Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Remembered -


I went back this morning and read what I wrote last year for Thanksgiving, and I cried all over again. 
I can't write it any better this year than I did for last year, so here is a re-post.
 It amazes me how God has blessed us through sorrow, through joy, through unexpected mercies, grace and beauty. 

A Kinship With The Pilgrims

"I too, have loved ones buried on hills. 
I too, bow my head in worship. 
I too, raise it again in thankfulness. 

This life is so hard. Harder than I ever dreamed. But oh, God has been so good."

Today I plan on hugging and snuggling, rejoicing and praising, remembering and believing, being present and loving hard. 
Thanks be to the Giver for all things. Praise is here, because the Holy Spirit has not been silent. 

With much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

Monday, November 25, 2013

You need a friend like this -

Birthday posts are hard to write. Why? Because there is so, so, so much to say. And you feel like if you don't get it all down, you might explode. Or if you don't get it out correctly, it doesn't sound like a birthday post. But I'm such a huge fan of just writing, so that's what this will be. A lot of words that would never fit in a birthday card (even one of mine, haha!). 

There is a friend that I can call in the middle of the night, if I need to. 
There is a friend I call about anything, everything, nothing....and know she will always pick up with love.
There is a friend who will hold you in her kitchen after it hits you like a train of sadness that her son is the same age as Avery was
and will stand in the kitchen for 20 minutes and rock you while you weep into her shoulder. 
There is a friend who doesn't try to make it better, when she knows there are no words. 
There is a friend that will laugh hysterically with you about nothing at the drop of a hat. 
There is a friend you get excited about telling news to, because you know she'll love to rejoice with you.
There is a friend who you can stay up late into the wee hours of the morning,
skyping and trying not to wake your whole household because you are laughing so hard about something so true. 
There is a friend who takes you just the way you are, and loves you that way. 
There is a friend that means so much that your hearts seem connected. 
There is a friend that will take all your sorrows in and will pray for you. 
There is a friend that will write an e-mail out of nowhere, just to let you know you are loved. 
There is a friend you call when you see a bad accident on the highway, and need someone to calm you down. 
There is a friend who will sit in silence and hold your hand for a little while, just to be

Everyone needs a friend like this. Like Tricia

And darn it, if I'm not crying already. I have lots of friends, but there are not many people like Tricia. 

I've rarely felt so much compassion and care from anyone in my life. Tricia is not comfortable with the seen, she is driven by the unseen that rarely wants to be touched by the rest of the world. By the second or third "Really, Jean...how are you?", I'm either spilling my heart or my tears. She has such a heart for knowing someone deeply. She almost skips the mundane, the new. She wants to know how she can minister to you, in 5 minutes you are known, loved, cared-for, asked about, wanted. It is something I try to be every day, and yet she does it every time I see her or have a conversation.

She, as I wrote here, ... puts out the fires in my soul. And it isn't always big things. Yet she is such an incredible listener and encourager that you come away thinking it was a big thing, just because of how she responded in love. She reminds me constantly that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" and to say that we talk about Heaven a lot would be a vast understatement. She has such a Heavenward view on life here that has comforted me time and again. Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else and remind you it's true. 

She is honestly one of the most empathetic, amazing, caring, loving, genuine, true, brave, compassionate and deep people I've ever known. I'm so thankful God has given me friendship with her. I am so incredibly blessed by her friendship, and I love her so much that I cried this morning, just thinking about how dear she is. 

We all need someone to speak Truth into our lives, especially when it aches, and Tricia does that to me.
This verse makes complete and utter sense when applied to her: 
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now." ~ Philippians 1:3-5

Taken a few weeks ago, trying really really hard to hold in the hysterical laughter. 

So Happy 21st Birthday today to one of the dearest friends I've ever known. 
I love you so very much, Tricia. I thank God upon every remembrance of you. 
Thank you for all the hugs, tears, laughter, joy, dancing in the kitchen, hysterical jokes, grace, love, and sweetness you give.
Thank you for sharing life with me, it is so much better with you in it.

With love always, 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Big Announcement -

First off, no, I'm not engaged. Just to get that off every girl's mind. Hahahaha! But I do have really exciting news! 

It's been a long-time dream of mine, a long-time worked on, a long-time waited for. Ready? :D 

I'm launching my own Photography Business!!! :) Exciting, right? *screams* I know!

