Inspiration

Serenity In The Boulders

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
The old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” certainly applies to the villa in The Boulders community recently redesigned by interior designer JoEllen Sessa. From the outside, the adobe-styled villa looks charming enough, but it’s when you enter the residence that your senses come alive. Light, airy and awash with energy, this contemporary interior design was achieved with imagination and a clever repositioning of elements.   The owners, an Australian couple, live in this second home several times a year but also rent it out, so while they wanted it to look like their dream home, it also had to be built of sturdy and practical materials to withstand the onslaught of visitors. There are four bedrooms and four baths in the home; JoEllen kept the furnishings and interior design simple, other than the artwork.   “I wanted to create a contemporary feel while still honoring the flavors of the Southwest,” she says.   JoEllen is a certified interior designer and her... More

Hope For Evelyn

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


It was the heat of the summer, two days before the Fourth of July. The Hill family was celebrating another holiday at the Anthem Independence Day Festival. The smell of hot dogs, the sound of children’s laughter, the warmth of the July sun; all indicators of another fun holiday.   The next morning, the Hills awoke to a sick daughter. Their youngest child, 3-year-old Evelyn, had come down with a fever, and she didn’t want to stand up to get out of bed. Thinking it was just a cold, MaryAnn, Evelyn’s mom, did what any mother would do — she waited it out. The next day, however, Evelyn still wouldn’t stand up. MaryAnn had a feeling something might be wrong, so on the Fourth of July, she took Evelyn to urgent care.   Initially, she thought it could be a broken leg, as Evelyn did not want to stand. The doctors performed many labs and X-rays and couldn’t diagnose a problem. Evelyn was sent to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for tests to determine a possible bone infection.   “My... More

Saving a Noble Breed

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


As the driving force behind Arizona American Saddlebred Rescue (AASR), it seems fitting that Catherine Gottschalk grew up surrounded by pets, as well as cows and horses within visiting distance. Her early experiences with animals included one encounter that changed her life and helped her discover her life’s mission.   “I remember walking to a nearby barn where I had discovered an old grey pony,” she recalls. “He was in a tiny stall, and I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but I knew his hooves did not look right — and he was so skinny. He could barely walk, and I remember feeling such compassion for him. I’d take sugar cubes and carrots after school so he’d have something to look forward to every day.”   That pony helped solidify Catherine’s passion for rescuing, healing and finding safe havens for abandoned, abused and neglected animals — a passion that came with her when she moved to Arizona from the Midwest 22 years ago, and became her life’s work... More

The Fight Continues

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


With more than 200,000 people being diagnosed with a brain tumor each year, it is very possible that someone you know or love has been affected by one already. Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer deaths in children under the age of 20, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males ages 20-39 and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20-39, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.   The largest student-run nonprofit in Arizona, Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research (SSBTR) started out with 250 walkers and $7,500, and now raises more than $1.75 million through its annual walk-a-thons. The organization is primarily run by high school students from Red Mountain High School, Shadow Mountain High School, North Canyon High School, Notre Dame Preparatory, Chaparral High School, Horizon High School and others. Their donations earn them awards, plaques and respect.   SSBTR donates 93 percent of all funds to Phoenix... More

Camp Soaring Eagle

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Going away to camp is an experience that many children look forward to each year. It’s a place for them to learn, grow, have fun, experience new adventures and make new friends.   For other children, camp is not even a possibility. These children are living with serious illnesses, and their severe medical conditions do not allow for traditional camping opportunities.   Fortunately, for the more than 311,000 children in Arizona who require frequent special medical attention, there is another option: Camp Soaring Eagle, a going away experience created specifically for these children to enjoy a safe camping environment while also receiving their individual medical care.   Located in Northern Arizona on a 26-acre facility, Camp Soaring Eagle provides multiple year-round programs to children ages 6-15 with serious and chronic illnesses. Qualifying illnesses include Type 1 diabetes, respiratory diseases, cancer, collagen vascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome,... More

