Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Photojournalism -

Photojournalism. The stories. The reason I love photography. Memories. Emotion. Time stopped for 1 second, filed away forever in my heart. Quiet or loud, precious or hard, sad or sweet TIME.

I love this picture. I just do. I dearly love the people in it. I love the sunbeams that made bright blazes appear upon dresses and sweaters and arms, warm on that November Missouri afternoon. I love the laughter and the gazes captivated by the camera slideshow that was going on. I love the sisters. The Bride (far left), her sister (married earlier that year), and a younger sister (far right), with a cousin in the middle, and a dear friend with the camera. The closeness is almost tangible, all squished together in sweet comfort. :)

I love that all the focus is on the camera, and the challenge is on photojournalism. ;) haha!

A beautiful and sweet moment. :) And that's why I love photojournalism. Because I can step back into that moment after months ... and see the smiles and the joy. It's held there for me.

Thank you, R.L. for allowing me to use the photo for a challenge.
I love you, sweet friend.
~ Jean Marie ~

Want to enter a photo? Or just look at photos? :D Click on the button! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To our Irish Sweetheart-

There once was a girl named Sadie Beth. There once was a rambling birthday post written for Sadie Beth's birthday in the year 2009. You can read it HERE, if you need some background. If you've ever heard, read, or seen me around Sadie Beth, you will know how much she is our Irish Princess. She is my favorite Irish person. EVER. BAR. NONE. and that says a lot. :)

So today is her 22nd birthday. :) And she reminded me last night. Please hold, whilst I check myself in to the "Worst-Possible-Friend-Ever-Care-Group" because I failed to write it on my calendar from last year and "almost" forgot her birthday. She just laughed and said she loved me anyways, while I sat there with huge eyes and outright panic. Thanks for the reminder, love. ;)

So ... my Sadie Beth. Oh my my my. How I love you. Last night I sat down and ran quickly through some e-mails and some chats between us online, and I was so overwhelmed because there is so sooo much to say, and not near enough time to say how loving you are to me.

This past year, ahh, it has been the hardest of years .... and I have poured almost every anguish out to you, and you have sat and listened and born it, you said "Awww" and "I know, sweetie.", and "bless you", and "God is faithful, dearie.", while I sat and sobbed and typed for hours. When I look back on how much time you really spent listening to me, I am amazed.

Amazed that you love me enough to just sit and listen for a long time, knowing that you don't have any answers, but giving me such stark wisdom and truth that it makes me stop and blink. Hahahaa, I'm in tears all over again, just reading some of these words that have so blessed me!! I came with overwhelming emotions and worries, fears and nightmares and HURT, and you wrapped your arms around me, and told me God is still God, that He gives grace for the moments, and that what we believe isn't always what we feel.
Or mostly isn't. :)

So much beautiful Biblical encouragement. From a heart almost as old as mine.
I am so very deeply grateful for you, Sadie Beth, and after this year ... more than ever. God has used you in ways to encourage my soul when nothing else was making sense. :) You were always up to listening, giving your input, writing out Scripture, and praying. I've brought so many things to the table for you to pray for, and I never got a "I'm too busy. Not right now" from you. :) First off, any problem. A. Pray. B. Write Sadie Beth. :)

You are a faithful friend!!! Thank you so so much!! One of our favorite songs ....

"I have not lived a life that boasts of anything, and I don't take pride in what I bring,
but I'll build an altar with the rubble You've found me in, and every stone will sing
... of what You can redeem!!!

Heal the wound, but leave the scar ... a reminder of how merciful You are.
I am broken, torn apart, but take the pieces of this heart, and heal the wound ...
but leave the scar.

Don't let me forget everything You've done for me.
Don't let me forget the beauty in the suffering."

Sweet beautiful Sadie Beth. :) Thank you for being love and grace to me this past year!
Dec. 2008 Mt. Dora, FL. A very chilly and windy Florida day beside the lake.

So I thought since I didn't put up a bunch of pictures (since they are all from 2 years ago), that it would be fun to have .... some birthday quotes from friends here. :) They graciously and willingly wrote a few notes for you, Sadie Beth! I know you will love this ....

