Living With Gusto

Live Life With Eyes and Heart Wide Open!

It seems that many of us go through life flinching, with our arms flung out across our eyes, wary of what might be coming our way. We guard our hearts against deep, emotional interactions in order to stay safe. Because for us to embrace living with our eyes wide open and with our hearts made vulnerable might seem like a death wish.

In fact, it is a death.

A death to fear.

To living boxed in.

To feeling less-than.

In order to receive all this world holds for us, we need to partake of it to the fullest! And how can we possibly do that if we are shying away from experiences and emotional investment?

As long as we are afraid of feeling deeply–whether it be grief, remorse, loss, rejection, or joy, fulfillment, love, and excitement–we cannot reach our full potential in life. And I dare say that we won’t have the satisfaction of a truly fulfilled spirit.

Most people welcome the “positive” feelings, but really, really do NOT want to feel the “bad” ones. Perhaps as a child we were taught that feeling anger, sadness, disappointment, and depression was wrong and that we needed to “buck up Buttercup” or “act like a man”. Whatever our reason, beside the obvious one that they hurt, many of us do not welcome those less-than-desirable emotions. And this stifles us and our creative power.

Picture a bubbling brook gurgling its way through the countryside and liken our “bad” emotions to the sediment and rocks found in it. What is that stream without the rocks and sediment? Stagnant, because IF it is gurgling through the countryside, following the course as it’s meant to, there WILL be sediment and rocks in it! Same with us: living in our flow and to the fullest means “rocks and sediment” mixed in.

We, as humans, are designed to create. We are makers of a vast assortment of things, using words, art, wood, electronics, music, material, paint, and problem solving, to only list a few of the amazing ways humans create. Creativity flows from an open spirit, not a spirit that is fearful or stagnated by suppression. (Have you ever felt “stuck”?)

When we open our hearts to others and to feeling deeply, we will realize that even more passion and creativity flows. True, opening our hearts to feel emotions makes us vulnerable, and allows us to experience “bad” emotions too. So we have to be brave! We have to risk it. But that is what living an adventurous life is really about, isn’t it? Taking the risk and not living with regret.

Perhaps you have already heard that when you experience deep grief you are also able to experience an abounding joy. Something about how allowing that depth for the bad emotions creates space for the good, and I agree.  I’m no therapist, but I’m speaking from experience. Having been “wired” for feeling all emotions deeply, there were many times I was ravaged by them. But I must say, on the other end of the spectrum I also feel joy, excitement, and love very deeply. So much so that people are amazed by and drawn to my joyful energy (or so they say). So yes, I believe that when the well in our spirit is created by allowing even the undesirable emotions to be felt deeply, there is a larger space for all the wonderfully nourishing ones as well.

And really, why would you want to stifle yourself from feeling life? We have a depth of resources within us, usually just barely tapped by us. Working through difficult emotions to let our light shine can produce some of the most amazing pieces of our lives yet.

Our world is over-saturated with visual assault which can actually cause us to become numb. We have seen it all, bombarding our senses at a rapid-fire pace. A prime example is the weather channel’s flashing of the top stories. Or the movie theater’s practice of showing the loudest, fastest-moving clips during previews. It’s actually so bad that my special-needs son, who is fearful of something scary showing up unexpectedly on any screen, hides outside the theater until the previews are over. Perhaps we have all grown a bit too numb. That much visual impact on a daily (hourly) basis causes desensitization.

So how in the world do we return to seeing with “new” eyes? Eyes that are wide open?

Turn it off!!!  Seriously, stop bombarding your senses with so much visual garbage. Be brave enough to stand the silence. Be brave enough to spend time outside without ear buds in your ears. Take a chance on going to dinner with a friend and actually looking them in the eyes and talking! No telling what you will discover about each other. And while you are there, notice your surroundings and the people next to you (who each have a story, you know). How can we possibly have room in our creative spirits to create if it’s full of the garbage our world shoves in our faces and ears every day? Make room! (Oops, did I just raise my voice at you? Hmmm, guess I’m called “Passionista” for a reason).

There are many practices you can use to begin to experience life fully: meditating, visiting art galleries, camping, hiking, (without devices), even–daringly–taking a “vacation” from your electronics. Find what works for you. For me? I need lots of quiet. My brain runs at full tilt, and in order for me to harness the creative flow, I must have no other distractions. You will know what works when you do it–your spirit will be at rest and rejuvenated. Then

Once you begin to look around you in wide-eyed wonder, you will discover treasures, opportunities, and reasons to be awestruck, which will enhance your life and creativity. And let me remind you that “creativity” is not limited to artists, but to every human alive. We all possess the creative spirit within us.

It takes bravery to embrace living with your eyes and hearts wide open, but I would encourage you to choose it.

Be BRAVE!

You will find that a whole new world awaits you! And I’m rooting for you!

Big hugs, Passionista Mimi

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living With Gusto

Wings and Dreams

Is there a goal or dream niggling at your heart?

Do you have big plans on the back burner that you have only shared with your trusted friend?

Perhaps you are just a leetle bit afraid to dream BIG for fear of disappointment.

I understand that. I’ve been there!

But you know what?

This 2018 calendar is one of my dreams,

and although it’s very scary putting it out here

for the public to scrutinize and evaluate,

I do it because it’s important to me.

I hope you find value in this calendar.

I hope you will be encouraged by the pages,

and decide to take the leap toward

your dreams too.

I, like you, walk the journey

not knowing if my dreams will succeed.

