What makes something a tradition? Doing it twice or three times? Well, I am about to go to my fourth Masters of Taste with my husband on Sunday, so I would call that a tradition for sure!
I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than to walk around tasting the best food and drinks that a city has to offer with someone you love. We enjoy this every year! Even when it rained, but that is a story for another time. It will be a beautiful day this Sunday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. That’s where this Food Festival takes place. It’s truly amaze balls. I can’t wait!
It’s going to be a pretty epic date weekend with going to see the much awaited Avengers Engame (No Spoilers Here!) movie on Saturday night and then going to the Masters of Taste on Sunday! Lucky us!
I love my life right now! Said no one ever, right? Well, I did. And I do. Seriously, no matter how difficult things get, I am grateful for my life. I love it!
I started writing a post called, Living the Life I Want, in April 2013. Looking back at my drafts I found these quotes that apply perfectly to what I’m going through now.
Jean Shinoda Bolen says, “As soon as you recover or discover something that nourishes you and brings you joy, resolve to care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”
Alice Walker says, “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.”
“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Your own positive future begins in this moment. Every goal is possible from here.” – Lai Tzu
In my post, “Peace of Mind, Imagine the Possibilities “ 3-7-13, I said, “Knowing that stress causes ailments to manifest and weaken me, I recall the goodness that surrounds me and I regain my strength. It is almost instant. My head lifts. I feel light. When I walk, I walk tall. When I speak, I speak with love.“
It has to do with following through. I honor the practices of self-care. I honor my core values.
“When your values are the source of your actions, even the lows become a positive experience.” –Sandi Amorin, Life Coach
So, how did I go from hard times to living my best life and loving it? It has to do with staying true to myself and to my ideals.
It’s 2019 and my theme for this year is Simple Joys. My plan is to really take it easy. It’s the no plan plan.
Of course, things are starting to come together and some events are in the works in the coming months. I’m traveling a bit here and there and my husband’s 50th birthday is happening soon. I also made a commitment to teach an art camp this summer. But these things are spread out throughout the year and I will try to remain true to my theme and allow the simple joys to be my focus.
This comes after a very difficult couple of years. I pushed myself to new limits and I was tested in unexpected ways. I spent my 49th year convinced that if I set my intention on action and activating my best self that I would be more successful than ever before and be able to reach new heights.
Ironically, one of the most symbolic things I could use to describe how that plan worked out is so cliche it’s a little embarrassing- – I actually got a treadmill and made videos on You Tube and Instagram hoping to inspire myself and others with my “take action” attitude. When in fact I spent all year literally running in place and not getting anywhere.
See one of my treadmill videos here:
To my defense, I weathered through some really tough crises with the help of my husband, family, and dearest friends and learned a lot about myself in the process. I gained a deeper perspective and I am at peace with it. I still love my treadmill as much as I love all the things I attempted during the past few years that didn’t take me as far as I had hoped.
I might not have successfully gotten a new business off the ground, made any money selling books, card decks, jewelry, or anything else, or become the superstar of my dreams – but I did take action. I tried. I worked my butt off and made the effort. Which is more than I ever did before. Doing that lead me to meeting people and going places that I otherwise never would have. More importantly, I went outside of my comfort zone and saw myself rise up and develop my abilities, hone my talents, and excel in unexpected ways.
All of it was extremely satisfying, just like knowing that I have walked the entire length of Italy (736 miles) and climbed over 2000 floors (which is the equivalent of the height of a hot air balloon in flight) during 2018 without even leaving California or being lifted off the ground.
So here it is, a new year, a new intention, a new focus. I like to take what I have learned and move forward in my life mindful that each moment has its own merit. I am a new person in many ways. I am also the best at being the me I like being too. I am going to relish that this year. I consider that the simple joy of living life.
I am the best at being the me I like.
As a life coach I often use “re-” words to help in the moving on or moving forward process. Review, recharge, refresh, renew. I heard a phrase today that really encompassed what I have been feeling. Re-become. I am so ready for that. I became who I want to be. I am fully vested. I tried a few things and that was good. Now I can re-become me. It’s that simple.
It’s time for me to make a change on Miz Meliz – the blog and in my life. It’s something I have been planning for a while and I am quite excited about it. I woke up from a nice deep sleep thinking about one of my all time favorite songs from David Bowie and I knew that today is the day to share what is going on.
Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse of
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
Turn and face the strange
Don’t want to be a richer man
Turn and face the strange
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through
Turn and face the strange
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Turn and face the strange
Where’s your shame?
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time
Strange fascination, fascinatin’ me
Ah, changes are takin’
The pace I’m goin’ through
Turn and face the strange
Oh, look out you rock ‘n’ rollers
Turn and face the strange
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Read more: David Bowie – Changes Lyrics | MetroLyrics
It may just seem like a new background and color scheme to you when you see the new website. Other than that not much will look different at first when you see it. And that’s good. But there are some major changes. The new site is going to be everything Miz Meliz iz (sorry couldn’t resist!) and more.
One exciting feature that is in the works is a new page where you will be able to schedule an appointment or book sessions with me for coaching. Soon, there will also be a place to sign up for workshops that I am offering. Of course there will be a page where you can learn more about my book that is due to be released in October. And that is the BIG news! The book. My first book to be published is almost ready. Correction, I am almost ready to publish it! The words have been written and ready to go for awhile. I will release it to you in a few weeks. I hope you like it!
Please let me know in the comments if you will be willing to buy my book, “This is the Sound of My Soul.” I would like to start a list to get an idea of what to expect. I’ve been wanting to put this “out there” for a while. There are so many options and price points and decisions I need to make. Here is what I am thinking . . . if you like entertainment you might pay $12 to see a movie. If you like to drink reasonably good coffee, you might pay $4.50 for a latte. Could we split the difference and price the book (approximately 135 pages of reasonably good entertaining prose of my perspective on life, roughly four and a half hours of reading) at $8.99?
Let me know. I greatly appreciate your input!
Moving on. Changes are happening! Not just the new website (same url by the way, but new host so it will be my own real estate on the internet.) Not just the book release. Not just the coaching and workshops. My life is changing in a big way. My son, is moving in a few days. He is going away to college. This marks a big milestone in the life of my family. It is monumental. It is exciting. I am proud beyond words. My heart is singing with joy! It does not feel like the emptiness I thought it would be. (Wow, I just realized how I timed all these new things to start in my life with this big change, positive changes and moving forward, me thinks.) It feels like my heart is expanding.
Our family is growing, learning, moving forward. These are good changes. I am fully prepared and ready to embrace these changes. I believe my son is more than ready and capable. This makes me oh so happy!
So I will turn and face the strange changes.
Time may change me.
But I can’t trace time.
Don’t forget. Please tell me in the comments:
Would you buy my book online for $8.99 (paperback) or $3.99 (download) and would you like to be on a mailing list for further notices about the book and future publications by Melissa Reyes? (That’s me of course!) Yours truly, Miz Meliz
At the beginning of 2013 I set the tone for the year by establishing a word to define my focus. The word is “ta-da”
I feel like I have shared many of the fun things that I like with that “Jazz Hands” show-off mentality, as if to say, “Look at Me!” See what I can do? More than that, it has been my intention to show who I am and what I am proud of. As if to say, “I have arrived.” “I am here.” Catch my energy. See my spirit. It’s my time to shine.
How have I demonstrated my “show-off” attitude towards life? I will review.
I can look back at my posts.
I can look at my Day Runner.
I can look in the mirror.
During Christmas Vacation, I went to see a few movies. One of them was “Lincoln”. When I was waiting to watch that much anticipated film, I thought to myself, “Okay Mr. Spielberg, inspire me! Help me come up with something special. Help me find a unique way to write my story.” And he did. I don’t know how or why, but during the credits for that film, as I wiped my tears and gained my composure, I thought about how I have a character and I can write my story through her perspective. Melissa the Mouse was born. “Ta-da!”
In January, the focus was getting back to school and immersing myself into the boys’ schedules with school and sports. We spent a weekend at my aunt and uncle’s home near Coachella where my son was playing in a lacrosse tournament. It is always difficult for me to visit there because my parents lived down the street from my aunt and uncle before they died. I had been avoiding that situation for some time. This weekend was nice and I managed to get through it and I was okay. Up a level in the grieving process, I guess. “Ta-da!”
At the end of the month, I had a chance to read my poetry at a cabaret show in Hollywood. It was stellar!
In February, I had so much fun! I went to San Francisco to interview fellow blogger, Evan Sanders, and attend his launch party for his book, The Better Man Project. I took a road trip with new friend, Mary Lansing of Along Comes Mary, and another new idea came into play. Blog Ventures. I attended an Oscar’s night viewing party and it was just like being at the Oscars! “Ta-da!”
In March, I started visiting college campuses with my son and planning how we would celebrate his graduation from high school. I realized that there is always an end before there can be a new beginning. I contemplated how dealing with the empty nest syndrome is very much like letting go of my parents and sister since they died. They will always be a part of me and I can look back at all the wonderful memories with joy and gratitude. I am embracing the fact that there is more to look forward to! “Ta-da!”
In April, I took a road trip with my family. We visited more colleges and spent time with my cousins in New Mexico. It was a wild ride road trip! I learned how much a family can bond in moments like these and how important it is to be satisfied with my life as I know it. “Ta-da!”
April also began the celebration and event season! It started with being in a flash mob for my friend’s proposal, then the celebration of my wedding anniversary, and I attended a few conferences and shows. May brought more celebrations beginning with my son’s confirmation, then my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday, my niece’s high school graduation, my nephew’s engagement party, my oldest son’s high school graduation, my other nephew’s high school graduation, both of my sister-in-law’s birthdays, my kids’ performances, games, prom and grad nights, and awards ceremonies . . . whew!
Yes, it seemed that every day was a celebration or a culmination. What better way to describe the feeling of accomplishment and appreciation for these special milestones than . . . Yes, I’ll say it one more time . . . “whoopie! yeehaw! wepa! huzzah! ta-da!!”
Life is a celebration. Life is good. There is so much to be grateful for!
Let the Sun Shine Through!
Melissa the Mouse
Who knew this shy little girl would be such a show off?
Miz Meliz was in the House!
On the Red Carpet
At the LLBLOG Conference
View from the Getty at #SOME Event
What’s next? Six months left in 2013. I look at the Day Runner. July looks wonderful. It’s my son’s 18th birthday. I should be posting my 200th blog post around the 2nd week. Getting going on the book. Finally! It’s my birthday. 45. Meh. It’s just a number. I have some relaxation planned. Pretty low-key. My husband and I have plans to attend a few concerts with friends in August. Then it’s back to school. My oldest son starts college in September. He will be moving out. I am excited. (I am scared shitless.) I am excited. I will be doing a workshop about goals, vision and life balance for my blogging group in October. Then the holidays will be upon us. Another year come and gone.
It’s a good life. A very good life.
Over the next four weeks I will be posting excerpts from the book that I have been writing. I will discuss topics such as:
Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness
Kindness and Compassion
Laughter and Joy
I look forward to bringing you more of my energy and insights. I love shining brightly and shouting “ta-da!”
What are you proud of that you have accomplished so far this year? Please share with me in the comments. Take a moment and toot your horn! C’mon, you know you want to!
What happens when a determined mom, like me, gets in a “Road Trip State of Mind?”
First, don’t mess with me! I am determined to make sure everyone has a good time and is comfortable. And I mean it! Hopefully, everyone ends up having a reasonably good time and no one gets hurt. Second, like most things in life, going on a vacation is a journey. Obviously! But it is a process. There is a beginning, middle and end. I have some experience at this, so I planned it all out and it went pretty well. Lastly, even though our lives were never truly at risk, any trip is about survival. Especially when a perfectly normal family unit is going to be cooped up for hours on end in close quarters. Here is how we all survived. . .
THREE TIPS that helped me to enjoy a road trip through SIX STATES in SEVEN DAYS with FOUR BOYS:
#1 Do everything you can to drive a big, comfortable, and reliable vehicle.
#2 Pack lots of water bottles, snacks, medicine and chocolate.
#3 Have a plan to make it fun, for yourself.
“Our life is composed of events and states of mind. How we appraise our life from our deathbed will be predicated not only on what came to us in life but how we lived with it. It will not be simply illness or health, riches or poverty, good luck or bad, which ultimately define whether we believe we have had a good life or not, but the quality of our relationship to these situations: the attitudes of our states of mind.”
― Stephen Levine, A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last
Yeah, we drove over 2500 miles in seven days. It was pretty hard at times and we had a blast at times. It was worth it, but it took a lot of planning and forethought to survive it. I would like to share with you why we actually needed to do it, how we actually ended up doing it, and why it was so worthwhile that I would highly recommend that you do it – at least once in your life! I believe in living life fully and making each moment count. I like to celebrate the milestones and create memorable events for my family. I became determined to take the task of visiting colleges and turn it into a vacation.
In the Beginning, I Found Myself in a State of Dilemma
We live in California and we wanted to take our oldest son to see three universities that he has been accepted to for the Fall. Two of the Universities are in Colorado and one is in New Mexico. We had a week off for Spring Break and a little savings to use for a trip. The money we had saved was not enough for all of us to travel by air and stay in hotels at all three locations, so we had to make some choices. I looked at it from many angles. I could afford to send my son to visit the schools if either my husband or I went with him, flew to Colorado and then drove to New Mexico and flew back from there. That was not only a hassle, but how would we decide who would go with him? Our first dilemma.
I soon realized that all five of us could go on the trip if we drove and stayed with relatives for most of the time. Since we have four drivers and lots of relatives in these areas, I thought – “Great, problem solved!” The best part being that we would get to see some of our beloved relatives and we were overdue for a trip to one of our favorite places to visit! I thought it would be a good experience for the younger boys to visit these colleges and see what they have in store for them down the road. Then I realized we don’t have a reliable vehicle that all of us would be comfortable in for many hours at a time. That’s the second dilemma.
I did a web search of hotels, rental cars, and driving distances and figured out a way we could manage this trip. I reached out to my relatives and confirmed that all five of us could stay with my cousin in New Mexico for three nights, the longest part of the vacation. My son and I coordinated the visits with the three schools and I worked out a schedule from there. I priced out the rental cars online and found a pretty good deal with one and my husband chose the type of vehicle he wanted to drive for the trip. I found some amazing hotels with great reviews in the vicinity of the two schools we were visiting in Colorado, and got awesome deals since I was booking far in advance and online.
I put together an itinerary, got someone to feed the cats and watch the house, and I set to work on creating a memorable experience for our family. It wasn’t until the day we left on the trip that I realized this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
On the First Day, I was in a State of Despair
I know that sounds dramatic, but it certainly was an urgent and desperate situation! The whole trip I planned depended on the perfect vehicle. It had to be spacious and it had to be reliable. I have three teen-aged boys and my husband and I aren’t exactly “compact” so it needed to be comfortable. Since we are on a tight budget it needed to be affordable. We were going to be driving over the Rocky Mountains and snow was predicted on the days we were going to be there, so it needed to be an all wheel drive vehicle. Mostly, I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted my family to be comfortable. I wanted to make my husband and kids happy. They weren’t as excited as I was about taking this road trip!
I thought I found the solution when I went through Hertz. I did, but it was a very difficult and disappointing ordeal. The main reason it became so harrowing is the poor customer service we received when we went to pick up the vehicle. The car I reserved was not available and the substitute was not at all acceptable. I called twice in advance to see if the vehicle I reserved would be there and both times was told that it or a comparable vehicle would be there when I arrived at my appointed time. It turned out that the staff did nothing to honor that commitment. They accepted what they believed to be the closest thing and never bothered to notify me. When we arrived, my husband and I waited forty-five minutes before anyone could even help us and then we found out about the mini-van. My stress is beginning to elevate now just thinking about it. If it had not been that important to my husband, we would have driven that mini-van through the blizzard we hit in Vail, Colorado. But instead, I stuck my heels in the ground, we made some calls, we delayed our departure and we exchanged it at a different Hertz location within the vicinity. It took some work, actual work, on the part of the employees at Hertz, but they were in fact able to provide the vehicle that I reserved. I think it was a surprise even to them! We ended up in a brand new, just off the lot, the window sticker still attached, Chevy Traverse LT AWD. Exactly what I had reserved.
I won’t go into details about the employees at Hertz and I would never name names, but they could stand to learn a lot about customer service, respect, common sense, courtesy and compassion, none of which was observed at either of the locations I had to interact with.
I must say that it all turned out okay in the end. The District Manager at Hertz did a lot to make it work out for us, but it is important to note that I had to really work hard to get what I wanted and I was not satisfied with my overall customer experience. Since Hertz claims their goal is “to provide the best customer experience possible”, they seriously failed to meet it. Eventually they discounted the rental, but I had to go through the corporate office by getting their attention on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/Hertz) and publicly proclaiming my dissatisfaction. If you know me, you know how extremely difficult it was for me to do that. I am probably the most positive person you will ever meet and it saddened me to complain. I was of course happy to get a discount, but what I am still waiting for is an apology and I would like to see the management take responsibility and show me how they plan to improve the service at my local office before I will ever consider returning to or recommending Hertz again. Service and reliability are extremely important to me. It was particularly challenging to remain calm and upbeat during this experience and it was vital that I didn’t get upset at the beginning of the trip. I had to use restraint to show my kids how I could take care of things without totally freaking out! I put myself under a lot of pressure to make this trip great and this was the very first step.
When we finally drove away and I was on the road for the first leg of the trip, I saw a black crow perched on a post at the freeway on ramp. I wondered if that was an omen. At that moment, all I could do was pray. I prayed that it would only get better from there. Thank God that was the worst of it!
If you like to read about travel disasters and conquests, visit this blog: http://elliott.org/ I will keep you posted on what I now call the “Hertz State of Despair.” I will recommend them if I ever get a note of apology and some clear perspective on how they plan to meet their goal of providing a positive experience for their customers.
That First Night, I Slept Soundly in a State of Relief
It was late. We were about four hours behind schedule. I had originally hoped to have time to have dinner with my mother-in-law in Henderson, Nevada on our first night. The boys were looking forward to hanging out with their cousin. My husband planned to meet up with his brother. None of that happened, but we were welcomed by my husband’s mother close to midnight when we finally arrived on her doorstep. Even though we said not to go to any trouble, she had of course cooked for us! She warmed up the food and laid it out on the table and we sat down to eat as if it were the normal dinner time. I knew if we weren’t there, she would be sound asleep! We felt at home and I relaxed for the first time in over 24 hours! We were safe and warm and comfortable.
The boys were aggravated when I told them that I wanted to leave at 5 AM. My husband was annoyed when he realized that we still had a 14-16 hour drive ahead of us the next day. No one understood that the first night was a mere “lay-over” and “rest stop” for what was to be the longest and most difficult, yet most beautiful and exciting part of our drive.
I planned that first night to be easy and carefree. I could depend on my mother-in-law and she came through with flying colors! This is a beautiful person who knows how to make the people she cares about feel special. If we needed it, wanted it, dreamed of it, she had it for us. I am not kidding! Sneezing? Is it allergies? She had a package of medicine for us to take. Forgot your tooth-brush? Here is a brand new one. Need snacks and drinks for the road? I bought extra. I made cookies. Take them. We hardly had room, but she filled the rental car with the essentials (most things I had thought of and packed already, but we graciously accepted anyway.) A roll of paper towels, a box of Kleenex. Even a pretty outfit for me to wear on Easter! She loves to give me clothes! I will probably be like that someday with my daughters-in-law! She got up early and made breakfast for us. She was at the door to see us off and wish us well.
At the moment we were about to take off, I really wanted to bring her with me! I needed another woman to balance out the hormones in the car. I could feel it already. It was going to be a bumpy ride! Me against the boys. They are easy going and good kids, but I am sensitive to their little remarks. I am a people pleaser and they never seem satisfied. If I plan ham, they want turkey. If I plan turkey, they want ham. You get it. They are gracious and sweet, but given a 50/50 chance to get things right, I always make the wrong guess. And there are three of them! The odds are stacked against me! Is that all in my head? If you ask any one of them or my husband, they will tell you, “Yes.” But think about it. Even logically, I knew that I needed to be at my most calm, best and easy going self to survive this trip. I think this is the first time ever I wished my mother-in-law was with me! I certainly wouldn’t have wished this experience on anyone else. No girlfriend could have taken it. I know I am in a “special mom place” when I am in the mother hen role. Since I no longer have my sister or my mom around to back me up, the only one who could have pulled it off was my MIL. Yet, would I come out alive after a trip with her and her grandchildren and son? Thankfully, I will never know for sure! But packed to the gills with chocolate, drinks, and allergy medicine, I knew I had everything I needed to make it through. Only five more states to go!
Fake Animals on the Road Side
The First Mesa We Saw
Jagged Mountain Tops in the Distance
It’s not too late to go to Vegas!
Beautiful Las Vegas Strip
Early Morning Leaving Town
Sunrise over Nevada
The Second Day I discovered myself in a State of Awe and Wonderment
We quickly drove through the dry barren desert area of Nevada and into Arizona in the first few hours of the drive. We spent most of the day driving through Utah. None of us had ever been through this part of Utah before. In fact, only my second son and myself had ever been to Utah. I went on a business trip to Salt Lake City once and my son had been to Park City with another family last Summer. So, this was very new and exciting. Driving through this part of the country is amazing and difficult to describe, but I will do my best.
We were truly in awe. The trek through Arizona was like being in the movie Cars. There is no doubt that the movie and the ride at California Adventure is based on someone’s travels on the very roads we were on. The rugged terrain, the mountains, cliffs and gulleys were crazy gorgeous, colorful, jagged, rocky and out of this world. It was a curvy, dangerous, and fun road to drive!
Everything seemed to smooth out when we entered Utah. The terrain was calm and the mountains were smooth and the lightly dusted mountain tops in the distance were soft and serene. It looked like someone had gone through moments before with powdered sugar and sifted it on the tops of the mountains that looked like giant mounds of lemon cookies. Then I began to notice that the shrubs and trees were getting bigger and the mountains were getting closer. We drove through them and it was no big deal. I thought, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. If this is the snow I had heard about, then we are doing great!” Little did I know!
The terrain changed drastically through this part of Utah. We saw every different kind of mountain that I could have ever imagined on this leg of the trip. They were all different sizes, shapes and colors. It felt like we went back in time. I imagined the dinosaurs walking over those giant rocks. I felt like we were on a different planet. The bright reds and coppers of the soil and the layers of rock jutting out of the ground at disturbing angles made me think of earthquakes and volcanoes. I had nothing but my imagination to keep me occupied during the long hours of driving in the middle of nowhere. For hours we saw nothing but mountains and sky. It was breathtaking. They are majestic. They are mystifying. They are high! The elevation grew with every mile. We are used to being at sea level! Before we knew it we were at the mile high mark. Over 5000 feet. And with each mile it got colder. I told the boys to bring jackets, none of us brought anything heavier than a sweatshirt! I think we had one coat between the five of us!
We stopped for lunch at the halfway point at Green River, Utah. There was not much green and I didn’t see a river. It was dry and barren and barely anything in sight for miles. There was a stretch of road that was slightly inhabited. We stopped at a burger joint that would be worthy of a spot on the show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We had green chile burgers and tater tots. It was delicious! I had a soft serve chocolate ice cream. We rested and the boys played ball in the parking lot. (Dirt road on the side of the building.) The boys play lacrosse and the locals were in awe having never seen such a thing. They were a hit!
As we made our way through Utah, we continued to see the most amazing views of mountains and scenery! Everything got bigger and bigger and I felt small as we zipped by in our “little” car. As we started to drive up through the mountains, around each turn I would notice we were driving higher and higher and there were more and more mountains. It seemed we would never get to the “top”. Around each bend there were more and bigger mountains to climb. Until we got to a point that seemed to be at the base of another set of mountains. Welcome to Colorado, the sign said! We were almost at our destination for the day! The time had changed and we realized we gained an hour. Were we an hour closer? No. In fact with the long stop for lunch and the time change, the time estimated for arrival to Fort Collins, Colorado was 9:00 PM.
When we finally did arrive in Fort Collins, with the time change accounted for, we had been travelling for 17 hours. technically that was just the first day! The boys weren’t too happy with me that first night! I haven’t even gotten to the part about the snow storm!
Read more about the trip in the next installment at Our Wild Rocky Mountain Drive. Follow this blog to be notified when new posts are published or subscribe to the newsletter. If you are new here, please leave a comment and let me know. Heck, leave a comment anyway! I love to hear from you!
It’s Spring Break and for a lot of people that means it’s time to take a vacation or a road trip. Here is a way you can take a little trip and get some rest and relaxation in under three minutes! I made this video for you. Sit back and relax. Go on a brief adventure. Remember, it’s your journey and you make it beautiful. . .
Change is in the air that I breathe. It is in every single breath I take. It is just like the scent of orange blossoms and night-blooming jasmine. Change engulfs me as I breathe it in. There is no escaping it. It is in the air I breathe. Change is now within.
~Melissa Reyes 3-14-13
This is about healing.
This is about healing and moving on after experiencing the loss of a loved one. It is about love and joy and forgiveness. It is about letting go and moving forward. This is about taking care of myself. Healing myself. Forgiving myself for the sadness I feel.
“As far as taking care of myself, I try to do it through love and kindness. I now take time to forgive myself for mistakes, for not getting everything done, for taking a walk instead of finishing up client work if I need to and all the other little things I used to feel guilty for on a daily basis. I remind myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone or myself. But, I can still promise to do my best and that’s enough.” ~Naomi Niles
A shift in the balance of my world is happening.
My sister (who passed away in July 2011, 18 months ago) was married to a great man for 25 years. In fact she died on their anniversary. They were a very romantic couple and they have an amazing story. I am still very close to my brother-in-law. He is a dear friend, confidant, and brother in every sense. I trust him and care deeply for him. That is why I was happy when he told me he is getting remarried. Deep inside I am sad because I am still grieving the untimely death of my sister and sad over how things turned out and what could have been. That is the first shift that my heart bleeds over.
They call it a major life change.
Another bitter-sweet thing happening in my life is that my oldest son is graduating from high school and will be going away to college. Our home and family dynamics will be changing. One of my babies is about to fly off on his own and leave the nest. He is my most independent child. He has always been my little helper. I have every confidence that he will be fine on his own. He has become a fine young man and I am quite proud of him. But what will become of us? How will the two younger brothers get along? What will it be like with just the four of us. And in a few years, three? And then one day, just the two of us? Empty Nest Syndrome is hitting me hard. My heart is shaken. My mind is mush. My emotions are running high.
I am experiencing a new set of feelings. It’s not like anything I have been through before. It is excitement and joy mixed with equal parts sorrow and fear. All of the emotions are wrestling together and it is impossible to see who is winning. Which emotion is getting pinned, which one will come out on top. Should I cry? If I do cry will it be tears of happiness or sorrow? Or, both?
I am coping with the loss I feel. I miss my sister, my parents, the way things used to be when the kids were small. My biggest worries then were if I was spoiling my kids and if I was spending enough time with my family. No, it’s not possible to spoil a child. And no, I could never have spent enough time with my family. I wish I had some of those days back. Just one more Christmas or Easter. One more birthday. It’s so hard to move on and be happy. It is necessary. I know it is. I need to keep moving forward. I need to be happy about these changes. Because the people who are experiencing the change are doing the right things and they are moving on and they deserve to be happy.
“Challenges will continue to come. It is my choice to look for the joy or to let my spirit sink back into grief. I choose joy.” ~Donna Thomas, Author
I choose to be happy, too! I know it is a choice. I can get through it holding on to the past, gripping on tightly to the memories, dragging my feet trying desperately to not let go of the past because it was good and I loved it so much. Or, I can keep those memories safely in my heart where they can thrive inside of me, where I can embrace them joyfully as needed, and share the stories with my children and theirs someday of the remarkable and lovable family I have. I can skip happily forward, onward, and upward to better and more triumphant times.
“For everything there is a season. . . a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep; and a time to laugh; a time to mourn; and a time to dance. . . ” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
I want my family to look at me and see a gracious, graceful, peaceful woman who has been touched by love and who shines joyfully. I do not want pity nor do I want a cloud of sorrow over me because I have lost my loved ones. I live a blessed life. I was blessed to have amazing parents who loved me and a sister who inspired me. I am blessed to have a wonderful marriage and that my husband is my best friend. I am blessed to have great kids who make me proud.
These things will never ever change.
Love never dies. People live forever in our heart. Change is inevitable. Nothing is insurmountable. I can do this!
It’s time to shine!
If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one, a major break up, or you live with someone whose parent or sibling has passed away, you might benefit from reading more about the Stages of Grief. See my post: When Grief Revisits Me and Good Grief: 8 Stages of Grief.
I had such a wonderful adventure over the weekend!! I shared it with my So Cal Lady Blogger friend, Mary, from Along Comes Mary. She just posted this fantastic and detailed overview of our experience! I asked Mary if it was okay to invite you over to her blog to check it out. So, c’mon now! Don’t be shy! All you have to do is click on the link and you will get the skinny on our super fun trip to San Francisco! Enjoy! Please let me know what you think!
Step it up Grab your phone Get your suitcase There is no time to waste A big adventure awaits (Tori Amos, 500 Miles)
Did you miss me?! I have been AWOL for afew days. It was not planned, but what happens when one of your friends from SoCal Lady Bloggers, Melissa of Miz Meliz, is searching for a partner in crime to drive up the coast with in order to attend the book launch party for Evan of Better Man Project? Well, if you’re me, & in need of a getaway, you say YES. We left last Friday & returned Sunday, but within that time frame, we: Got pea soup, wine tasted in Solvang, searched for garlic ice cream, got amazing food in the Castro district, saw Golden Gate Bridge, Went to The Walt Disney Family Museum, The Snow White Exhibit, met up with Susan Cooper from Finding…