Swan City Market Life

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Featured Vendor: Peggy Hickson

book sale Join me in welcoming Peggy Hickson to The Market! You may certainly welcome her in the comments below, but you probably also want to welcome her in person because, as she told me, “I don’t know the first thing about computers.” 🙂 I promised her I’d bring my Kindle to The Market next Saturday so that she could see her vendor feature.

Peggy is a very special kind of vendor. She’s not a hobbyist, nor is she a business. She is a fund-raiser, a do-gooder, a woman of conviction and faith. Through her sale of donated books, Peggy is raising funds for missions trips to the Ukraine. Peggy is at The Market on “most Saturdays,” and the average cost of her books is around $2-3…Some are more, some are less; but for the most part, you can expect to find yourself a literary treat for just a couple bucks.

Peggy says that cookbooks have been a big seller at her booth, a few simple tables covered with pretty fall-printed table cloths and loads of books! She currently also has a large selection of books on history, biographies, and murder mysteries. She even has an impressive selection of magazines priced at a low, low 50 cents each! As I browsed her tables this past Saturday, I came across a stack of Highlights magazines from the late 80’s and early 90’s. My Granny renewed my Highlights subscription every year for me as a Christmas gift when I was a kid, and I was immediately struck by memories of each cover — how excited I was when my next issue came in the mail.

Peggy would love for you to browse her tables and make a contribution to her cause. She also would love your donations of books of all kinds and all genres. She feels her selection could use some good light-hearted reads, and of course, cookbooks! Lots of cookbooks! Bring them on out to The Market for Peggy, and she’ll help them find new homes to support her faithful efforts.

books

While we’re on the subject of welcoming new vendors, has anyone else noticed how much The Market has grown just since we reopened in September?? This past weekend, I learned that we have grown so much that we have added a whole extra block of vendors! Make sure you don’t miss where The Market turns the corner to the west at Bay St. and Kentucky Ave. There are plenty of vendors along Bay St. up to Tennessee Ave! I was excited to find my vendor buddies Debra, Holly, and Alice selling their plants, fair-trade baskets, and tie dye (respectively) along Bay St. this past weekend! (I’ve been missing Debra’s epic arrivals to The Market, where she pulls up to unload her plants and is literally rocking out to some amazing ballad from 30-or-so years ago. She is a woman who truly knows how to make an entrance!) I was also excited to see Bay St. Bistro with a booth, and I can’t wait to try their reportedly fabulous board of fare for lunch one Saturday.

Last but not least, don’t forget to include The Market in your holiday shopping! With just a few weeks until Thanksgiving and less than 45 days until Christmas, make sure you stop by the Market for a great selection of good eats for the holidays and tons of locally-made gift ideas. Small Business Saturday just so happens to fall on Market Day, November 30! There are also still a few weeks left to order your holiday poinsettias at The Market. All proceeds will benefit live music at The Market. On so many levels, we appreciate all your purchases!

In Community,
Heather.


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Sweet Freedom

Last Friday, I had the rare opportunity to leave my office early. Of course, I made the best possible use of this opportunity by bee-lining it to the fabric store. It isn’t every day I have a chance to shop for fabric and sew it in the same day!

I left work early enough that I wound up behind an elementary school bus, which stopped every few blocks to let a few kiddos off. Most were pretty little kiddos — kindergarten to perhaps second grade. I watched them bound off of the bus gleefully and then run up the sidewalks with all their might, as if they were just released from a cage. Some of them skipped instead of running, but the same joyous pep was obvious in their steps. I recalled that similar feeling of freedom when I was a kid — Friday afternoon! The longest possible moment from the moment you’ll have to return to the grind!

Then it hit me — I had the same just-released-from-a-cage feeling! Don’t get me wrong, I adore my day job…But there is something completely wonderful and relieving about that Friday afternoon feeling when I know that I’ll be enjoying the Market in a matter of a few hours. I won’t have to take direction from anyone (OK, except maybe from Jim Luna, our beloved Market Manager). I can set up my booth any way I please. I can take a book to read. Or not. I can take some knitting to work on. Or not. It will be my time for me. And as if that weren’t fun enough, I’ll get to spend the day sharing the time and the hobby I love with so many wonderful Marketeers…other vendors, customers, dogs, kiddos, Mother Nature.

Upon realizing this, I was tempted to turn around, go back to my office, and do this “leaving early thing” right. I should have run or skipped from the office door to my car. Or heck, even a combo of running and skipping! I could throw in a cartwheel for good measure and nostalgia’s sake! Next time I get to leave the office early, I’ll remember the correct way to do it, for sure!

I hope those of you out there in the blogosphere are looking forward to the next few months at the Market as much as I am! This weekend, we’ll enjoy the annual Dr. Scissorhands Pumpkin Carving event, which is always a blast. Local physicians will be carving pumpkins that you can then purchase, and the proceeds will benefit the live music program at the Market. Live music and the Market are like peanut butter and jelly…So imagine your PB & J and without the PB. Or without the J! Now imagine the Market without live music! Yuck, I don’t like the sound of that at all, so please come out and help support a crucial element of the Market’s atmosphere. Vendors will be in costume in recognition of Halloween, including yours truly — So excited about the cool costume I made this year! (However, I never reveal my costume plans ahead of time, so you’ll have to come see me if you want to know!) There is also the Garden Extravaganza going on in Munn Park, so plenty of good reasons to head downtown.

The annual Market poinsettia sale kicks off soon, too…For me, that’s the starting gun of the race toward the holidays, and boy does that race go by quickly! As we head through October’s home stretch into November, it’s a great time to think about starting your holiday shopping locally at the Market. We have many vendors with terrific and unique gift ideas, and the Market is a great one-stop-shop for everyone on your list.

I’ve also been on Google and Pinterest like mad, looking for Thanksgiving recipes I can try with produce I can get at the Market. Last Thanksgiving, I was in charge of the salad for my family’s potluck celebration, and boy did I get some delicious greens and salad fixins at the Market! I’ve found that many of the produce vendors are really good at giving preparation suggestions for their veggies if you want to go outside the box and cook something you haven’t tried before. I think that will be what I go for this year!

And I plan for the SCML blog to be busier over the next few months as well! One of my goals for the blog is to get to know each of the vendors at the Market and help you get to know them, too, through Featured Vendor posts. I have three Features lined up that will be appearing soon — Scout & Tag home interiors (otherwise known as “the booth with the badger”), Walt Parks of Pro FX (who offers $1 per minute chair massages (that are fabulous)), and Bilbrey Family Farm (our local Certified Naturally Grown Farm) will all have features in the very near future, so stop back by often!

But digressing to this coming Saturday, 10/26, stop by Swan City Stitchery this Saturday if you and your kiddos are in costume (or even if you’re not because I’d still love to tell you hello!)…Then look for blog entry featuring all of the creative costume ideas I know you all have brewing at this very moment!

With sheer excitement,
Heather.


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Featured Vendor: Weefcraft Tyedie

weefcollage1

Now that The Market is back in full swing, I can get back to featuring our great vendors! Being relatively new to dyeing (I took an awesome silk painting class at the Polk Museum of Art this past Spring), I am excited to feature the Dye Masters at Weefcraft! Alice, who I should refer to as the Dye Mistress, has become my buddy lately, stopping by my booth on her regular Saturday rounds at The Market when she visits the other vendors and usually winds up chatting with each of us for a while. There are many cool things about Alice, besides her impressive collection of tie dyed dresses. (I’ve yet to see her wear the same one twice!) I think what I have come to like best about her is that she is so totally comfortable just being herself. That’s a quality I really admire about a person in a world where we are bombarded with messages that tell us to be self-conscious because we’re not like some impossible standard…Although NOT a message you’ll receive from any of our Market vendors! We love for you to come exactly as you are!

As I was prepping for this blog post and learning more about Alice, I learned what perhaps may be the single-most impressive fact I’ve ever learned about a vendor and their business — Weefcraft was THE VERY FIRST internet retailer of tie dye! They had a website before — GET THIS — Coca-Cola had a website!! We’re talking the pre-dawn hours of the internet age folks! With the knowledge that Alice is a true pioneer, I became truly stoked to learn more about her and Weefcraft through this interview!

Swan City Market Life: Who or what is “Weef?”
Alice of Weefcraft: Weef is a an idea. It’s really a long story that goes way back but I’ll tell you more than you wanted to know. Basically, a friend (back in about 1990) gave us an old computer. He was running a BBS and downloading Grateful Dead newsgroups and wanted us to join in the fun. The BBS led me (in the end) to a connection to the gopher where I found a text-based multi-user game called a MUD (the MUD is the predecessor to mmorpgs like World of Warcraft). I needed a name for my first character, an elven mage, and came up with Weef. So I ended up using the name as I branched out into IRC and when I started my business, oddly enough, Weefcraft (because I was Weef, and it was my craft) popped into my head and so I went with it.
(Blogger’s Note: If you understood any of the computer speak above, you’re doing better than me…But that’s one of the things I think is so cool about Alice! She is all about being herself!)

SCML: How did you get into tie dyeing?
Alice: So this very same guy, the one that gave us that computer, was having fun with tie dye, and I went out to his house a few times to make dyes. I was a fan of them, wore them, dressed my kids in them…so learned how to make them. At the same time I was making clay beads (out of a material called Sculpey) and jewelry and selling it about town. Another friend asked me to make him some dyes, and so I branched out. We moved to Florida [from Arkansas] where I continued to sell beads and dyes. We set up a website (I learned HTML to do this), and that’s the nutshell version of the origin of the company.

SCML: So if someone doesn’t consider themselves a “hippie,” can they still pull off a tie dyed shirt?
Alice: Anyone can wear tie dye! It is an ancient art form, and there’s something there for everyone. Tie-dye isn’t always wild and bright, though we do like wild and bright! It’s all about binding the cloth to create designs, and the sky is the limit.

SCML: What is your favorite tie dye design to create?
Alice: I don’t really have a favorite design. My favorite thing as a dyer is to create new designs, come up with interesting color combinations. Got to keep it fresh!

I like turtles!

I like turtles!

SCML: What is the composition of your dyes? are they eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, non-fading?
Alice: We use Procion fiber reactive dyes which offer vibrant color that is permanent and colorfast. They are considered safe, and most people have no problem with the dyes in the fabric. These dyes are bright and safe!
(Blogger’s Note: These are the same dyes I use on silk and rayon — I can vouch for Alice here. These dyes are THE best, and are very safe and colorfast!)

SCML: Are you able to create custom dye designs?
Alice: Yes we are! We come up with icons to create all the time, can make letters, school mascots. Like I said, the sky is the limit. And for people who want something we’re not carrying at the Market, we do take orders and are at the Market every weekend with specially made items.

SCML: How did you become a vendor at the Market?
Alice: I thought about looking into the market for 2 years! We moved to Lakeland, and I was sending lots of wholesale back to Arkansas and fulfilling web orders, but really did want to let people here know that we existed. I found out about an opening [at the Market], and contacted the market manager.

SCML: What do you like most about being a vendor at the Market?
Alice: I am really terrible with the favorite things. (I have a favorite color (green) and a favorite movie (Amadeus), and that’s it. Too many good books, good foods, good all kinds of everything to pick favorites!) But as for the Market, it’s just great to get to know the people of Lakeland and the other vendors. Great people, and it’s a pleasure to meet them.
(Blogger’s Note: Amadeus is an AMAZING movie…If you’ve never seen it, finish reading this blog post and then immediately Netflix it!)

You can probably see from this interview why, out of all the very cool people at the Market, Alice is coming very close to THE coolest! But if you aren’t convinced yet, try this — Weefcraft will help you host a tie dye party! Alice and her son Steven, who is usually at the Market with her and helps her make dyes, will bring all the required supplies, provide expert tie dye instruction (Did I mention she has been a professional dyer for 18 years?), and then wash out the excess dye once they have set in the fabric! If I could turn 10 again, this would be my must-do birthday party, without a doubt!

You can catch Weefcraft each Saturday at the Market on the North End. They are usually on the East side of the road, just a little ways down from Mitchell’s. Just walk north and look for the brightest colored booth at the Market, and you’ll know you’ve found it!

Weefcraft can also be found online at http://www.tiedye.org and on Facebook. Their Twitter account is @weefcraft, but Alice admits she’s not very active with her Tweets…I know, hard to believe from someone who has known the internet since the day it was born! #toofunny

Hope your week is totally groovy,
H.


