Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Chat with Do-Almost-Everything Mom: Editor Jeanette Bennett

YesterdJeanette Bennettay I sat down for a chat with one of my role models. I don’t use that term lightly. Jeanette Bennett, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Utah Valley, BusinessQ, Prosper, and Utah Valley Bride magazines graciously gave me time Friday at her booth at CVX Live, the only YouTube conference in Utah. I came away enlightened, amazed at her energy, and wanting to share her wisdom in a Saturday Spotlight.

“There are not very many people like me,” said Bennett, referring to all the roles she plays. “The Lord has different plans for us; I’ve had to learn to accept that.”

Jeanette’s a wife, mother of five, business owner, editor of magazines, mentor to young women, and half marathoner – from my standpoint, she does it all. Well, almost.

“I’m not a good cook,” she laughed. She mentioned a church activity where women were each asked to bring a loaf of homemade bread.

“I tried. I really did. It looked so bad, I went out and bought bread at the store and sliced it up. That’s when I knew: I can’t pretend anymore.”

Helping in Her Own Way

While she might not be known for homemade meals, Jeanette’s unique media talents bless others. For example, rather than adding to the counter-full piles of meals for her friends, the Wells family, during the week their son Mason was injured in the recent Belgium bombing attacks, she’s helped them manage national media.

“I’ve been trying to keep ‘Good Morning America’ off their door,” said Bennett.

During our time together, I watched as she checked text messages from the Wells family, attentive to those who need her. Insatiable media means an around-the-clock job.

Taking the Leap into the Magazine Business

Jeanette and her husband invested in their first “Utah Valley Magazine” issue in September 2000. Coming from Idaho, they moved their two young children into a Utah Valley apartment, gearing up for “lean years” ahead.

“We thought we had this brilliant idea. What we didn’t know was that two other magazines had started and failed in the area,” said Bennett. “It’s probably good we didn’t know that.”

Nearly 16 years later, Bennett Communications is an award-winning media agency, producing several publications.

It’s a family business, with both parents leading the company, and all five kids have been involved; everything from delivering magazines to proofreading to posing for photo shoots.

“Part of me is a workaholic – kids force me not to be,” said Bennett.  “It’s tricky to know how to spend my time,” said Bennett. “Sometimes it’s really hard. I realize I can’t do everything.”

Granted a ‘Wrinkle in Time’

I’ve felt like God’s given me a ‘wrinkle in time’ before – when I’ve looked at the clock and said, ‘that’s the time it was two hours ago.’ He’s really helped me when I’ve needed it.

For example, recently she’d been trying to decide whether to attend a UN parallel event hosted by the Feminist Task Force. She had so much to do, it didn’t make sense to accept the invitation to go, but felt prompted to buy plane tickets the night before. Attending opened doors for Bennett to meet with leaders and influencers who have expanded a vision of good she can do.

“I’ve found as you take steps, the dots start to connect a bit.”

On Being a Gardner and Saying ‘No’

“I’ve planted all these seeds over the years, and it’s like now I have this out-of-control garden,” she laughed. “That includes my kids.”

Beyond heavenly help, I wondered about how she could manage all she does. Is this deadline-driven mom good at saying ‘no’?

“No,” she smiled. “It’d be hard to be married to me and the whirlwind I create. I see life as a game of Tetris; I want to fit it all in.”

For example, she’s constantly asked to sit on boards, speak at events – all while still keeping up with her own publication deadlines. Recently she told her husband she would take six months off if she wasn’t self-employed. She decided to say ‘no’ to any invitations in the coming weeks.

“Then KSL called a couple days later and wanted to interview me on the news. How could I say ‘no’ to that?”

She has learned a principle she tries to remember: “Saying ‘yes’ to something is saying ‘no’ to something else.”

Say ‘yes’ to connecting with Jeanette on Instagram, and check out more of her work at UtahValley360.com.

The kind of writing I could spend my life doing

March 18, 2014 |  by  |  Live life fully, Wordbliss  |  , , ,  |  No Comments

 

Like people, words come in all shapes and varieties. Some are much easier to swallow, and much more fun to write.

I’ve been chin-deep in writing my master’s thesis lately. While I can pull it off, this type of academic writing is true work for me. It’s detailed. It’s exact. It’s stretching me in ways that make me feel I’m really making my graduate degree more than a piece of paper. (If you’re interested, I introduced the topic here.) I guess I’m a glutton for a good challenge, because I chose to include quantitative research. While I’m really proud of myself for putting together a publishable academic article (my thesis abstract has been accepted at an international corporate communication conference!), this is not the kind of writing I’d want to do every day.

mamalode publishedNo, in my heart of hearts, I have a thing for writing (and reading) essays. Personal narratives, to be specific. Pouring my heart into words does make me feel vulnerable, but it’s such an exhilaration to know snapshots of my life have been recorded in word.

Happy to share the first paragraph of my recently published essay, “The Pregnant Lady in My Mirror,” on Mamalode:

One day I met a pregnant lady in my mirror. She appeared there suddenly, after two positive lines indicated a big change was coming. Her eyes sparkled with joy; she’d dreamed of this for a long time.

 

Read the rest of this essay here.

7 things I want to teach my daughter about books

7 things I want to teach my daughter about booksHere I sit, belly ripe and heart full, ready to welcome my first baby. At 39 weeks along, she’ll be making her world debut very soon. As I told my husband recently about this coming babe, I believe if there’s one thing we can do to grant her a head-start on living life fully, it’s teaching her to love reading. Here’s an open letter to our daughter; my take on why books matter so very much.

Dear little one,

We are so excited to meet you! We’re here to help you learn and grow, and feel honored for the privilege of being your parents and love you already. As your mama, I will teach you to educate yourself, explore the world, and become familiar with the thoughts and lessons of those who have come before you. Thanks to my sweet auntie who hosted a book baby shower for you, and many people who love you, we have a little library prepared for your earliest days. Here are seven things I’ve learned about books:

1. Books are friends to revisit again and again.

From the picture books of your childhood to the chapter books you’ll read later on, books can feel like friends. C.S. Lewis wrote, “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once…” and “Clearly one must read every good book at least once every ten years.” When you go back to books from yesteryear, you read from a different perspective. Some of my very favorites, like The Princess Bride, I reread every year.

2. Books allow you to visit new places without ever leaving the room.

See the world! From Winnie the Pooh’s sweetly simple Hundred Acre Wood to the intergalactic space visions of Ender’s Game, there are many places your mind can go when reading. Your imagination has the power to paint mental pictures that feel more real than watching movies.

3. Books feed your mind. Choose to fill it with the good and uplifting.

In one of my all-time favorite speeches, Douglas Callister said, “If we know the books located at the bedside, we know much about the man.” This is true. He added an important thought from President David O. McKay: “With companions, so with books. We may choose those which will make us better, more intelligent, more appreciative of the good and beautiful in the world, or we may choose the trashy, the vulgar, the obscene, which will make us feel as though we’ve been ‘wallowing in the mire.'”

4. Don’t waste your time with books you don’t like.

In addition to choosing good books, explore what interests you. Berenstein Bears books? Good call. Books on ancient Aztecs? Cool. Books on how to make finger puppets? Right on. I’ll warn you now there may be school-assigned books in the future you don’t prefer. But when selecting your own reading material, never feel you have to finish a book if it becomes drudgery to read. Life’s too short! There are too many hundreds of thousands of fascinating books out there to waste time with books you don’t like. As Wendy Lesser said in her book Why I Read, “there is nothing shameful about giving up a book in the middle: that is the exercise of taste.”

5. It’s OK to write (and even color) in books you love.

Make sure you own it, though. We never write in library books, k? When I say this, I’m thinking about all the scriptures I’ve highlighted, and non-fiction books I refer back to again and again. Some words merit highlighting so you can find them again later. Plus, adding your own thoughts and drawings gives you a snapshot later of who you were when you first read them.

6. Books are a tangible manifestation of knowledge.

While the Internet is a source of limitless information, there’s something about physically turning a page that can’t be replaced. Of course, make use of computers and whatever other wiFi-driven inventions that will arise in your lifetime, but also keep books close at hand. Especially books like journals, which let you touch the written word. I’ve written decades of  journals with the intention of sharing them with you someday, when you’re ready.

7. You can write your own stories!

When you’ve learned how to write words, you’re never too young to write your own stories. As I shared before , when I was six I crayon-illustrated and wrote my first books on copy paper, and created library cards for my family to “check out” my growing collection. You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, but I’ll be giving you notebooks and journals to capture your own stories.

I can hardly wait for our adventures together to begin.

Love always,

Your mama

My beautiful daughter

 

Addendum

February 6, 2014: I must add, our lovely daughter made her world debut the day after this post. She’s a Groundhog Day girl, and meeting her has filled places in my heart I didn’t know existed. I’ve already read a couple books to her, and so have her grandparents. Welcome, little one!

On boogers and blogging

On boogers and blogging

Surprised to see boogers in this post title? I'd say it's well-picked, considering today's featured writer has no problem dishing the sometimes-not-so-pleasant details of parenting. She's not your typical "mommy blogger." With a professional journalism background, Natalie Clemens knew a few years into motherhood she needed an outlet. From wiping "meticulously placed" boogers off the wall, to aching for her stillborn baby, she shares intimate aspects of motherhood on her blog. I'm delighted to introduce you to a mama with a heart as big as her massive writing talent. 

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