Friday, August 28, 2009

An Irish Story -

There once was a little girl named Sarah. But we all affectionately refer to her as: Sadie Beth. I gave her the name, and it has stuck like super glue, and it just perfectly fits her. Back to the story... the little woman named Sadie Beth, for she wasn't really a girl, just a little woman .... Sadie Beth was a smart little woman, and knew how to do so many wonderful things -

The little woman named Sadie Beth was really good at always being "on the spot" to take smiling pictures, no matter how many times her friend, a little woman named Jean Marie (nicknamed Plonker by the Sadie Beth), asked her to, she was always ready with a smile. She was good at smiling, and looking sweet and adorable all the time.

Sadie Beth knew how to enjoy sitting on a dock at the river for 20 minutes, doing absolutely nothing other than taking pictures and listening to the waves splash and ripple and feeling the warm sun on a November day. And she also knew how to hang her feet just over the edge of the planks, and cross her ankles just so cute.
Sadie Beth was a happy little woman, and Plonker(aka: Me) enjoyed being happy with her. And taking happy pictures .... often. Fine ... quite often.........ok, okay, Plonker enjoyed taking pictures of Sadie Beth every 5 minutes at least. Sadie Beth was generally happy to oblige, thus making Plonker a very happy little woman as well.
Sadie Beth knew how to love Plonker's parents and laugh hysterically with them, and take lovely pictures like she was their long-lost niece from somewhere over the sea. This made Plonker veerrrrryy happy.
Sadie Beth was also very, VERY good at being Irish. This, I think, is generally because ... she is 100% Irish, I do believe. However, my attempts of being Irish were either met by somewhat blank stares of disbelief, or choking laughter. I think I'm better at being Southern. Or something.
Sadie Beth was wonderful at carrying on long, loving and laughing conversations with Plonker's sister, Kimberly, who was away in GA.
Sadie Beth was wonderful at taking fun and silly pictures with her little Plonker, and just generally being all around fun to be with all day. Something Plonker does not always pull off. However, for the most part, Sadie Beth and Plonker got along splendidly, laughingly and incredibly well. See?
Things were all going swimmingly, and the Mt. Dora vacation was wonderful, and it was the Sweet Life Under the Savior. Sadie Beth was ... shall we count it up?

Sadie Beth:
* Good at smiling and being "on the spot" for pictures
* Enjoys doing things Plonker enjoys for no apparent reason
* Is happy and smiling almost all the time when around Plonker
* Models for pictures well
* Loves Plonker's parents
* Is amazing at being Irish and sometimes British when we need a good laugh over the Revolutionary War and winning it, and throwing all that tea into the channel. We SO won. Ahem.
* She loves my sister, and my sister loves her.
* She loves me, and I love her, and she says she loves being with me, and I love being with her.

It was a wonderful life, and it all culminates up to one very single day. Sadie Beth was wonderful at many, many things, but one of them was not, I repeat, not, handling wildlife very well.

It was such a wonderful day, that day .... until Sadie Beth was eaten by an alligator, right there in front of Plonker's own eyes.

The End.





... alright, so it didn't exactly end like that. :) But it made for some fun laughs.

This is ... Sadie Beth's very own: I-am-not-going-one-single-step-more-on-this-trail-with-just-you-laughing-at-me-as-protection-and-we-are-turning-around-right-now-and-heading-back-because-those-crashing-and-grunting-sounds-you-just-called-an-alligator-are-headed-straight-in-our-direction- look. I kid you not.

Let's add to that list: Sadie Beth is slightly stubborn, and slightly freaked out by gators. HAha!

No, no, Sadie Beth was not eaten on that very long and winding trail on the island, thank goodness, that would have wrecked the vacation ... for everyone. Haha. :D

No, the real culmination of the story, at least for now, as in ... the next month - is that our Sadie Beth turned 21 this past Monday. We could say that I had planned to blog after her birthday and surprise her and throw her off, but the real truth is that when her birthday rolled around, I was the farthest from a blogging mood I could be in, and it just seemed sad to put a picture up, and say "I love you", when she knows that I can write a post with 60 pictures in it, and I have only, like ... 300 of her, for pete's sake. Anyways! Happy 21st birthday, dearest Sadie Beth ... you know how much I love you. :) Happy, happy, wonderful, blessed year, and many more, sweet girl. And a HUGE hug from this side of the ocean! You've been more than a comfort to me this past year, you've been a constant, and a close friend. Thank you for all the prayers, sympathy and encouraging in the Lord.

I love you, Sadie girl. May God bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you, and give you peace.

With love and gratitude,
~ Jean Marie
(Plonker)

P.S. Oh, and one more thing I forgot to mention ... my family swoons over and fawns over Sadie Beth like she is a little Irish princess. Which she is ... but, Ack!...nevermind the analogy. When I talked about it being her birthday on Monday, Dad got this huge grin on his face, and told me to tell Sarah how much we love her, and Mom got this "Awww-sweet-Sarah" face on that made me almost groan out loud, and Kimberly had like ... apparently, already sent her a card or something. Hmm ... guess I'm the bad one in the family.

They love on her so much, it's kind of ridiculous, and I kid you not, once, when Sarah was here, I asked to do something, and Mom said "No", and then Sarah asked the same thing 20 minutes later, and Mom was like - "Sure! We can do that!", and I'm like ... "Whaa...? I just...", and Sarah was laughing her head off, and I was like - "Mom, you love her more than me!", and Mom was like - "Glad you finally figured that out." .... jk. :) My Momma loves me more. I think. Hahah HAHA! :D

P.P.S. For those of you who know our girl, leave a belated happy birthday comment for her!! And for those of you who don't ... we hope you find an Irish princess to be friends with too. Haha. Leave comments, ya'll! 'Cause we love our girl, even if she doesn't like boiled peanuts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Nostalgia" I:Heart:Faces -

I've entered another "I :heart: faces" photo challenge, and this week's is on nostalgia. I scrolled through several pictures that were very nostalgic, but nothing hit me like this one of a sweet friend, "taking" the outstretched flower from George Washington Carver's hand. It is a bronze statue that stands in the George Washington Carver Garden at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens.

It is like time stands still, for a young girl to see the offered joy in a small blossom by a kindly man, and touches his hand - and smiles into his face. And the years and years of difference don't seem so large or long anymore.

~ Jean Marie




Saturday, August 22, 2009

A sunset on my soul -

There was a sunset tonight, and it seemed to set upon my soul. As I walked down to the end of the road, I stared at the orange sky exploding around the shafts and puffs and streaks of clouds, that were colored with hues I couldn't name.

Today ... was one of those days again. It just was. And all I wanted was Him.

When I walked down that road, I was trying not to think, but all I could hear in my head was - "I am not small.". God is not small. I am small. He is not. He painted that sky and arranged those clouds, and did not do it just for me, because He is not all about me. He is all about the wonder and awe and mightiness and holiness of Himself, and it is that that makes Him not small.

There is a song that comes to mind when I see God's amazingness in creation, and anywhere else, really. It's written by Chris Rice, based upon Psalm 119. I'm going to write the lyrics in, and interrupt every once in a while. Even though mine is not a "purple sky", it still fits. :)

"A purple sky to close the day, I wade the surf where dolphins play,

the taste of salt, the dance of waves, and my soul wells up with hallelujahs.

A lightning flash, my pounding heart, a breaching whale, a shooting star,

give testimony that You are, and my soul wells up with hallelujahs.

Oh praise Him all His mighty works, there is no language where You can't be heard,

Your song goes out to all the earth - Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

O cratered moon and sparrows wings, o thunder's boom and Saturn's rings,

unveil our Father as you sing, and my soul wells up with hallelujahs!"

I'm stopping for a bit, because here something else is written in my pictures -

I'm not really sure what's written in them yet, but it's not that next verse. These next eight pictures are different. They were taken around the fence that is covered in vines and rust and held together with chains and locks. If it doesn't make sense, just stay with me, I'll be thinking it through as I go.

I must admit, when I took these, hallelujahs were not welling up in me. I was not praising God in the least bit, save for the sunset and for not leaving me alone. And the hallelujahs still haven't hit yet, these pictures just can't hit that -

These fence and locks -

They reach for the sky, prickly, tangled, twisted, sharp, un-softened.
They draw me to touch and feel and grasp ... and look.
They care not for sun or wind or rain, they hold still and tight for only the reason to keep the barrier, to stay solid, to not let go ...
They are not moved, they are not unlocked, they do not give in.
Though there be a tear between the two gates, the chains hold them together, like glue, only offering room for one desperate person or a high climbing child, to enter the pasture field beyond, that is filled with groves of half-producing orange trees and dead limbs.

They have seen many a glory, but are unmoved by them. They melt not at the sound of the Creator's voice. They feel not the touch of His hand in the wind. They love not His name.

They do not yield, they do not change, they do not come undone.

They unlock only to the touch of the key inside, to the turning of the center, to the giving way of the screeching bolts, to the scraping free of the rust, to the releasing of the hold. They give to the knowledge that the key sets them free from their hold....like the Master of our hearts gives us the key to the holy Spirit and His Word, and to His care.
Yielding to God ... not only unlocking the bolt, but setting free the lock from its hold, to be what I could not, cannot, shall not be, but becoming that new lock in Him and Him alone.

"The pulse of life within my wrist, a fallen snow, a rising mist,

there is no higher praise than this,
and my soul wells up,
O my soul wells up,
Yes my soul wells up with hallelujahs!


Oh praise Him all His mighty works, there is no language where you can't be heard,
Your song goes out to all the earth, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
O hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
My heart may not always feel like singing these words, but it does know that to stop singing them will cause me to become more and more like that fence. Cold, hard, unmoved. I don't want to be that. I want my rust scraped out from my inner locks. I want the Word of the Lord like the sun upon the softening steel. I want the center of me to be solid in the center of His soul, and the wholeness of His life in me. I want to be more and more like Christ.

I just don't usually like all the pain that comes with it.

Clinging to Christ,
~ Jean Marie

 ~ Isaiah 51: 12-16 (NKJV) ~" 12I, even I, am He that comforteth you. Who art thou that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man who shall be made as grass,

13and forgettest the LORD thy Maker, who hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?

14The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.

15But I am the LORD thy God, who divided the sea whose waves roared; The LORD of hosts is His name.

16And I have put My words in thy mouth and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, `Thou art My people.'"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Done!

Hey, Becca...

This is to you. I just wanted you to know - I'm done editing our Boot Shopping Expedition pictures!! You can stop holding your breath now. I'm pretty sure you should be dead ... counting up how many times you've held it ... unless you are some kind of superhero. Which is highly unlikely. Even though you are super. Anyway - I will upload them, and blog, this weekend! I know I am a huge friend and a wonderful person ... all in this very moment. And totally humble. Riiiight. Hooray for being done!

In Christ,
~ Jean Marie

P.S. I love you, Little-Pale-Face-Candle and Cupcake Smasher!

P.P.S. I was totally going to name that picture something clever like - "There's a snake in my boot!!", and then I almost started crying (a little exaggerated, but not too much) because it was just too tender of a thought ... of the boots. So I didn't. And now I'm not crying, but laughing at your hilarious expression. HAha! :D

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A hard place -

I had one of those days.

You know what I'm talking about ... where everything you do just turns around and becomes something you don't like to do ... it looks awful, can't do anything right, nothing touches you, lost in the dark, can't shake a feeling ... stuck - where you can't let go of just bein' ... well, sad.

One of those.

My heart ached ... my eyes stung ... I altered between wanting not to feel and wanting to feel anything other than ... sad. It wasn't working. By lunchtime I stared out the kitchen window at the drying up grass, the shimmering heat and the hot breeze and felt akin to them all. And I had one of THOSE conversations with God.

Me:"I don't know what to do anymore, I really just don't." ... silence ... Me: "You know how much I want this...I'd give so much for it..." ... little voice thinking inside me: "Maybe it's not yours to give." Me: "That's....I know that, but can't you take some of me for a little sacrifice for it?" ... little voice: "Yours is not the sacrifice...it's already been paid." ... Me: "Then why? That's not fair then! Because if it's been paid, why can't it change?" ... Not fair? Not FAIR? .... Me: "Oh. Because it's not mine ... because You paid for it ... because it's Yours ... because You know why. Oh. Then You can have it...because I'm through trying to see why I can't have it...You can have it. Thy will be done, not mine. I'm sorry." .

It wasn't mine to give or take, or mine to question, or try to fix. Try as I might, I can't even come close to understanding it. It's God's anyway ... it was foolish of me to want to have it now, before He turns it around for all His glory, and for all of our good. It wasn't mine to take, to have, because it wasn't me that paid for it on Calvary. It was He.

The Hard Place - a place I don't like. When I can't cry tears because my heart won't let it go, and my spirit won't acknowledge that anything is worse than usual. Because I don't really have a reason, other than being sad.

And yet ... the hardest place ... Calvary ... has been overcome, the grave robs us no longer of joy, my debts are paid, my life is freed, I am God's own child, redeemed out of love.

My hardest places ... only come ... when I can't and won't give it all to the One who planned it all so, out of love. For me.

"How often, when trials like sea billows roll,
Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul!!!"
~ Jean Marie

"Oh, safe to the Rock that is higher than I...."
"O safe to the Rock that is higher than I,
My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly;
So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine, would I be;
Thou blest “Rock of Ages,” I’m hiding in Thee. 
Refrain
Hiding in Thee, hiding in Thee,
Thou blest “Rock of Ages,”
I’m hiding in Thee. 
In the calm of the noontide, in sorrow’s lone hour,
In times when temptation casts o’er me its power;
In the tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea,
Thou blest “Rock of Ages,” I’m hiding in Thee. 
Refrain
How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,
I have fled to my refuge and breathed out my woe;
How often, when trials like sea billows roll,
Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul."
(William O. Cushing, 1876)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mrs. Krause -

Today ... is Mrs. Krause's birthday.

Happy, happy, wonderful, lovely, sweet birthday be to you, Mrs. Krause! :) I really wanted to surprise you with some wonderful gourmet creation of a dessert, and balloons and presents and hoopla and singing ... but I'm afraid that this will have to be your present. Because I'm sure that the people that I would round up to do such a scheme are busy, and I know that because I already know what they are doing. (how did I get off topic?) So! I hope you enjoy this blogpost a little, as your present. :)

Mrs. Krause ... I can't remember a time when you have not been a gracious or welcoming hostess. I want to grow up and be like you. Haha. I remember when Paulina and I would play Life, sometimes I would name my family the Krauses, so I could have twin boys, haha. :) I grew up loving to get together with you all, and spend the night, and go swimming, and beach, and bowling and all sorts of fun things that involved sports that I didn't grow up doing, or eating out at fast food, or eating Filipino food, which is like .... epic. Haha. Truly. You are such a great cook, and you were always feeding me, and I was always happy to eat it!! Thank you!

You've welcomed me in, made me feel like family, and kept me for days. :) You've encouraged me, pushed me, and prayed for me. You've been a wonderful "best friend's mom", and a great best friend to my mom!! You and my mom have shown us girls and our girl friends how to be Mamas, and to be daughters of the Most High King. You and Mom homeschooled all the way through on all your kids! Congratulations!!! :)

Thank you for being such a strong presence of Godly character and grace for me, as I grew up, and as I grow up. :)

And now... haha, pictures from 2008 -

Mrs. Krause -

I love my mom and you doing garage sales on the hottest day in July, and having us man the tables for an hour while you .... "Get coffee". :) Just kidding, ya'll work SO hard!

I love your doggie, little Greta.
I love your sons, and Mr. Krause ... and how much they make me laugh all the time!

... and how they teach me so many things that I never knew ... like how things come apart and never go back together, and how not to shoot a bow and arrow, and how to laugh at life.
I love your daughter ... she truly is one of the best friends in my life, and I love her like a sister.

Our memories and times together are always precious in my mind and heart.

Hey, look ... we sort of grew up! :) And we couldn't have had better moms.
My Mama and Miss. Monica K. - best friends ... and Moms of best friends. And maybe, Paulina and Kimberly and I will be moms to best friends ... a third generation, eh? :) Love it.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Krause! I love you so, SO much, and pray often for you!! God bless you on this wonderful day, and this next year. :) Thank you so much for all you are to me!

In God's grace,
~ Jean Marie

P.S. Mama isn't really that short, she is just laying back into the couch (pic taken Christmas '07).

P.P.S. Leave a happy birthday comment for Mrs. Krause if you'd like to! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Almost-all-by-meself-afternoon -

Ahhhh...summer!!! Oh, and for those of you who are wondering if my grammar has finally failed...it has not. I meant to write meself. It's an old-English thing. One that I tend to use.

On Tuesday, I had piano, and I also had a couple errands to run, and so ... I did. :) Halfway through errands (BCC, Beall's Outlet and Staples), I was starving, since it was 3pm, and so ... I treated myself to McDonald's. Yes, oh, yes...it's true. You should have heard my drive-thru conversation ... I ordered the Ranch BLT fried chicken sandwich, and after asking if they had Root Beer (they did not, memorize this for future reference), I asked - "Um, but, could I have no tomato, please?", she said - "What? Could you repeat that?", "Uhh, sure, sorry ... I don't want any tomato on the sandwich.". There is 3 seconds of silence, and then I say "Is that okay?", and she says - "You can have whatever you want....(chuckling)". Ha HAHA! So I pull up to the window with a huge smile on my face, and some country playing, and she gives me the change and a receipt with a smile of her own. HAHA...see how I spread the fun and cheer? :) Haha...

So. Then I drove back to the Veterans Memorial to eat my lunch, since it is one of my favorite places in Titusville. I got there, and was ecstatic, because I was the only one there! I always feel safer when I am alone, and aware of everything. :) I walked out on the dock to the gazebo and sat down and ate my lunch. Oh, and may I please mention that it was at 96 degrees outside? That's what the thermometer said, but I really think it was hotter than that. By 40 minutes later, when I got in the car, sweat was running down my back and moisture covered my face in a sheen. Whew! AND - about 20 minutes of having my drink (full of ice when I got it) outside, I shook it, and there was no ice left. HAh.

See my lunch? And yes, I got the meal - Dr. Pepper and fries and all. 'Twas goooood.

The view from where I sat and ate. Ahhh....shade.
The flags snapping in the wind, the most prominent of them: the US flag with the POW flag underneath. Sobers me. Every single time.

A wee bit of netting caught in the planks, and yes, I was lying down.

The wooden railing, and the waters as far as eye can see.

What a change no light on the lens makes! I did not edit this to make it dark, actually, I edited it very little...and look what a neat shot it is! Hooray for...me. Okay, fine - hooray for my Nikon.
The waters ... lapping and splashing, a couple feet deep, holding all sorts of fish friends and vegetation.
Colorful changes of the planks and posts of the gazebo.
This glass bottle was sitting in the opposite corner from where I sat, and after staring at it during lunch, curiosity got the better of me, and I headed over to take pictures of it. :) It was a bottle that someone had put a few pieces of paper with writing inside of it and wrote on the outside - "Read me!". Well. I did not. Because it was most likely a prank and not a million dollar treasure map.
A close-up to quench your curiosity ... and after reading two words, I lost interest, since they were "suicide bomber". Ah, yes. I left it far alone. Although I considered grasping it and breaking the bottom off to use as a weapon if I felt threatened, because by now, there were a couple people milling around the park. "I have a bottle, and will use it!" Haha. No worries. :D

I had to darken this photo so that you could see the little Needlefish. Can you spot them? :)

The view back towards land from the gazebo.

This was crazy! There were hundreds and hundreds of swarming schools of baby mullet.

Every "pinprick" in the water you see is a baby mullet, surfacing. :) Wowee. You can click on the picture to enlarge it, and maybe you can see some of them, it was amazing! The whole surface of the water would be completely still, and then it would shiver and ripple as they all would swarm and rush in waves. Most likely, they were being chased, but it was a glorious sight!

See the patches? Sooo many little mullet! :D

When I first saw this picture, I laughed aloud!! HAHAha! It is just hilarious. I was attempting a head shot with some sun flare, and this is what came out! The sun rays are slicing into my head! :D Yes, I am sure I am now missing some brain cells, haha...I really love it though! :D

After lunch, I walked out to the end of the dock, and took more pictures. After all, what else to do after a fun lunch and no time schedule? Oh, happy, happy day. Yes, indeedy.

... and look, it's as if someone tied some string there, just for me!!

A little spider was there to keep me company. "Hello, little fella'".

"Lookin' for some shade, eh? Good plan, good plan."

I almost can't write anything about this next picture because I love it so much. To sum it up: I love the blues in the background of the water and the sky. I want rooms in my future home that color, I want fabric that color, I want clothes that color ... I just adore that shade. How lovely of God to make it. Thank you, Lord. And look...at the shredded tape at the end of the railing pipe, it's like me ... shredded, ripped, reaching ... for the completion of reaching another piece of pipe ... being whole and not so torn anymore ... but firm, solid, and letting it all unwind.

Mmm...Thank you, Lord, for blues and meaningful pictures.

Fishing line tied, twirling, twisting, slipping down to the water between the cracks.

Crab leg, anyone? :D

Perhaps my favorite shot of the whole day. Oh, sweet summertime...don't ever leave my heart.

The fries and bun pieces that soon I would be sharing with my feathered friends.

I am always curious about what it would like to be the person next to me, not being ... me.

My shadow on the water as I leaned against the railing -

The seagulls sensing some sort of sumptuous supper soon - :D

The faster bird catcheth the french fry. :)
... and also the bun pieces. :) There was much squawking and screeching made by the slower seagulls. :) Haha. I threw things quite quickly, as I wasn't stupid, and didn't want to be attacked by kamikaze seagulls. I've seen it many times ... stop laughing. I actually feel bad for those tourists.

Waves lapping and splashing, seagulls crying and screeching, wind tousling and rustling the palms, hot sun blazing, flags snapping in the air ... "Hello, home".

The flags that wave for those who have died in the wars we've fought, and for those who lived through them, but gave a part of themselves to keep us safe....

And this what you look like after spending an hour outside on a hot, humid, windy day at the river. See the hair? Oh, and the red face? And the grin? :D

Against the water ... I really love this shot. Because look ... what is there not to love about this place that I was at? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

The very happy Ibis birds eating their fill of little minnows and various water critters.
The memorial walk lined by balls connected by chains and tall palm trees.
The memorial, with bricks full of names and dates ...
And then I left the memorial, to shop some more, and then head home...oh, but I must show you this pair of cute shoes that I wanted to buy, but they did not have my size! :( So sad ... they were only 7 dollars, and would match a dress I had to the tee! Oh, well. :)

Are they not cute? I think so! Grey crinkled satin.

I am now fascinated by taking pictures of myself in my driving mirror, because of all the natural light and different shots that come out of it. Like, say, this would be a normal picture, but it's not. Can you guess why? It is because of the amazing color at the bottom. Just look at it, the green on one side and the blue on the other. It's like God paints these colors into a shot just for me to fall in love with afterwards. Those could be the colors in my bedroom, and I'd never complain. :D Sigh....

The summer view outside the passenger window after pulling into the driveway.

And in B&W, once I saw how it looked, I wouldn't change it back, because I love the B&W too much, haha. :D

And this is what I look like after driving for 10 minutes with the windows down, the sunroof open and singing along to "Big Green Tractor". :D Happy, happy, happppeeee!!! :D

See? (grin)
Much love to you and yours, dear people! God bless and hope you have a wonderful, wonderful rest of the week! As I told a dear friend, "It may be the start of school, but it's not the end of summer!!!", and that keeps the sun, beach and warm breezes alive in my heart. :) And, after all, summer ends in October, or November, in Florida! Haha.

Thankful to God for all seasons!
~ Jean Marie

"For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."