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!

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picasso

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

Today, is about learning how to do one new thing. What you learn does not have to be huge, it just has to be new. It’s the fact that you are learning. Take the time and learn one new thing today and follow after Pablo Picasso.

I am always doing that which I cannot, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

a big step

for China

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

in my short 23 years of life, China always had a one-child policy–now they are ready to abolish it. The Chinese government will ease its one-child family size restrictions and abolish re-education through labor camps. In turn this will end two policies that for have defined the state’s power to control the citizens’ of China lives.

If  this all is carried through, the lifting of this policy will mark the first significant nationwide easing of family-size restrictions. These restrictions have been in place in the 70s. There are estimates that the policy could lead to 1 to 2 million more births in China every year. Currently China’s birth rate per year is approximately 15 million.

Personally, this is a huge change and a huge step in another direction for China. We must applaud their efforts. China, will now be on the forefront, so keep an eye on the news.

For more information, check out this news article from the New York Times.

turn your clocks

don’t forget to turn your clocks back

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

Daylight Saving Time is when the days become short and we are closer to the Winter Solstice. Honestly before I decided to write about Daylight Saving Time I couldn’t tell you anything about it. After much research, I now have a grasp on why we have Daylight Saving.

Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time in 1996.

In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act and since 2007 Daylight Saving Time is  four weeks longer. This Act extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, with the hope that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours. As a result of this act, it is difficult to determine energy savings from Daylight Saving Time and based on factors, it is possible that little or no energy is saved by Daylight Saving Time.

Most states and a few countries will turn their clocks back on November 3, 2013 with the exception of Hawaii and Arizona because those states do not practice Daylight Savings Time. This means that we gain (not lose) an hour when we turn our clocks back an hour to 1:00 a.m. when our clocks reach 2 a.m. on Sunday. A helpful way to remember whether to set our clocks ahead or behind one hour during the Daylight Savings Time change for Fall 2013 is to “Fall Back” and “Spring Ahead.”

Did you know it’s actually Daylight Saving Time not Daylight Savings Time? It’s become so widely known as Daylight Savings Time in the US that no one makes the correction.

Fact: Only TWO countries: Kyrgyzstan and Iceland  observe year-round Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time will end on Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 2 a.m. in the United States. It will resume on March 9, 2014 at 2 a.m.

chivalry

is it dead?

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

Let me give you a little history on chivalry and the chivalric code.

Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. Chivalry arose from an idealized German custom. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasize more ideals such as the knightly virtues of honor, courtly love, courtesy, and less martial aspects of the tradition.

The Knight’s Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders. All knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in the Middle Ages; they not only had to be strong but they were also extremely disciplined and were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenseless.

Knights vowed to be loyal, generous, and “of noble bearing”. Knights were required to tell the truth at all times and always respect the honor of women. Knights not only vowed to protect the weak but also vowed to guard the honor of all fellow knights. They always had to obey those who were placed in authority and were never allowed to refuse a challenge from an equal. Knights lived by honor and for glory. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights always kept their faith and never turned their back on a foe.

Now we describe chivalry as:

having the qualities of chivalry, as courage, courtesy, and loyalty; valiant.
considerate and courteous to women; gallant.
gracious; generous, esp. toward the less fortunate.

I would argue that most people think the days of gentleman, knights in shining armor and chivalry are dead; however, I don’t think that’s the case at all. Sure I believe in equal rights, but it’s not about that (which is usually the argument). If you are going out on a date (with a new person or your current one) there still needs to be respect. There should still be excitement. “Woo-ing” should still happen. A few of my friends are back in the dating game, and they think it is absolutely preposterous that I tell them the man should pay on the first date. In my opinion, of course he should. He should be trying to impress you and most of all he should be a gentleman. You get the first one and I will pay for the one after that.

