Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Do you Instagram? Follow Miz Meliz @mizmelissa and See Beautiful Vacation Pictures!

I love Instagram!  I feel really connected with people when I know they are following my adventures.  With Instagram I can post a picture, improve the way it looks by adding a filter and a frame, write a caption, include a hashtag, share it instantly on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr, and even check in via Foursquare.

New Mexico
New Mexico

On my recent Spring Break Vacation, I asked my friends to follow me on Instagram @mizmelissa for daily updates.  I went on a road trip with my family and we made lots of stops.  We drove over 2500 miles in one week.  We drove through beautiful terrain and I saw some of the most exquisite views of the sky that I have ever seen.  All the pictures I took were with my iPhone and mostly through the window of the passenger seat! I think my pics came out pretty good and I enjoyed sharing them!

I called my trip Six States in Seven Days and I will chronicle my travels in my next few posts.  The trip was amazing for many reasons.  It was a great break from routine and get away with my family.  I planned meet ups with family and friends that I haven’t seen in years.  The main objective and reason for the trip was to visit the universities that my son had been accepted to and help him make a decision on where to attend in the Fall.  It was probably the last family road trip vacation I take with my three sons.  This vacation was also a great way to test my social media skills and have an adventure!

If you want to see the 25 pictures that I posted on Instagram during my trip either click  HERE and see them on my Instagram page, or you can search for the hashtag #mizmeliz. If you like what you see, I hope you follow me to see more fun and gorgeous photos. Let me know your Instagram name so I can follow you!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Change: It’s in the Air

"Onward and Upward" photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012 http://mizmeliz.com

Change

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.

"Onward and Upward" photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012 http://mizmeliz.com

“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.

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

My Oscar Experience Part Two @MendPoverty #MENDOSCARS #Mizoscars

I had a wonderful time last night with my hubby at the MEND Gala Event, The Oscar Experience Los Angeles!  Thanks to our hosts at Kaiser, Jennifer and Jonathan Lopez, we had an outstanding experience.  It was just like being at the Oscars!  It felt like we were part of the excitement and energy of the Oscars, at least.  MEND raised over $250,000 for their charitable organization that helps people who are suffering from poverty in the Los Angeles area.  Please see their website to donate and find volunteer opportunities.  Who knows?  Maybe you will find yourself on the red carpet next year!

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Letting Go for a Fresh Start

Letting Go for a Fresh Start

Let go of past hurts. Put it behind you. Forgive. Try and forget. It’s difficult because the wounds are fresh. I learned recently to think of the person you are trying to forgive as a child and then consider how or why they hurt you. If their inner child could have been responsible, if it is really them and not you, then forgive that kid. Let it go. You are all grown up now. You can do it. You are better than this. Start fresh today. Make it great!

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Merry Christmas! I love you!

Merry Christmas!

I am filled with love today and my eyes are still stinging from the tears I shed last night.  I went to see Les  Misérables with my husband and sons on Christmas Eve.  It was wonderful!  I cried throughout the movie because I found the music and acting to be so powerful with emotion, it moved me.  The story of Jean Valjean is one of hope and unconditional love and forgiveness.  I was looking forward to this reminder which was perfectly timed to arrive on Christmas Eve.  No matter how bad things get (and they got very very bad for Jean Valjean!) we can always get through it if we don’t give up faith.  That can be faith in God, in love, in friendship, or simply in the belief that things can get better tomorrow.  Just live one more day.  The best message of Christmas time (the season of love and hope that you honor) that I can think of is to believe.  Believe in yourself.  Believe in your heart and your capacity for love.  As Victor Hugo wrote, “To love another is to see the face of God.”  To truly love someone is the most graceful thing we can do.  If we give love to another our heart is filled with joy and compassion.

I love you!

I love the magic of Christmas and the joy it brings to all people.  Young and old, people of all faiths wish each other good tidings at this time.  The spirit of a giving heart is personified in Santa Claus.  I love that spirit of giving.  I am filled with love today, not because of what I have or what I want, but because of what I am able to give.  Jean Valjean didn’t have a wife, or children of his own.  He didn’t have anything for much of his life, and what he did have was borrowed, stolen, or given to him when he denied his own self.  When he had the chance to love another person is when he was given the true gift of hope.

Believe

Hope

Live

Love

Let joy fill your heart!

Merry Christmas!  I love you!

ChristmasCard2012_zps9e14940a

Everything Miz Meliz

Celebrating Love and Lasting Relationships

I am blessed to be in a lasting relationship with my best friend of 28 years (I have been married to him for 20 years!)  I know what it takes to be in a devoted relationship that withstands the tests of time while traversing the hills and valleys of life’s journey.  I was recently asked to write a featurette on such a couple.  I am feeling both proud and lucky to have been given this opportunity!

Married for 37 years, living in the public eye in the entertainment business and having faced numerous hardships throughout their lives, I found the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr. to be both fascinating and quite inspiring.  Having loved their music for decades, I never really considered myself a big fan. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to learn about their many accomplishments and the gifts that this wonderful pair are sharing with the world through their love, their music, and their philanthropy. . .

