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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Family Fun ~ and Other Oxymorons...


If you have a 'Currier and Ives' holiday planned, just skip this post, it won't make any sense to you.

But for many, holiday celebrations are laced with these types of conversation:

"So (awkward pause) you're still single..."

"Wow, somebody's been eating good this year...."

"Do you like your hair like that?"

"Your sister's kids are all getting full rides to Harvard!"

"What do you mean you won't be here for Thanksgiving AND Christmas Day?"

Just in case you ever stress over family get togethers, I want to remind you of a few things...

1. Your number one priority is your spouse. Don't let family members get your focus off what God ordains for the most important relationship on earth.

Genesis 2:24
This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

2. Let peace rule in your heart, not bitterness. Offer grace to your family, even if it's not offered back. In other words, make the choice before you leave that you won't judge their decisions. We all reap what we sow, you don't have to convince anyone of will happen. But we are called to display God's love even to those making really bad decisions. Only offer opinions when asked. Unsolicited advice is seldom heard.

And on the other hand, don't let "assumed" or spoken criticism set you back...choose to forgive...bitterness makes your butt look big and none of us want that.

Hebrews 12:14-16
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

3. Shine! And remember, you don't need to be preachy to shine, in fact...there's nothing shiny about preachy.

Matthew 5:15-16
Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

4. As cliche' as it sounds...don't forget the reason we gather this week. To be thankful.

1 Thess 5:17-18
No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Decide today not to let "holiday family fun" be an oxymoron this Thanksgiving. Be good for goodness sake and whatever you do, don't get bitter!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Come on over for Black Friday!

After a wonderful Anniversary weekend (22 years!!) in Chicago, it's back to the real world and lots of office work! Thankfully (no pun intended), it's a fun week with Thanksgiving in a few days.

I rarely ever go out on Black Friday, most years I stay home and shop online. Many places offer free shipping, and many of the deals right online and I can stay in my jammies while sipping my coffee :)

If you do the same, I encourage you to stop by and do some shopping here!

I have had many offers to advertise here on Praise and Coffee, but usually decline. Recently though I found out about Home
affiliate program. And I LOVE CDB!!!

I shop there often and always pass their name on to friends. I find them very reasonably priced and easy to work with. Usually the shipping is much faster than they say it will be also.

It was an easy "YES!" to the question of offering them on my blog. I was actually looking for a "button" of theirs to post before I realized they offered the affiliate program.

SO, if you shop CBD by clicking on the links on this blog like this one Home
~ or the button in the sidebar~ I will receive credit for it and use any income generated for the ministry of Praise and Coffee!!

You don't have to enter any codes, just go to the website from this page! The codes are already entered automatically.

Many people have asked how they can help me with the ministry and here you!
Check them out for all things "Christian." Books, music, video, gifts....
(Not sure why I can't get this button to look better, but it does work.)


Thanks so much to all of you that support this ministry already with your prayers, comments and links!!
Much love,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

If the Shoes Don't Fit, They Might Not Be Your Shoes

I have huge feet.
There I said it.
I'm 5'9" tall and wear a size 11 shoe. I've always been so embarrassed by the size of my feet. When I was little I was in ballet class (they were attempting to teach me some grace) and they had to place a special order for my ballet slippers because of course they did not carry my size.
I desperately wanted to be petite, but couldn't even come close. I was the personification of Olive Oil. Tall, skinny and clumsy.

The school put on a play about the circus and I was cast as the "tall lady." I didn't realize circus' put tall people in the same categorie as lions, bears and bearded ladies. But apparently they did.

Did I mention my teeth, oh let's just not go there today.

I wished that I could be someone else, just for a day...a small "normal" sized person with cute hair and a pretty smile.

I just wanted to wear my friend's shoes, but heaven knows, they would not have fit. Even today I don't have a girlfriend that I could exchange shoes with. If I tried, I'd look ridiculous and be very uncomfortable. I'd walk funny and be miserable by the end of the day. The only shoes that work for me are my own.

Just like walking around in shoes that don't fit, I've tried walking around in someone else's calling, and guess what? It doesn't fit me. I see someone doing something that I think looks really exciting and I assume that I could step right into those shoes and do it too, only to find out that it's uncomfortable, and awkward and doesn't fit me at all. And at the end of the day, I'm pretty miserable.

What about you? Are you trying to walk around in someone else's shoes?

God has uniquely called each one of us. We were created by Him, for Him, to bring Him glory and reflect His love in this world.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
It's taken me many years to come to the place of being comfortable in my own skin. Not only physically but also my identity. Who am I....where am I going...what is my calling??

I still don't have it all figured out, but I am content. I will walk the road God has in front of me and let Him figure out the "why" and "how" of things.

Identity is a complex thing. Am I what I do? Am I the hats I wear? Oh I hope not! These ARE all things that I do, but they don't define who I am.

My bio says "wife, mom, speaker, writer and coffee drinker who loves the Lord." The things that I do help others figure out who I might be...but truly, who I am is not a bunch of titles- thank God! Because what happens is, when life changes and the titles are gone (and I guarantee, titles will change or disappear) we're left struggling to "find ourselves."

I've been there. It's a lonely scary place to be.

It forced me to search for who I was. In my searching I realized that I will never find my identity in a title or position, no matter how noble the cause.

Until I laid my life completely before Him and surrendered my will to His, I walked around as if in shoes that didn't fit.

Colossians 3:1
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

To get comfortable in this world, I had to hide my life in His and see my life in a much bigger perspective than I had been. I saw the small picture, He sees the big one. His is more accurate!

So, if the shoes you are wearing don't fit, they might not be your shoes. Slide your feet and whole self into Him. Start with prayer, He promises that when we seek Him we will find Him. Start "finding yourself" by settling into His love for you, dare to believe that you are completely accepted and loved by Him and go from there. He has a wonderful plan for your life.



One more thing....the winner of the November Praise and Coffee is:
Debbie at Love the Decor blog!!!
Stop over and see her super-cute blog!!

Thanks to everyone who entered!! Your comments make my day :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marrige is a lot Like Childbirth, Quit yelling and PUSH!


Let's talk childbirth today gals. I've never met a women who didn't love sharing her birthing story. Isn't it a rule for every baby shower that some insensitive woman must share her story of excruciating pain for 58 hours only to then need a c-section....all while this new mommy-to-be faints in the corner at the thought of her precious birth playing out more like a horror movie.

I have 4 children, I birthed three of them and adopted one from China. And just in case you think I skated childbirth on that try a 14-hour flight with a two-year old that barely knows you and doesn't really like you yet. You wonder why adoptions are so expensive, it's because you get an epidural before you fly home!

I've also been a labor coach several times. It all started with volunteering at our local pregnancy center and then when friends would get pregnant, they figured I knew what I was doing so I would come along and help coach them too. It saved a lot of marriages as I calmed the mom during contractions and instructed the husband on the proper moments to step away from a birthing mom and just be quiet.

Pushing is a very important part of the birth. If a women will push effectively, it can really help things along. However, many times-due to the incredible pressure of a large head coming out of your body- women don't push very effectively. A good push involves a deep breath, tucking the chin and pushing as hard as possible. The most important thing about that deep breath is that you need to hold it through the whole push. If you scream, holler, even whistle, it makes the push less effective.

My job at this point (as a coach) is to say, "no noise, use all your energy to push!"

And sure-shooting, if she will hold her breath and push, she'll bring that baby forth much quicker. Oh I know -you all have stories and incidents where you did all the right things and it still took days...I know...but we're talking "in a perfect world" scenarios today. Work with me girls I'm trying to make a point about marriage! You thought I forgot about Two shall become One~ Tuesday, but I'm getting to it.

I've said all that to tell you that sometimes, when we are "pushing" through hard and frustrating times in our marriages, we need to keep quiet...shut our noise!

It always breaks my heart to talk to a woman who loudly complains and rehearses the wounds of her marriage. I'm not talking about in counseling, I'm referring to the constant belittling that flows from the mouth of someone that says they want God to do a work in their marriage.
Sometimes even through a simple prayer request a woman can destroy her husband's reputation.

What do you need "birthed" in your marriage? Criticizing our husband does not help bring forth any good in our marriage.

If you are trying to "push" past the hurts you've experienced in marriage, you might need to be quiet about how much pressure you're feeling.

1 Peter 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

Without words. Powerful. Instead of telling him all the ways he should change (like I used to do), maybe we should quiet our mouths and busy ourselves to DO what God has called us to do as wives.

Is this hard? YES!
But go back to that birthing mom a minute...I can't make her stop yelling when she needs to push, she has to choose to look at me and follow my instructions. I've had some moms close me out by shutting their eyes and carrying on hysterically, they tend to hyperventilate and end up in worse condition. But if she will look at her coach and do as I instruct, she'll get through it much better.

God is our "coach" ladies! When we are getting to that point of incredible pressure, He is saying,
"look at Me!" Listen to what I'm telling you and I'll get you through this.
No noise! Use all your energy to do what is right, not waste it on useless hollering (complaining and criticizing). Fix your eyes on your coach!

Hebrews 12:2-3
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Push girls, push! You just might birth something beautiful!!

I'm praying for our marriages,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Overwhelmed is No Condition for a Child of the King

Matt 11:28-30
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

I can remember the first time that I heard this verse. I was a teenager facing the pain of loneliness and rejection. I heard this verse in a song and I knew that God was speaking to me to lay down my life before Him.
Since that day, He’s never stopped asking that same question…will you lay “this” down before Me? Whatever the current trial or storm He continues to draw my heart back to this verse.

We were never meant to take on this life or it’s storms on our own. He asks each of us to “come to Me” when we are burdened by the weight of this world.
Overwhelmed is no condition for a child of the King. His burden is light, and waiting for you to exchange it for your heavy one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Hope You Sing

Posting over at the Cafe' today!

"So there I am standing in front of 2,000 people ready to sing my solo at church. It started without a hitch, 1st verse…2nd verse and chorus…all was well until after the 2nd chorus and into the key change. "

Direct link to article:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Praise and Coffee Giveaway

Yay, it's time for another giveaway!!!!!


This month's Praise is:

With the holiday's quickly approaching I thought you might like:
Casting Crown's "Peace of Earth"

You'll also get some very yummy
"Praise and Coffee" label coffee!!

PLUS, our good friends at Bayview Cards are giving you a beautifully handmade box of cards!


~> Post a comment to THIS post.

~> Please make sure that I have a way to contact you-PLEASE!

~> If you have one of my "Praise and Coffee Giveaway" buttons on your blog, let me know and you will be entered twice. Here is a link to all my buttons: Blog Buttons

Also, I just got back from my trip to the Florida Praise and Coffee Night with Melissa from Mel’s World. It was so much fun! They are a great group of women and Melissa has quickly become a very good friend!

I'm so excited to see women all over the country starting Praise and Coffee Nights in their community, I plan to visit more of them. I'll be heading out to San Diego in February!

Thanks so much Melissa for sharing ministry and life with me and the women around you!

Thank you for leading us in worship Sarah, you have an amazing gift!!

Monica, you are a doll! Come see me if you come back to Michigan!

Beautiful women!!

  ©Blog Design by Amy Bayliss.

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