Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Reflections (18) -

(Photos taken this Resurrection Sunday morning at the Indian River, March 31)

"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;
nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - 
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. 


For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 


So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, 
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory.". 


"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, 
Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
~ I Corinthians 15: 50-57 ~ 


He is risen, indeed! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!!!!!


~ Hosea 13:14 ~ 
"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!" 

"Vainly they watch His bed - Jesus, my Savior; 
Vainly they seal the dead - Jesus, my Lord. 

Up from the grave He arose! With a mighty triumph o'er His foes. 
He arose a victor from the dark domain, 
and He lives forever with His saints to reign!
 He arose! He arose! 
Hallelujah! Christ arose!" 

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!! Because He has risen, so shall we also one day rise!!
~ Jean Marie ~

Friday, March 29, 2013

Remind me of Calvary -

Wow, y'all. 

I'm going to be honest, and y'all just bear with me for a little while, okay? Good Friday/Resurrection Sunday really does a number on me. I feel all the sorrow of the year come crashing in on the days when I think of Jesus dying, like all my sorrows have combined into one, and there He is.

My Lord. Taken down from the cross, His wounded, scarred body, and tenderly laid in the tomb.

And all my sorrows from this year sweep along in that sorrow, and actually, the year before that and the year before that, etc. One sorrow leads to the next sorrow, one loss to the next loss.

I know what it is like to stand on the unraveled end of the grass, torn and ripped open to give room for a box that holds your loved one's shell. That shell you held hands with and hugged and washed clean when dirt clouded fingers from work and that shell that housed the spirit that made life beautiful. I know what it is like to touch those fingertips and watch as their life slips away, from our defined moment into the eternity we haven't seen yet. From one life of love to the next. The stone marks the headstone where their shell lies, and the flowers wilt and fade and all you have left are memories.

Memories and Eternity.

I stood at too many graves this past year. Avery. My Grandmother. Friends of mine. Children. 

The stone marks the place where your loved one is buried, and you know that dirt can't hold that loved one there, because your loved one.....is not there. Because all those years ago, behind a stone that marked His grave, and there where His shell was laid, the unimaginable became reality.

He rose again.
 The stone marked the tomb, but not the spirit.
The spices heavy in the air, but unneeded, because Christ was whole and healed.
The burial cloths folded and left behind, traces of the former things, but no Jesus.

RISEN. 

Not risen to die again, but risen to live forever. He rose victorious that morning because death could not hold Him. Because He has risen from the dead, so shall we also all rise. For eternity forever with Him.

 He bore God's wrath for us. His death changed our death. His resurrection gave us all LIFE forever.

"(9)But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death
crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

(10)For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 

(14)Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 
(15)and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 

(16)For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 
(17)Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." 
~ Hebrews 2: 9-10, 14-17 ~ 



I love this hymn by Jennie Hussey... one of the hardest things for me in grief is knowing that God does all things out of love, and loves me with a great, undefinable love. But love can look no further than Christ on the cross!!! Can there be love any higher defined? Can there be any sweeter gift for us?

"Lead Me to Calvary" by Jennie Hussey

"King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be; 
Lest I forget Thy thorn crowned brow, lead me to Calvary. 

(refrain) Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary. 

Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid, tenderly mourned and wept;
Angels in robes of light arrayed, guarded Thee whilst Thou slept. 


Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary. 

Let me like Mary, through the gloom, come with a gift to Thee; 
Show to me now the empty tomb, lead me to Calvary. 

Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary. 

May I be willing, Lord, to bear, daily my cross for Thee; 
Even Thy cup of grief to share, Thou hast borne all for me. 

Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary." 

It is at the cross that I forget all my "righteousness" and where I surrender ALL my sin and shame. 
It is at the cross that I weep in sorrow and sing with joy. It is at the cross that I am paid for and bought.
 It is at the cross where it was FINISHED that life takes on the whole new meaning of FORGIVEN.
It is there, where my Lord hung upon the tree and suffered and died for me, it is there His love is profoundly evident and heart-shatteringly beautiful and soul-freeingly TRUE. 

He loves me. Ohhh He loves me!! 
Look to the cross and see Him there, and know without a doubt - He died for you. YOU. 

Lord, lest we forget Thy love ..... lead us to Calvary. 

With many tears and with much joy, 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Catan Night Part 4 -


Wow, y'all.
 These posts have been extremely fun for me. I'm not sure why, unless it's because my friends are the.best.ever. and make me laugh so much I wonder how my lungs still function correctly without air.

We've had Part 1: Game 1 and Time With Georgia
Part 2: The Jaunt/Photoshoot on the Savannah.
Part 3: The Photo Op of Hysteria.
and now Part 4: More Georgia Lovin' and An Extremely Long Game of Catan.

It is the weirdest thing for me to look at myself with long hair, almost like it's a version of myself that seems so long ago, even if it was only a month or two! Crazy, right?

I grab any chance I can get to snuggle G. Holding her just makes everything in the world right. 


I love her. In case you missed that memo. 


Here she is talking very expressively to Uncle Gabe. hahahahaha. 

Here's a little video of her chatting and being so sweet. :) 


aaaand this pretty much sums up how TIRED we were of this game that would.not.end. (Rach's face cracks me up. She's staring at the board as if some magical play would appear. hahahahaa) 

My wonderful pile of ... ships/houses/lumber. 
This was after some tornado ripped through the perfectly built train I had. Grrrr. 

Still laughing about things....even though some Pirate kept stealing all our supplies. 

Some days I still can't believe she's married, with a love and a baby. :) 

Lauren photobombs some difficult play. HAHAHAHAHA. I love her so much. 

