Christmas design

The Most Wonderful Time Printable

wreath the most wonderful time

Needing to create while I was stuck in a hotel room, I began working on this. It looks so simple, but has taken a ton of time to get the design pleasing to my own quirky taste. Layers upon layers, here it is. You are welcome to save it to your pictures (right click, “save image as”) and use it on your own media. Please be considerate and use “as is”.

This time of year is truly wonderful, and I hope you are able to enjoy it fully. December can be stressful or magical. Make it your best!

Big hugs! Mimi

Here are others if you prefer.

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Inspiration, Words To Help

The Grace Experiment

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I’m thinking that we all could show ourselves some grace this time of year. I originally wrote this article for the August/September issue of Women2Women Michigan Magazine (I’m the editor and write a column). I believe it is quite timely for now, during a time when we are so stressed, and demanding of ourselves. Read it, take heart, breathe deeply, and try the “grace experiment”.

The Grace Experiment

She was done. She just couldn’t do it anymore. And the worst thing? She felt like a failure. Nagging self-criticism kept bombarding her brain: she’d not done enough, she should work harder, and she was so unworthy. She had tried. Oh how hard she had tried! But she had come to the end of herself. She could barely breathe, much less keep pushing herself to “get it all done” just to make everyone happy. She collapsed on the bed, tears dripping down her cheeks, and wondered how she’d gotten to this place. Utterly exhausted, hardly able to move, her brain overloaded with the many requirements and expectations from others, she wondered if she’d ever be happy again.

Do you recognize this woman? Have you seen her in your mirror?

Everyone gets exhausted and comes to the “end of their rope” at times during their lives. Unfortunately, with women it is often the result of our “super woman” mentality which believes we can be all things to everyone, do all things to please people, be the caregivers of the world, and completely dismiss our own needs. It’s a mindset that has been driven into us by our culture, our families, and by societal expectations. Often it is the result of believing there is no other way and our own driving need to prove ourselves.

Well Darlin’, if this is you, it’s time to bestow upon yourself goodwill, favor, and mercy, (grace) just as you would a best friend who was criticizing themselves for falling short. You would give her encouragement and tell her how accomplished she is. It’s time to do the same for yourself.

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 “If beating yourself up worked, you’d already be rich, skinny, and happy. Why not try loving yourself for a month and see what happens?”

My friend Stephanie Dalfonzo wrote these words on her Facebook page this week. I asked if I could use them because they fit so well with what I was writing.

Do you realize how powerful this suggestion is? Could you do it? It takes twenty-one days to change a habit, so how about instead of self-criticism you rejoiced in your accomplishments for thirty days? Do you understand how that could change your brain and your outlook on life?

Instead of thinking, “I’m a bad mom because my meals are not really healthy enough for my kids”, think, “I buy groceries (an accomplishment that deserves a medal in my book!) and provide food for family.” (SCORE!)

I am such a bad parent, missing my kids’ games (recitals, plays). However, I am working to provide a life for them, and there are others who love and encourage them.

Instead of, “Will my children be okay without me tonight? I feel so guilty!” Think, “I really need this time to laugh with friends so that I can be more content at home. They are just fine without me, and we all need a break from each other.” And you know, they really are just fine with someone else for a while.

And during those times when you just can’t seem to keep your head above water and the doubt and lies and guilt are attacking you? Start listing all the things you HAVE accomplished that day.  Perhaps you worked all day (which brings its own set of frustrations), did four loads of laundry,  bought groceries, read with a child, cleaned the toilet (does anyone else clean just one item a day like I often do?) spent 5 minutes outside, folded the laundry (ugh, 3 days later), put the devices aside and cuddled, cooked dinner (or collected drive-through), made the bed (ha!), talked to your mom, encouraged a friend, got out of bed this morning, or got into bed at a decent hour (you do know we desperately need 7-8 hours of sleep don’t you?). There are so many things that we do each day and we need to celebrate them. Others expect and take for granted. But you, my dear, need to begin seeing what a powerhouse you truly are!

Need to start saving? Celebrate the five dollars you were able to tuck away this week or how you resisted buying that really unnecessary item (maybe at Hobby Lobby or Target? Stay away from those places!).

Want to lose weight? Celebrate that you didn’t eat the whole bag of chips even though you really, really wanted to. Perhaps you signed up with a therapist to help you understand the underlying reasons behind overeating, or that you have partnered with a friend to support each other. Or that you did not buy the three-pack of chocolate chip cookies at McDonald’s (do they stare you in the face too?).

Need to lose weight and save money? Celebrate that you have weaned yourself from that sugary Starbuck’s on the way to work or that you brought your lunch to work and walked for ten minutes.

Did you take the stairs today instead of the elevator? Did you call a friend to encourage her? Did you turn up the music and dance with your kids? Did you clean the house—or even one room? Girl! You need to celebrate!!

This list can go on and on. If you have trouble remembering your accomplishments by the end of the day, jot notes to yourself. Perhaps carry a little journal with you. Many people carry “gratitude” journals, and being conscious of all they have to be grateful for has changed their outlook on life. I believe the act of recognizing all you accomplish during your day will change your life drastically. You will begin to see that you are not lacking in any way.

And take a bit of time for you each day: read, sit outside, meditate, take a bubble bath, or do yoga, and breathe. You are completely worth it—and until you believe that of yourself, it will be hard for others to believe it either.

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I realize I am focusing more on doing rather than being, which is not my usual approach.  But I feel it’s important for women to learn to give themselves grace rather than beat themselves up for not doing all they think they should (which usually turns into feelings of not being enough—something I struggled with most of my life). I really do hope you will try the “Grace Experiment”. And please let me know how it changes your life! Email me at mimi@w2wmichigan.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Much love and really big sparkle hugs,

heartPassionista Mimi

Living With Gusto

We Are Not Alone

“Christmas is a reminder that we are not alone.” My aunt shared this quote with me and it resonated within me.
God touched humanity with Jesus—the greatest gift of all. Love came down at His birth. He provided a way to live with HOPE in the midst of despair. To have a FRIEND when everyone turns away. To have STRENGTH in the midst of fear. To have LOVE in the midst of hate. To have FAITH in the midst of turmoil.
HE alone is my Rock, the One who has sustained me through some really, really rough times. He has anchored me when I’ve been adrift and floundering.
I am forever grateful for this Savior who came humbly to walk among us and make a way for us to have lives of fullness and joy, regardless of our circumstances. My heart belong to the One who loves me.


May you be blessed this Christmas

and the year to come. 

Love and big hugs, Mimi

Christmas Reflections

A Blue Christmas?

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Several years back, my first Christmas as a single mom with my closest family members nine hours away was difficult, to say the least. By the next year, with a bit of experience, my coping skills had improved.

On Christmas day, I booked a room at a hotel in a wonderful touristy town close to us. We pretty much had the place to ourselves!

We ate Christmas dinner with many others at a German-style restaurant–one of the most popular in Michigan. Doing so gave me a sense of family, and the whole experience was festive.

Afterward my children swam until they were exhausted, I read a bit and relaxed, there was a lot of laughter and my children felt very special (it was our first overnight in a hotel together–ever!).

Making these plans to help us through a very difficult time was one of the best decisions I’ve made. As part of the “package” we shopped at the world-famous Bronner’s where each of us chose two ornaments to remember our special time.

 

My friend Lani Catherine has written some ways to help alleviate the “blues” at Christmas, and they are good ones. Take a peek at her post as a resource for yourself or a friend. I’m going to save it to revisit next year.

Read it here….“Holidays Got You Blue?” 

 

My wish for you is that your Christmas time is full of joy and love and health. That is always my wish for you!

Remember that you have a very special light all your own, and that our world needs you!

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Shine on, my friends! Merry Christmas!

Love and Sprinkles, Passionista

 

 

Christmas Reflections

Christmas Eve’s Eve

Two days, and it will already be over. I hate to see Christmas come to an end. I absolutely love this time of year. After this, it’s all a bit anti-climatic. But, ahead of us is a new beginning, a “clean slate” to borrow a cliche. And Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and on through the year. And in ten-ish months, I can decorate again! Oh, how I’ve loved decorating this year. I’m thankful to be at it again, after a long, somewhat “dry” period.

One of the things I truly enjoy every year is taking out the items my children have made throughout their elementary school years. Our tree is laden with their school-made ornaments and it is delightful!

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The cinnamon-applesauce ornaments on the right were made by my daughter in 4th grade. I love how this little vignette turned out. And…

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this cute little log candle holder she made last year in 5th grade. I added a little white bird and a “joy” ornament to fill in, only because to me “more is better”, but I just love it as it was, too.

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And me? In seventh grade, I made the paper mache angel on the right and gave it to my parents for Christmas. I think she lost her wings somewhere during the last 48 years. Or maybe I didn’t give her any. Anyway, again, I love the things made by kids in school.

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How cute are these? Funny thing, I remember when our school (I taught there for 31 years and my children attend there now) ran out of the “real” green paper, and we had to use this ugly, faded green for our Christmas projects. Ugh! And here we have, captured forever, art project Christmas trees that will revive that memory for me. How funny!

I had been married for 21 years, never birthed a child, and at age 48 my son came to enrich our lives. My daughter came the next year, just before Christmas. I can say that they have truly blessed my life–and….turned it upside down, changed me totally, and set me on this roller-coaster adventure called life. And they have forever stamped their signature all over my Christmas.

Christmas Reflections

I Had Plans…

I really did. To take the kids someplace, just to get outside, away for a while. But my little home is a Christmas Wonderland, and I am quite reluctant to leave it. I guess I’ve made it too cozy, if that’s possible. Well, I guess it’s possible because I don’t want to ever leave.

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And guess what? I don’t have to. I am the captain(ess) of this ship, and I decided to dock it for a while and just relax. Remember that word? Re-lax. Not to be confused with “be lax”, which connotes not doing my job. Sometimes relaxing IS my job. (Jump back Jack, lightening is gonna strike!) And lately I’ve become accepting of my desire to do so.

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For many years, I ran like crazy. Constantly going, doing, organizing, caring for, working etc. I got pretty worn out. And that was before I adopted children! I still do all of those things, but to a lesser degree. Took me several years to not feel guilty if I decided to read a book all day. I would remind myself that I’d worked really, really hard for over 40 years, and was often still working hard now. So it was ok if I wanted to sit all day. Strange that I’d think I needed to validate my guilty pleasure of reading.

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But you see, my mama was always tearing around. In fact my whole family lived a very full, busy, often exhausting calendar. Especially around Christmas. Daddy was a preacher, mama a teacher, and we were all involved in musical programs in school and church. Barely had time to breathe.

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So right now, right here, I am soaking up the season. Listening to Christmas music. Delighting in having my children close by. Gazing at the lights. Creating decorations. Enjoying the vintage items surrounding me with their stories of my past and my family. Oh, life is just so good!

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