Inspiration

But How Can I Fly?

Hey there. How are you doing? Are things a bit rough right now?

If you are stressed and worried, it may not help, but you are not alone in that. A lot of us are struggling. Trying to find “what’s next?”.

Sometimes I have dark days. I’m sure you have days like that too.

I wanted to share this with you today. I wrote it, not really very long ago, while I was in the midst of a deeply emotional and spiritual turmoil. I was thoroughly beaten and discouraged and felt pretty raw inside. 

I decided to publish it now because, well, I’m just supposed to.

 
They say, “Fly into your dreams.”

But how can I fly

with wings missing feathers

and bearing tattered edges?

How can I fly with a heart that weighs

heavily like stone?

Lift off is impossible.

And how can I dream when the smokey haze of

night terrors suffocates me at dawn?

I’ve reached the ragged end of strength.

The dark hole has blinded me.

Flight is impossible, but for You, God.

You promised to carry me.

To give me wings like an eagle.

It’s up to You, my strength and the lifter of my head.

And then, rescued from the pit by Your hand, once again will I soar. ­­­­­­­­­

Perhaps you have been where I was. Maybe you are right now.

Maybe it will help, knowing that someone else survived a time like that.

Many in our world (maybe even you?) are in the pit, feeling hopeless, in turmoil, betrayed, and scared.

Where, or in whom, do you place your hope during these hard times?

My hope is not in myself. I’m way too fragile and inadequate.  But my hope is in God, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

Psalm 3:3

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

that hovers over its young,

He spread His wings and caught them,

He carried them on His pinions. 

Deuteronomy 32:11

 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40:1

 

In my distress I called upon the Lord;

I cried out to my God,

And from His temple [in the heavens] He heard my voice;

My cry for help came into His ears.

2 Samuel 22:7

 

I pray that you find your hope in the Lord. He is dependable and faithful. This, I know.

Much love, 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.

 

 

 

Inspiration

Relinquish

 

 

I wrote this during a time of excruciating difficulty. 

I feel that someone needs it, as well as I , right now. 

Because I’ve been a control-freakish-type person,

relinquishing has been really hard for me. 

But, I do know that Jesus is the One I turn to. 

Hope this helps you today. 

Hugs and love,

Mimi

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real

With ALL My Heart?

I say I love and follow Jesus with all of my heart. But the true story is that I can only love with the part that’s been healed from its wounding. Feeling abandoned and rejected, looking for love in all the wrong places because of my abuse (can I get an amen?), not loving myself and who I am—these things kept me from fully loving God (and others) and I needed to be healed and my heart restored. And let me tell you—that’s been a process! And not a lot of fun. But being able to live freely as who I am, without the lies haunting me, has been worth it.

Satan—the enemy of our souls whose only intent is to kill, steal, and destroy those whom God created—begins his diabolical wounding of us from birth and never stops until our death. He uses other people, life circumstances, and even natural disasters, to plant seeds of bitterness and despair in our hearts, often crippling our ability to love God wholeheartedly.

For example, if someone you love has fought a disease and you prayed for and believed in their healing but still that person dies, what do you do? Satan wants you to be so angry at God that you turn away from Him and live your life in bitterness and despair. God wants you to turn to Him, lean on Him so He can help you with your pain, can carry you, walk with you, and begin to heal the wounding caused by grief and loss.

God gave us the Holy Spirit, and He gives us the power to overcome in these situations. He helps our brain wrap around the loss and deal with the lack of answers. He helps us see that disease does not come from God’s hand, and that He is not punishing you or your loved one. And most of all He can give us peace, even in the midst of our loss. And a promise. I’m so thankful that I can rest on the promise of seeing my family (every member of my original family, except me, has died) in heaven, a place prepared for those who love God.

So what about the wounding that happens during our lifetime, even as children? When I began to understand that I’d been abused as a young child, which led to behaviors that wounded me even more, I had a choice. I could have been mad that God “let” those things happen. Or I could turn to Him as the Healer of those wounds—the only way I could spend the rest of my life wholly restored.

God’s desire and design is to heal those broken places

and heart issues in us.

