A beautiful community of creatives and artisans inhabit Wimberley.
Painters. Sculptors. Musicians. Writers. Poets. Potters. Textile Artists.
And a remarkably talented jewelry designer following a vision and a call.
Meet my friend, Mary Owens.
Check out the selection of beauties she displayed at her Christmas event.
Mary's story started with a search for significance.
This excerpt from Mary's website (www.mostudioart.com)
recounts the inspiring moment
she received the Key to the Kingdom assignment.
I was working on a project for a client and working with an image of an antique key in my photo editing software. As I turned the key to fit the working space of the file, I accidentally created a duplicate.
Intrigued, I turned it again in the opposite direction and the 3 keys made
the cross of Christ!
At that moment I heard in my spirit,
"I AM the Key of the Kingdom of Heaven."
This totally gave me chills so I grabbed my bible and went to Matthew 16:19,
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven...”
A piece of jewelry was birthed from this divine encounter.
The cross became the keystone to the Key to the Kingdom line
which includes a variety of necklaces, bolos, cuffs, and earrings.
The unique collections are hand-crafted in Texas, rich in symbolism,
and designed to be opportunities to speak about faith in style.
Proceeds from the sale of Mary's jewelry are donated to missions.
Click the buttons below
to order or make appointments to view the jewelry
or to learn more about Mary Owens, her journey, and her fine art.
(She's also an accomplished painter.)
Adjective: Crucial. Important. Essential. Vital. Significant.
Think about the keys clanking on your key fob.
They all have a distinct purpose. Whether the key is used daily or once a year.
If something you need is behind a locked door,
or in a lockbox, filing drawer, or a post office cube,
you need a specific key.
That key is crucial, important, essential, vital, significant.
Friends are like keys.
One of my favorites lives in Denver. We see each other once or twice a year.
But her value to me is as special and individual
as the friends I see every week.
The depth of a friendship is not measured by the calculation of minutes.
Friendships blossom through meaningful
and sometimes unexpected interaction.
Conversation. Common interests. Honesty. Trust. Vulnerability.
Understanding. Encouragement. Empathy. Laughter. Tears. Love.
These sprinkles of life create a connection that is
crucial, important, essential, vital, significant.
Christmas is a wonderful time to reach out to friends.
Who needs to hear from you?
Comfort & Joy
A friend loves at all times.
Keys alleviate a traumatic episode for Anne,
but Delana will have to unlock the secrets in the diary to understand why
in my novel
All In For Life
I love Christmas. Level: Obsessive.
My halls have been decked since the second week of November.
(My tree was up before Halloween. Don't judge.)
Santa figurines grin from every angle.
Nativities inhabit special spaces.
Store bought collections mingle with homemade and school made crafts.
The main tree drips with assorted ornaments weighted with memories.
A smaller tree showcases shiny, colorful glass blown beauties,
Tabletop trees feature themes like sports or cooking or textiles or
Texas or nature or sentimental keepsakes or names of Jesus.
Candles, melters, and diffusers collide the fragrances of Christmas.
Fake greenery crawls every surface because real evergreens would never
survive six or seven weeks in a Central Texas home.
This year, as I sashayed around in the glow of warm, white lights,
inhaling orange and clove wax as I fiddled with red berries and pinecones,
I noticed words.
One word. A phrase. Quotes.
They speak strength, delight, hospitality, community,
encouragement, love, and rest.
I want to experience and offer to others all of this.
May my words declare life and do no harm.
This season, whether you
pause with wonder to ponder the humble birth of King Jesus,
or celebrate the whimsy and symbols of the season,
or resist the holiday commercialism in favor of compassionate deeds,
I wish for you these things:
Comfort and Joy when you are fragile or weary,
a Welcome Home when you are lost or lonely,
Heavenly Peace when you are stressed or worried,
and Hope when you are fearful and discouraged.
Here are some of my favorite inspirational Christmas lyrics.
Here are some of my favorite not so inspirational Christmas movie quotes.
Here are my final words. From my house to yours.
What are your favorite Christmas words, quotes, or lyrics?
Comfort & Joy
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,
but only such a word as is good for edification
according to the need of the moment,
so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 NASB
In my novel, All In For Life,
philandering Ace endures a bittersweet welcome home dinner,
longsuffering Krystal finally embraces hope for her future,
confused Hayley slips into a waiting season of heavenly peace, and
desperate Felicia finds joy through the strengthening comfort of an old nun.
Get caught in the intriguing web of how
these fascinating characters intersect in
All In For Life.
Trail of Lights
EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens lights up for Christmas.
