Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Friend Who Cares

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Mark and I received this note from a friend recently and I wanted to share it here.

Mark and Rosemary,

This reflection by Henry Nouwen brought you to my mind and heart. I know that God is blessing you both with grace-filled friendship always!



“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

Our Closing at Transnation Title

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Six years ago we sold our home on Robinhood Drive and moved into the Balcom’s Cove condominiums on Muskegon Lake. We’ve been renting all of this time because it felt like the right thing to do but we have had so much fun here that we thought it was time to buy.

On the day of our closing as we entered the closing room at Transnation Title my thoughts traveled back to the spring of 1983 when I first started working at this title company which was called Transamerica Title back then. I looked around the closing table and thought about the business relationships my co-workers and I have cultivated over the years. Since I wasn’t able to sign any of the documents I had time to daydream a little.

Sitting across from me at the closing table was Jim Raymond from Chrystal-Anderson. Chrystal-Anderson used Transamerica exclusively back in my early days at Trans so we formed some solid relationships with all their real estate agents. Our offices had a lot of fun together at our annual softball games and occasional cocktail parties. My boss at the time, Tom Olson, was the condo expert in Muskegon then so Tom and our staff worked on projects for Chrystal-Anderson and developer John Darien. Three of the projects that come to mind are Harbour Towne, Just Off the Green and Balcom’s Cove. Ironically, I was at the ground breaking ceremony for Balcom’s Cove but never thought I would ever own one of the condos.

Sitting to my left was Leo Langlois from Greenridge Realty who was our real estate agent. Leo stays on top of things through the whole buying and selling process, his fine attention to detail and his great follow-through skills make working with him a pleasure. I first met Leo when he started working for Westwind Realty and used Transnation for his title and closing services. Westwind Realty later sold to Greenridge Realty and Leo has remained loyal to both Greenridge and Transnation even though Greenridge has their own title company. Thank you Leo, we appreciate your loyalty.

Renee Nyblade from Community Shores Bank was our lender and made the mortgage process really simple and worry-free for Mark and I. I still remember meeting Renee for the first time when I invited her to have lunch with me at the downtown Holiday Inn. Renee was a new mortgage lender at a bank called FMB and I wanted to welcome Renee into the Muskegon real estate world and let her know about the great services Transnation had to offer her. Renee now works for Community Shores Bank, one my favorite banks in Muskegon. I know a lot of the Community Shores employees on a personal level and I always feel like family when I walked through their doors. They are a great community bank in Muskegon.

At our closing I proudly sat back and watched my friend Mindy Prause eloquently explain the closing papers in her sweet voice. My mind drifted back to when Mindy started working at Transnation. She was in her teens and was very timid and shy and now she handles any type of closing with confidence and grace.

I remembered the first closing I did as an employee at Transamerica Title. It was a simple cash sale of vacant land with Larry Rottman as the seller and Rod Horsfall as the buyer. It was a 4:00pm closing and I remember being so nervous all day even though I had practiced with Mark the night before.

Transnation Title was a great career for me. It taught me so much about real estate, the business world and people.

After our closing, we got a tour of Trans’ new expanded offices and I loved seeing many of my Transnation friends again. Trans employees were my family away from home for nearly 28 years. Thank you all.



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After having Bryan, our fourth child, we needed to save some time in the mornings so Mark offered to help by showering our kids after he was finished taking his shower. I thought this was a great idea because it would serve two purposes, the obvious one being saving time and it would also help our kids get used to having water streaming over their little faces from the shower head which would help them get ready for one of the first steps in learning how to swim. So with the water still running from Mark’s shower he would say, “I’m ready for the first kid.” I would pass a baby into him and when he was finished I would be waiting with a dry towel outside of the shower, wrap that baby up and send the next one in to get washed.

Corey & Bryan

This went on for years until they could all shower on their own. Before Mark stopped he taught Bryan two shower songs, “Red Roses For a Blue Lady” and “My Girl.” With Bryan’s sweet two-year-old voice he would sing those songs to us. He was (and is) so adorable.

Today Mark is still helping with showers. He has been helping me in the shower ever since last September when I fell and cracked my head open and needed stitches. Mark takes his shower first as I sit waiting in my wheelchair with a towel over me. When Mark is finished taking his shower he dries off, picks me up and holds me close as we dance toward the shower door where he has to help me lift my leg up and into the shower. He doesn’t sing to me like he did to Bryan but we do have beautiful music playing.

Mark always wanted to shower with me but I’m not so sure this is what he had in mind.



My good friend Kristi Fagan and her daughter Ashley stopped by for a visit and Kristi asked me what I miss the most about not being able to move most of my body. I thought about it for a minute and said I miss giving heartfelt hugs, waving hello and goodbye and being able to pick up Harrison.

But being able to cuddle my sleeping grandson makes up for it a little bit.

The Bravelet


Earlier this week I received a beautiful bracelet from Chad and Devin with the inscription of ‘be brave’ on it. They also sent a bracelet to Devin’s mom with the same inscription because she is battling a liver disease. I wasn’t being very brave the day I received this pretty bracelet because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. Mark and I had just spent a wonderful week with Corey and I was sad to see him leave. I’ve never been very good at saying goodbye and it seems to be getting harder each time.

That same day I received three heartwarming and encouraging emails from three different friends which all helped me see a true picture of life. They helped me see that my life is not just about me and my suffering, it’s about everyone dealing with some sort of suffering in life. No one escapes suffering.

I would like to share one of the emails I received that day. It’s from Mark’s sister Vicki and it really hit home.


Just wanted to share this with you. On Saturday a friend of mine called and she was having a rough day. She was feeling pretty blue and having a pity party. We spent quite a bit of time on the phone and then I suggested she read your blog. On Sunday I received a text from her “I’m choosing joy today – thanks to Rosemary”. Today I sent her a text and asked her how it went. She said the day went really well. She just kept reminding herself that she was choosing joy.

You 2 have never met, but you are instrumental in helping her get through a rough patch. Just thought you might want to know.



I really believe that we need each other to build us up because without all of you I would have died a long time ago.