Archive for the ‘Pepperidge Farm’s Heart and Art of Motherhood Carnival’ category

3

It Makes Us Stronger

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Katy from Bird on the Street}

“Your child has brain damage” is on the list of things you never want to hear, but in June of 2007 those were the exact words I heard just one day after my son was born. A few minutes later they told me that he would probably not live, but if he did, he would be in a wheelchair and could be mentally handicapped as well.

Long before he was born, I knew that motherhood would change me. After Charlie’s traumatic birth, I was scared to death that it would be his brain damage that would alter who I was. Being the mother of a disabled child did change me, but it turns out it would make me better, would challenge me, and would help me become the person I always wanted to be.

I’ve spent my whole life wanting to do something creative. I thought about interior design; I thought about party planning. I perused web sites, tried to discover my personality type, and stacked career guides up on the bedside table. But there was always the day job, and creative ventures were restricted to painting walls or creating art work when I couldn’t afford the real thing.  cooking 123

Charlie’s birth changed all that. I quit my job to stay home with him– convinced that no one could care for him like I could. Suddenly, there was time in the day. No longer consumed with the test scores and lesson plans of a full-time teacher, I needed some kind of outlet.

I began painting. It wasn’t painting for a purpose—just the need to make something—to create. I began to stay up late into the night painting, and soon realized I knew nothing about painting. I started reading art magazines and blogs with a new interest—what materials were they using? Where did they get their supplies? There was a lot to learn (and still is).

The more I painted the more ideas I had—I could feel my creativity expanding.

Soon, I started dreaming really big—I would start a creative business.

It wasn’t a new dream. I’d wanted it so many times before, but this time was different.

Charlie is fighter and an odds beater—the doctors held out little hope that he’d live more than a couple of days, but at five weeks he came home. They were convinced that he wouldn’t be able to eat on his own, and insisted he have surgery to place a feeding tube—he turned out to be a champion eater. The first few months of his life were plagued with medical issues, but in the end, he thrived.

Through all this I had to learn to be a fighter too. I had to believe in my son when no one else would and pick up a whole new skill set— doing research, getting answers, and trusting my gut.

So this time, when I wanted to start my own business, I had something I’d never had before—strength, persistence, and faith in my instincts.

cooking 124It probably took eight months to get it off the ground, but I did it. I built a website and online store. I’ve even got a Facebook Fan Page!

I’m not rolling in dough, but man is it exciting. My art has appeared in a national magazine and a local gallery has offered to carry my work. My free time is spent creating things for myself and for other people. Now days I can tell people “I’m an artist.”

It couldn’t have happened without Charlie–his inspiration and all the other things that he has taught me. Fighting for him, taught me how to fight for myself. Seeing him conquer the impossible showed me that anything can be done when we put our minds to it. If a child can have that tenacity and desire, why can’t I?

Now I look forward to the future—to seeing Charlie continue to prove the   doctors wrong, and to seeing where my creativity will take me. These days I realize that it really is wide open—we aren’t restricted by what others think or say, but only by ourselves. If we let go of our fears, we can do whatever our hearts desire.

This post was written as part of the blog carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.  I’m sure many special needs parents will recognize themselves in Margaret Rudkin’s story.  To see other participants please visit Blog Nosh.

Katy is a self-proclaimed “suburban princess turned public school teacher turned stay-at-home mom,” but as you can see, her layers run deep.  We proudly feature Katy’s original carnival submission as, let’s be honest, she nailed it.  Her story strikes at the heart of our theme.  When we hear the call, we step up and deliver.  The interesting part happens when we then step back and look at who that call has helped us become.  Watch the evolution of Katy on her blog, Bird on the Street, and follow her on twitter.

***

Inspired? Recognize a dash of Katy’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now! We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg”></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

2

Maya and Margaret – A Story

Business Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Maya from ThinkMaya}

My title is indeed inspired by the movie Julie and Julia – such is my own relationship with Margaret Rudkin!

This past weekend, I stumbled upon the story of Margaret Rudkin – the lady who founded Pepperidge Farm. It was the right story that came along at a perfect time – one I needed to hear and one that I could relate to at multiple levels.

Thus was born, in my head, the story of “Maya and Margaret” – my effort to tie in my own story of how my startup and my life today came about with Margaret’s story of how she founded Pepperidge Farm from a little loaf of bread ….

mr-with-bread-oven

It is better unplanned …

It is 2 years and 2 months since I formally quit my job at a big company and moved to Seattle. I had imagined nothing of what my life would be. A couple of months off with the kids in the summer and back into corporate life was my plan. What can I say? Plans change. A 3 month old and a 20 month old with a broken arm and an extreme case of stranger anxiety caused me to slow down a bit.

As much as I dreaded being a mom 24*7 with no job that I can completely rely on to get that much needed break and distraction everyday, I decided to do it anyway. While I worked to help my daughter with her hand and get over her insanely acute stranger anxiety, my own need for a breather slowly sucked me into this online world.

