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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new..blah, blah, blah

New Year, new day....gone with the old! Blah, blah, blah.

Frankly it's just a bunch of hype if you ask me.
I don't know about you, but I'm walking into this New Year with the same trials and struggles, joys and hopes that I had yesterday. They're not dropping off when the ball drops.

Yes, I believe that is it a good time to re-evaluate our lives and decide what needs to change and set some goals. If the calendar year changing is what propels you to do that, great. It needs to be done. But don't stop there. We need to be just as motivated to change and take a good look at our lives on March 3rd (random date).

Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for newness! I love that His mercies are new everyday.
Every single one of these days...

Lam 3:22-23
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

I LOVE that!!!!
I count on that, every single day of my life.
I love that we are to look ahead and not behind us:

Isaiah 43:18-19
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

But that is a word for EVERY DAY.
It means that we are to be new in the attitude of our minds and put off our sinful nature.

Eph 4:20-24
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.

21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Put off the former life, the life of sin. The life of fear, doubt and worry. Put it all off and be made new in the attitude of your minds.
I love verse 24:
YOU were created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Every day.

I love new beginnings, I do look back on this year and learn from my mistakes. I set goals for the upcoming year. But I don't get caught up in the attitude and hype of a New Year, as if it's more important to re-evaluate today than any other day.

This walk with Christ is not January to December. It's day by day.
We should examine our hearts and lives every day.

We should also live to praise and thank Him, every day!
Ps 145:22
Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.

I hope you have a wonderful New Years Eve and of course I'll be around this whole year talking about the Lord and His amazing love, every day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two shall become One ~ R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


This is so good. It's a blog article by the author of the book I love so much,
"Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerich:

He Needs Respect and She Needs Love, Or Is it?

A great refresher for all of us, tell them I sent you :)

I'm praying for our marriages!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Needing the waters to part?

He can do that.

Heb 11:29
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land;
but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

He has not changed, He still parts the waters on behalf of his children.

Do you realize that it was God that led them TO that impassable waterway?
Ex 13:18
So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.

Then, I love what Moses tells the people as they look at their impossible circumstances and panic:

Ex 14:13-14
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid.
Stand firm and you will see the deliverance
the LORD will bring you today.
The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Let's read these words in light of OUR current
circumstances and believe the God who loves
being faced with a "this one's impossible" situation.

Believe Him now.

For a further boost of faith, listen to this song. It's one of my favorites (warning, cheezy video).

Friday, December 26, 2008

In a crowd? Want to get people's attention?

Touch the hem of His garment, they will all take notice.

Luke 8:42-48
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.

44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 "Who touched me?" Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you."

46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me."

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.

48 Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Loving this, enjoy!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Thanks to all for the sweet well wishes, I've been very sick. I'll be back online when I can.
Much love,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Fluff and other random happenings

I know, I know I've been kind of quiet lately. I'm trying to get better, still struggling with strep throat and now on my 2nd antibiotic. I've been so tired, I've hardly done any writing.

So here's some ramblings....

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas season. I know it can be so stressful. This year I chose to lighten the load of the holidays. Our family has decided that Christmas has been way overdone and under appreciated, so we are only buying gifts for the kids and plan to emphasize the importance of family and being together.

Also, this is the first year that I have not sent Christmas cards in 21 years!! I feel a little guilty about it, but couldn't get the kids together for a picture. I have to admit though, it really took a load of work off my plate.

So if you didn't get a card from weren't snubbed...technically I snubbed everyone!

But I still love ya!


Matt is coming home today...providing his planes get through these storms! It will be good to have the family together again- maybe I'll get a picture this time!


This past Saturday I went to a Kennedy girls get together.
Evidently I am a shirt-tail relation to the Kennedy's.

We tried to nail down exactly how we were related to the Kennedy's of Camelot but no one was real sure. Grandma's last name was Kennedy and the fact that one of the Aunt's was rumored to have a very large portrait of JFK in her home seems to be the proof that there are a few drops of Kennedy blood corsing through our veins.

This got me thinking. Maybe I could re-invent the Kennedy name. A conservative, God-fearing Kennedy.

I'm thinking..."The New Kennedy"
or "Kennedy 2.0"
Or maybe "The Softer Side of Kennedy"

But how would that work? Would I change my name? Susan Kennedy-Cramer?
Now that Caroline is looking for a Senate seat in New York, I could be her counter part over her in Michigan.

On second thought, Michigan has some really serious issues these days. Jobs, the big 3 and do I really want to represent a state that looks like a mitten?

I'm just not sure politics is my thing. I think I'll just stick to blogging and skip the whole name change.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend, I'm sure many of you will be gathering with friends and family. I think this year especially has caused us all to re-think our priorities and place value on what is truly important.
Mark 12:30-31
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.

Love God, love your family and friends. That's what matters.

Much love,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

There is a Holy Spirit, and It's Not Me

I'm re-posting some of the most popular posts-this one I should re-read just about once a week! :)
This was originally posted February 8, 2008.
Much love, Sue!


Mark and I have been married over 20 years. As we’ve ‘grown together in the grace of life’ we have both learned much about each other and much about how God wants us to treat one another.

