With This Clay…

Kevin Pullen

Kevin Pullen

When I received an invitation from my friend, Natasha Williams, to meet Kevin Pullen I did not know what to expect!  I could say it was a “dark and stormy night” which it turned out to be, but the trip to the north end of the island to view the sculpture of this amazing artist turned out to be well worth the trip.

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Kevin’s gift is beyond words.  When I asked him about his training he jokingly said his kindergarten teacher put a ball of clay dough in his hands and the rest is history.  I think he probably was born with this talent and now shares it with us all in his soon to be cast bust of local Maestro Luis Haza, music director of Coastal Symphony of Georgia.  He captured the passion of Maestro to the point that I can envision the conductor’s arms moving with the music, bringing the musicians together to create the one magical voice their instruments create.  What a special gift this piece is and one that will be treasured forever.

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While spending time with Kevin I saw more of his work like this wonderful piece depicting the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.

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And this, his first work that dates back to the 1960’s, of Martin Luther King captures the peaceful essence of one of the greatest men in history.

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Kevin has a special interest in the Civil War.  I did not know the history behind this sculpture of the youngest ranking NCO to serve in army history, John Lincoln Clem. This young man followed the 22nd Michigan regiment of the Union Army at the age of nine.  He served as regiment mascot and drummer boy before receiving his rank and spent his life as a career office, retiring on the eve of the United State’s entry into World War I with the rank of Major General.   You can read more about this brave young soldier here:  http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/biographies/john-clem.html

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You’ll find Kevin Pullen teaching at the Golden Isles Career Academy in their media department on weekdays.  He inspires his students, his family and his friends with his positive attitude and loving nature.  And speaking of nature, this piece of “Eve” is beautifully done and I believe that’s one of my favorites, Keith Richards of Rolling Stones fame, just behind her.  I’m happy to add Kevin to my list of new friends and look forward to watching his work grow!

All photographs of Kevin Pullen’s work are copyrighted and remain his property.

It’s A Dolphin Kind Of Thing!

Three Dolphins

February 28th is the Super Dolphin Day Race!  The traditional pasta party is the night before with donations of all sorts of deliciousness coming from “Nazarro’s”,  “Crabdaddy’s”, “Del Sur” and “Golden Isles Olive Oil”….what a winning combination!

This is the largest PTA  fundraiser that benefits both Oglethorpe Elementary and St. Simons Elementary schools.  The pasta party takes place in the cafeteria at St. Simons Elementary school on the 27th from 5 – 8 pm….dine in or take out!

Don’t forget to stop in at the gym to register for some amazing prizes that will be given away!

There will be expo booths, bounce houses from Games 2 U, and the silent auction(7-10:30). The 10k 7 am, 5k 8:30, and the 1 mile fun run 9:30.

Tickets to participate in the race can be purchased here: http://superdolphinday.com/

This has been an annual event since 1978.  You DON’T want to miss it this year….share the word and share the fun!

Simple Sundays

We watched the movie “Message In A Bottle” one night last week.  It reminded me of how we all change with time as I saw a younger Robin Wright play the role of Theresa.  Seeing her now in one of our favorite series, “House of Cards”, you’d barely recognize her!  I love the story of her character finding the wine bottle in which a message, so poignantly written by the Kevin Costner’s character, leads her on a journey to find him.  In typical Nicholas Sparks fashion the movie has a bittersweet ending….why does he always do that?  The soundtrack is so beautiful in this movie.  I’m sharing the piece “Forever (And Always)” by Gabriel Yared with you today.  And if you get the chance and want to view the movie get out your box of tissues, settle back and enjoy!

Living To Write

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I’m taking part in a “blogathon” that is hosted by the publishing company, Oghma Creative.  Both my children’s book series and novels are in the hands of Oghma for which I am very grateful.  When asked to take part in this event I did not know what I might write about.  Then it clearly came to me, hitting me right between the eyes, that I needed to write about what I do as a writer and why I do it.

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I have dreamed of writing professionally for as long as I can remember!  I always kept a diary as a child, writing about my day, pouring my soul, and, at times tears, onto the pages, carefully locking the diary so my privacy could be maintained.  I don’t know what happened to all of those diaries, but I suspect they were probably thrown out in one of numerous moves.

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When it became in vogue to journal I began keeping my thoughts in beautiful books that I found.  My writing matured and I used the journals as a way of self-expression as well as a sort of therapy.  Writing always cleared my mind and soothed my emotions.  When I look back through some of the journals now I can see how far I’ve come and I realize how many dreams I expressed that really did come true.  I’ve always been a big believer in manifesting and positive thoughts.  The journals have served to help materialize my desires.  They have acted as a catalyst in many cases.  I treasure the experiences I saved in the books and still leaf through to take a look at where I was at different times and how I related to what happened.

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This blog has taken the place of that journaling for me as I share my life in Coastal Georgia with readers internationally.  At last count I have readers in 131 countries.  I never imagined such a thing could happen when I first began blogging back in February 2013.  Having the opportunity to share my writing with readers in so many different places is such a blessing!  I have developed an on-line platform that serves my other writing adventures in a very important way.  People follow me through social media and actually visit Coastal Georgia having been introduced to it via The Permanet Tourist.

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And now, I discipline myself and keep a tight schedule so that there is plenty of time for my other writing.  The second in the “Emmeline” children’s book series went to my editor last week for her review, changes and suggestions.  I’m making time to work on the first of five women’s literary fiction novels in the “Moonflowers” series as well.  This is probably one of the most challenging journey’s I have ever set out to follow.  It requires going into the depths of my soul to discover each of the five female characters that will be featured in the books.  I realize more and more how much I AM each of these women, as well as other family members and friends whose experiences are woven into the fabric of the saga.  Writing about five generations of strong women, what they did for love and how each generation interacts, even after death, with the other is proving to be quite an adventure.  That bit of supernatural that winds through each of the books allows me to let my imagination go and create in ways that I thrive on.  I imagine my favorite authors from bygone times, Lillian Hellmann, Dorothy Parker, Anais Nin and hope that I might even come close to their talent and greatness.  But….does one have to smoke endless cigarettes and have a full glass of whiskey beside the keyboard at all times in order to achieve this?  If so, I’m in trouble.

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Writing is what I live for.  Everyday holds something that enriches my stories, helping me to take my place at my desk each day, place my hands on the keys and allow the words to flow.  There is always a bit of resistance when I first begin, but that is lessening with time.  I have truly found my passion and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to write and be published.  I’ll be posting about and sharing each book with you as they become available.  Most of all I am thankful that writing is a profession I can continue until I take my last breath.  And, who knows,  it might even continue after that…..anything is possible, after all…..or so I’ve been told!

A Special Tribute

Something very special is happening at The Ritz this coming Saturday evening, February 21st.  My dear friend, Phil Morrison, along with a group of talented musicians will pay tribute to the great Duke Ellington and The Harlem Renaissance.

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This event continues the celebration of  the rich African-American history we have in Coastal Georgia.  The Big Read features “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, by Zora Neale Hurston, an author who was part of the renaissance that spanned from 1918 into the early 1930’s.  So many African-American authors, musicians and artists made their mark during this important era.

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The music of Duke Ellington and other musicians who came to the fore at the time will be celebrated in this wonderful concert!

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For information on the event go here:  http://www.goldenislesarts.org/.  Tickets are only $15.00 for members and $10.00 for senior member if ordered ahead of time.  Non-member tickets are $20.00 and $15.00 for seniors.  Tickets will be available at the door for an additional $5.00 per ticket as well.  Click on the link to order on-line today!

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Mr. T and I are planning a night out!  Won’t you join us in supporting Golden Isles Arts & Humanities?  It all begins at 8:00….see you there!

Mr. Abbott

 

 

 

I originally wrote this post last year during African American History month.  Several readers have mentioned Mr. Abbott so I felt drawn to share this post again.  He was such an important part of history in many ways.  I’ll featuring other African American’s during February who have made a difference and have stories to tell!  I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading about this fascinating man!

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I first heard of Robert Abbott a year ago when news of the annual International Festival, held on the grounds of Coastal College, was announced.  Loving festivals that bring people of different backgrounds together to share food and entertainment, my curiosity led me to learn more about this interesting man.  He truly was a man ahead of his time!  An active civil rights visionary, Robert was a man ahead of his time.  He helped many, many African Americans find a better life.

Robert Abbott and his mother, Flora

Robert Abbott and his mother, Flora

Born in 1868 here on St. Simons Island, Robert’s father died when young Abbott was only one year old.  His parents both gained their freedom five years before his birth as a result of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  Both of his parents worked as slaves on the Steven’s Plantation.  Robert’s father was so well thought of by the Steven’s family that they paid for his funeral and erected a headstone in his honor.

