On September 11, 2001, all Americans in every corner of the globe were changed forever. An event that: United us. Divided us. Shocked us to our cores. The National September 11th Memorial Museum, located in lower Manhattan at ground zero, the site of the former twin towers -- a sign of power and strength and now gone -- opened to the public on May 22, 2014. I had the honor of not just being there but getting to see the museum and getting to cover the transfer of the 9/11 Flag for permanent display at the museum.  I'll post a few images of the flag transfer here but you can see more of them on the Facebook page for LSD Photography or New York Says Thank You.

I don't know what else I can say about the National 9/11 Flag that we haven't said in previous posts. No matter what divides Americans - politics, religion, class - the one thing that always unites us is the American Flag. Our flag. OURS. This flag, hanging at 90 West Street, covered in the soot, ashes and American sacrifices of September 11, 2001, saved and lovingly restored by US. Americans. From all 50 states. Stitch by stitch. Patch by patch. Whole again. Think about that for just a minute. . . . Who does that? Who starts just putting a flag back together and why? WE DO. AMERICANS. As that flag was carried from the lower east side, past the Number 10 Firehouse on Liberty street and marched past the waterfalls with the names of all the souls lost that day, right up to the lawn in the shade of the new Freedom Tower, and unfolded in all its stitched-together glory, there was an undeniable spiritual presence. To hear everyone singing God Bless America, right there with that flag, well, it reminded me a bit of Dr. Suess' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" story. It would read, "Maybe being an American doesn't come from a store. Maybe being an American, perhaps means a bit more." I hope they hear us all singing. I hope OBL hears us singing clear down to Hell. God Bless America. 

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Firehouse 10 with the Freedom Tower in view. 

NYSTY5_2014001.jpgSome of New York's finest! THANK YOU!

NYSTY5_2014004.jpgNYSTY5_2014022.jpgNYSTY5_2014015.jpgChildren of the 9/12 generation moved in to hold the flag before it was folded again. The 9/12 Generation Project is an educational program born from the foundation to teach the next generation about what happened on 9/11 but, more importantly, what happened on 9/12, when we started helping each other get back up, and rebuilding for good.

The "press" was a bit op"press"ive IMO but I know they want to share it with the world too. Just wish they could stay out of MY way! Ha!

"His lord said unto him, Well donegood and faithful servant". Thank you all. 

I got scoot into the Museum with a few first responders before it opened its doors to the public later that morning. These are a few images I was allowed to take. As you enter, past security, you go down into the basement of ground zero. Steel beams from the building remain.

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The wall in its raw state, an existing beam that remains. Those are benches and you can see the scale by the person there. Presentations can take place here. It's very quiet. Very.

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Images of original missing persons posters are projected onto the wall. 

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Just past the above firetruck, you enter into the inner part of the museum. This contains all the major artifacts. Voice recordings. Belongings. Photographs. News broadcasts of the event. And a photo of EVERY person lost that day. There are NO PHOTOGRAPHS ALLOWED in this area of the museum. :(   When you exit and go back up to ground level, this escalator takes you up and you hear a choir singing a cappella. It's beautiful.  


Nelly Rahman says:

I hope they hear us all singing. I hope OBL hears us singing clear down to Hell. God Bless America. Thanks

(12.21.14 @ 11:00 AM)
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Yes, that's really her name now. Married on May 3, 2014.  Haha! She's so stinkin' cute though, I'm pretty sure she can pull it off! AND, now that that IS her name, I can share her bridal portraits. We had quite a day of it. Starting out downtown in a north wind that nearly beat us to death! Halie was a trouper! There's no whining in bridal portraits!  We finished the day at Philbrook with a vintage auto --- yummy! Had to shoo that dang cat away a few times! (Hope that didn't show up on his collar camera!)  Halie's dress is Vera Wang with a sweetheart bodice, cut out back, drop waist and super bling belt at the natural waist.  Miles and miles of tulle with an embroidered overlay! Vera DOES NOT disappoint! A cathedral veil with a tiny rolled edge was so beautiful and even though she had to fight with it in the wind a bit, it was the icing on the top. Her beautiful spirit made this day a pleasure regardless of the less than perfect circumstances. Take a look and leave Mrs. Hay Hay some love on the blog! 

I told you it was blustery!HalieBridal-1005.jpg
So, Halie's mom dubbed herself "Pippa" and was in charge of helping the bride with her dress and all her accoutrements! I LOVE a helpful MOB! Thanks, Pippa! 

Sometimes you just have to throw it all in there to move that tulle around! Ha! We had so much fun with this session! 

Halie, thanks for sharing your special day and dress with me! You were so much fun to work with and I had such fun creating portraits for you. 

