MIDLOTHIAN — Amid being a full-time mom, Marilynn Howe is also a creative strategist and storyteller extraordinaire who spends her time improving the lives around her.
“My creative tool of choice has always been writing,” expressed Marilynn Howe, owner of the House of Howe. “That’s where I get really involved and keep true to the heart of the projects.”
Raised as a Hapa Hawaiian and later moving to California, Howe graduated cum laude from Dallas Baptist University and launched into nonprofit development, communications, and marketing.
Over a decade of serving nonprofit organizations, Howe accelerates transformative change by equipping people in small communities. In efforts to make a difference in Midlothian through her personal experiences, Howe started a blog with an online soft opening Saturday, April 1.
“I had some blogs a while ago, and after starting work and a family, I always dreamt of getting back into writing,” explained Howe of the beginnings of her website.
After she had purchased her current Midlothian home from her aunt to keep it in the family, Howe said she couldn’t have possibly predicted the story that would soon unfold.
“This past year I took a break from working after moving into our house when we had my daughter, and my dad moved in with declining health,” Howe recollected. “It was two years ago that we moved him in and started taking care of him. When he first moved in, he could walk to the bar, sit on the bar stools and talk to us. But within weeks, everything just changed. Each week was just one crisis after the other."
During that time, Howe and her father took on a personal project called the "#100DayProject" to recount and record their life experiences.
“The idea of the project was for 100 days as a creative 'you do whatever you do' – write, draw, whatever. So I said, ‘Dad, let’s do this.’ So I would record him, and he would sit down and reminisce about something,” Howe explained her take on The Great Discontent Magazine initiative.
As she learned more about her Hawaiian heritage and what it is like to be a “sandwich generation,” not to mention taking care of both her toddlers and ailing parent, Howe developed a deeper love for creative nonfiction writing.
With high hopes of rehabilitation, Howe’s nightmare of losing her father came true as he passed away in May 2015. He was 82 years old.
“For a while, I was posting our stories on social media, and it was great. But then after losing him, I had to go through this period of how could I continue this story? I decided to push pause for a little bit,” Howe disclosed, completing 40 stories with her father before he passed. “My dad was such a big part of my life; he was my hero. It’s mind-blowing when you cross over that threshold. He’s suddenly gone, and I’m doing the rest of this life without him. It made me aware of how precious time is."
For nine months, Howe went through a season of silence, spending time with her children, working on household remolding projects, and connecting deeper with the community.
“During the process of all that, I thought, ‘I’ve got to get my blog together again,’” Howe said.
Later returning to the workforce as an independent contractor with Seed Company, an international Bible translation company, Howe’s passion for writing was sparked yet again.
In a culmination of the perfect inspirational storm, the passion for helping others through her written words led to Howe's purchase of the "House of Howe" domain in 2016.
“The whole point of it is, I call it ‘The Art of Living,’ and I’ll write about everything that happens in our home. Because I’m passionate about missions, my experiences with Seed Company, my heritage of being Native Hawaiian, and my dad - God is moving in amazing ways all around the world and in local communities like Midlothian,” she expounded.
By linking her stories back through her home, Howe’s blog includes everything from personal experiences of encouragement, to global viewpoints, and local features of those who have passed through their front door.
The long list of highlighted stories Howe plans to write is sure to make The House of Howe an uplifting network for the community to enjoy.
“Because this home became such a special place to me, which I knew was important before I purchased it, and just feeling that call as a member of the community to answer what our story is, I want to grow that voice,” Howe finished with a smile.
As for what the future holds, Howe said she still plans to finish the #100DayProject with the intentions of writing a memoir of her father’s life, continue working with nonprofits and encourage those around her one day at a time.
To visit House of Howe, visit houseofhowe.com
Chelsea Groomer, @ChesleaGroomer