May 2009 Newsletter / Blog

Dear Friends,

May has come and gone and it has been a wonderful month. We had our last MOPS meeting of the year (Mother’s of Preschoolers) and had a precious, yet tearful tribute to Kristi Walker, who passed away in February. We each picked up a flower and many of us shared how Kristi touched our lives. We put the flowers in a vase and gave the bouquet to Kristi’s mother, Anne Winters. Kristi was a wonderful young woman who loved others, loved her family, and the Lord. She touched so many lives in her life and in her passing, she will be deeply missed and “we can cry with hope” because we know we will see her again.

I saw lots of precious clients this month… maternity, newborns, babies & families. It’s such a fun adventure to capture my subject’s personalities and to create artistic portraits for them. I feel very fortunate to do what I love everyday. And the best part is the friendships with all of you. It’s like having friends come over to visit all the time! We take portraits, eat cookies & shed tears as we watch the slideshow of your portraits set to music. Thank you for your friendship and the privilege of photographing you & your loved ones. It is truly an honor and I feel like part of your family… Thank you for sharing your lives with me.

I spent several days at a photography conference in Asheville, NC this month and had a wonderful time learning and seeing my photography friends from all over North Carolina & Virginia. The mountains have a special place in my heart, since I grew up in beautiful West Virginia & attended college in Boone, NC. There’s nothing like the cool mountain air and breathtaking scenery.  David & his parents did a wonderful job watching our children while I was away. Micah “peed in the potty” for the first time at their house… my sweet toddler is growing up.

Grace just graduated from second grade and Micah just celebrated his 2nd birthday. Our children are growing so quickly, I have moments when I look at them and wonder when they became so grown up. Micah surprised us during his “cake session”, he did not attack the cake and smear it on his face & hair like most kids. He didn’t know how to eat it….he stared at it then grabbed the candle and used it as a fork. It was hilarious! We have enjoyed going to the pool and doing projects together. We planted a few seeds in window sill pots and have been amazed at how quickly they have grown.

We did a fun pottery project and loved getting our hands dirty and creating something out of clay. While I shaped the clay on the spinning wheel, a song that I learned so long ago kept coming to my mind.

“You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me. This is what I pray. Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God,  May I be like You.” It’s nice to know that we have a Master Potter who is shaping us and changing us into what He wants us to be. Our job is to stay on the Potter’s Wheel.

JOIN ME FOR BEACH PORTRAITS June 21-27th at Topsail Island, NC:

When was the last time you had family portraits taken? There’s no better place than the beach! Topsail Island is just 2 hours from Raleigh, so take a day off and come join me. This is perfect for generational portraits of grandparents, families & children. We’ll photograph an hour before sunset from 7:15pm-8:30pm. I only have 7 sessions available, so call me now to reserve your spot. 919-662-5541. These sessions go fast! Beach portraits make GORGEOUS wall portraits or paintings to enjoy in your home. The session fee is just $100 with a $500 minimum order (MC/Visa accepted). Don’t put it off any longer… because days turn into months and your children or grandchildren will never be this little again.

Become a facebook fan of Susie Gilmore Photography and receive $5 off your order in June…. click here to become a fan.


I consider everyone I’ve photographed to be a part of my “studio family.” I have photographed many wonderful and interesting people over the years and I wanted to give you a glimpse of their stories along with portraits we’ve created. So come meet the rest of the family! May‘s featured client of the month is Carrie Adams. She has been a dear friend since college and I love photographing her and her son when they come up from Winston-Salem to visit. I found some of my favorite college pictures of us…. some real treasures that I’ll share with you. Each one has great memories for us. You’ll have a good laugh when you see our hair and clothing.

Carrie and I have known each other for 19 years, we roomed together in college and she’s one of those people that I am fortunate to know and to call my best friend. She is a jewel. She’s kind, compassionate & pure in heart. She is an elementary school teacher who loves children. She is always positive and encouraging even in the midst of difficult situations. In fact, I can’t recall a time that I’ve ever heard her say anything negative or critical about others.

Carrie and I love music & singing, particularly praise & worship. She plays the keyboard & I play the guitar. We spent many hours playing and singing when we were in school. I remember going to St. Luke’s on campus and playing the piano together. I would play the melody and she would play the harmony and we’d spontaneously write songs about what we were going through and pour out our hearts. It was like music therapy.

