Saturday, November 15, 2014


Day three at this hill country haven began with a morning stroll to the stables.

On the way there I passed this house, which seemed like an ordinary family home at first glance, probably housing one of the owners or managers.

Round the corner, and you realize it's not so ordinary after all!

What I wouldn't give to get a glimpse inside! You'll be happy to know, however, I did not go up to the window and press my face to the glass. Even though I really, really wanted to.

I stopped along the way to visit these ladies...

then headed down to the river.

Apparently all their equipment had been hauled to higher ground, due to the flash flood warnings in these parts the previous weekend. Fortunately, that danger was past, and not only did I eventually see some girls in canoes, I heard that the ever-intrepid Mandy Rowden actually went swimming, 'though I don't think she stayed in the water for very long.

After another scrumptious breakfast, I headed to my first class of the day -- How to Write a Story, with Katherine Center, author of Lost Husband and Bright Side of Disaster.

I spent the afternoon up to my elbows in Mixed-Media Alchemy, thanks to Corrine Gilman of Sparkle Days Studios, who is just a hoot 'n a half!

Normally we artists/crafters bring everything but the kitchen sink to a class like this, however we were given strict limits this time. She said we were to bring a mere three colors of paint, some glue, and only one stamp! Ridiculous, right? But then she handed each of us one of the packets she had assembled, each one different, and told us to see what we could do with them. Believe it or not, having less supplies to work with was actually quite liberating! Another great reminder that, when it comes to art, it's usually better to spend more time doing, and less time thinking!

During my evening stroll I came across this...

and this...

and this...

and this...

But the real highlight of the day had to be this...

I mean, seriously! Who would've thunk that Little Miss Keri knew all the lyrics to I Like Big Butts, and had the moves to go with them?

Friday, November 14, 2014


One of my very favorite things that Miss Alexis chose to do for her wedding reception was the setting up of this unmanned photobooth, where people just took photos of each other whenever the spirit moved them. This is just a tiny sampling of the many, many that were taken.

I especially loved the things people wrote on the little slate she provided.

Alas, I fear someone was doing some photo-bombing in the photobooth!


Thursday, November 13, 2014


Son-in-Law Nate, Upon the Arrival of his Minnesota Tribe
 At the end of that Wild Surrender book that I mentioned yesterday, Mindy has a list of a dozen or more artists/bloggers whom she refers to as "My Heart, My Tribe." She said "Over the years throughout this journey, these creative souls have touched my soul. They inspire me beyond words. Meeting and connecting with them has been the BEST part about this journey. To witness their growth and watch them fly has been a beautiful thing." That got me to thinkin', yet again, about my own tribes, and what a huge difference they made in my life.

Story Circle Network Pals
It took me more than 50 years to find my first creative "tribe" -- the one I stumbled upon when I first started blogging about our new life here in the Texas Hill Country. I found another blogger who was doing the same, and almost wet my pants when I finally realized that the blogger happened to be one of my favorite authors, Susan Wittig Albert. She invited me to join an organization called Story Circle Network -- a group she founded to encourage women to "tell their stories." When I attended their bi-annual conference over in Austin I realized I'd finally found my "tribe". Little did I know, that was just the first of many!

My Muses
 While at that very same conference, I put on my big girl panties and invited myself to join two other women at a table in the hotel restaurant -- one of whom just happened to be from Wimberley too! She later invited me to a gathering of a few creative friends -- some of which morphed into the group I refer to as The Muses.

H.S. Debbie Tries Her Hand at Archery at Lucky Star
Thanks to a high school yearbook tribe-mate, who reintroduced us when she found out we were both living in Wimberley, I became friends with High School Debbie. Through her I discovered on-line art classes and a new tribe of artsy bloggers, which then led me to Lucky Star Art Camp, and a real-life tribe of "creative souls."

Last Years Gathering on our Porch at Lucky Star
Somehow, all of this got me to thinking about my children and their tribes. Daughter Lex had a tight little tribe of ex-pat kiddos when we lived on a company compound in Indonesia, but felt totally adrift when we moved back to the states, and she no longer fit in with her old crowd. She eventually found her tribe in the theater and art departments in high school, then in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Gaming group in college. Her hunny Nate did a bit of floundering too, until he discovered computers and the hacker network.  When they were wed a couple of weeks ago, it was more than the marriage of two people. It was the perfect melding of tribes, as evidenced by what happened when Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody song began playing midway through the reception.

Up until that point, only a few people at a time had been on the dance floor. However, when the first notes of that song came through the speakers, their friends were suddenly drawn to the floor as if by magnet, reminding me of a scene from Close Encounters. Apparently, regardless of tribe affiliation, they ALL knew the words to this particular song, and had spontaneously gathered in a circle to act out the various parts.

Next thing I knew they were taking turns "doing it Gangnam Style", and before long a new, much larger, tribe had been established.

