Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Surrender to Your Inner “Cowboy” #BlogVenture

San Francisco, Here I Come!

“Adventure is out there, it’s heading our way So grab your scarf and goggles, let’s fly! I’ve mapped out our journey, we’re up here to stay. A sunset is our home. A moonbeam we will own. My Spirit of Adventure is you!”~Michael Giacchino

I was excited about my road trip to San Francisco for lots of reasons. I have had ‘Visit SF’ on my bucket list for a long time. I thought it would be with my hubby or even a trip with our kids – but I was thrilled to be going on a road trip with fellow blogger, Mary Lansing of Along Comes Mary!

The reason for this trip was a quest to meet and interview another blogger, Evan Sanders of The Better Man Project. He had just launched his book by the same title and invited many of his followers to a launch party in Palo Alto, CA over the weekend. It happened to be a free weekend for me and I thought I could take my son up and look at colleges along the way. As I began planning the little trip, I crowd-sourced the idea on my So Cal Lady Bloggers Facebook Group to see if anyone knew of a B&B or hotel that was blogger friendly, thinking I might get a good deal. I also contacted a relative that recently moved to a suburb of San Francisco and has offered me the use of her guest room. As I casted out my net, I snagged a few interested blogger buddies and a road trip/meet up was born!Blog Venture

The Spirit of Adventure

The spirit of adventure takes over in me when I think about travelling. I love exploring and letting vacations unfold. I like to have a light structure and be open to all the possibilities. I love meeting up with and visiting with friends and family along the way. When Mary and I set out, we talked and talked the whole way. We really got to know each other. One thing we have in common is that we take after our fathers. Our dads have always had the type of personality with which they made friends with everyone easily and always ran into people they knew everywhere they went. It was uncanny to my family that this happened to my dad on so many occasions. The same is true of Mary’s dad. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now when we are able to keep in touch with distant relatives and old friends on Facebook and with email, but long before that became an option – our dad’s had that friendly comaraderie with people all over the world. They left lasting impressions and their friendly and easy-going demeanor was always approachable. We both want to continue the tradition. We enjoy making friends along the way on our journey through life. Having the spirit of adventure and openness to possibilities running through our veins is one thing that made our spontaneous trip to San Francisco so much fun! This got me thinking. . . one of my core beliefs is based on being open to the possibilities that can be life changing—and believing that these possibilities may bring a greater sense of joy and fulfillment to my life.

So Cal in the Rear View

Cowboy-up

In Evan Sanders’ book, The Better Man Project, he mentions how he thinks he should have been born in the “cowboy era” when things were much simpler. He says, back then you could . . . “Jump on your horse and go. Didn’t matter where, you could just go for miles. If you needed to get away, there was always a new frontier waiting to be discovered. But most importantly, you could be at peace.”

“The cowboy symbolizes the free life, closely tied to the out-of-doors and nature. The impact of land, the grass, the rivers and streams and gushing springs, the color of the sky and the clouds, the climate and the weather, these things are characteristic of the real and the mythical cowboy cultures.” ~David Dary, Cowboy Culture

I had this “cowboy” feeling going on around the time that I heard about Evan’s party in Palo Alto. I felt the urge to go on an adventure and I wanted to get away. I felt a need to let go a little. Too much routine was getting to me. I actually went to Google maps and entered Palo Alto, CA. Where was it? How far a drive was it? What was it near? I checked my bank balance. Could I swing it? I had just told my hubby that we shouldn’t spend too much on Valentine’s Day and I knew a hotel or airfare was out of the question. But sharing the cost of gas and only having my own expenses to worry about was doable. The call of the road was beckoning me!Rainbow

Sometimes when I get this feeling, I will take a long drive by myself. I like to take the top down on the Jeep and drive up the coast. I will find a place to park and go for walks on the beach. Have a picnic. Shop. Explore. Alone. I like to get some solace now and then. Be introspective. Recharge. Listen to my heart. Let go. Surrender to the wind.

Bonding and Forming Lasting Relationships

This time, I felt like connecting with others and forging new relationships. I really felt a call to venture out to connect and reconnect with friends. I had the urge to spend a weekend networking and expanding my community. I was in the mood for “girl-time” and boy did I get it! I lost my voice from talking for three days straight and I enjoyed every minute!

I wanted to surrender and get away from the every day. I wanted to make the most of my time and have fun, too. I made my mission for the trip to use the time getting to know people and letting them get to know me. I opened myself up a bit. I actually enjoyed being me and I made the most of it. This was a chance for me to be the “pure me” – not the mom, or the wife, or the planner, or even the blogger. Just me and my rental car, my iPhone and my debit card! It was a blast!

I want to thank my husband and sons for being so very supportive of my ideas and my spirit of adventure. I know they all like to travel and would have loved to take a trip to San Francisco. They were very understanding of my reasons for my need to get away without them. We are a very close family but we respect the need to do things on our own at times. That goes for the mother, too! I am blessed!

