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Publisher Letter – March/April 2021


Dear Kendall County Woman reader,

What a wild past few weeks we’ve had! From a silly 2020 with all the COVID hysteria, only to stumble into 2021 and have the entire State freeze solid…ugh! I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of living through “unprecedented” moments!

With that said, this issue couldn’t come at a better time.

Our cover story, Blythe Zemel, is such a breath of fresh air and a joy to know. Found of local non-profit “Girl with Grit”, among other things, Zemel tells us her story of simply putting her nose down and getting to work! Upon identifying a lack of essential skills among local youth, Zemel takes the kids and says “Who says you can’t work with your hands?! Let me show you!” and does exactly
that. At a time when the world seems complex and intimidating, it’s so great to read of Zemel and her simple determination and grit…and the effect it is having on many local teenagers.

From there, there’s much to be found. Lots of local information, event info, and articles about several local businesswomen that are also having a local impact. Additionally, most every advertiser in the publication is a woman owned business, so take some time this month to support them. Small business has been hard hit in the past 12 months, and trust me, they need all the support they can get.

Lastly, please don’t forget that KCW magazine is constantly on the hunt for article ideas. If you know of a local woman making a difference, or running a great business, or with simply an amazing story, we want to hear about it! Just drop us a note at the emails to the right and let’s
start a conversation!

Welcome to March!


Peggy Schooley

What are Wisdom Teeth?


Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth. They enter the mouth behind the upper and lower second (12 Year) molars between the ages of 17 and 25.

What is an impacted tooth?
Teeth are considered impacted if they are unable to erupt completely into the mouth. They may have tissue or bone or both covering all or part of the tooth.

Why are impacted wisdom teeth a concern?

An impacted tooth may be painful and can contribute to a variety of problems, including:

• Infection
• Damage to neighboring teeth and roots
• Tooth Decay
• Periodontal disease
• Receding gums
• Loosened teeth
• Bone loss
• Tooth loss

More serious problems may occur if the developmental sac surrounding the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst, which can grow and damage the bone structure and strength of the jaw.

What if my wisdom teeth haven’t caused any problems yet?
Many people believe that as long as they are not in pain, they do not have to worry about their wisdom teeth. However, not having symptoms does not mean there is not disease present.  Even wisdom teeth that are fully erupted in the mouth can be problematic. Because they are located where there is little room in the back of the mouth, they are extremely difficult to keep clean. As a result, the bacteria that cause gum disease and decay often collect behind them and lead to problems before pain or other symptoms alert you to the issue. Research has also shown that this collection of bacteria in the mouth can also contribute to other health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.

When is the right time to have my wisdom teeth removed?
Since every patient and case is unique, a consultation complete with a panoramic x-ray or cone beam CT scan, thorough history and physical, and assessment of tooth development is necessary. During this consultation, Dr. Clark considers all aspects of the patient to determine the urgency of wisdom tooth removal.

In general, wisdom teeth should be removed in young adulthood, or if there is evidence of periodontal disease, cavities, infections, cysts or tumors, or damage to neighboring teeth. There are also some cases in which wisdom teeth are unlikely to require removal, and those will also be discussed at your consultation.

What happens during and after wisdom tooth removal?
Most patients choose to have general anesthesia for the removal of impacted wisdom teeth. Dr. Clark and the clinical staff at Kendall Implant and Oral surgery are unique. Each staff member has completed and passed courses in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support, and Dr. Clark also maintains a Registered Nurse for all procedures to improve the safety and education of the patient. Most wisdom tooth extractions are performed routinely with little to no discomfort to the patient.

After surgery, the patient receives comprehensive instructions on postoperative care, addressing issues such as eating, pain management, swelling, complications and more. Our staff remain on call after hours and on the weekends should the patient have questions or require assistance.

Should complications occur after wisdom tooth surgery, all visits or procedures are provided as part of the surgery and are free of charge.


Dr. Clark graduated high school from Texas Military Institute in San Antonio; received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in College Station; his dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas; and went on to serve 12 years of military service in the US Army. During his time in service, he attended a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program in Fort Benning, GA, and his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Eisenhower Medical Center/Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA.

Dr. Clark enjoys practicing the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures to include dental alveolar surgery, dental implant surgery, soft tissue grafting, trauma management, cosmetic surgery, orthognathic surgery, facial repair on patients with cleft lip and palate, and oral cancer surgery.

Heidi Clark and her husband, Dr. Charlie Clark are originally from Comfort, Texas and own Kendall Implant & Oral Surgery.


109 Falls Court
Suite 700
Boerne, TX 78006

Bright Learners Preschool


Tammie Bernal and Tapatha Cooksey are not only identical twin sisters they are now partners in business. As a twin sister team and both retired teachers, they have just opened their doors to Bright Learners Preschool. We asked them a few questions about how this adventurous undertaking came about, and why they have decided to do this now.


Where did the idea come from?
We have been elementary educators for a combined 34 years. We know first hand the difference a quality preschool experience has on children. Teaching is our calling and working together has always been our dream. In true twin fashion, we had the same idea at the same time! One day out of the blue, Tammie texted Tapatha, “I really wish we could do something together.” Tapatha instantly replied, “I was JUST thinking that!” We took that as a sign. We quickly realized what we wanted to do… Open our own preschool!

Why Boerne?
Tapatha and her husband recently built their forever home in Boerne. They fell in love with the small town charm and family oriented community. We knew Boerne would also be the perfect place for our dream preschool. We are excited to provide a safe, nurturing, and engaging learning environment for your child.

What challenges have you experienced as you have geared up for your opening?
By far the greatest challenge we experienced was finding the right space. Thankfully our realtor, Steven Gillespie, was able to find us the perfect location. It is in a brand new building so we were able to customize the interior to our exact specifications. The open concept is ideal for structured whole class lessons, differentiated small group activities, and ample opportunities for discovery through purposeful play. Plus, it is located on S. School Street. That totally sealed the deal!

What makes Bright Learners Preschool unique?
Every small class is taught by two highly qualified teachers using research based curriculum. Your child will develop a love of learning while receiving a well rounded education. We will celebrate every step of your child’s progress toward their social, emotional, and academic goals. You will receive daily photos and updates through our family communication app. The app is also used to support our health and safety protocols, which include a daily health screening and paperless check in and check out.

What programs do you offer?
We are proud to offer Preschool, Prekindergarten, and After School Enrichment programs.
Our Preschool classes are designed for 14 learners ages 3-5. Our primary goal is to provide your child an “introduction to school” with differentiated structured activities and free choice center time. Our Prekindergarten Class is designed for 14 learners ages 4-5. Our primary goal is to provide your child the foundation for a successful school career.
Our After School Enrichment classes are designed for 14 learners ages 3-5. Our primary goal is to provide your child an opportunity to explore and develop creativity in a fun and engaging environment.

How has the community responded?
The community has responded with open arms. We joined the Chamber of Commerce and have received warm wishes for success. People have noted that since Boerne is rapidly growing, there has never been a better time for a new high quality preschool. Bright Learners Preschool is an excellent choice.

As we go through 2021, what short-term goals do you have?
Our primary short-term goals are to build our reputation as a high quality preschool by serving families and building community partnerships.

Tell us about your long-term goals…
Our long-term goals include offering Parent Night Out events, expanding our After School Enrichment classes, and enrolling for Summer School. We also look forward to being in a position to give back to the community.

Anything to say to the local community?
Owning and operating Bright Learners Preschool is a dream come true for us. We bring a wealth of experience, positivity, patience, and a commitment to providing your child the best preschool experience. Please contact us with any questions and/or to schedule a visit. We look forward to helping your child shine bright!

Girl With Grit – Blythe Zemel


by Ben Schooley
Photography by Paula VM Photography

For Blythe Zemel, challenges are met head on. Consistently overcoming preconceived notions about what she can and cannot do, Zimel has worked tirelessly to overcome not only her own hurdles, but those hurdles that are tripping up the young women who have come after her. Girl with Grit, her non-profit and mission, is designed to take young women that might be a bit confused in their life’s path, challenge them to learn new skills and trades, and ultimately produce women ready to tackle life just as Zimel has – with GRIT.


Zemel begins with an early understanding that she is a little unique, and she embraces that mindset. “I grew up in Houston – as a kid my mom called me her ‘walking art piece’, so I’ve lived by that title. I come from a family that is fairly traditional so even my name Blythe just came to my mom and I’ve been eccentric from the get go.” She continues, “I was an out of the box student. I would day dream a lot and when I was in first grade they kept pulling me in for assessments because everything from my hearing to my way of thinking frustrated them and I was smart enough to know what was going on. When they did the Stanford testing, I placed first. I struggled in a classroom environment, but did well otherwise. Traditional settings have never served me.”

After high school, Zemel quickly found an entrepreneurial direction. “When I graduated, I started buying clothes at thrift stores and flipping them and repurposing them. That was my job throughout college.” That direction carried her into her career as well, as she continues, “The clothing line sustained me through my studies and as I got out of college it was featured in a few magazines – I was working as a music promoter also, mainly as non profit work – it was all very entrepreneurial. I have a passion for helping communities, and I put a lot of energy into that and enjoyed it.”

