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Monday, December 31, 2012


this is for all my teens out there.
when i say "mine", i mean all of you who are a part of my life.
some of you may not even know it, but you are a part of my life.
see...i pray for you. by name.
did you know that? i do.
the other day, i wrote down the names of every teen i could think of that has ever been into the porch.
there were a lot.
i pray for all of you. if you wonder what exactly i pray? just ask. i'd love to tell you.

so. here we are.
it's the end of 2012. the beginning of a new year.
you guys are at the point in your life where you are making your own new years resolutions. right?
i mean...it used to be just watching your parents decide to start a diet, or cut back on tv. or whatever.
but now it's your turn.

i believe very strongly, that God has a plan for YOU. i mean...you specifically.
not just your family, or your school, or your town.
but you.
i think it's pretty amazing that we have the freedom and the choice to do whatever we want with our lives.
doesn't it just seem crazy sometimes?

you are where you are, because God put you here.

but. you have a choice.
you decide...
your friends, your attitude, your grades, your REPUTATION.
so what have your choices been in 2012?
did you choose friends that helped to make you a stronger, better leader?
did you choose to have a positive attitude, maybe in spite of bad circumstances?
did you choose to apply yourself to school?
did you choose with you actions that you would have a good reputation?

all of you have a reputation.
some of them are good. some bad.

i think it's weird that some of you think it's the tough thing...the cool thing...the strong thing...
*to have NO self control.
*to be known for getting into trouble.
*to hurt people for fun

see..that's the opposite of tough...of cool...of strong.
it is, in fact...weak.

yep. that's right. weak.
anyone can lose their temper, anyone can beat someone up.
but it takes someone strong to control themself.

so my challenge for you this year.
be the change. be the difference. be a leader!
make a decision to be
strong this year.

when you see your friends picking on someone else?
be the strong one.
when you see your friends smoking pot?
(yep. i said it. don't think i'm stupid enough to not see what some of you are doing.)
be the strong one.
when you see the option to get in trouble with your teacher?
be the strong one.

come on!

who is going to be the one in Epping Middle and High School this year that stands out?

is it going to be you?

because it can be. i mean...after all.
it's your choice.

here's your challenge for this year.
make some resolutions.

decide to dress appropriately. (help the guys out!)
make standards of guys you will date.
make standards of how physical you will get with a guy.
decide that you are going to help your parents out with your attitude. that you'll respect their rules.
decide that you are going to come up with a way to serve your community
decide that you are going to be the one who doesn't curse.
decide that you are going to do SOMETHING! and stick to it!

decide to not let yourself look at inappropriate things on the internet.
make standards of what kind of a girl you will date.
make standards of how physical you will get with a girl.
decide that you aren't going to smoke this year.
decide that you are going to show respect to your mom! (and dad!)
decide that you are going to be the one who doesn't curse.
decide that you are going to do SOMETHING! and stick to it!

please know that we are watching you. we are praying for you. and we are here for you.
see...me and adam? we already know your reputation.
we can pretty much tell it the second you walk in the door.
but even if you have a bad reputation now? 2013 can be different.

decide right now that 2013 will be different.
you will be a leader.
you will be different.
you will be strong.

and you will be someone that everyone else wants to be like.

happy new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

snow boys

we just got our first REAL snow this week! my boys were excited beyond belief!
i have such a hard time remembering to take pictures of my own kids just enjoying life!

 there's seriously something about snow that i just love. there are a few things about it that i hate too. (although i do love shoveling!) it is beautiful and clean. and it makes you want to play!
the boys were so cute running around, tackling each other, dodging snowballs (from me) and laughing.

 i love hearing them laugh.
everything about these boys brings more joy to me than i can ever even say. 
i am smiling right now while i'm typing!!
thankful for the snow.
thankful for their new boots.
thankful for my family.
so so thankful today.

Friday, December 28, 2012

carelessly lazy

i found this paper in my Bible from a long time ago. to be honest, i don't even remember what i was taking notes from!
it had a few quotes, the name of a speaker, the name of a book, and a few other things.

it had this quote for one...
satan is a gradualist. he moves slowly...one step at a time.

i looked up gradualist.
the actual definition is: a. the belief in, or policy of advancing toward a goal by gradual, often slow stages. b. the policy of seeking to change something or achieve a goal gradually rather than quickly.

i started thinking about that.
i was kind of thinking that that is how we can be.
things are gradual. like...gaining weight. spending money. letting the housework build up. ignoring problems that need to be dealt with.

but as i was looking at this based on the definition, i realized that i am not a gradualist.
see...a gradualist is advancing slowly toward a goal.
my *goal* is not to get to the point that i can't button my jeans.
my *goal* is not go get to the point that my bank account becomes empty, that the house will explode due to the amount of unfolded laundry or that i will eventually have no friends at all because of the fact that i ignore problems.

what my problem is, is that i am lackadaisical.
fun word, right? i admit i had to google it to make sure i spelled it correctly, and i may have thrown an "x" in there when i searched. it did, however, come up with that spelling in the urban dictionary. so maybe i'm just that cool. ha!

fun word, but not a fun meaning.
lacking interest. carelessly lazy.

