Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Engagement Photoshoot Video -

Ben & Emily.

Emily & Ben.

Emily Case & Ben Brower.


Ben Brower & Emily Case.

November 19th, it will be Ben and Emily Brower. Mr. and Mrs. Ben Brower.

*screams with excitement*

Haha. The joy is pretty hard to keep under wraps. Like popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn. ;)

While it's good for me to be taking the sabbatical, I realize you need something to really swoon over and go all melty, and so even though I don't have my pictures from the photoshoot done, I did get this done a few weeks ago. ;) And I know you all want to laugh and smile and cry too.

Yes, we really did laugh pretty much the whole time. ;) And Ben kind of blew us all away. I mean, the guy did not, SERIOUSLY DID NOT take a single bad picture. It was actually really annoying once we realized it later. Hahahahaha. ;) I went back to the Case's that night to download the pictures, and we laughed and laughed and laughed over it all. ;) So HUGE thanks to Lauren and EmilyCase for letting me come along. So so special for me. :)

So here. The Engagement Photoshoot Behind the Scenes Video for Ben & Emily. :)

In case you didn't know - this is EmilyCase's ringtone for when Ben calls her cell phone. Thus, every time we play it in our house, we get all giddy and say "Ben and EmilyCase's song!". :D

So. Ben & Emily. November 19th, 2011.

That's just 25 days from today!!! Oh. mah. lands. *huge sigh of excitement*

and yes. Every time I think about the wedding and EmilyCase walking down that aisle, my eyes threaten to overflow with joyful tears. SEEING what God has wrought makes my heart exult!

I love you, EmilyCase & Ben! Can't wait for the day you say "I do" and all the days after that!
~ Jean Marie ~

Monday, October 24, 2011

I grow Homesick for Heaven -

This morning I woke up with this old hymn in my head. I love how the nights I go to bed, praying God will make all things new and come back soon, I wake up with Heaven songs on my mind. :) The first verse was playing in my mind when I awoke.

Photos all taken in October 2010 - flying home from Colorado.

"No Disappointment in Heaven"
Music & Lyrics written by: Frederick M. Lehman in 1914,
Harmony written by his daughter: Claudia L. Mays.

"There's no disappointment in Heaven, No weariness, sorrow or pain;
No hearts that are bleeding and broken, No song with a minor refrain.
The clouds of our earthly horizon will never appear in the sky,
For all will be sunshine and gladness, with never a sob or a sigh!

I'm bound for that beautiful city, My Lord has prepared for His own;
Where all the redeemed of all ages sing "Glory!" around the white throne;
Sometimes I grow Homesick for Heaven, and the glories I there shall behold;
What a joy that will be when my Savior I see, in that beautiful city of gold.

We'll never pay rent for our mansion, the taxes will never come due,
Our garments will never grow threadbare, but always be fadeless and new,
We'll never be hungry or thirsty, nor languish in poverty there,
For all the rich bounties of Heaven His sanctified children will share.

I'm bound for that beautiful city, My Lord has prepared for His own;
Where all the redeemed of all ages sing "Glory!" around the white throne;
Sometimes I grow Homesick for Heaven, and the glories I there shall behold;
What a joy that will be when my Savior I see, in that beautiful city of gold.

There'll never be crepe on the doorknob, No funeral train in the sky;
No graves on the hillsides of glory, for there we shall nevermore die.
The old will be young there forever, transformed in a moment of time;
Immortal we'll stand in His likeness, the stars and the sun to outshine.

I'm bound for that beautiful city, My Lord has prepared for His own;
Where all the redeemed of all ages sing "Glory!" around the white throne;
Sometimes I grow Homesick for Heaven, and the glories I there shall behold;
What a joy that will be when my Savior I see, in that beautiful city of gold."

These days I don't understand much. But this I understand - God's promises to His children are REAL and TRUE, and will NEVER empty out before all is fulfilled. We shall SEE GOD, and we shall dwell with Him FOREVER. The old things will be passed away, and will not be remembered. One day it won't matter if I understand, because I will be with Him, and all that I will need to know will flood my mind as I look upon Him, and as His gaze settles on my face, and I know I am finally Home - forever to stay by His side!

I am my Beloved's and He is Mine.

Bent down low, with tears streaming down my face, I will KNOW Whom I have believed. Who I have ached to see since I can remember, and Who lives in me, unseen, but beating in my soul.
This is glorious!!! Glorious promise of our Father to us! I just can't wait. This all pales in comparison to looking forward to that. It will be the sweetest day I have ever known.
And I love that so many people I love will be there ..... don't you want to go too?
Love to you all,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. Don't be worried, but I will be taking a small sabbatical from blogging. About a week or so.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Reflections (5) -

Sunday Reflections Week 5!

"If I come to Heaven any way, howbeit like a tired traveller upon my Guide's shoulder,
it is good enough for those who have no legs of their own for such a journey.
I never thought there had been need of so much wrestling to win to the top of that
steep mountain as now I find."
~ Samuel Rutherford ~

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that
I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, Yes, wait for the Lord."
~ Psalm 27: 13-14 ~

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mark your calendars -

Because the BARBERVILLE FALL JAMBOREE is 2 weeks from today!! :)

Here's the link to the Barberville Pioneer Settlement Page. :D
and Here's the link to the Music and Contra' Dancing, and Directions Page. :D

You'll get to: Enter old Settlement buildings and explore the Pioneer Settlement grounds, and watch as reenactors explain how it was in the early "Cracker" Florida years!

