Monday, October 31, 2011

"From the Inside Out" - Coming soon to....

Hey Friends!

This weekend I'll be heading from my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Shipshewana, Indiana! I'll be the keynote speaker at a women's retreat being held at the Farmstead Inn
. I can't wait to see what God has planned! :)

I'll be speaking on living "From the Inside Out". I'm looking forward to meeting the dear women from Chapel Pointe from Hudsonville Michigan, and sharing what God has been teaching me from His Word! :)

If you've spent any time here at *She Sparkles*, you know I'm pretty passionate about living "from the inside out". I get so discouraged by the media, the culture, the world...that tells us that happiness, joy, contentment, and freedom comes from the outside in.

You know how it goes....when my "outside stuff" is in order, then I'll be happy....

When I lose a little weight,
When I get the right job,
When I get married, then I'll be satisfied.

When we get a bigger house,
When the kids go to school,
When we go on the vacation,

When my husband starts communicating more, or
when we have more $$ (and lots of it, really)....and of course, when I fit into my skinny jeans again....

....then I'll be happpy. Can I just tell you, skinny jeans do not equal happiness, regardless of what Sara Rue wants to say!

(I'm all for living healthy ~ I'm just saying that our worth, value and significance does NOT change based on the size of our pants or a number on a scale)

The truth is our outside circumstances will never bring us true freedom, will they?!

Regardless of the best job, skinniest pants size, biggest bank account, most adoring husband, and well behaved kids ~ none of it will satisfy the deep longings of our heart.

Only Jesus :)

Jesus says, "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." (John 10:10 AMP)

I want that life!! Anyone else??! :)

How about for you?? Do you ever wrestle with the "when ________, then ____________" thinking? (It's so easy to do in our world today, isn't it?!) Ugh.

How do you pursue Truth in your daily life?

How do you live "from the inside out"??? I would love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by *She Sparkles*!

Have a joy-filled, Truth-full, lifegiving week! God's richest blessings to you!

P.S. Would you mind taking a minute and praying for this event? I'll be speaking 4 times during November 4-6. May the Lord move in such a way that hearts and lives are changed for His purpose and glory alone! :)

P.S.S. I'm linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today. Be sure to check out these amazing women. You'll be blessed indeed! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Divine Appointment in Atlanta

Hey Friends :)

When was the last time you experienced a Divine appointment??

You may remember, last weekend I flew to Texas for a wonderful women's retreat. What I haven't shared yet on my blog was one of the obstacles I faced the week before the trip.

A few days before I left, I sent my itinerary to my mom. She called later that day and said, "Cindy, why are you going to be gone for 9 days??" I was in shock! My mom was correct ~ somehow I ordered a plane ticket leaving on Friday the 21st, returning on Sunday, October 30th. AHHH!

After stressing and crying, I called the airline. Unfortunately there were no seats open on the flight I had wanted. After paying a horrible flight switching fee, I had a new ticket to come home late Monday 10/24(rather than Sunday). Although my flight out of Texas would be super early in the AM, I would have to spend almost 5 hours with a layover in Atlanta, and get back to Michigan at 4:21 PM.

I cried more (my little girls hate when I'm away, so to be gone an extra night tugged on this mama's heart)....but there was nothing I could do. Ugh.

My prayer team started praying that God would use my messed up plane ticket for His purposes. And boy did He ever!

Andrea (the retreat coordinator extraordinaire) helped me coordinate a meal with Jen from Finding Heaven. What a blessing! I'd not have had this "iron sharpening iron" time with my original plane ticket. (Thanks Andrea & Jen for making this work!)

And then...would you believe I ran into a good friend in the crazy, busy Atlanta airport????

I was preparing to board the plane to Michigan, when I spotted my dear friend Karen. (Karen and I have been friends for years ~ she was even in my wedding 11 years ago!).

Karen was getting ready to fly out of the country. She had just been praying for God to encourage her....and then BOOM! ~ there I was!!

Isn't God fun?! :)

Karen and I had almost 20 minutes to catch up before I started to fly home. It was such a special gift from the Lord!

“Disappointment—His appointment,”
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me. —Young

Only God! He can turn a disappointment into His Divine appointment!

