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from the editor
I voted in my first presidential election in 1984. It was my senior year in college. It was Ronald
Reagan, vying for his second term as president, versus Walter Mondale, who had served as vice
president under Jimmy Carter.
At that point in my life, as a young, emerging professional woman, I was learning, first hand, that
the world did not treat women the same way it treated men and, in my opinion, that was not okay.
Women’s issues were of extreme importance to me due to what I was experiencing as I entered my
20s. I believed that the Democratic party best represented my political views.
And so I proudly cast my 1984 vote for Walter Mondale.
And, well, he promptly lost. And so I suffered my first in a number of presidential election losses.
But I got up the next day and I went to class. And I carried on, as did the rest of the country.
With every presidential election cycle where I have not voted for the winning candidate, I have
probably felt a sense of disappointment, but, again, I just carried on.
Not so much this year. This year was different. This year, watching my candidate lose the election
hurt. It hurt deeply.
It is no secret that our country is deeply divided. And I live here, in
the Blue Water Area, in a very, very conservative community so it goes
without saying that I have a lot of friends who do not see the world as I
do. They are proudly conservatives. I try to be respectful of their beliefs,
knowing that they care as deeply about their truths as I do mine.
So, how do we bridge that deep divide? As a nation, how do we begin
This issue is dedicated to bringing us all together by just being good to
one another. By listening to one another. By really trying to “hear” one
another. And most of all, by really just trying to be polite and kind to
one another. In the words of my mother and the Bible, “Do unto others
as you would have them do unto you.”
In my life, I have a number of friends on my Facebook page who
In the words
of my mother
and the bible,
do unto you.”
remind me to be respectful. When I feel like spouting some political rant,
I stop and think about some of my friends who think differently. Is a
Facebook rant worth offending people who you know have a good heart
though you know you see the world differently?
My friend Martha is one of those friends to me.
Until recently, I had never met Martha in person. But a few years ago,
I knew of a kitty who desperately needed a good home. A mutual friend
knew Martha’s cat had recently passed away and she might be ready
to move on and make a good home for my kitty friend. This kitty had
belonged, at one point, to one of my neighbors and he was a frequent
guest at my house.
Martha agreed to take him in. So we became Facebook friends so that
I could follow the life of this kitty who meant a lot to me. I also got the
bonus of following Martha’s life.
Hers hasn’t been an easy one. But she is fascinating and interesting and
smart. And I really like her. And we love the same kitty. And politically,
we are on opposite sides of the coin. Martha can articulate with great thoughtfulness exactly why she
believes in what she believes. I have a great deal of respect for that even if I do not necessarily agree.
Martha has a tender, sensitive heart. I would no sooner say something that would hurt her than I
would hurt a fly (flies are a catch-and-release game at my house).
So before I post political rants on social media, I stop and ask myself, “Will this hurt Martha’s
feelings? What is her perspective on this? How about my other conservative friends?”
And sometimes, it stops me.
That doesn’t mean that I do not believe in what I believe. It just means that I am stopping to
think about someone other than myself. Someone whose heart I know to be very big and capable of
extending love to those around her, including one very special kitty cat who needed the love she was
so willing to give.
I’m not suggesting you do not speak up. My goodness, if anything, at this point, I am more likely
to jump up and really give it to someone who is making a racist or bigoted comment or implying
that women are less than equal in any way.
However, we are not all cut from the same cloth (thank goodness) and the only way we can really
bridge the divide we now have is to try, from the depth of our souls, to listen to and understand
those who are not evil but feel marginalized – on both sides of the political coin.
Dig through your life and find your Martha. Instead of asking, “What would Jesus do?”
(although, that is not a bad place to start, either…), ask yourself, “What would _____ think if I
posted this?” Instead, try reaching out and learning something more about those people in your life
who think differently but whose hearts you know are true.
I wish you all a peaceful and joyous new year.
Martha Thompson 4
Vivian Cruz 6
emma lynch 10
leann allen 12
jeanine mccanham 14
in Blue Water Woman!
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of Blue Water Woman is January 15, 2017.
Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!
Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;
sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!
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For more information, contact Patti Samar
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volume 6, number 4 winter 2016
Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,
511 La Salle Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 5,000.
Editor & Publisher:
Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company
Patti Samar at 810-300-2176 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions, comments or story ideas?
