Friday, July 31, 2009

To someone special -

it's her special day! Happy birthday to Mrs. Stone!!! I am beginning to see that as birthday times roll around, that I have shocking lacks, again, shocking lacks, of pictures of these special people! Something I shall remedy. :)

Today is your birthday, Mrs. Stone!! I hope you have a wonderful day full of the grace and peace and comfort given to us by our Father God! You have been such a sweet and welcoming "mother of best friend(s)" to me, and to Kimberly as well, and for all of our gang! We love you so much, and thank God upon our remembrances of you, and of all the fun times that you have hosted great events at your house, or just simply given us hugs and prayed for us, you have blessed us.

I've been praying for you so much, lately ... and know that God will so abundantly keep and bless you ... for He loves us so much that He would never let anything befall us that He will not use to sanctify and perfect us into His image. You have reminded me of that before, and now I am reminding you. For your birthday, may you feel the love of the Father, as well as my love. :)

God bless and keep you, Miss. Julia, may He make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you, and give you peace.

I love you so very much. Happy Birthday!!!
~ Jean Marie

P.S. Leave a comment, ya'll, for Mrs. Stone's birthday!!

Mrs. Stone, myself and Anna at a goat birthday...or rather, two goat birthdays. Hence, the glove, and our working clothes appearance. :) Still, so treasured now a picture.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Salt-water Rain -

The fresh-water tears have been dropping from the heavy-laden skies quite a bit lately. I think they have been mimicking the amounts of salt-water tears that have fallen from my eyes the past few months. The tears have not been joyous or God- exalting at times. They've been agonizing, stressed, guilty, crushed, desperate, wounded, deep and dark, not-understanding, wretched, painful, hurting tears.

They rushed one after the other so as not to leave the next drop, the last one, alone. They have been cried day in and day out, leaving for a few days and returning with a fervor that only comes from keeping them in too long. They came a few days ago, and I simply let them fall. They had good reason to fall, and they came not just for me.

The rain has been falling ...
for a long time now ...
it has come out of places I didn't know existed, and places I knew I held back ...

sometimes one solitary tear ...

pulling me away from what I made up, to what I knew deep down ...
that one burst of sun in the clouds of deepest dark that mimicked my soul ...

no one could understand me like my Savior, and He kept me all night long ...

... the rain, has been falling for a long time now.
It still falls in me, harshly, quietly ...


... but gently, slowly, the rain waters one small thing -
that looks like hope.
Someday I'll rejoice when I see it bloom. Because I will know exactly Who watered it there.

~ Jean Marie

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I:Heart:Faces -






Sweet little M. truly has captured my heart ... I cannot help but breaking out into a grin when I see her darling face. Sandy, cookie-crumbly and having the best time in the world. :)

My soul knows His love shall never fail,
~ Jean Marie

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our Lauren -

Our Lauren ... is turning 21 years old tomorrow!!! :) YAY! I have been going through my pictures just now, looking for ones to put up, and may I say that I have a shocking lack ... I say, a shocking lack, of pictures of sweet Lauren. How could I be so remiss? :) It really is only because I've known the Hope family for all of - a year, I believe. Still ... I am resolved to do better. Next I see her, the camera will be around much more. :) HAha. I'm not sure she will be as happy as I. She should.

So, I met Lauren a year ago, and one month, and it was at the Stone's family party/surprise last June, '08. Wow. It seems soo much longer. I remember meeting them, and both Joseph and Lauren were rather quiet...and you know me. HAha. NOT quiet. I was thinking "Oh, no...what do I do with quiet people??", but it began to wear off that night, and over talking online with other friends, on Google-chat, it wore off some more...and by the November '08 Barberville, we were having a grand ole time, all of us together, and now ... none of us are quiet, my goodness...we have so much fun together, and talk nonstop. Haha. Those who do stop talking do so only because they are laughing so hard they can't breathe, or to take pictures. :D I love it. Lauren and Joseph and their family have become dear friends to me ... :D Which is why I am so excited that tomorrow is Lauren's birthday! WOOT! :D

Lauren - I've loved meeting you, talking with you, and becoming better friends with you. It's been a: laughing-can't-breathe-hysterical, choking-on-my-food, you-had-better-not-be-serious, I-can't-believe-you-just-said-that, I-love-you-so-much, all around great year knowing you! :) I can't tell you how many times I have sat laughing in front of my computer screen at something you've said...or written...or smiled at your pictures, or even cried over encouragement or comfort from you. No, really.

