Tag Archive for: Life Outside of Loans

Image showing a family tree for the Fredricks Family.

Success Story: The Fredricks Family

As part of our “Success Story” series, we’d like to introduce you to the Fredricks Family, a group of parents, siblings, cousins and friends, that have trusted Michigan Mortgage to guide them home. This is their story.

At Michigan Mortgage, it’s a family affair. We employ husband and wife teams, cousins and life-long friends.

Often times, the families we work with are related too. It’s an honor and a privilege when multiple generations – like members of the Fredricks Family – put their trust in Michigan Mortgage.

It all started many, many years ago. In third grade, in fact. Long before Rob Garrison was a licensed Loan Officer, he spent his days on the playground with Brian Fredricks. A friendship was born and it has lasted for nearly half a century.

“My dad, Brian, originally recommended Rob to me,” said Zach Fredricks. Because Brian had closed a loan with Michigan Mortgage years ago, and the two have been friends for so long, Zach was convinced that Rob and his team were the right fit.

He made the right choice.

“Early in the process, Rob advised us on ways in which to improve our credit score and drop off hundreds of dollars a month in interest making our dream home affordable,” Zach said.

“There were several times Team Garrison saved the deal,” he continued. “During the appraisal, when calculating cash to close. It’s unlikely that we would have been able to make the home sale happen without their expertise.”

After Zach moved into his dream home, his cousin Conor met with Rob to begin the home-buying process for the first time.

“Being a first-time home buyer, I wanted to work with someone I could have an open discussion with about my goals and how to best achieve them,” Conor said. “I trusted Rob to guide me through the process and was always comfortable asking him even the simplest questions.”

“I was purchasing a house from a family friend without a Realtor, so I needed someone to fill in any areas that typically would be handled by an agent and knew Rob would be willing to work with me.”

“I mention Rob anytime I talk with friends or family looking to get into a new place,” Conor said. “At the very least he is a great person to talk to with open questions and he can educate you on parts of the process you may not be familiar with. He knows how to layout your options clearly and help you hit your financial goals.”

The family tree doesn’t stop there. Before Zach and Conor worked with Team Garrison in 2018, they worked with Maury and Karen Fredricks and their daughter, Sandi.

“We initially went to Rob because he is a friend of ours,” said Karen Fredricks. “We had a complex issue and wanted to deal with someone we trusted with our personal information.”

“Rob and his team have a turn key system that is fast and efficient,” Karen said. “He proved to get the job done when others couldn’t.”

“I really couldn’t believe how fast Rob and his team got our deal done, it was within weeks,” she said. “It seemed like everyone had a task to complete the process from start to finish and their response to questions and requests was second to none.”

Team Garrison always found a way for the Fredricks Family, and because of that, they would recommend Michigan Mortgage “a thousand time more” because “they are truly the best.”

Kids' Food Basket logo

#MMGivesBack: Kids’ Food Basket Muskegon

“Kids’ Food Basket is a grassroots, community solution to childhood hunger. We engage all who care about children reaching their full potential – in school and in life. We began over a decade ago by serving 125 kids each school day through our Sack Supper program and now serve nearly 8,000 kids each weekday in West Michigan.”

Our January Employee of the Month, Danielle Woodring, recognized the work Kid’s Food Basket Muskegon is doing in our local community and asked that we get involved.

“I volunteered with Kids’ Food Basket in the past and fell in love with their mission to ensure children in our community do not go hungry,” she said. “They support numerous local schools and prepare thousands of sack suppers on a weekly basis.”

“Without them, children go hungry and our community suffers.”

According to the Kids’ Food Basket website, “1 in 5 Michigan children are affected by hunger and thousands of West Michigan children are food insecure — they can’t count on having access to good, nourishing food every day.”

That’s why they do what they do: nourish thousands of children to help them reach their full potential.

“Consistent, nutritious meals support cognitive development and help children focus by meeting critical health needs.  With healthy calories we can lessen the risk of conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Healthy calories also help children avoid behavioral issues such as irritability, aggression and anxiety,” according to the Kids’ Food Basket.

“I feel like no child should ever go hungry,” Woodring said. “Finding where their next meal is coming from is not something a child should ever have to worry about.”

“The Kids’ Food Basket has so many different opportunities to volunteer,” she said. “Anyone can get involved and raise awareness about childhood hunger.”

This month, Michigan Mortgage employees were excited to donate supplies and assemble Supper Packs to donate to the organization. Employee’s children got to pitch in by decorating the paper bags that the pack suppers are distributed in. 

If you’d like to get involved, visit their website.

Image showing what Valeo looks like on the inside

Hometown Highlight: Valeo

With all of the fitness options out there, Valeo strives to be just a little different in their approach. Located in downtown Holland, Valeo has a hip, industrial vibe and the space offers every client an awesome environment on their journey to better health and wellness.

What does “Valeo” mean? “Vuh-lay-oh” is Latin for “Have strength, have power, be effective” and that is exactly what they desire for their members.

In 2006, Jessica Luepke took her Exercise Science degree from Hope College and time spent in corporate wellness and established Valeo in her apartment. The business has grown to what it is today with her passion for functional training and her passion for creating a space for people to feel welcomed and proud of themselves.

Along with her husband Mike, who studies Exercise Science at Purdue, Valeo strives to help people look, move and feel awesome!

As part of their mission, they are dedicated to the joy and success of their members. Their goal is to help their members become healthy, active people by providing a welcoming environment and exceptional results-based fitness activities for all ages and abilities.

Word on the street:

“There is a feeling of my ‘fitness family’ when I walk into Valeo. I love the encouragement, the challenges, the laughs and the conversation. It is a welcoming environment. I need you, my body needs you and my well-being needs you.” – Deb

“I can’t enough positive things about my time at Valeo. The atmosphere of encouragement, positivity and community is unique and I find myself leaving each time strong, happy and proud of the achievements they foster in me. I would recommend Valeo without reservation.” – Ryan

Valeo offers personal workout plans, semi-private training, larger group classes and a nutritional lifestyle program that gets at the root of the habit change. There is something for everyone!

Valeo has been honored with the Official People’s Choice Award in both the “Fitness Center/Gym (2016)” and “Personal Training (2016, 2017)” Categories in the Holland’s Best of the Best Awards.

For more information, check out Valeo’s website.

 

Images of Waters Edge Fitness

Hometown Highlight: Waters Edge Fitness

You could say that Waters Edge Fitness is nothing like any other gym, fitness facility or studio.

They welcome you with a calm, zen, light filled gathering space and a positive vibe that owner Marissa Evans embodies and exudes when you pass through the front door.

Waters Edge was founded to be a community resource that promotes positivity, growth, and both physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Believing that health and fitness are an integral part of living a happy, productive life, Waters Edge strives to offer the most diverse and accessible schedule of classes in Muskegon. From Yoga and Tai-Chi to Zumba and weight-training, the goal is to provide a fitness (and time) option for anyone looking to move and sweat in an atmosphere that is affirming and encouraging.

“We tried to make this place exactly what we want fitness to be,” said Blake Evans, co-owner of Waters Edge Fitness in Muskegon. Contracts are not required.

“Waters Edge’s intimate classes not only burn calories but also make you part of something bigger; a healthier community,” said one happy client.

“I love the fact that Marissa is dedicated to the community and makes fitness affordable in Muskegon,” said another client. “Marissa has the best energy and I love the variety of classes they offer, such as Barre, which is hard to find.”

Classes and activities are not limited to the 4 walls. The fitness center offers classes in Tai Chi, Yoga on the beach, Zumba at Beechwood Park and kayak fit classes on Muskegon Lake as well.

“We want to offer something for everyone and to give people the opportunity to try new things,” Evans said.

For more information, visit Waters Edge Fitness’ website or check them out on Facebook!

Waters Edge Fitness
Address: 2465 Lakeshore Drive Muskegon, MI 49441
Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday: 5:30am – 12:00pm (CLOSED 12pm-4pm) 4pm- 8pm; Friday: 5:30am – 12:00 pm (CLOSED 12pm-4pm) 4pm – 5pm; Saturday: 7:00 am- 11:00 am; Sunday: CLOSED

Image of a winding staircase

Life Outside of Loans: Baby Steps

I had a salad for dinner last night…and I’ll tell you why that matters in just a bit.

I was recently introduced to the idea of compound effect, and although it’s a simple idea, it really blew my mind. You’ve probably heard of compound interest when it comes to your money — the more money you save, the more interest you earn.

Until recently I had always thought my goals had to be monumentally planned out. I envisioned setting aside 90 days for each goal, spending days planning out each step, laying it out on the calendar, and executing every day for three months. And while that’s a completely valid, brilliant way to see progress in your life, I was getting hung up on how many 90-day goals I had. If I have 10 major areas of my work and life I want to improve on, it’d take me nearly three years to get through it all!