What I appreciate most about Carrie is that she honors her word. When she says she’s going to do something, she does it. She’s a good listener, she has a great sense of humor, and is a good mom to her son. When I think back to my days in college and look through the old photos, I just smile and remember all our fun adventures. We sang together at several weddings and the most memorable one was at the chapel in Tanglewood when the accompaniment tape broke during our song. We heard a sound “click, click, click”, but kept singing, then the cassette tape broke and we belted out the ballad a capella without anyone noticing that it was supposed to have music. We just looked at each other and grinned and were very glad to have that song over with!

Every day was fun in college. We went to class, studied, then hung out with friends. Carrie’s personality is very easy going. If I had a spontaneous idea…. like “let’s go to Howard’s Knob and play the guitar”…she’d always say, okay let’s go”. As long it didn’t involve mountain biking, camping, rock-climbing, or snowboarding… she was there! She’s more of hotel kind of girl…sleeping on the ground is not her idea of a vacation. But I did find some skiing pictures of us… so she must have gone at least once. She always made me laugh because she was not “into” the typical things I grew up doing like climbing trees, riding bikes, or playing sports. While I was playing fast pitch softball, she was modeling and competing in beauty pageants. She’s a true girly girl. But these days she loves to work out at Curves, lift weights and walk her dog.

There was always something fun going on at school, like a costume party, a dance or a group of friends going to Price Park. One of our funnier moments is when we dressed up like lambs for a costume party (top left picture) and put pillows in our shorts with a big cotton ball on the back. It was hilarious. I wore a sign that said, “I am His Lamb” and Carrie wore one that said, “His Lamb I am”. We took a recreational dance class for PE… and recruited two guys to be our partners. We had so much fun learning to waltz, cha cha cha, rhumba, polka & swing.

Our favorite movie is Anne of Greene Gables and we have similar personalities as the main characters. I am more like Anne…adventuresome, athletic, and open about my thoughts & Carrie is more like Diana… soft spoken, a lady, & a city girl. We’re total opposites, but we get along so well.

Five years after college I married David and seven years later Carrie married Jim & we started new lives with our spouses in different cities, but we always stayed in touch via phone or email. Something so devastating happened in her life… in an instant she lost her husband and became a widow and single mom at age thirty-five.

Here is Carrie’s story…

On August 19, 2000 I married a wonderful man named Jim Adams. Of course, Susie was my Maid of Honor. Jim and I moved to Charlotte, NC where I had a precious baby boy named John Michael Adams who was born on April 29, 2003.

For a baby present Susie created the most beautiful Name plaque that reads John Michael “God’s gracious gift” with a scripture Numbers 6:24-25 -“ The Lord Bless and Keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.”

In March of 2004 Jim and I moved to Orlando Florida. I hated moving away from my family and best friend but I consented because Jim’s mom had 3 strokes and was bedridden. While in Florida Jim worked at Disney. John and I loved it because we could go to Disney everyday. John loved going to Disney and eating lunch with Daddy.

On Tuesday January 4, 2005 my fairytale came to an end. Jim had asked me to return a computer printer at a store and I left my son with him so he could spend some time with his daddy. I returned at 6pm that night to find my husband lying dead on my bedroom floor. It took me six months to find out from the autopsy and police report how he died. He hurt his leg at Disney and had gone to the doctor to get medicine to stop the pain. Apparently it was a slow releasing medicine & he had taken too much which stopped his heart and he died at 39 years old. I was left with an 18 month old son to raise by myself.

I remember calling Susie and telling her about the tragedy. Susie left her business behind and came with me to Florida to help me pack. I will never forget the kindness she showed to me and the shoulder she gave me to cry on during that time. I am reminded of a scripture “greater love has no man than he lays down his life for his friend.” Susie layed down her job (for a time) to help me begin a new normal life.

It has been four years since that horrible night. I have been through many grief groups and have started a new chapter in my life. I have endured many hardships during that time, but through God, my family and friends I have been blessed. In March of 2006 (on my birthday ) I closed on my wonderful house in Clemmons, NC. Susie came down and helped me decorate, we had so much fun choosing items that would go in the new house.

