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Proof of God | Bushland, TX Gas Explosion

it was 1:47 am last Thursday morning when my phone rang on my night stand

i reached for the phone, saw it was my mom calling

i don’t think i was aware of the time at that point i just knew she was calling

i answered the phone with a groggy “hello”

and she said “i just wanted to tell you that there has been an explosion across the street. The house and car are on fire. We are out of the house and…. “

then i heard mumbling and commands coming from different people and my mom abruptly ended our phone call

there are no words that can fully explain to you what a phone call like that does to you

and i hope none of you ever have to experience it

i spent the next four hours in a complete panic. complete hysteria. and cried more in those four hours than i have throughout my entire life

A natural gas line exploded right across the street from my parents’ house

My parents woke up to the explosion and sound of the massive fireball that lit up the sky for miles

i paced my house, about 15 miles away, contemplating waking my child and putting him in the car to drive out to Bushland near my parents

at the time, i didn’t know what was going on, and nothing had been reported online yet

as i scoured the net for information, i found footage of the explosion and fire and several twitter and facebook updates ranging from “i think a plane crashed” to “is the world coming to an end?!” to “have we been bombed?”

and because i didn’t know… because i only saw the mushroom of a fireball, i was terrified that i was going to lose my family

My brother was safe in Amarillo, completing another round of chemo

and as i lost my mind in my living room that night, i kept thinking… “how are we going to survive without my parents?!”

four days ago… i feared the worst.

four days ago… i spent many frantic hours praying for my parents and everyone affected by the explosion

four days ago, a flame over 700ft tall poured over a neighborhood

i am not going to say “luckily” … because luck has NOTHING to do with it… MIRACULOUSLY – everyone affected by the explosion survived with only minor injuries

in my parents case, there were no injuries and only minor fire damages done to their home

when i think about the way everything unfolded that day, how the gas company wasn’t able to shut off the gas for almost TWO hours,

how my dad, who is a fireman, went back in with the emergency units to help out

how my mom would only call me for 20 seconds here or 45 seconds there, and then hang up

i, being the pessimist that i am, feared that each call was the last one i would get or have with my mom

news stories report that three houses suffered damages… and my parents house was one of them

i canNOT explain to you how much that has rattled my core

By the grace of God alone, my parents are safe. the neighbors are safe. and now, life will start to be pieced together again


after the sun rose, i joined my parents and my aunt out at the house

when i arrived, the wind was blowing ashes around, some of the light poles were still on fire, and the neigborhood had been taken over by police, and emergency workers for the gas and electric company

the entrance to the street had been blocked off so i had to be escorted in by a police officer who had at first informed me that i couldn’t go in because it was “too close”

i walked into my parents house and just hugged my parents

my mom and i walked around the house and yard taking photos (because that’s what we do)

and i just kept thinking how God had put a protective shield over their home

because as you look at these photos – you can’t help but question… “how did ANY of these homes survive this fire?!”

the photos of the fire were taken by my mom. she grabbed her camera bag before rushing out of the house


this is part of the house across that street that was lost in the fire. Bushland0024this is their house now-

Bushland0022the trucks behind the damage surround the area where the explosion took place

people ask how this family got out of the house before their house caught fire. some might say the explosion jolted them out of bed. but i think, perhaps, God threw them out

standing in their driveway, this is the view of my parents house. unbelievably close. dangerously within reach. miraculously spared.

Bushland0023their front yard was charred all the way up to the house. my mom says that she looked out through the window and saw the fire crawling through their yard and then my dad told her to RUN! she ran out of the back door, following the neighbors that had come over from across the street. if you look above, on the lower right, there is a black spot in the front yard. this is the shoe of the little boy. he kept saying “i lost my shoe. i lost my shoe”

just short of reaching the house, the fire stopped. JUST SHORT OF REACHING THE HO– — — — USE… the fire STOPPED

Bushland0021the side of their house suffered fire damage to the fence. but this is, unbelievably, the worst of it

Bushland0020my mom’s car was out in the driveway. she had initially thought to drive the car out to safety. then she saw it covered with fire

Bushland0019to say that the neighbors and families affected were “lucky” is an understatement. this is more than just luck. more than luck.

my Welita, grandmother, was not informed of the happenings until the following morning, after everything had calmed down. when i spoke to her, she told me that she had shot out of bed for no reason at all around the time of the explosion and felt the need to pray for her children. she didn’t know which ones. or why. or anything about what was going on. she told me she just started to pray and felt so nervous.

i share this story for two purposes:

first and foremost – to express the love and grace of our God. How even in times like this, he is still there. How he waved his hand over my parents and the neighbors home to the west and said “that’s enough” and kept the other neighbors safe.

i won’t question His plan or reasoning. but will be eternally thankful that he protected everyone. that he kept my parents with us. My family friend, Carol, once said to me “there are no freak accidents. God knows when our time is.” Asked how she was able to run to safety, yet take photos, my mom says “i knew my family was taken care of. and i felt that if God said it was my time, then it was my time”

of course, none of that is comforting in the midst of the news or events that morning. nor is it comforting during this aftershock.

but i do find a GREAT comfort in knowing that my parents are still with us. that i still have my family.

i am thankful for all of the rescue teams that responded to the fire, including one of my recent clients.

i applaud you all for abandoning your fear and disbelief and having a tunnel vision of duty

Secondly – i have been MIA for the last few days – spending time with my parents and brother. I have fallen behind on emails, texts, phone calls, and blogging. we are all finding normalcy this morning and i will start responding to all of you today and this week.

God bless you all. hug your loved ones. let go of grievances. tell someone you love them. so that they can hear it today. so that they may know. because YOU never know…

Chriselda Photography

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November. 9. 2009 - 2:07 pm

Sadie Nutt - Thank God! I have no words but those….

November. 9. 2009 - 2:22 pm

B - Its an absolute miracle that the fire stopped at your parents front yard and everyone survived this disaster. God protects those who trust in Him.

November. 9. 2009 - 2:38 pm

Courtney Henry - I believe in miracles and this was certainly a miracle! Isn’t God good!!!!

November. 9. 2009 - 3:34 pm

Alicia - You are one strong lady, just reading this brought tears to my eyes. You deserve the time off to hug and love on your family, I know what it is like to yearn for a hug or just to hear I love you from a parent. Hold them close for as long as you can!!

November. 9. 2009 - 4:37 pm

Cenee Graham - I had no idea you were connected to Bushland. I live only 4 miles east of the expolsion. It was a very scary night. I have lots of friends that live out there as well. I do believe God was watching out for all as well.

November. 9. 2009 - 5:09 pm

Mikala - God Bless you and your family! May his grace and protection be over you always, like it was on this night!!

November. 9. 2009 - 9:22 pm

Kimberly - I had heard of this explosion the morning after and i live 360 miles away. Your description of God’s infinite timing and sovereignty gave me chills. Thank you for sharing.

November. 10. 2009 - 7:52 am

Kristi S - Unreal! That is so beyond scary and yes, they were all lucky that they were “guided” safely out of the way….guardian angels everywhere! Glad to hear everyone is okay

November. 10. 2009 - 9:25 am

Joette - These pictures and your words tell a powerful story. God bless you for sharing it. I am thankful your family was spared greater damage and that no lives were lost.

November. 10. 2009 - 9:58 am

Tina - Hey Chriselda-I hated to hear about the explosion and am so happy that your family wasn’t hurt-I am AMAZED that no one was killed in that explosion!The pictures your Mother took were amazing.

November. 10. 2009 - 10:11 am

Libby - I cannot believe how big that fire was!! God was definitely protecting your family. What a wonderful reminder. Life is short and you never do know so it’s so important to make sure those you love know it!

November. 10. 2009 - 11:22 pm

Rachelle - My sister and her family live in the house just to the east of the one that burned. Like your parents, they were not injured. It is truly a miracle. Your pictures are amazing.

November. 11. 2009 - 1:07 pm

Callie Holton - Chriselda, this gives me chills! I too got an early morning phone call because of Will’s family in Bushland, and truly it was a miracle that the damage was so contained! I am so very glad that your family is ok!

November. 17. 2009 - 4:34 pm

Dave - I am so glad your family is OK. I have so much respect for your Mom. I do not know her yet, but want to meet her. I live on the end of Graystone Ln. and what she had to say at the meeting is inspiring. God bless all of you!

Phillip & Britni | Engagement

i am SO excited to share these images with you. Phillip and Britni are an absolutely gorgeous and amazing couple.

they live in Lubbock but came up for the afternoon to be photographed by little ol’ me.

i can’t form words to tell you how great that makes me feel!

britni practically jumped out of moving vehicle to say hi to me

she was wearing the dress below – so you can only imagine that i squealed in equal delight to see her!

Phillip and Britni share a very special relationship

you just know how well they take care of each other by watching them interact

it’s completely heart-warming

now – a little background… Phillip is a fireman in Lubbock and during a combat competition, he decided to pop the question

wanna see??

so here are the faves. which… i gave them OVER 200 pictures because they are all so good and i couldn’t narrow it down

now, who’s obsessed with who?!?!rbritni007-copy

rbritni012-copyrbritni020-copyrbritni021-copyrbritni026-copyrbritni033-copyrbritni038-copyallow me to tattle: when i emailed britni to tell her i was delayed in editing, she said “i understand you’re editing my photos to make me look decent” um…. you are a wee bit on the insane side and i think you should consult a doctor. you are beautiful!!! can i get an amen???

rbritni040-copyand as you all know, Phillip is a fireman. and i dunno about you, but who WOULDN’T mind being rescued??? so.. yeah. it’s my favorite

rbritni115-copyrbritni110-copyrbritni139-copyto get the image above was a bit tricky. Phillip is like 10 feet tall. and britni comes in at a close second at 9 feet tall. well… i’m about 4 feet tall so yeah. they had to SQUAT some. and i know this is cruel to post. but we all stood in the street laughing about this. so i had to share.

rbritni141-copyto the two of you:

it was sooo nice to finally meet you, as well as your mom! you have completely won me over and i’m still extremely sad to not be your wedding photographer. thank you so so sooooo much for choosing me to capture this time in your life for you! i cannot explain to you how much i truly enjoyed photographing you and getting to know you! you have such a wonderful connection and i can’t wait to see the future that you will share with one another!! thank you again and again from the warm and fuzzy parts inside my heart for giving me this honor!!!


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September. 16. 2009 - 9:32 pm

Libby -! these are the best i’ve ever seen.

September. 16. 2009 - 9:46 pm

andie - LUV!!!!

September. 16. 2009 - 10:03 pm

Julie - Love the rescue pics. I’m surprised that you didn’t lock this girl up and steal her shoes, accessories and dress..they are true “Chriselda Style”. Julie

September. 17. 2009 - 1:43 am

Mikala - These are stunning!!! My husband is a fireman.. where oh where did you find an old firetruck?? You do amazing work.. I’m such a blog stalker!!

September. 17. 2009 - 8:39 am

Brynne - Fabulous job! Gorgeous couple!

September. 17. 2009 - 9:13 am

tina rodriguez - These turned out WONDERFUL!!! You have NO IDEA how much fun we had doing these great pictures. You definitely are very artistic and a talented photography and your work definitely shows how much you enjoy what you do. I wish you were in Lubbock, Texas…….Tina R.(Britni’s Mom)….:)

September. 17. 2009 - 9:37 am

Maci - These pictures are great!! Smokin HOT couple and you did an AMAZING job photographing them!

September. 17. 2009 - 10:30 am

britni - chriselda my obsession, you are absolutely amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you so much for everything! your gift and talent has made me so very happy and i will never be able to thank you enough.

September. 17. 2009 - 3:27 pm

Karolina Castillo - I am so in love with these photos!! Britni I am so happy for you!!!!!!!!!

September. 17. 2009 - 4:23 pm

Jerica - I love love her dress in the first photo…by any chance do we know who the designer is?? LOVE LOVE the pictures!!

September. 17. 2009 - 5:31 pm

Libby - oh my gosh i just saw the link for the proposal and it is SO sweet! awwwww

September. 18. 2009 - 1:01 pm

Lizzy - Those pix were absolutely gorgous…everyone i showed thought my niece and phill were models !!! they even asked for your contact information so they can have sometaken of thier kids…beautiful your truley doing what you were meant ot do !!!

September. 20. 2009 - 8:43 pm

Leah - Umm, yeah…Amen! She’s gorgeous! Beautiful photos!

October. 3. 2009 - 7:22 pm

Jackie Curl - OMG!!!!! I love these pictures, they are amazing! Britni you are beautiful, and the guy in the pictures with you isn”t to bad to look at either!! You did good girl! You look like a model. WOW!!!
Chriselda, very nice!!!

October. 30. 2009 - 2:20 pm

Kristy - Love the pics Britni. Chriselda is amazing. She did Rawley’s senior pics and they are just wonderful. It was good to see the fam last month. Take care.

September. 28. 2012 - 10:42 pm

Alyssa - Cute pics <3 (:

Curt & Jenny | Engagement

Curt and Jenny (and I) were just MEANT to work together

they recently moved to the Panhandle from the Dallas area

they’ll be getting married in the Spring back in Grapevine but were looking for someone here to do their engagement photos

it just so happens… i was already scheduled to be in DFW for other sessions the week of their wedding

done deal. i’m lucky enough to be photographing their wedding

a few weeks ago we met for their engagement session

i’m not sure that i have ever laughed so much


wjenny047-copyholy black and white images, batman!!! let’s get some color, shall we?wjenny082-copy


my favorite. this really just captures their love for each other. very happy. peaceful. natural. love it.

wjenny087-copycurt and jenny – thank you for allowing me the opportunity to photograph your wedding memories! it was so nice to spend the afternoon with you! i can’t wait for spring!!!


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September. 15. 2009 - 9:29 am

Nichole Frank - Well, isn’t he just a delicious looking cowboy! Awesome images! ๐Ÿ™‚

September. 15. 2009 - 10:06 am

Chris Constance - Wow, the pictures came out beautifully! Melissa and I are so happy for you guys, and we can’t wait for the wedding! You make a great couple.

God Bless.

September. 15. 2009 - 11:18 am

Sadie Nutt - We still need our engagement pics, never got around to taking them… are you allowed to back track like that?

September. 15. 2009 - 3:44 pm

Jenny - Chriselda – the pictures came out amazing! Thank you so much for everything! We can’t wait for April!

September. 15. 2009 - 8:55 pm

Leah - I love the B&W closeup of him looking at the camera as well as all the shots of them laughing together. They look like a lotta fun!

September. 16. 2009 - 10:00 am

Brynne - I agree with Leah, I love the close up B&W of him!

September. 16. 2009 - 10:14 am

chriselda - not sure if you ladies are aware….
but he’s kinda… “spoken for”


it’s always a little boost to hear that women out there think your fiance is attractive though


September. 16. 2009 - 2:32 pm

Jenny - ha, I think he is kind of delicious myself! ๐Ÿ™‚

September. 17. 2009 - 12:54 am

Lindsay - Great pics! I love that you love them! Best stories ever! J-fabulous hair!!!

Haley & Caden | Kiddos

kid sessions always make me happy.

because a rock can make a three year old little boy completely satisfied

and asking a little girl to tell you her favorite “princess” story makes her grin from ear to ear and she’s just all about it!

bubbles are heaven sent

slides and swings are the best inventions in the world

and silly faces are not only expected… but NECESSARY.

renee asked me to photograph her children

they are fun and sweet and childlike and completely PERFECT



mrenee122-copyrenee: thank you so much for coming out to play! i can’t wait for our Fall Sesssion!!!! your kids are absolutely adorable and made me as giggly as ever!!! thanks for sharing them with me for the afternoon!


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September. 9. 2009 - 11:17 am

Maci - They are precious! Great work Chriselda doll!

September. 9. 2009 - 1:56 pm

Renee Mclaughlin - Thanks for such great pictures, we love them. Renee

September. 9. 2009 - 2:59 pm

Julie - Cute pics!! Julie

June. 2. 2010 - 3:37 pm

Holly McNeely - I have never been to your blog until recently… OH my word I think these pictures are some of my favorite…. You are awesome.

Brooklyn | Newborn

when your job requires you to hold a newborn baby in your arms for a few hours…

you can’t really call it a job.

and when your job requires that you participate in someone’s life every five weeks during their pregnancy

to the point where that person becomes your friend

to the point where you hold this newborn in your arms

and just cry because she’s just as much a part of your heart as she is to her family members

that… that is when your job isn’t a job.

that is when it becomes a blessing.

when it becomes a GIFT


three of my favorite people in the world

brooklyn2038-copychance and lauren: words fail me here. because i have seen the two of you progress from individuals, to a couple, to a bride and groom – to celebrating your anniversary – to being expecting parents and now… as a family.

thank you for having me along for the journey. for the milestones. for the way you have incorporated me into your lives. and granted me the great gift of your friendship.

for letting me come over unannounced and spend hours with you at the hospital. for trusting me to create your memories. for sharing some of them with me. for always always always being so sweet. for showing laken how to do the perfect push up. for watching tv with him. for meeting us for ice cream when i had no make up on. for late night pizza. for the laughs. and giggles. and times where we failed to pick up the camera because we couldn’t stop talking. for knowing that i love you. for giving me this wonderful wonderful joy of photographing you time and again. you have truly become such great people in my life. i am truly blessed to know that i get to see so much more.


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September. 1. 2009 - 6:11 am

Danielle - These are gorgeous chriselda! and your note to them almost made me cry – wow, i’m sensitive ๐Ÿ™‚

September. 1. 2009 - 10:06 am

Lauren - You are amazing…Love you friend!!

September. 1. 2009 - 3:00 pm

Maci - What a humbling post Chriselda!! Lauren and her new family are PRECIOUS and you have am amazing gift of capturing the most important moments! What a blessing! You are great! Love you to the moon!

And Lauren– (cause I know youll check this!) You and Chance and your sweet baby girl are PRECIOUS!!! I am so proud and excited for you! I pray for you guys often and I hope God blessed you and you!!!