Friday, July 29, 2011

Rest for My Weary, Empty Soul

Anybody weary??

Or feeling dangerously close to empty today??

Personally, this week, I reached the "stick a fork in me, I'm done" stage.

After a full month with kids stuff, plus a bazillion camps & activities, not to mention
fun brainstorming sessions, big decisions with Jake, the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina (and super late nights while I was there), and an exciting project I can't wait to tell you about (only God!)....

I reached empty. Ugh.

Sunday night, soon after getting off the plane, hugging everybody, and collapsing in my comfy purple chair, I was ready for a big long nap....EXCEPT....

....we were leaving bright an early in the morning for 4 days at a lakeside cottage.

Everything in me just wanted to stay in my jammies all day (have you been there before too?)...

....but this beautiful cottage was waiting for us...

My husband John's friend invited our family to stay at his cottage (for free!). Just our little family while his family was away. What a huge blessing! :)

Thankfully John had everyone packed (but me) when I got home from my trip ~ so I scooped all my heels and jackets and business cards out of my suitcase, and plopped in tank tops, bathing suits and flip flops.

And we were off!

Here is a quick photo recap of my week unplugged

(Yes ~ no TV, no internet, no screens ~ except my new little iPhone that sometimes had a signal....)

* Tubing

* Fishing (not that I went anywhere near the fish, but everyone else did!)

*Loving on my gang....

* Joking with John :) (I warned him this was going on the blog!)

And yes, I did manage to find some quiet time to work on my "scripts". :)

I'm so thankful that Jesus offers rest for our weary souls.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Matthew 11:28 AMP

I know life doesn't always allow for us to refresh at a lakeside cottage (if only!) ~ so here's what I've learned to do when my "low fuel" light is warning me to pull over and fill up!!


Pull over for a pit stop! Pay attention to the symptoms (weariness, short temperedness, craving coffee, etc...) and just stop.

2. Spend time with Jesus

Sometimes when John has come home, I've literally I've run out the door with my Bible and made a beeline for the local bookstore. To fill up, I must spend time with Jesus in prayer, and digging into the Word.

3. Examine my Schedule/Priorities/To-Do List

Am I using my new favorite word "or", or have I overextended myself?

Does something need to go from my schedule?? Are my priorities in order??

4. Allow God to fill me back up (& stay in His care until He's done so!)

Of course, everyone is different. Personally, I fill up by being alone with God, renewing my mind with Truth, and some good 1:1 with time with loved ones, where I can just "be" and not have to "do, do, do".

5. Pay attention to Self Care

Am I eating well? Resting? Drinking water? Getting exercise??

I am learning that self care is crucial (and not selfish), but critical to living as the rest-full, joy-filled woman God has created me to be.

So how about for you??

How do you fill up when you are starting to feel empty? Weary? Discouraged from life's demands?? I'd love to hear from you (please!).

May we learn from one another and have tips & techniques ready for when our "tank" starts heading towards "low fuel"!

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

P.S. The winner of the Ann Voskamp giveaway is Lora (please send me your mailing info, Lora)! Thank you to all who entered! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Home! She Speaks Update (& Ann Voskamp Giveaway!)

Woo Hoo! What an amazing time I had at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference!

I have lots of fun highlights and insights to share ~ b
ut for today I am anxious to hang with my family (here we are right before I left for She Speaks. Aren't they precious?!)

Needless to say, the insights will have to wait...but I couldn't resist sharing a quick photo recap of my week...

Here I am with the day before my trip with my dear friends ~ Jennie Dimkoff, Carol Kent, and Bonnie Emmorey. We had a wonderful day of brainstorming, encouragement, and prayer in beuatiful Pentwater, Michigan!

On Thursday, my flight to North Carolina was less than ideal, but my friend Erin and I did have a blast celebrating when my lost luggage was finally found! Woo Hoo! :)

Once I arrived at the She Speaks Conference, I had the opportunity to connect with many ion-line friends like Sarah Thomas, Natalie Flake, and Melody Hester.

It's always fun to see my West Michigan friends and Kathy Bruins and Kim de blecourt.

It was also a blessing to officially meet Jen from Finding Heaven and Amy Sullivan. We've been on-line friends for awhile now ~ what fun to finally hang out (even if it was until late into the night!)

My speaker evaluation time was fun! I loved getting to know my group leader Karen Ehman and the other 11 talented women from all across the United States! What an amazing opportunity!!

Another highlight was hearing the great keynote speakers! We were blessed to hear powerful messages from Lysa TerKeurst, Renee Swope, Micca Campbell and Ann Voskamp.

I have loved Ann's book One Thousand Gifts.
Reading this book has encouraged, inspired, and empowered me to live with my hands wide open. I want to live a life of gratitude!

And I'd love to share a copy of Ann's book with you so you can too!

To Win my "One Thousand Gifts" Giveaway:

Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

Why would you like to win a copy of "One Thousand Gifts"??

RULES: Starts today, Monday, July 25th and ends Friday, July 29th at 9 PM. Winner will be contacted via e-mail.

Extra Entries:

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

P.S. I'm linking up today with Jen and friends at Soli Deo Gloria. Be sure to check out this amazing sisterhood of women! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My 'Body Image' Journey: On Live Radio

Hey Friends! I'm hopping on a plane in a matter of hours for She Speaks ~ and haven't even started packing yet. Yikes!

Enjoy this repost from last year. It's an oldie but a goodie. :)

The link to the radio show is still active, and I love celebrating the healing journey God has brought me through. We can live victorious in our struggles with body image ~ we really can!

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, July 18, 2011

Warriors Not Wimps!

West Michigan friends ~ "Monday's with Beth Moore" is TONIGHT ~ Monday, July 18th and YOU are invited! Come join the fun! :)

Hey Friends!

I hope you are ready for a GREAT week!!

Personally, I am waist high in a number of "God-sized" projects! I can't wait to fill you in on the details...for now, just imagine me praying like crazy as I write and type and rearrange my "Red Hot for Jesus" material into eight 20-30 minute teachings!

Also, imagine my anxiety levels RISING as I write these "scripts" ~ this time not for my Monday night girls (whom I adore!) ~ but for the camera. Ahhhh! Only God!

Not to metion...imagine all of my insecurities being fully bared as I turn in these scripts to a gifted video/publishing team! I said to my husband John last night, "If you haven't already, will you please start praying God will give me thicker skin?!"

How I long to be the woman God desires for me to be ~ not an insecure, shy, comfort-craving frazzled crazy woman! You too?! :)

May I ask for your prayers, my sweet friends?

I try not to ask too often (mostly when John lost his job, a serial arsonist was in our neighborhood, Tom nearly died from a heart attack, and our home was infested with lice).

But this week is one of those weeks!!

Would you pray for my writing project? Please pray I meet my deadlines (which are SOON!). Please pray God guides ALL of my writing, and that I look more and more like Jesus through this process, that this "project" would bear much Kingdom fruit, and lives would be transformed around the world, for His Name sake alone (and that I would not allow my fears and insecurities to get in the way any more!)

Also, Wednesday I've been invited to spend the day with Carol Kent and her two amazing sisters. Would you please pray God meets us in our meeting and that His perfect will is accomplished? :)

And then Thursday I fly out to head to the She Speaks Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can't wait to see Erin Leyen, meet 600 new friends and learn a ton! Woo Hoo!!

Thankfully, this morning I came across a commissioning statement tucked away in my Bible written by Beth Moore. I saved it for days just like this.

I pulled out the commissioning statement and prayed it aloud in faith. Boy did it help!

And now, dear ones, 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 talk, being the perfect size, having a perfect house, 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 and packing. 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 week!! God's richest blessings to you~

P.S. I'm linking up today with Jen and friends at Soli Deo Gloria. Be sure to check out this amazing sisterhood of women! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Hey friends!

Is it Thursday already?? Wow! What a full week! I'm exhausted (anybody else??)...but filled with such gratitude and joy!

I couldn't decide on one thing to share for Thankful, instead...

Here's my Thankful Thursday Top 5 list! :)

1. My dear friends Jeremy and Erica Simpson survived this car accident.

Many of you know the Simpson's are such special friends of mine and amazingly gifted worship leaders. (Remember when Erica and I did this?)

Thankfully everyone involved in Monday's accident is alive and well. Praise the Lord!

You can read more about the accident, and Erica (and perhaps Jeremy, depending on how he is feeling) will be sharing of God's faithfulness in the midst of this scary situation at our Bible study this Monday, July 18th.

My girls have been thanking God every night for protecting Mr. Jeremy & Mrs. Erica. Me too!!!

2. My son Jake

You may remember last week was a hard week for Jake. Many of you have sent notes of prayer and encouragement. Thank you so very much!).

Jake is taking the news (and disappointment) very well. On the night of the final decision ~ Jake shared how he felt, listened, went fishing, and was home by curfew. What a mature young man! And I am so very thankful!

Tomorrow Jake turns 17. Wow! I thank God every day for the gift of being his mom! :)

3. I'm healthy! My family is healthy!! Woo Hoo!! This makes me want to jump for Joy!! :)

4. I'm thankful for the transformation God has done in my life!

(If you've never heard my story, a recap is here.)

I cannot wait to tell you about some of the exciting projects that God is orchestrating. You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Trust me, ONLY GOD!!

This I know for sure....there is no one too far gone, not only does God redeem us He gives us a brand new reputation, and He delights in showing us His power.

I'll keep you posted as I can. It's SO FUN and just like God!!

5. Rest & Renewal

I love having the opportunity to share God's Truth, goodness, and faithfulness with others ~ but today I am thankful my schedule is free this weekend.

My commitment to my famiy is that I will only be gone one night per week (Monday nights).

Unfortunately, one week I was gone 2 nights, and this is what I found in my little Sarah's bed the next morning....

She had gone to bed with my Chuck E Cheese picture next to her pillow!! Talk about breaking my heart!

I'm thankful that this weekend I can rest, hang out with my family, celebrate, pick up Benj from camp, pull weeds, and just "hang out" (and do some intense studying/praying while everyone is at sleeping).

I'm also thankful to serve a God who cares about our "whole being" ~ physically, emotionally, and spiritually...and leads us beside quiet waters to restore our soul!!!

What about for you, friend?? What are you Thankful for Today?? I'd love to hear from you!!!

I'm also thanking God for YOU and asking Him to bless you and fill your life with His inexpressible, glorious joy!!

Blessings to you!!

My Favorite "Back to School" Shopping Tip

Hey Friends ~

I have a GREAT new "Back to School"/School Supplies Shopping Tip that I'm excited to share with you!

A few years ago I brought my gang to
Target to grab some of their amazing school supplies deals. It ended up being stressful, exhausting and overwhelming!!!

What was supposed to be a quick "grab some quick deals" ended up being a huge "whine fest". I left with a cart full of things I had planned to buy AND a huge headache!

We now have a new joy-filled, peaceful tradition!

Each summer, I start grabbing all of the
amazing school deals as I can (but I go shopping on my own!).

Just a few weeks before school starts, I open my "Back to School" Store. I give all of my kids the supplies list they received from school, as well as a checklist of responsibilites to accomplish that day (empty out backpack, fill backpack with new supplies, etc..)

Last year my 4 kids were all ready for new backpacks, so their first stop at my "store" was to select a new back pack (of course, I had already pre-bought the backpacks).

This way I didn't have to argue with them about why I wouldn't buy a "Hannah Montana" backpack (or whatever).

Next the kids would walk through my store, select the supplies they needed, and highlight their sheet as they put them in their backpack. It works like a charm!!

