From The Publisher

From the Publisher

July has always been a big month for our family — one full of important days worthy of celebration! The Fourth of July, of course, is the big one. But, so too is the day before!

July 3rd is the day my parents got married. And, July 3, 2007 was especially significant. On that day, they celebrated their 60th anniversary!

The fact that my parents got married on a Fourth of July weekend is fitting. Their feelings for each other mirror perfectly their feelings for their country. As loving partners and devoted patriots, both are red-hot and true-blue!

A decorated veteran of the Navy, Air Force and two wars, my dad was a flag-flying American who has always taken his citizenship seriously. A display case full of medals and three Presidential Citations is evidence of that.

My mother was much the same. Her commitment to our country started when she was 17 years old, with a position at the Pentagon. Within a few years, this farmer’s daughter from Arkansas had distinguished herself in her career and as a beauty.

In 1947, Mother won the title of Miss Naval Air Reserve. As such she was given the opportunity to christen the Goodyear Blimp, The Enterprise, model in New York and take a screen test in Hollywood.

But, within a few months, Mother passed on modeling and the movies — opting instead to marry my irresistibly handsome father and serve her country. (If I ever write a book, their love story will fill its pages.)

When Mother retired from Civil Service in 1986 (with commendations of her own), she had worked for 38 years, in numerous locals and for every department of the federal government – taking only short breaks to give birth to my two sisters and me.

Growing up, we always acknowledged my parents’ anniversary and Independence Day in grand style. On July 3rd, anniversary cakes and cards and gifts were part of the scene, but so too were three screaming (female) meemies scurrying amidst activity. Patience prevailed, however, as my parents whistled tunes like God Bless America and Yankee Doodle Dandy and concentrated on getting things ready for the Fourth of July.

I remember so well early-morning grocery store runs with Mother to pick up burgers and buns, while Dad stayed home to scour the grill. I remember Dad helping us with the last-minute decorating of our bicycles and tricycles, while Mother put the finishing touches on a trio of Betsy Ross-inspired costumes of red, white and blue.

Back then, I was clueless to the fact my parents never — not even once — celebrated their anniversary by getting away by themselves for some romantic holiday. Little did I know then that doing so was the custom for so many other married couples! Years later, when I realized all they must have missed out on, I asked them, “Did you ever regret getting married the day before a holiday — when everybody was focused on so many other things?”

Both were quiet for a while, and then sweet smiles came across their faces. “Well,” I said, “Aren’t you going to answer me?”
They never did, and for a long time I suspected the worse.

Then, one day, I understood: For my parents, the yearly tending to the rituals of the season — their season — was the best, most appropriate and meaningful way to celebrate!

And, all those fireworks at the end of the day! They just made the celebrating all the more spectacular! 

Beverly Denver is the founder, editor and publisher of Houston Woman Magazine. This article first appeared in the July 2007 issue of the publication. It's been posted again in loving memory of her parents.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

BOLDFACE TYPES

If you are the editor and publisher of a magazine for successful women,  like me, you work a lot with boldface types. 

By definition, a boldface type is a font that has thick, heavy lines. The creation of boldface types dates back to the Industrial Revolution and the birth of advertising. 
 
According to fonts.com, the first boldface types were used on display designs, in large sizes, to grab the reader’s attention. It was only later that bold  designs were regularly added to typefaces used in newspapers and magazines. Most often, readers saw them used in headlines and to point out key information in advertisements. Later, they were used, as well, for sub-heads, jump-lines, etc. 
 
That makes sense; the primary purpose of those early boldface types was to provide emphasis or establish a typographic hierarchy that conveys relative ranking of information. 

Nowadays, in many publications (both print and online), we  see boldface types used to highlight other kinds of information, including the names of those who, as an example, attend a social event or nonprofit fundraiser. It’s done so frequently; many of these folks are often referred to as Boldface Types (celebrities).
 
By boldfacing the names of individuals in their news stories, those publications are sending out clear messages to the reader: These people are more important than the other 800 who were there, and the event was a big deal because these Boldface Types were there!
 
I must ask: Is boldfacing the names of just a few select individuals in a news story really a good idea? Are those names the most important thing in the story? In the case of a fundraiser, are those names really what the charity or nonprofit needs/wants the readers to know? 
 
Are those Boldface Types more important than the nonprofit’s own story? Are they more important than the nonprofit’s mission and how well they serve their clients and our community? 
 
