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Monday, September 30, 2013

Figuring out the order of it all

One week from today I will be on a midnight train to Georgia.
Well, it will actually be on a plane.
And it won't be at midnight.
But I will be going to Georgia!

This will be my second year attending the Pursuit 31 Conference at the Winshape Conference Center.
You can read about last year's experience here.

I have been so challenged lately to really start taking things to a new level when it comes to my business, and well...my whole life, actually.

Remember the post I wrote about having a BHAG?
I absolutely want to have big huge goals.
I absolutely want to be pushing myself to be better.

Here's where I want to make sure I am being really careful to not trade the truth of God with a lie.

What would that actually look like in real life?

I think it looks really dangerously close to what I have the tendency to do!
I can see myself sitting at this conference watching women like Katelyn James and Lara Casey
and starting to think..ok. I need to get more clients, I need to have a better website, I need to make more money.
Which is fine- Maybe I do.

But what is the truth?
The truth is that I need to seek God first. (Matt. 6:33)
The truth is that I need to be careful to not love or crave money. (1 Tim. 6:10)
The truth is, the place I have the most time and money invested is where my heart will be. (Matt. 6:19-21)
The truth is that I was created to do good works. (Eph. 2:10)
The truth is that I can not boast in anything I do, or earn but only in that I understand God. (Jer.9:23)

The opposite of those things looks like
*I am spending more time on my business than I am on my relationship with God.
*I start to get fixed and focused on how much money I can make
*I have all my time filled up with business, with little to none left for family/ministry.
*I am so busy "working" that I don't even have time to do things for people simply as a "good work"
*I start feeling all big-time because I have succeeded.

Do you see how they can be really close to each other, and how I can so easily go from one side of the line to the next almost without realizing it?

My challenge to you...especially to my photographer friends...who are in the middle of a constant struggle to find balance between everything vying for attention in their lives, is this:

Make a list of what you are spending your time and your money on.
Because remember the truth? Where your treasure is, that is where your heart is.

I work best when I see it spelled out for me...
If I have the best part of my day spent seeking God - my foundation - then I will have time and energy to go to the next level.
My husband.
If I am putting my husband after God and before my kids, then I am able to have the support I need to put my kids next.
If I have my relationship with God strong, my family secure, then I am able to focus on my ministry the way I need to.
When I have all those things in the right order, I am able to have the strength and energy I need to put into my business.
When all those things are running smoothly, and God is blessing, I have time for everything else.
See how it all works?

But when I am sitting too long in the business category? I find myself stressing out and snapping at my kids.
When I am spending too much time (comparatively speaking) in the kids category? I find myself getting irritated with my husband.
When I forget to spend enough quality time in the big foundational God category? I find myself stressing out in every.other.category.

And so. A simple chart will help it all.
I really hope that as I write, and as I talk to people, that this never becomes a platform for me to spew out all my busy, crazy life as if I have all this on my plate and no one else in the world even has a plate.
I am aware. That we are all busy.
We are all in the middle of sorting out our lives, and trying to make it all work.
My life is no different than yours, other than my plate is a different shape and color as yours.
That's it.
And that's why God gives us a one-size-fits-all kind of teaching.
We all need to work out this chart in the same order.
Putting God first needs to be at all of our foundations.
Putting husband before kids, kids before ministry, ministry before business, business before pleasure.

Listen, I want to do more than just get by in life.
Dude...if God says I can have ABUNDANT life?
Then for the love of all that is good...I am going to get me some abundant life!

It's up to me.
Am I going to just try to get by?
Am I going to start trading the truth of God with the lies of the enemy?
Am I going to get everything all out of order and then whine and complain because God isn't blessing me the way I think he should be?
That would be crazy.
I'm going to keep the order of it all...
well...in order!

And I am going to have fun while I'm doing it!
I hope you do the same.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A day at the fayuh

If you're from New England, you know that fairs are pronounced fay-uhs.
So our fair of choice is the Dee-uh-field fay-uh.
It's the best there is, their ain't no bettah.

My intention for this year was to go through with my camera and show a photojournalistic view of our day at the fair.
And then I woke up feeling miserable.
And so I brought my camera, but kept it in my bag for the majority of the day.
My head, even as I type, feels like it very well may explode.
I am all stuffed up, and am pretty sure I have a fever.
I told Adam that the majority of people feeling the way I feel would have been in bed for the last 6 hours...Not walking around a fair, coming home and going to a photo shoot, picking up AJ from soccer and then standing in the kitchen making dinner.

He appreciates it, although I'm not positive he appreciates me telling him that he should appreciate me. ha!

Anyways...back to the fair.
It was a beautiful day and we met my brother and his family, and my parents there first thing in the morning.
I can only justify eating a donut one time a year, and this is one of them.
And when I say donut, I mean donut!
This bad boy is amazing...

