Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ikigai: Reason for being ~ Razón de SER

My biggest challenge during 2019 was my health, the first week of January I couldn't walk. The reason: bursitis for bad pasture while working long hours in the computer and not using the appropriate shoes at work to  stand long hours while teaching. 

My first judgment, "I am so weak. " 
The reality : I wasn't taking care of myself. 
During the healing process with painful physical therapy, I learned about the concept "Follow Ikigai. " Do you know what is it? 
Follow Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese term for "a reason for being." In other words, "a reason to get up in the morning" to enjoy life. First, the word ikigai usually is used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Second, the word is used to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. 

In Okinawa, where ikigai has its origins, is considered the largest population of centenarians in the world. Could the concept of ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guycontribute to longevity? 

In their book Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy LifeHector Garcia and Francesc Miralles break down the ten rules that can help anyone find their own ikigai.

1. Stay active and don’t retire. 
2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life. 
3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full. 
4. Surround yourself with good friends. 
5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise. 
6. Smile and acknowledge people around you. 
7. Reconnect with nature. 
8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive.
9. Live in the moment. 
10. Follow your ikigai. 

After this painful experience, I learned that without physical health, I can't accomplish anything. I learned also to take care of myself with daily physical therapy and adjusting my diet. 

My goal this year from the WISDOM  decisions from 2019 to enjoy life with TRANQUILITY to follow my ikigai. 

What is yours?

¿Cuál es tu razón de SER? Traducido Maritza M. Mejia

Mi mayor reto del 2019 fue mi salud. En la primera semana de enero, me levanté un día sin poder caminar. La razón : bursitis por sentarme con mala postura por muchas horas en la computadora y no usar zapatos apropiados en el trabajo para permanecer largas horas en la escuela enseñando. 
Mi primer pensamiento fue: "Mi cuerpo es muy débil". Después me di cuenta que no me había cuidado lo suficiente. 
Mientras me recuperaba haciendo una dolorosa fisioterapia escuché el concepto de Ikigai. ¿Sabes qué es? 

Ikigai ( ) es un término japonés que significa "una razón de ser"; se pronuncia (Ick-ee-guy). En otras palabras, es un llamado o invitación a preguntarse ¿Cuál es la razón para levantarme por la mañana para disfrutar de la vida?

En primer lugar, la palabra “ikigai” generalmente se utiliza para indicar la fuente de valor en la vida o las cosas que hacen que la vida valga la pena. En segundo lugar, la palabra se utiliza para referirse a circunstancias mentales y espirituales bajo las cuales las personas sienten que sus vidas son valiosas.

En la cultura de Okinawa, donde el “ikigai” tiene sus orígenes, es considerada la mayor población de centenarios en el mundo. ¿Podría el concepto de ikigai contribuir a la longevidad?

En su libro “Ikigai El secreto japonés a una vida larga y feliz”, Héctor García y Francesc Miralles desglosan las diez reglas que pueden ayudar a cualquiera a encontrar su propio ikigai. Aquí te las comparto: 

1.     Manténgase activo y no se retire. 
2.     Deje atrás la urgencia y adopte un ritmo de vida más lento. 
3.     Sólo coma hasta que esté lleno en un 80 por ciento. 
4.     Rodéese de buenas amistades. 
5.     Póngase en forma a través de un ejercicio suave y diario. 
6.     Sonría y agradece a las personas que lo rodean. 
7.     Conéctese con la naturaleza. 
8.     De gracias a todo lo que ilumina su día y lo hace sentir vivo.  
9.     Viva el presente. 
10.  Siga su razón de ser.

Después de éste doloroso proceso de recuperación,  aprendí que sin salud no puedo hacer nada. Aprendí también a cuidar mi cuerpo con terapia física diaria y mejor dieta alimenticia. 

