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Keep It Shut (& giveaway)

KeepItShut copyHey Friends!

If you’ve spent any time here at my blog *She Sparkles*—you know I enjoy giving away books, DVD’s, & resources that have personally impacted me. I feel like Oprah—I love it!

kis_book_I’m thrilled about today’s giveaway Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. I’m super excited about this book for a number of reasons!

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Karen & Cindy

First, you may remember, Karen is a good friend of mine. We first met in an airport after the She Speaks Conference in 2009, and since then, we’ve become prayer partners and cheerleaders for one another.

Friends, Karen is the real deal.

Not to mention, Karen is also a super gifted writer, blogger, and communicator. If you don’t know her already, what are you waiting for? You will love her! The woman is simply hilarious!

Get to know Karen at www.karenehman.com. (If you’re not reading her blog, you should. She’ll have you organized in no time!)

Can I just say, you’ll love this new book from Karen. From beginning to end, it’s all about watching our tongue and keeping ourselves out of a whole heap of trouble. Watch this fun intro video —

And from the back of the colorful book -

Got words? Oh yeah, you do!

The average women speaks over 20,000 a day—not to mention the ones she types online. Karen Ehman—a woman whose words have often landed her in a heap of trouble— shares from experience the how’s (and how-not-to’s) of dealing with the tongue in her new book Keep It Shut . Using biblical examples, as well as Karen’s own personal (and sometimes painful!) stories, Keep It Shut will equip you to know what to say, how best to say it, and when you’d better just keep your lips zipped!

This book will teach you:
• The difference between gossip and properly processing with a trusted friend
• A helpful grid for using our digital tongues as we talk online or on social media
• How to pause before you pounce, attacking the problem but not the person
• How to avoid saying something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off
• What the Bible teaches about making our speech laced with grace, as sweet as honey, and yet seasoned with salt

Are you ready for my good news, friends?

I’m giving away a free copy of Keep It Shut to a *She Sparkles* friend this week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.”

What about you? What tips do you have to keep our tongues tame, or from our words getting us into a world of trouble? Share with us please!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles,* friend. Have a wonderful, grace-filled, week!

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Disclosure: I was not provided with any financial compensation for this giveaway, and as always, all opinions are mine.

 

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A Simple Strategy to Staying Sane

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Hey Friends -

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is…

“Cindy, how do you do it? You’re married, have 4 kids, a speaking ministry, serve hot lunch, teach the Bible, go to hockey games, etc. How do you do it all?”

My answer is simple. 

I don’t.

Whereas it is true I am married, have 4 awesome kids, serve at my kids’ school, love speaking and sharing what God has done in my life, and can never have too much hockey — the truth is that are a lot of things I don’t do.

In fact, here are some of the things I’ve learned about trying to do it all —

1. “Trying to do it all” doesn’t work.

For many, many years I tried to do it all. In my life before Christ, I tried to be…

  • Super Employee (i.e. workaholic)
  • Super Thin (i.e. eating disorder)
  • Super Mom (I was a single mom, it was a ton of work and I never slept!).
  • Super Perfectly Clean and Organized Home Owner

It was empty and defeated living.

My search for perfection led me down a path of horribly unhealthy, self-defeating behaviors, and eventually almost cost me my life (literally ~ you can read more here). I am committed to never going back to being Super Woman!!

2. Know your Purpose

I now try to live very intentionally each and every day (while still having a lot of fun along the way)! :)

I spent time each season reflecting on my purpose, and try to make daily choices reflecting those decisions.

3. Prioritize your Time

On my quest for intentional, purposeful living, I have learned it is crucial to prioritize my days.

Am I the only one that can turn on the computer to send a quick note, and realize 2 hours later that I forgot what I went to the computer to do? Ahhh!!

I spent time each morning reflecting on my priorities ~ and then plan my day accordingly.

Unfortunately, it also means I must say NO to a lot of things.

For this season, I am choosing to not watch much TV. I will never be known for my gardening skills. When friends come over, I usually feed them ice cream, tacos or pizza (I’m not kidding). Our garage is still filled with boxes from when we moved — in 2008. 

I’m learning I must say NO to good things in order to say YES to God’s best.

Of course, this isn’t always easy.

My email inbox is overflowing. There are phone calls to make, cards I should send, and one day soon I should brave my FB message. But in my heart, I know my purpose and priority of wife and mom must come first.

Instead, I spend my nights being present with my family. I trust God will allow me to respond to others in His timing, and give grace in the mean time.

Saying NO to good things isn’t easy, but I truly believe God will bless our desire to keep our priorities in line.

4. Ask for Help

Asking for help has been the hardest, yet most healthy thing I’ve learned on my quest for sane, whole living. Here are some “helps” I currently have in place ~

* I’ve been blessed with a prayer team that lifts my family and all my speaking engagements in prayer.

* My mom and mother-in-love frequently feed us when I have speaking engagements.

* I have a cleaning service (and they drive a car that lets the whole neighborhood know when they are over!!!). No secrets here!

* My husband John does all of our laundry. (bless you, honey!)

There is no way I could keep the full schedule I maintain without help from my family and friends!

Isn’t it freeing to not have to pretend that we are capable of doing it all?

I love being ME (the non-gardener, pizza buying ME), and I sure sleep much better these days!

Now please know I do not have it all figured out.

I’m on a journey, just like you. But the more we can be honest and realistic about what we are capable of doing (and what our floors really look like most days), the more we can free each other from trying to be perfect.

Life’s too challenging on its own, much less pretending that we have it altogether, don’t you think?

I love how Beth Moore puts it ~ “We can’t do all things for the Glory of God.”

Amen.

So, what has God called you to do?

Speak? Write? Be a Mom? Work outside the home? Be a Grandma?

What healthy habits have you put into place to live a healthy, full life?

Are there things God is asking you to let go of while you pursue His purpose for you?

What strategies do you have in place to stay sane this season?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share with us please!

May God guide you as you prioritize your days, may He help you say NO to good things and YES to the best, and fill you with an abundance of His peace and joy as you pursue His purpose for your life!

God’s richest blessings to you~

P.S. A change is coming — yippee! Watch for a new website later this month. If you’d like to be sure to see the new look, sign up at the left to receive updates via email. I’d love to stay connected, friend. xo

 

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When Christmas is Messy (& new video teaching)

ada Christmas 2014Hey Friends —

If you were going to pick one word to describe your Christmas season thus far, what would it be?

  • hopeful
  • peace-filled
  • fun

Or if your December has looked like mine, the word you might pick would be more like…

  • messy
  • different-than-expected (trying to make it into one word – smile)
  • chaotic

I won’t bore you with all the details, but life is pretty messy at my place these days.

We’re in the midst of a roof project (and four of our bedroom windows are currently boarded over while they work on the roof. Lovely).  The furnace man said yesterday our furnace pipes are rusted and need to be replaced — for only $1800. Oh, and did I mention someone ransacked through my car the other night, and I still have a fall flag hanging on the porch.  My email inbox is like a overgrown, weed infested garden, and I’m in the middle of a huge writing project that is due before the new year. And my firstborn Jake is going to be in Vietnam this Christmas. :(

But the good news, friends. I have peace. A whole lotta peace.

And you can too.

You see, if we look back at the first Christmas, it was not “Pinterest perfect.”

The first Christmas was lonely, stinky, disappointing, dirty, messy—and our lives will be too.

But the really good news—God is with us in our mess.

Christmas mess

Will you go back and read that out loud?

Good news, right friend?!

I had the joy of sharing a message this season about keeping our peace this Christmas season. You can watch my teaching in its entirety here —

 

Ada Bibe Church 2014 Christmas Message by Cindy Bultema

 

Friends, are you faced with a mess today?

Are there parts of your life that are lonely, stinky, disappointing, or dirty?

Do you need a reminder that God is absolutely Trustworthy and True? I’d be humbled to pray for you. And what if we both committed to –

A – Always starting our day with Jesus

B – Breathing in peace, and breathing out our frustrations, disappointments, and unrealistic expectations

C – Choosing Peace

Despite our circumstances, let’s allow Peace to rule and reign our thoughts and lives.

I’m willing if you are!

How have you experienced peace in your messy moments? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by *She Sparkles* dear friend!

May your weekend be filled with oodles of peace, joy and  life-giving moments!

Merry, messy Christmas!

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Expecting the Unexpected

Cindy & Julie Sanders

Cindy & Julie Sanders

I’m thrilled to host my dear friend Julie Sanders as my guest today. The following post is based on her new book “Expectant,” a devotional book for expecting Moms. Enjoy!

Expectant_FlatforeBooksBy the time the news came, she had long since laid her expectations to rest.

For so many years, she hoped with hesitation turned to heaviness. Elizabeth waited to feel her womb full with a child long enough for other women to conceive, grow, give birth, and raise their beloveds to families of their own. But her womb and her arms were empty.

And then her husband Zechariah went to serve in the temple. As if to begin to sweep away their shared expectations, an angel of the Lord met him beside the altar. Their prayers had been heard. The messenger brought news that God would do more than they had asked. He would defy their age and destroy what everyone expected, giving them a son. The aged mom-to-be secretly said, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me,” (Luke 1:25a).

Whether a woman embarks on the mothering journey at a traditional time in a typical way, or at a surprising time in singular way, God is revealed. Children are given under the watchful eye of the most tender heavenly Father.

God knows our longings and our limitations, and He sees that every mother’s heart is expectant.

As the angel foretold, Elizabeth conceived, though her husband waited wordlessly for his lack of faith. He believed in the power of his expectations, instead of the One who exceeds our hopes. Together, the aged man and wife became the humbled father and mother, for becoming a parent has a way of exposing our weakness and sending us to our knees. The elderly first-time mother surely wondered if she could manage an infant in her season of life, but as I share in EXPECTANT, “If He has given you a child to nurture, He can give you the energy and wisdom and desire to raise that child well.”

