Monday, September 29, 2014

A song of comfort -

I recently discovered this song "I Shall Not Want" by Audrey Assad. I can't stop playing it. 
I need to be reminded of its words so much in my day to day. I hope you find comfort in it as I have. 
It is so incredibly beautiful and these are all things I need to find in Jesus alone. 

On Friday night, I shot a beautiful maternity session in the rain down at the Indian River. 
Later we stood in the still-sprinkling-ran and watched the sun set as manatees surfaced and swam around us. 

"I Shall Not Want" by Audrey Assad

"From the love of my own comfort, from the fear of having nothing, 
From a life of worldly passions. Deliver me, O God. 

From the need to be understood, and from a need to be accepted. 
From the fear of being lonely. Deliver me, O God. Deliver me, O God. 

And I shall not want. No, I shall not want.
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want. 

From the fear of serving others. Oh, and from the fear of death or trial, and from the fear of humility.
Deliver me, O God. Deliver me, O God. 

And I shall not want. No, I shall not want.
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.

No, I shall not want. No, I shall not want.
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.  

When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want. 
I shall not want. Shall not want."

"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
Therefore the world does not yet know us, because it did not know Him. 
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall SEE Him as He is."
~ 1 John 3:1-2 ~ 

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; 
For You are with me. Your rod, and Your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." 
~ Psalm 23 ~ 

With much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

(Crazy note: This is my 777th post!! Haha) 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two Years Ago -

Two years ago TODAY I met Georgia Rose Brower for the first time. She was 8 days old, and because I already loved her, I pretty much sat on the couch with her on my lap and kept bursting into tears. It was such an incredibly happy day. 

I shared some of my favorite pictures from that newborn shoot over on my website, HERE

The cool thing is, I'm going to see Emily & Georgia today!! We are going to the beach to get some Maternity Swimsuit and Mama & Daughter pics of her and Georgia. I think it's so cool that 2 years after I shot her newborn portraits, I'm shooting pictures of her again, as a soon-to-be big sister to Phoenix, who is due in just a few weeks!! I can't wait to shoot Nixie's newborn portraits after she arrives!! Life is so amazing and wonderful. 

Hopefully, we'll have good light!! It's been super rainy here, in fact a few places in FL flooded. haha. Typical dramatic FL. 

I'm so very excited for today, and now I'd better sign off because I need some sleep. 
Have a wonderful day, and an even better 2nd day of Autumn. ;) 

Much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Project 52 {Week 38} -

Week 38 - A beautiful bowl of pasta salad at a baby shower at our church today! 

I absolutely adore the colors and sharpness in this picture. I love it when I correctly nail a food photography shot. Haha. 

Have a great Sunday tomorrow!! It's been really rainy here, and we are hoping for a few degrees cooler. ;) 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Georgia's 2nd Birthday Party -

Saturday was Georgia's 2nd Birthday Party! It was held at the beautiful DeLeon Springs, and thankfully, in the shade. It was actually breezy for most of the time, which was lovely, because it was of course....90 degrees. Haha. But we had a tent and the trees, and a great time together. We are, after all, Floridians. We are mostly used to the heat. ;) 

I was SO excited to go to G's party, because last year I was too sick from the Flu of Death to go. 

And it was such a beautiful, sunny day to celebrate Georgia Rose. 
Her 2nd birthday is tomorrow! I can't believe it. Where did 2 years go? 

I took just a few pictures, because I was mostly picking up Emily's camera to shoot for her so she could be in the pictures herself! That is so important for family events. :) It's a good thing we both shoot in Manual, because Canons and Nikons are opposites on settings. So I just had to do everything backwards. It took a few shots of overexposing pics to realize I was metering the light Nikon wise. hah. 

So here are my few pictures! 

I love water reflections. Love love love. 

Emily, Nixie, and Emily's camera. I was still in Maternity Mode from last weekend. Hahaha. 

Florida looks like a jungle sometimes. The springs, and on the other side, yellow kayaks for rental. 

Emily helping Georgia with her converse. Don't you love Georgia's Minnie shirt and Emily's Minnie ring? 

Emily is such an amazing Mama. I love watching my friends blossom from women into mothers. So beautiful. 

We sat around and talked for hours. It was great to just sit back (literally!) and hear stories and not have anywhere to be. True relaxation. 

You can see how hot it was with David's hair. Poor babes. They were little pretzel eaters. 
And of course, playing with the pool noodles and Papa and each other. :) 

This picture of Ryan cracks me up so much. I couldn't stop laughing at his expression when I got home. 
His face: "Hmm. What do I think of this intellectual and deep question??". Answer: "EAT ALL THE PRETZELS." 

And THESE next three of Tricia and Ryan. Oh. My. Heart. These just melt my heart clean down to a puddle.
 This is what love and joy looks like. Adore. I can't even take it. Aunt Emily was making him laugh! 

Florida is such a gorgeous state. If you love jungles and water everywhere and lots of things that can potentially kill you, this is the state for you.
 No kidding, I killed a spider with my bare hand when it was close to the baby blanket. 

See??! Mmmmm. So pretty. 

 The little boys were fishing. 


Sweet, joyful Ryan. 

And his gorgeously stunning and outrageously hilarious Mother, Tricia. I love you, best friend.

Pictures with Aunt Emily are the best! Just a few more weeks, and Ryan will have a new girl cousin when Nixie arrives!!!
We are all SO READY AND EXCITED. :D :D :D  

And so happy that we are gonna lean forward and go for the camera in pure glee!!! Hahaha! 

It was wonderful to sit on the edge of the spring and dip my feet into its delicious coolness, and watch the light change in the teal water.
Truly a fun and wonderful day. So thankful to live here. 

Here's the highlights from my Instagram: G, eating her cupcake on her little pink lawn chair/
the super delicious cupcakes made with greek yogurt & pink sprinkles/the gorgeous springs/Emily & I, best friends. 

Thank you for the delightful and fun day, Emily, Ben & Georgia! Happy Birthday tomorrow, sweet girl!! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Project 52 {Week 37} -

{Week 37}  - Georgia Rose & her beautiful Mama, Emily. 

Today was Georgia's Birthday Party!! She actually turns 2 on the 16th, but today was her party at DeLeon Springs!! It was pretty hot, and I think our brief moments in the very cold spring water was super refreshing to all of us! It was so special to all be together again, catching up and enjoying the shade and breeze and watching three little gators swim around vivaciously. haha. 

I told Emily "I could get used to being around y'all every weekend!" Haha! Last year I was SO sick, and missed G's 1st birthday party. I was devastated and cried my eyes out, I was so sad. This year, we were missing Lauren, who of course, lives in Alabama now. But it was still quite the lovely, albeit hot, day! 

Georgia loves loves loves Minnie Mouse and three of her presents were Minnie Mouse themed, plus a pink tricycle and a pink cowgirl hat! She was super thrilled, to say the least. ;) I took those pics with Emily's camera, so they will show up sometime on her blog. 

Happy 2nd Birthday, Georgia Rose!!! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Ready -

"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." ~ Lisa Jo Baker

Five Minute Fridays are held over at Kate's now! Join us! 

Today's prompt: Ready:

~ Go ~

{Photo taken February 2014 from our church parking lot, looking west at the sunset}

I was 13 years old when my beloved Sunday School teacher died of ALS. 

I never tell this story because I never make it ten seconds into it without bursting into tears. 

He died the morning after 9/11. His loving wife didn't tell him about 9/11, because he was already slipping away. 

At 13, I'd never known grief or loss like this. Ever. 

I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready at all. 

I remember when my Mama told my Daddy when he got home, and the catch in her throat, the tears in Daddy's eyes. 

I hadn't been told yet. I stood there frozen in stunned shock. When Mama realized I was standing there, I could see confusion fill her face to my reaction. After a few words, I rushed from the room in tears.

It was the first time I knew what a broken heart felt like. It would not be the last. 

We had 9/11 the day before, and then this. Psychologically, I guess you could say that being in such traumatic times at 13 was hard for me. And it was. But what followed throughout my high school years into my college years has continued to break my heart in loss. 

Death never gets easier. Neither do funerals. Or the news. Or sobbing in your best friend's kitchen. 

For years I'd burst into tears at any mention of ALS. I cried my way through the rest of the year.
I didn't sing "It is Well" for years, I don't even know how many. Wait, yes I do. It was just over 8 years. 

My teacher was everything about becoming a Christian that made sense to me. He was kind, compassionate, gentle, soft spoken, loved the Lord deeply. I wanted to be a Christian because he was. I became a Christian the years I was in his class. 

And I don't think anyone came near to understanding how much I adored him as a teacher, as a Christian, as my friend's daddy.
 I'd known him my whole life. It shook our little world to the core, us in his class. 

Our whole church family suffered and grieved as we watched him decline. I can give you more personalized 2nd hand comments on how ALS kills you, more than you want to know. More than 15 seconds of ice bucket video knows how to process. 

I'm shaking, typing this up, because it's hard to pour out your soul to complete strangers. 
But after 13 years, it's hard to not write about someone so important to your life. My best friend Tricia had a similar situation in her life, and I told her once that no one seemed to understand how much I was grieving the loss of someone who seemed so strong and solid and safe in my life. And how love can't be explained sometimes, you just love so deeply and no one can understand it.

But then she told me she understood....and I burst into tears. 

I wasn't ready to lose the person who taught me to love Jesus because Jesus was worth it. 

A few years later, I placed some roses on his grave and with one little whisper, I was finally ready to say the words: "It is Well."

I won't ever be ready for grief and loss. 
But I'm more than ready for how Jesus will change us and prepare us for Heaven through it. 

~ Stop ~ 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11-14, Thirteen Years -

It is unbelievably hard to fathom that it has been 13 years. 

Mama and I talked today about 9/11 a little bit, and expressed how unreal it seems to have been so long. It sounds cliche, but time truly does fly past so very quickly. And yet time does not stop the sharpness of the memories from fading. 

9/11 always makes me unbearably sad. I think it always should. 

I think it is so important to remember and to honor the lives lost, the great cost of sacrifice, the honorable who gave all on a horrible day. If we aren't sad, we aren't remembering. 

I usually pray my way through 9/11. I pray for the families, and I pray for peace, and I pray for our nation. 

And I watch this and bawl my eyes out every single year. "John & Joe" by Story Corps.

Last night I found all the audio archives of the Oral Histories that are at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NY. With tears in my eyes, I listened to story after story after story. 
I highly recommend it to y'all. The stories are profound, and deeply moving and important to the living on of memories and closure. And it helps us understand just a little bit more as a nation and a people. They are anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes long. You can listen to them here

Photo taken September 11, 2013.

Memories have been flooding in these past few days with the realization the anniversary was coming up. It was a sucker punch to the gut and an extremely unwelcome walk down a traumatic memory lane. 

I'm sure I've said it before, but I remember so clearly sitting in the front seat of our car with Mom. We were running errands and were going home. I still remember the red light intersection we were stopped at, here in our town. Mom turned on the radio, and the news came rushing into the car. I remember scrunching my face in confusion and we stared at each other, uncomprehending. The news reporter on the radio was breaking up, everything was mass confusion. I don't remember the words, I just remember the worry. We sped home, because at that time, we didn't have cell phones, and I know Mom wanted to get in touch with my Dad. 

When we got home, the phone was ringing off the hook. Family was calling in. My Aunt called, and was so worried that a plane would hit the Cape (NASA), and she kept saying "It's bad, it's bad.". She thought we should evacuate. For a brief split second, I remember thinking "Where would we go? If it's a plane, it will find us."

My Mom hung up from her sister, and called Daddy, much more panicked than before. "Ed, she's saying a plane might be headed for NASA. Please come home. Can you come home?". Dad couldn't come home, the whole Cape was on lockdown after the 2nd plane hit. No one could leave. Daddy says that's the first time he can remember going to the computer to find out what was going on. I remember Daddy's reassuring voice coming through the telephone, and Mom hung up much more calm than before. 

At the time, we knew nothing. There was no terrorist info. There were no confirmations except the crash sites and the eyewitness news. We knew so very little, and it was all as if the world had gone crazy, and everything had changed. It was complete chaos and disaster and grief as a nation.

I sat in the kitchen for hours, just listening to the news come in and go out. I was 13 years old. 

We didn't have TV, so we didn't see the footage. I think my parents saw some of it, but I didn't see it until three years later. I'm not sure whether that was good for me or not, but it's the way it was. 

Another memory that stands out to me is a few days after 9/11, early in the morning, I woke up and got out of bed, and silently stood in the doorway of our kitchen. Mama had the newspaper all spread out on the stovetop and was reading it under the range light. Her face had this shattered look on it that I know as a parent you try not to show in front of your children. There were tears on her cheeks, as she read an eyewitness account and looked at pictures too horrific for words. Pictures of people after, pictures of the towers falling, pictures of people in the tower, the smoking field, the Pentagon. 

I came forward a little bit, and she saw me, and folded up the newspaper into a neat square before I could reach out to read it. I know she didn't want me knowing what she read. Too sad, too much for me. She was right to shield me, but I already knew how bad it was in the way our world had shifted. 

I knew how bad it was by the way Daddy prayed each night with pauses, and the look on her face that morning. 

And these 13 years later, I find myself unbearably sad all over again. 

Jesus, come soon. And Lord, bring repentance and revival to our nation. We need You. 

With love always, in remembrance of those we lost today. We remember. 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Project 52 {Week 36} -

Week 36 - Emily's Maternity Photoshoot/Brower Family Photoshoot, Sept. 6, 2014 
The DeLand Train Station, FL 

I had the enormous privilege and joy to hang out with Emily, Ben & Georgia this afternoon and evening.
We spent the whole afternoon and evening together, and it was SO much fun. We laughed so much! 
I can't wait to share more from the multiple lifestyle "sections" of the photoshoot and day with you! 
It's pretty hard to take bad pictures of gorgeous people. ;) So excited for the arrival of Phoenix next month! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Today at Playalinda Beach -

Today has been one of those "I can't believe I get to live here, I love Florida and I love the ocean" days. It was literally THE perfect beach day. When I got there, there were SO many fisherman, and the water was churning with fish. So we laughed and sat down on the sand and said "Well. We won't get in here!!", and after 20 mins of being there, a fisherman a few yards away from us caught a 4.5' sand shark, and released it. 

We just sat there and laughed and were like "CALLED IT." Hahaha. 

So then we walked up the beach to get away from the fishermen and all their chumming water and all the churning fish (and everything that wanted to eat all that chum), and got in the water. The water was SO CLEAR, y'all!!! I was in Heaven. Perfect waves, perfect temp., perfect clarity, perfect sunny day. 

I love summer and I love the ocean and I love living here. Now I'm sunburned and ridiculously happy and sipping lemonade while I write this at home. Yay for Labor Day and for September/2nd Summer!!! 

Such a gorgeous day. God really blessed us with a perfect time. 

Clear and cool. 

Sea oats and sand dunes. I'm not kidding on that sky either. So blue it would make your eyes hurt.

Mmmmm. Life is so good. 

God is better. Heaven will be better than this. But today it felt like a little bit of both. 

Love. I love you, Florida. 

White Sand beaches, blue water, sunny and warm and cool. All that thrills my soul!! 

Underwater. ;) 


Clear blue and green for miles. 

Floating and watching pelicans fly overhead. 

Amazing day. 


Perfect waves for boogie boarding too!! 

Mmmmmmm. Let's stay here forever. 

Gorgeous underwater views. 

Mighty and refreshing and glorious. 

We had such a great time together, as a church family. I hope your day is equally as wonderful!!

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~