Mark was raised in a Christian home, but really started serving the Lord around the time we got married. I had been raised Catholic, but didn’t come to know the Lord until I was in high school. It was then that I started living for the Lord, and so when Mark and I got married, I was the “stronger one spiritually.” I use that phrase loosely because even though I had a few more years of Biblical teaching under my belt, I was anything but spiritually strong. However, I sure thought I was!

We both wanted to live for the Lord and serve Him with our whole hearts. But, I continued to see things in my husband that needed “fixing.” I made it my job in life to “fix” him because as anyone could tell, I was more spiritually mature than he. (ha!)

I thought he should pray more, so I would drop little hints about it and put him on the spot when I saw fit. I thought he should read his Bible more, so I made sure it was strategically placed for him to find it and every chance I had I would let him know that it was something he should be doing more of.

I was stealth I tell you! I made sure that he knew there was more he should be doing for the Lord. After all- if I didn’t, who would? And let me tell you, it’s not easy being stealth when you have a giant plank sticking out of your eye getting in the way all the time! I had to work hard at it.

Then there were my moments of condescension. I could so easy manipulate a conversation to let him know that he needed to be a better Christian. Mind you…this was all while I was being a good and submissive wife. I truly felt that I was doing all the right things and that the Lord was leading me in my controlling ways.

I’m not sure how long it was before my husband starting saying, “Hark, what is that I hear? Is that the Holy Spirit speaking?”

Of course at first, I knew this was just rebellion. Surely God was about to “get him.” How dare he blame me when he is the one with the obvious issues!

Until, I finally heard the still small voice of the actual Holy Spirit speaking to my heart and telling me how wrong I was. This was not an overnight lesson for me. I have learned this, repented and turned around time after time and done the same thing over again.

Eventually I realized the destruction I was bringing in our relationship and the lack of trust that I had in the Lord.

I saw that when I would shut my mouth about a situation and pray and then truly give it to God, He would intervene and do a mighty work in my husband and in me.

The key, I have learned, is stepping out of the way.

Let God be God, let the Holy Spirit do the correcting, training and teaching in both of our lives.

I had a need to control. That need was based on the fact that I did not trust that the Lord answered my prayers. I did not trust that the Holy Spirit would actually speak to my husband about leading our family. That’s really hard to admit, but it’s true. I felt that I could do a better job leading my husband than the Holy Spirit could.

John 16:13-14
3 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

1 Peter 1:2
2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit

Did you catch that? “The sanctifying work of the Spirit.”

The Spirit does the work. The Spirit is the one who sanctifies, not us.

1 Peter 3:1
3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives

I find it funny that is actually says, “without words.” How well does He know us?!

It is our behavior that will speak louder to our husbands. The Lord showed me that I could trust Him, and more importantly that I had so much more work to do on myself! If I would obey the Lord and do MY job in this marriage, He would take care of the rest.

I got a mental picture of the Lord standing before my husband and me standing in the middle of them getting in the way. When I finally stepped back, I saw the Lord do amazing things in my heart and in my husband’s heart.

Our faith became real to both of us.

Prov 14:1
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

A familiar verse, once again is so true.

Let the Lord, His Holy Spirit, do a mighty work in you by handing over the burden of your husband’s walk with Christ to Him. It’s not yours to carry.

Pray for your husband. But first pray for yourself, that you would honor the Lord in your marriage and be the Godly wife He has called you to be. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
It’s a prayer I pray often and I still remind myself of this truth:
There is a Holy Spirit, and it’s not me.

I’m praying for our marriages,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decking the Halls


It's that time of year again, here's a peek into the Cramer Christmas pad.

It's looking like it will be a white Christmas here in Michigan, yay!

Our First Christmas 1987, can hardly believe I just celebrated 21 years with my best friend.

Lot's of joy in this house!

Lauren doing the Jingle Bell Rock.

One of my favorite decorations, this picture of a snowman ~ "praising the Lord"!
All he needs is a cup of hot coffee...well maybe a vanilla bean frappacino instead...

The family room.

The living room.

And because so many of you have been asking about the Christmas Gala
that I spoke at, here is a picture of when I told the story of my
"Worship Accident"
The evening was wonderful, what an amazing bunch of women! They were precious.
And the best part was that no one
threw any shoes at me!!

And here is the reason that we fuss and bother, though sometimes we forget.
I pray that we would not leave the precious baby in the manger,
but embrace Him in our hearts and lives forever.

Thank you for stopping by Praise and Coffee today.

I wish you and your family a beautiful Christmas
and Happy New Year.

Thanks Boomama for doing all the work once again!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is my Dignity

The program started out just fine, standing all in a line.

But then came the humiliation began.

They really were darling! There's nothing more fun than a bunch of kids singing 12 songs one word behind the teacher.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December Praise and Coffee Winner


Congratulataions to Heather at Living for HIM!

Enjoy your Praise and Coffee!

Thanks so much to all of you that entered! Next giveaway will start January 1, 2009.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two shall become One ~ Building our Marriage on the Rock

In keeping with the "building on the rock" that I talked about the other day~originally posted January 8, 2008.

Hello girls,
I am really looking forward to Two shall be One ~ Tuesdays.

Mark and I have spent so much time ministering to couples who are struggling in their marriage. I would have to say it is what we have spent MOST of our time doing over the past several years.

We spent many years sitting under great marriage teaching in our church, we went to conferences on marriage, we watched several video series by Gary Smalley and have attended accredited classes on marriage relationships.

We are not professional counselors by any stretch of the imagination, but the Lord has seen fit to use us in marriage ministry time and time again. Sometimes learning right along with that couple!

We are also not the perfect couple. Those of you who know us just let out a hearty- “that’s for sure!” We are a normal couple, have normal arguments and trials, but we have an amazing, loving and forgiving God.

When Mark was Pastoring we did several series together on marriage and I want to share some of that with you and mix it with new things the Lord has been showing me in my own life.

So, let’s start at the beginning, and we will probably swing through this station again and again as it is the foundation for any good marriage.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a story about 2 houses.
One is built on the rock and one is built on the sand.
When the “storms” come, the one built on the rock stood
wile the one built on the sand fell with a great crash.
Let’s look at this verse and instead of the word house,
let’s use the word marriage.

Matthew 7:24-27
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house (marriage) on the rock.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house (marriage); yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house (marriage) on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house (marriage), and it fell with a great crash."

Puts a little different spin on it doesn’t it?

What I find to be so interesting about this story is the storm and the lack of definition of it.

So many times when we would ask people what their marriage was built on, they would want to focus on how awful things were and if the circumstances weren’t so awful they would be fine. They just needed to “get through” this.

That’s just not true.

The truth is, the storm is not your problem.
I believe that’s why the storm is not the focus…the foundation of the houses is the focus.

Now, I realize that I am only speaking to one half of the marriage here (unless you sweet ladies are copy and pasting this in an email to your hubbys!). And I know that some of you feel that it is out of your hands. Yes, parts of it may be.

However, in verse 24 it says, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house/marriage on the rock.”

I am an everyone, I think you are an everyone.

We are not responsible for our husband putting God’s words into practice, but we
are accountable to the Lord for the Word that WE put into practice.
Prov 14:1
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

One of the most profound things I ever learned about my marriage was to stop pointing my finger at my spouse and start pointing it in the mirror.

What can I do differently?
I would literally ask myself that, and still do!

I could tear my marriage down so quick (and have done it), but the Lord specifically tells us women…BUILD YOUR HOUSE!

If you tear down your husband,
you tear down your house
and the word of God calls you/me foolish.

I want to be wise.

I want to obey God’s Word and put it into practice and that will build my house on the solid foundation. So that WHEN the storms come…my home will stand.

There is so much to say…but I really feel like these messages are to be nuggets for you to chew on. I don’t want to overwhelm you with so much that you just go away spinning.

So here’s the nugget…BUILD.

You know in your heart how to build.
Start with yourself and then bring it into your marriage.

Build yourself up on God’s word and pray.
Don’t just pray that your husband would change!
I challenge you to pray that God would change you.

Lord, I lift up every person reading this. I pray that you would strengthen their marriage by showing them how to make You their foundation. Lord heal marriages. Heal brokenhearts and give hope to those who have none. You are able Lord to do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or think, Father please do that in marriages. Forgive us our sins and help us to forgive those who’ve sinned against us.
In the mightly name of Jesus, Amen.

I'm praying for our marriages,

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catching up and stuff!

After a long weekend with strep thoat, I am starting to feel a little better. I am so thankful to my hubby for spending time with Lauren so that I could sleep away the days.

They went to Chuck E. Cheese, out to eat a few times and the weekly trip to Home Depot. Lots of Daddy/daughter time.

Now I have a mountain of email and things to catch up on, I just love you guys!! All My Facebook and Twitter friends have been so sweet with their well-wishes, thank you!!

I am very happy to be feeling better as I have a busy week. Lauren has a Christmas program, Mark is headed to Canada for business meetings and I am speaking at a church on Friday for a Women's Christmas Gala. If you live in Southern Michigan, come on out! Info is on the button in my sidebar.

For those of you that are thinking about having a Praise and Coffee Night Out after the first of the year, I would love to get it on the calendar on the new website. HERE.
I have a blog radio interview coming up in January and would love to be able to tell about all your Praise and Coffee Nights. Email me your dates when you get them.

Don't forget to sign up for the Praise and Coffee Giveaway, drawing on Wednesday! Scroll down to the post from Dec. 1st.

One more thing...

Gal 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Storm is NOT the Problem

There are many "storms" brewing these days.

The financial crisis in this country is beyond ignoring anymore. I have yet to meet one person who has not been affected by it. The wars and rumors of wars are troubling.

Because of this, many families are struggling, marriages are under tremendous pressure and people are just plain worried about tomorrow and what it will bring.

But in these verses, Jesus gives us a word picture that gives us hope.

Matt 7:24-27

24 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock.

26 But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.

27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash."

Two houses, side by side...same storm hits both houses. One stands, one falls.

Our natural thinking would tell us that one of the storms was harder and stronger, but that is not the case in the scenario that Jesus paints for us.

The only difference was the foundation of each house. One built on solid rock, one built on sand.
Then He explains how that applies to us personally:

Matt 7:24
Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise

Matt 7:26
But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish

The storm-no matter how big, loud or awesome it is- is not the problem.
The problem comes when we don't obey God's Word and how He tells us to live our lives.

Our foundations become solid when we obey God's Word.

It's time to live what we believe, live it loud and don't compromise- no matter what that compromise seems to promise.

Be wise in the way we live. Live with integrity, honor the Lord.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Worship Accident

Have you ever had a worship accident?
I have, let me explain.

The other morning I was reading and writing at my computer, no big deal, seemed fairly safe. But see, I have worship music playing in the background. This is where the it gets dangerous.

So there I am reading an article online and the music builds to a powerful part where it says.
"Majesty, Majesty Jesus Lamb of God!" and at that moment I throw my arms up to praise Him. But I forget that I had set up a new lamp so that I could do my Bible study without turning on the main room light.
And there you have it- arms flying up in the air to worship, hand slamming into said lamp and whammo- broken finger nails.

It really put a damper on my worship. I'm sure it was satan :)

But then it occured to me. How do I explain this to Janice, my nail tech???
I don't know if she will understand what it means to have a worship accident.
I could always make something up.

I'll bet they don't wear acrylic nails in the throne room. Good thing.

Here is the song that started it all.
I'm warning you, clear an area before you listen.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two shall become One ~ Quick to listen???


I am posting today over at the Internet Cafe' and it is not necessarily a marriage post, but I definitely know that it can apply to our marriages.

When we take the time to not only listen to our husband's words, but the "why" behind those words, it is honoring to them.

Take the time to pay attention to the things your husband says and learn to pick up on the things he might not be saying.

Click on over to the Cafe, I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment over there and let me know if it applies to you. Are you a better listener or talker??

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Praise and Coffee Giveaway!

We had a very nice weekend, I hope you did too.
Here are a few pics of ours.

Grandpa and Lauren playing. Goofy girl!

Josh and Sam.

Steph at the buffet!

And we spent the rest of the weekend decorating the house.

Here's my little elf helping.

Now for the giveaway...

The Praise is...
Travis Cottrell's "Ring the Bells"
We all love Travis!!!!

The coffee is:

Millstone Holiday Peppermint flavor.

And don't forget, Bayview Cards wants to bless you too! You will also receive a beautiful box of their homemade cards!!

To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post. Make sure there is some way for me to contact you if you win (link to a blog or email). No anonymous enteries- it always surprises me when I get those! The drawing will be on the 10th of December.

If you have my GIVEAWAY button on your blog, let me know (please don't assume that I will remember) and you will be entered TWICE!!!!


And I can't end this post without sharing a verse that's been on my mind:

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

Hello! Hope you had a wonderful day with your family. We had a great time, especially fun because we were all together.

We traveled to my in-laws for a wonderful dinner and family videos to boot.
I made this cheesecake and I just had to post the recipe- absolutely fabulous!!

Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

1/4 cup each finely chopped pecans, walnuts, and almonds. (I used a little more of each and made a thinker crust)
1/2 cup finely chopped vanilla wafers.
2 TBLS melted butter

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
16 ozs sour cream
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon juice

1. Crust: Mix all nuts and vanilla wafer crumbs with melted butter and press into a 9 inch buttered springform pan, trying to line the sides as much as possible about 1 1/2" up the sides of the pan, set aside.
2. Cheesecake: All above ingredients should be at room temperature before your begin.
3. Start by beating the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
4. Keep the mixer on a low setting throughout the beating and mixing process.
5. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.
6. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.
7. When eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well. 8. Add the sour cream last and beat well.
9. Pour cream cheese into the spring pan.
10. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degrees preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes.
11. When time is up, prop open oven door and leave in oven for one hour.
12. After one hour, remove from oven.
13. Let cool enough before the cheesecake is put into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
14. A cheesecake should season. The wait is worth it. The flavor ripens and becomes enriched.

Your family will thank you! Mine did.

Have fun this weekend. I am decorating for Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The President said...

"...It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth."

A. Lincoln

Remember why we celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank YOU

This year I find myself with so much to be thankful for, so many reasons to be grateful.

Not of the least of these is all of you. My blogging friends are just precious to me and I want to thank you for being such a huge encouragement, and for giving me a reason to keep writing.

You have richly blessed my life.

I'm thankful for you today.
Hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends on Thanksgiving Day.

Much love,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to Become a More Valuable Wife


It’s that time of year again and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, this is the perfect time to take inventory of our lives and the perfect time to focus on the amazing and life changing effects of thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude.

Did you know that thankfulness has a magnetic quality about it?
Think about it. Who would you rather spend an afternoon with...someone who complained about their family and life or someone who expressed thankfulness for the things and people in their lives?

Complaining is the product of unthankfulness.

The word 'appreciation' means to be thankful and express admiration.
Another definition for it is "to grow or appreciate in value."
As you appreciate life, you become more valuable - both to yourself and others.

Do you want to "appreciate" and increase in value in the eyes of your husband? You can-through thankfulness.

You might try to tell me that you don't have much to be thankful for with your husband, but I would say- search your heart and ask the Lord to show you all that He's blessed you with.

So tell him, write him, drop him an email and let him know what you are sincerly thankful for about him. It will do your heart (and his) good.

I'm praying for our marriages.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Website!

Well, it's a work in progress, but click on this and tell me what you think about the new website.

What else should I add?
I'd love your input, thanks!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Cry Out Your Name

This song is so beautiful, and this video highlights the powerful words spoken through it.
It draws you in to worship our precious Savior.

He is my all in all. I would be lost without my God who is more to me than words can descibe. His love fills me, satisfys me and carrys me.

Each moment is a gift from You to live...

Much love,

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Beautiful Evening

Well, here it is ladies...

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We had such a nice time. It was beautiful!
The Plainwell Mill and banquet hall could not have been more welcoming.
I just have to say thank you to my greeting team, Norma, Denise and Carol and to Carol also for taking all the great pictures.

I have a few stories to tell, but wanted to get the pictures up for you to enjoy. I'll write more later.

I am looking forward to our next night out on January 15th.
The theme will be:
"Never Stop Dancing"

PS: I am working on another website just for Praise and Coffee Night dates, locations, pictures, testimonies! So send me your feedback and info of ones that you attended or are hosting!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tonights the Night

Well, tonight's the night girls!
The first Praise and Coffee Night in my hometown.

The most important thing you need to know about tonight...
I'll be wearing jeans.
Seriously, I've had a few calls, and I want you to know-that's what I'm wearing.
It is a casual night, jeans are perfectly acceptable.

Feather boas however are optional!

(You really don't want to ever google the words
"feather boa" it was awful. My eyes hurt.)

Unfortunately, it looks like we will be wading through snow to get there, but I'm not too worried about it. I've been in Women's Ministry long enough to know that women will walk over a bed of nails to have a night out.
However, for those of you traveling a distance to get here...I want you to be safe- so use discernment and don't do anything foolish- there will be more Nights out.... (my next one is January 15th).

I can't begin to tell you how much God has moved to bring this evening together- really- I want to share, but I can't share everything- just trust me! His favor is incredible!!!!
And apparently this is something that our community of women has been hungry for. I have over 60 RSVP's. We even had to reserve the banquet room above the coffee shop to fit us all.

Here's an article from the Hometown Gazette.

I am hearing over and over... "I need this"... or "I need something."

My prayer for these evenings is that every single woman walking in will sense God's presence and love throughout the evening, and be strengthened and encouraged as she goes.

"Come as you are...leave refreshed!"

If you can make it tonight, great! If you are hearing about this last minute and didn't RSVP, come on out anyway.

Also, Florida gals are meeting tonight too. Click on the picture link for details of both groups.

Not close to either of these? Start you own!
Whether you have 3 people or 300. Meet at a coffee shop, share the praises of God and see what God does in your midst- I have a feeling it will be wonderful!!!!
It could be you and your girlfriends or you could do what I did and invite the community and several different churches. Pray about what God would have you do.
I have talked to at least 10 other women that are planning on starting them around the country. God is up to something wonderful, He's bringing His women together!

Matt 18:20
For where two or three come together in My name,
there am I with them.

I'll try to post pictures and give you updates this weekend.
I would love it if you pray for us!
Much love,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is it God...or are you building in vain?

Just a quick thought...

Psalms 127:1-2
Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat —
for He grants sleep to those He loves.

Is it a God thing or just our thing?

Inordinate excessive care about the things of this world is a vain and fruitless thing. We weary ourselves for vanity if we have it, and often weary ourselves in vain for it.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Questions to ask ourselves:
Who is getting the glory for this?
What is the fruit?
Does it seem to be "alive" and "growing" or stagnant?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two shall become One ~ The Impact of our Marriages


This Friday Mark and I celebrate 21 years of marriage. I know, I know- I look way too young for that *blush* but it's true :)

Just like any other family, we've been through some wonderful times and some very painful times. But Mark and I have always been of the mindset that we are in this marriage for the long haul, for the rest of our lives. We committed to never use the word "divorce" no matter how angry or frustrated we were, it was never an option.

I was thinking about how our committment to this marriage and our family has impacted those around us. I believe that it has made a world of difference in many other lives, not the least of these is our children.

I want to ask you a few tough questions (sorry- I like getting my toes stepped on, it spurs me on to change- I hope you enjoy it too).

* How has your marriage (good or bad) affected those around you?
* How would others describe your marriage?
* How would your children describe your marriage?
* How would your children explain "what a Godly wife is" by your example?

These questions challenge me too!

If you are not happy with the answers you thought of, what do you need to do to change those things?

Then let's do it!
Let's open God's Word and see what HE says about marriage. Pick up a book on marriage, apply yourself to learn. Go back and re-read the "Two shall become One" posts.

It's not too late. If you feel guilty, go to the Lord- He promised to be faithful to forgive us. That's the business He's in! He forgives and restores.

I believe that the people in our lives are greatly influenced one way or another by our example of marriage. I want to make sure that influence is a positive one.
It's not always easy- but it's worth it.
Look into the eyes of your's worth it.

I'm praying for our marriages,

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Furious Storm

Good Monday morning!

I was reading this story today.

Matt 8:23-26
Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"

Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

1. Without warning: sometimes the storms come from seemingly no where- and they are furious. To the point we feel they will over take us.

2. Jesus is not moved by the storms...we feel that we have to "let Him know" of the grave danger at hand.

3. His response to our fear is, why are you scared? Don't you believe me?

4. Instead of ignoring our pleas for help or condemning our lack of faith, He speaks and brings peace on our behalf.

Not all storms are calmed immediately. Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child in the storm.

But His response is always...BELIEVE ME.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It Lived Up to It's Name

My girlfriend Norma and I set out about 9 AM on Thursday for our 2 and a half hour drive east. We went first to Birch Run Outlet Mall and did some damage there. Then we stopped at Uno's for (way too much) yummy food. After that we headed to our hotel.

I brought my Bose ipod thingy and we spent some "knee" time in worship and prayer before heading off to Tim Horton's at 7 PM.

I was unsure what to expect, but I knew God had a plan for us that night. It was a cozy group of about 9 of us, perfect for what the Lord had in mind.

After meeting these precious friends of Hope's, I asked them about what God had been doing in their lives. One conversation sparked another and we spent 2 hours praising God for all He had done through some of our darkest times.

Among them was a gentleman (yes, a man...and it worked out just fine!) that had just gone through a battle with cancer and in the midst of it, his wife past away. With tears in his eyes he shared how hard that was...but how good God was.

Another friend told about how the Lord had called her and her husband out of pastoral ministry to take care of their children- their 18 children. Yes, eighteen. Three biological and 15 adopted. They never dreamed that God would take their life in this direction, but He did and they were grateful.

And then there was her neighbor, oh I would have loved to spend a whole day hearing her story. She is an author and publisher who beautifully reflects the amazing grace of God. I only got a tiny glimpse into her life, but I could tell that it was one full of testimony to the love of her Savior.

As we were visiting a customer came over to Hope to ask her about what we were doing. She told her that it was a Praise and Coffee Night and the woman said that she had a praise to share. She told Hope how the doctors thought she had cancer but after prayer, it ended up being something else. She asked if they were going to meet next week (and they are) and she wants to come.

At the end of the evening we prayed together. I felt so blessed to have met these people and hear their stories. I believe we all walked away feeling that we had not only met with one another, but as we gathered together, He was there in our midst also. The evening lived up to it's name, a Praise and Coffee Night.

Norma and I went back to the hotel, turned on the Bose and thanked the Lord for all He had done. It was good.

Here is a link to Hope’s very sweet words about the evening. (She has pictures!)

I believe that all of the Praise and Coffee Nights are going to have a different feel to them, but one thing will be central and that is...praise to our God.
The main focus of these evenings is to share His praises with one another. Share what He has done and is doing in our lives.
Encourage those in the group that are going through a valley and rejoice with those on the mountain tops!

I am looking forward to this Thursday as we meet in my hometown and as Mel meets in Florida. I pray that many of you also will take the initiative to start your own Praise and Coffee Nights.

If you do, let me know and I will post them here.

Much love,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1st Praise and Coffee Girlfriends Night Tonight!

I am headed east! East Michigan that is.

Monkey Giggles is throwing the 1st Praise and Coffee Night tonight and I'm so excited. I'm going to head out early with a girlfriend and we are going to stop in Birch Run for a little shopping, then off to Tim Horton's in Clio, MI for a fun evening.
If you're in the area, stop by!

Then, next week I am hosting my own Praise and Coffee Night at the Plainwell Coffee Mill in Plainwell, MI. AND Mel over at Mel’s World is hosting one in Miami, Florida!

You could be next... just invite a bunch or friends to a coffee shop, play some praise music if you can, laugh-talk-have fun, spend some time encouraging one another and by all means drink some coffee (or cocoa if you must :)!

I had a reporter call and interview me the other day from a local paper. Due to timing, they are going to advertise this one, but maybe come out and do an article for the one in January.

I pray these evenings will be a fun time out for women and up to connect and be encouraged. The evening will be informal and focused on fellowship except for a short time of inspiration from God's Word about our lives as wives, moms and women of faith.

Next week Thursday, the 20th I am so excited to have a special guest coming to share some inspiration with us. Karen Hossink, MOPS speaker and author.
She has written two books, "Confessions of an Irritable Mother" and "Finding Joy-More Confessions of an Irritable Mother".


To give you a little more info on Karen, I did a little interview with her:

1. Tell us about your family.
I have been married to my husband, Brian, for 15 years. We have a daughter, Elizabeth, who is 12 years old, and two sons. Joshua is 10 and Matthew is 8.

2. What is your favorite thing to do when you don't have the kids in tow.
If I am by myself, anything is my favorite thing! I will happily clean the house, fold laundry, rake the yard, whatever.
Seriously, for the past four years I have been doing a special thing without the kids in tow. I attend the Women of Faith conference – all by myself. That means I leave Thursday afternoon and spend the night in a hotel. I attend the pre-conference and conference Friday, spend Friday night in the hotel, and go to the conference again Saturday. It is such a treat to spend those two days by myself, enjoying the presence of God as I listen to awesome Christian women talk about His faithfulness. Truly, by Saturday evening when I get home to my family I am excited to see them and I am totally refreshed.
Now, if there was a way I could arrange to do something like this monthly, or every other month…

3. How did you come up with the names of your books?
By the grace of God, I’d say!
For my first book, “Confessions of an Irritable Mother” was originally going to be the sub-title. Because I built the story around the process of refining silver, I was going to call the book, “Refined Like Silver.” But one day my editor emailed me and said she wanted to talk to me on the phone – wanted to know if I would be available that afternoon. I thought, “Uh, oh. Something is wrong. Why does Christine want to talk to me? Why can’t we take care of this over email?” And I waited for her to call.
That afternoon, Christine told me she had been thinking about it and came to the conclusion “Confessions of an Irritable Mother” would be a much better title. I was unsure, and she encouraged me to ask my friends for their opinions. “Confessions” won – hands down. Now, whenever someone comments about how much they like that title, I thank God again for Christine!
Coming up with the title for “Finding Joy” was another God-thing. Again, I had a different title in mind originally. But one day God used my mentor to speak to my heart about the work He is doing in me.
God had convinced me previously that I could have HOPE for the future because of the way He is using my present trials to refine me. Through the interaction I had with my mentor, God showed me that I could have JOY in the present because He is with me in every moment. I had been joy-less for so long, just wishing for the day when joy would be a normal condition for me. When God showed me there was joy to be had in the midst of the chaos, I knew I had found the title for my new book!

4. How long did they take to write?
I started Confessions in November of 2005. As in, I wrote the first few paragraphs then. I finally got serious about writing it in May of 2006 and was finished in the end of June. I don’t think it took very long to write because I wasn’t coming up with the ideas – I was just writing about the things through which I have gone. My husband let me go away for a three-day writing retreat in May, and I spent many hours at the computer after the kids were in bed. And then it was finished.
Finding Joy was a longer process. I actually started collecting the ideas before I even began writing Confessions. As God would show Himself to me in a situation with my children, I would write it down and file it away “for someday.” Even when I got to work putting the book together God caused me to take a break from writing, and it was in that time He spoke to me about the title – and totally changed the direction of the book. I am telling you, I am so glad God is sovereign and does what He needs to do to make His will known. If Finding Joy had been done on my time table, it would be a completely different book and I am sure it would not be what He wanted.

5. How long have you been speaking for MOPS and how often do you speak?
I began speaking in November of 2006 for MOPS groups and have recently started speaking, not just for moms but, for women in general. I love sharing hope and encouragement with mothers, and I will keep doing that as long as the invitations continue. But God has put messages on my heart for Christian women, too, and I am excited about the opportunities to share them.
On average, I probably speak twice a week. Some weeks find me out three times, and others only once. The thing that works nicely is, since my speaking typically happens only during the school year, most of the time I am speaking while my kids are in school, so they never really miss me. They just see me “dressed up” in the morning and say, “Are you speaking today, Mom?”

6. Can you give a nugget of encouragement to the mom who is surviving pre-schoolers...
Well, I think the best thing would be for her to read Confessions of an Irritable Mother and Finding Joy! *grin*
Beyond that profound thought, I would have to say this: Dear mother, you are precious, absolutely precious. You are the delight of God’s heart and He loves you so much! He does not expect perfection from you. He does not expect you to manage an intricate schedule of play dates, tumbling classes, story times, piano and dance lessons, and karate clubs – while you also maintain a perfect house, produce wrinkle-free laundry, and prepare semi-gourmet meals. It is OK with Him if there is some dust on the shelves and if you don’t put on make-up today. God knows you aren’t Wonder Woman, and HE STILL LOVES YOU! Please receive the grace He offers and know He is with you in every moment.

7. Where will you be on November 20th???
In the morning I will be speaking for the MOPS group at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Lansing. And in the evening I am going to be at my first-ever Praise and Coffee Night!!! I can’t wait to see you again, and hopefully lots of other blogging friends!

You can visit Karen and check our her books/blog at her website: Irritable Mother

For those of you who can't make it, but are looking for some praise, here you go:
(I know these recordings aren't always so great, but I still love it!)

When it seems that things in this world are headed in the wrong direction and you feel like the enemy is winning, just remember the words in this song:

"Every heart every nation, every tribe all creation,
will bow before Your presence and sing..."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two shall become One ~ Financial Infidelity

Given the current financial crunch so many are in today, I thought I would re-post this past favorite. Originally posted March 4, 2008. Much love! Sue


I heard a story once about a woman who loved to spend money! She was truly a shop-aholic in every sense of the word.

Her husband had sat her down and talked about the fact that they really needed to be on a budget and would appreciate her help with this endeavor.
So one day she sheepishly came home with yet another new outfit from her favorite designer.

She was so excited about her great find and she just knew that her husband would see things her way once he saw how wonderful she looked in this new outfit. She rushed upstairs and put it on to model for her husband.

As she was spinning and twirling in front of her less than impressed husband, he reminded her that they had made a commitment not to spend any money that was not in the budget.

"Oh, but look how darling this is honey, I just couldn't resist! I'm telling you...the devil made me do it!" she said.

"But you know that when the devil is tempting you, you should just tell him, 'get thee behind me satan!'" the husband said.

"Oh, but I DID!" she said, "and the devil said that it looked good from the back too!"

The story is funny, but unfortunately the subject matter is not.
So guess what today's post is about?
That's right.
Honoring our husband with the way that we handle the family finances and spend money.

Prov 31:10-12
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.

Prov 31:27
She watches over the affairs of her household

It is called, "financial infidelity" and it is one of the leading causes of divorce today.

The signs of financial infidelity include hiding money or debt, failure to disclose assets, keeping a secret bank account, and secret spending.

This type of dishonesty can threaten a marriage.

The spending and secrets are basically the symptoms.
The real problem is there's been a breakdown in trust between a husband and wife.

I love to shop. I love to spend money. But I have learned that unless we are in agreement about the money spent, it can bring strife into our marriage.

I want to encourage you to respect your husband with your spending. Never make a major financial decisions without his consent.
Be a team financially.
If you have to purchase something secretely, you probably shouldn't be purchasing it.

I think we all want our husband's to have full confidence in us and know that we will bring him good and not harm as the Proverbs say.

Let's not open our marriage up to "financial infidelity."
Create trust by honoring one another with your spending.

I'm praying for your marriages!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The November Winner, Birthday Wishes and a Reminder!

The winner of the November Praise and Coffee is:


I have to wish a Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people in the world. I was having my 1st two children while she was having her last two. She was the best mentor this young mom could have had. She became one of my dearest friends and though we don't see each other much due to our move, I still feel a strong bond of love and friendship with her.

On many occasions I called her needing answers that only an experienced mom would have. I will never forget my desperate call one night because I was trying to get Matt in a "big boy bed" and was failing miserably. She so sweetly talked me through it and put all things in perspective.

Karen I love you and wish you a Happy Birthday!
Reminder! This Thursday is the Praise and Coffe Night in Clio, MI.
I'm grabbing a friend and we are heading over for some shopping at Birch Run and then the fun evening with the girls! If you live over on the East side, I sure would love to see you.
Hop on over to Monkey Giggles to get more details!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This is my prayer in the desert...

I couldn't sleep this morning, so I decided to throw on the earplugs and drown myself in worship. In searching for a new song I came across this video.

If you've ever struggled with knowing that you need to worship, but carry the weight of trials that make it so difficult, you will relate to and cherish this powerful song.

The testimony at the beginning lays a beautiful path to walk right up to His throne and sing Him praises.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's be in unity...really?

Unity, it’s the buzz word of the day. But, what does it mean?
As Christians, are we supposed to be in unity with those around us?
It would seem so from what we are hearing these days.

We have a new president and many of us don’t agree with his policies. But as good little American’s, we are to live in unity so there can be peace. Really?

The definition of unity is: oneness.

As Christians, we are supposed to base all of our beliefs on the Bible, so I decided to see what God’s Word said about unity.

Here’s what Jesus said about unity:
John 17:22-23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

He is referring here to being unified together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

And this one:
Rom 15:5
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus

As they follow Christ Jesus…again the author seems to be referring to being unified as brothers and sisters in Christ.

What about the Old Testament?
Ps 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Now back to the New…
Eph 4:3
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Eph 4:13
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Col 3:12-14
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

It is quite clear that in God’s Word, the unity we are called to is within the body of Christ. I could not find any verses that tell us to be unified with the world. But I found these:

Rom 13:1-5
13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Eccl 10:20
20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought

We are called to submission, and to that submission we add faith. Faith and trust that our God will take care of us if we obey Him.

Unity = oneness.
As Christians, we are one with God and his children, but we are to submit to governing authorities.
We don’t have to agree to submit…that would be called “agreement.”
However, we can not be “one” with the world.

1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

John 15:18-19
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

When we submit to the governing leaders and “curse not the king” in obedience to the Lord, we are honoring the Lord.

However, I do not believe that means that we sit back and let whatever happens happen. If there is an issue we disagree with, we first pray. Then we get involved where we can. That could mean writing letters to leaders stating our concerns, it could mean taking situations to our courts and fighting in our legal system for justice. I believe we have every right to address concerns and stand up for what is right within the laws of the land.

Of course we are to first obey God’s commands and if we are told to disobey those, we must not.
Here’s a perfect example:
Acts 4:18-20
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

As always, it comes down to the condition of our hearts. There is nothing wrong with exposing and discussing the concerns we have. But if there is hatred in our hearts towards a person (as opposed to hatred towards a sin) than we are not honoring the Lord.
I know many of you are angry, concerned and upset. Let's bring our concerns to the Lord and obey what He commands. Be in unity (oneness) with fellow believers, but submit to the governing authority in this nation and pray for them in love and trust God.

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