Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sunset over Barberville -



My favorite shot of the day. The sun setting beautifully over the Barberville grounds. :)
I'm exhausted. One of the hottest Barberville events to date. Incredibly draining and yet still wonderful.
Next up - a really cold shower, then rub some coconut lotion on my poor, tired feet, and falling into bed. :)
Have a wonderful Sunday, y'all.
Much love,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Friday, April 27, 2012

18mo. & 1wk. old -

Last week Lucy Mae turned a year and a half! I take pictures ALL the time, believe me, but it's been awhile since I've put a few up. I took like ... ahem, 150 today but it's 11:30 and tomorrow is THE SPRING FROLIC and I'm getting up at 7am. And I need my sleep so I'm not utterly exhausted by 2pm tomorrow. ;) So I just edited two and am making myself stop there. :) I took these when I got home this morning from Emily's sonogram. It was about 10:30 and the light was streaming in and she just laid down sweetly on my bed (she looooves being on my bed and if you can't find her, she is in 1 of 3 places: My bed. Her small bed.  My desk chair.).

So today she turned 18 months and 1 week old. :) Still very, very much puppy and easily excitable.

Oh! Oh? A car? A bird? A shadow? A lizard? Whatever it is, I'm at attention!! ;) 


Sweet baby. Little lovey. 


I'm so, sooo thankful for this pup. She is my little buddy that keeps me company constantly. She obeys fairly well, is extremely attentive and willing to please. She cuddles me and is always up for a chase or tug of war. She will attack your hand and never bite it, and she loves giving kisses. :)

Oh, and she has recently honed her skills and has turned into a Lizard Killer. I'm ridiculously pleased about this, because I've hated the brown lizards for years and years. We'd never let her touch a chameleon, but she can kill every brown lizard she wants, and I could care less. hahaha. :) She's a true hunter. Sometime I'll upload video of her searching our patio for the hiding little reptiles. :)

I just love her so much and thank God for her every single day. :)
Happy 18months, Lucy Mae!!! I love you, baby! 
With much love,
~ Jean Marie ~

oh and uhm....a FB status that tells you how not calm I really am right now -
TOMORROW IS THE BARBERVILLE SPRING FROLIC!!!
 *RUNS AROUND THE HOUSE AVOIDING FURNITURE SCREAMING WITH EXCITEMENT AND IS TRAILED BY THE SMALL BLACK AND TAN THING THAT HAS NO IDEA BUT TOTALLY THINKS SCREAMING AND RUNNING IS NORMAL FOR HER MAMA*

Her debut in 3-D -

Today I was invited by EmilyBrower to come to their 3-D ultrasound of Georgia Rose! :) Originally, I thought I couldn't go, because Barberville weekend holds so much traveling, but Daddy and Momma decided that this was a special thing, so they allowed me to go! :) I was thrilled!!

The ultrasound lasted about 45 minutes, and they did both normal (2-D? haha, no idea) and then 3-D, and sometimes they brought them both up side by side so you could understand better what you were looking at.

She really is such a precious little girl, tiny and perfect! I was amazed at the sight of her little heart, pumping blood, and the umbilical cord that flowed blood into her heart, and veins. She gave us a little wave at the beginning, but mostly stayed kind of sleepy in a total gymnast position of her legs over her head. It looked seriously uncomfortable, but when you are floating and it doesn't matter, then it's just right for her! :) I also LOVED seeing her feet and her hands, and you could see her sucking/drinking the amniotic fluid! You could see her eye lens and her kidneys and her brain and her little nose. You could see she definitely was a GIRL. ;D haha.

And I was just enthralled. I only took one picture because I was just glued to watching every move she made. :)

My picture isn't wonderful, but I love that it's my first picture of her face. :) Adorable, sweet baby girl. 

You can see on the right her hand near her face, it's a little blurry, I think that's because we were watching her suck and move her little mouth around. :) So so cute.

