Aug 25-14


I looked forward to Whitney and Nick's wedding celebration since the day I met them, and my excitement continued to unfold over the months getting to know them. First, I learned they were getting married at one of my favorite venues - Lowndes Grove Plantation. Then, as I photographed their engagement session, I discovered how genuine and kind this couple was. They are just plain fun to be around! They joked and laughed the entire session, and they made me feel so important as they asked questions and genuinely cared for me. Then came the thank you notes. After their engagement session and her bridal session, I received a hand written thank you note and a gift from Whitney each time. I don't believe I've ever had a bride as thoughtful and caring as Whitney. As the planning process continued, I began to see Whitney's love for all things Southern (which explains the gifts and hand written notes!), and Nick's love for NC State football. When the time finally came to pack up our equipment and drive to Charleston, I was thrilled. I just knew that this wedding was going to be special, and it certainly did not disappoint.

Every detail was thorough and lovely. The venue was stunning, the weather was calm and beautiful, the colors were classic, even the lanterns hanging from the trees had special meaning - representing those who had gone on before them. If I had to choose one word to summarize this wedding, it would be meaningful. Yes it was beautiful and beautiful and lovely, but most of all, it was meaningful. It reflected the love of the bride and groom perfectly, and you can't ask for more than that on a wedding day. (And yes, I received a hand written thank you and gifts after the wedding, too!)

Much of Whitney's beautiful inspiration for their wedding came from one of our favorite wedding blogs here in the NRP studio, and today the Southern Weddings Blog made one Southern bride (and her photographer!) very happy for featuring her wedding. Thank you so much for the feature today, Southern Weddings ladies! (And thank you for your kind words within the feature, Whitney. You are the sweetest!)

Congratulations, Whitney and Nick, on the loveliest Southern Wedding!

Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation
Cake Artist: FISH- Patrick Properties Hospitality Group
Caterer: FISH- Patrick Properties Hospitality Group
Florist: Stems
Event Designer & Coordinator: Southern Protocol
Reception Band: Java Band
Hair & Makeup: Willow Salon
Wedding Gown: Modern Trousseau 
Exit Dress: Lula Kate
Paper Goods: Scotti Cline Designs
Groom's Cake: Delicious Desserts
Bride's Earrings: Swell Caroline
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Jos A. Banks
Bowties: Brooks Brothers
Rentals: Synder Events
Draping: Yoj Events
Ceremony Music: Charleston Brass
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab











































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Aug 22-14


"Nor will people say, Look! Here it is! or, See, it is there! For behold,
the kingdom of God is within you (in your hearts) and among you (surrounding you)."

Luke 17:21

At the beginning of August, Will and I had the privilege of leading our second mission trip to Nicaragua. (Read about our first trip in 2013 here and here.) Of all the mission trips I've been on, I know that the best way to prepare my heart is to simply try to forget any expectations I might have. I went into this trip with an open heart, ready to receive whatever it was that God had to show me.




If I could put it in a nutshell, I would say this: Now, more than ever before, I want this beautiful and hard ministry experience to translate into my every day life. I want the Kingdom of God to be on my heart and mind constantly. I do not want to separate my 1 week in Nicaragua with the other 51 weeks spent here in Raleigh, in my pretty home and quaint studio the rest of the year. I want my prayers to be for others who are hurting in distant lands, not just for my family, my life, my needs. I want our budget and our money to reflect our hearts, generously giving towards those who are hungry, naked, and fatherless. I want to play my small role in being the change that I see needs to happen on this earth.


a home in Nicaragua



While I was in Nicaragua, I learned that this goal of effecting change can be extremely daunting and discouraging at times. When we left, each member of our team brought 2 large bags full of kids clothing and toiletry kits to give away. We had practiced Spanish and prayed and sang and practiced skits and prepared as much as we knew how. We felt ready to go and make a huge difference! When we arrived, we implemented everything we had prepared for. And yet, as we walked through the impoverished neighborhoods, passing out clothing and kits, and asking to pray for families or people who needed it, all of our supplies ran out very quickly. Every child needed some article of clothing. (Most children walked around either without a shirt or pants, and most did not have shoes on.) Every mother needed the toiletry kit to help keep her family clean. (I had an elderly lady beg me for some shampoo - it was priceless to her.) We went to Nicaragua feeling like we were going to make a difference, and we left feeling like there is such a difference that is yet to be made. There were times I felt so helpless because our supplies were running out and we had only been to a few neighborhoods. By the time we finished our trip, we had distributed all of our supplies in 3 neighborhoods. Only 3 neighborhoods in the city of Managua! Only 3 neighborhoods in the entire country of Nicaragua! I felt like a drop in a huge empty bucket of poverty and need. All I wanted to do was turn on the faucet until it overflowed, but all I had to offer was my one drop.



