From The Publisher

From The Publisher

Beverly DenverSpirits of the Season

During the holidays, going to see the Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite things to do. The actors are some of the most talented in the country; the staging and costumes are simply incredible. And, adding to its mystique, this classic tale is always a good reminder (to all of us) to honor the spirit of Christmas with love and generosity to others and to try to do so all year long. 

Dickens suffered many hardships during his childhood, and the suffering made him especially sensitive to the blight of the poor and saddened by the social injustices he witnessed. So, it is easy to understand how Dickens – the master storyteller - used his empathy for the less fortunate to inspire others to face their own Christmas spirits. 

The Ghost of Christmas Past helps me recall so many happy memories: Being an excited five-year-old and Santa bringing me a new bike — a bright red two-wheeler. Later, being a young mother who made sure her own children got the bicycles they wanted. Always being able to share the holidays with my family and friends. Never having to be alone or on a battlefield halfway around the world during this most special time of the year! Yes, the Ghost of Christmas Past reminds me of my blessings and makes me grateful. 

The Ghost of Christmas Present haunts me daily. She reminds me how well I used to do Christmas! It was some time ago — when I was a very young, full-time homemaker! Back then I had time to focus on Christmas and all the preparations that go with it! I was good at shopping and buying the perfect gift for everybody. I was good at wrapping presents beautifully and paying special attention to minor adorning details. I was good at decorating the tree, house and yard in ways Martha Stewart would approve and applaud. Really, I was! 

Back then, I wasn’t distracted by deadlines, power lunches or an inbox full of unopened, call-to-action emails! Back then, the fact that each day consisted of only 24 hours was fine. Who knew I would not forever be okay with that? 

The Ghost of Christmas Present reminds me that one person simply can’t do it all. She reminds me that a real superwoman is one who has learned how to prioritize and delegate. A real superwoman is someone who has come to understand why less is always more! 

Lately, the Ghost of Christmas Future has paid me some visits too. Instead of reminding me about how things used to be or how they are now, she keeps asking me questions: What are you doing to make the your world a better place? What random acts of kindness have you committed lately? What else can you give? 

Before I can utter a word, the Ghost of Christmas Future puts a hand to my lips and whispers softly, “Don’t tell me, just show others!”

From the Publisher

BeverlyDenver_thumbMaking Magic

Often, we hear athletes speak of “being in the zone” or “keeping their head in the game.” They are referring, of course, to that special state where the mind is totally focused on the task at hand. When they are “in the zone,” they are energized and motivated. They feel joyful, positive and competent. They accomplish great things. 

Athletes have been heard to say, “The zone is where the magic happens.”

Artists speak of  “the flow,” and we know exactly what they are talking about. For them, it is the state of total immersion in the creative process. They claim their best work is done when they are “going with the flow.”

Historians have recorded that Michelangelo was “in the flow” when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – that he painted for days at a time without stopping for food or drink. Often, the master painter would pass out from exhaustion. When he awoke, he was ready to paint again — with the same passion and fervor as before.

Actors too know well the value of intentional focus. For them, one such experience could result in an Academy Award performance.

I have a good friend who is a professional keynote speaker. She stays busy and travels a lot. When one of her presentations goes especially well, she will call (no matter where she is) and tell me, “It went great; I rocked!” I can’t help but share the excitement I hear in her voice. I know she is pumped and ready to go again. 

My friend “rocked” because she got on stage and stayed “in the moment.” She was confident and authentic and made a strong connection with her audience. And, by doing so, magic was made.

Entrepreneurs and business professionals know a lot about this subject too. Often we acknowledge that we work long hours. We say things like this: “I just love what I do. When I’m working on a project, I lose all track of time.” We too say some of our best work comes when we are  totally absorbed in our efforts.

The trick for us, however, is prioritizing and allowing ourselves the luxury of focus. The challenge, of course, is letting go of the notion that we must constantly take on more and multitask to live up to the “super woman” image others paint of us.

For me, having just one thing I must do at any given period of time is a treat! When the opportunity presents itself, I go with it. I avoid all distractions. I close my office door. I ignore incoming calls and stay off the Internet. I get in the zone; I go with the flow. I get things done. And, once in awhile, magic happens, and I rock! 

Afterwards, I sit back, relax and give focus its due!

From the Publisher

BeverlyDenver_thumbMid-Summer Daydream

Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting at your desk; your hands are on the keyboard of your computer and, suddenly, you realize you’ve been sitting there a long time — typing nothing but thinking a lot, about all sorts of things!

This happens to me occasionally, most often when the days are longer than usual and deadlines seem further apart. It happens most often when I am less pressured to finish something or get up and go somewhere. It happens, most often, smack dab in the middle of the summer!

During these times, wistful thoughts surface, and I find myself reminiscing about the “good old days.” I think often about how much our industry — print media — has changed over the years and how fast it will continue to change. I think often about how many pairs of track shoes I’ll need to keep up.

When I graduated from college (in journalism), jobs were plentiful. There were newspapers and magazines, of all sizes, thriving all over the country. Thus, getting my first job in my field of choice was easy. All it took was a degree from an accredited college and a decent GPA.

I think about the two college students who are working here this summer as interns. Both are majoring in print journalism. Both will be looking for their first jobs nine months from now. I wonder, “What will their paths be? What will the future hold for them?”

I have no doubt the printed word will survive, and fine writers will always find work and be appreciated. But, their words will, no doubt, appear less often on paper. Okay, if reading books and newspapers (and magazines) online and on our iPads is the wave of the future, we publishers will adjust and provide those options.

But then, I wonder, what about printers? How will they adapt to the changes in their industry? Surely, they too, are looking forward and making adjustments?

I wonder about some of my friends and the industries they work in. I hear often, “Things will never be the same. Work is more difficult than ever. People just aren’t as interested in what we do as they used to be.”

I wonder if they too are willing to adjust to the changes in their industries. Will they be willing to learn new technologies, alter their products or services, target a new market and, in some cases, consider creating a whole new business?

These are not the types of daydreams I like. I would much prefer to be staring at my computer in deep thought about a vacation in Italy, India or Indonesia, but this is not the time.Today, we must heed the warnings of the midsummer daydreams of 2010 and embrace the messages they hold. To do otherwise, I think, could be dangerous and distressing, nothing short of a nightmare.

From the Publisher

BeverlyDenver_thumb

Orange and Pink
 
Orange and pink have always been two of my favorite colors. As a child and “budding artist,” I would often reach for crayons in various shades of each and mark up the pages of a new sketch pad or coloring book or, when full of mischief, the walls of my childhood home. 
 
Later, as a teen and “budding fashionista,” I was attracted to clothes of orange and pink. When I went to a fabric store with my mother (a gifted seamstress), I would seek out bolts of bright orange wool or powder pink satin. Finding them, I would lug them over to my mother and beg her to buy the needed yardage to whip up something designer-like for me! Most often, she obliged, saying, “Well, these are good colors for you!”
 
Later still, I came to associate orange with autumn and all the things I see and so enjoy at this time of year. Most notably, orange pumpkins (real and otherwise) and orange fallen leaves! 
 
As a young bride and “budding Martha Stewart,” I would bring many of these orange things into my home to use as decorations. Almost as fast as one could flip the pages of the calendar from September to October, my main living areas would be totally transformed by my generous splashes of orange.
 
Then, in early 2005, after a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer, things changed! I still loved orange, but like so many others battling breast cancer, I began to associate the color pink with October. And, instead of concerning myself as much with in-house decorating projects, I became involved with initiatives to promote breast cancer awareness and research. 
 
Cancer-free and full of gratitude, I participated in the Komen Race for the Cure® for the first time that October. My son, keenly aware how breast cancer impacts the entire family, he participated with me. It meant the world to me, of course, but I think it also meant the world to him. Caregivers of those with cancer often feel so helpless; the annual race provides a great way to for them to be supportive and make a difference. 
 
Admittedly, I now wear more pink than orange in October. I have pink hats and t-shirts, pink jeans and Nikes, pink skirts and dresses. I even have a large pink handbag I fill with pink rubber wristbands to share with others.
 
I think the focus on pink in October is a good thing. It reminds us of the need to continue the fight against breast cancer and the role each of us can play.
 
Still, I look forward to the day the color orange, once again, reigns supreme in October. It will mean the battle against breast cancer is over and, finally, we have been victorious!

Page 6 of 6

Join Houston Woman Community
BuyCurrent
Join Our E-mail List
Email: