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all the days. (rocky mount nc baby photographer)

Eight years ago my husband deployed, just as the war in Iraq officially commenced.  I remember being almost literally paralyzed with anxiety, fear of the unknown, and – even grief.  It’s difficult to explain, unless you’ve been through it.  But I guess that goes for most things personal and difficult.  I was almost inconsolable, and the only small measure of comfort was from my mom, who reminded me that no amount of worry was going to change the outcome – the number of our days were already written.   Over the years, that thought gave me comfort, although for the life of me I could never remember the exact verse.

Then I met Yvonne.  I knew her story long before I ever got to meet her.  And when she asked me to do a session with her boys I was more than excited.  When I finally met these boys I had been hearing about all I could think was what precious baby miracles.But just as precious was Yvonne.  All through our session I reflected on her calm.  How she and her husband had weathered their own storm with strength and she continued to be the epitome of peace.

At some point I couldn’t help but tell her.  How grateful I was to get to meet her and be witness to such incredible surrender.  It was convicting.

We talked about customizing her order with favorite verses, and at some point she turned to Psalms.  And there it was.  The verse.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16

Mom - Yvonne’s story (and yours) brought tears to my eyes.. thank you for sharing (((hugs))) (love the pics, too!)

Mommy & Me! Mini Sessions with Crystal & Angela (Rocky Mount, NC photographer)

Fellow photographer and friend Angela Blankenship (of AB Photography) and I are combining for a mini-session event!  Just in time for husbands who haven’t thought of a gift for mom, and for moms who want to surprise dad with a print for his desk this father’s day.

Flip through your photo albums.  How many pictures include Mom?  Only a few? Any?  As mothers ourselves, Angela and I empathize and want so much for your children to have images to treasure when they’re older – images that tell the whole story.  Mom is important.  And she deserves to be in the picture.

If you’re a mom, no excuses!  We’ve made it easy for you.  Thirty minutes.  Five to eight images. 8 x 12 Print or Jewelry Charm.  $75.  Easy peasy.  Call/email Angela or me to book your appointment.  If you’re the dad – this is a FAIL PROOF Mother’s Day gift.

What Can I Say to My Grieving Friend? (repost)

I am reposting this with the book excerpt by itself.  Having gone through the grief process myself, I wish I had had something like this to pass to well-meaning friends.

I ran across this page in a book that I thought I'd share with you.  If your friend is grieving, this a good example of re-framing your approach to him or her.  If you are the grieving one, I encourage you to give this to your friends. 

What Can I Say to My Grieving Friend?

Instead of: "I know exactly how you feel."
Try: "I can only imagine what you're going through."
Instead of: "At least he doesn't have to suffer anymore."
Try: "He suffered through a lot, didn't he?"
Instead of: "It's God's will."
Try: "One comfort I find is God's promise to never abandon us."
Instead of: "She wouldn't want you to grieve."
Try: "It's hard to say good-bye, isn't it?"
Instead of: "You can't be angry with God."
Try: "God understands even when we're upset."
Instead of: "At least you have other family members." [or any other "at least," for that matter]
Try: "There's no way to replace the one you've lost, is there?"
Instead of: "Don't you think it's time to get on with living your life?"
Try: "Everyone has to grieve in their own way, don't they?"
Instead of: "Don't talk about the funeral–it will only make you sad."
Try: "We can talk about whatever you want."
Instead of: "Time heals all wounds."
Try: "Time will lessen the pain, but you'll always have a part of him/her with you."

Instead of: "You've got to be strong."
Try: "I want you to know you can be yourself around me"
Excerpt from the book Disrupted:  Finding God in Illness & Loss by Virgil M. Fry, Houston, TX

[reprinted with permission]

Annette - Thank you for sharing these. I’ve always struggled with ‘appropriate comfort’ and these are sensitive, show caring, and respect for the deceased and the grieving.
Thank you!

lindsay - I recently ran across your blog and I think it’s beautiful. And your pictures are BREATHTAKING!!! I’m going to have to be one of your stalkers…

Mom - Instead of: “She wouldn’t want you to grieve.”
This one infuriated me. Of all the people I have known, your sister would understand and simply have hugged me & cried with me, without critique.
A well-needed post, Crys. This season of the year fills me with the most hope & optimism that ‘one day’… no more goodbyes–ever. But it took me years to reach that point.

Karen - Just now seeing this – a great reminder for us all. I hope you’re doing well!

Kelly - Having lost a baby a few years ago, this would have been so helpful – sometimes people just don’t know what to say, so they say things that are well-meaning, but just don’t help much. This is beautiful. A great reminder that God walks – and grieves – with us through our pain. Thanks for sharing.

Annie - I just lost my sister two weeks ago… people are so well intentioned but lack the skill of comforting words… thanks so much for sharing this…

it’s the little things (rocky mount, nc baby photographer)

I’m sure their mother thought I was nuts for bringing out the camera for a couple of infant carriers.  Their session was over, and these twin baby boys were happy and content in their carriers, enamored with the colorful baubles strapped to the handles.  The light was gorgeous, they were gorgeous…I couldn’t help myself.

It’s the little things that make up the sheer squishy-ness of babies.  The way their pudge feet kick and dangle.  The the squeak and gurgle of them gumming on their fingers.  How sweetly they fix their gaze on whatever is bright and shiny in front of them. As a mother to three, my youngest the same age as these cuties, I am so very aware how easily these moments are forgotten.

Besides, they were strapped down AND happy.  How could I turn that down?

shalonda - oh me oh my!!!!! love every single little detail you captured babe

one. (rocky mount, nc photographer)

I’m sure this blog seems all “Cam-y” sometimes.  I can’t help it.  He’s my last.  And these months are fleeting.  And he’s one today.

To think, they start so small.  Sniff.


Jamie Quinn - Oh, Crystal…I feel your emotional mix of joy and sorrow. Happy Birthday to a very loved and handsome little man.

shalonda - oh my word one already?!?!? i remember when we were proofing the birth announcement on flickr :)

Angela Crighton - Hi, I’m preparing for a newborn session for a friend and she forwarded me your blogsite to reference the kinds of pictures she would like. I really like your style! Nice job