A Texas Hill Country Thanksgiving

I thank my parents for raising me as a horse loving Texas Hill Country girl.   Nine Thanksgiving ago my sisters and I lost my mother. We lost our father nineteen years ago. They loved family and every holiday, plus some we were making the rounds to visit loved ones. We were shown through example that family matters.

A few years ago my sisters and I started a new tradition for Thanksgiving. We rented a cabin by the Frio River in Leakey, Texas. (our parents married in Leakey) A cousin from my family and a cousin from my brother-in-law’s joined in and we stay for four days.

The rest of my mother’s family, including her mother, join us. We bounce between 30 to 50 people on Thursday.  In a world that moves fast and people spend more time looking down at a screen than into the face of real people, personal connections with extended family gives  us roots and a healthier life. As humans, the need for relationships with others and nature is built into our DNA. To me Thanksgiving is not  about the food…it’s the people and getting away from the rush of daily life.

Old Giant Oak tree in Texas Hill Country. Leakey Texas.

These old trees make me think of how time moves and the world changes, but God is constant. We come and go but the world keeps turning. I love to take time and enjoy the peace these trees give me.

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Roads through the Texas Hill Country
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Taking time to walk off some of our Thanksgiving feast in the Texas Hill Country. Leakey Texas

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Enjoying the Frio River even in the rain. Two aunts and uncle and one of my sisters. Leakey Texas
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It helps if you have someone that plays the guitar and maracas.

Play some games! How to have fun at a Texas Hill Country Thanksgiving.

My Grandmother and seven (of ten)of her great-grandchildren from her oldest child, my mother, Cindy French Guinther. She has a total of thirty great-grandchildren.

Longhorn on a  Texas Hill Country Ranch Country
Longhorn on a Texas Hill Country Ranch Country

Since we are on a Texas Hill Country ranch we have to include a Longhorn.

Even thought we had rain we had fun. You have to set your mind to it sometimes but it can always be found. Play in the Rain!

Play in the Texas Rain with Jolene Navarro!
Play in the Texas Rain with Jolene Navarro!

Play in the Rain! Life is too short to wait around for the right time. Give thanks for the rain and the sun, the wind and the opportunity to experience it all.

What do you do to connect with people or nature?

 

 

Embracing Failure leads to joy and success!

Below is a link to a blog I wrote for the Craftie Ladies of Romance. What are the three things you need for a successful year? What about embracing failure, creating community and resilience? Hit the link below and read more about it.

All the things I need for a great 2015.

I want to thank my family for such a great year.

Enjoying Life.
Enjoying Life. My Hero Fred.
Bon fire and family
A year ago for my birthday family gathering around the bon fire
Lower-Manhatton-New-York-memorial-
A dream coming true. Lower Manhattan – It amazes me how so many people can live in such a small space. It looks as if it could just fall of the little piece of land.
Times Square with Fred. A dream coming true.
Times Square with Fred. A dream coming true.
June is the West Texas A&M writer's Academy with Jodi Thomas, Alex Sokoloff and Sasha Summers
June is the West Texas A&M writer’s Academy with Jodi Thomas, Alex Sokoloff and Sasha Summers
RWA panel about the truth of the Texas cowboy
RWA panel about the truth of the Texas cowboy
Great times with family and friends at Port A on the Texas coast
Great times with family and friends at Port A on the Texas coast
My parent had three girls who gave them ten  grand-kids - ten grand kids that love each other so much. Annual pumpkin carving slam down
My parent had three girls who gave them ten grand-kids – ten grand kids that love each other so much. Annual pumpkin carving slam down

 

Talking about How We Liove Our Heros at the Rita's & Readers in Dallas. With Jolene Navarro, Jade Lee & Julie Ann Walker
Talking about How We Love Our Heroes at the Rita’s & Readers in Dallas. With Jolene Navarro, Jade Lee & Julie Ann Walker
Best Group of writers an author could hang out with. San Antonio Romance Authors
Best Group of writers an author could hang out with. San Antonio Romance Authors
Family makes the year full of joy even if you only see them on the holidays - maybe because you only see them on the holidays. lol
Family makes the year full of joy even if you only see them on the holidays – maybe because you only see them on the holidays. lol
Here's to many more smiles in 2015
Here’s to many more smiles in 2015

Wow – Looking back on the year and finding my highlights I was amazed at the wonderful people that have been brought into my life. Some long term and had no choice, family is family, others have come in and guided me and came with so much love I have a hard time believing it.  Thank you.

