Sheri Gilbert – Executive, Published Author, Designer

This profile is an interview with Sheri Gilbert, a renaissance woman of many accomplishments.  Sheri is currently the Director of Business Development and Retention for the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT), which serves tens of thousands with high quality healthcare and other employee benefits and has annual revenues in excess of $200 million.

From humble beginnings and many struggles, she has succeeded as a published author, a jewelry designer, a business owner, a wellness program designer and as a healthcare executive.  Learn more about this extraordinary woman in this interview by Michael Bradley.

Sheri Gilbert – Executive, Published Author, Designer

16648_101097356582717_5625510_n

Sheri Gilbert

MB: They say great plants often grow in unexpected places.  How did growing up in Indio, California affect you?

SG:  Growing up in Indio was great as we were only two hours from the ocean or an hour from mountains and we had a beautiful desert at home. I don’t think I’d be happy living somewhere without those options! Of course, the ocean is a little further for me now, but still doable. Many of the people I went to school with still live and raise their families in the valley. It’s a stunning desert that has that small town feel but is rich in culture.

sheri4

Sheri, Age 4

MB:   What family and friend experiences growing up helped form you into the person you are now?

SG:  I am blessed to have a strong, close knit family and fabulous friends. Most all of my relationships have and will always stand the test of time. My parents allowed me to be myself and encouraged my creative side growing up which I am grateful for. I learned early in life to appreciate unique and different personalities. Part of that I’m certain, is because I felt different myself! The unique thinkers and doers create opportunities for everyone to view things from an alternate perspective.

Sheri and her sister Desiree

Sheri and her sister Desiree

MB:  You’ve led a renaissance life.  As a fellow explorer, I can appreciate that you have worked as a quality assurance manager, you are a published author, you co-owned and operated a construction company, and you created Lynn Paris Originals and showed both business and artistic acumen in original artisan jewelry.  Now you have flourished in healthcare and insurance, in roles as diverse as creator of award-winning wellness programs, account management, and now as Director of Marketing and Business Retention.  What drives you to seek so many unique outlets for your work life?

SG:  I can sum that up in one condition –ADD. Just kidding, sort of. I have always felt driven to learn, do, experience and explore. It’s not boredom that drives me. I can honestly say I’m NEVER bored. How can you be when there are so many fascinating things to do, read or think about? Do you have a natural need to learn new things, or is something you acquired at some point? I have a bit of both. The drive is natural, but I am also someone who wants to see results – I’m rarely happy just to “do” without something to show for it.

Sheri, the Teenage Years

Sheri, the Teenage Years

MB:  We’ve all had trials in our lives.  How have yours defined you and who you are?

SG:  I wouldn’t say my trials define me, but they have shaped my choices. I now realize if I’m struggling with anything, it’s a sure sign there’s a lesson to be learned that I’m either ignoring or unaware of. That’s my signpost to step back, be the observer for a moment, and reevaluate the situation. Of course, it took me some time to recognize the importance of that! Now it’s just a matter of remembering it!

Sheri explaining the latest marketing issues to Tom Boone, Chairman of the Board, Valley Schools

Sheri explaining the latest marketing issues to Tom Boone, Chairman of the Board, Valley Schools

MB:  You are well-respected in the community and have a great number of close friends.  How do you juggle the responsibilities of being an active executive with maintaining a friendly outlook and keeping close friends?

SG:  I’m a firm believer that overall what really matters in life are relationships. Careers come and go. Finances can change in an instant and titles are important only on paper. With that in mind, I operate with the understanding if I succeed at my relationships, all else will fall into place.

Sheri Gilbert goes over business retention planning with Bill Munch, procurement expert.

Sheri Gilbert goes over business retention planning with Bill Munch, procurement expert.

MB:  You have family spread out with your Mom in another state and your son grown with his life moving along quickly.  Is it hard doing everything sometimes?  The amount of energy you show with work, friends, family and keeping such an active life would be too much for most people.

SG:  We all get tired at times, but going back to what I mentioned about relationships, my energy tends to be there as long as I’m focusing on what’s really important. Like everyone else, I need to step back and take some time to myself on occasion. Planning short, fun, energizing trips with friends or family is a great way to recharge!

