Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

I looked out at the class I taught in church today, a room filled with about 20 women of different ages and backgrounds. I doubt many of them are familiar with what I do, let alone do it themselves. I told them there is validity in all of their stories and that they need to tell them. To each other, to themselves, to their children, to strangers…they never know when their story will touch someone or bring someone back from the edge. You may think you have nothing to add, nothing to say, but you do…you have you to add.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaïs Nin

I have dark hairs that grow from strange places. Unmentionable things happen to me on treadmills. I sweat far more than should be considered ladylike. I think Tom Selleck is outrageously handsome and yet I would want him to be my dad all at the same time. Up until yesterday I hadn’t cleaned my shower for months. I hate tampons. I spell things wrong on purpose to make sure spell check is actually working. Maybe that’s not what Anaïs had in mind when she wrote that, but C.S. knows what I’m talking about:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one” ~ C.S. Lewis

vivi and the mirror

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

OH YOU GUYS. The breathings of your heart? That is just lovely and wonderful and I hope one day to do just such a thing, it sounds wonderful.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.  ~Ansel Adams

Photography has carried me few the past few weeks in a way it never has before. I don’t see it as a chore, I see it as a privilege. I was given a gift to be able to see things differently than the other people around me, but I know there are moments that cannot be captured by a camera, or moments I cannot do justice to, so I just enjoy them. If I have to interrupt a moment to get a photo? I’m not doing my job right.

If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.  ~Lewis Hine

There was one particularly intense moment of Emily’s labor last week where I’m not sure anyone knew what to do, especially me. It was moments before Paul was born and I didn’t know where I should be or what I should be doing, she was in so much pain. “Do I take a picture of this?” I wondered to myself. “It’s not like she invited you here to do her nails.” my brain replied.

So I took the photo.

I could tell you how hard Emily’s contractions were, or I could show you this photo.


Even *I* could feel that contraction.

Try different ways to tell your stories. More words, less words, more photos, no photos, all photos. Every story can be told in a hundred different ways but only your story can be told by you.

So do it.


I’m excited to be a part of Blissdom this year as a photography community leader, I’m also excited that Hallmark will be back at Blissdom for the third year in a row to help you tell your own story and focus on the little moments that make everyday life a special occasion. It’s a literal dream come true to partner with Hallmark in 2012 on their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign again and I thank them tremendously for believing in me and for sponsoring this post.


  1. Good one, kiddo. I like it. 🙂

    Casey Reply:

    @Chrysta, Thanks. I wrote it while Cody shot things on his PS3.

  2. Today, one of your babble posts showed up in my pintrest feed. I’m so glad you’ve been able to share your story with so many people. I adore you. Thank you for sharing and encouraging all of us to do the same.

    Casey Reply:

    @Erika, I FINALLY MADE IT ON PINTEREST!? (And thank you.)

  3. Holy smokes. That picture is going to serve as some pretty foolproof birth control for the next, oh, five to eight years?

    Casey Reply:

    @Lauren, Just imagine if I had taken one…lower. Heh.

  4. Thank you! You inspire me 🙂

    I love the Wordsworth quote. Our stories are our heart’s breathing 🙂

    Casey Reply:

    @Lenka, Isn’t it WONDERFUL?

  5. Beautiful. Just beautiful!

    Casey Reply:

    @meekasmommy, Thank you.

  6. Beautiful.


    Casey Reply:

    @Adventures In Babywearing, Thanks love, so are you.

  7. This? Is maybe my favorite post of yours. xoxo

    Casey Reply:

    @Bridget, Whoa, that’s saying a lot because you’ve been around *forever*

  8. I agree with Bridget.

    And I love that Ansel Adams quote…

    Casey Reply:

    @Sarah, That Ansel, he was a smart guy, pretty good at photography too.

  9. woah. really wish i would pop my conference cherry and attend blissdom this year, just for your workshop/class/leaderness.

    Casey Reply:

    @nic @mybottlesup, Well that’s a lovely compliment right there. Thanks love.

  10. I love love love this. I love your photos (I too can feel that contraction). I love your words. I too have hairs growing in the strangest places. I wish I could be at blissdom so I could meet you and tell you just how much your words have meant to me.

    Casey Reply:

    @Marta, Someday. SOMEDAY. We can pluck in the same room and hug. Heh.

    Marta Reply:

    @Casey, Ha. Yes. I read somewhere about two girlfriends that made a pact that if either were in a coma they would come and pluck each others unsightly hairs. Not sure if it was a joke or not but I thought it was a genius idea.

  11. You tell your stories perfectly…with words and with pictures

    Casey Reply:

    @Pgoodness, Thank you. Thank you for reading them.

  12. way to make a girl clench up…

    Casey Reply:

    @designhermomma, *shrugs* I do my best.

  13. I think this is one of the best posts I’ve read from you in awhile (besides the Paul post, which was breathtaking). Well said and inspiring.

    Casey Reply:

    @Katie, Thank you. It feels good to find good words again.

  14. You give encouragement more beautifully than anyone I know.

    Casey Reply:

    @Katie, Oh my, thank you, that is pretty much the compliment ever.

    Casey Reply:

    @Katie, best. best compliment ever. I was verklempt.

  15. Happy sigh.

  16. This is incredible. You write (and take pictures, obviously!) beautifully

    Casey Reply:

    @Mumagain, Thank you. So much.

  17. That C.S. Lewis quote has always been one of my favorites. It’s just so…comforting. I’ve always liked (and by “always liked” for this one, I mean when I saw it on Tumblr or Pinterest a few week back) the William Wordsworth one as well. I feel like your posts already include the breathings of your heart, most times.

    Your photos are so beautiful. And so are your words.

    Casey Reply:

    @Aly, Thank you, and do you really think his last name was Wordsworth? Because really, to be that good with words with a last name like that? It’s not fair.

  18. Dude.

    *I* felt that contraction. WHomp.

    Casey Reply:

    @Carina, I never told you, but I was thinking about it last night, your birth story has been my favorite one I’ve ever read.
    So there.

  19. I love all your posts, Casey but every once in a while, you write something that speaks to my very soul. This was on of those posts. Thank you. 🙂 And p.s. I hate tampons too!!! I’m 32 and have used exactly 1 in my lifetime!

  20. Can’t tell you how much I needed this today. I was so close to ‘chucking it’ all in today!

    Oh, and that photo, gosh, I felt that contraction too,well, I bet the young woman would beg to differ but you get my point LOL

  21. {sigh}

    I. love. you

  22. At 24ish weeks preggo I was just thinking about how excited I am to meet this little lass. …And then I saw “that” picture. And remembered what contractions feel like. And decided that I think I’ll just stay pregnant forever. That’s an option, right?

    My bathtub is also in desperate need of a good scrub. But – I gag every time I try to do it. So… whatever. Life will go on, even with a little (gross) ring around the tub. Love this post (and C.S)!

  23. Neat! Good stuff here. 😉

  24. Lovely! Love the C.S. Lewis quote…so, so true!

  25. I can feel that last picture down to my TOES. yowza.

  26. Love this… And the quotes you shared are so perfect!

  27. Dunno if you’ll get to this, but you should read the book from which this quote is taken:

    “I am your mother, the first mile of your road. Me and all my obvious and hidden limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of tribe, a run at happiness. You can’t imagine how seriously I take that – even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done.”
    — Kelly Corrigan (Lift)

  28. I am so behind on blog-reading (and, to be honest, I am fairly certain I’ve never worked up the nerve to leave a comment on your blog before), but I *had* to this time. This is beautiful and moving and just…wow. Thank you.


  1. […] Casey of Moosh in Indy did a post this week about telling stories with words and/or pictures called story pictures. story words.  I am fairly sure I have never met someone who could give encouragement so beautifully and […]