June Movies

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Movies…I love them. They’ve played an important role in my life, providing inspiration and providing deeper life messages. And yet for two years, I rarely enjoyed watching them on the big screen.

I changed that during the month of June. I’m back at the movies and loving it. I enrolled in Regal Cinema’s Unlimited program. For $18 month, I can watch an unlimited number of movies. If I go twice during a month, I save money. This past month, I enjoyed SIX films at the local Regal Theater.

Here’s a brief review of each of the June movies that I saw…no spoilers.

June Movies title meme

June Movies

I enjoyed quite a mix of films, from multi-universe fantasy to period piece to dinosaurs roaming present day earth to intense fighter pilot training to a music legend biopic. Four of the films were sequels. All touched me in some way, making laugh, jump, cry or walk away in deep thought.

Here are the June movies, each with brief synopsis and what I loved about it. I’m presenting them in the order that I saw them.

Downton Abbey A New Era

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Allen Leach, Laura Carmichael, Harry Hadden-Paton, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier and Maggie Smith.

Rating/Length: PG, 2 hours, 4 minutes

Watch on Peacock, with a subscription.

Synopsis: In this second movie in the Downton Abbey franchise, based on the long running television series, part of the Crawley Family goes on an adventure to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.

Meanwhile, back at Downton Abbey Lady Mary and the staff open the home to a film crew, filming the last of the silent movies. It’s not a smooth process for anyone and Lady Mary finds herself filling in when the silent film suddenly transitions into a “talkie”.

What I love about this movie: I watched the whole Downton Abbey series and the first movie and highly anticipated this sequel. Although there are many characters to keep track of and multiple story lines, I enjoyed the interaction between “upstairs” and “downstairs” and the mystery in this film, that is not solved until the end of the movie. Some of the characters had big moments as well, that I celebrated with them.

June Movies downton abbey
June Movies – Downton Abbey A New Era

Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez and Rachel McAdams.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours, six minutes

Watch Dr Strange on Prime Video.

Synopsis: Dr Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl who can travel across universes. Together they battle threats and encounter other versions of Dr Strange in other universes as they seek to prevent a new adversary from wiping out millions across the multiverse.

What I love about this movie: I’m a big Marvel Universe fan, watching the many films that make up this multifaceted franchise. And although multiverse films can be confusing, I found this one fast paced, fun to watch and easy to follow. I also enjoy thinking about the possibility of there being multiple universes.

June Movies dr strange
June Movies – Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Rating/Length: R, 2 hours, 19 minutes

Watch Everything on Prime Video.

Synopsis: With her business and marriage failing, Evelyn Wang struggles to cope with life. Even her relationships with her father and daughter are strained. On her way to meet with an IRS auditor, Evelyn inexplicably finds herself caught up in an insane journey, jumping into parallel realities through a multiverse rift. Through all the realities an evil person pursues her, threatening the existence of everyone.

What I loved about this movie: Talk about taking the multiverse theme to a new level! This film goes there, in an entertaining yet thought provoking way. I loved the growth that Evelyn experienced as a result of her crazy journey and the big aha at the end of the movie.

June Movies everything
June Movies – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Jurassic World Dominion

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Isabelle Sermon and DeWanda Wise.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours, 27 minutes

Currently playing at theaters.

Synopsis: This sequel takes place four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar. Dinosaurs now live…and hunt…alongside humans all over the world. This unstable balance is reshaping the future and may determine whether humans will remain the dominant species on earth.

What I loved about this movie: After seeing the other films in this series, I HAD to see this final installment. I love the dinosaurs and I enjoyed seeing the return of other cast members from earlier films. It all felt very nostalgic.

June Movies jurassic world
June Movies – Jurassic World Dominion

Top Gun: Maverick

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer and Jon Hamm.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours 10 minutes

Currently playing at theaters.

Synopsis: After 30+ years as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is doing what he loves best…pushing the envelope as a test pilot. An urgent situation brings him back to the US Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as Top Gun, where he must train a group of young pilots for an impossible mission. Among the trainees, the son of Maverick’s deceased best friend Goose.

What I loved about this movie: I enjoyed this intense, fast paced, edge of your seat film and in fact, liked it even better than the first Top Gun. Tom Cruise excels in the role of Maverick and it is very heart touching to see Val Kilmer reprise the role of Iceman. Kilmer is fighting throat cancer in real life and it’s very moving to see him in this movie. I highly recommend re-watching Top Gun before seeing Maverick.

June Movies maverick
June Movies – Top Gun Maverick


Cast: Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh and Helen Thomson.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours, 39 minutes

Currently playing at theaters.

Synopsis: This biopic follows the life of music legend Elvis Presley from his childhood to rock and roll stardom, during a time of great cultural shifts in the US. The story is told from the perspective of Elvis’ controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker, a complex relationship that spanned 20 years.

What I loved about this movie: Although I enjoyed all six of June movies, this one was the best. I did not consider myself a huge Elvis fan, however I am a big fan of the writer/producer of the film, Baz Luhrman. I appreciate the high energy way that he tells a story. And now, after seeing the film, I am also an Elvis fan. I learned things about the musician that I didn’t know and felt deeply moved by his story. The impact was so great that I sat through the credits, tears in my eyes, thinking big thoughts, and then immediately played the movie soundtrack via Amazon Music on my Echo Dot when I returned home. I’ll see this one again.

June Movies elvis
June Movies – Elvis

Have You Seen Any of These Films

That’s my round up of June Movies! I look forward to taking full advantage of my Regal Unlimited Card to watch movies all summer and share the lineup each month. It feels so good to be back front of the big screen again.

Have you seen any of these films? Which one was your favorite?

June Movies unlimited


Get Amazon Prime, which include Prime Video, HERE, free trial for 30 days.

You might also enjoy this review of JoJo Rabbit.


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.





Sculpture Walk Springfield

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love when something fun and new comes unexpectedly into my awareness. Recently, scrolling through my feed on Facebook, my attention was caught by an announcement on a new-to-me page called Sculpture Walk Springfield.

Springfield, Missouri is an hour drive from my hometown of Joplin. I go there often on adventures, weekend get-aways and or just to enjoy a meal.

I felt excited about an art adventure in this charming and busy city. Reading for info, I realized this was a new installation in an ongoing exhibit that changes yearly.

On a beautiful spring day, Greg and I drove to Springfield to enjoy the Sculpture Walk and a wonderful lunch at a downtown restaurant. Check out some of my favorite sculptures from that trip.

Sculpture Walk Springfield title meme

What Is Sculpture Walk Springfield?

In 2013, Karen Schneider and Peg Carolla went to visit their respective daughters in two very different cities – Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Mexico City, Mexico – and returned with similar visions about what public art can do for a community. In Mexico City, Peg noticed giant cups painted by individual artists, lining a long boulevard. And in Sioux Falls, Karen took note of a program of changing sculptures in the town center.

Karen and Peg gathered a group of enthusiastic Springfield residents who carried the vision for such an art project in their own city.

