We had the good fortune of connecting with Meagan Myhren-Bennett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Meagan, how do you define success?
Success is an interesting concept and depending on who you ask it has a widely varying meaning. As Obi-Wan Kenobi would most likely say, if pressed, “I was successful ‘from a certain point of view’.” The question to ask yourself is whose point of view will you allow to determine whether or not you are successful.

I gauge my success on two levels – personal and public. On the personal, I set goals for a day, a week, a month, or a year. But these goals, unless I’ve promised to do something by a certain date, are not set in stone because life happens. To keep myself from stressing, I try to build in a small time cushion to prevent failure.

As far as my creative endeavors go I find success when I put the last word of a story on the page. I love when words come together, creating a picture that comes alive. Looking outside, discovering a downed tree but seeing instead another world full of potential and the unknown just waiting to be discovered. I find success in the simplest of steps as well as momentous events. Think of your first baby steps. Riding a bike without training wheels for the first time.

Public success is easily seen in likes and follows and in monetary gains. But don’t tie yourself to this as it could be a distraction from your true goal. I’m not saying don’t care about this, just don’t tie your happiness, the determination of your success to a volatile and fluctuating variable.

I would say the most important factor in determining my measure of success is looking at whether or not I have taken a step up the mountain of my goal. Am I happy with the path I’m traveling? The path up the mountain isn’t straight, there are curves and unexpected detours that can provide sometimes bigger challenges that if overcome might provide even greater success. Ideas can come from anywhere so don’t stress the unexpected but view it as an oppotunity.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I love sharing words with people. Words are one of the most powerful forces in the world – they can influence anyone you just need the right words to do so. Words can build us up or tear us down. I want my words to be an encouragement, to make someone stop and think about something they may have never thought about before.

But getting thoughts from your mind to paper isn’t as easy as it sounds. Often the right word that expresses what you are thinking, or feeling can be elusive – like a shooting star it’s there and then gone in an instant, so you need to grab it and hold it close until you get it expressed.

There have been ups and downs on this journey but like everything worth doing – the work and the struggles to get there make the effort worth it in the end. Take criticism and praise and take a step back and look at your work with the eye of not a creator but someone else. Is the feedback accurate? Can you take something from it and grow, making your work better?

I always think of the old rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is not true words can hurt and I never want my words to hurt. I want to offer hope, healing and thought with my words. I want to offer encouragement.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Favorite spots in the city to show off to a visiting friend. That would be an interesting trip as I live in a small rural community. We have a library which in all honesty is probably the main place to hang out if you aren’t looking for someplace to eat. It is by no means big but it has a bright, cozy feel to it. It has cute cafe-style tables with bright orange chairs for reading or using your laptop for work or school. The children’s section has a fun loft with a large caterpillar on the wall (think Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar). The clock looks like the pigeon in Mo Willem’s books.

For donuts, there is Chrissy’s Bloomer Bakery which has been around since the 1940s and is the place to go for Raspberry-Lemonade Bismarks, Cherry Blossoms, and Strawberry Pineapple muffins. If you want pizza Fat Boy’s Pizza is the place to go for Jay Fries and Pineapple Cheese pizza (if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend it). And of course, you need to cap off dinner with dessert and Main Street Cafe has the perfect pies to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. I favor the cream cheese pies but they have so many flavors I’m sure you could find whatever you are looking for.

Now that we have covered the indoor basics, we’ll take our visit outdoors. Within the city limits, there is the Duck Park – the unofficial name given because of all the ducks that enjoy the creek that runs through it. It is a favorite location with all the kids for after school when they are bored. If you want to fish or just enjoy the water there is Lake Como which is a cute small man-made lake in the heart of the city.

If you want a more outdoorsy activity the Ice Age Trail isn’t too far outside the city. The trail is very wooded with lakes and swamps not too far off. The Lily Pads are delightfully beautiful in June. And there are Dragonflies aplenty to enjoy as their wings catch the sun as they dart about.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents and grandparents always encouraged my “artistic” endeavors even when I know it wasn’t the best. They didn’t put it down or try to redirect my passion elsewhere. So they are probably the biggest influence in developing my foundational base. Another influence on my life was my fourth-grade teacher John D. Black who didn’t put up with any nonsense in class and expected everyone to do their best.

Website: https://bloomingwithbooks.blogspot.com https://storytimewithdoreenandduncan.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bloomingwbooks/ https://www.instagram.com/storytimewithdoreenandduncan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bloomingwbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BloomingwBooks https://www.facebook.com/StorytimeWithDoreenandDuncan

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.