This is my Dad! A few months ago ( Oct, 14th 2016 ) he turned 80 years old. I wanted to do this post for his Birthday but lots of life kept getting in the way……So here it is now because it is just too important to me not to get this out there……



Wasn’t he the cutest baby?


What’s in the name “Dad”. There are many different ways for daughters (and sons) to name their fathers. I don’t ever remember calling him “Daddy” although I’m sure I did as a child. “Daddy” is fairly common in the south no matter what a your age. “Father? no, I don’t use that name much, not even when talking with others about him. He is simply Dad: Short and sweet, to the point, strong, firm, loving, always there.


July 4th, 2016 Dad has hosted a BBQ for sometimes close to 100 guest for 30 years, currently he has trained my nephew to take over that roll but but is there at the ready when needed

As I reflex  on my life; where I am, the man I married, the way my life looks now, I can see so many things I learned from my dad. I don’t recall long talks or “words of wisdom”. My child hood years didn’t have much time for that, Dad worked more that a few jobs to feed and cloth the 5 little’s in our family. Then in my teens it was me who was busy. Hum, too busy to listen, wondering what I missed? What I didn’t miss and still see today is him “showing up”. He shows his love and taught us life by showing up and doing. He is a “doer” a little slower at 80 but still showing up and caring for others by doing. He is also a man who puts family first.

He learned young to work and do, mowing the yard, helping my Granddad build their house at a ripe old age of 11 or 12. He learned to build, to fix things ,to take care of himself and others. I remember thinking as a child if something is broken “Dad can fix it, right?” All through my life I’ve thought my dad could fix  anything.


Dad is about 10 here, with my Grandmother holding his little brother Charlie. I think the young girl on the ground is a cousin. Side note: My grandmother was quite a looker!


Here Dad is on their horse with My Papaw (his step-dad) and Aunt Carolyn, his sister. See that mower it the back ground? He still claims it was his! He loves to mow!

The one thing I know best of all is my Dad showed up especially when it counted and sometimes when I didn’t even know it.  In his 30’s he learned swim when it became obvious is children loved the water and he had to be sure he was doing his best to protect us. When I was in 5th grade it was his hand I held as a doctor put 53 stitches in my face after a dog tried to bite off my chin. I still remember him teaching me to drive that little truck with a stick shift in the church parking lot. Oh my! (I still prefer a standard and think everyone should learn to drive a stick shift!  And a person can’t text or talk on their phone while driving a standard, just saying!) When I went away to college, my parents would try and come see me preform at the football games.  I never knew they slept in the parking lot of my dorm because it was too late and they were too tired to drive the 4 hours back to Dallas but couldn’t spend the money on a hotel room. There was the time I called home late one night with a completely broken heart. He and Mother were at my door step at first light, (again driving that 4 hours) to move everything I owned into the suburban, help me find an place to live and move me in before driving back home. Oh I could go on…..


As a grandfather (and great grandfather)  continues to show up. Showing up for babies being born, birthday parties, driving across the country for horse shows, basketball games, graduations, cooking BBQ for wedding parties, the list goes on. In a resent difficult time where there was not much we could do but wait, he was there waiting with us.


2011 Dancing at with my dad at my son’s wedding in California, Image by Dane Sanders


I grew up watching my dad give, not just for us but for others. He served his country in the Air National Guard, he served his community through the Scottish Rite Masonic lodge. He spent countless hours raising money and building a play ground at the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. I recall hearing someone ask him why he loved and worked so hard for the hospital, is answer “Because I’ve been blessed to not have had a child here and it’s the least I can do” Today he service his God by caring for  a small group of gatherers at a place they call the Mission house.


With my Grandfather at the swearing in of my Uncle Charlie, The Guard was a family affair!

In this time in our lives my talks with him are so precious. When I visit home we often share an early cup of coffee, sharing old stories, talking of dreams , filling him in on what the kids are up to.  I’m particularly fond of the random phone calls I get, just because and with not really any reason at all but just to say hi.


Here at Dad’s Birthday, the Original 7


Then we became this! (sadly missing 3 grandchildren that day)


He has recently started a new project, restoring an little old farm house near one of my sisters. He was sharing with me his dream for that house. A place to provide for he and Mom in the future, a place for family. As you can see above, we are a big group! I see a place to do work he believes is purposeful, because that is who he is, a man that does things.




