Let It Be!

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A new day is dawning.  A time to focus on shining your light for all to see.  If each of us let today be filled with love and understanding we can change this world….making it a better place.  Join me?  Wipe the canvas of your mind clean, take a deep breath and let’s do this!

Chief Tamanend

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A few weeks back I featured a post on the parishes of Louisiana.  As mentioned in the post parishes are what most states term “counties”.  In researching I was particularly interested in the parish where we live, St. Tammany.  Since all of the parishes I have read about are named after bonafide Christian saints, recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, I questioned the name never having heard of a saint with that name.  What I found was very interesting.

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St. Tammany parish is named after Chief Tamanend.  He lived in what is now known as the Philadelphia area and was chief of the  Lenni-Lenape nation.  He and other leaders of this group met with other leaders of the new Pennsylvania colony in the early 1680’s.  William Penn and Chief Tamanend signed several agreements to protect both of their groups and insure peaceful coexistence. The chief is known for having said the settlers and his people would “live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure.” These words can be found on the statue of Tamanend that still stands in Philadelphia.

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The chief became a folk legend after his death in 1701.  He became known as “King Tammany”, “Saint Tammany”, and the “Patron Saint of America”.  Tammany societies and festivals sprang up all over the area and spread throughout the land.  Today this man of peace continues to be celebrated.  I don’t think he ever traveled to the parish that bears his name, in fact, I am sure he didn’t.  But I like to think that our area bears the name of a man so important to the beginning of our nation’s history.  A man of peace and a place of peace….it just seems right.

Wednesday Word

There are many reasons why I chose SILENT for this Wednesday’s word.  One of the things I love about this word is that it has the same letters in it as the word LISTEN.  Since moving to Louisiana and bringing my parents along so that I can care for them has been more than a simple challenge, but an experience I would not have missed for the world.  I have always been very close to them, especially my father.  Dad will be 88 in May.  His body is showing the signs of years of wear and it is failing him in ways none of us could ever have expected or imagined.  Recently diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and the onset of Parkinson’s disease, each day is a challenge.  Along with the diagnosis comes the fact that macular degeneration has decreased his eyesight to 30% and his hearing to about the same percentage.  For a man of words this is all so very difficult.  We have learned the necessity of silence and patience as we deal with each day and what it brings, never knowing what it might be.  It is essential that we be silent when trying to converse with him and listen to what he has to say.  His words no longer come easily but they do come with a bit of effort.  One thing I so admire about my dad is that he insists we be open about what is going on and discuss it one on one as well as a family.  My love and respect for him have grown from this experience beyond measure.  It has also forced me to realize how important it is to be SILENT.  The ability to go within and take time to be still and listen is imperative to our well being.  If only for ten minutes each day…..find the time and claim it for yourself.

I wouldn’t change my situation for the world.  I consider it an honor to care for my parents and see to their needs as they did mine for so many years.  Our world is busy and rapidly changing.  I could question how such a terrible disease could strike a man but we, as humans, cannot know what causes such things.  Love is the order of the day and plenty of patience.  As we travel on this journey, knowing there will be no cure or recovery, I try to remember to take the time to be SILENT at different times throughout the day.  I find it helps me center myself, clear my mind and it enables me to carry on.  Wishing you all a very wonderful Wednesday in which you take that moment for yourself.

The Memorist

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I am an avid reader.  As a writer reading helps me to expand my own craft.  It stretches my mind and gives me ideas on how I can improve my writing.  I recently read M.J. Rose’s wonderful book “The Memorist”.  I could not put this book down.  Subsequently I’m searching for every book she has written and expect to devour them just as I did this tale of suspense and intrigue.  Those of you living on the Georgia coast may be quite familiar with the endorsement appearing on the cover from local author, Steve Berry.

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You’ll be taken down into the catacombs of Venice as this chilling tale mounts to its thrilling pinnacle.  I think I finished reading all 111 chapters in two afternoons, sitting on the edge of my chair!  This writer spins her words in a web that holds the reader captive.  She discusses the circle of life and time in a way that makes one question and wonder…..could it be true?

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If you do not like looking into the unseen and asking your own questions this book may not be for you.  But I found it enthralling.  The way Ms. Rose weaves the subject of reincarnation into the fiber of her story is outstanding.  I don’t presume to know the answers to what life is about but this book led me into a space of fascination I will never forget.  I cannot wait to begin the next work by this brilliant author!

Shoes-A-Palooza!

I heard about Claudia Lynch from a mutual friend shortly after moving to the New Orleans area.  I will never live down the fact that I am an avid collector of shoes.  I would be embarrassed to share with you the count or the number of boxes containing shoes that were involved in our move.  I love the color, the shape, the style, the smell of leather…..ok…..I’m a shoe fanatic!  So when I heard of this amazing woman who creates the most beautiful shoes on paper and then, wonder of all wonders, adds a clever mystery to each piece ala Sam Spade….well, I could not wait to meet Claudia!

