Was Julia Right?

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My friend Julia wrote a book, and in it, she shared her truth.

The book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it allowed me know my dear friend in a way that I would never had known her if I did not read it.

She was raw and real in it.

I brought the book with me to the National Down Syndrome Congress to sell.
(100% of the profits go back to Julia and her family.)

Sharing her book with others got me thinking so much about conversations that Julia and I had.

What I loved about Julia is this, even though she and I had completely opposite reactions to our children's diagnosis, she loved me fiercely. And let me know it.

And I loved her as well! I was so excited to have a friend in my life that got me!

We talked about each of our journey's for hours.

Anyone who knows Julia knows that every aspect of life became part of her schtick!
(Did I spell that right?)

And her reaction to her son's diagnosis was no different. It is almost impossible to explain. But she wanted people comfortable even in the hard stuff.

After she wrote her truth, she used humor to talk about her reaction, the book, her journey.  I never left her without laughing.

I loved how she made everyone so at ease with her humor.

The world is missing out on a lot of joy since Julia died.

But her book tells her heart.

As I stood at my Dreamers table in Dallas, parents asked me about her book.

I told them it is funny, raw, and honest.

She makes us all search our own souls as she calls herself out and challenges others to do the same.

In the back of the book she apologizes to her audience.

I have never seen an author do that.

She is keenly aware that in making an observation about herself, she may inadvertently hurt someone else.

And she does not want that.

Nor do I.

So I brought up Julia's point about prejudice on my page.

The reactions have actually been very beautiful.

Each reaction true to each of the individuals who wrote them, just like mine was true to me, and Julia's was true to her.

The day that Julia collapsed from cardiac arrest we had been on the phone and texting.

A lot.

Julia and I had conversations like teens do on the phone. I will freely admit that.
And our texts were the same. lol

On that day we were celebrating.

She was going to be going out and speaking about her book.

About her truth.

She was scared but super excited.

She called me to talk about it.

Little did I know that this would be the very last conversation we would ever have.

I assured her she would be fine. That she would do beautifully!

And I made her a promise.

Quite literally only a short time before she said her last words to anyone, I made her a promise.

I told her, "Everywhere Dreamers goes, The Book about James will go too."

And I fully intend to keep that promise.

Her book was the first thing I packed when I got ready to go to the convention.

When I was at the convention, and I shared it with others, I could hardly share it without crying.

I actually did cry each time.

Julia died from her cardiac arrest on October 30th, 2016.

The day she collapsed I had earlier celebrated with my dear friend. I heard her last words to me, and without knowing it was the last thing I would say to her, I told her I loved her and how proud I was of her.

That day I lost my rock. I lost my dear friend.

But she is still with me.

I realized this when I was speaking this weekend about her book.

I know it for a fact, when I wrote on Facebook her belief that she had a realization that she felt she had a prejudice when her son was born, I know she was in that conversation too.

Thank you to all of you who have kept it so respectful.

I know this would make Julia very proud.

It would also cause her to call me and have some punch line about it. I am not sure exactly what part she would turn into a joke. But she would.

And we would laugh, talk, and love each other through the chaos of social media conversations.

And we would celebrate that one more conversation was done well, and our children will benefit from that.

I miss you Julia. I always will.

Thank you for being "that" Down syndrome mama in my life!

You know the one, the one that gets my heart!

To Julia!
With love, Diane

If you would like to purchase Julia's book, email me at dreamersmerchants@gmail.com. It is $15.00 and 100% of the profit goes to Julia and her family!

CELEBRATING Living in the Hearing World- 2 Year Anniversary- Celebrate with me! You could WIN!

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June 1, 2016,  is the day that changed my life forever.

On this day, I learned that I was born severely deaf.

Everything I had ever known my entire life was about to change, in an instant.

When the audiologist told me the news, I literally went into shock.

I lived in that state of shock for about a year.

Learning new sounds that I had never heard my entire life took more work than I knew it would.

My husband and children taught me every new sound that I had never heard before.

