Monday, February 28, 2011

I:Heart:Faces: Anything -

I took this photo in January of 2010, and titled it to be "A favorite photo for a very long time." Well, it has been 13 months, and it's still one of my very very favorites. Dressed in church clothes and my winter leather boots, I had slipped away from an event at my church and driven down to the cold riverside, to walk out to my favorite spot. I settled down on the planks that were greening despite the winter, and sat quietly for more than a half hour, listening to the sound of water, wind, and growing dusk noises flow over my heart to calmer shores. :)

The light was amazing, the sunset lit up the buildings along the river and yet didn't quite touch the cool blues and greens of the water. The water looked so deliciously arctic, as if a seal or a whale would just so happen to surface nearby, to keep me company on the long quiet dock.

Dressed in jacket and scarf and tights even, my hands quickly grew chapped and I would make my way back to my car, filled with the peace that comes from going to the waters to find my rest in God once more. And every time I look at this photo, I see that. I hear that. I feel that again. :) It's why it stays such the beautiful photo, yes, the blues and greens and shimmering silvers, the soft light and cold weather, and tilting my head to look up at the layered lights of dusk, but more than that, I remember -

That perfect, precious peace in Jesus.
May you know it as well, and if you do not, I pray God gives it to you, as you seek Him.
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Check out the other entries this week

Friday, February 25, 2011

I hope still -

"Ye may yourself ebb and flow, rise and fall, wax and wane; but your Lord is this day as he was yesterday; and it is your comfort that your salvation is not rolled upon wheels of your own making, neither have ye to do with a Christ of your own shaping."
~ Samuel Rutherford ~

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion", says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.

Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him;
Let him put his mouth in the dust - There may yet be hope.
Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, and be full of reproach.

For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of his mercies.
For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men."
~ Lamentations 3: 22 - 33 ~

Praise our God and King that nothing we can do can change who God is.
He will always be the same and His love for us never-ending.
None of us can thwart His plans or say "what have you done?".
No one can stay God's hand and no one can measure the depths of His understanding.
The Earth is full of Him and proclaims His glories.
For HE IS GOD. and He alone is holy.

"Still, my soul be still, and do not fear, though winds of change may rage tomorrow.
God is at your side, no longer dread the fires of unexpected sorrow!" ~ The Getty's.
Proclaiming these truths to myself more and more these days it seems. ;)
With love, and hope in God,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Ye know not what the Lord is working out of this, but ye shall know it hereafter."
~ Samuel Rutherford ~

Just 8 days!

until Cody and Tricia are married!! AAAH! :D

This evening(night of the 24th ;), we were honored to join the Case and Bowen ladies (and about 60 other ladies and girls) for a Bridal Shower for Tricia, and let me just say, I laughed so hard I think that I lost all my energy, because around 8pm, I just crashed. And then I got loopy and giggly. And then I crashed again. ;) Must have been all the cookie baking from earlier, and singing at the top of my lungs to the Beach Boys. ;D

It was such a joy to meet Tricia's side of the family that I had not met and spend time talking with them, and teasing them only slightly with all the Jean Marie Crazayness that comes with that. ;) I think they finally figured out why they know me from FB. ahahhaha. anyways.

Here's just a few pics, so that you can ooh and aww and I can go fall into bed. ;)

Ok. So top pic: Tricia's Mama: Mrs. Bowen, then Tricia (The Bride!) and Cody's Mama: Mrs. Case! Then on the bottom left is Victoria, Tricia's sister, and then the next 2 are laughing and getting the "kiss on cheek by Mama" pictures that are adorable and hilarious at the same time. ;)

May I please just say that if we all turn out like our Mama's in both looks and spirit and grace, then we will be very happy girls. Amen? Yes yes. They are gorgeous and we love our Mamas. :)

and then beautiful, special, sweet Tricia. I love her.

I mean. who doesn't? ;) SO SOOOO EXCITED for their marriage in just 8 days! and their life together.... I am so blessed by Tricia's friendship, and by the Case's. They are truly kindness and grace extended in Christ's name to us. They are just special people. :)

I love you all!!
~ Jean Marie ~

"For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary."
Psalm 96:4-6

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Go Discovery!!!

