kindness

My Blooming 2017 Year in Review

Posted on December 14th, 2017 by & filed under A Year in Bloom, Everything Miz Meliz, Inspiring Adventures, Theme of the Week, Twitter Chat

2017 was my year in bloom. I declared it a year to grow, thrive, and bloom. I created a Facebook group called “A Year in Bloom” and I set out to help people and myself experience the healthiest, happiest, and best year ever. Did I fulfill my intention? It’s time to look back and reflect on the year and look at the bouquet of beautiful blossoms and blooms, thorns and all!

January and February

Introductions, Vision Boards, Intentions, and lots and lots of words define how I started 2017. I began collecting words and sharing phrases and a word of the day to inspire and be inspired. It was a challenge to post a word every day, and I did it for about three months and those words helped to shape amazing discussions. This started an idea, a seed if you will, that got me thinking about a daily intention practice. That seed grew to what developed into my Daily Affirmations Card Deck and Guide Book! Bloom!

I met and introduced many lovely people to the group through my show, Inspiring AdventuresThe overall theme was Kindness. Gabriela van Rij, Kindness Activist and the Kindness Diaries, Leon Logothetis are two people who I will never forget. I think that theme stayed with me all year and had the most impact! It was amazing to interview so many inspiring people and every single one of them brought a meaningful sense of knowledge and added beauty to my life’s bouquet. Bloom!

March and April

In March, I started thinking about being powerful and taking control of my own life. I empowered myself to be healthy, happy, and successful. I created my Daily Affirmations Card Deck and Guidebook. Cindy and I started using the themes when we planned the Paint with Heart projects. It has been amazing how the themes apply to everything we do, from the interviews to the art projects, to my work at the school, life coaching, live streaming – everything! Bloom!

April

This spring, my spirit united with Chakra Dyana meditation practitioner, Maria Humphreys. Maria has become part of my daily life and she has inspired me in countless ways. I started seeing how the practices that I put into place in the beginning of the year were affecting me. I was feeling healthier because I had made major changes in my daily routine, consuming less sugar, taking vitamins and minerals, and drinking more water. Maria motivated me to increase my mobility and restart practices of strength training and meditation as well. Having an experienced physical therapy and fitness expert to be an accountability partner, who was willing to just be on “stand-by” whenever I had a question was a major inspiration! Bloom!

May and June

This time of year brought many delightful moments. One of the most interesting coincidences that happened was my Balloon Festival Experience. Attending my son’s graduation from college was one of the highlights of my life and proudest moments! Attending Rose’ Day, VidCon, and covering the Premiere of Not a War Story were all amazing things I was privileged to do! Going to these events and sharing them through social media and on my blog is so much fun. Bloom!

July

It was my birthday month and I was off work from the school for four weeks. Rather than celebrating, I spent the time connecting with my online business partners and planning for BubblrMedia. I never worked so hard or enjoyed my work so much before! Connecting with social media marketing friends online lead me to join an initiative on Twitter called #VideoReplyDay which seemed like an added task but turned out having a life-enhancing benefit. After the whirlwind months of attending events and working inside the home studio, I wanted to get away – so I took a long weekend road trip to Chama, New Mexico. I met up with one of my BubblrMedia partners, Emily Shatters and her kids. This was a time for growth.

When I returned to work, one of the most frightening experiences of my life happened. I suffered an attack of Bells Palsy. It happened just two weeks before I was supposed to speak at the ConnectHer conference.  I was stunned. It took every ounce of my energy and strength to get through that difficult time without losing the momentum I was on. I had come so far and had so much planned, I was afraid I would have to stop doing what I loved. I realized that I needed to follow all of my own advice and apply all of my knowledge and believe in myself and things would work out for the best. And you know what, they did! Bloom!

August and September

I was still recovering and going to physical therapy for my face, I was getting back into the swing of things, I was back to work at the school and trying to start a new business with BubblrMedia. I missed Cindy while she was on her vacation to Europe and August seemed like a long month of preparation. Cindy and I went all in with new shows when she got back and we made a big commitment to BubblrMedia. We produced four weekly live shows on Facebook including Paint with Heart, Cre8this, Inspiring Adventures, and Last Night’s Show with Miz Meliz. We met lots of people and spent many hours onscreen! Bloom!

I made a commitment to attend all the activities at my son’s school for his senior year as well, so that meant attending a Drama Parent Meeting, a Homecoming Game, and some Retreat Meetings. In the midst of all this I had my bi-annual physical exam and blood tests. I had amazing results that made me feel really good! First, test results showed that the Bell’s Palsy had been caused by an acute virus . That explains why the medication the ER doctor prescribed worked and the paralysis healed completely. My blood tests also showed that my Diabetes is under control and in fact, I am healthier than I have been in years! Bloom!

