Living With Gusto

Live Life With Eyes and Heart Wide Open!

It seems that many of us go through life flinching, with our arms flung out across our eyes, wary of what might be coming our way. We guard our hearts against deep, emotional interactions in order to stay safe. Because for us to embrace living with our eyes wide open and with our hearts made vulnerable might seem like a death wish.

In fact, it is a death.

A death to fear.

To living boxed in.

To feeling less-than.

In order to receive all this world holds for us, we need to partake of it to the fullest! And how can we possibly do that if we are shying away from experiences and emotional investment?

As long as we are afraid of feeling deeply–whether it be grief, remorse, loss, rejection, or joy, fulfillment, love, and excitement–we cannot reach our full potential in life. And I dare say that we won’t have the satisfaction of a truly fulfilled spirit.

Most people welcome the “positive” feelings, but really, really do NOT want to feel the “bad” ones. Perhaps as a child we were taught that feeling anger, sadness, disappointment, and depression was wrong and that we needed to “buck up Buttercup” or “act like a man”. Whatever our reason, beside the obvious one that they hurt, many of us do not welcome those less-than-desirable emotions. And this stifles us and our creative power.

Picture a bubbling brook gurgling its way through the countryside and liken our “bad” emotions to the sediment and rocks found in it. What is that stream without the rocks and sediment? Stagnant, because IF it is gurgling through the countryside, following the course as it’s meant to, there WILL be sediment and rocks in it! Same with us: living in our flow and to the fullest means “rocks and sediment” mixed in.

We, as humans, are designed to create. We are makers of a vast assortment of things, using words, art, wood, electronics, music, material, paint, and problem solving, to only list a few of the amazing ways humans create. Creativity flows from an open spirit, not a spirit that is fearful or stagnated by suppression. (Have you ever felt “stuck”?)

When we open our hearts to others and to feeling deeply, we will realize that even more passion and creativity flows. True, opening our hearts to feel emotions makes us vulnerable, and allows us to experience “bad” emotions too. So we have to be brave! We have to risk it. But that is what living an adventurous life is really about, isn’t it? Taking the risk and not living with regret.

Perhaps you have already heard that when you experience deep grief you are also able to experience an abounding joy. Something about how allowing that depth for the bad emotions creates space for the good, and I agree.  I’m no therapist, but I’m speaking from experience. Having been “wired” for feeling all emotions deeply, there were many times I was ravaged by them. But I must say, on the other end of the spectrum I also feel joy, excitement, and love very deeply. So much so that people are amazed by and drawn to my joyful energy (or so they say). So yes, I believe that when the well in our spirit is created by allowing even the undesirable emotions to be felt deeply, there is a larger space for all the wonderfully nourishing ones as well.

And really, why would you want to stifle yourself from feeling life? We have a depth of resources within us, usually just barely tapped by us. Working through difficult emotions to let our light shine can produce some of the most amazing pieces of our lives yet.

Our world is over-saturated with visual assault which can actually cause us to become numb. We have seen it all, bombarding our senses at a rapid-fire pace. A prime example is the weather channel’s flashing of the top stories. Or the movie theater’s practice of showing the loudest, fastest-moving clips during previews. It’s actually so bad that my special-needs son, who is fearful of something scary showing up unexpectedly on any screen, hides outside the theater until the previews are over. Perhaps we have all grown a bit too numb. That much visual impact on a daily (hourly) basis causes desensitization.

So how in the world do we return to seeing with “new” eyes? Eyes that are wide open?

Turn it off!!!  Seriously, stop bombarding your senses with so much visual garbage. Be brave enough to stand the silence. Be brave enough to spend time outside without ear buds in your ears. Take a chance on going to dinner with a friend and actually looking them in the eyes and talking! No telling what you will discover about each other. And while you are there, notice your surroundings and the people next to you (who each have a story, you know). How can we possibly have room in our creative spirits to create if it’s full of the garbage our world shoves in our faces and ears every day? Make room! (Oops, did I just raise my voice at you? Hmmm, guess I’m called “Passionista” for a reason).

There are many practices you can use to begin to experience life fully: meditating, visiting art galleries, camping, hiking, (without devices), even–daringly–taking a “vacation” from your electronics. Find what works for you. For me? I need lots of quiet. My brain runs at full tilt, and in order for me to harness the creative flow, I must have no other distractions. You will know what works when you do it–your spirit will be at rest and rejuvenated. Then

Once you begin to look around you in wide-eyed wonder, you will discover treasures, opportunities, and reasons to be awestruck, which will enhance your life and creativity. And let me remind you that “creativity” is not limited to artists, but to every human alive. We all possess the creative spirit within us.

