October Young Leader Spotlight

Posted by gwenadmin
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Posted on October 01, 2014

ARB_4964!This past school year,  Lizzie Sider, an up and coming 16 year old country pop artist and  a role model for kids, who was bullied in early elementary school. has been on a 250 school, one person show, anti bully tour and visited with over 100,000 elementary and middle school students throughout every corner of California, Texas and Florida.  Lizzie continues her tour this year with her first stop in NYC in October for National Bully Prevention Month.  Lizzie also has created an NPO “Nobody Has The Power To Ruin Your Day”.  After NYC, Lizzie moves on the Washington, DC.  Holiday break and then back on the road in February.

Lizzie has performed all over the country, been on TV and radio many times, and performed over 25 National Anthems at Major League sporting events. Her signature single, “Butterfly,” and her second single release and music video, “I Love You That Much,” charted in the Top 40 on Nashville’s Music Row Chart. Lizzie is passionate about speaking out against bullying, being a positive role model for kids, and making a difference. She is proud to be a spokesperson for organizations such as PACER Teens Against Bullying and GWEN (Global Women’s Empowerment Network). Lizzie won a 2013 Hollywood Music in Media Award for “Butterfly,” which she performed live, at the HMMA awards dinner in Hollywood, CA. Lizzie recently received the Peter Yarrow Hatebraker Hero Award, for her leadership role in bully prevention. Lizzie has appeared and performed on the Queen Latifah and Home & Family TV shows. She was named “Who to Watch in 2013” by the Country Music Association, and for the second straight year, has been awarded her own booth at the annual CMA Fest in Nashville for June 2014, where she also performed live on the Chevy Roadhouse CMA stage, and at the famed, Bluebird Café.

Paradise

Posted by Michael Mazzella
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Posted on April 01, 2014

Michael Mazzella PicCreating Paradise

I dream of Paradise. A world with no struggle. A land of girls and oneness amongst all creatures. Chasing waterfalls no more, the land of Gods no more, instead ruled by the master of the Universe. The hand that graces us all and protects despite disbelief.

Is this Paradise? 

I dream of Paradise. A world where dreams come true and mountains move. Seas part at will and stormy skies are splintered with sunlight. Red Cadillacs move towards you. The tight softness of her skin. There is no fame or fortune. No class, no money to be had nor lost. A land of closed eyes and radiating hearts whistling our reasons.

This could be it. 

I dream of Paradise. A world with no judge. For the one-time inaccuracies of the face and body are no longer seen. The beauty within shines a magnificent shine. I look directly into the sun without a blink or shielding of the eyes.

You’re in Paradise. 

Paradise. 

Cream on the skin, so sweet and warm. The dryness of the grind lathered away, made a new. Just a girl seeing the world for the first time. The sound of the click as a freshly minted key enters the gateway to a new hard earned home. The smell of the engine cranking and revving as a girl drives away a woman. This is a world where none of this matters. Paradise.

Paradise 

My soul stripped of its egotistical needs. Removed from the comforts of the material world. Gone is the bed, the ceiling, the exterior, the interior and all other items – some meaningless and some pieces of a heart story. Tears dried. Stripped naked with no shower to cleanse a tired soul, leaving only the mind’s growing sight untouched. Creativity that soars like an eagle – a previously small bird in a land of crystals and diamonds. A yellow diamond may have once sat on a plastered hand. It’s gone. Now an ultraviolet rock glows from the front and top of the mind. For without the human’s perceived needs and life lived in the bare, we have entered Paradise.

The sun will come out soon. No. It’s already out, look just a hair closer darling and you will see too. Look through the skies to see the sky. Only sun looks back upon you. Darling, this is Paradise. I know the sun will shine. I know the days will wane in old age. I know the soul will ache. I know the feet will blister. I know the beauty will fade. Be with me now, the days are slow and short. Rapid-fire days are missed. Every tear had meaning and the storm vanquishes flight. It matters not. In a place where nothing else matters except you and I. We are in paradise.

Paradise 

Need not yell, for we are here and it has always been with us. Go. Do not walk, but run into Paradise.

Unknown Paradise

I miss the moments of days of old. I dream about them dearly, holding on to the memory and grasping at things that once were. Typically my tendency is to subject myself to a purgatory of sorts. Inflicting a choice between two polarizing directions. I will only be happy when I go there, live in that mansion, make more money, become more famous, see the stars more vividly. Rare are the days I sit back and enjoy the journey on the road to paradise. I am guilty of holding myself to the visions of what will be and worse, when will it be?  I cannot fathom current day happiness and certainly not thoughts that only exist in the present. What’s next?  What is to come? When will it be? This is all I think. Perhaps these are the days that matter the most: the middle-ground days. Your path has begun, but you aren’t in full control of the helm yet.

If I were to place myself in my mindset from two years ago, my fantasy was to be where I am now. Not only have I reached that former goal, but also I’ve smashed it, having risen higher than my younger mind could have fathomed. Yet, here we are again, another war in my mind, selfishly wanting more and marinating in discontent and ungratefulness. I am such a deeply flawed being. My mother often says I’m just never happy, as though I refuse to be ok with where my life is. She’s right, I can’t seem to ever relax and enjoy the details and present experiences of my journey.

I realized today I’m living the book. Right now I’m living the real-life memoir that will one day be read by many and empathized with by those dreaming of more and holding on to their souls through simply a vision and a choice. We control everything with the thoughts in our mind. I suppose you could classify this as the case of wanting something just a little too badly. I cringe to say it but I believe that I am the single-handed cause of my own dissatisfaction and therefore find myself continuously suffering. I want my goals and dreams to become tangible so badly that I forgot to look up and only focus on the pavements I’ve chased. To see the roses around one’s existence is a beautiful gift of glory. We must not only see the roses but also stop to smell them. This is the true miracle.

Laying in us all is the undying, unyielding fight to just BE: the mission to be our true authentic selves.

Purgatory-

1. A place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven (definition from Roman Catholic doctrine).

2. Mental anguish or suffering.

3. Having the quality of cleansing or purifying.

The definitions above describe our existence when we refuse to bask in the present gift of today. It also reads that those sitting in the spiritual layover are set to enter heaven once the much-needed lessons are learned. Perhaps this is the phase that gives us the strength we need to fully embrace the greatness to come. It’s a metaphor of life as we know it, steps cannot be skipped, and true happiness is a sculpture waiting to be crafted. It may be that I am on a road to nirvana; I’ve certainly sat in this same waiting room many times in the past. We are here for a reason. I believe that it is in preparation for a dream fulfilled simply so magnifying it could only be a dream that of GOD. We must suffer, we must induce our own agony in order to be cleansed and purified to enter our own Heaven. Just as we can cause our own “hell on earth” we can do the opposite too. I know deep down in my soul that reaching the peak of my imagined summit is imminent. Often however, I live seeking paradise and ignore the one I currently live in.

The Misses: A Life Lesson

Posted by Michael Mazzella
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Posted on February 19, 2014

Michael Mazzella I by no means am an expert on this thing we call life. I by no means am an expert of how to be the best actor, talk show host, comic, author, singer, or dancer. I am simply a child of GOD, just hopefully gazing, like WE all are. Recently while eating dinner at my favorite Los Angeles restaurant, Villa Blanca, I had a conversation with someone whom I deeply and passionately respect. She spoke to me and our other darling friend about life’s little misses. You know, those moments where you are just so close, an inch from the kiss, but for whatever reason, known or unknown, the kiss is interrupted and what would have been is lost.

Her words were profound. The juxtaposition of complete devastation and learning lessons of those little misses were mystifying. The language I was hearing reverberated throughout my body. I was unsure if I was going to cry over her frustrations or rejoice in her strength. Life truly can be a contradiction, but isn’t that part of what makes it so beautiful? I believe it was Susan Sarandon who explained that her life had been built on a series of stupid mistakes that eventually took her to where she ended up. This same ideology can be used for those little misses. Perhaps it is those misses that end up taking us to exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there, leading to the big hit we were hoping for the entire time. I believe this to be true. We are exactly where we need to be right now in GOD’s divine and perfect plan for us. Each miss can be painful, heart wrenching, but as the great teacher of life Iyanla Vanzant says, “The best students get the hardest lessons.”

I began to think of my own misses. While my life has been much shorter and far less expansive than the greatness of whom I was sitting next to, the lesson was the same. It is our darkest hours that make us the most beautiful and lead to our greatest triumphs. In my opinion a triumph could be defined as the moment when we are blindly traveling down GOD’s path for us and a street lamp illuminates, allowing us to see exactly where it is we are in that very moment. A wink from God showing us that we are where we need to be, having made it to the next mile marker along the journey of life.

It’s been said all people will have a “dark night of the soul” at one point in their lives. A night where all of those little misses culminate into one gut ripping moment that causes you to vomit the blood of life’s painful experiences while simultaneously feeling tremendous heart ache ache and sorrow. However, like a cloud that floats through the air transforming into ice, rain, or snow, we will be a new while remaining the same.