Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A great day . . . .

Yesterday was such a great day! I started my day with yoga which always makes me feel so refreshed, enlightened, strong, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. It was just what I needed to get a jump on what was shaping up to be a very busy day of errands. Even though it was raining and gloomy most of the day, it changed to snow just as I walked out of the grocery store and loaded my car. Our first, beautiful, significant snowfall of the season! My Christmas lights are up, and when I pulled into my driveway last night, it was absolutely beautiful! I stopped before pulling into my garage and just sat there, smiling. I was feeling the beauty of Christmas

It looked and felt like this........

My beautiful, sweet nephew was born! His name is Arie.  Isn't he precious? I can't wait to meet him today!

So needless to say, I had a very productive day, which is always good for me. And that, in addition to the news of my new nephew was all I needed to make my heart sing. Gotta love days like these!

"Never regret a day in your life. 
Good days give you happiness 
and bad days give you experience. 
Both are essential in life."

I hope YOU have a great day today!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Via Notes from The Universe

Friday, November 25, 2011

Here it comes . . . .

As we struggle with shopping lists, invitations, crowded malls, obligations, and a huge to-do list, it is good to be reminded to slow down when things get hectic. You don't have to say yes to everything! You don't have to find the "perfect gift" or plan the "perfect party." It's better to lower your expectations and be surprised when things turn out better than planned, than to have expectations that are too high, only to be let down when things don't prove to be perfect. Web MD says....."shorten your list of holiday to-dos and relax your inner Martha." Have realistic expectations when entering the shopping mall, plan ahead, stick to your budget, and remember that you won't be able to control everything. And you certainly won't be able to control the amount of holiday stress that others are experiencing. But you can control how prepared you are, and how you react to stressful situations. Stress believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just take a step back, regroup, and breathe.

Let's do this......sit quietly and observe. When we're overly busy and stressed out, we overlook just how beautiful the Christmas atmosphere really is. See that? It's a beautiful thing. 

I hope you feel how beautiful
 Christmas really is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!
xo, Connie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude . . . .

With Thanksgiving approaching tomorrow, many of us will be spending time with family. It promises to be a wonderful day of plenty, with lots of good food, football, family and relaxation. It's a day off to celebrate the bounty, and to remind ourselves of all we are grateful for, so I'm hoping that we don't forget to count our blessings. Here's an easy about being grateful that Thanksgiving is not a particularly expensive holiday? There are no gifts involved, so we should remember to be thankful for that! I hope you are grateful for the person who is kind enough to cook the annual bird for you. All of the images of a perfect turkey are golden brown on the outside, and juicy on the inside, so it's quite possible that the person preparing your meal is feeling a little bit of pressure! Don't forget to thank them when you are enjoying your feast! 

Did you know that being grateful is good for your health? People who are habitually grateful tend to be more optimistic, they enjoy life to a higher degree, and they appreciate things with little effort. It's an amazing resource that we all have, and we can use it to improve our quality of life! So when the holiday is over, try to remember to make gratefulness a part of your daily life. Counting your blessings doesn't just cheer you up -- it can improve your health and well being.

"Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Luck, fate & more . . . .

"I'm a survivor. I'm a woman with tremendous inner resources and resilience. I care about people. I believe in 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,' and I live by that. I am becoming authentic, and that's important to me. I have surpassed both my parents in terms of emotional stability, happiness and well-being. And I'm a lucky woman. I've deserved my luck."
-Jane Fonda, actress

"I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end."
-Drew Barrymore, actress

"I don't know what to make of fate. I certainly don't think you can predetermine things. It feels like if you go out of your way to try to make something happen, it rarely does. But if you allow for good things to happen, them seem to. I think a lot of that is more perception, you know? A lot of people would take getting rear-ended in their car as an example of why their life continues to be one road block after another, and I think a different person can see that same fender bender and be grateful it wasn't worse. That allows them an opportunity to learn something from it--sort of take some sort of positive element from that. I think if you try to angle your life in those ways, then fate, destiny, karma open itself up to you and allows for more growth."
-Neil Patrick Harris, actor

"I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn't been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn't have been lucky."
-Oprah Winfrey

"You know it's love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you're not part of their happiness."
-Julia Roberts, actress

Monday, November 21, 2011

...are we lucky or what?

