Monday, February 28, 2011

A Bouquet of Thanks

Hey friends!

As many of you know this weekend was the Red Hot retreat!

"So how did it go???" you may be wondering.....

I've been trying to think of some highlights to share....but I loved every minute of it (and I keep crying when I think of God's goodness throughout the weekend).

It was such a huge blessing to serve alongside such an amazing group of servants (retreat committee, sound/tech guys, drama team, prayer warriors, worshippers, etc..).
Here's a picture of our "Lukewarm Church" volunteers. Don't they look "lukewarm"??? :)

I TOTALLY LOVED being led in worship by Erica Simpson, and her "girlfriends", and "boy band". AWESOME doesn't even describe how God used this anointed group!

It was a huge blessing to have so many dear friends (and family members) in attendance.

Spending extra time with my dearly loved Magnificent Monday girls was a blast! :)

Plus rooming with my BFF Julie Richardson was another bonus! (Not to mention when she braved an early morning blizzard to bring me a Starbucks latte ~ thank you, Julie!)

(Here are Julie and Suzanne praying over me before my Saturday teaching....)

I loved thinking of YOU, my dear bloggy friends, and thinking, "Oh, if only they were here! I wish they could see this....." :)

But I think my favorite part (if I had to pick one) was hearing how God spoke to each invididual woman in unique ways through the teaching from His Word! Isn't God's Word incredible?! :)

Here are some of the fun notes I've received (this one being from a dear woman battling an eating disorder).....

"Dear Cindy, Thank you for letting Jesus run your life. Thank you for allowing Him to create the wonderful study for the ladies' retreat. It fed me. I am studying my Bible and devotionals again and I am making it the most important part of my day and life..." (Woo Hoo!)

or here's another....

"Cindy, Thank you for this weekend. WOW. I've been telling everyone that from the minute you stepped up on that stage you spoke with POWER, conviction, clarity and compassion. Thank you for listening and being obedient to the Spirit. Lives were changed. I have just been brought to tears when I think about this weekend. I am just so grateful...."

And I smile when I think of one woman who said, "Cindy, here is what I want to say to you..." and then she leaned over and planted a huge kiss on my cheek!! What fun :)

I wish I could put into words what God did in our midst...but it is so hard to explain. Just know God used YOU and YOUR PRAYERS to change lives for His Kingdom, and I am hubled and grateful (not to mention I never noticed my sore throat even once!)!!

Holocaust survivor and author Corrie ten Boom is quoted as saying, “When people come up and give me a compliment—’Corrie, that was a good talk,’ or ‘Corrie, you were so brave,’ I take each remark as if it were a flower. At the end of each day I lift up the bouquet of flowers I have gathered throughout the day and say, ‘Here you are, Lord, it is all yours.’

Would you join me as I hand over this beautiful bouquet to the Lord. He is so faithful, good, powerful, and true?! I am in awe of what He is able to do!!

It's all yours, God! It's all yours!! :)

Thanks so much for your faithful friendship on *She Sparkles*! You all bless me so much!!

P.S. It may humor you to know that I am typing this with a shower cap on my head covering the all-natural hair "goo" that is in my hair. The lice is back ~ so we're treating everyone in the home, myself included! :) Lest you think we have risen above the craziness and chaos over here....we've not... ~ back to "my reality", I guess! :)

P.S.S. A huge note of thanks to professional photographer (and Monday night gal) Jill Bergeron for sharing your gift of photography with us this weekend! ~ (You captured the weekend so beautifully, Jill! Thank you for blessing us with your amazing photos! :) )

Friday, February 25, 2011

I've Got A Feeling....

Hey friends!

Today I'm joining my friend Michelle for some Caffeinated Randomness. After my week, randomness sounds perfect!

Because trust me, our week has not been without its challenges. My husband John and I are both ready for a vacation! I was sharing my burdens with Carol Kent yesterday, and she sent the sweetest response...

"Cindy, What a week! God is giving you fodder for some remarkable illustrations--the hard way! There may be a day when "this" is funny--but when it is happening, it is no fun at all."

Yep, that pretty much sums up my week ~ remarkable illustrations the hard way. I'll let you all know when it is funny. I'm not laughing today though, not one bit! :)

But now for the good news...if you've been stopping by *She Sparkles* for very long, you know tonight is a very special night...the Red Hot retreat kick-off! Woo Hoo!! :)

I can't wait to hang out with a ton of amazing women, worship with Erica Simpson and her fantastic team, have a sleepover with my dear friend Julie, and share 3 Red Hot messages. YIPPEE! :)

My kids don't have school today (again!) ~ so my girls and I are heading out for some pedicures. Here's the song we'll be dancing to today!

