Thursday, October 29, 2009

O love of God!

"O love of God, how strong and true"
"O love of God, how strong and true!
Eternal, and yet ever new;
Uncomprehended and unbought,
Beyond all knowledge and all thought.

O love of God, how deep and great!
Far deeper than man’s deepest hate;
Self fed, self kindled, like the light,
Changeless, eternal, infinite.

O heavenly love, how precious still,
In days of weariness and ill,
In nights of pain and helplessness,
To heal, to comfort, and to bless!

O wide embracing, wondrous love!
We read thee in the sky above,
We read thee in the earth below,
In seas that swell, and streams that flow.

We read thee best in Him who came
To bear for us the cross of shame;
Sent by the Father from on high,
Our life to live, our death to die.

We read thy power to bless and save,
E’en in the darkness of the grave;
Still more in resurrection light,
We read the fullness of thy might.

O love of God, our shield and stay
Through all the perils of our way!
Eternal love, in thee we rest
Forever safe, forever blest."
(Horatius Bonar, 1861)

"I testify, after 28 years (of preaching), the absolute, good, wise, total sovereignty of God over our lives is pastorally precious beyond measure!!!" ~ John Piper on suffering.

has a plan,
in all things,
in all circumstances,
in all pain,
in all births and deaths,
in all events,
in all places,
in all of little me,
has a plan.
It is good,
and best of all ...
He will be glorified,
through the sovereignty
of His most holy name.
"O heavenly love, how precious still,
In days of weariness and ill,
In nights of pain and helplessness,
To heal, to comfort, and to bless!"

I can truthfully sit here,
"looking you in the eye",
and tell you that that verse
is entirely true,
and that my Lord has become
all that more precious to me,
in suffering nights of pain and helplessness,
and that His love is able:
to heal,
to comfort,
and to bless.
Bless the Lord, o my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless His most holy name.

~ Jean Marie ~

(A look back at: First, Week 1 & Week 2.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aries I-X launch!

Today was a special day. It was the launch day of the Aries I-X rocket that so many people have worked on together, building, creating and planning for today, and it went off without a hitch, the only hold-back from yesterday was weather.

*(only hold-back in exemption of: a rather unenlightened freighter that sailed into the danger zone in the waters near the pad, and was very quickly intercepted by our guards out there, and *cough* enlightened - hahaha, it's hard not to feel just a weeee bit gleeful, since they were the ones that pushed the launch time off, and then we had bad weather, so it really was their fault that we didn't shoot it off yesterday.... alright, fine, it really was because God is amazing in His timing and today was a better day.)*. I deem that part of the paragraph a "Momma Lynn Sentence". We are in rebellion against the more short sentences of life. Because we are homeschooled, and we believe in rebelling against the world's standards.

That has been my shocking statement for the post. If you were surprised by that, I don't think you are homeschooled. Sigh. How did I get here?

Ah, yes - Aries. Amazing. HUGE, thin, white, powerful pencil shooting up in the blue sky this morning at 11:30am.

But first...can you spot what so cheerfully captured my attention early this morning at 8am, in this photo? Leave a comment if you know what it is. And no, there is no rust in that tree.

So. I took a picture of my visual and audio on the laptop, and all the chatter going on between everyone who gives updates and checks to make this baby fly. Viola! Aries on newly modified Pad 39B, the first time it's ever held anything but a shuttle. :)

Aries - I yelled out to anyone within the next block of houses - "THERE SHE IS!!!"! Don't worry, they are used to it.

Look at that power. It may not look like much here, but it was huge amounts ... the only reason it didn't scream out of sight like the smaller Delta or Atlas rockets, was because it was so huge and heavy. Yes. That little pencil thang is heavy. And tall.

So, I'm also not sure how my pics keep getting more and more skinny. I'm pretty sure that's not my fault. Whatever. If you click on the pic, it will enlarge and you can see more. Not as much as Daddy could see from the outside staircase at his building though. As he said: "MAN! What noise!!!". :D

From the ground up ...

A very happy sight to my eyes. The disappearing fire of a successful launch.

