Terra Bailey Blog » Lover of God, my family and Photography.

Laughs.  It’s fuel for my soul.  And I have had my fuel tank filled to the brim this month.  Merry Lot 2015 has been a huge success and I am so thankful.  Thankful to God for bringing me such amazing clients and friends and clients-turned-friends.  Every weekend day has been filled with amazing grandparents, parents, children, cousins, pets… and laughter.  Joy and happiness.


I am so happy to announce we are extending the Merry Lot this year into the first weekend of December.  We have opened sessions on December 5th and 6th.  If you are interested in booking a session, please contact me as soon as possible.  All sessions for the year will end December 6th.12240215_10207441043051736_7731673363126098280_oPIN12239327_10207441042851731_6608089447460495791_oPIN12239323_10207433054852036_5410438792665807692_oPIN12238408_10207450395005529_4733731540777874942_oPIN12238308_10207446303423242_594608854881028038_oPIN12238197_10207439964504773_5179814147211555102_oPIN12238123_10207406149899429_9080908635570937211_oPIN12232960_10207460387615338_2105349240355186426_oPIN12232884_10207439965304793_1521926165421423529_oPIN12232873_10207401319818680_8306614687514421856_oPIN12232781_10207433056332073_8755652253246523442_oPIN12195116_10207401062532248_5695007465193112649_oPIN12195040_10207406272422492_6289369566235925468_oPIN12194677_10207404491817978_3089537773357963773_oPIN12194571_10207401061692227_450684236492834726_oPIN12185528_10207401029611425_6770409795828081659_oPIN11233342_10207446302943230_8843260477536897630_oPIN11223512_10207461043791742_4982730988669561348_oPIN10630640_10207446302263213_437645184053117156_oPIN10515249_10207441043091737_945321735799272867_oPIN10348747_10207434914738532_7389052841209811706_oPIN905755_10207443498273115_4949953997978683812_oPIN12273611_10207443579995158_8688585588881905521_oPIN12265834_10207446303383241_3615141949490315237_oPIN12265603_10207433054812035_7831002968698864117_oPIN12265544_10207443551714451_8257144694361214952_oPIN12248174_10207460387655339_8183302863925976868_oPIN12248113_10207439965344794_5401079410324268404_oPIN12248036_10207443498433119_25789367782078360_oPIN12247943_10207441043011735_1494699367211961678_oPIN12247716_10207439964584775_6451708086436943068_oPIN12244825_10207446304263263_2074419620275564338_oPIN12244707_10207420345254304_3083081496851883628_oPIN12244430_10207425120653686_8003192127904072930_oPIN12244399_10207446301583196_7399517239559287744_oPIN12244340_10207443498393118_5120426518544436523_oPIN12244309_10207458743294231_5940694025204502468_oPIN12244308_10207451435271535_8943479949488422223_oPIN12241055_10207446301503194_6549914938664546035_oPIN12240929_10207450394965528_960055803559668364_oPIN12240907_10207443580035159_6613920706108564931_oPIN12240884_10207460425016273_7501737774844355051_oPIN12240476_10207460387695340_4661652464723809069_oPIN12240309_10207450394925527_995360692421922460_oPIN12238123_10207406149899429_9080908635570937211_oPIN12232873_10207401319818680_8306614687514421856_oPIN12195116_10207401062532248_5695007465193112649_oPIN12194571_10207401061692227_450684236492834726_oPIN12185528_10207401029611425_6770409795828081659_oPIN

Here’s just a small taste of the laughter and joy so far this year at Merry Lot 2015!



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Being a creative is hard.  Mainly because I don’t have any patience and for an idea to come to me, I have to be still and clear.  Focused but open minded.  Most ideas come to me when I first wake up in the morning, before my feet hit the floor.  Or in the shower.  Oh, if you only knew the ideas that hit me in the shower.  Or while driving down the road.  Then I have to voice record myself telling myself about my awesome idea so I don’t forget it later.  Let’s backup, not all of my ideas are awesome.  I would say 90% of my ideas never come to fruition, but for the ones that do, I go big or go home.  My problem is that I can’t do something in a small way.  I have to do everything in a big way.  All or nothing.  A prime example of that is the Merry Lot.

The Merry Lot was born from an idea while driving down the road five years ago.  And I’m convinced the idea came to me because of a life long series of events that my brain put together in it’s own way.  Like stars making constellations, many events in my life led to this idea.  Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.  Not just Christmas, but the time leading up to Christmas.  The anticipation.  The parties.  The decorating.  The Wednesday night Advent services.  The sparkle.  It’s a time to be thankful and a time to rejoice.  It’s a time for family.  Family is my thing and creativity is my juice.  My best memories when I a little tot are overcome by two things.  Beach trips and Christmas time.  Every year, I would ride in the middle seat of a pickup truck, right between Granny and Grampaw up to the mountains.  We would go to a tree farm and pick out trees for each family within our tree.  Specifically, I remember a year we stopped to get coffee cake donuts and I wore a white sweatsuit.  We came home late and they dropped me off at church and I was covered in crumbs and tree sap.  I remember helping my mom and my Granny decorate their houses for Christmas and it made me so happy when the tree was up and lit for our Thanksgiving dinner.  That tradition still holds in our house today.  Another great memory was riding down the road, my nose smushed up against the car window, counting Christmas trees I could see through dimly lit houses.  And the Christmas tree lots.  Lines of fresh cut trees, lit by strands of white lighbulbs, waiting for a home.

So, there you have it.  I was driving down the road five years ago and all these reflections from my past and present were strung together like icicle lights.  Dots were connected between my love for Christmas, my memories of family and my current career as a photographer and mom.  I wanted to build a very special Christmas tree lot for my clients and families.  I wanted it to be a place where everyone could have fun and enjoy the magic of each other.  A place where memories are made.  A tradition.  A Christmas card gem.

Creativity is my juice.  So I started drinking the juice like water.   I called around and talked to many people about trees and my entire family jumped in and started helping make that very first Merry Lot come to life.  I purchased 8 trees and we hauled them down from the mountains and added some artificial ones my family had stopped using.  My husband and my dad trimmed them and got them into stands.  Lacey started painting signs.  My mom watched the kids.  But I didn’t stop there.  I wanted snow… in October.  I knew mother nature wasn’t going to give it to me so I called special effects companies all around the United States getting advice and pricing.  I finally found a solution that worked and had pounds of snow delivered to the merry lot just in time for our first families.  I bought cleared the hardware store shelves of lights.  The very first Merry lot was born in 2011 and I took pictures of 20 happy families that year, right on my mom’s front porch.




In 2012, I knew I wanted to bring it back but I wanted it to be different.  I used the same artificial trees but added an antique horse trailer and used some space in our own backyard.  I was pregnant with baby Ben (child #3) that year.  I grew the Merry Lot to 35 sessions… the news was spreading!



In 2013, I took a break from the Merry Lot.  I wanted to go bigger with it because I had so many families interested in joining us.  I knew I had to continue it but we were in the middle of a move, a simplicity journey for our family (which you can read about here and here and here), and we decided to keep adding to our family which is when Jack was conceived.  Our last baby — our family was finally going to be complete!

2014 was another year of growth for my photography as I was searching for my ‘place’ in the industry.  I had many many messages that summer about Merry Lot.  People and families from all over were asking me to bring it back.  They wanted to bring their family to play in the snow again or some wanted to visit for the first time.  I had hired an intern to help that summer since I would be having a newborn and she happened to live on an incredible piece of farmland.  The very first time I visited her house, I knew it was a God sign and started planning the third Merry Lot, with her help.  In 2014, we put up 16 trees, more pounds of snow and welcomed 49 families!




The Merry Lot was becoming something I didn’t expect.  Not only was it becoming known around the area but it was becoming something that blessed so many people in so many ways.  I gave away sessions to families who were suffering through hardships — battling cancer, financial pitfalls, childhood sickness.  I started hearing stories of how marriages were rekindled in front of my lens without my knowing anything about it.  Just the magic created in the midst of a busy season.  Families were starting to come year after year just to have the chance to be together in the trees and the snow and the lights… and to have that time captured.  It has now become a family Christmas tradition for so many.