I've got a feeling....God is going to do an amazing work this weekend! :) I'm FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH EXCITEMENT to see what He is up to!!

How about you, dear bloggy friend?? What are your weekend plans?? What song would best describe your week. I'd love to hear from you!!

Thank you for all of your kind words, prayers, encouragement and support over these "unique" last few weeks. I THANK GOD FOR YOU!!!

God's richest blessings to you!! :)

P.S. May I ask for your prayer support this weekend?? I'll be sharing Friday night at 7:45 PM EST, and Saturday at 9:30 AM, and 1:30 PM. Would you please pray God would help me speak with clarity and power (even with my sore throat ~ ugh.) and that the women's hearts would be prepared and ready to receive whatever He has for them!!

How can I pray for you?? Please send me your requests, and I'd love to pray for you too! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


If you haven't had a chance to enter my "The Me Project" Giveaway it's not too late! It's a fun book ~ one I highly recommend! Be sure to enter! :)

Hey Friends!

Although my day started off extremely well (nothing like waking up to find a Starbucks latte left on your porch by a dear friend, thanks, Lins!) ~ I am experiencing new challenges, to say the least.

I guess that should be expected ~ with the Red Hot Retreat in less than 2 days. (Woo Hoo!)

So I AM GOING TO SPEND MY DAY IN WORSHIP! Besides my "Theme song", and "Be Magnified", I'm adding a new song to my arsenal of praise!

Have you heard Mandisa's latest song, Stronger?? I LOVE IT!! It's as if the words were selected for me and the difficult circumstances I am faced with today. (Thank you, Mandisa!)

Please turn up your sound, lift up your arms in praise, and join me in singing at the top of our lungs....

Friends, I'm not sure what circumstances you are faced with today...but may we allow the trials of life to make us STRONGER and more like Him!!!

Praying for you, my sweet bloggy sister, and asking Him to bless you in a special, powerful, and unique way!!!

Enjoy your Worship-filled Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


If you haven't had a chance to enter my "The Me Project" Giveaway it's not too late! It's a fun book ~ one I highly recommend! Be sure to enter! :)

Hey Friends! I hope you are having a GREAT week! :)

I'll start with my good snow day today! Hip Hip Hooray!

All of my precious little cherubs are at school and I have some time to pray, plan, and prepare for the Red Hot Retreat....which is in 3 days. Gulp.

The bad news...John is home sick, my throat hurts, and my daughter's lice is back in full force. Ugh.

But you know what, I have a choice!

I will keep my eyes focused Up ~ not on my circumstances, but on the One who holds all my circumstances in His hand!

I picture myself holding a big magnifying glass looking at the details of my day.

Will I focus on the illnesses, the inconveniences, the piles of laundry, the yuckiness of it all?? OR

Will I focus on God's hand in the midst of my "detour"? What He is able to accomplish? What He is able to do?!

I am choosing to point my magnifying glass right up to the Lord God Almighty and asking Him to be HUGE in my life!

Trust me, I haven't always lived this way. For many years, I magnified my problems. I focused on my insecurities and hurts. I exaggerated my weaknesses and mistakes. It was empty and defeated living.

And then I met the Lord Jesus. And I began to see how BIG and POWERFUL and HUGE He is! I experienced His LOVE and His Grace and His Goodness!

And today, and all of the days of my life, I choose to focus on Him, regardless of my circumstances!!

And you know what...I've been blessed today! By the phone calls and the e-mails and the offers to bring a latte (thanks, Chellie!) I've been blessed by the sunshine (thank you, Lord!). And I've been blessed with a day home with my cute husband (even if he is sick). Today is a good day. :)

What about for you, my dear bloggy friend?? What are you focusing on?

Your endless "to-do" lists? The money you don't have? Your husband's flaws? Your fears? Your kid's messes? Your insecurities? Your disappointments and your hurts?

May I encourage you to turn your gaze Upward! Point that "magnifying glass" right towards the sky and ask God to be HUGE in your life! There is nothing that He cannot do!!

Here is the song I am singing aloud today.....

Oh magnify the Lord with me, And Let us exalt His Name together! Psalm 34:3 KJV

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have an amazing, life-giving, joy-filled day!

Sweet blessings ~

P.S. If my lice check later today reveals that I have lice, would you please remind me to not look at my hair but to keep looking up!! Ugh!

Monday, February 21, 2011

"The Me Project" ~ Review & Giveaway!

Hey friends!

I interrupt this blog post to announce that my 4 kids have a Snow Day again today! Would you believe I had sick kids EVERY day last week, and now a Snow Day today. Would you please join me in praying that God would help me get all of the details finished for the Red Hot retreat which is this Friday night/Saturday. Boy does God have a sense of humor, doesn't He?! My Manda just said, "I wonder if we'll have a Snow Day tomorrow too??" Please Lord, NO!! :)

Have you read any new good books lately?? :)

One of the many blessings of this blog is the opportunity to read and review new books! And my favorite part is sharing the blessing with you with fun book giveways!!

I was thrilled when I was recently asked to participate in a Blog Tour featuring a great new book called The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted!
How I wish I would have had this resource years ago...especially when my kids were little and I wondered if God had a plan for me in the craziness of motherhood! This inspiring book is filled with such great information about becoming the best person you can possibly be, especially in the mist of life's daily demands (like endless days of sick kids and too many snow days!!)

Here's more about The Me Project:

As women, we forget the goals and dreams of our younger years. The busyness of everyday life gets in the way. To-do lists replace goals. The Me Project provides women with fun and creative ways to bring back the sense of purpose and vitality that comes with living out the plans and dreams God has planted in our hearts. Author Kathi Lipp’s warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor motivates women to take daily steps toward intentional goals. The end result? We get back our lives and enjoy living in the confidence of a purposeful life in spite of our chaotic schedules.

This handy guide coaches women to do one simple thing toward achieving our goals each day for three weeks. A woman experiencing the exhilaration of a rediscovered life offers more as a wife, mother, friend, volunteer, career woman.

After reading this book, author Kathi seems like my girlfriend and we just shared coffee! She speaks from her heart with such authenticity, humor, and grace.

Here's more about the Kathi...

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website:

I'm thrilled to announce I have a copy of The Me Project to giveaway!! Woo Hoo!
To Win my The Me Project Giveaway:

Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:
Why would you like to win The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted??

RULES: Starts today, Monday, February 21st and ends Thursday, February 24th at 9 PM. Winner will be announced on *She Sparkles* during the week of March 1st.

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
•Post this Giveaway on FB

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

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".

Also, one blessed *She Sparkles* reader will have a chance to walk away with this great prize pack! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me one goal you had for yourself that you have not yet pursued.

I will randomly select a name and send it in to the Blog Tour company to be entered into their grand prize drawing! (KCWC will announce the winner of the grand prize on 3/7/11). Yippee!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a wonderful, joy-filled, purposeful week!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Warriors NOT Wimps (& some Red Hot Updates!)

Hey friends! Happy Weekend to you!

I'm joining my friend Michelle today for some Caffeinated Randomness. I warn you in advance ~ my thoughts are scattered and random ~ I've been home every single day this week with sick kids! Ugh!!

As many of you know, I am waist high in a number of exciting, yet very overwhelming, projects right now. The Red Hot for Jesus retreat sponsored by Sunshine Church in Grand Rapids is next weekend already (Feb 25th & 26th) . And can I just tell you ~ I can hardly wait!!

I get so fired up thinking about the huge impact a group of Red Hot, passionate, powerful women could make for Kingdom purposes in this lost, hurting, and broken world! Woo Hoo!

Not to mention ~ the Worship Leader for the Red Hot retreat is Erica Simpson!

Have you met the gifted, beautiful, amazing Erica?? You will love her! (Plus she has a dynamic worship team joining her for the retreat!). She's been sending over samples of some of her song selections ~ and can I just say they are AMAZING! :)

Here's one song her Worship Team will be singing. Love it! (Erica said it's ok to share a sneak peek with you all!) Listen to these powerful words....

And I still can't say much yet....but I received a special call today ~ to set up an appointment with a publishing/video team. (Of course, I said YES!!!). I'll be meeting with "them" on March 22nd. Prayer warriors, will you please pray??

As I was sitting on the couch with my sick daughter (again), watching Anne of Green Gables (again) ~ I was reflecting on my phone calls this week. The invitation to meet with the publishing/video team. Messages from friends praying for me. Friends wondering if they can bring over a latte (once again, of course I said, YES!) My mom offering to take all the kids for a sleepover (we all know the answer, right?). My mother-in-law calling to bring over Keuring coffee (thank you!) AND getting the fabulous news that my daughter has lice.

