Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blue Springs Adventure -

Hey y'all! :) 

I have something fun for you to watch today! :) This past Sunday, Mrs. Gilchrist (Miss Judy) and I were talking, and she mentioned that when her friend from Colorado came, they were headed over to Blue Springs State Park. Well, I'd been aching all winter to go and see the manatees, and so I asked if I could come as well, and she said yes! Then on Monday night, I thought "We will be RIGHT by EmilyBrower...I'll just write and see if she wants to meet us there.", hoping it would be alright (I was pretty sure it would) with Miss Judy. Turns out, when I asked Miss Judy the next day, she said that she was thinking the very same thing, that we should pick up "Jean Marie's friend in DeLand" to go with us!! Great minds think alike. ;) It was so kind of Mrs. Gilchrist to let us join her and Miss Nancy, and I had a wonderful time!!! Thank you so much, Mrs. Gilchrist! 

We started out at DeLeon Springs Sugar Mill for a pancake breakfast, oh the memories there! Then we headed over to Blue Springs State Park. If y'all don't know, the manatees winter there, the spring is 72 degrees year round, and even though that's too cold for a FL girl like me to swim in, it is perfect for manatees! Plus, the water is SO clear that you can see right down to the bottom! I had not been there since I was a little girl, and same with Emily. We called it a "field trip". hahaha. 

A few stories to go with the video: 

* While we were eating pancakes, I look out the window and see a red and white plane zoom past, about 10 feet above the water. My brain went crazy in seconds, trying to sort out what just happened, and what on earth that was, because no plane should fly that low. Well it was a float plane! It zoomed in, and landed right there on the water, and docked at the pier, and the pilot and his lady walked in for a breakfast. Oh Florida, I love you. haha. What a surprise though!!

* Miss Nancy and Miss Judy and I had such a great time talking and laughing in the car.....Miss Nancy kept mentioning songs from the 50's and 60's, and she would say "You probably don't know these.", and I would say "Well actually, I probably will....", and Miss Judy would start laughing because she knows me and she knows I love Big Band. hahahaha. It was so fun being with them. :) 

* Another story ... you will see this huge gator in Emily's pictures when she puts them up. Well we were walking, and we passed this tourist (one of many), and he stops Emily and is pointing something out to her on the opposite riverbank. She turns to me with a look of shock, and calls me over. I walk over with a placating smile on my face, thinking she is humoring the over-reacting tourist. Um. NO. There was a gator lying on the opposite bank and it was huge and fat. I'd say.....maybe a 14 or 15 foot gator? Length wasn't really the issue. The fatness was the issue. Its head was ginormous. I instinctively tightened my grip on Georgia in my arms. hahaha. It was insane!! We were super glad it was way far away. :) 

* Watching the manatees was wonderful. They were cuddling and swimming and flipping their tails in the air, and rolling over and having a high-ho time, and we had just as great a time watching them. It was a beautiful day, warm, with just the right amount of breeze. Well, Emily and I were walking off a high-railed dock to go to another one, and I was holding Georgia. I could hear these tourists talking behind me, and I kept thinking "Surely they know I can hear them, right?". They were talking about how I shouldn't be holding Georgia because I might drop her....I should put her in the stroller....such a high threat level....blah blah blah. Meanwhile, Emily is walking along, and half listening, and I'm clenching my jaw and telling myself "Don't turn around, don't turn around, don't turn around....", because even though all I would say jokingly was - "Don't worry! I have a death grip on her!", I wasn't quiiiiite sure I could pull it off and have it sound completely nice. 

Because .... WHAT. I have both arms wrapped around her, I'm completely focused on her, and there is no way on God's green earth I am dropping her. So after they drifted off.... loudly.....I told Emily what they were implying, and SNAP. The Momma genes switched on. "Oh my gosh. Where are they? What do they look like? Why didn't you say something?" hahahaha. Those tourists got off easy....between the two of us. So then it turned into a huge joke. Just one more thing that makes me so glad we can laugh about stuff like that, and hold each other back too. hahaha. It was so ridiculous. 

*When Emily first got to the park, I went to get Georgia out of her baby carrier, and picked her up, and oh, she just melted right into me. I sighed and looked at Emily and said "It is like the first time I held her, every time.". There is such a connection to praying over someone since before they were known, to 5 weeks, to full term, to infant, to sweet 5  months and 2 days of her. She is so precious and I just adore her to pieces. Emily took some photos of me holding her and they just make my heart sing. 

