Christy Martin Photography » My Life... clients, family & specials!

  • Christy… The Girl Behind the Lens

    Every great success story starts with a dream. For me, my dream was to always have a camera in hand and a great story behind every shot. In Kindergarten, it was bringing my camera to Show N’ Tell when everyone else brought toys. In middle school, it was getting to know the employees at my local photo lab. In high school, it was an essay I wrote about my 'dream job' of being a photographer.

    I have been truly fortunate to watch my lifelong passion of photography bloom into a career and source of happiness in my life. Part of that happiness comes from my love of children and embracing that in my business. My adoration for kids allows me to engage them in a way that makes sessions feel more like a play-date! Whether it’s chasing them around trees or fields, chatting with them about their favorite flavor of ice cream or watching them laugh while I make a funny face, I find it truly uplifting to be a part of their world.

    In the same way that every picture tells a story, so too does my blog. I use it to capture pieces of both my professional and personal life. It includes client session photos, engaging stories behind those clients, and even little glimpses into my own family, friends and interests. The curls in my daughter's hair and the cool rock my son found are just a few of the things that inspire me every day!

Roaring River camping trip

After our last camping trip to Devil’s Den State Park, my family fell in LOVE with camping!  We love experiencing different places, so we decided to try Roaring River, a State Park in Missouri, on our 2nd trip.

Looking back… here’s a few of my memories:

We also ONLY PLANNED FOR S’MORES got to enjoy our Friday Night Pizza tradition in the nearby town’.
We were all awake by 5:45am FREEZING COLD AND LAYING ON ROCKS and, although we DID pack OLD, CRUMBLED-UP GRANOLA BARS ‘breakfast,’ we decided to GO WARM-UP IN A TOASTY MCDONALDS AND ENJOY HASH-BROWNS AND CHEESY BISCUITSventure back into that little town for breakfast‘.

Sure, there’s still A TON ‘a few things’ we need to learn.  But, one thing we DO know is that we can’t WAIT to explore a new spot soon!

This peaceful stream (full of beautiful Rainbow Trout) was our view from our camp site.  (Not a bad view for $14!)

After Ruthie covered our camping-neighbor’s Golden Retriever in toddler-kisses, he came over to our site and asked if he could take a picture of us all together.  He, being a life-long camper, talked about the benefits of families being able to inexpensively get away together in nature without distractions.  I couldn’t agree more!

Don’t judge.
One day I’ll be prepared and attempt to cook a meal over a fire.
Until then… it’s stuffed-crust pizza!

“Mama!  Look!”

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“Shepherding a Child’s Heart” (my thoughts on the book)

My sister recently asked me what my favorite book was.  Without hesitation, I told her that, although “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” may not be my favorite in terms of reading enjoyment, it totally TRANSFORMED the way I parent.


BOOK:  “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”
AUTHOR:  Tedd Tripp

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This book shows us the benefits of taking the time to really examine our child’s misbehavior or disobedience.  Once we establish the ‘why‘ or heart-issue (Luke 6:45) with the child, we can take that opportunity to patiently direct them towards God’s word.  But, Tripp places a HUGE importance on US also exposing our OWN sin nature.  This allows the child to see that we are not perfect.  And, it also allows parents to show the child specific (real, honest and ugly) ways God has helped US in this area.

  • Your child’s HEART determines his BEHAVIOR.  Work on getting to his HEART.  Focus on what’s going on inside.
  • Everyone, children included, is wired to worship something.  We’ve got to be careful of our own ‘idols(what we worship- ie: sports, power, stuff, control, technology, etc.).  Furthermore, we also need to help our child identify what he may easily put above everything else.
  •   Our #1 Family Goal:  Glorify God  (Say this a lot to your child:  “Because you are made BY GOD and FOR GOD!”)
  • I must be what I want THEM to be!  I must POUR INTO ME what I want to pour into them.  Make TIME to be with God.
  • There are several methods of SHEPHERDING your child, but they all:
    • require TIME
    • require great listening
    • require being TRANSPARENT (regarding YOUR weaknesses and testimony)
    • require being INTENTIONAL


  • you’re ready to STOP addressing the SAME behavior problems over-and-over again.
  • you’re ready to see a HUGE change in the child’s HEART (after you’re prepared to be honest about your own shortcomings).

Faith based?       Yes.
Easy read?          No.
Age group?         Read as EARLY and SOON as possible!  (Even a 2 year old could greatly benefit!)


This book helped me to understand how MY OWN actions will not only affect my children’s BEHAVIOR, it will also greatly affect their own FAITH JOURNEY.

