blue water woman--winter 2013--10-29-2013

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winter 2013

User Manuals

Not Included

the joys of motherhood

Patty Shine,

Carrie Kerbrat

& Macey Kerbrat

of St. Clair


winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com 1

from the editor

First, a word about, well, me:

Happy birthday to me!

In December, I will celebrate the big 5-0. The half century mark. The

downhill slide.

And I can’t wait.

When my family and friends began asking me earlier this year, “What

do you want to do for your 50th birthday?” ideas were tossed around. And

finally, it occurred to me. I told my husband, in no uncertain terms: I want

to spend it with you, right here in Port Huron, surrounded by friends who,

over the years, have become my


For almost 25 years, I have lived

approximately 1,500 miles from my

family of origin. And I love them.

But over the years, I learned that it

was important to create a family of

my own within my own zip code.

And for more than 20 of those years,

I have lived in Port Huron. So,

that’s pretty much half of my life.

And I am ever so, so thankful for

my local friends who have become

family to me. The friends who

invited me to their family holiday

celebrating a surprise 40th birthday party with celebrations or who were brave

my adopted parents, dave and donna schwartz enough to spend holiday dinners

eating food prepared by me. The

friends who have allowed me to share with them life’s greatest joys, whether

it was singing karaoke in a dive bar, or sailing around the Great Lakes, and

life’s greatest sorrows, such as the tragedy of heartbreak or losing loved ones.

I cannot imagine having lived this wild and crazy fun ride I call my life

without all of them. And they know who they are. I know they do. And I

love them all.

So happy birthday to me. Thank you, Port Huron and Blue Water Area,

for helping me create a life that has been filled with so much fun and love

and laughter. I am so blessed. So on December 6, if you see a parade of

people making merry throughout downtown Port Huron, come along

and join us. I promise lots of fun. And I am forever thankful for the many

friends who have made my life here one of the very best a gal could ever

hope for. Here’s to the next 50 (or more!) great ones!

In this issue…the Secret Society of Moms

This issue is all about something I know absolutely nothing about. It is

about being a mom. Because I do not have children, I am not a member

of the Secret Society of Moms that I know must exist. On most days I am

lucky that I actually drag just myself out of bed and downstairs into my

home office, so I am quite sure if I had children I would forget to feed them

or I would leave them behind somewhere and lose them. I admire every

one of these women -- and every mom I know -- so much for the way they

are able to juggle the care of so many people in their busy lives (and for not

losing them). My hat is off to each and every mom out there. You have the

oldest and toughest job in the world and please know that you are admired

because I can assure you, not everyone (like, ahem, me) can do it. And

you are doing it. So pat yourself on the back (and pour yourself a glass of

celebratory wine once the kids are in bed). At least that’s what I would do.

And maybe that’s why I knew better than to become a mom. You are all

far, far better women than I am. Cheers to you!

Patti Samar

Editor & Publisher

Blue Water Woman



Patty Shine & Carrie Kerbrat 4

Ann Beck 6

Barb Randall, Ann Randall-Kendrick & Laura Kendrick Godwin 8


in Blue Water Woman!

it works! just ask our advertisers!

The ad deadline for the next issue of Blue Water Woman

is January 4, 2014!

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!

What a deal!

For more information, contact Patti Samar at 810-987-1256

or email her at pjsamar@aol.com

volume 3, number 4 winter 2013

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,

3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 7,500.

Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company

Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or pjsamar@aol.com

Subscriptions: To receive Blue Water Woman at home, mail $25 to:

Blue Water Woman, 3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060

News releases can be emailed to pjsamar@aol.com

Questions or comments?

Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256

Mission: 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 and marketing

consultation firm. View our online portfolio at:


2 winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com

winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com 3


patty shine, carrie kerbrat

& macey kerbrat, st. clair

No user manual included

by Patti Samar

Would-be moms, beware. Children do not come with instruction


That fact did not stop Patty Shine of St. Clair and her husband, Tim,

32 years ago from having four children. Nor did it stop their eldest

daughter, Carrie Kerbrat, and her husband, Kevin, from having their

first child, Macey, more than two years ago.

