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Connor | Class of 2009

i’m already crying. and i haven’t even started to tell you about this young man.

Connor is more than a graduate this year. he is more than my brother. he is MORE than my little boy’s uncle.  You see, Connor is a fighter. a survivor. a statement. a spirit. a challenger. a fearless individual.

and he’s been this way since birth. Connor was born with bacterial spinal menangitis. While he’s had a clean bill of health since infancy, he has surpassed mental and physical expectations. in fact, you’d never know anything was ever wrong.

i have had the pleasure of watching him grow up. and even though i wasn’t always happy to have a little brother around me, cramping my style, i never underestimated the power or reason of his presence. since he was little, my mom has been telling him that God put him on the earth for something!

Earlier this year, my parents and i, accompanied by our amazing church family and friends, sat in the surgical waiting room. He had undergone surgery to remove a tumor that had obliterated one of his adrenal glands. The surgeons came out, and told my parents that his tumor was, in fact, cancerous and that they should start considering an avenue for treatment.

Connor was diagnosed with Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. It’s a rare cancer that affects, literally, one in a million people.  As you can assume, our whole family has felt the impact of this news.

Connor opted to begin chemotherapy immediately. i admire his bravery and courage and strength when his body was at it’s weakest.  today, he’s about halfway through his treatments. and we have every hope, prayer, and thought banking on a recovery!

I’m always happy to report on his status. Because my brother is truly an inspiration.  I can’t even begin to imagine what conflictions you’d have when give news like this. I tend to believe that i would throw myself on the couch and sulk in a very “woe is me” manner and fail to fight this thing standing. But not my brother!!! My brother has bravely tackled the physical and mental toll of his diagnosis, treatment, and surgery. He has simply rolled with the punches and is still standing.

Connor will still be graduating high school this spring. and we’re all very very proud of his accomplishments.  so without further ado… please allow me to proudly introduce you to my brother:lconnor003lconnor005lconnor012lconnor029lconnor044Connor: you are such a CONCRETE definition of strength. courage. determination. will and SPIRIT. and i admire that. i applaud that. i’m not sure if you will ever fully understand the way you have touched the lives of many. the way you have encouraged others. the way your story alone has motivated people to get up. you will never really understand how much others see in you. so just keep doing what you’re doing, because you are a therapy to so many of *us* – without even knowing it. i am so so sooooo proud of you. so relieved to see that you are still my little brother. that you’re still flirting with nurses. that you are determined to be more than a diagnosis. that you strive, crave, and ACHE to live your life to it’s fullest without fear or doubt. so just remember how much you say to all of us by just being yourself. remember how much you accomplish just by being you. remember that there are so many of us that find our own peace in your strength. you are a hero to many. i admire and respect your will and spirit and heart. and i can only pray that laken grows up to be HALF the man that i saw standing before me in these photos. we love love LOVE you dearly.siggy

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May. 13. 2009 - 2:51 am

Danielle Holbrook - Such a handsome young man! He is truly an inspiration!

May. 13. 2009 - 4:37 am

connor - my head looks lumpy in one of the pics

May. 13. 2009 - 5:25 am

Sarah - Wow, I have a lump in my throat looking at these pictures! They are beautiful! Your brother seems like an amazing young man! I look forward to hearing how well he’s doing!

May. 13. 2009 - 10:45 am

kelly s - thankyou for sharing his story, I had wondered how he was doing.

Love #3, he looks like one tough kid! Congrats to him, Godspeed Connor!!

May. 13. 2009 - 2:13 pm

Megan - Those were so great Chriselda. I cried reading the whole thing. What a great young man!

May. 13. 2009 - 2:19 pm

Twyla B - Wow…I’m trying not to sob sitting at my desk. I am always amazed to see how brave young people or "kids" can be. I have one of my own, Quinn, who has had his fair share of pain and doctors and he’s only 2 lol. But Conner, you truly are one brave young man. I love that you can see the hope and happiness through your bright eyes and smile in these pictures. Remember to stay strong and that God can truly heal and get you through ANYTHING you are going through. Our prayers are with you and we pray for a full recovery. You are an inspiration to those who read your story. You should be proud of yourself for your courage and strength during all you’re going through. God bless you and your family.

May. 13. 2009 - 3:55 pm

Melanie - Amazing pictures to match an amazing guy. Thanks for sharing.

May. 13. 2009 - 4:33 pm

islandjen - love, love, love this!

May. 13. 2009 - 5:38 pm

Kristi - Congrats to Connor on his graduation and his strength, bravery, determination, etc. What a handsome young guy and a real fighter! Wishing him a speedy recovery and remission

May. 13. 2009 - 10:39 pm

Libby - Chriselda, LOVE the pictures of Conner! How special to be able to do that for your brother. I have been wondering about Conner lately… Thanks for sharing his story. He is such a strong young man.

May. 14. 2009 - 12:41 am

Krystal - Wow Chris, you take amazing pictures like always and your story was great……..Im glad to hear that your brother is doing well……..Conner Congrats on your Graduation……and your a strong and inspirational young man…….I pray for you and your family for a speed recovery…..Just keep your head up high……The man up above is watching over you…….Conner you look great in your pictures…..

May. 14. 2009 - 10:14 pm

connor - thank you for everything you did for me and being there for me. i thank God for giving me the strength to get through this. I cant be given all the credit because i wasnt alone. i drew strength from God, my friends and my family. What people dont know is that i am actually lucky because this has given me a more appreciative outlook on life and i thank God for everything i have(good or bad.)

May. 15. 2009 - 2:29 pm

Jill - What an inspiration Connor is to all of us! It’s so touching to hear what he has to say about God and Him being there with him… We are rooting for you Connor!

May. 15. 2009 - 5:30 pm

suzette - You have an amazing brother, an inspiration to all. Thanks for sharing the pictures with us.

May. 17. 2009 - 8:57 pm

Courtney Henry - I love the pics…and think Connor is a wonderful young man. I am inspired by his courage and dignity. You guys are a neat family!

May. 18. 2009 - 4:03 pm

Kelli Walls - What an amazing story and young man! I just sat at my computer and cried! He is an inspiration! The pictures are amazing and so is his story! His faith in God through this rough time is awesome!

emily | Graduate 2009

on the day of emily’s senior photos, Amarillo had winds ranging from 31-48 miles per hour. um… that’s enough to blow my car off the road, so you can imagine the damper that we feared this would place on little miss Emily. but… she braved the wind… wait… the tornado simulation… and we went out photographing her senior photos. we were sneaky and inventive and stood still many times for a few seconds … or thirty … waiting for the wind to die down enough to snap a few shots.

i.was.not.disappointed. emily is … without question… without doubt ….gorgeous!!! she has the most amazing smile. and i never say that about people. (because i don’t understand that compliment) Emily is just flat out beautiful. it’s not even a matter of opinion.

so… let the flood of emily begin:wemily125-copywemily008-copywemily020-copywemily038-copyi’ll tell you that to get the next shot, i had to let emily walk all over me. gah! this is high up on a concrete wall. so emily used me (and my back) to climb up on the wall. we thought it was hilarious. (or not) you might have had to be there.wemily042-copy.this is my favorite.wemily102-copywemily107-copyemily: i still pretty much hate you and your legs. but deep down inside of me is someone who really really loves you and your smile. i feel like i have known you forever. i enjoyed our laughs. the craziness. and our stroll through the junkyard. thank you for keeping me in mind for these photos. i am truly appreciative of the opportunity and had SUCH a great time with you. you are so beautiful – inside and out. you have an amazing personality and spirit and i know that you will go far in the world. be you. always be you. you are a very gentle gift to all of us!siggy-copy4

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April. 23. 2009 - 2:45 pm

Maci Lou - Chriselda! These photos are AMAZING! Love the one where she is in the "hole in the white wall" haha! She is GORGEOUS! You did wonderful as always!

April. 23. 2009 - 3:17 pm

ohana photographers - david and kimi - ho-lee crap that second shot is bomb sauce!!! well actually this whole shoot is, but you know that!

April. 23. 2009 - 6:26 pm

Bernice - wow… she is gorgeoous!!! She’s someone little girl – all grown up!!! *snif-snif*

April. 24. 2009 - 2:17 am

megan carlton - you are so amazing Chriselda! awesome photos!

robynn | maternity

Last year, a bright eyed woman sat before me beaming about her upcoming marriage. i have liked her since that first moment.  For reasons beyond our control, i was not able to photograph Robynn until just recently.  I was so thrilled to hear from her almost a year later … asking me to photograph a maternity session for her!

i’m about to go crazy with photos because robynn had her baby a week after this session. so we got together again a couple of days after they got home from the hospital to get newborn photos of mr. man “Tristan”robynnw012-copyrobynnw070-copyi simply ::adore:: this photorobynnw076-copyrobynnw053-copyaren’t they sweet?!robynnw034-copyand now… drum roll pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease:tristan005-copytristan011-copyoh. my. goodness. i want to STEAL this baby right out of their hands!tristan013-copyi can’t get over how precious he is.tristan029-copytristan046-copyGAH!tristan034-copyum. can this please take up an entire wall in your home?!tristan041-copytristan070-copyi love this one. strikin’ a pose.tristan059-copytristan051-copytristan022-copyjared and robynn… you are both so sweet. thank you a million times over. i am so happy to be able to capture the new beginnings in your life. beyond humbled to still be chosen a year later. tristan is absolutely adorable. i can’t wait to see him grow this year!!!siggy-copy6

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April. 20. 2009 - 12:08 pm

Santell - you do an awesome job on baby photos. the black and white with the 3 of them is my favorite.

April. 20. 2009 - 9:09 pm

Lauren - Oh my gosh…These are absolutely Gorgeous Chriselda!! I love all of them, but especially the b & w one w/ Robynn and her sweet little boy. I can’t wait to do some w/ Chance and eventually with Brooklyn!!

May. 1. 2009 - 7:27 pm

Suzette - Oh my gosh! Those are AMAZING! I love the one where the baby is curled up on his own. Great work

julie | graduate 2009

i will not lie to you… the SECOND i saw julie, i think i jumped up and down and said “omigoodness! you are so gorgeous!!!” and really… julie is just… i can’t really justify her beauty. she is truly beautiful both inside and out.  i had over 900 photos of her when i got home after our session.

i sent julie a “what to wear” email and said something along the lines of “bring your closet” and she followed my directions. she opened her trunk and … i think i squealed again!

amarillo weather has been a bit of a bipolar brat lately, so we had to work under extreme wind conditions. and by extreme, i mean: 20-30mph! insane, huh? but we was creative. that’s right i sad “we was” !!!

i’m about to flood my blog with julie-ness…cjulie012-copycjulie060-copyreally, the weather here is so nuts that i wasn’t surprised that she brought umbrellas… “just in case”cjulie075-copycjulie076-copya little mary poppins for you:cjulie079-copycjulie111-copy.the fave.cjulie116-copycjulie139-copycjulie145-copyand well, because i loved her THIS much and … THEN SOME… i made a little diddy of a slideshow.

julie… you were truly such a blessing in my day! i am so confident in you. your spirit. your personality and your smile! you truly are soooo colorful and i’m so glad you came in and shed a little light in my life!  thank you for sharing yourself and your journey to college with me!!  (and for shoving a chocolate covered strawberry in my face!)

always always ALWAYSsiggy-copy7

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April. 14. 2009 - 4:24 pm

Savage_Dave - Your a very lovely young lady. I wish you much luck in the future. Your pictures are awesome, I’d treasure them always if I were you.


April. 14. 2009 - 4:25 pm

Henry Hansen - I would say in reference to the weather – it must have been a perfect storm that put the two of you together. Julie’s a beautiful girl, and you are the perfect photographer to capture her spirit, Chriselda.. Unconventional, talented – and ready to work with whatever comes your way, and make it your own. Clearly Julie recognized that in you, and put her faith in you, and just look at the results.. I know everyone has their own faves – mine is the umbrella shots.. Colorful, happy, beautiful.. The one with her just lifting off the ground is so fun – and the one with her laughing out loud – absolutely perfect… Congratulations to you both!

April. 15. 2009 - 3:48 am

libby - Fabulous!! i think this one is my favorite graduate session you’ve done!

April. 15. 2009 - 6:14 pm

Maci Lou - Chriselda! These are wonderful! She is a beautiful young with a very apparent beautiful spirit! I loved them ALL! How creative and fun!! Well done Missy!

April. 15. 2009 - 9:45 pm

andie - she is beautiful!!!!!! i love love love these!!!!!

April. 16. 2009 - 2:43 am

Julieeeeee - Ah, Chriselda, thank you SO much! I love all the pictures, you are such an incredible photographer! And I am SO going to get you some more seniors for next year! woo! Thank you again 🙂

April. 19. 2009 - 1:36 am

ohana photographers - david and kimi - day-am that 2nd and 3rd shot!!

April. 19. 2009 - 6:46 pm

Whitney - what a cutie 🙂

morgan | portrait session

a few years ago, i was in “A Christmas Carol” at the Amarillo Little Theatre, and don’t ask me how, but the beautiful blonde haired girl you’ll see below was cast as my daughter!!!   ???

Morgan has been in several productions at the ALT and ALT Academy. But the main purpose of our session was to update her pageant portfolio!

Morgan is is the Overall Talent Winner and 10-12 year old Talent Winner for All Star Kids National Pageant and is currently Jr. Miss Texas Panhandle and will be competing this summer in the National American Miss State Pageant in Dallas.morganl019-copy

contagious. smile. laughter. she’s beautiful through and through.morganl022-copymorgan019-copymorgan032-copymorgan052-copymorgan049-copy

Morgan’s makeup was done by Patti Stappmorganl110-copy

i LOVE this. so i shall call it my favorite:morganl089-copymorganl076-copy

and one from the series we did for some fun shots. right before the Panhandle weather flipped a switch on usmorgan088-copy

Morgan. i am so happy for you and this time in your life. i’m proud to be a small part of this. honored to know you. and thrilled to see how amazing your future will be. you will always have such a special place in my heart! thank you again and again for giving me the opportunity to share this time in your life with you!siggy-copy2

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April. 1. 2009 - 1:47 pm

islandjen - last one is my fave…

April. 4. 2009 - 2:00 pm

Jana Henry - Hey Chriselda! This young lady has a huge career in front of her! Good Luck in Dallas! You always capture innocence and beauty in your photography and these are just another reminder of how talented you are! Big Hugs from The "Other" Henry’s…