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Praise and Coffee Autumn 2011

Embracing Change! God Never Wastes Our Pain

Simple Apple Crisp *NEW* Cooking Column with Sarah Short!

The Story Behind Her New Book: {w}hole Lisa Whittle

It’s BOOT Season Ya’ll!! Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Praise and Coffee Magazine A quarterly online publication. Founder and Editor

Sue Cramer Co-Editor

Denise Dykstra Submission Guidelines: 1. Anyone is welcome to submit articles or testimonies. 2. Submissions by women who have attended or hosted a Praise and Coffee event will be considered first 3. Testimonies can be personal or connected to your experience at a Praise and Coffee event. 4. Articles that will be considered are to be encouraging and inspiring. 5. Length of submission should be 400-1,000 words. This can be negotiated for feature articles. 6. Submissions will be read and considered among the Editor and coEditor. 7. We do not pay for articles, they are on a volunteer basis. 8. Submissions should be in “Times New Roman” #12 font. 9. Submissions need to be emailed as an attachment and include: Name Email Website (if applies) Short (100 words or less) bio 11. Email submissions to our Co-Editor: For advertising info, contact Sue at: See website for submission schedule.

Praise and Coffee Talk 16| Leader Interviews 38| Ideas for Praise and Coffee Nights You asked for it... 59| Praise and Coffee Runs Features 8| Seasons Change 12| The Story Behind {w}hole 19| God Never Wastes Our Pain 24| What You Might Not Know About Halloween 34| Walking Through Honduras 52| A Forgiveness Story 63| Invited In-Finding Contentment

Praise and Coffee Magazine is now available in print through MagCloud. Magazines can be ordered individually but not by subscription. Yet. The magazines cost about $13-$15 each. I know. Mine becomes a coffee table book. The quality from online to print is not always the greatest but we are working on making it better with each new issue.

In Every Issue To order a copy in print, go to our website: 7 | From the Editor 28| Fashion Café with big mama and click on the magazine link. 44| Things We Love! 46| Praise and Coffee Cooks 54| Encouragement for Today with Ronel 60| For Caffeinated Moms Like You 66| Lessons From Lauren 2

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Fall 2011 Volume 2~Issue 1


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Praise and Coffee

The ministry of Praise and Coffee includes: Praise and Coffee Nights Praise and Coffee online Magazine Praise and Coffee Cooks Praise and Coffee Runs 4

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Praise and Coffee Nights! For where 2 or 3 gather together because they are mine, I am there among them. Matthew 18:20

Buffalo, Minnesota

Plainwell, MI (the original!)

Ephrata, PA

Reno, NV Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Henderson, NV Saginaw, MI

Summerville, SC

Prescott, AZ

San Diego, CA Anthem, AZ

Lynden, WA

New Hampshire

We want pictures of your events!! Email them to us or post them into the albums on the Praise and Coffee Nights page on Facebook!


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Sometimes you just have to cross that bridge. Yes. THAT bridge. The one we so nonchalantly avoid. It takes us to a new place. Change.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Wow. Volume 2 ~ Issue 1 {For those who had no idea what that means me before I googled it… volume represents years of publication and issue represents the corresponding number of issue‟s published that certain year}

We’re 1 year old! I feel like eating cake with my bare hands. But then, that‟s really nothing new, I feel that way most days. I stand in awe at the journey this whole Praise and Coffee thing-y has been on and it makes me feel all weird inside. Not a bad weird, like when a windowless van slows down while I‟m jogging, but a good weird, as in you better do this right kind of weird. (Not that I‟ll ever get it all right!) I appreciate each and every one of you that take time to peruse this magazine. I hope it is a bright spot in your day and that you are connected, encouraged and inspired. And I pray that you feel touched by the God who created you and is head over heels in love with you! 7

About this Lots of changes happening in the lives of women and we‟re hashing it out the best way we know how. I‟d love to hear from you about the articles too. Let‟s chat on our FB page. Web address and pic of me without makeup on page 17. Live. Laugh. Love… while drinking coffee of course!

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oes change scare you? It does me. But I‟ve come to learn that the scariest changes have turned out to be the most incredible times of growth and healing in my life. I never feel that way when a sudden change hits, but looking back I see the fingerprint of God and thank Him for it every time.

1. Shaking can bring us down to our foundation. After a strong earthquake, we see pictures of the survivors walking around the ruins of buildings that were once tall and glorious, only to become piles of rubble and dust. When our lives are shaken up by change, it brings us right down to our foundation.

Sometimes the whole point of a ‘shaking’ is to wake us up to the fact that we’ve been building on a foundation other than Him. Read Matt. 7:24-27 Why did only one house fall? Was it not built as well as the other? It doesn‟t say that.

Was one storm greater than Several years ago my husthe other? It doesn‟t say band preached his last that either. message as Senior Pastor of It says that one house was a church we planted and Often it reveals the things built on solid rock and one were a part of for 6 years. It we have built our lives upwas built on the sand. was bittersweet. I knew the on. Sometimes it‟s a person, Lord was leading us out but We tend to look at our sometimes it‟s a job or minisit also felt like I was walking “storms” as the problem, try position but ultimately away from a child that I but God sees the foundaGod wants it to be Him. had given birth to, raised tion as the problem. through the toddler God‟s right. years and just got it off to school. It was a lesson in change and trust for Matt 7:24-27 2. Shaking can mix all of us. things up and ulti24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words mately unify. Sure, I love to change of mine and puts them into practice is like a my furniture around and wise man who built his house on the rock. When I make a the décor of my house 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and cake I put all the or even my hairstyle. the winds blew and beat against that house; yet ingredients in a Those are fun changes! it did not fall, because it had its foundation on bowl and I mix it up. But, start messing with the rock. Why? Because on my comfort zone or 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine it‟s own, flour is a foundation and we have and does not put them into practice is like a little hard to choke a problem. foolish man who built his house on sand. down, but when I 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and add everything Change shakes us up, the winds blew and beat against that house, else, stir it up and but many times a and it fell with a great crash." bake it, hello! “shaking” is just what we NIV Is anyone hungry need. for cake now? I‟ve put together some


of the things that “shaking” does for us: 8

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By: Sue Cramer

Thank you to my sweet friend and neighbor (who wants to be nameless) for this pic & back cover from Mackinaw Island, MI. 9

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Sometimes God shakes things up to bring unity. I may have a certain gifting but without YOUR gifting, mine might not be as wonderful or effective. And, you may bring out a „flavor‟ in me that I never knew I had, and if we had never been “thrown” together and mixed up, we would not have discovered the beauty of unity. Rom 15:5-6 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV 3. Shaking can expose parts of us that were hidden or dormant. Have you ever watched a family digging through the wreckage after a storm? They come across items that they probably saw every day, but now consider them a priceless treasure because it survived the storm. God may want to expose something in you. Maybe it‟s a treasure, or maybe it‟s a weakness. 1 Cor 4:5 He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. NIV If it‟s a treasure He brings out, embrace it. But if it‟s something like unforgiveness, rage or selfish ambition that‟s exposed, acknowledge it and bring it to Him. Don‟t beat yourself up when these things come out, He‟s exposed them for a reason and that will only be for your good and His glory.

4. Causes you to grab on to something for stability. What or who do you run to when you experience a shaking? It‟s so important that we first go to God. He wants to be our source of security and trust. People will let you down, but God will never leave you or forsake you. We all need a little flesh and blood to hold onto at times, but we have to be so careful not to let others become our security. God wants to be the one who we grab on to when change comes our way. Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. NIV Hebrews 4:14 That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him. NLT Lord, help us to cling to You as we face change, because God, You never change! And I want to add that what I thought was an ending so many years ago when we stepped out of pastoral ministry, became a great beginning beyond church walls. As a result, our business has been incredibly blessed and the ministry of Praise and Coffee was birthed out of that season. When change threw me for a loop, I had no idea what God intended, but now I thank Him. The changes that were painful at the time proved to be just what God wanted in our lives. Written by: Sue Cramer Mark and Sue Cramer


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What is your favorite thing about @PatsyClairmont (MI) “Autumn drips down my windows & forms leafy puddles on chilly nights. I hug my hot cocoa & whisper thanks.”