MB:  You have a natural love for Akitas.  What draws you to that breed of dog, and tell me about your current furry friend(s)?

SG:  I’ve always loved big dogs, much to my parent’s dismay. I’d bring home every ginormous stray none that I was allowed to keep! I was introduced to Akitas by friends in the 80’s and fell in love. They have a regal, composed character that translates with just a look. For me, it’s that loyal, powerful presence and free thinking ability that hooked me. They are also sweet and goofy. My current furry companion, Simba, was a rescue I adopted after the original owner surrendered him to move out of state. He was my first Akita I didn’t get as a puppy. I had no idea how he’d been raised so it was a risk as they are powerful animals, and if not handled and raised properly can be troublesome. It took us 24 hours to establish our roles and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

MB:  One thing consistent about you is your drive to help others.  Your book was very helpful for children, you have worked towards children’s charities, and currently at the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) you help people save money on healthcare, dental and other benefits while leading healthier lives.  Is this aspect what leads you to certain career paths?

SG:  I would say that I definitely need to be doing something I consider to be a needed service. Being able to directly affect school districts or municipalities budgets in terms of providing a savings that allows them to say, add more teachers, supplies, or special programs, is a great feeling. And at same time we are helping to shape healthy benefits programs and employee wellness which is gratifying as well.

819228_609453862413728_186933960_o

Winners at the Paradise Valley Unified School District 5k Walk/Run (Sheri helps plan this annual event, in her “spare” time)

MB:  What are some things you are most proud of in your life, whether personal or professional accomplishments?

SG:  Like most parents, I am most proud of my fabulous son. He is a unique, driven, brilliant, compassionate young man who moved out at eighteen to work in Copenhagen Denmark and never looked back. He has a true entrepreneurial spirit and is currently a partner in a software development company as well as other ventures. I feel as though my greatest professional accomplishment is yet to come which keeps me motivated!

Sheri volunteering to help with security at a wellness event.

Sheri volunteering to help with security at a wellness event.

MB:  What advice do you have for other professional men and women in an increasingly demanding culture?

SG:  Typically people say do what you love, which isn’t bad advice, but not easy since you may not know what that is until you do it. My advice would be the reverse: love what you do! Whatever choice brings you to a certain path or career, go in intending to love it. To rock it. To build relationships that will serve you for a lifetime. That’s success, regardless of where your career ends up. If you realize you don’t love it, it’s simply a matter of making a different choice. Being stuck is a perception. You always have a choice. Always!

MB:  What advice do you have for those aspiring to be successful that are just getting started out?

SG:  I could say make a list, set your goals, work towards them tirelessly…like above, it’s not a bad place to start. But I would say instead of aspiring for success, aspire to build relationships, learn and grow, grow, grow!

MB:  What else would you like to say?

SG:  It’s been a pleasure doing this interview for Arizonaprofiles! I’m exceptionally grateful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with and hope to be able pass some of that on to others whenever and however I can.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travis Marsala – Young Playwright, Actor, Director and Renaissance Man

This profile of Travis Marsala is written by Song River, featured in the previous Arizona Profiles post.  Song River was intrigued by the goals of this site and agreed to lend her own multi-faceted talents to helping out.  Thanks Song!  – MB

Travis Marsala – Young Playwright, Actor, Director and Renaissance Man

It’s a warm summer afternoon as we finally get time to sit across from each other on two dark brown leather sofas.  I’m sipping a large iced water with lemon, and the proverbial actor/director/writer’s bag of red, white, blue and yellow ‘David’ Sunflower seeds are being cracked and crunched by Travis Marsala.  Travis, who just a few months ago had his first play produced, called ‘Joy’ which showed at the Brelby Theatre in Glendale, Arizona.  The play reviews were positive and both weekend shows sold out.

487277_10151765337870931_2108704873_n

Travis is an Arizona native, not something very common.  Born in 1986 in Tucson, he traveled extensively during his teen years, then settled in Flagstaff.  He is currently in Chicago to further his schooling at Second City.  He is living his goal to write for TV shows, sitcoms, and situation comedies.  Second City‘s training and his acceptance into the conservatory are his next logical progressions on his journey.

