Tuesday, September 20, 2011


 Well, we just got home from a weekend at the Jersey Shore. Seeing how different the beach is since Hurricane Irene blew in, I have decided to honor one of my favorite places, highlighting  a book that makes going to the beach, going “down the shore”.
Laura Scarpa Toombs has written a great little book called “Beach Rules”. After spending 48 summers at the Jersey shore; summers filled with conversations, observations and proclamations, she is an expert on beach behavior. Not to mention, royalty in my eyes as her family owned and operated Playland, located on the corners of Haddonfield and Brynmawr Aves in Lavallette ( but we are saving that great story for another post).  Having witnessed everything from people in alcoholic stupors, locals fighting with folks “not from here”, to being chased down the beach at plastic- knife point, she was asked by good friend Lisa Visconti “Why don’t you write a book ?”   So, she did.
Beach Rules is a quick run down of the do’s and don’t of beach etiquette, laced with humor, a touch of sarcasm and a healthy dose of truth. I  am of a “certain age” as she describes in the book and can totally  relate to just about everything she says, including the empty ride home, from exit 98 back up north to exit 145 ( sadly until I was 15 I usually cried most of the way).
Aside from advice not to feed the seagulls or the reality of personal grooming in the surf, Laura really hits home with the unspoken connections of shore friends and the freedom of an outside shower ( have to use one to experience this, there are no words).  She makes it clear that real Jersey shore folks are nothing like what is portrayed in reality TV, but mistake not the “vibe” that is only given off in this community. Along with Playland, Laura’s family also made famous, the Sugar Shack in Ortley Beach and Fred’s Peds, a moped rental; absolute Jersey shore gold standard.

Please don’t be put off if you have never visited this part of the shore, or if coastal living is not your idea of paradise. This book is really about people. People who make up a community,  the bonds of friendship and the activities and events that make up a life time of memories, some so vivid and real that when one brings up the juke box at Playland, with out missing a beat, Laura can tell you that B6 was the song “Good Lovin Gone Bad” by Bad Company.
I really enjoyed reminiscing summers that have gone by, laughing about things and realizing just how small the world is, when you spend your summers “down the shore”.
Please take a minute and visit Laura’s Facebook page and most importantly, read the book. It is a quick uplifting read guaranteed to please.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I chose to write this to honor those who gave their lives on a day that changed our country forever.
While there are great holes left in so many lives, and great sadness in many hearts, there is a message of hope left behind in the ashes of that September day.
The visual memory of the flag flying, reminiscent of soldiers who gave their lives to fight for freedom in the wars of our country's history brings tears to my eyes, every time I see it; our flag will fly proudly.
The hundreds of firemen, police, rescue workers and volunteers who selflessly ran into the hull of danger, while thousands were running out; we are the home of the brave.
The incredible fearless passengers on flight 93, successfully thwarting an evil plot, again selflessly giving their lives to save others; everyone of them a hero.
Hospitals make shift triage centers grief counselors and shelters opened their doors to help anyone on that day and days to follow to find answers; we are the land of the free.
Thousands of churches and worship centers gathered all who needed relief and prayed and ministered to so many; God blesses America
Seeing this country come together, hearing folks singing our nations anthem, saluting the flag proudly, supporting our military and genuinely caring for others is so inspirational. I am proud to be an American and to have the privilege to raise a family here.
I love and pray for those that defend this nation and stare down the enemy every day so my kids can lay their heads on their pillows and sleep safe every night.
I will always look back on September 11th as a day that changed our nation forever, but I will continue to look forward to the stories of hope that still rise from the ashes from that day.
Please listen to this beautiful song a beautiful person shared with me recently. I believe it captures this sentiment.
Gungor Beautiful Things