Hey Friends!!

Happy 2011!! I hope you are off to a GREAT New Year filled with much *joy*, love, and life-giving moments!!

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks….

* Christmas Vacation *

Not only did we just “survive” Christmas vacation, we had a blast!! I used some of my “Christmas Vacation Family Fun ~ A to Z ideas, and maximized every minute with my gang! Here’s a quick, mini photo recap…

Our “Monday Fun Day” with friends and neighbors! (Remind me to tell you how I structure Monday Fun Day’s sometime ~ it works GREAT with kids everytime!).

Here are our little elves hard at work getting ready to ice some cookies…..



We also took our traditional photo with Santa. (Please know, we don’t focus on Santa much at all in our family, but just for fun, we do have our picture taken every year with the jolly old guy. Some Cindy trivia…I was pregnant when we saw Santa in 2000, 2002, and 2003. Whew!)


Our family spent the night at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids
(thanks, Grandma!). The girls brought some friends downtown to swim, and we enjoyed a yummy family dinner inside the Amway. What fun! 🙂


And yes, my little Sarah and I did sneak away to Starbucks once (or twice, or so). It was her idea, really! 🙂

Also, a huge note of thanks to my mom for taking all 4 for a sleepover and to my father-in-law Bob for taking the gang bowling for the day so I could recharge!

Christmas vacation wasn’t much of a “vacation” ~ but we sure had fun!

Other random updates…* breathing *

As you my remember, my breathing has been HORRIBLE for months; and I had bronchitis twice this past fall. Ugh. I’ve been on steroids (which have made me irritable and puffy – yuck), and having to use a nebulizer a couple of times a day.

THANKFULLY, I went to the doctor again last week, my meds were all switched, and I feel like a NEW WOMEN!! Hallelujah!! Amazing what being able to breathe will do for you!!

* Red Hot*
I am waist high in my Red Hot writing. I love it!! I even dream about the church of Laodecia at night!! And I’m thrilled to share that next month (Feb 25th & 26th), I’ll be teaching some of the material at a Red Hot for Jesus Retreat sponsored by Sunshine Church in Grand Rapids, Mi. (If you’d like more information, I’d love to send an invitation to you! All are invited and welcome!)

Can you even imagine what God could and would do through a group of women fired up, filled up, passionate, and RED HOT for Him?!! Woo Hoo!!!

Last week, I was asked to make a little promo video with more details about the Red Hot event (hopefully I can get a copy of the video to share here). What fun!


Pic above is starting at left: Erica Simpson (Worship leader EXTRAORDINAIRE!), Cheryl Bauer (leader from Sunshine Church), and me :). Film maker: Jeremy Simpson.


Lastly, the 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 summer, 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.

And this time of year, 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”….you get the drift.

Anyway…my 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…


I WILL FOCUS ON FRUIT.

In fact, I’m calling this my “Fruit Diet”….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…

*Loving
*Joy-filled
*Peaceful
*Patient
*Kind
*Good
*Faithful
*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” 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!!

Whew! If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thank you! 🙂

How about for you?? How was your holiday?? What’s your 2011 plan?? What has God been teaching you these days?? I would love to hear from you!!!

Thank you, dear *She Sparkles* friends, for your encouragement, Truth, and kindness. I thank God for you!!

God’s richest blessings to you!

P.S. Over the next few weeks, as I prepare for the Red Hot retreat, my posts will be much less frequent. (But I’ll miss you!) If you would like to receive an e-mail when I post something new, you can sign up here. I have some fun giveaways planned over the next few weeks (including Red Hot tickets) ~ please keep in touch! 🙂

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