Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Breath


Hi Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!!

I'm so THANKFUL I made it through a LIVE radio show discussing body image, addiction, and freedom! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! (If you missed the show, you can listen to an archived copy here)

Also, I'm thankful to announce the winner of the Priscilla Shirer One in a Million book is Jen from Big Binder. Congratulations!!

And for today's Thankful Thursday post... John and I went for a long walk last night, and unfortunately, I struggled with my breathing and almost had to go in for a breathing treatment. Yikes! Today I am THANKING God for the gift of breath!
Enjoy this post from last summer. After last night's episode, it's exactly what is on my mind today...


I failed my test. My breathing test, that is.

I knew failing the test was inevitable ~ for the past few years I've really struggled with my breathing. I find myself wheezing and coughing all night long. I can't walk my dog around the block without losing my breath. When I speak at events, I have to keep an emergency inhaler tucked in the podium. My kids ask if I have an inhaler before we play outside. I've given up running. My breathing struggles have limited and restricted my everyday life.

When I went to the doctor, he told me it was asthma. Asthma?? I'm 40. How in the world did I develop asthma? The doctor gave me specific prescriptions and instructions to manage my asthma ~ take Claritin every morning, use a Flovent inhaler every day, and only use my rescue inhaler in case of emergency.

What did I do? I used the Flovent inhaler...a couple of times. I took the Claritin...for about 3 days. And then the Flovent and the Claritin sat on the shelf. I relied on my rescue inhaler too often. I missed out on fun opportunities and adventures. I accepted my new restricted lifestyle and thought I'd be stuck this way forever.

When the day came last month to take a new breathing test, I knew the results would not be good. The doctor asked if I was following his specific instructions. Was I using the Flovent? No. Claritin? Not really. The prescriptions were filled and ready to go, but they were both sitting on the shelf unused.

I came home with a resolve this time to do what the doctor had told me to do. I put a chart by my bathroom sink. I used the Flovent. Check. I took the Claritin. Check. Soon my chart was filled with check marks ~ and low and behold, I could run! I could play! I could breathe!

As I've been reflecting on my breathing journey, I've thought about other areas in my life where I leave things "sitting on the shelf". I wonder why I struggle with defeated thinking, or with fear, or feeling not good enough ~ but upon closer inspection...realize I've not followed God's specific instructions. Truth is left sitting on the shelf.

Scripture is clear we have been given everything we need to live the full life in Christ. Everything we need. But we need to do our part too. Having the prescriptions filled isn't the same as taking the prescribed dose each day.

I must faithfully put into practice the specific instructions given to us through the Word. I must spend time in God's presence. I must refuse to accept a life filled with fear or defeated thinking or guilt. I must be intentional about the renewing of my mind. It's not enough for me to have a verse written on an index card ~ I must put Truth into practice!

How about for you? Are you experiencing all that God has for you?

Or are you allowing worry or unforgiveness to steal your joy?

Are you allowing fear to rob you of peace?

Are the lies of the enemy ("you're not good enough, or thin enough, or _______ enough") limiting or restricting your everyday life??

May I encourage you to put Truth into practice! Please don't leave His Words to you sitting on the shelf. Spend time daily allowing His Words of hope to bring healing to your current condition. And before you know it...you'll be running and playing and breathing like never before!! :)


Can I get an Amen??

Enjoy this Thankful Thursday, dear Bloggy Friend!! What are you thanking God for today?? I'd love to hear from you!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My 'Body Image' Journey: On Live Radio

THANK YOU, dear friends, for praying me through my radio broadcast today!

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to share LIVE (can anyone say, huge butterflies!), yes LIVE, my journey with body image, food, addiction, and FREEDOM! My hope is that God will use my story (His story) for His Kingdom purposes and glory!!

A HUGE thank you to my friends who listened and e-mailed me right after with words of encouragement. What a blessing! (You are right, dear April, we will not allow the enemy to creep in with doubt!)

And also a huge THANK YOU to Lucy Ann Moll, host extraordinaire, for creating a welcoming and safe environment to share God's transforming Word with her listeners and answer her insightful questions.

If you would like to listen to an archived copy of the hour long interview, the link is here. Enjoy :)

And if you listened today and are visting *She Sparkles* for the first time ~ WELCOME!!

My hope is that this blog would be a source of hope, truth, encouragement, and joy! My greatest passion is sharing the liberating TRUTHS of God's Word with others! I am also a dedicated wife to John, and fun mom to 4 amazing kids. I LOVE living life to the absolute FULL! :)

Also, if this is your first time at *She Sparkles*, here is a brief recap of my body image journey....

My weight has been a life long issue for me. For as long as I can remember, I've felt not thin enough. Or pretty enough. I believed the lie no one would ever find me beautiful. (Recap here

)

My weight struggle came to an all-time high when I was pregnant with my eldest son Jake. I was alone. Soon-to-be a single mom. And I ate my stress, pain, fear, and shame (and anything else someone would feed me!).

Here is a picture of me on July 15, 1994 ~ the day Jake was born. (When Jake was little, when he would see this picture he would say, "Oooh, Mama Biiiiggg!" Yep, Mama was big!)


By Jake's 2nd birthday, I lost all the weight, and more. See pic below...


Even at the weight I was above (wearing a size 4 dress), I still felt not thin enough. Or pretty enough. Or that I could ever be beautiful.

I didn't eat a piece of Jake's birthday cake that day because I felt so unbelievably fat. It was empty, defeated living.

Thankfully, soon after Jake's 2nd birthday, I met Jesus (woo hoo!) ~ and my life has not been the same since!!

In His great mercy, Jesus has not only given me a new life, but a NEW MIND!! I now have the mind of Christ! And over the past 15 years, I've been very intentional about filling my mind with the TRUTH of who GOD says that I am!

And even though I no longer wear a size 4 (picture below is from a few weekends ago), I now walk in Truth and freedom and joy!


My greatest desire is to be a voice of TRUTH in my own life, and the lives of every single person I come in contact with (my friends, family, neighborhood, community, on-line, and more!).

I will not allow my words to others feed into the lies we receive from the media and the world, about where TRUE BEAUTY and WORTH comes from ~ so help me God!!

That's why I'm declaring my life to be a Fat Talk Free Zone! I recently came across the Reflections Body Image Program. I love what they are doing to teach women to pursue health, well-being, and true beauty!

In case you are wondering "what is fat talk, anyway?" Here's how the Reflections Program describes it...

Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies.

Examples of fat talk may include: “I’m so fat,” “Do I look fat in this?” “I need to lose 10 pounds” and “She’s too fat to be wearing that swimsuit.”

Statements that are considered fat talk don’t necessarily have to be negative; they can seem positive yet also reinforce the need to be thin – “You look great! Have you lost weight?”

Sorry, Satan, you may try your sly and subtle tricks with us ~ BUT NO MORE! We will live and stand and walk in TRUTH, right girlfriends??!!

And the TRUTH is that our God does not talk "Fat Talk" to His dearly loved children!

The official "Fat Talk Free" week isn't until the fall of this year, but let's declaring our live to be Fat Talk Free....Lord willing, from this day forward!! Anyone with me??



Monday, August 23, 2010

Food/Body Image/Addiction/Freedom

Hey Friends :)
I'm so excited to share some fun news with you!! *She Sparkles* will be broadcast on the radio!

This Tuesday, August 24th, I have the opportunity to share some of my personal life journey re: body image, addiction, and the journey to freedom on a blogtalkradio program called, "The Sisterhood of Beautiful Warriors" hosted by Lucy Ann Moll.

I would love to have you tune in and listen Tuesday at 2:00 EST. :) You can listen to the radio program by clicking here.

If you know of anyone struggling with weight/body image issues, please feel free to tweet/FB/e-mail/pass along the radio link to them.

Certainly I do not have all of the answers, but I've spent 30+ years of my life pursuing the world's view of beauty. Unfortunately this unhealthy pursuit led me down many false, negative and dangerous paths, including cocaine addiction and an eating disorder. I'll be sharing about this in more detail on the radio show.

The Good News is that in 1996 Jesus got ahold of my life! (Can I get a Woo Hoo?!) He has given me new life, new hope, and a whole new mind! I no longer allow others to define who I am ~ I now know who I am in Christ! My worth and value comes from who God says that I am! (And the same is True for you too!)

You are loved.

You are accepted.

You are enough....just the way that you are!

And that, dear sister, is Good News!!

I hope you'll be able to tune in Tuesday, August 24th at 2:00 PM. (You can even click here here for a personal reminder right before the show).

And, dear friends, could I ask you a favor? Would you mind joining me in lifting up this opportunity in prayer?

While I speak often on my personal journey, this will be the first time I speak candidly about my body image struggles. I so desperately want to offer HOPE and TRUTH to anyone who is in the midst of the battle. It is a horrible, isolated, defeated place to be.
I am praying that God will use my past mistakes, journey, and authenticity for His Kingdom purpose. I am asking Him to have the exact women tune in to hear my story (His story) of redemption. And I am begging Him for clarity and wisdom about what to share. Would you please join me in prayer?

Thanks, dear friend. Prayer is the work, of this I am sure!!

