Monday, August 29, 2011

My New Main Squeeze -

;) Surprise!!!!!!! :D
Yes, I kept it a secret from everyone except about 8 friends, and yes, I've had it for 14 days.
I think we shall get along fabulously. :)
Story shall come a little later ..... God is so gracious.
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. Focusing on a running 10mo. puppy is a lot harder than you think when its all Manual. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

That Cello Song -

The cello is one of my favorite instruments, in fact, it's one of my favorite sounds. :)
The minute I saw this video, I knew I wanted to share it with you all. It blew me away....
You know it's an amazing piece of work when you hear a piece and instantly start dreaming about that one time you climbed a mountain in TN, and cried at the top.

This is what my dreams sound like .....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Many Happy Returns -

To the birthday girl. :) In England ... sadly. If she lived here, I'd show up at her door with flowers and lots of hugs and screaming. Which I actually considered doing to her in England until I realized a last minute ticket was about $1,598 dollars. Or else I totally would have. ;D
But that kind of killed the mood.

So back to the birthday girl - our Miss. Sadie Beth. Who lives in England. In case you didn't know, and have never read anything on my blog and have never heard that she hates bawled peanuts. Boiled, that is. For those of you people that sadly don't live down heah. You didn't know that? What? oh. Maybe I never blogged that. When she took a mincing bite of bawled peanut, she looked like me after I tried an oyster for the first time. EW. It was HILARIOUS.

So she hates bawled peanuts, but I still can't help loving her. :) The Irish Tory beauty. ;) The Irish Tory beauty that loves visiting her Scotch-German Southern Rebel family in FL.

*nods head* Ooh YES.

and yes. Every 4th of July IS celebrated by me sending Sadie Beth an e-mail or during a chat asking her what their plans for the UK's National Day of Shame is. And also singing loudly about the Land of the FREE, and DUMP THE TEA IN THE HARBOR BOYS. and all sorts of friendly loving enemy chatter like that. *snicker* It's hilarious how we "fight" over it every year.

This is pretty much what goes down:
Me: "SADIE BETH! Happy Independence Day from Tyranny of England!! oh. sorry."
Sadie Beth: -.-
Me: "MUWAHAHAHAhahahaaa...."
Sadie Beth: "you know, it was only ONE WAR. you lost the other one."
Me: -.- "new. subject." ;)

So - Today is Sadie Beth's 23rd birthday! :D WOOT! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SADIE BETH!!!
The day she turns as old as Lauren and I. I'm sure Lauren and I are ecstatic to have someone else join our ranks of ..... gracious ... oldness. *rolls eyes* As if 23 is old anymore. ;) And guess what? I remembered, all by myself this year. None of that reminding the night before like last year. What a heart attack. hahaaha.

So I want to give all the links AHEAD of the post this time. Ready? Strap in, here we go -

So there you have it! Some splendid reading ahead of time. :)

(Pictures below all taken in November 2010, on Sadie Beth's last visit over the Big Pond.)

Hello Sadie Beth!

Look at me. I remembered your birthday. Even though you reminded me like 4 x's in the past 2 weeks, I had it all written out on my calendar. YAY ME. Ok. I might be slightly more excited because of the Worst Friend Ever thing from last year. *cough* So yes. :)

Happy 23rd birthday to you!!! I'm so happy you are my age again. I love that. :)

I struggled a bit with trying to figure out what to say, because, I mean, I've written two completely different posts for your birthdays, and I wanted to do something equally different and fun, and guess what. All my ideas were pummeled flat by the rain. and the mosquito population that look at me and say "Gardenia Soap and Key Limes! GET HER".

That wasn't funny. *stop laughing*

So this is your post, m'dear. Lovingly side-tracked. Like me. ;D

I love you so so much.
And that's pretty much all I want to say. :) But I'll say a little more anyways.

Five things I love about you:

1. One of the biggest things I am so blessed by you, is how you listen to me. I know that's a little easier to think how wonderful it is, when we are always on g-chat, or e-mailing, instead of face-to-face, but when our prayer e-mails go back and forth and back and forth, I am so blessed.

When I hear something I think: "I have to tell Sadie Beth. She can pray." :) And you do, and you remind me that God is good. All the time. Even as we only see a tiny patch of life here. You probably know way waaaaay more about me than you need to, or want to. ;) Hahaha. But you take it all in stride, and thank me for sharing. You send hugs, and love all the time.

Thank you so so much for being so faithful, loyal, prayerful and love in action. :)

By the way, I love looking at your joyful smile and face in all my 203938 pictures that I don't know how to send to you, but will try because you are so wonderful. *breathes deeply*

My beautiful joyous sister and friend.