And they all may not.

But I’m taking steps to bring encouragement and empowerment into your lives.

If I accomplish that, I’ll be overflowing with JOY!!

Because, you see, bringing encouragement into your lives is one of my DREAMS!

It’s my calling.

And this calendar is one of the ways

I’m able to live MY dream.

And that makes me really, really happy!

 

If you’d like one of these calendars, you may purchase it here.

 

I haven’t told y’all lately how amazing

and wonderful you are!

I hope you know that. Thank you for being YOU!

I’d hate to have to live without you in my life.

And thank you for your support. It means so much to me!!

Lotsa love and big sparkle hugs,

Passionista 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)

Inspiration

Write Your Own Script, My Dear

So really. Why would you follow in the exact footprints of someone else?

Me saying, “Seriously?”

They do not have YOUR unique qualities, gifts, abilities, and desires, and you don’t have theirs.

Should you fashion your life after what other people say? Should you let what is important to them be what guides you?

Perhaps to some degree, if they are people you love. But when it comes to achieving what you truly desire in life, I believe that you need to be the one to determine what is most important to you.

And please, do not let people’s opinions of you alter your course one bit! Know your own truth.

YOU are the one to determine

the kind of person you want to be.

What you wear, how you talk,

what your goals are,

the things that fulfill your heart,

what kind of job you want,

the kind of a person you want a relationship with,

where you want to live, how you run your home,

what books you read,

how much schooling you obtain……

these should be things of your choosing and should not be dictated by the choices of others.

write-your-own-script

Of course I am not discounting the wise counsel of people. We all need help with decisions and lifestyle issues.

I’m referring to giving up yourself

in order to follow blindly.

Or relinquishing your desires

because someone thinks they are silly.

Or not wearing something you love

because no one else does.

Or not truly honoring your heart and spirit

because others criticize you for it.

You have a brain, emotions, intelligence, reason, values, morals, and common sense.

Use them to figure out, and pursue, what is valuable to you. Mark your own path, and

Write your own script for your life!

As always, I thank you for visiting. I’d love to know what you think!

Love and sparkly hugs,

Passionista

Inspiration

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

Mimi's Messages

I’m Going Live! Check It Out!

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. 🙂

divalution2 

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!

Love and BIG hugs, Passionista

Living With Gusto

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

 

 

 

 

 

Living With Gusto

Sparkle & Shine Calendar is Here!

 

 

8-august-brave

Hello lovelies!

Goodness this last six months has been incredibly busy. I seriously don’t know how I had time to teach full time before I retired. Of course, I’ve added three jobs since then, all of them MY businesses. And I am entirely responsible for all three. That along with raising two special needs kiddos in their teen years (and all the doctor visits involved with that) has kept me super busy.

12-sparkle-december11-november-i-am-enough

I will catch up on happenings later. Right now I want to show you my 2017 calendar! I’m very excited about it. Instead of using a template with the borders provided like the last two years, I created all my own borders. I also decided that instead of using my previously published cards, I would design all new ones.

10-october-you-have-a-bit-of-wild-in-you9-sept-i-am-growing

This year I focused on affirmations. For half of the months you have three “I am” statements to read every day. Thus you will hopefully integrate them into your spirit!

5-may-i-celebrate-me3-i-am-admirable-march

For the other six months I have given written statements about you. I truly enjoyed creating this calendar. I know it will make a difference in your self-esteem and also in that of the females in your life.

2-february-you-are-so-wonderful4-april-you-are-perfect

It’s a great gift for friends, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, ANY person who could use a little reminder of how amazing and capable they are–which means all of us!

7-july-star6-june-it-is-your-light-that-lights-the-world

 

Visual reminders are the best!! And then when we say these words out loud? Oh yeah!! Way to start believing them. We can reprogram our brains to think the truth about who we are, instead of listening to the lies we tell ourselves.

1-january-declarationspreview

The pages are easy to write on, which is important in my book. Glossy on the picture and matt on the calendar. Perfect!
The squares marking each day are a bit over 1 1/4″ square, large enough to jot your goals or achievements down. Great for marking progress each day!

Size is 17″ by 11″ when open so it can tuck into a small space. But it will make quite the visual impact! Place by your bathroom mirror to give you a message every morning, or in your office or work area so that while you are daydreaming you’ll be reminded of WHO you are!!

I really hope you will add one of these to your life because you deserve to be told how wonderful you are on a daily basis! If you’d like to purchase you can go to my shop on Etsy.

cover

Have a great day, my friends!

Hugs and Sparkles,

Mimi

Uncategorized

A Fun Video

 

 

 

I am not a DIYer. Well, not much. But THIS lady is amazing!!

This is Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, lover of all things home and an accidental entrepreneur, author, freelance writer & photographer.mms

I’ve been following her for several years and I just love her! She is on her way to Luckett’s Market where she is selling her beautifully refurbished and restored furniture and all the other items she collects to sell. I SO enjoyed watching them pack the truck to transport the 50+ furnitue items and “smalls”. I thought I’d share it with you because it’s phenomenal packing skill at it’s BEST!! And as a pretty skilled packer myself, I bow in awe of this!!

If you are limited on time, scroll to the bottom of the post and watch the packing video. If you’d like to learn a bit more (I’m always so very curious) enjoy the post. You can read and see it all here.

Goodnesss watching that just makes me laugh!! And tired. Is it nap time yet?

Hope y’all have a glorious weekend!

Love, hugs, and sparkles.

Passionista Mimi