New Hampshire Senior Photography ~ Rachel

I have said it before, I will said it again. I love senior photography! I have shot a lot of senior photos at Rye Beach this year, but Rachel wanted her senior portraits done in a more woodsy-type area. So we headed over to Wason Pond in Chester on a beautiful day last week. The setting could not have been more perfect!

Rachel is incredibly sweet, so beautiful, and was so much fun to work with. Here are some of my favorites!

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2014-10-23_0004 2014-10-23_0003 2014-10-23_0002 2014-10-23_0001I hope you have an amazing senior year, Rachel!

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What the teens are saying

Adam and I have been running The Porch for about five years now. The Porch is a drop-in youth center that is opened after school for a couple hours. We give free snacks and drinks and let the kids play pool, air hockey, watch tv, play video games and just hang out. It is noisy. It doesn’t smell the best. I spend a lot of time handing out snacks and then picking up the wrappers all over the floor. A while ago, I wrote about the reason I spend so much time with 12-year-olds. You can read that post here. There are definitely days where I really wonder if it’s even making a difference. If the kids even notice that we are taking time away from our own lives just to hang out with them. If it really matters. But there are two things that help me keep going.

Number 1. I am not serving the kids.

I mean, of course I actually am serving them. But ultimately? I am serving Christ. In Colossians, it says that whatever I do, I need to work hard, just like I am serving the Lord. Because that is who I’m serving, and that is who I am getting my reward from. I have got to remember that. Especially on the days I feel like I need to bathe myself in sanitizer, take a handful of ibuprofen and crawl into bed!

Number 2. If I make a difference to even just one kid? It’s worth it.

It has to be. I am not all about numbers. Never have been. I am all about reaching that one girl who just wanted to tell someone that she got a bad grade and not feel like she’s gonna get yelled at for it. I am all about reaching that one boy who just had to tell someone that the coach yelled at him during practice.

We are not an event based ministry, we are a relationship based ministry. We spend the majority of our time building relationships a little bit at a time. Listening to them talk. Helping with homework. Going to games. Leaving comments on their pictures on instagram. Driving them home.

And when the day is over, and all 30 teens pile out of the building, I feel totally and completely accomplished. Like I have done my job well.

I write a newsletter for The Porch and I have been asking the volunteers to write a few sentences about why they enjoy working and spending time with the teens. Well…when you only have a few volunteers, that is over quickly. So Monday, I asked a few of the kids to tell me in one sentence what they liked about The Porch. I expected a lot about the food and a lot about the games.

Here are a few of the answers I got from these 12-16 year olds.

~It’s another place to hang out besides your house and it’s cool. 

~I like The Porch because no one bullies you.

~I like The Porch because you guys are giving.

~I like The Porch because the food is really good. 

~It’s so fun to be at The Porch because everyone is so nice and it’s a place I go to get stress off my back.

~The leaders are wicked nice.

~The leaders all just give up their time and they don’t even have to. We like The Porch, but we just love you guys!

I was so happy to hear what the teens are saying, because it gave me a better idea of what they liked and what they think of the whole thing! I love and adore every single kid that has ever come through our doors. I pray for them and love being a small part of their lives.

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Because we are a not for profit, we are constantly in need of more volunteers, more donations (That shelf in the picture was FULL at the beginning of the day. These kids can EAT!! ha!) and more prayer! If anyone is looking for a way to serve, or a charity to donate to, please consider The Porch!

As we continue to grow, we are in need of a bigger space!!! I can not tell you how loud and full it gets real quick! We found a building that we really want. The thought of it gets me giddy. It is 4 times bigger than what we have, and it is on the same road which is what we wanted since most of the kids walk there from school. But here’s the thing. We don’t have the money to buy it. Now..I’m a big dreamer. I have bhags. And I am not afraid to use them. And right now, the amount of $219,000.00 seems literally impossible. To me. But not to God. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says that no mind has even imagined what God has planned for those that love Him! So I’m gonna believe that God is more than able to give us a place that will give us more space. That is my prayer, if anyone wants to join me in praying the same, I would love it. And if you want to see what goes on over on 131 Main Street in Epping after school? Stop by and check it out! We love visitors!

