Feb 11-15

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I got word that Jenn was in labor as I was pulling into my driveway late on Saturday night, just getting into town, and right as Nancy was packing her bags to head out of town. Thankfully, we thought this may happen, and had decided ahead of time to tag team Jenn and Ford's birth session in case either of us were out of town. Just like that - I was on duty and completely thrilled about it!

There was lots of communication over the next 12 hours or so, and Jenn's labor was progressing very slowly. Thankfully I was able to get a good night's sleep before arriving at the hospital around lunchtime on Sunday, right after they administered the epidural.

I walked eagerly into a dark hospital room where Jenn and Ford were resting. The epidural had finally given her some relief from the contractions, so the nurses advised that they try to get some sleep. I introduced myself, and we chatted for a little bit while I took some photos. They were so sweet, so calm, and really just wanted to make sure I was all set and comfortable. After about 30 minutes I headed out to the waiting room so they could rest until it was time. 5 hours later, I got the text: time to push.

I got into the room and it was quite a different scene than when I was there before. Lights were bright, Jenn and Ford were relaxed but wide eyed and grinning with excitement. Nurses were fluttering around preparing things and casually chatting with them. The eager anticipation was rising and very tangible. In the chaos of it all, Jenn and Ford would snuggle in closely, kiss each other, and affirm each other in their love and in Jenn's ability to do what she was about to do. Even in these moments, I fought back awestruck tears as my camera shook in my hands.

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Jenn pushed for 20 minutes or so. She had the best cheerleaders in her team of nurses, doctors, and Ford, who constantly either held her hand, stroked her hair, or kissed her and encouraged her between pushes. I won't ever forget the escalation of that sound, followed closely by a tiny little cry and lots of tears at 6:58pm. She was finally here!

The room cleared out over the next hour, and I watched Jenn and Ford hold, kiss, and study their baby for the first time. "She has your mouth", "She definitely has your hair", all the beautiful "she has" discoveries were starting to trickle out. Family started to trickle in. More tears, more hugs, more kisses. After a couple hours, things began to settle down in their new room, so I headed out. I hugged their necks, because I couldn't not, and headed home sometime close to midnight.

On the way home, I drove and just thanked the Lord for life. For new friends and for their healthy baby girl. Also for a job that allows me to preserve such sacred moments as I witnessed that day.

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Jenn and Ford - congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl, Evelyn James! I'm honored to have been there to capture that day for you.

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Feb 10-15

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When deciding if you would like to include videography in your wedding budget, it's important to know that there is a major difference between the two. While photography captures beautiful still moments, videography captures moments and words in action. In a beautiful way, videography captures moments, that just can't be captured with photography. It's two different mediums, telling the same story.

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Most photographers are very comfortable working with videographers, and will do their best to accommodate for each other's needs. We love working alongside videographers and are most of the time glued to the hip because we want to be in the same place at all times. If you're a bride considering videography, know that you can successfully have both and the outcomes will be different! Communicate with your photographer that you will have a videographer on your wedding day and make sure there are not any adjustments that need to be made.

Chris & Toni Wheaton with Heartstone Films

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Just in case you haven't seen our beautiful wedding photos, be sure to visit:

Our Wedding Part One
Our Wedding Part Two

I would be remiss if I didn't share with you our incredible wedding film by Heartstone Films. We cannot recommend them highly enough! Not only do they create incredible films, but they are so much fun to work with at a wedding. If you're considering a videographer, consider Heartstone Films. Now go grab a tissue... I cry every time!

Callie + Jamie | A Charleston, SC Wedding Film from Heart Stone Films on Vimeo.

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Feb 09-15

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I remember seeing the Thirst Relief Mentor Auction when I first was starting out in my business, almost 7 years ago. It was a dream of mine to be on that list of incredible photographers, mentoring others who were hungry for knowledge, and giving the proceeds away to an incredible organization that is literally saving lives. Honestly, to be a mentor in this auction is a dream come true! Not only am I honored to be listed among some truly incredible photographers, but the proceeds go to an amazing cause. Feb 9-12 you can bid to win an instructional session with myself and Will and save lives at the same time!

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You will receive One Mentor Session + our Business Budgeting Guide, and you name the price! It's an auction, so the prices of the session will be based on your bidding. Together, Will and I focus on a balance of creativity and business finances. Our goal is to equip every person we mentor with practical steps and financial knowledge to take your business to the next level.

So let's do this! It's a win, win, win! Learn all about it by clicking HERE!

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Feb 06-15

The NRP Team

NRP Team ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 2 comments

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This past September, the Nancy Ray Photography team had an adventure day. We drove to Lake Gaston, took photos in the pretty morning light, had fun tubing and skiing on the water, had lunch on the lake, discussed The Advantage, and just enjoyed being together. Of course we had to leave early in the morning in order to arrive at the perfect time to take some team photos! The husbands had to come along and join in on the fun and the photoshoot, and I have to give credit to Jamie (Callie's husband) for taking the team photos! (I see some potential!)

I seriously love this team. And guess what? We're growing! We've recently hired another Associate Photographer, and I cannot wait to introduce her to you. We are also in the process of hiring an Intern for this Spring and Fall, and we will be adding a tiny sidekick to the team in May as well! Our studio is busting at the seams and it makes me so grateful.

I get so many questions about how I have such an amazing team. Photographer email me all the time, asking how I'm blessed to have such amazing people on my team. The short answer is that I pray, and I'm very thorough when I hire! But the long answer will be coming in the Nancy Ray News on March 1st: the inside scoop on our hiring process. Be sure to sign up if you want to learn all about our it, and how it really affects the quality and unity of our team!

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Callie, Nancy and Elizabeth
Lead Photographers at Nancy Ray Photography

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Nancy Ray
Owner + Wedding Photographer
Photographs weddings on Saturdays, photographs sessions in the mornings or evenings, photographs editorials, works at her NRP home studio Mondays - Thursdays, emails, edits, manages the NRP team, organizes image workflow, creates Spotify playlists and contributes to the Nancy Ray News, loves running, blogging, reading, and date nights with Will
Husband : Will, married 6 Years
Pets: Winston the Great Dane
Kids: One on the way! Due May 27th
3 Fun Facts about Nancy:
1. I've never taken a PE class in my life! (And miraculously I've finished 2 half marathons!)
2. Will and I used to perform in musical theater plays together in High School. (Oklahoma, The Wiz, The Sound of Music...)
3. I sing, play the piano, and I'm learning to play the guitar

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Will Ray
Owner + 2nd Shooter + CFO

Photographs weddings on Saturdays alongside Nancy or Callie, manages the bookkeeping and finances of Nancy Ray Photography, our in-studio IT guy, leads NRP team meetings, manages client systems and bookings, contributes to the blog and the Nancy Ray News, keeps Nancy grounded, loves reading, blogging, golfing, watching UFC, and really loves pizza nights at home with Nancy
Wife: Nancy, married 6 years
Pets: Winston the Great Dane
Kids: One on the way
3 Fun Facts about Will:
1. I have an unusual taste in sports: I love soccer and UFC (as opposed to more traditional football, basketball, etc.)
2. I like to read. I'm currently reading multiple books on pregnancy and children.
3. I work listening to all types of music, from classical to hip-hop

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Callie Davis
Wedding Photographer + Studio Manager
Photographs weddings on Saturdays, photographs sessions in mornings or evenings, works alongside Nancy in the NRP Studio Tuesdays - Thursdays, emails, edits, keeps communication rolling with clients and vendors, drops off all deliveries at the UPS store and is friends with the staff, contributes to the blog and the Nancy Ray News, loves Young Life, Organization, her Simplified Planner, and blogging at Calle Me Callie
Husband: Jamie, married 9 months
Pets: Bokeh the Silver Lab
Kids: None yet
3 Fun Facts about Callie & Jamie:
1. Jamie and I did not say “I love you” until we were engaged
2. We love blasting our favorite music at home and breaking out into spontaneous dance parties
3. Shark Tank, The Blacklist and Fixer Upper are some of our favorite shows to watch together

