Living With Gusto



Happy March! (This is from my “Wings & Dreams” calendar. You can still purchase one on sale in my shop.)

As Lucille Ball said, ” Love yourself first, and all the rest falls into line.”
It’s pretty difficult to accomplish what your heart desires if you don’t feel as if you are worth it. 
It’s tough to offer love to others if you feel really cruddy about yourself.
It’s almost impossible to be confident and positive if you really don’t like yourself.
What can you do today to nurture your soul? As women we nurture everyone else, but not ourselves.
Speak up for your right to take time to do something that nurtures YOU. (Convince yourself you are worthy of it. It will make you a better person, dissolve resentment, and empower you!)
Tell me below what you are going to do for yourself today. Me? I just got my heart rate up for 15 minutes. Go me! Now let’s see if I keep with it! Cheer me on.

Inspiration, Living With Gusto

Comparison is Distracting


Do you get distracted when you look at others, their posts, their accomplishments? Are you comparing? I sure do, at times. Then I remind myself that we all have different callings, abilities, lights to shine. It’s really destructive to compare because we will not “measure up”. So, keep on pursuing your own purpose. And don’t get distracted by comparison.

Big sparkle hugs! Mimi



Living With Gusto

We Are Not Alone

“Christmas is a reminder that we are not alone.” My aunt shared this quote with me and it resonated within me.
God touched humanity with Jesus—the greatest gift of all. Love came down at His birth. He provided a way to live with HOPE in the midst of despair. To have a FRIEND when everyone turns away. To have STRENGTH in the midst of fear. To have LOVE in the midst of hate. To have FAITH in the midst of turmoil.
HE alone is my Rock, the One who has sustained me through some really, really rough times. He has anchored me when I’ve been adrift and floundering.
I am forever grateful for this Savior who came humbly to walk among us and make a way for us to have lives of fullness and joy, regardless of our circumstances. My heart belong to the One who loves me.

May you be blessed this Christmas

and the year to come. 

Love and big hugs, Mimi


Come See My Garden

My yard gives me such pleasure!

It’s a retreat for me, it gives me visual delight,

it’s a place of wonder and curiosity.

My favorite color is pink! The pink flowers here are Lantana. The bottom picture shows them in a toolbox of my uncle’s who was a house painter.


Many of these plants were moved multiple times and they really like it here!

Pink Martha Washington geraniums give the most bang for your buck! Bottom left shows Limelight Hydrangea with Black Lace bush behind it. Of course, Black-eyed Susans always complete a garden.


In the last four years they have grown, multiplied, intermingled, and I love it!

I LOVE hydrangeas!! These are all from the Limelight and I’m drying them. I also LOVE anything galvanized. Can you tell?


I realize I am quite fortunate.

My yard is awesome, my flowers grow like crazy, and it’s a feast for my eyes.

That crazy green leafy vine hanging from the red headboard is a Sweet Potato Vine. Beside it is a Sedum of some kind. It goes crazy too! Below is the sweet little memorial for my sister, the garden stone was given to me by a friend. The broken crock made a great planter.


I also realize that most of this is not my doing but that of God’s blessing.

And I am deeply thankful.

Baby finches abound right now! They are everywhere, learning to fly and chattering constantly. They are a thirsty lot. Those bright flowers on the bottom are zinnias! I never knew until this year that they came in a short, shrub-like version.


Thanks for taking a little tour of my front yard gardens.

I hate to see them go, but soon frost will come.

Oh well, it’s always fun to see everything come up in the spring.

What about you?

Do any of you love growing things?

Tell me about your gardens!


Until next time,

Big hugs, Passionista Mimi

Living With Gusto

Wings and Dreams

Is there a goal or dream niggling at your heart?

Do you have big plans on the back burner that you have only shared with your trusted friend?

Perhaps you are just a leetle bit afraid to dream BIG for fear of disappointment.

I understand that. I’ve been there!

But you know what?

This 2018 calendar is one of my dreams,

and although it’s very scary putting it out here

for the public to scrutinize and evaluate,

I do it because it’s important to me.

I hope you find value in this calendar.

I hope you will be encouraged by the pages,

and decide to take the leap toward

your dreams too.

I, like you, walk the journey

not knowing if my dreams will succeed.

And they all may not.

But I’m taking steps to bring encouragement and empowerment into your lives.

If I accomplish that, I’ll be overflowing with JOY!!

Because, you see, bringing encouragement into your lives is one of my DREAMS!

It’s my calling.

And this calendar is one of the ways

I’m able to live MY dream.

And that makes me really, really happy!


If you’d like one of these calendars, you may purchase it here.


I haven’t told y’all lately how amazing

and wonderful you are!

I hope you know that. Thank you for being YOU!

I’d hate to have to live without you in my life.

And thank you for your support. It means so much to me!!

Lotsa love and big sparkle hugs,

Passionista Mimi


Living With Gusto

Are You Wearing Your True Colors?

when I am an old woman I shall wear purple


Today is my birthday!! I thought it quite appropriate to post this today, since I am entering a “milestone” birthday this year–that of receiving Medicare. Yes, this lady right here is turning 65 years old today!! I can’t believe it. Because I am waaaay too young at heart to be 65!! Right? That’s what living with gusto and passion will do fer ya!! Ha!


The above picture is an excerpt from a poem written by Jenny Joseph in 1961 when she was 29 years old. You really should read it all. This poem became Jenny’s most popular one even though she wrote all her life and won several awards and published numerous poetry books.


Perhaps it gained popularity because it speaks of women doing what suits them instead of what others expect of them. A freeing thought to women of the 60s and continues to be even now.

Our clothing standards for “older” women (whatever that means) have loosened some in the last decades, but conquering societal expectations on women is still a struggle. So here is my take on this idea of what to wear:

I’m older—I guess—and I enjoy wearing purple and many other colors. But how I most want to clothe myself is by wearing the honest, true version of my own essence. Not someone’s idea of who I am, not anyone’s opinion of how I should behave, and certainly not another person’s idea of what I should be. Who’s with me?


Age has given me perspective and wisdom. Navigating through difficult times—suffering because of wrong choices, persevering through grief, loss, and change—as well as experiencing wonderful and joyful things like parenthood and being loved, will do that for you.


Age has given me guts. Guts to break free and throw out all that isn’t truly my authentic self. Age has liberated me. I finally got tired enough to call it quits. I couldn’t take care of everyone else any more. I couldn’t be what “they” wanted and demanded. And good Lord, why should I be? How does allowing someone else to frame my character, personality, and behaviors honor myself or my Creator?


As with most of us, the reduction and dismissal of my true self started at an early age when I began believing lies about myself. Experiences in my young life caused me to feel “less than” and that was the filter I used to interpret what people said about me. I heard words and perceived behaviors that convinced me I was, indeed, less than I should be.


For the record, when we hear something, we must accept it and agree with it before it can become truth to us. How we feel about ourselves, often determined early in our lives, affects that.


As I got older and began to dismiss other’s opinions and expectations, and tasted the freedom of determining my authentic self, I’ve discovered lots of treasures in my character. I’m not really those awful things people said about me. I know that they were lies. And I’m fervently hoping that you, too, will make the same discovery of truth.


So what about that purple? Please wear whatever colors make you feel alive and vibrant! But, most importantly, clothe yourself in the dazzling radiance of your perfectly true self.

And, darling, won’t we SHINE!!



I wrote this for the Women2Women Michigan Magazine. You might really enjoy reading the whole magazine online, as it is FULL of great articles for and about and by women! Here is the link to read the free magazine: W2WMichigan Magazine

Love and hugs,

Passionista Mimi





Living With Gusto

This Is Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It


picture 1 05.02.2016

It’s my firm belief that our society could use a lot more attention. Not the “hey, look at me” kind of attention, but the kind that notices others. Attention to others: kindness, caring, listening, looking, touching, smiling, and sharing.


Of course, in order for this to happen we’d need to lift our faces from our device screens. If you know that I am someone who sits in front of a computer many hours a day, this statement could seem hypocritical. However, I make my beyond-the-screen moments really count. Balance. That is what’s needed. I’m a relationship-builder and I notice people. It’s not that hard, really, to actually look at folks. Study them. Listen. But also, respond.


It seems that so much of our society has “acquired self-centeredness”, to coin a phrase for my purposes here. Though most of us are not typically wired from birth to be self-absorbed for all of our lives (usually humans reach an age where they outgrow this for the most part), it seems to have become an increasingly consistent trait through adulthood.


Which is truly sad. Think back. I know you can remember a time when someone’s smile, touch on the arm, or hug reached your hurting heart for a moment. You were strengthened by having someone connect with you and share your burden.


Why is it often the norm to step back from other’s emotional journeys, whether good or bad?  Is it because we feel that our own journey stinks so badly that we want no part of more emotionality? But isn’t it possible that when we reach out to someone they could actually help share our journey too? Ahhh, but we must become vulnerable and make the first move. Whew, not many of us like that word! Nope, not us. We want our backs covered. Better yet, let’s stand in a corner with our shield in front of us and our helmet on so no one can penetrate.


But this is not living fully! And how, may I ask, are we going to have a fulfilling job with people, satisfying relationships with loved ones, or success in building a life if we choose not to relate wholeheartedly with others? How, if instead we cocoon ourselves away from interactions, connections, and reaching out with our hearts in compassion? Because, remember, we need that just as badly.


“No man is an island, entire of itself.” John Donne


If you spend some time becoming acquainted with people who have long-term, successful marriages/relationships, or who are making an impact on their world, or are top entrepreneurs, or leaders in their companies, you will most likely find they have two common characteristics:

picture 2 05.02.2016


Brenѐ Brown, in her book Rising Strong, says that

“hiding out, pretending, and armoring up against vulnerability are killing us: killing our spirits, our hopes, our potential, our creativity, our ability to lead, our love, our faith, and our joy.”

And then what is left of our lives?


 When we brace ourselves against reaching out to fellow humans, or fail to look into people’s eyes and actually talk with them, we are killing our own spirits. By our actions, or lack thereof, we are sending the message that other people are not worthy of our time or valuable enough to be noticed and we are way more important than anyone else in our sphere. Is this the impression we want to give? Is that really how we want to live our lives?


Every time I choose to become vulnerable and speak with people—online, in person, or to a group—and share the stories of my personal experiences of loss and then living, of how I broke free of a life driven by other people’s opinions and expectations, of my own rising above setbacks and circumstances, I am amazed. I am encouraged and heartened by the lives touched, hope that is received and embraced, and the new paths chosen. That is what happens when we connect, when we tell our stories in order to lift another, when we reach out with our hearts to let someone know that we see their pain, understand a little, or share how we survived. And every time I do, my own life gets stronger through lifting their burden during that poignant encounter.


We are placed on earth for others—to share journeys side by side. We are not created to be self-contained, excluding others. Thus, when we extend beyond ourselves, touching hearts and sharing burdens, our own hearts grow stronger.


“Go out and make a difference in your community. You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating.” Barbara Sher


Hopefully my own bold choices will affect and inspire others to step out, risk, and make brave choices too. But what about the ways YOU have been courageous? The fact you are human means you have survived difficult circumstances, walked through grief and loss, suffered betrayal, endured your share of heartbreak, and yet have been brave, valiant, and bold (if not you wouldn’t be reading this). So tell your story, and shine your light for others.

Picture 3 05.02.2016


Do you realize that you already make a difference in the lives of people every single day? It’s your choice whether you are adding value or not.

Will you smile and warm the eyes of that person you squeeze past in your rush to accomplish your errand?

Will you hug, hold, or touch the person who is alone and hasn’t felt human warmth in many weeks?

Will you visit the one who is physically trapped inside a home, longing to see the sunshine and feel the breeze, and to hear another person’s voice?

Will you listen with stillness, full intention, and focus as someone, with stuttering breath, reveals their story of need?

Will you sit, in the moment, with grief and pain, and breathe alongside another to divide the burden?

Will you whirl and dance in steps of celebration of another’s blessing without asking “why not me, when’s my turn”?

Will you hold the young child of a friend who needs to go, do, be “not-a-mommy” for a bit?

Will you take the time to write and mail a note expressing gratitude toward someone who has given their time and heart? There are many, many unsung heroes in our lives.

Will you share from your bounty, or maybe from your just-enough, to lighten the despair of another who is hungry and afraid, unable to feed her child?

Will you share from your buy-a-coffee-on-the-way stash in order to diminish the lack of another?

Will you call someone and personally voice your desire to help, so they hear the warmth of your humanness instead of just reading a text?

Add value to other’s lives.


“The question is not ‘Can you make a difference?’ You already do make a difference. It’s just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make during your life on this planet.” Julia Butterfly Hill


As mentioned, the word “WHOLEHEARTED” has gained attention because of Brenѐ Brown’s books The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong. She so wonderfully voices for us the need to live with our whole hearts in a sincere, unreserved, and unconditional way. Why? Because those who do choose to live wholeheartedly experience longer-lasting relationships, more success in their work, and the highest satisfaction with their lives.


When we connect with another person through acts that add value to their lives, we live wholeheartedly. You do become vulnerable when you live like that, and must be brave to choose it. However,

It’s impossible to add value to someone’s life without also adding value to your own.


This is your mission. Will you choose to accept it?

picture 4 05.02.2016


And more power to you!!

Love and hugs,

Passionista Mimi


Update: the above quote is by Ram Dass not Rumi. I did research it but somehow got misleading information. I apologize for posting the wrong credit.

Living With Gusto

All We Need Is Love

all you need is love . tiara. cookie border


Women need a tribe because we crave those who will listen to, support, and encourage us. We do those things for many other people, and sometimes we become resentful if we aren’t allowed the same privilege.


There’s freedom and strength in having friends who listen to you, allow you to voice your dreams without stifling them, and encourage you to be your best–whatever that looks like. If you don’t have a group of friends, or at least one special friend, I encourage you to seek out people you relate to, who share your spark and interests, and who will honor and treasure you. Perhaps you will find these friends in an online group, a club friendship, or co-workers. I found a tribe like this in an online group called Women On Fire. I also love the Women2Women community and have found my tribe here. Finding your tribe takes being open to making friends, cultivating relationships, and seeking ways to meet other women of like mind and heart. If you are determined to find your tribe, you will.



You are fabulous!! Don’t believe it? Maybe you should change your self-view.  For you to be your most authentic and confident self, you need to love and value the person you are. Take inventory of and celebrate your strengths and skills (ask a friend for help if needed). Declare yourself amazing and delightful and strong! Make life happen for you. Remember, although you are a queen worthy of a crown, you are also a warrior woman with killer stompin’ boots.


and  A COOKIE…

So eat the cookie, already. Buy those flowers, soak in the tub, and take a nap! Women are characteristically nurturing souls. But who nurtures us? Most likely no one. It’s up to us to nurture ourselves and that means self-care; giving yourself permission to do the little things that restore your joy, your health, and your energy.

Here’s to living your life so that your sparkle shines for the entire world to see.



As a contributing writer to the Women 2 Women Michigan magazine, I wrote this for my “Sparkle & Shine” column in their first 2017 issue. You can read the whole issue for free here. You will most likely enjoy the magazine because it’s full of great articles and information for, about, and by women.

You can buy the “Tiara” card shown above here. I enjoy giving it as a neat gift for a friend. Here’s how:
In a cute gift bag place the card, a Dollar Store tiara (from the kids’ party section), and a shrink-wrapped cookie (the kind you find at Starbucks).

Here’s what you say on the card:

“You’ll always have my love, you were born to wear a tiara, and here’s your cookie.”

Or something like that. This gift has made many women smile!


Enjoy your week, my friends!

Love and sparkle hugs,

Passionista Mimi

Living With Gusto

Summer Delights

Happy July! This summer is going so quickly that I make certain to enjoy the little things that fill it up. 

I posted these on my Instagram, so this may be a repeat to some of you. 

These beautiful, dark red cherries in the little pink vintage bowl on this old wooden stool……

summer delights

This amazingly large strawberry heart…..

summer delights2

This incredible display of violet on my Lacecap Hydrangea…..

summer delights3

These “yard gatherings” bouquets….
Every day I go out to gather new blossoms from my beautiful yard. I am so blessed! 

summer delights8

These lacy, white beauties in a vintage vase….

summer delights7

and a heart message from my sister who’s in heaven, appearing on a fresh nectarine….

nectarine heart

By taking the time to enjoy the small, special gifts of summer, I am able to slow it down a little bit. 

I hope yours is full of delights also!

Love and hugs, 
Passionista Mimi

Mimi's Messages

Do You Love Your Child “Every Single Bit”?

I designed this card to express how I feel about my children. How about saying these words to your own children? Help them feel like precious treasures. Because when children know that they are amazing and wonderful and CHERISHED, they have a healthy foundation for self-love and courage, and know that they have a safe place supporting them. 


On the other hand, please don’t let your child hear that they were a surprise, or a mistake, or an “oopsie”. Those words can damage for life. If you were blessed with a child, however that happened, they are a treasure to be cherished. 


Am I always diligent about letting my children know I love them, every single bit? No, of course not! I make mistakes, lose my temper, say things I shouldn’t. But I really try. I want them to know the gift they are to me.


Side note: Does that mean always sacrificing MY needs for theirs? No. I believe that always making them a priority, even over my own needs, teaches entitlement and expectation that the world will revolve around them, which we all know is not true. I model healthy self-love by taking time for myself and doing things that help replenish my spirit and restore my brain so I CAN take care of them better. 


So, my friends, won’t you join with me in telling your children that you love them, “every single bit”?


(You can buy this card in my Etsy shop or click on the image to go directly.)

Have a great day, folks!!

Hugs and sparkles, Mimi