Thursday, March 31, 2011

Puddle-jumpin' -

"Well it's raining, and it's pouring ... and the puppy, well, she is snoring ..."

I'm tellin' you, people. Today, it did not so much look like FL but more like Ireland or Seattle. And as of today, I decided that I did not want to move to Ireland or Seattle. "No thank you, God. I mean, unless You want me there, then I'll deal with it." But I've only seen the sun ONCE in 48 hours and my brain is feeling soggy. Soggy and squishy like anything you step on outside. 'Cept the cement of course, that would be bad. Hey, I remember ... no complainin'. But I'm only sayin' something about the rain because I've gotta' mention what came with it.

*clears throat*

Lightning and thunder and wind and lots of it. Which meant ... after being cooped up in the house all. day. long. listening to said rain, thunder, wind, and lightning, I couldn't go outside and ENJOY it, because I didn't want to be electrocuted. I mean, duh, right? Am I going too fast for you here?

Ok. So every single time I pulled on my wellies to tromp out in the rain, to happily get a little fresh rain scent and air, and step outside....I kid you not, the silent, happy, beautiful, flowing rain turns into Vertigo Inducing White Flashes of Electricicle and instantly boom into thunder which overshadows any rain that falls. Aka: Step in a puddle with this going on, and your boots will become a melted tire on the melted cement and you will be ... duh. melted. no wait. fried.

(and yes, it all had to be in Caps. It makes it more official that way.)

It was the craziest thing!! So of course, I would sigh and tromp back inside. Out, in, *sniffles*Out, in, Out, *frowns*, in, Out ... *glares at sky* in. And then ... and THEN ... I complained to Becs. Yes. I'm sorry. I guess I broke the rule. But seriously. GO AWAY lightning!! I wanted to run around in the rain and splash through the puddles and enjoy the knowledge I wouldn't be dead faster than I could think. And as I told you, all I had to do was step out the door, and lightning would flash and in 2 seconds thunder would roar. -.- it was getting old.

SEE. SEE how much water? It was lovely. the rain, that is.

and so I talked with Becs. Because we are more talkative when we have Weather Threats, which is weird until you remember we are both NASA brats, which means we read NOAA, and can scan doppler radars like most school kids can scan text. *ahems* Because we've had the FIYAH and then THIS this month. We've been busy. So as I'm looking back at our chat on g-mail, I realize that we talked for 2 hours. On and off. but TWO hours. We had a lot to cover. Including me realizing how good of friends we are when she asked me if my "failure" of taking good rain pictures was just a "regular fail" or an "epic fail". Thanks, honey. I love you too. I burst into laughter more than once, and she had my whole family laughing when I told them she had walked straight into a calf-deep puddle in a parking lot without seeing it. NICE.

and then we sang "The rains came down and the floods came up" except I'm not sure I got all the words right until the end, when we simultaneously said "splat!!!" for the house on the sand. *tap tap. is this thing still on? ya'll?*

and so then we continued to talk, and she said she was sad with me when my family didn't want to go out when the lightning went away to jump in puddles with me. Yes. I know!! Read and weep for me. Read and weep. So I decided they would remember in years down the road how much they missed and I would most likely royally rub it in, so why not enjoy life to the full?

So then I went in the garage and pulled on my wellies, and I stepped outside and GLORY BE ... no lightning nor thunder to hear or see. YAY!! and then I stomped and sloshed and shrieked in glee as I got soaking wet from the puddles and rain. It was the best part of my week, ya'll. Unbelievable how much joy that generates in me. Once, dad came out and walked down to the end of the road with me to see the 18 inches of water collected in the gulley, and the split tree, and this conversation is what followed ....