Claudia comes from a background of theatrical costume design and bridal millinery.  Add to her list of experience graphic arts, fine arts and illustrations and you’ve got a woman who is so vibrant and lively you can’t help but be enchanted!  She first decided to try her hand at illustrating in 2001 when the idea of creating her clever “footwear” on paper inspired her.  But it didn’t stop there….oh no!  Frustrated by the fact that she wanted to see more on the page than just the shoe she decided to take a break, back off from her work and go for a bike ride.  As she rode she heard a story in her head, narrated by the famous literary mystery character, Sam Spade. Actually she heard a story for each of the three shoe illustrations that lay waiting for finishing touches.  A light went off in Claudia’s head and she had her latest successful and very artful invention.  A border and her signature were added to create her first three pieces.  So taken with her designs were the first to view her work all three finished pieces were featured in the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society show that year.  Now people collect these unique works of art, give them as gifts, buy Claudia’s books and her career continues to flourish.

As with most ultra creative people, Claudia doesn’t just stop with shoes!  I love these cabbage headbands she has created for the most perfect St. Patrick’s Day headdress.
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And then there are the one of a kind shoes she creates for the Krewe of Muses during Carnival Season.  If you are lucky enough to catch one of these hand designed beauties you’ve got something to cherish for years to come!

 

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Here is another Mardi Gras beauty.  The verse so carefully inscribed on the sole reads:  “A Muses Shoe Is A Work Of Art And A Labor Of Love.”.  Truer words were never spoken!

 

You can read more about Claudia on her website, visit her on-line store and marvel over all of her creations. http://www.shoestories.com/.  You might even want to treat yourself to her coloring book and use your imagination as you become the artist!  The darling headbands are available on her Etsy site here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/269284457/handmade-cabbage-headband-perfect-for-st?ref=listings_manager_grid.

I love surrounding myself with creative people.  The energy we are able to exchange and the ideas that flow always excite me and feed my soul.  I am thrilled to know Claudia Lynch and look forward to many good times as I continue to watch her life as an artist bloom and grow!  New Orleans is a great place to be!

 

The Thread Box

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“Begin to weave and God will provide the thread.”  This old German proverb stands alone on the page of a book recently sent to me by author, June Hall McCash, “The Thread Box”.

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“The Thread Box” is the latest of Ms. McCash’s wonderful books.  Unlike her other works of fiction and non-fiction that so many readers have enjoyed, this is a collection of poetry.  The lovely simplicity of the books’ cover with its vine of thread, seashells and flowers guides one inside the pages to discover that Ms. McCash can pen poetry in a way so few can.

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The book begins with a section on Jekyll Island, Georgia.  The author spent countless summers and holidays there writing about the island’s history and providing us with a peek into the bygone days of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel with its rich cast of characters and events.   The poetry you’ll find in this first section will have you feeling the squish of sand through your toes as you walk on the beach or gasp as you experience the color of wildflowers along the causeway leading onto the historic island.

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June Hall McCash is an award winning author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction.  Her soon to be released work of young adult fiction, “The Boys of Shiloh”, is set in the Civil War and promises to be a great read, not just for middle schoolers, but for any age.  But I’m stuck on her poetry for the time being, devouring every line and letting my imagination see the images her words create.  I highly recommend “The Thread Box”, it takes you away from the cares of the day and paints pictures of the vast life and experience the author has enjoyed.  Just to whet your appetite a bit….here’s a short poem from the book entitled, “Winter Fragment”.

Winter Fragment

a dusting of snow on the roadway

like flour sifted on the castle floor

to catch a lover’s footprints

in the night

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June and Logan

Thank you June, for sharing your words, for showing us a bit of your soul and for creating this wonderful collection of poetry, “The Thread Box”.

 

 

Simply Amazing!

I’m sharing the video I had scheduled to play this past Sunday.  As luck would have it my site has been in transition and I could not access it to get my post ready.  But I think you’re in for a treat today.  I had no idea that Condoleeza Rice plays the piano.  When a friend shared this video on Facebook the other day I thought it was one of the most beautiful renditions of “Amazing Grace” that I have ever heard.  I had to do a post and let all of you hear it.  This song is good for any day, especially when one is up to their elbows in cleaning and packing!  I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and enjoy the music!  I’m living in a state of grace as more and more opportunities open up for me as we head for The Big Easy!

On Island Time…

Barbara Kraus

Barbara Kraus

Now that the lazy days of summer time are here I’m officially on island time!

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This is the time of year when life slows down a bit.  My flower gardens are thriving.  Our vegetable garden is beginning to bear fruit.

Tiffany Carroll Mosley

Tiffany Carroll Mosley

Late afternoons spent on the beach provide a peaceful time to relax and enjoy friends.

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You never know what you may see there….is that horses I see in the horizon?  Why yes, the tide was out and they were riding on the sand bar just off the coast!

Heart Full of Wisps

Heart Full of Wisps

Life is simpler in the summer.  Although I suffer through the heat and humidity there is a feeling this time of year that cannot be found during the hustle and bustle of the school year.

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It gives me time to breathe, to be grateful for this beautiful island I am so lucky to call my home and a time to regroup before another busy fall begins.

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Life on an island can only be explained in one way……perfection.

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The Pink Chapel

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Any place of history has stories that haunt and delight, that create mystery and raise questions about what really happened there.  The Pink Chapel, located at the north end of St. Simons Island is no exception.

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Hair raising accounts of devil worship and slaves being beaten at the doors of the chapel have been recounted for years.

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But the true story is a sad one.  One of families pitted against one another.  Harsh words and misunderstandings that led to the death of one man, John Wylly, at the young age of 32.  An obelisk marks his final resting place in the cemetery at Christ Church.

The chapel was originally built on the Westpoint Plantation by William Hazzard, whose brother, Thomas, fatally shot John Wylly over a property dispute.  Prior to the event, the Hazzard family worshiped at the famous Christ Church.  But they no longer felt comfortable attending services there after Wylly’s death and Hazzard’s subsequent acquittal.

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The pink color of the building, rumored to have been caused by blood from beaten slaves, turned out to be caused by lichen which covered the tabby building giving it a pink cast.

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The red tile roof still graces the top of the building, the pink color has long since vanished due to restoration work done to save the structure.  A lone cross sits atop the roof, pointing toward the sky.

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Deer now wander the property and tourists visit to feel the chill one inevitably experiences when walking on historical ground. Spanish moss drapes over huge oak limbs, swaying in a gentle Spring breeze, sending a shiver up your spine as you approach the chain link fence that now surrounds the little chapel.  The original doors have long since gone, replaced by modern ones.  Haunted or not, ones mind can wander a bit and imagine it is.

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The Pink Chapel is a reminder that people need a place to worship, a place to take their cares and have their spirits healed.

Where The Millionaire’s Roamed

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Just south of Saint Simons Island is another charming place, Jekyll Island.  Known for the summer cottages that still remain standing gracefully on the grounds, filled with their history as seasonal dwellings for some of the most well known and wealthiest family’s in the early 20th century.

Jekyll Club Hotel

What started out to be a hunting club after the end of the Civil War became the most exclusive social club in the United States.  Names such as Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Hyde are just a few of the  rich and famous who maintained membership in the club.historic-telephone-call

Many famous events took place at the Jekyll Island Club, including the first transcontinental telephone call placed by AT&T president Theodore Vail on January 25, 1915.  J.P. Morgan was host to some of the financial world’s most influential members along with Senator Nelson Aldrich and the Assistant Secretary of State in 1907 after a virulent time on Wall Street caused a run on the banks.  The team of financial wizards traveled to the island under assumed names to write The Aldrich Plan, which later became the basis for The Federal Reserve Act that established The Federal Reserve System.

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Visitors to Jekyll Island can now tour the Club property and the summer cottages which once housed the families of wealthy financier’s from the Northeast.  Trolley’s provide guided tours that enable guests to learn about the island’s rich history while walking in the steps of those who once inhabited these famous grounds.  Family’s such as the Rockefeller’s  passed the time during hot summer days taking part in the lavish splendor of this Southern playground.

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The Jekyll Island Club Hotel now offers the finest in accomodations for the discerning traveler.  Dine on five star cuisine in the Grand Dining Room or enjoy a lovely meal at the Crane Cottage, a short walk from the Hotel itself.

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Crane Cottage is where Mr. T and I exchanged vows one cold winter day in front of a roaring fire with a private luncheon for our family afterward several years ago.  Also on the hotel grounds is Cafe Solterra where you can enjoy a casual meal while sitting on the balcony that surrounds the inner courtyard.

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This whole facility holds very special memories for me and my family.  The beaches are close by and horseback riding is available if you want to take a ride on the beach.  Bikes can be rented to see  Jekyll the best way with shaded bike paths running around the entire island.   There’s plenty of history, sightseeing and relaxing to be had.  And you can take day trips to visit the other barrier islands in the area!

JICH pool

A trip to The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a great idea for any couple or family wanting to experience nature and history in an atmosphere of turn of the century grandeur.  A lovely pool awaits as well as golfing on three outstanding courses if that’s your sport of choice.

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You’ll be in for a special treat when the sun begins to set on this historic jewel.  Plan to order a cocktail and watch nature’s display from the westward facing porch…you’ll feel every muscle in your body relaxing as you take in the splendor!

sunset on Jekyll