The Garden is an occasional series featuring
the steps fellow readers are taking to lovingly grow their dreams... one day
at a time.
Photographer and Arts Lover
I first met Duane Gamble two summers ago at
the annual Work at What You Love seminar. That's when I learned that this
mechanical engineer with a passion for freelance photography was steadily
working towards completing a book that he hoped to add to his current profit
Like many great small business ideas, Duane's
book was born from personal frustration. You see, Duane also runs a business
called Creative Photo Products. Just as it sounds, Duane creates and sells a
wide range of products featuring photographic images including note cards,
tote bags, T-shirts, pillows, gift enclosures, framed prints, clocks,
refrigerator magnets, and bookmarks. Finding suppliers, vendors and
manufacturers often proved difficult as did figuring out how to buy supplies
in large enough quantities to make his finished product profitable.
"I had to become my own detective," says
Duane. "After all those years of finding sources for raw materials and
figuring out all of the manufacturing, product development and marketing, I
became a knowledgeable expert in finding resources for creative people and
self-employed people trying to market and promote their creative products."
Well, a year later Duane published his first book, The Visual Arts Resource
Manual and it is chock full of helpful resources designed to save artists
time and money. To learn more, go to
Animal Lover Nancy Frank
Talk about planting seeds and watching them
grow! I kind of stumbled on Nancy Frank's site after she posted a comment on
a blog. That's where I learned that in her life Nancy has been the Founding
Director of two wildlife rehabilitation centers in southern Wisconsin,
operated a dog training school in Milwaukee, and established Dog Days of
Wisconsin Summer Camp for Dogs and Their People.
In addition to her current "job" operating
Opportunity Llamas farm, Nancy recently another venture called Companion
CompanionPaws.net. The organization seeks to meet both the needs of
independent seniors, who wish to continue to share their lives with animals,
and of the animals they care for.
I know first hand how important animals are in
an older person's life. I lost both of my grandmothers in 2005. The
grandmother I was closest to took care of my dog Cokie whenever I traveled
out of town to speak. He essentially became her sixth grandchild. She and I
talked every day by phone. Her first question was always, "How is Cokie?"
Her second question was, "How are you?" There is no doubt in my mind that
Cokie kept this 93 year old young.
After falling and breaking her hip, my other
grandmother spent a little over a year in a nursing home. Cokie loved his
frequent visits to the nursing home but not nearly as much as my grandmother
and the other residents loved seeing him. This small dog brought such love,
companionship, and comfort to both grandmothers. I hope you will consider
making a small donation to this worthwhile cause. I know it will go a long
way in helping Nancy to continue her heart work of bringing the joy of
animal companionship to seniors.
Massage Therapist and
Educator Stephanie Manriquez
Perhaps most gratifying is getting to watch a
dream grow over the course of nearly a decade. For the last few years the
Changing Course home page has featured the story of Stephanie Manriquez. Our
first connection came in the form of a handwritten note included with her
subscription to the original hardcopy version of this newsletter.
Stephanie was 50 at the time and thinking
about quitting her job in Tacoma, Washington to move 300 miles to attend
massage therapy school. She wanted to know, "Am I crazy?" I told her that
if making a major work and career change is your dream, she'd be crazy not
to go for it.
Well, Stephanie did go for it. A year later
this single mother of six grown children wrote to say she'd put her
belongings into storage and moved to Bend, Oregon – a place she'd left seven
years before and "had missed ever since." There she rented a room from an
old family friend, got a part-time job at Starbuck's because they offer
full-time medical benefits to part-time employees, and became a full-time
student in a licensed massage therapy program.
It was a huge transition, but Stephanie loved
every minute of it. "Every day is wonderful and the feelings that come from
being back home are beyond words. I love my new life and am looking forward
to graduation this year. The mountains are snow-covered, the trees are so
green and the sky is bluer in Bend. I can walk to work, to school and the
store. What more could one ask for? It was scary and exciting all at once,
but I took a leap of faith and have never regretted the move. Money isn't
everything and life is much too short to squander it."
She went on offer this advice, "I notice the
same theme in all your stories, the fears, the hopes and the relief once the
move is made. If I could say one thing to help one person take the plunge,
it would be that the benefits far outweigh the rest!"
I had lost track of Stephanie until five years
later when she wrote to let me know she had indeed achieved her dream of
becoming a licensed massage therapist... and then some. In that time she had
earned her Associates degree in Applied Science in Massage Therapy, opened
her second office practice, worked with a panel for the National Board of
Massage Therapist and Bodywork, was teaching in the massage therapy program
at Central Oregon Community College, and was working on a Bachelor's degree
from Eastern Oregon University. "Things have been GREAT for me" she said.
Adding, "I made hard decisions and risky choices to start over almost 6
years ago. I have NEVER regretted my decision one moment!"
It was great to know that Stephanie had "made
it." But this very determined dreamer was not done yet. Nearly ten years
after that first note to ask if I thought her dream was "crazy" I received
still another update.
"Well," says Stephanie, "life just keeps on
getting better! I now own a small massage school
Massage Now Learning Institute (MassageNow.org)
that works with people that need to license in Oregon to
practice massage therapy... I have three more massage rooms in Sunriver,
Oregon for a total of 6 rooms, and I have 12 Licensed Massage Therapists
working with me. I am now close to 60 and life just keeps on getting better!
Keep on doing what you do to encourage others to go for it!"
While Stephanie, Duane,
and Nancy chose different paths, each of their journeys began the same way...
with a single step. What small step can you take today to growing and
nurturing your own dream of creating the life you really want?
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
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