And for fun, I thought I'd wrap up today's post with Mandissa's song, True Beauty. May the Lord rewallpaper our minds with the Truth of what is beautiful to Him!!


Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a beautiful Truth-filled day!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TILT: Priscilla Shirer (& GIVEAWAY)

Thank you everyone for your comments on my recent "Fat Talk Free" series. May God continue to bring TRUTH to us all in this area! I'll keep you posted this weekend on details for my Body Image radio segment next week. THANK YOU for your support and prayers!


Years ago, while I was at a Beth Moore
Conference, I purchased a Bible study called, "Discerning the Voice of God". It was written by Priscilla Shirer, a writer I had not yet heard of ~ but based on the topic of the study, I decided to give it a try.

Fast forward 3+ years, and my dear friend Julie and I were praying about a study to share with our Monday Night group. We prayerfully decided to purchaed the "Discerning the Voice of God" DVD teachings, and see if Priscilla's teaching style would be a good fit with our group.
WE WERE ABSOLUTELY BLOWN AWAY!

Priscilla is a anointed, gifted, passionate teacher of the Word! As a wife, daughter, and mom ~ Priscilla speaks to a wide age group of women in a way that is authentic and applicable. She has made our group laugh, cry, take notes furiously, and fall more passionately in love with the Word. Priscilla is a real treasure in the Kingdom!!

In the past two years, we have also participated in other Priscilla studies....

* One in a Million ~ Journey to Your Promised Land Living

* Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed (co-authored w/ Beth Moore & Kay Arthur)

* and next month, we'll begin Priscilla's latest study, Jonah

(Grand Rapids friends, watch for more details...)

Imagine my great surprise and delight when I recently received a request to GIVEAWAY Priscilla's latest book, One in a Million, based on the amazing Bible study.

Of course my answer was YES!




Priscilla shares, "So many Christians today go to church every Sunday out of habit or obligation, but never choose to see God in the everyday. To follow God's purpose, we must take our relationship with Him beyond the pews....

Get over being average. Break out of the box. Don't just want it. Live it. Today and every day."


Here's Priscilla sharing more...







Not only is One In A Million an excellent, encouraging, Word-filled read,

I LOVE Priscilla's list of 30 + characteristics of a believer experiencing the abundant life in Christ (Promised-Land Living), such as...

* Senses and acknowledges God's continual presence - Psalm 139:7-10
* Casts anxiety and worry on God - 1 Peter 5:7
* Recognizes and utilizes God's spiritual armor - Ephesian 6:10-18
* Forgives when wronged - Matthews 18:21, 22

* Believes God can supply her every need - Phillipians 4:13


I would love, love, love to share this book with you!!

To Win my One In A Million Giveaway: Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

What would you like to win One in A Million??

Extra Entries:

•Follow *She Sparkles*
•Subscribe to *She Sparkles*
•Add my *She Sparkles* button to your blog
•Tweet about this giveaway including a link to this post

Please be sure to leave me a comment to let me know your extra entries.

RULES: Starts today, Thursday, August 19th and ends Sunday, August 22th at 9 PM. Winner will be posted on my blog during the week of August 23rd.

If your email address is not connected to your ID, please leave your email address with your comment or email it to me at
cindy.bultema@gmail.com with the subject "Giveaway".

I'll close with one more quote from one Priscilla....

"Promised-Land Living does not mean a life with no problems. It means experiencing God's power and presence in spite of difficulty. You know you are living in the land of abundance not when your circumstances change, but when (promised land living) describes your life - even when your circumstances have not changed."

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. Have a wonderful, joy-filled, promised land living day!!


P.S. For more Things I Love Thursday ideas, hop on over to my real-life neighbor Jill at The Diaper Diaries. :)



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WFMW: Fat Talk Free ~ Part 2

Hi Friends :)

Can you handle one more post on living "Fat Talk Free
"?

As you know, for the past few days I've shared my very real struggle with body image stuff. It's something I don't talk about very often (too hurtful) ~ but now that I've "opened this can of worms", I feel like just getting in all out there. Please bear with me :)


Last week, I revisited Reflections Body Image Program, and the amazing work they are doing creating Fat Talk Free programs around the world.

I committed to living "Fat Talk Free", and hope that you will too. (If you've not watched the 3 minute Fat Talk Free video, please check it out here
).

Perhaps you're thinking....oh that sounds nice, Cindy ~ but in practical terms ~ what does it mean for my life today???

Here's what I'm suggesting by committing to live Fat Talk Free ~

* Compliment your friends, co-workers and family members on qualities they possess that are not based on physical attributes.

I made up my own game I call "I Spy FRUIT". When I am with my friends, family members, even at the grocery store ~ I try to find and affirm the fruit of the spirit I see demonstrated in the people I am with... For example~

"I noticed you were so PATIENT with your son this morning...."

"Wow, Manda, that was a very KIND thing to do..."

"Thanks for coming over today. Your JOY is contagious"....

I'll be honest, I have to be intentional in doing this...I so easily want to say, "wow, you're so tan, etc.." ~ but Lord willing, I will grow in this area!!


* Model “fat talk free” behaviors for everyone in your life. Be conscious of your actions, comments and behaviors.

A friend of mine (size 2) often comments about her "muffin top" and/or how fat she is. Really??

I know she doesn't mean to, but I often leave our conversations feeling horrible about myself. If she has a muffin top, I must have 6. If she thinks she is fat, what must she think about me??

I worry my words and actions could do the same to others around me, especially my two daughters. Yikes.

Let's be conscious of how our words about ourselves can impact those around us.

* Never reinforce someone’s weight loss by saying, “You look great, have you lost weight?”

I have many real stories on this one.

For example, in 2004, I had baby # 4. (I also had a baby in 2001 and 2003). Here is a picture of our young family that year ~ (yes, we had our hands full, literally! Their ages are 6 months, 1, 2, and 10)

Soon after this picture, I decided it was time to lose the baby weight. I went to Weight Watchers and took losing weight very seriously (it became like a full time job).

I lost 25 pounds.

Right after losing the weight, I ran into a neighbor. She said, "Wow, Cindy. You look great. You've lost a TON of weight!!"

Really?? A ton?? Are you saying I weighed a TON before??

Thankfully we've moved to a new neighborhood, because I've since put the 25 pounds back on. Does that mean I am back to weighing a TON?? If I see her at Target or something, what will she say? What will she think??

I cannot allow these thoughts to take up space and play in my head any more!

Can anyone relate??

As we live Fat Talk Free, let's...

* Appreciate all that our body does for us. Take extra special care of it!

There is an awesome declaration that you can read and sign here as a reminder to...

􀃋 Accept your body in its natural shape and size.

􀃋 Celebrate all that your body can do for you each day.

􀃋 Treat your body with respect, giving it enough rest, fueling it with a variety of foods, exercising it moderately, and listening to what it needs....and more!

And lastly, as we live "Fat Talk Free", let's commit to speaking TRUTHFULLY and KINDLY to ourselves!
I think we could all learn a lesson from this little girl....








The official "Fat Talk Free" week isn't until the fall of this year, but I'm declaring my life to be Fat Talk Free and commit to living that way, Lord willing, from this day forward!!
Anyone with me??

THANK YOU so much for stopping by *She Sparkles*!! May your day be filled with much Truth, kindness, joy, and FREEDOM!!

Blessings to you~



P.S. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to visit Kristen at We are that Family. You'll be so glad you did!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday's Treasure: On Living Victoriously

My dear Bloggy friends,

I had no idea when I posted my struggle last week regarding comments with my current body size ~ (recap
here), the overwhelming response I would receive. As one dear reader shared, "Almost every woman I know has body image problems, even the slender." Wow.

Thank you for your prayers, words of Truth, encouragement and support. It was one of those posts that after I hit "send", my stomach sunk a bit, and I thought, "Did I really just share on the world wide web my fat pictures?"

BUT THEN I remembered I was now "
Fat Talk Free" (lol!) ~ so I couldn't talk that way to myself anymore! I took a deep breath and just asked God to use my hurts for His redemptive purpose.

Never would I have guessed what God was up to! Soon after my post, I was invited to share on the Radio Show
The Sisterhood of Beautiful Warriors. The topic: body image! I'll be a guest next week Tuesday (8/24/10) at 2:00 EST. I'll post a reminder next week ~ I'd love to have you tune in, and most importantly, PRAY! :)

Also, I received so many personal stories of hurt, shame, guilt, and tears regarding body size, insecurities, and just plain old life in a broken world. THANK YOU for sharing your journey with me. I am praying for each and every one of you ~ that we would walk all FREE and LIVE VICTORIOUSLY as the mighty women God is calling us to be!!!

Speaking of living victoriously, one of my favorite Bible teachers,
Priscilla Shirer, shared this "little gem" on her blog last week and it really blessed me. May it encourage you as well....

Max Lucado
, in "Walking with the Savior" says of living victoriously:

"You get impatient with your own life, trying to master a habit or control a sin - and in your frustration begin to wonder where the power of God is. Be patient. God is using today's difficulties to strengthen you for tomorrow. He is equipping you. The God who makes things grow will help you bear fruit.

Dwell on the fact the God lives within you. Think about the power that gives you life. The realization that God is dwelling within you may change the places you want to go and the things you want to do today.

Do what is right this week, whatever it is, whatever comes down the path, whatever problems and dilemmas you face - just do what's right. Maybe no one else is doing what's right, but you do what's right. You be honest. You take a stand. You be true. After all, regardless of what you do, God does what is right: He saves you with his grace."


1 John 5:4-5 This is the victory that conquers the world - our
faith. So the one who wins against the world is the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God
.

Cindy here again....What is getting in the way of experiencing the full, victorious life that Jesus came to offer us all? Body image stuff?? Fear?? Worry? Relationship troubles??

I pray for each one of us that we would let go of the lies, fully rely on God (and His power and promises), fill our minds with Truth, and then do what is right this week ~ whatever it is!

Let's walk in victory today!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*!! God's richest blessings to you!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Funk-Free" Friday

The winner of my Prayer Guide giveaway is... Kara! A HUGE thank you to all who entered! And thanks to Jennifer and Lara @ Walking With Him for your generosity and amazing prayer guide!

Hello dear Bloggy Friends!

Happy Friday to you! I hope you've been having a fantastic, life-giving week!

As I shared in my
last post, unfortunately, it's been a super hard week for me. Stinging, hurtful words were shared about my outside appearance~ and I received them like arrows piercing right to my soul.

I spent the beginning part of the week walking around in a fog like the "walking wounded", replaying the hurtful words, feeling the sting, living in the pain. And suddenly it was not just the hurts from this week ~ messages from years and years of feeling not good enough were being replayed in my head.

Yuck.

Have you ever been there before??

Thankfully, yesterday the fog began to lift. I woke up at 4:30 AM (which never happens!) and sensed I needed to get up and listen and pray.

I headed downstairs, made some coffee, and sat in my favorite prayer spot. Enough of my pity party, it was time for TRUTH to take over, and for the lies to stop!

With notebook in hand, I soon realized a couple of serious mistakes I was making...
Mistake #1 ~ I was waiting for this person to remove the "arrows". I kept hoping this person would come to their senses, reach out, tell me how incredibly sorry they were, pull out the arrows, and make things all better.

TRUTH ~ Jesus alone is my Healer. He will bind up my broken places. He longs to bring healing to my wounds.

Mistake # 2 ~ Walking around feeling sorry for myself wasn't going to help.

TRUTH ~ Jesus came so that I might experience life more abundant! I am more than an overcomer in Him! I am no longer and insecure 6th grader wanting others to like me. I am secure, significant, and set apart in Him!! (Can I get a woo hoo?!)


Mistake # 3 ~ I shouldn't open myself up and be vulnerable. People hurt me too much.
TRUTH ~ His TRUTH shall be my shield (Psalm 91:4 NKJV)!!


I left my early morning prayer time with a renewed passion for my life in Him and a desire to let nothing hold me back from being the woman who God has called me to be ~ curves and all!.

Praise the Lord ~ the fog and the funk was lifting!!

I also was intentional to fill my day with lots of life-giving things.....
Quiet time @ the bookstore, having fun with my gang, spending time poolside reading Unsqueezed (my new favorite book!), a prayer walk with Julie, checking in with my mom, a chat with my therapist, an encouraging word from my mentor, 1:1 time with John, healthy food, and re-reading the words of encouragement from my dear bloggy friends.
Oh, and a skinny vanilla latte too :)

Thank you so much for your prayers, kind words, and support. I'm so grateful God did not intend for us to journey alone!!
Thankfully, today is a "funk-free" day for me. Yippee! The kids and I are getting ready to head to a hotel for a night of swimming, fun & games, snacks, and laughter!! Woo Hooo! I've got some "life in all its fullness" to catch up on!!
What about for you?? When life gives you trouble (which unfortunately it will)....how do you make it through your foggy days?? What verses have really spoken to you?? I would love to hear from you!!

May your weekend be filled with many life-giving, precious moments!!
God's richest blessings to you!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WFMW: Fat Talk Free Zone


Ok friends, I'll be honest.

I've been in a funk this week. Ok, maybe this whole month.

I lost my joy. My peace. Even my sparkle. :(

First, some history....

As many of you know, my weight has been a life long issue for me. For as long as I can remember, I've felt not thin enough. Or pretty enough. I believed the lie no one would ever find me beautiful. (Recap
here)

My weight struggle came to an all-time high when I was pregnant with my eldest son Jake. I was alone. Soon-to-be a single mom. And I ate my stress, pain, fear, and shame (and anything else someone would feed me!).

Here is a picture of me on July 15, 1994 ~ the day Jake was born. (When Jake was little, when he would see this picture he would say, "Oooh, Mama Biiiiggg!" Yep, Mama was big!)


By Jake's 2nd birthday, I lost all the weight, and more. See pic below...


Even at the weight I was above (wearing a size 4 dress), I still felt not thin enough. Or pretty enough. Or that I could ever be beautiful.

I didn't eat a piece of Jake's birthday cake that day because I felt so unbelievably fat. It was empty, defeated living.

Thankfully, soon after Jake's 2nd birthday, I met Jesus (woo hoo!) ~ and my life has not been the same since!!

In His great mercy, Jesus has not only given me a new life, but a NEW MIND!! I now have the mind of Christ! And over the past 15 years, I've been very intentional about filling my mind with the TRUTH of who GOD says that I am!

And even though I no longer wear a size 4 (picture below is from this past weekend), I have been walking in Truth and freedom and joy....

....until this summer.

Unfortunately, someone close to me, is uncomfortable with my weight. Thinks I'm unattractive. Doesn't find me beautiful. And thinks it's important to share this information with me.

I wish it was some random weird commenter from cyber-space, but it's someone in my community that I value and respect.

Friends, I'll be honest, this has really thrown me for a loop. The other night I was on the phone with my girlfriend balwing my eyes out (yes, the ugly cry) ~ and I felt like I was headed in a backwards direction, and fast. The lies were taking over, and I didn't know how to make them stop.

Have you ever been there before??

As I spent time praying later that evening, I rememembered something I learned in a Bible Study that was eye opening for me. Kelly Minter, in her book No other gods shares, "Satan will tell us what's true, but he never tells us the TRUTH".

Remembering that simple statement was like an "AHA" light bulb moment for me!!

Yes, it is true, I am not a size 4 (or an 8 anymore).
Yes, it is true, my body has given birth to 4 children.
Yes, it is true, I do not look like the women on the magazines.
Yes, those things are true.

But the TRUTH is that I am beautiful and accepted by God....just the way that I am!!

The TRUTH is that God delights in me!!

The TRUTH is that I am secure, significant, set apart in Christ!

The TRUTH is that I am dearly loved by the Lord God Almighty! Woo Hoo!!

"Satan will tell us what's true, but he never tells us the TRUTH".

My greatest desire is to be a voice of TRUTH in my own life, and the lives of every single person I come in contact with (my friends, family, neighborhood, community, on-line, and more!).

I will not allow the comments of others to make me have "crazy head".

I will not return to an eating disorder.

And I will not allow my words to others feed into the lies we receive from the media and the world, about where TRUE BEAUTY and WORTH comes from ~ so help me God!!

That's why I'm declaring my life to be a Fat Talk Free Zone! I recently came across the Reflections Body Image Program. I love what they are doing to teach women to pursue health, well-being, and true beauty!

In case you are wondering "what is fat talk, anyway?" Here's how the Reflections Program describes it...

Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies.

Examples of fat talk may include: “I’m so fat,” “Do I look fat in this?” “I need to lose 10 pounds” and “She’s too fat to be wearing that swimsuit.”

Statements that are considered fat talk don’t necessarily have to be negative; they can seem positive yet also reinforce the need to be thin – “You look great! Have you lost weight?”

Sorry, Satan, you may try your sly and subtle tricks with me ~ BUT NO MORE! I will live and stand and walk in TRUTH!

And the TRUTH is that our God does not talk "Fat Talk" to His dearly loved children!

The official "Fat Talk Free" week isn't until the fall of this year, but I'm declaring my life to be Fat Talk Free....Lord willing, from this day forward!! Anyone with me??



P.S. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to visit Kristen at We are that Family AND... if you've not seen this video on Fat Talk before, PLEASE take 3 minutes to watch it! You'll be so glad you did!








Monday, August 9, 2010

Marriage Mondays: Our Anniversary Getaway!

Hi Friends!! Welcome to Marriage Monday! My dear friend Julie from Come Have A Peace takes time each Monday to share Marriage encouragement, and I'm pleased to join in the fun today!

If you knew a couple getting married and wanted to pass along a "nugget of wisdom" with them, what would you suggest??

One of the best pieces of advice John and I received was the idea of mini couple getaways, or what we refer to as "mini-moons" (get it...like honeymoon, but just "moon" ~ smile).

Our wonderful marriage mentors suggested that John and I take time away once each season to reconnect, enjoy each other's company, have fun, and relax. We've graciously accepted the challenge! And whereas we've not been perfect at getting away once a season, John and I have been intentional about going on "mini-moons" as often as we can ~ especially to celebrate our Anniversaries!

This past weekend, we enjoyed a special Anniversary "mini-moon" to....(any guesses??)

Port Washington, Wisconsin! Port Washington is a tiny little town (Population: less than 12,000), north of Milwaukee, located right on Lake Michigan. John loves the water, so I tried to become a "boat girl" for the weekend. (I gave it my best shot anyway!)
First we headed on the Lake Express Ferry, leaving from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Have you been on the Lake Express ferry before? It's the craziest thing ~ you can drive your car right on the ferry! John and I opted to rent a car in Wisconsin, but it was quite the adventure riding on the Lake Express across the big Lake!



Although I'm smiling in the picture above (kind of) ~ I found I can't hide sea-sickness very well. I spent most of the ride on the back of the boat with saltine crackers ~ praying the ride would be over!
Once we made it to Wisconsin, we did have a fun time exploring Milwaukee!


And the Port Washington Inn Bed and Breakfast where we stayed was delightful! The views of the lake from Port Washington are beautiful ~ even for a non lake girl like me!

John and I have both enjoyed our Mini-moons over the past 10 years of marriage! A special thank you to our marriage mentors, Doug and Judie Childress, for giving us the challenge many years ago!

What about for you?? What's the best nuggest of marriage wisdom you've received?? I'd love to hear from you!! And for more Marriage encouragement, be sure to check out fabulous tips here.

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. Have a wonderful, joy-filled day!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Family Fun: Summer Fun from A to Z

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my Walking With Him Prayer Guide GIVEAWAY, please join the fun! (Click here for more information). You have until Sunday, August 8th to enter. I'd love to hear from you! :)

And thank you for all of your sweet words as John and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary on August 5 (recap here). John and I are heading out this weekend for an Anniversary getaway. Any guesses where?? Here's a clue ~ we'll be taking a ferry. And if you see one of the grandma's ~ please hug them. What a blessing for them to step in and care for our gang!


Welcome to Friday "Family Fun"! During the summer, I'm going to devote Friday's to sharing different inexpensive, exciting Family Fun Ideas! Woo Hoo!

In case you are running out of ideas of things to do (and since I'm supposed to be packing for my weekend getaway) ~ here is a repeat of my Summer Fun List from A to Z! Enjoy these simple, inexpensive ways for you to enjoy the rest of your summer ~ A to Z style!!

(A quick disclaimer....I've tried to think of things that you could participate in regardless of the city you live in. For my Grand Rapids friends, many of the ideas in blue have links that will lead you to more specific local times and information. For all of the ideas, I tried to think of inexpensive ideas ~ if it costs more than $5 per person, I did not include it on the list).


*Summer Family Fun ideas from A to Z*....

A - Airport ~ My kids love having a picnic at the airport! My amazing mom purchased binoculars for each of the kids (from garage sales), and the kids LOVE running around watching the planes come in OR turn your backyard/garage into your own Art Camp (ideas
here)

B-
Bowling; bike rides; bubbles (check out bubble games here); Block party (check out these great ideas here); boating; the beach

C - Camp-out in the Family Room. Grab your sleeping bags, flashlights, and smores, and get ready for fun! (more camping ideas here); OR sidewalk chalk


D - Dance Party
~ Find some fun 70's or 80's music, crank it up, and let the fun begin!

E -
Eat out (the food court at the mall is always a fun experience for kids)

F- Catch some Fireflies OR Family Fun Night ~ Invite over another family for food, fun, and fellowship

G - Game Night ~ Have everyone pick a favorite board game to play. (More Game Night ideas here)

H - Hawaiian party ~ Host your own luau! Grab a beach towel, bathing suit, beach ball, and any leis you might have around your house ~ and let the fun begin! You can even play Hawaii Bingo (More Hawaii ideas here)

I - Ice Cream Sundae Night (info here)

J - Jump rope (complete with your favorite jump rope songs here)

K -
Krispy Kreme doughnuts ~ wait until the Krispy Kreme light is on, and then go in for your free doughnut!

L - Letterboxing ~ If you haven't tried Letterboxing before, you must! (Get started
here or our family's letterboxing fun here) OR Lemonade Stand

M - Movie Night ~ Fun Family Movie Night ideas here OR Miniature Golf

N - Nature Walk ~ Enjoy the beautiful weather with a Nature Walk! Give each of the kids a brown lunch bag with items listed on it to collect and/or discover. (Also, if you live in the Grand Rapids area, click here to join the Connect with Nature Challenge! It sounds great!)

O - Opposite Day ~ Do everything backwards! Eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast OR enjoy the great Outdoor Games (lots of game ideas here
)

P - Host a Potluck OR Pick fresh fruit/veggies OR Pizza Party ~ Let the kids make their own pizza
!

Q - Quiet time ~ head to your local library for some quiet reading and/or story time activities. (The link for Kent District Library events ~ here)

R - Road trip ~ Let the kids help plan a Road Trip! Depending on your financial situation and the ages of your children, you can plan a Road Trip near or far. Do you have a relative or friend you could visit? A park you've always wanted to experience? Maybe it's time for a Road Trip! Remember, part of the fun is in the planning ~ so let everyone look at the maps, write out the itnerary, pack the snacks, bring activities for the car, and more!

S - Smores (yummy recipes here) OR Scavenger Hunt (ideas here) OR Sandbox fun

T - Treasure Hunt (My favorite treasure hunt clues are found
here. I use them all the time! My kids love Treasure hunts ~ so do their friends) OR host a Tea Party (ideas here) OR go tubing

U - Underwater activities ~ Find a local swimming pool and swim, swim, swim! Another idea...we sometimes go to priceline.com to bid on a hotel for the night. In Grand Rapids, you can stay at a nice 3 star hotel for $40. The kids love it ~ they swim for hours and hours (and I love room service ~ no cooking for mom)!!

V - Volunteer. I usually invite a friend's 3 kids over for the day to provide free child care while she works. Or you could mow a lawn. Walk a neighbor's dog. Pick up trash. The ideas are endless... OR send your kids to VBS (Vacation Bible School) ~ Grand Rapids VBS list here

W - Walk! Walk to the nearest park. Or walk around the block backwards. OR have a Water balloon fight War!


X - eXercise. Set up a family exercise experience! (Get started here)

Y - YMCA
. Go to the YMCA or another local gym. Many will let you try their facility for free for the day.

Z - Head to the Zoo! (Grand Rapids' John Ball Park link
here)


Woo Hoo!! I just love summer! What a perfect opportunity to enjoy our children and participate in many of the outings and activities we can’t fit into our school-day schedule. Let's make our ordinary summer days "extraordinary"!! :)

What have been some of your favorite family fun activities this year? Do you have fun things planned yet this month?? Please share with us YOUR favorite summer fun actviities! I'd love to hear from you!

May your Summer be filled to the brim with much joy, laughter, and fun, family moments!!



P.S. A special thanks to
GR kids.com, Family Fun, Parents Magazine, Kaboose, Chocolate Cake Moments, and for letting me pass along some of your fun family ideas!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ten Years!

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my Walking With Him Prayer Guide GIVEAWAY, please join the fun! (Click here for more information). You have until Sunday, August 8th to enter. I'd love to hear from you! :)

Ten years ago today, on August 5, 2000 ~ I walked down the aisle, escorted by my dad, as Ms. Cindy Stille....

We had a beautiful ceremony officiated by our friend and Pastor, Rob Bell. The wedding was held at our home church at the time, Mars Hill Bible Church.

And before I knew it, I was walking back down the aisle ~ this time as Mrs. John Bultema. Woo Hoo!!


In honor of our special day (and the 10 years we've celebrated together), I'd like to share....

The Top "10" 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!)

9. John is very wise with our finances. If our budget was up to me, we'd be in bad shape. Trust me.

And the 10th reason I'm grateful to be Mrs. John Bultema....

10. 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 :)




P.S. Just for fun, here's a picture of the junior bride and groom that day ~ Ms. Sara Robinson and my dear son Jake. Aren't they too adorable?!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Prayer Guide (and 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 large ministry at an area megachurch. 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 God, "Teach me how to PRAY!" And you know what?? He 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 journey with God!

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 - 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. 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!

I could go on and on...but it is easier to understand when you try the Prayer Guide yourself. Years ago 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've now given me almost 10 Prayer Guides to share over the past two years (at $35 each that's pretty generous!!)

Imagine my delight when the mailman arrived at my door yesterday with another Prayer Guide to giveaway. Woo Hoo!! THANK YOU Jennifer and Lara!!


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

Why would you like to win a Prayer Guide??

Extra Entries:

•Follow *She Sparkles*
•Subscribe to *She Sparkles*
•Add my *She Sparkles* button to your blog
•Tweet about this giveaway including a link to this post

Please be sure to leave me a comment to let me know your extra entries.

RULES: Starts today, Wednesday, August 4th and ends Sunday, August 8th at 9 PM. Winner will be posted on my blog during the week of August 9th.

If your email address is not connected to your ID, please leave your email address with your comment or email it to me at
cindy.bultema@gmail.com with the subject "Giveaway".

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!"

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a Wonderful, joy~filled Wednesday!!!



P.S. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to visit Kristen at We are that Family. You'll be so glad you did! :)

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