Marvelous! Voices — Reflections on 5 Years

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By Deb Peterson

When I started Marvelous! five years ago in a corner of my living room, I did it with a little bit of experience and lot of things to learn. I did it with the encouragement of my partner, Tim Malaney, and the support of a lot of people who believed in me. Five very full years later, I still create the magazine in the same corner of my home, and while I still wear many hats, as does any sole proprietor, the pages of Marvelous! have evolved tremendously thanks to its readers, advertisers, and the many women in our community who have embraced the idea of a local women’s magazine and helped to make it their own.

As I reflect on the past five years, these things spring to mind.

It’s important to dream big but start small and be willing to change.
Tim is a person who dreams big, really big, and inspires others to do the same, so in the beginning, my dreams for Marvelous! soared. I envisioned statewide stories and distribution, maybe a few national interviews, and gigantic events that raised money for charities. We actually did those things, publishing stories about women from northwest Arkansas to Eureka Springs, Jonesboro, and Little Rock. Harley White’s motorcycle story included women from across the United States who ride in the Natural State. For two years we presented Runway for Charity, a style show that raised thousands of dollars for local organizations.

I’m proud of all of those realized dreams, but I had created a life I didn’t want to maintain, and encouraging women to create the life they want is what Marvelous! is all about. I refocused my dreams. Today, I have a clearer vision of what Marvelous! is — a community magazine for the women of the Twin Lakes Area, a magazine that features women who inspire others to get up, get out, and do the things they’ve always wanted to do. The power of Marvelous! is that our readers know the women they see in its pages, and if they don’t, they can find her, meet her, and become friends.

Connecting with people matters.
There is so much striving for personal gain in our culture today, so much disregard for the well-being of others, and so little respect for all living beings that share life on our planet. My wish is that Marvelous! is a vehicle for connecting people in happy, inspiring ways, and maybe, little by little, we can model good living and make the world a better place.

Like most new businesses, it takes a while to figure things out and start to make a profit.
I’m getting there! I learned in Folio:, a trade magazine for the publishing industry, that a successful print magazine today needs three things — a community, a digital presence, and events. We have a fabulous community. I am often struck by how many wonderful people I know. We put every issue online at, and we are in our second year of mini events for girlfriends. See No. 4! We are growing.

It isn’t personal.
It’s so easy to be offended by things we make up in our own heads. For a year now, Renae Schocke and I have been offering Marvelous! Minis, mini events for girlfriends, at Marvelous! World Headquarters in Cotter. Sometimes we are full and have a blast. Sometimes we cancel because nobody signs up. There doesn’t seem to be firm logic involved. We have decided not to take it personally. It isn’t about us. We put ideas out there, and if they don’t work, we tweak them and try again, or we try something else. We hope you’ll come out and have some fun with girlfriends at a Marvelous! Mini. You’ll find our calendar online at and on Facebook.

I’m not interested in fighting.
The older I get (I turned 60 in January!), the less willing I am to fight. There is a Taoist concept called wu wei. It means being receptive to life and opportunities, alert and watchful, not aggressive or passive. I live in Cotter near the White River. It is a constant reminder of wu wei. The river doesn’t fight with the boulder in its middle. It flows around it.

Like most of us, I have made some big mistakes in my life. Like a magazine in print, I can’t go back and do it over. I can’t reverse the river. I can recognize my errors, continue to grow into a better human being, to do the right things for the right reasons, to flow through life with grace and respect for those my life touches. We all encounter boulders in our lives. Flow around them. Say yes to opportunities and possibilities. You are creative. We all are in our own ways. Wu wei. M! February/March 2016




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