@mom m “pumpk aAsh ( MS ) in festivals patch, harves t , bak inspired ing autumn goodies ”

@frugaltrophywife (TN) “corn maze”

@SocialSavvyMom (Baton Rouge, LA) “Pumpkin Patch with the fam - we pick our pumpkins and go for the hay rides!”


I) e365 ( M p o h ie c a @St ills” “Cider M

@DananicoleZ ( OR ) “Baking apple crumble and lighting fall candles!” @AmyHale68 (TN ) “Hanging big, beautiful fall wreaths on the front doors and lighting pumpkin and apple scented candles all over the house!”

@praiseandcoffee 11

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Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Finding God in Our Never Intentions: The Story Behind My Book {w}hole By: Lisa Whittle

I never intended to be a writer. Instead, my after college plan consisted of marrying a doctor and living in my own, personal House Beautiful, replete with an amazing mudroom full of cool cubbies to hold the shoes of my perfect children. It would be…a most amazing life. I had other “never intendeds,” along the way. In high school, I never intended for my hair to break off when I bleached my dark brown to an orange-sherbet blond. In college, I never intended for my heart to become broken by a boy I loved. As a young woman, I never intended for my pastor-father to almost go to prison, nor did I intend for the experience to cause a hole to form inside of me the size of Texas. Life…is not always as we intend. I must acknowledge that as for most people, many of my life intentions have been bent to my comfort – focused on my pleasure or to my benefit. As fleshly humans, it is not in our nature to run after something we don‟t prefer. But God sees the big picture of our lives. And often, that does not line up with our present intentions. 13

My intention to write the book {w}hole first came packaged as a chance to work with a man named George Barna. It was during my fun and fast years of college that I first heard his name. My Religion professor quoted from his best selling book, “The Frog in the Kettle,” and I became intrigued by his interesting work. But still, I did not ever intend to know him, personally. Almost 20 years later, through a literary connection he and I would meet. My nota-doctor husband and I had just started a new church, and I was eager to put onto paper what God had been showing me through the experience. It was after reading George‟s book, Revolution, that I became convinced that the believer‟s life could be lived a better way. It was my intention to write a book to show them how that was possible, borrowing from my own experience. So when, just 13 months later, we closed the doors of our once-thriving church behind us, I was left confused and discouraged. Life had changed. My course was different. The plans made for future would need to be altered. And I was scared.

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This, I‟ve found, is a familiar place for many of us. As life brings change, we fear what will look different. We have roles we identify ourselves with and then we lose them. We count on things that don‟t work out. Our intentions never come to full fruition. And we struggle. In this struggle we often forget to trust the heart of our Creator, who with great intention desires „to prosper us, give us a hope and a future.’ {see Jer. 29:11} We forget that the most amazing life is the one surrendered to Jesus, where He is given our full trust to manage the course, no matter how it turns. It is always His plan to use our life to draw us to Him. It is our choice whether or not we allow that to happen. I reached this point of decision, myself, as my book became temporarily shelved by my life complications. Would I give up and quit, like everything within me wanted to? Or would I shoulder the disappointment of a failed attempt for God and let Him produce within me the message He wanted me to share, coming from a different place?

For a time I didn‟ t know. It was His firm but gentle spirit within my heart that convinced me. I would write the book, again, this time from a new perspective. I would admit to my failures instead of speaking of my success. I would share my heart, though it still felt broken. I would live the message of my book and allow God to do the wholeness work in me, first.


And in the end, I would watch myself change. I would become a different person. I would find God in a story of fractured intentions made complete by a big picture God with a record of perfection. That is what our God wants to do in each of our lives. He wants to showcase His perfect plan against our own finite intentions. He wants to be given the trust to direct His best plan. Often, our intentions seem best, and we can see nothing different. But it is the message of Proverbs 14:12 that says it best, “There is a path before each person that seems right,
but it ends in death.” Even if our plans do not end tragically, it is a tragedy, indeed, to run after our intentions more than resting in the sovereign ones of our Creator. As I await the forthcoming release of {w}hole, I see the parallels in the release of my will for His. It is through this process of deferring to God that He has done some of His greatest work in me – work that I have longed for and long needed Him to do. Whatever happens with {w}hole, writing it has already changed my life. It is my strongest belief that the change came when I was willing to first let go of my many intentions. May this willingness always be so, for both of us, as we choose to follow His perfect path for our lives. Pick up {w}hole at your favorite bookstore or order online:

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Lisa Whittle is a recovering religious addict with a relentless love for Jesus and a passionate message of wholeness. As the first female to originally launch a book for Barnabooks, Lisa is a starter of conversations, a sharer of stories, and a seeker of truth. Her latest book {w}hole is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian books, and wherever books are sold. She is still holding out for an amazing mudroom and cool cubbies, but in the meantime, her familyâ€&#x;s shoes scattered around her cement garage floor represent her very blessed life. Join her community at

Fun facts about Lisa... 1) Favorite dinner: Steak and Lobster, preferably together. :) 2) Favorite date night spot: Dinner at our favorite place, called Firebirds then Krispy Kreme for "hot now" doughnuts and coffee. 3) In my coffee: 2 Truvia packets, cream and lots of it 4) Favorite author: Brennan Manning; Current favorite book: 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp 5) Favorite verse: Loving Isaiah 54:10 in the Message right now: "for even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won't walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won't fall apart..."


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Asking Praise and Coffee Night Leaders... 1. What does your group look like? 2. Where do you meet? 3. What do you do at your evenings? 4. How have the eveningâ€&#x;s been encouraging? 5. Any specific testimonies?

Aharon & AliceAnn Williams

Trina Martin

Heather Clement

Reno, Nevada


New Hampshire

1. Our group is co-ed. We usually run about three or four men and four to six women. There are two main churches represented.

1. Our group is anywhere from 920 women of all agaes, and several different churches.

2. We meet at a South Reno Starbucks. 3. We open with fellowship and coffee. Then we talk about ministry ...opportunities, and then we spend time in prayer. We close with more fellowship. We run about 90 minutes. 4. Our most encouraging night was when the mother of two service persons serving over seas came to share that our prayer for her children and their military units had reached them over seas and was giving them encouragement. 5. We have received incredible feedback from others that lifting them up and knowing there is someone praying for them, our community, and on-going ministry opportunities is reaching far beyond our city to others around the world like missionaries in Uganda, Iraq, and Indonesia.

2. We usually meet at a coffee shop in our area called Javateas. 3. We start our evenings with COFFEE :) then have a short time of chatting, and start with ...prayer, we then go into a time of praise & worship led by Melanie Nolt or Sara Martin. Following the worship time we have a short devotion or a personal testimony and close with a time of prayer. 4. I have enjoyed getting to know the women who attend and also been encouraged by the way God has answered some of our prayers. I have been blessed to see so many women who long to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and to honor him in their daily lives.


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1. We had almost 30 women (I think - can't remember exactly) 2. Met at a local coffeehouse, but will be meeting in a community center next time. 3. Icebreakers, prayer, sing a few worship songs, short devo, split up to go deeper, door prizes, pray, dismiss. 4. seeing so many women from various church (and unchurched!) backgrounds coming together to encourage one another encourages ME. :) 5. Yes... See article in Summer 2011 issue!

We’re all ears...

