SAM #7/019 — St Augustine Magazine Issue

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issue #7\019 | $9 art | culture | people | living | giving



on the cover

Taylor Grace wears an original piece from the Global Island Treasures collection, handmade of leather and sea pearls. Sparrows are mentioned in the Bible in Matthew 10:29-31 and Psalm 84:3 “He will cover you with His feathers, and you will find refuge under His Wings.”

Donna Grey Jewelry Designer & Owner of Global Island Treasures, “Children are the most vulnerable of any society and the victims of situations that are not their fault. Be it financial, natural occurrences, violent environments. My heart has always been with the children.” Donna founded Sparrow’s Wings to help children in third world countries by giving a percentage of her jewelry sales to help some of the neediest children in Honduras, Haiti, and the Philippines. Later to learn there are more than 800 homeless school children in St. Johns County, Florida. Today Sparrow’s Wings donates locally to A.S.S.I.S.T. an organization that provides Aid & Support for Students in Transition helping children whose lives are disrupted. g



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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. All material is compiled from sources believed to be reliable, published without responsibility for errors or omissions. St Augustine Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photos. St Augustine Magazine™ | SAM™ Text copyright © 2019 Photography © 2019 Digital © 2019 Introduction © 2015/2019 St Augustine Magazine is published 6 times per year White paper subscriptions $28 for 6 Issues | Single Issues $9 For information on retailing St Augustine Magazine at your business please call 828.318.9876 Bulk rates for special events are available


316 Marsh Point Circle $749,900

Exceeding Your Expectations

Greg Crum 904-687-4017 • (904) 461-9066 3175-1 A1A South St. Augustine, FL 32080

issue 7\019



contributing editor | Rose Anajjar photographers Cindy Marshall Brittany Groy TacBoard

02 on the cover 05 publisher ’s note | Yvette Monell 06 remembered | Michael D. Sheehan


09 view | Aaron W. Towle 12 change | Kim Miller 15 community 18 inspiring | Thomas Jeffrey Vasseur 28 point | Shirley Jordan 32 music 36 life | Sheila Veatch 38 texture 44 transform | Auretha Callison 48 read | Ginny Dozier 50 people 56 artist 58 style 65 poem | Norma Sherry 67 last call 10 | 16 | 26 | 30 | 46 | 54 |

flash 4



Publisher’s Note Welcome to the long awaited issue of SAM! I want to thank the loyal contributors and our advertising partners for their love and support. It has been a joy putting this issue together. There are some really good people who have contributed work that you’re sure to enjoy. Lots of good reading with beautiful images to see and share. Many changes to the design and ways we’ll be bringing St Augustine Magazine to you. And look, I’m a Grandma since that last issue. (I’ve been told he’s got my smile.) As always we are open to your ideas and suggestions. Let’s hear from you! Peace and Blessings, Yvette Monell, Publisher

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She who is one Waits for me, as I wait for her. She who is in me Longs for me, as I long for her. She who is in one Desires me, as I desire her. She is a song, a voice unfettered. She is a poem, words given wing. She is the dance, a moving goddess. She is my heart, a pulsing beat. She is my sorrow, uncontained. She is my longing, giving birth


by Michael D. Sheehan

April 11, 1947—June 12, 2018


by Nancy Hamlin-Vogler ~ painted on site using pastels and acrylic wash Water / Sky : Matanzas Inlet at Plum Gallery, 10 Aviles Saint Augustine FL 32080 7

photography by Aaron W. Towle: SWITCH 8

view by Aaron

W. Towle


Creative Standpoint FROM A CREATIVE STANDPOINT, I TYPICALLY GENERATE ART and literature with the direct purpose of enlightening the masses. What I do here is separate from my day job. These entities have little in common other than sharing oxygen for my technical skills. In fact, what I choose to represent here is an extension of my creative spirit. It represents a place I would love for to exist if the stars were properly aligned. While my desires for one opportunity simply exist in a dream state, I am content to work with my other foot grounded in reality. The fact is that I like my day job. I like my career. I have chosen a path with which I am satisfied and has made me productive. I have worked with many incredible people along my journey while having the distinct pleasure of serving my country. Yet I desire more… Indeed, I have the burden of carrying this creative hammer. What I do for one engine does not facilitate the other. While I have managed to keep my technical career as a defense contractor separate from my artistic endeavors, I feel compelled to chase the latter. I am a free spirit, a writer, a dreamer. With that knowledge comes great responsibility, a dedication which demands I reach beyond my comfort zone to connect with like-minded individuals as we dream for the stars. So, what does this all mean? It’s a simple answer. I am being honest with myself. I am reaching into my conscience to paint pictures with words. I am breaking my ego into fragments and tapping into my conscience. You see, being an artist does not give me license to be lazy. It is quite the contrary in fact. My true objective is to push forward, to seek the undiscovered sparks waiting for discovery. That’s right, I am here to expose the creative underbelly of America’s Oldest City: Saint Augustine. There is no question that there are hidden pockets of treasure waiting to be explored, and it pleases me to be included in this adventure. With that notion, my goal is simple: to present content that is thought-provoking and unique, to showcase this fabulous community in its most talented and unique angle. I look forward to sharing this passion as we dive deeper into the canvas of intellect. Let’s paint this portrait together, a glorious look at history and community wrapped in the full guise of expression… g Aaron W. Towle is a Media Specialist living in Green Cove Springs. Having worked as a military journalist as well as a graphic artist, he has a wide range of publishing and editorial skills. He is also an artist with a passionate finger pressed firmly on the pulse of the industry.

St Augustine Magazine published 6 times per year Downloadable digital version always Free Cover price $9 - White paper subscriptions $28 St Augustine Magazine P.O. Box 3484, St. Augustine FL 32085 For information on retailing SAM call 828.318.9876 Bulk rates for special events are available




flash photos byYvette Monell

Romanza Gathering Gathering Mixers are a unique, comfortable opportunity for the creative community to socialize, communicate & share ideas and information. These fascinating people come out from St. Augustine’s Arts, Culture, Heritage, Attractions & Business organizations. This networking program is open to all individuals and cultural organizations. Members and non-members alike come to enjoy the music, food and fun!




