we’re going to be published!!

I am so excited to share the wonderful news I just received.  Woodbine House chose my photo of Sayer Riley (and his sisters … sort of 😉 ) for the COVER of Gifts II, the second edition to the popular Gifts : a book about how children with Down Syndrome enrich lives.  I am so honored and humbled once again.  Wow!

Before I share the cover photo, I want to share a few things.  First of all, I have had the wonderful privilege of photographing several children and families with children with Down Syndrome over the last year. Haven’t ever known or really been around people with Down Syndrome, I must say, the first few sessions were nerve wracking for me.  “What if I’m not good with these kids?” “What if they hate me and my camera?” were some of the thoughts in my head.  After session number #1 (Sayer’s session oddly enough) was a success, then my second session (Cute little Gabby, which is still one of my very favorite sessions to date), then three, then four, then five … and so on, I realized just how much these little angels had affected me and opened my eyes to a world of Gifts I had been missing out on.   So much so, in fact, that I get so giddy when I book another family with a child with Down Syndrome AND I am in the process of getting my full SKPA (Special Kids Photography Association) accreditation. So, thank you.  Thank you to all the families that have trusted your little ones with me and giving me the opportunity to capture the essence that truly makes them all Gifts … to all of us!

AND, one more special note before the picture, although I am sure you already stole a peek!  I was beside myself when Fran called me and told me that they chose Sayer’s picture and not necessarily for the reason’s you may think.  Of course I am proud that it is my photo, but more than that, I just knew how very much this would bless this family.  You see, Lisa, Sayer’s mom, was diagnosed with ALS (commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) the DAY after our session.  I don’t have to go into all the details about what this means for her and her family for you to realize how heart wrenching this is.  My wonderful Aunt, who is a friend of Lisa’s, set up this SITE in honor of Lisa and her family and to help raise awareness and support for their family.  Please check out her story and the many ways you can help!

The other AMAZING news is that when I told Fran about Sayer’s mom, Lisa, she spoke with the awesome folks over at Woodbine House, and I just received confirmation that they are also awarding Lisa’s family with a matching $250 award (which I will also receive for submitting the winning photo). How stinkin cool is that?  I haven’t decided exactly what my $250 award will be used for, but I do know that it will be going toward our upcoming calendar project with The World Should Know, which we hope will become a staple for Love, Me every single year as our way of giving back.  Let 2009 be the year you give back in anyway you can!!!  Stay tuned for more ways to give to the orphans in Sierra Leone as well.

So, here it is (for those that played by the rules 😉 )

Jaimers: are you kidding??!!! this is fantastic! (Feb 04, 2009 at 19:39 pm)
Carole Marie Farmen: How awesome! Congratulations! (Jan 31, 2009 at 17:31 pm)
Tracy: That is so exciting Crystal! Congratulations! The picture is precious...love all the colors! (Jan 28, 2009 at 10:42 am)
haley birkelbach: crystal - congrats! this is so exciting and you deserve it! what a cool thing to be a part of. very awesome! (Jan 27, 2009 at 22:27 pm)
Aunt Monique: Crys, yes.....I'm crying! For so many reasons - I have joy in my heart that you are using your God-given talent. I've told you before so many people don't and I'm proud that you are wise enough to know what yours is and put it to use to do His work - you will continue to be blessed! Also, I don't know if you know this, but I had an uncle who had Down Syndrome and what a blessing he was to our family. Talk about unconditional love :) I was blessed to learn that at a very early age from him. Keep on keeping on! I love you! (Jan 27, 2009 at 20:20 pm)
Lauri: Congrats Crystal. That is really cool and is a great image! (Jan 27, 2009 at 19:17 pm)
Kara May: Oh that's awesome Crystal!!!! WOW - I love that image too! Congratulations woman!!! (Jan 27, 2009 at 17:24 pm)
JoAnn Maddux: I am so proud of you and as your grandmother I have bragging rights. I have always known you were gifted and I think there is more in store for you. Never give up your dreams, follow God's direction and it will be there. Love ya, ( Iknow what you are saying "your so funny, Nana". (Jan 27, 2009 at 17:05 pm)
Erin Carlyle: Oh my goodness...I couldn't be more proud of you! You are so talented, you work so hard and your passion shows in your pictures. You deserve this my friend. I'm inspired by you daily and so thankful to call you my friend! (Jan 27, 2009 at 16:53 pm)