GTWoman July/August 2019

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Grand Traverse




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For Over 30 Years, Your Northern Michigan Flooring Experts Monday-Friday: 8am - 6pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm Sunday: By appointment

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Grand Traverse Woman

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At Jovia we help elevate lives through a variety of ways; body, mind and spirit. B O DY M I N D S P I R I T intuitive chiropractic adjustments with aroma therapy balancing energy centers of the body (chakras) structural integration (a myofascial release technique) massage therapy & bodywork guided group meditation 6 week qigong series (starting Nov 7th)

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As human “beings” we are physical and spiritual, therefore one affects the other. The mind-body connection is undeniable. When you relax your mind, your body follows, when you release emotional blocks, your body tension/energy changes too. These are just a few examples of the benefits of approaching health from the “inside-out” to feel and be your best!

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July/August '19


Grand Traverse Woman


Grand Traverse

WOMAN northern michigan’s magazine for women

Volume 16, No. 6 JULY/AUGUST 2019


Home Life THIS is our “Home” issue. As twins, we are asked a lot of questions about growing up: What was it like? Did we share a bedroom, clothes, toys. All sorts of questions. So we thought we’d give you a little snapshot into the home life of twins:

BUNK BEDS Yes, we had bunk beds. You’d think that meant we had the traditional bunk beds, one atop the other. At first, yes, we did—along with a nightly war over who got top bunk, the winner usually waking up with a bounce off the floor before the night was over. Our mom was smart enough eventually to put both beds on the floor, one on each side of the room, splitting the room down the middle with an imaginary line. That was cool with us. We could see each other eye to eye then, entire conversations conducted without a word: sometimes in a showdown, sometimes planning an escape. Some of our earliest memories are of naptime. Most days after lunch, Mom would curl up at the end of one of our bunk beds, and we’d wait in silence until she fell asleep. The twin on the opposite bed would watch, waiting for our mother’s eyes to fall shut. When they did, a slight nod indicated that the coast was clear. We’d both slither out of our beds, quietly, to enjoy Mom’s nap time as we pleased.

TOYS Imagine having to find everything in bulk. Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbie Dolls, Garfields. Or, worse yet, Nermals. Remember Garfield’s sidekick? The “world’s cutest kitten” that he tried to ship to Abu Dhabi? The year that Nermal hit the scene, we were on a camping trip out West. Every year we were permitted the joy of picking out a souvenir. That year, we bypassed stuffed bison, elk and jackalope, along with turquoise jewelry, fringed leather and dreamcatchers. All we wanted was Nermal, a cute, gray, pampered kitty to commemorate The Wild West. But we didn’t have to find two Nermals. We had to find THREE. Because our cousin Sheila loved him too. This was no easy task. There was no online inventory to peruse and no quick call around to find one nearby. We were navigating hot, lonely, back roads with an atlas in a Chevy Blazer, the windows rolled down. Our mother worked hard to sell us on something else, anything else. She was demonstrating the pros and cons of a coin purse, the kind where you squeeze both sides to drop your pennies out… when we heard Sheila shout with joy.


July/August '19

Grand Traverse Woman P.O. Box 22 Interlochen, MI 49643 231.276.5105 FACEBOOK: PUBLISHERS Kandace Chapple Kerry Winkler EDITOR Kandace Chapple, ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Kerry Winkler,

She’d found a Nermal, perched high, way in the back of a rack in a gift shop. The only thing harder than finding three Nermals? Finding just one. An all-out war ensued: Who got Nermal? Whose idea it was came into play: We all claimed we loved Nermal first. “Finders keepers” was Sheila’s answering cry, along with an emphatic grasp that could not be broken by any man. We ultimately decided that we could not leave without finding two more Nermals. The hunt was on. The awe-inspiring scenery of Montana and Wyoming narrowed down to the breadth and width of every shelf of plush toys we could find. Our father was aggrieved that the trip had come down to this. But our mother, we suspected, enjoyed the quest. By the trip’s end, we all had Nermals. Our mother had done it again.

CLOTHES Everyone envisions twins trading clothes and having double the wardrobe. Wrong. We most certainly did not share clothing. We did not have to: My mother bought two of everything in different colors. When we were young, we didn’t mind. We matched, and it didn’t even occur to us to worry about it. It was just how it was. Our mother used it as a survival technique. Who wouldn’t? Matching red and blue velour shirts with a mighty white stripe across the chest? School pictures done with Kandy in red, Kerry in blue. She didn’t have to shop twice as much, she had to shop half as much (but still paid double). By middle school, though, things took a very definite turn. Not only could we not match, we couldn’t have the same color, even in entirely different styles, on the same day, let alone the same hour. In a fit of independence, Kandace cut her hair off the summer after 6th grade. She left Interlochen Elementary as a young, beautiful girl with shoulder-length hair (albeit permed) and reappeared in Junior High as a gawkish, scrawny preteen with new braces, new glasses, little hair and looking nothing like her old self, let alone her sister. It was a radical tactic, but it worked. People soon started remembering “Short and sweet” for Kandy’s name and hair, while Kerry took on the dubious moniker, “Hairy Kerry.” So, there you go, a glimpse into the home life of twins. We could go on and on. But if we keep going over things, a debate might ensue over who always got the “right” roller skate. (Yes, we had to share one pair of roller skates, and we limped around in the basement on the concrete floor rolling on one skate each. Because taking turns was bunk.)

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Deb Dent, Sherry Galbraith, Lori Maki, Laura Miller, ASSISTANT EDITOR Eva Nienhouse, COPY EDITOR Christine Kurtz DESIGNER Bethany Gulde, COVER PHOTO Karin Chrostek celebrates her home remodel that she did herself. See her story on page 12. Beth Price, Beth Price Photography PHOTOGRAPHERS Sarah Brown, Sarah Brown Photography Scarlett Piedmonte, Photography by Scarlett Beth Price, Beth Price Photography CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Valerie Atkin Beth Barbaglia Kelley Bowker Dena Breitmeyer Karin Chrostek Ashlee Cowles Christa Johnson Nikole McGregor Caitlin McSweeney-Steffes Millie Park Mellgren Cathy Odom Tamela Rubin Michelle White Teri Yunus ADVERTISING Kerry Winkler at 231.276.5105 or Visit for rates. SUBSCRIPTIONS Cost: $20 (for 6 issues) Subscriptions may be purchased online at or mail a check to: Grand Traverse Woman P.O. Box 22, Interlochen, MI 49643 ARTICLES/PRESS RELEASES Letters, inquiries, press releases and GTWoman In Business submissions are welcome. See for guidelines. MISSION STATEMENT Grand Traverse Woman is a bimonthly magazine dedicated to the interests of women in the five-county region. Our mission is to provide women with a publication that is educational and inspirational. We strive to maintain a positive, well-balanced and genuine forum for women's issues. © Copyright 2019 Grand Traverse Woman LLC All rights reserved.

Grand Traverse Woman

July/August '19


Grand Traverse Woman

DO YOU OTTOMAN? Do you use an ottoman as a coffee table? Cocktail ottomans are perfect for extra seating, but they’re difficult to style. This is when a table tray becomes an essential part of your décor, lending a stable and solid surface to add accessories. With an ottoman you can have the best of both worlds—extra seating that also looks stylish.


Coffee Table 101


STYLING is one of my favorite parts of the entire design process. I love infusing the personality and passions my clients have into the spaces we create together. The treasures and mementos they’ve collected through the years help tell their story, and the personal touch always brings a layered and inviting warmth to their home. Although people know what they like, styling is one of the most common challenges for my clients. They struggle to create a cohesive space with both form and function. But without realizing it, they often already have the key components they need to make their homes sing. There are several little things you can do to give your home personality. Let’s start with something small that can make a big statement: your coffee table.

TABLE TRAYS Table trays come in a variety styles, shapes and colors. This is where you will place all the beautiful décor pieces that create a show-stopping coffee table. They range in price and typically start at around $20. I’ve used many beautiful trays between $25-$45 that looked identical to the more expensive ones I have come across.

The great thing about ginger jars is you can use them anywhere throughout your home, regardless of your décor style. They are timeless and add both grace and elegance to any room. I love when they’re incorporated into coffee table styling. They look fantastic grouped together, or simply used as a vase with florals to make a statement.

COLLECTOR OF EXOTIC THINGS? Perfect! Collections are always intriguing. They have a story to tell and are a great conversation piece when you have guests over. Items like shells, crystals or stones are just a few examples of what you can display. They also add texture and layers to your desired look.

THINGS TO REMEMBER When arranging your coffee table, there are a few rules to keep in mind: • Bring in one piece that is taller than everything else to add height • Make sure your eye can “travel” around the placed items • Keep similar items together • Vary the heights, but keep proportions in mind • Arrange items in threes or fives The most important thing to remember is to have fun styling your table. Always display the things you love and show your personality, and stay true to your own style regardless of “trends.” Try different arrangements to see what feels best.

FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS I’ll admit it—I don’t have a green thumb. I’ve tried multiple times and failed miserably. So, I rely on high-quality faux florals and greenery to complete the spaces in my own home. Flowers don’t have to be real to be pretty. Artificial flowers and greens are zero maintenance and create a soft and organic feel. They are perfect for coffee table styling and can both compliment and support the color story, while also adding texture.

BOOKS Books are a great way to add a layered look. They are best stacked in odd numbers (three or five, for example) and you can also place other objects on them to add height. What kind of books? Anything your heart desires. Topics of interest like art, music or photography are wonderful, or just books with a beautiful bind will do. The options are endless. As long as you follow the odd number rule, your coffee table will never have looked smarter. Nikole McGregor is an interior stylist and home staging expert in Traverse City, Mich. She can be contacted at 231.620.0201 or Visit her website at


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Grand Traverse Woman

July/August '19


Grand Traverse Woman

A Clutter Cleanse! BY TERI YUNUS

I RECENTLY did a cleanse—but not a juice cleanse or other body-focused detox. A different kind of cleanse… a clutter cleanse! I was challenged to find an area in my home and clean it up. My spice cabinet had been haunting me for some time, so I decided I’d organize that. I used a selection of mason jars to accommodate my sunflower seeds, brazil nuts and more. I gained so much more from this exercise than I dreamt I would. I felt calm and clearheaded, and every time I opened my spice cabinet, I felt inspired to do more. So, I did just that!

CLUTTERED AND CLOGGED In recent years, we have learned more about clutter and the negative effects an overloaded environment can have on us, but still, we seek more. A bigger house. Another car. An awesome wardrobe. Twenty-eight pairs of shoes. When is enough enough? Our “stuff” does so much more than take up physical space—our brains are actually wired to become dissatisfied the more stuff we have. Stuff stresses us out. Clearing away the clutter that may be adding to our stress level can make a big, positive impact on our health. In fact, humans are limited to the amount of information we can process, and many of us experience overload in a cluttered space. Our stress then can lead to coping behaviors like smoking, impulse shopping or overeating. So, what’s a solution here? De-clutter! Clearing the clutter from our homes and workspaces brings mental clarity, inspiration, and more physical and emotional space. We all have stress… that’s a given. Managing our stress level and keeping it in check so that our productivity and happiness do not suffer is the key.

THE JUNK DRAWER TEST The tricky part is that different levels of clutter affect each of us differently. What may be very comfortable for one person may feel terri-


July/August '19

bly cluttered to another. One way you can know how sensitive you are to clutter is to open your junk drawer (or maybe the fact that you even have a junk drawer is test enough). What do you notice when you do this? Do you shut it quickly so you don’t have to look at it? Do you notice that it’s messy and plan to come back to it at some point to organize it? These are very different responses. What I noticed after organizing my spice cabinet is that I wanted to look at it repeatedly. I found myself drawn to it, and I opened the cabinet every time I walked by it! I even opened it and showed everyone who came over to visit. I felt a sense of calm looking at the labeled jars all ready for use.

JUST START What can you do now to begin “de-cluttering” your life? The best thing is to just start. Do a walk-through of your home or workspace. Evaluate. What do you feel as you look around? Do you feel content and happy? Or are you feeling on edge, kind of like you drank one cup of coffee too many? Do you feel like you would benefit from clearing some of your clutter?

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO REDUCE CLUTTER 1. Make a plan and write it down. Having a plan of attack, or a goal for each day or each week, is key to moving forward. Your goal may look something like this: I will spend 15 minutes each day when I get home from work decluttering my bedroom closet. It answers what, when and for how long. With a clear plan, you’re more likely to actually follow through! 2. Let it GO! If you notice you have duplicates, donate one to a local agency. Do you have

old makeup in your bathroom that is almost gone but you stopped using it? Let it go. Over time, these little things will add up and clear some space for the things you truly love. 3. Create a clutter-free zone. This could be your kitchen table, your nightstand, or your spice cupboard. Make it a place that you look at frequently. You will get a sense of peace looking at your clutter-free zone and it may inspire you to create another one… 4. Make a pact! When you purchase a clothing item, you must eliminate a clothing item. Or if your clothing is out of control, remove two or more items for each new one added. 5. Notice your environment! Become aware of areas around you that create an uneasy feeling. This is an excellent way to free up some bandwidth in your mind! Our external world is a reflection of our internal world. Clearing out our external world will create an internal shift that may bring us peace and better health.

CLUTTER-FREE MAGIC Some of the benefits of reducing clutter include: • More time • More peace • More fun • Less anxiety • Less debt • More JOY! So, what are you waiting for? Lose some stress, gain a little clarity, and go de-clutter!

Teri Yunus is a nationally board-certified health coach, passionate for helping clients de-clutter. She loves helping clients tackle habit change and has the experience and stamina to help them live the life they want. Contact Teri at or 989-295-0540, or visit her website,

Grand Traverse Woman

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July/August '19


Grand Traverse Woman


July/August '19

Grand Traverse Woman

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July/August '19 11

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I BEGAN my house hunt as a means of escape, motivated by a pending divorce. I loved that with just a phone call or the click of a mouse, I could tour a house that would be easier to clean. I could discover a location that would drastically reduce my drive time. I could appreciate architectural features that I’d never considered before. I could do anything; I could go anywhere. But did I want to? Was I ready? My daydream of a new home turned into a project reflective of my own life, and although I’ve yet to decide whether I’ll stay or sell my current home, the worth I’ve restored in this house and in myself is better than any list-price sale.

READY… ALMOST I had a Realtor, had attended open houses and, remarkably, I was preapproved for a mortgage. I had everything I needed to walk away from my house and begin again. There was certainly something appealing about a clean slate and starting over. But as I fantasized about a move, I began to look closer at the walls around me. If I wanted to sell my house and take advantage of the equity, I needed to be realistic: It needed some work.

SUPER MOM My ex-husband, a pilot, had been away often. For the 20 years we were married, the daily maintenance of our shared life fell almost exclusively to me. We also had a family and I introduced the children to the joys of life in Northern Michigan and encouraged their participation in every seasonal pleasure. When the snow melted every spring, I encouraged them to jump in the puddles, then mopped the muddy floors and cared for the carpets.


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During the summer, I vacuumed up the sand dragged in from beaches and bare feet. In autumn, I mowed the lawn the kids played catch on and I raked the leaves into piles for jumping. And, through the winter, I shoveled the snow into pathways and forts in the front yard. There was never a dull moment. There was always work to do.

PROJECT MANAGER Over the winter of 2013-14, the record-breaking snow buckled our Dutch-colonial’s eight dormers. I oversaw the rebuild. I coordinated the work, made the decisions and slept in the basement with the kids for a month while the repairs were completed. My then-husband was away for a three-month training stint in New York. I dealt with insurance agents, found specialists for water mitigation and mold removal, and hosted inspections. I also hired a contractor and oversaw the drywall stripping. By the time he returned, there were new floors, freshly painted walls and shingles were going in. The project was nearly complete. The house had been reinforced and resurrected. In the years after, the house began showing signs of wear and tear. Woodpeckers feasted on the bugs that crept into the board and batten siding, bees nested under the overhang, moss grew on the patio, and stain flaked off the front porch.

REALITY CHECK In its current state, my Realtor knew the home had a low value. Perhaps prevented by an innate sense of self-preservation, I hadn’t acknowledged the absence of care. But as the Realtor and I circled the house, I blushed in embarrassment. I felt foolish for not seeing or admitting it sooner. And now, as the divorce reached finality, there was no one else to

Grand Traverse Woman

help—it was my responsibility and mine alone. After, I feared the results of the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). The realty firm presented me with a bound portfolio, and the contents revealed what I expected—a figure indicative of disrepair. But, beyond that, I was given a “range” for value; a reason to believe that potential existed. And then, something far more useful: a checklist, a step-by-step recipe for improvement.



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BETTER TOGETHER I’m a habitual list-maker. I enjoy the organization that goes into the formulation of itemized tasks and I feel accomplished every time I draw a line through a “to-do.” Designed to add value, the CMA checklist of straightforward strategies became a source of pride and empowerment. I got straight to work. The list sat on my kitchen counter and became a staple of my weekends. I took time to clean out closets, hang new blinds, patch up drywall and touch up paint. I removed the hard water stains, put extra furniture into storage, hung new shower curtains, added new caulk lines and moved the kids’ stuffed animals to Gramma’s house. I was making progress. Task by task, line by line, we (house and I) were increasing our value. Together, the house and I were regaining our worth. We were fixing each other. We were getting better together.

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HANDY MAMA I challenged myself with new tasks and succeeded. The exhaustive list was dwindling, and despite my previous inexperience, I had become capable. The Realtor wasn’t the only one who took notice, either. My kids too recognized the change. I proved I could take something in disrepair and make it better, and with each passing weekend, I was becoming “handy.” With each checkmark, an intelligent, self-reliant, dependable and independent woman was making herself known. The kids saw I could restore the value in our home, and they believed I could repair the emotional cracks in our little family, too. Perhaps I truly could return worth to us all: to a house, a high schooler, a middle schooler, a second grader and me. There was no task I couldn’t be trusted with, no challenge I couldn’t overcome.

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READY… FOR ANYTHING! Our hard work is nearly complete. After earning a 9 out of 10 from the Realtor on my “readiness assessment,” I’m feeling confident. I know there is still work to do, but we’ll get there. Someday soon, the house and I will realize our full potential. In the meantime, I remain ready, willing and able to make a new purchase if a desirable house presents itself (in my price range). I scroll through Zillow, check email messages from the realty office and I continue to daydream while I analyze my options. The clean slate of a new place still tempts me, but I have yet to be lured away from a property that now reflects my own personal growth and gain in value. What comes next will be designed by fate, and decided upon by me and my family. I don’t know what awaits, but I have faith that, regardless of my address, the restoration I’m finding in myself will always lead me home.

Cardinal Insurance is committed to helping you protect the people you love, the assets you’ve worked hard for, and the life you are building. As a locally owned agency, we represent some of the best insurance companies in the country, allowing us to customize an insurance plan that you believe is best for you, your family and your budget.

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Susan Rauser

Megan Town

Approachable. Adaptable. Comprehensive. In a turbulent world, Susan Rauser State Farm Insurance Agency brings stability to your world by simplifying your insurance: A neighborhood agency with the tools to assist you with all of your insurance and financial service needs. Thorough coverage with the human touch.

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Megan joined Collins and Associates in January 2017 bringing with her 8 years of experience in the insurance industry and is a native to Northern Michigan. She enjoys interaction with clients whether that is face to face or over the phone. Her goal is to find the best solution for our valued clients.

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Grand Traverse Woman

I’LL BE HONEST: Making the decision to go gray and ditch the dye before age 40 wasn’t a walk in the park. In fact, I attempted to quit dyeing over 10 times. Sometimes I’d make it a week, other times I’d last several months. But every single time, I’d reach for that box of dye in the end. I tried the first time when I was 32, right after my daughter was born. I finally succeeded at 38 and have been silver for two years now. It was really difficult to have the confidence and willpower to stick to it and quit dyeing. It’s like I needed a support group. But in getting older and raising children, I think there’s a maturity, confidence, and a little bit of learning to care less what others think that comes, too. I certainly felt it, especially as I raised my daughter. I finally accepted my gray fate, and owning my silver strands is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.

EARLY GRAYS When I started this journey of going gray, I had no clue what the outcome would be. I just knew that I was over the social constructs and over the time-consuming and expensive maintenance process. I was over trying to hide my silver roots every two weeks and over hiding who I really was. I was totally ready to ditch the dye. I had been dying my hair for 20 years, since I was 19 years old. I was one of the not-so-fortunate females who started showing her silver strands as early as high school. The rest of my life pretty much went like this: spend one hour locked in my bathroom, surrounded by the smell of ammonia and a myriad of boxed hair color supplies scattered on the sink. With a ragged old towel wrapped up around my shoulders and neck, I’d work the dye into my strands through my rubber gloves, attempting to keep the thick stain off every exposed surface. The beauty in a box had quite the reputation in my house for ruining rugs, shower curtains, towels and just about everything else it accidentally splattered on. Special care was taken to ensure the mess was limited to just my face and the surrounding areas. My forehead was always stained.

SALON FANCY If I was feeling really fancy and actually had a few hundred dollars to spare, I’d book an appointment at my local salon. I’d sit in the chair for hours as my stylist worked feverishly to cover up my roots and add highlights. That entire procedure lasted twice as long as my at-home session and cost as much as my son’s daycare. But I always left looking and feeling great. But I had dark brown hair, and


Letting my hair go gray BY MELISSA CLONE my new hair confidence lasted approximately 12 days until those pesky roots started to show their ugly face again. When silver roots started to appear between dye sessions, they didn’t exactly go unnoticed. The game continued for as long as I could possibly hold on, which depended greatly on how many root-disguising tricks I could tolerate that month: messy mom bun for seven days, root cover-up makeup (yes, that’s a real product) for four days, a ball cap on the weekend. I could hide those roots for two more weeks. It was a fine art.

THE REALIZATION I don’t know about you, but I feel more confident when I like the way I look—hair included. And for some reason, I was also concerned if other women liked the way I looked. Having gray hair before 40 was going against every social norm I’d known. But as I got older and started to raise my daughter, I realized something. My confidence truly comes from me liking the way I look, not how others like the way I look. And that was how I took the plunge.

SILVER SCANDAL One day in May of 2017, I finally decided to just do it. Maybe the sun was shining, maybe the stars were aligned. Maybe I had a bit too much caffeine that day, or maybe I finally had the confidence to just go for it. Whatever it was, it was that day that I decided to hold my head in graytransition high and prance around with scandalous silver roots. A rebel with a gray hair, don’t care cause. And so I did. Once I made that decision, a whole world of confidence and empowerment rained down. I incorporated my silver strands into my own personal style, learned to embrace being a silver-haired mommy, and even started my own business by becoming an online health and fitness coach. Having gray hair under the age of 40 was a different look, and it felt liberating and edgy. I used that to fuel my spirit and push me to try new things that I was too scared to try before. We feel better when we think we look great. And most days, I think my gray hair looks great. It’s liberating to find your true self and rock it no matter what that may look like. And you bet, it’s also great to know I’m teaching my daughter an important lesson along the way.

SILVER SISTERS Want to join the gray hair movement and set your own hair free? There’s an entire community of silver sisters on Instagram. Join the movement by finding us under a multitude of hashtags like #SilverSisters #GrayHairDontCare #GoingGrayGracefully #Grombre and #GrayHair.

Melissa Clone is a high school photography and digital media teacher, online health and fitness coach, and wife and mommy living in Leelanau County. You can learn more about her gray hair antics and fitness journey on Instagram @melissa.riseuptogetherfitness.


July/August '19

Grand Traverse Woman


Kimberly Kamrow

Whether you’re looking to “Buy, Sell or Invest” in real estate — KW is the #1 choice!

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Real Estate Worth Celebrating! To be of service is a way of life and the KW belief system is a critical component of my business model as well as my life approach. Whether you are buying your first home, looking for your forever home or selling your office space, allow me to share my expertise and passion with you to help you achieve your goals. Kimberly Kamrow Realtor, Trainer, Mentor & ALC (231) 633-1796

Stacy Allman

Angela Crawford

I joined Keller Williams as an experienced Realtor and am a native of the Grand Traverse area. You will routinely find me ranked within the Top 100 Agents locally. I will provide you with a high level of customer service and professionalism throughout your real estate transaction. Just give me a call!

Modern Day Agent ~ Old Fashioned Values

Stacy Allman (231) 944-5296

I am a Traverse City native, with a love and passion for real estate, my clients, and the relationships we build. Experience, education, and technology will be second to the loyalty and personal experience you’ll receive from me as your agent. Angela Crawford, Realtor (231) 590-5444

Ann Borger

Betsy R. Hill

I am a veteran Northern Michigan real estate investor striving to help my clients find the perfect property to fit both their goals and their lifestyle. I will utilize my skills and experience to ensure you get the best deal possible. I am ready to work for you!

Your key to unlocking Northern Michigan’s lake life! From a local family who has contributed to the positive growth of the Cherry Capital, I have a comprehensive knowledge of the greater Grand Traverse area and love to help good people find their dream home in our beautiful community.

Ann Borger (805) 501-5122

Betsy R. Hill (231) 944-8367

Sue Sparkman

Rebecca Rae-LeBlanc

Your Personal Real Estate Agent

I am passionate about redefining real estate by offering an above-and-beyond approach to my clientele; much like my personal roles as a mother to two boys and wife to my wonderful husband, Breland. My background in real estate includes a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, specializing in Land Use and Development. I reside with my family in Lake Ann and look forward to taking care of what’s important in life – your family and mine.