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Turn! Turn! Turn!

eccle
This past week was our long-time vendor buddy Stephanie’s last week at The Market. You probably saw her booth at the very end of the South side of the Market, in front of Crisper’s — Taffy Knits and Ridge Plants. She made lots of very cool felted wool things, including dolls — one of the first gifts I ever gave my niece. She made very cool and very tiny little native Florida birds, and swans of course (one of which I have on my keepsake shelf of special things). She had a lovely selection of native Florida plants, too, and was so knowledgeable on all of them. Stephanie and her family will be moving to Texas this coming week. Since last Saturday, I’ve been reflecting on how much we’ll all miss her. Stephanie always had a kind word and welcoming smile. It was a joy to share weekly laughs with her. Her daughter Genevieve had begun joining her at The Market over the past couple of months, and she had become one of my Market Kiddo buddies. This Saturday seemed odd without them there…

And then, today I woke up with The Byrds in my head. I really couldn’t tell you why; I haven’t listened to their famous song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in a very long time. But as the lyrics ran through my head, my brain really stuck on the parts about a time for love, a time you may embrace, a time to mourn…and how most of all, there are times when all of those times exist simultaneously. Stephanie’s last day at The Market was one of those times. And though this week was odd without here, I reminded myself that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. I found myself realizing that Stephanie really isn’t leaving our Market. Though we won’t see her on Saturdays again, she will always be a part of our Market because of the special ways she touched each of us as vendor friends and the relationships she had with our customers. She may be physically gone, but her spirit will remain on Kentucky Ave. each Saturday. Bigger than that, though, are the special bits of The Market, of Lakeland, of her life here that she will take to Texas. The spirit of The Market will go with her, and so will be bits of joy we all exchanged with her. They say everything is bigger in Texas, so hopefully that means all the love we send with Stephanie and her family with grow in her time there, and maybe she’ll find a great big Farmer’s Market she can join! 🙂

Along similar lines, I found myself reflecting on special news I received this week. I may be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. I have been on the National Marrow Registry for about 5 years, and I got a call Friday that I could be a match for someone! I go this week for confirmatory testing, and then anytime within the 2 weeks to 60 days after, I’ll hear whether I am a match and can donate. So hopefully this will be a time to heal, a time to dance, a time for peace, a time to gather stones together. I marvel at the idea that a small little piece of who I am could be going out to someone to completely transform their life. I’m meditating on the hope that even if I am not the match for this person in need, someone is. It is incredible how connected we all are in this life. Just as all of the vendors who knew and loved Stephanie will always connect with the parts of her she shared with us, it is possible that my DNA, my leukocyte antigens may be so closely connected with a total stranger that I can give them my bone marrow. Our connectedness is just mind boggling…

Well, if I got a little deep there for you, no worries! I have some lighter news…This week, I will get back to posting Vendor Features, so look for a feature on Weefcraft Tiedye later this week!

I also thought that since today is the official first day of Fall, and since we are all looking forward to that gorgeous Florida autumn that is [hopefully] just around the corner, you might be interested in some goings-on that will be happening downtown in October…Good stuff to check out while you’re also downtown for The Market:

10/12 — The Lakeland Fire Department will host their annual Open House. Take a tour of the historic Downtown Station, check out educational demonstrations and cool firefighter equipment.
10/12 — ALSO Downtown Zombiefest will take over Lakeland after The Market closes down! Check out LFD, enjoy The Market, and stay for Zombiefest that starts at 2pm! Make it a day downtown!

10/19 — Lake Mirror Classic Auto Show: I am NOT a motorhead, or anything close to it, but I absolutely love this event! So many neat and beautiful cars!

10/26 — Munn Park Extravaganza: Plants, flowers, trees, Master Gardeners to answer your questions, soil testing.
10/26 — ALSO on this date, check out The Market’s Dr. Scissorhand’s Annual Pumpkin Carving contest and vote for your favorite vendor costume!

Hope to connect with you all as we move forward in the Market Season.

I swear it’s not too late,
Heather.


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Welcomed with Open Arms!

MrManHUG

I pulled up to my regular Market spot this morning before the sun rose, and my first inclination was to run and hug my vendor buddies! However, I have on more than one occasion, been known to socialize when I should be unloading and setting up…and then Jim, our fearless Market manager, has to nudge me gently in the right direction. 🙂 So I withheld my hugging impulses until after I unloaded and parked my car…Being back was great!

My Granny — who is the wisest woman I’ve ever known, and whom I often quote — has traveled a lot in her 89 years. I always ask her about her trips upon her return, and she always says that she had a fabulous time, but that the real purpose in taking a vacation so that we’re glad to come back home. I thought about that bit of her wisdom today as I admired the bustling crowd at today’s reopening day, and I realized it was totally applicable. Being away from the Market for the month of August made me so much more appreciative of being there today. Everything familiar and wonderful about the Market meant a lot more to me after not having it in my life for a little while. I talked with many vendors and customers who shared the same sentiment.

And reopening day was not without its fanfare! Applebutter Express played fun tunes that had me tapping my toe (and feeling a little jealous of those dancing right in front of the stage). New vendors were welcomed, and each brings a special new element to the Market. Last but certainly not least, the “Curbie Award” — given to the vendor with the most votes on the recent Market customer survey — was awarded to my buddy Ron at Sugarbuzz Dezert Company! I’m very happy that all of Ron’s hard work on his business paid off! There’s no better feeling than the appreciation of your customers, and although every vendor is deserving of their own award, I know Ron loves filling Lakeland’s bellies with yummy goodness and love!

Coming back to the Market today was wonderful, not just because we all felt refreshed from time off, but because it was just good to be HOME. To be back to what is a familiar routine. To be back to a community of friendship, creativity, and good ol’ fashioned wholesomeness.

I can’t wait to continue learning the life lessons the Market has to teach me. I just get the feeling that some very special things are going to happen in this new Market season!


On a friendship-related note, I’d like to use this blog post to promote International Women’s Friendship Month (IWFM), which comes around each September. I try to use my Market business (Swan City Stitchery) as a platform for important causes that are near and dear to my heart. IWFM is very special to me because it was imagined and created by Kappa Delta Sorority, of which I am an alumna sister. Kappa Delta has played a very important role in my life, connecting me with not only some of my very best friends in life, but also helping shape me into the confident, capable woman that I am today. One of Kappa Delta’s platforms is the Confidence Coalition, which serves to mobilize the many organizations, companies and individuals that promote self-esteem and confidence among girls and women. Through my involvement in Kappa Delta and the love of my sisters and women friends, I have truly learned to feel comfortable in my own skin and learned that a person’s beauty is so much deeper than what you can see with your eyes. Today, I volunteer for Kappa Delta as an alumna advisor to my chapter at Florida Southern College, which helps me continue to learn about being a confident woman and share with college students what I have learned about being a confident woman.

So, because September is International Women’s Friendship Month, and because women’s friendships are so valuable, I want to share with you all an opportunity to win a very cool contest offered by the Confidence Coalition. Throughout September, all women can celebrate their most cherished friends by entering the Confidence Coalition’s 2013 International Women’s Friendship Month Photo Contest. Entrants will submit a photo with a caption that answers the question, “How do your friendships build your confidence?” If you submit the winning photo, you and a friend will win a girlfriends’ getaway to Memphis, Tennessee to have lunch with IWFM spokesperson Leigh Anne Tuohy (a Kappa Delta alumna), the real-life inspiration behind the film “The Blind Side.” Leigh Anne is also an acclaimed author, the host of the uplifting TV series, “Family Addition with Leigh Anne Tuohy,” and an advocate for women’s friendship!

You do not have to be a member of Kappa Delta to enter the contest! You just have to be a woman who is willing to share about a friendship that builds your confidence! I have so many incredible female customers that this seemed like a very fitting cause to share for the month of September. 🙂 All the details about entering the contest can be found on the Confidence Coalition’s website.

Looking forward to SO many things!
– H.


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The wait is almost over!

Hi, everyone! September 7th quickly approaches, and with it comes reopening day of the Market! This year, we even have a poster that makes it official!

market sign

I’ve been missing my vendor and customer friends and my Saturday Market routine. . .but I have to admit that it has been nice to sleep in a bit on the weekends, have more free time for new ideas and designs, and enjoy air conditioning during the brutal heat of August!

Now, I’m just ready to fast-forward to next weekend! I’m excited to see all my friends, maybe meet some new vendors, debut my booth make-over for fall (the blog has a fall make-over as well!), and see the live performance of The Applebutter Express. . .Described as Americana/Ukulele Funk and Bonnaroo Bluegrassers, their performance should be a whole lotta fun!

When I think about the coming months, I am so excited to experience a season of the Market I haven’t seen as a vendor yet — Dr. Scissorhands and the Vendor Costume Contest, fresh veggies for my Thanksgiving feast, poinsettia sales, and holiday shopping for my friends and family at my buddies’ booths! I’m also excited to enjoy the fabulous Florida fall weather, which will be icing on the cake to our wonderful Saturdays outdoors at the Market!

What have you missed most about the Market during August? What are you most excited about shopping for when we reopen? I sure hope you can all make it out next Saturday!

With excitement and exclamation points!,
H.


