I’ve been meeting a lot of angels lately! Kindred spirits who come and sit next to me, we get to talking and before I know it we have an instant bond, we are in to the same thing, we have a similar purpose. And in a crowded room there is no reason we would ever talk or meet or even be introduced, but as fate would have it, I find myself seated next to an accomplished author, an aspiring poet, a fellow adventuress. It never happened to me as frequently or as obviously in the past as it has been happening lately.
Have you ever asked for a sign from God that you are doing the right thing? Please Lord, show me the way! This is how He answers me. It’s as though I am walking my path and the light posts along the way are turning on and everything is brightly lit ahead of me. I can walk on without worry because I know it is a safe route. I know I am being supported. I will not walk alone. Even though my friends and family may not understand what I am doing and even though I didn’t know anyone else personally who has done what I want to do, I do not walk alone.
It is not that I am lacking the confidence to do it. I am not afraid to turn the corner on a dimly lit path, but for some reason the lights are being turned on. It is as if I am being pulled in that direction, lead actually. It feels so right and I want it so much. I have never felt this level of confidence and self assuredness before. I can do this. I am doing it. My vision is coming true. I am making it happen.
This weekend I attended a Masquerade Ball. I planned to write about it. It was a 50th birthday celebration of a friend who I recently met through my son. It was quite magical. I enjoy a dress up party and having been an event designer, I looked forward to this for the mere joy of attending a well executed party and I hoped it would be. It far exceeded my expectations! It was completely enjoyable and lots of fun. There was amazing food and drink. The venue and service was exquisite. The guests were lively and genuinely nice. The entertainment was perfectly planned, in sync, modest, and served the purpose of highlighting the life of the guest of honor without going over the top. It truly was magical.
It was magical for me in a very special way. I had been working on writing my book this weekend. I am turning the outline of my Life Balance Workshop into an ebook. Even though I have multiple writing projects currently in the works, I thought I would give the Kindle ebook upload a try with this idea first. That way, I can have it in time for the Spa Retreat that I am speaking at in October. (That I am typing these words in reference to my own life is HUGE and very magical! I can hardly believe it!)
I am loving the experience of piecing my book together and cannot wait to get it finished so I can get it online, and I relished having a three day weekend to work on it. Yet, I found myself spending the day at an auto dealership and taking care of important family business and did not have a chance to get back to it before needing to get ready for the party. I was trying not to have any really groundbreaking thoughts about the book so I could enjoy the party, hopefully you get what I mean by that! I really wanted to enjoy myself and be mindful of the moment at hand. I took lots of pictures and I spoke to everyone at the table. I was trying hard not to talk about the writing. I was just being a great mom and wife and enjoying the fantastic cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, when I began talking to the lady seated next to me. Guess what! She is an author, who has around forty books published on Amazon for Kindle! She was nice enough to tell me to contact her if I had any questions. We really connected and it was over the top coincidence that we met because she is in my genre and we have similar interests! When she began to tell me the topics that she has written about, it was as though she was reading the list of topics that I write about! Spirituality, self development, life, love.
I used to be the person at a table of strangers who did not speak unless spoken to. How many amazing people did I miss connecting with all those years that I was so self absorbed, so worried about making the right impression, concerned about exposing myself as imperfect, less than, not accomplished, under-educated, and so on? What was my problem? I was insecure. Immature. Inadequate. No more. No way!
I love to hear people’s stories and I love that I can Google most people and find out more about them!! Every outing is an adventure when I know that if I open the door and ask to enter, people will invite me in. I have learned so many wonderful things when given that opportunity. I am so grateful for
that gift. I am so amazed that the angels will talk to me!
Here is a challenge for you, next time you are at a party and sit next to someone you have never met – really talk to them. They could be there to guide you! They could be the sign you asked for.
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 Bloggersin 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!
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!
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.
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 Atelierwhere 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.
Susanne also referred me to The Cooks Cornerwhere 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, Flickrand Tumblr. I post my pictures of flowers that I edit and I enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them.
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 alike 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/
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 Digh27, 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/
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.
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!
My latest endeavor is my association with the Latina Lifestyle Bloggershttp://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.
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.
My friend, Joy, asked me to participate in a collaboration of women writers for International Women’s Day. The result is this beautiful ebook which was produced in one week’s time. I am proud to be a part of it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Here is my gift to you in celebration of women . . .
A Year with Myself 8: Discovering My Thing and My True Passion
I have been pretty happy lately. An amazing, out of this world feeling of self-confidence has centered itself in my being. The main reason I am so happy is because I have turned a corner in my life. I am doing something that I am truly passionate about. I know it is the right thing for me, right now. I am not just writing, I am considering myself a writer. This is huge for me! As I embark on this new adventure, I feel excitement and joy. I am overjoyed by the possibilities and endless adventures that this road may lead. I feel a sense of accomplishment and a new belief in myself and my abilities. I am exhilarated, energized and ready to take on the world. I am open to new experiences and I am making the most of the journey as it unfolds.
When I was a young girl of 11 or 12, I read a book by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey called A Woman of Independent Means. I loved that book. I couldn’t tell you the details of the story now, but it’s coming back to me little by little. When I thought about what excited me and interested me most back then, for some reason reading that book came to mind.
I remember holding that book in my hands and turning the pages while rolling around and shifting my position on my bed. I remember the bedspread I had on my bed, it was chenille. It was so soft. I had pillow shams with yellow gingham ruffles. I had matching yellow gingham curtains. I can remember the smell of dust in my room, from the window sill above the head of my bed.
I loved having my bed under the window. I could sit on my bed and look outside as I daydreamed of how my life would be. (I don’t ever remember having serious complications or allergies from the cool air or the dust from the window above my head, but my mother must have warned me about this because I have never allowed my children to have their bed under the window.) Our house was north facing and my bedroom windows faced north. Where I lived we had a robust north wind we called the Santa Ana’s that would hit the front of our house like a slap in the face. It caused lots of dust and leaves to blow on our front porch and at our windows. It made a whistling noise through the windows at night that sounded like howling or crying. (My mother told me never buy a house that faces north, and I didn’t.)
My mom gave me the book A Woman of Independent Means to read, and I loved it. I had no idea then that it was my mother who truly inspired me to be such a woman. Or, that my mother herself was such a woman. I thought to myself back then, “I want a life worth writing about.”
My mother told me lots of things. She gave lots of advice. She told me I could do or be whatever I wanted. She never put restrictions on me. She believed I would learn on my own about the bed being under the windows, as she did about most things. Some things were absolutely not allowed when I was growing up, such as drinking, smoking, and sex. My mom warned me that if I did those things I would get caught and that the truth always comes out . I needed to learn on my own, I guess. She was right, she did find out! I caused so much hurt and pain for my mother, because she wanted the best for me. She wanted me to not experience the hurt and pain. But, I learned on my own.
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey wrote her novel as a series of letters, correspondence and announcements. Reading that book had a big impact on me in many ways. I knew I wanted to keep a journal. I knew written correspondence was important to me. Remembering details was also important and I fine tuned that ability at a young age. I am not good at remembering specific historical dates or even names of famous people, but I have a recall about who, what, where and when as it applies to my own experience. After all, I remembered the title and author of a book I loved over thirty years ago!
I knew I wanted to have experiences in life that would help me to write my own story, or to write a novel like Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey did, that was based on the experiences of her grandmother’s life.
I committed myself to writing about ten years ago when I turned to it as a solace. I was going through depression and dealing with stress from so many things at a time when I was not working outside the home and was caring for my three small children. I always said I would write a novel, or a screen play, or a book of poetry. I was not ready to go forward with it at the time. I did more research than anything else. I poured my heart and soul out in my journals. But I could not think of sharing them with anyone, unless I read the entries aloud so I could see an immediate reaction.
The desire to be a writer has always been there, as it has popped up and tested the waters many times in my life. At no time has it ever felt as real as it does to me right now. The desire is so strong I feel it burning inside me. It’s taking off on its own. It has a life of its own. I keep doing things that propel me in this direction and they aren’t taking any effort at all. What is different from the many attempts of the past? I can say simply this, “Now, I am ready.”
I downloaded the book that I read as a girl by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey on my Kindle ap. I did not realize that the book had been republished in 1998. I read it in 1979 or 1980 just after it was originally published in 1978. While searching for it on Amazon, I was reminded that it was made into a television mini series starring Sally Field, one of my favorite actresses. I don’t recall seeing the mini series when it was televised.
The coolest thing about rediscovering this book now is that there is an updated preface in the book that Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey wrote in 1998. She was close to my age when her work was first published and she wrote it while raising her two small daughters. She says that “the traditional advice to writers is to ‘write what you know.’ I always amend that to ‘write what you can imagine knowing’.” I feel as though she is speaking directly to me and it is at this moment in my life that I needed to hear these words from the woman who first inspired me to write so long ago.
I never would have said at ten years old that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I am sure I said I wanted to be a mother, that I wanted to travel, be famous, have a big house and a convertible! I wanted lots of things. Looking back, I realize that I did always want to be a writer like Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey.