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)

Life Ain’t Always Sunshine and Roses

So here’s the deal.

It’s NOT always sparkle and shine in my life.

There are days like this week when I am burdened for a precious friend and feel helpless in the situation. When I am a bit tired of working, parenting alone, being this age with kids, being indoors, wanting something fun, loneliness, just the keeping on keeping on.

And there are some days when the only prayer I can form is, “Oh God, oh God, oh God!”

That is the real truth, folks. I get in those places too.

I thought maybe you should know.

I never want you to feel as if I downplay your pain. Or suggest that your difficult situation can just go away “poof”.

But I post the positive things I do because SOMEONE needs to read them.

And in my inner spirit those things are ME. They are what I do to keep doing.

I smile, I pray, I spend time being thankful, I reach out to others, I help others if at all possible….

All these things help to center me and bring the “yuck” back into perspective.

I do know that when we fill our brains with positive thoughts,

we attract more positive energy to ourselves.

And that is what being thankful is about.

That is what “speaking to the mountain” (see previous post) is about.

We actually DO have a choice in how we spend our focus/energy.

And when I’m in a funk, I choose to spend mine by rejoicing in all the good I see around me.

Being thankful for the many, many good things in my life.

And realizing that these funks don’t last forever.

Two things I know–God is always faithful, and the sun will eventually shine!

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

 

 

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

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’ll Love You Forever

One year.

One year since I kissed you goodbye

and watched you leave us.

My heart hurts in missing you.

My arms long to hug you.

My soul needs to talk with you.

I love you with all my heart, sweet sister.

mindy-and-me2

 

Your leaving taught me two very important things:
1) To celebrate myself.

To wear the crazy tiara, or as you did, hot pink leathers, and be a biker babe–or whatever I want to.

To have fun, party now,

and do not worry about what others think.

To enjoy that I am just a bit different

from most people.

Life is very, very short,

and it really doesn’t matter what others think.

It’s MY life, and I’m going to live it to the fullest!

mindy-and-me-christmas-2014


2) To love even more fiercely than I do.

To speak even more truthfully.

To stand firm and not waver in the face of obstacles.

Because, I only have a short time to make an impact on people’s lives.

I’ve gotta get my truth out there!

mindy2

Thank you for being an example and teaching me important things. 

I’ll miss you until the day I see you again, little sis.

You have my heart. Your big sister.

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

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

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