SongRiver: Travis it’s a pleasure to sit down and actually have time to chat.  After coming off the road with the Missoula Children’s Theatre… you’ve literally been living out of a suitcase for five months.  Are you exhausted yet?

Travis Marsala : Exhaustion probably isn’t a strong enough word.  On just the second day of coming off the road my mind already creating the next project, so the script- creation never rests.  However, the connections we made as we toured across the Northwestern United States was invaluable.  We all learned more from working with the children and creating theater productions in only a week, a whirlwind to say the least.

SR: This busy transitional period of your life is now taking you to Chicago and on to Second City, as you further your career in improvisational work, writing and acting… any misgiving thus far?

Travis: None that I can think of, I’m looking forward to Chicago, Second City and continuing multiple projects.

SR:  As you reflect over the multiple scripts you’ve written in story form, movie format and playwright, not forgetting the diverse roles you’ve performed- how is it at the young age of 26 are able to pull real life situations together, at times some so gut wrenching emotional, and have the viewer become the participant? It takes an observer of life, one who is profoundly astute in gathering those observations and creating believable… a talent, a gift, or a measure you’ve practiced?

Travis: To tell the truth, truth is a funny thing. In comedy we laugh “because it’s true.” But in drama, truth becomes something we don’t want to face directly. When an actor falls on stage, the audience concern can immediately switch to the concern for the actor, rather than for the character.

I don’t know how often I’ve heard people say they won’t watch the news because there’s too much violence or bad news – then they turn on Law and Order or some other crime drama where someone gets murdered nightly.

Truth in drama has to be just that – dramatized. We can’t be too true, or the audience will reject it. I suppose that’s why I picked a minimalist setting and have a direct physical interaction with a higher being. So I guess you could say vi veri universum vivus vici.

SR: In your play, ‘Joy’ you used the terminology ‘loss of a child’ I find that interesting in verbiage choice… explain why you’ve used this terminology instead of coming forth with the ‘crux of the word?’

35008_10152254784990931_1258462338_n

Travis: I must admit that my intent behind that is deceptive. If I were to say the play is about “abortion,” which it’s not, my audience is already divided and has made up their minds about the show. The word is never spoken until roughly half an hour into the show, giving me a brief amount of time to set up sympathy camp on both sides of the issue.

We as human beings do this all the time. Homosexuality, Religion, Christianity, Terrorism, the Occupy Movement, War – these words immediately elicit a gut response, and any opportunities for discussion are discarded.  The play by no means is about abortion. If I were to say it’s about one word, it’s “consequences.” The play neither endorses nor condemns abortion in itself, but explores the consequences of one. Consequences are something we’ve become afraid to face.

SR: Was ‘Joy’ a reflection of personal experience? From where did you draw the building of this relationship and its final outcome?

Travis: I have never had the misfortune of being in a position to choose with a partner. I’ve had friends make the choice though. Some have chosen to keep the child, others have aborted, and both have suffered and delighted in the results of both.

This play is just one result that I felt like didn’t get talked about much.

SR: Explain the title for your play, ‘Joy.’

Travis: Oh, several reasons – it’s set at Christmas time. A baby is referred to as a bundle of joy. Words and their meanings are deeply explored in the show, so “Joy” and it’s meaning are explored.

I’m sure people who have worked on it and seen it have derived their own meanings, and I don’t want to detract from them. That’s what theatre is – interpretation.

SR: Is there a message you’re desiring from your audience to walk away with? Is there always a message, or at times do writers write for the sake of writing?

Travis: Hopefully people walk out of the theatre with a fresh perspective. Empathy is the great destroyer of barriers – maybe someone will learn to empathize. A far right conservative may understand more – as well as a gung-ho feminist. Then maybe if like the play, they can meet in the middle and talk it out.

SR: Do you feel the topic of ‘Joy’ is an over beaten dead horse? Or is the topic of emotion tied to a shared intimacy ever passe?

