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

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

Mimi's Messages, Keepin' It Real, Honest

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

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

 

Inspiration

Grow In The Dark!

Your our first glance at this picture probably made your brain go, “Waaaat?”

Well, yes, it is quite the strange photo. But it does speak a thousand words…if you are like me and see stories in everything.

Here’s what I saw: like these crazy Allium bulbs–that were in bags in a dark place–we can grow in spite of the dark times around us.

These bulbs somehow “flipped a switch” that said it was time to grow. (Don’t you just love how the Creator did that?!) And grow they did. Imagine my surprise! (And chagrin, that I had not been a good Gardener Mama and planted them in the fall.)

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands

in moments of comfort and convenience,

but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. 

Martin Luther King Jr.

So here’s the thing. Even though the COVID-19 virus that is ravaging our world is causing so much fear, stress, inconvenience, loss, grief, sorrow, and uncertainty, there are incredible things happening that demonstrate how adversity creates growth.

Creativity: some amazing displays of solutions in regards to social distancing . Examples are how loved ones are seeing their family members through windows, of how schools are doing online learning for the first time, teachers creating classes for their students, businesses working from home and holding Zoom meetings. The list goes on, this just names a few.

Empathy and compassion: people are going beyond their own convenience and needs to help others. Taking supplies and food to people, giving of their own items to help someone, and making meals for children, again, just a few.

Strength: oh my goodness, can I just say that our “essential workers” are super heroes?!! But so are you! The inner strength–the reserves you didn’t know you had–that you’ve had to draw from in order to endure is amazing!

Gratitude: all over the world people are showing their gratitude for the people who are working in the trenches, for what neighbors have done for them, for the ability to obtain supplies, and many other things. A couple of the ways that many are showing their gratitude is by painting signs and putting hearts in their windows. 

New self-awareness: I don’t know about you, but this whole pandemic has a tendency to bring out the uglies in me! I’m not happy about it, but it sure does put me on my knees before the One who can change me. It’s only Jesus in me that will help me change. But also, I have had time to spend in prayer and seeking Him that I haven’t had before. I am always driven by the need to “do”, but now I can just “be” without any feeling of guilt. It’s a beautiful thing and I will miss that. Maybe I can hang on to it.

Closeness to God: this whole pandemic has proven how easily things can get out of our control, and has brought a fresh realization that our only help and strength is from the Lord.

These are just briefly some of the ways I’ve observed how people are growing and rising to the occasion, doing things they never have before, looking outside of themselves, and learning to endure.

Some of us are being tested for the first time in our lives. And we don’t like it one bit, thank you very much! However, testing does produce strength. Just ask someone who has had to endure hardship.

And we do have these promises from God’s Word:

“Suffering produces endurance (fortitude, strength), and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I pray that you will be able to grow during these dark times.

Be like Allium…GROW in the DARK!!

Love and hugs,

Passionista

If you’d like to read about my own growth during hard times you can check out here and here. And to read what I wrote about strength read this.

 

 

 

Mimi's Messages

Praying For The Babies

On March 20, 2020, as I was spending time with God, praying against the COVID-19 virus that was overtaking the world and now our country, I felt led to start praying for the unborn babies and the mamas who carried them. I put on my Facebook page that I was doing this, and if they knew anyone who was pregnant let me know. Well, that list has now grown to 105 babies! Eleven have been born during this time and they are all healthy. No virus!

But besides these eleven miracles, here is what else is happening. (God does not waste an opportunity!)

*“Warrior Women” are uniting to pray for these babies.

*It’s bringing us together, creating a connection between us.

*We are focusing on others, not on the virus, and on something positive, rather than negative.

*We are being reminded daily that there are “others” out there and we are not alone.

*It is giving us hope, and it is wonderful to focus on new life.

*And it is helping our own spirit to pray for someone else, to have a purpose.

I know that even in the best of circumstances sometimes babies are born with problems. But by faith I am asking God that these will be healthy, that they will be protected from the virus, that their mamas will feel peace and calm, that all of their physical needs will be met, and that there will be joy in the home and family.

I am not telling this story to bring any notice to myself. I am truly honored to do this. And thankful I have the time, as I am sequestered at home these weeks.

I’m sharing this because you may want to do the same thing. And as usual, God intended this prayer focus for more than what I thought it would be. That’s God’s economy. 

If you do start a prayer focus like this, PLEASE let me know.

I pray that you are well, and the ones you love are safe and well also. Let’s unite in praying for our country and world.

Many blessings and hugs,

Passionista Mimi

 

THE WHY:
Rather than make this post too long, I put this part here so if you are tired of reading you can quit now.  But maybe you want to read something about me, personally, so here goes:

In 1993 I believe that God told me I’d have a ministry with babies. You see, He had given me a passion—not just a liking or enjoyment—but a passion for newborn babies. If there was a baby in the room, I was the one who ended up holding it, and most likely feeding and rocking it to sleep. So this “nudging” really isn’t unusual.  

In the last decades, I have been honored to pray over pregnant mamas and their unborn. It is always a delight! I had never birthed any children, but the passion for infants never left me. It led me to become a foster parent, so I could receive infants from the hospital until their adoptive family could take them (moms had twenty-one days to consider before it was final).  I had my own ideas of what this meant, but of course, God had His purpose in mind. I envisioned my doing this over the summer in between teaching. Hahahaha!

And so my adoptive journey began when I fostered two precious babies, starting with the first in 2000 and the second in 2001. I was married at the time, and we believed (after a LOT of prayer and consideration on my part!) that it was God’s plan for us to adopt these at-risk children in 2002. Little did I know that over the next eight years I’d become a single mom, and then, tragically, end up parenting completely on my own. I also didn’t know they were special-needs children.

People tell me this is my “calling”. Honestly, I believe every parent has a calling; to be the best mom or dad they can be, to provide all the love and nurturing their children need, to be an excellent role model, and to love with their whole hearts. (Side note—it’s been said that babies do not come with an owner’s manual. Amen to that! And there’s nothing like trying it at age 48 with a newborn who doesn’t sleep, followed by another one the next year who didn’t either—or eat!)

True to His faithfulness, and that He equips those whom He calls, God has provided strength, wisdom, energy, and a closeness with Him I’d never had (funny how reaching the end of ourselves puts us at His feet!). He will do the same for you. And that’s another story for later.

Supporting verses:

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

“God is able to make all grace abound in you so that having everything you need, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8

“May the God of peace equip you with everything good for doing his will.” Hebrews 13:21

Inspiration

Illuminate Our Hearts

“I pray that the light of God will illuminate

the eyes of your imagination (innermost heart)

flooding you with light,

until you experience the full revelation of

the hope of His calling.

I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness

of God’s power made available to you through faith. 

Then your lives will be an advertisement

of this immense power as it works through you.” 

Ephesians 1:18-19 The Passion Translation

Our imaginations are truly limited. We have so many filters in place that restrict our belief. But God…

He’s not limited by us. Thank goodness!

Ask God to show you His glory.

Ask God to shine His light into your heart.

Ask God to help you see His power, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead, that same power that is available to us though our faith in Him. 

I love the last sentence! I want to “be an advertisement” of God’s power at work in my life. Don’t you?

Inspiration

God Please Do It Again!

Our world cries out for God’s touch! Now is the time to storm the gates of heaven,

worship our God, and petition His throne for a mighty move on the earth.

This song helps me do that. 

God please do it again.

I’m praying for our nation and the world. Won’t you sing with me?

Click on this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOBIPb-6PTc 

 

Do It Again Elevation Worship

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet.

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet.

I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again.

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed.

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed.

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.

I’ll see You do it again
Oh-oh

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed.

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet.

And You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
And I never will forget

Thank you,

Much love and prayers,

Mimi

Inspiration

Are You Tired? Afraid? Heavy?

 

Jesus says,”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll 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 The Message Bible