Happy Monday, my friends.
Make it a great week!
xo, Connie

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Adults are always 
asking little kids 
what they want to be 
when they grow up 
because they're always 
looking for ideas."
-Paula Poundstone

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prioritize, and make the most of your time . . . .

"You rarely have time for everything 
you want in this life, 
so you have to make choices, 
and hopefully your choices 
can come from 
a deep sense of who you are."
-Fred Rogers

We're all asked to do a lot of things. We probably say yes to things that we wish we hadn't, and with the holiday's approaching, it could only get worse. When someone calls and asks you to make 900 brownies in the shape of a Christmas tree,  put them on hold, and make a decision right then if that particular activity will add to, or take away from what matters most to you.  Prioritize. You have a choice. If you truly care about why Mrs. Cleaver needs 900 brownies for her upcoming meeting, then offer to purchase your share and drop them off. If not, kindly decline, then enjoy having more spare time for the things that matter to you. If you are saying yes just to please others, ask yourself this question....Why are we so willing to disappoint ourselves by not following through on the things that are important to us? Decide how  you wish to spend your time, and stick with it. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and how much more energy you have for the things that truly matter.

"The main thing is to keep the main thing 
the main thing."
-Larry James

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A recipe for you . . . .

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I am beginning to plan my meal, and get my grocery list together. I love the traditional Thanksgiving menu which consists of a beautiful Roasted Turkey & Gravy, Cranberry, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes with pecans, Corn, and Green Beans, but I always find myself looking for a new dessert, just to shake it up a bit.  Last year I made this Pumpkin Trifle, and it was such a hit! I had guests who were looking for the traditional piece of pumpkin pie, however, once they tried this, they loved it, and didn't miss the pie. And here's a bonus for only has 194 calories for a 3/4 cup serving! Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have told you that! No fair having pre-conceived reservations before you try it! I promise....THIS IS GOOD! I don't know about you, but as much as I watch what I eat, I don't hold back on Thanksgiving, which means I probably take in a hefty amount of calories on that day, so when it comes to dessert, if I can find something this good with a reasonable amount of calories, I figure I'm just that much better off. Give this recipe a won't be disappointed.

Pumpkin Trifle

1 package (14-1/2 ounces) gingerbread cake mix
1-1/4 cups water
1 egg
4 cups cold fat-free milk
4 packages (1 ounce each) sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding mix
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
1 carton (12 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water and egg, beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into an ungreased 8" square baking pan.

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. When completely cooled, crumble the cake. Set aside 1/4 cup crumbs for garnish.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Stir in pumpkin and spices until well blended.

In a trifle bowl or 3-1/2 qt. serving bowl, layer a fourth of the cake crumbs, half of the pumpkin mixture, a fourth of the cake crumbs and half of the whipped topping. Repeat layers. Garnish with reserved cake crumbs. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Yield: 18 servings

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (3/4 cup) equals 194 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 451mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g protein. 
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.

"Dessert -- it fills the cracks in the heart.
So long pain!"
Author unknown

Recipe & Photo 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ever wish for do-over days? . . . .

You know, 
hit the reset button and 
give 'er another shot?

Will today work?

(They're all do-over days.)

Notes from The Universe

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Smile, laugh, howl and enjoy ---
life is a celebration
and you're invited!
A sense of humor is essential for good health and abundant living. There is not one shred of evidence that life is serious. It is something to be savored and treasured, rather than endured. Obstacles come and obstacles go, they are simply there for us to learn and to grow. So look around, funny things are everywhere. The less you laugh, the less you live.

"Laughter is the shock absorber 
that eases the blows of life."

Live, Love, Laugh & Learn

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's be realistic here. You won't drop 
two jean sizes in one day. You won't lose 
fifty pounds in one month. You're going
to binge every now and then. You will
go a day or two without working out.
Your weight is going to fluctuate here
and there. You're going to try new 
techniques, and they're not going to
work. You're a human being. You're 
going to fail. But nothing great is ever
accomplished without a few obstacles.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Golden Rule (applies to you too) . . . .

It's simple and powerful. .... "Treat others as you want to be treated." We've got that by now, right? So, do you treat yourself with the same respect? Sounds pretty simple. We all have fairly good intentions when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We try to eat healthy, try to exercise, and try to give ourselves positive strokes. But unfortunately, we so often listen to the voice in our head that beats us up. Whether you realize it or not, when you stop giving good to yourself, you stop giving good to others. Surrounding ourselves with negative people can be one huge reason we so often feel pessimistic! It's easy to forget how much these people influence our own actions. I guarantee you, these are the people who are draining all of your good energy! Don't let them. And yes, they are most likely the reason you may not be giving the best of yourself to others. We become the people we hang out with. Psychologists have proven that "habitual association" with critical, complaining people can be enough to sabotage all of our opportunities for success. So stop! You owe it to yourself to enjoy all the benefits that positive people can give you. They believe in you! They WILL inspire you!....and they can do so much more for you than you realize. They help you put forth the best of who you are. I promise, life will give you back everything you give to it, so give good! It really is simple and powerful. Please remember, when you make feeling good a priority, you are not the only one who benefits! When you are giving the best of yourself, and it is such a gift.

"The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatsoever
unless you realize it is your move."
-Frank Crane

Photo of Melissa Benoist
taken by Nick Vorderman

Friday, November 4, 2011

Totally crazy . . . .

Believe in yourself
and you will see
how happy and free
you were meant to be!
And the totally crazy thing is that when you do believe in yourself, things, material things, and dreams, without explanation, begin showing up in your life. You see, when  you truly believe in yourself, you stop living in the past and your regrets and sorrows disappear. You stop worrying about the future and your doubts and fears fall away. You stop focusing on what you're not and begin seeing all that you already are. Then, with your mind as calm as the glassy sea, you effortlessly think thoughts of gratitude for the present and for your dreams tomorrow. These thoughts will then do what all thoughts must do: strive to become the things and events of your life. But this time around, now that you believe in yourself, they'll have much less competition.

Totally crazy.

Happy Friday!
Have a wonderful weekend!

From the book
Choose Them Wisely

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Setting limits and finding the right balance . . . .

Modern life makes us feel as if we can be everywhere and do everything. We have been given all the magical tools to believe it's possible, with cell phones, email and social networks. I understand these tools are there to make our lives easier and to be more effective. However, they were supposed to allow us to have MORE time! I believe it has become quite the contrary. We are spending more time with these "magical tools" and we are now wasting more time than ever. We feel the need to respond to everything and everyone. Are we accepting new "friends" on Facebook or Google+ just so we can take a peek into their lives without any sort of real connection? That's a sad and strange thought! My husband once said when referring to friend requests on Facebook "if they haven't been to my house for a cocktail, they're not my friend." How great is that? But as much as he wants to stick with that rule, he feels a bit of guilt when he doesn't respond to an old high school buddy. At what point do we stop responding to everyone and everything?  How do we use these magical tools the way there were intended?.......which is to be more effective? 

I don't have an answer..... I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to immersing myself into our modern world of devices, but I also enjoy it, and Bertrand Russell once said, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." So now I'm confused, and when I'm confused, I always revert back to that "balance" thing. So I'll choose to find that right balance, set my own limits, and try to make the most of my time. How do YOU make it all work for you?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sometimes when you've had a difficult day, met difficult people, been let down, disappointed, or heartbroken, it's easy to completely forget the most important thing of're alive.

You're alive, and you will be really happy again, (just in case you're wondering).

Who loves ya?
Have a great day, my friends.

Via Notes from The Universe

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .

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


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