It takes bravery to embrace living with your eyes and hearts wide open, but I would encourage you to choose it.

Be BRAVE!

You will find that a whole new world awaits you! And I’m rooting for you!

Big hugs, Passionista Mimi

Inspiration

Priority #1

Do you know what our first priority is? To love God.

Not try harder or work harder or strive to get it right to be enough for Him. Just simply love Him. It’s all He ever wants from us. Really. Just love Him.

Like a little child loves a parent. They don’t work hard at it. They just love. They trust us to take care of their needs. Their hearts respond to our love. It’s easy for them and they don’t have to do a darn thing. Just be.

And that is one of the hardest things for a people-pleaser like me. But notice I said people pleaser. Not God pleaser. In order to please God we just have to love Him with our whole heart.

Funny how when we do that, He directs us. He teaches us how to love others and even ourselves. He shows us what is important and what needs our attention. He teaches us how to love HIM.

And he directs us to go to Him and rest. Just love Him. Rest in Him. Just be. And He is delighted with us. Wow! So freeing.

 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Bible

 

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

For those of you who want more, I found this beautifully written devotional while researching scripture: The Father’s Love Letter

 

Blessings, my friends!

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration, Mimi's Messages, Words To Help

Grandmama’s Quilt

I wanted to tell you that I appreciate you. Is it weird that I think about my readers during the day? Perhaps that’s what bloggers do. I wouldn’t know, I’m still relatively new at this and haven’t talked to other bloggers.

I have been wondering….how are you? No, I mean really. Not what you think I want to hear. Not what you feel you should say. But really. Is your heart heavy? Is your spirit grieving? Do you feel pressured by all you think you should be doing right now? Are you comparing yourself with others?

First of all, WHATEVER you are doing during this quarantine, it’s enough. In fact, you are pretty wonderful to even be surviving what is happening in our world. And if you have been blessed with health, wow, what a gift!! If you know someone who has gotten sick, I know that has been stressful, and I pray they have recovered. If you have lost someone dear to you, oh goodness, I am so very sorry that your heart is hurting. I really am. So much loss and grief right now. It weighs us down. 

Perhaps you haven’t labeled what you might be feeling as grief. But, there is grief from the loss of our normal life. Of losing our jobs and source of income and the camaraderie of co-workers. There is a LOT of grief over the loss of highly-anticipated activities, such as graduation celebrations and vacations that had been planned. There is also the loss of our country’s health and the stress that loads upon us. And the grief from missing family and loved ones and their presence in our lives. There are times that I grieve losing hugs and human touch.

Considering that you are carrying a large amount of grief,

I want you to view yourself differently.

Treat yourself as if you have suffered a huge loss, because you have.

Give yourself grace.

Grace means that you don’t HAVE to perform. Grace means that if you need to sleep more, take breaks to read, spend time outside just to maintain some sense of sanity, then you  give yourself permission to do just that. To do whatever it is you need!

We are conditioned to work hard to be enough. To succeed. To keep up. First of all, that’s a horrid way to live anyway, but especially when the rug has been pulled out from under you. You are dealing with situations that are brand-new to you, for goodness sake!!

You may want to deal with stress in healthy ways:

*Spend less time on Facebook cuz that could lead to comparing.

*Spend less time watching/listening to the news, cuz that builds hopelessness and stress.

*Spend more time talking with positive people and those you love, and laugh, cuz that builds endorphines. 

*Go outside, breathe (the air is cleaner now and it’s SPRING!! Yay!)    Play some. 

*Read, study, discover something new. 

*And lay off the self-pressure. 🙂 

Like Grandmama’s quilt we will emerge from this horrible pandemic stronger, and perhaps wiser, and hopefully more compassionate.  One thing for sure, this season of our lives will affect us. We are all woven together, connected by the threads that bind our lives. I’m praying that you all learn things about yourself, and are able to come out of it stronger.

With much love and gratitude for you,

Passionista Mimi

 

Inspiration

But How Can I Fly?

Hey there. How are you doing? Are things a bit rough right now?

