Most Saturdays I get up around 5:30 AM. I head to my favorite Starbucks arriving about 6:00 AM. I spend the next two hours writing. After I complete my morning writing, I drive to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas. It is located in west Plano where the boarders of the cities of Plano, Carrollton, and The Colony meet.
It is located on West parker Road, in Plano, Texas. The photo is of the entrance sign looking toward the east. In the background of the above picture is one of the City of Plano’s fire stations.
As you drive into the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve you will find adequate parking. They have sidewalks were you don’t have t walk in the street.
The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is located on the western border of Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park featuring vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other outdoor activity. The paved recreational trail is approximately 2.6 miles in length. There are also a natural unpaved trails for pedestrians only that is approximately 2.6 miles). There is a designated off-cycling trail of 2.8 miles. It also has a natural biofilter for cleaning surface run-off from the parking lot before it reenters the ground water tables as well as an observation tower, playground, restrooms and pavilion. I’m sharing many pictures I took during my walks.
The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has three distinct areas.
It is located in the city of Plano.
Here is a map to help you explore and discover the preserve.
One of the areas of the preserve is the Upland Forest.
A second area is Blackland Prairie
A third area is Riparian Forest (that is forest along the creeks and streams).
Here are a few pictures of the pavilion area.
Another pavilion picture.
A third picture of the pavilion area.
The cornet in the pavilion area has some designs in them.
A few from the pavilion
One last pavilion picture.
From the pavilion you can see he playground.
Near the pavilion is the rest room. It is near the parking area as well.
As you leave the pavilion area you head south. The concrete walkway has a center yellow stripe. The ask that you keep right except to pass. A large number of people walk the trails and ride their bikes on the trails. The go and come in both directions.
Many people bring their dogs. The dog must be on a leash and you have to clean up after your four-legged friend.
Another view of the playground.
The grass along the trail is well maintained.
The are signs with instructions along the trail. There are off-road bicycle trails.
Trash cans and benches are along the trail.
The scenery is diverse.
Instruction signs greet you from time to time.
Here is a trail off the main trail that returns to the pavilion.
The views are amazing.
There is lots of Blackland Prairie.
Signs warn you to beware of critters.
A view from the main walking trail back up at the pavilion.
The trails go through many different settings. I tried to take pictures without people on the trail. Some folks get upset if they think you are photographing them.
As you walk you cross several bridges. There are creeks and streams throughout the preserve.
I took this picture from the bridge looking north.
More Blackland Prairie.
Along the concrete trail are off road trails. The one just ahead is the prairie trail.
Prairie Trail sign.
Continuing down the main trail. The scenery can change as you go around a bend on the trail.
You go down hill and into the Riparian Forest (that is forest along the creeks and streams).
I gives you a good mix of moving from sun to shade.
Some of the trees are tall.
Here is the entrance to the Outer Loop Trail.
Benches are found along the trail.
Parts of the trail are on flat ground.
It crosses the Blackland Prairie.
Another off road trail is ahead on the right.
The off-road trails are well marked and worn from use.
You find cedar trees in the preserve.
There are different types of trees.
The preserve takes erosion control seriously.
The are large hills to climb with major elevation changes along the walking trail.
Here is a view of the observation tower.
Looking down the hill onto the Blackland Prairie.
Another view of the observation tower. This is taken from the west side of the tower facing east.
Looking to the northwest. I live about six miles away in that direction.
This is a large mesquite tree with a bench in its shade. You are still walking uphill at a gentle slope.
Up the hill we go.
Interesting vegetation abounds.
As we near the top of the hill we start into the Upland Forest.
It is very pretty terrain.
My photos are in sequence of my 2.6 plus mile walk around the preserve.
Another trail heading off the concrete trail.
If you look close you can see cars in a parking lot in the background. This is at Austin Ranch in The Colony, Texas. Austin Ranch borders the preserve. This is at the highest point of elevation.
The Outer Trail comes close to the concrete trail.
As you start back down hill you come to the observation tower.
There is a side trail right before the observation tower.
This is a view of the last side trail from the observation tower.
Another view from the tower.
Still another view from the tower.