"slosh slosh slosh slosh slosh slosh ... SLOSH SLOSH SLOSH ... Me: "Look Dad! I have about a liter of water in each wellie boot! MUWAHAHAHAHAa!!!" Dad: *laughing* Me: "you have no idea how hard it is to run in these now" ... SLOSH SLOSH *JUMP* ... SPLASH ... stomp stomp stomp ... *evil laughter* ... stomp stomp ... slosh." yes. oh yes. I loved it.

and I got royally SOAKED in that rainy-wet joy. See? See me standing in the rain?

and THIS was my expression when I realized I could wring water out of my clothes, and THOSE are my wellies. In the daylight. back on one of those "enlightening" trips. *laughs at pun* Hey, you don't have to laugh, no pressure ... I'm 99.9999999% sure that I'm the one who gets the biggest kick out of this blog anyways. ;)

So. I got my puddle-jumping in after all, and am SO thankful for it. :) God is so kind to give me joy in such a little thing, that became a big thing! I'm not exactly sure, but I think everyone on our street could hear me shrieking in joy and laughing as I stomped and jumped in happiness. ;D

I love you, my friendly, most-likely-now-sleeping readers ....
Slumber peacefully, for it lightnings no more here on the Coastal Shores of
the Floridian Wetlands .... and I do mean WET. LANDS. Good gracious. ;)
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm not complaining -

We had a completely lovely candlelit dinner tonight, and it wasn't even anyone's birthday or anniversary and we weren't trying to be all romantic or old-fashioned or anything.

No, it was because we didn't have power for 3.5 hours. "The Electricicle!! It went out again!!" Name that episode. Ours only went out once, and it was a doozy. But I'm not complaining!

I'm happy to be alive. I really really am. Not only that, I'm happy for the Electricicle (I refuse to call it anything now that I remember how adorable it is in that movie) that is now working because of said "Wondermen of the FPL". Good old Wondermen - I thank you.

and I'm not complaining that I spent half an hour washing down the west side of our house to remove all the pasted leaves off of it, and also my un-dented car, nor am I complaining that I also spent that time dragging branches to the street and picking up many branches and moss bundles and pinecones and throwing them with my MBL arm into the trashcan.

I think that the reason why I'm not complaining is also the story here. Because today I was home alone, huddled in my parents closet with: my cellphone, 1 headset radio, 1 flashlight, 1 pillow, 1 blanket, 1 worried puppy and a very very dark and quiet house. No, I wasn't complaining then either .... I was too busy praying, and comforting my puppy, telling her we were fine and trying to make my hands stop shaking so hard.

The world outside our very very dark house was not quiet. Why? Well, we were under a tornado watch, and just as I was reading on (excellent resource, btw, I mean, if you have power) about our tornado watch, I read about the severe thunderstorm warning and about "high winds".... zzzzzt. The power went out completely. From light and power and internet to dark and nothing and alarms going off everywhere. I looked out the window from where I was sitting and watched as the trees bent sideways "oh not good." The storm hit out of nowhere, and I ran around the house getting things while the dog panicked and I hit hyperventilate mode. I turned on the radio just as it went static "get on a secure location on the bottom floor of your buildi.....sssshhht." and then my mind went into "Closet Mode".

You may not be aware that your brain can make up this mode and your brain may not use or even need this function, but mine most certainly does. It comes from surviving Cat. 3 hurricanes in this mode, and it is very useful. I could say I didn't want this mode at all, which would be partly true, but remember - I'm not complaining.

After piling everything into the closet and calling for the dog, who so happened to be cowering right behind me, things started hitting the house. And I thought "wow. no time for putting up plyboard", I shut the door and sat down and the the hail hit. I called my mom and sister who were on the interstate and told them to get off, and then prayed for their safety. In what seemed like not very long at all, everything suddenly fell silent. Aaaand I went back into panic mode. "this is it" I thought. "Everyone knows that it goes silent right before the tornado hits." But it didnt. Thankfully, no tornado for us!

But between the tornado watch, the hurricane force winds (yes, you read that right), hail 4 times (the size of quarters reported in our area), 3.5 hours without power, and my family spread out in various locations .... it was more excitement than I thought I'd have in one afternoon. But I'm not complaining, because we are all safe, and alive.

As I trembled in the closet and my doggie trotted around the 3 feet of space in circles ... I whispered "though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea ... though the earth be moved ... yet God is my Rock and my salvation ... of whom shall I be afraid" my memory jumbled verses together, and the peace of God stilled my hands and my heart in peace. :)

So you can see why I would not be complaining about little things like power and internet and The Electricicle when my family and those I love are safe and together. And as we sat around our kitchen table, and talked about a repeat of today in tomorrow's weather (prayers would be appreciated), and about our "Wondermen of FPL" "patching" the downed line, or "fixing" it, the half of a pig in our freezer, the lovely cool breeze blowing outside and other topics, we ate our dinner.

And then we had dessert, and I roasted marshmallows over the candles and had s'mores. Sad thing was, as I sang "Kumbaya" and my marshmallows burst into flames for the 12th time, Kimberly pointed at the clock which had begun to flicker, and then the AC came on, and then we all groaned, and cheered, and I yelled "ITS ALIIIIIIIIIVE!!!" For our Electricicle was restored to its prior state. Then Dad says "ahh, and just when I was looking forward to a quiet night of no noise or computers", and in a pitiful disappointed reply, I say "and I still had 10 more verses of Kumbaya to go!". And then silence fell around our small circle of candles and wafting s'more smoke until we started eating again, and then we all sat there in the dark eating our dessert, until finally we got up to wash the dishes, and the lights had to come on.

and that was our eventful afternoon .... :) try and top THAT.

One more note of depravity to interject here - marshmallows that are toasted over ye open flame on yonder candle do not end up tasting like an open campfire on a starry night. No, they end up tasting like - candle.

But as I said before .... I'm not complaining. ;)

With love from the Tornado Trenches ...
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Come to the Waters -

SPRING. It's coming .... and I'm waiting for it to come in my soul, as well.
We sang this hymn last Sunday at my church, and since the first time I sang it, it has been a favorite of mine. As we wait for Easter, and then the True Easter Day, when all will be righted and all will be risen, from the land and sea, when with Jesus we will forever dwell ....
As we wait .... we rejoice in our springs and fountains and inexhaustible love of our Savior.
As we wait, may I ask for prayer for me - for refreshment and renewal in our Lord Jesus, sometimes I feel like a riverbed with no water, and no hope of rain, and I know how desperately my need of Jesus - so pray for me: new spring upon my soul by our Father God.
And I will be praying for you too. For Spring to burst into and upon our hearts, and for God to bring back the joy of our salvation into the minute by minute reflections of Him in our hearts.
I love you all,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Come to the Waters" by James Montgomery Boice

"Come to the waters, whoever is thirsty;
drink from the Fountain that never runs dry.
Jesus, the Living One, offers you mercy,
life more abundant in boundless supply.

Come to the River that flows through the city,
forth from the throne of the Father and Son.
Jesus the Savior says, "Come and drink deeply."
Drink from the pure, inexhaustible One.

Come to the Fountain without any money;
buy what is given without any cost.
Jesus, the gracious One, welcomes the weary;
Jesus the selfless One, died for the lost.

Come to the Well of unmerited favor;
stretch out your hand; fill your cup to the brim.
Jesus is such a compassionate Savior.
Draw from the grace that flows freely from him.

Come to the Savior, the God of salvation.
God has provided an end to sin's strife.
Why will you suffer the Law's condemnation?
Take the free gift of the water of life."

Monday, March 21, 2011

5 months old -

Lucy Mae turned 5 months old yesterday!
Often when I whip out the camera to capture her faces, she gives me this look, right before smiling in her eyes and jumping up to lick my face. :) She doesn't stay still for long. She's 20 1/2 weeks old, and we've had her for 13 of those. She's filled these 13 weeks with some of the most uplifting moments and carefree, relaxing, special rest and play! She is a special gift. If you haven't met her, I hope you get to SOON!!! She's growing fast and has lost 2 teeth, as of late. :) Here's to the next 13 weeks. ;)

How I love love love my baby girl.
~ Jean Marie ~

Strawberry Memories 2011 -

The Strawberry Festival 2011 Video!

Wow - so about 300 pictures in 11 minutes and 10 seconds! Haha, it took me at least 8 hours to make, and I think the most challenging part was deciding on the music! But I LOVE it....and especially the people in it, and the memories we made! I hope you really enjoy watching it! Note: Full screen is not recommended, as it will pixelate it; I didn't upload it in full HD, it would have taken MUCH longer! :D

With love to you all,
~ Jean Marie ~

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One of those days -

It's been a really long day. It's been one of those days. It's been a hard day.
... and so at the end of it, as I reach for rest in God's arms and whisper prayers ...
I find myself listening to music and editing pictures and blogging
and although this started out a post where I would say something like:
"When you have beautiful friends, beautiful natural light, and beautiful memories,
you end up with the most beautiful photos".... somewhere near the end of editing, I gave up.
It's going to be a song post instead. I've blogged this song before, and I listen to it often when I crave the sweet comfort of my Heavenly Father the most .... you can listen along here.