Last Sunday night, I started a Facebook Photography page for Jemmie Photography, and as of yesterday, (in 5 days), I had 100 likes! I know it seems small, but when you are just starting out, then it is so encouraging to have everyone's support. 

And I've been working on building my Photography website for months now. In secret. I didn't tell anyone, and then I told some of my best friends about a week ago, and they started lovingly pestering me to let them see it. Hahaha. Finally it was tweaked enough to show my family a few days ago! 

If I was honest with you, which I will be, then I would tell you that yes....I did want a $500 web designer to make an exceptionally amazing website that everyone could ooh and ahh over. But then I realized that all I need right now is something that shows who I am and how I love to shoot. And it IS very me. In the future, if I need to, then I can move on to something bigger. For now, I love it. :) 

I used Blogger and then re-wrote everything in the HTML that I didn't like, causing tears, frustration, head-bashing-against-walls, rolling eyes and begging the HTML to "please please please just do what I said the first time." HTML is like a rebellious toddler. But eventually (after much prayer and pulling my hair out and calming tea) ... I finished it! And then I loaded it full of picture posts so you all have something to look at. 

And because I know you are already hovering with your finger over your mouse to press the button to go see it.....here it is! 


Monday the 18th was the turning point day. The day I'll remember for a long time when God opened up everything and let me SEE my dreams could be more than dreams. It was a wonderful, amazing day. Not only were the "likes" flowing in about my FB page, but clients were booking me, and it wasn't a matter of if I could do it, it was a matter of if there were enough days to do it! 

On Monday, I wrote this on Facebook: 
"Today was an exciting day. For the first time in a long time, it felt like I stopped fearing and just started dreaming and dreaming BIG. IT has been a whirlwind of possibilities and I'm feeling so blessed and loved by God. Here's to the next 70 years." 

I think it is a powerful thing to have friends and family and people you don't even know come up alongside of you and tell you - "You can do this.",
 and even more than that...knowing it yourself. 

I feel so incredibly loved and blessed by God. I've wanted this for a long time....
and as long as the business lasts, I want to be grateful for every opportunity, every chance to meet new people,
to create JOY in photographic and memory form, every chance to bless someone. 

So far it has a wonderful ride. Here's to many more photoshoots, opportunities, and new friends. 
And go have a look at the website! It's not perfect or amazing, but I do love it. :) Thanks for all your support and excitement with me!! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Fly -

From Lisa-Jo Baker, the Gypsy Mama"On Fridays around these parts we like to write. Not for comments or traffic or anyone else's agenda. But for fun, for practice, for joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker. We love to just write without worrying if it's just right or not. For five minutes flat."

Today's prompt: Fly

~ Go ~ 

Five minutes isn't enough to sum up this week. But here I am, pecking away at keys, even though I'm beyond exhausted,
having driven home for an hour, after playing volleyball with my friends. 

It was when fatigue hit me so hard, I thought I'd have a meltdown, right then and there, when I missed the volleyball that was clearly in my zone....for the 14th time. Everyone is used to it, everyone laughed, it's all in good fun...that's why I play.
 But fatigue hit hard, and I knew driving home was out. 

So then I played racquetball by myself, as talk swirled from my two best friends about cameras, photography, sessions, lessons, tips....oh, and I missed the ball. Um. Almost every time. And it hit me like a freight train out of nowhere that I missed Avery. And it's not like I don't miss him every day, because I do. But it hit me again that.....this isn't normal. Or any more realistic than June of 2012

I bit my lip and whacked that ball harder. And harder. And harder. 

Because even though I'm joking about just making it home, he is more Home than I've ever been
And when I'm fatigued and exhausted and feel like my heart has died....he is more Alive than I've ever known. 

And that makes me cry. I want to be that kind of Alive and that kind of Home and that kind of Known. 

Don't we all? We all long for it, we were built for it, our bodies and souls ache for it. 

And somewhere along in my journey of life, I told myself to stop dreaming.
Especially after all the goodbyes and heartbreak. Making it to 80 and then to Heaven was the goal. No dreams. 

Yet here I find myself, after the most amazing Monday and the most incredible start to my week....
dreams I've kept hidden and down and built up little by little....and people says YES and please and that I am special and they are blessed by me. 

