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Fired Up or Fizzled Out? (& red-hot Giveaway)

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It’s Red Hot Faith LAUNCH WEEK! Woo Hoo! Every day this week I’ll be hosting different giveaways, specials, sneak peeks, & more! Join us for the week filled of red-hot fun!

Hey Friends –

Is your faith life more fired up or fizzled out?

Maybe you hear about women who are moving mountains with their faith, blogging to billions, caring for orphans, ministering to the masses — and you want that life!

You declare “Use me too, Lord!”

But when it’s time to be nice to your neighbor, sign up to serve, or pray for the pain-filled friend – you hide behind your badge of busyness and settle in to accept comfort over calling, simplicity over serving, hiding instead of hospitality.

I can definitely relate.

How I long for a faith life filled with purpose, passion, spark, and meaning— but truth be told —most days I feel caught up in the “whirlpool of life.”

After long days jam-packed with a house full of kids, never-ending chores, and our zany dog—I barely have energy to change the sheets, much less change the world.

Maybe when my family life slows down, then I should serve.

Perhaps when I lose weight, then I’ll be more comfortable sharing my story.

Or when I learn more Scripture verses, then I’ll be a better Bible teacher.

In the meantime, it’s easy to settle into a lukewarm routine, filling my days being busy with “good” things, while allowing the “best” opportunities God has for me to pass on by.

Thankfully God never intended for “lukewarm” to become our norm.

I’ve found the key to living with fresh passion and purpose tucked in a letter to the ancient church of Laodicea, also known as Revelation 3:14-22. The people in that church were not very different from you and me today. They struggled with being lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—and Jesus had the perfect remedy for their lackluster faith.

Leader's Pack $32.99

Leader’s Pack $32.99

If you’re interested in learning more — great news!

I have 5 Red Hot Faith Bible Study Leader’s Packs (courtesy of my amazing publisher — Discovery House Publishing) of my brand new Bible Study to share with 5 blessed blog readers too! Yippee!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sweet friend, what if God has purpose for us in the midst of our most mundane days?

What if we went from just “believing in God” to allowing Him to ignite every part of our faith lives?

Let’s learn from the lukewarm church and say “no” to lives of complacency, staleness, and stagnation and instead pursue a life of Red Hot Faith!

God’s richest blessings to you~



P.S. West Michigan friends, I’m looking forward to celebrating LAUNCH WEEK with my dear friends & family at Baker Book House tomorrow evening (Tuesday, June 29th.) Details here – here I’d love to have you join us (& yes, it’s free!)


I’m So Sick of the “F” Word!

Mark your calendars! July 28th starts a week long, red-hot launch week! Grab your confetti — it’s time to celebrate! Prizes, giveaways, surprises, & more! Woo Hoo!

Hey Friends!

A good friend bumped into me while I was out and about last week. After a few minutes of pleasantries, she leaned in and whispered, “How are things with your girls? Everything ok?”

I knew what she was asking. You may remember, last year one of my young daughters decided she didn’t want to be “fat” and stopped eating. Completely.

Unfortunately it happened again. (Recap here and here).

Thankfully this daughter is doing better (for today) ~ but trust me, this mama bear is keeping a very close eye on the situation.


You see, recently my daughter (the one who has wrestled with eating stuff in the past) came and told me that my other daughter said kids were teasing her at school. Now I ask all kinds of questions – and often – and this has never ever come up. I was shocked!

I immediately sat with my other daughter and asked her about what I had just learned. She shared through big wet crocodile tears that kids tease her and call her FAT all the time. At school. In the neighborhood. On the bus.

When I asked, “Can you tell me more?” ~ she shared name after name after name of kids – boys and girls – who have been calling her fat over the past year.

Can you even imagine?! My heart was shattered in a million pieces for my daughter and the horrible hurts she’s been carrying.

Later that night I went for a walk with my young son and was telling him what I learned. I asked him if he had heard his sister being teased, and wondered if there was more I should know. I was not prepared for what he would share. My son said..

“I haven’t heard her get teased, but kids call me fat all the time, so I’m used to it.” 

Are you kidding me?? Not only is my daughter being teased, but also my son?! My athletic, healthy, hockey playing son – is being called FAT so much at school that he’s just used to it??!

Oh Lord, help us all!

  • You’ve heard me rant and rave how Fat Talk has impacted my life – recap here
  • You’ve heard me share ideas of how we CAN live without Fat Talk – recap here
  • You’ve heard me share how Fat Talk has impacted my family – recap here
  • You’ve heard me passionately share my heart on the radio – recap here

But I am now more FIRED UP than ever to be a voice of TRUTH in this media-driven, air brushed, vanity infused culture. Will you join me? Please?

For starters, let’s begin with us.

May we look in the mirror and declare, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am beautiful – just the way that I am.”

Not focusing on our imperfections, but extending grace and acceptance to how God has made us (yes, that includes muffin tops, small chests, large chests, flappy arms or whatever “problem areas” you focus on!)

Then TODAY let’s remind one person (or more, but even one person would be a blessing) that they are BEAUTIFUL based on their heart and their character, and not the size of their jeans.

And for those of us with children, may we all remind our kids to be NICE, and LOVING, and that mean words HURT. Kindness does count.

And what if we all decided to take FAT TALK out of our vocabulary.

Please?? Pretty please???

Let’s End Fat Talk together!

What about for you?? How do you stay healthy and Truth filled in this area? Have your kids wrestled with this before? Any tips for me – please?! I would love to hear from you!

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




…repost from the archives


The Making of a Mom (& Giveaway)

Mark your calendars! July 28th starts a week long, red-hot launch week! Grab your confetti — it’s time to celebrate! Prizes, giveaways, surprises, & more! Woo Hoo!

Hey friends –

web-1-240x300Today I’m excited to introduce you to a sweet friend/author/speaker/amazing encourager–Stephanie Shott

Stephanie is the founder of The M.O.M. Initiative, an awesome ministry for moms and families. She recently released a book that I think you’ll love! This resource was truly born in Stephanie’s heart, so I’m going to let Stephanie share in her own words about her new book, The Making of a Mom.

 Moms Mold the Heart of the Next Generation

Have you ever felt like you wore so many hats that it was hard to really enjoy your mom journey?

Or like you were so weary and worn out by your never-ending ‘to do’ list that you wanted to bury your head under the covers and get away from it all…even for just a day?

Me too!

Oh…like you, I LOVE being a mom. But for me, motherhood was like this messy experiment and my kids were the guinea pigs.

Motherhood is the best job on the planet!

Moms, more than anyone else, have the opportunity to not only mold the heart of their children but to mold the heart of the next generation. But we get caught up in dealing with the dailies of life and it’s hard to make it our mission to parent on purpose. Sometimes it’s so easy to parent the child they are and deal with the behavior of the moment that we forget about molding the heart of the person we long for them to become.

book1The Making of a Mom gives you a foundational look at real life biblical motherhood and provides the practical tools and inspiration you need to become the best mom you can.

While we all know there is no such thing as a perfect mom, we also know that WE are the perfect moms for our children.

The Making of a Mom encourages moms to embrace the significance of their calling to motherhood…a role that only we moms can fulfill…a role that God has called us to and equipped us for.

And The Making of a Mom was uniquely written to minister to the hearts of moms while also providing a key resource for the local church and para-ministries.

With venue specific Planning Guides in the back of the book, instructions on how to begin M.O.M. Groups that will help the local church weave mentoring into the fabric of the church and serve as not only an in-reach resource, but a great outreach tool as well. And the questions at the end of each chapter serve as a catalyst for conversation for ministry and small group leaders, The Making of a Mom is the perfect resource for every church!

The Making of a Mom works in tandem with The M.O.M. Initiative as a tool to help the church minister to moms who know Christ and reach those who don’t. Through The Making of a Mom, you can help your local church make mentoring missional and impact your community and this culture for Christ.

The goal of The M.O.M. Initiative is to reach a MILLION MOMS for Christ.

The tool is The Making of a Mom. The vehicle is the local church. AND…if only 3 women in 1/2 of the churches in the United States would mentor just 3 other mothers, we could reach a MILLION MOMS for Christ!


Doesn’t her book sound awesome, friends? I love friends who dream big and pray bold — and that’s Stephanie for sure!

To find out how to order The Making of a Mom, you can go here.  But I’m pleased to have a copy to pass along to one blessed blog reader today. Woo Hoo!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May your week be joy-filled and sprinkled with much love, laughter, and fun family times!

Sweet blessings,



3 Tips for Surviving Social Media with Kids

social media basket
Mark your calendars! July 28th starts a week long, red-hot launch week! Grab your confetti — it’s time to celebrate! Prizes, giveaways, surprises, & more! Woo Hoo!

Hey Friends –

One of the hardest summer challenges for me has been navigating social media — especially with my gang.


My kiddos — love them!

As you know, John and I are blessed with 4 kiddos — ages 10, 11, 12 & 20.

Our oldest is in Colorado for the summer, so that leaves a soon-to-be 5th grader, 6th grader, and 7th grader at home.

Most of our daily summer conversations have gone like this, or so it seems –

  • “I said, ‘Put your iPpod touches away.’”
  • “I don’t care if everyone has an iPhone. No.”
  • “No screen time until your chores are done.”
  • “If I see your iPod one more time, it’s gone for a week.”

Am I the only one?!

I’ve spent this summer studying, implementing, reworking, praying, talking to other moms, pinning, & praying more. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

3 Tips for Surviving Social Media with Kids

1. Set Boundaries

My rule for the kids & their friends: Everyone is welcome, but check your IPod/iPhone at the door.

My rule for the kids & their friends: Everyone is welcome, but check your IPod/iPhone at the door.

If clear boundaries are not set, my kids would text/play mine craft/face time all day long. AHHHH!

Boundaries we’ve set include:

  • Time limits (chores first, limited time, etc.)
  • No technology in bedrooms
  • Phones/iPods go in Mom’s basket when friends come over (have you ever noticed you’ll have 4 kids together and they’ll all be texting each other rather than talking.) Crazy!
  • Sign a Social Media Contract.  I found a great one here. (You can download it for free.)
  • Passwords must be known by a parent at all times, and yes, I will check, read, be in your business, and stalk you on-line. Get used to it. :)

2. Stay Involved

As I mentioned, yes, I read their texts, posts, Instagram pictures, etc. (so far only our boys are allowed on Instagram since they are older).  I am that mom.

It drives my oldest son Jake crazy — but, yes, I do stalk my children.

I’ve also found it very helpful to discuss social media with other involved moms to learn about apps to stay away from, websites to watch out for, etc.

untitled1We’ve also been having a lot of family time to discuss “hot topics” like cyber-bullying, porn, internet crime, and more.

In fact, last night over ice cream we read this book together as a family. Good stuff!

What ways have you found work best to stay involved with what your kids are doing on-line? I’d love to learn from you too!


3. Share Kindness

In our new “selfie generation,” (read this!) I’m trying to survive social media by reminding my gang to use social media for good.

Rather than only playing games and taking selfies, I remind my kids to share kindness through social media. I’m asking,

grandma rule“Who can you encourage? How can you be helpful to someone today? In what ways can you spread joy?”

And yes, they usually roll their eyes at me — but I’ve also seen them leave some group chats that were headed south quickly.

And remember “The Grandma Rule”: “If you wouldn’t show it, say it, or text it to grandma, don’t post, type, or send it!”


Additionally, I’ve learned I need to model healthy social media skills myself.

Screenshot 2014-07-19 00.31.19I can’t remind my gang of time limits and then text away all day myself.  I must also set boundaries and limits — and then stick to them!

For more Social Media Strategies with Kids, check out my Pinterest page here.

Your turn, friends!

How are you navigating the ever-changing world of social media, especially with our children?

Are there apps you’ve found to be helpful — or not so much — with your kids?

Do you set time limits or boundaries? Stalk your kids on-line? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by, sweet friend! Have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend!


P.S. My publisher is having a special red-hot contest! Click here for all the details. You could win a red cookware set, plus a copy of the Red Hot Faith Bible Study too. Woo Hoo!

Discovery House's red-hot giveaway!

Discovery House’s red-hot giveaway!


Why Today is Super Weird for Me

The birthday boy & his mama

The birthday boy & his mama

Hey Friends -

I’ve entered a new season of Motherhood.

Jake's party before he left for Colorado

Jake’s party before he left for Colorado

My “birdie” (aka my firstborn Jake) – has left the nest – flying from our home in Michigan to spend the summer in Colorado.

Today is his 20th birthday — and he is not here to celebrate.


Thankfully, since it’s not the first time he’s left our home, I’m a bit more used to the idea.

You may remember when Jake first started school at Aquinas College, I was a absolute and complete wreck. His biological dad and step-mom live walking distance from his new school, and Jake moved in with them.

I melted down.

Big time.

I’m a Psychology major who has studied “empty nest syndrome.” I’m a MOPS speaker who talks about embracing the seasons of life. I’ve read articles about moms who bawl for days when their babies go to college and thought to myself “that will never be me!” I’ve secretly laughed at my friend’s moms who slept in their daughter’s beds when they moved out. I made it through the first day of Kindergarten with barely a sniffle or two.

I’ve told my kids all along that I want them to have two things ~ wings and roots. I was raising my little birds to soar!

Only now I realize I prefer my little birdies right here with me!

In case you are entering a new season of motherhood in the fall, will be transitioning seasons soon, or just want to plan ahead – here is what I’ve been learning so far about when our “birdies” leave the nest –

1. Embrace “this” season.

jake in CO

Jake in Colorado

Just like we embraced and made it through the diaper stage, the early MOPS years, the elementary season (my favorite), the fun high school years, & college years - this new season will have many highs and yes, some lows.

When Jake started Aquinas, we went as a family and stocked up on new AQ gear, and I realized having a son in college could still be a lot of fun.

Now that Jake is in Colorado, I’m enjoying all the amazing pics he is sending of his new adventures (although I do find myself wanting to text him and say “Are you sure that’s safe?” — but I don’t.)

How are you learning to embrace your current season of life?

2. Feel Your Feelings

I’ll be honest, when life gets hard, most days I‘d rather just drink a Starbucks latte or pour myself a cold Diet Coke…. but not anymore.

Instead I’m asking God to help me feel these feelings and not just numb out.

If I numb the pain and sadness, I also numb out the joy and peace – and I’m not willing to go there.

Instead I need to feel these feelings and allow myself to grieve (yuck – remember I hate goodbyes) – but I’m trying.

3. Share Your Feelings

I’m super blessed with a close circle of friends & family who have been walking with me through this season of transition. Sending notes and emails. Reminding me “I’m normal.” Praying over me and letting me be real.

(Not to mention my husband John who has been a gem with a super emotional wife. I think we changed outfits 3 times Friday night – I just need to go for a walk. No, I need to go out. No, I need to watch a funny movie. No, I can’t be home, I need to go out. Let’s go to the movies please. Oh my! Thanks, honey!)

4. Create New Routines & Traditions

New seasons create opportunities for new routines and traditions. When Jake first went to college, I stepped down from teaching Bible Study weekly so I could be available for Jake as needed. We even had “Wednesday’s at Wolfgang’s” (a nearby great breakfast place) that was a huge highlight of my week.

5. Learn, Grow & Cling to Truth

New seasons are perfect opportunities for new growth. I want to be more like Jesus, and I’m asking God to teach me new, better ways to live through this transition.

I’m also super thankful for God’s Word and its powerful, life-changing, accomplishing work. (Where would we be without Truth?!)

I’ve added new arsenal to my belt of Truth, including verses like….

  •  Isaiah 30:15b - In Quietness and trust is your strength (the“Q” verse)
  • Psalm 119:28 – My soul is weary with sorrow; strenghten me according to Your Word.
  • Psalm 4:3 – Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself, the Lord will hear when I call to Him.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….

How about you, friend? What season of life are you in these days? What are you learning? How are you feeling? Share with us please!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! I think I’m off to celebrate the amazing gift of life God blessed me with 20 years ago today — even if he is up a mountain somewhere in Colorado somewhere!

With a thankful, but somewhat sad heart, (just keeping it real!),



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