Dallas Littles Club Weeks 1-26

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a part of something where artists collaborate to create something more beautiful and meaningful than we could on our own. So what an honor it was to be asked to join some incredible photographers and to showcase a photo of our kids once a week for a year that we took with our “Big girl camera” meaning our DSLR vs. our phones. I might have been downright giddy when they asked me!

Thus was born the Dallas Littles Club blog.

So every week we email Heather (LOVE her!!) our image and each week I love pouring over the precious sweet images of children that I’ve never met yet feel like I’ve come to know because I get a glimpse into their families, their homes, and their lives as they grow up this year. I can’t wait to squeeze them tight and meet them soon.

Here is the first half of 2014.

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Things I learned in May

Today I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman for “What We Learned” – the month of May.

1. I need to be inspired.

It hit me when I was watching The Million Dollar Arm a few weeks ago and was spell bounded by the scenery from India (which my heart lately is longing to go to… we would LOVE to adopt from there but I think we have too many kids for India adoption requirements, but who knows!) Anyway, I found myself feeling so inspired that I just wanted to come home and embrace more fully this life God has given me. Then I started thinking about being inspired and how I think that when I’m not being inspired that it effects my life at home, my walk with God and my relationships. I need to be in awe and wonder! It’s a springboard of a greater Awe and Wonder…the One who truly is the fuel to my fire, He is the fire too.   But as a stay at home mom… being inspired takes effort and requires you knowing what inspires you and taking the time to seek it out.  It’s out there and it’s everywhere… but it’s different for everyone. For me, I have to get out of my house… I have to watch movies about greatness… I want to see the ocean (here in texas that is more difficult I must say)… I need to be in the sunshine… (I think I probably should be a Floridian or Californian eh?)… I enjoy creative conversations… I have to take photos.   What inspires you to live out the life you feel called to live?



2. My desire for order sometimes causes me to live in chaos.

I have this crazy thing about me in that if I know that just cleaning a room won’t help the fact that it desperately needs to be organized so because of that it will get messed up quickly even though I do clean it… I will put it off and live in a messy room. When really just picking it up would probably make organizing it a lot easier. It’s strange. I also have to organize every closest, cabinet, space whenever I go out of town and leave my babies. It’s probably more of a control issue but for some reason it helps me be able to leave knowing that the hidden things are in order.

by artist Peter Crawley

3. You’d think it would be easier to live simply… whereas it’s simply not so.

We are moving. Moving SUCKS but getting rid of stuff and taking stock of what you have and what you really need is GREAT!  Thankfully neither Dan nor I are much of collectors of anything… except kids I guess.;)So parting with things that aren’t really necessary to live with isn’t too hard for us. But I think it’s crazy how fast stuff comes into your house even when you’re trying to keep stuff out.  I always say that it’s actually more of a challenge to intentionally live with less things than to live with more. Things just naturally have a way of accumulating. Not sure how really. But gosh, I want to live with less in my home but I find that it’s a lot of work to actually do so.  

4. No matter what changes come in life, I will battle fear.

Even if it’s the best change in the world……ESPECIALLY if it’s the best change in the world, fear will always be there lurking! I have found that while we’ve really been able to pinpoint the things we as a family want and desire for our lives as we grow and cultivate these little lives around us and the world around us, but making those decisions that actually carry those things out can be really hard to do. It’s scary to do something different even when you know that’s more what you want for your life.  I keep saying to myself  “Perfect Love casts out Fear” and it’s TRUTH!! I remember fearing adopting Zoe after having just lost a child, I remember agreeing to foster Jack and not knowing what that would even look like long term. I remember fearing signing on to adopt TWO international orphans knowing that it would cost A LOT of money that we didn’t have, I remember having a panic attack in the middle of Walmart and sitting on the floor as I clung to the wheels of my full shopping cart knowing that the next day I would get on a plane to go to a country in civil unrest for 6 weeks leaving my two precious little ones at home. I remember KNOWING beyond a shadow of a doubt that we wanted… we needed a child with Down syndrome in our family but fearing all sorts of things… all the unknowns.  ALL the BEST freaking things in my life have come because we were okay for our lives to change…. in spite of the, at times, crushing fear we were feeling inside!!  You’d think we’d just live and learn and just not fear as we continue to welcome change and embrace what God is doing next in our lives. But, nope… fear is still there. And I think as long as we are breathing… as long as the enemy thinks there is a chance we will stay in our comfort zone… there will be fear.  May we all be people who see it coming… ride the wave of terror… and still embrace the change that is to come!



5.  This is the last month when people ask me how old my kids are that I’ll ever be able to reply with  “1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.”  I wish I had a camera in my eyeglasses to capture the slowly but quickly changing expression on the faces of those who ask as I start counting and keep on counting.


6. Why is Apple Cider Vinegar the cure all?

Why couldn’t it be Tea, or some sort of Juice or the cocoa bean? ACV… it’s so simple of a remedy for almost everything but everything in me wants to do everything I can to avoid having to take it. It’s truly awful!! (but dang it, when I do… it works!)


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Every day with Evie : friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes

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The Story starts at Home – A photography workshop for moms


Every summer the Chappell clan goes on what we call is our annual Epic Summer Road Trip!  Next month we are heading to Raleigh and then up to Michigan. We can’t wait and are really looking forward to all the loved ones we will get to see along the way.

This year one of my Best Friends, Angey Price and I are so excited to be doing this together.  As we talked and explored ideas about meeting up and sharing life and the challenges that photography our home and family brings, a photography workshop JUST for MOMS was born!  Our goal is to have it be more of a mentorship… but it will kick off with an awesome one day workshop!  We wanted to have a day where we pour into you moms who are really wanting to capture this incredible life that God has blessed us with.

Both of us as photographers have experienced what it’s like to have motherhood take over all aspects of our lives and drain our creativity and to get us preoccupied with lots of continual meeting of needs and exhaustion.  But we also know what it’s like to want deeply to record, document, and remember these days since, more than once we’ve experienced or heard that, though they feel so long, they fly by so quickly

Even the busiest of moms spend a lot of time at home. That’s where life is lived… that’s where routine is established… that’s where intimate family moments happen… that’s where belongings are kept… that’s where learning starts… that’s where little hearts are trained… that’s where adventures are born…. that’s where the most love is shared.  Home is the place where all these memories are made but are often forgotten... if not by us, but for sure in a generation or two. We want to change that! We want to help you press into your life at home, have an inspired life at home, cultivate depth into your home, and to document it in such a way that will not only benefit you but generations to come.  That is what’s called leaving a legacy that matters and is remembered! That is what we are passionate about and hope you will be too.

This workshop/mentorship will be an all day time of  thinking, journaling, processing, exploring, questioning, fiddling, shooting, and learning as we show you things that have helped us as moms, who yes, are photographers, but who want our roles as moms to matter more and to be remembered. We think it’s going to be life changing…especially on a day to day type of level. 

We will be talking about

* Time Management

* Priorities & Boundaries

* Creativity at Home

* Getting and staying Inspired

* Capturing the Everyday moments

* Special Events and Seasons as a parent

* Composition and Finding the Light

* Getting the most out of your camera

* iphonography  and social media

* Editing, Backing up and Printing

* The 6 week follow up online group

 * And lots more!

We will be sharing our hearts with you, talking about struggles and victories we’ve had and won in this area of being moms who want to remember and yet also be in the moment day by day!  I love this workshop because I need it too! This is going to be stuff that all of us need to walk through and process and be challenged by. But I find that when you do it with friends… it’s way more effective and it’s a whole lot more fun!

Because we are keeping this a small group in an intimate setting (just FIVE moms!!) we will be able to meet you where you are in your skill level, struggles, what your overall desire and goals are and also to be able to connect more one on one.  We will not only have the day together but will also be a part of an online group afterwards that will  challenge you to put into practice what we learned at the workshop as well as give you 6 weeks of assignments and encouragement as you reach your goals in photographing your life at home and as a mom!

The Cost:  $175.  This workshop opportunity is only available to the first 5 ladies who sign up! So if you know this is something you want and need to be a part of…. sign up FAST to get your spot!

What it Includes:  The Workshop, In house roasted Coffee, a Cafe Lunch, Workshop Notebook and a 6 week online mentorship afterwards with Angey and me.

Where: We are going to be at Angey’s home in North Raleigh. It will be from 10am to 4 pm.

What to Bring: Your camera (this might be a DSLR or it might be your iPhone! Doesn’t matter… just bring it.). And if you have a favorite pen we will be doing a lot of writing!

How to Pay:  We are currently filled up!!!  But we are planning another one later in the year or in the spring. We will keep you posted on that. Email me if you have any questions  —->   caseylynn_78@Yahoo.com

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Let them play in the mud

After being cooped up all day following some rainstorms I let them go outside and where the rain had made a mud puddle…. they made memories!


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The things I’ve learned in March 2014

I’m joining Emily over at Chatting at the Sky with what we’ve learned this month.  You can check out my other “the things I’ve learned posts”  HERE  (I’m not very good at being consistent so I just have a few of them)

1.  Let’s start out with the most important one…. I found the best donut in NYC….perhaps the best in America!

It’s at Dough in the Bed-stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn! Now, you really can’t go wrong ordering any of them. But the Lemon poppyseed one grabbed me and kissed me and wouldn’t let me go! It’s freaking amazing! (the classic glazed and coconut both competed for close second)

305 Franklin St.
Brooklyn, NY (Bedford-Stuyvesant)



2. Deleting games off my iphone was the best decision ever! A little over a month ago I deleted all the games off my iphone. I was timid doing it… but when my kids woke up wanting to play games I knew they had to go. I didn’t know what to expect… but after about 48 hours, they stopped asking and haven’t asked to play since. They have enjoyed way more time being creative and using their imaginations. They still play on their grandparents phones/ipads when they visit them but otherwise we are a game free home. And I’m SO glad we are. Don’t think I’m that awesome… I still don’t mind sticking them in front of Disney Jr. for a few hours every day. But for some reason the TV just doesn’t have the same pull (except maybe with Zoe) as the games were having…. so I feel better about them watching it vs. that and games.

goodbye minion rush!!!!


3. Mission trips aren’t the same when you’re a busy mom of toddlers.  My husband and I spent a week in NYC leading 27 highschoolers on a mission trip. And I think I learned that this wasn’t going to be like other mission trips I’ve been on even before the trip began. I was tired… I was weary… I wanted rest…. I wanted encouragement…. I wanted one on one time with my husband… and as the trip came closer I knew that this was only going to make those desires of my heart deeper.  New York City will chew you up and spit you out after a few days. It’s a hard city to be in…. mind you it’s the most incredible city to be in at the same time. It’s a city Dan and I LOVE!! We honeymooned there (don’t ever do that!) and we’ve been back with friends and just ourselves and on mission trips as well. We LOVE it! We wouldn’t even mind moving there someday to raise our crazy kids there and everything! But this trip…. well, it was hard from day one. The teens reminded me that it’s hard to encourage them to stop thinking of themselves and to joyfully pick up trash in 16 degree weather when that was the last thing I wanted to be doing… or to not complain about being tired when every part of me was aching to lie down in my bed.  It was hard.  Dan was in charge so his thoughts and actions were all focused on leading this group all over the boroughs of NYC so focusing on his wife wasn’t what this trip was about…even though he was very thoughtful of me on trip, but we both knew he had a job to do.  But at least I had a crazy good donut place to eat my feelings at.;)

But God sustained… He always does. God used much of that trip to teach me and expose my heart and to remind me how much He loves people wherever they are at in their journey towards Him.

While I think that I won’t be rushing to sign up for many mission trips anytime soon, I do know that God used this time to bring me to the point where I was completely drained and weary to the point where I cried a lot the week after I got home. I needed to cry.  I needed to talk to God a lot and often that’s how my heart becomes exposed as tears start to fall.  

4. I truly have never met a stranger.  People have always given me a hard time about how outgoing I am, but I think I realized on the above mentioned trip to NYC that Meeting people makes me come alive!! I LOVE it! I love hearing their stories, I love meeting people who I would never typically hang out with or cross paths with, I love asking questions that you wouldn’t ask someone unless you had that freedom of having just met them. (I think we become less honest and open at times the longer we know someone, maybe because there is more at risk if the conversation goes wrong.)  That being said… I LOVE big cities, airports, airplane trips, buses, subways, big stores, etc…. People, they just are incredible to me!  It’s funny though, if I want to get in and out of a store or just walk around and think… I go to Target, but if I’m in any other mood… I go to Walmart because you can meet and talk to some people up in Walmart!! Love chatting people up about all sorts of black hair care in Walmart!

My two favorite strangers that I met in NYC were on subways and one was a gentleman who builds restaurants all over Manhattan…. after having a delightful conversation about his job and what we were doing there in NYC from Texas, right before he got off he reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of money and handed me a $100 bill and told us to go get some donuts and coffee and thanked us for serving his city.  The second one was a lady… probably my age and she had a plastic bird on top of her head…. just sitting there on top of her head. I tried to restrain myself but I HAD to ask her about it. So I did and come to find out she has always liked hats but didn’t think her head was the right size for most hats, so she pinned a bird on top of her head once when she was 16 and she liked how it looked and has been wearing birds on her head ever since…. and she was the most confident person in the world doing so.