Songs For Wishes

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


“When I grow up, I can be a singer.”   Those were words written by my 6-year-old self. As I was digging through a box in my mother’s closet, I came across some childhood schoolwork that my mom never could get rid of over the years. The box contained elementary spelling assignments, bad drawings of stick figures, painted pages from old coloring books and a little something titled, “When I grow up, I can be a ...” dated April 1999.   In the assignment, I was asked to explain my dream job and why it was my goal. When I was 6, I wanted to be a singer because I liked to wear pretty clothes. Today, I still like to wear pretty clothes, but I don’t just sing for the dresses anymore. I sing for the absolute joy that music gives me. I sing for all the people that enjoy music just as much. And I sing to help others. Over the years, I’ve learned that music has the ability to move people in ways that nothing else can. Music can turn sadness into happiness, stress into peace and... More

Lisa Baker: A Passion for Stones

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Local jewelry artist Lisa Baker has a passion for gemstones. In fact, she is obsessed with finding the best, most unusual stones to craft into gorgeous jewelry, and has transformed her enthusiasm into a business located at Las Tiendas in Cave Creek.   From the moment you walk into Etania Jewelry and Boutique, Baker’s attention to detail, as well as her eye for quality and unusual design, are apparent; there’s nothing ordinary here. The boutique is eclectic and artistic, featuring fabulous natural gemstone and sterling silver jewelry together with trendy clothing, handcrafted handbags and other unique gifts. Contemporary styles and designs result in stunning wearable art that sets the vision for Etania apart from its competitors.   The new store is the culmination of many years of laying the groundwork. Baker became an avid jewelry lover at a young age. On visits to her grandmother’s house, she got to see, touch and wear pieces from her collection.   “On every visit, it was... More

The Nutcracker

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Dancing toys, twirling flowers and glistening snowflakes will once again take the stage this holiday season as Ballet Arizona and the Phoenix Symphony present their annual production of the timeless holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” December 11-27 at Phoenix Symphony Hall.   The two-act ballet, originally choreographed in 1892 by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanovis, features a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and is based on “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. The story follows a little girl named Clara who is given a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. She encounters the frightful Mouse King before embarking on a wondrous journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. The show features several special effects, including a Christmas tree that grows to 40 feet, 200 pounds of faux snow and the firing of cannons onstage.   Ballet Arizona has been performing “The Nutcracker” since the company’s opening in 1986. The current... More

Making Their Mark: Anthem's Inventors

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a kid inventor extraordinaire, all you’ve got to do is ask Anthem brothers Reagan, Carson and Keane Gillespie. The trio have conceptualized, created and sold their first invention — a cool 3-D maze kit called the CubeRinth — before they’re even old enough to drive.   The Gillespie brothers, who are homeschooled by parents Debbie and Michael, have always loved Legos, but their passion for inventing was stoked by the discovery of the Maker community here in Phoenix and worldwide. Like their Anthem friend and mentor, Joey Hudy, whose marshmallow cannon invention took him all the way to the White House, people are beginning to notice that these kids are up to something good.   Makers are part of a growing group of do-it-yourself inventors, young and old alike, who are redefining innovation by combining resources and exchanging ideas. Here in the Valley, there are a growing number of Maker spaces, including Local Motors Labs in... More

Love Is Always Worth It

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


No one truly prepares us for parenthood, simply because there is no way to tell a person who has never experienced it what it will be like to be so incredibly in love with another human being. Parenthood means sleepless nights, endless days and countless sacrifices made with no expectation of praise or reward. Parenthood is giving our heart to another living creature and watching vulnerably as he or she navigates the world’s joys and hurts without our control.   As much as parenthood changes our lives, there is no more compelling vision of it than watching a mother or a father love a sick child.   Krystal Schripsema is a 30-year-old Anthem mom who, like any single parent, struggles to balance work and home. Her son Landon, 10, is her life; she takes great pride in talking about his accomplishments and strengths, and is quick to dismiss any sacrifice or inconvenience being a parent can bring.   But for Krystal, parenthood has also meant facing a lot of difficult times. Landon was... More

