying it myself." So I set it down and say "It was just SO LIGHT!". I should have stopped while I was ahead but they just stood looking at it, and me. 

So I go on, being enthusiastic and extroverted...."It's so short! And fat!". Man Bun Dude on the other side of the tree: "Same." (HAHHAHAHAA) I bite my lip and ignore that while the three guys laugh under their breath. I plow on: "It's adorable! It's the one!" So then the guy holding my tree says: "Ok, how would you like the stump trimmed?" Me: "Oh, just level it off. If it needs more, I'll just take it off with the....(realizing this makes me sound even MORE capable)....hand saw." He smiles, "okay". 

I resolve not to say anything else since I've stomped on their job twice now. I stand there in my hiking boots and jeans and flannel and try to look like I can't see them struggle with the netting. I pull up my little car and get the trunk ready, thankful that now I have a job that he can do...."I know the trunk looks small, but it'll fit! It does every year! Thank you SO much! We usually just attach the bungie cords to the....", he interrupts me: "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to tie it down. Liability." 

As I laugh for reasons he probably thinks is awkwardness but is honestly me trying not to lose it, I say: "Oh that's fine! I'll do it! It's okay!!". I do it like I've seen Dad do it a billion times and in 1 minute the tree is tied in. So now I've picked out, carried, inspected, helped load, and tied Christmas tree. 

Thanks, tree lot dudes. I hope the rest of these weeks are as easy as us. 

Y'ALL. I can't even make these stories up. I can't stop laughing about it. hahahahhaa. 
I promise I'm not a feminist. Just really capable apparently. 

Friday, December 2, was the first day it really started feeling like Christmas, and I'm so so glad it did. 
Happy Christmas Season from Lucy Mae and I!! 

With love and laughter,
- JM -

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Here's my heart, Lord -

"Those who can soar to the highest heights can also plunge to the deepest depths
and the natures which enjoy most keenly are those which also suffer most sharply." 
- Lucy Maud Montgomery -

All my life people have told me that I love too hard. That I don't let go well enough. 
That I should hold it in instead of spilling it out, and most certainly, don't spill it out where people can read it.
Sometime in the middle of my grief over losing someone in my mid 20's, I finally realized that was a bunch of bull.
So I kicked that theory out the window and kept on writing and loving and being Jean Marie. 

I will forever believe that the people who say "don't be" haven't been closely on the
 receiving end of that love or haven't understood that there's no changing it. 
Somewhere in me from when God made my curly red hair and fiery spirit,
He also made a heart that would weep for orphans, want to hold the grieving, show up at far-away-funerals,
love when love wouldn't give back, and not let go just because everyone else says so. 

Lately I've been repeating to myself that suffering is not meaningless. 
It isn't because God says it isn't. And the way God designed my heart isn't a mistake either.
God gives attributes to His children to use them mightily, wildly, deeply, beautifully, unexpectedly...
for His glory and to the praise of His great Name. 

For a few months, I thought I had an idea of what that might I don't. 

But as I repeat to myself that God doesn't make mistakes, 
I'm also praying deeply that God has plans for little old me, 
for my wild, deeply loving, unruly, ready and readily wondering heart. 

Here's my heart, Lord. Use me. 

- JM - 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Off to England! -

In less than 6 hours, Shannon and I will be on a plane (and an 8hr flight) to England!!! We are SO EXCITED. 
It's going to be amazing and I'm so blessed to have her to rely on as we shoot this wedding in England!
We really don't understand how this is real life right now. It's like the dreamiest of all photography dreams. 
We've over planned and over packed and we wanna' fly. Let's GO. 

Which is ironic since 6 months ago I stepped off a plane from China and swore not to go on an 
international flight again anytime soon after 21 hours of travel. {Haha hah ha}

I'll be shooting a few other sessions while I'm there after the wedding (September 17),
so if you'd like to book a session in ENGLAND (what), e-mail me at!

{images by Shannon Ashley Photography, who will be 2nd shooting for me this time!}

Rach is getting MAAARRRIIIIEEEEEDDD. It's gonna' be BWILLIANT. 

America, I'll see you in 2 weeks!!! And England, I'll see you tomorrow. ;) 

- JM -

Monday, August 22, 2016

Anna's getting married! -

Back in February 2016, my dear friend Anna came to visit from Texas and attend the Ligonier Conference with us! 
I showed her my favorite places, including the amazing Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and views....
and before I head to Texas tomorrow, I had to post this look back!! Love the memories of our happy laughter
and the incredibly strong whipping wind (which made lion manes out of our curls, haha!). 

Anna is a bringer of JOY. 

Love love love her. 

I can't WAIT to hug Anna a million times this weekend (which is basically my job at the wedding). 

I'M SOOOO HAPPY for her and her love, Michael, and for God's incredible gift in her life. 

Anna has such deep wisdom and great joy....and occasionally I text her with hard prayer requests
and she always listens, prays, and speaks to what is reaaaallly going on. That is so rare, and she is a gem! 

Anna, I love you sooooo much and can't wait to rejoice and celebrate your wedding day!!!!
So very glad that God has blessed you so richly and mightily. And yes, I'm going to Instagram it. haha.

I'll be in Texas for a week and then be back in Florida before heading off to England 2 weeks later!
Can't wait to celebrate Anna & Michael and to see Kimberly & Ben!!

With joy,
~ Jean Marie ~