Simple Acts of Kindness Remind Us of the Warmth of Charleston

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Love in Charleston

By Mark A. Leon

Being intimately engulfed in the Charleston landscape, I can attest there is something special here that embodies the core principles of friendliness.

I would like to share six (6) very personal accounts.  These testimonies are just a snapshot of the remarkable Charleston stories that fill the air all around these parts.

Charleston Love and Kindness Can Be Felt All Around

Neighborhood Flood Relief:  I lived on the corner of Morris Street and Rutledge Avenue when I first moved to Charleston.  Being new to the area, downtown flooding was more of a myth than a reality.  One afternoon, while working from home, I was taken back by a steady downpour beating against my window.  Perhaps it was a feeling or just the need to take a break, but I put on my best weather proof clothes and went outside.  The corner of Morris and Smith had become a river and many cars were trapped in the mayhem.  Myself and several neighbors, without hesitation, went car by car helping drivers push their vehicle from the ravage flooded area.  It was a gesture of neighborly support and one of the first truly unwavering acts of generosity I had experienced here.

The Day After Mother Emanuel AME:  On the Thursday morning after the Mother Emanuel shooting, I went to the Battery to watch the sunrise and clear my head, allowing time to process what had transpired just a few hours earlier.  It was ten minutes after six in the morning, the sky was clear, early humidity filled the air with a thick warmth and all was quiet.  I said hello to some passing joggers and then sat on a bench at White Point Garden.  A wonderfully sweet local walked by with her dog and sat next to me.  Her companion, an older canine pressed up against my leg, laid down and nestled by me.  The woman began to talk, not about the shooting, but the morning, her love of dogs and the neighborhood.  After she departed, two other ladies came by asking about my faith and gave me information pamphlets.  They smile and walked away.  I don’t know if they knew and weren’t ready to talk about it, but I took comfort in those very early conversations with the backdrop of the rising sun over the harbor to symbolize a new beginning.

A Fallen Baby Bird:  On a spring morning, I met a friend for an early morning walk and coffee at White Point Garden.  We were saddened to see that a baby bird had fallen from its nest and injured itself.  A local area doctor, while walking his dog, saw the wounded bird as well and offered to get a box and mesh to transport it.  He went home a few blocks away and returned with the transport material.  We carefully put the frightened bird in the box and I offered to take it to a Vet in West Ashley that we were fortunate to find open.  This incredibly selfless doctor who had a scheduled surgery did everything he could to help us until he was forced to the hospital.  I received a call later that day from the veterinarian’s office that they had to put the bird down.  All I could do was think about the sound of the scared bird as I drove to West Ashley and knowing it was its last moments.  Then I remembered the kindness of three people who put their lives aside to try and save this newborn bird.

A Moment of Humanity for a Homeless Man – It was a Sunday morning in December, 2017 and I will on King Street at 8:45 AM awaiting the City Church Service at the Charleston Music Farm.  A homeless man, bundled up and pushing a grocery cart, was on the sidewalk heading South.  As he slowly moved in front of the Glazed Doughnut Shop and took a rest, a student noticed him.  He quickly bought a doughnut and cup of coffee and walked outside to present to the homeless man.  They shook hands, exchanged a few kind words and then the student went back inside as the homeless man warmed up and put food in his tummy.  It was a heartwarming moment amount two strangers at very different places in life.

A Surfer’s Smile Can Change Your Day – Just a few weeks ago, I had just had Turkish Coffee a Center Street Coffee on Folly Beach and then walked to the beach to watch the waves and do some meditative activities.  A young surfer, about 5’2″, curly red hair and a smile that could move all the clouds that morning, asked me for assistance taking her board out of her bag (chalk had made it stick).  I helped her and she smiled.  About 10 minutes later, she entered the sand with her board over her head and as she walked near me she smiled and said hey.  That exchange gave me such a fulfilling feeling.  I later went into The Tides, got a paper and pen, and wrote that surfer a thank you note for making my day with just a simple smile.

A Baby Sea Turtle Rescue StoryIt was last summer, on an early morning sunrise walk on Folly Beach that we discovered a baby sea turtle with a limp front leg.  Nelson (our name for him), had hatched just a few hours earlier, but with the injury did not have the strength to make it into the ocean with the tide coming in.  We contacted Animal Control and the Aquarium and were instructed to assist Nelson into the ocean.  We did and later found out he was the only survivor of all the eggs that were laid in that spot.  Click the link for the entire story.

These are just a few of the hundreds of Charleston stories.  The country witnessed our unwavering resolve during the Mother Emanuel Shooting, Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Irma and the 1000 Year Rains, but it is the very personal individual stories and acts of kindness that go without credit that illuminates this city.

Take some time to sit down with the locals and listen to their stories.  You will understand truly how much this award means to us.

We would love to hear your stories.

20 Things to Do in Charleston Before the End of 2019

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20 Things To Do Before the End of 2017

By Minta Pavliscsak

1. Call an old friend who you haven’t spoken with in a while.
It may take you a few minutes to dial that number. Take your time, just don’t back down. Someone has to open that line of communication; it might as well be you.

2. Go for a sunrise walk on Folly Beach.
We have some of the most beautiful sunrises you will ever experience, and if you haven’t yet you are missing out! So drag a friend out of bed, or just go spend some time by yourself and enjoy the majesty of the morning. (Roasted is a coffee shop inside of Tides that opens at 6am. I like to stop by there first and take my coffee on the beach. Plus, on these chilly mornings it will help to keep your warm!)

3. Send Christmas cards.
Everybody loves getting mail! …as long as it’s not a bill. Sure you could just send an email or a text, but doesn’t your loved ones deserve a personalized, handwritten card that they can treasure for years to come?

4. Forgive that person who may not deserve it, but needs it most.
This ain’t easy, but believe me when I say you need this too! We all make mistakes, we all forget things, and it honestly might not have even been on purpose. The past is the past and as long as it’s not habitual or destructive to the relationship, forgiveness may be the only thing keeping you from having that amazing relationship.

5. Hug your parents.
Do we really do this enough? I feel like hugs are things we tend to take for granted. Humans need touch, and sometimes this is the only way we know how to communicate our emotions towards each other. A simple hug can go a long way.

6. Visit at least one touristy attraction.
This is the best time of year to do it! Places aren’t as crowded, it’s not blazing hot, and some places will even have discounts on admission.

7. Pour a glass of wine or pop open a beer, crank up the music, and dance around the house in your underwear.
Yes, this is just as fun as it sounds! Don’t worry about how you look, you’ll be alone so who cares. Just move your body in a way that feels good. You might just find yourself carrying this tradition over to the New Year!

8. Make the decision to Let It Go!
We carry so much with us from one day to the next. Most of it we cannot control, or is not our burden to carry in the first place. Stop worrying so much, things have a way of working themselves out without any input from you. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, just let it go.

9. Do one random act of kindness.
This can be something so simple like paying for the next person in line’s coffee, or putting $10 on a pump of gas. There are also many opportunities around the community, such as donating to Toys-for-Tots, volunteering at The Lowcountry Food Bank, The Ronald McDonald House, or at an animal shelter, and many area businesses are collecting canned food for the local food bank.

10. Watch Love Actually.
This film is about an eclectic group of characters who all seem to be connected in London during Christmas time. It is charming, funny, and will pull on your heart strings all at the same time. Trust me on this one when I say it is a must see, and even better when you watch it with a good friend or loved one. Doesn’t sound like you? Then make sure you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special instead!

11. Take a “me” day.
Although they do not happen very often, I absolutely love having my “me” days. You can do anything, or nothing for that matter, that you want to, as long as it is stress free and makes you happy. I prefer to get a nice massage, then take a stroll down King Street or the Market to find something, no matter how small, for myself. My favorite “me” day trinket is a small ceramic dragon with a silly smile on his face. Enjoying a nice light lunch outside somewhere and people watching is also a great idea.

12. Change the batteries in your smoke detector.
This is your friendly service reminder courtesy of Charleston Daily. Come on, when is the last time you checked those batteries?

13. Get outside of your comfort zone.
Do something you wouldn’t typically do. Go somewhere you wouldn’t typically go. Sing karaoke with friends, climb the ropes at Wild Blue Ropes, put on that sexy dress you never wear and have a night on the town!

14. Finish that project.
We all have some project, big or small, that is sitting somewhere waiting for us to complete it. Slow down, make the time, and finish that project.

15. Choose to be happy.
This can be tougher for some than others, and that’s OK! Surround yourself with things, and people, that make you happy. When those negative thoughts come up, replace them with positive ones. Practice self-love, such as telling yourself that you are enough, reminding yourself how beautiful you are, and say daily affirmations. Don’t forget about the simplest thing you can do…smile.

16. Re-evaluate your priorities
Life has a tendency of taking over and we tend to get off our course from time to time. It is important that you bring your priorities to your conscious and see if where you are is where you want to be. This is how we stay connected to ourselves and move forward in life and in love.

17. Eat at a great Charleston area restaurant.
We are so lucky here in Charleston to have so many amazing restaurants. How many have you been to? No more excuses not to go to that one you have always wanted to go, but have never made it.

18. Disengage from the opinion of others.
You are you, and you are wonderful. Who cares what others think about you?! Here’s a little secret…if they make you feel bad when you are around them, then they probably shouldn’t be in your life. Once you learn to separate who you are from who you think everyone else thinks you should be, you will be amazed at how much happier and stress-free you will be.

19. Go play.
We have easy access to tennis courts, basketball courts, Frisbee golf, putt-putt, laser tag, paintball fields, trampoline parks, and open fields where you can play a pick-up game of whatever middle school/high school sports that you can think of.

20. Tell somebody you love them.
We don’t say this anywhere near enough. You never know what tomorrow may hold. Today is the day to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. And keep it up; personally I have never gotten tired of hearing someone say they love me, nor do I tire of expressing it. Both make my heart smile every time!

20 Ways to Start Out The New Year Right – Because it’s not too late!

  1. Send out Thank You cards.thank you pen
    We know you got at least one awesome Christmas present! Chances are you got more, maybe even more than you needed. Let your loved ones know just how much their hard thought, time and money is appreciated!
  2. Download a new album. –Or for us old school folks, buy a new CD.
    “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” –Berthold Auerbach ?Crank it up, kick off that dust and live life!
  3. Start setting a little money aside each week for that dream vacation.
    Summertime sneaks up and you are left with a wanderlust accompanied by a low bank account. Avoid this disappointment in 2016 by anticipating your getaway.
  4. Get involved.
    With so many opportunities around Charleston to participate in a worthwhile cause, you have no reason not to get involved. It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment; it can be something as simple as hanging out with the animals at one of the local shelters. Need ideas on how to get involved? Check out our article Volunteer Opportunities in the Lowcountry – Get Involved.
  5. Drop the resolution!
    I’ve never really believed in New Year’s resolutions, for a few different reasons. #1) If you really want to make a change in your life, you should do so now, not wait for the beginning of a new year. #2) Chances are you’ll just end up disappointing yourself. Even if you start off with the best of intentions and things are going great, most of the New Year’s resolutions I hear about simply do not stick. By the end of February, if not earlier, they are forgotten about all together. #3) That’s a lot of stress to put yourself, and your loved ones, under. Usually these resolutions involve some massive change and you tend to think the change can come January 1st. Why do that to yourself? #4) They usually involve something completely unoriginal and something that really didn’t have a lot of thought put into it in the first place. You deserve better for yourself than that.
  6. Wash your car.
    Don’t neglect the thing you rely on most everyday. Add it into your organizational plans.
  7. Pick up a book.book
    Books help open our minds and allow us to escape to anywhere our imaginations can go. Make the time to unwind, relax your mind, and snuggle up with a good story.
  8. Decide to love yourself.
    This doesn’t mean simply saying you love yourself, but just like in your relationships with others, you have to show yourself that you do. This includes eating right, getting enough sleep at night, exercising regularly, taking time for yourself, saying “no” when you can’t do something for someone -and feeling okay about it- and any other special way you can prove to yourself that you matter.
  9. Change your air filter.
    Another friendly service reminder courtesy of Charleston Daily. You’ll thank us later!
  10. Meditate.
    There are so many benefits to meditation! It is a stress relief, it helps with focus, it helps to reduce anxiety, it boosts your creativity, and it can aid in relieving depression, but the list goes on! Just devoting ten minutes a day can make a significant difference in your life.
  11. Go watch a movie by yourself.
    It’s really not as bad as it sounds. Trust us on this one and give it a chance.
  12. Make a plan.
    This can include absolutely anything. You’ve just got to get the ball rolling. Totally different than a resolution!?Really put some though into it, set small goals and work on them at your own pace. You’ll have more success with the results sticking this way.?The best ideas start out with a good plan.20151207_171211-01
  13. Spend a sunset at the Battery.
    There are many beautiful spots to watch the sunset around Charleston. The Battery is one of our favorites. You can spend the afternoon enjoying White Point Garden, have a picnic, walk around, or relax on one of the benches, then take in a spectacular sunset before ending your day.
  14. Spend the night at a fancy hotel or bed and breakfast (preferably one with a big tub).
    Just have a change of scenery?for a moment. It can help give you new insights on what’s really going on in your life. Do it locally so you eliminate the stress of traveling. Our recommendation? The Battery Carriage House Inn?located in beautiful downtown Charleston.
  15. Donate to a local charity.
    Of course charities will always welcome a monetary donation. But you actually don’t have to have any money at all to donate to most charities. Clean out your closet, clean out your pantry, clean out your garage. You will find lots of things to donate to different organizations. You can also pick a charity, visit their website for their Wish List and grab something extra next time you are at the store.
  16. Take a sunrise walk on the beach.
    I realize this was included in our “List of things to do before the end of 2015”. Well, did you do it? There’s never a bad time to take a sunrise walk on the beach. -I might recommend waiting for a day when it’s not raining, but other than that you’re pretty golden!-
  17. Pay off your lowest credit card.
    When working on getting out of debt, experts recommend paying off the card that has the lowest balance first. Don’t neglect other cards you may have, but even if you can put an extra $10/month towards that one card, you will start seeing a difference a lot faster. –It also helps if you don’t add anything else to that card! –
  18. Wake up fresh.
    This idea comes with appreciation?from my best 5 year old friend. When asked what I was writing, and I explained it to him, he took it upon himself to contemplate the subject and this was his first idea. I like it, a lot actually. So get your behind in bed at a decent time, snuggle in for more than your usual few hours, and wake up fresh!
  19. Purchase that perfect outfit.
    Start this year off looking and feeling fabulous! –Hey, everything’s on sale right now anyway! –
  20. Have a dinner party.
    This is a great way to connect or re-connect with friends. Plus throwing a party is just fun anyway. Good food, drinks, music, your closest friends…sounds like a great night to me!

20 Ways to Start Out The New Year Off Right – Checklist