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Thursday, May 31, 2012

determining value - the life of a single mom

there are obvious ways that we can determine the value of certain things.
we can appraise a house, or an antique to find out its worth.
we can tell nutritional value of things by looking at the labels.
but how do we determine the value of a life?
it is pretty clear that people generally place value on someone based on their visible achievements.
i have read a lot of blogs ranting and raving about people who have accomplished a big name in photography, who have managed to land high-paying jobs, or people who have started ministries that are flourishing.
obviously, none of these things are bad.
it's great when people can achieve their bhags..not knocking that.

but i just want to take a second to think about what God looks at as valuable.
sometimes...i get tired with the things that i spend my time doing.
some days i spend my time with sometimes unthankful, difficult kids during the week... and it can get tiring.
i can catch myself thinking that God should be blessing me because i am doing these works.
but see...that's not how it works at all.
the Bible calls my righteousness "filthy rags". that means that no matter how many nice things i do, no matter how kind i can be to people who don't deserve it...this is not what God is looking for at all!
God is looking for me to walk a holy life before Him..why? so i can bring Him glory.
that is why i was created in the first place!
to bring God glory.
so if that is what God looks at as valuable, i want to talk about some people that may not have achieved a famous name, or a large amount of money...
but are incredibly valuable.

the single moms.

i'm not sure why, but i have a huge heart for single moms who are living their lives to please God.
maybe it's because one of my best friends was a single mom for years.  i saw the difficult things that she had to go through: trying to work 2 jobs, be the mom, the dad and the provider... and everything else.
there was little thanks for it.
she wasn't having blogs written about her, she wasn't getting any awards.
and i hurt for her.
i prayed for her.
and i prayed a man right into her life :)

i have a couple of girlfriends right now who are doing the same.
they have found themselves in a position that they would not have necessarily chosen. they did not choose to walk away from a marriage because they were sick of fighting, or because they were bored with their relationships.
but here they are. working hard to raise their kids the way God would want.
they are bringing their kids to church...faithfully.
they are praying for them, and training them to be godly men and women of God.
and that, my friend is what i call valuable.
that is what i call blog-worthy, and award-worthy.
so maybe they aren't seeing their names in lights right now.
but let me just tell you what..i think that we should be praising and ranting and raving about women (and men) who are living their lives - not for themselves, but to bring honor to God.
and so for what it's worth...which is not a whole lot.
i am praying for you.
for you single moms out there who are surrounding yourself with other godly people to help influence you and your kids.
for you who are living every single day with your goal being - how can i please God today.
ok...maybe not every single day. i mean, come on! it's a hard job parenting when you do have a husband.
not to mention when you don't!
and i will continue to pray for you.
and for you single moms (and anyone for that matter!!) who are not getting this whole living-life-to-please-God thing?
please ask me about it.
i promise you that it is one decision i have never ever regretted.
and i would be honored to talk to you more about it!

because i promise you that living life with God at the center is the happiest, most satisfying life there could ever be.

so to my girlfriends? keep holding on!!
don't give up and don't give in!
keep doing what you are doing.
God sees you... and you are VALUABLE!
(Matthew 10:31)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

lilla fever

things have changed a little bit around here.

we have a lot of little girl stuff around!
and we can't get enough...

my dad decided to treat everyone for ice cream tonight.
i realized after i got home that almost every single picture had lilla in it!

i love watching her with the boys.
she adores them...

and they adore her!

we have lilla fever!
and you can see exactly why we would!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

AJ's Piano Recital

i love playing the piano.
it makes me happy, it relaxes me, it calms me and i just love everything about it.
i am so thankful that my mom started teaching me when i was young!

aj started taking lessons from my mom...the master pianist...2 years ago i think.
he is a natural.
he really enjoys playing and i love hearing him play!

he had his end of the year recital saturday and did amazing!
i am so proud of him.
i could watch this video over and over.
he looks so grown up. and it shows his personality.
cool, calm, collected. sweet and confident.
i love this boy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rachelle Chase I Newborn Photographer Malden, Massachusetts

i always get a little giddy when i get a request for a newborn shoot!
there is just something about a brand new baby...especially when it is the first for a couple!
i loved seeing how calm, relaxed and totally smitten the mommy and daddy were over their new baby boy!
*side note...baby liam's grandfather happens to be the person who gave me my first ultrasound of my first baby!
i remember it so clearly...adam was running late, and dr. whitten said he was going to tell him that we were having twins!! ha! he actually didn't, but it was a funny thought!

liam was a little charmer. and smiled more than any newborn i have ever had!

he was wide awake for the first half hour or so and looked like he just wanted to play!

he finally fell asleep.
and was perfect. just perfect.

ted and erin...i can totally see why you are so smitten.