Weâ€&#x;d love to hear your feedback on the articles in the magazine. Come chat with us on our Facebook page. 17

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Kansas City coffee roaster specializing in fresh roasted single origin coffee. Including: Columbian Kona Organic Sumatra and more! Plus some fabulous flavors: Candy Bar Cinnamon Southern Pecan!

We ship nationwide


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Cindy Bultema‟s story of life after tragedy The nurse told her that she would be dead on arrival at the hospital. At 26, a single mother and a hopeless cocaine addict, she had binged out of self-loathing and despair and finally unknowingly taken enough to kill herself. Cindy Bultema had come to the end of her resources, and she fully expected to be dead upon arrival. Only she lived – one of the many incidents in which the new and improved Cindy can clearly see God‟s protective hand at work. “Now I know God had a purpose for my life,” says the former student/waitress, now Women‟s Speaker and blogger in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Since then, my life verse has been Jeremiah 29:11:‟ “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”‟” For many years, Cindy‟s search for her own plan produced a host of activities designed to fill the aching void in her life. She struggled with a low self-image, seeking to fill the emptiness in her life with relationships, shopping, food and eventually drugs and alcohol. Although she earned a degree in psychology and could recite book loads of self-help rhetoric, she was desperately lonely and headed for disaster. 19

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When Cindy left the hospital alive that summer of 1996, she called a woman who had shared Christ with her three weeks earlier. At the time, Cindy had told her she was doing OK, that she could handle her addiction. This time, Cindy said, “You know what? You‟re right. I really need help.” That day, she gave her life to Jesus. She told God she trusted Him, and that she needed to start over. Cindy now speaks at schools, women‟s events, and even teaches a weekly Bible class. Her story has helped countless young people avoid similar life disasters. “Right after I survived the last serious overdose, I asked God to use me.” Cindy explains. Now she sees that God is using her less-than-exemplary past to draw others to Himself.

In her devastation, her pastor reminder her that – even in its intensity – “God doesn‟t waste our pain”; that she would see His sovereign plan at work eventually. The next few months were among the most difficult of Cindy‟s life. “There were some days when I woke up and said, „OK, God, I‟ll get up and put on lipstick, but that‟s all I can do – You have to do the rest‟. And He did. I found that His grace is truly sufficient for each day. It‟s from trials like this that I grew in character 100 times over. A friend said to me right after David‟s accident, „Cindy, this will either make you better or make you bitter.‟ I decided to become better. Instead of saying, „God, why me?‟ I said, „God, use me.‟”

But God would use another tragedy in Cindy’s life even more powerfully than He used her near-death testimony. In 1996 – the same year she almost died and found a new life in Christ – Cindy met the man of her dreams. An attractive customer at the restaurant where she worked, David asked about her WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelet. The two got to know each other, and soon Cindy invited him to her church. Two years later, he asked her to marry him. Less than a month after she received her diamond, Cindy got a phone call from her fiancee‟s factory, informing her that the man she loved had been killed in a freak workplace accident. 20

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Through the journey of grief, Cindy learned to fix her eyes on the One who heals all pain. She studied her Bible regularly to remain focused on God‟s promises, and because one of the temptations of grief is to fill the void with food or shopping, Cindy was careful to look at things that would build her up rather than tear her down. For example, because of her former eating disorder, fitness magazines could potentially bring up unhealthy comparisons, so she avoided them completely. For strength, she spent time in prayer and cried out to God when the temptations seemed overwhelming. Almost a year after David‟s accident, a guy named John started volunteering at the church where Cindy was employed, and showed an interest in Cindy. “I was like, „Whoa, buddy! Let me tell you what‟s been going on in my life!‟” she says. “I told him I really just needed a friend.” So John became that friend – he prayed and cried with her for hours at a time, assisted her son Jake with “guy stuff”, helped her prepare for her speaking engagements at churches and sat in the second row at all of them. When she spoke on the anniversary of David’s death, “I felt like 12 backpacks had been lifted from me; I felt like I was really free,” she says. “It was like I made it to the other side of grief.” Cindy looked inside her heart and realized that she loved John. “It was a total God thing,” Cindy says. The two have now celebrated 11 years of marriage, and added 3 more children to their family! 21

“I continually remind myself that Christ died on the cross so that I could have abundant life, and I‟m not going to settle for anything less. Hebrews 12:2 says, „Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.‟ It‟s when I take my eyes off Jesus and look at the circumstances of my life that I get really confused. When I‟m looking at the mess in my own life, I‟m not looking up. Each day, I have to remind myself not to look at the mountain in front of me, but at the Mover of mountains. Because life is a God-sized task!”

Where Real Life Is Found At several points in her life, Cindy came to believe life was hopeless. That‟s why she filled her life with a spiral of activities and substances to drown out the pain and loneliness. But Jesus says in the Bible, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10, The Message). In the book of 1 John, we read the next step: “So whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life” (1 John 5:12, The Message). To receive the Son, and life, ask Jesus to forgive your sins and give you a brandnew life. God will personally see that this is done, and Jesus will come and live in you to help guide and comfort you for the rest of your life. If you decide to make this decision, please tell someone who shared this Praise & Coffee magazine with you.

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1. Cindy 1994 after the birth of her first child, Jake. 2. Cindy with Jake on his 2nd birthday. Though she was a size 4 she felt overweight and defeated. 3. John and Cindy‟s wedding picture 4. Cindy‟s family today

* 4




Cindy Bultema lives in West Michigan with her husband John and their children Jake, Benjamin, Amanda and Sarah. Her number one ministry is that of wife and mom. When she‟s not running a full household, you can find Cindy studying the Bible, walking their dog, attending one of their children‟s sports events, or meeting friends for coffee. Read more of her story on her blog and find out why she forbids: “FAT TALK!” Cindy's blog *She Sparkles* ~ 22

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Packed with practical, simple, and smart money saving ideas and teeming with great insight into the sensible Amish ways, Money Secrets of the Amish will entertain you with stories and retrain your brain to be the savvy money saver you always dreamed you could be. --Beth Wiseman, best-selling author of Plain Promise

and Seek Me With All Your Heart

Sometimes touching, sometimes humorous and always helpful, author Lorilee Craker pulls us into the family rooms of the Amish and shows us how they make ends meet. Story after story illustrates savvy money management: trading for goods and services, shopping for bargains, living with less, avoiding debt, curbing the desire to impress others. And Craker’s journalistic bent provides plenty of takeaway value for the non-Amish. A very worthwhile read whether your bank account is bursting or busting. --

Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and Lancaster County Secrets (Revell) Purchase online at:


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What You about Kristine McGuire is a Christian wife and mother. She is an inspirational speaker/writer, sharing her testimony and encouraging others in their walk with Christ. She is a Biblical Counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. In addition to writing for Kristine ReMixed, Kristine is a featured columnist for Positively Feminine.

Her book, Escaping the Cauldron, has been picked up for publication by Charisma House for Fall 2012. The book is a personal memoir and Biblical study recounting her journey from committed Christian to witch, medium, and ghost hunter for eight years until restored to faith in Jesus Christ. Kristine enjoys spending time with her husband and children, taking long walks, listening to music of all kinds, and experiencing God's daily gift called life.

To see Kristine‟s interview on the 700 Club go to: and search “Kristine McGuire” or click on the 700 Club pic.


