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Monday, March 31, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ getting rid of the pacifier

If you came to this post in hopes of finding tips to help your child get rid of his pacifier, you're out of
If you came to this post in hopes of finding another mother like you who believes every child should be done with a pacifier by the age of 1 or maybe never use one at all? Again...you're out of luck.

This post is for all those other moms.
You know who you are.
You feel the disapproving eyes of the people at the grocery store.
You've heard the doctor reprimand you because your 3-year-old still sleeps with a pacifier.
You've even been given the what-for by your own mother or mother-in-law.

Please let me give you a sentence that just very well may give you the freedom you've been searching for:


True that. Am I right?

Look...I can get on a band wagon just as easily as the next guy.
But the bottom line is this. It will not kill your child if they still using a pacifier, even at the age of 4 or 5.
(And if you're gonna start going on your own rampage about the germs or whatever from the pacifier? Can we please talk about every.single.thing in the world that is filled to the brim with germs??)

Ok then.
My boys both had pacifiers until they were four, and they don't have any disease. Their teeth are fine. They can now fall asleep like normal children. And they don't have emotional issues.

There are enough issues that we as moms go through when it comes to not measuring up to other moms, or feeling guilty about how our parenting rates.
We do not need the opinions of everyone else when it comes to something as minor and insignificant as a pacifier, or thumb sucking habit.
Let's focus on the things that really matter...
Raising self-controlled, obedient, loving and respectful children.

So to all the pacifier-loving-mommas out there-
I'm just giving you permission.
I'm giving you permission to relax.
To enjoy this phase of your kids life.
To stop worrying about other peoples opinions.
Ain't nobody got time for that!

You're the mom!
See? Don't you feel better already?

Now get of the computer right now and go search for that stinking pacifier!
(I've clearly been there before!)
You know you're gonna need it in about an hour.
And the next time you're searching in the couch cushions, under the bed, in the trash... Remember.

Time goes by so fast when your babies are little.
Enjoy every phase.
And also? Buy pacifiers in bulk. Totally worth it .

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hemmed in and guarded

I was reading through the book of Philippians (a great book when you are lacking some joy and strength) and I looked a little deeper at the words in chapter 4 verses 6-7.

I know most of us have heard it a million times, but verse 6 says 

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Then verse 7 says "and the peace of God which passes ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus". 

the word guard keep means
be a watcher in advance, that is, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively to hem in, protect: - keep (with a garrison). 

So, God is hemming in...protecting, guarding...wait for it....

your heart. 

BUTTTTTT....I looked up heart, and it means the heart, that is, (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle: - (+ broken-) heart (-ed).

Did you get that?? 
Why am I so driven by my stupid feelings? I can either be a total go-getter, or a total lazy bum...same person, same circumstances, different feelings
It's so weird!! 
But...God promises that He will hem me in, and then guard, or protect my feelings!! 
Isn't that what we need? For our stupid feelings to have a guard just standing there pushing away and fighting off all the sadness, worry, fear, doubt?

Anyone with me here??? 

Interestingly, I found this verse in the book of Psalms that uses that same word - hem.

God is laying His hand upon me. 
Me. Little, old me.
That's the kind of God I have. 
I needed that mental picture today. 
I am being hemmed in, and God is just putting his hand on me.
Directing me. Guiding me. Reassuring me. Protecting me.

God's Word is so good. So relevant. So NEEDED!! 
My prayer today is that we will let God be the guard of our hurting, needy hearts and minds. 
I don't think any one of us is in the place where we don't have a hurting heart, in one way or another. 
Maybe it's not overtaking and consuming you today, but maybe it will be tomorrow. 

Let's hold on - till our knuckles are white - and never let go!
Do not give up.
God's hand is on you. Keep holding on!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sweet print sale going on at Rachelle Chase Photography!

I am so excited to be able to display some of my photography at the Starbucks in Epping for the month of April!
Honestly, I do not spend any money at all on marketing. I just figure that God knows what I need, and if I don't have any bookings at any given time He is just giving me more time to work on The Porch, or any of the other things I have going on!
I don't know if I will always take this route, but for now it is working out just fine!

I ordered some of my favorite shots for the display and am so excited to show you all!

I am seriously dying and they aren't even my family!! (well, the bottom right and middle left are :) )

I love photographs.

But I have to admit that I do not order prints as often as I should.
Then when I do actually order them, I have to then go on the hunt for frames that I like that will fit the photos!
I started printing my pictures on matboard about 6 years ago.
I can't imagine ordering a print any other way now!

After ordering all these mounted prints for my display, I got so obnoxiously excited that I decided to offer all my past clients a chance to get your own!
The awesome thing about buying mounted prints is that you can get any old size, because you don't have to get a frame for them!
They are super easy to mount to the wall... I just use those velcro stickers, or sometimes prop them up on my shelf!

So here is your deal.

Here is what the thickness looks like...
And on the wall? Come on now...
I got a little carried away with the size of the one of me and Adam. Like. Seriously.
It's practically life size. But it's in our bedroom and it literally makes me happy every single time I see it!
It's totally worth it, peeps.
Totally worth it.

I actually have another display with a few more clients that is in the mail still, and I can't wait to get it!
Thanks to all of you who have helped make my display so absolutely stunning!
I have the most amazing clients!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I can do that. Peace out Facebook.

Do you ever do something just because it's a habit?
Like...you don't really think about it. It's kind of just a nonchalant motion that you don't even realize you are doing.

My nonchalant motion?
Checking Facebook...whatever that means.

After being challenged by one of my closest friends to a social media blackout...I had to take the challenge.
I actually had been feeling like it was time for the last week or so anyways. So this was just a confirmation of what I feel like God was (probably screaming) quietly whispering to me.

Starting Monday, I haven't been on Instagram or Facebook.
There are a few things I have to admit, although it is a little embarrassing.

1. I didn't realize how many times I automatically started to type in Facebook when walking by my computer.
Not because I was necessarily looking for something. Not because I was planning to post anything.
But just because.

2. I don't even know half these people!
True story. I have no clue how many "friends" I have, but I was realizing that somehow, creepily, Facebook had decided whose life stories I would see, and whose I would not.
The weird thing is, the people I actually am real live friends with? I was totally missing all their posts!
The people I don't even barely know? I could tell you every detail of their lives.

3. Facebook sucks the life out of you and creates a feeling of laziness and frustration.
Another true story. I remember a while back when there were a few people who had hurt me (they didn't invite me to their birthday party...errr...unfriended me. Same thing) so I blocked them.
This just meant that as far  as I was concerned on the Facebook world, they didn't exist. And to them, I now did not exist either. And when I did that, I could not believe how much better it made me feel!    No more getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw them hanging out with some of my current or old friends! It was a release. And it felt so good.

4. Facebook and Instagram are a breeding ground for discontentment.
There are so many photographers I follow, and I definitely have noticed myself lacking creativity, getting irritated with the I-booked-this-client-so-I-am-better-than-you mentality I was seeing going on. Then I found myself having to unfollow people who I am actually friends with because I was getting such a bad feeling from their pious posts! (maybe they didn't mean it like that at all, it's just how it was coming across!) I love my life. I love my family. I love my clients. I love what God has given me...until I see what you are doing. Until I see what your family did for you. Until I see what client you booked. Then it's all downhill from there.

So. The moral of it all is always the same for me. Pretty much no matter what the issue.


There are so many verses on this important issue. And God obviously says it better than I ever could!

...Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

...make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control

I am not saying that I am necessarily going to never get on Facebook again, or never instagram again. 
What I am saying, is that I  am finding myself texting my friends more, instead of checking out their lives on Facebook.
What I am saying is that I am finding myself feeling more content.
What I am saying is that when I am spending less time listening to a million other voices screaming in my ears, there is more time for God's voice to be more easily heard.
What I am saying, is I can do that.
I can live without it, and I think I am better when I do.
Being self-controlled is always the better choice.

Can you do it?
You should try it.
You should try to take those little seconds, that add up to minutes, that add up to hours of Facebook and Instagram...
and invest them into reading your Bible. 
Into spending time with your husband.
Into reading books with your kids.
Into working on your business or ministry.
Into just. being. still.

I can do that.
I can do that.

Peace out, Facebook. You were never that nice anyways.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

So that...