Up, up, up and away into the blackness of God-breathed-gravity-less-dark-air. But not into orbit. Just up and down for 2 mins. of powered flame and 6 mins. of flying fame. :)

Outta' sight. Way to GO, Aries girl, and way to GO, Aries TEAM! I love you, Dad!

Rocket clouds are always very neat as they start to drift.

Yes, I edited this. I wanted it to show just how much powerful contrast is in these clouds.

And I edited this more too, this was my view up.

So then I did what I always do - rush back inside to watch more video and listen to all the chatter. :) It is SO interesting to me! Knowing it was coming back in only a short while made it all the more interesting, for instance, I heard when they got the report on a visual splashdown of the rocket's booster stage almost 150 miles downrange. Wow. I watched history unfold and the men who waited, I saw them smile and shake hands!

... and I took pictures. On the laptop.

See? He was hearing the update report and writing on his tablet, and just after this, got the visual report. :)
Victory, Team Aries. Sweet Victory.

And ... that was my day. Aries I-X shot off and came down. Safely. It didn't explode and no one was injured.

Olivia's surgery went wonderfully, and so that was an enormous praise as well.


And I made spice muffins. I sliced one in half, popped it in the toaster oven until it turned slightly crispy, and slathered it with some fresh honey butter. It tasted better than sliced bread (to put a whole new spin on that expression ... since we are in rebellion ... you know, against expectations). Tomorrow morning I'm thinking of toasting one, and then spreading Pumpkin Pecan Butter on it. I'll stand in front of the freezer and run around a little bit, and be half frozen and holding a hot muffin, and I'll shake a box of cereal and it will sound like leaves falling, and it'll be just like Thanksgiving in GA, outside, with the dry leaves crunching and the crisp air blowing.

It'll be just like I remember.

.... hey, even if it's just a little like it, that'd be good. :)

And that - my friends, is how you start loving little joys all the more. One day at a time.

Resting in God's mercies,
new every morning,
His unfailing promises,
and His abiding love,
~ Jean Marie

Monday, October 26, 2009

A prayer request -

***** 2nd Update (as of 11:15am, Wed.) - at Emily's blog *****

***** Update (8:25am, Wed.)- Olivia's surgery takes place at 8:40am this morning, and then she has an hour of recuperation and seeing that she has responded correctly to the meds they knocked her out with, most likely, and then she comes home! Please be in prayer for her, for grace to be poured out, and her mind to be peaceful and not fearful, for the doctors agility, for Mrs. Stone who waits there, for Mr. Stone, who has to be in work on the Aries I-X, and Anna and Emily. Please pray! Thank you! *****

Hi, ya'll....

As many of you may already know, my good friend, Olivia, was in a bad bicycle accident on Sunday afternoon. Her bike flipped, and she broke her left arm just below the elbow. She was in the ER in Ormond Beach for a couple hours on Sun. night, and although the Stones are home now, Olivia is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday of this week to "put her arm back together", as she put it. The doctor will have to put 2 screws in. Obviously, going under surgery is scary for her, as it would be for me too!! Although she is on pain meds now, she is still in pain, and if you would, please - be in prayer for her now and especially on Wednesday, and for the very best care from the doctors. We know our Lord does mighty things! Let one be a successful and great surgery on Olivia's arm.

Please join me in prayer for this special and sweet girl so dear to many of our hearts. We love you, Livs!! :) Hugs, dear.

Under God's hand of grace,
~ Jean Marie

Both photos are of Olivia, one taken in Nov.08,
and one in Sept. 09.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In which...quiet descends.

In which - I say to my friends: "I can't handle (the grief and the reason)_____ (insert whatever here), I think I'm going to go to bed and .... pretend that my foot isn't wrapped up and my tendon isn't crushed, and that no one hurts in my world. Sounds good ... total denial."

In which - I pray for strength and don't feel any stronger, but I'm still praying, so I take that as my "strength" dose. It takes strength to not just give up and weep.

