The Law of Attraction, Simplified (Ima bust this s*** right open for you)

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“The world is the worst it’s ever been. But it is also the best it has ever been, and you get to decide what part of it you play in.” -Abraham, as channeled through Esther Hicks

The first part of that statement is pretty easy for most of us to believe. The world has gotten so small, and so much information is available, and the sensationalism of all of that information is so rampant, that we cannot help but be inundated with a negative view of our world. War, poverty, crime, heck even those photographs of the lost doggies on Facebook are enough to make your heart ache. But the entirety of this statement is Ultimate Truth, which yes, means that the world is also the best it has ever been. We can travel around the world in a matter of hours, we can have a face to face discussion with someone not even in our remote vicinity. Remember in Back to the Future II when Biff makes a phone call and the face pops up on the screen? And at the time that was so novel, so futuristic. Well that future is here, and whether or not you want to believe it, the human race has always progressed, is currently progressing, and will continue to progress.

Point is, the progress of humankind is inevitable and change is the one thing that is constant. That means that new ideas and new theories will now and forever be popping up; as the collective consciousness of the human race expands, so does our understanding of it. One need look no further than the explosion of Quantum Physics onto the scene which is indubitably shattering all previous conceptions of how we view time and space. Even though Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein were trying to tell us this ages ago, it is only recently with the expansion of the studies of Quantum Mechanics that it is becoming more widely accepted.

And thus it goes with what is now affectionately referred to as the Law of Attraction. To those that know it and have lived it, it is as undeniable as the Law of Gravity. But, especially in Western culture, it is a relatively new idea, and it flies in the face of the modern teachings of most established religions to which so many currently cling. And so it is often dismissed as ridiculous or pie-in-the-sky; the notion that we are energy and we are emitting vibration into the Universe that draws circumstances and people to us and creates our world is just crazy!! But if you are one of those people, do not worry, you have many sympathetic souls that line the portals of history that will heartily agree with your skepticism… the ones that immediately come to mind are those who believed with every fiber of their being that the world was flat.

So, naysayers, I am here to make the premise behind LOA a bit more palatable, because I know from my own experience that the difficulty people have with embracing the knowledge that is emerging about this Law is not only in its inherent characteristics, but in its practice. Initial or superficial glances into or studies of the implementing of LOA in your life are what seem so outlandish because really, it would be a lot easier just to purchase a pair of rose colored glasses, right?

Well, maybe easier at first, but I had a pair of rose colored glasses in college, and I looked like a bad ass wearing them, too. But I lost them, and I don’t even think I have a picture of me when I was wearing them. The Law of Attraction, when it is fully understood, is a door that once open can never be closed, it is knowledge that can never be unlearned, and it will pervade your life with a peace and clarity that can never, ever be lost.

So here are a few aspects of the Law of Attraction that are often met with criticism, but only because they are misunderstood.

1. Positive Thinking. Think positive and positive things will happen!! Geez how many memes have you seen with THAT, huh? There are two initial reactions to this saying. 1. Bullshit. Okay, well, that’s why we are here reading this, isn’t it, so just humor me and play along because number two isn’t much better but will have the same results as just dismissing it from the beginning. The 2. reaction is okay that sounds easy, I can do that, and so you try it. You force yourself to think positive, you put on that fake smile, you tell yourself everything is going to be okay. But then nothing happens and nothing changes and the reaction to your efforts is now the same as the skeptic’s. This is bullshit. (Told you it ended up the same… I know. I’ve been there.)

Although this saying is perpetuated by well-intentioned people, there is a real problem in just Thinking Positive!! I am not saying that thinking positive thoughts is not part of the practice of LOA, but I am very much saying there is another very important part of the equation that is missing here. It is not just about the thoughts you are thinking, it is about the emotion that is generated by the thoughts. For example take each one of the top three things that concern us most as humans: money, love, and our physical bodies. You may be saying the words I want more money, I want a committed relationship, I want my perfect, healthy body, but when you force those “positive” mantras from a place of feeling badI about your finances, dating life, or weight, the words have no real meaning because it is the emotion behind them that is actually important. Think about it. When you say, “I want to make more money,” most people are actually feeling like they hate their job, like they are broke all the time, or they are feeling the anxiety of debt.

The reason that positive thinking alone does not change anything is because so often when we try to think about positive things, like dream about our awesome new promotion, or tell ourselves we are worthy of love, or think I will feel better once I go to the gym, we are immediately met by the “reality” of the situation which completely contradicts the mantra we are reciting, and that creates a discord inside of us, which is negative emotion and therefore completely counterproductive to what we were trying to achieve by thinking positively.

See, the Universe does not respond to your thoughts, it responds to your vibration, which in the physical human experience is translated as emotion. How you feel is what is attracting things to you and creating your world, not necessarily what you are thinking. That being said, however, there is a connection between what you are thinking and what you are feeling. A very direct connection. And the discovery of this connection changed my life (and it will change yours if you let it) because with this simple realization, you learn how to control your mind and your thoughts. When you are feeling bad, it means that you are thinking bad thoughts. Once more, no bold or italic so it doesn’t sound so scary. When you are feeling bad, it means that you are thinking bad thoughts.

