President’s Day – Quotes and Photos

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

Old Glory

Waves of Freedom

Oscar Hammerstein II Sing-a-Long with Jessie Barth at Highland Farm

Jessie Barth visited Highland Farm this weekend to conduct a sing-a-long and celebrate the life of Oscar Hammerstein II.  It is always a pleasure to see Jessie and her accompanist, Gordon Porth, as well as the ever so kind Christine Cole, owner and Inn Keeper of Highland Farm.  Approximately 25 people were in attendance to sing, share experiences, and enjoy a magical evening of music. It was fascinating to listen to all of the stories about, and connections to, Oscar Hammerstein II as attendees shared their personal “Oscar” favorites.  The music was fabulous and the warm glow of the fire added a special ambiance, which made the cold rainy night almost disappear and transport the attendees to another place in time.

To learn more about Jessie and her passion for Oscar Hammerstein II visit: http://www.jessiebarth.com.

To purchase “At Home with Oscar – A Hundred Million Miracles” – a musical tribute to Oscar Hammerstein II recorded by Jessie and Gordon at Highland Farm, visit: http://www.jessiebarth.com/oscarcd.html.  Jessie commissioned me for much of the photography work included on the CD cover and in the booklet accompanying the CD.

To learn more about Highland Farm or to make reservations for a relaxing get away weekend in beautiful Buck’s County visit: http://www.highlandfarmbb.com.

The Ambiance

Some of the Male Attendees Preparing to Sing

The Female Attendees Singing - Some even had a Solo Part

Jessie

Gordon

Music Runs in the Family - Jessie's Brother

The Crowd

Telling Personal "Oscar" Stories

Sharing a Love of Music

The Pianist

One of Several Songs Enjoyed

The Finale

Tonight I leave you with a couple of quotes from Oscar Hammerstein II.

“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it. A song’s not a song ’til you sing it. Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!” – Oscar Hammerstein II

“I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. I think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn’t write anything without hope in it.” – Oscar Hammerstein II

Tribute to Music

At the close of a weekend rich with music history; the death of Whitney Houston and the Grammy Awards,  I had to post images of musical instruments.  After all, music is what feelings sound like, isn’t it?  Whitney Houston’s music did indeed touch the emotions.  Rest in peace Whitney.  Your music touched the world.

The Grand Piano

The Sax

The Sax II

Today is a Special Day

Today is a special day – My father’s birthday.  Had esophageal cancer not taken his life in April of 2005, he would have been 66 years old today.  Although I think of him often, January is an exceptionally emotional month for me.  I think it is a combination of things;  the “letting-down” of the very hectic holiday season, the quiet house, the short, gray days, and the memories of celebrating my birthday alongside my father’s when I no longer can.  He always tried to be the first one to say “happy birthday”.  Which meant, if you were no longer living at home or visiting the home we grew up in, he called you and woke you up bright and early to start your birthday.  My sister and I have adopted this habit, just to keep his “birthday” spirit alive.

A birthday tradition – To honor my father and celebrate his birthday, every year my children and I send him balloons.  This tradition actually began at his funeral.  Between my sisters and I, my father had six grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 15.  To help them be a part of the funeral and burial, we gave them balloons at the grave sight to send to Papa in heaven.  Instead of doing this on the anniversary of his death every year, we opted to send him balloons on his birthday.  Today we chose 12 blue balloons – 6 + 6 (to represent 66) = 12.  When thinking about this event this morning I had great ideations of photographs for tonight’s blog.  Unfortunately, between the very cold day, my daughter being ill, and my son’s moods being a little uncooperative, the pictures I had envisioned posting tonight are not what you will see.  However, I’m not going to complain.  The kids had fun saying happy birthday, and the monochromatic images resulting from our afternoon fanfare are quite nice.

 

3 of the, now 9, Grandchildren

The Blue Balloon

Monochromatic Travels

The third image reminds me of the children’s book and 1956 movie titled “The Red Balloon”, written by Albert Lamorisse, in which a red balloon (Le Ballon Rouge) takes on a life of it’s own and follows a boy around Paris.  If you have not seen the movie, or red the book, I highly recommend it (it’s a favorite picture book at our house).  You can read more about “The Red Balloon” at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Balloon-Criterion-Collection/dp/B0012Z361M.  I think it only fitting that this book came to mind as one of my father’s favorite past times was reading – mine too!

In addition to my father’s birthday, it is also my dear friend Sue’s birthday.  Happy birthday Sue!  I wish you many more health-filled, joyful years!

“Sweet 16” Captured

Sweet 16 – oh how sweet it is!  The days of youthful bliss and the whole world out there just waiting for you to discover it!

