Kari Rae

"Not Ours" | Foster Care, Life, and Business

Toddlers, man. They get into EVERYTHING. Drawers, cupboards, doors, boxes, purses, whatever...you name it, they're INTO it, right? We tell him no, we ask him to put it down or close it or whatever, and he doesn't listen. 

But lucky for me, I learned that telling this little dude that something is "not ours" weirdly works wonders. "Not our keys, baby!"

He repeats, "not ours!" and sets them down. "Dude, those pants on the shelf are not ours."

He repeats "not ours!" and immediately (usually) backs away. No fits, no crying, no tantrums. He just willingly gives it up.

I've giggled about how magical those two words have been, but it didn't hit me until yesterday. This is pretty profound.

When he realizes that something is "not ours" to begin with, he lets go of it so much more easily.

WHAT IF WE adopted that mindset? What if we held things so lightly in our hands that once we realized it was not ours from the start, it wasn't so selfishly painful to give it up? 

Our money. Our clothes. Our TV. Our friends. Our spouses. Our time. Our CHILDREN.

One of the biggest and hardest lessons I've learned in foster care is that no matter what I do or how far we come together, each child in the system who comes through our home is not ours. Parents who have birthed a baby, the fact of the matter is that the same is true for you. If we believe that EVERY good and perfect gift is from above, then we have to believe that nothing we've received is OURS. In Les Miserables, one of the characters says about his love that "she was never mine to keep."

This boy is not ours. Any future children we have, no matter how they come, are not ours. This business we have been so blessed with...it's not ours. All the money we ever receive is not ours. This house is not ours. This gift / strength / talent is not ours. It is ALL a gift and a chance to worship the One who gave it to us in the first place. 

Friends, may we take this lesson from a 2 year old. In every moment, may we realize that this life is NOT OURS, and with that knowledge, willingly give it all up. 
Scary to choose, but a calling is a calling.  

And I think He is worthy of our faith and praise no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

Foster Care & 'But God' Statements

Oh friends, please watch this video. I will warn you that it's really hard to see, but so incredibly well done & worth it. 

Following a precious girl through her story of a broken home and a journey into foster care, this short film 'ReMoved' was so, so good for my soul.

If you are sobbing right now, you are not alone. I was doing the ugly cry. You'd almost think I were seeing these scenarios for the first time. 

And for parts of it, it's true. Our foster kids all have their own story and for their privacy, we will keep it as their story to tell. In fact, there are many parts we don't know. But to have a visual depiction of how things might have been.... this wrecked me.

To imagine the sweet older sister dressing & feeding them, holding their hand and whispering that it will be okay. To imagine what they've seen. What they've heard. What they've been through. We don't even know the extent of it. 


The look she gives the caseworker when getting in the car... we've seen that look of paralyzing fear.

The way she rejects love, being unable to trust... we've felt that rejection.

The way she uses her body to express what her mind just can't comprehend...we've experienced the bruises from it.

The way something as well-intended as a new dress can send her down a horrible path... we've experienced that confusion. 

But God. 
But God. 

But God. Two of the most beautiful words in the entire Bible. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check this out! This is just a tiny sampling of all the verses with these words, but they are REAL GOOD:

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Psalm 49:15
But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


I don't have all the answers, but I certainly have hope. May we step forward and offer to do something as bold as loving a broken heart. May we offer to be the light at the end of the tunnel. 

There are glimpses of hope in each moment of progress, in each step toward trust, in each giggle, each new lesson learned, and each hug. May we FILL these little souls with "but God" statements. 


This quote is sticking with me: "Maybe there's something you're afraid to say, or someone you're afraid to love, or somewhere you're afraid to go. It's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt because it matters." 
-John Green


Dean & Melissa Hearts on Fire Honeymoon Session | Hawaii honeymoon photographer, Maui & Portland love photographer

While in Hawaii last year to second shoot a gorgeous wedding (see the blog post here), Maria and I met this incredible couple on their honeymoon.

Dean & Melissa are beautiful, of course, but on top of that...so kind, gentle, supportive of each other, and wonderfully loving.

At home in Arizona, Dean is the executive recruiter for accounting and finances at a firm in Scottsdale, and Melissa is an RN on the ortho neuro trauma floor in their hospital. They are people-helpers, and I like that. :)

I really consider it a pleasure to have photographed them and been able to bear witness to their love during their first days of marriage. :) This is seriously my job?? Thank you, Jesus!


Giveaway Winners | Hearts on Fire by Kari Rae

We had a quick one-day-only giveaway opportunity yesterday, and it was so fun to see the entries! 

I wish I could just take them all...You guys are awesome :) Alas, I can not. 

So, without further ado, the winner is......

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.19.56 PM.png

I can not wait to meet these two and document their precious, lasting love. <3 

Thank you to all who participated!

If you want to see more about what we're up to & where we're headed, as well as be a part of an incredible community of love, encouragement, support and challenges... join our private lounge! JOIN HERE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/heartsonfirebykarirae/

Have a great weekend, friends :)

Session Giveaway | Hearts on Fire by Kari Rae

Friends & fellow lovebirds,

Today is a lovely day to get a free session, isn't it? 




- Includes a pre-session consultation, the session itself (hooray!) and a Session Premiere for viewing & ordering your loveliness.

- Must be redeemed by March 11, 2014. Let's do this!! 

- All prints, products & digital files are purchased separately

We will choose our favorite post and will announce the winner tomorrow, Saturday – February 15th.  HAVE FUN! Enjoy your love today & always <3 


Kari Rae



Hearts on Fire private lounge: https://www.facebook.com/groups/heartsonfirebykarirae

Instagram: http://instagram.com/karirae