Christy Martin Photography » Christy Martin Photography

The Cristofaro’s Lifestyle Session

There’s already been several things I’ve written about this special family and how much their friendship means to me, so I’ll just get to their photos!

As I gave Jennifer a few ideas for her family photos, I was THRILLED when she choose a Lifestyle Session!  For me, a Lifestyle Session is just a fancy way to say REAL LIFE.  So prior to our session, I asked Jennifer to think about the DAILY and WEEKLY activities that made her heart happy.  THESE moments are the memories I want to document where her family can remember this season for a lifetime!

After riding bikes to downtown Bentonville, we relaxed on the square…

…and ice cream!  (Always ice cream at Sparks!)

I LOVE allowing children to show me their rooms.  It’s such a fun way to see their personalities and interests…

Can’t forget MILO…

As I looked at my photos, I noticed a common-theme with Mazie…

Beautiful girls who all love Jesus and desire to shine His light.  (Does it get ANY better?!?!)

I’m a dog-person, so THIS might be MY favorite picture of the night! 

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the Cristofaro’s life as much as I did!

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Kindle Preschool Photos

Hi Preschool Parents!

I had SUCH a FUN time photographing the children in Kindle!  I’m excited for you to see you child’s photo, so here’s some information to get you started!

How can I VIEW my photos?

  • Check you child’s Kindle FOLDER (May 8th-10th) for the website and your unique password.
  • Text (770-639-0598) or email your child’s name and classroom # and I’ll send your link/password.
  • Your child’s teacher will also have a copy your child’s password. (If there’s more than one child, all the photos are in the YOUNGEST child’s gallery.)

How do I ORDER?

  • Go to the site, click “Kindle Preschool Photos,” select your child’s classroom (if there are siblings, choose the YOUNGEST child’s classroom).  Lastly, select your child’s name and enter your password.
  • Select the photo you’d like to order and select “BUY PHOTO” at the top, right corner. Choose “PRINTS” or “DIGITAL MEDIA” under the photo.  ALL images in YOUR gallery may be yours for only $32 (or $58 for more than one child)!  The photo in your gallery is watermarked; however, the watermark will not be on the prints or digital files after purchase.  You ALSO have the option to have your image printed professionally under “Prints.”
  • After checking out, your prints will be mailed directly to the address indicated.  For digital prints, a download link will be sent directly to you.
  • Order now for a 10% DISCOUNT (before May 18th)!


A:  Having your own digital photo (“file”) allows you to SHARE your child’s image on social media with your friends and family, ARCHIVE for years to come and ENJOY for future projects!  (Printing up to 24×36 inches.) You can purchase these instantly and download to your computer.  (Please note that the photos will be delivered electronically, not via a disc or drive.)

Q:  What if a friend or family member would like to order?
A:  Feel free to share your child’s gallery and password!  If someone would like to order prints, it will be mailed directly to them!

Q:  May I share the pictures online?
A:  Yes!  That’s the FUN part!  Once you’ve purchased and downloaded your files, they are YOURS to ENJOY!

If you have any questions, please email me directly at you’re inquiring about your child’s password, please remember to include your child’s name and classroom number.)

In Him,
Christy Martin


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“Boundaries” (My thoughts on the book)

Resentment and guilt were feelings I was starting to experience every day.  At the time, I was SURE these negative emotions were results of other people’s actions.

  • In one relationship, I desired more than this person wanted to give.  This caused me to feel bitter, resentful and judgemental.
  • Ironically enough, in another relationship, it was the opposite.  This person desired more from me than I wanted to give- resulting in ME feeling pressure and guilt.

But after Matthew’s mom (tactfully) encouraged me to read “Boundaries” (for the third time) AND my good friend dropped it off on my porch (after telling me countless times that I needed boundaries in my life), I FINALLY read the book and recognized the problem- MYSELF.

After reading “Boundaries,” I realized how much healthier and happier I would be if I simply accepted a person for who he/she was (disregarding my own expectations and desires of that person) AND set clear boundaries on how much time and energy I am lovingly able to contribute (before feeling resentful).


  • Although this is “Christian-based,” my sister (who is studying Biblical counseling) gave me a REALITY-CHECK “different outlook.”  She urged me to be cautious with self-help because it tends to put a focus on MY feelings, MY desires, MY expectations, MY needs and so on.  She offered many Biblical examples of Jesus HUMBLY laying down His wants, His feelings, His desires and, ultimately, His LIFE for US.
  • I tried to quote key points that spoke to me, but for full-context, refer to the book.


