Shirley Brimm is a bundle of energy. And she makes a determined effort to keep that energy positive.
"I don't like stress. I choose not to live in stress and negativity. I am even very careful about the movies I watch," she said. "I was going through a bad time once, so I decided to get up and make cinnamon rolls at 11 at night. Pounding that dough really helped. And we woke up to that wonderful smell and my children were thrilled to have cinnamon rolls before going to school. I was tired, but I felt good."
Brimm searches for these little releases at home and when she is traveling.
She recently went to Florida and had an opportunity to do her favorite leisure activity -- walk on the beach.
"I looked for a certain type of shell," she said. "When I found (one), I'd pick (it) up and put all my negative thoughts in (it) and throw (it) back in the ocean."
Another way she gets rid of the negative thoughts is through gardening.
"You dig a hole and, just like fertilizer, you bury all the bad stuff and then get beautiful blooms," she said.
Brimm was raised Catholic, attended a Catholic school, and even though she no longer attends church, she is very spiritual.
And it comes out in her multi-media artwork. She loves to paint on anything that isn't canvas, and she teaches others her techniques. She is also a photographer, does crafts and is a floral designer, working at Payson Florist and Gifts several days a week.
"I am self-taught, though I have taken workshops from Plaid, which makes craft paints."
And now she is learning to sculpt, taking lessons from Anella, a local artist, who will have an art and crafts show at the Eagle's Nest Gallery, 705 E. Park Drive, May 5 through 7.
This is the first sculpting class she has taken. So far, she has made a mask, a little girl and a small pot.
She is also a cook. Brimm took home the most money in the recent Roundup Cooking Contest, winning first place with her chicken salad dip and second place with a pepperoni quiche.
Brimm brought the dishes to the Roundup office while the quiche was still warm and "dressed it" while the judges watched, saying, "You eat with your eyes first, so I like to make things look colorful."
Born in the Canal Zone of Panama, Brimm's father helped build the U.S. Air Force base there. Her mother was Peruvian.
"My father was the cook in our house. People knew he liked them when he would invite them to dinner," she said. "I try to do the same. If I enjoy your company, I want to fix you a special dinner."
Brimm made her home in Michigan for 25 years and participated in many cooking contests there. She also was involved in an international dinner group through the YMCA.
"I did a Peruvian dinner, with llama rugs and everything," she said, adding there were about 50 people who attended.
Brimm has only made her home in Payson since last August, but has visited here in the past -- spending three months visiting her brother, Jimmy Carson. She and her brother are housemates now.
"I was going through a divorce and my brother asked me to stay with him," she said. "He was going through a divorce, too. So, we were both healing at the same time. This is a healthy environment for healing."
Brimm said her main focus now is finding who she is. After marrying young and raising four children, she said it is her time now.
"It's a new beginning for me," she said. Through her journey of self-discovery, Brimm said she has found she is still independent, self-reliant and, "I can land on my feet."
Name: Shirley Brimm
Occupation: Multi-media artist
Employer: Payson Florist & Gifts
Birthplace: Canal Zone, Panama
Family: Brother, Jimmy Carson of Jimmy Alltrades in Payson, four children, two in California, one in Florida and one in Michigan
Personal motto: Do the job right or don't do it at all. "I feel everything I do, even the littlest thing, is a reflection of me. I don't care what other people think. What's important is what I think."
Inspiration: My father, Jimmy Carson. "He was a jack-of-all-trades and we all turned out to do that, too."
Greatest feat: My children, they are the best part of me.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Creating (cooking, gardening, art, floral designs).
Three words that describe me best are ... I teach. I learn. I create.
I don't want to brag but ... I'm pretty good at everything I do.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Robin Williams. He's fascinating. There is always a lesson in every movie he makes. He's a free spirit and I admire that. I like to think of myself as a free spirit, too.
Luxury defined: A stroll on a warm beach, listening to the sound of the ocean.
Dream vacation spot: The beach.
Why Payson? To heal after a divorce.