Travis: Of course it’s beaten like a dead horse! Everyone’s sick of the pro-life or pro-choice rallies! Their blind submission to a doctrine is so staggeringly degrading to the human race that it’s embarrassing. A person who is staunchly pro-choice has no capability to see the other side and vice versa.

I have my own personal feelings on the subject that I won’t delve into here (I probably subconsciously integrated them into the play for someone to pick out). The point of the play is to reach across the aisle and let people talk about it on the way home from the theatre. Neither condemn nor endorse.

SR: There are many ‘hot’ issues being debated within politics, society, churches, and families the world over.  How does writing help expose these subjects to a wider audience when they become produced? Do you think productions whether by stage, TV, literature, or movies can help open doors to discuss and maybe resolve some of the daily challenges we face?

Travis: I toured with a Children’s Theatre.  You can tell which kids are watching violence on TV and which ones are not. Believe me.

If the last thing you watch before going to bed is someone getting their head blown off by a shotgun – you have to wonder what that does to your psyche.  If you watch a play that exposes some terrible atrocity – you have to wonder what that does to your conviction.

If  the book, ‘The Jungle,’ can do it about the horrid conditions of food factories –             surely we can do the same today. Charlie Chaplin was a master at exposing the plight of the poor in his films. The Kid and City Lights are two of my favorites. But he made us laugh about it. Not by being bawdy, or over the top, but by telling the truth, or rather showing the truth. He also wasn’t afraid to pull at your heartstrings and put some drama into his work.

There is no magical combination of words anyone can write to instantly resolve all of the problems in the world. That becomes the responsibility of the ones           receiving the message. It is my duty, and the duty of writers everywhere, to spread our message. And hopefully the message takes hold somewhere.

SR: How many times, if any, did you change the outcome of this story?

Travis: The ending has always been more or less the same. I was really working backwards.

SR: In your varied works Travis, what and how do you prepare yourself to enter into the modality of creating?

Travis: Closing Facebook is always a big step.

Basically, if I have an idea and I jot it down, and that idea is still on my mind a few days later, I know I got something so I work on it a bit. After a couple of weeks, if I still can’t get it off my mind, I attack it head on.

If it can subconsciously keep my brain that entertained for that amount of time – it seems like something worth doing.  I have several notebooks of random ideas lying around.

SR: It is my understanding aside from your current produced play, that you’re are also working on a series of children’s books, tell us a little about this. As well, you are working on a script for a puppet play? Will that revolve around children as well, or is it for all ages? Share with us a brief synapses of the writing of the play and is scripting a puppet show different than a play? Or are characters… still characters no matter if they are moving, talking walking humans or a hand stuck up inside a sock? Do you build and create your own puppets?

617247_10151951329010931_986203352_o

Travis: I like to have several projects going at once. It’s like a puzzle: if you can’t figure it out, walk away, do something else, and come back to it. Suddenly, you see exactly where a piece should fit.

The books are something that I’ve always wanted to do and was never sure how.   So I’m just really figuring those out as I go. They are about Jack and the Beanstalk – but it’s a giant twist – in that Jack befriends the Giant.

The Puppet play is something else entirely. We’ve become so damnably scientific, I wanted to create my own sort of mythology. It’s about The Skybuilders. The ones who built the sky at the creation of time. It’s really no different than a play.

And a puppet can be oh so much more than a hand up a sock. Warhorse is the first thing to come to mind. I run a blog (www.giantdreamspuppetco.blogspot.com) about puppetry as well. It’s new, so I’m still trying to get in the habit of posting once a week in it. I’m sure there will be many updates in it as The Skybuilders starts to come together more.

Other than that I’m continuing to work on writing, performing, and enjoying all the learning at the conservatory here at Second City. As well, looking forward to being back home for awhile in Arizona for Christmas.  It’ll be great to catch up with family and friends again… plus it’ll be a little warmer for me for  a couple of weeks so my bones can thaw out!

Writing and performing life takes a little psychology and a turn of psychosis to understand the plight of human beings.   You have to take on their character traits and delivering them to a captured audience.

SR:  As you move on to perform, write and direct in Chicago we wish you continued success and know you’ll always keep the heart of Arizona in your soul.