Have a Hap-pea Day

It was a big risk! I went on this trip with someone I had only met a few times and barely knew. Since she is a blogger, I checked her out by looking at her online presence. I knew very little about Mary and she knew very little about me. There turned out to be a big age difference, but when we tried to guess each other’s age, the gap seemed much closer. This was a good thing. We found that we have much in common and we got along famously. We connected on many levels, but the most important factors we found to have in common is our love for blogging, our love of travel, and our love of 80’s music! By the time we arrived in San Francisco, we had eaten lunch at Pea Soup Anderson’s in Buelton, gone wine tasting in Solvang, searched for garlic ice cream in Gilroy, and become great friends!

Miz Meliz in BeulltonWine Tastes

The San Francisco Treat

We stayed at a wonderful new Bed & Breakfast in South San Francisco. Just kidding! We stayed with a family friend of mine (my husband’s cousin) and her husband and their two young sons. Their hospitality matched that of the best B&B’s around and we were particularly impressed with the wait staff. The cute little boys not only carried our bags, provided turn down service, brought us coffee and snacks, but also snuggled in bed with us! It was a heart-warming experience. There was a lot of trust, a – lot – of – trust with bringing a stranger along with me to stay in the home of a family friend!! That was the biggest risk of all. I thank my lucky stars that it turned out as great as it did! (I did have a back-up plan. It would have been costly, but if Mary and I didn’t “click” I planned on checking in to a hotel.) But, luckily, she fit right in and has become an extended member of the family. Our gracious hosts made their guest rooms comfortable and our stay was an A+ experience thanks to them!Our Hosts

Over the weekend Mary and I spent a significant amount of time connecting with friends, making new friends and interviewing bloggers. We also did some sightseeing. We went to breakfast at the Squat & Gobble in the Castro District and the food was amazing! We spent the afternoon taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and driving around the city. We went to the Walt Disney Family Museum at the famous Presidio and we saw the Snow White Exhibit. Our friendship grew during this day as we shared these experiences together. Mary and I took lots of pictures and we were fortunate to be in one of the most famous cities in the world on a gorgeous sunny winter day. A few times along the way Mary asked me, “What do you want to do right now?” Which I kindly responded, “I’m doing it!” Truthfully, it didn’t matter exactly where we went to eat or what site we saw next – I was on a trip having a great time, making a friend and being one. That is all I wanted to do and I was so happy I got to do it!

Golden Gate Sightseeing Snow White and the Seven Oscars The Presidio

Palo Alto Party

Our host, Maryann, joined us as we headed to Palo Alto that evening to meet with two other blogger friends for dinner. Five ladies in a small booth at the well known old-time diner, the Peninsula Creamery was quite a sight to be seen! After dinner, we walked over to the Coupa Cafe for coffee. We talked and enjoyed getting to know each other even better over coffee. It was here that we experienced the “girl power” of a weekend get away! Blogger, Susan Cooper of Finding Our Way Now came to town on her own ‘girl’s weekend” with her long-time friend, Deborah. The two drove from Sacramento to attend the launch party.

Mocha from Coupa Cafe The Five Ladies The So Cal Lady Bloggers

Susan says that she is an adventurous soul. I was glad to get the opportunity to spend time with her. She brought her camera and tripod. She took lots of pictures and was quite interested in meeting Evan and joining in the fun. She made the trip seem like no big deal. It felt like it was what we should be doing. Both Mary and I have felt a connection with Susan via our blogs. It was nice to spend time together. We didn’t have to do much discovery about each other. We just “fell in line” in a conversation that seems to be forever ongoing!

“I find great excitement when taking a new path in a new direction, often offering new lessons to learn and share. I have learned that life’s lessons are just that… lessons that we must learn from, appreciate and share and most of all, remember to have fun along the way.” ~Susan Cooper

After coffee, we went across the street to the bar where Evan’s big party was taking place. We were on a quest to meet the writer and get an interview about how he went from blogger to published author. It was fun being at a party for someone having never met the guest of honor (except for via social media!) It was a fantastic party and a great venue. There was a big turnout for Evan’s celebration and we met some of his biggest fans, followers and even his family. Evan gave us a lot of attention and honored us for coming so far to meet him. The next morning, he gave Mary and I even more time to ask questions when he met us for breakfast to complete the interview. See my post Meet Evan Sanders.

Big Margarita Deborah Entranced Inspired Ivy Mary Listening Evan Sanders and Melissa Reyes

The Last Day

Sunday morning was spent hanging out in the kitchen of our host family and making plans for the day. It was a bitter-sweet farewell as we were just getting comfortable with our new found friendship with Maryann and Alec and their wonderful sons and we really liked being in San Francisco. I wished we didn’t have to leave so soon. One or two more days would have been terrific!

From the breakfast interview with Evan, we went on a side trip to Silicon Valley to meet with another blogger buddy. Our dear friend, Maribel of Stroller Adventures would have loved to attend all the activities in Palo Alto and San Francisco but she couldn’t coordinate it with her two small children in tow. I suggested that Mary and I meet her some place where the kids could have some fun while we have a chance to hang out together. The important part was to make a connection and spend time together. All the blogging and social media connections that we do could never measure up to a face to face meeting. Warm hugs, smiles and face time! Now Maribel’s kids call me “Auntie Melissa!” That is golden to me! It was worth the effort and all it cost was some time.

The InterviewOutside Peninsula CreameryMelis Maribel Mary

On the drive back to Los Angeles, Mary and I had ideas to stop at more places and have even more adventures! We would have loved to take a pit stop at the campy restrooms at The Madonna Inn that we have heard about or go wine tasting at the beautiful winery at Bella Luna in Paso Robles. We talked about sharing a sunset in Ventura with my good friend, Joy of Facets of Joy. We talked about other friends of ours that live in the Bay Area and how we could definitely take another trip together some day to visit them. We did stop for dinner at Woodstock Pizza in San Luis Obispo. It was the last leg of the trip. Mary had heard they had great gluten free pizza and they did! By this time I was tired and starting to show my age. (No, I can’t keep up with Mary!) Luckily she had the energy to drive the rest of the way home. I was sad that our little adventure was coming to an end. But somehow, it seemed like a beginning. Yes, it’s a new beginning! We will have more adventures together. We will call them our. . . Blog Ventures!

Woodstock Pizza

Surrendering

You don’t have to take a road trip to enjoy the feeling of getting away. You can make changes in your life by accepting it the way it is. Surrendering does not mean giving up… it is about acceptance. When you accept your life the way it is, you can free yourself.

“When you feel like you’re fighting your life instead of living it … clinging to the past … afraid of the future … not feeling what is in your heart … to put it simply, you feel stuck. When you can’t steer your life where you want it to go, don’t give up — learn to surrender.” ~Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav believes that surrendering is one of the most difficult things that you can accomplish in your lifetime. Surrendering is about accepting your life just as it is, without any resistance. When you resist your life, you resist what you can learn from it, and what you can gain from it. Open yourself to new experiences, open yourself to loving yourself in all experiences. Just the way you are.

Don’t Give Up

Surrendering is not what most people think. It doesn’t mean giving up — it means acceptance. When you accept your emotions and experiences, you begin to create a more powerful life for yourself. Surrendering doesn’t mean letting go of your responsibility. You must do your part — only you have the power to change the direction of your life.

Evan Sanders believes in never quitting. Evan says in his book, that standing for never quitting is a very measurable aspect of his life. He knows when he is quitting something. Not following through on commitments. Giving up. Giving in. He says he wants perseverance to be at the heart of his character. Love. Passion. Never quit.

I am so glad I took the time to get away on this Blog Venture! It was time to refresh, renew, surrender and open myself up to new things while accepting myself and what I am capable of doing. I hope it inspires you to be spontaneous and to enjoy the things that make you tick.

 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/When-Life-Seems-Unfair/4#ixzz2DXxIX79l

The best things about you are there all the time!

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Whatever You Do – Don’t Laugh! Being a Total Rock Star Isn’t Easy!

In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.

One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed.  I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed.  I don’t want to place blame.  That doesn’t change things now.  Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am.  It won’t really matter.  I already know. I am the way I am.  I accept myself the way I am.  I have fears and I handle them.

I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself.  I began doing that when I began blogging.  Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free!  That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.

It’s my time to shine!

Miz Meliz at Urban Desert Cabaret http://mizmeliz.com photo property of Lito Reyes Copyright 2013

This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists.  When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation.  When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind.    The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic.   What if I mess up?  What if they laugh at me?  What if no one likes my poem.  What if I get sick to my stomach?  What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on?  These things have happened before.

The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge.  They are just a part of me.  I want to show the world that I can do these things well.  I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement.  This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before.  It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what?  I rocked it!  It was great!  Not just because I did not get ill.  Not just because my friends said I was good.  Not just because I didn’t mess it up.  I enjoyed the experience.  I shared my talent with my friends and family.  And – no one laughed!  I did great because I believed in myself.

The Urban Desert Cabaret

Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged.  The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it.  Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert.  These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love.  Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you!  You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.

copyright Joe Garcia 2013
It was exciting to be named in the event flyer!

I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia.  First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs.  Their music is transfixing.  It brings me to a place of soulful reflection.  Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree?  It opens up your horizons.  That is how Joe’s music is to me!  He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.

Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC.  Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up.  He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?”  I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did.  And I was!  I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show.  It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.

Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile.  She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs.  His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before!  (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!!  Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the  Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas.  They were awesome!

Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces.  When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time?  Well, I am about to bring you down.”  Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival.  She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning.  It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment.  It was an honor to be a part of it!

My performance is on my You Tube Channel and the poem is posted here: That Funky Tree.

Two Funny Brains

Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too!  I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity!  It is not easy to be a woman and be funny.  That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!  two funny brains

I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home.  Debbie Anderson was there, too.  I couldn’t believe how lucky I am!  I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting.  She was surprised by my question.  I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions.  But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)

photo credit AJ Ferman Copyright 2013
Jessica Bern & Miz Meliz

To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way.  I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy.  I know it is not easy. 

The Poetry Salon

After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood.  I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon.  It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love.  What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion.  (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.)  I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet!  I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)

Photo Credit Deanna Leigh of Poetry Salon copyright 2013
Miz Meliz with Jamie Gall and Jennifer Styperk

Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most.  No matter what, keep at it!  Don’t ever give up hope!  Face your fears.  Find ways of making it work.  It’s your time to shine!

Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly.  Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn, Jamie, AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!

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

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

My Bloggy Bootcamp – Survival Guide

I Survived My Bloggy Bootcamp!

I have been to conferences and networking events before, but nothing quite like this.  Calling upon my past experiences and from what I gathered from my Facebook blogging group’s advice (seasoned bootcampers like Carolyn West/This Talk Aint Cheap told me some stories) I planned ahead.   I am glad I did!  I got everything out of the event that I hoped for and much more!

My Objectives

*Get seen and known . . . Make A Splash!
*Meet Bloggers from So Cal Lady Bloggers Group . . . make a genuine connection.
*Meet influential Bloggers . . . make an impression.

My Tools

Armed with new business cards (complete with all of the necessary components that a blogger/writer/life coach/event planner should have including my Twitter handle, associations and a cute photo of myself,) I set out to meet everyone I could and have some fun doing it!  Before I left for Las Vegas, I took a list of So Cal Lady Bloggers that planned to attend this conference, I added pictures and blog names and I printed it on both sides of an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of card stock.  I put a nice stack of business cards, a few sharpies, and my folded up list in a wristlet purse.

My “List”

My Plan

My plan was to check off each lady as I met her.  Rather than just putting a check by each name, I asked my new friend to sign her name by her picture.  It was so much fun asking for autographs and it made each blogger feel like a star!

(I love it when things work out!)  I carried my wristlet everywhere I went and made sure to swap business cards at every opportunity.  I smiled at everyone, everywhere I went, even outside the conference in the hotel, just in case they were a blogger, too.  I noticed that most of the people were smiling back and having a good time.  I am usually a little reserved at these things (believe it or not!) and I stay to myself.  This time I was determined to make the most of the time and meet people.

Mrs. Wonder from Sunshine Wonderland

Another important part of my plan was to learn about blogging.  Afterall, that is what I signed up for!  Part of my strategy was making sure that I did not share a room.  As much as I would have loved to save money, have a bloggy companion, and have tons of fun – my objective was to learn.  I know that if I don’t have a quiet place to reflect and process, much of what I learn would have stayed in Vegas.  In this case, I did not want that to happen.  Although my hubby was with me, I was still able to have space to spread out all my stuff, be alone with my thoughts, bounce ideas off an objective (however imprisoned) supporter, and have quiet time to write my notes.

My stuff on my bed in my room at my bloggy bootcamp!

I took a composition style notebook and a pen to take my notes, as advised by the SITS Girls who put on Bloggy Boot Camp.  It was good advice because I didn’t want to have to worry about my laptop, battery life and WiFi connection the whole time.  I noted key points that I wanted to remember during the fabulous speakers’ presentations.  I wrote my reflections for this post.  I took down some awesome quotes.  I am glad I wrote them in my notebook, because my cell battery did die and I couldn’t tweet out some of the epiphanies I had.

I took some great pics that I Instagrammed and hashtagged.  I tweeted.  I shared.  Next time, I will bring a separate camera because I missed some amazing “Kodak Moments” when my phone died.  I noticed a few bloggers used their phone to take pics of the slides on the screen during the presentations.  What a brilliant idea!  Why didn’t I think of that?  That’s one to remember for next time to really cut down on note taking.

What I Learned

The conference, the organizers, the speakers and the sessions were all fantastic!  It was clear and concise.  The information was relevant.  The speakers were well prepared and professional.  I really got what I came for!

I was blown away by the contagious energy and excitement from one of the most successful bloggers around, Laurie Turk/The Tip Junkie.  She shared her Top Ten Blogging Success Tips.  She was so willing to share that it really gave me hope that I can and will increase my SEO. I was so happy with myself that I didn’t have to ask what that was or even look it up!  Search Engine Optimization is something every blogger who wants to increase their readership should know.  Laurie’s tips made it seem attainable.

Cynthia Wheeler/@napwarden spoke to us about Great Blog Design.  If you visit my blog often you may notice I already made a few changes.  She gave terrific advice and if I can afford to get a professionally designed blog, I will know where to go!

The best speaker there was someone I have met personally on a few occasions and was even on my list!  Trina Finton/The Gaming Angel gave an insider’s look at gadgets and apps that all bloggers should know.  There are quite a few apps and programs that I want to try.

I enjoyed the break out session.  I attended the Writer’s Workshop.  It was a small group and set up in an informal discussion.  I received some good tips for bloggers who are writers from Fran Banducci/SITS Girls, Kathy Bouska/MamaKat, and Chelsea Day/Some Day I’ll Learn.  I learned that it is important to “make people want to read what I write” and how to do a “Six Word Memoir.”

My favorite quote from Bloggy Bootcamp Vegas 2012:

“Whatever is on fire, is what gets my attention!” Kathy Bouska

Danielle Liss/Fitfluential gave the bloggers a quick but important overview of the Legal Basics of Blogging.  I was happy that most of what I remember from business law (a favorite class in college) still applies.  Most of the copyright, trademark, contract and licensing rights can be looked up online.  Danielle helped to clear up any blurry issues where blogging is concerned and pointed out how to get the correct and current information.  That was awesome!

I was enthralled with the final speaker, Elizabeth Jayne Liu/Flourish in Progress who talked about her personal experience with blogging.  She spoke about being authentic and developing a unique voice.  She hit it home for me and made me feel so glad that I am doing this.  She helped me to realize that it is okay to “Speak the way I speak, say what is on my mind,” and to know that “the more I write the more I can get to know myself and become comfortable with myself.”  She is such an inspiration to me!  I couldn’t wait to meet her and I was lucky to get her awesome business card!

What I Will Always Remember

I was inspired by the Tribe.

The sponsors were in on the underlying theme.  I am bangin’ the drum!  We need each other.  I want to thank the sponsors.  Not because they made my experience top-notch, not because it is the right thing to do, but because I can.  I am a blogger and it’s what I do!  Shout out to the sponsors:  Ford Warriors in Pink, Mirassou Winery, and Jewel Kade.

I had the absolute honor to sit next to a truly amazing young Cancer Survivor who is a Warrior in Pink, Tina Herold.  If you know me and have read my posts before you know that I believe there are no accidents.  I was meant to sit next to this angel.  Because of her I am scheduled to get a mammogram this week.  Hugs to Tina!  If you want to be inspired, check out this blog:  http://imwiggedout.com/wiggedouthome.html

All of the ladies that I met at Bloggy Bootcamp were wonderful.  They are just normal people who have a blog.  They are just like me.  We are all Rock Stars!  Mommas, Foodies, Clickertons, Fugalistas, and Adventurers.  Best of all, we like to share, to learn, to embrace and to empower.  Cheers to the bloggers!!

Would you like to read about another time I sat next to an angel?  https://mizmeliz.com/2012/09/03/an-enchanted-evening/

Have you ever sat next to someone who had an inspiring story?  Tell me about it!  Leave me a comment.

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

Milestones: My 100th Post

Considering the Zen Theory of Change which says,

I free myself not by trying to free myself
but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself
in the very moment in which I am imprisoning myself.

I have been freed!

May 28, 2012

This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I am thrilled to celebrate the 100th post on my blog: http://mizmeliz.com!

I have learned so much and have met so many amazing people in the past six months! It has been a remarkable journey, so far. I want to pause and reflect on all the people who have paved the way and who have stood by and cheered me on. I know there is much, much more in store for me. I want to take a moment and really thank all of you for making this a reality for me!

This is a chronicle of the experiences I have had since I started blogging. I know it’s small beans relatively speaking but they are my experiences and I treasure them and I believe in celebrating each moment. This is how I have made a mark on my tiny corner of the Universe. These first few months have made a positive change in my life. Indulge me if I get carried away here. . .

The First Steps

I wouldn’t have continued with blogging seriously if it weren’t for the nudging of a fellow school parent and church friend, Ricca Frances 1. Who invited me to the group So Cal Lady Bloggers in October 2011. Ricca, who writes at http://www.sprmama.blogspot.com/ further encouraged me when she told me that she reads my blog and she considers me to be a prolific writer! Thanks to Ricca’s faith in me, I have been accepted by some wonderful communities and influential groups in the blogging world.

I cannot thank these ladies enough! Megan McClain 2, Carolyn West 3, Sidney Patrick 4, Wendy Nielson 5, Meagan Elliott 6, Beverly Diehl 7, Trina Finton 8, and AJ Feuerman 9 (and everyone at So Cal Lady Bloggers) for their advice and encouragement. I have enjoyed the meet ups, the conversations, the laughs and the education that they have gifted me with during our brief interludes. Thanks to all of them for showing me the ropes and for including me in their endeavors. It can only get better! I am looking forward to my induction into the wonderful world of blogging conferences and spending more time with you all IRL!

So Cal Lady Bloggers
Burbank Meet Up of So Cal Lady Bloggers

Megan, who writes at http://sunshinewonderland.com was the first person who asked me “What is your niche?” I realize now what a difference knowing the answer to that question makes.

Thanks to Carolyn, who writes at http://thistalkaintcheap.com I had the opportunity to attend a book signing and appearance of Jenny Lawson 10/http://thebloggess.com/hosted by Soleil Moon Frye 11 of http://moonfrye.com/ that made me laugh like crazy, buy the book, and enjoy every minute of reading it which inspired me to further pursue my own desire to write a book!

Sidney, of http://www.milbetweenus.com/ , will always be remembered for organizing the first meet up I attended. I was concerned about the first impression I made after having suggested she add time for cocktails (because I knew I would be nervous and would need a drink) and after exchanging our business cards, realizing we both had the same exact design. After the initial shock of the “showing up in the same dress” feeling wore off, I felt validated that I had a really cool business card just like Sidney’s!

Wendy of http://www.wendywillblog.com/ and Meagan of http://www.beyondthebandaids.com/ taught me what a linky is and allowed me to participate in their Happiness Project on their website, http://www.chronicallydistracted.com/! Thanks to them, I was challenged to produce my first (and only) vlog post on YouTube!

Beverly, from http://writinginflow.blogspot.com/ has inspired me to write what I love. I love her because she is in a niche that I wish I had the balls to be in and she inspires me to be myself when I write and to let the creativity flow freely.

I am grateful for Trina, from http://www.shesgeekyinc.com who thoughtfully dressed in yellow, showed me the way, and gave me direction – quite literally – when I got lost in Beverly Hills while looking for the The Blogess! She was so kind and watched out for me, a total stranger!

AJ, who writes http://confessionsofafatgirl.typepad.com/ is my soul mate in many ways and I am so proud of her because she articulates thoughts and feelings that I have had my entire life that I still have not dared to write about as candidly as she has on her blog.

To Sugar Jones 12 , of http://www.sugarjonesblog.com/, Jessica Bern 13 of http://bernthis.com/wordpress/ and Debbie Anderson 14 of http://twofunnybrains.com/ thank you for including me in a small way in your important and fun adventures! I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This. Sugar, thanks especially to you for helping me see my Latinability and for accepting me the way I am. Thanks to you ladies, I can say that I never considered myself to be a Latina Blogger before, but now I can proudly say I play one on First Run TV! https://www.facebook.com/BlogThisSeries

Off-Roading is Fun!

I am grateful for the opportunity to express myself creatively through writing and photography and I am much happier since I decided to take this turn in the road. In the past six months I have jumped around and explored many of my lifelong interests. I have been especially creative and I have had so much fun with it! From making jewelry, crocheting scarfs, making key chains and bookmarks with feathers, scrapbooking, drawing, face painting, sewing costumes, and decorating Easter eggs, to making videos and editing pictures using digital photography and iPhone apps – my hobbies and interests are extensive. There have been quite a few bumps in the road, but as any adventurer/thrill-seeker knows, that is what makes things interesting.

Special thanks to all the creatives who have accepted me into their fold, added me to their closed and secret Facebook groups and made me feel like a crafter, an artist, a photographer, a writer, a super mom, a super wife, a super friend, even a muse – – all of the things that I know I am, but now have incorporated into my bio. Because of you, I am being recognized outwardly for the things that I have cherished inside of me for so long!

I am proud to have had the pleasure of exploring the crazy avenues of life online as a member of some special groups on Facebook. Because of this I have found myself having heart to heart chats with the most talented and creative people I have ever met and would never have met if it weren’t for the “inter webs!”

It all started with Sue Dribben-Dicksen 15 (Abingdon) who I didn’t know in high school to unknowingly mentor me as a writer on Create a Story and Book Talk. http://aspiefolks.blogspot.com/

Sue then referred me to Susanne Bal Balyemez 16 http://peppysposts.com (Philadelphia) who made me a member of her Girl’s Treehouse Advisory Board and allowed me to share my inner thoughts and advice with a group blessed with so many spiritual, caring and thoughtful women.

Susanne then refered me to The Atelier where I found myself amongst some of the most incredible artists like Amy Kalabsa-Garcia 17 (Chicago) http://amykgarciaart.wordpress.com/ and Harold Rantasa 18 (Austria) http://www.art-rantasa.com/ who have shared their original works of art with me and allowed me to use it freely on my newly designed blog site.

Amy Garcia’s rendition of me. . . The Muse 2012

Susanne also referred me to The Cooks Corner where I pretend that I can cook so I can hang out with my BFIRL (best friend in real life) Holly Markman 19, private chef and owner of Holly’s Homemade. Holly has used some of my pictures on her website and I help to promote her endeavors. (So, shameless plug here – if you need a chef, a consultation or would like to take classes stop by http://www.hollyshomemade.com/)

Returning to a Familiar Territory

Somewhere around this time I started taking pictures of flowers and food while on all of my adventures. Shortly after I got married (about a million years ago) I took a college extension course in photography. I loved taking pictures and considered photo journalism as an area of interest. My mother-in-law gave me a beautiful Nikon SLR and I learned about aperture, depth of field and the basics of amateur photography. I put the passion for photography on hold for a while and only recently re-discovered it when I began taking pictures with my cell phone.

I joined Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr. I post my pictures of flowers that I edit and I enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them.

Miz Meliz Photography Copyright Melissa Reyes 2012
Photography by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

I met a photographer/artist who had inspired me years ago at an event and thanks to my new-found confidence; I introduced myself as a blogger/photographer. Now I have a mentor and I am collaborating with the inspirational and talented Elizabeth Thoman, CHM 20. Liz has a made a beautiful contribution to healing the sick by using her photography of flowers to help people in hospitals pray and enjoy their beauty http://healingpetals.com/. Liz has been recognized for her lifetime of work and exemplary leadership in various roles, including writer/editor of Media & Values magazine, Executive Director of the Center for Media Literacy (CML), and co-founder of NAMLE, the National Association for Media Literacy Education. http://namle.net/2009/08/31/meritorious-service-award-honors-longtime-leader/

Recently, I found myself in a group called Picture This where I was suddenly immersed in the world of photography. Jamie Gall 21 and Kristin Boyle McGuire 22 http://crazykwistin.wordpress.com/ both members of So Cal Lady Bloggers, are in this group. Jamie included my photos on her cell phone photography blog post http://mngirlinla.com/2012/04/09/week-2-of-cell-phone-photography-entries/. I am challenged on a weekly basis to post pictures with specific themes or in certain categories. Many of the other participants are professional photographers. It’s such a blast!

My article about decorating Lithuanian Easter Eggs got a like from Charlie 23 and Tom 24, two brothers, at http://photobotos.com/. I am hoping to be acknowledged for some of my work on that majestic site which highlights photography from around the globe.

Navigating My Way on the Road to Success

I could not have gone this far on my journey without the support and encouragement of my family and my friends. In January 2012 I was given a special gift by fellow blogger and spiritualist, Joy Detor Holland 25, http://facetsofjoy.com/ who sent me an email in regards to a writing initiative called A Year With Myself. One of my first blog posts was actually a response to a blog that I read by a friend of Joy’s, Raam Dev 26. Raam inspired me to write in the moment and consider a minimalist outlook. http://raamdev.com/

Joy honored me with a request to contribute to her ebook, Cultivating Your Voice which was launched on International Women’s Day. http://facetsofjoy.com/cultivating-your-voice-a-complimentary-ebook/ She is a remarkable and insightful friend of seventeen years IRL who really does bring joy to my heart!

Writing in response to the prompts from A Year with Myself has caused me to examine my core values, my true passions, my talents and my goals. Following the prompts and committing to writing on my blog once a week is what made me believe that I could be a writer. Having the support of the creator and instigators of A Year with Myself has been a blessing beyond words. It has been an honor to get comments and ongoing encouragement from these writers who are experts in their fields.

I have been influenced by Patti Digh 27, who describes how living in a liminal space, the ‘in between’ space, is the moment that there is nothing to hold on to where I can be the most present, most alive, most vulnerable, and most human. http://www.37days.com/

Sara Blackthorne 28 challenged me to find my own reflection in the world and look to my ancestry for my inspiration. http://www.forestofstories.com/

Ronna Detrick 29 empowered me to allow self confidence and self love to happen gracefully—with permission, time and patience. http://www.ronnadetrick.com/

Sandi Amorin 30 helped to light the fire in my soul to achieve my goals and to set my sights on what I value most. http://www.devacoaching.com/author/sandi/

I took Marcus Buckingham’s 31 The Strong Life Test for Women which helped me to realize that my personality type is consistent with the talents that I am using in my life and in my work. http://www.tmbc.com/about-marcus

C.A. Kabu 32 (the creator of A Year with Myself) defined authenticity for me, asking me to think about my character, values, strengths, and their intersections while relating this to having a sense of who I am and sharing it with the world without reservations. http://ayearwithmyself.com/

Karen Caterson 33 taught me that knowing my differences—and living them is what makes me authentic, and how being authentic can lead to making a difference in the world. http://www.squarepegpeople.com/index.php

Abby Kerr 34 showed me that vision is having the ability or capacity to apprehend what I really want and believe I can do. http://abbykerrink.com/

Sue Mitchell 35 revealed how the relationship of adventure, serendipity and creativity and how being adventurous helps me in my creative projects. She talks about building self-confidence and finding life’s meaning through being adventurous and how inviting more adventure into your life, awakens the adventurer in you. http://www.yourmuseiscalling.com/

Dyanna Valentine 36 beckoned me to proclaim the things that I am not sorry for and to own who I am and what I stand for. http://dyanavalentine.com/

Thanks to A Year With Myself, I have had contact with other writers who are on this journey of self discovery and empowerment as well. One person in particular is Wing Pauh 37 (Singapore) whose website is http://www.wingvantagepoint.com/ at 22 years old, only half of my age, she has a deep insight and understanding of where she fits in the world that I truly admire. I just got a text from her about wanting to appeal to her company’s corporate social responsibility and provide donations for an animal shelter. She is such a remarkable young lady and I would never have met her if it weren’t for the broadening of my horizons through writing online.

Some other amazing bloggers that I have had the opportunity to connect with who have inspired me to keep at this are Jack Goldenberg 41 http://10minutesofbrilliance.com/, Quinn McDonald 42 http://www.quinncreative.com/, and Gretchin Rubin 43 http://happiness-project.com/. Please visit their blogs and read their books!

I have also had a chance to help out other bloggers with my writing by having a guest post on their blog. When Tiffany 38 at http://stuffparentsneed.com/ was going to be away for a few weeks having her second child, she worked it out to treat her readers to articles from other bloggers. I heard about this on Facebook and I submitted a request to help her out. I was so excited when Tiffany accepted my proposal to do an interview of a new parent asking what item they couldn’t live without.

After that post, I was accepted as a member of the California Mom Bloggers by Teresa Olivera 39, who I would categorize as a blogging media mogul (or overachiever) http://teresaolvera.com/other-blogs/ Teresa is also a member of the So Cal Lady Bloggers and creator of Geo Moms. In a serendipitous swoop Teresa accepted my offer to review and post a weekly recap of The Bachelorette at http://californiamomblogs.com/! Now I have a weekly guest spot and I am reviewing a TV show!

Miz Meliz The Bachelorette Post Host
See my weekly recap of The Bachelorette every Monday night on http://californiamomblogs.com

My latest endeavor is my association with the Latina Lifestyle Bloggers http://llbloggers.com/. I am very proud to have been accepted into this fine group of women. I met the founder and moderator of this group, Ana Lydia Monaco, 40 through So Cal Lady Bloggers, too! My favorite comment after announcing my acceptance to this particular group was from my brother who said, “So now you are Latina – congratulations!” In the next few weeks, I will uncover my deep seeded perceptions as to why I never embraced my heritage in this way until now. I have already begun writing about some issues that come to mind having to do with segregation, racial profiling, stereotypes, ethnicity and environment.

Road Signs and Mile Posts

One thing that every blogger knows about is the importance of knowing your numbers. For whatever reason, I have started to look at my stats and have forced myself to learn a bit about analytics just to keep up on the conversation! The purpose of this becomes important when joining groups, in applying to be a contributor and in the hopes of proving yourself worthy of being sponsored or picked up by an advertiser. For me, it is a fun way to see the potential and growth that I have engaged in as a blogger and I look at it like a map of my journey.

Speaking of numbers, there are some folks that I would like to THANK but it is impossible for me to list. I am grateful for their attention and love!

  • 43+ writers who have influenced me (listed with their links above)
  • 3988 people to date who have visited my blog, from over 60 countries!
  • 89 comments people have made on my blog
  • 16 people willing to subscribe to my blog
  • 82 (and counting) likes on my Facebook Fan Page
  • 424 followers on Twitter
  • 274 people who have connected with me on LinkedIn
  • 25 people who have viewed my vlog on my YouTube Channel
  • 49 people who have viewed my Photostream on Flickr
  • 38 followers on Instagram
  • 67 people in my circles on Google+
  • 76 people who follow my boards on Pinterest
  • And I am extremely grateful for my two followers on Tumblr!
  • You for reading the 3306 words in this post!

I am thrilled by the fact that I know these connections have been made by real people and not all my husband just clicking like on everything just to make me feel better! I love each and every person out there who has made a connection with me and I pray for them everyday! I do hope to have more success with my writing. I humbly hope to reach more people, to be inspired by them and to inspire them to live an authentic life. The only way I know this is happening online is to measure my success by using numbers. I think about how each of these sets of numbers represents real people all the time. I hope to add zeros to the ends of all the numbers above the next time I look at these statistics. But honestly, if the numbers do not increase at all, I would continue this path. It is so rewarding to share my thoughts with all of you who care about me.

The main thing I want to express to you (especially to those of you who are still actually reading this!) is that what makes this experience so incredible is all of the influence and support of all the people I am meeting along the way. I took the time to list them and give them credit because I am so very grateful for the way they have touched my life.

My kind of sign!

Each of the elements I have experienced so far alone would have been enriching and exciting for me to explore, but having them all happen together is life enhancing. It has been like falling in love with life. When you fall in love, you just know. When you are doing something that makes you happy and feel good, everything just falls into place. It feels like I know my way around here and I like the direction this road is leading! For now, I have enjoyed stopping and taking a look at the amazing scenery which surrounds me each and every day.

Merci!

Muchas Gracias!

Danke!

σας ευχαριστώ!

תודה!

Salamat!

Tack!

Grazie!

Go raibh maith agat!

谢谢

Thank you!

Photography by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

Subscribe to our newsletter

Everything Miz Meliz

Craft Time!

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!

Everything Miz Meliz

I’ve Come Back Again

I love Facebook!  There are many things that I like about it.  I enjoy posting pictures and sharing them easily with my family.  I like keeping an eye on my kids and seeing what their interests are.  I have been making new friends with other parents at my kids’ schools.  I have reconnected with relatives that live far away or that I have not heard from in ages. I have found friends from college, high school, elementary school, as well as old co-workers and neighbors.  All great stuff!
The most valuable thing that has come from my connections on Facebook has been the mini-reunions that have taken place with these long-lost friends.  But surprisingly, it hasn’t been finding these old friends and catching up with them that has meant the most to me.  It has been the person that I lost touch with somewhere between marriage and baby number three that I have enjoyed getting to know again.  Myself.
I have heard that phrase, “finding oneself.”  I never really knew what it meant.  I did know that I didn’t feel like the real me for a very long time.  Seeing old friends who knew me in school and before I had kids has brought back memories and most importantly my core values and interests have resurfaced due to these recollections.
Just today I got a comment from a high school friend, “I heard the song “True” on the radio today and it always makes me think of YOU!”  How profound is that??  “True” is a song from one of my all time favorite bands, Spandau Ballet.  I still quote lyrics from their songs all the time.  My love of this band defined me in high school.  I had forgotten about it for a while, but it always seems to come up again and again.  She remembers this about me?  Even now, after about 25 years?  We weren’t even that close.  Does she know how much it means to me?  How these words are so very meaningful to me? Even now!
So true funny how it seems
always in time, but never in line for dreams
Head over heels when toe to toe
This is the sound of my soul,
this is the sound
I bought a ticket to the world,
but now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line
Oh I want the truth to be said
These lyrics remind me of my faith, my belief in God, my understanding of the journey that I am on in my life.  Exploring, reaching out, taking chances, yet always coming back and accepting the truth.
I had already considered blogging about my Facebook experiences when I got that comment today.  It was the catalyst I needed to actually get started.
I am in it now.  This is the sound of my soul.  This is the sound. . .