That strong sense of family-fun and togetherness -- through good

times and bad -- is spreading throughout the Shine family as Carrie’s

older brother, TJ, and his wife Becky, who live in Florida, have also

recently become first time parents.

“Tim and I always said we’d have six, but then we saw how much

it took with four,” said Shine. “They don’t come with instruction


Shine, who works for St. John Providence Health System at a

physician office on the site of St. John River District Hospital, has

worked full time since 1978.

She always knew she wanted a family. After graduating from St. Clair

County Community College, she married her high school sweetheart

and started her family.

“I think when I was young, that’s what you did,” she said. “It wasn’t

common for women to have careers. You found someone to get

married to and then had a family.”

And though being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t an option for Shine,

she knew that working outside of the home was good for her sense of


“I would have preferred to work maybe three days a week, if that had

been possible,” she said. “But I always wanted to be something outside

of being someone’s wife or mom. I wanted that for myself.

“Now I look back and wonder, ‘How did I work 40 hours a week and

raise four kids?’”

For her daughter, the path to motherhood has been different, but the

goals are similar.

Kerbrat, a program director at Community Enterprises of St. Clair

County, went to Ferris State University and received a bachelor’s

degree, but returned to the Blue Water Area and eventually married a

high school classmate.

“Once I grew up, I knew I wanted kids, but I don’t think I had any

idea how life would change until it happened,” said Kerbrat. “It’s fun,

but it comes with a lot of worry. Before, I wouldn’t have thought that a

fever was something to worry about, but now I do. Now I know what

my mom went through for the past 32 years.”

Shine added: “It definitely comes with worry, but I’d do it all over

again. The good outweighed the bad.”

Both Shine and Kerbrat commended their husbands with being

excellent partners in marriage and in parenting.

“Tim is a great dad and he loves being a grandpa,” said Shine of

her husband. “And I can tell Kevin is doing a great job as a dad when

Macey lights up when he walks in the room.”

A big part of motherhood for Shine has been watching her children

move through the various stages of their lives and into adulthood.

“I was never sad when they moved on from one stage of life to the

next,” she said. “I always looked at it like it was another adventure for

them. And seeing them as adults in their marriages and happy and

doing well, it’s fulfilling to me.”

4 winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com

winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com 5


ann beck, fort gratiot

with liam & ella

it’s a

game changer

by Patti Samar

Ann Beck knows what it is like to be a successful attorney representing

clients, dealing with other attorneys and being tough on the job.

And then she became a mom.

Ann and her husband, Christopher Beck, DDS, of Fort Gratiot, are

the parents of Ella, 7, and Liam, 4. “I used to be totally stymied by

rude attorneys in court and I could handle that and thought I could

handle anything,” said Beck with a laugh. “And then my three year

old says, ‘No!’”

A native of Traverse City, Beck moved to the Blue Water Area

-- where her husband grew up -- after she got married. While dating,

the two decided they would like to have a family, and Beck knew

something about having small children around, particularly since she

has a brother 12 years her junior.

“I knew what I was getting into,” she said. “But there’s no instructions.

It’s a game changer.”

Beck no longer works outside of the home and is able to stay at

home with her children. She is involved in their school where she

volunteers as a lunch room mom and an assortment of other tasks as


“I’m not working and I’m very lucky that I’m not working, soI try

to volunteer as much as I can,” she said.

At this point, her children are the focal point of her life.

“You live for them,” she said, “and I don’t mind it that their life

is now my life. My life revolves around them and I never thought I

would say that.”

The biggest life change she and her husband have experienced since

having children and becoming parents has been a shift in priorities.

“Your social life turns inward and you focus more on family,” she


A key to the success of her home life, she said, is having a very involved

spouse. “It’s huge,” she said. “I am very lucky that Chris is an

awesome husband and dad and he wants to be a hands-on dad.”

The two have learned the ropes of parenting together, she said. “I

was almost 32 when I had Ella,” she said. “I went to the University

of Michigan. I went to Wayne State Law School. I thought I was

reasonably smart. But, once we had kids, we didn’t know what we

were doing.

“It’s all by trial and error. With Ella, we thought we had it down

and then Liam came along and he’s completely different.”

Her mother and girlfriends all helped along the way and offered tips

and advice, which she found helpful or reassuring, depending upon

the circumstances.

Beck also noted that, even though much of her life revolves around

her children, she understands the importance of maintaining her

sense of self as well.

She belongs to a book club and she is involved with committees at

Port Huron Hospital. “Those are my outlets to still be me because I

don’t want to lose myself,” she said. “As much as I love my children,

I know I need my me-time.”

For Beck, however, me-time and family time are balanced.

“Have our children enriched our lives? Absolutely. Parenthood

is chaotic. It’s frustrating, it’s rewarding. It’s more rewarding than

frustrating, though. They are two little people who mean everything

to us.”

6 winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com

winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com 7


ann randall-kendrick

barb randall

laura kendrick-godwin

Part of the Action

by Patti Samar

Talk about the ultimate role models.

When Laura Kendrick-Godwin was considering possible career choices,

she didn’t need to look far to see two very educated, professional and

successful business owners. She only needed to look at her mother, Ann

Randall-Kendrick and her grandmother, Barb Randall.

From the time she was born, Kendrick-Godwin had watched her

mother and grandmother work side-by-side in the family business, both

as licensed funeral directors at Pollack-Randall Funeral Home. After

Kendrick-Godwin joined the family business, also as a licensed funeral

director, theirs became one of less than a handful of multi-generation

families of women funeral directors.

Randall, in fact, was the first woman to become a licensed funeral director

in St. Clair County. For many years a traditional stay-at-home-mom,

Randall attended mortuary school after deciding to pursue a formal

education when her four children had begun attending school all day and

she had more time.

“I thought I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. But her husband, who

was already a funeral director and co-owner of the family business, encouraged

her to attend mortuary school. “It’s a fascinating profession.”

And, as it turns out, she ultimately shared her enthusiasm for it with

her daughter, Randall-Kendrick. “I was always interested in it, but my

dad was always adamant that we needed to work for someone else first.”

He encouraged her to pursue a degree in accounting and she eventually

passed the CPA exam, but eventually returned to college to attend mortuary


“The family business was growing at that time, so there was a need for

support staff,” she said. For a while, she worked both as a CPA and as a

funeral director.

Kendrick-Godwin has also pursued other careers outside of or related to

the family business. A licensed funeral director, she is currently pursuing

a master’s degree in psychology and a few years ago she earned a Coast

Guard license and she works as a relief-captain on the Huron Lady II.

Now married and a mother herself, to eight-month-old Luke, Kendrick-Godwin

has a new appreciation for the various ways in which her

mother and grandmother broke ground for her.

“I’m still figuring out how to be a working mom,” she said. “I’ve had

times when I didn’t have a babysitter and had t bring him to work with


Her grandmother noted, “I always wanted to be a mom and God

blessed me with four beautiful daughters. I intended to be a stay-athome-mom.”

By the time Randall-Kendrick was an adult, however, the world had

changed. “It never occurred to me to be able to stay home and raise

children,” she said. “My generation thought that we would do it all. And

I was able to pretty much do it all.”

All three women noted that working in a family business has helped

their family life, particularly given the sporadic hours that funeral directors


“We work together and we’ve made the most of every minute,” said

Randall-Kendrick, whose husband is also a funeral director. “Part of our

ability to do this is due to the support we’ve received from my dad and

my husband and Laura’s husband.”

She also noted the significant contributions of their employees, as well.

“We have a lot of wonderful staff,” she said, noting that they are like

family, as well.

“One of the blessings is being able to work together and spend time

together,” said Randall.

Will the next generation continue the family tradition? Kendrick-Godwin

isn’t sure what eight-month-old Luke might decide once he is older,

but she is thankful for her own experiences growing up in the family


“Once I got married I knew I wanted to have a family and I had such

great role models in my grandma and my mom,” said Kendrick-Godwin.

8 winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com

winter 2013 BlueWaterWoman.com 12

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