Sculpture Walk Springfield launched in April 2015 with 13 sculptures installed throughout the downtown area. This year the 2022 exhibit showcases 41 sculptures…29 temporary ones that will change out next year and 12 permanent installations.

Vision, Mission and Purpose

Their vision: to create a museum without walls with access to all.

Their purpose: when placed outdoors, integrated in full public view with existing structures and landscapes, sculptures add to a city’s heritage, character, and sense of place and diversity; it adorns a city with distinction, adding to pride of place and a sense of identity. Public art rejuvenates public spaces by transforming them into destinations.  Sculpture Walk Springfield will play a major role in the economic rejuvenation of Springfield.

Their mission: to encourage the artistic transformation of Springfield through outdoor sculpture, thus enhancing our quality of life and promoting economic vitality.

Sculpture Walk Springfield downtown
Sculpture Walk Springfield – downtown street

Looking for Sculptures

You can visit the Facebook Page or the website HERE to download a map or you can park near Park Central Square in downtown Springfield and start walking. The sculptures are identified by a small plaque near each one, that lists the artist and a brief description of the inspiration for the art.

Park Central Square is a gorgeous place to call “home base” for the hunt. There is free parking available nearby and a variety of shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs in the area for a meal or a drink.

I downloaded a map onto my phone, in case we got “stuck”. However, the sculptures were not hard to find. It’s fun to stroll through the downtown area, enjoying the city and looking for these works of art. We located about half of the sculptures and saved the rest so we had another reason to return soon to Springfield.

The warm sunshiny day encouraged us to stop for lunch and lots of ice water at Civil Kitchen, located across from Park Central Square. This fun restaurant offers veggie choices such as their falafel and veg wrap and colossal onion rings. That wrap is amazing! I also enjoyed their flash fried kale.

Sculpture Walk Springfield civil kitchen
Sculpture Walk Springfield – good place for lunch, Civil Kitchen

Sculpture Walk Springfield Faves

Here are some of my favorite sculptures that we found on this first exploration. ALL of the sculptures are amazing though. You’ll want to find all of them.


Artist: Nathan Pierce

Nathan believes that communication plays a fundamental role in our perceptions of the world we live in. His work deals with the conflicts of confinement and freedom and with exploring the catalyst between building or destroying communication. The relationship that his work has with the natural environment communicates with the viewer and helps activate the imagination and see the world differently.

(Pictured above in the Title Pin)

Call Now!

Artist: Mike Salisbury

Mike uses the abandoned payphone as a metaphor for connection and disconnection. His urban street sculpture invites interaction and reflects our culture in a time of change.

The juxtaposition of an outdated artifact surrounding a living tree causes the viewer to contemplate: “Is nature protected or imprisoned? Is this a triumph for the environment or a rite for our technology? Playful nostalgia or a worrisome premonition?”

You decide!

Sculpture Walk Springfield call now
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Call Now!

Guardian Creature

Artist: Derek Fitzpatrick

This playful sculpture is based off of a series of ceramic and metal sculptures that Derek made called creatures.

This one, the Guardian Creature, is meant to guard and protect people.

Sculpture Walk Springfield guardian creature
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Guardian Creature

Heart of the Matter

Artist: Larry Young

Larry drew inspiration from the EKG graph as it records the strength and timing of the heart’s activity. Especially in tough times, he says, we need our hearts to beat in strong, coordinated rhythm.

Two of Larry’s family members work in the health industry. He possesses a deep appreciation for what those in this field sacrifice and do to serve all in need.

Sculpture Walk Springfield heart of the matter
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Heart of the Matter

Say Cheese

Artist: Justin Deister

As a kid, did you hate for your food to touch, on your plate?

Justin says that’s where art began for him…managing food migration. His inspiration is the fun kids enjoy when they put cheese noodles on fork tines. It always makes him smile.

His sculpture makes me smile!

Sculpture Walk Springfield say cheese
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Say Cheese

Thinking of Solutions

Artist: Zachery Long

Zachery calls this sculpture a self portrait. He felt stuck on a problem. He is very solution oriented and found himself thinking on solutions in a robotic way. Processing ideas is how he hunts for solutions. This time, the solution was the process.

Sculpture Walk Springfield thinking of solutions
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Thinking of Solutions

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding

Artist: James Douglas Cox

James wanted to make this sculpture for more than 20 years. He says with the division between people in the US the worst he’s seen in his lifetime, he figured this was as good a time as any to create it.

In James’ favorite version of Nick Lowe’s song What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding Nick says:

“As I walk this wicked world  searching for light in the darkness of insanity, I ask myself is all hope lost, is there only pain, hatred and misery/ And each time I feel like this inside there’s one thing I want to know.

What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding? What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?

And as I walk on through troubled times, my spirit gets so down hearted sometimes. Sometimes, so where are the strong? And who are the trusting? And where is harmony, sweet harmony? Cause each time I feel it slipping away, it just makes me want to cry.

What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding? What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?

Sculpture Walk Springfield whats so funny
Sculpture Walk Springfield – What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding

Visit Springfield MO and the Sculpture Walk

If you live in the Springfield, Branson or Joplin areas or you are passing through, take time to stop and walk in downtown Springfield. Visit a couple of the sculptures…or hunt for all of them. These works of art make you think, make you smile, make you feel.

I thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon of strolling and looking, reading the plaques and thinking about the art.  Greg and I finished our time in Springfield with afternoon tea at Gilmore’s.

I’m so impressed and inspired by this Sculpture Walk. It’s a museum without walls indeed, on several different levels. And the hunt and find nature of it just adds to the experience.

I look forward to a return visit and discovering more sculptures tucked into downtown Springfield.

Sculpture Walk Springfield bunnies
These whimsical creatures are part of the What’s So Funny sculpture.


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Star Struck

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This past week it was Adventure Challenge time. I also dealt with one of those annoying things…a full blown summer cold. Additionally, it’s been a full week. I spent any free moments I had in a cold medicine induced sleep.

However, a beautiful thing happened. Rather than shy away from doing an adventure from my book, I randomly selected the activity, trusting completely that it would be perfect in spite of my circumstances. And you know what? It absolutely was.

This is Adventure Challenge #10, Star Struck.

Star Struck title meme

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

As a reminder, The Adventure Challenge books contain scratch off adventures, suitable for adults, families and individuals. Each hardbound book contain 50 fun and unique challenges to experience with a partner, spouse, friends, family members or on your own.

The challenges encourage you to get off your phone and electrical devices and connect with each other…or more deeply with yourself. They are the perfect way to explore your city or the great outdoors, try something new, reconnect with your inner child or make new friends.

The keepsake book makes it easy to document the memories, with snapshots and a few words about the experience.

There’s a catch though. The challenges are hidden. You don’t know what the activity is, until you scratch it off. If you’ve followed me for very long, you KNOW I love playing games built around randomness. The Adventure Challenge books are like the games I play where I draw random slips of paper out of a jar and do the activity I select. There are no “do overs”, in those fun games I make up, or in The Adventure Challenge.