October and November

In October I had the opportunity to attend VidSummit and I made the decision to learn as much as I can about YouTube. As things started to wind down for Inspiring Adventures interviews and A Year in Bloom, the Holidays and family time started to take a forefront. Cindy and I began recording the 2017 Paint with Heart Christmas Ornament Collection video series and I enjoyed prepping for the holidays. We also started attending online webinars to educate ourselves on the many aspects of teaching online and using YouTube to reach our audience and help more people. Bloom!

For Thanksgiving, Lito and I took the boys up to Chama, New Mexico. After being there in the summer, I had to go back with the rest of the family! It was so beautiful! We connected with more of our family who live in New Mexico and made a new business decision to add to the growing online business – virtual tours and aerial photography! Lito and Roman’s drones took their maiden voyage in Chama on our cousin’s property. We are now gearing up to start serving clients in the New Year! I am starting a business with my husband, I can hardly believe it! Bloom!

December

There were a lot of challenges this year. Some were personal and private, others happened to all of us, as a society, in our community, our country, our world. We suffered some set backs. We encountered some devastating blows. We experienced pain, hurt, loss, and grief. But, like any living thing, we continue to thrive with some tender loving care.

My Year in Bloom produced so many blossoms which looking back have created a lovely bouquet of fulfillment. I set intentions and focused my mind on what I wanted to see happen for my life’s vision and made it my mission to do the things I love while making it my happiest, healthiest, and best year yet. It tickles me that so many of the things on my Pinterest Vision Board that I first posted in 2012 have come to life! For the most part, 2017 was a wonderful year, perhaps one of the best yet! The best part was sharing it with you. You inspire me. I hope I inspired you too!

I have two more blog posts that I want to complete before I start my new word and plan for 2018. I want to share a list of all the people I interviewed and met in 2017 who made it an Inspiring Adventure for me and tell you how you can connect with each of them. I also want to share with you my list of 100 people I want to meet and interview in 2018 and why. I am really excited about what is to come in the next year, my 50th year on this earth, and no matter what – you can be sure I will be sharing it with you!

Dare to be Kind with Gabriella van Rij on Inspiring Adventures with Miz Meliz @GabriellavanRij

Posted on January 17th, 2017 by & filed under Books, Everything Miz Meliz, Inspiring Adventures

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I'm always a day late and a dollar short! @LastNightShow with Miz Meliz
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In this episode of Inspiring Adventures, Gabriella van Rij shares her steps that anyone can do to make kindness a habit. We have an amazing open discussion about kindness, tolerance, communication pitfalls, navigating our overly reactive society, how to become better and kinder communicators, and much more on our “Inspiring Adventure” together.

 

“As a toddler, I was plucked from a Catholic orphanage in Pakistan. Without the determination of two strangers, I would not have made it to my adoptive family. Today, I ask this question: Will you pick up the ball of Human Kindness® and be a hero to someone who needs your help?” ~Gabriella van Rij

 

Connect with Gabriella here:

Website: http://gabriella.global/

 

 

A 4-Step Process For Making Kindness
An Everyday Habit In 2017

Research has shown that being kind makes us happier and also is contagious, inspiring others to be kind as well. For example, one such study published in the Journal of Social Psychology linked performing acts of kindness to an increase in life satisfaction.

That’s why as people make their resolutions for the coming New Year, they should make up their minds to commit purposeful acts of kindness every day, says Gabriella van Rij (www.gabriella.global), a kindness activist and author whose latest book is Watch Your Delivery.

“Making kindness a habit changes lives – your own life and others,” van Rij says. “I believe we’re born with innate kindness, but we’ve just forgotten about it because we’re always running. We’re just too busy doing other things and we need to remind ourselves to be kind.”

She says we as a society have dropped the ball on human kindness and it’s time we picked it back up.

“I truly believe that we are all born with innate kindness, but then the hand that feeds us or the environment makes us abandon it pretty fast,” van Rij says. “By the time we are 5, we have learned to compete and to strive for success. It’s time for a new measuring stick for success.”

She says by following a four-step process, people can put a little more kindness in the world and quickly fall into the habit of committing kindness every day:

• Be kind to yourself. It’s hard to have the patience to be kind to others if we can’t even take the time to be kind to ourselves. “This might seem selfish, but it’s not,” van Rij says. “By being kind to ourselves, we shape our attitude toward others.”
• Answer rudeness with kindness. This one is difficult, van Rij acknowledges. “When someone is rude to you, the first thing you do is instantly react and not always in a positive way,” she says. “And the second thing you do is say it’s about me. They were nasty to me.” But van Rij says it’s not about you, it’s about the emotion. By answering rudeness with kindness, you diffuse the situation and there’s also a certain satisfaction in seeing the change in the attitude of the person who was rude.
• Watch your delivery. The tone that accompanies your words is as important as what you are saying. Do you need to soften your tone? Does what you say sound more aggressive than what you mean? Body language also can send a message you didn’t intend, so be aware of your body language and your facial expressions.
• Acknowledge kindness when you see it. When you acknowledge the kind acts you see, that person will be encouraged to continue to spread kindness. Acknowledging kindness in others also will serve as a reminder to you about how you can show kindness.

