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Posted on January 7th, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Quotes & Notes

Success means doing the best we can with what we have.
Success is the doing,
not the getting – –
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

We are all winners!

Be who you are
and say what you feel
because those who mind
don’t matter
and those that matter
don’t mind.
    – Dr. Seuss

Me

May you run and not be weary.

May your heart be filled with song.

And may the love of God continue

to give you hope and keep you strong.

 May you run and not be weary.

May your life be filled with joy!

And may the road you travel always lead you home.

 – Murakami

The Road Home

A STRONG PERSON

A strong person knows how to keep their life in order.

Even with tears in their eyes, they still manage to say “I’m ok” with a smile.

God is good.

Change is coming.

God saw your sadness and said hard times are over.

After my sister's funeral, with tears still burning in my eyes.

 

 “Let us rise up and be thankful,

for if we didn’t learn a lot today,

at least we learned a little,

and if we didn’t learn a little,

at least we didn’t get sick,

and if we got sick,

at least we didn’t die;

so, let us all be thankful.”

 ~Buddha

Um, whatchya talkin' about Willis?"

There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.

-Albert Einstein

“I Wish For You…”

Comfort on difficult days,

Smiles when sadness intrudes,

Rainbows to follow the clouds,

Laughter to kiss your lips,

Sunsets to warm your heart,

Gentle hugs when spirits sag,

Friendships to brighten your being,

Beauty for your eyes to see,

Confidence for when you doubt,

Faith so that you can believe,

Courage to know yourself,

Patience to accept the truth,

And love to complete your life.

Photography by Colin Reyes

Transformation

Posted on January 6th, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

I was looking through my journals because I am so excited that I have started writing again, that I wanted to take pen to paper.  (Remember paper?)  I flipped through some of the poetry that I wrote and I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I wrote regularly.  Ten years! So much has happened since then.  I have been inspired lately by some of my friends who blog, and the challenges and prompts are all about finding oneself and improving.  I am more about embracing, exploring and experiencing right now.  I realize that I have been through quite a transformation in my life in the past decade.  In 2002 I was struggling.  Writing helped.  Reading over what I wrote helps a lot.  One of the journals that I wrote back then I called “I Love My Life.”  I was just learning about acceptance and loving the moment.

If I imagine myself on a threshold of new possibilities, I consider that there is much more to learn and so much more to experience. I read Patti Digh’s article on Liminal Spaces and began to think of how I really enjoy the space that I am in at the moment.  A liminial space is that space in-between, “not the here or the there, but the not here and not there.” Digh calls this the transition zone.  It’s the moment of release before a trapeze artist would catch the new bar.  Like swinging on monkey bars, you must let go and swing to the next one.  It is the exhilarating moment that you are in the air.  And I feel as though I am weightless, flying through life right now.

Digh describes this space as the moment that there is nothing to hold on to.  It is the moment when we are flying that the real changes occur.  It is when we are “the most present, most alive, most vulnerable, most human.”  She suggests that we “cross the threshold, enjoy the space between and fly.”

I am ready for this!  After I turned forty and both my parents and, more recently, my sister passed away, I felt like I was at a point that I could express my thoughts and feelings openly.  I was not as concerned with what others thought of me anymore.  I was less likely to seek approval.  I am the mom now.  I developed into a person that I liked.  When some of my friends were going through divorce or major career and life changes, I was at a strong point in my marriage and in my life.  Healthy and active, financially stable (for the most part) and generally happy and satisfied.  I am grateful for this.  I am especially grateful after reading through my journals because it reminded me that it did not come easily.

The monkey bar that was so difficult to let go of was the feeling that I needed to make something of myself.  I wanted so desperately to be something. I felt as though I should have a degree, or advance in my career, or make a difference in some way.  I thought that I needed to honor my parents’ hopes and dreams for me and please them by becoming a successful professional of some type.  My family situation was somewhat unique in that my siblings were teenagers when I was born, so pleasing my brother and sister was also a goal I had.  My sister was (I can admit this now) like a mother to me.  She and my brother led the way for me, inspired me and watched over me like parents.  I only realized how much my parents loved me unconditionally when I had my own children.  I know the love that my brother and sister felt for me because I feel it towards my nieces and nephews. Once they started to grow up I began to exert expectations on them – out of love.  Putting expectations on myself was, as Digh puts it, “the illusion we put up to avoid where the real change occurs.”