For further information or to contact Travis Marsala:

Webiste: http://www.travismarsala.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/travismarsalafan

 

For More Information on Song River:

Song River
CowGirlZen Photography
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song River – A Lifetime of Creativity

I chose Song River to be the first profile I post on this new site.  The purpose of these profiles are to highlight and showcase people around us every day who are not famous or celebrities but who have made a positive path in the world and in their lives.  The unsung heroes who overcome adversity, contribute to the community, and strive for their dreams.

Prof pic

Song River is the Owner of CowgirlZen Photography, the Manager of Identify with Yourself, and the co-founder of CLAD (Cosplay Lovers and Dorks).  As photographer for CowgirlZen, Song River produces an awesome array of high quality photo art.  As Manager of Identify with Yourself, she promotes positive living, self-esteem and community involvement.  CLAD supports bringing smiles and acceptance to everyone through geeky-fun events and costumes.  In addition, Song River has a thriving history on radio, in the music industry, writing, and creative pursuits in general. cgzen

As I got to know Song River I realized what a deeply caring person she is.  People often say that about someone easily, but in her case, it is very true.  She cares for her relationship with God, with her family, with her friends and with humanity in general.  She is a deeply spiritual and creative person who finds her interests out weigh the time she has to pursue them.  Her moniker – Song River – is based on the character from Dr. Who, Doctor River Song.  For those unfamiliar, that character is creative, smart, funny, sassy and a free spirit.  Her name is Melody Pond, but it translated to the language of others to be Song River.  Our Song River has those characteristics as well as the matching curly locks and similar visage.  She took the name a few years back professionally after several friends remarked upon the similarities.

Song River

Song River

rs

River Song

On to the interview, so you can get to know her better.  Afterwards, there will be a selection of photos, both ones she does professionally, and a few family pictures.

1. How long have you lived in Arizona?

My dad brought us to Arizona many years ago. I moved away and have lived in various locations all over. Now my home is between Arizona and California depending on jobs.

2. Tell me a little bit about your family and lifestyle growing up.

I grew up was very traditional, my father was an entrepreneur my mother stayed home to raise us kids and also helped my father in his business. When I was four my folks were introduced to the faith and both committed themselves to God. Sundays revolved around worship, supper, worship, evening snack of tostados and watching the Disney night show. Due to my dads entrepreneurial spirit, and strong work ethic, along with raising us all to be very self sufficient/solvers, I began working at the age of eleven at my dad’s store. From that time on I worked in the family business until I was fifteen.

Then I stepped out of the family business and sought employment on my own. During my days in high school books and such weren’t provided by our schools, so work was necessary for me to pay for my books, clothes, car, petrol etc…  It was difficult at times- working and school, as my passions and strengths were in the Arts, English, and History, and I would have loved to explore them more. However, my appetite has always been insatiable when it comes to learning, and I pursued a variety of ways of gaining knowledge. My education came in great part from life.

Song River's Mom

Song River’s Mom

3. As a creative person, I am sure you have tried a lot of activities and professions. What are some you have done in the past?

Often I’ve thought about all the things I would like to do.  Multiple lives to experience the plethora opportunities would be my dream, but alas we’ve only one run to make and I’ve tried many different things already. Lets not rehash the high school years for all that encompassed was retail and fast food (which the fast food part I loved, because the interaction with customers is always fun.) My journey into the world of the arts began at eighteen. I started working at what was called, The Wherehouse Records and Tapes. The knowledge I gained into the record industry was phenomenal. Always having been a huge music aficionado (attending any and all concerts possible) the job was a natural progression.

It eventually took me into photojournalism work in the music industry. During that time I met some incredible people, fantastic musicians and you know what? Meeting Elton John at the airport and driving with him in his limo to the concert venue seemed and still does seem surreal. Having dinner with Weird Al or meeting up at a park to interview him- well he really is one of the nicest guys. Having a bit of a chat with Bono back stage was probably my biggest, OH WOW, moment- as Im a huge U2 fan and have been since their inception. Billy Idol, a true gent, kind to everyone and I was privileged to be able to see him and have my oldest daughter meet him a few years back.

