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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rachelle Chase | Senior Photographer Exeter, NH ~ Lizzie

I'm sure you remember Lizzie, the winner of my cover model contest!
She is one of my models, and I love her!

Well, we booked her session.
We picked the location.

Then. As soon as she pulled into my driveway, it started raining.
not perfect.

Well...it was only sprinkling.
So, I thought - we will just go with it. I'm sure it will die down.
Orrrrr...pick up.
either one.
It pretty much poured the entire time. No lie.

Anyways, I had an umbrella that we incorporated into the shoot, and we just got creative!
We had so. much. fun.

And she is absolutely gorgeous. As you will see.
Here are a few of my faves from the night!

I told you we laugh a lot.
Seriously...we had so much stinking fun.
She was the most fun to be with.

 Model, much??
Thank you, Lizzie for an awesome time.
You made my job so easy.
Hope you have an AMAZING senior year!!

ps. The winners of my giveaway are:

Earrings: Abigail, Virginia
Record Case: Brenda, Texas
(I will contact you for your addresses. Thank you everyone who participated!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Amazing Gift of Hope in Death

Many of you remember my friend Bryce.
He is a friend of my family's that I have known ever since I can remember.
We have had some great memories with him, but one of our favorites was our trip to disney 

About 2 years ago he was in a horrific car accident that almost took his life.
I went with my parents to orlando to visit him and couldn't believe the shape he was in. It was a really emotional time, and I wrote this song as a comfort while we were all praying for his healing. He miraculously recovered and he then came to NH to live with us for a while as he went through some physical therapy.
We loved it.
My boys adore Bryce, and I remember them making him a big banner to take to the airport the day we picked him up.

We went thrifting. Had movie nights (complete with every kind of m-n-m's you can imagine) and of course, diet coke...one of me and bryce's major food groups.
He spoiled me and the boys and always treated us like royalty. He really made extra efforts to show the boys he cared about them, even though his health was so bad as a result of the accident.

Saturday, I texted him and he never texted back.
This was really unusual.
I tried no to worry about it, but remembered that the last time this happened, was when he had been in the car accident.

I found out last night that something had happened while he was home alone, and he had died.

It is still hard to wrap my mind around.
When there is someone in your life who you are close to, you just live life thinking that they will always be there, even though you know we are all going to die one day.

Last night was difficult for me, and I just wanted to be with Adam. (I am still in NJ)
I kept looking at my phone as if I expected there to be one more text from Bryce.

Telling me I was his favorite. (even though I think he told that to everyone...well. not everyone, but a lot of people.)
I wish that I had texted him Friday instead of Saturday.
I wish that I had one more text from him telling me that he loved me.
I wish I had sent one more text to him telling him that I loved him too.

I was blown away this morning by the reminder of this incredible gift that God has given us.
The amazing gift of hope in death.

See..I don't have to walk around "hoping" that Bryce is in heaven.
I don't have to pray that God will allow him to enter heaven.
I don't have to wonder and wish and fear.

I know.
The hope I have is a different kind of hope.
It is a confident expectation.
It is a firm assurance regarding things that we can not see.

According to the very Word of God himself, If you have placed your hope and trust in God alone for Salvation, you have the assurance that you will be in heaven someday.
end of story.

It is an amazing gift from God.
Because if he didn't give us that, we would be left to wonder.
To wonder if there is life after death, to wonder if there really is a place called heaven and a place called hell.
I don't have to hope Bryce was good enough to go to heaven.
He wasn't.
I'm not.
He knew that, and he knew that the only way to get to heaven is to stop trying himself, and put his all of his hope in Jesus for Salvation.

And I don't think Bryce is "resting in the arms of the angels" or whatever else people write in a mystical, imaginary way of writing.
The Bible talks a lot about heaven.
It tells us there is no pain, no sorrow, no suffering.
I think Bryce is dancing right now.
I think he has pocketfulls of m-n-m's and I think he is dancing.
And then I think he will spend some time horse back riding.

Either way, He is filled with energy and he is laughing.
And he is waiting for me to get there...for all of his family and friends to get there.

