30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

Spaghetti and Marshmallows: Post Thanksgiving Blues

Thanksgiving.  It was really great!  I enjoyed having the family meal at my home.  I loved cooking food from scratch for my kids, my husband, my brother and my sister-in-law.  I worked hard.  I spent too much money.  It was relaxing and mostly stress-free. After the meal, football, games, and naps, we went to see the film Skyfall.  I do not remember the last time we all went to see a movie together.  Watching a 007 flick was a perfect way to end a splendid day.

In the morning, I woke up thinking of the Madonna song, La Isla Bonita.  I actually felt like I had visited my “special place.”  Every single thing that we do this year is amplified in my heart as super special because it is a “year of lasts” for my oldest son.  He is a senior in high school and plans on going away to college.

Our Thanksgiving Day was so good. . .

“I prayed that the days
would last
They went so fast”

I was beat on Friday!  I was so tired and sore from the marathon cleaning and cooking the prior two days that I could barely walk.  Yet, I still felt good.  I was satisfied with how everything went.  I was looking forward to spending the next few days preparing left overs in creative ways and kicking back.  The main thing I had planned to do was not blog or spend too much time on social media and watch a few seasons of the West Wing.

Saturday I had a migraine.  It was horrible.  It didn’t keep me from doing anything I planned on doing, since I planned on relaxing anyway. But I did get frustrated that I had gotten off schedule with my meals, my medicines, and my diet restrictions.  I ate way too many sweets and too much of a lot of things that I should have eaten more moderately.  It was like having a hangover without having the fun of drinking any alcohol.  I need to plan to have more healthy snacks around for the days after a big event next time.  Next time.  That reminds me, the countdown to Christmas has begun!

Here is a little Anatomy Chart that I made, as suggested by WEGO Health’s 30 posts in 30 days prompt:

Property of Miz Meliz, #MizMeliz, http://mizmeliz.com Photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

One of the fun things that I want to remember about this Thanksgiving is the participation of all the people who read my “Thanksgiving Checklist” post.  It was nice to plan out some new traditions and talk about what things we like to do as a family.  My brother kept asking me, prodding me, “Is this it?”  He wanted to know what was the “one thing” that I would write about in my post Thanksgiving blog.  I did challenge myself to make one thing stand out, to make something extraordinary to remember.  Well, what I realized is that thing is different for each person.  For the kids, it might be that my sister-in-law managed to wow them with eight amazing pies (technically one for each person!) For me, it might be that I bought a pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods and it was pretty darn good.  Or, that the no sugar added Cranberry Chutney and the Quinoa Pilaf that I made quickly became new favorites.  Or, that I wanted to have everything ready to eat and on the table by noon and my gosh – it was 12:01 PM! For my husband, it might have been his awesome carving skills.  For my brother, it might have been the phone calls he received from his children to wish us all a “Happy Thanksgiving!” I know one thing for sure, it was a really great Thanksgiving and I will always remember it. . . as my Isla Bonita!

To me, the Thanksgiving holiday is like a tropical getaway that I can always visit in my mind.  It has become a blend of all the wonderful memories, smiles, hugs, tastes, and smells of all the years combined.  I am so blessed!

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If you haven’t read the Checklist for Thanksgiving post, here it is:  https://mizmeliz.com/2012/11/16/miz-meliz-checklist-for-the-thanksgiving-feast/

Tell me. . . what is your favorite “go to” memory

of the Thanksgiving Holiday?

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

Coming Suddenly Upon Happiness: A Book Review Relating to Health #NHBPM Day 13

Book Review:  Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

Ethan Frome was originally published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1911.

“A tragic story of wasted lives, set against a bleak New England background. A poverty-stricken New England farmer, his ailing wife and a youthful housekeeper are drawn relentlessly into a deep-rooted domestic struggle in this hauntingly grim tale of thwarted love. Considered by many to be Wharton’s masterpiece.” – Amazon Book Description

This is crazy! I did not ever think I would write a review for this book! But when WEGO Health‘s National Health Blog Post Month prompt was to write about a recent book that I read and relate it to my health, I got to thinking.