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Elizabeth Tate
Family + Newborn Photographer + 2nd Shooter
Photographs couples, families, maternity sessions, births, and newborns; especially loves the smell of a newborn baby, 2nd shoots for Callie and Nancy occasionally, attends weekly NRP meetings and usually makes everyone laugh, emails and corresponds with all clients, contributes to the blog and the Nancy Ray News, loves steak and potatoes, traveling with Robert, snuggling her kitties, and admiring sports cars.
Husband: Robert
Pets: Noodle and Kiwi, our cats
Kids: None yet
3 Fun Facts about Elizabeth and Robert
1. Robert and I actually met in 1997 when our families went to church together while our dads were in seminary. We were in musicals, Sunday school classes, and youth group together, but boys had cooties back then so I wasn't interested in him (or any boy) in the slightest! The Tates moved back to Alabama during the awkward middle school years, and I didn't see him again until after my freshman year of college when he traveled up for his brother's wedding. He got off the plane, I did a double take, and that was that!
2. Robert and I share an intense love for food. We love to cook together and do that as often as we can because it makes normal week nights feel like date nights with the quality time we spend in the kitchen. When we sit down to dinner, I actually have this issue where I stare at him when he first starts eating because I love to watch him get excited when it's tasty. Most of the time I don't know I'm doing it and it totally creeps him out. I'm working on doing that less so he can eat in peace.
3. We love going to bed early and we are extremely weird sleepers. I cry in my sleep a whole lot, and he talks in his sleep a whole lot. There is no connection between his talking and my crying, fortunately.
4. Fun fact #4 added by Nancy: Elizabeth and I were roomies together in college!

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Comments: 2

  1. Kelly February 6, 2015 1:58 pm

    I love getting these little glimpses into your personal lives! Thanks for sharing with us readers. Elizabeth staring at her husband eating is hysterical. :) :)

  2. Annie February 11, 2015 8:45 pm

    Nancy, I always love your style. I know you and your husband have been on a strict budget for the past few years. How do you manage to purchase such flattering clothes while sticking to a monthly budget? Would you mind doing a post about some of your favorite brands/stores and how those of us trying to live debt free can look good while doing it?

    Thank you so much, Annie

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Feb 05-15

2015 Book List

Goals ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 6 comments

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Ok, I have to start with this disclaimer : There are a whole lot of parenting books on this list! Obviously, this season of my life is different than anything I've ever experienced, so Will and I are ready to soak in any and every parenting book that has been recommended to us. (Parents out there - please leave more suggestions in the comments if you have a highly recommended book!)

Even while I am so ready and hungry to learn about parenting, I want to stick with my philosophy of maintaining a somewhat balanced reading list. Although the majority of books we read will be centered on the new tiny person in our lives, I'm excited to also incorporate books for life in all of the following categories, as I do every year :

Spirituality
Finances
Career
Marriage + Family
Social
Personal + Intellectual Development
Health
Rest/Enjoyment

I'll be honest : sometimes I don't want to read another book on finances, or marriage, or career - especially if I feel things are going well in those areas of my life. But I always include them on my list. Why? Because I believe it's important to keep growing in all areas of your life - even the ones you don't really want to learn about.

For example, Will and I have a really strong marriage. It's NOT perfect - we have our moments of misunderstandings and frustrations. But overall, we communicate well and are very happy together. We read several books when we were engaged to prepare for marriage, and now I feel like I don't really need to learn any more or read any more, because we are good to go. But how many couples think they are fine? That nothing bad could happen? That they have a good handle on things? And yet still, 50% of marriages end in divorce. I believe that a well rounded reading list is like preventative medicine : it keeps you from getting "sick" before you realize you already are. How many marriages could have been saved if couples were diligent to read and apply what they learned? It's a life maintenance philosophy, and I believe much heartache and discouragement can be avoided if we commit to reading and learning about each area of life! (Hence the reason why Will and I are completing a marriage study together before Baby Ray comes along!)

So, with that said, I'm certainly looking forward to my list for this year! My goal is to read 12 of these 17 books listed, which translates to 1 per month. (Since there's a baby that will take up much of my time, I figured it would be a wise move for 2015.) I may not finish all of them, but I did include extras in the list, just in case I found myself reading like a crazy woman on maternity leave. So here it is... my book list for 2015!

Nancy Ray Reads : 2015 Book List

Spirituality
- Make it Happen
- The Best Yes

Finances
- The Soul of Money

Career
- Boundaries for Leaders

Marriage + Family
- The Story of Marriage (Book + DVD study)
- Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After
- Childbirth without Fear
- Power of a praying parent
- The Happiest Baby on the Block
- On Becoming Baby Wise
- The Birth Partner

Social (Book Clubs and Small Group readings)
- The Blessed Life

Personal + Intellectual Development
- 1776
- Time Traps

Health
- How to raise a healthy child in spite of your doctor

Rest + Enjoyment
- The Glass Castle
- The Harry Potter Series


Nancy's 2013 Book List
Nancy's 2014 Book List

Don't forget to follow the #nancyrayreads hashtag on Instagram!

