Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve 2015 Roundup -

Welcome to the Sweet Life Under the Savior 2015 Roundup on the blog!

 I look forward to writing this every year. It's so neat to look back on what has happened through this online journal of our lives. Plus, I love statistics and summaries. ;) I think I'll throw in a few more "favorite things" here and there as well, just to spice it up a tad. ;) 


The Top Seven Posts of 2015 - (with #1 being the most popular!) 

1Lauren's Bridal Shower (pics courtesy of Shannon!)

2. I Don't Want it to be Tomorrow (still so hard)

3. December 20, 2013 (pics from the Hope's Going Away Party!)

4. Spring Frolic 2015 (Day 2) 

5. Georgia's 3rd Birthday Party!

6. The Hill Across the Street

7. No More Funerals


My Top Favorite Seven Posts of 2015 -

1. CHINA (big surprise there, right? ;)

2. Five Minute Friday: Hope (born out of conversations with dear friends)

3. The Perfect Florida Evening (one of the best evenings all year)

4. When the American Dream is not the Goal 

5. Into the Dusk 

6. Listening 

7. Christmas Eve 2015 


Favorite Albums of 2015 - 

1. Home by Josh Garrels

2. Then Came the Morning by Lone Bellow

3. I Dream of You by JJ Heller 

4. Classics by She & Him


My Year 2015 in Spotify Music - 

30, 000 mins of music
1, 161 different artists
3, 513 different tracks

Needless to say, this is what happens when you have a job from home,
and spend a lot of time editing and working on the computer! :) I LOVE Spotify. 


My Project 52 Slideshow. January - December 2015. 52 weeks of memories!


My three favorite New Year's Eve songs:

1. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" by Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon Levitt

2. "Happy New Year" by Steven Curtis Chapman

3. "This Year" by JJ Heller


"Now hope does not disappoint....."

"As another chapter ends, and another one begins, slowly now we turn the page....
the Story's being told, and the best is yet to come. 
So Happy New Year, Happy New Year, another chance to catch a glimpse of what is coming true. 
So Happy New Year, Happy New Year, the God Who made everything is remaking everything, 
the God Who made everything, He says "I'm making ALL THINGS NEW. So Happy New Year." 
~ Steven Curtis Chapman ~

"I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with Thee, O Father, as my harbor, 
Thee, O Son, at my helm, Thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails." ~ The Valley of Vision 

Happy New Year of 2016, beloved friends!! May you enter it with peace and joy.

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Project 52 {Week 52} -

{Week 52} Christmas Eve, 2015 ~ All is calm, all is bright. Emmanuel, God with us. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 -

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!! 

Christmas Eve 2015 -

I think the whole year finally hit me tonight at our Christmas Eve service, and it hit all at once. 
Suddenly I was without words, in the midst of the carols. I was very quickly not needing singing but needing Someone Else.....

"Jesus" I whispered as the tears gathered and made their way down my cheeks. 

It was a beautiful year in so many ways, but it was also a hard year. 
It was so so hard. It hurt a lot, this year. 

The carols went on without me, as I stayed quiet to listen. 

"Noel, Noel...Come and SEE what God has done!
Noel, Noel, the story of amazing love! The Light of the world, given for us. Noel." 

The tears fell harder as I remembered trying to stand tall and quiet in the mourning of the cemetery.

"Jesus, how could this be?" 

The keening of brokenhearted grief. The knowing of loss. The loneliness. The pain of sin.
The hurts of relationships, all the dreams that won't come true in this realm...
all the ways the world is wrong and broken that makes the cradle, the cross, the empty tomb 
all we've ever hoped and longed for

"The story of amazing love....."

And in that moment of breathless anguish and harder tears....

this quiet Voice: "This is why I came." 

Emmanuel, God with us, with me. 

This is why He came: for our brokenness and grief, our hurt, our fear, our anger, our pain. 
For hopeless sinners, lost and alone. For the redemption of His own. 

To end funerals. To bring us in. To tear the veil. 

"...born to raise us from the grave..."

For all these things, but even more, for His own glory, 
because His Story could not be begin or end with anything but LOVE.

Hail the True and Only King, Who reigns forever and ever in peace. 

With much love always, 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Project 52 {Week 51} -

 {Week 51} December 15, 2015 ~ Haulover Canal, Florida  

This, my friends, is the magical moment when a manatee surfaces 2 feet from your face & camera and you nail "the shot".
Nose, mustache, sea grass, and all. So thrilling and SO adorable. Love these gentle creatures, and love wintertime when I get to see them more often!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fully Funded & Overwhelmed -


Last night I checked my Fundraising Page ....

It keeps track of my China funds. My jaw dropped a little and my eyes shot open in surprise. 
I hyperventilated a little, considered crying, but then ran to joyfully tell my parents that due to our 
AMAZING AND LOVING friends and family - 

I'm fully funded for my trip to China!!!!!!!!!!!!

With 25 days to spare before my first deadline!! I never thought I'd be funded so early. WOW
I've been SO humbled by all your donations and support, and I'm so so thankful for each and every one of you.
Every donation meant so much and I've cried over many donations, knowing the hearts behind them.

 Xièxiè!!! Thank you SO VERY MUCH!!!!!!!! 

Just 83 days until China!!

If you've JUST sent in a check or donated online, don't worry!!! 
The money doesn't go back into AWAA, and I won't be spending it all eating Chinese food, haha. ;)
All donations after this fact will be VERY much needed - they will go towards how much we can
take as gifts/supplies to the orphanage!! That will be such a blessing, so thank you very much!! *

With much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Into the Dusk -

Written on Sunday, December 13th, 2015

I thought a great many things as I drove into the blue of dusk tonight, 
on my way to the 1st of 3 lovely Christmas parties this week. 

Drives are often the best way to clear one's head. 
And I thought how I always thought I'd be so prepared and so, well, holy....when I went to China. 
When I embarked on my great dream adventure.

But I get up every morning and see I'm another day closer, the mountains rise up....
and I trip, the great big trips that might involve anger or frustration 
or flat out grumpy stressed Jean, and wham! Down I fall on my face. 

This trip has already been so humbling, and oh I need it. 
And oh, the mystery, that God looks at us every day and sees Jesus 
and says "I'll love you forever and you are Mine."

Because we are broken and tarnished and we can't ever be perfect, no matter how hard we try.
We don't want the drop offs and scary steep cliffs and we don't want the pain and hurts like hell moments.

We want the beauty and glory, and we want it all at once. 
We want Heaven....and we want dreams fulfilled and prayers answered and symphonies of joy,
and lots of little girl dreams turned into a beautiful wedding and a heart to fall asleep to at night.

But none of those will fill the overwhelming knowing that if we aren't as close to Jesus as we can be,
we won't have anything at all. He is everything, and all in it and everywhere and all we dream of.

He holds in His hand "pleasures forevermore" 
and we shall not be left out of "more than we could ask or imagine"

We are heard, loved, cherished, known, wanted.
We are being changed, day by day, by the Holy Spirit. 

We will one day be like Him, and until that Day, He calls us to live faithfully, to love deeply,
to call from the muddy puddles and the hidden crevasse where we feel lost. 

For He has found us, and will never let us go. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Project 52 {Week 50} -

{Week 50} Our Christmas tree with lights & ornaments! LOVE this time of year. ~ Dec. 9, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Project 52 {Week 49} -

{Week 49} December 2, 2015 ~ Old Farmhouse in Titusville, FL ~ One of my last photo assignments for NYIP!