People are amazing....

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One of the greatest joys of Live Oak is the way it has allowed us to meet new people all of the time!  What I keep discovering over and over is how amazing people are. 

A favorite question of mine by Andy Stanley is: "What breaks your heart? --Someone whose heart was so broken over an issue, someone whose heart was so broken over what was happening in their community, their school system, their city, their community, their world, that they decided something has to be done and they decided not to take no for an answer, that this is an extremely important question for all of you. What breaks your heart?"

I had the chance to spend some time yesterday afternoon talking with Barb Smith and Maryssa Lyons.  We talked... we cried... we shared our burdens and desire to make a difference where we can.  

Finding Purpose in the Pain... is the tagline of Barb Smith's organization she founded nearly three decades ago, Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network.  Barb & her team set out to do this every day.  Their organization works to bring awareness, support, prevention through community and healing.  And in just the short time we talked, Barb's compassion and gentleness poured out... I know she is making a difference every day by walking with those that are hurting.

In just a couple of weeks, they will be doing Walk for Hope.  This 5Kwalk/run is a family -friendly event  on the beautiful grounds of Northwood Unversity and surrounding area.  This event is intended to raise awareness and funds to bring programs that will bring awareness to  decrease suicides and increase help seeking behavior. Live music, light foods, activities, resource tables and a beautiful route.  Here Barb & Maryssa tell us a little about their organization:  https://www.facebook.com/liveoakcoffeehouse/videos/1010323085816525/

If this is something that breaks your heart and something you would like to help with but you don't know how... maybe this could be a way to start.  Friends, we need each other... we are all in this together.

 

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”― Mother Teresa

Meet our new friend Mark

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Meet my new friend Mark Piotrowski.  Mark is a High School art teacher, a talented muralist, owner of MarkedArts and a really cool guy!

MARKed ARTs is a group of local Artists who are striving to bring public Art to the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond! Made up of Mark Piotrowski, Adam Wernecke, Sean Gallagher, and Eric Larsen. Individually, they are all talented artists who pursue their own artistic work as well as public and private commissions. Together they have created murals for Uptown and Downtown Bay City and a huge project for the city of Midland. Currently, there are several projects in the works that will be coming to our area soon!

I have had the wonderful privilege of serving on our community’s public arts committee for the past two years. I have loved working with individuals who truly care about our community and value the benefit art is to our well being. It is through this that I first learned of Mark. He is the amazing artist of the mural under the Business 10 Bridge.

I love the way he uses color to create movement in his work. It’s been a dream of mine to have a mural on the side of our building. I’ve always thought what an amazing big blank canvas. I love public art and the way it gives us a shared experience. I love anything that puts a smile on your face and a pep in your step. I wanted our mural to do just that. I wanted something that would symbolize what we are passionate about and become a piece of art that would brighten the neighborhood we have come to love.

Pause, connect, create and grow are some of the words we have settled on as some pillars we want to build here. Taking time to pause in the midst of our daily lives to notice and be grateful is a practice I personally have to be very intentional about. Connect & Create ... in the digital and fast paced lifestyles we all live the art of connecting over a cup of coffee, creating a business plan, crafting a project, making time for self care, dancing, exercising or receiving counseling... we all need space to connect in a space we can feel welcome and free to come as we are. We believe that creativity flourishes when we make time for the first two. Growth, we personally have experienced so much growth from being in community & learning from each other and we love watching others grow & fly!

When I shared all of these ideas with Mark, he leaned in and said... "cool. This will be cool.  I dig it".  And then we went to work on drafting a design we felt would best reflect this vision. It was an awesome collaboration, Mark was amazing to work with... patient and didn’t seem to think I was too weird... for which I’m so grateful because I am a little strange.

It has been a fun process and we hope that everyone has enjoyed the adventure and continues to enjoy the bit of inspiration it can give you as you drive, bike or walk by. We created stickers for you to take a little piece of the heart of Midtown with you. The proceeds of these will go to Marked Arts to further show our appreciation of the gift he shared with us. We would love for you to join us in thanking him.

With a grateful heart, Reneé Deckrow

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

Meet your Barista-Ellexa

Ellexa.... she is creative, kind and incredibly thoughtful. She is the queen of organization and her energy bring life to a whole room!  We affectionately call her "The Intern" and will have to watch her fly away in the Fall to go off to college... so in the meantime we will savor each minute we get with her.

 What is your name?  Ellexa Anthony  Where are you from?  Atlanta, Georgia  What is your favorite Coffee Drink?  Americano 😛  What do you LOVE about Midland?  The people. Easiest question ever.  (the people have our heart too)   How do you hope to make Midland a better community?  I hope to that I can share kindness and teach people kindness even if it doesn’t always feel like it is deserved.  (you most certainly do this well! )  What is an embarrassing moment you can laugh at?  One time I was opening the blinds and the blinds fell on my head and knocked everything off of the shelf .... 🤦‍♀️  (lol- doh!)   What is your favorite thing about Live Oak?  It’s a community. The people I get to work with are like family.  (so much truth)   What do you do for fun?  I love being outside... except it’s really cold right now .. which is kinda unfortunate  (but even the cold can be fun... time to learn how to snow ski)   What are you passionate about & what are some of your dreams?  I really love helping people and seeing them do what they love.  (it is one of the most rewarding pursuits and you do this so well)   What is your favorite Charity and why?  The A21 Campaign is an organization fighting to end Human Trafficking. I love that they are not just taking girls out of slavery, but they are also informing my generation what we can do to prevent human trafficking and making sure each girl is well cared for after they are taken out of slavery.  (we love your heart & your passion to make the world a better place)

What is your name?

Ellexa Anthony

Where are you from?

Atlanta, Georgia

What is your favorite Coffee Drink?

Americano 😛

What do you LOVE about Midland?

The people. Easiest question ever. (the people have our heart too)

How do you hope to make Midland a better community?

I hope to that I can share kindness and teach people kindness even if it doesn’t always feel like it is deserved. (you most certainly do this well!)

What is an embarrassing moment you can laugh at?

One time I was opening the blinds and the blinds fell on my head and knocked everything off of the shelf .... 🤦‍♀️ (lol- doh!)

What is your favorite thing about Live Oak?

It’s a community. The people I get to work with are like family. (so much truth)

What do you do for fun?

I love being outside... except it’s really cold right now .. which is kinda unfortunate (but even the cold can be fun... time to learn how to snow ski)

What are you passionate about & what are some of your dreams?

I really love helping people and seeing them do what they love. (it is one of the most rewarding pursuits and you do this so well)

What is your favorite Charity and why?

The A21 Campaign is an organization fighting to end Human Trafficking. I love that they are not just taking girls out of slavery, but they are also informing my generation what we can do to prevent human trafficking and making sure each girl is well cared for after they are taken out of slavery. (we love your heart & your passion to make the world a better place)