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In later years, Robert replaced that headstone with a large white granite obelisk that now stands close to the visitor’s center at Fort Frederica.

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After his father’s death, Robert’s mother moved to Savannah where she married John Sengstake, a bi-racial Congregational minister and printer from Germany.  From childhood, Robert became aware of the need for and importance of unity among all races.  He received his law degree from Chicago’s Kent College in 1898.  Unsuccessful at finding permanent employment he decided to start his own newspaper, The Chicago Defender.  The first issue of The Defender appeared on the streets on May 5, 1905.  Within a few years the company occupied a three story building and printed over 250,000 copies of the newspaper each week.  Robert’s fierce opposition to racism brought national attention to the paper.  He launched a plan to send shipments of The Defender into the south, thus spreading the word of opportunity and advancement for African Americans in the Chicago area.

Abbott and his chaffeur

Abbott and his chauffeur

Robert Abbott became the pioneer of the Negro press as much as Hearst was for the white metropolitan press.  He was instrumental in the moving of black people from the South on what were then termed “Freedom Trains”.  He was a giving man who left a legacy for all African Americans.  He was the second black millionaire to stake his claim after the Civil War and all of the subsequent race issues that did not easily fade in the South.  This picture shows him with his chauffeur.  Robert loved cars and owned several, yet he never learned to drive.

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Things to note that are legacies of this great man’s work are a school that bears his name in Chicago as well as a World War II Battleship.  The Bud Billikin Parade, which is the largest African American parade in the Chicago area is a major event and celebration each year in honor of this great man.

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Robert Abbott was a powerful man, quiet and small of stature, but giving and inspirational to so many. His life ended in 1940 at the age of 71.   His work lives on and the local International Festival that honors him will be held in April.  I’ll have more information on that event for you as it draws near.

A Pictures Worth!

I recently received an invitation to join a Facebook group that is sharing some of the most beautiful photography.  I asked permission to feature a of few of the photographs that are so amazing and got the go ahead!  So, without further ado, sit back and enjoy these wonderful pictures of our precious Georgia Coast.  They make me so happy and so thankful to be here!

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A spectacular sunrise by Jeff Jones

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A darling Tufted Titmouse, again by Jeff Jones

my georgia 5 Patricia VanCleave

Avenue of the Oaks by Patricia VanCleave

I love the slightly winsome, yet eerie quality of this photograph!  Surrounded by all of the history, this really speaks to me.

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David Fisher captures a choppy sea so beautifully in this photograph, don’t you think?

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And this wonderful photograph of the recent full moon from Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach…magical! Photographer Tony Mauk is the talented artist who took this.

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 Last, but certainly not least, Sherry-Logan Weed took this wonderful photograph of last night’s sunset!

Coastal Georgia is one nature show after another!  If you live here be thankful!  If you want to visit and experience the magic…please do!

For more information on visiting the Golden Isles visit here:  www.goldenisles.com

 

More Than Skin Deep…

 

For as long as I can remember both my mother and my grandmother stressed the importance of good skin care.  My first job after leaving college was at the headquarters of Estee Lauder in New York City and then onto the Borghese cosmetic company which was then a division of Revlon.  I am always looking for that next great product, realizing that a good regimen for the skin leads to more graceful aging.  I’ve been out in the sun a lot more than either my mom or her mother, which takes its toll, but that’s a done deal.  Finding a skin care line I can rely on that provides good exfoliation and top quality products is very important to me.  I first heard about Rodan & Fields from my friend, Betsy Loehle Knight.  Betsy is Murphy’s wonderful dog groomer and is always interested in good health and self-care.  I happened to see a before and after picture on Facebook of Betsy that showed a startling before and after picture of her skin.  She has battled rosacea for years and finally found a product line that delivers amazing results.

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Here is Betsy before and after using Rodan & Fields.  What an amazing difference.  She noticed a big improvement after just one month and continues using the Soothe line along with the “Redefine” line for anti-aging.  Rodan & Fields is a product line formulated by the same two female doctors who came up with ProActive, which if you’ve helped your teenager battle acne, you’ll know is pretty miraculous.

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There are four different types of care in the line along with a bounty of other items from an AMP MD System, micro-dermabrasion and exfoliators…the list goes on and on.