Best of luck in your marriage! 
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Many of you know that Sophia and I have been working with and supporting an organization called New York Says Thank You since 2008. Each year we travel to the September build site to photograph, paint, drive, stare at hunky fireman ;) ,  or whatever we need to do to support the community who has suffered tremendous loss and needs the inspiration, hope, support and muscle, NewYork Says Thank You provides. This year, New York Says Thank You is in our own backyard. They will providing their wonderfully good ju-ju to last year's tornado victims in the Moore/OKC/Shawnee areas. A main focus is going to be a 1Day Ranch near Shawnee, OK, which was devastated by that tornado. Meaghan Hadley is the force behind this Ranch and has a heart the size of Dallas. Sophia has been posting some gorgeous photos of the Ranch - the horses, pony, one-eared goat and dogs on Facebook - take a look and here's a few more. You'll get the idea of how passionate Meaghan is and how committed she is to keeping and making 1 Day Ranch whole again. Please read all the way to the end to see the message from New York Says Thank You. It's a long post but so worth the read!! I hope you will all join us in donating and working this September to get this ranch back to the future! 

She truly is a horse whisperer -

This was his first day at the ranch. He was set to be euthanized the day before but Meaghan rescued him. He's a sweetheart!

This is Annabelle. So stinkin' cute! She needs a forever home. Darling dog!

Luna is the top dog at 1 Day Ranch! The Ranch is her forever home and she helps Meaghan keep things going. 

1 Day Ranch is one of  just a handful of equine rescue sites. Sometimes horses are referred due to neglect, displacement from storms, or other reasons. If there's nowhere for them to go and be cared for, they are often destroyed. Meaghen has taken her trailer across the country to rescue these beautiful animals.  

LSD-1DRanch013.jpgLSD-1DRanch011.jpgLSD-1DRanch014.jpgLSD-1DRanch015.jpgThis is Penelope! A teeny little pig. She loves Meaghan but Meaghan loves her more I think! LSD-1DRanch016.jpg
LSD-1DRanch018.jpgThis is a one-eared goat. He was being used as bait in a dog fighting ring. Disgusting. He's been at the ranch for a few months now and is part of the official welcoming party. His name is Vincent. Vincent Van Goat. Bahaha!  That's his makeshift pen where he stays when he's not roaming the ranch.LSD-1DRanch019.jpgLSD-1DRanch004.jpgMeet Meaghan. Her passion, hope, determination and hard, hard work every day to take care of these animals is amazing and inspirational.  Come and be inspired. Make a difference in the world starting with one thing. Just one thing. LSD-1DRanch020.jpgI'd like to share a letter from Jeff Parness - founder of NYSTY

Dear New York Says Thank You family:

I am SUPER EXCITED to share with you details of this year's 9/11 Anniversary "barn-raising" and I am also going to make an urgent plea for your help TODAY.

This year we are going to help in the ongoing recovery from last May's deadly tornadoes in the Oklahoma City/Moore/Shawnee area. We are working with Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project (ODRP) to identify one or more family homes in need of rebuilding and we hope to help out with our advance teams Labor Day weekend.

But our main project this coming September 4-7 will be helping to rebuild 1 Day Ranch - a magical place run by one of the most passionate, energetic, and caring people I have ever met in the 10 year journey of New York Says Thank You - Maeghan Hadley.

1 Day Ranch's primary function is a horse rescue, animal rescue, and therapeutic riding facility. But Maeghan's vision is to make it a true "anchor" in the community of Bethel Acres for animal education and volunteer service.

In addition to being a safe haven for horses, goats, dogs and other animals rescued by local law enforcement from abuse situations, Maeghan's true passion is sharing the magical powers of these beautiful animals with special needs young people and adults.

From the young girl battling eating disorders who finds an inner confidence in her interactions with a rescued horse, to the young man with Down's Syndrome whose interaction with the animals sparks hope deep within, to the adult woman battling MS whose horse riding experience stimulates muscles in her recovery - 1 Day Ranch is truly a sanctuary for both animals and people.

There is an 800 student K-12 DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from 1 Day Ranch that will be able to enjoy the beautiful facility we are going to build as an extension of their service learning. All the ingredients for a community-wide "barn-raising" are there!

The 80-year-old rickety barn that used to house the animals was damaged beyond repair by the outer winds of the Shawnee tornado last May 19th and this barn-raising will be an opportunity to rebuild not only a needed facility - but more importantly - it will bring together the entire community from neighboring Oklahoma City and Shawnee and as far away as Tulsa to truly build a special place that will strengthen the community long after we depart.

And that is what New York Says Thank You is all about - rebuilding and strengthening communities in need as a way to continually "Pay It Forward" for all the love we received when all of us were struck by our own disasters.

So here's the deal: We need your help TODAY.

1 Day Ranch is literally running on fumes as this icy winter has depleted all their funds and Maeghan is struggling to buy extra hay to keep the horses warm and safe. If you love horses, donkeys, dogs, pigs, or one-eared goats - if you know of someone who does - if you or your family or a friend you know supports programs to assist special needs kids and at-risk youth - PLEASE click on this link and donate something TODAY to support Maeghan's daily expenses to care for these beautiful animals.

