Quality Tool and Stamping

The Ride March 7th

The Ride March 7th
Mercy Health Arena Muskegon

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Your Plate or Mine Benefit for Jennifer Davis February 25th at the Lakes Mall - Britta Cleveland Reports

It is always my sincere pleasure to sit down and chat with my dear friend Kate Lillie who is the brilliant heart and mind behind YOUR PLATE OR MINE located inside the Lakes Mall in Muskegon. For years Kate has put her entire heart into our community and her amazing ceramic/canvas painting shop… creating timeless memories for countless people across the Lakeshore area… but nowadays YOUR PLATE OR MINE has a whole new special purpose for Kate’s beautiful daughter, Jennifer Davis who is bravely battling a very serious heart condition. 

She is a loved wife and mother of four young children enduring a very scary, debilitating heart condition. 
Click Here to Help Jennifer Davis

This Tuesday, February 25th from 6pm to 8:30pm at YOUR PLATE OR MINE in the Lakes Mall, Muskegon they will be hosting a Public Fundraiser Canvas Painting event benefiting Jennifer Davis. The cost is only $35 per painter, with $10 of each painting going to help Jennifer with her mounting medical costs. The canvas painting class includes a 10”x20” canvas, all of the paint and supplies needed to create your masterpiece...and step by step instructions by the teacher. This is a family friendly event for all who are 8 years of age and older. Space is limited so please call to make a reservation.

For all those who are interested in participating is this event ….or if you would simply like more information about helping out Jennifer Davis and her family please see the information listed below.

Public Fundraiser Canvas Painting event for Jennifer Davis
located inside the Lakes Mall, Muskgon
Tuesday, February 25...6pm – 8:30pm
Reservations are requested
(231) 799-1918

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gavin and Kamden Cross - Making a Difference for Shelter Animals in Muskegon

We all work to try and make a difference for causes that matter to us.  Some work to help others who struggle with long term illness others, work to make sure those who go without have the needs like food clothing and shelter.  As we experience life, we develop friends who think like we do and we develop networks of like minded people who share their beliefs and work toward making a difference.  You gotta start somewhere!

Meet Gavin and Kamden Cross.  Sure, they are students in Mona Shores Middle School but, they are no strangers to working toward a goal of making sure the needs of others are taken care of.  Their mom, Jenny Cross, started the Andy Cross "Whatever it Takes" organization when they were in kindergarten.  It was in memory of their father who was lost to cancer at a very young age and left a hole in the hearts of many.  As Jenny worked to remember and honor his memory, the boys saw first hand the impact that could be made when it comes to making a difference.  They learned well.
Care to Help? The Boys Mom has a Venmo Account You Can Donate To.

Not too long ago, inspiration hit the twins.  They had the idea that if they rolled up their sleeves and got to work they could make a difference for some of the animals in our community.  When you're in middle school, you go with what you know right?  So, the idea was that if they worked to collect things that pets need, like collars and leashes, which mean that the shelter pets are going to be getting their forever home pretty soon....they will head to that home with something new and all theirs and their adoptive families also get to know that there was a little love behind their new family member.

So, what's next?  Of course, you begin with a social media video on mom's Facebook page.  Explain what you have in mind and why and get the process rolling.  Then, the local guy with the blog who likes to show off who's doing amazing things around town gets a look at it and asks if he can help.  A time is arranged, we sit down to have a talk, learn a little bit about what it's like to be a twin...life in middle school and why it's important to help in some way and how they are going about getting things done.  Meet Gavin and Kamden and learn about their "pet project".

Nice to meet some young people who've already got the idea that making a difference is good for the community and god for them.  Yes, they were taught young and that giving spirit continues and of course..there SO many stories of people young and old who try to do their part...large or small for things that matter to them.  They all add up to making Muskegon who we are.  A town of great people who find a way to make sure needs are met and we pass along that sense of community and taking care of all of us to generations to come.  Thanks to Gavin, Kamden and Jenny Cross for coming on to share their story.

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Bling Thing - Benefiting The Hackley Library Feb 7th-8th at the Century Club

In-arguably, in the center of Downtown Muskegon we have a treasure like no other when it comes to a focal point, gathering spot, historical archive and true sense of community pride when we talk about the Hackley Library.  Even just driving by the place, the sense of awe and wonder is drawn upon immediately when you see the  grandeur of the building built in 1890.  Did you know?  The Hackley Library is on the Michigan Registry of Historic Places?

It stands today as a memorial to the Lumber Baron who donated it and as a symbol of the resilience of our community.  Sure, it's evolved with the times and of course, the Hackley Library offers all the modern amenities that any library should, but there is just something about the "special stuff" inside that grabs the heart strings of all of us, or those who just come for a visit and reminds us of what a treasure we truly have nestled in an ever growing and modernizing Downtown Muskegon.

Follow Friends of Hackley Library on Facebook
The Hackley Library thrives from it's support of the community but of course, there are some things within those budgets that are not covered.  Some of the areas that need to be attended to but need a hand from an organization who's purpose is to shore up funding for special projects around the library.  Be it a new awning out front...maybe it's the re-purposing of a room to accommodate a need?  Could it be modernizing some shelves?  There are lots of things that need attending to when you're 130 years old and that's where the Friends of the Hackley Library come in.

Founded in 1973, the Friends of the Hackley Library is a membership over 200 strong who work to provide for the library where some of the "gaps" are found.  The work year round to put on events to raise the needed funds through events like the used book sale, the Hackley Distinguished Lecture, and what's become their biggest event every year...The BLING THING which is happening at the Century Club Ballroom on February 7th and 8th this year!

It all kicks off Friday Feb. 7th with an early sale party.  Your $10 donation in will get you first crack at all of the "bling" like beautiful jewelry, purses, scarves, jackets and more.  There will be wine and chocolate and of course other things that "bling", all donated to the Friends of the Library to help out by local community members.  Saturday the 8th, the sale opens back up again at 10a and you can stroll through and find something amazing as well, and in the last short part of the entire event, you will find some pretty good discounts on what remains!

I met up with Barb Klingenmayer and Carol Ann Balcom to talk about the event this year and show off some of that "bling", take a listen.

To learn more about the Friends of the Hackley Library please, click on the photo below to visit their website!

Friends of Hackley Library Online 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Giving Back Christmas 2019 - Sunday December 15th at the VFW on Apple Ave in Muskegon

There are key moments in life where you will most likely never forget where you were when it happened.  Maybe it was a historic event, maybe it was the birth of a child or the news of the loss of a parent.  No matter, the who or what...the "where" seems to stand out to all of us for one reason or another, and the "where" in the case of Positively Muskegon will always be tied to the "She Shed" of Andrea Rosema, and her event called "Giving Back Christmas"

It was just a fledgling idea without a lot of direction, this blog and my whopping crew of no one except me, and a GoPro camera.  I had just come off a couple years of some less than adequate job experiences which really left me up against the wall.  I'd get out of the 9-5 job and hope I could get home early enough to try and get the paperwork in to the bank to keep my house, because $10 bucks an hour just can't make it happen.  I had left the only thing I did as an adult, radio, on principle a couple years earlier.  I really enjoyed the NASCAR job I left it for, but when that dried up and I came back to work...finding something to do wasn't all that easy and finding someone who understood the purpose behind what I wanted to do as opposed to how much money they could grab as fast as they could grab it.  I was heading for a wall...and fast.  I had a blog program I knew was free and I had to ask the wife to use the Best Buy card to buy the cheapest camera I could find....6 months same as cash.  I needed a little direction in the whole thing and from out of nowhere, popped up Andrea Rosema.
Follow Giving Back Christmas on Facebook

She was putting on a party for kids.  It was a fun day for kids and families at the VFW on Apple filled with cookie decorating, letters and cards to soldiers, snacks, giveaways, music and fun.  There were a handful of friends pitching in and a few sponsors that gave her some things to give away...it was Andrea's chance to put a little something good back in the world, and my introduction to the infamous "She Shed".

We sat huddled around that GoPro, 4 or 5 us us.  It was FREEZING but as we talked everything fell into place.  While I had been a part of some of the largest and most detailed events you can imagine...this was the biggest thing Andrea and her friends do every year and my role in it....give them the floor!  Help them spread the word.  Show the world just how awesome every corner of Muskegon is and how vital Andrea and everyone like her are to making sure that we chug along no matter what we are facing.

So much has happened since.  Yes, Muskegon is in much better shape.  Yes, we've grown a little.  Yes, the "she shed" is still freezing and YES!  Andrea is still at it and you are still invited to bring the kids out for a great gathering this Sunday from 1p-5p to the VFW 7729 at 6285 E. Apple Ave for some holiday cheer and fun.  The list of things to do is long and it's FREE for anyone to attend!

Andrea and I met up in the "she shed" once again and had our yearly visit....where it all began!

Remembering your roots, well, it's kind of a big deal to us.  To know we grew to what we are today from one request from a mom wanting to show her kids, and the neighbor kids BY EXAMPLE what it is to take care of your community....we'll forever br grateful to Andrea and her squad.  As long as she'll have us...we'll keep going back to help spread the word.  Positively Muskegon's heart and soul lies within Andrea...and people like her.  We are ever so thankful for all who have helped us along the way.

For a real treat, click on picture below....it will take you back to our first visit with Andrea and friends.....where it all began.

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Tommy Davis Memorial Fund - Tragedy Brings Triumph To Muskegon

If you remember back a little, about a year an a half ago an isolated but remarkably scary incident happened right in the heart of Downtown Muskegon that left all of us in utter shock, two families devastated and lives forever changed in the blink of an eye.  We don't ever claim to be a perfect community, but when we lose people to acts of rage and violence anywhere it's sorrowful for all of us and we all continue to ask why?

That question of why is the haunting that will follow the ones closest to the victims for the remainder of their lives.  Why can also leave a pretty big cloud in the mind of those who are trying to remember the great things and memories of those who were lost.  What made them who they are?  What were their passions?  What light did they bring to the world and since it was taken away, should that light be forever extinguished or, should those who remember carry on with what they loved?  There really is no right or wrong answer, everyone grieves in their own way, but for the Davis family who lost their son and brother Tommy, a big part of their healing is not only remembering Tommy, but honoring his memory by carrying out who he was, what he loved and supporting the community he was so proud to call home, Muskegon.

Tommy was a Mona Shores graduate.  He LOVED basketball.  When he completed his education he went to work at Mercy Health so he could continue his love for his community and help those who needed a hand and he loved his friends and family.  One thing was more than clear in talking to his mom and brother...above all, his love for Muskegon was undeniable.
Tommy Davis Memorial Fund On Facebook

After the family had a little time, they decided that what Tommy brought to the world was more than could be let go.  So, they got themselves in the position to form a non profit organization to continue the memory of Tommy and to help that memory live on by supporting the things he loved!  Basketball...let's set up a camp for K-6th grade to learn some skills and send them home with a basketball of their own and some other goodies.  The $10 registration fee for the camp?  Went right back to the basketball team at the school for their assistance in helping at the camp.  Food.  We all know that there are so many in Muskegon who are "food insecure".  Let's get a food truck out here and feed 181 family members in remembrance.  Leftovers?  Muskegon Rescue Mission got them!  In fact the food truck was so big and proved to have such an impact they are doing another on on December 19th at Nexxes Realty on Broadway in Roosevelt Park on December 19th.  It's the very beginnings of exactly how we do things in Muskegon.  It's friends and family leading by example and refusing to let someone's memory fade or good they brought into the world go away because of one violent act.  This is how Muskegon builds community and it's a story we just love to tell.

I met up with Sherri and Eric Davis to learn more about Tommy and to find out how they are working, day in and day out to keep his light shining and to make sure that his love for Muskegon carries on even though he's not here any more.  It's a pretty touching conversation with a couple of truly remarkable people.  Take a listen.

What a gift it is to all of us to know that the strength and hope we have in our community is alive and well in people like the Davis family.  This was not the easiest thing for them to do, and it's more than understandable....but to be a gift....in the face of loss...that is where true strength lies and that is were hope abounds.  They never planned to be in this role, but to let the memory of their son and brother fade over the acts of another...that wasn't really in the plan either.  Our most sincere thanks to the Davis family for coming on to tell their story and know, that we'll be following what goes on as their outreach grows over time.  Do you wonder where miracles come from?  They come from Muskegon Michigan and they come from families like Tommys'.

Please, click on the photo below and follow their website for more information on how you can help.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Santa's Helpers of Muskegon - 5 Years of Helping Others

5 years is a long time to keep a cause going.  Especially a cause that involves the kind of effort and emotion put forth by the folks behind Santa's Helpers of Muskegon.  Facing the fact that there is a need for some is hard enough.  But then, to take action on that need and work to pair kids and families who have little or nothing with those who can give just a little is what they have been doing, and it's been a growing endeavor.

It began as a way to cope with loss.  Karen Gagnon and her daughter in law Bri Shotwell with the loss of a daughter and granddaughter, and Cathy Strait lost a child as well.  For some, facing grief, the holidays only amplify those feelings of loss.  Instead of internalizing that anguish they decided that their loss could be channeled to help make someone else's life a little more blessed.  So, they got the idea together to find a handful of those who might need a little help and try to make a difference.