2. You actually WERE freaked out on our Wildlife drive through the refuge, and I didn't know how much until we pulled onto the main sand drive, and you kinda looked like you had just landed a plane with no engines working and a live bomb on board. I thought "huh. she was REALLY worried." Sorry, love. ;) But I LOVE those memories. The driving 15 mph, and the lynx that we saw, the roseate spoonbills and blue herons and how that sunset made the whole wide world seem perfect as it reflected off the water in a shimmering mirror.

I love how every time I talked about it being fine because we could just call the wildlife rangers, you looked at me and in so many words said "let's just drive faster". As we sand-drifted around on a built up bank in the middle of vast wetlands. *snicker*

It would have been the perfect initiation thing for some sort of club. Only problem was, this was your 3rd visit. And we already knew each other really well. But maybe not friendly enough where you wanted to spend the night in the Bullet with me in the middle of nowhere with no direct road out.

I'm sorry I didn't know how worried you were. Truly. Or else I really WOULD have talked more about the wetlands wonderful qualities and less about the wildlife and getting stuck. Sorry, dearest. ;D

and lookit. You look perfectly happeh and unsuspecting that the next 2.5 hours of your life would be driving around with me in the deepening dusky evening in Florida wetlands with poor cell phone reception. *shakes head* Oh, the niceties of innocence!!

and you are completely darling. so so soooo darling. (psst. and you look smarter than me!)

3. You call me "dahlin'" even though you can't pull off a Southern accent, and I talk in British, just to crack you up, because as you know - I can't pull that off either. ;)

You write me e-mails that crack me up so much, and think it is perfectly acceptable for us to whine to each other in e-mails as long as it doesn't get out to other people. Because if we are only complaining to the other person, it never really affects anyone else. Which is hilarious, and probably wrong, but we don't care - because we end up laughing at ourselves for being so "MEH".

And then the other person sends back an e-mail laughing at everything, and usually cheers the other person up that we don't know why were were whining in the first place. And that's how friends ought to be! And you are SO a best friend. Mmmhmm. You so are. :-)

I just love being with you.

4. Your love for others. I do believe that this is one of the reasons our prayer e-mails fly back and forth so often. We both love deeply, and we desire to see God's mercies poured out in tangible ways upon our dear friends, and nations (Countries, whatever).

Your love for me has been, well - overwhelming at times. I simply don't know how to thank you for your friendship. I have written you long e-mails, and you can do nothing about it but write back and say you are praying, God knows and is Holy, and that you love me. You may not have known, but that's exactly what I needed to hear.

Your latest trip wasn't wonderful the whole time. It was too many reminders of loved ones I was missing crammed into a space that also held all the activities for your trip, and yeah. You saw me lose it more than once. I'm sorry I couldn't be as wonderful as you were to me. You were so patient and gracious with me, and you have been since I've known you. :)

There have been too many times that I've poured out my heart and you barely had a chance to say anything on chat about how you are. You are incredibly giving and sweet.

You leave comments on my blog, when I think no one else cares, and more than once, it has brought me to tears just knowing that someone understood and cared. Thank you. *hug*

5. I love that you are passionate, and share your dreams with me.I have exciting news for you! :) God's plans for us will be more and better than we could ever have dreamed!! Whether it is here and soon, or Soon with Him and ever and always at Home....He will provide and lead and His mercies will never run dry. His grace will never hit empty. Christ will always be enough!!

We are loved by God with an indescribable love. He will never stop loving us, and He is always here with us. We do not even know or cannot fathom the plans that He will lead us through, all the details He has planned out for us, perfectly, for our blessed good! He will always be faithful, He will always be Holy, He will always, always call us His own, and nothing can take us from Him.

One day we'll sit on the steps of the Home He's prepared for us, and whisper "Glory, glory." and think "We never knew JOY like this could exist!"! Let us grasp a little of that joy, and live, dance, and run with it!! Let us thrive on knowing that we are His.