You can: Meet animals at the petting zoo! (but stay away from the geese. they scare me.)

You'll see instruments and hear jamming sessions and music EVERYWHERE. If you love bluegrass, celtic, gospel, country, or just good ole' stompin' free flyin' fiddle style, you'll love this. :D Concerts and workshops and even an instrument zoo!

You'll meet all sorts of lovely people. Like Miss. Jenna and her sawgrass fan.

and Miss. Becs. I wasn't sure if she fell under the "lovely" or "crazy" category, but I guess it's both. She's gorgeous and downright crazy. haha.

You'll get to eat really good food. :) Like cupcakes. ;)

See what I mean? YUM. Dats what I'm talkin' 'bout.

You'll see lots and lots of boots there. LOTS. and LOTS.

You'll probably meet some very awesome but slightly crazy people there.

Example A. Kath and I go overboard on cupcake sugar at the end.

Example B. "Nathan, what are you doing....HAHA, do that AGAIN!".

Example C. Those Lynns. Can't stay out of the stocks. *shakes head*

Example D. Slightly distinguished man with very curly iron mustache.

You can hang out with some of my favorite people, like:
Momma Case and Momma Fambrough

and Joseph and Lauren. Yeah. Seriously. They got all the beauty genes. Oh wait. I'm not family, it doesn't apply to me. DARN. hahaha.

and you can dance the day and night away with Contra' dancin'!!! Weee hooo weee!

So Come on Out!!! :D You know you want to after this post. haha. Or at least because I talk about it so much. I've been goin' to Barberville since I was really little, so it's like a second home! We make the best memories twice a year -

It is Saturday and Sunday, the 5th and 6th of November.

Hope to see you there! and if you do come, and I don't know you are there, just....you know - Holler. and someone will pick you up and bring you over. :)

With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Photos all taken at the Spring Frolic, April 2011.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lucy Mae turns 1! -

Today was Lucy Mae's 1st birthday!!!! :D So sweet. :) Now wasn't the best time to have a birthday party for her, but never fear, we will have it in November sometime. ;) Since we didn't know about her, or have her until she was 7.5 weeks, it doesn't quite seem like her birthday, because it hasn't been a year since we met her! So when Dec. 18th rolls around, I'll do a full 1 year post of pictures. :) Today, though, we spent about an hour doing Lucy Mae things. :)

Dear Lucy Mae -
Today you are 1 year old!! You are growing up little by little, but you are definitely still a puppy! Which is just fine with me. :) Here's some top things about you, being 1 yr. old.

Lucy Mae at 1 year old -
1. You are the Apple of my Eye, incase you might have missed that. ;)
2. Apparently Daddy and Kimberly have been giving you some people food tidbits without me knowing. Uh oh! Well, at least it was after 10 months. ;)
3. You are beginning to understand the word "Treat".
4. You are very obedient, and you come when I call you.
5. You were potty-trained at 6 months and since you were 9 months, you ring the bell when you want to go outside. If we really aren't paying attention, you will bark and lay down at the door. Sometimes you will just sit there and hit the bells over and over and your leash will be all draped around your head, and you will look at us, all eating dinner. It cracks us up!! :D
6. You are scared out of your mind by motorcycles!!
7. You are ALSO scared out of your mind by the car windows going up and down. HAH!
8. You hate going anywhere in the car, but you instantly know where we are when we pull into Buttercup's driveway. You KNOW where she is. ;)
9. Buttercup is your best doggie friend! She can also completely tackle you like a pro football player and leave you sprawled out on the carpet. I know. Mama wishes we had a fence so that you could run around in the backyard. But I'm trying to give you more exercise!
10. You do NOT understand why the cows and sheep at the end of our road won't run when you go up to them. That really confuses you.

11. You don't understand size estimation.
12. You adore everyone. You haven't found anyone you don't like ... yet.
13. You eat sticks and bugs and acorns and seeds and anything crunchy.
14. You LOVE chasing squirrels and anything that runs on the ground.
15. This week you have treed 3 Squirrels. Mama was SO proud. Git 'em, babe.
16. You are fearless of man - unless they have something loud with them.
17. You LOVE playing on the porch, but are much more content if someone is with you out there. Thankfully, you haven't caught any lizards yet. Mama hates them.

18. You respond to "No." almost instantly. If you are chewing on your bed, you freeze, and move your eyes to find mine, and if I look away, you resume to chew, Mama has peripheral, baby. If I say "no!" again, you will open your mouth and sigh and go to sleep. ;)
19. You do not understand where the sounds are in the computer, and you always want to look behind the MAC to see where the dog or cat is that you hear. ;) We love watching Simons Cat together.
20. You LOVE to play with your toys and chase around the house.
21. You only bark when you want or need something, or when there is something outside that shouldn't be there. Unfortunately, you have deemed lizards something to bark at. Oy vey.
22. You always stay close to me when you have rawhide, in case you need me to rescue you.
23. You run into my room every morning and lay down and sleep with me. You get up before Mama does, and figure I need a cuddle buddy. Which I always do. :)
24. You give me morning kisses, and daytime kisses, and kisses whenever you want.
25. You stopped growing at 10 months, and I love the size you are. Perfect. :)
26. This week I let you know that it was okay for you to put your paws on the screen ledge. Now everytime you do it, you look at me for approval and praise.

27. You come and get whoever is at home when someone is at the door, or when you think something is wrong. You are sensitive to the tea kettle boiling, a timer going off, and loud cars.
28. Sometimes you sleep in my desk chair, and sometimes you sleep in the rocking chair. :)
29. You make all of us laugh - every day. You are our sunshine. :)
30. You love laying on your back, all sprawled out. When you first started doing this, we would go "aww", so now when you do it, you look at us for praise! hahaha!
31. You are very used to the camera, but when we are playing, you like to lick the lens. ;)
32. Your favorite people besides our family are - Mr. and Mrs. D., Laurie, and the Fosters. When you see or smell Drobnick perfume on me, you look at me like "where ARE they?". Same goes for Buttercup. If I come home smelling like her, you sniff EVERY PIECE OF CLOTHING you CAN GET TO. HAhaha!
33. You love it when anyone comes home, and you love running to the door to meet them!
34. You LOVE visits to play with Butter. You love racing around the yard with her. :)
35. You LOVE giving kisses, and sometimes if you are in my lap, and I'm not paying attention, you will stand up and put your paws on my cheeks, lips, face, and pat me to give you a kiss. It absolutely melts my heart every single time.

36. You don't like the sound of me crying. It scares you.
37. You love laying on my shoulder like a baby, it's your favorite position to be held in.
38. Your ears can flip in and out and in half and over and are almost never the same. ;)
39. You sleep next to my desk at night, as I sit at the Mac, and Mama sometimes just stops and watches you sleep. Watching your little chest go up and down and listen to you puppy dream.
40. You weigh 12lbs, and you are fullgrown. You hate it whenever I take your collar off.
41. You heave huge sighs when you sleep sometimes. It's so precious!
42. You still tear the stuffing out of every toy you have, and your main aim is to destroy them all as much as possible. You love playing fetch, and I never taught you to bring it back.
43. You love stealing our napkins at dinner and shredding them up.
44. You get freaked out over the silliest things, like something out of place. A bowl set on a box had you barking for 5 minutes, a chair moved in front of the door, your bed moved ....
45. You don't like baths, and water freaks you out, but after I dry you off with a towel, you want to play with that towel and growl at it, and prance off with it like a supercape. haha!
46. Mama could go on and on for hundreds of numbers about the things I love about you. :)

47. You are the fulfillment of my prayers that I begged God for in those 5 months before you came. You are so cute and perfect and just what I dreamed about since I was a kid.
48. I love being with you, and being best friends with such a cute, sweet dog like you. :)
49. God gave me you - for the ups and downs!! I thank God EVERY DAY for you.
50. You fill every day with something special and good. Even if its the worst day ever.

I love you baby!! God blessed me more than I could have dreamed after such heartache.
Happy 1st birthday! :)
~ Mama ~

and your birthday video - you cocked your head at yourself. ;) Hahahaha.
We watched it as a family, and you kissed my cheek as I cuddled you close to my heart.

Dear Molly -

Dear Mollwee, Mollay, Molls ...

Today is your 20th birthday!!! *sets off huge firecracker and runs for my life* HOORAAY!! :D

You will get up and check FB and then you will scream and probably stomp around a little because FB will be uh .... brokennnn because the Gang decided to give you a Birthday Spammage Event. Which means you will have like 100 notifications and a LOT of Happy Birthday greetings. If you decide to sue, just know that we got the green light from Gabe. As in Gabe, the guy you are courting. Not as in Gabi, your bro-in-law. Although - he gave the go-ahead too. HAHAA. ;) So happy birthday on FB! and happy birthday on my blog!!! :D

Ever since I first met you, we really hit it off. ;) I just have the greatest memories of you. :) Most of them involving Isaac and hanging out and Barberville and oh yeah. GabeLynn.
Fancy that there .... hahah. God is just so amazing to bring the two of you together. As you wait and see what God has planned, know that so many people are praying for you both. He has it all planned out, and it will be so precious, as it all comes together. :) In the meantime, I think it's awesome when you both cut out of our g-chat conversations because it is "Skype with Gabe" or "Skype with Molly" time. ;) I totally don't even mind, I love you both so much! :D

kk. Funny conversation. You ready? MamaLala was talking about your parents visit down here, and she was saying that you are more quiet than your Mama. I was all nodding and "uhmm humm-ing" and my Mom looks at me with this blank look on her face, and I just burst into laughter! Mom was like "MOLLY? Quiet?!", and so I took MamaLala's arm and said "You have to understand this reaction in context. Mom has only seen Molly around ME. Putting Molly and I together is like Fireworks on Steroids." HAHAhahahaa!!! My family adores you. ;)

This picture makes me so happy. First of all - look at Gabe and Obi. Doin' the same exact pose and not on purpose. And then there is you - in your amazing homemade skirt. And there we were, at Barberville: The Courtin' Stompin' Grounds. You are sitting next to your man, and next to your brother in law, and we all were just having the most fun time, and you look so beautiful. :)

Man, we have really REALLY had some riotous conversations, eh? I've laughed so hard I thought my face would crack! haha. And we've had heart-t0-heart talks too. That one chat the other night made me realize how much I've missed you. :) I've shared my heart with you and you've just taken it all in stride, and sent lots of love from your heart up there. :) Thank you.