Rachelle Chase I Lifestyle Family Photographer Epping, NH

I met the Holt family last year when their youngest son was on Riley's soccer team.
I have loved and adored hanging out with them during our sessions!! They are beautiful people and their family is just plain adorable. I mean seriously.

Dawnalee has been through a lot of health issues in the last year, but you would never know it to look at her!
I had such a great time with them last night, I didn't want it to end!
Thank you for sharing your family with me Dawnalee and Richie!
(don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the screen and pause the music before you watch the video!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

it's that time of year...

the time that a boys mommy just loves

happy spring everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

when you can't hear a thing.

you know when you are talking on the phone, and the kids are yelling in the background, the tv is on, and you can not hear a thing?
i mean...not like any of us ever have OUR kids yelling in the background, but ya know...some ELSE'S kids!
anyways...what do you do in that situation?
you make all the noise around you stop. right?
you turn the tv off. you leave the room. you glare at those other person's kids ;) and you push your ear really hard against the phone to make sure you don't miss a word.

i was thinking about this in light of the thoughts i have been having about hearing God's voice.
i feel like right now in my life, i really want to hear God's voice. i feel like i can not hear a thing He's saying.
and i want to. i really really want to.
then i thought about what i am doing to make sure i hear His words.

am i turning off the computer? the tv? am i leaving the room that is filled with laundry or dishes or a million other things that are literally screaming my name?
because sometimes. the things that are screaming my name are actually important! and i could even put up a good argument that they are necessities! it might be ministry-related, or business-related..or actually? even mother-related.
to be honest, i have to remind myself sometimes that as important as quality time with my boys is?
quiet time alone with God is much more important!
much more.
because the more time i make even with my kids, if it is taking away time with my God?
is not time well spent!

i want to hear from God. so badly.
i feel like i am begging Him to talk to me.
and when it started to feel like he is just. not. speaking.
i had to ask myself.
is it me? am i even listening? am i working as hard as i can to get alone and just listen?
the answer to that. i hate to even say it.
is no.
just flat-out no.
instead, what i started to do was say...hmmm..maybe God just doesn't speak the way i thought he did.
what? am i starting to doubt what God says?
He says that if i call to him he will answer. He says that His sheep hear his voice.
so obviously. the problem is not the person who is talking.
it's the person who is not listening.

i hope that this challenges you the way it did me.
stop the noise around you. make it stop.
push your ear against His Word.
and listen. just listen.

and these pictures are just because i took them a long time ago, but were supposed to be a surprise for my sister-in-law and i have been dying to share them ever since! they just make me smile to look at them!

Friday, May 11, 2012

proud daughter

i got the chance to watch my dad perform last night.
he picked up a mandolin for the first time, six months ago. he has gotten really good, really fast!
we were reminiscing of the first time i had a piano recital in college. i totally messed up and ended up running out crying. he was the first one i called.

i think he was a little nervous.
he played leaning on the everlasting arms
and he did awesome!

i took a video too, but haven't had time to upload it yet.
so proud of my dad!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

missing the little things

i have loved every stage that my boys have been in.
well...ok. maybe not every stage...i admit that i am not a huge fan of the baby years.
but i do love ages 2+.
i loved when they just started talking. i loved when they were toddling. i loved when they were learning to read. i loved when they wanted me to hold them. i loved when they learned to swim, learned to ride a bike, learned how to cook.
i just love it. and i don't want to forget it.
the boys took their tests this week for the end of the school year.
i was watching riley as he took his, and i thought..i love those little hands. the little scars on his fingers that remind me of the time when burned his hand on an iron. awful. just awful. but reminded me of the fact that he is fine now, and doesn't even remember it.
i want to enjoy the little things.
i look up to aj now. i can't even believe it.
they just grow up so fast. i hate the thought of it in some ways, even though i really do love all these different stages.
i love watching them grow into young men, but honestly? even as i am writing this, i am getting a lump in my throat because it reminds me that they are getting old!
and i am not being asked to hold them anymore! i am not teaching them new words and teaching them how to tie their shoes!
they are older and entering new phases of life.
i am just feeling particularly emotional today for some reason. and part of me wishes that i would just keep typing. typing what is in my heart because it would feel good to get it out.
but then the other part of me is reminded that everyone can read this, and not everyone can be trusted with my emotional feelings and my dreams.
so i will stop and just remind you to stop today and be thankful for the little things.
be thankful for the piles of legos in the middle of the floor, because before i know it? those legos will be replaced with something else. and before i know it, my boys will be men.
so while i miss the little things, like aj's hands...which are now bigger than mine. i will enjoy riley's sweet fingernail-biting, scarred, precious little fingers.
and i will be thankful for what i have today.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

plain and simple

sometimes i have to admit, that i kind of miss the days when i would just snap pictures of my boys in our everyday life. upload them to the computer, and straight to the blog.

no photoshop, no editing, no diptychs, no fancy collages, no STRESS!
so today, i am just putting a bunch of the pictures that i have had kicking around.
i haven't fixed the noise, i haven't done anything fancy.
it's just my boys, and my life.

aj LOVES to cook and bake...he asked for a chef's hat for his birthday...isn't he so cute?

um, riley enjoyed helping too!! ha!

and have i talked about my new obsession yet?
ahhhhh...i am in love with canvases!!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

sun, swings and smiles

we've had a pretty dreary, rainy week around here last week. i was so thankful to wake up to the sun today!
seems to make everything better.
the boys enjoyed the swings this afternoon, and i enjoyed the smiles.

happy sunday!

Friday, May 04, 2012

love is not a feeling, it's an action!

it seems sometimes like fewer and fewer people are staying committed...to anything.
my goal is not to spout off or complain about people who choose to be uncommitted.
here's where i want to go with this.

i am so incredibly thankful for a husband who takes commitment seriously.
before you roll your eyes and say...puuleeeeezzzz...just hold on a minute.
i also am finding more and more blogs of women who are willing to throw their husbands under the bus.
sometimes it's blatant, and sometimes it's under this guise...

i just want to encourage others by showing them that it's perfectly normal for marriages to be struggling and for their husbands to be hard to get along with - you are not alone!!

here's where i have a problem with that.
of course i want to encourage other wives too!
but what kind of encouraging does it do to tell other wives that my husband is being selfish and rude and hard to get along with -JUST LIKE YOURS??!?!?!
maybe the kind of encouragement should be this reminder.

love is not a feeling, it's an action!

say what?
yep! so those times when i am frustrated with my husband? i should be encouraging you...not by telling you you're not alone, but by intentionally focusing on all of his good qualities. by working extra hard to serve him more.
i'm not saying it's always easy to do that. 
i am naturally a very selfish person. believe me. i want my way a lot.
but i am also able to use the power of God to take those selfish feelings and actively show love!

so that is where i would rather take this blog.

after saying that...i am actually not having any problems with adam tonight...i just want to show my appreciation for the kind of person he is!

back to my first sentence.
it is hard to find commitment.
but adam?
he is totally committed.

he is committed to his ministries. when people don't show up? he takes their place. 
he is always there. always. it's not even an option to back out for him. he never misses anything.

he is committed to his job. always has been. i can remember so many days when he was not feeling good, and i would beg him to stay home. but it wasn't an option. he would still get up early and go.

he is committed to his kids. he would do anything for those boys, and he plays with them - just like he is a kid! he gives up things that he would want, so they can have what they would want.

he is committed to his marriage. i have literally not ever once been afraid that he would leave me. ever.
that's not to say that we haven't had any rough times, but divorce is never ever spoken in this house as an option. it's just not going to happen.

he is committed to his God. he reads his Bible every day. never misses. he puts his relationship with God first. and he is an amazing example to me in that sense.

sometimes i have to admit that i almost take his commitment for granted. i just assume that he will be a man of his word. because he is.
but then i am reminded of how thankful i am for that when i see lack of commitment around me. 
he doesn't complain when other people don't show up and he fills in...he just does it.

and i am thankful.

so my challenge to you? 
when you are tempted to complain and gripe about your husband. (or anyone for that matter!)
when you want someone else to sit in a big mud puddle with you and compare stories?
just stop.
stop and remember that 
love is an action. not a feeling.

and show love even when you don't feel like it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

some days...

it's amazing how something as simple as a picture can make such a difference in your day.
i bought canvases of the boys. 
they are 16x16 and i am in. love. with them.
they are amazing, and they are on the wall in front of me as i speak. 

i literally smile every single time i look at them.
i wake up, get out of bed and smile.
they just remind me of how thankful i am that God blessed me and adam with such amazing boys.

a picture can bring you back to a time in your life and kind of hold you there for a minute.
like this one? us in college. 
brings back so many great memories. 

and then this one? see i didn't need a fancy camera or an expensive backdrop.
it was a cheap point and shoot, and a wrinkled sheet.
but ya know what? i still smile when i look at it.
it reminds of those crazy days in my life that i can hardly even remember sometimes.
the days when adam was leaving super early in the morning for work at one job. then driving to his next job and staying super late, just to make sure he was providing for his little family while allowing me to stay home with the boys.
it was crazy times of financial struggles, mostly no sleep and lots and lots of teenagers at our house!
isn't it wild all the things that come back when you see one picture?

it reminds me to take more pictures.
to be thankful for everything i have
and to smile more.

some days...
a picture is exactly what you need to get your day started right.

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