Friday, January 13, 2017

Focus 2017 cover

When the Sequoyah County Times asked me to make a piece for their Focus 2017 magazine cover, I was humbled and really excited to share something that is on my heart.

You see, I was born in Sallisaw and besides a brief stint away, this is home. A lot of my family and husband's family is here. Many of my childhood friends are still here. I've got great memories in Sequoyah County. 

But for all the great things I see, there are some obvious glaring unlovliness. 
-Drug use 
-Few sidewalks and many in disrepair.
-Lack of green habits (no recycling centers and country roads with a ridiculous amount of trash that has been tossed out of car windows, just to name a few)

Where some see problems, and it is so easy to grumble about the problems, I see possibility. 

And that's the word I focused on. Possibility. 

 Here's the first layer: newspaper bits, an envelope of my grandmas from the 70s, the hymn Why Not Now? from Hanson Baptist's hymnal book and other papers.

Several layers later, I was happy with the background. 

I put out the call on Facebook for help with the wording and here are some of the GREAT responses I got: 

Possibility is hope unleashed. 
She she's possibility everywhere. 
Where hope is planted, possibility grows.
Possess your ability. 

I almost put, "I will be a part of the possibility." But I thought that sounded really pretentious and could be seen as snooty. Who does she think she is....I can hear it now. 

I decided it needed to be an invitation because that always goes over better than commands.  

Come & be a part of the possibilities.

An invitation to those that live here to do something, anything, to contribute to cultivating community and being a light.

An invitation to those thinking about moving here that they have something to contribute. That we are open to their ideas, their stories and their dreams. 

An invitation to those just passing through while they are here for Diamond Daze or just filling up at the gas station to pick up the Focus magazine because the cover caught their eye and maybe they'll want come back soon.

I believe in possibilities and I believe in the good in Sequoyah County. 

There is a growing community of runners and bicycle riders that you'll see early in the morning or late in the evenings. 

Mommy meet ups are happening weekly at the area parks. 

Fort Smith has a growing arts & culture scene thanks to the Unexpected Murals that we could be spring boarding off easily. There is a plethora of blank canvases in downtown Sallisaw.
We. Need. Murals. and that's all there is to it. 

We should take notes on Fort Smith embracing the western/cowboy vibe. With the Marshall's museum  that is suppose to be built, it will be attracting tourists. So why aren't we embracing our Indian heritage? We are the first big stop on I40 for travelers and the Cherokee Nation estimates more than 12,000 visitors this year to Sequoyah's Cabin. A quarter of our population is Native American so it's not that far of a stretch for us. For people on road trips we are the eastern entrance to the Wild West. 

Speaking of Wild West, I'm putting out a call for someone to make a Pretty Boy Floyd reenactments happen. It can and should be done! 

Arts, history and culture not your thing? Thankfully, we are a hop, skip and a jump from several lakes and the Arkansas River. A good chunk of our southern boarder is protected by the federal wildlife refuge and is a duck hunter and fisherman's paradise. Tenkiller, Kerr and Brushy only add to the beauty of our rolling hills. Load your boat up and spend a day on the water! 

I'm not the only one that sees the good and sees the possibilities. Ask your neighbor, your friends, your kid's teacher, your preacher, the lady checking out your groceries, the boys and girls club director, your council member, the bank teller, anybody really. 

Find those that you share a vision with and make it happen

Those Blessing Boxes that have sprung up all over the county, that is because people saw a need and made it happen! 

Did you know that there are a few Little Free Libraries around the county? How cool is that? Making our citizens more literate and well read, all while providing opportunities for interacting with each other, for free! Score!

So, to wrap this puppy up, be a part of the possibilities, not part of the problems.

Cooperate and collaborate, don't complain. 

There is good here if you choose to see it. 

And I am choosing to see the good. 
Will you join us?