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Weather the Cold with

The time for piling on clothes has arrived and, with that, the dreaded fear of looking like an urban Eskimo. But staying warm doesn’t have to equal feeling unwieldy. Here are some tried and true tricks for sleek — and flattering — winter wear. 11

Making a positive impact on children in need by Sarah Gray Simply Hers Magazine


ore than 130 children are currently in the court system in Hillsdale County, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is doing its part to make sure they have a voice. “I know we are making a difference,” says Executive Director Becky Spratt. “These kids are getting one-on-one attention, and they don’t know what that is.” CASA is the voice for abused and neglected children who have become wards of the probate court. The program was first established in 1977 and came to Hillsdale County in 2013. Currently, there are 10 volunteer advocates who have been appointed by Honorable Judge Bianchi. The advocate is appointed to a child who is a ward of the probate court. The advocate works one-on-one with the child and helps provide the judge with carefully researched information about the child to help the court make informed decisions about the child’s future.


CASA advocates are trained citizens who represent the best interest of the abused or neglected child in court. The volunteers build strong relationships with the child, work with them at school and home and help them through this difficult time.

Becky says that the home life of some of these children is heartbreaking. “It has humbled me and given me a whole different perspective.” CASA is currently looking for more advocates and will be starting a training session in February. Those interested must be at least 21

years old, pass a thorough background check and an interview. Training is 30 hours in the classroom and five hours in the courtroom. Becky says that advocates typically spend 20 hours with the child the first month they are assigned to the case and 10-12 hours a month after that until the child is either reunited with the family or adopted. About one third of the children currently in the system are in foster care. Ages of the children range from babies to 17. Anyone who is interested is urged to call Becky for more information. She says she would especially love more male advocates, as many of the children do not a have positive male figure in their lives. “I would love to have 60 volunteers,” she says. “Think about the difference we could make in a child’s life.” For more information about becoming an advocate, contact Becky at 517-437-0990 ext. 230, or email casaofhillsdale@gmail.com.

BACK TO SQUARE ONE Well, I’ve been home for one month now. It’s been really nice. It feels good to be somewhere safe, somewhere I have all the support and love a girl could ask for. Being home is the perfect place to reset and recharge my batteries. By Ashley Price Simply Hers Magazine

North Dakota was a great part of my life. But in all honesty, I think I should have come home sooner. I think I was scared to come home. I wanted to move home, but I didn’t want to give up on what I moved out west for. I also think for a long time that part of me felt like coming home would mean that I was a failure on some level. I mean, who would I be without North Dakota? Everyone saw a brave, independent woman who gave up everything to move out west to pursue her dreams, which was true. But the truth is that now I feel like I’m just a scared little girl who’s terrified of life and what it might throw at her. I guess I thought by coming home everyone might see through it all. But, that’s not true. I know I’m not a failure. I know I’m braver than most for trying to live an authentic life, but sometimes things become such a part of your identity you’re not sure how to break the mold. But, I did. And here I am: back to square one. Sometimes I get down about it, but I just have to remember to keep it in perspective. I have a blank canvas and every color and paintbrush available to me to create my masterpiece. That’s the beauty of starting over. You hang your past painting on the wall, put it all behind you and start a new painting from scratch. Bob Ross style. George Eliot was quoted as saying, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”


We all have the power to change the course of our lives. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. You feel locked into the life you’re in, stuck in your situation, but there’s always a way to get back to who you really want to be. Sometimes it’s learning to ask for help. Sometimes it’s being willing to accept the consequences that will inevitably come from following your heart. It might be lack of money or education. A lot of times we just lack selfconfidence. Which, to be truthful, is my biggest self-saboteur. I mean, who am I to think I’m a writer? Who am I to think I can make $100,000 a year working from home and working only four days a week? Can I even do it? Do I even deserve it? The answer is a “yes!” Yes, we deserve it! We all have that little voice in our head telling us those nasty things, but the truth is we are good enough. We can do it. Make no mistake; no one is going to show up on your door step and hand it to you on a silver platter. It’s going to take a little grit and a lot of guts, but I’ll be damned if anyone is ever going to tell me I can’t do it or that I’m not good enough, including myself. Just remember that sometimes one tiny little step can set off a chain of events that will change the course of our lives forever. Just take that one little step towards your authentic life. For me, that little step was deciding to move home. Find out what that tiny step will look like to you. Start chipping away at your exterior, put that little jerk of a voice inside your head in check and get down to the nitty-gritty, life-changing business of being you!

