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)

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I’m An Overcomer

youre-an-overcomer-black

Having children with special needs is such a challenge! But one thing I’ve learned….it keeps us TOTALLY dependent on God. No way can I be “in control” because in the blink of an eye, our life could be in shambles.

 

There are days my prayer has been, “Oh God, oh God, oh God” because I just didn’t have words. Didn’t have energy to formulate words. It was all I could do to breathe and take care of my children (I am their only parent). Some weeks (months) every.single.day is a challenge. Like pushing a locomotive up a steep mountain.

Motherhood

And then, thank God, we will get a reprieve and I can at last take a deep breath. And I just sit. And sit. And let God fill my mind, body, and breath. And He brings healing to my emotions.

 

Because there is no doubt about how emotionally draining it is to watch your child hurt, or be disappointed because of physical limitations, or become emotionally so out-of-sorts that all day is a battle.

 

Or how physically and emotionally exhausting it is to be making hard, frustrating, impossible decisions for the duration of several days.

 

Sleep-deprived, worry-filled, and constantly searching for solutions can totally wring a person out!

I can rack

But oh, God is able! The video below is amazing and so uplifting. 

 

Mandisa sings her song Overcomer with clips of people who have overcome some extreme physical challenges.

 

I equate the physical with our mental and emotional challenges. It’s not an easy journey (Wait, what? It’s gonna be hard? Hey, I didn’t sign up for that!!!) But a journey that I hope will bring God glory. Because the glory is all His.

 

Anything that I’ve accomplished with my children has been while He was holding my hand, speaking into my spirit (sometimes I didn’t want to hear Him–la la la la la!), and guiding my every move. Because I was useless. Incapacitated.

In spite of that, and because of Him, my children are amazing miracles. But that’s a story for another time. Enjoy the video. You will be hooked!

Thank you so much for stopping by. YOU are the reason I write. 

Be kind and share with someone who could use this.  🙂

Love and sparkly hugs,

Mimi

Choosing Joy

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“Joy” is one of my favorite words.

Even when life is a disappointment or a trial,

we can still have a consistent joy.

I believe that joy is that which runs deep in our spirit,

and it flows from gratitude and appreciation,

and the ability to recognize and cultivate them.

Sometimes having joy requires

making the choice to take it easy.

Breathe. Enjoy. Relish. I love that word “relish”.

By definition it means…

great appreciation of something,

or enjoyment, gusto, liking, loving, savor, zest, and taste.

I have “great appreciation of”, or relish,  those moments of pure simplicity….

like evenings, or unexpected snow days, at home

with my “treasures” (better known as my kiddos),

birds chirping after a season of cold silence,

that flash when the sun breaks through after long periods of cloudy sameness,

oh, and the first lick of chocolate cake batter from the bowl.

 

 

Perhaps the simple things are the big things in life after all.

Did you know you can teach yourself to recognize them?

Of course, that means being purposeful about it

and being aware.

Looking for those precious moments of pure gift.

Actually seeing everything around you.

 

Yes, there is a lot of ugly.

And yes, it means we can’t be numb,

and when we open ourselves it can sometimes

be the gateway to emotional pain.

But without allowing ourselves to sense and see,

we also delete from our lives the gifts of joy we are given on a daily basis.

slow-down-enjoy-life

Sometimes we have no choice because we are overwhelmed by life.

Many times we do more….we fill our lives with unnecessary busyness,

often trying to please others with agendas that aren’t in our best interest.

I’m learning what matters most to me (what a process!)…

being with my children, conserving my energy so I can be “present” with them

(and learning what “conserving my energy” means, when I used to believe I had a bottomless reserve!),

choosing carefully when to meet with people,

not sacrificing my important priorities because others want me to.

 

Wow, it’s taken a very long time to reach this place!

I used to absolutely run ragged doing all the “shoulds”.

I’m so thankful I have learned to choose (most days).

It’s funny how all the unnecessary stuff begins to fall away

and we are left with the things and

people who matter most.

The people we treasure, the acts that feed our spirits,

and the laughter that connects us and supplies endorphins to keep us going!

I wish for you, my friend, the choicethat you may relish–with JOY–your life and the people who fill it.

Just look at the joy!

Just look at the joy!

 

May you be blessed with JOY and abundance of the simple things in life!

Much love,
Passionista

 

 

 

I’m Going Live! Check It Out!

