Mysterious, shadowy stranger.

Never Stop Dreaming

Before After

Today I want to talk about why I started this blog website.

About 10 years ago I took time off to write my memoir. But before I finished, my first born died unexpectedly. So, I switched gears. I started to blog (stories written in an informal or conversational style) about the childhood memories I had of my precious son. I used to post those stories on Facebook. I often got comments and feedback from friends telling me that my stories were inspirational. Those readers encouraged me to keep writing. So, I did. But eventually, I ran out of stories about Andy.

So, that’s when I posted stories about my design work on Facebook. I had plenty of stories to tell because I had been designing kitchens and bathrooms for well over 18 years. Over those years I often took “before” and “after” photographs of renovations and then I’d write stories about the process. I continued my habit of placing my lengthy blogs and photography on Facebook.

That was until…well, it was until a couple of people voiced their not-so positive opinions. They said that I shouldn’t be posting lengthy blogs on Facebook. Of course, my feelings were hurt crushed. But I knew they were right. So, I stopped posting my blogs on Facebook. In fact, I stopped writing altogether. I stopped taking “before” and “after” pictures, too. I eventually fell into a depression. Looking back, writing was therapeutic for me. Writing kept me from slipping down that depression rabbit hole. I just didn’t realize it at the time.

Then one day, out of the blue, a customer phoned me. She invited me back to visit her. She wanted me to see her beautifully remodeled kitchen that I had previously designed. “Oh, and don’t forget to bring your camera,” she remarked. I agreed to go. Let me tell you that I was speechless when I saw the transformed kitchen. It indeed was beautiful! The homeowner was patient and allowed me to take lots of pictures. That visit sparked me to use my camera again, and again, and again. I started visiting more homes right after their renovations were completed. It didn’t take long for SD cards to fill up with amazing snapshots. Eventually, I felt the urge to tell stories about those pictures. I knew there were many wonderful stories that needed to be told. I became bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to write again.

About that time a dream stirred in my heart. I had a dream to have a website for a place that I could post “before” and “after” pictures. And place to post my blogs—no matter how lengthy they were. But then fear hit me. Fear because I didn’t know anything about creating a website. Fear that I wouldn’t make it even if I did take the time, and money to create one. I’m just an everyday, ordinary person. Everyday people don’t have websites. Right? So, I placed my website dream on the back burner. But…but…this dream kept pressing on in my heart. It kept urging me to move forward. So, I started to research the whole website thing once again. I spent a great deal of time searching website designs. It became a daunting process. It felt like a mountain I may never be able to successfully climb.

I continued to doubt myself. Lack of confidences hit me, like a ton of bricks. “Who’s going to read what you write?” and “Who’s going to care what you have to say?” Those were the negative thoughts that filled up inside my head, replaying over and over. So, once again, I stepped away from my dream. I put it on the back burner… again. I kept feeling as though I was taking far more steps backwards than forward. So I quit dreaming…once again.

Have you ever wanted to do something so badly but felt it was difficult to know where to start? If you’re nodding your head right now, then keep reading.

My wakeup call came when I had this one particular dream. I’ve had dreams for as long as I can remember. But this specific dream was so vivid.

This dream came to me in an unearthly force, and to be honest, I can only attribute this bizarre dream experience as some kind of spiritual urging. It was one of those dreams that felt soooo real! Maybe the dream transpired because some of my friends were being diagnosed with cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or worse yet, they were dying. My husband is 12-years older than me. Paul seemed to be experiencing the same, if not more. During these last few years, he unfortunately has lost a great deal of friends. Maybe this happens as we age, I’m not sure. But let’s focus on my dream. Shall we? 

Sometime during the night, in my dream, I was the one who was dying. It was a horrible notion. I don’t know how I knew I was dying. Or what I was dying of. But trust me, I just knew. In fact, in this dream (or really, it was more of a nightmare) I was lying on my deathbed. I know… creepy, huh? But all around me were these “souls.” I don’t know what else to call them. I could tell they did not feel like real people. But here they were. They had forms of bodies. Anyway, they were standing in a semi-circle all around my bed. They had their arms crossed in front of their chests. I studied their faces. I somehow felt deeply connected to them. They all looked as if they were going to scold me for something or other. I felt as if any one of them were about to reprimand me. I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t quit staring at them.

Then finally the first one of the souls unfolded her arms and leaned in toward me. She said, “I’m the painter.” Then she stepped back. I just looked at her. I didn’t get it. In my confusion, I said nothing.

Then I looked at the soul standing next to the first one. And that’s when she said, “I’m the artist.” I blinked my eyes, but didn’t dare say a single word. The next soul said, “I’m the decorator.” And the next one said, “I have good listening skills.” “I’m the one with an eye for detail.” “I’m the photographer.” “I’m a salesman.” “I’m the writer.” “I’m the kitchen designer.”  “I’m the interior designer.” On and on they went, until each one had a chance to take her turn to “introduce” herself to me. After they all finished their introductions, it still didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t understand any of it.

Then and there, all at once, in unison the souls told me they were waiting for me to use those talents that I had all along. They explained that each one of those souls/talents were inside me. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. There I was…I was on my deathbed. It was too late to do anything with those talents. Right? It was a morbid feeling. I was never going to get a second chance on my deathbed. That’s when my eyes shot wide open and I bolted straight up in my bed, now wide awake! I looked at the clock on my nightstand. It read 3:11 A.M. The dream scared the crap out of me. I didn’t want this to happen to me. I didn’t want the day to come when I’m on my deathbed and I look back with regrets. I didn’t want to regret that I didn’t at least try to fulfill my dream or use my God-given talents.

So that’s when I decided I would try my best to use my God-given talents. I would give it my all and if it doesn’t work, then at least I tried.

My blog website has been officially up and running for  16 months. I know I’ve rattled on, but I wanted you to know the story behind my website. I believe God gives each and every one of us talents and dreams. He wants us to use them. For years, I allowed fear and lack of confidence hold me back. Do you know what fear and lack of confidence are? They are dream killers. Having faith and listening to the small inner voice helped me to get to where I am today. I believe God puts people in our path to help us succeed. A gigantic thank you to Terry Handelman, Paula Davidson, Tracey Moses Fillmore, Kathy Favilla, and Matthew Kovacs—from the bottom of my heart—you five believed in me and were instrumental in my success. I can’t thank you enough for believing in me. I could not have done this on my own.

Since my website has gone live, I have subscribers from all around the world. Never in a million years would I have thought people worldwide would read my blogs.

I am truly thrilled, honored, and humbled to share that my website has been named to both lists: Top 50 Interior Design Blogs to Read by detailed.com and Top Interior Design Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2021 by feedspot.com. I have been included among so many tremendously talented designers I admire, makes the honor even more special. It honestly feels like a dream to be named to the lists of top designers in the world.

So, I’m running out of room here, but I just want to say that maybe our dreams are teachers when we allow them to be. It’s never too late for you to begin. It is never too late to try something new. Don’t worry. We are all in the same boat anyway. We are all afraid and new and learning and becoming every single day. If it has been on your mind to try a new project or start a new venture. I will you tell you this: If it pulls at your heart long enough, you owe it to yourself to keep trying. You never know what can happen. Never give up because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.

As always, thank you so much for reading. 

Michele

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