I was recently asked to photograph a “Sweet 16” party.  The birthday girl wanted to have a photo shoot/glamour shots party and then take her good friends out to dinner to celebrate her special day.  I set up backdrops, brought out an armamentarium of props, and let the girls choose their “looks” and giggle, giggle, giggle.  I am not sure who had more fun, them or me.  Each girl had her moment in the spotlight, each a shot or two with the birthday girl, and then group shots.  The smiles were fantastic, as were the serious faces when they each had their special moment in the spotlight and glamorously played the role of whomever they wanted to be for the moment.  One of the girls’ mothers recently said to me “you really captured their joy”.  One of the highest compliments I could receive…. It was really a privilege for me to share in this special moment and be able to capture their youth and beauty.

Never too old for birthday kisses from Mom and Dad!

Coffee and more

I’m so excited, and nervous!  My first “mini” exhibit opened today at The Zen Den. I say mini because I have items hanging in a small area of the fabulous coffee shop in the center of Doylestown.  In April, however, I’ll much more space and more images will be adorning the colorful walls of The Zen Den.  It is a great place to catch up with friends, having a meeting, or sit and read, so be sure to stop in The Zen Den to check out my work, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, chai tea, or any of the many drinks they have to offer.  The Zen Den also offers lunch, and they often have live music in the evenings. Check out:  http://zendencoffee.com/  to see what is brewing in the local funky chic coffee shop!

The Grind

The Bean

Weekend Get-A-Way

Thanks to my wonderful mother, my husband and I were able to sneak away for a weekend retreat for our 15th wedding anniversary.  John planned the entire local escape.  It was the perfect, short-notice, close-to-home get-a-way.  We stayed at the Inn at Bowman’s Hill.  The service was impeccable, the expansive grounds were gorgeous, the food delightful, and the ambience, just what we were looking for.  Visit: http://www.theinnatbowmanshill.com/ to learn more about the inn.  It is a fabulous place to relax, celebrate, and connect.

The Inn at Bowman's Hill

During our stent away from the hustle and bustle of life with work and three children, we visited Bowman’s Tower.

Shadows on Bowman's Tower

To learn more about Bowman’s Tower and the history of the grand structure visit: http://www.ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing/visit/bowman.htm. The views from the top of the tower are expansive.  Buck’s County at it’s best on a clear, fall day.

View from the Tower

After visiting Bowman’s tower and enjoying the beautiful scenery, we took our picnic blanket and bottle of champaign down to the river to enjoy the soft, relaxing sounds of the water lapping against the bank.  We had long conversations without interruptions, something that doesn’t happen often, and enjoyed re-connecting as a couple, rekindling our friendship, and reminiscing about the experiences the past 15 years have graced us with.  Here are just a few images of our afternoon under the canopy of fall colors.

Our favorite Champaign

Leaves in the Water

Water Rolling In

Up Above

The Canopy

The Reflecting Pool

Isn't she beautiful?

We ended our day dining next to the warm fire at Franciscos on the River: http://www.franciscosontheriver.com/.  Our nightcap was flour-less chocolate cake with hazelnut gelato.  It was exquisite.

Thank you John for the time celebrating US.

October Snow

Old Man Winter visited Buck’s County early this year.  Here are a few images of a fall and winter union.

Snow with the Vibrancy of Fall

Pumpkin and Mums in a Blanket of Snow

The Contrast

The Contrast II

Reaching for the Warmth of the Sun

Reaching for the Warmth of the Sun II

Reaching for the Warmth of the Sun III

Little Man

When my son Samuel was born his big brother Joshua had been nicknamed “The Big-Fella” by my husband John.  It was just natural that Samuel then be nicknamed “Little Man”.  Even though there has never been anything little about Sam, the nickname stuck and to this day, at the ripe old age of “10”, we still call him “Little Man”.  Sam’s 10th birthday was Saturday.  We had a busy day of sports, beautiful weather, and a delightful evening with dear friends and neighbors, who helped us celebrate our Little Man.

Little Man

Little Man

 

Event for Kids with Food Allergies

Those of us who do not have food allergies often take for granted the fact that we can eat anything and be around others eating anything.  Unfortunately for a significant portion of the population this is not the situation.  Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) is an organization run by talented, caring and motivated individuals who have experienced the fear of living with children who have, or have had severe food allergies.  They are dedicated to serving and educating the pediatric population with food allergies and their families.  On September 11th KFA held their annual event at Plymouth Meeting Mall.  Kyle Dine, an adult with a laundry list of food allergies who carries an Epipen (Dey Pharma, L.P.) at all times, was present to entertain the participants at the event.  Kyle’s lyrics have a purpose – to educate children about food allergies and give them knowledge and courage to safely live with their allergies.

To learn more about KFA, become a volunteer for the organization, donate, or become a corporate sponsor visit the KFA website at:  http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/

To learn more about Kyle’s fun and educational music and entertainment visit Kyle at: http://www.kyledine.com/

Below are just a few of the images I took of children attending the event to learn more about living with food allergies, enjoying the entertainment, and feasting on samples of allergy safe cookies!

The Ladies who made it Happen

Food Allergies Begin Early in Life

The Crowd

Happy Little Guy

Full of Food Allergy Knowledge

Kyle Dine

Epipen (Dey Pharma, L.P.)