Saturday, September 8, 2007

Blogging Ban Lifted

I have been living under a self-imposed blogging ban ever since school started. I made a promise to myself that I would not blog until I got my school work caught up. In this case, I have been working two jobs AND doing school, never mind the other "usual" stuff....maybe I should be amazed that it only took a month! Nevertheless, I'm back!
A lot has happened in one month. I did get accepted into the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Spring Arbor-YEAH ME! I am noticing already that it's a lot more of a challenge than my undergrad. Just so you can plan ahead and save the date, I graduate with my masters in May 2010! There will be a celebration!
Trev and Courtney just started back to GRCC again for their second year and yes, they are back together again-GOOD NEWS! Court has a new job at Huntington Bank that she loves.Trev is still at the Lost City as a manager.
Tyler is working for my friend Sybil at the Leaf and Bean. He is either going to attend GRCC or Spring Arbor this winter semester. He's still looking for full-time employment.
Jayden will turn 2 on September 18th. Time has really gone by fast.We are having a little family party for him next week. There will be pictures GUARANTEED!
I am managing to keep insanely busy. As I said, I am working two jobs and doing school full time, I go to my life group from church one night per week, a divorce recovery workshop called Hope for the Single Again at Central Wesleyan another night, classes at Spring Arbor yet another night and then I work the other two nights. On the weekends I usually work at least a little bit at either Body Perfections or at the shelter-unfortunately, sometimes both! I do try to make some time every week to do something with the boys and Jayden and at least one friend activity per week. Still involved with the First Impressions team at Church and I do try to get there pretty much every Sunday. I have also just started back to the family support group meetings through Tyler's school program. These meetings are very relevant to the work I'm preparing to do as a Family Life Educator and Counselor.
That about does it for catching up...I hope to never take another break for such a long period of time. I do love my blog!

Fundraiser for Braxton Kalkman held at Body Perfections 8/17/07

On August 17th, the staff and clients of Body Perfections held a fundraiser in the salon to benefit Braxton Kalkman, son of Teressa Kalkman, a stylist at Body Perfections. Braxton, who is 5 years old, was born with Spina Bifida. Because of the conscientious care of his parents, Chad and Teressa, and the loving support of his entire family, plus the very best medical interventions, Braxton has done very well.

He has overcome many obstacles in his young life and continues to approach the challenges before him with energy and enthusiasm. To take care of a child with Spina Bifida does involve a lot of other necessary things: medical visits, testing, therapy, equipment such as braces and a walker, modifications to the interior of the home to make it easier for Braxton to get around. The owners and co-workers decided that they wanted to help in some way. So, the idea for a fundraiser was born.
Everyone was eager to sign up to work and the appointment book filled up with clients who had been hoping for the opportunity to contribute as well.

From 3pm-9pm all of the fees for services and tips were donated to help defray the many costs of providing needed treatments and supplies for Braxton. The owners, Pam Kalkman, Judy Nuismer, and Paula Phillips also donated a Supreme Spa Day worth over $300, 4 One-Hour Massages, and 6 haircuts for a raffle.

By the end of the evening, the benefit totalled well over $5,000. Everyone involved had a wonderful time working for such a worthy cause. The clients felt a sense of satisfaction in knowing that Braxton would be able to get what was needed to continue his progress. This was one night that work didn't seem like work at all-just pure joy!Everyone felt great about being there. The highlight of the evening was when Braxton himself came in to draw the winning raffle tickets.

This young man has a personality the size of Texas, he has drive and energy and a contagious love for life! He will surely go far and there is no doubt he will handle with finesse whatever comes his way. It is amazing what can be accomplished when everyone works together.

To view the entire picasa web album, put the following address in your browser:
OR simply click on Lana's Picasa Web Album link on the sidebar of this blog under "i likes it, i likes it a lot"

Whittle House

Whittle House is the name of the residence owned by my good friend Michelle Siterlet. In my opinion, Michelle is a decorator like no other! Of course, I could be a little prejudiced because I like her a whole lot...but I do know that her last home in Rockford was also very beautiful and tastefully done and Michelle has worked free-lance as a decorator for an upscale realty firm in Cadillac. Michelle also helped me select the color palette for my home when I repainted the entire interior last fall. She has promised to return for a pull-together session at my house very soon for which there will be before and after photos-I swear I will share those with you on this blog!
The very first time I visited at Whittle House I just knew I'd end up doing a story about it.I loved the house the minute I saw it.I've been increasingly impressed ever since. The transformation from run-down old farmhouse to it's current state of beauty is a tribute to the hard work, talent, vision, and labor of love that Michelle has poured out to create this home.
Michelle has always loved cleaning, organizing, decorating, restoring, designing-in general, she gets joy out of making things better than they were before. I met Michelle and became friends with her when Tyler and her son Shawn were in program schools at the same time. We were in the same family support group and Michelle and I became fast friends. That friendship has lasted long past the old program days. Our sons are now grown young men. We have seen each other through thick and thin in the years since becoming friends.

Back to Whittle House...somewhere around 2005, Michelle began to look for a home to restore. On one of her drives, she discovered Whittle House. It looked a lot different than it does now to be sure! Michelle could see past all of that to the incredible potential there.
Once Whittle House was purchased, Michelle spent a lot of time researching the history of the house and the building trends and detailing common to houses built during this period. She sought out craftsmen who could replicate the original woodwork where the original could not be restored.

Michelle also put in some creative little niches of her own and unique window configurations.

She chose and oversaw the use of the motifs used on the wood turnings for the exterior of the house.
All the paint colors, tile, flooring and kitchen design were to her individual specifications.

The conservatory, not part of the original home, was also her idea.
After the house was reworked inside and out, Michelle set about decorating. Being a friend of Michelle's and knowing her quite well, I can honestly say that I have never seen a house before that so reflected the very being of the person who lives within the walls. Every nook and cranny, every room, every hall, every picture or piece of furniture reminds me of Michelle to the nth degree! If you want to really know who Michelle is as a person, all you have to do is look around this home. You will come away with a sense of peace, warmth and family.
Michelle shared with me that she took many hours painstakingly choosing the furnishings and accessories for this home. She placed items in many different configurations before settling on just the perfect look that she was trying to convey in each room grouping. Her taste is impeccable.
Last fall I stayed overnight at Whittle House so that we could go to the Plaid Festival in Cedar Springs. I slept like a rock in the guest room and felt very much at home. The guest room faces a pasture area across the road where many beautiful horses run and play in the early morning hours. It was so picturesque. It was hard to convince myself to go home!
In case any of you out there reading this are interested, circumstances beyond Michelle's control have forced her to place this gorgeous home on the market. If you are interested or know someone who might be, feel free to call her. Michelle does offer her decorating services free-lance for a reasonable fee. If you would like to talk to Michelle about your decorating needs, you can contact her at 616-874-1554H., 616-293-4982C. or email her at
I hope you have enjoyed this pictorial tour as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you. We all have our own hopes and dreams regarding our sacred spaces called HOME. Looking at the beautiful pictures of Michelle's Whittle House has inspired me to dream a little bigger!
If you would like to see the entire web album on picasaweb, put this address in your browser:
OR click on my picasa web link at the side of this blog under the heading, "i likes it, i likes it a lot"

Night out in Rockford with Michelle/Celtic Fest

About a month ago, I spent a delightful day in Rockford at the home of my long-time friend Michelle Siterlet. Besides having a good visit, we sat and talked about her incredible journey restoring the 150-year old farm house on Whittle Rd. That will be the subject of another entire post! We took pictures inside and out. By early evening we had worked up quite an appetite. So, we ordered a pizza and went to quaint little downtown Rockford to eat at "the dam"

which, as it turns out, is a damn popular dam turned city park complete with walkways and gardens and even a gazebo!The best part was the people watching! A very compelling assortment to be sure! The night in question was also Celtic Fest. We reaped the benefit of being in the right place at the right time. There was music coming from a tent on the waterfront to serenade us during our dinner. Lots of interesting shops and street vendors for our perusal. Of course, the ever popular ice cream joint sitting in a handy location just off the main drag-we indulged ourselves with turtle sundaes. This is a really cute town with some one-of-a-kind shops and nice restaurants and bars along the way. Check it out if you get out that direction. I will certainly go again sometime. Everything was perfect on that idyllic summer night, especially the good company. Thanks Michelle for dragging me out of my rut. Always fun to come your way. Always lots of laughs. You're great on a date!

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