Star Struck

My instructions for Challenge #10:

“Get some one on one time with the universe.

Find a building you’re allowed to get on top of, bring a lawn chair or blanket, set up and chill out.

Gaze at the stars and take in the night sky as your mind goes to distant galaxies.”

I loved the simplicity of this challenge, during a week when that is exactly what I needed. Plus, this activity connects to me in a deeper way.

Since I don’t know anyone with a building in Joplin that allows safe rooftop access, I adapted. I chose to use the vintage picnic table in my own backyard as my viewing point, covered with a thick plaid blanket.

Star Struck table
Star Stuck – picnic table as vantage point for star gazing

Setting Up the Star Struck Challenge

Star gazing in my own backyard made setting up for this activity easier. While a threat of evening thunderstorms hung over the Joplin area, I set up the picnic table anyway. A spectacular sunset revealed thunderheads building to the northwest but as darkness deepened, the towering clouds stayed north.

I draped a heavy plaid blanket over the picnic table, for comfort. And added a pillow to cradle my head with the appropriate words, “Let the adventure begin!” (Get a similar pillow HERE) A cup of hot tea and natural bug spray completed the setup. A steady breeze not only cooled the yard but kept the mosquitos from hovering around, ultimately making the spray unnecessary.

About 9:30 pm I stretched out on the table, ready to star gaze.

Star Struck sunset
Star Struck – sunset behind building thunderheads

My Star Struck Experience

Lying back on the picnic table and looking up immediately transported me back to my childhood.

I’ve long held a profound fascination for space. As a child, I spent many a summer night lying on a blanket in my backyard in Tulsa, Oklahoma, looking up. I learned the constellations, the moon phases and the movement of the planets that way. The original Star Trek television series with Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy snagged my interest as a result and increased my love of space, causing me to check out books about the universe, the Milky Way and other galaxies. I grew up looking up at the night sky frequently to find favorite…and familiar…constellations.

Lying in my Joplin backyard brought back those memories and a sense of nostalgia for my childhood adventures. Even with some city light pollution I immediately found the bright star Arcturus, a red giant in the constellation Bootes.

Aloud I recited the lines I learned long ago…”Arc to Arcturus…speed on to Spica”. Tipping my head back, I found the “arc” of the big dipper that points the way to Arcturus. And continuing on, I found Spica, the blue star in the constellation Virgo.

I enjoyed a quiet time of star gazing, remembering long ago summer nights and simply relaxing in my dark backyard.

Star Struck arcturus
Star Struck – see that little white dot in the black sky? That’s the star Arcturus.

Adventure Challenges

Do these adventure challenges sound like fun to you? What about the amazing life lessons and/or synchronicities that accompany each one?

Challenge books are available in solo, family and couples editions. Each book contains 50 scratch off challenges. Check out the various books and the camera/book kits HERE. Use my code GOINGBEYOND to save 10% off of your order at checkout.

You can also purchase the camera HERE, from Amazon. The instamatic photos add to the fun, plus there’s a spot to add them in the book as you document the challenges.

The perfect challenge activity came to me this week and I am so grateful. I needed that 30 minutes lying on a blanket covered picnic table in my backyard. And I deeply appreciate the connection it created with one of my favorite summer activities as a child.

I don’t think I sneezed or coughed once in that half hour! Nothing disturbed the peace and joy I found star gazing. Plus I set the intention of looking up into the night sky more often. There’s such wonder and beauty there in that vast universe.

Have you star gazed recently?

Star Struck - let the adventure begin
Star Struck – Let the adventure begin! 



Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.




Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC

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Visiting the Charleston area and looking for things to do outside the city? The South Carolina Sea Islands offer additional experiences to enjoy during your vacation. And, to really immerse yourself in the island culture, consider staying on Johns Island, a 30 minute drive from the Charleston airport.

I loved my stay at Sailor’s Rest Airbnb. From there I had access to many fun things to do on Johns Island SC. From exploring the Charleston Tea Garden to visiting one of the oldest live oak trees in the south, you can choose several…or all…of these activities to deepen your experience.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC title meme

Angel Oak Tree

This huge, ancient tree is a Lowcountry beauty. Considered the largest southern live oak tree east of the Mississippi, the Angel Tree, also called Angel Oak, is estimated to be 400 years old, although some accounts place the age at closer to 1500 years.

Located on Johns Island, Angel Oak Tree is 66.5 feet tall and has a trunk circumference of 28 feet. The Spanish moss draped canopy spreads over 17,200 square feet, creating sun dappled shade beneath the branches. One of the longest branches extends 187 feet from trunk to tip.

Some of the massive branches require support beneath them, to keep them from breaking. And some of the tree’s branches dive underground and then pop back up out of the ground as they continue to grow.

This park is free to visit, although donations are accepted to help preserve this protected tree.

The park is located at 3688 Angel Oak Road on Johns Island and open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sunday. The road to the Angel Tree is narrow and a bit rough so drive slowly. Parking spots are located outside the fenced area, with handicap parking available within the park.

There is a gift shop located within the park, along with porta-potties and picnic tables.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island tree
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – Angel Oak Tree

Charleston Aqua Park

Located at 3050 Marlin Road, Johns Island, the aqua park is open daily from noon until 6:00 pm.

You can book 45 minutes sessions, for $18.90 per person, and enjoy the water park OR the ropes course. Book sessions online at this LINK. Bring your swimsuit and a towel, for the aqua park, plus closed toe shoes if enjoying the ropes course. Life jackets are provided.

The ropes course offers overwater climbing adventures for ages 6 and up. This fully floating course provides three difficulty levels from beginner to intermediate.

There are picnic tables and beach chairs located beside the lake, for spectators.

Freshfields Village

Freshfields Village sits at the crossroads of Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island and Johns Island, in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. It’s just 30 minutes from Charleston and minutes from anywhere on the islands.

Operated by Northwood Retail, this is an open air shopping community, designed for pedestrian traffic. Freshfields Village offers vacationers and residents a premiere shopping and dining destination with unique architecture, beautiful courtyard patios, and seasonal events that include cultural festivals, outdoor concerts and movies, plus a seasonal Farmer’s Market.

Although it is designed for walking the beautifully arranged streets and lanes, there is ample parking available in designated areas. Additional parking is available along the streets and behind the buildings.

The Village offers more than 60 stores, restaurants and services in one convenient location. And what a beautiful, relaxed space it is. You can easily spend a day here, shopping, dining and participating in events. Or stop by for lunch and a quick walk through the village. There’s something for everyone here.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC freshfields
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – Freshfields Village

Captain Jack’s Kiawah Sailing & Dolphin Watching

Located on Johns Island, at 1880 Andell Bluff Blvd, Captain Jack’s is open 7:00 am until 7:00 pm every day.

You and five others in your private party depart from Bohicket Marina for a tour of the Edisto River or Atlantic Ocean. Watch dolphins swimming alongside the boat while the skipper shares the local lore and natural history of the salt marshes.

Sailing adventures include a private island picnic, sunset sail, family fishing, sailing lessons, dolphin watching, champagne cruise or a full day VIP cruise featuring all of the above.

Three hours of sailing costs $490 (group rate) or the sunset sail runs $530. Check out their website for more info.

Charleston Tea Garden

For anyone who enjoys drinking tea, hot or iced, the Charleston Tea Garden is a must see. They are the only such tea garden in the US, where hundreds of thousands of tea plants grow in the ideal South Carolina climate.

Owned by the Bigelow family, the farm offers guests an amazing tea experience.

In addition to many acres of tea plants, visitors enjoy an educational tour of the tea factory. And a 45 minute trolley ride around the property provides an up close look at the plants and a tour guide that shares interesting facts about the whole process.

The tea garden, located at 6617 Maybank Highway on Warmalaw Island,  is open daily. Hours of operation are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday and noon – 4:00 pm on Sunday. The garden is closed on major holidays. Please see their website for a list of those holidays. There is no fee to visit the gardens and tour the factory. The trolley ride costs $15.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC tea
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – Charleston Tea Garden

St Johns Kayaks

Located at 4474 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy, Johns Island, St Johns Kayaks offers water tours of the Lowcountry.

Explore the salt marshes and estuaries of South Carolina, via kayaks or paddleboards, with knowledgeable tour guides who love sharing about the area and its natural beauty.

St Johns Kayaks also offers fishing charters, dolphin watching, beach combing, barrier island excursions and sunset cruises. Learn more at their website.

Visit Charleston Historic District

While you are close to this beautiful historic city, spend at least half a day exploring downtown Charleston.

Charleston is known for its cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, antebellum houses and a rich history that stretches back to the Revolutionary War. The downtown historical district includes the French Quarter, the South of Broad neighborhood, the Battery promenade and Waterfront Park that overlooks Charleston Harbor.

There are so many fun things to do in Charleston, from riding the free trolleys around town to walking along the battery to snapping photos in the South of Broad neighborhoods. Visit the iconic Pineapple Fountain or stroll through the City Market to hunt for treasures to take home.

The city is also an ideal place to grab lunch or dinner before returning to Johns Island.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC charleston
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – visit historic Charleston

Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Located at 5200 Savannah Hwy, Ravenel, this nature area offers trails with exhibits and rare wildlife. The Center is closed Mondays. However it is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm every other day of the week.

Caw Caw was once part of several rice plantations where enslaved people applied their agricultural skills to create rice fields in cypress swamps. Today it is managed as a low impact wildlife preserve.

Caw Caw features six miles of trails with exhibits, elevated boardwalks through wetlands, environmental programs for all ages, habitats for waterfowl, songbirds, alligators, bald eagles and many other animals and early morning  bird walks. They also host festivals and special events during each season.

Admission is $2.

Enjoying Johns Island

I’ve visited Charleston and Johns Island, and there are things to enjoy in both places.

If your focus is on history, amazing architecture and exploring museums and historical sites, visit Charleston. And if your focus is on nature, outdoor fun and a more relaxed experience, visit Johns Island. Or, do as I did and spend time in both locations.

I dearly love Charleston. And I love the laid back vibes on Johns Island and the surrounding Sea Islands. There is an abundance of nature to appreciate throughout the area. And while I did spend time walking and exploring different parts of the islands, I also relished the downtime spent at Sailor’s Rest, soaking up sunshine, swimming in the pool and simply sitting in that tropical paradise, enjoying the beauty of it all.

Which of these fun experiences would you love to try, with Johns Island as your base?

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC caw caw center
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island – Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Island Essential from Amazon:


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Nature Photography Day

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June 15 is Nature Photography Day. This unique holiday celebrates the nature that is all around us and the joy we feel when we capture that beauty in photos. Whether you are a professional photographer, one who clicks pics on your smart phone or you’ve never taken a nature photo before, you can enjoy this day by experiencing the outdoors.

To celebrate Nature Photography Day, I’m sharing seven examples from my own photo collection.

Nature Photography Day title meme

History of Nature Photography Day

In 1994, 100+ nature photography enthusiasts formed The North American Nature Photography Association. The members invested themselves in the future of this particular art form to ensure that nature is protected through environmental conservation and awareness.

The North American Nature Photography Association established Nature Photography Day in 2005 to continue to bring awareness to nature works of art and also to the fragility of the subject of their art. They encourage all photographers to get out in the world, camera or cellphone ready, and capture beautiful nature moments.

How to Celebrate Nature Photography Day

To celebrate, go outdoors and take photos! Visit local parks, wooded trails, bubbling streams, flowering gardens or even your own yard. Nature is found everywhere, from majestic mountains to a single flower growing from a crack in the sidewalk.

Go on nature walks, alone or with a group of photography friends, and capture wildlife, insects, flowers or trees. Take your kids or grandkids to the park, give each one a disposable camera and have fun taking photos.

Plan a camping trip to coincide with Nature Photography Day and capture the whole outdoor experience on film or in your phone.

Share your nature photos on social medium and use the hashtag #NaturePhotographyDay.

My Nature Photos

In honor of the day, I’m sharing some of my favorite nature photos. I captured these pics in places as close as my own backyard and as far away as Italy.

Backyard Garden

You don’t have to travel far to find beautiful nature subjects. I’ve created a backyard paradise and this meditation corner is one of my favorite sections of the garden. After a long, cool, rainy spring the flowers are showing off their colors now, prompting me to capture their glory.

If you don’t have a flower or herb garden, look for interesting trees, wildflowers, bright yellow dandelions or bees buzzing around. That spider web in the yard or the bird singing in the tree make perfect photography subjects as well.

Walk your neighborhood, with an eye toward natural beauty. You’ll find plenty of photo-worthy moments to capture.

Nature Photography Day garden
Nature Photography Day – backyard garden

City Park

Branching out a bit farther, I snapped this photo last fall at Mercy Park in Joplin. I love the curve of brilliantly hued trees and the solitary bench.

Visit your city or state park. Take along your phone or camera and a picnic lunch. Most parks have trees, water features, creeks, ponds, flowers, bushes or expanses of green grass. Capture fluffy white clouds in a blue sky by lying in the grass and looking up.

And watch for wildlife such as birds, squirrels, chipmunks, lizards, frogs or insects to snap a pic of.

Nature Photography Day mercy park
Nature Photography Day – fall at Mercy Park, Joplin

Waterfall Magic

Many of the nature photos that I love include water in some form. I love walking in the woods near a river or catching the sun glinting off of ocean waves or seeing the sky reflected in a still lake.

And waterfalls are so magical to me. The energy surrounding the water cascading over rocks is amazing. This photo is of Missouri’s tallest continually flowing waterfall, Grand Falls just south of Joplin.

Is there a body of water near you? Or is there a river, creek or stream in your area? Take photos from a variety of angles, zooming in closer for some shots, and then select your favorites to post. Use caution when taking photos close to water. Remain aware at all times of where your feet are in relationship to the water, so you don’t accidently fall in!

Nature Photography Day grand falls
Nature Photography Day – Grand Falls, Joplin

Walk in the Woods

The benefit of taking nature photos among the trees is the calming effect forests have on the mind and body. And on a hot day, it’s cooler walking in the shade.

One of my favorite nature trails is Tanyard Creek, in Northwest Arkansas. The trail winds through wooded areas and crosses over creeks and bridges. It is a gorgeous natural park to enjoy while capturing amazing photos.

What trails are available in your area? Pull on sturdy walking shoes, dump snacks in a backpack and have your camera ready. Not only will you capture nature at its best, you will emerge from the woods refreshed.

Nature Photography Day tanyard creek
Nature Photography Day – Tanyard Creek Trail, Arkansas

Travel Far, Take Photos

You know how much I love exploring cities, especially historical ones, when I travel. However, I frequently get out into the countryside as well, to capture the beauty found there.

This is one of my favorite nature photos from Scotland, taken on Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands. I’m grateful I can look at photos and remember just how incredibly beautiful it is there.

While it can be difficult to balance exploring a new place and taking photos to capture the memories, I never regret taking hundreds of photos. In fact, I usually wish I had taken more after I return home.

What places are you visiting? Look for the nature shots in those locations and snap as many photos as possible.

Nature Photography Day isle of skye
Nature Photography Day – Isle of Skye, Scotland

Preserving the Unforgettable

Some moments are so magical, that they must be captured. It’s more than the sight. It’s the emotions felt at that moment as well.

Seeing the Mediterranean Sea and Cinque Terre Italy was a dream realized for my grandson, daughter and me. When I look at this beautiful shot of the bay those emotions rise again….joy, gratitude, fulfillment and shared connection with my family.

What nature spots bring forth strong, positive emotions? Capture the beauty and the feelings in a photo.

Nature Photography Day cinque terre
Nature Photography Day – Cinque Terre, Italy

Celebrate Nature Photography Day, Your Way

I hope you take a moment on this special day to take photos of the natural beauty around you. Whether you sit in the grass in your own yard, hike a trail or travel outside your country, snap a photo to celebrate the day and post it online. Encourage others to take photos and to live with an awareness of how precious nature is.

Most of all, have fun, and while in nature, take a minute to send out ripples of gratitude for the incredible world that we live in and care for.

Happy Nature Photography Day!

Nature Photography Day rock


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Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina

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After dropping off my luggage at Sailor’s Rest, my accommodations on Johns Island, my next goal was to secure groceries for my stay there. While I had scou5ed out several possible grocery stores on Johns Island, I’m grateful my host recommended Harris Teeter in Freshfields Village. It turns out the store I thought about stopping at on my way to Sailor’s Rest, closes on Sundays.

Harris Teeter Market is located six miles down the road, from my accommodations. It was a quick drive. And what a surprise when I arrived. This grocery store didn’t look like any I’ve ever seen before. In fact, I drove past it, thinking I missed the building somehow. Driving around the block, slowly as I looked for the grocery store, I realized the “village” in Freshfields Village wasn’t simply the name of a shopping center. This beautiful village is a thriving community and the place to go for shopping, dining and services for those living on the islands or visiting.

Come with me. Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina. And add this charming community to your must see list when visiting the Charleston area.

Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina title meme

Freshfields Village

The Village sits at the crossroads of Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island and Johns Island Island, in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. It’s just 30 minutes from Charleston and minutes from anywhere on the islands.

Operated by Northwood Retail, this is an open air shopping community, designed for pedestrian traffic. Freshfields Village offers vacationers and residents a premiere shopping and dining destination with unique architecture, beautiful courtyard patios, and seasonal events that include cultural festivals, outdoor concerts and movies, plus a seasonal Farmer’s Market.

Although it is designed for walking the beautifully arranged streets and lanes, there is ample parking available in designated areas plus the large parking lot at Harris Teeter. Additional parking is available along the streets and behind the buildings.

Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina village
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – one of the pretty streets in The Village

What Freshfields Village Offers

The Village offers more than 60 stores, restaurants and services in one convenient location. And what a beautiful, relaxed space it is.


The Village offers all the essential services you might need, whether you are a local or a traveler. Services at Freshfields Village include:

  • banking – Bank of American, BB&T, FNB, Wells Fargo
  • post office and computer center
  • Buist, Byars & Taylor Law Firm
  • Charleston County Sheriff’s Department
  • Kiawah Island ARB
  • skin care – Bluemercury, Sweet Grass Plastic Surgery
  • Indigo Health chiropractic and massage services
  • Kiawah Island Club Biz Hub
  • Kiawah Partners Human Resources
  • real estate offices – Kiawah Island Real Estate, Timbers Kiawah, Kiawah Island Rentals by Vacasa
  • Kiawah Nail Studio
  • Urban Nirvana Hair Salon
  • Urban Nirvana Sap
  • Patricia Reno Huff Art Gallery and Studio
  • Roper St Francis primary health care/family care
  • Salt Marsh Animal Hospital
  • The Corner Drycleaners
  • The Station gas and convenient store
  • Village Dentistry
  • Village Optical
  • Vincent’s Drugstore
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina shopping
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – Vacasa and Coastal Footwear
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina bluemercury
Bluemercury in Freshfields Village


From clothing, shoes and accessories to gifts to sporting goods to home décor, Freshfields Village has you covered.

Apparel, Shoes & Accessories

  • Beaufort Bonnet Company – babies and kids
  • Coastal Footwear
  • Faherty
  • Holly & Brooks
  • Islands Mercantile
  • J. McLaughlin
  • Johnny Was
  • Luminary
  • Las Olas
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • lululemon
  • Peyton William Jewelry
  • Showroom Kiawah
  • Southern Tide Kiawah
  • Spartina 449
  • TINA Stephens
  • vineyard vines
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina street
Shops in Freshfields Village

Gifts, Books & Art

  • Doin’ the Charleston
  • Indigo Books
  • Palmetto Scent Studio
  • Patricia Reno Huff Art Gallery & Studio
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina bookstore
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – Indigo Books

Groceries, Beer, Wine & Liquor

  • Kiawah Spirits
  • The Village Market by Harris Teeter
  • The Station
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina grocery store
The store that drew me to Freshfields Village, The Village Market by Harris Teeter.

Home Design, Accessories & Services

  • GCD Home
  • Knight Residential Group

Pet Supplies

  • Doolittle’s

Sporting Goods & Fitness

  • SeaCoast Sports & Outfitters
Visit Fairfields Village in South Carolina sporting
SeaCpast Sports & Outfitters. Gorgeous store.


You can choose from a wide variety of cafés and restaurants, when you are ready to take a break from strolling and shopping.

  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Café Eugenia
  • Cantina 76
  • FortyEight Wine Bar & Kitchen
  • Fuji Sushi Bar & Grill
  • Hege’s
  • Java Java
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs
  • King Street Grille
  • La Tela Pizzeria
  • Ladles Soups
  • The Co-Op
  • The Village Market by Harris Teeter (salad & food bar + outdoor seating)
  • The Station Deli
  • Vincent’s Soda Fountain
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina cafe
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – Café Eugenia offers healthy options.


  • Andell Inn
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina hotel
Andell Inn in Freshfields

My Experience in Freshfields Village

After discovering what a delightful village Freshfields is during my grocery shopping trip, I made plans to return a couple of days later for lunch and exploring.

Checking out the village’s website, I selected Café Eugenia for lunch. There is a convenient parking lot close to this end of The Village. I left my rental car there while I enjoyed dining and then strolling around the area.

Café Eugenia suited me perfectly. The café uses locally sourced ingredients to offer an ever-changing assortment of salads, sandwiches, charcuterie boards, takeaway meals, drinks and more. I chose selections from their assortment of delicious salads, creating a plate with hummus and crispy pita bread, herbed potatoes and bean salad.

Appetite sated, I next did what I most enjoy doing while traveling…exploring. Wandering the beautiful streets of The Village I found exquisite buildings housing shops, restaurants and services, green spaces for playing and relaxing, courtyards with bistro tables and adirondack chairs facing a small lake.

The large green lawn at the center of the village is perfect for corn hole competitions…or hosting special events. Public restrooms are located in three spots in The Village plus the cafés and restaurants have them, if you dine in one of those. There are maps posted on boards throughout the area, so you can easily find what you are looking for.

While I peeked into several of the shops, I only purchased a novel from Indigo Books for the flight home. Since I travel with a carryon, I don’t have a lot of space for other purchases.

Courtyard with fountain, tables and chairs in Freshfields Village

Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina

I highly recommend Freshfields Village as a stop if you are in the Charleston area. The Village is not only gorgeous, it is exceptionally clean and well cared for. Plants and flowers add charming touches to streets and buildings. And the architecture is so unique. The whole village has a tropical island feel.

I enjoyed spending several hours in Freshfields. Depending on how much shopping you did, you could easily spend an entire day here. Plus The Village offers special activities throughout the year. Check out the Event Calendar HERE.

I adore the Charleston historic district and spent half a day there this trip. And I love the more laid back island life on Johns, Wadmalaw and Kiawah Islands as well. Freshfields Village is a bright gem on the islands that I did not expect to find. What a wonderful surprise. I’ll definitely visit again the next time I’m in the Charleston area.

Have you heard of Freshfields Village?

Tranquil beauty
Tranquil beauty







Rebuild Your Life

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June is Rebuild Your Life Month. The topic of rebuilding or making changes to life is crucial to me so I scheduled myself to write a blog post on the subject this month.

As often happens, when I make a decision and move toward it, life brings me other things that align with that intention. The day approached for writing this post and I discovered a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher. Reading the quote, I realized how beautifully her words provide a blueprint for rebuilding a life.

The quote:

“Live with Intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”

Those words make perfect bullet points, for rebuilding your life and creating the life of your dreams.

Rebuild Your Life title meme

The History of Rebuild Your Life Month

Observed each year in June, Rebuild Your Life Month encourages us to take time to reflect on life. Is it all that we hoped it would be? If not, it’s never, ever too late to make changes and live a different life.

The desire to rebuild a different life often arises after a life changing event. Losing a loved one or a job, going through a divorce or reaching a milestone birthday can shake up life and cause us to reflect on where we are on the journey.

Donald Etkes, PhD, created Rebuild Your Life Month as an opportunity for adults who were neglected and/or abused as children to realize their self worth and discover their inner power. The month long celebration shifted to encourage everyone to delve into their hearts, minds and souls to uncover truths and experience personal growth. All people, from all walks of life, can change their lives, if they desire to.

Rebuild Your Life

Sharing from experience, I know that any kind of change can feel scary. Even if life feels dull, boring or too routine, if that’s what you are accustomed to, moving beyond that comfort zone feels threatening. Check out my posts on going beyond fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs, for foundational work that may make creating change easier.

How do you know if it’s time to rebuild your life? You feel bored, restless, trapped, unfulfilled, lonely, angry, invisible or deeply unsatisfied with life.

I can tell you the exact moment when I knew it was time to rebuild my life. After many years of people pleasing and placing expectations on others that went unfulfilled, I sat on the edge of my bed one night, overcome by despair. Although I was married with a family that I adore, I felt lonely, restless and invisible. That’s the night I decided to make changes. That’s when I determined to know myself in a deeper way, be present with myself and uncover my long hidden gifts. The rebuilding began on a night when despair finally prompted me to look within.

Using Mary Anne’s wise words as stepping stones, here are ways to rebuild your life, whether you are making minor shifts or starting over completely.

Rebuild Your Life edge
Rebuild Your Life – walk to the edge

Live with Intention

By definition, intention is a goal, purpose or aim that guides life decisions. Living with intention provides an expansive roadmap for living each day. For example, setting an intention of living healthier guides the decisions you make daily, for attaining that goal.

To intentionally build a life you love, you must know what intentions best inspire and guide your life. And to discover those intentions, you must know yourself. This is where your inward journey begins. Know yourself deeply. And know what you desire to do with your life. Get quiet. Spend time alone and in reflection. Journal about your thoughts, dreams, hopes and intentions.

What fears come up? Write about those too and face them, eliminate them. What brings you incredible joy? Those are arrows pointing to your purpose. Once you know your intentions for the life you are rebuilding, you can create a personal manifesto, write daily goals in your planner or create a vision board for this part of your journey.

Walk to the Edge

Walking to the edge of your comfort zone is the only way to then go beyond it. How do you know when you are at the edge? You feel the discomfort, the fear, the uneasiness about taking the next step. As I shared in the post going beyond comfort zones, in that familiar space you feel less anxious and more in control of life. However, the truth is you cannot control life or circumstances. It’s a false feeling of security.

And most damaging, the comfort zone becomes a cage, keeping you small. Growth can’t occur in that confined space. Life feels stagnant, boring and without purpose.

To rebuild a new life you must willingly take that step over the edge. Nothing new happens until you do. That might mean using gifts you long ago abandoned, accepting another career path, radically improving relationships or trying new experiences. Every time you come up against the edge of your ever expanding life, you go beyond again…and again.

Rebuild Your Life intention
Rebuild Your Life – living with intention

Listen Hard

Listening is a skill everyone can improve. How many times have you lost track of a conversation because you are so busy thinking about what you are going to say that you don’t hear what the other person said?

Listening goes beyond hearing what another is saying. It includes taking in the information, understanding the message and feeling empathy. Listening well builds trust, reduces miscommunication and helps to eliminate conflict and resentment.

Additionally, listening to your own inner voice is important in rebuilding your life. Learn to listen to your deep inner knowing, your intuition and those Divine nudges. Such listening is often the first step toward the action that creates change.