I love boldface types. Both the dark and heavy fonts and the individuals who attend and support our city’s major events. 
 
I love all of those people for giving of their time and treasure — not just the ones whose names appear in boldface type!
 
Admittedly, seeing boldfaced names in a news story is  offensive to me. It just doesn’t seem fair to all concerned.
 
If I had my way, editors and publishers (everywhere) would just stop doing it.
 
 
              
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

FROM THE PUBLISHER

MILESTONES

Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s a cliché, but it’s also true. I can’t help but think about just how true right now, as we mark Houston Woman Magazine’s 12th anniversary and recognize it as another significant milestone.
 
“Giving birth to a new publication is not  unlike giving birth to a new baby. Both are highly anticipated events, bringing with them much excitement and great joy.”
 
That’s how I felt 12 years ago when the premiere issue of Houston Woman Magazine rolled off the press and into the hands of thousands of professional women throughout the city. One year later,  on the publication’s first anniversary, I wrote those words here – in this same space. I also wrote: 
 
“After months of intense planning and hard labor the “baby” was here. Admittedly, we were proud and eager to throw a party.
 
Regretfully, though, there was no time for celebration or sighs of relief; already we were facing deadlines for the next issue and making plans for the next. So, we forged ahead, thinking only about the health, growth and future of the newborn…The festivities, we decided, would have to wait...” 
 
Little did I know I would feel the same way today!
 
Another thing I wrote about back then — and on every anniversary since — is the gratitude I have for all those who helped us launch Houston Woman Magazine and all those who continue to support our mission of informing, inspiring and connecting successful women.
 
On our fourth anniversary, I wrote in this space:
 
Over the past 48 months we’ve grown accustomed to doing what we do. Even so, the job has never become routine. Each new day is different, and many of them are full of pleasant surprises. 
 
“For example, we get letters! You write and say you like what we’re doing and encourage us to “keep it up.” Then, thankfully, you tell us about more women we should write about and more groups doing remarkable things...Before long, we are following up and discovering just how right you are and how valuable your feedback. Believe me, we are so appreciative!”
 
On the occasion of our eighth anniversary, I wrote:
 
“I thank God often for giving me the passion and skills to do my job but not a crystal ball to see too far into the future. Too much information could have been a bad thing; it might have smothered my ambition and kept me from taking bold steps in a new direction! 
 
“I had expected to work hard...What I didn’t expect were all the projects we would take on to broaden the scope of our mission.” 
 
I was speaking, of course, of things like the Nominate HER Awards Program (started in 2007 to honor excellent role models in our community); the Houston Woman Business Directory (first published in 2009 to encourage women to do business with each other) the “50 Women of Influence” Program (launched in 2008 to recognize the leaders among us), the Houston Woman Business Book Club (founded in 2009 as a unique networking and educational opportunity); and, then, our deep dive into online publishing and social media (in 2010 and even deeper since). 
 
As you might expect, more new projects are on the horizon; some of them you will hear about soon. (Please stay tuned.)
 
Over the years, I’ve come to realize the best way to celebrate a milestone (for me) is to simply rest and reflect on what’s been accomplished. Both give me the energy and enthusiasm to look ahead — and forward to all the things yet to be done!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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From the Publisher

Holiday Cards

The mailboxes at my home and office are unusually full these days, thanks in no small measure to the stacks of holiday cards and letters I receive. Like so many others, I am blessed with an abundance of friends and family, as well as business associates and clients, who still send  holiday greetings via snail mail. If only they knew how much I appreciate getting them – and keeping them!
 
I was reminded of this small pleasure the other day when I received an unexpected Christmas card from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his family. The card – a watercolor painting, depicting the parlor in the official residence – is lovely. Shown in the room are Oreo and Pancake, the adorable, four-legged members of Texas’ First Family.
 
Now, I am not sure how I got on the governor’s holiday mailing list, but I am grateful. So much so, I showed the card to my son, Matthew. He was duly impressed.
 
Admittedly, Matthew is a loyal conservative. So, it came as no surprise when he said, “Mom, you should keep this card!” 
 
And, of course, I will. And, who knows, maybe my six-year-old grandson will find it among my things — years from now — and confirm its worthiness as a special holiday keepsake too. And, just maybe, he will appreciate the other holiday cards I’ve opted to hold on to for him, as well. Like the one I got in December 2007.
 