I have been reading in Exodus for a while, and really trying to take the time to study it out.
I like to pick things apart.
Especially when it's parts of the Bible I am particularly familiar with.
I came to the portion of the story where it talks about God hardening Pharaoh's heart.
The whole idea of this has always kind of confused me, but part of a particular verse stood out to me this time that absolutely blew my mind...in a totally obvious kind of way.

Exodus chapter 8 gave me two words that pretty much sum up life.

So that.

Here's the background:
Pharaoh has been keeping the Children of Israel as slaves and treating them totally awful. He refuses to let them leave his country and is downright rude about it.
God is telling Moses what to say to Pharaoh to make him let them go.
He tells Moses to tell Pharaoh some specific things He will do if he doesn't let them go, and then he says why...

So that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land.

Look over at chapter 11 verse 9 and God tells Moses:
Listen. Pharaoh is not going to listen to you.
In fact he words it..He will refuse to listen to you. But then he gives the reason:

So that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.
Do you get this?

It is not about you!

This story in Exodus was not about Pharaoh. It actually was not about Moses.
And really? It was not even really about the Children of Israel.
This story was about God's ultimate plan.
The plan that God has had in place before the beginning of time.
This plan to show His power.
To show His grace.
To show His redeeming love.
He was simply using the situation in front of Him to showcase His glory.
But do you think Moses or the Children of Israel felt that way?
They were being beaten, and treated totally unfairly. They could have easily questioned God, doubted God and even forsaken Him.
They needed to see the bigger picture.

And it is so the same in our lives.
Are you in the middle of something that makes you feel like, Come on God?!
You can fix this.
You can provide that.
You can heal her.
You can save him.
And you would be right.
He certainly can.

But God is gently saying to you...It is not about you.
God may have you waiting, so that someone in an entirely different place can see His power.
So that someone else can be changed.

It is not about about you.

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending time with some of my favorite people in the world.
I stayed at an incredibly gorgeous beach house on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, with some amazing women.
These are women who are totally on the same page in life with me.
They are photographers. But they are first and foremost servants of God.
I was so refreshed, blessed and encouraged by these friendships that God has given me.
We stayed up late, had some seriously deep conversations, and then had silly, unimportant conversations.
It was relaxing and totally energizing.
The last morning we were there, we sat around in the living room.
We watched and listened as the waves came crashing into the shore, and we sang together.
We sang songs that reminded us what life is all about.
At the end of the day, our businesses (which we love and want to excel in) are not our first priority.
Our first priority is our relationship with Jesus...our foundation.
It's what gives us the energy to keep working and improving in our families, in our friendships and in our businesses.

I am so thankful for those friendships.
(Honestly. Angie, Beth, Joni and Tara. You girls are good for my soul!)
I am so thankful for the amazing creation of God I saw on display this weekend.
I am so thankful for being around people who understand that God may be using a painful situation in my own life...
so that someone else can be affected.

So the next time you hear the words so that, remember..

It is not about you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mommy Monday: Writing letters

Sometimes it's the little things that matter the most.

I am a big words of affirmation person.
Like...words mean so, so much to me that I hold on to hand written letters forever. Literally.
There is something about seeing the handwriting of someone you love and being able to get alone and just read what their thoughts are about you!

I do not like to travel away from my family very often, but when I do, I always leave notes for them.
I even leave notes for Adam.
I know this was passed down to me from my mom who will still, to this day, leave notes for me when she travels!
I still have all of them.

This past weekend I went away for a few days and I left notes for all 3 boys.
I want to encourage you to do the same.
It should not only be done when you are leaving.
It should be spontaneous.
So many times we can get caught up in the craziness of life and we don't take the time to stop and write our thoughts to our kids.
Let me just tell you something that might kind of knock you over:

No matter how old your children are, they need love letters!

If your kids are earlier than reading age, write them a letter and have daddy read it to them.
If your kids are still at home with you, leave a note on their pillow, in a book they're reading or in the fridge.
If your kids are grown and out of the house, mail them a letter!
I love writing to friends as well, and will sometimes stick a note in the bag of someone I have recently spent time with. (If you have recently spent time with me, you should check your bag. *coughtaracough*)

It takes such a small amount of time, but it can mean so, so much.
And wouldn't you love for your kids to be able to say that one thing they remember about you is that you were expressing how much you loved them through letters all their lives?
Write a one sentence, write a 3-pager. It doesn't matter.
I love to always be reminding my kids of how much I love being their mom.
They need to be reminded, because there may be a time where things are so crazy, and I can be stressed and they could start to feel like that stress is being caused because of them!