I am used to sonagrams, because I have one every year for my heart. :) Every time I go in, I'm lying there in the dark, hearing the whoosh-whoosh of my heart, and I pray for a husband, and one day to be lying there, hearing a baby's heartbeat instead of my own. And then I get tears in my eyes.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So it was crazy-wonderful to be able to see my best friend's baby on the screen and hear her heartbeat! It made my dream seem just a little closer. :)  To see her and Ben laughing in love at their tiny little girl. Emily mentioned it was a present for Brianna Brower to be there today (on her birthday), I think it was a present for all of us!! Georgia Rose Brower is a gift from the Lord, definitely. 

Emily has stills from the sonogram, and a little video of Georgia waving on her blog!!! See it here! 

Happy 19 weeks, Emily!!!

With love, and lots of excitement,
~ Jean Marie ~  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Y'all should come -

to the Barberville Spring Frolic of 2012!!! :) You know you are enthusiastically invited. If I know you, I'll probably run screaming across some gravel and grass and throw my arms around you. I might even do that if I don't know you. Which, believe me, has happened. Some people just look alike. *cough* 

SO. :D Please please come and join us!!! 

If you've read my blog for more than a few months, then you already know what I'm talking about. If you need some refreshers about the Barberville Pioneer Settlement, then ... 

Look at Day 1 and Day 2 of the Fall Jamboree of 2011, and it'll sum it up for you. :) 

It seriously is one of the best times of the year, from the absolutely wonderful fellowshipping with new and old friends, to the Contra' Dancing until you can't breathe from whirling around, or from laughing so hard, to eating down home food, to listening to some of the best bluegrass and folk and music about the gospel ever, to pretending you can't walk anymore and getting a ride in a Courtesy Cart because you want to talk to that friend, likewise getting rides to your car in a Cart by Dave!, taking pictures, singing along, petting animals, looking at old-fashioned homes and buying the best coconut popsicles at the Country Store, and just relaxing into some of the greatest conversations and enjoying FL Cracker life. :) 

So come! :) Here's the info page with all you need to know! http://folkfiddle.com/barber.htm

Hope to see y'all there. :D
It's in JUST 4 days!!! AAAAH!! 
With love,
 The Boot Stompin', Gospel Singin', Contra' Lovin', Barberville Adorin' Blogger,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avocado Egg Salad -

Y'all. 

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it sounded so good, I instantly printed off the recipe and got down to makin' it. And oh sweet heavens. It's so deliciously wonderful. :) Seriously. I'm eating it right now. And I'm wondering who was so GENIUS to think about putting Avocado with Egg Salad.

To you, sir or ma'am, I raise my Mason jar filled with apple juice in your direction. I thank you for the depths of my bowl filled with your recipe right now. I shake your hand enthusiastically, all the while proclaiming "genius!!! absolute genius!!!".

Okay. So down to the genius recipe. It's Avocado Egg Salad.
The recipe site is from Skinnytaste.com, and so I think that it might be Miss Gina's recipe, but I'm not sure, which is why I'm just going to tell you it's from SkinnyTaste. At any rate, if you ever read this, person who made it, THANK YOU AND ALL CREDIT IS DUE TO YOU, GENIUS PERSON. haha. 

I took a few pictures to show you how delicious and appetizing it looks, and how adorable little half avocado skins look like cups. :) See?


Avocado Egg Salad Boat


So, down to the recipe. If you want the original recipe that I based it off of, head on over to SkinnyTaste.com and just print it off and have at it! Make your own version, while you are at it. Because that's what I did. I didn't have all the ingredients so I made it differently, (because I wanted to try and make it so I could eat it in under 20 minutes and not wait until tomorrow because it sounded so amazingly good and I was right).

 Or you can just make my version, and pretend you are me, which means you listened to a sermon on Habakkuk while you made it, and also pretended you were Pioneer Woman while you took pictures of it. And if you were me, you had to go look up Habakkuk, because you were pretty sure that it had 3 k's in it, and not just 2, but blogger wouldn't tell you you were wrong, because it's stupid, it didn't know better.