Click on the first button for New York Says Thank You Foundation and then right below it, click "In Honor Of" and type in 1 DAY RANCH PROGRAM.

We will get these funds directly to 1 Day Ranch to care for the animals today!

Beyond helping to sustain 1 Day Ranch's operations and get them on a solid footing, we are going to have to raise over $150,000 in the next 3 months to build the barn and we are so blessed to have Builder Bob Lotspeich's grandson-in-law Matt Johnson, and Lester Buildings, partner with us again on this special project.

We are also grateful for our friends at Jewish Disaster Response Corps (JDRC) who have been on the ground in Oklahoma since January helping to rebuild and who connected us to this special opportunity that will strengthen the greater Oklahoma City/Shawnee/Tulsa community by helping to rebuild 1 Day Ranch as an "anchor" of service in their community.

In the coming months, we are also going to have raise funds to sponsor all of our First Responder/NYSTY volunteers to get to Oklahoma and back for this special barn-raising in September. But right now our mission is simple:

Click here to support 1 Day Ranch TODAY - and together we will build something so special that will benefit a wonderful community of people AND animals.

With my deepest gratitude for your continued support of New York Says Thank You and our mission to bring hope and healing to people and communities in need -


Gather your pennies to help Penny and all her 1 Day Ranch friends! Then plan to come to the rebuild this September. It's a blast!

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I knew he loved her. The first time I met him, I knew he loved her. I could tell by the way he talked about her and how intent he was on making everything PERFECT for this day. The day he was going to ask her to be his wife. To spend her life with him. From the custom cards with clues leading her to spots around town where they've shared special moments to orchestration and logistics of getting her best friends and sister into town to celebrate with her, Nolan planned every detail to a "T", with Rachel in mind. He was concerned because she's such a private person, never wanting to be the center of attention, but he had to make sure she knew she WAS the center of attention for him. With the help and guidance of Lynn Wheatley of Lasting Impressions of Tulsa Events, the entire day was practically perfect in every way! Here's how it started -- the day AFTER Valentine's Day, on the pretense of going to brunch, Nolan created a reason for Rachel to have to go by her office. On her desk was a beautiful box and the first clue -- follow along . . .
So it began . . . at each location Rachel found another of her friends waiting with the next clue and she had to direct the limo driver to each destination.

After a wonderful lunch, spa visit and new outfit and all the accessories, Rachel was taken to the GV Winery and here's what happened next . . .

Rachel and her sister, Kate, couldn't wait to call the rest of the family with the news! I love sisters! 


It was a beautiful night with beautiful friends. They partied on at GV Winery with a tasting, food from Andolini's and lots and lots of smiles. OH . . . I almost forgot . . . SHE SAID 'YES!'

Congratulations Nolan and Rachel! Wishing you a wonderful marriage!

Israel Diamond says:

What a way to capture the moment! Amazing proposal and amazing photos for a wonderful couple. We are honored to have been a part of this special moment.

(03.12.14 @ 08:57 AM)
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February 21, 2014

A question I'm hearing from time to time these days. My life has been in a transition as well as my business. I've lived most of this past year in Washington State on Bainbridge Island. I love it there. It's beautiful and peaceful. It's where I want to be so that's my new home base. Now, with that said, my house in Tulsa still hasn't sold! So, I've had to spend a lot of time in Tulsa recently to make some changes to it and get it back on the market this year and try again! The best part of that is I get to see all my peeps who live in Tulsa! I do plan to spend a lot of time in Tulsa every year regardless of living elsewhere. November-January are perfect Tulsa months and I hope to be there during those months each year. Spring, summer and fall are definitely Seattle months! Sorry,Tulsa, I can't do those 114 degree days (months) anymore!  Why did I decide to move? I've loved the Seattle area for several years now and visited often, eventually never wanting to leave. Personal events in the past few years have made me realize how short and precious life is -- whether is lasts 10 days or 90 years -- it's not long enough and you better live with no regrets. Upon examination, I found I had several. I didn't travel enough. I didn't spend enough time doing things that I loved. I didn't live in a place that inspired me. I didn't spend enough fun time with my husband. Things like that. I was allowing too many people to gobble up my time and I was starting to get pissed off about it but taking my frustrations out on the wrong people and things!  Jay, my kids, my grandkids, my sisters. It wasn't good. I needed to make some changes and focus on what I really wanted to do and how I really wanted to spend my time -- my life. SO, I DID.  Big changes. Not easy. My passion is still my art. My photography is primary. I want to paint more. I want to create more. I want to write more. I want to share more. All these things will now be included in this BLOG. Look for it to get a bit more diverse and interesting (hopefully!). 
A few images of my life on Bainbridge Island! See why I love it?

By the wharf


My beautiful island home.

The Grand Forest -  I live right next to here and get to walk in here every day! 

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