"Dear Sarah!
Happy birthday, Lovely Lady! You have been such a blessing and encouragement to me every time I have seen you and talked with you! I pray that our Lord blesses today, YOUR TWENTY-SECOND BIRTHDAY!!! It's also been "jolly fun" having a friend "across the pond" such as yourself. ;)

I can't wait to see you!!! :D "
*hugs and love*
~ Emily ~

God has made you such a loving, faithful woman. His grace is so beautifully manifest in and through your life, and as He has wrought His perfect plan in you these past years, so shall He continue in this coming year ~ all for His glory. You are a blessing to so many."
Love in Christ,
~ Kimberly ~

"My initial thought about Miss Sarah was "She's an Irish-born British girl?!? How utterly exciting! We get to meet someone from EUROPE!!" And yes, this all was true. But through my interaction with her over these last couple years, I've discovered much, much more in the person of Sarah.

When you first meet her, there is a gentleness, an air about her. Smiles and kindness greet you. You go to shake hands with her, but immediately feel so at ease that you hug instead. You both laugh and then fall into easy conversation. Then, as you get to know her, you discover the reason for the afore-mentioned "air". Christ shines within her, so much in fact that it seems to radiate from her.

Such is Sarah's testimony in my life. We have such fun talking about things ranging from everyday life and travel, to Christianity and politics. And beach walks with this lassie are truly amazing, nothing quite like smiling during an entire walk on the shore. :)

So Sarah, here's to you and the work our Lord is doing in your life! May you grow in grace and Godliness, ever looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!
Love you so much, friend!!
~ Anna ~
(P.S.) This girl can put on a killer American accent! ;)


So, my dearest sweet Sadie Beth. :) I hope we have blessed you, this day, your 22nd birthday.
I love you so very very much, and hope to be as faithful and precious a friend as you are to me, and I cannot wait to see you in just 3 months!!! I am praying for you, dearest.

Happy Birthday Sadie Beth, may the Lord bless you richly!!!

Hugs and kisses and deep thankfulness for you, dear girl!!
With love, Your Plonker,
~ Jean Marie ~

Mt. Dora. Dec. 2008 Horrible shot of me, but ADORABLE of Sadie Beth. See what love does for a friend, on her own blog? Ahem. You have no idea how windy and cold it was. :D Good memories.

P.S. YES!! You read that right!!! Sadie Beth is visiting our family in Nov 2010!! We can't WAIT!!! :D Then ya'll can meet her and get to know her wonderful self in real life! :D haha.
P.P.S. Leave a happy birthday comment for our Irish Sweetheart if you'd like!! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

I:Heart:Faces Beach -

So this week over at I:heart:faces was a Beach challenge. I wasn't going to enter, because I rarely, if ever, take my camera to the beach, since we live in Florida and it is so damaging to it.


How in the world was I supposed to pass up entering a beach photo challenge?

It would be the same as walking around the entire B&H store for years and never ever buying anything. Aka: the saddest thing ever. So here I am, with my small little beach photo ... I guess my amount of love for East Coast Florida makes up for it. How I love love love the BEACH.

It was a cool, overcast "Winter" day in February. :) Cocoa Beach in its lovely glory was not fazed at all that the sun wasn't out in full force, that the sand was cold, that the water was chilly, that no surfers sliced her waters ... that the animals she held swam a little slower through her depths .... no matter what the conditions, the ocean is always beautiful and powerful.

The ocean will always have a part of my heart.
Feb. 2010~Cocoa Beach~Nikon d40~18-55mm

Click on over to see the other entries by clicking on the camera button! :) You will be glad you did. Even if you don't have the ocean near you ... you can still enjoy all the beach joy!!!

With love, and huge thankfulness for the oceans God has made!!
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home again -

I'm HOME!!!! :D It's lovely to be back again ....

my Facebook quote: "I'm all unpacked, and have hugged the adorable masses of my family. So sweet to be with them again, although my heart tugs with longing already for the dear faces of Audra, John and Kit-Kat (the kitty), and it's only been 5 hours! :D A very special vacation indeed."

John shot this sweet picture of us at the airport, and when I saw it on my computer, I wished it was a "coming" shot, instead of a "goodbye" shot, because even though I was there over a week, I just loved loved loved being with dearest John and Audra, and living life with them. :)

Audra is a beautiful Mama, John is a handsome Daddy, and they are very in love. :)
Much much more on that later .... hahahaha.

I love you three so very very much. Thank you for blessing me so richly.
~ Jean Marie ~
Psalm 103

DO YOU SEE MY JOHN-DEERE-GREEN-FINGERNAILS!!? Are they not the most awesomemest applesauceness you ever DID SEE? Audra did them. I loved it. :D :D

Monday, August 9, 2010

Watch out Tennessee -

Watch out Tennessee, here I come. :D Watch out airport, because I will look like I'm in quiet and serene control, but really I will be shaking with excitement and joy and trying not to shriek at the top of my lungs when I get to see Audra. Try not to blame me. She's just too precious.

I'm not sure ya'll are ready or not .... but here I come, John and Audra! :) hahahaha!!

Goin' to the TN hills ... to see these two lovebirds. *wink* So so sweet.
(Taken at Matt & Bethy's wedding March 6th 2010)

I love ya'll ... sit tight till I come back, ya' hear? Enjoy your summer, and eat good food. :D

The joy of the Lord's mercies be upon you,
~ Jean Marie ~

Saturday, August 7, 2010

An Afternoon Tea -

A few weeks ago, our sweet friends the Hopes, hosted an afternoon tea and fellowship time, for the purpose of just enjoying slightly older girls (our Mama's), older girls (about my age), and two sweet "young" girls (young teens) spending time together and also for the purpose of celebrating Lauren's 22nd birthday!! Yes. She is 22 now. Same age as I .... with a late birthday post due. :D Sorry, dear. Happy Birthday, Lauren!!

We had a wonderful lunch/tea, then took waaaaaay too many pictures, and then spent some time knitting and crocheting, with Mrs. Hope, Lauren, and EmilyCase teaching. 'Twas such a wonderful-sweet time, and I have the pictures to prove it!! :) Hope ya'll enjoy this little look:

Psssst!! This is whose jar of Lemon Curd it was!! :)

Ahhhh, beautiful Lauren. She made these name cards! It was soo pretty, because she somehow glued the flowers only a little, so it was like 3-D. We ooh'ed and ahh'ed. :)

Emily's loverly card.

My sweet older sister allowed me to wear one of my very favorite dresses of hers. She looks like some sort of ethereal Scottish lady in it ... while I look like a tall blue drink of water. Which may not be bad .... all I know is that I love it ... so who cares? hahaha. Thanks, dolly.

Mmmm, Shannon's Ruby Tea Scones, the Menu, the fruit salad and my birthday card for Lauren ... and Lauren's lens cap in the corner. :D

Putting my calligraphy skills to the test ... I was a bit hurried when I wrote it, and when I realized what I had written, I rushed into the next room and copied it on our home printer so I could remember what I wrote .... haha, Lauren understood. I just needed to remember. :)

Adorable EmilyCase. She wore a straw hat during the whole day, and the rest of us were gloveless and hatless. *gasp* The indecency of it all!! hahaha. Just kidding.

Mmmmmm ... everything was so ladylike, soft, creamy, feminine, perfect! Due to MUCH hard work on Lauren and Mrs. Hope's part ... thank you both SO MUCH, 'twas worth it for all the joy it brought to all of us, methinks. :)

What was really brought to my mind throughout the whole sweet day, from many of our conversations upon Godliness and Biblical Femininity and Christ-centered life:

"Girls, as we follow our Proverbs 31 mothers, let us not strive for perfection,
nor for unique-less molds, but each of us a sweetened and Christ-centered woman
that listens to the call of Christ in her heart ....
if He so blesses and leads, the call of "Wife" and "Mother"."

The very very delicious array of food -

Saving some space with all the food shots by making collages - SO fun! :)

Everything was so beautifully arranged ... and yes, it tasted amazing. :)

I tried talking in a British accent whilst eating a Cucumber Sandwich, but then I thought of Sadie Beth laughing incorrigibly at said accent, and decided to just eat instead.

Hot chicken salad in crispy crust .... bowls. Nevermind. I can't tell you. haha

So pretty .... and the hysterical thing is, is that all 5 of us girls were lined up with our cameras, taking pictures! :) And we outnumbered EmilyC. with her Canon!! YAY NIKON! :)

Shannon's Ruby Tea Scones. My mother RAVED about these, and they were soo soo good, thank you for sharing, Shannon!! You can make them yourself, the recipe is HERE.

The table ... all prepared and set. In waiting.

I might be biased, but I think she's pretty adorable. I:heart:you, EmilyC.

... and yes, Molly, you are adorable too. SMILE!! :)

Mmmmm, this is making me hungry. :) See how yummy it all was?

Stunning Lauren. Yeah. I might "HEART" you too. You might already know that. *smile*

The very special china - her great-great-grandmother's!

Old Grace .... how much we need you in our busy lives today.

Lauren with her great-great-grandmother's teacup. I would like to compare pictures and see how closely Lauren might look like her ... all those years back. :) I just love it.

Daughter and Mother. Beautiful, gracious ladies in Jesus' name. Lauren, Mrs. Hope.

*giggle* My favorite ... ok. ONE of my favorites. How I love her laugh. :)

Then I had the great idea of saying about 15 times, "Hey, could we step outside to use the light for a few group pictures? Please? What do ya'll think?". Mmmhmm. And it was July. It was hot sticky July afternoon. Brilliant Jean, just brilliant. We seriously were out there 15 minutes and came inside dripping sweat. Or at least I did, and I even had my hair up! Brilliant.

Oh wait. Ok. Maybe it was worth it. The sweet Shannon.

Molly: "ME TOO? OUTSIDE? ME TOO?!! OUT!!!" *I shall stare at you, with my sad and pitiful eyes and give a hopeful perk up of my ears every time you look in the window, until you let me out*

WELL. It was worth all the heat and bad shots just to get THIS ONE. I had this as my screensaver for weeks and it made me smile soooo much, and I sent it to both girls, and they had it each as their profile pictures. Wow, it was confusing! hahaha. But really. I:heart:.
*whispers* (and yes, that IS Lauren's Nikon d90) Oh! and this was totally not posed.

"Hey Girls!! Smiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile at .... ok. nevermind. wow. ya'll are really pretty."

So it was the 5 of us girls, with our Mama's. Us girls: EmilyC., Lauren, Shannon, Jenna, and myself. We all have cameras. We all have blogs. Our Mama's were all re-thinking those two particular joys once they were on the receiving end of 30 minutes of pictures. hahah!

And Jenna, sweet girl....I really have NO idea how I got home without one picture of your beautiful self. I got home and I was like "What happened? Were you blinded by the sun, self? WHERE IS JENNA!!?". True story. We'll just have to get together ... AGAIN! :D

Pretty Shannon again. :)

My old-fashioned-romantic hairstyle that I have no idea how it turned out, since I can't do hair. It only took me 15 minutes and 35 bobby pins. :) EmilyCase took a swift shot for me.

So I am sitting in a chair knitting. Lauren walks up, she's in the middle of a break from teaching whomever, and she says "Where's your camera?", and I just smile and keep knitting and say "In my purse, that's fine, go ahead." (or something to that effect), she was going into Nikon D40 withdrawls, and wanted to use mine, she was like "it's so LIGHT!" Hahahaha ... the D90 is heavy. So these next shots are Lauren's. :)

EmilyC. teaching ... "hey look! JENNA!!" hahaha.....

In which case Lowie makes me hold the needles precariously close to my face, so that she can focus both in, AND get my face in ... 15 shots later, we have a winner. :) I like it.

EmilyC. = busy little bee in her straw hat and Tea dress that she made for the VF Father/Daughter Retreat at Callaway Gardens, GA.

HAhahahaa!! :) So cute.


"TREAT!!" hahahaha ....

Ok. Camera's back in my hands.

Munching on some treats after we poked ourselves and knitted and crocheted and talked and laughed and pretended like we were old pro's (a few were, just not me), and poor Joseph came in from the garage. He deserved a cookie. hahaha. No really. He does. Trust me.

I just love how Lauren's eyes are brimming with laughter in mid-bite.
You are so precious to me, Lowie.

Happy 22nd birthday, dearest sweet Lauren. You've blessed me time and time again, you encourage and build me up, you remind me of the sweetness of sisterhood in Christ, and you joyfully tread the path to womanhood with grace and patience. :) It's an honor to be your good friend. I love you Lauren!!! May our 22nd years be all for His glory.

Thank you, dear Mrs. Hope and Lauren ... for the scrumptious tea, fellowship, handiwork lessons, patience while we took pictures and more pictures, for the devotional, but mostly -
for your friendships. We treasure them.

With so much love to you all, my friends and unknown readers, :)
"Bless the Lord o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name"
~ Jean Marie ~

I am headed to TN next week to visit some dear dear friends, the bride and groom in THIS post, I've been wanting to visit since last year, and it's become a reality. :) I'm sooo excited to see them, and to spend some 1 on 1 time with a best friend for a while! See ya'll later!

Oh! Almost forgot. Are you ready for this? Because once I edited it a bit, I about swooned. If I could swoon, perhaps I would, just to feel a bit more like Anne or something. Instead I sat in front of the computer in a giggly, giddy mood. And I didn't let anyone see the picture. Until now. Because clearly ... you HAVE to see it. It might be wrong to have such pretty friends.

Ohhhh. LOVE.
Can't you see it, a cover catalog for some old "Southern Living" or Ladies Dress Pattern book? There's just so much I love about it. :) EmilyC. included. :) It makes me sigh in that sort of "mmmmm" romantic way when I dream about being an old-fashioned Southern girl. :)

Blog list of Girls, and Tea Party pictures:

Scroll around and you'll see that Jenna and Shannon posted quickly, and I'm late. :) Lauren's been super busy, so we've posted for her, and EmilyC's pics are on FB. Read up on the blogs though, ya'll. :)

If you are in your young teens, I especially encourage you to visit Jenna and Shannon's blogs, as they are writing from a younger perspective. Leave a comment, and say "Hi!". You'll be glad you did. They are sweet girls. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is only a test -

{Picture taken in July at the Zoo. Doesn't it look like a Dr. Seuss railroad post?}

This is a test. This is only a test. If this were not a test, you would hear this:
*insert NOAA Hurricane test frequency that sort of makes your ears freak out, and makes you think about MRE's and flashlights, generators and hours and weeks of yard work and people you don't even know, but become best friends because "I KNOW! Our front tree split in half TOO! I'm so glad we are all okay. "Hurricane name___" was wretched, huh?"we have so much in common while standing in line at Publix. Ahh, "the good ole' days", as we call 'em.*

This is a test because I have been freaking out because I've had all my words hyperlinked in between the pictures and it's been driving me CRAAZAAAAY and not the good kind. You've noticed it too, eh? EH? You THERE, Alfie? Yeah. Thought so. It's only good if your words are hyperlinked TO SOMETHING and mine were just ... hyperlinked because the pictures were.

Ohhh, HTML, you are not my friend. But EmilyCase is!!!
How I love that dear blessed minion. *insert "Despicable Me" minion laugh here*

Okay! Let's see if it worked!!
Love ya'll ....
~ Jean Marie ~

IT DID!!! Seriously, how wonderful are friends that stay up in the middle of the dark and scary night to solve all your HTML problems? AMAZING I say!! Plus, I get to hear all about what Ollie and Luna (her two kitties) are doing .... and laugh. Thank you, my darling EmilyCase!