Ok! Enough stories! Here is the video. :) 

I love y'all!!! Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend.
Oh, and a shout-out to Manda Rose, whose birthday is today!! Love you, sweet friend.
May God bless and keep you, both now and forevermore. Close to His side until we behold His face!
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. Thank you so much for sharing in my joy over my haircut!! It has been so fun hearing and seeing reactions to it. :) I am loving every second of it, and really enjoying how little time it takes to style it!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A big surprise -

Hi. :) 

So I bet some of you are going to scroll down and see what the surprise is before I finish this sentence....and since I know I can't stop you, I'll tell you what it is. :) I got my hair cut. Short. 

Hahahahahaha. Ok. Go ahead and scroll down if you want. Then come back up for the story. ;) And it's kind of long. As in longer than an essay for college long. Because stories are rarely short with me.

A few months ago, I was messing around on Pinterest (big surprise....not) and I was skyping with my sweet friend Meredith. She was talking about wanting her hair short and we were looking at short hair styles....and I told her I had this photo I loved but I'd never have the guts to do. I told her the first time I saw the picture I cried. Ie: I had tears in my eyes because I loved it so much.

See what I mean? I pinned it and would go and sigh over it and sniffle and think "mine won't work".
Source: via Jean on Pinterest

Here's the whole post with her hair. STUNNING.

So I told Mer - "I LOVE THIS, but I don't think mine would do it. And what if it was terrible? I'm not brave enough to do it." and she told me if she was cutting hers, I could cut mine. haha. :)

That was months ago, and then in January, my hair was getting ridiculously long. Like....the last time it was that long, I trimmed it because there is only so much patience I have when my hair is longer than my arm and I'm trying to comb it and it's a huge bother. I was going to make you guess, but I'll tell you. It was 6 inches below my hips.

And so I knew it was either: cut it super short, cut it medium, or trim it until I had more guts to do it. And we were having this wonderful January summer, and I knew I wanted it short before this summer (the real one), because of swimming and the beach. Swimming with it long and having mermaid hair is glorious....until you get tumbled in a wave and come up with it wrapped around your neck in a vise. Yeah, not so great if you are working on breathing oxygen instead of sea water. Hah.

So those were a few reasons, plus, it just had gotten to where even though it was lots of fun to try a bunch of new hairstyles....most of the time it just went on the top of my head, to stay out of the way. :) And there are other reasons too, ones I didn't realize affected me so much. Ie: every time I put my hair in Heidi braids and looked in the mirror, it took me straight back to the day we said goodbye and laid Avery next to his sister. And so many other sad moments when I vividly remember my hair being long and whipping around me like its own red veil at funerals...things I didn't realize I had internalized so much.

I was so ready to have it gone. I was so ready to let it go.

There was only one thing holding me back - I wanted long hair "romantic" photos. Old-fashioned ones.

So I wrote Lauren: aka the ONLY PERSON WHO KNEW ABOUT MY HAIRCUT. hahahahah. And she was cutting hers, plus, the Brits were comin' (Rach and her sister, Rebecca) from England, and she thought "How GREAT would it be for us both to show up with short hair?!!!". We thought it was genius. Only problem is, my hairstylist was out on Mondays. So when I called at 11am on Tuesday (hyperventilating), she didn't have anything till the next Tuesday. So no surprise for everyone that week.

Which meant........I had to keep the appointment, the intent, the idea, the excitement quiet....for a week. FROM EVERYONE (except Lauren......and her family (she got so excited, she told them, haha). I didn't say a word to my family, my friends....gah. IT WAS TORTURE. I kept writing Lauren, freaking out, and telling her how hard this was. She's a super secret keeper. She laughed at me. ;)

In that week, Laurie all of a sudden was like "I'm going to cut my hair" in a g-chat conversation....oh boy. You should have seen my brain. It was like fireworks going off. HAhaha. It was so hard being all laid back and still trying to feel out the waters....without giving the secret away about mine. ;)

So I had the appointment, and then the Monday before I made the appointment (but already had made up my mind), I took long hair photos. Romantic, old fashioned ones. :) (like this one.)

and like this one. :) and about 400 other ones...mostly because it was with the tripod and remote. hah.

I had the best light and the greatest time (shot all in RAW-woohoo!) and they are probably my favorite pictures in several months. So I wrote Lauren ALL GIDDY and sent her some, and felt so ready to have it cut. Only problem: I had to wait 8 days. And guess who couldn't sleep at nights because she was SO DOWNRIGHT EXCITED. Yes. Me. And then I'd freak out because as we all know.... ok, all us curly heads know..... if you don't cut it right you become triangle head. I've been it before.

