Messages from Women I Admire
















Sometimes life just offers you an opening. When my husband and I moved from the place of our birth, Chicago, the only city we had ever known, to Des Moines Iowa–we knew we were on an adventure. And it constantly pleased us with the many amazing people we met in our 17 years there, how we both fit so well into this place and its neighborhoods, and the social life and all the advantages a smaller Midwest City can offer.

One amazing thing was that the gentleman who hired John, soon became a great friend, and then went on to become president of Meredith Corporation, the publisher of BETTER HOMES & GARDENS, COUNTRY HOME, and MORE magazines. That provided me with the opportunity to test for being a proofreader and copy editor and YES, I got the job. It was wonderful in every way, and through that association I met Lesley Jane Seymour, the editor of MORE.


and our lives changed. Our son finished college and moved back to Chicago to live and work. John retired, continuing his fight with CLL. COUNTRY HOME & MORE disappeared from grocery store shelves and mailboxes–though even before that, I had left Meredith, renewing my nursing skills and working for the health department in Des Moines.

But during my tenure with Meredith, I met Lesley Jane Seymour, the editor of MORE, at a brunch in Des Moines. I pitched an article to her; enjoyed her talk about women in the news and the importance of women taking center stage. Seymour wanted to provide women with good information, to help women rise to power–not only by adjusting to changes in our culture–but to be change artists.

(Unfortunately, MORE also had to succumb to change, closing its doors in April of 2016.) But before that happened, one of Lesley’s last issues featured Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep. 

MICHELLE, MERYL and LESLEY JANE…Michelle Obama graced the cover (above). In the issue President Obama talked about how the presidency made him a better father: “Even with our jam-packed days, Michelle and I work hard to carve out certain blocks of family time that are sacrosanct.”

Melissa Winter wrote about becoming Michelle’s chief of staff. This concerns one of their first meetings: “That night, spent cross-legged on the hotel carpet, eating barbecue and laughing, has always been one of my favorite times with Mrs. Obama, because it happened when she was just Michelle and I was just Melissa.”


Ms. Streep made a visit to the White House to talk with Mrs. Obama about her project, mentoring young girls. In their conversation, Meryl revealed the importance of her own mother in her life.

“My legacy…is written by other people…trails after me like tin cans…But when I think about what I really want to leave behind, I realize it’s what my mother left me. For the people I touched and care about, I want it to matter to them that I was in their lives. I want my love for them to sustain them after I’m gone. I draw strength from my mother; I want them to draw strength from me.”


After traveling with First Lady Michelle Obama to Cambodia while she was promoting LET GIRLS LEARN, Lesley Jane wrote this: …”I’m officially changing Mrs. Obama’s title from First Lady to Inspirer-in-Chief. Her gift for moving people to action is the reason I invited her to be MORE’s first guest-editor–because she is someone uniquely suited to motivate our accomplished readers to have more impact on the world.” Lesley Jane ended her thoughts about Mrs. Obama writing: “That day (with Mrs. Obama) I realized more profoundly than ever before that the world needs to let girls learn.”

Quotes taken from the July/August issue of MORE, 2015. Photos from that issue.

Meryl and Michelle

14 thoughts on “Messages from Women I Admire

  1. I miss More so much! It was such an inspiring magazine! How lucky you were to write for them and get to know the editor. She sounds like an amazing woman.

    • She was so approachable, but sadly my pitch was rejected. But that didn’t stop me from loving the magazine. I don’t know what she is doing now, but I believe she moved to upstate New York.

  2. Women are important in our lives, especially when discussing the family as a unit. They are the bond that holds children, relatives, neighbors, and classmates together. And when they are joined, they are a force to be reckoned with, as witnessed by the Blue Wave of 2018. Looking back on my mother, she was a major force to all she met, and helped lead her family and friends to better places.

  3. I love this! I’m all about women supporting women and these three women (four counting you) have inspired me for years to be the best I can be for others.

    • Rena, wow, such a supportive comment. I look to you for courage and smarts whenever I approach my blog. Thanks for being there for me, Beth

  4. Thank you for returning to a 2016 issue. Even though the internet has expanded my horizons, I enjoyed the calm, focused, linear practice of sitting down with a magazine (curled up on a couch, enjoying a southern exposure window and sipping on a cup of tea). It was nice to read about all these women (those interviewed, those interviewing, and those writing / posting this–that’s a whole lotta influential women!).

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