Garner State Park with the Frio River

Busting sterotypes of Texas with the Hill Country

Generations of my family have been born and raised in the Texas Hill Country and now I write about fictional characters that live in the same beautiful county.

Some people have an image of Texas as a giant state of flat lands with tumble weeds and golden grass. There are parts of Texas that would resemble that stereotype there are more places that bust it.

Texas Hill Country heading to Utopia at sundown..
Texas Hill Country heading to Utopia at sundown.
Texas Hill Country Frio River at ConCan
Texas Hill Country Frio River at ConCan
Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country

In my books the sun is often raising or setting over the hills of Texas. I love the area of Frio Canyon, where the head waters of the Frio River can be found. Garner State park is nestled in this area between Kerrville Texas and Uvalde, north of San Antonio and south of Austin. It’s my favorite piece of earth.

This Thanksgiving some extended family along with my husband and kids with be renting a cabin in in the woods by the river to celebrate our blessings. We won’t be the only ones.

Texas Hill Country Frio River at ConCan
Texas Hill Country Frio River at ConCan

You can’t talk Texas Hill Country without at least one picture of cowboys. Not everyone owns a hat or rides a horse, but the ones that do are fun to watch.

Texas Hill Country Rodeo Cowboys
You can’t talk about the Texas Hill Country and ignore the rodeo cowboy.
Garner State Park with the Frio River
Garner State Park with the Frio River

Do you have a favorite place on earth and do you have the pleasure of living there or just dream about living there?

The Heart of Small Towns: Book Signing at Bergmann Lumber

Join me Saturday August 2  11:00 at Bergmann Lumber for the book signing of my second book, Lone Star Hero.

Walking down Main Street in my hometown of Boerne, Texas is one of my favorite things to do on a beautiful Hill Country day. I love life in a small town. People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousins and your children. People have long memories and will talk about people and days gone by at a drop of a hat.

Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber. Family owned for three generations.  Taken by Jolene Navarro
Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber. Family owned for three generations. Taken by Jolene Navarro

You have a history. You’re part of a story. You belong.

I also love writing about it. I have created a fictional town called Clear Water, Texas.  With less than 400 people in this town it would be consider small by anyone’s standards.  Generations of ranchers, workers and business owners share a common history, good, bad and sometimes ugly. Preschooler to twelfth graders are on the same school campus. Community is strong. Not a great deal has changed there over the years. And yes it has a great deal in common with the town of Leakey Texas where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents have strong roots.

In my second story with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Line, Vickie Lawson comes home after her dreams are shattered. She is looking to rebuild a solid future in her old town for her kids. Her childhood sweetheart, Jake Torres, challenges her resolve to stay clear of all men.

Lone Star Hero by Jolene Navarro. August 1 2014

It it easy to fuse fiction and fact.  In my fictional stories of Clear Water Texas there is a hardware store on Main Street, called Bergmann Lumber.  Just like my made up business, the real one in Boerne is a family owned businesses that has survived the big box stores. When other mom and pop shops have closed and moved on, the Bergmanns has found a way to redefine themselves and keep the charm of small town alive on our Main Street in Boerne.
In honor of Texas small towns and family I encourage you to take the time to shop small, it can make a big difference in our communities.

I’m proud to announce my second book signing at Bergamnn Lumber, the real one.

