I woke up today. So did you.

I woke up today with my heart beating. I opened my eyes and could see. I stood up on the floor with complete and total balance and walked down the stairs. I can hear Bethel worship music as it sounds through my house. I opened the refrigerator this morning and took out creamer for my coffee. I opened the door to find this.

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I opened my Bible. My precious Bible that I have had for almost 20 years. I have taken that Bible to 3 different countries and it is filled with underlining, colors and notes. I drank my coffee this morning as I talked to God. He heard me. He always does.

I can hear my boys laughing together in the other room. I can smell the bread baking as I type.

How easy does complaining come to you? How easy is it for you to be negative? Are you griping about the snow that fell last night? Or are you amazed by a Creator who could design something as beautiful as snow. Are you thankful that you have a house to live in that protects you from the cold? Are you using your mouth to speak words of criticism? Or are you grateful that you have the ability to speak, and that you have people in your life to speak to?

It’s always easier to find the negative. But it’s always better to find the positive.

Find the positive today. Don’t take for granted the fact that you are alive. That you are breathing. That you can laugh, talk, pray, eat, think, see. These are amazing gifts from an amazing God. And don’t just be thankful. Be thankful to God. He is the one who has given us everything we have.
I woke up today. So did you. Be thankful for something as miraculous as life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

When the computer stops, the work stops

Today has been a full out work day. I’ve been at my computer all day long, only breaking long enough to go grocery shopping, make meals, make an apple pie and go to our church Thanksgiving Eve Service. After I got home from church, I sat at my computer again to try and finish up editing a session and blog for the day.

Then the power went out. The computer shut off, and the snow continued to fall. So I guess it was time for my work to be done. When the computer stops, the work stops. I was literally right in the middle of blogging, and uploading pictures to my post when it stopped.

Instead of more work, I went upstairs and played a game with Adam and the boys. I guess sometimes, enough is enough. So tomorrow I will get upearly, make bread, pack some clothes and head out to my sisters house in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. I am so looking forward to taking a day off and just enjoying family.

Where are you spending your turkey day?

Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Picking outfits for family pictures

I love picking out outfits for myself and the boys…Adam too. But he’s not usually that thrilled about it. He’s happy in one of his million soccer zip up jackets, his tried and true jeans and his sneakers.

I have people ask me all the time what they should wear for their family pictures. I get questions like…how dressy should we be? Should we all match? What colors should we pick? What colors should we stay away from? and on and on.

I normally tell people a couple different things.

1. Pick colors that match your house colors. I know it sounds weird, but think of your pictures as art. You are going to be displaying them all over your walls. You don’t want to have your family dressed in orange and green if you are going to hang a huge canvas in your purple family room. Make sense?

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2. Pick clothes that make you feel comfortable. If your kids aren’t used to wearing a collared shirt and skinny jeans, don’t pick your family photo shoot as the one day to give it a try. They are going to be uncomfortable and have a harder time posing.

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3. Pick outfits that describe your family. If you are a bright and loud family, don’t be afraid to wear bright and loud colors! Be yourself! If you are a more reserved and quiet family, wear conservative clothing. Don’t try to search pinterest to find the perfect outfit if it just doesn’t make sense to your family’s style.

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4. Don’t feel like you have to be too matchy matchy. I think it’s easiest to find one main piece of clothing and then pick the rest of the outfits to match that one. Instead of trying to match everything, just find colors that compliment each other.

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5. Accessorize! Jewelry, headbands and scarves are easy ways to add pops of color without having to go and buy an entire new outfit. I mean…unless you’re looking for an excuse. Then go for it!

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6. Don’t forget the little details. An adorable little outfit can be thrown out the window if you forget to get casual shoes for your son and he throws on his teenage mutant ninja turtle sneakers on his way out the door! Don’t forget the color of undershirts and socks!

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7. Most important: Don’t ever let yourself get so stressed over picking outfits that you don’t enjoy your shoot. Relax and realize that even if the outfits are a hot mess? You can always make it black and white! ha! But seriously. You are allowing a photographer to capture your family acting like a family. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you are wearing. No shoot is going to go well if you are all snapping at each other before you get there!

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If it’s still all just too much for you to handle, don’t worry. Starting next year, Rachelle Chase Photography will be offering a stylist for your shoot! You will have help picking everyone’s outfits and even get to pick from clothes, shoes and accessories that I will have in my studio!

Thanks to Maddy for taking my family’s pictures today!

Mommy Monday ~ Teaching your kids to overlook offenses

Being offended is something that comes pretty easily to all of us. When people do or say something that is hurtful, it can be so easy to hold on to it, let it ruin your day, which affects every other relationship in your life as well.