And whatever you are doing? Keep doing it just like you’re serving the Lord. And remember that if you make a difference in the life of even just one person, it matters.

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Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Super cute clutch

Things are a little bit crazy around here. I mean…that may very well be one of the biggest understatements of the century. Today, I let myself get away from my computer long enough to go to an antique store for about 20 minutes. While me and the boys were in the car, we worked on our family mission statement, then I had to get right back to work. This month has been one of the hardest to handle. With 2 businesses in their busiest time of year, it has really pushed me to the limit. I have had to make sure that I have been starting my day with prayer and reading my Bible. That is no joke. It is not something I can let slide because I know for sure that when that part of my life is slipping, the rest of my life is not far behind!

I have been trying to do a better job being organized with my blogging. Instead of just rambling one day, only pictures the next, family stuff the next and photography thrown in there too, I’ve been trying to stick to Mommy Mondays, and Threads, Kicks and Frosting Tuesdays. If I can at least get a couple days down, the rest should be easier to handle, and then my readers know what to expect.

So…even though I threw a little bit of rambling in for tonight, I wanted to show you this super cute gift I got!

I got it as one of my gifts for being a part of the Pursuit 31 Conference, and I really love it!

It is a really great size and perfect for grabbing just a few things, but still having enough room to throw your phone in it.

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Check out the website here!

Do you design something that you would love to have featured on my blog? Contact me for details on how to get your own clothes, jewelry, bags or accessories featured!

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Mommy Monday ~ Making a family mission statement

I consider myself to be a pretty intentional mom. I know how I want my kids to act. I know how I want them to treat me, treat others and I know how I want them to respect God. But I do not ever want to come across like I’ve arrived. Like I have it all together. Like my family is just one perfect little unit that needs no work.

Let me be clear: I work hard to be very purposeful about raising my kids. BUT: I always have a lot I can work on!!

I was so challenged by my good friend Angelsea who wrote a blog post about her family writing a mission statement. When I read it, I though…DUH!!!! Why have I never thought of this?! It’s so simple. But it’s so deep. And it’s so good.

So…here are her tips on how to come up with your very own family mission statement.

Does your family have a mission statement? 

If not, I have included some questions to help you create your own family mission statement. At the end of the process, you will be able to combine the answers to these questions to create a concise statement for what you (And more importantly, God) want your family to be. Note: if your kids are old enough, I would encourage you to include them in this process so that they have ownership over your mission statement. 

Step One: Mission Questions.

What is the primary goal for your family?

What family practices do you think would please God?

What family attitudes do you think would please God?

What are some things in your family that might displease God?

What are some of the core values you have?

What goals do we have for our children? For our family?

What would we like people to say about our family in 30 years?

Name some adjectives we would like to be able to use to describe our home environment.

Step Two: Summarize.

To write a mission statement, you simply need to take the answers to the above questions, and place them in a simple statement. You want this statement to be something you can remember. If it is too long, you will never refer to it. If it is unclear, it will be useless. It must be both concise and clearly practical. Here is an example of a mission statement:

To raise kids who love Jesus by practicing the gospel in loving service to one another, seeking to remove unloving language and actions, honoring and respecting one another as Christ has done in our lives.

The main goal: to raise kids who love Jesus.

The practices: serving one another

The attitudes: Love

The unwanted practices: unloving language and actions

The adjectives: honor and respect

Step Three: Display and Remind

Now that you have a mission statement, you can use this to help encourage growth in you and your kids. First, share it with your children. Have them agree to what you have written; perhaps even have them sign a sheet of paper with this statement on it. Second, write this statement on a piece of paper and put it somewhere where you and your family will see it consistently. Third, when someone does something out of line with the mission statement you can refer back to it at any time.

See!?! I told you it was so good! Thank you Angelsea for challenging me in this area. My family has already started thinking about what our family mission statement is going to be. I can’t wait to share it when we’re done!

Be sure to go and follow Angelsea’s blog here.

And just because…Here are a few pictures of my family from our day in Boston this weekend. (Thanks to my assistant,  Madeline, for taking most of them!)

