Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Star Spotlight

My students have done a lot of fun and exciting things that I will sometimes feature Saturday in our Star Spotlight.

Creative Montage

I am so fortunate to be part of the creative efforts of my students. It is my belief that seniors create in an especially powerful way, because of their innate talent which is enhanced by years of life experience.

Below you see a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Linda Baker has a great eye and strong Photoshop skills which is a combination that is hard to beat. I always look forward to viewing what she comes up with.

Here you see the Baker boys--the men in her family:

Using special effects with travel photos gives them extra zip that will have people doing double-takes! Here is a photo Linda took while traveling in Egypt:

And this one is from Singapore:

And last but certainly not least, a very cool collage from Ireland:

Getting older doesn't mean you should stop with your creative means you should increase them!! It is such a productive way to be strong!!

George Bernard Shaw said, "Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."

Thanks so much to Linda for sharing these great images!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

On Tuesday's we often take a trip down memory lane with some "remember when" photos and stories. It could be photos from a high school prom; a nostalgic look at a 1950's TV program or a collage of family photos that were just taken last week.

Strength and Gentleness

Both of the images I am featuring today came into my classroom on the same day. Both of them are powerful in their own way.

The first one was created by Bob Westphal. This is a collage of one of his experiences in Iraq. He is the soldier on the left.

The setting is a Black Hawk helicopter. He is training his replacement.

Bob told us that they flew 150 miles an hour, 150 feet above the ground. While the enemy could hear them, they were moving so fast, so close to the ground that they couldn't see them coming until they were there and gone.

When I first viewed this image, it made the war so real to me. We read about it in the papers and see images on the news, but they often seem far away. Until someone we know is looking back at us from a seat in a chopper. A picture of courage, concern, strength...someone I know, in battle gear.

The second image was created by Anne Jordan. It was constructed using images from a family vacation. These are her grandchildren and daughter at the beach. She said the family climbed the tower, but she and the little one wisely stayed on the ground and enjoyed the beach!

This is such a lovely glimpse of peace. The beach, grandchildren, a hand holding a shell. So simple and sweet. Precious and poignant. A way of life protected by brave men and women who stand in the breach for us all.

Times are tough, it is true. But we are blessed with so much in this fine country of ours. I for one am especially grateful to the men and women, fellow citizens, who travel to foreign lands, going in harms way to help protect our way of life.

Our hope is one day...

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. -- Isaiah, II:4

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher, will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Maxims With Meaning

Max Lucado is one of my favorite Christian authors. He is a minister, author and the daily speaker of the radio program UpWords.

He has a special writing style that captures your heart and your head. He's got a great imagination, a keen wit and a gift for communicating the Word of God.

In his book When God Whispers Your Name, he talks about his writing style and shares some "Maxims"...

We learn brievity from Jesus. His greatest sermon can be read in eight minutes (Matthew 5-7). His best known story can be read in ninety seconds (Luke 15:11-32). He summarized prayer in five phrases (Matthew 6:9-13). He silenced accusers with one challenge (John 8:7). He rescued a soul with one sentence (Luke 23:43). He summarized the Law in three verses (Mark 12:29-31), and he reduced all his teachings to one command (John 15.12).

I love the short sentence. Big-time game it is. Hiding in the junlgle of circular construction and six-syllable canyonms. As I write, I hunt. And when I find, I shoot. Then I drag the treasure out of the trees and marvel.

Not all of my prey make their way into chapters. So what becomes of them? I save them. But I can't keep them to myself. So, may I invite you to see my trophy case? What follows are cuts from this book and a couple of others. Keep the ones you like. Forgive the ones you don't. Share them when you can. But if you do, keep it brief.

Pray all the time. If necessary, use words.

Sacrilege is to feel guilt for sins forgiven.

God forgets the past. Imitate him.

Greed I've often regretted. Generosity-never.

Never miss a chance to read a child a story.

Pursue forgiveness, not innocence.

Be doubly kind to the people who bring your food or park your car.

Don't ask God to do what you want. Ask God to do what is right.

Nails didn't hold God to a cross. Love did.

You'll give up on your self before God will.

Know answered prayer when you see it, and don't give up when you don't.

Faith in the future begets power in the present.

No one is useless to God. No one.

Succeed in what matters.

You'll regret opening your mouth. You'll rarely regret keeping it shut.

As much as you can, give thanks. He's already given us more than we deserve.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Star Spotlight

My students have done a lot of fun and exciting things that I will sometimes feature Saturday in our Star Spotlight.

Normal Things

While rummaging around in my files looking for some collages my students had created I found a folder from one of my Photoshop Elements Special Projects classes that had some fun, creative images in it that I wanted to share again today. The assignment for the class was to create a picture of a normal thing, in an abnormal situation.

Here Dana Kimborough created a cat and a fish that filled the bill for the assignment. Great thinking, fun image. Am I surprised? Not one bit.

How about this one that Helen did with a graduating cactus!

Jane Kennedy has contributed to our blog in previous months. She got some great pictures on a trip she and her friend Linda Baker went on to Africa. How about this elephant?

As I perused the folder I was once again struck by the sheer force of the creativity of this age group of students. This untapped resource will never cease to surprise and inspire me. Seniors have been there, gathered information from many life experiences, and do a wonderful job of creating images from those experiences if they have the technical skills to do it.

No question about it--seniors rock!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

On Tuesday's we often take a trip down memory lane with some "remember when" photos and stories. It could be photos from a high school prom; a nostalgic look at a 1950's TV program or a collage of family photos that were just taken last week.

Preserving Those Old Sweethearts

Most of us are fortunate enough to have family pictures, many of them that go way back. Some may need restoring, but they all need protecting.

Not everyone can restore damaged images, but we can all keep them safe for future generations. At the end of this post, I will provide you with some websites with good information about storing your images.

You will, from time to time, see restoration work that my students do. Most of it is done with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. This is one of the projects we work on in class. When I first saw the picture you see below of my Great Grandmother Nini, I really thought it was gone for good. But look at what was left!

Look at the difference in this one with my mother and her cousin in a goatcart:

This wonderful old photo could be repaired because it was preserved in the first place.

Chadds Ford Historical Society has an interesting website that is fun to visit. There was one article I liked in particular. It is by Karen Smith from the Historical Society who has written about how best to preserve old images. You may not be able to do everything she suggests, but some of her recommendations are not complicated and make sense, such as why you shouldn't put your pictures in the attic or the basement.

She says, “How many of us have found boxes of old photographs or family documents stored in the attic or basement? Upon inspection, the photos or papers inside are stuck together, stained or discolored, or crumble when touched. Those irreplaceable records of family history will not survive the adverse conditions of attics and basements, the worst places to store old documents.

Sharp changes in temperature and humidity alternately swell and shrink delicate paper. Dampness permits mold to flourish. Dryness and heat cause brittleness, so that the paper breaks or splits with handling.

You can protect your valuable papers and photos by storing them in an air-conditioned room where temperature and humidity levels are kept fairly uniform…” to read the rest of her article, click here:

In an article from, Pamela Wiggins says, "Learn to make old photographs last for generations through proper storage." On this webpage she discusses the use of plastic sheeting, albums and other photographic storage methods.

StoringPhotos.htm is another resource is the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute where they "help others learn about their historical objects and how to take care of them."

The Northwest Document Conservation Center tells you about themselves on their web site where they state that, "The NEDCC is a non-profit, regional conservation center specializing in the preservation of paper-based materials. NEDCC serves libraries, archives, museums, historical societies. "

They provide disaster assistance, which is a good thing to know about if you are ever involved in this type of difficulty.
And last, but certainly not least, is from the website of Collin Robinson, artist and photographer. He provides interesting information on Care of Old Photos and Restoration. I enjoyed reading about his take on old images in general. At one point he recommends the use of Photoshop Elements to repair damage. I agree with that.

As Patrick Garry once said, “A person is neither whole nor healthy without the memories of photo albums. They are the storybook of our lives. They provide a nostalgic escape from the tormented days of the present.”

So take care of those old sweethearts!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Capture the Moment Monday

Dave Berry will be sharing his insightful Photo Tips with you from time to time on Monday for Capture the Moment Mondays.

Barbados-Welcome Aboard !!!!


Barbados is the eastern most island of the West Indies. In fact, if you stand on its eastern shore and headed directly east out over the Atlantic Ocean...the next body of land you would come to would be Africa! Barbados is a small island in size, 14 by 21 miles, with a population of about 279,000. Although an independent nation since 1966, they have a Governor appointed by Queen Elizabeth of England.

Our ship docked in Deep Water Harbour of Bridgetown, which is the capital. This is the only island we had a planned tour to catch at 8am. It was offered by a local islander, Ronnie Carrington, who is a professional photographer. (his website One can never have too many perspectives in photography and it is always exciting to see an island through the eyes of a native. His tour took us all across the island, goat herds crossing our path, to hilltops with beautiful views of both the Caribbean Sea on the west side and the Atlantic Ocean on the east side.


There are many banana and sugar cane plantations to see as you cross the countryside of the island. There used to be many slaves on this island, living in brightly painted “chattel houses”, which is a house that could be broken down quickly and transported to the next plantation if necessary.


There are no longer slaves of course, but these crops still make up a large part of their exports to other countries. There are many churches all over the island, but ironically, there are just as many rum stores. In fact…there is a rum store next door to every church…I don’t know what that means, but it is a fact pointed out by Mr. Carrington as we continued around the island. Rum stores seem to be a very big business, as they are everywhere along the roads, sometimes right next to each other. The beaches here are quite beautiful and you can see the waves crashing on the coral reef in the distance. A beach we stopped at had beautiful sandy shores and crystal clear water.


We paused for a break along a hillside where we sampled some fresh coconut that a local man was offering. I never knew a coconut had jelly inside…but he cracked one open and with a spoon scooped a little out for us to try…sure enough, it was light and almost custard like. You learn something new every day….that’s a good thing!


We stopped at one of those rum stores to get some great pictures. The little wooden stores are colorful and the locals are very friendly. Just as we were trying to catch a few pictures of some local vendors at the beach across the street, the clouds opened up and we got drenched...huge raindrops that you could not dodge. Some people were comically trying to seek shelter under a palm tree, which offered no protection at all since the fronds are about 30 feet above your head. It lasted about five minutes and then cleared up, but was enough to drench most of us…except the ones who were sampling all the rum inside the store, they were “high and dry”.

One little piece of the Caribbean it is best to always ask permission before taking someone’s picture. Some of the islanders think you are stealing their spirit if you take their picture and get upset. I found this out years ago, so just remember that little tip to always ask first should you ever have the wonderful opportunity to be taking pictures in this part of the world and you won’t have any problems!

Stay tuned for our next stop--See you in St.Lucia !!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Star Spotlight

On Fridays we sometimes feature special projects, photography and ideas contributed by talented seniors along with information about the Internet.

McKenlie and Will Parker

If you are a teacher, you know that you do have favorites in the classroom! Well, Lana Davis is one of mine. Helpful, honest, straight-forward and kind, I have relied on her opinion on more than one occasion.

And she has come up with some charming images that she has agreed to share with us on the blog for Friday.

First we find 2-year old McKenlie her much loved great niece. She calls Lana's sister Mimi--a fine name! And next to McKenlie is Lana's great nephew Will Parker Davis. Now this young man is not called Will, but Will Parker, and is seldom found without his hat. If he is naughty, his mother takes his boots hostage and that is a serious calamity for his little self!!

I’m tellin’ y’all it just doesn’t get a whole lot cuter than this right here!!

Unless of course you get the whole Moreno family involved and then you have another really special image for a family keepsake.

Desmond Tutu said, "You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." He was so right!

A special thanks to Lana Davis for sharing her terrific images with us!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Treasures

On Tuesday's we often take a trip down memory lane with some "remember when" photos and stories. It could be photos from a high school prom; a nostalgic look at a 1950's TV program or a collage of family photos that were just taken last week.

Strength and Beauty

On Thursday, June 25, 2009, there was a great article about Vicki Agee and her rose garden in The Dallas Morning News. I remembered her sharing some lovely images with me when she was in one of my Photoshop classes. After prowling around on my computer for a while I found them. I called her and I’m delighted to say that she is willing to share them with all of us!

Her garden starts blooming in April and may still be in bloom come December. The spring scene is further animated by barn swallows that have built mud nests in the corners of the covered patio…what a lovely spot to build a home!

Vicki intentionally bought a house with very little landscaping so she could start from scratch and put her own ideas in place from the beginning.

Knowing the importance of starting with good soil, she didn’t bother amending the native clay. Instead she ordered truckloads of Living Earth Technology’s Landscaper’s mix with expanded shale and shoveled the planting medium on top of the native earth to make well-draining raised beds.

With all her gardening chores and club responsibilities, Vicki still has time to open her garden to tours sponsored by one of her many clubs.

This gardener also is a hospice volunteer. If she has roses in bloom, she cuts bouquets to deliver to her people in discarded vases she accumulates for this use.

“They love to smell them,” says Agee of the hospice patients. “It brings back memories of happier times."

And she still finds time to join us for Photoshop classes at our local community college where she comes up with gems like this!!

Now that's an active, productive, compassionate senior, folks!!

Many thanks to Vicki for allowing me to share part of her story and these lovely images.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
- John Wooden


In John C. Maxwell’s book, Today Matters, he talks about having a high appreciation for life because when we wake up in the morning, God has blessed us with a brand new we handle His gift really does matter.

Have you ever known people who complain about everything? Their soup’s too hot. Their bed’s too cold. Their vacation’s too short. Their pay’s too low. (There are a lot of people today who would be grateful to just have a job at any pay level.) Such people simply don’t appreciate life no matter how good it gets.

John Maxwell tells the story of a friend who emailed him the story of a very “together” and independent ninety-two-year-old lady who was moving into a nursing home. Since she was legally blind and her husband of seventy years had passed away, the move was her only option. She waited in the lobby of the facility for a long time before finally being told that her room was ready. As she was escorted down the corridor, her attendant started describing the room, down to the curtains hung on the windows.

“I love it,” the elerly lady enthused.

“But we’re not even to the room yet. Just wait,” the attendant responded.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind.”

Appreciation isn’t a matter of taste or sophistication. It’s a matter of perspective. John Wooden said, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” The place to start is with the little things. If you can learn to appreciate them and be grateful for them, you’ll appreciate the big things as well as everything in between.

So here's hoping you make the most of today's day off!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

“A Miracle on the Hudson”

The news was terrilble that year. One bank failure after another. A record number of bankruptcies, job layoffs and business closings. You couldn't pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV or check the Internet without being bombarded with bad news. It was that kind of a year. Downright depressing.

Then, during the middle of January, we heard a news bulletin about a plane crash in New York. A US Airways jetliner with 150 passengers and 5 crewmembers on board went down after taking off from LaGuardia. That was just what we needed…more bad news…a plane crash in New York in a heavily populated area where millions of people live. But wait. It wasn't bad news, this was good news. Everyone survived!

In what New York’s governor called “a miracle on the Hudson,” a veteran pilot, Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger glided a US Airways jetliner with two dead engines onto the river’s fridgid surface so smoothly that all of the passengers and crew escaped serious injury. Some didn’t even get their feet wet. Unbelievable. It was “a miracle on the Hudson.” And I don’t know about you, but I followed that story and rejoiced and praised our Lord. I couldn’t read enough about it. I couldn’t watch enough interviews. Thank you Lord. We needed a miracle. With all the doom and gloom, we needed a bright spot, some rays of hope. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “This is a story of heroes, something straight out of a movie script…it was too good to be true.”

Well, let me tell you this “feel good” story continued on fro me when I received some photos from a friend who lives in New Jersey. They had to bring in a giant crane and a barge to help pull the plane from the waterway. Once they pulled it out of the Hudson, they had to move it back to LaGuardia by detouring through East Rutherford NJ. Obviously their roads were not made to accommodate airliners. Take a look at these great photos he shot as they delicately moved the plane through the narrow streets. The miracle continues.




And we thank God for it! I wonder where they all are today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

A wise older woman once told me that the ideal life, after leaving the 40-hour work force, should be composed of 1/3rd work, 1/3rd play and 1/3rd giving back. This was her life philosophy, a philosophy she felt would keep her connected to society as a productive, contributing, and respected elder. She wanted nothing less than a complete redefinition of the societal roles of older adults, and was determined to do her part to make that a reality.

What’s your later-life philosophy? Have you though about how you can put it into action?

Certainly there is more than one way to make your life philosophy a reality. In these blogs, however, you will discover a tool that can help you reach your goals, a tool known as lifelong learning. By choosing the challenge and excitement of personal discovery that later-life learning offers, you’ll get the help you need to create a life that reflects your own personal philosophy. Think about it. Lifelong learning really can help make your life philosophy a reality.

Reaching that goal however, can be challenging. But - throughout our lives, we’ve met many challenges and persevered. From the turbulent years of our youth, through the years we struggled to raise a family and succeed at our chosen careers, into our mid-life crises, we’ve seen it all. Now, in our Third Age, we are perfectly positioned, not only to improve our own lives through learning, exploring, and serving, but to redefine the role of older adults in our society. Our experiences, the wisdom we’ve earned, and the knowledge we gain through lifelong learning, become the very tools we’ll use to reshape society’s views of what it means to be an elder.

We know traditional cultures of the past held older adults in high esteem. Unfortunately, today for the most part, elders are often viewed as burdens, a useless drag on society, interested only in taking, not giving.

Nothing could be further from the truth. According to a 2002 study undertaken for Civic Ventures, the San Francisco organization dedicated to redefining our Third Age, Americans over 50 now devote more time than ever before to bettering their communities. It makes perfect sense: we have the time and energy to do so, now that the pressures of raising a family and laboring in the job market are behind us. But our society as a whole still does not take that into consideration when picturing older adults.

This has to change, and we can make it happen by using lifelong learning as our tool. Seventy-eight million of us are standing on the brink, ready to pass into the Third Age of life. Others are already there. With little effort, working together as we learn, explore and serve, we can blow the tired stereotypes of retirement and older adults right out of the water. We can become treasured resources, guiding other generations, and society as a whole.

The pioneers of modern-day lifelong learning, most from the “Greatest Generation,” are still working hard to make that change a reality. But there just aren’t enough of them to change the mindset of an entire society. They need our help. Our sheer numbers, combined with our proven zest for adventure and challenge, will make our work easy. And all it takes is one simple step…

Getting involved with lifelong learning!

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Lifelong learning is an incredibly valuable tool, not only in our quest to create better lives for ourselves, but in our quest to create better lives for everyone.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit
You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…