Jul 31-13

Well friends, I'm excited to introduce our new monthly "gratefulgrams!" I have to give credit where credit is due - Leah, one of my brides I photographed earlier this year (who also works at Southern Bride and Groom), has an adorable blog. She always posts her gratefulgrams, and I loved the idea so much that I wanted to incorporate it into my own blog! So, at the end of each month, the NRP team will be sharing our "gratefulgrams" to summarize our experiences of the month that we're grateful for. So yes, at the end of each month you'll see our gratefulgrams, and on the first of each month I'll keep blogging my goals. Pretty fun in my opinion.

Welcome to our first gratefulgram post!

Nancy begins swim lessons / Elizabeth and Robert enjoying the 4th of July / Callie's packing for DC
Will enjoying the view in Beaufort / Nancy made homemade peach ice cream for the Ray family / Elizabeth's Dad preaching as their family held church in their backyard 

 Callie and Jamie enjoying Cape Lookout / Our Bridge youth group painting a church in Nicaragua / Will purchasing produce on the "honor system"
Nancy taking a photo from the roof at Fearrington / Callie with her beautiful farmer's market flowers / Will and Winston enjoying a morning run 

 Will & I at a Volcano in Nicaragua with our students / Elizabeth and her family having fun at Busch Gardens / Callie completed the Studio Workflow Chalk wall
Elizabeth photographing details at Fearrington / Callie enjoying DC / Elizabeth hugging her sweet Brady after bowling for Fragile X 

Be sure to follow each of us on Instagram! Nancy / Will / Callie / Elizabeth

Comments: 4

  1. Leah July 31, 2013 8:38 pm

    Nancy, you are the sweetest!

    PS – Austen and I got our photo DVD in the mail today…they are BEAUTIFUL!!

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  4. Lorie Bilbro August 6, 2013 3:48 am

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Jul 30-13

Home again

The Rays ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 10 comments

I'm home! Thank you for your prayers while I was away! More images of my trip to Nicaragua are to come, but before I share my photographs, I need to share my heart a bit. I'm having a hard time jumping back into work like usual. To be transparent, it's hard to go about answering emails and editing photos after the experiences I had last week on my missions trip to Nicaragua. Jesus has wrecked me with His great love all over again, and I would have it no other way. But it sure is a challenge to just jump back into "normal life," after feeding hungry children, after praying for a little girl who was sick from the water she drank, after clothing a naked baby because all they had was a blanket to wrap her in. This world is a great and vast planet full of people loved by God, and I get so wrapped up in my own little world of life and photography and beautiful things here in Raleigh that I forget there is so much need around this earth. Lord, may I never lose sight of what You see every day.

I will never look at my "normal life" as normal again. I will always look at this home that I have as a palace. The fact that I don't have to worry about getting contaminated water in my mouth when I take a shower is luxury. Actually, the fact that I have a shower is a luxury. My floors are not made of dirt. The inside of my home doesn't get wet when it rains. My refrigerator is full of colorful fruits and vegetables, my pantry is full of meals ready to be made. I have medicine when I get sick. I have a closet and dresser FULL of clothes. The truth is, I am one of the world's wealthiest.

The most humbled and grateful I've ever been in my life was driving home from the airport after we landed in Raleigh. I was so exhausted and my spirit was so fragile (still is, actually), and my sweet mom, who had been staying at our house, told us that as a welcome home gift she got our house cleaned and she went grocery shopping for us while we were gone.  I couldn't control my tears at that point. After seeing homes built on dirt floors from scraps of metal and trash bags, I was completely overwhelmed at how much we have been given. Why me? Why was I born in this beautiful country full of freedom, so that I can use my gifts as I please? Why am I privileged to have clean water and an education and medical care when I need it? It's an overwhelming thought. And overwhelming gratitude follows right behind it. I don't deserve this, but yet, I have it all.

And that's when I have to stop, and simply acknowledge that God is Sovereign, and whisper "thank you." I can't question the One that has the perfect plan, for He graciously put me exactly where I am. There's no guilt in trusting that He planned exactly where each of His children would be born, would live, and would die. I am here because He put me here, and He is trustworthy! But now I ask, what am I to do with this experience? This wealth? This grace? Yes, He placed me here in North Carolina, with immense wealth... but not without purpose. And He placed you right where you are too.

One thing I know: this life is meant for so much more than just making money so we can be comfortable. We have been put here to share the love and salvation of Jesus. He loved each person on this beautiful earth so much that He gave His own life as a sacrifice... He paid the price for our sins, while He was perfect and undeserving of our punishment. And He rose again to give us victorious and eternal life in Him! It doesn't matter what country you live in or what you have, that truth is for each one of us.

I don't exactly know where to go from here, with this full heart and overwhelming gratitude. First things first, I'll jump back into life. I will continue to work, to answer emails, to edit beautiful photographs. But I will do so with a new perspective. I will continue to pray for my brothers and sisters in Nicaragua. I will listen to worship music and read scripture in a new way, and I just might do all of this with tears for the next few weeks, but that's okay. I want to let this experience continue to change me.

Because the truth is this: no matter where you live, no matter what you have, God is good. And that never changes. 

Comments: 10

  1. denise July 30, 2013 10:59 am

    Beautiful, heartfelt words. Our God is good. On a mission trip , we often think we are the ones who are going to help those in need. I often think that exactly the opposite happens. We are never the same .

  2. MacKenzie July 30, 2013 9:20 pm

    Nancy, your trip sounds like it made a profound impact on your life, which will in turn impact all of those you are are in contact with. I’m so grateful that you got to introduce so many youth to this culture at their young age. Think about the ripple affect this trip will have….

  3. Lara July 30, 2013 9:54 pm

    Oh my friend. Your heart inspires me. I’ve had our extreme wealth and abundance on my heart so much the last month. And I’ve been asking myself the same questions – what do I do with all of this for you, Lord?? Day by day He is showing me. I’m so grateful for how He’s used you and Will in my life to shepherd my heart towards true contentment. Praying for you during this fragile time of beautiful growth!

  4. Ashleigh July 31, 2013 3:49 am

    This is stunningly beautiful to read! I’ve been wrestling with such similar things. I’ve been thinking that God doesn’t view blessings the same way we do, not if Christ’s life is any indication of what it means to be His son. I’m sure you saw so much beauty there! Beauty in a way that we “comfort ourselves out of” here in the States. I can’t wait to see more photos of that.

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  6. Erika July 31, 2013 10:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart and capturing it here to remind you and others of ALL our blessings. I’m grateful for God’s use of your sincere voice and bold passion as yet another piece of His presence in my life.

  7. lisalis81 July 31, 2013 12:14 pm

    Nancy… I have struggled with your same questions before… Why was I born in the USA? Why do i have loving parents, a roof over my head, a job, clothes, clean water etc. Then one day at church our pastor answered these questions for me……(amazing how it was on my heart and the Lord answered via sermon). He said, We are Blessed to be a Blessing to others. The Lord has blessed me so I can be a blessing to others. So now my questions are.. “How do I go about blessing others less fortunate than me”? How do I in my daily life, show God’s love? I want to strive going forward to live a simplistic life. We have too much and my heart goes out to all those who don’t.

  8. Meredith Teasley July 31, 2013 12:27 pm

    Love this post, Nancy, and love the way God has challenged your heart through this trip! Thanks for being so vulnerable and open. Indeed He has put us here for a reason, and it’s been encouraging to see how He has used your platform of photography to share His grace with so many!

  9. Em July 31, 2013 10:24 pm

    THAT is a beautiful testimony. Amen!

  10. NRP • Part 4 | Nancy Ray Photography September 4, 2013 7:05 pm

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Jul 25-13

Weekend in DC

Uncategorized ~ by Callie Pitts ~ 5 comments

Blogpost by Callie

Y'all will soon learn that I love to travel, whether it's to a different country or to the North Carolina coast. There is something about exploring a new place that brings me so much joy! Especially when I get to do it with people that I love. Last weekend I traveled to Washington, DC to visit some good friends. Because I had not been to DC since I was a child, all I wanted to do was be a tourist and see everything the city had to offer!

Hands down, The Library of Congress is one of the most gorgeous buildings I have ever stepped foot in. The details and architecture are magnificent and I couldn't help but walk around with my eyes wide open gazing at every color and detail that went in to make this masterpiece complete. Even the floors are gorgeous!

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, containing 155.3 million items on 838 miles of bookshelves.
This collection contains materials in 470 languages.

Although exploring the city during the day was amazing, my favorite part of the weekend was touring The Mall at night. The weather was cooler so walking between The National World War II Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial was much more bearable. Plus it's less crowded! I highly recommend doing this if you are taking a trip anytime soon! Seeing these memorials was an unreal feeling. I found myself feeling incredibly empowered, compelled and proud to belong to this country. Both of these men accomplished so many great things for our country and in the silence of the night, it was an honor to stand before them.

 "Whatever you are, be a good one." - Abraham Lincoln

Comments: 5

  1. Emily July 25, 2013 4:10 pm

    I just moved to DC (las Friday!!) and among other reasons, the power and drive that I feel when I’m amongst these great monuments was one of the many things that brought me to this city! So glad you enjoyed your visit!

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  3. Jessica July 30, 2013 10:58 am

    Can you PLEASE tell me where you can get everything in that stripy outfit?! Including the black bag? It is SO ADORABLE!

  4. Callie July 30, 2013 12:08 pm

    Hey Jessica! Thank you! The dress is from Anthropologie, the sandals are Sam Edelman and the black bag is from Bijuju!

  5. Hampton August 23, 2013 12:11 am

    Awesome images of an amazing place that reminds us how blessed we are to be Americans!

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Jul 23-13

Hey everyone, Elizabeth here!

It is my opinion that a rehearsal dinner can hold details and moments that are equally as sweet and special as the wedding day… things not to be forgotten over time. There’s feelings of excitement and anticipation, and let’s face it- a little exhaustion, but you dine with those closest to you and celebrate because the day you’ve been waiting and planning for is now just “one sleep” away.

My husband Robert and I had the privilege of shooting Jennifer and Scott’s Rehearsal Dinner at SECCA in Winston Salem back in May, and it truly was an event to remember.

Jennifer and Scott were absolutely beaming and filled with adoration of each other in the anticipation of their big day. When they arrived at the venue we were able to take them on a little walk to capture those precious moments that they would experience together just hours before their wedding day. Shortly after, they joined back with their families and friends to celebrate the days to come.  

The event planner for the whole wedding weekend was the brilliant Becca Atchison of Rebecca Rose Events, and let me tell you – the Rehearsal Dinner was absolutely dripping with details.  We took a solid chunk of time before anybody even showed up to take pictures of the set up; there seemed to be a thoughtful detail around every corner!

Jennifer and Scott, Robert and I loved meeting you and had a blast shooting your rehearsal dinner. Congratulations and we wish you the very best in your marriage together!

Comments: 0

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Jul 22-13

Hey y'all, Callie here!

A couple of months ago, I got the chance to work with Kaitlin of Simply Put Vintage Rentals. She asked me to photograph all of her gorgeous inventory and I was absolutely honored. Although it was a long and hard day of moving a lot of heavy pieces for SPVR team, we loved being able to see each piece individually in the spotlight. Hands down, my favorite part of the day was shooting their collection of chairs. Each is gorgeous and unique in it's own way. It's almost as if they each have their own personality! As I captured each one, all I could think about was who would be sitting in that chair - a mother of the groom on the front row witnessing her son marry the woman of his dreams, an excited close friend who introduced the couple or a bride and groom eating their first meal together as husband and wife. If you think about it this way, furniture doesn't just fill space but it becomes the object that holds the ones we love. Which one of these chairs is your favorite? Which one would you choose to hold the ones you love? My favorite is the Elle. It is so regal and I can perfectly imagine my grandpa sitting in it at the head of a table.

Elle / Carson Chair / Charlene
Ivy Chair / Addison  / Samantha Chair

I can so clearly remember going to breakfast with Kaitlin around a year ago and talking about her dreams of starting her own business. She was determined, excited and scared to death, but she knew without a doubt that this was what she wanted to pursue. Immediately, I knew that it would not be an easy task but if anyone were to put their heart and soul into it, it would be Kaitlin. This girl is talented, y'all! Her love for beautiful vintage furniture and antiques and her eye for design is the perfect combination for this dream job she has created for herself!

Clementine & Clover / Bess Chair / Marley
Phoebe / Cecelia /  Opie

Here we are a year later, and she has already accomplished so many wonderful things! Kaitlin, I could not be more proud and encouraged by you. I can't wait to see the amazing opportunities that will come to you through SPVR. Be sure to check out her website, personal blog, or follow her on Instagram to keep up with her new inventory or see the events that they are designing!

Comments: 0

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Jul 20-13

Right now, I am painting the walls of a church in Ticuantepe, Nicaragua. Will and have taken a wonderful team of 21 adults and students on a week long missions trip, and I am thrilled for this sweet opportunity! Please keep us in your prayers as we will be sharing the gospel, singing a lot in Spanish, painting church walls, feeding hungry children, loving on the people of Nicaragua, encouraging new churches, acting out skits, laughing a lot, praying a lot, and eating muchos arroz y frijoles!

While I'm away, Callie and Elizabeth will be taking over my blog, so keep checking in to see some of their beautiful work and what they've been up to recently!

A few facts about Nicaragua you may or may not know:

- Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Hemisphere
- The largest city is Managua (where we will be staying)
- A few of the most popular dishes include: Gallo Pinto (rice and red beans), Nacatamal (made of corn, pork, potatoe, rice, and sometimes olives and raisins), Rondon (fish platter from the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua), Tajadas (fried thin slices of green plantains

- The majority of the Nicaraguan population are Mestizos (mixed Amerindian and European)
- Baseball is the most popular sport
- The Masaya Vocano is located in Nicaragua and is presently active (we will be visiting this one day on our trip!) 


*I will be back in the studio on July 30th answering emails. Thank you for your patience, and if you need anything urgent please contact Callie who will be running the studio while I'm away. (Callie [at] nancyrayphotography [dot] com). ¡Muchas Gracias!

Comments: 2

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Jul 18-13

You're Invited!

Press ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 11 comments

I am thrilled to invite you to our 5th Anniversary Celebration for Nancy Ray Photography! It will be a relaxed and fun evening, and I'd love to have you come the entire time or simply stop by for a quick minute to get some coffee and say hello. I do hope you can join us!

Here are my top 5 reasons of why I chose to celebrate our 5th anniversary:

1. Celebrating life's accomplishments doesn't happen much past college, and I believe that should change. So, I've made the decision to celebrate our accomplishments throughout the years, big and small, as we get older. Simple as that!

2. It's important to connect face to face. Too often I read comments or see Instagram posts that allow us to feel virtually connected, but we never actually get to meet. I would love to give YOU a big hug and say thank you for reading my blog, in person.

3. This is an opportunity to connect and promote other local business owners, which I love!  Sola, one of my favorite coffee cafes, will be hosting this event. Many other vendors and musicians will be involved too - more details are forthcoming!

4. Photo booths are fun. Enough said.

5. I want my business to be focused on people, serving them well, and blessing others. Generosity is a major theme of my life and business, because of how the Lord has been so generous to me.  I want to create an evening to serve and bless those I love and those I've never met. Stay tuned because there will be fun giveaways too!

If you plan on attending, please click here & RSVP !

PS. Don't you love the sneak peek of my new logo? Hugs to Elizabeth for creating something that is so beautiful and so me. A fun branding refresh is coming soon!

Comments: 11

  1. Emily Payne July 18, 2013 4:36 pm

    Congrats Nancy! This is so exciting! Photo booths are without a doubt the best way to celebrate any occasion :)
    Aug. 30 is my birthday, so I’ll be celebrating NRP’s birthday in spirit!

  2. Becca July 18, 2013 4:38 pm

    Hooray Nancy! What a huge accomplishment and worthwhile reason to celebrate. I am so very proud of you for building such a successful business with integrity and grace. You and your team are a joy to work with and you make our clients so happy by treating their weddings with more care than they could ever imagine.

    It kills me to miss this, but alas, the RRE team will be at a rehearsal and prepping for two weddings that weekend. Have a ball and I promise I’ll come celebrate with you soon. XOXO

  3. Amanda Marie July 18, 2013 5:17 pm

    Happy 5 years Nancy! And yes, I love the new logo!! Good for you for celebrating something so special and dear. A lot of work goes into what we do, and it’s so important to take the time out to really enjoy it and pat yourself on the back with a celebration like this :) Kuddos to you friend!! You ROCK! Oh and also, can we just talk about how if I lived closer I would totally be there!?!

  4. Bianca Valentim July 18, 2013 9:48 pm

    That’s so AMAZING!!!! If I lived close to you I would definitely join you to celebrate your business!!!

  5. Caitlin Alexander July 18, 2013 10:54 pm

    Ahh I am so proud of you! I would be there if I was closer to you :)

  6. Carmen July 18, 2013 11:48 pm

    Congratulations!! What a great way to celebrate your business!! Will love to stop by and meet you! ;)

  7. lisalis81 July 19, 2013 11:03 am

    Nancy- I have been following you for quite some time. Geoff and Cheyenne shot our wedding and we just love them and I feel like I know you via the Virtual world :)
    If I loved closer I would love to attend… but then again.. maybe a road trip is in the future :)

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Jul 16-13

There are some couples that I have an instant connection with - couples that I feel like I've known for years, even though we just met. Lizzy and Matt are definitely one of those couples. Maybe it's the fact that they simply love on everyone they meet, or that we share the same faith, or that they have hearts for ministry, or that they are completely selfless people, or that they love to lead people in worship and loving God, or that they love to have fun no matter what (and no matter the weather!), or that they are probably some of the most lovable people I've ever met (proven by the fact they have a bajillion friends who adore them). I'm pretty sure it's a combination of all of those things. No matter what the reason is, I know that I can honestly call Lizzy and Matt friends, and I'm sure we will stay in touch through the years. I don't want to lose touch with them, because they have left that much of an impact on me. I felt like I was a friend or even a family member at their wedding, not a photographer. I cried, I laughed with joy, I danced at their reception. They made me feel so welcome and loved.

As I'm sitting here at my computer, thinking back to their beautiful wedding day (rain and all), it's no coincidence that this song literally just started playing in the background. (Stop and take a minute to listen to it and worship if you can. It's worth it, I promise.) It just so happens to be the song that a bridesmaid sang during their ceremony - full of sweet emotion and love. God's Spirit pours out of this song, just like His Spirit was poured out at their wedding.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior 

I can't help but tear up as I sit here and think about the Lord's plan for their marriage and their lives. As someone who has served alongside my husband in ministry the last 4 years, I can honestly say that Matt and Lizzy have what it takes. They have the selfless hearts and passion for Jesus that is needed in ministry, and they draw from the well of love that is deeper than their own. This couple will do great things for the Kingdom of God as they serve at a wonderful church, and I can't wait to watch their lives and their love continue to unfold through the years. Matt and Lizzy, it was a privilege getting to know you and capturing this sweet time in your lives. I'm so excited for what God has for you! Please stay in touch!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Graylyn International Conference Center
Cake Artist: Cakes by Manfred
Caterer: The Graylyn International Conference Center
Reception Band: New River Boys
Videographer: Ben Roberts

These next two were captured by Callie - two of my favorites from the day! 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Abernethy!!!

Comments: 4

  1. Christen Barnes July 17, 2013 10:37 am

    It’s perfect!! What a lovely couple. And I love the film images!!

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  3. Samantha July 17, 2013 7:35 pm

    These are so beautiful! Such a stunning wedding and lovely photographs!

  4. Hannah July 19, 2013 8:44 pm

    Beautiful wedding! And that is one of my favorite songs!

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Jul 15-13

This October, you have the opportunity to be part of something that could literally change your life. I invite you to Making Things Happen : a two day intensive designed for those of you who need a boost to get fired up and turn your ideal life into a reality. There are only 7 SEATS LEFT, so hurry and register!

I love how it is described here :

The Making Things Happen intensive was designed to fire people up to make bold decisions in life and step into their fears instead of away from them. Making Things Happen is all about taking positive action toward your best life.

And there you have it. Honestly, it doesn't matter who you are or where you are in your life - you will benefit from this! This will be my fourth time participating, my second time speaking, and every time, no matter what, I get a new perspective on life and business. So join us! I cannot wait to meet you!

Be sure to follow these amazing women who I'm privileged to call my friends. What an honor to speak alongside each of them!
Emily / Lara / Gina / Amber / Rhi

Comments: 3

  1. Emily July 15, 2013 9:42 pm

    I cannot express enough how AMAZING MTH is and what a FANTASTIC job Nancy did speaking in March! If you haven’t signed up yet YOU MUST!!!

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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