Our Family Is Growing!

We interrupt your blogging dose of wine, decor, and tipsy wonderings to share some exciting news! Our family has grown…

… by four paws!

Meet the newest addition to our family, Copper.

Copper is a beautiful red-tri Austrailian Shepherd who came home with G and I a week ago. He is super smart, super cute, and super energetic. This past week has been filled with a lot of laughs and cooing, and we could not be more in love with this little bundle of fluff.

 

Life with a puppy is a learning experience for sure. We’ve lost some sleep throughout the week as our little man adjusts to being in our home, and we’re slowly learning easy commands like Down, Sit, and No. I’ll probably be absent from the blog for a bit until I have my evenings a bit more free of keeping a watchful eye on this guy. He’s learning quickly, but at only 9 weeks old, he is quite the handful!

Copper and I went on our first vet visit on Friday. He is a chunky 15.8 “perfect specimen” of a pup, and we both enjoyed our outing. Now that he has had his second round of puppy shots, we’re planning to begin socializing out of the house from time to time. Today we’ll be visiting Grandma and Grandpa Mama along with their three dogs, and this week we’re staying with Grandma and Grandpa Pa during the day while Mom is away for a work conference. Hopefully little man will get tuckered out with all the interaction!

In other news, this upcoming weekend is Pink Tie Ball. After a year of planning, the Pink Ladies and I are about to witness all our efforts come to fruitation. We already have surpassed all our previous years in ticket sales and sponsorships, and I anticipate a record-breaking year of funds raised at the actual gala too. G and I will be dancing the night away with some of the best people and I. Could. Not. Be. More. Excited.

Looks like naptime lasted a whole 10 minutes and Copper is now aggressively pulling on my robe’s belt so I better go.

Until we meet again, friends,

What’s Your “Word” For 2019?

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I have not been a big fan of resolutions in the past simply because they seem to have a poor stigma surrounding them. Resolutions seem to have become the butt of jokes, a frustration for gym rats, and stress-inducers for those who set them. For awhile I aimed to set goals rather than resolutions. My thought process behind this decision was completely based on definitions. Resolutions are decisions to do or not do things, whereas goals are focused ambitions to achieve a desired result.

Over the last few years, I made goals for myself at the beginning of each year. These goals provided direction, and also allowed me to plan and prepare to take realistic actions for my desired outcomes. Sometimes I realigned my goals throughout the year to better serve my changing lifestyle. Other times I quit on my goals or rolled them over to the next year. There were even a few goals I proudly achieved.

For 2019, I neither set resolutions or goals. Instead, I’ve chosen a single word to bring me guidance throughout the year. It took me some time to narrow down what my one word should be though…

I was talking with a few of my girlfriends this past week on their New Year’s resolutions. Instead of resolving to change or setting goals, each of them had instead chosen a single word to use as guidance for the upcoming year. One had chosen “present” to remind her to be happy with her current place in life and to keep her grounded when thoughts of her past or future may surface. The other chose “content”. She has struggled with finding contentment in her life, either rushing or attempting to persuade circumstances to fit what she feels is best. This ultimately adds more stress to her life, so she has aimed to focus on finding the silver-linings in the here-and-now.

I had heard the idea of One Word before. There’s actually a book called My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen which goes in depth on how to choose your word. (I’ve never read the book, but have known a few people who have.) The authors state that choosing your Word is a year-changing process. This process “provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.”

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also begins her years choosing a single word to bring her guidance. In a LinkedIn post on January 1st, Gates explained that this tradition “encapsulates her aspirations for the year ahead.” She focused 2016 around the word “gentle” which helped her fight perfectionism, and 2017’s “spacious” prompted her to make room for the things in life that truly matter. She is doubling on the word “grace” for 2019 as it served her well in 2018.

I love the concept that one Word can set a theme for the year and be a constant reminder to focus on creating positive change in your life.

Looking back, I can roll each year into one word. In 2017 my year was focused on “release.” I released responsibilities, people, and stress from my environment in order to thrive (and in a few circumstances simply survive.) In 2018, “gratitude” was the resounding theme. I was grateful for a new career path and a loving husband and a first home. I was grateful for Life shining bright and for the releases of 2017 to finally make sense.

As I walk into 2019 I have been finding difficulty in narrowing the next twelve months into a single word though. The reason I didn’t make any goals was because I hadn’t considered what they may be — in all honesty, I am very content with my life as it is today and am not sure what more I could aim to achieve.

I considered “contentment” along the lines of my friend. Remaining content can sometimes be a challenge for a long period of time and perhaps that could be more 2019 focus.

I also thought I could narrow my theme to one of the goals I set back on my birthday. However, the whole point of One Word is to encompass a number of aspirations for my future.

I thought some more.

And some more.

I considered “wine”… to which my friends shook their heads and laughed.

So I thought ever harder.

And I realized that as I tried to figure out my intentions for 2019, my Word was right in front of me:

Intention.

Though I am living in a very happy, content bubble at the moment, I acknowledge that much of my life is lived in habit. Each part of my life (whether it be activities, things, people, etc.) has a sort of control over me and I see now I need to take the reigns. Intentionally.

I want to speak intentionally. I want to make intentional decisions. I want to intentionally put my life into action.

Gone are the days where I make significant number of choices simply because. Moving forward, I yearn to live with intention — living with more purpose on purpose. I don’t want to continue getting caught up in the outside noise of Life. You know, the busyness of everyday habits or the control of social media and other’s perceptions. Areas that may quickly spiral out of control if left unhindered and unchecked.

Instead, I want to take every step in my life as a well-thought, well-planned, and well-executed decision. To move my happiness and contentment of Life into the greater plane of joy.

I am aiming towards sustainable joy.

Thus I choose to live with intention.

Have you considered a Word of the Year for yourself? If so, what did you choose for 2019 and why? And if this little blurb made you think about a Word, what are you thinking to focus on in the new year? 

Until next time, friends,

Silver Beach, A History

Alright, in all honest’s truth, I wrote this short piece on the history of the Silver Beach Amusement Park when I first began working at Shadowland in May 2014. Today I met a group of my girlfriends for lunch on the bluff of St. Joseph this afternoon though, and took a walk around the familiar stomping grounds. I absolutely loved my time at Shadowland and am now feeling extremely sentimental. I feel it is only appropriate to share with you a bit about the beginnings of the wonderful place I was able to call my work environment for awhile, as well as my hometown.

The town I grew up in is surrounded in whimsical history and entertainment. Once named the Most Romantic City in Michigan, St. Joseph also was home to the Silver Beach Amusement Park years ago. The lakeside town is centered in the Lake Michigan Wine Trail and offers a number of attractions for explorers, couples, and families. If you’ve ever wanted to experience small-town life in Michigan, look no further than St. Joe on your next vacation!

Below the bluffs of downtown St. Joseph, Michigan, hugging both the Lake Michigan shoreline and the St. Joseph River lays an area where carnival music was once heard, merry-go-round carousel horses galloped in place, a roller coaster roared, and Charleston dancers strutted their stuff.

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The St. Joseph area was a hotspot for boaters. Canoes, rowboats, and riverboats provided scenic tours from St. Joseph to Berrien Springs. Logan Drake, owner of a boat livery on the St. Joseph River saw a higher calling of tourism in the area and began looking at ways to draw more people to the less-popular beaches of St. Joseph.

Romance has always played a key role on Silver Beach. During one of their moonlit courtship beach walks, Drake’s bride-to-be, Maude Schlenker, coined the name Silver Beach saying the water “shimmered like silver.” This inspired a new concept with Drake’s tourism aspirations.

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In 1891, Drake and his partner Louis D. Wallace established the Silver Beach Amusement and Realty Company with the intention of giving tourists more to do in St. Joseph. Initially, ten cottages were built along the beach as rentals for vacationers. By the end of the amusement park’s run 80 cottages were available.

To make the beach more popular for renting, Drake and Wallace invited local concessionaires to sell novelties such as swimming caps and lemonade in a barrel. Within months games of chance and a photographic studio emerged to allow couples to have their portraits taken. By 1896, an ice cream parlor, souvenir shop, and a pavilion which hosted dancing and a big band music were erected. Wooden stand and white tents could be seen up and down the beachfront. A couple of water slides were anchored in shallow water for children around the turn of the century. This marked the beginning of the Silver Beach Amusement Park!

Photo Courtesy of Fort Miami Heritage Society, St. Joseph, MI

The park continued to grow as the years passed. A wooden boardwalk was built above the Silver Beach sands to allow lake water to rush underneath. This boardwalk was a common place for courting couples to stroll at night.

Along the boardwalk were three buildings. The first building, the Natorium, housed a bathhouse and swimming pool, a rarity for the time. This was a dream of Drake’s to give beachgoers the option of swimming in either the lake or the heated indoor pool. The second was an open-ended roller skating rink which also housed Southwest Michigan’s first pipe organ.

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The third building is allowed Drake and Wallace to capitalize on the growing need for a big dance hall among the twin city area of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor by constructing a dance pavilion in 1907. The hall featured two stages for bands which urged the “Battle of the Bands” to become a popular event on the beachfront. In addition to the dance hall, the House of Mysteries was built alongside the penny arcade and concession stands to provide entertainment for all ages at the Silver Beach Amusement Park.

As the park’s popularity sky-rocketed, Drake and Wallace added a variety of amusements. In 1905 the Chase through the Clouds rollercoaster was built. Utilizing several separate one- or two-person capacity cars, the “Figure 8” coaster, as it was known to be called, became a staple of the amusement park until it was torn down in 1923 and replaced by the Velvet rollercoaster. Additionally, the merry-go-round carousel first appeared in 1916, a bowling alley opened around 1917, and several “firsts” event day activities such as the first all-male bathing beauty contest took place on the beach.

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The last improvement, and my personal favorite, was the building of the Shadowland Ballroom in May of 1927. Once it was completed, it became one of the finest dance facilities in the entire country. The Ballroom was decorated with 5000 yards of silk pongee stretched between arches that permitted natural lighting throughout. Ballroom dances were held seven days a week and were usually free, unless it was a big band night. It wasn’t uncommon to have over a thousand dancers on any one evening, and Silver Beach Amusement Park even staged at least one of the fad marathon dances during the 1930s.

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The old dance pavilion remained, but as ballroom dancing was becoming more popular, the Shadowland Ballroom was needed. The old dance hall was renovated into the Fun House. The House included a 35-foot Maplewood slide, revolving barrel, spinning saucer, sugar bowl, and a haunted house. The Mirror Maze was placed under the same roof as well.

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Drake made every attempt to change the amusement park to keep the attractions interesting and up-to-date. Silver Beach expanded with the debuts of The Whip, electric bumper car house, beer garden, Ferris wheel, and miniature diesel train called The Century Flyer. By the late 1940s the park assumed the look that would be its final face until its official closing three decades later.

During the 1950s and 60s, the park continued to evolve to the times. Kiddieland was created and featured rides customized for children too small to enjoy the larger rides. Miniature golf, go-karts, and various other carnival rides also came and went during these two decades. It was not until the late 1960s that Silver Beach Amusement Park’s popularity began to dwindle. The crime rate of the park rose significantly due to out-of-town teen gangs and the park’s congenial atmosphere decreased. After a particularly violent season in 1970, local police closed the park.

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Another factor fighting against the park was its age. Extensive repairs were needed for many of the buildings that had stood in the park for over 70 years. With a costly estimation for repairs and improvements needed for the park to open in 1972, the owners of Silver Beach were left with no other choice and the park was closed permanently.

Many of the rides were sold to interested amusement companies throughout the country. Parts of Silver Beach made their way to Indiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Virginia. The remainder of the park was left abandoned for three years before the owner cleaned up and threw the historical pieces away. It wasn’t uncommon, however, to see couples still walking the crumbling boardwalk hand-in-hand among the ruins of the once-prestigious amusement park.

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The spirit of Silver Beach is alive and well, though. In 2010, the Silver Beach Center publicly opened. Only a short walk from the expanse of beach sand and Lake Michigan, the Center offers a newly constructed Silver Beach experience. Walk through the doors and look up into Michigan’s tallest kaleidoscope. Take a stroll down memory lane by walking the boardwalk to the Silver Beach Carousel or Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum, or peek a glimpse of the Shadowland Ballroom. Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone offers excitement for kids of all ages with 15 water activities, a climbing wall, virtual reality fun, and traveling hands-on educational exhibits. Directly across the road from the Center is the Whirlpool Fountain which provides fresh, free fun to all the public. The community of St. Joseph is proud to continue a dreamer’s delight with this new vision of what Silver Beach is and will be.

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If you decide to visit my quaint little hometown, I would love to recommend the best and tastiest restaurants and accommodations. Please comment below so we can connect.