Saturday, I read a book that I had not read yet by an author that I love, Edith Wharton. The name of the book is Ethan Frome. The more commonly known book by Edith Wharton is The Age of Innocence. I read Ethan Frome because I was intrigued by a quote that someone posted on Twitter.

“They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.”

I looked up the quote on Google and found out where it came from, then I looked up the book on Good Reads and there was an instant free download. (I love it when that happens!) I read it hoping to find a love story filled with more beautiful metaphors and similes to devour.

What I found was a dark, dreary, cold, and very long description of the life and times of a Mr. Ethan Frome whose happiness lasted no longer than the length of this sentence. A lot of Ethan’s misery came from being a care giver for his parents and then his wife.

“Sickness and trouble: that’s what Ethan’s had his plate full up with, ever since the very first helping.”

The need for a care giver to help his wife in their home was a prominent theme throughout the book. Ethan’s wife had many ailments. Nothing was given a name except it was said that she had “troubles” and then, worse, she was experiencing, “complications.” Zeena Frome was weak and in pain for most of her adult life, however, when she first came to Ethan’s home it was to help care for his mother.

I wonder if what Zeena had was depression? It was never alluded to why they did not have children or why Zeena had no other interests, but it was very clear that she had lost the zest for life. Living on a farm and running a mill in New England in the early 1900’s was a tough life and required a lot of hard work in extreme conditions. She did not have it in her. Or, did she? She was physically able to do the work when others depended on her. I can relate to that!

Sometimes, I have bad days and all I want to do is stay in bed. I know that rest is good for me, but if I let it happen, I can begin to feel like that is where I belong all the time. The longer I let myself rest, the longer I feel sick. The longer I feel sick, the more pain I feel. It is a vicious cycle. I do not have someone to care for me. My husband and sons do what they can and help me by taking care of themselves, but I do not have someone who is there just to help me. And sometimes, I secretly wish I did.

Truth is, I am glad that I don’t have a care giver, a house keeper, a cook, or a nanny. Although, it would be great if I could afford to have some help with the housework! It is a good thing that I do not have someone who takes over whenever I get sick, because I need to be there for my family. They depend on me. And, you know what? Being needed and being able to help someone else gives me so much pleasure that it improves my life and gives me something to live for.

Help someone else, no matter how sick you are. No matter what pain you are in, find something, some way that you can bring joy to someone else. Even if it is something as simple as praying for them, if that is what you can do, it is needed.

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Honk if You Love Your Car! #NHBPM Day 9

I was in an automobile accident a few months ago.  Just before the accident, I had a strange feeling of insight. It was a moment of pure joy. I thought to myself, “You know what, things are good!”

Everything was going great. I even checked off the mental list. Getting along with my friends. Check. Up to date on what is going on with everyone in the family. Check. Everyone is healthy. Check.  Things are great with my hubby and the boys. Check. Got some money in the bank and bills are paid. Health, not bad. I have all the things that make me happy. I feel really good about this.

My internal blissful pep talk continued.  Work is good. Blogging is going great. Writing is taking off. I was almost done with my online courses for life coaching certification.  I have a plan and I have been working on that “Bucket List!” In fact, to top things off, I have the toys that I love. I have my iPhone with which I happily and openly enjoy my addiction. But the best thing ever is that I have something that I have wanted for so long and it’s mine, all mine, I have my Jeep!

When I was nineteen, I bought my first Jeep Wrangler.  I had to sell it after I got married because I could not afford the payments  I always wanted another one.  For years I put it out of my mind because it was impractical.   But now, the kids are big and I was finding myself alone driving around a seven passenger luxury minivan. So, I sold it and bought the car of my dreams.  The car of my youth.  My lovely, awesomely cute, utterly cool Jeep. I have gained popularity and notoriety that I have not known for many many years because of a vehicle. I love it. I am in love with it. I have never loved a thing so much. (Maybe for a little while I loved my engagement ring in a similar way. But that was in the beginning. Now I love it for sentimental reasons and for what it stands for.) Until now, I have not had the satisfactory feeling of loving something that I wanted, worked for, waited for, and got all on my own and according to plan that had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own true interests and desires.

I was driving along thinking about what a gorgeous day it was. Sunny and warm. I was cruising along Pacific Coast Highway on a perfectly clear summer afternoon. Enjoying the view of the ocean. Blasting the tunes. No worries. No hurry. Just enjoying the ride. I thought about how much I loved this moment and how much I loved my Jeep. We have a perfect relationship. My Jeep is used and a little old, like me, but still cute and feisty with lots of energy and strength. My Jeep is still fashionable enough and cool enough that even the teens and my husband enjoy riding in it, driving it, and they even love that it is mine. I feel good in it. The seat and controls are a perfect fit for me and for my body. I love the sound of the music coming from the stereo speakers on the roll bar.  I love the hum of the engine. I love the feel of driving it, kicking the clutch and shifting the gears, turning the steering wheel and leaning into a curve in the road.

I love everything about driving a Jeep. I love the looks I get when I am in it. I love the waves I get from other Jeep drivers.  I love the feeling of the warm sun on my shoulders and the cool wind on my legs as I drive along “topless” and “doorless” on a hot day. I love the freedom of not having to lock it or set an alarm on it because there are no doors and no roof to contain anything in it anyway. I love the way I giggle and smile just because it makes me feel so darn good. I never expected to like having a yellow vehicle and I know that sometimes it looks like a service vehicle at the beach, but I will say this, you can never be bummed out in a bright yellow car.  Every time I hopped in it, I was cheered right up!

There are some down sides.  I can’t go very fast in it. It sucks down a lot of gas. I can’t take many passengers with me. It’s not comfortable for passengers.  I can’t care about keeping a hairstyle. In fact, I have acquired a lot of hats and a ponytail is my basic go to style. There is not very much cargo space. I can’t go shopping in it if I plan to take more than one stop because there isn’t enough room to store my purchases and no way to lock them up. It’s bumpy and I spill my coffee going over the train tracks. But I don’t care about those things. I am in love. Maybe a bit too much. It’s not good to love something this much.

I wasn’t actively thinking about any of this at the time.  No, I was thinking about making tacos for the kids and their friends.  Yes, I was making a mental shopping list.  I was thinking about how much work would be, but how I felt good that day and I really wanted to make tacos.  I was wondering, where is that lazy susan?  I can put all the ingredients on it and have a taco bar.  Then. . . I saw a car turn right in front of me and as I slammed on my breaks, I thought, “Oh no, you didn’t!” Sccrreeeeaaaccchhhhh . . .  She did.  A woman turned left when I was driving along in oncoming traffic.  I had the right of way.  I had a green light.  I was not speeding.  She just went for it, I guess.  That is why my first thought was, “No you didn’t.”  But she did.  I tried with all my might and my Jeep worked to the best of its twelve-year-old ability.  All of that strength and steel and power went into stopping and avoiding a collision.  All of my driving experience and ability and strength and fortitude went into avoiding the accident.  The skid marks were at least ten feet long.  Sssccreeeaacchhhhh….. and in one heartbeat, one surreal little crystal clear moment of clarity, this IS happening “Dang it!” . . .CRASH! We collided in the intersection.

I was able to slow the Jeep down enough and turn to the left enough to avoid hitting her full on, but my right front end hit her right front end and then my car swerved around from the force of the collision and I came within inches of hitting another car ‘”head on” that was in the left turn lane of the street on the right,  perpendicular to the one I was originally travelling on.  I looked into the face of the woman in that car, it was  Jeep Cherokee, so we literally were eye to eye.  I remember looking at her and saying, “I can’t move, you are going to have to go around.” She just stared at me.  Later I realized she must have been in shock.  I almost just careened into her!  The accident happened right in front of her.  But my vehicle had stopped moving.  My Jeep took it’s last breath in that moment.  Airbags deployed, engine stalled, right front end bashed in, bumper crunched, and hood dented, it was over.  I knew instantly, these were my last moments in my beloved Jeep.  That sounds so stupid now.  But at the moment I was heartbroken.