As I drew closer to Him and spent time getting to know Him, He revealed to me the areas in my heart that needed healing, that had caused me to build walls around my heart.

As we go deeper with Him, He goes deeper into our hearts to reveal and heal. It takes time and I’ll never say it is easy (think surgery). It takes relinquishing. It takes us giving Him permission.

God wants to heal and renew us. He knew that the enemy of our souls would seek to destroy us and keep us from a relationship with Him. He made a way for us to live healed! Jesus came that we may have life in fullness, but that takes being restored to the glory God created for us.

John Eldredge says it this way,

“Your deepest convictions—the ones that really shape your life—are somewhere in the depths of your heart.

As God restores more of your story and broken heart, you will be able to live in the fullness of God’s promise,

the promise of a life set free” 

Excerpt from Restoration Year: A 365 Day Devotional.

Write this down:

As I am healed and the walls are removed, the larger my faith, trust, and capacity to love God become.

 

Supporting scriptures:

The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy but I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature. The old has passed away, new things have come2 Cor. 5:17

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

I will never say that healing from trauma and hurtful experiences is easy, but I will say that healing is worth it. And Jesus is waiting to walk you through it. Just call on Him, He is near.

And I’ll be praying for your blessings, healing, and a life of fullness! Let me know how it goes.

Passionista Mimi

 

 

 

 

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real

Sewing the Patches of Our Lives into Wings

Do you feel worn out, ragged, in bits and pieces?

Sometimes we feel as if the world has pulled at us so much that there’s no resemblance to the person we were. And sometimes it’s a good thing, because we needed to change into the glorious creature we are created to be.

The wondrous thing is that as we turn to God, our healer, more and more, and let Him restore us, those bits and pieces become sewn together, intertwined. He takes the broken places of our hearts—the despair, hopelessness, rejection, fear, abandonment, abuse—and infuses us with His love poured completely and thoroughly into our hearts, minds, and spirits. That love has miraculous healing power.

With God’s help and power, as we turn over our wounding and hurts to His touch, we can pick up those raggedy bits and pieces and sew them back together into something glorious. With God’s healing and restoration (if we choose it) we can have wings of freedom above all that wounded us. We can rise above all that has held us down.

It’s a process (I do hate that word) of restoration and only our Creator can do that. But, again, we must choose to let Him. To turn to Him in our despair and allow Him to heal, restore, and help us sew.

There is no glory in staying broken. However, I do believe that the wounds we experience are quite valuable—they give us such wisdom and the experiences can be used to help others. You know, dear one, we were created for His glory and that comes as we are fully free and have victory over the wounds.

Ironically, a patched area can be stronger than the rest of the fabric because it has been reinforced. And that is how I regard my own patched-up life—reinforced by God’s holy “thread” I am much, much stronger now!

So what do you think about this idea? Do you have a few patches of your own? Are you stronger because of them? Do you now have wings?

I’d love to hear from you!

Big sparkle hugs,

Passionista Mimi

Words To Help

YOU are Amazing!! And don’t you forget it!

You are amazing with a side of sprinkles
You can buy this card HERE!

You ARE amazing!! I finally began to believe that about myself after a few days of saying it out loud in front of the mirror. The year was 2008. For most of my life I’d felt “less-than” so it took a bit of making a firm choice and perseverance to follow this program.

 

I’d sit in front of my empty journal page, pull those truths from my spirit, and begin writing them down in bulleted format. I’d walk around my house, saying, “I’m intelligent. I’m capable. I can do this. I’m creative. I’m a great problem-solver.”

 

Granted, I was almost afraid that I’d be struck by lightning because I’d been raised not to “toot my own horn” or brag about myself. However, I am here to STOMP that lie in the ground! Stating your awesomeness and joy in your uniqueness and abilities, your gifts and wonderful heart, is NOT bragging. It’s just proclaiming truth.

Oh my goodness I'm incredible!
You can buy this card HERE!

We need to both hear and say those truths to ourselves because the world would have us believing that we are stupid, useless, and incapable (to just name a few). Well, dear Passionista, THAT is a bunch of hog wash! Lies, every bit of it!

