Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayer Guide Giveaway Results

I am so excited to share the winners of the Prayer Guide Giveaway !! :)

And, wouldn't you know, those AWESOME ladies (Jennifer and Lara) at Walking with Him are donating another Prayer Guide for me to give away!! Woo Hoo!!

The THREE winners of the Walking with Him Prayer Guide are....Jill Morton, Julie from Come Have A Peace, and Sally Brown. (If I don't have a mailing address for you, could you Please send it to me? Thanks!).

And JJ, you blessed me with your comments (and made me smile!), but unfortunately your name wasn't chosen. :( (JJ and I were best friends growing up in Indiana. She has watched me journey through many bad choices, and prayed faithfully for me until I became a Christian at age 26). However, I couldn't resist, and purchased a Prayer Guide for you. Watch your mailbox!

And Crissy, blog designer extraordinaire, since you hurried and bought a Prayer Guide on your own...I am sending you a set of Prayer Cards from Nav Press that I love to use with my Prayer Guide. (Thank you again, Crissy, for all of your hard work on my blog! You are a treasure!!)

A huge note of THANKS to all who entered the Giveaway!! The Good News is that we are ALL winners ~ we can ALL pray anytime, any an AMAZING GOD who desires to hear from His dearly loved children!!!
Have a BLESSED, Prayer-filled day!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ear tubes, missing caterpillars, and skunks

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Today I will choose to give thanks for...

...the chance to get an ear tube placed in my ear during my ENT visit....even though it was extremely painful and my ear still feels clogged and infected. Ahhh!!! (Has anyone else had a ear tube as an adult?? Is this normal?)

Today I will choose to give thanks for... dog Rocky...despite his ability to smell up my whole house after getting sprayed by a skunk at 10:30 PM last night! It was horrible!!!

Today I will choose to give thanks for...

...the ability to care for Jack and Jill (birds from Sarah's preschool class) over the summer...although they had 3 babies on Saturday and have 7 more eggs in their little love nest.

and today I will give thanks for....

...our caterpillar,who hopefully will make it to a butterfly, if he doesn't keep escaping! Look where we found him today...

Good thing my husband John has such "eagle eyes" and spotted him on Amanda's hanging art work!!

And to top it all off...I noticed I wore my shirt inside out all day long!! I think all of the medication for my ear is finally getting to me!! Oh Lord, help me!!!

And how was your day??? What are you thankful for today?? :)

P.S. I'll post tomorrow (Lord willing) the winners of the Prayer Guide giveaway!! Woo Hoo!!

P.S.S. Tomorrow night, my girlfriend Julie and I are headed off for a prayer retreat!! I am ready for some major prayer time!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Family Tradition Idea ~ Sundae Nights at the Bultema's!

I love to celebrate! I also love to think of simple, easy, inexpensive ways to "mark the moments" of our every day life and create fun, family traditions together.

In fact, one book I read shared that, "creating traditions for your family is definitely one of the most important things you can do to strengthen your family ties". Wow!! So I have been praying and asking God for ideas for new traditions ~ in the midst of our crazy, busy life with 4 kids!!

A few months ago we started having "Sundae Nights on Sunday Nights". Originally, the "Sundae Nights" just started because it was a Sunday night and I let the kids have ice cream sundaes. And then, as I was eating my ice cream, I had an idea! Suddenly I envisioned our backyard filled to the brim with family and friends enjoying ice cream and fellowship together every Sunday night. Unfortunately my husband hasn't caught that vision yet....but we are slowly getting there!

Every Sunday Night, our family has ice cream sundaes together. It's that simple. During the school year, Sundae Nights are a great way for our family to connect, share highlights from the weekend, and discuss important events approaching in the coming week.

During the summer, it's a great opportunity for us to invite friends and/or family to our home. Sundae Nights are simple, inexpensive, can easily accomodate a food allergy/sensitivity, and everyone likes ice cream!!

One of the best's not uncommon for my high schooler Jake to show up with 2 or 3 of his buddies to see if it's time for Sundae Nights yet. I love it! My hope is that when my kids are in college, they'll still swing home with a car load of friends on Sunday evenings to see if I still have the hot fudge and sprinkles out!!

