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Enjoy diverse perspectives from West Michigan women.

Changing leaves, apple trees and ... Yes. A lot of browning corn stalks. That's fall in West Michigan! Farms and orchards offer opportunities to enjoy autumn weather with hayrides, apple cider, pumpkin patches and plenty of chances to test your navigation skills in the stalks—and maybe get stalked by a ghost, goblin or ghoul (or two).

Recently, I was talking with someone about growing up so close to Lake Michigan's shoreline that I took the beach for granted. "Michigan is actually a really great place to live," I said. (My eavesdropping friend leaned over and added: "We do have some Great Lakes.")

I read an article a few weeks ago that said, "We compare 100 percent of our own life to the best 5 percent of everyone else's." It struck a cord, because I think we all forget about that other 95 percent too often.

I walked across the stage at my high school graduation with a GPA over 4.0. Two years later, I'd sit in my professor's office with a B+ on an essay and tell her: "I don't think I'm doing very well in your class." The next year, I'd sit in a psychologist's office, and he'd talk me through ideas of perfection and success.

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