The card was written by my mother, and it included an endearing message and prayer. My mother sent it during the last holiday season of her life. 
 
It still brings me joy to look again at that card, and at my mother’s handwriting. It’s pretty, even though it was penned by her left hand, the one she had to learn to write with after the stroke she suffered 20 years earlier. The beauty of the handwriting reminds me of my mother’s steadfast determination to do things right and well, no matter what! 
 
That card brings peace too. It reminds me of my mother’s love — for me and for the God she so believed in.
 
The card I got from my dad last year is the newest among my holiday treasures; it was the last I would receive from him. Now, I smile – and laugh — when I look at it. 
 
His handwriting was large and bold, designed to attract attention!  And, in some ways, it was playful — just like he was! 
 
When that card was written, my dad was 92 years old. Just  before sending it, he told me, “I’m getting old; I don’t need to send Christmas cards anymore.” 
 
But, a week later, he did send out cards! Lots of them!
 
Later, when I asked him what made him change his mind about the holiday cards, he said, in a hushed, almost reverent, tone, “Your mother always said sending cards to those you love and care about is very important. She said recipients really appreciate getting them. She said some people will even keep them. She said some cards live on long after we do!”
 
Then, with a smile and wink, he added, “I sent out cards again this year because, well, I want your mother to know I was listening!”
 
Then, he asked me, “Did you send out your holiday cards yet?” 
 
“Of course,” I said. “I was listening too!”
 
 

From the Publisher

Harvest Time

It was late summer, and I was enjoying a much-anticipated, carefree   Saturday afternoon. My only plan was to check out a few of my favorite haunts, seek out a treasure or two and come home refreshed by the experience.

Soon enough, I discovered the fall decorations had already popped up in most of the gift and novelty shops. Just inside their front doors, shoppers (like me) were coming face-to-face with lavish displays of plastic pumpkins and scarecrows. Painted wooden signs were scattered among the colorful mix. “Harvest Time” messages were bountiful.
 
But, it was 98 degrees outside (still summer, for sure), so I passed on the charming, rush-the-season embellishments.
 
My visit to a couple of department stores re-confirmed the obvious:  Retailers are much like scout leaders; they believe in being prepared. The clothing racks held nothing but wool skirts, dresses, jackets and coats. The table displays were heavy laden with knitted sweaters, gloves and caps. And, I kid you not, a couple of signs that read, “Harvest Time,” were scattered about.
 
Walking away, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s up with all these ‘Harvest Time’ signs in Houston?” 
 
At the grocery store, similar cool-weather scenes were present. Here, the emphasis was on the crops of the coming season. Again, pumpkins – of all shapes, sizes and textures – took center stage. And, now, as expected, there were “Harvest Time” signs for the taking. (Well, actually, for the buying.)
 
That night, while watching TV, I heard a news anchor mention the Harvest Moon. Influenced by all the “harvest” messages I had seen that day, I was curious about the Harvest Moon and why it was getting the star attention. Thanks to Google, I learned a lot.
 
• The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. It appears early in the evening - just when the days are getting shorter. It is considered to be the brightest and biggest full moon of the year. 
• The Harvest Moon coincides with the fall harvest season in the Northern                Hemisphere, giving rise to traditional celebrations. A number of East and Southeast Asian cultures celebrate a festival around the harvest moon that is among their year’s most important holidays. Traditions include family reunions, moon gazing and sharing moon cakes, traditional round pastries with a variety of sweet fillings.  
• In Chinese culture, roundness symbolizes completeness and togetherness.                      A full moon symbolizes prosperity and reunion. 
 
“Wow,” I thought, “All good things to know!”
 
Then, I remembered Neil Young’s song, Harvest Moon, and felt compelled to listen to the tune right then. I did, and afterwards, I made a mental note to watch for the Harvest Moon to appear on September 27. Suddenly, I was more than a tiny bit eager to see its blood red color and celebrate - along with the rest of the world - its early rising.
 
Next day, I went shopping again. This time, I stocked up on all things “harvest.” I bought pumpkins and gourds and Indian corn. I bought a handsome-looking scarecrow and one of those familiar wooden signs extolling the approaching season! Then, for the first time ever, I bought a box of moon cakes - enough to feed a festive gathering of friends and family (should I decide to host a party). 
 
Clearly, retailers and Girl Scout leaders are right; it’s best to be prepared! 

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