Thursday, September 30, 2010

Colorado Part I -


It is so so so beautiful here. :) It's fall, and windy and COLD in the mornings and evenings, and warm during the day ... the grass is brown, the pines are shedding, it's like Georgia in November, and I love it. Last night, I sprawled out on the P's back swing on their deck, and felt the wind wash its coolness over me, and rustle through the trees.

I only wish ya'll were all here to so enjoy the beauty with me. :) I'm taking pictures of everything: creation, weeds, flowers, food ... the P's laugh at me. ;)

The Morning Sun through the pines.

We've been working hard on wedding preparation...the wedding is in just 2 days from today, and it has been joyous spending time together, laughing and working and forgetting what on earth we were doing a minute ago. ;) Hahhaa....

Last night, Grandma (Mrs. P's mom) and I made mints ... they don't really taste minty, more like really really good frosting that is rolled in sugar and pressed into shapes. Like...we had to keep tasting it to make sure that it still tasted right. ;) We made circle swirly shapes and roses and leaves. It's the 2nd time I've made them here, and so I loved it! :) I also made the programs on Tuesday, and took full joy in a job well done. :)

This morning I was thinking about how thin the veil between us and Heaven seems sometimes ... so thin that it feels we are walking a thin line between the road on this side, and the streets of our Eternal Home ... and we just long for it to materialize into one.

We can't help but whisper to our Jesus to "Please just rip the veil, Lord." ....

Wild Snapdragons.
I read this quote this morning from Samuel Rutherford's book
"The Loveliness of Christ":

"It will not fail you to get two portions, and to laugh twice, and to be happy twice, and to have an upper heaven, and an under heaven too; Christ our Lord and his saints were not so, and therefore let go your grip of this life and of the good things of it.

I hope your heaven groweth not here-away. Learn daily both to possess and miss Christ in his secret Bridegroom smiles; he must go and come, because his infinite wisdom thinketh it best for you. We will be together one day; we shall not need to borrow light from sun, moon, or candle; there shall be no complaints from either side of heaven; there shall be none there but he and we, the Bridegroom and the bride; devils, temptations, trials, desertions, losses, sad hearts, pain and death, shall all be put out of play, and the devil must give up his office of tempting.

O, blessed is the soul whose hope hath a face looking straight out to that day."

With love, to all at home,
and around our little earthly home for now ...
~ Jean Marie ~

... and Dad ... I'm pretty sure I just saw a huge C130 fly over the house. Dude.
I love and miss you Dad and K.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

KSC Family Day!! -

Today was "Family Day" at Kennedy Space Center ... anyone who works there was able to bring their family, for FREE to see many of the sites that tours never see!! We went many places that I either: A. Don't remember because I was too young or B. have never been in!! And of course, the places that I DID remember felt like coming home again .... :)

We went as a family, and had a wonderful time being together!! :) We laughed and teased and took pictures and walked, walked, walked, wal....oh. you get the idea. hahah.

I took 315 pictures. *cheesy smile* There was a good reason: We were going places that are going to change very soon, as they shut down these programs. This was my family's history, my dad's work for years, and it was pretty much our last chance to capture memories before all of the special things get shipped off to the Smithsonian. *sad tear*

We arrived early in the morning, and stayed until about 5pm! :) Long day, but completely worth it all .... the awe. the wonder. the gifts. the work. the teams. the pride. the courage.

Some pictures to take you with me .... :)

Driving out to our destination ... one of the many buildings of NASA.

It was cloudy and overcast all day, with a pleasant wind ... we had filtered sun, and pretty much the most beautiful weather for September ... we were barely warm!! :)
"A patch of blue"

One of the many modules in the EDL.

I love this picture. The reason I took it? It has one of my favorite words in it: Combustion. I love love love that word ... due to October Sky, most likely. ;) However, this tank below the sign had a small door, and you would place the vial of liquid inside, and press the "red Combust" button, and BLEWY!!! COMBUSTED!! mwauaahahaaa....ok. that's why.

The Highbay Clean Room of the SSPF. The logistics modules (circular round things) are loaded into the payload bay of the Space Shuttle, and then installed on the Space Station, they are each its own little country. :) Ok, sort of ... but they each hold important programs, tools, and computers to run ....

Flags at the ISSPF.

The VAB: Vertical Assembly Building. If you have never stood right up against the VAB, words cannot describe to you how massively tall this building is. Good glory. People just stand there: "OhmyWORD. it's so TALL!", and then they look around awkwardly because that sounded so silly, but everyone else is doing the same thing. :) haha. They just recently painted the VAB, it cost 1million to paint ... looked great! :D

Like I said. Unbelievably tall and huge. You can't imagine until you stand there and look up and your neck doesn't even want to go back that far. WOW.

My view looking straight UP to the ceiling. In case ya'll don't know, this is where they bring in the shuttle, and stack it together. There are 4 highbays in the building, and everywhere you walk, there is more space, more lights, and more walkways. It's taller than the Statue of Liberty, it has more volume than the Pentagon, and it equals 3.75 Empire State Buildings.
:D Way way awesome, people. :)

One of the many hooks/cranes to lift the Space Shuttle. Ginormous. Here's Mom and I with it, it was swaying slightly, and I was holding on so I wouldn't fall over!! :D haha!

In the OPF: Orbital Processing Facility, there was a storage room, and there was this in it... I laughed and pointed it out to Kimberly, and took a picture. EmilyCase: this is for you. This crate would hold like ... 6 of my Hope Chests. hahaha, no joke. Maybe 8.

Patriotism runs deep in the NASA community, and in the heart of everyone who flies.

Mom and Dad in the OPF with Endeavor: what a beautiful girl.

So that was a short version of our wonderful day!! I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures, I very much enjoy sharing, and bragging on all my NASA Home ....

Walking around in the VAB was like a huge family reunion, we saw some friends, re-united with co-workers, and generally felt like we were saying "Hey, I remember that guy from ...." quite a bit! hahaha .... It was a special, special day. :D

Thanks Daddy for taking us, and for working so so hard on such an honorable project!
"The Heavens declare His glory"
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. I will be flying to CO for a dear friend's wedding next week, so I'll be away from the blog for about a week or so. :) Much love to you all, pray you are doing well, as God turns our hearts ever toward Eternity, and closer to Him through sufferings, joys and everything in between. :)

Big Band love -

Ya'll may know that I love Big Band Music. If you don't know that, then clearly you have not discussed the 40's, the 50's, WW2 or anything else from that era with me, because anyone who even TOUCHES on the subject, I start gushing about how much I adore the music.

True story. Ask my friends. They know.

So my dad recently found out that 2 of his co-workers play in a band that plays big band (that was confusing to read) and they were having a concert downtown! So my dad got tickets and we invited some friends and had a lovely, lovely time. :) I almost cried several times, I was so happy. The crowd was mostly (85%) older couples, like in their 60's-80's .... and some younger couples as well, and they had a dance floor set up ... and they could dance.

Good golly gracious. It definitely went down on my "Do Someday List": learn to swing dance. Oh my word. I need a brother to practice with. hahaha. :) WOW.

It was a great night!! The Hopes drove down from Flagler, and Jeff from Palm Toast (heh ehehehh heh), I mean. Palm Coast. *cough* and then after the concert, we all met back at our house and had dessert and played a few games and talked (of course) haha. :D

Not only did they play some of my favorite songs ever like: "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade" (I got tears in my eyes for this one), "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "Sing, sing, sing", "At Last", and lots of others, but I had never heard Big Band LIVE. Oohhh, how wonderful it was! :) It was special just sitting there listening, and feeling like you were there in the 40's.

Oh! Turns out, we were also on the radio, streaming live, so we had an announcer and we clapped and cheered and whistled our approval at the end of each song! :)
The "Swing Low" Big Band.

Before the concert started, Lauren and I knew that the sunset was spilling gorgeous light averwhere (everywhere), so we headed out with our cameras ... 'twas beautiful.

And before she confiscated my camera and made me stand still for her (auugh), I got a few shots of her. :D So now you know the real story. hahaha. :)


I love these next 3 shots. "HAH! Camera war!"

"Okay, wow. Great. That was easy. *click*"

"AAAH!! The gorgeous sun upon her hair!!" My favorite photo of the night. How I love it. She was walking towards me, so there's the motion, the sun was spilling everywhere, and her smile is so cute ... I just love her!

Us. We were smiling. We were happy. We were giggling.

Back at the house, Lauren plays her gorgeous rendition of "Star of the County Down", and I try not to be melancholy, she plays it so well ... hahaah. :)

Like Father, like Son. I laughed when I saw this picture, they are doing the exact same pose, unconsciously, just with different directions. hahaha.... :)

Lauren had the camera. And here's me. The card shark. hahaha. not. But really, I love that dress. I haven't owned many yellow things in my lifetime, but that's a favorite. :)

Kimberly, myself, Jeff, Lauren and Joseph all played "Qwitch" and "Pit", and I was overjoyed, since NO ONE will EVER play Pit with me. :D was great!!! I had so much fun!
LtoR: Jeff, me, Kim, Joseph. Photo credit: Lauren!

Her joyful laugh. I love it. :D How can you NOT laugh along?

"Qwitch: The Game for Gangstas". You better believe it, yo. Some serious stuff goes down, when we start flippin' those cards everywhere......alright. So I'm going to feel guilty if I don't tell you that it's not a violent game. However. The first time I played it, I found I couldn't add, subtract, go forwards and backwards in the alphabet all at once, and I cried. Literally. in tears. at a friend's house. Hahaha. For the first game "un-named person", just sat there and said "6...7? D, E? up or DOWN? E ... D .... G!! NO!", as my sister won. *again*

Boom Baby. The Proof.
I think Joseph and Lauren are the only two that have gangsta' card faces that work. I look like I was punched in the jaw, and it broke, and Jeff looks like a sore loser. (sorry Jeff) If it makes anyone feel better .... I laughed hysterically.

They all left at the sleepy hour of midnight, after rounds and rounds and rounds of hugs. We SO loved having them down, and spending time together ... we love you!!
(although posed, she was entirely serious) and how adorable is she? haha.

With much much love ....
~ Jean Marie ~

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Autumn Giveaway! -

I know, I know, now that I posted that picture above what I'm writing, you will all be distracted by it, and not even .... HEY!! Down here!!! Hahahahah! You saw the "yellow dress pictures", well this is what I shot in the meantime ... you didn't think I'd miss the chance to shoot as well, did ya'? ;) But this post isn't about how stinkin' much I love that girl ...

oh wait. it might be. anyways.

Lauren is having a giveaway over on her blog!!
We love autumn. It's just the way we roll.

NOW. In case you are new to all this, you click on the gorgeous banner she made and head on over to her site, and she will tell ya' what to do to enter! :) It's so easy, like stealing candy from a .... I don't like that saying. It's as easy as turning on Country and waiting for me to break out into dancing. How's that? ;) I don't mind if you leave me a comment too. haha.

Lauren does these giveaways occasionally and ALL I have to say is: A. She is sweet and generous, and B. Her products are inSANE. Whenever I run out of her sugar scrub, I whine and fret, and wonder how in the world I can think of a good excuse to drive 1 hour to get more. really. (cough) except for the whining and fretting. *looks innocent*

ok. maybe really.

but this was never about me. So go on and ENTER!! :)
Tell her I sent you, and give her some LOVE ...

I love you, my Lowie ....
In Christ,
~ Jean Marie ~

... and if you are a GUY ... Cowboy UP, and ENTER for Pete's sake, because whichever girl, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, grandmother, teacher, etc ... you give it to will love you forever.
The End.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A yellow dress -

This past week has been hard. I know I've blogged some about it, and if you've seen me, you've probably noticed that I've been more quiet ... *gasp*, yes, it's possible, and true. ;)

... but tonight I got a sweet surprise when I looked at Lauren's blog ...
She had posted pictures from last Friday, when they were in town to spend some time with our family at an event .... and she had blogged the pictures. Of me. In my yellow dress that was $3.01, and looks like the 50's, and due to her amazing photography skillz, some actually turned out, even though I was not a "still" model. :D

I LOVE the pictures. Go look. NOW. and try to tell me she's not wonderful. :)
Plus, because of Autumn, she's got TWO surprises up her sleeve, that she's not telling us yet. ;) So stay tuned in over there, to check out what's going on in her part of the world.

It was such a special night with friends, listening to a Big-Band concert, laughing, chatting, dancing in our chairs, playing games, taking pictures .... ohh, the sunset light was gorgeous, it was warm and buttery, yellow liquid gold, and we took full advantage. :)

I must tell you: it is MUCH harder to be in front of the camera, than behind. :)
I really had a hard time staying serious .... :) just ask Lauren!! But thanks so much, dearie ....
I seriously looked at her pictures and started crying happy tears it was so sweet ...
and then she posted them on FB, and our friends left all sorts of sweet loving comments and I felt sooo loooooved, that I almost started crying again. :)

Lowie - you made my day. Thanks again!!! I had so much fun with you!
~ Jean Marie ~

Photo credit: Lauren Brittany Photography.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A smirk-smile-face -

I wasn't going to enter the I:heart:faces challenge this week ... but it's been a tough couple of days, and I thought I'd scroll through some of my pictures to see if I could find one ....
and I was quite cheered up just looking at the photo I'd found ... mostly because it makes me giggle. So here ... have a giggle on me, about my dear friend's smirk-smile-face. ;)

I'm a firm believer in telling the stories behind pictures, because after all, that's why I shoot in the first place. So there we were. In the heart of Africa. It was desperately hot, and the only reason she looks like she isn't fainting is because we were under a wood tower roof and had just had some cold water from a local vendor. My friend, Becs (in the pic) was scanning the African plains with the ancient binoculars that were so heated by the sun that they literally seemed to scorch your hands when you attempted to swing it around. She was getting a closer view of the giraffes.

She saw a baby and squealed, and I said "Becs!!! SMILE!!", and she regally turned and threw a complete smug look over her shoulder as if to say "these are MY binoculars, and you can't have them!!"! The look was totally unexpected, and while I laughed hysterically, she continued to peruse the plains through her binoculars until the money ran out. :) GREAT memory.

I just LOVE her expression, I LOVE the binoculars, the jungle, the bamboo, the sunglasses, the 103 degree sunshine, the arched eyebrow, her lifted shoulder, the leg up on top of the stand, the 25 cent sign, and pretty much everything. So that's my entry. :)

Ok, and we weren't in Africa. I won't lie. We were in Florida. But it was 103 degree sunshine, and we WERE doing everything else. Just at the Zoo. :D The giraffes were adorable.

Did ya' giggle? :) Here's Lauren's post, A.dor.a.ble. :)

"Laughter is good medicine for the heart",
as well as a blessing from the Lord!

I love you, Becs, my dearest Cupcake Smasha'.
Here's another I:H:F:Challenge post that Becs is pictured in.

~ Jean Marie ~

Enter or just peruse all the great shots by clicking the camera! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


*Note: Written from my HEART. It isn't beautiful and it isn't perfect, and I don't just write it to get it down on paper or make a little more sense out of it, I write it for you. I write it and I hope you understand. I write it, and hope that you see the beauty of God working like I do. As you read, know that writing these heart-stories are not easy, and I'm left vulnerable as to how you respond. Please respond in love if you leave a comment,
thank you. :)*

*screech-tennis shoes start the speed* One lap.
*screech* Two laps. *screech* Three, four, five, ....
I'm out of breath, but my brain hasn't run out of things that are wrong right now.

Forget the pain. *screech* Lap six, tennis shoes pound the cement, to the start of the dirt, back to the other side, sunglasses slip down my nose, slippery with sweat ... I stop the laps, I pace back and forth to catch some breath, ignoring the cars that drive by.

I can't cry. That emotion hasn't sunk in yet. I'm dressed to be as nondescript as possible. Hair tied up, baseball cap, sunglasses, t-shirt, dark capris, tennis shoes. I don't want to be noticed.

I run a few laps around the rectangle of picnic tables. I stop, frustrated that I can't define what I'm feeling, that all I feel is a whole bunch of confusion over jumbled emotions.

I drop down onto the chalky cement and do 10 pushups, and my muscles scream. Yes, I'm out of shape. I sit up and start praying again. It's not enough. Every emotion that comes with grief is there, but not the wrenching sobs that I need to cry. They are there, they just can't push past everything else.

"God. I wanted more."

I stand up to pace some more. Hands on hips. Breathing hard. I get close to a metal/wood picnic table, and kick it as hard as I can. It only moves a few inches. The grief kicks harder than my foot ever could, I double over and sit down on another bench. I tear off my sunglasses. I press my hands against my cap and just sit.

"I'm sorry, Father. I'm sorry. Forgive me. But this hurts, Jesus. It hurts."

I shove off the bench and slip the soundless earbuds in again, and take off to run again down the sand path. The jog turns into a hard run, I feel the speed and the anxiety build and swell into energy per heartbeat and pound upon the asphalt. *beat, pound, beat, pound, pound, beat* I look sideways and can see the maples turning colors, the wind rustling them. *beat, pound, pound, beat* I can see the lowering sun sending shafts of yellow across the ground. After a ways, I have to slow to gain some air, and walking again makes my legs ache. I love to run. I hate to walk. But one must have air to do either, and so. I walk.

I've given up trying to understand any emotion right now, and instead just focus on what I can talk about. And so I talk, and I pray for peace and trust. Because I seem to be lacking in both areas, which is why I'm in this cloudy anger that is blocking the fact that I'm questioning the perfect will of a loving and holy God. Ohh, the irony. The mercy.

It's time to go. The sun slants its warm color between the palms and pines, and I tilt my head to accommodate the view. It's beautiful. I slide into the car, and drive out. So much for thinking I could clear my mind. HAH! If only I could have a perfect little white view for grieving. No black or grey areas, and no questioning. Just simple rejoicing and sadness. Equal glories. Hahaha, as if grieving is ever easy or black and white. :)

I sigh, and turn on the music I know I need. My SCC album. I try to at least sort through some things, and then I just give up. I realize that it's all grief, and it's all normal. The highest problem is trying to analyze myself or my grief. God knows my heart, even if I don't.

God is God. I am not.

I settle back for the brief ride back home, slide on the sunglasses and turn up the sound. I turn it to one of my favorites "Our God is in control" .... I know it word for word. Note by note.

"Though this first taste is bitter, there will be sweetness forever...
when we finally taste and see, that our God is in control, and we'll sing:
'Holy, holy, holy is our God', and we will finally really understand what it means,
so we'll sing 'Holy, holy, holy is our God'. While we're waiting for that day.
We're waiting for that day. We'll keep on waiting for that day. And we will KNOW.
Our God is in control."

It's the "holy holy holy" part that finally does it. The reminder of the redeemed singing that around His throne, with utter and complete joy. The first tear slides down my face, and the sobs begin.
"Lord!!" I cry ..... "I'm here." I hear quietly in response.

"You are God. You are holy. I am not. You are in control. Your ways are best."

I get home and grab the camera. The sunlight is now beaming over everything in its path, I saw it when I was coming down our road, it was lit up just like the evening before .... and I wanted to capture some of it before it left for the night. "His first night Home. Oh, Father. It never gets easier." The clouds only puffed up the air to add to the sun. The sun was the star of the evening. Its light burst in golden tones everywhere, and glowed upon the pavement just like I knew it would. I got down low to the grass, and I took a picture.

"..... Streets paved with gold ....."

The sun had been setting all during my run, it had been yards away, among the trees as I paced, it had sliced the pavement into grey and yellow lines as I drove home, and it spilled over everything I could see, as I turned down our street. I had acknowledged it, but I had missed the joy of the sunset, I had missed what I always remember about that view.

I had forgotten the glory.

The glory of Heaven. The beauty of Jesus. The sunshine of His face.
The precious knowledge of knowing no separation from Christ ever, but only walking hand in hand among the streets of gold, joint-heirs with Jesus of our Heavenly Home.
With Jesus, before the face of God, the Savior and His redeemed, to praise evermore.
Ahh, Jesus, the glory of You.

Our dear friend, Mr. Dale died on Wednesday, September 15th. No words can describe the dearness of this man to those who knew him. Our whole church loved him. The memories. The conversations. I remember him as long as I remember our church. He could set a room laughing, and quiet a discussion with a few words of wisdom. He could make a little girl who liked to smile feel like her whole day was great because she got a hug from Mr. Dale.

I know I'm never ready to say goodbye because in our hearts, we know that death is wrong. Death and goodbyes are not something that we want, but more than that .... we leave this earth with our earthly bodies, and the real living begins in Heaven! God's chosen cannot die! This is only a brief parting before we are re-united with those we love, and united forever with God in our Eternal Home. Amen? :D Amen!! I can hear Mr. Dale saying that .... :)

Mr. Dale, and his wife (left) at their 60th wedding anniversary party back in 2008.

My message on Facebook yesterday:
"I have learned to kiss the wave that strikes me against the Rock of Ages." ~ C.H.Spurgeon. Until then, Mr. Dale, take a few walks next to those we miss, and continually praise our Savior, and I'll kiss you again soon, hearing you call me by my nickname
...... I love you. ~ S."

To the Dale family .... I love you all, and am praying for you.
Thank you all for reading, blogging my heart out is never easy,
but when the going gets the hardest ... writing is what I do.
I always pray that something I write is a blessing to you,
knowing Christ gives me the joy to write, and share.

"Do not be dismayed, for Christ has overcome the world".
The Jesus we love and adore has already overcome the grave!

Jesus, Thou Prince of Life .... I praise Thee, my dearest Savior,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Jesus, Thou Prince of Life, Thy chosen cannot die;
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife, to reign with Thee on high!"
- H.A.Cesar Malan "It is not death to die".

Taken Sept. 14th, the late summer sun lighting up every grain of sand in the cement into its own glowing little orb of bright diamond-like beauty, reflecting yellow joy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Exotic Beauty -

I've gotta say this .... when I was little, my sister and I, and our friends ... well, we were pretty darned cute. And I'm not really bragging. I'm just stating the facts. We were adorable. We had luscious curly hair that everyone envied and mine just so happened to be red. People in the homeschool group knew our names. They'd pass us at art class and say "Hi___", and we'd be so happy because the most popular person in the homeschool group just said "hi" to me. We knew we were cool because we wore clothes that were ironed and khakis and tennis shoes ... we knew we were cool because our hair was long and long hair was IN.

Paulina was Filipino & tan with brown eyes & brown curls, Kimberly was blue-eyed & tan with brown curls, and I was fair, freckled, with blue eyes and RED curls. Curls were IN. Long hair was IN. and we had BOTH. WE were IN. and boy, did we know it. Not that we were vain, but clearly ... we had curly hair and it was beautiful.


But we were victims of fashion. Not of our own doing, like most ridiculous trend-setters of the day, who look back and think "what was I thinkin?", no oh no .... we were victims of our Mothers. *dramatic music* Paulina's mom was Filipino and went through the 70's-90's, and K. and I's mom also went through that era, and oh, how they loved to brush out our gorgeous curls into frizzed pyramids and fans. It was their joy. Sadly, it took us years to realize that this was not in fashion. By then, we had taken years of school pictures and yearbook pictures, and were pulled into the vortex of believing that brushed out curls was the BEST 90's style, and WE WERE IN.

How wrong we were.

BOTH our mothers had straight hair. Stick. straight. hair. Our Daddies had curly hair. Guess who won out on the style arguments? Mhmmm. Only until we hit LATE teen years did we realize the joys of GEL. and MOUSSE. and no, absolutely NO brushing the hair.

I will not even give you a good picture example. It really is too painful to look at. I will instead give you a picture from when we were ADORABLE, haha ... ok, and please look past my face that I decided to scrunch up in the last possible minute to look like a bear. Thank you.
Yes. That was an Easter Egg Hunt in April, 1999. Eleven years ago. :) Do you SEE how impossibly cute we all were? But look ... the start of the frizz. However, this is one of the few pictures that we absolutely all agree that we love, because, except for JM's face, and look. our hair was kind of tame. :)

Paulina and I had breakfast on Saturday morning, and we had to calm ourselves down from the hysterical laughing and wiping tears from our eyes because we were being too loud. And we were in Cracker Barrel. We had been reminiscing .... and that's how this post came about. :) We both pretty much agree that we alternate between blushing and laughing hysterically and shaking our heads, thumbing through our old yearbooks. You have noooo idea.

HahahaHAHAHa .... the good thing is ... we were not alone. We had us 3. Now we can complain and laugh and remind our mothers of how wrong they were .... hahahaha .... ;) However, I want to quote Paulina from Saturday, which had me shouting with laughter: "Popular girls NEVER have curly hair!!!" (or something like that) AHHAHAa!!! She's right. hahaha.....

Okay. So down to the REAL reason for this post. Today. Is Paulina's birthday. :) Her 21st birthday to be exact. She's no longer a tiny adorable thing. Now she's a short beautiful Exotic gorgeous Godly beauty that happens to still be my best friend. Amazing, eh? :)

Case. in. Point. *falls off chair*

*sigh* :D *laugh* I'm not sure what to make of the huge spread of pictures that will go in this post, it sure runs the gamut of differences!! :) hahaha.....

Paulina!! :D It's your 21st birthday!!!! As much as I wanted to storm your house today with flowers and balloons and ice cream cake and drag you off to go ice skating so we could complain about our blisters later, and laugh about how little the ice skating guard was doing ...
I couldn't. Because you were at college. Getting your degree, so that Anna and I have a pediatrician for our children. When we have them. After we are married. To guys ... we haven't ..... met. Yet. *cough* Anyways! You were there, and I was here, practicing lesson after lesson of piano .... and the best I could do was to be distracted by this post all day long.

You're welcome. HAHAaaaHAHAaHahaAHa!! :D

I'm going to post something now. Please don't kill me .... too much.

See, people, what you don't understand is ... how rare it is to have her NOT smiling at the camera ... to catch a glare and a funny glance, is HYSTERICAL. I would know. So would Emily (on right), because I e-mailed it to her last night!! aaaHAHahAHAHHa ... Paulina can make me laugh in the middle of crying ... she cracks me up sooo much, and I love being around her!! I can't tell you how many times I've been the recipient of the look (top) HAHAahaa ... and watched her dish it out. Good golly, it makes me laugh every time. :D

For my 22nd birthday, Paulina & Peter took me out for lunch, and bowling. :) It was one of the best little birthday celebrations EVER, and I actually beat Paulina in score (crazy). Peter held the doors for me all day long, and they both acted like it made their day to be with me. Please hold while I wipe a happi tear from my eye at that realization. Shniff! :D

In July, Dad and I took Paulina to her first rodeo. She thought it would be boring. She thought the bulls would be tame, and it would all be a show. The bulls were not tame. She shrieked every time a cowboy was bucked. She screamed as they almost got stomped. She clutched my arm and tried covering up her eyes, but ended up peeking through her fingers. She tried covering up her mouth to be quiet. I giggled with joy knowing that she was truly enjoying it. :) We sat there and ate funnel cake and Kettle Corn and Cotton Candy, while the rides swirled behind us, and country music blared. And we got a picture for the memory.

Paulina is a city girl. The rodeo cracked her a little bit. We laughed. We watched. We sighed. And we decided Cowboys were really. really. quite. handsome.

This past spring, Paulina's younger twin brothers graduated from high school. Adam is in Colorado at the Air Force Academy, and Peter is in Tally at college. Contrary to all the teasing and brother/sister rivalry, they are all close, and I know Paulina misses them. :) Right? haha...
Peter isn't really that tall, but look! Paulina has a pink AF shirt!! And yes, she's cute. hahaha!!

So. I guess I got a little carried away with all the stories and laughing and pictures, but I couldn't help it. I could fill a book with all the things that I love about Paulina, and how grateful I am that she has stuck it out with me, and been such a wonderful friend who listens and encourages me, and lets me come over pretty much anytime. If the door is unlocked, I will use "Jean's door" and just walk in and call out "HI!!!" ahhaha ... the Krause family loves me, and I take so much joy in that.

Thank you so much, Paulina .... for being a best friend like few have, for the long years that you have!!! And look .... "we'll turn into our mothers". HAHAA! YAY!!

SO many good memories. So many dreams. Good times, hard times ... we've been friends. God willing, let us always be friends!!! I've loved growing up with you, and can't wait to see what God has for both of us!! :) Happy birthday, dearest, exoticly beautiful friend of mines .... I love being with you, around you and listening to your heart. Thank you.

May God continue to lead you by His never-ending mercies and bottomless grace, and may you realize daily the depth of His love for you, knowing we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and are His children forever and ever!! :)

Big big hug, and lots of love and prayers,
~ Jean Marie ~

(taken earlier this year near Anna's birthday)

***Note: This post has been written with some teasing and although we WERE CUTE when we were little, most of the top part is all in good fun. :) But if you read this blog, you already knew that. :D ***


You know the drill. :) I heart faces weekly challenges .... click the button to see the pictures ... but what you don't know is that this week it is about incorporating cars or trucks or anything that goes "vroom" into the picture! I seriously just spent 2 minutes staring at an amazing entry, and feeling ready to SWOON over the car. I love love LOVE old cars!! AND posing with a car? FAVORITE! :D EEE!!

So here's what happened. Downtown had a car show. I went. I touched the cars in awe and reverence and had 50's music playing in my mind. I ooohed and aaahhhed and generally probably looked like a kid in a candy store. I giggled at my reflection in the shiny glass, and I did not end up stealing any of the cars and taking it on a joy ride. Ahh, the restraint.

As I was leaving, some cars were pulling out....I stuck my camera at my hip, and just SHOT. I got home and shrieked with joy .... because as I waved and smiled and *shot*, the man looked right at my camera ... and smiled. Oh the surprise and JOY!!! And I so so so love it. :)

With love for old things, cars and anything that goes VROOM,
~ Jean Marie ~

There's another day to enter, if you want!!! Do it, you'll be glad you did!! :)
Click on the camera button to go see other entries and swoon over the gorgeousness.