Our Shannon -

 So this morning (not being quite all awake, apparently), I scrolled through my contacts on my cell phone, saw "Sha..." and hit the button to send. A few rings and she picks up - "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" I say exuberantly....and the voice on the other end says "It's not my birthday!" and I say "It's NOT?!!" and she says "You called the wrong person, didn't you. Who were you trying to call?" and I say "Shannon!!" and she starts laughing....because I called my friend Sharon Patterson. 


So I chatted with her and loved the fact I called someone I liked a whole lot, wished her a happy non-birthday, and hung up. This time I triple checked who I dialed and when I got Shannon Fitzgerald's voicemail, I left her a voicemail, probably very confusingly explaining the whole delightful mess. 

So HAPPY 19th BIRTHDAY to one of the dearest and most special people on the planet 
- Miss Shannon Ashley Fitzgerald. 



You know I only write what I mean, so take all these words and store them in your heart 
under the file that says "Jean Marie loves me" and know it's so true........

It may sound odd, but I have dreams for my friends. I think it might even sound odd to me to say it aloud....but I do. I dream for them. Like maybe one dreams what a sister will accomplish, or who a cousin will come to know, or how their dreams in life will fall into place in one fell joyful moment. 

Shannon brings out the dreaming in me. She has so much potential. She is incredibly smart. 
Most days it seems like we are all just working together....we take photos, we edit them, we wait on pins and needles for those first glances and happy words from the clients.....and then some other days, it's like the lights go on and the pictures come alive with meaning and life feels very full. 

I'm so glad we share our love for photography, because so many times I write Shannon to bounce ideas off of her. She's honest in the most gracious way, she is encouraging and she praises highly. She is someone you WANT to ask their opinion, because you know she will always give it with the utmost love. 

November 2, 2013 Barberville Fall Jamboree 

She is hands down one of the cutest, sweetest, most fun and relaxing people to be around ... EVER. And I think I have pretty great friends....all of my pretty great friends would agree on the spot that we love being around Shannon. Sometimes I think she will never get married because we all are so protective of her. We're like a gang of bodyguards. Hahaha! You can hurt any of us, but come hell or high water, you will not hurt our Shannon. 

She is like the shimmering light in the midst of us, and we all want the very very best for her. 

She's funny and fun to be with, she is empathetic and compassionate, she is gracious and pleasant and all those old fashioned charming words that when you read them about a person, you sigh and sort of snuggle down in your chair because you have also loved a friend that way. 

She is tiny, Irish, a fighter, loyal, faithful, sweet, intuitive, a dreamer, a sensitive and deep soul. 

 Shannon is old school...she sends me cards in the mail, filled with words of love and thankfulness for our friendship written in her flowing script.....
I've cried many days in gratefulness for being at the receiving end of those. 

She is incredibly thankful. For everything. 
Look, a flower is blooming - how sweet that is. Look, the sun is shining right through the clouds there - oh, that is gorgeous. Look, that puppy is so cute - awww, how sweet! Look, it's raining, look, it's windy, look, I just fell over into that wave - Hahaha! 

It isn't forced, or fake, or made up for others - it is a beautiful childlike wonder of life, expressed in joy. 

Now take a minute and realize how many people you know that do that......we can be driving in the car, and it will suddenly just turn into one of the best hours of the year. She makes me reluctant to drop her off at her house. She lives in joy, and spills over that joy into other people. 

It's a beautiful trait, y'all. 

Shannon makes me want to be better at that. Actually, Shannon makes me want to be better at JOY, period. 

November 3, 2013 Barberville Fall Jamboree

And it isn't all sunshine and roses and life is perfect for forever in Shannon's World. Because it's not

Sometimes it's tears late at night and hurtful words spoken in haste and sometimes it's pain over losing something or someone that just makes the world so cold you listen to "Cold Is the Night" by the Oh Hello's on repeat because Lauren moved away. (We miss you, Lauren) 

Sometimes it is confusion or fear over what the Lord is doing or how to move forward. Sometimes it is just unexplained pain that I read through her sentences of Instant Messaging....it doesn't have a word, it doesn't have a name, it doesn't have a reason.....sometimes it just hurts. 

Shannon has never left me alone in my grief, she has come right up alongside me and written me from her heart, she has refused to stand on the sidelines because there is nothing to say. Instead she has come up, slid her arm around my waist, squeezed me, and said nothing in a beautiful silence until I'm ready to speak. And although her world may have been hurting, she still gave and gave and gave, because that is who she is. 

January 4, 2014 - Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

And so I dream for her.....what could be, what will be, what grand places we could someday see and have memories of.
What amazing things the Lord might do through our lives. 

I distinctly remember standing next to her, our hair whipping around in some very cold winter wind, and having an almost fierce pride and love for her. As if we were sisters, and I was hoping that the best of this world could be given to someone as beautiful of heart as Shannon. 

"Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see." ~ Mark Twain 

That quote reminds me a lot of Shannon. I am deeply impacted by her life, her heart for God, her willingness to fight for the gift of righteousness, her love for her family, her gift of friendship to her friends. 

Kindness is a beautiful thing in the midst of any season of life, and Shannon has shown it in all of hers. 
She is one of the most kind people I know, and I'm so blessed and thankful to know her as friend.

Feb 28 - Shooting Gabe & Abi's wedding 

(I just had to include these .... HAHAHAHAHAHA.) Exuberance is something we know how to show.

March 29, 2014:  On the day we figured out what Barberville would be like if it was a water park. 

I want to close with this, from last year's birthday post:

"The Lord shines in her. Shannon is so full of light. 

She desires the Lord's will for her life, and it shows. 
She desires the best for everyone, sees the best in everyone, loves giving her all for everyone.
That is a Christ-like heart. She opens herself to life, and pours herself back into it with such compassion and grace. 
She is ready to love, and to be loved in any way in return. 

It is not that she has not known sorrow. It is that she has known much light. 
It it not that she never gets impatient with others or herself. It is that she understands grace.
It is not that she never feels lonely or worried or sad. It is that she knows she is beloved and redeemed. 
It is that she knows, and loves with a deep love and reverence - her Lord and Savior, Jesus. 

Because Jesus has chosen us to be His own, He has chosen us for light. Shannon shines gloriously."

"But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day." 
~ Proverbs 4:18 ~  

May 2014 - Beach Day! 

Shannon, I want you to know that all you've given me in friendship has been noted, has been remembered, has been treasured.
I am so thankful to have you in my life, and to share life with you! I pray this is an amazing and wonderful year, full of God's deepest peace and richest mercies. 

Happy 19th Birthday, Shannon!!!! 

I'm SO excited for the beach day tomorrow! I can't wait to hug you and float in the sea with you. 

You are very, very loved, dearest Shan. 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 


  1. Oh Dear Shannon, you are such a blessing and encouragement. Happy Birthday! We love you.
    Mrs. Fambrough

  2. be still my heart.
    Jean, you make me feel so loved.
    So loved.
    I can't tell you how much your heart and words bless me. They go into the depths of my heart and remind me of who I am. During a week when I've struggled with just that, this post overwhelmed my heart. God has given me a precious gift from Heaven in you, and I'm so glad that I have your love surrounding my heart. You've given me a glimpse of something that I often feel far from... you've made me feel special and lovely, encouraging my spirit so much. Your words are the best birthday blessing ever. <3 Thank you, dear Jean.
    (and those B-ville pics with Becca and you! LOVE. <3}

    *bear hugs*


Post a Comment

Thank you for blessing me by leaving me a comment! I always love reading what you write!