Express your feelings.
So, here is my challenge to you.
Write a small love letter to each of your kids this week.
Leave it some place they will find it, or hand it to them.
It doesn't really matter...just let your kids know what you love about them and how much they mean to you.

Sometimes, it's the little things that matter the most.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Well, I guess the streak is over

I made it a full solid year blogging every day.
I guess that was long enough!
I  am in New Jersey at a workshop and I literally totally forgot to blog! Like...didn't even think of it one time until just now!
So here is the view from my bedroom and now maybe you can see why I forgot.

I  not always up for the sunrise..I have to admit. 
But this morning? What an amazing reminder of the fact that we serve a God who is so powerful. 
So Unchanging. 
That he makes the sun to rise every morning. 
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two years ago at this time...

This week has been a little on the chilly side.
This week I have had to layer up in 27 layers to go running.
This week I have walked around my house wrapped up in a blanket.
This week I have worn boots every day of the week.

I am not one to complain or anything.

But two years ago at this time...
This was my blog post.

here are the rest of the pictures of our amazingly, relaxing beach day.

the boys thought it would be fun to play baseball... is that what you call it when you throw a bouncy ball and hit it with a surf board?

i love spending my days with these boys  

Are you kidding me right now?
Why is it still winter when my calendar says it's supposed to be Spring?
Ok...here's hoping next week is a little more promising!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What started out with toddlers in my bed has progressed to this

It's always so interesting to look back at my blog from when I first started writing in 2005.
Wow. Was my life different then!

So many parts of it are actually a blur, so I am really thankful that I decided to write my thoughts on this blog, in various notebooks, and in a mommy journal.
I am in a totally different phase of life within my extended family than most of my siblings and Adam's siblings.
I remember being the only one with kids (on Adam's side) for quite a while.
I felt misunderstood, and kind of just alone when we would have family gatherings.
I do not AT ALL mean that as a dis towards my in laws.
Not at all.
They were amazing, loving and all the way around helpful.
We would go over for dinner on Monday nights, and Adam's mom would have dinner for us (after she had worked a full day) and then would play with the boys, and give me a plate for Adam's lunch the next day. The boys loved the attention from their grandparents!
It was just that I was in a different place.
I was running on 4 hours of interrupted sleep from the night before and trying not to look exhausted,
and my brother/sister-in-laws were going through high school, or college and couldn't really relate to what Adam and I were going through.

And now I am watching them deal with sleepless nights from their kids and I am trying to decide if AJ should have a phone or not! (and they are doing a pretty amazing job!)

I do wish I had posted more pictures from when they were younger.
Long gone are the days when I can have them pose in their skivvies, or take pictures of the endless games of memory we played, or have them just looking up at me with their big blue eyes...
It doesn't give quite the same effect from a 12-year-old than from a 2-year-old!

But I still write.
And I still take pictures.
And I still want to remember my today.
I know that when I look back at pictures of the boys from just a year ago, I can't believe how young they look, so I know that next year I am going to have those same sentimental feelings.

I can't even believe the things I now write about. The issues that I now deal with.
It seemed so so far away when the boys were toddlers.
I remember feeling like I didn't have to think about kindergarten with AJ because I still had plenty of time...now I am going to have to start thinking of 8th grade?!!
I remember the days I was thinking about how to get Riley to take a nap, eat his veggies, how we were going to find pacifiers...and now.
I am sure that so many of you are in the same place.
I look up at AJ and yet can still remember holding him and rocking him to sleep just like it was yesterday.

I am a pretty sentimental person.
Family is so important to me.
My husband and my boys...they mean everything to me.

I am not complaining about being in the phase I am in now.
I love having 2 boys in my life who I would absolutely consider my friends.
I love the things our family can do now that we couldn't do before.
I love watching the sensitivity of the boys, the spiritual growth, the humor and the love.

I just want to hold on to it forever. And ever.
I want to write more. Not just here...
I want to write more in my journals. The personal stuff that I don't need to share with the world.
The sweet things that Adam or the boys do that make our family unique.
The things that are done that need to just kept between us...as a family.

What started out with toddlers in my bed has progressed to this.
2 big boys.

Who make me want to be an intentional mom.

Who make me want to love more.
Who make me want to be a better person.

Who I can not even imagine life without.

So whatever phase you are in right now?
Don't wish it away.
Hold on to it. Tightly.
It comes and goes so quickly, even if it feels like it's dragging right now.
Take more pictures.
Write more.
And enjoy every second of the stage you are in right now.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ Checking up on your kids

I had some interesting conversations down at The Porch today.
I love interacting with teenagers (and pre-teens) and trying to get their perspective on things.

The topic?

The question?
Do you parents check your instagram?

The majority answer?

There was a little bit of conversation that went with it, and some kids said their parents do check their instagram.
Some said their parents didn't check anything they did and it was because their parents trusted them.
Please excuse me while I literally bite my tongue off so as not to ruin the relationships I have been trying to develop for the last year.

I can not tell you what it does to my momma's heart when I see these kids incessantly holding their iPads, iPhones or iPods and are literally gaining their view of the world based on instagram.
I can not tell you how much it breaks my heart to hear these girls saying how many followers they have, how many people "liked" the picture they posted and then watch them act as if this is how they gain love, respect, and popularity.

I can not tell you how much it literally pains me to even think about these 12 and 13-year-old boys who have probably viewed more pornography than I could ever imagine and quite honestly? They are probably pretty much numb to it at this point. Not even realizing that it has a name. We call it obscene.  (I call it sick and wrong, yo!)

As I scrolled through some feeds of girls, I wasn't disgusted. I wasn't appalled. I wasn't even shocked.
I was just sad.
Sad that there are seemingly so many unintentional parents in this world.

Please understand something that I think is so important to "get" as a parent.

We are being deceived.

Did you hear what I just said?
We are being deceived!!

Since when is the opposite of looking at your kids instagram distrust?
Since when does a parent blocking certain websites from their kids make that parent mean?
Since when is it ok for you to decide to break companies rules for no reason at all (Facebook clearly states that you have to be 13 to have an account.)

Things are different now. So different than when I was growing up.
I used to have a pretty good idea of the level of my popularity on 2 occasions a year...
Valentine's Day, when I would see how many carnations I received at school.
And the end of the year when I would see how many people signed my yearbook.
The rest of the year? I lived in ignorant bliss.
Now...it is literally hundreds of times a day. These kids are being rated, evaluated, classed, appraised - constantly!

Look. I know it's hard to be a parent who takes a stand. I get it.
But you just need to do it. For the sake of your kids.
If you are looking for a mom to throw under the bus to your kids, go ahead and throw me.

AJ does not have a Facebook account because he is 12.
I have absolutely no problem at all checking my boys iPods (they do not have instagram) at any given moment. To be honest? I have no problem at all checking my  husband's iPhone at any given moment!
Adam has a filter on his laptop so that he literally is not even able to go to some websites, including youtube...and a report of every website he's been to gets sent to our email address.


1 Corinthians 10 says this...if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall.

No one is above falling. No one.
That means me, that means Adam, that means our boys, that means you!

I think that one major deceitful thought we can have is that our kids are above doing certain things.
No one is above anything.
When I see the things that are being viewed on instagram, youtube, or any other website by boys?        It just blows me away. Images can not be erased from your mind. And I am not ok to sit by and let my boys view of women be warped into believing that those women are simply a body. A body to be used.
A body to be gawked at.
Women are more than just a body.
And for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary...
Can you moms of girls help us out a little bit for crying out loud?

Please. Stop letting your daughter post pictures of herself with everything hanging out.
I just. Can't.
Eventually, my boys are going to be looking for a wife! It would be nice if there were more than a few to choose from!

Be intentional.
I know it's easier to ignore it. It's easier to give in, it's easier to think everything will be fine. It's easier to think that that skin tight, short skirt you are allowing your daughters to wear is not going to affect the boys who are actually trying to stay pure.
And I know it's easier to think that the boys gawking at all those things is no big deal.
And I also know that you are quite possibly going to be one out of everybody in your group of mom friends that takes a stand.

But in the end, the integrity and purity of your kids depends on it.

Don't be willing to trade your kids purity for approval from your friends.

