Grand Traverse Woman

The View from a Blended Family

The View from a Blended Family

By Stefanie Tschirhart-Baldwin

Eleven years ago, at age 29, I was newly widowed with a young daughter. I’d always valued our nuclear family, and, as I grieved the loss of my husband, part of me knew I would remarry someday.

And I did, to a man who also had daughter. There were some valleys along the way as we established our unit, but we always trudged on toward a summit far from nuclear. But in the end, that never mattered one bit–not with a spectacular view like this.

Getting established

When my now-husband first reached out to me, I blew him off. I knew he also had a 2-year-old daughter, the same age as my own, but I didn’t want to date a man with kids. Fortunately for us, though, he was persistent, and I eventually agreed to a playdate with our girls. We hit it off, and our quad grew closer and closer that first summer.

My husband and his daughter spent most of his parenting time at the house that I shared with my parents; it was easier for childcare when he was working. When his daughter’s mom questioned where their daughter was living, we decided to make it official.

Read More

32 cousins & a Thanksgiving for the Books

32 cousins & a Thanksgiving for the Books

By Wendy Sobeck

I come from a very large Polish-American family. My maternal grandparents, Sylvester and Lucille, had 16 children, and my mom, Diane, was the fourth eldest. There are 32 of us cousins to date.

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays—and pretty much any given Sunday—were never hum-drum little gatherings. They were usually epic family “dramadies,” special occasions I’m certain not even Hollywood could dream up! But, to us, the madness of our humongous family was just normal.

Many family holidays throughout my life have been unforgettable, but Thanksgiving 2001 was especially memorable and bittersweet.

Grandma Lucy

We had lost my Grandma Lucy suddenly to liver cancer in June of that year, and our enormous clan was devasted. As our family matriarch, she was the central force that kept the chaos of our beautifully crazy tribe together.

Read More

Workflow How-To

Workflow How-To

By Amanda Engler

“Workflow” is a buzzword worth repeating, so I will. WORKFLOW.

Finding ways to increase your workflow without also upping your time is essential in growing, scaling and automating your business. As a mom and solopreneur, I needed to protect my time so I could serve my family and grow my business.

Quickly, I became obsessed with time and figured out a few tricks to protect it along the way. Let’s review some practical tips to help you find your own flow.

Choose your platform

Choosing a workflow or project management platform that aligns with your current needs is the first step in maximizing your time and getting work done. Although applications like Toggl, Trello and Google Sheets are useful (and I do use all of them!), they have a time and place. You will save time designating one application as your workflow go-to.

Read More

One-story house with an old used Ford Pinto sitting in front of it, California.

Grandpa’s Car – a look into a Thanksgiving past … when we were total idiots

By Kandace Chapple & Kerry Winkler

Have we ever told you the story about the night we borrowed our Grandpa’s car? Yes, borrowed. We had permission to drive it. But we did not necessarily have permission to drive it where we did.

Let’s set the scene. We were in the U.P., age 16, in a house filled with relatives watching TV, and bored out of our minds on a post-Thanksgiving weekend, admiring our new driver’s license… with a Friday night burning outside.

Our cousin, 15, floated the idea. “Let’s borrow your dad’s car.”

“Absolutely not!” blew in from the next room.

But Grandpa Maddox, over our mothers’ protests, said this: “What’s gonna happen? Take my car, Twin. (To be safe, Grandpa called us both Twin.) Just don’t scratch it.”

We rushed outside before anyone could stop us, but once there, joy eluded us. We were going to have to cruise in a car we secretly called, “The Turd.” We decided we had no choice. There must be someone who would look past this shade of brown and zero in on the three beauties cruising the gut.

Read More

Forrest’s Miracle Story

Forrest’s Miracle Story

By Nicole White

It was mid-December. Forrest had just turned 4 a few weeks earlier, and my husband, Bo, was deployed to the Middle East. I’d taken our son and daughter to Montana, my home state, to be with my family for the holidays.

We made a good dent in our holiday to-do list right away: we hunted for the perfect wild Christmas tree and made the same Christmas cookies in my Grandma’s kitchen that I had as a child. When Forrest picked up a cold, he had a hard time shaking it. I never could have prepared for what was racking his little lungs.


It was a Monday. Forrest’s cold had gotten worse over the last few days and his breathing had become more and more labored. That night he woke up panicked, gasping for air. It was the second episode.

We’d done Vicks Vapo Rub and fresh air and cough medicine. None of it seemed to help. Maybe the ER could give him a nebulizer treatment, I thought; help him sleep this yucky cold off. So, we went to the hospital. In the far recesses of my mind I wondered if he could possibly have pneumonia.

Read More

The Power of a (written, color, playful, unconventional) Journal

The Power of a (written, color, playful, unconventional) Journal

By Leslie Hamp

Journaling is my mindful, sacred practice.

I dove in deep after 911 and have been learning, practicing and teaching journal techniques since then.

Whether you’re a busy mom, overwhelmed entrepreneur or creative spirit searching for a way to gain clarity, release stress or get in touch with your inner wisdom, journaling is a valuable tool to help you solve problems, explore creativity and track cycles, patterns and trends in your life.

You may have grown up writing in a diary, which chronicles your day’s events. Journaling goes much deeper, helping you set intentions, get in touch with your inner thoughts, and release whatever is in your heart.

Often I hear hesitancy, fear or anxiety from students who are worried about sharing their innermost thoughts on the page. The fear of someone reading their words prevents many from picking up pen and paper. To overcome that worry, I started showing others how to add visual elements to their journal pages.

Read More

A Safe Place for Survivors and Their Families

The Women’s Resource Center: A Safe Place for Survivors and Their Families

By Juliette Schultz

Just last year, the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City cared for over 800 survivors. Some of these individuals sought our shelter, while others leaned on us for emotional support or criminal justice system assistance. Some of these survivors we have never met. They called our 24-hour helpline answered seven days a week by trained client advocates who provide resources, encouragement and support.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on a typical day Michigan domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls. Annually, the WRC receives over 4,400 calls, over 400 of which are from survivors in crisis.

What are calls like for a Women’s Resource Center (WRC) client advocate?

Crisis calls

“The first thing I try to do is figure out if the person is safe,” said one client advocate. “I ask, ‘Are you safe? Is this a safe number for me to call you back on if we get disconnected?’”

Read More

3 Reasons Why You SHOULDN'T Give Up Coffee in 2017

3 Reasons Why You SHOULDN’T Give Up Coffee in 2017

We use coffee to wake us up in the morning & as a kickstarter for anytime of the day. Here’s 3 reasons why you shouldn’t give up your coffee as a New Years resolution:

1. Get a healthy heart: A study done by the Preventative and Clinical Investigations Centre, France showed that people who consume several cups of coffee or tea daily have lower blood pressure & lower heart rates than those people who don’t have them. It’s believed flavonoids may help to relax the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure.

2. Lose weight: Research at Melbourne’s Griffith University shows that drinking coffee can help you to lose weight. The current PhD study is showing that a coffee in the morning is decreasing hunger & increasing fullness which in turn will assist in weight management.

Read More

Determining the asking price of your business for sale

Determining the asking price of your business for sale?

When you are selling your business, you need to determine the asking price. But putting a price on a business is not like putting a value on your house for sale. If you are looking for a house, typically all the houses in the subdivision are roughly the same size and have the same features so you base your house price on a similar sale. What happens if you have a house for sale and it is a custom built home, the house is larger than others in the area, the land is larger than other lots, how do you determine the value for sale when this is a unique property? The same problems exist in a business.

No two businesses are identical. You have have the same name, the same franchise, the same size of the building, the same price of goods for sale but one location has more sales and profit than the other. Needless to say, the one with more profit will have a higher selling price.

In summary, there are no two businesses that are identical therefore you cannot use the analogy of the houses for sale and see what other businesses have sold in your area. There is no central listing agency for businesses for sale. MLS is used for houses for sale but businesses for sale are sold by business brokers, real estate agents, lawyers, accountant and consultants. Each one works independent of the other and they do not post their business listings on a central processing. Some business brokers will post on The Business Place therefore you can see what others are asking for a similar business. However, location is very important for a business value.

Read More

Why should you sell your business

Why should you sell your business?

You started a business for scratch 40 years ago, now you are debating what to do. Do you sell the business, do you retire, do you do something else? These are all thoughts which you have been contemplating for many years but now you want to make a decision,
what should you do?

Here is a list of reasons why you should sell your business soon:

no heirs to take over the business
senior staff have been very good to you and you want to give them an opportunity to buy the business
your business is stagnating and needs new ideas
your business has matured and there is no or little upward growth available to the firm
the business outlook is grim and you see that sales and profits will drop in the future
technology or technology is currently being developed which could have a major impact on your business
you are bored and not longer enjoy working in the business

health issues of the or someone in the immediate family which needs a lot of attention
competition is increasing
business needs a large capital injection to grow to the next level
business i.e. a retail store needs to be refreshed with a large large capital improvement commitment
if you need to spend the money on the store today but are going to retire next year, why incur the additional costs when you will not
receive the benefit
you are getting older and you find the the physical requirements of the job too gruelling
the business requires a lot of additional hours to be worked to built it back up because you lost a major client and you are not willing
to make the commitment
you know that you are about to lose your largest client and that will have a significant impact on revenue and profits
the market is changing and you are not able to keep up with the innovations in the market
technology is replacing equipment which you have purchased for a fraction of the cost, now you need new equipment to keep up with the
competitors but still have loans on the old equipment which is not obsolete and worth only a fraction of the original cost.
This happened in the printing industry and entertainment industry when digital equipment replaced older technologies.