Right. Down to the Jean Marie version. I halved the recipe, but still used a whole avocado. :) heh.

Avocado Egg Salad 
Recipe and credit: SkinnyTaste. Version alternate: Jean Marie style.

* 4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped (9min. eggs)
* 1 medium Hass avocado, cut into 1 inch chunks
* 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
* 3 tsp. lemon juice
* 1 Tbsp. finely chopped Vidalia onion
* 12 green olives (give or take), minced
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 good shake White Pepper

1. Separate the yolks and white after boiled, chop up whites (save for later).
2. Mash up the yolks with a fork, adding in the mayo to get it creamy.
3. Add rest of ingredients, and mash up really well. :)
4. Add in the egg whites, and taste test. :) Keep taste testing for the next 2 minutes, then remind yourself that you need to serve it up and eat it for real now. haha.

~ The original recipe called for red wine vinegar, but I didn't have that, so I used lemon juice to add to the punch of the avocado, and I LOVED it. Likewise, I subbed onion for chives and white pepper for black. I really re-worked this one, so read the original recipe to understand what really goes on! :) ~



I can't help it. I think it's so cute.


I put a huge helping (probably half the recipe) on some chopped romaine and drizzled just a little bit of Newman's Own Parmesan and Roasted Garlic dressing on it. It was SO GOOD. :D


And that, y'all, is what you should try to make ASAP. As soon AND as Southern as possible. ;)
I love that it's so good for me too, and a high source of good fats and protein. :)
Much love, and a mouthful of this green genius salad...
~ Jean Marie ~

I just found out that Pioneer Woman also has this recipe, so now I'm reeealllly not sure who to give credit to. hahaha. Here's hers. :) Whatever the case may be - we all adore it. haha.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Little Baby .... -



Photo of EmilyBrower and Baby at 12.5 weeks at Baby David's newborn photoshoot. 

CLICK OVER TO HER BLOG to see WHO BABY IS! :D :D :D :D 

The so so so so sooo excited friend, 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Resurrection Sunday Photos -

Good morning to y'all!! :) And a Happy Saturday too!! I'm blogging this at about 1:30am, because I'm ... up (big surprise there). ;) I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend, I really do.

I thought it would be nice to share some pictures from Resurrection Sunday. I took my camera with me to church, hoping I would be able to take a family pic of Laurie's clan. Why? Because the kids always look so incredibly adorable on Easter, that's why. And also because there isn't a better Sunday than Easter to take pictures. :) I loved the pictures, but I probably won't put up their portraits on here. Laurie was so sweet and took a picture of me with their little (growing up fast!) kids. :)

Little Man J., C. me, M. and Little Girlie A. (this is also the only full shot of what I was wearing, so you can see how long my skirt is!) I love these kids soooo much. :) Oh yeah, and time to brag about Laurie. She made M's headband, shirt and skirt, C's dress and headband, and A's dress and hairbow. She's an amazing seamstress and mother! :) And wife! and friend! and! a whole lot of other things too. :) She sewed my bridesmaids dress for Emily's wedding. :)


So most of you don't know that I teach Sunday School. :) I teach 3rd to 5th grade, and I have 5 of the best kids in the church. They are hysterical, sincere, joyful, energetic, and easy to love. :)

And THIS is what we pretty much do every.single.Sunday for about half the lesson. :) We LAUGH.


Max (on the left) isn't the only boy, stop feeling sorry for him...Josh wasn't there, so we missed having him in the picture! We'll have to take another one....Max just got new glasses, that turned into sunglasses when he goes outside. How cool is that!? Max is little bro to Sarah (far right). So I have 2 sets of siblings, and then Josh. :) I've known Sarah and Max since they were babies, and C and M too! They keep Sundays interesting and crazy and laughter-filled, and we all learn together. :)


Back Home I convinced our family to step outside and take a few pictures (you can see the whole family pic on the sidebar), because after all, like I said - it was Easter Sunday! We've taken pictures of our Easter dresses/Easter Sunday since as long as I can remember. :)

Here's Daddy and Momma. Daddy is wearing his special Easter tie, and Momma just looks sweet. :)


My dearest Momma and I, and Lucy Mae. (I did a little extra pink color on this one in the post-processing, I don't usually do that, but once I saw how cute it was, I didn't want to change it back.)