They do, however, offer free computer courses in Microsoft Word and Excel, help in developing a resume and retraining, if necessary. They can also screen candidates for employers with small Human Resources departments, schedule interviews and even have the interviews conducted at a SCMW! office. “We can function like an HR office,” she says. “We want to assist employers anyway we can.” While some may say there are no jobs in our communities, Sarah would have to disagree. “There are jobs, but people may have to be retrained.” She says people coming in to SCMW! for the first time should keep an open mind. “We don’t make you take a job that is not the right fit for them.” One tool to help place a job seeker with the right employer is SCMW! Job Fit assessment. The questionnaire takes about two hours, and once completed, it will give a list of jobs that are best suited for the individual. Sarah took the assessment and was told she would excel at a job in marketing and media relations which is exactly the job she had as the Community Relations Officer for SCMW! before becoming President. Sarah is a lifelong Hillsdale County resident, graduating from Hillsdale High School and attending Hillsdale College, Jackson College and Spring Arbor University to earn her bachelor’s degree in management and organizational development. She has been with SCMW! for 15 years, starting in the resource room helping individuals find jobs and complete trainings. “I never thought I would be president when I started in the resource room,” she said. “God has provided, but I also work very

hard.” Sarah is currently attending Spring Arbor to earn her MBA with a concentration in strategic leadership. She is on track to graduate in June.

Working a full-time job and having a family is challenging, but Sarah works hard to maintain a good balance. Although she has gone back to school, giving her nights and weekends filled with classes and homework, she and her husband Lynn make sure their daughters Sydney, 7, and Kaydence, 5, are able to participate in sports and other activities.

“It might mean I have to stay up until midnight that night, but I think it is a great way of my daughters to see you have to work hard to reach your goals.” She adds Sydney will regularly ask her if she has done her homework. “It has been impactful for them,” she says of her going back to school. “I want to teach my girls to be strong women. If you work hard, any dream is possible. I am looking forward to them see me graduate in June.” Currently, Sarah is mid-way through a transition year with SCMW! where her three-county region will become a five-county Region 9 as part of a state-wide reorganization led by Governor Snyder. Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee counties will join with Washtenaw and Livingston counties in an effort to streamline the agencies and make sure funds are being spent in the most efficient way possible to benefit both businesses and jobseekers. Sarah also reports to two boards of directors, is involved with the Jackson Chamber Board, is the upcoming Chair of the Shop

Rat Foundation in Jackson County and a member of the Hillsdale County Economic Development Partnership, just to name a few. She describes both her husband and herself as driven people. Lynn owns Green Energy LP, a propane company in Jerome, where they have lived for the past 10 years. He is also a full-time farmer. She says with the busyness of hers and Lynn’s schedules and the demands of her job, some days are tough. She says sometimes when she is driving her girls home from Will Carleton Academy and they are bickering she tries to explain to them that she is having a bad day and needs some quiet. “I’ll just be honest with them,” she says. Many times this prompts her daughters to ask her about her day and that helps Sarah to work through it and lets her girls know that parents have bad days, too. “Family comes first.” The Hartzlers are members of New Jerusalem Christian Fellowship Church in Cement City and are diehard Spartan fans. Sarah and Lynn even made it down to Indianapolis to see MSU beat Iowa for the Big 10 Championship. Exercise is also very important to Sarah and she’ll get up at 3:30 a.m. to make sure she gets a workout in so she can spend her evening studying or being with Lynn and the girls. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says.



100 Women Who Care chapters give back throughout Hillsdale County By Sarah Gray Simply Hers Magazine


hen Alice Waterfield was in high school, she took an aptitude test to find out what career was best suited for her. Her test revealed she should go into social work because of her caring nature and willingness to help others. It has been many years since she took that test, but Alice feels like she is proving the test right.

“It looks like it was right,” she says with a smile. “It seems like it is coming true.” Alice has been taking care of people and helping others her whole life, but it was only recently when she heard about an organization made up of women giving back to their community that she felt the urge to take action. Along with Lora Ward, Alice has started a 100 Women Who Care chapter in Hillsdale. She says she was talking with friends earlier this year at a hospice board meeting where she serves as a board member. Jane Munson started talking about the Jonesville chapter and the Reading chapter of the organization and Alice became inspired. “It really hit your heart,” she said of the help the group provides. She says Lora quickly elbowed her in the side and said she’d help Alice get the Hillsdale chapter started. 100 Women Who Care is an idea started by Karen Dunigan of Jackson. The mission is simple: to help local charities and individuals in need. The execution is simple as well. Each chapter meets once a quarter and meetings last between 30 minutes and an hour. Each member commits to donating $100 per year, or $25 per meeting. At the meeting members have the option to nominate a charity or individual by paper ballot. All nominations are collected and three are drawn at random. The members whose nominated charities are drawn give a five-minute presentation about their charities. The group then votes to determine the recipient of the meeting’s donation. If 100 women are present, that’s $2,500 to a local charity in just one hour. “It’s so darn easy,” Alice says of the meetings. The short meetings and immediate donation make it more appealing for women to attend and more gratifying to do so much good in so little time. “It really makes a difference for everyone who receives it.” So far, the Hillsdale chapter of 100 Women Who Care has had one meeting. Their second meeting is planned for January 7 at 6 p.m. All meetings are held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, of which Alice is a member. “St. Paul’s has been so supportive,” she says. She also contributes much of the success of the group to Lora. “We have really had so much help. It’s been a wonderful experience.” 44