As a mom, it is pretty easy to teach my boys what they need to do to help them succeed in life. The difficult part is doing the very things I am teaching! I can teach principles all the day long…then people come into play. People can make things tricky. I can think about not being offended…until someone offends me! Am I right?!

I was reading this verse this morning in Psalms 119.
Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them. 
Wow. Nothing? Nothing will offend me if I am loving God’s Word? I started looking deeper into it, and this is what I realized.

The more time I spend getting to know God, the more I realize how fair, just and loving He is. When I realize how fair, just and loving He is, I realize that He is the one who controls what happens in my life. When I realize that He is the one who controls what happens in my life, I realize that I don’t have to worry for one pretty little second what other people are saying about me or doing to me. And you know what? That is incredibly freeing. Because let’s face it. When I spend so much time thinking about what other people are saying to me or doing to me and dwelling on how unfair it is? It still doesn’t change what they have said or what they have done! The only thing that  has changed is how I am letting it affect me! And that, my friends, is where the peace comes in. I receive great peace when I don’t let people’s words or actions affect me. And also? The entire household becomes peaceful when everyone is getting along and feeling calm and relaxed!

What greater gift can I give my children than peace? By teaching my kids to love God’s Word, I am giving them the gift of confidence, assurance and peace.

Provberbs 12:16 is a verse we say a lot in this house. Fools shows their annoyance at once, but a prudent overlook an insult. 

I always tell my boys that when someone has done something to hurt them, they have 2 choices.
1. Overlook it. Don’t think about it again, don’t hold a record of wrong and don’t be offended.
If that is not possible, and they find themselves truly hurt by it, they have a second choice.
2. Go to the person. Humbly and lovingly tell them that what they did hurt them, and try to make it right. Restore the relationship right away, before you let it go any further.

There is no third choice. There is no option of holding on to it. Getting bitter. Holding a record of wrongs. No. That is just not an option. It helps no one.

Unforgiveness is like a chain that binds you to the sin of the other person. 

No one wants that for themselves, and no mom wants that for her child. We need to stop holding on to unforgiveness and we need to teach our kids to do the same. The first step to this principle is realizing it yourself, and making sure that you…as the parent…are following these rules. The second step is acting it out in front of your kids so that they see you doing it. The hard part? In order to act it out, it involves you getting hurt in the first place! It then becomes the real deal. It becomes you teaching your kids that the Bible is a guidebook that is relevant and real. And when you start overlooking offenses, you get peace.  And then you can easily start teaching your kids the same thing.

Let’s be honest. Most people that we see have not gotten a hold of this principle. How many sports players have you watched get fouled, and then they instantly jump up and start going buck wild on the person who committed the foul?! We have our work cut out for us as parents, because what we are teaching, is often the exact opposite of what they are seeing everywhere else!

But we can still do it! Start trying this principle today. Overlook offenses. Just plain don’t allow yourself to be offended. Then you can enjoy the peaceful, confident life that makes everything else better.

 Rachelle is available to speak at conferences, churches, retreats and special events. Click on the   my speaking tab at the top of the page for booking information

First world problems

My phone is so slow.
I am starving.
My computer is so annoying.
I need a new outfit.
My house is freezing.

I hate to even think about how many things I allow to come out of my mouth that are completely ridiculously bratty. Just plain bratty. I have a phone. I have food whenever I want it. I have a computer. I have tons of clothes. I have a house.

The bottom line is, I am ungrateful. I forget what I have and I focus on what I don’t have. It is what comes natural to me, and going against that takes thought. It takes work. It takes effort.

And that is what I am trying to do today. Not because it’s November, and suddenly people think they have to be thankful. But just because I am supposed to be content with what I have. period. So what things are you complaining about that are simply first world problems?

Maybe you should just be thankful for what you have.

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Getting to know the Marshall family

I was standing in the main room of The Porch when Clinton walked in. He had dark hair and dark eyes and he kind of shuffled quietly in. He didn’t talk much at all. But he was never rude. Just quiet. He started coming in every day, and even though he didn’t talk, I always looked forward to him coming in. Every time he left at the end of the day he would try to catch my eye and wave goodbye. He didn’t say goodbye. Just waved. I prayed for him just about every day. I prayed that he would come to know the love of God, and that he would be a leader in his school. He became one of my favorites (don’t tell anyone I have favorites) and of the 400 kids who have come in over the last few years, he is still one of my favorites. He was in 6th grade then. Now- he is a big 11th grader, and he still comes in, but now he talks to me! I always get a hug when he comes in and when he leaves, and he comes in with his younger brother, who has also become one of my favorites.
I love my job. Love it. I love meeting new people. I love showing kindness and compassion to these kids and I love getting to meet their families. We got to know his mom and dad over the next couple of years and have come to absolutely adore them both. They started attending our church, and our entire church loves them.
I had the chance to photograph their family a few weeks ago, and had such a great time with them. The dad has been going through some major health issues lately, but you would never know it to look at him. He almost always has a smile on his face and he loves to give you a huge hug and ask how you are doing.