How have you seen God turn an obstacle into an opportunity?? A disappointment into a Divine appointment? I'd love to hear your stories! :)

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

P.S. The winner of the
"Full" giveaway by Kendal Privette is Jamie at Just Your Everyday Blessed So and So. (Please send me your mailing address, Jamie) Thank you to all who entered! And thank you, Kendal, for sharing your journey with such authenticity and courage. I thank God for you! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Frazzle-Free Christmas (& awesome Shutterfly Giveaway!)

Hey Friends!

Happy Weekend to you!! :)

Anyone else having a hard time it is almost November already?! Some parts of Michigan are even talking *SNOW*! It's time to realize that Christmas is on its way!

This year I'm committed to remaining "Frazzle Free" during the Christmas holiday!! I am determined to prepare, plan, pray, and stay focused on the True Meaning of the Season!

Anyone with me?! :)

Last year I was introduced to the “
8 Weeks to A Frazzle Free Christmas” plan from Families With Purpose. (A huge thank you to Big Binder!).

Have you heard of this amazing plan?? It’s a day-by-day breakdown of what you need to do now so you can enjoy Christmas when it gets here. You can print off the whole 8 Week Countdown, or receive daily or weekly to-do lists. (Check it out for free

Frazzle Free here we come!! :)

This week is Getting Organized for Christmas, including Christmas Cards! Yippee! I love sending cards to our friends around the world! (And then we use the Christmas card pictures we receive to put into
my prayer guide). What fun!

So imagine my delight when I was offered a chance to receive this year’s cards from Shutterfly, plus 3 sets of Christmas cards to giveaway too!

Can I get a Woo Hoo?!

In the past I've ordered pictures, calendars, mugs, and even photobooks, and Christmas cards from Shutterfly, and have been extremely pleased with their service, quality and care!

But here's where I need your help, dear friends!

Did you know Shutterfly has over 928 holiday cards to chose from?! 928!! And for a girl that has a hard time making decisions...this is painful!

So I thought maybe YOU could help me pick our Christmas card. Here are some of my favorites...

Open Our Hearts

Mighty God

A Time to Rejoice

A Christ Filled Christmas


Ok, I'll stop with my Top 5....they are all so cute! I just can't decide!! What do you think?? I'd love to hear from you!!

And the good news ~ as I mentioned, the great folks at Shutterfly are giving me 3 (yes, 3!) sets of 25 free cards (of your choice!) to share with 3 my *She Sparkles* friends!

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

Which card is your favorite from Shutterfly?

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, Friday, October 28th and ends Sunday, October 30th at 9 PM. Winner will be posted on my blog during the week of November 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 with the subject "Giveaway".

So here's to a Frazzle Free, joy-filled, peace-full, healthy, whole Christmas season for one and all!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*!! Have a super great weekend!!

P.S. Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register
here :)

Disclosure: Shutterfly is giving me 50 free photo cards as well as providing the giveaway prizes. As always, all opinions are my own. I LOVE Shutterfly!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Home! ~ My Texas Update (Yee Haw!)

Warning: This post contains a lot of photos! How do you sum up an amazing weekend in one blog post?? Not easy!

Hey Y'all :) !!

You may remember, this past weekend was the "
Living Balanced in an Unbalanced World" retreat at Camp Buckner near Austin, Texas! Woo Hoo! I have been praying, preparing and looking forward to this retreat for months! It was so awesome to see it all come together! Thank you for all of your prayers ! :)

What an amazing time I had with the women from Redeemer Lutheran Church! The women were warm, fun, kind, and desiring to grow deeper in their walk with Jesus.

Here's a picture of me with my new Texas friends! :)

I loved every minute I spent with these beautiful ladies! They blessed me big time! :)

Besides a wonderful retreat weekend, the Lord blessed me with a couple other special surprises.

**First of all, I now love Texas! (This was my first visit to the state). In addition to the amazing views, perfect weather and warm Southern hospitality, I've never had such great Southwestern food. Yum!

**My best friend from college, Stephanie, flew down from Michigan and came to the retreat on Saturday. I love re-connecting with her (I haven't seen her since my wedding 11 years ago!).

