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

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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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

All We Need Is Love

all you need is love . tiara. cookie border

LOVE

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 Women 2 Women 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.

 

A TIARA

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

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

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

Self-love and Creativity

 

My precious friend, Amy Marzluff, wrote these words after viewing my InstaGram post on Self-love. (She actually wrote them about me—blush.) I’ll be writing about the selflovebeauty.com photo shoot soon, but here’s the IG photo I posted.


I believe what Amy wrote applies to each of us, since:

1) I truly believe that each of us holds creative power,

2) we ALL have the ability to encourage and lighten someone’s day!

3) we all have a unique voice, a story that needs to be heard.

All that is lacking in many of us is the courage and/or finding a platform.

 

 

Telling our story means becoming vulnerable.

But oh the feeling when our story touches someone’s heart and helps them!!

Don’t let fear or believing lies keep you from sharing your gifts with the world.

 

 

To read more about these things, scroll through previous posts. I talk about them a lot. 🙂

 

 

Have a wonderful day!

Passionista Mimi

 

 

 

 

This Exciting Thing Happened!

Last month I was interviewed by HerIdeaBlog.com. They feature creative women each week and I was very excited to participate in this. I have put my interview below, but be sure to go to the website to read about more amazing women!

How would you describe yourself?

In describing myself, I’ll borrow from one of my cards that says, “Live Loud”. I believe that we should live our life with intention and grab it with both hands, living with gusto. I call myself “The Queen of Sparkle and Shine” because I’m passionate about sharing truth, encouragement, shining my light, and giving big sparkle hugs. I’m often seen wearing a tiara (I’m Queen after all).

I’m a retired elementary school teacher and I’ve already enjoyed a lot of living in my years. Currently I am the only parent of two teens, I teach reading to kindergartners who were ill-prepared to enter school, I’m writing my first book, I’m a blogger and Instagram “encourager” shining my light and truth to uplift others, I’m a bi-monthly contributor to the Women2Women Michigan magazine, and the owner/designer of Empowordment Cards by Mimi.

I’m also an inspirational speaker. My business is called Passionista At Large, which is the “umbrella” for all my other interests. “Passionista” describes my zest for living and my intense desire to share with  individuals how they can rise above negative beliefs to be empowered for making positive choices in their lives. The “at large” part is a way of poking fun at myself, as I am 5’10” tall. When I was teaching I’d refer to myself as large and in charge. But it also means that I’m on the prowl to Inform, Inspire, and Ignite. Everything I learned on my journey to self-empowerment I long to share with others.

Tell us a little bit about your Etsy shop.

Words are absolutely powerful–whether spoken, written, read, or heard in our minds. I have found that having a visual reminder of truth helps us to focus on that truth. And that is how my EmPOWordment Cards began. I wanted cards that would uplift and build self-esteem by providing affirmations and positive words to live by.

Two years ago when I started designing cards, I knew nothing about Etsy and Instagram or all the quotes that are so prevalent now, so was completely pulling from my own creativity and experiences.

Memes had just become popular, and I’d been designing them for my blog posts. My sister commented that I should make them into cards to sell. I wasn’t really sure about that idea, but because I wanted something to take to speaking engagements, and give out to others, I began to design cards to empower and build self-esteem—with words—thus the name EmpoWORDment.

I was a novice designer, using PicMonkey to create backgrounds and designs to showcase the all-important words. Many of my cards reflect my own journey. For example, “Don’t Let Anyone Ever Dull Your Sparkle” is very meaningful to me because for most of my life I allowed others to control and dim me. “I Was Born To Shine” is something I realized only a few years ago, and now I purposely tell everyone that we all have a unique light to shine in this world. I had just designed “Queen of Courage” when my sister was diagnosed with cancer. I dedicated that card to her. Every card has a personal meaning (and story) for me.

I truly love designing, and soon branched out into mugs, journals, note cards, a cute card deck that can be made into a garland, and this year I created a Sparkle & Shine calendar. It has monthly affirmations that are to be repeated every day of the month. Doing so will change your thoughts and help to create positive energy in your life.

My designs are colorful and sometimes quirky. They capture attention. They provide others with encouragement, self-esteem boosters, empowering words, and positivity. They often create emotion, because words ARE powerful!

What does empowerment mean to you?

Empowerment to me means living fully as your authentic self, free from self-limiting beliefs that control your behavior and hold you back. Empowerment can be a huge deal like the women’s march, or small, personal steps toward freedom.

My own empowerment began when I realized I’d believed lies about myself all my life. I believed that I was too emotional, not very smart, not worthy of love, was broken and unlovely, to name a few.  One day, in an act of courage and boldness, I finally told the lies in my head to “shut up!” and began purposely replacing them with what I call truths. If you care to read about that, go to https://particularpassions.me/2016/04/05/the-lies-that-bind-us/. The truths I began saying to myself are universal: I am enough, I am creative, I am amazing, I am powerful and strong, I deserve good things in life, and I am loveable. Our brains are quite amazing, and even if we don’t believe these words at first, when repeated often, our brain will begin to store them as part of our belief system. And that’s what happened to me! It sounds very simple, but it took me several years to get there.

All of my life I’ve been in love with words. A person can create visual images, emotions, and life and death, with words. The lies I’d been allowing to blow through my brain had been creating death to who I was created to be. When I began believing and acting upon the new truths, I became a powerful force to be reckoned with! I can now shine my light with purpose. And I know that I am “Amazing With A Side of Sprinkles”!

What is a quote that has inspired you lately and why?

Asking me, someone whose business is designed around quotes, to pick out a favorite quote is pretty tough. But I will tell you the one that has guided me for these last six years.
“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!” by Buzz Aldrin, one of the first astronauts on the moon.

This speaks to me about not being limited. About doing those things I might think are impossible or out of my reach. And it says that there are amazing opportunities that I don’t see yet, just waiting for me.

 

If you could spend a day with any creative woman, who would you choose and why?

If I could spend a day with any creative woman in history we’d need a conference!! There are so many, many women that I
respect for their abilities, their hearts, and their authenticity. Sue Monk Kidd, a favorite author, wrote a book that transformed my life. Maya Angelou inspires me with her guts, strength, passion, and incredible ability with words. Meryl Streep continues to amaze me with her acting ability, her humor, her ability to embrace aging, and her love and compassion. Carole King began my journey of poetry set to music and she continues strong. See? There are so many. And what a conference THAT would be!!

What are some of your other creative interests?

I enjoy many other creative activities besides designing and writing. I love gardening and creating beautiful flowerbeds from which I can make “yard gatherings” bouquets. I write poetry. I sing. I paint on rocks. I sew. I have created a lovely home. I create memories for my children, through camping especially, and travel.

 

What do you enjoy most about being a creative woman?

What I enjoy most about being a creative woman is that days are never, ever boring! There is always something new to learn and try. I feel resourceful and I’m very grateful for the abilities that are mine. I try not to take them for granted, but use my gifts for the betterment of others. And I suppose that is one of the things I love most about being creative—I can help others see truth and become empowered. And I pray that as the creative force flows through me it will pour out onto others in a way that positively affects their lives.

 

 

 

Most of the cards shown above are available in my Etsy shop. The link is below.

Connect with me:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EmPOWordmentCards (Etsy shop)

https://www.facebook.com/EmPOWordmentCardsbyMimi/  (Facebook)

https://www.instagram.com/mimimatthews.empowordmentcard/ (Instagram)

https://particularpassions.me/ (blog)

http://www.passionistaatlarge.org/ (website)

Thank You, God!

God’s extreme sacrifice (of His Son) gave me true life.

Not just life after death, but life in abundance while living.

 

HE is the source of my joy, my life, my positive outlook, my passion, my love, my energy, my laughter, my caring, my creativity, and every other aspect of my blessed life.

 

I am beyond thankful (I have no words) for His sacrifice.

 

Thank You Jesus for giving Your life for me.

I love you with all that is within me!

 

May you all have a blessed Easter.

Passionista Mimi

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