After we laughed our way through taking pictures with a timer and tripod, and throwing rocks at the ground to get Lucy Mae to look, we were tired of it. haha. Mom and Kim headed back inside, and Daddy had a ball taking a few pictures of Lucy Mae and I. It was so much easier letting someone else take the pictures than trying to do it myself! Who would have thought, right? Hahahaha! So we got a little mini-photoshoot, and I just love these pictures.

Sweet baby girl. She will be a year and a half later this month!!


Kisses. She LOVES giving kisses. :) and I LOVE receiving them. With my mouth closed. ;) 


This is her favorite way to be held....and mine too. I love her so much. 


I love her eyes in the 1st shot. She's incredibly attentive. :) 


Spring in the background, how I love seeing green! Oh, and I'm wearing my bridesmaid bracelet. :)


Thanks so much to Daddy for taking those!! 

So now I'm going to give a shameless plug to Old Navy. :) Or rather, I'll tell you to go online or the store nearest you, and see if there is one in your size left. I bought this skirt for $14.00, and it fits perfectly. It's polyester, and breezy, and is lined, and flowy, and I just adore it. You can't wear cotton in the summer in the sub-tropics, not if you want to stay alive. So I'm excited that I have at least one breathable summer skirt that is long and graceful too!! :)

I just looked online, and there are lots of sizes! There is also free shipping on orders over $50! :D No, I'm not being paid or endorsed, and Old Navy doesn't even know I'm alive. Click here!


I was trying to get a picture, and Daddy lifted up the edge with his fingers, and my heart melted a little bit. He's so kind and gentlemanly. I love him so much


One last picture - Daddy took this one. :) Our star jasmine bushes are blooming, and there is nothing like walking outside and being hit with a wave of jasmine air. It's just Heavenly, really. :)


If you haven't seen my Sunrise video from last Sunday at the river, I encourage you to watch it, it's really special to me, since I got to use some treasured music. You can watch it here. 
I hope you all had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday, and a wonderful week! :)
Let us continue praising and rejoicing our RISEN Lord!!!
Thank you for stopping by!
With much love,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. I'm still very much enjoying the excitement of my new blog design!! And thank you for all the really sweet and encouraging comments about it! It is so nice to share the joy. :) 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sunshine in a Mason Jar -

Today I got home from piano and it was currently 88 degrees outside. It didn't feel like 88 degrees. It felt like 88 degrees with a heat rating of 95. hahaha. Spring has sprung and left, and Summer is here. Record early. ;) I was craving some lemonade, so I poured together some cold water, lemon juice, org.sugar, and half a lemon squeezed in, and then I stirred it up in a Ball Mason jar with a wooden fork.

'Cause that's how Southern girls roll. ;D And also how other non-Southern people roll because they are awesome. Just to clarify. In case you were seething because I left you out or something like that.

I shot a few pictures because it was so downright pretty. And while I was outside taking pictures in the heat, I unscrewed that lid and took a gulp, and mah lands .... it felt soo good and yummy goin' down.

Inside on a chair. I skipped the normal watermark, and did something more yellow and fun. ;)


This is high photography here folks. I set it right down thar on the indoor/outdoor carpeting, and took a shot. Yep. Looks right purty, though, don't it? Oh my gosh, my Mom is going to kill me. One mention of Southern and I'm talking like Gomer at the drop of a ..... radiator. *name that episode* *goes into gales of laughter* *sips some lemonade* *slaps knee hypothetically because literally would hurt because it's still bruised from Canoeing on Saturday* ........ *moves on*.


My favorite. This is when I was drinking it down faster than I was taking pictures of it. 


