Kristi. Class of 2016. Virginia & North Carolina Senior Photographer

I’ve know Kristi since 2002. Her mom, blog author Vaneetha Rendall Risner,  was my best friend in college, and now our daughters are best friends, too. It is a beautiful thing.

Kristi is graduating from Trinity Academy of Raleigh, NC in 2016, and I was blessed to be her senior photographer. Kristi is a very talented young lady. She is brilliant, hilarious, and an amazing basketball player. She has a fantastic basketball highlights video HERE if you want to check it out.

Every year our family gets a Christmas letter from Kristi’s family. And we have a tradition. No one reads the Christmas letter until we can all read it together. It’s more fun to laugh hysterically as a family than by ourselves, and almost equal to the hilarity of the actual letter is my inability to get through reading the whole thing because I laugh so hard I cry—LITERALLY cry. Tears rolling down my cheeks cry.

So rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to let you into Kristi’s world through some excerpts from these family Christmas letters. (Permission granted by her mom, of course.)

Hard to Wake Up Kristi (2014)

Kristi is a challenge to wake up in the morning. I wrote a whole post about her on my blog several months ago so I apologize if this is redundant for the three of you who read it. Kristi’s alarm clock sounds like a jackhammer. Literally. I mean all 113 decibels of it. It is louder than a blaring car horn (110 decibels) but not quite as loud as a jet engine (120 decibels). Her clock also has a 12-volt bed shaker and strobe lights. So as a jackhammer is booming in her ears, her bed is shaking violently and bright lights are flashing in her face. But usually as I enter her room, she is sleeping peacefully with the alarm blasting inches from her head. I’m awake. The whole house is awake. Mocha, our high-strung poodle is on the edge of insanity. I fear I’ve made the leap over.

This is no ordinary alarm clock. It’s called the sonic bomb. According to Amazon: “The volume can be adjusted for those who do not want to have a heart attack when they wake up….it feels like an earthquake is happening, and you WILL wake up in a total panic…

At first, the alarm worked beautifully. But Kristi quickly became oblivious to the piercing sound, intense shaking, and blinding lights. Completely understandable. I decided to call the company to see if they had a better model, since they specialize in hard to wake sleepers. When I explained the problem, there was stunned silence. The salesman finally said, “I have been working here a long time and I’ve never had that request. I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.”

Fashionista Kristi (2009)

Kristi loves playing basketball, grudgingly plays the piano and hates wearing dresses. She owns 3 pairs of shoes – basketball shoes, flip-flops and crocs and they work for everything. They all go with athletic shorts, which are also appropriate for every occasion. When spotted in a pair of jeans one day, a friend asked Kristi if all her basketball shorts were in the wash. They were. But apparently Kristi feels her clothes are pretty fashionable. I offered to let her wear one of my dresses or skirts for her piano recital (one of the few instances her shorts didn’t work), but she summarily rejected my offer, saying “I don’t want to wear anything that out of style.”

Fashion Consultant Kristi (2014)

Kristi has taken over from Katie as the fashion police. Just yesterday she told me I needed to stop wearing my old coat because it looked awful. Minutes later, she noticed my new shoes and said they were cool. But before I could bask in the unsolicited praise, she added, “I like them because from the knees down, you look like a little old man.”

Ambitious Kristi (2014)

Kristi had some interesting costumes for school spirit week this year. For “Dress as Your Favorite National Holiday” (one wonders where they come up with these things), she dressed as a slice of pizza. Apparently National Pizza Day is November 12. And for “Dress for Your Future Career”, she donned an Indian salwar chemise and wore a headset. Her career? A tech support agent. While she might struggle with the customer “service” part, the fact that she’s willing to aim so high kinda brings a tear to my eye.

We headed to downtown Norfolk for Kristi’s senior portrait session. The evening was cool (for September) and the light was gorgeous. We began in the financial district of Norfolk and then headed toward Pagoda Gardens. The evening’s sunset cast a beautiful orange glow as we finished our session.

Kristi has grown into a wonderful, kind, and beautiful young woman. She has a rare gift of wit and intelligence accompanied by humility. She is fun to be around and she brings joy and laughter to her family and friends. I’m excited to see what her future holds and how God is going to lead and direct her. I’m so thankful to be Kristi’s friend and to have had the chance to capture her beauty through our senior portrait session.

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