Just a few thoughts from my head

I love photography. I love the how and the why, the creating and the admiring, the past and the present. I spend a lot of time thinking, doing, and talking about photography. There are so many ways to appreciate and involve oneself. Photographs can be beautiful. Images showing deep emotion, love, peace, rejoicing, the beauty of people and places far away. They can also be hard; sharing heartbreak, documenting the human condition, showing truth that is not always pretty but often strong. I love how you can capture a moment in time. A moment that may never be repeated but can last a lifetime. Put several of those moments together and you have a story. No words just photos showing us what is or what was.

I can spend lovely afternoons in art galleries studying Fine Art photography. Then there are bookstores, so many pages of images and stories.  Lets not forget the Internet!  At the tips of your fingers you can go anywhere, see anything, images from near and far. Instagram has opened more paths than I could have imaged. I have “insta-friends” all over the world.

(If you are on Instagram it would be worth your time to take a look at a few of these feeds: @shirwin, @jantex, and @tseabold are a wonderful women I follow, @marte_farie_forsberg, @Linda_Lomelino, and @Niyalakmanalp are a few. There are so many more…..)

Connecting in this way has made my world larger and smaller at the same time. I’ve see art, people, places, images that have inspired me, and I hope made me grow. But can there be too much? Too much of watching other people live? I think so.


This is where I recently found myself, watching others live. Lately the Green Eyed Monster known as envy has been working its way through my heart and mind. Through the Internet I see amazing images, colors, textures, places, food, art. Instead of appreciating them I heard my envy-self asking why? Why can’t I go there, see these places, make these images? Share them and go viral?(ha) Well I’m not a fan of my envy-self so I set out to move her out of my head.

I am blessed. I have a beautiful family, I live in a beautiful place. I truly believe there is beauty surrounding us. God creates beauty. We just need to take the time to look.

People often suggest keeping a gratitude journal or an on going list of blessings. I’ve done this off and on for several years. But I needed something different. I’m a visual person. I know things in my head but to see makes a lasting imprint. So I created a visual list of beauty and blessing in my life. It didn’t take long to remind my self of a blessed life. Here are just a few of what I found just a few steps from my front door.

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I hope you spend sometime seeing the beauty right in front of your eyes.

I know I will do it more often!

Until next time, Blessings

First Guest.

Life here at the Homestead has been non stop the last several weeks. Except for those days we were freezing and had ALL THAT ICE (ha).  Here in the Hill Country everything stops; the schools close, offices shut down, people don’t leave their homes. OK I admit I’m not big on getting out in the cold either! It kinda stops me in my tracks.

But, when we weren’t freezin, we were really busy! As you may have read in an earlier December post,  we opened our Bed and Breakfast. I spent a lot of my time scurrying around finishing details right up to our first guest checking in.

I’m sorry to say I don’t have a photograph of our first guest. And you may ask, what kind of a photographer doesn’t photograph a big event like her first guest at her B&B? The answer; one who is learning to be a “inn keeper.”

I assume some guests will want to visit and get to know their host, maybe even share a glass of wine around the fire pit. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Then there are others who might be looking for some quite and solitude, basically to be left alone. Being a new “inn keeper,” I have yet to figure the balance, hence, no pictures!

I did however, photograph a few of the breakfast I prepared for them!


We started off with those lovely Ginger Cranberry Scones, from my friend Denise at Chez Us, served with last year’s Peach Bourbon Jam from our tree, Greek Yogurt parfait with granola and, of course, OJ.


Day two, Skillet Baked Eggs with winter greens and a yogurt chile sauce.

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There was also more Jam with wheat toast and French Press coffee!

So far, I rather enjoy the mornings serving our guest. We stock the house with coffee, cream, sugar and juice so I don’t have to rush down at first light. And one simply can’t complain about a guest who sends a text like this:


Not a bad why to ease into the serving breakfast thing!

Still wanting more……Cranberries!

Thankfully the Christmas season is over, the season of MORE. More food, more parties, more fun, more stuff, more wanting!

Please don’t miss understand, I love Christmas. I cherish each moment spent with friends and family. Preparing gifts to give, cooking meals to share and mostly reflecting on the greatest gift of Jesus. His birth, his life, his love and how we are here because if it.

Today the New Year is still fresh. A time of cleaning out the old and making plans for the new. Dreaming big dreams. It feels good to have a fresh start.

However, there is one thing I’m not ready to give up and find myself wanting more of: Cranberries!IMG_9124-7_07_46PM

I love Cranberries (the fresh ones, never been a fan of the can stuff). In the past my favorite was the Cranberry Bread (you know the one, the recipe on the back of the package). Then there’s always room for cranberries on my sweet potato casserole. But now thanks for Pintrest and my food blogger friends there are so many other ways to enjoy them, and enjoy them I have!

So as the “fresh Cranberry” season comes to a close, I thought I would share a few favorites with you. Maybe you can still find some in the store if you find them pleasing.

As soon as the red beauties show up I start making  Cranberry Ginger SconesIMG_9140-7_07_48PM

I came by this recipe from my friend and food photographer Denise Woodward in a piece she wrote for  Eat Boutique

You should check out her personal blog:  Chez Us 

By the way, these are sure to be on the breakfast menu at The Hatton House

Then comes the Spiced Cranberry Sauce with apricots.Thanksgiving-8-11_42_57AM

I originally found the recipe in a Cooking Light magazine several years ago. These days we tweak it a bit, sometimes adding mangoes or nuts. I usually make enough for our Thanksgiving dinner of 30 or more, extra to share with others and at least one jar for our refrigerator. I highly recommend it on Turkey sandwiches any time of year and it adds a spark to oatmeal on these could winter mornings.

Another form Denise at Chez Us, which instantly became “a must have” around our house. “Sugared Cranberries”IMG_8806-11_42_47AM

I made these for the first time last year.IMG_6721

This year, I bagged them up with ribbon and shared them with my Book Club ladies.

They are wonderful to garnish a chocolaty desert or a yummy cocktail but our favorite way is to just keep a bowl on the table and pop them in your mouth! They don’t last long.

Two new ones this year:

This Spiced Winter Cranberry Cake from a sweet blog called “The Year in Food”


We only made it once but will keep it for next year. It was great with coffee and perfect for our Gluten free friends.

Last but not least by any means! Cranberry Cake from The KitchnIMG_9088-Edit-11_42_55AM

Being a big hit at our house, I can’t even count how many times I made it. Mostly in decorative gift size pans and shared it with clients and friends. Christmas morning I baked it in a 10” spring form pan. It didn’t last long with the crowd of family at my parent’s home.

I find myself still craving it so I made it once more yesterday. This time in small little loaf pans so we can eat one and freeze a few for later. Notice the little heart shaped pan? I wonder if it would be as good with cherries for Valentines?IMG_9076-11_42_53AM

Well, thanks for wadding through my cranberry obsession! If any of these sound tempting you might still be able to find a few fresh ones at the market. Just click on the links above in blue.  I’d love to hear how you like them or if you have any other wonderful ways I might try cranberries next year! Feel free to drop me a comment!

Until next time.

Re-Invent or Re-Store, sometimes they look alike

We’ve all heard the saying about life being a journey, going through different seasons, taking different paths., reaching different crossroads. At this stage in my life the seasons seem to change quickly and the crossroads are many. As many of my friends are taking the “ I have to re-invent myself” road, I think I am taking more the “It’s time to Re-Store an old self” road.

Years ago (too many to count, but let’s say a long time) I would buy and read books on growing and using herbs, and gardening. Lavender was and still is one of my favorites. Years before I heard anyone talk about lavender farms in Texas, I was dreaming of walking through those amazing purple fields in France. I scoured magazines such as  “Country Living”, Southern Living, Food and Wine. Reading and keeping articles and pictures of old farm houses, Bed & Breakfast sites, and recipes of homegrown and beautiful food. At the time I really didn’t think about photogenic these all were. I didn’t think of creating these images, I just wanted to live in them.


Photography is still my profession and will always be one of my passions but it is looking a bit different these days. As I approached one of those crossroads in life I decided to restore an old dream instead of re-inventing a new one.


My husband and I own a wonderful old rock house built somewhere around 1857. We have always dreamed of restoring it for a guest house or B&B. My other dream was to walk through lavender fields but have never made it to France. Life has always taken us down other paths. Oh, they have been wonderful paths just different than these dreams.  But time has come to follow those dreams.

We haven’t made it to France, instead I planted my own lavender field.IMG_3584 I spent the last year loving over that small field, fighting to keep the horses from pulling up the tiny plants. Worried about the drought and then about too much rain,  the Sweet lavender was the only variety to bloom the first year and with that we had lavender ice-cream and gallons of Lavender Lemonade all through the summer.IMG_3585




At the same time we began work on our little rock house, slowly restoring and working it into shape to welcome guest. Although there is more we want to do we are excited to say we have officially opened The Hatton House B&B at the Creek Road Homestead, and ready for you to come stay!

little house

WOW, that is a little scary to say out load.

When you have dreamed of something and then the reality is here, and what if it’s not what you think is going to be? Oh well, here we go!

