Archive for the ‘Dream BIGGER (the book)’ Category

“What we call the beginning is often the end

and to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.”

~ T. S. Eliot

It’s been quite a ride! I started this blog in August 2010 as a way of encouraging readers to pursue their dreams. I thought that if I shared stories of people who were making their dreams a reality, it would inspire others to do the same.

This blog has done this and so much more. And I have you, my readers, to thank for that.

Knowing you’re there, waiting for the next installment, has motivated me to show up at the page twice a week (nearly 250 posts to date!).  Your comments remind me that I’m not writing into the Void – you really are enjoying the stories, tips and ideas, and making them your own.

Thanks to you, Dream Bigger has had over 8,000 views from 60 different countries. Wow!

And my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease continues to sell well all over the world (again, thank you!)

It’s now time for me to dream bigger myself. I’m not sure what that dream looks like yet. I know that writing will always be a part of my life, however I don’t know what the next chapter holds. In order to find out, I need to start by bringing this one to a close. You see, it’s only in letting go of the old that you can make room for the new.

This will, therefore, be my last blog post here, although the archives remain available for you to enjoy for now.

I am continuing to offer coaching on life, relationship and money issues (by skype and phone) so if you’ve enjoyed my approach in this blog and in my book, you can always reach me through my website for one-to-one coaching.

Here’s to you! May your dreams entice you ever forward!

As for me, I’ll be exploring the possibilities that await. And you never know, another blog may emerge from my meanderings!

along the path

Taking the path less travelled …


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I’m not the only one dreaming bigger these days. Local singer/songwriter, Sue Baker-Proud, was so taken with Dream BIGGER (both the book and the philosophy) that she decided to write a song about it. The song, appropriately titled “Dreaming Bigger”, is captivating for its lyrics as well as its melody. As part of her song says,

“Long ago I abandoned the dream

But the dream never gave up on me.

It’s always been deep down inside

Nudging me. Calling me. Now’s the time.

… I’m dreamin’ bigger this time round.”

~ Excerpt of lyrics from Dreaming Bigger by Sue Baker-Proud © 2012

Sue sang this song recently at the Spark of Brilliance event for mental health awareness. I was privileged to be in the audience to witness its inaugural flight. Her voice soars, floats, flutters like a beautiful butterfly on a summer breeze.

It was magical to see Sue step into her dream – to sing her own songs with a band and share her music with an appreciative crowd.

Her dream continues to grow. She’s currently writing songs for her first CD. I’ll let you know when it comes out. I promise to be first in line to buy a copy!

You can listen to full song here.

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I was notified last week by my publisher that my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, has received the Reader’s Choice Award. This is the top award category from iUniverse and is only given to books that have good sales AND have already achieved Rising Star and Editor’s Choice status. Three cheers for Dream BIGGER!

The recognition is also based on reviews on Amazon and similar sites. I’ve had positive reviews from readers ever since the book was published. It continues to make its way around the world, reaching out and touching many lives along the way.

I’m curious to know how many of my blog followers have read it. If you have, what was the highlight in the book for you? If you haven’t read it yet, hey, maybe it’s time you did!!

In other news, for those of you living in Waterloo Region, I’ll be sharing tips from Dream BIGGER in my workshop on October 25 in Cambridge, Ontario. It’s part of the Confident Women speaker series and I’d love to see you there.

My dream for the past two years has been to help 100,000 people achieve their dreams. With the book, the workshops and this blog, my dream is becoming reality.

What is needed for you to achieve your dream? How can I help?

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“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin.
Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
~Alan Cohen~

How often do we hold off on starting something because we need a little more money first, or one more course or a bit more free time or … ? The list can go on and on indefinitely. The end result? We never do what it was we said we wanted to do. And that can lead to regrets and moments of wondering, “What if …?”

When the idea for my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, first came to me, I ignored it. I pushed the thoughts away. I was busy writing another book and wanted to finish it first. I’ll deal with you then, I said.

But Dream BIGGER wouldn’t go away. It didn’t matter how many excuses I came up with (and I’m really good at making excuses!) it kept nudging me morning and night. Finally, I said, “Okay, but what’s the book about? I can’t write if I don’t know what I’m writing about.”

The idea for the outline appeared in my mind, fully finished (I kid you not). So I made some notes and went back to writing my other book.

Nudge, nudge. “Okay, so there’s an outline. But where would I start? I need more time to think about this.” And I went back to writing the other book.

Then, as clear as day, I heard the words, “Just start. Anywhere. Just start.”

And so I did. I started with a story about something that had happened to me and the rest of the book flowed from there. Effortlessly.

All I had to do was start.

So what’s holding you back from doing something that you want to do? How many excuses have you used so far? What would happen if you just took one step today?

There is a momentum that begins once we set things in motion. But we have to start the ball rolling. There is never a “perfect” time to start. But any moment can be the right time.

What have you got to lose? Besides future regrets, and who wants those?

Begin today.

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Part of the inspiration for writing Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease came from an experience I had in Costa Rica ten years ago. I was staying in a small beachfront hotel and it was really hot. I desperately wanted to go swimming but there was one gigantic wave getting in my way.

About ten feet from shore, the seemingly flat water began to rise, gathering momentum and height until it peaked, hovered and then came crashing down in a single, thunderous, frothing wave, racing toward the beach.

The Wave

The first time I ventured out into the water, the wave caught me by surprise and sent me tumbling onto the beach with such force that it nearly ripped my bathing suit off my body. The water pummeled me from behind and streamed over me as it ebbed, dragging me back into the ocean. Eyes covered in sand, I clawed my way farther up on the beach and then rolled onto my back, gasping for air.

I felt battered and bruised. I wanted to give up, but I also wanted to go swimming.

Tip #1: Your goal must be your top priority.

It seemed like an impossible task, but I could see other people playing in the calmer water beyond the wave. I realized that I needed a strategy.

Tip #2: You need a plan.

Readjusting my swimsuit, I stood up and analyzed the situation. As I strode out into the water,  I kept my eyes focused on the wave and began to synchronize my movements with the water.

Tip #3: Work with what you’ve got.

As the wave rose, I leaped forward and started to swim straight into it.

Tip #4: Take action.

The water descended, briefly engulfed my head, and then released me like a cork popping off a champagne bottle. I was floating in the stillness behind the wave.

I had achieved my goal!

Tip #5: Enjoy your success! 

I often think back to that moment when life pulls my feet out from underneath me and brings me to my knees. Events like losing a job, unexpected expenses, health problems, divorce or the death of a loved one wear us down like a series of tidal waves. It’s tempting to let the water gradually bury us in the sand. We become shell people – looking the same on the outside, but inside there’s emptiness because we’ve simply disappeared.

Sometimes we find the strength to pull ourselves back up to our knees again, but no farther. Watching from the shore, we settle for living a half-life and we convince ourselves that it’s good enough.

What if there was another way? Instead of giving up on your dreams, or settling for less, what if you stood up, brushed yourself off, and dreamed bigger? What could happen then?

That’s what Dream BIGGER is all about – inspiring stories of ordinary people who have done just that, and their insights into what helped them make their dreams a reality.

Tip # 6: Inspire others by sharing your story.


For the month of May, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease is featured in Barnes & Noble’s Rising Star Special Collection. So, if you have a dream, now’s the time to buy! The demand and traffic on this page is watched and followed by the B&N national buyer when considering stocking a title in the B & N chain of stores. Buying a copy will not only help you manifest your dream … you’ll be helping me achieve one of mine – helping 100,000 people live the life of their dreams!

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Ten years ago, when I visited Costa Rica for the first time, I had an intimate encounter with … The Wave. If you’ve read the introduction to my book, you’ll know that this particular wave had quite an impact on me (literally as well as figuratively).

My partner and I recently returned from Costa Rica and the same beachfront hotel where I’d stayed a decade ago. I’d wanted to return there to share the magic of waking up to the peculiar sound of howler monkeys in the early morning, the thunderous crash of The Wave on the beach, long sunrise walks to explore tidal pools and treasures in the ebbing tide, and glorious sunsets reflected across the ocean.

The first morning, I introduce him to The Wave. It’s unique (hence its title) – a single magnificent wave rising up out of a calm bay and crashing along the full length of the 2 kilometer shore. At its peak, it towers above mere mortals and rushes into the beach with unrelenting speed. In order to go swimming, you have to find a way to get past it to the quieter water.

Locals have learned through experience how to work with The Wave. They back their fishing and diving boats into shore, timing it perfectly so that they ride the flow. The Wave has its own rhythm, rising and falling every seven seconds, with a sequence of three high waves followed by three lower waves.

Can you tell I’ve studied it closely?

You see, ten years ago, The Wave won. I tried to get past it. I tried jumping over it, into it, through it … and finally I just turned and bodysurfed into shore. It tossed me on the beach with such force that I nearly lost my swimsuit (and ended up with sand in every possible nook and cranny).

As my partner and I headed out to swim, I explained all this to him. We timed it so that we were dealing with the lower sequence of waves. After swimming in the calmer water for a bit, he moved closer to shore so he could play with the breaking wave. I moved back and did the same. It was fun for a bit and then, suddenly, we were in the midst of the peak waves.

I handled the first one fine. As I stood up, still wiping water from my eyes, I heard him yell, “Open your eyes, Julie!”

Rising, building, peaking ...

Towering above me was The Wave in all its glory. Rising ever higher, foaming, building. I turned and prepared to bodysurf. It was a moment of dejà vu. I can do this, I thought.

The Wave had other plans. Descending on me in full force, it toppled me on my back and sent salty water up my nose and down my throat before tossing me like driftwood on the shore. I swear I heard the frothing water chuckle as it ebbed past me.

“Gotcha! Again!”

As I struggled to my feet and moved backward toward the beach (and to shallower water), I pushed my wet hair out of my face and took a deep breath. “I’m okay,” I called weakly to my partner.

In the rush of the water around my ankles, I heard a whisper, “Stop thinking you’re in control. Enjoy the ride.”

It was a message repeated many times during the trip.

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I love to give updates about the DreamMakers I featured in Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease because they continue to inspire me and make a difference in the world.

As I mentioned in the book, Marie Ens founded Place of Rescue in Cambodia in 2003. Originally from western Canada, she had recently retired, having spent most of her adult life working as a missionary in Southeast Asia as well as working with Cambodian refugees in other countries. She knew she didn’t want to spend her retirement years in Canada, so she chose to return to Cambodia and follow her heart.

Her dream, which started out as a few thatched houses for AIDS families, has expanded to provide homes for more than 200 orphans, 23 elderly women, as well as 57 children who live with their parents who have AIDS. In another part of Cambodia, Place of Rescue II houses 114 orphans, and Place of Rescue III opened last year in the province of Pailin.

Marie recently celebrated her 77th birthday at Place of Rescue and she has no intention of slowing down. In fact, her vision continues to grow and expand.

Rescue, which receives financial support from Calgary-based Place of Rescue Foundation, has now built a dormitory in Phnom Penh. This is where children who have completed their high school studies at Place of Rescue will live while going to university or technical school. It is called, appropriately, “House of New Dreams”. In her blog she writes about one student has begun an eight-year program to become a pediatrician. Another is studying to become a translator.

In addition, last year, Marie brought the Place of Rescue dance troupe to Canada for a tour. Watching them dance in traditional dress and style (to live music by one of their strongest supporters, Canadian singer/songwriter Paul Brandt), it’s hard to imagine the tragedies and challenges in their lives that originally brought them to Place of Rescue.

Marie is currently in Canada for her annual tour across the country, visiting church congregations and updating people about the work that’s been done in the past year. She will be in southern Ontario this week for an interview on 100 Huntley Street (Crossroads Television). The interview will be broadcast on Global on Thursday, February 9 at 9 a.m (it will be available for viewing online after the show). That evening, she is scheduled to speak at Hazelglen Alliance Church, 45 Hazelglen Drive, Kitchener.

If you’re looking for inspiration to dream bigger, here’s an opportunity not to be missed!

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