Call Blue Water Woman at 810-300-2176
Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication
for women living, working and playing in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.
Its stories and features are written and designed
to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.
© Blue Water Woman is the property
of Patti Samar of The Write Company
The Write Company is a writing, graphic design
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View our online portfolio at: www.TheWriteCompany.net
Editor & Publisher
Blue Water Woman
2 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
who will be named...
Blue Water Woman
of the Year?
Nominations now being accepted
for Blue Water Woman of the Year!
The Blue Water Woman of the Year Awards will honor women who reside in the
Blue Water Area of Michigan who demonstrate excellence and achievement
in one or more of the following areas:
• Mentoring other women
• Professional achievement
• Blue Water Young Woman of the Year (21 and under)
• Overall Honor: Blue Water Woman of the Year
Nominators MUST complete the nomination form and rules available at
A distinguished panel of judges from the Upper Peninsula selects award recipients.
Honoring the Award Recipients:
Those selected for awards will be notified by Blue Water Woman at the end of January/early February
2017. All will be featured in a story in the Spring (February/March) 2017 issue of the magazine. All
will be honored at a public reception (open to men and women) in February 17, 2017.
Nominators must be committed to selling a minimum of 20 adult tickets to the awards reception.
Receiving an award is no fun without a cheering section!
Deadline for Submissions:
Submissions must be received by email or snail mail no later than Friday, January 6, 2017.
Submissions must be emailed to: email@example.com.
Use your smart phone
to visit our website
and view the
Blue Water Woman reserves the right to refuse nominations for consideration without cause. All decisions are final and subject
to approval by Blue Water Woman. Why? Because we said so. ;)
4 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
by Patti Samar
REditor’s Note: In this issue, the two feature stories are written as personal essays.
Remember those cartoons where the one good guy wrestles down a whole
herd of bad guys and hurts them so badly they are pretty much begging for
Yeah, well, meet my friend Martha Cramblit. She did that once.
And nope, I am not making that up. And she sure isn’t either.
To say Martha has led an interesting, colorful life is an understatement.
Originally from Sandusky, she now resides in Port Sanilac, but did live for a
stint in Colorado and California. A single mother, she raised her three sons
on her own from their young childhood without help from their father. She
always made sure they had a roof over their heads and food on the table. To
do it, she sometimes worked multiple jobs and far in excess of 50 or 60 hours
And her sons are the light of her life. Her oldest is a military veteran who
returned from his tours of duty in the Middle East suffering from posttraumatic
stress disorder. As a result, Martha has poured her heart into
helping him adjust to life stateside again and working with the Veteran’s
Administration to help him receive the care he needs.
Martha’s middle son is developmentally disabled and lives at home with
her. She lights up when she talks about him, but that makes her a full-time
caregiver. Her youngest son is a student at Saginaw Valley State University in
pursuit of a graduate degree.
Martha works full time and has suffered a series of health set-backs
in recent years, as well. To say she has a lot on her plate is another
understatement. But that is life as Martha knows it.
Martha came into my life when she adopted a cat I knew of who was in
desperate need of a good home. A mutual friend connected us and Martha
friended me on Facebook so I could follow the life of my kitty friend.
However, the blessing has been following Martha’s life.
I gathered, from what I saw on Facebook, that her life had not always been
easy, so I probably wasn’t completely surprised when she shared the story
of taking down the three men who attempted to rob the gas station/grocery
store where she was working alone at night in a rough area of Denver.
Martha was then married and she was working the late shift to help make
ends meet for their young family.
“I was working seven days a week, nine hour shifts,” she said. “I got
quite an education. There were low-rider gangs that came into the store
frequently. I got attacked one night, but I fought them off. I gave two of
She chuckled when she noted, “The cops came back a week later and told
me, ‘Word’s out on the street that you’re pretty tough. Word’s out not to
touch the store, at least not when you’re here.’”
However, the word on the street didn’t last forever. One night when she
was locking up the store, someone grabbed her to rob her and, well, Martha
“I beat him up,” she said, noting that she grew up on a farm with a slew of
brothers, so she had learned young how to hold her own when a man twice
her size came around.
Not long after that, Martha left her husband and returned to Michigan
to be near family. “I left everything behind,” she said. “It was not a good
situation. I came home to Michigan with my kids in tow. I got a job at a
While working full time and caring for her children, Martha returned to
school. She attended a business career program in Cass City and earned an
associates degree. “I was working midnights at the factory and I would go to
school during the day,” she said.
That eventually led to a job at Prudential Financial and then moved on
to Mutual of Omaha, which sold similar products. While there, she earned a
securities license. She now works for a local insurance company.
Off and on throughout the years, she worked in factories, waitressed,
worked in dental offices and even had a route selling office machines. “Most
of the time I was raising kids, I was working two or three jobs,” she said. “I
just thank God I had the kids to keep me grounded. I’ve always just tried to
do the best I could.”
And clearly, Martha has more than succeeded.
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winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com 5
by Patti Samar
6 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
IEditor’s Note: In this issue, the two feature stories are written as personal essays
I was in tears.
When I scheduled my annual appointment with my eye doctor, I didn’t
really think anything of the fact that it was scheduled for the morning after
the presidential election. Why would I?
However, for me, this election was different. My candidate lost. And,
though throughout my life I’ve voted for plenty of candidates who have lost,
this one hurt more and differently. I woke up weeping. I even chided myself:
Who cries over a presidential election (as I soon found out, this year, a lot of
But, I put myself together and got myself to Walmart, where my
It was then and there that I met Vivian Cruz. In one brief exchange, she
changed my perspective that day and what she said to me so affected me that
I had to reach out and learn more about her.
As Vivian performed a glaucoma test on me, I noted that my vision was
kind of blurry and my eyes were red. “I’ve been crying,” I told her. “It’s been
a bad day.” It was just 10:30 a.m.
“But we’ve had worse days,” she said to me. I paused and gave that some
thought. Vivian was absolutely right. “Yes,” I replied. “You are right. We
When she finished administering my eye tests, Vivian walked toward me.
“Can I hug you?” she asked. “Yes, please,” I replied as we reached out and
Initially, I really and truly thought maybe Vivian and I were both thinking
of the presidential election that morning. But, when I contacted her days
later, she told me no, she had no idea that was why I was upset that day, but
she saw a patient having a bad day and she just wanted to help.
Helping is what makes Vivian happiest in life.
Originally from New Jersey, Vivian moved to the Port Huron area almost
eight years ago when her daughter decided to attend St. Clair County
Community College. Her daughter left the area within three months, but
Vivian decided to stay.
“I was so homesick,” she said of her early days in the area. “But I got
comfortable with the silence.” She had grown up in an urban area that was
filled with the noise and hub-bub of city life. There was no escaping the noise.
Here, she found peace when she didn’t even know she was looking for it.
“I am happy here,” she said of the life she has built here. “I do miss my
friends back home, but I don’t see myself moving back home anymore. Life
here has a slower pace and I like that.”
Back in New Jersey, she had earned a certified nursing assistant license and
she worked in a hospital. Here, she eventually found work in an assisted living
home and at the optical department at Walmart. She works as much as 70
hours or more per week in order to make ends meet.
She loves her jobs and she loves working with patients. It is no wonder she
wanted to provide extra care to me, a distraught patient, the day I told her I’d
“Ever since I was little, I just loved taking care of people,” she said. “I loved
making people feel better. I always said if I had a super power, it would be for
comfort and healing.”
A mother of three grown daughters, she is proud of their accomplishments.
One is a teacher, one runs a day care and the other is a home health aide.
Clearly, they have all inherited the “helping” gene from her.
Smiley, bubbly and optimistic, Vivian is a positive person. It is distressing to
hear that happiness has come to her in spite of her early life.
“I had a rough life,” she said of her growing-up years in New Jersey. “My
mother wasn’t always nice to me. But sometimes, you have got to let go and
forgive people. And I think of it like this: if I didn’t go through all of that, I
wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And
it was hard for me to forgive her, but I did.
“You have to live life like it’s your last day. You have to,” she said.
Her light shines brightly on all who meet her.
And, how fortunate we are, as a community, that she has chosen to make
the Blue Water Area her home.
sponsor a student to attend the
Blue Water Woman
of the Year Awards
Student Sponsorships are now being accepted!
Your sponsorship of just $30 will allow a young woman
from the Blue Water Area to attend this inspiring event!
The Blue Water Woman of the Year Awards honor women who reside
in the Blue Water Area of Michigan who demonstrate
excellence and achievement in their personal and professional lives.
Every year, Blue Water Woman magazine sponsors a number of local high
school students so they can attend this award ceremony in an effort
to inspire them to do great things in their lives.
Help us bring more high school students to the event
by sponsoring a student attendee.
All Sponsor a Student sponsors will be recognized at the Blue Water Woman of the Year awards
held at McMorran Place on February 17, 2017.
Please send a check, made out to Blue Water Woman, for $30, before February 10, 2017, to:
Blue Water Woman Sponsor a Student Program
511 La Salle Blvd.
Port Huron MI 48060
Thank you for caring
for the up and coming young women
in our community.
Blue water woman editor/publisher
patti Samar & Dale Hemmila
McMorran Place, Port Huron
Photo: Tony Pitts
hat little girl doesn’t dream
of dancing in a big white
wedding dress and riding off
with prince Charming someday?
The months of planning that walk down the aisle can
feel like an eternity to a bride, but a gal’s wedding day just
flies by, according to a number of Blue Water Area brides.
These local women have been kind enough to offer their
advice and insight to future brides. To learn more about the
dos and don’ts of planning your wedding, turn the page and
Fall 2016 BluEWaTErWOMaN.COM 7
by Patti Samar
Emma (Hill) Lynch, 21, of St. Clair,
married Bradley Lynch, 23,
on September 12, 2015 on Mackinac Island
Who planned your wedding?
My mom really planned most of it. That should have been her career.
She knew the island better than I did and I trust her opinion more than
I trust mine. It just worked out better.
How long did you take to
plan a destination wedding?
We got engaged in April and got
married in September. The faster you
plan it, the less stress there is. You don’t
have too much time to think about it.
Benefits of having a
We had a really small wedding.
Everyone in our immediate families
came. It was a very intimate wedding.
You realize who you matter the most to
because they will come no matter where
you get married. We only had 30 people
there, but you really get to talk to your
it is your
What is she glad they
spent more on:
The location. We got married at the Little Stone Church and had our
reception on the Promenade Deck at Mission Pointe Resort. It was
looking out over the water. It wasn’t cheap, but it was so worth it.
What did she save money on:
The food. I’m glad we didn’t spend a lot on that. Nobody remembers
the food at your wedding. We got a small cake instead of a big wedding
cake. We didn’t order expensive fresh flowers; we made our own silk
bouquets. And we didn’t have much in the way of decorations because
it was like, ‘How are we going to get all of that stuff over to the island?’
So we limited that. Make due with what you have.
Emma & Bradley lynch
Mackinac Island, Michigan
I bought my dress used on a wedding dress website and it was a lot
cheaper than buying it new. I wore Converse shoes under it, but I wish I
had worn little heels for the pictures because you can see them.
Don’t overthink things and stress out over the little things. A lot of
people worry about what other people will like. Remember it is your
wedding. Do what you want.
10 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
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winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com 11
by Patti Samar
leann (keely) allen, 33, of marysville,
married solomon allen, 37,
on September 12, 2015 in port huron
What did you worry about when planning?
The thing we tried not to worry about was the financing and being
able to pay for everything. We made sure to get quotes from all of our
vendors and to have the bill paid in-full before the wedding day.
What are you glad you spent money on?
We were happy we spent money on the photographers and
videographers because when the day is over, they provide you with
a lifetime of memories that have been captured throughout the
entire day. They both provided exclusive packaged deals that made
our decision simple. I recommend to take as many photos before the
ceremony, because this part takes up so much time throughout the day
and once you say your “I Do’s” you can enjoy the rest of the night.
Where could you have cut costs?
We wished we would have not spent as much money as we did for the
catering service. When picking a catering service make sure you know
exactly what they are offering, what they will supply and getting a final
quote prior to the day.
When shopping for a dress, keep it about you. Leave your entourage
for the bridesmaid dress shopping. Having too many people involved
while trying to pick your your gown is overwhelming. Think outside
of the box. The dress you love may not fit your body type. Try on all
different styles. It should be comfortable and easy to move in.
Your best advice for future brides?
My advice to the future brides is to set a budget. Make a list of the
things that are most important to you, such as what kind of venue do
you want to have? How many people do you expect to join you? Who
is in charge of paying for what? Stay calm through the entire process
and don’t get overwhelmed with the little things because the only one
who will notice will be you. Do your research on venue, music, flowers,
dresses, photographers. Keeping it simple and about you is the most
When choosing a venue make sure you cover all of your bases such as,
what do they provide for your day? Do they supply linens? Table and
chair set up? It is important to know those types of things because the
last thing you will want to do, and yes I mean “you,” is to clean up and
tear down everything after the last guest has left the reception.
Also: At the end of the night we realized that we should have eaten
more throughout the day.
12 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
Did you receive any great words of wisdom
from anyone else in your life?
We received many great words of wisdom from my mother-in-law,
Barb Allen. A few of the pieces of advice she shared after being married
for over 50 years, were to encourage each other, don’t ever belittle each
other, take time for each other, and to remind yourselves why you fell in
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winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com 13
by Patti Samar
Jeanine (Bauman) Mccanham, 46,
of port huron,
married sean (michaels) mccanham, 48,
on november 16, 2015
in the dominican republic
& again on August 27, 2016 in st. clair
What she worried about:
The legalities, the paperwork and the laws of getting married outside of
the United States. The resort walked us through it all, though. Our travel
agent told us that not every resort is equal in providing that kind of help,
so make sure you check if you are having a foreign destination wedding.
What made it fun:
We had a surprise wedding. We didn’t tell anyone we were getting
married – not even the friends who were going on vacation with us. It was
really fun for us because for five months before the wedding we planned
and talked about it but no one else knew. It was our little secret.
What would she have done differently:
Nothing! We would not have done anything differently.
Any advice for other brides considering
a destination wedding?
Do your research. Make sure you understand the legalities and
paperwork. Also, plan your wedding for what you want, not for what
you want your guests to experience. Make sure you take advantage of
anything “bridal” that is offered. Our resort offered certain amenities only
as part of a wedding package, so consider those opportunities to indulge
yourself. We received breakfast in bed the day after the wedding and had
an awesome horse and carriage ride.
Any financial advice?
We spent money on everything we wanted to. We would say, “We
only do this once.” In retrospect, I don’t know if we would have done
the reception here in the U. S. after getting married the previous year.
The reception here was for our family and friends; it wasn’t for us. We
might have done something simpler…more of a party with a dance.
Our focus would have been on us. I would have liked more of a mingling
atmosphere. We are older and we didn’t need this big traditional wedding.
14 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
I loved everything I wore. At the destination wedding, I didn’t wear a
veil purposefully because of the strong winds on the beach. I did wear one
for the wedding here. On the beach I wore footless sandals. Take that shoe
money and put it somewhere else because you want to be comfortable.
You can’t see shoes under your dress. I didn’t spend money where it wasn’t
going to be noticed.
Anything you choose for your wedding needs to be for you. If you want
ice cream and cake and that’s all you want, that’s what you should get.
All of the decisions we made were all about whatever we wanted. And I
can’t put this into words, but we had been together 19 years and we didn’t
think getting married would change anything, but it did. It really isn’t just
a piece of paper.
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WiNTEr 2016 BluEWaTErWOMaN.COM 15
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16 winter 2016 BlueWaterWoman.com
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WiNTEr 2016 BluEWaTErWOMaN.COM 17
ANOTHER FIRST FROM McLAREN PORT HURON
Most of the time, surgeries are planned and
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But when a surgery is needed immediately, the
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McLaren is the area’s only designated
Earlier this year, McLaren Port Huron earned Level
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most serious trauma emergencies. Our staff and
When seconds matter, think fast.
When it’s an emergency that requires surgery, the
trauma team is here for you. Learn more about
the state designation as well as the national
verification currently being pursued at
Learn more at www.mclaren.org/phtrauma
1221 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron, MI 48060 | (810) 987-5000 | mclaren.org/porthuron