You are my Sunshine | Maple Valley Family Photographer

It’s been hard to know where to start with this post. It’s such a personal and intimate one. Sometimes words just don’t seem adequate. While I was uploading the pictures to this post my pandora station started in on the song “You are my sunshine….” I have always loved this song and as a little girl I clearly remember my mom singing it to me. But this time hearing it it was different. Listening to the words closely, it seemed fitting to use for the title.

Last week I got a message from the bride of the first -ever-wedding that I shot. You might remember her…she had pretty spectacular RED shoes and was beyond beautiful! They got married outside at a beautiful mansion. I had just gotten my business license and had only a couple shoots under my belt at that point,  let alone a wedding. I was scared out of my mind!! But it went beautifully and those are still some of my very favorite images ever. And  I couldn’t have had a more perfect couple, family and friends to have had as my first. Through that wedding I have met some really, really great people and even gained another wedding experience from it, too. Lisa & Zack knew going into their wedding that it wasn’t going to be easy. And not just the regular ole’ marriage has it’s ups & downs stuff. Tough stuff. Stage 4 colon cancer stuff. By the wedding Zack was already a few months into this diagnosis and treatment.  They had sweet baby boy named Carter and they were going to live as a family…even in the tough stuff. Lisa is one of the strongest you will ever meet. She rarely wavers in her stoic grace. And I admire her! I remember meeting her for the very first time, in my very first bridal meeting at the Starbucks on River Road. I was so thankful she was so sweet and I hope she didnt see me shaking in my boots too much. 🙂

Back to her message. I knew things had gotten harder for Zack and he was really struggling in his battle which has now reached the two year mark. She said they were being sent home from Swedish and this time with hospice, and given a short 2 week(ish) window. Lisa hoped for a photo session as soon as possible and I would have been there that minute if I could have. We post poned a couple of times and finally I was able to go see the Malone’s and take pictures for them that say more than words. There is a deep love. A deep deep love between these three. It was touching to see them and I am so very honored to have been with them during such an intimate time. Lisa, thank you for sharing this precious time with me. I hope that these will be photos treasured for many many years.


How handsome is Carter?! He was extended well beyond his normal nap time and was such a sweet heart even still. I love that now that he is a big boy we were able to chat and tease. I’m not sure if he likes me or if he really liked the cocoa I brought for him…either way I’ll take the love!


I love that you can see Lisa’s laugh here!

…flipping through their wedding book…

They have a certain routine, every night, with a certain book about a dog named Charlie.

Zack’s mama was there so we for sure had to grab her for a picture, too!

I ask you to pray for this family. Pray for Zack. Pray for Lisa. Pray for Carter. We can not always understand why things on this earth happen the way that they do. But by seeking grace from the One who can grant it, will bring peace and comfort that only He can give and it will carry us through.


There has been a fundraiser made in their honor, if you feel led please go here and help:

or you can donate directly here

May 24, 2012 - 8:11 pm

mom - I am praying for this precious family. Bless you Kristal for blessing this family with these beautiful photos.

May 24, 2012 - 8:12 pm

Kristi (Zacks cousin) - You are truly an amazing photographer. You don’t just take pictures, you capture the heart and soul of the subjects. I’m literally in tears from reading what you had to say as well as seeing the love that is clearly portrayed here. This is a very tragic event for everyone. A tragedy you were able to make beautiful with no words and for that, I can never thank you enough. It warms my heart that carter will get to see his dads raw strength, clearly shown here, but in such a way that wont hurt him. Thank you so much.

May 24, 2012 - 11:11 pm

Heather Mann - wow. what a beautiful, yet very hard session to be able to do. these are priceless shots.

May 25, 2012 - 12:59 am

Tyffani smith - I dont personally know the malones but i know people who do. I pray everyday god gives them just one more day together. These pictures are absolutely amazingly beautiful. Was hard to read and look at the pics without crying. I understand what they are going thru as my grandmather had colen cancer.

May 25, 2012 - 5:25 am

Diane (Lisa's Mom) - You are an amazing person. You captured so much in your pictures at their wedding and now this. The love their share is so evident in the pictures and it is something to help us remember what love is all about. I would love to put this on my facebook page to share with people who may know Lisa but I don’t know how to do that. Could you tell me how to do it?

May 25, 2012 - 10:09 am

Christine Berg - These pictures are priceless. Praying for the Melone Family every day!

May 25, 2012 - 10:11 am

Jessy - Beautiful pictures Kristal. Praying for this sweet family.

May 25, 2012 - 10:19 am

Corinne Lombardo - Just breathe taking in every way; we had the distinct honor of attendingthe wedding for Zack and Lisa and I thought those pictures captured everything. These show how their love and family have grown – sweeter and deeper. The album says it all and it’s all about love, commitment and their family; it’s rare and beautiful!

May 25, 2012 - 11:12 am

The Malone Family - […] has also wrote a post over on her site and added more photos of Zack and Lisa.  I’d encourage everyone to read it […]

May 26, 2012 - 2:31 pm

Heidi (Lisa's cousin) - Very beautiful photos that will be treasured for years to come!

May 27, 2012 - 9:48 am

Dianne Snell - Such beautiful photos to treasure and cherish forever. I had to both cry and smile at the same time!
Love, Grandma

May 29, 2012 - 4:41 pm

Carri - I will be praying for this sweet family. You did a wonderful job capturing this moment. What a blessing your gift of photography is to others. Love and miss you friend.

May 30, 2012 - 4:39 pm

Laurie-Aunt to Zack - I am praying for this story book family, Love just doesn’t get any better than this. Kristal you are an amazing photographer, thank you, these phots will be treasured forever.

May 30, 2012 - 7:54 pm

Cheryl Cook friend of Niel jamed - Such such an inspiration, words cant describe the sheer faith you hold so preciously close to your hearts. It truly gives me faith in what God says love is…all my strength to you all.

May 31, 2012 - 8:13 am

April Morrison - I saw a few of these pictures on there fb but first time I read this beautiful tribute to them. We have been close friends of the Wengers for over 30 years and one thing you know is how much they genuinely love each other. I’ve known Lisa withsince she was born and was so happy when she found the love of her life which then brought little Carder into this world. He will carry on in his daddy’s name. Its hard to express how much love I have for this family. We had a horrible tragedy a couple yrs ago with the loss of my daughter in law so I know the grief they are experiencing. I believe God uses these times for us to give back which I am trying to do. Please continue to pray for them.

June 5, 2012 - 9:46 pm

Andrea - These are beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Well written and well shot Kristal. This family has been in my prayers over these last weeks and will be even more so after seeing their faces in these wonderful pictures. What a blessing you are.

June 5, 2012 - 11:14 pm

Jen (Sonsteby) Sarginson - Beautiful pictures. Praying for this sweet family.

June 6, 2012 - 8:37 am

Debbie Rude - This has been a bittersweet connection to a beautiful family that I’ve never met. Thanks to my friend MRI James, I have been blessed to have been intoduced to these sweet people, if only from afar. I pray daily for His grace & peace to fill you in your time together. God bless all of you as I continue to keep you in my thoughts & prayers.

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