What about for you?? What fun, family traditions help keep your family connected?? Please share your ideas ~ I'd love to hear from you!!

Picture below (L to R) ~ Amanda Bultema, Sydney Torresson, & Sarah Bultema enjoying their Sundaes! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

God, where are You?!

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my Prayer Guide GIVEAWAY, please join the fun! (Click here for more information). You have until Thursday night to enter. I'd love to hear from you! :)

Unfortunately, my ear is filled with fluid again! (I've been battling an ear/sinus infection since late July). Yuck! So for today I'll share one of my favorite stories of God's faithfulness in the midst of a very difficult season of my journey. May God use it to encourage you (and me!). :)

Have you ever wondered, “God, where are You?”

I mean, we learn as a small child in Sunday School that God is everywhere – but have you ever tilted your head back and asked the God of the Universe, “Where are You?”

I know I have...specifically after my fiance David was killed. You may be familiar with that part of my journey ~ on December 10, 1998 (5 months before our wedding date and 2 weeks before Christmas), David Timmer, my fiance and best friend, was tragically killed in a freak workplace accident.

Two weeks later, on a cloudy, dark Thursday morning, there I was, outside trying to shovel my driveway. The snow was up to my waist or higher, (or so it seemed) and my little blue car wasn't going anywhere until I shoveled out a path. Jake, who was in preschool at the time, was bitter cold. (You know how it is with kids, it’s fun for like three minutes and then they’re just frozen to the core and ready to be done).

As I was shoveling, I found myself asking the question- “God, where are you?”. Although actually, I think it went more like this- “OK God, where are you?! You say You’ll never leave me, but where are You now?! This is a lot of snow, God. How in the world am I supposed to shovel this all by myself? I thought I wasn't going to have to be a single mom anymore. Why did you have to take David home??!! This isn’t fair, God! This just isn’t fair! I mean, look at Jake. He's freezing ~ he has icicles hanging off of his eyelashes for crying out loud. I’m all alone, I can’t even get my car out of the driveway - God, where are You??”

I even lifted my shovel in anger and shook it at the Lord that day!

Just then, a car stopped in front of my house, and a young college kid hopped out.“Hey lady,” he called, “this looks like a pretty big driveway for you and your son. Go on in the house and let me take care of it for you.”

Tears just poured down my face as I tried to speak the words, “Thank you, thank you, thank you”.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the Israelites (and us) of God’s promise to never leave us nor forsake us. The next time life circumstances cause YOU to wonder “God, where are you?..., ” ~ Go ahead and ask Him, He might be closer than you think. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Prayer Guides ~ and A HUGE GIVEAWAY!

One of the areas I'm most passionate about in life is PRAYER.

Unfortuanately, this hasn't always been the case. As many of you know, I didn't become a Christian until the age of 26. (Finally after years of poor, self destructive choices I gave my life to Jesus in 1996! You can read more about it here.)

My heart for prayer really began to grow in 1999. I was asked to accept a job leading a ministry at my church. I knew that God would have to show up BIG TIME or it would be a huge disaster. I read every book on prayer I could, studied prayer Bible passages, and most importantly, I began to pray. A lot! I cried out to the Lord, "Teach me how to PRAY!" And you know what?? God answered those prayers (in abundance)...and continues to grow me in my prayer life today!

A powerful tool that has really shaped my prayer life is my Prayer Guide.

The Prayer Guide I use was designed by an amazing ministry called Walking with Him. My favorite part is that the Prayer Guide may be personalized with photos, prayers and mementoes. It has become the story of my walk with the Lord!

For example, there is a section of the Prayer Guide on Thanking God. This part of my journal is filled with things I am grateful for (a picture of me getting baptized in 1999, family & friend pics, etc..). I also fill the pages with answers to prayers. In the picture below you can see the SOLD sign when our house sold last year - in less than 2 months! - and lots of post-it notes of answered prayers. It is a perfect visual reminder of how good God is and His faithfulness in answering prayer!