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Making the effort regardless of the response

Sometimes you do the right thing. The hard thing. Take the high road. Go above and beyond.

And the response you get is…well. It’s not what you expect.

Maybe you don’t get a thank you. Maybe you don’t get big enough thank you. Maybe you don’t get a response at all.

Do the right thing anyways. Do the hard thing anyways. Take the high road anyways. Go above and beyond anyways.

Always.

When I decide to hold on to things that have happened in the past, or even that are happening today? It doesn’t add anything good to my life. If I decide not to forgive? I am the one who suffers. If I decide to not reach out and serve others who don’t deserve it? I am the one who misses out.

Being negative and critical comes far too naturally. And it is not becoming on anyone. It’s just plain ugly, and no one feels better after being around someone who is that way.

Don’t let that someone be you.

Take your life circumstances, your hurts, your sadness, your confusion, your frustration and turn it into something good.

God is the giver of joy. Satan wants to rob you of of it.

Don’t let him have it. Keep your joy and share it with everyone around you…

Make the effort regardless of the response you get. You’ll be happier when you’re serving others.

After all, it’s not about you.

Rye Beach ~ NH Senior Photography

I love being a NH senior photographer on the seacoast. You want to book a session at the beach? Absolutely – I’m your girl.

I also love when my seniors come all ready with outfit changes and plans for what they are looking for. Victoria did not disappoint. She came ready with a pinterest board and 4 outfits. It ended up being an absolutely gorgeous weather day at Rye Beach and we had a ton of fun.

Here are some of my favorites from the session…and I could have easily posted ALL of them. She is one gorgeous girl!

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nh beach photographer new hampshire seacoast photography senior photos portraits rye hampton manchester 3 nh beach photographer new hampshire seacoast photography senior photos portraits rye hampton manchester 2nh beach photographer new hampshire seacoast photography senior photos portraits rye hampton manchester 11

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Happy senior year, Victoria! It was so much fun working with you!

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A cassette tape of my wedding

I was looking for something in the upstairs of my barn the other day and stumbled across this old cassette tape.

It had a white label that said Wedding Ceremony. Adam and Rachelle Chase. June 12, 1999.

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If you ever want to hear the ridiculous things that surrounded my wedding day, let’s have coffee together. You’ll love it.

Let me just give you one. little. thing. The man who was videoing our wedding, put himself in full view of everything on the stage for the entire wedding, only to find out after the wedding was over that he had forgotten to hit record. Yep. And that’s just the beginning.

Anyways, we have been married for 15 years, and as I put the tape in the tape deck, I was surprised to find myself getting emotional. I heard our little teen-sounding voices promising to love each other through good times and bad. I heard my dad talk about how he was excited to think about the generations of strong believers we had come from, and then the way we would pass things on to our own future kids.

And here we are. In that future. Having loved each other through good times and bad. Raising these future kids who are now our precious AJ and Riley. Watching the amazing things that God has done in us and through us.

In a world where marriage vows are for anyone and everyone. Where those vows can be kept, or not.

I am so grateful for a reminder of where we were in life 15 years ago, and where we are today.

Here is where I would normally place a picture of me and my love on our wedding day. But unfortunately I have never framed a single picture of our wedding day since I don’t like any of the pictures. My hair was all wrong, his hair cut bad, my dress not even close to what I had envisioned, the wrong verse on the wall, the video not working, the pictures coming out the way they did, and on and on the list goes for things that went wrong.

But my marriage? My marriage doesn’t depend on the right flowers or the right pictures. It depends on me keeping my promise to be faithful to him. And on him keeping his promise to be faithful to me. And on us both promising that we will keep God at the center of it all to help us get through those really tough times.

Weddings are important. But marriages are what really matter. And my marriage is getting stronger and stronger every day.

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Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Comfy leggings

We all know that leggings rule, yes? Especially in the fall. Leggings, a comfy sweater, sweatshirt or dress with boots? Doesn’t get much better than that.

But. You have not felt comfy leggings until you have felt these amazing leggings from Luvi’s Closet.

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Dudes. These are the most comfortable leggings you will ever wear…no lie.