Kathi Boyle said she decided to start a Jonesville chapter of 100 Women Who Care after hearing Andy Barnhart talk about the Reading chapter on WCSR. The chapter had their first meeting in June and added 20 more members for their October meeting. The chapter’s first recipient was Ashton Pruitt of Jonesville who has epilepsy and a year and half ago underwent a neurosurgery and hemispherectomy. The funds collected help him go to a Robocamp, a robotics-assisted therapy program in California. “They were so touched,” Kathi says of both the Pruitt family and the women who heard Ashton’s story. There is also a Reading Chapter of 100 Women Who Care that began in 2011 by Annie Russo. There is one stipulation with the 100 Women Who Care chapters – the charity must be local. No national organizations are considered. And 100 percent of the donated money goes to the recipient. Members make checks out directly to the charity picked so there is no overhead. Alice says meeting can be done in as little as 30 minutes. Members also don’t have to attend the meetings to participate and while $25 is the suggested donation, many members have given more once they learn about the recipient. Along with started the Hillsdale chapter of 100 Women Who Care, Alice is also a hospice volunteer and an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Originally from the Toledo area, Alice and her husband moved to the area in 1995. She has five children, 23 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Although she says the group and volunteering with hospice “keeps her out of trouble,” she attributes the kindness of women – especially in this community – for the group’s success. “We have a soft heart and we want to give. We want to help.” Currently, more than 40 women have joined the Hillsdale chapter, and Alice is looking forward to many more at their January meeting. “I want 101” she jokingly says. For more information about the Hillsdale Chapter of 100 Women Who Care, contact Alice at 517-439-5389. The next meeting is set for January 7 at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsdale. The next meeting for the Jonesville chapter is January 11 at 6:30 at Grounded in Grace in the Jonesville Presbyterian Church. The next meeting for the Reading chapter is February 12 at 5:30 at Reading Elementary.

Lifetime Possibilities:

Planning for Mental or Physical Incapacity

By Laura Rahe Simply Hers Magazine

Many of us know individuals who can no longer make their own decisions because of mental or physical incapacity. Many of us, though, do not prepare for incapacity in our own lives. What about you? What would happen if you suffered an illness or injury and became incapable of managing your own physical and/or financial affairs? In addition, what would happen to your parents, or any other person whom you love, if they suffered an illness or injury and became incapable of managing their own physical and/or financial affairs? Except for people born with certain disabilities, every person makes a choice whether or not to plan for incapacity. Planning for incapacity requires that a person prepare documents that name someone else to act on his or her behalf regarding personal and/or financial decisions. If documents are not prepared and an illness or injury results in incapacity, a court-appointed guardianship and conservatorship often becomes necessary.

Timothy E. Dixon Licensed Michigan Attorney Law Office of Timothy E. Dixon 27 N. Broad St. Hillsdale, MI 49242 Ph: (517) 437-4070 Fx: (517) 437-4062

When a person becomes incapacitated, someone else must have authority to make decisions. Someone may have to make doctor appointments, determine medications, decide where you will live, pay your medical bills, etc. The level of incapacity usually determines the extent of authority required for decisions. Sometimes decisions are limited to handling financial matters or ensuring that medical care is provided. Other times the decisions encompass the incapacitated person’s entire life. Planning for incapacity involves preparing documents and naming specific individuals to act on your behalf. There are certain advantages to preparing for incapacity ahead of an illness or injury. The main advantage is that you are able to choose the person to take care of your affairs rather


