Monday, February 27, 2012

Back from Fripp Island -

Fripp Island, SC is now one of my very favorite places to be. :)

Mama and I and Laurie went with our Church Ladies to the annual Ladies Retreat there over the weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, and had the most wonderful time. :) We got back last night, and this morning I woke up, and immediately missed the sound of the ocean waking me up. But then Lucy Mae stuck her cold nose on my chin, and all was well. ;) We were so blessed to go, truly we were!

It was a wonderful, special, sweet, often windy, sometimes freezing, sometimes warm, often laughing, much rejoicing, much prayer, much worship, excellent teaching and learning times, much hugging, loving, fellowshipping, wading in the ocean, walking the beach, racing the tides, exploring the lowcountry, shopping filled, picture taking, worship-raising time with sweet church friends, living for the glory of God and relaxing for a few days in His presence.

All in all - greatly encouraged, and very renewed, and extremely thankful we went. :)

Here's some photos of the gorgeous SC coast and Lowcountry! 

Thursday night, February 23rd. The most amazing "glory light" sunset. 

The foaming tide coming in ... 

the perfect sunset light, and ocean wind

Glorious Heavenly Light of Peace

My favorites - Laurie and Mama ...

The gorgeous and huge beach home ... 

The continuously changing tides ... looking up the coast. At night, all that sand is covered in water.

Walking downtown Beaufort on Friday ... 

Cannons to guard the lowcountry from the Yankees years ago. 

Sand dollar find on Saturday's cold early morning

Sunday's beautifully perfect morning, and my turquoise toes. ;) Mermaid toes. 

Joyfully, with thankfulness and love,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still Life: Cookies -

I like simple. And I like fun. And I love mixing the two of those. :)

So this afternoon, I was baking 6 dozen molasses cookies, I had 40's music playing, I was swinging around the kitchen, and ... you know, testing the cookies to make sure they were good. ;)

And then I thought it'd be fun for you all to see exactly what I was doing....that is, eating. ;) So I shot a little video for you. :) (oh, and I know you can hear me chewing, but I promise, my camera picks up sound amazingly well, I was being very proper, and everything. ;) haha.)

The cookies were SO GOOD. Seriously, I got them baked for just the right amount of time....a little crisp on the edges, and chewy the rest of the way. Molasses cookies are my favorite cookies. EVER. Someone used to joke with me, because I said I'd put Molasses on just about anything. Daddy drips his biscuits in it, I'd drink it straight out of the jar. And yes, it's BlackStrap, but it's the best thing you've ever put in yo mouf. Trust me on it. ;) We've had a 5 gallon drum for years, and we don't know how we'll survaaaave (Southern accent) when we run out. We really don't. ;)

I was baking them for a retreat I'm going on with my Mama tomorrow, so hopefully they'll be much enjoyed by all!! Or, you know. I could very easily eat all 6 dozen by myself, and be the happiest little clam. ;)

Okay! So speaking of mixing SIMPLE and FUN -

Lauren's e-book on Portrait Photography, ok, the real title -
"A Beginner's Guide to Portrait Photography" by Lauren Hope came out today!!!!!

Talk about exciting! I've been ecstatic about it since she first told me of it months ago. And I'm not even writing this out because I adore her and we are best friends....and because I'm in it (shrieks). ;) I've read it, I've looked at all her notes and tips, and y'all, it is all of $6. Six dollars. That is nothing....all of us girls who babysit can afford that!! It's such a blessing to so many people that she's put this together, and is offering it at such a low cost! :)

So look at her announcement here, and leave her a congratulatory comment about it being done!!
and then head over to the website to read the foreword and hear about the book!!!

She says that if you aren't happy with it, she will return your money, but seriously, y'all. I will hit you over the head with a baseball bat (ok, let's think of something more ladylike), I will hit you over the head with a camera tripod with ribbons tied onto it (laughs) if you don't like this book.

It is easy to understand, clear, and is lots and lots and lots of information. Well worth six dollars! Or 20, in my opinion!! I am not being paid or endorsed for saying any of this, I really am just so proud of Lauren and so excited for her that she's finished this, and soooo excited for y'all to be able to buy it! She has worked so so hard on it, and spent so much time and energy to put this together for you all.