I am truly blessed to know this family. Here are a few favorites from our session!

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Love you guys so much. So thankful that God put you in my life.

Love does or love doesn’t.

Love is a verb. It’s an action word. Not a feeling, not an emotion. A verb.

The biblical definition lists out things that love does and things that love does not.

Love does show patience, it does show kindness. It does rejoice with truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.

Love does not show envy and it does not boast. Love is never arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it doesn’t keep a record of wrong, and it is not irritable or resentful.

I don’t often recommend books, but I have had the opportunity to meet Bob Goff and hear him speak a couple different times. He wrote a book called Love Does, and I have been reading it out loud to the boys. It’s pretty simple. Pretty obvious. And pretty amazing.

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I have to admit that I have such a difficult time with love. I mean, I never really thought that I did because I have great relationships with my family, and with so many friends. I feel like I have an understanding of what love really is, and I absolutely know and feel the love God has for me.

But the reality of it is this. Love loves or love doesn’t. There is no in between. Either you are loving or you are not. The thing with the definition of love is it seems impossible. Absolutely impossible. How on earth can I possibly show patience, not show envy, never be rude or arrogant, not keep a record of wrong and never show irritability?! And also, what do you do about all the times people say they love you but don’t act it out. At all? Do you just keep loving?

I have realized a lot about myself in the last several months. I have been in the position (as recent as today) where someone who claimed to love me showed the opposite of what the Bible describes as love. And I have to admit, that I have a problem with not loving people who have hurt me. That looks ugly even typing out, but it’s the truth. I do hold a record of wrong. And when I do that? I feel like I am doing it to guard myself against these people hurting me again, and that gives me the justification I need. But in reality? It is not love. And if it’s not love, it’s the opposite of love. And that is sinful. And if I am not in the Spirit, I can not please God. And, if I am not pleasing God, then I am not going to receive blessing from God. See the progression? It’s ugly.

See the thing with love is…

Love does not wait for a response.

Love does, and then doesn’t even leave time for a response, because love is not about insisting on my own way. It’s thinking of someone else, and their way. It is not loving someone so I can get something in return. It is so hard to live in a way that is insistent on loving other people.
I don’t mean the people who are nice to you and appreciate everything you do. I also don’t even mean the poor, the orphans, the down and out. I mean the people you see in church every week. I mean the people you are acquaintances with or maybe even friends with. Those people. The ones who you have a sense are talking about you behind your back. The ones you know for a fact have talked about you behind your back. The ones who don’t share the same values and commitments as you do. Those ones. Those are the ones I am commanded to love. It’s not a suggestion. It’s not a if-you’re-in-the-mood-today kind of a deal. It’s a command.

It’s real life. It’s loving through hurt. Through misunderstandings. Through confusion. Through sadness. And it loving for the sheer fact that God commands it. With no questions asked. Just love. Just act. Love does things. It does acts that don’t make sense to even yourself. And I have to say. I can show love to a lot of people. I can even show love pretty easily to the teenagers who come to The Porch and never say thank you, complain about the free food we are giving them and then leave their trash for me to pick up. I truly feel and show love to them with no problem.

But those other people. It’s hard, dudes. I mean straight up, no other way to put it…hard

Like, so hard that I don’t want to do it. At all. I want to hold a record of wrong, because I feel like they deserve it. I don’t want to show patience and I certainly do not want to be kind. And whether my reasoning is because I have been hurt or not, it does not excuse me from my obligation. And you can’t fake love. Love does or it doesn’t. And when I choose to pick the doesn’t over the does, I am always in the wrong.

It is literally hurting my soul to type these words because I can feel my flesh bringing faces to my mind of people that I don’t feel deserve my love. And it is so wrong, but I really want to keep it real with you. This is real life. Loving people is painful sometimes. Literally. But we are commanded to do it. Not to say words. Not to send a card, or write an email. But to act. out. love.

To do. Like the word suggests as a verb. Love does.

So where are you with love tonight? Are you acting out love? Are you demonstrating the kind of love that God requires? Don’t forget. Love does or love doesn’t. You don’t get to pick a place in the middle. Love requires action. Requires it. So if you are not doing an action for a person? You are not demonstrating love to them. It’s as simple as that. And when you feel like it is impossible to love someone? That’s probably when you need to show it the very most.

Go show love. Do love. Be love. Act out love to everyone around you. Even when it hurts. Do it and then walk away. Because Love does not wait for a response.

Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Thrifting is the way to go

As much as I love shopping and fashion, money is not something that we have a lot of. So shopping at yard sales, thrift stores, craigslist and clearance racks is the way I roll.  Not only does it save tons of money, but there is something totally exciting about the potential of finding crazy good stuff for crazy low prices. I have gotten some amazing deals and I love telling people about them.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great wardrobe!

I found these hunter boots on craigslist for just $30.00. They are normally $150.00

2014-11-18_0001This amazing winter coat was just $3.00 at a thrift store and I get compliments on it all the time!

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I snagged a pink coach handbag that someone’s daughter bought for $350.00 and sold to me at a yard sale for 50 cents…like…say what?! We have bought couches, chairs, lamps, shoes, clothes, antiques, cameras, lenses, flashes, you name it we have probably bought it used!

You never know what you are going to come across when you shop at second hand stores, and I have no problem buying used. I really don’t get as uptight when the boys spill something on their shirt or rip their jeans when I know I only bought it for a few dollars! I see moms all the time flipping out because their son lost or stained a 80 dollar abercrombie hoodie! No.Thank.You. I still love to buy brand name clothes for myself and my family, but knowing that it only cost me a fraction of the cost makes it all so much better.

It might take stepping out of your comfort zone, but it is so worth it. Find a friend who shares the same love for finding good deals, and make a day of it. So what about you? Are you a thrifter? Is that even a word? What is the best deal you’ve ever scored? Tell me!! I want to share in your excitement!!

Mommy Monday ~ 3 Easy tips to teaching your kids basic manners

I am a boys mommy through and through. I love letting my kids act like kids and I really try to remember to hold on to today. 

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But as much as I think kids should be able to act like kids, it’s still really important that they learn some basic manners that help your life go a little smoother.

1. How to interrupt a parent when they are talking.
How many times have you been in the middle of a conversation with an adult, and your toddler decides they need to talk to you, and talk to you NOW?
Teach them to put their hand on your arm, shoulder or leg and wait for you to address them. My kids still do this even though they are older. Sometimes, if my conversation doesn’t seem to have an end in sight and the person talking to me doesn’t know our little system, I just put my hand on their hand so they know I realize they are there and I will talk to them as soon as I can.

2. How to be safe in a parking lot.
When you are trying to get at least 2 kids out of carseats at a time, things can get really stressful. You can get really nervous thinking that your 2-year-old is going to run wild in his new found freedom from the straps while you are trying to take out your infant!
Teach them to put their hand on the car. So simple, and maybe even obvious but by giving them something to do, it allows you to have a minute to get the baby out and not wonder if your toddler is running around.

3. How to show the difference between a playful come here and a serious come here.
Many times I would playfully tell my toddler to come here. I’m sure you can picture what I am describing if you are right in the middle of this time of life! The whole, I’m-gonna-get-you, or come-here-you-little-monkey is kind of the way your day rolls. But there are times when you need them to come see you and you are very serious. It’s hard for a 2 or 3-year-old to be able to tell the difference between the two!
Teach them that when you put your hand out (palm up) and say come here…this is when you are being serious. My sister already had 3 kids by the time I was having my first, so she was really helpful when our kids were little together! She taught me this trick when my boys were little, and it was so incredibly helpful. I was always chasing the boys around the house and just being silly. But the times when they were in danger of falling of the bed, or if I needed them to come to me because it was time to be done being silly, I needed something that would differentiate. Putting my hand out was a really good way to do this.

I hope that this has been able to help you a little. There are going to be days when you feel like everything is falling apart and you are just going to lose it…especially when your babies are little.
I get it. I have totally been there. And to be honest? You can feel that way when your babies are big too! But finding a few simple tips can really make you feel like your life is in control and everything is going to be ok.

So…you got this! You’re doing great. Don’t forget to not be so hard on yourself. Show your kids some grace, and then show yourself some grace! Happy Monday!

Boston Family Photography

I love any excuse I can use that forces me to go to Boston. I got an email from Stacey saying that she was hoping I was available on a certain Saturday in October. The date fell exactly on the one Saturday I had open! She really wanted to go to Boston for her session, and I really wanted to make that happen for her. Photography in Boston Common in the fall? Yes, please. I met her and her husband and their sweet puppy on an absolutely gorgeous day. Her husband wasn’t too thrilled about the whole idea of a photo shoot, but he was a great sport about it and we had a really great time.

Here are a few favorites from their session.

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