You might ask why my website called gemandrock.com...  Well, it's a very special story to me.  I still smile when I think of it.  That day has taught me to look for little gems & rocks in everything I do. Look for and focus 
    A while back I was driving to Missouri, with a very special friend & shooting buddy.  We were headed to a photography field trip to meet several other photographers, we stopped for gas in a small town..not even a town really, just a little community.  Next door was a flea market that looked kind of interesting.  We both love old stuff so we decided to go inside & see what they had.  As we neared the building, we noticed a small sign on the side of the building that said... "Gem and Rock Store".  Now, when you see a sign like this, It conjurs up a lot of different images in the mind.  I was imagining all kinds of things like big shiny glasslike rocks, fossils, precious gemstones...you get the idea.  As we walked past the cool entry made of two old wagon wheels & a neat wooden bench. I commented on the sign that I really wanted to see some Gems & Rocks.... and that my niece, Kannah, LOVES rocks and in fact, I love rocks.  Rocks, rock! Maybe I'll find a cool rock on this day.
    So inside, what appeared to be a married couple greeted us as they talked to a young woman who had come in to chat.  There are small rooms & areas that you kind of meander through looking at the flea market wares that were mostly stuff like worn out foot stools and old juice glasses (the kind your grandma saved from jelly jars when you were a kid) .  There was one section that was old office furniture from the 70's.  It was a hodge podge of what appeared to be the remnants from old garage sales.  There weren't really any true collectibles that I saw...although believe me, we looked & looked for some redeaming quality of this store.
    But where were the gems and rocks????  Normally, in a store like this, I would have probably left after just a few minutes, especially given our timeline.  But the lure of the gems & rocks kept us going. We went through every room. Every time we saw something shiny from a distance, or a display case tucked in a corner, we hurried over thinking...."Ahh maybe this is where the gems & rocks are."  ...but we were disappointed each time. We even went through the large store room in the back where they kept the overflow jelly jars & foot stools that weren't quite the higher quality of the ones displayed in the front rooms.  There were no gems & no rocks.  
    We made our way back to the entry, thinking we would ask the proprieters.... "Sir, Ma'am, where do you keep the gems & rocks."  But as we got to the front, we found a small gathering of people drinking coffee and engrossed in what seemed a very important conversation about a happening down the road & why a nearby farmer was wanting to sell off some of his land.  They seemed to hardly notice us. But not because they were rude. It was almost as if they expected us to sit down & join in the conversation. The woman smiled & kind of waved as we left.  
    Back on the road, neither of us said anything for a while....just staring in silence. I think we were both perplexed.  Finally, I said. "What do you think that sign meant?  I mean, there were no gems or rocks anywhere."  My friend said.. "Maybe that was the couple's name...Gem and Rock I mean."  Hmmmmm..... "...maybe." Then laughingly I said, "I wonder what a morning conversation is like as they start their day?"   Then the dialog began. The whole rest of the drive, we jokingly talked as if we were Gem & Rock preparing to open the store each day. 
"Good Morning, Gem. I've got the coffee brewing." Rock said,
"It smells delicious.  Say, Rock, what is that you have there?"
"Well, Gem, it's nother shipment of jelly jars."
"Ooooh, nice ones." Gem replied.
"Where do you think I should put them?" Rock asked.
"Well in the Jelly Jar section, of course.  I cleared off a shelf just yesterday."
"I'll get to it just as soon as we have another cup of coffee & finish this newspaper."

    Since then, we have had a lot of Gem & Rock conversations and I smile every time.  I still wonder at that store out in a rural community. I think the gems & rocks were a metaphor for the retired couple living a little dream & enjoying their  gathering place for locals to have some great coffee. That store probably means a lot more that just the flea market. It was a way for them to stay connected to their community.   I've come to think that we  found some Gems and Rocks there also and we are still picking them up along the way.
    At Christmas this year, Rock gave me a very well thought out gift.  Ingenious really.  He gave this, my very own domain name.  Now, catchy domain names aren't always easy to get.  Most of the good ones are already taken. But the first & only name he tried to get for my gift was the one your viewing now.  gemandrock.com  The customer service people he talked to in registering it were shocked that it hadn't been snapped up a long time ago.  I'm shocked as well. Especially considering there are Gem and Rock stores all over the world!   That's just proof to me that it was meant to be my site. 
    So, I've spent the last few weeks learning & understanding a little about how websites work & building what you see here today. A big shout out and very special THANK YOU to Rock for this!  You Rock!
    To the rest....I hope you enjoy seeing my little part of the world as I view it through the lens. 

Welcome to gemandrock.com!
    
 
 
I am from an incredibly talented family.   While standing in  the shadows of Musicians, Pencil Artists, Artistic Quilt makers, Seamstresses, Wedding Cake Baker’s, Floral, Interior Designer’s and the like, I realized at a
very young age I had a creative side. It started with a needle and thread as a young girl making baby doll clothes and continued with inspiration from my mother until as an adult I was designing an elaborate hand-beaded heirloom wedding gown for my sister that will be worn by generations.  This came  naturally to me….Or so it seemed (more on that in a minute).
    In 1999, after admiring photography for several years, I took the leap into and invested in an SLR camera. I promptly began to study books and videos about photography and soon I was taking beginner’s workshops and classes.   I spent a lot of time and money only to produce mediocre results.  I was trying so hard to concentrate on the outcome that I was placing such an expectations on myself that a lot of the creative process was blocked.   The disappointment of not finding a natural talent, along with a busy work schedule and keeping up with two teenagers, I put the camera down in 2001. But even though I wasn’t shooting, there was still a longing for this art.  I continued to admire photographic art, but only from a distance.
    As my sons grew up and moved out on their own, and the nest has emptied, the longing to pursue this art grew and grew.  It could no longer be ignored. In May, 2006 I reached for the camera again. Although when I picked it up this time, it was a very different story!  I realized that making that first wedding gown had nothing to do with natural talent.  It only seemed like it, because I had spent literally 25 years developing the skills. Those skills, with a passion for it is what made it possible.   For me, natural talent is overrated… the passion for photography is what will make the art possible.
    While I’m still studying and developing the skills and my time is still limited,  I sure am enjoying the journey. Many  times while I’m out shooting,  I find myself putting up the camera and just enjoying what’s going on around me.  Now when I shoot, I’m disconnected from the outcome, I’m only concentrating on the journey. I have no fear of failing now because I know the skills will marry with the passion when the time is right…just like the day I saw my sister walk down the aisle, a picture of beauty, in a magnificent gown.    
.......Being labeled as talented only means that we survived  being untalented." Quote by Craig Tanner, The Radiant Vista