All in one week. Talk about extremes...

Anyway, this morning during my quiet time, I came across a commissioning statement tucked away in my Bible written by Beth Moore. I saved it for weeks just like this.

I pulled out the commissioning statement and prayed it aloud in faith. Boy did it help! Then I prayed it for the participants of the Red Hot Retreat.

And now, my dear *She Sparkles* friends, I am praying it for you...

My Dear Sister/Brother,
The God of Glory
Has called you.
You have a ministry.
In Christ, you are enough for that ministry.
Never forget that showing God off is your ministry.
No matter what,
Keep your heart in your ministry.
Unveil your face
And serve others with authenticity.
Always remember
That the power is in God's Presence.
Let nothing
Come between you
And intimacy with God.
Keep moving forward
From glory to glory.
Let God thin that veil.
Remember, ministry is not about position.
It's about people.
Let name after name
Be written on your heart.
Do not seek great things for yourself,
Seek a great God.
As you leave this place,
Go in a fresh anointing.
He who turns water into wine
Turns wimps into warriors.
You have a ministry.
Go fulfill it!!
~ Beth Moore

In Christ, WE ARE WARRIORS not wimps!


Oh how I needed that reminder!! It's not about me having the perfect Red Hot message, a trendy outfit, a stylish haircut, or even a flawless presentation. As long as I seek Him and His presence, regardless of the outcome, it's going to be good!

What about for you?

What is God currently asking you to do which seems too big, too much, or like you are just not nearly qualified enough??

Do you need a fresh measure of His presence??

Do you need a reminder that in Christ, regardless of your circumstances, YOU, dear sister, ARE ENOUGH!!!

May I encourage you to print off Beth's commissioning statement and tuck it away in your Bible. You'll never know when you too might be encouraged by her powerful, Truth-filled words!

Well, I'm headed back to my writing (now that my sick kids are all tucked in bed!). I'm still feeling like I have way to much to do and not nearly enough time to make it all happen ~ but I'm prayed up, got my tennis shoes on, and I'm wearing lipstick. Somehow that makes me feel much better. :)

Have a fun-filled, life-giving weekend!! God's richest blessings to you~

P.S. If you have a quick minute, can you help me out once again?? Would you please share what you sense are the greatest challenges for women living Red Hot for Jesus?? There's no right or wrong answer. Thanks so very much! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My new Theme Song!!!

OK, so after my "Ugh" day yesterday, I was confident today would be better.

Thankfully only one family member has lice (and it's not me), and I felt confident that when all the kids went to school today, I could complete my Red Hot retreat materials (that were due on Monday ~ so sorry, Suzanne!). :(

I had some great prayer time with a friend yesterday, plus some RED HOT EXCITING news (hopefully I can share more in a few weeks ~ here's a hint ~ it involves a call yesterday to come in and talk with a publisher and video production team. Woo Hoo!)

I was praying that God would do IMMEASURABLY MORE and show me how POWERFUL He is!

Can I just tell you...immeasurably more did not mean "immeasurably more kids home sick from school"?!!!

Yep, I started out the morning with 3 out of 4 kids home. UGH.

Thankfully, the one (with the lice) had a clear check this morning, so now we are down to 2.

Still not what I was thinking today, Lord.

But then I was 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! (Did you catch that ~ for us!)

I want this POWER in my life! When I am weak (which is TODAY!) ~ 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!!

My friend, we have ALL the POWER we need for ALL the problems we face! God's incomparably great POWER is available to help us!!

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!

Here is my new Theme Song! I'm declaring "I've got the Power" and will lived today like the Powerful woman that God has created me to be!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! I thank God for you!! Have a fun, power-filled day!! :)

Sweet blessings ~

P.S. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, take a peek here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Me and John at Jake's hockey game this weekend. I think our busy hockey schedule is making us loopy!

Hey friends!

I hope you are having a GREAT week! :)

I'll be honest ~ my stomach is in knots, and I'm feeling stressed out. Ugh.

The Red Hot retreat is next weekend (Feb 25th & 26th) and my "To DO" list is long, the deadlines are NOW, and my life is just plain old crazy.

Because of course, this would be the week my daughter comes down with the flu.

Manda was home sick from school yesterday, and then also most of today.

And then, this afternoon I get a call from the school, and one of my dear children has lice.

Are you kidding me???!

So tonight's activities will be washing sheets and hats, vacuuming, checking hair, and combing out lice.