  • Consider your motivation for what you do.  If you’re saying yes to a tasks, job, favor or relationship because of fear of loneliness, fear of other’s anger, guilt, payback or approval, you’re doing it for the wrong reason.  This will result in resentment, not joy.  (2 Cor. 9:7)
  • “People with poor boundaries struggle with saying no to the control, pressure, demands and sometimes the real needs of others.  They feel that if they say no to someone, they will endanger their relationship with that person, so they passively comply but inwardly resent.” (Speaks more about 2 Corinthians 9:7; p. 36)
  • “We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside.”   (Speaks more about Matthew 7:6; p. 33)
  • “Workers who continually take on duties that aren’t theirs will eventually burn out.  It takes wisdom to know what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t.  We can’t do everything.”
  • “Your envy should always be a sign to you that you are lacking something. At that moment, you should ask God to help you understand what you resent, why you do not have whatever you are envying, and whether you truly desire it.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do to get there, or to give up the desire.” (p. 101)
  • “Boundaries are a ‘litmus test’ for the quality of our relationships.  Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, our separateness.  Those who can’t respect our boundaries are telling us that they don’t love our no.  They only love our yes, our compliance.” (p. 112)


  • “Taking time off from a person, or a project, can be a way of regaining ownership over some out-of-control aspect of your life where boundaries need to be set.” (p. 38)
  • “If you feel angry, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.  But the point is, feelings are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem so you can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to.” (Speaks more about Philemon 1:14; p. 42)
  • “When we take responsibility for out-of-control behavior caused by loving the wrong things, or valuing things that have no lasting value, when we confess that we have a heart that values things that will not satisfy, we can receive help from God and his people to “create a new heart” within us.  Boundaries help us not to deny but to own our old hurtful values so God can change them.” (p. 45)
  • Be cautious of not allowing FEAR or WORRY (of hurting other’s feelings, being judged, anger, separateness, etc.) to say YES to the BAD (ie: duties, tasks, jobs, etc.).
  • In addition to letting too much negative in, boundaries-issues can also result from a person not allowing GOOD things IN. “Avoidance” is saying no to the good, not being able to ask for help, not recognizing one’s own needs to let others in.  “Avoidants withdraw when they are in need; they do not ask for the support of others.”  “Compliant avoidants suffer from what is called ‘reversed-boundaries.’ They have no boundaries where they need them, and they have boundaries where they shouldn’t have them.”
  • “If you are being saddled with another person’s responsibilities and feel resentful, you need to take responsibility for your feelings, and realize that your unhappiness is not your coworker’s fault, but your own.  In this as in any other boundary conflict, you first must take responsibility for yourself.”
  • When someone ask me to do something: state my feelings; emphasize with their need; say no; keep distance; be finished talking about it.
  • “You only have the power to change yourself.  You can’t change another person.  You must see yourself as the problem, not the other person.”  “Allow these critical people to be who they are, but keep yourself separate from them and do not internalize their opinion of you.”
  • Galatians 6:5:  “For each man shall bear his own burden.”  (pg. 32-33)
  • “Deciding to set boundaries is difficult because it requires decision making and confrontation, which, in turn, may cause pain to someone you love.” (p. 96)  Be HONEST- even if you fear the truth could hurt the other person.”Here are some of the things our ‘negative’ emotions tell us.
    • FEAR tells us to move away from danger, to be careful.
    • SADNESS tells us that we’ve lot something- a relationship, an opportunity, or an idea.
    • ANGER is also a signal.  Like fear, anger signals danger.  However, rather than urging us to withdraw, anger is a sign that we need to move forward to confront the treat.  Jesus’ rage at the defilement of the temple is an example of how this feeling functions.  Anger tells us that our boundaries have been violated.” (p. 116)”Accepting someone as she is, respecting her choice to be that way, and then giving her appropriate consequences is the better path.  When we do this, we execute the power we do have, and we stop trying to wield the power no one has.” (p. 164)”Children need to have a sense of control and choice in their lives.  They need to see themselves not as the dependent, helpless pawns of parents, but as choosing, willing, initiative-taking agents of their own lives.” (p. 188)


I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts!

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The Problem with Social Media…

Before we even pulled out of our neighborhood, the unending whimpering and pacing in the back seat should have caused someone to question my sanity.  But, to me, it was a great idea to bring BOTH dogs (super excited puppy and extremely anxious rescue) to “hang out” with us for over an hour during Ross’ acting class.

The car ride was a pretty good mix of Ross demanding Ruthie to “STOP WHISTLING,” Rayna informing us every few minutes “We should NOT have brought the dogs” and Russell, the VERY scared rescue dog, crying like a baby.  But no memory was quite as memorable as when we FINALLY arrived and I had the honor of frantically trying to scoop-up Rusty’s ‘business‘ off of the picturesque sidewalk of Downtown Bentonville… with my FINGER and a dry leaf!

Tonight was a mess.

Somewhere between Rusty breaking free and poor Ruthie getting knocked down and skinning her knee, I took out my camera.  Looking at these photos, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between these images and social media.  If you didn’t know what our night was REALLY like, you could only assume it was relaxed and joy-filled.  But, like all the stories and photos we choose to share online, they sometimes don’t really represent the normal craziness we all face most days.

So, here’s a few happy-highlights that left OUT all of our REAL excitement!

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Maui (…a little late!)

Which is crazier…?