Bruce Munro: Desert Radiance

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


His art has been displayed around the world in famed locations such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. This holiday season, British artist Bruce Munro will showcase his new series, “Desert Radiance,” throughout Scottsdale.   This art show is comprised of four unique light-based exhibits at different locations across the Valley. To capture the beauty of the desert through his artwork, Munro has created individual works that are location-specific to truly represent their surroundings. His art installations can be enjoyed throughout the season at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Lisa Sette Gallery.   Munro creates large light-based works of art inspired by his interest in the shared human experience. He has 30 years’ worth of ideas in his sketchbooks and portrays his unique views of music, literature, science and the world through his... More

An American Hero: Retired Colonel James Morris

2015-10-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
As a writer, I am always so proud of the amazing people that I have interviewed and who have been featured in our publications — people who give of themselves to make our part of the world a better and more beautiful place. But my meeting with Col. James H. Morris and his wife, CJ, was perhaps the most inspiring yet. In many ways, these quiet residents of Anthem since 2006 represent the very best of us and reflect lives most certainly well lived in service to country, family and personal integrity.   Perhaps the best place to start with Morris’ story is a visit to a space designated as “The Room” in their Anthem home. Its walls are filled with awards (35 and counting), pictures and a wide array of medals: the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legion of Merit awards, four Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, three Air Medals and two Combat Infantryman Badges.   Though Morris retired in 1987 after 39... More

Animal Guardian Network

2015-10-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Touching one life after another and passing the goodness of that touch on to others is the heart and soul of the Animal Guardian Network’s Sanctuary and Healing Center. The rescue, rehabilitation and refuge program of the Animal Guardian Network (AGN) facility provides life-saving care services to injured, neglected, discarded and abused animals. AGN provides clinical care and rehabilitation support after major surgeries and, if needed, a permanent sanctuary for terminally ill, senior and special needs animals.   Founded in 2008 and moving four years ago into their current facility near Seventh Street and Carefree Highway, the sanctuary provides a home and care for all types of animals for whom AGN and its volunteer staff may be the last best hope for survival and comfort. Adoptions to loving families are always the best option, but if that isn’t possible, AGN will provide care for life.   “We take animals with maybe a 1 percent chance of survival and provide care for life, 24... More

Honored for Honoring others

2015-10-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Local veteran Mary Ann Derryberry will be honored with the 2015 Anthem Veterans Service Award at the Veterans Day ceremony on November 11. The award is presented annually through the joint recommendations of the Anthem Community Council and the Anthem Veterans Memorial support team to an individual or group in recognition of “extraordinary service and selfless dedication in support of our nation’s veterans,” a most apt description of Derryberry’s tireless efforts on behalf of those who have given so much to our country.   Derryberry’s nomination reads, “There is not a day in the year when Mary Ann isn’t on the phone comforting a veteran, driving to help a veteran in need, raising funds for women veterans or holding the hand of a woman veteran suffering from PTSD. Mary Ann is a dedicated Marine who has never stopped serving our community. She is a friend of anyone in need and a champion of veterans.” Her record of accomplishments is a testament to this tribute.   A... More

Lighthouse for Hope

2015-10-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


In the early days of nautical history, mariners faced life-or-death challenges on a regular basis. Storms at sea battered and shattered boats, but approaching rocky shores in the darkness of night was often even more dangerous.   In the 18th century, as science began to offer contributions to lighting and engineering, towers of light began to appear along shorelines, not only to mark port entrances, but also to illuminate potential dangers.   These lighthouses represented more than just structural savvy; they were beacons of hope so that families would no longer mourn those lost at sea to reefs or treacherous, jagged promontories.   For 22-year-old Hannah Cobley, lighthouses represent something even deeper. Moved by her own talent, purpose and trials, she is determined to be her own beacon of hope for families enduring the physical, emotional and financial challenges forced upon them by childhood cancers.   This year, she started Lighthouse for Hope, a nonprofit organization... More