In the past, if I saw a negative behavior in one of my children, I would either choose to ignore it, quickly try to ‘fix’ it or threaten a punishment if it continued. (And, honestly, NONE of these were working!)  However, after finishing the book, I decided to test out this new approach:

{One child}‘s crying got louder and louder while {the other child} got more and more irritated and grouchy.  When it started getting worse, I called {the other child} into the bedroom alone.  I took the time to IDENTIFY the problem.  I related the ‘heart issue’ (sin) to God’s word.  Then, I did the HARDEST part…   I was honest about times when I had these SAME ‘heart issues”.  It sounded something like this:

“Hey {the other child…}?  Do you remember when we first moved to Arkansas and I got so frustrated with {one child} and yelled SO loud?!?!  I use to get upset too sometimes.  But, I started praying God would give me more JOY and LOVE.  And, have you noticed how much more patient I’ve been?!?!  We can start praying for God to replace your frustration with love.”

If I told you how long the two of us sat on the bedroom floor together (and the amount of tears we BOTH cried), you’d either be REALLY excited to read this book or scared-to-death that EVERY ‘little issue’ would now require MUCH more thought, effort, emotion, investment and time.  But, I promiseOnce you begin this way of ‘shepherding your child’s heart,’ you’ll be SO surprised to see how tender EVERYONE’S heart, including your own, will become!

* During our study on this book, the pastor’s wife encouraged us.  She said if we were correctly applying these principals with our children, by the end of the day, we should be SOOO emotionally AND mentally drained!  (Check!  Check-Check!)



  • “Children trust you when they know you love them and are committed to their good, when they know you understand them, when they know you understand their strengths and weaknesses, when they know that you have invested yourself in encouragement, correction, rebuke, entreaty, instruction, warning, understanding, teaching and prayer.  When a child knows that all his life you have sought to see the world through his eyes, he will trust you.  When he knows that you have not tried to make him like you or like anybody else, but only sought to help him realize his full potential as a creature God made to know him and live in the relationship of fellowship with him, he will trust you.”
  • “Parenting is your primary calling.  Parenting will mean that you can’t do all the things that you could otherwise do.”
  • This shepherding process is a richer interaction than telling your child what to do and think.  It involves investing your life in your child in open and honest communication that unfolds the meaning and purpose of life.  It is not simply direction, but direction in which there is self-disclosure and sharing.  Values and spiritual vitality are not simply taught, but caught.”
  • “We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior.”
  • “You only muddy the waters when the bottom line in discipline is your displeasure over their behavior, rather than God’s displeasure with rebellion against his ordained authority.”
  • “Teaching your children to live for the glory of God must be your overarching objective.  You must teach your children that for them, as for all of mankind, life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God.  The only worthy goal for life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
  • “If the goal of parenting is no more profound than securing appropriate behavior, we will never help our children understand the internal things, the heart issues, that push and pull behavior.  Those internal issues: self-love, rebellion, anger, bitterness, envy and pride of the heart show our children how profoundly they need grace.  If the problem with children is deeper than inappropriate behavior, if the problem is the overflow of the heart, then the need for grace is established.”
  • “One of the most important callings God has given parents is to display the greatness, goodness and glory of the God for whom they are made.  Parents have the opportunity, through word and deed, to show children the one true object of worship- the God of the Bible.”



“Wise Words for Moms” app:  AWESOME app that allows you to choose from many common ‘heart issues’ with children and gives you specific Bible verses that can be used to help teach your child.

Please let me know if this was helpful!
I have lots more books (that have really helped me a lot) that I’d LOVE to share!

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December 9, 2015 - 7:45 pm

Miriam - Putting in my cart right now! Thank you for the reminder!!!

Everyday = My FAVORITE photos!

Over the years, I’ve got to photograph my kids in some fun spots.
There was even a few times  like, maybe ONCE I made them wear super-cute, matchy outfits for photos.

But if I had to choose my FAVORITE photos, they ALL have one thing in common:

Most are taken at HOME… on ordinary days… doing real-life.


Right before the colder weather started coming in, this is EXACTLY where you could find Ruthie…


These two are SO much alike…




Thanks for stopping by!

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Jared, Jami, Kariss, Sophia & Harper

Such sweet sisters!  (Sweet parents too…)

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Jami- I know your family has been through so much this week.  I’m so thankful your mom is doing better.  Hopefully, that news, along with these pictures of your sweet family, will put a smile on your face tonight.  Thank you, once again, for allowing ME to spend time with YOUR family!  It’s a treat and an honor (and a BIG deal) to me!

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December 2, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Jami Stargel - You make my heart smile!
I love how gifted you are…and how amazing you are. You are so good with my kids & you capture our personalities perfectly.
Thank you SO, so much!

Lifelong Friends: Rayna & Lydia

As always, our trip back to visit our family and friends passed by WAY too quickly.