• 30+ years of extensive experience negotiating sales. • Real estate licensed in 1987. • Family immersed in real estate and community service in Greater Grand Traverse area since 1991. • Passionate about helping you have a great experience buying or selling your home.

Call me today and put my experience to work for you.

Sue Sparkman (231) 620-2029

Rebecca Rae-LeBlanc, Realtor (734) 260-2835

534 E Front St Suite 100, Traverse City, MI 49686 • • (231) 947-8200

July/August '19 15

Grand Traverse Woman


I HAD BEEN ACTIVE and fit most of my adult life, but after working for myself for four years, I began to fall off my priority list. I was focused on operating a successful business and giving my family 100 percent, but at the end of my day, I had no time left to exercise. I’d gained 15 pounds, and I felt miserable. When my girlfriend, Kaitlin, called and invited me to join her and some of her friends for the Reebok Ragnar Michigan 2018, a 200-mile relay run from Muskegon to Traverse City, it couldn’t have been better timing. My 43rd birthday was approaching, and I knew that I needed something to get me focused on my fitness again. Of course, the evening Kaitlin reached out to me I had indulged in a couple of glasses of wine, so without hesitation, I agreed to join them. I knew this journey would be one of selfgrowth, but I had no idea how incredibly spiritual it would turn out to be.

while I rehydrated. With a swat on the butt and a few cheers, I was off and running again. After a couple more miles of running along the shore, I heard my team cheering. I was approaching my first exchange, a marked section of the course where one runner meets the next to exchange the relay bracelet. I slapped the relay bracelet on my teammate, we hugged, and off she went. After a quick stretch, we hopped into our team vehicle, the pit crew ready to meet the next runner at her halfway mark.

LEG 2 My second leg fell around 5 p.m. My legs were tight and sore from running in the morning and then riding in the vehicle all day. My knee was achy and swollen. I knew this leg of the race was not going to be easy. We arrived at the exchange, and I stretched and rolled out my legs while one of my teammates rubbed them down with a sore-muscle cream. After another bracelet exchange, I took off at top speed. My legs began to loosen up as I ran, and the pain began to subside. This portion of the race took me through a beautiful stretch of farmland. I was soon lost in thought as I ran through “God’s country.” Once again, my team was waiting for me at the three-mile mark with water, cheering me on like I was an Olympic athlete. They gave me that extra push to finish the next three miles strong.

THE TRAINING I began training in May. We were heading into baseball season with both of our boys, but I was determined to make time for me, too. I ran every night while my boys were at practice and before their games, becoming the “sweaty mom” at the field. I established a routine of training and found a good balance between running and being there for my family.

THE RACE Five months later, race day arrived: Sept. 28. I showed up to the shores of Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, our starting point. It was 6 a.m. After meeting my team, we checked in and took a few pictures. I was with one of my friends, but the rest of the team were strangers to me, although not for long. Each of us would run three separate 6-mile sections for the team, a total of 18 miles. I was the first runner out for my team, and at 8 a.m., I lined up at the start. It was really happening! The air horn sounded and my competitors and I set off along the breathtaking Lake Michigan shoreline.

LEG 1 A couple of miles into my first six-mile leg, I began to overheat. Just when I thought I was going to pass out, my team was there, parked on the side of the road, waiting with water and cheering me on. They worked like a pit crew, stripping off my vest and headlamp and unpinning my race bib. They took my sweaty shirt and repinned my bib to my tank top


July/August '19

LEG 3 My third leg and final six miles was one of the most memorable moments of the race. It was a night run through Onekama. It was pitch black, except for a patch of open sky above me filled with countless stars and the glow from my safety vest and headlamp. It was 5 in the morning and I was running on less than two hours of sleep. My legs and knees were spent; they throbbed with every step. My eyes welled with tears I could no longer hold back. The pain was excruciating. As I ran, at a very slow and steady pace, my muscles began to loosen up, and the pain lessened. Two miles in, I approached a hill that was literally 1.25 miles in length. I made it halfway up and honestly thought there was no way I was going to complete it. That’s when I saw vehicle lights ahead, pulling off to the side of the road.

NEVER ALONE Once again it was my team, right when I needed them most. With

Grand Traverse Woman

The Cindy Anderson Team of Lake Homes Realty

Women Helping Women

water and a wafer to refuel me, they reminded me that I was strong enough to push through. The road was long and hilly. I saw the light from another runner ahead in the distance and felt comfort knowing I wasn't all alone. The crisp morning air numbed my face and made my eyes water. It was just me and the open sky, and right then, I became aware of my being. I found the will to push through one of the most challenging moments of my life. With one more mile to complete my journey, I stopped to take a selfie and embrace the moment. I was filled with so many emotions during that last mile. I was in excruciating pain, yet I felt elated, accomplished, and in sync with myself and my surroundings. I crested the last small hill, the next exchange in sight.

THE FINISH My team saw me approaching, and I heard them cheer. I exchanged the relay bracelet with the next runner, and she embraced me a final time. I was overwhelmed with emotion and couldn't hold back the tears. The rest of our team joined in a group hug, and we all began to cry—a moment I will never forget. I nearly collapsed on my way to the van. My legs were exhausted. After a short walk around the exchange to stretch out, I hopped back into the vehicle and off we went to help the rest of the team finish their final legs. We rolled into Traverse City elated and ahead of schedule. We crossed the finish line at the Open Space together as a team, completing our journey in 32:42:16 hours. We placed in the Top 10 of the women's division.

GROWTH What began as a two-day road trip with one of my girlfriends and 10 complete strangers ended as a newly formed friendship among 12 amazing and empowering women. I am forever changed, and I’m so grateful to have shared this experience with an incredible circle of friends. Tamela Rubin is a marketing coordinator for VP Demand Creation Services, formerly Village Press. She lives in Traverse City, where she was born and raised, with her husband of 20 years, Aaron, and their two boys, Austin and Parker. Tamela enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her family, running, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, camping, hiking and snowshoeing. She also loves photography. Email Tamela at

Jess Brutzman

Cindy Anderson

Cindy Anderson

Taylor Boyt

26 years ago I came to Traverse City to find a new life with my 3 young children. Working 3 jobs, the balance in doing it all was a challenge. There is not a lot of understanding of life outside of work, namely family and children. We only have 18 years to get it right with our kids, they cannot be an afterthought. Real Estate is an excellent career for women with school age children. Still, many of the Real Estate offices discourage children being around. The Cindy Anderson Team understands the life/work balance. I have conducted interviews with kids in tow. Showing houses and no babysitter? Not an issue - bring the babies! Our expertise does not falter because we are mothers!

Jess Brutzman

As a mom of young children and a military spouse, I have different circumstances than most in the local real estate community. Being a part of the Cindy Anderson team promotes business growth by having a positive support system. Our team is always there for me when I need help juggling all the things that military life throws my way. This has been a breath of fresh air after over 10 years of trying to find the right place for my business and family to thrive equally.

Taylor Boyt

Being a new mom has presented many, many challenges and learning opportunities for me, as it does for everyone. Having a one year-old and being able include her in my work day tells me that I have made the right career choice. The Cindy Anderson Team is a group of people to which I can express my concerns and get great advice in return. We are all parents, and we all help each other with the obstacles that can arise from raising infants, kids, teens, and college students. Ladies and moms, the Cindy Anderson Team gets you!

We live and work in a Lake Community, raising our kids and helping people with their Real Estate assets. Happy Clients and Happy Agents!

Call or Text: (231) 218-5324

July/August '19 17

Grand Traverse Woman





are not like baby birds. They don’t typically come four or five at once; they usually come one or a less likely two at a time. They also don’t all line up and simultaneously launch into life together, either. Filling and emptying the human nest is a much more complicated, protracted process. Sort of like ripping a giant bandage off VERY slowly. Through it all, mama bird watches over. Even when her nest is empty.

MY PARENT’S COUP Raised well prior to the “helicopter parent” era, my parents were more “get on your way” parents. I was also the third of four hatchlings, so when it was time to fly the coup, perhaps the novelty had worn off. A friend drove me the 53 miles to the University of Michigan for my freshman year. Left at the door of the dorm, I schlepped my belongings myself while others had parental back up. I sat in my room alone as my fellow firstyears went out to lunch to discover a cool Ann Arbor restaurant. It’s a day still deeply etched in my memory. I pledged that if I ever had kids, they’d have a very different departure.

PREPARING Years later, by then a single mom for five years with two teenagers and a junior high schooler who each attended a different school, there was admittedly some sense of logistical relief to my first child heading off to college. But remembering my own first September day in Ann Arbor, I did some reading about letting go. I didn’t want my emotions to blindside me. Not surprisingly, the focus of the books was more on me than on my daughter. It’s so easy to get caught up in twin extra-long sheets and other college paraphernalia, that we ignore emotions associated with the transition.


July/August '19

She and I could try and stuff down our feelings, or we could talk about them. For my daughter and I, we found that talking about how we were both experiencing something new was the most valuable thing we could do.

THE EXPERIMENT We prepared before her departure. I wanted to learn all I could. Another departure was right around the corner—her sister was only one year younger, after all. One experiment was to suspend all curfew rules for the summer after high school graduation. We’d let her stretch her wings while there was a net. My former husband agreed with the plan, too, which, apart from my anxiety, was a complete success. The novelty of freedom wore off enough so that when she arrived at Wellesley College, she was more focused on school (her grades helped me tell myself that story, at least).

THE BROWN BAGS As my eldest navigated her freshman year of college, my youngest was moving into high school. It certainly wasn’t as big of an adjustment, but I remember, with great poignancy, the day I threw away the brown lunch bags. It may not seem like a monumental event, but the implications brought me to my knees. No more complaints about the jelly soaking through the bread. No more recriminations about what other mothers let their kids eat. No more 10 a.m. trips to school to deliver forgotten said-lunch bag. As my son often reminded me, he was in high school now.

LETTING GO FOR REAL For me, the first real letting go was when my kids graduated college. Given their age proximity, we had three graduations in two years (the girls from college and my son from high school). A letting go marathon.

The second real letting go came when they changed the address on their driver’s license. What had been home became the museum of their childhood, a place to visit. I still remember the quiet—the coming home to a house that looked just like it had when I left it. Can someone really miss dishes strewn around a family room? As is so often said, if I’d only known then what I know now. If I’d known they would continue to grow into these magnificent people, find partners that suited and supported them, and bring the next generation of hatchlings into my life, their departure would have been much softer.

WHAT IT MEANS TO LET GO To me, letting go means: Loving with your hand wide open when you have always said, “Hold on.” Loving from the sidelines when you have spent your whole life in the game. Letting go means: Loving by suggestion when you are used to the final say. Graciously moving to the next stage of your life so they can more easily move into theirs. Letting go means: Making room for others to love them as much as you have. Knowing that, through them, you have made an indelible mark on eternity. Valerie is a consultant, coach, and peer forum facilitator who founded Wells Street Consulting almost 30 years ago. Visit her website at to learn more about her coaching. She’s the on the Board of Impact 100 Traverse City and is on the fundraising team for the Enneagram Prison Project. She has three children whom she would want as friends if they weren’t related (and not just because they’ve made her a grandmother). She can be reached at

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Dewey Insurance Agency is located in Kalkaska, Michigan and has served clients all around the area and throughout the state of Michigan for over 45 years. At Dewey Insurance Agency each one of our clients is given a dedicated team of experts that work together to proficiently address all your concerns and create the protection you need. Dewey Insurance specializes in Employee Benefits/HR as well as Home, Auto, Life and Commercial insurance. Let our agency partner with you!

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July/August '19

Grand Traverse Woman

Traverse City has an active, vibrant community teaming with athletes of all ranges — from gym warriors to Ironman competitors and everything in between. While all of that activity keeps us healthy, it breaks down our bodies in order to build us back stronger. Sports massage is a specific type of massage that is geared toward helping the body recover from activity, maintain athleticism and prevent/treat injuries as they occur.Sports massage is broken down into four categories: pre-event, intra-event, postevent and maintenance/corrective work. Pre-event sports massage: This work is done on athletes at their event (5K, triathlons, rowing competitions, etc.) usually under a tent with some great music blasting, right over competition clothing on a treatment table. Right up to the very minutes before they compete, this work focuses on stretching and warming the athlete’s muscles. It is done very briskly, often lasting no more than 10 minutes per person. This is a great way to get psyched up mentally and physically before competition. Intra-event sports massage: As the name suggests, this work happens while the athlete is still competing. Picture a swim event or a wrestling meet that has multiple heats during a long day. The athlete is technically competing all day, but may have an hour or longer between actual performance times. This intra-event massage is much like pre-event, because the focus is kept on keeping the athlete warm and limber. Table stretching, muscle specific treatment for cramping and tissue warming is the focus here. Post-event sports massage: Once the athlete has completed their competition and as stopped sweating, post-event massage steps in to help cool the body down and keep lactic acid from building up. This work can happen up to 24 hours after the event. Broad stroke techniques and long stretching sessions occurs over dry apparel just like the other categories. This is one of the most important parts of sports massage. A sports massage therapist is trained to identify sometime hazardous health conditions after competition such as hypothermia, dehydration, hypoglycemic reactions and cramping. Sports massage therapists on site performing post-event massage act as a first line of identification for these athletes, and can help facilitate help for them quickly with onsite medical staff. Maintenance/Corrective massage: Maintenance work is done at the massage office as early as 24 hours after the athlete has competed but no closer than 48-72 hours to the next competition. Deeper modalities are applied to address adhesion in the muscle. Injuries can be assessed; treatment plans are formed. This is when deeper massage preps the athlete for the next event. No matter what your sport is or what your activity level is, try to find a certified sports massage therapist. They will have your sport specific needs in mind while working with you. Be an advocate for your health and request that these on-site services are offered at your sporting events. Your body will thank you and it might even give your that cutting edge to enhance your athletic performance!