And it brings more tears. Because all along that broken way, God broke down barrier after barrier, and here I am, dreaming again.
Building again. Hoping again. Wanting again. Trying again. 

Monday was incredible, because Monday was the first day I felt.... ready. Ready to fly again. 

~ Stop ~ 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Jamboree of '13 Day 2 -

So Ben & Emily graciously allowed me to spend the night at their house on Saturday night so I wouldn't have to drive back home, and then drive back in the morning, it was SO relaxing and fun. Of course when we got up in the morning though, Emily and I acted like two best friends at a sleepover and were chatting away and suddenly realized it was 10:30 in the morning. Oops. haha. So we got ready and left, and well, you already know this story. This is the day The Proposal happened. If you haven't heard me screaming in joy about it from miles away, or haven't seen it on FB or read it on my blog........hop on over there and then come back. 

These are some photos of Loner's Junction, when I was trying to be "normal photographer friend" 
and take normal pictures instead of grinning like my head would explode. haha. 

Here's Emily playing bass! And looking lovely, if I do say so myself....which I do. 

And Emily's husband, Obi, playing the banjo. 

And Gabe. And Abi. *shrieks* Sorry. I just can't help myself. Gabe says it was one of the best times 
he's ever played his music, was right before the Proposal. Sweet, hmm? And amazing. I'd be a wreck. 

 Sweet swinging feet.  

Something was funny. :D  

Trying to hold in all the joy was hard. :) 

Still laughing about that thing. Love them. 

Boaz the Brave. He was so kind and asked me to waltz later, and we had a blast together. :)  

Leah in giddy joy on the end, and Mr. & Mrs. Morse thinking....some moments before The Proposal. 
I could get all teary thinking what was running through their minds....their sweet girl getting engaged....
but I really don't know what they were thinking. ;)  

Ben looking like Ben.....and my bestie and her girl. G looks like she is waving, but I think it was a coincidence. :D  

Obi always manages to look classic. I don't know how.... I think it is the glasses.  

JOY.  

And then the JOY erupted into tears and hugs all around and shrieks and dabbing at cheeks and laughing
 and "YES! YOU DID IT!"'s and more hugs and more waving at the tears in our eyes.  

SEE?  

So incredibly sweet. Such a gloriously happy day. 

And then we had to walk around like normal people after that!! Ummm......no. hahaha. I was SO distracted. People had to repeat things about 3 times until I would answer. I called it Post Proposal Haze...and I wasn't the only one suffering from it. We just were on such a high together. :D 

But then I rounded a corner and saw blonde hair. Blonde hair in a tan dress holding hands with a guy she just married who has black hair. And I screamed, and ran into her open arms. 

It was Amanda. It had been a long year and a half since I'd seen her, and oh, how I had missed her

On October 22, she mentioned she might come to Barberville (from VA), and I assumed she was joking, until I realized she was not, and then I cried. Like the drop of a hat, the thought of seeing her and hugging her made me cry. So know that when I DID hold her in a hug again, I was teary eyed. 

It was wonderful. I must have hugged her 15 times in 2 minutes. And I met her husband and love, Tyler. Such a nice guy. I'm so happy for her. 

We walked around a little bit together, visiting the Sugarcane Shed.....y'all can't imagine how good this smelled. Mmmmmm. Smell of the South, y'all. 

Then there was the boiling corn stop. How lovely is that fire? Goodness. 

And here we find some miscreants eating ice cream and discussing the fire. 

Up to no good, like always. Those miscreants. *shakes head* 

I wanted the miscreant on the left in focus, but of course in the full blown sunshine I didn't realize I was shooting too small. But of course there are the creeper ice cream miscreants in the background that make up for it. 

The stunning oaks covered in moss and lichen all over the Settlement are gorgeous. 

The moss moves and wisps and sways in the breeze, and it just makes it all feel like.......Home

Walking to the old house.... 

You never know what you will see at Barberville. hahaha. There are stories and jokes that are hysterical.....but we love the grand mix. It's never dull, let's say it that way. "THEY ARE ALL AROUND ME." hahahahahaha. 

Georgia Girl. 

Joel had my camera and was trying to test settings.....viola. A Becky photo. :) And looking lovely! 