And then we watch the horse show, and I say...I am going to have horses someday.
And Adam smiles and nods...he is a smart boy. Just keeps my dreams alive.

We never do the rides, but we went today to watch sweet Lilla ride!

Then I made people pose. Because I'm like that.
Then we watched a magic show, and Adam and the boys thought it was hilarious, and I mostly liked watching them laugh.
And then we ate lunch...AJ and Adam got cheese steak subs, Ry got chicken fingers and I got a cheeseburger. We sat down and ate with my parents, and I made them pose for me too.
Jeez Rachelle, right?!
And then we walked around and looked at all the concession buildings, and then we watched some huss pullin. (horse pulling, for the lay person)
And then I would normally get a Pat's apple crisp, which is hands down the best apple crisp ever.
But I was feeling so miserable that I just wanted to get home and be able to lay down for 10 minutes before my shoot!

And now, I want to go back to the fair just so I can get the apple crisp.
But I'm still pretty miserable so I think I will just chill.
It won't kill me, and there is always next year.
This was not at all the post I envisioned in my mind before today, but for now it will have to do.
I love me some family time, and I love me some Deerfield Fair!
Maybe next year I will do what I wanted to do this year.
And hopefully next year, we will have a lot more Curriers and Wamplers in my pictures!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rachelle Chase Senior Photographer ~ Raymond, NH

I met Rachel after her best friend Hailey recommended me for her senior pictures.
We had so much fun finding a new location in Raymond that I never even knew was there!

Meet the beautiful Rachel, Class of 2014!

I think this one is my favorite...her eyes!!

Congratulations Rachel! I hope you have a great senior year!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Find you some new friends, homegirl!

Ever been away with a bunch of ladies and feel like all you are hearing is
my husband always does this...
and my husband never does that...
And it's not singing their praises?? if-ya-know-what-I-mean.

I remember hearing women do this even before I got married.
And I remember thinking - I hope I never talk about my husband so poorly behind his back!
It just does not sit right with me!

Fast forward 15 years...
I had the chance to go away for night with the leaders wives from my church.
We spent the night at York beach, Maine and the weather could not have been more perfect.
We walked with my to the beach to watch the sunrise. 
We ran around the beach.
We walked to the Nubble Lighthouse and watched the waves crash onto the rocks.
It was beautiful.

While all of that was amazing, there was one particular part that stood out to me.
There were 9 of us there.
Saturday afternoon, we sat in the living room in a circle.
There were people from all different backgrounds, all different upbringings, all different personalities, styles and looks.
We went around the room.
One at a time, and prayed out loud for our husbands.

It was amazing.
It was moving.
It was challenging.

I listened as one woman thanked God for her best friend, another thanking God that her husband completed her, another thanking God for all the circumstances that brought her and her husband together, and another thanked God for getting them through a time in their marriage where they really struggled and He restored.
I listened as these women praised their husbands...brought up their good qualities, asked God to bless, to give them wisdom in leadership, and strength in their jobs.

I'm pretty sure we were all crying.

Listen to me...It matters who your friends are.

I was amazed at the fact that I attend a very small church, and yet the foundation of this congregation is secure with 9 strong marriages representing the leadership.
(actually 10, because one of our elders lost his wife who he adored to cancer)

Do you understand how unusual this is?
Getting to spend time with women who praise their husbands behind their backs?
Who respect their men, and who pray for them?
Some had been married for 12 years, many for over 30 and some for more than 40 years!

It matters who your friends are.

I can not help but think how different my own marriage would be if I chose to hang out with other women who criticized their husbands.
If I chose to hang out with bitter, frustrated, angry wives.

We teach it to my boys. We teach it to the kids at The Porch. I will teach it to you now.

It matters who your friends are.

I hope that the prayers of these amazing ladies will ring in my ears on the days when I am tempted to roll my eyes at my husband, or to put down something he has done, or to make a sarcastic comment about him.

My husband needs respect and love from me.
I feel so blessed to be able to surround myself with women who are putting God first and seeking to please God in their marriages.
I am not saying they are perfect, and I am not saying that they don't struggle.
That would not be realistic.

But these women know what their foundation needs to be. Jesus.
It is about not putting your husband first, but putting God first.
The rest falls into place.

Thank you Mom, Maria, Liz, Bev, Patty, Robin, Kathy and Brenda for showing me by example how to love my husband.

If anyone reading this is finding themselves hanging out with women who are putting down their husbands?
(or putting down anyone, for that matter!)
Challenge them to stop!
And if they don't want to?

Find you some new friends, homegirl!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's just me.

I love blogging.
I love how I am able to share a little bit about my life with you...
I love how I randomly bump into people who tell me that they enjoy reading my crazy thoughts.
And I love how after times in my life feeling like I had no friends at all, I suddenly feel like I have amazing friends everywhere...who read my thoughts. Who are walking through life with me. Who get me.

