Photos vs. Pics #MizMeliz #Photography

Posted on April 18th, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

I’ve been getting into cell phone photography lately. Especially since I got my iPhone. I have four different camera apps. Since I learned a little about photography and used an old Nikon SLR in the 90’s, I feel like I know what I am doing. Lately, I have enjoyed taking pictures of flowers. They are so beautiful, colorful and stand still when you ask them to pose. I recently had the opportunity to have some of my photos appear on another blog! Check it out!

I also started a Tumblr account and I am trying to post one picture everyday.

More of my pics can be found at my Flickr account. . .

What I love most about photography is that it is another creative way to express myself that I can enjoy and bring joy to others. I have been influenced by some amazing artists such as R.C. Gorman and Georgia O’Keefe. Even though they are painters, their work inspires me and I like to try to match life to the paintings that they did that depicted life in such an amazing way. Yes, I used “amazing” twice here! I am amazed and astonished by the beautiful colors and tones that I am surrounded by every day.

Georgia O’Keefe Painting

Recently, I met a photographer that I have connected with on many levels. She uses her photography of flowers to help patients feel better. I first saw her work in 2007 at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA. I purchased a set of cards with prints of her roses. At the same conference in March of this year (2012,) I saw an exhibit of flower photography and I recognized the work. It was then that I realized the photography I was drawn to was highly influenced by this artist, Elizabeth Thoman, CHM. I found myself at her booth in the exhibit hall quite by accident. As I began to speak with the attendant at the booth asking if this was the same artist that I saw in 2007, I realized it was the artist herself! I showed her some of my pics and asked her how she got started. We “clicked” almost instantly.

Liz invited me to have dinner with her and over drinks we got to know each other and it became clear that we had much in common and could help each other with a few things. She showed me her camera and how she composes her photos. I showed her my iPhone and how I use post processing to get some of the same effects that her traditional photography skills produce. We discussed why we love taking pictures of flowers. For her, it has a real purpose. See her website to get the deets! She is an amazing person!

Liz Thoman, Photography

There is a definite difference between photos and “pics.” I take pics. I snap things that I see when I see them. Later, I clean up the images and play with them and, if I am lucky, I get a pretty picture that I can share. Liz takes photos. She arranges the flowers on a table in her kitchen and uses the “magic hour” available light in the morning to capture the immense beauty of the handpicked flower in it’s best light. She doesn’t use film, so no developing. Her camera is digital, like mine. The main difference is in the preparation and planning.

I hope you enjoy my pics!

Copyright 2012 Melissa Reyes, Photography

photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012

Color Splash Photo by Melissa Reyes


Easter Egg Craft Time!

Posted on April 2nd, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

I’ve always liked decorating eggs for Easter.  In fact, I enjoy it so much, I have even made them for Christmas gifts and other occasions!  Years ago, I learned how to “blow out” an egg before decorating it and make it last forever.  I love adding to my collection every few years using new designs and new processes.

A few weeks ago I saw an international craft exhibit at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA.  I loved the Lithuania table!  I was inspired by the delicate intrinsic designs of the Lithuanian Easter Eggs.

This tree is full of blown out eggs that look hand etched with pretty lace-like designs. Every one is unique.

I figured I could give it a try.  So, I took out all my tools and some supplies and set to work.  In order to make an egg that looks a little like the Lithuanian Eggs pictured above, all I really needed was a dyed blown out egg, a crayon and an exacto knife.  I set to work etching a design.

My husband brought up some how-to videos with some amazing in-depth procedures to making the beautiful eggs in the traditional Lithuanian style.  It involved special tools, wax, and chemicals.  Um, I would be wiling to try it, but I like making my crafts with things that I already have in my cupboard and tool box.

I have made eggs using chicken, goose, and robin eggs.  I put them in tissue paper and store them in a plastic storage box and they look like new year after year.  A few of these are about twenty years old. I’ve saved one or two of each year’s set for my own collection.  I like to give them away at the holidays, and the Easter Bunny has been known to hide them for the annual Easter Egg Hunt!

Here are some of my favorites:


Since it took hours to make one egg etched with a simple design using an exacto knife, my hubby just happened to come home from the hobby store with a little surprise for me. . .

My March Madness

Posted on March 30th, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

My plan for the month of March was to focus on clearing up the clutter in my home.  I made a plan of action.  I even took some before pictures in hopes that I would have some radical improvement and be able to show the after photos as well.  I was willing to own up to my issues, claim them, proclaim my mission and expose myself in an effort to improve my situation.  I felt as though I had a problem that needed to be fixed.  What better time than the start of Spring to clean up and get organized?  I decided to be accountable for my plan.  I had the best intentions.  I wanted to make a change and I was willing to commit to it and attack it with a sense of urgency.  I hoped by stating my intentions and challenging myself, I would make some effort to change and it might make a difference.

Well . . . I don’t know what happened! ???  %$&*!

Lucky for me, it was a two-part mission.  I also wanted to discover the reasons I allow clutter to pile up around me, why, why, why do I do let crap pile up and why does my family turn a blind eye, put up with it, and participate in it?  I decided to take a good long look at this common issue, figure out how serious the demons in my life are, consider the fact that I fall into the self-pity trap, and all the other stuff I lay on myself. . . self-doubt, self-soothing, fear, self-hatred.  What are the steps to turning it around?

I did give this a lot of thought.  I did come to some conclusions.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

The last step in my plan of action for the month was to make a commitment to keep it clean;  clean up my act not just my
house, take responsibility and take charge.  I feel like a winner in this category!

I always like to celebrate successes, any improvement is a step in the right direction!  Was there an improvement?  You bet!  I did some stuff around the house.  I saw the floor of my bedroom!  I even vacuumed!  I remember now how much I hate the color of the carpet.  But, I did do it.  And I know I can do it again.  For a few glorious days, things were clean and organized and it felt great!

I did learn what motivates me to keep things clean. Mainly, it’s about having things “in order.”  I think clearly in a clean environment.  I like things neat and tidy.  I hate trash and junk and I like things to be put away where they belong.  It is a never ending job.  It will never stay done on it’s own.  It will never be finished.

Do systems of organization work for me? Not really.  Implementing a system is hard to do.  The whole object is making things easier, right?  So, I found that working within the habits and patterns of my family’s way of doing things works best for us.  Do I need to make any adjustments? Yes, yes, yes.  And like I said, it was a step in the right direction.  A baby step, but definitely a step forward.

There are two things I know for sure about the clutter in my house.  Number one. . . it’s my mess and sometimes I like things just the way they are.  Number two. . . I should hire a housekeeper!

In researching how to clean up the clutter, I found a few things that were helpful (well, at least interesting!) . . .

Here are some ideas from the domestic gurus at Better Homes and Gardens magazine for gaining control of common home clutter zones.

Let storage components climb the walls of your home office, and rearrange your work space so regularly used supplies are accessible and others are out of the way.

Use the “handle it once” ruleto keep papers from piling up. Immediately toss, file, pass on or mail off paperwork rather than revisiting it later. Labeled hanging files provide a quick, tidy place to stash paperwork.

Correspond via phone or e-mailto prevent a paperwork backlog.

Stash office supplies out of sight.Choose small-scale tape dispensers, staplers, pencil sharpeners and the like; full-size ones hog more space.

Store clips and rubber bands by the batch. Spice jars, secured with commercial grade hook-and-loop tape under cabinets, will do nicely.

Put an end to a jumble of jewelry in the bathroom, bedroom or closet with a ceramic egg tray found in the kitchen supply aisle. Tuck earrings and necklaces away in little cups so they will never get lost or separated again.

Reserve a drawer in the family room for board games. A divided bin is a winning solution for corralling all those tiny game pieces.

Replace door panels with pegboard in the laundry room for storage on both sides of the door.

Build plywood cubbies in the garage to span an entire wall. Be sure to attach them to studs.

Add adjustable shelves in the garage to accommodate camping gear and other bulky stuff. Smaller knickknacks and holiday ornaments are for stackable containers.

Ask yourself these questions when deciding what to keep and what to throw out: Has it expired? Is it used? Is it a duplicate? Is it a good fit?

A great tip:

Read more:

The psychology of clutter – The Denver Post

A Great Success

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

AYWM 12 “Breakthrough: Discovering and Defining the Real Meaning of Success.”

Christopher Reeves had once said, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” 

success [səkˈsɛs]
1. the favourable outcome of something attempted
2. the attainment of wealth, fame, etc.
3. an action, performance, etc., that is characterized by success
4. a person or thing that is successful

that’s the way we spell success!

Every time I hear the word success, I think of that cheer. It’s about the way to victory. Cheering a team on, going for the win, being victorious, being the best, outreaching the expectations, being better than the other team. That is what the cheer encourages. That is what I learned was the meaning of success.
What does success mean to me now?

After thinking about it and reflecting on the exercises from A Year with Myself, I would define my personal success as being happy and satisfied with my life.

Generally speaking, I have acheived success in many ways. I have a successful marriage. We are still going strong and very happy after twenty years. I have successfully raised three bright, charming, healthy sons. I have been successful at managing and maintaining my health. Together with my husband, we own our home and our vehicles. We have travelled and have made a place for ourselves in our community. I have many wonderful friends and a terrific supportive family. In life, I have reached success. But I am always striving for more.

I do not think being successful is a one time thing. I do not think you either have it or you don’t. It is the success of each endeavor or project that I am striving for. Currently, that is blogging. It also applies to my job, my home, my kids, and all of my projects and ideas.

I might not be successful at everything I try. I might not even complete every project I begin. As long as I continue to try, that is success to me.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting — it is the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard — reaching for the highest that is in us — becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success. Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” – Zig Ziglar

My very wise and insightful twelve year old son said this when I asked him, What is the definition of success?”:
“Success means getting to where you want or need to go.”

I hope to keep a youthful attitude about success. There may be many stops along the way, but I know I will be a great success when I arrive!

Azalea in Bloom

I met the artist, Liz Thoman of , who told me that my "life is about to bloom." Yes! I believe it is!

For more about A Year With Myself :

and Discovering the Meaning of Success:

To see more of my original photography:



Ordinary to Extraordinary

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

This blog post is being re-posted as an excerpt from my book, This is the Sound of My Soul, A Transformational Journey.

The Hummingbird

It is fitting that a hummingbird flutters nearby me at this moment. I am distracted by the sound of a light buzzing and look in the direction of that sound. I see a flash of black and I am instantly comforted by the little guy as he hovers in front of me for a split second and lands on a branch a few feet away. There is significance in everything.

Ten years ago, I was very involved in raising my small children and taking care of my elderly parents. It was a difficult time for me. I loved my parents tremendously and never once doubted the decisions I made to help them as they needed it. I was ever grateful for the time I spent with them and for the enriched life that the so lovingly gave me.

Many many people who cared deeply for me suggested that it was too much for me to handle. Nothing about my situation lended itself for me to be the one with the extra responsibility and stress to take care of my parents when they were at their most dependant. I know everyone meant well and saw me struggling and wanted to help. I was fine. I found the strength I needed. I sought the support I needed. I had the faith I needed. Most of all I believed I could do it and I let the love of God envelope me and He took care of all of us.

Now every so often I hear people discuss how they would handle or are handling what is happening with their parents. There are so many options. I don’t judge. I don’t even make suggestions or offer advice because I know that everyone must do what feels right for them. For me, what I did may seem very ordinary. It may seem like a no brainer or an obligation. I fulfilled a promise. I completed my duty. I sacrificed. I help the family together. I did what needed to be done. I did what I felt in my heart was the right thing to do. I made decisions based on what my parents wanted even if it didn’t fit in with what I wanted or what my siblings wanted, or even when it was partly detrimental to my own well being. To me, it was that important. I didn’t know why. It just was.

When I went trhough it – it being helping my parents through the illness, disease, failing health and ultimately the death of my mother; while at the same time the dealing with the injury, surgery, rehabilitation, and recovery of my father and his inability to be her caretaker and then his decline in health and two years later his sudden death – I took it day by day. I honestly and intently took each ordinary day and with every bit of energy and abounding love, dealt with it and hoped the next one would be better.

It was by far the worst time in my life.

Most people would try to put it behind them. It is something most adults have to go through. It was messy, both literally and figuratively. It was hard. It was frightening. It was sad. It was maddening. I fought with my brother and sister. My husband was supportive, but at times needed reassurance. My boss was supportive, but needed constant reassurance. My family was supportive, but offered little reassurance and had much doubt or faith in me or what I was doing. I wasn’t always sure of what I was doing.

I believe that this time in my life was the most triumphant, and beautiful most enriching and spiritual happening in my life. I learned the most about myself. I gained insight and wisdom. I loved unconditionally and unabashedly and received the most amazing uplifting love in return. My heart expanded and was filled with life sustaining warmth that has not diminished since that time.

It is not only that I survived it and my children and husband lived through the experience unscathed. I had been warned that my family was concerned that having my mom at home with me until she died would actually be harmful for my young children. I was cautioned that it would be traumatic. I was afraid that I would break. I was worried that my marriage would fail. I was terrified that I would fail. I was careless for the first time in my life about what my siblings and cousins thaought was best. I trusted my instincts. I stuck to my guns. My mom wanted me and I was going to see it though and I did.

What empowerment! It was the most amazing gift she could give me. She trusted me to be there for her and do right by her through her last moments. My father trusted me and respected me enough to give me his confidence. Me. The baby of the family. Me. The one who didn’t finish college. Me. The one who could barely make ends meet. Me. The one who married her high school sweetheart and never moved away from the valley. Me. The one with three small children who just went back to work full time and was commuting to downtown LA each day. They trusted me. They entrusted me. They believed in me. They put their faith in me. They loved me!

What extraordinary love that death and dying brings! I believe that death is beautiful. Dying graciously and in the comforting arms of your loved ones is the most beautiful thing ever. It is as wonderful and sacred as birth. My mother and father gave me the gift of life and brought me into this world with tenderness and love. I reciprocated by facilitating the end of their lives here on Earth, by helping them transition from my loving arms to the angels in Heaven with tenderness and love.

By doing this I ended up earning the respect of my family. I taught my children about unconditional love, duty, honor and sacrifice. My marriage gained strength and momentum by weathering this experience through and being steadfast and true throughout the process. I learned to trust myslef, my instincts, my beliefs, my faith and my abilities.

I now believe this was the most extraordinary time of my life.

The worst and most difficult ordinary mundane threatening heartbreaking moments of my life became for me a sacred happening that I treasure and hold dear. My heart is full of love for each and every moment that brought me to this extraordinary understanding. Now, I must share it and pray that others can only hope for turning their struggles into triumphs, their worries into dreams, and their lives into gifts for others to go on and live more extraordinary lives.

Driving home from the place where I wrote this the hummingbird visited me again. I have never seen a hummingbird do this while I was driving before. He was flying by and swooped down low and almost crashed into me! He hovered right in front of my windshield and I said, “you’d better move before I hit you!” He flew up and over my car. It made me laugh. Gigggling, I remembered how comforting hummingbirds are to me since the day my sister was in the hospitral with severe infection. I sat on my patio deciding between going to be with her or continuing the plans for the fourth of July holiday and seeing her the next day. Two hummingbirds flew by and one did that hovering thing and looked right at me. I instantly thought of the two birds as the spirit of my parents and I knew what I had to do. I went to be with my sister. She died early the next morning. Now there are three hummingbird spirits watching over me.  

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