I by Kim


Positive Mind Shift

IT’S FUN TIME Let’s have some fun! Let’s explore the value that positive thinking has on day-to-day living. It seems that lately, positive thinking has taken a negative hit in terms of how we perceive the subject of positivity. Positive living is often perceived in many on-line niches as a blasé subject. Ever since Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, studied what makes us happy, coaches and pop psychologists have been writing about it and how it can help us overcome any of life’s struggles. As you may recall, Martin Seligman described situations in which people had learned to not respond to opportunities in order to escape certain unpleasant situations. Seligman found helplessness to be a psychological condition in which a person has learned to act or behave helplessly in an unwanted situation even when having the ability to change the unwanted circumstance. New Name—Positive Mind Shift Since I don’t want to be blasé, I’m going to give positive thinking a new name: “positive mind shift.” So, what is a positive mind shift? A positive mind shift is the act of taking a belief you have that does not serve you and making it a belief that serves you at a higher level. By making a truly positive shift in thinking, you set yourself up for a happier and more fulfilling life. With all the stress of daily hectic lifestyles we are faced with, it makes sense to be on the lookout for ways to change our current belief system so that they support who we want to be. Here’s How Gilda Used A Mind Shift to Increase Her Motivation and Lose 38 Pounds. One example of how positivity helped one of my clients recently. Gilda had a huge heart. However, she always put herself last when it came to taking care of herself, namely, in terms of eating healthy and exercising daily. Gilda was distraught because, although she wanted to change, she realized that she just wasn’t doing what she said she was going to do, which was to eat less, be healthier and exercise daily. When I asked her why she thought she couldn’t change, she said, “I apparently am not motivated enough even though I really do want to lose weight and feel really good about myself.” Gilda is like many people who want change in themselves but are stunned at how little motivation they can actually muster up when they set out to do it on their own. I asked her, “Gilda, what are some of the thoughts you have when you decide to not eat healthy, or when you eat too much?” She replies regarding her inner dialogue. “What’s the point?” she says. “This is too much effort and I am really not that heavy. Life is to be enjoyed and my family wants me to be happy and I am happy eating lots of rich foods.” So off we go with a few more pointed questions over a few more days, and Gilda developed a mind shift that served her to lose 38 pounds. What was Gilda’s New Mind Shift? Recently, I asked Gilda what she was thinking at times she was tempted to eating poorly or eat too much. Her response: “I’m thinking about all the positive things that come from being healthy, strong, and thinner. I can play better golf, and I don’t get as winded when I take the grandkids on hikes in the National parks. I’m thinking that I’ll be there for my kids and grandkids for a long, long time and that I’ll even be able to dance at the grandkids’ weddings.” And, she added, “I like the way I look. I’ve made a mind shift and it is serving me well.” While it may take some practice to change negative thought patterns into positive ideas that serve you better, it can certainly be done. more > 12

Strategies You Can Use Right Now Give these positive minds shift strategies a try and watch your energy quotient soar! Tell Yourself You CAN Sometimes a simple thought you repeat over and over can get you through a grueling or challenging experience. “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this” is a great mantra to keep you striving for the change you desire. And think about this: our own navy seals and top athletes use mantras to help overcome life threatening situations and great challenges all the time. Think of Yourself as Strong When you’re engaging in physical activity, think to yourself, “I am strong. I can do anything. I can finish this job because of my inner strength.” And yes, don’t forget about that superwoman or superman pose you get to do after your workout. Get Back to the Basics with Pen and Paper Though it may feel a bit strange to do, get out a pen and paper and start listing to your positive attributes. Do some bragging about yourself ! It’s okay. When we forget about all our accomplishments, life feels harder. more >


continued COMMIT! Commit to doing something with the words, “I am,” followed by a positive and definitive description of what you are going to accomplish. For example, instead of saying, “I am going to lose weight,” say instead: “I am going to lose 18 pounds in four weeks.” Be positive and affirmative in your thinking and speaking. The more definitive you are, the more likely your life will be to advance in positive ways. MOVE! Just the sheer act of moving a little out of your comfort zone tells your brain that you are in control! Life is good. (Of course, know your limits and follow your doctor’s advice on exercise before attempting this one.) FOCUS No matter what your goal is, you’ll feel psyched if you do one thing to work toward it every single day. And to really make sure you accomplish it, do it first thing in the morning when starting your day. BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER Tell yourself you can handle it if something doesn’t work out. Being positive, means you’ll land on your feet regardless of what happens. You’ll get through it. When you truly know this and live life like you believe it, you’ll be one of the most positive people around. When you begin to re-focus your life toward positive mind shifts, it will become easier to get inspired and excited about each new day. You will feel capable of achieving the goals you’ve set. Remember that you don’t have to do all of these at once. Choose two or three goals and make them a regular part of your day. Over time, you will start to notice a real difference and when you do, you’ll be motivated to add another and another. A positive mind shift isn’t something that just happens; it’s a steady progression made up of small steps, one right after the other – your whole life long. The sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the benefits of positive change. WHEN WILL YOU START TO MAKE THOSE MIND SHIFTS? g Kim Miller, weight loss/lifestyle/personal trainer coach is the owner of BodySmartWay and the founder of Retire Healthy, Live Healthy, and Achieve Programs. Her focus is YOU and you can contact her at, at her website or at the Harbour Island Tennis Centre courts most days of the week.

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Time to Change

“The Amp”: a name that will be easy for out-of-towners and new-comers to remember. Those who watched it grow will have some trouble adapting to the change. It took some practice to welcome the word, “Amphitheatre,” into one’s vocabulary. “The St. Augustine Amphitheatre” was more like a title than a name. Moving forward, it will be known simply as “The Amp.” g 15

flash photos byYvetteMonell

Pecha Kucha Night Volume 13 : Civility Pecha Kucha Night is a community speaking event that takes place in cities around the world. It’s a place where local presenters have a chance to share stories and ideas with their community. Inspiration rules. Speakers chosen for each event have exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds to present a total of 20 slides, rotating at intervals of 20 seconds each. Event locations change quarterly, as does the presentation theme.



inspiring by Thomas Jeffrey Vasseur

Tyler Sheridan


Planting Seeds to Move Mountains


SAM: Occasionally someone comes along with energy. Simply by entering a room they bring with them light, and a glow about them makes you want to know them. You’ve heard the term, “Light up a room.” Tyler Sheridan radiates. When I first met him and heard about his work with local youth I knew Tyler had an inspiring story to tell. Explain to St. Augustine Magazine readers who you are, tell them what you do, where life has taken you, and what goals you have for your work & organization. Tyler Sheridan: It could be a complicated story, but looking back I wouldn’t change any part of my life and journey. Who I am is a very outgoing, energetic, hopeful person, but it hasn’t always been that way. Mine was a process. Honestly, at one point, mine was a mountain I thought I couldn’t climb. I struggled a lot in school, specifically with pretty severe Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and eventually a ADHD diagnosis. Schooling never necessarily came easy for me. It was never something that just clicked, but it was something that I felt should click and work in my life. Why was I not able to live up to the expectations I put on myself and that others would put on me? Growing up in a committed Christian household with the belief of divine perfection, my viewpoint was like, “Well, this is a God who makes everything perfect. Why am I not perfect? Why am I not able to fulfill even the simplest tasks in my school studies?” To become who I am now, into this vibrant, eccentric, surfer who loves everyone, took some trial and error. Again, it was a process. It’s like climbing a mountain. Frankly, I fell quite a bit behind in school and would say to myself, “I am trying. That is my best effort.” That’s when certain ideas started getting in my head and in my heart. Maybe doing my best alone, worrying all be myself, really isn’t good enough? Something inside me must just be broken, or can be better. Gradually, bit by bit, I changed and found direction. Now, I really think I’ve reached the highest calling I can for my personal life at the moment, as Campus Life Director for Youth for Christ, and I also realize that my journey is an ongoing process. SAM: People need something to believe in and I had heard of Christian Surfers International before, but not your particular organization. What was the moment? The real instant of epiphany for you? We live in a city that a lot of people consider very special, some even call it divine. Could you perhaps pinpoint a moment in time that for you was a Paul on the Road of Damascus experience? Can you tell us what exactly triggered your transformation? TS: What really changed for me transformation-wise happened when I was in middle school, which was the lowest point that I’ve ever been. That’s when I had come to my complete rope’s end. Sixth grade was getting bad, 7th grade only got worse, and 8th grade was when my whole life was transformed. This idea of constant failure and not living up to an expectation both to myself—or to what some god out there wanted me to be—or what my family wanted me to be just resonated. It began to twist my perception of who I was. Our depraved hearts, when we rely on our own strength, can and will fail us because the human heart is deceitful. Personally, I know what is true in my life because when I looked into my own heart and image of myself it was completely broken. I began to push everybody away, even those who would try to encourage or love me genuinely. Then when I reached the lowest point; isolation led to depression, which led, not just to anxiety but a deeper malaise. Perhaps, a pattern of anxiety had been there since day one. Being anxious around other people, or just in my own head, constantly worrying and thinking, “Why am I not good enough?” Eventually the only answer that came to mind was, “How can I get out of this? I can’t face this huge mountain that I have to climb all by myself. My mistaken thinking told me, “Hey there is one thing I do have control over in my life, and that’s whether I can live or not.” The horrible idea of suicide began to grow and to fester, and it became not just an idea but actual kind of hope onto which I could hold and this was wrong needless to say. I could at least control the fact that I could give up. 19


