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Do you want to join a knitting club? Learn to play chess? Find an anime club for your teen? Join a book club? Write a better journal? Make a craft? Enjoy an art exhibit? Use a computer? Learn to deal with legal matters? Listen to music? Play chess? All of this and so much more is possible at your public library!
I’ll bet you thought libraries were just for books. Well, think again! Books are the main event, but the learning doesn’t stop there. Public libraries offer a variety of programs, from classes to clubs to storytelling to book talks for both children and adults. Some even show movies! Even if you just need a place to get out of the heat for a while, your public library is there for you, no purchase necessary!
The run-up to Labor Day is always a bit of a letdown. I feel like summer is kaput, vacation is over and Instagrammed, and it's time to sharpen my pencils, buy new notebooks and head back to school.
Who uses pencils? Or notebooks? And what school? I haven't returned to the classroom since computers were the size of a Starbucks, but that's how many of us are hardwired to feel when Labor Day comes and goes.
So lesson up. Back to school isn't just for kids, and that's a good thing. If you're keen on boosting your well-being—and who isn't?—then please welcome this seasonal shift into back-to-school mode. Use it to study and learn new stuff that informs and improves your own vision of living a healthier, happier life.
Do You Believe Pirates’Treasure Lies Along the SC Coast?
If your child has ever been intrigued by alligators, sea turtles, otters and marshlands, or driving golf carts, visiting islands only accessible by boat, pirates or buried treasure, New York Times Bestselling author, Mary Alice Monroe in collaboration with Angela May have a summer read for your 8-12 year old that I promise you will enjoy, too. Mary Alice and Angela have worked together for years, however Search for Treasure is the second book in The Islanders Young Adult adventure series, and we have been assured a third book is coming!
The book opens with Jack, along with his father Eric, going to visit his grandmother for the summer to Dewees Island, which is only accessible by boat. Tragedy has struck Jake’s father and the family is struggling to find a new normal.
Summer is in full swing. Expect ever-rising temperatures, melting popsicles and a need to rethink and refresh your warm-weather workouts to prevent that killer of all dreams: boredom.
Boredom is to fitness what a bucket of water is to a flaming marshmallow. Here are three strategies to help you extinguish the possibility of exercise burnout this summer, when you, and most everyone you know, are in a sweat about so many things.
DIVE INTO WATER WORKOUTS.
The downside is that you need a pool. But the upside is so amazing for your overall health and well-being that it’s worth finding one. (Open water works, too.) Aquatic workouts are an increasingly popular training for all ages and shapes, gentle on the joints and remarkably effective for building strength, flexibility and endurance.
Finding Creativity Everywhere You Look
When longtime educator Iris Jackson was locked down for Covid, naturally her mind worried about the children. She, like many teachers, knew online learning wasn’t enough to quell the growing minds and curiosities of kindergartners. These little minds and bodies aren’t meant for sitting still in front of a computer, tuning into class meetings, all in a hands-off learning environment.
That’s why Telling Trails, Iris Jackson’s new book, was born—out of an idea to help little ones connect the world around them to their thoughts, words and imaginations. A letter—A, B, C, D—a picture, a place, an experience, all became prompts for creativity and fun.
Hope for the Comunity
In the world we live in today, one thing that is never changing is everyone needs support. Whether financial, emotional or physical, having support is one key component to being happy, successful and sane.
This past January, Hope for the Community, a new non-profit organization was created from the vision of Pastor John Ring. WIth a long local background in counseling, as well as serving as the chaplain for Bluffton Police Department and Bluffton Fire District for more than 12 years, John saw a real need in our Beaufort County community and decided to act.
Personal well-being is very personal. It's not about the size of your belly or how many crunches you can do, and it's certainly not about how many times you've been to the gym in the last week. Or year. Decade, anyone?
So play along with me here: On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the top of Mount Everest for health and happiness, where would you put yourself right now, today, when it comes to your personal well-being? No excuses, no regrets, no judging—just a number between one and 10.
Think for a minute. Take a few breaths. This is called "tuning in."