Did I mention my head feels really itchy too?? Please Lord, no! (Don't worry, I just called my mom, and she's on her way to do a head check.)

Thankfully, at this moment, I am running to the Word. Only God can get me through this week and all of the "detours" it is bringing. Diet Coke or chips & salsa just isn't going to cut it. (That, my dear friends, is victory. Woo hoo!)

So while I was joining sick Manda watching the "Anne of Green Gables" series this morning, (Thanks, Leslie!) ~ I started making a list of God's Promises that I can count on....

Genesis 15:1 ~ Do not be afraid, I am your shield, your very great reward.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20 ~ Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service (of the temple) of the LORD is finished.

Isaiah 41:13 ~ For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

I can't count on my kids all going to school this week.
I can't count on my computer (although I'm praying for it!).
I can't count on the lice not spreading.
I can't count on not catching Manda's nasty cough.

But I can count on God and cling to His Word. "He will not fail you..." has become my "go to script" this afternoon. God's Word can bring peace and hope and life to the hardest of days.

Yikes ~ I'm itching again. :(

I'm not sure what circumstances you are faced with this week, my sweet sister....but my hope and prayer is that you too will cling to God's Promises. He is for us, and will get us through whatever our days may hold....and victoriously, too, if we will let Him!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May your week be filled with much joy, love, and life-giving moments!

Sweet blessings~

P.S. On a more joyful note ~ may I share with you my Valentine's present from John?? A new CELEBRATE apron! And guess even lights up (it has a battery pack)! Is it not too fun???

Friday, February 11, 2011

Worship-Filled Weekend (& GREAT Giveaway!)

Hey friends! Happy almost Valentine's Day! If you're looking for fun, Family Friendly ideas, you may want to check out my ideas here. Have fun! :)

Do you have "a song?"?

You know, one of those songs that instantly takes you back to significant places along your walk with God??

For me, "my song" is
Shout to the Lord by Darlene Zscehch.

I first heard Shout to the Lord in 1997. I was a brand new baby Christian, and someone gave me the Shout to the Lord CD. (It was my first Christian CD ever). I listened to it over and over and over again.

The first time I shared my testimony (March 1, 1998 at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids) ~ guess what song the worship leader introduced to the congregation? Yep, Shout to the Lord. I shared my story at 4 services that morning, and heard "my song" 4 times as well.

My Jesus, My Savior,
Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days
I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

In fact, I loved the song so much that I told my fiance David Timmer that we had to have someone sing it at our wedding. The words were so perfect for me! God had taken me out of such a pit of rebellion and sin, and given me a new, firm place to stand. A new song to sing! I was no longer going to be a single mom ~ but would be married to a Godly man and we could build a special family together. I couldn't stop singing these words...

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand,
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

David and I made plans to have someone special sing Shout to the Lord at our wedding on May 1, 1999.

And when David was killed on
December 10, 1998, just 2 weeks before Christmas and 5 months before our wedding ~ I vowed that I never wanted to hear that song again. Ever.

And yet, as we planned David's funeral....I knew what special music we needed to sing. My favorite soloist came to David's funeral and we all cried through Shout to the Lord together.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You

Fast forward a number of years, after God brought much healing came to my broken heart....

As John and I were planning our wedding, I knew what song we needed to sing. Our favorite soloist came once again, and together, at our wedding on August 5, 2000 ~ we lifted our voices and praised Him through song with Shout to the Lord.

I sing for joy at the works of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You, Forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have
In You

God has used Shout to the Lord and the music from Darlene Zschech & Hillsong Australia to bring much hope, healing, and joy along my journey. And today I'm thrilled to GIVEAWAY the gift of Worship Music to a blessed *She Sparkles* friend, and lots of it!!

My good friend and favorite music man,
Tom Brown of Provident Music has provided an assortment of my favorite worship music to pass along to a blessed winner! Woo Hoo!!

The winner will receive a *Sparkly Gift Pack* containing 3 CD's packed full of amazing music! Artists: Hillsong Australia, Casting Crowns, & Fireflight!!

To Win my Giveaway: Please leave a comment in the comment section answering the following questions:

What song is special to you? Why?

Extra Entries:
•Post this giveaway on FB
•Follow *She Sparkles* via Google Friends Connect

•Subscribe to *She Sparkles*
•Add my *She Sparkles* button to your blog
•Follow *She Sparkles* on twitter
•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, Saturday, February 12th and ends Tuesday, February 15th at 9 PM. Winner will be posted on my blog soon after February 15th.

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".

Thank you for stopping by *She Sparkles*. Have a wonderful, worship~filled day!!

P.S. A huge THANK YOU to all who entered my Giveaway. Here are the 10 blessed winners (drum roll please).... And thank you once again, Darlene, for your very generous gift! :)

* Angie O.

* Erica S.

* Jan B.

* Chellie (for a friend with cancer)

* Julie R.

* Suzanne R.

* Laura Starnes

* Deb S.

* Theresa

* Amy H.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Party Time

Hey Friends!

I must confess ~ I have parties on the brain today!

I'm supposed to be preparing for the upcoming Red Hot Retreat (which I am THRILLED about, by the way!) but I'm a bit distracted. Yes, Valentine's Day is right around the corner, (Family Friendly ideas here) ~ however, that's not all I'm thinking about.

Can I let you in on a little secret that has me jumping up and down on the inside???

My favorite party store contacted me about hosting giveaways for you all on *She Sparkles*. Can you believe it?? I would have parties, they'd supply the party goods, and I'd host giveaways for you. WOO HOO!!! As my husband shared, "little do they know they hit the jackpot. You love to throw parties for ALL KINDS of occassions!"

Yes, I do!! Let the Celebrating Begin!! :)

So as my mind has been whirling and twirling about parties I could throw, I thought of this "Random Dozen" party-themed post. Enjoy (and please be sure to play along at the end!) :)

1. Would you rather host party or simply attend a party?

I love hosting parties! Ask my husband and kids, I am always looking for an excuse to throw a party! Any day is a day to celebrate! My motto (originally shared by my Pastor)..."Life should not just be lived, it should be celebrated!" :)

2. Tell us about the most memorable party you've been to.

My 40th birthday last May was very special. I loved that so many of my family members and friends could attend, and that everyone seemed to be having a GREAT time together. Did I mention we rented out a Roller Skating facility?? So much fun! :)

3. What is one thing you hope for in the after-life?

No more sorrow. No more pain.

4. What do you enjoy most about sunshine?

Playing kickball with my family outdoors.

5. When you attend a bridal/baby shower, do you prefer to bring your own gift or chip in with others to buy a larger gift?

Good question. Probably depends on the recipient and how crazy my life is at the time.

6. Would you rather have a FREE week of having your house cleaned or all of your meals cooked for you and your family?

Definitely having the house cleaned for a week. Especially if they would help sort through all of our clutter!

7. What song describes your mood today?

Oh wow ~ another great question. My girls and I were singing "Everlasting God" at the top of our lungs in the car today. I think the words are pretty appropriate for the season we find ourselves in...

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles.....

(Have I ever told you I collect eagles?? Another topic for another day.....)

8. What is something you received for your own bridal shower/wedding that you still own or use?

John and I were so blessed when we got married! We had amazing showers with tons of great gifts! I'm looking at coffee/end tables that we received as a gift that we still love, as well as a special clock from John's brother. Too hard to choose from all the blessings.

9. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is?

I don't really have a favorite. I'm not a huge ice cream girl. I guess I'd say Mint chocolate chip.

10. When was the last time you felt "tested?"

Today. Yesterday. The day before....

11. "[Fill in the blank] is a food that once I start eating I find really hard to stop."

Chips and salsa. Especially my favorite chips and yummy homemade salsa.

12. "-----" is the best motivation.

The fear of the Lord...

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Will you join in on the Party Time fun?? Please pick any question and share your answer. I'd love to hear from you!

God's richest blessings to you!!!

P.S. As I'm preparing for the Red Hot retreat, I've been going through old photographers. I came across this one of "little Cindy" last night. What do you think ~ does it look like me??

P.S.S. For more Things I Love Thursday ideas, hop on over and visit Jill at The Diaper Diaries. :) Be sure to share with her that Cindy sent you! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Celebrating Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day 2010 ~ me and my honey playing BINGO together :)

OK, I'll warn you ~ I LOVE Valentine's Day! Even as a little girl ~ Valentine's Day was my all-time favorite holiday!

It hasn't always been because I had a "Valentine". Some years it's been downright painful. In fact, Valentine's Day 1999 was extremely difficult for me. My fiance David had just been tragically killed 2 months prior (recap here). The thought of happy couples and roses and date nights nearly kept me in bed for the day. Instead, my aunt Debbie and I spent the day making Valentine's for all my single friends.

Thinking of others and focusing on blessing them helped make a hard day much less painful.