I was worried about the woman who was in the other car.  I could tell that she was conscious, but she took a bad hit.  Her little import made of fiberglass was demolished.  It was no match for my steel.  You do not want to get in a collision with a Jeep.  Trust me.  There was broken glass everywhere from her vehicle.  I realized that my doors were not on and my top was not up, I had just sustained a serious accident in a convertible with glass and debris flying everywhere, and after a brief once over, I realized that I did not have a scratch on me.

All of these moments went by very fast.  People from inside the business on the corner were coming towards me and the other driver to help.  I reached over to get my purse and cell phone which were still on the passenger seat. (Weird.) I tried to start my car and it did not turn over.  I wanted to get out.  I guess I unbuckled my seat belt, but I don’t remember actually doing it.  My left knee hurt like it was scraped and bleeding, but I looked at it and nothing appeared hurt. I wasn’t bleeding.  I could barely breathe. I must have inhaled the powder from the airbag.   I swung my legs out of the Jeep and I went to step out and I couldn’t put my weight on my leg.  I almost fell.  I grabbed on to the steering wheel, a man was there who helped me.  I told him, “I think I broke my leg, I can’t walk on it.”

A few people helped me over to the curb.  Someone brought me ice for my leg.  Someone brought me a chair and helped me to move over to the shade.  Someone was helping the other woman, too.  Everyone was asking questions.  I was crying.  She was in shock.  She could barely speak.  Her pale face was marked by her black mascara as her tears ran down her cheeks.  She was horrified.  It was heartbreaking.  I couldn’t stop looking at my Jeep.  It still looked good.  Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.  From where we sat bruised and shaken, the vehicles looked okay.

People were trying to start it and move it out of the intersection, when the horn started blaring. The police arrived.  Someone had called an ambulance.  The EMTs arrived.  A tow truck arrived.  I called home.  My husband was on the way.  I asked someone who worked at the Starbucks on the corner to use my cell phone and take pictures of the scene.  (Later, when I looked at the pictures I realized how delusional I was to think that the accident wasn’t that bad.  My Jeep was not getting fixed. Both cars were toast.) I was being asked so many questions and for every one of them, my answer was, “I have that on a card.” I handed out my Auto Club card, my auto insurance card, my driver’s license, my business card, and most helpful – my “I am a Diabetic” card.  Sometime ago, I received some pamphlet that had a card that said, “I HAVE DIABETES, if I am unresponsive please call 911 immediately.  There are blank spaces to fill in name, medicines, allergies, doctor name and phone number, and emergency contact name and phone number.   I had filled in this card and kept it in my wallet.  It came in handy when the paramedics asked me if I am taking any medications.

When I was moved onto a stretcher and put in the ambulance and my Jeep was loaded onto a flat-bed tow truck, I realized that I loved that thing too much.  It can be (and was) replaced.  I have so much more in my life to be grateful for and love. It is true that it brought me much joy and excitement.  Yet, I know that it is my zest for life that made it so.

After hours in the ER, x-rays, and examinations, I found out that it was a sprained ankle that I couldn’t step on.  Nothing was broken. I am all better now.  Even though it was a few months ago and I have healed, I still feel phantom pain in my knee where I thought that I was bleeding that day.

Although I am sharing this as a ‘memory’ with the National Health Blog Post Month for WEGO Health, I had already been writing this for weeks.  Unsure when or why I would post it.  It is nothing more than a happening.  A memory.   A blip in my life.  Okay, it is a bit more.  I learned something about myself.  After mourning for my beloved yellow Jeep and getting over the loss of the thing that I cherished so much, I realized that it wasn’t the Jeep that made me cool, or interesting, or fun.  It’s me.  I am those things.  I was those things the twelve years that I drove the mom-mobile, aka mini-van.  But for whatever reason, I didn’t care about those things and they didn’t come out as much back then.

