Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A look back at Calvary -

Dearest friends ....

These days make up the week before Easter Sunday. Even though it is Wednesday, I had the thought to look back at last year's posts ... I was in Ohio for my grandmother's birthday and actually celebrated Easter with my mom, and not with my whole family! It was different, but very special. I will treasure those memories for many years.

I thought it might be nice ... for me, as well as you! :D ... to re-publish them, as I agree and so much more love these hymns now than I did a year ago. How amazing that is to me...since these are some of my very favorite hymns. I hope that you enjoy reading through them, as I put up "Monday's, Tuesday's, and Wed's", and then continue on tomorrow's and through to Sunday on their consecutive days.

What I wrote then ... from my heart is still true now ... even more so, I long for the resurrection of all the saints, the coming again of the Risen Lord Jesus, when my eyes will SEE the victory over the grave, the full knowledge of being "in the presence of God, even that very hour", the empty tomb ... the empty cross ... the "filled up mansions" that He hath prepared. :) The light of His countenance ...

With love to you all ...still ...
"ever amazed by Calvary",
~ Jean Marie

Monday, April 6th, 2009 -
"Since this is the week leading up to Christ's death and resurrection so many, many years ago, I wanted to do something special. Well, it is special to me, anyway. I am going to post a hymn each day this week (some will be prewritten as posts, obviously, since I am leaving town). I hope you will read through each verse of the songs, and meditate on them during the day, and even sing them throughout the day! Several of these hymns are some very gripping and self-crushing favorites of mine. They take me down to that tiny level where I am nothing and Christ is everything, and I cannot understand the deep, deep love of God.

I care not if you thinkest you not to have a spectacular voice, because it matters not. (Slipping into old English, sorry) The Lord cares about your heart. :) You would be surprised at how much more that hymn will stay in your head after singing it aloud one or two times. Print it out, leave it in a noticeable place in your house, memorize a few verses, hum the tune, sing it, speak it - just don't forget the wonder and pure amazement this week should find in your heart. Christ did not come just to be born and to live and teach ... He came to die. He came to die for us. The glory of salvation and the glory of our Majestic God is in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus!

May you have a wonderful week remembering the gift of our Holy Savior, given for the sons of unworthy and sinful man. May you ponder the agony and the pain. May you see a small portion of the anguish of Christ loving you so to die for you. May you joy in the resurrection!!!

I love you all -
Ever amazed by Calvary,
~ Jean Marie

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. -Isaiah 53:3"
"Man of Sorrows! What a Name!"

"Man of Sorrows," what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood,
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement—can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die,
"It is finished!" was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I:heart:faces B&W -

I love this picture. I took it just yesterday, of my dearest friend, Anna. She had just lain down in a wide spread of wildflowers, and picked a few ... the strong wind was waving the flowers and wisping her hair everywhere ... it was a very old sort of romanticism picture of graceful womanhood. :) She makes my heart smile.

And so, I'm entering it in I:heart:faces for this week's "Dramatic B&W" challenge ... head on over and enter yourself, or just scroll through some gorgeous shots!

With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

I love you, Dianna!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sludgy sand driving skills-

I have a sweet ride.

I have never driven my sweet ride through mass amounts of sludgy, slippery, rutted, chunky sand with mass amounts of 1' to 2' deep puddles that stretched from one side of the completely unpaved road to the other, in the middle of the country all by my lonesome.

Until today. *cue dramatic music*

Actually, cue some country, say ... "Where I come from" -

Between praying and learning how to drive in said ... umm - sand, I think that I have marvelously taught myself some valuable lessons ... like: always remember to smile and wave to the dudes in the Huge Country Truck, because as my dad told me later..."they probably will be the ones pulling you out and laughing", and "don't accelerate in water until you actually feel some traction", and don't ever EVER drive back there at night or actually in the middle of a rainstorm, because you will be scared, lost and .... umm ... stuck.
(and most likely without your wellies)

And that is all I have to say about that.

Hello, adorable road that brought me joy today....

I'm pretty 99.1% (the .9% is the common sense that they weren't) sure that the cows were laughing hysterically at me when I took that first puddle on with a ferociousness that scared the living daylights out of that happy egret on the side of the road, with the Country music goin', and my side windows rolled. all. the. way. down.

*pause for dramatic effect*

(picture water going UP, and water coming IN)

After I stopped laughing so hard I was losing control of the ... umm... wheel... (I wonder if Mom will read this), I took a towel and wiped off the passenger seat that had water all over it, and thanked God that the camera was in my lap, and not in that seat.

In a very small way, I now understand how muddin' is so much crazy fun ... but I'm not sure I'll try it in my sweet ride anytime soon!!! :D

This is what it sounded like ... me going through a puddle:

Me: (singing) "cornbread and chicken...front porch sittin!!"
Car: "vroom" (enters sludgy puddle and sort of slip slides around)
Me: "Oh. Umm. Haha....hah....heh."
Car: SSSSHFWIIIISHHH! (through the puddle)
Car: SCHRrrVROOM (like being in a boat right about now)
Me: oh ... "Dear God, please don't let me get stuck..."
Car: Chunketa Chunketa (through the chunky sand)
Me: "YAY! Thank you Lord!!!" HAHAHAHHAA, look at the windows!!
Car: tissssshhhhh (drives on splattering sand)
Me: (looks ahead at the 5 more puddles and curves)
"heh, oh my. I wonder how long this road goes?"

... in case you were wondering, between the bouts of prayer and hysterical laughter ... the road apparently runs parallel to a State Road, and goes on for MILES....and yes, I WAS alone. :)

Signing out ... this Country Girl at heart ...
that is probably not too brilliant for her sandy jaunt to the
"outback" this afternoon ... with love,
~ Jean Marie ~
Psalm 103

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Lord is good -

The Lord is good.

You have no idea how hard it is for me to say that sometimes, or perhaps you do know... perhaps you've been where I am, or known what I'm feeling, or don't want to feel, and you have not wanted to say those words, you have not wanted to HEAR those words, and when people told you what you already KNEW, even though you didn't want to believe your own heart ... when people told you that
... you got stark, raging, angry.

I did. Maybe I should say - I have.

Because let's be real - it's happened a lot, and will happen again. :)
In the midst of extreme pain, I didn't want to believe that the Jesus I love and adore would really do what He just did, and that He knew it .... He ordained it so.

* Okay. So now I'm freaking out, because I just shared my heart, and I'm thinking - "oh great. Jean, you are going to get SO many e-mails telling you how to trust God, that He is sovereign and that you can't doubt Him. DO NOT SHARE!!!" *

I'm sharing anyway. Because you already know what I'm talking about. Right? Right.

So after the anger wears off, and the tears subside for the 50th time, and you let your friend hold your hand again, you realize how you can't do this by yourself ... that the very One that you were just angry with, is the One who died for you, and whose will is perfect and GOOD, and how even though you don't, and can't understand .... that it is in these moments that you need Him ... oh, SO much more than ever.

The Lord is good, and His mercies endure forever.

All my steps are ordered and ordained by the Lord, not one do I take that is out of His plan, not one comes as a surprise, never do I "walk out" of the protection of His hands, nor the sight of His eyes. He is Emmanuel - God with me, God indwelling. Oh, blessed thought!

When it seems that we can bear no more, when I just shake my head, and pray that I receive no more "bad news just this week...", I am reminded that He doth not give more than I can handle, in His presence, what can we not handle, when He is by our sides?
"He giveth sufficient grace".

"I know, we may say, that Christ is kindest in His love when we are at our weakest; and that if Christ had not been to the fore, in our sad days, the waters had gone over our soul." ~ Samuel Rutherford.
"When we shall come home and enter to the possession of our Brother's fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings; then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory; and that our little inch of time - suffering is not worthy of our first night's welcome home to heaven." ~ Samuel Rutherford

"When I saw the sun shining on these bricks, turning them into seemingly "gold bricks", I thought of heaven, and the verse that talks of the New Jerusalem - "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light." ~ Rev. 21:23

When He gives and when He takes away ... still HE IS FAITHFUL!
In everything and in all times, He hath given rest, He hath brought others to bless and encourage ... He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds ... "to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they maybe be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." ~ Isaiah 61:2-3

I have learned. I have tasted. I have seen.

