Cara Summerfield is among the new generation of Payson residents, infusing the community with fresh faces and innovative ideas.
She, like many others who now make their home under the Rim, was just passing through to visit family.
"The first time I actually came to Payson was two years ago," Summerfield said. "I loved it -- the mountains, the pines, the easygoing atmosphere. Stress-free."
So, she packed up her life in Albuquerque, N.M. and moved her Web savvy know-how to Payson.
Her specialty: the Internet. She's high-tech with an earthy spirituality.
"I'm working on not looking to the negative," Summerfield said. "I've met so many nice people in Payson. It's the first place I've ever lived where I feel we're all connected."
The handiwork of Summerfield's eight-year stretch as a Web designer resides in the expanse of cyberspace.
Her clients include artists, school districts and nonprofit organizations. Summerfield also dabbles in graphic design, advertising and copywriting. She recently created the Gila County Republican Committee brochure for a Feb. 4, 2006 luncheon.
But her real passions are creative and culinary endeavors.
"I love Mexican food," Summerfield said. "I love everything that's unhealthy -- lots of cream, lots of butter, lots of salt and lots of spices. I want to have a housewarming party with all-Cajun cooking."
Cajun as in New Orleans -- that's where her heart is.
"I was born in New Orleans," Summerfield said. "I had all my ‘firsts' in New Orleans."
From the Deep South, Summerfield traveled west to Arizona and Colorado.
She joined her family in Tucson, and attended Pima Community College. After a few semesters, she headed to the University of Colorado, Denver where she received an English degree.
After graduation, Summerfield created résumés for a living.
She contracted her expertise through the Colorado Department of Human Services where she taught welfare recipients to interview, find jobs and assemble their own resumes.
Meanwhile, to promote her own business, she sought the services of a Web designer. He wanted to charge her $1,200.
"I couldn't afford that," said Summerfield. "So, I learned to do it myself. I didn't know a lot about computers. It's been a long road of learning."
She started by figuring out the basics -- file structures, terminology, and the nuances of different software.
"You have to be able to dig deeper than the average user," Summerfield said.
She added that Web sites bolster existing retail and marketing efforts, especially in a small, somewhat isolated town like Payson, which relies on tourism.
"With e-commerce sites, you can sell 24 hours a day," Summerfield said. "Most people think you can make a million dollars overnight, but that's not the case. A Web site is another piece of marketing collateral. You don't have to feel comfortable with computers to have a Web site."
Summerfield spends her leisure time either in the Rumsey Park dog area or on the Houston Mesa Trailhead with her terrier mix, Savannah.
"Where I'm at is connecting with my inner source," Summerfield said. "And that all things are possible and life is here to be lived."
To learn more about Web design, visit Summerfield's Web site: www.csummerfield.com. She also provides individual instruction, (928) 277-4296.
Name: Cara Summerfield
Occupation: Web designer/writer/ graphic designer
Employer: Creative Communications, self owned
Family: Two children, two grandchildren.
Personal motto: Love is all there is.
Inspiration: Mountains, pine trees, nature.
Greatest feat: Being the caregiver for my aunt, who was like my best friend. She was stricken with Alzheimer's.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Hiking, socializing, creating.
Three words that describe me best: Personal, outgoing, sense of humor.
I don't want to brag but ... I enjoy life and know what's really important.
Person in history I'd most like to meet is: Kahlil Gibran.
Luxury defined: Living in a log cabin.
Dream vacation spot: Jamaica.
Why Payson? Mountains, pines, inspiration.