April 2011, Barberville...shooting off the side of a building in her Jane Austen hat. ;) Love her. 

Congratulations, Lauren!!!! :) and thank you! From joyful beginners everywhere. ;)

With much love always, and prayers for you all, reading this,
knowing our Lord watches over you and loves you the best,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. Buttercup and Farm Boy (mentioned in the video) are her two best friends, both doxies. ;)
and I'm thinking I'll do a lot more "Still Life" posts, I just loved making this one!!

I don't hear so well -

February 17th, 2012

I think I've listened to this song about as many times as I have "Come, All Ye Pining", and while that one is shooting up on my "most played" list on my ipod, this one has been gaining ground this past week. I'm not really in the middle of huge decisions, but instead feel like every little decision is a huge one. Do you know what I mean? Every little thing is so big right now, because my mind is so full of everything, and I think it is just scrambling to hold on to everything, because soon it will be 5 years, and I won't be able to remember as well how her voice sounds and how she smiled.

And I feel like I can barely hear God through the din of my heart breaking and my soul crying.
And I feel like I'm so desperate to hold on to memories, that I'm actually losing ground every day.
And I know that He tore the veil, and I know He is still so near to me right now, but I miss Him.
I miss Him whispering when I know that I am at rest, and right then, there is nothing I need to do.
And I know He is telling me to wait. To trust. To obey. To listen. To know He is always loving us.
To be still and know that He is GOD.

... but these days, I just don't hear so well, Jesus. Just not so well ...

and if you are with me on that one....this song is for you. Listen along here, while you read the lyrics.

With many prayers for those of you facing big decisions or trials or loss,
I love you,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Hello Lord" by Sara Groves

"Hello Lord, it's me Your child, I have a few things on my mind.
Right now I'm faced with big decisions,
 and I'm wondering if You have a minute,
'cause right now I don't hear so well,
and I was wondering if You could speak up.  

I know that You tore the veil, 
So I could sit with You in person, 
and hear what You're saying, but right now, 
I just can't hear You. 

I don't doubt Your sovereignty, I doubt my own ability 
to hear what You're saying and to do the right thing, 
and I desperately want to do the right thing. 
But right now I don't hear so well, 
and I was wondering if You could speak up. 

I know that You tore the veil, 
So I could sit with You in person, 
and hear what You're saying, but right now, 
I just can't hear You. 

And somewhere in the back of my mind, 

I think You are telling me to wait. 
And though patience has never been mine, 
Lord, I will wait to hear from You. 

Oh, Lord, I'm waiting on You! 

Right now I don't hear so well, 
and I was wondering if You could speak up. 

I know that You tore the veil, 
So I could sit with You in person, 
and hear what You're saying, but right now, 
I think You're whispering .... "

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Valentine Bubble Storm -

Valentine's Day dawned bright, breezy, beautiful and sunny. :) Our dear friend Mrs. Patterson was here, in Cape Canaveral, so Mama and I headed over to get her....ended up eating breakfast (2nd breakfast ... we were total hobbits, haha), and then Mama got her glasses fixed, and Mrs. P. and I tried on glasses off the kid rack, and I picked out everything blue and green, and Mrs. P. picked out glasses she liked, and then she realized we were not buying any of these for Mama. hahah! and then Mama got her hair done, and Mrs. P. and I remembered why we hate malls, and then ... we came home. :)

We came home and Laurie and the kids were stopping by with Valentine's Day flowers for us, how sweet, and so they stayed, and the kids and I blew up a bubble storm in the backyard, while Laurie and Mrs. P and Mama sat on the back porch and laughed and talked. But you already knew that. From this post. :) 

Here's the pictures from the day, and also a video at the end. 

I never, ever tire of seeing the water. I'm just so blessed to live here. 