If you are stressed and worried, it may not help, but you are not alone in that. A lot of us are struggling. Trying to find “what’s next?”.

Sometimes I have dark days. I’m sure you have days like that too.

I wanted to share this with you today. I wrote it, not really very long ago, while I was in the midst of a deeply emotional and spiritual turmoil. I was thoroughly beaten and discouraged and felt pretty raw inside. 

I decided to publish it now because, well, I’m just supposed to.

 
They say, “Fly into your dreams.”

But how can I fly

with wings missing feathers

and bearing tattered edges?

How can I fly with a heart that weighs

heavily like stone?

Lift off is impossible.

And how can I dream when the smokey haze of

night terrors suffocates me at dawn?

I’ve reached the ragged end of strength.

The dark hole has blinded me.

Flight is impossible, but for You, God.

You promised to carry me.

To give me wings like an eagle.

It’s up to You, my strength and the lifter of my head.

And then, rescued from the pit by Your hand, once again will I soar. ­­­­­­­­­

Perhaps you have been where I was. Maybe you are right now.

Maybe it will help, knowing that someone else survived a time like that.

Many in our world (maybe even you?) are in the pit, feeling hopeless, in turmoil, betrayed, and scared.

Where, or in whom, do you place your hope during these hard times?

My hope is not in myself. I’m way too fragile and inadequate.  But my hope is in God, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

Psalm 3:3

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

that hovers over its young,

He spread His wings and caught them,

He carried them on His pinions. 

Deuteronomy 32:11

 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40:1

 

In my distress I called upon the Lord;

I cried out to my God,

And from His temple [in the heavens] He heard my voice;

My cry for help came into His ears.

2 Samuel 22:7

 

I pray that you find your hope in the Lord. He is dependable and faithful. This, I know.

Much love, Mimi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration

You Can’t Carry It All, My Friend

Happy Sunday morning. I just wanted to share something with you.

I was praying for the babies and also for the essential workers that people have given me, praying for their protection, peace, health, and safety of their families. Nothing unusual about that. But this morning I felt an additional burden, that I wanted to just carry all of these precious people, and it felt a bit overwhelming.

As a highly-sensitive person, I do sense things very deeply, and my heart cries out to keep these people safe. I want to wrap my arms around all of them. But it’s a very heavy load to carry. Don’t get me wrong, I am so very honored to do this. But what I have to remember, as do YOU, we CAN’T carry these kinds of burdens. God carries them for us.

As I was pondering this, I saw the picture I’ve drawn of me holding all the babies, and then God’s hands cradling me, wrapped around us all. HE is carrying the people I’m praying for. I wish I were an artist. Cuz it was the neatest picture.

I know that God carries our burdens, goodness I’ve known for a long time. I’ve written in my blog about it, I’ve talked to others about it, I’ve even sung about it.

Sometimes I forget. I take it all on myself.

Have you been doing this?

Taking all the burdens of the world, your family, your safety, your future onto yourself? As if you can make everything work all by yourself?

I’m here to tell you that it’s a huge burden, and leads to stress and burnout.

I’m so blessed and thankful that I can call on the name of Jesus and trust in my heavenly Father to take these burdens. My responsibility is to pray and lift them before His throne, asking in Jesus’ name. HE does the rest.

Really cool visual, huh?

Be blessed, my friends.

Passionista, Mimi

Keepin' It Real, Mimi's Messages

Lean On Me Cuz It’s Lonely Up In Here

Ok, truth; how many of y’all just get stinkin’ lonely right now?

Let me see your hands!

Yep, and it’s one of those emotions that we hide, perhaps afraid if we admit it, there will be a landslide of others to follow. And well they may! But here’s the deal, once we admit that we are lonely, hopefully it will prompt us to reach out to others. And you can be guaranteed that there is a huge, immeasurable cloud of loneliness over the world right now. Isolation is not good for most of us. Perhaps introverts are faring better than those who love to be around people, but not being allowed to choose can take its toll on even those.

What can we do? Lean on each other!!

Loneliness is a room with a door that you open from the inside.

Admit that we need the voice, the face, of another person. No, we can’t leave our homes, but with all the ways to do face time with people, unless you have no phone or computer with a camera, you do have choices. Messaging, texting, old-fashioned email and calling are also choices and create that connection.

Now, because I have two teens in my home with me, you might think that I wouldn’t be lonely (but you do know that one can be lonely even when married or in a group of people, right?). And most of the time I am not, even though there are challenges. My son, who is mentally like a 5 year old, talks incessantly about Pokemon and what they do and who he has evolved into and who he caught–on and on continuously. Every 5 to 10 minutes all.day.long. Yeah, it gets a little tiring and challenging for my own mental health. (And makes writing, praying, and reading a bit tough, ha!) By the end of the day my ears are tired. If it would just warm up a bit here in Michigan we’d be outside more! My sweet daughter is usually holed up in her bedroom most of the day, only coming out if I make her do something or to get food, during which time we connect a bit. Our conversations are minimal because she has always struggled with communicating face-to-face and “doesn’t know what to talk about”. Thank goodness she likes to text! She is a true introvert. But, I do get a couple of hugs a day from them, and I treasure being with them. I am not alone. (By the way this is Day 33 that we have stayed at home. All three of us are at risk, so when they closed the schools on March 13, that was it for us.) 

What I long for is adult conversation. The kind where you talk about what you are thinking and look into each other’s eyes, and laugh at the funny stuff. And give hugs and eat together. Good thing I have to stay behind the door when the UPS guy comes by, or else I’d tackle him and say, “TALK to me!! Tell me anything! What is it like on the other side?”.  🙂 

So anyway, I found this video while chasing other rabbits, and thought it quite appropriate, especially since the participants are from all over the world, and this loneliness is worldwide. 

When my heart begins hurting with the loneliness I feel, I start jabbering to Jesus. He is with me. That’s what His name, Emmanuel, means: “God with us”. Yes, loneliness could take me down a dark hole, (shoot, even writing this is stirring those old feelings) but here’s what I do to stop it in its tracks. I say, “God my heart hurts right now. I miss having friends around me. I miss having someone to love me. I hate being alone. I need to talk to someone. But I know you are there. So will you please touch my heart? I want to be released of this hurt. And show me how to help someone else, so my mind is off of myself. Thank you for your love and faithfulness.” 

And then I get busy. I read (something fun to give my brain a rest), cook, walk outside, text or message someone, go sit with my son and see what he’s doing, (as if I didn’t already know! Ha!) 

I know that this time will pass, but loneliness is not something new for me. All of my immediate family is gone, and the rest live far away. I’ve had a lot of grief to deal with (loneliness, to me, is a kind of grief), even the loss of close friends when I retired. Perhaps that’s why I have tools to deal with it. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and that sometimes it doesn’t take a while to ease. It does. But I’m so thankful and blessed that I have Emmanuel beside me, walking this crazy journey with me!

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.

Mother Teresa

Reach out to others. Especially those you know are alone. My heart breaks for the ones in hospitals and nursing homes who can’t have family with them. And I pray that those who haven’t, in the past, been very attentive to their loved ones in nursing homes, or with their elders home alone, can now understand better the importance of contact with them. I know that when I was in my twenties I sure didn’t see the value of a visit with my grandmother, and I regret it now.  Let’s just say that the hardships of the past have given me more compassion. 

That’s all for now. Please be safe, stay home, find ways to reach out, and pray for others. And hey, please comment below so I know you are out there! 🙂

Much, much love. (I appreciate you!)

Passionista Mimi 

P.S. If you have ever wondered if God loves you, read my post “Does God Know Me?”

 

Supporting verses:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Inspiration

Hallelujah!

 

 

Oh praise God we have a risen Savior!

There is no one like our God!

He is alive!

He rose from the dead and has redeemed our souls.

Hallelujah!

Praise and glory and honor are His alone!

Now THAT will preach!

Blessed Easter to y’all.

 

“All my life I have been called unworthy.

Named by the voice of my shame and regret.

But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”

I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet.

I am redeemed, You set me free!

So I’ll shake off these heavy chains.

And wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be.

I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same.

And a hope that will carry me home.”

Big Daddy Weave

Have a blessed Easter!

Passionista Mimi

 

Honest, Keepin' It Real, Mimi's Messages

Quit Yer Yappin’ And Pray!

Fear divides us. And I know that there are so many things that cause fear right now. I’m not down-playing the dire situation our world is in. But honestly, how does it help us to bash people, to write ugly comments about our leaders, to become hateful about certain people?

Y’all, our strongest weapon is prayer! God is the source of our strength, our faith, and our love. And He is the One who will bring an end to this virus. It IS scary. Do I worry? Sometimes. Do I doubt? Sometimes. But do I pray? All the time.

Did you know that you can keep up a steady stream of communication with God as you go throughout your day? You do not have to “assume the position” on your knees or with hands clasped. You can position your heart toward God. He has promised to be listening and waiting. He is a wonderful, attentive listener.

I like to focus part of my prayers (actually most) on thankfulness, because it really clears my mind and puts things into perspective. Perhaps you think it’s easier for me because I have food and shelter, and my family is healthy. My heart goes out to those of you who are heartbroken and struggling. It really does, and if I could help you, believe me I would.

So your thankfulness may sound more like this, “Thank you God for your love. Thank you for dying for me so I have the hope of a joyful life here on earth, and the promise of being with you when I die. Thank you for the sacrifice of your son, so I may become a child of yours. Thank you for the air I breathe, the beautiful world you created, the sun and rain, and the peace you bring to my heart.”

As I go throughout my day, my heart is turned toward God. I ask Him for wisdom dealing with my kids. I ask Him to provide for us financially. I ask Him to turn my worry into faith in His provision. And I ask Him to protect the mamas and unborn babies He has assigned me to pray for.

I thank Him for my washer and dryer. I thank Him that my children can tell me they love me. I thank Him for you, my readers, and ask that my words will touch and help someone’s heart.

Y’all, this whole blog thing is for YOU. It is an outpouring of love, and my desire to help.

So I do pray for my readers. Consider yourself blessed. 🙂 

And if the shoe fits…….try a little less yappin’ and a little more praying.

All said in love.

Passionista Mimi

Nature

Daffodils

Something fun today. All the daffodils finally blooming in Michigan give me such joy! This is a poem I wrote many years ago for my second grade class art project. I love daffodils!

 

 

Also I was able to make my first “yard gathering” of the season. Yay! If you have read by blog for long, or are on my Instagram feed, you will know that I absolutely love and need flowers for my soul to be happy. And soon I will have a yard full. These brave little yellow blooms are quite precious to me, since it’ll be a while before I have any other kind to pick.

I hope you enjoy this sunny post today! And I wish you health and blessings.

Much love, Mimi

 

 

 

Inspiration

Does God Know Me?

Do you ever feel as if God doesn’t know you, doesn’t even see you? That you are just floundering around down here, trying to make this crazy life work?

Well, dear friend, I’m here to tell you that God’s word tells us again and again that God does know us and that He wants to have a relationship with us.

Whatever you may believe about God is yours. I believe He is the Creator and made the earth and all things therein. Which makes it even more phenomenal that He knows us, personally, every one!

He is the God who formed and named the starsHow much more important are we, the people He loves with His life?

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” Psalm 147:4

We must trust that God knows our name.

Then when we “come boldly before the throne” we know that we have the right to be there.

We are not a stranger to God. He formed us, has marked our days, and eagerly waits for us to come to Him. 

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.” Isaiah 30:18 

I find great comfort in knowing that God knows me. He created me exactly the way I’m supposed to be, and I don’t throw Him any surprises. My abilities, my strengths, and the desires of my heart were fashioned by His hand. 

The psalmist David said it this way:

“You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

And Jeremiah wrote that God told him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5

I realize I’m giving you a lot of scripture, but it’s important to know that I’m not just making this up from my gut feelings. God’s written word is an important way that we can know Him. And if God told one person that He knew him while he was in his mother’s womb, it applies to all of us humans. God created us.

You can be confident that God cares about you. God listens to you, He longs for you to love Him and spend time with Him. He will be found by you.

You only need to turn to Him, embrace Him as your heavenly Father. Your Creator. And know that He loves you with an everlasting, unconditional, deep-as-the-ocean love.

And that He has redeemed you and called you by name. Does this realization bring you comfort? Is it hard to realize? Is it tough to wrap your brain around such an impossibility?

Ask God to show you, to burn it deeply within your spirit. Ask for faith, wisdom, the ability to accept God’s amazing love. For He is the One Who gave His life for you, to redeem you, so you can dwell with Him. And be comforted by Him.

He already knows your name and who you are. You are not a stranger to Him.

Just ask Him.

Let me know if I can be of any help to you. 

Much love,

Passionista Mimi

 

More verses for you:

“Look to the heavens; who created all of these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by nameBecause of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26

“Fear not, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8