Christmas Story Board

I am thrilled to have Beryl sharing today- her sweet girl, her story and a very special giveaway.

It’s been 816 days since we had to say goodbye to our Bella. 816 good morning kisses we never shared. 816 bedtime stories we missed.

But, still she is here with me.

Sometimes she speaks to me as she paints the sky the colors of the sunrise.

Other times she whispers my name in rays of light streaming through the windows.

But today she calls out to me in the twinkle of lights shimmering through the branches of our Christmas tree.


Bella is my guiding light.

At Christmastime it’s the most present. The day our tree goes up and casts its warm glow over the house I am magically filled with her radiance, her warmth, and her spirit.

But it wasn’t always so easy. That first Christmas without her the darkness was all consuming. With the end of daylight savings the dark came quicker than ever filling me up with loneliness and heartache. I longed for distraction. Something to numb the pain, ease the hurt, and forget our loss. So I sought to assemble the perfect Christmas tree. And amazingly she knew exactly what I needed. Because as I browsed the aisles of shimmering baubles, trinkets, and ornaments to create our perfect tree she was there. Hanging right in front of my eyes. A little white angel dangling amidst the lights of the floor model department store trees, holding a tiny white kitten. Our kitten Lily who had passed over the rainbow 2 years earlier from a short aggressive battle with cancer. There was my Bella, bathed in light, Lily by her side. And I knew she was ok.

That ornament came home with us that day, and now the light of our tree with Bella and Lilly proudly on display brings me energy, clarity, and peace.

What symbol reminds you of your angel? Dragonflies? Angels? Trees? Flowers? Butterflies? Light?

What color does your angel bring to you in your dreams? What hues remind you to feel at peace?
This month I encourage you to pick up a camera and photograph those things. Capture the sweet reminders of your baby and display them proudly in your home. This year our family created a special a mini tree just for Bella. Filled with our photo reminders of her. Her photos are filled with light, color, and vibrancy because her memory reminds us of the bright spots her legacy left behind.
I’d like to invite you to honor your angels with me this year by erecting your own memorial tree in their honor.

If you’re looking for guidance getting started photographing in honor of your angel meet me over at Illuminate and download the free Color Your World photo healing lesson. Or if you’re feeling crafty come browse the ‘memorial tree’ inspiration board over on Pinterest I’ve created just for you.

The card holder tree pictured above was such an easy way for a non crafty person like me to find a special way to display the photos taken in honor of our Bella. And, I’d LOVE to give away one of them here today.

You have three ways to enter:

1. You must be a subscriber to Small Bird Studios AND enter to win the tree by subscibing to Illuminate HERE.

2. Become a fan of Small Bird Studios on Facebook.

3. Become a fan of the Illuminate photo healing course on Facebook.

Leave a comment below after you’ve completed each task to let us know you’ve completed them. A winner will be announced this Friday December 9th.

My holiday wish for you is that you find peace in the spirit of your angel and honor them this holiday season through photos snapped in their memory and proudly on display in your home. Our babies may be missed but they will never ever be forgotten. Especially at Christmastime.


Beryl Ayn Young is a professional photographer and teacher in the Northern VA/MD/DC metropolitan area. Her daughter Bella was stillborn on September 11th, 2009 at 20 weeks pregnant. You can read more about Bella’s story and the light she left behind over at Illuminate. Beryl also share photo tips and inspirations at her sister site Beryl Ayn Young and offers photography classes to nourish the body, mind, and soul.


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facebook comments:


  1. 1
    Sarah says:

    I’ve done all three! I love the tree display idea and would welcome doing this in honour of my daughter Heather!

  2. 2
    sarah borth says:

    I have done all three! This is a brilliant idea and a perfect way to honor my little angel Harper!

  3. 3
    Tara Finney says:

    I follow both Illuminate and Small Birds. Such inspiration for us Momma’s!

  4. 4
    Stephanie Desjarlais says:

    I am already a subscriber to SBS and Illuminate!!

  5. 5
    Tara Finney says:

    I also love not like both on Fb!
    Tara Finney recently posted..March for BabiesMy Profile

  6. 6
    Stephanie Desjarlais says:

    Already a fan of SBS on FB

  7. 7
    Stephanie Desjarlais says:

    Already a fan of Illuminate on FB

  8. 8
    Carrie Konig says:

    I am a subscriber to Small Bird Studios AND entered to win the tree by subscribing to Illuminate ~ Thanks!

  9. 9
    Carrie Konig says:

    I’m a fan of Small Bird Studios on Facebook. (and so thankful I discovered you)

  10. 10
    Carrie Konig says:

    I’m a fan of the Illuminate photo healing course on Facebook.

  11. 11
    Ashley says:

    This tree older is amazing!! I would love to get one to display my precious baby boy!! I am a fan of both on FB :)
    Ashley recently posted..Broken Working HeartMy Profile

  12. 12
    Deanna says:

    This is so beautiful! I am a fan of Illuminate on FB

  13. 13
    Deanna says:

    Fan of SBS on FB

  14. 14
    Deanna says:

    Entered at the Illuminate Blog

  15. 15
    Andrea Grover says:

    This is exactly what I need. This photo idea is beautiful, I love taking pictures and the whole idea seems manageable, which doesn’t happen too often! We lost our 5th angel, Austin, on 10-26-11. After completely swearing off all holidays the rest of the year, again, I managed to pull together the Random Acts of Kindness project. My holiday decorations consist of a single white stocking this year. This photo tree is an amazing idea, because it gets YOU involved. Whether I win this precious giveaway or not, I want to say thank you for the inspiration, and for giving me an idea that doesn’t overwhelm me! Hugs to all xxxxx

  16. 16
    Kendra Stapp says:

    I follow both small bird studios and Illuminate
    Kendra Stapp recently posted..The PregnancyMy Profile

  17. 17
    dejah says:

    Following the Small Bird Studios and entered at Illuminate!
    dejah recently posted..death is my closest friendMy Profile

  18. 18
    dejah says:

    Already a fan of Small Bird Studios on FB… :-)

  19. 19
    dejah says:

    …and now a fan of Illuminate on FB!

  20. 20
    Hope says:

    I am a subscriber to SBS and Illuminate websites xx
    Hope recently posted..Sufficient Grace MinistriesMy Profile

  21. 21
    Hope says:

    I am a FB fan of SBS =)
    Hope recently posted..Sufficient Grace MinistriesMy Profile

  22. 22
    Hope says:

    And I’m a fan of the Illuminate FB page =)
    Beryl, what a fabulous idea, i have been searching for a way to remember the girls this Christmas and nothing was quite the right idea for me just yet, I love this idea!! =)
    Hope recently posted..Sufficient Grace MinistriesMy Profile

  23. 23
    Melanie c says:

    Hi there, what a glorious photo holder! I would love one of these for my memories of Arielle.
    I am a follower of sbs and illuminate on Facebook and follow both blogs on blog lovin.
    Thank you both for all the inspiration work you do xxx

  24. 24
    Shelby says:

    I’m already a subscriber of both Small Bird Studios and Illuminate as well as Facebook fans of both. Both sites have provided me with an outlet and stimulation for my creativity and I always enjoy reading the blog postings. I would love to win this tree because it fits my daughter, Stella, so perfectly! When I think of my precious little girl I think of stars (like this photo/card tree), dragonflies and faeries. Our little Stella was born on December 23, 2010 and passed shortly after, so while she wasn’t with us last Christmas I was still in the hospital until Christmas Day and this year feels like our first Christmas with out her here with us. Having this display tree to put in our living room with photo reminders of Stella will help us keep her front and center through out the holidays!

  25. 25
    Mubin says:

    What a super-cool giveaway! I’d go insane if I won this!!!!!
    I Like/LOVE Illuminate on FB

  26. 26
    Mubin says:

    Of course I LIKE Small Bird Studio on FB and otherwise!

  27. 27
    Mubin says:

    I follow Small Bird Studio through Google Connect and Email
    Following Illimunate through email.


  28. 28
    Shasaphire says:

    I should totally win this!!!
    I follow both SBS and Illuminate through email

  29. 29
    Shasaphire says:

    I like SBS on FB

  30. 30
    Shasaphire says:

    I like Illuminate on FB

  31. 31
    Alison says:

    I’ve subscribed to Small Bird Studios and Illuminate

  32. 32
    Alison says:

    I’m a fan of Small Bird Studios on Facebook
    Alison recently posted..Moments of GriefMy Profile

  33. 33
    Alison says:

    I’m a fan of the Illuminate photo healing course on facebook
    Alison recently posted..Moments of GriefMy Profile

  34. 34
    Alissa says:

    Fan of Small Bird.
    Alissa recently posted..Another good-bye…My Profile

  35. 35
    Alissa says:

    fan of illuminate.

  36. 36
    Alissa says:

    Follow Illuminate blog. Thank you! <3.

  37. 37
    Amber Brown says:

    I subscribe to Illuminate
    Amber Brown recently posted..Just wanted to shareMy Profile

  38. 38
    Amber Brown says:

    I am a follower of SBS on blogger and FB
    Amber Brown recently posted..Just wanted to shareMy Profile

  39. 39
    Amber Brown says:

    I also liked Illuminate on FB
    Amber Brown recently posted..Just wanted to shareMy Profile

  40. 40
    Cerrisse Wood says:

    I follow you on FB.

  41. 41
    Cerrisse Wood says:

    I follow Illuminate on FB.

  42. 42
    Cerrisse Wood says:

    I subscribed :)

  43. 43

    I’ve done all three and I love the star because Joel, our son was born sleeping at 38.3 weeks, is our beautiful shining star.
    Wendy Murnane recently posted..2nd Wedding AnniversaryMy Profile

  44. 44
    april says:


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