I will be signing copies of Lone Star Hero on Main Street in Boerne at Bergmann Lumber August 2 from 11:00 am until 2:00pm.

Family owned lumber and home décor for three generations. Bergmann Lumber on Boerne Main Street.

Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber

The two story limestone building is a historical site and owned by the same family for three generations. Randy Bergmann and his daughters have managed to reinvent their store front and focus on customer service.

 

Goodreads Giveaway for Lone Star Hero and Excerpt

Goodreads Giveaway for Lone Star Hero

Over on Goodreads I’m giving away early copies of my August release Lone Star Hero. One click away to entering for the giveaway. You can also pr-order and receive the book July 15 or download ebook on August 1st. Just click on the book cover in the sidebar.

Here is an excerpt from Lone Star Hero.

“Jake, it’s our song!”

His brows shot up in question. “I didn’t know we had a song.”

Hands on her hips, Vickie shook her head at his cluelessness. “As chair of the prom committee, I selected the song for king-and-queen dance. I knew we had received the most votes. ” A sad smile formed. “I picked it for us.”

His forehead wrinkled. You danced it with Tommy.”

“Cause you never showed up.” She pointed the spatula at him. “You had the most votes. You were voted king. Because you weren’t there I had to dance with Tommy.” Arms crossed she turned her back to him.

She felt the warmth of his presence as he moved closer to her.

“We could dance it now.” His voice low.

She looked over her shoulder. The half grin eased the hardness of his face and the pain in her chest.

“Miss Victoria Lawson, may I have this dance?”

She turned toward him. He stood so gallant, hand out  to her waiting. One heartbeat, two, she hesitated.

Lone Star Hero by Jolene Navarro. August 1 2014
Lone Star Hero by Jolene Navarro. August 1 2014

 

F is for Flowers or Football?

The Bluebonnet is the most famous of the all the Texas wildflowers
The Bluebonnet is the most famous of the all the Texas wildflowers

It’s spring time, so here in the Texas Hill Country the wildflowers are blooming. Our most famous flower is the beautiful Bluebonnet.

Blooms at the old homestead at the VanPelt Ranch in Con Can Texas
Blooms at the old homestead at the VanPelt Ranch in Con Can Texas
Bluebonnets in Boerne
Bluebonnets in Boerne

Texas wildflowers are hardy, strong and independent, while maintaining their natural beauty. The people of Texas share many of the traits.
Another of my favorites ways to spend time is watching football. Yes my husband coaches it and my boys play it. My daughters truly enjoyed their time playing power-puff football

Storm's Sr. year - on the line. Ended the game as MVP.
Storm’s Sr. year – on the line. Ended the game as MVP.
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This year was my oldest son’s last year to play, my youngest has at least two more years. So I still have a bit of drama, conflict and excitement for a few future Friday nights.

Friday Night Lights in Texas means High School Football
Friday Night Lights in Texas means High School Football
Tate Navarro Defending the line
Tate Navarro Defending the line

Just for fun I’ll throw in a bit of NFL action.

Julius Thomas running with the ball.
Julius Thomas running with the ball.

So are you more of a flower fairy or a football fan?

C is for Cowboys –

I am taking on the Blogging A to Z April challenge. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com. My theme is thing that bring me joy and happiness. One of my favorite heroes to write about is cowboys. Salt of the earth, a little rough around the edges, hard working, kind and a throw in a bit of crazy.

Watching the action at the Mesquite Texas Rodeo
Watching the action at the Mesquite Texas Rodeo
The running of the Flags at the Tejas rodeo in Belverde Texas. Jaken by Jolene Navarro
The running of the Flags at the Tejas rodeo in Belverde Texas.
Waiting for the Bull Riding event. Tejas Rodeo Bulverde Texas. Taken by Jolene Navarro Waiting for the Bull Riding event. Tejas Rodeo Bulverde Texas. Taken by Jolene Navarro

 

 

 

Cowboys

Do you have a favorite type of hero?