Category Archives: Inspiring Stories, Wisdom and Opportunities

Stories of inspiration, motivation, and events to raise consciousness.

Our brand story – The Beauty of All Things Connected

Our brand story con

From an early age, it has been my desire to see and spread beauty. This purpose has enhanced my love for nature and design and the appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things. Connecting nature, beauty, and design is the key component of our brand story. It is because of what makes me stop and take a picture in a city park, a foggy forest or a trendy restaurant. It has inspired interest in landscape design, interior design, jewelry, and fashion design. All the design things. Consequently, show me a clever graphic design on retail packaging with an inspiring brand story, and you’ve got an instant brand ambassador.

The appreciation of nature and beauty encouraged me to pursue graphic design training and launch Connection Group, Inc. As a result, for over two decades the Connection Group team has created beautiful logos, beautiful graphic designs, and beautiful publications that people pay attention to.

Connection Group Brand Story

Beauty is our purpose, design is our talent, and increased connection is our mission.

“In nature, we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This partnership of beauty and nature and the belief that everything is connected was the inspiration behind our name. As a graphic designer, the patterns in nature and beauty in natural form have always captivated me. My morning dog walks in nature remind me to be grateful and slow down and enjoy the beauty around me. These moments allow me to ease into my day with gratitude and clarity. I then bring to my work a creator’s mind and an artist’s eye.

Recently, a TED Radio Hour presenter on climate change expressed his belief that humans will outlive nature. Humans will live on but they will have to live without trees. No trees, no beauty. I began to wonder how much we take for granted the role nature places in defining what beauty is?  What of living without beauty, without the beauty of trees? What kind of world will it be without the sight of a tulip tree in bloom, an apple tree at harvest time, a Michigan sugar maple aglow in October? Trees encompass all of the elemental rules of design; symmetry, color, organic line, patterns, textures, and placement. Like a beautiful design, they evoke a response.


all-things-connect-a-tree-a-dayIn response, I have slowed my walk in my favorite parks and dirt roads. I started seeing each tree individually and as a connection to each other and all of us. I started connecting with them and photographing them. The beauty of nature, the beauty of a forest of trees, the beauty of that one special tree that makes you gasp every time you see it. I am celebrating nature’s beauty in the Connection Group #aTreeaDay posts. I want to share the wonder and variety and strength and power and fortitude that is the beauty of each tree. Each day we share a tree on our social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We encourage you to spread beauty and share #aTreeaDay to our outposts too.

People find beauty in many things; in other people, architecture, art, cars, shoes, a new Apple anything, the list goes on. If sharing a favorite tree of the day helps people remember to breathe and appreciate beauty we have succeeded in our mission. I can’t think of a better depiction of our brand story, than honoring our personal practice to connect with everyone through recognizing and spreading beauty. This includes creating beautiful marketing materials for our customers and sharing posts of trees that remind you to slow down and take a long, beautiful breath.

“All things are connected like the blood that unites us. We do not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” – Chief Seattle

Stay connected!

Inspiring Facebook Graphics and Images for Sharing on Social Media

As graphic designers we like to create and share inspiring Facebook graphics and original design images containing positive quotes in our posts for social media pages. From Pinterest, to Twitter and Facebook (we still haven’t jumped into Instagram with both feet yet – baby steps…) and even Linkedin company pages… posting inspiring Facebook graphics, web memes and digital designs allows us to share our beliefs and have a little fun with our graphic design skills at the same time. Since we are often seeking Facebook graphics, twitter photos and the most inspiring pins for our pinterest boards we decided to post a lot of them here in our blog for you to reference for your own social media sharing.

We hope you enjoy these inspiring images and motivational quotes all developed for sharing to your social media followers and fans. Please feel free to share them, pass them along, print them out and hang them on your wall – if one of them inspires you to take a positive action then all of our effort has been rewarded.

Everything is fine.

Everything is fine.

Contemporary inspirational quote for social media

You are your wisest guide.


whatever makes you feel bad, leave it whatever makes you smile, keep it


Good things are happening


“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” ― Brené Brown


“Intention without discipline is useless.” ― Caroline Myss,


Know your worth.


Laugh as much as you breathe.


“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer


“What we know matters but who we are matters more.” ― Brené Brown


“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” ― Maya Angelou


Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” ― Rumi

inspiring-facebook-graphics-inspiring quote for sharing on facebook

whatever makes you feel bad, leave it
whatever makes you smile, keep it

inspiring-facebook-graphics- inspirational Lao Tsu  quote design for social media post

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu

Retro inspirational quote for pinterest inspiring-facebook-graphics-

What if you fly?

Contemporary inspirational quote for social media inspiring-facebook-graphics-

You make the world more beautiful


You are your wisest guide.

Subscribe to the RSS feed and get regular updates as we continue to post more in the future. Or follow us on our social media pages for more inspiring Facebook graphics and social media images! We also offer Facebook cover photos and free ecards for sharing!

GM Billboards – A Tribute to Motown

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Every year in August Detroit enjoys a popular Classic Car Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise. Car buffs from all over the country meet on Woodward Avenue in Detroit and show off their rides and relive their hot rod pasts.  This year GM shared a tribute to this popular event with the people of Detroit by posting vintage billboards throughout the Detroit area proclaiming the staying power of two leaders in the auto industry – GM and Detroit. These clever images and sayings are a respectful and nostalgic nod to both style and strength – characteristics Michigan is proud to be known to deliver.

This message is most influential in billboard design of course, right in the heart of the land that built them ,in front of the eyes who drive them. The creative agency who developed this billboard campaign knows their market and the GM brand. Michigan and GM does not believe a car is just a commodity – a car is a statement of who you are, your lifestyle, your personality, it’s designed for comfort and cruising – it was then and it is to this day.

If you are in the Detroit area, enjoy the 2012 Woodward Dream Cruise and smile when you see these Michigan billboard designs, take pride knowing why we earned the title, Automobile Capital of the World.

Connection Group Publisher of MI Sport Page Magazine

Brianna Flowers, Tony Sweet and Jill Marlin featured in Grand Ledge/Waverly Mi Sports Page Magazine

MI Sports Page Grand Ledge Waverly Michigan Magazine Issue 1

The inaugural Mi Sports Page Magazine, covering Grand Ledge and Waverly is now available on the newsstand in multiple community locations.

The first edition includes stories on former Grand Ledge athlete Jill Marlan, who has used the discipline she learned and benefitted from as an athlete to cultivate a successful educational and professional career; former Grand Ledge basketball coach Tony Sweet who has now taken his  basketball knowledge and passion to Brighton where he coached the Bulldogs’ boys team  to a Kensington Lake Athletic Association championship in his first year; and the steady, calming influence Brianna Flowers had on the Waverly girls track program during her four year years.

As an area leader in website design, print and corporate communications, Connection Group, is proud to introduce the first Mi Sports Page Magazine. Our goal to support local businesses and communities with highlights and feature stories of local athletes and high school athletic programs.

Please visit for more information.

Thad Kraus (517)645-4387


SISTER GIANT: Rousing the Sleeping Giant of American Womanhood with Marianne Williamson

sistergiantI have to share this special event information with all of you. Marianne Williamson, who is a wonderful, passionate, change maker in this world, will be hosting a seminar called Sister Giant on February 26, 27 and 28, 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Those of you who receive Connection Group quarterly calendars may notice all of the quotes on the 2010 calendars are by Marianne. (Of course all you have received is the first quarter…so now you have even more to look forward to…) She is an inspiring woman and this effort is just another example of how she has spent her life empowering women. Below is an excerpt of her explanation of the seminar. If you can not make it to the seminar , Marianne is planning to do more work on this subject so please visit her Web site and join the email list to be a part of something larger than yourself. Briefly, the information is not about the power women don’t have – but the power we are not using.

This seminar/conference speaks to the role of women at this pivotal moment in history. It’s a critically important time to transition from disastrous probabilities to fantastic possibilities, and women can lead the way.

If you are a woman who feels a prompting in your heart that goes something like this: “Okay, it’s time. I might not be perfect, but I’m good enough. And I’m ready,” then this invitation is for you.

Learn more here and sign up for Marianne’s mailing list.

Flash back to the year you were born…

Ever wonder what happened in the year you were born? The following Website offers a thorough answer to the question The site is the 2010 creation of German writer and programmer Philipp Lenssen, who has marshaled the resources of Wikipedia and a Star Wars type effect into an interesting way to learn about the state of the world the year you were born and during the whole decade – including the time you arrived in it. Learn what people were watching, reading, and doing, fun facts include the best selling book and top rated movie plus a visual of the movie poster . Interesting fun facts to visit and help appreciate the world we live in. Just click the link, enter the year you were born, and …have fun!

2009 Abundance

Sweet Christmas Tree 2009

Sweet Christmas Tree 2009

Finally a follow up to my “Being Thankful” post. I had to share the Sweet Family Christmas tree. We enjoyed the lovely fragrance and beauty of the gia-normous tree the entire month of December. On Christmas morning when the whole clan met, the overflow of spirit and the physical gifts were a testament to the abundance that is always available to us. Blessings to all and much happiness and success in 2010.

It’s a New Year! A Time to Keep, a Time to Let Go

At the end of the year I have always found it helpful to review the previous one for the successes and losses that will help me to set goals for the new year. Following is a list of great questions to ask yourself when you have a few private moments to reflect. These questions pertain to all aspects of life, not only business, but personally and spiritually. I hope you find it beneficial and I wish you much success, love, peace, and prosperity for 2010.

These insightful questions were offered by Louise Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing. Take time to ask and explore these simple questions:

What shall I now release from my life?

What or who no longer works for me?

What am I holding on to that holds me back?

What thoughts or beliefs belong to the old me?

How am I being unloving to myself?

Am I ready to let go?

What do I believe that really works for me?

What is going on in my life that is terrific and wonderful?

Where am I being very loving to myself?

Where am I most content?

Let me acknowledge myself for all the growth and change.

What do I want to bring to my life?

What do I want to create?

How do I want the next year to be?

Who do I want to bring into my world?

How do I want to look?

What image do I want to project?

How healthy do I want to be?

How prosperous do I want to feel?

How much love am I willing to experience?

What kind of world do I want to live in?

I know that where I am is the totality of possibilities . . . not just a few possibilities, but the totality of all creation.
I am not limited by statistics, medical opinions, time, or authorities.

I am one with the infinite wisdom and capabilities of the Universe itself.

All good is available to me, right here and right now.
All I have to do is to use the power of my thoughts to create that which I desire. I know that. Now let me live it!

Louise Hay –

Be Thankful – Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. 
If you did, what would there be to look forward to? 
Be thankful when you don’t know something, 
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. 
During those times you grow. 
Be thankful for your limitations, 
because they give you opportunities for improvement. 
Be thankful for each new challenge, 
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons. 
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, 
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. 
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who 
are also thankful for the setbacks. 
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. 
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, 
and they can become your blessings.

Being Thankful

Be prepared for a random entry, I realized chances of fitting a post in before months end (as I promised myself) was getting slimmer so I am filling the page with weekend musings. (Wish I had photos for all that I did – there would be a lot less reading for you)…
First and foremost is the securing of the most enormous Christmas tree. Okay, its not the State tree huge, but it fills the space and the fresh pine holiday scent – oh so cozy. We did not take the time to decorate yet and so it’s a shot of green life in the space we’re bonding with. (I know, this entry does so scream out for visuals… maybe later.) Anyway, Thanksgiving and the weekend left-overs filled us with holiday spirit and bringing the tree home welcomes in Christmas.

Much goings on with family and holiday prep. Thad traveled to Ford Field to watch his Lowell Football team capture the State Championship…(..and more great visuals.) A happy day, Lowell Wins, Lowell Wins!

It all ends with Sunday devoted to creating a web site from scratch…a few bumps along the way but mostly energetic and inspiring. I am so grateful for All that Is. The end of the night was an injection of tv that was actually time worthy, the HBO 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert. Inspiring to see so many great musicians sharing a stage – can’t imagine the energy at the Madison Square Garden that night.It was heartwarming to see Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby and Nash, harmonize on stage. Stevie Wonder, touched with emotion while performing a Michael Jackson tune. The passion and the love for music radiated from many of my very favorite story-telling songwriters – who can rock out.

I enjoyed the flashbacks and wondered, who are the story-telling song writers like Sting, Bruce, Petty and Fogerty during these times? The ones who can also rock a bit? (…hmmm, maybe next time I should add some audio…).