Thelma Mariano

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I always find it inspiring to read about people who pursued what they loved in spite of initial difficulties – and are now more fulfilled, frequently making a real contribution to the lives of others. I hope you enjoy these stories too.
-- Thelma Mariano

From Changing Course, a newsletter for “living life on purpose”:

    “When I stumbled on colored pencil, I had two small children, and any creative juices I still had between heating bottles and changing diapers were being channeled into gardening, cake decorating and origami. We had no money, and one of our children was handicapped and often ill, so there was nothing extra for expensive art supplies and no extra time for setting up paints. But these colored pencils were cheap, there was no set-up time, no clean up and they felt like home the minute I tried them.

    “My neighbor saw my first piece and said I should enter it in our small county fair. I won first place. Thirteen years later, my life IS colored pencil. I’m a professional children’s portrait artist with a 14 month waiting list, an instructor of portrait workshops nationwide, and author of an art instruction book Colored Pencil Portraits, Step by Step.”
    -- Ann Kullberg

From the Barbara Sher website:

    “My dream was to somehow affect the world, to make it better, to help stop violence. I just didn’t know where to begin. I belonged to lots of organizations, but didn’t feel I was making a difference. Now I have developed a presentation, and I take it to all the schools. It’s full of games and simulations, and the kids really seem to listen to it.”
    -- I.B., Brooklyn

    “I just love to teach, but I didn’t want to go back to school. Now I’ve learned how to be a speaker on the lecture circuit, and I’m writing a book. And I’m making good money too. I never knew you could do things like this!”
    -- H.H., Oregon

The following is from Speaking of Success, based on interviews by broadcaster and journalist Pamela Wallin:

    “Breaking with the pack is not about believing you’re better or special. It’s not about ego. It’s about trusting your own instincts and your own talents.”

    “A young man named Ben, who was married and had three young children, was working at an insurance company and holding down a second job moving furniture to help make ends meet. But inside him was a driving desire to sing. He decided to take voice lessons on the side. They worked. Ben Heppner is now one of the most sought-after tenors in the world.”

    “When Tony Bennett (the entertainer) was still a boy, his father died, leaving his young widow to raise the family. Tony’s mother, a seamstress, began to take in sewing. She always took pride in her work. ‘But once a day she’d get angry, throw a dress over her shoulder and say ‘Don’t make me work on a bad dress, I only want to work on the good ones,’ ’ Tony explained, ‘so I’ve never compromised. I’ve kept my integrity and I will only do quality songs.’ Ironically the title of his most famous one – ‘Rags to Riches’ – should be the story of his life. There have been some bad choices or advice along the way that steered him off course, but not often and not for long. Tony Bennett used every experience wisely. ‘You learn from failure,’ he said.”
    - Pamela Wallin

    “I thought I would much rather invent things and start things and create my own world and my own reality than to go down a very well-travelled highway.”
    - Robert Lantos, filmmaker

    “Distrust other people telling you what to do. You’ve got your own gut feeling. We’re all so different.”
    - Michael Palin, actor, comedian and writer

    “I became what I could be.”
    - Nana Mouskouri, singer