I also got to meet in person two mommas who I have connected with through Instagram!  Sarah…. whose family is from Mississippi and they have the sweetest southern drawl you ever did hear. You can read her blog and their adventures in NYC  HERE. They live in the cool neighborhood of Clinton Hill… where I found the BEST pizza I have ever eaten!!  The second mom I met was THIS blog writer, Kristen. She is fearlessly (okay… probably more like trusting God in spite of the fears) raising her 4 kiddos in Manhattan… you can throw a rock from their apartment and it will land in Central Park. These families love Jesus and love the city and love their babies!! I was able to get to sneak off for a few minutes on two different days to meet these incredible women and watch them do life in their city dwellings! I’m so grateful to have met them and they were very encouraging to me during a long cold week in their neck of the woods.

5. Thrift stores are cheap therapy.  I don’t know what it is about them but it’s truly like therapy for me. body mind and soul…. I come out of a thrift store renewed. My mind loves it because it’s a place I can go and not think about anything except going through clothes and things and my heart loves doing it because it’s caring for my family at a price that is right and my soul is renewed because I often meet (see #3) people whom I have great conversations with or I am often reminded of people who are struggling financially on a different level than we do or ever have but yet they seem to be thrifting together as a family and with joy!  Dan and I had a conference to go to in Austin last weekend and Austin has the BEST thrift stores ever!!! So he loved me well and let me go to a few and now my kids have their summer wardrobes and I have had my therapy! #i’mgonnapopsometags #thisisfreakinawesome

6.  Pre-conferences aren’t worth it.   I’m not a conference junkie… but I do love them! (Okay, probably if money did grow on trees I would be a conference junkie) Anyway, I’ve been to two this spring. The Linger Conference in Dallas (AWESOME!!! will definitely go again next year!) and Dan and I just went to the VERGE conference in Austin last weekend. Which was GREAT!! I learned so much about Family on Mission and Making Disciples and who to invest in around you. Maybe more about that will be in what I learned in April as I try to work in out in my everyday life.  Anyway,  Both conferences offered pre-conferences at a low add-on cost, so we added them on.  But I wasn’t impressed with either Pre-conference…. and after going to the actual conference realized that a lot of the pre-conference is just hearing the same stuff before every one else does in a smaller setting.  No thank you… not anymore…can I get those two days back?

7. Mae Whitman from Parenthood is the voice of Tinkerbell.  Who knew? My kids LOVE some Tinkerbell movies and usually I’m pretty darn good and pinpointing where I’ve heard a voice before when it comes to animated movies, (if you like doing that… The rise of the Gaurdians is a fun one! Lots of stars in that one.) but I never picked her to be Tinkerbell’s voice!

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In Pictures: These Four

Tough as nails

thick as thieves

sweet as pie

wild as the wind


crazy as a bunch of bessie bugs.


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In pictures: Black and white

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Blayne + Cari + Adrian { Sincerely Session }

6 Months old. It’s usually deemed a tricky age to photograph… but not this kid. Adrian is such a big eyed cutie pie and after he got comfortable with me and my big ol’ camera in his face he really was a trooper and I think this post really captures how much he adores his parents and they him.

I have known Blayne since he was just a kid… and I was just a kid. So it’s been such a joy to watch as he has grown up to be such a godly man and how he beautifully pursued his wife and how he tenderly but firmly leads and loves his son.

LOVE this family!

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Are you done Adopting? { 31 days of Adoption : Day 14 }


Just came across this photo of Ezra today… and I’m just in awe of all that God has done in this little boy and in my heart since this photo was taken when he was found at 8 months old.

Friends… people ask me all the time if we are done adopting, and honestly, when you’ve been where I’ve been and seen the hurt and hopelessness and need and what a family does for a child who desperately needs one…. Well, I just don’t think I could ever say.. No more, we’re done! I can’t wrap my head around more… and know that even 1 more would mean big changes in our life. But then we have to ask ourselves what standard of life must we live in order for others to stay in a hopeless state of need.

I’m not saying God owes us any more children… we are BLESSED beyond measure. I’m happy with these 5 gifts! But what if…  Would He be big enough and sufficient enough to supply and bring about what would need to take place?  Would we be okay with reaching the “we can’t all fit into a normal vehicle” point? Do we really have to trade what/where we feel God’s leading in our ministry in order to give another child a home? It’s a whole life for that child… it’s relatively small sacrifices for us. Would you gasp at the announcement? Would we be the talk of the town as the crazy ones who are “at it again”? When you ask “are we done”? Just know, it’s really hard to put words to that answer.

Thankfully… I trust in the God who is already in my tomorrows and knows exactly how many Chappells there are to be! Because in my very human knowledge and foresight, I sure don’t. I’m tempted to fall asleep haunted by the hurt and fear that I see in my 8 month old sons eyes in this photo… but instead I’m going to rest in the fact that God has the whole world in His hands and He cares for each sparrow that falls… His eye is surely on the others that are longing for a family of their own tonight.

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