"But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) continually within him unto eternal life. The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come here to draw.'" John 4:14,15

Hallelujah, HE is the Living Water, when I am only a drop.



Below: We spent about an hour in this neighborhood. One of the locals explained that the pipes you see on the ground are the pipes that carry their drinking water to their neighborhood. I walked down this street, and when I looked down, I noticed a hole in the pipe (that I could easily kick dirt and dust into just by walking by) and a trickling stream of water in the bottom of it. If you have a moment, just stop and stare at this photo. To the left, you will see the side of a house, pieced together by scraps of metal. You will notice chickens roaming freely, rusty barbed wire to fence in and hold up housing, clothes drying, (Lord may I never complain about laundry again,) and kids playing with a yellow sword-balloon in the distance. (One of our team members is a wonderful balloon artist.) It smelled of bonfires burning and dirt. It was hot and it was quiet. This is their neighborhood, this is their life. Just looking at this image makes me incredibly thankful.


The last night of trip, Will shared scriptures from Matthew 13: all about the Kingdom of God. After a week of feeling overwhelmed, heavy, and helpless, these words that Jesus spoke brought life and light into the darkness I was feeling. The Kingdom of God on this earth starts small. It's about the one. It's not about changing the world, but it's about changing the life that is in front of you. Will read these words:

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32



Above: This sweet girl I am hugging is that mustard seed. We laid hands on her and prayed healing over her as she has been diagnosed with a blood disease and her parents are desperately seeking God for answers. I am believing she will be healed to fullness of life and health again in Jesus' name.


Above: Horacio is also the mustard seed. One of the highlights of this trip was to meet him. We sponsored him last year through the Donna Holland School, and this year we got to meet him face to face! We prayed for him and wrote to him, and now we can say that we know him. It was amazing, really. Those 3 photos on my fridge now have more meaning than I could have ever imagined.


As I experienced the heart of the great and loving God that I serve, I realized these truths:

- He is the Living Water! He is the faucet that I need! He has the ability to provide and to heal and to comfort, when I am lacking.

- Jesus goes after the one. While I was overwhelmed at facing the needs of the entire country of Nicaragua, all I needed to do was focus on the one precious life in front of me in each moment. “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!" Luke 15:4-7

- The Kingdom of God starts small and grows. : Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

- The heart of the Lord is close to the poor, the fatherless, the needy. We honor Him when we help those who need it. "Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him." Proverbs 14:31

Isn't that a message of hope! We cannot do everything, but we can do something. It seems impossible to leave an impact in this world, and yet when I arrived in Nicaragua by lunchtime on Monday, I realized that it is, in fact, very possible. It's just a few hours in a plane. It's just a few articles of clothing. It's just a few dollars each month to sponsor a child. It's just 1 week of my 52 weeks each year.





It's hard for me to reconcile all that I've seen and experienced with how I live my life here in the US. The first few days of the trip, we stayed at a Christian Retreat Center that used to be an orphanage (all orphanages were nationalized, so they had to close its doors).

This place had no AC, water that we weren't allowed to drink, geckos crawling on the walls, cold showers, open windows. We slept in mosquito nets and twin beds. When I laid my head down to sleep at night, I was sticky and sweaty - throwing off even a thin sheet because of the heat. I didn't know if I would be able to sleep because I was so hot, but every night, I eventually drifted off from pure exhaustion. It was a wonderful physical challenge of comfort for the entire team. Hard, but so good.

During the day, as we went into the neighborhoods in Nicaragua, I realized that the retreat center where we were staying was so much nicer than most of their homes. We had floors, running water, cement walls, sinks, private toilets, beds, towels, and fans.




And then, at the end of 8 wonderful and challenging days, we came home. My own bed had never felt so good. I was amazed that I could get ice and water whenever I wanted it. I had food in my pantry, a closet with way to many clothes, cool air blowing through the vents. I know I experienced this last year, but I experienced it again this year: I was overwhelmed with how much I have.

With that realization, I am slowly changing my life and my language. I am happy to stay in this small townhome for as long as the Lord wants us here, because it is more than enough. I am stopping the comparison game with my friends, the size of their house vs. my own, etc. - it's wasted energy and it's foolish when I have so much. I am not shopping nearly as much as I used to. I'm going to stop saying "I need ____." Materially speaking, I don't need anything. I am going to remain flexible in my day to day work, just as I had to on this trip! I am going to stay available to how God wants to use me.

I am going to remember. God graced me with the experience of opening my eyes to the hurt He sees every single day. I'm going to remember what I saw, pray for those we met, print photos and hang them in my home.



This trip marked Will's last event on staff at our church in full time ministry, which is kind of funny, because I feel like our ministry is just beginning.

Comments: 6

  1. Melissa August 22, 2014 2:02 pm

    I found your blog originally when I was doing photography but I kept following it because of how you share pieces of yourself and your heart. You are amazing and an inspiration. I love that you use your platform to share your passion for God. I am going on my first missions trip with my hubby in the fall & reading this made me so excited. And slightly nervous because I know it will break parts of my heart. But in a good way. Xo

  2. Angélique August 22, 2014 3:11 pm

    I started crying while reading this and I cannot fully explain why. But I know that this community will be on my prayer list and that I am so thankfull for this post and your heart about mission. Thank you Nancy !

  3. Helen August 22, 2014 6:47 pm

    You beautifully put into words the way I’ve felt when I have come back from missions trips to Uganda. It feels like what we can do in a week or two is just a drop in a bucket but I love what you said about just going after the one in front of you – it’s so true! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Leanne Caroline August 22, 2014 11:05 pm

    Nancy, your words are truly beautiful and never cease to make me stop and think, and subsequently be encouraged. I love this…. “I am stopping the comparison game with my friends, the size of their house vs. my own, etc. – it’s wasted energy and it’s foolish when I have so much”. I am too guilty of the comparison game. Thank you xo

  5. Em August 23, 2014 3:46 am

    I am grateful God made, and is continually refining, people like you! You have a beautiful heart and a true skill with words, and your journey is contagious!

  6. Kyla Fetzner August 23, 2014 4:33 pm

    Thank you Nancy for sharing your experience and how God moved in your heart through this trip. Your heart for mission inspires me to open myself up more to how God can use me as well!

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Aug 21-14


Warner, Crews, and Maverick

One of the greatest joys of my life is being an aunt! I have 7 nieces and nephews total, and 3 of them happen to be identical triplet boys who belong to my sister.


Uncle Will and I had a blast celebrating their birthday! We went to a bouncy house, had pizza for lunch, went swimming in the pool, had a bonfire, and slept in a tent in their backyard along with their grandma, mom, dad, and 2 sisters. (Well, grandma, mom and the littlest sister did not sleep in the backyard! But the rest of us did!)

I love this time in their lives, and I love watching them grow up. Allow me to introduce to you 3 of the cutest triplet 5 year olds on this planet.


Meet Crews.

Crews loves to compete and win. He loves games (especially wii bowling!), loves acting like a cat, loves making the biggest splash in the pool. He and his sister Harper are best buddies, and they have stayed super close while growing up together. He is very passionate when he talks.... passionate about everything! He emphasizes words and speaks with a strong fervor. He loves for me to beat on his back like he's a drum!


Meet Maverick.

I call Maverick my little boyfriend. He loves to kiss me and snuggle me all. the. time. He doesn't talk a lot, but when he does, he speaks very clearly. His a voice is a tad bit huskier than the other two. He is very giving and will let his brothers go first when they want to. He marches to the beat of his own drum, and often chooses to watch rather than participate in the hokey pokey. He is quiet and goofy. He is a little Maverick!


Meet Warner.

Warner loves his family. He loves his routine, loves his blankie, loves his Mama and Daddy. He also loves to talk your ear off. He will tell you anything that's on his mind! He is very sweet and complimentary. He often says, "Aunt Nancy, I'm so proud of you." One time when I tucked him in for a nap, I had teased my hair into a poof, and had the rest of my hair back in a ponytail. He looked at me and said, "Aunt Nancy, I like your front hair and your back hair!" while patting my poof and my ponytail. It cracked me up! He has his own little way of talking, his pitch is a little higher, he runs all of his words together, and he is just so endearing because he loves to share his thoughts with you.


My favorite memory from their birthday: my sister asked the boys to lean in and squeeze their heads together for a picture! What did they do? Squeezed their heads... literally! Oh I love these boys! (Notice their individual cakes. What a great Mama!)

Comments: 3

  1. Kelly August 21, 2014 4:13 pm

    These are the cutest kids I have ever seen! I love the front hair/back hair story!

  2. Faith August 21, 2014 9:43 pm

    “Squeeze your heads together”! Haha! Too funny. Such sweet boys!

  3. Sissy August 25, 2014 12:44 pm

    You NAILED their personalities!!! I LOVE this so much. Thank you Aunt Nancy for capturing this day!! And you and Uncle Will were probably their favorite part of their day!!

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Aug 18-14


Have you ever been to Bald Head Island? No? Please go, because Callie and I worked all day for Kaycie and Kevin's wedding day on BHI, but it actually felt a little like a vacation.

The weather was amazing... breezy and warm, evening rumbling thunder in the distance - about what you'd expect for a June wedding on a tiny island off the southern coast of North Carolina. Kaycie was stunning, Kevin was handsome and completely captivated by his bride. Both were adorably wrapped up in each other from the time she walked down the aisle, to the time they putt-ed away on their Rolls Royce Newlywed Golfcart at the end of the night. All of the moments in between, the rich and unique details of the environment, the love and support of family and friends, the celebration of a couple truly in love and committing their lives to eachother... you try but you can't really put those things to words. I hope their pictures will leave you with a glimpse of the joy they shared in their wedding day!

Ceremony Venue: The Village Chapel of Bald Head Island
Reception Venue: Bald Head Island Club
Cake Artist: One Belle Bakery
Caterer: Bald Head Island Club
Florist: Kickstand Events
Event Coordinator: Bald Head Island Club
DJ: Active DJ Entertainment
Videographer: Heart Stone Films
Hair & Makeup: Island Retreat Spa & Salon
Bride's Gown: Modern Trousseau
Groom & Groomsmen Wear: Cahill & Swain
Water Bottle Labels: LabelsRus
Guestbook: Pixels and Wood
Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Carole
Paper Goods: Minted
Draperies: Design Perfection
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab












































Comments: 2

  1. Gretchen Saffles August 21, 2014 5:10 pm

    These are amazing pictures! You captured the day beautifully!

  2. Meredith Bernard August 21, 2014 6:18 pm

    These film images are a stunning portryal of what was obvioulsy a stunning day. Your work+faith life is an inspiration to me as a Christian writer/speaker/photographer. I fly solo on my first wedding this weekend and you give me an extra dose of wind to set sail on this new adventure. Blessings to you and your team…xoxo

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Aug 16-14


I have known Anna for quite some time now, as she is the cousin to one of my best friends. But it wasn't until recently that I got to meet Ben and get to know them as the sweet couple that they are. We began their session at their adorable, downtown home and then moved to downtown Raleigh. Anna is honest, bubbly, and passionate. Ben is hard-working, patient and loves hunting. He's a true Southern gentleman! Together, they a bundle of joy! They love The Lord, to be around others that they love and spend lots of time in the kitchen cooking together. Anna shared with me that "Everything is an adventure - little things are a big deal for us!" How refreshing it is to see a couple who values every little adventure together, hand-in-hand as a team.

Anna and Ben's gorgeous wedding was filled with so much love and I can't wait to share their images with you!

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab














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Aug 13-14


"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealously unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one's house for love, it would be utterly scorned."
Song of Solomon 8:6-7

It was the verse that Hunter read one day when he knew that we wanted to spend the rest of his life with Nichole. Through their beautiful wedding at The Umstead, it was made clear to me that their love is as strong as death. I am a firm believer that The Lord loves marriage and that the ceremony of a wedding is the most important part of the day. It is in those moments when you proclaim your love for one another and make a vow to stand by each other's side for the rest of your lives. As the clouds quickly rolled in during Hunter and Nichole's outdoor ceremony, guests flinched with worry about the rain, but Hunter and Nichole remained still, unable to take their eyes off of each other. As they were pronounced husband and wife and all of the guests were guided inside the ballroom, in God's perfect timing it began storming like I have never experienced - rain that was so thick you couldn't see ten feet in front of you and thunder, so loud that it scared us half to death.

Hunter and Nichole's wedding was sweet and intimate in a way that I have never seen done before. Their small, private ceremony and dinner only included their closest friends and family. As I watched them greet and speak with each of their guests from afar, I realized that this could not have been a better planned event for the two of them. Hunter and Nichole are such intentional people and wanted to make sure that each of their guests felt appreciated for being at their wedding celebration.  After their dinner was finished, 95 additional guests arrived to enjoy a ballroom reception, put on by some of Hunter and Nichole's closest friends. The night was filled dancing thanks to The Dickens Band! And there were sweet Southern treats for everyone to enjoy. Congratulations, Hunter and Nichole!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Umstead
Officiant: Justin Morgan
Cake Artist: Cinda's Creative Cakes
Caterer: The Umstead
Florist: Floral Designs by Eddie
Event Coordination: Kelly Ann Ward at The Umstead
Reception Band: The Dickens
Hair Stylist: Salon Blu
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Ashley Mooney
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

























Comments: 2

  1. Kelly August 13, 2014 1:52 pm

    Gorgeous! I’ve been reading for awhile now, and this couple might be my favorite yet. Also love the verse chosen. Such a sweet reminder.

  2. Nichole August 13, 2014 3:01 pm

    Callie, your pictures truly captured all of the special moments on our wedding day. Your comments had me tearing up! That bible verse hit home for us at our ceremony. That was still my absolute favorite part of our wedding! Again, we were grateful to have you as a big part of our day and just love your passion, creativity and REALLY appreciate your hard work. You are the best! – Nichole and Hunter

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Aug 12-14


You might recognize Miss Jamie in these images, because she was our sweet intern this Spring. As a parting thank you, Callie photographed Jamie and Scott, her boyfriend, in a field near the NRP studio. It was so fun to welcome Scott to the studio after hearing so much about him! He finally got to meet Winston, which was definitely a highlight. (Hopefully I convinced him to get a great dane!) We love Jamie and definitely miss her sweet presence in the studio!

Film : Indie Film Lab







Comments: 1

  1. Jamie August 12, 2014 10:21 pm

    Thank you Callie + Nancy! I love these photos and miss you both very much!

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Aug 11-14


Confession: I hardly slept the night before this wedding... that’s how excited I was. Based on my experience with Megan and Baker to that point, I just knew it was going to be an amazing day. You don’t meet many couples like Megan and Baker: Megan is sweet and genuine and adorably Southern, and Baker is what I like to call a true Southern gentleman – charming, well mannered, and I’m pretty sure he's never met a stranger. Together, they’re passionate about celebrating the blessing of family and friends, and most importantly each other. Their wedding was a true reflection of that.

This doesn’t happen often, but on their wedding day, everything in and out of their control just came together perfectly: the venue was gorgeous. The bride was stunning. The groom was charming. And, as my second shooter Will put it, “they won the weather lottery”.

The day was intentionally slow – that’s one of the things I loved about it. Every moment was celebrated, from the time the bridal party got in their party bus to head to the ceremony, to the time Megan and Baker shared their last upbeat dance to “Happy” before the end of the night. The Pure Party Band kept the party alive all night and they were amazing!

Megan and Baker, I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to capture your beautiful day! Congratulations on your Marriage – we wish you all the best!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Brookgreen Gardens
Cake Artist: Croissants Bakery
Caterer: Austin's
Florist: Blossoms Events
Event Designer & Coordinator: Stunning and Brilliant Events
Band: Pure Party Band
Videographer: Hart to Heart
Hair & Makeup: Vanity Suite Salon- Kayla Clark




































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Aug 08-14

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In June, Will and I went camping with dear friends at Blue Bear Mountain Campgrounds in Boone, NC. We were excited to take our camping buddies, Emily and John, to all of our favorite hiking and waterfall spots from our newlywed days of living in Boone. We went to Hebron Rock Colony and Twisted Falls - our two favorite hikes. We also discovered downtown the Todd general store, complete with a live bluegrass band every Friday night! We had perfect weather for mountain camping: sunny high 70's and low 80's during the day, dropping to the 60's at night. Everything was perfect, really. And yet of all these adventures, my favorite part of this trip had to be our late night conversations around the fire. I'm so grateful for friends who can not only laugh together, but who can share life and meaningful conversation with one another. I believe a tradition is in the making, and I am quite happy about it!

Film : Indie Film Lab

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Below: Yes, my husband is crazy. Just looking at this photo gives me the heebie-jeebies!

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Comments: 5

  1. Emma D August 8, 2014 4:17 pm

    So cool!! I want to go there! Does Winston like being outside all day?

  2. Gretchen Saffles August 8, 2014 6:29 pm

    Nancy, these are so fun! Greg and I love camping! :) I love y’alls adventures!

  3. Em August 8, 2014 10:56 pm

    Epic series of the waterfall slide, Miss Nancy! One of my favorite traditions for sure :)

  4. John August 9, 2014 7:51 am

    It really was a great weekend. Thanks for showing us around and sharing the photos!

  5. Kyla Fetzner August 9, 2014 12:39 pm

    Oh this post just makes me so excited! I am leaving this evening for our annual youth ministry retreat. While we will be staying in cabins, there will be lots of outdoor goodness for us to share with the students while we are there. Boone looks beautiful!

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Photographer, wife, and worshiper... I am a Southern girl who looks most forward to waking up each morning to drink my coffee, read my Bible, and soak in the beauty that surrounds me. These pages chronicle my work, my life, and the things that I love most. You'll also hear from Callie, Will, and Elizabeth - my amazing team who has so much to offer. Thanks for visiting, I do hope you stay a while!
Nancy Ray