Threads, Kicks and Frosting

Clothes, shoes and jewelry… I am kind of obsessed.

I love so many different styles, it’s always been hard for me to just stick to one style that I wear! Some days I want to be all fancy in my favorite stilettos, and other days I am in the mood for jeans and a hoodie.  I also love a bargain. Thrift store shopping, sales racks and marshals make me ridiculously happy. So I thought I would designate a day a week in my blog to talk about style. To give you an idea of how I love to dress, and how I love to accessorize. I might even switch it up and throw some of my kids style on here as well. I will also let you know where I am buying my stuff! Isn’t it so annoying to find an outfit you love on pinterest and then have no idea where you can buy it?!

Here is my first edition of Threads, Kicks and Frosting

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Gold dangle leaf earrings ~ Amazon

Tank top ~ Banana Republic

Sweater ~ Poof brand, Marshalls

Jacket ~ Forever 21

Bracelets ~ Alex and Ani

Hair tie/bracelet ~ Carrie Grace

Jeans ~ American Eagle

Socks ~ Cut off the sleeves of old sweater :)

Boots ~ Thom Mcan

Photo credit ~ AJ Chase

Why I have to close my Facebook account

Here’s the thing. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. I don’t say that like it’s a good thing, I really don’t think it is. I will either have all the self control in the world and refrain from eating a single crumb of a brownie? Or I will eat the whole cotton picking tray. I put my heart and my soul into my family, into friendships, into my business, into life. And sometimes, I get a little carried away with things because I think I have to do everything. And I mean everything. I work hard. Think hard. Love hard.

Enter Facebook. It started out just like any other thing. It was a way to keep up with my old friends and even make some new ones. Then it got a little bit bigger when I started using it for my business. I get a ton of inquiries through my business page and it is definitely beneficial in that aspect.

Then came a little bit of a scene that could have been straight out of the movies mean girls (which, I have never seen, but by the title and the reviews I get the main gist, and think I could have starred in it.) As I found myself getting unfriended again and again, and then watching drama go down on the pages of my computer screen, I was finding another side of myself come out that I didn’t even know existed. I was feeling hurt and frustration and sadness from people all over the place. These were not the kind of feelings that were keeping me from living my life, but it was just enough to cause me to start wondering if I was a good enough friend, if I was just plain good enough at all. Kind of dramatic, I know.

So I decided to take a break, just for a week. And I did. Then I got back on and things went on as normal. A little thought here, a little sadness there, and I felt again like I should step away for a while. But I pushed the thought off, because ya know…it’s good for my business. And my blog. And, come on now. I’m fine.

I decided that I would only get on Facebook 3 days a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday… and that would take these frustrations away. Which could have worked. Except I didn’t do it. So, there’s that.

I don’t know how to explain how my feelings starting going haywire, because there are a lot of aspects of my life that could be causing that. I couldn’t describe it to you if I tried, but there were all these hideous emotions coming up and I just knew it was wrong. All wrong. I don’t think it was necessarily all stemming from Facebook, but it definitely wasn’t helping.

Now here I was at this conference. This amazing, God-honoring, friend-filled conference. It was the last night there, and I had really learned so much. And? I had only been on Facebook once or twice and hadn’t even missed it. In fact, I was not even thinking about that.

We had already closed with our last song, and the very last speaker stood up and said…Maybe there is someone in this room who has to get rid of Facebook altogether. SCREEEEECCCHHHHHH.

God, is that you? Nope. It couldn’t be. Moving on.

But wait. What was that? Get rid of Facebook? Couldn’t be meant for me. I’m sure there’s another girl in this room who has major issues. Ha. But the voice came again, and I was pretty sure it was to me.

So we had a little talk, me and God. It went a little something like this.

Me: God. You could not possibly mean you want me to get rid of Facebook all together!!

God: Yes. That is exactly what I mean Rachelle.

Me: But God. I mean, my business! I have been asking you to bless my business, and you have been blessing it. And you know so much of that comes from my fb page!

God: I’m pretty sure that since I created the world and all, your business doesn’t really depend on social media. It kinda just depends on me.

Me: Well played, God. But seriously…I can just do a better job controlling my emotions and managing my time better.

God: Hm. Funny you should say that, Rachelle, because if you would have just listened to me last week and only done the Monday Wednesday Friday thing? Maybe we could have worked with that. But now you gotta get rid of it all.

Me: Well. I think it’s pretty clear that you are really talking to me at this point. So I think I better listen.

And as you know…I did not hear an actual voice saying all of this to me, but it was so clear that I had no doubt it was what I was supposed to be hearing. And the sad part? I felt nervous about getting rid of a stinking rotten Facebook page! I mean, are you kidding me? How old am I?!

As soon as I had heard why I had to close my Facebook account, I was sure to tell a couple of close girl friends. See…I know myself. I know that I can hear God tell me to do something, but then I can brush it off and act like it wasn’t really Him in the first place. I needed to say out loud what I had just heard so that these girls would keep me accountable. And so. Just like that. I am over and out with Facebook…Maybe not for the rest of my life. But for a good length of time.

I will still be on instagram, and I will still be blogging. But the time I was wasting on social media, the emotions I was feeling because of it all? All that will be poured out in other areas.

I want to write a book. I have wanted to for a long time, but have been losing too much energy on needless things. I want to be more intentional with my blogging. I want to be more focused on my family, my ministry, my business.

When God speaks, you gotta listen. It’s always good. Always.

Is there anything in your life that God has been whispering for you to do? Is there anything you keep brushing off even though you know you need to do it?

You should go do that. Like…now. Just do it.

October first will be a good day for me. A lot of different things going on in my life right now. A lot of change. And one change that I think I will really love, is closing the door on the thing God has been trying to get me to close.

And I feel a huge sense of relief already.

*While my blogs will not automatically post on Facebook anymore, I will still be writing every day, and you can follow my blog as well as receive my posts in your email!*

Deafening silence

imageI can not begin to explain what silence sounds like to me right now. It’s like…almost loud. This is the third year in a row I have attended the pursuit 31 conference. Each year is a little different but each year I come needing refreshment. Renewal. Revival.

And the loud, deafening silence is exactly what I need. God is showing me so many things, and I am totally lifting up my hands and being willing to let go of what I need to let go of, and grab hold to what I need to grab hold of. And it’s gonna take some courage.

So I will not be blogging for the rest of the week while I get all these thoughts together and decide what that is going to look like. And I can’t wait to see what Gods plans are….cuz his plans are way better and way awesomer than mine ever could be.

That mommy guilt over and over again

I can’t even count how many times I have heard, and how many times I have said something along the lines of: I’m such a bad mom. I totally failed as a mom. Mom fail.

I think it’s crazy the expectations we put on ourselves as moms. To be the best all the time. To make healthy appealing meals 3 times a day. To keep the house clean. To volunteer here and there. To make sure our kids are obeying, being respectful, learning to serve. And on and on the list goes. And then when we miss the mark (the mark that we have set for ourselves) we allow ourselves to get totally down, discouraged and feel like complete and utter failures.

There are worse moms than you! Ha! That is not really my point, although I am totally positive it is true.

I am leaving Monday morning to go to a conference in Georgia for 4 days. I get to go and be with other creative, Christian women and share my heart and my passion for raising godly kids in a super ungodly world. I am so incredibly honored to have the chance to speak and very excited to be going. But somehow, guilt manages to creep in…just like it always does. It starts me worrying about what might happen when I’m gone and wondering if I am doing the right thing.

I know I am doing the right thing, because being able to speak to other women about raising intentional kids is what drives me. And I could not be more excited.

But it still reminds me of this vicious cycle. The mommy guilt? I don’t think you ever get to a point where you are going to never feel it again. And I don’t think it matters how old your kids are. It comes back over and over again. When they are babies, it’s the guilt over letting them cry it out. Right? When they are toddlers it could be them falling and bumping their head on something you should have moved. When they are older it’s the guilt over not spending enough quality time, or being too harsh, or maybe not harsh enough.  It’s just not a good feeling to have. And it is not how God intended for us to feel.

Here’s the thing. We need to realize the standards that have been set up by God when it comes to parenting. Those are the things we need to be focusing on. If we start feeling guilty because we have not been disciplining consistently, or because we have not been focused on our relationship with God personally, or we have been skipping church or Bible study…then we need to realize where we’ve fallen short and then fix it. And then we need to move on. If we start feeling guilty because we have not given our kids the amount of vegetables that that darn pyramid tells us about, or if we are going out with friends one night instead of sitting home every night, or if we haven’t decorated their room like the rooms we see on pinterest? We have got to just get over it and move on.

Stop being guilty about the things we don’t need to feel guilty about. And start focusing on the things that we need to do to raise our kids to be godly, smart, sensitive to people’s needs, servants, and hard workers.