That does not mean that there is not sadness with him gone.
I had a rough night last night.
When I saw that #40 on my list of 100 things to do in 1001 days was going back to disney with Bryce, I totally lost it.
We had plans to go to the Deerfield Fair this year, my boys prayed literally every night that Bryce would come to NH to live, and we even had a Disney cruise plan in the making.

I will miss him like crazy.
But I have no doubt I will see him again.

Even though I have so many...I-wish-I-could-have-told-him-one-more-time's, it reminds me of the things that I want to tell all the other people I am close to now.
So I will.
I will be thankful for the times I had with Bryce.
And I will hug my friends a little tighter, write a few more texts, emails and letters.
You just never know when it might be your last.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent sweet texts, emails and Bible verses of encouragement. Your words and your friendship means so so much to me.

And just in case God lets you look down from heaven for a second to see my blog...
I Love you so much Bryce. I am so thankful that God put you in my life.
You made me so happy and always made me feel so special. I love the way you loved my boys and I love the way you cared so much about my family.

I Can't wait to see you again.
Save some chocolate for me.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Newborn Photographer: My Sweet Niece ~Maelyn Beth~

July 22nd was a big day in my family! 
My mom celebrated her birthday,
My sister-in-law Bethany had her baby boy Sawyer
and my little sister Melanie had her baby girl Maelyn!

You can read Sawyer's birth story here
and Melanie's birth story here.

I traveled down to New Jersey to see Melanie yesterday afternoon, and prepared for
Maelyn's first (of many) big photo shoots!

She was not a fan of being naked, so we had to move on to plan b.
Sometimes, with newborn photoraphy, there are a lot of plan b's. 
And plan c's for that matter!

I did not mind the fact that I spent the majority of this session holding and snuggling my sweet niece...I'm pretty much her favorite auntie.

Here are a few of my favorite from today.

 Big brother Callen was a perfect little angel to pose for me!

 My niece Brianna made this gorgeous quilt for Maelyn! It looks amazing in the nursery!

I am so thankful that Adam and the boys were ok with me leaving them for a couple of days.
I am so happy that I have been blessed with amazing siblings and amazing nieces and nephews.
I take my job as auntie very seriously. 
I want all my nieces and nephews to have an aunt they can talk to, laugh with, be friends with...always.
and I am so grateful that I have sisters, a brother, sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws that I know are there for my kids as well. Backing me up, supporting them, and keeping our family close.

I can't wait to watch you grow up sweet Maelyn!

Friday, July 26, 2013

It's High Time for a Giveaway!

I love giveaways. 
I love finding blogs that do giveaways.

So...since I am in the mood to give away...

(cue..caaaaaann you feeeeeel the loooooove tonighttttt??)

I thought I would do a simple little giveaway.

I mean, it's nothing super exciting, but I love antiquing and I love finding creative little ways to decorate my house, I decided to give away this little columbia phonograph record case!

Isn't it so totally vintage-ly awesomeness?!?

Ok...and then I thought I would go along with the vintage theme, and give away an adorable pair of clip on earrings!
(I used them for my vintage 1940's inspired photo shoot)

ALL you have to do is...

Comment - either on my blog, or on the link on facebook.

You don't have to share it, or twitter it, or instagram it.

I like to make things simple.

I will take all the comments, and randomly pick ONE winner for EACH item.

If you want one rather than the other, just leave "earrings" or "phonograph" in your comment.
If you would like either, you can leave "both".

You don't get any extra points or anything if you leave any nice comments.
But hey...my love language is words of affirmation, so ya know...it wouldn't kill ya! ha!

So. What are you waiting for?
Who doesn't like free things?!?!

Hip hip hooray for a giveaway!

I will announce the winner Monday!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I blog about...My most popular posts

Thanks for Following Me!

I just wanted to take some time to welcome the new followers to my blog!
Thanks for stopping by, and for many of you who took the time to message me and share a little bit about yourselves! I love making new friends!

I wanted to show you around a little bit, and try to give you a basic idea of what I write about.
For those of you who have been around since 2005 when I started writing about basically...nothing? Well, you can just skim through the rest of this post!

So you can check out the about me section at the top, and the rest of the basics about me are:
I married my high school sweetheart. You can read about my love story here and here.
I have 2 boys who I homeschool and love like crazy, (and who I do not refer to as my littles, as 99.675% of the mommy blogging world does) and I am totally openly passionate about intentional, Biblical parenting.
My husband works full time at our church and together we started a not-for-profit organization called Epping Lighthouse Ministries.
The biggest part of that ministry is our youth center called The Porch.
We basically spend all our afternoons with rowdy, undisciplined, loud middle school boys...who we love and adore!

I run my own business as a photographer, and I love my job.

I try to make it easy to navigate by labeling my posts by topic on the right hand side of my blog.

Thanks to google analytics, I am able to see how many people read each post, and what gets them to my site.
It is helpful to see how many people are going to each post...gives me a better idea of what people are interested in reading!

Here are some of my most popular posts by topic.


The View From the Eyes of a Pastor's Kid
The title makes it pretty clear, but I write from the perspective of a good ole PK!

Fishbowl Findings: Dealing with People
If you are in the ministry, you totally understand the name fishbowl findings...you live your life in a fishbowl for everyone to see.


Trusting God with My Children
I share my thoughts when my oldest son was in the hospital for emergency surgery

The Benefits of Getting Off Your Couch
A little encouragement to stay consistent in your child raising!

Dealing With Your Kids Stages and Phases Without Losing Your Mind
I think the title pretty much sums it up.

The Danger of Teaching Our Kids Too Much Independence 
The way we can sometimes focus too much on independence, and not enough on dependence on God!

Fighting Mommy Guilt (and every other kind of guilt!)
Something I'm pretty sure we ALL deal with!

Basic Beliefs and Encouragement

Oh I'm Sorry I Can't Hear You Over My Screaming
My thoughts on listening to God's voice

Know Your Role
My thoughts on being a godly wife


Ben and Bekah ~ A Burlap and Lace Wedding
Wedding Photography

Senior Model Program
A little bit about my senior portraits.
(with my models here and here)

Fun before and afters with the beautiful old house we just bought

Easy Ways to Decorate and Old House ~ Before and After
Before and After of my dining room

Another Before and After for You
Before and After of my bathroom


Amazing Angry Birds Party
My sister-in-law throws the parties, I photograph and blog them!

Awesome Despicable Me Party
Another party thrown by my sis-in-law. This is my biggest post viewed with almost 5,000 views!

So there are the basics.
My most popular posts.
Thank you so much for choosing to listen to my ramblings, laugh at my crazy stories and follow my little life.

I hope you stick around!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

getting creative in your discouragement...

I have loved reading the book Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado.
I am teaching a ladies class every Sunday, and using this as a guide.

I loved the idea this week of getting creative in your discouragement.
Looking for a different way out.
We're discussing David's life.
He had some rough times for sure...you name it, he pretty much went through it!

A few things I love about David.

*He kept it real.
There was no hiding his feelings. We can read about his mistakes and his victories. His doubts of God and his confidence in God.

*He didn't let other people, or his own negativity ruin him.
Sure...he made some wrong choices. But he always came back and confessed and saw the way that He needed to change.
I can learn a lot from that.

*He got creative about solutions.
The tendency for me is to try life a certain way. When it fails? well...give up.
I guess it just doesn't work anymore.
INSTEAD...I need to take a failure as a chance to look at life differently.
I need to take it as a chance to get creative. Switch things up.

It has been a challenge for me big time this week.
When I start to feel helpless, hopeless, discouraged...
I need to take it as a sign to change my thinking. Get creative. Try things a different way.

I am excited to see where God is going to take my marriage.
My family.
My business.
My ministries.
My friendships.

The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8

What about you? Do you need a new perspective?
Do you need to look at your circumstances a little differently?

Go ahead...Get creative.
You never know what you might come up with!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

old houses are for the birds...literally

i am close to 100% sure the sole purpose of my life is to go through ridiculous situations to bring humor to the life of you...my readers.
and i think i should make a new subject label for the side of my blog...
like - adventures in an old house?
or..animal adventures.
you have any ideas? lay 'em on me.

i could not possibly be making this stuff up.

so you know about the bat.

you know about the birds.

i know that at this point, i am just a little bit paranoid.

but last night at about 10:00, aj was in the kitchen putting his snack dishes in the sink.
riley was downstairs brushing his teeth.

i hear riley say...mom?? what was that noise??

i say..what are you talking about?

he says...very funny mom!

i say...no. i literally have no idea what you're talking about.

then i hear it.
i wish i could record my voice making the sound right now to give you an idea of what it was.
but aj ran into the hallway and says...
what. was. that?

it was like a high pitched screeching noise.

fortunately, and for what used to be an unknown reason, and now is QUITE known, there are doors on every single room in this house. 
dining room, living room, family room, hall.  
so. we did the adult, responsible thing.

closed the door and went to bed for the night...
with one eye open.

i was NOT going to try and find a bat in the dark.

unfortunately, i had been editing pictures of the scadding wedding for 3 hours, and i had a headache and a half. 
guess where my ibuprofen was?
yep. in the library.
with the bat.
and colonel mustard. ha.

so. this morning.
please picture this. it will be worth your time with the laughs you will get.

me and adam.
went out the side door, and around to the barn to get tennis rackets.
yes, you read that right.
he has childhood memories of his mother walking around with a tennis racket to fight of bats.
if it worker for her, it could work for us.

so there we were.
adam in front of me...with our tennis rackets held high.
looking for a bat.
behind curtains, under shelves.

and then i see something move in the fireplace and hear the noise again.
it was not a bat.
it was a baby bird.
that had fallen down the chimney and couldn't fly.

now. before you laugh and mock us for being afraid of a baby bird.
understand the noise

actually, it sounded worse than that.
because it wasn't even a bat. and it was echoing in the fireplace, and into a room with no carpet.

ok. so adam got the bird and put it outside.
which is where it still is...12 hours later.

moving on.

tonight as i was waiting for the bread that i was making to rise...
(with this recipe. you're welcome, kristin.)

i'm pretty sure i hear a loud chirping.
like...too loud to be just coming from outside with windows that were not open.
and then.
a flapping sound in the library.

dude. come off it.
and. since...i guess closing the door and going to bed isn't an option at 4:30pm.
so we had to do things the grown up way.

well, adam did.
him and the boys go in.
and guess what?

it's nowhere to be found.
like literally.
to this day.
as. i. speak.

we had put a board in front of the fireplace to try and prevent any other birds from coming in until our chimney sweep comes this week, and our exterminator comes tomorrow.

i guess that didn't work?

so now. i made dinner with a tennis racket in one hand and a spatula in the other.
ok. not really, but i was freaking out at every single noise and movement.

so i have decided to do the only logical thing i can think of to do.

purchase a zoo license and just open the doors for admission.
i mean...what else can i do?

so starting wednesday.
$1.00 per visitor.
kids under 3 are free.
tennis rackets will be provided at the door.
cameras are allowed.
the more of you the better, because maybe you can find the missing bird.

and then maybe i can sleep.

over and out, people.
over and out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ben and Bekah ~ Burlap and Lace Wedding

Ben and Rebekah are high school sweethearts.
I love watching them together...their love for each other and their love for God is so evident.
It is beautiful.

I was so honored to be asked to capture their special day.
I do not take this kind of thing lightly.

Because of the fact that it had rained for I think 954 consecutive days. (Ok...maybe not quite that many...but quite a few!) We were a little worried that the rain might come. BUT.
It held off the entire day - quite the relief!

One of Rebekah's close friends was supposed to be part of the wedding, but was over seas, so she was able to skype her!
Love modern technology!
Her dad's reaction to seeing her was absolutely priceless. 

They decided on a modified "first look".
Sweet moment of praying over his future wife!
I was obsessed with their rings!

The entire ceremony was so Christ-centered.
Bekah gave Ben the purity ring her father had given her when she was 16.
What a beautiful symbolic act.
Many times during the ceremony something totally malfunctioned with my camera!
Everything got totally blurry...oh wait. I guess that was just from my tears.
I found myself praying that my boys would find a godly woman like Rebekah, and that they would grow to become godly men like Ben.

Both sets of parents came up during the ceremony to pray over them. It was beautiful. 

 The happy Bride and Groom!

Every detail was beautiful.
It was very obvious that a lot of time and effort went into making everything absolutely perfect!

I loved the vintage pieces she incorporated all over the place!

 They both have big happy families!

 Then it was time to relax and have a little fun!

What a gorgeous wedding.
Thank you so much Ben and Rebekah for letting me be a part of your special day!

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