Friday, March 30, 2012

To be where Christ is -

Colossians 3:1 - 4

"(1)If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 
(2)Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 
(3)For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
(4)When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."

I can't read those verses without feeling the certainty of promise leaping out at me. There isn't a line in there that says "If you think it will be, then it probably will....because you are smart and feel that way.". :) What a mess we'd be in if that were true!!

No, it says "your life IS hidden with Christ in God". IT IS.

It says "WHEN" Christ appears. It says "you also WILL appear with Him in glory".

and then there is the 1st verse:
"... seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God."
Where Christ is. Where He is sitting at the right hand of God. Where Christ is.
Doesn't that just make your heart yearn? Oh, peace. Oh, rest. Oh, sweetness of soul. Oh, joy!

Perhaps one contemplates Heaven more when a friend is headed to their grandmother's funeral this weekend, or when you constantly dream of Heaven in your night's rest. Or when you drive on a certain road that leads to the one where your adopted(by heart) grandfather is buried under the curly moss that dips down to fill the air under the oaks that stand in protection over where his name is written.

Maybe you think of Heaven more when your ipod plays sermons on Suffering and Sovereignty while your tennis shoes pound out the confusion and hurt on the path of crushed sea shells and sand. Maybe you think of Heaven more when you pass bushes that lift fragrances so sweet, you think you are young again and taking walks with your grandmother in the sweet city of Atlanta.

Perhaps you dream of Heaven more because you think about your friends laughing and seeing those joyful smiles on their faces again soon. Maybe you just think of Heaven because it's the sweetest possible place you can think of being in at that moment (except when I was in the sea today). ;) Maybe because thinking about Heaven so often is because we think about what our dear friends are doing right now, and it makes us joyful to know that they are sweetly dwelling in all fullness of joy with God.

I think about Heaven because I love it there. That sounds funny, doesn't it? How can one love a place if one has never been there? But we read in the Scriptures that Christ has prepared it for us, that it is our place of rest and joyful dwelling, and that the saints rejoice and live there. And we trust Christ, because He is Truth! I care not for anything in this world, I'd trade this world in less than a heartbeat's notice to live with Jesus.

And the Scriptures say that He is the light there. That He wipes away our tears. That He waits for us there. That He has made it for us. That He sits there in the Holy of Holies, at the right hand of God.

So I think about Heaven because I love it there, because the promise of Who is there makes it a place to run towards with all my energy and breath and strength and might. Running flat out. Straight to His Home.

The cry rings out in my heart "Jesus is there! Jesus is there! Jesus is there!!"!

Do not ever settle for anything less than Jesus Christ as your Savior, because you will never be satisfied.
He is all and more than anything we could ever dream or fathom, and He loves us more than life.

We are hidden in Him! "(3)For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." We are hidden with Him now, and then "(4)When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." When Christ who is our LIFE appears.....we also will appear with Him in glory!

What?!! That can't be right! 
We .... poor, unwanted, debtors, weak, wounded, pining, hungry, filthy, dirty, sinners? WE?!!!! I? You? We? 
We, the purchased, beloved, washed clean co-heirs of Jesus and children of the Most High God. 
We will appear with God in glory. 

Because of the Lamb Who is the Light of Heaven. 
Because of the One Who loved us and desired a beautiful Bride, a Church. 
Because this Savior was led as a Lamb to the slaughter to be slain for our debt once and for all. 
Because He desired to live with us, fully, again. A joyfully redeemed people dwelling with God. 

The story of Emmanuel, God with us, writes the story that begins mine, and when I cross that threshold into the Home prepared for the saints of the Savior, I will strike that keynote. I will strike that keynote to begin the song which I shall sing to all my eternity, and it will be the sweetest song I have ever heard, or ever will hear.

In my heart for now swells the tearful, sweetest song I know so far -
the thankful song of the redeemed of the Lamb.