In which - I leave a comment on Mary Beth Chapman's blog, and hear myself thinking how much I need to take what I just wrote there to heart ... for ME.
" like the song - "when sorrows like sea billows roll"...I live next to the sea, and the billows are never-ending, they roll and roll, connected to each other, pulling back, pushing forward, yet continually, bringing in beautiful shells and treasures. Grief only ends when our Savior's face we see. In Heaven.
The strongest you will ever be, is when you lie fallen at the feet of Jesus, broken in His arms, before the cross, completely humble and praying for moment by moment grace to LIVE this new normal that you don't love, but that you know He has made. For "My strength is made perfect in weakness"."

In which - I shut down my chat boxes because I can't talk about shopping for dresses without getting stressed out, and ask for some away time for a bit, because I might be close to tears of frustration.

In which - I think it may not have been such a wonderful idea to listen to the whole "Little Women" soundtrack, because I almost start crying .... about 4 times.

In which - I am so purely exhausted that everything on me aches, my eyes are sliding shut, I'm leaning on the armrest, and feeling the long day of walking hit me, but I wonder if I go to bed...will I be able to sleep.

In which - I desperately sing "It is Well" under my breath everywhere, even though for the past 8 years, I've only sung it about 5 times ... but now, this whole new level of grief...has plunged me to utter reliance upon the grace, mercy, and goodness of God's will...and so - I sing it.

In which - I write whole blog posts about 15 pages in length, sit down at the pc and can't write it down, because normal....has changed. To new normal. That I don't like - at all. And my friends' new normal is the reason my normal has changed .... and I know they are hurting.

In which - I hurt.
In which - I grieve.
In which - I can't cry, because something inside me broke or froze ... since 2wks. ago tomorrow, and I don't know when it's all going to explode again.
In which - I pray and ask for grace in humble reliance upon Christ.

In which - I edit pictures but choose ones with smiling faces, or teary hearts, and I hear all the words in my head, but they come out all wrong on here... and I wonder why people read this.

In which - my heart: goes quiet. He doeth all things well. My Lord shall never fail His people, great is His faithfulness, He is Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace, Almighty God ...

... even when all of our hearts are breaking.

~ Jean Marie

"O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day."
(Come, Thou Fount)

Sweet comfort -

Original words by Samuel Rodigast, 1676
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Music and alternate words by Mark Altrogge
© 2007 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

"Whatever My God Ordains"

"Whatever my God ordains is right
In His love I am abiding I will be still in all He does And follow where He is guiding He is my God, though dark my road He holds me that I shall not fallAnd so to Him I leave it allWhatever my God ordains is right He never will deceive me He leads me by the proper path I know He will not leave me I take content, what He has sent His hand can turn my griefs away And patiently I wait His dayWhatever my God ordains is rightHere shall my stand be taken Though sorrow, or need, or death be mine Yet I am not forsaken My Father’s care circles me there He holds me that I shall not fall And so to Him I leave it allWhatever my God ordains is rightThough now this cup in drinking Bitter it seems to my faint heart I take it all unshrinking My God is true, each morn anew Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart And pain and sorrow shall depart"

.... for two weeks ... desperate, nay, but utter clinging to the knowledge that God is never surprised by events, that whatever He ordains is right, and good.

~ Jean Marie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back -

Back - from Boston.
Back - From a 3-day weekend vacation
with two of the most precious people.
Back - to God's grace covering blatant reality.
Back - to blogging and new g-mail status'.
Back - from freezing wind, blowing snow to warm/windy FL fall.
Back - to editing pictures and reliving memories.
Back - to spending a day without laughing,
but knowing the goodness of the Lord.

Being in Boston, and being back - good and not so good, softened heart and harder life, warmer and quieter inside, soft words of deep hurt and long hysterical laughing, tears and joy ...

Being back from wondrous distraction to fall at the feet of Christ yet again.

It's really hard - being back.
But it's where we belong.
Here, at the deep pain and utter trust,
in a Sovereign Lord who comforts His people....
oh, bless the Lord, oh my soul.

~ Jean Marie

To the 2 people I spent one of the best weekends with: I love you.


Friday, October 16, 2009

One week -

One week -
.... of brokenhearted -
before the Lord,
in all things,
in all emotions,
in all actions,
in all thoughts,
in all memories,
in all prayers,
in all singing,
in all writing,
in all driving the car,
in all breathing,
in all sleeping,
in all thinking,
in all eating,
in all reading His Word,
in all kneeling down,
in all hugs,
in all weeping.
In all:
I am so utterly broken and brokenhearted.

