Introducing Joy Shantz…a Lansing Mom


Hello new friends, I’m Joy, a Lansing Mom!

I live on the south side of the city of Lansing, and I absolutely love it. My neighborhood is full of old houses, pretty trees, and friendly people who wave from their front porches as I walk by slowly with my almost two-year-old daughter who can’t stop collecting rocks and leaves.

Calling Lansing Home

photo with Bollywood posters

My journey to Lansing was a long one. When I was two years old, my parents began doing mission work. I spent my childhood living in Bangladesh and Malaysia until age 18. This unusual upbringing gave me many unique opportunities like learning new languages and visiting dozens of countries. I learned to scuba dive at age 12 and once was an extra in a Chinese film that I still have never seen.

While I loved my time growing up overseas, it was complicated to answer the question “where are you from?”. I lived in Lansing for a few years after graduating from Michigan State University and landing a full time job in East Lansing before I finally realized I had a home town after all—and it was right here! I claimed Lansing as my home town and never looked back. 

My Family

Joy family photo

My family includes my tall, handsome, handy husband Ben, and our daughter, Rosemary, who we call Rosie. Ben and I met during our freshmen year of college, but were just friends for more than eight years before we got smart and started dating. We’ve been married four years, and in that time, managed to travel the world, purchase our house, navigate multiple job changes, pay off a lot of student loans, and add Rosie to the family. We are also just finishing up a total DIY kitchen renovation. I say if a marriage can survive that, it can handle anything! 

I work at Michigan State University as a Communications Coordinator, specifically working with international populations on and off-campus. For much of the past year, I’ve been working from home with Rosie by my side, living the working-mom and stay-at-home-mom life I’m sure many of you identify with during COVID. My husband is an electrician, and together we’re fixing up our almost 100-year-old home. We love spending time with our families, friends, and church community. 

Wherever you are, be all there. —Jim Elliot

photo of Lansing mural

I truly think that it’s important to make the most of wherever you live. After visiting friends who live in New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, and other big cities, I still think Lansing has so much to offer. You might just have to put in a little more work to find it.

We love adventuring in the Lansing area’s many parks and nature centers and I have discovered so much more as a Lansing Mom. You’ll often catch us eating at unique restaurants like the El Oasis food truck or Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant for when I’m missing Malaysian food. There are, in non-COVID years, so many fun festivals and summer concerts to attend in town. And, we have met many kind, interesting people who work hard to make the city better. 

So that’s me. I’m very excited to connect with other local moms in this new avenue. I look forward to virtually supporting each other as the world continues to change around us every day. Maybe I’ll see you on a Lansing sidewalk someday soon—I’ll be the one with both hands full of pinecones.

To read more from Lansing Mom, Joy, head here for all her latest pieces.


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