Praise be to God. We shall one day soon be where Christ is.
With much love and prayers to all who long for Heaven,
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The keynote of the song -

Beautiful Azaleas at the Hope Home in early March. Lauren's pictures are here

"The best moment of a Christian's life is his last one, because it is the one that is nearest Heaven. And then it is that he begins to strike the keynote of the song which he shall sing to all eternity."
~ Charles Spurgeon ~

Heaven was much on my mind today, as it often is! And I found this Spurgeon quote that so fits this longing, and puts to words all the achings and groanings of Creation and my heart.
How sweet that day, coming soon, when we will strike that keynote unto Forever with Him.
With much love,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cheesy Tourist Pictures -

I used to make fun of Tourist Pictures. Oh wait. that was 5 minutes ago. Nevermind!! Disregard that last statement. Let's just say I will probably always make fun of Tourist Pictures, but on Wednesday we were at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and EmilyBrower was going to meet us, but didn't feel up to all the heat and walking (well, Baby didn't, rather), and so she said "take a picture for me!".

So we did. Hence the hilarious Cheesy Touristy Lighthouse Pictures. 2 thumbs up for Emily and Babe!

We were all channeling some inner Southern Safari Vanna. HAHahahahah Hahahahha! :D

Love y'all. Have a wonderful Saturday and weekend. ;)
~ Jean Marie ~

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday at Playalinda -

Monday night, we were out on the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, and thought we'd watch the sunset over the water, but the time change made it more like 7:30, rather than 6:30, so we headed to Playalinda to walk the beach and see the sun set, and it was gorgeous. Just lovely.

The water was a beautiful aqua and green and had perfect curls. I love it so so much. 

We spotted a few fair-sized Portuguese Man O' Wars washed up on the shore. From then on, Rachael freaked out at anything that was blue, white, or bubbly. Which made it a hysterically loud walk constantly punctuated by screams.

We had to take some beach portraits, since the next time we'd be there, we'd look like tousled rats. haha. jk. I mean, I was speaking of myself. After getting dredged out of the sand like a total water lily. Did I say water lily? I meant a small squid covered in sand, reaching out....."too.much.dropoff.*cough*". It was a little too choppy today. No sandbar, no curl. So sad.

Back to the beach portraits. Here's Sadie Beth and I. Aww! sweet!  (I'm not that tall. It was the sand.)

Sadie Beth is the popular picture one. It's the smile, and the sweet countenance, I tell you. 

Trying to hold down Rachael's fly-away hair, by this time, we were all in stitches from previous shots.

Timer shot on the boardwalk. So sweet. They love my beach, which makes me sooo happeh. :) 

We are just soaking up these days together!! I know it will go by way too fast, but we are having fun! :)
Much love,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Andrews on Sunday -

So. Sadie Beth is here, and her friend Rachael. :) They came for the Ligonier Conference, and that was March 15-17th, and then on Sunday, we headed to St. Andrews for Ligonier Sunday. It was such a relaxing, perfect, sunny, breezy day. We had been able to visit with Delaney and Darby during the Ligonier Conference, but we had not taken any pictures. I know, such a problem. haha. So after church, Delaney suggested we all head outside and take some pictures, and so we did. :)

And today I decided that if I didn't blog any of these pictures, or any from the weekend, I was going to explode/implode, and Sadie Beth said she didn't want any of that happening, so I was given a little time to share on here. haha. ;) Lovely, eh? Oh gosh. I'm turning into a Britain. Haha! Not really. Last night Rachael said "y'all" for the first time, she was sooo pleased with herself. ;) We shall colonize them yet.

So here are pictures from Sunday at St. Andrews. :)


beautiful hysterical Delaney .... I get this face a lot. 

Punks. Ok, not. But they make pretty downright awesome friends. Delaney, Darby. 

Darbs. Dearest, darling Darbs. Dearest darling dilly dally Darby. 

Ok, we've waited for this picture for a long time. Finally have it! Hooraaaay!!! I love them. 
(Plus, AND we look normal! Bonus!) AND Mrs. Stiemann took it. WIN!  

The gorgeous day, looking across the pond and fountain at the Reformation Bible College. 

We were all wearing bows on our shoes. ;) So ladylike of us. LtoR: me, Darby, Delaney, Rachael. ;)

Lauren took these of us, thank you sooo much Lauren! 

I was like "Line up, like Sound of Music!", and so we did. hahahah. Shoulders back, head up.
Rachael, Darby, Sadie Beth, Delaney, and myself. :) 


Best ever. :) And totally spontaneous, which is the best! ahhahahaa! we were all cracking up. 