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u might not know

Halloween told by a former witch

Every October the inevitable discussion begins. What are the origins of Halloween? Should Christians ignore the month-long spooky celebration? Is it okay for Christian parents to allow their kids to Trick-or-Treat? Is it better for Christians to re-purpose the day altogether? These are legitimate considerations. It can be hard to avoid the decorations and trappings associated with Halloween as you go to the store, library, or school. The problem is there is a lot of misinformation about the origins of this mysterious celebration. As a result there is confusion or unnecessary quarreling among Christians every Autumn. So what's the real deal about Halloween? 25

Halloween finds it origins in an ancient Celtic fire festival observed over 2000 years ago in Ireland known as Samhain (pronounced "sow-in" or "sow-een" and translates "Summers End"). The Celts divided their year into two seasons, Summer and Winter. October 30th was considered the last day of the old year (Summer) and November 1st was the first day of the new year (Winter). October 31st –Samhain–was the time between. A "time between times" was considered sacred and magickal. It was a window where the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds was thin. The Celts believed during this "time between" spirits walked among them at this time. Festivals, feasts, and sacred rites were held on this day

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which included communicating with deceased loved ones, divining the future, animal sacrifice, wearing masks to hide from the evil spirits, relighting hearth fires for the Winter, leaving scraps of food on the doorstep for wandering souls, etc.

Our modern Halloween traditions…trick-or-treating, dressing in costume, black cats, and jack-olanterns…have medieval origins rather than a direct connection to ancient Druidic rites. For instance, trick-ortreating can be traced back to an English All Soul's Day tradition where the poor would go to wealthy For the record, homes to receive "soul cakes" in there was no "lord return for a promise to pray for or god of death" deceased relatives.

There is a teaching among Christians that a “god of the dead" or “lord of death” was the object of worship during the Celtic “Summer's End” celebration. known as Samana For the record, there was no The jack-o-lantern stems from an or Samhain. "lord or god of death" known Irish (not ancient Celtic) legend as Samana or Samhain. The about Stingy Jack, who had a Celtic gods of the underworld were bad habit of making deals with the devGwyn ap Nudd and Labraid for the il. When Stingy Jack died he was denied Welsh, Arawn for the Irish. The error, entrance into heaven by God because proclaiming October 31st as a rite for he was such an unsavory character. The Samana/Samhain, originates with devil wouldn't let him into hell. So Stingy Colonel Charles Vallency who wrote a Jack was doomed to walk the earth series of books about the Druids/Celts with nothing but a glowing coal which in the 1700's. Despite being soundly he placed into a carved turnip to refuted by current scholars, use as a lantern. When Irish and this errant teaching persists in Our modern Scottish immigrants brought Halthe church. loween traditions to America,

Halloween tradi-

By AD 43, the Romans the pumpkin replaced the turnip. tions…trick-orhad conquered much of the Celtic lands and many of the treating, dressing in There is no doubt that Halcelebrations observed at costume, black loween centers on witches, spirsimilar times in both Roman cats, and jack-oits, divination, and spooky things and Celtic cultures were inin general. As Christians we are lanterns…have termingled among Roman encouraged not to dwell in the citizens. When Constantine medieval origins dark but to shine the light of declared Christianity the relirather than a Christ into a dark world. gion of the empire, the direct connection church's influence began to move across the known to ancient Druidic We are to concentrate on what world. By the middle ages, it is good, pure, holy, and rightrites. Christian leadership attempteous. We are also reminded that ed to incorporate festivals we become all things to all peoand celebrations the people continple in order that they may hear/see the ued to observe into church beliefs. This gospel and be saved. accounts for the holidays we know today as Halloween (All Hallows Eve), All Saints Day, Christmas, and Easter. 26

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The jack-o-lantern stems from an Irish (not ancient Celtic) legend about Stingy Jack, who had a bad habit of making deals with the devil.

Editor’s note… I want to throw in a few words about this too. It seems that Halloween is always a hot button topic with parents this time of year. I confess that I was nervous about mentioning it at all until I saw the way Kristine wrote about it. It‟s informative but not condemning. I appreciate that she didn‟t tell us what WE should do with OUR family. I admit. With my first batch of kids (the ones that are now grown) I was so judgmental about parenting and thought I knew what everyone else should do too.

Should Christians celebrate Halloween? I believe it's up to everyone to make the decision of what's best for themselves or their family. What's more important is avoid condemnation of others who make a different decision from our own. Some parents may allow their children to trick-or-treat, carve a pumpkin, or throw a costumed Halloween party, others may not. We should honor God every day and in everything we do. I see Halloween as a perfect time to reach out with peace, share the gospel, with those who might otherwise not be willing to listen. If I open my door to hand out candy, a pocket-sized “Gospel of John” is included. Whatever your personal convictions about Halloween, rest assured there is no reason to be fearful about October 31st. As Christians, we always have the assurance that "perfect love casts out fear" and "greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world."

Oh please forgive me if I poured my convictions on any of you those many years ago. I will say it again...I‟m a recovering Pharisee. Yes, I think we should teach and train younger women and families, but not try to control them with fear. I know that I also made many decisions about things based on what I thought others would think of me, thankfully, not so much anymore. Let me encourage you to first of all, make your own decisions. And then...let others make their own decisions too. And love them even if they don‟t agree with your decisions. Grace opens doors. Judgment slams them. Thank you for giving me time to learn that.

We can stand on that truth as we shine the light of Christ for all to see. 27

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011


ashion cafĂŠ with

big mama

It's officially fall. I mean, sure, the temperatures here in South Texas are still in the 100's, but the calendar says it's fall and I choose to believe the calendar and the fact that college football is back again. Mainly because I'll curl up in the fetal position and cry if I quit believing that cold weather is on the way. And I realize some of you are already enjoying cool temps. If you could tell me what that's like I promise not to show up on your doorstep and beg to live with you forever. Actually, I can't promise that. I just might do it. In my opinion, fall is the best fashion time of the year. I love the boots and the jeans and the cozy sweaters. I love the fact that I don't have to consider wearing shorts and facing my legs sticking to the seat of my car. I love that I can wear an outfit that manages to look good all day long because I'm not dying from the heat.


So let's talk about boots. I believe that every woman needs a good pair of boots in her closet. I personally have a bit of a boot obsession. Cowboy boots, tall boots, black boots, brown boots, and all other manner of boots. I believe there will be boots in heaven. But people ask me all the time the best way to wear boots. And there are many women out there who are afraid of the skinny jeans tucked into boots combination. There is hope for you, sister. The trick is all about proportions. For my petite friends, look for skinny jeans, a flattering top or sweater that doesn't come down too long and some boots with a heel to give you a little bit of height. For my friends that are self-conscious about their hips and thigh area (and aren't we all?) look for a tunic or sweater that hits midthigh so that it covers your problem areas.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Here are a few great outfit examples. These all range in price, but they serve as a great starting point and can all be copied by looking for less expensive pieces at your local TJ Maxx or Target or Old Navy.

For a cute, casual look, I love this outfit from Athleta. I love the knee socks peeking out from the top of the boots. Carrying your yoga mat around town is totally optional.

But for those you who prefer jeans, this is a great look from Banana Republic. This is a great example of the right proportions. The top isn't too long and the chunky scarf gives a little weight on top to balance the boots.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I also really like this outfit from Sundance.

And here's one from Athleta that is darling.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Boots! The best part is you can find boots in all price ranges, from these Karima boots for $49.99 at Target

To these Mia boots for $69.00

To these to die for Frye boots for $398.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

And just to give you a few last ideas because I love you and want to walk you through the whole fall wardrobe thing, here are a couple of outfit ideas I put together as a guide. This first one is really pricey but I just thought it might be fun to pretend we live in a world of unicorns and rainbows where money is no object and expensive Missoni tops grow on trees. Missoni Balboa Sort Kaftan $885

The Skinny Jeans $169

Belstaff Jordan leather knee boots $735

RJ Graziano Polished Gold Cuff $69


elanie is a native Texan who resides in San Antonio. She began blogging in July 2006 when she started her blog, Big Mama. She spends her days hoping something interesting will happen so sheâ€&#x;ll have something to write about.

Linear Disk Drop Earrings Max & Chloe Collection V $45


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

And then back in the real world, we have this much more practical alternative. Pinochle Blouse $50

Skinny Jean $40

Natalie $190

Gold Mixed Metal Bangles $12

For more great ideas, check out Melanie‟s page on POLYVORE:

Old Navy Women‟s Metaldisk Chandelier Earrings $8.94

And because that doesn‟t always work out, she began writing posts about fashion every Friday. This enables her to spend her free time looking at clothes on the internet which is one of her favorite hobbies.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Walking Together In Honduras To help the least of these By: Cherie Zack ~Praise and Coffee Night Leader ~Beaufort, SC There is a lot to be said about A few years ago I had a dream walking with people who have that not only impacted me, but the same heart and desires as changed the course and direcyou. You can accomplish so tion of my life. The dream much more when you walk side opened with the most beautiful, -by-side, conflict-free, with the pure blue sky. The land was same purpose in mind. covered in the greenest grass with small mounds of the richest brown dirt with perfect flowers planted on top of them. I am the Women's Ministry President The scene was beautiful and for the South Carolina District of the untouched by man. Assemblies of God. My family and I were standing to the side when thousands of people began to walk past us. I watched them intently. I'm a people-watcher in life and learn a lot about them by simply watching their movements, body language, and the use of their mannerisms. What I realized right away made my heart begin to beat in double-time. They were likeminded and like-hearted. They were walking forward together with the same purpose in mind. These people were Kingdomminded and God was calling us to join them.

I am the Women's Ministry President for the South Carolina District of the Assemblies of God. As president, I have the opportunity to take women from all over our state and other states on a missions trip each year. We go to serve our missionaries and to experience a culture different from our own. This year we traveled to Le Ceiba, Honduras, to serve Pastor Ricky and Maria Saldana. As we prepared for our journey, I thought of stories I had heard through others and even through the Saldanas. I was excited with anticipation of what was to come. 34

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I was ready to help the Saldanas and receive what God had for me while there. Even with all of the prayer, preparations, and research into their country, nothing could prepare us for the stretching God would do in our hearts while we were there. Pastor Ricky and Maria taught us that faith is enough to get you through every challenge. They shared testimony after testimony about trying times and how God proved Himself faithful in their journey. One area that caught our attention was their love for the lost. They have partnered with other congregations to build many churches across Honduras. Their feet are walking with hundreds to see salvation come to the lost in their country -- walking together with others who are like-hearted and like-minded for the expansion of the Kingdom.

One of the other areas that caught our attention is their love for children. Most of our time spent there was with children. We played with them and taught them some of our favorite American childhood games and songs. The childrenâ€&#x;s smiles brought tears to our eyes. They touched our hearts. Some of our tears were from the joy we experienced just being in their presence. Other tears were because of the struggles they were facing, especially those of the boys in the orphanage. The day we met them was a day we won't soon forget. My son, Troy, went with us on this trip. This was his first missions trip. He was so surprised to see that boys his age were residents of this orphanage. He couldnâ€&#x;t wrap his mind around the things they were dealing with. My heart was overwhelmed as I witnessed Troy break down in front of the boys when he heard their personal stories of life without their parents or other family to love them. We played games with the boys, gave them flip flops that we had collected from our women's ministry groups across SC, and some of us even got to swing with them. We learned that they are no different than us in their wants, needs, and even their dreams. One wants to be a doctor. Another one wants to be a lawyer. Yet another dreams of marriage and being able to provide for a wife and children. Their dreams are real and attainable because they refuse to let their circumstances dictate their future. The lessons they taught us are so profound. We will keep them in our hearts for a lifetime. One of our last days of ministry gave opportunity for us to go to one of the villages. This village is called "River Village". It is nestled at the bottom of a dry riverbed. During the rainy seasons, this bed fills with water. The residents use its water to wash their clothes and as the source of their water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

A little one walked out of the village to us. He had no shoes on and dirty little feet. And he captured our hearts. We were there to give him flip flops, along with tooth brush and a tooth paste. As we were watching him and his family, the items in our hands seemed so trivial compared to his real needs. We were left feeling that what we had to give wasn't enough. We had to push through our feelings at the moment and give our small gifts anyway.

The fresh perspective we learned this trip has been so valuable to us as a team and individuals. Though each of us have different backgrounds, varying income levels, and different gifts and talents, our differences didn't keep us from the journey God had designed. Within a few days, this team of

strangers found that we were like-minded and likehearted for the cause of the gospel. We are people after God‟s heart, willing to walk together with others with one purpose in mind.

Matthew 25:37-40 says this: “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, „Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?‟ And the King will answer and say to them, „Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.‟ I love the disciples‟ heart in these verses. I realize that I tend to think the same way they did when I catch myself asking the same kinds of questions: When, Lord, when did I do this for you?

And the people of Honduras? Despite the cultural differences, they are no different from us. They have many things they are lacking, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Among the things they are missing, the most important one is Jesus Christ {Jesús Cristo}.

This young boy certainly qualifies as “one of the least of these.” He represents many children in Honduras and around the world who need Jesus to come to them.

What a delight to offer small gifts to meet their physical needs. What an even greater honor to bring them the greatest gift of all: Jesus. Their lives will never be the same. And neither will mine.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Nikole Hahn hosts daytime Praise and Coffee Nights at her home or the Cupperâ€&#x;s Coffee House downtown.


She brings in a variety of women to speak. Some authors, speakers and everyday women to share their testimonies.


In April, Jamie Procknow shared her emotional journey through and after an abortion. To hear more about Jamieâ€&#x;s testimony, visit this link: 2011/09/30/praise-and-coffeeguest-post-because-the-detailswill-never-spare-her/ Pictures by Gail McNeeley: 1. Lisa and Sharon 2. Jamie Procknow 3. Nikole Hahn and Jamie


3 Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

IDEAS to get your

Praise and Coffee Night

started By: Melissa Mashburn Co-Founder Praise and Coffee Nights 38

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

You have wrestled with the idea of starting a Praise and Coffee Night in your area, but to be quite honest sometimes it is hard to just figure out where to get started.

That's where we find lots of your heart you want to "Connect, Encourage, & Inspire" women but the thought of trying to put all the pieces together can seem overwhelming.

One of the biggest questions we get is..."How do I get started?" Itâ€&#x;s so easy! 1)

Choose a Location.


Set a Date and Time.

This is where I come in. First, let me just say, don't give up.


Invite Your Girlfriends!


Let Us Know About It!

There is a reason you have this stirring in your heart. God IS calling you to reach the women in your neck of the woods and we, on the Praise & Coffee leadership team, want to do whatever we can to help you get started.

We have tons of resources on the Praise & Coffee website as well as a video about how to get started.

1) 2) 3) 4)

Choose a Location. Set a Date and Time. Invite Your Girlfriends! Let Us Know About It!

Here's another key point...size does NOT matter...whether you meet with 2 or 200 women, the Lord is there when we gather together in His name. 39

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Get creative!


Time *





Kids Nap Times


After Church on Sunday or Saturday Evening


Week Night



Coffee Shop


Panera Bread




Living Room




At the park with a group of moms

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

What To Do??? 

Praise & Coffee Cooks - make meals for your families while you celebrate the gift of girlfriends.

Praise & Coffee Runs - gather a group of ladies and go for a run & celebrate what God is doing in your lives.

Chick Flicks - we did this in South Florida and it was an incredible night out for the ladies as well as a time to talk about connecting with other women outside of the church walls.

Mother/Daughter Chick Flicks - Grab three or four of your daughter's friends & invite them and their moms over to watch a movie and talk about it together (a fantastic resource for this is "Dinner & A Movie" from Group Publishing).

* 

Quilting, sewing, crafting! Scrapbooking

* Reading Group - maybe read a book together, have a cup of coffee/tea, talk about the book and what God showed you as you read it. *, maybe not, but wouldn't that be a hoot? ** The ideas and options are countless, get creative & get women together. 41

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Here's what we want you to know...we do not want you to feel any pressure to grow your groups, we truly believe that there is power in the groups where women can connect and grow in a smaller environment. As a matter of fact, we're getting ready to roll out some new ideas that we want to share with you. Praise & Coffee Night Radio Praise & Coffee Night Clusters These PAC Night Clusters are an incredible way for the Grande & Venti groups to break a part so that there are more connections on a smaller, more intimate level. In Plainwell, MI and Ft. Lauderdale, FL we're talking to our groups about meeting as clusters of tall and grande groups on the same night. These clusters would have the same discussion topics, ice breaker questions and would allow more women to get involved in a PAC Night without feeling overwhelmed by a larger group as well as provide women an opportunity to connect at each other's homes, smaller coffee shops, restaurants, etc. We'll be sharing more information about the Praise & Coffee Night Clusters as we get more feedback from the Plainwell, MI and Ft. Lauderdale, FL groups. We truly believe this will allow more women to get involved with PAC Nights.


Um, yeah, you heard that right, we're going to be starting a radio show on Blog Talk Radio to walk you through the ins and outs of this incredible ministry as well as how to get one started near you! Our first show will be on Thursday, October 6th at 11am EST. Go to: to listen in and join us on the call!

Praise & Coffee Night in a Box Oh my goodness, I want to tell you all about this...but I can't. I know, I know...that's not right, but we are in the planning and development stage for a Praise & Coffee Night in a Box and when it is done...well, let me just tell you, you will LOVE it!

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Praise & Coffee Conversations

You may or may not know, but we have a series of four video teachings that Sue Cramer & I did that you can share at your Praise & Coffee Night.

Praise & Coffee Nights come in all sizes; Tall (2-8 ladies) Grande (8-14 ladies) Venti (15+ ladies)

*SIZE* These are a great resource to create conversations with the ladies at your PAC Night. We will be expanding on the Praise & Coffee Conversations videos soon, so if you have ideas of topics that you would like us to discuss, please send them to me at

We're gearing up for an incredible ministry season here in the Praise & Coffee Ministry and we can't wait to watch what God is going to do next. When it comes to getting your Praise & Coffee Night started, just know that whatever you decide to do we are right there with you. Cheering you on and celebrating the fact that God is using you to "Connect, Encourage, and Inspire" women, which is the heart beat of this ministry. Excited to be on this journey with you‌ ~ Melissa

Melissa Mashburn is the Co-Founder of the ministry of Praise and Coffee Nights Visit her website: Melissa Mashburn in Mel’s World


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Check out these funny lady‟s websites, YouTube videos and schedules!!! Petite, profound, and playful. These words help to describe her size, her message, and her humor. She has a command of God's word and with her quick wit and fast paced humor keeps everyone laughing.

Armed with an abundance of unpretentious Southern charm and laser sharp wit, Chonda Pierce has been entertaining audiences from coast to coast for more than a decade. An indemand stand up comic, television hostess and author, Pierce has parlayed her gift for storytelling into a multi-faceted career.

Anita Renfroe, who some have described as “this generation‟s Erma Bombeck” tours with her own comedy concerts and inspirational women‟s conferences where she routinely packs out venues across the United States.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

LOL! 321 Improv! Yes. This is a shameless Momma plug. My son Matt Cramer is on the traveling comedy team of „321 Improv.â€&#x; Check out their schedule and stop out to one of their shows.

We love, love, love to hear from you! Tell us how the magazine is touching your life or let us know if you have an idea for us!


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Introducing a new column:

Praise and Coffee Cooks with

When the first signs of fall arrive, I'm immediately transported into one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies.

Joe Fox, right? You've Got Mail.

Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.

Besides watching Joe Fox so perfectly sweep Kathleen Kelly off of her feet with not "a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils", but with a darling bouquet of her favorite flower, the daisy, I love what he writes to her at the end of that email. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.


Of course.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

And, so it is with you and me. I've most likely never met you. And, you've most likely never met me. But, here we are - both of us at Praise and Coffee Cooks - connecting through one of my favorite fall recipes that I hope your family will enjoy as much as mine does. I love that about sharing recipes. We can be thousands of miles away from one another, but a shared recipe - one that fills the air in your kitchen and mine - can connect us in a way that nothing else can. Even though we've never met. Or spoken. Or laughed together around the same kitchen table. There is indeed something so charming about that. When fall arrives, and I'm ready to turn on my oven after a blazing hot summer here in the South, one of the very first recipes I make is Apple Crisp. Orchards open up and beckon tiny, little hands to reach up for the apples hanging from the lowest branches. Apples go on sale at the local grocery store. And, whether picking or shopping, we arrive home with pound after pound of apples.


When I first set out to come up with a recipe for Apple Crisp, I realized that there are several things I like and don't like about most apple crisp recipes. Like: Topping. I like lots and lots of topping. Dislike: Spices. Too many spices make me feel all itchy and scratchy in the mouth and on spice overload. I like very simple spices in desserts. Like: Topping. Have we been over this already? Dislike: Mushy apples. I like chunky bites of apple instead of thin slices. And, I like there to be a bit of a bite left to the apples. Soft - but still hold their shape and be how shall I say it? on the firmer side of soft. I'm a low maintenance girl. Really. Just ask my husband. {cough, cough} This recipe for Apple Crisp has TONS of topping. It also has a bottom layer, which not only gives it more "topping" per say, but also serves to soak up a lot of the juice from the apples and prevent them from turning to mush underneath the topping. Hence, the apples stay on the firmer side of soft. This recipe is so, so easy to make. But, so very delicious. Easy. Delicious. Best recipe combo there is.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

1. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.

2. Add one cup of melted butter and stir to combine. (Note: Do not begin eating this topping at this stage. Once I start eating it, I could eat half of this stuff right out of the bowl. It is wickedly good.)


3. Press 1 1/2 cups of topping mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9' x 13" pan. (Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but, I only used this rubber spatula for about 2 seconds. I went at it with my hands after that, pressing it in with my fingers. Hands are such great cooking tools.) Set aside.

4. Peel, core, and slice about 8 apples. I prefer Jonagolds or Granny Smiths because of their slight tartness. But, you can use any type or combination of good baking apples that you like.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

5. Once you've peeled the apples, cut them into good size slices. You're not looking for thin slices or a dice, but about 1/4 inch thick slices. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon to the apples and toss.

6. Then add 1/2 cup of water and mix all together.

7. Pour apple mixture into the baking pan and on top of bottom crust.


8. See all of that juice? It's about to quadruple during the baking process. That bottom crust will soak up more and more of that juice as the apples cook down and create a soft, warm bottom layer on this apple crisp that is absolutely divine.

9. Arrange apples evenly over bottom crust.

10. Top apples with remaining topping. This is what it looks like going into the oven.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Apple Crisp

11. And, this is what it looks like coming out. Crunchy, sweet. Happy.

2 cups quick cooking oats 1 1/2 cups flour 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted ~~~~~~~~ 8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thick slices 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup water Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray or butter. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add melted butter and combine until crumbly. (DO NOT EAT unless you want to remake 10 minutes later!)

12. I like to serve this Apple Crisp in small, white ramekins. There is something so warm and nostalgic and wonderful about that. And, that is how to make Apple Crisp. Warm, gooey, soft bottom layer. Soft, but still a bit firm apples in the middle. Crunchy, sweet top layer. I hope you enjoy this "Welcome Fall" recipe as much as we do. 50

Press 1 1/2 cups of mixture into bottom of baking dish to form bottom crust. Set rest of mixture aside. In a large bowl, combine apple slices, sugar, flour, cinnamon and water. Mix until apples are coated. Pour apples over bottom crust and spread evenly. Top apples with remaining topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top crust is golden and crispy. Serve warm or cold, plain or with whipped cream or ice cream. Eat until fat and happy! *This recipe makes a full 9" x 13" dish. It's a lot of apple crisp (which my family of 5 had no problems finishing in two days). But, you can make half of this recipe, and bake it in an 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" or in a deep dish pie plate. Just halve the ingredients and bake as directed.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

A few more fun facts: 

She has a bachelor‟s degree in Political Science.

She loves: spicy food, yellow roses, funnel cakes, plaid, 80‟s music, swimming, singing, Ebay, the color red, homemade hot chocolate, cherry Coke and ping-pong.

She does not love olives

When not blogging, racing to basketball practice, or sitting in the Starbucks drive-thru line, you'll find her curled up with her family cheering on the Baltimore Ravens.

CS Lewis is one of her favorite authors

She is number 7 of 9 children

She has four children, all boys and knows she was made to be the mom of boys

Sarah lives in Raleigh, N.C. with her husband, Jason, and four boys Jack, Max, Lincoln, and Whitman.

She‟s terrified of heights

And it doesn‟t bother her at all to leave dishes overnight in the sink!

Sarah is a freelance corporate photographer and recipe developer who started her blog, Short Stop, in May 2007. She chronicles her life as a frazzled mother, shares her favorite recipe creations, and marvels at God's amazing work of grace in her life.


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

By: Sarah Short


Please, Lord. Let him come after me.

nd, I laid there in the hallway feeling utterly forgiven, grace-lended, and more loved by God than I had in a very, very long time. God's presence swelled into a glorious forgiveness song that filled our home and relationship with His peace and love.

I cried as hard as I could cry into the pillow. I cried because I knew I was wrong. I was so stubborn and would not yield, and my pride and I were now laying alone in the twin bed in our guest room.

That is the end of the story. It just seemed like the best place to start.

"Go away. Just leave me alone."

He gently rapped on the door.

Shortly after I wrote Lessons in Servanthood, a post about one of the methods I use to discipline my boys, one of my dear friends wrote to me. She said I must have a forgiveness story. Why would I choose to discipline this way? She wanted to know what was behind it.

Please, Lord. Let him rap on the door, again.

Yes, I have a forgiveness story. Now that I've shared the end with you, let's start at the beginning.

Early the next morning, I awoke alone. I woke up with that awful feeling that something was wrong, but wasn't sure right away exactly what it was.

Just a couple of months into my marriage, I stood in our bedroom shouting across the bed. My husband tried to reason back in what would be our first and most heart-wrenching argument. I cried. He clammed up. I shouted some more. I cried some more. And, he just shook his head in frustration. It was late. I was devastated and angry and hurt and so very prideful. I ran down the hallway and slammed and locked the door to the guest room. 52

Nothing. A few minutes later, the light in the hallway went out, and I wept into my pillow until I fell asleep.

And, then I remembered. The fight. My shouting. Our first argument. The bed that usually brought us together separating us like an ocean between two continents. I felt the tears start to well up in my already puffy eyes, again, and I moved the blankets aside to head down to our bedroom to find my husband and ask him to forgive me.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I opened our guest room door, and there it was. Forgiveness. It was laying on a pillow on the floor in the hallway. Right outside our guest room door. Covered in a way-too-small blanket, and sleeping. It was my husband. I knelt down next to him, and he opened the blanket and I crawled under as close to him as I could get. We talked about what had happened, and I asked for forgiveness. The sweep of his fingers across my cheeks as I wept was just one of the many signs of his true and heartfelt forgiveness I felt that morning. He forgave me without hesitation. I asked my husband why he slept outside my door. "To be as close to you as I could", he responded. He was the offended. I was the offender. His love for me, his love for Christ, his desire for restoration and healing caused him to pursue me when he would have been justified in waiting for me to come begging for forgiveness.

This picture of forgiveness plays over and over in my mind as I walk through life. It was such a powerful tool in teaching me that repentance and forgiveness are at the cornerstone of every successful relationship marriage, friendship, siblings, parent/child. For the forgiver, what an opportunity to extend God's love and grace to someone who doesn't deserve it. It could change someone's life. It changed mine. To quote what I wrote in Lessons in Servanthood: As my little boys grow into men, they will be hurt, offended and betrayed more times than I can bear to think about. And, most frequently, by those close to them. It is how they respond to those offenses that will reveal the true depth of their character. My hope for them is that they learn to respond in love, servanthood, forgiveness, and grace. Their father modeled this for me early on in our marriage. He showed me a beautiful picture of what true, Christlike forgiveness looks like.

And, I laid there in the hallway feeling utterly forgiven, grace-lended, and more loved by God than I had in a very, very long time. God's presence swelled into a glorious forgiveness song that filled our home and relationship with His peace and love.

Jason and Sarah Short 53

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I pray that I can, in turn, model it for my boys during the day as I train them to be pursuers of forgiveness.

Encouragement for Today with

Ronel Sidney

In retrospect I believe He was allowing me to hang in the balance of His sovereign love and grace in order to strip away my arrogance and ego in life. When I first began working at my job five years ago I knew I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work for my company especially with all the flexibility it gave me for my family, school and ministry. However; I have always struggled with wanting more in life.

I am NEVER completely satisfied with what I have or when it was given to me.

Jumping Off the Crazy Cycle


s the clouds begin to part and the sun begins to shine upon my face I quickly realize the season of life is changing. I can now reflect on the two and a half years of darkness and uncertainty in my life. Despite holding onto God's promises in the midst of uncertainty I still struggled to understand the why. Why would God allow us to struggle so financially despite our resolve to continue to give? Why would God bless unbelievers abundantly yet allow me to be stuck in life? Why would He allow me to feel alone despite His presence in my life? 54

When I began dating my husband I was already planning our wedding and marriage. I had my hand all over God's plans for my life which, let’s be honest, causes trouble and strife. When I found out I was pregnant before marriage I jumped right into getting married despite knowing my husband for less than a year. After our son was born I began planning baby number two. I just could not stop and enjoy the blessings of life. Have you ever been driving your car and you see a car you like and begin imagining owning one yourself? This was my life in a nut shell... I could NOT stop thinking ahead five to ten steps. The satisfaction or contentment just would not come despite how many times God tried to wake me up. Just as I began to feel the sun shining through in my life last month I began to jump ahead again and jumped feet first without thinking back into graduate school. The craziness and chaos began all over again.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I wonder how many of us moms spent our days chasing chaos and achievements which mean nothing in the greater purpose of our lives.

Where does your achievement come from?

Yes, achieving is a healthy part of life but sometimes we do not think of the benefits vs. the sacrifice. I see so many older moms who wished they would have been more present in their kids’ lives. They wished they would have made more memories or had left a bigger imprint on their lives.

I am realizing that the more I seek His guidance the more I feel fulfilled with the accomplishments at home. For example just last week we ate dinner at home seven days straight, to some this may sound silly but to me this is an accomplishment of great proportion. And in the light of eternity I can and will be satisfied with the small tasks I do in His name for the family He gave me.

I can see it will be difficult at times to NOT want to jump right back on the crazy cycle yet I know in the midst of this new season I can and will find contentment in the daily tasks of motherhood, marriage, work and ministry. Finding a balance can be difficult no matter how many commitments we may have but when we do the tasks given with our full attention. I believe we are even more in His presence then when we are chasing the nagging feeling of needing to achieve.

A fun and blessed afternoon with your kids or the chaos of trying to juggle one too many things in order to feel purposeful and needed.

Take a few moments today and think about all the things you are juggling and then pray for God to guide your planning and accepting of new commitments. Some where along the way we mixed up: ‘being productive’ and achieving..... well, I did!

