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)

Does It Seem Impossible?

Fear can keep you

from attaining something you want.

 

Whether you think it’s possible or not

depends on the way you see yourself.

 

Believe that you are capable of anything

and you will be.

 

Some days it feels like just getting through the day is impossible!

But don’t ya know? I make it every time, and then ta daaaa!!

It WAS possible.

 

Whatever hard task lies before you, take it one step at a time, and you will make it.

 

You can DO it!!

 

I believe in you, because I know you have the good stuff in you. You are glorious.

 

Here’s to moving forward.

Love and sparkle hugs, Mimi

 

 

Do Not Apologize For Who You Are!

never-apologize

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

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

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.

 

You Are MORE!

 

what-we-believe-about-ourselves

It doesn’t matter what is being said about you.

It doesn’t matter what others think of you.

What matters is what you think of yourself!

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.

 

the-only-thing-that-benefits-from-thinking-small-is-your-comfort-zone

“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.**

 

Lies like:

“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!!

Limitless.

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!

Passionista

 

I speak from experience!! Seriously!

If you would like to read more, here are some older posts on the subject.

To Dream (when I jumped off the high dive myself!)

The Lies That Bind

The Lies That Bind Magazine Article (a much longer article in more detail)

Start Anew

 

 

 

 

 

I Won!

The only person

Today I defied the compulsion towards People Pleasing!! (A lifetime-long struggle.)

 

Yesterday was grueling for me.

 

I taught reading to reluctant kindergarteners for three hours,

 

went to an appointment,

 

returned home in time to get my son off the bus –his OCD meant he asked every few minutes if we were going to the book fair at his school,

 

took him (which means dragged him) to get a haircut (sensory overload),

 

and then to the book fair because I couldn’t handle another day of his asking,

 

picked up some dinner,

 

rushed home to help my daughter get dressed for her concert (which meant some raised voices because Anxiety Disorder and choir concerts don’t mix, and we also got to add in PMS so it was REAL fun!),

 

rushed to the concert (which was great!),

 

got my too-tired children into bed and myself soon after.

 

 

11-november-i-am-enough

 

This was followed by Monday night Trick-or-Treat which is a little challenging still because being on my feet a long time is difficult with the metal in my ankle (a 4″ plate and nine screws–read about it here),

 

and then Tuesday I climbed a ladder up and down for about 3 hours to clean my gutters of the slimy mess that had plugged them up (remember the ankle?).

 

Sooo, this morning my son woke me at 4 am, and my brain kicked on, of course.

He gets out early today, and I was supposed to work–a first occurence for me since I’ve retired.

I began to worry that something might happen to prevent my sitter from getting there,

and no one would be at home for him to get off the bus (he is special-needs and can’t be home alone),

and I’d be at school, and WHAT WOULD I DO?!!

 

When I got up at 5:45, I felt like a semi had run over me!

 

I have just begun working as an educational consultant at the school I retired from. There are many children struggling to learn to read and to reach grade level, so I am helping with small groups in a kindergarten classroom. I really wanted to stay home and switch work days to tomorrow (I am only working two days a week because of all the other things I do).

 

But what would the teacher I’m helping THINK of me? Would she think I’m some flighty person, unable to keep my committments? Is she depending on me for a specific thing today?

 

self-care-is-love-2

 

I debated for a bit. But chose to take care of myself, regardless of what she thought. I found a way to leave her a message on her classroom phone and told her what I was doing. She messaged me that going in tomorrow was fine. (Really, she is a darling, and a friend, so I know–on this side of 4 a.m.–well kinda, that she would not have thought poorly of me!)

 

So I feel successful today, although a bit pooped.

Celebrations are in order. I did that. I went back to bed. 🙂

 

I hope y’all have a wonderful day, my friends. 

And hopefully not quite as full as mine have been!

Big hugs and sparkles!

Mimi

Are You Making Numb Choices?

You have the power to choose!It seems we are always hearing how important focus is to reaching our goals and bringing our desires to us. However, sometimes our focus is totally off. We work hard, do what we think we should, spin our wheels, and run faster on the hamster wheel, only to remain stagnant.

 

Why do you suppose this is? Well, one possibility is that when we are determining our focus, our brains are actually numb. If you want to read a funny story that illustrates this point, go here.

 

While somewhat “asleep” we are fully intent and focused on carrying out our daily lives, getting to the “other side”, even attempting to achieve goals or dreams.

numb

Sometimes, our minds and hearts have become numb and we are making decisions based on survival, rather than fully living.
I’ll share with you 5 reasons I think we become numb, and 4 ideas of how to awaken in my article here.

I hope you will read it and take to heart the joy of living fully alive!

Love and growth!
Passionista

The Lies That Bind Us

 

You were created for a purpose

and are amazing,

creative,

valuable,

and productive.

YOU were born to shine!!

I was born to shine

Do you believe that? Or do you struggle to believe that you were born to shine because instead you believe lies about yourself? Perhaps lies like you are stupid, unlovable, you will never amount to anything, you are ugly, or you are worthless.

If so, these lies are the result of believing negative things you have felt or that people have said about you. Many of us have done that and are now full of hurt and feel broken.

So what do I mean when I say “lies”?

 

Lies are thoughts or the words and actions of others that cause us to behave in a self-defeating or destructive way. Lies are limiting because they create FEAR and hold us back.

I describe fear as

Firmly Encouraging and Allowing Rubbish.

When we listen to all that rubbish going on in our brain it’s impossible to be our real, true selves. Most likely we haven’t been taught about how thought processes work so we continue to believe rubbish about ourselves. It piles up over the years until we have a whole ton of garbage that weighs us down. My goal is to help you, in a simplified way, understand how our thoughts can work against us.

The lies we believe during our formative years set us up to believe lies as adults. By the time we become adults we are firmly entrenched in this belief system which affects how we consider ourselves.

5 belief determines behavior

Belief Determines Behavior

So how do we change our belief system so we can change our behavior?

Find out how by reading my article here.

 

If you’d like to read my first post on this subject (because it’s one that is dear to my heart), find it here.

 

May your life be blessed as you incorporate these ideas to help you live with fullness and freedom from the fear that binds.

Love and big hugs along this journey,

Passionista

 

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