Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21 - Day 25 - What Is Beauty? - Conny Wenk

I've been trying to highlight some of the wonderful blogs I follow and draw strength from.  Doozeedad is one of my most favorite, favorite, favorites.  


Their story is also pretty incredible.  Meriah has two children and is also a recent stay at home mom.  Her daughter Moxie has Down syndrome and oh, by the way, Meriah is deaf.  Her blog rocks my world!  The below post especially rocked it because I am a huge fan of Conny Wenk's photography.  Meriah pretty much nails it.  Conny's photos give parents hope and faith in the beauty of having an extra chromosome.  Her pictures help us all to see the person and not the disability.  Her pictures make your heart warm and they make Down syndrome seem not so scary.  If anyone sheds light where there is darkness-- Conny Wenk does it.  

One of the things I find absolutely fascinating about Down syndrome is the similarity in appearances between individuals who have Down syndrome.  It's completely perplexing and yet totally amazing.  Every person who has Down syndrome looks more like their family than they do other people who have DS, but there are usually some similarities.  Isn't that incredible?  What this is leading to is also how similar the parents of kids who have Down syndrome feel.  The range of emotions we all have when we learn of the diagnosis.  The day when we finally feel like acceptance is the truth and not just something we are striving for.  I find it so interesting that the parents have so many similar thoughts, fears, dreams, hopes.... just another little connection in the Trisomy 21 club.

I hope you enjoy meeting another wonderful blogger-- doozeedad who you can visit here

31 for 21: Beautiful Conny Wenk (Giveaway)

Back when I was pregnant with Moxie but without any moxie of my own, I was slip-slithery-sliding all over the place in treacly grounds of depression. I was struggling for a type of..what is the word?... Relief. That's it. Relief. I was so consumed with worry about who Moxie would be, about her future. Grappling each and every one of my rather massive stereotypes and let's be honest here, prejudices against Down syndrome.

Down syndrome, after all, was the one and only disability I had always been terrified of. Prayed I'd never have a connection with.

Nothing helped me. Not the stories about the "good nature" and "sweetness" of people with Ds. Not the "inspirational" stories that left me feeling completely bummed out that it seemed the only thing I could look forward to was Moxie being a bagger at Safeway. Or a stocker at Starbucks.Great, thanks. Not to sneer at any work - all work has meaning and value - but is this something I'd dream of for my child? No.

I'd cry daily. Lock myself in my office at work because I knew I couldn't be trusted to stay dry-eyed if someone spoke to me of my growing pregnant belly. And come on, who cries when people ask you how you are while pregnant? "You look great, Meriah" "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Finally - finally! - I came upon Conny Wenk. She who should be bottled and passed out like a magical elixir to parents like myself. Because shewas magic. Her images gave me comfort, vision. Through the power of her lens, she gifted me with a new image of Down syndrome, one of beauty.

Through her work, for the first time in the whole journey of finding my moxie, I found relief.

It was her photo series of Laura Bruckmann that did it:

 Thank you, Conny. 

Seeing a girl that looks like my daughter doing something so lovely. Expressive. Captivating. Entrancing. Means the world to me 
I guess this is what inspiration is all about. 

Showing me that our kids can be whomever they want to be. They can be powerful They can be grace. They can be movement and yes, they can be beautiful.

Conny lives in Stuttgart, Germany (the very city my Great Grandpa emigrated to the US from!) and is a professional photographer. Her delightful daughter has Down syndrome and she started a photography note of "A Little Extra" (she also hasautismadoption and 46 plus categories, among others). She captures a stunning variety of families with all the joy and love-life-stuff simply haloing about them like so much a dazzlement of humanized happy sprites.

Conny has a new book out, chock-full of her magic. She's going to give you a copy in honor of this month being Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I have it. Full disclosure: I took a peek, I couldn't resist - but it still has that cackly-new-book thing going on with the crisp pages, cross my heart.

To enter:
- Leave a comment here
- "like" her page on facebook
- "like" doozeedad on facebook
- "follow" doozeedad on Google Friend Connect (GFC - on the sidebar there)

extra entries for reposting it on your blog/facebook status, twitter follow and/or re-tweet, and leave comments separately on this blog to let me know - each entry will be individually counted by random.org.

The giveaway will be end Friday, November 4 at 12am. I am giving it a little longer than usual so that everyone can hear about - this is one giveaway I myself would love to participate in and would be bummed to miss.

Even if you don't want to participate in the giveaway, how about going to her facebook page and "liking" her? And definitely visit her blog and site. It'll make you happy.

Next up: I'll get the "I *heart* Conny Wenk" t-shirts made, and "Hope You Are Having a Conny-Full Day" - um, okay, maybe not the last one. But definitely the "I *heart* Conny WenkBecause boy, do I ever. 

PS. Conny also has calendars! I ordered her 2011 Calendar and loved it so much that I gave it to my local Ds connection so that we could all enjoy looking at it. I'm so glad I did. It makes me  smile every time I go there. Can't wait for the 2012 Calendar to be available now...

Note: All photos on this post are the images and property of Conny Wenk - also check out her site, The Girl with The Freckles, also a book, but not (yet) available on US Amazon.

PSS. You know I wasn't paid for this post, right? 


  1. Sweet! Beautiful! Faithful! Love it...

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I had never heard of Conny Wenk before...These pictures were stunning!


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