Our Inspirational Quotes Gallery
We're delighted to offer our Inspirational Quotes Gallery to our guests as a source of empowerment, inspiration, wisdom, abundance, and a bit of fun. It is our fondest hope that guests might experience some mental, emotional, or spiritual nourishment from a particular quote that speaks to their heart.
Scott Theisen - Gallery Creator and
Inspire Co-owner with his wife Julia
~ Overall Gallery Vision ~
The idea for hanging inspirational signage in Inspire Café has been with us since the inception of Inspire Café in 2015. It quickly became apparent that the signage idea would be too costly and time-consuming with everything else involved in getting opened. Not long after Julia and I purchased Inspire Café from our friend Sarah in 2019, I hung two LED signs; one said “Inspire” and the other “Love.” It later occurred to me that it would be cool to add inspirational quotes with those themes around each of the lighted signs. The concept eventually expanded into creating inspirational walls of themed quotes and wisdom bits on the other walls of the café. In November of 2020, the vision for filling our café with inspirational words and imagery was fulfilled.
Free Your Mind Wall
Over the course of a 22-year career as a licensed counselor and spiritual psychotherapist, I discovered that clients only transformed when they changed their thoughts, beliefs, or perceptions. This wall represents the most empowering beliefs, attitudes, and mental practices that came to light during that time frame and from my study of yoga and meditation. I started with more than 100 quotes and struggled to whittle them down to a svelte 23 signs. I wanted to have space for some images of freedom, happiness, and infinite possibilities that weren't attached to quotes. Can you find the image of my wife, Julia?
Themes on the wall range from surrender, mindfulness, laughter/humor, trust, boundaries, gratitude, and self-love to letting go of resistance, positive self-talk, authenticity, intuition, integrity, detachment, service, forgiveness, and releasing worry, anger, blame, and judgment. The wall's guidance for better mental hygiene and for cultivating peace, happiness and fulfillment comes from renowned thought leaders such as Brené Brown, Eckhart Tolle, Glennon Doyle Melton, Gandhi, and Tony Robbins. The Free Your Mind Wall is anchored by the central image of birds flying from the human mind, beyond the frame, and into infinity, and this quote from Lao Tzu: “If You Correct Your Mind, the Rest of Your Life Will Fall into Place.”
We Are One/All is One Wall
This might be my favorite wall because it includes ideas that resonate most strongly in the depths of my soul—inclusivity, equity, appreciation of diversity, environmentalism, justice, and the healing of the human family and planet.
One might consider this wall as representing a new narrative for a multi-racial, multi-faith, socially inclusive democracy and unity in this country, and a world of peace and justice in which every single one of us is lifted up and affirmed. Here you’ll find quotes from Black Elk, Thurgood Marshall, Chief Seattle, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King Jr., Sonia Choquette, Crazy Horse, and more. Truth speaks.
Manifest Your Dreams Wall
This was one of those walls where I started with more than 140 quotes and teachings. How grateful I was when I realized that the nearby beams were part of the “visual canvas” that is our beloved fireplace area. The intention here was two-fold:
1. Give this wall its own more whimsical, vibrant, and colorful personality.
2. Select quotes and teachings that would inspire those already familiar with the technology of manifesting AND serve as an easy-to-understand primer for those new to manifesting and the Law of Attraction.
My wife, Julia, and I have used the Law of Attraction for creating most of our life, including how I “manifested” her, and how we've manifested our home, first business, family, travel, and now our ideal Inspire Café!
As an inspiration junkie and recovering perfectionist, I found myself feeling insecure and vulnerable with the self-imposed assignment of coming up with the fourteen most inspirational quotes ever—who can do that? I eventually landed on gems from this extraordinary list of transcendent “inspirers”: The Dalai Lama, Zig Ziglar, Neil Gaiman, Sister Joan Chittister, Franz Kafka, Georgia O’Keefe, Erica Jong, Goethe, and other sources of distinction.
When exploring quotes that perhaps most eloquently capture the truth about the greatest of all forces, these love authorities rose to the top: Mother Theresa, Maya Angelou, Leo Buscaglia, Virginia Satir, Louise Hay, Martin Luther King Jr., and more.
Inspire... Dubuque Wall
John Dunkel is the creative force behind the Inspire... Dubuque gallery wall. I’m so grateful that he shared his idea to feature inspiring people from our own community. In his own words, here’s what John had to say about this wall:
When we think heroism, we usually go distant and high; when so often heroes are a lot closer. I remember a hero from high school days. A nun who was on my case all the time... she made me a better person and even though this was 50 years ago, she comes to mind all the time... my mentor, my hero.