Be that parent.
The one that has such a relationship of trust with your kids, that you both understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Stop the apathy. Stop being so passive.
Stop being unintentional.

And check your kids instagram for Pete's sake!
Let's raise a generation of kids who are making a difference for good in this world.

Who's with me?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Everyone has an untold story

Everyone has an untold story.
There is some amount of insecurity. of timidity. of fear. in everybody.

Not everyone shows it.
And sometimes, the stronger those weak feelings inside a person are?
The more they start looking like anything but the insecurity, timidity or fear!
They can come across more like rudeness. like arrogance. like conceitedness.

Don't buy it.
Don't fall into the trap that they are sometimes unknowingly setting for you.
It may look like they are trying to make you feel like they are better than you...they might feel intimidated.
It may look like they don't like you, want to upset you, want to make you mad....they may feel lonely.
It may look like they have it all together...they  may feel the exact opposite.

Everyone has an untold story.

Instead of disgustedly turning away the next time you see someone come across with negative, loud behavior
Remember that they have an untold story.
Remember that they might need you to listen instead of blow them off.
Remember that you might be exactly what they need to keep them from jumping off the ledge.

We all need someone to listen to us.
We all need someone to care about us.

Be that someone.
You literally never know the difference it will make.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

TBT. OMG. We totes need new pics ASAP.

I can't imagine my life without my brother and sisters.
They make me laugh.
They don't judge me.
They support everything I do.
They give godly advice.
They would do anything for me.
So thankful that God made us part of the same family.
So many memories.

ps. we totes need new pics.

(can you tell I spend a lot of time with teenagers?! haha!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My favorite room in the house

It is actually kind of hard to decide which room is my favorite in our house.
I love so many.
My library is definitely pretty high on the list, but my total favorite is probably the sunroom.

There is just something about a room that is filled with sun and filled with antiques.
I love to get up early when the house is still quiet, have a cup of coffee and read my Bible.
It's hard during the cold months, because it is really totally freezing in there.
I am dying for the spring to get here so I can spend more time in here!
I still need to get some pillows to add to the bed, but I just love what it looks like.

Can I keep it real here with you for a minute?

I am having a really hard time focusing on my goal in life being simply to please Jesus.
I tend to get so busy "serving" that I forget to just love him.
I get so busy with everything else in my life that I forget to just thank Him, praise Him, fear Him.

I need to think of it as I would as a mom.
I would rather have my kids snuggle with me, tell me what they love about me, and just be with me way more than I would want them to clean their room, or empty the dishwasher.

I want them to love being with me.

Sometimes, it is difficult to remember that Jesus wants me.
Not my service.
Not my work.
Just me.
Sometimes, when I am reading my Bible, I am thinking about how I can blog about that.
Sometimes, when I am praying, I start thinking of new events I can plan, or wondering if we have enough snacks this week at The Porch.
It's not what I want to be doing, but it's what I'm finding myself doing more and more.

I need to spend more time getting to know who Jesus is, than I do on talking about who He is.

I started thinking this week about the name of God.
What His name symbolizes, what it offers me, what it is to me.
I need to esteem His name.
Am I doing that with my actions?
Am I showing Him that I care about Him and who He is?
Or am I working so hard for Him, that I am missing out on the friendship part?
I am writing this in the hope that I will be reminded of this more tomorrow.
And the next day. And the next day.
That I will be more focused on staying close to who He is.
I think I am finding myself getting farther and farther from Him the more and more I work for Him.

I need to esteem His name.
It's not about me, and I can so easily make it about me without even trying.

I hope that you are challenged as well...especially those of you who are in ministry.

Don't let your ministry become about you.
It's not about you. It's not about me.

It's all about Jesus. 
It's all about what HE can do. How HE can save. How HE offers hope, peace and LIFE!

Esteem His name with everything in you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Life is busy.
Honestly, I have so much going on that there are times when I look at my to-do lists, and my calendar and I have no clue how I am doing everything.

I just want to make sure that I am not doing so much that I forget my biggest loves.
Ya know that feeling you get when you are with your family, and nothing else matters?
It doesn't matter if I am wearing make up or not.
It doesn't matter if  I am wearing matching clothes, or pretty jewelry.
There is nothing I have to do to try and impress...these boys of mine.
They love me anyways.

I want to make sure I am taking time to remember the silly faces, the laughter, the faces that I love and adore so much.
So this afternoon, after a long day at CC, Adam took Riley to soccer practice and it was just me and Aje at home.

We got some selfies.
Cuz we're cool like that.

Take some time tonight to do something silly and totally non-important in the eyes of any other person.
Just enjoy being with your family.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ Parenting against the flow

Let's face it.
Parenting is hard work.
Just when you think you have things down to a science,
child #2 comes along and you suddenly have a wake up call -

What?! These things worked on your brother, why are they not working on you??

You've all been there, right?

As if adjusting for each child isn't hard enough, suddenly you find yourself in the middle of either spoken or unspoken disapproval from other parents.

It might be from your own parents, or in-laws, or it might be people who aren't even related to you.
Either way, it is not exactly a place you have the energy to deal with!

I like lists. I like for things to be spelled out for me.
So that's what I am going to do...
Give you a list of ways that you can deal with parenting against the flow

1. Do not be close friends with people who are putting down your way of parenting.

The verse that says Bad company ruins good morals (or good character) is totally true.
Don't be fooled into thinking that hanging around people who have an entirely different view of parenting is not going to rub off on you! Or rub you the wrong way. Either way, you don't want that kind of rubbing. Ha!
It may appear to be snobby, but it is just wise.
You need to be careful who you spend time with, and you need to teach your kids that they need to be careful who they spend their time with too.
If it is a family member who is discouraging you in your way of parenting it is a good idea to talk to them in a respectful way and just tell them that you have decided how you are going to be raising your kids and it is difficult when they put that down. Being upfront and honest is always the right way to start!

2. Be intentional and then confident in your choices.

Some people are actually way too confident in their choices when they shouldn't be! Right?!                 I mean, how many times have you seen people  in a store yelling "ok, bye bye Suzie. I'm leaving now. Bye. I'm leeaavvinggggg!" in an effort to get their kid to come to them!
That is just a tad too confident and more than a tad unintentional!
Think through your choices, and your whys.
Your child doesn't necessarily always need to know why, but we as parents should always know why!
When we have to set rules for video game time playing, it's not just because it's getting on my nerves. It's not just because I feel guilty that they are in front of the tv for too long.
I have a why!
My whys are always based on the Bible, and in that case, I use verses in proverbs that talk about the dangers of laziness.
What happens when I have my whys totally in place? It makes me totally confident in my decisions.

3. Choose friends that encourage you!

This is very similar to point 1. But it is equally as important! When you take something harmful out of your life it is essential to replace it with something helpful!
Find a church, or a mom's group, or something that is going to give you the support you need in the decisions that you are making! It's not only removing yourself from the negative people, it's replacing it with positive people!

4. Relax

Sometimes people get all up in arms about some of the craziest things that really don't matter at all. Does it matter if your 4-year-old still has a pacifier?
Does it matter if your son is playing 4 sports? or no sports?
Does it matter if your baby sleeps with you until they are 2?
Does it matter if you allow your child is to have a cell phone?
So many decisions we have to make as parents are totally preference!
Don't let little things that other people are giving you grief about get you down.
Just relax and let everything else go. Enjoy your life.

So...don't hang out with negative people, do hang out with positive people, be intentional and confident in your decisions, and then relax!

I get it. It's hard to parent when your choices are so different than people around you. The choices
Adam and I make are many, many times totally different than the majority of people I know.
But guess what? WE are the ones who answer to God for how we are raising our kids...no one else. So get off our backs! Haha!! But seriously. Get off our backs.
At the end of the day you have to do what is right for your family!
So keep it up!

And if you need someone to hang out with who is going to encourage your intentional decisions?
Hit me up.
My house is a judgment-free zone!

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Sweet baby Maelyn ~ 6 Months old

I have the sweetest nieces. There is no doubt about that.
Maelyn was a perfect model for her newborn shoot and she was just as perfect for her 6 month shoot!

I could snuggle and kiss her all the day long, but I had to pick up my camera and actually photograph her a few times too!
Here are some of my faves

Thursday, March 06, 2014

One. Hard. Choice.

Remember that time you had a really awesome idea?
But then you thought that it was a little too crazy, so you pushed it aside.