YUM.


Hope y'all have a wonderful rest of the day....and go make yourself some lemonade!
I know you are craving it now. :D

Love y'all....
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Three things that matter -

Three things that make all the difference to remember tonight.

1. Because God has conquered death and will at the end of the last Battle end it forever, all the things that bring us to die upon this earth will be gone in Heaven. Cancer, depression, and every illness - no more. No more sickness, no more enemy, no more dread, no more loss.

2. God always has our best at heart. "Our best", that is, what we dream of ... is not our best. Our best is what God has in mind for us. What He has ordained for us is our best. What He will give us is our best. I might not understand how it all works for my best, but I hope with all my heart when I'm 90, aging, and slipping away (or whatever age I am when I leave here!), I will SEE how all along,
God had my very, very best at heart, always, and that I give Him the utmost praise and glory.

3. Our Lord and Savior and Heavenly Father loves us. He loves us with an unconditional, unfathomable, unquenchable, irrevocable love. His mercies are new every morning, because He loves us. His faithfulness extends to all generations, because He loves us. He redeems us and calls us His own, and adopts us into His holy family, because He loves us. He slices and uproots sin because it keeps us from Himself, and He speaks to our hearts through His Word, because He loves us. He promises He will never leave us, and He promises that His love will never fail. Ever.

Our loved ones in Heaven are tasting and seeing this deep, abounding love every single minute of every single day, and every single hour, and every single time they look upon His face.

He loves us, dear ones. 
The King and Creator of all things has conquered the grave, He will defeat all death forever one day,
He is always good, He is always holy, He is always just, righteous, gracious, merciful, worthy,
and He loves us more than we can dream, or begin to fathom, and He always will. Forever and ever!  

Those are three things that bring me utmost comfort tonight,
as I lay down to sleep under the shadow of the Almighty.
~ Jean Marie ~


Photo taken February 2012 in Beaufort, South Carolina. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Reflections (12) -

Sunday Reflections Week 12! 

~ Resurrection Sunday ~ 

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. 
O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction!" 
~ Hosea 13:14 ~ 

I know probably everyone either has sung this at church today, or had it running through your mind, or hummed it as you went about your Sunday rejoicing festivities, but the words are so very powerful to the Christian, and I love to sing it. :) There is no sweeter knowledge than knowing we are Christ's forever and ever!! When He died and then rose, He prepared our valley of death and our resurrection of life with His own. He goes before us in all things, triumphant and alive!!! I am stunned at the love of our Lord.


"Christ the Lord is Risen Today" by Charles Wesley (1739)

1. "Christ the Lord is ris'n today. Alleluia! sons of men and angels say; Alleluia! 
Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia! sing ye heav'ns and earth, reply. Alleluia! 

2. Vain the stone, the watch, the seal; Alleluia! Christ has burst the gates of hell: Alleluia! 
death in vain forbids His rise; Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise. Alleluia! 

3. Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia! where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! 
Once He died, our souls to save; Alleluia! where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! 

4. Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! following our exalted Head; Alleluia! 
made like Him, like Him we rise! Alleluia! ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! 

5. Hail, the Lord of earth and heav'n! Alleluia! Praise to Thee by both be giv'n; Alleluia! 
Thee we greet triumphant now; Alleluia! hail, the Resurrection, thou! Alleluia!" 


What glory!!! He has burst the gates of hell, death in vain forbids His rise! Made like Him, like Him we rise!!! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies! Oh precious words of truth!!! Oh sweet day that He arose triumphant!!

I've been waiting a long time (since I bought the CD) for the perfect time to use these two songs from Steven Curtis Chapman's Re.Creation album. I found the perfect day in this morning's sunrise pictures. :)
I hope you find it overwhelming like I did. I hope you had a sweet Easter, knowing we are Christ's Beloved.

If you'd like, let me know in the comments below - what you and your family did this Resurrection Sunday!

Let us live out this JOY all year, let us SING of it, let us TALK of it, let us PRAISE Him continually for it.
Let us be so moved by the cross, the cost, the redemption, the resurrection, the promise, that it changes all that we do here on Earth, that we live in the light of Eternity, and the light of His glorious reign.
With much love this joyful Eastertide!!
~ Jean Marie ~

If you want to view it larger, you can click on the title, and watch it on Vimeo instead. :) 
And for those of you not familiar with the Indian River, from the viewpoint of these pictures, I'm looking straight East, and those buildings and towers you see under the sunrise? 
That is the Kennedy Space Center. :) 


Saturday, April 7, 2012

They had no idea -

I have thought a lot lately about the night before the resurrection day of Christ. Maybe because I have been through so much grief lately, I feel deeply the cries and the pain that must have been going on in the hearts of those who loved Christ, and missed Him. I thought I'd share what's been running through my head. If it seems disorganized or not entirely wrapped up, well, just give me grace...it's late, I have Hot Cross Buns in the oven, and I'm typing this out on a prayer. :)

When grief comes and hits you hard, harder than you could ever believe, it's like one day you were walking on the most beautiful beach, wading, with perfectly even ground under your feet, gorgeous waves swirling around you, the weather is wonderful, you feel alive and the sun is shining.

 The next day, grief comes, and there is no sun. The tide goes out. The tide goes out, and you are left stranded on some ugly grey sand that is uneven, has ridges that are painful to walk upon, dips and holes and sinking sand and dropoffs where there used to be firm, even ground. The gorgeous waves are replaced by small, stinking, lapping, feeble currents that are freezing your feet and making you numb. You cannot go anywhere without being reminded of what you just had the day before, and what you won't have again (until, in this analogy, the tide comes back). It's dark, and scary, and you are alone. You are stranded out there, because you had faith that you could get back to the house on the shore anytime you wanted. You had no idea the tide could go out that fast. You had no idea they would be gone like that, and your family would have the empty chair it has. And nothing makes sense anymore.


I suspect that much of that is what the disciples and the people who loved Jesus so dearly were thinking on that night before Resurrection day. Can you imagine their grief? How it makes my heart ache and tears fill my eyes! The heart-rending sobs: "Jesus! He's gone! How can we go on?!" And the confusion ... What has happened? How could this happen? He was just welcomed with a triumphal entry, and the crowds spread their cloaks at His feet! How could all our dreams end this way? How could they crucify our beloved Teacher, our Rabboni that way? Our Savior, He is gone. He is dead. He is buried. Our hope is gone, for they have killed the One we worship and the One we love. They have killed Him.

Confusion. Pain. Weeping. Fear. Devastation. Crushed. Overwhelmed with sorrow.

It was this morning that it occurred to me that the verse that comforts so many of us in sorrow,
was perfectly perfectly written for that very night before Christ arose. Perhaps it really was, I don't know ... I'm not theologically wise enough to know. All I know is, it hit me hard this morning. :)

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." ~ Psalm 30:5 

And then the lights come on above your head, and a smile spreads across your face. Because you know what's coming. You know that Christ arose. :) You know that He did not stay in the grave!!

But they didn't know that. They had no clue, and they had no hope in that whatsoever. John 20:9 ~
 "For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead."
It also says in the footnotes that the word "know" also means "understand". They did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise ... they had no faith in that amazing hope of resurrection!! NONE!

They did not understand. They had no idea. They could not have dreamed what would come in the morning. 


Now if you are like me, you are feeling your heart squeeze so tightly, you think you might die of a broken heart right now. Because you read yourself in every single line you just read.

To be honest, there are many days I feel stuck out there on a sandbar, surrounded by darker waves as the tide goes out and out and out, while I'm stuck on a small little island of sand. Because - I don't understand. There is soooo much I don't understand, and probably won't, this side of Heaven. I want people back, and I want diseases and cancer and sickness to be gone. I want siblings back for my friends, I want daughters back and sons back, and I want Mama's back for their children, and I want them all here with us again. All that have gone on to the Heavenly shores. I want the sunny days back, when I didn't know what grief felt like. When life made sense, and when my heart thought God did everything the best. (He does, by the way, all the time)

But all this ... is in a blur, seen through a dark window, because the veil here between us and Heaven -
is not torn yet.

The veil between us and God has been torn, torn in two from top to bottom - we gain the Holy of Holies with nothing so much as a "Dearest Lord Jesus" in our reverent, awed voices, scarcely realizing the great cost that rent that curtain in two the day the Savior died to pay the debt in full to the glory of the Father.

The women ... walking to the tomb, carrying spices, wondering who would open the tomb for them, who would roll away the stone?

"Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" ~ Mark 16: 1-3 

And then they looked up. And what they saw, they still could not understand, until the angel spoke. Jesus was ALIVE. ALIVE!! He is not here, He is risen! What they had not understood, they now saw, and would soon SEE their risen Lord!!

JOY, oh the greatest JOY that must have leaped up, causing bursts of sobbing in amazement and dancing and praise flowing from their lips!!! Unexpected Joy - the most beautiful, precious joy they had known! Hope has returned, Jesus is alive, it is not over! Jesus, we will SEE Jesus!!! 

Death could not keep the Son of God. The grave could not hold Him. The victory has been won!
JOY came that morning, when Christ burst from the grave, alive, fully alive forevermore!

Who knows what sorrows and ills the Lord will call us to walk through, as we live out the rest of our earthly days here, but we can be so assured of the lasting Hope we always have - that our JOY is fully invested in Christ alone. Death holds no bounds upon us. We need not fear the grave any longer!


Their joy is our joy. They rejoiced what we rejoice tomorrow. They proclaimed what we proclaim.
That because Christ is risen, so we shall also rise, and all those who dwell with Him now, their bodies will be raised imperishable in the day the Lord returns. And ALL things will be made new!! We have been redeemed, we have been forgiven, we have become children of God, we have been taken from the bonds of death, and given the gift of life, and Life Forevermore with the Savior and King!

"For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" ~ Romans 6:5 

They had no idea joy was coming .... 

Let us look upward with shining faces, to gaze and adore upon the Holy Lamb who was slain for us.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
With love, and prayers for a joyful, peaceful Resurrection Sunday to you all,
~ Jean Marie ~

Photos taken February 2012 ~ Fripp Island, SC

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blog Background Overhaul -

Hi! :) If you read this blog regularly, and you just got on here ... do not panic. Breathe in, breathe out. :)
I know you might be doing this, because it's what I do when I go somewhere and it is different. Things run across my mind like "Did I mix up my links? Didn't I bookmark it right? What if I've been attacked by some weird linky thing, and nothing will look right again? What IS this place? Where did everything normal go? Everything is....changed!" and then I realize that the blog background is different. :)

Welcome!!!

I'm so so soooo excited about this overhaul. :) It's been long overdue, and long desired. I had my old background for 2.5 years, and that was a long long time. A long time for a background, anyways. And friends, it had really started bothering me. See, I've blogged sooo many memories and sooo much pain and it was getting so overwhelming even to look to the sides anymore. It seriously started putting me in tears. Think of it like reading a really sad paragraph in a book every time you went to write something. Seeing everything through the light of what had hurt so much.

Not that there has not been some of the sweetest and most overwhelming joys on here, with that background, but it was feeling ... attaching. And my dear ones, there is so much joy here too. And I really wanted something that calmed me down and brought instant joy and peace when I got here. And now I can't stop smiling. It's so downright gorgeous. I love the colors and the background and everything. :)

So today EmilyBrower and I talked over chat, and browsed through backgrounds and things....I looked through about 20, but ended up going back to the very 1st one. It just fit so so well. And then EmilyBrower and I picked out colors and then......after 3 hours of work, my computer crashed from lack of internet, and I spent the next 15 minutes praying my little heart out that it was saved. It wasn't. ;) But it was on g-mail, because I had e-mailed Emily the colors and sent her screenshots! So it WAS saved, and the edits went in, and viola! New blog.

We loved playing with the colors, and just agreed hands down that we were recreating the beach in our heads. haha. Everything is blue, teal, aquamarine, and some sand thrown in. :) These are the colors I dream in. I love them. God made them so beautifully, perfectly well. Then I added a new picture of me laughing (courtesy of Lauren with my camera at St. A's), and put it all up. I might move some things around later, but for now, this is the new design. I also added color to the lines around the blog title, I felt that it made it pop even more. The name of it was perfect too: "At the Cottage". :) SO great!

I love that it opens up the space, being white and unrestricted, and makes it seem so big.
I love that when I listen to my beach music, it perfectly fits my blog.
I love that Em and I had the greatest time making it, and spending time laughing at each other.
I love that EmilyBrower loves it. ;)
I love that I sigh with joy when I get on here, and I love that it is new and just Jean Marie right. :)

So there we have it! Leave a comment if you want, or three! haha, and tell me what you think!
With so much love,
~ Jean Marie ~


March 22nd at the Ponce DeLeon Lighthouse

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Reflections (11) -

Sunday Reflections Week 11! 

~ Palm Sunday ~
How greatly I look forward to Easter Sunday every year. Every year since it was engraved on my heart of the sweetness of the resurrection and the finishing of my salvation by Christ. How wonderful it has become to look upon the week that He took upon Himself the debt I owed, and paid it in full. He is fully glorified and ALIVE, and has bought us with His own precious blood. We are children of God by His perfect atonement, we are washed clean, we are made new creations, we will live forever with Him!!

Singing in church today, I felt my whole body just vibrating with trying to hold myself (mostly) still during the service. With all that was in me, I sucked in air, and poured myself out in gratitude. Palm Sunday, Passion week and Good Friday and Easter drops me to my knees in joy.

I taught my Sunday school children, and as we wrote out answers for What we were before, What We deserved, What Christ accomplished on the Cross, and What we have now and will have because of Him, I found my heart swelling with each answer.

 Forgiveness. Life. Joy. Freedom. Heaven. Communion with God. Healed. Grace. 
Adopted and co-heirs with Christ. Children of God. My debt ALL paid. Peace. Hope. 
 No condemnation. No punishment. No prison and no death. No separation. Made pure and holy. 
Redeemed. Loved. Accepted into God's family. 

As I turned around, and I asked one of the girls for another answer, she looked at me like she couldn't think up another one, and we said "JOY!" at the same time. ;) I said "Joy covers so much of what we feel when we think about this, doesn't it!!", and she quickly agreed. How sweet to see the gospel light in their eyes.

Please be moved this week, as you go into Passion week....please let this, the gospel truth of Christ on the cross and Christ as your Savior and Christ resurrected pull you down to your knees in gratitude, let it overwhelm you with joy, let it bring you before the cross and the throne in utter worship for the High King of Heaven and the Lamb that was slain for His beloved. Let there be joy in every heart over this!!!

Here is one of the songs we sang this morning. With eyes brimmed with tears, and gratitude pumping faster than anything else through my heart, with overwhelmed and staggered amazement at the Savior, I sang this song that is and will always be one of my very favorites. May it be sung on the day that I am even laid to rest in the ground, because I will be singing it on this earth, and in Heaven as well.

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! 
Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey." 
~ Zechariah 9:9 ~


" Man of Sorrows! What a Name" by Philip P. Bliss (1875)

"Man of Sorrows! what a name for the Son of God, who came, 
ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah! what a Savior! 

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood,
sealed my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah! what a Savior! 

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we; spotless Lamb of God was He; 
full atonement! can it be? Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die, "It is finished!" was His cry;
now in Heav'n exalted high: Hallelujah! what a Savior! 

When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, 
then anew this song we'll sing: Hallelujah! what a Savior!!!" 


(Dogwood blossoms. March 18, 2012)