Sunday, December 26, 2010

Giving is pretty awesome!

Oh how I wish I can give the Giving is Awesome session to each family that was nominated, because I think every family that was nominated is just as deserving, but I could only pick one to be fair from the 9 families that were shared with me...

First of all, the folks that nominated these families.... Wowza to you.. To go out of your way to write me and give somebody else wonderful memories of their own.. You are just as awesome... Thank you, Thank you , Thank you! you are a true gift of awesomness!

Congratulations to Shannon and Anthony and their beautiful 6 children. Your sister Rachel had said some pretty amazing things about you, and also shared some of your story with me...,

Hi Gina,
I'm writing to nominate my sister Shannon and her beautiful family. They have been through so much in the last few years and I truly feel that they deserve and would treasure your amazing gift of photography.

Shannon and Anthony have 6 children between the two of them. Their youngest son Anthony was born on July 18, 2005 and had problems from the start. He was born with his intestines outside of his body. The medical terminology for this is Short Bowel Syndrome (Short bowel syndrome (SBS, also short gut syndrome or simply short gut) is a malabsorption disorder caused by the surgical removal of the small intestine, or rarely due to the complete dysfunction of a large segment of bowel. Most cases are acquired, although some children are born with a congenital short bowel. It usually does not develop unless a person has lost more than two thirds of his or her small intestineu.
He was in and out of surgeries immediately and had to take nutrients (TPN - Total Parenteral Nutrition) intravenously and sometimes with these nutrients, there is too much glucose which can cause liver failure. This happened to Anthony. He then received a liver transplant at 11 months old.
At age 2, baby Anthony had an Ostomy takedown and a Uteroplasty, to repair the kidney line to the bladder. During this 9 hour surgery, patients have to be grounded with a grounding device because they use a cauterizing gun to burn through the abdomen. It requires a pad, placed underneath baby Anthony's rear, and then plugged into an outlet so the electrical current goes to through the pad and to the outlet. The next morning, Shannon went to pick Anthony up and his back was stuck to the blanket and they found the 3rd degree burns in the exact shape of the grounding pad. The pad wasn't grounded correctly. It took almost a month for these 3rd degree burns to heal, with Anthony in excruciating pain at times and unable to lay on his back or sit-up.
Most recently, Anthony caught a virus because his immune system is depressed. This led to a disease called Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia. This means that his immune system is attacking his own blood. They tried to treat this with a series of steroids but baby Anthony didn't respond. They doubled the steroid treatment but still no response from his overworked little body. So 2 weeks ago, they inserted a pick line near his armpit. Last week they began the new medication, Rituximab (also used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). This will take his immune system down completely along with numerous side effects, like muscle and bone aches, extreme hunger, and nausea. Anthony is 5 now and in school but because of the new medication, and his immune system basically non-existent as the medicine begins to work, will have to be home schooled now. This broke his little heart as one of the most positive things in his short life, school, was now being taken away. The medicine is given 4 times this month. After this is over, they will re-test and see where Anthony stands.
Shannon and Anthony's other children ~ Alicia, Johnny, twins Mark and Andrew, and Carisma ~ have been through a lot as well with all of this. It takes its toll on them when mom and dad are gone so much and their brother is in pain and sick so often. They are an amazing family and their faith in God has been what has helped them the most through this difficult journey. They know that God doesn't give them more than they can handle and if you talk to them, you wouldn't know how much their struggle affects them in their daily life as they are always looking at the positive side of things.

Thank you for hearing our story. It feels good to write about it and know that someone is listening and wanting to hear our story. Thanks for what you are doing Gina - it's an amazing gift!



Thank you so much Rachel, I think you are pretty awesome! ;)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My kids are well prepared for tonight.. :)

Merry Christmas friends! Wishing you many, many blessings and hope you all have a safe and beautiful Christmas with your family and friends.. :)

Note: I have been getting in some last minute entries, so I want to read all of them before I announce a winner for the GIVING IS AWESOME giveaway...
Winner will be announced Dec. 26th... Thank you to all who participated, there is a lot of awesomeness in this world because of you.. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Crazy pics in the crazy Christmas booth

We can get crazy up here in Redlands.. Uh huh!!!!... We had so much fun dashing through the halls at my friend Kelli's Christmas party.
Warning! our reindeer was very hurt in the process. Just say'n... :)lol...

CLICK HERE! to see more craziness! :)
Merry Christmas friends.. ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Blessings...

I opened up my Christmas present a bit early!!! I love it and this man of mine.. :)
Just wanted to share!!! :)

and it did not even cost a penny, but it is worth more to me than any store could ever offer... :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Because Giving is Awesome!

You know someone. You know someone who’s experienced a tragedy, is struggling to stay afloat, is raising kids while holding down more than one job, or is volunteering selflessly despite extenuating personal circumstances. You know someone who can’t afford custom photography, but who would cherish it this holiday season. You know someone who deserves a year-round reminder of their family’s spirit, love, and beauty.

I am no Oprah, and I can not give away a vacation to Australia, or a car, or even a million dollars.. I wish I could.

But I can give away what I am capable of giving. My Talent, my time, my art and my love to someone deserving.

You know someone. I guarantee it.

I want to know who they are, and I want to give them the chance to experience complimentary custom photography like no other, more than just pictures, but an experience — $1500.00 worth to be exact. It’s in your power to give them the artwork they deserve this holiday season.
Oh, and the best part? The person who nominates the winner receives a a complimentary session too. What better reason to show some love could there possibly be? you give, you feel good in your heart, and you get rewarded too.. :)

The rules:
* You cannot nominate yourself, and the person nominated must sincerely be incapable of purchasing my services.
* They must reside in the Southern California area
* Tell me who you know, what they’re experiencing, and why they deserve my artwork. Please include a way to contact both your nominee and yourself as well.
* You must e-mail me the full story to by December 20th.
The winner will be announced on Christmas Eve — get nominating! I can’t wait to read all of your entries!

Open your heart to someone this holiday season — and thank you for giving me the opportunity to open mine.

Love, Gina

Please feel free to re-post!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mandy, The Graduate {Redlands Senior Photographer}

Meet beautiful Mandy.. Rev's next high school graduate.. Class of 2011!!! I had been looking forward to this session for a long time... I have known Mandy since she was just a little girl, and when her mother called wanting me to photograph her for her senior pictures, I was completely honored and thrilled and so excited to see how beautiful and all grown up she is. WOW!!!!

I am so, so proud of who she has become and how beautiful, smart and athletic she is... I look forward to hearing about all her future successes. I know this girl will go far...

Thanks Mandy, I hope you had fun and it was a pleasure to hang out with you for the afternoon.. ;)
Here is just a tease of so many more to come!

Mandy's hopes is to be a pastry chef one day! and I can't wait... because I love sweeeeeets!... I will be the first in line.

Mandy is also a runner, so this was a treat to be on the field with her... :)