Sonya Stone is an on location photographer in Western North Carolina specializing in portraits of all kinds, especially children and families. You can see more of her work and find information about booking a session at her web

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ladies and Gents, we have a winner!

I am happy to announce that I have selected a recipient for my Holiday Giveaway! Some of you may have heard the story of this family already, especially if you subscribe to the Asheville Mamas list. It is truly a heart wrenching situation and this family so deserves to have this gift. As I mentioned, I do have something special in store and I'll tell you more at the end of this entry, but first, I want to share the message I received to nominate the winning family.

"My dear friend, Jennifer, whose 3 1/2 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in mid-October. Jennifer is an incredible woman. She is a single mother of 2 girls, Savannah, age 8, and little Miss Shayla, age 3 1/2. Prior to the diagnosis, Jennifer was a head start teacher at Weaverville Elementary school. With Shayla's illness, she can no longer work as she is either at the hospital with her daughter while she undergoes chemo or at home, unable to venture into public very often as Shayla's immune system is so compromised by the treatments. Jennifer & Shayla will be traveling to Duke at the end of this month for surgery to see if they can remove the tumor. Shayla has kidney cancer and neuroblastoma, a less than 30% survival rate. As a mother, I can only imagine how horrifying all this is. They don't have much but they have wonderful friends who are helping in as many ways as possible with babysitting for her oldest daughter while Jenn is at the hospital with Shay, with fundraisers, and with love and support. Undoubtedly, it would be a wonderful gift to have some candid and professional photos taken of the family."

I can't imagine finding myself in this situation either. The struggles that Jennifer, her daughter, Shayla, and her daughter, Savannah, are facing are tremendous. There is a web site that follows Shayla's progress ( and a fund established through Jubilee Community Church in Asheville to help the family with the many expenses.

When I spoke to Jennifer to let her know of the giveaway and my gift of $1000 in photography services and prints, she was so appreciative as I can tell she is of all the loving support she is receiving from her friends and community. I told her how hard of a decision this was, that many families were nominated and there are so many struggling this season. She asked if she could share her gift with them! Little did she know, I have already planned for that!!

In this process, I realized how blessed I am and how much I can give to others through my photography. I decided to honor each nominee with a mini session and a gift print. I will schedule a day for all the nominees to come for portraits as my gift to them. Thank you to everyone who emailed me with a nomination! I am honored to share with these people who all sound so wonderful.

I pray that you all are having the happiest of holidays and that you are blessed in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

last call for nominations

Here it is, Christmas Eve, the last day for nominations for the Giving is Awesome holiday give away. I have just reviewed all the nominations and I'm glad I have a few more hours to's going to be tough. You can still enter someone if I receive your email by midnight tonight!!

I'm in Hilton Head, totally enjoying my vacation...wondering why we don't get away more often! And when I return, it will be pedal to the medal. I have shoots both Sat. and Sun. after returning Friday!

I also took over 500 shots of my own family today. Something I don't always make time to do. So I'll be sure to post some of those images in the next day or so.

AND stay tuned, I'll make the selection tomorrow and give the winner a call. If they are agreeable, I'll post their story here and their images once we have their session.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a few tricks up my sleeve

This has been a great week. I can't even begin to recount the blessings here, but let me say that I am inspired by the outpouring of love, appreciation and empathy that I have seen as a result of the holiday giveaway that I'm doing. So inspired that you shouldn't be surprised if you see some special recognition and gifting for more than just the "grand prize" winner. I'll leave it at that for'll just have to stay tuned for more details.

I have been busy, busy booking sessions and I'm booked out for the next month. So if you are planning to book a session, look ahead to mid January, and call or contact me via the web site soon!

I am always surprised when someone says, "I was reading your blog today and ..." Oh, people are reading this?!? That's great! I don't bother with a traffic follower so I rely on the comments section to know that folks are following my blog. So when you stop by, please leave a comment!
And for those who were following my travel plans for the holidays, I am happy to say that we have made our Christmas beach trip happen! We'll be leaving for Hilton Head next week where today's high is 88 degrees!!!!! I am so excited! Now we just have to find someone to take on our sweet puppies while we're gone. Any takers?? : ) Maybe I should include some photos of them looking really cute and then ask!

Monday, December 15, 2008

word is spreading

Good news travels fast! The nominations are coming in. This is so exciting!! I am already seeing that this is going to be a tough decision, but I'm up for the challenge. SO keep spreading the word. Thanks to the Ashvegas blog for publicizing my contest and for giving some props to local businesses. Check it out:

Giving Is Awesome - Asheville Portrait Photographer

While checking out some other fotog web sites tonight, I was really having a mixed experience. Some work was fabulous and makes you want to get out and try some new things. Other sites were getting on my nerves, not because of the photography work so much, but of the amount of popular music that is playing. Of course, there are a lot of great songs that are sure to tug at the heart strings, but really, the music is licensed to the artist (and the record company and everyone else who might have an interest in it). And it should not be playing unless the photographer has purchased rights to use the song. Now, some of the sites I looked at could very well have gone that route and be playing that music that is legally their's to play, but I can't believe that they all have. The rights to play a popular song don't come cheap, my friends.

And then, I stumbled onto and it softened my heart and made me appreciate all the web sites I meandered through to get to it. It is not going to save the world. But it just might make a big difference in someone's life, it might show them that blessings can come just when you need to believe that the world is a good place. It is my contribution to making someone's holiday a little brighter.

Here's the deal...

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.

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 -- $1000 worth, to be exact. Whether it's canvas or albums, prints for Grandma, or a slideshow to watch over and over, it's in your power to give them the artwork they deserve this holiday season.

Oh, and another great part? The person who nominates the winner also receives a $200 credit. What better reason to show some love could there possibly be, people?

The rules:

* You cannot nominate yourself, and the person nominated must sincerely be incapable of purchasing my services. (Being unable to make mortgage payments for a two-million-dollar-vacation-home in Paris does not qualify as sincere financial need.)

* The nominee must reside in Western North Carolina. 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 :

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 thanks for giving me the opportunity to open mine.

With love,


Saturday, December 13, 2008

my soap box

Wow, I don't know how it happens, but here I am again, checking in on my own blog to realize it's been 12 days since my last entry! At least, I am comforted that I am not the only one...

I'm sitting here avoiding cleaning my house by contemplating the 1000 other things I have on my list. Really wanting to just get my camera out and take some shots of our cute new puppy, Bitsy. More on her another day though. Today I don't have any photos I want to share. Today, I'm going to take some liberty with my "other inspirations" my blog title includes.

I was in Raleigh yesterday meeting with the leadership team of NC Friends of Midwives. We are working on improving access to midwifery care through the legalization and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives. For those who don't know me well, I have had home births with both of my children and I'm planning another now with my third. (I bet you almost forgot I was pregnant, huh? Yeah, another thing I gotta blog more about!)

There isn't much outside the love of my own family that I care this much about! I feel passionately that a woman should be supported to learn about options for birth and free to make whatever choices she feels is right for her family. The idea that the only birth attendant who is required to have home birth experience is illegal to attend home births in NC is insane to me. Home birth is a safe option and is legal in NC. The state's limitations on who a woman can hire as her care provider make it almost impossible to find a legal home birth attendant.

We will introduce legislation in a few months seeking to license non-nurse midwives who have attained the Certified Professional Midwife credential. This is about women having a right to make informed choices about the type of care they receive, the environment in which they labor and give birth, and the care and experience their babies will have. It is an issue that reaches beyond the women who choose to birth at home and includes any woman who feels her rights to educate herself and make her own choices about her health care and her child's care are important.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association have placed on their agendas making home birth illegal and the only option available to birthing women a hospital or birth center. More can be found here:
The medical establishment has drawn a line in the sand making it clear that they will disregard women's rights in the interest of pursing their own agendas.

So I will continue to give my time and energy to promoting informed birth choices and to respecting the personal decisions of where and with whom families choose to have their babies. If you want to learn more, you can check out, or locally Asheville Area Birth Network, You can also voice your concerns to NC Legislators by going to and finding your elected officials.

Liberate Labor, Mandate Midwives!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's the Holiday Season...

I just read Asheville's own Edgy Mama's blog and she posted this article from the NY Times. I will happily claim the label as a "slow blogger." What, never heard that term? Me either until today, but I am embracing it! Think "slow food" and all other aspects of taking things at a mindful pace rather than a hurried pace aiming for convenience. I really do strive to publish things that will be interesting and fun for you to check out. That may mean that the inspiration (and edited photos) come a little slower than a Tweeter thread, but hopefully, the content will make it worth the wait.

Here's a fun family I shot a couple weeks ago. We had one location in mind and it fell through at literally the last minute. So we made it work, but let me just say, this is the FIRST time I have ever longed for studio lights. Maybe Santa will bring me some! : ) Hopefully, he doesn't ask how many times I will use them, because I still love me some natural light and would only use them in desperation.

I wish I had one of these of my husband and me...where she looks great and happy and he looks adoringly at her. I love it!
And you may have already noticed this about me, but I am somewhat obsessed with blue eyes. I think they are marvelous, probably because mine are brown. Or maybe everyone thinks light, sparkling eyes are beautiful...I mean, look at this! Now, please do not share this with my own children who are blessed with the same brown eyes I have...damn the gene dominance! My husband has fabulous blue eyes, along with every other member of his family, except his children. Ok, back to the photos...

And I think this last one just might be my favorite. All she needs is a little elf hat! : ) And seriously, who's husband looks at them this adoringly multiple times during a photo shoot, with no coaching!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! We have been so blessed this year. We celebrate many things this time of oldest's birthday, my wedding anniversary, and this year the one year anniversary of my photography business! And in honor of this milestone, I am offering an amazing holiday package deal. Sitting fees are only $25 (normally $115) for the month of December! And I have customized print packages for gifts, scrapbooking or cards at greatly reduced costs. Consider a portrait session to capture this magical time of year and to give one-of-a-kind gifts to family and friends. And what better way to shop local in Asheville! Visit my web site, and use the contact page to get more information.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Autumn colors

happy Friday!! I don't know what it is, but Fridays are my favorite days! It's not like I work a M-F, 9-5 job. I think it is because it is the perfect combination of a morning of school for my kids and my husband has the day off. So I get to work in the morning and we get to have family time in the afternoon. And as my work time comes to a close, I wanted to share a few shots of Abby. I'm enjoying the last of the Autumn colors before all the leaves fall!

This is my favorite...super silly, I love it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

jam packed Halloween

We had a fabulous Halloween this year. We started with a super fun party at our co-op school, Grow with Me. What? A ton of cute kids dressed up in costumes for me to photograph!? Yes, that spells fun for me. All except for the meltdown my own child had in the middle of everything, but let's get back to the part that was fun!

I know the kids in the classes are 3-12, but who can resist the baby photography? the "big" kids could not leave this little guy alone! He's just too cute.
And to top it off, we had entertainment in each of the rooms and as the kids went down the hall, they heard a story or song and a riddle. Answering it correctly won them a puzzle piece and when they reached the end, put their puzzle together, and handed it over to our good witch...they each won a treat bag. So here are a few of the characters we lined up to add some flair to the event!

And a mother's blog post on Halloween would not be complete without showing off her own kids' costumes. Here are my rodeo girls at their school party.
"Go ahead, make my day."
But as seems to be the pattern, the costume we start the day with is not always the costume we finish the day with! Savannah decided on being a witch at the last minute for the trick or treating finale. And my husband, well, I guess when you play a doctor in real life, sometimes it's fun to dress up as a patient.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

holy October snow, Batman!

This may be old news for the Asheville locals, but only a few days ago, we had our first snow of the season...on Oct. 28!!!!!! To say I was not prepared for this is an understatement. I am a Southern girl, for sure. Asheville is as far North as I have ever lived!

I took these photos at about 10 AM and look how much snow was still around! Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 69 degrees. Talk about crazy! But what a fun opportunity for some of my own family portraits. My kids were so excited to get out and play in (aka eat) the snow, and obviously, our dog, Baker, was quite excited too. But it didn't last long as you can see, they didn't really dress for the weather!

This is Savannah tossing a snow ball to Baker. He thought this was a great game!
Our Jack-o-snows! As you can see in the background, I hadn't even brought my plants in off our porch. It was a sad, sad end to the lives of two peace lilies and one fern.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Holiday planning

So as I sit waiting the eternity for my photos to download from card to hard drive, I thought I would catch up on my blog. I feel lots of excitement building in our family. At 13 weeks pregnant, I'm starting to show (um-uh, well, it's more like I'm starting to look pregnant and not just like I'm putting away too much ice cream...though I am actually doing both!). And I am so excited because I have a closet full of beautiful maternity clothes. So many actually, I may get to wear something new everyday from now until May 1! And luckily, I have lots that will be for warm weather so I'll have an excuse to keep wearing the maternity clothes after the baby is born. And the excuse will be I have to get a few wears of this cute summer maternity outfit in instead of, "I'm still way bigger than my regular clothes." A fact I have already accepted, but doesn't the cute clothes bit sound way better!??

The other excitement is that we are entering into the Holiday and Birthday quarter of the year. We have Halloween coming up...the girls are going to be cow girls...with matching outfits. OMG! They are soooo cute (special props to my friend Lisa who made the costumes, because while I am many things, a great seamstress is not one of them!)!

Then we will celebrate Savannah's 6th birthday!! We were party planning fools this weekend. She's having a harvest party and it is going to be so much fun.
Next is Thanksgiving and my wedding anniversary...on the same day!!!!!!!!! I haven't even begun to think about how to work that out. We're thinking of traveling to Mississippi to visit my family for Thanksgiving, but the thought of 20 hours in the van over the span of 4 days just may be too much.

Of course, next will be Christmas and we're planning a trip to sunny Florida!! Everyday my kids and I plan, let's get ready for the beach! And we talk about all the fun we're going to have there and all the things we need to pack. Hopefully, this game doesn't get boring over the next 2 months!

Then New Years and Sacred's birthday, which I'll start thinking about a little later. My brain can only take so much right now!

In between all our planning and partying, I will be taking clients for Holiday Sessions! It's not only our holiday season I realize!!! So I will be offering a really great holiday package for those who wish to have their portraits for gifts or for holiday cards. We can customize your session to include the whole family, the kids, the pets, whatever and whoever you wish to send greetings to your family and friends. And I personally think the perfect gift is a beautiful portrait!! Something that is a keepsake not a space taker or something someone already has or can't use! I admit, I may be biased, but really, you know I'm right!

So contact me today to book your holiday guarantee prints in time for shipping, please schedule early! You can complete the contact form on my web site,,
to secure your session.

Friday, October 24, 2008

List Of The Day: Great Olan Mills photos

I found this by chance today and wanted to share. It was my laugh for the day. Wow, we've come a long way baby!! I have my own collection of ridiculous studio portraits from my childhood. I'll see what I can stir up and post for your continued amusement.
Until then, enjoy...

List Of The Day: Great Olan Mills photos

Thursday, October 23, 2008

baby Canyon

I love babies (yeah, no kidding, really, 3 children starts to teeter on the edge of insanity in most people's books). But how can you not...I mean look at this face! And I was not lying about the eyes, right?

And at 5 months, I'm pretty sure this is the last time we'll be able to fit this little guy into the tea cup!

Monday, October 20, 2008

covering the bases

Ok, I realize that Oct. is 3/4 over and this is only my 4th post. I am lost in the world of a thousand photos! Really, maybe 2 thousand! But I have to tell you, I have some from a shoot this week of a baby with possibly the most beautiful eyes on the planet. I AM NOT kidding! So stay tuned for a post in the next day or two to get a glimpse and you can cast your vote.

Meanwhile, I am hanging out at Growing Young Cafe while my kiddlets have a Spanish playgroup. Those of you who know me are probably saying, "what? I thought the kids are taking German classes!" Yes, they are. How many language classes are too many? I don't know. I just know that I'm going to need a translator when we are traveling the world and my kids brains are much more pliable than mine...especially since contracting pregnancy brain.

And for those of you who have not had children, pregnancy brain strikes early and viciously draining you of most short term memory, of your ability to rationally balance emotional impulses, and in my case, of taking in any new information.

The good news, is I have not forgotten how to take photos or write so as long as I can remember to #1 take the photos, #2 download and edit the photos, & #3 post them to my should get to see some soon. Oh, and as long as I don't have an emotional breakdown some where along the way!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The apples are in!

Apples, Apples, Apples! Autumn is in full swing and so are the WNC apple orchards. We recently visited Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock. We took both the pre-K and Kindergarten classes from our learning co-op, Grow with Me. What fun! It was super foggy, which was a different experience than the typical beautiful mountain views at Sky Top, but it created a really neat atmosphere. Here are some friends on the ride around the orchard.

getting down to business...picking apples!

Visiting with the animals...and the highlight of the trip, wagon rides down the hill! I am pretty sure that the sign specifically says this is a "no, no." But what can I say, my hubby was leading the pack.

Monday, October 6, 2008

flowers wild

There is such a sweet innocence about milling about picking wildflowers. I think my girls could do it all day long. It seems like I am always trying to hold on to summer just a little longer. It is definitely my favorite season. So we are out, admiring (& usually, picking) every last wildflower before they die off.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

summer's gone

I wanted to share one of our last summer "hoorahs"... an expedition to Turtleback Falls. What we thought would be a short ride to the other side of Brevard turned into a very long drive, but a beautiful scene. We read it was the "other" Sliding Rock, with a falls that you can actually slide down and into a pool that's 10ft deep. Well, I think we over estimated our bravery for such a ride down the falls because there was NO WAY any of us were sliding down this rock.

But we did have some fun just splashing in the river, just being careful not to get swept away by the current!

Monday, September 29, 2008

out of the mouths of babes

So, here's a typical day in our life...
we're driving down the road and Savannah asks, "How old are you, Mom, 13 or 14?" I answer, "I'm 34." And Sacred says, "Oh, 34, that's, that's, that' tall as a tree!" "Yes, I suppose it is."

Here's the other reason I got behind in my blogging...

Stone baby #3 is on it's way! Yay! And I promise, now that I'm feeling human again, I will stop making excuses and keep posting away.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

getting back on the horse

ok, I know it's cliche, but this is what it feels like. I have failed in keeping my blog up to date. And this is like a commentary on how I react to things...I got too busy, got a little behind, felt guilty, felt overwhelmed, couldn't bring myself to go back to my blog to see how long it has been since my last post (but now that I have, YIKES!), downplayed the fact that anyone was really keeping up with this anyway! But then a couple of people poking and prodding later, here I am. Back to doing something I actually really enjoy, writing and sharing my photos. Hmmmm, time to get back on the horse.

So I'm back. I have so many photos since my last post, I hardly know where to start. Oh, sorry, another excuse! Lord, I may need a shock collar until I can let it go.

I left you hanging on the kindergarten transition and haircut regret phase. So here's a couple of shots from a trip the girls and I took to Zimmerman's Berry Farm in Marshall. What fun we had!! And you can see "the haircut" really isn't as bad as I thought that first day. But I have learned my lesson.

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