Find Santa's Helpers on Facebook or Help Donate Here
Year one, was quite a task.  They had 30 kids to help.  Every thing from necessities like clothing and personal items to a couple of toys and some of the things that make the season memorable. Year two, the word spread a little and the outreach got bigger.  Along came a couple of sponsors to help out and so did a few more "sponsor families" who were able to dig a little deeper to help.

The story isn't much different than we hear anywhere else.  The need, is generally among the working poor.  The families who have what it takes to pay the house payment and the utility bills....hopefully, but the extras....those are just more than can be afforded.  They are our friends and neighbors who probably don't let on that they are having a hard time, but might be food insecure, living pay check to pay check and barley getting by.  It's a story that repeats itself over and over and seems to continue to grow.

So, we're on to year 5.  I met up with Karen, Bri and Cathy once again. Last year, Karen's pet cockatoo stole the show, but this year, we met at Rocket Pizza which has served for the distribution site for the gifts in years past to talk about their group and their mission.  Take a listen.

What I love the most. Tragedy to triumph.  The insurmountable loss felt, even today with Cathy's tears can be turned in to a miracle for others and all it takes is the realization that planting a seed is all it takes.  Helping one, soon turns in to helping two and so on.  A miracle isn't walking on water or floating in mid air... a miracle is making sure that someone else knows that there is love in this world.  Giving someone else just a little hope that somewhere out there...someone did something for them with no strings attached and that someday down the line...they can return that gesture.  A miracle is humanity and we're all a part of it.  Be part of a miracle today. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Recovery Congregations Helping Addicts in Muskegon - Learn More November 18th With Dr. Monty Burks

We are immersed in a world that seems to be ever increasing when it comes to addiction.  What's more frightening, is that what we're addicted to seems to be getting more deadly as time goes on and those addicted cross all boundaries of socioeconomic backgrounds and life styles.  The arguments have all been heard that it's the fault of one entity or the other, or maybe it's just society getting "soft" and everyone wanting the easy way out....but the reality is...addiction doesn't discriminate.

We are still in the midst of the "Opiate Crisis" by every definition of the word.  Prescription painkillers can be the start for some that lead them to the next level searching for that feeling on the street.  Alcohol is available on every street corner it seems and comes in increasingly tempting flavors for people to try.   Let's add in vaping which some consider a healthier method of delivering a drug, nicotine...which is honestly a harder habit to break than an opiate, and while we're at it we'll toss in nefarious street dealers that taint what's being sold so their customers can reach a higher high, which sometimes ends up with death.  We have a real mess going on and we have remarkably limited resources to fight it.
Click Here to Visit the Muskegon County
Cooperating Churches on Facebook

Do keep in mind, this is all being written from the perspective of a recovering alcoholic.  16 years now by the grace of God and in as much as I don't feel the bite anymore, I see day in and day out the struggles some have and how remarkably difficult it is for them to find help.  I also know first hand how hard it is to get that help when you are willing to try and that there is no certain path for anyone in recovery.  There is however a couple of key things in any recovery and as I spoke to today's guests, they stand true.  One of the first things is faith.  This isn't to corner you into any secular religious experience...it's just a reminder that faith in something will be necessary and the other is humanity.  People are key in to making sure anyone who is willing to have a paradigm shift in their life, people around them will be required to help them transition into who they will become.

Dr. Monty Burks is the Director of Faith Based Initiatives in the Tennessee Department of Health and Substance Abuse Services and has helped pilot some incredible programs there involving church congregations to provide a safe haven for those living with addiction where they can find love and support during their time of need in an environment free of judgement.  Quite often, people with substance abuse problems are left with nowhere else to turn due to their problem and with an eroded support system, the outlook goes from bad to worse.  In Tennessee over 300 churches participate in the program, and with Muskegon having 240 churches in it, the goal is to get 50 churches or more to participate in this program.

Dr. Burks will be speaking on November 18th on a few different occasions.  In the morning the first talk begins at 9a at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, then there will be a discussion at the United Way followed by a return to St. Paul's at 5:30p so anyone who's interested can hear the idea.

I was able to meet up with Kate Kesteloot-Scarbrough of Mediation and Restorative Services and Lily Marx who is the Coordinator of the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches organization to discuss this incredible program and learn a little more.  As with any discussion about addiction, I am pretty candid about my own and we talk a lot about what to expect.  Take a listen.

A new approach is sometimes what's needed!  Get informed and learn more!  This is showing great promise in Tennessee and any weapon in the fight against addiction is a useful one.  You can follow the link below to visit the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches website for more details.  Our thanks to Lily and Kate for the invite down today.