The Perfect Florida Evening -

Three weeks ago, on a Thursday night, I texted Shannon and said "Are you free tomorrow night?", when she said "yes!",
 I said "May I take you to dinner and we can go walk the beach afterwards?", and she said "yes!" again!! 

And so that's what we did and it was perfect and everyone was on time and everything was higgelty-piggelty. 

*alarm rings* wrong!

Things were going pretty smashingly as we set up plans and I left on that Friday afternoon, planning on picking her up and getting to Aunt Catfish's early before the crowds. Well. As I merged into the ramp onto I-95, there was a Park Ranger truck in front of me (Hello, Ranger Rick!!) and I thought that was a bit odd, but not as odd as when he sped past everyone and flipped on his lights and seared up the highway. 

"Well, that's weird..." I thought, but I quickly turned on some music and forgot about it, intending to enjoy my ride up to Ormond Beach. And then 8 miles on the road, we started to rapidly slow down. I looked ahead (on a straight road, mind you) and there was a huge plume of black smoke. "Oh no. That can't be good." So I immediately started praying it wasn't an accident. The sign had warned of a 2 car accident closing both lanes....turns out a fire had started on the East side of 95, gotten in the tops of the trees, JUMPED THE HIGHWAY and started a fire on the opposite side of a 4 lane highway. 

yeah. Thanks Florida.

So you will understand that they closed AVERTHANG and I sat in the car for 35 minutes to go 2 miles (two.miles.), I called Shan "Yeah, there's no way I'm gonna be there on time...I'm so sorry!". I memorized the pavement, the lettering on the semi idling next to me, the license plates all around me "Alpha Charlie Utah 483" "Whiskey Bravo Juliet 106" "Mike November Oscar 264" "OH LOOK. GRASS." I even opened up my sunroof and turned off the air and obsessed over how perfectly I was in the middle of my lane because i was so bored. And then this car inched past me, and this teenage guy was dancing hysterically to music that was pulsing from their little car. He was trying to liven everything up, and when I locked eyes with him, I couldn't stop laughing. Pretty sure everyone else thought he was beyond stupid, but I was his biggest fan. 

So then finally they diverted us off the onto US-1, and then there were hundreds of cars under a 55 mph limit! It was just as fun as you can imagine! 

So it took me twice as long to get Shannon as it would have otherwise. But at least everyone was okay, and no one was injured, and they got the fire out, and I stayed and chatted with the Fitzgerald family at the end of the night or else I would have been DIVERTED AGAIN BECAUSE THEY CLOSED IT AGAIN AND DIDN'T OPEN IT UNTIL 10PM. 

Can you sense my relief? So that's a really long story that no one else cares about....moving on. 

I took this babe to Aunt Catfish's for her first time!! She loved the cheese grits. Which was inevitable. 

Then we went exploring, just driving, down to Ponce Inlet, 
and I've always wanted to stop and see this darling little place, so we did. :)
I want to plan a whole wedding around this little hall. I'm so in love with it. 

It sits right on the Intercoastal Canal on the side of Wilbur Bay. There were a few floating docks, and then...

a spectacular view of the bridge and canal, lined beautifully with boathouses and mangroves.

It was so peaceful and quiet...if I lived anywhere near there, I'd be sitting on that deck, reading & writing all the time, haha. 

Or, you know....lying on a railing and taking a selfie while listening to the seagulls call and the water lap soothingly. 

And enjoy watching the sunset streak golden rays of glory across this deck. Ahhh, I love it so much. 

Inside the Wilbur Boathouse. UUGGGH. I'M SO IN LOVE WITH ITTTT.

the liiiiiiiggghhhhttt

Someone please have a tiny wedding reception and hold it here. 

I found a tiny baby green anole. :) 

Then we happily (and rather singing-ly) drove to the Ponce Inlet Jetty.
I hadn't been there since September of 2013 shooting Ben, Emily & Georgia's family pictures when she turned 1! 

The sun was setting, the air was cool & breezy, the sea oats bent gracefully in the salty air, the tourists were emptying out after a long day at the beach....and Shannon and I stood there and sighed in happiness. 

Solitude and Reflection. 

Whitest sand, jetty rocks and greenest of green grasses upon the cliffs. So lovely.  

Selfwe with this super wonderful and darling best friend! 

It was the calmest and most lovely thing to sit on these rocks for a little bit and have absolutely nowhere to go. :) We both needed this rest on a Friday night so very much!! 

Faithful Photographer Friend. 

Yes, the water really WAS that color. Astonishing, I know. 

The lovely and sweetest Shan. 

I will never get tired of views like this. Life on the Coast truly is the best. 

My favorite colors. All in one place. *happy sigh* 

My truly stunning bestie. Look at those eyes!!!

The sandy jetty pier. 

The thing that would come second best to just being there peacefully taking pictures would be fishing. 
Kudos to you, dude, and thanks for not turning around because that would have been awkward. 

It really was the most beautiful of Florida evenings.

The most gorgeous weather we could've asked for (in July!!), perfect light, a gorgeous sunset,
 lovely views and all sounds drowned out by the crashing waves and incoming tide. 

Those glory rays!! I could barely take it!! 

Can you spot the tiny crab? :D 


Selfie to document the evening. ;) I really am my happiest when I'm near the ocean. 

When you look at Shannon's pictures and then back at mine, and go "Um, which is it?!", haha, just know that yes, she edited a little more blue, and I just a little more green, but we both barely touched our photos. Our Nikon d7000's like to remind us they aren't always exactly the same and our editing styles either, but the water WAS incredibly vibrant and blue-green, so just take us at our word. ;) 

It was the most stunning of sunsets that turned the waves and shoreline into spilled pools of gold. 

Shan and I sat on the jetty pier with our feet resting on the jetty rocks, just hanging there in the most peaceful quietude, happy to be together at our happiest place, watching the tide crash in and the salty, shimmering spray of the waves arc into the air.

 While Shan took a little time to be "without", I kept close watch over her phone & camera behind me. ;)

"My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~ 

Heartache, happiness, sorrow, joy, prayers, longing, peace, wistfulness, memories, thrilling bliss....
all these seemed to be playing across our faces as we sat and listened to our souls quiet under the Savior's hand,
as we closed our eyes to the worries of the world and dreamed of Forever Days that felt like this. 

 "Jesus, Savior, pilot me, 
Over life's tempestuous sea; 
unknown waves before me roll,
hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee; 
Jesus, Savior, pilot me."

"As a mother stills her child, 
Thou canst hush the ocean wild; 
boisterous waves obey Thy will, 
when Thou sayest to them, "Be Still!"
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me."

"When at last I near the shore, 
and the fearful breakers roar,
'twixt me and the peaceful rest,
then, while leaning on Thy breast,
may I hear Thee say to me,
"Fear not, I will pilot thee." 
~ Edward Hopper ~ 

It was the most beautiful and perfect of evenings. As we walked back to the car, fireworks were shooting off to the South, a lightning storm was highlighting the sunset clouds, and we were happily chatting about the amazing photos we'd have. 

We drove slowly home, I didn't want it to end too quickly. Shan played me some of her favorite music, and we sang loudly and dramatically to the radio hits while enjoying the night lights of apartments and A1A along the ocean, and then she treated me to ice cream! Ice cream for two, what could be better? :) 

Shan, thank you so much for wanting to spend the time with me, and just BE. 
I'm me when I'm with you, and I'm so thankful for that. 

I love you so very much!!!! 

Shannon blogged her gorgeouuusss pictures here!! 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 


  1. It was simply the loveliest of times with you Jean. Thank you again!! <3



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