Most of us, including me for the majority of my life up to now, are like a super-sensitive pinball getting knocked around a glass case. Bouncing of the sides and flying off the ramp head first into a sink hole. And we think there is nothing we can do about it. We think that the purpose of life is just to put up with as much shit as possible and if something or someone makes me feel bad, or sad, or mad, well then it was their fault and I am just responding to the action or circumstance. And damn those little flippers at the bottom they are keeping me from just getting home and getting some rest already. But when you wholeheartedly embrace the fact and realize for yourself that your emotions are there to guide you, you will see that your emotions do not control you, you control your emotions. And the way you control your emotions is by using them. From now until the end, when you are feeling bad, you will know that it is because you are thinking bad thoughts, and by slowly easing off of the negative thoughts into more positive ones, your emotion will shift, and so will your vibration.

2. The Universe. I was introduced to the concept of The Universe over fifteen years ago by Paulo Coehlo in his book The Alchemist. At the time I was still a follower of the Christian faith, and I wrestled with the concept endlessly. How could I believe in this Ultimate Being in the Sky and yet feel deep inside that the reality of the Universe was also true? Well, I am not here to try to change anyone’s religious beliefs (at least not in this blog), but my journey included the torment, and then the reconciliation that both exist, in fact, it is God’s Universe, and then on to my final realization that when people speak of the Universe, they speak of nothing but God. The Universe and God are the same thing. But the reason that sounds like blaspheme to many is because there is this prevailing notion of God being a single entity or deity, we even personalize God to the extent of giving it gender, as in His will, His blessing, His teaching. But God is not a single consciousness. IT is a collective consciousness, God as we refer to it is better connoted as Infinite Intelligence, Source, Being, Consciousness. It is the collection of everything nonphysical, all the energy, all the power, all the life force, all of both the seen and the unseen. And It is right inside every one of us. Those who call God “Him” also often use the word Soul. But what is a soul except that unseen part of us that connects us to God? And if God is everything and all things, and the part inside of us is the connection and therefore the identity we share with the Universe, then that can only mean that that which we call God is inside You.

This is why Law of Attraction is a finite law, just like the Law of Gravity. Because that soul inside of you is the purveyor of your vibration. It is what connects you to God, the Universe, Infinite Intelligence, and therefore it is what transmits the signal of your emotion, which is translated by God or the Universe as vibration. And whatever signal you are sending out, is what you are getting back. I encourage any of you who may see this as sacrilege, to re-read your religious texts in the light of what I have told you. You may be surprised by what is revealed. “You reap what you sow.” This is not just referring to action, it is referring to the signal or vibration you emit which is a direct result of what you are feeling, which is a direct result of what you are thinking, and it is what draws every last minute detail of your circumstances to you.

3. Visualization and Acting “As If.” Both of these concepts are taught by almost every LOA teacher or spiritual guide, and quite often they can be very useful, again, only if the feeling you feel when you are visualizing matches up with what you really want. Students of the Law of Attraction are instructed to not only envision what their perfect life would look like and of course what it would feel like, but we are also encouraged on many fronts to act as if we already have the life we have and the money we want and the body we desire and the love we crave. These are most assuredly good techniques, because they are based on the (infinitely true) premise that they help you align your vibration with what you want and thus bring it to you. Most of us think that when we get all the stuff we want, then we will be happy. But the Law of Attraction states that first you must be happy, and then all of the stuff will come.

But this is inherently problematic for most people, and we have to understand the power of our innate beliefs and how they directly affect the effectiveness of visualization and acting “as if.” For example, when we begin to visualize that promotion, it is natural along the path of your daydream to encounter not only the joys of the situation but the problems that could arise from it as well. For instance, what if your co-workers hate you because you got the promotion and they didn’t? And then once your mind latches on to one negative aspect, it gains momentum and you start thinking about all the other things that could go wrong, what if I have to relocate? What if it is too much responsibility? And so on and so forth until you end up feeling worse than you ever did before your started this stupid visualizing. And “as if” is just as troublesome. It is great to walk around your house feeling like the rock star you know you are destined to be, but once you have to walk out the door and get in your car to drive to the office you are stuck in for eight hours, the belief of the reality of your situation takes hold and suddenly you feel like a big ole phony.

So even though these two techniques are effective as long as you can stay on the positive stream of thought while you indulge in them, what do you do about the rest of the day? You cannot visualize being independently wealthy for an hour, live the other seventeen waking hours in disgust of your life, and expect to have any results. But neither can you keep up your rock star charade at the office, let’s face it. Ripped jeans and a Zeppelin T-shirt are not exactly appropriate attire. So now what?

Well, it is important to realize that IF visualization is even important at all, it is actually only the first step and not the ultimate goal. When you visualize you are ultimately telling the Universe what you want. But the thing is, you only have to tell It once. Ask, and it is given. From God’s mouth to the Universe’s ears. If you have given thought even once in your life to what your ideal job would be, rest assured it is There, immediately, just waiting for you to become a vibrational match to it. But when we meet with the afore mentioned resistance to the visualization and “as if” exercises, it can actually do more harm than good because it creates a conflicting vibration and therefore holds you away from what you want, for longer than you want. Fortunately for all of us the beauty of Law of Attraction is that the Universe does not expect us to just have one thought or vision at all times and only focus on that one thing or it will never come to pass. Not only would that be impractical it would be downright impossible. Even if you locked yourself in a dark, quiet room, your mind would eventually shift focus.

The true power of the LOA is unleashed not in a singular, determined focus on one particular positive thought or situation, but in deciding to choose a positive thought about whatever moment or situation you are in right now. Meaning that your rock star gig is right there, waiting for you, but the way to it is not necessarily focusing always on how good it will feel to be a rock star, but in feeling good and focusing on the positive aspects of your current office job. Every subject, no matter what it is, has two perspectives. A perspective that feels good when you think about it, and a perspective that feels bad. And if you take the opportunity in every moment to find the positive perspective of whatever it is you are experiencing, your positive thought will create positive emotion which will gain momentum and propel you to your dream. You do not have to be consciously, positively focused on your thoughts of an ideal life at all times in order to manifest the ideal life. Rather you must see your life now as ideal and find things to appreciate in your current situation. They are there. If you do not see the magnitude of blessings that have already been bestowed upon you right now where you stand, then it is only because you have chosen to focus on the things about it that are bad. Whatever you want, be it wealth, love, or health, you want it because you know that when you have it, you will feel good. So make the decision to feel good now, because you always take yourself with you. Even if you do manage to ignore this paragraph and visualize your way to your promotion, if you have not trained your thoughts to consistently look for the good, your success will implode because you will still be overwhelmed by the negative end of what you are experiencing, and you will be left just as unfulfilled as you were when you were the low man on the totem pole.

4. Meditation. The method of visualization is often coupled with meditation and although meditation is important we are remiss in our thinking that the only effective meditation is complete quiet and stillness. Life can be meditation, doing anything creative can be meditation, basking in a sunrise can be meditation. Anything that truly makes you feel connected to the Source within you, is meditation.

5. Gratitude. It is great to be grateful, but the word grateful in essence refers to things that have already happened. So yes, you do want to be grateful, but a far less somber and way more in-the-present-moment word is Appreciation. To appreciate things, people, or circumstances, is to remove any and all attachment and therefore rid yourself of any need for control. If you appreciate your child’s personality, you embrace it and do not need to change it to suit your preferences. If you appreciate the food that you are eating right now in this moment, it can not help but assimilate perfectly into your body without the need to micromanage every last ounce and calorie. If you appreciate the life you are living now, and the beauty it possesses, you will see that everything really does always work out for you, and so you can let go of your need to “fight” for your future because you know it is certain. Be grateful for the things that have happened, but appreciate the things in your Now.

6. The Past. It doesn’t exist. You have only your Now. This moment. There is no need to psychoanalyze every last bit of data from your childhood whether euphoric or traumatic, there is only the choice to feel good, right now, about you and your power and your circumstances, right now. This is not ignoring a problem, or refusing to “root out” your “demons,” there are no such things and there is no such process that will EVER be effective. Because to focus on “cleansing your psyche” of problems is only to give it power. The power to derail your thinking into an abyss of regret or pain, which, as you already know because you paid attention, creates negative emotion, which in turn, brings to you more of that which you were trying to “escape.” Psychology is probably one of the most detrimental sciences we could have invented because it stymies the progress of Man. It does not matter one stinking tiny bit why you are thinking what you are thinking. The only thing that matters is what you are thinking right now, and how that thought makes you feel. Because it is your now that creates your world. It is the vibration you send out today that determines your tomorrow.

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Mitchell Historic Properties: The Namesake of a New History

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{Originally Published for Island Guide Magazine, July 12, 2013}

Mitchell Historic Properties

The Namesake of a New History

Presenting Party on the Pier and Music on the Strand

By Kimber Fountain

                Earning a place among the portals of Galveston’s historic figures is a name that is largely responsible for the revitalization and revival of the city as it is known today. George Mitchell and his wife Cynthia (now deceased) have been vitally invested in Galveston for over thirty years. Not only do Mr. Mitchell’s vast enterprises thrive on the preservation of Island heritage, he has also led the charge in philanthropic initiatives, donating close to 200 million dollars to organizations and efforts across the Island. The collection of historic properties owned privately by the Mitchells grew to such an extent that a company was needed to efficiently manage and handle the intricacies of real estate and historic restorations, thus was born Mitchell Historic Properties.

Over one quarter of the Strand is owned and operated by Mitchell Historic Properties, including the Hutchings and Sealy Building (24th and Strand, built 1895), the Thomas Jefferson League Building (23rd and Strand, built   ), Old Galveston Square (23rd and Strand, built   ), and Saengerfest Park at the intersection of 23rd Street and The Strand. Their vested interest in Galveston real estate has also dramatically affected Galveston’s recovery from Hurricane Ike in 2008. Sarah Harano, the Marketing and Special Projects Coordinator of G-1 Enterprises, says the Mitchells “really set the pace for the recovery of the downtown area.” Indeed their fearless efforts blinked not an eye at the devastation, but in keeping historical pace with the resiliency of Galvestonians past, they jumped right in and began to rebuild and repair. Some of those recovery projects are still going on almost five years later. It was recently discovered that flood waters from Ike did not drain from the hollow, cast-iron pillars that adorn many of the historic storefronts on the Strand, and they are currently undergoing restoration. Past projects include the complete restoration of the Harbor House, as well as the conversion of a 19th century warehouse into what is now the acclaimed Tremont House on Mechanic Street.

But the generous and far-reaching influence of George Mitchell goes far beyond the property lines. G-1 Corporation, a division of Mitchell Historic Properties, was launched initially as the philanthropic branch of the company. It has since developed into a marketing and promotion firm, set to enhance the experiences of both residents and visitors alike by creating special events and community activities. Unlike most firms that fall in the real estate category, Mitchell Historic Properties does not cease their efforts at plaster and paint, or sales and leasing. They are committed to preserving and promoting Island culture, as well.

One distinct way that Mitchell Historic Properties and G-1 Corporation keep the energy of the Island alive is through special events that take perhaps relatively common activities and infuse them with the Spirit of Galveston and put them in a setting that only the Island can offer. In the past they have hosted such events as Boots on the Beach, live, beachfront performances by some of the nation’s top country acts; they also host the largest and longest running Mardi Gras Ball since the Mitchells singlehandedly reintroduced the festival to Island culture over 35 years ago.

For Summer 2013, Mitchell Historic Properties has an array of attractions planned to supplement the season, whether you will be here for its entirety or simply for a day. One of the main events this year is the newest addition to the lineup, Party on the Pier. It is designed to draw people to Pier 21 off of Harborside Drive and 21st Street, a little-known area of downtown. “It is its own destination,” says Harano, “it is not here to compete with other attractions, instead it just really adds to the variety of Galveston’s [venues].” Pier 21 includes the Harbor House hotel, museums, the Tall Ship Elissa, Pier 21 Theatre which showcases short historical documentaries, and as an added bonus, Harano asks, “How often do you get to hang out on a working harbor?” Party on the Pier includes a live music series that runs once a month during the summer months through October. The concerts are outdoors, under the stars with a breathtaking view of the harbor, and are all free and open to the public. There is a dance floor and tables and chairs are set up, although spectators are encouraged to bring along seating of their own as it is often limited. The lineup for the remainder of the series is as follows: July 20th, Del Castillo (Latin Rock); August 17th, Silverado Band (Country); September 21, Pee Wee Bowen (Classic Rock); and October 19th, Vallejo (Rock).

This summer marks the fifth year of Music on the Strand, and also brings with it double the amount of performances of any previous year. Music on the Strand takes place on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month, coming up on July 27th is a performance by the Texas favorite Sam Nevarro and the Lone Star Devils. As an accompaniment (or alternative), Mitchell Historic Properties, in conjunction with the Galveston Visitors’ Bureau, also hosts Movie Nite on the Strand on the first Saturday of every month. For August, the feature film will be The Muppets, showing on August 3rd.

Continuing on into the Fall, Mitchell Historic Properties continues their special events through the end of the Halloween season. Look out for the Saengerfest Mini Monster Bash, an annual celebration of everything fun and spooky. The Mini Monster Bash includes a carnival atmosphere with games and prizes, trick-or-treating on the Strand, and costume contests for ages 0-11. For the adult Halloween enthusiast, two themed dance parties are slated for two weekends in October, as well. On October 12th is the Voodoo Dance Party featuring the band Indiginis, and on October 26th is the Zombie Dance Party featuring the band CSMDP.

With all of their fun and fanfare, the efforts and events of Mitchell Historic Properties inject the Island population with a sense that the glory days of Galveston are not as far behind us as we may think, and may be nearer to our future than we realize. This possibility, to some but a pipe dream, is fitting for the namesake of an individual whose distinctive class and unending dedication to Galveston has made it what it is today. When you admire the historic architecture of downtown, remember George Mitchell is probably the reason it is even there to behold. When the excitement and rapture of Mardi Gras take over the senses, remember it was George Mitchell who brought it back. And when you appreciate the local Galveston community, remember that anyone who calls themselves an Islander look to men like George Mitchell who set the standard, not by force, but by his generosity and service.

Meet Louie Jerger: Island Guide Sales Manager, Distributor, and Genius Guitarist

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{Originally Written For and Published  By The Island Guide Magazine, February 1, 2013}

Louie Jerger

Sales Manager, Distributor, and Genius Guitarist

By Kimber Fountain

                Louie Jerger got his first guitar when he was eight years old. He did not actually begin playing it until his teens, at a time when Ozzie Osbourne and Poison posters instantly turned any normal, suburban garage into a rehearsal studio. But one day, as he walked out of his family home in Tyler, Texas, he heard a strange sound coming from the park down the street. He turned and walked towards it curiously. He liked it immediately, even though it was far from the spastic, thrashing melodies he currently played. It was lilting, it was rhythmic, it was soulful, it was Blues.

In that park he would also find his first music mentor who patiently taught him the art of Blues, and at nineteen Louie moved to New Orleans and began an established career with Pig Pen and the Pork Chops; at the height of their career the band played along Dr. John at the House of Blues. Family obligations brought Louie back to Texas, where he met Mark Turner at an open mic night. Together they formed Blue Louie, began writing songs, and they still play together almost twenty years later. Blue Louie toured the United States and Europe, and released their first album in 1997 through Breakaway Records. Two more CDs would soon follow.

The music business is just that, a business, full of bookings and promotions, sales and persuasion. Fortunately the interpersonal skills of Louie Jerger served Blue Louie and their success just as well as his musical talents. They traveled from town to town for months on end, sometimes not even quite sure where they would be playing until the day they arrived. But Louie does not know any strangers, only friends he has not yet met, and thus Blue Louie was rarely without a stage or an audience. While taking breaks from touring, Galveston was often a place where they would come to relax and unwind from their adventures as road warriors, and most trips also ended up with an impromptu performance at places like the old M&M or Java 213. They even developed a bit of a following here on the Island, with a group of loyal fans affectionately dubbing themselves the “Blue Losers.”

Then on one fateful day, Louie received a request for an interview with Tena Jordan for the magazine she published in his hometown of Tyler called the EGuide. After the interview and then much convincing on his part, Tena finally relented and agreed to a date with Louie, but it would be three months before he returned from the road to make good on his request. They were soon married, and after the release of Blue Louie’s third CD, Louie decided it was time for a break. He opened a real estate firm in Tyler, where he worked primarily with investors and developers. After Tena sold the E Guide, she worked with Louie in real estate; all the while the couple drove to Galveston almost every weekend. Soon they began thinking about making a change, and decided to flip flop their lives. They would make Galveston their home, and Tyler the place they visited on the weekends.

Louie encouraged Tena with her idea to publish a Galveston version of her E Guide, knowing that the Island was truly in need of a publication similar to the Houston Press, which promotes upcoming events and entertainment. And although he had never worked in the business before, the one thing he knew from his music days was how to sell, and so Tena put him to work. Louie manages all of the advertising sales and distribution for The Island Guide, and does so always with an extra effort towards customer service and community. Advertisers and distributors receive personalized attention, and the distribution of the publication is strong and dependable. Racks are checked, refilled, organized, and maintained on a regular basis.

Louie also finds it important to stay involved in the community around him. In the Island Guide, local events that are open to the public are privy to free promotion, which follows closely with Louie and Tena’s desire to give back to Galveston. He is also a member of the Sharon Shrine Lodge and is a Master Mason with the Henry Marsh Bell Lodge. Blue Louie performs regularly across the Island; currently they are featured at the Poop Deck every other Thursday, and in March will resume Burgers & Blues with Blue Louie at the Beach Hut.

Louie and Tena are also putting their years of real estate experience to work with their newest publication, Galveston Real Estate Guide, or GREG. Louie is a licensed broker, and saw the need for a one-stop real estate guide without the spam of craigslist or the expense of other local advertisements. As a prospective tenant or home buyer, the Galveston real estate system is often hard to navigate, and GREG allows for streamlined, easy-to-read listings featuring several local real estate agents.

Tena says of Louie that, “whenever he does something, he does it right.” And in that spirit he continues to set personal goals, like winning Galveston Island’s Biggest Loser Contest. He also looks toward extending the promotion of the thriving local music community by creating a Musician’s Guild. This would be a collaboration of Island artists all working together to promote and grow Galveston talent and the local music scene. Even Blue Louie is set to expand soon, as they are currently searching for a bassist and percussionist to fill a rhythm section. But as always Louie will continue to do what he does best, and that is win friends and welcome them to the Island Guide family.

The Jungle: Eat on the Wild Side

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{Originally Written For and Published By The Island Guide Magazine, February 1, 2013}

The Jungle

Eat on the Wild Side

By Kimber Fountain

 

Tucked away in an unassuming location just off the seawall is a place where palms trees and seagulls are replaced with the sights of a tropical forest and an exotic menagerie. Fortunately for the person in search of a delicious, homespun meal, this menagerie is entirely edible and the terrain of Galveston’s Jungle is relatively easy to traverse. Simple and efficient both in its methods and its ambiance, this local favorite proves without question that gourmet food does not have to come at a gourmet price.

That was one of the main philosophies David and Vickie Morley set forth to embody when they embarked on their journey to bring the best of their restaurant and service talents to the Island. For almost twenty years David worked all over the United States and in the Carribean as an executive in the hotel food and beverage industry, promising all the while to someday bring Vickie back home to Texas. When that time finally came, they searched all down the Texas coast from Beaumont to Corpus Christi for their ideal location. Their third visit to Galveston was quite a trip for David, as he broke his foot while touring their current location when it was under construction. Not stymied by the accident or by the state of things as they were just after Hurricane Ike, the couple decided they wanted very much to be a part of Galveston’s recovery process.

And be a part of it they have, as their humble little establishment has been overwhelmingly welcomed by the Island community and given David and Vickie the opportunity to grow their dreams right alongside Galveston’s reemergence as a resilient survivor. The support they have garnered from the local community is a fitting reward for The Jungle, as they operate in such a manner that is geared towards the customer with friendly, personalized service and downright amazing food.

It was a flash of inspiration from David that gave The Jungle its concept and name, coupled with an interest in African décor and tribal art that once adorned the formal dining room in their home. Originally it was intended to be primarily a hot dog joint, but as their demand grew so did their selection. The result is a current menu that reads like a who’s who of wild animals, and is as full of choices as it is flavor.

Dishes are paired with the style and personality of their namesakes, such as the Rhino Hoagie, a sandwich stuffed full of spicy sausage, sautéed onions, bacon, and Jungle Mustard. Or the Hippo Hoagie, that boasts a gargantuan slab of homemade meatloaf drenched in Jungle Tiger sauce. The Shrimp Burger, a seafood cake full of shrimp and spices perched atop a fresh bun is a unique and original creation of David’s, and a house favorite. The recipes for chili and baked beans are also labors of love from David; many have tried to replicate their intense, savory flavor, but so far no one has succeeded. The potato salad, pea salad, and macaroni and cheese are all recipes of Vickie’s mother, and next to the baked beans are the highlights amid a vast selection of side dishes. Reubens, salads, stuffed baked potatoes, Gyros, an Aardvark Club Sandwich, and of course hot dogs round out the fare. The Jungle also features hand-dipped ice cream, milkshakes, malts, sundaes, and freshly baked desserts.