Happy travels, friends,

Shout Out To The Pink Tie Ball 2019 Committee

February 2, 2019 will be the fifth year of joining forces with some of the most amazing women in Southwest Michigan to coordinate and manage one of the area’s elegant galas: Pink Tie Ball. These women have become such dear friends to me and one of my center Tribes. Our friendships flourished following one of our darkest days: the unexpected passing of our beloved leader and mentor. Since that time we continue to rely on one another’s strength to gain support for cancer research and care in our community. They are ladies I know I can turn to for advice, hugs, and lots of laughter.

With our event happening in a month’s time, I wanted to give a little shout out to these beautiful women. We have been working diligently to make Pink Tie Ball 2019 the best yet, and I am in awe of every single member of this committee. They deserve so much praise for all their hard work. And 2019’s event is sure to be just as amazing as they are because they’ve put so much of themselves into planning it…

The Pink Tie Ball began in 2015 and has transitioned throughout the past years. Members have come and gone, venues have changed, and beneficiaries have shifted. However, one key factor remains the same: the spirit of the Committee. The Committee continues to be a group of remarkable women focused on supporting the fighters, celebrating the survivors, and honoring the taken of all cancer variants within the Southwest Michigan community. These women came together not only for a worthy cause, but also to continue the legacy of the person who brought them all together: Denise Bohn.

Denise Bohn was the Development Director for Susan G. Komen Southwest Michigan. Beginning in 2015, Denise led the original Pink Tie Ball Committee through two years of growth which blossomed into an amazing event focused on raising breast health awareness and to provide education, screening, and diagnostics in our community. In 2017, the Committee chose to continue the event and dedicated their talents to keeping the Ball local and continuing Denise’s mission. We miss Denise terribly, but the opportunity to honor her with this gala urges us forward to keep fighting for all those effected by cancer in Southwest Michigan.

With the advice and encouragement of Susan G. Komen Michigan, the Pink Tie Ball Committee decided to become its own entity in 2018. Though our mission remains the same, our support and outreach has expanded past raising awareness of breast cancer to raising awareness and support for all forms of this cruel disease. Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, and our community is no exception. For Pink Tie Ball 2019, it is our hope to support two amazing organizations, Susan G. Komen Michigan and Pennies From Heaven5, where funds raised will remain local.

It is the Pink Tie Ball Committee’s promise that 100% of funds raised at the 2019 Pink Tie Ball will go towards efforts to raise awareness of cancer and support cancer patients within Southwest Michigan. For Pink Tie Ball 2019, we are expanding our beneficiaries and plan to remain transparent with our friends and sponsors.

We have been working diligently with Susan G Komen of Michigan to ensure our PTB funds stay local in Southwest Michigan. In 2019, $5000 worth of funds raised will go towards creating 25 treatment bags including (but not limited to) the following: a jersey sweatshirt, a handmade blanket, a pillow, a stainless steel water bottle, a journal, adult coloring books, socks, a cookbook from an oncology dietitian, gas cards and a post-surgical fitted garment to wear home from the hospital after breast surgery. This treatment bag comes alongside screenings, diagnostics and education through Komen’s wide array of resources. Funds will also be used towards providing mammogram services for 25 patients located in Southwest Michigan.

$1000 of funds will be utilized for Pink Tie Ball event costs and expenses, as well as placed in preparation for 2020 Pink Tie Ball.

All remaining funds raised will be granted to our new partner, Pennies From Heaven5. Pennies From Heaven5 is a local non profit organization that offers financial assistance to young adults ages 21 to 30 for their living expenses and to provide comfort during their battles with cancer. Representatives from Pennies From Heaven5 have been working diligently with the Pink Tie Ball Committee to ensure this year’s event is the best Ball to date.

As with previous years, Pink Tie Ball will be an elegant evening full of food and drink, dancing, live entertainment, a silent auction and door prizes. Pat Moody will be Emcee for the night’s program, Jon Krugh of Center Line Music will have the dance floor poppin’, and Ben Pancoast will be returning with his always-popular Photo Booth. New to 2019, the evening entertainment will be a fashion show supporting those going through cancer treatments as well as celebrating those strong survivors among us. Studio I Boutique is the presenting sponsor for this “stylin’ against cancer” runway spectacular in this year’s program.

I am blessed to be a member of this 2019 Committee and have loved working beside so many others throughout the past five years. The Pink Tie Ball continues to grow in support and funds raised each year, and I am excited to see what we raise at this year’s gala. To my fellow Committee members, you are SO appreciated by so many and you are all such inspiration to me. Thank you for being my Tribe members, friends, and role models.

Much love,