Some sounds terrified me.

Some sounds confused me.

And some sounds made me dance like I had never danced before.

The first year of hearing I could not get enough of the sound of music.
(Yes, stealing that line! lol)

Every moment I possible could, I had music playing around me.

If I heard music in a public building, I could not help but dance. I had a few people join me! Which was awesome! Perfect strangers many times! lol

This week I am celebrating two years of hearing as well as modern technology will help me hear.

(These digital machines (digital hearing aids)  are just that, machines!)
Thank you Starkey Hearing Technology!

And I would like to celebrate!

I need a fun way to celebrate.

I mean, I could go to lunch with friends, or have a big dinner with family.

I could go to a movie, subtitles and all.

I could hand out balloons that have "I HEAR YOU!" printed on them!  lol

Dinner with my hubby and kids is this weekend, so that is already happening. (check)

But I want to have fun with this! The hard work is behind me, and I want to doing something fun to celebrate that!

I am looking for a unique way to celebrate this day with the world!

Which made me think of all of my friends who joined me on this journey these past two years!

So here is where you come in!

I will send to the person who comes up with the idea that I choose to celebrate this remarkable anniversary a pair of Dreamers Crazy Socks!

Trust me, you want these!

So y'all, start sharing ideas with me! I mean, I did this with naming rights of my hearing aids, and that was so much fun!

Get creative! My family and I will pick a winner as soon as the right idea comes our way!

PS The more fun the better! We love fun ideas!

Dreamers Hat, Shirts and Socks OH my!

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We are excited to extend our gift line of Dreamers apparel and mugs.

Many of you have already been purchasing our great mugs.

Thank you so much! Every purchase helps us create jobs in production, distribution and Coffee Bar Events!

Our signature Dreamers Mug!

Add 4 Dreamers K Cups for a
sweet little gift! 

Who doesn't love warm socks, with warm coffee, to
warm their heart!
Now you can join the #jobsmatter movement by ordering our newest items that we are excited to offer, our hats and t shirts! Not to mention our awesome John's Crazy Socks Dreamers Socks that we LOVE so much! 

Women's Fitted Shirt 

One Size Fits All 
One Size Fits All 

One Size Fits All 

One Size Fits All 
One Size Fits All 
One Size Fits All Cotten Woven Socks
From John's Crazy Socks
 Every time you purchase with a purpose, you help us grow this company so that one day, MaryEllen is working right by my side, helping me run it...

...while we hire those who love to grow the Dream right now! 

From all of us at Dreamers thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

#worlddownsyndromeday 3:21 #LIFEisbetterwithyou T Shirts

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For those of you who LOVED our WDSD #LIFEisbetterwithyou #LIFEisbetterwithME shirts, we will be offering these again next year! Look for our announcement earlier than this year when we will begin selling these!

We are happy to keep sending these shirts out, however, we will not be able to deliver in time for World Down Syndrome Day any longer. Thank you to all who ordered!

I am so loving the reaction to our World Down Syndrome Day apparel! I was going to write a blog post about them, but I was so busy taking orders I did not have time to blog.

So here is my post!

All of our shirts will be created in a Uni-Sex t shirt, unless you otherwise ask for a women's fit. We have found that many do not want the women's fit. But we are ready if you do want a women's fit.

Also, these are the colors we have to offer. Please scroll down to see them.

We also have long sleeve shirts and sweat shirts added on. Again, please scroll down to see them.

When you order, there is a drop down box. You will be able to choose what style you want.

When you check out there is a box to give us more specifics.

Every color you see in this blog post is available in any cut or type.

 In the comment box let us know what you want. We need the size, the color and the cut.

Oh and do not forget to let us know if you want it to be a #LIFEyou or a #LIFEme.

This is what the comment box looks like. It is right above the Place Order when you click Check Out: 

This is what the additional comment box looks like when you order.
It is right above the Place Order box,

To order, please go to dreamersmerchantscoffeecompany.com and choose this link. 

Since we are pulling this together in short notice, please be sure to give us as much information on your order as possible so that we can process it as quickly as possible.

All orders will be shipped two day shipping. Which means we expect that every order should get to you before WDSD on March 21st. Thursday, March 16 is the last day we suggest you order to guarantee this. Thank you!

Again, to order GO HERE! 

Women's cut (However these come in unisex too) 

Men's Cut or Unisex 

Long sleeve 

Sweat Shirts 

Sweat Shirt Sizing Chart 

My Graduation From Memphis Oral School For the Deaf!


Okay, I did not really graduate from the Memphis Oral School For the Deaf, but I feel like I did! Let me share with you why.

Recently I had the privilege of touring MOSD.

Going to MOSD and seeing all of the beautiful children, brought me back in time. It has made me pause and reflect on all of my life in which I was living with a genetic hearing loss that was undetected most of my life.

Me at birth

Many ask how it was possible that it was not caught when I was little.

There are a variety of reasons for that, and I will begin with newborn hearing screening.

Here is a brief history of newborn hearing screening when I was born.

Click on this photo for more history on NIH New Born Hearing Screening

So as you can see,  I was not alone in not being screened at birth for a hearing loss. In fact roughly 50% of us were missed at birth.

Two of my siblings, who are also deaf, in one ear, and I all got a pass likely because we were not high risk. (I won the lotto, and I have the same defect as my two siblings,  only in two ears instead of one!)

But that did not mean that there were not signs all of my life. And seeing the adorable little students at MOSD has me reflecting on those signs.

My life started out simple enough just like everyone else. I did not know anything different than what I heard my whole life. I was a baby. A cute and happy baby.

Toddler life!
After my dad died, many were concerned about the effects of his death on me because I was so young.

My uncle and me after my dad died. I was 2 1/2.
About the age that most hearing losses
were detected at that time. 
In time, as I learned to speak, I was instructed to "articulate, enunciate, stop mumbling."

Learning was very difficult for me.

So it made sense that this was true for me:

Most of my schooling I failed miserably, school was just so very hard.

When I look at this photo I see a little school girl who wanted so badly to learn just like all of her peers. I see a little girl who had hope that one day she would.

Grade School 
I see a little girl who practiced her speech in bed at night, after observing her siblings' and her mom's speech all day, just so that I could say words the way everyone wanted me to say them.

I vividly recall saying to that little girl, "Diane, hold your "t" longer like mom does, and you will not get in trouble."

Late at night, while I was in bed, I would practice, "Tttttt.... Ttttt.... Ttttt...."

In time everyone raved at how articulate I was.

I seldom heard any "coaching" from anyone, peers or otherwise, about how loud or soft I spoke or about my articulation anymore.

If anything, I heard how very articulate I was. Which baffled me, as all of my words sounded the same to me, before and after "becoming articulate".

To control my voice, loud or soft, I would put my hand on my throat.

If someone said I was too loud, I knew exactly what that felt like.

If I was told I was too soft, I adjusted the other way, all by feeling in my throat what was loud and what was soft.

I did this all the way through high school, and into my adult years.

I could not figure out why I just could not understand too loud or too soft. It just always sounded the same to me. And not once had anyone suggested that it was because I could not hear normally. So I went on through life, with my little system for adjusting accordingly through high school, college, and through all of my adult years.

High school graduation. 
That is, until the day my husband asked me if I thought I heard differently from the rest of the world.

He shared with me that the whole time he has known me I did not always catch everything he would say, and I did not always understand everything when people would talk to me.

This life long issue had been something I battled with, and worked very hard to overcome.

But all these years later, it was the one thing I could not overcome.

That one question changed my life.

My best friend brought me into a brand new world that I had never even in my wildest dreams would have believed I was missing out on.

Me with my best friend!
One year after I found out that I have a very significant hearing loss in both ears, I decided to visit the Memphis Oral School For the Deaf.

I guess I wanted to see what it could have looked like had my hearing loss not been labeled a learning issue, and had I been part of the deaf/HOH community from birth on.

I think I wanted to see what is happening today for children who are like me.

I know I wanted to find a way to support the mission, and be a part of making it better today than it was in the past.

What happened since my first visit has been a lot of going down memory lane, reflecting on the many things that happened in my life due to my hearing loss.

I have made new friendships since I visited with them, and I have gotten a chance to support them and watch them as they work to make the world a better place for those who are deaf/HOH from birth on.

And I can tell you this, I can completely relate to the 5 and 6 year olds who are graduating from MOSD this year! No doubt about it!

My two years of learning to hear all of the sounds that I have never heard for one day in my life has been a lot of work.

Learning to use my voice, this voice that is so pretty, (who knew? and not at all deep and gravely which I heard my whole life) has been hard work.

Feeling confident in my articulation ALL over again has been hard work. Only this time by hearing the sounds I am making with my voice, and not just learning how to form them with my mouth to make them, so that everyone would be happy with me. (I studied others mouths like most study something they love. I had learned the art of speech inside out. Now it was my turn to do it, correctly. And that was a lot of work.)

Going to MOSD has been a wonderful and an emotional journey. No doubt about it.

So yes, I feel like I have graduated from the intensive classes of learning to hear.

Now, like all of those 5 and 6 year olds who are graduating, I am learning fun things that I have never thought I would learn.

I am learning how to sing.

I am listening to music, and hearing it in ways I have never heard it before.

I am finally enjoying movies, which I had written off years ago!

Indeed, I am celebrating with this year's 5-6 year old graduating class!

I have decided to put my support behind their mission this year.

If you are interested in helping them with their mission there are many ways you can do this.

They love for the students to learn from the community. If you have a talent or a gift you think their students can learn from, contact them and let them know.

If you would like to support them financially they can use any and all support.

If you like to have fun while you support them, there is an event on April 7, at 6:30, their 7th annual Speak Easy Gala.

It is a night of celebration.

Celebrating how far we have all come in the history of the deaf community, and how far every child born today will go!

The deaf/Deaf/HOH community has come a long way in history, thanks to technology and the wonderful programs that are in place that help children who are born deaf/Deaf/HOH.

This is worth celebrating!

Let's CELEBRATE! 3 YEARS of Dreamers Coffee!

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This spring we are celebrating three years since the inception of Dreamers Merchants- Coffee Company.

It started out simply enough.

One bag of coffee.

One blend of coffee.

One family.

It began as a conversation between my husband and me.

In our backyard.

Just like many conversations begin.

I shared with my husband my dream of creating a business that MaryEllen could help me run. 

Maybe a small little coffee house. 

I wanted a safe place for MaryEllen to work when she is an adult. 

And I already knew that I did not want to beg anyone to hire her one day, as I had heard about from other families. 

We discussed that night the lessons my parents taught me about being entrepreneurs. 

We talked about MaryEllen's future and that we hoped she would be able to give back to society when she is an adult. 

I shared with him that I was dreaming that she and I could work together one day! 

That conversation was the beginning of Dreamers. 

The next day, I got my business license, and I began selling Dreamers Blend Coffee. 

Within the first two weeks many many people asked me if they could sell it too. 

I was going to open a coffee house, and now many others wanted to do the same. 

So while we worked on the coffee house location, we created another part of the business in which we would teach others the entrepreneurial spirit. 

And so it began. 

Soon we were dreaming it up!

And blends, and product lines. K Cups and Tea! 

And Dreamers! 

Soon a lot of families became Dreamers for the same reasons my husband and I started the company. 

They want to start planning for their child's future right now. 

They want that plan to be both safe and affordable. 

They too want to work along side their loved one when they are an adult, and they are growing their business now so they can do just that!



This all began almost three years ago. 

It began with a little girl, 
a big Dream, 
and a magical bean! 

Thank you to all of you who have supported  us with  your purchase of Dreamers products. 
Together, we are making a Dream come true! 

To find your favorite Dreamer go to: