December 31, 2008

All of us

Yep it's the time of year for family. I'm grateful for mine and I hope you're grateful for yours too. They are there in the good and bad times. --when you look your worst and when you look your best. If there's one thing I'm thankful for it would be family. Make sure you remember yours this new year.

December 30, 2008


What contrasting pictures.... Santa brought Rock Band and XBox and I do believe we've played more gigs than most new bands since Christmas. I do know that I won't be an American Idol contestant any time soon. They are paying me 'not' to sing! The other pic is of the local library in Mt. Holly Springs. It is a most charming building. The inside is even more charming. Some day soon I must take the camera inside to get a few shots of the outstanding wood work. We spend alot of time here and love to be with books. Since my children have been small we attend many of the activities and always enjoy a great time. The woodwork in this building is awe inspiring. If you've never been here believe me it's worth just to get a peek of some old world charm. Thanks to Amelia Givens in her donations to the community many many years ago. Support your local library!

Family Christmas

A special thanks today for my family. We were all together at Christmas even though it gets harder each year as we grow. We had great eats and a fantastic time together. Did anyone take notice the television wasn't even turned on!! Thanks to my Mom and Dad for providing their home and an endless supply of food. We played our family game again this year and it was a good time. Stacy wound up with the best gift of all. An emergency underware kit!!! Will it show up again on another year? Monica has become British and does a great job on her guitar. Thanks for sharing with us! I do believe that maybe she could've been the 5th Beatle! It was good to hear about Cortney, Cory and Nick's college days but I'm sure there's a few things they haven't shared with us! Samantha brought her charm and got the best gift of all from her Grandparents -- Beatle's Abbey Road poster! (she's such an old soul) Cody got a Nerf gun to get ready to be a hunter and Drew and Connor brought their great humor to share with us all. The gifts were all great but personally I think all of us would give up every gift just to have the gift of togetherness. We are so blessed and thank God for looking over us.

December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Connor!

Happy Birthday today to Connor! 10!!! Connor is full of spunk and is always ready for any competition be it a ball game or tiddly winks. He's full of wit and the most charming little fellow I know. He can do the worst thing in the world and turn around and give you that cute little smile with those big eyes and get away with it all. I hope he always keeps that spunk and just loves life to the fullest. Did I mention he's a killer hockey player who loves baseball and shopping at Dickies?!!! --All the happiness in the world Connor!!

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all. Got a pic together in about three minutes so I can spend time with my family. --We're all attempting to be Rock Stars!! Spent an evening with my extended family as I have all my life. We just keep growing and growing. Had an icy beginning to the day and saw my Japaneese maple tree that is normally red look a beautiful pink. Enjoy you day and hope you find the happiness and contentment that Christmas can bring.
Christmas is a special time
To reflect on Jesus Christ
The wonder of His lowly birth
Brings meaning to our lives
There really is no other reason
We celebrate this day
The birth of God's precious son
And the life He willingly gave
But so much seems to distract us
In the busy-ness of our lives
We lose our focus in all the happenings
Not knowing, we leave out Christ
We lose sight of the true meaning
As we endlessly rush about
Trying to find that perfect gift
Seems to cloud our Saviour out
We need to stop and reflect awhile
Remembering our precious Lord
His birth, His life and sacrifice
And all that He stands for
For though the world may celebrate
It seems though for other reasons
Let's keep in mind that Jesus Christ
Is the true meaning of the season
© By M.S.Lowndes

December 23, 2008

Christmas at Kings Gap

Back to Kings Gap again. You'd think I really liked that place. You'd be right! Here are a few ornaments that reflect their outdoor charms. They were the cutest things. I especially like the one with pheasant feathers. Growing up the fields around my home were filled with pheasants and rabbits but --'those were the days'.... I can't remember the last time I saw a pheasant in the wild. What a beautiful bird that has dwindled due to urban sprawl.......

This is the back porch at Kings Gap. Oh what a view! I've claimed this corner bedroom because of the open windows on two side of the room. It would be great to wake up there to the views of Cumberland County.

December 22, 2008

Tis the reason..

Christmas week is upon us. Stop and reflect on the real reason for all the celebrations. It was all so simple and we have made things much harder than they need to be. Click on "One Solitary Life" to enjoy a great tribute.

December 20, 2008

Merry Merry to you and you and you!

Yes I'm probably experimenting too much but it's an innocent outlet to fill some moments. Today I'm posting my Christmas card. If I missed someone (like the world) well then consider this my Christmas greeting to you and your family. This is really my tree from my living room --condensed of course. The second pic is a tree from my yard. It's the same tree where I got 'Blue Christmas' from! I added some zany touches and just had fun. If you want to get rid of stress sit down and color and really get into it or paint, or find some playdough, or color the 2008 way - on the computer! Now that I got rid of the pent up stress for today it's time to really get something done. --Don't you love the Christmas season!

December 19, 2008

Blue Christmas

We had a little snow fall the other day. I was playing with some filters and got this shot. The color white actually can have blue tints so this wasn't too hard to create. As soon as I saw it on the computer screen I thought of the song Blue Christams. If you haven't seen the new video version of the song with Elvis and Martina McBride go looking for it on youtube. It's great. Christmas can be a very special time for families or firends to connect but it also can be a lonesome or sad time for those who face the loss of someone they've cared for or someone who can't make it home for Chirstmas. Remember and say a prayer for all those who are facing a difficult time around the holidays. Many military families struggle through the season too so say thanks to a soldier for all they have to endure. Others are faced with tough times with the economic situation and also need our thoughts and prayers. Try to make someones Blue Christmas a Merry one.

Christmas Concert

Another successful Middle School concert. I'm so proud of all the kids who get up on their stage and do their best whatever it may be. I personally am drawn to music and enjoy all the effort that goes into teaching kids. Music can be a part of your life for all your days and what you learn when you are young isn't forgotten. Each of the students has had to practice and attempt newer and harder skills each step along the way. Last nights concert proves that their time and effort pays off. My daughter (with and endless smile) played her flute with a friend for a great duet. Katrina (in her new little black dress with the white sweater) seranaded us. Lucas (with the white shirt/glasses and great smile) drummed his way into the songs. They all did a fantastic job. Way to go!! --and thanks to Mr. Gray and Mr. Houpt for all of their hard work.

December 17, 2008

My Grandparents

Before and After: Took another direction today and attempted to do some restoring. I found this picture of my Grandparents in an old box at my parents house while rummaging through for pictures for an anniversary party. It was crumpled and folded but it captured my eye. (was it love?) I flattened it then scanned it. It took some patience but I got it where I was satisfied with it. I never met my Grandmother but I plan on doing so within the first day of arriving in heaven. My Grandfather was a special man in my life. I have nothing but good grandparent memories of him. He taught us grandchildren many things. Do you know what a toot is? What year was this taken? I need to find that out. Maybe my Mom or my Aunts and Uncles can fill me in on that bit of trivia...

December 16, 2008


Today brought a heavy heart. My friend Shirley passed away early this morning after a battle with a liver transplant several years ago. Shirley is pictured here with her signature pin "Donate Life". She leaves behind three children. I've been privliged to know two of them (J. J. and Nicole) for many years. We have been football Moms and basketball Moms and endured bleacher butts for years. Shirley has always been there for her kids as the team nurse, team cheerleader, team Mom, and endless other encounters from selling just about anything that came down the pike to support Carlisle sports. She could make some pretty dandy funnel cakes! She always knew the lastest updates from all the kids of who is doing what and where they currently are in life. She has been my basketball companion for over 8 years and just like church we had 'our' seats in the bleachers with the wall as back support. I'll miss you Shirley and I'm comforted knowing you are at peace. God Bless to Nicole, JJ, and Tony.

December 15, 2008

Kings Gap tour

Some more pics from Kings Gap today. Many of the old bathroom fixtures are still being used. The sinks, the claw tubs and even the hanging toilet box. Much of the plumbing has been upgraded but they somehow still used some of the fixtures. This makes this place all the more remarkable.
Almost every room has a fireplace. They make you feel warm and cozy but boy I wouldn't want to be the one hauling the wood in to burn. Today most of the fire places have fake burning logs but they still are quite spectaular.

December 14, 2008

Fall to Winter

I attended Kings Gap State Park Holiday open house again today. I enjoy trekking there each year to tour the mansion and take in the scenery. There's just something that draws me there. Today's pic is of road leading up to the mansion both in the Fall and today with all the color missing. The other pics are a small frozen pond and a Christmas table decoration. As always this place was a charm. Today was special because we could take a tour inside the mansion and enjoy history it contains.