A view from the observation tower back to the main concrete trail.
Descending from the observation tower.
Along the concrete trail from time to time I found chalk art.
Another dirt trail off the main trail.
Another bridge over a creek.
A view from a bridge.
A view from the next bridge.
Almost back to the pavilion and parking lot.
Cars and the parking lot at the top of the hill. 2.6 miles in 45 minutes. I enjoy a leisurely walk. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas is an urban gem.
Do you seethe rabbit? I saw this one when first leaving the parking lot.
I think we scared each other when I looked to my right and saw this deer not ten feet away.
If you got off the concrete trails you saw more critters like the turtles.
You can read more about it at: http://www.plano.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Arbor-Hills-Nature-Preserve-20
The photos are taken by: Jimmie A. Kepler
I thought it would be fun to collect pictures of the house I have lived in from birth to my current 60 plus years. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it was fun putting these together. Below is visual proof of my lack of “roots”, that is my not feeling like I have a hometown. I was a military brat and United States Army Officer from birth until my late 20s. Then I worked as a Southern Baptist Religious Educator until my mid 40s. Military and minister are two vocations that are very nomadic. Moving frequently goes with the job and life. I have lived/be stationed in over 25 locations. I attended 8 schools for 12 grades. The photos are either ones I took, my mother has, or are complements of Google Maps, street view. My memory or mother provided me with the addresses/locations.
I was born in 1953 at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
My father was in the US Air Force stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. Leaving the hospital, I moved in with my father and mother.
We lived on Mesquite Street in San Antonio, Texas. It is located just east of downtown. The Alamodome is in the area where the house was built. I have a picture of the vacant lot where the house use to be.
In 1954 – 1955, my father was stationed at Clinton County Air Force Base in Ohio.
We lived in Bowersville, Ohio. I lived at 20 Church Street.
In part of 1955 and then 1956 I lived with my Grandfather in Harwood, Texas. My brother was born while we lived here. Well, he actually was born in Brooke Army General Hospital, just like me.
My father was in Turkey with the US Air Force at this time.When dad got back from Turkey he was stationed at Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, South Carolina.
We moved to 201 Maco Terrace in Greenville, South Carolina. This where I have my first memories.
While living in Greenville, SC we took a side trip to Scott Air Force Base where my father had extended military training.
While at Scott Air Force Base we lived in a military trailer park. We spent a snowy winter of 1956-1957 there before returning to our Greenvile, SC home.
In 1958 we moved to Glendale, Arizona as my dad took a new assignment at Luke Air Force Base.
We lived first in Glendale. I started elementary school at Glendale Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona in 1959. Dwight Eisenhower was the president of the USA.
Then in 1960 we moved into the new base housing on Luke AFB where we stayed until 1963. I attended Luke Air Force Base Elementary School from February 1960 through the fourth grade. I had Mrs. Davis in the second grade and Mrs. Jensen in grades 3 and 4.
Dad headed to South Vietnam and I headed to 803 Jefferson Avenue in Seguin, Texas.803 Jefferson Avenue, Seguin, Texas is where I lived in 1963 – 1964. I was in the 5th grade and living there when President Kennedy was assassinated and when The Beatles came to the USA. The house was white with a green roof back then. It had trees in the yard and hedge around the house back in the day. It had a backyard that was over an acre. I had a great treehouse in the back yard tree as well as a huge garden. My father was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in South Vietnam. I attend Jefferson Avenue Elementary School. It was located across the street from my house. Mrs. Englebrock was my fifth grade teacher. She taught me to love to read and to write stories.
Next I moved to El Paso, Texas in August 1964. My father was transferred to Biggs Air Force Base and B-52s. I don’t have a picture of our house on Raimey Circle. I has been torn down. I am still searching. I attended Ben Milam School. Mr. Romero was my sixth grade teacher. In the seventh grade I played football and started having different teachers for each class.
From here I moved to Portsmouth , New Hampshire and Pease Air Force Base.
