Archive for January 2020

One Door Shuts, Two Windows Open

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You know the old saying, when one door shuts another door opens.

Recently, when ME had gotten so ill, my family and I made the very hard decision to shut down
The Dream Big Cafe.

Anyone who was a part of that decision with us knows we did not make this lightly, or quickly.

The cafe was like a second home to us.

We loved our customers, and we loved our mission.

The day we decided that it was best to shut it down completely, we also made the decision that while we were doing this, we were not quitting.

The DGBF board did not want to quit. Our family was not ready to quit running the business. So quitting was not an option.

Instead we would pivot.

And pivoting is what we have done!

Initially, we posted that we would remain open three days a week for Dreamers Gives Back Foundation training.

After much prayer, and hours of discussion, by many who are involved,  it became clear that this was also not something we could do right now.

ME's continued movement forward was, and is, our priority, and helping her continue to get there is paramount.

None of these decisions have come without a big dose of letting go, and being open to the powers that be to lead this, and letting life roll out the plan instead of us rolling it out.

The days and weeks since we made this decision have proven to show us that truly, when one door closes, another opens.

Or as my friend Rick said to me yesterday, when one door shuts, two windows open.

ME is moving forward in her healing. Which we are incredibly grateful for!!

This alone has been nothing short of a miracle.

The HOPE that we have experienced from witnessing ME's healing has been ointment on our souls.

It is with that forward hope that we have been able to put our energy into planning the Dream Big Cafe and Catering, and continue to grow the mission of Dreamers Gives Back Foundation.

We have continued to look for the open windows.

And the open windows have found us!

In ways that we never saw coming!

Currently, we have begun partnerships with local business's that are excited to partner with us, and help us grow our mission. So instead of keeping the cafe open for training, we will partner with the other businesses and offer our training program in their business.

We hope you follow along as we introduce these business's and share the role they will have in growing our programs!

One door did shut.

There is no doubt about it.

Thanks to the Memphis community, and surrounding areas, Collierville, Germantown, East Memphis, Cordova and Bartlett, another door opens.

No, my friend is right, one door shut, and windows opened!

And boy have they opened!

And we are incredibly grateful!


What Does It Mean to Pivot in the Game of Life?

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When I was a kid, I loved to watch the game of basketball.

I do not have very good coordination, so I did not play basketball in school or in organized sports.

I was, and am, just a fan.

(Go Memphis Grizzlies, and GTG too!)

So when my dear friend, Mig, and I were discussing the direction of my business, I immediately related to what she was saying when she talked about pivoting, and basketball.

I was sharing with her my thoughts about what I needed to do going forward.  I needed to be sure that whatever we did,  it had to be something that will enable me to give ME the best care possible, while at the same time fulfill my dreams for ME and me.

I opened up to her, and others, that this may mean quitting.

You see, shortly after ME was released from the hospital, John and I both agreed that ME's newest diagnosis was too severe to continue with the Dream Big Café and Dreamers Gives Back Foundation.

We wrote to those who would be affected by this, telling them that we did not make a final decision to close the café, and redirect efforts of the foundation, but we were strongly leaning toward quitting both.

I knew I wanted to hold on to my coffee company, because it is something I can do while I help ME.

But the café and the foundation, set up to help ME and others, was another story.

The weeks following ME's major episode were scarier than any part of this Down syndrome journey.

To be honest, concerning Down syndrome, there were countless books to give us hope. Support and information is endless.

It was all very easy over the years, believing her trajectory would be exactly what the books said it would be, and I just needed to let it unfold.

Three years ago, we came to the stark reality that this was simply not the case, and searched desperately for answers.

Those answers came like a train crashing this past November, and we have been navigating it ever since.

This new diagnosis was nothing like others were sharing, or living, in the Down syndrome community.

And staring down our "new normal" was frightening to say the least.

Beyond the medical care we knew we had to do, we were unsure how to go forward.

So we turned to the Dreamers Gives Back Foundation Board for support and  words of wisdom.

Unanimously, their advice was, take your time making decisions, and let's see what rolls out going forward.

Shortly after that, I received a message from a friend I met through other friends.

I will summarize it, but it was something like this, "I have a cinnamon roll business, and I would like to open up in your café.  Can we talk?"

This was step one of me believing that the bigger plan for us was out there, and to let it continue to unfold.

I was still unsure how to go forward, so again I turned to the DGBF Board for their input.

Again, they gave me so many words of wisdom.

Mostly, again, take your time, and make the decisions slowly.

After much discussion with my husband, and prayer, we decided it was time to hand over our lease to this beautiful family who will be selling cinnamon rolls with our Dreamers Coffee and allowing us space to continue selling sandwiches Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30-1:30.

This new business moving in helped us realize that it was time to move on, with what is a much more workable solution for MaryEllen.

I do not think all of the plan has rolled out yet, so I am keeping the door open for the rest of it. However, I have much peace in all of this.

Shortly after coming to that conclusion, I met with my friend Mig for a sandwich at the café.

I shared with her, that even cutting back hours this much to help MaryEllen, I felt as though I was quitting. Or a part of the Dream was dying.

That is when she said, "Diane, you are pivoting. You know, like in the game of basketball. You are not quitting. You have one foot on the ground, and you are changing directions, but the ball is still in your hands."

For those who don't play basketball, or are not a fan, you may ask, what is a pivot in the game of basketball?

It is...the action a player will use while in possession of the ball to move in any direction while still keeping one foot in contact with the floor. 

In the last few months since ME was hospitalized, without realizing it, I was pivoting.

At moments I was desperately pivoting.

But at all times, one foot was clearly still on the floor, and I still had possession of the ball of life.

And I continue to have one foot on the floor,  as we navigate through this newest diagnosis.

Our new normal is feeling much more on par with any part of this journey, even though it is not the same as it was.

We are finding ourselves Dreaming again. Which if I am honest, after what ME went through, we wondered if we ever would Dream again.

But we are. And we are pivoting. One foot on the floor, the ball in our hands, and turning to the wonderful opportunities coming our way.

So it is in that spirit that I share with you where my foot is in contact with the floor, while I have possession of the ball, and the directions I am being called to move.

We are excited about this new cinnamon roll business*, and thrilled they will be serving Dreamers Coffee.

We are also excited to share that we will be at the café on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:30-1:30 for lunch, while the new cinnamon roll business gets off the ground.

And now to announce our pivot!

Dream Big Café is now becoming Dream Big Café and Catering! 

We will continue to serve our amazing Dream Panini Sandwiches, where you are! 

This pivot will allow us to work around Maryellen's needs, her schedule, and our hope to grow the Dream. 

Dreamers Merchants Coffee Company will continue to run as usual, and because of this lovely family, we will be able to pivot toward the next part of our Dream! A Dream that we did not see coming, but we are thrilled to embrace. 

And Dreamers Gives Back Foundation will use this pivot as an opportunity to grow the mission through out the Memphis area!

November 11, 2019 changed our lives forever.

Our family will never be the same.

But we know this change has made us stronger, and has guided us directly where we need to be.

And for that my entire family is grateful.

Thank you to all of you who to continue to support us in little and big ways, as we pivot our way through a new diagnosis, a new normal, and our new Dreams.

All of the love and support has been what has gotten us through, and we are forever grateful!

Watch for more updates, as we keep one foot firmly on the ground, let life guide us, and we pivot, toward our next steps.

*We will announce more about the new cinnamon roll business when they are ready for us to share more!