Enter the compound effect. It’s a little like Baby Steps by Dr. Leo Marvin from What About Bob.

The concept of the compound effect is this — that taking even small steps toward a goal adds up to something greater.

A diet, for example. If I’d have chosen to have a couple slices of pizza last night instead of that salad, would it have really mattered? Probably not. One individual meal doesn’t tend to move the scale. How about if I chose pizza again tonight? And tomorrow, and every day for the next six months? Ah, now we’re seeing how the compound effect moves the scale!

On the flip side, if I choose a salad every night for dinner for six months, imagine how much the scale would move in the other direction.

So, while I was getting hung up on spending significant amounts of time to focus on each of my life goals, I started applying the compound effect instead. If I do even five minutes each day on each of my 10 goals, I’ll be taking baby steps toward my goals.

Five minutes a day toward decluttering my home.
Five minutes a day spending more one-on-one time with my kids.
Five minutes a day building my website.

After six months, those little steps will have compounded into something significant and concrete. Much more so than spending my time and mental energy on being overwhelmed or spinning my wheels in planning mode. And I’ll have the changes I’ve made to build momentum to fuel further change.

Use the compound effect to achieve anything in your life or work. Baby steps are better than no steps at all!

Image inside a coffee shop

Life Outside of Loans: Take Time to Make Time

I grew up with three brothers, all of us within five years of one another. You can imagine, especially when we were all teenagers, how much the grocery bill must have been.

It was a near constant race to get the “good” food before it was gone – like when our parents would splurge on special cereal, or name brand Mac & Cheese. Even to this day, I still have impulses to guard or hoard my food because of this.

Many people have a scarcity mindset – around food, money, etc. They grasp onto what they have for fear of not getting more.

But have you ever thought that way about your time?

Intellectually, we all understand our lifelines are limited. But even though time is such a precious resource, the majority of people don’t plan for it, like they might make a budget for their money. We live very reactively when it comes to our time, as if we’re waiting to see what life brings to us, when we should be out there creating what we want with our lives.

Here’s a few tips for how to better allot and maximize your time:

Spend time planning. Seems counterintuitive when we’re trying to achieve more to slow down and plan, but it’s necessary to have a road map. Choose a goal and break down the individual steps that need to be completed.

Commit to keeping the plan. The plan itself is great, but it’s completely useless if you don’t execute it! It’s key to write down or type in each of the components into your schedule, and treat those like firm appointments.

Restrict yourself to just one or two goals at any given time. Self-explanatory—the more time you have to commit to a goal the better, so it’s best not to spread yourself too thin with too many targets.

Banish buffering. Buffering is activities like watching TV, scrolling through social media, snacking, etc. These can be some of the biggest time-wasters that we face, and mostly don’t provide us with any real, tangible benefits.

Try these techniques for even a few weeks, and you’ll likely be amazed at your increased productivity levels!

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

Image of a person reading a book at night

Life Outside of Loans: Telling Stories

This morning when I got to the office, a co-worker asked me how my morning was going. Most of us respond to this with a knee-jerk “good, you?” or “Ugh, terrible!” Have you ever stopped to think about how subjective those responses are?

For instance, let me show you two possible stories about my morning:

“I woke up late and had to rush to get ready. I dropped everything I touched, couldn’t find anything to wear and my hair looks terrible. Then I go to leave the driveway and the Shipt shopper pulls in behind me, blocking my car so I can’t get out. On the drive to work some jerk cut me off and of course I hit every red light too. What a terrible start to the day!”

(My blood pressure was totally spiking as I typed that!)

Or I could tell the story like this:

“I got a little extra and much-needed sleep this morning. I connected with my husband for a few minutes — it’s always nice when I get to talk to him for even just a short time. I even got groceries delivered already. How productive! On the drive in to work I tuned into my favorite podcast; I’m always so excited when I get to hear new episodes!”

(This story puts me in so much better of a mental state!)

Both of these stories are 100 percent accurate. The events of the morning didn’t change at all. All of these things happened. But the story takes such a different shape depending on which events I focus on, and how I choose to interpret them.

Our brains are hardwired to revert to the familiar; which for most of us is negative. It’s so much easier and automatic to focus on the stresses in our life versus the blessings, or the long list of obligations for each day instead of the accomplishments achieved.

I know sometimes this talk of “positive thinking” invites skeptics to complain that thinking positively is just delusional. But guess what? All thinking is delusional! Look at my stories above — both are true.

So, if life is going to be delusional either way, it might as well be a good one!

Guest blogger Sarah Beahan has been a loan processor and executive team member of Michigan Mortgage since 2002. In addition to her work at Michigan Mortgage, she is a certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, and owns her own coaching practice called Weighed Down Coaching.

Woman in front of a cluttered pantry

Life Outside of Loans: The Freedom of Constraint

Last night I went to get a manicure. First thing they ask you to do is pick your color – sounds simple, right? Do I want pink, red or purple?

Nope. Most salons have literally hundreds upon hundreds of shades to choose from. Last night’s salon had not only 2 walls filled with bottles, but also every variation of pink, red or purple you could imagine. And the hot pink looks identical to the neon pink looks identical to the shocking pink.

Some may find it exciting or empowering to have so many choices in life; from nail polish shades to coffee flavors to cell phone cases. But I’ve started to appreciate the powers of constraint.

I recently went on an out of town trip, and when I packed I only brought one basic set of makeup: one lipstick, one eyeshadow, etc. It struck me while gone for that week how much simpler it was to not have to use any mental energy making decisions each morning about which product to use.

Instead of using that 5 minutes of brain power on makeup choices, what could I create with my mental energy? A pep-talk to start my day off right? A prayer for a friend in need?

My example of makeup selection may seem insignificant; try on these larger examples of constraint:

  • Only shopping for clothing at one store. Gone would be the hours of online browsing.
  • Making a regular rotating meal plan. No more wondering what’s for dinner.
  • Checking social media once a day. If you know you’re only going to log in one time each morning or evening, then no more obsessive opening and closing apps all day long.

Minimalism is also a great form of constraint. Many people think minimalism means owning one outfit, in an apartment with bare walls and one chair. Certainly, some minimalists take it to that extreme.

But minimalism can also be reducing the number of items we have—think of it this way, how many coffee mugs or water bottles do you have in your kitchen cupboard? They all take up space, require washing and maintenance, etc. They take up mental energy-when you open that cupboard, is it simpler to look at one mug or 13?

We can embrace and apply constraint in so many aspects of our daily lives. Then think of how those extra minutes and extra thought space can multiply into something larger. It’s a way to give yourself the gift of time, which we could all use more of.

Guest blogger Sarah Beahan has been a loan processor and executive team member of Michigan Mortgage since 2002. In addition to her work at Michigan Mortgage, she is a certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, and owns her own coaching practice called Weighed Down Coaching.

Life/Work balance infographic

Life Outside of Loans: The Importance of Work/Life Balance

The term work/life balance is such an innocuous little phrase. It evokes mental pictures of an all-American mom or dad, thriving in their work while still managing a harmonious household. Many of us envision the balance as the way our separate life channels are supposed to co-exist, but I wonder: is a strict balance truly necessary?

I think instead in terms of life accounts, a concept introduced to me by the authors of Living Forward, Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt. They suggest viewing the different facets of your life as sub-accounts. Just as you may watch your financial accounts to ensure they’re well-rounded (meaning one is not overdrawn whilst the other is in full supply), you can apply the same concept to your life accounts.

We all recognize that some seasons of work are more demanding than others-spring for a CPA, winter for a plow truck driver, and often summer months for mortgage and real estate professionals.

And same with life seasons: toddlers versus late teens, summer months versus school year, and soccer season versus…well, whatever the opposite of soccer is (not being a sports fan!).

Instead of striving for a perfect balance, I think the perfection lies in the natural slight discords that are inevitable. If your child has a dance recital Thursday evening, you naturally should leave the office to be there. And on the flip side, if your children are away for a week of summer camp, extra time on the job during real estate’s peak season is a perfectly acceptable option.

Belittling ourselves about the choices we make in our busy lives serves no one. But relaxing into the solution that there is no solution is empowering.

The balance we should instead strive for is in our thinking, and our commitment to ourselves that although the time spent on each life account may not be minute-for-minute, our love and enthusiasm for each can still shine through.

Guest blogger Sarah Beahan has been a loan processor and executive team member of Michigan Mortgage since 2002. In addition to her work at Michigan Mortgage, she is a certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, and owns her own coaching practice called Weighed Down Coaching.