We are loved, cherished, treasured, beloved daughters of the High King. :)

To God be the glory!
I love you so so much, my dearest friend, Sadie Beth.
Happy 23rd birthday. Many happy returns of the day to you!
You are a treasured sister to me. Big-long-Jean-Marie-hugs,
May the God of all comfort, mercy and grace bless you richly today and always,
filling you with His Spirit and filling your days with sweet communion with Him,
In the knowledge He loveth best,
~ Jean Marie ~

"So what kind of love could this be? That would trade Heaven's throne for a cross?
And to think that You still celebrate over finding just one who was lost!
And to know that You rejoice over us, the God of this whole universe!
It's a story that's too great for words!
And I am speechless, I'm astonished and amazed, I am silenced by Your wondrous grace!
You have saved me! You have raised me from the grave!
And I am speechless, in Your presence now, I'm astounded as I consider how
You have shown us, A love that leaves us speechless, we are speechless!
Oh, how great is the love the Father has lavished upon us!
That we should be called the sons and the daughters of God!"
~ "Speechless" by Steven Curtis Chapman ~

P.S. Ya'll - Leave a Happy Birthday comment for her, if you'd like to! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

9 years -

Nine years.
It seems like a long time, but it goes by as fast as the wind on a November day.
14 years of time with you, and the rest of my lifetime without you.
It seems too short. But Heaven won't ever seem too short. :)
Remembering all you are to me overwhelms my heart.
Maybe someday past 9 years and 14 years and a lot of years added up, I can try to be as wonderful and as precious of a Grandmother as you were to me.
I miss you. Everything about you, and being with you. I miss all of you.
November in Atlanta at the Zoo. 1991. I was almost 3.5, and Kimberly was 2 mo. short of 5.

I love you, Grandma. See you again SOON.
Love you, love you.
Your youngest grandchild,
~ Jean Marie ~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stunned by grief -

I remember the conversation as clearly as if it had just happened. I was in the kitchen, unloading groceries in my dear friend's house, and I was talking with her mom. We are very close, and our families have been for years. My friend is a few years older than I am, and we were talking about her grandfather dying earlier that Autumn.

My friend's Mom said that it had been hard on my friend, because it was the first funeral she had ever been to.

My jaw dropped. "did you say the FIRST?! the ... FIRST? EVER?"

She confirmed the statement and went on to explain it to my Mama who had just walked in the door. It was such a stunning statement, I remember blinking in the shock of it. Staring at the bag of groceries in incomprehension.

I was so shocked, and what shocked me most of all, was that I considered the thought that maybe that wasn't unusual for most people. Normal people. People that don't lose people.

I tried to shake it off, and literally shook my head to dispel the thought and get back to whatever job I was trying to do moments earlier. :) I told myself to forget it until I could try to figure out what on earth had so shocked me about that sentence.

I went for a very long walk by myself that evening. In the freezing cold, through the pines and rocks and whipping wind. My hoodie pulled over my head, and my shoes scattering the gravel, I broke into runs until I couldn't breathe. I would stop and heave for air, and when I had just had enough I stopped and bent over and with a moan, turned the air into chest-aching sobs. I gasped for air, and felt the wrongness of it settle on my head, pushing into my heart. The hurt and sorrow pressed in on me so deeply, I wanted to lie down on that gravel and sob for hours.

I couldn't even remember how many funerals I had been to. I couldn't count them on two hands. Or three hands even. Or how many people I have loved that are now with the Lord I love, and missed their funerals. How many people I kissed on the forehead that one last time, squeezed their hands and whispered one last "I love you.". Said goodbyes in joy and laughing, never knowing it was the last time I'd see them until Eternity. Said them in all fullness of sorrow and tears where they are not, their shells there until Christ raises all from the dead, from the land and sea. Or sent them an e-mail too late. Sent their families a card because I wasn't there.

I think I so much as couldn't breathe from the enormity of what I was trying to process as much as the heaving sobs. The enormity of the loss that I knew vs. my dear friend who had been to her first funeral. Of course, she has had loss and has known deep sorrow, but the statement had stabbed into that tender part of the heart that screams -

"It's not supposed to be like this. This is NOT how it should be."

I was stunned in grief then, and I am stunned in grief now.

It shocks me to the very inner parts of my heart that God has taken those I love. Taken them to be with Him. Taken them from here, given us time to wait to SEE Him and them as well.

It shocks me that it will be almost 8 and 9 years since I've hugged my grandparents. Kissed their foreheads and sung through their funerals. It shocks me that it will be 2 years soon. It shocks me that it has been a year. It shocks me that it has been a week. A week. I shake my head in incomprehension and inability to even process it all.

Something else occurred to me last night as I was talking with a sweet friend from church, not so much the idea of it, but the words that clicked in. I told her that I am more quick to jump into a conversation, any conversation, if it is about sorrow and suffering. I feel like I relate so much more to people who are grieving. When I am in a conversation and someone tells me to "know the JOY OF THE LORD is your strength" when all I want to hear is "tell me, I will listen and care", I about. lose. it. I actually feel claustrophobic sometimes. (if you see me smiling and looking like I'm panicking, someone rescue me, please. ;) )

Don't worry, I lose it later, when the people aren't around. ;) No people were harmed in the writing of this post. :) Hahaha. And I understand that they want to help, and try to comfort.

