Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Project 52 {Week 43} -

{Week 43} October 22, 2014

This past Wednesday I went over to Emily & Ben's house, and shot Phoenix Dahlia's newborn pictures!! 
She is the most precious, sweet, nearly-identical-to-Georgia, kissable, darling baby girl. I am head over heels. :) 

This is one of my very favorites!! Sweet Nixie girl. How we love you. 
For more sneak peeks - check out my FB Photography page: JemmiePhotography!! 

I came home and felt like I have THE best job in the world. I love newborn sessions and I love newborns, haha. Right now I have so many bookings for maternity, newborn sessions, and now family pictures! It's definitely in the holiday season now. ;) I'm so busy, but loving it! 

Enjoy your Autumn. It is rushing by so quickly! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lucy Mae's 4th Birthday -

Today was Lucy Mae's 4th birthday!!! In the morning, there were snuggles and kisses and singing. 

Midday, there were kisses and chasing lizards (all her) and hugs. 

And tonight after I got home from walking the bridge, there was joyful barking that I was home, 
followed by more (you guessed it) snuggles, kisses, and lovin'. I love this dog. 

Thanks, Kim, for taking this one of us!! Lucy Mae ONLY wanted to kiss me. Not vice versa. 
Hence her face in this picture. 

Today I tried to take her outside extra times so she could pounce and tunnel through the Mondo grass to hunt lizards. It really is her favorite thing to do outside, and it's the cutest thing to watch her. :) She's virtually impossible to get a picture of though, because she leaps by, or she's way under the blades of grass. ;) Spot the doxie.....

I really wanted some updated portraits of her, so I had her sit and stay for me, and I just love this one. 
She's such a pretty and interested dog. 

For "dessert", I put 4 candles in a piece of Mama's pumpkin pie, and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Lucy Mae, it was hilarious. We kept laughing at her expressions. I think she liked it. :) The minute I blew out the candles, she lunged for the crust. Hahaahaha. So Daddy gave her a piece of the crust, and I gave her a swipe of the filling. ;) She loved it, of course. Then she got a special dog bone, and I ate the pie. Haha. 

She really is one of the greatest joys in my life. Day in, day out, she loves to be with me. 
She comforts me and curls up beside me to take naps, she races around the house playing hide and seek with me, and suffers through waltzing with me to various music genres. 

She hates baths, so she lies outside the bathroom door when I take them, because she is concerned about me. 

She currently loves everyone.....except the dog that belongs to Wilbur, the ex NFL player that lives down the street.
What is up with that?? We don't get it. 

She is incredibly smart and is getting just a hint of white on her muzzle, which is just TOO MUCH, because she's only 4, and I want her to live forever. She's such a special, hilarious, wonderful part of our lives.

Happy 4th Birthday, baby. I'm so glad you are ours. 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Project 52 {Week 42} -

{Week 42} iPod Touch picture 

I've been so busy with pictures and my photography business that when I'm not shooting a session, I don't pick my camera up as quickly. Nothing will ever replace my camera or my love for film/digital photography, but for on the go, the iPod Touch is incredibly helpful. :) 

It is Autumn here. These are fall leaves on our lawn one afternoon from our 5 Chinese Tallow trees.
I'm so glad we have these, because it's so wonderful and fun to watch them change and fall. 

Oh, and those are my coral flats. ;) 

Happy Autumn, wherever y'all are!! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Project 52 {39,40,41} -

Week 39 - Rain sprinkling on the Indian River at sunset. At a maternity session. - September 26, 2014

Week 40 - Jasmine & Phillip's wedding day in Texas!!! One week ago today - SUCH an amazing, joyful day. Oct. 4, 2014 

Week 41 - This is the gorgeous late summer light I get to work with at photography sessions. So blessed. October 9, 2014 

So I had a lot to catch up on!!! 

These have been quite the fast 3 weeks!! But full of wonderful photo opportunities and many times of fellowship, friendship and joy. I'm left thankful. Autumn is quickly coming, and I'm enjoying the thought of that.

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Friday, October 10, 2014

When pain strips you down -

Today was not a good day. It was a hard day. 

About 4pm, I said "Enough of this!" and went to the beach. I never regret time outdoors. It is never time wasted. I came away feeling as though finally my feet were on firmer ground after walking on the hard packed sand and running through the waves. 

There is no better Earthly place for me than the beach. It hears sorrows no one else will hear, it touches me in ways no one else can move, it carries the tears that drop into the sea, down into the depths of Christ's never ending love. Here is where He is. Here is where I know Home is. Here is where I return. Here is where peace usually finds me and doesn't let go.

{All pictures are iPod Touch pictures, taken today}

"I wanna sink my feet, down in security. Unmoved by changing tides, and shadows' shifting lines.
I'm tired of getting worn, let me wake with the morn, once again be reborn, and think about 
Eternity a little more."  ~ Jillian Edwards 

Today was full of good news and bad news, and it was a lot at once. Plus it's been a week of hard anniversaries. 

From the minute my feet hit the sand, I felt the shattered pieces of today and this week fall into the open.
I walked in the waves and on the sand and felt the breath spill out of me. Today was too much, all at once. 

I can't say who I was thinking of when I realized that I was sad. But I was ... sad. Underneath, I feel quite sure that I've been sad all week. I did something new this year called "Distract yourself with everything possible and pretend it never happened.". It works great until suddenly you realize it totally did happen and everything hits you like a bomb exploding, and then you can't move because you think your heart is going to be crushed with all the sadness all at once. Stupid move. 

I think when you have so many people stripped away from you, you feel less like you,
and Home feels less like Home. The beach will always and forever until I die be Home to me. 

When I was driving home from the beach, I was trying to figure all this out in my mind. 
And I finally came close enough to where I think it makes sense. To me anyways. 

When you lose someone, or many someones, and your heart is stricken with grief, you feel as though pain has stripped you down to the bare basics of what you can understand. In those bare basics are the normal emotions: joy, sorrow, anger, fear, pain, laughter, peace, etc. But instead of finding just one, your heart feels many of them at once, and doesn't know how to sort any of it out. 

So in the midst of a joyful moment, you settle on that emotion and knowledge. "This is joy! I will be joyful, for this is joy!" and when you are sad "I'm so sad. I need some space to cry because I am wounded." and when you are angry "I need to get out and run. I need to work this out! I'm angry!", and so forth. 

In those moments, you intentionally pick that emotion and stick with it. It's a choosing, in that time. "This is joy, I can know joy and sorrow together, this is good." or "I will have joy in my heart, and yet allow myself tears. Tears bring healing", and so on. 

And that is how Biblical grief works. That is how the human mind processes and heals your heart. 
That is how we live well in a broken world. It is a "both, and" world for us. 

And it's easier to identify those in others. Perhaps in a party setting, we can SEE joy. We feel it, we express it, we laugh and rejoice and know it. We are comfortable being IN that joy, and we are joyful to know others in that joy. We find the joyful face in the room, and we revel in it. 

There may be real conversations that involve sadness, and perhaps tears and sorrow in the midst of that joyful party, but overwhelmingly, joy will most often pervade and overcome that sadness. Because we have chosen JOY in that moment, and it is what we are going with. We won't let it go easily. 

It's much easier to BE in that emotion, to LIVE IN that moment of emotion, to KNOW others in that emotion, to SEE that emotion for all the God-given blessing that it is. We understand it, we live in it, we enjoy it, we crave the simplicity of knowing just that one pure knowledge of uncomplicated understanding. 

And honestly, it's easier to see it worn on the sleeve of the one without so much sorrow in their lives. 
Because me. Me? Me I don't understand so much. I'm struggling to remember what I wore last Sunday for church, yet I can remember in vivid detail what I wore for a funeral 2.5 years ago. I'm struggling to understand every loss. I'm struggling to hold myself in, and yet, let myself open to grieve too. 

On a beach alone, with the only person ahead, far ahead, and others behind, I still kept swiveling to see if anyone would not understand my tears. I'm so quick to stop myself from grieving in public that I haven't given myself enough space for it. And it makes it hurt all the more. I need to grieve. 

And oh, if we could have had it any other way! And oh, if we could all have gone to the brighter shores of Heaven together it would not ache so!! And oh, if our prayers for healing could have been for this world and oh, if we had not had to say so many goodbyes or seen so many funerals. 

These years. These years have been indescribably hard. Hard that a 5 minute explanation from a question of "Where are you in life?" won't answer. Hard in a way that leaves you crying in some part of someone's house because you can't answer a question you don't know yourself. 

All I know is that joy and sorrow are more intertwined than I ever would have believed. 
And that if I were to really tell you the honest, whole, real, unfiltered truth: is that I am indescribably sad. 

I am incredibly sad. 

I am unbearably wounded. 

I am unforgettably grieved. 

I am impossibly broken. 

I am unwillingly shattered. 

& I am irreplaceably longing for Heaven. 

This depth of pain: it can't be fixed or made better this side of Heaven. It can only be eased by the Lord's peace. 

 Never has a quote better summed up my heart than this by C.S. Lewis - 
"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; 
we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." 

Because I have felt the sobs breaking from my throat in the night, I have held the shaking shoulders tight against mine, and pressed their heads onto my shoulders to cry, I have walked more valleys than I could have imagined and felt more sorrow than I believed I could bear.

I have known so much grief and pain. And I have known that God is good in the midst of it.
I have never not known Him to carry me through it. 

But fear does say: "Enough. Please please please, Jesus. Enough. I can't lose anyone else." 

Trust hears the words echo from time and eternity: "It is finished." 

"Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life - "Finished!!" The victory cry!" ~ The Getty's 

A dear friend shared this quote on FB tonight, and I was in tears at the sight of it, as all these words
tumbled around in my head. This is what I hold to, when rejoicing is so far from me. 

"Cast yourself on Him, and perseveringly depend even when you cannot rejoicingly hope." 
~ C.H. Spurgeon ~ 

This. Tonight. Amid the tears. This is what I can do: I can cast myself on Him, and I can perseveringly depend. 

I can dependI can abide. He is with me, He will not forsake me, He will shepherd me in my sorrow. 

And I will wake with the morn, thinking about Eternity even more than the day before. 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oct. 7, 2014 -

Today has been 2 years since my Grandma Florence left this weary world for Heaven's brighter shore. 

The gorgeous sunset the night after she left our world. 

It was hard hearing the news that Sunday morning, but even harder hearing the grief in my Mom's voice. Watching your parents grieve is such a hard, helpless feeling. But when I think back to those days around October 7, 2012, I'm only reminded of the love and comfort, community and kindness shared by our dear church family and close friends. The outpouring of care was huge. 

Thank you so much for that. 
2 years later, I'm continuing to be thankful for how you showed us comfort. 

Being in Ohio was not hard in the following was a gorgeous Autumn....being with family brings much laughter and special times, and I treasure all those memories. But the day of the funeral and the burial was incredibly hard. I was so numb and broken from the deep losses and funerals over the summer months of that year, that I only teared up once. The choice was either 1. Cry and never stop or 2. Don't cry. I obviously chose the latter, out of pure necessity. 

2 years later, I miss her. I think about her every time I get a craving for olives, or ice cream, or every time I say "Heavens to Betsy!" or "Oh my stars and garters!" or "Forgive me all to pieces!". But it's more than that. I also miss the identity of having grandparents, and being known and loved in that way. She was my last surviving grandparent, and family is such a strong tie. 

I grieved the "losing of her" years before she died. 

But this is not the end. And for that, I'm so very grateful. 

I'm thankful for the years of prayers she prayed over me, knowing that she loved me, cared for me. 

And so it seemed so very appropriate to spend this morning in Bible Study with our church ladies and my Mama, talking about the Gospel, and the church as One, and a whole, and of Christ.....on the day that my Grandmother went to Heaven proclaiming those things until her last day. It's been 2 years, and I'm continuously thankful for her impact upon me, and upon all our family & friends. Heaven is sweeter, and I cannot wait to see her one day and never be parted ever again.

See you soon, Grandma Florence. I love you always. 

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; 
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." 
~ Psalm 16:11 ~

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jas Is Getting Married -

Once upon a time, I became friends online with Jasmine Baucham. I'm not sure how it happened, but through some hilarious conversation involving Darby, we became friends. Funny how life works out that way. 

And then last April, Jasmine was in FL for the 2013 National Gospel Coalition Conference. Darby and I were so ecstatic that she was within driving distance of us that we went to Orlando to take her out to a birthday dinner. We actually ended up eating there at the resort, laughing hysterically at the hipsters and tourists walking by the restaurant, talking about all adventures we'd been having recently, and you know, me choking on food because I was laughing so hard about awkward conversations that kept coming up. 

It was all very reminiscent of my first conversation with Darby. Hysterical tears of laughter. And then we went out to walk the resort grounds where we MET JOSH HARRIS. (is this even real life!?) It was unreal and SO cool. He was so humble and amazed to be meeting a Baucham and a Sproul. I was like "I'm friends with the famous people." HAHAHHAA. We joked about "being famous" for about 10 minutes with him, and then we all got pictures pastor's wife actually took this picture. 

I'm bringing all this up because the vibrant, special, hilarious, sweet honey chile Jasmine is getting married to Phillip, the extremely-good-looking-love of her life. And I? I am getting up uncharacteristically early tomorrow morning, boarding a plane and FLYING TO TEXAS TO GO TO HER WEDDING. I'm surreally and over the top excited. Which being me - yeah. A lot. 

I'll know exactly 5 people there. I can't even wait. 

Jasmine wrote me about a month ago and this ensued: 

There's a whole lot more happy details to the story, including me staying with a sweet host family that has been warned of the chaotic joy that is descending upon them, and how God was so kind to fill in the exceptionally crazy details, but that needs to come at another time because I'm writing when I'm supposed to be packing because I'm leaving in 16 hours.

Oh, and Jasmine met Phillip at the same conference that we met up at, the same one we met Josh Harris at, the same one we had dinner at and ice cream, the same one Alistair Begg smiled at me, the same one I identified Jasmine from a huge foyer away, and might have screamed and hugged the breath out of her. Because you know, it was the first time we'd actually met and all. 

So basically, I'm up for hiring if you want to attend a conference with me, you know, if you'd like to get married soon. No biggie.  

So farewell Florida and hello Texas. For a whole whopping 2.5 days of joy. Hahahhaa. 

With love always, one of the most happy and excitable people on the planet,
~ Jean Marie ~