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)
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.
Love and sparkly hugs! Mimi
“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.
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 choice…that you may relish–with JOY–your life and the people who fill it.
May you be blessed with JOY and abundance of the simple things in life!
Have you ever had one of those days where you were just filled with joy? Today was that kind of day for me. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful 30 degrees! Almost shirt-sleeve weather! I had to go grocery shopping, which I detest! But I had decided to treat myself with flowers. And wouldn’t you know? There were tons of FUSCHIA-dyed mums!! So of course I bought one bunch. They were perfect for me. And I rescued some poor, bedraggled Alstromeria lilies that were marked way down. For about $8.50 I bought enough posies to make all these bouquets. (Don’t mind the Christmas trees you can still see in the background. I HAD to stop and smell the roses–er, mums!)
On to the produce section. The grapes were tiny, about the size of my little finger nail! Another lady and I were exclaiming about it. They were the size of raisins already!
I moved on to the lovely section that holds cauliflower, broccoli, celery, red cabbage, four colors of peppers, and numerous other colorful items. I asked the produce guy, “Don’t you just love working in the produce section?” He looked at me a teeny bit funny as he shrugged his shoulders. What’s the guy to say? So I clued him as to why he should like his job! I said, “It looks so nice, and it’s all so colorful and pretty!” He agreed that when it looked nice it wasn’t so bad. Lol
Around the corner at the onion table I struck up a conversation with the lady cleaning the potato bin. I asked her if onions last better in the refrigerator. Well, she keeps hers in a box in the cabinet. And then she imparted this AMAZING bit of information!
In the spring, whether they are in a store, in your cupboard, or on the counter, onions will sprout and so will garlic. Period. In the pitch black or constant fluorescent light. In the spring–when nothing in their environment has changed–they will sprout.
WOW!! I was just in awe. I said to the lady, “That is just crazy! It’s like God sends them a memo or something! “Ok onions and garlic. You may not know it yet, but it’s spring. Time to do your thing!” We had a chuckle over that. That just made my day. I told her thank you for teaching me something today. (Any day I learn is a great day!)
I couldn’t help humming as I went along with my shopping. All those little things added up to make my heart overflow! And I am so grateful for my sight so I can celebrate God’s wonders in the flowers, veggies, and fruit department! I’m also thankful that people don’t seem bothered when I talk to them. (I kind of do it a lot. Maybe they are just being gracious.)
I must have had a smile on my face as I walked through the store because people kept looking at me. I’ll bet they wished they knew my secret. 🙂
And now you do! Here’s to a joy-filled life!
Love and big sparkle hugs, Mimi
We should never, ever take for granted
the freedoms we have, and the Americans
who have given sacrificially to guard them.
My heartfelt thanks goes to every soldier
who has ever served
and to those who are still serving.
My daddy was in the Korean War,
and my uncle was present in WWII,
on February 23, 1945
when the flag was raised on Iwo Jima.
The account of raising the flag is quite incredible.
My uncle was was one of the fortunate who survived. Pretty amazing.
On this Veteran’s Day, and all through the years,
let’s remember those who are working valiantly
to ensure our freedom remains intact.
And if you can, hug a veteran.
We truly owe them our lives.
Thanks for visiting today.
Big hugs! Passionista Mimi
So….the last two days I’ve been doing a different kind of thinking, more like the person I really am in spirit. Oh. My. Goodness. I have just tons and tons of things to be THANKFUL for. We all do. And I want to encourage you to do as I am, rejoice in those things. Make a list if necessary. (Surely I can help someone while I’m destined to be a “Couch Coach” during this time. Let me know if I do–God knows people help me all the time.) Oops, gotta take a potty break, it’ll be ten minutes or so but I’ll be back. If I’m not, send in the reinforcements!
*I can’t walk…for now. BUT eventually I WILL be able to, unlike MANY others. My disablement will end.
*I can’t drive…BUT I will. AND I have a car. AND I’m saving on gas. AND someone else is using my car that needs it right now.
*My kids are missing out on summer fun and us going places…BUT they have been going to the summer activities program at the school for FREE, provided by the 21st Century Bridges To Success grant (from our state’s Dept. of Education). They have been cared for, had great activities, gone on three field trips and are at a water park as I write this. AND I have friends with kids who will do things with us in July. My kids are waaay blessed, so much more than many, many American kids.
*I have to sit inside…BUT I have an air-conditioned house, lots of good, clean drinking water, and a very cute place to dwell.
*My only bathroom is upstairs…BUT I could afford to purchase a “beside commode” for emergencies. Besides, when I don’t wait too long and have some time, I build my pectorals and triceps by hauling my butt up the steep stairs!
*This commode stinks and is embarrassing…..BUT it means my body is working and I have lots of good urine, and I don’t have to wear a bag, like many people. ALSO, I have friends (and Hannah) who will empty it without batting an eye (’cept for Hannah for whom it takes reminders of the bazillion diapers SHE gave me). Now that’s real love, people who will pour out my pee. ♥
*I need to go some places, scheduled appointments.…BUT I have friends who are driving me. I’ve never been more impressed with the quality (and sheer number) of people whom I call friends. My varied walks of life have given me a delightfully eclectic group of people whom I love and care about. They are rising to my occasion of need and volunteering at a consistently humbling rate. I only hope I’ll be there for them when needed.
*My body hurts! Moving is a major act of mass vs. resistance ….BUT I’ve been wanting to work out lol. Not quite THIS way, but I will have more/better muscles (at least in some areas) when this is over. AND I can still move around via unique appliances (rolling chairs, walker, stools, and soon a scooter). AND I am strong and healthy. What a wonderful blessing-a healthy body.