Comments: 6

  1. Cassie Nadeau February 5, 2015 1:09 pm

    I have an almost-three-year-old daughter (and another baby girl due in May!) and I am a parenting/childhood development book junkie.

    That said, my favorite parenting book hands down is Simplicity Parenting. It is the one book that truly changed the way we parent.

    Congratulations on your sweet baby, Nancy! Motherhood can make your whole life seem brand new.

    PS Great with Child is my second favorite; I give it to all my expecting friends. xoxo

  2. Jen February 5, 2015 2:32 pm

    Really excited for you, Nancy! I believe the best thing you can give your child (and this world, really) is a healthy marriage. Love that you’re continuing to invest in one another. I did a bible study my last 8 weeks pregnant with Eden. One of the first sentences in the study said something to the effect of: There are a million and one parenting books out there claiming to have the best advice and right advice. But they ALL contradict one another leaving us overwhelmed and confused. The author went on to encourage us to utilize the Holy Spirit, our Helper, in our parenting. I know you know that – but it was so good to read. Trust your God given instincts with baby Ray. He created that little love, and has equipped you PERFECTLY to raise him or her. I can give you instance after instance when I sought God in my parenting, begged for wisdom, and He gave it. Over and over again. With that said – there were 3 books I found especially helpful. Aaron and I did Bradley Method with each of our children, and if you aren’t able to take the class, Husband Coached Childbirth is a fabulous read. Even if you don’t intend on natural labor, it is very helpful, and through. I can honestly say that some of my most favorite memories as a married couple are the birth of our children. We were a team, and no way could I have done what I did without my man beside me. Precious memories. The other 2 are On Becoming Baby Wise and Shepherding a Child’s heart. Read them both with a grain of salt – and remember they aren’t Gospel. But they were VERY helpful for Aaron and I with our little girl. But as you walk through parenting and recall wisdom from books, friends, etc. don’t forget your Helper. If it’s not working, try something else. And give yourself a LOT of grace. Y’all aren’t going to be perfect parents, but you serve a God who is. Can’t wait to see his or her beautiful face!

  3. Jamie Hopkins February 5, 2015 5:17 pm

    I always look forward to your book list! Scott read 1776 last summer and LOVED it. Enjoy!

  4. Lauren Jolly Thomas February 6, 2015 2:31 pm

    The Glass Castle is wonderful! I hope you get to that one :) Also, I’m glad to see you found a copy of Childbirth Without Fear that has a better cover photo! Haha I can’t stand the other one(s). Love your list!

  5. Jaime Hanson February 8, 2015 7:30 pm

    Hi dear! Loved seeing you this weekend. I love this list and will be grabbing a few of your marriage book recommendations! I have to share my go to parenting book—Moms on Call. I loved Baby Wise and Happiest Baby on the Block, but found that when I was exhausted and overwhelmed at 2 a.m. in those early weeks (it doesn’t last forever I promise!) I couldn’t process them or remember what I had read. Moms on Call is a quick, bullet point style read that I could refer back to in a hurry whenever needed (which was often!) Highlights include their shopping list and sample daily schedules for each age and stage. So so helpful!

  6. Kyla Fetzner February 9, 2015 1:25 pm

    Your reading lists are always inspiring to me Nancy! I just started reading ‘Redeeming Love’ and remembered how you have mentioned it in the past as a favorite :)

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Feb 03-15

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Communicate, communicate, communicate. Here at Nancy Ray Photography, we believe in over communicating with our brides because it brings us great success on the wedding day. Here are some reasons why we believe this:

1. It's important to clear up any loose ends BEFORE the wedding day
2. It provides the photographer with the information to arrive as prepared as possible
3. It relieves a lot of potential stress and confusion

Yes, my photographer is one of my closest friends and yes, we work together on a regular basis, but Nancy made it a point for us to set aside time to discuss my wedding day. Discussing all of the details beforehand will give you more piece of mind, allow you to trust your photographer and enjoy your wedding day without worry!