Ronel lives in California and is the National Director of Praise and Coffee Nights You can find Ronel online at:


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

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Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

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Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

A New York Times Bestseller “… exquisite…. Prepare yourself to leave these pages a changed person… this tremendous book… will be recognized as a classic work of art. ”
~ Angie Smith, speaker with Women of Faith and author of I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy (B&H) “…a book destined to become a classic, the sort of book you dog ear and re-read for the sheer joy of cherishing the words and experiencing the depth of the heart that wrote it.” ~ Mary DeMuth, author, Thin Places: A Memoir (Zondervan) “This book is one that will change the way you see the world…” ~ Marybeth Whalen, author of The Mailbox & She Makes It Look Easy, (David C. Cook), Director of SheReads

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Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Praise and Coffee RUNS!

We’ve partnered with Run With Endurance to encourage women to connect with each other and start a RWE chapter in their community!

Check out Run With Endurance at: or click here for a direct link: Run With Endurance Casie Dussia is a small business owner and a personal trainer that ministers to women’s soul, mind and body and is the founder of RWE~Run with Endurance. She lives in Southwest Michigan and enjoys life with her husband John and son. Casie is a team partner to the Praise and Coffee Night ministry in Plainwell, MI. 59

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I am a

Mom now.

Denise Dykstra, co-editor of Praise and Coffee the Magazine. Denise is heavily caffeinated and joyfully married to her truck driving, farming husband. They reside in Michigan raising their four boys (ages 12 to 5) on a hobby farm that keeps them hopping busy. She updates friends on her sons’ latest escapades and caught snakes on her blog “Life With Four Boys...Coffee Please!”


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Our second son, who is nine, wanted to play football last year. I never filled out the form and life went on smoothly. Secretly, I hoped he’d forget all about it…but he didn’t. So in the heat of August this year we signed him up and my mom title changed again.

I am number 20’s mom. I was totally unprepared for the football world. I seriously know nothing about football except they kick the ball, they run the ball, they tackle for the ball and you run it for a touchdown. That is the extent of my football knowledge. My son will attempt to explain a play to me. It sounds like a foreign language. He seems to have a knack for the game so I figured I had better start learning something. Since I work at a library, I picked out some “football for dummies” type books. The only book that is keeping my attention is the one where they liken football with eating ice cream – THAT I can understand. My son loves the game. He doesn’t know famous players names, he doesn’t have a favorite team, we rarely (ie hardly ever) have had a game on in the house (this year it’s on a bit more…). He plays for the love of playing the game. And because he has a jersey he can wear like all his close buddies at school. Having a son who plays football goes against all that I am as a mom. All these years I have protected my boys, I make sure there are safe, they’ve always run to me when they are hurt, I keep them away from the boys who hurt them.


Suddenly I am throwing one of them out on a field and watching him get pummeled to the ground. When he does cry, I just sit at the sideline. When I give him a hug, the pads are so huge I can hardly get my arms around him. But watching him do what he loves? It makes it all worth it. Seeing the light in his eyes before every practice? Priceless. Cheering my head off when he runs for a touchdown? More fun than I ever imagined. It’s still tough to see him get piled on. I hold my breath unable to take my eyes off of him and watch carefully to see how fast he gets up, if he looks up to me in the stands, if he shows any sign of being hurt. My husband cannot sit with me. He paces the whole game. Wherever the team is, he standing in the stands in that spot. He sends out a cheer at a good move, he claps to encourage him at a low point, he worries the whole game, feeling each hit. He has a total blast for the entire hour and half game. If I weren’t known for being Number 20’s mom, I’m known for being the wife of the funny to watch dad in the stands. I’m okay with both. At the end of the game, it’s a toss up who is more exhausted. And it makes me think about the fact that when you are doing what you are called by God to do, it’s fun to watch. It’s not always easy, it’s not without a lot of work, you will get beat up…but the joy of doing what you are called by God to do?


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

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Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Invited In

Finding Contentment

In the course of my career as a nurse, which thankfully can only be described as short, I held no less than seven jobs. This is significant for two reasons. One, because my nursing career lasted a grand total of six years (you do the math), and two, because I was unwittingly following a path that allowed my circumstances to dictate my level of contentment.

With each new change, God was quietly speaking to my heart that contentment wasn‟t something that one caught. I did not have to chase it down. I did not have to look for it all over the globe, or in my latest purchase, or in a future writing career. It was sitting just outside my door, waiting to be invited in. Contentment could only be found in obedience to Christ and in serving Him.

I‟d had misgivings about nursing from the start. It wasn‟t something I really wanted to pursue, but according to my mother it would give me “something to fall back on”. I couldn‟t come up with any reason not to choose it, as there wasn‟t a college major for „professional novel reader‟ and writing was not something one could “fall back on” in hard times. So, logic prevailed, I became a nurse, and the rest is dodgy employment history.

I began to see my career as a nurse as time that could have been spent in service to Christ instead of service to self. I found that out of obedience to Him, I could choose to love and serve my family without reserve and be content in all seasons of motherhood. I could live in whatever country the Lord called us to, and invite contentment to come along for the journey. And I could write, if only for an audience of One, because He created me for that purpose.

A year or so after the birth of my first child, I was able to quit working altogether to stay home with her. The joy in that cannot be understated. I was finally able to quit a job that I hated, releasing me from the guilt of leaving my daughter, and become the stay at home mom I wanted to be. I was thrilled to be home, but contentment was elusive. It came and went according to our finances, my moods, or something as simple as a shift in the weather. In the years that followed, I chased contentment down. I looked for it when we moved overseas, when we added to our family with the birth of our son, when we moved back to the United States, when we bought a home, and a dog, and added a third kid. But it remained out of my grasp.

Circumstances and life seasons change, but God is His goodness never does. Contentment doesn‟t have to either.

“If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” Job 36:11 (NIV)

Kimberly Coyle currently lives in Switzerland with her husband and favorite little people. She copes with life's biggest questions by drinking lots of tea, blogging and God's grace. You can find her at


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

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So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. 2 Corinthians 4:16 MSG


Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

The lessons I learn from

Lauren Written by: Sue Cramer

Lauren has been copying in school. No, not on her school work. Worse. In her actions. This has been a struggle for her since day one. She‟s had a hard time finding her own identity so she copies what others say and do. She‟ll pick up a red cup but if a friend picks up a blue cup, she drops the red one and requests a blue cup also.

These are from our trip to China to bring Lauren home. She spent the first 2 years of her life in an orphanage. We were crazy about her from the first time we saw her little picture. She’s seven years old today. 66

Lauren is my 4th child so I understand that some of this is normal but it breaks my heart so to see the depth of her insecurity.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

I want her to be an original. To embrace who she is. The good, the bad and everything in between. I want her to be a leader not a follower. I wish she would be thankful for who she is instead of wanting to be like everyone else. And then I learn the lesson.

Thoughts are...just that. Thoughts. It‟s our job to decide what thoughts we dwell on and give life to. I want to teach Lauren what God has taught me. To put weight in what He thinks of me, and not what others think of me. Or most importantly, what I perceive that others think of me.

I‟m looking in a mirror. She does not have to be like everyone else to be special. In fact, being like everyone else is the biggest thief to becoming the gift that God has created us to be.

A tiny little darkhaired, almond-eyed mirror. And seeing a reflection of myself. I‟ve struggled so with insecurity. Yes, even the ones who stand in front of crowds to sing or share a testimony. We all have to face the thoughts of insecurity. Like saber rattling in our minds, the thoughts attack us with feelings of insufficiency. Unless. We put the thoughts in their proper place and resist the temptation to let them CHANGE who we are.


This book by Max Lucado has touched my life so deeply. I‟ve shared this in many women‟s Bible studies only to turn the last page and see a room full of women weeping. Including me. I plan to read it to Lauren until she gets it. What the Father thinks is most important. She is special. She is unique. She does not have to copy others. And neither do we.

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Even when we don’t see where the road will take us, we can trust that He will never leave us walking it alone. 68

Praise and Coffee | Fall 2011

Praise and Coffee Magazine Autumn 2011  

A magazine to connect, encourage and inspire women!