It has been so special, I am amazed by God's goodness in allowing me another close friend who believes in important things like I do, and loves to ... contra' dance! Okay, so that wasn't going to go in that sentence, but it snuck in there. Can I get a countdown, please, until the Nov. Barberville? It is: 3 months and 2 weeks! WOOT!

Okay .... (another close friend) who believes in God, and seeks to honor her Lord, in how she acts and dresses, and the things she pursues ... I am so thankful to know you as a close friend. I'm praying that your 21st year will be so wonderful, but above it all, that you will regard the Lord Jesus as your greatest reward, your most valuable friendship and treasure, that you will fall in love each and every day more with the Lover of your soul. It would be the greatest thing I could pray for you.

Mercy - allowed to such wretched sinners such as we, is truly grace exemplified. The cross - where our condemnation was put to death. The resurrection - alive we live in Christ, the promise to live forever before the face of God.

Happy 21st birthday, Lauren Brittany Hope. I hope I will be close friends with you for many more special birthdays. I love you, Lauren!!! :D God bless you, sweet dear.

So grateful to Christ,
~ Jean Marie
Isaiah 51

November '08 Barberville. These have got to be some of my favorite shots of Lauren, they just capture her sweet personality and easy laugh, and .... stunning looks. :)

Seriously. Does she
have to be that CUTE? Haha...so sweet.

Awww...."our" lovely girlie. And her bro in the background.

Awww. Bro. and Sis. Photoshoot by Anna, and I, sort of ... I was distracted, but anyway! Siblings who love and respect each other as God commands us to do so...are few and far between all over our world - but I've found some in the friends I have. I'm so blessed!

Pink flowers for a lovely girl in pink. Now a young woman! Joseph's just there to look ... dashing, or something. HAha.

Lauren, sweet Mattie A., and Emily S.

The Stone Family Hymn sing! LtoR: Anna S., Lauren, me, Emily Case(HAHA), Emily S., Zander L., and Joseph. Out of all those, only Zander does not have a blog. :D For the record, this shot cracks me up in laughter every time I see it. We have SUCH fun.
I decided, instead of stealing the pictures and giving credit later, I would just link over to these two blogs for some fun shots of some of us girls together with Lauren.

Emily Case on March '09 - May I just say that at the end of this post are some pics of us girls that Joseph so kindly took and that we were laughing really hard, and that yes, the 2nd to bottom picture Anna is wrestling me into place, apparently I wasn't listening or something. These pictures make me laugh, we are crazy, but a good lovin' crazy. :D

Lauren on Spring Barberville '09 -
Joseph also took these, and again, may I say ... these make me laugh. Laughter just comes when you are with friends who you can be yourself with, and talk all day with, and not be bored because you can't breathe in between taking pictures because half of them turn out so horrible or hilarious. Yup.

Good friendships with like-minded people and Godly family are the best. Which comes back to you, Lauren! I so hope that your day tomorrow is a wonderful and sweet one. Just like you. :)
God bless you, love.
~ Jean Marie

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sunset Glory

Last night I went to take the dog out, and I stepped outside, gasped and ran back in to grab my camera and shoot what was left of a gloriously different and amazing sunset. It truly made me shake my head in wonder. :) What glories God has given to us to enjoy on earth!

O little man, O wretched sinner, am I.
~ Jean Marie

"Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens
and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth
and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it

and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord;
I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.


I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth I tell you of them."
~ Isaiah 42: 5-9 (ESV)

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 yrs. since we landed on the moon!

The moon, as seen from my driveway, 2008.

September 16th, 1962 - President John F. Kennedy
- Houston, Texas
Address to Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort

(this comes near the end of Pres. Kennedy's speech, a part that stood out to me)
"Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."

Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Thank you."
Today, 40 yrs. ago, man accomplished something great by the sovereign grace of God, we landed a "stilted box of sorts" upon the moon, and man stepped out into dark gravity-less air, and put his foot down upon the moon's soil. There was a human man upon the moon. And then, there were two men upon the moon that day. Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin. We did what no one thought could be done, what man had dreamed of for so long, was done. Wow.

It just blows your mind, doesn't it? They shot up in a rocket, catapulted around the earth and moon, and landed upon it, walked upon it, and were standing upon that far away white circle that we see every night. They stayed upon it for 2 1/2 hours, and although it may have been brief, it was enough. We had made history. Apollo 11 crew had done it!

Happy 40th anniversary, Apollo 11, and all who worked to get her up there, and the Lunar module upon the moon, and praise be to God for allowing us to see His glorious creation up close and for sustaining the men and allowing us to so tread in thin air and on chalky dust.

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Yet even who is man that God is mindful of Him? And where were we when God laid the foundations of the earth? Praise be to God!

Ever grateful for mercy,
~ Jean Marie

For a really, really, ultra neat video clip, head to NASA.gov. :) And explore 'round there, if you like. Thanks for readin'! I love ya'll. :)

A view of the moon through the pines. I just love this shot.

Friday, July 17, 2009

To Becca -

I spent about 5 hrs. today with a good friend, Becca. We've become such comfortable and good friends in just a year, and it's been such fun getting together at different times, chatting on Google Chat, searching online for boots and hats, laughing until we couldn't breathe, dancing, and singing at the top of our lungs. She is such a fun, sweet girl! :) I just felt like putting a little post up for her. :)

I love you, Becca - Cupcake Smasher, Total Wave Crasher, and fellow singer of the BIG GREEN TRACTOR!!!! Thanks for being such a fun friend! :D

In Christ,
~ Jean Marie

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Treasure Trove of Apollo History -

Hello, ya'll!! Today is the 40th anniversary of the liftoff of Apollo 11 on board a Saturn V rocket to space! The Apollo11 mission that put man on the moon, on July 20th, 1969, - Neil Armstrong, closely followed by "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins in the command module. I will post on the 20th of the actual day, but today I am sure, 40 yrs. ago, was an incredibly exciting and victorious day, not just for "our boys", but for the entire Kennedy Space Center and all of America, as they waited and watched in anticipation. :)

All this waiting and watching...my goodness, I've been reading up on Apollo 11, there are so many things that I never knew that I am learning! I'm putting up here some resources for you to look at and read and just - sit in awe at the wonder of it all. :) The exploration of God's mighty world! I encourage you to go to these links and "have a look" as Sadie Beth would say. :)

Remembering Apollo 11 - The Big Picture
These pictures are gathered and put together, with captions revoking true awe. I must say, I took about 20 mins. looking at these pics, they are quite inspiring and just flat-out incredible. Reading the comments at the bottom is not necessarily recommended.

Just in case you wanted to know (which you don't), I stared at #9 for 4 straight minutes, struggled not to get tears in my eyes on #12 and #13, and declared most almost fervently (how's that for clarity?) #15 my favorite picture in the whole wide world. I stared and stared and my soul welled up in Hallelujahs of the God that loveth me, who laid the foundations of the deep, and from nothing created this ball of water and dirt to become all I've known as home. #19 looks like nothing until you see #20, and then you just can't fathom it at all, #24, is it just me, or does Neil have tears in his eyes?, #36 & #37 - What hath God Almighty wrought? Amazing.

NASA on Apollo 11's 40th Anniversary
- Wow. That's all I can say. I've spent at least 3 hrs. in 2 days on here, reading, looking at pictures, exploring all their fun exploring things, I was, to say the least, "excessively diverted". Haha!! :D I have yet to listen to the mission audio, it is almost guaranteed that I will cry, but I did explore the landing site on the moon and the Eagle, and my jaw dropped. (you know, I really hope my children love all this as much as I do, and are as easily amused as I am, because really.... my parents have it so good. Well, kind of.... :))

The normal NASA page is also chock full of interesting and amazing things, the old B&W image of the day from the 60's was just way neat to me. :)

So, here's to the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch! Hip, hip, hurrah!!! To God be the glory!

My soul wells up with Hallelujahs,
~ Jean Marie

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Endeavour flies again!

Today had the most wonderful event at 6:03pm, Endeavour and her crew of 7, finally, after 5 tries and 5 scrubs, made it off on Mission STS-127 to space!!! Praise the Lord!! I completely forgot about it until 5:30, and promptly shot to the nearest clock to make sure I hadn't missed it. :) I rushed around putting my camera card back in, deleting pics, updating my FB and Google status' so that people online would know how to watch the live feed, getting out the binoculars, and, most importantly - watching the live NASA TV feed on the computer. The only thing better than being out at the VIP seating and watching it go up, is watching and hearing the feed between Houston, KSC and Endeavour. Second to only that, this gets me the most geared up, in the mood, happy, adrenaline rushed, and excited.

