Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A night of pride -

Ya'll know how much I love Atlantis, right? She's my favorite orbiter, and when I heard we were getting Atlantis at KSC when she retires, I screamed and tears stood in my eyes.

I was SO HAPPEH. Over the moon. Past the Hubble Bubble and back 3 times.

Well tonight just was icing on the cake. God gave such a gracious gift, unexpected, out of the blue....my dad put in for a pass to watch Atlantis rollout to the pad from the VAB, and well, he got one. That alone is God's grace ... and then we were able to take 7 people, and so the FOSTERS went with us. Momma, Becs, and Cameron.

It.was.amazing. I can't even describe it. A once in my lifetime gift from God. The last space shuttle, moving to the place where she'll lift off for the last time. Wow. I was blown away. :)

"Give me the beat, boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll, and drift away!"

Ray Charles singing "America" while watching Atlantis roll out was just .... surreal. It was one of those moments you try to capture as much as you can of, because you know you'll treasure it forever. :) Wow. "America, America! God shed His grace on Thee!"
"Oooo, ONLY IN AMERICA!! Dreaming in Red, White, and Blue! Only in America!"

Patriotic and Country music was playing in the background, God blessed us with the most gorgeous breezy, relaxing, lovely weather, a place for our chairs and just an amazing amazing view....from the spotlights to seeing the driver of the crawler waving at us, watching the Gulfstream roar in and land time after time because the astronauts were practicing for Atlantis....knowing Endeavour would be home in 5 hours....clapping and cheering with the crowd when the spotlights lit up Atlantis for the first time as it moved out of the VAB .... the wind in my face, the joy in my heart ... the thankfulness for the moment, the treasuring of the memories....the culmination of hard work and my childhood love of watching shuttles.

What a wonderful wonderful few hours!! Pictures upon pictures, singing of Pride, Country, Glory, Sacrifice, America, Bravery, and just good ole country pride too. Pride in my Daddy, and in Becca's Daddy, and all my friend's daddies. I'll treasure tonight for the rest of my life!

It's something few people in the world get to see, and I think I am just so so blessed. :)
Today was a hard day, a tear filled day, and this was just such a deep treasure and gift from God! I'm so thankful that He gave it to our family ... and to the Fosters too. :)

Don't worry, there'll be more pictures. :) and a slideshow, and maybe a vlog too. :)
Much much love from this glowing Nasa heart,
~ Jean Marie ~

**Update: June 1, 2011 2:38AM. I just was rattled from silent anticipation to glorious reminder, hearing the sonic booms from returning Endeavour, then watched her soar along on NASA Tv, on her final flight, to touchdown and stop. Welcome home, STS-134 crew! We are so so proud of you, and great landing, Cmdr. Kelly!

"It's sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy.", Commander Mark Kelly radioed after Endeavour touched down at Kennedy Space Center. (link to landing blog)

The legacy stands for Endeavour in the hearts of those who have worked on her, built her, seen her fly, love her and her crews! Welcome Home, Endeavour!!!"**

Monday, May 30, 2011

To the Fallen -

Our hearts, our prayers, our tears, our thoughts,
our gratitude, our respect, our longing, our thankfulness,
our blessings, and our PRIDE in you .... the fallen soldiers of our country.

We salute you and we remember you in honor.

To the soldiers in memory today, to your families....you have our prayers, our deep gratitude, and our sorrow in your loss. We pray for you often, and keep you close. Americans do not forget the sacrifice.

~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tomorrow I will hold you -

It seems like I've waited so very very long .... but the wait is almost over ...
because tomorrow, on that special special day -
I will hold you, Avery John Notgrass, for the first time in my arms,
and I will SEE and hold and understand and know that God has answered prayers ...
and simply thinking of seeing you puts me in tears.

Auntie Jemmie loves you so much, baby boy .... see you soon.
~ Auntie Jemmie ~

To be in your prayers -

"Our prayer must not be self-centered.
It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them."
~ John Calvin

So many times, flipping through blogs and articles, I've wanted to just write a prayer page, or a prayer post, to let ya'll know of some people to pray for ... specifically. This morning, I just shoved myself into doing that. Please join in prayer with me for our fellow men and for those Christ may call to be His redeemed children. Especially in the case of those who have lost their homes or family in serious weather or tornadoes .... the need is great for Christ.

Let us be on our knees (literally or not) for the deepening and the pouring out of the gospel!

Patrick Airmen deploy to Afganistan - I pray often for all of our military, but knowing that I know one of these airmen just socked me in my gut this AM, please pray for the safety of these Airforce soldiers .... and for their families. Pray for rest, peace, and trust in our Lord, and that God would show Himself as Mighty Protector to these brave soldiers.

Joplin, Missouri Tornado - This tornado was just named the single deadliest tornado since 1950, as this morning's toll was 117 people ... it destroyed more than hundreds of homes, and just wreaked havoc and destruction everywhere. Since the band of tornadoes that ripped across the South in 6 states a few weeks ago, I've woken up many a morning praising and thanking God that I have a home to wake up in, and that we are all safe. I fear tornadoes highly. Please be in prayer for the survivors, that their greatest hope now would be in Christ, and that the church would pour out their own blessings upon those in need.

"Our Thoughts are Heavenward" - May 21st, 2011 (3 days ago) was the 3rd anniversary of the homegoing of Maria Sue Chapman - Please do be in prayer for Steven and Mary Beth, and their family. Their hope is in Christ, and their outpouring from their grief has blessed so many. As you will read in the article ... their newest Show Hope board member, Donna Daniel and her husband Dan lost their 17yr. old son, Michael just a few days before the 3yr. anniversary due to a skateboarding accident. Please, please, hold the Daniel family close in your prayers.

These are just a few requests .... you know, I must have so many more. :) If you have a prayer request, please e-mail me at my address (on sidebar --->), so I can pray for you....and let me know if you would like me to share it with our prayer readers. :) I love to hear from you at any time .... please let us come before the Father together for each other, and for those we do not know, yet so desperately need the love and the grace of our Lord Jesus.

With much love, knowing God does great things through the outpouring of the saints -
~ Jean Marie ~

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." ~ James 5:16

Monday, May 23, 2011

I:Heart:yellow -

Yellow. One of my favorite colors God made, which just so happens to work out wonderfully, since I live in the Sunshine State. :) This year, some of my best friends and I went to the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL, and I had remembered this gorgeous yellow metal wall from last year, and was determined to take at least one picture against it. :)

So we climbed up to the top of the Fun House, laughing and joking and the sunlight spilling everywhere, even though it was a freezing cold early spring day (for real!); my sweet friend Becca smiled in front of the wall, and I sighed with joy. :D I love its vibrancy, and her laughter.

She's sunshine on lots of not so vibrant days. Thank you, Becs, for your friendship! :)
and thanks ya'll for stopping by! :)
~ Jean Marie ~

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blueberry World -

This morning, early, I called the Foster's house.

Me: "Good morning Momma! We were wondering if you would like to go blueberry picking with us this morning after the launch, or if you think that's a stupid idea."
Momma Foster: "Well, we were planning on going this morning too!"
Me: "Ohmygoodness, really? That's so funny!!!"
Mom: "Wow!"
Me: "Mom says "wow!""
Momma Foster: *laughing*

and so we went together, and had a wonderful time. :D It was great! The weather was cloudy with a breeze that kept the dreadful lovebugs at bay, and cooled us off. The fields were clean and full of blueberries, ripe and plump and huge and DEEEEELICIOUS! I think I ate 1/2 lb just walking around...and of course, I took pictures, and Becs took some, and we talked and talked and talked and then ... we talked. Such a surprise ... I know you are hanging on every word here .... but really, it was such a fun time! Becs' sister-in-law, Alisha came, with her 3 daughters, and they kept us laughing and pelted the "evil grasshoppers" with blueberries. hahaha. :D

All in all, my Momma and I picked 4 pails full, and our bags weighed a total of 21 1/2 lbs! :) They are really so so good, and from a local family's field. We freeze them and enjoy them all year round in pies, smoothies and cereal and yogurt and popsicles in the summer and what-all-else. :D I'm looking forward to making a Blueberry Cream Pie, my mouth is watering already!

Here's our time picking Blueberries! -

So, this video was not directed by my daddy. Haha! Some of you may have seen that, and gone "whaaat?" but it puts that in on AutoFill, and apparently it didn't change the 2nd time I uploaded it. heh heh. I don't care, really. :) Just thought I'd mention that. :)

May God bless your week, and pour out His mercies upon you in abundance,
as you turn and praise Him for His grace to you in all things ....
Love from this NASA girl,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. I've been loving all the comments from readers I don't know as well ... thank you! :)
P.P.S. and of course I adore the comments from the dear-hearts I know too. ;)

The Lord guide you -

**From the land to the sky ... she was beautiful! I didn't get a single picture, and I'm fine with that....her soaring flight is etched in my mind, and her roar filling my heart. God allowed her to sear into the cloudy morning sky, and I watched her fly and her rocket boosters fall - God is so very good. Thank you, Lord. Bring them home safe, and Godspeed Endeavour from this proud and praying NASA heart.**

Lord willing, Space Shuttle Endeavour and her STS - 134 crew will be lifting off at KSC at 8:56am, EDT today.(FL time) So, wherever you live....England (cough cough), Missouri! (;), or Ohio or WVa, or Australia, or Cambodia .... it would be well worth your joy to watch it too. :)

I can hear the STA Jet flying over checking the weather as we speak....nothing like hearing that. You can read more about EVERYTHING about the launch on the launch blog HERE! :D

and you can watch Endeavour's moments before launch and listen to the KSC, Houston, Endeavour chatter, and most importantly - you can watch Endeavour lift off, and everything after that. :D I'll be watching it from my front yard, in case you were wondering. :) So join me!

Ok, so here is the link to NASA TV - it's new and updated and streaming live! :D cool, I know...

Please pray for safe travels, safe flight and the Lord to bring them back here to KSC in His protection! And for a successful mission, as well....as the Shuttle Program draws to a close, these last few flights become more and more dear .... sigh.

So join me in watching the launch! It goes up in exactly 43 minutes, so get on the computer now, and watch all the interesting info that is streaming. :) And pretend you're here with me.

Much love from this NASA heart, and Godspeed Endeavour!!!!
~ Jean Marie ~

Endeavour in the OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Oops" -

We enter the National Foothills Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains in TN, and read the sign as we drive by "Please do not pick the plants". I probably file this somewhere under the label "To be used at a later date, probably when you already broke the rule" folder.

About 10 minutes later, I'm happily taking pictures of mountains and little wildflowers, and snap a flower off, to take a picture of it against the mountains, and then I gasp: "OH NO. It said "don't pick the flowers!". O.O THIS was the instantaneous reaction to the camera -

Then I laughed nervously and tried not to look guilty while cars passed by. I put the flower back in a little grassy ... spot, and walked off to take pictures of less dangerous and less protected subjects. Like the asphalt.

Great memory, Jean. Just great.

haha. Love you guys.
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. I can hear you laughing all the way over here, Becs. -.-

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

To old Rocky Top & back -

Hi, ya'll! How I've missed you all, and missed writing. :)

You may have noticed I haven't blogged in 10 days, or maybe you just danced around gleefully that I seemingly ran out of things to rant and rave about and ate marshmallows while singing "Sweet Caroline" at the top of your lungs. I'm sorry. I haven't. You have my pity. Have another marshmallow on me. :)

The truth is - my family and I were on vacation in Tennessee, and of course I couldn't tell you, because what if you broke into my house and stole our DVDs of the entire 1st season of Hogan's Heroes?! *gasps* You see how awful that would be .... so I kept it quiet. :) And it was a blissful 10 days of no internet, no FB, and no e-mails to sort, I barely wrote, and how I missed that. But it gave me time to just have .... TIME. And I took 1,351 pictures. So it's all good.

are you choking? on that marshmallow? Don't choke. There won't really be 1,351 after I sort them. There will only be around 1,200. ;) We had a wonderful wonderful time, and yet are so thankful to be back, to be home, to live out of our house again, and see our sweet puppy baby.

So we went up and down Ole Rocky Top, up and down and careening (carefully) and weaving (sickly) and curving and staying on the road instead of tumbling down a 40 foot pass (not cool, Dave), and laughing because our stomachs were going swirly whirly .... and then gasping all over again by how close our side was to looking straight down with no railing and into the river.

and I sang Jambalaya on the Bayou by Hank Williams Sr. about 900 times.

and Daddy took this picture of me (totally unposed) in front of the Great Smokies. :)

Which brings me to one more thing. :) My watermark!! :) I'll write a more in-depth post soon about how long it took me to cast it, and also decide on it. It took me forever, until coming home, I just decided to DO IT, and when I got home, I did. After I sang Jambalaya about 3 more times, and kissed my puppy about 28 times. It's really special, and I made it in about 25 minutes. Awesome.

One note: It won't always be that big or stand-out, I just wanted you to be able to see all the neat Paisley font and everything. :) So let me know what you think! Or just eat more marshmallows and sing or dance joyfully because Jesus has redeemed you.

and He's not ever ever letting us go, and won't ever stop loving us.
My love to you, sweet special friends,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Jambalaya an' a crawfish pie an' file gumbo,
'cause tonight I'm gonna' see my ma cher amio,
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar, and be gay-o,
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on de' bayou."