19-year-old wants to ‘be the change’ as she faces bipolar disorder

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. — Rachael Brown, a 19-year-old student at Ivy Tech Community College, heard a shocking diagnosis when she had an adverse reaction to painkiller during wisdom teeth extraction: She suffered from bipolar disorder.

According to behavioral specialist Cheryl Ferguson, bipolar is a disorder that manifests with episodes of mania and depression, once called manic-depressive disorder.

Brown’s therapist has explained to her the symptoms of her diagnosis.

“There will be times when I’m super hyper and I can’t sleep and I’m feeling my mind is racing, or there will be times when I’m maybe not like feel depressed, but I won’t be able to move as quickly, I will feel drowsy, things like that,” she said.

“And it can change at the drop of the hat, which is still scary for me, because I’m a person of consistence. I like to have the same thing, every day, every time, and having a monkey wrench thrown into my plans, and thrown in my life, really, is something I’m just going to have to get used to.”

Despite the changes Brown has had to make in her life, like taking the semester off from school and missing two weeks of work, she is keeping a positive attitude about how to cope with her diagnosis.

“I’m definitely learning my triggers,” she said. “I’m starting to learn… what’s happening to my body and that kinda helps me breathe through it, because it’s hard to breathe something when you don’t know if it’s going to end or what’s happening to you.”

She is grateful for the support of her family and friends.

“My friends and my family, they changed everything. I was able to live with my parents for a while and they were so supportive… I remember asking them hundreds of times a day, ‘Am I ever going to get better?’ ‘Am I going to be OK?’ You know, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And they would always respond with the same calm, ‘Yes, you’re going to be OK, you’re going to be fine, we love you, people love you, you’re going to get through this.’”

Brown also has learned that the right medication and therapy can help her feel better.

“When I got on the right medication and I started to feel better, it was like night and day, and I was able realize the hope (family and friends) had given me… The support was what really got me through and changed my outlook,” she said.

Breathing is her main coping mechanism. She stops and breathes, “five seconds in, five seconds out,” and imagines her “happy place,” an Irish farm. She also says talking with someone she trusts helps her get through an episode.

“If I talk to someone I’m really close to, and just able to talk through, like just ramble and talk through anything that comes into my mind, if I can say it, it helps me get through it and deal with whatever thoughts I (have),” she said. “Having people who will just sit there and listen to me rant for a couple of minutes really, really helps me.”

She said she’s not letting her diagnosis change her future in a negative way.

“I’m just going to take it a day at a time,” Brown said. “I want to inspire people… be the change.

“I think mental health isn’t talked about as much as it should be and that’s why it’s stigmatized… I think, maybe, just if people hear a lot about it, maybe it will help them to be more understanding to those of us who have to deal with it everyday.”

About Bipolar Disorder

Cheryl Ferguson, an independent behavioral specialist and resident of Nashville, Ind., offers insight about bipolar disorder in this audio interview:

Ferguson has a master’s degree in non-teaching Special Education and a master’s in Education Psychology. She is a certified school psychologist in several states and worked in that capacity for 10 years.

“I got tired of putting labels on kids,” she said, explaining why she moved into the behavioral specialist field.

Now, she works independently as a behavior specialist and owns and operates an ice cream shop, The Sunshine Shack, in Nashville, with her husband.

[Music: “Fluidscape” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0]

Nashville mom shares passion for flowers with young daughters


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Village Florist designer Jamie Rumple is passing down her love of flowers to her two young daughters on their goat farm in Brown County.

When she takes home unsellable flowers from work, the little girls design their own arrangements for their rooms.

“At 6 and 3, they have tons of talent,” she laughs.

Rumple remembers always having a flower garden at her own mother’s house. That’s when her interest began.

“We planted some beautiful Star Gazer lilies and every year when they come up, she [her mom] reminds me that those were planted just for me and she sends me pictures.”

Rumple’s career in flowers began at 13, when her family moved to a house near a florist in Rush County. She decided to check out the shop and walked away with a job that she held off and on for 15 years.

“Flowers [are] my passion,” she said. “I like more extravagant, nice, high-style design and weddings. Weddings are a real knack for me. I really enjoy them.”

Now in Brown County, she’s living out that passion as Village Florist’s main designer.

But it’s a process that’s difficult for her to explain.

“Usually it just kind of flows,” Rumple said. “I don’t know. It just comes naturally there’s no way to explain it. It just happens. It’s just like a vision, and it just happens… It’s not as easy as it looks.”

