Free Education for Women Over 40

As part of my goals for 2014, I plan to continue my education by occasionally attending a seminar, a speech or a class that teaches me something new. Today, I had the pleasure of a warm cup of tea with about 15 Fairhope citizens as we listened to a gentleman share stories about Fairhope in the days of Stimpson Sawmill. The Fairhope Museum of History invites the residents of the fair city to “Tea for Two” on each Tuesday of the month.

My city by the bay.
My city by the bay.


I was particularly interested in this Tuesday’s talk because my Pappy worked in a sawmill, but died when I was only 2 years old. I know very little about him or about what it was like to work in a sawmill. I could only imagine the heat, the shrill buzzing of the saws, and the smell of sawdust in the air.

While I learned a lot about the sawmill, that is not what I’m writing about today. I’m writing about staying young, informed and sharp. Education doesn’t have to cost $$$ thousands and all education is valuable. Education for education’s sake is worth more than the salary you earn as a result of all that studying. Therefore, I want to encourage all women over 40, no matter their profession, to continue learning now and well after retirement.

We are concerned with our looks, our health, where we will spend our twilight years and how much inheritance we will leave our children. Let part of that inheritance include a legacy of continuing education.

Here are some suggestions to get us started:

Stephen Savage, a great photography instructor.
Stephen Savage, a great photography instructor.

Photography lessons.

Local libraries have book clubs.

Photos by Stephen Savage
Photos by Stephen Savage

There are affordable art classes at local museums and craft stores.

Fairhope Art Center
Fairhope Art Center

Since Dancing With the Stars hit the screen, there are several dance studios that offer affordable classes.

Fairhope Roses
Fairhope Roses

Take up gardening.

Simon Island, GA Lighthouse
Simon Island, GA Lighthouse

While traveling, get as much info as possible before you reach your destination.

College campuses offer lecture series to the public on various topics.

Documentaries offer some true stories of history. offers this lecture series in Mobile for 2014 and there are several I’m excited about. Check it out if you are in the area.

Whether you live in Mobile, AL, England, Canada, France or Spain, if you know of something that might be beneficial for women, please leave a comment about what is going on in your town.

Hollyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace



Day 22: Starting Over with Photography Lessons

31 Days of Starting Over


Things happen for a reason. I woke up this morning thinking, “ok, little miss I’m-never-going-to be-a-good-photographer, it’s time to do something about this.” I did my usual Google search and found the Eastern Shore Camera Club. I posted a comment asking for help. Someone helped, and I now have my first lesson scheduled with Stephen Savage.

He ask that I bring my tripod, camera and the owners manual.

I can follow directions...
I can follow directions…

I’m ready for Lesson 1.

I arrive 10 minutes late for my appointment because I forgot my phone, but Mr. Savage is a perfect gentleman and assures me it’s not a problem. Across the street, at Page & Palette, a local bookstore, is a book titled, The Spirit of Fairhope, that’s loaded with photos by Stephen Savage.  This student is very impressed with her teacher.

Photos by Stephen Savage
(Most) Photos by Stephen Savage

He was very complimentary of my knowledge so far, and at the end of the lesson, said he was very impressed with how I seem to “get it.” He was very encouraging.

Please look over the following 1,000 words….

Horizontal Portrait
Vertical Portrait
Vertical Portrait
Up close and personal...
Up close and personal…


My first photo after my lesson with Stephen Savage.
My first photo after my lesson with Stephen Savage. (indoor with limited lighting)
Photo with new info from lesson.
Photo before instruction from Stephen.
Photo after instruction from Stephen...
Photo after instruction from Stephen…

So what do you think? Pretty darn good improvement from one lesson, huh?

Things happen for a reason. I’ll be part of a photo contest with Southern Living.  I made this appointment with Stephen two hours before I read the email from Southern Living informing me that I was chosen to be part of the contest. In this writer’s opinion, I’ll have a better shot now that I’ve met Stephen Savage. Pun intended.