December 12, 2008

Sports Card

Finally took the time to sit down and make some sports cards for the past Fall sports season. I went a different direction this year in choosing pictures where there wasn't a direct pose. I also chose to go with simplicity instead of too much detail that takes away from the actual picture. These were live competition shots. My daughter is a pitcher in fast-pitch softball. She's very calm out there on the mound and her biggest dislike is if the pitchers mound is dirty! What!! --Has she ever really looked at her bedroom! She also loves field hockey and was the top aerial dribbler on the team. She was chosen to enter a competition and represent her team against nine other schools. She didn't win but she was in the top four finishers. I'm proud that she has the confidence to just get out there and do her best and have fun. Anyone need a sports card made? I'm thinking maybe I could start a side buisness...

December 11, 2008

Cold in NOLA

As we inch through December we've been reminded that Winter is now in control. Today the deep southern portion of the U.S also got a taste of that Wintery mix we all are familiar with in Pennsylvania. New Orleans enjoyed a coating of snow with some sleet and ice. It's hard to believe that there are many in the world whom never experienced the glee of what a fresh snow fall give you. My son who lives part time in NOLA told me he was surprised how excited everybody was about the precipitation. They were out having snow ball wars and simply being joyed in the days events. The last time New Orleans experienced snow was 2004 and before that you had to be there way back in 1989. Hey you know what? I think I would be excited too! Today's pic is of Jackson Square in downtown New Orleans. It sits by the Mississippi River and is close to all of the city action. The fleur-di-lis graces the pic also which is NOLA's symbol. Part of my heart constantly goes toward NOLA with my son being that connection. I never really had an interest to visit NOLA but now that I've experienced it's charm I admit I want to go back many more times to be a part of the wonderful culture that is so differnt from mine.

December 9, 2008


I remember when you'd sit sideways from a wall with a bright light shining on you and a piece of paper would be taped to the wall. What next? Someone would draw your outline and then cut it out of the paper. That's so manual!!! Have we really come much further in life? I've accomplished the same task in these pics from last year and this year but there still was some manual work. Technology. Don't you love it! Don't you hate it! The collages of my daughers activities throughout the year are put together so we can remember those special times we've lived in the past year.
Another countdown is underway! My son arrives home in three days for the holidays. Goodluck on those finals!

December 7, 2008

My Niece

I do believe Winter has arrived. That was the 'hot' topic everywhere I ventured today. As was pointed out in Church this morning be thankful we don't live in Barrow, Alaska where currently it's -13 degrees and that's without the windchill factor! After all it is December and this makes you feel more like Christmas is close.

Today's pic is of my great-niece. I needed a different subject to try some new tactics on and I needed someone beautiful. She was giving me a 'big eyes' look that melts your heart.

December 6, 2008

Music Dreams

A joyful evening of music and poetry were the highlights of the local Barnes and Noble store. Our school had a fund raiser and provided entertainment for all the shoppers. My daughter player a few Christmas songs with a friend as shown here. Some of her teachers also pitched in and played some music for all of us. What a cool school for the teachers to be so involved in the many activities provided.
I've shared a new or rather old song that I've like for quite some time on my music playlist on my blog. It's Vienna by Billy Joel. Included here are the lyrics which have been in my mind and rise to the top of my mind from time to time. My favorite line is -- Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true. When will you realize Vienna waits for you. I proclaim that I'd like to knock off an item on my bucket list which includes going to Vienna and mentioned this to my Mother in law just today when she asked what I want for Christmas. Not knowing the TV schedule we stopped by her home and what was playing on PBS but a show portraying all of Austria and especially Vienna. Hmmm, maybe---just maybe this dream will come true! What ever will be.. will be. Wait! That's another song altogether..
Vienna by Billy Joel:
Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me why
Are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire,
what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day
But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you
Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)
Too bad but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself
That you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right(you're right)
You got your passion you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize
Vienna waits for you
Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you.
And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
Why don't you realize...Vienna waits for you
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

Outdoor pleasures

Spending a day getting caught up and one inch closer to getting ready for Christmas. The tree is up, the house is decorated, most gifts are purchased along with being wrapped and there's still things to get accomplished. Every day there's something added. Today we get to go to Barnes and Noble while my daughter plays her flute for everyone's listenting pleasure. Several of her teachers will be performing afterwards in a band that is pretty good. There's Christmas luncheons, Christmas Dinners, parties, concerts, and numerous other endeavors to enjoy throughout the season.

Today I'm sharing two pics I find lovely. The first is a farm in Adams County and you can tell that it's well taken care of and offers quite a few picturesque opportunities. The second pic is at one of my most favorite places to escape to. Devil's Den in Gettysburg, PA. This picture is timeless in that it could've been taken a hundred years ago or yesterday. I sure hope a bride and groom has taken advantage of the beauty of this location at some point for some pretty awesome views.

December 4, 2008

Vegas Baby

Some shots from Vegas today. I spent a week in Vegas and couldv'e spent three. I was just getting started and it was time to come home. I had the company of some old time Vegas goers which helped in getting around and seeing everything possible. We were joined by friends of the couple we were with who were from Ridgecrest, CA. It turned out great because he was a photographer who spent 30+ years working for the Navy taking picture from the tail of planes at China Lake in California and now has a photography business. We had lots in common in that I work with folks from China Lake and I had lots of camera questions for him. Being that he grew up in Vegas we had a first hand tour and stories of how it used to be. We went to old and new casinos and they both had a certain flair that was all their own. We ventured up to ole Vegas or Fremont Street. (above) The first pic is of Binion's which is still famous for holding poker tournaments. --You know those boring shows that take over the Travel Channel from time to time.

I also spent time on the Strip both in the day time and at night and what a difference a few hours can make. The second pic is from Paris Casino. What details are taken to give the tourist that exact feel of being in another place and time. I love stained glass windows so this was simply awe inspiring for my eyes. The third pic is from just outside Paris. (can you see the Eiffel tower in the corner) this fountian was another mesmerizing time for my eyes. Again I say --what details... Did I gamble you may wonder. Yeah but I just enjoy the other sights so much that gambling was way down the list but hey if I'd be lucky enough to get a big win - well Yippee! Okay so the sights and gambling were top-notch but what about the shows and food and drinks oh and the Hoover Dam!! I'll leave that for another blog.

December 3, 2008

Oh what a sketch. Learned some new techniques today. Of course it wasn't hard to find a good candidate to try it out on. I can see some places that could use improvement but hey what the heck it was fun and new. Every time I stretch myself to learn something new I discover there's another whole chapter to learn and follow. Of course I don't mean just working on a picture but with life in general. As I like to refer to it --it's called...If you give a Pig a Pancake.... As the book goes... "If you give a pig a pancake, she'll want some syrup to go with it. You'll give her some of your favorite maple syrup. She'll probably get all sticky, so she'll want to take a bath." You get the idea. Baths lead to bubbles, bubbles lead to rubber ducks, rubber ducks lead to wanting a trip to the farm. Or otherwise give an inch and you'll want a mile.. The book is written by Laura Numeroff -- look it up! There's so much to learn and not enough time to learn it all but I'm giving it a try!

December 2, 2008

December days

...................Ooops forgot yet another month passed by. Retiring the November banner and pulling out Decembers'. December brings Winter, Christmas and even a few birthdays. The year is coming to a close and it feels like we were just getting started. Mr. Snowman to the side is actually a gourd. Just where does some people acquire their imaginations? What a clever idea and again I ask myself --why didn't I think of that? Growing up I thought gourds were only good for throwing at your brother when nobody was looking or for drying them out and shaking them to make a little music. The ones that had a handle made good maracas! Go make some music and be joyful!!! December's header is actually my tree along with a tree ornament. The nativity scene sits on my mantel. I thought I'd share a little from my house to yours.

December 1, 2008

Monday Monday

--Just another manic Monday. My day was started at 3:00 a.m. and hasn't stopped yet. It was a rush to get to the airport for a early morning flight then onto a day of work. You had to be extra careful this morning for this is the first day of deer season in central Pennsylvania and the deer and the hunters were in action. It was also the new catch phrase of 'Cyber Monday'. Why do you think I'm still up if my day started so early except to check out those deals on line. I figured I needed to stay away from photoshop today and just post a simple picture I took only a month ago. At the time this was the only daisy that was hanging on. It's simpliciy is a perfect ending to my day. Off to cyberland one more moment...!!