It was our last night.  The time when we would slowly start packing-up our scattered clothes and toys all over my parent’s house and start dreading the 12-hour drive back to Arkansas that waited for us the next morning.  And, although Rayna and her dearest friend, Lydia, had spent every waking-minute together this trip, knowing this was our last night with Lydia for a while, the girls were excited to soak-in one more meal… some extra laughs and a few more memories together.

And sitting there in the dark, little restaurant just down the street from where we use to live, exactly as I expected, the memories did start!  Ruthie spilled her drink.  (Pretty normal.)  Then, Rayna spilled her drink.  And, when Ruthie and I returned from the bathroom, Rayna and Lydia were SO tickled to loudly announce that, during the short time it took to take Ruthie to the bathroom, Matthew ALSO spilled his drink!  The girls were having so much fun, wrapped up in coloring and being silly, our waitress had to return several times before the girls could finally turn their attention from laughing to deciding between macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers.

But, in between all of their laughs, I couldn’t help but watch the minutes pass.  As I saw our waitress coming out of the kitchen with our hot food, I looked at the time and knew we only had a few minutes before Lydia’s mom would pull in the parking lot to pick her up.  I guess Rayna had gotten lost in the moment and forgotten about her limited time with Lydia, but the mood was about to change dramatically.

“Girlies… You need to eat quickly because we’re going to have to start saying our goodbyes soon.”

And, as soon as I finished my sentence, I looked at her face and my heart sank…

My strong and solid Rayna’s face dropped.  The same little girl who doesn’t cry when her feelings are hurt or blood is running down her knees now has huge tears falling from her big, crystal blue eyes.

Her tears at our table continued as she and I walked Lydia outside to meet her mom.
The tears continued in the parking lot as we all hugged goodbye and Lydia loaded-up.
And the tears continued as we went back into the restaurant.

Between me and Rayna BOTH crying now, our waitress came over and tenderly explained to Rayna how she also understood how it felt to miss someone you love.

Later than night, after we had attempted to dry our tears, we received a message that Lydia, her mom and her aunt were ALSO in tears over the goodbye.  (As I shared our night with my mom at her kitchen table, guess who ELSE started crying?!?!)

But through this, we’ve learned that tears are part of moving.
Tears are part of growing.
Tears are also part of friendships.
But, thankfully we are learning how tears are ALSO part of cherishing NEW memories even MORE than before!


I have so many photos and videos of these two from the past FIVE years, I wanted to put together a little video for them…

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September 6, 2016 - 12:58 am

Summer Memories » Christy Martin Photography - […] As always, Rayna and her dear, sweet friend spend as much time together as possible!  (Here’s a video with some pictures from almost 5 years ago!) […]

January 20, 2017 - 2:48 pm

» Christy Martin Photography - […] When my family made the choice to move away from our {busy} life in Georgia to pursue a more intentional {and less-busy} life in Arkansas, Rayna was heavy on my heart.  Not only was she leaving her “Gigi” (my mom), but she was also saying goodbye to her best friend. […]

Kidstir (… and TIPS for Creating Memories in your Kitchen)!

After seeing photos and hearing stories about cooking adventures with my kids (specifically, Rayna, who just turned 8 years old), I’ve had lots of parents ask me HOW, WHEN and WHY I cook with my kids.

Not only do I want to pass along my personal TIPS (that will make you AND your child enjoy your time in the kitchen together), I’ll also tell you about, Kidstir, a GREAT company who makes it fun to COOK with your child!

And, don’t MISS this…  Read all the way to the bottom because Kidstir wants one of you to WIN a FREE box this week!





1.  Start YOUNG! 
My daughter has been ‘helping me’ cook since she was 2 years old!  I would sit her on the counter beside me, put a bowl in front of her and gave her a spoon to start stirring. Before long, she was ready and eager to start cracking eggs and helping to pour in other ingredients.

As she got older, I allowed her to help me with more responsibilities.  Cutting fruits and vegetables might not be suitable for all children; but based on Rayna’s cautious demeanor and interest in learning correct techniques (with her fingers safely protected inside her children’s cut-resistant gloves), by the age of 5, she was READY to start chopping!


2.  Be Realistic.
It may sound dreamy to envision having lots of giggles in the kitchen, raising-up future chefs AND creating healthy and delicious food at the same time.  However, the truth is, when you choose to have your 2 year old ‘help’ crack an egg, there’s NO way around it… It’s going to be messy!  More often than not, there’s going to be little pieces of shell that you have to pick out of your cake mix.  And, at some point, expect an egg to be accidentally dropped on your counter.  (Only to watch it ooze down your cabinets and onto your floor.)

But, here are 2 things that will help ease the work of cooking with kids:

* Preparing the ingredients ahead of time (cutting, measuring, washing, etc.) will remove some added steps and allow you to enjoy the experience more without being distracted with extra details.  