I also have a whole section of my Prayer Guide where I pray for myself and others. The pages are filled with photos of family and friends (this is where I put the pictures I receive at Christmas). I usually sit with a stack of index cards and/or post-it notes, and pray specifically for others (and then slide the index card behind their picture). If a friend sends an e-mail and asks me to pray for something, I print it off, pray, and then slide it behind the picture.

This picture below shows my page for John. On the left I have a download of 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband. On the right are pics of me and John, and then post-it notes with specific prayers. (Can you see the top right post-it note?? It has prayers from my little Sarah. She loves to sit with me as I go through my Prayer Guide and help me pray for all of our family and friends! :))
Another example below. These are the pages I pray for my kids. I love being able to look at their precious faces as I pray for them! One resource I use when praying for my kids is 31 Biblical Virtues. You can see more prayers below from Sarah. Praying that her sister would be nice :)

I also have a section where I pray specifically for family/friends/acquaintances who do not know Jesus. (For verses to help pray for the lost, click here). What a blessing to watch God work in their lives ~ and then be able to move their picture from the "Far from God" section to the "Thank God" section when they come to know Jesus as their Savior!! Praise the Lord!! :)

I could go on and on...but it is easier to understand when you try the Prayer Guide yourself. I asked the dear women at Walking with Him if they'd like to donate a Prayer Guide for me to giveaway. They are so amazing ~ they sent me TWO Prayer Guides to GIVE to TWO of my readers!! THANK YOU Jennifer and Lara!! (These women are so awesome...if you are ever in Traverse City, Michigan you must invite them to coffee and listen to how God is using them!)

To Win my Giveaway: Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

Why would you like to win a Prayer Guide?

RULES: Starts today, Tuesday, August 18th and ends Tuesday, August 25th at 9 PM. Winner will be contacted via e-mail. If your email address is not connected to your ID please leave your email address with your comment or email it to me at with the subject "Giveaway". (If you have a hard time leaving a comment, e-mail me and I'll walk you through it.) Tell your friends :) I am THRILLED to be able to pass along two Prayer Guides!! Woo Hoo!! :)

I'll close with a quote from one of my favorite authors in the whole world...Corrie TenBoom.

"Prayer is powerful! The devil smiles when we make plans. He laughs when we get too busy. But he trembles when we pray!"

Blessings to you~

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pitiful or Powerful?!

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

As I finish up my 3rd antibiotic to get rid of a sinus/ear infection that has stayed way too long, this post (written a few months ago) sums up how I feel today. Enjoy! :)

OK, so I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed today. It started yesterday with another morning home with my sick daughter. I'm sorry to say it was not a very "Thankful Thursday" for me (until John came home and I could finally go to the store to buy laundry detergent!).

8 days straight of sick kids (can anyone say "stir crazy"?!), busy family life with 4 kids and a high maintenance dog, still feeling under the weather, plus...a couple of very important speaking engagements next week, praying with close friends through hard stuff, and more, has made me feel exhausted and overwhelmed. I think I need a 2 day nap!!

But then I'm reminded of God's promises, specifically in 2 Corinthians 12:9. Jesus said to the apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness".

I love that word "power". In the original Greek language, it is the word 'dunamis' meaning might, strength, great ability. It's where we get the word 'dynamite'. Dynamic power! It is the power of transformation, and - amazingly - it was released for us when Jesus was raised from the dead! Glory!

I want this POWER in my life! When I am weak (which is daily!) ~ I want to be strong and mighty and full of His dynamic power! I have tried to live life on my own before, and failed miserably. And, Lord willing, I won't go back.

What freedom comes when we take the pressure and expectations off of us - and put them back on God and His Word. He is Able!! And as a Christian, we have ALL the POWER we need for ALL the problems we face! Let me say that again...we have ALL the POWER we need for ALL the problems we face! God's incomparably great POWER is available to help us!!

I get so fired up about this! Sometimes I just want to scream from a mountain top, "Where is the POWER??!!" To watch Christian men and women living pitiful, defeated, empty lives - or even mediocre lives - thinking that's all there is to the Christian life - breaks my heart!! Jesus desires us to live full, abundant, glorious lives in Him!

I'm not sure when this post finds you today...perhaps weary and exhausted like I am? Overwhelmed? In the midst of relationship challenges? Job concerns? Financial pressures? May our weaknesses put God's POWER on display all the more! Teach us, O Lord, how to live in the fullness of Your power!

Let's pray: Dear God, We acknowledge You as our All-Powerful God! Lord, today we may feel ___________, but the Truth is that in You, we are strong, and able, and mighty! Lord, we don't want to be pitiful ~ make us Powerful!! Please release Your power in our lives!! We invite You to go to work! Use us, O Lord, for Your Kingdom purposes! For Your Glory alone! Amen.

P.S. My dear friend and mentor gave me an awesome resource - a pamphlet called, "The Power of God - and the Faith that Brings its Release in our Lives". It's a simple prayer guide to daily release God's Power in our lives. If you would like me to make a copy for you, please let me know. It is fantastic! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bricks - Part 2

Welcome to my new Blog ~ She Sparkles! If you were looking for Reflections of His Beauty, you are in the right place! It's still me....just with a new title and design (but same passion for Jesus!)

I'll share more tomorrow about the inspiration behind this colorful new design! In the mean time, enjoy our trip down Memory Lane. Yesterday I shared my first blog post ever, and today I'll continue with Part 2....

It's been fun to see how God is continuing to teach me using the "bricks" visual (that I shared in yesterday's post) in my own life.

For example, I mentioned that the "brick" of fear gets in my way. I wasn't kidding. For two years I've wanted to start a blog. I've thought about it. Prayed about it. Shared ideas with friends. Wrote posts in my head. Joined blogspot. And then that old brick of fear would get it the way. What if someone wrote a mean comment? What if someone misinterpreted what I was trying to say? What if I my feelings get hurt?

So what'd I do with the blog? Nothing - except listen to the voices in my head and kept the fear brick in my backpack. It seemed safer that way....except carrying those bricks gets exhausting, doesn't it??

Finally, after a good friend strongly encouraged me to put that brick down once and for all, I went back to blogspot. Finished my profile. Prayed about my first post. And sent it out. Whew!

Of course, for a quick second, panic struck once I hit "publish post" - but then there was a great sense of relief and victory and peace. My shoulders felt lighter and I slept well that night. I prayed that God would use my words to encourage and point others to Him.

Not even 10 hours later, I was on the phone with a dear friend. Through her many tears, she thanked me for starting the blog. My friend has been struggling, and when she read my first post about the bricks, tears just started pouring out. God used the visual of the bricks to reveal to her that she, too, is carrying "bricks in her backpack"....and He is ready for her to place them down.
It was amazing to listen to my friend and pray together. The presence of God was in our midst!!

You know what struck me when I hung up the phone with my friend? How often I think about how my "bricks" impact me. How my fear and other junk gets in the way of me living the full life God has for me. But it's not about me - I want my life to matter for God and His Kingdom purposes!

Not only does carrying around "bricks" rob me of life and peace and fullness in Christ, but it also robs those around me. I'm grateful to God for revealing to me in a fresh and powerful way that it is time to be free of fear. What's the worst that can happen? And no matter God will still take care of me!!

So what about you? I must gently ask again...are you carrying "bricks" on your journey? Maybe it's fear or worry or doubt or addiction or unforgiveness or anger?? Not only is it robbing you of life, my guess is that it is significantly impacting those around you. Your precious family, your friends, your community, the Kingdom.

May God bring fresh revelation to you and hold you close as you surrender your "bricks" to Him. It's time!

Let's Pray: Oh God, how we belive that Jesus is the Christ! We desire to have LIFE in His Name (John 20:31). Please gently remove anything that is weighing us down, so that we might more effectively reach out to others! Use us, God, to turn this world upside down for Your Name's sake!! For Your Glory alone!! Amen :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Weighing You Down??

There are fun, new changes about to take place on my blog :)
Woo Hoo! I am so excited! :)
Stay tuned ~ it's going to be, um, let's just say SPARKLE-Y :)

In honor of the "soon to be" BIG DAY full of blog surprises, I thought we could stroll down memory lane and revisit my very first blog post. Ever. Just 5 months ago. Enjoy....

I had the opportunity to speak at a MOPS gathering yesterday. It's always such a blessing to share with moms of Preschoolers - especially since it was not so long ago that I was a MOPS mom, and my little gang was ages 1, 2, 3, and 10. Whew! I'm exhausted all over again thinking about those days!!

For yesterday's MOPS gathering, I brought along a backpack, and shared 7 different things that I believe we need to pack for our journey (in this case, our Adventure in Mothering), if we are going to be ALL that God intends for us to be.

Not items like Kleenexes and cough drops, but things like a Truth Nametag to remind us who we are in Christ, an IV for daily infusions of His power and His strength (don't we all need those??! - I know I sure do!), a Caribiner to keep us linked to other sisters in Christ, and more!

However, before we can start filling our backpack, we really need to empty it first, don't we?

In my backpack yesterday, I carried two, huge heavy bricks. One brick I labeled WORRY, and one brick was labeled FEAR. Two big weights that, thankfully, we DO NOT have to bring with us on our journey with Christ!!

My bricks were real life examples for me. Fear can be huge in my life. I fear not being good enough, I fear rejection, I fear missing out on the FULL LIFE that God has for me. If I'm not careful, FEAR can take away my joy and keep me from experiencing God's goodness in my life.

I am so THANKFUL for God's Word ~ and His many, many reminders to "Fear Not!". I am grateful that God gently leads us through our fears, speaks Truth into the lies, brings others to be voices of Truth and remind us to keep going (and always at just the right time), and that He never, ever gives up on us. Ever! What an awesome God we serve! :)

What about for you? Are you feeling burdened, exhausted, "heavier" than you need to? Are there any "bricks" weighing you down on your journey?

May today be the day that you empty out your backpack of anything that is not from Him (fear, worry, insecurity, idolatry, unbelief) so that you can enjoy the full, free adventure of Life in Christ!!

Dear God, Thank YOU that in Christ we can live FREE, FULL LIVES! Please reveal to us if there is anything that is weighing us down or getting in the way of experiencing all that You have for us. May today be the day we gently place our "bricks" at the cross (and leave them there!). Please use us to make a difference for Your Kingdom! In the Strong Name of Jesus we pray ~ Amen!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

And the Winner is...

And the winner of the Barnes and Noble $20 Gift Card is (according to

Amy from Filled with praise!! :)

Congratulations!! I will be emailing you to get your address and send out your gift card right away.

A huge note of THANKS to everyone who took a few minutes to tell me about your favorite books. What a blessing!!!

And stay tuned for a new giveaway coming up...I'm so excited!!

I'll be giving away 2 of my favorite PRAYER GUIDES!! Woo Hoo!! Watch for more details next week!!

The Things We Do for Love

This week John and I had the chance to sneak away for 3 days to celebrate our Anniversary! :)

Since John recently bought a new boat for our family and he LOVES spending time on the lake ~ guess what we did for our Anniversary! You got it! John has been anxious to take the boat out on "the bigs" (Lake Michigan) ~ so our getaway was right on the lakeshore. It was beautiful and relaxing and just what we needed. :)

(I must confess...I did bring along some work. I needed to put the finishing touches on a devotion I'm writing for a Moms Group that was due while I was away. Would you believe my laptop died the first night?? Bummer! Guess God had a different plan! It became a work-free weekend!)

When I was little, I used to have a record that said...."C my name is Cindy, and I don't like it windy, because the breezes in the air, it messes up my hair. My hair. My hair. It messes up my hair."

The kids and John sing this song all the time because they know it's true - I don't like it windy! But for this getaway, I didn't mind it one bit :) John was having a blast!