And then sometimes I decide I need to blog something not photography-related.
I decide that I don't want to write something thought provoking.
I just want to hang out with you guys.
Like..I want to be sitting at our own little coffee shop, talking about the pats game, about the upcoming deerfield fair, and what our favorite kind of creamer is. (peppermint mocha thank-you-very-much)

So today is one of those coffee talk kind of nights.
Tonight. It's just me.

My life is filled to overflowing.

Adam is in full fledge soccer reffing mode, with at least one game every day.
AJ is on 2 soccer teams, Ry on 1.
The Porch is back open for the school year, I have photo sessions booked like crazy.
Homeschooling a 7th grader and a 5th grader is a ton of work, with Tuesday being our full classical conversation day in Rochester.
Both my sisters have been going through health issues, and it is so hard for me to stay in  NH and not pack up and solve all their problems.
I am planning my trip to Georgia for the annual Pursuit 31 Conference in a couple weeks.
The painting kits I bought to do my kitchen cabinets sits in the breezeway because I just don't even have the time to do them!
If I could eat out every meal, I think I would.
I know...that was random, but that's how I roll when we are just sitting down to coffee, you and me.
My husband saved the day today when he folded 265 loads of clean laundry.
And I just decided that I am going to start memorizing more scripture.

ok. I know I have been doing all the talking here.
The thing is?
I love listening too!
I want to hear about your life.
About what is going on with you.
What your favorite kind of creamer is!
What you decided you're going to start doing more of, and what your advice would be on getting my husband on board with the whole eating-out-every-night thing.

So...this is as close as I'm ever gonna get with some of you to actually having a cup of coffee in real life.
I am trying to do a better job at replying to the comments, so if you leave a comment, check back and I will reply!
Also feel free to email me any time if you have anything you want to talk about, or anything you might want me to pray for.

See? I told you it's just me tonight.
But now...
Your turn to talk!
I'll just sit here and quietly sip my peppermint mocha coffee and listen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Apples and Spice and Everything Nice...and some killer boots

ok. ok. I know that the saying is sugar and spice and everything nice.
But come on...it is FALL!!
My favorite time of year, hands down.
And what screams fall more than apples, spice and BOOTS?!

So...I am excited to be offering my very first Apple Orchard Minis!

I found this adorable little orchard in Chester called Hazleton Orchards.
I checked it out yesterday and I am telling you right now...it. is. perfect.

Can't you just picture your adorable little family here?!
So...here are the details

Now...I only have a few spots left so you have to email me real quick if you want to get in on this!

For many of you who have asked me for ideas on what to wear?
Honestly...and don't laugh, but -
The first thing I tell people is look at what color your living room is.
(or whatever room you plan to get canvases or big prints for)
And try to match your outfits accordingly!

I know it sounds weird, but your photography is like art.
You want it to go along with your decorating in your home!

I have put together a little pinterest board to give you some ideas...you can look at it here.
I always recommend a few things.

*Don't go too far outside of your comfort zone.
If your family hates dressing up, don't get them all fancied up.  You want it to look natural.

*Don't be afraid of color!
Neutrals with little pops of color with scarves, tights or vests can look awesome!

*Don't feel obligated to use color!
These are YOUR family photos. They are going to be on display at YOUR house.
Just because everyone might be saying that you should wear bright colors does not mean you have to!
Again...you want it to look natural!

*By all means, wear your boots! Mainly, because I love boots and I want to see what you have! ha!

And finally...for those of you who have little ones.
Don't get stressed out before your session!
Bring some little snacks for bribery...nothing wrong with that. Don't worry - I work in a judge-free zone!
And feel free to bring along a favorite blanky or stuffed animal.

And whether you have little ones or not -

Friday, September 20, 2013

I am good enough

The perfect exercise schedule.
The perfect meal plans.
The perfect family.
The perfect house.
The perfect life...
All of those things are what other people have, right?
You see their instagram posts of their world travels.
You see their status updates of the romantic getaway their husband just took them on.
You see the newly pinned perfectly decorated dream house.

And you get that feeling in your stomach that may be a passing feeling or may linger much longer than you want to admit.
Either way you start feeling like you're not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not rich enough...just not good enough!

Have you ever felt that?
Like you were failing as a...

I have to think that if I have times of feeling this way, you must have times of that as well.

So. my encouragement to you today is this..
stop it.
No...seriously. It is not healthy, not helpful and not Biblical!

What DOES God say about us anyways?
Well he says you were wonderfully made.
He says that You are chosen, beloved.
He says that he cares so much about you that he keeps all your tears in a bottle.
He says that he loves you. 
He loves me!
If God feels that way about me then why am I trying to do more, to make more, to be more?
He thinks I'm good enough.
He thinks you're good enough.
So you know what? It doesn't matter if you consider me good enough. 
I already am.
And when I get a hold of that thought it gives me incredible peace and amazing rest.