Any extra supplies I save to either donate to their classrooms, or for mid-year when they need new glue sticks, pencils, etc..

And yes, I also have my son Jake (who will be a senior in high school) play along (just not on the same day as my 3 elementary age kids). A few years ago Jake waited until the NIGHT BEFORE school started to realize he needed new stuff. We spent almost $100 on supplies, and waited in loooong lines at the supply store. Never again!!

This week is a perfect week to start your "Back to School" stash. Check out these great deals!

How do you get ready for Back to School?? I'd love to hear from you!!! And For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head over to We Are That Family. You'll be glad you did!

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

P.S. I'm also linking up with The Mommy Club @ Crystal and Co. Be sure to stop by and check out these great Mommy Resources! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday's with Beth Moore ~ Come Join Us!

A special word of thanks for your kind words of encouragement and prayers after I shared my hard "mothering moment" last week. Y'all bless me more than you know! Thank you! :)

For my West Michigan Friends...

If you've been reading *She Sparkles* very long, you know I love our Magnificent Monday Bible Study!

This summer, we are switching from our "normal" Monday night teaching routine and hosting "Monday's with Beth". We have powerful teachings from one of our all-time favorite Bible teachers, Beth Moore, and I can't wait to share them with you!!

We will be meeting 3 times this summer (the 3rd Monday of every month), and our next gathering is almost here~

* next Monday, July 18th!

This month's teaching is called "Pressing On". It's awesome!! Beth's teaching is powerful, funny, and full of life application.

Now in case you've never seen "Beth in action", here's a little clip of this amazing, dynamic, gifted teacher. Here is her powerful "Hair Brush" story ~

Our "Monday's with Beth" teachings do not build on one another, so if you can't come to all of the teachings ~ don't worry ~ just come on the Monday's you can!!

Whether you are a new believer, have been studying the Bible your whole life, or still trying to figure this whole "Jesus thing" out ~ we would love to have you join us!

We'll start Monday night, July 18th at 7:00 PM at Sunshine Church in the Sunshine Room .

We'll begin with worship led by the amazing Erica Simpson, plus have testimonies, etc.. The teaching is 1 hour in length, and then we’ll have time for food & fellowship afterwards....Yum!!

Come as you are, bring your Bible, and sit back and get ready to dig deep in the Word. No homework. No cost. Regardless of your church home, all women are welcome!!

What do you have planned for your "3rd Monday's of the Month" this summer?? Why not call a friend, drive out together to Sunshine, and join the FUN!! We would love to see you there!!

What are your summer Bible study plans?? I'd love to hear from you! :)

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. Have an AMAZING, joy-filled week!!

God's richest blessings to you~

P.S. Just for fun...I'd love to hear your favorite Beth Moore quote, Bible study, learned life lesson (whether or not you'll be joining us on Monday's). How has God blessed you through Beth Moore?? Share with us please!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The "GR Massacre", Crushing My Son's Dreams, (& other Random Updates)

If you haven't had a chance to enter my Mary DeMuth parenting book giveaway, it's not too late. You have until Monday, July 11th to enter!

What a sad, tragic day in my city yesterday!

You may have heard in Grand Rapids about the shootings, car chases, hostages, and eventual suicide of the perpetrator late last night (now being called "
The Grand Rapids Massacre".

My husband John and I were one of 14,000+ tuned in to police scanners (and Twitter) to follow the events first hand. Please be in prayer for the victims, families, police, and overall sense of security & safety of our great town.

Dramatic pictures from the Grand Rapids tragedy here

On a more personal note...many of you know my son Jake's love for hockey (and my passion for being a "hockey mom").

Jake's first word was "hockey" (I'm not kidding), and since that time his days have been filled with games, practices, traveling, and lots of time at the rink!

Last week we received the incredible news that Jake's hard work, commitment and skill payed off!!! He made a AAA travel Midget Majors team
. It would be a wonderful, great step towards his dreams of playing college hockey. Woo Hoo!

HOWEVER....this team is quite expensive (a lot of money!). They travel nationwide (i.e. Texas, Canada, etc..). The rink is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan (1 hour away), and Jake would be gone every weekend, including Sunday (no church). Ugh.

Jake had a week to process it, weigh the decision, think things through before he needed to sign a contract. We tried to remind him of missing out on fun senior stuff, etc... Jake had his mind on one thing ~ his dream.

Our family prayed. We sought Godly counsel. We prayed more. We tried to think about the BEST, most Godly decision (
this helped). Jake sought his hockey mentor. John and I talked about this decision for days!

Finally yesterday, (the day he had to sign the contract) I went to Jake and told him I couldn't sign the parent part of the contract. I gently shared my reasonings, and reminded him of my love and commitment to him and our family.

Jake said he felt like "he was watching his dreams get crushed right before him".

It was a hard parenting day (one of my hardest in almost 17 years!), and definitely a day when being a mom is not fun. Ugh.

Have you ever had to share a hard "no" with someone when saying "yes" would have been much easier (and the more popular choice)? Any words of wisdom for me? Please??

Lastly, one a more positive note, our family has been putting our new coping strategies to use! I'm grateful to hear from your comments it's helped you too!

Our good friend Nick (and graphic designer extraordinaire) made a copy for us grown ups to have too, and it looks awesome! I have Nick's permission to share it with you! If you'd like a copy of our 9 Coping Strategies just leave me your email address and I'll send a pdf file right over to you! (It's beautiful ~ suitable for framing).

Whew! What a looong week! I'm ready for some "R & R" this weekend! How 'bout you???

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! I thank God for you!

P.S. For more Caffeinated Randomness, head over to visit Michelle and friends. Be sure to tell them Cindy sent you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Can Raise Courageous & Confident Kids (& GIVEAWAY)

My friend recently tweeted, "Parenting is the hardest thing ever"

I wanted to shout a hearty "Amen!"

Although I LOVE being a mom and thank God for my 4 kids every day, it is by far the hardest job I've ever had. Some days I feel like I am getting the hang of it, and other days I wish I could have a personal manual with specific details on how to do this best. Thus the reason I'm continually on the lookout for new resources to help me on my parenting journey!

Imagine my delight when one of my favorite novelists, Mary DeMuth, announced she was willing to share copies of her book, "You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids".

I had the opportunity to meet with Mary De Muth at the She Speaks Conference last summer.

Mary is a tremendously gifted speaker, novelist, author and mom ~ and I couldn't wait to hear her thoughts on parenting and preparing our kids for the world they live in!

Here's a brief intro to "You Can Raise Courageous & Confident Kids" ~

With sensitivity and a passion to help families experience authentic, life–changing relationships with God, mother of three Mary DeMuth reveals effective ways for parents to communicate with and encourage their kids. Practical ideas and illustrations guide parents to develop strong family connections, learn along with their children, and create a safe haven for kids to explore their worlds.

This unique resource offers everyday moms and dads the tools and encouragement they need to inspire great confidence and deep faith in their kids for all they’ll encounter in the world today.

Can I just tell you....I loved this book! It was filled with very practical examples, stories, tips and strategies. One of my favorite quotes was Mary's thoughts on "play". Mary shares...

"Adults embracing play is a lot like kids taking a bath. They never want to take one, but once they are in the tub, you can't coax them out until they're cold and wrinkled. I often shy away from play. Many times I fail in this area; many times my children beg me to play, but I don't. But once I jump into play, I never want to leave."

Can anyone else relate??? I thought of this quote tonight as I headed out to play at the park. And Mary was right...once I started climbing on the monkey bars with the kids ~ I was having a blast!

You can read more from this helpful book here and visit Mary's website here

Reading this book has encouraged, inspired, and empowered me to make specific changes in my parenting journey. And I am thankful! I want to be Raise Courageous and Confident Kids! And I'd love to share a copy of the resource with you so you can too!

To Win my "You Can Raise Courageous & Confident Kids" Giveaway:

Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

Why would you like to win a copy of "You Can Raise Courageous & Confident Kids"??

RULES: Starts today, Thursday, July 7th and ends Monday, July 11th at 9 PM. Winner will be contacted via e-mail.

Extra Entries:

•Follow *She Sparkles*
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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*! God's richest blessings to you!

Let's all head outside and play! :)

P.S. For more Things I Love Thursday ideas, hop on over to visit Jill @ The Diaper Diaries!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Coping Strategies for the Frazzled Woman

Hey Friends ~

I'm not sure who called "Summer" a "Vacation" ~ but my sense is, it wasn't a mom!

When do the "lazy days of summer" begin??

(And yes, someone please sign me up!)

I'll be painfully honest...I've been wrestling with maintaining my "joy" in the midst of having a house full of kids home this summer.

I wake up and have grand ideas of fun family play time, fantastic field trips, a home filled to the brim with harmony, peace, joy and laughter....but then reality hits....and it's not nearly as delightful.

Instead I feel like a referee, police officer, Molly Maid, personal chef, and game organizer. I'm exhuasted and frazzled and ready for "plan B".

Can anyone else relate??

One of my precious little ones is meeting with a therapist for some extra help this summer.

Last week she spent her session learning "coping strategies" ~ her mini toolbox of tips to pull from when she's faced with a difficult situation.

Thankfully one of her homework assignments was to copy the strategies and hang them all over the house. The more I've studied these coping strategies, I've decided I am going to be more proactive and put them to use in my life too!!!

**Here are my Top Ten Coping Strategies for the Frazzled Woman**

(adopted from my daughter's list)

1. Deal with your feelings

It's ok (and very helpful/healthy) to share, "I feel......".

Our feelings are our feelings and we need to get them out in healthy, safe ways. And yes, we now use the feelings chart in our home (a lot!)

How are YOU feeling today???

2. Think about the good side

I'm choosing to think on thoughts that are good, healthy and positive. Philippians 4:8 (MSG) has been wonderful to reflect on...

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

3. Focus on what can and can’t be changed

4. Nobody’s perfect

That's freeing, isn't it? I don't have to be a perfect mom/wife/woman (and you don't either!)

5. Take a break

I've used this "tool" a lot over the 4th weekend. Yesterday John and I decided it'd be best for me to stay home from a 4th activity so I could "take a break" before another full week. As hard as it was to miss out on fun, I knew it was best. I slept for 3 hours. I'm learning Moms need breaks too.

6. One step at a time

7. Take care of yourself

The other day while 3 kids were at camp, I made my daughter go with me to the gym so I could get some exercise. Of course, she revolted the whole way ~ but made it (really...going to a gym where you get to play Wii is not that bad!).

I felt VICTORIOUS! It was great to model "Mom needs to take care of herself too"

How will you take care of yourself today???

8. Plan ahead

I'm learning that it is very helpful to plan ahead, but then to hold the plan loosely.

9. Ask for help

Aren't you glad we don't have to journey alone? Who are your 3 people that you could call at 4 AM in the morning and they'd help you in a heartbeat? We all need those people!

10. Pray! (Added by me!)

After my 3 hour nap yesterday, it was GREAT to go for a long prayer walk and lift all of my concerns/needs/worries to God! I'm leaning hard on Him and His Word as I learn how to "cope" with the lazy crazy days of summer!

How about for you? What coping strategies do you have in your "tool belt"? How do you live "frazzle free"? I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a Terrific Tuesday!!

P.S. One of my good friends (and graphic designers) turned this list into a pdf file. If you'd like a copy, send me your email and I'll send a copy right to you!

P.P.S. I'm linking up today with Jen and friends at Soli Deo Gloria. Be sure to check out this amazing sisterhood of women! :)

And for more great Top Ten lists, hop over and visit Oh Amanda!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

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