The Queen of Latin Pop and Latin King Midas

An inspiring story of Miami’s ‘Royal Couple,’ Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr.
By Melissa Reyes

Read the featurette:  http://salseek.com/news/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=51&Itemid=199

Photo by Richard Sandoval of http://www.hispaniclifestyle.com/ used with permission.

Disclaimer:  I received no compensation for this article or the featurette, photo credit or links.  I am not a paid contributor or sub contractor and my opinions are my own.  Information regarding the subject of the article was obtained through my own research findings, are not based on first-hand knowledge and sources have been listed accordingly.

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Action – I Want to be Starting Something!

I want to write about action.  Not your Hollywood, lights, camera, action.  But the kind of action that means change.  I want to talk about making a difference.  I want to talk about life changing moments.  I am thinking of what I am doing in my life and how that can help you in your life.

C. A. Kobu says, “Action separates dreamers from doers.”

Some time ago, I decided to be a doer.  Seriously.  My motto for this blog is, “Live, Be, Do.”  That is my feeling about life right now.  In order to live it, I must enjoy being a part of it, and in order to take part in it, I must do something with it.

Everyone can learn to take action and get the important things done.  I was motivated by a brilliant instigator named Tara Rodden Robinson, who says, “Starting Is the Only Way.”

Tara is into that feeling that leads from great idea to leap.  She says, “It’s like asking a bird how to fly: You just spread your wings and flap, she’d say.”

Tara further explains that as a coach, she knows it’s not that simple. “It’s downright painful to watch someone teetering on the edge of starting: they’re wanting so badly to leap and yet terrified that their wings won’t hold and their flight will turn into a fall.  Just because you start doesn’t mean you’re committing to a giant leap.”

I love that.  It is in the starting that you are able to fly!!  I needed to get started.  So, that is what I did.

Tara continued, “Small steps, the tiniest little beginnings–each one counts as much as the large impressive bounds do. Besides, starting is the only way to have any possibility of journeying, enjoying the exhilaration of the process, and ultimately, savoring the satisfaction of arriving.”

Well, I am hooked!  I am ready!  I am all in!  Why?  Because I am all about the journey.  I do enjoy each moment.  I love my life and I love where my road is taking me.  I am thrilled that each stop along the way makes me more and more excited about the next destination.  I can do this!

Tara Rodden Robinson challenged me to bring to mind something I really wanted to do but was afraid of starting. I was simply afraid of the unknown.  But the more I thought about it, researched it, talked about it and prepared myself for the possibility of success, the more real it became.  Besides, all I have to do is start, right?

Here is how it went down:
I evaluated. I soul searched.  I tested myself.

The worst thing that can happen if I don’t start is…I’ll never know if I can reach my full potential.  I won’t be the model for my children that I always hoped I would be.  I won’t have anything but my hobbies to fall back on later in life.  I will always wonder, “what if. . .”

If I don’t start, I will miss out on the chance to…really shine.  I would like to share what I know with others.  I want to do something with my life that I am thoroughly passionate about.  I want to express joy in everything I do.  I want to accomplish my vision.  I want to make a splash.

The best thing that can happen if I do start is…I can actually help someone attain their goals.  That would be amazing!  Wait, I have done that many times over, in my personal relationships.  It is amazing and I want to do it again and again for lots of people.  I can be successful at doing this.  I can make a difference.  I can be the best at what I like to do.  That idea is so freeing and exhilarating.  The best thing that can happen is this could actually happen!  I could fly with this!

Once I start, I’ll have the possibility of . . . helping others while doing what I love doing.  This might be just the thing I need to get speaking engagements, grow my readership of my blog, and ultimately write and publish a book.  Okay, don’t get ahead of yourself, but that is the idea!  That is my vision!  It is possible!  All I have to do is start.

Think of the teensiest, tiniest action you could take that would look like starting. . .  I could start a “business” blog and see what it looks like to market my services.  I could start by talking about my ideas to others.  I could test the waters.

Without committing to anything, when could you take this action? . . . I could start right away, there is no harm in pursuing this.  It is something I am doing anyway and can be easily incorporated in my daily life.  I will start now.

And I did.  You might know all about it.  You might be finding out for the first time.  You might wonder what the heck I am talking about!  You might be a bit confused.  It just depends on how much I have let you in on the plan.  It has been going on for months (years if you count the natural evolution of things!)

I want to be a life coach because I want to help other people and use my gifts and talents in ways that could really make a difference. I find it easy to make plans and set goals and I love seeing them through and making them happen. I realize that some people need help in this area. I can help. I often am able to make things easy for people when they doubt themselves. I am able to motivate them and give them peace of mind. I want to start a practice doing this.

Please see my new(ish) website for details on how I share my knowledge with others.  And please keep coming to this blog for the thoughts and whimsical writings that inspire me to carry on.

http://mizbizevents.com

In the words of Michael Jackson from one of my favorite songs, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”:

Lift Your Head Up High
And Scream Out To The World
I Know I Am Someone
And Let The Truth Unfurl
No One Can Hurt You Now
Because You Know What’s True
Yes, I Believe In Me
So You Believe In You

This entry in MizMeliz.com was inspired by a Journal Prompt from A Year with Myself called – Action: Mastering the Easy Way to Start Anything by C. A. Kobu on April 23, 2012.

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

Rain, a poem by Melissa Reyes

 

Tonight I did my very first public poetry reading.  It was at the Unurban Cafe in Santa Monica.  There is a Velvet Guerilla Cabaret there on Wednesday nights with an open mic.  It was a terrific experience.  After a good night’s sleep, I will write more about it.

This is a cool pic on instagram that I found of the Unurban:  http://instagram.com/p/eB3mA/

 

Here is the poem I read aloud to a room of strangers. . .

 

What is that sound I hear?

Softly tapping,

lightly rap-a-tap-rapping?

Pop

pop

pip,

mildly crackling.

Drip

drop

drip,

clapping and smacking.

It’s raining outside.

I can hear it rain outside.

The rain sounds so sexy.

It’s getting more intense.

Coming down harder and faster.

Everything is getting wetter.

Very wet.

The air is thick

and I can feel

the dark

heavy

rain cloud

over me.

It’s moist and dense,

and very intense.

I take a breath.

A very slow

deep

breath.

I can barely breathe.

It takes my breath away.

The rain is coming down very hard now.

Slip

slop

slip,

swishy,

swashy and splashy,

very fast.

I hear very big waves of water

in the distance

as they

wash in

and out.

The cloud is moving.

It is moving inside me.

The cloud is moving the rain away.

The sound of rain begins to mellow.

Slower

slower

slower, still.

Motion,

yet not as loud.

Falling

falling

from the cloud.

Quietly falling

like a shroud

over me.

Lighter now

softly now

pitter

patter

splatter.

Misty rain

lightly falling,

whispering my name.

Soft kisses

caresses

lightly touching

fingers through my hair.

Breath on my skin,

breathing it all in.

Tickling

ticking

pip

pop

smattering

dropping and dripping

drip

drop

draping over me

like soft, wet lips

kissing,

caressing my eyelashes.

The air is cold and moist.

I am warm.

Everything is quiet now.

No sound

at all.

My thoughts are filled

with the words

I want to hear.

Say you love me. . .

Say that you love me.

Say to me the words I long for.

The rain is gone

but I am here.

Soft mist

lips kissing

fingertips caressing

silent glances

romances

and I hear it!

What is that I hear?

Soft whisper in my ear.

“I love you.”

He loves me!

Hearts beating

rap-a-tap rapping

like rain,

sexy

steamy

loving

dreamy

rain.

by Melissa Reyes

2-5-09

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

The Closer Series Finale Event CONTEST

ENTRIES FOR THIS CONTEST ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED.  Due to high interest in this event, I have been asked  to withhold awarding any more winners. As the producers would like to be able to ensure seating to all the winners.

Calling all fans of THE CLOSER!

To celebrate the end of seven extraordinary seasons of the record-breaking show, THE CLOSER, TNT and Lincoln are hosting a Series Finale Screening Event on Tuesday, August 7th.

This exclusive event includes a showing of the series finale, talent appearances on the red carpet, complimentary food and beverage, and a Q&A with your favorite detectives following the screening!

For your chance to win, email mizbizevents@gmail.com with the subject “THE CLOSER.” See details below.

Good luck!

mizmeliz.com contest for @TheCloser Series Finale

Would you like to attend this special event taking place on August 7th?  That is five days BEFORE the series finale airs on TNT!

This is for BIG FANS!  Here is your chance to win four tickets!

Just EMAIL your answer to my ‘Closer Qualifier’ question to me at mizbizevents@gmail.com AND let me know that you sent the email in the comments for this post.  Your name will be entered into a random drawing.  Five people will win!  It’s that easy!

As of this moment:  ENTRIES FOR THIS CONTEST ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED.  Due to high interest in this event, I have been asked  to withhold awarding any more winners. As the producers would like to be able to ensure seating to all the winners.

The Closer Qualifier Question:

What are three things that Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson loves?

There are many answers and all will be accepted!  Just send your three favorite answers in an email to me at mizbizevents@gmail.com and post a comment telling me that you entered to win on this post.  One entry per email address will be accepted. The winners will be notified on Monday, August 6th – just before the next to last episode airs at 9:00 PM Pacific Time.

To catch up on The Closer, here is this week’s schedule on TNT:

Monday, July 30, 8:00PM ET
Drug Fiend TV-14-LV
Monday, July 30, 9:00PM ET
Last Rites TV-14-DV
Monday, July 30, 11:00PM ET
Last Rites TV-14-DV
Tuesday, July 31, 2:00PM ET
Live Wire TV-14-LV
Wednesday, August 1, 2:00PM ET
Dial M For Provenza TV-14-LV
Thursday, August 2, 2:00PM ET
Problem Child TV-14-V
Friday, August 3, 2:00PM ET
Sudden Death TV-14-LV
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

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