To this day, I love trying to think of creative ways to bless my friends and family ~ and remind them that they are dearly loved!! :)

Here are some things we do to celebrate Valentine's Day in an inexpensive, simple Family Friendly way:

Books ~ I have a special heart basket with Valentine's Day books I pull out on February 1st. My kids LOVE reading from the heart book basket, and I usually add a new book or two to our collection each year. One of our favorites, "
Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink". Too cute! :)

Decorations ~ Our city has a
Dollar Tree store where you can purchase plastic table cloths for $1. (I always have an assortment of colors on hand). On Valentine's Day, the family will wake up to a red table cloth and heart paper products. (I stock up at Party City right after Valentine's Day each year). It's amazing how simple decorations can make it look festive already.
Oh, and don't forget the confetti and the tattoos! :)

Food ~ I'll make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast, pink milk, and have fresh strawberrries.

For dinner, we always have heart shaped pizzas.
In my city, Papa Murphy's Take & Bake Pizza is a great resource. The kids love it ~ and I am grateful it is so easy (and not too expensive).

Sometimes we make desserts, or heart shaped finger jello. Last year I picked up cute cupcakes from our bakery. Do you think my daughter liked them???

Games & Activities ~ What would be a celebration without games and activities?? We like to have...

* Color sheets, word searches, etc... (Many to choose from here)

* BINGO. We use conversation hearts, red hots, or pink and red M & M's for markers. (Here is one happy BINGO winner. I think she liked her new prize)...

We've been having our Valentine's Day party ever since the kids were little. I found this fun picture from 2007. Aren't they cute? :)

* At our party, we'll make sure we reflect on the origin of Valentine's Day. Easy kid version here.

We'll probably end our Valentine's Day Celebration all snuggled up together watching Charlie Brown Valentine's Day. Simple, but fun :)

Our Valentine's Day Celebration will actually be on Sunday this year (the 13th). The date doesn't matter ~ I would just encourage you...whether you are single, married, a Grandma, an aunt, a mom, a student...take the time to share LOVE with others this week! :)

And please share with us what you are planning for Valentine's Day ~ I'd love to hear your ideas!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a love-filled day! :)

P.S. The greatest Valentine anyone could ever receive came in the form of a tiny baby - His name was Jesus, and his LOVE for us - went to the cross, died and rose again, so we might have life ~ full, abundant, and eternal life! Make this Valentines Day the best of all - and give your HEART to JESUS! :)

P.S.S. For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head over and visit Kristen at We Are That Family. What fun! :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's Treasure: Receiving David (& another Giveaway)!

If you haven't had a chance to participate in my Personlized Scripture Verse Books GIVEAWAY, it's not too late! TEN blessed winners will be selected! Be sure to check it out!

Hey friends!

Today I am thrilled to participate in a fun book giveaway/blog hop hosted by Inspired Kathy at I am a Reader not a Writer. Over 200 blogs are giving away a book, and all the blogs are linked together so you can hop from one to the next. What fun! I hope you'll join us!

The book I am excited to share with you is Receiving David: The Gift of a Son who Taught us how to Live and Love. What a huge blessing! I would highly recommend it!

Here's a brief synopsis from the back of the book....

David Knol was born dangerously early and wasn’t expected to live. Remarkably, he not only beat the survival odds but also went on to live a life with joy and a measure of independence and opportunity, despite his severe disabilities. From the beginning, his family viewed him as a blessing, a gift bestowed on them by God, and received him with thanks.

Through inviting stories and a few memorable photographs, Faye Knol shares the lessons about love, the value of life, and the beauty of relationships that David taught those around him during his twenty-two years of life. Warmth, good humor, laughter, and passion shine through this mother’s words as she tells tales of life in this inspiring family.

David’s story is a moving picture of how one person — despite great obstacles — can profoundly shape a family and a community in a positive way.

I was so excited when a sweet friend (thanks, Vicki!) from a local publisher sent "Receiving David" my way. This book, written by Faye Knol, a mom/nurse from my current hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, is deeply moving, inspiring, encouraging, and touching. (You'll definitely want to read it with a tissue handy!)

I appreciated how Faye was very transparent and authentic with her feelings and circumstances, yet always looked for God and His hand in their lives. In the midst of a difficult journey, this mom (and family) choose life, love, and joy! And if she can do ~ we can too!

I am excited to be able to share a copy of this precious book with a *She Sparkles* reader!

To Win my "Receiving David" Giveaway:

Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

What book have you currently read that has inspired/encouraged you??