i couldn't stop thinking about that definition.
carelessly lazy.
i don't think of myself as lazy. i am not the kind of person that sits still normally.
i move a lot.
but i can see how it would be possible for me to be careless. that implies that i am being lazy by accident. it is not intentional, but it is none the less...lazy.

i do not want lazy, or lackadaisical, or careless to ever describe me. ever.
what does that look like?
well, maybe it looks like the important things of life are starting to lack interest.
you know what i mean.

i am not even going to write examples. because i am writing this to get you thinking.
my list of areas that i am becoming lazy in are going to be different than yours.
i am writing a list.
right now. and i am going to make a conscious effort to be the opposite of carelessly lazy.
*attentive, careful, cautious, mindful, and READY.
*diligent, hard working, energetic and ACTIVE!

today...instead of being carelessly lazy,  i am going to be mindfully diligent!

Proverbs 14:16
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless

Friday, December 21, 2012

stinking rotten thoughts

some of you know that i decided to take a break from facebook for a while.
i had actually been feeling like i needed to for a while.
several sunday mornings, during the sermon at church, i would feel a twinge of conviction. feeling like i was wasting too much time with it, and i was letting myself get too emotionally involved in lives that really had nothing to do with me.
but monday morning would come, and i would push the thoughts off, and continue living.

i finally told a couple friends about my feelings, so they would hold me to making the choice that i really knew i wanted to make anyways!

it has only been a couple of weeks, but i have been amazed at how freeing it has been.
see...i am a people person. maybe a little bit of a people-pleaser.
not really in the way of like...i need to do anything anyone wants to make them happy?
but i just like for people to like me.
but what was happening was - i would see comments and life choices on my newsfeed.
then i would let it affect me.
i was noticing that during my quiet time and Bible reading, i was reading a verse and thinking of another person. not in a judgmental way, but just like...i wish this person could get this!
and i was missing out on what the verse was saying to ME!

i also was spending too much time on it.
i wasn't spending hours at a time, but it was just the kind of thing like...
i'd be editing pictures, and then while i was waiting for a picture to load or whatever, i would just "check my facebook real quick"
those few minutes here and few minutes there can really add up!

so. all that to say.
my main problem is my stinking rotten thoughts.
i hate that i let people affect me. i hate that i get upset and frustrated.
so i asked adam last night. (at midnight...my favorite time to start a deep conversation. ha!)
how do you actually practice 2 corinthians 10:5?
"we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of  God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
i know that it is in God's Word. so it's possible. it's livable.
but HOW?

so he said.
well. i guess every time you start having a thought that is getting you down or frustrated, you just pray! you say "God, please take these thoughts captive and make them obey you"

um. really?
is there a reason i didn't just think of ASKING GOD??

oh adam, how i love you.

so that is what i am doing.
i am starting to actually ask God when i have troubling thoughts.
when i see things that bother me.
when i start to notice that my thoughts are going down the wrong path.
i'll just ask!
and i know that if i ask, God promises to help me.

so. no more stinking rotten thoughts for me today!
those thoughts are going to be obedient to God.

ready. set. go.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brendan and and Jenna ~A Bedford Village Inn Wedding~

It seems like just yesterday I was sleeping across the tent from Jenna in the Dominican Republic, frantically trying to get her attention. I had seen a man walk by with a machine gun and wasn't sure if that was normal!! (which it apparently was, by the way!) 

I have known Jenna for several years, and have had the privilege of getting to know her through youth group, her babysitting my boys, a missions trip and coffee dates. (and am very close friends with her parents) 
She is kind of quiet, but when she smiles, she lights up the room. 
I remember meeting Brendan and seeing them together. I loved watching how comfortable they were with each other, and how happy they made each other!
It was no surprise when I got a text saying that they were engaged...and I couldn't have been more happy for them! 

Their wedding day was absolutely and completely perfect. 
While it was a little chilly outside, the sun was shining and it was warm and cozy inside.
The day was amazing...right down to the last little detail.
I was thrilled to be part of the day and had an amazing time celebrating with them! 

Brendan and Jenna, thank you for allowing me to be part of your special day! 
Here are a *few* of my favorites! Enjoy!

Coordinator | Bree Warren
Hair | Salon 27
Entertainment | Nate Haywood
Flowers | Royal Bouquet

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the reason i spend so much time with 12-year-olds

when i was about 12, a family started coming to my church. mike and liz were their names.
they started working with our youth group and they. were. the. stuff. 
i mean for real. they rocked my world. 
they were in their early 30's and they treated me like i was totally important and like i really mattered. 
in real life i could have argued that liz considered me one of her best friends. 
that is just the way they made me feel.
i would ride my bike to their house, spend the afternoon. eat dinner with them, and play games. 
i loved every second i was with them.
they left our church after only a couple of years, but in that short time they had left a mark. a big one. 

fast forward about 15 years. i was married and had 2 boys. 
mike and liz had moved to Colorado and i heard they were coming to nh for a visit. 
they never contacted me so I could get the chance to see them again. i remember the night I heard they had gone back home. i laid in bed and cried like a little girl. honestly! i cried my eyes out. 
i remember thinking...what is my problem?! i am a grown woman with a family of my own! why should this affect me so much?! 
but it did. and I couldn't explain it, and i didn't want to share it with anyone. but it just did... this was the impact they had made on me. 
i don't share the story to sound bitter. i'm not bitter about it, 
i only share it to show how much of an impact two people can have on the life of one 12-year-old. 

See...i'm sure they were not thinking...i bet rachelle is crying right now since we didn't get together! 
i don't know that they actually fully understood what they did for me. 

they validated me at a crucial time in my life. 
they made me feel important.
they took the time to just share their life with me.

so here i am today.
monday at 2:30 rolls around, and i am totally giddy with excitement about who is about to walk in the door at 
The Porch
ya know why?
because you just never ever know how much your life can impact and influence others.

so maybe grant's life isn't going to be better 10 years from now because i play ping pong with him after school
maybe mercedes isn't going to accomplish great things in life because i am playing foosball with her.
and maybe matt, luke, clinton, aissa, nghia, and austin aren't going to go to change the world because i am asking them how their day was, or getting them another snack and drink.
but then...maybe it is.
see - you don't know.
and maybe you never will know!

i don't know if mike and liz know how much i looked up to them.
how much they affected me
and how thankful i am that they were a part of my life in middle school.

but i do know that i am going to take the time to invest in the lives of these kids who are going through so much right now. 
i am going to validate them, encourage them, build them up and pray for them.

so in case you were wondering why i spend so much time with 12-year-olds?
this should pretty much sum it up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

life lessons with legos

sometimes you just need to take a break from learning your multiplication tables and history timeline because as important as it is to know those things... they won't really matter much if you can't figure out how to have self control and how to get along with people!
so today. we took a little diversion from technical "school" and learned a simple life lesson.
(i got some help with my favorite parenting books plants grown up and for instruction in righteousness)
legos is always a good way to make things a little more fun, and helps to picture things that the Bible is teaching us.
we did a study on the causes of contention and strife. 
we also read about people in the Bible who made good choices with this, and also bad choices - and what the outcome was. 
we read about how only by pride comes contention. how a soft answer turns away wrath, and how only a fool will show his anger and annoyance at once.
then we read in Mark 3:25 if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 
so we built a house. 
then we divided it by taking the top off, demonstrating a family fighting against each other. 
then we watched it fall! 
might not seem like that big of a demonstration. but i want my boys to learn that they are choosing to let our family fall apart by arguments that aren't even important. 
don't worry. i get this. it's not just them!
i am doing the exact same thing myself if i choose to be irritated with my husband, or if i choose to get annoyed with my boys.
when i see it as tearing my home apart? kind of makes the fact that there are dirty socks on the floor and not in the hamper...not such a big deal anymore.

so for today at least. we are working on being slow to speak, quick to listen, slow to become angry.
and we are thinking a little bit more about what we choose to argue about.
 see? you can pretty much learn to teach with anything!

 next week's lesson will hopefully be something about chocolate :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

please provoke me

i came across a verse in my Bible reading the other day.
it wasn't like i haven't read the verse before. i had.
but it just kind of hit me differently this particular day.

"and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works"

normally, when i think of the word provoke, i think of one of my boys in the back seat of the car.
come on. you know you've been in a similar situation.
one of them is provoking the other.
and it ain't to love and good works!
it's to irritation and dirty looks! haha!

so maybe that's why it stood out to me. i don't normally think of provoke in a positive way.
but it does not only have to be negative!
i liked a couple other versions that put it like this..
let us think of ways to motivate each other...let us continue to consider how to motivate...let us consider how we may spur one another on.

if you read the verse in context, you see that the following sentence talks about not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, but encouraging each other!

what i took from it was this. the next time i am in a conversation with someone.
i should be thinking in my head...how can i provoke her?
how can i get from what we are talking about here, to motivate her to be a better person there?
can you even imagine what our conversations would start becoming if we took that seriously??

how many conversations have you had lately where people are just "venting" just "getting something off their chest" and you find yourself saying...
WHAT? she did WHAT to you? you did NOT deserve that! (or something similar)

when we have that response, we are not motivating our friends to be positive. we aren't spurring them on to become more encouraging! we are actually doing the opposite! we are dragging them into a pit.

i have recently had some conversations with people who have been awesome provokers.
and i am so thankful!
i want you to provoke me!
my bad attitude that i carry around with me? ya. it actually doesn't even feel good! i don't want to be negative. i don't want to become bitter.
and i need you to provoke me!
i need to provoke you.
we need to provoke each other.

come on!
be positive.
be thankful for what you have.
be content.
be joyful.
obey God's commands.
it's the cool thing to do...
everybody's doing it! :)

let's start provoking!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

~newborn lifestyle photography~

i was so honored to have the opportunity to capture a day in the life of this sweet family. it is the first baby in the family, and the first grandchild in the family!
i loved watching the way sarah and peter interacted with each other, and the way they looked so comfortable with their new little bundle.

their home was peaceful and relaxing, and it was totally obvious they were smitten. totally and completely madly in love with their new baby.

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