In my mind, there is no substitute for an amazing conversation with someone whom you feel a connection. The benefits feed my soul in a way that is irreplaceable. It truly is priceless. I had a lovely conversation with a friend last night about this very topic.........what it means to have meaningful relationships. We both realize the importance of taking a closer look, and making an effort to nurture those connections. You have to be willing to open your heart, however, to get there. It's easy to make small talk, right? Shallow acquaintances are around every corner, and at every holiday party, but they usually leave us with little or no lasting worth. Healthy, caring relationships can give our lives immeasurable joy and meaning. Like most things with value in life, these relationships must be sought and maintained deliberately. Are you willing to make a conscious effort to develop meaningful relationships? Open your mind to the possibilities! We have a chance to learn something from everyone we meet. What a gift! Life moves so quickly.....so make time for those who make you laugh, pay attention to what they value, then make an effort to connect with them on that level.
I read an article online about the misnomer of how easy it was to "keep in touch" with people these days on Facebook, via email or texting. But the truth is, it's not the same as real time. Replacing face-to-face or voice-t0-voice time with brief contacts online does not make up for real time together. Reach out. Make the effort to have friends and meaningful relationship. For me, it is the key to my happiness and well being.
"For those who are willing to make an effort, great miracles and wonderful treasures are in store."
Hello friends! May I share something very special with you? I am so incredibly happy to tell you that I was able to spend an evening with someone that I "met" via blogging 3 years ago. I've been following a lovely blog out of South Africa, that is designed and written by Lana Kenney, called lanaloustyle.com..............
Lana is a Cape Town resident, an amazing photographer, a talented designer, and she has a beautiful blog. She is the reason that I am in Cape Town, South Africa at the moment. Lana blogs about her hometown, and the beautiful surroundings in which she lives. She features and photographs hotels, restaurants, shops and the pure beauty of this area. (As I mentioned, she is also a designer, so you will find plenty of beautiful posts on home decor, fashion & color.) Reading her blog was the very reason that I decided to make it a priority to visit Cape Town.
It is stunning! Its beauty is breathtaking. The people are incredibly kind. The food is exquisite, ........and last night, I had the honor of spending the evening with Lana. She was so gracious to pick us up at our hotel, then accompany us to 2 fabulous restaurants. We went for a sundowner at The Leopard Bar at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. This place is beautiful and has received endless awards. Afterwards we worked our way to Kitima for dinner .... another restaurant that is draped in awards. It was fabulous as well, but getting to know Lana was the bonus. She is truly one of the sweetest people you could wish to meet. It is obvious that she loves her hometown, and enjoys sharing it with the world. So don't be afraid to reach out!You never know when the person on the other end will respond in such a gracious way.
We talked afterwards, and both realized that we parted without taking a photo. We were so preoccupied, we completely forgot. (I told her it was a sign of a successful evening.)
"If a woman be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows she is a citizen of the world, and that her heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins them."
-Francis Bacon Sr.
Just a side note.......
Earlier this year, I received an email from Groupon Getaways featuring this trip to Cape Town. I immediately contacted Lana about it because I wanted to make sure it was a worthy one. I emailed her, asking her advice on the activities and the accommodations that were being offered in the package. Her quick response made me realize that this was a trip that I didn't want to miss. So at the moment, I'm half way through the most amazing adventure I could imagine. My friend and I were not sure what to expect, but I have to say that our expectations have been exceeded. Groupon was great to work with, answered questions promptly, and even with a sense of humor. We literally saved thousands of dollars on this trip. Check them out!
Have you heard of The Symphony of Science?It's the work of musician and producer John D. Boswell. His goal is to bring scientific knowledge and philosophy to the public, in a novel way, through music. His goal is to bring meaningful messages to listeners, while simultaneously providing an enjoyable musical experience. I adore the remix video below called Garden of Your Mind, featuring Mister Rogers. Watch and enjoy.
Good morning friends! I hope your week is going well. I'm sitting in my blogging chair this morning! It's the same chair that I sit in every time I post. I've missed this chair. It's in a quiet spot in my family room with a view out the back, and nine times out of ten I see deer pass by, stopping for a bit a breakfast. Most often there is a beam of sunlight streaming across the floor, forcing me to shift my position so I'm not blinded by the light, but I'll take that any day. I've definitely missed this chair.
Not only has my schedule changed, but so has my mindset. I never really seemed to have much of a problem coming up with things to blog about because the topics were always close to my heart and on my mind. Today, I have processes, procedures and thoughts about employees rattling around in my head. I'm not complaining....it's all good....really. I'm just trying to figure out the balance that will allow me to concentrate on both work & play. Play, meaning blogging. ....and I'm getting there. I have said it over and over again.....my blog is as much for me as it is for anyone who might be reading it. My posts are my own reminders of what is important in life.
So I'm figuring it out. I'm Prioritizing; looking at my day, setting my schedule, and I'm moving forward, all the while trying to fit it all in. Dr. Edward Hallowell says it best...
"Everyone will have to learn a rhythm for their day; everyone will have to learn to do what matters most first; and everyone will have to find ways of connecting face to face to create the positive emotional state requisite for our best lives."
What matters to you? And are you making room for what matters most? The topics that I write about matter to me. They matter because they remind of me of what is truly important in life. They keep me centered. They give me clarity. They help me let go of the things that aren't important. All the things I need for daily balance.And all of which are important reasons to get the hang of my own rhythm. I'm getting there. I'm gettin' my rhythm on!
It was clear we had reached the Caribbean Sea when I looked out the window and saw the incredibly beautiful turquoise water below. I'm thinking I should make it my mission to find the most stunning blue shades of water in the world. Do you think I could find someone to pay me to gather results? If I could, I'd take that job in a heartbeat!
Beautiful turquoise water
"There's never enough time
to do all the nothing you want."
Above photo's by me
We had dinner at a place called Ragazzi, which means "good buddies" in Italian, so needless to say, it is owned and run by two good friends, Paolo Polloni & Andi Marcher, and it was fabulous. It's hip and stylish and offers a variety of dishes including pizza, pasta, seafood & steak. My husband & I shared a Caprese Salad, the Blue Crab Spring Roll, (just because we had to try it), and a Margherita Pizza that was made in their authentic wood burning pizza oven. We were looking for a more casual evening, so we sat at the bar, had a martini, and enjoyed the company of two very sweet bartenders. We would go again, but the plan is to try a different place each evening. Hmmmm, not sure we can pass up the chance to go one more time! If you get a chance, visit Ragazzi. You won't be disappointed.
As fun as it is to return to a place that you are familiar with, I am always excited to venture into new territory and explore. And that's exactly what my husband & I plan on doing over the next 10 days. It's time to explore a new place! I'm packing and getting ready to board a plane to Grand Cayman Island, which is located in the western Caribbean Sea. I have been watching the weather forecast and it's interesting.....the highs are 80-82 and the lows are 79-80, so there is very little temp change between day and night. We have decided to take in several adventures, and make the most of our time there. A few of them include swimming with the dolphins & stingrays, snorkeling, and a possible helicopter tour. And if our internet cooperates, I'm hoping to share some photo's with you while I'm there. If not, then perhaps I'll post a few in the next few weeks. Take a look at that gorgeous turquoise water below! Beauty awaits!
One thing I know for sure, my friend, is that with time everything becomes clear, all questions are answered, what's broken is restored, new trails are blazed, hearts are mended, love returns, and you will look over your shoulder, with a tear in your eye, at life's perfection.
Today I am very happy to tell you that I will be giving away a beautiful necklace from Alloy Jewelry. I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to a wonderful young mother, Leahfrom Vermont, who not only makes beautiful jewelry, but has a beautiful story behind what she does and why she does it. First, take a look at this lovely necklace........
This 'Listen to the Surf' necklace is hand stamped on to this 1 1/2" copper bar. The bar is hand hammered to give a rustic texture, and a sterling silver starfish charm and freshwater pearl charm finish it off. Chain length is 16".
And now, please meet Leah. . . . .
First and foremost, the most important thing I do is take care of my children. That being said, while I think there's a certain amount of becoming a mother that comes naturally, I think people overlook the aspects of motherhood that DON'T come naturally. Motherhood was a shock in many ways, and making jewelry (and the myriad of other half-finished creative projects I have strewn around the house) became my daily practice of paying attention to myself, even if it was for five minutes. I began to see that the more I took care of myself the more patience I had with my kids. I went with it, and soon people started asking if they could "commission" a piece here and there. I opened an Etsy shop and saved and saved, buying a new piece of equipment with the money from each necklace I sold. I sent out samples to magazines, relentlessly looked for other ways to market myself and dreamed of the day I would have my own website and be able to call this my "job". (All this while I had been editing legal books for a former employer as my "profession" and it was just SO not me!)
Eventually, I got an edit mention in Family Circle Magazine, and boy do they have loyal readers there! It made Alloy Jewelry more visible to the public and the business took off from there.I started doing quote and zodiac pieces to make the business more attractive to retail stores since custom work is hard to stock in stores. I found that the quote pieces were becoming an obsession for me-I have a love of reading and words. I started to see that as I would choose a quote for a necklace, I would associate that quote with one of my dear friends-for example "be with those who help your being"-Rumi necklace is for my girl, Anne, who lights up our lives even though we are far apart. The necklaces I made had a new meaning to me now-I wore them and could hold that friend close to my heart-AND I could connect with customers in a different way, because they would ask for suggestions and would tell me the story of who they were buying for and I could help them pick out a quote (or design a new one) that was perfect. Fun!
More of her lovely creations.......
"I began to see that the more I took care of myself,
the more patience I had with my kids."
All you have to do to win is leave a comment below before 11:59 p.m. EST on May 7th. The drawing will be Tuesday, May 8th and is open to readers worldwide. Good luck!
Good morning friends! How's life? I hope it's treating you well. Today I should consider doing a post about how crazy busylife can be, and how it can so easily become a blur if you let it. And that is exactly what could happen to me right now if I'm not careful. I am now back in the workforce again after taking a 7 year hiatus, and as busy as it is, it feels so good to be engaged in our business again. So I'm setting priorities and working hard to make sure I can keep the balance in my life that has proven to be so very vital. (More to come on that topic!)
But today I want to share with you a little bit about why my husband asked me to come back to work. He asked that I reengage in a completely different way. He wanted me to bring a bit of the human element to the business atmosphere that he thought was lacking, and he knew it was right up my alley. I was so willing to do that! I go to work to chat!.......to talk to, and more importantly, to listen to our employees, to talk and listen to our customers, to fix minor annoyances, and to simply pay attention to what we can do to add more of the human touch. We all know that happy employees are productive employees, so I have the awesome task of making sure our employees are happy. I am loving this kind of reengagement!
So what does human element mean?
My favorite description comes from Tim Stepp...........
It means sending thank you cards in your own hand writing even if your writing looks like a 5 year olds.
It means dropping your business to talk to a client/customer/employee about a life issue that they may have, and caring, not just because they're a client, but because they're a human being.
It means stepping outside of your role as a businessman/businesswoman, and extending yourself as a person.
I believe there are no better reasons to return to work. I'm so happy to be back, connecting, caring, and extending myself in a way that I believe is so important.
Are you getting real with yourself about your life and everybody in it? Are you being truthful about what isn't working? It's time to stop making excuses and start making results. If you are unwilling to acknowledge a thought, circumstance, problem, condition, behavior, or emotion--if you won't take ownership of your role in a situation--then you cannot and will not change it. If you refuse to acknowledge your own self-destructive behaviors, not only will they continue, they will actually gain momentum, become more deeply entrenched in a habitual pattern of your life, and grow more and more resistant to change.
If you hope to have a winning life strategy, you have to be honest about where your life is right now. Find the strength and courage to ask yourself the hard questions, and to give yourself realistic answers. You cannot afford the luxury of defensiveness, and you cannot afford the luxury of lies and denial. Denial, after all, is what kills dreams. It kills hope. It kills what might have been a real chance to overcome a problem had the solution just been pursued in time. If you are unwilling to recognize a problem, you won't take the necessary action needed to correct it. Period.
What isn't working in your life?.....your attitude, career, ongoing anger, fear, your weight-----whatever it is-----if it's not working, acknowledge it, then change it.
"You will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through. It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly--that still hurts when the weather gets cold, butyou learn to dance with the limp."
Hi! I'm Connie. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am using this space to share words of encouragement, lift spirits, inspire others, and share beautiful photography. It is my hope that I can make a difference in the lives of others, by encouraging them to make the most of theirs.
"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her . . . it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, of alive peace, even though it may be subtle. . . . ."
"So when you appreciate something simple - a sound, a sight, a touch - when you see beauty, when you feel loving kindness toward another, sense the inner spaciousness that is the source and background to that experience. . . . ."
"Be still. Look. Listen. Be present."
So many books...so little time
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
Be by Kobi Yamada
Believe by Dan Zadra & Kobi Yamada
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley
Live Good by Kobi Yamada
Making Your Dreams Come True by Marsha Weider
Talking Like The Rain - a children's book of poetry - Illustrated by Jane Dyer
The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
The Little Things by Kobi Yamada
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
PLEASE NOTE: I TRY TO CREDIT ALL PHOTOS AND LINK TO THEIR APPROPRIATE SOURCES. IF THERE are ANY IMAGES HERE THAT ARE NOT CREDITED CORRECTLY OR YOU SIMPLY WISH THEM TO BE REMOVED, PLEASE EMAIL ME AND I WILL DO SO IMMEDIATELY.