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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crazy things happen when I start thinking.

If you are friends with me at all, and this includes Facebook friends, you know that my life has been pretty much consumed with all things Surge.

What started out with a random thought that popped into my head (oddly enough, this is how The Porch started!), has turned into reality.
And this is thanks to my husband who supports all my crazy dreams and some solid friends (many of which are also my family) who push me along the way.
Adam always says that my mind would be a very scary place to be. Ha!
Crazy things happen when I start thinking!

So tonight.
My refrigerator looks like this

(Shout out to Ryan Boccelli and Stonyfield Farm for the yogurt donation!)

My table looks like this


(Thank you 2 Dancing Daanes for hooking us up with the stellar stamp!)
And my mind is a crazy mess filled with more thoughts about more topics than I could ever tell you.

And this morning, as I sat on my bed with my Bible open and my eyes closed, I had to struggle and fight with these thoughts that were threatening to just take over.
Thoughts that had nothing to do with what was in front of me.
And thoughts that involved situations that had happened and were happening that I had absolutely no control over.

And I was reminded of the incredible truth that God is in control.
Period.
If there are things going on that I have no control over, than what is it even proving to worry?
Nothing.
And I was able to sit there and feel God's peace pour over me in a way that is so hard to explain, but in that same exact way that He is doing it now.
I have listened to this song over and over this week:



God. The God of the universe is fighting for me. Little, old, unimportant me.
And it doesn't matter what else happens. I am not alone.

And as I have stressed over the boys schooling, finances, editing, emailing clients, emailing teens about surge, emailing family, forgetting to go grocery shopping this week...it just all stopped.

I am not alone.
And my God is fighting for me. always.
I don't even care what else happens.

I am so excited about tomorrow for a lot of reasons, many of the reasons come from thoughts I have had since I was in middle school.
And I can not wait to blog about it next week.

But for now?
I have to go take the brownies out of the oven, finish writing thank you notes for my speakers, email a couple clients back, make a list for my day tomorrow and finish editing these pictures for my post tomorrow.

And I am completely satisfied and peaceful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Family Photography ~ Cousins Shoot Massabesic Lake

I love being able to capture families loving on each other.
I was so excited when I had the chance to do a cousin shoot!
These sweet kids don't get to see each other very often, so it was great watching them interact together.

It was a beautiful night at Massabesic Lake in Manchester, and you can tell these cousins sure do love each other!








Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Running when no one cheers

It's kind of an odd concept, the whole road race thing.
I pay money to run. People cheer me on. I finish and go home.

But people really get into it!
I have run a lot of races. Some 5k's and then half marathons and marathons with a couple of 5, 6, and 10 miles thrown into the mix.
And they are all the same...people everywhere, decked out in their brand new running gear ready to do their thang.

Today I ran the Newburyport 10 mile road race with my dad.
As I was running it, I was thinking about the difference from just last week when I had also run 10 miles.
I ran by myself, in my town.
No one cheered me on. I didn't get any high fives, or any kind of water breaks along the way, and no one yelled out - you got this! Good job! Keep it up!

And here tonight as we ran, we had tons of people handing out water, orange slices, playing music, giving high fives, spraying us with water and yelling out constant encouragement.

What a difference that makes.
Having people supporting you, encouraging you and helping you.
When I ran by myself, it was all I could muster to keep running, fight through the pain and make it home! And tonight, it motivated me to keep moving.

Races get me all pumped up.
They make me want to run more, but I gotta say that in all of the hours and hours of running I have done, I have sure learned a lot about life.

And if cheering me one when I am simply run makes such a big difference in my life, imagine how much of a difference it can make if I decide to start cheering someone on when they are going through rough times in life.

It's huge, people. It's huge.
We need each other. Don't think we don't.
Don't fall in to the whole "I'm all set" way of living.
We were created to be relational. To be there for each other. To encourage and build each other up. Because we need it. And maybe I need it today, but you will need it next week. And maybe you need it next week and someone else will need it the following week.

It's hard running when no one cheers.

This week, make it a priority to hand out water and give high fives...metaphorically speaking.

Be the cheerleader for people even if you don't know them.
The people who were cheering me on tonight, didn't know me.
And you what? It didn't even matter.
They gave me what I needed exactly when I needed it and it helped me finish the race.
Let's help each other finish the race.


Here's a before and after of the race tonight :)



Monday, July 28, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ Vegetables aren't that important

Sometimes life can seem like a big, giant list of things that are too hard for me to do.
And I just can't take it.
Not only do I have to be thinking about how much water I have had to drink and how many fruits and veggies I have gotten in, how much exercise I have done and how much time I have spent on electronics, but nowwwww...I also have to figure out how to do all that for these 2 little humans I'm raising?!
Come on now.
Ain't nobody got time for that!

Add into that mix: how many books they've read, when the last time they've had their nails cut, how much sleep they've gotten, how they test, how they treat other kids their age, how they treat adults, ahhhhhhhh...who has time for all that?!

So basically, here's what I think about it all.

Vegetables aren't that important.

Every night, when I go in to pray over my boys after they fall asleep, I am never all:
sigh. I am so thankful AJ had those cucumbers and peppers today.
And I could not be more proud that Riley ate the corn.

The things that I think about are much, much more important.
The way AJ told me he knows his spiritual gift is service and he just loves to serve.
The way Riley tells me to put the bag down so he can carry it in for me.

It's the things that have to do with my boys character that I am much more concerned about.
Sure, I think I should still think about what they're eating every once in a while, about how they are improving their education, and all those other things.

But what I think is the most important is that they are growing in favor with God and with people.
And so if you are having one of those days (or let's be honest here, one of those weeks, or months or YEARS!) just let it go.
Spend time cultivating the long lasting things that matter:
How they love God. How they love people.

And let the veggies go, dude.
Just let the veggies go.


Friday, July 25, 2014

An entry from the journal of 13-year-old me

I write. A lot.
Like, sometimes I just find random notebooks from years ago that I have written all sorts of things in.
I don't necessarily journal, although I like the idea of it, and I wish I did more.
But sometimes it's fun to just find something and think...wow, I was feeling like that then?!? Weird!

This is from February 2, 1990 (I was 13)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this day, even though it's snowing.
Thank you for the warm place that I have to live in. 
I saw Andy at the game today, and he LOOKED AT ME! (yes...this was in all caps) 
I'm so glad I have you to talk to about this. No one else would understand.
Please help my face to clear-up...Thanks for listening to me.
Please help my Tony to get saved. He needs you so bad.
I love you!
Rachelle

This makes me smile because Andy was a guy that went to the high school my sister was going to (I was still being home-schooled at this point) and seriously.. he looked at me?!?!?
And "my Tony" was referring to none other than Tony Eason, who was the quaterback for the New England Patriots. I honestly prayed for him every single day. No lie.
And the funny thing is that everything I wrote was never for a show.
It was like my personal journal. I wasn't blogging it. I wasn't instagramming it. I wasn't updating my Facebook status. So I guess I really thought he was "my Tony". And everything I was writing was just pure, straight-up Rachelle.

Here's why I love looking at things like this.
It helps me to remember a few things.

1. I had parents who took me seriously.
My parents let me paste pictures of my Tony on my wall, write "I love Tony" all over my high top balloon sneakers, and they actually took me seriously. They looked at me with a straight face when I asked if I could please have a jersey with number 11 on the front and number 2 on the back (for Doug Flutie, obvi.) for Christmas.
It reminds me that I need to take my own kids seriously, and the kids from The Porch as well.
Things were a big deal to me. They seemed huge, even though now I can see that they were not.
And having people in your life who take you seriously too? Priceless.

2. Jesus has been a friend to me since I was little.

I remember what my face looked like when I was 13. I remember wearing big bangs over my forehead to try and cover up all the pimples. And I remember praying and asking God to please help my face to clear up. It was real. It was a relationship with a Heavenly Father, and I still have it.
It's pretty incredible, and it's why I encourage my boys to pray about everything. Everything.
God wants to have a personal relationship with us. He cares about every single detail in our lives.
If it's a big deal to us, it's a big deal to Him.

3. It is always a good idea to be thankful.
I like looking back and seeing what I was thankful for.
I was thankful that I had a warm place to live. Please understand, that I did not have a nice, warm place to live, as many of you would describe nice. But I grew up in a home that was loving, and that completely met my needs.
I was thankful that a boy, who literally never knew my name, had looked at me.
Wow. That is really digging deep to find something, right? But it was something.
And to a 13-year-old, boy crazy girl, it was huge.
It is always a good idea to be thankful. Because, why not?
Is your house smaller than you wish? Be thankful.
Is your weight more than what you want? Be thankful.
Are your friends fewer than you want? Be thankful.
Just be thankful. 
Take the seemingly meaningless, little, tiny details of life and make them huge.
Make them all huge.


So here you have it. An entry from the journal of 13-year-old Rachelle.
Just keeping it real.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 big reasons NOT to homeschool

If you live in the good ole North East, summer vacation has literally only been going on for one full week before Walmart decides to whip out the back-to-school supplies and throw them in the front of the store.
I'm all...say what?! Where the sunscreen at?

But since people are already literally talking about going back to school, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon. And since people are constantly asking me incredulously how in the world I homeschool, I thought I would give you 5 big reasons not to.


1. You start planning your field trips around your trips to the mall. 
-Can't I catch a break? I mean, is it my fault that there is a science center  and opportunity for many other field trips right next to the mall? Rough life, right?

2. You miss out on all the good gossip going around with all the moms in the public school.
-I mean, really. I don't know how I am possibly going to survive if I don't get all the dirt on everyone! Vaguebooking is just not cutting it for me! I need more, people. 

3. You have complete control over what your kids learn. 
-This can be a little overwhelming. And opening every single ever loving science book in the library only to find out that the world started billions, no wait...millions, no just kidding billions of years ago? It's like...who has time to teach our kids the truth these days! Wouldn't it just be easier to let whatever the teacher happens to believe become your kids truth?

4. You start eating snacks with your kids at snack time and can accidentally gain a few.
-Food was designed for comfort, yes? So your math is a little too hard for you right now? Let's pop a bag of popcorn and look over it. You just aced your geography test? Sweet. Let's celebrate with a giant bowl of ice cream. And that's the whole problem- you're home too much. Around food. And there is just no stopping it. Weight watchers, here we come.

5. You start to get really attached to your kids.
-Seriously. It's pretty much like my kids are my best friends.
In our house? We laugh. A lot.  And honestly, who wants that?


So there you have it. Five solid reasons not to homeschool. Anyone have any more they want to add? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Senior session on the beach ~ Rye Beach, NH

I have photographed Kayla and her family a couple of times as well as her sister's senior pictures.
Kayla wanted her senior pictures on the beach, and I always love hearing my clients say that!
The beach is pretty much my favorite place to be and Rye Beach never disappoints!

We had so much fun during our session and Kayla was absolutely perfect at posing and acting totally natural.
She even brought an assistant along for the fun! ha!

Here are a few of my favorites from her session!


Right across the street is a great location with some trees and a perfect place for the sun to go down. It makes it so nice to be able to get a couple different looks in the same session!


I had so much fun working with you Kayla, I hope you have an amazing senior year!


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