Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Randomness (& Voting Update)

Hello dear Bloggy Friends! :)

Happy Tuesday to you! I hope your Memorial Day weekend has been filled with many good things!

After weeks of feeling miserable, I'm pleased to share we had a GREAT weekend. (It is so good to feel well again!) Here are some quick Memorial Day weekend highlights...

* John and I had a date night while my mom kept all the kids for a sleep over.

I sure love my man! (and thanks, Mom!)

* We spent Sunday night with our good friends the Torresson's. You may remember, Tom Torresson nearly lost his life a few years ago (miracle story here), and I cried for weeks last fall when they moved to PA. It was our first time together since they've moved ~ and we had a blast :)

(Picture above ~ Me, Jen Torresson, Lora Grabow, and Steph Bergsma. I love watching how God orchestrates our lives together)

* Lastly, after a fun Memorial Day parade and family cookout...

~ we enjoyed our new family surprise ~ a TRAMPOLINE from Grandma and Grandpa Stille. Woo Hoo!

Yes, if you live in my neighborhood, you may see my red hair bouncing up and down over our fence. What fun!

(Does anyone have any good trampoline games to play??)

* Voting Update

As many of you know, Circle of Friends is hosting a contest for Top 25 Mom's of Faith blog.

I have to confess ~ I've been really wrestling with the whole thing, and I've prayerfully decided to pull out of the competition today.

(I am THANKFUL for my friends who have been so kind in posting on FB and asking others to vote on my behalf. I'm so humbled by your support).

I started this blog to point others to Jesus, and want to make sure my one and only focus is ALWAYS pointing anyone and everyone to HIM ~ and not me. (I am NOT judging anyone who is participating in this fun competition. For me personally, I just sense I need to pull out).

So, if you have voted for me ~ thank you so much! :) And thanks for understanding! :)

And lastly, one of my favorite, fun little quotes...

"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says..."Oh no, she/he's awake!!"

Do you have a favorite quote/scripture/word of encouragement? Share it with us...please! :)

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a safe, joy-filled first week of June!

Many 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! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Family Fun

If you haven't signed up for my Carol Kent Speak Up with Confidence GIVEAWAY, it's not too late! Be sure to join the fun!

I have a confession to make.

I've never celebrated Memorial Day

I didn't even think about it until earlier this week. I was with
Jill, and she asked what our family was doing this weekend.

When I shared (besides having a BBQ with
Jen and friends), I didn't know ~ Jill was in shock.

She said, "Cindy, you mean you celebrate EVERY holiday ~ even
Groundhogs Day ~ but you don't celebrate Memorial Day?!"

I guess when you put it like that ~ it is a little crazy! Especially when
4th of July is one of my favorite holidays ~ and I have enough red,white, and blue decorations for our whole street!

This week I have been on a quest to come up with a memorable, honoring, fun Memorial Day celebration.

**Here's our New & Improved Memorial Day Celebration Plan**

This weekend we will be.....

* Discussing the
True Meaning of Memorial Day

* Decorating our home with Red, White, and Blue (Amazing ideas
from Tip Junkie)

* Hanging up our American flag (using Memorial Day flag etiquette) and taking a moment of silence at 3:00 PM.

* Heading to a parade~ one of my favorite pasttimes ever! (West Michigan parades listed here)

* Visiting a local cemetary

* Thanking a soldier

In case it rains, we can do.....

* Patriotic crafts ~ideas here or here or here

* Coloring Sheets, Word Searches, Mazes ~ here or here

Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday without BINGO with red, white, and blue M & M's ~ here

* And for our Memorial Day cookouts, here are some of my favorite simple kid-friendly food ideas I cook up...

* Red and blue finger jello (star shaped, of course)

* Cupcakes for the kids (Fun Recipe
here and here)

* Flag cake (Recipe here) Always a huge hit!

And I can hardly wait to try some of these BBQ recipe ideas!

Whew ~ now I'm ready to head into this Memorial Day weekend! :)

Do you have any tradition or family fun ideas to honor Memorial Day?? Share with us please ~ I'd love to hear from you!!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a safe, joy-filled Memorial Day weekend!

Many blessings to you!!

P.S. Would you please take a quick second to vote for my blog so I can share with more women? All you do is click the button below, scroll down to *She Sparkles* and click on the orange thumb. Thank you!!

P.S.S. For more Caffeinated Randomness, head over to visit Michelle and friends. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Speak Up with Confidence (& Carol Kent Book GIVEAWAY!)

Hi Friends! I'm curious...so what is it you are most afraid of??

For me, I join the millions of people in the world with a fear of public speaking.

When I was little, I wet my pants at school often because I was too afraid to raise my hand in class. The thought of everyone looking at me was just too much for this shy, insecure, red haired little girl.

After I came to know Jesus, I sensed the Lord wanted me to share my testimony for His Kingdom purposes.

I was terrified.

In 2003, I heard for the first time about Carol Kent's Speak Up with Confidence Seminar. I knew I should go (if I was going to speak in front of people, I should at least have the tools to do so more effectively).

However, the thought of going to this seminar TERRIFIED me, and I chickened out.

Finally in 2007, I knew I must face my fears and insecurities and attend Speak Up.

Can I just tell you....Speak Up with Confidence changed my life. Literally.

I vowed I'd never allow FEAR to hold me back from what God is calling me to do.

From the messages Carol and her team share, to the empowering workshops, the opportunity to meet gracious women from around the country, and the encouragement received in a small group setting ~ God has used Speak Up in very significant, transformational ways.

Most importantly, Speak Up with Confidence has given me tools not only to help me grow as a speaker, but to develop as the woman that God desires for me to be.

If I had all of the resources in the world, I would fund every single woman I know to attend Speak Up with Confidence in Grand Rapids this June 22 -25!

Whether you sit in PTO meetings, share at your MOPS group, attend a Bible study, or simply want to be more comfortable talking in front of others ~ I think everyone can benefit from the prinicples Carol and her team share at this amazing conference.

You can learn more about the details of Speak Up with Confidence here. You will LOVE it! (And please don't allow expenses to hold you back ~ there are scholarship dollars available to help ~ contact Bonnie for more information.)

I'll be there again this year, this time as a facilitator and workshop presenter. Woo Hoo! I would love to see you there! :)

Also, for any *She Sparkles* friend that signs up, please write *She Sparkles* in the memo line, and Carol will present you with a personally autographed copy of her book Speak Up with Confidence.

And now, dear bloggy friends, whether you are able to attend the conference or not ~ I would love to give you a personally signed, autographed copy of this resourceful book!

To Win my Speak Up with Confidence book Giveaway: Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

Why would you like to win Carol Kent's book Speak Up with Confidence??

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, May 26th and ends Monday, May 30th at 9 PM. Winner will be posted on my blog during the week of June 1st.

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 these fun words shared by Carol Kent....

"(At the Speak Up Seminar) we won't remove your butterflies entirely; we'll just get them to fly in formation."

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

P.S. For more Things I Love Thursday ideas, hop on over and visit Jill at The Diaper Diaries. :)

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this review (I just love the Speak Up Seminar!) and, as always, all opinions expressed in this post are fully my own.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A little help from my friends :)

My dear *She Sparkles* friends ~

Circle of Moms is hosting the opportunity to vote for your favorite Mom of Faith blog.

As a former "single mom", then married "working mom", now "stay-at-home mom" with 4 kids ~ I would be humbled and honored to be considered in the running for this Mom of Faith award.

(Voting started almost a week ago, so my little *She Sparkles* blog has a looong way to go.)

Please know ~ my greatest desire is to serve an audience of One. I am intentional about not using *She Sparkles* to make a profit, toot my own horn, or serve my own agenda.

I'm just a simple girl who lived an extremely defeated life, sampled the "smorgasboard of life", nearly lost my life (literally!), and has now fallen head over heels in love with Jesus.

I love sharing my Faith, while having a BLAST with LIFE (especially as a MOM) along the way!

And to think that this voting process could lead others to my blog makes me smile from ear to ear!! In fact, if you are here for the first time, WELCOME!!

I hope you'll check out my testimony (
here) or some of my favorite posts (here, here, or here). I am so glad you stopped by!

And, dear bloggy friends, if you have been inspired at all by *She Sparkles* and would like to vote, I would love your help.

There's no monetary prize to be won, just recognition for a job well done. You can click on the link below and vote here...


Once you click on the link, you can vote by clicking the orange "thumbs up" button next to the name of your favorite blog. You can vote once per blog every 24 hours. You can vote once per day until June 5th if you'd like. What fun!

(While you are at Circle of Moms, be sure to check out some of the other amazing blogs represented there ~ including my friends Julie, Kimberly, & Teri Lynne to name a few)

! You can vote for different blogs on different days, so be sure to share the love! What an awesome, inspirational list!)

Lastly, please know the friendships and encouragement I have received from YOU ~ dear friends ~ has made the *She Sparkles* experience so much fun!! You inspire me to look for JOY in the midst of my everyday "life as a mom" living. And that's the greatest award of all!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*!! May your day be filled with God's richest blessings!!!

P.S. How will you celebrate the Memorial Day this year? I'll be sharing our new Memorial Day ideas later this week! I'd love to hear your plans as well!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Fun-Day!

After a loooong couple of weeks, my ear is FINALLY starting to feel better! Thanks for all your sweet notes and prayers! Y'all are the best! :)

Can I let you in on a little personal secret?? Are you ready for this??

I like to name my days.

Whew. I said it. Crazy, I know. :)

You'd think now that I'm in my 40's, I might be getting to old for it. Nope.

It all started when I was a stay-at-home mom to 4 young kids.

By young kids, I mean I had a newborn, 1 year old, 2 year old & 10 year old (travel hockey player). My days were long, redundant, filled with changing diapers, feeding kids, changing more diapers, going to the ice rink, nap time, laundry, and changing more diapers. Can anyone relate?

We had our hands full ~ literally!

I knew I had to be intentional in finding the joy in my days, and making every ordinary day extraordinary ~ so I started to name my days.

Monday's became Magnificent Monday's!

Tuesday's were Terrific Tuesday's!

Wednesday's were Wonderful or Wacky (somedays I'd serve breakfast for supper, & supper for breakfast ~ pretty wacky, I know!) or just plain Weird Wednesday's.

Thursday's were Thankful or Thrilling.

And Friday's were Fantastic, Fun, Family days, Field Trip Friday's...you get the drift.

The best part ~ I rediscovered my joy :) ~ and 7 years later, I still name my days!

Last year I took my gang out for a "Mystery Monday", and while we were at lunch, my then 15 year old son Jake said, "I know what today is Mom. It's a Monday Funday!"

Made my mama heart smile big!

So today is Monday Funday! Whether you are a mom, single woman, dad, wife, grandma, student, or teacher ~ let's make today be filled with a TON OF FUN!

I'm off to make a Fun Plan for when my kids get off the bus. I think it will include sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, an obstacle course, pizza for supper, and ice cream sundaes.

What can you do to make Monday a fun day? I'd love to hear from you!!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May your week be filled with an abundance of joy!

P.S. Want to start your mornings off right?? Take a listen to this new Mandisa song. We love it! We start our days dancing in the hallways to this song! Too much fun! :)

P.S. I'm linking up today with Laura @ Playdates with God. God is ultimately the One who helped me rediscover my joy in parenting! :) Head on over her way for more Ultimate playdate ideas!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

God WILL Make A Way (& Tasty Tuesday too!)

Hi Friends!

Happy Tuesday to you! Hope you've had a Terrific day! :)

As you may remember, I have been fighting a horrible ear infection. Yesterday I was so discouraged ~ not to mention painfully uncomfortable! I knew I needed to get into my ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) for relief ~ but they didn't have an opening until next week Thursday! Ugh!

To make a long story short ~ I went to my regular doctor yeterday afternoon. She confirmed my pain and said I had ruptured my ear drum. After posting a cry for help (and prayer) on FB, I called my ENT once again, pleaded and begged, and they worked me in this morning at 9:45 AM. Woo Hoo! (and Thank You, God for making a way!)

Although getting a tube in my ear this morning was PAINFUL, and I'm still very uncomfortable today ~ I am hoping to be back to my "normal self" soon! Yippee!

More good news ~ my son Jake had to make a complete family dinner for his Food class at the high school. Yum!

So tonight, rather than our typical Tuesday Taco Bar, it was a different Tasteful Tuesday route!

Here's a quick photo recap (Jake had to document it all for his class).

First he had to set the table, complete with a center piece.

Jake's menu consisted of hamburgers and BBQ chicken on the grill...

...plus fresh fruit, chips and fresh salsa (a kid after my own heart)....

...and my favorite, quick & easy, Southwest Layered Salad...

Here's the yummy recipe....

5-Minute Southwest Layered Salad

6 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained (or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
3/4 cup Salsa
1/2 cup Mexican Style Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
1 cup broken tortilla chips

Arrange lettuce in bottom of glass serving bowl or on a serving plate.

Layer beans, corn, salsa, and cheese evenly over top.
Drizzle with dressing; top with chips. Enjoy!

Thanks, Jake, for our wonderful dinner and for taking good care of your sick mama today!

What's for dinner at your house tonight?? I'd love to hear your Tasty Tuesday ideas!!

And for more great recipes, head over to Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie, and Tuesday's at the Table recipe exchanges. What fun!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Kind of Tree Are You??

If you haven't signed up for my "Weird" Giveaway, it's not too late! Please join the fun! :)

Ever feel discouraged, defeated, and desperate for relief??

Unfortunately that's me these days. :(

I've had a horribly painful ear infection since last week, and I'm just miserable.

I prayed all last night for an opening to get into my ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist). I called first thing this morning and the earliest I can be seen is next Thursday. Ugh.

Rather than lament in my misery, today I want to share something light, encouraging, and fun. I decided to revisit the Tree Test ~ one of my favorites :)

Want to play along?? Give it a try quick here (it only takes a quick second).

Here's my Tree Test results...

You Are Charming and Energetic

You are a cheerful, funny person. You are in love with the whole world.

You are spontaneous and enthusiastic. You're up for anything, especially adventure!

You are outrageous and sometimes even shocking. You can't help it... you're just being yourself.

You are curious about everything and have many interests. If something interests you, you investigate it.

These tests always crack me up! :) Do you think this describes me (on my non-ear infection days)??

This Tree Test is cute, but my greatest desire is to be like the tree described in Psalm 1 NCV:

Happy are those who don't listen to the wicked, who don't go where sinners go, who don't do what evil people do.

They love the Lord's teachings, and they think about those teachings day and night.

They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die.

Everything they do will succeed.

What about you?? What kinds of tree are you?? I'd love to hear your results!!

Have a wonderful, joy-filled week filled with God's richest blessings!!

Blessings to you!!

P.S. I did just get an opening to see my regular doctor this afternoon! Hopefully I'll be back to my "charming and energetic" (or so says the tree) self soon! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

My new favorite book: Weird (& Giveaway)

Have you read any new good life-changing books lately?? :)

A few weeks ago, I took my weary self to my favorite bookstore, and asked God to breathe new life into me. I also prayed that He would guide me to any book that would help encourage, inspire, or teach me new things.

I grabbed a stack of Bibles, and then also picked up the book "Weird" by Craig Groeschel. I hadn't really heard a lot about "Weird" yet ~ but enjoyed Craig's previous book, "the Christian Atheist" ~ so I thought I'd check it out.

Can I just tell you I stayed at the bookstore THE WHOLE DAY and could not put "Weird" down. It's that good! Really.

In case you're wondering what the book is all about, here's the author Criag Groeschel sharing a quick 60 clip on Weird...

My favorite part of Weird...

***You must read Chapter 1, specifically page 33.

Craig writes, "instead of saying 'and' we need to say 'or'. Instead of fried chicken and grilled steak, we can have fried chicken or grilled steak. Instead of soccer practice and guitar lessons, you and your child can pick soccer or guitar. Instead of working late and taking work home, it's one or the other."

Oh, the brilliance in that one little shift in thinking!!

I was trying to be a Proverbs 31 wife and speak at MOPS groups and be an amazing mom and teach a weekly Bible study and blog everyday and walk my dog and meet my friends for coffee and keep up on all my emails and....

You get the drift?? No wonder I crashed and was all "drained out". No wonder!!!Can anyone else relate???

As I shared on my FB page (when I finally left the bookstore that day) my new favorite word is OR! I will pray about doing this OR that....but not both. Woo Hoo!

Reading this book had encouraged, inspired, and empowered me to make specific changes in my life. And I love it! I want to be Weird!

I immediately emailed my friends at Zondervan and they graciously sent 3 copies right over for me to share with you. Woo Hoo!

To Win my Weird Giveaway:

Leave a comment in the comment section answering this question:

Why would you like to win a copy of Weird??

RULES: Starts today, Friday, May 13th and ends Monday, May 16th at 9 PM. Winner will be contacted via e-mail.

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 cindy.bultema@comcast.net with the subject "Giveaway".

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a life-giving, empowered, AMAZING weekend!

P.S. For more Caffeinated Randomness, head over to visit Michelle and friends. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Creating the Best Summer Ever!

If you haven't signed up for my 41st birthday Starbucks giveaway, it's not too late! Please join the fun! :)

Can you believe summer will be here before we know it?

My hope is that Summer 2011 will be filled with much fun, adventure, laughter, creativity, and amazing family times!

I'll be honest...for many years, summer felt random, chaotic and like I was always 1 day behind.

I struggled without having a plan, the kids bickered with each other, I was discouraged, and at the end of summer I would think, "What in the world was that?".

I was convinced there must be a better way to create a season full of joy and family fun! I desired to fully enjoy summer with my kids!

Thankfully, those defeated days of summer are gone! Today I'll share some of what I've learned, and my personal tips on creating the best summer ever for you and your family!

1. Start with the end in mind.

Towards the beginning of each summer vacation (typically in the month of May ~ like right now!), I carve out time to sit down and begin a summer plan.

Sometimes I go away by myself on a "summer planning" overnight, but this year I'm taking a whole day while the kids are at school. Whatever works best ~ but I've found having some concentrated planning time is key.

I take an extra calendar and cut & paste together June, July, and August. I fill in the days of any birthdays, holidays, pre-planned activities, etc. This helps me to look at the summer as a whole.

2. Pray

I pray over our summer. I ask God to fill our days with His plans, His blessings, His opportunities, His joy & peace, etc... I ask Him to lead and guide me as a mom, and for our family to enjoy His gift of rest and refreshment (although summer isn't too restful with 4 kids...but that's another post ~ smile). I commit our summer to Him.

3. Intentional Planning

I spend time reflecting on the following questions...

* What do I want to have accomplished before the kids go back to school? (i.e. trips, home projects, etc..)

* What are 3 Character qualities I want to work on with the kids? What are corresponding Scripture verses to go along with the character traits?

(Last summer we worked on loving kindness in June, generosity in July, and peace in August)

* Are there activities I want to make sure we do (i.e. go to the beach, library, visit grandma, etc..)

* Are there families I want to make sure we invite over for Sundae Night or for supper?

* What could John and I do over the summer to strengthen our marriage? (i.e planning a "mini moon").

* Is there something I could attend to learn and grow? (i.e. this year I'm attending two speaking/writing conferences)

And then, with pencil and/or post-it notes, I take the ideas I've come up with, and begin to add them to our summer calendar. It's fun to watch as the summer begins to take shape!

4. Invite the family to participate.

After I've come up with some things I think would be helpful (I've learned my girls will never pick the museum, and the boys will skip over the library!), I ask for the family to participate.

For example, last spring, I gave an index card to each family member. On one side I asked them to write down something they really want to do during summer (something realistic and inexpensive ~ "go to Disney World" is not allowed!). On the other side, I asked them to think of a family they'd like to invite over.

We then spent time sharing our ideas with each other (common answers were "the beach", "the boat", "swimming"). I took their ideas and added it to our summer calendar. This way, at the end of August, each one of us has been able to participate in activities that are significant and meaningful to us.

I also added the ideas to our "Family Fun Box". This way, we always have things to do if we have a free afternoon and/or evening.

I've learned it's helpful to know what everyone is thinking as soon as possible. John said he'd really like to spend time out on Lake Michigan with the boat. Knowing this at the beginning of summer, I can make sure we keep weekends free to do just that (especially after baseball season is over).

5. Implement the Plan

Once I have more of a sense of what we'd all like to accomplish this summer, I begin to implement the plan.

For us, I try to have 1 day a week that we have a big activity (last year we had "Friday Field Trips"). My son Benj likes to "be home", so it's helpful if he knows on Friday we'll head out for fun, and the other days he can chill around the house.

I can also start making phone calls for play dates, and having family's over for fun! By looking ahead, it allows for plenty of planning time for special occassions ~ including Father's Day, Jake's 16th birthday, our 11 year Anniversary, 4th of July, Benj's birthday, my Mom's birthday, and more! (Lots to celebrate ~ Woo Hoo!!)

6. Be flexible

One summer I came down with a horrible ear infection at the end of July. Most of August I was miserable. Our "Friday Field Trips" went out the window. A good day was a day I could get up and move around pain free.

But you know what...we still had a wonderful summer. The key was being flexible and finding the joy in every day ~ even if our plan was thrown out the window. Knowing that I had committed the summer to God, I could rest in His plan (although it looked much different than I was thinking). God knows what He is doing!!

If you have ever desired more structure to your summer days, you may want to try my Summer Planning Tips.

I know some mom's would prefer to "wing it" and enjoy the lazy days of summer ~ and that's ok too!! However you decide to spend your summer, just be sure to live each moment to the full (even if that's enjoying a quiet moment in a lounge chair reading a book)!

What about for you?? What makes your summer enjoyable, memorable, and fun?? What are your hopes for Summer 2011? I'd love to hear from you!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May your day be filled with much laughter and joy!!!

P.S. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to visit Kristen at We are that Family .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Top 5

If you haven't signed up for my 41st birthday giveaway, it's not too late! Please join the fun! :)

What a crazy month May can be! In addition to baseball games, spring league hockey, school events, and more ~

I'm also in the midst of things like.....

* therapist visits with my daughter,

* a close friend moving to Minnesota (and we all know I hate goodbyes),

* journeying with friends wrestling with health concerns, unemployment issues, family strife

....all while killing the ants that have decided to invade our home (thankfully the exterminator comes tomorrow), and dealing with my new and very painful ear infection. Ouch. What a month!

Anyone else experiencing a little bit of craziness these days??

I am clinging to the words found in
Hebrews 12:2

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

When I take my eyes off of Jesus, and look at the circumstances around me, I easily get overwhelmed!

For today, I will choose to look Up! I will focus on JOY and GRATITUDE! I will not allow my circumstances to get me down!!

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

1. My Birthday

You know me ~ I love to celebrate ~ and my family and friends did such a wonderful job of celebrating me on my birthday yesterday. My mom took the day off from work, so we spent a lot of time together, plus I had coffee with Julie, and then ended the day with a fun family celebration.

Throw in lots of fun surprises left on my doorstep, phone calls, emails, and FB messages ~ I went to bed very grateful and blessed.

2. Being a Mom

True confession....growing up, I never planned to be a mom. And certainly I would have never guessed I'd be the mom of FOUR kids. However, I can't imagine life any other way. I'm so thankful for Jake, Benj, Amanda, and Sarah.

And God knew just what He was doing when He blessed me with such an amazing mom and mother-in-love. I am grateful for their loving example! :)

3. Great Friends

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

I love my standing appointments....like Tuesday's with Jill, Monday morning phone calls with Jen, Friday's with April, and late night Starbucks runs with Julie, not to mention all the FB friends that keep me smiling! I could go on and on....

4. New Ministry Opportunity :)

A few weeks ago I shared about being invited to meet with leaders from a local publishing/video team, and being videotaped so they could see me in action.

Well, yesterday I talked with one of the leaders of this project, and he shared they are very interested in me and would like to move forward. Woo Hoo! :)

What wonderful news to receive on my birthday!

Although I'm not able to share more at this time, and obviously things could change, I would LOVE your prayer support. May God open doors and breathe life and clarity to this new project as only He can.

Can I just tell you I am so absolutely humbled to even be considered for this....and that the thought of serving alongside of these amazing folks makes me cry big crocodile tears. Only God.

(If you're interested in seeing the videotaped message from our Monday Night Bible study, you can watch Part 1 below, and the rest of the message is on my youtube page...)

5. Amazing GRACE

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me (& Giveaway)!

My birthday and my precious family ~ 2007.

Today is my 41st birthday! Woo Hoo!

I'm off to celebrate with family and friends ~ I can't wait to see what the day holds! Just for fun, in honor of my birthday, here are 25 random things about me, with a special $41 Giveaway at the end...

25 Random Things about Cindy ~ (aka "The Birthday Girl")

1. Qdoba is my favorite restaurant. I could eat Mexican food every single day.

2. For my first date with my husband John we went rollerblading.

3. Growing up, I always wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader or a teacher.

4. My dad attended Purdue University when I was little ~ so I lived in the student housing there in Lafayette, Indiana.

5. I loved being an RA (Resident Assistant) at Michigan State University.

6. My first job was at the Quad Movie Theater.

7. I love being a mom :)

8. I spent Easter 2002 in the Sahara Desert. We stayed in a refugee camp (cockroaches and all). (See pic below ~ can you tell which person is me?!)

9. I won my very first (and only) Chili Cook-off
this year. It was my friend Julie's recipe.

10. I lived in Kokomo Indiana from the 4th - 6th grade. I still keep in touch with my best friend from those years (
JJ Stutzman-Landis). I can't believe she's put up with me all of these years! :)

11. In August of 2003, I officiated a wedding. Can you believe it, me?! (I hope they are still married!)

12. I love to CELEBRATE! Especially with colorful table cloths and lots of confetti! Party City
is my favorite party store!

13. I usually read about 4 books at a time. Currently I am reading...Heaven is for Real, Dressed to Kill by Rick Renner, a new Max Lucado book, Weird by Craig Groeschel and more!

14. I go to Starbucks more than I should. My drink of choice - a skinny vanilla latte, extra hot, no foam. My little Sarah likes Starbucks more than me now. She'll say, "Hey Mom...want to go to Starbucks???" How can I resist???

15. I cook dinner every night. I would have never thought I would enjoy it ~ but I do. (Except tonight for my birthday we'll order pizza).

16. I had the opportunity to pass out Samaritans Purse Shoeboxes in Cairo, Egypt in 2003. (Trip highlights here). It was absolutely lifechanging. (Pic below is me in Egypt in a local hospital on the childrens' cancer floor ~ I was pregnant with my little Sarah for this trip).

I would LOVE to go back to Egypt!

17. I gave my life to Jesus Christ in July 1996 (You can read my testimony
here). My life has not been the same since (Praise the Lord!)

18. I am passionate about....Jesus, the Bible, praying, living fully, celebrating life, encouraging others, sharing life with my friends (usually over coffee), and being the best wife and mom I can be.

19. I dream of writing a book someday.

20. My son Jake is much taller than me now. He's only 16. I have to stand on my tip toes to give him a good night kiss.

21. Did I mention I love being a mom???

22. I could spend all day at Schuler Bookstore studying the Bible. Next to my home, it is my favorite place to be.

23. My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11. God's Word has absolutely transformed my life!

24. My husband and I are exact opposites ~ but I couldn't imagine anyone else in the whole wide world I'd rather be married to. God is the perfect match maker!

25. My greatest desire is to point people to Jesus with everything that I think, say, and do. He is my life. I hope to *sparkle* for Him!

I feel so blessed that you made it through all 25 Random Things! Thank you!

In honor of my birthday, I would like to give a $41 gift certificate to Starbucks to one blessed *She Sparkles* friend!

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

What was one new thing you learned about me??

Extra Entries: •Follow *She Sparkles*
•Subscribe to *She Sparkles*
•Add my *She Sparkles* button to your blog
or 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, Monday, May 9th and ends Wednesday, May 11th at 9 PM.

Winner will be posted on my blog sometime during my birthday week. 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".

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. I'm off to go celebrate!! :)

God's richest blessings to you~

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