After most of a lifetime spent waiting and wondering, God did more than Elizabeth could ask or imagine.

Her son became John the Baptist, born just before Jesus and sent to announce the coming of the Prince of Peace. At the perfect time, in the perfect way, He exceeded her expectations.

Could it be that God wants to do more than what you expect in your life and in the lives of your family members?  Mothers have the chance to see God do more than a mom’s heart can ever hope.

 Father God,

It’s easy to fall into expecting the normal pathway of motherhood and family. When it looks different, I find myself struggling to have faith. Help me to trust You to know and do what’s best. Would you lead me in my journey as a woman and maybe as a mom, and would you go beyond my small expectations and do more?

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mum7croppedJulie lives where tea is sweet and grits are cheesy. She and her husband of 25 years have two nearly grown kids. EXPECTANT: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms was born when God brought a group of young couples into their lives, just as they began to long to grow their families. Julie loves to teach God’s word to women in her hometown and across the globe; she is passionate about fighting human trafficking and helping women of all tribes and tongues find God’s peace for life. Check out Julie’s blog home Come Have a Peace  (www.juliesanders.org) and Marriage Mondays to find reasons for peace and information about her ministry. EXPECTANT is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

 

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart with us, Julie!

Sweet friend, do you find yourself in a season of waiting and wondering? How can we pray for you?

Share with us please!

With an expectant heart,

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TobyMac’s : EYE’M ALL MIXED UP (Remixes) & giveaway!

Toby Mac concert

Toby Mac concert

Hey Friends -

Y’all know how much my family loves TobyMac, right?!

A few years ago, we had the best time seeing TobyMac in concert! He was one of the nicest, kindest men I’ve ever met (and remember how my kids said I was mom of the year when they learned I won backstage passes/tickets for them?!)

Not only is TobyMac’s music powerful ~ I especially appreciate the Truth-filled words he shares. I love when he sings — “It’s never been my dream to see my face in magazines, it’s always been about the music, hoping God would use it to set some people free.”

tobymac2b0201Of course, being escorted backstage by TobyMac’s Tour Manager and getting some personal time with TobyMac is definitely at the top of my girls’ dream-come-true list.

Yay, God!

Imagine my delight when I learned TobyMac has a brand new CD coming out, and his team wondered if I’d like to share his music with my blog readers.

Um, YES PLEASE!

eyemallmixedupIntroducing TobyMac’s brand new CD — EYE’M ALL MIXED UP!

Five-time GRAMMY® winner TobyMac recently debuted his latest remix project  – EYE’M ALL MIXED UP (REMIXES). The project is his first release since his history-making studio album EYE ON IT, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, only the third Christian album to accomplish this feat at the time of its release. EYE’M ALL MIXED UP (REMIXES) features reworked tracks off EYE ON IT by remixers Capital Kings, Telemitry, Soul Glow Activatur of Family Force 5 and more.

EYE ON IT debuted to unprecedented critical acclaim, nabbing the GRAMMY® Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album, and media outlets are embracing the remix project with the same enthusiasm:

“TobyMac fans will love the new energy breathed into these songs by an elite group of producers. This album should be an essential for every dance party across the nation.”
-NewReleaseTuesday.com

“All of the songs here are excellently crafted and some of them are even improvements of the originals.”
-Jesus Freak Hideout

Here’s the amazing playlist —

EYE’M ALL MIXED UP (REMIXES) Tracklist
1. EYE ON IT (Phenomenon Remix by Soul Glow Activatur)
2. FORGIVENESS (Feat. Lecrae) (Neon Feather Remix)
3. SPEAK LIFE (Telemitry Remix)
4. ME WITHOUT YOU (Capital Kings Remix)
5. STEAL MY SHOW (Jack Shocklee Remix)
6. UnSTOPPABLE (Feat. Blanca) (Phenomenon Remix by Soul Glow Activatur)
7. LOSE MYSELF (Capital Kings Remix)
8. EYE ON IT (Kaveman Remix)
9. THANKFUL FOR YOU (Thunderbird Remix)
10. MAC DADDY (Tru’s Reality) (Telemitry Remix)
11. ME WITHOUT YOU (Telemitry Remix)

The kids and I went for a drive tonight to listen to the songs and pick our favorite. Bottom line: we loved them all!

Now are you ready for an awesome Toby Mac giveaway?! (drumroll please….)

THREE dear friends will win —

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll close with a quote from  TobyMac….

“What is it like to live a life of faith? It doesn’t look perfect, I can promise you that,” Toby admits. “We’re all struggling. We’re struggling to mend relationships, to love people well, and to love God. But the gift of walking this life of faith is that you can make it right each day. You can turn and start over, determined, with your eye on it.”

Amen, TobyMac, Amen!

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

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P.S. Here’s how to get connected with Toby Mac –

 

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