The Lord is good, and He is faithful.

So thankful for the One who truly understands it all,
and gives the grace to rise every morning and say
"I've dropped anchor in your promises, and I'm holding on,
'cause You are faithful, God, You are faithful."
~ Jean Marie ~
6 months

I love you, my dear friends .... you know I do.

"Sure I am, He is the far best half of heaven; yea He is all heaven, and more than all heaven." ~ Samuel Rutherford ... excerpts from
"The Loveliness of Christ".

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

He hears a melody -

There's this song that I've been listening to ... over and over and over and over again. I hum it, and sing it, and think about it, and play it in my head, I ponder it, rejoice in it, thank God that it's true. I rest in the truth of knowing that ALL of my anguish in my heart, that it's broken ashes to me, but it's beautiful in His sight, He loves to comfort my little heart, He opens and smooths over and quiets those parts that I cannot, will not ... understand.

It is not ugly, because it is already beautiful.
He has made it beautiful. It is a melody to Him.

You can listen to it - HERE.

I sing the chorus over and over inside my head -
"We pour out our miseries,
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are,
the honest cries of breaking hearts
are better than a hallelujah
... sometimes."
~ Amy Grant ~

I hope it blesses you to listen to it as it does to me.
I'm having a few computer malfunctions, so that's why the lack
of pictures and .... blogging. :) I miss it.

But I have more time to sing, I guess, and more time to run,
and pour out ALL my miseries to the One Who loves me best ...
~ Jean Marie ~
Isaiah 51

I love you, readers. :)

"As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." ~ Psalm 103:13

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fiddle Girl -

Here's another shot of The Fiddle Girl ...
who made it to the favorites on I:heart:faces ...
what can I say? She's amazing, and I love her SO much!!

Have a loverly day today, dearest Anna.
In Christ Jesus,
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day -

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all ye' red-haired and
green-wearin' and Bible-thumpin' Irish out there!!! :D

A good read on Patrick ... a missionary of our Lord - to Ireland.
Written by Rev. Marcus Serven.

"Christ to comfort and restore me"
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Come sit by me -

"Come sit by me for awhile.
Take a place next to me on this rickety, childlike-sized bench,
the slats are widening and cracking,
the rails are rusting and flaking,
and there is an iron-worked Noah's ark on the bench's back ....

This bench is just calling for its purpose to be joyfully fulfilled,
instead of wildflowers growing up and waving nearby,
and touching softly the dusty planks of wood.

Come sit by me for awhile.
Come hold my hand, and we'll listen as life runs by at the full speed
of a child on a bike, and flies by at the chirping grace of a bird,
and to the rustling wind as it moves in and out of the oaks that surround
... this little bench on which we sit.

Come help me listen to life ... and don't tell me how to feel or
what I should say or how to live or when to try harder ...
just come listen to me, and I'll listen to you ...
We can talk on and on, or we can just sit and be quiet for a time,
and then we'll just listen .... to life.

We'll sit and talk, we'll listen and watch,
we'll share and unburden it all, and let it go, there,
on that sweet little bench by the wildflowers,
in the glow of the setting sun, and the whisper of the wind.

We will be quiet and let ourselves "be still" under His gaze,
you will lean on me, and I'll lean on you,
and if I start to cry, you won't mind ...

... because you came to sit by me for awhile."

To my Sadie Beth...who listened to me tonight and listens to me often.
I love you, dearest, and thank God for you.
~ Jean Marie ~
Isaiah 61:1-3

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Darling Jessica is ... 19!!

Today ... is Jessica L's 19th birthday!!! :D :D
EEEEEKKK! :D I had the joy of being with her in MO
last week, when we celebrated her birthday a weeeee bit
on the early side of one week, since I was there (okay, not)
.... since yesterday she had her wisdom teeth out. Yes.
I know ... it's sad. Don't you feel sorry for her? Poor darling.
If you think about it, pray for good recovery for her. :)

Sweet girl ... I miss you already.
It didn't seem enough time, from Wednesday to some of
Saturday ... hugs and holding hands, taking pictures and
dancing together, singing and sharing Mango smoothies.
Cheering you on as you drove the van excellently.