Oh my gosh I’m so excited! Deborah St. Hilaire from Bay City is interviewing me, live, tonight on her Divalution Radio! Check it out. 7:00 p.m. (Eastern) on W4DIVAS.com.  It should be a good time. 🙂

divalution2 

Also, we will meet early and collaborate about holding women’s small group meetings at her amazing studio/storefront/gathering space. This has been one of my dreams for five years. And what will I call these gatherings? Well, as Passionista At Large, they will be “Passionista Playdates”!! Comment below if you are interested in these and I’ll keep you posted. (Location is Bay city, Michigan)

It seems my words of the year “Expand” from last year and “Abundance” for this year are working for me! Sometimes it really takes just putting one foot in front of the other and doing what you know to do at the time.

 

So carry on with your bad selves, shine YOUR light, and rock 2017!

Love and BIG hugs, Passionista

I’m a Warrior, Not A Worrier!

I am a warrior 3

Today my friend’s situation reminded me of the need for this card. There are a bunch of things pressing in on me and my brain is in a tizzy (southern expression for going crazy). 

 

*I’m trying to get a seat belt installed before heading south. I had to cut it because my son became entangled in it, it retracted, and there was no other way to get him out. My auto tech guy had torn my van apart in order to access where it has to be installed, only to find out that I received the wrong seat belt from the dealer where I’d ordered it.

I’m crunched for time here. The seat belt cost $100 and now I have to drive 20 minutes to return it. And order another one, which would come in next Tuesday or Wednesday! Or try to find one. Have I mentioned I’m crunched for time?

 

*I may need new tires too because mine aren’t grabbing all that well in the snow. AND it’s supposed to snow/sleet on the day we are scheduled to leave. Ugh!

 

*I am working tonight, and while that is generally a fun time, I have been running for months and just want to be home. Tomorrow is another day of running. I’m getting kind of pooped. And honestly, doing this alone is sometimes overwhelming. 

 

*I have a ton of wrapping to do before I leave. Because I haven’t even been home, this has mounted up. Not to mention the laundry, packing for a week, dishes, trying to keep growing teens fed….. I just want to stay home one full day!

 

The list is adding up, besides all the Christmas-y “to dos” that are the usual. Programs, gifts, decorating, and such. 

 

SO I am practicing what I write about. I am taking a deep breath. I am trusting that things will all be finished, and I am believing that my Father has it all under control. 

 

I do NOT want worry to steal from this most miraculous season. Last night I was crabby with my kids. That’s not how I want to spend the next week! I want to celebrate this season by relishing in each precious moment with my children and my family. These times pass so very quickly, and honestly, people are what it’s all about. 

 

I’m also looking for alternative solutions:

I can wrap my presents when I get to my family’s house.

I can stay off of Facebook so I have more time.

I can choose the most important things to do first, instead of doing 6 things at once like I usually do.

And the money? Well I know that will work out. And I am working tonight so that will help. 

 

I know from experience that these things do actually smooth out. So right now?

I am choosing to revive my inner warrior and banish the worrier!

What about you?

merry-christmas-blog-card

 

I am wishing you a very blessed and calm Christmas season. It is fast approaching, and I hope you can enjoy it to the fullest. That is MY plan.

 

Love and blessings and big sparkle hugs!

Mimi

Going! Going! Gone?

You didn’t sign up for my blog to receive news about my Empowordment Cards, but because positive self image and encouraging others is my THING, these cards are a part of ME. Sooooo….

I won’t do a bazillion posts about them. BUT….

I have put a bunch of cards on 50% off sale, and I thought you might want to know.

make-it-happen-2

Some of these designs are the first ones I created TWO years ago! And while I love them–they are like my babies, after all–I need to make room for some new designs. Sixty-three cards is a lot to manage, especially when they decide to throw a party behind my back! And let’s not talk about carrying them around when I do shows and such! Ugh! Can we say weighsalot?

Believe

This is a great time to stock up on cards for the year. I mean, where can you purchase a colorful, unique, glossy, heavy-weight, Mimi-designed 5×7 greeting card for $1.50? These are works of art, people. Well, some folks think so!

I mean they are all the rage in NYC!!

 

I have cards on sale that are fitting for birthday,

 

you-are-something-else

birthday-cover

 

graduation,

 think-live-believe-big

wow-you-did-it

Valentine’s and Sweetest Day or anniversary,

You make my heart dance2

heart-explosion-drawing-e1390489037408

celebrations,

the-more-you-praise-and-celebrate-life

today-i-will-choose-joy

and just plain ol’ encouragement.

youre-an-overcomer-black youve-got-this

Take a walk on the wild side and browse on over at my shop to choose the ones you want to stock up on.

