A native Texan, I now live in Virginia with my husband, Mark. I'm a Third Degree Wiccan High Priestess of the Georgian Tradition, founded the Coven of the Crystal Garden in 1986, and spent many years teaching the Craft to students in eight states and in Australia. Since I'm the eternal student, though - who isn't?! - I'm currently ensconced in studies of the RavenMyst Circle Tradition, and enjoy membership in the Coven of the Raven.
But that's just the stuff pertinent to the Craft. Outside of my religious practices and spiritual beliefs, I'm a pretty well-rounded person as well. I've worked as an accounts payable clerk, a legal secretary, an administrative assistant, an office manager, a commissioned sales person, a personnel consultant, and in the City of Houston's Civil Service and Housing Code & Dangerous Buildings departments. I've also held positions as a hospital ward clerk, an animal shelter administrator and am a licensed nail tech. So, the truth of the matter is that I really am a jack of all trades - although whether I'm a master of any is still up for debate. Chuckle! [Photograph courtesy of K.A. Varner Photography, Norfolk, VA]baby
Of course, all of those experiences - some absolutely delightful and others, just downright awful - helped to shape the person I am today. But they didn't do it alone. They had help. And while I won't bore you with all the details, I thought you might enjoy a brief journey through my life. So...grab a cup of coffee, relax, and let me tell you a story...
It all begin centuries ago with my ancestors. I'm a direct descendant of William the Conqueror (King of England), Robert the Bruce of Scotland, and various doctors, lawyers, ministers, and patriots, as well as the fourth Governor of Kentucky, the first Poet Laureate of Texas, and a charter member of the Texas Rangers - all of whom were spunky, opinionated, and tenacious. So when I'm accused of being sassy - an accusation that seems to be spouted on a regular basis - I can't help but grin. I do, after all, come by it honestly.
I was born on May 6, 1955 in a small Texas town to a deputy sheriff - who later became Chief of Police - and his wife. My mother wanted to name me Penelope, but my father nixed the idea. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the name. Not at all. It was just that his criteria for naming anything - cats, dogs, horses, or children - was that he had to be able to remember it when he was mad. And sadly, Penelope just didn't fit the bill. That being the case, he opted for something he could remember and named me after his little sister.
Much to my father's delight, I was quite the tomboy; in fact, he put me on a horse before I could walk. [This guaranteed my first real photo op with Western Horseman magazine when I was only two years old. It seems that I was the youngest rider in the Texas Trail Ride Association who could truly handle her own horse - even though that horse was sixteen hands high.] But good equestrian skills were just the beginning of his lessons. He instilled in me a love for all animals - both domestic and wild - and in doing so, taught me about the balance of Nature and animal conservation. He taught me to fish - looking back, I'm sure all those "driveway casting lessons" really tested his patience, but he stuck with it anyway - and it's something I still love to do today. He even taught me how to swing a hammer. But, perhaps, the most important thing he ever taught me was how to spin a good tale - a lesson I've been putting into practice for most of my life.
Mama, however, had her own set of lessons to teach. A master gardener, she taught me the joys of digging in the dirt an
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