Archive for January, 2014


Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Learning is a slow, hard process. I see this in my life and in my kids’ lives.
Harrison has been hard at work improving his reading and writing skills.
I am thankful for the days when he does his best even when he is challenged.





I guess ideas fall like rain from the sky???


These Guys

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

These guys make my life a lot more colorful.





Thank you, West, for use of The Vita Booth for Emmeline’s birthday last year.
We had so much fun!

I said I would never do this. . . (Otherwise known as. . .What scares the CRAP out of Rachel Chaney)

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

I said I would never do a CrossFit competition.
Well, it looks like I will be doing my first CrossFit competition in 2 weeks.

ALOTO blog post photo


Don’t let the cutesy, girly logo for the event fool you.
Every time I think about it, I feel nervous.

February 1st is a date that has been looming in my mind since Labor Day weekend. On Labor Day weekend, I made the mistake of asking my friend and coach, Amy–over a plate of shrimp and brussel sprouts–what she had been doing lately. She replied, “I am planning a women’s CrossFit competition for February 1st that you will be competing in.” I swallowed and didn’t immediately say, “No.” I paused. I told her I would only perhaps consider it if my friend Jennifer was my partner and did it with me.

So really out of a love for Amy, I said yes. I plan to blog much more about Amy later, but we will just leave it at this for now: Amy is my friend. She is really important to me. And what is important to her becomes important to me. So if she is planning an amazing competition (Think about the athletic equivalent to planning your wedding.), I don’t want to just hear about it. I want to be there and participate as much as possible and share her joy. Amy has earned my trust and taught me a lot. So if she says something would be good for me and that I am ready for it, I will try it.

So Rachel Chaney and CrossFit competition seem like they are at odds.
Yes I admit that I am intense. I work hard. I commit myself fully to a small amount of passions. And I have generally been active.
However, I have never been an athlete. Ever. I don’t even consider myself an athlete now. I’m not particularly coordinated, skilled, and strong. Some CrossFit chicks could eat me for lunch. I mean, do I even look remotely like any of these women HERE??? I’m in my mid 30s so I’m past my performance peak. I’m a mom of three kids. What on earth am I doing???

So imagining myself standing in front of a line of progressively heavier barbells; jerking them from the ground to my shoulder; then shoving them over my head sounds crazy.
The first barbell is 75#. The next is 85#. The next is 95#. The next is 115#. And the strength ladder goes all the way up to 145#.
Oh, and there will be a lot of other people there watching.
Oh, and a lot of other women will be able to lift way more than me and progress further.
Oh, and I will fail. . . publicly. I will hit my max for that day and the barbell will fall in front of me and I will likely end up on my butt.

And this strength ladder is just one of three workouts that I will try to complete with my friend Jennifer.
If you are a nerdy CrossFit person, you can click HERE to see what we will be attempting during the competition.
Or if you need the visual, you can see some of what we will be doing in this video that clarifies some of the competition standards HERE.


Historically, I have shied away from competition. This is a pattern in my life.
I won the science fair in eighth grade. I no showed for the city-wide science fair.

I would get great scores on piano festivals (which always made my stomach sick). I would no show for the evening group performances that I was then eligible for.

I briefly had a spot in my highschool’s emerging crew (as in rowing) club. As soon as I heard the word “race”, I bailed. Not literally, but figuratively.

It has taken me a long time to begin to understand my fear of competition.

So as I approach February 1st, I am fearful.
I am afraid of things like. . .
• getting sick or injured or simply running out of “gas”; being being unable to compete/ keep competing
• letting my partner down (by thinking selfishly, by not being an asset to the team)
• looking weak, slow, stupid and/or clumsy in comparison to all the other women who will be competing
• disappointing my coaches who have invested so much in me personally
I’m also afraid of how my heart will handle this HUGE temptation
• Will I be prideful about any success that I might experience that day?
• Will I despair about any weaknesses or failures that are publicly exposed that day?
I know that tying my identity to either my successes or my failures is dangerous. Both are shaky foundations. The feeling of success doesn’t endure. It is short lived. It is like a balloon that can pop at any moment. And despair makes you want to just stop. And hide. And run away.

The Final Verdict
If these fears consume me, I am going to miss out and feel miserable.
The only thing that can bring me peace and freedom is the gospel.

Paul’s words in I Corinthians 4 are on my mind.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. … It is the Lord who judges me.

This is radical. Paul doesn’t live to meet other people’s standards. Paul refuses to live even by his own standards. The Christian person doesn’t live to please other people. The Christian doesn’t even re-write and revise his own standards and measure himself against those. Instead, he finds refuge in the Lord’s judgment.

Tim Keller’s very short booklet has helped me better understand this third way to live and be. I highly recommend it. Click HERE.

God isn’t impressed with how fast I move or how much weight I lift. (He doesn’t evaluate me based on how much money I have; how smart I am; how beautiful I look; how many friends I have; how clean my house is; how “nice” my family is; or how talented I am.) God requires love from me—a heart-springing, sincere, self-sacrificing devotion for Him and for others.

I’ve miserably failed to live like this. Apart from God’s work in my life, I am radically self-centered.

And so Christ in His great love has died and fully paid for all of it. God’s judgment has fallen on Christ. So I agree with Paul. The Lord’s judgment has changed from terrifying to beautiful and life- giving.

So what does all of this mean? The final verdict is in. I have been declared not guilty. I am forgiven. God has made me his daughter forever.

The world lies to me and says, “It all depends on you. You must perform and then judgment will be pronounced. The performance comes before the verdict. If you perform well, you are rewarded. If you perform poorly, bad things happen.” So now it makes perfect sense that I have shied away from competition if I have believed the lie that my identity is tied to my performance, right???

The gospel says something radically different. It say, “The verdict leads to the performance.” I live under God’s unchanging, sure verdict of “not guilty” because of Christ. I am and will forever be a loved daughter of the King. Out of this verdict, I live my life.

Out of this verdict, I will step up to a bar and pull the crap out of it over and over.

I don’t ever need to put myself back on trial–on February 1st or any other day.
I don’t have any business being in the courtroom anymore.
I want to remember that I have exited the courtroom.
The verdict is already in.

What I Want
On February 1st:
I want to love my teammate Jennifer. I want to think about her before I think about myself.
I want to support the other competitors. I don’t want to be so wrapped up in myself that I don’t care about other people. I want to enjoy and admire their successes.
I want to remember that I am not alone when I go down to pull that bar.
I want to separate my successes from my identity.
I want to separate my weaknesses/ shortcomings/ failures from my identity.
I want to remember by identity in Christ.
I want to learn from this competition–I want to grow in maturity and become a better athlete.
I want to celebrate what I can do and look forward to how I will improve in the next year.
I do not want to put myself “back on trial” as I compete. The most important thing in life isn’t going to change whether I’m at the top of the list or the bottom at the end of the day.
I want to remember my ultimate verdict. It is only the Lord’s opinion of me that matters.

I am rejoicing that God’s verdict of me is still true and final even if I forget all of these things.

Would you please pray for me?

This One.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Found this photo while looking back at many un-edited, un-blogged, un-printed images.
Love this image.
Love this girl way more than the image.


Dead Skunks are Better than Roses

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Greg is my hero. He loves me in lots of different, concrete ways. He works hard at work and hard at home. He listens to me. He encourages me to rest. He has my best interests in mind. He loves our kids. He is the best friend to me.

He has done some pretty amazing things to love me. For example, he sent me away for the weekend with a friend after I had our third kid just so I could rest. He designed and implemented a great back up system for all my photos. He planned a surprise overnight stay-cation for us downtown one December. He cleared my calendar. And it all started with the gift of a scarf in a box and a note about when a driver would pick me up for dinner. He gave me a photo booth for our 15th wedding anniversary. (Yes, I own a cabinet that unfolds Swiss-army-knife syle to create a photo booth. And yes, it is amazing. Thank you, Andy Rawls, for your craftsmanship.)

But I tell you what. He did one of the most loving (and most sexy) things ever yesterday. He crawled under our house multiple times to locate, identify, and extract a dead animal under our house. Remember, sick animals don’t stay out in the open to die. They go to small, hidden places.
And the stench they produce pretty much erodes any sense of “home” you might feel.


He fought his fears.
He crawled into small spaces.
He persisted.
He fought back the gagging.
He didn’t lose his lunch.
He saved us a chunk of change.
And he loved me greatly.

Yes, dead skunk extraction is way more beautiful to me than a dozen roses.