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Enjoy diverse perspectives from West Michigan women.

My spring break was a vacation from phrases I hear all too often and don’t really want to hear again. The phrases are spoken by my daughter, aka, The Teenager, whom I love dearly, but sometimes when she speaks, it affects me like nails on a chalkboard. That grinding, whiny sound that just annoys the you know what out of me.

A couple days ago, I was attending the National AfterSchool Association’s national conference and heard the best keynote speaker I’ve heard in a long time. While his presentation was a geared toward the afterschool professional, his message resonated with me in several ways because it could apply to just about any industry.

Our house hunting fun began about five years ago while my husband and I were living over on the East side of the state. Every house we looked at, the price was either in our "jaw dropping" category or it was a full HGTV/DIY special in and of itself. Frustration set in and we decided to take a break from the hunt.

Later that year we got engaged and moved to Grand Rapids. We packed up our stuff and moved in with my sister and brother-in-law, then decided to start the hunt again. We were getting married that May and wanted to finally get a place of our own. But, once again, nothing was calling our name so we moved into a one-bedroom apartment.

This weekend I gave an alumni talk for an organization with which I was heavily involved with in college. The talk was part of a weekend retreat where I myself retreated every semester while at MSU. I've given talks on those retreats before, some in the exact spot I gave this weekend's, in fact.

ErikaWhy does a woman living alone need a gallon-sized jar of pickle spears, you may wonder. How could this purchase merit any sort of sense? To these questions I say first, I love pickles, second, buying in bulk allows me to practice time-tested frugality, and third, when I buy enough for thirty-seven, it makes the one sitting alone at the dinner table feel a little less lonesome.

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