Friday, April 29, 2011

I hope you all had a great week, full of new inspiration, great ideas, happy thoughts, accomplishments, sighs of relief, smiles, a cocktail or two, a couple of really good laughs, and a bit of sunshine; if you've taken 2 steps backward, I hope you had one giant leap forward; I hope you've received a compliment, but more importantly.... given one; taken several really deep breaths, had a good stretch, and that you're feeling stronger today than yesterday.  xo, Connie

Happy Friday!
Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30 extraordinary things happening right now . . . .

1. A baby is taking its first few steps without falling.

2. Two people somewhere in the world, are falling in love.

3. Somewhere, someone is admiring a breathtaking sunrise, and somewhere else, a surreal sunset.

4. A soldier of sorts is diligently fighting the fight so you don't have to.

5. Someone who suffered from a severe injury last year is back on their feet.

6. A small group of people are building something that will soon make the impossible possible.

7. Somewhere on Earth a double rainbow is stretched from one end of the horizon to the other.

8. One of the next Billboard-chart-topping musical artists is patiently rehearsing in her garage.

9. A piece of literature is being written that will eventually change your perspective on life.

10. A friend is helping a friend rise above thoughts of suicide.

11. People of various religious backgrounds are in temples, churches, mosques and other places or worship praying, wholeheartedly, for world peace.

12. An elderly couple is celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

13. Two best friends are laughing so hard that they aren't even making any noise.

14. A firefighter is running into a burning building to rescue a perfect stranger.

15. Someone in your hometown genuinely wants to be your friend.

16. A new mom is lying in a hospital bed, holding her baby twins for the very first time.

17. Someone is taking a shower and singing happily at the top of their lungs.

18. There is someone out there who smiles when they think of a specific moment they once shared with you.

19. An alcoholic just celebrated one full year of sobriety.

20. Volunteers in major cities all over the world are working at homeless shelters caring for those who are less fortunate than themselves.

21. A high school athlete just broke their own personal record.

22. Two teenagers just received their very first kiss ever from each other.

23. Someone is hugging a friend who desperately needs it.

24. Someone just placed their spare change in the charity collection cup at the grocery store.

25. A small group of friends are sitting around a table sharing funny stories and cheerfully reminiscing about the good old days.

26. Honest people are working for various government entities to help protect your basic human rights and civil liberties.

27. An emergency room surgeon is in the middle of saving a patient's life.

28. Someone is holding the door open for the person behind them.

29. Someone out there is missing you and looking forward to your next visit.

30. We are reminded that extraordinary things happen to ordinary people, and that there is beauty and wonder in everyday life.

Photo via tokyo-bleep

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Honor your individuality . . . .

The root of encouragement is the French word coeur, for heart. To encourage is to put the heart back into someone, to help each other live well and live together. We were created for love and community. Yet we live in a competitive world that discourages us, telling us all the ways we don't measure up and why we need this product or that service to overcome our inadequacies. There is a great emphasis on what we lack; the messages in the media are rooted in fear and manipulation. What we need is the courage to claim our own lives, to have the confidence to live with resolution, vitality, and purpose.

I used to be so worried about what others thought. Others are thinking--but not about me. I had a million scenarios playing in my mind, created by a judgmental inner censor telling me everything that I was doing wrong. We judge ourselves harshly for being different, call our uniqueness failure, and see our struggles as a collection of symptoms needing diagnosis, prescription, and cure.

What if we decide to see our "shortcomings" in a different light? What if we give ourselves permission to be unique, instead of playing an assigned role that doesn't fit? What if we allow ourselves to honor our true natures, to listen to the goodness and wisdom that reside deep in our hearts?

I believe that we are all creative, that we all deserve to be encouraged in our endeavors, and that every person can learn to cultivate his or her own uniqueness. Everyone must eventually choose between sterile conformity and listening to their inner wisdom. Everyone comes to a crossroads where they must decide either to honor their individuality or to stay in the constricting box of cultural expectations. Every person has the potential to find a community of like-minded people and to create a matrix of safety and encouragement for personal and collective growth and creativity.