A Story About the Love, Loss, Courage and Fight of a True #MamaBear
I’m a good mom…and I lost my child.
On Memorial Day, 2019, I was served papers for custody and visitation by my daughter’s biological father. This came as quite a surprise, considering the last time he’d seen her was two years before at a Chick-fil-A for an hour.
Rewind to 2015, before my daughter was born. I was pregnant and he and I had broken up after trying to work things out. Nothing had changed: He had a drug and alcohol problem and couldn’t hold down a job. I knew I could do this on my own, and I was on a mission to be the best mom I could be. When she was only 6 months old, he made the decision to move out of state.
Are you into gardening? Please say yes. It’s a kind of miracle. Food you grow tastes better, costs less, has greater nutritional value AND it leaves a carbon footprint the size of a grape.
Gardening isn’t an aerobic sport, and it won’t grow your fitness the way running, walking and biking will, but it sure can produce lots of pleasure, not to mention kale, spinach and tomatoes.
Gardening also helps you cultivate a calm, focused mind while putting all the major muscles of your body to work—digging, lifting and carrying. Besides burning calories, gardening connects us to the earth, and it’s that mindful exchange of energy—you plant; nature grows—that is so joyful and satisfying.
Growing stuff in a garden is also a splendid way to plant ideas in your child’s brain about what is real food, and how good it can taste. Next thing you know, your 10-year-old is snacking on cauliflower chunks instead of corn chips, and goes to sleep at night dreaming of broccoli stalks the size of baseball bats.
When you were in school did you:
Have books to read at home?
Have your own textbooks?
Did your school have a library?
Rural schools in Kenya have few books, and in some cases, no books. Often 20-30 children must share one textbook. How would your education have been affected if you had to share your English, Math or Science book with even one other child?
The mission of Libraries for Kids, International, which is a South Carolina non-profit corporation, is to help rural schools with little or no electricity or internet establish libraries. The goal is to get as many books as possible in the hands of as many children as possible. Currently, the organization is operating in Kenya where there are more than 6,700 rural schools averaging about 225 students in each for a total of about 1.5 million children. So far, Libraries for Kids has created libraries in 1,609 schools, impacting 360,000 children.
They Don’t Have to Happen to You
With the advent of Botox and Dysport and various fillers to restore facial volume such as the Juvederm and Restylane products, Sculptra, etc., men and women alike have jumped on the bandwagon to take advantage of these products to look more youthful.
The goal should be to look younger and better, but not look freakish or different. Most patients want to enhance their looks and look more youthful. What they don’t want is to have others look at them and wonder “Why do you look strange and even disfigured?”
Are You Going to the Wild Women’s Tea Party?
A little over ten years ago, local attorney and self-proclaimed “wild woman” Molly Day saw the need for a fundraiser that not only brought women together, but also supported and empowered women.
Enter the Wild Women’s Tea Party, an annual fundraising event of Lowcountry Legal Volunteers, that pairs champagne, food, fashion, prizes and fun during an afternoon that is a far cry from your grandmother’s tea party. This party is not only energetic, it is the epitome of women helping women!
It’s April, and my friend Bobby mentions he’s already bored with his running routine. (I’m a certified fitness trainer. People tell me these things.)
He’s on the treadmill most every day, pounding it out, mile after mile, sparking no joy whatsoever. But it’s still good for him, right? Not really. Exercise is the miracle drug we all know, but when your workouts are b-o-r-i-n-g, you’re more likely to get injured. Or quit! Bummer.
This column is dedicated to all the Bobbies out there who feel burned out and bored, who want to shake up their humdrum routine with something new, something fresh—something special from Preston’s Bag of Tricks for Beating the Workout Blahs:
I can sum up my response to the soaring price of gasoline in just one word: Aargh!
While waiting for prices to come down (Do you think they will?), don’t sit around complaining all the while paying through the nose to drive your car.
There are lots of things you can do to increase the number of miles you can squeeze out of each gallon of gas, effectively reducing its cost. Here are a few ways to get better gas mileage:
EMPTY THE TRUNK
Call it science. The heavier the car, the harder the engine must work to move it around. The harder the engine works, the more fuel it burns. So, unload all that stuff you’ve been carrying around in the trunk for no good reason. (Please, leave the spare tire and emergency equipment.) It’s a trunk, not a mini storage unit. Unload and you could easily increase your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Color, Texture, & Spring!
Beautiful container gardens can be showstoppers and brighten up the smallest of spaces. When #naturescalling, it's the perfect time to start planting. Your efforts will be rewarded, time-and-time again as you enjoy the fruits of your labor. This container garden is a work of art and you can play with and adjust it as the seasons change.
Learning how to live a happier, healthier lifestyle can be challenging, especially if there are crispy french fries on the table. But unlearning what you think you know is even trickier.
Our brains are constantly being reminded of stuff that simply isn’t true, like popular fitness myths that need unlearning and debunking, and that’s what I’m setting out to do today, aided by a lovely list assembled by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). (Disclaimer: I’m a member. They certify fitness trainers. I am one.)
Why Your Skin Loves a Good Sugar Scrub
I had never heard of a sugar scrub until the day I got too much sun. I asked my friend, who was a makeup artist, if she had a remedy for being too tan. I had an audition for some TV thing, and too tan is a no-no. She told me to mix some sugar and coconut oil together and rub it all over myself in the shower. Wow! That was a good time and it felt amazing! My skin felt as soft as a baby seal except without the fish breath. I was hooked but still tan. Oh well, no acting career for me but at least now I know what a sugar scrub is and how fantastic it makes your skin feel. It’s nature’s extra sweet exfoliant!
Come Inside the McPherson's Award-winning Home
Ann Marie and Rob McPherson love living on Hilton Head Island.
They came here for years from the Washington, DC area for mini vacations to visit Rob’s parents, who had retired to the Island and settled in the beautiful Wexford community. After building a successful career, first as an officer on the USS Jacksonville fast attack submarine, then joining Accenture and rising quickly to partner, Rob and Ann Marie decided to join his parents in making Hilton Head their permanent home when Rob retired early. Naturally they bought in Wexford, too.
They had a beautiful, large home, but that house became a monstrosity when, soon after his retirement, Rob suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 51, even though he was the picture of health. Left with many unknowns and a lot of new responsibilities, Ann Marie’s life also changed drastically, catapulting her into the driver’s seat for all McPherson family duties, responsibilities and decisions.
I have a personal question. It’s not intended to make you feel guilty (which is the mother of all useless emotions). It’s meant to tickle your neurons and invite thought.
What keeps you from exercising more?
You know you should. Exercise is the miracle cure for whatever ails you. Feeling tired? Depressed? Overcome with stress?
Get your body in motion. Regular, rhythmical exercise—over time—also helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure and is your truest and best friend when it comes to living a healthier, happier lifestyle.
But you know all that. Shoulda, woulda, coulda...
So what’s the answer? What keeps you from exercising more?
Premier Brain Experts Will Take the Stage at Memory Matters Brain Health Summit
Memory Matters’ Brain Health Summit is coming up next month—March 11. Its name—Brain Health Summit—may sound intimidating, boring, or too scientific, but it’s anything but!This fun, educational event provides the most up-to-date information on the importance of brain health, how you can keep your brain young, and what innovations are underway to cure Alzheimer’s disease.
Where History, Culture and the Spirit of the Lowcountry Come to Life
There’s nothing like a good story. Our imagination is ignited, our curiosity is elevated and our desire for knowledge is quenched. The Lowcountry boasts fantastic, true stories based on local history, and one of the best places to learn more is the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage in Ridgeland. It’s a learning and exhibition center dedicated to preserving and nurturing the history, culture and spirit of Jasper County and surrounding counties.