The Sound of Music poses continued ... So awesome. I love it! Aren't we charming? Positively charming! Of course we are! Such charming children! hahahahah. So sweet. :) 

Darby. Quite possibly laughing at me. And there's me, laughing. It's all quite self explanatory. 
And it all happens pretty much the whole time that we are together. ;) 

I pretty much love all these girls. :) And we had such a wonderful picnic afterwards with the Hope family, and the Cone family, and then were able to stay for a Michael Card concert that evening.
It was a gloriously relaxing day, and I'm just so blessed to be with, and know these dear people.
I love you all soooo much!!! :) :) I will have to post pictures from the rest of the day another time.

~ Jean Marie ~ 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

He just called you Carrots -

My favorite thing on Pinterest right now. :) I can't stop laughing over it. HAHAhahaHAa!
I'm thinking "Calm, calm *breathe* calm .... "Carrots, hey Carrots!!".... Calm is GONE! *smash!*"
Awesome idea, whoever made it. Thank you from this Redhaired girl for making it. :)
~ Jean Marie ~

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Reflections (10) -

Sunday Reflections Week 10! 

I was first introduced to the writings and letters of Anne Dutton by my dear piano teacher, who loves her. She has shared Anne Dutton's wisdom many times on her blog, and rejoices over words that seem to have been written just for her. :) Well today I was reading through a quote, and it impacted me too. :) I thought it perfect as a follow up to my last post on our future reunion in Heaven, and living here in the light of Eternity, and all the joys that await us there. I hope you are blessed as I was.
~ Jean Marie ~

From Anne Dutton:
"Our life here is one perpetual scene of various changes, all which, as wisely and graciously over-ruled by the sovereign Lord of all, shall effectually prepare us for our unchangeable and endless glory hereafter! The manifestative glory of God in everything that passes over us, and our present and eternal advantage, are inseparably connected with each other. 

Infinite love joined them both together, infinite faithfulness secures the lines from breaking, and infinite power draws the unbroken chain through a continued series of diverse events in time, to the glory of God, and ours with Him to eternity. 

And when the whole of His providential dispensations towards us are finished, and all that glory brought to His great name by everything that was designed, and all that good brought to us by all things which was purposed, the Lord shall rejoice in His works, and pronounce concerning them, to the eternal rest of His soul, "They are all very good.".

And when the veil is taken off, and we see with one view all the works of God towards us, in their variety, harmony, and unity, exactly answering all the glorious ends designed, we shall rejoice with Him, and to the eternal glory of His name and rest of our hearts, shall say, "He has done all things well." And the more we see and say thus now, the more of Heaven's bliss we enjoy on Earth. 

Shall not we, who are reconciled to God by the Lamb's blood, be one in will, be one in interest with Him. If we are not, it makes us, who are the friends of God, look like enemies to Him. Oh, let not God and us be twain, since Jesus died to make us one in Himself - to whom be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen. The dear Lord Jesus be with you." 

This is a gorgeous tree that flowers every spring....I've searched and searched and can't find the name of it! The closest I come to it is a subdivision of a rhododendron. Any ideas? The blooms are about the size of my hand, as are the leaves. At any rate - they are gorgeous in the Spring, and I love them!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Promised Reunion -

Today it rained. It rained beautifully and hard. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled. We opened the porch door to let the noise in. I shut my music off, just to hear the sound of it all. I went out and breathed as deep as I could, and I could smell wet earth and fresh water and something sweet blooming.

I loved it. I love rain....I couldn't remember the last time I'd heard thunder, we are in the middle of partial-drought here. I say partial, because compared to what it could be, it's much better.

Much better. Better than the '98 fires. Better than the Ironhorse Fire that was this time last year.

But not as good as I'd like it. Lush, verdant, a green yard, the jasmine spilling over with blossoms.

Not as good as the wet, dewy glory of heavy rain and heavy renewed scent - like I remember it was.

I remember how it was. How childhood smelled and the sounds that remind me of then. I remember so many things, if I stop and think back. The way his hands looked when I snuck a peek when we were praying over a huge meal. The way they gripped mine as to not ever let go. I wish I didn't have to, that day I said goodbye, the day he went to Heaven. I remember putting my arm around her shoulders, and being surprised one time that I was suddenly taller than she was. She could pull me into the fiercest hug anyway. The way she said my name, the way I could kiss her forehead, and her eyes would say what I was wondering, how much she loved me, fiercely, forever, that day she went to Heaven.