Here. I'll give you proof.
Me: "My worry is that it won't be curly all over and will be straight or something...or curly at the bottom but not the top AND THEN...PYRAMID.
Lauren: "Yes! Hey, it's TRIANGLE HEAD! hahahahahaha!"
Me: "shut up." .... "I don't want to be triangle head!!!"
Lauren: "Don't worry, you won't. Your stylist has you covered."
Me to Lauren: "I couldn't sleep last night I was so excited about my haircut. And then I couldn't sleep because I was terrified it would go wrong and I would be Triangle Head for months. And then I was so excited about surprising everyone. I didn't get to sleep until 3am! gaaaaaaaahhhh."

So Lauren was my mainstay for sanity. And encouragement. And laughter. :) Thanks, bestie!

But then the last day of January, I found this blog, via Pinterest (oh, how I love thee), and I screamed quietly. Because this girl actually had RED. TEXTURED. CURLY. SHORT. HAIR. And it was then that I believed it would actually work. I was soooo over the moon excited. I printed off photos to take to my appointment and created a secret board on Pinterest, hahaha. It was exactly what I wanted.

The girl with the amazing hair also has freckles and runs a fashion blog: Feathers and Freckles.
(Crazy thing: she just posted about her hair in her newest post. An inverted bob! :) )

And then Saturday, I had to keep it a secret around everyone....and when we took pics on the Savannah, I looked at Lauren and said..."Should I take my hair down?", so everyone is thinking "what on earth.....", and Lauren took a few pics. Hahaha.

Monday night (before the haircut), I was praying it would work. And hyperventilating. And then squealing in excitement. And then praying again. And then hyperventilating some more. hahahaa. We had played volleyball, and I was washing my hair, and having a mini-pity party with myself.

"Look how pretty and long it is." "I'm going to miss this. Maybe I shouldn't cut it." ..... and then I went to comb it, and I was like "NEVERMIND. I TAKE IT ALL BACK." HAHAHahahaha.

So Tuesday morning, I tell Mom and Kim I'm going "Out shooting" (camera), (which, really, I was ... afterwards), and drove off to see my hair stylist, who has been cutting my hair for 18 years. Her and only her. haha. She is also a redhead, vivacious, ballroom dances, hysterical, wonderful, and I love her. I get there with my photos and tell her what I want, and I kid you not, she was more giddy than I was, she was sooooo excited. She knew exactly what it was. An inverted bob. And I was going to be adorable, she said. It will be perfect, she said. You will LOVE IT, she said.

We pulled my hair back, she cut it off, everyone in the salon went "nooooooo", and I shook my head and laughed in excitement. It was short and I loooooved it. Oh my lands. It felt SO GOOD.

but you should have seen the ladies faces when I walked into the waiting room with my hair hanging from my hand......they looked at me like "How could you?!!!". hahahaha. Then I started thinking: "Maybe I should put this in my purse or something.....". 

Ok. So if you've made it this far, you deserve some chocolate. C'mon over. I have truffles. ;)
Here are photos!!!

Before ... in my car.


After: YAY! I was sooooo happy. Still am! 

The back. 

It is longer in the front, and goes up in the back, layers everywhere! 

I have no idea why my eyes are that blue, must have been the light. I didn't edit them that color, I promise! haha. 

At the river, enjoying my new hair that blows everywhere. :) 

I just love it. It couldn't be better. 

I love it when my hair is blown by the wind, and so I stood there and let the wind pull it across my face, and I closed my eyes and felt FREE. It was a wonderful feeling and a neat moment. :)

aaaaaaaand this was Mama's face when I walked in. Pretty much the same expression on Kim's face and Dad's too!!! HAHAHA! It was worth aaaallllll the waiting to see their shocked expressions.

Dad kept looking at me and saying "Shocking! Simply Shocking!" in a British accent. hahaha.

And the next few days, I had THE best time skyping with friends and showing them my hair, and seeing their shocked faces too!! Hahahaha. It literally made my week. And then I told FB....slowly, drawing it out, making them riot, hahaha (not really), and here.....11 days later, I'm telling you! ;)

Honestly, it's been wonderful. I thought maybe I'd miss it a little bit, but I don't. Not at all. And guess how long it takes to do my hair? Two minutes. 2. And it takes less than that to comb it. Instead of 45. It is so carefree and I've already beach-tested it twice and I adore it. I'm so glad I got it cut!

and for those of you wondering, I'm not donating it this time. :) I'm selling it instead. Yes, just like Jo in Little Women "Oh Jo! How could you? Your only beauty!". Yes. Just like that. :)

Love you all!!! Have a wonderful weekend.
~ Jean Marie ~

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14, 2013 -

Happy Valentine's. ;) I say that with so much sarcasm that it makes molasses look like mountain rapids. You just can't see it. Thanks to Darby, with her "pre-Valentine-warning", I was laughing all evening about everything that is so annoying about Valentines Day. It's basically designed for couples or married couples to shower each other with love and for singles to sit in a corner listening to love songs and crying their eyes out while eating too much chocolate. And I'm all for showering people with love!

But as in every single day not just once a year.

And I'd be lying if I said I don't want to be married. Because I do. But I also want what God will bring in His perfect timing more than what I could push into ahead of time. I already know that won't work out well. Why? Because I've tried that with other things and guess what? It ends badly. Very.

Only HE is the One Who has ordained all my days, married or not. 

Not me.  Not matchmakers (random ones. in movies. whatever.). Not Lucy Mae....who loves EVERYONE. hahaha. Not super guy friends that I love being best friends with. Not anyone except the Lord and King Who died for me.

He has planned all of my days, and He has promised me all of Himself for all of them.
There is no greater love than His....for me. For me. I bow my head, thankful and overwhelmed.

May you know His great love for you today, and always.

With much love, and squeezes to all the married couples. hahaha. 
~ Jean Marie ~

Photo taken: Jan.28, 2013 ... Lucy Mae wanted in on a few pictures with me.
Such a sweetie. Love her so much! So blessed by her affection and kisses and joy every day. 

Oh! And my sweet friend Shannon wrote what I think about a lot over at her blog.
So I'm linking you there for a good read. :) "Wilt Thou Love Me?" 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Reflections (16) -

Photo taken February 5th. The Indian River and Max Brewer Bridge to Playalinda Beach. 

"Therefore we also, 
since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,
 who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame, 
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
~ Hebrews 12:1-2 ~

Friday, February 1, 2013

Remembering Columbia -

10 years ago today, I was waiting outside in the brilliant Florida morning sunshine, awaiting the always startling "boom-boom" sounds of the sonic booms to clap in the sky. They were as loud as a shotgun going off next to your ear, and no matter how prepared you thought you still jumped. :) The sonic booms meant the orbiter and her crew were home safe. Breath you didn't know you had been holding for the past few weeks since they left was released in a huge sigh of relief.

It was past 9, and I still hadn't heard anything. I was wandering up and down our street, barefoot, thinking I had gotten the time wrong, when a neighbor kid who I played with (and babysat) was outside on his scooter. He asked if I knew about the shuttle "blowing up", and I quickly corrected him "going up", and "it's not going up, it's coming home today". And then he told me "no. come see.". I followed him into their house, and sank down on the couch next to his mom.

I stared at the screen as it played live footage of burning pieces tumbling and falling from 203,000 feet into the Texas sky. It was happening in realtime, because TV cameras were set up to watch it fly over on her way to FL to land. I asked "What happened? What is that?", and she tearfully told me it was the Columbia. In pieces. I will never forget that terrible, rushing feeling of pain and helplessness as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing, and praying they could survive that, even though I knew they never could. She and I cried on the couch together for a few minutes, and then I knew I had the task of going and telling my family.

I crossed the street, and kept looking at the sky, knowing she wasn't coming home today.

I was 14, and the memory of me walking in our door, and choking out the news to them still gives me chills. The look on my Dad's face, and his tears as we prayed in the living room as a family still remains with me and always will. As NASA people, we felt we had lost family that day.

10 years later.....I still feel it. Those are terrible memories.

This is a sad banner to look at. It represents the Nacogdoches Columbia Recovery Team. They worked so hard, as they picked up more than 70,000 pieces of the orbiter that fell over miles and miles of land.

These photos are from the Astronaut Memorial at KSC Visitor's Center.

"Whenever mankind has sought to conquer new frontiers, there have been those who have given their lives for the cause. This Astronauts Memorial, dedicated May 9,1991, is a tribute to American men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice believing the conquest of Space is worth the risk of life."

The plaque honoring all who have died during their mission and in their love of Space exploration.

The Columbia Wall. Mission STS-107. 

For NASA, it still hits very close to home. To hearts. I've had many conversations with NASA workers, their families, and in particular, a member of the white room/ closeout team who knew several of them personally. The conversations always end up in tears. Man or woman. It was a hard loss. I still can't listen to the audio tape of the last few minutes.
It still breaks my heart.

The news reports, the constant newspaper articles, and photos and ceremonies and flags at half mast....and my overwhelmed journal entry that day still remind me of what being 14 and a young American was like. It reminds me of how much I love space and NASA and desire to see a program succeed and thrive and be supported by our nation. I pray that we will keep exploring and soaring. Keep on doing what they loved so much!!

I continue to pray for their families, and all who loved them, and pray that God would draw them to Him, and be as real to them as space was to their families when they flew above our skies.
Please join me in remembering, and in praying the same.
 If you have a memory, please feel free to share it in the comments below!

With much love,
~ Jean Marie ~

This was my 600th post! It is very fitting to have it be such a huge memory from growing up.