Practice Wellness

Wellness is the active process of raising awareness and making choices that support a healthy and fulfilling life. It encompasses more than preventing illness or eating a healthy diet. It’s a process that includes change, growth and a commitment to living the best life possible. Wellness is something to actively pursue, through awareness, goals and daily habits.

In my own life, I discovered that as I rebuilt my life, I felt drawn to create a healthier lifestyle, which profoundly affected the rest of my life. Wellness flows through every aspect of life. Choosing to adopt a healthier lifestyle positively impacts making other life changes as well. As a result of my own changes, I became more eco-conscious and more aware of how my actions create positive or negative ripples in my life and on the earth.

As you rebuild your life…or start all over…what wellness practices naturally add to the new you? Or think of it this way. How would rebuilding your health impact your life? Consider eating healthier, starting a yoga or meditation practice or increasing daily activity. For more help in the wellness area, visit my other blog, Journey With Healthy Me.

Rebuild Your Life wellness
Rebuild Your Life – practice wellness

Play with Abandon

Play is how children figure out life. Using their imaginations, playing make believe and playfully exploring their worlds is how they learn.

As you grew older, did you stop playing as a form of learning?

Reconnecting with your playful side is a powerful way to help rebuild a life you love. Playing lowers inhibitions, ramps up creativity and opens up fresh opportunities. Play games that involve randomness, to increase trust in the goodness of life, people and God. Have outrageous fun. Learn more about yourself with the GROK Your World cards. Go on adventures with the Adventure Challenge sets. Play with your kids or grandkids. Make play an important part of your daily life.


There is a strong connection between laughter and happiness. A good laugh boosts mood and creativity, clears brain fog and sharpens focus, improves relationships and creates a better quality of life, especially for older adults.

When life feels too small, too constrained and dreary, bring more laughter into your life as one of the building blocks of a more expansive way of living. Watch funny movies or videos. Smile more, to shift the brain into seeing the humor in life. Tell funny stories and listen to the hilarious tales of others. Learn to laugh at yourself and life’s circumstances.

Rebuild Your Life fun
Rebuild Your Life – play with abandon

Choose with No Regret

Regret is a heavy feeling of sadness, repentance or disappointment, over something that happened or over a missed opportunity.

To make life choices with no regrets, first reflect on experiences, take ownership of your choices and then let go of the past. Build a life without regrets. Choose what YOU want to do. Go after those dreams. Accept opportunities. A life lived without regret is one that goes beyond playing it safe and staying small. Creating a life you love means you step up, live with purpose and set goals that challenge you, a little or a lot.

Make decisions that align with the life you are creating. Do you long to travel? Make choices that reflect that. Say yes to the trip. Accept the invitation to accompany a friend on her travels. Visit a neighboring city.

Ask yourself, frequently, will I regret this if I don’t do it? If the answer is yes, then make it happen.

Appreciate Your Friends

I add to this, appreciate all the people that contribute positively to you. Life is a journey to share. Express sincere gratitude to family members, friends, teachers, colleagues and peers for the ways they add meaning to your life.

Form a core group of people, often called a tribe, of like minded, like hearted people. Share ideas. Encourage each other to grow. Have fun together.

And for those people who are no longer in your life, for whatever reason, thank them for the lessons they taught…and let them go. Send them love and light, forgive them if that’s appropriate, and keep growing as you build the life of your dreams.

Rebuild Your Life do what you love
Rebuild Your Life – choose with no regret and do what you love

Continue to Learn

Living a small life hampers growth. To shift into a more expansive life, adopt the practice of life long learning. Always learning equals always growing, shifting and changing.

As you rebuild your life, you discover new areas of interest to explore. Curiosity leads you down intriguing paths. A closed off mind harbors prejudices, judgments and criticism. A mind that is learning remains open, curious and accepting.

On my recent trip to South Carolina, I’m so proud of myself for stepping beyond the edge…and renting a car at the Charleston  airport. I’ve never done that before on my own. It was a learning experience that created greater self confidence in addition to giving me more freedom.

Do What You Love

Perhaps one of the best benefits of rebuilding your life is discovering more about what you love to do. The better you know yourself, the more you know what you love…and what you don’t love.

Let go of the things you no longer enjoy. Embrace what you love and bring more of that into your life. Doing what you love is one aspect of choosing with no regret. The two are linked. As you live with intention and purpose and set goals, choose the things that move you closer to doing what you love.

As you grow and change, what you love to do may shift as well. Your love of baking cookies for your friends may transform into a love of creating a totally different kind of home based business.

Your desires, the things you most love to do, are always an indicator of what your purpose is. Follow those desires.

Live as if This is All There Is

I’m not talking about ignoring the afterlife here. I personally believe my soul is eternal and lives on after death. We are all here on earth for a reason and it involves our growth and purpose and the good we do here and leave here when we pass on.

Someone once told me that life is heaven’s waiting room. I disagree with that. Have you ever spent time in a waiting room? Is there anything more wearisome than waiting…and waiting…and waiting?

No, life isn’t meant to be wearisome. Life on earth is meant to be lived, fully and abundantly.

Build a life that is lived in the here and now, with great love, joy and intention. Really LIVE, making each day memorable. Have no regrets. Don’t wait for things to happen. Make them happen. Dream big dreams and put action with those dreams to birth them into reality. Feed your soul, expand your mind, live from your whole heart.

Rebuild Your Life live
Rebuild Your Life – Live, really live

Rebuild, Again and Again

I am not the same person who once sat on the edge of her bed, staring at the wall. That night, I realized circumstances didn’t need to change, I needed to. And I have. I rebuilt my life into one that more closely aligned with who I really was and in the process discovered so much joy, purpose, passion and creativity.

Since then, I’ve rebuilt my life several times, as I continue to grow and shift and live more authentically as myself. As long as I breathe, the changing continues. My greatest desire is to live an expansive life that not only brings me incredible happiness but positively impacts others as well.

Are you currently in rebuilding mode? Do you want to be? I hope this post inspires you to create the life of your wildest dreams. I know it is possible…and I know you can do it! Tell me how it’s going, in the comments below.

Living my best life.
Living my best life

Helpful books for the journey to being your best self:



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Charleston Tea Garden

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

On my first trip to the Charleston, SC area, I discovered that the Charleston Tea Garden was too far away to take a cab or Uber to. I looked forward to visiting, especially since the farm is owned by the Bigelow family, creators of my preferred brand of tea.

I left Charleston thinking “maybe someday”, not knowing that an opportunity would quickly present itself for a return visit. This time, Sailor’s Rest on Johns Island hosted my stay. Before the trip, I studied maps of the islands located just outside the Charleston area. And what did I discover? Charleston Tea Garden, on Wadmalaw Island, was a short 15 minute drive from my beautiful accommodations.

Because I rented a car after flying into the Charleston airport, I could easily visit the two places I missed before: Angel Oak Tree and Charleston Tea Garden. What a joy to spend a morning at the tea farm, exploring and learning how tea is grown and processed.

Charleston Tea Garden title meme

Charleston Tea Garden

For anyone who enjoys drinking tea, hot or iced, the Charleston Tea Garden is a must see. They are the only such tea garden in the US, where hundreds of thousands of tea plants grow in the ideal South Carolina climate.

Owned by the Bigelow family, the farm offers guests an amazing tea experience.

In addition to many acres of tea plants, visitors enjoy an educational tour of the tea factory. And a 45 minute trolley ride around the property provides an up close look at the plants and a tour guide that shares interesting facts about the whole process.

Every year 75,000 people visit Charleston Tea Garden from around the world. I’m excited that I was one of those visitors this year.

Charleston Tea Garden front porch
This huge covered front porch at Charleston Tea Garden is the perfect spot to sit and sip on a cup of hot tea.

Wadmalaw Island

The tea garden is located on Wadmalaw Island, in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry. This island, along with Johns Island and several others, lie just south of historic Charleston. Wadmalaw is considered one of the most unspoiled islands in the area. It is ten miles long and six miles wide and only accessible by a single bridge that crosses over Church Creek.

With its sandy soil, sub-tropical climate and an average rainfall of 52 inches per year, Wadmalaw Island provides the ideal growing conditions for the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Both green and black teas come from more than 320 varieties of tea plants that thrive on 127 acres.

Charleston Tea Garden fields
Fields of tea plants on the farm.

Charleston Tea Garden History

In the late 1700s, Camellia Sinensis tea bushes arrived in the US from China. Over the next 150 years, attempts to propagate and produce tea in South Carolina proved unsuccessful.

Finally in 1888 Dr. Charles Shepard founded Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina, making the dream to grow tea in the US a reality. Dr. Shepard produced award winning teas until his death in 1915. The plantation closed after his death and the tea plants grew wild for the next 45 years.

In 1963 a 127 acre potato farm on Wadmalaw Island became the new home for Dr. Shepard’s wild tea plants. After transplanting the tea bushes, the farm experimented with growing the plants. William Barclay Hall purchased the farm in 1987. Hall, a third generation tea taster with formal training in London, England, converted the experimental farm into a commercial operation and founded the Charleston Tea Plantation.

William Hall created a partnership with the Bigelow family in 2003 and they purchased the farm. In 2020 the Bigelow family changed the name from Charleston Tea Plantation to Charleston Tea Garden to better reflect the nature of the property. It never operated as a plantation and the Bigelows wanted to both honor the land that was farmed for many years and display sensitivity to those who find the word plantation painful.

Charleston Tea Garden trolley
The trolley used for property tours.

Charleston Tea Garden Trolley Tour

While there is no admission fee to enter Charleston Tea Garden or for the factory tour, there is a fee for the trolley tour. For adults, tickets are $15, children ages 4 -11 are $7.50 each and children 3 and under are free. Trust me, the trolley tour is worth the cost of a ticket!

During the tour visitors see acres and acres of growing tea plants and learn about tea from the entertaining tour guide and the founder, the late William Hall, who narrates portions of the tour over the sound system. Truly, our tour guide made the experience so amazing! She is knowledgeable AND entertaining and kept us laughing. When someone in our group suggested she try stand up comedy she informed us that she was a comedian in New York City before moving to South Carolina.

The trolley makes a stop at the farm greenhouse, where new tea plants are carefully cultivated. And the trolley pauses several times during the tour so that the guide can point out interesting sights, such as the farm’s Green Giant, a one of a kind machine used to harvest tea leaves.

It’s an educational and fun tour you won’t want to miss!

Charleston Tea Garden tour guide
Charleston Tea Garden trolley tour. Our guide was amazing!
Charleston Tea Garden Green Giant
Charleston Tea Garden’s Green Giant, the only one in existence in the world.

Environmental Commitment

It’s important to the Bigelow family to do the right thing, in all aspects of their business, including environmentally. I’m already a fan of Bigelow Tea. I love the company even more after learning that they always seek to make a difference.

They believe in protecting the environment, giving back to their community and taking care of their employees and their families.

They do not use any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or insecticides. Because of their specially designed irrigation system, they can rely on rain and pond water to hydrate plants. And waste from making tea…the stems and fibers…become mulch in the tea fields. The mulch not only inhibits weeds and protects the soil, it breaks down over time benefitting earthworms and other insect allies.

tea plants
Acres of thriving tea plants.

Charleston Tea Garden Factory Tour

This free tour begins every 15 minutes, at the top of the stairs in the back of the gift shop.

The tea production factory contains a glassed in, air conditioned gallery that runs the length of the facility. As the group walks along the gallery, there are stops in front of large screens that play videos. Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow narrate the tea making process as guests look out into the factory where the equipment is.

I learned that the same tea plants produce green, black and oolong teas. It’s the processing time that determines which tea is created, with green tea requiring the least amount of time. On average, from picking the leaves to packaging the loose tea or tea bags, it only takes 20 hours of processing.

And I learned that the first growth of leaves each spring is called the First Flush. These first leaves create a unique tasting tea that is only available once during the growing season. The plants can be harvested seven to ten more times during the remainder of the season.

As an avid tea drinker, I found the whole process fascinating!

Charleston Tea Garden factory
Enjoy the free factory tour to learn how tea is made, from picking the leaves to packaging the finished tea.

Charleston Tea Garden Gift Shop

The spacious gift shop is the place to start the factory tour or purchase tickets for the trolley. Shop for special keepsakes among the hundreds of tea related items offered for sale there, including the Charleston Tea Garden specialty teas that are 100% grown there at the farm.

You can sample teas served daily at the shop’s Tea Bar. Hot and iced teas are available. After browsing and making your purchases, take a cup of hot or iced tea out onto the covered front porch. Rocking chairs invite guests to linger for a while, rocking and sipping on tea while appreciating the beauty of the garden.

There’s also a picnic area located near the gift shop, if you want to bring a lunch.

I bought a book in the gift shop and a cute tea themed t-shirt.

Charleston Tea Garden gift shop
Charleston Tea Garden gift shop

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Charleston Tea Garden

The tea garden is open year around, every day of the week. Hours of operation are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday and noon – 4:00 pm on Sunday. The garden is closed on major holidays. Please see their website for a list of those holidays.

Dogs may accompany guests however they are not allowed in the gift shop or on the trolley. The wide front veranda is a good place to take turns sitting with your dog while other family members look in the gift shop or participate in tours.

The tea garden does not recommend using a ride share service. Most do not want to drive to the garden and will not wait for you while you tour the facilities. The best way to get to the garden is by car/rental car.

Restrooms are located on the property, in a separate building near the gift shop. The picnic area is located on the other side of the gift shop, in a beautiful setting amid stately live oak trees.

The Charleston Tea Garden is located at 6617 Maybank Highway on Warmalaw Island south of Charleston.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit and experience the tours! Have you visited this incredible property? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy to visit
My happy face, sitting on the Charleston Tea Garden front porch.

Enjoy Teas from Charleston Tea Garden, via Amazon:



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