And then I happily got a picture with Becky, it was so fun coming home and having pictures with people, instead of just of them! Thanks Joel! (also, ignore my rebel curls)

And then, there was the dancing. I enjoyed it more than last year, it was so fun! I danced for about an hour. 

Swingin'.  

Oh my. Providence looked like a mini Kirsten American Girl Doll. Adorable.  

Don't be fooled. These younguns can dance better than most of us. hahaha. 

Precious girl.  

And more swinging! Swing, swing, swing! 

The newly engaged and bride-to-be, Miss Abigail. :)  

Loving friends. All joy!! 

Talking and laughing. 

And then I handed the camera to Mrs. Brower and ran off to waltz with Boaz. She took these next ones! 

Waltzing. 

Awwww. 

Those age ranges is what makes Barberville so wonderful for families. Everyone loves it. 

Boaz and I laughing about what professional waltzers we are. hahahahhaa. 

Abi and Gabi & Tyler and Amanda!  

Lots of motion and twirling and spinning! 

I loved how the light came across the floor. 

And we tromped outside to take a few pictures.....because that's what we do best. Jeff and the lovely Nichole. It was SO good to meet her!!  

Jeff pulling off his glasses like Elvis. Sort of. 

Yes. We all know Batman needs some taking care of sometimes.  

The firehouse. 

The Post Office. 

The Chapel. 

I always try to sit down for one of the Jackson Creek concerts. I love their music so much. I could listen to it all day.
 And Leah joined them for a few songs, which makes it that much more beautiful. 

He played percussion with pretty much everything camping/old fashioned you could think of. 

But all too soon, someone put their hand on my shoulder, and I looked up to see Amanda, and knew what was coming.....it was goodbyes time.  I stared at her a little bit, just enjoying knowing I was standing a foot away, feeling so thankful that I was able to see her and meet Tyler. 

And then Emily took some very real and very us pictures. I think I'm more myself at the Settlement than I am at most places. Or maybe it just isn't as common to get photos at other places. 

But a hug picture with Amanda is a must. She loves hard and strong like I am. We are twins. 

More hugs (I had no idea she was doing this until I got home, haha).

But something made me start laughing. 

Because, obviously.....now we both think something is hilarious. 

But now I'm crying again. I hate goodbyes/farewells/see you laters. 

She is a special friend. An unexpected, strong, deep, loving friend. I've been so blessed to be friends with her. Some things are hard to put into words....but she has been there for me through a lot. I love you, Manda. 

I walked around sniffling for a little while after I said goodbye.

And thank you, Emily, SO much for those pictures. (I think Ben took this) 

They are both so wonderful and adorable and kind and sweet. 

When it is sunset at Barberville, there is this stunning hazy magic that happens. I love it. 

And then we have the Morse family. hahaha. I love Seth's natural curly afro sooo much because my Daddy had one just like it when he was younger, except it was red hair. :) Now we are trying to wind down from the day. And pretty much failing....because clearly. Look at Nathan. He is in denial. 

Yup. Hahaha. 

Shannon with ice cream in her mouth and wearing her lovely brown cloche. 

Kettle Corn. Mmmmm. 

The Settlement has it's own little fire trucks and water tank trucks and things. It's pretty neat (and cute). 

I love this girl. She has a million dollar smile. 

Sweet Emily. 

I wanted a picture of Tricia's baby belly, like we did when she was pregnant with David, back in September of 2011. 

Awww. 

And then Gabi stuck this in the shot at the very last minute. What a great Loner's Junction ad! HAhahaa!! We laughed SO hard.  

Precious David. 

Ohh, it makes my heart melt. He is such a lovey. 

Tricia is such an amazing, empathetic, loving Mama.  

And always ready to laugh with her boy! 

And Leah is always ready to make sure kiddos are being safe. A loving pat, keeping him close. 

And a very happy me, after a very happy day. And then I went to a very lovely bonfire, and then of course...I drove home and hit that deer. haha. Then I picked up Lucy Mae, got home and realized I couldn't find the garage door opener and was locked out, so I had to go through all my weekend packed bags to find it.....20 minutes later, I found it under the passenger seat. 
GAH. Such a FULL DAY




And that was the 2nd day of a very wonderful and memorable Fall Jamboree of 2013!!!
Thanks for reading!! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

Look for a surprise soon on the blog! I'm excited to share!