Ann Crews Melton
Ann and her husband, Ryan Warner, introduce their newborn daughter to city life in Astoria, N.Y. (Submitted photo)

Ann as a new mom on the streets of Queens, N.Y. (Submitted photo)

Graffiti mural of a mother and child in West Harlem, N.Y. (Submitted photo)

It's been a year since I moved to Bismarck and became editor of Be Magazine, and just over a year since I became a parent. On the surface, my job and my role as mom don't have much in common -- but as someone who loves helping shape people's stories, I realized both hats allow me to do this. During the day I'm able to work with inspired writers as they craft the stories of interesting women in our community; and at night I play the part of parent, helping shape my daughter's story into the woman she is to become. Of course, as she gets older, she will begin to carve out her own path, but for now, it is both frightening and awesome to think of how much influence we as parents have in shaping our children's lives.

My daughter's story will come as a surprise to some as she continues to grow up in Bismarck: She was born in New York City and rode to her first pediatrician's appointment on the subway. Even in her short life, she has a world of experience that will remain hidden until you get to know her.

Similarly, the women highlighted in this issue have a wide range of personal stories often hidden on the surface, reminding me that you can never make assumptions about who someone is or what their life is truly like. From women struggling with infertility and MS to a new mom in a new country, to the financial trials of a young, single mom from rural North Dakota, the women highlighted in this issue have graciously shared their stories, and I hope you find their life journeys equal parts humorous, heart wrenching and enlightening.

As women, we are great at creating community, which often comes from sharing parts of our true selves. While carving out our own unique paths, I also hope we can find reasons to laugh together and take ourselves a bit less seriously. Try sharing part of your own story with those close to you, and enjoy the waning summer nights.

Read the complete August 2015 issue here.

Ann Crews Melton, a writer and editor who lives in Bismarck, still has many of her own stories to share. Reach her at