My Story: Monica Wihongi

What stories are you bursting to tell? Don’t be shy; we know you have them. Do you have a few (thousand) that came about because of your connection to Close To My Heart? Good, because we want to hear them!

Whenever we post a prompt here, we want you to look back on your time with us and recall your fun, funny, or awe-inspiring memories—then send them in. We’ll take a handful of the entries that make us cry (or make us laugh until we snort, whichever comes first) and post them here for all to enjoy.

Of course, we believe in positive reinforcement, so all published entries will earn a Close To My Heart goodie or two, just for fun.

To start things off, we’re calling for entries that answer the question: How did you first get involved with Close To My Heart? Entries should be 300 words or fewer and may be edited for length, grammar, and clarity. Email your entry to ctmhblog@closetomyheart.com by November 7 with “How I Met Close To My Heart” as the subject line to be considered for inclusion on the blog.

And now, to get you sufficiently inspired, we’re sharing the true story of how Chief Communications Officer Monica Wihongi got her start. Enjoy! 

Monica’s Story
After I graduated from high school, I moved to Utah to attend college. Leaving Texas was a big culture shock for me, but I bravely made the move and immediately began working as a secretary for a small business. As keeper of the front desk, I got to see everyone that came and went through. A woman named Jeanette Lynton came in every so often to talk with my boss. I didn’t know what she came for, but I was enchanted by her beautiful eyes. That’s the first thing I remember about Jeanette: her beautiful, sparkly eyes.

On one of her visits to the office Jeanette sat in the reception area waiting to speak with my boss, so I asked her what it was that she always came in for. She answered that she rented some warehouse space from my boss, and was running her business from an office directly across the street. She told me she made stamps, and she kindly invited me over to visit her warehouse on my lunch break.

The first D.O.T.S. catalog Monica ever sawA few hours later, I walked into that building 100 percent sure that Jeanette Lynton made postage stamps. I thought, “Well, that’s nice. I guess someone has to make those little designs on all our stamps.” When Jeanette showed me the rubber and wooden blocks she used to make papercrafting stamps, I was both surprised and delighted. She showed me the catalog the company was currently using; I still remember what the cover looked like and everything! I thumbed through it, and after I was done I looked Jeanette in the eye and said, “I don’t know how, but I know that I’m supposed to help you with this.” And I did know. I instantly felt so connected to Jeanette and to her cause.

So Jeanette gave me a job, inviting me to start the following day. I told her, “Let me go back across the street and tell my boss I’m going to be working with you now.” My boss agreed wholeheartedly that Jeanette was a great woman, and said that I was free to start working for her the following day.

Monica and JeanetteI started the next day entering orders. Back then, all orders came by mail, and we would enter them into our computers by hand. It took me two and a half hours to do what I should have done in a half hour. I had no experience doing that kind of thing! Jeanette wisely asked me what it was that I did best, and I told her that I enjoyed taking phone calls. I then became a very happily employed Consultant Services Representative—the only one for the entire company, in fact.

Since then I have stayed with Close To My Heart, working in several different positions. I left for a short while after I got married, but one day I received a call from Jeanette asking me to return. “Can you just stay? Because I need you here,” she said.

She had to be flexible with my schedule because I was in school and starting a family, but she wanted me with her and I knew it because she let me bring my first baby with me to work for at least the first six months. In fact, all of my babies have come to the office with me for the first few months of their lives—and I have seven kids! Jeanette is a very family-oriented woman, and she has always respected me as a mother. Because of her I could and can still do what I’m meant to do (be a mother!) and also be here.

Wihongi Family 2014Now, several job titles later, I am still here, loving the company and loving working with one of my very best friends, Jeanette Lynton. I know we’re a papercrafting company, but our mission statement shows that we’re more than that. This is a place for people to feel connected both to their pasts and to one another.

For me, Close To My Heart is all about the people. I love the people I work with at the corporate office, and it is a great blessing to get to work with all the Consultants outside of the office—really, that is my absolute favorite responsibility. The people of Close To My Heart inspire me, and I love being around people who inspire me.

I have seen how Close To My Heart changes lives for the better, and we can all use a little goodness in our lives, especially in this day and age. I believe in Jeanette’s vision and the mission of Close To My Heart. It is truly touching hearts and changing lives—I know it’s changed mine for sure!


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18 thoughts on “My Story: Monica Wihongi

  1. I love reading your story, Monica! and I love that Jeanette welcomed so many of us from Australia & New Zealand into the Close To My Heart family just over a year ago. It was so good to see you and especially Jeanette at the Australasian Convention last week!

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  2. I always love hearing your heart warming story Monica. Your close connection and bond with Jeanette was clear to see at our recent Convention in Brisbane. It was a sweet surprise to see myself and and the the Perth based ladies from my Indulgent Hearts team featured in the photos. Despite being at the far flung reach of the CTMH family, I love the way CTMH makes us feel as included and supported as our sisters in the USA. I am definitely inspired to write my own CTMH story.

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  3. These memories bring tears to my eyes! I have watched Monica “grow” in herself, with Jeanette and our wonderful, wonderful company!

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  4. This fills my heart! We have been through it together and I feel so blessed to have watched you blossom from the very beginning! You and your flock are like family to me! Love you sharing your story!

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  5. I love CTMH crafts. I haven’t yet really got things going as a consultant, but aim to soon. I am sure there shall be many good times, to look forward to joining this big big family. Thank you Janette and her many helpers for bringing CTMH to Australia finally. I wrote to you a few years ago, asking for this. Again thank you and to the team behind you. Thank you also to Mandy Hall for asking Me to be a part of her team The Indulgent Hearts.

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  6. I love CTMH crafts. I haven’t yet really got things going as a consultant, but aim to soon. I am sure there shall be many good times, to look forward to joining this big big family. Thank you Janette and her many helpers for bringing CTMH to Australia finally. I wrote to you a few years ago, asking for this. Again thank you and to the team behind you. Thank you also to Mandy Hall for asking Me to be a part of her team The Indulgent Hearts.
    What a beautiful story Monica. Your love for Jeanette and CTMH shines with every word and beautiful smile you have!:-)

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  7. I first met you at our Product Launch in Melbourne just over a year ago (and I have a photo with you!). You are such an inspiration. I loved that we met Jeanette in Brisbane at the first Australasian Convention, and I can tell you there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. You and Jeannette have such a special bond – one never to be broken! We are very fortunate to have such positive, caring leaders.

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  8. You story is just beautiful Monica. Close To My Heart is more than a name…it’s really the truth behind Jeanette’s vision. So glad that God placed you in this wonderful place. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Pingback: Blast from the Past: How I Met Close To My Heart | Make It from Your Heart

  10. I love this story. I love to form relationships where ever I go! I love to talk about Close to my Heart! That is just that! This company is very close to my heart in a sense of helping raise a family and enjoy play with paper! Two thing I love to be part of!

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  11. Thank you Monica for an amazing first Convention in Australia 2015. I had a great time and learnt a lot about CTMH. I really enjoyed the question and answer session with Jeanette. WoW!!! what a lady. I was really inspired by Jeanette’s passion for CTMH and her openness about her relationship with God, who is also my Lord and Saviour.

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