This is the twentieth year that locals and tourists are welcome to
meander the paths through the spectacular lights
and displays of holiday joy, wonder, imagination, and whimsy.
"The mission of the EmilyAnn is to reinvest in the dignity of the human spirit through the performing arts, the beauty of nature and community fellowship.
The EmilyAnn was founded in 1998 to celebrate the life of Emily Ann Rolling by providing a permanent home for Shakespeare Under the Stars,
a program in which Emily excelled as an actress and costume designer."
(EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens Website)
Click the button to discover the inspirational story of Emily Ann.
Learn about the treasured Butterfly Festival and other attractions.
Check out the schedule for theatre productions and
a list of entertainment features during the Trail of Lights.
Stroll along the trails and be enchanted as you view
nativities, angels, peace symbols, Minions, Grinches, snowflakes,
snow people, patriotic flags, dinosaurs, a longhorn and so much more!
All exhibits are designed and fashioned by
local churches, schools, businesses, organizations, and families.
Stop by the the roaring fire pit to roast marshmallows and
grab a cup of hot chocolate or a snack from from the concession stand.
There may be a movie playing. Or a band. Or cloggers. Or donkeys.
(Check the website for entertainment schedule.)
Shop the two stores. Borrow a book. Ride the train. Buy a raffle ticket.
Climb the steps to the Veterans Memorial Plaza and
listen to the breeze ruffle the flags.
Interact on the ginormous chess board or in the musical garden.
Slow down and experience every nuance of the Trail of Lights.
Free parking and admission, but donations are appreciated.
Now through December 28
6-9 pm Sunday - Thursday
6-10 pm Friday - Saturday
Trail - path, course, route
Light - the removal of darkness, the first work of the Creator,
symbolically represents goodness, favor, and truth.
This season I hope to sprinkle a trail of lights through my actions.
Offer a word of comfort to strengthen the weary.
Remember to be kind always.
Proclaim my gratitude for what is good.
Bestow favor to the unfavored.
Speak truth with love.
How can you a create a trail of lights?
Comfort & Joy
A chapel in the Yucatan jungle, illuminated by candles,
is where Angeline Redfern faces life-changing truth in my novel
All In For Life.
Grateful for ...
Grateful for His blessings; thankful for His grace.
Grateful for the loving hearts gathered in this place.
May this be my mantra going into the Thanksgiving week.
Gratitude is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Gratitude is a relationship-bonding emotion.
Gratitude promotes our immune and cardiovascular health.
Gratitude sparks the area of the brain related to connecting with people.
Gratitude dwells in the heart.
For the last two Novembers, I've attended Empty Bowls -
an international project to fight hunger.
Artisans, including professionals and young students,
donate handcrafted pottery bowls.
Attendees select bowls from a vast selection,
(I buy green ones)
contribute a set donation fee for each bowl,
and then enjoy delicious soups prepared by local chefs
while listening to live music.
I've made this a Thanksgiving tradition.
Guests in my home are served soup in these green bowls as part of the feast
and then given the bowl to take home as a reminder
to be grateful for the food they have and to give to those who do not.
This concept was preached to me my whole life.
I asked my mama once how she and my daddy
made ends meet in their early years of marriage on so little.
"We had enough for what we needed and some to give to those who had less."
Words to live by.
There have been times when I've not been so grateful.
Either I didn't like my situation or I took it for granted.
To cultivate an attitude of gratitude I do this simple exercise.
I go through the alphabet and name something or someone
for which I am grateful.
It may sound like a punishment for a petulant child throwing a fit because
he doesn't want Cheerios he wants blueberry pancakes
or a spoiled teenager whining that she has to have the newest whatever
or she shall surely die.
After compiling the list of 26, people of all ages can feel a little less
ungrateful, dissatisfied, envious, or critical.
So, as we gather around
fancy tables, picnic tables, card tables,
or in community centers for Thanksgiving,
let's be grateful for what we have and
remember to give to those who have less.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y'ALL!
Here's a fabulous recipe if you need one more crowd pleasing dessert
to bake for your holiday gatherings.
Comfort & Joy
"Give thanks to the LORD for He is good;
His love endures forever.
I am grateful for all who have purchased or will purchase my novel
All In For Life.
But first, Coffee
Wimberley has three fantastic coffee shops.
I'm not a coffee critic.
I'm an equal opportunity coffee drinker, and
I'm going to tell you why I love all of them.
Coffee. Other hot and cold drinks. Various food items.
Friendly service. Plenty of seating. Optional to-go cups or mugs.
Social Media presence.
Three inviting color stories. Unique settings and views.
Two have latte artists.
The other one has a drive-thru.
First up, Cactus Coffee at the Junction.
A single mom started this company with a fierce vision.
Zero waste. Organic and vegan options. Local sources.
She. Did. It. All.
The roasted coffee beans, fresh baked goods, and delightful coffee cards
are from Wimberley entrepreneurs.
Cactus Coffee is also super kid friendly with healthy snacks,
books, toys, and games, and a dedicated play area upstairs.
The large second floor space is available for gatherings and
offers beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country.
My favorite drink: Cowboy Coffee (espresso, coconut milk, and chocolate)
Sip! On the Square.
Location. Location. Location.
Sip! occupies a corner of Wimberley Square and is visible
while traveling both directions on Ranch Road 12.
As a shopper, you can pop in one door, grab a frothy designer latte,
and pop out the other door to shop the square or
settle into a seat on the dog friendly porch.
Sip! also serves fresh baked goods from a local bakery.
I asked about the dinosaurs lined up in the window sill.
"They're for the kids!"
Favorite drink: London Fog (Earl Grey tea and steamed milk)
Indigo Brew Coffees and Smoothies is the newest coffee shop
since taking over and remodeling another coffee space.
The fresh decor is sophisticated, cozy, and simply a pretty place
to read a book or visit with friends while sipping a hot or cold beverage.
Several charming seating areas are appointed with
jewel toned furniture, metallic decor, colorful art, and
mosaic stained glass windows created by the owner and an employee.
Reading material is available on a dark wooden shelf
that speaks back to the modern wooden high tables and chairs.
Indigo Brew will soon be serving lunch. Yay!
Favorite drink: Chai Latte - Hot or Iced
Coffee shops are people connectors.
Get-to-know-you dates. Job interviews. Committee meetings.
Event planning. Social gatherings.
My favorite TV fictional coffee shops/diners/cafes are:
Luke's - Gilmore Girls
Cafe Nervosa - Frasier
Central Perk - Fiends
Monk's - Seinfeld
Characters rarely sat in these places alone with a cup of coffee.
They connected with people.
The next time you need a jolt of caffeine,
invite the new mom in your neighborhood to Cactus coffee shop
or settle into a comfy couch with your tribe at Indigo Brew
or stop by Sip! while shopping the square with your family.
Connect with Coffee. Wherever you are.
Comfort & Joy
And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity
toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish.
Don't drag your feet.
Be like those who stay the course with committed faith
and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:11-12 Message
Fall in love with Kregg, a laid back Austin coffee barista with long hair, dimples, and a crush on Angeline, who wants nothing to do with him.
Or does she?
Find out in my novel, All In For Life
Who's your papa?
Papa Hoo's Hill Country Popcorn is more than a
cute popcorn shop in Wimberley.
Open the door and prepare for all your senses to be ignited.
Owners Neal and Christi Johnson, along with their son Noah,
will gift you with
the aroma of "made from scratch" caramel popcorn,
the sound of popping corn kernels in coconut oil,
the taste of sweet, salty, savory, spicy, cheesy, fruity, or mixed flavors,
the visual display of colorful candied or chocolate drizzled popcorn,
and the opportunity to take home your experience in a bag, tin, or gift box.
Choose from over sixty options, including seasonal offerings,
made with real cheese, real butter, real vanilla, and the finest sugar.
Papa Hoo's also has an assortment of
old fashioned glass bottled drinks, candy by the pound, roasted nuts,
salt water taffy, and gourmet drizzles, sauces, and glazes.
Papa Hoo's and the Johnson family
became a favorite to locals and tourists within days of opening their shop
on the square in 2014 because of their dedication to service and quality.
They make you feel like you've been invited into their home
as they extend authentic southern hospitality
with every complimentary tasting cup.
Discover the variety of popcorn flavors, colors, and packaging
for your next event,
or create a fun, edible gift with their products and containers.
Their tins make great, easy to ship, corporate gifts.
Talk to the Johnsons if you want to take a leap into the popcorn business.
They will teach you everything you need to know,
and you will gain a lifelong friendship.
Check out these happy customers.
Papa Hoo's is my go-to shop for party favors, holidays, celebrations,
or watching the Cowboys in the backyard with the Johnsons.
It's the attention to details that make guests feel special.
So I'll order pink popcorn drizzled with white chocolate for a baby shower,
provide popcorn bars for parties,
or present a bag with colored ribbons to match the occasion
to each guest on their way home.
With a little creativity and a dependable, friendly local source like Papa Hoo's,
I can make any gathering pop!
You can too!
"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
This passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7 is a personal and business
motto for the Johnsons as they serve our community.
Comfort & Joy
Whatever you do, do well.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 NLT
Jane Jones and her daughter Lucy are self-proclaimed
carnival food junkies. Read about them in my novel
All In For Life.
I have a favorite child.
She's super smart, uniquely beautiful, and affectionate.
Her name is Tessa, and she is a rescue dog.
My adult sons know Tessa is my favorite.
She's a tri-color Australian Shepherd with
a shaggy tail, an amber eye, a blue eye, and a gimpy leg.
My kids have dogs, so I have granddogs.
Bailey, Lucy, Barney, and Ruby
I've had a dog most of my life. One family dog we had growing up was a
red dachshund named Oscar. (Oscar Meyer Weiner. Not original.)
Back then, dogs were free range from breakfast until suppertime.
Oscar spend most of his days waddling around town from
pool hall to playground with his best friend Cocoa.
Oscar hated the garbage truck and barked at its tires.
(Sad spoiler alert)
One July morning, while my siblings and I watched The Lucy Show,
we heard the garbage truck, the barking, the brakes,
and the sudden and short yelp of Oscar.
We buried his crushed little body in the backyard.
Our 90-year-old neighbor delivered a Mason jar with
giant magnolia blossoms for his grave.
Oscar had been a frequent visitor on her front porch.
To this day, the fragrance of magnolias tugs me to
a mound of dirt under the apple tree next to the white picket fence.
The worst thing about having dogs is losing them,
but I believe dogs will be in heaven.
While dogs are with us on earth, they teach us through
their nature how to have a relationship with God.
Dogs want to please, spend time with, and learn from the Master.
Cats want to be served and live life on their terms.
(Concept from Cat and Dog Theology by Bob Sjogren and Gerald Robinson)
The Bible has may representations of dogs and cats. Here's one.
Ten lepers recognized Jesus and asked Him to have mercy on them.
Jesus told them to show themselves to the priests. On their way, the leprosy faded from their skin. They were transformed from societal outcasts
painted with a disease until death to restored healthy citizens
with a second chance to live.
Only one former leper ran back to find Jesus when he realized he was healed.
He shouted praises and fell at the feet of the Master,
overwhelmed with gratitude.
You can read this miracle story of Nine Cats and One Dog in Luke 17:11-19.
There's a surprise ending for the rescued dog.
Speaking of rescued dogs . . .
Wimberley Adoption Group & Rescue (WAG Rescue)
comes to the aid of abandoned, neglected, unclaimed, and surrendered dogs
and puppies in and around the Wimberley area and western Hays County
regardless of their age or condition.
Check out their website, adopt a dog, volunteer, or donate.
Comfort & Joy
Anyone who is among the living, has hope –
even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
Ecclesiastes 9:4 NIV
I love dogs so much I have three Pinterest boards dedicated to them.
Dogs are in all my stories.
Meet a Border Collie named Ronald Reagan who runs the beach
with his master to the Donut Station and
instigates a meeting that changes a life and affects a murder investigation
in my novel All In For Life.
Strong and Mighty Wings and My Presence is Here
by Sara Thurman - Wimberley, Texas
These angels hover high in my living room.
Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,
to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.
This verse launched an artist.
Recently I had the honor to co-teach a breakout session with my artist friend,
at the inaugural We Believe Women’s Conference in Wimberley, Texas.
We are creatives who have been called to pursue our passions
(writing for me, painting for her) through avenues that require giant steps of faith and more learning than these two fifty-something
former teachers ever imagined.
Sara’s story began with a desire to produce income that she could send to missionaries, including her two sons and their wives,
in order to bring heaven to the ends of the earth.
With no formal training, no artist community support, and only the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Sara completed her first painting with worship music and a small handful of women in October 2014.
“The process of layering paint on roofing felt was healing,
and my identity of being ‘created to create’ became a reality.”
In November 2016, she sold her first angel created primarily with a palette knife and textured layers of acrylic paint. Angels are her primary subject, but she also paints churches and botanicals.
Many of her paintings are also available as
notecards, prints, and canvas reproductions.
In less than a year, Sara has sold over 200 paintings.
Learn more about Sara and shop her inventory at
I am a small beginning.
I don't have a dream team of professionals bossing me around
or thousands of people with cash in their pockets
and fingers poised to blast a social media blitz to promote my books.
But I have encouraging friends, devoted family, steadfast faith,
and a stubborn will to learn and stretch and leap out of my comfort zone.
I am a small beginning. The story has just begun.
What about you?
Comfort & Joy
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Hebrews 13:12 NLT
Discover how party planner Angeline, angel wings, and a
tiny, dynamic Mayan matriarch named Caladium are connected
in my novel All In For Life.
Market Days display
Bring together from scattered places
Wimberley, Texas is nestled amongst ancient cypress trees, scruffy cedars,
and gnarly live oak trees. It is trekked by whitetail deer
and carved with limestone-bedded waterways.
The hills are dotted with a variety of rental properties
for vacations and other gatherings.
Family reunions. Weddings. Romantic getaways. Conferences.
Crafting retreats. River recreation. Festivals. Rodeos. Shopping.
Market Days wall display
One of the most popular and free gatherings in Wimberley is Market Days – the second largest outdoor market in Texas with over 450
vendors, food, and music.
The Lions Club sponsors Market Days, and the money made from parking and barbeque is contributed to local non-profits, animal rescue groups, and student scholarships, trips, and projects. http://www.shopmarketdays.com/
I went to the the August Market Days with a friend.
The temperature was 5000 degrees on the tree-shaded lanes.
We visited booths with displays of art, jewelry, pottery, antiques,
and stuff. And more stuff. And more rows of stuff.
But we found a treasure. Sacapelos. An orange tool that looks like
a Velveeta cheese slicer but yanks out facial hair with no mercy.
$10 well spent.
It really does hurt.
We gathered in the pavilion for lunch while listening to friends, Young and Rusty, (Sue Young and Rusty Nelson) sing their original folk and Americana songs. Our neighbor joined them playing bass. http://www.youngandrusty.com/
Today’s technology driven savviness has enabled us to meet, communicate, work, plan, brainstorm, learn, play, date, and be entertained with our eyes and attention glued to devices.
There is a legitimate time and place for these encounters.
But I submit to you that we have lost the art of gathering. IRL. (In Real Life)
I love throwing gatherings of all kinds. Why?
Because IRL gatherings trigger all my senses.
I taste the salsa someone made with vegetables from her garden.
I smell the rain-pelted rosemary (or occasional skunk) from the porch.
I hear music and giggles and weeping. I feel the hugs.
I see expressions. I don’t misinterpret sarcasm or irritation
like I do reading a text.
Life is chaotic. People are busy. But creating a holy or celebratory or goofy or relaxing vessel in my home for others to gather is my jam.
I often go overboard, but that’s me.
What kind of gathering vessel would you love to craft for your people IRL?
Comfort & Joy
For where two or more gather in my name,
there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20 NIV
The opening scene and the final scene of my novel
involve characters gathered around tables. Read about it.
ALL IN FOR LIFE
My granddog Bailey and my girl Tessa
Cypress and Sage is a lifestyle blog about life, comfort, events, and people in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
Welcome to my “little bit of heaven” in Wimberley, a charming village south of Austin that beckons lovers of art, music, nature, and shopping.
Welcome to my world of small town traditions, personalities, and hospitality.
The friendly and generous reception and entertainment
of guests, visitors, and strangers.
Hospitality at my home includes a few essential ingredients.
A comfortable place to relax like a swaying hammock, an Adirondack chair,
a sun-bathed chaise lounge with lumpy cushions, or a wooden rocker on the porch.
A beverage. Always available is sweet iced tea,
a steamy coffee with cinnamon dusted whipped cream in a cute mug,
or an icy bottled drink.
Add background music, scented candles, snappy conversation, any homemade food, and a wandering Australian Shepherd that drops petals of fur like an obsessively devoted flower girl. This is my perfect, never fail, five-star hospitality recipe.
The gift of hospitality is more than nailing Pinterest recipes and engaging in winsome chatter with friends and family. The deeper assignment is to welcome strangers into your space and make them feel like friends and family by creating a safe environment that connects people and builds relationships. This can happen in your home or at church, work, school, club meetings, the park, the gym –
pretty much any social group you are a part of that is open to strangers.
When I was little, I used to sing a mean little ditty when I didn’t want to be inclusive. “Tick Tock, the game is locked. Nobody else can play.”
Ouch. I sang another passive-aggressive song when I wanted a toy
my friend clutched in her little fingers.
“Share with one another.”
These songs were not performed with love in my heart.
My motives were selfish. My lips sneered, my hand on my hip.
Don't be five-year-old Peggy.
Who could you welcome into your group and bless with hospitality?
You may meet your new best friend.
Comfort & Joy
Cheerfully share your home with those who
need a meal or a place to stay.
1 Peter 4:9 NLT
Angeline Redfern was an exceptional party planner,
but Las Vegas stripper, Krystal Mayflower, had the gift of hospitality.
Read about them in my novel, All In For Life.
A Texas Hill Country Lifestyle Blog
Wimberley Market Days
Cat and Dog Theology
Papa Hoo's Popcorn
Connect with Coffee
Sip! On the Square
Trail of Lights
Comfort and Joy
Key to the Kingdom