3301 Veterans Drive, Suite 207, Traverse City

About Free Rein Therapeutics Located at 3301 Veterans Drive, Suite 207, Jessi Wallington established Free Rein Therapeutics, LLC in 2015. In addition to sports massage, Free Rein offers medical massage that can help treat and relieve symptoms of several ailments, including fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Post-surgery recovery for knee replacements, hip replacements, and rotator cuff repair are some of the most rewarding work we do. We work closely with primary care physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and even dentists. In addition to this work, Jessi also offers equine massage.

About Our Massage Therapists Jessi Wallington, LMT is a graduate of the Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy. She has her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Michigan State University and is nationally board certified in sports and medical massage through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Jessi was recently accepted into the prestigious Sports Medicine Volunteer Program with the United State Olympic Committee. She is currently awaiting her rotation assignment. When Jessi isn’t working with clients, she can be found spending time with her husband Mike and her dog Emma. They enjoy hiking, time on the water, and spending weekends at their family cottage on Marble Lake in Quincy, MI. Free Rein Therapeutics welcomed Amanda Rubert, LMT in 2018. She is currently accepting new clients. Amanda is a 2006 graduate of Blue Heron Academy of Healing Arts & Sciences, where she was also an instructor of a medical massage therapy course for several years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Michigan State University. Amanda is nationally board certified in medical massage through the American Medical Massage Association. Amanda’s spare time is devoted to her family. Her two children keep her busy with trips to the beach, bike rides around town, and time spent at home together. Amanda puts her creativity to use by hosting floral arranging workshops and tending to her gardens.


July/August '19 21

Grand Traverse Woman

Home at last:

How we built our home for under 70K, DIY style BY DENA BREITMEYER

MY HUSBAND and I both grew up in beautiful northern Michigan and spent the first few years of our marriage here. But after the economy tanked in 2008, we decided to relocate to Tennessee and later, Wisconsin. Over the next eight years, my husband’s career flourished. We renovated our entire home and our children settled into their school. There was only one problem… we were homesick! We wanted to be back in northern Michigan and to raise our kids near family. Moving back to Michigan meant walking away from security and comfort and jumping headfirst into the unknown. Our one-year journey truly taught us just what we were made of.

MICHIGAN-BOUND My husband quit his dream job after securing a position with a new company back in northern Michigan, close to family. The kids and I joined him a few months later, once the school year was over and our home was sold. We purchased 65 beautiful acres of vacant land on a creek, just south of Grand Traverse County. A huge goal of ours was to own acreage and build our dream home. My husband and I had renovated many homes together over the years, and we were quite confident that we could build our home DIY-style. But building a home from the ground up would take years, and we needed a home ASAP!


July/August '19

THE START We decided to build a barn-style building with living quarters. We could then live there while we built our dream home, using the same space for an office later. We built the barn as inexpensively as possible, without sacrificing quality. We wanted to build our home without taking out a mortgage, so we did all the work ourselves. Over the next year, we devoted every spare minute to building what we now call the cottage. We built nearly every square inch of the cottage ourselves. We poured the footings, did all the framing, windows, electrical, plumbing, heating, insulation, drywall, finish work, trim, paint, siding, roofing, flooring, landscaping. Except for the well, septic system and some masonry work, you name it, we did it. We also built the interior doors, kitchen cabinets and made concrete countertops.

THE REALITY Even with all my renovation experience, I still wasn’t prepared for just how challenging it would be. I also commuted nearly an hour each way, homeschooled my kiddos and my husband worked full time. When we broke ground, our daughter was just entering the 9th grade and our son, the 5th. They helped read measurements and carry lumber, and helped clean up the job site at the end of the

day. If it was a school night, they'd stay with their grandparents while we worked late. Any other time, they were right alongside us. We couldn’t have done it without them! We didn’t have electricity hooked up on site for the first 10 months. Working in the winter months was brutal, and I kept our food warm in a crockpot thanks to our trusty generator. Near the end of our project, we moved out of our rental and into a camper on the job site. We spent three months working and living in a horse trailer/camper, equipped with an outhouse and a small shower stall. That was my reality. Most days, I was so fatigued that I didn’t know how in the world I could wake up and do it all again the next day.

LEARNING (POWER!) TOOLS Building our home required me to step way outside of my comfort zone and learn new things. I conquered my fear of heights, and I learned how to operate a compactor, along with every power tool we owned! Our kids grew up around home DIY projects and were a huge help. We like to joke that they were the “gophers” because they’d “go for” this tool and “go for” that! I remember telling my husband that I would do any job EXCEPT run the table and chop saws. I’ve never loved math and I wasn’t at all confident in making the cuts by myself (I didn’t become a

Grand Traverse Woman

licensed cosmetologist because I loved math)! About five minutes into framing our first wall, I realized I was going to have to run the saw while my husband and kids framed. I ended up cutting nearly every single piece of wood and steel! Talk about a confidence builder.

PRICELESS By the end of the year, I was completely worn out, but at the same time, I had never felt better. I am so proud of what my family accomplished together. We built the entire cottage for under 70K, and I’m so glad I chose to give up security for something that held much more value—being back home near our families. My husband and I worked as a team, and our kids followed suit. They helped us tremendously! They learned what it meant to sacrifice for the greater good and how to work really hard. Our parents, brothers, aunts and uncles all rallied around us and helped out every time we asked, and many times, we didn’t even have to. They volunteered their time willingly. I am so very grateful for each one of them.

LUCKY TO BE HOME There is no doubt that big dreams can be scary, but I am also certain that each one of us is more than capable of making our dreams a reality. Sure, those dreams require a large amount of hard work and sacrifice, but you know what? If you stick with it, you’ll thank yourself in the end. Moving into Fletcher Creek Cottage marked our 17th move in 17 years of marriage. We are so happy to finally be home! We are currently working on our dream home design with our architect Caleb Norris at Norris Design Productions, and we plan to break ground on that home as early as next spring. Our DIY summer plans include building an outdoor covered picnic area complete with a fireplace and kitchen.

Dena Breitmeyer resides just south of Traverse City on 65 acres, called Fletcher Creek Cottage, with her husband, Aaron, and two children. Dena and her husband plan to build their dream home together, all DIY, on their 65 acres. Dena shares all things DIY and home décor on her blog, as well as on Instagram and Facebook @fletchercreekcottage. You can reach Dena at

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July/August '19 23

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IN 2017, my fiancé, Larry, and I were planning our October wedding, excited for a new chapter in our lives. Our boys, Cole and Griffin, were 9 and 12 at the time. We dreamed of finding a bigger home for our family on enough land to start a farm. We knew it’d take time and that we would have to be patient and diligent. What unfolded next was surely fate, and to this day, it’s hard to believe that the beautiful plot we call home is all ours.

“FOR SALE” FATE In August, Larry and the boys were driving to East Jordan. Just north of Mancelona, he missed his turn and his GPS re-calculated the route, taking him past a large white farmhouse with a “For Sale” sign in the yard. He couldn’t get the house out of his mind. Two weeks later, when we were in Mancelona again, he headed toward the house without saying a word. It was perfect: An old farmhouse with a big wrap around porch and outbuildings. It was everything we dreamed of and more. I fell in love with it.

THE LISTING On the way back to Traverse City, I tracked down the listing and my heart sank. There was no way we could afford the home and we just weren’t ready. I knew better. I knew it was silly of us to look at the home and get excited, but I couldn’t let it go. The home just kept tugging at my heart. What was the worst that could happen? I contacted a dear friend and realtor to see what we should do, and I also set up a walkthrough of the property. We started working with lenders and just before our tour of the farm, we were pre-approved.

THE TOUR As we walked through the home, we fell even


July/August '19

more in love. Our boys even picked out their bedrooms. Could we really do this? I wondered. No one else had put an offer in and it had been on the market for over a year. It felt like it had been built just for us. So, we went for it.

STEP BY STEP I couldn’t have imagined the emotional rollercoaster that came next. Between mountains of paperwork, crazy deadlines and wedding planning, I was overwhelmed. But I couldn’t give up. I just took it one thing, one deadline, at a time. I started to plan for the farm and I carried a copy of the listing with me. I held my breath through every hurtle, offer negotiation and home inspection. I grappled with what to do with our current home, navigated mortgage insurance and possible signing dates. But one step at a time, we made it through.

We unpacked like crazy people, putting boxes anywhere and everywhere to be sorted later. The next day we returned the U-Haul, then divided and conquered. We prepped our old home for sale, moved the last of our things, unpacked our new home and wrapped up the last wedding details.

HOME SWEET FARMHOUSE On October 4, we left for our wedding in Traverse City and we said “I do” on the 5th. It was an exhausting few months and a jam-packed five days, but amazingly, we did it. We took our five-year plan and fit it into five days. It was incredible to come home to our beautiful farm and start living the life that just months before had been our ultimate dream. We started our farm that month with the purchase of our first pig and her litter of piglets. We haven’t looked back since.

FIVE DAYS IN OCTOBER Our signing date was scheduled for October 1st, four days before our big day. Larry and I had both requested that week off work to focus on the wedding, and it was going to be a packed few days. Literally. They were a whirlwind. On October 1 we rented a U-Haul. On October 2, after we sent the boys off to school, we got to work packing up our home. My parents arrived that afternoon to help and the boys pitched in once they got home from school. When we finally finished packing, we headed toward the farmhouse. We were all exhausted and excited, including our cat, Percy, who meowed and wailed the whole drive “home.”

UNPACKED AND WRAPPED UP We realized if we wanted to sleep comfortably that night, we had to unpack the truck entirely.


Caitlin and her family live in Mancelona on their family farm, which they’ve named Danu Hof. You can find them at local farmers markets or at the market on their property. To learn more, find them on Facebook or Instagram, or visit their website,

Grand Traverse Woman

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your purchase 733 Woodmere Ave, Traverse City 231.941.1263 • 26

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231.352.4702 • 415 MAIN St • FRANKFORT

Grand Traverse Woman

To Parents

Sailing is a wholesome sport that kids can enjoy right away. The lessons of sailing, like self-reliance, the value of team work, respect for the environment and the rewards that come from challenge and competition, last a lifetime. Sailing builds physical and mental strength.

Learn to Sail – All Ages

Ideal for ages 8 to adult, this lifelong skill introduces sailing basics such as rigging, boat handling, tacking and jibing.

Getting Started?

Learn to Race

Kids 3rd-12th grade. Register for classes now!

W.O.W.! Women on the Water Sailing – Put a new twist on your Girls’ Night Out and learn to sail from a woman with other women. Reserve as many 3 hour sessions as you’d like.

This program transitions sailor from intermediate skill level to learning spinnaker handling, sail trim, racing rules and tactics applicable in any vessel. Many of these sailors go on to skipper or crew at the high school level.

West Bay Adventure Sailing

The Reachers Adventure Training course is not so much about learning to sail, but rather about destinations and having fun while learning the science and technology behind the art of sailing.

All Teens, No Screens

Middle and High schoolers can build self-confidence, discover a healthy passion and hone new skills with like-minded peers through several of our programs. The best part about TACS; the only screen we offer has an SPF on it! Call today to find the right fit for your teenagers.

231.922.5922 | |

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The Camino How I Walked 500 Miles in 32 Days BY DR. MILLIE PARK MELLGREN

I CANNOT WALK 500 MILES. I KNOW THIS. I have learned, however, that I can walk 10-23 miles a day and walk across Spain. In 2013, over the course of 32 consecutive days, that’s exactly what I did.

THE CAMINO My youngest son, Erik, had just quit his job to bike 2,000 miles from Vancouver, Canada, to Tijuana, Mexico. Impressive, yes, but he was in his mid-twenties and extremely fit. Young, fit kids can do great adventures—not aging, out-of-shape mothers. In late July, he called to say, “Mom, you’ve always wanted to walk the Camino. Since I’m between jobs, let’s go on Labor Day!” The Camino de Santiago is an ancient 500-mile pilgrimage to the cathedral of St. James in the city of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Pilgrims have ventured there since medieval times and now approximately 200,000 people take the journey each year.


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NO MORE EXCUSES Walking the Camino had been my dream since the early ’80s, but for over 30 years I found excuses for not setting out. I was too old, overweight, out of shape and too busy. I didn’t have the right equipment, proper clothing or enough money. But I still had the dream to do it, and now my son’s invitation. If I said no, I knew the invitation would not come again. So I said yes. There was little time to train, lose weight, or practice walking consecutive days carrying a pack. Even so, a few weeks later, we set off on the Camino de Santiago. I secured a pilgrim’s passport in St. Jean Pied-dePort, France. From there, I began the first leg of my journey, a 17-mile crossing of the Pyrenees Mountains from France into Spain. What was I doing?

HIKING SPAIN Walking the Camino is quite different from hiking the long-distance trails of the United States. Having walked parts of the North Country and Appalachian Trails, I sense the biggest difference to be the remoteness of the U.S. wilderness. On the Camino, while the daily hiking is remote, there is a system of albergues, or hostel-like lodgings readily available along the way. They are clean and also inexpensive (5-10 euros/night, which equaled about $6-$11/night). Many of these small villages developed over the centuries in places where pilgrims would stop for food, water and rest. The knowledge that I would find a bed and food each night, along with water fountains every few kilometers along the way, decreased my travel stress significantly. Also, not needing to carry a tent, cooking supplies, or large amounts of food and water made my load much lighter. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Though my trek was 500 miles, Lao Tzu’s wisdom still applied. I started panting up the mountains, carrying an ill-adjusted pack with all my gear. My son and I determined that we each needed to have our own

pilgrimage, so we walked alone, agreeing to meet up every few hours. (Erik read 13 books on his Kindle waiting for me.) At the very first meet-up, he remarked a bit crossly, “You didn’t train carrying a pack, did you?” This was going to be a very slow, painful crossing of Spain.

STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY The first day was hard and painful. It was the hardest day of the entire journey. Over the month, I lost nine toenails, acquired multiple blisters and my muscles ached. But it got better, and that “single step” led to more steps. Fortunately, I didn’t learn until days later of the FOUR mountain ranges I would be crossing in Spain that totaled over 60,000 feet of climbing. The descents were sometimes as challenging as the ascents. I became stronger each day, and I found out that being almost 60 was not so old. A man in his 80s on his 22nd crossing of the Camino passed me. A blind woman being led by a guide passed me. Other pilgrims called me “The Turtle” because I was so slow but kept going anyway. Step by step, I completed the first 100 miles. Then the next, and the next. I walked on rocky 1,700-year-old Roman roads. I walked the same rocky path St. Francis of Assisi journeyed when he took the same pilgrimage. The sense of time in those old rocks marked the thousands of pilgrims who had gone before me. The rocks became a symbol for life’s journey: I can’t avoid rocks. I can only choose the best path.

THE END I learned to be grateful that the longer the road was, the more there was to see and do. Sometimes I was too focused on my feet and forgot to look at the beauty around me. I learned to lift my head and look around to find it. I saw new scenery. I met people from all over the world. I tried new food. I saw new things every day until I walked into Santiago de Compostela, celebrating the completion of a 500mile journey. I also celebrated losing 30 pounds in 32 days walking!

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I learned many lessons—gifts of the Camino:

Eating and sleeping arrangements are most often communal, which means sharing a room with 6-100 people each night. I learned to sleep in a room with bunk beds and dozens of other pilgrims. Privacy is not abundant on the Camino. Sometimes there were mixed restrooms, and sleeping quarters were almost always filled with both genders. I had never seen so many men in their underwear! I learned quickly to allow others privacy by averting my eyes, as they did for me. Showers and toilets were appreciated no matter who was in the stall next to me. I learned that most of the comforts of life I enjoyed were not really necessary. What I gave up in extravagance, I gained in the community of pilgrims gathering in the evening. Stories from home or the day’s walk mingled with a common meal, foot-care tips, pain advice, and sharing of future walking plans. Experiencing closeness with strangers opened doors that I and so many others often keep closed in our separate spaces back home.

Watching for the signs on my path is a crucial lesson I learned one very early morning in the lonely darkness. The Camino is marked by yellow arrows and shells that provide direction quite effectively. Only once in 500 miles did I miss a turn, unfortunately not discovering my error until I had climbed to the top of the wrong mountain and had to retrace my steps of the last two hours.

Get up. Get going early. Just start. That was my daily plan. If I couldn’t do something for six hours, I could do it for one hour, six times. Break it down. Erik and I often started as early as 5 a.m., walking for a couple of hours before stopping for a pincho of Spanish egg and potato tortilla. We would then continue until a mid-day reunion where Erik, who was responsible for purchasing and carrying lunch, would make a baguette sandwich with combinations of tomato, cheese, tuna or chicken. Then we walked for a couple more hours, meeting after for a shared apple and square of dark chocolate or almonds. A final one- to two-hour walk would follow before stopping mid-afternoon at an albergue, which Erik would locate before my arrival.

Sleep I didn’t sleep well, being a woman of a certain age who tends to lie awake at night. After averaging three hours of sleep per night and then walking 17-20 miles each day, I was exhausted. By the 250-mile point, I was ending my days in tears. Erik threatened to take a day off if I didn’t sleep at least 5 hours that night. A day off seemed totally unacceptable to me. My body instead accepted a “rest day” of a quick 10 miles and a night of decent rest. I proceeded to sleep better from then on.

TODAY The completion and impact of the Camino has remained. After many successes in my life, I still doubt my abilities and let the inner critic take over. But I now know I can do most anything. This journey helped me see that I can be better tomorrow than I am today. I am better now at packing a suitcase, putting everything in small stuff sacks. I am better at breaking big tasks down into manageable small chunks. And, I know that I still need new goals to make exciting things happen.

Dr. Millie Park Mellgren is a retired educator and the author of The Language Immersion Life, a book about early childhood language learning. Millie has taught students from pre-school through doctoral studies, but finds her greatest passion with elementary students learning second languages. Her current adventure is hiking 100 miles on each of the major long-distance hiking trails in the United States while also planning a return Camino trek through France and Spain in the near future. Millie lives with her husband on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. She can be reached at




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Julie Raborn, Certified Holistic Health, Life and Self-Love Coach

336 US-31 South Traverse City, MI 49685 (231) 252-3717 johannasflooring

I support women to transform mindset, doubts, and dissatisfaction to reclaim your zest for life and love the skin you’re in! Gain emotional balance, freedom, confidence, awareness, mindfulness, release negative self-talk and judgment, shed weight, stop the painful cycle of emotional eating, and increase your worth. And so much more! Work with me to crush your goals and follow your dreamsstart living as the unmasked version of you that is already within! Live life on purpose! Schedule your complimentary discovery session today at to explore the core of why you’re not getting desired results, develop a powerful vision of the confident, energized, inspired version of you, and actions to start living as her now! True To You Wellness By Julie 231.715.8836 •

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{ Stuffiness not included. }


We’re adding more family fun for our members! Enjoy our new Aquatics Center, expanded Fitness Center, Children’s Activity Center and Kids’ Camps. FOR A TOUR & DETAILS OF MEMBERSHIP | 231.947.9140 x116 . TCGCC.COM

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GALLAGHER'S CENTENNIAL FARM Our Daddy raises the best beef and pork around!

Th is Gallagher burger is the best!


No Growth Hormones, Antibiotics, MSG or Nitrates Come to us for Angus Beef, born and raised on our farm, as well as homegrown pork. Individually packaged or in quarters and halves. Pork by halves and whole. Grandma's homemade pies. Fruits and Vegetables in season.

We have the best brats a round !

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Learning to Love the





two children, just 15 months apart. We homeschooled for most of their school years and did everything together. When my first-born left for college, and my son the very next year, while I was super excited for this next step in their lives, it was a very hard transition for me. With my children grown and gone, accepting my new normal wasn’t easy. But what I found is that I could get used to it. Heck, I could love this whole empty nest thing.

PRECIOUS TIME My daughter and I had shared clothes, jewelry and fashion advice on the daily. With her gone, I was a wreck. My son left the following year for the same college, Ferris State University, and I was heartbroken. My children were my life! Texting helped ease my aching soul, and believe me, I wore the buttons out! During their first years at college, neither of them had a car. So, when they were coming home for the weekend, I’d go pick them up. I’d speed down there to get them, anxious to see them. Then we’d drive home together, cruise control set on the speed limit. I cherished every second of those road trips.

ADJUSTING TO EMPTY We were excited for the kids to spread their wings, but our schedule had always revolved around them. Whether we were going to their games or dropping them at practice, whether we were camping or just hanging out, we loved being together as a family. With no games on the horizon or camping trips on the calendar, we found that we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. In the beginning, my husband and I watched a lot of TV at night, something we had never done before. We even ate dinner in the living room while watching the news *gasp*!! Who were we? While the kids


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were growing up, we’d never do that. No cell phones were allowed during dinner, either—it was sacred family time.

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE GROCERY LIST! Other things, things I wouldn’t have thought were significant, were big changes. It took me so long to grocery shop, now; I didn’t know how to grocery shop for just us. I was so used to buying all the things that the kids liked, I had no idea what just my husband and I liked. I’d push an empty cart up and down the aisle, contemplating every section. It was weird! Adjusting to our kids’ absence was hard on my husband, too. He lost his playmates for all the activities we love, like hunting, riding four-wheelers, playing football or jumping on the trampoline. I lost my chore buddies, and that also took some getting used to. But the house didn’t need as much attention with just us, and my husband always helps out when necessary. And what about the lack of shoes by the door? Gah!

LONELY NEST Through all these little reminders, loneliness really sunk in. There was such a void in our home without our kids. I had worked so hard to make our home the greatest place on earth for them, and now they were gone. Our new normal kept changing. During this time, we sold one of our businesses and lost both of our fathers to cancer. We were dealing with a lot of major life changes all at once, and it was hard on us. Together, though, my husband and I navigated our new empty-nest normal. Along the way, we found that there were actually some wonderful things about it all, too.

THE BRIGHT SIDE Now, I spend every opening day with him in his deer blind. I love that time together. Our vacation and grocery bills have been cut in half, too. It’s awesome! We also started doing more activities together like hiking, kayaking, traveling, eating out and enjoying sunset cocktails at home. We are intentional about connecting, and we enjoy reading the same books or articles. We feel it’s important to have something to “bring to the table” at dinner in a conversational sense, too. We also text a lot throughout the day and leave little notes on the bathroom mirror for each other. We try to make each other laugh! We purposefully look for fun things to do that we both enjoy doing. And there can be great freedom in having the house all to yourself **wink wink. We bought a Jeep Wrangler and go on drives to explore little nearby towns and restaurants quite often. My husband bought a book last year titled “50 Hikes in Michigan,” which ought to keep us busy for a while (in addition to a travel bucket list). We also like to volunteer at our church, The Tabernacle, and are involved in a weekly small group.

JUST THE TWO OF US Being intentional about our marriage has been how we have survived our empty nest. We are much closer as a couple and our adult children are thriving. It truly all worked out as it was supposed to. Our daughter and son-in-law live in Grand Rapids, and our son lives in Texas. We visit with them as often as possible. As time has passed, we have settled into this cleaner house with less chaos and less groceries. I love our empty nest life.

Kelley Bowker is a devoted follower of Jesus and loves her family and friends to death. She is always on the lookout for a new adventure!

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4 .... Parade, Art in the Park, Sand Sculpture Contest, Fireworks 4-7.... Carnival 20 .... Port City Run 26-28 .... Benzie Fishing Frenzy 27.... Street Sale

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It’s bike season, gals!

ELECTRIC BIKES - We are the largest Electric Assist Bike dealer in the state. Whether you’re commuting, mountain biking, or just cruising around town, we have a wide selection of electric bikes to fit your needs. We carry Trek, Cannondale, Felt, and Electra electric bikes. Stop in for a try today. You’ll love the ease of your next ride!

BIKES GALORE - We also carry road, mountain and children’s bikes, along with fat bikes and foldable bikes. Every girl needs a bike… or two. CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES - Ride in comfort and finally get those spandex bike shorts… plus add a little bling to your bike with a new bell!

Start your summer with a Fundamental Bicycle Tune-up for $79.

We LOVE what we do! Service is the difference. With more parts in stock than any shop in Northern Michigan, chances are we have what you need. Whether you’re building a custom ride or you need a flat repaired on your garden cart, we are here to serve. You will leave with an accurate estimate of the services requested with no surprises. Upon completion you will receive a text informing you that your bike is ready to be picked up. A well-maintained bike is a happy bike (and gal!)!

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Love Welcomes All. Church in the Park at 9 am Sunset Park, Downtown Traverse City Traditional Service with Organ at 11 am Sanctuary at 222 Cass, Downtown Traverse City

Every Sunday Morning 222 S. Cass Street Traverse City, MI 49684 231-946-5191 exploring faith & spirituality through worship

Buying, building, refinancing? For a responsive, professional approach to your home loan, contact Jackie or Kim. You’ll love our refreshing “Yes, I can!” approach to customer service.

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SWIM 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles, and brag the rest of your life. For the past 10 years, I have heard this said at every Ironman triathlon race in which I’ve competed. Nineteen total. It is an incredible accomplishment, and it’s something I never thought I’d do. But now, the feat defines me. It defined me after I completed my first, and last year, I had the honor of competing in the World Championships.

KONA Every Ironman race brings its own set of challenges and victories, and on Oct. 13, I competed in Kona, the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Very few even dream of getting into Kona—it’s that hard. You can qualify by being the top in your race or you can be chosen for the coveted Legacy spot, reserved for those who have competed in at least 12 Ironman races and shown dedication to the sport. They have not qualified for Kona by any other means. In February of 2017, I received an email. I’d been selected to compete in the 2018 World Championships under a Legacy spot. I couldn’t believe it! The event went well for me: It was a time to truly enjoy the journey that brought me here.

TRIATHLETE BUG In 1997, while at chiropractic school, I had a group of “adventure” friends who encouraged me to start swimming and maybe try a triathlon. Why not? I thought. I grew up around water, and I loved to bike and run. It seemed simple enough. As it turns out, lap swimming is not quite the same as floating in a lake. But, I pushed myself. I completed my first triathlon and placed in my age group. Something changed in me that day. I fell in love with triathlons, and I became a beast.


FASTER AND STRONGER I became faster and prepared for the Seahorse Triathlon in Kalamazoo. I let my parents know and asked them to come watch. I had a strong swim and was near the leaders as we came out of the water. I hopped on my bike and flew. My beast was alive. At transition, my mom and family cheered as I put on my sneakers and started to run. I had this. As I ran on an empty stretch, I heard a car pull up beside me. “Go, Christa, go!” I heard. It was my dad. As I charged to the finish line, I saw my family again, cheering me on. The beast was in us all. Over the years I’ve continued to race while focused on building my practice. And whenever life gets tough, training and racing keep me moving forward.

SPEED BUMP In 2006, I was diagnosed with a severe case of interstitial cystitis (IC); 90 percent of my bladder wall was covered with ulcers. I could hardly eat without pain and could only drink distilled water. I could not have coffee, tea, juice, electrolytes, vitamins, acids, or minerals. I still tried to race, but I struggled with training, injury and total fatigue. I followed the six-month treatment I’d been prescribed, but the expensive medicines were toxic and contributed to the fatigue. Some days, it took everything I had just to get through work. According to statistics, only 4 percent of those with my case of IC continue to work. I experienced hair loss. I lost weight and became very thin, but each day was a new chance. I had to give up or get going. So I turned to my trusted sport. It required focus and a schedule, and it had always rewarded my efforts. Carrying whatever distilled water I could, I got back on my bike.



After I graduated, I joined a biking group. On my first ride, I finished our 40+ mile ride with the few in the lead. I was disappointed by the unfriendly environment and went home. But, I chose to try the group again. It was mostly a bunch of MAMILS… middle-aged men in lycra. They were not going to scare me off. I was a 20-something beast and I had goals. When I went back again, I took a beating. I took several, but I never gave up. Slowly, I was accepted into the group.

Before my IC diagnosis, I had signed up for a half Ironman: 70.3 miles of pre-diagnosis bliss. But in my condition, that was not in the cards. I just could not do the work, and instead scaled back to a super sprint, a race my 7-year-old son could do today. I finished the race in second place overall. It was the kick in the butt I needed. The race was in Wisconsin and on my way home, I stopped and saw the Wisconsin Ironman 2007. All kinds of people were competing in

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Grand Traverse Woman this “impossible” race. If they could do it, so could I, I thought. And that day, I registered for the Louisville Ironman to be held the next year.

HEALING I followed a regimen of natural medicine, aloe, individual vitamins, and a clean diet and life. If it had a chemical in it, it was not on me or in me. Slowly, I healed. I gradually was able to eat more and my fatigue and pain decreased. When I needed it, I rested. I listened to my body. My training improved, but I still could not run. I had signed up for a race that had a marathon at the end of it - 26.2 miles. I had never run longer than 13.1 miles in my life! But I could do this, I reminded myself. If I could get through the swim and bike, I could walk the marathon. As long as I was moving forward, I’d get to that finish line.

BIGGEST RACE DAY It was Ironman race weekend, the same as my 36th birthday. I asked my parents to come, and we all piled into one hotel room in Louisville. We celebrated my birthday during the opening ceremony. At 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 31, 2008, the alarm went off. I was all nerves. As the sun rose, I lined up with the other racers along the dirty Ohio River. We looked like 3,000 lemmings. Swimmers dove off two docks in groups of three into the dark and uninviting water. As my face broke the water, it was a sound and feeling that I loved. A perfect quiet amidst chaos. I raced the course, my disease and my limits. My family cheered me on in what I now recognize as their signature cheers: One up ahead, another waving a hand out, one behind a camera, and one dancing. As night fell, I was approaching 13 hours of racing. My run had slowed. (I was not planning to run at all, but my legs told me they could.) In the distance I saw the finish line crowds and heard Mike Riley announcing every Ironman finisher. I ran. I threw my hands in the air, and I wept. I was going to be an Ironman. As I went into the chute, I was glad it was over and glad to be alive. I knew from then on, if I wanted it, I could do anything.

IRON FAMILY The next morning, my dad and I packed up the car. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. “Are you going to sign up again?” he asked. My answer? “Yes.” Together, we have traveled. I’ve pushed my limits and learned all about endurance sports. My parents cheered me on, both on race day and throughout my life. They’ve been with me as I prepare for Kona and they’ll be with me through whatever comes next. My IC is, hopefully, in the past, but I still adhere to many of the things I did to heal. It became severe again during my pregnancy in 2010, but after my son’s birth, it has gone away. I attribute my recovery to him and the Ironman spirit as my tool. It is in full remission!

VICTORY Ironman is who my family is. We are beasts. Of course, our lives are not perfect. We have had hurdles, but together we are capable of overcoming anything. I have committed to walk away from the long-distance events for now. The training has lost its sparkle, and I simply want time to be home with my son and focus on his dreams and growth. When Ironman 70.3 comes to Traverse City on Aug, 25, 2019, I can’t wait to join 2,500 athletes feeding their beasts!

Christa Johnson lives in Northern Michigan with her 7-year-old son, and their two dogs and nine ducks. Christa and her son enjoy racing in 5ks and short triathlons together. They love staying outdoors on beautiful Northern Michigan days, whether they’re swimming, fishing, paddling or hiking.

JOIN US FOR HOT COCOA, WINE, CHOCOLATE & PJs You can come straight from work or straight from the couch - wear your cutest PJs or fuzziest slippers for the evening. (PJs are not required but will be met with appreciative howls and hoots.)

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THAN CHERRIES from depression to creativity BY MICHELLE WHITE

“RELIEF is just outside this car door. It’s rush hour, and people with purpose and appointments and goals are speeding by in their shiny SUVs and their sleek sports cars. They drive too fast and don’t watch where they’re going. I’m a step away from making the pain go away. All I’d have to do is put one foot in front of the other. All I’d have to do is open the door and step out of my car. That’s all I’d have to do.” That scene took place about 3 years after I started my company, and I lived in that realm of fear for another 12 years, so when I read those words from an old journal of mine, it makes me sad to think I felt so desperate and hopeless. But now, through the darkness and disappointment, I’ve rediscovered what makes me happy. I’m no longer in that place, and my life feels sweeter than cherries.

A SWEET DREAM I came from a family of entrepreneurs so it seemed natural for me to follow in line: In my early years my family and I had a seasonal restaurant. I started a meal delivery program, started a sock retail store, I even sold Rainbow vacuum cleaners when I was in my early twenties. Years later while going back to college I started working at a fruit processing plant. It was there that I learned about the benefits of tart cherry concentrate. It seemed that all the entrepreneurial stars had aligned, and I was ready to do something big. I would be able to help millions of people feel better, and would also promote farming to help preserve the land. It was a win-win from what I could see. So in 2001, I started my own business, Leland Cherry Company. I sold tart cherry concentrate as a medicinal product for pain relief. I was so passionate that I went out on my own. Just like that. I was the first person to take a by-product, tart cherry juice concentrate, and distribute nationally creating a category based on tart cherry products due to the heath benefits such as pain relief and healthy sleep cycles. I had high expectations that my products would become a national household brand. I was finally going to help people and make a living at the same time, I thought. What I didn’t realize is how much I didn’t know.

THE STRUGGLES I was a divorced single mother of 6-year-old identical twin boys with no savings or a house to leverage. It seemed a credit card offer came in the mail about every day, so when I ran out of what little money I had, I began to fill out credit card applications. At zero percent interest for the first year, that seemed like plenty of time to get my business profitable and have more than enough to pay back my creditors. I had no idea


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that being an entrepreneur would be so expensive, or how much I needed to educate the general public. Raising awareness cost money. Even people right here in Traverse City didn’t know about the amazing health benefits of tart cherries. They knew tart cherries make a good pie but knew nothing of their ability to help eliminate pain. I was determined to tell the world.

THE REALITY I was living in an illusion. I was in debt right out of the gate, but it seemed like the best way to get my company going. I had no business being in business. I didn’t know how to read a financial statement, and being undercapitalized was almost a sure way to go out of business. I ended up finding investors, a process I was unsure about, but I felt I had no other choice. What I did know were my products, and I was good at talking about them. I could demonstrate, create recipes, videos, new products and figured out a way to talk about cherries at every opportunity. But reading statements and crunching numbers were not my strengths, and unfortunately, over time, I began to lose credibility because of it. At the same time, my health was suffering. I had already had two breakdowns, become anemic and lost weight. I had lived in fear for so long I didn’t even realize I could quit.

Grand Traverse Woman GOODBYE CHERRIES One fall day in 2016, my doctor said, “Michelle, if you don’t get out of your company, you will suffer a stroke or heart attack. The stress is too much and taking a huge toll on you.” On Oct. 30, 2016, I wrote a one-sentence resignation letter. It was never acknowledged, but that was typical of my investors. I had nothing left, and it stung for a long time.

HELLO ART! Over time, I’ve been able to heal and find myself and my voice. As a kid I loved art. Growing up, I secretly wanted to be an artist but didn’t think that was the right path. I thought I wanted to be a big-time business owner and heal the world with tart cherry concentrate. In 2012, I started playing with art by way of making “time pieces” with watches cut out of magazines and using found objects to create collages. Then I started painting. The more I painted the more I could calm down and just be so I could think. I didn’t realize it but art for me became a form of prayer. After I resigned I had a huge hole in my world, so I filled it with art and the completion of my book. I began to heal. Now art is part of my everyday life. Through art, I now help those who are homeless and marginalized. We meet every Wednesday from 8:30-10:30 a.m. during the Outreach breakfast at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City. I love to serve others and make people smile. I get to do that by offering services like cook’s help, light caregiving, doing workshops on my book and creating and selling more art.

MY BOOK Writing my book On a Pit and a Prayer was an incredibly healing process, and I decided that if I could not sell tart cherry products anymore, I certainly could tell the story of why I did it in the first place. Now, my life is truly full of love. It’s sweeter than cherries.

Michelle White pioneered the tart cherry concentrate category for its health benefits. She’s had several television, radio and newspaper interviews on the topic of tart cherries and is the author of On a Pit and a Prayer. She is the mother of identical twin boys, has a degree in family life education and an entrepreneurial background. When she’s not volunteering, she loves to write, create recipes and paint. She and her husband, Bill, live in Leland. Visit

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Have you started planning your company’s holiday party? It seems early, but venues across Northern Michigan are already getting booked for November, December, and January Holiday Events. Here are seven tips from 2018’s Red Hot Best Corporate Entertainer, Ben Whiting, to make sure your holiday party is fun, memorable, and meaningful.


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Tips on Cultivating Community from an Army Brat BY ASHLEE COWLES

WHAT makes a place a home? When Traverse City became my new home last summer, I expected to find a community mostly made up of people born and raised in the area. I anticipated having to work hard to form relationships, as I assumed most people would have family in the area and established friendships, which meant they weren’t on the lookout for new ones. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such an open, welcoming community, and many of the people I’ve met had moved to the Grand Traverse area in the last five years. This makes a military brat like me feel right at home.

NO STRANGER TO NEW PLACES By the time I was 18, I’d already moved eight times, with two of my father’s military assignments (Hawaii and Germany) taking us across an entire ocean. My parents and my extended family are from Michigan, so we spent most summers “up north” on Black Lake, but I never felt like I was “from” here, since I’d never had a Michigan address. As is often the case with rootless military kids who feel the itch to move every few years, I remained a nomad well into adulthood. I headed to California for college, then to North Carolina for grad school, then back to Colorado, then to Germany and Scotland, then back to Colorado yet again. You get the picture. When it comes to meeting new people in new places, I’m no novice.

I’ve found that if I accept that feeling out of sorts and homesick is part of the deal, it is easier to push through. So, if you too are feeling out of place, trust that a year from now you’ll feel more like yourself again.

YOU’LL HAVE TO INITIATE. A LOT. I already mentioned that Traverse City is one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever encountered. What I mean is that, when I extend myself, people respond warmly. Yet as the newcomer, I’ve still had to be the one to initiate, follow-up and persist. This isn’t as intimidating as it sounds (even as an introvert!) Taking the initiative simply means I don’t wait around expecting people to reach out first. Life is busy and most people won’t think to include the “new girl”—not because they’re rude or mean-spirited, but because they’ve got a lot going on and they just don’t think about it.

HUMANS NEED HUMANS As a lifelong reader turned fiction author, I’m also a hardcore introvert. Books are some of my most constant (and portable) friends. When I was a young child, if I ever felt lonely or homesick for some elusive “home” I couldn’t locate on a map, I knew I could escape into the world of my imagination and find some stability there. Stories became my refuge. But introverts are still human, and humans need other people. So, if like me you’re new to the Grand Traverse area, there are some practical steps you can take to cultivate a greater sense of connection to the community here, which is always what it takes to turn a zip code into a home.

EXPECT IT TO TAKE AT LEAST A YEAR In the military, job assignments often require about three years in one location. Whenever my family moved somewhere new, we usually hated the place in Year 1. By Year 2, we’d started making friends and establishing our routine, and in Year 3, when it was time to leave, we shed many tears. “Give it a year” became a common refrain. The advice has served me well whenever I’ve begun to wonder if moving was the right thing to do, which always seems to happen about six months after a move.


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Grand Traverse Woman

In the months I’ve lived in Traverse City, I’ve invited several women—both professional contacts and potential friends—out for coffee. And you know what? They all said “yes,” and I found them all to be lovely people. So what are we so afraid of? We all experience similar insecurities and hang-ups. Most people are flattered that you want to hang out with them. Still, reaching out once usually isn’t the end of your efforts. As the newcomer, be prepared to follow up and initiate a second or even third meeting/dinner/coffee/play-date/walk, as it often takes several interactions before the relationship becomes a mutual twoway street.

EXPLORE, BUT ESTABLISH A ROUTINE The Grand Traverse Region has much to offer, and as a newbie, you may feel the urge to explore all of it—every restaurant, every coffee shop, every hike within 30 miles. There’s nothing wrong with playing “local tourist,” as that’s one of the joys of living in a new place. But, once you find a favorite watering hole or two, it can help to incorporate these businesses into your regular routine. Why? It’s simple. When the barista or server at that café down the street knows your name and you know hers, you begin to feel more connected—more like someone who belongs.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO STEP UP AND LEAD One of the best ways to form genuine friendships is to start a group around a hobby or interest, but many people are hesitant to take the lead when they feel like the new kid in town.

Keeping your young explorers healthy…

But you don’t need to be an “expert” on Traverse City to start a play-group or a historical fiction book club. In fact, launching something like a social network group that addresses a need—less popular hikes locals can take during the busy tourist season, for example—will likely motivate you to learn more about your new home. Perhaps you’ll even become the expert in that specific area. Plus, you’ll meet lots of wonderful, like-minded people while you’re at it.

WELCOME HOME The last line of my debut novel, Beneath Wandering Stars, sums up my childhood: “People are the only home the Army issues. But they’re the only home that matters.” Take it from a military brat and wandering writer who’s had physical homes in just about every region of the United States: From natural beauty to a thriving arts and culture scene, the Grand Traverse region has it all. But at the end of the day, it’s the people who make a place a home. And there’s something special about the people here. So, if you’re a newcomer like me, I hope you’ll find the courage to “put yourself out there” and connect. Ashlee Cowles is an award-winning fiction author, a copywriter for the travel and tourism industry, and a teacher who helps mothers reignite their creativity. She recently moved to Traverse City with her husband and 2-year-old daughter and is eager to connect with other creative women. Learn more at or email



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I USED to use Facebook like every other human – funny cat videos, random thoughts, pictures of my food (if you don’t post, it didn’t happen, right?). Eventually, though, I tired of sharing my every thought, every workout, every bite. Documenting my life like a reality show was exhausting. So, I stopped posting, except for the occasional profound thought or hilarious meme. Then I met Courtney. She is a one-of-a-kind human—equal parts sass and brilliance. We started out as colleagues, then best friends, then we decided to do life together —a first for both of us.

LIFE WITH US The more time we spent together, the more I realized our conversations were funnier than the funniest memes on the internet. So, I began hash tagging #LifeWithCourt and documenting our everyday life, which most people found wildly entertaining. Like when a hammock broke on Court and she got folded in it, or when I found the mail in the freezer because, well… #LifeWithCourt. But soon Court wanted the world to know I had my weird quirks, too. She started hash tagging #LifeWithBeth, sharing things like me leaving every cupboard door open when cooking or neurotically cleaning every piece of confetti immediately after a birthday surprise. It was fun sharing our world through these short quips and soon our friends and family were looking forward to them each week.

LEARNING TO DIY In August 2018, Court and I bought our first house together. It’s a quaint, one-story ranch with three bedrooms, a bathroom and a basement that Courtney refuses to admit exists. She says it’s “weird and creepy.” We learned a LOT in the first six months of home ownership. In fact, I literally tiled our mudroom floor the day we moved in. We were excited to bring our HGTV “Fixer Upper” visions to life, and it was fun to reimagine the interior. We continued tackling projects into the new year and occasionally posted about it on our personal pages.


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ALL ON THE ‘BOOK Our posts slowly turned to videos, and “every once in a while” became regular. Our Facebook feeds were even the topic of conversation whenever we’d run into friends in real life. So, in February of 2019, we decided to combine our hashtags and start a joint Facebook page. The “Life with Beth and Court” Facebook page was born. First, we focused on what people had come to love about us – our everyday interactions and quirky vibe. Then, we started to include more of our lives and what inspires us. We’d share motivational quotes, road trips, our favorite music, what we were learning and building, what we were DIY-ing, etc. People especially LOVED seeing our DIY projects! “Can you come to my house next?” some would joke. Multiple people even commented with pictures of their own similar DIY projects. It was fun! Since we’ve started our page, we’ve found a community of people who are authentic and fun, and love learning along with us, no matter what we’re tackling.

UP NEXT I recently posted a photo of a desk I built for myself, and people said we should start making videos of the process and posting those too. They also said we should have a show on HGTV. “Guys, I still have to YouTube how to do stuff all along the way!” I objected. “Yeah, but that’s the best part!” one supporter said. “You show us that normal people can do it too and that the answers are all out there.” Touché, salesman. So next, we’ll start posting videos of our projects and see where that takes us.

FIND US If you’d like to follow along as we do life, we’d love to have you join us over at “Life with Beth and Court” on Facebook. We aim to inspire, teach, live, build, learn, do, communicate and love authentically. If you’re into that, send us a message and introduce yourself! Beth Barbaglia is the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA and can be reached at Courtney Kane is a Quality Improvement Specialist for the Great Start to Quality Northwest Resource Center and can be reached at

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Sail into better health! Dr. Holly Donaldson, D.C.

Many women come to me with the same problem: pain from their workouts. It might be from biking, running, sailing or strength training. There’s so many ways to help! I love bringing health back to my patients. I love being outdoors and working out, too, and often have been “in your shoes.” Let me help you get back to your active lifestyle. There’s nothing worse than sitting out because of back pain or a hurt knee or shoulder!

LOOK BETTER. MOVE BETTER. FEEL BETTER. Chiropractic care has been shown to help improve health such as flexibility, reduction of pain, and increased mobility. With the right adjustments, and sometimes a little tweak to your form, you can be back doing what you love. When I’m not in the office, I’m in the woods or on the water with my family and dogs. And, most days, you’ll come in to the office and find my mom, son, a dog or all three to greet you at the door!

Holly Donaldson, D.C. 231.929.1335

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TWENTY-ONE years ago, my husband, Bruce, and I lived in Bellingham, Wash., with our two children, then ages 6 and 10. Bruce managed one of the first used-building-materials stores in the country for a non-profit called ReSources. But after a couple of years, he was ready for a change. Life brought us back to Northern Michigan, and in the time since, we’ve grown our own usedbuilding-materials business. It hasn’t been easy, and at times I didn’t know how we’d stay afloat. But we did, and through it all, we’ve found a way to keep the environment we love a little greener.

LIFE CHANGES In the fall of 1997, back in my hometown of Traverse City, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He was a generous, kind man who had just retired from his 40-year veterinary career. I couldn’t bear to be so far away from him anymore, and I wanted my children to know their grandfather better. So, we decided to move back to Northern Michigan and start a re-use business of our own.

CROSS-COUNTRY CARAVAN In nine days, we traveled across the country with the kids. We took turns driving the station wagon and the Ryder truck with our possessions. After the second morning of camping, cooking, breaking down camp and not getting on the road until early afternoon, we knew we’d have to start paying for a motel if we wanted to get anywhere. We had adventures and stopped to see attractions like Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. We didn’t have cell phones yet and had brought along CB radios to communicate.


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At one point along US I-90, we lost each other on the road. Somehow one of us got switched to a different channel and we lost all communication. It was scary! Thankfully, we were eventually reunited at a rest stop. Once we arrived in Traverse City, we rented a house on Old Mission Peninsula near my parents. The kids went to Old Mission Peninsula School, and to this day, we still have many friends from those two years.

BUILDING THE BIZ Using $30,000 of the equity we had after selling our house in Bellingham, we rented a large space on South Airport Road and opened a usedbuilding-materials store. Our landlord wanted a three-year lease with a rent increase after the second year. Signing that lease was a big risk, and our 10,000 square foot space was very intimidating. That type of business was uncommon, and the profit margin was limited. There were a few Habitat ReStores in Michigan at the time, but none in Northern Lower Michigan. But, our four years of experience operating a salvage store in Bellingham told us it would work in the right environment. Traverse City’s growing economy was right. And zero competition in our first seven years didn’t hurt either! We considered a few different names for the business but decided to call it Odom Reusable Building Materials. My dad was always interested in business and stressed how important it was let the public know in the name what our business was. The store took off within weeks. We advertised in the Record-Eagle and had customers right away!

STOCKING UP SALVAGE Bruce was busy finding materials to stock. The first big salvage job was from Tri-Don Construction in Muskegon. Next was Witmark Department Store on Garfield Avenue. Bruce had done a good job of advertising and networking with contractors so when the Cherryland Mall, West Junior High and Traverse City High School all remodeled, they allowed him to remove salvageable materials. Bruce hired two people to help him, and he bought a trailer for hauling materials. He slowly began to add more equipment as our business progressed. During the great recession, we attracted experienced construction people, and Bruce realized that they were more than capable of doing his job. So he let them. In our sixth year, we made the decision to buy our own building in Grawn. The move worked for us financially, and although there was a risk of losing some customers, we banked on gaining new customers from the west side and Benzie County. We wish we would have moved into our own space sooner. Rent was insanely high!

SACRIFICES AND SOLUTIONS We’ve depended on our friends and family along the way, from investing to advice. We asked friends to lend us money for the down payment on our new building until we had the ability to pay them back, and we are so grateful for their generosity and faith in us. When you work for yourself, you absorb the stress of a hundred possible scenarios 24/7. It’s not exactly what you had pictured in your entrepreneur dreams.

Grand Traverse Woman We worked many evenings to get the paperwork done. Doing both retail and salvage has been like having two businesses at the same time, and due to the unpredictability of salvage jobs, it is difficult to maintain a steady field crew. But we learned these things as we went. Our crews are made up of a variety of people, including retires, who do not require full-time work. As a co-owner, I help Bruce make the major decisions. The income from our business alone was not enough to support a family, and I found a full-time job with the N.W. Michigan Community Action Agency. Along with a decent salary, it provides healthcare benefits, something that a small business can’t affordably provide. Running our own business has certainly been a stressful career, but it’s been wonderful, too.

FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT, FOR YOU Our business has continued to grow. We have strong feelings about keeping usable building materials out of the landfill and preserving the earth’s resources. Because of Bruce’s strong environmental values, that has been more important than making a lot of money. We have diverted over 7 million pounds of reusable building materials from the waste stream and provided an opportunity for the public to access these materials at a reduced price. Today, 70 percent of our customers are homeowners and DIY-ers; 20 percent are small business owners. They typically purchase fixtures such as cashier counters, glass display cases, commercial furniture and slat wall. The remaining 10 percent are artisans. During our many used-material building tours we have seen a wide spectrum of homeowner projects. We’ve seen renewable energy systems, whole house remodels, new builds and cottage-business sites. The creativity of how others are using used materials always impresses us.

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RECYCLE AND REINVENT On Saturdays this spring, we look forward to holding “Makers Markets” in our Grawn store backyard. It is the perfect event space. We are also interested in value-added projects, or making products from used materials. We just need to choose carefully the right product and go! Non-profit collaboration would be a great way to pool what we do best along with their strengths. Embarking on such a unique endeavor was terrifying at first, and although it’s always demanding, it’s frequently a lot of fun. We look forward to many more years of recycling, rebuilding, providing and growing together in Northern Michigan.

Cathy Odom is co-owner of Odom Reusable Building Materials in Traverse City. She is currently living and working in Grand Rapids as the Hospitality and Youth Coordinator for the non-profit Circles Grand Rapids. Cathy is trained in lead paint, mold, and asbestos remediation and is certified as a Housing Rehabilitation Specialist by the Michigan Community Development Association. She and her husband, Bruce, have two grown children Visit for more information.

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You’ve had your vision checked, your blood pressure checked, but have you had your hearing checked? Often overlooked, Steven V. Thoma s, MD, FACS hearing loss can affect women of any age and is linked to many Christopher C. Jeffries, MD, other health concerns; including cardiovascular disease. The FACS SKIN CARE: inner ear requires adequate blood flow. If a change in this blood Mischelle Fisher, Amanda Kilborn flow occurs through trauma or cardiovascular disease, it may Caroline McManus, Karen , Denise Lovela Tosiello, PA-C, nd, Janette Wisem result in hearing loss. an, LPN CLINIC

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As Northern Michig an’s premier provide skin care, The r of plastic surgery Center for Plastic and aesthetic Surgery & Skin From the first call to the post-pr Care is focused on YOU. ocedure, it’s our fortable. We take goal to make you time to get to know you, reassur We make you feel feel special, becaus e you and suppor come you are special t you. ! • Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a diet rich in this nutrient We are proud offer the latest in plastic surgery may not just be good for your heart, but may also lower treatments to boost procedures and your confidence body Certified plastic and risk of hearing loss. let your true beauty surgeons, Dr. Steven shine. Board and our skilled V. Thomas, Dr. team of clinical Christo pher C. professionals are achieve your beauty • A lower BMI. A larger waist size and a higher dedicated to helpingJeffries goals and making reconstructive you your experie or corrective surgery BMI have been shown to lead to a higher incidence nce with cosmet ic, • Facial, Breast the very best it can be. & Body Surgery of hearing loss. • CoolSculpting • diVa Vaginal Laser Therapy In honor of World Heart Day on September 29, we encourage • ProLipo PLUS Laser Liposuction you to take care of both your heart and your hearing. Talk with Your skin speaks your doctor about your hearing health and get your hearing volumes about your restore your skin checked regularly. Early detection, management and monitoring to a youthful glow, health and vitality. To refresh care services to and we offer a full of your hearing sensitivity is important. When hearing loss enhance your is admenu of aesthet natural dressed appropriately, it can improve quality of life and specific skin condition and beauty beauty. In consideration of ic skin your recommend one goals, our expert or a combination overall health and well-being. skin care special All services are of treatments to ists can performed in the get you feeling comfort of our and backed by fabulous. our doctors, whose in-clini upon request. advice and experti c treatment rooms se is always availab OUR MISSIO le N Our mission is • Neurotoxins Botox) to promote the(i.e. overall • Dermal Fillers health, wellnes • Foreve r Young BBL s, Juvéderm) and (i.e. recover • Microblading y of individ • Laser Hair Reduct Laser ion impacted by substan uals • Facials & Peels ce •useHydraFacial 3241 Racquet Club Dr. Suite B, Traverse City, MI 49684 • Halo Laser and behavioral health issues • Visia Compl exion Analysis by meeting the 231.922.1500 treatment needs of our While we’re certain ly focused onclients and we’re really all commu lifting wrinkle nity. s, faces and trouble about lifting VALUE S spirits. And that we’ve helped areas, them restore confide patients are not shy in telling We value the diversi ally feel us nce, become empow c. We’re a talente on person-center ty, ideals, culture, and fantasti ered and generbeliefs of ed, trauma-inform the individual. d, trained team, with By focusing the biological, you at The Center. ed care, we are physiological, better equipped to address and social dimens serve. To promot us today to schedu ions of the individCall e recovery across le your care, we utilize uals we a continuum of consult ation: 231.929.7700 evidence-based holistic and meanin engaging the gful client and acknow strategies with multi-faceted approaches, believe that the ledging their specific best with acknowledging way to promote optimal health needs. As such, we and well-being individual person Trave and obstacles rse City at Copp begins alities, prioriti in order to provide es, strengths, triump er Ridge forms of care that We are doctor 29.7700 mirror individ 231.9hs, s, therapists, ual needs. case manag more!

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momma 1614


The legend

THE WHEEL HORSE honored position in the barn, slowly giving way to life jackets on its seat and snowmobile helmets on its hood. Finally, though, Nelson just did it. He dug it out, dusted it off and tore it apart. He didn’t tell anyone about it either. Just walked in the house one afternoon and said, “I got the engine out of the Wheel Horse. It needs a connecting rod.” (This is where I got rather impressed with my child, as moms are prone to do.) Next, he went online and found the part for $40. “Will you buy it for me, Mom?” he asked. I want to go on record as saying that I will buy any part for any child who will go out and tear apart an engine on his own.


BORN AGAIN Until this spring. When Nelson took it upon himself to start fiddling. For years he’d heard his dad say that the Wheel Horse needed tearing apart, but for years it sat in its

Kandace Chapple is the editor and co-publisher of Grand Traverse Woman. Her essays have been published in Writer’s Digest, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Literary Mama, Motherwell and more. She loves to mountain bike on Northern Michigan trails, hike with her dog (Cookie!), and spend time with her husband and two sons. Visit her at


July/August '19


THERE'S A LEGEND in our family. It’s not man, nor beast. It’s a machine. Let me introduce you to the Wheel Horse, a 1962 lawn tractor handed down to us from Tim’s Great Uncle Joe. Tim used to cruise around on the tractor at the family cottage back in the 1980s. Lawn-mowing might have happened, but all Tim remembers is the engine on that thing. It was, in all ways but actuality, his first car. Decades later, Uncle Joe handed down the tractor to Tim, who immediately gave it a place of pride in our pole barn. The Wheel Horse’s working days might have been behind it, but Tim brought it out for a nostalgic ride around the lawn every now and then, Uncle Joe’s stories always coming out with it. But the last time the tractor ran was almost a decade ago. This here is a sore spot in the story of the Wheel Horse. It was 2009 and Tim joyfully got out the old tractor to let the kids putz around on it. They were finally old enough—4 and 6—to pass on the tradition. Each boy took a turn and pictures were taken. It was a moment all fathers dream of. Then. Something blew. The Wheel Horse ground to a stop, right there in the middle of the moment. Tim took a look at the patient and bowed his head in silence. It was bad. It was going to mean tearing apart the old boy and finding parts from who knew where; the brand was no longer being built. Tim walked around like a zombie for a week. The Wheel Horse had mowed its last blade, driven its last parade lap, told its last story. It was the end of an era.

Last night, the real work began. Nelson installed the new part and started the rebuild. At one point, his father was called in to assist, as fathers are prone to do. Tim hammered something while Nelson held it in place. Then Tim left him to it. Nelson was off and running again. I couldn’t help myself: I wandered in and out of the barn until he finally asked me to help him too. I was invested in the Wheel Horse rebuild. It was a flashback: I used to hold the light for my father while he worked in the pole barn when I was about Nelson’s age. And now, 30 years later, I was being asked to hold the light for my son. I had been training for this moment all my life. We worked into the night. By “we,” I mean I held a wrench, misread a socket size and ran from a spider, while Nelson put the engine back into the tractor. By 10 p.m., he had a new fuel line in place, the clutch engaged and some big strappy belt thing put back on the driveshaft. (Every time I was asked to hold something, I was thrilled.) Finally, all he needed was oil, which would have to wait until morning. As I typed this, I heard his father get home with the oil. Then, the whir of a pull cord being tried again and again. Finally, the roar of the Wheel Horse filling the air once more. I ran outside to see. There they were, father and son with the Wheel Horse, choking on a cloud of smoke. I was so proud. Uncle Joe would be, too.

Grand Traverse Woman

trouble (in the)1412 hood 1814 momma




TO THOSE following my column all these years, Max graduated from high school in June!


But the worst part of the planning was no one told me my tear ducts would malfunction. My tear ducts misfired for much of May and June. At random times, my eyes would fill up with tears despite my brain saying: STOP IT. A cute baby duck on a pond? Tears. A Hallmark movie with a predictable ending? Tears. A clip from the “Golden Girls” that had kept me company while I rocked Max to sleep as a baby? Cue the waterworks. A trip to the grocery store to get donuts for the kids, thinking of all the years doing it? Tears. And to add to the fun, I had to hide the tears. Max and Brook would look at me funny and say: Is something in your eye? Yes, the MEMORIES are. Or the one day at the grocery store when I ran into a good friend. He didn’t seem to notice that I was wearing sunglasses inside a store. At 7 a.m. On a cloudy day. Nothing amiss here. Then he proceeded to say, HEY let’s take a pic to show my wife we ran into each other. I’m sure when the wife got the text she probably said, “Why didn’t you ask her why she was crying?!” Max’s graduation party arrived. It was fun and exciting, and we celebrated! I’m so proud of Max and am looking forward to all he will accomplish. I’m now better prepared for when Brook’s open house comes around. I’ll be sure to bust out the sunglasses 24/7, chill out about the decorations and remove some of the 2nd cousins from my math equation. Congrats, Max! We love you! Kerry Winkler is the account director and pub­ lisher of Grand Traverse Woman Magazine. She lives with her 2 teenagers and golden retriever Bobby in Interlochen. She loves being active outdoors. She can be reached at kerry@


I’m so proud of him and his hard work. But no one told me the hardest part would be planning the open house while wondering why my tear ducts weren’t working properly. There were a few things to juggle as we prepared. Picture boards: My sister Lori said to work on Max’s photo boards in APRIL. April?? C’mon, that’s extreme. But I heeded her advice as she’d been down this road. So I gathered the majority of the pictures. And, oh my, I could not find Kindergarten – 5th grade school pictures. For weeks I looked in random spots. So this is why she said “April.” I never did find them! But I did unearth a lot of good ones from baby years. And at the party, there wasn’t a single question asked about his missing kindergarten picture. I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or relieved. I decided relieved, noting that when Brook’s party comes along, I can strike an easy 6-year stretch from my workload. Headcount: We sent out the invites. Only 5 percent replied. I cringed as I remembered the many open houses invites I’d received over the years and casually noted it on my calendar but did not bother to RSVP. So I had to tackle the question of: “How much food do we need?” I went with the most obvious option of TOO MUCH. This math equation had been perfected over the years. Passed on from my grandma to my mom then to me and my sisters: Plan on everyone you’ve ever met, their mother and also their twice removed cousin you don’t want to offend. And then times that by 2. We ended up with so much food that no one went hungry, including the 2nd cousins. It was delicious. And those at the end who helped to clean up, were happy with my math skills as they got lots of leftover subs to take home. Decorations: Max didn’t really care about the decorations for the party. Or at least he didn’t care until about 48 hours before. Suddenly his opinion formed and formed rapidly. I was planning pink flower centerpieces in mugs. Which was too girly apparently. He wanted gold and green to match his school colors. So off we went to the greenhouse to pick out literally his favorite and my least favorite flowers: marigolds and dusty millers. I tried to keep quiet about my displeasure, but I was not successful. Next stop was the dollar store and there were exactly eight mugs themed gold and green… in a floral print that would make a grandma proud. I quizzed Max: Are you sure these are the ones?? You’re 18, not 88. But yes, because as a male, apparently the only requirement was the color of the mugs. So we get in line, me calculating that I now had eight ugly mugs, and several uglier flowers. This party was going to crash and burn! Then as the cashier rang us up…wait for it… the cute little old lady behind us tapped Max on the arm and said, Oh I love those mugs! I could barely wait to get out of the store and shout in glee: “I told you so!” My sister Kandy showed up later that day to help put the centerpieces together. We both put our blinders on potting the mugs with the questionable flowers. And a miracle happened. They looked good. In fact great. The mugs were unique and matched TC West colors to a tee. I had to hand it to Max; his vision was spot on. In fact, he was the one who had the last “I told you so.” Later at the party, we received lots of comments on them. Each time, I got a pointed look from Max.

July/August '19 53

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July/August '19

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