SAM: Young human beings have so much to learn, and the pattern of teenage suicide nationwide is indeed alarming. We experience ups and downs, and that’s also the spirit and general message in Ecclesiastes. People and seasons and situations change. Life is brief. It often transforms & transforms us. Talk a bit more about your lowest point so others can more fully understand. TS: When I was in 7th grade I had my first planned attempt at suicide. There was some self-harm that went on before that. Multiple cutting and other self-harm that I knew some of my other friends had gone through so I figured, well, maybe if it’s a trend and “working” for them, maybe it will work for me. At that time I had friends who struggled a lot with personal identity, as well. What they would try I would try. It was a negative peer pressure, and all teenagers need good role models. That’s the key idea for my work with area youth and participation in Youth for Christ as a way to connect, lift up, and inspire. SAM: Lots of people are shaped by mentors. Did anyone special come along? TS: Definitely, and one big turning point in my life was my grandfather. He was a missionary, a Pastor, and golly, such a talented and devoted spiritual leader. A sound voice, when it came to matters of the soul. He meant so much to me. I looked up to him, respected him. However, I didn’t fully understand. “Why would you live your life for this? I just don’t get it? If it works for you, okay, I guess. But I still did not understand or grasp such commitment.” However, deep down I respected him for it. Then suddenly he got to a point where he became very sick. When I was in 8th grade, he started going downhill very quick. So we went to go see him and knew it was probably our last time to get to spend with him, and my grandfather pulled me away for a private discussion. He pulled me off to the side and gave me this huge hug, and, as he’s holding me in his arms, he gave me these three simple statements that were hopeful and essential to me at that difficult time. He said three things to me that day: my grandfather said “I love you,” and then “I’m proud of you,” and then “I want you to do your best.” So I’ll never forget those three things. That’s 100% for sure. I sat there and I was holding him crying. My grandfather passed away the very next day. 20


continued SAM: That seems like when your more committed & serious faith took hold? TS: Well, I’d always believed and had faith. I knew that there was a God. However, while I’d always heard about this relationship with the Lord, every time I would hear about the phrase, it would make me more and more angry. Because though I believed he was there. He wasn’t involved in my life. He made me. He made me flawed. Then He left me. Such was my thinking at the time, that I wasn’t good enough. Anytime someone would say, “God loves you” I would pretty much shell-up even more and push them away further. How could a God love me if he made me like this, if he didn’t care or see me through my struggles? Didn’t hear me out when I cried to Him. So when my grandfather passed away it was the most difficult thing I ever faced. For the next couple months, I was just numb and beside myself. I wasn’t even attempting any pain or cutting at this point. Just kind of giving up and lying around without direction, hope, or tools for change. Then four months later, his wife and my grandmother also became quite ill. She had been suffering for a few years with Alzheimer’s and her dementia started getting worse. When my grandfather passed her condition just went downhill. So we went to go see her and I had these questions in my mind the whole time and I’m just thinking, “You all believe in this. How could you still believe in this? I remember sitting in the room as she took her final breaths. Here is what I will always remember. My grandmother had so much joy and so much peace during those final moments. So often she would have no clue who we even were at all. But that day was a blessing. She remembered us and started sharing memories. Suddenly I saw the outside of her slipping away, but then I noticed her spirit coming to life in a way I couldn’t fully understand. It just clicked with me in that hospital room as she breathed her last breaths. I was sitting there taking in the experience, and then I realized that I was having a special moment with the Lord and that The Holy Spirit was pressing in on me and showing me something important. She was dying outside but on the inside she was alive. Here was my dying grandmother, who I believed in, who I deeply respected, who I was going to miss, and she was absolutely spiritually healthy. SAM: What a powerful moment for any young person. It seems like this was another crucial moment of awareness. Could you say this was the instant when you started to commit with all your heart? TS: That day I walked out of the hospital room and I had some time on my own. Frankly, I just remember sort of being beside myself before the Lord. Crying out to Him. I was angry with Him. I was yelling at Him. And I just said to Him, “If you are real and you can do that to them, I need you to do that to me. Jesus I am willing to believe in you because there’s nothing that I have that’s working. I am desperate before You.” So that day was June 13, 2010 and the Lord had just come into my life. That was the day I couldn’t push him away. When I was at my personal rope’s end, I had to accept the faith He was giving me and I came to life in a way that I could never imagine. I felt joy that I saw my grandmother and my grandfather having. The funny thing is my birthday is June 14, 1994 so I was born biologically on the 14th. However, I was born again spiritually fifteen years later, one day before my birth date on June 13th. SAM: When did you start making this inward journey public? Was a church involved? TS: Since then my involvement in the church has been because of what God has done with me. That’s why it’s a joy for me to work passionately with Youth for Christ. What we do is try to reach kids who are in those hardest-to-reach situations. The kid who I was when young, the kid who wanted nothing to do with the church, that’s precisely the kid our organization pursues. It’s not a job for me—it’s my lifestyle and a total commitment. It is my everyday joy because I see these kids and I look at them and I say, “I know where you’ve been. Believe me, I know where you’ve been. Let me share with you about it. This is what happened to me and this is what God did in my life.” Personally my mission happens to coincide with Youth For Christ’s goal of reaching that one lost kid. One kid at a time. One lost kid at a time. We begin to walk alongside life with them in a real way. We share the pain, we share the joy, and we get to know them. We don’t just preach at them. My job as Campus Life Director for Youth For Christ is to oversee our school ministry. That means going to the public middle schools and high schools, meeting with kids on a weekly, sometimes a daily basis, inside of their own environment. 21