RULES: Starts today, Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 and ends Sunday, February 13th at 9 PM. Winner will be contacted via e-mail.

Extra Entries:

•Post this Giveaway on FB
•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.

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".

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a joy-filled week!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Good, the Bad, & the GIVEAWAY! :)

Hey Friends!!

I wish we could have coffee together and you could tell me all about your weekend!! I hope it was life-giving, refreshing, and fun! :)

As you know, I desire for my blog *She Sparkles* to be a
joy-filled, celebratory I'll start with my good news and updates! :)

* We had a fun
Groundhogs Day! 17.2 inches of snow couldn't keep us from celebrating! :)

* The kids enjoyed 3 snow days filled with Snow Day Shuffles, sledding, hot chocolate, games with mom, sleepovers, more games with mom, and fun! :)

* Last night we enjoyed a fun Superbowl Party. Not that I'm a football fan...but when I saw a Snickers ice cream pie shaped like a football ~ I couldn't resist throwing a celebration! Such a blast filling our home with food, friends, fun, and yes, football! :)

* I spent the weekend at a Women's Leadership Conference with keynote speaker Carol Kent. I was able to reconnect with dear Carol, Donna Fagerstrom, Jennie Dimkoff, and more! (And just between us....Carol Kent asked me to teach a workshop at her Speak Up with Confidence seminar this summer. Woo Hoo!)

However, please don't let my nice cheery updates fool you....most of last week I looked like this ~

Yes, if the woman above had red hair (and was wearing something sparkley) ~ that could be me! I was definitely ready to pull out my hair last week!!

I won't bore you with the details...just trust me on this. Having all 4 kids home for 3 full days was not part of my plan.

And isn't interesting how the enemy goes right for our mind in his effort to rob us of our joy and peace? Suddenly not only was I overwhelmed by the work I needed to do (but would have to put on hold) ~ my mind was filled with lies like...

*bad mom (for not being excited about the snow days)

* failure

* in over my head, defeated

I could go on and on...

Add the stress, plus the lies, and more challenges with one of our dear was a recipe for defeat. Thursday afternoon, after another round of battling with this child, I couldn't take anymore. I threw myself on my bedroom floor, bawled like a baby, called John in the middle of my ugly cry, and poured out my fears, stress and concerns.

Why do I share all of this with you, my dear bloggy friend?? (Trust me, it'd be easier for you to think my life was all "roses" and parties.)

I think as women there's something freeing to know we all have struggles. None of us have it all together. Now my pain is not your pain, I get that. And having a difficult, strong-willed child is not the end of the world. I get that too.

Someone said to me last week after reading this post, they thought my friends in Egypt had a harder week. I understand their point, and yes, our Egyptian friends did have a very challenging week (but their faith is strong, I just talked to them. Another post...)

And I am realizing my faith is small. Sorry, God...

Thus the reason I am bringing along my Verse Cards everywhere I go. If I'm going to live in victory, truth, and joy ~ I MUST constantly allow the Word of God to dwell richly in me. I must.

And as I shared last week, my dear friend Darlene (the founder of Verse-ability) and the creator of my personalized verse cards, would like to share the gift with others.

In fact, she is offering to giveaway 10 personalized gifts to 10 blessed *She Sparkles* readers. Woo Hoo!!!

You can choose from a personalized Verse Pack (business-card sized Scriptures, packaged in a custom woodgrained pocket box).

Or a Promise Verse Book (32 paraphrased Christian Scripture verses personalized with your first name. The books are coil-bound and have easel backs).

I am so *THRILLED* to be able to share TEN of these awesome, power-packed resources!! Yippee!!

To Win my Verse-ability Giveaway:

Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

Why would you like to win this Verse-ability Giveaway??

Also, would you prefer the VersePack or Verse Book?

(And if you would like to win this for someone other than yourself, please be sure to share the name you would like personalized. You can even hop over to Verse-ability and pick your favorite color and format. If you could pick one ~ which would it be??)

RULES: Starts today, Monday, February 7th, 2011 and ends Thursday, February 10th at 9 PM. Winner will be contacted via e-mail.

Extra Entries:

•Post this Giveaway on FB
•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.

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".

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a life-giving, Truth-filled week!

P.S. A HUGE THANKS to Darlene for your very generous GIVEAWAY gift! I love, love, love being able to share TRUTH with others. Thanks, Darlene, for making this possible! :) May God bless you for your generosity and graciousness! :)

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