“Unfortunately, one of the reasons we don’t always treat each other well is that we are a fear-based society, and fear only breeds more fear,” van Rij says. “But luckily there is an antidote because just as fear breeds more fear, I believe kindness grows more kindness.”

About Gabriella van Rij

Gabriella van Rij (www.gabriella.global) is a speaker, author and activist whose latest book, Watch Your Delivery, explores how we often fail in communicating. She began her life as an orphan in Pakistan, and today is a frequent guest on TV and radio. She also is the author of I Can Find My Might and With All My Might.

Dare to be Kind with Gabriella van Rij on Inspiring Adventures with Miz Meliz https://smiletime.com/channel/mizmeliz #onSmiletime

Gabriella van Rij featured on Inspiring Adventures with Miz Meliz #DaretobeKind @GabriellavanRij

Posted on January 17th, 2017 by & filed under

Tonight is the night for an interview with the inspiring, Kindness Advocate, Gabriella van Rij

on Inspiring Adventures with Miz Meliz!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

6:00 pm Pacific

Gabriella van Rij | Speaker, Author & Activist for Kindness

Gabriella van Rij | Speaker, Author & Activist for Kindness

In this episode of Inspiring Adventures, Gabriella van Rij will share her steps that anyone can do to make kindness a habit. We will discuss kindness, tolerance, communication pitfalls, navigating our overly reactive society, how to become a better and kinder communicator, and much more on our “Inspiring Adventure” together.

 

“As a toddler, I was plucked from a Catholic orphanage in Pakistan. Without the determination of two strangers, I would not have made it to my adoptive family. Today, I ask this question: Will you pick up the ball of Human Kindness® and be a hero to someone who needs your help?” ~Gabriella van Rij

 

Connect with Gabriella here:

Website: http://gabriella.global/

 

 

A 4-Step Process For Making Kindness
An Everyday Habit In 2017
Even Lady Gaga Says It’s The Right Thing To Do

When Lady Gaga recently told her fans that kindness – not wealth and fame – is what creates harmony in the world she may have been on to something.

Research has shown that being kind makes us happier and also is contagious, inspiring others to be kind as well. For example, one such study published in the Journal of Social Psychology linked performing acts of kindness to an increase in life satisfaction.

That’s why as people make their resolutions for the coming New Year, they should make up their minds to commit purposeful acts of kindness every day, says Gabriella van Rij (www.gabriella.global), a kindness activist and author whose latest book is Watch Your Delivery.

“Making kindness a habit changes lives – your own life and others,” van Rij says. “I believe we’re born with innate kindness, but we’ve just forgotten about it because we’re always running. We’re just too busy doing other things and we need to remind ourselves to be kind.”

She says we as a society have dropped the ball on human kindness and it’s time we picked it back up.

“I truly believe that we are all born with innate kindness, but then the hand that feeds us or the environment makes us abandon it pretty fast,” van Rij says. “By the time we are 5, we have learned to compete and to strive for success. It’s time for a new measuring stick for success.”

She says by following a four-step process, people can put a little more kindness in the world and quickly fall into the habit of committing kindness every day:

• Be kind to yourself. It’s hard to have the patience to be kind to others if we can’t even take the time to be kind to ourselves. “This might seem selfish, but it’s not,” van Rij says. “By being kind to ourselves, we shape our attitude toward others.”
• Answer rudeness with kindness. This one is difficult, van Rij acknowledges. “When someone is rude to you, the first thing you do is instantly react and not always in a positive way,” she says. “And the second thing you do is say it’s about me. They were nasty to me.” But van Rij says it’s not about you, it’s about the emotion. By answering rudeness with kindness, you diffuse the situation and there’s also a certain satisfaction in seeing the change in the attitude of the person who was rude.
• Watch your delivery. The tone that accompanies your words is as important as what you are saying. Do you need to soften your tone? Does what you say sound more aggressive than what you mean? Body language also can send a message you didn’t intend, so be aware of your body language and your facial expressions.
• Acknowledge kindness when you see it. When you acknowledge the kind acts you see, that person will be encouraged to continue to spread kindness. Acknowledging kindness in others also will serve as a reminder to you about how you can show kindness.

“Unfortunately, one of the reasons we don’t always treat each other well is that we are a fear-based society, and fear only breeds more fear,” van Rij says. “But luckily there is an antidote because just as fear breeds more fear, I believe kindness grows more kindness.”

About Gabriella van Rij

Gabriella van Rij (www.gabriella.global) is a speaker, author and activist whose latest book, Watch Your Delivery, explores how we often fail in communicating. She began her life as an orphan in Pakistan, and today is a frequent guest on TV and radio. She also is the author of I Can Find My Might and With All My Might.

 

Other posts about Kindness from Miz Meliz:

Miz Meliz Newz Update Oct 2016 #ChooseKindness @thejessiechris @RDCountry @RDCountry

An Intentional Act of Kindness Can Take You to a Happier Place #IAK #Hellohumankindness

Let Kindness Define You #keepitkind @humankindness

Say Hello to Human Kindness and Shine #RiseandSmile @HumanKindness #sponsored

 

A Classic Interview with Keith Hemstreet @GannonAndWyatt

Posted on October 17th, 2016 by & filed under #SPARKLE Tinsel Town Tonight Interviews, Books, Everything Miz Meliz, Travel

Meet author, Keith  Hemstreet and learn about his newest book, Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Hawaii

 When I was asked to review Travels with Gannon & Wyatt:Hawaii  I thought, Oh cool! I would love to go back to Hawaii someday, it will be fun to review a travel book. I didn’t realize at first that I was being asked to review a young adult/middle school book. Yet, it still sounded interesting to me, and after all it was about Hawaii. So, I read on…

This and previous volumes in the series are written in the style of journals kept by famous explorers – both to engage middle graders in science and to make for a fast, dramatic read about the cultures. The stories set in Botswana, the Great Bear Rainforest, Egypt, Greenland, Ireland and now, Hawaii, share the experience of seeing these special places first-hand. Authors Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet love to talk about why it’s so important for kids to learn about these places and people.

In Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Hawaii, readers soon learn that the big island Hawaii has four the of five major climate zones on earth; that Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, is both sacred and one of best locations in the world to view stars; and that the island is known as the bird-extinction capitol of world with 70% of its birds now extinct. It also quickly becomes clear how important the history, culture and language is to the Hawaiian people –and how that’s increasingly at risk. Hemstreet called Hawaii, “one of my favorite locations because of the environmental diversity and rich culture.”

He said, “In each book the main characters have an adventure with people from different cultures, who have different beliefs and lifestyles. We’ve also found everywhere we go, the indigenous people are talking about climate change and telling us what is happening in their part of the world. We aren’t looking to take sides, but to convey ‘this is what is happening, this is how the traditional inhabitants of this land feel about it, and this is how these changes may affect things long term.’ We do everything we can to share what we’ve seen and experienced with readers. In addition to the books, we have a website where we blog about our experiences and share our photos and videos. We also utilize social media to share news and run contests that include prizes from places we’ve been.

I was sold. Not only on the book, but on the inspiration of the authors. I wanted to interview Keith and Patti and learn more about what motivates them to use their talent and affinity for learning about cultures to make a difference in the world. I scheduled an interview through their publicist. I received the book, I read the first few pages and I knew – this is something special. Then I got this email from Keith – – my heart sank a bit. I am always disheartened when someone cancels. It took a lot for me to overcome shyness and I know most authors would rather be pulled apart limb by limb by wild horses than be interviewed on a live talk show. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received this…

“Hi Melissa, First, thank you for inviting me on your show. Unfortunately, I am just back from speaking at schools and libraries in Wyoming and feeling under the weather. In lieu of a video interview tomorrow night, is there another format we could use, possibly an audio interview (if my voice holds) or a guest post/text interview on your blog? In fact, audio and text are my preferred interview formats, so I would be happy to do either or both. Also, should you wish to offer a give-a-way to your audience, I’ll send send you a free set of our middle-grade adventure novels (there are currently 6 in the series).”

These books were a welcomed surprise for the library at Chaminade College Prep Middle School!

These books were a welcomed surprise for the library at Chaminade College Prep Middle School!

It is my goal to connect with people and to learn from them, and there are many ways of doing this. It doesn’t always have to be on Tinsel Town Live – – and what better way, what more inspired and enriching way – could I get the most out of an opportunity to have a guest post from a seasoned author than to have his answers in written form – in his own hand – I believe that was a pure gift.

I received Keith’s response today, the exact date he said he would send them to me. I am over the moon excited about sharing this classic interview with you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do!

Dear Keith,

Here are some questions I love to ask, and a few from a middle school student pal of mine…

What do you like to be called?

Keith Hemstreet
 
What do you most want to share about yourself with my audience?
I am a Floridan by birth and graduated from Florida State University. I now live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and enjoy hiking into places where you’re more likely to see a bear or mountain lion than another human being. 
 
What motivated you to reach this point in your career?
Since I was young, I wanted to be a writer. Reading and writing are two of my greatest passions. Over the years, I have taken on a variety of jobs that moved me away from full-time writing, but even then I’d wake at 4:30 a.m. and work for 2-3 hours on something  a novella, a newspaper article or blog, a screenplay. It is all I’ve ever wanted to do, but to do it well takes years and years of practice. Same goes for any profession. I have been writing for over 20 years now and I am still learning. Patti Wheeler, who had the brilliant idea to create a travel/adventure series for young readers, was the primary motivator behind Travels with Gannon & Wyatt. Patti and I work hard to make sure each book in the series is action packed, entertaining and educational. Hopefully, these books will be around long after we’re gone, and the idea that they could be provides added motivation to do all we can to ensure each story will be appreciated for decades to come. 
 
What inspires you?
First, my wife and children. A child’s sense of wonder is a tremendous source of inspiration for me. I wake each day inspired to do my best for my family, to create an environment that is loving, supportive, creative. I’m also driven by a desire to do something good for the world while I am here. To contribute. To leave it better off in some way. Travels with Gannon & Wyatt addresses this desire, as each book brings the magic of nature and distant cultures to the imaginations of young people and their families. The series subtly promotes conservation, diversity, and global understanding. We hope readers will embrace these themes and be inspired to continue on their own journey of self discovery.  
 
How do you relate to your characters?
There are parts of Gannon and Wyatt’s personality that are similar to my own. Patti’s, as well. Their interests, on the whole, are also similar. Specifically their fascination with travel, cultures, and the environment. There are few things as thrilling as exploring a place you’ve never been. The characters embody this excitement in the books, and Patti and I can totally relate. Truthfully, the fictional characters are the sort of teenagers I always wanted to be. Curious, smart, and worldly. Avid readers and prolific writers. Both Gannon and Wyatt, and key characters they meet in each location, are also driven to do right and have strong family values. 
 
Are the brothers real?
While all the characters in the book are fictional, the main characters, Gannon and Wyatt, are very loosely based on two brothers of the same names. They are Patti’s twin sons, and have traveled to all of the places we write about in the books. Patti was a flight attendant for 15 years, just like the mom in the book. One of the great perks of working for an airline is that you and your family get to fly for free. So, their family has been traveling for some time. It’s in their blood. 
 
Do you incorporate your own life’s experiences from childhood and from your own travels in your writing?
Yes, we do. We travel to each location to do some research before writing the book. We hope that our extensive field research will add authenticity to our books, and it’s not unusual for some of our own experiences to make it into a manuscript.  Especially if something exciting happens. We do embellish, so again, the stories in the book are fiction, but in some instances they are based on our own experiences. The rhino encounter in our first book, Botswana, was based on a frightening experience we had in the Kalahari Desert. Sorry, I won’t spoil it. 
 
What is the most vivid memory you have of your travels?
Staring into the eyes of a lion in Botswana that was resting ten feet away from me, or watching a glacier calve in Greenland and being horrified by the size of the wave that came racing toward our boat. Entering King Tut’s tomb in Luxor, Egypt, or seeing a Spirit Bear materialize in the Great Bear Rainforest. Crossing paths with crocodiles the size of dinosaurs in the Australian Outback, or our expedition to the top of an active volcano in Iceland, or casually strolling the streets of Havana, Cuba. All of these experiences are etched in my mind forever. And, of course, everywhere we go we meet wonderful people and make new friends. Also, returning home to my wife and daughters, wrapping them all in giant hug, that’s as exciting to me as the trip itself.
 
What is your favorite travel destination to date?
I have truly loved every place I have visited, so it is hard to say. There are three island nations I was especially enamored with and hope to return to with my family — Greenland, Iceland and Cuba.  And having the opportunity to travel through South Africa, Botswana and Zambia was the thrill of a lifetime. Ireland is also hard to beat. Italy, too, because of the people, history, architecture and art, not to mention the country’s food, which is my favorite. I could go on.
twgw-book-set-2
 
Why do you like to write?
Maybe it’s that writing allows me to use my imagination. It gives me the ability to create. With writing, there is a level of freedom and opportunity that is invigorating. Writing is all I ever really wanted to do. While it takes significant time and focus, it’s not really work to me. When I wake up in the morning, I can’t wait to sit down and start writing. 
 
What is your core value? When it comes to your passions and purpose in life?
Compassion. Acting with kindness and compassion in every day life. My wife and I always tell our daughters, the most important thing is to be kind. If you are a kind and caring person, a person who takes a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others, everything else in life will work itself out. 
 