Zemel began directing a daycare’s arts program, and honing her own creative skills with photography, and married at the time, her husband had an opportunity to move the family to the area. Excited to get away from the crime of the Houston area, Zemel had decisions to make with her children’s schooling. “I put my son in the public school here in Boerne and he started having lots of the same issues that I had at his age so I decided to home school him. My educational journey really dashed my confidence in myself, and I knew that I didn’t fit in, but I also knew that I couldn’t fit in. It got to me as a kid and I didn’t want him to experience that. I was home schooled my final 2 years of high school, and I did great, so I decided to do that with him.”

Quickly becoming involved in the home school groups locally, Blythe quickly took on the role as “art teacher”, however, life has changed for her family. She explains, “The program grew quickly. I ultimately made the difficult decision that I needed to move in with my parents. I needed a real job, and fast. I had befriended someone in Bandera that had a fiber arts studio and I literally started my business in her back closet with a borrowed folding table, a leaking ceiling, and no students. I couldn’t afford Boerne rent at the time. It was called “We Heart Art” – which was a mobile art studio program. I would drive to different locations and teach art. It started growing. I got to a point where I had enough clientele to start making the move to Boerne, and got in with a large home school group here called BACH, and became the art instructor for high school. The clientele was there, and once I made the move, it really took off.”

Being who she is, Blythe was constantly working on some version of her art, expanding her skills, and identifying needs. She continues, “In the meantime, I had been working on designing safety glasses, called Safety Sasses. It started as a joke, but I always had entrepreneurial gigs going on the side. I had worked in production in the auto industry and had a huge appreciation for old cars and gear head stuff…so I saw this need because I spent a lot of time out in a garage and nobody was catering to women. And not just auto – woodworking, and sculpture and a lot of things – nobody is servicing them. I’ve been very fashion oriented, so I saw that nobody was catering to them and providing functional, and yet fashionable, safety gear. Ultimately, I developed the patent and worked on the idea and man, it just felt like art. I wound up doing a proof of concept in September and began to push them out to see what kind of response I got. Thus far, it’s been amazing. I’ve gotten wholesale orders to little vintage boutiques to actual women in the trade. The people who are coming after them are the women in the actual trade and that’s exciting for me.”

As mentioned, Blythe is passionate about photography. She was about to have a quick photo literally change the trajectory of her life. She explains, “Girl with Grit started 4 years ago as a photo project. I took an image of me in a ‘50s housewife welder outfit and I sent it to National Geographic and it was selected by their editorial team. It was simply labeled Girl with Grit. I started taking pictures of crossfit women wearing high heels. The ballerina in her cowboy boots. The tomboy women that were still extremely feminine. We’re losing our gender in many ways and it’s ok to take pride in who you are with red lipstick and heels and I was trying to celebrate that with the images. It was trademarked by me and the idea was to be a work wear line for women. Aprons with reinforced pockets. Things that look cute but just function for a working woman. But I started watching my art students and realized that many of them couldn’t do some basic things like change a flat tire. Or operate a power tool. It was an overall theme that I started to see about the current generation.”

Ultimately receiving a donated 1935 truck, Blythe set out to start a youth non-profit centered around teaching the kids the basics of automotive work and restoration. “These kids all they know how to do is run their phone. I feel like a missing link to them. What’s going to happen to trades? How will they ever learn how to use a router? Your world cannot be eternally digital. You have to know how to use your hands – you can’t just swipe at things for the rest of your life. I tried to pitch the non-profit idea for boys and girls – just youth. I couldn’t seem to get anyone behind it, so I’m watching these girls…and they were around me all the time, and I saw how exceptional they were with their hands. We pigeonhole them with what we teach them to do with their skills and how they are going to make them happiest. I decided to just develop this concept and took on my first staff member as an art teacher, got the kids to produce art and I showed them how to sell them as a system to compensate the non-profit. I don’t pay the kids to be here – the kids fund it. Then they help me with learning the trades, and I help them with selling their art. It drives passion in the projects like the old truck. They learn how to work on it, and I show them how to produce and sell their art. It’s how the business world works, and I want them to understand everything they can about it.”

So the dichotomy of “art” against “mechanic” work meshed and has been fun for both Zemel and her students. She continues, “The girls just worked on pulling a motor and it was stressful and they were grinding things to get it out, but it was so fun. They got super dirty but we all laughed and they learned that they can do anything that they apply themselves to. And then, in two weeks we’re having the Valentine’s Day show and it’s pink hearts and stuffed animals which is super girly…and I don’t care ….I just want them to work and learn how to grow and how to express themselves in a largely male dominated world.”

With her studio above Sanctuary for the Vintage Soul on Main Street, Blythe and the girls continue to grow due to the devotion of the group. She explains, “They re-did the entire space up here – the girls did it. If they’re going to use the space, they’re going to fill the nail holes and finish the trim and help me set it up. My garage is now a welding space that I’ve sort of donated to the organization. The grit is teaching you that nothing is stopping you. Life is like a puzzle – you want to do it? Great. Figure out how to pull it off. “
As for pulling it off, the team continues to grind away. With approximately 20 “core” girls right now, word is getting out. “The girls are funding things with their products. I invest in the space, and they kick back with percentages of their sales. If I break even, I’m good. Donations are a big thing for us too. With things like the truck project, we get donations of labor and time and equipment. I want it to become a staple for the area – these mobile markets do very well and I want it to become sort of a mascot. Toymakers on History channel has sponsored us with a bunch of tools, which was amazing. The woman from the show drove 20 hours down to help me pull the engine on the truck and we’re filming that for a possible show. Some of the people on the Monster Garage have talked with us about the truck, so we’ll see what happens there.”

As for what she needs? She explains, “Grant writing is important to me right now. The girls are all about scholarships and resume building – that’s pretty much it for us. One of my girls is working for her PhD in science so what does that have to do with us? She’s working on grant writing for us! And then of course, we want donations of all kinds. Money, labor, equipment, materials…we don’t care. It all helps.”

Blythe finishes, “I’ve not put myself out there very much – and this magazine is changing that a bit. Things get muddy on social media and I feel like it’s fake – so my marketing has been simply “They’ll find me if they need me”. That’s how most of my students find me. I will tell you though that the people I have worked with locally have been simply amazing. Huge, pivotal people that have helped me so much. I don’t feel like I could do this anywhere but here in Kendall County. I sure couldn’t do it in Houston. We have amazing youth here and the kids are unreal amazing. It’s a great community to launch this in and we have elements of the old and the new here. I tell the girls I’m just along for the ride – this will happen how it’s supposed to happen.

Take a Look Inside Amber’s Closet


We sat down with Jackie Randolph to talk about the clothing store, Amber’s Closet, that she co-founded with her daughter in 2020, the year of COVID-19.


Amber is the inspiration for your business – tell us about how that came to be.
Amber is Autistic, highly functioning but still unable to care for herself as an adult. She graduated from the Special Needs program at Champion High School in May 2019. We have tried for one year to apply for various jobs for her to have the opportunity to get out of the house and meet new folks. I was without work for four months with COVID and saw an ad on the Next-Door App for help needed for resale of items. We investigated it and turns out the woman had so much that we said hey there is enough here to start our own resale business! We needed supplies and at that time Beall’s was closing in Boerne, so we rented a U-Haul and picked up five boxes of hangers, and 12 Clothes racks. We started to sell online and out of the house, but our homeowners association was not too happy with this idea. We went around downtown Boerne to look for a potential spot for a retail location, several neighbors said to me that this was not a good time to start a business with the state our economy was in but I was determined to make it work. We found our current location in August and worked with our Landlord to get the space ready to move in, it needed significant repairs and upgrades. While waiting to move in we went to Boerne Market Days for two months to spread the word handing out flyers to everyone on why we were starting the business. We were delayed moving into our location for a few weeks and finally we got in and had our grand opening mid-October.

What are you offering in your location that people might not find elsewhere?
We have excellent quality items, some still with tags – items are higher class then what you could find at an everyday resale shop. We want to be known for our quality, cleanliness, and friendly environment.

How did you decide on your location?
We looked around all of Boerne – there were several wonderful locations to pick from, however, not too many landlords were willing to work with us on a reduced rate for our first year in business as a test to see if were successful, Paul Holekamp was willing to give us a shot at our business and made significant upgrades to the location for us to move in. We are really going on faith that God is going to allow us to be successful with our venture.

How has the first few seasons gone for you? Lessons learned? Challenges? Challenges really are that folks just don’t know that were here yet, we have had some good days and other really quiet days but it has given Amber something to do, a structured routine that she needs much like that she had in the school system. We get up get ready and go to the shop, we have made a small kitchen so we can have food during the day to make it easier for us to stay here and be comfortable.

What do you think the future holds for your business?
Its really in God’s hands however he wants this road to go for us. Either way we will be fine with the outcomes, I do hope that we can continue with the business for Amber’s sake, she really does need this for a daily routine vice sitting in front of video games.

How has the community responded to you?
Both the Hill Country New and The Boerne Star has written about us at no costs to us, women have come from all parts of town with donations to the store to ensure that we are successful. Other special need moms have heard of us and come in to talk to us and see how we got this business started and have told us they are in the same situation that we were in. There is no transportation for the special need’s young adults in the area, we live right on the line of Bexar and Kendall county so the ART Bus will not pick her up at our home which makes things even more difficult.

Groups / charities/ missions that are important to you?
As a military retiree my heart really goes to the food banks, hill country daily bread ministries, and united way with our young military service members that struggle to make ends meet on a month to month basis. Our military members make 11-15% lower incomes than the civilian counterparts.

Any advice to others with children that have disabilities or learning struggles?
Don’t give up! Find your purpose or calling to ensure that your son or daughter is included in whatever they might want to do. When Amber was at Middle School South, they said she couldn’t be a cheer leader, I said why not? While she might not be perfect at the routines she can still try, so she did, at Champion she was very active in the Softball program and helped with the football games as well. I have supported her in anything that she was interested in trying along the way!!

Any words to the community as a whole?
Were so very grateful for the support that we have had along the way, we would like to say thank you so much! Please continue to come and support Amber in her new venture.

2021 Pet Age Woman of Influence Winner – Sara Morgan of Frenchie’s Kitchen


My inspiration was Romeo, my sick French Bulldog puppy.

Frenchie’s’ Kitchen gently cooked, human grade dog food began in my kitchen in 2007 – the year of the melamine recalls for pet food and treats made in China. My French bulldog puppy, Romeo had been dealing with severe digestive issues since he was born. We went to specialists across the country and spent lots of money with no results. I finally made an appointment with a holistic vet who specialized in Food Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine. With her guidance, the recipes were formed and my cooking days began! Romeo quickly began to improve and eventually got off all of his prescription medications.

The vet loved what I was doing and asked if I would make prescription meals for her clients. The results were amazing! We saw with our own eyes the power of nutrition. As business began to grow, we moved into a commercial kitchen and shortly afterwards we began manufacturing our products in a USDA Inspected Human Food Facility. This has been a fantastic journey with amazing stories from across the country. We are happy to say that Romeo was our official “Taste Tester” until he crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2020 at the age of 14. He was one of the oldest French Bulldogs in the country at the time of his death.

Pioneering the Gently Cooked category of Human Grade dog food

Our biggest contribution to the pet industry was developing a new category of pet food that didn’t exist at the time – “Gently Cooked”. When we started Frenchie’s Kitchen, the only categories of pet food were kibble, can, raw and dehydrated. We began challenging the male dominated pet food manufacturers to provide healthier food choices for “Man’s Best Friend”. Consumers became more educated and began recognizing the benefits of feeding their pets fresh, human grade, whole food ingredients that are sourced in the USA!

In addition to creating the Gently Cooked category of pet food, Frenchie’s Kitchen introduced the trend of “humanization of pets” that has influenced many in the industry rethink their product lines. It is obvious at the super market, in the pet stores and in watching television commercials that more and more companies are including healthier ingredients in their recipes. Pets are now considered family members and owners want to make the best food choices for them.

Today we see more companies making “Gently Cooked”, Human Grade, frozen meals for dogs. This would not have happened without my vision. Frenchie’s Kitchen has paved the way for this healthy trend of feeding our furry family members.

Sara Morgan is also very active with pets in our community. She has a Therapy Dog, Happy Happy Hazel who works with children at the Childrens Hospital, Ronald Mc Donald House, and with children of military families. Sara is on the Board of Directors of Therapy Animals of San Antonio. Hazel was also crowned SA Fiesta El Rey Fido by raising almost $90,000 for the San Antonio Humane Society. She also works with local rescue groups in Kendall County. Her primary focus is educating the community on the importance of spay/neuter. It’s the ONLY solution for the homeless pet population. We can build shelters all day long, but it’s not until the animals are spayed and neutered will the problem be solved.
Making a difference in this world…one paw at a time!

Flipping Through the Pages of the Boerne Book Shop


W Who doesn’t love walking into a library or a bookstore, taking in the sight of the stacks and stacks of books, and just inhaling deeply while smiling? While our world is largely digital today, nothing can replace the simple joy of relaxing in a comfortable chair with our favorite book…actual pages and all.
For Dale and Jaye Adams, that love and appreciation of the written word has brought forth “The Boerne Book Shop.” Simply named, it’s the result of a lifelong devotion to books, and has fast become a local hub for the community, young and old alike.

 by Ben Schooley

Dale, a stay at home Dad for the entire time his children were schooling, sought a new challenge as the kids aged and as he puts it, “I have always wanted to do it, and figured that since nobody else was doing anything like this locally, I’d do it.” Jaye, a fertility doctor in San Antonio, explains, “He followed me all over the place with my career! I was always on call, I moved him all over the country from our days in the military, and he said he had this dream of a bookstore. He said he wanted to do it, and I said that this is the age where we should be saving money! But we decided to move forward and I’m so happy we did.”
The couple, celebrating 22 years together, have been Boerne residents since 2008. Coming originally for the school system, the Adams’ wanted to get involved in their community. Dale explains, “This is not something for me to make a lot of money. I think it’s important for the community, and in order to do that, it must be economically viable. I want it to perpetuate when I’m gone. Perhaps like a gardener planting a seed that will grow into a tree with enough time. I want it to be here for the community. I want to provide an environment that is well balanced, without political preferences, and to not skew one way or another.”