  • Matthew taking me to one of the most BEAUTIFUL places on EARTH for the about the same cost as it would have been to go to Florida?
  • Matthew taking me to one of the most BEAUTIFUL places on EARTH and me NEVER posting ANY photos? 

Those may seem unbelievable, but BOTH are TRUE.  Even though Matthew having to travel for work was hard, our marriage survived and, as a little bonus, we have gotten to experience some incredible places with the points he earned by sleeping alone on uncomfortable hotel beds and getting delayed in airports.

So although this post may be two years late, a 15-year anniversary trip to MAUI is still something to CELEBRATE, right?!?!


After seeing Nakalele’s Blowhole, we spotted this heart-shaped hole in the rock…

With our hotel alarm ringing at 3am, Matthew and I grabbed a blanket from the hotel room and made the 2-hour drive to the summit of Haleakala (10,000 feet above sea level). We stood quietly in the darkness as the sun started to rise above the clouds below us.  Because I don’t enjoy being really cold, unfortunately, my photos didn’t reflect this sunrise’s beauty well.  (Click HERE to see other’s who probably remembered to dress in layers, bring a much-needed tripod and take a restroom break BEFORE getting to the top of the mountain!)   


Everything in Maui looks like a postcard.  As we drove behind our hotel one morning, we found this picturesque, heart shaped swimming hole…


Look closely… 
Some of those ‘rocks’ are actually SEA TURTLES, weighing between 250-500 pounds!


If you ever visit Maui, promise me to eat at 2 places: Kihei Caffe (“Banana Macadamia Nut French Toast with Coconut Syrup” pictured below) and the impressive cluster of food trucks off Haleakala Hwy (near the airport).  AH.MAAAAY.ZING.


Have you ever experienced a moment where you felt God through nature?  Towards the end of our trip, Matthew and I had decided to head back into the water when I saw this beautiful sea turtle swimming right beside me!  It was truly magical!   

Thanks for checking out our photos!  It was fun to FINALLY post where I could re-live the memories!

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Our Christmas “Gift”: 2017 Santa Fe

Like most kids, my kids also enjoy gifts.  That’s why, 3 years ago, Matthew and I gathered the kids around and nervously ‘pitched’ our idea of skipping Christmas gifts and taking a family trip instead.

Rayna and Ruthie were instantly on board. Ross, however (with his primary “Love Language” being GIFTS), first inquired about whether or not stocking-suffers were still on the table.  Once that negotiation was complete, Ross was just as excited as anyone!

We started this tradition in 2015 with our trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  We were able to save money by driving, staying at my grandparent’s time-share and cooking most meals.  The splurge was on a Dogsled Adventure!  (Here’s our VIDEO with the highlights:!)

After a SUNNY destination the following year (our cruise video), we choose Santa Fe, New Mexico for 2017.

Raise-the-roof for self-timers…

Gotta’ love that lil’ chipped tooth!

Matthew and Rayna sneak-away anytime they’re near snow.  I think he found his new skiing buddy…
Is it just Rayna, or does anyone else spy a Nutcracker?!?!
Honestly, the kids didn’t dig Santa Fe quite as much as I thought, so we only hung-out in town a few hours.  (In their defense, it WAS pretty cold and crowded!)  Here’s a few of my favorite spots around the square… 

Our ‘highlight’ (aka: the kid’s Christmas gift) was a hot air balloon ride over Albuquerque. We forgot to warn inform Ruthie she’d have to wake-up before 6am, skip breakfast, be REALLY cold the entire time, be lifted over 1,000 feet off the ground and have LOUD, unexpected bursts of FIRE flaming over her head for over an hour.  Oh, and anytime one of us turned around or slightly moved, the basket she was crouched-down in would shake and shift her little body.  With ALL of THOSE factors, Ruthie did AMAZING!  (No tears, but several “How much longer?”
My highlight, aside from the hot, fresh, honey sopapillas at Maria‘s, was Tent Rocks National Monument! The hike was BEAUTIFUL, interesting and filled with plenty of little adventures along the way. If you have a 4th grader, go to “Every Kid in a Park” website to gain FREE entrance to most of the parks!

If you’re considering skipping the gifts in exchange for travel and memories, I know you won’t regret it!  You might even get addicted, like us!  (Yes… 2018 is ALREADY booked!  🙂  )


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January 12, 2018 - 4:05 pm

Miriam - I have probably already said this, but I LOVE this idea!!!! What an awesome opportunity for your family!! Now to get my family on board too


Having the rare privilege of photographing the same child for TEN years provides lots and lots of special memories!

Over those years, Tinsley has given me so many moments that I’ll always treasure!  I’ve been so fortunate to meet “Bubba”, photograph all her room details, watch her play in her yard, meet all her closest friends and family, document her blowing out her birthday candles, have a tea party and SWIM!!!  (There was even that time when I CRIED after a session because of the GRATITUDE I felt in my heart!)

As always, it was such a JOY to document this beautiful, kind, super-smart, well-spoken, talented and creative little girl!

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