Tromping on the ice and in the crunchy leaves ...
lives joined for a while ... in sweet harmony. :)

Shopping, drinking pink lemonade, shooting pics in alleys
WITH RED WALLS .... ahem ....
to my utter delight and the confusion of tourists ...

Chilly wind and warm sun, in the freezing rain and
blistering summer of Florida .... you stay the most beautiful
in my mind when I hear your heart for what God wants for you,
and your dreams to so fulfill that glorious will.
Your lovely beauty is overshadowed by the grace within.

She holds a gentle and sweet part of her heart open for
dear friends, such as myself and Callie K.

Dear friends shall Jessie and I always be ... by God's grace.
He has been enough. He will be enough.
He shall preserve His remnant.
Darling, sweet, beautiful, lovely, gentle girl-friend, Jessica ...
I am blessed and encouraged and comforted by thee.

Happy 19 years, dearest. So many, many more to you ...

I love you.

Finding ourselves complete only in our dear Lord,
~ Jean Marie ~
Psalm 103

P.S. Leave her a little happy birthday love, 'kay? :D

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm HOME!!

Jessica and I at the Missouri river. self-timer. in freezing weather.
Good times, ohhh, good times.

HOME from Missouri.
I miss everyone so much that I thought about crying on the plane.
Yes, Missouri people ... that's how much I love you.

and yet ... Florida land ... how I love thee, my state ...
my home. my family. my heart. my friend.
70 degrees will do just fine, thank you.
Florida people - I'm baaaaaaack!!! I missed you all a ton.

It was all the way around ... a God-blessed trip with people I love.
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mims Memories Weekend -

Hey, ya'll and yeehaw!! :D

This past weekend, Friday and Saturday, our friends the Stones held the long-awaited Contra' dancin', campin' out, music jammin', fellowship and all around exciting party at their home. However, since my daddy wasn't tooooo thrilled about me spending the night sleeping a tent when it was supposed to be 40 degrees that night (or so), we instead hosted the Hopes and Emily Case at our house. :) It was great fun ... not that we did anything except moan about our injuries from dancing, brush our teeth and sing at the same time, and fall into bed for our measly 5 hours of sleep before getting up on Saturday morning to head back to the Stones. hahaaha.

Thanks to a text from Gabe, we officially woke up laughing and hurrying just a bit more to eat one of the last donuts. :) And I mean ... I woke everyone up. Let's just say that I woke up Emily Case by singing to her, and playing with her hand, and she looks at me like - "you are kidding me. it's morning?". hahaha. Loved it.

All that to say - I only have pics from Saturday. Emily Case's post on the weekend is ... here. She had wayyy too much fun with her new 50mm lens. Which is why that picture of me making the crazy face is on there, because I love her so much, that I let her use it. And that is all I will say about that. :)

Saturday! Here we go ....

It was a windy and freezing (I kid you not, it was 42 degrees at BEST that morning) morning, and some of us went to cuddle the baby goaties before breakfast, although several of us had our morning shot of mocha-coffee, consisting of: 1/2 cup of coffee, one packet of cocoa mix, a couple tablespoons of half and half, and some sugar. I know, I know...but it tasted sooooo gooood.

On the way back, I ran ahead of the bunch, and stood my ground as they (practically) stormed towards me, and yelled - "be a BAND!!!"... and so they were. Kind of. Nathan closed his eyes. Thanks, Nathan. HAhahaha. I had great fun making up names for these 3 shots. :D

LtoR: Gabe, Zander, Olivia, Emily Case and Nathan.
"The screaming and frozen donut chasers Band Album Cover 1."

"The Swaggering Mocha-Coffee Gangsters of the South". Yeah, baby!
"The All American Contra' Dancers Tutorial DVD" aka:
what happens when Nathan jumps so high that I cut off his head.

Little darling with her hot mocha.

"DO NOT EAT FRANK!" (joke...and I don't know the whole story)

Jammin' time!!! They sure can render!!! hahahaa!
LtoR: Momma Lynn, Mr. Sparling, Isaac, and Emily.

Sweet Michelle girlie.

Some of the people playing games on the outside porch
... much laughter was ensuing.

While inside, we were going through songs faster than you
could say "Wee Doagies!", okay....maybe not, but we were sure singin'
and strummin' and clappin' up a storm of old hymns and songs!
- Cody on guitar.

Isaac on bass guitar. I have no idea why everyone looks so serious
here, but may I just say that Isaac is amazing on bass.
Amazing, I say.
Pure joy to hear him pick up anywhere, and play it out...
thanks, Isaac!

Sharin' a page of chords for Star of the County Down -
"From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay,
from Galway to Dublin town, no maid I've seen like the
sweet colleen that I met in the County Down."
LtoR: Dakota, Isaac, and Carrie

John on mandolin, Dakota on guitar, and Isaac on bass.

I take a wee break to take advantage of the break in the drizzling rain,
to catch some shots of the warring tribes of the Ultimate Frisbee War.
I love how Zander and Nathan are fighting over that throw, and
Rebekah S. just stands there like - "Really? He can't catch that!" Haha!

I join some lassies in the goat shed, to hold and caress some
little goats ... I'm not sure if the goats weren't just as pleased,
seein's how they had a warm body and arms to cuddle in. :)

Audrey holdin' sweet little Vally ... I think.

Mrs. Stone and Susannah S. Would you LOOK at those
beautiful and stunning blue eyes of that little tot? My!

A boy and his goat. (well, borrowed at least...) haha

Go ahead little girl, take a lick or two. Awww!

Zander bein' .... Zander. :D Just the way we love 'im.
Nathan coaching Zander on being more dramatic for
the "dramatic Ultimate Frisbee photoshoot", hahaa...
I gave him the camera, told him not to drop it, and went inside.
He cracks me up. hahaha!

... and it was lovely meeting Miss. Dakota!!
Emily in the mirror. It's like Katie ... except for not.
(think Anne of Green Gables, you will get it)
Boots, ya'll. And proud of it. Even the little 'uns run 'round in
pint-sized boots, and I love it ... here's Emily Case's pair.

Precious friend Emily and I.

Possibly my favorite shot of the weekend - a Sparling lass with
her two handfuls of wildflowers, studying with interest the offered
flower to add to her collection. :) So sweet.

The two Emily's. I love them both so much! haha.
And that was our weekend ... complete with some other things, but here's the picture take on it, from my camera!! Hope ya'll enjoyed it. I am heading out to MO on Wednesday, so this will tide you over until I return!! Hopefully it will. hahhaha. I am flying out for another wedding, oh my! :) I hope to be a blessing and joy to those I will see there, and that I will come home rejuvenated for more life at home.

A HUGE thank you to the Stone family for throwing such an amazing get-together, definitely the best yet, and such a tender and loving time to so many! My feet were not as thankful, as Friday night I spent about 2 hours straight dancing, and softening up my pair of boots. haha. At least I didn't fall on the sidewalk or slice my leg or twist my ankle like some other ... friends. Poor things. Thank you also to everyone who I danced with!! Twas a joy, and really ... hysterical. I laughed so much I could hardly breathe. :D

And out of all the ashes that we see, and
those that have yet to come, He will redeem them,
and trade in beauty for them ... out of these ashes ...
BEAUTY will rise!!!!
With joy, and thankfulness,
~ Jean Marie

*Now that I have the Star of the County Down stuck in my head, click HERE if you'd like to listen to my favorite version of it. :) Beautiful.*


Oh! And I would like to announce that the total funds raised by the giveaway, comments, and purchases for the Haiti Children's Relief came to a grand amount of ........ Twenty-five dollars!!! Maybe not a huge amount, but a good amount, sent by our loving hearts to those sweet people. Sent with MUCH prayer. Thank you all for participating, and the funds will be wired soon! And Miss. Katie will receive her sugar scrub very soon as well. :) With love, Jean Marie