One of my very favorite hymns
that has helped me through this week,
I've played it about 50 times, on YouTube
by singing, by cello, by piano -
and by reading it over and over:

"My Shepherd will supply my need,
Jehovah is His name.
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.

He brings my wand’ring spirit back,
When I forsake His ways.
And leads me for His mercy’s sake
In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay.
One word of Thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.

Thy hand in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread.
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days.
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.

There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come.
No more a stranger nor a guest,
But like a child at home."
(Isaac Watts)

While life is somewhat this past week
like that post I did, on Goodbyes,
when everything seems to be so wrong,
when life is shredded down to 25 kinds of pain,
when you watch friends so dear they are family
in your heart say "Goodbye",
while life is like that,
for now,
I'm brokenhearted and broken
before my holy Savior,
Who hath conquered the grave,
overcome the world,
Who hath laid the foundation of the earth,
Who divided the sea whose waves roared...
the Lord of hosts is His name,
Who has borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows ...
and Whose love wilt never let us go.

In sadness and in joy,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth."
(Karolina W. Sandell-Berg 1858)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whisper Thy peace -

This post: My reminder for this day ....
"For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul."

Lord, whisper Thy peace to our souls -
and be glorified.
~ Jean Marie~

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A 19th Birthday -

Golden spring day sitting beside a best friend,
and watching her hair wisp about her face,
thinking of our friendship,
and the inward Christ that gives her
all the beauty and grace and love
that brings her to love me ...and I her ....
so very dearly.

Happy 19th birthday, darling.

I love thee.

~ Jean Marie ~

Tomorrow (well, today, now, since it's early Sunday) is the birthday of a very sweet girl ... our own - Emily Stone. :) She is turning 19!! You may know her from her two blogs - Storing God's Commands, and As I sit here Thinking. I hope that you know her beside those two blogs, though, because she is a little lady worth knowin', for sure. :)

We've been friends since they (The Stone family) started coming to CCC, my church, and although Emily didn't always come along to my house, because it was just Anna and I, we soon enjoyed having Emily along, and then Olivia as well, three jewels of precious friends to me.

Emily ... how to describe her. (laugh...then slaps forehead) Huge smiles, infectious giggling and laughing, playing piano, singing, playing her flutes and whistles and guitar, hearing her sing "It's the Climb" from another room, laying my head on top of her head ... she's 5'2". :) I think: Rascal Flatts, Celtic Thunder, and you trying to get a song on the country station that you liked and your supreme frustration, just making Anna and Livvy and I laugh so hard. Oh my.

Umm, I think ... this: a huge smile on her face that makes you want to squish her in a hug (don't worry, I almost always do), and way, way, WAY cute little accessories and clothes that change every single time you see her. She's crazy different that way - always a fun surprise. :)

And then I think of this: tromping through the orange groves on Superbowl night, with a baby goat under one arm, and her favorite cat in the other. Huge smile on face. Girlie dwarfed in a sweatshirt. Cuddling her little animals and watching them fall asleep in her arms.
And then I see this, and laugh hysterically. The one day that Anna is shorter than Emily... (look closely at the bottom - Anna is standing in a trench) that day only lasted about ... uhh, 2 minutes? Emily: "This is weird." Anna: "Yeah, it is. I'm getting out of the trench.". Haha!

I cannot help but reflect on all that God has brought both of our families through, and our friendships through. Looking back - I can't believe we are still here. Living, breathing. Together, as friends. And then I look back, deeper, and I can see all of God's faithfulness and grace, bubbling up through all of it.

There have been several times I have lost your friendships, temporarily, or out of a mis-communication, some a couple years past, some ... recent. It crushed and devastated me to even think of losing some of the dearest girl friends to my heart ... ever. God, and God alone, has brought me through ... but I thank you, Stone girls, for not giving up on me, and for loving me still.

Emily - I've shared hurts with you, I've sobbed with you, we've prayed for each other, we've sung together, we've been frustrated with each other, we've most likely been bad together, we've gotten into trouble, we've planned and thrown parties and surprises and held each other in long hugs that last so long only because we are afraid to let go, because it might hurt more.