It was a neat place with lots of snow in the winter. I got to go to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine to the Longfellow and Chamberlain Homes. I went to the Robert Frost farm. I attended science camp at M.I.T. and Harvard University’s Summer Institute for the Gifted studying literature, poetry, and writing in their Humanities program. I lived at 2024 Larkspur Circle on Pease Air Force Base in 1966 – 1967. I attended Portsmouth Junior High School. I was the eighth grade class vice-president. I went to all the historical places in Boston and fell in love with history. I was here until my father retired from the US Air Force. He earned a degree in business from New Hampshire College while we lived there. From here it was back to Texas. I finished the last few weeks of the eighth grade in Nixon, Texas at Nixon Junior High School. We stayed with my grandparents until our furniture arrived and we moved into the below house.
We lived in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. I lived at 1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas. I started high school at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas in 1967. I would move to the Dallas area at mid semester. We also owned the house that was two to the left of this one.
I lived at 1010 Southwood Drive in DeSoto, Texas until I headed to college and married. My parents still reside there.
When I was 17 I got my first place. It was a duplex. In 1971 – 1972 I lived at 201 1/2 Ray Drive in Arlington, Texas while attending The University of Texas at Arlington.
I moved into an apartment with my brother in 1973. It was the Four Oaks Apartments off Pecan Street in Arlington.
In December 1974 I married Benita Breeding and we moved into an apartment in DeSoto, Texas on 283 South Hampton Road. We lived upstairs, second unit from the end nearest as you look.
I spent the summers of 1974 and 1975 at Fort Riley, Kansas thanks to the US Army.
I graduated from college in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army. We moved to Columbus, Georgia. That’s where Fort Benning is located. We we there 1975 – 1976.
We lived the Holly Hills Apartments with lots of second lieutenants in a unit off Oakley Court. I attended the US Army Infantry Officer basic Course, Airborne School, and the Platoon Leader Maintenance Management Course while living there.
We moved from there 3000 plus miles to Fort Lewis in Washington State. We were here 1976, 1977, 1978.
We lived in two different military quarters while there. Thew first was one bedroom. We got a two bedroom unit after our son Kristopher was born. While stationed at Fort Lewis I spent more time deployed or on training exercises
I made two trips to Camp Pendleton for training. I was there in 1976 and 1977.
In 1978 I spent some time at Twentynine Palms Marine Base.
Twice I spent months at Fort Irwin in the middle of nowhere for training. Actually think between Edwards AFB and Death Valley, CA for its location or halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Twice times I suffered on the beaches of Coronado and San Diego. This was in 1976 and 1977.
In 1977 I was in a joint training exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.
While at Fort Lewis at the sub post of Yakima Firing Center (as it was named in the 1970s) in 1976, 1977, 1978. Tank gunnery and T.O.W. Missiles had me there.
My unit had assignments like protecting the Alaskan Pipeline. Operation Jack Frost helped soldiers prepare for this mission, learn to preheat toilet paper and work in extreme cold.
My unit also had a mission to help if the North Koreans came back across the 38th parallel.
My unit also took part in REFORGER – Return of forces to Europe with treks to Italy and Germany in the fall of 1978.
From here we moved to Fort Worth Texas where I did my master’s degree. We lived in student housing at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Gordon Avenue. This house had a floor the was not level. Our second son was born while we lived here. We left here and moved to Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb when I graduated in 1980.
We lived at 773 Scott Circle until our landlady moved back in when here husband passed away. Then we moved to a townhouse in Clarkston, Georgia. I served as Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.
The townhouses were large and start of the art for their time.This stock photo from Google doesn’t do them justice. They were located off Memorial Drive across from the DeKalb Community College.They were 99% owner occupied townhomes with a very strict and sometimes down right mean homeowners association. I was still Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia while living here.
In December 1982 we moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana. We lived in a paper mill town and could smell it. I was Associate Pastor at Superior Avenue Baptist Church.
In November 1984 we moved to Jasper, Texas. We lived in this house until 1988 when we bought her first home. Our daughter Sara Joy was born while we lived here. I was Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas.
