Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And in the fog -

(North Carolina heavy clouds full of sleet and snowflakes - October 28th, 2011, NCFIC)

"For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In Heaven and in earth,
In the seas and in all deep places.

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries."
~ Psalm 135:5 - 7 ~

There I rested in the stairwell against the cold glass. Knees tucked up, ipod plugged in, my eyes matching the sleet that fell against the glass, wind-driven to slide down in water form, little drops of cold rain. I knew what they felt like - holding on for dear life to the glass, but sliding down in all liquid form of flowing grace. Here was something to see and understand. Here was quiet and nothing to understand. Here was everything that didn't make sense, all on that glass pane of window, 3 stories up.

Watching the fog and heavy cold rain laden clouds wisp their way into everything. Between the trees, around the buildings, shrouding everything bright of fall, in a white-grey blanket. Dewy wet upon the leaves, upon the slippery sidewalks and steps, soaking into the mountain earth, and resting none too gently upon the heavy heart of mine.

Beautiful, wonderful mountain weather, and my poor soul. As I pressed my one finger to trace the freefall of rain down that glass window, another drop of water mirrored its fall, down my cheek, and another, on the other side. For who knew one could ache so much and be still living? Who knew? Who knew we would be here, where so little makes sense, and Heaven makes more sense than anything, because it's where Jesus is. Abba, we call ....

I was there, but so was He. As I slipped off that stairwell ledge, and climbed back down the stairs to go join in more fellowship, I looked at the lamps, coming on in the dark. One here, one down the hill. Throwing lightflare into that mist, golden comfort shining in the crying Heaven. He is always here.

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into Heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You."
~ Psalm 139: 7 - 12 ~

In the dark, in the light, in the cold, in the sleepless night, in the prayerful morning, in the fog
- You are with me always.

With love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 -

My Pecan Pie

This evening as we came back from the Drobnicks house, full of the joy of the day, I sat down with my Bible and gazed at the pictures on the computer, and I immediately thought of the Psalms, how the past week or so I have clung and been comforted and overjoyed in TRUST in God. I found what I wanted to say in Psalm 31 - here are the excerpts that jumped out at me.

"(1)In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
(2) Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.
(3) For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name's sake, Lead me and guide me.

(5) Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
(7) I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble;
(8) Your have known my soul in adversities,
and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.

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

(19) Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!

(20a)You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence ....

(21) Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
(22) For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes";
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You.

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

I don't think I've spent a more joyful Thanksgiving in a long time, laughing, talking, sharing sweet tears, eating delicious food. It was incredibly special - from seeing "extended family" again, to my adopted grandfather praying over our meal, to hearing words of praise from God's Word from the lips of children, to cradling each other in tears, to feeling redemption flow, and grace poured out, making new friends, and resting in God's joy. I seriously laughed more today than I can remember for a very long time - what a gift!

Thank you, Drobnicks. :)

I just hope yours was as wonderful as ours. :)
With so much love, and thankfulness for the grace to trust!!!
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

26 years and going strong -

Happy 26th anniversary, Mom and Dad! :)

Today, 26 years ago, on a Fall day in California, my Dad and Mom said "I do!".

*top 2 photos taken in NC, bottom 2 taken in Savannah, GA*

Here are my beloved parents in NC on our NCFIC trip, with a backdrop of Autumn colors.

My Daddy - caring Father, devoted Husband, loyal friend. Always up for a great pose. ;) Or a hug. Or a kiss and after-dinner-dishes-duty for his wifey.

My Mama - full of laughter, loving Wife, gracious Mother, selfless and devoted to her family. Always up for a laugh about life and a rundown of her hubby's day. ;)

Looking at the places where Daddy's history made stories .... looking forward together.

Mom and Dad - Words can't say how special you two are to Kimberly and I. You are two of the most beautiful people I know. I am constantly amazed by the blessing of you both as our parents - God gave us a great gift in you both. I'm so grateful for God's work of redemption in bringing the two of you together in marriage ... for His glory, and your joy. He has been so kind!

You have shown us what a loving, forgiving, selfless, Godly marriage is - so beautiful!

So here's to the next 26 years! ;) and then, after that - all of Heaven and the New Earth to love and stay close and forever and ever with the Lord who is everything to us, to our Fambrough family.

I love you both more than you will ever know!
Happy 26th anniversary!!!
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First one up -

Lauren's post is the first one up from Ben & Emily's wedding. ;) ;)

Good for her. HAHaha. I was waiting to see who would explode first. Explode in joy, of course. I have the same story, I did not take one single picture. My dad, however, went crazy with my Nikon d90, I'm just happy he gave it back to me!!! He took pictures, so I'll put some up soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy Lauren's really amazing pictures. That sand picture I adore ....

and yes. Ben and Emily are happily married and on their honeymoon. :) God be glorified!

~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. One of my best friends is in labor right now!!! Hopefully Baby Boy or Baby Girl will be here soon!! :D and I shall be an Aunt. Sort of. ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tomorrow they wed! -

Hi ya'll. ;)

So remember THIS? When I posted the engagement photoshoot video back in October of the Photoshoot that was in *cough* September? Right. Okay, I thought so. You know why I thought so? Because that's when all the begging and blackmailing and harassing e-mails started. Don't you look at me innocent like. I kept them. I have them. I read them and laugh. What you didn't know was that I've been editing them, on and off and just finished them. What can I say, life got in the way. Actually, I was saving them. For the almost busiest day of the year. HAHAHAA. Okay. Not really. Anyways. HERE THEY ARE. The Engagement Pictures. At last.

You can now send me thank you e-mails instead. ;)

Tomorrow they wed!!!!!! I can't believe it!! SO. EXCITED!!!

Emily & Ben: Engagement Photoshoot - September 17th, 2011

So I edited each session differently. Park, Beach, and Savannah. I really loved doing this!

First we started out at a park -

Here is Lauren = aka. The REAL Photographer who is amazing and I pale in comparison. Literally, since she has a tan. And also literally because she is way better than me. hah. ;)
Here are her pictures, which - yeah. I told you. They are soooo amazing. *swoons* She is also (one) of the Brunette Bridesmaids, and is extremely excited about it. ;) Because we love our Emily. She and Emily very graciously allowed me to come along and video and shoot.

SO them. :D

"Smile! Now Serious!" *We burst into hysterical laughter* I love them together. ;)

This happens ... a ... LOT. Hahahahaa....

The favorite.

and in B&W. :)

More laughing ... that picnic table in the sludgy water and sand. ;)

You might have noticed this one on FB. ;)

Best friends.

THUMBS UP! hahaha! YAY!

Another favorite -

And then we zoomed to the beach -

Where I shot my second favorites. Hugs are really so special. I love hug pictures.

Then we rushed back to the Hope's to change and run over to our Savannah for sunset pictures. When we got there, the sun was mostly set, but Lauren took some silhouette pictures, I videoed, and I took some pictures that I had no idea how they would turn out. Well, I got home, and put them on the computer. The next night, I was editing through some, found the Savannah ones, and started editing. And then I burst into tears. On practically every. single. one. Yes, I probably was just an emotional wreck, but I just loved every shot!!

I pretty much adore this picture. Yep. a LOT.

and in Sepia.

I sent this to EmilyCase and this is what the e-mail said:
"Ohmygoodness EmilyCase. So....I have been holding myself back. To not edit everything old-fashioned .... but when I got to a Savannah picture, I just let that go. Because golly Moses, no more. And it's amazing and old-fashioned and blurred and Ben's not looking and its so old-looking and I adore it. It made Becs about shriek her head off. So if it was that good, I'm sending it. :) I love you, Savannah Woman. ~ Jean Marie"

*laughs* Okay. I'm reading back through the e-mails now and laughing, because - wow. I was seriously in tears every e-mail that I sent her a picture. I think it was all sinking in - watching how Ben loves and protects Emily, and how Emily responds in trust and love back. It rather hit me like a brick to the stomach, somewhere editing those pictures. It comes out here, the next e-mail.

"I was so captivated and drawn by the way the rough met the soft, the sweet cradling way Ben holds you .... and I think ... this precious way that Ben cradles you ... is how our Father God cradles us.
And that made me cry. :)"

This is my third or second or first favorite. Let's just call it way up there. I chopped off their heads on purpose, and I just love it.

So tender -

And tomorrow they will be Husband & Wife! Mr. and Mrs. Ben Brower. :)

A little note to the bride from her redheaded bridesmaid -

Dearest Barefoot-Potato Sack-Hair Down-Bride,

You are getting married tomorrow. To an amazing, incredible, Godly, sweet and entirely handsome and good-looking man who loves you with deep devotion.
My heart is filled with praise and gratitude to God for blessing you so highly!!!
I am blown away by how He was working, and we had noooo idea. ;) His works are wondrous!

I am more than excited and honored to be your bridesmaid, I am humbled.
Humbled that God blessed me so dearly by giving you to me as such a close friend and sister.
I have always thanked God for you in every memory and every thought. He has been so kind!
After you got engaged, I would lie in bed with this gigantic grin on my face and not sleep AT ALL, because I was SO JOYFUL that sleep didn't fit into all the dreams. ;) Wow. Hahaha.
And then I would think of you, my dear friend, walking down the aisle to meet your groom.
And then I would think of me, wearing white, rushing into Christ's arms, spotless, His bride.
aaaand then I would cry. Every single time. The imagery is very tangible when I look at you and Ben.

God has used you and Ben's story so deeply in our family's lives and hearts.
The Fambroughs have all been so encouraged and blessed by not only both your families, but in the way that we have seen His glory revealed in such a surprising and unexpected way!
He WAS working, and none of us (well, heh. almost none) knew .... what a sweet gift!

And now that I'm in tears, I need to tell you something.

I couldn't find the Beaker Hat. I looked everywhere - for months. For some reason, no one anywhere makes them, or sells them, or even knows what I'm talking about. Because I really WAS going to pull it on and sing Danny Boy before the wedding, but no. It is our loss. *sniffs* I'm sure there will be a TON of relieved people, though. *nods head emphatically* We shall save that idea. ;)

EmilyCase - you are seriously one of my favorite people on this earth. I love being with you, I love laughing with you, singing with you, making faces with you, taking pictures with you, and just being around you. Your hilarious and yet gentle spirit, and uh, stubborn spirit. ;) Squid! But I have seen you patiently wait, and generously give of yourself and your prayers to others. I still find it hard to believe you are only 19, because you seem older than I. ;) You are my Train Mouse and T. Sweets and don'tyoudaretellthatstory even if it is your wedding. HAHA!

There's pretty much no way I can say how much I love you. And if I try, I can promise that I will be sobbing and this will be one emotional, sappy mess of .... sap. So I will just say - I love you.
I could not be happier for you if I tried. :) God has been so good!!

Thank you for the sister you are to me, and for loving me so graciously. :) You are wonderful, special and are going to be the most darling, devoted, sweet little wifey to Ben. ;) I know it.

All my prayers, all my love, all my joy, to you - as you marry Ben tomorrow. :)
I love you!!!!!
~ The RedHeaded Bridesmaid ~

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts,
except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor -
it is the gift of God.

I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him."

~ Ecclesiastes 3: 11 - 14 ~

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fair, Fair, FAIR!! -

Last Monday, Momma and I had the opportunity to go to the Volusia County Fair for Ben's birthday, and so we did!! We just had a fabulous time. Gabi, Obi, GabeLynn, the Cases, Ben, Mom and I, Cody & Tricia, and the Burnseds all enjoyed ourselves immensely. We also saw the Wards there! Which was super fun, since EmilyCase and I saw them last time too. ;)

I hung out with the Burnseds and Mom for most of it because ... I only like kid rides. haha. I get really sick on anything that goes A. high or B. round and round. You are thinking that crosses almost every fair ride off aren't you? And you'd be right. ;) So I rode the Dragon Ride (screamed the entire time), the Merry Go Round, and the Bumper Cars. Lemme tell you. Long legs were not meant to fit into bumper cars. Leah was driving and she barely fit the bar, and I was this long legged person next to her. Let's just say - it was some crazy driving. ;) It was so great! I had the best time. I love hanging out with kids that genuinely enjoy life and excitement! Maybe 'cause I have such a childlike heart sometimes. :)

Also - I got asked about 3 times if Lacy was mine. She is 5, and I am 23. So I guess she could be mine - she's tan, dark brown straight hair, brown eyes, and fearless - she rode the swings, the high ones. I'm pale, freckled, red curly hair. haha. Whatever, people. ;)

So here are the pictures! It was Ben's 19th birthday, and everytime I looked at EmilyCase, she had this look on her face that said "12 days. TWELVE DAYS!". ;) It was very sweet.

Tricia told Miss. Iola - "You are raising a sweet gentleman!", because when she asked for a piece, he sweetly gave her some. Pregnant Mama's must have popcorn at fairs. I'm sure it's a rule somewhere. ;) Really love these cute shots of him.

Here's Luke - riding the motorcycles ... we kept calling to him, and he couldn't figure out the direction of the sound - so I never got a face picture. haha. ;)

Waiting in line for the Dumbo Ride. I remember riding it at Disney when I was Lacy's age.

Jenna and Jessa. Jessa was overjoyed to be on that ride. it was sooo cute. :D

Lacy and Luke - I'm telling you - Lacy steered that Dumbo with one hand, waving the other one, while as high as the elephant would go. Apparently - she will ride anything and love it. ;)

Including this. Um. No, I did not ride this. Thankfully, Cody was on hand to ride it with Lacy. ;)

Merry Go Round!!! Luke and I's favorite ride. And holla' at the bokeh!!! wooot!

Picking which one. Cowboy horse or Indian horse?

Lacy Jo.

She asked me to take another one - to get more of her. haha. She is used to EmilyCase Photography for years. She is not camera shy. ;) She is also really sweet. :)

Waitin' and waitin' to ride the horses and race each other Mary Poppin's Style. ;)

Lacy: "My horse is named Sunny. So yours needs to be Daisy! kk?"

Happy Boy.

Mrs. and Mr. Case in the background, and that Ferris Wheel bokeh, oh my.

Then, Momma and I left for awhile, I wanted to show her some of the exhibits, and we stopped by to pet the fawns and deer and see the Wallaby! Because I love Aussie animals. :)

Pygmy Goats!

My favorite exhibit. The Florida Citrus Production Line and Models.

Inside the old Cracker building and barn. Looking at old machines and wagons. :)

Beautiful old piano, and an Ironer! I don't think I've seen one of these before! It was interesting!

Then I caught up to the other group, and took pictures of them on rides. Because that is what Jean Marie's do best when they don't want Vertigo. Plus, add bridesmaid, best friend and swate tae to that, and you have got a very joyful Jean Marie that wants to be on Terra Firma. hah.

That doesn't mean that I don't laugh and tell them how great it has been knowing them. ;)

This almost makes me cry, I am so happy. Wondering why? Well, ever since I've met EmilyCase, I've prayed for a guy who would love silly faces as much as she does, and can just fit right into the special group of friends we have. And Ben is both of those, of course, he's much more than that. But seeing how God gave both of those specific things from Ben to Emily just makes me very joyful and happy. :) He's hilarious, just like EmilyCase. ;)

Ben, EmilyCase, Obi and then Gabi. :)

EmilyCase says: "So glad we both love the crazy rides ;)" I'm just so glad that it wasn't a bridesmaid requirement. Because I'd be weaving down that aisle like One Too Many Merry Go Round Rides Janie. As I was standing with them in line for one of them, we were talking about that very thing, and Ben looks at me, and says deadpan: "It IS a requirement.". I will not lie, I went into a moment of panic, my eyes got wide, and I looked at EmilyCase. I will learn, oh, I will learn. haha. ;)

Down the avenue.

My Momma.

Trying to capture that gorgeous fair bokeh, and "only 12 days left until we are married" shots. :) And man - God made them both ridiculously goodlooking, it's so annoying. JK. hahah.

EmilyCase was apparently distracted. Hahahah. So sweet.

There we go. ;) EmilyCase - I couldn't be any happier or more joyful for you!!!! AAAAH!

And here - video. One mistake - I was trying to identify swinging boots from 20 feet in the air, and thought it was Gabi next to EmilyCase, but it was Obi. haha. ;)

... and some very nice memories were made. :)

and now it is only 5 days. :) I really could not be more ecstatic and excited and joyful for the Case and Brower families ... when I look at them, or think of them, or pray for them, all my heart says is: "The Lord has given this. The Lord has done this.". All glory to Him!!!

~ Jean Marie ~
The RedHeaded Bridesmaid