 

If you have trouble finding the truth about yourself, there are many, many resources even on Facebook that will help you. (I am one of those). But honestly, your spirit KNOWS. Give yourself time to reflect. Probably just choose the opposite of what you most likely believe about yourself, if it is degrading or detrimental to your emotional and psychological health and growth.

 

 To be the very best YOU possible, you need to invest in yourself. Take the time. Even on the way to work if it’s your only alone time. (Ummm, reminding yourself that you are amazing after you swear at that driver might not be the best way, but hey, if it works for you go for it!) Or while you are in the shower—IF you happen to enjoy that by yourself–but getting upset with your body while you are stating your incredible amazing -ness  is quite counteractive.  Our bodies do NOT determine our awesomeness!

 beauty is not in the face

 I just want to encourage you to feed your own soul. As women we take care of everyone else, which can sure lead to resentment and exhaustion. Doing this is a small, but huge and important, way to nourish yourself.

 

 So what do you say? Let me know some of your “truths” in the comment below. I’d love to hear from you! ❤

Love and hugs, Passionista

 

PS Hey, I have created some visuals (cards etc.) for you to place where you will see them to help remind you to state your truths daily. I sell them on Etsy if you are interested. They help, they really do, and I created them with YOU in mind. Luv ya.

Words To Help

Deepak Chopra: Movement to Prevent Suicide

Thrive Global has published a good read concerning suicide. Deepak Chopra, a spiritual leader and alternative medicine expert has launched a global movement to encourage and empower those who are struggling with their mental health to reach out. And to help them realize that they are not alone in their struggle.

“Chopra wants to do his part to help those who are also struggling with stress, burnout, anxiety, and other mental health issues. “Suicide is the second most common cause of death, among those aged 10-34.

Suicide is the biggest taboo of America,” he says. ‘This is the biggest tragedy of humankind. If we don’t address it, it is a testimony to our collective insanity. Let’s change the world — we can do it!’”

Of particular interest to me was his Four A’s….ways WE can be more mindful of those around us who might be struggling. He suggests some signs we can look out for. 

“When co-workers, friends, or people in your family are struggling, you can easily become aware of that. They lack sleep, they appear anxious, depressed, and sometimes they even give hints of hurting themselves,” he says. “We can actually tackle this epidemic by remembering four A’s, which are, in my view, the pillars of relationship:

attention with deep listening, 

affection with deep caring, 

appreciation with deep acknowledgement of the uniqueness of each other, and 

acceptance where you’re not trying to change anybody.”

 

Deepak rightfully calls these the pillars of relationship! We could all learn to practice these four actions more, and help our world, especially the one around us, become more caring.

Make sure to read the complete article Deepak Chopra Speaks Out For Suicide Prevention by Lindsey Benoit O’Connell.

Mimi's Messages

Do You Love Your Child “Every Single Bit”?

I designed this card to express how I feel about my children. How about saying these words to your own children? Help them feel like precious treasures. Because when children know that they are amazing and wonderful and CHERISHED, they have a healthy foundation for self-love and courage, and know that they have a safe place supporting them. 

 

On the other hand, please don’t let your child hear that they were a surprise, or a mistake, or an “oopsie”. Those words can damage for life. If you were blessed with a child, however that happened, they are a treasure to be cherished. 

 

Am I always diligent about letting my children know I love them, every single bit? No, of course not! I make mistakes, lose my temper, say things I shouldn’t. But I really try. I want them to know the gift they are to me.

 

Side note: Does that mean always sacrificing MY needs for theirs? No. I believe that always making them a priority, even over my own needs, teaches entitlement and expectation that the world will revolve around them, which we all know is not true. I model healthy self-love by taking time for myself and doing things that help replenish my spirit and restore my brain so I CAN take care of them better. 

 

So, my friends, won’t you join with me in telling your children that you love them, “every single bit”?

 

(You can buy this card in my Etsy shop or click on the image to go directly.)

Have a great day, folks!!

Hugs and sparkles, Mimi

Hi there! It's Me, Mimi

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)