Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday's Top 5....

Tuesday's Top 5 Terrific Things I'm Thankful For!!!

What a crazy month May can be! Whew! In addition to ballet recitals, baseball games, spring league hockey, class field trips, gymnastics reviews and so much more ~

we're in the midst of discussing things like unemployment, losing our medical/dental insurance, and figuring out what in the world God has in store for our family. What a month!
Anyone else experiencing a little bit of craziness these days??

Now more than ever I am clinging to the words found in Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...

When I take my eyes off of Jesus, and look at the circumstances around me, I can easily get overwhelmed! For today, I will choose to look Up! I will focus on JOY and GRATITUDE! I will not allow my circumstances to get me down!!

So here are the Top 5 Things (of Many!) that I am grateful for this week....

1. Beth Moore Conference

My dear friend Julie gave me a ticket to see Beth Moore while she was in town this past weekend! Woo Hoo!! We had a blast! Julie and I stayed in a hotel right by the arena, and are pleased to share we opened Starbucks at 6:30 AM Saturday morning. (I'm also grateful to have a best friend that loves Starbucks as much as I do!!)
(Here we are at 6:45 AM waiting for the doors to the arena to open...)

And here's Beth teaching (standing in my section!!).....

As always, Beth's teaching was powerful and amazing! What a fabulous treat this weekend. Thanks, Julie!

2. Healthy Choices (aka weight loss!)

Even with all the craziness of life, I lost 2.4 pounds last week at my weigh in. Can I get a Woo Hoo? :)

3. John & our Gang

I just love my family so much! Tonight we celebrated Amanda's Awesome Achievement at gymnastics, enjoyed a special family dinner, and then finished off the night with a Bultema Family Kickball game. (I also am thankful to have had my son Jake on my team tonight! We (me, Jake, and Manda) beat the "others" (Benj, John, and Sarah) 10 to 9. What fun!!

I am so thankful for my family!! :)

4. Great Friends

What a blessing to journey alongside so many amazing, caring, fun women!! Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, they bless and encourage me, and fill my life with such JOY!

I love my standing appointments....like Tuesday's with Jill (here we are in my minivan today ~ note my new summer highlights ~ smile)....

and Thursday lunches with Jen, and late night Starbucks runs with Julie and MVP Monday's with Suz, not to mention all the FB friends that keep me smiling! I could go on and on....

And then there's the friends like Chellie who offer to come and cook dinner for me (thank you!)...

Today (and every day) I'm so thankful for the many amazing women God has brought into my life....

5. Amazing GRACE

I've been thinking A LOT lately about the transformation God has done in my life. I am in absolute awe of His faithfulness and grace! (Testimony here). Only God could rescue me from my life style of sin and rebellion, and then not only give me a "do-over", but restore me to health and bless me with strength, dignity, and a whole new reputation. Only God!!

I'm working on a book proposal for an opportunity this summer, so I've been reflecting on how THANKFUL I am for God's powerful work in my life. He is so awesome, isn't He??

(If you have a fun idea for a book title/sub title ~ I'd love to hear from you...hint hint!!)

Isn't GRATITUDE a beautiful thing?? No matter what I'm going through, I'm always encouraged when I sit and reflect on the many BLESSINGS that surround me!!

What about for you?? What are you Thankful for today?? I'd love to hear from you!!!

THANK YOU, dear one, for stopping by *She Sparkles*. May the Lord bless you and fill you with His fullness of *JOY*!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

When you don't understand His ways....

"When you don't understand His ways....trust His heart."

Hello dear friends!

Happy Weekend to you!! I wish I could tell you I've had a fantastic week, but the truth is I'm struggling.

The circumstances of my life seem overwhelming (when I look at them from my perspecitive) ~ recap here, and the craziness of May (spring sports, school activities, etc..) and little "life irritations" (like my e-mail not working again!) ~ have made for an exhausting week.

During challenging seasons like this, here are some of the things I've learned to do... (although sometimes easier said than done!)