Any professional diner knows that a level of service is just as important, if not more so, than the quality of food that a place produces. David and Vickie know this too, and so they seemingly always go the extra mile for their guests, not only keeping a cautious eye on the consistency of the food they put out, but also in the manner it is delivered, so much so that they offer a rare service to their patrons and deliver beyond the walls of their restaurant to a ten mile radius. Galveston itself is only thirty-two miles long, so it goes without saying this convenience extends to the majority of homes, hotels, and businesses here. Also if you are a bit leery of something with a name like Jungle Tiger sauce, or are not convinced that David’s baked beans will live up to your mom’s, they will gladly serve up a sample before you purchase.

Ahead for guests of The Jungle is a new and expanded menu slated for release at the end of January. They will add several new salads and sandwiches, but their current favorites, the generous portions, high quality ingredients, and low prices will remain the same.

In the two short years since David and Vickie answered the call of the wild, the steady and increasing success of this local eatery has come at a rapid pace, all due to an unwavering commitment to join the ranks of unbeatable quality offered by so many of  Galveston’s small businesses. Their food is nothing short of superb, the service is generous and friendly, and they are both presented with a charm, personality, and warmth that is sure to delight. It may, if only for a moment, even make you feel like King of The Jungle.

 

The Jungle

1914 23rd Street

409.770.0300

www.thejungle.co (***note it is in fact .co not .com)

Dine In, Carry Out, Delivery

 

Galveston’s Own Farmers Market: The Beginning of a Homegrown Tradition

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{Originally Written For and Published By The Island Guide Magazine, February 1, 2013}

Galveston’s Own Farmers’ Market

The Beginning of a Homegrown Tradition

By Kimber Fountain

                A farmers’ market has been a seed in the mind of many Galveston locals for several years now, but last summer those minds at last joined forces and ambition. From their collective ideas and community consciousness emerged an initiative that has quickly been established as a new Island tradition. Galveston’s Own Farmer’s Market is more than simply a collection of local farmers and food producers; it is an event that livens up downtown every Sunday morning, and it is a place that provides a peaceful, friendly, and fun alternative to the supermarket.

Cate Black, Travis Bible, Kat Lilley, Vince Bruno, Tyler Hall, Sid Holliday III, and Steve Hermecke comprise the group of like-minded individuals that sought to bring the best of local agriculture to the Island. Hermecke donates the land for their use, Cate Black deftly manages the entire undertaking, and most of the group also represent their own products at the Market. Together they have expanded and created a network of community support and outreach that well serves the Galveston community. Not only does it offer natural, organic food sources to locals and visitors, it affords one the unique opportunity to put a face with a product. Patrons of the Farmer’s Market buy directly from the hands that grew, harvested, or otherwise created the wide variety of goods available.

Galveston’s Own Farmers Market is an accredited, permitted, and Texas Certified Farmers Market that currently provides space to farmers from Santa Fe, LaMarque, Seabrook, Alvin, and Galveston, and underlying the commitment of this group of amazing individuals is their passion for increasing public awareness. A trip to the Farmer’s Market is also an educational opportunity. The farmers and vendors are happy to share their stories, their processes, and their inspirations behind the products they offer. Most of them do not come from a long family tradition of farming; they are first generation farmers that purposely sought out a way and a means to produce healthier, earth-conscious fare. All vendors must be approved by the board of directors of the market, and they must submit an application that outlines their growing practices. The board also limits purveyors to a one hundred mile radius in an effort to truly keep their efforts local.

Among the vendors is Galveston’s Market Street Foods, which also houses the certified kitchen out of which Vince and Nellie Bruno brew their Kombucha tea. Kombucha is tea put through a fermenting process, where antioxidants and B vitamins are released, resulting in a delicious beverage that boosts the immune system and energizes the body and mind. Oasis Juice Bar, another Island favorite, is also a vendor, along with Proverbs Farm and Dairy out of Alvin. Proverbs is the enterprise of Tammy Kocurek, who raises goats and from their milk creates cheese, soaps, and lotion. Hill Country Olive Company is also a regular attender with their homemade oils and vinegar, and the newest addition to the Market’s family is Law Ranch out of Crosby, who will be selling their pasture-raised, grass-fed beef one Sunday a month.

Pure Beeing also sets up every Sunday to provide local, raw honey, along with Jackie’s Gourmet who offers preserves and jams, pickled vegetables, and salsas. TexaSelect Farms offers starter plants and eggs, which are also sold by Kenz Henz Eggs out of Santa Fe. The large selection of fresh produce available comes from a variety of sources, including CoCreative Organics (Alvin), Winter Family Farm (Santa Fe), Thomas Autrey Farm (Santa Fe), and Deborah’s Garden, Galveston’s community garden on Post Office Street just across from the Market’s location. Completing the line-up is Island Aquaponics out of Galveston, and Vincent Morreale who sells pecans from his orchard in Santa Fe.

At Galveston’s Own Farmers’ Market, entertainment is provided as well, with hula hoops for the kids to enjoy and live music from local musicians.  Robert Kuhn performs the first Sunday of every month; Matty Sullivan and Kevin Anthony provide the accompaniment for the second and third Sundays, respectively. The Farmer’s Market is also currently open to receiving new musicians to fill the alternate weekends.

At the corner of 25th and Post Office, every Sunday morning from nine am to one pm, a truly special and unique thing is happening. In a fashion that resonates with everything Islander, a dedicated group of people has come together to provide locals and visitors alike with an experience that is best conveyed by their mission statement. “Galveston’s Own Farmers’ Market [strives] to foster a greater sense of community, all the while supporting farmers and producers and connecting individuals with their local food economy.” The fulfillment of that mission is apparent in the fact that even on cold, rainy days, most vendors completely sell out. If that is not convincing enough, consider that the Market is the only place on the Island can you find hula hoops, a Cajun accordion, and a guy in a carrot suit, all in one place.

Galveston’s Own Farmers’ Market

2508 Post Office Street

Every Sunday, 9am-1pm

For information, vendor applications, or musician submissions contact Cate Black at gofarmersmarket@gmail.com.

 

Meet Tena Jerger: Publisher and Graphic Designer of The Island Guide Magazine

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{Originally Written For and Published By The Island Guide Magazine, January 4, 2013}

 

Tena Jerger

Publisher and Graphic Designer of The Island Guide,

and “Yes, I Create All the Covers Myself”

                The Island Guide made its debut on April 5, 2012, and has quickly become a popular favorite among visitors and residents alike. The periodical’s stunning graphic design and efficient layout, coupled with the work of talented writers, photographers, and reviewers, continues to perpetuate its ever-increasing success. In fact, the consistent standard of professional quality and graceful aesthetics set forth by this unique publication has even raised the speculation that it must be the product of a large corporation. But a peek into the inner workings of the Island reveals that Galveston has always drawn from a wellspring of incomparable local talent, subsequently beckoning bright minds and eager artists from all over the great state of Texas. Thus it should be no surprise to learn that in essence, The Island Guide is a symphony of superb local artists, conducted by a single woman whose passion for her craft is rivaled only by her dedication to the community.

Tena Jerger was born and raised in Tyler, Texas, where her father was a respected schoolteacher. She attended North Texas University where she earned her degree in graphic design and illustration with a minor in English. For several years Tena worked in the production department of the Dallas Observer, designing layouts for a publication that circulated 70-100 pages per week. But soon, the desire to create her own paper, her way, led Tena to create the Tyler Entertainment Guide, or E-Guide. Her first circulation disseminated a mere 1500 copies, but within four months she was able to quit her day job, and when she sold the business seven years later, the circulation of the E-Guide had surpassed 21,000 copies per issue.

At the time Tena was approached with an offer to purchase the Tyler E-Guide, she had reached a point in her life where she felt it was indeed time to move on, and as the stipulations of the sale included a non-compete clause, she knew that the ‘move’ would be as literal as it was figurative. Tena had owned property in Galveston since 1998 and the Island had always been a favorite getaway destination, and it seemed the perfect location to start anew. But she left only her business behind, bringing with her the lessons from her father; her editor Jill Kerr, who was the very first writer she hired to work for the E-Guide; and most importantly the wisdom of one of her mentors David Cantu, who taught her that the turning point in life and in business comes with the realization that the “extra mile” is not a cliché, it is a mantra, and that the more you give, the more you get.

And so the appeal of the vivid and brilliant pages of The Island Guide is no accident, nor is it a product of an out-of-touch corporation, and all the facets of the business behind the publication that further strengthen its purpose ooze the experience, knowledge, talent, and heart of Tena Jerger. She designs and produces all of the cover art herself, and her artistry is indeed one of the highlights of the magazine, as many avid readers look forward with great anticipation to her next graphic illustrations. Tena also designs many of the advertisements, and her work is of such a caliber that many of her designs, as with Bulldogs Bait Shop on 61st Street , have been adopted as their official logos.

In addition to the cover art and the ads, the paper is created and laid out entirely at the hands of Tena, using Adobe Illustrator and Photo Shop.  The distribution of The Island Guide currently includes 188 locations across the Island, and it is continuing to grow. Even the University of Texas Medical Branch will soon be welcoming the trademark beach-chair stands on which rest the current issues. A new issue of the Island Guide can be found on stands every two weeks from May through September, and on the first Friday of every month between October and April.  Additionally The Island Guide offers extremely competitive advertising rates along with the added bonus of Tena’s artistic prowess.

Coming up in 2013, The Island Guide will present a new and expanded Fun Map, and it will feature with detail every ArtWalk of the year. A Family Fun section will be added, along with a section that highlights Galveston’s extensive retail selection and array of small business owners outside of the restaurant spectrum. The Island Guide will also be expanding its distribution and advertising to the surrounding Galveston County. Tena is also pleased to present the newest addition to the family, GREG, the Galveston Real Estate Guide, published monthly, which highlights local realtors and properties for sale across the Island.

The heart of the Island Guide and its quick rise in popularity lies within its network of the family and community spirit, and the energies and people who surround Tena’s printing press far outshine the beauty of the pages it produces. The idea of the beach-chair newsstand was brought forth by Louie Jerger, Tena’s husband, who also directs the sales department of the paper, and they were built by her father out of all recycled materials. The leftover papers picked up from previous issues, although usually less than one percent of the total production, are all one hundred percent recycled. They are given to Kroger, used to line the pens inside the Galveston Island Humane Society, or given to the Galveston Arts Center where they receive a new life as paper mache creations. Furthermore, The Island Guide will advertise for free any event that is open to the public or serves a charitable community cause.

Tena Jerger, whether she knew it or not at the time, came to exactly the right place. The Island Guide fills a niche in Galveston Periodicals, promoting all of the upcoming events and adventures in a way that is not only informative, but heartfelt. By using predominantly local talent to supplement her own and the strength of family and friends to nurture it, by directing her publication towards the perpetuation of the Island community and its causes, and by providing an in depth look to the people behind the businesses, The Island Guide has won the hearts of readers and will surely continue its efforts for many years to come.

 

Galveston’s McGuire Dent Recreation Center: Promoting a Healthy Community

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{Originally Written For and Published By The Island Guide Magazine, January 4, 2013}

Galveston’s McGuire Dent Recreation Center:

Promoting a Healthy Community,

Host of Galveston Island’s Biggest Loser Challenge 2013

                Barbara Sanderson, the Director of Parks and Recreation, has worked for the City of Galveston for over twenty-one years, and so to revel in her tireless enthusiasm for the recent improvements and upcoming events at the McGuire Dent Recreation Center reveals that this place is truly a special thread in the fabric of the Galveston Island community. The Rec Center is free for any resident, employee, or long term visitor of Galveston with a valid state ID, and boasts a full size basketball gym, computer lab, community center, and two racquetball courts.

But the new pride and joy of McGuire Dent is their new, full line of cardio and strength training equipment. They are the first facility in Texas to have installed the latest equipment from Precor, a division of Marathon Fitness. The new machines are part of a new line called the C-Line series. Twenty-six pieces of cardio equipment and twenty-one pieces of strength-training equipment have been professionally laid out and installed, giving the fitness center a new lease on life and a much needed overhaul from their previous, troublesome collection of workout machines.

After Hurricane Ike in 2008, Barbara worked alongside John Armstrong, Superintendent of the Rec Center, to do what they could to keep the facility up and running, with whatever equipment they could find. A representative from Timberland brought in the local Academy store, which generously gave of its time and charitable efforts to outfit the Center. The equipment was of course a blessing, but after a couple of years became prone to breaking down. And every time a machine broke down, the process to repair it was extensive and inconvenient, often taking weeks or months.

Patrons often had to wait to use the machines that did work, and as the “Out of Order” signs became more and more of a regular occurrence, the Rec Center saw its numbers slowly decline until eventually the number daily visitors was whittled down to less than half of what it had been. John himself bore the brunt of the frustration, working constantly to find parts, make repairs, and deal with squeaky machines and squeakier, angry users.

At last the esteemed members of City Council voted to include the McGuire Dent Recreation Center under the umbrella of the funds set forth by the Galveston Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and they received a generous annual budget. After the budget was announced, John and Barbara set to work on a list of priorities, one of the first of which was new fitness equipment. The selection committee approved the Park improvement budget, and the result is a work-out room practically glows with the spirit of Galveston and the pride of Barbara Sanderson and John Armstrong.

The top of the line equipment is clean, quiet, and at the forefront of modern technology. Each of the pieces of strength training equipment is complete with a QR code; scan it with a smart phone and it links to a video with instructions on how to use the machine. The machines have been placed in compliance with the standards of the American Disabilities Act (ADA), and in such a way that just “flows,” as John remarks. Even though the number of users has risen once again to its previous volume, he attests that the room never feels crowded or invasive.

Along with these new additions comes another first to the Island. In conjunction with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), McGuire Dent will be hosting the first ever Galveston Island Biggest Loser Challenge of 2013. This is a thirteen week weight-loss challenge that begins on January 12th and runs through April 13th. Participation is free, and cash prizes will be given to the first and second place winners in each category: individual male and female, small group (2-10 people), and large group (11-26 people). (Only those eighteen years or older are eligible for cash prizes)

Free activities open to the public will be offered during the challenge; events will encourage all Islanders, whether or not they participate in the challenge, to engage in active living and healthy eating. The Biggest Loser Challenge is spearheaded by Liz Torres of UTMB, and its main goals are to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, both on the individual and community level. Individual participants will seek to improve their overall health with reasonable goals, such as adding nutrient-rich foods to their diet. It is also the hope of McGuire Dent and UTMB to further enrich the Galveston community by uniting Islanders under this common purpose. For more information on Galveston Island’s Biggest Loser Challenge of 2013, visit www.transforminggalveston.com, or contact Liz at 409.772.2554.

As for the Rec Center, all of the new and exciting improvements and challenges only add to the many offerings, activities, and programs that run year-round. The Center offers programs for both adults and children, including unofficial volleyball and basketball leagues, aerobic kick-boxing and cardio boxing classes given by Fernando Robles, a fifth degree black belt, and their quarterly Life Screening, a preventative service provided for a small fee by Memorial Hermann Hospital. McGuire Dent also regularly hosts guitar lessons, arts and crafts, the Galveston Bridge Club, and the Grandmothers Club of Galveston.

 

McGuire Dent Recreation Center

2222 28th St. (28th and Seawall)

409.621.3177

http://www.cityofgalveston.org