Their mission is to cultivate community understanding through education, preservation and celebration of the region’s rich history and culture. It is a facility where a wide diversity of people can gather to explore and learn about the area’s distinctive sense of place. Visitors will find dynamic exhibits, interactive learning opportunities, cultural offerings, storytelling and art. Executive Director Tamara Herring said, “We have a vast array of exhibitions where you can learn about the culture and traditions of the Lowcountry and enjoy the benefits of learning about where we live.”
I saw the funniest sign, but it wasn’t funny for long because I started to think about it. Suddenly, the humor melted away. The sign read: “Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and make bad decisions.”
Ouch! Those 15 words hit hard because I’ve made more than my share of bad money decisions in my life.
I’ve come a long way from that dark season of my life. I am determined to not go back but also to not live with regret for what might have been.
How His Immense Love of Animals Helped Transition Him to Heaven
Born September 4, 1940 in Williamstown, New Jersey, and gifted with a huge heart, there is no doubt the late Mr. Thomas L. Curry was one special human. Growing up on a large farm in New Jersey, hunting, gathering and farming filled his daily life. Little did he know he would have a life-changing experience that would not only alter his mindset about life, but also change his heart, too.
When Thomas was in his early twenties, he was hunting with a friend, one of their common pastimes. His friend shot a deer but it did not kill it completely. While the friend didn’t seem to care as much, Thomas could not stop thinking about the deer. The next weekend, he found the deer hidden in a bush, biting away at itself, trying to get the bullet out of its body. With the gruesome scene and tears shed, Thomas decided right then and there his hunting days were over.
A Short Story: “And Still They Come”
Writing has helped Vernie Singleton overcome a lot in her life. A very quiet child, almost to the point of being a hermit, Vernie never spoke out or spoke up. Whether it was at school in the classroom or at home she kept most of her thoughts to herself.
“Writing is a healing process. It helps me regurgitate and process my feelings and organize my thoughts. Writing has been a way for me to take my time and communicate my thoughts and things I want to say,” said Vernie.
Years ago, I was a guest on “The Maury Povich Show,” something I’ve never been that proud of. Back then, the show was kind of raunchy, and I just now realized that, some 20 years later, Maury is still at it.
I remember a few things about the show, like what I wore (What was I thinking?) and the nice production staff. Maury was very kind, too.
How the Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island Thrived During Covid-19
To say the last two years have been tough is an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. The world literally stopped in March, 2020. Everything came to a screeching halt, schools and businesses went virtual overnight, restaurants and theaters closed, and travel shut down indefinitely. Yet, in the midst of this crazy “new normal”, we all desperately sought ways to stay connected with friends, colleagues and, especially, our families.
Have you ever tried walking meditation? It’s a gentle and giant step into the world of Zen. And in case you’ve just returned from planet Elsewhere, Zen is trending big here on Earth. There are Zen retreats, Zen smoothies, Zen comics, Zen methods of diapering and accounting and an actual book called “Zen and the Art of Casino Gaming.”
“Zazen” is the Japanese word for seated meditation, and kinhin is walking meditation. Both are proven methods for quieting the mind. Kinhin is a simple practice that gives you all the benefits of seated meditation—increased energy, equanimity, awareness—with zero risk of falling asleep.
How to Heal Yourself
Life is busy. No doubt about it. We hustle to work, take the kids to school and soccer and dance lessons, rush around to shop, cook, clean, we bring work home with us, participate in our church, club, and other social opportunities. It’s no wonder our culture has become one of convenience—pre-packaged foods, fast food restaurants, pizza delivery and comfort food overload. Stress is part of daily living, so we take a breath, if we remember, and push on. As such, we have become disconnected from nature, from each other, from a quality home life. It is this very lifestyle that is making us collectively sick.
6 Women Who Care
With the year coming to an end, spirits are lifted, presents are gifted, and hearts are shifted.
The holidays bring out the giving spirit, but we found some ladies who are
dedicated to keeping spirits high all year round.
We are pleased to introduce you to these amazing leaders of just a few of the
Lowcountry’s finest organizations, all led by women.
Over the next six pages, enjoy learning and feeling the spirit of giving through caring souls,
advocacy and adoration for the Lowcountry and the people who live here.