If in "excited" you define it as: hands shaking, bouncing in chair, almost crying, checking and re-checking, and RE-checking your camera, staring so hard at the countdown clock that you aren't even blinking, and yelling out to the rest of the house what is happening and how many minutes are left in a hold. "The weather is a complete GO! TOTAL GREEN! AAAH!"(this one required running into the kitchen at full speed for mom to hear, to which she calmly replies - "Oh, good.", and running out yet again at full speed). And then - "Final checks are DONE!", "T-minus 5 mins. 30 seconds!!", "They may start their pre-ignite start!!", "T-minus 4 mins!!"... and so on. Let me just say that saying I was "excited" may or may not have been the understatement of the year. My family may or may not attest to that statement.

Okay. Now that we have that established. We move on. To bigger and better things. Like going outside to watch it. But first! Pictures that I took for you all that did not watch the live feed. For you ... that ...(sob) had the .... horrible misfortune to have missed such ... such a tremendous event! See?

NASA TV playing on the computer.

Oh. My. Not much longer now. The hissing coolant steam around the main engines ... sets my heart beating faster and faster!

Here my excitement is so great that I take a picture of myself and only get my huge grin, and cut off my head. But who cares? Not I.
A shot of the countdown clock - just 9 minutes!!!

For those of you that have never seen this on TV, this is the Crew access arm that attaches to the side of the shuttle. You can see the hatch for Endeavour as the B&W circle. :)

Pulling back away from the shuttle, preparing for launch! Go, Endeavour!

The view out of that room just makes your heart stop, doesn't it? Wow.

Me - sooo incredibly excited and ready to watch her go up!!! Yay, yay, YAY!
One last shot of the feed before going outside!! I'll tell you, hearing Mission Control say - "It is now time to fly, Godspeed Endeavour", was just so special to hear yet again.

There she is. It never, never gets old.

"Go, baby, go." .... "Go, Endeavour!!!!"

How she slices through the sky with unfettered power and precision.

There she goes!!! Cheers and clapping surrounded me as neighbors stood shading their eyes and watching proudly... and gladly! We are so happy to finally have it off on our 6th try! :D

And I was able to capture the fighter trail planes from Patrick Air Force Base that form a triangle in the sky to control airspace! I saw them leave! They never leave quietly. :) Haha.

You always hear their roaring and "hear" their g-pulling moves. :)

What a view they have! I'd pay half a million dollars to be in one of those planes for the launch!

The smoke trail. Sometimes it makes the craziest shapes, but today it was just very perfect ... falling into seperate fluffly clouds.


I waited until all the rumbling and trembling of the sound reaching us had stopped, and could no longer see the shuttle. Or the boosters, unfortunately. I did not see them at all, just the burst of the separation flame. I was SO pleased to hear the rumbling, because the last launch we had, the wind was not with us, and we heard nothing. Which was eerie, and I didn't like it. At all. :) Hah.

Then I rushed back in, to watch the news feed some more. :) This is amazing. The camera is attached to the yellow tank on the bottom (the External fuel tank), and it records everything until separation. You can see the curve of the earth in the background. :)

And we have separation of the shuttle and fuel tank at just 9 minutes after liftoff! Wow!

The shuttle (top) falling away from the tank.

A zoomed in shot. :)

Hooray for a wonderful and yet another amazing launch! Godspeed, Endeavour and her crew! May God bring you all home safely, and may you truly give only One the glory - the God who created it all.

As she disappeared into the clouds and atmosphere, I whispered with true thankfulness and sobriety mixed with absolute amazement .... as I have every launch since we lost our Columbia crew ... "Thank you, Lord.".

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His most holy name!

A girl with a whole lot of Kennedy Space Center pride,
~ Jean Marie

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friends....from far away -

I am putting this picture up at 11 o'clock at night all alone by itself...simply because I very much miss the other three ladies in this picture. Rebecca, Beth and Jessica. Two in Missouri, one in Wis-cawn-son, haha, and myself in Florida. Beth I hear about and see pictures on Facebook and the Serven blog, Jessica has been sending me sweet e-mails and pictures since my last visit in April, and Rebecca has sent me a few e-mails as well.

For Rebecca, the secret reason that I am not commenting on any of ya'lls Boston Reformation 500 pics is because I looked at about 100 of them from different people and too many of them had the smiling faces of the Serven family, haha, and about on number 20 of Rebecca, I started to cry. Truly, I did. So, yes. I'm not commenting because I suffer from friend homesickness. :) Know that I miss you three very much, and love you very, very much. :) God bless and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, and give you peace.

Love you three,
ever thankful for our Savior's love,
~ Jean Marie

Taken in April, 2009, Missouri. Rebecca, me, Beth, and Jessica.