Praise for Debbie Gaby and In My Wildest Dreams… “Debbie Gaby, a successful business woman who is as sweet as a pack of sugar and as tenacious as a restaurant fly, has unfolded her painfully twisting life map as a little southern steel magnolia who understood that life’s harsh light of reality was the only way to blossom. Every sentence she shares tugs at the heart, encouraging readers to embrace their destiny and their God.” — Pat Bondurant | President, Bondurant Racing School “If I’ve ever known a go-getter... it’s Debbie Gaby! For years I’ve watched her open heart and tenacious spirit make things happen not just for her, but for other people. No life is perfect and that’s the beauty of this book. Let her story light a fire for yours.” — Christi Paul | CNN New Day Weekend Anchor, HLN Anchor/Reporter & Author of Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt “I cherish my relationship with Debbie Gaby—both as a friend and a mentor—not because she is humble, giving, and wise, but because she is authentic, caring, and supportive. Debbie has shown me that kindness is a leadership trait not practiced nearly enough in the business world. Debbie sees leadership not in terms of glamour, but of responsibility, and that tells me all I need to know about this special person.” — Ilana Lowery | Editor-in-Chief Phoenix Business Journal “Debbie Gaby is a breath of fresh air, with a tell-it-like-it-is story of her journey down an oftenbumpy road that has led her to a celebrated life of success. Debbie intimately and candidly shares the challenges she’s faced and her incredible resolve for overcoming them. You will be uplifted and enthused. And you may be inspired to go after your wildest dreams.” — Kim Kiyosaki | Co-founder of The Rich Dad Company and Author of Rich Woman “Debbie Gaby, a woman who’s heart is open to help others at the drop of a dime, is now opening her life for us to see. Many people have trauma and drama in their lives, but maybe Debbie, and the optimism and kindness she exudes, can show how us how to use this chaos to look at life with a positive and tolerant outlook. She exemplifies the motto that life is about relationships and opportunities. Debbie Gaby is an amazing woman… with an amazing story.” — Angela Hallier | Founder and Partner Hallier & Lawrence PLLC “We’ve never known Debbie to not get things done. She accomplishes whatever she sets out to do!” — Sheryl and Alice Cooper “This book is the gift that keeps on giving… Debbie Gaby has a unique way of sharing her story in a way that resonates with her audience. There are pearls of wisdom woven throughout this book. Debbie inspires and empowers you to be the best version of yourself… and this is a book I highly recommend.” — Miriam Laundry | Award-winning Author, Speaker, and Guinness World Record Holder™
“Debbie’s journey is inspiring and, in sharing it, I know she will lighten the load that so many women, of all ages, carry as they forge their path in life. What a gift she offers by reminding us that each of us has the power to choose the life that fulfills us the most.” — Rita Davenport | Author, Speaker, Trainer “In My Wildest Dreams… is joyful, uplifting, and inspiring—and a testimony that the gifts in our lives come to us in interesting and often awe-inspiring ways...in different shapes and colors and scents, one more beautiful than the next.” — Laurel and Mike D’Antoni | Head Coach, Houston Rockets “In My Wildest Dreams… is an uplifting, joyful and inspiring read by all accounts. Debbie Gaby has written a story that she has lived, a story that reminds each of us how we should live. Life’s greatest gifts can come to us disguised in many forms. Your greatest challenge may one day be your greatest gift, something I can attest to personally. Debbie has always been a gift to me in my life, and now her words remind us all to appreciate the awe-inspiring journey of life and the many different shapes, colors and bouquets of intoxicating scent that it comes in.” — Letitia Frye | Author, Speaker, Auctioneer “I’ve known Debbie since 2002 when she worked on our Gubernational campaign. She is an admirable person whom I consider a friend. ” — Janet Napolitano | President, University of California “Debbie is a jewel for our community and gives of her heart. And that ain’t no bull!” — Pam and Tex Earnhardt | Owners, Earnhardt Auto Centers “I’ve known Debbie for over 18 years and I have never met a woman more positive and more focused on doing what she can to help others. Debbie is an inspiration to me and to so many people in Arizona. Her story is one of perseverance and overcoming life’s challenges to find the silver lining in any situation.” — Linda Little | President, Arizona Region iHeartMedia Markets Group “A sister and friend whom I cherish every moment of every day.” — Janet Morton | Sister “I’ve known Debbie for most of our lives and it’s her positive outlook and generous spirit that makes her so unique and interesting.” — Newt Dorsett | Owner, Remington Suite Hotel “A true bundle of joy, love, and inspiration! Dreams becoming reality is a part of every woman’s DNA. A must-read for all women of any age.” — JoAnn Holland | President & CEO Central Phoenix Women
Copyright © 2016 by Debbie Gaby. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. If you purchase this book without a cover you should be aware that this book may have been stolen property and reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher. In such case neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.” The opinions and insights of the author reflect her experiences and judgment at the time of publishing. Neither the authors nor the publisher are responsible for the accuracy of this data and specifically disclaim any liability that is incurred from its use or application About the stories in this book: Stories that list a person by first and last name are stories of actual individuals who have played a role in the author’s life and these stories are related to share insights and lessons learned. Published by Brisance Books Group LLC Cover Design by PCI Publishing Group LLC
Visit DebbieGaby.com for special sales, events and speaking engagements Printed in the United States of America First Edition: 2016 ISBN: 978-1-944194-18-5
For all women across the worldâ€Ś My wish for you is that you find your own courage, strength and motivation to move ahead from any situation you find unacceptable. May you never settle until you are living the life of your dreams.
