Uncategorized, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), sparkle inspiration, healthy lifestyle

Christmas Sparkle Fun Activities

Christmas is a time of joy! We rejoice at the true meaning of Christmas, that the Lord Jesus Christ was sent to this earth as a baby, who would grow up to be our sacrificial Savior.

It’s wonderful to have activities during the holiday season that reflect our joy and light-heartedness. I thought I would share with you a couple of fun things that our family has done in the past. I am in the process of organizing the millions of pictures on my computer. So I will share a couple photos with you that give ideas for fun times.



This is my daughter-in-law, Emily. As you see, we made “snowmen” with long pretzels, candies, and icing. The ones she is holding happen to have a Mexican hat theme, but the possibilities are limitless.

I have lost my recipe, but click here to see a similar one.

This activity appeals to all ages and gives guests something fun to take home. The works of art will last a year or two in your Christmas box, just to look at…not to eat, of course!




Balloon hats are great fun. As you notice, there are no young kids in this group. There’s my mom who is in her 90’s and the rest of us “kids” having a great time. And of course, little kids adore this activity. This was not Christmas (I know that because my neighbors are in the picture), might have been Thanksgiving, but it would be a great Christmas craft!  Balloons can be bought at the Party Store and often come with instructions.

So come the new year, I’ll actually be writing some blogs with actual content! I’ll look forward to “seeing” you then!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New year 🙂

By the way, if you have some ideas to share, leave a comment for this blog and let other readers in on your joyful times!


healthy lifestyle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body)

Getting Rid Of That Tired Look, And Having Sparkling Eyes

I’m not a great sleeper. But I’m working on it and improving because I know that sleep contributes to both inner and outer sparkle. How can you sparkle from the inside out when you’re constantly tired?

I wrote a blog about how I’m learning to sleep and you can view it here.

But this time, I want to share a little trick to get rid of tired eyes and even a tired mind in just 10 minutes!

SONY DSCThis is my little rice bag. I made it. If you have a sewing machine, you can make one in 5 minutes by sewing together two pieces of soft fabric, like flannel, 7.5″ X 3.5″, and adding just enough rice to make it comfortable. (Sew inside out, leave a small opening, turn right side out, add rice, and sew it closed) Don’t add too much rice as you want it to be flexible and light.

If you’re not into sewing, simply get a sock, add rice, and tie the end together with a piece of ribbon.

I use my bigger rice bags for heat on my sore muscles. But this tiny rice bag goes into the freezer. Then about midday, if possible, lie down on your couch for about 10 minutes, place the cool bag on your eyes, and you will feel relaxed!

Not only will you feel relaxed, but all those little blood vessels inside and around your eyes will stop bulging and get smaller. (Another trick for achieving that same thing is to rinse your eyes out in the morning with very cold water.)

My husband recently told me that I was short on “outer sparkle” blogs. So this is my outer sparkle tip for the day. 🙂

emotional and spiritual struggles, getting a little older, Uncategorized

Sparkle In the Now

2016-10-11-pioneer-theater-the-glass-menagerie-9You may have read or seen the play The Glass Menagerie. The main characters are Tom, Laura, and the mother, Amanda Windfield. The three of them live in a small apartment during the Great Depression, Mr. Wingfield having deserted the family, and Tom is left to do the major part of supporting them. Laura is shy and backward and finds joy in her glass menagerie, mainly to escape from mother Amanda’s insistence that she be just like she was in her youth: outgoing, popular, much sought after by “suitors.”

In fact, Amanda goes on and on and on about how sought after she was, why, one time she entertained 17 suitors in one room at one time!

The play is tragic in many ways, Laura has a disability of a physical sort that gives her a limp, in addition to her backwardness, Tom feels completely trapped and eventually leaves guilt-ridden and despairing.

But the real tragedy and the root, I believe, of everyone’s misery, is Amanda’s insistence upon living in the past and thereby spoiling any glimmer of hope for happiness in the now. And she also lives in the future, hoping that Laura will find herself with a room full of rich suitors…but she never lives, nor allows anyone else to live, in the now.