It’s all about focus, people. Focus on the things that really matter.

So when that mommy guilt comes at you over and over again? Stop yourself. Ask if it is something that God has set up as necessary or man has set up as necessary. Don’t waste your time trying to live up to someone else’s standards. Do take your time to live up to the standards that God has set for you. And that guilt? Kick it out.

It’s not doing you any good. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

My boys on the field

imageI love watching my boys play soccer. And this year, I get to watch them both play on the same team! It has been so much fun. They are incredible boys and they are great friends. It’s so awesome to see them on the field together.

Tonight was a big game for them against their nemesis …derryfield. Adam doesn’t get to see them play many games because he refs every day, but today he got to ref their game! It was a great game to watch and they both played awesome.image

They walked away with a tie! They were pretty happy!image

It was hard for me to think about taking any pictures because I was so into the game! Then I didn’t feel like editing them, (the down side of being a photographer- not wanting to upload and edit your own family pictures!) so I just uploaded them to my iPad and saved them there. It works.

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A tree, a branch and a moron

I am a visual learner. I need to see things in front of my face…and even then sometimes I don’t get it.

In the morning, I sit in the sun room and read my Bible. To be totally transparent, there are days when I have already been on my computer for longer than I should have been, and have already done housework and other things, leaving me with less time than I really need to spend time with God. I rush through my reading, focus on a few things to pray for and go on with my day.

Today, I decided to read John 15. God had already been speaking to me about a few different things that had to do with this passage,  and I know my tendencies to do everything on my own. A horrible habit, and actually… since we’re keeping it real here – It is just plain sin.

So I read. I read the passage about the fact that Jesus is calling himself the Vine. (I love how He taught to the visual learner!) He is giving me a mental picture about what my life should look like. What does a branch that has been taken away from the vine look like? Well sure, it lasts for al little while. Maybe serves the purpose of decorating a mantle, or a door and then eventually it dies. Why? Because its life-giving source is no longer attached.

Here it is. Jesus is that tree pictured below. The branches? They are us. You and me. (I am the crazy one flapping around in the wind, I’m just sure of it.) and when I stay right there, attached to the tree where I belong, I look beautiful. I grow. I change the colors of my leaves, and I serve a purpose. When I get broken off from the tree and get all I’m-the-boss-of-me-ish? I get dried up and ugly. And the stupid part is? It’s like I get surprised when I am all dried up and ugly!! I’m all, say what? And, why is this happening to me?! Why do I do that? I know about the tree. I know about the branch. I know that Jesus says apart from me you can do nothing. But yet I throw myself off the everloving life source, and go parading around the town. Sometimes even justifying my parading in the name of the vine. Psh. As if.

Just knowing is not enough. 

So the tree. It is Jesus. The source of life.

The branch. It is me. The one controlled by the vine, and kept alive by the vine.

The moron? Also me. The one who can’t even get into my thick skull that I can not go parading around without my life source, and think I am going to accomplish anything! Duh.

So where are you in all this? Are you keeping yourself attached to the vine? Or are you choosing to remove yourself from the very place that gives you life, nourishment, joy, peace and hope?

Don’t be that branch. It gets ugly fast, and nobody likes an ugly, dried up branch.

Be the branch that is attached to the vine.

And don’t be a moron. No one likes a moron. :)

 

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Because sometimes it’s all just too much

Life is hard.

Or…if you were at my church Sunday listening to my dad preach, this is the version you heard – Life is hahd.

And it is. It just plain is.

God has definitely been trying to teach me a few things, and I am just having a really hard time learning them. Don’t misunderstand me. I know what they are. I am just having a wicked hahd time putting them into practice. And there, my friends, is the truly difficult task.

I have been home today for a total of about 1 hour. And tomorrow is looking almost as packed as today. I couldn’t even begin to list out the things I need to get done, and even now as I am typing I feel guilty because I know there are 8 client emails I have not responded to, and as soon as I hit publish on this blog post, I am still not going to respond. I am going to bed…because sometimes it’s all just too much.

And in the middle of all of this hard life, I am so reminded that God has given me what I need. God has given me more, and I mean way more than I deserve. My sweet husband calmed me down on more than one occasion today, and even AJ reminded me of a Bible verse when I thought I was going to lose my mind. I know for a fact that I am exactly where God wants me, and I am happy to be here. No. It does not take away the hard days. It does not remove the stresses, the pressures and the frustrations.