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Reflections on the Market Season

four-seasons

The 2012-2013 Market has drawn to a close, and we are on hiatus until September 7. This past Saturday at the Market was filled with both anticipation and nostalgia. Peggy at Scotty’s Produce summed it up well — “It feels like the last day of school!” It really did. While we were all mostly ready to enjoy a break from the heat and the early Saturday mornings, we also knew it would be hard to not see our friends for a month and to be out of our routine.

I’ve spent the past week reflecting on the joy the Market has brought to my life in so many ways. I’ve tried not to make this blog about me personally, my life, or my business exclusively, but I do want to express gratitude where gratitude is due. I owe a whole lot to the Market. In August, 2011, I started feeling crummy. Crummy turned into bad. Bad turned into awful. Awful quickly became terrible. And one day in October, 2011, I collapsed at work. I saw several doctors who ran all kinds of labs, reviewed all kinds of imaging, and couldn’t find anything obviously wrong. Every measurement indicated that I was healthy and normal. But I’ve never in my life felt so far away from healthy and normal. There were days that lifting my arms to my keyboard at work felt like more than I had the strength for. There were days that laying in bed felt like it took too much energy. I tried hard to keep moving because if I sat still, I’d fall asleep, but I also didn’t have the energy to keep moving, and I hurt all over all the time. Eventually the doctors I saw decided that I had anxiety, that I was psychosomatic (i.e. my symptoms were real, but resulting from mental turmoil rather than a physical cause). I admit, I WAS anxious…but I was anxious because no one could figure out what happened to my life. The energetic, fun, and exciting life I was used to leading. Anxiety came secondary to all the physical stuff that went unexplained. I remember a period of what seemed like months when I’d say every day that I just wanted MY life back, or that I didn’t know whose life I was living, but it wasn’t mine. This all really started to look bleak just before my niece was born in February, 2012. I began to panic thinking that I had some rare mystery diagnosis that no one would figure out, and that I’d never get to have a quality relationship with my precious niece…something very important to me because I’ve been blessed with THE coolest aunts ever, and I really wanted to join the Cool Aunt Club. I finally saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with osteopenia resulting from low vitamin D. None of the doctors I saw before thought to check my vitamin or mineral levels! I was relieved that my diagnosis was so treatable — more time in the sun and daily supplementation — but it took a good 6 months of supplementation to even start to begin to feel like the person I was before.

Meanwhile, my anxiety continued. I developed depression resulting from my negative thoughts about all the time I’d lost to my illness. I felt foggy-headed all the time, tired, dizzy, short-of-breath, and achy. It was hard to do my regular job, and anything extra for fun was out of the question for a while. But when I finally started to feel better, I wanted to be out and about and catch up on all the things I’d been missing out on. One of the first places I went was to the Market. My good friend Jess from high school had recently become a vendor, selling her awesome jewelry through her business Stray Creative, which eventually became Here & Now Boutique. I had gotten back into sewing to make Christmas presents once I started feeling better, but I knew that Christmas would come and go and then I wouldn’t have much reason to sew and create on a regular basis. Jess was really encouraging of my start-up at the Market. With a purpose to create and a reason to be outside to get sun to improve my vitamin D (bonus!), I really began to feel like “I” was back and better than ever!

And better than ever I certainly am. I am better for having gotten to know all the vendors and customers I’ve met during this past season. I am better for having the experience of being my own boss and making my own decisions for my company. I am better for being able to contribute to my community and my local economy. I am better for having a place that I feel like I belong and where I can just be me without any judgment. I would have never expected to have gained so much from my Market experience, but in some ways, it saved my life. I had resigned myself to never getting my “old self” back. I had accepted that I would probably be tired and in pain for the rest of my life. The Market truly gave me a reason to push through in a positive way and get well — physically and mentally.

The Market has now become one of the major ways I take care of myself. I need the Market to help me balance out my regular week life. I absolutely love my job as a mental health counselor — helping others and seeing them grow is one of the greatest feelings in the world. But it can be difficult, even traumatizing, to listen to people’s stories all week. I’m glad I have the Market where I can focus on what I love doing and also enjoy being a part of my community, even if it’s in a small way.

I’m very much looking forward to an even bigger and better 2013-2014 Market Season! Each week at the Market seems to give me a booster dose of exactly what I need to keep doing well. I hope each Market vendor and customer finds even a portion of the joy the Market has brought to my life again. I will always be grateful.

Mark your calendars to come see us on September 7. We’ll be missing you in the meantime. Honest.

With thanks,
H.