I always wake up on these special mornings and say "LAUNCH DAY!", because after years of living on the East Coast watching the shuttles rise in the air with the joy our family and extended family(NASA!) takes in them, the years have only increased that joy. Its like a birthday and Christmas and Barberville all rolled into 2 minutes of power and speed.

And today is Discovery's final voyage. I think I'm going to cry right now.
Discovery will be the first shuttle to retire from the NASA fleet.
Discovery and her crew launch today at 4:50pm!
because the ONLY thing better than watching it live? is watching it on NASA TV.
In fact, we often sit here at the last minute, getting all giddy about it, listening to the chatter and steam, and then screech outside and run to the street and call out to the neighbors, and then....there it is. One of the most beautiful sights in my lifetime. *starts getting teary eyed*
Hoo-boy. Teary already. haha. Man, I'm going to miss this.

If you plan on watching it on NASA Tv, I highly-highly encourage you to get on a little early and listen to all that wonderful chatter and make sure that your connection works well. And if you don't have the connection....GET ONE. they often have downloads from right there, so get the newer download or whatever you need. Okay? Okay! 'Cause unless you are demanded elsewhere, and I mean like ordered or have to watch this.
And that is the end of my tirade. Maybe.

Discovery has logged more hours in space than any other of the orbiters, and has carried more astronauts as well! This is her 39th mission to space! She also was the first shuttle to take us back into space after 2 tragedies, the Challenger and the Columbia. So even though she doesn't hold my heart like Atlantis, and I never got so close to her that I could breath onto her sides and stroke her wings like Endeavor, she is still very special. Special to NASA.

I remember crying the day she flew after Columbia ... tears streamed down my face, and stood in the eyes of my Daddy as we watched her roar upwards, the visible proof that we go on, and come back safely, we roar on into the future, and trust the Almighty hand of God to bring them home. The clapping and cheering and "Godspeed Discovery" 's seemed to ring out from the neighbors especially loud that day. And it was fitting. We had much to rejoice over!

It would take me 5 or 10 books to describe the life I've had watching this all from my front yard ... it has been a blessed life, and I'm so thankful. So Discovery and STS-133 crew, we pray God's blessings upon you as you soar into the heavens of our Lord, into quiet space, and we ask His firm and loving hand to bring you back safely to us. We pray He reveals His creation to you that you may see it with new eyes, the eyes believing of the Creator God. And we pray a successful and joyful mission for you all.
Godspeed Discovery!!! We love you.

Remember, ya'll. 4:50pm (EST) Watch it live at NASA.
With joy,
~ Jean Marie ~

a few quick facts about Discovery to amaze you... ;) (pre-STS-133)
Total miles traveled: 142, 917, 535 miles.
Total orbits: 5, 628
Total days in orbit: 351 (8,441 hours, 50 minutes, 41 seconds)
Total flights: 38
Total crew members: 246
Mir dockings: 1 / International Space Station dockings: 12.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So, Lord, art Thou to me-

On Sunday our family was blessed to attend St. Andrews Chapel, and I was thoroughly blessed and encouraged by the Lord through the worship and preaching, as I always am ....

During Offertory, the St. Andrews Chancel Choir sang the most beautiful song, and the words were printed in the bulletin. I sat listening to their exalting and soaring voices, and tears filled my eyes. Ever since I heard it, I've been wholly captured by the significance of the words to my everyday life. :) So tonight I looked through some pictures to connect in your eyes and in my memories, parallels to some of the words, just a few each verse, to bring it more home to my heart and yours. :) (Italics added only for significance of the photos)

"As the Bridegroom to His Chosen" ~ J. Tauler & J.Rutter

"As the bridegroom to his chosen, as the king unto his realm,

As the keeper to the castle, as the pilot to the helm,
As the captain to his soldiers, as the shepherd to his lambs,
So, Lord, art Thou to me.

As the fountain in the garden, as the candle in the dark,
As the treasure in the coffer, as the manna in the ark,

As the firelight in the winter, as the sunlight in the spring,
So, Lord, art Thou to me.

As the music at the banquet, as the stamp unto the seal,
As refreshment to the fainting, as the wine-cup at the meal,
As the singing on the feast day, as the amen to the prayer,
So, Lord, art Thou to me.