Mi objetivo para el Nuevo Año es aprovechar la SABIDURIA de mis decisiones del 2019 y buscar TRANQUILIDAD en mi vida para seguir mi “ikigai”. ¿Cuál será el suyo?

Maritza Martínez Mejía

Mother, Author, Educator and Translator
Member: FWA, SFWA, SCBWI, Board of Advisors MCBD, Delegado ANLMI
FREE Reading Activities visit:
Received Crystal Apple, VCB Poetry, Latino Book Awards, Author’s Talk

Friday, December 27, 2019

Thank + Analize + Add = 2020

Invite you to follow these THREE principles for the New Year

A dear friend asked me, “How do you achieve everything you set out each year? ” My answer may surprise you,
I replied, “First, I always look for challenges that I know I can achieve. Second, I celebrate each accomplishment and third, I never compare myself with anyone else. I am my only competition.” 

This year, I invite you to think of your Resolution list as a VALUE to add to your life.  What would it be?

In the last three years, I have participated in the "12 days of Christmas for Writers" by Julie Hedlund. During day 2 and 3 of the challenge, she invites us to write on an empty piece of paper the surprises and successes of the year to focus on our accomplishments instead of New Year’s resolutions. She believes the way New Year's resolutions are traditionally made comes from a place of negativity - what DIDN'T get done or achieved in the previous year.

This is my first time sharing my professional accomplishments. I believe it is important to celebrate the effort of the year with a thankful heart.  Definitely, hard work paid off! Thank you for your support! 🌷 #LuzDelMes 🌠

👉Here is my list of 10 my major professional accomplishments:
💖Surprises & Successes 2019 💖

1. My biggest surprise was to visit Japan and came out  the with the idea to create a collaborative work in honor to Nature called LuzDelMes TRI-ANTHOLOGY in THREE languages: English, Spanish and Greek, but I don't speak Greek! I received an enormous help from Greek author, Agatha Rodi. We put together 33 authors and collaborators around the world and collected 150 Haiku in THREE months. The result was amazing! Please visit:

2. My second challenge was to open my own Editorial House to move all my books to LuzDelMes Publishing House and receive the Royalties I deserve. I moved TWO of my books, 5 more to come in the near future.

3. My great accomplishment, my second year as corresponsal (over the phone) with "El Mágico Mundo de los Libros" de Radio Sion, NYC 🎤because I live in Florida. This experience has been a growing lesson of perseverance, learning Spanish literature from diverse perspectives and authors, challenge myself to write poetry in Spanish. My brain works different, I write in English first, then I translate into my tongue language. Weird, isn’t it?

4. Invitation to be a speaker at Authors for Authors Conference for the second time.
5. Participation in local Book Fairs in Florida.
6. Attended one author local event monthly.
7. Participation in the Literary Forum  Fefi.TeVe.
8.Participant as reviewer of bilingual books at Multicultural Children's Book Day
9. Invitation to close the editorial of Visitame Magazine and the second year writing a monthly articles for them.

10. My great decision this year was to return to college to finish a Master degree in Theology for Education.

After surprises, successes and a lot of challenges, I closed December feeling blessed and excited for New Year plans.

2020 first semester projection:  Celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day 2020 at Barnes & Noble Story Time Reading, Third year as Speaker of Authors for Authors and my participation in a local Expo and Book Fairs 2020. 

My main goal 2020 is to finish 4 classs for my Master in Theology. I will be busy, busy, and ready to study.

 I am Celebrating success!

Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Author, Educator and Translator
Member: FWA, SFWA, SCBWI, Board of Advisors MCBD, Delegado ANLMI
FREE Reading Activities visit:
Received Crystal Apple, VCB Poetry, Latino Book Awards, Author’s Talk

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Kwanzaa: Celebration of Cultural Heritage and Traditional Values

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the Western African diaspora. 

Kwanzaa Candle and traditional food
This celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture. This year Kwanzaa begins on December 26th, 2019 and ends on January 1st  ,2020 at the feast and gift-giving.
According to history, Kwanzaa has seven core principles called Nguzo Saba.
It was created by Maulana Karenga.  The first Kwanzaa celebration was at the end of 1966 beginning 1967. 
The Black Candle represents the first principle Umoja (unity) and is placed in the center of the Kinara. The red candles represent the principles of Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujamaa (cooperative economics) and Kuumba (creativity) and are placed to the left of the black candle. The green candles represent the principles of Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Nia (purpose) and Imani (faith) and are placed to the right of the black candle. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and greenblack for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle.
The Principles of Kwanzaa
Source from Official Kwanza website:
umoja (oo-MOH-ja)
Meaning: unity
Action: building a community that holds together
kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)
Meaning: self-determination
Action: speaking for yourself and making choices that benefit the community
ujima (oo-JEE-mah)
Meaning: collective work and responsibility
Action: helping others within the community
ujamaa (oo-JAH-ma)
Meaning: cooperative economics
Action: supporting businesses that care about the community
nia (nee-AH)
Meaning: a sense of purpose
Action: setting goals that benefit the community
kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)
Meaning: creativity
Action: making the community better and more beautiful
imani (ee-MAH-nee)
Meaning: faith
Action: believing that a better world can be created for communities now and in the future
Activity for Kids: Coloring Pages:

For Tradition,  values and more:
¿Qué es Kwanzaa?
Según la historia Kwanzaa tiene siete principios básicos llamados Nguzo Saba. Fue creado por Maulana Karenga. La celebración dura ocho días y empieza el 26 de Diciembre y finaliza el Primero de Enero. Los colores de las velas en la Kinara representan: La Negra, representa su gentela roja el sufrimiento de su gente, y el verde la esperanza por un mejor futuro.
¡Feliz Kwanzaa!


Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Author, Educator and Translator
Member: FWA, SFWA, SCBWI, Board of Advisors MCBD, Delegado ANLMI
FREE Reading Activities visit:
Received Crystal Apple, VCB Poetry, Latino Book Awards, Author’s Talk

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Boxing Day Traditions

Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland. It’s a day to spend with family and friends and to eat up all the leftovers of Christmas Day.
British activities on Boxing Day include bizarre traditions like swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, charity events and Fox hunting.
History and tradition differ about the origins of the name Boxing Day.  The most common reasons are:
     ·  A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.  
     · Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families. 
     ·  A box to collect money for the poor traditionally and placed in Churches on Christmas day and opened the next day - Boxing Day. 
     · Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. Were the voyage a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents were given to the poor. 

.     .  Irish activities on Boxing Day include the celebration of St Stephen who was killed, purportedly stoned to death, for believing in Jesus. It is known as "St Stephen's Day" and is famous for its "Wren Boys" would go out and stone Wrens to death with blackened. This barbaric act has now stopped, but the Wrens Boys will still dress up and parade around time, though, but collecting money for charity. For more information about St. Stephen's day visit 👉

    CELEBRACIONES DEL 26 DE DICIEMBRE: El segundo día de Navidad se celebra" Boxing Day" y también el día de San Esteban. Es un día para pasar con la familia y amistades para finalizar la comida o comerse  las sobras del día de Navidad. Pero también es un día para dar. 
     Es una festividad celebrada principalmente en el Reino Unido yj otras naciones que pertenecieron al Imperio británico. Se celebra el 26 de diciembre y se promueve la donaciones de regalos a los más necesitados. 
    En la región de Cataluña, España. En algunos países europeos como Alemania, Polonia, Países Bajos y en Escandinavia, el 26 de diciembre es celebrado como un segundo Día de Navidad.

Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Author, Educator and Translator
Member: FWA, SFWA, SCBWI, Board of Advisors MCBD, Delegado ANLMI
FREE Reading Activities visit:
Received Crystal Apple, VCB Poetry, Latino Book Awards, Author’s Talk