SAM: What about human beings who need a bit more discipline in their lives? How did transforming your choices and life commitments link up to others? Did you feel like things ever got out of control again once you began your more devoted walk in faith? TS: Tough times arise, but no matter how much we may push God away from us, he’s still in control. He’s still opening doors. A lot of the time that’s means just going through key individuals, like my grandfather. Whether it’s a teacher, a relative, a family friend, whoever, usually it’s a believer whose faith is on fire & who is willing to stand-up for her or his beliefs. Principals, teachers, administrators, everyone potentially can be a spiritual and moral role model. Their goal as leaders should be to foster a positive culture for the students and to build an overall environment for education and ongoing learning. So when we come along & speak to students who might be interested in our ideas & spiritual uplifting—right when many young people crave & need it the very most—that begins to cultivate relationships and potentially opens doors to where a blessing might take hold & really change lives. As we begin to build those relationships, gradually real trust begins to form, and God can move mountains with trust. So we start with basic caring: connections, friendships, and trust. Kids need that. SAM: Personally, how do you reach kids through your organization? What kind of activities are involved? How are you implementing these principles? It’s inspiring to see someone so young helping other youth, because they will understand and relate to your journey as a teenager. TS: Well, first we go where they’re at and if they are interested, I try to take many of them surfing and out to the beach. Also, importantly, we have clearance to go into every regional detention center in North East Florida and meet with kids who are incarcerated. Getting to this point meant having conversations with the State Attorney’s office, the Mayor, juvenile court judges, and the Sheriff’s office, making sure there’s a common desire to reach these kids and give them hope. I always encourage my volunteer leaders, anytime you can meet with a parent, you should always take that opportunity. Because most of the time we find that if you can reach the kid, the kid’s going back to the parent, which is normal and can be very productive. We’ve had many situations where whole families will be transformed, and churches will gradually grow. Families not just kids. That’s the most beautiful thing, in my opinion, whenever you get to see the full circle. I had someone speak to me directly once and they asked, “Tyler is it enough to just plant a seed?” And I thought, “Oh, wow, looking back at what I went through and relating to these kids, man, I’m like, no, I want to see a seed well planted and I want to see it fully grown & flourishing. Personally, in my ministry I wanna see these kids come to Christ, and I wanna see them be part of the ministry, and I wanna see them have a life that’s totally transformed and spiritually healthy. 22


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continued SAM: What a lovely phrase! Growing and flourishing. That’s the abundant life, correct? That’s what it’s called in the gospel, right? That’s the good news. TS: Absolutely, and I am humbled that God would use me, starting from when I was younger and than gradually making me what I am today. My ministry training and love for surfing have come together in YFC. Now I can give back to others. However, it’s ultimately and finally not about me. Also, if there’s a student or students are ready or receptive, if I don’t always get to see that full circle happen, that’s okay. Just being able to be a part of that cycle is a privilege beyond compare. Any step forward in faith is glory to God and that’s part of His plan and not mine. I feel that I’m right where God wants me to be. I know where God has called me. It’s a day-in and day-out privilege to get to do this amazing job, and so many pre-teens and teenagers have been involved. SAM: After we first met, there has been an absolutely horrible incident in Christchurch, New Zealand. What can you say to other human beings and our readers, who are equally loved by God, who like you grew up in a devout and faithfilled family, however, these people might use other names for the Divine. As you know, the prophet Jesus is mentioned in other holy texts as a prominent and always a central prophet. Since other people in St. Johns and Duval counties grew up with different versions of spiritual and moral guidance, even different names for God, how are values like tolerance, openness, and ecumenical awareness important to your organization? TS: Thank you and to address this, I will say that Youth for Christ stands firm on sound Biblical teaching, that is one of our five essentials. So we believe and hold true to the teaching of the Holy Infallible Word of God in the Bible. We realize that our mission is to meet lost or troubled teens wherever they are at in their lives, in spite of their beliefs, but we do it bringing in the truth of God’s Word through authentic Christ sharing relationships. We believe in the One God in three forms but all One still together, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Of course, my staff members and I meet with people who don’t believe the same, but our beliefs are firm and we share that with them. SAM: What about demographics in St. John and Duval Counties. Talk a little more about what you’ve learned in terms of numbers, statistics, the volume of youth involved. What are the nitty-gritty numbers of potentially at risk kids, those in need of spiritual and existential guidance. Often, they just need to know that someone, anyone at all, deeply cares about them and what they’re going through. TS: There are 177,000 teenagers between eleven years old and nineteen years old in the First Coast area. That’s where we feel God has given us the stewardship to target. My goal thirty or forty years from now is that we can actually start to impact even a fraction of these young people’s lives. If 30% or less of them are actually churched, which is what we’re finding, that means 135,000 kids are completely without Christ. That breaks my heart. Youth For Christ has only been in the First Coast area for two and a half years. That might seem like a long time, but to build a ministry that’s all-inclusive, counting detention centers, military bases, etc. That involves a whole different set of goals. I grew up in South Jacksonville. The only point at which I wasn’t living in the First Coast area was when I attended seminary at Palm Beach Atlantic University for their Master of Divinity Program. When my time there had ended I felt the Lord calling me, “Take this back to your home region and start something.” Everyone told me don’t do it, no way it’s going to happen! People down here told me, “Tyler we love you. But don’t start a chapter. It’s not going to happen.” However, we had a regional conference a few months later and guess what, big surprise, the conference was held regionally once again. It’s like God keeps putting Jacksonville and St. Augustine on the map. I sent an email to one of our national directors, inquiring if there was anything we could do and help. Maybe just start one small club? He said, “I’ll meet with you during the Regional Conference.” more> 24

SAM: So that was your jump-in moment. That was when Youth for Christ started to mesh with your own beliefs, ministry goals, talents, and your desire to help troubled youth and teenagers? TS: So, I get to the regional meeting and I sat down at a table with five other people. I don’t know who these people are. I never met these people before. And the director says, “Welcome to Youth for Christ Jacksonville. All of you guys within a month, the same month, have all emailed or called our national office representing different ministries. Now you all want to start something in Jacksonville, so clearly God is doing something in the First Coast region.” Keep in mind that YFC has programs for military campus life, deaf campus life, juvenile justice system schools, and so forth. So the inclusiveness and number of teenagers potentially involved is quite impressive. That’s kind of how it started two and a half years ago, building from the ground up. We had zero budget to start with and we still have little funds, basically, and so any support is always appreciated since it really helps the kids. Most importantly, there is a real ministry happening. Lives are being transformed. It’s an exciting time, and the coolest part is that how on a national scale, we have nine different ministries. SAM: Thanks very much for your time Tyler. It’s inspiring to hear about your efforts as a role model and spiritual guide for area youth. Break down in the simplest way what being with you for a couple hours at the beach, after hearing about your life and its commitment to faith has done for kids? How do you use your personal talents, a word featured prominently in the famous New Testament parable, both a surfer and youth minister to connect with and inspire teenagers who need direction like you when younger and still searching for direction. TS: Well, I get to know them first. That’s the start. Then I’ll be with a small group of kids and take them out surfing or to the beach. I share my love for the Atlantic Ocean, and start building an authentic relationship. Youth for Christ is a worldwide Christian movement working with young people around the globe. So YFC is an especially helpful tool for kids in this region. Jacksonville has four reach-out centers and is one of the few locations that gives us the opportunity to reach all of them. We begin to build trust with them. We begin to earn the right to be heard in their life. We begin by offering to build relationships with them, and this does not always start with, “Hey here’s the gospel.” Instead, we start with something like: “Hey let me just get to know you. I’m here for you.” When you’re speaking to young people about their precious lives, they don’t know who you are, they don’t care who you are. But they begin to care once they know how much you care. So we as helpers have to earn the right to be heard, and after we earn the right to be heard, then trust & even real friendships happen. We begin to have an influence and gradually they can begin to climb that mountain. g