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I’m showing these before and after’s so you can have a good look at the possibilities.  Here is a before and after of a woman who uses the “Redefine” line I mentioned above.  It helps reverse the results of aging and, when begun before the signs really begin, actually slow them down.

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Next we have “Reverse”, the line for sun damage.  We’ve all been out in the sun and know the effects that can have.  This line actually improves the appearance of the skin as well as repairing on a cellular level.

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And here’s R&F’s line for acne care.  Amazing results!

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Finally “Soothe” the line Betsy first began with last April.  You saw her before and after above, here’s another one to have a look at.  I rarely get behind a product line, but I’m truly impressed with what I’m reading and seeing.  If you’d like to learn more you can contact Betsy here:  betsyssi.myrandf.com.  Our skin is the largest organ in our body.  Good, regular skin care is essential for our well-being, our health and our beauty.  I highly recommend checking it out!

The French Cook

The French Cook-Soups and Stews

I’m thinking of what to write about this wonderful new cookbook in Holly Herrick’s series, The French Cook.  The very look of the cover entices me to open the pages and take a look.  This particular book is all about soothing, comforting soups and stews.

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Then I look inside the front cover and see that Libbie Summers did the food styling along with her talented photographer, Chia Chong.  What a trio of talent to savor and enjoy as I snuggle down into my desk chair, taking in the beauty of the pictures, the perfection of the recipes….I’m getting hungry!

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Holly Herrick is an uber talented, French Cordon Bleu trained chef who makes Charleston, South Carolina her home.  She tirelessly tests each recipe before even thinking of including it in one of her fabulous cookbooks.  The French Cook series includes three other books “Sauces“, “Souffles” and “Cream Puffs and Eclairs“.  Each hard bound book is beautifully presented and filled with recipes you’ll include in your repertoire for entertaining as well as comforting family meals.

You can read more about Holly on her newly redesigned website:  http://www.hollyherrick.com/.  If you live in the Charleston area you’ll want to take a look at the calendar of events Holly features on her site.  Her cooking classes are wonderful.  I especially love the farmer’s market series of classes, hands on and full of information you’ll treasure!

From The French Cooks - Soups & Stews (Gibbs Smith) by Holly Herrick. Photo by Chia Chong.

I’m pleased to call Holly my friend!  I know you’ll love these books if cooking is your “thing”.  You’ll find the perfect recipes for a chilly winter evening….Soups & Stews…how delicious!  As for me…I’m in my own little heaven, reading every recipe and feasting on the photographs! I believe I hear the recipe on page 100 for Oyster and Parsnip Bisque calling my name!  Order your copy today!  All of Holly’s books are available on Amazon and in fine bookstores.  Get cooking!

Miss Fanny

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It’s hard to believe this is the last week of January.  Next Sunday is February 1st, the beginning of black history month.  The historic character I’m writing about is not African American, but she did champion the call for abolishing slavery through her book, “Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 in England in 1863.  Her name was Fanny Kemble.

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Fanny married Pierce Mease Butler in the 1830’s.  Mr. Butler was the heir to his grandfather’s legacy which included 100’s of slaves and several plantations on Georgia’s Sea Islands.  But Fanny could never get used to the treatment or even the idea of slaves.  She was definitely outspoken for her time, leading to her divorce from Pierce Butler in 1849.

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Fanny Kemble was an accomplished actress, an icon of the British stage to which she returned after her divorce.  She held off publishing her journal for two decades so as to keep peace between herself and Pierce Butler.   This book is the Englishwoman’s condemnation of slavery, vivid descriptions of her life on Southern plantations and the evil she witnessed while living there.  The book caused a sensation throughout Great Britain.  Fanny returned to life in the United States after the civil war when her eldest daughter, Sarah, married a prominent doctor in Philadelphia.  Fanny made her home in Philadelphia and supported herself travelling up and down the East coast and Europe delivering her famous Shakesperean readings.

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Truly a woman ahead of her time!  This is my favorite quote from Fanny Kemble when she spoke of life in Coastal Georgia:  “I should like the wild savage loneliness of the far away existence extremely if it were not for the one small item of ‘the slavery.'”  Her dedication to writing in her diaries, sharing her life experiences as well as reporting on the flora and fauna to be found in her time lives on today.  You can still find this book in print either on-line or through G.J. Ford here on St. Simons Island.