than leaving the decision to Michigan’s statutory order and Probate Court. A second advantage is that courtroom hearings may be avoided. Michigan’s statute determines the order of appointment for specific individuals as guardian and conservator. Accordingly, the statute requires that the court must consider an individual serving in that capacity in another state, or the individual of your choice if you are mentally sound enough to choose, or persons nominated in a durable power of attorney or named in a patient advocate. Following this, the court may consider spouses, adult children, parents, relatives, caregivers, or professionals to be chosen as guardian or conservator. Therefore, if you choose a person in writing to serve on your behalf before incapacity, and a court appointment becomes necessary, and your condition makes you unable to select someone at that time, your choice is likely to be honored. Courtroom hearings are often avoided when Patient Advocate Designations and Durable Powers of Attorney are prepared before incapacity. This is because these documents typically provide the same types of authority as court appointed guardians and conservators. The court will take care of you so why is planning important? The biggest reason is because you know your family, friends and circumstances better than the court ever will. Accordingly, you may know one or more individuals that would be a great patient advocate or guardian, and another individual that would be a great financial agent or conservator. You also know people who should never serve in that capacity and should not be chosen. Remember: prior planning often prevents poor results.

Time for a . . . Relationship Resolution Well, we have made it through another holiday season. I am sure your relationship was tested a time or two during the last couple of months, but take heart, a new year is finally here. As the new year resolutions begin to fly, I challenge you to add building a deeper relationship connection to your list of weight loss and financial stability. In fact, here are seven easy steps that will help you keep your relationship resolution.

Step 4 Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you. The dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you’ve rarely talked about. Make it a fun, enjoyable night for both of you. In fact, it would be a great idea for the kids to have a sleep-over at grandma’s so you can focus on being a couple.

Step 1 Make a conscious effort to refrain from saying anything negative or hurtful to your spouse. If temptation arises, choose to say nothing. It is better to hold your tongue than to say something hurtful.

Step 5 This one is a little harder. It is time to look at yourself and remove any addictions or distractions that might be stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse. You will be surprised by how much energy is being spent feeding your alternative “loves.”

Step 2 Find an opportunity to do something kind for your spouse. Something only for him, not to fill your own agenda. Send an unexpected text or a quick call to say hello. It doesn’t matter what you do; it really is the thought that counts. Step 3 Buy a small token to let him know he is in your thoughts. I am not talking extravagance here. In fact, for my husband, it was a special treat from his childhood that I discovered at a gas station. His joy was spontaneous and real, and I loved his reaction as much as he loved the pecan log.


Step 6 Let your spouse know that he is an important part of your future. This may sound corny, but all too often we allow ourselves to feel unnecessary. A little reassurance will go a long way in building your relationship. Step 7 Forgive him. Whatever you are holding against him, let it go. I know this will be the hardest thing to do, but by forgiving him his past errors you allow both of you to heal and grow. Well, that’s it, seven steps to a deeper relationship. When you reach step seven I encourage you to begin again at one. Good luck in the new year!

Avoiding the kitchen

Nightmare Kitchen renovation horror stories are everywhere — practically everyone who has tackled a remodel has lived to tell the tale of what not to do.

whether you need a larger space for entertaining, more room for multiple chefs, places for kids to do homework, etc. Think big picture for the best results.

The average kitchen renovation will last about 15 years, so instead of paying close attention to trends, consider how your redesign will feel long-term.

Don’t let the details distract.


Browse magazines and comparison shop ’til you drop. Get multiple estimates and expert advice. Having broad knowledge will help you feel well prepared to tackle this major milestone.

Don’t think instant results.

So how can you tackle a redesign without suffering the same misdeeds as your renovating forefathers and mothers? Here are five kitchen renovation don’ts.

You’ve fallen in love with a cooktop, or a grout color. Experts advise that instead of designing a new kitchen around tiny nuances, look instead at your life stage. Are you a young family? Empty nest? Allow these stages to dictate

Don’t go in blind.

Don’t DIY ’til you die.

Sure, you can attempt to rewire electricity or plumb water lines. But should you? Experts advise that you choose your DIY battles, picking simple tasks like painting and sanding while letting licensed experts handle the rest.

Don’t assume bigger is better.

You know the old axiom: A $5,000 stove and a $500 stove will both boil water. So browse user reviews and consider your needs before buying that industrial stove or high-end countertop, putting your dollars where they’ll make you happiest.

Cross-country skiing:

the second-most ski areas of any state in the nation. Michigan is the ideal place for family-friendly skiing, but it also offers the highest verticals in the Midwest at Mount Bohemia. Most ski areas offer rentals if you don’t already own equipment. For a thrilling winter spectacle, check out downhill skiing events such as Boyne Mountain’s Holiday Rail Jam. To get the full winter getaway experience, plan a weekend trip at one of Michigan’s top-rated ski resorts including Crystal Mountain, Boyne Mountain or Shanty Creek Resorts.