"I believe I can flyyyy....I believe I can touch the skyyy!" I always feel like that when I'm going up a huge, wide bridge like this, with only the sky in view, and ocean on both sides. When it's the bridge to my beach, I've got the windows down, my hair blowing around me, and the salt air coming in, and I just love it. Different bridge, same sentiment. Mama doesn't share that feeling. :)

Faded Old Glory

Nature's Table smoothie....reminded me of the good old days. :)

Bubble blowing at my house...we kept it up for a good 2 hours!! There was also some tree climbing going on (as evidenced by the background in the first picture). :)

I quickly realized that I needed to switch to all Manual focus on my camera and lens, because I could focus on the bubbles faster than my camera could! With the thin air, and constantly changing sheen, and impossibly small edge, the bubbles were too hard and disappearing for the camera to catch. :) But I had a really good time catching them in manual, and also catching the bubbles bursting! I can't wait to take bubble pictures again. And don't worry, I did my share of blowing bubbles, twirling, and chasing bubbles as well!! And making more bubble soap when we ran out. :) It reminded me of being that age.

Miss C. 

Miss. A. 

Miss. C. chasing some of hers down .... you can see the "fizz" near her hand from a popped one!

Using the same bubble tools that Kim and I used when we were their age, now 14 years ago! 

Adore the rainbow bokeh of the bubbles in the background...

Miss. A. in sweet concentration. 

Mr. J. blowing a long one .... 


Anatomy of a really long, amazing bubble. :) There were constantly screams of delight. :)

Same bubble. It was about 2 basketball sizes in the air. 

Floating away .... 

You can see the pine tree reflections in this one, which is pretty cool. 


Bubble up

Bubble down

They made some pretty magnificent ones!!! 

Miss. A. climbing one of our Chinese Tallow trees. What a sweet dolly. 

Miss. M, Miss. C., and Mr. J. 

all 4 precious kids ... 

Complete boy way to blow bubbles. :)

Miss. M in the tree ... she reminds me so much of myself when she climbs trees, and thinks of adventurous things while she is up there....with the sun lighting up her hair, her hair everywhere and a completely unassuming grin lighting up her face. What a sweet young lady she is. 

I just love all of those kids so so much.....we really had such a wonderful time together!! L & J, I just love your children, you are doing such a wonderful job, and I respect you both very much. :) It was a very sweet day. And here's some footage to watch! You know, really ... just ignore my singing along. I really am singing on key, but the camera just doesn't like my voice. Whatever. hahaha.

Much, much love to you all, continue to dwell upon Christ's perfect and never-failing love for you!!
~ Jean Marie ~

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dwell on His perfect love -

Definition for: "The Valentine's Day Mess on FB" proper noun, an event one day out of the year. the day one stays off all day just so they can avoid: A. the cheesiness. B. the jokes. C. the whining. or D. the fawning of love everywhere that it makes sugar look bland. 

So this year I decided to say it like it was. And kick all whining anywhere near me into a dumpster. Take that, whining and singleness jokes that make you sad! Into the dumpster you go!!! Hahaha!

My FB status this morning -
"Jean Marie: is content being unmarried. Why? Because the love of God is the greatest love I will ever have - it will fulfill my every need and uphold me all my days. It will cover me forever!!!
Of course I would love to be married one day, but this day of Valentines only reminds me of the years of loving marriage of my parents and grandparents, and reminds me how blessed I am for my family, and their love to me. I am fully content, knowing that God's love for me is so deep it will never fail, and if there is another love out there for me, that God will bring him in His perfect time. :) 
Dwell on His perfect love, and you will find every want fulfilled!!!!" 

I spent a gloriously sweet day with my Mama, and dear Mrs. Patterson, who is in FL with Mr. P this week. We ate and laughed and ate and laughed and laughed and talked and laughed. ;) And then we got home and Laurie and the kids were here, and so the three of them: Mama, Laurie, and Mrs. P sat out on our porch and laughed and talked and watched the 4 kiddos and I blow huge and little bubbles (literally, a bubble storm) into the breezy - beautiful day. It was the best kind of day.

And it leaves me thinking, if I can love them so so much, how could I be discontent? I am so blessed beyond what I could ask for, and I see that in the faces of those sweet kids, and in the faces of those I love so very much of my family and friends.

Yes, I'm unmarried. AND I'm content. AND I'm so so thankful for the lovely life I have. :)

Because HIS LOVE.....will never run dry. HE will always be enough, no matter what. He loves me ALWAYS

Now that is worth a lifetime of rejoicing and celebrating over. :)

Much much love, and I hope you all had an equally sweet day!
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. We did totally eat a lot of sweet stuff though, today. Due to tradition and all. ;) Hahahaha. 

Photo taken in TN ... May of 2011. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I hope I'm just like him -

It's my Daddy's birthday today!!! :) and due to tradition, no, I cannot tell you how many years, or else I won't get birthday presents. for years. hahaha. ;)

We've had such a beautiful day as a family....working on home projects (what a special guy to do that on his birthday!), and eating delicious food, and just spending joyful time together. It has been like a mini vacation from yesterday through today. It gives me a lot more joy thinking about retirement. :) I mean, his retirement. Hahahaha. :)

I'm so blessed to have him as my Daddy.

I thought I'd make a list of things I've inherited from him. 

Freckles. As you can see, I inherited his freckles, his hair (color and curls), his eyes, and his hands.
 When I would go to family functions, they would all look at Daddy, look at me, and say "Well, you must be Eddie's girl!!". It gave both of us lots of joy when that happened. ;)

I also inherited his grandmother's nose. Interestingly, the grandmother I was named for. :) Of course, my nose is broken in two places, but if you don't look too closely, and I don't smile way too hard, then you won't notice. :)

His love for music. We will spend hours upon hours listening to and sharing music. I know he is always up for being introduced to new things I've found, and gets a kick out of me when I walk around singing the songs from his era, and trying to do the twist on the kitchen floor in my socks.  We can both be easily moved to tears over music, because it touches such a special place in our hearts.

His love for planes, flying, space, science, rockets, NASA, and exploration. I know I inherited all this love from Daddy, because flying is not Mama's favorite, but I always laugh when we get that huge thrust before taking off and landing, and imagine what it'd be like going up in a shuttle instead. :) I can listen to him talk about planes for hours, and ask basically any question about planes, and he will know the answer. We both love NASA, and we both love space. It amazes us that God has allowed us to know and learn so much, and given us the ability to build the amazing things to get us into space! We are both so very thankful for all the years of NASA and our life here, and hope that private space companies thrust the dream of exploration into new hearts and thrive again in our home state.

His love for the outdoors. We'd both rather spend time outside, in the quiet, in the woods, at the beach, with a camera or a book, or just a good walking stick and knife....walking Indian style like he taught me when I was little. We love working together around the yard, and to this day I love sawing and chopping trees and limbs so much I beg to do it anytime there is a need. haha. :) He has taught me how to do it all correctly, how to shape things and prune them correctly, I know it will remain in my memory and be a great help if I marry and have a yard of my own!

His love for learning and books. I think I might be happy if someone would pay me to read books. I love to discover and memorize facts and medical details, and when I find something of interest, I look it up and learn as much as possible about it. One time, I was really interested in Airforce planes, so I watched hours and hours of documentaries on planes refueling in the air, and how to maneuver the tanking probe and boom. I was fascinated. And then I watched hours of documentaries of fighter jets taking off and landing on aircraft carriers in choppy sea, and learned never to do it right before bed, because I get so tense that I can barely sleep. 70 seconds of terror, my friends. :) And it all makes Daddy laugh, because he loves that I love it. :)

His love for friends, and socializing. What people don't realize is that I'm really not this child that just got thrown into my unsuspecting family. I'm my parents daughter. Both my parents are outgoing and hilarious, so it's not really that strange that I turned out to be a slightly hyped up version of them both. ;) My dad has a huge heart for missions, and he will spend as many hours as he can, talking with them and encouraging them the best he can. I'm on the Missions board as well, and it makes my heart smile to watch him so deeply interested not only in the mission work, but also in the missionaries hearts. I've seen missionaries sort of blink in wonder that Daddy so wants to know things about how they are, that they are scrambling through all their normal "work update" to find things about how they are doing. :)

His love for the little things. Like biscuits that remind us of his parents, and flowers that smell like the South. Like sunrises and sunsets and all the glorious moon rises and stars. The way the breeze moves in the pines and oaks, and the way cool water from a hose tastes better when you are sweaty and hot. Paying 5 dollars to go to a deserted wildlife refuge or park is worth it when you enjoy it. Going out to eat and ordering what you want so you are happy, and then sitting there for an hour eating it, and talking to each other, and not caring about the time at all. Relaxing and enjoying life. Taking time off of whatever you are doing just to tell someone you love them, or help out, or listen.