And it is so true that JOY sustains those who are grieving. Joy is our strength through Christ in the night when weeping fills it, joy comes in the morning and fills us knowing our precious family and friends are in His presence. 'Tis true!

But it doesn't ever take the hurt and grief away. Or my loss. Or that person's place in my world.


It has been a hard week. I have been stumbling through all the normal places of grief that are ... well ... normal for me. Normal to be angry, to submit, to lose it and weep. It IS grief, after all. So forgive me if this seems haphazard. I wrote it from a grieving heart, and that usually means it makes the most sense to me more than anyone else.

I almost didn't write. So many times. Because what more could be written about one so dear? How many more times could I say that I loved her? That I wished God had different plans for their precious family, even though His ways are always the best and beautifully perfect. I didn't want to write again .... I didn't want to remember that she wouldn't be writing me back.

Stunned that this was God's plan.
Stunned that so many details linger with me, the feel of her son's hair and the way my heart melted in joy when he smiled at me. The way her hugs made me the most important person in that moment. The way her eyes knew. The way her words spilled warmth into my frozen, broken heart.
Less than 2 years later, and she's gone. A week and a half after I knew she might be going, and suddenly - gone. Gone in the early morning hours, like her son.
"For His ways are not our ways ..."
God has blessed me so very richly these past few years, indeed, my whole life! But He has given some very precious joys and beautiful plans unfolding in the midst of some devastating sorrows. I am so so grateful.

I never want my writing to turn into whining. This is meant to pour out of myself to bless others and to bring us all closer to His throne. The day this blog stops being my Ebenezer pitcher poured out of sorrow, my pitcher full of heartfelt words of comfort and rejoicing in the Truth of the joyful blessings and grace God has planned for us and given us, for His glory ... is the day I will stop blogging.
I'm stunned by grief and more than ever amazed by grace.
More and more and more cracks appear as more and more my heart breaks with each loss. But as I see the Ebenezer of sorrow in the Lord's hands, I see my pitcher, all smashed and mended with the love of His goodness, and I cry -
"More and more cracks, Lord! More and more and more until I cannot stand it here and long so fully for your presence and for my Eternal Home with You!"
and then as my heart thinks "but no more loss. please Jesus - no more loss."
what I know of Christ trumps over that plea, it tramples it into the ground and says with all the abandonment of surrendering everyone you love the dearest to the Lord Who loves them best; I shake my head with fervor and say "No. More and more cracks until you can barely see the Earthly Jean Marie and instead the Christ-filled Jean Marie, how I was meant to be. More and more cracks until Christ so streams out like water through those cracks! I must increase, and He must decrease. No - in life and death, we belong to You, and we cry "MORE! MORE OF YOU! More cracks - no matter what. And give us the grace to live it."
We cry More.
And they sing Hallelujahs in the Fullness of the Presence of the Giver and Healer.
Amen and Amen.
And we say "It is Not Death to Die", when your forever Home is with the King of Kings.
To all the people I miss so very very much ... I will see you again SOON. Soon and very soon.
To the Lord I need more than air, and desire to SEE .... keep me crying "More".
Thank you for the grace to cry it at all, and to see it at all.
~ Jean Marie ~
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,and saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
~ Psalm 34: 17-19 ~
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite."
~ Psalm 147: 3-5 ~
A big thank you from my heart to Lauren, I wouldn't have written this if you hadn't encouraged me. I love you so much. I hope it is a long time until you hurt from grief, and when you finally do, I hope I can drive there and hold you while you cry, like you have for me.
I'm so grateful for you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It is Not Death to Die -

This song has deeply comforted me through many losses ... my prayer is that it will comfort you all as well, and bless your hearts with peace when you come to the deep valleys and heavy places of sorrow. What joy our hearts know that it is not dying when we go to live with Christ!

With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

You can watch it both in HD, as well as fullscreen. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Bittersweet Farewell -

"Though this first taste is bitter, there will be sweetness forever."
~ "SEE" by Steven Curtis Chapman ~

This is a post I wish I didn't have to write. It makes me gasp that I even have to think about what to say, how to spill out my heart to explain someone who meant so so much.

