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Praise and Coffee Summer 2011

A Daughter Engulfed in Flames And the Healing that Followed

When Divorce Shatters A Heart and a Ministry

Have you considered that your child could be autistic? One Moms Journey

*New column* Fashion Café with ‘big mama’ Melanie Shankle


Praise and Coffee the 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.

Praise and Coffee Talk 14| First Praise and Coffee Night in New Hampshire 24| Out of the Box Praise and Coffee Night ~ Florida 44| Introducing National Director for Praise and Coffee Nights 48| Praise and Coffee Cooks 53| Praise and Coffee Runs

5. Humorous articles and funny stories are encouraged! 6. Length of submission should be 400-1,000 words. This can be negotiated for feature articles. 7. Submissions will be read and considered among the Editor and coEditor. 8. We do not pay for articles, they are on a volunteer basis.

Features 8| A Mother’s Prayer 18| This Is My Story 36| Loving a Child with Autism

9. Submissions should be in ―Times New Roman‖ #12 font. 10. 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: Denise@PraiseandCoffee.com

In Every Issue 4 | From the Editors 30| Fashion Café with big mama *NEW* 42| Things We Love! 54| For Caffeinated Moms Like You 62| Lessons From Lauren

For advertising info, contact Sue at: Sue@PraiseAndCoffee.com See website for more submission schedule.

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Summer 2011 Volume 1~Issue 4

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Sue Cramer Magazine Editor and Founder of Praise and Coffee

Sue@PraiseAndCoffee.com

Real women ~ real stories. I love hearing the stories of women who’ve walked through the fire, kicked the ashes off their feet and danced forward with hope in their heart. God is faithful. He’s with us in and through it all and I love it when we see Him in the midst of our trial and trust our lives to His care. This is not always easy. Most of the time it’s extremely painful. And it’s messy. Sometimes REAL messy. Like Rehab. Rehab had a messy life. But look at how she dared to grasp the power of God through His amazing grace. Read the stories of women who leaned on the Father in the hard-scary times and let it compel you to have radical faith that He will take care of you...no matter what. Live. Laugh. Love...while drinking coffee of course!

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Denise Dykstra Magazine Co-Editor Denise@PraiseAndCoffee.com

I’m not sure what it is like where you are, but during the forever long winters here in the Midwest, all we seem to dream about is summer. And summer has finally arrived. Time to kick back, forget about your worries and cares. Time to be lazy and relax. But sometimes summer is anything but that time. It’s busy, chaotic, stressful- in a different way, and if you are like me, you can not keep groceries in the house! Keeping in mind all the different places in life we may be at, some great and some tough, we have worked to bring this magazine of encouragement (and fun) for you. I hope it finds you dressed in one of the cool outfits big mama shares with us (How can we go wrong with turquoise? My favorite!) and having iced coffee with friends…but if it finds you in a place where you are crying out to God…know wherever you are, you are loved and prayed for. May this be a great summer for you all!

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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

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"Summer is where the girls go barefoot and their hearts are just as free as their toes." - Unknown

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A Mother

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r’s Prayer

By: Heather Clement

H

er screams ripped through the air like lightning tears the night. The sound was piercing, breaking through the monotony of the washer and dryer. I could almost feel the blood in my veins turn icy while at the same time, my heart seemed to have made its way to my throat, pounding there, blocking off my airways. I rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs as fast as I could. The scene in front of me was far worse than anything I might have envisioned, even if I‘d had the time to ponder the possibilities. My daughter was on the top landing, completely engulfed in flames—the source of the screams. The fire was so involved that I could see nothing else—not her clothes, not her face. I could only tell it was Jasmine because I could hear the agony and terror in her voice. Taking the stairs two at a time I tried to reach her, yet at the same time I was terrified to get close—afraid of the heat, the sound of her hair sizzling, the sick aroma of burning flesh.

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―Jasmine! It‘s ok, honey!‖ What was I thinking? It was definitely not okay. As I reached the top of the stairs I flew through the kitchen. Oddly, instead of the normal dishtowel looped through the fridge door, there was a plush bath towel. One swift tug pulled it free as I raced to the other room, Jasmine having taken off ahead of me in a futile attempt to outrun the fire.

My daughter was o

completely engu

“Jasmine! I need you to get down on the floor and roll around, right now!” Why had I never taught her this before? It was the first of many regrets and ―if only‘s.‖ Somehow my words reached her through the chaotic sounds of her shrieks and the roar of the golden tongues of fire licking at her skin. As she fell to the floor, I beat at her clothes with the bath towel. Just when I would think we had the fire out, some part of her barely recognizable dress would suddenly come alive with flame again, like the nightmare you keep dreaming over and over again regardless of how many times you wake up.

―She caught fire? What do you mean, ‗she caught fire‘?‖ ―She was on fire—her clothes, her hair…everything.‖ ―Well should we come up?‖ ―No, it‘s ok. I don‘t even think we‘ll have to go to the hospital. I just don‘t think we‘re gonna make it to Kevin and Lane‘s for dinner tonight, that‘s all.‖

Finally, mercifully, the yellow monster was reduced to smoldering scraps of fabric hanging off a trembling frame. The moments and hours that followed are a blur to me, akin to a kaleidoscope that turns too fast so that you can‘t make out the shapes and colors, only know that they exist. It was January, and the night air was frigid. Not knowing what else to do, I took Jasmine outside and began ripping her clothes off. She must be hot … I‘ve got to get her into the cold.

Just then a fireman started asking questions, so I abruptly ended the conversation with my mother and answered him as best I could. Only four minutes passed between the time we placed the call to 911 and the time we were en route to the hospital in an ambulance, though it seemed like much longer than that. I sat in the front while Jasmine was in the back with the paramedics.

My husband Joel drove up as we stood there on the stoop, Jasmine shivering, me frantically peeling the remnants of her clothes off melted skin. There was the collar of the once blue turtleneck, still glowing, reminding me of the edge of a piece of newspaper that‘s been set to the flame but hasn‘t yet ignited.

―Don‘t worry, ma‘am.‖ The driver patted my hand resting on the seat. ―If there‘s anything that can be done for her, they‘ll take care of it. This is what they do.‖ He meant to be reassuring, but for me it was the first indication of just how grave Jasmine‘s situation was, and it was hardly comforting. The tears began to flow then.

My husband tells me I dialed 911 and handed him the phone, but I have no memory of doing that. I recall pacing the rooms of my house, while making a phone call to my mother.

Jasmine was flown to the Shriner‘s Burn Center for Children in Boston, MA right away. We followed in our car, my parents in theirs. My sister and brother-in-law who lived in Boston met us at the hospital.

―Mom? Could you please call Lane and tell her I don‘t think we‘re going to make it for dinner tonight?‖

I tried to sleep during the three-hour ride, but slumber was elusive. My body ached from intense sobbing and closing my eyes only made the images of dancing flames more vivid, causing me to relive every second of the fire.

―Sure…is everything alright?‖ ―Yeah. Jasmine caught fire, but the rescue squad‘s here and it‘s ok now.‖

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Joel wrapped me in his arms and gently tried to dispense wisdom that I knew to be the truth. ―We don‘t get to know why. God has a plan and we have to trust Him.‖ I knew he was right.

on the top landing,

ulfed in flames

We returned to check in on Jasmine and went through the necessary procedures. We scrubbed our hands and arms with the pungent antibacterial soap, donned yellow paper smocks, strapped on the blue surgical facemasks that make it hard to read facial expressions.

The surgeon, Dr. Sheridan, was waiting to speak with us when we arrived at the hospital. He was soft spoken and articulate as he told us the specifics of Jasmine‘s condition and her prognosis. We made sense of what we could, skipping over confusing terms and phrases that would later become as familiar to us as the kool-aid spots on our living room carpet.

The room was very warm and the air reeked of silver nitrate, the chemical used to keep burn patients‘ bandages wet. Among the hums of various machines was the steady rhythm of the ventilator, a unique voice giving Jasmine oxygen with each mechanical sigh. The bed was surrounded with plastic—the “bubble”—to ward off cool air and any germs that might cause infection.

Jasmine had suffered third degree burns to 90% of her body. If she lived through the night, they would attempt an eight hour surgery the next day to replace some of her burned skin with grafted skin—some artificial and some taken from the only areas she had not burned: her bottom and her scalp. If she survived the surgery, there was a 70% chance she would live. It would be weeks before she would be conscious to communicate with us. We could expect her to remain in the hospital for a minimum of nine months, for recovery and physical therapy.

Inside that bubble was a precious package, my Jasmine, in a bed that seemed to dwarf her. She looked like a miniature mummy. She was wrapped in bandages from head to toe with only her eyes and nose visible; even her hands and feet were stubs of gauze. Tubes and wires came from places all over her body, including her mouth, from which the hose for the ventilator flowed. Her little eyes were closed in drug-induced sleep, like soft flower petals awaiting the morning sunshine. As we stood there speaking soothing words of comfort and love to her, we received our first answer to prayer. This child, who was supposed to be unresponsive for weeks, suddenly nodded her head in agreement with something we had said to her. We asked more questions to see if she really was listening and communicating or if her reaction had been a fluke. We were rewarded with more nods of the head. Thank You, God!

After answering a few questions, Dr. Sheridan left us to grieve as a family. We did the only thing we know to do when faced with intense sadness, worry and fear. We ran to our Heavenly Father and placed Jasmine in His hands. We prayed that she would survive the night, that she would be strong enough to endure surgery, that it would be successful, that she would soon show signs of consciousness and be aware of our presence and our love, that she would live.

The next day, the doctor came to the cafeteria to find us after having been in the operating room for four hours. Dread swept over me as I instinctively expected the worst. The surgery should only be half over!

We familiarized ourselves with the hospital, finding coffee in the darkened cafeteria on the 9th floor. I stood there looking out over the city and decided that Boston is much prettier without daylight. The many lights twinkle, like stars in a sea of black night. The grime of litter and exhaust fumes are masked by the darkness. The picture was almost comforting—almost. But then from the darkness inside me, rage began to bubble up.

Had she been too weak to survive the operation?

“Why? Why Jasmine? It’s not fair! Why would God allow this?” I demanded answers as pain took me captive again. 11


Instead of the anticipated bad news, Dr. Sheridan told us that Jasmine had done so well they had already accomplished what they‘d planned to do during the course of the eight-hour surgery. Her vital signs were so strong that he was requesting permission to continue with further grafting. We told him to do what he thought best. We thanked God for answers to prayer—Jas not only lived through the night, but also had come through surgery much better than even the doctors had hoped.

I was encouraged by his comments. ―Is it safe to say the threat to her life is over?‖ I assumed that since they‘d removed the plastic walls from her bed this was the case. ―No. As long as she has open wounds, an infection could strike at any time. There‘s no telling how long it will be before she‘s out of danger.‖ The hallway started spinning and I felt as if I would get sick right there, all over the freshly mopped tile. My knees gave out and with my back against the wall, I slumped to the floor in a heap, unable to hold back the emotion any longer.

Understanding the importance of prayer and the role it would play in Jasmine‘s life, we put her plight onto our family web page so that more people could be praying for her. A site that had seen only 800 visitors in the first year and a half it was up, received more than 39,000 hits over a two-week period following the fire. Jasmine received hundreds of cards and letters each day from people all over the world who were praying for her. Phone calls poured in from across the globe: Africa, New Zealand, and England. As we faced new obstacles in Jasmine‘s recovery, they were posted on the web page so that people of all faiths could join us in lifting Jasmine before God.

Dr. Sheridan almost mirrored my collapse, also sinking to the floor on his side of the hallway. You wouldn‘t think such a small gesture would make a difference in the way you view a person, but in that moment, my admiration and respect for this man grew. He came down to my level and met me where I was. I sensed great humility in that, and I‘ve always respected humility. ―I don‘t mean to be harsh, but there is a long, difficult road ahead of you. You need to be prepared for that. You‘re looking at another nine months in this hospital, six at the very least.‖ I watched my vision of an Easter homecoming evaporate like the steam from a vaporizer.

Dr. Sheridan told us over and over again that Jasmine would suffer from numerous skin infections, any of which could take her life. It was not a matter of if they would come, it was a matter of how many, when, and how severe they would be. We prayed against these infections, and to this day Rob Sheridan calls Jasmine his miracle girl. She is the only extensive burn patient he has ever seen who never suffered a skin infection.

―Jasmine is tough as nails, and she‘s doing much better than we expected she would, but it would be a disservice to you if I were to give you false hope. That‘s not what you need right now.‖

A month into Jasmine‘s recovery she was doing much better. She was breathing on her own, most of the skin grafting was done; the plastic bubble was removed from her bed. All of these things we considered answers to our prayers, and the prayers of countless, many times faceless others.

Yes, it is! That‘s exactly what I want right now! I wanted to scream at him. Instead I allowed him to help me to my feet as I mopped my eyes with the unraveling cuff of my sweater. I apologized for losing my composure, afraid I had embarrassed him. He smiled, shook my hand and said, ―Take care,‖ then departed for whatever important tasks I‘d been keeping him from. The exchange left me with a healthy dose of reality, but I was still confident that Jasmine could continue to hurdle the health problems in front of her and that, with God‘s help, we could leave the scientific world in the dust of her progress, wondering what had happened.

I stepped outside Jasmine‘s room to talk with Dr. Sheridan so that Jasmine wouldn‘t hear us. It was the desire of my heart to have Jasmine discharged and home by Easter, a mere two months away. ―She‘s doing incredibly well considering the extent of her injuries! It‘s really remarkable!‖ Dr. Sheridan leaned against a wall covered with paintings created by the children being helped at the hospital. ―She‘s a tough cookie, that‘s for sure.‖

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By Dr. Sheridan‘s calculations, Jasmine would have been released from the hospital in October. She was discharged on April 17th, just three months and two days after the fire that could have destroyed her. The prayer of a mother‘s heart was answered, and my daughter came home four days before Easter, my own reminder of the resurrection. Someone once told me they were surprised that the nursing staff could reach Jasmine‘s bed with all the angels standing guard. Science cannot explain how Jasmine recovered from her injuries so quickly. It can‘t explain why she was never afflicted with infection. Prayer is powerful. I know it. Jasmine knows it. As the days turned into weeks, Jasmine continued to improve. Small things were major victories for her: drawing with a crayon, finishing her lunch, going to the bathroom without a catheter, learning to walk again. We saw each of these successes as God‘s loving touch in our lives; we had prayed about each instance, great and small. We have never stopped thanking Him.

Riding in the car on a beautiful day not long after she came home, Jasmine piped up from the back seat, ―Isn‘t God good?‖ A smile played over my lips as Joel gave her a quizzical look. ―Yes…He is. What makes you say that?‖ ―Just look at me!‖ she grinned. Yes, Jasmine. Just look at you!‖

―I‘m the wife to my handsome hubby Joel, and mother to three amazing children. We make our home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I satisfy my creative side by working as the Marketing Director for a local Insurance Agency. I love to read, knit, and sing.‖ says Heather Clement Check out Heather’s website: A Woman‘s Worth AND…Heather is a Praise and Coffee Night leader in New Hampshire! See next page for pics!

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New Hampshire’s 1st

Praise and Coffee Night!

One woman in particular came up to me in tears afterward and shared how blessed she was by the evening. She has been going to a church in the area, but they have no Bible Studies and she's finding it hard to break in... said they're very cliquey... She said, "I read your posts on Facebook and you're on fire and bringing the Word... and I think, 'that used to be me'". She told me with tears in her eyes that she hasn't been fed in so long that she feels cold... and she desperately wants to deepen her walk with the Lord again. She's coming to my church Sunday. It's interesting how I met her to begin with. We were standing in line at the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford, CT. here we are, six hours from 14

home, and we end up in line right next to each other in an arena full of thousands of women. God is so cool! We became friends on Facebook, but until last night, I had not seen her in person since November. This morning I'm thinking back to that day in Hartford and keep coming back to this phrase: "For such a time as this..." It's no coincidence that she and I met each other that day, and I'm so thrilled that we've reconnected now.” ~Heather Clement


―

We had an AMAZING time at our first Praise and Coffee Night! There were 27 of us crammed into a space made for about a dozen!

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Start a Praise and Coffee Night in your community!! It’s as easy as 1-2-3! 1. Choose a location. Preferably a coffee shop or restaurant. Somewhere in your community that‘s comfortable for women from all different churches/backgrounds. But, don‘t rule out your home if you are a smaller group! Kitchen tables can be a great place for girlfriend time! 2. Pick a date & time. Don’t know what to talk about or have a guest speaker? No problem!

Meet as often as you like. Most groups meet once a month or once every other month.

Check out Praise and Coffee Conversations on our web page.

3. Invite your girlfriends!!!

There are several short (under 10 minute) videos for you to choose from and show at your event. They even offer conversation starters at the end so your ladies can continue with the same topic.

And then once you do, let us know! We want to pray for you and help promote your event.

Topics include:

Check out the easy to fill out form on our website:

―From Mess to Masterpiece‖

Schedule a Praise and Coffee Night

―Forgiveness‖ ―Importance of Godly Girlfriends‖ and more!

Size doesn‟t matter! You could have a Tall (2-6 gals), Grande (6-15) or a Venti (15 + ) group!!

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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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When divorce shatte

This Is

By A

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ers a heart...and a ministry‌

My Story

Alece Ronzino

I moved to Africa with a couple of very-full suitcases, $200, and a heart-cocktail of faith, naivety, passion, and foolishness. I was only 19. I didn't know much, but I knew that I loved Africa and her beautiful people. I didn't set out on any grand mission or with any huge goals. I just wanted to meet needs where I could, and see what God would do with my meager fish-and-loaves life. I was hopeful that He could write a magnificent story for me and with me. In the chasing of my dream, I found love. I got married, and together we pioneered a ministry that trained leaders and taught AIDS prevention in the poorest region of South Africa. God did astounding things. Constantly.

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I watched Him open blind eyes, show up with eleventh hour provision, stop wildfires from destroying our mission base, and radically transform lives by His Spirit. After a decade of ministry, our team had grown to over 60 staff members, primarily African nationals. We trained over 100 pastors a year and taught 4000 public school students each week about living lives of purity and purpose. God was writing a story I never could have imagined. He truly multiplied our fish and loaves to nourish the masses. He created something out of our nothing. He made life out of our brokenness. And then the story changed dramatically. Everything crumbled to pieces when it came out that my husband had been unfaithful. For a year and a half. With a staff member, a friend of mine.

No matter how tightly I tried to cling to it all, I couldn't hold any of it together. Not my marriage or my ministry or even my life... Everything seemed to unravel out from under me.

The pieces shattered even further when he announced he was done---with me and ministry.

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After 13 years of ministry in Africa, I was forced to close down our operations in December. I permanently relocated back to the States, walking away from my home, my work, my community, my vision, my history. I've been divorced for a few months now. It still feels strange to say, and even stranger to truly accept at a heart level.

Losing someone by their choice evokes a grief deeper than death. There is loss and there is hurt. There is sadness and anger and mourning and relief and remorse. Sometimes all in the very same breath. And underneath it all is the hole left in my everyday by the loss of someone I've lived one-third of my life with. It's the small things I miss the most. Our comfortable routines. Our stupid jokes that no one else would ever think is funny. The way he'd draw diagrams when he was explaining something to me. His laughter...

I fought

both my story and the Story-teller. This isn't how it was supposed to be! It felt as though my story came to a screeching halt. But He kept writing... 21


The missing is deep. It's a missing of what was. A missing of who was. A missing of what could've been. A missing of the story I was once living. It's as though I lost not only my future, but also my past. I can't find words to really capture what it means to feel as though I've lost my own history, but lately that is what I'm grieving the most. I don't have a single person left in my life who walked that African road with me from start to finish. No one who was with me for all the memories, all the provision and lack, all the joys and heartaches. No one to corroborate what happened, fill in the blanks where my memory forgets, simply remember with me. There is a unique loneliness in that. And even as I type these words with no clear end in mind, I hear Him whisper: I was there. Sigh... To be honest, it is so hard to feel content and satisfied in that. But I know it's true. He was there with me. In Him I still have history.

Alece Ronzino is in the middle of the biggest Plan B her life, enduring infidelity, divorce, and the loss of ministry in Africa. Now she's rediscovering what fa really is, trusting God to redeem the broken pieces o life and make something beautiful out of her ashes. blogs candidly about the grit and glory of her journe Mostly grit. Visit Alece's blog | Follow Alece on Twitter 22


B of her aith of her Alece ey.

His. Story. My history is more His story than mine anyway. Whether or not anyone else knows the details, or my fuzzy brain loses track of it all, or I ever get to speak them out loud again, they are still there. They are His. And they are mine. No matter what. In Him I still have a future. It is going to look very different than the one I'd been on track towards just a few years ago. It will be nothing like I ever thought it would. But He is already there, going before me to prepare the way. And to prepare me. My story is more than the sum of my experiences. It is more than what I have seen and done and endured. It is more than what has happened to me. I, too, am more than the sum of my chapters. I am more than my past or my present or my future. I am more than my history, forgotten or remembered. I am His. No matter what. And that is my story.

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Outside t

WA

I

have been blessed to be a part of the Praise & Coffee Nights ministry for three years now. As we have talked about in the past, I have held the South Florida gatherings in several places; Panera Bread, Starbucks, Art CafĂŠs, Coffee Shops and Churches. Each one special and unique in its own way, actually, this is one of the things that I absolutely love the most about the ministry of Praise & Coffee Nights. They have the ability to fit into your world, life in South Florida is completely different than it is for someone that lives in the Midwest, the West coast or probably anywhere else, which is why it is so important to make sure your Praise and Coffee Night fits you and the ladies near you.

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outside t

―Chocolate, Chicks, Coff

Praise and C South Flor


the box...

WAY

Venti, Grande or Tall, your Praise & Coffee Night is whatever God lays on your heart…so when I felt the nudge to step outside of the box— way outside of the box, I knew it was something that I needed to try.

the box!!

fee and Chick Flick Night‖

I kept feeling like the women just needed a night out to laugh, connect, and encourage each other. Which is how we stumbled right into our ―Chocolate, Chicks, Coffee and Chick Flick Night‖. I know…try saying that five times really fast. It sounds complicated, but in all honesty it wasn’t. It was either going to be a colossal mistake or just exactly what our ladies needed, either way I knew I needed to give it a try. With our feet planted right outside the box, we plunged forward on this new adventure for our Praise & Coffee Night.

Coffee Nights rida Style!

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T

he team and I started on our planning and within a couple of weeks we came up with a fun filled night to ―connect ~ encourage ~ inspire‖ the women God would bring our way. The plans were in motion, the theme had been dreamed up, the games, prizes, decorations all came together into a teenage birthday party full of candy, hot pink, zebra striped, 80’s music, lots of coffee and of course…more coffee. We decided we were going to have a ―drive in movie‖ style night where the ladies brought their own chairs, comfy pj’s and friends .

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We showed the movie ―13 Going on 30‖ that night, and even though there were parts of the movie that were right on the edge…we were able to pull it all back together to focus the women on three keys verses that we were able to pull from the movie; 

God’s instructions are more valuable than gold. ~ Proverbs 8:10-11 God has good plans ~ Jeremiah 29:11 Good character is worth more than riches ~ Proverbs 22:1


Each woman left that night with a packet of these verses to take home as well as a movie ticket that had discussion questions for them to read over and talk about with some of the other ladies that came that night. Yes‌it was a fun filled night with a light hearted movie, but we didn’t want to take the chance to point the women back to fter the event I started talking to the only One that can change their one of the ladies who has been coming lives. for the last year or so, she has repeatedly expressed an interest in starting a Praise & Coffee Night in her part of town. She usually drives about forty minutes to come to mine and has the desire to get one started but just has no idea what to do next. We have talked about different options for her but nothing has ever really clicked‌until the chick flick night.

A

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S he had her teenage daughter

with her and both of them were practically giddy with excitement. We talked about the possibility of her daughter having a Praise & Coffee Chick Flick type night with a group of six to eight other young girls AND their moms. They could enjoy the movie together, laugh, giggle, talk about the movie and also what God was doing in their lives. Both mom and daughter walked out with a great big smile and I just had to laugh at what God had just orchestrated. I can not wait to see Him move in this way through the Praise & Coffee Nights ministry and with the ladies who we are blessed to go on this journey with. Sometimes we need to step outside of the box – way outside of the box, so that God can show us just

how big He is. I would have never imagined that we could get so much out of a chick flick night, but we did. Women came, laughed, let their hair down and connected with other women…which is exactly what we all needed. Come on…is God calling you to step outside of the box? Maybe it is your time to start a Praise & Coffee Night in your area…it really is as easy as 1-2-3.

Sue Cramer and Melissa Mashburn

Melissa Mashburn has partnered with Sue Cramer and serves as the Co-Founder of the ministry of Praise and Coffee Nights Visit her website: Melissa Mashburn in Mel’s World www.MelissaMashburn.com

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Author and journalist Lorilee Craker was just like the rest of us, feeling the pinch from the financial fallout of 2008. As a freelancer, her income was going the way of the dodo—family dollars seemed like an extinct myth, the bank account some archeological evidence of past prosperity. Then, inspired by a news segment covering the Amish and how they emerged from the economic crisis unscathed, she realized it was time to learn a thing or two about their time-tested approach to personal finances. While the middle-class was wringing its hands over the family budget and the wealthy were weeping over their slashed portfolios, the Amish were content as always, spared from the cares of the world and worldliness. They not only had financial health to support their lives, they exuded a wholeness that eludes so many when the financial bottom drops out. In Money Secrets of the Amish, readers go on an ―Amish money makeover,‖ learning the choices, secrets, and disciplines that safeguarded the contentment and the coffers of America‘s favorite plain folk by spending less, saving more, and getting happier doing it. Lorilee Craker used to be quite dense on the subject of money, so much so she laughed out loud when someone suggested she write a book about Amish money secrets. But since she hopped in that metaphorical buggy, in the summer of 2009, she‘s been learning how to share, save, and make shoefly pie (it‘s cheap: six ingredients!). When she‘s not scoping out thrift stores and garage sales, Lorilee is usually hanging out in her big old house with her husband, three kids, and four pets (ie: three too many!). She‘s the author of 11 books, including the New York Times bestseller ―Through the Storm‖ with Lynne Spears, and ―A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books,‖ featured in People magazine. For the last fifteen years, she‘s also moonlighted as an entertainment and features writer for The Grand Rapids Press in glamorous Grand Rapids, MI. Check out her website: Lorilee Craker ―Shoefly Pie‖ 29


f

*New column* Fashion finds for each ne

ashion cafĂŠ with

big mama

I'm just going to be honest. Summer is a very complicated fashion time. I mean maybe if you live in Antarctica it's all okay, but when you live on the face of the sun (which is what it feels like here in South Texas from April until October) it's hard to get motivated to look cute everyday when you know all your makeup will melt off your face before noon. And that's on a good day. Plus there's the whole issue of wearing shorts which is a dicey proposition for anyone over the age of thirty-five. Don't get me wrong, I wear shorts. I just don't necessarily like wearing them because sometimes I like to sit down and I'm afraid that I might sear the corneas of everyone anywhere near me. Then there's the bathing suit situation. Never mind. Some things are too painful to talk about. But the good news is that there are some cute options for summer. Things that don't require showing too much skin or making you self-conscious when you sit in a chair and cross your legs. 30


ew season! Here are ten things that would make great additions to your summer wardrobe: 1. tiered linen skirt There is really nothing better than a skirt in the summer time. It gives the illusion that you're well dressed and put together even if you only throw on a tank top or a t-shirt with it. I'm always on the lookout for a great skirt. And you should be too.

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This tiered linen skirt is great AND it comes in a multitude of colors.

2. Timeless crewneck tee Speaking of t-shirts because we totally were speaking of t-shirts even though you thought we were talking about skirts, I adore the timeless crewneck tee from Banana Republic. It has been my t-shirt of choice for many a year now and I buy a few every season. You can usually find them on sale for $15.00 and they are well worth the money. They are soft and not too thin like so many lesser shirts that are out there on the t-shirt market.

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3. Ribbed tanks I don't mean a tank like the Army drives. Because I know that's what you were probably thinking. I mean a tank top. I'm not necessarily advocating that you wear a tank top all by itself because that can be a hard look to pull off unless you have arms that look like you've done something besides sit on the couch all winter eating chips. Personally, I don't.

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But tanks are great for wearing under things during the summer since so many shirts are sheer enough to require a tank. I also like the look of a tank worn under an open buttondown shirt. And I like Gap tank tops. They are well-made and come in a veritable rainbow of colors.

4. turquoise beaded necklace

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I am a huge fan of turquoise jewelry all year round, but I especially love it in the summer time because it's the perfect accent for so many summer outfits. A turquoise necklace is a great find and this one is on sale. I also adore this. native turquoise cuff And it's on sale, too. You'll be glad to have some turquoise even after the weather turns cooler.

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5. place for everything skirt See? This is what I'm talking about when I say you cannot have too many skirts in the summertime.

6. tiered jersey maxi dress

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Maxi dresses aren't for everyone. I'll admit that. But if you can pull it off, it's a great look. Very casual, comfortable and cool. It's a great option to wear to dinner with girlfriends or to even use as a coverup at the pool.

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7. date night ring There is nothing better than some simple accessories to add a little something to an outfit. Especially when you want to pass out from the heat.

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Maybe you'll look down at your hand and remember you're wearing a pretty ring and it will make you feel better about life. And humidity. Or maybe not. But it's worth a try. 33


8. maro reef gauze crochet top There are few things I love more than a good white top. And this one is perfect. It's lightweight and gauzy and would look equally great with jeans or shorts or a skirt.

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That's what we in the made up fashion business like to call VERSATILE.

9. vintage havana paisley maxi skirt The maxi skirt is a huge trend right now and I love this one. It's the perfect thing to throw on with a simple tank or t-shirt now, but could totally transition to fall with a simple denim jacket.

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elanie is a native Texan who resides in San Antonio. She began blogging in July 2006 when she start She spends her days hoping something interesting will happen so she’ll have something to write about. A always work out, she began writing posts about fashion every Friday. This enables her to spend her free tim the internet which is one of her favorite hobbies.

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10 10. hapari swimwear I know I said I wasn't going to bring up swimsuits. And now I've tricked you. But sometimes swimsuits are an inevitable part of life, like presidential elections. Too many choices and you really just want the bottom line. But I think these Hapari swimsuits come in some really cute patterns and love that you can mix and match the tops and bottoms by style and color to suit your fancy. Get it? Suit your fancy? I could not be sorrier for that.

That's it for this time. But join me next time when we'll discuss fall fashion which, in my opinion, is the best fashion of the entire year. The boots! The sweaters! The jackets!

ted her blog, Big Mama. And because that doesn’t me looking at clothes on

And now I'm just hot. Y'all have a great summer.