1. Cling to the Word

I've been clearing my schedule and spending extended time renewing my mind with the Truth of God's Word. During this difficult time, I must focus on TRUTH and not just what "I feel".

I'm carrying my verse cards with me everywhere, listening to Scripture memory CD's in the van, and spending my nights watching Beth Moore DVD's. I must allow Truth to penetrate my heart and mind.

Psalm 119:28 ~ "My soul is weary...strengthen me according to Your Word."

2. Fill my life with good, healthy things

I've been especially careful about what I eat and drink, getting enough rest, etc. I am learning it is not selfish to focus on my own "self~care"....especially so I can be healthy and whole for my husband and kids.

I am trying to be intentional about how I am filling my schedule, and sensitive to what my spirit, soul, and body really needs.

3. Ask for help.

This area is especially hard for me. I was a single mom for 6 years, so it is easy for me to slip into the "independant, head strong, work hard" role.

I am learning during this season of our "new normal" to lean hard on the Lord, as well as close friends around me. My dear friends are so sweet to ask how I'm doing (really), and I'm trying hard to not just say, "great!", but to pause and answer from the heart.

Most importantly, God is my ever present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1). I am focusing on sharing my heart openly and honestly with Him every moment of the day. He sees, He hears, and He is concerned.

4. Keep things in perspective.

As many of you know, I've had horrible e-mail trouble. I thought it was fixed, and then this week I realized personal e-mails are not arriving to me. AHH! This little challenge could push me over the edge.

To think that someone has e-mailed me and I'm not responding breaks my heart. Or to hear that a church e-mailed me this week to speak at their MOPS group and I've never received it could make me tense and worrried. My girl friend just called and said, "Did you get that long e-mail I sent you last night??" Nope. Yet I still receive junk mail. Lord help me!!

So, I remind myself to look at this from a Kingdom perspective. Our God is bigger than my e-mail. Hopefully if someone sent me a note and they don't hear from me, they'll try again (or call me like my girl friend). I trust the Lord will work out the details. I am not in control, only God is, and until we figure this "kink" out ~ I choose to trust Him. I must lean on Him. I will not allow e-mail to steal my joy. (OK, I better say this one or two more times...I choose to trust Him, I must lean on Him...)

And lastly, Mary Swierenga, my dear Bible Mentor, often reminds me...

5. "When you don't understand His ways....trust His heart."

Our God is faithful, true, good, loving, and bigger than we could ever think or imagine! He is our Provider, Protector, and the Giver of all good things! Today I am choosing to think on Him and believe Him for everything that I need. I may not understand His ways right now, but I choose to trust Him wholeheartedly! He knows what He is doing!!

How about you?? Where does this post find you today?? How have you learned to journey victoriously through challenging seasons?? I'd love to hear from you!!

I hope my post didn't discourage you today. My commitment is to always "be real" with you. Sometimes life is just hard...but yet, God is always good. I hope you sense that in my writing today.

Have a peace~filled, life-giving weekend! May the Lord bless you with a fresh measure of His presence, peace, and inexpressible joy!!

You are significant to Him...significant to me! Thank you for stopping by *She Sparkles*!!

P.S. As promised, here are pics from my 40th Birthday Roller Skating Party...

It was a GREAT day filled with fun, food, fellowship, and 120+ of my favorite friends! A HUGE note of thanks to everyone who helped celebrate my birthday! What a blessing! :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Faith~Filled Friday

Can I just tell you, dear bloggy friends...you bless me more than you know! After sharing of my husband John's recent job loss (recap
here), I've been blown away by your support, encouragement, and prayers! I am so grateful, and John has appreciated all of your comments too! You are the best! :)

It's been an interesting week adjusting to our "new normal". I now realize how accustomed to "my" routine, "my" computer time, "my" kitchen space, "my" daily schedule, etc.. I am. This "dying to our self" stuff isn't fun (or easy) ~ but I am experiencing God's grace, strength, patience, and peace in unbelievable ways! Thank you for praying me through!! I'm pleased to say our marriage is great and stronger than ever!

We've also started a new "Bultema family Blessings journal". My hope is to record how we are experiencing God's goodness and provision in the midst of this difficult season. May I share some recent journal entries with you??

Here are some of the many ways we've been blessed since John lost his job 9 days ago...

* John's friend stopping by on the night John was let go to pray with John, listen, and encourage him

* The next day, a dear friend bringing me a latte & Starbucks gift card to remind me God will not only take care of all of our needs, but some of our wants too (Bless you, A.H.!)

* Licorice left on the front porch with notes of encouragement (I'm so glad you printed your e-mails...I was missing some....AHHH!)

* A relative covering all of our May living expenses. What a blessing and burden-lifter for us (especially John)!

* On a night when "my cup was especially empty", receiving a "Top 40 Reasons I love Cindy" e-mail. Ask John, the list made me Boo Hoo!! Thank you so much, J.S., I will treasure it forever!

* The comments, prayers, and notes of encouragement from you, my dear *She Sparkles* friends! Each one touched me! You have no idea how much you ministered to us this week. What a blessing!!

Years ago, when I was faced with very difficult circumstances (recap here), I realized that I had a choice. I could allow the tragedy I was experiencing to make me "bitter" or "better". I was choosing better!

My hope is that during this season of uncertainty and loss, once again, I will choose better! Today I choose to walk by faith, trusting that God has a good plan for our family, and that He will reveal Himself to us every step of the way. It may not be easy, and it may mean I need to learn to share (especially things like my computer ~ smile), but I trust that our Blessings Journal will be filled to overflowing with daily reminders of His care and concern for us.

What about for you?? How was your week?? On this Faith~Filled Friday, how have you experienced God's goodness?? I would love to hear from you!!!

Have a wonderful weekend filled with God's richest blessings!! You are so special to Him...so special to me!! Thanks for stopping by!

In His Great Love,

P.S. I'm so excited for my 40th Birthday Party this Saturday, May 8th! I could use a fun party! Hope to share pictures with you next week! :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Very Hard Place to Be

Hello friends! Happy May to you! I hope you had a wonderful weekend filled with God's richest blessings!!

I have a huge prayer request to share today. My dear husband John lost his job. Without going in to many details....John was called into his boss' office on Wednesday and let go, effective immediately. (There was no wrong doing on John's part, the company has just decided to restructure/go in a different direction).

Because John's only worked for this company a short time, he receives no severance package. John came home Wednesday very shaken, surprised, and overwhelmed.

Would you please keep us in your prayers? I am asking God to use me to be a voice of Truth, hope and encouragement to John. I am asking God to lead, guide, provide, heal and restore.

I am also asking for Him to protect our marriage and family (it's much different having someone home with me now during the day). I am reading and reflecting on the Proverbs 31 women, and asking Him to mold & shape me into the wife John needs during this difficult time.

Funny how God works..remember that Marriage Conference I was going to speak at?? A few weeks ago, I sensed I wasn't supposed to participate in the conference this season. I contacted the coordinators and regretfully declined the invitation. My exact words were "I sense I'm supposed to live the message, not write the message during this season".

Little did I know that God would use the prep time that I did for the marriage message to prepare my heart and mind for the very important role I have now in serving John. And thankfully, except for Monday nights, my schedule is now clear to love and serve my family with excellence.

Thank you for listening to this very personal prayer request. I will keep you posted as God reveals His purpose and plan in this "detour". We are trusting God to bring us through this very hard place VICTORIOUSLY!!

Have a wonderful week full of God's richest blessings! I'm preparing for my big "40th" birthday this weekend ~ and look forward to seeing how God will grow me in the days and weeks to come!!

Many blessings to you!!

P.S. Here are more winners from the *She Sparkles* Anniversary Celebration....

The winner of Beth Moore's Get Out of that Pit is Denise Lynn &
the Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary book will be sent to Renee. Thank you to all who entered and for helping celebrate the *She Sparkles* 1st Anniversary with me! Woo Hoo!!

I had one more GIVEAWAY planned (lots of great CD's from Seeds Family Music...but will wait a few days to post it. Please check back later this week. :)
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