I also spent time with Kristie Reed Heartwell, a dear friend who moved from Michigan to Texas. (Sorry our pics were all too dark - ugh!)

Sunday I was able to spend time at Jen Ferguson's home (from Finding Heaven) and enjoy an amazing dinner together (tableside guacamole is my new favorite food in the whole wide world!). Fun times!

Although I am completely exhausted and ready for a BIG nap ~ my heart is filled to the brim with joy and gratitude!

**Thank you, dear Redeemer Lutheran sisters, for your warm welcome and amazing time of fellowship together. Our weekend together was special, sacred time ~ an experience I will not soon forget! :)

**Thank you, Andrea, women's director extraordinaire for opening your Texas ranch home for me, showing this Michigan girl the beauty of Texas, and driving me all over Texas with joy.

**Thank you, bloggy friends, for "praying down the tracks"! God is so faithful and He answered every one!

**Thank you Mom & Jackie for helping with the kids, and for all the extra things you do to help keep our life sane. :)

**And a huge note of THANKS to John and the kids....for letting Mom fly across the country to share Jesus with others, and for notes (see pic below) on the driveway to welcome me home. You bring me so much JOY! :)

I am blessed indeed!

Well I'm "fixin'" to put my feet up and get some rest! :) Will you share how God has blessed you recently?? I'd love to hear from you!!

Sweet blessings to you!!

P.S. I can't wait to tell you about a totally Divine appointment I experienced in the Atlanta airport on Monday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fat Talk Free Week: Meet Kendal (& giveaway!)

Hey Friends :)

As you all know by now, I am passionate about living Fat Talk Free.

Please know....I am so NOT perfect in this area nor have I somehow "arrived".

Truth be told, my friends still call me out on this occassionally. If I let even one "Do these pants make me look frumpy?" comment slip...they are on me like fleas (as they should be)!

After years of struggling with an eating disorder, stinkin' thinkin', nearly losing my life, and having to take my young daughter to the doctor due to her "not wanting to be fat" ....I have made a personal promise to be part of the SOLUTION to the epidemic of Fat Talk.

I also get fired up when I meet other women who have committed to living a life of freedom, wholeness, and Truth in the whole body image/food area.

Last year, I came across a spacious place, an inspiring, authentic blog written by Kendal. I love it!

Kendal has been set free from anorexia, and shares her amazing journey in her book Full.

Kendal shares "Full" is "about losing myself to anorexia and filling up again with Jesus and health. My deepest desire is that this book will help someone understand the eating disordered mind."

Here's an excerpt from "Full" by Kendal Privette

(ED refers to "Eating Disorder", and the numbers are her weight)

ED Speaks
It's too much.
Ed speaks.
I didn't know listening was a pact.

Page 2
ed sidles up,
hissing in my ear.
sweet talking,
two pounds,
he whispers...

Page 4
Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Your works are wonderful I know that full well
total crap
I am ugly
I have a lumpy waist
stringy hair
uneven complexion
beady eyes
I am a mistake

And on and on the book goes, as we watch this 127 pound mother of two, spiral down to 98 pounds....and then....., well, I'll let you read the book :)

Or listen to Kendal reading from her book "Full". Powerful stuff! :)

When I first received "Full", I could absolutely not put it down! Every girlfriend that came to visit sat with me as we read from Kendal's personal journey. If you know anyone who has been impacted by anorexia/eating disorders, I would highly recommend this book.

Full paints a picture of the trapped mind, as well as fills the reader with hope (as we watch Kendal come back to health and victory!) Woo Hoo!!

In fact, here is one of my favorite pieces from Kendal as she began to experience freedom...


where i’ve been
no longer
calls me
where I’m going
beckons like
a friend
faculty snacks?
relished not avoided
extra-tiny co-worker who goes to weight watchers?
pitied not envied
a week off exercise due to lack of time?
accepted not battled


And exciting news ~ Kendal has graciously offered to share her book "Full" with a blessed *She Sparkles* friend! (Thank you, dear Kendal!)

To Win my Giveaway: Please answer the question,

Why would you like to win the book "Full"?