Is there anything else you would like to share with me and my viewers?
Travels with Gannon & Wyatt has been described as a mix between The Hardy Boys and Indiana Jones, or Magic Tree House for slightly older readers. We intend to have a minimum of 12 books in the series, but hopefully we’ll have many more. Patti Wheeler and I speak at elementary and middle schools across the country, via Skype and in person. Teachers and librarians interested in a school or classroom visit can contact us through our website — GannonAndWyatt.com. Also be sure to follow us at Facebook.com/GannonAndWyatt
 
What promotion would you like to tell us about?
We are happy to give away a complete set of autographed Travels with Gannon & Wyatt books (there are currently 6 in the series) to one of your readers. You decide how to choose a winner, and we’ll ship a set of books to them.  [See details below on how you can win!]
 

These questions are from my friend and fellow blogger, Samantha, who is in the 7th grade:

What made you come up with the idea for Travels with Gannon & Wyatt?
Coauthor Patti Wheeler was a flight attendant for 15 years, so she and her husband traveled the world. When you travel, you learn lots of great things about the culture, environment, and wildlife of these places and Patti wanted to come up with a way to pass on all of that valuable knowledge to young people like yourself. So she and I started brainstorming and decided that a fictional adventure series would be the best way to do it.  
 
Is your book series about your own life?
No, although some scenes are inspired by our own experiences. We try to use a lot of what we see, learn and do while traveling in each book. 
 
What makes you use realistic places in your story rather than fictional places?
There are so many places on earth that are simply magical, as magical as any place of fantasy, if not more so. We want to bring the magic of these real places to young readers. There is a great big and wonderful world out there! We are fascinated by it and hope to capture a little bit of it in each book. 
Why did you put a page for notes in the back?
The stories are told through the journal entries of the main characters, Gannon and Wyatt. In part, this was done as a nod to the historic journals of famous explorers from the 1800s and 1900s. Explorers like Lewis & Clark. It was also done to encourage young people to keep a journal of their own. The lined pages in the back are for readers to write their thoughts or jot notes. When we speak at schools, we talk about the importance of reading and writing. The more you read and write, the deeper your understanding of the world, and the deeper you understanding of yourself. 

I can’t thank Keith enough for this fabulous insight into his and Patti’s process and for sharing his passion for travel and writing with me, Samantha, and our readers. I still hope to interview Keith and Patti on Tinsel Town Live – or perhaps, I will have a chance to meet them at school one day.

Connect with authors Keith Hemstreet and Patti Wheeler Here:

gannonandwyatt.com

facebook.com/GannonAndWyatt

youthexplorationsociety.org

Please comment with any questions you may have for the authors, or myself. Please share any story of your own travels and adventures with us! We would love to hear from you.

Keith and Patti would like to send you a gift! A winner will be chosen randomly from those who Tweet the message below between now and Tuesday, November 15th and will be announced live on Tinsel Town Live with Miz Meliz on Smiletime.

The Practice of Being Kindhearted

Posted on July 12th, 2013 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

I have been thinking about kindness and compassion lately.  I can remember some very specific examples of times in my life where someone was kind to me when I really needed it and how it made an impact on my life.

Accepting the Kindness of Others

I can’t remember now who said it, or even the circumstances, but I was in a heated discussion once and someone told me, “Perhaps the reason you are so upset is because you aren’t used to people being nice to you.”  I was appalled at the thought.  Of course people are nice to me.  My family and friends, everyone I knew at the time was nice.  I was accustomed to nice. But looking back I now realize that what he meant was – – I wasn’t used to accepting the kindness of another person. I didn’t understand that someone would be kind to me for the mere act of being kind. I wasn’t expecting that someone could do something in kind, with no ulterior motives, from the heart, just because they cared. I wasn’t ready to accept that for some reason at that point in my life.

No, I was into proving myself capable and worthy of respect.  I was building myself up and trying to be responsible and trustworthy.  I wanted others to accept me for me, with all of my faults and idiosyncrasies, and I wanted others to see me as capable. I thought to myself, “Why would someone do something nice for me, just because?  They must want something in return.  They must think I need their assistance.”  I did not need their help.  I knew I could do things on my own.  I rejected their help. I even thought, “They must think I am weak and incapable. They are sure I will fail without their help.”

My friend was right. I wasn’t open to accept the kindness of others.  I was so self-centered and so sure that I did not need anyone’s help that I couldn’t see why anyone would do something nice for me.  Why would anyone offer to help me?   I often mistook the kindness of others as an attack on me personally, as if they were pointing out my faults or that I was somehow needy.  I did not want to depend on another person to show me my downfalls and mistakes.  I wanted to be respected.  I wanted others to trust my judgment.  If I wanted help, I would ask for it.  I was in control.  I now see that I was trying to control everything.  Not just my own actions, but also the actions of others.

Needing Help

There came a time when I did need help and help was there. It was a humbling and life changing experience.  With time and experience comes wisdom and understanding.  There is significance in everything. I learned that there are times when help arrives however unknowingly, unrequested and sometimes in remarkable, unbelievable ways.  Sometimes help comes as an answer to my prayers, even when I am not sure what exactly it is that I need.

You might have heard of the “Northridge Earthquake.”  On January 17, 1994 at 4:19 a.m. I was awakened by a strange rumbling feeling as if the floor was about to give way and the walls were about to fall down and the sound of extremely loud screaming.  My husband was screaming in my ear holding on to me for dear life, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it’s an EARTHQUAKE!”  Writing this now, after all these years sends chills down the center of my being, through my bones and I can feel the fear rising up in me.  It was by far the scariest most traumatic moment in my life.  I wrote about it once in a handwritten journal.  I poured out every detail onto the pages and I wrote it all down without stopping so that I would never have to recount it again. I suffered severe post traumatic syndrome disorder from the experience and I have moved past it and recovered, but since I couldn’t find the journal today, knowing I wanted to share a bit about it I needed to write it out again.  It still haunts me.  It is the fear of not knowing if you will survive that is chilling.

Obviously, I did survive.  In fact, my husband, the screamer, and I were able to get dressed in the dark, get out of the apartment, and go over to my aunt’s place nearby.  My husband was a hero to her as he went into a burning building to retrieve her hearing aid, glasses and medications.  We came back to our apartment and by the light of day started to pick up all the broken pieces and survey the extensive damage.  We had no idea what to do, where to go, or what would happen next.  Freaked out and shattered by each big aftershock and not being able to call my family (no cell phones back then and phone lines were down, power was out, my apartment was in ruins. . . )

I was sitting on my sofa literally racking my brain on what the heck we were going to do and there was a knock at the door. On the door frame actually, because someone had to break our door down to rescue us from our apartment when it was evacuated and the lock broke and we were trapped inside. The door had to be removed completely.  I looked up and it was my brother and sister-in-law.  I thought I had died because there was no way they could be there at that moment.  It was unfathomable.  They lived over an hour’s drive away and I knew the roads have been closed, the freeways were broken between his house and mine and it was just impossible that he could be standing there saying something silly.  I think he said, “Is this where the party is?” or something like that.  They came to help.  They came to save me. It’s been almost twenty years since this happened, and I still sob when I think about how I felt at that moment and how it changed me forever.  What my brother did was completely selfless, compassionate and beyond measure.  He and his wife left their small children at home in the care of their neighbors so they could come and make sure that my husband and I were okay.  They helped us pack up some things and we took our aunt and our cats to his house, where it was safe, calm and unbroken.  He sheltered and cared for us when we had nowhere else to turn.

A few years later, my husband and I experienced that kind of selfless giving again when my mother-in-law helped us with living arrangements and basic needs when I was pregnant and we couldn’t make ends meet.  When I realized how much of a sacrifice that was for her at the time, I am blown away by the thought of it. Her generosity and love is unconditional.  She is the most kind and thoughtful person I know.

Another example of thoughtfulness came in the form of a big basket of food from my friends in my Ladies Bunko Group after my mom died.  It was a gesture that went beyond the usual condolences. It was heartfelt and unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I wasn’t used to being the recipient of a food basket.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have the resources to buy food or even make it.  But at that time in my life, my world was shattered.  I once again found myself in a state very much like after the earthquake when I was not sure what to do next.  And there was a knock at the door.  My friends had heard what happened.  They had prepared this meal for my family.  I did not have to worry about cooking.  I wouldn’t have been able to ever repay them for their kindness.

Paying it Forward

There are too many times to recount when I have asked for help and help was there. I have been the recipient of help in so many situations, I vowed that I would pay it forward as much as possible and in every way I can. I am honored when I am asked to help out for this reason.  It gives me a chance to do something nice for someone in the way others have done nice things for me. I have become one of those people who like to help others, even when they may not be accepting of help or feel they need it.  I am honestly just being nice. There is no ulterior motive.

Being willing to help others is just as important as being open to accepting help. Give others the chance to be nice to you, out of the goodness of their heart.  You never know when they are paying it forward themselves.  Always accept the kindness of others.  There does not need to be a reason.

“Beauty is a word, kindness is an act that makes you beautiful” ~Melissa Foster

Treat Everyone with Kindness

I feel it is important to treat others kindly, even if the person isn’t a very nice person.  I never know when someone might be suffering inside and their demeanor is unfavorable as a result.  Maybe they are in pain.  Maybe they are in a state of worry.  Maybe they have been hurt. Perhaps they are having a hard day or are in a bad mood. So, I err on the positive and treat them with the same dignity and care that I would give to  the outwardly nice people.  I try to be nice to everyone all the time. It always warms my heart when I get a smile in return from anyone when I am nice to them, most especially when it is a grumpy person!