To remember the beautiful beginning of this story, we have to go back to 2009. September 2009, when I blogged a post on the upcoming wedding of Rebecca and Steven Loomis. I had blogged a picture of Rebecca hugging a very sweet friend and her babe at Beth TenDolle's wedding in April 2009. You can see it here. Of course, I thought nothing was up, other than I had captured a very tender moment.

and then October of 2009 came around, and with it, a very heartbreaking loss for my dearest friends, and my world shattered. All that I thought I knew went out the window. I had to re-learn every promise of God, every morning I got up, and every sleepless night.

So when I received a comment on my blog from this sweet woman named Mrs. Y, who wrote an essay :) of a comment about the goodness of the Lord in the depths of the deepest griefs and valleys, I was so blessed. She wrote in her comment that she was the woman in the photograph with the baby.

Who was dying. The baby was dying.

Many of you remember that post, and that comment, because many of you responded to it, and prayed for Baby Ethan. You can read the comments here.

November of 2009 rolled around, and with it, the joyful wedding of Rebecca and Steven in Missouri. Since Mrs. Y's comment, we had e-mailed back and forth several times....very long, very honest, very broken e-mails from my side. :) She lovingly wrote back, encouraging me so much. The day before the wedding, a huge crowd filled the Serven house. :) And in the wonderful crowd was Mrs. Y. and Ethan.

Surrounded by people who wanted to talk to her and dote on Ethan....

"Mrs. Young? I'm Jean Marie." I was immediately pulled into a tight embrace. "Jean Marie" And yes, I was THIS close to bursting into tears. :) I was then introduced to Ethan. I have never fallen in love with an infant so fast in my life. I could not tear myself away from his side. What a precious little man.

Wedding day came around and the reception did too. I found Mr. Young during a speaking part of the reception, standing and cradling Ethan in his arms to keep him comfy. I spent close to an hour talking quietly to Mr. Young and tickling Ethan's feet. Listening to his giggles, and smoothing back his so soft hair, and gazing at his beautiful smile. Holding his hand. Feeling that for that moment, Christ was bestowing blessing. Feeling blessed to be there.

From taking pictures, dancing and hugging everyone in sight, I was losing all my stored up joy very quickly, and when Rebecca and Steven drove away as man and wife .... all the cheers and laughing children couldn't hold my tears back. I stood there watching them drive away, and remembered Beth's wedding, when I had held someone else who had felt the change and had been sobbing. ;) I stared at that car leaving and felt the finality of yet another part of life, and the tears were streaming from my eyes, down my cheeks, when an arm pulled me into an embrace.

She hugged me tightly from behind as I sobbed. She knew why I was crying, and as I broke out my choppy explanation through heaving gasps of air, I wondered about the end of it. "It feels like the end! But it's not! but it feels like the do I do this?". She told me it wasn't, even if it felt like it, and as our e-mails often turned into, she talked about God making it all right. It wasn't the end, it was the beginning of life, and Life Everlasting for those who had already gained the threshold of Heaven. She put joy back into that moment, with the surety that things would be right again, because God is perfectly good.

Words cannot describe the dearness of this woman.

She had two children already in Heaven, with Ethan dying of the same muscle disease, and he was regressing faster than the other two. She had openly spilled her grief and heart out to me in her e-mails, and I was drinking up every word she wrote, knowing that she wasn't writing all this because it sounded nice. Because it didn't. But because it was the Truth of God's Word, and because it had proven itself trustworthy in her valleys of grief, and it would in mine too.

I wonder how long I would have to live to have faith like hers. Maybe my whole lifetime.
I came home, and 5 days after the wedding, Ethan joined 2 of his siblings in the presence of our dearest Lord in Heaven. I grieved deeply, and poured all of my love for little Ethan into a blogpost for Mrs. Young. You can read it here.

She wrote me an e-mail that took my breath away. I had hoped it would be a blessing, but I didn't know if God would use it in such a precious way. Her e-mails have been read and re-read, and re-read, and her encouragements have continued to pull me closer to the heart of God.

She has meant so much to so many people, I can't even tell you. She is the kind of gracious, loving, outpouring, tender woman that makes you want to be more. What she wrote me in one e-mail, has quite literally - been the sustaining quote that has kept this blog going. It has encouraged me to keep writing and pouring my heart out, that the God-honoring through the brokenness is beautiful in His sight.

I recently told a friend "Back in Nov. of had been less than 5 weeks, and I was drowning in the grief of the Lord taking someone away for "no reason", and she (Mrs. Y.) was like a breathtaking rock the Lord swept me up against."
Such a dear, precious woman of God. A treasured sister in Christ.
She made such a huge huge impact on my life, in one of the deepest and hardest times of my life. Loving, was easy when it came to Mrs. Young, so was pouring out of her own self to others, and it was evident. Evident by how everyone loved her so dearly.