The picture doesn’t do the house justice. The lot and house are larger than they look. The house was the Better Homes and Gardens House of the year in 1959 and was featured in Southern Living Magazine. The people who bought the house after us took out all the azaleas and dogwoods we had and replaced with hedge and non-native trees. The also removed over a dozen seven-five year old or older trees. They added the black shutters, wrought iron windows and doors and made it like a prison. The multi-level tree house my kids had the backyard were also removed when the trees were cut down. I was still Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas. I owned the house until March 1995. We moved from here in 1992 to Buna, Texas.
This was on Halley Street in Buna, Texas. We lived in a church owned home. It has been moved. The pastor lived in the house to the right. In the background is the church. I was Associate Pastor and Business Administrator at First Baptist Church of Buna, Texas. I lived here 1992 – 1993.
Next I lived at 168 Chickadee in Dension, Texas from May 1993 until January 1996. Our oldest son graduated high school while we lived here. My father-in-law passed away while we lived here. I was Minister of Education and Senior Adults at Parkside Baptist Church in Denison, Texas.
I lived at 721 Marvin Hancock Drive in Jasper , Texas. We lived in the unit on the bottom left. We lived here for the spring semester of 1996. I was Vendor Management Specialist for East Texas Support Services overseeing the CCMS program for day care centers in 16 counties. I also taught early childhood education.
I bought our current home at 4616 Watson Drive in The Colony, Texas in July 1996. I have worked as a senior training specialist for American Express, Internet coordinator for Hilton Hotels, as a senior support engineer for Equator LLC, and in multiple Information Technology roles for Interstate Batteries while living here. Our youngest two children finished high school, got college degrees, and our daughter married since we moved here.
Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre’s “Three P’s of Writing Success: Practice, Patience, and Persistence”
In a nutshell, practice is writing and continuing to write. And when you are done with that continuing to write again. And to edit and to rewrite. And to write. You get the picture. Keep it up. Keep at it. It is a lot of hard work.
Patience means you are putting work out there into the world. It may not be recognized right away. It sometimes takes years. A lot of times overnight success stories of authors who have received multimillion dollar advances from publishers or hit the best-selling self-published charts didn’t do it overnight. They were at it and kept working at it and were patient. And that’s where persistence comes into play.
I have been writing over thirty-years. There are certain cases where I am very much aware that it is only after time, after a lot of hard work and after a lot of blood, sweet and tears that I am actually getting to where I wanted to be as a writer.
Source: Kobo Writing Life Podcast – Episode 001. A podcast for writers. Episode 001 features an interview with Steve Vernon, author of MARITIME MURDER, SINKING DEEPER, The Tatterdemon Trilogy and the Flash Virus Series with Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre. See: http://kobowritinglife.com/category/kwl-podcast/page/2/
There are many resources available for writers. One resource I love is a podcast. Here are five podcasts that I listen to regularly.
Winner of the Podcast Peer Award and the Parsec Award, this is a show about a writer going from wanna-be to pro. Focusing on the emotional roadblocks one finds in a writing career, this show speaks to over 8000 listeners every week.
I have been listening to Mur Lafferty since 2006. She won the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is an award given annually to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years.
The Creative Penn Podcast
Podcast Description: Audios will be posted at least every two weeks and will cover Interviews, Inspiration and Information on Writing, Publishing Options and Book Marketing.
Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers on the edge, as well as non-fiction for authors. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013.
AuthorMBA Podcast: Conversations About the Business of Books
Podcast Description: AuthorMBA features one-on-one conversations with today’s brightest authors who excel at the business of books. Conversations feature insights into successful business models, revenue streams, publishing strategies, marketing know-how, author platform must-haves, content essentials, career decisions, and more.
Matt Gartland is the Founder of Winning Edits. He is the Editor, Writer, Strategist.
The Odyssey Writing Workshops Podcast
These podcasts are excerpts from lectures given by guest writers, editors, and agents at the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Every month or two, we release a new podcast. Each one is ten to fifteen minutes long. You may download a particular podcast, or you may subscribe to the podcasts so you automatically receive them when they are released.
Every week we offer in-the-trenches writing, business, and marketing advice on what’s working for full-time indie authors. Join us and sell more books!
Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David W. Wright are the hosts.
Mur Lafferty headshot CC BY-SA 2.0