That was 2002 and 2003. So long ago, compared to these recent losses of friends.

but it stings. It stings like crazy, at the weirdest moments. I am still their granddaughter. Still tied to them as tightly as before. But this ... this Earth here separates us. The veil is not yet torn. I am grieving friends who have been gone just 3 months, and I'm aching for Forever Day NOW. It aches to look ahead, just like it did back when I was young and trying to be strong. Now I know I'm only strong because He is perfecting Himself in me, this weak, broken heart.

So it's easy remembering. 60 years from now, it will be easy remembering too, because I'll be that much closer to seeing them all again. I'll be that much closer to Eternity and Home. Home - the place that heavy spring rains and sunsets and gardenias remind me of. Home - where He is. Where He waits for me.

The Bible says He is faithful. We know He is, by our generations, and by His Word. He promises us that He will not return void the promises He has made! He will not disappoint us, He will not give us lesser things, He will give us the best things, because He cannot give a bad gift.

He does not take away our loved ones with a stern heart, but with a loving, joyful heart.

That my grandparents, and these friends, it was their day, their day that He had written in His book, before they were born, that day that He fashioned that they would rise and live with Him in Heaven. That day of utter joy and peace and rest and tears of joy on their faces as they saw Him Who they longed to see for so very long. The song and dancing of the Redeemed of the Lord in His temple.

It stings for us. It breaks our hearts, and breaks our hearts continually. We are not in Heaven. We are here on Earth, and we walk down this dusty road, slipping, stumbling around and crying out for mercies.

But He is here, child. Look up and see the face of the Father. Reach out, and hold tight His hand.
Do not be afraid, you will receive your inheritance when it is His perfect and beautiful time.
And then we shall always be with the Lord....and the glory and joy will not end. We shall be new!

"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." 
~ Psalm 73: 23 - 24 ~ 

Does it not make a smile break across your face? Think of it, dear ones, because it is true.

Be comforted, He is close. Be strengthened, He will give you new mercies in the morning. 
Be joyful - you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, the Christ, the Son of God. 
Rest in His love for you, and rejoice over the promise of glorious reunion and Home with Him. 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

January 22, 2012 Sunset glory. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oliver's Skype Face -

March 2nd, 2012. 

I'm skyping with EmilyElizabethCaseBrower (try saying THAT 10 times fast), and of course Baby Brower, and Oliver comes on the scene. He's alternating between pacing back and forth in front of the web cam, playing with things, licking Emily's water glass, trying to paw her pizza and bring it closer, and finally ends up in Emily's arms. Which is when I tried to start a conversation.

Oliver was having none of it. He looks absolutely skeptical and unpleased. I took a screen shot as fast as I could, and we both laughed our heads off. That is, Emily and I did. Oliver went to sleep behind the blinds. ;)

I also LOVE Emily's face. Thank GOD for Skype. It's pretty wonderful to see her when she's farther away. :) It's also pretty wonderful knowing she's almost 12 weeks along, and wonderful hearing her voice. :) And knowing she and Ben are loving being married, and hearing about God's sweet gifts to them, and how they are doing. :) Hands down, I love Skyping more than phone or letters. :)

I love you Emily!!! and you too, Oliver. ;)
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Reflections (9) -

Sunday Reflections Week 9! 

"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." ~ Galatians 6:14

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."
 ~ Colossians 3:4


"Jesus, Keep Me near the Cross" by Fanny Crosby 

"1. Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain, 
free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calv'ry's mountain.

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever; 
till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river. 

2. Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me; 
there the Bright and Morning Star shed its beams around me. 

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever; 
till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

3. Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me; 
help me walk from day to day with its shadows o'er me. 

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river. 

4. Near the cross I'll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever,
till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river!

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river!"  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

An Exciting Link -

Click here to read ... "A Whole Six Pounds" by EmilyBrower.


I'm filled up to the top, and overflowing with joy. "This high of joy" as Emily puts it. :)

I'm so so so glad he is here. He's so very precious .... so very prayed for, and now he is here. :)

Welcome, sweetest baby boy. I love you!!! Congratulations, Cody and Tricia!!
~ Jean Marie ~ 

September 2011