And now we come to July 2011. When I blogged a post about What He can do ... rejoicing in Him that there is More, and that He does great things which we cannot comprehend. 6 days later, I received an e-mail from Mrs. Serven telling me that dear Mrs. Young had cancer, and would not be long for this Earth.

I gasped in shock as everything in me screamed "NO!!!!"!
I broke down sobbing in front of the computer and wept and wept and wept.

Our dearest Mrs. Young could not be dying. That couldn't be part of God's beautiful plan!
It couldn't be. But it was. And my heart shattered.
I immediately clicked over to my g-mail, and sat with my fingers resting on the keyboard, waiting to wake up, waiting to realize that it wasn't really true. But then it just was, and as tears ran down my face, I typed out a goodbye to a lady that changed my grief.
I don't think I have visually been so strongly bound in the tear between life here and life eternal. My lap held a blue baby boy blanket crochet project, prayers were being poured into it for the little boy to come, the expected son of my dear friends = LIFE., and my hands, trembling and typing out a goodbye to one of the dearest women I know, not knowing if she would ever have a chance to read it, and knowing this was my last "I love you", until = Life Eternal.

It was so shocking. So sudden. So so unexpected and heartbreaking.

Dear Mrs. Young died on Saturday, August 13th, 2011 at 4am in the morning.

I have no words. I miss her so much already. Today I tried to write her an e-mail four times, and realized she wouldn't be writing back. It is so surreal.

No more e-mails. No more hugs. No more talk of visits together. No more blog comments.

I read through her e-mails again, and am shocked at how much it would be if she wrote me now. What she said then, is what I needed to hear now. Shockingly beautiful.

My heart aches for her family left here. Her dear husband Scott, and their 3 children here: Gavin, Silas and Therese. My heart cries for their loss, and yet my heart rejoices that she has entered the Holy place of Heaven to see her 3 children there! Barac, Charisanne and Ethan .... and our dear Lord.

Such is the grief of the Christian heart - unbounded joy and heartbreaking sorrow!

It robs me of breath to think of living my life without knowing Mrs. Young is living hers here with us. But then I think that I only have perhaps 65 more years to wait for another hug....and then it will be life eternal and joyous, filled with all those we love, and no more goodbyes! :) I think 65 years will go by fast. And then Forever with the King of Kings. :)

When I thought of writing this post, obviously, there was so much to say, and so much that I cannot even begin to express. How could I ever sum up a lady who blessed me and so many others so deeply? How can I write the depth of my gratitude for her friendship to me? I am overwhelmed with knowing that this is a small reminder of how much she meant.

Mr. Young, if you ever read this, please know that every word was meant with the deepest love from my heart, and that I am praying for you and Gavin, Silas and Therese, knowing that the God of all Comfort will embrace you all fully and lovingly.

I wanted to include the two pictures that I treasure of the embrace between Rebecca Loomis and Mrs. Young, with Ethan on her lap, and I want to share excerpts of my e-mail to Mrs. Young.

For my bittersweet farewell for now.
Such a beautiful, precious, beloved saint of Jesus.
"Dearest Mrs. Young ....
I had to write and tell you I love you. I love you in that deep place, when someone so poured upon your soul that you left a special mark forever. You knew me in the days when my heart was completely torn to shreds over a loss, and you comforted me. I can still feel your hug around me as the wedding car pulled away. It meant so much then, and it means so much now!!!
I am completely angry that God is not choosing to heal you like those who love you would want. Of course I am angry. :) But I know that God will heal you in the way that you will never be sick again, one of the first things I thought of was Ethan. Running through the gates to see that smile and hear that giggle. Your Mother's love will have no bounds. :) I smile just thinking of it!!
..... I cannot put into words how very much you mean to me ... you blessed me so much in my desperate need of knowing God is faithful ... and He is. He is gracious. Whatever He ordains is right and good....
I know that God thought of you in the mercy places when He put you into my life. Thank you so much for being so open and willing to be His servant to others, to pour out your Ebenezer of sorrow to bless others in comfort. I want to be like that. I desire to bless others as you have to me.
Before the gates, He calls, and some of us are farther away than we would like, and some of us are running closer and closer ... where you will burst up on Heaven's glories to SEE the Savior you love. Glory!! Glory indeed!
My prayers will be upon you, and your precious family ... my dear friend.
The Lord pour out every mercy and grace upon you and your family....
I love you so so much. I will see you again SOON.
Long hugs, I love you....
~ Jean Marie ~
~ Here's something you wrote to me in November of 2009. :) Won't it be wonderful indeed!!! What Glory when we behold the Lamb of God!!!
From Mrs. Young:
"I am looking forward to the day we will be together again, by God's providence. Oh, won't it be wonderful in the City whose light is the Lord Himself!!!! I am content in this Blessed Hope....who is a divine Person and the Lover Extraordinaire of our souls.
"Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgements and how inscrutable His ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?
Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever, Amen."
~ Romans 11:33 - 36 ~
Dearest Mrs. Young. I am missing you so much already. I wish you could send me one more e-mail, letting me know that you knew exactly what I meant, and how you loved reading it.
You will always hold a special place in my heart, and in all who knew you.
I love knowing that as you left this earth, you leapt to your feet and ran through the Gates of Glory in the wee morning, to hold your children again in the throngs of the redeemed children of God.
I love knowing that you are singing about the glories and the love of Jesus with joy forever and ever set upon your heart, and only Life Everlasting with all those you love (soon) for always.

Yes, God thought of you in the mercy places, when He put you in my life.
I love you.
That red-headed, curly-haired girl.
~ Jean Marie ~

"Oh Jesus, conquering the grave! Your precious blood has vowed to save!
Those who trust in You, will in Your mercy find, that it is not death to die."
~ Sovereign Grace Music ~

From the deep places in my heart, I ask for prayer for the dear Young family. Please be in prayer for them, the funeral is tomorrow evening, please ask the Lord to bring joy and comfort, peace and rest, and above all, His presence as they gather to say "goodbye for now". Thank you.

Beautiful eyes -

Beautiful eyes ... on a beautiful babe. Just about four months old. What a treasure. :)

and yes, her eyes really ARE that color. so so gorgeous.
(Shot on my Nikon d40, 35mm 1.8 lens, on Manual) May 2011

I:Heart:Faces is doing a "Beautiful Eyes" challenge this week, and I love it. :)
Thanks for stopping by!!!
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward"
~ Psalms 127:3 ~

Monday, August 8, 2011


Ohmyword, ya'll. OH.MY.WORD. YA'LL. OHH MYY WORRRRRD!!!!!
That kind of sums up as far as my brain will allow. :D

I don't want to get ahead of everything....because I know EmilyCase will write out the whole story, and then I will write out how I reacted to the whole story, and how the telling of it on Skype came about last Saturday, but until then -

In case you actually (haha, Case) haven't clicked over there already, here's what I'm all over the moon ecstatic about - EmilyCase's Cup Runneth Over. :)

*shakes head* oh boy.

I think I'm gonna die from happiness.
I'll sum it up for you with a few words and visual images:

1. The night after she told me, I went to bed at 1:30, and didn't sleep until 3am. (My Dad actually told my Mom "there's goes Jean's sleep for the night". How well he knows me. ;) ) and then I woke up at 7:30 - so on Saturday night I got 4.5 hrs. of sleep. And no nap on Sunday.

Sunday night, (when I should be crashing) I am wide awake. So I stay up. and stay up. and finally make myself go to bed at 2:30. And then I proceed to stay awake in bed grinning my face off, and finally get to sleep at 4:30am. Kimberly kicked the dobro case in the dark at 6am, and I wake up. And yeah. No way am I falling asleep now that I'm thinking about EmilyCase.

Are you adding this up? :) Because Kim and I got up to riotous laughter this morning because that means that I lived off of 7hrs. of sleep in 48 hrs. And I had a little nap today. ;)

Long story short - I would lay in bed, and be like "OH MY WORD - God you are so amazing and wonderful! Thank you so so much! Please lead and guide them in Your blessed will and way!", and then I'd be all "go to sleep Jean", and then I would shoot awake and be like "OH MY WORD. I WASN'T DREAMING. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! AAAAAHHHH."

and THAT is why I couldn't stop laughing hysterically this morning. The family was actually laughing AT ME laughing. I was thinking - man, I should have less sleep and more giggles more often. ;D NOT. ahem. so that was 1.

2. Sunday morning, I get up. I have a headache from smiling so much and for too long. :D I could care less. :D Start to make my bed, and do the happy dance instead. For a couple minutes of sheer glee. :D About 30 minutes later, I'm brushing my teeth, and do the happy dance AGAIN. Bounce, bounce, bounce, EEEEEEEEE.

Mr. Brower puts up pictures on FB, and I explode. My heart does crazy things.

I re-tell the background story to Kimberly as we drive to church. We giggle, and laugh, and sigh in happiness. For the 100th time. :D

3. I literally forgot how to blog on early Monday morning, I was THAT distracted. It took me 10 minutes to figure out I missed an obvious step. Wow. Dad laughed.

4. Lucy Mae is very very very excited but doesn't really know why.

5. I spend HOURS on Pinterest in utter glee looking at tons of wedding stuff for no reason other than I can't get it off my mind now. It must be a girl thing. All I have to say is - if you have FB. you need Pinterest. I think my mind is exploding from all the creativity it's thinking up.

6. Our family can't stop talking about it. We can't stop praising God about it either. We just love the whole idea all around, and think the world of these 2 families. We love it. :D

7. I'm amazed. I'm stunned. I'm over the moon. I'm bowing in worship. I'm humbled and praising the Holy One. I'm thankful. I'm grateful. I'm freaking out. ;) I'm laughing. I'm dancing. I'm shocked. I'm antsy. I'm ecstatic. I'm pouring every heart's glorious joy in a constant flow before the Worthy Lord, and it's coming right back in a rushing flood. I'm blessed. I'm crazy. ;) I'm giddy.

I'm joyous. I'm awed by God. I'm speechless of His plan.

and it's a beautiful place to dance in.

Stunned by Joy. Overwhelmed by this unexpected revealing of His plan in my dear best friend's life. Overwhelmed by His leading to Grace-filled glory.
I'm thankful for prayers answered, so unexpectedly, and so perfectly!!!
For God did this.

I love you, EmilyCase. In case you forgot since the last time I told you. :)
With lots and lots and lots of joy,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. This should go at the end, haha - Number 8. I freaked out in the middle of my 1.5 hr. of sleep last night because I just thought about not calling her EmilyCase. Does this mean I have to switch to EmilyBrower? EmilyCaseBrower? EmilyC? EmilyB? JUST EMILY? I almost started crying. and then I realized how ridiculous that was, and then I think ... I fell asleep for that restful long sleep of 90 minutes. hahahaha. :D

every time I watch it, I think I'm gonna faint from joy. God is so so so good. :)

I:heart:Special Friends -

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
"What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
~ C.S. Lewis ~

This week's theme at I:Heart:Faces is Friendships. And it's also National Friendship Week. :) I:Heart:Faces is cool, because it was started by a blogging friendship, which, interestingly enough, was partially how I even have this picture. :)

Emily Case and I met on g-mail, officially, due to another mutual friend introducing her into our chat. At first, I was like "who IS this?", and the next minute, I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. To say it lightly, we hit it off pretty fast. It's been ... what ... 3 years? People never guess the right year. They think we've been friends since we were toddlers. ;)

We've gone from friends, to good friends, to best friends, to sisters, and then to dearest sisters. ;D She is one of the best and dearest friends I've ever had, and obviously, I love her so much. :)

I:Heart:Faces asked us to find a picture that we felt portrayed friendship well. Not many of my friends let me kiss them on the cheek and take a picture, and be excited when I blog it. :) Not to mention, we were freezing cold at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City this past March, and were 3 stories high in the air, trying to capture a Jean & EmilyCase picture.

I think we caught it. ;)

Her eyes really ARE that color, her smile really IS that beautiful, and it spills out of the joyous heart she has for the Lord. She exudes joy in a beautiful way that is only in a EmilyCase way.

She makes my heart spill over with thankfulness for such a special sisterhood friendship.
I am so so blessed. God has been very gracious.
I love you, EmilyCase!!!! :D
~ Jean Marie ~

I:heart:faces is sure to have many amazing entries this week - head on over, enter, or browse! Let your mind explode with all the creativity and lovin' of friendship. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Re.Creation -

I can't tell you how excited I am about Steven Curtis Chapman's new CD coming out on August 9th. I'll be one of those people running out sometime during the day to buy it. :)

Watch this video below, and tell me you can't wait now either. ;)

I smiled through this video, and also burst into tears. When I heard that he was going to sing "Morning has Broken", I audibly sighed aloud. My heart just couldn't wait. And he has a whole song written on the ukelele. I'm gonna love this. :) I already walk around the house singing "Do Everything" in my mind, but I've got to tell you the thing that really struck home for me was when he said this -

"I don't know that I really understood God is everything that I needed, 'til He was the only thing I had. I think I'm more desperate for these songs to be true than ever before. And I understand it so much more deeply now."


August 9th, I can't wait for you to arrive. :)

~ Jean Marie ~

And Hello to August!