Extra Entries:
•Post this giveaway on FB
•Follow *She Sparkles* via Google Friends Connect
•Subscribe to *She Sparkles*
•Add my *She Sparkles* button to your blog
•Follow *She Sparkles* on twitter
•Tweet about this giveaway including a link to this post

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

RULES: Starts today, Thursday, October 21st and ends Monday, October 24th at 9 PM. Winner will be posted on my blog soon after October 25th.

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".

**For information about ordering Kendal's book, click here.

**To stop by Kendal's blog and say hello, click here.

How has your life been impacted by stinkin' thinkin'/eating disorders/body image stuff?? What have you found to be key in walking in *victory* in this area?? I'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by *She Sparkles*. Have a wonderful, freedom-filled weekend!!

If you've not seen this powerful video on "Fat Talk", please take just a few minutes and watch it. (Job well done, Tri Delta!)

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to Live without Fat Talk

Hi Friends :)

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

As you know, for the past few days I've shared my very real struggle with body image stuff. It's something I don't talk about very often (too hurtful) ~ but since it's "Fat Talk Free Week", I feel like just getting in all out there. Please bear with me :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have many real stories on this one.

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

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

I lost 25 pounds.

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

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

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

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

Can anyone relate??

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

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

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

􀃋 Accept your body in its natural shape and size.

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

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

And lastly, as we live "Fat Talk Free", let's commit to speaking TRUTHFULLY and KINDLY to ourselves!

I think we could all learn a lesson from this little girl....

The official "Fat Talk Free" week is this week, but I'm declaring my life to be Fat Talk Free, Lord willing, all the days of my life!!

Anyone with me??

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

Blessings to you~

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

Fat Talk Free Week: My New Diet

Hi Friends!

In honor of "Fat Talk Free Week", I've decided to share part of my journey of living free from the scale. Enjoy this repost on my dreaded "weight topic".

As you know, my weight has been an area of struggle for most of my life.

You name it, I've tried it to lose weight over the course of my life ~ Cabbage Soup diet, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, eating disorders, and yes, even cocaine

This past year, I decided ENOUGH. I would pursue FREEDOM with my whole heart. I would not allow myself to talk so unkindly to myself anymore ~ in fact, my life would be a "Fat Talk Free Zone"

And I've been enjoying this new freedom...until all of the issues with my breathing.

Between the extra steroids, being unable to exercise without an inhaler, and two bouts of bronchitis, my trips to the gym have been minimal.

Needless to say, the scale has gone up, and I'm not happy about it. At all.

How can you not go to the grocery store without all of the magazines screaming at you...saying "Look like me." "You, too, should be wearing a bikini" "Try this" "Buy this diet aid" get the drift. commitment to myself is to continue to live Fat Talk Free. I will not buy into the "not good enough" mentality. I WILL pursue freedom, health, wholeness, self care, wellness, and TRUTH.

I will speak kindly to myself, with words of grace and hope.

I will not become self focused, crazy in the head, and allow my worth to be defined by a number on a scale or the size of my jeans.

I will not!

However, I do recognize I need a plan. I will be "careful" with my choices and select foods that are healthy and good. I am choosing to go without Diet Coke/pop so that I will drink more water. I will increase my exercise (esp. now that I can breathe!!!). And, lastly...


In fact, I'm calling this my "Fruit Diet Healthy Living Plan"....God's fruit, based out of Galatians 5:22-23.

Rather than focusing on food, being hyper-sensitive about calories, and spending my days thinking about what I should/could eat ~ I will meditate on FRUIT, and ask God to help me be more...

*Gentle, and yes,
*Self Controlled.

When I'm tempted to run to food, I will STOP and ask God what is really going on (what do I really need?? Usually the answer is NOT chips and salsa!).

And then I'll ask Him how I can love someone else. Be kind to one of my kids. Share *joy* with a friend, family member or neighbor. And ask Him to fill me with more of His Spirit. I need an abundance of Jesus in my life! Anyone else??

This new "Fruit Diet Healthy Living Plan" has given me freedom, hope, and a Truth-filled head. Yippee! :)

Important Disclaimer: Please hear my heart...I'm not saying WW, going on a diet, etc.. is bad. For me personally, given my track record, I just recognize choosing a weight loss plan is NOT getting to the ROOT of my ISSUE.

If I'm ever going to live free (Galatians 5:1), it's time to eradicate the ROOT ISSUE, and allow God to plant NEW SEEDS ~ Seeds of Truth, that will grow HEALTHY FRUIT.

I need a healthy heart & mind, as well as life-giving, God-honoring habits. And this is just personal for me ~ I am not judging whatever anyone else senses God is calling them to do.

Lastly, please know....whatever size you are, whatever body shape God has given you, whatever hair color you have, the size of your bank account, the job you have (or don't have), whether you are a wife, mom, student, grandma, or single woman, whether you have big muscles or small muscles....none of that stuff defines you.

None of it.

In fact....

....just the way that you are. Will you say that out loud, "I am beautiful."

It's true! You are Beautiful!!

How about for you?? How do you live separate from the culture's definition of beauty?? How do you pursue a "Fat Talk Free" life?? Share with us please! I would love to hear from you!!!

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

If you haven't signed the pledge, will you please take just a quick minute to do so?? Leave us a message too. Let's celebrate this important step towards FREEDOM together! :)

P.S.S. I'm linking up with
Finding Heaven and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today. Be sure to check out Jen and these amazing women. You'll be blessed indeed! :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fat Talk Free Week: The Price of Beauty

Hey Friends! Happy Fat Talk Free Week!

Not only has Fat Talk impacted my life, last year we had a scare with one of our daughters. Enjoy the repost...and don't forget to sign the End Fat Talk pledge!

Is it just me, or is anyone else tired of being bombarded with ads, books, commericals and diet talk EVERY WHERE! Ugh.

Please know, I am all for health, whole living, and caring for our temples ~ but really, if I see one more "before and after" picture I might just lose my lunch.

There really is more to life than just the size of our jeans.

Maybe I'm in such a bunch because, although I am committed to living "Fat Talk Free," ~ the unhealthy "Thin is In" message is negatively impacting my home. In a big way.

And it's horrible.

I had to take one of my precious kids to the doctor yesterday because she doesn't want to eat. Why?? Because she doesn't want to get fat.

Can you believe it?? John and I are watching her lose weight, having to monitor her eating, and remind her that food is not bad. Eating too much is bad, but eating to care for our body is necessary.

My heart is breaking over here.

Thankfully as we left the doctors office (who is the best pediatrician in the whole wide world), I asked my daughter what she learned. (We were with our doctor for over 40 minutes, so I was hoping she was listening!) My daughter shared....

* I'm not fat.

* I can eat more.

* If someone calls me fat, I can let it blow away.

My daughter is a tiny little thing (50 percentile for height/weight)....and yet she hears people getting teased at school for being fat. So she decided not eating would help solve her problem.

Thankfully I think we caught it in time.

This isn't always the case.

Please take just a few minutes and watch this video. It's Jessica Simpson interviewing model Isabella Caro on Jessica's show "The Price of Beauty".

It's just a few minutes long ~ I think you'll be so glad you watched!

Unfortunately Isabella was not able to win her battle with anorexia, and died tragically this past November 2010.

Oh friends, may God use us to be a voice of Truth, hope, and life in the lives of others!

May we stop saying things like, "You look great ~ you lost weight, didn't you?" and instead see the hearts and souls of those we come in contact with.

(For the person who said that to me at church on Sunday, it's ok. I know you were trying to be helpful.)

May God gives us eyes to see love and joy and patience and kindness and gentleness in others ~ and may we affirm those important character qualities with our words.

And may we be careful of the words we share (even about ourselves), ESPECIALLY when little ears are listening.

What about for you?? How do you stay healthy and Truth filled in this area? I would love to hear from you!

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

P.S. Thank you for all of your kind comments about my new "fruit diet". For obvious reasons, I'm changing the name to my "Fruit-filled healthy living plan". It's working GREAT ~ in the midst of a full, challenging week, I am experiencing God's peace, joy, victory, and satisfaction. Following hard after Him is the best healthy living plan of all! :)

Fat Talk Free Week starts TODAY ~ October 16 - 22, 2011

Remember the playground game "He loves me. He loves me not"??

My little friends and I would stand outside at recess thinking of cute boys. We would pick a flower and start pulling off the pedals, "He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not"......

Unfortunately this little childhood game describes my thinking for most of my growing up years.

In fact, I spent 35 years of my life going through the same old destructive, self-defeating, negative thought cycle...

When I lost weight, ate the right number of "points", fit into a certain size, I would say, "They love me!".....

And when the scale increased and my pants size went up, I would think, "They love me not!!".
And given that I was a chubby little red-haired girl, most of my life I felt unloved, and my self-destructive life choices reflected that false belief.

Ridiculous, I know, that somehow we would believe the lie that...

Our worth = weight
Our love = our pants size
Our value = how thin we are

Crazy, huh?! :)

Thankfully, after years of self-loathing, binging/purging/, starving myself, Cabbage Soup, over-exercising, striving, starting over on Monday, and yes, even illegal remedies.... I AM FREE!! Hallelujah!! :)

However, my freedom came at a price.....years of "stinkin' thinkin'", hundreds of missed opportunities, thousands & thousands of dollars, and unfortunately it almost cost me my life.

But no more.

That's why I am declaring my life a Fat Talk Free Zone. I refuse to allow the enemy to rob me of any more joy, memories, opportunities or life!

I am committed to doing whatever I can to be a voice of TRUTH, HOPE, and encouragement to any and all who will listen! I will not allow this world to dictate where our joy, worth and value comes any longer!

I mean, have you looked at what the media screams at us???

Commericals like this one where Sara Rue shares she now feels fantastic because she can fit in skinny jeans. Skinny jeans = happiness??? Are you kidding me???

And sorry, friends, if you ask me if you have "back fat" (you know who you are ~ smile!), or tell me how fat you feel, or talk about your "muffin top", I will hand you a bumper sticker, and will remind you that.....

You are loved (period)

Not "you will be loved" when you lose the weight.

Not "you might be loved" when you go down a pants size.

You are not loved more on the days you stay within your WW points, and unloved when you eat the M&M's.

He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you!

and NOTHING can separate you from His perfect, unconditional, unfailing love.

LOVED (period)

And that's why I am so grateful for the Reflections Body Image Program. and their commitment to teaching women about the pursuit health, well-being, and true beauty!

If you haven't already, please head over to the Reflections site and join me in signing the Fat Talk Free promise which reads...

"Today I promise to eliminate Fat Talk from conversations with my friends, my family and myself. Starting now, I will strive for a healthy ideal, which I know looks different for every woman, and focuses on health, not weight or size.

I will celebrate the things about myself and the women in my life that have nothing to do with how we look. I decide to end Fat Talk NOW!"

In honor of Fat Talk Free Week, let's practice living Fat Talk Free!

For today's challenge, please call a friend and share something that you love about them that has nothing to do with their outside appearance.

For example (I'll go first) ~ Mom, I love you for many reasons....including your generous heart.

Julie R., I love you for your listening ear, wisdom, and for always point me to Truth!

Jill M., I love you for your joyful, uplifting attitude.

Kristy D., I love you for your sensitive spirit, sparkle in your eye, and love for others.

Jenny O., I love you for your praying, encouraging heart.

Donna W., I love you for your caring heart, amazing way with words, and worshipful heart.

You get the drift?? And if you haven't done so already, please leave me a note sharing what YOU love about YOU!!!!

Let's celebrate who we are (flaws and all!) and END FAT TALK!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*!! Have a joy-filled, fat talk free week!!!

P.S.S. Here is the "Fat Talk Free" video. Enjoy!!!

For more information, visit or on Facebook at Fat Talk Free Week.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado

Hello friends! :)

I am excited for today's Book Review! I was asked by
Thomas Nelson Publishers to review Max Lucado's children's book, One Hand, Two Hands. I thought to myself, "Sure, I could give it a try. I like Max's writings." I was very pleasantly surprised! :)

(Side note: You should know, not everything that I review I recommend. If I don't give it two absolute thumbs up, I don't pass it along).

When Max's new book arrived, I was intrigued by the fun cover and the book's subtitle: "Oh the Ways We Can Work with Our Hands". As a former Children's Minstry Director and current Mom of 4, I love checking out resources for kids (especially ones with a good message).

Trust me, I was not disappointed!

Mom's and Dad's, you will enjoy this book with your ! It's classic Max Lucado ~ brilliant, easy to read but very insightful. It would be a great gift for preschool age children (younger children would enjoy the message, but it's not a board book, so beware.) The encouraging message and beautiful illustrations are wonderful!

Here's more about this fun book...

"One Hand, Two Hands is a delightful way to show little ones how their hands are a blessing from God that they can use to do help others.

Written in rhyming text and illustrated with the charming art of Gaby Hansen, this simple message of God's blessing of hands not only entertains . . . as it teaches what wonderful things our hands can do from scratching, latching, and petting a pup to washing dishes with mommy and putting toys in a box . . .

But it also conveys the important message: We can use God's gift of hands to show our love for Him by helping others. The book ends tenderly with a prayer of thanks to God for hands and asks Him to use them again"

There is also a wonderfully illustrated name plate page in the front of the book, so if you're thinking Christmas already for a special preschooler, it is definitely a book you could add to your list!

How about for you?? What is one of your favorite children's books? I'd love to hear from you!

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

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received my copy of the book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Indiana Shoot Update (Part 2) ~ Woo Hoo!

My dear friends ~

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your prayers, support and encouragement as I headed to Kokomo, Indiana for the filming of my testimony. God is so faithful! It went amazing! Woo Hoo!

As you can imagine, I started off with MUCH fear and trembling. For the first scene, all I had to do was sit on a bench and pull petals off a daisy one by one. I was shaking like crazy! (I was thinking, "Oh boy, it's going to be a looooong day if I can't even do this!").

Thankfully I survived Scene 1~ whew! :)

For my first speaking part, I had to walk across a bridge and then deliver a few lines. The first two takes I was in "speaker mode" (projecting my voice, etc..). Suddenly everything switched. I caught the vision, listened to the producer's coaching, and delivered the lines as if I was just sharing with one person.

I cannot tell you the JOY I experienced when the producer nearly started leaping. "You nailed it Cindy" he shouted, as he started high fiving the crew. It was an incredible moment I will never forget.

After that first speaking scene, I hung on every word the producer said, and it was incredible how smoothly everything went!!!

We didn't have to do any scene more than 5 takes or so (and many times the additional takes were due to outside noise, etc..). The crew was fantastic!!! The weather was picture perfect. My health was 100% (and we all know that is a miracle in and of itself!). Although I was 150% out of my comfort zone, I sensed God's presence, peace, and power like never before. It was a mountaintop experience that I can barely put into words. THANK YOU for all of your prayers!! God heard them all!!!!!

One more highlight....the last scene of the shoot (Tuesday afternoon) was at a restaurant. The producer has been telling me about this scene for months. I'm dressed as a waitress, but come in, sit down at a table, lean in and share very openly and honestly about my cocaine addiction. Fred was very particular about how he wanted this scene to go. It was filled with dramatic pauses, reflective moments, leaning in, etc.. I have been sick about it for weeks.


Fred, once again, nearly started leaping and dancing. He couldn't believe I caught on so quickly (I couldn't either!). He rushed us all over, rewinded the tape, and showed us how "perfectly" the scene took place.

Friends, I could NOT have done that on my own. We witnessed a miracle in that restaurant. I could have started bawling. It was a sacred, holy moment.

I'm sorry for this lengthy post...but I've been trying to think of the words to express how absolutely grateful I am to God for His faithfulness and goodness.

It could not have gone any better, and I know that is due to others "praying down the tracks". THANK YOU!

What dreams are on your heart? Are there opportunities coming up that only God could do?

May this journey remind you that God can use anyone, do anything, and truly accomplish anything that He desires...and that prayer does work!!!

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

With a grateful heart ~

P.S. A special note of thanks to Bobby, Wayne, Fred, Will, Mary & Julie. Best crew ever! :)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin