Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mystery Day!

Monday was the last day of Summer Vacation for my gang. :(

Over the weekend, as I was thinking about how I wanted to "mark the moment" ~ I knew I wanted their last day to be memorable and fun, and personally, I wanted to enjoy my kiddos (and not be distracted by
my important meeting the next day) ~ so I decided to host our "First Annual, Last Day of Summer Vacation Mystery Day!"

I started our "Mystery Day morning" by giving the kids a fun poem that filled them in on what time to be ready and what to pack.

(If you're interested, I could send you a copy of my poem. It's cheesy, but it worked).

We left at 11:30 AM and the kids had NO idea where we were going or what to expect! It was great!

I had 6 different clues that I had written ahead of time (again, I'm happy to share!) ~ and I had planned it so different people would give the kids the clues throughout the day. It was so much fun!!

Our day included....

** Lunch with Grandma (You should have seen their eyes get huge when Grandma walked in the restaurant! She also had a clue to take them on their next destination....)

** A visit to Daddy at work (Daddy gave them each $3 for later, and their next clue)

** A trip to Grand Haven (complete with mini golf, ice cream and fun at the beach!)

The best part of my day was spending lots of quality time with my gang and fully enjoying our last day of Summer Vacation!

If you're looking for a fun way to add laughter, structure and tons of memory making to your day, why not give the Mystery Day a try! :) It Worked for Me! :)

Do you have any special End of Summer/Back to School/Labor Day traditions?? Share with us please!!!

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

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I received some disappointing news today. :(

I've been looking forward to an important meeting all summer, and after much prayer and preparation, one hour before I was to attend, I received a call that it had been cancelled.


Thankfully the man who called with the bad news was empathetic and gracious. He "affirmed and acknowledged" my disappointment, and gave me a chance to share how I was really feeling.

When was the last time you were disappointed??

I called my friend April to share the sad news. After listening to the update, she replied,

"Friend, how can we praise God in the midst of this disappointment??"

Hmmm....good question, April! (And just what I needed to keep my focus Up!)

We quickly made a list together. Grateful I received the call after the kids were at school. Thankful for the warm, caring man who made the call. Excited for the opportunity that the meeting entails. Grateful beyond measure that we can trust that God knows what He is doing (and this cancellation was not a surprise to Him). Our list went on and on...

There's an old song by Edith Lillian Young called "Disappointment–His Appointment”, based on the passage from Job 23:14— "He performeth the thing that is appointed for me.”

Here are the words:

“Disappointment–His appointment,”
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me.
His appointment must be blessing,
Tho’ it may come in disguise
For the end from the beginning
Open to His wisdom lies.

“Disappointment — His appointment,”
Whose? The Lord, who loves me best,
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test;

For, like loving earthly parent,
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts, unquestioned,
All that from his wisdom flows.

“Disappointment –His appointment,”
“No good thing will He withhold,”
From denials oft we gather
Treasures of His love untold.
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.

“Disappointment–His appointment,”
Lord, I take it, then, as such.
Like the clay in hands of potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
All my life’s plan is Thy moulding,
Not one single choice be mine;
Let me answer, unrepining–
Father, “Not my will, but Thine.”

~ Edith Lillian Young

***You can print a copy of the song here

Whereas the song is not Scripture (and I don't agree completely with everything it conveys) ~ it sure ministered to me today. As did Julie, who spent the afternoon with me listening and praying (and sharing a latte ~ thank you, friend). My caring husband who had just the right words to say. The sweet woman who called to apologize and reschedule the meeting. And my dear friends who sent verses and words of encouragement my way.

Disappointment - His Appointment?? I think YES today!

When was the last time you were disappointed?

How can you praise God in the midst of your disappointment??

I'd love to hear from you!!!

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! :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What I'm Reading (Back to School edition)

Hey friends!

Today I'm joining
Staci and her Saturday Stumbles again!

Saturday Stumbles is a fun way to post some of our favorite bloggy finds from the week. Since I'm continually coming across such amazing work out in bloggy world, I thought count me in on the fun!

Here are some of my Favorite Finds...

* Moms by Heart awesome printables for Back to School!

* Love this staycation idea

* Celebrating Back to School (can you tell I have Back to School on my mind?)

* A great way to support the relief effort in Somolia (and involve your family too!) ~ Somalia on Saturday

How Does She has a free set of printables to help make the first day of school a little more fun!

What have you stumbled upon this week? I'd love to hear from you!!

Have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend!

P.S. For more great Saturday Stumbles or to join the fun,
head over and visit Staci! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tea Time!

Hi Friends ~
Hard to believe I just have 3 more days left with my gang until school starts. Wow! As I'm thinking through this new Fall season, I'm looking forward to my favorite School Tradition....Tea Time! Enjoy this repost ~ I'm off to have a Thrilling Thursday with my kiddos!

OK, true confession time...I used to dread my afternoons.

Especially from about 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM. The big kids would come home from school hungry, the little kids were whiny and irritable, and no one wanted to talk about school.

Afternoons were no fun around our house. :(

Then last school year, I decided to try something different. I called it "Tea Time".

You should know, we don't drink tea. (I couldn't think of anything else "catchy" to call it). I resolved to make "Tea Time" one of the highlights of our day!

I purchased a colorful tray and little appetizer plates from Target. I stocked our refrigerator with yummy, (semi) healthy snacks and fun drinks. I shared the vision of Tea Time with the kids, and announced that every single day after school, we would have "Tea Time" immediately when the kids got off the bus.

And you know what?? It worked!!

My kids walk in the door and say, "What's for Tea Time, Mom?". If their friends are over, they join us (and comment, "I wish we did this at our house"). We share snacks and highlights from school and lots of laughter. I learn about what happened at recess, on the bus, in class.

I treasure this time with my kids!

Most importantly, my attitude has changed.

I look forward with eager anticipation to 4:00 PM. I delight in thinking what fun snacks I can prepare for my kids. I don't answer the phone during this time. Tea Time is a special, sacred part of my day!

Now I do recognize, it won't last forever. My high schooler Jake has football practice after school, so he doesn't make it for Tea Time very often. But for my 'little ones' (Benj is 10, Amanda is 8, and Sarah is 7) ~ we are building priceless memories!

And hopefully when they think of 'Tea Time', they'll think of a home filled with love, warmth, beauty, and belonging.

A mom can hope anyway...

Here's 3/4 of my Tea Time Gang! :) Don't they just look like fun?!! :)

And my handsome football player....

What about for you?? What has helped your family life run more smoothly?? What favorite "Back to School" ideas have you tried?? I'd love to hear from you!!

And for more great "Things I Love Thursday" ideas, head over to the Diaper Diaries. You'll be glad you did!

Have a Wonderful Week!! Many blessings to you!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fall 2011 Magnificent Monday Bible Study (& my sad news)

Hey Friends ~

As many of you know, I've been a part of an amazing West Michigan Bible Study for the past 5 years. In case you've not heard the story, here's some history about our group....

I love sharing how God works!!

In 2006, my best friend Julie and I led a Bible study in her home. There were 12 of us that journeyed together that summer. Here's the original gang...

Soon the group began to grow and grow! We moved from Julie's living room to her basement. A dear woman named Mary Swierenga (an amazing prayer warrior and Bible teacher) began to mentor us. The group GREW AND GREW....

Julie sensed we should move to a location where even more women could come and join us! She went to the leaders of her church (Sunshine Church), and they embraced the idea of hosting this gathering of women. I stepped in as the Bible teacher. The first season, winter 2009, the group grew to 40 women. I loved it!

I was in my "sweet spot".

(Here's a fun picture from when they surprised me on my birthday....)

Since that time, the group has continued to GROW!! Women bring friends who bring friends who bring friends! All different churches, all different ages, all different stages of life!

Beginning Monday, September 19th ~ the Magnificent Monday Bible Study will be "re-starting" after our summer "Mondays with Beth Moore". If you live in West Michigan and are interested in joining a Bible study, this may be the perfect one for you!

This season we've prayerfully selected Faithful, Abundant, True written by the amazing Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. Powerful stuff!

The Magnificent Monday group meets at Sunshine Community Church at 7:00 PM. The group will be meeting every Monday from September 19th until November 14th (just a quick 7 week study ~ perfect!).

Oh, and did I mention the amazing Jeremy & Erica Simpson will be starting off the season with a Women's Night of Worship on Monday, September 19th?!

Can I get a Woo Hoo?! :)

If you would like to register, you may do so here. If
have any questions about the study, please leave a comment or e-mail me, or feel free to contact Suzanne Reinink at

And for my sad news...after much prayer, I sense I'm supposed to take time off from the Monday Night Bible Study. :(

As much as I LOVE this ministry, I'm trying to remember my new favorite word ~ "OR". (I can do "this" OR "this", but not both). In an effort to live life with a "sustainable pace", I'm taking time off to prepare for some fun speaking opportunities this fall (Texas, here I come!), plus pour into my family ~ including my son Jake who graduates this year!.

It's never easy to step away from something you love and with women who you think they world of, but I trust someday it will make sense. For today, it's one more loss, and I'm so sick of goodbyes. Ugh.

How about you, dear friends? Has God ever asked you to give up being a part of something you loved? How did you do it? What did you learn? I'd love to hear from you!!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*!

God's richest lessings to you~

Monday, August 22, 2011

I blew it!

A few years ago, my friend and I both had a baby within 2 weeks of each other.

Soon after, my friend started eating really healthy and took up running. Her extra pregnancy weight melted right off.

Me, on the other hand, not so much. :/

As I watched my friend lose pound after pound, I felt like a failure. And when my friend hit the ‘30 pound’ weight loss mark, I assumed her life must now be perfect.

How can she have stress when she was fitting in her old “pre-baby” pants again?

What could be wrong when she just ran a ½ marathon?

I even convinced myself she probably didn’t want to be friends with a Diet Coke drinking, latte loving, non-runner like me.

Imagine my surprise when I ran into my girlfriend "randomly" one day. After the small talk, I asked her she was doing….really. She shared through tears how painful the last few months had been. She lost her mom to cancer. Financially things were strained. Her husband recently moved out and had filed for divorce.

I felt like a heel.

During one of my friend's darkest times, I wasn’t a light or a beacon of hope. I didn’t see her pain right before my eyes. Why? Rather than reflecting Christ, I was blinded by my own selfish, self absorbed thinking.


Have you "blown it" lately?

Do you need a fresh measure of His grace, unconditional love, and forgiveness??

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us...
(Ephesians 1:7-8)

Maybe you've also hurt a close friend? A spouse? A loved one?

Perhaps the anger and frustration you've been stuffing has been "bubbling out" on those closest to you...and you've turned into a "mad mom" who is ready to lose it...

Or maybe the pain and suffering you've been experiencing is just too much for you to bear anymore...

Please remember...

"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you're beyond the need of God's grace.”

May we all experience the unconditional, unfailing love and grace that God desires to lavish on us today....

P.S. I'll share more tomorrow how I'm making changes so (Lord willing) I don't make this same mistake again....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School ... Pray!

Hey friends!

Has school started in your neck of the woods yet? Our 4 kids have less than two weeks before they'll be back to the books. (And after this week, I am ready. We've had 4 sleepovers ~ and I now have a house full of overtired, cranky kids and one exhausted mama!). The Back to School Countdown has officially begun!!!

Today I'm thrilled to feature Carla McDougal as she reminds us of one of the priority ways to get ready for Back to School....Pray!! Here's Carla....

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:5,7

Excitement’s in the air! Anticipation rises. It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school.

Who can forget watching your child go to "big school" for the first time? I remember those bittersweet moments as each of my four children kissed me good-bye. I always knew that day would arrive, but nothing prepared me for the moment.

Elementary school seemed to fly by and almost overnight they were in junior high and then high school. And in a blink of an eye, they were off to college. Where did the years go?

I learned early on that when my children were away from home, praying for them comforted me. By turning them over to God I experienced a calm peace. Year after year my prayers intensified, yet remained the same…

* Elementary School – Will he make a friend? Will he eat all his lunch, or just the cookies and chips? God help him to love You with all his heart.

* Junior/Senior High –Will he make the right friends? Is he paying attention to the teacher? God, help him love You with all his soul.

* College - Will he make some forever friends? Is he making the right life decisions? God, help him to love You with all his strength.

Just as our children face challenges, we as moms face our own set of challenges…

* To pray over our children no matter where they are in life.

* To be on our knees for those God entrusted to us.

* To ultimately pray for each child to love Jesus with all his heart, soul, and mind!

* Finally, to let them know we are praying for them each day! What a blessing it is to pray for our children.

I ask you to take advantage of this new season too. Do you need a fresh start? Where are you in your relationship with God? In my Bible study, Reflecting Him – Living for Jesus and Loving It, I encourage you to find Jesus in your everyday activities. He is there for us 24 hours a day, and He wants to hear our everyday prayers! ~ Carla

CARLA MCDOUGAL is founder of Reflective Life Ministries headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. Her true passion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shines brightly, whether she is speaking or writing. She shares experiences from her own life to encourage women to live every day for Him. God is sending Carla around the world to speak to women from all walks of life—those living in the best of circumstances to those who have hit rock bottom.

Carla’s book, Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It, is a 10-week study that encourages you to open your eyes to God’s daily life lessons. The more you ask God to be in your life, the more you will recognize His hand on everything you do. For more information on a growing number of products from Reflective Life Ministries, and to see about booking Carla for an event or interview, go to

What a powerful Word, Carla! Thanks for sharing!

And I'd love to hear from you, dear friends! How do you prepare for Back to School? Any prayer tips you've learned along the way? Share with us please!

Have a wonderful, refreshing weekend! I thank God for you!

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Hi friends! I'm off enjoying the last few days of summer with my gang. Please enjoy the re-post. :)

My dear Bloggy friends,

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

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

BUT THEN I remembered I was now "
Fat Talk Free" (lol!) ~ so I couldn't talk that way to myself anymore!

My God does not talk that way to me ("fat girl" is not in His vocabulary!) ~ so I won't talk to myself that way either!!!

I took a deep breath and just asked God to use my hurts for His redemptive purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 John 5:4-5 This is the victory that conquers the world - our faith. So the one who wins against the world is the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Cindy here again....What is getting in the way of experiencing the full, victorious life that Jesus came to offer us all? Body image stuff?? Fear?? Worry? Relationship troubles??

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

Let's walk in victory today!!

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

P.S. Please take a moment and watch this video "Beautiful" by Mercy Me. It is filled with such TRUTH, and if you're having a particulary hard "stinkin' thinkin'" day, it will change your focus ~ guaranteed! I love it! (Thanks, April!)

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! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

He loves me not?

Last winter I was having a horrible, no good, frustrating day.

We were in the midst of a blizzard, lice had invaded our home, my kitchen had last night's dirty dinner dishes stacked everywhere, and I felt like a frazzled, chaotic mess.

Have you ever had a horrible, no good, frustrating day?

In the midst of my craziness, I had a huge writing deadline. On this morning, I was preparing my testimony for an upcoming event.

I was using a daisy as a prop to tell my story. I sat at my desk, holding a daisy pen, as I was reflecting on my journey.

I thought of how for much of my life (before Jesus!) I believed the lie that my worth and my value was based on my outward appearance and achievements....much like the childhood school yard game girls would play "He loves me, He loves me not"...

When I lost weight, got good grades, or had attention from a boy, I would say,"They love me!".....

But when my pants got tight, or I was teased, or didn’t get picked for the team ~ again, I would believe, "They love me not!!".

And given that I was a shy, chubby, red-haired girl with freckles, most of my life I believed, “they love me not!”,

“Not loved” became my identity….
Suddenly, on this horrible, no good, frustrating day, while clenching my daisy pen, I cried out in despair…

“Oh God, I don't ever want to doubt Your love for me again! But is it true, God? Is it true You love me? I don’t feel lovable! Look at me, Lord, I'm a mess! I’m still in my pj’s, my hairs not combed, my life feels crazy…is it true You are here with me and that you love me??"

About an hour later, my doorbell rang. Outside was my neighbor Tricia. Tricia had braved the cold and snow to bring me a gift bag filled with fresh baked bread, and a sweet note of encouragement.

As I thanked Tricia for her kindness, and received the gift from her, I noticed the bright colorful bag had a bright beautiful daisy on the front.

Shortly before supper the doorbell rang again. To my surprise it was a delivery man with a vase full of flowers, for me.

You know what kind of flowers they were, right?? Daisies, from my brother & sister-in-law, to brighten my day.

Never before, and not since that day, have I received daisies from others. Not one time. But on that day, God knew exactly what I needed, didn’t He?

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

I'm not sure what circumstances you are faced with today, my sweet friend, but may I remind you ~ you are loved.

Regardless of your circumstances.
Regardless of the condition of your house.
Regardless of your pants size.

You are loved. :)

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Sweet 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! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Fun Day!

(Picture above: Me, my son Jake, my daughter Amanda, & my sweet Mom yesterday on her birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!)

Hey Friends! I'm getting ready for tonight's Monday's with Beth Moore (come join us!) ~ so please enjoy this repost! Have a Monday Fun-day!

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' 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 16 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 my kids! I think it will include
sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, an obstacle course, pizza for supper, and ice cream sundaes.

(If you've run out of ideas, check my
Summer Family Fun ~ A to Z list!)

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 Jamielyn from i heart naptime. Be sure to check out her amazing list of creative, fun ideas on everything under the sun!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Hey friends!

Today I'm joining
Staci and her Saturday Stumbles again!

Saturday Stumbles is a fun way to post some of our favorite bloggy finds from the week. Since I'm continually coming across such amazing work out in bloggy world, I thought count me in on the fun!

Here are some of my Favorite Finds...

* A great way to support the relief effort in Somolia (and involve your family too!) ~
Somalia on Saturday

How Does She has a free set of printables to help make the first day of school a little more fun!

Great way to lose weight

* Making goodbyes sweeter with great ideas from my real life friend Amelia (after she heard about my friend Jill moving)

What have you stumbled upon this week? I'd love to hear from you!!

Have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend!

P.S. For more great Saturday Stumbles or to join the fun,
head over and visit Staci! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fat Talk Free Friday

Hey Friends! I had such a blast sharing at the Praise & Coffee Night in Plainwell, Michigan last night. Sue Cramer and her team are amazing ~ and I could have stayed and chatted with these women all night!

I had the opportunity to share 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!!

If you are a Praise & Coffee friend and are visting *She Sparkles* for the first time ~ WELCOME!! 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.

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 from this weekend), 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!

Last year I 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??

How has "Fat Talk" impacted your life? How do you stay "Fat Talk Free"? I would love to hear from you!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Have a Fabulous Friday!! :)

P.S. Last summer I spoke very candidly about my lifelong weight struggle on a radio show. If you'd like to listen to an archived copy of the hour long interview, the link is here. Enjoy :)

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