This explains why I am so much happier now.  I am free.  I am flying!  I have released that bar and I am stretching forward to the next one.  I know in my heart that my parents are proud of me for the person I have become.  More importantly, I am proud of myself!

http://www.pattidigh.com/

To laugh often and love much;

to win respect of intelligent persons

and the affection of children,

to learn the appreciation of honest critics;

To appreciate beauty;

to give of oneself,

to leave the world a bit better,

whether by a healthy child,

a garden patch

or a redeemed social condition;

To have played and laughed

with enthusiasm

and sung with exultation;

To know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived –

That is to have succeeded.

 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Experience

Posted on January 5th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

Newsflash! The word that I have decided on for my focus this year (in place of a resolution) is experience. I wish to embrace the experiences that become present in my life, I wish to create meaningful experiences for myself and my family, and I wish to use my prior experiences to help me to appreciate the beauty of each moment.

This morning I had the opportunity to read a beautiful excerpt of writings from Raam Dev, a friend of a friend who I met in Channel Islands Harbor. He is a nomadic minimalist. I love the way he writes and I appreciate his perception and ability to convey his thoughts and beliefs in a way that I can relate to them.

I am probably the most polar opposite of a nomadic minimalist. (Don’t laugh!) I have many of my childhood possessions that I keep near and dear to me. I have barely travelled. I live and work within five miles of the home where I spent the first twenty years of my life. I have not lived outside the Valley. I work at the school where I attended seventh through twelth grade. My hubby and I have lived in our home for thirteen years and love it. I hoard my possessions and anything that I think may have a future use. If I had to describe myself in terms that relate to nomadic or minimalist, I would not say that I am a static maximilist!! However I would describe myself as being rooted, grounded, and settled. I am grateful for the things that I have and I appreciate that I am able to have those things.

When I think of Raam, after reading some of his articles and letters, I realize that someone who is nomadic is still rooted, grounded and settled. He is comfortable in his home, the world. As they say, “Home is where I hang my hat.” His possessions may be few, but they are pricelss to him. He values abundance. He is grateful for every thing in his life as I am. We actually have so much in common! So if I need a word or two to describe my way of life, I might say that I am. . . a traditional simplist. (I know, it sounds funny!)

I was impressed that Raam used a quote from Lao Tzu to confirm his point because it is a way of being that I have embraced long ago:

“You’re already complete; you’re not missing or lacking anything. When you see yourself as complete, everything else immediately becomes extra; everything else becomes icing on the cake: the air you breathe, the water you drink, the body you reside in, the family you love.
You become grateful for everything you have and you recognize its full value.
“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

I have always related to the words and beliefs of Tzu. I can’t explain it as gracefully, so I will borrow from the internet: ( The following excerpt was found at:  http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/lao.html )

“The central vehicle of achieving tranquillity was the Tao, a term which has been translated as ‘the way’ or ‘the path.’ Te in this context refers to virtue and Ching refers to laws. Thus the Tao Te Ching could be translated as The Law (or Canon) of Virtue and it’s Way. The Tao was the central mystical term of the Lao Tzu and the Taoists, a formless, unfathomable source of all things.

Look, it cannot be seen – it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard – it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held – it is intangible.
These three are indefinable, they are one.From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark:
Unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
Form of the formless,
Image of the imageless,
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.

Stand before it – there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the Tao, Move with the present.

Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.

Move with the present.

I like that!

