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Monday, June 30, 2014

Mommy Monday - Make your kids do more work

Make your kids do more work.
The end.

ha...Just kidding, but I am hoping I am not the only mom who struggles with this.

Here is my problem. I am a do-er. Like...overly.
My natural instinct is just to empty the dishwasher, empty the trash, do the laundry and do it all in record time, exactly the way I want it.
It is so hard for me to delegate the work to my kids!

But here's the thing.
I am robbing them of feelings of accomplishment, and also of just learning to do things on their own!
Sure. My kids have some chores that are their responsibility and they know it.
But there are other things that are not really assigned to anyone. So for those things, it's a good idea to just start asking for help.
Today I was reading my Bible out on the front porch and I noticed that there were some spots of tall grass that were too close to the fence to get with my trimmer. I was about to get up and take care of it myself, and I decided to ask the boys to do it.
It took them maybe 5 minutes, and gave them a feeling of achievement and made them feel like they were helping to make our house look nice.
Plus it gave me the opportunity to encourage them and commend them for their good work.

Here is my short and sweet challenge for the week.

1. Teach your kids what initiative looks like.
This is something that does not come naturally and needs to be taught to our kids!

2. Resist the urge to "fix" the job they have done or to "correct" their work.
If the dishes aren't exactly the way you want them in the dishwasher, they will still get cleaned.
And who's to say your way is the right way anyways?!
Ain't no thang.

3. Ask them to do more.
Instead of sighing and picking up the pile of laundry, just walk into the room they are in and ask them to go and take care of the clothes that are theirs.

4. Encourage them when they have done a job.
We all need to be encouraged, and when we give jobs to our kids it is an open door for us to compliment them and build them up.
Please take it!
Take every single chance you have to build your kids up.
There are going to be more than enough other people who put them down.
Don't be one of them.

So go ahead...ask your kids do go do something for you.
And if they complain? Tell them it's my fault.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My house when it was ugly

I did a search of my address to see if I could find any old pictures.
I totally hit the jackpot.
Check out my house when it was ugly.

I mean...who picks this stuff?!?

I just ordered the butcher block countertop today (soooooo excited!!)
and if you have been to my house before, you can see we've come a long way!
And if you haven't been to my house before, you should. I have an open door policy.
So that's that.
Can't wait to finish up the kitchen and show you all some real before and afters!
My house when it was ugly was actually still pretty awesome.
Whenever I drive into the driveway, I still just can't believe it's mine.
I love this house so much and am so thankful for the way God provides for our needs and our wants.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 Things no one tells you about working with teens

I have been working with teenagers for about 15 years.
I have seen my fair share of...interesting things happen in those years.

Adam and I started working with the youth group at our church the summer we got married.
I was tired of youth leaders coming and going, or using their youth pastor title as a stepping stool to get to the job they really wanted, so I decided that I was all in.
Like, for life.

So here I am. An old, uncool lady still hanging out with teens on a regular basis.

I  have heard a lot, seen a lot, and learned a lot over the years.
I really had no idea what to expect when I was starting out, because I don't think anyone ever really knows how things roll.
Every ministry is different, every teen is different.
But there are a few things that I didn't know when I started out, and here are some of them.

1. They stink. Literally.
No, I'm serious. I don't think I truly understood just how bad teens smell until we started having boys sleepovers at our apartment. whewww...Get a bunch of boys in a small area and look out world.
I have often wondered why a friend would let another friend be in public and smell so bad, but apparently friends do indeed let friends smell bad.
I'm all like...can someone not just say, dude. You must be out of deodorant. Here, use some of mine?! For real. And it's not just boys. You'd be surprised at how smelly girls can be too!
Hand sanitizer, anyone?

2. They don't say thank you a lot.
This is for sure a true statement.
If you are planning to work with teens in exchange for hugs, high fives and letters of appreciation...think again.
It is funny to me how many people will come into The Porch and tell the teens to say thank you when I hand them their snacks, or when they leave.
I do get it, and as a mom I do think that kids should be grateful.
But the thing is, I am not serving to get a thank you at at the end. And to be honest? I'm not even really serving them! I am serving God, and He gives the best kinds of rewards anyways!
So whether they say thank you for the food, or thank you for giving up 2 and a half hours of your day just to be with me, or whether they take their snack and walk out the door. It's all the same to me.
I love them just the same.

3. They think negative attention is better than no attention.
I remember asking if any of our middle school kids had any prayer requests one night, and this 7th grade boy raised his hand. We called on him, and he proceeded to put his hand under his smelly armpit and make farting noises.
Oh. My. Word.
We get it. You want attention, and you will do anything in the world to get it.
Of course you try and not act surprised at anything they do, but it can be a challenge!
The first 10 years of our ministry were mostly dealing with church kids. Sure, there were some who didn't go to church or know much about the Bible, but for the most part we had a large group of kids who understood who Jesus was and had a relationship with Him.
The last five years have been the exact opposite.
I have sat in our youth center and told kids that the earth is young and they literally looked at me and said they had never even heard that to be an option! I have had 13-year-olds tell me that they had never even heard of the 10 commandments. I don't mean that they didn't know what all of them were.
I mean they had never even heard that there was such a thing! Mind blowing.
Working with teens who come from homes where parents couldn't care less what they are doing, and where smoking pot is a totally normal part of their everyday life, is a lot different than what I was used to. I know that they want attention, and I can see that they don't care what kind of attention it is.
The words that come out of their mouths sometimes makes me feel sick to my stomach. Literally.
But I will still give attention, I will just switch things around and give positive attention.
We don't yell at the kids for cursing. We don't tell them we think they are horrible.
We just tell them what we expect and that we love them enough to care about their reputation and their future.

4. They make you love more than you realize you could.
It's so strange the way I feel towards the kids we work with. They don't realize it, but they mean so much to me. I pray for them continuously and I sometimes check up on their Facebook page or instagram just to see how they are doing.
They make you love them and you just can't help it.
I have gone to many all nighters, and waited for hours after for parents to pick their kids up, and somehow it didn't bother me.

I care about these kids. I want the best for them. I want them to succeed and I want to watch them grow. I believe it is an honor to work with them, and I really hope they know that. I feel responsible for them, and their decisions affect me.
Everyone needs someone to have their back.
And that is my goal...to be that person they know they can always count on.

5. They can eventually make the best friends.
I am still friends with many of the kids who were in youth group years ago. They become part of the family and they make amazing friends. We have many memories of missions trips, canoe trips, youth groups, super bowls and a million other things.
I didn't go into youth ministries looking to make friends, but I found out that it definitely happens!
Bryce was a kid in youth group when my parents were leaders. He became one of my dad's closest friends, and someone who was very close to my family as well.
I am so blessed to have some of my very closest friends who used to be kids in my youth group.
I'm still holding out hope that some of the ones who are the most trying now, will someday be my good friends. ha!

There are just a few things that no one tells you about working with teens.
In my opinion, the good far outweigh the bad.
There are many more, but not all of them are appropriate to write about.
I only wish I was joking!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On being a second shooter ~ Steele Hill Resorts

I am very selective when it comes to shooting weddings.
Weddings are a lot of work. A lot.
From the meetings before hand, to making sure you are totally prepared with lists, gear and sanity, to the actual day itself filled with time limits and possible stress, to the hours of editing afterwards.

It is just a lot.
I am a total type A personality when it comes to my business.
I will never shoot without a second shooter because I just think that a day as important as your wedding day, needs to have more than one.

I have only second shot a wedding one other time, but when my friend Anna, from Anna Bartell Photography, asked me to second shoot with her I was happy to do it.

Second shooting is nothing like first shooting.
My job in being at the wedding Anna was hired for was simply to help her out in any way I could.
I would be a second set of eyes, and fill in spaces she couldn't be.
So much less stressful, that's for sure. And way less pressure!

I have to admit, it was hard for me to not butt in and get all up in everyone's grill and just take charge.
That is how I roll when I shoot, so it was definitely a challenge for me to reel it in, and just chill.

Steel Hill Resorts is an absolutely gorgeous location to have a wedding. The mountains were a perfect backdrop for the ceremony and the day was sunny and just beautiful!

Here are some of the highlights of the day from the second shooter's perspective.

Congratulations to the beautiful couple!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rachelle Chase Photography ~ New Jersey Mini Sessions

It's not that I don't like New Jersey. It's just that it is holding hostage some of my favorite people.
So I jumped on the opportunity to do some mini sessions there, because it meant I would get to spend some time with my sister and her family!
I thought I was going to get to see some other friends as well, but it just didn't work out.

It was tricky finding a location in New Jersey since I am a New Hampshire photographer, but we found this place called Kittatinny State Park and it was absolutely perfect.

Here are some of my favorites from the night!

Thank you to everyone for a great time!
I've gotten several requests to come back in the fall for some more sessions, so be sure to follow my Facebook page to find the dates!

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