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Have you considere

that Jacob h

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ed the possibility…

has autism? By: Debby Radmacher

What?! My loving, smart, healthy son was clearly not ―autistic‖! Those are the kids who sit in a corner and rock in their own little world, right? So, my Jacob did not belong in that category at all! My sister-in-law, Janette, had experience in the medical profession and was not only intelligent but also loving in the way she approached this subject.

This was the question my sis-

ter-in-law posed to me as we stood washing dishes together the Thanksgiving before my youngest son turned three. I was so taken aback – and tired of feeling like I had to defend Jacob just because he wasn‘t doing things at the same rate as his older siblings. But I respected her opinion and the next thing she said to me also surprised me: she said, ―I don‘t think you realize this, but he doesn‘t make eye contact with anyone but you.‖

I decided I was going to research autism just to prove her – and everyone else who had some negative comment about his lack of social interaction – wrong. There was obviously nothing wrong with my son!

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Why, God? This is our *healthy* baby! First, after

O

struggling with infertility, we conceived twins that were born 15 weeks pre-

ver the next several months I read

mature. After such a long, hard road

everything I could get my hands on

with them where nothing but prayer and

about autism. As I continued to read

His miraculous interventions time and

and research the subject, it became clear that rather than prove

again on their behalf… I get it – I am not

My heart was broken, all the dreams we had for ou

Janette wrong – I was discovering that she was right.

the one in control, God, but this time was

Soon, I was scheduling appointments

supposed to be different.

with specialists. First he would see the

My heart was broken, all the dreams we

therapists at a local rehabilitation hospi-

had for our healthy boy suddenly

tal that a friend had used for her son’s therapy when diagnosed with another

seemed shattered.

neurological disorder. They wouldn’t be

There is a grief process that comes with

able to give us a diagnosis, but until I

any diagnosis like this, and for me, a

could get into a neurologist, they would

shame that I felt grief at all. But the reali-

be able to tell me if Jacob fit the criteria

ty was that Jacob was still the exact same

for receiving speech and whatever thera-

boy he was prior to his diagnosis.

pies might be necessary.

God knew from the very beginning ex-

The therapist who saw him was able to

actly who He created each of my children

see several things right away that made

to be. He also knew that putting these

it clear his neurologist would be giving

precious gifts into my hands would be

us the diagnosis I now knew as Autism

one more reminder that my desire to

Spectrum Disorder.

control my life and surroundings was an exercise in futility.

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T

Everything felt like a battle. Eventually, we ended up at an ―alternative health he next couple of years we contin-

clinic‖ for the tests that I felt (and still

ued to read and research and sort

feel) should be standard with the diag-

through all the things we could find

nosis of autism. He had so many food

about autism. It seemed like everyone

intolerances – not allergies – that I al-

who had something to say had a differ-

most had a nervous breakdown when

ent opinion than the last person we read

the clinician showed me what he should

or heard. The neurologist only won-

*not* be eating. I said, ―What am I sup-

ur healthy boy suddenly seemed shattered.

posed to feed him!? This is all he will eat!‖ That be-

dered if we wanted medication to control

gan the journey with gluten, casein, soy,

his behavior. When I sought tests that I

rice and way too many other items-free

thought should be done, he fought me.

eating we lived for several years with Ja-

The insurance company fought our submissions for therapy. Our pediatrician was frustrated that I wouldn’t just drop my fight for the tests I wanted since the neurologist didn’t order them. He said, ―Some day you will have to trust

cob. (Which is a subject I won’t go fur-

that someone else knows what is best.‖

ther into at this time!)

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T

hrough all of this, my husband Jason was my sounding board, my support, and my level-head when I simply was no longer able to think clearly. (Something he continues to be – thank you, God!) God was and is my sounding board, my support, and my strength when I am empty and so scared.

That diagnosis was ten years ago, and we continue to pray through every step of this journey with our children. I say ―children‖ because we must continually weigh what is best for the entire family. I still struggle with wanting to be able to ―fix‖ and control our lives. So often I feel like the Israelites who failed to seek God time and again. So often I am thankful for the passages where God redeems them again and again after they have tried their own ways instead of seeking Him.

The support groups for parents with children with autism? They were one of the things we tried and realized was simply not a good fit for our family. There have been numerous therapies that we have gone through. Some of them I would say were successful; others, while not successful were still something I would do again simply to have given it a shot.

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My greatest fear is still failure; have I done/am I doing enough? There are days when I have felt like the battle was already lost and there was no point in fighting any more. Maybe you, too, have been there. It‘s painful…and for me, it is a form of self-pity. God is still working on my heart and mind. I laugh at myself when I realize I am trying to fulfill my illusion of control again – you would think I would have learned by now. I am thankful my redeemer is patient!

No two stories of families who have children on the ASD are the same, but we all share a common bond. We often feel alone in our struggles, but we really aren‘t so different from other families: we pray for our children and we seek what is best each step of the way. We love our families and we struggle to make the choices that we pray are His best for each one. My children are the ―jewels‖ in my crown. My husband is a treasured partner on this journey and a strong leader for our family. I am thankful God knew exactly who He was creating when He chose our kids. Autism and all.

Zachary, Jessica and Jacob Radmacher Debby Radmacher makes her home in the mid-West and enjoys time with her husband and family, but don‘t be surprised to find her cruising the back roads of Michigan on her motorcycle! Contact Debby at: dradmach@charter.net

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Is Cozumel calling your name too? January 12-16, 2011 Lysa TerKeurst Isn’t she adorable? We think so too! You will giggle and cry and scream: “I’ve done that!” while reading her blog. She’s awesome!

The Big Boo cast...podcast. Two mama bloggers, Big Mama and Boomama, talk about all the important stuff: faith, family, friends, fashion and food. Plus, of course, our hair.

Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference If you are anywhere in the Mid-West we encourage you to make your way to this conference October 14-15, 2011

Click on the pict 42


Internet Café Inspiring women to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through the daily interaction of God’s Word.

Beth Moore What can we say? She’s super. She’s has a life changing ministry that touches women of all ages and stages. You will love her. Hurry up and click over to see all the great resources she offers.

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!

tures to visit sites. 43


Introducing our first National Director of

Praise and Coffee Nights‌

I started leading Praise and Coffee in March of 2008 in San Diego. I am currently attending Bethel Seminary taking theology classes. At this time I am not certain where God is leading me yet I am excited to take a leap of faith in leading outside the church as a National Leader of Praise and Coffee.

ello I am Ronel Sidney from Vacaville, CA. I joined the Navy straight out of high school and traveled the world until eventually settled in San Diego, CA. In November Jeremey and I will celebrate eight years of marriage. We have one son, Lucas who will be seven on June 12th.

Our family just moved to a new church in our community so we are in a bit of a transition with ministry and church. I am excited to get to know all the leaders of Praise and Coffee and I hope to be a resource and a source of encouragement for you.

I started ministry in the Navy as a Catholic lay leader and when I accepted Christ in spring of 2003 I began leading in the momâ€&#x;s ministry at The Rock San Diego.

You can find Ronel online at: http://chosenformore.blogspot.com/ 44


Praise and Coffee Nights has been a great learning experience, it taught me to lean on God and it also taught me to step out in faith continuously through its development and growth.

My story: Salvation, pregnancy and marriage all occurred in my life in less than a year’s time. Life changes so much in the midst of each of these major events so I am sure you can imagine the chaos, joy and uncertainty I felted when life was not what I had expected it to be after the birth of our son.

Our location, size, format and themes have changed so much since the first night yet each and every time God showed up. When Praise and Coffee Night was launched in San Diego I launched it under the mom’s ministry at my church however; God has recently called me and my family to a new church and in the midst of the transition I was feeling called away from leading Praise and Coffee under the umbrella of a church.

I found myself depressed, overweight and undernourished in my spiritual walk. As I prayed to God my heart ached for all the other moms feeling alone and desperate for connection; I began hosting/ leading a moms small group.

My heart for As my son the ministry Jeremey and Ronel grew, I longed has evolved for more so into so much when I came more of an across Sue’s Praise and Coffee blog I outreach to the community than just to just knew I had to try and organize a a particular church. group. In the fall of last year I became a full time seminary student while working full

In the spring of 2008, I launched Praise and Coffee Nights San Diego, California.

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God has brought me to a place where my only purpose and validation comes from Him. My past fears of not being good enough or measuring up to others expectations or standards has caused me to lose precious time with God and my family. Playing the “part” of the perfect wife, mom and friend has left me alone, tired and full of anxiety.

time and I was 100% certain God was leading me to get my degree and eventually work full time at a church. Since beginning the transition of changing churches and turning over leadership of the mom’s ministry I have felt God doing a huge work in my life. I am still not sure where He is taking me or what my future holds yet I know he has something wonderful for me.

In Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV I am reminded we are chosen for more; "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession."

After this semester is completed, I am taking the summer off to pray and seek His will for my education. The one constant in my life through all these changes has been Praise and Coffee and when Sue approached me to join the leadership team I was excited about connecting, encouraging and inspiring woman through Praise and Coffee nationally.

I am learning to live as his chosen possession through Praise and Coffee Nights and Run with Endurance.

Melissa Mashburn and I are thrilled to have Ronel join the team as the National Director for Praise and Coffee Nights! I had the privilege of meeting Ronel in person when I flew out to attend a Praise and Coffee Night a few years ago (yes, OLD pic of both of us!). Ronel will be traveling herself and connecting with hostesses to encourage them as they step out and reach their communities with God‘s love and grace through Praise and Coffee Nights. Welcome aboard Ronel!! Much love , Sue 46


You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. Christopher Columbus

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W

elcome to our new addition to the Praise and Coffee lifestyle…Praise and Coffee Cooks! Praise and Coffee Cooks was sortakinda in a way brought about last fall. Sue and I both had gotten a Pioneer Woman cookbook and decided we would be brave and really try to make some of her recipes. Then we figured, hey, why not make them together? The first time we made the lasagna. We planned to make it a blog post so we set up the flip camera, we fed Lauren and Abraham Little Debbie snacks, we took pictures galore, we kept Band -Aids on hand, we tweeted, we face booked, we boogied to the radio. My husband began to assume such visits would become commonplace. We would be eating my throw together noodles and canned sauce for dinner when I‟d mention going to Sue‟s the next day. His eyes would light up. “You gonna cook anything?”

And when we were done we had really yummy lasagna for dinner. Another time we made chicken potpie. I think we barely remembered to check the chicken since were on a deadline with the magazine or something. We were running from the kitchen to the computer and back again. I left her house that day with the food and a lot of work done.

In a way, our starving husbands and children forced us to begin Praise and Coffee Cooks.

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It comes down to this…we all are going to make dinner. We might as well make it together.

When you spend time cooking together you are doing the most basic of acts together. It can‟t help but make a friendship dearer. It gives you time to talk about what your families like to eat, or do, or activities you are involved in, or a favorite song, or a memory of the dish you are making.

That‟s it. That‟s all Praise and Coffee Cooks is. Sue and I had so much fun making dinner together. It‟s all kinds of fun to call or text each other after dinner and see what the other family thought of dinner and compare notes.

Who doesn‟t have a favorite memory linked to food? So get out there with a friend or two and make up some food.

Take some pictures of your good time in the kitchen & send them to us!!

It‟s fun to work in the same kitchen together; the job isn‟t a job anymore. And the clean up is way more fun when you are talking the whole time.

Got a recipe that was a huge hit? Send it to us at Denise@praiseandcoffee.com with the subject line “Praise and Coffee Cooks” and we‟ll start looking for new friends to highlight in the magazine.

What we would like to see is two or more friends getting together for coffee (tea is allowed :))and making dinner together. What we would like to see is two or more friends getting Make a recipe that you know well or find a new one. Someone shop before hand so you have all the ingredients there and ready to go. Make up a dinner together and then each of you have a dish to take home to your family that night.

together for coffee (tea is allowed :)) and making dinner together!

It makes for a relaxing night for your family too. No “What‟s for dinner?” and infamous after dinner mess for you.

Sue Cramer and Denise Dykstra 49


Help for wom

www.mercyministries.org

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men in crisis...

1.800.799.SAFE or 1.800.787.3224 Anonymous & Confidential Help

Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services.

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When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. Helen Keller

"My life has been a failure. I should just destroy my paintings and disappear." Monet

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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: www.RunWithEndurance.net or click here for a direct link: Run With Endurance Casie Dussia is a small business owner and a personal trainer that ministers to womenâ€&#x;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. 53


The Cam For Caffeinated Moms Like You! 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 11 to 4) 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!” Denise@PraiseandCoffee.com 54


mping Incident... O

nce upon a time, a not so long time ago but it seems like it now, one of my best friends told me I should start a blog. I looked at Sue, who has this awesome ministry blog called Praise and Coffee, and wondered how she ever could think I would have anything to write about. But she set me up, she made it look pretty, we thought of the name (what stress that was!) and „Life With Four Boys…Coffee Please‟ was born. The blog was like a bog of mud mocking me. I had no idea what to write about. And then, one Sunday night when I was dressed up for a night at church, an opossum greeted our arrival home from our window box and the kids were petrified and I couldn‟t do anything but call my husband, who was gone to a hockey game, and hope he‟d rescue me in my heels in the snow. That‟s when I realized I might have something to blog about.

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Having boys gives me lots to write about. Having kids in general does that. You find yourself doing things you never thought you ever would, saying insane things that actually make sense and you get in situations you have no idea how you will ever survive through…but you do. Somehow. As a mom, you will be embarrassed. You can count on it.

I‟m a mom of four boys. My husband, Jason, whom I am madly in love with, and I live on our little hobby farm where we grow boys (obviously), chickens and lots and lots of vegetables. We sell the vegetables in front of our home. It‟s a blast of a life to live.

There was the recent episode where I brought a chicken to school with me – and yes it flapped up to fly and yes it pooped on the floor. There was the time I had to run over an opossum to protect the chickens. There was the time the younger two boys asked the Santa at the library if he drank beer – and demanded a response. There was all the “behind the scenes” when I was Grand Rapids Fox 17 Morning Mom.

In the summer we take camping trips. It‟s me and the boys and my mom and our dogs until the weekend when my husband comes out to visit on his off time from work. We have a riot and being from country living stock, camping isn‟t really roughing it. Especially since they have wonderful showers. I can withstand most anything if I can shower.

But the most favorite blog of all my friends (because they are cruel and are ever so thankful that it didn‟t happen to them) was the camping incident.

Abraham

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Last summer our boys were 11, 8, 6 and 4. I had decided that the three oldest boys were responsible enough to shower in the public shower rooms (a locked room where there is a dressing room and a shower) all together and I would keep the four year old with me still. There are five shower rooms to choose from and we usually go all together – but the boys always get done before I do and then ride their bikes back to the campsite where my mom will be waiting for them.

Because there, directly across from where I stood naked and soapy, stood my four year old with his head out the OPEN door calling for his brothers. And the people waiting for the shower had gotten to be quite a line. “Abraham!” I screeched, and quickly slammed the door – the door that unlocks as soon as you turn the door knob from the inside. “I‟m just looking for my brothers,” he said, wondering what all the fuss was about.

We had a pretty good system going by this time (we usually camp for a full seven days and we do this every year, a few times a year) and the boys were doing a good job and seeming to get clean so all was good. The showers were exceptionally slow on this particular night and I had told my four year old he could ride his bike back with his brothers if they got done before I needed to take a shower.

I have no idea how I finished the shower, I was shaking so bad wondering how on earth I was going to get out the shower room without actually making eye contact with anyone. Somehow I did. I don‟t remember how. And that night new shower rules were listed. The most important one being “Never ever ever ever open the shower door. Ever.”

As it turned out, the brothers weren‟t done quickly and with my four year old son all dressed in his pajamas and ready to go back to the camp site, I hopped in the shower. It was when I opened my eyes from rinsing the shampoo from my long hair that I literally wished I could actually disappear down the drain. 57


Modern. Trendy. Beautiful. Contemporary handcrafted sterling silver jewelry for today's modern woman! I use recycled silver, copper, gold and gemstones to create wearable pieces of art jewelry. ~ the bead girl

Featured in Grand Rapids Women’s LifeStyle

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us online! Praise and Coffee Nights on Facebook

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The lessons I learn from

Lauren Written by: Sue Cramer www.PraiseandCoffee.blogspot.com Sue@PraiseAndCoffee.com

In recent months Lauren has come up with this cute little way to tell me that she loves me. She walks up, wraps her arms around me and says, “you’re my best mom ever!” Lauren knows that she was adopted but does not understand yet that there was another “mom” involved in the process.

These are from our trip to China to bring Lauren home. She had spent the first 2 years of her life in an orphanage. We were crazy about her from the first time we saw her. She’s six years old today and still making us smile.

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In fact at times, she’ll see other kids that are misbehaving and say, “I’ll bet your glad that you didn’t pick him!”


I

It would break my heart if Lauren decided to walk away from us and choose not to live in the love of this family. It would be heartbreaking if she walked out of our lives and dismissed us as her family. Of course I don’t believe she ever will, but I see people do that every day to God.

know it’s inevitable for her to realize that it wasn’t my tummy that she grew in, I just wish I could save her from the thoughts of abandonment that she may have to wrestle with someday. The love of adoption is so powerful. I pray that she reconciles any insecurity or sense of loss with the fact that she is loved so deeply. Honestly, I don’t think of her as adopted. She’s my daughter. She’s part of me. Always has been, always will be.

I believe it is predominately because they don’t understand how much He loves them and they haven’t learned to live loved. Fear causes them to doubt His love and take on this life their own way. They orphan themselves.

Of course this brings me back to the verse in Ephesians 1:

So it’s our job to show them...what a family is like. Show them what God’s family should look like. Let them know they are loved. Help them live loved.

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. 4

I’m so happy to be Lauren’s “best mom.”

NIV I know that God the Father wants to be your “best Dad” too. Will you let Him?

We’re all adopted. We’ve all been part of His plan of adoption. It is His pleasure to bring us into a family filled with love and acceptance.

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Want to start a Praise and Coffee Night

in your community? Go to: www.PraiseAndCoffee.com Start with 2 or 3 girlfriends and see what happens!

Visit our store at cafepress: www.cafepress.com/praiseandcoffee

Praise and Coffee P.O. Box 112 Martin, MI 49070 www.PraiseAndCoffee.com 64

Praise and Coffee Magazine~ Summer 2011  

A magazine for women to cnnect, encourage and inspire them.

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