But it does give me peace…when I let it. So tonight? I am going to let God give me the peace that He promises. And tomorrow? I am going to wake up to an entire new set of mercies from my loving Father.

Get a hold of this truth right now:

Psalm 42:8 The Lord will command his loving kindness in the day time, and in the night his song will be with me…

I can’t even read it without crying. He commands love to be on me. And he sings over me at night. It just does not get any better than that.

 

The lost art of self-control

Let’s face it. Self control is not something you see displayed very often. Teaching your kids self-control is no easy task, especially when all around you, you see the opposite. What is the opposite of self-control, you ask? Well, it would be unrestraint.

Here’s the thing you need to realize as a parent. Teaching your kids self-control has to start early. I remember very clearly working on self-control over 2 areas when my boys were little: self-control over their emotions and self-control over their actions.

The opposite of having self-control over your emotions looks like this: Crying (not when they are hurt, obviously), screaming, stomping, whining.

The opposite of having self-control over your actions looks like this: Hitting, kicking, throwing things.

If your kids are showing these signs you know one thing for sure…the issue is not whatever is setting them off. The issue is the negative reaction towards what’s setting them off. And if you choose not to teach your kids how to have self-control over little things like not being able to get candy, about not getting their way, or about manipulating you? The stage will not pass. It will just show itself in different ways. And those ways are not pretty. Ever see a grown professional sports player show lack of self-control on the field? Over and over and over again. Why? Is the issue that the refs are all bad? Is the issue that the other team is mean? Or is the issue the lack of control on the player’s part? I think we know the answer.

Oh, and one more thing? It is not just about teaching this to your kids…I know that I have to discipline myself in this area in a pretty huge way as well!

It starts with Self-control over your thoughts. I can not even begin to tell you the ways God has been hammering me on this aspect. Taking my thoughts captive. The passage in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 is a passage that is pretty familiar, but one that I decided to commit to memory. My thoughts. Aye yai yai! Oh they come in like a vengeance and they threaten to control me. And I let them, so many times. You know what the weird thing is? It never feels good when I am letting them control me! But it is so hard to stop them once they come it.

Once you gain control over your thoughts, you start controlling your mouth. When you control your mouth, you can control your emotions and your actions.

It’s such a simple concept and such a not-so-simple thing to live out. Just today, I was faced with decisions on controlling my emotions on so many occasions, and the main thing that kept me from vaguebooking, was the fact that in the other tab open on my computer, I had this stinking blog post about The lost art of self-control! Come on now! That just ain’t right.

So my challenge to you as a parent of little ones? Start focusing on the root of the issue. Self control. If your daughter whines when she is upset? Correct her on that! Don’t wait until it gets to the lack of self-control which becomes throwing and kicking!

If your kids are older? It’s still the same thing. Start focusing on the root of the issue. Self control. If your son can’t handle a bad call from a referee? Correct him on that! Don’t wait until it gets to the point where he is yelling and swearing at the ref. (seriously..my husband is a ref and he has been on the wrong end of that one before!)

And if you are a human? It’s still the same thing. Start focusing on the root of the issue. Self control. (seeing a pattern here?!) If you feel your blood pressure rising when you get an email that upsets you? Don’t wait until it gets to the point where you are responding in a mean way, or lowering yourself to passive aggressive comments on your Facebook!

Let’s take care of the root issue. Let’s be men and women of character. And let’s raise a whole new generation of kids that learn how to have self control.

I think everyone will thank us for that!

 

Friday night date night

3 Reasons Friday night date night is important.

1. Your marriage comes before your kids.

2. Your marriage is worth working for.

3. You deserve a night off from cooking.

So tonight? It’s Friday night date night. The boys are having a sleepover at nanny’s house and we are gonna go watch a movie.

Happy Friday!

New Hampshire Family Photographer ~ Callie and Cam

I love seeing my little clients grow over the years. Last year we got Callie to give her brother Cameron a big smooch, so of course I had to re create it this year! I love how she just grabbed his face…

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Callie was the sweetest, and one of the silliest little girl I have gotten to shoot and it was a lot of fun. It gives me an excuse to act like a crazy fool!

 

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Her big brother wasn’t so sure about the whole thing, but we finally got a few natural smiles out of him!

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Callie really wanted to swing on my swing in the front yard, and that girl has no fear! She wanted to be spun, and pushed higher and higher!

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