Emily - as time goes on - you only become more precious to me.

Sometimes it's a little frustrating how drop dead gorgeous you are, but I quickly get over it when you give me that smile, and hug me a little. It helps that I hold the camera, muwahahaha!

Seriously though ... wee doagies ... you are lovely, dolly!!!

Emily - I can't tell you how much I love to be with you, to listen to you, to share with you, to take pictures with you, to spend all day doing nothing with you, and yet talking about paint and rust and pictures and dresses and half swooning over boots and dancing and turquoise stairs and singing "Long Black Train" at the top of our lungs in the kitchen and lying on the trampoline and getting some sun, and hearing you work on your Spanish which only makes me laugh again and again, and having you hug me first, and watch you throw your arms around those you love, and bouncing in excitement ... and the list goes on, and on. And ... on. Thank you, darling.

Mainly - the point is: I love you, Emily. Happy 19th Birthday, love.

In our Lord Jesus Christ,
~ Jean Marie
(Psalm 103)

"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness
known through all generations." (Psalm 89:1)

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Thy coming we wait -

"O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be."

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
(Psalm 147:3)

"Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die:
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high."

God is near to the brokenhearted ....
He will never leave us nor forsake us.

God has no Plan"B", He always and only has ever had - Plan"A" ...
nothing takes our Holy Lord and King by surprise.

In all of this, we take comfort in Christ Jesus, and sing -

"For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul."
(It is Well with my soul - Horatio G. Spafford, 1873)

Amen and Amen.
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding, and resting, in Thee.
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three little women -

... just because for some reason I can't get this sweet family out of my mind. :) Have a great day, Littmann family, I love you!

Be strong in the Lord,
~ Jean Marie

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thrashed, shredded and rips?

Hey, ya'll...

I went to the beach today! In October! I love living here in Florida. :) I know, I know... for those of you who live in the frigid icelands and frozen tundras, you are now giving me the evil glare. I'm sorry. Actually, I'm not. But I can pretend, for your sake.

Since I was at the beach today, and had a wonderful time, I thought maybe it would be fun to do a poll on how many things and what kind of things you were hurt or did, at the beach this summer. I had a wonderful time writing these up, let me tell you, especially re-living all the (ahem) painful and coughing-up-water memories that they invoke ...

... and because I've done all of them except the bitten, whipped and sunburned ones. Wow, it's a wonder I still live. Just kidding, I'm really not a surfer, I'm just a freckled native that boogie-boards like I'm dying tomorrow. Actually (I wonder if Mom is reading this), I think I am just a beach lover, and can't get enough of it. One week this summer, I went three days. That was an awesome week, let me tell you. Mom wasn't so thrilled...but I was.

So, take the poll, laugh over it, brag to your friends how you survived due to your amazing -life-saving skills on yourself- aka: God's supreme grace upon your little life. Oh, and I made it several answers, because really ... I mean ... who among you only did one? If you only did one, you did not get in the water, apparently.

Ok. I love you all, bro's and lady's ... surfers and boogie-boarders, and those very helpful lifeguards at Flagler Beach who were only there for the turtles, and for the real bodyguards and lifeguards who happen to be my guy friends and can swim better than me, and for everyone who hugged me after I got hurt, and actually showed sympathy instead of laughing .... I thank you.

and my acceptance speech really is over now.

God bless and keep you ...

.... and may the images of the tourists staring in horror at my hands full of jellies and jelly tentacles and jelly-jelly, forever live on in my memory.

Forever, in His mighty hands,
~ Jean Marie

P.S. The poll is down there, by the Bible verse, and it's open until Wednesday, the 8th! :) Oh, and if you don't vote, I will track you down, run after you with a clump of seaweed, screaming "JELLYFISH!!", and then tell the tourists you were chewed in half by a shark and you give out autographs, and last but not least, I will hand you a slice of bread and watch the kamikaze seagulls fly whizzing down upon you as you dive into the sea.

Ok, maybe not. But it was fun to type out, even if I wouldn't ever be so mean. Except for the seaweed/jellyfish one...because I've already done that and laughed myself sick. :) Heh heh!!