Much like Margaret Rudkin, who started to bake bread because of her child’s allergy, I started this blog and started writing the children’s stories I had always wanted to write … almost as a necessity. (well – not much else I could do between the kids’ naps ?) Margaret had no idea what she was getting into as she started baking bread for her allergic son, but soon enough, I think, she knew to accept the fact that she was on to something. Much like Margaret, a keen sense of deliberate entrepreneurship came about in me as I explored the space of children’s books – completely unexpected but not a surprise. A children’s book grew into a business startup idea and grew on to become my startup Memetales.

julie-julia-production-still-meryl-streep-4552552-400-300

I wish I could have a little conversation with Margaret Rudkin over tea and some warm baked bread (oooh – I am having memories of the movie Julie and Julia). I am almost sure she would tell me she completely knew what she was up to and yet had no idea. To me, her every move seems like a deliberate experiment (an almost oxymoron) – the results of which surprised her as much as they reassured her – like the little bits of my life have been over the past year …..

The past year and a half have been the best in my life …learning and discovering more about the outside world every day. The best discoveries I have made have been about myself though. Learning that I could take a little spark of an idea, knead it in with a lot of hard work and determination and make it into something tangible – while I inspire myself and others along …. I could not have planned it better!

A need to succeed matters way more than the economy ….

Today I work harder than I ever have … while balancing little kids, a home and a million other responsibilities in an economy that does not seem to want to recover. In a lot of ways though, this has been the easiest hard work I have done in years. A fire and passion burn deep inside …

As I prepare my pitch deck and story for potential investors, I think of Margaret Rudkin. Surely, convincing the bakery to buy her bread at 25 cents (15 cents more than the average!) in 1937 could have been no less daunting than pitching to an investor, right?

No, I have no Pepperidge Farm to my name, but I have a story and proof to show that the best time to do anything is the time that YOU think is the best. But I do have a desperate need to succeed. And a real sense of what I am worth. I am learning to gather my loaves of bread and walk out the door every day …..

It has been a joyous ride – not easy, yet incredibly satisfying. The bad economy has been a positive driver and the penny pinching a creative force in disguise.

Did you say gender?

In the past few months, I have heard way too much talk about women, lack of women in technology, the few startups by women that are getting any investments, the lack of women investors and so on. Clay Shirky wrote about women not promoting themselves enough. And most recently, Allyson Kapin wrote about it as well, after she felt that a number of facts were left out from this story. Cathy Brooks talked about it in her show too.

All this makes me wonder. What is it with women in the field? What is it with all these numbers? Really, is there discrimination here? Can we do better? What can we do?

I say we do nothing different. We keep on keeping ….

To me, as an entrepreneur, Margaret’s story is once again the answer. The gender issue swam in the back of my head as I read Margaret’s story –

The “fairy tale,” as Margaret liked to call Pepperidge Farm, became the passion of her life. Over the 26 years since she started Pepperidge Farm in her kitchen, the average annual growth rate for the Company was 53 percent! She had turned a single loaf of bread into a huge, multi-category enterprise. She was a bestselling author and renowned industry leader. She frequently lectured at Harvard and other business schools in the U.S. and Europe.

To my absolute surprise, as I read Margaret’s story, I even forgot she was a woman. And that was the best inspiration a woman can offer another woman…. Stories of women inspire me more when they do not make a fuss about the gender….Stories inspire me when women succeed because of who they are as individuals…

What do I have to offer then? The best I can do to inspire is to continue to keep a laser focus on what I am doing. If I continue to pen my own story, my experiences and learning, perhaps I will inspire some men and women?

It is all hard work. Raising capital is hard. Executing on a plan is hard. But then what isn’t? What on earth does not require hard work and a crazy amount of determination? Gender should not be another thing we have to worry about. The best of people would have done it anyway – regardless of whether they were man or woman.

No way is my story one of resounding success but I am a part of a much bigger story. Stories that need to be told. A story of how I planned something small and the bigger emerged …I planned a book and a business idea emerged … I planned on sharing my passion and storyteller and a speaker emerged. . Mine is a story that aspires to grow up and be the story of Margaret Rudkin…

It takes guts to go out there and do anything – man or woman. It takes guts to dream big and take risks. The first step is to go get your hands dirty. Go knead your bread. Perfect it and come back to tell YOUR story. I will be right here, writing my own story and waiting to read yours ….

“There isn’t a worthwhile thing in the world that can’t be accomplished with good hard work. You’ve got to want something first and then go after it with all your heart and soul” – Margaret Rudkin

Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

This post is sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine as part of the Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival.

Maya has a long list of accomplishments and associations. Not only is she a mom, she is also a business owner, writer, and social media educator. She is a monthly columnist for SimplyLivingMedia, and writes her personal blog, ThinkMaya. Prior to starting Memetales, an online children’s picture book community, Maya worked in the corporate sector, but left to pursue her passion for children and education. Follow Maya on Twitter and subscribe to her blog here!

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Maya’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg” ></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

2

One Smart Cookie

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Ron Mattocks from Clark Kent’s Lunchbox}

An economic downturn. The loss of a job. The struggles to make ends meet. Sound familiar? I could probably rattle off at least two dozen people living through this right now. It’s miserable. I should know.

In 2006 I was a hotshot real estate executive who was pulling down a ridiculous six figure income while driving a hot car and partying with even hotter women. I lived in a downtown loft, wore designer suits, and pretty much did as I pleased. Okay, I know what’s going through your head, but wait, it gets better. By the end of 2007 I was engaged, laid off and flat broke. Not only that, I was about to gain two stepdaughters and couldn’t afford to visit my three sons who lived several states away.

After spending my entire adult life steadily employed, I suddenly found myself in a strange and unfamiliar place. It was as if I had been sucked up in a wormhole and then plopped down in an alternate dimension where my fiancé (now wife) worked the big corporate job while I oversaw the daily distribution of Goldfish crackers to a five and six year-old like an aid worker at a refugee camp. Everything was all switched around. The hot car with a V8? Now it was a minivan that seated eight. The downtown loft? Replaced by a cruddy apartment in the ‘burbs. Endless free time? I’m sorry, who needs picked up when?

As a result of these drastic changes to my circumstances, I turned into an emotional basket-case, breaking down after watching certain cell phone commercials or at the sight of another empty toilet paper roll no one thought to replace—again. No longer could I rate my identity against annual reviews and performance bonuses; instead, I was being admonished by a kindergartener for my absentmindedness in forgetting to put mustard on her sandwich.

Being denied the external validation I so desperately needed from a five year-old, combined with the barriers keeping me from my own kids, as well as a few other odds and ends sunk me into a depression, one deeper than that to which I am already genetically predisposed. (Thanks Catholic Ukrainian ancestors!)

Yes, life was coming up roses for yours truly, and it was clear I needed to do something about it.

This is how I imagine Margaret Rudkin felt back in 1929 …well, possibly minus the hot car and the neglected TP rolls. Who? Come on, certainly you watch Jeopardy? No? Okay, I’ll explain.

Margaret Rudkin was the wife of a Wall Street broker and mother to three boys. The family did quite well until The Great Depression hit in 1929, when Margaret’s husband lost his job and then was seriously injured. On top of these new financial challenges, Margaret was already contending with her youngest son’s severe asthma and food allergies.

Yes, life was all roses for Margaret Rudkin too, and necessity being the mother of all invention, she was going to do something about it. After turning the farm they lived on into a functioning, self-sustaining operation, she noticing the positive effects of an all-natural diet on her son’s symptoms. So, with no experience whatsoever at baking, she attempted to make stone-ground bread with all the nutrients and vitamins intact. The results were predictable.

Still, Margaret kept at it, eventually producing bread so effective in treating her son that the family doctor prescribed it to other patients, and shortly thereafter local grocers were easily selling it for more than the going reate. By 1939, Margaret had produced 500,000 loaves of bread, all from her kitchen and garage. Soon after, she moved into a factory, but despite all the automation now involved, she still insisted that the bread be kneaded by hand.

Over the next decade Margaret’s hallmark progressive thinking lead her to expand the company’s product offerings to include a unique collection of cookies, a line of frozen pastries, and a distinctive snack cracker. Finally, in 1961 she sold the business to another family-run food company, and then went on to become a bestselling author and a frequent speaker at reputable business schools in the U.S. and Europe.

Hearing Margaret’s story caught my attention, mainly because there was so much of it I could relate to—losing my job, the financial duress, even the fact that several of my children have severe food allergies and asthma. But the most inspiring part of this is that Margaret did something to change her circumstances and took no shortcuts in doing so.

Yeah, I suppose referring to her as inspiring might sound hokey. It’s easy to fall prey to that particular brand of cynicism which causes us to downplay the successes of others. But what we don’t recognize is that cynicism is really just a game of reverse psychology that we bait our hopes into playing only to say, “told you so” when we fall short. That is why people refuse to be inspired. They choose to not allow stories like Margaret Rudkin’s to stoke the fires of hope into action; instead they deny that hope by suffocating it with their own insecurities. Rather than do something, they convince themselves they can do nothing and thus resign themselves to their fate.

This is very close to where I was at battling my depression, yet with five kids and a wife depending on me, I had to do something. At the time, I had an insignificant blog called Clark Kent’s Lunchbox that indulged my fantasies of becoming a writer. I never meant to make anything out of it, but as my facial hair grew crustier, and with my dreams of building The Spruce Goose II dying, I began posting more and more blog entries about the ups and downs of my life as an unemployed stay-at-home dad out of my element. Turns out, people actually read them.

With an estimated 2 million men taking on the role of primary caregiver, coupled with the fact that men comprise the overwhelming majority of those without jobs, I came across quite a few guys whose eyes also welled up over cell phone ads. This caused me to believe that maybe sharing my story might help others who were going through similar situations, and thus I wrote a book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. Now, I realize that my achievements may never be on par with those of a smart cookie like Margaret Rudkin, but who knows. I’m sure the day Margaret pulled that first rock-hard loaf of bread out of her oven she never imagined it would be the first step in becoming a renowned leader of American industry.

And just what was that extremely successful company Margaret Rudkin started almost by accident? You already know them, not just for their breads, but for their Milano cookies and those smiling Goldfish—Pepperidge Farm. Why did I wait so long before revealing this? Because the point of this post wasn’t to sell bread and crackers, it was to share the story of a mother who embodied the heart and art of parenthood. By doing something to change her family’s dire circumstances, Margaret Rudkin provided a timely example of inspiration—inspiration that we can either act on or that we can choose to ignore.

* * *

In compliance with FTC regulations I am required to disclose that I was given some dough for my writing services–and I’m not talking about the kind that you bake into bread.

Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

Ron Mattocks is a freelance writer and authored the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. Ron blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, where he chronicles his life as business executive turned stay-at-home dad to his three sons and two step-daughters. Honesty and humor abound, all with a Clark Kent twist. Be sure to subscribe to his blog and follow Ron on Twitter.

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Ron’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg”></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

1

Moms, Business, Family and Pepperidge Farm

Social Media and Blogging Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Leslie from Mrs. Flinger}

I don’t always believe in Fate. I want to keep my life organized in such a way it does not possibly involve anything other than my own strength. But sometimes I have to confess that there are strong coincidences that can not, nor should be, over-looked. I had no idea this post would be one of them.

When Blog Nosh Magazine came to me with an offer to read about and reflect on the founder of Pepperidge Farm, I said yes without truly understanding the impact this would have. I did not know I would lose my job this week, nor could I have known how much I would identify with Margaret Rudkin. Truly, I did not appreciate the exact timing of such an offer.

I do now.

Sitting in my “Mommy Time Out“, reading over the tale of how Pepperidge Farm began, I found myself appreciating the community of motherhood, entrepreneurship, and clean eating. These three things are the tenants of my site here, the foundation of my life. I found myself reflecting on how easy it is to forget this balance, to allow one aspect to dominate another. As a mother trying to re-group in the business world while finding a path to healthier eating and lifestyle, I was simply inspired by Margaret’s tale.

image
Hey, Margaret! My first bread attempt sucked, too!

We have this platform here to connect. We have this place called “blogging” in which we can pour out our hearts on a bad night and have the support from friends near and far. I don’t remember life before this and I never parented without it. You have been here with me since my daughter was born nearly six years ago. I could not, nor would I want to, imagine doing it without this village.

image
Margaret- Founder of Pepperidge Farm

Seeing old photos of a mom striking out on her own, alone in her quest to find a healthier lifestyle out of necessity for her son, I’m taken aback by her strength. Such strength she must have had to endure criticism from her child’s doctor, skepticism from her community. And still, even still, she pushed foreword. I reflect on my own strength and I ask myself, truly, could I do it alone?

I do not know. And I do not want to find out.

What I know is that we’re here as a community to encourage. I know when I fail to post my clean eating progress, someone will ask me about it. I know when my job ends that I can count on the community to keep an ear to the ground on my behalf. In truth, I admire the spirit and strength women like my Grandmother, my own mother, and Margaret had in the face of being everything to everyone, and I confess in transparency, I do not have the same strength.

My Grandmother often spoke of her life as a working mother. She passed away before my daughter was born and I miss being able to ask her what it was like for her to balance work and family. I’ve heard my mother’s stories of raising her three brothers while her parents worked. I know her childhood was limited and her time was mostly spent caring for her younger siblings, doing the dishes, laundry and making meals. I watch my own children, wrestle with my own motherly guilt, wondering what I am doing to their long-term memories. I want a better way for them, a garden with fresh veggies, a life of outdoor adventures, and in this spirit we moved to the country. We work to provide a better life. I pursue a career, an education, a job that enables my flexibility to be all things to all people. In theory.

Never do I appreciate the struggles of a working mother, an entrepreneur, all the love of sacrifice and strength it takes, until I understand I am not alone in this quest.

Endlessly thankful, I continue to find hope and comfort in the story of women both past and present as we strive to be great in all we pursue, however alone we sometimes feel.

Please join Blog Nosh Magazine in the Pepperidge Farm Carnival. We’re asking for your own stories of strength, of fighting for something, or someone, you love. We want to pull together with you as a community of support during the week of Mother’s Day to hold up one another. You are not alone. With the generations of mothers past and the community of mothers today, we stand joined together by love for our children, strength for our families, and a commitment to a better life for everyone.

Join us.

Leslie Doherty is not only a fabulous writer, she can also flex her backend coding muscles. Leslie is a working mom of two and the brains behind Write of Passage, a community for writers which offers support and critique. Her personal blog, Mrs. Flinger, has been around since 2005, and is a mix of relatable essays on motherhood and marriage, her journey with food and exercise, and a little geek speak thrown in for good measure. Be sure to subscribe to her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Pepperidge Farm News

This post sponsored by Pepperidge Farm. Gladly endorsed and happily reflected upon by me.

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Leslie’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg” ></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

0

Strong Mothers Inspire All of Us

Business Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Michelle Lamar from V3 Marketing}

It’s been 11 years since my mom passed away. But there are still days that I start to pick up the phone—to try to call her with a question—and my grief washes over me like it was yesterday.

Photobucket

My mother was a classy lady. Like many women in her generation, she raised a family and juggled work at a time when it was not the norm. Mom stood for all of the stuff that the feminist movement stood for but she did it wearing pearls and a dress. My mother did what she could to bust through and live life on her own terms, for the good of her family. My mom was a businesswoman who was involved in several different companies. She started her last business, an import-export company, when she was 60 years old!

Modern mothers need to unite and support one another, because balancing work and family is very tough, especially in this economy. I love to hear about strong women and Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin has an awesome story. Margaret was one mom of three who just happened to start a business—in the Great Depression!

Margaret was a 40-year-old-mother of three young boys, living in Connecticut on Pepperidge Farm—named for an ancient Pepperidge tree that grew there.

The family faced many challenges during the Great Depression—but as parents, one of the most difficult challenges was dealing with the severe allergies and asthma of their youngest son, whose condition made him unable to eat most commercially processed foods.

Based on the advice of doctors, Margaret put her son on a diet of fruits and vegetables and minimally processed foods.

Then one day Margaret decided to try baking him some all-natural stone ground whole wheat bread with vitamins and nutrients intact. At a time when puffy, aerated white bread dominated the market, many skeptics—including her son’s doctor—didn’t think it was possible to bake nutritious bread that was also delicious

Margaret proved them wrong and then some.

Margaret Rudkin’s bread recipe grew into a brand called Pepperidge Farm. I love Margaret’s story because she reminds me of my own mom—she did what she needed to do, for the good of her family. I’ve had the good fortune to be surrounded by a number of great women, like my mother, who have encouraged me to not accept the status quo. I loved learning about Margaret Rudkin and how Pepperidge Farm got started.

I believe it helps modern mothers to hear the stories about Margaret (and my mom). These women paved the way and we can still learn from them.

This post is sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine as part of the Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival.

Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

Michelle Lamar is a self-proclaimed geek and marketing and media executive. Michelle is the editorial director for myGLOSS.com, regular contributor to the Huffington Post and her writing has been featured in national publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She also claims to be addicted to Twitter, so you can always follow her there.


***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Michelle’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg” ></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

0

When They Say You Can’t, Believe You Can

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Lucrecer Braxton from Art Slam}

There isn’t a worthwhile thing in the world that can’t be accomplished with good hard work.

You’ve got to want something first and then you have to go after it with all your heart and soul. ~ Margaret Rudkin

When I started the Art Slam, it was my fourth “from scratch” blog. I shut the others down knowing full well I was losing huge readerships. Why did I do it? They were no longer me…authentic. I felt lost in a world of scrapbook supplies, moms with cameras and enough online fakeness to make you want to hurl. I had lost my voice. My words did not seem like my own and I spent a couple of years searching for the essence of who I was. It was during this time I moved my journaling past just writing to making art within my journals. It never fails that when a challenging time comes into your life, you either rise to the occasion or you shrink back and allow it to consume you.

Recently, I was introduced to the story of Pepperidge Farm’s founder, Margaret Rudkin. Her youngest son suffered from asthma and severe food allergies. Concerned about his diet, she tried her hand at making bread and failed miserably with her first attempts. She did not give up and despite what skeptics told her about their doubts she could make nutritious bread that tasted good, she proved them wrong. I can not count the times I have had people tell me they doubted me and my ability to do anything meaningful with my love of art. There’s always going to be someone who does not think you can do something because THEY can not imagine your dream becoming reality. Thing is, the dream was placed in you, not them. You can not allow what others think to stop you from dreaming and being all you were meant to be.

Like most of us, Margaret did not set out to start a business, she had to do something to support her family. As a mother, you do what you have to do to support your family. I can remember when I lost my job a few years ago, I relied on what I knew best in order to help support my family in our time of need. I used my graphic design and photography skills to bring in some extra money. I started writing again and discovered a more patient, confident voice. I started this blog knowing it was not about having a huge readership, but about being a real, authentic person who could inspire with my art and words instead of breaking people down. There is enough of that mess going around online without me adding to it. When you stop by here, I hope you leave feeling better about who you are, inspired to live your life fully everyday and wanting to be all that you can be. Blessings to you.

During the month of May, I invite you to visit the blog carnival at Blog Nosh Magazine and share your stories. Join me and grab Pepperidge Farm coupons to purchase your favorite tasty treats. Mine happen to be the Bordeaux cookies. I can eat a whole bag by myself.

Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

Post sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood.

An artist, photographer, and scrapbooker, Lucrecer Braxton’s work has been recognized in print publications and throughout the digital world. Her personal blog, Art Slam, blends all of her talents and highlights the beauty and focuses on the positives that surround her. Subscribe to her blog, follow her on Twitter, and be prepared to be inspired.

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Lucrecer’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg” ></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

5

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Jessica from Balancing Everything}

I was certain the unbearable desert heat was actually pressing in on my little car as I drove home from work.  It felt thick to drive through, too thick to breathe, heavy with the weight of impending rain and the coming monsoons.  I peered at the blue sky through my windshield.  Not a cloud in sight.  I killed the ignition, and swung my legs out of the comfort of the air conditioned car, my green bowl positioned on my lap.  I was six months pregnant and still throwing up a dozen times a day.

pr1st

A wave of nausea rolled through me as the Arizona heat hit me like a brick wall. I closed my eyes, leaning my head against the still cool seat belt strap. I’d already had to pull over twice on the 202 to vomit on the side of the road; surely even my stomach couldn’t find anything else to reject. I bit back the almost automatic dry heaving and focused on getting out of the car. Hoisting two grocery sacks, I trudged up the three flights of stairs and let myself into our tiny apartment.

My husband was there, sitting on the couch, still wearing his concrete covered work clothes. I stood stupidly in the doorway, surprised to see him home so early. His eyes moved from my growing belly to my face.

“I got laid off today.”

The next month was insane. The monsoons came and rattled the windows and sent desert sand swirling away in muddy streams across sidewalks and down gutters. My husband worked when he could, begging for freelance cement jobs while he argued with his old employer about severance pay. He lined up jobs to help us pad our meager savings and I packed our little apartment, sold furniture, sorted out a replacement for the nanny job I had, and threw up every five minutes.

pregmove

Pregnant and packing boxes; not my idea of a good time.

Finally we had our lives packed into my husband’s work trailer and truck and we set our sights for home.

Back in Utah we rented a storage unit that cost a precious $20 per month, wedged our marriage bed into the little room I grew up in in the basement of my parent’s house and tried to look on the bright side. My husband spent weeks sending out resumes boasting about his degree and the company he’d owned and tried not to let the deafening silence of the phone drive him mad.

In desperation, he took a job at a car dealership that paid him $1000 a month on top of commissions. As the summer months turned to fall months, those promised commissions grew more and more less frequent. I spent the last uncomfortable months of my pregnancy working as a nurse at an internal medicine office, waddling in and out of patient rooms, taking blood pressure readings, and administering injections to make ends meet.

Whether we were ready or not, it was time to welcome our baby boy into the world — a world we hoped we’d be able to improve, a world we hoped would soon lead us out of my childhood bedroom and into a home of our own.

We were so poor I scoured eBay and second hand shops for baby things and considered cloth diapering to save money; but we’d received a few months worth of diapers from generous friends and relatives so I put the thought out of my mind. We might need to clip coupons like mad, but there wasn’t any reason to go crazy rinsing poopy diapers out by hand, right?

Wrong. Well, kind of wrong.

My baby ended up developing a dreadful rash in each and every brand of disposable diaper we tried. Creams and ointments did nothing, the blisters looked awful. We tried a round of yeast medication but finally our pediatrician said we ought to look into cloth diapers.

I fired up my brother’s old computer and sorted out how to connect to the internet. An hour or two later, I was lost in Google. Cloth diapers had changed – they no longer required pins and crinkly, leaky plastic pants. They fastened with Velcro and plastic snaps. They were, dare I say, cute? If my calculations were correct, we could not only single handedly save the planet, but also save around $2000 by using cloth.

But I couldn’t afford the initial investment – in spite of the long term benefits, so I kept searching until I found a couple of websites with instructions for sewing my own diapers.

jppMy husband was less than enthused at the prospect, but I got to work. My mom and I cut up old blankets, utilized old dish towels, and sewed my baby some cloth diapers to try. Within a few days, my baby’s rash was better; it was amazing. But I was struggling to find affordable diaper fabric and other specialty notions I could use to make effective waterproof covers for the diapers I’d made. Local fabric shops just didn’t have what I needed and looked at me like I was crazy when I explained what I was trying to make.

More online searches led me to a smallish cloth diapering community where women shared resources for buying diaper making fabrics and supplies, but it looked like I’d have to wait weeks and weeks to get what I needed through co-ops, plus I would need to purchase the items from multiple places from multiple people – the shipping costs were adding up and wrecking my delicately balanced budget.

One night, lying in bed with our tiny, cloth diapered baby between us, I mused, “What if I opened an online shop? A place where moms like me could find hard to find cloth diaper making supplies all in one spot? No waiting, no shipping fee pile up… What do you think?”

My husband stifled a yawn and kissed our baby’s head. “Sounds like a sweet little something you might could do on the side.”

He wasn’t being discouraging, just honest. The cloth diapering community was small, and even smaller was the community within that community who chose to sew diapers themselves rather than buy ready made.

I began searching and sourcing, and making contacts, and constructing spreadsheets until I had a 3 ring binder packed to overflowing with data and plans. I presented my plan to my parents; my dad was supportive but smiled a little. I knew it sounded crazy – the percentage of parents who chose to cloth diaper was already dwarfed by the percentage of parents who chose to use paper diapers. How much smaller would the percentage of parents be who actually chose to sew those cloth diapers?

Miniscule at best. But still, I could see a need, and so I pressed on.

My parents weren’t able to help at the time, but my husband’s parents generously gave us some start up money, as no bank would approve us for any kind of loan given our current laid off / car salesman / parent’s basement situation. I planned carefully and made our initial purchases. Soon I had rolls of fabric lying around and a website and a shopping cart that could accept Paypal payments.

After months and months of planning, I held my breath and launched my little website.

fr-fab

Two days later, orders were shooting out of the printer, I was cutting fabric on the floor from a gigantic roll of microfleece, and my baby was crying for his lunch. I called my husband in tears, “You’ve got to come home and help me.”

kersh

Our first ‘shop’ in a tiny one car garage.

It didn’t take much to convince him — he wasn’t really a good car salesman anyway. He quit his job with glee, and has been working alongside me ever since. Eight years later, he’s still cutting and shipping diaper fabric all over the world.

murrsh

Our second ‘shop’ in a bit larger two car garage.

Our business grew. We were able to move out of my parent’s basement and after two more rental places, we bought some land in Idaho where we could build a big shop next to our home. When neighbors ask what the big shop is for, expecting my husband to maybe fix cars or to build furniture, he grins, points to me, and says, “I work for her.”

idsh

Shortly after our current shop was built, ahhh the space!

We are still a very small scale business. We have one part time employee, but my husband does the bulk of the work while I manage the website, customer forums, and the social media for the business. My children help daddy in the shop after our homeschool lessons are finished for the day. They play hide and seek in the big boxes our elastics come in, and run off with remnant fabric to make super hero capes with.

verybaby-c

We thank the Lord everyday that this little business, this little thing we thought I could maybe do on the side, has turned into something that supports us, feeds us, and makes it possible for us to live and work together. And even though aspects of running our own business can be hard and wearying, we’re oh so grateful to be doing what we’re doing, living the sadly fading, proverbial American Dream.

be-divider

mrThis post was inspired by Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farm. Margaret discovered her talent for business by stepping up to solve a problem in her own life. The stock market had crashed and her son had food allergies and asthma which required good foods that were difficult to obtain. Margaret set about creating a company that made high quality food her son could eat and in so doing, found a way to provide for her family during tough times.

I’m publishing my entrepreneurial story in honor of Margaret Rudkin and Mother’s Day. This post is sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine as part of the Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival.

Visit Pepperidge Farm to download handy coupons, and read about their generous $10,000 donation to Feeding America and how you can help this cause.

Finally, post your own story during the Month of May to participate! Visit Blog Nosh at BlogNosh.com for details about the carnival.

Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

Jessica is a business owner, homeschooling mother of four (four!), and also finds time to write about her life online. Her personal blog is aptly named, Balancing Everything, where she not only writes about life with her family, but she also talks about home improvement projects and sewing. She even has simple tutorials! Don’t miss a thing, subscribe to her blog’s feed and follow her on Twitter.

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Jessica’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg”></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

9

The Pen Is Mightier Than Almost Anything Else I’ve Ever Come Across

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Shannon from Mr. Lady}

I was born in the place where you only went if you had to. I lived in the life most people can only imagine in nightmares, have only seen in movies. I struggle to say those words, because for me, that life is the norm, simply because it was mine.

There was no ship waiting to carry us away from that life. There was no secret to open that would grant us exit. There was no ladder for us to climb or ticket to find in the gutter that would deliver us from the soul-crushing hopelessness of societal abandonment. There were only the armed guards standing at the gates of the hole the world tossed us in to forget about us, and that is not a theological statement.

What we did have were our dreams. In a life that was shrouded in monochromatic shades of redundancy, our dreams were our escape. We imagined ourselves spies, or kings, or poets. We fancied ourselves grand and capable of great things. In the depths of night, when blackness masked the differences between our world and yours, we dreamed ourselves extraordinary.

I scribbled on tattered paper in the middle of the night, twisting words I’d learned until they made sense, creating tapestries of language to hang inside the walls of my heart. I hid those scraps of my soul carefully, under mattresses and in the backs of school lockers, because I knew that the day they were found, they’d be taken away from me.

And one day, they were found.

And that day, my heart was laid out on the floor in front of me and torn into pieces, one poem and story at a time.

And that was the day that I knew I had to leave. I knew I had to do something, that I had to effect some change in some way I couldn’t yet comprehend. I listened to the words thrown across the room at me that night, saying that it was wrong to dream of a better life, that it was selfish to want something better, that is was sinful to aspire to be something more than was destined for me to be, and I saw the bars that held us all in that place coming down around me. I knew that I would suffocate inside them if I didn’t run.

I ran. I left everything I knew one night in January and I ran as far away as I could get. I left behind the piano I’d hammer my rage into, I left the pen that I poured my soul out of, I left my mother and my family and every single person I’d ever known and I never looked back.

I always thought that, on that night, my mother had taken my words from me. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized that she’d only forced me to find new ones.

I am not one of those people who believe that anyone can do anything. What I do believe is that everyone can do something, especially when we have to.

I spent my early years of motherhood unwittingly re-creating my own childhood, mostly, I think, because it was the only thing I knew how to do. During those years, I learned how to accept the life I’d been handed and I learned to make it better for my children. I made sure that they had a life that, however humble, was exactly the opposite of mine. I taught them that they were kings, spies and poets. I used the remnants of my own foundation to build them up, but what I didn’t realize is that I gave them too much, I left myself too hollow, and someday, I was going to need to take myself back.

The funny thing about having kids is that, even when they don’t know it, they constantly remind you how fallible you are.  I saw too many parts of my childhood becoming the norm for my own children. My kids started looking at me in the same way I remembered looking at my own mother, as if to say, “This is great, but who the hell are you?” And I realized that I had to figure that out, for them, for myself, for the sum of my life to have added up to anything at all.

I had to take myself back. I had to go back to that night, to that room when the only thing I cared about at all was shredded before my eyes and I had to deal with it. I had to pull those papers out of the trash can, tape them back together, and take back what had been stolen from me. And that’s what I did.

I imagine most everyone has this crisis-of-self moment at some point in their lives, when you realize that you have to get up and do something, even if you don’t know how to do it, even if you don’t want to do it, and even if you’re pretty sure you can’t do it…because if you don’t, everything around you will fall apart. Sometimes, a mother will have to lift a car off her child to save him, and though everything in the world tells us this is impossible, realizes she can when she tries. Sometimes, a woman like Margaret Rudkin will have to bake a loaf of bread or her child will starve, and she’ll do it. Sometimes, a woman will have to take a sledgehammer to the chains she’s allowed her past to wrap around her or she will be lost to them forever.

And sometimes, these unexpected necessities lead to unimaginable re-inventions of people.

Margaret Rudkin never knew she could bake a loaf of bread, let alone market a company that would survive and grow through generations. She never knew she could do more than bake a loaf of bread so that her child could eat, but today that one loaf of bread is called Pepperidge Farm.

I never knew I could pick my pen back up and write, but I did it anyway, because I had no choice. I wrote without fear, without mattresses and lockers to tuck my words away into, mostly because I had nothing left to lose. I wrote in the wide open public space the internet gave us, letting the whole of me hang out exposed for anyone to find, and the doors they all told me growing up would never open started to.

Today, most of the people I grew up with are still where I left them, still living the place we all came from. Today, I am so far removed from that place and that life that it feels like a movie I watched a thousand years ago. Today, I have a job that I never, not in a million years, thought I could have, a job that means I have to write every single day. Today, I am showing my children how to believe in themselves, because I am doing exactly that.

Once upon a time, one woman’s tablespoon changed the world. Today, I am reminded of her first loaf of bread, and the difference it made, and I can’t wait to see what this $0.99 Bic pen is going to do.

This post is sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine as part of the Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival.
Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

As Mr. Lady tells it, she is not a Mister and she is certainly not a lady. She is however, an amazing writer that chronicles her life on her blog, Whiskey in My Sippy Cup. In 2009, she was named as Babble’s Top 50 Mommy Bloggers. She is a mom of three, politics junkie, and an amazing writer (yes, it’s worth mentioning twice.) Go now and subscribe to her blog and follow her on Twitter.

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Mr Lady’s and Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg” ></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

5

Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood : Carnival Inspired by Margaret Rudkin, founder Pepperidge Farm

Nosh Notes from the EditorThere is an art to the juggle.  Family, business, and self…  all of those dreams and ambitions up in the air.  It takes a deft hand, a sharp eye, and a trust in our instincts in order to deliver the goods in life.

During the month of May, Blog Nosh Magazine will be featuring stories inspired by the founder of Pepperidge Farm, Margaret Rudkin, as part of our Celebrate the Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival.   Margaret Rudkin was a mother who faced adversity and not only rose to the challenge of the juggle, but revolutionized an industry.

Her story, her work, the way she artfully wove motherhood and business, resonates with the lives of many mothers, parents, and entrepreneurs in our community.  Margaret Rudkin Distinctive CookiesWith this in mind, we shared Margaret’s story (along with the NoshTube video in our sidebar) with a group of commissioned writers, with the hope that they would feel a bit of it resonate within themselves.  People, they delivered.

They delivered because that’s what we do.  As writers, as parents, as innovative leaders and entrepreneurs, we look adversity in the eye and we recognize opportunity.  Margaret’s story struck a chord in me because what resonated was not the fact that she made her first loaf of bread in order to help her son who was suffering from food allergies, but rather that her stepping up to the plate to solve an immediate problem revealed to her a talent for business that she never realized she had.

In today’s economy, so many of us are solving problems on the go, perfecting the art of the hustle so that our families’ needs are met, and consequently building new lives for ourselves.  Through the first posts we share with you in our writing carnival, we delve into stories from designers, authors, artists, teachers, and innovators.  Including one from a stay-at-home dad, which we have our current economy to thank for and for which we are thankful.

The economy that we face down each day makes Margaret Rudkin’s story all the more relevant to tell.  We invite you to explore the ways that our writers’ stories overlap and build upon each other.  Dig deep into your own story and ask yourself, possibly for the first time, how you have reached the point at which you are today.  Is this what you had planned?  For better or worse, reframe your own story with deliberation.

And we’d love for you to share it with us. We’ll be selecting 5 posts from the general carnival to feature on our front page during the month of May, with your permission.  Share your post with your audience, then add it to our linky so we can find you.

Finally, we are immensely proud to share with you that Pepperidge Farm found such inspiration in your storytelling that they are donating $10,000 to Feeding America, in addition to the 9.2 million pounds of food Pepperidge Farm has donated since July 2005, 1.9 million pounds this year alone.  The story of need and innovation is as relevant today as it was when Margaret founded Pepperidge Farm in the 1930′s.  Blog Nosh Magazine is honored to be part of the inspiration for this donation, along with you and your own storytelling.  hint, hint…  Share your story!  You inspire.

Pepperidge Farm News and Offers

Nosh Notes from the Editor by founder and editor-in-chief, Megan Jordan from Velveteen Mind.

***

Inspired?  Recognize a dash of Margaret’s tenacity and compassion in yourself?

Our carnival of storytelling celebrates the art of
stepping up to the plate in order to answer a need and
unexpectedly discovering a fiery talent just waiting to flourish.

Please join our carnival and share your own story of stepping up to the plate and delivering a bit of spit-fire that you may never have realized you had.

To participate:

We’ll be selecting 5 additional carnival posts to feature on the front page of Blog Nosh Magazine (with your permission) during the month of May so add yours now!  We can’t wait to read your story!

<a href=”http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/News.aspx”><img src=”http://www.velveteenmind.com/Carnivals/PF/PFBN400x100.jpg” ></a>

Heart and Art of Motherhood carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.

1 of 1

Switch to our desktop site