"Be Still and Know" by Steven Curtis Chapman

"Be still and know that He is God,
Be still and know that He is holy."

February light & Lauren.

"Be still, o restless soul of mine!
Bow before the Prince of Peace, let the noise and clamor cease."

January light & EmilyCase

"Be still and know that He is God,
Be still and know that He is faithful!
Consider all that He has done! Stand in awe, and be amazed,
and know that He will never change.
Be still."

March light & Becca

"Be still and know that He is God,
Be still and know that He is God,
Be still, and know that He is God,
Be still, be speechless."

January light & Miss. Abbie

"Be still and know that He is God,
Be still and know He is our Father,
Come rest your head upon His breast,
listen to the rhythm of His unfailing heart of love,
beating for His little ones, calling each of us to "come"."

December 2010 light & Mama and Daddy

"Be still. Be still."

November 2010 light & Sadie Beth & I

... to all the dear people in this post, I love you so much!!! You are so beautiful to me. :)
Hugs and kisses and more hugs and kisses all 'round. You bring sunshine to my little world.

To my Heavenly Father Who always knows, has planned, and does the best for us,
I love you, and I pray for more grace to trust You,
I pray that I may be still in Your arms and listen to Your heart of love,
let all my noise and clamor cease, let me stand in awe and be amazed of the wonder of You.
~ Jean Marie ~

~ Psalm 37: 23 - 24 ~
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
and He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand."

~ Psalm 46: 10 - 11 ~
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunshine Boy -

Live life like you are the happiest kid on earth because your airplane did one huge swoop at the end before it came down to earth again, and because the sun is warm on your face ... like Sunshine boy, J. was today. :)
Yeah. I wanna' live like that.
~ Jean Marie ~

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Away, away -

Sometimes I just want to lie down in a grassy field and go to sleep to the sound of the wind over me. I never, ever want to wake up, I just want to dream about being in that beautiful spot and feeling the wind rustle all around me. Dream about flying about without a care in the world and in the loveliest, most graceful, airy white dress that you could imagine, picking flowers and throwing them into the wind, and then just flying away. Away, away and away.

Over the coast of my beloved ocean, around the cliffs of where my dreams are, the blues and greens of the water and the craggy rocks where I write my heart down on paper, the sky neverending in its coolness and brilliance, over fields with animals drinking from creeks, past those red barns and stone cottages with the water pumps in their gardens, across the sand dunes piled so high they threaten to tip over, through the valleys filled with wildflowers and between the mountains clothed with pine, birch, and every other tree, flying between the weeping willows' reeds and breathing in the smell of camellias and jasmine.

Soaring over every landscape I could possibly imagine and beyond that, seeing the stars up close for the very first time, sifting the fine gravel of the moon through my gloveless fingers, fearing nothing, not the sun to burn me, nor the space for lack of oxygen, twisting and twirling and diving into the sea to look at the deepest depths that would somehow be lit with light to see the coral and fish and all the deep by, to feel small next to the whales and large next to the tiny sparrows that Jesus loves us more than.

Flying high and swooping low to hear the sounds of all creation singing at the top of their lungs for their Creator, the harp and the trumpet and piano and the cello and the guitar and every instrument with music so light and triumphant and glorious that everywhere I fly, I can hear different stanzas to the same beautiful tune, to breathe deeply of thornless roses that bloom so wildly that whole acres are filled with their scent, with children giggling and scampering among them, filling their arms with every and tulip and daffodil and flower that you could imagine, to only throw them again in the air, or make garlands for the free horses that thunder through the sandy paths along those craggs. The people singing of redemption and honor, picking the sweet fruit that blooms constantly, with juice running down their arms and washing themselves clean of stickiness in the sweet water of the mountain creek, flicking water and laughing with joy, children riding the backs of tigers and cheetahs, racing faster than I can fly, the lion sleeping in the sun, nuzzling close to the lamb.

