If only everyone had a friend professional back-patter like Claudia K. Beeny by their side. A working mom’s best friend and muse to many, she is devoted to bringing out the “inner-shine” in others—from helping young adults find fulfilling careers, to aiding those looking to discover the bright side of life, via her Web site, houseofshine.com. The mom of two lives in Grapevine with her husband, Richard, and their boys—Matthew, 6 and Jack, 3. Between, blogging, parenting and making the world a better place (natch), Beeny gives us the scoop on how she got her shiny, happy outlook and much more.
What’s one thing few people know about you? I sailed around the world through the Semester at Sea [shipboard program] immediately [after grad school].
What brought your Web site, houseofshine.com, to life? The House of Shine started out as a hobby—a personal challenge. Initially it was a blog titled Highlowaha. My goal for the blog was to share a creative idea a day for an entire year (Sundays excluded). Primarily, they were creative ideas that moms could use when trying to restore a sense of family and tradition in their otherwise hectic homes. I ended up having so much fun doing it and enjoyed the community of readers so much that three years later, I still haven’t stopped. Of course, the nature of the Web site and blog is different now. Currently, the House of Shine focuses exclusively on teaching and promoting principles of excellence. You can even get cool Shine T-shirts and other accessories Come, March we are hosting, “Rise and Shine”—a conference-type gathering for working moms at the Lancaster Theater in downtown Grapevine.
Are you seeing the fruits of your labor? I get such nice feedback from readers and participants about how the House of Shine positively impacts their lives. For some readers it is simply a positive site to visit each morning as they get their days underway. It is their virtual cup of coffee. For others, it is the comfort of participation in a community of readers who value many of the same things they do—having a strong work ethic; finding your life’s purpose; committing random acts of kindness; being grateful for what you have, and more.
If you won the lottery what would you do? Hire a staff to work with me on houseofshine.com and purchase an actual house of shine from which we could all work. It would be a yellow house with white shudders, and it would seep creativity.
From one mom to another, do you have any tips on staying connected with your own relationships?
Richard and I have a standing date every Saturday night. That has been very helpful in keeping our marriage strong, through the stressors of raising young kids. We both look forward to dinner with uninterrupted conversation on Saturday nights. My calendar is also a big help. I schedule lunches weeks in advance (when I feel like I have the time) and that helps me stay connected with local friends and colleagues. I have a standing weekly phone call with my parents—something I have been doing since my first year in college. Probably the group that suffers most is longtime friends who live in various places around the country. My saving grace is that many of them know they can check in on me daily through my blog.
How have you changed since having children? With every passing year of motherhood I realize each minute spent doing one thing is a minute spent not doing something else. I have quite a few life goals—things I want to move toward. At the same time I am future-focused on those things, I am very aware my kids will grow up quickly and, for that reason, I am intent on learning how to be in the moment. It is the great irony that so many of us live with. We are excited about the next stage, but oftentimes, it comes at the expense of appreciating the present. Since becoming a mom, I am clearer about my personal, professional, and familial goals. That clarity has helped me be more discerning about how I spend my time.
What is your greatest joy from motherhood? Watching the insatiable curiosity of my boys as they explore and discover new things. I love being there to watch the process and to support their discovery in any way I can.