Because it's tiring trying to please everyone.
It's exhausting trying to live up to everyone else's expectations.
It's discouraging to try and make my life as good as yours.
Let your standard be God, and His expectations of you...no one else's.
You are good enough. He said it.
Believe that and then you can relax.
Then you can experience that peace. That peace that everyone craves. It's there for you but you need to stop working and just accept it. Claim it.

So stop it!
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.
Stop allowing your thoughts to condemn you.
Stop believing lies that say you aren't good enough.
You ARE good enough.
Believe it. Live today in the rest that Jesus promises to give you. 
Then go get a bowl of ice cream to celebrate. And bring me some too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rachelle Chase Family Photography ~ Epping, NH

I met Kristen and her adorable little girls a couple years ago when I did a mini session with them.
I am pretty sure we were just meant to be friends from the start. 
She teaches 5th grade (hero, much??) and we always have a ton to talk about.
I was so excited when she signed up for the back to school mini sessions, and I even made her jump in for a couple!
Here are a few of my favorites!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How would you act if...

How would you act if you believed that God is omnipresent?

Do you believe that He is?
No...I don't think you understand what I'm asking.
Do you believe that God is everywhere...watching you all the time?
I don't mean just when you are singing songs about it, or listening to a sermon about it...

I mean, when you are snapping at your kids.
Oh - did I just go there?
Yes. I. Did.

What about when you are watching that show on tv...
You know the one.
The one that you switch the channel real fast when your kids walk in the room?

What about when you mouth off about a person sitting 3 chairs down from you at your kids soccer game?
Woops...stepping on some toes, am I?

Well...I am stepping on my own toes as well.

See - I was challenged this week with that thought.
Like...totally challenged, because if I really and truly believe these verses?

For His eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps - Job 34:21

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. - Proverbs 15:3

I absolutely WILL live my life differently.

You ever been around someone with a guilty conscience?
Like, you ask them what they're up to and they absolutely freak out?

Some people will look at those verses and say how intrusive and how ridiculous it is to think that God would be watching us.
But maybe they just have a guilty conscience.
If you are doing things that you already know...deep down...are wrong?
You are going to feel guilty and convicted when you think of God being there watching you all the time.

But...if you are walking the way God wants you to.
Not being SINLESS...obviously. But just trying to please God with your life.
Then these verses are an incredible source of encouragement and give amazing peace and hope!

I do want these verses to be convicting.
I want to grow...I need to be reminded to keep my mouth shut, to watch appropriate things on tv and to be patient.
And just so ya know?
So do you!

I put this little reminder up on our bathroom mirror this week

I need reminders everywhere, and I want my boys to have reminders everywhere!
Dry erase markers are easy and fun ways to add verses, reminders and little love notes on the bathroom mirror!

I hope that the reminder of the fact that God is everywhere will keep me focused, convicted and obedient.

And a little added bonus?
Knowing that God is everywhere is incredibly comforting during the times that I am feeling tired, discouraged, stressed out and fearful.

If you say you believe it...really and truly believe it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Porch is an official not for profit!

As you know, Adam and I have been running The Porch for about four years.
We have been trying to get our not for profit status for what has felt like FOREVER.
It is a lot of paperwork, and a lot of...waiting.
There were hold ups and waiting games left and right.
Just when we thought we were close we were told 4-6 more weeks.
Then we would wait again, and were told we had to reword something.
And on and on it went...it was just crazy.

We FINALLY got paperwork telling us that -

Epping Lighthouse Ministries is officially a not for profit organization!

We are just a little teeny tiny bit excited.
Ok...A huge enormous bit excited!

We are so excited to see what God is going to continue to do!
Thank you so much to all of you who who have been partners with us in so many ways along the way.
We are incredibly blessed.

To God be the Glory!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rachelle Chase Family Photography ~ Epping, NH

I absolutely love meeting new people, and I consider myself the lucky one to have met this sweet little family.
These kids were so obviously loved and adored by their parents and were so much fun to work with!

Here are a few of my favorite from our session.
I love that his mom wanted to keep his angry birds tattoos showing on his arm.
That is exactly the kind of photography I try to capture...real life. 
It's all about remembering exactly where your kids are right now in their lives!

Thank you so much for the privilege of spending time with your family...I am so looking forward to your family session!

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Jersey better watch its back...

So you know that I have this thing...
This obnoxious need to have my family close to me.

I remember feeling this way even when I was little.
There would be a snow storm. And I would only feel happy, peaceful, content - when our entire family was home...including the dog.


So when Adam and I found ourselves, whose families both grew up in NH, completely void of siblings in our area, we were all like...what?
Where'd everybody go?

How in the world am I supposed to sleep at night?
Things didn't feel right.
Things were just not right.

And so I decided to give Philadelphia a piece of my mind -

Who do you think you are, taking my brother away? And what's that now? You plan to keep my sister-in-law and nieces too? Think again bad boy. This is not ok with me.
Next thing ya know?
My brother and his family moves back to New England.