There were so many people I met, and I can’t say I had bad experience with any musician. For the most part they are just like you and me, they just do what they love with passion, and if they don’t they burn out. I’ve stayed in touch with a few off and on over the years and about a year or so ago re-connected with the first person who gave me a big break in interviewing and photographing rock stars- Jonathan L. (https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.l.583?fref=ts).  He ran a slick music rag called, NewsReel, then he went on to do radio shows and now broadcasts out of Germany to multiple stations world-wide.

Song River, left, at age 22

Song River, left, at age 22

I always want to remember and thank those who have helped me along the way.  I live the philosophy of Pay it Forward and Be the Change – not perfectly mind you, but there are so many kind-hearted people in this world who see beyond themselves and I’d say Jonathan is most certainly one of the many I owe a great debt of gratitude. I left the music industry and tried my hand in the realm of writing Op Eds and writing for politicians. I kept the photography alive during that time, but it was mostly business and very little pleasure. Working through both Bush eras I learned a great deal about our government. It made me dig further into our foundation, history and who we are.

Let’s say, I know very few honest people within the realm of politics and it’s a shame. Getting invitations to the certain activities in D.C. was something I will always treasure for the experience and the opportunity to meet people.   Overall though, politics is a business and it isn’t pretty. From that point, I continued to write, teach art, opened and ran a small art gallery, but still wasn’t really picking up my camera again. It was May 2004 I took up my camera again in a more serious manner. I have always shot off and on for business and some for pleasure.  However, the true creativity didn’t come forth until a little sabbatical that developed into the meshing of CowGirlZen and what it meant to me. How to take two diametrically opposed personas and merge them in to one? The labor it took to get to where I needed to be is so worth it.

4. What led you into photography?

In 1969, my mother handed me her ‘Brownie’ camera. I photographed the desert and saw stories behind each photo. The rest is history. Trying various camera bodies and brands truly is imperative. You’ve got to find what fits your style, and craft. Once you find that ‘fit’ grow your abilities by only purchasing the finest lens.

Many people email me and ask for help on picking out the ‘best’ camera so they can take ‘great’ photos. Photography is like any other passion, art or love, it’s in the eye of the beholder. If you can ‘see’ you can take more than just ‘great’ photos – you can take amazing works of art! I am a story teller and I enjoy it when my works make people stop, linger, pause, smile and tell their own story in the twinkling glimmer of their eyes… of what they see/hear/smell/feel happening. God gave me a gift – and I believe I should use what He has given me to show my love for humankind.

5. What are some things people don’t realize about photography that is harder than they think?

I’m not sure what people think actually. Maybe it has more to do with what they’ve experienced? You make an appointment with a studio, show up, a white sheet gets pulled down behind you, your staged… smile… flash. A grey mottled sheet gets pulled down, your staged…smile…flash. Well, if that’s your take on the art of photography it makes sense that most don’t understand the truth of what photography really is. Those of us who are truly passionate about the creation spend countless hours of prep time, studying terrain, angles, lighting, scheduling, events, prepping time with client, and planning on travel.  My goodness there is so much prep work that goes in to the art and that’s just the beginning!  Add to that the shooting time and all that can happen during that time, people running late or showing too early, children who need naps, adults who have headaches, animals who may be a little hyper, rain, snow, wind, etc…

There are so many random factors and in the end you really just need to smile and roll with the punches. Now you’ve probably invested at least 72 plus hours to get that far. Drive time hasn’t been included, nor any other things you may have had to get ready, now you’ve time in the finishing of their memories and delivering to your clients.  It is SO NOT stage, smile, flash! 6. What are the most rewarding things about photography? When someone sees what I was conveying- a story, and Id say traveling to meet lots of different people from all walks of life.

7. Is faith important in your life, and if so, talk a little about that?

Faith is the hope for all humanity for we were created to be immortal.

8. You have lots of friends that you spend time with. How do you juggle a busy schedule and still have time to focus on important people in your life?

Recently, I suppose one could say this line in the sand became prevalent to me. As a solution finder often I found myself driven to find solutions. Letting this control go and giving it to God is something I have tried over and over many times in my life – but I finally put the try into do. First is God, next is family, thirdly because I am self employed work at times over laps family – and friends, then friends, others I meet, and lastly myself. My focus fluctuates with priorities. The only one that stays constant in all honesty is my walk with God.

Song River and her family.

Song River and her family.

9. What are some of the greatest challenges you have overcome? (illness, heartbreak, financial, whatever) How have those formed you as a person?

We all have challenges. I believe we have a choice with each challenge placed before us to either meet them head on, embrace them and take them to make us better individuals. My past, or present or even future challenges are only what I make them; and I’ve had my share, but who hasn’t? The most valuable thing I have learned from challenges is this: your stubbed toe may be more painful than mine… so have a sympathetic and humble heart.

10. What are some of the accomplishments and moments in your life that you appreciate the most?

Oh my goodness I’ve had so many! The ones I’ve appreciated the most are the ones that leave one in awe… and each one of my children, and grandchildren leave me in awe. You know I still get jazzed over the oddest things though. I can get lost for hours staring at the structure of leaves and their process, or blades of grass and the variations of shape, size and color… even the tiniest little bug crawling among the blades, not to forget the night sky! Have you ever just stood out in the middle of no where looked up among the stretched expanse of lights and just realized how tiny you are? Blows my mind!

Then, I begin thinking of the subatomic world and how it is infinite in its own right… and the other dimensions there are, and all that we in the Western way of thinking don’t allow ourselves to explore and acknowledge! How much we miss sometimes of just the simple.

11. Where do you see yourself in the future?

I don’t.  I’m letting God take the wheel and trusting He’ll take me where He needs me. For me to state that, and put it into action is very difficult! I keep saying and thinking what I want… then I go… wait – plan, work, work hard, network, help others, believe, be a cheerleader, be grateful, count my blessings, smile, and He will show me. Mold me and make me! Oh trust me, I know what I want in my future here on Earth – lets see what happens! Working with Jimmy Jay of Jay Comics and Amazing Comic Con of Arizona, Las Vegas and more to come… was a goal of mine I set back in 2012 and its come to fruition. Developing a working team that can produce supreme quality Cosplay work and develop a business plan with them has given birth this year, CLAD (Cosplay Lovers and Dorks). My photography business, art work and writing continue to blossom, stretch, develop, morph and grow. My future will take care of itself- today I am content.

12. If you have a philosophy or advice for others, what wisdom would you impart?

Talk is cheap… actions speak volumes.  And… no one is a stranger, after all we are all of the same race and condition- human.

Lastly, thank you for asking me to share.  There are so many people along this journey to thank and if I could Id like to mention a few before ending. My Mamo Mary for sarcasm and humor; my parents for teaching me God, and strength; to my husband who never says much, doesn’t attend my functions, but in his own way understands the creative mind and supports it; my children for showing me life is a miracle, they are my best friends and so amazing; Jonathan L for opening the first door into writing and photography; Weird AL for humbleness and humor; Richard Wamsley (a former teacher we lost to cancer) for seeing and telling me I had the gift of ‘seeing’ and needed to pursue my hearts passion of photography; to a former Editor who told me to write, write, write… you’ve the gift of George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Clemens; to Matt Olpin who believed I could teach art and run a gallery; to Bennett Roberts who knows me and still says- do it; to my long time best friend Debbie Halstead who tolerates my insanity; to the Wood family- Judy because she is full of glitter- to Chris and Beth who’s influence of passion, love and strength inspire so many; to Robbie Brown who inspired me to ‘sell it all’ and minimize material stuff so you can pursue passions; to Jimmy Jay who has gone far beyond to open doors for me; and there are so many others along the way who have shown me there is a better way- that way is to love others unconditionally.

SongRiver

CowGirlZen Photography

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/CowGirlZen.Photography

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cowgirlzenphoto

Website: www.cowgirlzenphotography.smugmug.com

Flickr:http://www.flickr.com/photos/cowgirlzenphoto/

Email: cowgirlzenphoto@gmail.com

CLAD: https://www.facebook.com/CLADCosPlayers

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments