Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Sparking my Awesome in 2013 #ReReRe

Before I can really get going in planning for 2013, I want to take a look back at 2012.  Here is a review of my greatest successes in 2012 in five key areas:

Finances

Financially speaking, it was a solid year.  I managed to do some fun things with my cash flow.  I am still living paycheck to paycheck, but I am not in any more debt than I was at this time last year.  Based on everything that I have happening in my family dynamic right now, in this economy, staying afloat is a good place to be.

I made a few “investments” this year.  I was able to pay for and complete a course on Life Coaching which will enable me to help others and help me increase my income in the future.  My hubby bought a mountain bike and if he rides it, it will pay for itself in place of a gym membership, that is an investment – especially for his health!  I leased a new car for my son, this was an important financial decision based on safety and peace of mind and replaced the old car that couldn’t pass the smog test.  My hubby and I managed to go away for a weekend here and there.  I believe that having a respite is a great investment for our relationship!  We joined a bowling league with two of our sons.  With having to pay fees for four people every week, it gets costly.  I look at it as another great investment because it was a nice way to spend quality family time and get out for some physical activity.  We indulged a bit here and there, but I consider that as investing in our quality of life.

Perhaps my priorities are a bit skewed since I really should have used the money that I spent on a new flat screen TV for the bedroom to pay down debt, but heck I am an American living the dream, so I am glad I did it.

As I am working on this, I feel like such a financial failure! Since I practice positivity, I am trying to glean some upbeat financial successes, but they will not compare at all to a anyone who actually had a financial gain. But in looking back at this key area of my life I have made a discovery. I recognize a pattern.  I do the same things each and every year.  It is not a surprise that my financial situation never improves. I am not doing a thing to improve it.  I need to consider this strongly in making my goals for 2013.

Relationships

In reflecting on my relationships this past year, I feel good about them.  My marriage is in it’s happy place.  We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this April.  I have everything right now that I hoped for when I got married.  My husband has given me a family, a home, and a bright future to look forward to.  What more could a girl want?  That is what I wanted when I was a girl.  Now, as I emerge as a woman and my children are growing and my home needs a lot of work I wonder what will happen in the next twenty years.  I have some ideas!  Luckily, he is game!  The number one success in my relationship has always been great communication.  We talk things through and when we don’t agree with each other, we accept and move forward.  My relationship with my hubby is my number one priority.

I have made a lot of new friends this year.  I have also reignited and strengthened relationships with old friends and family.  I have let a few relationships fall to the back burner.  I may let it stew a bit longer before I open up that pot!  But I won’t ever let the relationship boil away or burn what is left.  I can always spice it up and give it some attention and put some life back into it, right?  Relationships worth having can always be mended.

Health

Physically speaking, suffice it to say that I am still alive.  I am not better or worse off than last year.  I have written a lot about my health and my ailments lately.  I am working on it. I did next to nothing to improve my fitness level this year.  I started a few things.  I failed miserably at this.

I don’t feel healthy and I have very low energy.  I hope to get that back in 2013.  My son asked me recently if I ever wanted to go skiing again.  I told him I would love to, but my back starts hurting after an hour of shopping at the mall!  How would I be able to ski for a day without feeling miserable?  I can start “training” now to get in shape and be able to ski with my kids next year.  That goal restores the motivation I need to get moving and make healthy choices.

Intellect

Intellectually speaking, I am on top of my game!  This year, I completed a course online for life coaching, attended a conference for blogging, wrote on the blog an average of three times a week, and participated in daily discussions on topics ranging from birth experiences to the afterlife!

One test that I give myself from time to time is checking the dictionary for definitions of words that I use in my writing.  I score myself an A+ every time I use an uncommon word and apply it correctly.  I have never missed a meaning completely.  Once this year, I was glad I checked because I was using the wrong spelling of a word which would not have made sense in that context.  As a writer, to be understood is valued highly.  I have been doing what I can to make sure that I convey what I am thinking clearly.  That is the ultimate success for me.

Spirituality

Spiritually, I have looked deep into my heart and and I realize that I am whole and centered in my beliefs.  I have faith in God and I love praying to the Virgin Mary to intercede for me.  I appreciate my Catholic upbringing and I am proud to share that with my husband and glad that we are passing it on to our kids.  I did not attend Mass regularly in 2012.  There are many reasons for that and I am not ready to share them yet.  I will look at that more closely in 2013.

I plan to attend Mass more often especially because one of my sons will be making his Confirmation this year.  I love going to Mass, singing, praying, receiving communion and spending time with my community.  What I love most about belonging to a loving community is the care that I can give and receive from other people who share my beliefs.  I have learned that I have a similar experience with people of all faiths on Facebook and through my blog.

All people can feel that sense of belonging, love, and care.    I thoroughly enjoy that and it brings me peace.  However, physically being in the arms of my loved ones is something that I miss and hope to participate in regularly going forward.

a borrowed picture, source unknown at this time
a borrowed picture, source unknown at this time

In the spirit of “Sparking My Awesome in 2013” I plan to write more posts on my blog that are from my heart.  I created a new category, “Tell Me Something Good.”  This is where I will post my thoughts on the subjects that I have been contemplating during the month of December.  Here are some of them:

Peace
Creativity
Relationships
Growth
Healing
Forgiveness
Confidence
Love
Acceptance
Empowerment
Happiness
Excellence
Challenges
Life
Honor
Kindness
Compassion
Optimism
Gratitude
Simplicity
Perspective
Grace
Insight
Trust
Awareness

These are the topics I hope to explore and share with you.  With every post, I plan to ask you to reflect on the subject and give me your insights in a positive way.  I will ask you to please,

Tell Me Something Good. . .

I look forward to sharing my positivity this year with everyone that I encounter!

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Give Yourself a Break! It’s OK to Say “No, Thank You.”

When asked about her best moment in 2012 artist Liz Crain says, “Finally being able to refuse commissioned work I don’t want to take on without feeling cheesy, awkward, apologetic or wrong. Doing so with ease and a smile, even a soft joke that leaves the requester still on my team. I learned this comes from my solar plexus not my brain with its dutiful, people-pleasing programming.”

That reminds me of a time when I learned to say “no” – looking back, I see how much it changed my life. I am a people pleaser, too. I never wanted to let someone down. Someone recently cancelled on me after committing to do some volunteer work and it was the 2nd time she cancelled on a project that I really needed her for, and I thought “she is someone who has not learned to say, I want to, but I just can’t. Thank you for thinking of me.” It makes such a difference. Especially when you do commit to something and you can do it and you do your absolutely best ‘knock-their-socks-off work and it shows.

Take a look at this video to see a great explanation of this point. . . “Hell Yeah or No!”

http://vimeo.com/25496723

I have been consistently doing that for about ten years now and you know what? I still have friends, I am still asked to work on projects, I still participate in things – and I do it to the best of my capabilities.

This makes me proud.  I have three kids.  I started out wanting to be “fair” and doing the same things with each of them.  Mommy & Me class, soccer team mom, room parent, etc.  My mom used to tell me, “You are doing too much.  Life isn’t fair.  They won’t remember all of the things you do.”  But I was trying to do the right thing.  I was trying to be that Super Mom.  I needed to learn to say “no” to the things I felt obliged to do.  I love it when I have the time and energy to devote to the the things that I can say, “Hell Yeah!” to.time is running out

Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes, calls it “flexing his no thanks muscles.”  He actually has a “No Thank You List.”  Peter says, “Of course, the reason we’re saying, “no thanks,” is so that we can say, “yes please,” to the right things. The reason I didn’t join the committee is so I can focus on my book. The reason I passed on the dinner is so I can focus on my family. The reason I didn’t take on that project is so I can focus on this other one instead.”

Now it is the holiday season and the countdown to vacation.  I can’t wait!  I am super excited.  Not as much for the shopping and the parties as much as the relaxation!  I may say “no thank you” to a few things.  I need this time to focus on me and my family.  I plan to take walks with my husband and cook for my boys.  I plan to write and work on projects.

What are you planning to do?  Will you be saying “no thank you” to anything over the next few weeks?

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?

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

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

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

What is in My Bag: Day 4 #NHBPM

There are too many prescription bottles in my bag right now. I am 44 years young and I am not happy that I can keep up a conversation about healthcare and medicines with people decades older than me. I don’t like that I am taking meds for Diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, depression, anxiety, migraines, arthritis, and back pain. That is ridiculous! I am young enough and have the physical and mental capacity to do something about this. I don’t want to be a slacker anymore! I need to lighten the load. I need to take control and combine different methods to manage my health issues and stop relying on the meds to feel better.

Most of the drugs I take are to be taken on an as needed basis. So I do not need to carry them around in my bag, realistically. I think I use them as a crutch. Knowing they are there, lets me off the hook. No more. I only need the Metformin in my bag. I only need the Pravastatin on my night table. Everything else can go in the medicine cabinet.

I will set the goal for this time next year. Hopefully, with diet and exercise I can reduce or eliminate the need for the Diabetes and high cholesterol meds. Instead of carrying around a bag of meds, I will be carrying a gym bag. Then I can tell you about that experience! I would much rather be talking about that with my friends!

I am starting now!

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

A Conversation with My Doctor: Day 3 #NHBPM

The Truth

The truth is I haven’t had a conversation with my doctor lately because I have been afraid to go and get negative results. Although I feel good, the same that I have felt for the past year, I don’t feel better. I feel guilty about that. I wanted to get better. I wanted to make positive changes and be better, healthier, and thinner by now. I hoped to be off the Metformin that I take for Diabetes. I had hoped to beat this. I am disappointed in myself. I feel like I am making myself this way by not taking the actions that I should be, could be taking. Every time I eat something that I know I shouldn’t be eating, it is like taking small amounts of poison. I feel like eventually, it will kill me, yet I keep consuming it. The imagery helps for a moment and then I think, but it’s not poison. It is food. Everyone else can eat it. It won’t kill me today. My inner conversation is a constant battle.

I need to have a conversation with my doctor. I need to take that step to get better. I need to get over the guilt and take action. Just taking my meds is not enough and I know it. It is time to get the blood tests, get the A1C results, face the music, and take charge. I am still afraid. But not knowing where I stand right now is worse.

http://mizmeliz.com "Candy Apples, A Conversation Piece" Photo my Melissa Reyes (Miz Meliz) Copyright 2012
“A Conversation Piece” One way to enjoy the foods that I can no longer eat, is to photograph them. Aren’t these Candy Apples beautiful?
30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Limitless Potential, Starting with Saving Myself

In Memoriam of Sidney Patrick, Founder of So Cal Lady Bloggers

There is something I learned at my sister’s funeral last year that was evident at Sidney’s memorial as well. People don’t always share the full scope of who they are with everyone they know. A friend told me that sometimes the person wants it that way.  I respect private people.  I really do.  But what concerns me is people who aren’t being private on purpose, but are so giving of themselves that they focus on other people so much that we don’t get to know all the wonderful attributes they have or realize the many accomplishments that they have achieved.

A diamond in the rough.  A person with unlimited potential.  A humble person who does not need to or want to call attention to themself.  A caring person who makes the effort to get to know you and help you, asking for nothing in return.  I could be describing my sister, Karen,  or my friend, Sidney.

At my sister’s funeral in July of 2011, many people came to me and said they didn’t know Karen had started a group called Humanitarian Efforts and had sponsored an orphanage in Mexico. And people who worked with her on that didn’t know that she was a soccer mom and had volunteered at the local elementary school, and some people never even knew she had a sister!

I found out so much about Sid at her memorial. I missed out on getting to know her better. I am lucky to have known her at all. She was a remarkable woman! I was touched by the testimonial that was shared by her co-worker who described her many accomplishments with installing computer systems and her extensive expertise in technology.  I did not know that she worked in I.T., like my husband.  I was aware of how she loved her sorority sisters, but I did not know that she had a group of guy friends and was considered “one of the guys!”  Her close friends from high school and college suffered a huge loss with her passing.  I knew that she was a regular at Olive’s and Tallyrand, but I had no idea what a “family” and support system that community was for her!  I did not read all of the many posts on her blog and I knew very little about her relationship with her boyfriend of fourteen years, or with her beloved family.  I did not know that she had a sister, until I learned all of this after she passed.

What I did know about Sidney Patrick is that she was a lovely person with a beautiful smile.  She was the creator and a leader of the group that I am in on Facebook, the So Cal Lady Bloggers.  Sidney was welcoming and encouraging.  She read everything that I wrote and she was the person who commented the most on my blog.  She had a very sharp wit, excellent sense of humor and was a gifted writer.  Her blog, My Mother-in-Law Still Sits Between Us, is about hoarding and how it affects the adult children of hoarders.  She became an expert in that field and was interviewed on Huffington Post Live as such just a few weeks before she died.  She made an impact in the world of hoarding and was devoted to educating and helping people who were affected by it.  Sidney Patrick, like my sister, made a difference in our world.

Sidney Patrick

Besides significantly making a difference in the lives others, having an infectious smile and the ability to be a gracious hostess, Sidney and Karen had something else in common.  They both died too young, and they both died of complications due to Liver Disease.  Liver Disease and Diabetes run in my family.  I have Diabetes.  I have the pre-cursor to Liver Disease; high triglycerides and a border-line fatty liver.  My mother died of Cirrhosis of the Liver (NASH).  My aunt (my mother’s twin sister) died of it.  My sister died of it.  They all also had Diabetes.  There is something else that my sister and Sidney had in common, they did not talk about their disease. They down-played their own suffering.  They were martyrs in their own right.  They did not do for themselves that they would have done for countless others, what they would have done to help anyone else that they loved, they did what they always did when it came to something being about themselves, they selflessly kept it private.  If I learn nothing from their stellar examples as humanitarians, from the beauty and peace that they brought countless people as the angels that they were, if I am unable to live up to that potential, I must learn from their fatal flaw. . . I hope that I will not have that in common with them.

I realize now that this is why I started a journal blog. I am about lots of things and I want to be fully apparent to all who know me.  I am not private.  I want my friends to know what I am all about.  Who I am, completely.  I have not yet discussed my health issues on my blog because until now I wanted to share only the positive things that happen in my life.  I realize now that I must make this a positive.  I must share the things that I do to manage my health, to improve my health, to avoid an early death.  I must give it the same effort that I would give to anyone else that comes to me for help.  In helping myself live a healthier life, I can help others.

Limitless Potential

The potential to help others is limitless.  My sister can help others with Diabetes and Liver Disease through me.  After she died, I thought I would carry on with her humanitarian efforts.  I thought I could help children in Nigeria who had been orphaned and then sold into slavery.  I tried.  I am not sure if anything that I did made a difference for anyone.  But, I vow I will do my best to make a difference in my life.  I will help myself and my family to live longer, healthier lives.  I believe I can do that.  I can make a change, a difference.  I will commit myself to that.

Correction.  I will re-commit myself to that.  I must admit, that I fell silent.  I have even been ignoring my disease.  After my mother passed away in February 2005, and my sister was diagnosed, I was tested at Karen’s urging.  I found out that I too had the pre-disposition for Diabetes and Liver Disease.  I had high triglycerides and high blood sugar levels.  At that time I did tons of research to find out anything I could do to improve my health.  As it is for most health issues, a regiment of exercise and a specific diet is recommended.  I found out about every kind of food that is bad for the liver and pancreas and all the nutrients that are good for the digestive organs and the immune system.  I made a list of the foods I should eat and the foods I should avoid.  I followed the diet strictly and I improved my triglyceride level to better than normal and my liver did not appear enlarged when I had an ultrasound.  I maintained a healthy blood sugar level and I did not have to test my blood sugar.  I achieved something at that point that doctors rarely see, in fact they said it could not be done.

Saving Myself

And then, last year, my sister died after her long-awaited liver transplant fell through and her suffering came to an end.  For some reason, I lightened up on the regiment.  I gained weight.  I am now taking medicine to control the Diabetes.  I feel pain in my abdomen after large meals and I have been eating the dreaded meats and all the other things that are on my “no-no” list.  I am killing myself and I do not know why.  Sidney’s death shocked me into realityI can do something about this.  I will do something and I will be open and honest about it.  I will blog about it.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Hopefully, mostly good.

So, I start now.  With this ode to Sidney and Karen who inspire me in countless ways.  I start now with this blog post.  I start now, with enrolling in a nutrition class  lead by Carol Takakura of Creative Wellness with Carol that I will be writing about weekly.  I start now, by blogging 30 posts in 30 days for National Health Blog Post Month with @wegohealth.  I start now by using my list, following the regiment and living a healthy lifestyle.  I can’t go back.  I can’t change anything that happened or anything that I did or didn’t do.  I can’t help Sidney or Karen or my mom or my aunt.  But I can help myself and my kids.  I start now.

If you are interested in having a copy of my List of “Healthy Eating Choices” to promote a healthier lifestyle, Click Here: Healthy Eating Choices

After my parents and sister passed away, I wrote about the Seven Stages of Grief   It still helps me to review it, so if you are suffering from any loss and are not familiar with the stages or how they can come and go – please fee free to contact me and I will be here to listen and cry with you.
Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Would you walk to raise money for cancer research on your birthday?

Melissa, can you help me spread the word about a walk I’m doing?

It’s on November 4..

I’m walking for Shari, my Aunt Ellen and Myself….its my birthday 🙂smile

I got that message today from a long time friend.  So, I asked her to fill me in.  I was out of touch with what is going on in her life.  It turned out to be pretty intense stuff.  In fact, I have been teary eyed all evening.  I don’t want to make you cry, so I will tell you there is hope at the end of this story.  There is a cute picture of the Cookie Monster to make you smile.  And you might even be inspired to act.  I hope so.  Hmm hope.  There is that word again.

I asked Valyrie to tell me everything.  Here is word for word what she shared with me. . .

“Okay, so every year a close family friend of ours, Jenn Anton, joins the Walk for Hope at the City of Hope for Women’s Cancer….Chris and I joined her back in 2010…..

Last year when I had my cancer scare…radical lumpectomy to remove pre-cancerous tumor and cells….I decided the walk was even more important.

I have lost my Aunt Ellen (Elle’s namesake), my brother and close family & friends over the years to cancer.

So this last February, Shari, Chris’ mom, went to her doctor because she was feeling tired and needed her blood work done to refill her meds.   She was horribly anemic…her hemoglobin was 5 when normal is 12…..so they gave her a blood transfusion…3 pints over 2 days and did a colonoscopy to see if she had a bleed.

nuthin…

Then, about 3 weeks ago, it’s time to refill her meds again…she is again anemic…but now she gets referred to a hematologist who orders a bone marrow test. That was when we discovered Shari has AML. Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Now the walk means even MORE…because Shari is now at City of Hope receiving chemotherapy to hopefully extend her life.

We are heartbroken…I’m not sure Chris is going to survive emotionally….he is devastated. The prognosis is 6-18 months on average. She is 63…she is struggling with comorbidity issues…blood pressure, diabetes and being in what they consider an older age group.

Shari is Chris’ best friend….on her side of the family tree it’s really just her and Chris left…..no grandparents, no dad, no siblings, no aunts or uncles…it has been a very tight bond between them for a long time.

When I lost my brother and then my mom I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle it  so now I am trying to be the best wife and friend for Chris.

AML has no stages…to compare it to other leukemias…it starts at Stage 4, but to her credit, she’s not a complainer. She has her good and bad days but her spirits are high. Because of her comorbidity problems all research leans toward bad news, but we have hope…..it’s what keeps us going every day.

I’m hoping she is going to surprise us and in 15 years we will joke about this. Shari is loved by so many, Chris is her one biological son…but she has so many sons and daughters who love her and would do anything for her.

So, the Walk of Hope has become my mission…not just for Shari but for all those at City of Hope and those patients everywhere that the research they do helps. So, that is why on November 4, 2012 on my 47th birthday,  I am doing the Walk for Hope with Chris and Elle. It raises money for the City of Hope…where Shari is right now….for groundbreaking research and care for people with cancer.

Our team was named by Elle…..we are called “Cookies or Cancer?”  Both Elle and Shari love the Cookie Monster.  The motto our team has adopted is, “C is for Cookies, not Cancer!”  Our team goal is $5,000 …for every penny we make Bank of America, Chris’ employer, will match.  So, we hope to raise $10,000.

You can use this link to donate to our team:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TRGiftForm?fr_id=1642&px=1709307

This is the link to join the team or donate to a team member:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TR/Walk2012/WalkforHope/1536569688?pg=team&fr_id=1642&team_id=33280

For more info on the City of Hope and The Walk of Hope:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TR/Walk2012/General?fr_id=1642&pg=entry&gclid=CJj4vv_6i7ICFSXhQgodbUwAXw

Team "Cookie or Cancer? Walk of Hope November 4, 2012

I’m all in. Are you?

This part is from the Walk of Hope website, I am borrowing their impactful words  because I am still at a loss with emotion for my friend. . .

Join the 16th anniversary Walk for Hope Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 4. Step by step, your support speeds our science saving lives.

Every year, too many women must battle breast and gynecologic cancers. These are the women we love: our mothers, our wives, our sisters and our friends. Our selves.

We envision a future where women’s cancers no longer take them from us. We strive to prevent women’s cancers before they even start. And we want to provide better treatments that help survivors return to the whole and healthy lives they once knew.

This is why we walk.

Walk for Hope is a national movement that unites survivors and supporters — women, men and children — in the fight against women’s cancers. This movement looks to the eight national walks as an opportunity to raise necessary funds to continue groundbreaking research, treatment and education at City of Hope and to raise awareness for women’s cancers.

In labs and clinics, City of Hope scientists explore the links between breast and gynecologic cancers, seeking to prevent and cure them. Without funds, research is impossible. And without research, the cure to cancer is a far away dream.

Our scientists have shown that regular exercise can cut breast cancer risk — and studies indicate that regular exercise actually helps breast cancer survivors live longer. We walk for these reasons, and for the promise of many more discoveries like this to come.

Hope is on the horizon, and your commitment makes a difference. Together, we can build a world without women’s cancers.

We’re all in. Are you?

www.facebook.com/cookiesorcancer

I hope you join.  I hope to hear from you.  Share your story with me.

A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

A Great Success

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

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

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

S-u-c-c-e-s-s-
that’s the way we spell success!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

For more about A Year With Myself :

http://ayearwithmyself.com/

and Discovering the Meaning of Success:

http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/

To see more of my original photography: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/mizmeliz