From the book
The Art of Encouragement
by Candy Paull

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."  
-e.e. cummings

Happy Friday!
Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Highlight of the day . . . .

I recently came across a article about a study revealing that people became gradually happier and happier over a six-month period, by simply writing down three good things that happened to them at the end of each day. When my kids were growing up, we did something very similar at the evening dinner table. We called it the "highlight of the day", and we would go around the table and take turns sharing one thing that we considered to be the best thing about our day. It allowed us to focus on the good, and to take a break from discussing our daily challenges. Yesterday, my 3 highlights were:

  • Reconnected with a friend.
  • Enjoyed a lovely dinner & conversation with my husband and my son.
  • Won a game of tennis.
You can start writing down the good things that happen. A simple, small shift of focus towards gratefulness will bring great results and you can start it today.

What was your highlight?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The views that kissed my soul . . . .

Myself & my brother, Ken

Thank you Maui for being so kind and so beautiful. I very much look forward to my return so I can further explore this spectacular island. I am finally back on the mainland after hours and hours of travel, but I couldn't leave Maui without one last hurrah. My brother & I took a helicopter tour of Maui & Molokai before we caught our flights. This 65 minute tour was SPECTACULAR! It was definitely the highlight of my trip. Our pilot, Jeannette, had 27 years of flying experience and did a fantastic job as she flew us into the creavasse's of the mountains, and along shorelines. We explored the remote valley and waterfalls of the West Maui Mountains, some of which are only accessible via helicopter. The views were absolutely stunning! We then crossed the Pailolo Channel to see the magnificent sea cliffs, valleys and waterfalls on Molokai's isolated north shore. The north coast of Molokai features the tallest sea cliffs in the world that rise thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean. What an incredible adventure! (Click photo's for larger image.)

I had the best seat! to our pilot!

Where water meets land.

Beautiful shorelines!

Black Rock - Ka'anapali Beach

Where portions of Jurassic Park was filmed.
(This photo taken by Ken.)

Another island in the distance.

Beautiful ridges.

Stunning valleys.

The Ritz Carlton.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing." 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

All photo's by me
except for one noted above.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another day, another beach . . . .

It's amazing what a little sunshine can do for your soul. It was an absolutely perfect day here in Maui yesterday.... sunny, a little breezy and 83°.  Not to be greedy, Momma Nature, but I'm looking for another one of those today! ..... thank you. 

I spent the morning on beautiful Ka'anapali Beach, walking the paved beach pathway that connects you from the hotels, to the beach, restaurants and shopping. It is known as one of Maui's most beautiful beaches, and I have to agree. I was able to have lunch on the beach at another one of Maui's top 10 restaurants, Lailani's. I ordered the fish taco's and when I asked the waitress what type of fish it was, she said it was "Ono". I mentioned to her that I had never heard of that before, and she said it's also known as Wahoo, but they refer to it as Ono, which means "delicious" in Hawaii. . . . and it was.

Black Rock on Ka'anapali Beach

Those views!

In Monday's post, I mentioned that I was looking for a local grown coffee called Koa that has received rave reviews, and yesterday I found it at Martin & McArthur in Whaler's Village in Ka'anapali. Forbes magazine singled out this coffee as the "best coffee made in America", saying "this stuff is wonderfully smooth and its lack of bitter aftertaste makes you think nothing of having a second cup...or third." Taking some home with me!

So I ended the day with a beautiful 2-hour sunset cruise on board a sailing catamaran called Trilogy. The captain and crew were wonderful, serving up appetizers and drinks, making us laugh and feel comfortable, in addition to instructing us on how to spot the whales. We did spot several "sprays" from whales in the distance, but only caught a minor glimpse of one humpback as she quickly surfaced, then disappeared. A perfect way to end the day!

Trilogy's sailing catamaran

Our beautiful Maui sunset

"That it will never come again
is what makes life so sweet."
-Emily Dickinson

Photo's by me
except sailing catamaran - by Ken Gallagher

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another day in Paradise . . . .

Should I just cut to the chase? dinner last night was fabulous! I had read the reviews of the top 10 restaurants here in Maui, and last night, chose one near my hotel called The Pineapple Grill. To begin with, the view from my seat was spectacular! It overlooks the Kapalua Resort golf course, and sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.  Absolutely stunning. So here's what I had........
Fresh catch Mahi Mahi

Their signature dessert...Pineapple upside-down cake
with Roselani Gourmet macadamia nut ice cream

(Yes, I am hitting the fitness room this morning!) 

So, besides my lovely dinner, I took in the sites of a small historic whaling village called Lahaina, that is located on the west side of Maui. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but the lively Front Street is the place to see, with lots of shops, art galleries, & plenty of places to enjoy food & drink.

Charming little village of Lahaina

Lahaina sits on the west coast of Maui

Whale watching tour boats

Beautiful flowers everywhere

Lahaina shops & restaurants

 Every tourist town has one - t-shirt shops

 Shoreline in Lahaina

Front Street - Lahaina

The Banyon Tree

In the center of the village is Banyon Tree Park, and houses a single Banyon tree that serves as a symbol for the city. The tree was imported from India in 1873 and was only 8 feet tall. It now stands over 60 feet high, has 12 major trunks in addition to a huge core. It stretches over a 200-foot area and shades 2/3 of an acre. It is one of the largest Indian Banyan trees in the world.

After my visit to Lahaina, it was time to relax by the pool. 
....and it's a beautiful one!
 The pool at The Ritz Carlton - Kapalua.

Another view of the pool.

All photo's by me
except for Pineapple Upside-Down cake and first image of Lahaina via Google Images

Life moves pretty fast.  
If you don't stop to look around once in a while 
you could miss it.  
-From the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Monday, April 11, 2011

Aloha Maui. So nice to meet you . . . .

Good morning my friends. I am in Maui this week, enjoying a little R & R. What an absolutely beautiful place! It is my first trip to Hawaii, and I already know it won't be my last. I have tagged along with my brother who is here on business, so I am very much on my own while he is working. How do you feel about traveling solo, and discovering a new place by yourself? Is it something that you would consider, or do you find it too intimidating? I am finding out very quickly that it can be quite enjoyable. Today I am venturing out in my rental car and will drive along the coast in search of a few items that I want to take home with me. I have a couple item requests from my friends that will be fun to search for, and for me, I'm looking for a particular local coffee that I hear is the best. Other than that, I have no plans except to experience the beauty of this island, soak up some sun, and enjoy the local cuisine via some highly recommended restaurantsso I definitely plan on working up an appetite today. I hope to share more with you this week about my ventures, and post photo's as well, so check back!
This was my drive from the airport to the hotel. 
Not a bad start to my vacation!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do 
than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bow lines. 
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain

Friday, April 8, 2011

If you were in their shoes . . . .

Are you able to emotionally put yourself in the place of another? When you hear someone speak of a certain difficulty, or even a joy in their life, do you empathize with them, or do you find yourself just waiting for them to finish so you can move on to another topic? We all know that to empathize with someone, you emotionally put yourself in their place, you listen, and you simply recognize their emotions. How many of us allow ourselves to do that? 

Can you temporarily stop insisting on your own viewpoint and look for a moment from the other person's perspective; truly imagining what it would feel like if you were in their shoes? Try it next time.  You will develop a clearer picture of another person's feelings, gain respect for them, and most certainly have an opportunity to develop a deeper connection. Listen up, and go for the connection!

"Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the heart and soul of another person."

-Fritz Williams

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .
Follow your heart


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