Category Archives: The Power of Questioning

Statewide Gay Marriage Must be Stopped – According to NEWT

RIGHT WING WATCH says, “Today on a conference call with the Gingrich Faith Leaders Coalition
that included guest speakers Jim Garlow and J.C. Watts, Newt Gingrich claimed
that he will push for not only a federal marriage amendment to outlaw
marriage equality but also a federal law to prohibit states from
legalizing same-sex marriage.

 He claimed that states with marriage
equality are contributing to legal “chaos” and said that “if we are
going to defend marriage in the end it will probably require a federal
law.” After a questioner asked whether same-sex marriage would lead to
people seeking to marry dogs and cows, Gingrich, who on an earlier
conference call described same-sex marriage as “paganism,”
didn’t push back against the offensive comparison to bestiality but
instead blamed the country’s teachers for why people are more accepting
of such beliefs.

Seriously Newt?


What I Have Learned This Year

The clock is ticking, the end of the year is just hours away…

and I ask myself, What did I learn this year

Each year I get older – and I hope wiser. I hope that I grow each year as a human. And evolve spiritually.

Gratitude. Be extremely appreciative of every opportunity, contact, relationship, bit of useful knowledge and helping hand.

Don’t let others bring you down, surround yourself with positive people to see positive results.

Jennifer Weiner, (author,  Good in Bed
)  said, “I learned that things don’t always turn our the way you planned, or the way you think they should. And I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before.

I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you.”

George Clooney said this year, “Everybody sort of has their own versions of what they think I am and what they think that is.

I’m just living my life and doing the best I can. The rest of those versions, there’s not much I can do about. No matter what I do, I’m somehow upsetting someone in some way or making somebody happy. I can only live my own life and my version of it.

My life isn’t focused on results.

 My life is really focused on the process of doing all the things I’m doing, from work to relationships to friendships to charitable work.

If I focused on results, if it’s only about the ultimate results, I’d be a failure. I’d be a failure with my friendships, I’d be a failure in relationships. You have to view it  as an ongoing process.

And I would agree.

I must always  remind myself  of that great story The Station: A Reminder to Cherish the Journey . “The Station” brings a profound message that reminds one to embrace the journey of life. And not keep telling yourself, when this or that happens, I will have arrived.

Enjoy the journey – and the learning experience.


Zach Reger Wahls – Love Makes A Family

2011,  19 year old Zach Reger Wahls  showed the world  having gay parents DOES NOT MAKE YOU GAY!

This year, over 18 million people saw Zach Wahls defend marriage equality on
behalf of his family in front of the Iowa Legislature.

This month,
thousands of families submitted photos, joining Zach and his family in sending
out this simple holiday greeting…..and creating this video and online campaign
called “Love Makes a Family.”


*Video Produced & Edited by Laura Dawn of & Dave Ambrose of
Original Song written by Laura Dawn
Performed by Inyang
Bassey, backing vocals by Inyang Bassey & Laura Dawn


Occupy All Streets – We are the 99.99%

IN THE LAST 40 years, the rich, executives,  have seen an increase in earnings. Their pay has quadrupled. From $900 to $5 Million. Meanwhile, most non-supervisory workers have seen a DROP in wages of 10%, over that same period.

The saying the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, has never been more true.

The Guardian did a great
 video you should watch

And if you have not seen it yet, watch  INSIDE  JOB A Must See Movie About Corruption and the Downfall of our Economy.


Occupy Wall Street Movement Spreading World Wide


OCCUPY  WALL STREET  Is  all over the news  today.   The movement which started in New York City –  is spreading  world wide!


Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing series of demonstrations in New York City based in Zuccotti Park, formerly “Liberty Plaza Park”. The protest was originally called for by the Canadian activist group Adbusters. The action has been compared to the Arab Spring movement (particularly the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo, which initiated the 2011 Egyptian revolution) and the Spanish Indignants.

The participants of the event, who have called themselves the “99 percenters”,are mainly protesting against social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government, among other concerns. By October 9, similar demonstrations had been held or were ongoing in 70 major cities and more than 600 communities.

HUNDREDS have been camping out in the park in NYC for 30 days now.  Today is a stand off with Police.   There is also a huge march happening in Times Square later today then hundreds will  march to JP Morgan CHASE  and  withdraw their money and close their accounts.

Protests are planned in solidarity from Europe to Australia in what is being called an “International Day of Action” this weekend.

In Tokyo, protesters are fighting inequality and about 300 Australians chanted the cry that started on Wall Street, “We are the 99%!”

In the Philippines, protesters marched in Manila, where they announced their support for the movement and denounced “U.S.-led wars and aggression,” the Associated Press reported.

Elsewhere in the country, protesters like Larry Coleman in Flint, Mich., say they’re in solidarity with similar protests against corporate greed and economic injustice.

“There’s a lot of things wrong in our county that need to be corrected and the only way to get them corrected is to start with a grassroots movement,” Coleman said.

Great news clips  on ABC


The SHIFT Is About To Hit The Fan! I AM

 Yesterday I commented, “we run and mange about 15 blog sites. Most of them make money…Official Life By Design, does not. But we try to keep it up to share with others, ways to grow in life. The stuff they DON’T teach you in school.”

We have a PASSION for this site and sharing knowledge that helps us grow as spiritual beings. That’s why I refuse to close this site. Money or not.

And after that post, I  happened to see Oprah  yesterday, who had on  Tom Shadyac, a famous, rich  movie director.  Who has a life-changing movie out this month, I AM.

He had millions of dollars, 3 houses, private jets, but knew he was not happy.  We have become a society of WANT WANT WANT and forgot why we are here –  and what REALLY makes us happy.

In his latest project, a documentary entitled I AM, Shadyac asks some of today’s most profound thinkers, two questions – What’s wrong with our world, and what can we do about it? This moving, inspiring film won the Audience Choice Award and the Student Choice Award at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride Colorado, where it premiered.

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better?   

   In I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.

Armed with nothing but his innate curiosity and a small crew to film his adventures, Shadyac set out on a twenty-first century quest for enlightenment.  Meeting with a variety of thinkers and doers–remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, academia, and faith–including such luminaries as David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson, John Francis, Coleman Barks, and Marc Ian Barasch –  Shadyac appears on-screen as character, commentator, guide, and even, at times, guinea pig.

3 big points –




It is really  as  MUST SEE movie for everyone.

You have heard about doomsday coming?  December 21, 2012?  Well, I don’t believe it’ll be like the movie 2012!  In fact, Shirley Maclaine was  on TV last week and she see’s it as a huge global shift of sorts –  not so much the explosion of the world as we know it. A New Age interpretation of this transition postulates that during this time, Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.

And it’s funny,  the tagline for I AM is  the SHIFT is About to Hit the Fan!

I think this recession has brought so many of us to our knees, for a reason. To re-examine our lives and what’s next? and what is really important. It so funny in my business, there is so much “competition”. Yet I approach “competitors” and see the synergy of working together; collaborating. But some small minded  people only see competition. We are here and connected – to COLLABORATE.  Get it?!

I AM – The Documentary

Go see it!

Michael Snell


Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation in Everyday Life


Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions,  and has been considered extensively by moral philosophers such as Adam Smith. The systematic study of gratitude within psychology only began around the year 2000, possibly because psychology has traditionally been focused more on understanding distress rather than understanding positive emotions.

However, with the advent of the positive psychology movement, gratitude has become a mainstream focus of psychological research. The study of gratitude within psychology has focused on the understanding of the short term experience of the emotion of gratitude (state gratitude), individual differences in how frequently people feel gratitude (trait gratitude), and the relationship between these two aspects.

In the past 5 years, I have tried to live by these ideas –  but I am one of these “glass half empty” guys –  and  I hate that about myself!  I want the glass to always be half full!

In the last 48 hours, so much has happened in my life, it has made me realize more than ever, the importance of these ideals and we must never lose site of their importance! Good things CAN COME TO YOU. Don’t give up! Be grateful everyday for what you have!

Go Gratitude  says  Gratitude as the Master Key that opens all doors of possibility.

Abundance and Happiness says,

Developing an attitude of sincere gratitude
for your current blessings unleashes the power
for receiving many more. Every Day Give Thanks.

and Zen Habits  says, Many days, I try to humble myself and hold a 2-minute gratitude session. I simply sit or kneel, with no distractions, close my eyes, and think about what I’m grateful for and who I’m grateful for.

You know, we run and mange about 15 blog sites. Most of them make money. Official Life By Design, does not. But we try to keep it up to share with others, ways to grow in life. The stuff they DON’T teach you in school.

Hopefully, you get something out of it. It’s all about the JOURNEY!


How Do You Measure SUCCESS? And Are Your Parents Proud of You?

– I  just turned 50.
– It’s the end of the year.
– My father had a heart attack yesterday.

– And I just watched
Everybody’s Fine!
NOT a good combination of things.

(If you have never seen the movie Everybody’s Fine, it’s about Frank (Robert De Niro) who just lost his wife, and without their mother by his side, Frank’s grown children aren’t compelled to visit for the holidays. So he hits the road to visit them — collecting various revelations and learning about himself along the way. Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell and Melissa Leo co-star in writer-director Kirk Jones’s family tale, an update of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 Italian film.)

For the last few months, as I approached the big 50, I found myself reflecting on my life, where I have been, and what I have accomplished. I have been doing a lot of reading and soul-searching….

Many people think of fame and/or  fortune when they measure success. I have not achieved either, yet. I don”t need to be a millionaire (though that would be nice!) I just want to be happy, have my bills paid, make a comfortable living, have money for retirement to live on and not have to be stressed every month. Is that too much to ask for?  

I really thought by now, I would have a great income and be able to look ahead with some sense of security.
I’m always amazed when I see the retirement savings statistics. It’s a scary picture when you know how much money it actually takes to retire with security. I know how much it takes me to live RIGHT NOW. It’s going be MORE, not less, when I retire. My parents at least got their home paid off in their lifetime. Most of this  generation WILL NOT. Did you know that less than 5% of workers will achieve anything remotely close to financial security.

50 million Americans had 401(k) plans worth $2.5 trillion at the 2007 market top which subsequently lost over $1 trillion by October 2008 (even more since then!). Another $1 trillion in IRA assets vanished as well.

Over 60% of households are financially unprepared and lagging greatly on retirement savings.

Enough of THAT depressing topic!  At some point in life, most people come to realize that happiness, inner peace and soul-deep satisfaction come not from fame and fortune, but having lived a life based on integrity and noble character. I was taught to ALWAYS try my best….to do the RIGHT thing…to be a good person and to be responsible.

So I have been pondering….Personal Success… Who am I? Do I possess Character?   Am I a person of Integrity?

Do family and friends respect me?-   How is my relationship with my family? Do those who know me best respect me most?

Vocational Success…. Am I a successful businessperson? Am I fulfilling my vocational or entrepreneurial call by using my gifts, leading by example and empowering others to do the same?

A Successful Ministry….Am I serving others? Do I love others as I love myself?

It’s a very fine line.  On one hand, I have not yet achieved what I think I should be achieving financially and vocationally.  On the other hand, I have achieved a lot, in other areas.

In many cases, our parents were always there to support us morally, financially and emotionally. They taught us to be independent and to face the world with courage and determination to succeed. Every thing we had right now,  we owe it to our parents.They been supportive to us from the moment we were born in this world till we grown-up. And they also gave support on us in our studies.

How do you make them proud of you? As I get older, and so do my parents, I want to make them proud of me. I want to be SUCCESSFUL, whatever that word means.

Too often too many of us seem to focus on what is not. We take stock on what we thought we would be by now, what we thought we might have accomplished, where we thought we might have made a mark, and keep a score solely on the goals where we fell short. Too often we sit with that mental list looking at a new year feeling already behind because of what didn’t happen in this one.
Are you doing that now? It’s not the best way of reflecting on what we know. What we didn’t do last year is not the best way of deciding what this year might best be about.  

Consider this…

Someone told me recently, “Successful businesses and successful people don’t always meet every benchmark. They know that conditions change and opportunities appear that might rearrange strategies and priorities.They weigh and value their position and progress constantly to make sure that what they’re aiming toward is still where they want to go. They constantly revisit and review their benchmarks to be sure those benchmarks support forward growth.
It’s the forward growth that matters. The benchmarks aren’t the prize the growth is.”

As this year comes to a close and I look ahead, I am inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who  was a brilliant writer.  He said….

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.”

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

The true joy of life is the trip

Life on the Train

Happy New Year
Michael  Snell


Elizabeth Edwards Posts Farewell Message…

The NY Daily News reports:

 The wronged wife of the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee posted what read like a goodbye on Facebook:

“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that,” she wrote. “I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope,” Edwards said. “These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.”

The Edwards family in Chapel Hill, N.C., released a statement saying that doctors told her any further treatment would be “unproductive.” “She is resting at home with family and friends,” the statement said.

ABC News reported the former senator was also by his estranged wife’s side.”

Edwards was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. She reportedly was hospitalized over Thanksgiving but has returned home after receiving word that the cancer had spread to her liver. Doctors say her long battle with cancer is coming to an end and she may have only weeks to live.

She’s at her home in North Carolina, surrounded by friends and family.

Added Edwards in her Facebook message: “It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day…To you I simply say: you know. With love, Elizabeth.”

She once said, “I don’t know why somebody else’s marriage has anything to do with me,” Edwards said in response to a question at an event for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. “I’m completely comfortable with gay marriage.”

***UPDATE.  Tuesday, December 7th.
Elizabeth Edwards passed this morning at her home in North Carolina.


Four Gay Teens Kill Themselves This Month

This is ridiculous!
FOUR gay teen suicides in a week.
When will the madness stop?!

I don’t like to write about tragedies –
 but this can not be swept under the carpet!

Feelings of sympathy, shock and outrage spread across the country yesterday after news broke that Rutgers student Tyler Clementi committed suicide. Clementi’s family say they believe the 18-year-old freshman jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge Sept. 23 after being secretly videotaped by two classmates in a sexual encounter with another man.

Two other Rutgers students have been charged with invasion of privacy after they allegedly placed a camera in 18-year-old Clementi’s dorm room without his knowledge and then broadcast Clementis sexual encounter , according to the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office.

Just last week, Seth Walsh, a California teen who spent the better part of the last 10 days on life support after attempting suicide over relentless bullying because he was gay, died on the 28th . He was 13 years old.

Asher Brown’s worn-out tennis shoes still sit in the living room of his Cypress-area home while his student progress report — filled with straight A’s — rests on the coffee table.

The eighth-grader killed himself last week . He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.


He was a teenager who didn’t quite fit in. His classmates said Billy Lucas was bullied for being different .
The 15-year-old never told anyone he was gay but students at Greensburg High School thought he was and so they picked on him.

“People would call him ‘fag’ and stuff like that, just make fun of him because he’s different basically,” said student Dillen Swango. Some students told Billy to kill himself. That day he hung himself in the families barn.

Why are parents raising their children to HATE?

“But sympathy is not enough – we all have a responsibility to take action, and to keep working until all young people are safe and respected, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must push for laws on the federal level and in every state that prohibit bullying and discrimination. We must hold people accountable, and use the courts when necessary. And most importantly, we must love and teach all our children to be their best selves and to respect and support others to do the same.” – Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenburg.

Writer Lyndon Evans says , “This week NBC and others have been hyping so much about education, even interviewing folks who are getting involved with their local school even if they don’t have kids in the school to help better education. But what are we (and I put myself into the collective) doing to get rid of anti-gay bullying and bullying in general ? All the “help websites” and wonderful videos do nothing unless we get to the root cause. In the home, in the classroom and the Board of Education. Are you yet tired enough of reading these stories to do something ? Why not run for Board of Ed, last I knew you don’t have to have a kid to be elected to one.

When will this stop?
What can  YOU do? What will YOU do?