when things become the norm

​​you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

After reading a Jon Acuff post yesterday, it really made me think. For the entire background and context of my post, read the post entitled, Divorce is so ordinary we sometimes forget the extraordinary pain it causes. If you aren’t going to read that then, know the quote to follow is where this entire post spins from, “If you grew up with divorced parents, are going through a divorce or are divorced, I’m sorry for all the times that twitter replyI didn’t understand how hard that experience can be. It might be common, but it’s never easy.”

I never, not even once for a split second want someone to think I had it “bad”. I don’t want anyone to ever feel sorry for me or to give me pity because I grew up in a “non-traditional home”.

Allow me to give you some of my background before you think I’m on a high horse. I want you to know (here’s the disclaimer) this is MY story and MY situation. As you might be able to figure out my Mom, was a single parent. After my parents divorced my Mom was taking care of two girls, and my Dad saw us on the weekends. Now, keep in mind both of my parents had full custody even though they were divorced. My dad got remarried twice and Lynn is the person I’d consider to be my Stepmom. My Mom got remarried to her now husband, Joel and I couldn’t be happier for either of them.

Now, as a child of divorced parents, I get it, but I doubt I’m the “textbook” case. Having divorced parents as a young child and growing up in a split family stinks, but you play the hand you were dealt. Things can only get better. I appreciate the kind words that Jon has, but the last thing I want is for someone to feel sorry for me because of how I grew up and because it wasn’t the “perfect” family situation. Growing up how I did and in my less than “normal” family was perfect for me. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine my mom with a better match than my Stepfather, Joel. As all of you know, I never refer to Joel as my Stepfather because he is so much more than that. To me, Stepfather or Stepmother gives such an awful connotation. Thanks to Disney movies we just see Stepparents, as evil-not-good-enough-not-my-real-parent type of figures in your life and that couldn’t be more wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, things weren’t always rainbows and butterflies, but just like any relationship there is give and take. For awhile, I grew up with my parents living a few blocks from each other, then my Dad moved about 45 minutes away and that got harder and then he moved again, a state away which was even harder, but we made it work. Due to the distance, I wasn’t able to see my Dad as frequently, so my Mom obviously played (and still does) a huge roll in my life; so did my grandparents and then Joel.

Rather than sulking over my parents divorce, I’ve embraced it. I would like to think I always did, but as a child it was hard to see my Dad drop me off at home and I remember countless times crying to my Mom, “asking her why he couldn’t stay or when would I see him next?” Don’t feel sorry for me, because I had a moment of sadness, we all do. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. In hindsight, I know I can look back and feel grateful for the awesome parents (both sets) that I got. With four parents you have the potential to learn and experience so much more than the average kid. Without my parents divorce I wouldn’t know what it’s like to start all over, travel the world or even push myself to be an independent young woman.

Sure, my situation is different than the 13-year-old boy that Jon referred to in his post, but my situation really made me who I am. I couldn’t dream what my, my sister’s or mom’s life would be like without this life turning event happening. I hope that over the years, that boy will understand why his parents got divorced; that he knows it’s not his fault. I hope his parents keep communication with each other and have pleasantries to exchange even if it is a show for their son. It’s hard now, but it will only get better. Understand that parents are ALWAYS taking into consideration their children’s best interest and splitting up could very well be one of them.

Parents, if you’re reading this (which I know you are), thank you for pushing me and helping to mold who I’ve become. Thank you for showing me the world, giving me countless opportunities and always cheering me on. Without you in my life, so much would be different. You’re gems and I’m happy that I get to introduce you as my parents. I love you!


on the metro?

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Well, snakes were not exactly on my metro but they were apart of the podcast that I was so intently listening to. Last Friday it seemed like anyother. I was running a head of time, and things were going smoothly until I turned my podcast on. Let me preface this by telling you lately, Matt and I have been getting really into the show River Monsters with Jeremy Wade and by “really” into it that’s exactly what I mean. There is not a night that goes by where River Monsters is not on our Netflix cue. It’s an incredible show.

Back to my Friday morning commute. There I sit on the train and I turn on The Moth podcast to get me through my morning commute and luckily it’s a radio hour which is featuring “a squeamish writer is sent on an assignment to locate enormous poisonous snakes; a hippie kid seeks the approval of his conservative father; and two child refugees from Afghanistan arrive in America without their parents.” All hell breaks loose as soon as I turn on the podcast. I sit on the train listening intently and the next thing I know, I look up and I am TWO stops past my transfer location. All I could think of was “wait, this is not right”. After I got back on track to get to the office, I turned my podcast back on and finished listening to the stories.

This is a pointless funny story for me to share with you. It just goes to show that all parts of your life truly are interconnected. That, and well the fact that you should really be paying attention to what’s going on throughout your morning commute.



you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

I love listening the podcast, This American Life. Recently, TAL reposted a show called  “No Coincidence, No Story!” I am a firm believer in coincidences and without them we wouldn’t have stories. Reaching out to listeners they received over 1,300 stories- can you believe that? Thankfully they made a show devoted to coincidences and stories. The episode will take you from a chance encounter at a bus station to a romantic dollar bill to a baffling apparition in a college shower stall. This is one of my favorite episodes and I wanted to share it with you. You can listen to the episode here.

a short story


you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

All the kids turned and pointed at poor Finley. Finley was always friendly and free-hearted. It was just a mistake. “Why were they laughing,” he would ask himself. Finley always knew he was different, but never truly understood why until he clumsily fumbled onto the metro platform, with much embarrassment. Finley picked up his bag and carried on his merry way, but this time he clutchimagesed onto his tail ensuring it was close to his body. Above all he never wanted to be dragon-ing his heart around. He never meant to hit anyone with his cumbersome tail.

Waiting for the train to arrive Finley daydreamed, much liked he did when he was growing up.  Finley always knew he was different, but he didn’t understand why people pointed and poked fun at him and his heart-tipped tail. As daydreaming was Finley’s escape from his heart-tipped tail, he fell into a dazzling daydream.

The daydream emerged and Finley dreamt of his differences being something that brought people together, rather than bring them apart–like they did in real life. Finley dreamed of his heart-tipped trail being magic! Sure, he was different but different doesn’t have to be bad. Much like Cupid who helps people fall in love, in this dream, Finley did, too! His tail was the culprit of making people fall in love. With one wack of his monstrous tail, strangers became friends, and friends became lovers. It didn’t matter who Finley tapped with this tail, everyone would fall in love. Finley dreamed of much love being in the world.

As a train conductor zoomed by with the air horn blasting, Finley popped out of his dream, but little did he know his dream was becoming a reality. Finley searched around to find when the next train would be coming to the National Airport Metro Platform, but all he could see were smiles and beaming hearts. It seems that dreams do come true.

Thanks to Finley, believing in his differences and his heart-tipped tail there is a clumsy cupid out there on the loose and who knows when he will strike again.

google doodle

Valentine’s Day

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Today, the Google Doodle features six sweethearts. Each of the hearts tells a different story about love; “Mr. Right,” “First kiss,” “4ever yours,” “puppy love” and “blind date.” A radio-show entitled This American Life inspired this feature. It’s mostly audio but there are some delightful illustrations accompanying each story.

Listen to First Kiss— the story is just like mine and Matt’s.

a heartwarming surprise

the super bowl

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

I was really intrigued after I saw that my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, made it on to TSM (Total Sorority Move). After opening the article, I realized it was a truly amazing heartwarming story about the sister of DPhiE (UMich). They surprised their house mom with tickets to the Super Bowl!

These are the things that I miss the most about my undergrad. To me, DPhiE was (and still is) my home away from home. TSM puts it the best: If your sorority house is your home away from home, then your sorority house mom is your momma away from momma. We’re at the age where we start to realize just how nurturing, selfless, and loving (albeit crazy) our mothers are. We’ve also started to realize how we’ve even taken them for granted. Every one in 50 or so times, most of us will try and give back.

When we give back…we really give back. Watch this clip, it will explain the immense gratitude and appreciation I have towards my fellow sisters.

good people

performing random acts of kindness

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

There are “good people” left in the world. That’s such a blanket statement, but let me tell you about these so called good people.

I come back from a meeting and I have an emailing waiting for me in my inbox from a good friend of mine. Let’s call her Madison. The email is titled, “So this was my morning…..” Needless to say with a subject like that, I opened the email immediately. Much to my surprise, the email was talking about Madison’s woes of a Thursday morning. All said and done, she was locked out of her apartment with her dog. Madison had 6% battery left and wasn’t wearing shoes. She managed to call a locksmith and her boss before her phone died, putting her off to a pretty good start this morning. Finally, 30 minutes later, the locksmith came and rather than unlocking her car, he noticed a shivering dog with a frozen girl not wearing shoes in 30 degree weather. Without any questions, he opened the backdoor of the house.

This is the part where the nice people come in.

Madison tried to pay the locksmith, but he refused to accept payment. Rather than her paying, he wrote down that he performed an auto unlock, which was covered by her insurance. His fatherly ways took over as he yelled at Madison to get inside before she caught a cold.

Sure, the story was hilarious to read, but that’s not the point. The point is there are always people out there who do things for the greater good. When you need a little pick me up the most, there they are—waiting for you. I hope you take this story and realize that you’re one of those good people left in the world, too. Today, I challenge you to perform a random act of kindness.


tinfoil dinosaur

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Walking to and from work each day can get pretty boring. In order to occupy myself on my walk, most mornings, I talk on the phone with my Aunt, Mom, sister or boyfriend. More often than not, I am listening to music but that gets really boring too. My playlists stay the same, Spotify isn’t working with my mood or something in between. Lately, I’ve been getting back into podcasts. For me, it’s hard to listen to podcasts at work because I get so into them. Instead of working, I find myself listening intently.

This morning on my way to work, I geared up The Moth Podcast and was on my merry way. Today the episode was an interesting mix. (If you are interested check this link out). All of the stories were touching, but one hit me a little different than the others, The Tinfoil Dinosaur. I made the honest mistake of missing my building to continue listening to this story. Three blocks away from my building, I noticed that I had two minutes to make it into the office on time. I decided that once I made it into my office, I would make tea and finish this interesting podcast.

I will give you a little teaser: you will laugh and it features Canadians.

A huge thanks to both Sam and The Moth Podcast for this fantastic episode. It added some extra pep to my step this morning! Keep on keeping on!


Sam S. Mullins lives in Vancouver, Canada where he tells lots of stories, often on the CBC show, Definitely Not The Opera. http://samsmullins.com/

The MothPodcast, The Moth is an acclaimed, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story – and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it.

a photo scavangerhunt

challenge offered

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

I love giving myself challenges. I thrive on challenges. I like giving people challenges. A challenge gives you the brain capacity to think outside of the box. Having a new perspective is what we need every now and again. The other day, Matt was looking through his Instagram feed and someone posted a Photo Challenge for the month of December. Basically, it was a challenge to take a photo every day in the month of December focusing on whatever word or phrase was associated with that day. Matt told me about this insta challenge and I was already interested, as was he, but after we looked at more it, was uninteresting, ie, the words and phrases weren’t as creative. With a challenge on our minds, I came up with the idea to make Matt a list that he had to follow.

Matt accepted the challenge. The rules: take one photo based on the word or phrase, post on instagram. The list I gave him is below. Throughout this challenge, I told him that he has 30 days to do it, but the list isn’t associated with particular dates like it was in the last challenge. Sometimes as an artist you need flexible.

The list:

1. An ornament

2. Footprints in the snow

3. A wild animal

4. Love

5. A toast to the new year

6. A smile

7. Red and green

8. A Christmas tree in a different light (texture)

9. An antique

10. A barn

11. The wind

12. Icicles

13. Tradition

14. Cookies

15. Gifts

16. A warm embrace

17. Winter wonder land

18. Cold

19. Kindness

20. A hobby

21. The night

22. Day break

23. Your favorite holiday movie

24. Your favorite holiday memory

25. Champagne

26. Holiday texture

27. Your favorite building in Racine

28. A bow

29. Symbols of holiday tradition

30. A place filled with joy

Matt is six photos deep and he’s really going with this challenge. I appreciate that he is playing along and taking this challenge to heart. If you’re interested in the challenge or the photos he is taking, you can follow along on his Twitter OR on his Insta.


paying a little respect

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

In the summer of 2010, I made my way to DC for the first time. I landed an internship through an internship program. As a joke, the internship program was always referred to as “The Program”, which is how people still refer to it. I’ve realized that through it all, I don’t know if I would be in DC now without participating in this internship opportunity in 2010. So here’s a little shout out to The Program and everyone who made it possible. One year later in 2011, I wrote an email to the CEO. This is what I had to say, and I couldn’t have said it better myself a second time around.

It’s been one week, six days, 9 hours and some odd minutes since I finally had the opportunity to meet you and hear your story in DC on June 8th. As I sit in front of my computer, I realize a lot has changed. I cannot seem to articulate my thoughts into the right words to express my sincere thanks, but nevertheless, I will try. The cursor is continually blinking in a rapid motion to my John Butler Trio Pandora station while the thoughts in my mind are bouncing off the walls, much like an intense game of squash. These thoughts of my dreams, the future, goals and the past are rampant.

It is most cliché to say: thank you, but there are no other words I can say to truly express my appreciation and gratitude. Eric, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in The Program in D.C. This program sincerely changed me as a person. Daily, I was being asked to step out of my comfort zone and to push past my boundaries.

Generally, I would have hesitated, but since last summer, I no longer say no. I take each opportunity that presents itself, because who knows what will come of it; love it or hate it the chance was taken. Think. The worst thing that will happen is I hate whatever I did and I know not to do it again, but the best thing is you will have one hell of a story and experience afterwards.

Meeting you nearly 8 months after I completed the program put even more perspective into my life as a dreamer. I genuinely, know nothing is impossible and no dream is ever too big. Last year, I heard parts of your story, but it never impacted me as much as it did on the 8th.

Enrolling into The Program was one of the biggest chances and leaps of faith that I took. It was incredible. I never wanted last summer to end. The Program gave me both confidence and reassurance. The Program made me realize it was okay to let the huge walls I erected come down. I know there are times I find myself frightened enough to rebuild these walls, though the kindness and gentleness you’ve shown though last summer and your dreams have helped me to resist the urge to wall myself off from humanity. When I left in August, I was terrified and sad because I thought the reinvention of myself might slide back into my old self, but fear, not it only became more noticeable. My friends, parents and even professors commented on the way I was carrying myself, talking and articulating my choices.

I believe many people come into our lives for a reason.  We start certain things for a reason. Those reasons are not apparent when we start or when we meet that person, but there are often other reasons that become apparent at a later time. Each day I am learning this to be true.

Coming back to DC this summer I had high expectations. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish – a Summer Bucket List- if you will, and each week at least one thing has been checked off. Without last summer, I would not be the reinvented person that I am today.