And the couple has succeeded, despite COVID challenges. Jaye explains, “We’re having a blast. The lockdown has killed us. We have 3 part time people, but it cuts our traffic drastically. Online sales for everything has gone through the roof, and we had months where people barely came in the building. It’s been rough, but we’re so glad to be fighting through.”

A one-time School Board member, Dale is serious about education and has worked to cultivate those initiatives. “I had been involved with the school level for a while and I wanted to keep our schools high quality and make them better. Ran twice, lost the 1st time. It was a wonderful experience. I started an engineering program there and I tried to contain the spending, whether I was successful or not. It’s very collaborative and conservative fiscally. I just feel that books are incredibly important especially in today’s age of digital papers – and being on the school board I saw so much of a switch to a digital format. With things changing as fast as they are, people are picking things that are faster and faster and I think it’s so important to encourage that, yet maintain some of original ways of learning.”

Small business ownership comes with long hours, and the couple encourage one another. Jay explains, “He’s been working super hard. No more weekends off for us! We haven’t been enjoying these amazing empty nest weekends like we wanted. Hopefully as it grows, that will change. I’m proud of him. He put a lot of effort into this and it’s been special to watch it grow.” Dale finds his motivation from the citizenry as well. He says, “The community has responded so well. People constantly tell me they’re so appreciative to have a bookstore here and that they’ll come in and shop just because we’re here. The school district will order some of their books from us, and some customers will buy a book and donate it back and it’s so cool. I just enjoy seeing the interaction and the sense of community.”

As the couple builds on their business as time passes, they continue to appreciate the support – both with simple encouragement and with patronage – and Dale finishes, “I’m amazed at how many people walk in and say they love the smell of this place. I really smile every time someone says that. We have something for anybody. IF there’s something particular they want, we can get that too. Used books that you can only get from obscure printers, and I don’t normally do used books, but I can do just about anything. We have 15,000 books in here now and they’re all different and covering virtually everything imaginable. I really feel that I’m creating a community literary focal point here. It’s a place where people come when people want to leave the world of electronics and just relax with the past, new ideas, and connect with other people that
appreciate the written word.

AfterSchool Programs


To say that this school year has been “unique” would be quite the understatement. Whether your kids are e-learning or on-site or some mixture in-between, it’s been a rough year so far for both the kids as well as Mom! While all of us moms want our kids to succeed as much as possible, this year has brought many challenges that make normal learning more difficult than previous years. As we put the first semester behind us, we assembled a nice list of some enrichment programs available locally that you might not be aware.

From reading to software coding to painting…there’s quite a few options out there for your kids to get plugged in, learn some new skills and information, and find some educational time outside of the typical school day. They’ll enjoy it, and you’ll feel good knowing that you’re providing them every opportunity.

Code Ninjas

At Code Ninjas Boerne, kids learn to code by building their very own video games. Our flexible coding programs for kids make it easy on parents with convenient drop-in hours on weeknights and weekends.

Kids will create, play, and learn at your own pace as you gain ninja skills in coding, robotics, and problem solving. Advance from white to black belt and receive color-coded wristbands to mark your achievements. Support and encouragement provided from Code Senseis® in our state-of-the-art dojo.



Mathnasium instructors use our unique assessment process to determine (with great accuracy) exactly what each child knows and what they need to learn. Next, we design a customized learning plan for teaching the concepts the student needs to master. It doesn’t stop there – our encouraging instructors continually check progress along the way to make sure kids truly understand and retain the concepts we’ve taught. The results are transformative – kids will see measurable changes in attitude, confidence, and school progress.

Our instructors will also set aside time to provide homework help. We help kids understand the homework assignment so they feel better prepared to complete the work at home – underscoring their understanding of concepts and transforming homework frustration into a welcome challenge. httpss://www.mathnasium.com/boerne

Challenge Island Boerne

When kids enter the Challenge Island classroom, they are transported to a cross-curricular learning environment worlds away from the regular school experience. The ambience feels positively party-like as our adventurous tribes tackle high-level thinking challenges at whimsical weekly destinations like Jaguar’s Claw (Rainforest Island), Medusa’s Pet Rock Playground (Mythology Island), Wizardry Academy (Hollywood Island) and Kenyan African Safari (Challenge Island World Tour). Kids count down the seconds until Challenge Island day rolls around!

STEAM education, problem-based learning, and critical 21st Century Skills are at the heart of every Challenge Island Afterschool Class. But we don’t stop there. Our proprietary curriculum seamlessly intertwines ELA, STEM, History, Social Studies, Arts, Geography and much more into one thrilling Island adventure!

Our child-driven learning approach makes Challenge Island an enriching and developmentally appropriate experience for a wide span of ages from preschool through middle school and beyond.  httpss://challenge-island.com/boerne/


STEMtastic after school education classes cover a diverse array of topics from science, to robotics, digital music, gaming, application development, website design and 3D graphic design. STEM programs are made to make the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math fund with hands-on experience. Our goal is to provide the best STEM learning opportunity to help students to become stronger and more confident and go after their dreams.  httpss://www.stemtastic.com/

Bright Learners

Our After School Enrichment classes, which include art, music & movement classes, are designed for 14 learners ages 3-5. Our primary goal is to provide your child an opportunity to explore and develop creativity in a fun and engaging environment. httpss://www.brightlearnerspreschool.com/

Health – Meet Me in the Middle – Brenda Bryson


by Brenda Bryson

Hello my Texas friends and neighbors, I want to open up the conversation today on some topics that hopefully will encourage some comments and discussion.

When someone says “wellness” what does that make you think of?

When someone says “workout” what image does that create?

Let’s contrast that with the words “physical therapy” and what does that conjure up?

From 23 years of being a physical therapist, let me share some of the comments I get daily on this topic.

“Wellness” has no real urgency to it. It’s a term that seems to go well with a day off and a fun yoga/exercise class followed by lunch with friends. It’s paying for a massage every now and then, but it seems to have a very low commitment attached to it. Wellness also does not seem to have a high value on the credentials of who is performing the service, usually a referral from a friend saying “oh, she is really good” or “it’s really fun” will suffice (word of mouth is a great way to discover things, but sometimes you want to know some credentials).

Workout (what did you think of with this word?) in American terms it seems to have extremes, and somehow those have become norms. It seems that there is a growing problem with obesity and lack of exercise in this country

“The U.S. adult obesity rate stands at 42.4 percent, the first time the national rate has passed the 40 percent mark, and further evidence of the country’s obesity crisis. The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26 percent since 2008. COVID-19 related food insecurity puts more Americans at risk for obesity or worsening obesity.” ( source: httpss://www.tfah.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/TFAHObesityReport_20.pdf)

So, it seems like there are more and more Americans either gaining more weight and working out less, perhaps because they are working so much more just to survive, or people are on the other extreme doing ultra marathons (100KM runs), cross fit like competitions and being obsessed with macros and everything they consume. Another everyday example of an extreme is something like taking up tennis—a great form of exercise. Instead of doing an hour lesson, or one game, it has to be a 3 day tournament with 4-5 hours of activity each day.

The third word I mentioned was “physical therapy”. The feedback I get on this ranges from “I don’t need that, I’m not in a wheelchair”, “I did that once and it hurt and was expensive” and my favorite “I just take Advil every day and then I can keep going”.

My favorite term as I age (I’m 47 and keep trying to do more every year) is Functional Strength.  Katie Chasey defines:  Functional strength is the ability to run your load-joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) through a full range of motion without pain, stiffness, or restriction. This is also known as load-joint articulation.

In simpler terms this is moving like you were a kid, not doing the same thing every day, but somehow able to handle climbing on the monkey bars, mowing the yard, playing kickball, and not needing Advil or medical intervention.

What would it feel like to have the range of motion and everyday strength to rake the leaves on Saturday, and then go for a hike on Sunday and not feel old or injured? What if you had good body alignment to allow for pushups or pushing the wheelbarrow without straining so much you peed in your pants? What if it was really ok just to do the one hour of tennis, and the next day do a stretch class, and not require bracing/meds/bragging about how sore you are and can’t sit on the commode?

What if being in the middle became the new norm? You would still have some body fat, probably not be a cover model for a fitness magazine, but you would feel good. I grew up on a ranch in Fredericksburg, and all the old ranchers did not look like they really worked out—but they were strong, they were flexible enough to get up and down off the ground in jeans and boots and over years of doing this, they had a great baseline of functional strength and endurance.

What if a commitment to being in the middle meant you did not have to go to physical therapy because of an overuse injury? What if wellness became the trendy thing to actually take care of your body and enjoy it for the long haul? I often compare the human body to car/home maintenance. Your auto insurance does not pay for your tires or your oil changes. You as the car owner have a certain responsibility for taking care of the maintenance of the car, so that it will keep running. The human body is very much the same. Your medical insurance rarely pays for “maintenance” but it is up to each one of us to keep our bodies in tune, so that we can feel good for the long haul.


Brenda Bryson, PT, LMT is the owner of monarch physical therapy. She is a hill country native and loves to be active hosting retreats, playing with her dogs, and hosting Airbnber’s at her “glamperhood” in Comfort. Brenda is a seasoned professional in the identification and treatment of many forms of physical pain and hopes to be a resource to those who seek it.



Denise Graves knows Real Estate!


Denise Graves knows real estate.

One of the area’s premier real estate agents, she has built an incredible business through her relationships, her professional accolades, and because she just flat out hustles.  She sat down with us for a brief talk about this past year, its challenges, and where she’s headed with her business.

She begins, “We were expecting business as usual this year, just like everyone I suppose. We had a bunch of listings to start the year, and kept with our average of 7 to 10 new listings every month. Then COVID hit. The way the lockdown started was confusing for everyone as things changed so quickly. For us, we had an open house scheduled and we were told by SABOR that we couldn’t have it. But our client expected the open house, and we had promised it, so we did a Facebook LIVE virtual open house in March just because we were scrambling.”

However, as things happened, being forced to scramble can sometimes work out better than expected. She continues, “We’ve started doing Facebook LIVE videos as we preview houses now, and that’s actually been really helpful. I’m very strong willed, and I’m fine with thinking outside the box – and this year has certainly required that. We’ve had to be flexible, set our egos aside sometimes, and just get the job done. With LIVE, it’s a new thing for us because it’s like giving a personalized tour to a lot of people while they are asking questions and so it’s great, yet different. ”

While much has changed and the Graves team has had to adapt, there’s still clients she has to meet and homes she has to show. But even those interactions are different. “Initially it was the unknown with COVID. Some were concerned, some less so.  I’ve had to wear masks and gloves and foot covers in some houses due to the owner’s wishes, and it’s hard. Then I’ve had other people that don’t care about the precautions and so I’m winging it. We’ve shown properties without people ever actually even seeing the property, and so certainly,  that’s a new thing for me. For the whole team, really.”

As the real estate landscape has changed quickly this year, it has had its benefits. With interest rates falling to historic lows, that has certainly enticed many buyers. She explains, “The concern now going into 2021 – we handle high end real estate and we’re just wondering what the market is going to do. The great thing about 2020 is that we’ve learned that we can wiggle through challenges, and  rates are so ridiculously cheap right now. It’s so easy for people to stretch their dollar and help people get even more house for their budget.”

Typically doing $45m in sales year over year, the team is poised to eclipse this for 2020, which is an amazing accomplishment. She credits a few things as for how she has pulled this off: “Be flexible. Always look for new ways to innovate. Video is king right now. People have less personal interaction than they used to, bringing a personal experience to the real estate transaction is where it’s at. People are more focused on relationships, so it’s different but it’s even more important. They’re not seeing people as much – but it makes those interactions we DO have all the more important.  How do we touch people in ways with the limited opportunity? It’s a fascinating time. I have a short attention span and my clients do as well – so we continue to look at ways to interact with our clients in new and unique ways given our challenges.”

With Teri Bomgaars, Emily Boham, Rob Boham, Bill Graves (husband), and Robert Gunter on her team, 2021 is poised to be a record year as well. She continues, “Our goal for 2021 is to innovate – we won’t know until March after the 1st quarter as to what people’s perception of how our new lives are heading – the election is over, vacations are coming, there won’t be a zombie apocalypse…and we will know well what is going on in our world. Inventory is going to be a problem, and that will drive a ton of our business. We have buyers all over the place, but inventory is tough. Right now is the absolute best time to sell – we have buyers just waiting for us to call them with options, and yet options are hard to find.”

With a 20 year career in real estate in this area, her involvement in the community is important to Graves, and she invests heavily in it. “I’m very much with Hill Country Daily Bread supporter. That’s an important mission for me. I love the work they do and getting people back on their feet and giving them a sense of pride and worth – which is just huge for me. It’s not a handout – it’s a hand-up. We realized how hyper local our business is, and how blessed we are to live in a bubble. There’s tremendous unrest in the nation and we’re blessed to live in a supportive, happy bubble. There’s not huge world events happening here in town, and we’re so grateful for that fact – things that are happening in Oregon aren’t happening here – we anchor one another locally and provide peace and that’s huge for us all. It’s also a reminder of why I love this area so very much, and have been so blessed to be part of it.”