And I have to ask myself, very often, am I living in the now? To live in the past is tragic, and to live in the future, hoping for something better and something more, is foolish and futile beyond description.

Mike and I are going through boxes of photos together on date night and we enjoy reliving the past just a bit, because our past with our kids was a happy time. But the past is past, definitely part of all of our souls, but still, it is past.

And we sometimes talk about how we envision our golden years and the sprawling idyllic land where we will live in a cozy cottage and surrounded by family and good friends. And it is fun to dream like that. But the future is uncertain and may look quite different from our dreams.

3043_1920x1080The only certainty is now, this moment, with all of its troubles, and the people who surround us with all of their flaws (and if we’re honest, we perhaps have the most flaws of all). But this is the time to sparkle in the circumstances in which we live. And this is the time to love the people whom God has placed right in front of us.

Proverbs 17:24 says:
A discerning person keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. (NIV)

Yes, a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. A fool is always looking for something other than what is right in front of him or her. Have you ever been speaking with someone and his or her eyes are darting about the room, searching to be sure that there is not someone more important to talk to? What an insult. And what a fool that person is. His or her eyes are always wandering to the ends of the earth, but never finding satisfaction in what is right there.

Sparkle now! And let the people who are right in front of you know that they are important, that they, in fact, sparkle in your eyes. This is wisdom and this is happiness.

healthy lifestyle, Inner Sparkle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), Uncategorized

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I’m reading a new book, the title of which is the title of this blog. It is written by a young woman from Japan, and has sold 6 million copies. Her premise in the book is that “tidying up” is essential to discovering who we really are.  How can that be? Well, I admit, it has been difficult at times to follow the author’s way of thinking. Yet, somehow, I know she is essentially right. Getting our “stuff” in order somehow affects our minds, our souls, and helps us to climb out of the mess and move forward in a positive direction.

Although I am not following her method jot and tittle (which, by the way, she would never be satisfied with!), my husband and I have both applied her “tidying” method during the last two weeks. The first phase is to “discard.” During the discarding phase, which can take six months, you don’t organize or put things away, you only discard.

She has the most interesting way of helping her reader decide what to discard, and amazingly, it works. You put a category of things before you, perhaps clothes or books, and you hold each item in your hands and ask yourself, “Does this item bring me joy?” If it doesn’t, it is to be discarded (either thrown out or donated).

So Mike and I have a new, clean trash can that we will fill each week, full of the things that don’t bring us joy. These items are usually things that we have kept because we felt guilty getting rid of them, or because “someday I might need this.” These are two fallacies that must be abandoned in order to tidy.

Marie, the author, has the most amazing relationship with clothes. In discussing how to organize socks, she insists that they should never, ever be tied or balled up. “Look at them carefully. This should be a time for them to rest. Do you really think they can get any rest like that?” She is referring, of course, to the fact the stress on the fabric will cause it to stretch and get old before its time. She emphasizes that clothes need to be exposed to fresh air, handled, even talked to, or they get stale and unwearable.

So this review could go on, but I’ll leave it at that. Overall, I believe that “tidying” or getting rid of clutter and getting organized is a vital part of both inward and outward sparkle. It clears the mind, refreshes the soul, even helps us know who we really are, as we evaluate what gives us joy and what does not.

So I recommend The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You may not connect with all her methods and ways of thinking, but you will surely benefit from her experience and, if you’re like me, will find her attitudes and perspectives refreshing and ones that will make you smile.


Inner Sparkle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), Uncategorized

The Real Definition of a Strong Woman

I’m reading a book right now; the author of this book lives in Japan. (I’m going to tell you about the book perhaps in my next blog.) But I wanted to share that I was taken back when this author described one of her clients has having a dream of “a more feminine lifestyle.”

It sounded to strange to my ears, (yes, I read it out loud to myself just to hear how strange it sounded!) I realized that American women have been robbed. We have been robbed of the joy of being feminine.

We have been led to believe (by whom, I’m not exactly sure), that being feminine is being inferior. We should be like men, and then we will be “equal.”

What is missing from this piece of poor logic is that if a woman tries to be like a man, she will always be weaker, because (to state the obvious), she is not a man!

Men have certain strengths and women have certain strengths, and of course abilities and qualities vary greatly from individual to individual.

I could write a book on the subject, but let me get to the point: God has made women to reflect a part of Himself. In the account of creation in Genesis 1:27, it says,

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  NIV

Women are meant to show forth a part of God and a certain kind of strength and ability that no man could ever match. That is why if we as women are afraid to be “feminine,” we will never realize the strength, the unique giftings that we possess in our soul and in our person.

7a3afde51d89c9eea747b1b7ffdd0062--inspirational-scriptures-scripture-quotesI would never challenge a man to an arm wrestling match. I would very likely lose. But as a woman, I possess strengths that the strongest man in the world could never compete against.

So instead of reflecting on how I can be more like a man, I like to reflect on what exactly it means to be a woman, and how I can…yes…be more feminine. Because when I am feminine I am strong in revealing a part of God Himself, that only I as a woman am able to reveal.


sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

How I learned Modesty in Two Sentences

I became a Christian when I was seventeen. I was fully immersed in the world at that time, and this Christian thing was all new to me. But I knew there was a change in me comparable to an earthquake when I asked Jesus Christ into my life, a wonderful earthquake that left me standing in a pile of rubble that I was glad to lose. Still, I didn’t quite have the details of what the Christian life looked like. God revealed that to me a little at a time, because, I believe, He did not want me to see my new Christian faith as a list of do’s and don’ts, but rather as a relationship with Himself.

Here’s how I learned the concept of modesty in two sentences: I was asked out on a date as a new Christian, by a young man a little older than myself. He came to pick me up for the pizza date and I answered the door in a backless dress, kind of a hippie dress, I suppose, quite in style at the time. He asked me to sit down, looked at my face, and said, “Would you mind changing your clothes? It will be hard for me to treat you the way you deserve to be treated if you wear that dress.”

I did change, and I didn’t feel insulted. I felt that for the first time in my life, a young man saw my face and the inside of me, and cared that I was a daughter of the King. And I never, from that day, wore anything that might cause a man to see me any other way.

originalI only wish that someone cared enough about the young women of our time to tell them that they are precious to God, and that there is way more to them than their outside appearance. I only wish that perhaps a young man might have the bravery and kind-heartedness to tell them what my date told me that evening. I never saw myself the same from that moment. I knew that I had a sparkle that will never fade and that comes from the inside, that God Himself put there.


emotional and spiritual struggles, sparkle inspiration

The Test of True Friendship…

Nothing makes a person sparkle more than demonstrating true friendship to another person. What is true friendship?

I think one verse in the Bible sums it up pretty well:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

You know, we’re pretty good at weeping with those who weep. We have a natural urge to comfort those who are sad and going through a hard time. And that is good, for certain!

I’m not minimizing the wonderfulness (is that a word?) of having friends coming along side through a hard time.

But the more difficult thing to do, I believe, is the other part of this exhortation, “rejoice with those who rejoice.”

It could be said that our love for a person is measured in how able we are to feel joy in our hearts at his or her good fortune.

I think my most difficult time of putting this to practice was when I had two children with special needs. There I would sit with them at the park, while the other kids were playing on the play ground. And there we would be at home, when everyone else got invited to the birthday parties. And my friends would talk about all their kids’ achievements, and meanwhile, my heart was breaking that our children were not able to express their gifts in the same way because of their disability.

imagesAnd it was during those times when God nudged my heart and reminded me that I needed to choose to rejoice with my friends, though my sadness wanted to keep me from doing so.  And on those occasions when I would choose to do that, I found that it really wasn’t that hard to do after all. My mouth would speak words of rejoicing for them, and my heart would follow, by God’s grace.

So let’s choose to rejoice with our friends in their good times, just as we weep with them in their hard times. Both are important, and how a friend sparkles to us when they share our joy!