And what made our getaway even better...there was a Christian music festival taking place right down the road from our hotel. Our room was right on the water, and we had four different sliding glass doors that opened overlooking the lake. Last night, I was able to listen to the worship music from the concert, put my feet up, and read a new Corrie Ten Boom book....all while John read right next to me by the fireplace. A perfect ending to a perfect day. :)

A HUGE thank you to my parents and John's parents for helping make this happen!! You guys are the BEST! :) What a blessing! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Anniversay to me and John! :)

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my GIVEAWAY, please join the fun. (Click here for more information). You have until Thursday night to enter. I'd love to hear from you! :)

Today my dear husband John and I celebrate 9 years of marriage! :) Woo Hoo!! In honor of our special day (and the 9 years we've celebrated together), I'd like to share....

The Top "9" reasons I'm grateful to be Mrs. John Bultema

1. John is an incredible man of integrity. He is trustworthy, honest, and a true man of Godly character. (If you know John, you know this is true!)

2. John is an amazing dad! Absolutely amazing!! He is so attentive to our kids and their needs ~ it is a huge blessing to parent alongside of him!

3. I love John's knowledge of the Word of God. I love asking him his thoughts about Bible passages, and studying the Word with him. I also love hearing him share Bible stories with our kids. I love his sharp mind and wise insights! :)

4. John is supportive of my ministry dreams. How many men would quit their jobs and become a stay-at-home dad so their wife could continue on in full-time ministry?? John did...and was an excellent stay-at-home dad for almost 3 years! He still continues to support me and my ministry dreams in so many ways ~ and I am very grateful!

5. John has such a huge heart for the world. He dreams of being involved with global ministry someday, and is passionate about helping kids learn more about God's work around the world. How cool is that?!

6. John has taught me a lot about living a balanced, restful, healthy life. He takes excellent care of his body, our cars, our home (and extends much grace to a more "creative/messy" person like me).

7. He does all of our family's laundry :)

8. John accepted my son Jake from the very first minute he met him (when John was Jake's kindergarten small group leader at church). Not only did John have the privilege of leading Jake to Jesus back in 1999 (when he was still "Mr. John") ~ John has loved Jake with such unconditional, unfailing love! :) (No wonder Jake wanted us to get married so bad ~ he's no dummy!)

And the 9th reason I'm grateful to be Mrs. John Bultema....

9. He's so cute!! :)

Happy Anniversary, honey (if you're reading this!).

May the Lord continue to bless us with many, many more years of love, joy, peace in our home, fun family times, and Kingdom-building opportunities. You are loved - a lot! :)

Me :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One Word

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my GIVEAWAY, please join the fun. (Click here for more information). You have until Thursday night to enter. I'd love to hear from you! :)

Unfortunately, I've come down with an sinus/ear infection. I feel lousy. You wouldn't believe all of the medication I'm taking. So today's post is just for fun :) A friend recently sent this to me. Here's more information about me than you probably care to know!

In One Word....
(and you know it's hard for me to just say One Word. We'll see how I do)

Yourself: Blessed
Your husband: Integrity
Your hair: Red
Your Mother: Giving
Your Father: Helpful
Your Favorite Item: Bible
Your Favorite Drink: Venti-Skinny-vanilla-latte-no-foam-extra-hot :)
Your Dream Car: Clean
Your Dream Home: Cozy
The Room You Are In: Office
Your fear: Rejection
Where you Want to be in Ten Years? Center-of-God's-will
Who you hung out with last night: Robin
What You’re Not: Boring
One of Your Wish List Items: Freedom-in-Christ-for-all
Time: Bedtime
The Last Thing You Did: Bookstore
What You Are Wearing: Pink
Your favorite weather: Spring-like
Your Favorite Book: Too-Many!
Last thing you ate: Qdoba
Your Life: Abundant.
Your mood: Trying-to-stay-cheerful-when-I-feel-crummy
Your Best Friends: love Jesus
Your car: Minivan
Your summer: Fun!
Relationship status: Very-happily-married
What is on your TV: Nothing.
When is the last time you laughed: with-my-adorable-kids!

So there you have it!!

What about for you?? How would you describe yourself in one word?? I'd love to hear from you!!

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