Thomas Jeffrey Vasseur was raised on a small cattle farm in western Kentucky. He left his native state at twenty-one, traveled and worked odd jobs, spending extended periods in South America and Europe. He graduated from Transylvania University with a degree in English and Philosophy and received a Ph.D. in contemporary literature from the University of Utah. He lives in Northern Florida and Idaho and currently teaches at Valdosta State University. Thomas Jeffrey Vasseur is the author of Discovering the World: Thirteen Stories. He steeps us in different experiences set in a disappearing rural South, the New South, and the world at large. One of the striking things is his storytelling variety. These tales of passion are full of peril and recurrent awareness of mortality, the gaps that separate all people and threaten to separate them further from those they love. 25

flash photos byYvetteMonell

After 6 St. Johns Cultural Council’s February After 6 Arts Mix was held at the St. Augustine Distillery. The Ice Plant is a contributing building to the Lincolnville Neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places and was the ďŹ rst of its kind to make commercial block ice in Florida over 100 years ago. Guests sample vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey created at the plant. The mission of the council is to promote St. Johns County as a premiere arts destination where the lives of both residents and visitors are enriched through arts and culture.



My Number One Pet PEEVE



by Shirley Jordan

WE ALL HAVE THEM. Those little annoyances that bug us when they crop up. One of my main ones appears each time I go grocery shopping! Mine happens to be when people do not put their shopping carts away after unloading them. For those of us who live (and shop) at a store near the beach, we need to always do the right thing: return our carts to the round up area or inside the store after unloading them. Near the beach the wind blows 24/7. An empty grocery cart left unattended can quickly become a missile. Metal hitting metal is an awful sound. We Americans do a lot of shopping, and if it is grocery shopping, it most likely involves a cart. These conveniences make shopping easier, but they cost the business owners a great deal of money. If left to the wind, they can also cost us a lot of money. We tend to carefully lift our bags of groceries from the cart and place them tenderly in our cars. After all, we spent a great deal of money on these items in order to restock our pantries and fridges. A loaf of bread no longer costs a quarter, but rather is now closer to three dollars. Food has gotten costly and so have car repairs. A cart blowing into a car can cause hundreds of dollars in repair, not to mention the inconvenience of having your mode of transportation tied up for a day or two. Therefore, it makes no sense to leave a wheeled metal object in position to attack a car! Every grocery store parking lot has several cart roundup areas. They are there for a reason. I would like to think these cars are being driven by out-of-towners who are unaware of our breezy beach areas. But all too often I see these inconsiderate people driving autos bearing one of our many Florida license plates. Some leave the carts only a few feet outside the safe cart areas. Just a few more steps and the cart would be safely stored until needed by another shopper. Now, I feel sure these drivers would never deliberately scratch or mar another vehicle. But they are not thinking of others when they refuse to roll those carts a short distance to safety. It is so easy to do. And it is the right thing to do! When I meet another shopper putting his or her cart away properly, I always smile and thank them. I often receive a smile in return or an affirmative response such as, “Certainly.” My favorite response is “Always.” On the good days I get a lot of smiles. And smiles make my day! g


flash photo byTacBoard

EMMA Concert Association’s 40th Anniversary EMMA celebrates 40 Years of Beautiful Music & Dance with a Red Carpet 1940s big band dinner dance fundraiser. EMMA generates funds to promote the understanding & appreciation of music among young people in our community. The gala event was held at The Riverview Club with a multi-course dinner, cocktails, big band music, and dancing. “We aren’t just raising money. We are raising money to make a difference!”




Who is EMMA?

The EMMA Concert Association

ON A COLD, DREARY, RAINY DAY IN February of 1979, a small group of music lovers met to form a new association. The founding committee chose the name EMMA (The Emil Maestre Muisc Association) in order to honor Emil Maestre. Who was Emil Maestre? Emil Maestre was a Spanish cellist who resided in St. Augustine. He was a longtime advocate of bringing music and children together, which later became one of the main objectives of this new organization. Forty years later, the name of the association had been changed to the EMMA Concert Association, but the two-pronged mission remained the same: One, to bring quality music and dance to St. Augustine at reasonable prices and two, to provide training and opportunities in music, especially classical music, to the youth of St. Johns County.

Maestre & Madame Richard

The EMMA Concert Association’s Board of Directors and EMMA Guild members are dedicated volunteers who share their talents and energy to make beautiful music the central focus of the cultural life of our beautiful City. Madame Jeanne Richard was the featured pianist at EMMA’s first concert on April 27, 1979 at the Riverview Club. As part of her program, she played an original composition that she wrote for Emil Maestre. g

Interested in becoming involved with EMMA? You can either participate as a Committee Chairperson or simply as a member. For $15/year you can help put on these beautiful concerts! The EMMA Guild is described by our Guild President as ‘The heart of EMMA’. 904.797.2800 | 32

flash photos: YvetteMonell

First Coast Opera “It’s an honor to share her story,” said Artistic Director, Curtis Tucker. One of the most celebrated American singers of the 20th Century, Marian Anderson became the first black singer to perform at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. FCO honored her talent and perseverance with performances at a variety of venues that featured soprano, Lisa Lockhart; mezzo-soprano, Taylor-Alexis Dupont; jazz singer, Mama Blue; and bass-baritone, Carl DuPont, all accompanied on the piano by Bonita Wyke.




by Sheila Veatch

True Empathy


I RECENTLY OVERHEARD TWO WOMEN CONVERSING IN a check-out line. (Random off-topic note: I am continually astonished by what folks discuss in public. Aloud. Loudly aloud. If, when standing in public anywhere, I ever put a person on speaker phone then ask probing questions about his or her recent bowel obstruction, shoot me. Please.) While one woman (I’ll call her Sally) described a recent dating fiasco, the other (I’ll call her Sue) nodded in agreement at the appropriate time. Finally finished, distraught Sally sighed and said, “It’s just been so hard.” Sue replied in her most understanding voice, “I know exactly how you feel.” At that point the conversation stalled. Sue’s reply has stayed with me and resulted in much personal food for thought. Was Sue’s answer flippant or caring? Was she showing support or selfishness? Was Sue displaying empathy? All I know is that I have been Sue more times than not. The word “empathy” comes from the Greek words “em” (in) and “pathos” (feeling). The most basic definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” Most people want to be thought of as empathetic and want to be perceived as having the ability to understand another’s situation. I personally want to make sure people who confide in me know that I “feel their pain.” However, in my rush to “relate” I often forget to listen. If I’m not careful I fill the air with my story rather than take the time to digest another’s. In his essay “True Empathy,” Harvard educator Richard Weissbourd writes: “Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s not only a foundation for ethical functioning and professional success, but for good relationships of many kinds and for loving well. Yet, it’s also vital to understand what true empathy is. There’s far more to empathy than simply understanding another person’s point of view. After all, con men and torturers are highly skilled at understanding others’ perspectives — so they can bore in on their victims’ weaknesses. Siblings can have hawk-like skills at spotting and preying on each other’s most shameful vulnerabilities and fears. Salespeople, politicians, actors, and marketers are often very deft at taking other perspectives but they may not care any more about other people than the rest of us.” Empathy takes more than understanding or relating to another’s story. True empathy involves not only hearing someone out – listening to the end of their silence and beyond – but also means allowing them the last word. More than letting another know that we have been where they have been, maybe we simply need to let them first hear, “I am so sorry for your situation.” I have experienced a variety of losses in my 55 years. I lost my mother to suicide when I was 6. My older brother died in a car accident when I was in 8th grade. Devan and I have buried three children. I’ve struggled with difficult pregnancies. I’ve dealt with depression. Each situation was horrific and hard and left scars, and I do hope that I’ve learned to be sensitive to the pain of others through my own pain. However, because of these tragedies I find that I am far too quick to make comparisons; too often I’ll dismiss the scars of others by thinking, “Oh, I know exactly how they feel.” But I don’t. My pain is unique, my triumphs personal. How I handle grief may be different from how another would handle the same situation. My story is mine; your story is yours. And there are so very many things I am incapable of understanding because I have never experienced them. 36

Recent events in our nation have made me aware of how far we have wandered from the art of truly listening to one another; these events have reminded me that there is so much I just don’t know. g

I don’t know what it feels like to be constantly hungry.


I have never experienced being adopted by a family.


I’ve always been white; I’ve never experienced life as an African-American or Hispanic or Asian.


I don’t know what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer or the spouse of a law enforcement officer.


I have no idea how it feels to be abandoned.


I can’t even imagine the pain of being physically or emotionally abused.


I have never been given a cancer diagnosis; I have never lived through the fear of having my child diagnosed.


I have never been deployed to serve my country; I’ve never had a spouse or child deployed.


I don’t know what it’s like to live with a severe learning disability.


I go to the doctor without a second thought; I don’t know what it’s like to live without medical insurance.


I cannot imagine the loneliness of being friendless or bullied.


I have never suffered the pain of divorce.


I don’t know the fear of being alone and pregnant and poor.


I have yet to be responsible for the daily care of elderly parents.

I could go on, but you get the idea. While I’ve had my fair share of joys and heartache, there are countless life experiences I’ve never had and many that I will never know. Even in the situations I share with others – e.g., the loss of a child or parent – I don’t truly know exactly how another feels. So, what now? Do I stop trying to understand, becoming insular and remote? Of course not. I want to figure out how to empathize. But rather than rushing to tell others that I know “exactly how they feel” and working overtime to fill their silence with my words, I am going to try to talk less and listen more. Only then may I truly learn empathy’s true meaning. g




A COMMUNITY YARN BOMBING (KNITTED GRAFFITI) PROJECT adorned trees and structures on the West Lawn of Flagler College Campus. The pages to come focus on the intricacy of stitches. The color has been taken out of the photographs in order to better display; intermeshing loops forming paths and rows. Each loop secures a loop that form patterns, resulting in fabric. “Different parts of the St. Augustine community came together to knit all these pieces. Girls Scouts, members of the School for The Deaf and Blind, students from St. Augustine High School, as well as The Textile Guild had a huge part in this. They made the majority of the pieces, and The Fine Arts students patched them together to create the installation. This is the community aspect of the Symposium,� said Ilyssa Harrington, a Senior of Fine Arts who, along with helper Lisa Schweikert, applied the installation as part of her internship at Flagler College. This was just a small portion of the huge, week-long Southeast Textile Symposium, whose intent was exploration of the rich history of St. Augustine and the Southeastern United States through the lens of the Indigo trade, as well as the repercussions of slavery and colonialism. Participants include Callie Christensen and members of the Textile Arts Guild of St. Augustine, Laura Mongiovi (Associate Professor of Fine Art, Flagler College) and Ilyssa Harrington (Fine Art Major, Flagler College).

Random Acts 38

Fiber Kindness Texture Details






transform by Auretha Callison

Release & Surrender but Be Gentle


IT’S A TREND TO GET RID OF THINGS. HARD CORE CLUTTER RELEASE, IMO. I’m a bit of a softie. There are keepsakes from grandma scattered throughout my life, glittery birthday cards and nearly­perfect old flames I keep as friends. Life can be emotionally tough. I prefer a bit of padding. Releasing things, clothes, relationships, weight, jobs,’s a delicate process that opens us up to ‘what wants to happen next.’ As the ‘death’ card in my Brian Froud Fairies’ Oracle deck states, “..if it were not for death and her hard work, we would all be up to our ears in alligators, mayflies, each other and just about everything else. Without her to clear the world, there would be no room for growth or new life.” The first step to releasing is confirming something doesn’t work well anymore. It doesn’t feel good anymore. It may have even become painfully suffocating in it’s stagnation. Let go of the guilt and the rationalizations. Honor it...them...what was and let it go. *Guilt Free Bonus: Someone may be joyfully anticipating that old ___ of yours! Someone’s perfect someone/something is waiting in your Release Cue. The second step is opening up to the thought that something else might possibly work even better. Higher waist jeans hold in that lovely muffin top that make the rest of your blouses slide right over the top. Feeling flabola around the hip to waist ratio? Voila. Fini! Closet Clearing can be one of the toughest elements of my work. The lack of self care or the stress of making do makes itself painfully obvious. Standing with someone in their closet, as we assess what they’ve actually been wearing and putting up with, can be a weighty moment. (Which opens them up to what else isn’t working well in their lives and how they can shift that, too.) The thought has never occurred to most people that they can have something better and more joyful ­that’s actually easier. Releasing clothing can feel intensely liberating and frustrating. What you paid, what you never wore, how you make it work. Like relationships, sometimes no matter what we do, it just doesn’t work. It has ended up in our closet stored as backed up energy and space. It looked fabulous on the rack and was a great price, after all. But somehow it didn’t make the cut into your everyday life. We need a liberation. Hard core organizers have rules. “If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s OUT.” Off with their head! I think this is harsh. What if no one has thrown the perfect party this year? Do not take it out on the fancy dress. I live in the country these days. Those party dresses still sing from the corner. They call for perfectly matched dancing shoes to take to Tempo for salsa on a Sunday night. (Tweetable: We need a closet that sings!) I suggest a more feminine approach. Feel into it. Ask yourself, ‘How does each piece make me feel? 44

We keep old friends for many reasons. The gentle ones that comfort and console are keepers. There are garments that reveal our best selves and they should always be welcome in our life. Just because we haven’t seen that friend in a year doesn’t mean they need to go. Vintage items can be fantastic, truly unique and irreplaceable. Please don’t get rid of them! I think a more reasonable issue is space. What can you comfortable manage in your closet? Seasonally, store the excess. Think in lines of having a Play Closet as well as small sets of clothing for different parts of your lives, or as I call them, Style Personas. They all have jobs to do. Your Play Clothes give you hope. They remind you of all the unexpressed parts of your identity. They invite you to the Party of Life. Release in order to let go of what no longer or never did serve you, work well or feel right. Release in order to create room for the new, easy, fun, freeing pieces that do work and feel amazing. Release only that which does not feel good. In people, in clothes, in life. Keep all the things that make you smile. g Auretha Callison is a conscious life coach, healer and stylist. Please follow ‘Auretha, Soul Stylist’ on facebook and her blog at


flash photos byYvette Monell

Festival de San Augustin Celebrating the 500th Birthday of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, founder of Saint Augustine. Starting with the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Statue of Pedro Menendez in front of the Lightner. Saturday afternoon reenactors in sixteenth century attire keep both the City’s history and traditions alive. Even the papier-mâché heads came out for the Paseo along St. George Street from the City Gate to the Plaza de la Constitución. Noche de Festival (a Spanish tradition of a Paseo) was held later at the Fountain of Youth. Guests got to taste of City’s Spanish heritage, traditional music, and a dinner of Spanish Paella.




by Ginny Dozier

Incredible Love I READ A BOOK CALLED “PROOF OF HEAVEN” RECENTLY BY Dr. Eben Alexander, a Neurosurgeon who developed a very rare form of meningitis and was in a coma for seven days, brain dead for the last four of those days. During his “near death experience,” a New York Times reviewer writes: “Before he underwent his journey (into near death), he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God or the soul (although he was a practicing Christian)…then Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion and in essence makes us human shut down completely (he was brain dead). For seven days he lay in a coma; when his doctors considered stopping treatment, he (suddenly) came back.” Dr. Alexander writes, “I moved down through great walls of clouds. There was murmuring all around me but I couldn’t understand the words. Then I realized that countless beings were surrounding me, kneeling in arcs that spread into the distance. Looking back on it now, I realize what these half-seen, half-sensed hierarchies of beings, stretching out into the dark and above and below were doing. They were praying for me!” These prayers gave me energy…something in me felt a strange confidence that everything would be alright. These beings knew I was undergoing a transition and they were singing and praying to help me keep my spirits up.” The story continues that Dr. Alexander suddenly “awoke” on the eighth morning of his coma, sat up in bed and said, “What’s going on?” He made a full miraculous recovery. Doctors from all over the world had been involved in this Harvard-trained doctor’s treatment and no one expected him to recover, let alone live a full life and return to his medical practice. During his time of being brain dead, Dr. Alexander traveled a marvelous journey to heaven. He had a guide, a being he found out later on was a sister he had never known who died when she was very young. She took him throughout the realms of heaven – glorious beauty beyond his ability to fully comprehend – and there he met God himself who he described as a being of indescribably beautiful light from whom you could feel all-consuming love. Among the things he was “told” while on his journey in heaven was the fact that yes, there is evil in the world, but it is as a drop of water in an ocean of love that surrounds each one of us if we will only seek God. And how do we seek God? Through prayer. We are called to pray thanks and praises to our glorious Creator; prayer that blesses and loves the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, prayer that believes in and relies on the Holy Spirit to guide us every day of our lives.


Prayer is powerful. Prayer lifts those we pray for and as Dr. Alexander says, “energizes” spirits and bodies. Prayer brings hope, joy, forgiveness, understanding, and patience. It opens our hearts to love. For as we pray, we put ourselves and our egos aside, and for a brief time, we are connected to the pure, holy, and incredible Love of God. Never doubt the power of prayer; some people say, “Why pray? Your prayers don’t matter because God knows what’s going to happen anyway.” I pray because: God himself calls me to pray in the Bible. Prayer is my comfort. Prayer brings me hope. Prayer lifts me from this world into instant relationship with the Lord. Jesus prayed. INCREDIBLE LOVE— what greater gift could God give us than the opportunity to pray and be in His presence instantly and always. g “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6




The Gentle Voice of Our Community 50


JORGE RIVERA HOLDS MANY TITLES AND POSITIONS, including Manager, Reporter, Photographer, Videographer, founder of FirstCoast.TV, and host of “St Augustine Tonight with Jorge Rivera.” In addition, he holds a volunteer seat as Director on the board of the St. Johns Cultural Council. This is a busy guy who’s known by pretty much the entire community for his outgoing personality as well as his work. If you didn’t make it to an event and want to see what you missed, there is always the option of seeing it on FirtsCoast.TV & YouTube. Edited and posted online, often as soon as the day after the happening, videos that make you feel as if you were there. Though usually the interviewer himself, the St. Augustine Tonight’s host sat down with us to answer some questions we had about his latest undertaking. St Augustine Magazine: The majority of events you cover are for charity. Is it true you do it voluntarily? Where do you find time to do the side-work like the incredible video you did for the St. Augustine Art Association? Jorge Rivera: I thought these events needed to be covered. First Coast TV is making no money at all. Never has. I think it was after the first year that I realized it wasn’t. It’s hard for me to charge people in the community. Either I was going to do it for the community, or I would just close it down. I thought, “Maybe I should just give my last story, say goodbye, and thank everyone.” SAM: Understandable. It must be hard to devote so much of your time and to have to cover your own expenses, so why keep doing it for free? JR: My dad used to say, “They’ll offer you money and they’ll offer you love. Take love—the dividends are forever, and they are endless. Money—you blow it. You buy a new Cadillac, and it’s over.” I’ve told some people that I’m going to do the “St Augustine Tonight” show again, and they asked, “Can we support you?” Other times when I’ve come home, there have been checks waiting for me in the mail. That’s someone saying they want to support me. Recently, $2,000 came in, and I bought some equipment with it. I got an a7S2 Sony Mirrorless Digital Camera on eBay that was pre-owned. It’s been working really nice because I’m in a lot of places with low light and that is a beast to work in. Once you remove a camera’s mirrors, the possibilities are endless…the sky’s the limit! SAM: Now tell us about your latest exciting undertaking. JR: We want to do the first Hispanic Film Festival because there aren’t many that exist. We had already done one in Jacksonville. I took Eugenio Maslowski, creator and organizer of the first Hispanic Culture Film Festival in Jacksonville, on a tour of St. Augustine. I was able to convince Eugenio to bring the Jacksonville Festival here to the Old City. Then we had the meeting with City Council. The idea is to turn the Festival and turn the City into an expo-like operation. When you go to an expo, you go to this building, and you go to that building. If we can create events in different places at different times, people will come for the Film Festival. They’ll go here for a tapas event at Michael’s Tasting Room …then go to the wine thing at the San Sebastian Winery …and then perhaps proceed to the Plaza de la Constitución …go where the artists are …watch a Latin dance event over there. See what I’m saying, we turn the entire City into a Hispanic Expo! We’re even trying to convince the Spanish Wine Festival to have their event with us. SAM: With so many events already planned in St Augustine, is there a time slot available- possibly on a weekend for what you and your crew are seeking to put on? JR: Well, we’d gone to see the Mayor (Nancy Shaver at the time) who said, “We just had a meeting about looking for a major event during our slow time of the year. I just had that conversation last night at the commission meeting and now you guys walk into my office. It’s godsend!” She said, “You guys come here, and you already have it structured. You got my blessing.” more > 51

Basically, the meeting covered the fact that we’re going to have the Hispanic Film Festival here! A meeting with St. Johns County was to show them what we have. And they told us where and what they could help with, and what is or could be available. We were well prepared. You’ve got to come in with a project that’s already being developed. You can’t come with just the idea. Everyone has ideas. The Mayor said to me, “So many people come to me, but they want me to do all the work.” But since we’ve already brought in the contacts of the sponsors that are interested, and we have done most of the leg work, they are willing to work with us. SAM: It seems like quite the large undertaking, and without charging for your work in the community, is there something of a benefactor to help with funds?