NOTICE: once they are out of stock, they are gone! Unless you want to order a 10-pack and then I’d be happy to re-order you some. 🙂

Thanks for letting me pitch a sale in your inbox. 🙂

 

Click right HERE to gain entrance to the much-coveted SALE section of my Etsy shop.

Shhhhh, you are the first to get a shot at it. But tomorrow I’m tellin’ the WORLD!!

 

And thank you soooo much for being my READERS!! I can’t even tell you what it means!

Love and really big sparkly HUGs to you,

Mimi

P.S. My watermark (logo) does not appear on the front of the cards you buy. It’s just for copyright purposes that it’s on them here.

 

Sparkle & Shine Calendar is Here!

 

 

8-august-brave

Hello lovelies!

Goodness this last six months has been incredibly busy. I seriously don’t know how I had time to teach full time before I retired. Of course, I’ve added three jobs since then, all of them MY businesses. And I am entirely responsible for all three. That along with raising two special needs kiddos in their teen years (and all the doctor visits involved with that) has kept me super busy.

12-sparkle-december11-november-i-am-enough

I will catch up on happenings later. Right now I want to show you my 2017 calendar! I’m very excited about it. Instead of using a template with the borders provided like the last two years, I created all my own borders. I also decided that instead of using my previously published cards, I would design all new ones.

10-october-you-have-a-bit-of-wild-in-you9-sept-i-am-growing

This year I focused on affirmations. For half of the months you have three “I am” statements to read every day. Thus you will hopefully integrate them into your spirit!

5-may-i-celebrate-me3-i-am-admirable-march

For the other six months I have given written statements about you. I truly enjoyed creating this calendar. I know it will make a difference in your self-esteem and also in that of the females in your life.

2-february-you-are-so-wonderful4-april-you-are-perfect

It’s a great gift for friends, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, ANY person who could use a little reminder of how amazing and capable they are–which means all of us!

7-july-star6-june-it-is-your-light-that-lights-the-world

 

Visual reminders are the best!! And then when we say these words out loud? Oh yeah!! Way to start believing them. We can reprogram our brains to think the truth about who we are, instead of listening to the lies we tell ourselves.

1-january-declarationspreview

The pages are easy to write on, which is important in my book. Glossy on the picture and matt on the calendar. Perfect!
The squares marking each day are a bit over 1 1/4″ square, large enough to jot your goals or achievements down. Great for marking progress each day!

Size is 17″ by 11″ when open so it can tuck into a small space. But it will make quite the visual impact! Place by your bathroom mirror to give you a message every morning, or in your office or work area so that while you are daydreaming you’ll be reminded of WHO you are!!

I really hope you will add one of these to your life because you deserve to be told how wonderful you are on a daily basis! If you’d like to purchase you can go to my shop on Etsy.

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Have a great day, my friends!

Hugs and Sparkles,

Mimi

Tell Your Mama!

Has your mama been a shining light in YOUR life?

Has she guided you through

life’s tumultuous waves

and almost-drowning experiences?

 

and so she lit the way
Did she stretch out her hand for you to hold when fear made you tremble?
And open her arms widely

to receive and envelop you

when you were broken-hearted?

Did your mother support you

and encourage you to do that something scary

 that you really wanted to do?


you are absolutely fabulous

Did she clap wildly and smile widely

when you reached those difficult-to-achieve goals?

And thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of a challenging decision?

Did she show you how to live life,
and model unconditional love so you’d be able to?

You are amazing with a side of sprinkles

Then TELL her!

Mother’s Day is one of  the most important times

to give her a card, folks.

And WRITE in it all of your appreciation.

In your own handwriting, tell her thank you.

Tell her how much you love her (like she tells you).

Her heart was more tender

She will KEEP your cards

to read over and over.

 

And you will find them stored together

after she is gone. 

Why? Because she loves you

and your words matter.

 

Take it from a mama who knows.

 

Wishing those of you who are,

a Happy Mother’s Day!

Love and great, big hugs,

Passionista Mimi

 

P.S. If you are a bit word challenged, there is no shame in using someone else’s.

You can always search online for words to use.

Buy one of my Empowordment cards to get you started, then write a bit inside. 

You can do it, and your mama will be so happy!

When One of us Soars, We ALL Rise

When one of us soars we all rise.

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Be Whooo You Be and Bee Happy!

I’m hoping you are not like me–

wasting precious years not liking yourself

because of the lies you believe. You

are a unique creation,

full of amazing qualities,

quirks,

possibility,

and personality.

Celebrate YOU today!!

Be whooo you be and bee happy

You are truly a delightful and precious treasure!

Hugs and love, Mimi

P.S. Click on the pink “lies you believe” link  above to read my own realization and process. 

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