We are now in the midst of our 4th Merry Lot for 2015!  And again, I am humbled at the outpouring of support and excitement.  We chose and cut 20 live Christmas trees for this year’s set and brought back the lights and the snow.  Planning for the Merry Lot started in July of this year when we began helping cut dead trees out of people’s yards so we could create the new addition of wood piles this year…  The location was chosen and we asked permission to use the beautiful red barn on some farm property in Mountain View and I have teamed up with Mellisa Pendleton of KRJ Photography to bring the magic back in a big way.  The set has more than doubled in size since the beginning of the Merry Lot journey and this year we will shoot over 100 families combined.  We have families traveling from out of town, as far as 600 miles one way to be a part of this year’s Merry Lot.



The Merry Lot has not only become something for so many people in our community but it has became one of our family traditions as well.  My children look forward to the Merry Lot every year and are eager to help build the set.  This year they have helped to cut trees, lay snow, and move firewood… and even enjoyed the set themselves.  I am not sure where God is leading me with the Merry Lot but I know it keeps getting bigger and bigger — I can say I am thrilled and amazed at where He has taken it thus far.

If you are interested in Merry Lot session, you can contact me via this blog, by email (tbailey@terrabaileyphotography.com), by phone (704-564-9154) or on Instagram or Facebook.  Sessions are available and we would love to have your family join us this Christmas!  There is also more information posted on a “Merry Lot” link at the top of this blog with information about pricing and what is included.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Terra Bailey




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“God led us to simplicity to give us abundance.” – #BunchofBaileys

If you follow my blog at all, you may have read my first post about Isagenix and the way the program came into my life. If not, you can see it here. In short summary, I got my butt off the couch and decided to do something about my weight this past January. I just didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and I knew it was time to change. I did what most people do… I joined the YMCA and made better food choices but to no avail.  I could not drop the weight like I wanted.  That was until two months later when a fabulous friend, Lindsey, introduced me to Isagenix. I started on the Isagenix 30 day program with such high hopes of dropping weight.  And I did! But what I didn’t expect was the major life change God was bringing to my life through this nutritional vehicle. When I wrote the previous blog post, I was only three weeks into the program and here are some before and afters at that time.


When these pictures were taken, I had already hugged God’s neck really tight and told Him that I was following Him.  I knew then that the dynamics of our family’s life was about to change.  I could feel it. Not only was I literally melting, but my energy level had skyrocketed and many ailments I was experiencing were obsolete. Since I’ve been on Isagenix, I’m sleeping better through the night, my energy has gone through the roof, and some of the issues that I used to have with my health have gotten so much better.  Isagenix does not claim to cure, prevent or treat, this is just what amazing nutrition did for my body! I had not done this on purpose — like so many, I was simply a product of my environment.

Such magic was taking place within me, I knew I wanted to shout to the world how amazing this discovery was for our family. I’m not a nutritional expert (actually, I’m far from it — I’m just a wife, mommy and photographer, right?!), so I started digging deep into the information on this product. I started calling friends, doctors and experts on this product. Why did I feel this amazing? What I learned is was shattering. Our nations food source is completely depleted.  Our soil is deficient. Even if we strive to eat 100% clean, organic food 100% of the time, we still cannot eat good enough. Our farming industry has been a victim of high demand and high expectations. The farmer’s have had no choice but to treat their soil with pesticides and herbicides. The animals receive hormone injections because our society needs more, bigger, and better. Does that saying ring a bell? Our family steers clear of more, bigger and better. The little light bulbs inside my head went off.  Actually, they were burning so bright, I could hardly see. I turned my eyes to the heavens and started to thank Him. I knew right then what was happening to our lives.

A transition is taking place in our family.  Physically, spiritually and financially. God brought together so many threads of our past, the humbling times when we prayed for answers. We desperately asked him what do we do next? and where will our family be five years from now?.  We listed to Him and took many leaps of faith, recommitting to our marriage, expanding our family,  downsizing our home, selling half of our stuff.  Without those very humbling times, we wouldn’t have the close relationship with Him that we have right now.

You can read more about our road to simplicity here, here and here.  In short, we focused on things that would give us more time together and more time to serve.  We wanted to spend less time on being busy.  I’ve had many of you ask me when I would finish my simplicity series on the blog.  I realize I left off and didn’t finish and now I know that’s because I didn’t quit feel comfortable yet.  I wasn’t quite sure what the end of our simplicity journey would look like.  I was still itching.  Something was still missing.  Then Isagenix came into my life. Isagenix was the simple vehicle through which me and my family would receive vital nutrition.  There’s no way I can cook three perfect meals each day as well as provide perfect snacks.  I do not have the time or money.  Well, I probably do have the time but I’d rather take my kids to the park, go on a vacation, volunteer or read a book.  Justin and I agreed, this fit simplicity.

I am going to save the business side of Isagenix for another post this week.  For now I want to focus on the amazing results we have seen physically from this product.  Why I felt so amazing was because this program is a nutritional program – not a weight loss program.  Each shake (meal replacement) was the perfect meal for my body.  The perfect nutrition.  100% clean, free of processed food or synthetic medicine.  Just 100% clean, organic food.  When I started putting this product in my mouth every day, my body started to change.

Then came the second part of the Isagenix program, cleansing.  Because of the way farmers are growing our food, because of our pollution, because of our water, and even because of the soaps we use, our bodies are overwhelmed with toxins.  Recent studies even show that prescription medications are in our water supply.  Our body reacts by producing fat cells that wrap around these toxins, protecting our bodies from their harm.  Cleansing, then, releases these toxins along with the fat our body no longer needs and the result is a melting weight loss effect and a renewed body from the inside out on a cellular level.  Mix that with abundant nutrition and my body in an alkaline state versus an acidic state and I am completely renewed.  Now, if I were sitting where you are today, I would wonder if this is really all true.  It is!  I am a living testimony to what perfect nutrition in abundance and cleansing can do to one’s confidence, energy level and body image.  My body experienced FREEDOM.

And now, my entire family is experiencing FREEDOM with good nutrition.  My husband started the program a couple weeks ago, but not to loose weight.  He simply wants to become more healthy and build more lean muscle.  My children (my 2, 6 and 8 year olds – not the baby) have shakes for breakfast and replenish (healthy sports drink) after playing outside in the heat.

I have now been on this program for almost three months.  I am down 37 pounds and 3 pants/dress sizes — only 25 more pounds to go!  But, I feel amazing and am dancing on could 9.  I am truly in a place where I can serve Him longer & stronger!  This program coming into our lives was no mistake.


Tomorrow I will be writing about the Isagenix products in detail – what are the ingredients? What is a shake day?  What do you mean by cleanse?  It was all very confusing to me too.  I’m was too busy changing diapers, making bottles, helping with homework, driving to soccer practice, watching gymnastics training, and singing and dancing to vacation bible school music to figure it all out.  Until my body and my spirit transformed so much that I couldn’t (and still can’t) shut up about it.  I will tell the world about this program.  I have prayed for God to show us a way to be totally present, to use our time according to His will, to give us the resources we need to serve.  And He has answered in a way we never could have imagined.

I hope you will join me as I blog each day this week about the different ways this program has affected our lives.  He first led me to freedom within my own body.  But now, our lives have changed completelyWe have been led to simplicity, but through simplicity, God has given us Abundance.


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We.Are.FAMILY!  Next May, Clint + Alisha will be married in Charleston.  Clint will become “uncle” Client.  We are one big happy family…

And this engagement session.  I can’t stop swooning.  Aren’t they perfect?!  We took our time with pictures over two days at Magnolia Plantation, Downtown Charleston, the Charleston Marina and Folly Beach.

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