Follow Your Own Heart


“The good news is the moment you decide that what you have learned is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within not from without”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was 2003. Randy and I had flown from Geneva, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago-where we were living, to see if he should take a job in Austin, Texas. Excited at first, I was having second thoughts about leaving Chicagoland. “Why don’t you come down and see for yourself?” Randy said. Two days later, we fastened our seat belts (so help us God) and flew to Austin.

Sitting in the corner booth of Magnolia café, I was about to have lunch with my sister-in-law, Gabby, who lived in Austin. Christmas-tree wrapping paper topped in clear vinyl covered the hippie restaurant’s table. We’d just been seated when Gabby got up to find the restroom. Alone for three minutes, I stared out the window to the parking lot, Lake Austin Boulevard, and (unbeknownst to me), Town Lake running trail.

The epiphany hit.

“Why would you stay in Geneva, Illinois?  In your keep-up-with-the-joneses-house that you hate, in your keep-up-with-the-joneses-neighborhood that you hate, when you could move to Austin and live in a town of artfulness where it’s fun, free and alive…and okay to be different?”

Gabby returned to the table as my brain returned to the present. We were here to talk about Austin–the ins and outs of the town, what she liked about it, and if Randy and I should move here.

She could’ve saved her breath.


Noah is awesome. I’ll write more tomorrow to tell you.

The best he’s looked in three years. He’s gained twenty-needed pounds, cut his twenty-inch pony-tail hair and greeted me with sparkle-eyes, laugher-voice, handsome-ness.

My joy he is. Yet, I live knowing I must choose to be happy regardless of him.

I’ll write Noah details tomorrow.

I promise.

xo Shelley



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Shelley Steinley

My mission is to give love, hope and beauty to the world in my art and writing. I believe that anyone can achieve their dreams and that all things are possible. I create art to inspire and write books to build confidence and hope. Creating laughter, fun and happiness on a level higher than most people thought possible, I want others to experience true joy in living.

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