Making a Dream Come True

Making a Dream Come True

How an Artist Found the Courage
to Realize a Secret Dream

This special tribute to Susan Young—a dear friend of mine who died much too young—holds an inspirational message for everyone who has ever had a secret dream and wished they had the courage to try to make it come true. – Barbara

WITHOUT QUESTION, the right words at the right time can change a person’s life. For example, consider this quote that I shared on my newly-opened website in 2000:

“Work is . . . an anodyne against pain. The more difficult and challenging the thing we are working at, the better, for we can’t work hard without using up some of the energy that might go into self pity. The more creative our attitude toward work, the greater the enrichment we can draw from it. No matter what the state of the world, we must live with such courage as we can. How well we are prepared depends in considerable part on how well we have built up those timeless resources that are proof against change.” – Ardis Whitman, Resources to Last a Lifetime (1963; out of print).

After reading this, Susan Young wrote to tell me that this quote had spurred her to action. “In going to your website,” she said, “your ‘Thought of the Month’ kept sticking in my mind. Last night I sat up for hours rereading all of your books, many of which mention me, for which I’m grateful. But beyond that, I wanted some inspiration to force me to make a decision about something I’ve been waffling about for years. Though I have had the privilege of owning a private backyard studio for almost a quarter of a century, I have long dreamed of a retail shop and country style craft store ‘up on the highway.’

“It had always seemed beyond my grasp—and I tend to be a real chicken where risk is concerned. But after visiting your website again and digging out your books and reading half the night, this morning I called the owner of a five-room country house up on the highway and told him, ‘as far as I am concerned, it’s mine.’ Thanks, Barbara!” – Susan Young

Several weeks later, Susan wrote: “What a learning experience and, in spite of fatigue, what a satisfying adventure, renovating that little house and turning it into a dream I’ve had off and on for 25 years. It was definitely meant to be. It was part of my life’s plan even when I wasn’t doing the planning. It’s been a whirlwind; mentally, physically and emotionally. Had a couple of days out of the past ninety where briefly I thought I’d never make it.’ But I know that I will, because deep down, where it counts, I knew in my gut this building I’ve leased had my name on it. It just took seven years for the circumstances to come together. I swear it was destiny, fate, or God’s provision.”

“Words, which seem so fragile, little more than puffs of air on a perishing wind, sometimes have the force of iron in our memories.” – Julia Keller, in her article, “A New Word Order” in the Chicago Tribune Magazine

Write a Book . . . Who? Me?

SUSAN AND I became friends in the mid-90s. After I saw how creative and successful she was in the operation of her homebased crafts business, I began to include her business tips and advice in revised editions of several of my business books. So when I got the job of Series Editor for Prima Publishing’s upcoming line of For Fun & Profit™ books to be published in 1999-2000, I recommended Susan as the perfect author to write one of the books in this series. Susan was stunned to be asked to write a book, but she handled the challenge beautifully and wrote Decorative Painting for Fun and Profit. (Published in 1999, it’s still in print.)

decorative cat pin by Susan YoungI treasure the thank-you gift Susan sent me after she signed this book contract—a hand-cut wooden pin with the words, “Write a book? Who? Me?” that has hung on my office bulletin board since 1999.

I never got to meet Susan in person, but we developed a close friendship by phone and email. For many years we traded business information while also sharing our mutual love of writing, crafts, nostalgia, nature, and cats. Her retail shop was as successful as her homebased business was, and she took great delight in being an author and selling autographed copies of her book in her shop.

Cancer Came Like a Thief in the Night

WITH SO MANY INTERESTS in common, we talked nearly every week, and never in all that time did Susan indicate she wasn’t feeling well. So I was absolutely stunned when her husband called to tell me that she had died suddenly on April 13, 2003 from cancer she didn’t know she had until just a week before her death. She was so ill she wasn’t able to call anyone to say goodbye, and once again I found myself trying to come to terms with the death of someone I loved—one more person to whom I never got to say goodbye. I like to think now that it was God’s provision and grace that gave her enough time to realize her biggest dream before she died and also to have time to enjoy being an author. I’m so glad I was in a position to help her get a book contract from Prima.

Susan was an incredible bundle of talent—an artist, designer, author, and very savvy business woman. She was also a generous soul who always went out of her way to be helpful to others, especially where the sharing of information was concerned. She had a charming website of her own that featured her products, poetry, and photographs. When I learned that her husband, Dennis, was going to close the shop and her website, I asked, and he kindly gave me permission to republish some of her Susan’s poetry and the story of the stray cat she loved so much and took such good care of. I thought it was the least I could do for a very special friend.

NOTE: Being able to help first-time authors get published has been an important goal of mine for many years. If you’ve been dreaming about writing a book and need a motivational push to get started, check my telephone consulting service for writers and authors.

Related Article:

The Stray Cat that Came to Stay, by Susan Young. If you love cats, you’ll enjoy the sweet story of Peaches, who loved being free to roam out-of-doors and wanted nothing to do with the inside of a house. Includes poetry by Susan.

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