Monday, November 19, 2012

california: full circle

Years ago, I got a great opportunity to attend a photography conference.  I called my Mom, and she immediately suggested we go together.  We spent days in Orange County at a beautiful resort and drove to LA.  Mom even rented a convertible, so we could have a better experience.  I will forever look back on that trip as a beautiful time with my Mom.

I credit her for giving me the courage and desire to travel.  Looking back on these last few years, I could never have imagined the experiences I would have.  These are times full of fun and work and friends and lessons I could only learn away.

With only 3 weeks left here in California, I'm having a hard time thinking about leaving.  It's bitter-sweet for sure.  But, it's time to move on.  Time to get married.  Time for a new season of life.  

Though I'm moving on, I'll never lose Mom in my memories.  California just seems a little closer to Mom than others, and that makes it hard.  I know she knows how I'm feeling, though, and I guarantee that she is watching every step of the wedding process.  With great joy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

picking up...

I picked up my camera tonight, and I am so glad I did.  This is the sun-setting over San Francisco, the view from my condo, and a place I'm definitely going to miss.

Photography has taught me to find beauty wherever I am.  Different locations, different shoots, differing lighting and weather - they can all be challenges, but I love the beauty that is all of it.  

So, I'm going to make a better effort of picking up my camera and taking it different places.  This might involve some free sessions, so stay tuned!  

Friday, October 19, 2012

a sweet, sweet family...

There are just those people.  You know who they are.  Faithful, hospitable, kind, sweet people.

I had the privilege of photographing their wedding four years ago.  I can't believe it's been that long...  When Andrea called me about flying to Houston to take pictures of their new addition, she said, "I just can't think of anyone else I'd rather have taking his picture."  There couldn't be a better compliment.

Is he not precious?  He's named after his paternal grandfather, and it's just a perfect name for this sweet little guy.  :)  I am lucky to know the entire family and look forward to watching him grow up.

Andrea, my friend, motherhood looks great on you.  You were made for it.  Your caring, humble, patient personality makes a killer mom!  Robert is a lucky boy, and I think he already knows it.  But, he'll know it more as he grows.

Best wishes, Michael and Andrea.  And much, much love!  Thanks for blessing me with the gift of my time there.  I love you all dearly.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"the story"

People have been asking "how did it happen?"  So, I wanted to write out the proposal.  It may be a little long-winded, but I wanted to remember the details, and the surprises that you'll find out about.  :)

David’s best friend, Andy, got married in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The wedding was beautiful.  It was an elegant, quaint, sweet ceremony in the bride's mother’s back yard.  The morning after the wedding, we had planned to spend a few days at Virginia Beach.  Our little “mini-vacation” together was definitely not what we had imagined, as it was 47 degrees, cold, and very windy. 
Needless to say, when David kept suggesting we go on a walk along the beach, I questioned that idea, but it made sense when he said that he wanted to find a bar to watch the football game (the Washington Redskins).  It was a really sweet walk, and we talked about how perfect our whirlwind romance has been.  
We never found a good spot to watch the game, so we went back to the restaurant at our hotel.  We had a great appetizer and split a bottle of wine.  I remember feeling very intrigued by how quickly David was drinking the wine.  Our time together is usually peaceful and enjoyable, but he seemed to be rushing things.  He again eased my suspicions by just stating that he wanted to go back to the hotel room, where he could hear the commentary.  So, I quickly finished my wine, and we left.
Looking back, I’m very impressed by how calm he was on the walk back…  Until we got to our floor.  I walked quickly and said, “Hurry!  I need to go to the bathroom.”  He told me to stop, looked at his phone, and then mumbled something about a frustrating client.  He walked to the door and opened it.
I walked into a dark room, lit only with a walkway of candles.  They were everywhere!  Candles leading to a small table, which held a bouquet of flowers and a ring box.  I froze.  I stood at the doorway, dropped my purse, and just stood there.  I remember taking off my shoes.  I don’t really know why I took off my shoes, but I did!  I didn't know what else to do.
The only thing I could do was stand there.  I started tearing up, and he said, “You might want to walk towards me.”  The path of candles was beautiful.  As soon as I got to him, he got down on one knee.  He said, “Camille Beasley, will you marry me?”  Of course I was going to answer “yes,” but I didn’t know what to do next.  I just stood there. 
That’s when I heard a very loud squeal from my SISTER, who jumped out from behind the bed.  I screamed and jumped, David screamed and jumped, and then Jacob (my brother-in-law) came out of the bathroom to reprimand my sister for not letting me answer.  I didn’t realize that I hadn’t officially answered, so I turned to David and said, “Of course I will marry you!”
That’s when he put it on my finger: a beautiful, ascher-cut diamond engagement ring, with small diamonds and vintage etching in the band.  It is literally perfect; I could never have designed it better.  What’s more incredible is that I have always said that I wanted a family ring, and it was David’s grandmother’s ring.
We four had a champagne toast, some snacks from room service, and spent the next few hours visiting, calling family/friends, and reliving the crazy surprise that had just taken place.  David and I met up with Candace and Jacob later that night for a late dinner at the hotel restaurant – Catch 31.  It was perfect.  The wine, the atmosphere, the food, the company, the emotions; it is a dinner that I will forever remember. 
And so it begins – the rest of our lives.  I cannot wait to spend it with him.  His gentle spirit, sense of humor, humility, kindness, and caring spirit are just a few of the things that amaze me about this man.  He is good man, and I am a lucky, lucky girl.


Wow.  I don't even know how to put this into words, but I'm getting married! 

His name is David.  This weekend, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever.  With candles all around, a bouquet of flowers, and a beautifully vintage engagement ring.  It was perfect.

David and I met in Virginia when I was a travel nurse.  Our first few months together definitely had their challenges, as I literally moved completely across the country from him.  With the distance, though, has come a beautiful relationship and fostered some deep commitment from each of us.  

There are plenty of things that I truly appreciate about David, but I just can't look past how calm I feel around him.  I have this overwhelming sense of peace whenever we are together.  It's truly like nothing else in the world matters; I am completely able to just "be" and to be loved in that way. 

I often find myself thinking about my Mom.  I think about the woman she was and the woman that she would encourage me to be.  She would love David, love to hear the story of our engagement, and be so ecstatic to talk through wedding plans.  It's almost toxic to imagine this process without her...

But, as I think about Mom, I appreciate how she taught me to enjoy life.  I hate the times that David and I are apart, yet I covet how our relationship is fostered because of it.  I truly have learned to "be" and to enjoy each moment I am with him, and I know I learned that from her.

The calm kindness with which she lived life is exactly how I want to be.  I can only hope that I can be the wife to David that she was to my Dad.  

(more to come... including the "whole story" and more about China!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. F

I have the greatest brides.  I really do!!!  This lovely lady e-mailed me about shooting her wedding right before I was heading to China.  It worked out so well, I invited the fabulous Hillary Gamble to shoot with me, and it was a lovely, lovely day.

Hillary and I both deemed this "First Look" as one of the sweetest in the history of them.  It was so, so precious.

Altadena Valley Presbyterian Church is ALWAYS a beautiful venue, and the overcast skies were really incredible!

I love photos like this.  Hands with 3 generations of rings.  I hope this image is cherished FOREVER.

The greatest, greatest smile of all time always comes right before the bride walks down the aisle - I LOVE IT!

A little "Roll Tide" to go, and they're off.

Thanks for letting me be apart of your big day.  I truly loved it!

For the full gallery, head over to:

Thursday, September 13, 2012


worship: "to have or express feelings of profoud adoration"

I had so many surprising moments of worship in China.  We had team devotionals and a prayer time, but it was more than that to me.  I worshipped mainly when I was photographing kids and their interactions with our team-mates. 
The building where we stayed has huge, beautiful windows that let in a lot of natural sunlight.  For a photographer, it's a dream location.  I felt like every picture was perfect - was exactly how it felt - and photographed so easily because of the setting. 
What a blessing to be able to capture those moments.  And to feel joy in doing so.  It was really incredible.

**DISCLAIMER: I realize it's a little ironic that I am posting about photography with no pictures.  While I do plan to edit this post with a few "non-kid" photos, I have decided to not post pictures of the children on my blog.  If you are interested in seeing either a slideshow or a gallery of images, I can privately send you a link.  E-mail me!**

on being "unplugged"

I went to China with few expectations.  I knew what I needed to do for my trip and knew about the organization I went with - Show Hope.  That was about all.  I wanted to truly "experience" it fully - as something completely different than anything I was used to.  I did, and it was wonderful.
Since being back in the United States, I have been missing how "unplugged" I was over there.  I didn't have cell service, usually couldn't use my computer, and couldn't get iMessage or FaceTime to work, even when the wireless internet was working.  

And, it was beautiful.  Pure.  Restful.

It allowed me to do things like TALK to people.  Journal my thoughts/events of the day.  Listen to music.  Or best of all - just BE - in silence.  Without the temptation of facebook, e-mails, instagram, and text messages, I could use my time for other things.  And, I'm so glad that I did.  What's even more amazing is that nothing exploded.  My clients waited for me to get back.  The online bills can be paid now.  The e-mails went nowhere except to my inbox, and they are still there.  

And, I came back a better person for the experience of it.  

One of Show Hope's "core commitments" is James 1:27, which talks about pure religion including care for orphans.  I was lucky to experience this "purity."  Life seems much simpler there; I am so grateful that I got to experience it...

(more to come soon!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

I left my heart in China.

Many children in China have my heart.  I'm not sure that I'll ever get it back.  One sweet little boy has many medical problems, but when I walked in the room, he nothing but smiled and giggled.  My moments in his room were full of joy and of worship and of love; those sweet, pure moments are times I will never forget!

I realize that a lot of you guys may not know what Show Hope is or is really about.  It's a "movement to care for orphans."  Their main ministry right now is two-folded.  They give grants to families who are adopting internationally.  They also work to care for special needs orphans in China.  There are four centers in areas of China who take on children who would have just been left to die.

For whatever their conditions were, often the children were left in a small room to die.  Orphanages didn't know what to do with children with Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, cleft lip/palate, bad malnutrition, brain syndromes, spine abifida, etc.  The founders of this organization asked if they could have a room to start caring for these children, and it has now grown to these special care centers.
I did not know what to expect, but I could not have had a better experience there.  I worked with an incredible group of people on my team who encouraged me the entire time.  I'm actually going to be blogging about my experiences there over the next few weeks, so if you're interested, check back!  
I did blog once for Show Hope while I was over there, so if you're interested, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Remembering Mom #5

It's really incredible how much I miss my Mom.  I think about my counselor Gordon a lot, when he says that sorrow and joy are emotions that should exist simultaneously.  I'm so glad he told me that because it makes me feel "normal."  The reason I miss Mom so much is because she brought such joy to my life.  That brings me sorrow.  Those emotions have to co-exist, or I couldn't make it through.

I often try to call my Mom.  I know that my siblings do, too.  She would love to hear about what's going on in all our our lives.  She would love to meet my boyfriend.  She would love to see Mason (my nephew), naked and attempting to clean the bathroom.  She would love to help Riley (my niece) put on her fake nails.  :)  It's just wrong that I can't share that with her.

The only way that I can fathom moving on is to enjoy the life that she led.  What I feel like honors her is to strive to be the woman she was.  There wasn't a selfish bone in her body, and everyone around her felt loved.  Oh, how I long to be that person.  I long to be like her.

And, I won't ever quit wanting her to be here.  I look back on my life with my Mom as a beautiful thing, yet I hate the new phase of life that doesn't include her.  I'm longing to not hate it -- because she would frown on that.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

a little update...

Oh, my Mom would've LOVED to have seen this pictures.  I've over and over again gone through the pictures, finding new ones that I love more than the last.  I can't get past this one, though.  It's just so perfect...  so sweet, so simple.  Ugh, I love it!
Many, many, many thanks (again) to my friend Jessica for shooting with me.  This image is hers, and I'm forever grateful that she captured it!!

The last few days I've had this overwhelming amount of gratitude in thinking about my Mom.  It's really incredible all the things that you realize you should've been thankful for...  the hours she spent doing laundry, the hundreds of pieces of fruit she cut up and peeled for us to eat, the sacrifices she made to save for us to go on vacation - she really was extraordinary.

I still don't like using past tense with my Mom.  It just sucks.  Every
time I talk about her, I have to think about being grammatically correct; I'm just constantly reminded she is gone.  

If she were here, I promise she'd cry at the picture above.  And the slideshow I put together of Bridgette and Chad:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Cagle

 Tera.  She's just a doll.  She and I go back to 6th grade, and she hasn't changed a bit - that's what I love about her.  I was more than honored to capture her big day.  The picture above shows a pendant that she carried in memory of her grandmother, which I just thought was so, so special.

 Yes, Tera is one of those girls... beautiful, tall, slender, gorgeous!!!  She really is, though, as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.  She's kind and easy-going and thoughtful and friendly - she was a gracious hostess as a bride.
 This cowboy sure does clean up well.  :)  And, they're just full of love for each other.  The ceremony and reception were just PERFECT.

Many congrats to you both, Bobby and Tera.  Thanks for the honor of being there!

And, many, many, many, many thanks to my friend Jessica Wright for joining me to capture this day. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

longing for "home"

A year ago today, my sweet Mom went to be with Jesus.  I'm not sure how to process this day, mostly because I haven't known how to process this past year.  I long to feel at "home" the way I felt with her.  Nothing feels right.  Life feels more black-and-white than full of color when I'm missing her.  There's a lot that is gone.  

I've walked through many emotions over this last year, and I know I'll continue to do that.  Today I am just sad.  Sad that I can't tell her about San Francisco.  Sad that I'm planning a family beach trip without my "family."  Sad that she won't know her children's spouses or her future grandchildren.  It just often doesn't seem fair.

More than ever, I'm aware of the fact that this world is not our home.  And, I long to be home...  There isn't a place right now that feels like a home to me, and I want that haven.  I hope that the longing I feel draws me closer to Jesus.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012


 My 7 year-old niece and I were talking today about BFF's - you know "Best Friends Forever."  We were discussing if family members can be your BFF, or if that's just for "friends."  I don't remember the outcome of the conversation, but I think I'm pretty sure I know who my BFF is.  You're looking at her.  
 The words that I would use to describe Bridgette would be the following: fun, faithful, friendly, humble, content, gracious, beautiful.  
Fun: I met Bridgette at a summer camp.  Many of our memories together are based on the times we had together on those hot, humid afternoons.
Faithful: When my Mom called to tell me that she had brain cancer, I picked up the phone and told Bridgette she had to come be with me.  15 minutes later, I was weeping in her arms... smelling the Panera she brought me, of course.  :)
Friendly: Everyone likes Bridgette.  Enough said.
Humble: Bridgette has worked so hard for everything in her life and is so deserving of it all.  She ALWAYS puts other people in front of her own self/desires.
Content: Bridgette takes NOTHING for granted.  NOTHING.  She appreciates life for what it is - life that she is able to live.  She is seriously as happy with little as she would be with much.
Graciously Beautiful: I combined the last two adjectives because I don't know that I need to explain her further.  Especially if you know her, you know what I mean!
 She'll always hold a special place in my heart because she was so close to my sweet Momma.  They share the same name, and I know why.  One certain people have that name.  Momma loved Bridgette because she, 15 years ago, saw the character in her that I see now that I am older.  One day I hope to have a daughter named "Bridgett," which is the spelling between my Momma "Bridget" and my sweet friend "Bridgette."  
 In exactly 3 weeks, I'll be watching Bridgette drive away with her new husband, and I'll be crying.  Tears of PURE JOY - I'm so grateful for this man - who cares so deeply for my friend.  I'm so grateful for the union that I'll get to experience.  It's truly something that we have desired for a long, long time.
I know that he'll make her smile forever...
...And, if he doesn't, I'll come after him.  And, I'll bring Rodney Beasley.  :)

I love you, Bridgette. 

Chad, I'm so happy that you're marrying my best friend.  I'm excited to share this journey called life with my new "brother-in-law."