Cross-country skiing is the perfect way to indulge in nature while burning off some holiday calories. With more than 3,000 miles of groomed ski trails throughout the state, there are bound to be a few trails near you. This winter pastime is ideal for someone looking to trade a fast-paced lifestyle for a few hours lost in quiet contemplation amidst the trees and freshly fallen snow. Many parks and nature areas offer ski equipment rentals and guided ski events. Take advantage of cross country skiing events offered during the winter months such as lantern-lit ski nights in Ludington State Park.

Dog Sledding:


Downhill Skiing: When it comes to downhill skiing, Michigan delivers. With 51 combined ski areas, 260 lifts and 1,000 runs, Michigan has

Jump on your sled and embark on a high-speed winter adventure that can only be fully appreciated in Michigan’s back country. The Great Lakes State provides unparalleled possibilities for snowmobilers, boasting one of the most interconnected off-road recreational trail systems in the nation. Riders can “get lost” in more than 6,500 miles of groomed trails winding through state and national forests. The Upper Peninsula is consistently ranked one of the best places in the United States to ride. Businesses throughout the state make it easy to join the action by offering daily or weekly rentals. Racing events, such as the International 500 Snowmobile Race in Sault Ste. Marie, make snowmobiling a spectator sport as well during winter months.

In Michigan, dog sledding is not just reserved for the professionals. Anybody can learn to mush! Dog sledding is a winter experience that requires little more than the love of adventure and adorable canines. There are a number of opportunities throughout the U.P. to get behind the reins, including guided trips with trained professionals at Nature’s Kennel who will have you leading your own team in no time! Observe all the action by attending one of Michigan’s annual sled dog races such as the UP 200 Sled Dog Race in Marquette. This premiere event attracts spectators and professional mushers from around the U.S. and Canada.

For more ideas for how to embrace Pure Michigan’s winter wonderland, visit www. michigan.org/snowday.



Our creative contributor for this issue is Breanna Koch, Co-Owner Salvaged Décor. (517) 938-8550 www.salvaged-decor.com, www.facebook.com/salvageddecor Here is what she had to say: Even damaged pieces can be salvaged. It’s not often we throw something away! Embossing medium is used to create many different effects on furniture and cabinets.  It is great for covering up blemishes by creating textured finishes, raised stencils, and even filling in holes or large scratches. It will adhere to almost any surface.

Step 3. Start your application by first adding some embossing medium to the corners of the cheesecloth. This will help secure it so you can fill the rest without it moving. When applying the embossing medium I like to use old department store or gift cards. They have more flex than a trowel making the application process easier. Using your card, gently apply the embossing medium over the entire top to cover the cheesecloth completely. Do not over work it.

PROJECT: Salvage a damaged table using a textured finish. SKILL LEVEL: Beginner TIME: 2 - 3 Hours (plus dry time) WHAT YOU’LL NEED A piece of furniture that could use some love Cheesecloth Embossing Medium Old credit card, gift card, etc. (Best “embossing medium” trowel you’ll ever own!)

220 grit sandpaper Paint of choice Paint Brush Glaze Finishing product (Optional if using Paint Couture glaze)

Step 1. Clean piece thoroughly and let dry. A mixture of dish soap and baking soda works well for removing any dirt, grease, or grime. There is no need to sand or strip your piece.


Step 2. Cover the entire top of your piece with a layer of cheesecloth. Be sure to pull out any wrinkles.

Step 4. Once the top is completely covered, gently go back over it to remove any excess and put back in the jar. Step 5. Let the embossing medium sit for 1-2 minutes while you clean off your card and the rim of your jar. Be sure to remove any excess with a wet paper towel and DO NOT wash this down the drain. I would also recommend using a paper towel to wipe any excess off your hands before washing them. Step 6. Gently remove the cheesecloth and let the embossing medium thoroughly dry. Step 7. Once dry, lightly sand the top with 220 grit sandpaper or sanding block to knock down any sharp tips. All it takes is a light pass of the sandpaper, should not require any muscle. Step 8. Last, paint your piece with a color of your choice. Using a glaze over the embossing medium will help to create more dimensions. For my piece I used products from Paint Couture. The top color is British Gray with Zinc glaze and dry brushed Champagne glaze over top. The bottom color is French Putty and finished with Champagne glaze. This glaze does not need a medium over the painted surface before applying and can be used as a final finish, thus saving time and money! If you are not using a glaze or have a piece that needs extra protection, you can use an additional finishing product. I prefer Couture Lacquer for its durability and non-yellowing formula.

Profile for Angela Blake

Simply hers lr 0116  

Women's lifestyle magazine. Serving Hillsdale, Branch and Lenawee counties.

Simply hers lr 0116  

Women's lifestyle magazine. Serving Hillsdale, Branch and Lenawee counties.