After I read the article by Raam Dev on Developing an Abundance Mindset, I responded with some thoughts that I would like to share:

“I have lived this way for as long as I can remember. I practice gratitude and counting my blessings. I have fine tuned my perspective on abundance by loving what I have. I have often sat on the beach contemplating my existence and long before Google Earth was invented I would zoom out in my mind’s eye and picture the vast world around me growing bigger until I realize that I am but a grain of sand and all the people and living things and all the earth and atmosphere are part of one whole, equal and vital parts. My being a small part of it sitting on the sand on a beach in California is just as beautiful and important and majestic as the most powerful wealthy man in an office in a big city or the weakest tiniest newborn in a tiny village in Africa. We are all born the same way and we all will die and the mountains and oceans will go on shifting and changing with or without us. Every person is equal in value in that perspective. I believe we are all connected by the fact that we all share space and time together on this planet. Our opportunities are equal. The baby in Africa may find it more difficult to achieve wealth and prosperity but it is possible. It’s more likely that he will never know about wealth and prosperity as I am aware of it. Having food and good health and a family may be all that he ever desires. And the wealthy man who can obtain effortlessly any material thing and can travel the world with ease may have desires for intangible truths such as love, simplicity, friendship, or freedom. Every grain of sand is needed to make a beach by the ocean shore. My existence is vital in my world made up of the people I know and love. What I own, what I want, what I can achieve is all part of the process, the journey from birth to death. Since I do not know when that last day will be that I share space on this earth I live each day in appreciation of its opportunity loving that I have air to breath and an able body to carry me through it. Then I start thinking about how truly lucky I am to have eyes to see and ears to hear and beauty all around to love. Everything else is gravy from that perspective. And that is all I need. I value time and space. I value love and the ability to experience joy.”

Hmmm. . . experience.

Christmas Quotes

Posted on January 3rd, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Quotes & Notes

Here are a few quotes that I just stumbled upon in my stack of mail.  I want to remember them for next year.  I am actually glad that I can share them with you now, since I wouldn’t want to sound too preachy before the holidays.  I love that we celebrate – no matter how, when or where!  Celebration of life and living it to the fullest is what is important to me.

“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself.” — Charles Dickens

“The way to Christmas lies through an ancient gate. . . It is a little gate, child-high, child-wide, and there is a password:  “Peace on earth to men of good will.”  May you, this Christmas, become as a little child again and enter into His Kingdom.” — Angelo Patri

“Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy.  We cannot prepare for an observance.  We must prepare for an experience.”  — Handel Brown

My challenge will be always to prepare for the experience.

Quick Note

Posted on January 1st, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

I am setting the timer for ten minutes.  Everything we do these days seems to be fast.  I can do this.  I just want to take a moment and get started anyways.

I love to write, I love to share and I love my life.  I plan to keep working on this blog until it is what I first intended it to be.  A place to share my creativity with my family and friends.  A place to write and a place to read.  It’s just as much for me as it is for everyone else who dares to enter!  I enjoy looking at my pictures and re-reading the posts.  I place prayers and quotes here for my own purposes.  Of course I hope that others gain strength and hope from them.

This is the place that holds my collections.  It is important to have collections.  Something of value. Some people collect stamps or coins.  Many people have art collections or value designer clothing.  I love words and photos.  I love making things and giving things away.  I love recipes and cooking.  I want a place to keep all of my collections.  So here it is.  I give it freely to all who would like to visit and share.  I welcome input and additions to the collection.  Please leave comments, add pictures and submit your own poems, prayers, notes and quotes.

I was recently challenged to think of a word in place of a resolution for the new year.  What word would I chose to focus on, to guide me in the direction of my hopes and dreams?  Lately, living in the moment and making every moment count has been of utmost importance to me.  Since my mom passed away many years ago, Lito and I have wished for trouble-free years, healthy years, years without death, more prosperous years, more secure years.  What do I want now?  I gave it some serious thought.  I am still deciding.  Time is up for today!

Peace!

The Reyes Family Christmas 2011 Newsletter

Posted on December 13th, 2011 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

MR Christmas News 2011

MizMeliz Christmas News 2011

Well, I took a quick Facebook poll and I only received positive responses for a Christmas Newsletter. . . I am glad because I love doing them!  I hope you enjoy it.  Just click on the link above and hopefully you will see the document.

Here are some pictures of my family in 2011:

Craft Time!

Posted on November 21st, 2011 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

When the holidays begin around Halloween I start making things!  Since Thanksgiving, I have made 29 beaded key chains.  Then I started on barrettes, combs, and book marks.  If you are interested in seeing/purchasing any, please comment. 

This Christmas I made all of the gifts for my family.  I crocheted scarfs for each person.  I baked cookies and hand dipped chocolate pretzels for gift baskets.  I made caramel apples for all the kids’ teachers.  I made beaded jewelry, key chains and book marks for friends.  I gave a book from my own personal collection (or that I had inherited from my Mom’s) to each of my nieces and nephews with a book mark.

I was incredibly busy from Thanksgiving to Christmas with all of my projects!  I enjoyed every minute of it!  Then my creativity turned to writing.  I love writing and creating my blog.  I joined a few blogging groups and I hope to keep it up and make it something special.  It recently dawned on me that I can combine my love of making things and my love of writing. . . a craft corner, perhaps?

This should be fun!

Saving the Children

Posted on October 4th, 2011 by & filed under Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

I feel compelled to share with you what is in my heart. I am sure by now you know that I have taken on a new project, fundraising for a special need of a priest at my parish who is from Nigeria. I was asked to help out with coordinating an event called Nativity Sunday. I had no idea when I started how closely this project would be related to the efforts my sister had taken on over ten years ago in Mexico. I am glad that I had an opportunity to tell Karen about my goals for this project before she passed and I know that she is leading the way for me.

This has become a family project and I am grateful for the support that everyone has given so far! Jonathan, Jennifer, and Julia, have come to meetings and have volunteered to help out in so many ways. Jennifer has met with Fr. Ken and is working on getting medical equipment donated from Kaiser, where she works. Julia has spoken to the teen group at church asking for help and has given her testimony about helping others. Jonathan is working on a video as well as signing up exhibitors for the event. I am so happy to tell you that Joe Garcia is performing at the event and Lito is as well. The boys are signed up to help on the day of the event. Everyone is lending their talents.

It is so exciting for me. And quite frightening as well! What if after all this work we don’t raise enough to make a difference? I wish I had my parents and my sister here to tell me if I am on the right track. I ask for nothing more from you at this time but your prayers. . . please pray for the efforts of this ministry.

These children are at risk of being sold into slavery. . . it breaks my heart to think about that reality. I hope it gets easier to spread this message. I will be asking everyone in all of my networks to consider sponsoring a family. . . for less than $2 a day, $50 a month, $600 a year, each child can have an education fund set up that will prevent their guardians from giving them up and will provide a goat which will help the family sustain itself. Every little bit helps.

It’s strange, I have done a lot of fundraising over the past 20 years. In most cases, I was raising funds for schools here that my own children attended. It was much easier asking for help and raising money for our own needs. It has been very rewarding to see computers and smart boards, a library and a science lab become a reality right before my eyes with help from the tens of thousands of dollars that I helped raise each year. I may never see first hand the rewards of helping this village. But I know in my heart that I must try to help them.

Indigent Children

Gratitude

Posted on August 5th, 2011 by & filed under Be Inspired, Prayers

SAY THIS PRAYER

Heavenly Father;

I Come to you As Humble As I Know How. I Confess My Sins,
Those Known & Unknown. Lord, you Know I’m Not Perfect & I Fall Short Every
day Of My Life. I Just Want to Take Time Out to Say Thank you. Thank you for
your Mercy. Thank you for My Home, Car, Food, Life, and Everything I Do
Have. I Realize That this Life I’m Living Is Full Of Trials & Tribulations
But Thank you for Not Putting More On Me Than I Can Bear.

Amen

Spring Daffodil in British Columbia

A Call to Love

Posted on July 26th, 2011 by & filed under Be Inspired

by Jessica Ann Gallucci Bradley on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 2:45am

 We fear so much. We fear change, we fear loss, we fear being lost, being the unheard voice, we fear what we do not know most of all….we fear the other. Somehow the closer the closer we get to knowing the other the more we fear because once we know we cannot be afraid. Once what we believed to be our enemy becomes our neighbor how can we hate, how can we be what we once were, the definitions have to change and change is terrifying. I would like to believe that I am often able to conquer these fears, that I force myself above them and look for the piece of me in the other but I do not always succeed. I know I too have been guilty. Haven’t we all at one time or another?

 The question then must become, what shall my own personal manifesto be? Shall I too stand upon my rooftop shouting at the top of my lungs all the reasons we have to be afraid or cry in the night about how unfair life has been since “they” changed everything? No. Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must be the change we want to see in the world,” and I think those of us who value life and dignity have been much too silent lately.

Though I am a Catholic, I find the name of Jesus is too often maligned, slandered and used to advance the agenda’s of those who have heard is name but apparently never truly touched Him. So I choose not to invoke His name. I choose rather to be about love. That is what my manifesto shall be about. Not the easy love, the love of family, friendship and longtime bond but rather love that is hard, love that begs you to be uncomfortable, that begs you to be fearless in the face of what you do not know, to touch the unknown and hold it close.

 “We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. “

~ St. Clare of Assisi

One cannot turn on the news these days and not help but wonder how we have gotten here. Violence, destruction and hatred don’t surprise or disenchant anymore they simply make us shake our heads and move onto the next story. Our own problems seem so great that the plight of others is given no more than brief nod as we turn back in weary apathy to our own issues. We cannot take on any more problems we will say in our head we have too many of our own. So world-weary are we that humanity itself is crying in pain and we cannot hear it. We are not losing ourselves. We have lost.

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.”

~Albert Einstein

 It is time to be radical! It is time to break with the current convention of looking for what can be gained and look to what can be given away. It won’t be easy. It is never easy to leave the comfort of what we know to seek out that which is other, but leave it we must. We must strain to move beyond blame and move into acceptance. We are all each other, we all bleed, we all suffer, we all die and we have within us a tremendous capacity to love. We must come to love each other, not a fleeting love but a radical abiding love. Love that does not seek or question, love that instead reaches out with open hands to grasp the face of those who seem beyond our understanding; forever we have been told to love the poor, the lonely, even our enemies but do we love what we don’t know and don’t understand?

I am Christian; do I love Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists? I am an American do I love Afghanis, Iranians, Somalis, Canadians, Mexicans? I know these; I have met them perhaps they are easy to love. I am a Catholic; do I love fundamentalist Christians, even though I don’t understand them, do I love atheists even though some think I am silly and brainwashed? Do I love them or am I afraid of them and what their way of life says about mine?

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fear breeds hatred. Hatred allows us to look at a fellow human being and see a threat instead of a kindred. Fear allows us to be violent, even if only in our thoughts, it allows us to think of ourselves as right and others as wrong; it allows us to see only black and white in a world of vibrant, beautiful color. It allows us to make others subject rather than be subject, rather than be humble. It makes us blind to the giftedness of that which is not us, that which is other, that which is unknown.

It is time to be about the true Other’s work. It is time to get busy doing the work of the Divine; whatever you call that Divine; G-d, Allah, Yahweh, the Universe it doesn’t matter. It is time we start to make caring for each other our credo, loving each other our call to arms. It is a radical love that is required of us, love that searches out the beating heart within the other that looks just like the heart beating with me. It is a love that has no enemy, not in thought, word or deed. It is the purest form of love because it is a love that begs nothing in return, a love that is completely other centered. A love that sees not nationality, border, class or creed rather only the spark of humanness that runs through all of us.

In the end I believe that a love such as this is the only thing that will save us from ourselves, for truly we have all become our own worst enemy. We must encourage, we must inspire, we must breathe hope in our communities, big and small…we must be LOVE. This is the one and only manifesto we need ever make again. I can only pray that someday we find a way to achieve this.

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

~Thomas Merton 

                                                                                                ~Jessica Ann~

                                                                                                     July 2011

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