There is an undeniable pleasure that comes with driving a “fun car” or a convertible, or a status symbol.  Combine that with appreciating every good health day and truly living and enjoying every experience in my day-to-day life while mixing it up with the gratitude in my heart for every chance that I have to do so, and I can’t help but rock it in my new Jeep!  Close friends asked me why would I get another Jeep after the accident.  Perhaps a safer or newer vehicle would suit me better.  As if I was using the Jeep to get something out of my system.  As if it had been a mid-life crisis pacification.  As if by crashing it, that part of my life is now over and I should go back to driving a more sensible car.  As if it was unlucky or something.  I will admit, I considered other makes and models briefly.  But all the cars had the same criteria.  They had to be fun, convertible and old.  (Just like me!) When the insurance money came and my ankle was healed, it did not take long to find a Jeep that was comparable to my last one.  Once behind the wheel, I knew it was the right thing for me.  Most people think that I got the yellow one painted red.  As if I would change the color to suit my mood!  Hey, there’s an idea!

http://mizmeliz.com Photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012 Miz Meliz #NHBPM
30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

Dear Health, Let’s be GREAT today! #NHBPM Day 8

Dear Health,

The World Health Organization defines you as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  In other words, you are the epitome of balance and wellness.  As you live and thrive in me, you make me whole.  Since I am in control of my environment (for the most part) and how I treat my body, mind, and spirit, I honor your presence and influence in my life.

The most important thing in my life is love, yet I cannot love if I don’t have you.

My goal is to help others find their balance and experience joy, yet I cannot achieve that goal if I do not have you.

I wish to nurture my family and live a long life full of energy and excitement, yet I cannot do these things without you.

I know it’s difficult.  I don’t make things easy.  However I think I am in control of my environment and how I treat myself, I am at times careless and even reckless with you.  I am aware that there is some disease and infirmity that inhibits your ability to be at your absolute best.  Yet, I do very little to make changes in the affected areas and I do not always take full advantage of the resources available to me.  In fact, I have been doing the least possible in those areas.  For that, I am deeply sorry.

I want to be real with you.  I know you appreciate that!  I am doing my best here.  I won’t make any promises.  I won’t give you false hopes.  But I will say, I will never give up hope.  I will never give up trying.  I will never give up on you.

I need you, Health.  I want to see us working and fighting together to achieve not just balance, but greatness.  We won’t just be well, we will be outstanding! 

Hugs!

Me

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

Grab my Badge for Health: #NHBPM Day 7

Grab the Badge and Join my “Health Community.” Together, we can achieve anything!

I first experienced stacking rocks and making rock piles while camping on the beach a few summers ago with my family and my brother’s family.

I love stacking up the rocks and building towers with them. My kids love it, too. I believe my brother gave us some folklore about what it means to have the highest, most stable pile of rocks. It kept the kids busy for hours trying to make the tallest stack. My brother is a genius!

I enjoyed taking photos of the stacks of rocks from varying positions and perspectives. I recently took the photo that I used for this badge while on a trip with my niece in Northern California. I did not build that stack. It was already there. I like that they last for a while and I enjoy the mystery of who built it, when and why.

I decided to use this image for my Health Community Badge because it symbolizes the need for all different types of people to position themselves in such a way upon which a lasting and powerful foundation can be built. Together, we can rise up and make something substantial happen that everyone can see.

If you would like to join me on my journey, you may copy the badge and put it on your own blog. Or, just leave a comment or say a little prayer. Any way you want to do it, your support will be felt and appreciated.

Thank you,

Miz Meliz

To read more about my Health Journey and 30 Posts in 30 Days with WEGO Health:

Limitless Potential Starting with Saving Myself

A Conversation with My Doctor

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

A Road Less Travelled #NHBPM Day 6

“To stay on the high road, don’t look back.  Focus on the destination and enjoy the view!”

For NHBPM I was supposed to write about ‘taking the high road’. I have taken the high road. Therefor there will be no post about it.

Once you decide to take the high road, you can only stay there by not gloating and speaking of what you did. If you truly sacrificed your beliefs for someone or something else you can never go back without taking a detour or making a u-turn. To stay on the high road, you must leave the past behind you.

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

The #1 Thing That I Am Excited About Today

Three Things That I Am Excited About: Day 5 #NHBPM

Lucky for me, my heart speaks up now and then to remind me that I am not a complete slacker. I believe that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I have lots of great news and many accomplishments to be proud of. During the past year that I have been maintaining my Diabetes, I have not had any serious episodes and I always take my meds. However, I am excited about the fact that I have successfully weaned myself off of my anti-depression and anxiety medicine and now manage that holistically. I have completed an online course and received my certificate for life coaching. I have attended a blogging conference and have maintained my blog while increasing my readership and have been published on a national online magazine.

Managing Depression Holistically

I am a strong proponent of prescribed medication because it has saved my life and my sanity many times. I have a chemical imbalance that causes me to worry needlessly. The chain reaction that results from that worry leads to stress induced insomnia, migraine headaches, digestive problems, cysts, depression, and the worst thing ever, anxiety attacks. All of which results in a myriad of other serious problems and issues, including but not limited to missing work and problems within my relationships. After dealing with all of these issues separately for many years, I finally found the golden combination of counseling, medical advice and prescription medication that worked for me.

A healthy balance is key. Knowing how far I can tip to the sides without falling down is vital. Getting help before I fall is imperative. Knowing myself and anticipating when things might get too difficult for me has been what has made it possible for me to manage the diagnoses of depression and anxiety. It is a disease. It can be managed. For me, it is triggered by outside influences. Right now, everything is going well in my life, with my family, my job, everything. So, I am not in counseling. I am not taking medication. I am able to maintain balance with relaxation techniques, mantras, and writing. I know that if something (when something) happens that is beyond my control and capabilities, I can and will return to the resources I have for help. My doctors are there for me. In the meantime, I love the feeling of freedom from the meds.

http://mizmeliz.com "Straight Path" on Miz Meliz' Journey, photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012
It’s nice to see my destination ahead, with a straight path leading right to it!

I like being on my own. I still have mood swings, episodes of mild depression, anxiety, and headaches. I try to recognize the cycles and the symptoms as they come. I try to accept them and not let it get to me. That is all part of my holistic approach.

Life Coaching

Becoming a life coach is a huge accomplishment for me. Having reached a healthy balance in my own life has helped me to see how important that is to experience happiness. I have always wanted to be able to help others. All my life people have been able to open up to me and I am grateful for the ability that I have to listen and encourage them. I have been challenged a few times. I have been asked, what gives me the authority to coach or counsel others. I did not have an answer for that. My catechetical and leadership training had been enough when I was ministering at my church and in faith circles. Yet, I longed to be able to help all people in a non-denominational setting.

I have always challenged myself and felt that there was something I could do professionally with my talents. I just wasn’t sure what exactly or where I would take it.  I found the answers with becoming a certified professional life coach. I am now educated in the techniques and methodologies taught by Fowler Wainwright Institute of Professional Coaching. For now, since I am gainfully employed, I plan to practice coaching on the side to help people, to enhance my writing, to lead workshops and retreats, and to build a practice that I can fall back on when I eventually retire. Having a solid plan is like taking a breath of fresh air! It feels amazing and propels me forward, and that is the best direction!

Blogging

This week I am celebrating my one year anniversary of blogging. I have had my blog on WordPress since 2007 and have been posting articles (136 of them to date) on it consistently for about one year. That makes this my first “blogiversary!” I am very proud of all of the writing I have done, but mostly I am happiest about the unforgettable people I have encountered on this journey. They have changed my life for the better with their encouragement and love. In my 100th post article, I highlighted each turn of my journey and linked to many of the people who, like lampposts, have lighted my way along my path.

In celebration of my blogiversary, I would like to share the links to a few of my favorite blogs. Join me in the celebration and take a look at what these phenomenal women are writing about:

A Journey to Healthy

Toddler Trails

This Talk Ain’t Cheap

Minnesota Girl in L.A.

Stroller Adventures

Organized Island

Let’s Play OC

Mommy Powers

Mothership Scrapbook Gal

Sunny Vegan

The Wineabe

Horsing Around in L.A.

Chronicles of a Foodie