Families can be tribes as well, and I was ever so proud of the way the Thomas, Lane and Sanders tribes all came together for this wedding, and threw themselves wholeheartedly into the "costume" aspects of it -- even those who wouldn't normally be caught dead in one!

After all, what is the point of anything, if you don't have a tribe to share it with?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I recruited two new campers for Lucky Star this year. One was my sister Kathy (aka Gus), and the other was the friend I often refer to as High School Debbie, since I have two other friends here named Deb/Deborah, and since we went to the same high school. She is the one who let me in on the secret of on-line art classes, without which, I never would have ended up at Lucky Star!  Walking up the hill that first morning, I stumbled across an awesome old turquoise car. Just as I was about to snap a picture of it, Debbie came wandering down the hill. Kismet, no?

That Italian scarf of hers was just made to be photographed next to that car, was it not? Anywho, when I was done with my walk I wandered down to the mess hall to grab some hot tea, as we still had some time until breakfast. That's when I discovered one of the very best things about Lucky Star - something I had totally missed out on last year.

Mandy Rowden Teaching Her "Girl Guitar" Class
I discovered that this cozy nook just outside the mess hall, with its big wood-burning fireplace, is a magical place -- one which draws early risers to it like a magnet. From that morning on, you could find me next to that fireplace, hot cocoa or tea warming my hands and my heart, soaking in the creative bliss of my fellow campers!

From there we moved into the dining hall itself, for the first of three scrumptious meals we would receive each day. And I mean scrumptious.

This was just the second year for Lucky Star to be in existence, and that dining hall was pert near full! What are we going to do as word continues to spread?

After breakfast we gathered our supplies and headed off to class.

Craft House
I was positively giddy, for I would be spending the entire day with artist Mindy Lacefield! She wrote this book, Wild Surrender.

Mindy's Book, and the Field Notes Journal I Started in Her Class
In the introduction to her book she says "This process is alive. Allow it to evolve and build its own character through trial and error, mistakes, and happy accidents. Wildly Surrender overthinking. Surrender your plans. Surrender perfection. Become one with the process." That was a really, really hard thing for me to do when I came to Lucky Star and took my first "intuitive painting" class with Juliette Crane last year. But I'm gettin' better at it. Yes I am!

Mindy on the Left, Two New Friends on the Right
At one point in the afternoon I took a tea break, and was able to sneak in to spy on my sister in her Lively Lettering class.

She seemed to be having a very good time!

Last year camper Shawn, who happens to be a pro at Irish dancing, gave some of the girls a spontaneous tutorial. It was such a hit that they actually put it on the schedule Thursday evening, for those who were interested.

After dinner that evening we had a rousing fireside chat about food...

then ended our day as we always do at Lucky Star -- singing our little hearts out along with Austin singer-songwriter Mandy Rowden.

It was a very good day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


As you know, I didn't even take my camera to the wedding, wanting to be fully immersed in the moment. I knew everyone else would be downloading their pics to a common website, and figured I could share some of those with you while we waited for the professional photos to come in. As it turns out, my blog host blocks me from grabbing and posting photos from other sites, including our wedding site! Sooooooo, I decided to message everyone in the family, asking them all to email me a few of their favorites, and I will share them with you as they come in. Just got these from big sister Poodie, taken at the rehearsal dinner, which was held on Halloween!

Niece Stephanie and her hubby came dressed for Dia de los Muertos. She even made her own headdress! 

Nephew Kevin and his wife came a la Duck Dynasty -- not too much of a stretch. Doubt if they had to buy anything except maybe the beard. He gets oodles of brownie points, however, for missing opening day of hunting season to come to this wedding!

My favorite photo from the Thomas Clan is this one of me and my three siblings. We'd been led to believe that my sister Gus would not be attending, and that only her hubby Bud would be here, but it turned out to be the other way around!

When did Gus get so tall?
Unfortunately, she didn't even bother to wear a costume, but chose to dress in her usual attire, complete with a tote full of Diet Dr. Pepper and puzzle books!

Monday, November 10, 2014


I began my very first day at Lucky Star with a bit of a bang. I'm usually up with the chickens, or before, and had lots of time to kill before breakfast, so I decided to go splorin'. I was especially curious about a little veggie garden which I had spotted from afar, and which seemed to be built in the "keyhole" style.

I opened the gate and went inside, to get a closer look.

They had all kinds of yumminess growing in there, even in mid-November.

I noticed a metal cage in the center of the circle, and leaned down into it, to see if they were filling it with table scraps and such, to create compost that would feed the surrounding beds. You'll never guess what I found there, along with the eggshells.

I may have squealed a rather naughty word, and jumped about a mile, but at least I didn't poop my pants!

Then I crept back again, held my camera high above the cage, and snapped this picture for the blog, lest no one believe my tale.

Fortunately, it was a rather nippy morning, and Mr. Rattlesnake was feeling drowsy!