Practicing Kindness

When you are trying to explain something, teach a new concept, or share information with others and they challenge you, take it as an opportunity to practice kindness.  Be considerate in your beliefs.  This means accepting that others may not always agree with you.  They might not be ready to understand.  They might not be open to your way of thinking.  They may simply disagree.  You don’t have to be right.  If you can’t get everyone to see things your way, it’s not a loss.  If you rise up and meet them half way, be open to their point of view, explain yourself from a different perspective, take the time, the extra energy, the care to let things happen in a natural progression and not force an issue, that is the kind approach.  Softening your heart and allowing things to unfold is not giving in.  It is not a sign of weakness.  In fact, it is a sign of strength because it shows that you are willing to wait and that you stand by your way.  Others will honor and respect you for your convictions.  You will own it.  It is always a win when you practice being kind.

“You can either practice being right, or practice being kind.” – Anne Lamott

Be Kind to Yourself

When you begin to practice being kind, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.  Give yourself a break! Don’t be so hard on yourself.  It is okay to make mistakes and lose control.  It is okay to have an off day.  You do not always have to be on. If you feel like no one is being nice to you or everyone is being hard on you and you wish that someone would come along and cheer you up – cheer yourself up!  Access your inner sweetheart and listen to her tell you it’s going to be okay.  Listen when she says you are beautiful, smart and loving.

Random Acts of Kindness

Some people believe the best way to get started in the practice of being kind is to participate in random acts of kindness.  You can start by making a list of nice things you can do – just because.  This is really fun to do with kids (of any age) as a project.

It might help to think about your day.  Start with your routine, getting up in the morning, having breakfast, getting to work.  Is there anyone that you see in the morning that would benefit from an act of kindness?  You can get ideas here: Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

What Does it Take to be Kindhearted?

Just think of other people with kindness.  Put yourself in their place.  How would it feel to be them?  Is there anything you can do or say to make them happy?  How about just telling them that you are thinking of them?  How about smiling and saying, “Hello.”?

It is more than being nice and thinking kind thoughts, kindness takes action. Being kind all the time to all people requires practice.  Developing this as a way of life becomes a practice.  Kindness is a philosophy.  Kindness is a way of being that requires feeling for and caring about other people and thinking outside of my own needs. Caring for the needs of others is an act of compassion.

When I practice kindness I am connecting with the world around me.  It helps me to realize that most people are just like me.  We all have moments when we are suffering inside.  We never know what problems exist for the person beside us.  What daemons are they fighting?  What ails them?  Do they let it show all the time?  No.  They put on a happy face.  They keep it in their head.  They hold their suffering in their heart. Being kind because you can, not for any other reason, becomes caring, compassionate and worthwhile. We depend on other people to make us whole.  If I am kind to you, it makes us both feel better.

Making Mistakes in Kindness

Our society sends us mixed signals about being kind and helping others.  In fact, I was told by a friend and colleague that some people look on being kind as a sign of weakness.  When I asked why, she said it was because they know they wouldn’t do the same. So, if my friends aren’t into being kind to others, by this theory, they think I am weak or less of a person because I would be kind? That makes me sick to my stomach. I am not a doormat because I am willing to go out of my way to be nice. Luckily, I am kind to myself and I will recover from the nausea. Knowing that some people feel this way won’t stop me from being kind and I know in my kindness I don’t have to try to sway their thought process or win their approval.

“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.” ~ Mother Teresa

Many of my friends and fellow businesswomen who are actively gaining power, influence, confidence, and strength in their business and in their life are starting to take on the attitude that caring about others is not important and are even shunning others who are being nice to them.  They don’t want to be bothered.  Do you hear that?  How cold.  How harsh.  You won’t get far, trust me.  It might feel good to be empowered and feel in control for a while.  But you will harden your heart in the process and it will cost you.  It will hurt when you see it in the actions of your kids.  It will hurt when you are alone and need help and you reject it.  You are not proving anything to anyone if you are trying to emulate this philosophy.  Don’t build up walls around you.  Who will be there for you when your world is shattered? Who will knock on your door and ask “Is this where the party is?” If you kick every good doer who is in your way to the curb, it won’t be long before you find yourself there.  I’ll tell you what.  If that happens, you can count on me.  I will be the one knocking.  I will be there to lift you up.

Check out this “Pinable” photo and quote from MizMeliz about kindness:  Your Kindness Colors My World.

To learn more about Melissa Reyes and Life Coaching, see http://MizBizEvents.com

 

 

Your Kindness Colors My World #MizMeliz

Posted on July 9th, 2013 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

photo and quote by Melissa Reyes copyright 2013 http://mizmeliz.com

What is it about doing something nice “just because” that warms your heart?  

Do you have a story of how a simple act of kindness made an impact on someone’s life? 

Please share your story with me.

I will be looking at how kindness leads to compassion

and how being compassionate leads to

living a happy life in my next post.