Jore Rivera & Sway DiFeo

JR: The Jacksonville Hispanic Culture Film Festival was privately funded. But because the City of St. Augustine is looking for diversity, there is money to help diversification. Sponsors, grant funding, and ticket sales will cover expenses. Tripfax is one of many interested sponsors. They are the largest minority-owned travel agency in the United States. They moved their whole operation from New York to Jacksonville because they saw the potential in this area. They know Orlando, Tampa, Miami have reached growth capacity and can’t grow anymore. If you talk to a lot of people in the Hispanic community who are in business, economic development, and politics, they will tell you that Hispanics are here coming by the droves. They are coming to Nocatee and neighborhoods in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. They’re coming, and it’s booming here. SAM: Diversity is important and seems to be more and more relevant in today’s society. Can you give us a sort of picture of what the event will be like? JR: To bring the Film Festival to fruition, our job between now and October is to actually work with the City, artists, and restaurants to create thrilling events for people throughout the Historic District. SAM: It sounds like an exciting event to attend. Can you give us some information on how to attend and what accommodations there are for out-of-towners? JR: Yes, when Tripfax comes along and sells tickets, they’ll sell packages like Two Days & Three Nights in St. Augustine for the Hispanic Film Festival. Some people are going to come for the entire week. There are Latin hubs in Tampa, Clearwater, Orlando that we will be marketing to. When they see this Festival they will say, “Look at all the events that are here in St. Augustine!” And we will welcome them to the Old City. SAM: Thanks for taking the time to meet with us Jorge. For sharing your vision and excitement about bringing the Hispanic Film Festival here the plan, and work that come with an event of that caliber are astounding. No doubt the area business owners will offer their support and want to partake in the adventure. We will keep up with the happenings and progress of the Hispanic Film Festival but get your updates and some great video entertainment at FirstCoast.TV. g 52

Tentative poster of the Hispanic Culture Film Festival Scheduled for October 3—6 2019

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flash photos byBrittany Groy

St. Augustine Tonight The FirstCoast.TV taping of the St Augustine Tonight Show at Garrett Eclectic Home Decor was a smashing success with a packed house, laughter, and thunderous applause. Guests included abstract painter, Anna Miller; Gatsby organizer and founder of STArtNow, Sway Di Feo; and musical guest, The Metro Band, led by Ron Marshall.




Chandelle McDonie

photos: Natassja Ebert


What is your medium? Venetian plaster, luster stone plasters, glazes, lime paint, latex/chalk paint, high gloss enamel paint, epoxy, and gold leaf. Is art your work? Art is my work. I am so thankful that I am able to do what I love for work every day of my life. How would you describe your style? Decorative painting, otherwise known as faux painting. I take what is old or boring and update it. How did you realize your passion for art? Photography. It opened my eyes to composition and to see the beauty within every object. What influences your art? My daughter. I look at her and I see the most beautiful masterpiece I have ever laid eyes on. What has been your biggest high and lowest low? I am an entrepreneur, a business woman, a believer. I was told by a few really close people in my life that I was not going to make it and was going to be a single mother that lives below the poverty line. The moment I changed my perspective from noticing what I didn’t have to what I did have, I would literally within a day, get a call for a job that was going to get me financially back on track. Give us your view of St. Augustine’s art scene. St. Augustine is so heavily populated with artists. The art scene has been holding steady for a long time, but I see it exploding even bigger in the near future. I look forward to being a part of the expansion. What rule do you believe artist play in society? Not only do artists create physically stimulating art, they are the people who help others that lack vision see what is beautiful in this world. What is the most difficult thing about being an artist? That your brain (at least mine) never stops. I am always wanting to create. I used to love sleeping, but since I have found my deepest passion, I never want to sleep. I would rather create things all 24 hours of the day. ;) Share a secret with us. I have a thing for singing opera. I used to crack my family up when I was younger. I would stand on a dining room chair and belt out random sounds. It made me happy to make others laugh. How has your style evolved? I am very much deep into Venetian plaster now and all the ways you can achieve so many different looks with it. How do you see your future? Bright. I am completely in love with what I do. Is there anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your art? Not at the moment, but I would like to encourage you to visit my social media accounts on which I post content daily. Keep up with me on instagram@chandellepaints and and at g




I had been feeling in a creative rut lately, and Kira and I had become friends. She and I share a very similar vision of art with photography and styling. We got together and went over a series of shoots we want to do over the next few months. All ones that fuel our passion. Immediately in discussing them, we just synced up perfectly. Kira had a great idea to go to the flea market, and when we discussed models, make up, hair, and clothing it all lined up! Alexis was a perfect choice for the model and she naturally just shines in front of a camera. We also brought along a newcomer, Cathy Ritter who is beginning to learn photography so it was a great teaching moment for a more editorial inspired shoot. Cindy Marshall | Photographer



Alexis Dillard | Model

Periodically, I have to force my hand to “un-trend.” My work is often dictated by celebrity looks and retail driven trends. By the season’s end, I can almost close my eyes and my hands can create the desired look by themselves. I love going for the ride, but over time, it leaves me with monotony... So, I collaborate. I picket creatives who are also feeling the motions and we go rogue. New locations, wardrobes, models...and it feeds the wild fire in my heart. Kira McCarty | Onsite Muse Make Up and styling The Way We Were Vintage Clothing







ovin L

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last call

TheMonk’s is History

56 St. George Street is no longer The Monk’s Vineyard. Gone is the beer, pirate’s grog, Monk-abilia, and of course the wine. The Holy Watering Hole is all dried up. Owner, Hank Williams sold the place retired. In 1972 The Monk’s Vineyard opened its doors to a burgeoning crowd of travelers to offer food, atmosphere, and spirits. Gregorian chants played in the background, monks served tables in their frocks, a wine arbor with grape lights adorned the ceiling, and fine food was ordered from parchment like menus. Things changed along the years, Hank in a fish shirt, kept it going. For loyal old patron’s as a welcome hang out, for traveler’s a genuine eclectic rest spot. No one was a stranger there. No doubt, tale tellers will tell tales of the good times once had there. To sell the place they pegged it, “A piece of history in one of the last properties on the main street of the ancient restored St. Augustine, Florida.”

“We raise a glass to you, Hank Williams, sending best wishes for the future, as well as hopes for health, happiness, and good fortune to come your way.” g

No no no Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you’ve got Til its gone They paved paradise...