She has big dreams for her floral career. She’d love to become certified by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and have her designs widely published in magazines. She wants to be a floral designer to the stars.

At the root of it all, though, are flowers.

“They’re just beautiful,” she said, “and to be able to make something nice and for it to put a smile on someone else’s face, just brings great joy.”

See Rumple’s designs at Village Florist, 188 S. Jefferson St. Order an arrangement by calling (812) 988-7045 or visiting the flower shop’s website.

Optometrist builds relationships with patients


NASHVILLE, Ind. — At seven, optometrist Dr. Jessica Wagers watched a documentary that stuck with her into her adult years.

The show was about people who make prosthetic eyes, and that sparked her elementary-aged interest.

“I thought it was fascinating because somebody that has lost their eye could have the appearance of having an eye,” she said. “The detail work and the artwork that went into painting one of these prosthetic eyes was just intriguing.”

Wagers went to Indiana University and earned an undergraduate degree in biology, with minors in psychology and chemistry. Afterward, she attended the IU School of Optometry and earned her degree in 2009.

“Jessica Wagers and I met at optometry school and have been best friends since then,” said Amanda Ballard, who practices optometry in Kentucky. “She is a remarkable doctor! She truly cares for her patients and it shows. Jessica has always had a knack for diagnosing and treating even the most difficult cases. She has a gift!”

Wagers is licensed with the state of Indiana to practice optometry. She also has a certification through the state that allows her to prescribe legend drugs, which are those that are not injected nor narcotics.

Veteran photographer evolves from journalist to artist


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Rodney Margison once spent his days shooting sporting events and covering spot news as a photojournalist. Now he creates art with an array of models and hopes to land an art gallery show in the near future.

His 35-year journey is one of evolution; from the science of photography to the art one creates with his camera.

He developed his love of photography from his father, who taught him about the science of it, and made his own decision early on to pursue life with a camera in his hand. When his college career didn’t turn out as he had planned in 1981, he resorted to freelancing for the local newspaper and stringing for the Associated Press at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every May, a gig he held for 17 years.

He pursued other ventures to make ends meet, but got his big break in 1988, when he went to work for the daily Times-Tribune newspaper in Corbin, Ky. In that position, he photographed mine disasters, wrecks, ribbon cuttings and lots and lots of sports. In his four years there, he earned a slew of awards from the Kentucky Press Association.

“Being a full-time news photographer was a dream come true,” Margison said. “It was everything I wanted in a career since deciding that I wanted to be a photographer.”

Through the years, he worked at other newspapers, freelanced for magazines, built his own portrait and commercial photography business and won a bunch more awards. But his vision was beginning to change.

“Eventually, news photos all start to look the same. Working in a small community for a long period of time, it’s very difficult to create different images of the same events year after year,” he said. “I found myself wanting more out of my photography and wanting to fill in the gaps in my knowledge; gaps that were created by being a mostly self-taught photographer.”

Margison returned to college in 2011 to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography.

It’s a venture that has ignited his passion for artistic expression and transformed him into a conceptual photo artist.

Get a glimpse of Margison’s work on his photography website.

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What a hoop! Hudsucker Posse brings circus-style flow arts to town


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Paula Chambers and Poppe Tsunami found hooping at different places in their lives, but now they work together to promote flow — or movement — arts in Bloomington.

Flow arts include hooping and juggling, as well as the fire and aerial arts. These are all activities or events commonly seen at the circus.

“It’s not for everyone, but its for anyone,” said Tsunami. “So anyone who wants to do it can.”

Together, Chambers and Tsunami run The Hudsucker Posse, a performance and support group that meets twice a week — Wednesdays and Sundays — in Bryan Park to practice, perform and commune with friends. Their work to entertain the community was recognized recently when Mayor Mark Kruzan declared July 4 Hudsucker Posse Day.

Chambers and Tsunami co-founded the Kinetic Arts Academy, which hosts classes and events in flow movement arts. The focus is prop manipulation, like using hula hoops and staffs. They offer group rates so friends can come and learn together, workshops and events with national artists. They perform for festivals, charities and the community.

Their dream is to have a permanent installation where people can come and learn, which would also mean they don’t have to set up and tear down for each gathering.

For more information, visit these websites:

Flow Art Institute

Kinetic Arts Academy

The Hudsucker Posse

The Hudsucker Posse on Facebook

Pole-vaulter sets high goals for future


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Emily Brady spent her high school days working hard to beat her last best. She set record after record in pole vaulting, even beating out her older sister’s school record of 9’ 6” when she was a freshman.