Since that time I have had to create new dreams. I have a “Dream Board” in my room with my goals and what I want to accomplish in life. For example, I’d like to become a permanent teacher again. At the present time I am a substitute teacher. I have kept my teaching license updated and teaching is my passion. I have taught for 7 years at the Kindergarten and second grade level. However, with the current economy there is a freeze on teaching jobs. So I am expanding my dreams and looking at other venues for income. I am looking for a nanny position this summer in Winston-Salem and am even considering going back to school and pursuing another degree. It’s been a tough road financially and emotionally, I miss my husband and the friendship we had. At times my son has a hard time, because he longs to have a dad and brothers and sisters like all the other children. I am very close with my family who live nearby, so we see them a lot and he gets to have quality time with them. I have always been close to the Lord, but this season in my life has made me completely dependent on Him and He has never let me down. He has been my strength and has carried me the whole way.

Pictures have always been a big part of my life. ( I have many photos from our days at ASU) However, since my husband’s death, pictures are priceless to me. Susie has done all my professional pictures. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful friend who is also a super talented photographer. At her sessions we have had so much fun picking out things to wear, choosing the background and the props. She makes me feel like a “Movie Star”.

We did a session at Topsail Island beach and I treasure the images. The beach is such a beautiful setting for portraits.  I needed a profile portrait for Facebook & other networking sites and she came up with some fun images.

I look forward to each one of my sessions with Susie. Last Christmas she designed the most beautiful Christmas card of me and my son dancing. I also have a priceless picture of my son and I hanging above my fireplace. People always comment on how beautiful the picture is. I smile and say my best friend is an awesome photographer. Here are some more portraits from our dress up session. Susie had an elegant black & white shirt that I wore. She wanted a flowing look for a skirt, so she wrapped fabric around me & clipped it with a big green “home depot clip”. It looked great from the front!

In a few days I am expecting a beautiful necklace with my son’s picture on it. Last time I saw Susie she was telling me about her new photo jewelry line and she showed me the most beautiful picture of her 2 children. I can’t wait until the package arrives!

How I met Susie. I met Susie in the late Fall of 1990 at Appalachian University. I was new at Appalachian and went to InterVarsity (IV). That night I sat next to a girl with auburn hair who had a warm smile. The leader of IV said turn to the person next to you and introduce yourself & tell them where you are from. She said, “Hi, I’m Susie and I’m from Winston-Salem, NC.  I could not believe it – she was from my home town. From that night we were inseparable.

The next year we became roommates.  We roomed together for the remainder of the time I was at Appalachian State University. I have so many stories I could share from those adventures but it would take more than a blog page so I will share just one story. I love ice cream- I am a huge ice cream aholic. I had convinced Susie to share a sundae with me at TBCY.  She might have gotten two bites of that sundae- To this day, she will not share an ice cream sundae with me. Lol!

We had so much fun during our college years, a large group of us would get together and Susie would play the guitar and we’d all sing. We’d go to IV, retreats, recreational dance class, BSU dances, Howard’s Knob, the Parkway to look up at the stars. And we can’t forget the late night snacks of ice cream & hot chocolate chats. We spent two wonderful weeks in Europe together with her mom, sister and friend Gena.

Susie made my time at ASU very special. She always encouraged me with a sweet note before my exams that said, “Carrie I know you will do well on this test because you have studied and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you”. She was there when I broke up with my boyfriend and I thought the world had ended. “Don’t worry”, she would say, “God has someone wonderful for you.”

For my graduation present Susie painted me the most beautiful picture which is hanging in my bedroom. It is a picture of her and I reading and picking flowers. It has the most beautiful colors and it looks a lot like a Monet.

Susie Gilmore is my best friend, but not just any best friend. She is one of those best friends that comes around once in a lifetime. She is my “kindred spirit”. For those of you who have seen Anne of Green Gables you know what I am talking about. She is my Anne- my kindred spirit.

-Carrie Adams,  Winston-Salem, NC


Thank you Carrie for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and I am so proud of you. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your sweet portraits and your life. You are in my heart and prayers.

Have a great month everyone and I look forward to photographing you soon.

Blessings to you!

To see more of my work, go to

To offer you the finest in portraiture, Susie is an active member in Professional Photographers of America, Professional Photographers of North Carolina and Photographic Society of the Triangle.

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