he past two decades of my life have been dedicated to honoring the act of giving. The joy of giving has motivated me to share with you why that act has become so important in my life. Giving to others has taught me a great deal about myself and the significance of appreciating ourselves and the gifts with which each of us have been blessed. I’ve realized how important it is to constantly replenish the basket of seeds in our souls… so we can sow those seeds to create gardens of dreams for ourselves and those around us. Replenishing and rejuvenating our souls and our spirits is important, so that we have plenty of love and gifts to share. If nothing else, it’s my hope that this book motivates you to never settle for less than you deserve in life. I truly believe that we all owe it to ourselves to strive to live our lives to the fullest. And I’ve come to see the wonderful diversity among us—and how we each personalize what that ‘life’ looks like—as a vibrant and colorful Bouquet of Gifts. You may notice that the chapters in this book don't have numbers because, apart from the chronology of -7-
my life and life experiences, there is no particular "order" for the messages or the stories that showcase them. Those who have read drafts of In My Wildest Dreams... have shared that they were drawn to specific chapter titles and topics, and did not feel compelled to follow the constraints of chapter numbers. In the pages of this book I share many stories from different stages in my life. I’ve included the good, of course, as well as the bad, and some of what may seem to be the ugly. Some of what I share may make you laugh, and, in other instances, cry…as I often did. There is no shame for me in sharing so many of my personal memories and experiences because each had a hand in molding me into the person I am today. I don’t believe that the mistakes we make in life are meant to highlight our imperfections. They are our life lessons. Without these lessons, and the struggle to grow through them, we would never know what we are made of, our strengths and resources, and resilience deep down inside. The beautiful painting of flowers that graces the front cover of this book hangs in my office. Since the day I acquired it from the inspiring actress, artist, designer and philanthropist, Jane Seymour, it has nourished me time and again. What you can’t see in the scaled-down image are the words of inspiration that are intricately woven into the exquisite painting—24 of them, to be exact. These words—love, tenacity, compassion, heal, joy, blessing, grateful, and so on…which appear in bold lettering throughout this book—have influenced me throughout my life. -8-
They represent the greatest lessons I’ve learned through simply living with the intention of being the best person I could be. It wasn’t always easy. And, most definitely, not all pretty or glamorous. But it’s my story. Not the story that defines my life, but the times and experiences that led to the realization of who I am. I am deeply grateful to my friend Jane Seymour for creatively bringing my words of inspiration to life and memorializing them in this stunning painting. I’ll never forget the evening at dinner, when in the midst of discussing a charity we both supported, she asked me for a favor—to write down the words that most inspired me. I had no idea why she was asking, but I agreed to “help her out.” What a lovely lesson that turned out to be! I was reminded that sometimes we don’t know the surprises we can receive from helping someone when they ask. If you write down your own words of inspiration you will probably notice that they intertwine. The more grateful we are, the more blessings we see in our lives. The more we give back, the more we receive, and so forth. I was lucky enough to receive this extraordinarily special bonus included when I acquired this painting from one of the most gracious, talented, and loveliest human beings I’ve ever met. With gratitude, I now pass the mirror to you. May hearing my stories help you to take the time to enjoy the bouquet of inspiring words—our gifts in life—that make you you. My wish for you is -9-
the clarity to recognize and freely share your gifts. And while treasuring your blessings itâ€™s my hope that, most of all, you will treasure you.
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My Words of Inspiration: Compassion
I just love you so much
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Foreword By Rita Davenport
When God made my friend Debbie Gaby, he threw away the mold! Debbie is a successful, self-made woman—that’s for sure. But beneath all of the accolades, titles, and roles that speak to her accomplishments, lies so much more. For me, “success” is defined individually based on our own personal level of satisfaction with our lives. If blazing a trail based on what makes you the happiest, having fun in all you do, and sharing that with everyone you meet is a measurement then, by my standards, Debbie is surely in a league of her own. I’ve known Debbie for nearly two decades and shortly after meeting while serving together on a capital campaign for the Sojourner Center in Phoenix, Arizona, I knew that I’d met a sister from a different mister. Since then, she has become one of my favorite people and I know if I ever needed anything, she would be there to support me. Through my different roles as a teacher, social worker, author, TV host, President of Arbonne International, and with my work with the National Speakers Association, I’ve met a lot of people. There is no exaggeration when I say that Debbie Gaby is a rare gem. Her joyful nature and generous spirit are - 13 -
highly contagious. I challenge anyone to spend just a few minutes with her and not walk away happier and more inspired to make the world a better place, even in some small way. Besides the obvious similarities—our southern drawls, broad smiles, a fondness for fashion, and child-like playfulness—Debbie and I share a similar primal passion: helping people. Is this simply because she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and had nothing better to do then share her good fortune with others? Definitely not. Quite the contrary in fact. Like me, she came from humble beginnings, but she never bought into the theme of the times—that women should settle for the typical roles and paths that society dictated. From a very young age, Debbie chose to honor that small voice inside that urged her to stretch her wings. If you know Debbie, you know that she has a huge heart. Although she is sweet and generous, don’t be confused—she’s sharp as a tack and definitely nobody’s fool. I tested her once when she and Len picked my husband and me up for dinner. After realizing that I left my shoes in the backseat of their car, I called her and asked about them. She looked and assured me they were there. And just to test her a bit, I added, “I left my diamond earrings back there, too…” She didn’t fall for it, and instead of calling me on it, she simply replied sweetly, “Oh, boy.” I believe that people recognize and respond so well to Debbie’s voice, not just because of her southern charm, but the positivity and the anything-is-possible attitude that she offers in all of her - 14 -
pursuits. If you want a real-life example that offers tried-and-true tools on how to respond when life tosses you a bushel of lemons, Debbie’s story will surely inspire you. She is a fabulous example of refusing to waste her time being a sourpuss. Instead she chose to become a world-class lemonade-stand entrepreneur, Realtor, President and spokesperson of Sleep America, and the founder of Debbie Gaby Charities. And did I mention her stellar fashion sense? One of my core beliefs is that you don’t get enthusiasm, you begin each day that way. Throughout this book, In My Wildest Dreams…, Debbie exemplifies the merits to remaining steadfast to this notion. It doesn’t surprise me the least bit that she has bravely offered up her life experiences, literally put her life under a microscope, so that those who read it might learn to choose hope over despair, laughter over sadness—and love in the face of the speedbumps and detours of life. Debbie’s journey is inspiring and, in sharing it, I know she will lighten the load that so many women, of all ages, carry as they forge their path in life. What a gift she offers by reminding us that each of us have the power to choose the life that fulfills us the most. As I share in my book, Funny Side Up, “success” is about living the way you choose. Debbie Gaby is a perfect example of choosing to unapologetically follow her heart, while facing fear, pressures, and struggles head on so she could create the life of her dreams. - 15 -
Even if she didn’t know how or what would bring her the most joy, her unrelenting optimism and go-get-‘em attitude has led her to look back on a life that she couldn’t have imagined…even in her wildest dreams. Thank you Debbie for taking the time to share your life story and the tools that you’ve used to build a life you love. Keep on, keepin’ on in inspiring us to shoot for the stars!
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Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Bouquet of Gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Foreword by Rita Davenport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Digging Through Despair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Raising Your Resilience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Tending to Your Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Appreciating Your Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Creating Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Mustering Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Cultivating Courage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Finding Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 Harvesting Happiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 Growing Your Gratitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Closing Thoughts Reaping What We Sow by Len Gaby . . . . . . . . . . . 225
hank you to the following individuals who without their contributions and support this book would not have been written:
My beautiful Mama – Francis
Mama—thank you for all of the wisdom you shared with me through your beloved quotes and fables. They, along with your unwavering love, gave me the foundation to believe in myself. Mona Gambetta—your vision, guidance, and expertise are second to none. Thank you for your invaluable assistance with making this book a reality. - 19 -
Author A.P. Morris—you pulled stories out of me that I’ve never shared. Thank you for being so wonderful to work with. I really enjoyed our time together. Jane Seymour—thank you for continually inspiring me with your talent, graciousness, and your beautiful heart. You are in a class of your own! Rita Davenport—thank you for being an amazing role model and friend. If it were up to me, your picture would appear in the dictionary under the term a “mover and shaker!” Mark and Chrissy Donnelly—your advice was priceless, thank you! Thank you to each and every person who has been a part of my life at one point or another. I am grateful that you shared some of yourself with me. To Mama, Daddy, my siblings, and all of my dear friends and family, thank you for helping shape me into the woman I’ve become. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all of you. A special thank you to my children and grandchildren for being some of my greatest teachers and filling my heart with such joy. Saving the best for last…to my wonderful husband Len— I just love you so much! - 20 -
Published on Nov 30, 2016
Published on Nov 30, 2016
With humor, compassion, love, and healthy doses of Southern charm, Debbie Gaby shares the stories of her life that have shaped, challenged,...