Long, loving hugs. The only time you get a short hug from either of us is when we are too excited to give a long one, but have to give a short one, so we can pop back and see the other person's face and exclaim our delight. I would say it's a Southern thing, or a Fambrough thing, and maybe it's both, but Dad meets you once, and you are either friend or family, or at least worth a wave, or a good manly handshake and a slap on the back for saying hello. I'm convinced that long, loving hugs are the best way to show how much I love and treasure and cherish others, and believe me, I think it's my love language. Hugging. haha. I find it very easy to hug others, because I am hugged so often in my own home. Daddy is always up for close time with his girls. Hugs are our favorite. :) That, and naps on Sundays on the couch with the puppy in between.

His love for photography and creation. Almost everything I learned about photography when I was little was from Dad. He taught me how to frame pictures, how to get better light, and how to take pictures of whatever I wanted. This was back in film days. :) He never complained once about the cost of developing rolls and rolls of film that were just about hawks and sunsets and birds. He always praised my "work", and told me how good I was. He still does that. :) He loves flowers and all things of creation. He will pet animals and cuddle Lucy Mae and pluck jasmine blossoms and azaleas just to inhale their scent a little longer, and put them in a little vase in the kitchen.

His love for family and legacy. I love the legacies of both my parents, and how they are so special and intertwined in God's grace. We love reading back, and looking at old pictures, our whole family loves learning more about our extended families, and I see this in him when we talk with others, and he will patiently listen to any story they have to tell about their families. He will laugh and say "that's great!", or he will tell them how special that is. I think I have more memories about watching him like this than I actually remember what the stories were about.

My Daddy has such a heart for God. He is so moved by grace. He is so overwhelmed by mercy. He is so thankful for daily communion with our Lord. He spends much time in prayer and the Bible, and reading more about holiness than anything else he reads about. He prays with his whole heart, and is often moved to tears by just thinking and dwelling upon the Savior who loves us so well. He loves the Lord deeply, and trusts Him wholly. He is such a tenderhearted man. Tenderhearted, compassionate, caring, and sweet, and I know that much of this is because of the Lord's work to make Him more like Christ. It has never been a struggle for me to think of God as my Heavenly Father, because I have such a loving and precious one for here on Earth.

His heart for God .... I hope I inherit all of that. I hope I'm just like him.
I hope it will be easy to always tell by looking at me that I'm "Eddie's girl."

I love you so so much, Daddy. I'm thankful for every day with you. Happy Birthday!
Love, your little redhead girl,
~ Jean Marie ~

The day the last shuttle lifted off, July 7th, 2011. Before he left to go to work. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunset over the refuge -

I was driving home from the wildlife refuge in January. I'd spent more than a few hours taking pictures of wildlife and nature, and it was cold outside, and I was full of the joy of it all. I pulled to the stop sign and looked down the road towards home. Towards the river and the water, and all that I know so well. The sunset took over in my camera viewfinder, and I spent a few minutes just taking memory stock of it.

The power lines really drew my attention, how they come along, and just go ahead and then....they all clump together and sort of disappear....not one, not several, just a whole bunch that you can't really see, because it's dark ahead, and the sun is setting. You think that if you don't drive as fast, you can focus more on the lines, you can look at them and they won't loop up and down and make you sick.

But in the end, you have to really focus on the road, so you won't have a wreck. You can't spend time wishing you could fly over those lines and over all the water, and just get home faster, because your engine is idling, and you were here to fulfill joy. You can't gaze at the sunset too long because it will set soon, and then the moon will come up, and then the sun will come again, and your days will go just as quick, and wishing your days go slower doesn't make them that way. Wishing you could get to Heaven faster doesn't make it happen. Wishing Home was easier to gain doesn't make it so.

But it gives my heart so much comfort, when my flesh and heart fail in grief, when my eyes pour oceans of never-ending pain down my face, and heart-wrending sobs remind me of the loss,
that "the path He trod He has hallowed", and it is up to my eyes and my heart to find that "lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him".

Because He is here. He is with me in my grief. He is with you in your grief.

~ Jean Marie ~

(you can read the full quote at the bottom of this blog) 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bobby Jo face -

I'm thankful for: Bobby Jo. Because she gives me so many reasons to laugh, when she and I both know all I want to do is smash things and scream and cry. And I can't help laughing when I look at this.

My Dad ADORES that picture. He laughs hysterically every time he sees it. The first time he saw it, he was actually wiping tears from his eyes from laughing so hard, and managed to choke out a "That is SO BECCA. That is perfectly Becca.". He just loves it. And so do I. :)

I love us. I love that we love a lot of the same stuff, and music, and dancing, and I love that she just takes me in stride. Angry? ok. Sad? got it. Smashing things? ok, wait. don't smash something nice. Need a laugh? here, look at this. ok, wait, look at aaalllll of these things I found on Pinterest. :)

So this post is for you, my dear explosively wonderful friend. I'm thankful for you, Bobby Jo! 

(Photos taken at the very cold day in January of the Scottish Highland Games in FL, waiting for a concert to start, while lying on a hill, yes a hill)

~ Bodean ~
(also known as Jean Marie)

Y'all have a great day!! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All Thy ways of mercy -

from the Valley of Vision

"O Christ, All Thy ways of mercy tend to and end in my delight. 
Thou didst weep, sorrow, suffer that I might rejoice. 
For my joy Thou hast sent the Comforter, multiplied Thy promises,
 shown me my future happiness, given me a living fountain. 
Thou art preparing joy for me and me for joy;
I pray for joy, wait for joy, long for joy;
give me more than I can hold, desire, or think of. 

Measure out to me my times and degrees of joy, at my work, business, duties.
If I weep at night, give me joy in the morning. 
Let me rest in the thought of Thy love,
 pardon for sin, my title to Heaven, my future unspotted state. 
I am an unworthy recipient of Thy grace. 
I often disesteem Thy blood and slight Thy love, 
but can in repentance draw water from the wells of Thy joyous forgiveness. 

Let my heart leap towards the Eternal sabbath, where my work of redemption, 
sanctification, preservation, glorification is finished and perfected forever, 
where Thou wilt rejoice over me with joy. 
There is no joy like the joy of Heaven, for in that state are no sad divisions,
unchristian quarrels, contentions, evil designs, weariness, hunger, cold, 
sadness, sin, suffering, persecutions, toils of duty. 

O healthful place where none are sick! 
O happy land where all are kings! 
O holy assembly where all are priests! 
How free a state where none are servants except to Thee! 
Bring me speedily to the land of joy."

(Photo taken January 15th, 2012) 
Thank you so very much for your kind comments, and prayers, it means so much. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February came fast -

February came fast. Very fast. Faster than I could wrap my mind around it. Much like January. January was the month after the month of hurt, and February seems too fast. Is anyone else feeling the same way? 

I'm going to say some truth now. Because I don't like blogging and sharing if I cannot pour out my heart. I do not claim to be put well together, perfect or even good. I do not claim to trust God every day, and I certainly do not claim that I glorify Him by any of my own means or will or self-righteousness. 

I do claim that God is glorified in the brokenness that is Jean Marie. 

He is not glaring at me because of my past sins. 
He is not causing me grief and giving me trials because He does not love me. 
He is not chastising me at every possible turn because I didn't measure up.
He is not waiting to heal people just to make me learn patience and holiness. 
He is not against me, nor does He take things away just because He can. 

No. He does it ALL IN LOVE and OUT OF LOVE, because HE. IS. LOVE. 
and in His timing, He will make all things beautiful. Can there be any sweeter thought? 

Perhaps I have listened to this song way too many times on repeat tonight, but I cannot stop listening to it. Those first few moments of pause and the first few chords and the first few words do me in. They do me in, my dear friends....because I am so overwhelmed by grace. They do me in, because I am so overwhelmed with grief. They do me in, because I am brokenhearted, broken and unworthy. 

How can You give such precious gifts, Father, and get such a small, brokenhearted thank you in return? 
How can You give me so much, and receive such weak efforts in return? 
How can You love me so very much, when I deserve none of it? 
How can You pour out and always be here with me, and I forget to be with You? 

"Lord, we adore Thy boundless grace...."

It is the nights that get me the most. It is the nights when I remember more. The nights it all hits me harder. The nights that I can't sleep. The nights that nightmares fill more often than good dreams. The nights that I awake and tears have wet my pillow, as I realize those ones in Heaven will not hug me anymore here. Will not send me e-mails, and will not laugh with me....

The truth. The glaring, aching truth that we will not see them for a long while. 
It is heartbreaking. There is no way around that. It is, and it always will be. 

February came too fast, because January was the month right after. But now February wants in. With its happy Valentines and its happy moments on my calendar. February is too far away from December. February is when people start asking if you are okay when you are crying in church, and don't remember why. And if they do remember, they don't understand why you are crying. Unless they are a few people who know you really well. :) February is when I'm supposed to be posting things that happened in January that I LOVED, but don't want to blog about, because my picture archive is right there. Right next to December. Oh December. And then it hurts too much. 

Moral of the story? I think I'm asking for patience. None of you have demanded posts. But I put this pressure on myself to give you all some joyful posts that really are so sweet, and I have a few. But more than that ..... I really would just rather be honest. Tell the truth. Be open. Allow me to grieve. Allow me to cry when it doesn't make sense to you. Allow me to be brokenhearted!! the truth ....

Because I am brokenhearted. Nothing can prepare you for saying goodbye to people you love. 
I am still reeling. Still shocked. Still hurt when people joke about things that just shouldn't be joked about when someone has just lost someone they love. Still aching. Still hurting. Even to write it seems to make it less than what it is. How I deeply, deeply miss my friends and extended family!!

and the beautiful beautiful thing to my heart is knowing that Jesus is glorified in this. He is glorified in my grief, in my brokenheartedness, in my brokenness, in my pain, in my tears, in my sorrowful cries. 

He is glorified because He is praised, because those we long to see have been redeemed, and are with Him. Because He has been good. Because He has been faithful. Because He is our glory. 

It brings tears to my eyes to know that this grief - this season now, was given in love from a loving Lord.
"He has unmeasured bliss to give, and joys that never die...."

Photos taken January 15th, 2012

Tonight I was reading something on Facebook, and immediately I picked up my Bible, and looked something up, and then I flipped back right to where I wanted to find that verse ....

"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. 
From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. 
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings."
~ Psalm 61:1 - 4 ~

"When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to You. When my heart is overwhelmed, comfort me. 
When my heart is overwhelmed, remind me of Your love. For You have been my shelter in grief. 
You have kept me safe in Your arms and given me Your peace. We shall never be separated. 
I will live with You always and will abide in our Home forever. 
So I will trust You, and I will rest in You. I will be still, and know that You are God.
 In Your most holy and precious name, I pray. Amen."

I cannot tell you how astonishing it feels to type that out, sentence by sentence, as a prayer. I highly encourage you to write out, type out, read aloud Scripture. You will find yourself much more moved.

So be patient with me, and be very patient with those who are suffering and grieving. If there are those among you who are hurting deeply, serve them with prayer, some loving hugs, and a listening ear. It will mean more to them than anything else. It is our honor to pray for the saints.

Know that I pray for many of you, and long deeply for our reunion with our loved ones in Heaven.

In all this, Christ is glorified when our joy is founded in Him, and in Him we rest.
Thank you for reading, and for allowing me to be honest and share with you,
With much love, and joy knowing the Lord rejoices in His children,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God." ~ Robert Schuller

I highly encourage you to purchase "Come all Ye Pining" on iTunes. at .99 cents, it is so worth it.