The Smoochiekins -

So Smoochiekins & The Fiance' are getting married tomorrow. *cue all the stored up emotional tears* I'm so everlastingly happy for her. I mean, I've known about Chris for years. Even before Chris had a name....back when I sat next to Darby at Ligonier and she was texting "some guy" and I was reading sideways to find out his name. Not like I really did that or anything. Nope. So his name was Chris. And she was falling head over heels. Fast forward a few years, and it is tomorrowwwww. (gonna die of joy) 

I just can't even.....even

Last weekend was an amazing blur of hysterically wonderful memories with her and our friends. Or really - all her friends that pulled me in and never let me go, and I'll be forever thankful for all of them. 

So she's getting married. And my head is exploding because there is so much to say. So much. And there are sooo many pictures to share. But I'm going on 3 hrs. of sleep and I'm sunburned and exhausted and did I mention tomorrow is the wedding. So I'm making myself stop editing pictures and go with these. I reminded Darby pre-Ligonier that we desperately needed one of us, at Ligonier. After all, tradition is necessary in the South. (We'll pretend Ar-Kansas is the South too) So sweet Wissa took pictures of us and I'll forever treasure these. There is nothing like best friend pictures. 

Darby and I - there just isn't enough time to say all I want to say. I immediately loved her when I met her. I thought she'd be perfect. She wasn't. She was hysterical and laughed with her whole being and I learned I could never eat around her because I'd end up choking. Not even kidding. 

And the jokes. Oh, the jokes. Anything, and I do mean almost ANYTHING can be laughed at with the Sprouls. Someone trips? Hilarious. Someone misspoke? Even better. Someone lost it in the middle of a serious moment? Worth talking about for months. Seeing the same thing? Laughing for hours. Sharing a joke together? Gonna' quote it forever. Something is funny? We are falling on the floor and crying tears. 

They are quite simply - so very wonderful for me and to me. I love them deeply. 

I love her deeply. 

She came to my birthday party this year and because nothing says SPEED like a double speed kart (totally kidding, they back up the governor), we sailed around the track singing "O Sole Mio" at the top of our lungs just because we could. 

And conversations like this: 
Me: "I can't help it if I'm a deer magnet!!!" 
Darby: "Jean, it's because your car is dressed so immodestly." 


"TRAIN MOUSE!" "TWINS!" "SOOOOOOOOONNN." "Epitome!!" "Joke is on you, people!" 

and all sorts of hysterical conversations in which you really had to be there. ;) 

And before we get all weepy here (too late, thanks a lot, Mrs. Stiemann), I just want to say some things that I don't put into words enough. 

 Darby shows up when you are hurting. She cares incredibly much and prays for you and loves on you. 

Right after our dear family friend died, her Mama died. I came home from one funeral to another. I walked into that building and we wept together. I said no more cancer. 6 months later, my friend's little boy died at 16 months and I was beyond devastated. Darby was the person I'd write in the middle of a day I couldn't comprehend because I was so angry I just had to tell someone. And we both knew that in all that anger, it was raging at death. It wasn't at the Sovereign One we both love. 

She listened and listened and listened. She made time for me in my sadness, when it mattered. 

It's amazing how those moments caught here and there between life falling apart, when just one person says they understand, and you know they do, can mend you more than you thought possible.

I'm incredibly thankful and grateful for Darby. She is strong and honest. She is passionate, brave, true, and sympathetic. She loves deeply and lives joyfully. She squeezes the life out of you in a hug and will make you laugh when you think you are gonna cry forever.  Some people you are thankful for every moment you have with them. 

She is one. I've been incredibly blessed and I feel like I'm barely telling you anything. 

And the amazing thing is that in the middle of all the texting (all.the.texting.) and planning and courting between her and Chris, that here and there, she's made time for me. Little times to talk. Even more amazing? That in 5 years, God allowed us to become best friends. 

If you ask me if I'm overwhelmed, then yeah. I am. 

And she's marrying Chris a gorgeous the most beautiful church ever.
She's going to look absolutely breathtaking, and just thinking about it makes me start bawling. 

And I know she's going to be missing her Mama and Shannon. They all will. 

I also know that because of the Truth we live in daily, that we will all make it through our journeys and that tomorrow is so laden with metaphors and parables and analogies that I'll start crying if I name them all. But just one - as we enter the church to witness their marriage, her Mama and Shannon and my dear ones are daily living in the Holy of Holies, before the face of God, in radiance and joy. We are Earthly alive, they are fully alive in a way that we long for. As we go to the marriage feast, we long for the wedding feast of the Lamb, with all the saints and with all the tribes and redeemed He has loved. 

It utterly blows me away. I love weddings. I love stories. I love Darby & Chris' story. 

And I love this friend. This amazing friend who has taught me for 5 years what friendship can be, and what joy looks like in sorrow and how to walk this life without losing trust in the One Who leads us.  

Dearest Darby. Thank you for the last 5 know I mean it all. I'm so excited for you and Chris. I cannot wait to celebrate with you tomorrow. What an honor to attend your wedding and watch you marry your beloved. Happy Wedding Day, Smoochiekins & Chris!!! 

Hopefully, Ar-Kansas won't hold you too long. C'mon, Wissa. Get them to Wisconsin. 
May the South live long and true and may you always have a friend to hug you when you need it. 

I love you to the moon and back and all the stars in between.
With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Oh and here are some photos to remind you of who we really are. ALL.THE.TIME. 

Like I said on Facebook: "We are an extremely non-dramatic, low excitement, very expressionless, introverted, quiet, non-sarcastic and boring group of people." Ligonier Natl. Conference 2014


So much laughter!!! 

I call this one: "Still Can't Believe We Didn't Drop Her." It's a wonder, people.