Doing Community: What It Means To Me

We live hard and fast every day, rising each morning to the job, home life and the in-between. Where did we ever find the time to be on the computer as much as we are? Yet here we are scrolling away!

Recently we sold our Southington home of twelve years and wanted to give kudos to a few Southington people and organizations that helped us transition. First and foremost, Facebook’s Southington Talks (ST) group  has become a valuable resource to anyone living there. I found a post that asked for donations for The Southington Historical Society‘s part in a Town Wide Tag Sale scheduled Sept. 24 – 25 from 9am – 2pm at Old South End Schoolhouse.

Two angels named Morgan and Lisa, removed furniture, personal treasures, and cleaning supplies from our home with willingness and a smile. This came at a stressful time trying when we were preparing to downsize a 5 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom rental. We simply had too much stuff and were unwilling to store stuff we hadn’t used in years.

Morgan, a volunteer, picked up furniture and supplies for Southington Historical Society tag sale.

Morgan, a volunteer, picked up furniture and supplies for Southington Historical Society tag sale.

Morgan ties a wrought iron bench I purchased in Maine and loved dearly, was now a 'move' casualty.

Morgan ties a wrought iron bench I purchased in Maine and loved dearly, was now a ‘move’ casualty.

The Southington Magazine, a Facebook page I manage, also helped big time. Roger Dietz, publisher, works hard at getting small business advertisers into the magazine.

Dee's Cleaning Service

Dee’s Cleaning Service

I hired one such business, Dee’s Cleaning Service, where Denise Buttie, (owner) and Kelly Krajewski provided a super one-time/moving cleaning service I’d highly recommend.

Being part of a town where people help people, thank you Southington for your assist. To those who are reading this: hire local businesses and donate when you can, whether it’s your time, food from your pantry or your smile. That’s what doing community means…. be where you are and look for the good that is around you. It will come back to you ten times more in love and good feelings!

Artists Honor Vets in Give Back Event

Ginger Grant shows family their portrait during 'Thank You Photo Shoot' event at Artist Tree Tea House & Gallery 156 in Bristol.

Ginger Grant shows Van Houten family their portrait during ‘Thank You Photo Shoot’ event at Artist Tree Tea House & Gallery 156 in Bristol.

If you do what you love enjoyment follows. That sentiment is the driving force behind the Artist Tree Tea House’s totally free ‘Thank You Photo Shoot,’ event held at the studio to honor veterans and their families.

Dori Green, proprietor of Bristol’s Artist Tree Tea House & Gallery 156, (ATTH&G156), sponsored the event in conjunction with volunteer photographers Ginger Grant of Ginger Lee Originals, G.L.O. Photography and Lynn Keeler Fisher, who is also a veteran.

The idea to pay it forward comes naturally to all three women, each of whom shared perspectives why they give their time and talents. Green, a relatively new entrepreneur in this brick and mortar space, brings a multitude of skills to her business, which opened in 2013. Green’s creativity encompasses painting, event production, catering, hairstylist, make-up and massage therapy.

ATTH&G156 brings Bristol and nearby surrounding towns a community-minded destination for arts and crafts exploration, a live venue for music performance and poetry readings and a cozy vintage styled tearoom with offerings of fine loose-leaf teas, coffee and sweet treats.

Additionally, lunches are served consisting of salads, wraps and hearty soups. ATTH&G156 is available to host receptions and business meetings.

Green is active in the Bristol Rising momentum and has advocated for improvements to the building to expand the rear outdoor space. Green hopes to accommodate yoga classes or meetings on the deck overlooking the Pequabuck River.

Dori Green applies a touch up to volunteer photographer and veteran Lynn Keeler Fisher on right.

Dori Green applies a touch up to volunteer photographer and veteran Lynn Keeler Fisher on right.

Ginger Grant’s work consists of jewelry design, fine art photography, painting and knitting arts. Grant’s unique hand made necklace and earring designs and photography are for sale in ATTH&G156.

Lynn Keeler Fisher is active in arts advocacy. Fisher’s photography of Hartford Artspace and Meriden Gallery 153 events touts each organization’s arts activities.

Lynn Keeler Fisher gives in to laughter during her turn at sitting for portrait.

Lynn Keeler Fisher gives in to laughter during her turn at sitting for portrait.

Three busy people recognize giving time nourishes the very creativity that feeds their spirits. Green worked as volunteer Massage Emergence Response Team (MERT), member during the 9/11 crisis through the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) helping first responders cope with fatigue and exhaustion from hours of search and rescue efforts. “As objective a person could be, it stills upsets me remembering how disappointed rescue workers were after realizing they couldn’t get to people in time to save them.”

Grant describes photography as a life passion, “It gives me the chance to feel good giving back.” Choosing veterans to thank is an easy choice because they are the kind of people who put others before themselves.

For Fisher, volunteering for ‘Thank You Photo Shoot’ presented an opportunity to connect with veterans, to practice posing techniques and to have her own portrait taken, “Portrait photography is different than event photography.” Fisher chose to enlist in the Navy and served four years from 1978-1982.

During that time Fisher held Engineman status and worked as a diesel mechanic. “Most friends were just getting out of college when I returned from service. I travelled to Hawaii, Singapore, Somalia and Philippines. I never regretted the choice I made – it provided me with a solid education and great life experience,” said Fisher.

Ginger Grant photographs officers Jodie and Ken Fay who serve in CT Governors Horse Company and work with canine Comfort Dog Maggie of Christ The King LutheranChurch in Newtown, CT.

Ginger Grant photographs veterans Jodi and Ken Fay. Ken works with the CT Governor’s Horse Guard and both work with Comfort Dog Maggie of Christ The King Lutheran Church in Newtown, CT.

Green hopes more people will come to Artist Tree Tea House & Gallery 156 to check out the goings on there. “It’s all about creating opportunities to nourish the good within each of us.”

Lynn Keeler Fisher photographs Naval officer with family. Fisher also is a veteran and sat for photo.

Lynn Keeler Fisher photographs Travis Van Houten, Naval officer HM2, wife Ali and baby daughter Leah. Fisher, is also a veteran.

Drum Circle Encourages Unity During Community Picnic In Meriden

I’m not a musician by any means so when I recently participated in a drum circle I was surprised to find I could keep rhythm. I’d always wanted attend this kind of event, mostly out of curiosity. I wasn’t particularly drawn to percussion, but more to the idea of trying something new.

Drum Circle Video

The saying, “March to the beat of your own drummer” was always something of an inspirational thought and it reverberated in my head as I drove to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden. Part curiosity, and part wanting to honor the efforts of the organizers, I ventured to the community picnic without realizing I’d be moved by the activity into trading my camera for a drum and becoming part of the circle.

The repetitive sounds are enticing. The beats changed as people joined and exited from the group. It seemed the more drummers there were participating, the higher the energy level and the louder the music sounded. During the circle’s fullest attendance children danced within the enclosure, spinning about or doing cartwheels, letting the drumming dictate their motions.

Drum Circle Dancer

A belly dancer moved softly to the music , her bangles swishing in the background. A large gong played along too and incrementally increased the volume until only the vibration filled the room. The metal tones hummed and rang out acoustically throughout the space providing mental pathways for free flowing thoughts.

I liked the sound mediation. It felt like a more personal experience compared to being a listener to a predetermined presentation on a given topic. Everyone thinks what ever comes to mind in meditation as opposed to the listener experience – meditation prompts independent reflection and the results are refreshing.