Some things that you should think about discussing with your wedding photographer:

- Your wedding day timeline (ex. the locations, how everything will flow and at what point things will happen)
- Your desired family picture combinations (ex. Pitts extended family picture, Picture with my mom and grandmother)
- Any special moments that will be happening that you would like photographed (ex. gift exchanges, choreographed dances or special toasts)
- Any specific things you wish to be photographed (ex. your grandmother's white bible you're carrying down the aisle, your great aunt, or a photograph of you and your husband at a specific location)

The more information you can convey to your photographer, the better! Every bride and wedding is different and it's important to let your photographer know how best they can serve you. Think through your wedding day, detail by detail, and ask yourself if you think it might by helpful for your photographer to know more about that detail or situation. Is natural light important to you? Do you have any family situations that they should be made aware of? Will you have a videographer on your wedding day?

Even as a photographer, I knew that I was able to be fully present as a bride my wedding day, because Nancy and Will knew everything they needed to know beforehand. What an amazing gift they were able to give me!

Comments: 1

  1. Phillip February 17, 2015 12:31 pm

    Hi Nancy, you have a great site and nice blog. I hope we get a chance to work together this wedding season. Take care!

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Feb 02-15

To read Part One, Click Here

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Do you want to hear the sweetest thing EVER? Last night when I came home from the Return to Rest retreat, I walked upstairs to unpack and saw that Will had painted the entire nursery while I was away! A beautiful and cozy light gray we picked out the other week! I couldn't believe it. He has been just the sweetest husband I could ask for during this pregnancy. I don't know what I'd do without him. Also, there's gonna be a real live baby in my house in just a few months. What the what! This is getting real, people!

It is so hard to believe that I will already be 6 months pregnant THIS WEEK. My belly has grown quite a bit since the photo was taken above... this whole process is still quite surreal. I've been told that I'll never really get used to it, even when the baby arrives, and I know that will be the case for me. My prayer is that I would slow down and enjoy every season of this, knowing that I'll never be pregnant for the first time again.

Since I last shared my heart about my journey with this sweet baby, not much has changed, yet everything has changed.

I'm still the same independent, goal-setter, anti-clutter, love-my-sleep, entrepreneur, love-my-husband, focused, love-to-travel, joyful Nancy that I've always been. And yet, I am ALSO a Mama who loves to feel these kicks, who loves the challenge of planning a maternity leave, who loves the thought of Will being a Daddy, who loves tiny hats and mittens.

For some reason, I thought that I couldn't be all of these things at once. I thought I'd have to sacrifice my ambition for mommyhood. But I'm realizing, I don't. It's ALL who I am. I don't have to choose one or the other, I simply have to choose to be comfortable in who God made me to be.

Day by day, month by month, I've traded my anxiety for joy. I honestly am very surprised at how much I am enjoying this journey. I thought I'd be kicking and screaming the whole way, since I dreaded being pregnant for so, so long. I'm thankful for God's goodness to me early on - that he began to prepare my selfish heart for this season long before I got pregnant. This is God's good plan for me, and it's much sweeter when I lay down my own expectations and plans and simply embrace His plans.

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Some highlights of my pregnancy so far:

We've decided to keep the gender a surprise
After much deliberation and many conversations, we have decided to keep this little one's gender a surprise. We are praying and hoping for a healthy baby, and while we both think it's a boy, we are very excited for the moment of anticipation in the deliver room when the doctor says, "It's a ____!" We decided this for several reasons: First, we want practical and neutral gifts that can be shared among siblings. Secondly, I've heard its great motivation in the delivery room when you are ready to meet your baby. Lastly, it's one of life's last greatest surprises, and we wanted to keep it that way. People have been surprised for thousands of years, and I love the anticipation of it. Not to mention - every single couple that has highly encouraged us to wait to find out has done it themselves, and said it was the best thing they've ever done!

Names
The plan is that we will pick out one girl name and one boy name before we go to the hospital! We have a handful of names that we like, but we are very undecided. Hoping it will become clearer as time passes!

Cravings / Food
I love salty, savory, vinegary food. My favorites have been pickles, Olive Garden salad, anything with banana peppers, and all dairy products! Whole milk has never tasted so good. I also eat granola + bananas + yogurt every morning and it never gets old.

Movement
This has been my favorite highlight of all! I'll never forget when I was lying on my bed one night at 20 weeks, and I felt this baby having a dance party in my belly. Will hadn't felt it move yet, but I was convinced he would be able to feel it. I called him into the room, he knelt down beside my bed, and after waiting with this hand on my belly for a few moments I felt a solid kick. He looked at me and said, "WAS THAT IT?!" We both started laughing and I said, "YES!" Since then, our little one has not stopped. It's constantly moving and kicking and I love it!

Learning
Let the book reading begin! Will is reading The Birth Partner and the Expectant Father. I'm reading What to Expect and How to raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor. We have a long list of books on parenting we want to read this year, which we will be sharing soon. We signed up for Birth Classes and we watched the Business of Being Born Documentary as well. Goodness there's so much to learn. I want to educate myself as much as possible, while keeping an open mind and being willing to welcome whatever story God chooses to write when we welcome baby Ray into the world.

That's it for now, friends. The same ol' me with a growing Mama's heart. For all you entrepreneur Mamas out there - I'd LOVE to hear from you! What are your favorite books? Resources? Advice?

Comments: 8

  1. Emily February 2, 2015 11:40 am

    Not a mama, but I have already read All Joy and No Fun (HIGHLY recommended), Simplicity Parenting (most relevant for slightly older kids), and am currently reading Expecting Better (I think you would like it based on the “in spite of your doctor” book!)!

  2. Michelle February 2, 2015 6:24 pm

    My ob is the doc in the business of being born. Totally discovered that a few months after I started seeing him. Make sure your hospital is on board with your preferences before you show up. Oh, and get a doula. Best money I ever spent!

  3. Samantha February 3, 2015 9:24 am

    Wonderful! I read A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in your childbirth experience — and I really enjoyed the words of many women about their childbirth experience. You and Will will be absolutely wonderful (you already are!)

  4. Justine February 3, 2015 10:19 am

    Nancy- you look beautiful! Love your updates and reading your goals! XOX

  5. Linda Baker February 3, 2015 11:49 am

    You are so beautiful and I love your story. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you…girl or boy, both are amazing gifts from God!

  6. Leanne Caroline February 3, 2015 3:11 pm

    It is a joy to read (and learn from) your words Nancy. And I agree with all of the above, it is amazing watching your heart grow and expand. Wishing you well xo

  7. Lorin February 3, 2015 3:43 pm

    Yay for Baby Ray! So exciting to hear more about you & Will’s exciting journey to parenthood :) My hubby just wrapped up reading Husband-Coached Childbirth & loved it. Dr. Bradley gives so much insight for our husbands to know & understand from the current stage of pregnancy all the way up to labor & delivery. I’m currently reading On Becoming Babywise, which had been highly recommended from family & friends.

  8. Lorin February 3, 2015 3:46 pm

    P.S. We’re also taking Bradley classes & loving them!

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Feb 01-15

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February Goals

- Read 12 in 12: How to raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor
(A super informative book given by some dear friends of mine!)
- Hire and begin training our new NRP Associate Photographer
- Create my 2015 Booklist
- Begin taking Birth Classes with Will (!)
- Host a team lunch
- Plan a team fun day for this Spring
- Walk / Run a 15K
- Book our Babymoon
- Declutter Nursery Room + Guest Room Closet
- Paint the Nursery (we decided on a beautiful light grey)
- Clean out studio / back up all files to start fresh for the year*
- Choose dates for our financial workshop in the fall*
*incomplete from last month

This baby makes me feel like I'm racing against the clock, because I am! And these sweet little kicks I'm feeling as I type are reminding me that time is ticking away... and all of this planning is worth it. I'm front loading this year, and backloading it too - in order to make room for this baby and my maternity leave this summer. I have a vision in my head of May 1st : a clean and clutter free house, a new website about to launch, a large belly on a very active body (yes, I plan to run throughout my pregnancy!), and my travel, speaking, and wedding dates planned for the rest of the year.

I am far from that vision right now. My house feels very cluttered, I haven't begun the new website process yet, I've slowed my running a bit after my 10K race. But it's important to know : ALL GOALS START WITH A VISION. Otherwise, you don't have a starting point for good goals!

I visualize that by the time this baby comes, I'm healthy and happy and all my ducks are in a row. Now, it's time for me to roll up my sleeves and hustle. While this baby has taken me on a whirlwind of emotions (see this post, and come back tomorrow for another Baby Ray update), I am so thankful. God's timing is good, and a tiny little life is about to enter into my world and change it forever. My goal setting, for the most part, hasn't changed. But my focus has shifted :

less is more
people are more important than tasks
I need to care for my body more than ever
treasuring time with Will is my focus
my little family is the most important thing I can invest in

Time is flying. Let's do this, February!

Comments: 1

  1. Leanne Caroline February 4, 2015 4:43 am

    Hi Nancy, a website you may find interesting/helpful is http://www.slowyourhome.com. Its ‘owner’ is Brooke, an Aussie mum of 2 kids, living a simplified and clutter free life (and home)…. ie. it can be done! Wishing you all the best with your de-cluttering and running xo

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Jan 29-15

I must say - I am thrilled to be getting some snow in my life this winter after all! Today I am on a plane to the lovely, snowy New Hampshire where the high will be 33 and the low will be 3. I am speaking at Return to Rest - an intimate gathering of faith-driven, creative, entrepreneurial women. From photographers to stylists to artists, ladies from all over will come together for a few days to encourage one another in the Lord and in an identity securely anchored in Him.

ReturntoRest

To be honest, I need to hear the words I'm speaking more than anyone. Sometimes, as creative entrepreneurs, we can be really intense with ourselves. We demand more of ourselves than we do of our spouse, our kids, our team members - we can be relentless. I can be relentless, with me. And sooner or later, it takes its toll on my spiritual, mental, and physical health.

The truth is, God calls us to rest.
Weekly, we are to take a Sabbath.
Daily, we are to spend time with Him.
Moment by moment, we are to live in His rest by living in His Holy Spirit.

He calls us to not be productive, to not check something off a list, to not do do do.
Sometimes He calls us to laugh, to sit, to take a deep breath.

I'll admit - this is hard for me. I find myself quite often making excuses for rest, and why it's not productive. Or, I spend my "rest" days doing laundry, tackling a home project, dreaming about the week of work ahead of me. I don't every actually rest. Sit. Waste time and soak in a nap, a book, or take a walk.

I'm ready. I'm ready to share some words that God has given to me, and I'm also ready to listen to them. This year, I want rest and joy to be much more evident than stress and my to-do list!

Follow along with us at @ReturntoRest! And if this sounds like something you would love to be a part of, another retreat will be happening in November, so stay up to date with the Return to Rest site for info to come.

Comments: 2

  1. Em January 29, 2015 10:17 am

    Happy for you! This opportunity seems to connect to several of your 2015 goals – less stress, more joy, cutting off work/time management. I hope it is wonderful, and enjoy that snow for me! :)

  2. Kyla Fetzner January 29, 2015 12:12 pm

    I hope you have a wonderful time in our snowy state! I helped Ruthie and Kate set up a bit yesterday and Merrymeeting Lake was absolutely beautiful :)

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Jan 28-15

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One lovely set of new products we are offering this year are our Frame Collections!

When I think of the end of my life when I'm old and grey, I picture a home full of frames and gallery walls, just like I remember my grandparents home. I want to stroll through the halls and remember my wedding day, the birth of our children, memories of them growing up, adventures and trips we've taken, ministry opportunities, scripture, and photos of my favorite places on this beautiful earth. I want my home rich in memories, not clutter. And this is the perfect way to start!

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To really capture and remember the most important days of your life, it's important to display them on the walls of your home! Canvases are a lovely way to do that, but if you are more traditional, the Frame Collections might be the perfect fit for you. (I personally love a mixture of both!)

The Frame Collections are the perfect starting off point after your wedding day or recent family session, to truly begin this legacy in your own home.

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We are offering three lovely new collections :

Collection One : Barn Grey
• (2) 20x24 frames with 16x20 mat openings for prints
• (1) 24x24 frame with 20x20 mat opening for prints

Collection 2: Metro White
• (2) 16x20 frames with 11x14 mat openings for prints
• (2) 11x14 frames with 8x10 mat openings for prints
• (4) 8x10 frames with 5x7 mat openings for prints

Collection 3: Bella Gold (pictured in this post)
• (2) 20x24 frames with 16x20 mat openings for prints
• (2) 16x20 frames with 11x14 mat openings for prints

To purchase your Frame Collections, visit the Nancy Ray Store!

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Comments: 1

  1. Dennis Bullock February 4, 2015 9:51 am

    These are all so amazing Nancy!

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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!
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