Wednesday, March 19, 2014

“The only thing constant in life is change” ― Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  The post today is part of a blog circle called "Sisterhood Stories." Take the time to follow the blog links, you'll be glad you did.  After you've spent some time here, please pop over to Laura's blog at

Change is constant, and when studying history, you can connect with how much something has changed.  When you're an elementary student, you learn about history.  Depending on which State you live in, you often have lessons about your home State. When I grew up in North Carolina, we learned about "The Lost Colony," along with many other lessons.

Since my children are learning the historical events of California, it's fun to co-learn this State's rich history alongside them. 

While many English and French explorers and settlers were traveling to the East Coast of the America's, the Spaniards chose to explore and explore and settle the West Coast.  Spanish colonists arrived with a plan, to build missions along the California coast.  Each mission was built "a day's walk" from the next.  From 1769 to 1823, these Spaniards manage to build 21 missions from Sonoma to San Diego.  My daughter was assigned a project report for Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, the 18th mission, seen below.

Since change is constant, over the years this 18th Mission fell into disrepair, and has since been restored.  At one point in it's long history, California seized the mission from the Catholics.  Shortly before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln signed ownership of the mission back to the Catholic Church.

What I find most amazing about the topic of "change" is that my 4th grade daughter was given the option to make an iMovie about her mission.  The teacher suggested if they chose that option they download an iPad app.  My 4th grader made this movie (link below)!   Just 2 years ago, my other daughter, who had the same teacher,  had the same mission report.  The iMovie wasn't even considered, or as easy to create as it is for the current class of 4th graders.  

It's so important to embrace the moment we live in, because before you know it, things will change again!

Thank you for stopping by, and please remember to continue on to Laura's blog at

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Remember when, I was young and so were you..." ~ Alan Jackson

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  The post today is part of a blog circle called "Sisterhood Stories." Take the time to follow the blog links, you'll be glad you did.  After you've spent some time here, please pop over to Laura's blog at

Clan Stuart of Bute Crest
Recently, there has been a big advertising push by  Being curious, I tried the free trial, and became hooked on tracing my roots.  Being a photographer, I was THRILLED to find images of ancestors as far back as the 1750's.  Of course, they're not photographs, someone had to take the time to paint a portrait.  These are my 5th great grandparents John Stewart and Margaret Potts.  John Stewart, a first generation American in this family line, and he came from the Scottish "Stuarts."   I have come to meet some Scottish cousins through the DNA portion of, and learned that I am from the Stuart of Bute Clan.

Meanwhile, John's wife Margaret Potts came from the family who founded Pottstown, Pennsylvania, which was another fun historical lesson for me. (Paintings from the Jerry Dagenhart collection)

 Photography is currently so readily available to everyone.  But if you step back in time to 1839,  Sir John Herschel invented a process of "light writing" using a glass negative.  This was followed by Louis Daugerre's more publically adopted photographic process called daguerrotypy, also introduced in 1839, but more widely used starting in the 1860's.  As the new art form took hold, people were documented in a new way.  The subjects had to sit still for 30 minutes to create a non-blurry image.

 This is a daguerreotype of my 3rd Great Grandparents
William Henry Stewart (1810-1860) and Adeline Johnson (1830-1880)
(From the Jerry Dagenhart collection)

I had never seen any of these paintings or photos before, but I must tell you, my grandmother was the spitting image of Adeline, who sadly died from tuberculosis.  Aside from the profound improvements in photography over the years, we are also very lucky to live with our more modern medical advances.

As each generation passed, the photo process improved.  These are some photos of my Great Great Grandparents.  Please note, I discovered that Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain is a distant cousin to my Irish GG Grandfather Daniel.
Daniel Pomeroy 1837-1916 and Sarah Jane 1843-1917

Reuben Yount 1844-1921
I found this Great Great Grandfather's pictured in an online book about Civil War Soldiers of Catawba County.  Thanks to the internet we now have instant access to so much information.  He had submitted a story of his life for the book, and I learned that he fought at The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, where he lost his right hand, but luckily not his life.  

Alfred Ratchford 1855-1902 and Letitia Ann Jenkins 1858-1906

I spoke with my 90 year old grandmother yesterday, who said the Great Great Grandparents above died young, Alfred had a heart problem, and Letitia died from measles.   Aren't we blessed to have immunizations?

Finally, this is the first photo ever taken of me.  Photography has come a long way since then.  I'm so grateful for our current ability to capture moments so quickly and effortlessly.  It's also wonderful to be able to share our photos with friends, family, even distant cousins, all over the world.

I wonder what the next generation of advancements will bring?  Thanks again for stopping by and please visit Laura's blog at .

Here's a little inspiration to get out there and live life fully and savor those moments.  Remember, time flies.
Remember When? ~ song by Alan Jackson, "Up" characters by Pixar 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I see the perfection in all of life. ~ A Louise Hay Affirmation

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  Today, I'm participating in "Sisterhood Stories."  We are an International group of artists and we get together every few weeks by linking our blog posts together and journey through our lives and stories. It's quite inspiring to travel from artist to artist, blog to blog, and country to country.  Please take some time, and after you've visited here stop by Sue's blog at

Recently I've been noticing artist friends who have been participating in the 100 Happy Days challenge.   

The main idea behind this challenge is to notice, and share things that you are grateful for, or things that make you happy.  Since I'm the type who tends to mull things over before I leap into something new, I've just been paying attention.  

The other day I drove my daughter to school when she missed her bus. She likes to get there early, and it was wonderful to enjoy the soft morning light.    We live on Palos Verdes Peninsula, in Southern California. 

I marveled at the Pacific Ocean view, and the faraway glimpse of Los Angeles in the horizon.

I breathed in the ocean air and peaceful feeling and sat for a while taking in natures beauty.

It was a hazy morning, and on the way home, I stopped by Malaga Cove Plaza for a quick coffee, before going home to drive my elementary daughter to her school.

The architecture here is called Mediterranean Revival, which takes influences from Spanish and Italian   styles.

We have the most wonderful Bakery, Flower, Cafe shop called "The Yellow Vase."  It's a great place to get a coffee, or even breakfast or lunch if you have time for that.

Finally, I took notice of all the blooming trees.  Everywhere I look these days, there are blooms on the trees.

January and February in Southern California really are more like Spring than any other time here.  

I was so grateful to have noticed the morning air, the beautiful light, and the gorgeous architecture with colorful flowers.  It lifted my spirits, and I had a wonderful day.  I hope you take notice of the beautiful things in your life too, and thank you 100 Happy Days creator!   I'm certainly happier just contemplating the idea of it.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to visit Sue at

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The magic of photoshop - before and after.

Taking photos is my passion, and part of the fun of photography is the magic you can create with Photoshop.  I had a request, asking if I could help get two family photos, grouped together as one family.  The grandparents were photographed on one trip. (These are not my photos)

Their children and grandchildren were photographed on another day, and another vacation.

Presto, photoshop, magic! Poof, they're all together, the sky is more intense, and the faces are lighter and brighter.  Two photos, a little photoshop, it's one big happy family!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sisterhood Stories - Happy 11th Birthday to my daughter!

I've created a slideshow from my daughter's life, in celebration of her upcoming 11th birthday.  In case you're wondering, this is why I take a lot of photos.  Happy Birthday to my eldest daughter. You changed my life. I love you.

Click here to view this video

Please visit my fellow sisters in photography through the Sisterhood Stories links, first visiting Aziza Alghunaim of Little Twinkles.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sisterhood Stories...Happy Halloween!

Welcome to another edition of Sisterhood Stories. Please follow the blog links, through a group of International photographers for some insights and inspirations. This week, I wanted to unveil the Lanes Family's Halloween costumes. ;)   My eldest, is a Spanish Pirate.

My youngest is Elmo.  Her best friend is Big Bird, which by the way, is the most popular costume in the U.S. this year since the candidates mentioned Big Bird during one of the debates. Going with the bird theme, my husband is a a person riding an ostrich, and I'm a peacock.  P.S. The only reason the adults have costumes in this family is because of a Halloween party we attended that require costumes for entry.

Have a Happy Halloween and please follow the Sisterhood links to my sister in photography Aziza Alghunaim, of Little Twinkles.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

“Nothing ever becomes real 'til it is experienced.” ― John Keats

Welcome to this weeks entry of "Sisterhood Stories," a blog circle, of an international group of photographers, sharing friendship, stories and imagery. 

This week, I wanted to share about a behind the scenes tour of The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, CA.   My daughter's Girl Scout troop had the privilege of touring this hotel, and being introduced to what it takes to run such a large hotel.

The hotel was beautiful and the workers let us know how they take care of the laundry, things that might break and need a handy man, plus a guided tour of the kitchen with the chef. 

I find it so wonderful how accommodating people are to Girl Scouts.  I often wonder what the girls are learning, and ponder what door a new experience might open for a child.  We noticed an interesting quote on the handyman board during the question and answer process.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,mind your own business and work hard with your hands.

 We ended the tour with a spectacular chocolaty tea party.  Since it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they had a chocolate fountain with white chocolate, tinted pink.  There were so many goodies, and the girls earned a badge for using their social graces.  

It felt like a real life sisterhood journey, having tea and enjoying this opportunity with the girls.  Thank you for stopping by and please visit my sister in photography Aziza Alghunaim, of Little Twinkles.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"All I can say about life is, Oh God, enjoy it!" ~ Bob Newhart

Welcome to this weeks entry of "Sisterhood Stories," a blog circle, of an international group of photographers, sharing friendship, stories and imagery. 

This week, I have a question for you.  Are you making beautiful memories for your family and yourself?  Are you enjoying your life?  My husband and I made a decision, after three people we were close to, died recently in a very short succession.  It certainly was a wake up call to remember that there is a great "the end" to one's life.  At a funeral we attended, they mentioned that our friend had a passion to create one amazing memory a day with each of his family members.  When it rained, he grabbed a pair of rain-boots, and took his youngest child out to jump in mud puddles.  Believe me, I was impacted by his passion for life, and the reality that it did end, and in his case, sooner than anyone expected.  

I wanted to share a visual diary of some of my own new "lasting memories" and the outcome of my "saying yes" attitude to opportunities.   

First stop, a trip to downtown Los Angeles, to my first opera, Mozart's Opera, Don Giovanni.  Right outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion is a peace fountain and the Mark Taper Forum in the background.

 This is my neighbor, and my silly husband, enjoying our night on the town. Thank you to our neighbor John (left), who invited us to go to the opera with his Italian Club.

We all enjoyed the ambience and beauty outside the theater.

And we parked near Disney Hall, which we are so lucky to have in Los Angeles.  This night out was my first time to an Opera. Thankfully, there were English subtitles above the stage.  It was fascinating to realize the this opera was three hours long! ;)  Mozart certainly was prolific, and Don Giovanni was enjoyable.

Next early morning drive to Union Station.

My friend responded to an advertisement to get free tickets on Metrolink's Surf Line.

You could spend hours inside Union Station with your camera. 

We chose to take a Sunday trip to San Juan Capistrano, on their double decker train.

We sat at a nice table, in the upstairs section of the bicycle train.  It was a great spot to see the sights and take photos.

Upon arrival, we headed to Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776.

The garden is filled with native plants, that thrive in our dry, arid climate.

This is "The Jewel of the Missions" founded by Junipero Serra.  It is number seven, in  California's twenty-one Spanish missions.

I've always enjoyed gardens where Catholic priests and monks bring their rich gardening experience. They planted beautiful patches of Mexican Sage, which is a favorite to hummingbirds and butterflies.

This mission is a photographer's paradise.

It's chapel gives you a spiritual nudge to pause and pray.

And California's Oldest Chapel, a stunning golden chapel, evokes peace and tranquility.  

Southern California tends to have ideal weather 320 days of the year, being 70 degrees and sunny.  We accidentally traveled there when thermometers hit 100 degrees.  We were sweltering by the mission bells, where the famous swallows flock to the Mission each year on March 19.  We finally gave in to the  heat and went to an air-conditioned restaurant.

Finally, after a ton of iced tea, and a delicious lunch in town, we strolled over to the historic section of San Juan Capistrano, located right beside the train stop.  There we found charming Victorian homes.
Plus, a sweet bed and breakfast spot, where you could host a wedding, or family function.

 There were cottage gardens, and we found a few leaves giving a slight hint of Fall's approach.

 Interestingly, I noticed that this vintage property had a sign for a lawyer's office.

And my personal favorite shop in the town was this sweet artist nook called "Nest."  

It's great to say "yes" to new experiences.  Be sure to tell me what you say yes to, and share your beautiful memories with me.  Thanks for stopping by, and please visit my photography sister Aziza Alghunaim, of Little Twinkles at

Thank you for visiting. ;)