Happy 23rd Birthday, Emily! -

Today is EmilyElizabethCaseBrower's 23rd Birthday!!! 

I woke up and remembered (thankfully, haha. one year we forgot each other's) and have spent the last 5 hours trying to write something up in my head. I was drastically failing because every time words would come, I'd be swamped with this wave of delight & joy of the blessed friend she is to me. 

I wanted to run to her house and drive away with her & her two kiddos and do all our favorite things, all at once. Hahaha. Work is keeping me from it, though, and I know her birthday holds plans with her favorite people, and I hope her day is filled with the knowledge of how much she is loved. 

She's one of the few people I know who can sing almost any Disney song word for exact word. One time we put on Beauty & Beast while we were doing dishes at their 2nd house, and I couldn't at that moment recall a moment when I'd been happier than belting out semi-truths about Gaston amid laughter. 

She's one of the few people that understands the magic of Disney, and never gets tired of it. She knows Disney won't cure the world, but goodness gracious, it sure makes it so much better when you are sad. She's been there to Disney so many times I've lost count, but just take a look through her pictures, and you'll want to go.

She's strong and drop dead gorgeous, she's passionate and opinionated, she's gentle and patient (and sometimes she isn't, but she sure tries her hardest), she's honest to a fault, yet only chooses the encouraging things to tell you. She's hilarious to be around and to listen to. She is joyful and doesn't hesitate to make fun of herself. She loves deep and strong and wide, and makes you feel important by skyping or calling you at midnight before the news breaks. She loves her Ben and her girls with a fierce, undying, giving love. She is devoted and loyal. She is quieted by Scripture & quotes & prayers. She prays at the drop of a hat for her friends. She is gracious but do not cross the line of stupidity, because she has zero tolerance for that. Hahaha. 

She's an all-hours sort of friend. Even though our sleep schedules are so different now with her kids and my work schedule, we still manage to send each other things we know will make each other laugh, or type up short messages here and there. She keeps me laughing, and I need that so much. 

She understands quite a lot about how deeply I love, even when she doesn't say it. She could see it every time I held those precious babies for the first time - Georgia, David, Ryan, Phoenix. She has pulled me into their joyful life, and not let me go. She has made sure that I feel loved and welcomed and known. She hasn't left me without a sense of belonging, even when I'm loud or sad. 

We think so much alike in photography. Truly, her maternity & newborn sessions & and family sessions were collaborative efforts. "And then, I just want you to stand here, but I want the light to curve around you, so just move that arm, yeah, like that, and then look away, but don't be distant, and I want it to soften this part, but not the whole lace, you know? yeah, ok, now, yeah perfect. UGH. THIS IS THE BEST." and she knows it riiiiiight when that look hits my face. Hahahaha. Shooting weddings with her has only been a one-time joy, but I hope to repeat it sometime, because it was a blast. We need one with lots and lots of dancing, yo. Hook us up, kk? 

She is up for listening to whatever "AAAHHHH. I HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS." or "Today was super crappy, and I need to vent." or "I just want this dream to matter, and I need someone to listen." sort of conversation. There are rarely limits or filters to our conversations. We find in each other that deep "I need you for a little bit" kind of relationship, and it's such a blessed thing to know we have that in each other. It isn't forced or made up. God made us for community, and I've found in her one incredible kind of community - the kind that shows up and listens and makes you laugh after you've cried your eyes out. 

She gets me. I'm more myself when I'm around her than I am most people. And I'm happy there.
She is never too serious that you can't break through with something silly or a quote not quite forgotten. 

"Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? 
I thought that no one but myself....." ~ C.S. Lewis

I love being with her and I love knowing her more and more.
I'm so thankful for her, and all the ways she has poured JOY and GRACE into my life, and all the hilarious times we've shared. 

I hope 2015 is such an amazing, joy-filled, exciting yet relaxing, blessed year for her & Ben, G & Nixie! 

So Happy 23rd Birthday, babe!!!! Thank you for everything. You are one of the best. I love you. 

And don't forget --- I'll love you if you were dipped in dirt and wrapped in seaweed 
and called me every day crying because your favorite nail polish spilled on the floor. 


With love always, 
~ Jean Marie ~

{And quite excitingly & fittingly - this is my 800th post on this blog!!!! Wow.} 


  1. Thank you so much! It really warmed my heart to read this. Everything you said about our relationship is so true, and I'm so grateful to be called one of your besties!

    Love you!!!


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