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As of now, we have the downstairs open and plan to open the upstairs room in May or June. You can get more information and book a stay here or you can just email me! If you want to come just walk through the lavender that is fine to.

So you may have noticed I changed the name of my blog to Lavender Lemonade.

When I started my blog, I shared stories about my life, I wrote and shared stories about my clients and a few stories from the streets. At first it was a lot about my photography business, a bit of self-promotion! There will still be a touch of that since I often get my stories and images from my clients but my hope is for it to be more. As I find and share these stories I want them go deeper. I hope they will be inspirational. I hope they tell a story of following ones dreams and stories of hope. I also plan to write, photograph and share more stories about food, about culture and travel. (more later on why I think food is so important)  Lavender Lemonade represents that to me, it reminds me of dreaming, of hard work, of hope, of cultivating a life , of the beauty of a sweet  and sometimes sour life. So I plan and hope to write more in this new year to come, along this new adventure of adding an inn-keeper hat to my collection. I also hope you will join me on occasion, laugh, dream and share the ride, I would love to hear about your dreams as well.


A Perfect Summer Night!

If you have ever read my blog of visited my Facebook page, you know I love stories, I love weddings, and I’m double blessed when I get both in the same evening. Such was the case when I had the pleasure of  photographing Bob and Heather McCarthy’s wedding a few weeks ago.

Although Heather is a new friend, I’ve known Bob and his family for several years.  Spending countless nights at the ball park when he, his twin Jim, and older brother Daniel played little league with our son, and their younger sitter Ellen ran around the park. As “baseball parents” a friendship grew with his mother, Andrea. Over the years we have shared swimming, tri-atholoning, book club and watching our kids navigate through school. So, you can see why I was honored to be asked to record this next amazing step in their lives.

Bob and Heather have dated for several years. I believe they met when both worked  as life guards at the city pool. From what I’ve heard, both Bob and Jim had a bit of a crush on her. And I can see why, she is absolutely darling! She spent the whole day what an infection smile on her face, beaming! Never a ruffled moment.

I hope  you enjoy a few of my favorites!

Every wedding need a little “Audrey Hepburn”

The Girls!


Bob and his crew!

In Jim’s words ” I guess we are kinda breaking up, but I knew it would be over Heather!”

One of the best moments: During his vows, Bob turned to their guess and loudly pronounced  “I DO!”

Tears of joy are the best kind.

Adding to an already perfect occasion was the wonderful new venue “Pecan Springs Ranch” near Dripping Spring, TX.  Although the official open date is September, Paige Smith of Paige One Events and her team created a storybook setting for the wedding and reception. On top of planning and coordinator, she was also the floral designer.The delicious cake was by Jennifer Isler, reception music by Tunes Across Texas. Lighting was by   FILO Designs-Howard Fletcher and additional rentals were provided by Bee Lavish Event Rental. Catering by Carino’s Italian

Last but not least, I’m so thankful to have Kristin of Kristen Joy Photography shooting second with me!

It’s been a while, so let’s catch up!

Hello friends,

I know it had been a while and so much has happen in the last months. Besides the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years,  We had anniversaries, birthdays, a funeral, and our son’s wedding (this will take a post of it’s own later). So before I get to all that….

If you read my last post you know I’ve been on some what of a journey. Journeys can often be exciting, refreshing, enlightening, frightening and overwhelming but always necessary.  One thing I know for sure, if you are not moving forward you are backing up. If you are not growing you are dying.

In moving down this photographic road I’m on I spent some time looking back over 2011. Looking back on where you’ve been can often shape where you are going. I realize most (if not all) of my photo friends and colleges shared their “2011 Year in Pictures” months ago, but what the heck!  Sometimes it’s better to show up at the party late than not to show up at all.

Here are (more than) a few images I’m fond of for one reason or another.

I started off the year with Derek and Cara’s wedding in Cuero

February brought snow and very large Combo-Birthday Celebration!

Followed by the Golden Stirrup Horse Show at the Austin Rodeo.

Spring was full: Babies, bright colors in nature, Seniors, beach trips and of course weddings.

This past summer was full of family,

Picking blueberries with Bobby and him mother Gen.

and what is the 4th of July if not spent with my Dad?

The Texas State Fair

Fall is always full of portraits but this year I also worked on a Cancer Survivor Calender

and a few personal projects.

Thankfully the year ended peaceful.  A blessing before the busy days ahead.

Thanks for stopping by and reminiscing with me.

I’m looking forward to sharing a few new project as I continue down this road one click at a time.