While she was doing that, she was also playing on the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams and keeping her grades high enough to get a full-ride, four-year scholarship to college.

Emily started working with the junior high track team when she was in elementary school, and by the time she got to high school, she was competing as a varsity-level pole-vaulter and qualifying for state every year. Her jumps went from 10’ 3” to 11’ 6”. She wants to increase that by two and a half feet in the next four years.

Since graduating from Brown County High School in June, she’s setting high goals for success as a track recruit for Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Instead of splitting her talents between volleyball, basketball and track, Emily will focus her full attention on pole vaulting, and maybe some hurdles, if her coach wants.

She believes focusing on technique and continuing to build her body strength will eventually allow her to be the third woman to jump 14 feet at Indiana State. But, she knows she has a long way to go.

In addition to her sporting talents, Emily volunteers at the Brown County Humane Society and uses her love of singing to raise money for cancer research and help others in the community.

She attributes her success to setting high goals that push her to succeed and having the support of her parents and four older siblings.

Mom gives daughter legacy by speaking against drunk driving


SELMA, Ind. — Kim Morrow’s life changed in the wee hours of Oct. 28, 2012. That’s the day her 17-year-old daughter chose to get in the car with a drunk driver who later tried to outrun a train. She found out at about 7 a.m. that Amber, spending the night with a friend, wouldn’t be coming home.

The next few months were a blur for Kim. She stay connected to Amber’s friends and cheered on her younger daughter, Emily, but both struggled for a sense of normalcy and sought help to deal with their tragic drunk-driving loss.

And then, Kim found a way to give Amber a legacy. She created the Amber Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fund and accepts speaking engagements to warn young people about drinking and driving. If it means one person stops and thinks before making the same fatal mistake, then Kim believes her daughter didn’t die in vain.

Contribute to the Amber Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fund, in care of her uncle, Scott Miller, at:

Amber Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fund
Attn: Scott Miller
1903 South 1150 West
Parker City, IN 47368

Contact Kim for speaking engagements at

Fricktion: Office by day, hip hop by night


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In his compact bedroom studio, Thomas Frick speaks softly about his life of hip hop, social consciousness and responsible marketing techniques. He expresses his desire to lead a positive, compassionate life and surrounds himself with creative people whose company he enjoys, deflecting as much negative influence as possible.

Frick’s journey is one that began in Greenville, a small town of about 600 in southern Indiana, near the border with Louisville, Ky.

By day, he works at the Journal of American History, a magazine published by a non-profit entity to further the profession and field. But in the evenings and on weekends, he focuses his energy and talents on furthering a different career — this one in hip hop music.

Despite his calm demeanor in everyday conversation, when he’s on stage, Frick’s infectious energy draws in his audience and instigates rhythmic pumping and jumping and singing. His fellow artists call him “one of the nicest guys around,” and he’s always ready to help others build their own musical careers.

Frick recently released his second EP, Critical, during a launch party at The Back Door in Bloomington and completed his first summer tour. Check out the EP on Fricktion’s Bandcamp Page.

His music is described as: “Influenced by a wide range of styles, from golden era hip-hop to classic punk rock to heavy electronic bass music, his music blends old-school consciousness and a DIY ethic with a synth-heavy new school aesthetic. His message aims to address some of the most pressing problems of our day, and explore the roots of issues that divide us.”

Connect with Fricktion through his Facebook page or Bandcamp page.

Grandma and pearls ignite jewelry designer’s passion for art


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Jewelry designer Evan Knox grew up on a farm in Benton County, Ind., but found her way to the artist colony of Brown County 20 years ago to raise her son and create wearable art.

The soft-spoken woman, who shares her home with a teen son and seven cats, earned a degree in art history from Indiana University and has worked in local galleries. However, she’s driven by her desire to create jewelry and would do it every second of every day if she could.

Her passion for accessories is rooted in her grandmother’s jewelry. As a child, Evan would detangle and organize the mangled mess. She draws from that nostalgia daily as she makes her own jewelry. She is also inspired by nature, the color of her son’s eyes, a snake’s rings, the ocean, terrain and hues from her travels and the people she meets.

Evan spends many of her waking hours in her window-lined studio, bent over a long workbench, cutting silver and knotting silk. When she isn’t in her studio, she wrangles with the business of art, which includes marketing, bookkeeping and connecting with retailers.

She says she only sells to the best stores now, cutting out her displays in New York, Chicago, and other cities across the country. Those special venues include a couple in Indianapolis and, on Saturdays, the Columbus Farmers’ Market.

See Evan’s jewelry at the Brown County Art Guild, or visit her website at

Graduate pursues art therapy career after suicide attempt


COLUMBUS, Ind. — Carley Fox bubbles with happiness three days before her high school graduation. She sits on a wicker loveseat in her backyard, smiling with nervous excitement. This is a different girl than she was just a couple short years ago.

Her journey began when her best friend, her cousin Derek Lodestein, drowned. The high-schooler struggled with depression until she couldn’t any longer. Suicide seemed the answer.

Two years ago, after waking up to a normal morning and school, she returned home that afternoon tired of everything. Carley shot herself.

Thanks to quick-thinking friends, Carley survived and found a way to cope: art therapy. She spends her spare time making three-dimensional art, especially enjoying mosaic projects.

Carley left those years behind and launched into her bright future when she walked across the stage at graduation from Columbus East High School, Saturday, June 6. In a few short weeks, she will move away from home and prepare to attend the Herron School of Art. Because an art therapist in the hospital taught her how to cope with her emotions through art therapy, Carley wants to teach others to do the same. Regardless of what is ahead of her, she wants to help other people.

A fading tradition: Hoosier finds passion caring for family, elderly

WINCHESTER, Ind. — As Geneva Bates Walker prepares to celebrate her 60th birthday in a few months, she admits she has had a blessed life taking care of her parents, siblings, extended family and elderly relatives.

As the middle of 11 children, seven boys and four girls, she is part of a fading generation of large mountain clans who put family first and honor their roots. She holds traditions sacred and doesn’t believe in discarding or forgetting the elderly simply because their bodies fail them.

Walker’s family migrated from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky to the flatlands of Indiana when she was just a child. After a tragic car accident that claimed the life of her brother and disabled her father, her world changed. She stepped in to care for her siblings and put her own passions for education aside. She learned to alter her own desires for the good of the family.

Ashley Day brings big-city fashion to small town


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Fashion designer Ashley Day lived in New York City after graduating from Ball State University, but missed the quaintness of home.

So she hauled her fashion talents back to Brown County, Ind., and begged her mom for a small boutique corner in Mulberry Cottage.

The boutique quickly outgrew the corner and moved owner Loretta Hayes from her office space upstairs.

To showcase the clothes, Ashley organizes fashion shows twice a year that draw 200 to 300 excited women waiting to see the newest acquisitions and purchase them on sale.

Ashley’s most recent creation is the Mulberry Mini line, which she launched at the Mulberry Cottage Spring Fashion Show on Friday, May 8.

This video is a peek at this spring’s show and hear more about Mulberry Minis from Ashley.

Visit Mulberry Cottage at 46 W. Main St. in Nashville, Ind., or call 812-988-9803. Keep informed about new items and happenings at or on Facebook at

Cari Ray talks roots, music and cowboy boots


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Cari Ray belted out her first song when she was 3. In junior high, she wrote poetry. Now she spends her weeks performing at small, intimate venues, connecting with her audience and sharing her own story in lyrics.

Originally from Parke County, Ind., the Bluesy-Americana artist calls the village of Nashville home. She plays in cafes and wineries across the state with her next show set for 5:30 p.m. May 23 at Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville.

Take a peek at this conversation with Cari as she discusses how she got started, what venues she prefers to play and how she views music and life.

Her summer schedule includes:

June 4, 7 p.m., The Jailhouse Cafe, Rockville
June 12, 7 p.m., Taxman Brewing Company, Bargersville
June 16, 8 p.m., Clifton’s Pizza, Louisville, Ky.
June 19, 7 p.m., Central Park Plaza, Warsaw
July 4, 4 p.m., Oliver Winery, Bloomington
July 10, 9:30 p.m., The Southgate House Revival, Newport, Ky.
July 16, 7 p.m., Taxman Brewing Company, Bargersville
July 18, 6:30 p.m., Danville Summer Sounds on the Square, Danville
July 24, 7 p.m., Chateau Thomas Winery, Nashville
July 26, 6:30 p.m., Bryan Park, Bloomington
Aug. 6, 7 p.m., Taxman Brewing Company, Bargersville
Aug. 8, 7 p.m., Foster Park, Kokomo
Aug. 29, 4 p.m., Creekbend Vineyard, Ellettsville

For more information, go to her website at