January. Ugh. People are like, “Oh I love the beginning of a new year! I’m setting my intentions. I’m writing my goals. I’m picking a new theme or word of the year”. And I’m like, “Nope, just let me crawl back into bed.”
In Michigan where I live it’s one of the grayest, dreariest months of the year. Holidays and fun are over. Now it’s just the tasks of every day in front of me. Don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I’m very blessed and I’m so full of gratitude. To be honest, though, by January I’m usually pretty tired.
I make a trip to Kentucky every Thanksgiving (eight hours on the busiest travel day of the year—and this year I was battling 40-60 mph winds!). And then for Christmas I drive eleven hours to Missouri. I take these trips willingly and with joy because I am visiting my closest family members (the rest are even further away) and I love being with them. But I am the only driver so it is a bit exhausting for me.
The months of November and December are full of activities, of course. By the time January comes around, every bone in my body hurts. Did I mention that I’ve lived a few decades? (Ha!) But again, I’m so very grateful I’m able to do these things.
Back to wanting to crawl into bed. Honestly, it’s the best thing for me. After my son is on the bus and my daughter is dropped off, because I work from home I’m able to take a few days in the beginning of January to replenish. For me that means going back to bed or taking several hours to sit and read so my body and mind relax, or just puttering around the house with my plants or cleaning a bit. I try to keep my calendar as empty as possible, giving myself time to rejuvenate.
I spend time in prayer, seeking. My most earnest desire is that others see Jesus in me. So I seek direction on what that looks like. I want to be used of God. Effectively. But I know my ideas are not usually His so I need to hear His voice. I order to do that, I need to be still, and quiet.
Lately, in blogs across the internet-o-sphere, there is much talk about self-care. Taking care of myself has been a work-in-process through the years, and I’ve only begun to give myself permission to sleep when needed and read when I can without feeling guilty. Isn’t that wild? I’ve been a serious go-getter for most of my sixty-seven years, and “deserve” to take breaks now and then. But that old mindset of “I need to be doing something” wants to re-surface constantly. I am a warrior woman, and I’ve done battle with that lie, but it dies hard.
In January I am exhausted enough to put that lie, and myself, to rest. And that is I what I do.
Does this resonate with any of you? Are you like me and kind of detest the “let’s set goals” emphasis in January? Are you also too exhausted for the mental and emotional work that it actually takes? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know I’m not alone in this, or if you have any suggestions for me. This year, if I feel the need to set goals, I think I’ll do it in October! 🙂
Happy March! (This is from my “Wings & Dreams” calendar. You can still purchase one on sale in my shop.)
As Lucille Ball said, ” Love yourself first, and all the rest falls into line.” It’s pretty difficult to accomplish what your heart desires if you don’t feel as if you are worth it. It’s tough to offer love to others if you feel really cruddy about yourself.
It’s almost impossible to be confident and positive if you really don’t like yourself.
What can you do today to nurture your soul? As women we nurture everyone else, but not ourselves.
Speak up for your right to take time to do something that nurtures YOU. (Convince yourself you are worthy of it. It will make you a better person, dissolve resentment, and empower you!)
Tell me below what you are going to do for yourself today. Me? I just got my heart rate up for 15 minutes. Go me! Now let’s see if I keep with it! Cheer me on.
And tell me your self love intentions. Lots of love. I’m with ya, friend!
Do you get distracted when you look at others, their posts, their accomplishments? Are you comparing? I sure do, at times. Then I remind myself that we all have different callings, abilities, lights to shine. It’s really destructive to compare because we will not “measure up”. So, keep on pursuing your own purpose. And don’t get distracted by comparison.
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 formost 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.
Oh darling, don’t you know that who you are is the most amazing and fabulous gift to the world? Who you are is full of wonder and possibility. You deserve to be loved and fulfilled in what you do. I know it’s tough many days. I know some of you are not in an ideal situation. I know some of you feel as if the ground is swallowing you up and closing in over you.
I know because I’ve been there. And it took action and big steps (in little baby steps) to get me out of that hole. But I am here to tell you that YOU can start today to change your situation. There are people who will help you.
Do not try to do it alone. I know, precious one, that you feel as if you must be strong and do this life thing (as hard and unpleasant as it is) by yourself because that’s who you are. Well, you only limit yourself when you limit your possibilities.
Start talking to people. Start saying what you want and need. I promise, lightning will not strike you. Start asking for help. Start with someone you trust and get them involved in seeking help you and ways to improve and/or get out of your situation.
You are NOT alone! You do not have to suffer in silence. There ARE solutions. I know. I found them.
The biggest thing is to start realizing how valuable you are. How much the world needs your special, unique gifts and love. Start telling yourself the TRUTH–that you are amazing and have wonderful abilities and gifts for this world.
Start seeking ways to BE who you really are. To pour out your beautiful spirit and shine your gorgeous light.
Because darling, you are perfect, just as you are! Never apologize.
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. 🙂
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!
And if you believe lies about yourself, then you will act on those lies instead of the truth.
Any words that make you seem “less than” the amazing person you were created to be is a LIE!
Those words may come from the chatter in your brain, just regurgitating things you have heard.
They may come from actual people who are small-minded and have their own agenda.
But whatever the source, you need to STOP listening to the derogatory lies and begin to speak truth to yourself.
Because when you believe lies, you think small about yourself.
It’s pretty hard to launch out of your comfortable, ho-hum, dream-draining life by thinking small.
You can barely rise to doing those things the world needs from you–your purpose for being here.
“But I don’t WANT to leave my comfort zone! It’s comfortable.”
Ummm, yeah. And it’s restricting and limiting. (Redundant, I know, going for the effect.)
And leaving your comfort zone is like jumping off the high dive.
But don’t you want to be the best you can be?
Don’t you want to realize amazing and wonderful things about yourself–things you never knew?
When we rocket ourselves (because that’s what it takes!) outside of our comfort zone to do those things that our heart really, really longs to do, all kinds of new worlds and information opens up to us! It could become quite an adventure–mine has!
And the wonderful thing is that our hearts and spirits become more fulfilled as we begin to venture out and try things our heart is leading us to do.
**Things the lies make us afraid to do.**
“I am not smart enough for that.
I could never go in front of people.
I really do not have the “look” required for that.
I don’t have the time for that.
No one needs me.
I’m not qualified.
I’m just a ________.” Oh how I hate that word!
The lies (excuses) are limitless.
But so are YOU!!
The only thing holding you back is you.
Stop believing lies and restricting the amazing, capable, beautiful person you are!
You CAN do this! I know, because I did.
Love and big sparkly hugs!
I speak from experience!! Seriously!
If you would like to read more, here are some older posts on the subject.