So here's me sending lots of love to you: one of the most lovely, dear, and hilarious people I know!
I love you so much, I miss you, and I can't wait to hug you in November!!!!!
Happy Birthday, Molly the Magnificent, Merry Miss of Morrocco! *bursts into laughter*

God pour out the best of His blessings upon you, as He draws you ever closer,
and pulls you tight to Himself as He reveals His will for you, all in His time.
I love you!!!
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. Lucy Mae sends lots of kisses. :D

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not what I had planned -

Today I was supposed to be in South Carolina, probably freezing in some cold rain and laughing with some of my best friends, driving to their home from my early 8:25am flight and looking at the SC Autumn.

I'm not there. I'm sitting here, drinking cold tea and swathed in my housecoat, looking out at FL trying to be Fall-ish with a gray day. I'm sick. Sick with a normal cold that makes you miserable.

Yesterday I woke up with some serious throat pain, and so we trundled off to the doctor to see if it was too contagious for me to spend time with my friends in SC. I thought maybe he could give me that 24hr. Kill All Contagiousness Pill, and I would happily be on the plane at 7am the next morning.

Instead, I stared at the doctor while he told me I couldn't fly, and I watched the vacation be shattered into a resounding NO. I would have just pushed through whatever pain, and be sick, but the fact that I am hugely contagious, that I would make this whole family sick, and then they couldn't go to the event that Sarah is co-ordinating....and the list goes on.

I was fine with being sick. I was not fine with losing this vacation. I had been looking forward to this more than Barberville! So, you know, that's pretty huge for me. What a big letdown! I cried the whole way home from the doctor's office. I was and am! sooo disappointed.

I got home, and suddenly had no laundry to do, nothing to pack, no camera to charge, no things to ready for the next morning. No trip. No seeing friends. No sleepovers and horse rides. No photoshoots and leaf crunching and heart to heart talks. Ok. Better stop before I sob again. ;)

I was going to put up posts this week, have them pre-published and everything. I guess I'll just have to do them as they come. Like - Molly's birthday and Lucy Mae's birthday.

Yesterday was really hard. I felt very joy-less about the whole situation. I wondered why God would let me get so sooo excited about something and then take it away for "no reason". It hurt and was very disappointing. That line from the hymn "Complete in Thee" .... "no good thing to me denied" kept running through my head, but so did the "what ifs". :)

To which I would continually say - God is God and I am not. Amen.

The trip was a big thing for me, but there are a lot bigger things on my heart, and that need to be on my heart than losing a trip. Like praying for healing for friends. Praying for those we love to come to Christ. Praying for people we don't know, but are suffering.

and if God is big enough to handle my cold, isn't he big enough for the big deadly diseases too?

I got on FB last night, and wrote a teary message to my best friend, telling her how sorry I was that I couldn't come.....and she wrote back the most encouraging message. It was true - something else would work out. It's not like they were moving to Deepest Darkest Peru, and I would never see them again.

Sarah: "I am very disappointed too!! :'( But God knows what He's doing .... even when we don't understand His plan He still has a purpose for it."

*Enter Choir singing for clarity* See, that's why I'm best friends with her. ;) jk. haha.

I was so encouraged, and even though I hadn't stopped praying, I started praying for other things too, to get my mind off of ME. So I'm going to put a list of prayer requests down here, so that you all can join me in prayer. :) A better use of my time.

Five Prayer Requests -

1. Tricia, Becs, and Becs' Sister in law: Alisha are also all sick with this same cold. :( Please pray for our quick and complete healing! And that not too many people would catch it around us.

2. Ever since Sunday, Dan Wheldon's family has been heavy on my heart. Maybe it's because he's married and has 2 young kids under the age of 3, and maybe it's because I grew up listening to racing in Daytona, whenever we'd drive there, there on International Speedway. Either way, I don't know if the family are Christians, but please be praying for his wife and kids, and for his parents who watched it on TV from England. That has got to be so so hard. Please pray that God would use this to draw them to Himself, and put supportive people around them.

3. Pray for the Coptic Christians in Egypt who have lost loved ones in the Cairo Riots.

4. October 15th was the National Day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day. I have many friends who are very dear to me who have lost babies. It hurts more than you would think to walk alongside these precious women and comfort them in the only way you know how, that they will meet their little sons and daughters in the Home where Jesus reigns. Please be praying for these Mama's and Daddy's, who are waiting to see their babes in Heaven, and also waiting for their own little ones to safely make it into this world, upheld and sustained by God's gracious hands. I long to see my friends' arms filled with children.

5. Pray for those who are waiting to SEE Healing here on Earth, who beg for it in their getting up and in their lying down at night, and for those who have lost their beloved family or friend, and who have to WAIT to SEE the greatest Healing in Heaven, fully restored. Life is short, but sometimes it seems too long to have to wait, for Hope or Healing or for Reunion.

So that's my top 5. :) You are welcome to add any requests in the comments or e-mail them to me. I do want to say something really quick here - I have been over the moon blessed with the recent e-mails to my inbox. Seriously. Thank you so much for writing me and sharing.

I love you all so much. If you need me, I'll be sitting at my desk, drinking Cold Care tea with honey and listening to my favorite soundtracks. ;) Thanks for all the prayers, too!! I appreciate it so much.
~ Jean Marie ~

Oh! One more thing - this won't stop running through my head. You know, because obviously I needed a heart check about God giving good things and taking good things and it being the best. :) One of my favorite songs for a long time.....

from "Bless the Lord" by Laura Story -

"You give and take away for my good, For who am I to say what I need?
For You alone see the hidden parts of me that need to be stripped away.

And as You begin to refine, I'm learning to let go and rely
On One Who walks with me, as hard as it may be,
You're teaching me all the while to say:

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, All that's in me bless Your name
Forget not Your power untold, Not Your glory or Your fame,
For You came to heal the broken, to redeem and make me whole -
Bless the Lord, oh my soul."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Reflections (4) -

Sunday Reflections Week 4!

Today in church I sat next to my honorary grandmother. We sang together out of the same hymnbook, our voices blending together with our congregation's triumphant, rolling singing. After we sat down, I noticed her tucking that white tissue back into her purse, and as the preacher prepared to give his sermon, I put my hand on her leg, and asked if she was okay.

She laughed, as she would, "Yes. It's that one verse that always gets me.". I wiped a tear off her cheek that was quickly rolling down. She sniffed a few times, and thanked me, and I sat back.

A minute later, I leaned in again, "Was it the third verse?" I asked, with a bit of a grin, and she laughed back at me, shoulders shaking. "Yes!". We shared a laugh, and I sat back, her hand patting my leg.

Me too. Oh, Me too.

Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners by J. Wilbur Chapman (1910)

" 1. Jesus! What a Friend for sinners! Jesus, Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!

2. Jesus! What a Strength in weakness! Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my Strength, my victory wins.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!

3. Jesus! What a Help in sorrow! While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!

4. Jesus! What a Guide and Keeper! While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes takes me, He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!

5. Jesus! I do now receive Him, More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness, I am His, and He is mine!

Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!"


Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul.
And He is with me to the end!!
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tears in the Lion's eyes -

(Photos taken October 8th, 2011)
~ Excerpts from The Magician's Nephew ~

*Digory has at last reached near where Aslan is, with the Cabby and Polly following close behind*

"Digory slipped off the horse and found himself face to face with Aslan. And Aslan was bigger and more beautiful and more brightly golden and more terrible than he had thought. He dared not look into the great eyes.

"Please - Mr. Lion - Aslan - Sir," said Digory, "could you - may I - please, will you give me some magic fruit of this country to make Mother well?" He had been desperately hoping that the Lion would say "Yes"; he had been horribly afraid it might say "No." But he was taken aback when it did neither.

*Aslan tells the good Beasts that this was the Son of Adam who rang the bell, and Digory despairs that he shall never get anything for his mother now. Aslan has asked Digory to undo the wrong which he started at the ringing of the bell, and asked if Digory is ready. *

"I asked, are you ready?" said the Lion. "Yes," said Digory. He had had for a second some wild idea of saying "I'll try to help you if you'll promise to help my Mother," but he realized in time that the Lion was not at all the sort of person one could try to make bargains with. But when he had said "Yes" he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out:

"But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?" Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face.

What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

"My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great."

*Digory and Polly and Fledge make the journey to the Place where the Tree grows, and bring back a silver apple for Aslan, and Aslan tells Digory to throw the apple where it will grow. A little while later, it grew into a tree, with its own silver apples upon it. While at the Place, Digory had run into the Witch, and she had told him to steal an apple, but he rejected it. Aslan explained that it would not have brought healing of the good sort.*

"And Digory could say nothing, for tears choked him and he gave up all hopes of saving his Mother's life; but at the same time he knew that the Lion knew what would have happened, and that there might be things more terrible even than losing someone you love by death. But now Aslan was speaking again, almost in a whisper:

"That is what would have happened, child, with a stolen apple. It is not what will happen now. What I give you now will bring joy. It will not, in your world, give endless life, but it will heal. Go. Pluck her an apple from the Tree."

For a second Digory could hardly understand. It was as if the whole world had turned inside out and upside down. And then, like someone in a dream, he was walking across to the Tree, and the King and Queen were cheering him and all the creatures were cheering too. He plucked the apple and put it in his pocket. Then he came back to Aslan. "Please," he said, "may we go home now?" He had forgotten to say "Thank you", but he meant it, and Aslan understood.

*Digory and Polly go back to their world, and Digory rushes up to see his Mother in her room.*

"Digory took a minute to get his breath, and then went softly into his Mother's room. And there she lay, as he had seen her lie so many other times, propped up on the pillows, with a thin, pale face that would make you cry to look at it. Digory took the Apple of Life out of his pocket. The moment Digory took the Apple out of his pocket, all those things (decorations in the room) seemed to have scarcely any color at all. Every one of them, even the sunlight, looked faded and dingy. The brightness of the Apple threw strange lights on the ceiling. Nothing else was worth looking at: you couldn't look at anything else. And the smell of the Apple of Youth was as if there was a window in the room that opened on Heaven.

"Oh darling, how lovely," said Digory's Mother. "You will eat it, won't you? Please," said Digory. "I don't know what the Doctor would say," she answered. "But really - I almost feel as if I could." He peeled it and cut it up and gave it to her piece by piece. And no sooner had she finished it than she smiled and her head sank back on the pillow and she was asleep: a real, natural, gentle sleep, without any of those nasty drugs, which was, as Digory knew, the thing in the whole world that she wanted most.

And he was sure now that her face looked a little different. He bent down and kissed her very softly and stole out of the room with a beating heart; taking the core of the apple with him. For the rest of that day, whenever he looked at the things about him, and saw how ordinary and unmagical they were, he hardly dared to hope; but when he remembered the face of Aslan he did hope."

~ Excerpts taken from The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis ~

... and as you know, if you have read the story, that Digory's Mother did make a full Earthly recovery. But that was just the beginning of the story .... :)

This story from The Magician's Nephew has always made me cry. It is at the end of the book, and it always holds a bittersweetness to it. I get to the part where Digory's hopes are all dying away, and in his great despair and need, he desperately looks up at Aslan's face, and discovers it is bent down near his own. In surprise, Digory look at Aslan's face. Tears, great tears are in Aslan's eyes and he calls Digory as his own, and says "I know. Grief is great.". By then, I can barely read, because tears are always streaming down my face and clouding my gaze.

I find myself with my head hanging low and lifting it in utter despair only to find Him close and near, to comfort me as I fall into His arms. I find myself often, very often, staring at the ground and seeing my dreams and hopes die away, and in desperation, choking out a plea: "Won't You, PLEASE, could You, give some healing to make those we love well?". Begging the Healer to heal.

I know exactly how Digory felt in this part: "He had been desperately hoping that the Lion would say "Yes"; he had been horribly afraid it might say "No." But he was taken aback when it did neither." In fact, it makes me chuckle, so like that am I. :) Desperate for a Yes. Scared and terrified of a No., but completely disarrayed and confused when there is neither.

Disappointed. Confused. Weary. Hurt. Tired. Impatient.

Prayers that are answered in a "Wait. Be still and know that I am God.".

It is exhausting, and it is shattering to the will that wants healing soon. Visible and soon.

Tonight the part of this song was playing on my mind - by George Rawson:

"Until the trump of God be heard, Until the ancient graves be stirred,
And with the great commanding word, the Lord shall come!

Until He comes. Until He comes.
So strong in faith, we watch and wait, Until He comes."

and these Scriptures also fill my heart with praise to the Healer who will heal when it is His perfect and good time. In His time, will He make all things beautiful and fulfilled.

Psalm 34:15 ~ "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry."

~ Psalm 34:17 - 19 ~
"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.

~ Psalm 36: 5-9 ~
"Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgements are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light."

~ Psalm 130: 5 - 7 ~
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord, More than those who watch for the morning -
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption."

For with Him is abundant redemption, and with Him is the fountain of Life, and in Him we SEE light.
In Him is all depth of sweetness, JOY, rest, peace while we wait. We will wait to SEE.
We will wait, through every season of the soul ... Lord, put patience in our hearts, and trust in You.
Let pervasive joy overcome us as we wait, knowing that You give us the very best.

"He (Digory) hardly dared to hope; but when he remembered the face of Aslan he did hope."
Let us remember Christ, who has conquered all, and reigns above and until He comes ...
hold onto Hope with all that is in our hearts and bodies and with all of our strength, hold onto Him.

With love to you all, thank you so much for walking this journey with me,
and for your sweet e-mails, sharing life and sorrows and yourselves too. :)
~ Jean Marie ~

Friday, October 14, 2011

At Home Forever -

"Therefore it is that God's people pass through great tribulation;
Therefore it is they are often called upon to suffer the sting of affliction and anxiety,
or weep over the grave of those whom they have loved as their own soul.

It is their Father's hand that chastens them;
it is thus He weans their affection from things below and fixes them on Himself;
it is thus He trains them for Eternity,
and cuts the threads one by one that bind their wavering hearts to earth.

No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time,
but still it brings many a hidden grace to light, and cuts down many a secret seed of evil;
and we shall see those who have suffered most shining among the brightest stars in the assembly of Heaven.

The purest gold is that which has been longest in the Refiner's furnace.
The brightest diamond is often that which has required the most grinding and polishing.

But our light affliction endureth but for a moment, and it worketh for us a far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory. The saints are men who have come out of great tribulation -
they are never left to perish in it.

The last night of weeping will soon be spent, the last wave of trouble will have rolled over us,
and then we shall have a peace that passeth all understanding;
we shall be at Home forever with the Lord."

~ J.C. Ryle ~

(photo taken October 2011)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Portion Forever -

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

.... It is good for me to draw near to God;

I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works."
~ Psalm 73: 23-26, 28 ~

Please, O Lord, whisper Thy peace to our souls - and be glorified.
~ Jean Marie~
2009. & 2010.

"But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!"
~ Horatio Spafford ~

Monday, October 10, 2011

Psalm 126:5 -

Photo taken - May 2011 in Tennessee.

"Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." ~ Psalm 126:5

This is a promise from God to us in our mourning and our sorrows of this world.
In Heaven - death and separation and loss will be no more!!!
Tonight I had a pain-filled and aching heart.
I was full of longing for the Forever Day in Heaven when there will be NO cancer, NO sickness, NO grief, NO pains, NO tears, NO disappointment, NO illness, NO loss, NO lack of healing, and NO heartache.
There will be none of that in Heaven!!!

So let us cling to the promise of JOY, our tears are not wasted, they are all collected in a bottle (Psalm 56:8) and they are all written in His book.
One day we will SEE. We WILL SEE and We WILL KNOW. And He will make all things new.
~ Jean Marie ~

"But in my mind's eye, I can see a place -
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone, Every mouth is fed,
And there's no one left in the orphans' bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there's no more goodbyes,
And no more not enough,
And there's no more enemy.
No more."

~ "Heaven is the face" by Steven Curtis Chapman ~

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This first taste is bitter -

Photo taken May 2011, looking at the sunset over the mountains of TN, while hiking. Praise flowed.

"Our God is in Control" by Steven Curtis Chapman

"This is not how it should be, this is not how it could be,
but this is how it is, and our God is in control.

This is not how it will be, when we finally will see,
we'll see with our own eyes, He was always in control.

And we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God,
and we will finally really understand what it means,
so we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God, while we're waiting for that day.

This is not where we planned to be, when we started this journey,
but this is where we are, and our God is in control.

Though this first taste is bitter, there will be sweetness forever,
when we finally taste and SEE that our God is in control.

And we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God,
and we will finally really understand what it means,
so we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God, while we're waiting for that day.
While we're waiting for that day. We're waiting for that day.
We'll keep on waiting for that day.

And we will KNOW - Our God is in control.
Holy, Holy, Holy. Holy, Holy, Holy.
Our God is in control."

This first taste is so bitter, it leaves nightmares for the rest of our lives here; it breaks hearts.
But there will be sweetness forever, past when Jordan's billows roll over us, past the stormy banks that we've collapsed upon; weary, needy, poor, weeping children, and then.
WE WILL KNOW. Our God is in control.
Amen and Amen, and we will bow, weeping in joy. Forever with the Lord.
Holy, Holy, Holy .... are you, our Lord Who loves us so well and gives us Life Eternal.
With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that
I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
Yes, wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27: 13-14

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Take Wide Steps -

**Reposted from October 8th, 2010. Because I can't say it any better a year later.**

"O my Lord, come over the mountain at one stride."
Tear the veil, shatter the glass, and bring us face to face,
side by side, only, ever, always .... with You, Lord.
We know Thy glory shall far outshine these present sufferings,
and so for thy coming .... we wait.
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Far down enough -

"The deeper the wells, the brighter Thy stars shine."

It's written on the bottom of my sidebar. It's been there for years. Almost as long as I've had this blog, I've found the need to have that prayer there. Little did I know how much it would mean. I've prayed it in repentance, I've prayed it in thankfulness, I've sobbed it out in grief, and I have whispered it in hope. It comes from the Valley of Vision, one of my favorite books.

I thought of it this morning as I walked up the driveway to my piano lesson today. October brings wrenching sorrow and shattering pain. and nightmare memories. The sun hit that moss just right, and the cypress looked the same. I walked to the door and rang the bell, and looked at two little morning glories dropped upon the stoop. Each with a little brown edge to them.

and I whispered it "the deeper the wells, the brighter Thy glories shine". My mind just inserted glories there, instead of stars. Because my mind wasn't on stars in the middle of the day. It was on the deep wells of sorrow and loss and not at all on a shimmering starry night. My mind was so on glory. Morning glories on the sidewalk. Hmm.

And I couldn't stop thinking of the picture I had just blogged. How I so desperately ache to Be Still in these days. How it comes with a heavy fight to lay myself down. To stop and listen to His heart of love, when all I want to do is throw a tantrum and scream and cry that it didn't turn out like we all wanted it to. But I also couldn't stop thinking of the rightness that came the minute I posted that blogpost. Some peace came with just posting that, and seeing it there. I know He is calling me - Come and rest and be with Me. Be still before Me.

And I thought about bending down low. When I think of bending down low, I think of me crawling and curling up in the tiniest ball I could, with my forehead on the cool tile of our bathroom floor. Laying down my head, and feeling relief that nothing was moving or talking or needing. I could just lay there for awhile, and everything could keep going, and I could take a few minutes to stop. Stop and acknowledge that I was not in control. God is God and I am not. Many nights I would wake up out of nightmares, and lay down on that floor in the stillness of the aching night, and whisper prayer to the One I knew was listening and waiting for me.

I am a constant whirlwind of activity, emotions, thoughts, memories and actions. So even if this all sounds crazy to you, please don't be all worried, because laying down on tile floor is perfectly normal if you feel like your world is shattered out of control. I spent an entire night on that floor when I had the flu, and I knew the holiness of God there like I had not known.

On countless nights, I would lie there and my tears would warm the cold tile, and after a little while, I would get up, splash some water on my face, and go back to bed, feeling much better, having had whatever conversation with the Lord, and having cried out my tears for that night. :)

My family never knew that I know of. Hi family. :)

But I think of bending low that way. With my forehead bent to the tile, in desperation, I would squeeze my eyes shut and will it all to be a bad dream, and then peek them open, and many times, be dizzy in the shock that it didn't work. After a few times of that, and realizing that God was obviously not going to turn back this season, I would start praying. And it wasn't always pretty, folks. In fact, it usually wasn't. But I knew that God wouldn't stop loving me even if I didn't have pretty and lovely prayers for Him to listen to. He knew my heart, and He knew I cried and prayed out of desperation for just a dipper more full of the mercies that would come for the next morning.

I think of bending down low of the woman who had the heavy flow of blood for 12 years, and reached out in faith to touch the Healer's cloak. If only she could just touch the hem of His garment! Jesus knew immediately who had touched Him, and healed her with utmost grace. (Luke 8:43-48) This story never fails to make me cry. The image of Christ as our Healer is both a wonderful thought and also a hard one. Because when He heals sometimes, He doesn't just say "No. Not now.", He also sometimes says "Not here on Earth, My child.".

But I love this story.

"Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.

And Jesus said, "Who touched Me?"

When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" But Jesus said, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me."

Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.

And He said to her, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace." ~ Luke 8:43-48

When she saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and she fell down before Him. She came and fell. She came to bend down low, after touching just the border of His garment. She knew she was healed, she knew Whom she had believed. He was the Healer after all.

She is who I want to be like. She had such faith in Him, as the crowds thronged and jostled around Jesus, she came from behind Him, and knowing that He was her Hope, she touched Him, and her faith immediately made her well. Can you imagine such joy? Can you also imagine the wealth of renewed joy, seeing that Jesus was not angry, when then He so honored her with respect. "Daughter.....go in peace.". What a beautiful picture of how God loves us.

My pride of thinking I could do better often keeps me from bending down low. And that is not a beautiful picture at all. I might as well be the Pharisee saying "God's plan and God's laws don't make sense here, so I don't need to worship Him.". How dare I. and "Where were you, when I laid the foundations of the Earth?" But when I come crawling in, weeping and battered, He doesn't say "I was waiting for you to be crushed and decide I was good again! You had it all coming.". Oh no. He looks past it all, because of Christ, and washes me and clothes me in white linen. He wipes off my tears and pulls me close, and I listen to His heart of love singing over me in the night. He says "Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10

"Be still and know that He is God. Be still, be speechless.
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, be still."
~ Steven Curtis Chapman ~

Sometimes I don't even come close to bending. I just snap. And while I'm down there, weeping and hurting and wanting everything to be made right, I realize that I have again cast myself at Jesus. Flung myself down at His feet to beg for the healing of this life that I don't understand. The whispered prayers flow a lot easier when you don't think you can do anything about it. Which is right where I always should be. :) The reaching out and the grasping for the hem of His garment is a lot easier too, when you have all your faith and hope in the One who defines them both. When you have given all your money to doctors and each one says "Nope. Sorry. Can't heal you.", and you are desperate to live in joy and without fear again.

And He calls you daughter as you are bent low.

He calls me daughter as I am bent low.

He sprays the stars across the midnight skies, and uncovers the well so I can see clearly His glories from the really deep bottom. And then He says "Come. Be still." and then says "Go in peace.".

That is the gospel, dear ones. I am so so thankful.

"Lord, in the daytime, stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells, the brighter Thy stars shine.
Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley."

Thy glory. We ask that You, O God, be glorified. For You alone are worthy to be praised.
With a broken and healed heart,
~ Jean Marie ~
Revelation 22.

If you ever wonder how this all comes out like this, I'll tell you. I don't know.
I pray and pray and it turns out in a post that was written for me by the God Who writes our stories and gives and takes life and gives Life Eternal. I am a broken pitcher, and He pours the water in, and I stream it out. So beautiful that I am so blessed by the writing of His grace.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bending down low -

Bending down low today. All of this week. Bending down low at His feet, and crying "holy" and "worthy".
I need the peace and rest, and I need to be still, knowing He is God. He is God and I am not.
With much love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Photo taken October 2nd, 2011. Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Reflections (2) -

Sunday Reflections Week 2! :)

Wow. I can't tell if I am overloaded with thought, or if I just have too much to type out. Looking back on last week's though, I'm sure that this will be less! :) It was difficult to kick myself into blogging tonight. I went out this evening near our house and tromped around through some very sticky weeds and tons of bugs to take some late summer light pictures.

It.was.beautiful. sooo so beautiful. When I see beautiful light, I just can't help praising God. :)

So the pictures are from tonight, and I'm including the sermon notes from church this morning. Of course, this isn't a note-by-note sort of thing, just what struck me as our pastor preached. He preached on the covenant that was established by Christ as our sacrifice, our covenant through the blood that He shed for us.


Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

"But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." ~ Ephesians 2:13

"To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." ~ Revelation 1:5b - 6

Scripture: Exodus 24:1-11

A. God lowers Himself to His people in a covenant of grace, an altar and sacrifice established because God knew we could not be holy and without sin. God had no illusions about us turning out perfectly, because we are under the curse of the Fall.
1. The sacrificial blood = sign of sin's payment; our greatness of sin; and also a symbol of God's mercy.

2. The covenantal marriage between God and us is because of Christ's work on the cross. We are bound together by sacrifice and grace.

3. God sets the standard: absolute, full obedience and righteousness. He would not lower the bar for His children, so that we could "live up to it", because that would be unloving, but instead took the sacrifice and the punishment upon Himself to redeem us fully.

4. "I believe in the forgiveness of sins" = a huge statement. His blood, fully, completely, once and for all, paid the price for the sins of His people. All of our sins: from the cradle to the grave.

5. I am as if Christ's perfect law-keeping on Earth has been my record instead.

6. God doesn't say "Live this way, and perhaps you will make it into my love and my inheritance and family." No! He says "You are Mine. Bought with a price. Now, live like a daughter of Mine, a member of the Royal Inheritance."

"No condemnation now I dread; Jesus and all in Him, is Mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine!
Bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ, my own!
Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?!"
(Charles Wesley)

Full assurance! The Son of God, Jesus Christ's blood sprinkled on us ... we are guilt- free, abounding in mercy from God above = we are redeemed!!! Children of the covenant. Children of the Promise. Fully and Forever - Children of God.

"Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am!
Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
Redeemed, Redeemed, His child and forever I am!"
(Fanny Crosby)

~ Isaiah 54:9-10 ~
"For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed,
but my kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall my covenant of peace be removed,"
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you."

I think I need to read this and re-read this. :) In fact, our pastor reminded us to preach the gospel to ourselves every day! Let us continue in the good work the Lord has set before us.

Because of Christ, we are loved, accepted and forgiven by God. Glory!!!
With love, and a restful heart,
~ Jean Marie ~