* Give yourself extra time.  Cooking with a child is not always easy.  In the beginning, having ‘helping hands’ will probably take you TWICE as long to prepare a simple dish!  But, be patient!  If you’re a loving teacher who is consistent about investing the time in teaching, I promise there WILL be a day when you’re BEING LAZY ON THE COUCH ‘not quite ready to start cooking dinner yet’ and your eager, excited and experienced child will be THRILLED to give you a few extra minutes by start pulling out everything that’s needed to begin cooking.


3.  Think of ALL the BENEFITS!
* Cooking together provides HOURS and HOURS of Quality Time with your child each week!  Whether we listen to music, talk about our day, work quietly side-by-side or dream about our favorite dish, many nights, cooking with Rayna goes down as one of the best part of my day!

* If one of our goals as parents is to ‘raise adults,’ I can’t think of a better gift to give them than the knowledge of how to prepare a meal for themselves and others.

* When you shop smart, you will save SO much money when you cook at home.  (Not to mention that’s it is much better for you!)  No one loves eating out more than me.  BUT (aside from our Friday Night Pizza Night tradition), eating together at home each night provides countless benefits.  One of which is saving money!

* The last FOUR generations in my family have used COOKING as their primary way of loving and serving others.  As I look at the FIFTH generation (my kids), I LOVE seeing that tradition continue!  As Rayna and I recently brain-stormed on ideas to grow our friendships (in our new town), she decided she wanted to COOK a special meal for her two friends and their moms.  (Here’s the night she planned… .)



I hope these TIPS inspire you to create kitchen memories with your child!

If you’d like ANOTHER great option, let me introduce you to Kidstir!  With their monthly hands-on kits, “kids get to build their own cookbooks, try new foods, and learn all about where food comes from. They also gain important life skills in the kitchen—and cook up some fun family memories!” 

Kidstir arrives in a great, little box filled with colorful recipes, facts and ideas for cooking!  There’s an simply grocery list and some fun kitchen GOODIES!

Our first snack was “power munchies” (kale: “the world’s healthiest food”).  We loved the veggie bags that came in our box!  They were perfect for carrying the kale and ALSO for washing! 

The recipes were very easy with ingredients we already had at home!


Our next snack was “yummy yogurt bark.” Again, very easy and fun to prepare!


Our final snack was whole grain animal crackers!  We had a blast making these!  (And, they passed the Ruthie-test!  She loved them!)


Thank you for coming by! 

If you’d like to learn more about Kidstir, please visit their WEBSITE at:
Or, CLICK HERE to receive a special discount when you order!

NOW, here’s the FUN part!

Comment below if you’d like to be in the drawing for a FREE box, courtesy of Kidstir!  (Drawing in 1-week!) 

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November 6, 2015 - 9:38 am

Dusty wells - Sounds great

November 6, 2015 - 9:44 am

Allison Hardin - I think my daughter might love this too!

November 6, 2015 - 9:50 am

Jennifer Cristofaro - So awesome! Mazie is my little baker.

November 6, 2015 - 10:00 am

Pam Leddy - love seeing your pix of the kids in the kitchen. Can’t wait until my grandson is a little older so we can try some of the recipes mentioned in your blog.

November 6, 2015 - 10:09 am

Cassie Fowler - I cook with my kids in hopes that their labor put into the meal prep will cure their pickiness….lol

November 6, 2015 - 10:28 am

Lorinda - This is an exciting article, as we’ve just moved into a home with a kitchen that has more space for us to start cooking more together.

November 6, 2015 - 12:29 pm

Angie Roth - I love seeing your cooking adventures with Rayna and now Ruthie. Being in the kitchen with my ‘nieces’ and ‘nephews’ is one of my favorite things to do. I use parentheses because while they’re not blood, they all call me Aunt Angie.

November 6, 2015 - 4:29 pm

meredith - Payton would love this! What a great idea!

November 7, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Jami Stargel - I am SO starting this with my two oldest daughters. They already help me out some, but I’d like to integrate them more into my cooking meals. Your helpful tips really showed me it can be done. And seeing all that Rayna can cook….wow! I’m going to look into Kidstir as well. Thank you for the post!

November 7, 2015 - 2:11 pm

Tally Whitmire - Wow! My boys would love this

November 7, 2015 - 3:07 pm

Kresta Foster - My three little ones would love this so much.

November 8, 2015 - 9:31 pm

Jamie lee Mcclung - So excited to give these for Christmas gifts!!

November 10, 2015 - 8:29 pm

Meghan - My daughter and I also enjoy time in the kitchen together. She has many special needs so we use this a time of learning (math and reading), and strength building (balancing on stool, stirring with weak arm) and sensory play. Mostly we simply get quality time with one another… Cooking is our favorite too! Thank you for sharing.