As the ruby in the setting, as the honey in the comb,
As the light within the lantern, as the father in the home,
As the eagle in the mountains, as the sparrow in the nest,
So, Lord, art Thou to me.

As the sunshine in the heavens, as the image in the glass,
As the fruit unto the fig tree, as the dew unto the grass,

As the rainbow on the hilltop, as the river in the plain,
So Lord, art Thou to me."

So dear this world and the beauty He has given us to enjoy, our dear friends and family and close ones, His creation and all of space and music and song!! And more dear than it all is Christ. Our Lord and Father and Redeemer. Our Master and King and God.

I think this will be a prayer of mine now .... "So, Lord, ever be to me all this and more!!" :)
With love, ever -
~ Jean Marie ~

Monday, February 21, 2011

From Earth to the ISS-

Ya'll. This just blows my mind. I just sent a postcard from my computer that re-routed through the NASA feed from my desk in FL, USA, Earth ... to the ISS that is in Low Earth Orbit.

The International Space Station. Yes. you read that correctly.

Doesn't that just blow you away!? :) haha, I think it's pretty incredible! Which is why I think you should send a postcard too. Today is Commander Scott Kelly's birthday, and NASA has set up a link for you to send him a postcard, with one of Mr. Kelly's pictures of Earth on the front, for his birthday!! I think it's a wonderful opportunity, don't you? :D I agree.

So head on over to HERE. and just look at those images! Mr. Kelly has been a long-duration crewmember on the ISS for 4 1/2 months and will return in March of this year to Earth! I know many of you have been praying for his sister-in-law, Rep. Giffords, and for their families. I think sending a birthday card with your wishes for him and some Scripture about earth or space would be really neat. :) That's what I did, and thought it would be special if ya'll did too!

Here's what I wrote ... and just reading through Job 26 amazed me.
Floored me over who God is. Job 26:7: "He stretches out the north over the empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing." On nothing God hangs our world. WOW.
May you treasure these truths!!
Amazed at Earth, Space and our God who made them!
~ Jean Marie ~

"Happy Birthday, Mr. Kelly!! :) How strange and yet exhilarating to write you from earth, while you are in orbit in space! It amazes me ... and God amazes me! The pictures you have taken are incredible, I too, love photography, and think you have one of the biggest honors, sir ... taking pictures of Earth from a perspective few have seen, besides the eyes of the Creator God. Job 26:7 says "He stretches out the north over the empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.". The glorious creation you take pictures of was created by God for His glory and our pleasure! Thank you for working at the ISS, and I continue to pray for you and your family. May God bless you, Mr. Kelly, as you work there, and as you return home. Happy Birthday from a NASA girl. :)"
~ Jean Marie ~
(age 22) Boeing/NASA daughter

To Honduras, with love -

My dear friends ... some of you may not know this person, because you: A. Don't live in Florida, B. Don't know the Acevedo family, C. Are not FB friends with me. :) But now you will ...

this ... my friends ... is my dear friend - Amanda. She is so beautiful on the outside, but even more beautiful on the inside, and we've both got friends to back me up on that!! :D

She is a "heart-sibling" to the Acevedos, and has become very dear to me in a short time! We really praise God a lot for bringing the two of us together in friendship! What started out as "wow, look how close she is to Lydiana", a FB friend request, and one day when we met for the first Canoe trip, paddling the canoe together(I was horrible, of course, and little did I know that she is a proficient sailor) and singing together, turned into e-mails and teasing on FB, and prayers and hugs and Biblical sisterhood! I have been so blessed by 'Manda. We giggled and shrieked over Isaac and Lydiana, talked about friendship and our walks with God, prayed for each other and saw each other rarely.

Then, at the Fall Barberville, Amanda told me that she was going back to Honduras, where her family are missionaries, and I just rather stared at her. "When?" ... it was the next week, and my jaw dropped. She would still have internet, thank God ;), and our friendship is still going strong, but boy, those last few days before she left were tough ones. At the Fall Barberville, when we were leaving at the end of a long day, we thought that was "goodbye for now", and some very long and tight hugs were shared. Holding in the memories. :) Hah. I'm getting all teary now. Hah, hah. Amanda gives some of the best hugs I know, we kept saying "See you soon" and "I love you" and "We'll write", until tears burned the back of my eyes, and I was close to having a meltdown right there in the empty dance schoolroom on those wood floors.

... and we took a picture so we'd have one to look at while we were countries away ...

but then a few days later, we got together, a small group of special people, and sped our way through a glorious night of speed kart racing, and the night that GabeLynn and I were in that "crash" on the track. haha. Poor us. And we ate at Chipotle's, and I have the cell phone pictures to prove it. And then we hugged more hugs, promised to see each other before we were 30, she kept me from having a breakdown in the parking lot, and then ... she hopped in the A. bro's truck, and then they drove off to Lady A. *you can all start crying now, with me* (while I pretended like I was NOT having the hardest time keeping back the ugly cry with GabeLynn and EmilyCase being all normal. Poor people. Good thing they love me.

and THEN. and THEN ... yes, this story does go on. and then ... she flew to Honduras. and we e-mail. and we chat sometimes. and we message. and we PRAY, and we LAUGH, and we shriek because ohmygosh. Lydsie and Isaac! God is so awesome! hahaha. :) and we pray more, and we cry together, and we talk life and relationships and then we say something and we cry more. And then she gets on FB and a picture shows up from some memory, and I burst into tears.

Waiting for 30 is SLOW when you want to see someone now!!! :) But I am so blessed by Manda's friendship. It means so much to know her, and if you know her, you understand. :)

and today is her birthday!!! Happy Birthday, my darling Manda!
Leave her a Happy Birthday if you know her, or just tell her you are praying for her family in Honduras, and their work that they are doing there! May God ever be glorified and may His light shine through sisterhood and friendships between His children. :) May God ever grow you, Amanda, and I into the beautiful women that He desires us to be, with His light in our eyes and His grace in our steps, and His love in our hearts for others, for His glory!

I love you, my dearest, beautiful Rat.

"For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the height of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand."
~Psalm 95: 3-7 ~

Saturday, February 19, 2011

July 1989 -

This is what life was in July 1989. :) Mama took the picture. My favorite spot was on Daddy's shoulders, holding onto his hair, as we walked on the beach, or wherever ... notice he's tickling my foot, and tickling Kimberly's belly. :) I have such wonderful - special parents!
I love you Mommy and Daddy! :)
~ Jean Marie ~

Thursday, February 17, 2011


(taken February 12th, at 5pm/ Nikon d40, 35mm, F.1.8)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life's a Zoo -

We went to the zoo today. I was slightly grumpy all day. I was out of sorts. And everyone just took it all in stride ... thanks ya'll! Mostly because I was SO COLD all day, it was breezy and 55 degrees all day. yippers. ;) But we had a lovely time together, and I'm so glad we went. :)

From Cheetahs chasing the train ....

... to feeding the giraffes ... my FAVORITE!!

... to enjoying the beauty of the Jax Zoo ...

... the glories of God's creation, and the sweetness of who I was with ...
it was a sweet day indeed, despite me. :)
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Friday, February 11, 2011

He is my Daddy -

Today is my dear Daddy's birthday. :) And we've already begun the celebrating. Last night I made homemade pizza for dinner and we watched a British film favorite of his while we ate Apple Macaroon Pie with Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Ice cream and sipped milk.

As you can see, I've taken to heart that "a way to a man's heart really IS through his stomach", because Daddy's told me that for years and it's never been untrue yet. :)

After walking through Lowe's, pretending I knew what I was doing, and through Wal-Mart, Target and finally Publix....I had had it trying to find a good present, and was making food. And so I did. And we really ... umm ... I mean, Daddy really enjoyed it. hahaha. ;)

So today I started thinking about a special birthday post, and I thought about how so many of my special memories with Dad include: Vacation. Walks. Cold. Hand Holding. Hugs. and Quiet. Talking. Amazing views. Leaves. Sprinkling rain. Walking sticks. Fences. Old houses. etc.

