Living With Gusto

Whooeee!

I’m just so PROUD of us!
Some of you may have wondered if you’d make it through 2020 with your sanity intact. (Mine is still a bit questionable, lol.)
But your spirit is resilient and like I’ve told you,

you are amazing my friend!

Give yourself grace, darlings. It ain’t over yet.

But for sho ’nuff you have learned some coping skills and your creativity and problem solving skills have grown so much.
See? You are awesome!

Love y’all truly, and so appreciate each one of you.

Passionista Mimi
Living With Gusto, Mimi's Messages

Come Sing For JOY!

Have you ever shouted for sheer joy in church?
Celebrated God?
Burst with thankfulness?

If not, we should. He is worthy of more celebration than a touchdown by your favorite team.

It’s no shock that I can get a bit loud in church-lol. I just can’t contain my joy in who God is and what He has done! Join me?

#comesingforjoy #celebrategod #shoutforjoy #shoutyourpraises

Living With Gusto

You Can Choose to Start Anew

So here we are…a new year, a new beginning. Many of us are worn out. Some of us had too much to bear in 2020. Some of us actually had some really good stuff happen this past year. However you feel, just know that you do have choices. It may not feel like it, but you can decide right now to have a more grateful heart, to show more kindness, have compassion, and especially grace for yourself.

We are so very hard on ourselves. We expect so much. And our spirits get worn out. So I ask you, please try–try to love yourself even more, try to allow mistakes and sometimes downright failures, try to know that you are doing the best you can in life.

You really are terrific! Don’t compare–that robs your joy.

Try to do something that fills your well.

And please know that I am here rooting for you. This year may be a lot like jumping off a high dive, not knowing if there is water in the pool! We really do not know what’s ahead.

Let’s make a pact to support each other, okay? Reach out to people, even when you feel like covering your head. Because when one of us soars we ALL rise!!

I really do appreciate all of you, you who take the time to read my sporadic posts. Life sure does take us on a journey, huh? I just hope that I can be a part of your journey, offering encouragement along the way. Because THAT is how I thrive, knowing that I have offered a word of comfort, inspiration, or encouragement to someone.

Take care, my friends. My thoughts are with you as you begin this untold journey.

Love and big hugs,

Passionista Mimi

If you’d like to see more of my encouragement items you can go to Empowordment Cards by Mimi

Living With Gusto, Words To Help

Calendars Are Here!

A little late, but here are my new calendar designs. I have two sizes available.

These calendars are sure to inspire, motivate, and encourage you. We ALL need that, especially after this crazy year!

Order early to take advantage of these prices (printer had a sale) and to receive it by Christmas for gifting.

To order go to my Etsy shop and click on “calendars”.

Desk top calendar measures 8″ by 4″ and sits on any flat surface. These are the DESK TOP pages. It’s on a spiral as you can see. For a closer look, go to this Etsy page.

To view the WALL CALENDAR pages more closely go to this Etsy link. Wall calendars measure 17″ by 11″ when fully open.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Things are surely a bit different, but please do remember the reason we celebrate…Jesus!

I wish for you a chance to visit with family and friends–safely! It’s tough. And I don’t like it at all. I always look forward to Christmas celebrations and this year there aren’t any. Ugh! Oh well, praise God we are healthy.

Merry Christmas and a happier new year!

Love and hugs, Mimi

Living With Gusto

You Are MORE!

 

what-we-believe-about-ourselves

It doesn’t matter what is being said about you.

It doesn’t matter what others think of you.

What matters is what you think of yourself!

And if you believe lies about yourself, then you will act on those lies instead of the truth.

Any words that make you seem “less than” the amazing person you were created to be is a LIE!

Those words may come from the chatter in your brain, just regurgitating things you have heard.

They may come from actual people who are small-minded and have their own agenda.

But whatever the source, you need to STOP listening to the derogatory lies and begin to speak truth to yourself.

Because when you believe lies, you think small about yourself.

It’s pretty hard to launch out of your comfortable, ho-hum, dream-draining life by thinking small.

You can barely rise to doing those things the world needs from you–your purpose for being here.

 

the-only-thing-that-benefits-from-thinking-small-is-your-comfort-zone

“But I don’t WANT to leave my comfort zone! It’s comfortable.”

Ummm, yeah. And it’s restricting and limiting. (Redundant, I know, going for the effect.)

And leaving your comfort zone is like jumping off the high dive.

But don’t you want to be the best you can be?

Don’t you want to realize amazing and wonderful things about yourself–things you never knew?

When we rocket ourselves (because that’s what it takes!) outside of our comfort zone to do those things that our heart really, really longs to do, all kinds of new worlds and information opens up to us! It could become quite an adventure–mine has!

And the wonderful thing is that our hearts and spirits become more fulfilled as we begin to venture out and try things our heart is leading us to do.

**Things the lies make us afraid to do.**

Lies like:

“I am not smart enough for that.

I could never go in front of people.

I really do not have the “look” required for that.

I don’t have the time for that.

No one needs me.

I’m not qualified.

I’m just a ________.” Oh how I hate that word!

The lies (excuses) are limitless.

But so are YOU!!

Limitless.

The only thing holding you back is you.

Stop believing lies and restricting the amazing, capable, beautiful person you are!

You CAN do this! I know, because I did.

 

Love and big sparkly hugs!

Passionista

 

I speak from experience!! Seriously!

If you would like to read more, here are some older posts on the subject.

To Dream (when I jumped off the high dive myself!)

The Lies That Bind

The Lies That Bind Magazine Article (a much longer article in more detail)

Start Anew

 

 

 

 

Mimi's Messages

Why Write?

 

Gustave Flaubert said,

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. 

I have found this to be quite true!

In the early nineties I experienced one of the hardest periods of my life. During this time I wrote so much that my hand stayed in a perpetual cramp (no laptops back then!). I had a student teacher at that time who was wonderful with my class. She needed time without my supervision , so I would scoot out and take writing breaks. My brain was so full of turmoil, loss, grief, betrayal, and confusion that I don’t think I would have been an effective teacher. I know how blessed my class and I were to have her.

I filled several 1,000-page journals with my rampaging thoughts. There wasn’t anyone I could talk to. So my journal (and, inadvertently, God) became my listener.

Haven’t you found that if you can talk to a good friend who is a great listener, you usually talk out your real feelings about things? That’s what happened when I used a journal to pour my feelings into. I’d discover things about myself and allow God to give me wisdom and perspective.

Now, believe me, all of my writing wasn’t so lofty and full of good purpose! As a person who’d never  been allowed to voice anger, I finally did so in my journal. In fact, I uttered my first swear words on those pages! I wrote in big, scrawling letters, vocalizing on those safe pages all the anger and hurt I felt. I called people names. I even yelled at God!! And you know what? Lightning didn’t strike!

I needed a place to get through the layers that had built up in my life. And the walls that had enclosed my heart. I needed to understand my conditioned responses and their causes. I needed a place to cry and vent. I needed to record all the awful things that were happening so that later I could read them and know I wasn’t crazy!

Writing didn’t change my situation, but writing as I felt, instead of worrying about it being acceptable–to God or anyone–gave me a freedom I’d not had before.  My crying out to God and allowing Him to soften my heart brought healing. I felt extremely vulnerable, but bit by precious bit I was able to survive. I seriously believe I would have gone into a deep, deep depression or even a breakdown if I hadn’t been processing through writing during those months.

Because, you see, I need to vocalize in order to process. My brain gets so full and confusing that I can’t make sense of the things I need to. Are any of you this way? Not having a trustworthy friend to talk to (part of the loss) and not wanting to share what was going on with people outside of the situation (my sense of loyalty) caused me to be stuck.

Getting the swirling thoughts out of my head and onto paper gave me space to breathe, think, and live. Journaling helped me mentally, even though I was still broken emotionally, and allowed me to continue to function. And eventually, as I wrote, prayed, and studied, God was able to speak to me on those pages, and His healing came.

Does any of this resonate with you? Do any of you process through writing? I’d love to hear about it.

Stay tuned for part two of “Why Write?”

Much love and big hugs,

Passionista

Psalm 51:6 “You teach me wisdom in my inmost being.” 

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Songs That Speak To Me

The God Who Stays

My shame can’t separate,

my guilt can’t separate,

my past can’t separate,

I’m Yours forever.

My sin can’t separate,

my scars can’t separate,

my failures can’t separate,

I’m Yours forever.

You’re the God who stays.

You’re the One who runs in my direction when the whole world walks away.

You’re the God who stands with wide open arms.

And you tell me nothing I have ever done

can separate my heart

from the God who stays.

Matthew West

This is so reassuring! You may think that with my history I’m such a “good” person. Truth is, I have failed so many times. 

Maybe at some point I’ll reveal some of my sins here, but regardless of what they are, of what the “really big ones” were, just know that we all sin, even if just in our hearts.

How many times do you hate, or cheat, or lie, or lust after someone who isn’t your partner? Be honest. Our society does not openly speak about or label these as characteristics to avoid (except lately, there’s been a lot of talk about hate–with good reason). In fact, it seems at times that these things are actually revered. You know what I am talking about.

For those of us seeking to live a godly life that honors our Lord Most High, the scripture is very plain:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

See where I’m going with this? And here’s another truth:

Whatever we think or commit in our heart is the same as actually doing it! Whoa, what? Look at this:

Whoever looks upon a woman with lust has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Whatever a man thinks in his heart so he is. Prov. 23:7

I’m not singling out immorality. I’m just stating a truth. What we believe controls our behavior. It’s the core of who we are. So everything is about the heart of the matter. (This has nothing to do with positive thinking, but shows that our heart will reveal our true nature.)

Who we are is deep within our hearts, often only seen by God. We can present ourselves as one way to the public, but what lies buried within?

I could carry guilt, shame, and failure as a heavy burden. There is cause to do such, and believe me, the enemy tries to shove my past into my face. But, praise God we have a Redeemer who loves and forgives!

Instead, I can live as a forgiven child of God. I can live as one who is set free and healed from my past. Jesus paid the debt for my sin. And He has healed my wounds and set me free from the shame I carried.

No matter what I’ve done, He forgave me. That’s the power of His great love, my friends. He forgives, transforms our hearts, delivers us of our past, heals our scars, and makes us whole. No matter what we have done, no matter what we have been, no matter what we have said or thought, His love is unconditional.

Do you need Him? He is there. Period. Do you want to be delivered and healed? He is there. Plain and simple. No voice of the enemy condemning you. No matter what people have said about and to you. No matter if you have given up on yourself, God has not. He is calling you, seeking you because He longs for you to be whole, to belong to Him, to live fully.

He is your Savior too. All it takes is starting the conversation:

I’m sorry God.

Please forgive me.

Please cleanse and heal me.

I want to be Yours.

Thank you for your love.

 

He’s waiting for you with wide open arms.

What the enemy meant for evil, God turned it for good. Gen. 50:20

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

 

I am praying that the eyes of your heart may be opened to God’s great love. Talk to me!
Passionista Mimi

 

If you’d like to listen to the song that spoke to my heart this morning, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPwd_TQpsHY

You may want to look up the rest of the lyrics, too.

Inspiration, Words To Help

Numb Choices Aren’t Smart

Focus! It seems we are always hearing how important focus is to reaching our goals and bringing our desires to us. However, sometimes our focus is totally off. We work hard, do what we think we should, spin our wheels, and run faster on the hamster wheel, only to remain stagnant. Why do you suppose this is? Well, one possibility is that when we are determining our focus, our brains are actually numb.

To explain what I mean, here’s an illustrative story from my own archives of experience. Picture this: my husband is sleeping soundly, snoring a bit, only to be awakened by me, legs and arms jabbing him in uncomfortable places, doing the army crawl across his body. I was determined to get to the other side of the bed and out of there. And I was intently focused!

When my husband raised his head, protesting loudly at the irreverent way I was traipsing across his body, I patted his cheeks and said, “Sh, sh, sh, it’s okay,” and continued with determination on my way. But once my feet touched the floor on the other side of the bed, I promptly started my return back across him, telling him to shush, and that it was okay. Then I settled down into my spot and resumed my somewhat-normal sleep.

Was I focused? Very. Deeply asleep? Yes.

So, besides the humor in this story, why am I sharing it? Because it illustrates what many of us are doing. While somewhat “asleep” we are fully intent and focused on carrying out our daily lives, getting to the “other side”, even attempting to achieve goals or dreams.

Sometimes, our minds and hearts have become numb and we are making decisions based on survival, rather than fully living.

Perhaps you are living fully, with a clear brain, consciously aware of life and your choices. However, for those who think “living numb” might apply to you, here are a few of the many ways numbness can occur:

  • when we suppress our emotions and don’t allow ourselves to fully feel.

  • when our busyness keeps us from having precious time with family or close friends and our hearts become resentful and lonely.

  • if our over-spending has driven us to live until the next paycheck in worry or stress, causing our bodies to become overworked and our brains overloaded.

  • when we are trying to do it all, feel as if we are “not enough”, and suffer self-condemnation.

  • when there are so many difficult things that happen to us that we just can’t allow any more feelings in order to survive.

Many of you have no choice in some of this. Having limited resources or being without a job and just barely making your bills—or not being able to pay them at all—creates a horribly stressful situation. And I truly do understand how one could stuff emotions because of being so overwhelmed by the things that happen in our lives! Please do not feel pressure or criticism from me if you are a bit numb right now. I get it because I’ve lived it.

Another life-point: things hurt and it isn’t easy. Life is hard, contrary to how some people believe it should be. I hate to go all “old school” on you, but for 99% of us,

most of what we have gained in life has been through hard work, making correct choices, and learning from our mistakes!

I don’t really see any other way around it.

And if you are someone with the idea that you shouldn’t have to feel pain, disappointment, grief, loss, disillusionment, and other less-than-desirable emotions, then realizing these are all part of the fullness of life might help you. Otherwise, after experiencing all of these you could be setting goals and choosing your focus while angry, hurt, and numb.

So if being numb means being dazed, dead, senseless, or asleep, what is the opposite? Being alive, awake, responsive, sensitive, and compassionate.

Wouldn’t you rather live like that? But how?

For me, it meant taking care of some personal and emotional business. It was a process (oh how we hate that word) and took time (what? you mean it isn’t instant? I want INSTANT!). It also meant I had to deal with my tendency to believe lies and not let others influence how I felt about myself. You can read about that process in my post, Are You Believing Lies? 

Ways To Awaken

  • Contentment and gratitude. These are some of the most important ingredients to living fully! Simplistically, being grateful for what we have rather than lamenting what we don’t have can really change our lives. This is such an important element that many have adopted the habit of writing a list of things they are grateful for each day. Doing so directs our focus toward our abundance rather than our lack. (For starters, if you are able to read this you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all.)

  • It takes time to rid ourselves of limiting lies and behaviors, but it’s so very worth it! We also need to take the time to sit quietly and reflect. I know that we are filled to overflowing with tasks and expectations and burdens, but might I suggest that you take even ten minutes a day to merely sit and reflect? Or meditate and let your mind rest. We all know that thirty minutes of daily exercise is benefiting to our physical health. Likewise, time to sit without distraction and turn inward to our feelings can bring us mental and emotional health.

  • Read. Research. Get outside of your own abilities and let others guide you. In my case, I had no idea my spirit was dying and my brain was numb. I knew I was miserable, but wasn’t conscious of why. There are many authors to help you.

Perhaps you have heard the illustrative story of the frog in boiling water. The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water it is perfectly content to hang out. Start heating up the water and the frog is still just fine. But eventually the boiling water will kill the frog, when it could have jumped out at any time to save its life.

How does this relate to us? Many of us don’t even realize that we are like that frog, in a pot of rapidly heating water. What we need is someone to alert us—to turn off the flame for us and help us save ourselves. And that is why I suggest that you seek out available resources or find a friend to help you.

4) Talk to someone. Find someone in your close circle of friends whom you trust and can confide in.

It wasn’t until my friend identified the abusive situation I was in that I realized my life was slowly killing my spirit.

And at that point, there wasn’t a whole lot of life left in me. I was performing all of the expected tasks—mom, wife, teacher, daughter—but my spirit and self-will were dying, and my shining light had become quite dim. I had become numb.

Give your friend permission to tell you what they see in your life and habits. Listen with your heart, not a self-condemning agenda. Love yourself. Give yourself grace. You are amazing, and the fact you have made it this far in your journey shows that you are a fighter!

Perhaps you want to do something different in your life. I realize my suggestions are minimal, but they are intended to be a launching pad for your actions to become more fully alive. Select some of the items listed to incorporate into your life and make the determination toward regaining consciousness instead of numbly living.  You are worth that, and the world needs your shining light.

Why is it so important to live fully alive, and not numb? Because we need to make choices as our true and authentic selves, rather than as a replication of others’ expectations and opinions of us.

To be emotionally healthy, we need to allow time for our emotions, and our brains, to settle and heal. Instead of being a shriveled up version of ourselves, we need to be the full, glorious person we are created to be. Then we can experience authentically and make sound choices. Then we are more able to direct our focus and reach the goals we desire.

We all have a unique light to shine, a place in our world that only we can fill.

Our wisdom, experiential knowledge, gifts, talents, and abilities are needed. But most of all, you deserve to live with a spirit that is fulfilled and alive, not one that is slowly dying and has become numb. That’s a waste of a very good, precious, and worthy life–yours.

So what about you? Have you ever experienced being numb? If so, will you please tell me about it?

 

You are so important! 

Love and big hugs, Mimi

 

Living With Gusto

Is Playing Safe Holding You Back?

 

I read a great article I wanted to share with you. Do you struggle with rejection and what it does to you? Read this: 

Is playing it safe holding you back?

Oh yes, I struggle with it all the time!!

When I first released my cards on Etsy, it was with great trembling and gasping breath! lol Same with when I speak.

But knowing your truth will help immensely.

My truth is that I am called to speak and write truth and to encourage and empower.

Once you KNOW the path you are to travel and use that as your plumb line, it gets easier.

Because then, it really doesn’t matter so much what others think.

And I have learned to laugh at my mistakes, even incorporate them into my writing and speaking. 🙂

Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from doing something you love. Or keep you from taking the next steps that will get your gift out into our world. Everyone has an opinion, and many don’t hesitate to tell us what it is!

But remember,  

(thank you Terry Cole-Whittaker for your book on this!).

But GOD’S opinion is all that matters. You can do great things. Don’t hold back because you fear rejection!

What about you? Do you find that fear of rejection holds you back from something you want, or feel called, to do? Discuss in the comments. We are all in this together!

And I’m here to encourage you!

Love and big hugs, Passionista

 

 

 

Living With Gusto

The Blessing of Rain

I’m listening to the rain and my wind chimes as the breeze stirs them. Oh the glorious music of pattering raindrops on this thirsty land….much like God’s blessings falling into our lives. I’m cozy and protected on my porch, picturing God wrapping His arms around me and presenting me with this precious gift…the gift of rain. Rejuvenating, life-sustaining drops of goodness trickling down into, and softening, the ground.

I want God’s Spirit to do the same in my heart, my life. May He pour His life-sustaining drops of goodness and love into me until I overflow onto people everywhere. God, may Your love permeate and rejuvenate barren hearts and spirits to receive your love and touch.

Thank You Lord, for the gift of Your Spirit.
Thank you Lord, for the gift of rain.

What about you? Have you felt the presence of God’s Spirit in your life? Have you been blessed by Him pouring His Spirit and blessing upon you? Please tell us about it. And thank you for being here.

As always, I’m praying for His blessings on you.

Passionista Mimi