November 30, 2008

Preparing for Christmas

Guess who's coming to town! I've made my lists and I'm checking it twice. The Christmas season is upon us. Today is the first day of Advent. It's the time to prepare to celebrate the gift that has been given to all of us. -The christ child. On the secular side it's a wide eyed time for children looking where Santa may be. In the past few years I've attempted to just find contentment in wherever and whatever I'm involved in. We are a blessed nation and have more than we could ever dream of but those dreams just keep on and on and on. May you all find your happiness and be wrapped in it this Christmas season.

Recipe for Christmas All Year Long

Take a heap of child-like wonder
That opens up our eyes
To the unexpected gifts in life
—Each day a sweet surprise.

Mix in fond appreciation
For the people whom we know;
Like festive Christmas candles,
Each one has a special glow.

Add some giggles and some laughter,
A dash of Christmas food,
(Amazing how a piece of pie
Improves our attitude!)

Stir it all with human kindness;
Wrap it up in love and peace,
Decorate with optimism,
andOur joy will never cease.

If we use this healthy recipe,
We know we will remember
To be in the Christmas spirit,
Even when it's not December.

By Joanna Fuchs

November 29, 2008


This is One million dollars. When I was in Vegas this was in a glass vault for all to see and stop and think to oneself --Just what would I do if I was handed this.... What would you do? I'm sure like me your options change with the day and with whatever else is currently going on in your life. Me? I'd attempt to see the world right after I was totally out of debt. I'd head to Vienna, Austria first to see if I could start crossing things off my bucket list. Isn't it everyones dream to 'play the piano on a stage in Vienna'?? No? Oh well that's on 'my' bucket list and you need to make your own. Right after playing on stage I'd visit the city and check out some real architecture highlights. I'd then head upstream on the Danube then return and head down stream to Budapest. After I get off the river I'd head over to Saltzburg. --Yeah I like to dream do you?

Thanksgiving 2008

We had a great Thanksiving Day. The whole family was together and everyone at one time or the other was laughed at or rather laughed with. Of course we had to do a yearly picture of the grandchildren to the moans of the boys and to the many poses of the girls. In the end it came out great. It was a tough time sitting still on the rocks and the air had a chill that made us get this pose very quickly. I'm quite sure their grandparents and parent appreciate every moment. We missed having Kathy and Ashley from Massachusetts with us this year but Kathy got a great tour of Italy instead so I'm sure it didn't hurt quite as much. There was more than enough to eat and now we're all on diets --at least until the next meal! Thanks again to Mom and Dad for having us all home. What a blessing my family is to me. --and cute!!!!

November 27, 2008


Another holiday to get together and eat and drink and find out what we all have been up to lately. We have a Thanksgiving Eve get-together for a pot-pie dinner. Every year is filled with laughs and tales of the past year. All the kids are home with a friend or two and we just enjoy one another. Thanks to my sister for allowing us to take over her home and we hope it's put back together when we leave. We have family, and in-laws and out-laws and extended family and friends and maybe even a few strangers join in but over all it's just plain fun and worth a few good belly laughs to melt all those calories away!

November 26, 2008

Home at last!

It's been a long 3+ months since Cory has been home. He made it home very late last night to a reception at the airport. Waiting those last minutes for him to arrive goes on and on and on.... I was ready to get him something to eat even if it was after midnight. What a feeling it is to have my family all under one roof again.

Happy Birthday! cha cha cha!

Happy Birthday Samantha! Sam you are! You are Sam!! Fourteen years have gone by since that blessed day when I received a beautiful 4 pound bundle. She has grown into a sensational young lady with a charming personality. She 'jumps' for joy every chance she gets and is always ready with a smile for whatever lies ahead. She loves her music and reading and sports and who can top her in shopping! I look forward to always seeing her smile and being part of her world.

November 24, 2008


When you take a snapshot and get it loaded onto the computer an instinct to attempt to make the picture look better sets in. Sometimes though there's no reason to touch it and let it be. Here are three pics I believe are the utmost in colors I find intriguing. The blues and the greens in the first pic are pure. The second picture of the rainbow takes me back to Science class. "Roy G. Biv" Do you remember him? --Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. I could've changed the mid tones or the contrast or sharpen things up but hey I like it just the way it is...!

Of course I agree that I could've played with this picture but it has some of the most intriguing colors I've never found except in a sunset. Crayola you have a challenge. Take a close look between the branches and tell me what color you think that is. It reaveals itself for only seconds and if you look away for a second it's gone.