Remember when you decided you were going to start running?
But then you got so busy.

Remember when you decided that you were going to start going to church?
But then you chickened out Sunday morning and came up with a good excuse.

Remember when you had that feeling like you should stop hanging around certain people?
But then you felt like you didn't have any other friends that one night, so you kept hanging out with them.

Why do we talk ourselves out of things so easily?
When I have eaten so much I can barely breathe, I am all...
I am never gonna eat bad again!

And then what do ya know? A few hours later when the dessert comes out, I am all...
Well, maybe just this once!

I can go bed at night and be totally confident that I am going to get up the second my alarm goes off and get a huge jump start on the day.
And then my alarm actually does go off. And I hit snooze. And then I hit it again. And again.
You get my point.

The crazy thing is, I am in complete control...if I want to be.
But it takes discipline.
And discipline has to start somewhere.

Discipline has to start with just one hard choice.
Make that first hard choice.

See... what happens when you make that first hard choice, is the second hard choice feels a little easier!
Then the third choice is a little bit easier than the second one.
And before you even realize what is happening you are making all kinds of good choices up in here!

So that really awesome idea? Make a choice to do one thing with it.
That decision to start running? Just run tomorrow.
When you decided you wanted to start going to church? Decide you will go this Sunday.
Those friends you know are bringing you down? Make plans with other friends this weekend.

Just make one hard choice.
You only have to start with one.

Go ahead and do it...you will be so glad you started.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

My lobster

Today is Adam's birthday.
He doesn't like the thought of getting old, and he constantly reminds me that I am older than him.
Even though he is only a few months younger!

For my boys birthdays, I like to write about what they like doing.
How their personalities are, and how they affect me.
What they like eating and who their favorite friends are.

But...if you've ever wondered about the person who has to put up with someone like me all day.
I thought I would say just a few things about my husband.

He prefers to stay home over going out all the day long.
Pretty much the opposite of me.

He likes watching any sport on tv, but basketball and soccer are his favorites.
He loves bread.
Duh. If you know Adam at all, you know this about him.
He loves carbs and hates fruit and vegetables. (I wonder where Riley gets it!)
His favorite sweets are orange slices, twizzlers and gummy anything.
Also his mom's sugar cookies.

He loves playing soccer and basketball.
He is an amazing dad, and would definitely rather spend time with his family over anyone else.

He loves playing with his nieces and nephew, and they adore him.
He is the most knowledgeable person I have ever met when it comes to knowing his Bible.
And he doesn't stop with just the knowledge part...he lives it out.
He has a loud voice.
He is amazing with kids, and is the best coach (according to many, many parents.)
He is very slow paced. Like. very.
We make an interesting team since I am not so much on the slow side. (I wonder where AJ gets it!)
He loves cheerios and honestly? I think he has had at least one bowl of plain cheerios (name brand only please) every. single. day since we have been married.
No lie.

He is incredible with people and loves to serve.
He makes everyone feel like they are important.
He is an awesome speaker...definitely gifted in that area.
He could not care less about what people think of him.
(I wish I cared a little less, and could learn a lot from him in that area!)
He doesn't think having a nice car is at all important. ha!
He hates spending money on food, and would be happy to never eat out.

His laugh is contagious, and I literally just laughed out loud even thinking about it.

He balances my crazy.
He pushes me and supports me.
He loves me for who I am.
He makes me laugh and I know how lucky I am to have him.
He is my lobster.
And I am so thankful that God gave him to me.

Happy Birthday pumpkin.
haha....Totally would never call him that. At least not with a straight face.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Rachelle Chase Photography ~ Winter Wedding in New Hampshire

This has been a pretty cold winter.
So when I talked to Amber and Matt about their February wedding, we had no idea what the weather would be like!
And then...in the middle of freezing cold temperatures and cloudy skies came their wedding day.
A beautiful sunny day in the high 40's! We could not have asked for anything better.

It was a simple, elegant, and beautiful ceremony. Followed by an intimate and fun reception.

It was hard to pick a only a few favorites, but here are some of the highlights of the day.

Congratulations Matt and Amber. It was an honor to share a part in your special day.

Makeup by Candace Lannaco
Flowers by Katie Bronson and Amy Humpton
Cake by Matt and Amber Chouinard

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