... and then I thought of the perfect memory to write about. :) December of 2009, we were in Virginia for Ivis and Aaron's wedding, and it was pretty much THE coldest we had ever been. That even tops off Christmas vacation at the Biltmore. and it was snowing then. anyways, it was the day before The Wedding Day, and everyone was running around helter-skelter at Henricus Historical Park doing things, talking and laughing and organizing ... and the sun was setting, and I just took some time to walk over to the fence lining the cliffs along the river and Dad decided to join me. :)

I had been outside from the heat of the buildings all of 5 minutes, when my fingers grew chilly and I wondered how on earth more Englishmen didn't die of frostbite instead of diseases when they came over from England. Sheesh. Hahaha, and I was dressed warmly. believe me.

We were there walking .... and I snapped a picture. I may or may not have been frozen to the ground. The point is now, is that I'm in love with this picture. oh wait. I think I'm in love with all of these pictures. Nevermind.

... it just takes me back to when I was little. It makes me think of Georgia.

They had this long deck of stairs going down to the lower lookout along the river, and as I stomped down a few steps, I looked back up, and there was Daddy, looking so at home and capturing the view in his memory.

... then I stomped down a few more steps (the stomping was because my feet were almost numb), and got to the landing, and got this around the railing and posts. How neat is that? Did I mention I love all these pictures? but this is not about me. this is about Daddy ...

... but this all builds up to here. When I came back up the landing, huffing and frozen, I looked back at the James River and leaned back against Daddy. Both of us looking out to the water, his hands tight around my waist in a hug, my head back on his shoulder, standing there, quietly. And then we just stood there for a little while. Not needing words, or conversation. Just enjoying the river and the view and the embrace. It was so sweet.

I have been so blessed! I have never known what it was like for my Father to not love me. He is one of the most tender, gentle, loving, affectionate men I've ever known, and looking for a husband like that is next to impossible with the standard I've grown up with. :) He is always open to hugs, naps with my head on his chest, holding hands, helping me in any way.

If only I put the same trust and rest into my Heavenly Father that I do with my own Dad. The analogies of resting my head upon my Heavenly Father's chest and listening to His heart of love for me is a very easy thing to imagine when you've got years of memories with your own father.
I am rarely feel more relaxed and safe than when I am in the arms of my Daddy.

I love spending time with Daddy outside. He has taught me since I was little the love of God's creation and creatures, and the respectful silence of walking through woods quietly. Of being together with the animals and not scaring them all off. He whittled my name into branches for walking sticks, and taught me how to walk like an Indian. He taught me how to trim trees and bushes and what not to do in a car. He taught me how to be a respectful girl, and respect boys. :) He's taught me so much! ... and occasionally, I teach him a few things. But only rarely.

Our view up and down the James River.

I love being quiet with my Dad. I love not saying anything. I love crunching in the leaves. I love holding his hand and getting warm hugs in the cold. I love walking the beach and taking pictures together. I love talking photography and art and knowing he can teach me so much about it. I love hearing his voice and hearing him say my name. I love listening to his memories, and asking him about planes and everything under the sun, because ... he's my dad, and he knows waaay more than me. I love being loved by him.
I LOVE my Daddy with my whole heart. But I don't tell him or show him nearly enough.
I can be distant and withdrawn and quiet. I can not share and not hug. I can hold back.
I'll try harder, Daddy. Promise. :) I never have doubted your love for me.

You fill my heart with Joy. There will never be another one like you. You are my Daddy.

Thank you so much for the Daddy you are to Kimberly and I!! You are an excellent Father and a devoted husband and dad. You lead us in Christ, and you guide us to His throne. You pursue God with a diligence and you go every Sunday with reverence and humility. I learn humility and gratefulness before Christ from you. You know the depth (to a degree) of how much you have been forgiven, and so you thank Him continually for His grace to you, and to us. You pour out your soul in your prayers, and I know God is pleased when he sees you coming, not of our own, but of Christ we are thus.

How sweet Your love to our Savior is to our family. Never lose sight of the joy that we have in Him, He is our Rock, our Redeemer, our precious Savior and King. And He loves you with even more passion and grace and love than we can even imagine. He loves you with an unending love that we can only think about and dream about, and I know we cannot wait to see His face one day. I love knowing we as a family will never fear the future, because we will always be together, and Christ ever before us in our Eternal Home.

