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Thursday, January 31, 2013

quietness rules

i love isaiah 30:15.
it says "...in quietness and trust shall be your strength."

when i feel like talking.

when i feel like defending myself.

when i want to scream.

when everything inside of me wants to do exactly the opposite.

what i don't realize is when i decide to actually do the opposite - talk.
i find that i do not feel stronger. i feel weaker.

so tonight.
i am finding my strength in quietness and trust.
trusting that God is ultimately in control.
trusting that HE is my shield, HE is my defense, HE is my rock.

and quietness.
so i can hear His voice.
so i will stop talking over him, and miss out on what He is trying to tell me...to teach me.
because He is trying to make me look more like Him.

i just need to be quiet.
that's where i will find my strength.

i will trust my God 
quietness and confidence will be my strength -
in rest i will be saved
so i will trust in you
and wait upon you all my days
you are gracious
you are loving 
and you will hear my cry, so i will trust.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

a little late...

people always remind me of how busy i am.
sometimes i don't really think i am.

and then other times? 

it hits me like crazy, and i'm like...yep. i'm busy

so here are a couple pictures from.

today is one of those "other times" when i am crazy busy.

enjoy the pictures of my sweet little men, and then one of them with their cousin
on christmas eve enjoying a movie.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

fishbowl findings 1.

the name fishbowl findings 1. is for this purpose:

when you are working in the ministry (full time, or even many times just part time or even volunteer time!) you may as well be living in a fishbowl.
add putting that fishbowl in the middle of a room - aka living at the parsonage-
and you are just totally out there. people see every little dusty corner of your life (and house! ha!) and many times feel that it is then their job to correct, judge, or criticize the dust bunnies.

i received such a positive response by many people on the post called the view from the eyes of a pastor's kid that i realized how many people are in the same position, and just need a little boost...a little bit of encouragement from someone else who is feeling the same way!

so i put 1. to encourage myself to make this the first of many posts that can hopefully bring encouragement to other wives, or daughters who are smack dab in the middle of a fishbowl.

i was talking to a close friend of mine, who is also in ministry, and we were discussing the discouragement that can come when you put hour after hour into people, only to see them eventually turn their backs on you, and many times turn their backs on God!

i believe the question came up - is this really worth it?

i am 100% sure we are not the only people who have ever felt this way.
i can't even count the amount of times that i have opened up a little bit to someone, only to have that person use what i opened up about, against me!
there have also been many times where i have put hours of time into mentoring people only to watch them ignore my advice and then turn away.

so i'm sure you have been there too!

i wanted to come up with something that would help us to STAY STRONG!

get a load of this quote by a.w. tozer:

the visible is an enemy of the invisible.

no. seriously, read it again.

i wrote it down in my journal because i really wanted to contemplate it.
what is the invisible?
my relationship with God. HE is invisible. however, HE wants me to spend time with him.

what is the visible?
my computer.
my smart phone.
my housework.
my husband.
my kids.
my ministry.

do you get the point?!?! clearly i am not saying that any of the things i just listed are bad!
what i am saying is that when i am putting all of those visible-right-in-front-of-my-face things first?
it means i am putting my time with God in the wrong place.
i should be more serious about maintaining, evaluating, focusing on a deep, growing relationship with God than i even am with my husband!
of course, when i have this in the right order, things with my husband will be amazing as well!

that was the first encouragement i needed.

so number 1. 
Keep my time with God a priority over every other thing that is right in front of my face.

my second thought was...
how did Jesus do this?
i mean for real? he was here. on earth.
in front of people all the time.
people who mostly wanted to use Him for His healing power, 
i mean come on. let's face it!
so many people wanted to get healed and that's it! they didn't care about HIM!
how many times does that happen today?
promises made...GOD - if you heal me, i will start going to church!
if you give me this one financial need i will start serving you!
if i say this prayer, i get a ticket to heaven and can now live however i want!

this is what Jesus was facing daily.
and do you know what he did?
he kept His relationship with God a priority over every other thing.
and  he dealt with people...one. person. at. a. time.

this blew my mind when i started thinking about it the other day!
have you ever read about all of Jesus' healings?
clearly, he had the power to just go into a city and proclaim - you are all healed!
but he didn't.
he dealt with each person individually.
think of the woman who touched his robe.
think of the blind man, the lame man, the demon possessed man, the dead girl.
he stopped and just showed love and compassion to individual people. one at a time.
He realized that ultimately, GOD was the one in control.

and that was what i needed.
so my number 2.
take people one at a time.
seems simple, right?

but we know...there are usually dozens of needy people texting, calling, dropping in, NEEDING us on any given day, am i right?

so what do we do?
we make sure that we are focusing on our relationship with God in the morning. first thing.
decide and just DO IT.
then. we deal with each. individual person that comes our way at a time.
not thinking of the last friend that hurt us. not thinking of the last person that didn't take your advice. not thinking of the last person that turned away.

because ultimately? we do not have any answers for them. 
Jesus is the only answer.
Jesus is the only one who can totally heal and transform lives.
so instead of thinking about how WE can fix and help and change?
just remember that it's not our job.
our only job is to bring them to a Savior who can. and who will. 
the final outcome is up to him.
and i'm pretty sure HE can handle it.

stay strong

As always, please feel free to email me any time for prayer or advice. (ajnrileysmommy@ hotmail.com )
i will assist in any way i can...one person at a time, of course ;) 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

it's the little things

so 20 years ago today.
it was a sunday.
i was getting ready for church.
i remember wearing my favorite plaid pleated skirt. awesome, i know.
and my black shoes.
i am pretty sure i had used 3/4 of a bottle of salon selectives hair spray on the beautiful curled bangs i was forming.
my nails were painted bright red.

at about 12:30 i watched a sweet, gray car pull into the driveway.
sweet only because a guy from my class was coming with his dad to pick me up and bring me back to his house for lunch. not sweet because of the look of it. just trust me. ha!
i was kind of nervous.

not nervous around his mom, because she was the sweetest person ever.
a little nervous around his dad.
(who i remember commented on how bright my nails were)
and maybe a little nervous about making the right impression on adam.

i remember him looking at me with his bright blue eyes and saying "so. will you go out with me?"

i said yes.

i was only 16 years old. and i had no idea where that yes was going to take me!
on an incredible journey of life with someone who would love me unconditionally.
and who would make me never doubt the fact that he did.

20 years and 2 boys later....
adam was telling the boys last night how we had been together for 20 years.
i didn't think much of him telling it to them. i mean, they thought it was pretty cool, that was it.

but this morning.
i woke up to this.

these signs.
all over the house.
on the doors, in adam's office, above my desk, on the windows.

wow. how lucky am i?
it's these little things.
just some printer paper, markers and tape.
and along with that...
a reminder of these sweet and sensitive little boys who see the value of a happy marriage.
who feel the security this strong marriage gives them.
and who choose to show us that they do.

and it makes me happy.
it makes me forget all the even littler things that tend to feel like big things.

i choose to focus on the little things. which are, in essence, the biggest things.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

he finally likes me!

i live my life trying to get all my nieces and nephews to crown me... their "favorite auntie"
no. i'm not kidding.

but micah.
oh micah.
so sweet. so cute. so serious!
 if you know me at all, you know i am anything but serious, and so i guess that maybe i have just scared him?
ya know, my crazy dances. my grabbing him and swinging him around. my loud laughs.


i just wanted him to like me. all the other ones like me! why not micah?

so last weekend, i surprised my sister with a visit. and honestly, watching her jump and scream was most definitely one of my favorite things ever.
like in the whole entire world.
really. makes me want to do it again!

i just can't get enough of micah's big blue eyes, so i took him out on the porch to get some pictures of him. he started like this. ya know, his normal face every time he sees me.

then i saw this and thought.
land sakes alive. he just may be warming up to me!

and THEN.
oh. my. goodnight. shirt.
i think i am about to get a smile!
get the camera out!!
oh wait. i already had it out. phew!

and by the end of my time there, he was actually letting me pick him up and snuggle with him!!

wow. i do believe my nephew finally likes me! here's a big smile to prove it!

hey micah!
who's your favorite auntie?!?!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a special kind of birthday

sometimes, when a person loses a loved one.
when it is tragic.
when it is unexpected.
i think that we tend to feel like we shouldn't talk about it to the person who had the loss.
like we should just be quiet and maybe pretend that it didn't happen.
sometimes i think it is because we honestly just don't know what to say.
there are no words that are going to make it any easier, and you would just hate to say something to make it worse!

today, i felt like i wanted to talk about a tragic, unexpected loss.
because i think that while we naturally tend to just not say anything, we can lose out on something pretty amazing.

today is the 14 year birthday of a sweet boy named devan joel.

it is a special kind of birthday because it is a birthday that will be celebrated in heaven...just like his last 13 were.

my sister erika and her husband lost their baby a week before his due date.
there was no warning. no signs. nothing.

i remember the sadness and i remember the feeling of intense pain - for them.
because i could not even imagine what they must have been feeling
i watched them grieve...
watched them suffer a loss that nobody should ever have to go through

but the amazing part about all of it is this.

they never let go.
never let go of God.
and it was pretty spectacular to witness.

because see...it would have been easy to.
it didn't make sense.
they could have blamed God.
doubted God.
walked away from God.

but they didn't.
because they had spent years building a relationship with a God who they had come to love and more importantly - trust.
(i am not implying they didn't have moments of doubt, of blaming God, of anger. i'm just saying that they did not choose to finally and completely doubt, blame and walk away)

and that is why i wanted to even talk about it.
obviously, they have not forgotten.
and by me not talking about it isn't going to change that.

so i wanted to publicly say to you:
we have not forgotten. we never will.
we still think of the Currier family as a family of 10.
because that is what you are.

i wanted to remember devan's birthday by remembering how good God has been to you and by thanking you for being such an amazing example of what love and trust in God look like.
and that is the amazing part of a unexplainable story that i don't think people should miss out on!
you are incredible.

happy birthday to my precious nephew who i never got to meet,
and who i can not wait to see in heaven.

and thank you, matt and erika, for holding on.
you may never know how many lives will be affected because you did!

weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

no shame...

i have been thinking about this topic for quite a while now.
probably about as long as we've been running the porch.

there is a verse in the Bible that talks about people who are living ungodly lives.
it says "they brag about shameful things" 

this. is. our. world.

bragging about shameful things.
i am honestly blown away...and not in a good way...about what people feel comfortable saying.

there should be some things that are shameful. that should not be talked about.
unfortunately, things that we are trying to train our children to look at as "shameful" are glorified on tv and everywhere you look.

i am so surprised by what kids at the porch feel comfortable saying in front of me.
and how there is no embarrassment with anything.

i was thinking about the different things that i am teaching my kids.
there is a standard for right and wrong.
it's not based on what i am feeling, it's not based on the latest survey.

those are both going to change!

it is based on the only thing that will never change. ever.
God's Word.

see...the Bible says that getting drunk is wrong.
it's not what i say. it's what God says.

the Bible also says that sex outside of marriage is wrong.
interestingly enough, i recently had an 11 year old and a 12 year old ask me if it was sin to have sex.
can you tell me why they would ask me that?
my first thought was...WHY are you even thinking about sex right now? you are little boys!
my second thought was...how do you feel comfortable talking about this to me?

nothing is shameful to kids.
nothing is looked at as right or wrong, good or bad.
it's all about who they choose to look up to.

most of these kids are seeing their parents get drunk, so to them...why would that be wrong?
most of these kids are walking around with uncensored internet at their fingertips every second of every day. they are seeing sex and everything else as being cool and what everyone is doing...why would they see that as wrong?

i just think it's ok if our kids learn that some things are shameful!
i don't mean shameful in a let's-rub-our-kids-faces-in-their-mistakes kind of way.
i want my boys to feel comfortable talking to me and telling me if they are doing something wrong.

but i also want them to see that there is a right way to live.
it is spelled out. black and white. clear as day.

there is a wrong way to live.
it is also spelled out. black and white. clear as day.

the wrong way? produces bad consequences (that of course they will not see on tv.)
the right way? produces blessings from a loving God who made a manual.
a manual for the way to live that will be the best for us.
what makes us think that a creator would give us a manual that would be mean and cruel and not fun?
isn't that what we're teaching our kids by living life the way we want? the way we feel today?
when we treat people unfairly. when we disobey the law. when we sin and then justify it.

our kids are being brought up in a world where there are very few consequences.
and where there is very little to be ashamed of.

i am teaching my kids this:
it is shameful to even speak of the things they do in secret. Ephesians 5:12

not only do i think that you should not be doing things that are wrong?
i also think you should not be talking about the things people are doing wrong!

don't glorify it! don't make it look glamorous! don't make it look fun!

teach your kids the truth. the consequences.

let's start bringing up some responsible, respectful kids!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Wedding Engagement Photographer ~ Portsmouth, NH

I have to admit, I always wonder what my clients are going to really think of me when I meet them for the first time!
I can be a lot to handle. haha!

I met Bekah and Ben on a very cold afternoon in the beautiful Market Square in Portsmouth, NH. They were adorable and I was...my usual crazy, hyper self. And that was before coffee.

Our time flew by so we barely noticed the cold. They were amazing to work with and totally open to all the ideas I had. I love that.

We found different streets and alleys to use, and found some great inspiration for wedding themes. *you'll have to wait for the wedding to see that. I don't want to give anything away. I will just say it may have something to do with whales.  :)

We ended the session stopping at a cute little coffee shop called Breaking New Grounds for some much needed hot coffee!

Here are some of my favorite from our session!

Bekah and Ben - you were so much fun to be with...thanks for a super fun day!

Monday, January 07, 2013

boys basketball and berwick

those of you who know us at all know that sports is a pretty big part of our lives. those of you who know us even better than a little know that it is not even close to the biggEST part of our lives. (this post talks about that a little!)

but there is something that makes this little heart of mine just about burst when i watch my boys play ball.
it brings me back to my high school days... when i would sit in the bleachers and keep track of how many points, rebounds and steals their daddy had in his games.
i love that i can watch these little boys, who remind me so much of the man i am madly in love with, show leadership, talent, and hard work on the court.

i also love that they play for a league (integrity hoops) that takes self-control, and integrity seriously.

so...in spite of the fact that we have to drive all the ever-loving way to south berwick, maine.
twice a weekend. i could never complain.

sometimes, i hope people aren't paying attention to me...because i just can't stop smiling when i get to sit back and watch them play.

silly? maybe.
but some of you know exactly what i'm talking about.
because you have felt it too

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

anyone can commit to anything...for one week.

i have never been a huge fan of new years resolutions.
i wrote about that a while ago that you can read here if you want.

anyways. the problem for me with new years resolutions is that they have to last a whole entire year!
i mean really!
it seems so...daunting. doesn't it?
i can get all excited about working out every day of the week. until just about march? or is it february...
then it's all boring and too hard and stuff! ha!

so i decided that this year i am making new week's resolutions.
because, i feel like i can handle things a week at a time.

not that i am against long term planning. obviously.
i think it is so important to have big dreams and goals, and i have a list of those as well.

but i don't think i could possibly go without sugar for an entire year.
but i think one week is doable.
so that's what i'm doing this week.
no more dessert for me this week. if i decide to do it again next week...great!

instead of reading the Bible through in a year, i am reading the Bible through in 90 days.

i am just going to try and do things in smaller increments.

we are going to have a killer school week next week.
the week after that? not so much.
just kidding. i'm not planning for failure or anything here :)

another plus with this method is that since i tend to procrastinate sometimes, i will only have 6 days to push something off! then i have to get it done!

see...this is just better.
i think anyone can commit to anything - for one week!!

so - here's to an incredibly amazingly awesome first week of 2013!

happy new year!

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