Now, I do love going out shopping. But the older I get, the more tiring going alllll the way to the store, and then going alllllll the way to the dressing room to try things on becomes. I mean seriously. Who has time for all that?! ha! Lazy, much?! But honestly, online shopping is where it’s at. And not only does Luvi’s Closet have awesome stuff, and fantastic pricing, I am all about supporting small businesses. Luvi’s Closet is run by my old college roomie and I just adore her.

These leggings are one size fits all so you better get on to the website now and order them here. You will not regret it. They are only $14.00!! I have paid a higher bill at starbucks! So get on the site and order some, and then let me know when you are wearing them so we can be twins.

And while you’re at it, shop around the site and check out all the other awesome stuff she has for sale!

Happy Shopping, and happy leggings-wearing!

Dress ~ Blu-Pepper Vintage (from Marshalls)

Leggings ~ Luvi’s Closet

Turquoise ring~ Thrift store (cuz that’s how I roll)

Shoes ~ Candies (Khol’s clearance cuz that’s also how I roll)

Photo credit ~ Riley Chase (cuz I’m all about child labor.)

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Mommy Monday ~ When your pet dies

Ok. You all remember the story of Taco the hamster? If you want to get reacquainted you can read about it here. Riley was 10 when we got her, and he was pretty happy to finally have his very own pet. We live in a no-pets-allowed zone, but we decided to bend the rules and let him get a pet that stayed in a cage.

Well…kind of stayed in a cage. The dude liked to break out! You can read the story of me searching around my house in the middle of the night to find the escapee here.

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Anyways, Riley loved and adored this little rodent. And even though I joked in my previous posts and wondered how long they lived, I really was so so sad when Ry came up to me Friday night with tears in his eyes and said she had died.

As I was thinking about jobs that we as parents have, and the way I try to dedicate Monday to encouraging other parents, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how to handle things when your child’s pet dies.

Parenting is hard, peeps! And there are so many different aspects to it that it’s hard to keep focused on what we need to do in all of it. I thought of 2 important things we can do as parents when your child’s pet dies.

One important thing we can do as parents is this:

Take your child seriously. I love to joke around, and I am almost always sarcastic, so it’s very easy to just brush things off and make light of things. I am also not that mom who gasps every time her child bumps his knee and goes to comfort and encourage emotional breakdowns.

But in the case of a pet dying, I think it is very important to show your child how much HIS feelings mean. Adam and I were both every emotional in all of this, and trust me…it was not because we love rodents! But it was because Riley means so much to us, and when he hurts? We hurt.

So we decided to have a hamster funeral. We let Riley pick a spot outside, dug a grave and gathered together to talk about our favorite memories. Death is hard, even when it is a pet. And we wanted to show Riley that we take him seriously, and we take his feelings seriously.

Another important thing we can do as parents is this:

Be honest. There is no point lying to Riley and trying to soothe his pain by telling him that Taco is in hamster heaven. It can be a good time to talk about how God always values life, because he created it. God valued Taco. But God values human life even more, and God values Riley. God values Riley because God created him, and he knows every single tear that Ry is crying.

So we said so long to good ole Taco. Thanks for the memories, the laughs, the frustrations and the hundreds of dollars in duct tape we had to invest in. And my sweet boy buried his little pet. Hugged his daddy. And he is moving on.

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Don’t even ask if we are getting another one. I’m not emotionally ready for that yet. ha!

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Beautiful Fall Wedding ~ Bradford, Massachusetts

Meaghan and Dan got married on a beautiful fall afternoon. The weather was perfect and everything went exactly as planned.

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If I could go back and change some things about my own wedding, I would definitely do a first look. Being able to see each other alone before the biggest day of your life is so perfect. I love watching how the bride calms right down, the groom relaxes and the rest of the day goes so smoothly. It is just beautiful. 2014-10-10_0002

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2014-10-10_00362014-10-10_00372014-10-10_0031 2014-10-10_0022 2014-10-10_0028 2014-10-10_0029Congratulations to a beautiful couple. It was such an honor to be a part of such a God-honoring and beautiful day.

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