Tag Archives: inspire

Support & Strength~Women

“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.” ~Amy Poehler

th-25Today I am speaking especially to women. I want to encourage you to be a source of support and strength to thee other women in your life! It is not only our jobs but, we can be a great example to everyone in this world. So often women will put each other down. I know that I have been both on the receiving end as well as the giving. I have learned over the years that it is not a strong woman that will act in this manner. It is weakness that leads to the back biting and tearing down, along with a lack of confidence in yourself. 

th-26We need to carry each other when one falls or is in a weakened state. We have so many responsibilities in this life. Often we are moms, spouses, girl friends, friends, daughters, sisters, employees, bosses and the list goes on. We have so very many hats to wear, but the greatest should be that of strength and support for others! 










via Daily Prompt: Carry


Filed under Life Lessons

Sit A While

“When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?”~ Ralph Marston

Photo by~Southern By Design









Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Any Seating including Tables and Chairs


Check out some other photos of mine:

Beach~This Way

Fun Feet




Filed under Beach Life, nature-photography

Sunday Trees ~ Photo Challenge

These are my entries for Becca’s (from On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea blog) Sunday Trees – 247 challenge.

“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.”~ Joyce Meyer

I visited this small, historical, coastal town this spring; came across a few beautiful and unique, trees. I love the older structures with them. I always think of the things these aged trees have seen and witnessed in their long lives.

IMG_4888by-Southern By Design

IMG_4878by-Southern By Design


Filed under nature-photography

This Color Is Called Life

“Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” ~Oscar Wilde

I come from a line of wonderful artists on my father’s side. My great-grandmother did oil painting, my grandmother did acrylic painting and color pencil, my father does color pencil, water color and photography, my uncle did color pencil and drawing (had a career in commercial illustration), my aunt does drawings, I do paints, drawing and color pencil and now my daughter is amazing at drawing and cartooning (she wants to go into this for a career). So, needless to say the word Paint brings to mind lots of found ideas and feelings.


“Through a painting we can see the whole world.”~ Hans Hofmann

I have always encourage creativity in my kids. I believe thee imagination that resides within a child is a precious commodity, squandered when it is not cared for properly. The glasses of innocence that a child sees the world and life through, then transposes it onto paper or into clay, can be an amazing image to behold.

art-awesome-quotes-rainbow-Favim.com-486814It saddens me that from a young age kids are required to sit at a desk and spend their days there. They are not given opportunity to strengthen their imaginations but told to hold them back and stay in the lines. Fine Arts are often the first things to be cut back when finances are tight and so, we have kids that will only see life in black and white.


“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.” ~Danny Kaye


I thought I’d share a couple paintings I did a few years back. I definitely don’t give enough time to my art, life certainly gets in the way of taking the time out that I should.  IMG_6228IMG_6214




Filed under Life Lessons

You Say Stubborn, I Say Determined

“Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits”. ~Robert Brault

Determination is such an important mind-set to have. It is the difference between giving up and trying again…and again. Think of all the inventors and imaginative creations we have today because of them. But, what if they had listened to the inner voice of self-doubt telling them, “You’re a failure!”? What would the world be lacking in innovations and technology?  Determination and perseverance  are the qualities of a person that is too stubborn to give up when things don’t go right. When they’ve tried 99 times, but continue to believe that the next time will be the turning point. This stubborn frame of mind takes strength! I don’t believe it is the mediocre in life that get great things accomplished!


In my own life I have found that I can lack determination. I can be my own worst enemy, getting caught up in negative self-talk. I have found that inner voice can either be listened to or I can be obstinate and go against it. “…When I set my mind on something I am a force to be reckoned with. Today I will be gravity – subtle, but powerful and undeniable.” ― Ellen Hopkins  

One of my greatest desires is to be successful- as a mom, wife and friend. I want to find my niche in life and have it be profitable and a huge success. Being self-employed I have to remain self-motivated. I do not find this to be easy! But then, things worth anything usually are not. There are days when I just don’t want to do what needs done. But, I don’t have someone standing over me to push me to keep going (although my husband is a huge support). However, ultimately it is I who has to choose how to face each day. So, I must strive to stay motivate, find a way to dig deep and keep moving towards that goal of success. No one said determination was easy, in fact it’s always easier to give up! So I say, “Stay stubborn, don’t give up and be a force to be reckoned with!”

“Stubborn people get themselves in a lot of trouble, but they also get things done.”~Anna Paquin

stubbornness quotes



Filed under Life Lessons

Keep Going Little Engine

“I do not fear failure. I only fear the “slowing up” of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, “Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?”       General George S. Patton

IMG_2769 (1)

-Autumn in Vermont, by Southern By Design

-Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, Engines https://ceenphotography.com/2016/08/04/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-things-with-engines-or-motors-2/


Filed under nature-photography

Give Me Sugar and No One Gets Hurt

“Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, ‘No thank you’ to desert that night. And for what?!” ― Erma Bombeck


My life has been an endless struggle with my weight. When I was younger I always was one of the bigger gals in class, or so I thought. I think it really had a lot to do with perception. I look back at old pictures and certainly I was never petite, I have big bone structure and I’m tall. But, I think that food has always been a problem, or perhaps thee obsession with it. The cravings are real!


I come from a family that has always dealt with their weight. Generationally, my grandparents and extended family, on both sides, right down to my parents and sibling- all struggle with weight. So, growing up, I was not really taught to be active and our eating was not always healthy. Of course as a child of the 80’s & 90’s, it was the years of boxed, conveniently packaged and preservative filled everything!

Although, thankfully, I did not end up with an eating disorder, I do think it was the beginning of some body dysmorphia. I believe what counteracted this weight issue, I have always been very confident, so I’d just throw back my head and make the best of life. But, again, I look back at pictures and think, “Wow I was NOT heavy!” So where did this obsession with thinking I was fat come from? 


Our culture’s perception of what beauty, healthy and perfect look like, play a big role in society. But I also think that I grew up around a LOT of negative self-talk about body image, also an obsession with weight loss and dieting. Still, to this day, my family gets very verbal about our bodies. Although we all live in separate parts of the country, one of the first things we talk about on the phone is how our newest weight loss is going (or not going). And, as much as I’d like to say I think this will change, I don’t think that it will. However, I am working on the next generation!

I am trying very hard to break the cycle with my kids. Although my husband and I both struggle with weight (and now I am over weight) we attempt to not put this onto our kids. I do not make comments about their bodies and endorse positivity. But, the biggest goal has been to promote healthy eating, life style and being active. Also, working on NOT being negative or putting myself down…this one is hard at times!

“It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.”― Margaret Mead

I have realized I am a food addict. And unlike other addictions, unfortunately I need food to survive. I have yo-yoed through my 20’s and over half of my 30’s with my weight. I am currently not at my highest weight, but still not where I need to be. 

th-21A year ago we moved South, mainly because we needed the warmer claimant, for health reasons. We needed our family to be able to be active year around. It really has helped, in four months I had lost 30 pounds. Just good old walking, weights and “clean” eating. I refuse to diet or get on the fad band-wagon! But…yes there is a but, unfortunately. I have begun to fall off the wagon yet again! I crave sugar like a drug addict wants crack! I have done sugar detoxes before, man they are brutal! I know it’s what I need… But, I really want that cinnamon roll, ice cream, cake and oh the list goes on- not to mention pizza! And, even though I feel better when I’m living healthy, my stinking mind craves this unhealthy diet.

I do not write this to get sympathy. I know it is my own fault I am where I am and I truly don’t blame anyone but myself. I write this for myself, to put it in black and white, to see that the issue is present. Maybe I will also help another person who struggles, to know, you are not alone in this! I want to break this cycle, I want to succeed and live a long life! But, I also don’t want to get caught up in negativity of self and society’s idea of what my body should be. 

“I finally figured out the big, elusive secret to weight loss. Don’t eat! Who knew?” 
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/craving/”>Craving</a&gt;


Filed under Life Lessons

To Be or Not To Be, Sorry

“An apology might help, but you can change your life without one.” Robin Quivers


This is a really hard and personal topic for me. I have felt the bitterness that comes with holding on to anger. I have lived through the sting of other’s unwillingness to forgive, a most devistating loss. And, I have had to learn that one can be sorry to the deepest depths of their soul and still never be forgiven. It is one of the greatest and hardest lessons in life to learn, to forgive another, even if the apology never comes. And, perhaps harder still, is to learn how you can forgive yourself!


Life is full of so many lessons. And, just when you believe that you’ve learned everything [it] throws a wrench in the works. So, here I am years later with the battle scares to show, sometimes you really know very little! People will surprise you, turn on you and throw you away. Perhaps, Oscar Wilde said it best of all, “True friends stab you in the front.”

As many times as I apologized, true forgiveness was witheld. Later the choice to walk away from a 14 year friendship was necessary, for self-preservation’s sake. And finally anger came, not crept, it came in stomping and smashing everything in its wake. This tragic loss of friendship taught me some of the greatest lessons in forgiveness, however. I wish I could say that I learned them in a dignified way, with class. No, this lesson was messy and unrefined! I had to battle my inner demons, truly learn what forgiving is all about and why choosing forgiveness is for you NOT them


Forgiveness is not a one time thing. It is not a magic word you say or deed you do and poof its done. I have had, at times, to choose and purpose to forgive daily. There is certainly a process and it has taken time and lots and LOTS of energy. And really I am not here to tell you how to accomplish it. Everyone’s struggle is different and I do not believe it is the same steps that get everyone from point A to point B. I do believe however, you will be happier when you choose to let go and live.

“Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” Isaac Friedmann

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese

via: Daily Prompt apology


Filed under Life Lessons

Controversy Thy Name Is Media ~ How Drama Ignites The Masses

“The effect of the mass media is not to elicit belief but to maintain the apparatus of addiction.” -Christopher Lasch

media-frenzyI think you would have to be on a desert island somewhere to be ignorant to all the drama that is taking place in the world of politics at the moment. I am not going to get into playing sides, honestly that is not my point. However, I do not care for either candidate if I were to be honest. Politicians have never been the most honest or dependable people. No, my grievance is with the controversy and drama of the media and the frenzy that they create! The power which they weld and abuse. 

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” -Malcolm X

The term media draws its name from the word medium, which means to transfer the information from one end to the other. The media has a profound responsibility to the public to keep us informed. It carries the weight of choosing between honesty, fairness, accuracy, and the possibility of destroying or creating human values. We must hold the media accountable as [it] holds great influential power on politics itself and social change. If the past shows us anything it is that the media has been successful in shaping the opinion of the public in many controversial political matters.

The-people-will-believeI believe the media of today has found that sensationalized news is a huge money-maker. In a day and age where we are surrounded by media outlets [it] is the voice in our heads. “In the past fifty years the media’s influence has grown exponentially with the advance of technology, first there was the telegraph, then the radio, the newspaper, magazines, television and now the internet (Voakes, 2004).” Shouldn’t they be holding those in political offices responsible for their actions? Shouldn’t they be thee eyes and ears for us, the individual? Yet, instead they have found that drama ignites society into more controversy which equals more “news.” It is a terrible, manipulative, unending cycle! Giving out facts and details to the public which are not true, or even worse, manufacturing them. I know, media is in the business of selling, but where do we draw the line? 

quotesI encourage you to draw your own conclusions. To think for yourself and be cautious of whom you draw your information and knowledge from. It is a dangerous world we live in. Not because there is any more debauchery then there was in the past, but because the mass media uses [it] to feed the frenzy of those circling in the waters, waiting to eat it up!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dramatic/”>Dramatic</a&gt;


Filed under Life Lessons, Uncategorized

From Admire To Inspire

“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.” ― Sigmund Freud

I have never been one to throw around the word admiration, I feel in this day and age we have too many people that use [it] flippantly. Our society seems to get caught up in Hollywood characters and political heads, and don’t get me wrong, I do as well. But, when I hear someone say (in a tone of awe), “I admire…” in reference to this figure they don’t even know– Let’s just say I get a bit annoyed! In my opinion, they are all doing a good job admiring themselves, patting each other on the backs and throwing a myriad of awards  and ceremonies at one another. They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can find you admiration.

eba43d888d2958d4c7540aafa87a64cbIn my life I believe I have only ever truly admired one person. Although many have made it to the runners-up position, one holds the place of honor. She knew me all my life and in adulthood became a dear friend. This person was my grandmother or Gram as I fondly donned her. An exceptional lady, full of spunk, wisdom and endless stories. If you were to ask me to tell you why I admire her, I’m not sure that I could truly put a finger on the reason. Like choosing a favorite dessert, picking a favorite moment, well there just isn’t one.

A few elements of my Gram. She was raised the middle child, the rose between two thorns. She grew up in Marblehead, MA, which is now quite prestigious (although she did not come from wealth). As an outlying Boston town, she visited Boston as a child, with fond memories of baseball games with her father. She traveled as a young woman to NY City and lived there for a time. She married my Gramps and together they traveled the world, as he had a career in the Air Force. Along their journeys she had three children, one of whom is my mom. Eventually, retiring from military life, they chose Vermont to return to.

“It’s not the beauty of a person you should admire. It is the purity of heart that deserves your admiration.” ― Karon Waddell

I had never lived near my grandparents as a child. However, they had played positive roles in my life as a constant presence. Early in my marriage, my husband and I moved to the same city as them. At that time my grandparents had been married for nearly 50 years, surely something to admire! The time that I was given to spend with Gram over the next 13 years was immeasurable in value. She taught me to cook, bake, sew, crochet and so much more. We had so many similar likes and dislikes, I could just talk with her for hours. And, oh the stories! Both my children were also blessed to have her as their “GG.”

During the end of her life I was blessed to spend time with her regularly. Many are certainly not given this gift. She was able to make sure my children, husband and I knew her love for us. She was able to inspire us in our life ahead. And keeping with her wittiness to the very end, reminded me- “Michelle, life is like a roll of toilette paper, the closer you get to thee end, the faster it goes!” I felt she always encouraged me to make good use of my time.

Although born years apart, we celebrated our birthdays only days apart. So, every year I am reminded of her on my birthday and the gift of 30+ years I was given with this wonderfully inspiring woman. Her love for her family was insurmountable, she was truly devoted. She and Gramps celebrated their 60th anniversary two months before she died! Even this five years later I still grieve her. She was full of life, love and greatness! She was not perfect, but she overcame many things in life. I miss her, but I am inspired by her and the journey that was her life.

“How wonderful it would be to meet an angel, I mused, but then I immediately realised that I already had. Not an archangel like Saint Michael, but my human angel…” ― Patti Smith 

…My Gram


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/admire/”>Admire</a&gt;


Filed under Family