Sustaining root beer (that the Brits claimed tasted like toothpaste). WHAAAT.

Hahahaha. I get that look a lot. :) Good thing he's constantly photogenic. 

ALL.THE.OPTIONS. Aaaaaand nowhere to go. 

I love these little shots. :) See my ships? All nice and organized! 

Perfectly-timed-photobomb by Gabe. Looking manly and stroking his beard. HAHAHAHa. I'm taking the picture, and something blurs on the right, just as I'm clicking. And then we all broke up laughing. :D

The sweet Brits that we love. Rebecca and Rachael. :) It was lovely seeing you, and please come again! :)

Ok. I have to share this hilarious moment with you. We had stopped to eat some of the best brownies ever, (they had caramel swirled in) and they were sooo good. And we are all milling around, and Gabe suddenly says "I NEED SOME WATER!" and for some unknown reason, we all just died laughing. He wasn't trying to be dramatic, just really needed some water, and oh my word. I was standing near the dining room table and I had my arms on it, bending over, trying to get air, and Emily fell into a chair laughing so hard. We laughed for a good 5 minutes, it was hilarious. We were soooo slap-happy. hahahaha. Still makes me laugh to think about it. :D Those are the BEST times, when you are so tired and you can't stop laughing. :)

Good memories. I just love these friends, and I'm so blessed to be a part of this group!!!
I love y'all. And thanks again to Joseph and the Hopes!!

Here's EmilyBrower's Photos/Videos from that night! (and yes. That video of G on my lap makes me teary)

With much love,
~ Jean Marie ~

Catan Night Part 3 -

Catan Night Part 3. The Hysterical Photo Op after the Savannah Jaunt.

So we get back to the Hopes, right? And I think "Hey. We'll just take a group girls shot....because we never do group shots and we should start doing that. I'll just ask one of the guys to snap a few."

I can hear my brain saying now - "Yeah right." HAHAHaa. It turned into a 15 minute photo op with less-than-normal looking photos of less-than-normal people in their perfectly hilarious personalities.

The night I edited these, I laughed so hard I cried. My shoulders hurt from shaking. My face was sore. My family was in bed, and I was sitting there laughing so hard I had trouble breathing.
Because - ALL OF THE FACES.

Heavens to Betsy. Look at them and see if you know what I'm talking about.

Shannon looking distractingly pretty....before we all get lined up. She is SO sweet. I love her. 


Exhibit A: The Creepy Stalker Photobomber Photo.






We about died laughing.

Exhibit B: Line Up and Be Normal Photo


Exhibit C: "Haha, We are Adorable....except Emily is Mad Now" Photo


Exhibit D: "Forget That and Look Somewhere Random" Photo.
(EMILY'S FACE ON THE BOTTOM. laughed so hard I cried)


Exhibit E: "Keep Being Completely Not Normal and Run With It" Photo.
(Emily shows us how to do the awkward Model Turn and gives us a thumbs up for effort...sort of)


Exhibit F: "Catch the car in the background and we have completely lost it by now" Photo


See what I mean?!!!! HAHAHAHAA. It is only these types of friends that make life THE BEST to be with.

I love them all. 

Hahahahaa. Until next time - aka: The last of Catan Night/The Second Game.

With love from a very laughter-filled heart now,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. I think this is the very first time that I've posted three posts in one night! Whew!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Catan Night Part 2 -

Part 2 of the February 2, 2013 Catan Night at the Hopes: The Jaunt/Photoshoot on the Savannah. 

Ok. The Savannah. We hadn't been there since Lauren and I shot Ben & Emily's engagement pictures back in September of 2011. I mean, wow, that was a lonnng time ago, it seems. :) So I suggested a walk before it got dark, (secretly hoping Lauren could take one or two photos of my long hair before I chopped it off, haha). We all grabbed our boots (except me, not smart) and cameras and went walking. 

About the time we hit the Savannah, the guys realized there were more cameras and girls than guys, and then all sort of sighed and rolled their eyes and went exploring for a little while, letting us take pictures. They really ARE the best. :) Thanks, guys! 

That wonderful abandoned shed. 


So much dripping moss....


"Lord, I just love it here."


Emily. :) 


The golden light was spilling all over the Savannah, and it.was.perfect. I was soooo happy. 


turning everything golden - 


light moving in and out 


I sat down for some portraits with Rach and Rebecca. 


Cutesy-pie. 


Sisters. 


My favorite. :) 


Albeit a little distracted by something happening over my shoulder. :) 


The Manly....Men. Ben clearly is used to it, so is Joseph and so is Gabe. hahaha. 


Lauren took some amaaaaazing portraits of Ben and Emily with Emily's camera. :) 


She is just that gorgeous inside and out. All the time. 


I begged for a bride/bridesmaids photo on the Savannah. Yay!!! 


The walk back ... part of which I spent catching up to see if that was a yellow shirt in the middle of the road. (I know, I know. Distraction comes easily for me.) 


Hahaha. They are so cuuuute. It was crazy hearing English accents again. We failed at imitating for the most part. ;) 


And now - some of my favorites from the night. These take my breath away. Tell me you have light like this where you are, and I probably won't believe you. Look at all that silvery moss!! 


Love. 


"And see, that's how I figured out that the 5 points of Calvanism relate to EVERYTHING. Even dish soap and writing HTML! It's amazing!!" 


Just kidding. I have no idea what they were saying. But they are best friends with each other, and with me, so they probably won't care.

Glorious besties. 


and that thar .... is the end of Part 2. Why? Because you might need a break to breathe before you look at the next few pictures because you will be falling off your chair laughing so hard. hahahahahahaa.

Ok. I love y'all. :)
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. Short posts are SO much more fun.