I love you, my dearest, precious, loving Father. Happy Birthday to you.
Many hugs, love and kisses.
I love you to the moon, around the moon, between all the stars and back.
Your little redhaired daughter forever,
~ Jean Marie ~

For more special looks back at Daddy blogposts, go to:
Birthday 2009(my personal favorite) or Birthday 2010.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

He is the same -

"Settle this in your heart: "Whether I am up or down, the Lord Jesus is the same. Whether I sing or sigh, the promise is true and the Promiser is faithful. Whether I stand on the summit or am hidden in the vale the covenant stands fast and everlasting love abides."
~ Charles H. Spurgeon

Monday, February 7, 2011

More -

She throws down the book and the cover slams shut.
She closes her eyes and wishes the lights out.
Tears gather underneath her eyelids, burning salt water.
She shakes her head and tries to just make it all stop.

but it won't.

Life won't make sense past then.
Those dates in time when life stopped and so did dreams.
Dreams ended and nightmares began.
When an ache grew and broke her heart.
When noise turned into silence and silence turned deafening.

She tilts her head and presses her eyes shut tighter.
Those tears will not fall. She clenches her jaw.
She wants people back. And she doesn't want something else.
She doesn't want to understand this grief and pain.

She can hear the whispering starting up against the silent yelling.
She reaches over the bed and picks up another book.
Tracing the cover with one finger, she opens it to her favorite place.
The very best of places. Where water marks the deep places.
Salt clouded inked letters and wispy thin paper that holds memories.
Memories of dark valleys and the light that goes on even then.

And the whispering grows into walls that shut out the yelling.
Her head tilts forward in quiet surrender. Her heart beats in the quiet.
She can feel the words washing her heart in a million water drops,
cleaning it up, watering the dry wells and glueing together the cracks.
She can see the hands reaching for her face to cradle it gently in their palms.
Stroking away her tears, and brushing her forehead with coolness.

She can hear the "Shhh. Be still. I am here.", and a sigh escapes.
She bites her lip as the pain spills over into face-crumpling hurt.
Her own palms turned up, without anything to offer, her own silent request.
"Be still. and know. ssshhhh. I'm here."

Reading this book is like drinking from the coolest of mountain streams,
and like awakening from a fiery nightmare of fighting wars and searing pain
to be pulled into a loving embrace of hope and wrapped in treasured white linen.
Believing these words is like jumping from a burning ship of angry masters
into the waters to swim to the island where none can make you afraid or steal you back.

She finds rest here when nothing else brings peace.
She finds hope here when life crushes her dreams and hopes.
She finds love in the words that leap from the pages written to her.
She finds grace and the mercies new for every battle given to fight.
She finds healing here for every wound that threatens to never heal.
She finds patience for when every prayer answers in "no." or "wait".
She reads of power and wisdom that is not hers to demand.
She finds higher mountains and brighter stars and deeper oceans,
and she knows she cannot comprehend it.

She hears comfort here in these pages in a way nothing else comes close to touching,
because when she reads those words, she's listening to the heart of God.


and He is always near.
He is always near to His children, whom He loves and cherishes with a passion that we have only scratched the surface of. We have no idea the depths of His love and compassion, we drink only a little from it. Let us drink deeper, and trust harder. Let us draw from the wellspring of LIFE with the joy that He will always always be enough. More than enough for us.

More than I could ever dream or conceive is the glories He has prepared for me.
More than anything I could ask for or hope for He has promised Himself.
More than the people I long for, ache for. More than the dreams I hope for.
More than the huge huge losses of people we love. More than those we will lose.
Jesus is more. Jesus. Jesus is MORE.

Let Him always be more in front of everything else. For this life is but a fleeting breath!
And we have all of the rest of our lives after these short years to live with the Lover of Our Souls,
our Abba, our Savior, our precious Father and Bridegroom and King.

"Thou, O Christ, art all I want, MORE than all in Thee I find ..."
With thankfulness....and with a joy that comes from writing out my heart,
knowing that God knows and understands and gives me rest,
~ Jean Marie ~

We sing this hymn at our church, and I think it a very appropriate conclusion of this post.

"Jesus, Lover of My Soul" ~ Charles Wesley (1740)

"Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past,
Safe into the haven guide; oh receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! Leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head, with the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness.
False and full of sin I am, Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; Rise to all eternity!"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dearest Becky -

Dearest Becky ....
Happy 19th birthday TODAY! *shrieks happily* I remember being 19. I think. ;)

So, dear friend.
Some of my best memories with you include almost breaking something (ahem. what it is, we will not share), but that memory keeps being something that puts us in whispering laughter together, and at the time put me in panic and then us both in hysterical tears. Which is awesome. Because we were playing badminton in a hallway. Which, really. Was a sign of a birthday much later that would be equally hysterical. Now we know. Sparlings + Badminton + Fambroughs = Hilarity. :D Hahahha.

And then in September we went walking on the beach and I took pictures and John avoided the camera like it was the plague and you looked way cuter than me, oh and I found a barnacle.
(looks sideways) No really. That was a fun memory of mine! Oh! and there were jellies too!

Okay, and another memory is when we were laughing hysterically in the car, and I was driving and there was some ... talk. About me being fit to drive. And the little girls in the back were giggling pretty hard about something. You can see my brain remembers EVERYTHING....................not. BUT, we were driving home from the park, where we had spent hours, and I had just spent a whole hour of pure delight, going down the slides again and again and again with shrieking children on my lap, and we were in breathless laughter because we were sort of bruised and Little Bit was hysterical when she came down the slide! And the swings! I distinctly remember yelling "FLLLLYYYYY!!!" and swinging so high, and then being told we were leaving. We need to go back there. and soon.

... aaaand I am starting to notice a trend in our memories. They all include laughter. And a LOT of it. OH YEAH. and then I convinced ya'll that I put rum in the hot chocolate. which I did NOT. because I totally wouldn't do that to little kids and also because we were out. of rum. (I'm totally joking. We are Presbyterians.) And so ... I cannot think of one memory with you, Becky, that does not include me saying at the end of that memory "this has been the best memory ever", because the memories are all so wonderful!

and I think it's partly because YOU are so wonderful. Mmmhmm. *nods*
So Happy Birthday, Becky! Here's to one of my new best friends. *raises hot cocoa in salute* ;)
We pray God's richest blessings upon you and your family. We love you!!!
~ Jean Marie ~
for all the Fambroughs and for Lucy Mae too ;)

P.S. Did I mention you are gorgeous? Because you ARE. Oh and also that I'm sorry for calling you Sarah for half your life because I get you and Sarah mixed up? oh and also, thank you for not suing me when I break things and also for laughing and living with me when I am a total delighted child with how many times I can go down the slide and still live when I come out in a bumped, bruised, freaked-out, backwards-upside-down-heap. Yes. I thank you, my dear. *I love you!*

In Thy hand -

"My Times are in Thy Hand"
~ by William F. Lloyd (1824) # 684 in the Trinity Hymnal ~

"My times are in thy hand; my God, I wish them there;
my life, my friends, my soul, I leave entirely to thy care.

My times are in thy hand, whatever they may be;
pleasing or painful, dark or bright, as best may seem to thee.

My times are in thy hand; why should I doubt or fear?
My Father's hand will never cause his child a needless tear.

My times are in thy hand, Jesus the Crucified;
those hands my cruel sins had pierced are now my guard and guide."

I have been practicing this song the past week on piano, and although it is any easy tune, I had not really looked past the first verse of words. But tonight, as I struggled through hope and doubts and what God ordains as best, I sang through all the verses, and there found a wellspring of truth that overflowed into rest for this weary heart. :)

For my Father will never cause me needless pain or tears. He loves me forever, and guides me to the Rock and Shelter that He is, in the biggest storms I struggle through. My times are in His capable and wise hands. His arms are not too short, that He cannot reach or heal. His ears are not too heavy, that He cannot hear our cries. His timing is perfect and in His time alone will all things be made beautiful.

"(1)In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. (2)Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me.

(14) But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God."
(15) My times are in Your hand.

"(23) Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. (24) Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord."
~ Psalm 31: 1-2, 14-15, 23-24 ~

In His hands is my life, and in His time ... all things will be made beautiful.
Praise God for His grace.
~ Jean Marie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No wasted tears -

"O weary soul with waiting spent,
Cease not to hope nor cries relent.
Weep on for years;
In Christ there are no wasted tears."