I was brought up to expect “gentlemanly” behaviors and manners: Men open doors for women, men walk on the street-side of the sidewalk, and men always pay for dates. Now let me tell you, I have snatched up a fellow who does all (and more) of these things. Ladies, there is still hope–they’re out there. When a check comes, I always offer to pay which he takes me up on every once in a blue moon, but more often than not declines politely.

As our modern lives may have changed and so has chivalry. With that it has also changed what we expect, and know we deserve. Chivalry is not dead. The definition has simply changed. Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, because I uphold men to the “good ol’ boy” standards of generations past.

What are your thoughts? Is it dead? How has it changed? What makes it different now?

this will make your day

you’re welcome

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

If you don’t know who Kid President is, allow me to introduce you. Check out the videos and over all enjoy your Friday.

As Kid President says, “Love changes everything. So fill the world with it.”

college decisions

& how everything could have been different

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

Do you ever wish you attended your undergrad somewhere different? When it comes to football and basketball seasons, I do. Don’t get me wrong, I loved attending Winona State University, and now being complete with my undergraduate degree I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Winona was the perfect place for me. Because of Winona the best education, contacts, friends, and experience. Everything I wanted from a college experience, I got.

Without Winona, how would I know if I would be going to Germany on Saturday? Who’s to say I would be in DC or working in government? It is possible I would have done internships in Washington every summer of college? Is it possible I would have rushed and joined the awesome organization of Delta Phi Epsilon? Without Winona would I have still majored in Political Science?

There are a lot of questions to ask, and there are even more variables. Sure all things are possible, but I am a believer that if you take a different path, things will be different. By me choosing to attend Winona State University, I was saying yes to a great unknown and as the unknown unraveled it kept getting better and better. Sure there were times I wanted to transfer and had all of my paperwork ready to be filed, but I never went through with the process. There was such a strong pull for me to stay at WSU, and I couldn’t be more happy that I did. Winona helped me find me discover me. Winona blessed me with incredible friends, awesome professors, a stellar family away from home, a gorgeous view outside my bedroom window and don’t forget an unbelievable education.

It’s strange to think how some decisions impact your life, for example, where you attended undergrad. A lot of things would change, photoheck, I might not even be in DC right now, if it wasn’t for WSU. One big thing in my life, I know wouldn’t be the same is my best friend.  Folks, let me tell you a little bit about my best friend, Paul. Paul is the most down-to-eath, friendly, sassy, genuine witty, ball of fire you could ever have the pleasure of meeting.  Paul and I have known each other for the upwards of ten years. Thanks to Winona we became best friends. I will forever be in the debt (literally–thanks, student loans) of Winona for this awesome gift.

Paul and I went to middle school and high school together. He started life guarding at the YMCA and I was there on his first shift, we were in rotation next to each other, and chatted– we knew each other from a few mutual friend circles, but were never friends ourselves. He made an announcement that he was attending WSU in the fall and leaving the Y. Like I said, a short-lived friendship, right? Life went on, and next fall came around. My mom and I were going on a world-wind tour of colleges on a long weekend, as Winona was on my list I reached out to Paul and asked if he’d show me around in addition to the campus tour. Though, I am sure he thought I was being weird (when am I not weird) he accepted. That trip to Winona changed everything. When I returned home, there were three acceptance letters from colleges waiting for me, one being from Winona– and that’s when I decided I needed to attend.

Let’s be honest, Paul is the coolest dude around. He is the cat’s pajamas. This year we are doing big things. As a celebration of our best-friendship of ten years, and with his 25 birthday right around the corner– we are celebrating and we are celebrating big. In five short days, I will be meeting my best friend in Reykjavik, Iceland and we will be well on our way to Munich, Germany! I couldn’t imagine a better way to to kick off our celebration. Here’s to ten years, and here’s to the multiples of tens to come, Bo!

Maybe decisions don’t mean something to you now, but one day they will. Your life is shaped by the decisions you make daily. Stop and think about the decisions you are making every so often, rather than only making a decision based on giving your Magic 8-Ball a shake.

It’s been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world- Chaos Theory