Dancing in the banquet hall. Running to meet all those precious babies that had been missing from the other land, scooping them up for hugs and kisses, singing with joy for the saving of the sinful for the glory of the King. Laughing until I can't breathe, and knowing no reason to stop. Twirling my white dress and being as pure and holy as white is defined, because God named white. Rejoicing because there is no sorrow or grief. Praising because He is worthy. Singing and singing because I will never leave this place. Lifting up my head with no shame, ever ever again, for I am the Princess of the Most High, and I am His beloved forever. Hands in the air held high in exultation of the One who made all this for us
... to smell the orange blossoms and finally be HOME. HOME with the One I love.
With unveiled face I will see Him. There my soul ... will be satisfied. Soon and very soon.

I will fly, fly away .... away away away .... and oh the amazement when I one day wake up from that dream to find it better than all that I could ever dream.

Better than anything I could dream is the Home He is making for me.
What glory! What joy! What peace, and rest and love when we reach Heaven,
and see face to face the Lord that we have not seen, yet we love! :)
The Holy Spirit calls us to yearn for that Home, and I believe whispers sometimes in those blessed dreams that are full of sweet knowledge and rest against the heart of God.

In rest of that one day ....
~ Jean Marie ~

1 Corinthians 2: 7-9
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
nor have entered into the heart of man
the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

Isaiah 65: 17-19
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
nor the voice of crying."

Isaiah 35:10
" And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing,with everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

Monday, March 14, 2011

I LOVE Sunflare -

I love sunflare ... and I adore my kind and beautiful friend EmilyCase, so you can imagine how lovely it is having this photo, and remembering when I asked her to stand still for a moment as the sunflare cascaded down the street, spilling into and onto everything as the sun set in the January sky. I looked down at the playback, and went "oh my word", but not until I got home did I realize how gorgeous it was. :) I love moments like that.

The sun had burst into sunflare at the top right where it refused to stay in one circle or spot, then dancing and bubbling its way through the oaks and Spanish moss, it circled its way around Emily, like a double or triple rainbow, and finally arching onto my friend Lauren's skirt to turn it into a green-blue pattern. The sunlight lit up into tree bokeh and turned every leaf near the road into sparkling golden circles of bokeh and shimmering light, as the breeze lifted our hair. It seemed as if the light surrounded us, and lit up everything in sight, including turning Emily's brown hair into spun golden auburn wisps.

It truly was a beautiful evening and sunset, and we thoroughly enjoyed taking in one of the most beautiful sunsets and FL "prairie" after that, getting pictures and video and laughing and twirling our way into the dusk. Special memories come looking at this picture. :)

Thanks for visiting and taking a look! I hope you could feel the South and FL sunshine just spilling out of this picture ... there is truly nothing like living here on the Southeast coast. :)
~ Jean Marie ~

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For Gui -

(Sadie Beth, Lauren, Joseph, me, Kimberly)
Happy 20th birthday, Joseph!!! :)

You have been such a blessing and help to our family many times over, between being bodyguard and protector on trips to the beach or walks in neighborhoods, to being rescuer when need be ;), to talking techy challenges with my Dad, to talks, games, laughter, and just all around brotherly friendship - we are thankful to know you!! Too bad we couldn't fly Sadie Beth over just to take one more lovely walk around the St. Andrews Lake and rehearse our Irish accented lines. :) How many great memories I have with you and your family!! Good times. ;) May God bless all your endeavors and life this year!!

May you be as Psalm 1 ....
"... his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."
Psalm 1:3

With thankfulness for your 20 years,
~ Jean Marie ~

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Jessie -

Happy 20th birthday to you, Jessica!! :) My precious, treasured friend.
I love you so much!!! Look for a package coming in the mail soon, okay? :)
Hugs and prayers for your sweet day,
~ Jean Marie ~

... and I put together a slideshow from our special together time in downtown St. Charles. :) I hope you like it!!! :) It only took me less than 3 hours to do it, and then another 1 1/2 because I had no idea how to make it upload faster to Vimeo. Oh wait. that was Vimeo's fault. hahaha. :D I love you so much Jessie!! Your friendship means so much to me, and always will.

Pray for Japan -

I don't feel like writing, so I'm just going to link over to Molly's blog where she writes about the same as what I would have been able to force out. I just feel sick for our brothers and sisters in Christ ... the overwhelming need of Jesus as Savior in Japan, and the physical needs that are going to be apparent very soon as the water recedes and fires go out. I can't imagine how terrifying an 8.9 earthquake can be, then having to also face at least 50 aftershocks and a 23 foot tsunami.

It terrifies me just thinking about it! We have friends with family in Japan, as well as dear friends in Cali and Alaska that I pray are untouched....but Japan looms in my mind over all.

Please join me in prayer in asking for the saving of not only lives, but that huge revival would spread through Japan, let God use this mightily to further His redemption of His children!!
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Strawberry Fest 2011 -

Strawberry Festival 2011. Need I say more?
The only way it possibly could have been better is if more friends could have come, or if a Josh Turner concert would have magically appeared for us to go crazay over.
Other than that? One of the best nights of spring so far with my best friends ....
oh, but did I say Spring? Spoke too soon, as the temps dropped and wind continued, we were shivering in the 50 degree weather and wind chill. ACK. Hahahaha.
I think I have the best. friends. ever.
Much love! and now....warm bed. :)
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. I'm in love with fair bokeh. I climbed up to the middle of some bleachers and ... is that even the right word? It sounds so weird....I'm so tired I'm loopy. Oh well. If it's not the right word, write me and let me know. hahaha. anyways, and then I sat up there and focused out and just got bokeh pictures. mmmmhmm. wait until you seeeeee them!!! aaaah! :D ok. gnight!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Assured of them -

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off were assured of them,
embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for He has prepared a city for them."
~ Hebrews 11:13-16 ~

For in all things our Lord is worthy to be praised.
For in all things He is loving us more than we can imagine,
to bring us finally to the end of our days on this earth,
to be perfect, and holy, with Him!!

and in these truths and promises our hearts can rest all the day long...
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Audra -

(Audra and John & Avery ;) )

My Audra -
Happy Birthday to you today! :) My dear, precious friend. How I miss you and John and ache to hold Baby Avery! This time last year I had just gotten home from Missouri, and crashing from the trip. :) We had some very special times together over those few days at Bethy's wedding. God was so gracious to allow our conversations and sharing and tears together. God has been so good!! I see Godliness in you and John that is not always easy to do in marriages. You are both so tender and selfless in serving each other. It blesses my heart to know you both, and it is my honor to have met both of your children while they were in the womb, and it will be my utter joy to meet Avery sometime soon. :)

Congratulations on being a mommy twice over on January 26th. :) Baby Avery John is so so beautiful!! I love him so much already.....gosh, it's hard to write about you, and not slip into talking about John or Avery! Haahhaa! :D

I don't think I can tell you how much I love being your friend and sharing my heart with you. You have blessed me so many times over!! You and John both, John with his "deep questions" that leave me stumbling, hahahaha, and you with all the heart to heart chats that go deep fast. Thank you for allowing me to visit you all in TN in August...what a wonderful time that was, and I can't wait to .... I think I've said this already. SEE you sometime!!! AAH! :D :D

I have so much to say, and yet very little to write here, my dearest friend....
I hope you had a wonderful birthday ... filled with the sweetest joy of your little family and the knowledge that our Lord Jesus who cradles Melody every day holds all of us in His arms and tenderly leads us in His grace to walk through all our days knowing He goes before!! :)

Happy Birthday to wifey of John and Mama to Melody and Avery,
my dearest friend Audra,
I love you so much. So so much.
BIG hugs!! :D
~ Jean Marie ~

Psalm 126: 5-6
"Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Psalm 135: 5-7, 13-14
"(5)For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods.
(6)Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth,
in the seas and in all deep places.
(7)He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.
(13)Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations.
For the Lord will judge His people, and He will have compassion on His servants."

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Elle -

My darling, sweet Elle. :)

Today it is your birthday, and I missed you SO much, because last year I was with you, celebrating on one of the most epic birthday weekends ever ... with Rach. :)
It was SUCH a blast, and just thinking about you makes me all smiles and then all tears. :)
It was such a wonderful and special time with you and I'm not sure that I ever really thanked you for it all!! Especially our tour of St.Louis on Sunday evening ... falling asleep between routes of parks and museums and fountains and getting out in the freezing freezing cold to take a picture and then hop out to walk downtown. :) It was so so fun. :D

(Christina "Elle", me, and Rach)

The memories are so full, just from everything we packed into those few days! The radio control, Rach and I singing and dancing in the back seat, your stunned voice saying "this is NOT Country!", you making us listen to other music, while Rach and I sang Miranda Lambert and all else, yeehawin', and learning we had the same evil giggle. ;D hahahah. Eating chocolate and other food, flipping channels, walking downtown to Busch Stadium, walking EVERYWHERE at night in the freezing cold with our bodyguard, Lincoln. Walking all those steps to the St.Louis arch, talking and sharing and laughing and laughing and .... ;) being together. Texting in the middle of the night, and pretending like you weren't. Allll the inside jokes and memories that come from having a hotel room for 2 nights with us 3 girls.

I truly wish I could have come back this year for a re-run. :) But hopefully, you will visit me this summer, and I'll take you to the beach and we can stream the Beach Boys for hours. :D

Thank you for being the friend I could call and cry on the phone to, we've shared in some hard valleys together, talked and talked and solved the world's problems and given our own back into the hands of our very capable Savior and Father, we've understood pain and looks when everyone else was oblivious to how much it hurt just to be there and smile. We've rejoiced and laughed and been so thankful .... and here it is another year going strong. :) And our Father is still ever faithful, gracious and merciful in His abundant blessings to us. :)

Happy Birthday to you!!!
I love you so so much!! Thank you for being such a dear friend to me, my Elle. Miss you.
Many hugs ... Love, Jemmie.

~ Psalm 143: 8-10 ~
"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.
Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Case Day -

Happy WEDDING DAY to Cody and Tricia!!! :D
Love ever,
~ Jean Marie ~

Friday, March 4, 2011

Puppy Sunshine -

Every day is filled with joy now that she's here. Even if it's a bad day, she's the one thing that makes me smile, or laugh, or realize that life is okay, even if life is really bad.
She's the sunshine that never goes away, and all because she is just herself.
Day in. Night out. Day out. Night in.
The sunshine of Lucy Mae fills my life.
I love her.
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fire -

*****Thursday, March 3rd, 1:20pm Update: I realize ya'll might be getting tired of seeing this same post and reading these updates, but in case ya'll are still reading it, then I know you are still praying, thus, I keep it on the same post. :) The winds are blowing to the west right now, and were very gusty overnight, and windy and gusty today, up to 15-30mph. The fire in Hog Valley, west of I-95, is 7 miles north of us, and grew 1,000 acres overnight last night. Wow. I am sure that we (civilians and firefighters) are all so SO ready for this to be put out. :)

Today firefighters are attacking the fire from all fronts and are shooting for 100% containment. Please do keep them in your prayers....the arid air from the cold front that came through, plus the gusts of winds and pockets of hotspots and embers flying around make it a difficult fire to contain. I know the firefighters are working hard, and we have friends among them. We are SO thankful for their hard work!! Helicopters continue to fly back and forth over our house, providing air support and water drops from the lakes behind us to the fire(s).

Thank you so much for keeping us in your prayers!!! We greatly appreciate it.
With love, Jean Marie *****

***Tuesday, March 1st, 10:45pm Update: The fire has split into two sides of I-95 now, both on the east and on the west. The west fire is a mere 8 miles from us, and the southwestern blustery winds today were no doubt a big challenge for the firefighters as well as trying to put out all the little hotspots that continued to flare up all over. However, finally about an hour ago, the wind died down into a cool breeze, and we are praying it stays that way. The fire is at its best 25% contained, and a firefighter was injured today with 2nd degree burns to his face. Please keep him in your prayers, he's 22yrs. old. Please continue to pray for all our firefighters and that the Lord would allow us to bring this fire under control. Under human control. ;) For our God is in control at all times, and He plans where this fire will spread.

Quote of my status on FB: "The wind has died down, and left only wafts of jasmine floating on the air under brilliant stars and faint columns of smoke and ash in the distance. Even though the fire is only 8 miles away, we are so so thankful that the wind has died down! God is gracious and we sleep tonight resting in His care."
With love and thankfulness to our Father of mercies,
~ Jean Marie ~ ****

*** Tuesday, March 1st, 9:30am Update: Ya'll. Never guess what I woke up to this mornin' - RAIN. I woke up at 8am to the pouring sound of water, and opened up the blinds in disbelief. God is so gracious!! I laid in bed and couldn't believe God had given us rain. Not once did I pray for rain last night, in fact, it never even crossed my mind to pray for rain. We've only had 2 rainstorms in 2 months and all I was praying for was that the fire would turn back on itself. So, imagine the amazement looking out at our puddle-flooded yard.

Not once did I pray for rain, and God gave us the unasked for grace of it anyways. I praise Him! He is in control, so however this fire goes, whether the little rain was great, or the potential winds coming with that rain make it worse, He will protect us. So, even though the rain is wonderful, and I'm not making any less of the gift of that, the rain is a thin line of showers that has all but passed us now. The rain moved over fairly quickly, so there wasn't much chance of drenching out a huge huge fire. ;) However, FD is hoping that this helped squelch the already burned areas and raise the humidity to keep the embers down more. As the cold front moves in, so will the winds. With this rain comes wind, and wind = BAD.

Prayer is still needed. Please continue praying for the firefighters and all personnel. They are working hard. Thank you so much for praying!!! And thank God for even the short rain that we had. Our God is in control, come what may. ****
~ Jean Marie ~

****Tuesday, March 1st, 2:30am Update: The fire has now burned 13,000 acres, and is 12 miles north of us, about a 20 minute ride. It is working its way around homes (the "around" due to the firefighters, thankfully) in a neighborhood, and fire crews are switching out. Many homes are under voluntary evac., some 1,400 homes and businesses. The firefighters are working hard, please be keeping them in your prayers, as well as those frightened by losing their homes and by the fire itself. Both I-95 and US1 were re-closed by 9-10 pm last night. New mercies come in the morning.
Our God is in control.****


You should see the northern sky outside my house right now. It is unreal. And not because the sun set and it's all brilliant. It's unreal because it is glowing red from a 4,000 acre fire that is burning so hot and bright and feeding so fast and moving so rapidly that its flames light the night sky and the clouds into red puffy glowing cotton that is interspersed with the black black dark streaks, plumes and clouds of ash soaring upward as the wind continually whips them up.

The fire started at just before noon today, and has burned 4,000 acres in 9 hours. It is north of us and I-95 was completely shut down going North of our area, as well as 2 other main roads closed, which means a lot of traffic was stuck in T-ville until it reopened a little while ago.

As darkness grew and the stars appeared, I walked outside and just stared at the sky. It was (and is!) abnormally quiet outside because the highway is closed, so you can't hear any traffic, yet the silence was broken by 3 helicopters going back and forth and back and forth with their water buckets from the lakes near us back up north to the fire. The camellias and jasmine heavily scented the night air, and yet mosquitoes swarmed in full Florida fashion, even amongst the night breeze that earlier had been a windy, blustery day. And as no more sun lit the western sky, the fire painted the northern sky into dark pinks and reds that did not fade.

Later, at 7 - 8pm, I went outside yet again and just watched the fire's smoke rise and take over the northern sky ... even the pitch black of night was somehow taken over into grey movement of air that you knew wasn't inky stillness of pure sky. I tried every trick in my head for getting a still and non-flash picture of the firey clouds, and eventually got it. My camera would see the RED, and pump up all the red in the picture, until I bumped all exposure down to where it really only showed just the fire "window", and so what you see in these pictures is exactly what it looked like.
(1st pic: that big blooming cloud on the right is all fire smoke that arose in less than 5 minutes)

(2nd pic: and this was about 10 minutes later, the clouds of smoke actually blotting out the clearness of the fire-lit puffs of normal clouds)

The fire jumped I-95 between 4-5pm, and is rapidly moving east. We are not in any danger here, and because of the northeast wind, we don't even have smoke or ash falling, which is a blessing. But please be in prayer for everyone in danger, and also for all the firefighters, pilots, responders, medics, emergency personnel, and citizens who are in harm's way from this fire.

Please keep all the firefighters in your prayers, and their families.
Thank you!
~ Jean Marie ~

My dad just got home, and told us that his co-worker couldn't even go home, the fire was 2 miles from his house and his wife was home picking stuff to take and what to leave....that is so hard, we've done that ... please be in prayer for these families!!! thank you!!