Well, that seemed to work pretty well...
Let's see how Virginia takes it!
So I gave Richmond the what for.
I was all...uh.uh.
My sister? AND my brother-in-law? And you would believe 7 nieces and nephews? Oh no you ditten!.
You can not be serious.
They will not stay, and that is that.

So they said peace out to Virginia and  headed North.

So now.
New Jersey? You had better watch. your. back.
You took my baby sister...again with a brother-in-law and now a nephew and niece?
You have got to be pulling on my leg. 
Did you not see what I did to Richmond and Philly? 
Does that mean nothing to you? Come off it.
Don't even make me get ugly.

And now then.
New York is next, followed by Florida and Iowa who apparently think the cool thing to do is take all of the Chase side of the family.

It's not my fault my family is so amazing!
I just can't sit back and do nothing.
I hope New Jersey can read, cuz this is about to go viral.
All up in here.

Please take note: I have some pretty amazing friends in the above mentioned states, and this post is not intended to be taken wrong by any of them.  Any usage of this post to be held against Rachelle Chase without her written authorized consent is prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright by Rachelle Chase. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rachelle Chase Family Photographer ~ Epping, NH

I had so much fun with these two adorable little siblings.
I wasn't sure how Callie was going to be with me when she first got there-
She was a little shy at first, but then warmed right up pretty quickly...I think it may have been my killer dance moves. OK...maybe not.

They were absolutely adorable together...these are just a few of my faves from our session!

Eileen, your kids are absolutely adorable...so glad I got to spend a little time getting to know you all!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stop Remembering September 11th.

Everyone is asking if you remember...
Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001?

I do, in fact remember.
I was sitting in my living room, holding my 5-month-old and staring at the tv in disbelief.

In some ways it seems like just yesterday, but then I feel like I have aged by dozens of years since then.

I looked up what remember meant, because it is all I have seen everywhere...
Remember 9/11
Never Forget 9-11
9-11 We Remember

It means: to have or keep an image or idea in your mind of something or someone from the past.

So in order for me to remember what happened on September 11, 2001 I have to keep it in my mind.

But doesn't life get so busy? Isn't it hard to remember the things you need to remember? How busy is your life right now? I bet you are trying to remember a hundred million things at a time!

Think about it. We are all remembering something!
There is some image or some idea in your mind at all times.
What is it?

It is so easy to stop remembering. It is so hard to keep something in my mind.

It's of course all about that phrase:
Intentional Living

I want to be remembering things that will 
drive me to action.

I want to remember something so that I will do something.

I don't want to just remember 9/11.
I want to remember 9/11 so that it will drive me to change.

Let's start there. Let's start remembering for a reason.

Start remembering that your kids are only kids for a short time...and cherish every moment.
Start remembering that a clean house is not as important as time spent with your family.
Start remembering that you have freedom in this country, and you should be thankful for it, not complaining about the way it's being run.
Star remembering that every breath you have is given to you by God, and you should use all your energy bringing Him glory.

So do I remember where I was September 11th 2001?
Yes I do.
But now...I need to stop just remembering it to say I remember.
I need to remember it and let it change my life for the better.

Stop remembering September 11th...
and doing nothing about it.

Start remembering September 11th...
and make it change you.

And start today. You never know when your last day will be.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rachelle Chase Family Photographer ~ Epping, NH

I love family photography.
And what I love even more is when I have the privilege of photographing friends families!

Tracy is an amazing woman.
I am so thankful that God brought her into my life.
She is fun-loving, outgoing, sweet, and just plain awesome sauce.
She is serious about raising her kids and she does it by herself while working a full time job. 
I have loved watching her grow in her relationship with God - she knows what life is all about.
She sees the importance of family, and the non-importance of possessions.
She knows how to laugh when everyone else would cry.
She knows how to be a great friend when great friends are becoming harder and harder to find!

I met her oldest son for the first time last weekend, but have known her, Madeline and Luke for four years.
You can't help but love her kids. Luke probably gets away with more because of his adorable dimples..ha! But he is a great kid.
And Maddy is an amazing, godly, beautiful young woman who I know God is going to do incredible things through!

Tracy...it was an honor to capture your beautiful family.
I am so blessed to call you my friend.
I see many more soccer games, Bible studies on my porch, FBI classes, and millions of other memories in our future! I love you g-fry!

Monday, September 09, 2013

crazy town and all that jazz

It's that time of year.
You keep thinking things are going to slow down, but you realize that without your giving it any permission, your life has gone in fast forward crazy town mode.
And here you are.
Ready or not.
Sitting right in the middle of crazy town and all that jazz.

Since pulling the cover over your head and staying in bed long after your alarm has gone off is not really an option? 
You have 2 options left:

1.Whine loudly, groan a little and crawl out of bed at the last possible minute. Rush around like crazy and start your day just hoping to make it through.

2. Wake up and start praying. Literally. Start thanking God for everything he's given you...health, a place to live, clothing, family. Then put some music on. Ya know...the kind of music that makes you want to just drop everything and raise your hands and belt it out! This morning mine was Great I am by Philips Craig and dean. And I have to tell you something. Your day starts differently! 

It's your choice. Are you going to have a peaceful, thankful, joyful kind of day? Or are you going to have stressful, complaining, irritated kind if day?

I love thinking of this fact:
Every single morning God had a whole new ton of mercy for me!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Another one of my favorite reminders...
The weaker I am, the stronger God is.
Yep...so when I am feeling oh so ever loving weak?
That is actually a good sign, because it means God's power is made perfect.

And I know I'm not alone.
I have talked to so many people lately who have told me...
their life is in turmoil, they are so overwhelmed, they are so tired, they are exhausted...
guess what?
The only way we can ever have perfect peace is when our life is secure in our relationship with God.

That's it.
So rest in knowing that He is powerful.
And remember that tomorrow morning when you wake up, God is going to heap a whole lot of mercies all over you.

I know I'm gonna need them!
So let me be your cheerleader..
You can do it! Hang in there! We're in this together! You're gonna make it!

oh ya, and may I recommend starbucks coffee for that extra little kick?
I mean, I love dunkins and all but I gotta say - if you want to start shaking it up a little bit. And I mean that literally...starbucks is the way to go.



Friday, September 06, 2013

Depending on God without using craigslist or monster.com

It's that time of year again...back to school.
And what that means to me and my family is it's time for The Porch to be back in full swing!
I just assume that most of you already know full well what The Porch is, but for those of you who don't know, my husband and I started a not-for-profit youth center in our town called The Porch where we run after school programs for the kids and teens in our community.
You can read the write up in the local newspaper from back a couple years ago here.

And if you are wondering why in the world I would spend so much time with 12-year-olds, you can read what I wrote about that here.

I can't talk enough about how much I love it...
How much I love getting to know the kids, praying for all of them and watching them grow and mature.
well - watching some of them mature. ha!

I decided that I would write about it today, even though in my mind I'm not sure if I am supposed to.
Here's what i mean...
See...I have read the books by George Mueller that are incredible inspirational readings about a man who had a vision and a dream to serve others.
He ran an orphanage in England, and was able to pay for everything by simply asking God.

If you haven't read the book, or are not familiar with the story, you may not understand what I am implying.

He did not ever ask people to give.
He asked God to impress upon people to give.
And they did.

That blows my mind.
You mean, he was able to get financial supporters, food, and volunteers to work without facebook, craigslist, monster.com or anything?!

It blows my mind because I consider myself to be the kind of person who has a strong faith.

I am reading through the book of Joshua right now, and let me tell ya right now.
God is an amazing. Big. Powerful. All-sufficient. God.

And I know this.
But I am having a hard time understanding why we can not get workers for this ministry!
We have the kids...tons and tons of kids.
We just need people.
And we need people who are willing to serve.

And I go back and forth in my head with, should I simply pray and ask God to work?
Or should I put it out there...again.

So I am putting it out there.
I am asking you to consider being a part.

I am asking you to go right now to our website and watch the video.
And then I am asking to you pray about how you can be a part.
Whether it is being a prayer supporter with us. Being a monthly, or one time financial partner.
Or maybe it is actually volunteering at our Kids Club (grades 1-5) or our Teen Central (grades 6-12)
*you can find the application form here.
We are looking to offer classes and additional programs this year as well including:
cooking, sign language, sewing, resume building, tutoring, and weightlifting.

If you are looking for an incredibly fulfilling and exciting ministry to be a part of, this is the place.

And I am not just saying that.
Our goal is to expand and allow other communities all over the US to start their very own Porch Youth Centers! Maybe this is something that you would like to consider as well!
Please contact me if you have any questions, or if you would like to be a part.

I am trusting God.
I am depending on God without using craigslist or monster.com
I am believing that He can, and that He will.
And while I'm waiting?

You can find me down at The Porch.
Where I will most likely be beating someone's butt at ping-pong.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Why I Don't Need to be Like You: My Writing Without Social Media

What my writing would look like if I didn't have access to social media

I have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks.
I have been very aware of something that I have never really noticed before.
I have been aware of what my feelings start doing when I see blogs, status updates, instagram posts or pinterest boards by a number of different people.

I started to wonder...
Would my blog posts look the same if I never saw these things?
What about my thoughts, words and actions?
How much is all this affecting me?

I mean. God made me to be Rachelle Dawn Chase. 
(Well, there is a whoooollleee long story to what my actual, real live name is. Maybe I will do a post some day on the fact that my passport, my licence, my birth certificate and my taxes all have different names on them. ha)

According to Jeremiah 29:11, God promises to have plans for me...Rachelle.
Before you think I'm being prideful, He has plans for you too.
But they are different than His plans for me!
I know this may not seem like rocket science and at this point you are probably thinking...
Wow Rachelle..Desperate for material, are we?
But seriously.
When I sit down and think about what my goals are for my family.
What my goals are for my business.
What my goals are for my ministries.
And even what my goals are for my personal life...

Am I allowing God to show me what He wants for me?

Or am I getting my dreams confused with what your dreams are?

Recently, I sat across from another photographer friend of mine who told me that she was charging literally triple what I was charging for my senior photography. She only lives about 10 minutes from me, and is servicing the same schools. 
(And I think you are totally awesome Anna!)

That same week I found out that 2 other photographer friends of mine were featured in magazines.

I also saw that another friend of mine was going to be guest speaker at a photography conference.

Besides the obvious fact that I have some pretty awesomely amazing friends, I started to think to myself...oh man! I wish I could get more money for my photography. I wish I could be featured in a magazine, I wish I was asked to speak at a conference.

Then.I thought. Wait. 
Do I even want that? Did I ever even want to be in a magazine, or did I just start thinking it because my friends were? 
Did I ever really want to be known for my photography business, or do I now just think it's a good idea because my friends are known for that.

It can go further than my business. 
It becomes this ridiculous comparing game that is really nothing more than complete insanity.
I mean that is really what it is.

The decorating. The DIY projects. The clothes. The...wait for it...Christian life!
Yes. I said it because you were all thinking it but didn't want to admit it.
We can even let ourselves get confused about how to live our very Christian lives when we are spending too much time reading other people's thoughts.
I suddenly want to start a program, or run an event, or teach my kids a certain lesson, and on and on 
annnnd on it goes.
And honestly? It never ends.
Would I even be thinking about half the things I think about if I had no social media?

Did you know that God promises to speak to His children?
Now...I absolutely believe that God can use other people to speak.
But the primary way God wants to speak to us is through His Word. 
It happens in our very own quiet, personal time with Him.
That time that includes nothing but silence, a Bible, maybe a notebook (but not the cute, sparkly one that Joe Shmoe is using and blogging about!) and that's it.

God doesn't promise to yell to us.
He doesn't promise to put a huge sign in front of us with His plans all spelled out.
He might even be whispering. 
But ya know when you are really intent on listening to someone? 
Maybe they are speaking quietly and maybe there is a lot of other noise in the room.
You do what you have to do. You lean forward. 
You consciously block out the other noise and you look straight at the person talking and you just. listen.

That is what God has been telling me to do.
He has been telling me to stop dreaming about being just like you.
No offense.
He has been telling me to stop moving, stop planning, stop carrying all the weight of everything.
He has told me to stop trying to raise my kids like you are raising yours.
To stop expecting my husband to act like your husband is.
To stop dressing the way you are dressing.
To stop running my business the way you are running your business.

And to start listening better.
To block out every other loud, bright, pretty, sparkly, perfectly organized noise.
Because my life?
Is supposed to be running the way God has planned it to run!

My life is going to look different than your pinterest board, your blog, your website and your life.

And that is totally fine.
Because your life? Is going to look different than my pinterest board, my blog, my website, and my life. (Lucky for you!)

I  want my writing to be coming from what my thoughts have been, which have come from what God is teaching me...not only what I have been reading about you!

Don't get me wrong. I love reading your blogs, I love seeing what you pin, and what your vacations look like...it even doesn't bother me to see what you are eating.
But I just want to make sure that I am not allowing all of those things to clutter my mind so much that I start losing sight of what God wants for me.

I don't need to be like you.
I need to be like me.
And my writing should reflect that.

I hope I am not the only one who struggles with this. 
If you don't have any problem with the ole comparison game? Then great! You don't have to change a thing!
But...if you do?
Stop it right now! Be happy to live the life God has given you! 
Use the gifts he has given you to be the person he wants you to be.
And listen to Him! 
Maybe His plans for you are going to involve an amazing road that you could never dream of.

Can I get a what what??

But seriously...I need some help with designing my blog and tons of help with The Porch! Ironic, right?!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Homeschooling a 7th grade boy and living to tell about it.

One thing I have figured out about myself this week.
Getting up at 6:45 is just not going to cut it.

I believe I will be setting my alarm for more like 5:00 to be able to accomplish what I need to get done.
I have a 7th grader now.
Long gone are the days when I would feel totally comfortable hiking for the day and calling it science.
Oh wait...I never hiked.
Long gone are the days when I would feel totally comfortable going to the beach for the day and calling it science.
Ya...that is more like it. ha.

Anyways. AJ is kind of like a big boy now, so homeschooling takes on a whole entire new life of its own.
This life?
Looks like me being in the school room for hours helping him with his work.
Now...understand a couple things I am NOT complaining about:

1. Being with my kids. I hope that if you know anything about me at this point it is that I would choose being with my kids more than just about anyone else. For real.
2. The fact that I have a school room!!!!! The enormity of that very sentence is not lost on me!
For the last six years, I would dream about the day when I would have a real live room that I could actually call school room! (Well..now, it is kind of also taco's room. That is except for the times that taco thinks the entire house is her kingdom and every room is hers.)

So. all of that to say.
I am not complaining. It's just that today was long and while it was very productive on many levels, I felt like I had totally failed.
Just keeping it real.
I had had a great time with my Bible...although now that I am thinking back. I was out of creamer for my coffee!! That must have been where everything started to unravel!
And then...I just started doing a million things and realizing that I would never complete everything I wanted to complete.

AJ was needing help with his math and was getting frustrated.
Sometimes, this causes a chain reaction.
I started getting frustrated that he was frustrated and then you know what happened next.
The chocolate chips from the kitchen started screaming my name.
Dude. No lie. They know how to call me.

So anyways.
Next thing I know, I see AJ going into the sun room.
And I think to myself...What in the world does he think he's doing?! There is no way he is done with his math yet!
I look in and see this.

That is one smart boy.
He knew where he needed to go when he started feeling frustrated.
After he read his Bible he definitely had a better outlook and things got a bit easier.

And so our new lives are filled to the brim with the likes of this
(Excuse the picture quality. I was in no mood to get my camera out, so I just used my iphone. Good enough to make my point.)

And...for all of you mocking me because of the latin book you see.
Go ahead.
I deserve it.
I know what I said about latin in the past. But it is just part of this curriculum so I am going with it.
That's the end of that.

Hoping to get to bed early tonight, get up early tomorrow and hopefully get everything done that I have planned.

How's your week looking? I would love to hear all about it.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

My BHAG... It's pretty Hairy.

I can remember it like it was just yesterday.
I was a freshman at Liberty University  sitting in the Vines Center listening to the booming voice of 
Dr. Falwell as he told his story. 
I'm pretty sure he had told it 2.7 million times before, but the way he spoke you would think he was telling it for the very first time.

He talked about his BHAG

Yep...this was the first time I had been introduced to the "word" bhag.
Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

He told about how his dream had started.
With a dream.
A dream and faith in his Big God.

He inspired me.
He showed what action-based faith can really do.

It was after one of those inspirational talks that I remember going to a place overlooking the mountains, and just asking God to tell me what He wanted me to do.
I wanted to do huge things for God.
I wanted to make a difference.
And I wanted to dream big.

I started dreaming about a lot...
I filled notebooks with a ton of stuff over the next few years.
Ideas, passions, dreams, goals, maybe-kind-of-crazy-plans.

While they were all very different, they were all based on one major theme:

I wanted to live my life showing people how they could find the love of an incredible God who could change. their. lives.

And every once in a while, I pick up my notebook.
I look over the things I have dreamed up.
Some of these dreams I am living out. 
Some still need more planning, more dreaming and more action.

I am always just a little bit afraid that I am spending too much time on things that don't have eternal value.
I am always just a little bit afraid that the things I get the most worked up about are not worth wasting my thoughts over. at all.
I am always just a little bit afraid that I am missing something.
And I want to stay that way.

See..the thing is, I think if I get too comfortable in anything, I won't push myself any further.
I do not want that.

I was incredibly challenged by the sermon that I heard my dad preach this past Sunday.
It was a message about Caleb.
You can read his story in Joshua 24.

Caleb was a man of passion. Of vision. Of incredible faith.
He believed that God didn't want him to get too comfortable.
He believed that God was able to do incredibly more than we could ever ask or even imagine (Eph. 3:20)
He asked God for great things...and God gave great things!
I want that to be said of ME!

I do not want to get too comfortable... because if I get too comfortable? It will lead to 

While I do believe that surrounding ourselves with people who are inspirational can be beneficial. 
And I do believe that spending time with other like minded people is biblical and wise...
I also think that surrounding ourselves with people has the potential to be harmful.

I am not going to get into this in too much detail right now, because I have another post coming about 
"What my writing would look like if I didn't have access to social media"

I just want to be so focused on MY bhag.
Not yours...no offense.
I want my big hairy audacious goal to be exactly that. 
MY goal.

So. I don't even want to tell you what is in my notebook.
I want to encourage you to go and get your own notebook!
Go spend some time with God and ask Him to show you what He wants you to do.

Write down your bhag.
Make a goal that scares you a little bit.
Make a goal that makes you nervous to share it because it seems too big.
If you can easily share it with anyone who comes along? 

Maybe it's not quite big enough.

Make it bigger. It has to be big and hairy to be a bhag.
I am getting excited. I am pumped up.
I have a feeling that something bigger than I could ever even imagine is about to happen.
I can not wait to see what God has planned.
Because I have to tell ya.

My bhag is pretty hairy.

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