We need not go far from home to find true heroes, and this was my thinking when considering the heroes in our midst that became the backbone of the Inspire... Dubuque wall. Having known personally many of the “heroes” featured on the wall, these folks are truly noteworthy and deserved the designation of “Citizen of the Year." Whether it’s Wayne Norman stating, “We shouldn’t water our diversities down, but accentuate them and make them beautiful,” or Ruth Nash saying, “In the Arts people don’t fear diversity and novelty—they seek it out,” authentic inspiration in our very midst.
These Dubuque citizens raise the bar as heroes making inspiring contributions, and they prove just how rich our community is.
Thanks so much John—you inspire us with your servant heart and creative flair.
Our friends, Mary and Nathaniel, shared a song that filled our souls with joy. When later pondering the subject matter for a wonderful mural space, it finally dropped in to use the lyrics from that song. It’s called “Walk In Love” by Brady Toops, and my wife agreed that it would be the exact message that we want to share with our guests.
‘Brothers, Sisters, let us walk in love. We shall overcome, and live as one’
The faint dove image on the mural represents both the liberation all will feel when the world learns to walk in love, and the omnipresence of the divine that is helping us to fully awaken to the light and beauty that is our true, loving nature. Here is a link for "Walk In Love."
Customer Quote of theMonth
Wanting to create interaction and engagement with our guests around inspiration, the Customer Quote of the Month sign is a celebration of what our guests find inspiring. Customers are invited to fill out a slip of paper with their favorite quote along with their name and favorite beverage and pop it in the fishbowl on the service counter.
At least once a month, we’ll select from the submissions and write the quote on the Quote of the Month chalkboard and give the winner a free beverage.
Additional Gallery Signs
The additional signage reflects our appreciation for our guests, the experience we wish for them to have while at the café, a pinch of fun and inspiration, and our hopes and dreams for a healed and transformed world.
When we asked our friends at Digital Designs if they could partner with us on printing the many signs for the gallery at a reduced cost, they immediately said,“Yes.” We’re deeply grateful for their generosity and support of our gallery passion project. Here's what Ken and Andrew shared about why they partnered with us:
"When Scott shared his vision for the Inspirational Quotes Gallery with us, we were glad to help out. The passion of his vision and the messages that the art brings is something that really stood out to us. We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such an uplifting and inspirational project, and we're happy that we could help Scott bring his vision to life."
Ken Valentine and Andrew Danna,
Co-Owners of Digital Designs - Signs & Wraps
Hannah laid out the majority of the inspirational quote signs and graciously handled the many revision requests to get things "just right." She even did a stint with us as a barista in 2020.
Janice Rorig-Blong generously lent her great design eye and extensive wall layout consultation and installation. She even volunteered her husband, Ski, to assist (pictured on the right). Here's what Janice had to say when asked what interested her in assisting with the gallery project: "Truthfully, Scott was the inspiration. He was very clear about his vision... and the vision had such strength and potential to positively impact all those who entered the café. I truly love helping bring someone's vision to life and hope that I was able to add just a little to the results."
Will is the wonderful artist who painted the beautiful mural that includes an inspirational dove image.
While in meditation at a yoga retreat, I (Scott) received guidance to contact John Dunkel for creative assistance with the gallery project. John not only provided enthusiasm and encouragement for the overall project, but he was the source for the brilliant Inspire... Dubuque concept.
Jerry contributed indispensable help installing the signs, just as he provides indispensable assistance with all of our repair needs.
I wanted the Manifest Your Dreams wall to have its own brighter, more whimsical personality, and graphic designer Kyle did a brilliant job creating just that.
Altzaz, a designer from Pakistan, laid out most of the larger signs in the café and brought a unique point of view to everything he designed. "Shukriya," Altzaz.
Logan is a website wizard, great friend, and true fan of Inspire Café who helped us re-create the entire website. Logan is already changing the world in his unassuming yet powerful way, and he's just getting started! We also benefited from the editorial expertise of his co-conspirator, Elizabeth.
Kirstin Pope/Van Girl Productions
All photos on this page and the entire website were shot by our good friend and brilliant photographer, Kirstin Pope, of Kirstin Pope|Van Girl Productions. FUN FACT: Kirstin was a barista at Inspire Cafe when we opened in December 2015.