Courage Calls Us Out of Hiding

denise postMy very good friend Denise Dykstra posted this on her blog and I loved it so much I had to share it with you.

She pours her insecure heart out for all of us to see and bravely shares what so many of us would rather hide. The post: Praise and Coffee

Wednesday is the New Tuesday

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And brown is the new black…but that’s for another day.

Did the holiday mess anyone else up?
I knew yesterday was Tuesday…all day…but I stayed in a Monday mood and couldn’t shake it. That’s not all…I completely forgot about Two shall become One ~ Tuesday!

I was laying in bed this morning at 4~something or as my friend and Praise and Coffee hostess Mary Hess says “dark-thirty” when I realized that I completely forgot to post a guest post from Denise yesterday!

So I grabbed my iphone, sent Dee a message apologizing and rolled over only to fall asleep 5 minutes before I had to get up.

Today is Lauren’s first FULL day of school, Daddy took her. LOVETHATMAN!

Was that random and off the subject? Yes. Sorry, I am tired people.

ANYWAYS!

Here is Denise’s post…

Well hello everyone! Happy to see you here at Praise and Coffee and hopefully I can keep in touch with you a lot more as summer comes to an end…as sad as that makes me.

Sue asked me to write about my birthday that Jason and I celebrated last month. I have hemmed and hawed so long on this post that my husband is wondering if I did have a good time after all.

Which I did.

My birthday fell on a Saturday and we had not one thing planned. Jason had worked a third shift and was sleeping but he had mentioned maybe we should go out for my birthday. Um, YES! My parents happily offered to take the boys and my husband went to sleep and I had no idea where to go, what to do…

So a friend researched places to go and found a wonderful sounding place on Lake Michigan. It seemed perfect…except that Jason was so tired he slept until around six that night.

I didn’t know if we would have a night out or not.

But here is the thing…I had an opportunity to get mad. And I was disappointed, but I chose to think about all the hard work he had done to support us that caused him to sleep. Whether we made it out or not didn’t make him a better or worse husband, my attitude would make it a good or bad night even if we just stayed home and cuddled on the couch and ate hotdogs and mac and cheese. But, when he did wake up, he hurriedly got around and we headed out…

On a date.

With my husband.

For my birthday.

For one whole night we were not Moma and Daddy, we weren’t the couple with four boys in tow, we weren’t rushing around our little hobby farm to fall exhausted into bed. No, we were just a couple having a fun night out, eating food we never eat; at a restaurant (that we never go to) that was also hosting a wedding that we happened to be sitting next to and jamming along to the fun DJ.

It was a beautiful night.

It was filled with us laughing, walking a pier at sunset, and completely accidentally bumping into old friends we hadn’t seen in a year.


Days later we were still talking about the good time we had.

Who am I kidding? WEEKS later we are talking about the fun we had!

There were two things I learned from this rare date night with my husband…

1. My personal pity party I could have chosen for myself would have ruined the day. If I’d chosen to claim, “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” I would have ruined one of the funnest nights Jason and I have had in, well, we can’t recall.

2. There is nothing more fun and romantic and invigorating to your marriage then spending a whole night and day away from your kids not once referring to the other as Dad and Mom. You get to spend a day as a couple, not just spouses, and that, my friends, is a good time.

And I could have missed it all if my attitude had stunk. How sad would that be?

Keep On Loving You

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For this “Two shall become One ~ Tuesday” I want to wish my dear friends Jason and Denise Dykstra a Happy Anniversary and use her blog post and this song as a reminder to all of us that we need to “Keep On Loving You”!

Read Denise’s post here:
Happy Anniversary to My Wonderful Husband

and check out this sweet song…oh how I love Reba!

I’m praying for our marriages,
Sue

Much More Than An Annoying Stranger…

It’s been a while because Denise has been busy with her new gig as the Morning Mom on FOX 17, but here is another great article- you’re going to love this one!

And I also want to add that Denise is one of the most wonderful and thoughtful friends ever! She has been a HUGE blessing to me this week!

I called and woke the poor woman up to ask if she can take Lauren while I run to the hospital again with my mom- and of course, she took care of everything.

THEN she sends her home with AMAZING brownies and cookies! It’s hard to find such good friends!

Click on her button here and check out her very fun blog, you will love it!

You Are Much More Than An Annoying Stranger…

“Luke 18:1 Jesus told them a story showing them that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.”

I have had this verse taped above my kitchen sink for years – so long I have forgotten it. But my son lived it out in front of me and I learned a lesson about God from him…again.

S2 (son 2 of 4) has become his Daddy’s shadow recently. When he gets home from work, S2 is right at his side, following him around, doing his best to think ahead of his Daddy so he can do such things for him as open the door, grab his coffee, rub his back, carry his lunch pail, etc.

If my husband sits, S2 sits near him or on his lap. When it comes time for bed for S2 and his Daddy isn’t home from work yet, he cries for him. If Daddy has to be away somewhere he laments how much he misses him.

But here is the real amazing thing. This eight year old boy can be sound asleep, hear his Daddy start his car as early as 4:30 in the morning and instantly wake up and run down the steps. Usually he is crying, afraid he missed a chance to tell his Daddy goodbye before he leaves for work.

We have gotten so used to it, my husband and I, that when he goes to leave in the morning my husband will intentionally start the car and then head back into the house to finish pouring his coffee…and get his kiss and hug from S2.

We were laughing about this recently when we had a spare moment in the afternoon when S2 wasn’t being his shadow. “Think he loves you?” I teased.

Husband nodded seriously. “Makes me think about God.”

Yup, our kids taught us yet ANOTHER lesson about God.

S2 was so in tune to his Daddy. My husband wondered what would happen if we were that in tune with God. If we pulled a Samuel and heard when God whispered our name, how much more would we get out of our life that was lived in tune to God’s plan for us?

It’s not that S2 was my husband’s favorite. He worried the other boys would feel that he was. It’s just that S2 was ALWAYS there so when there was a trip to be taken, say to get gas for the tractor, S2 was the one to go along. And when S2 came home to ask if he could attend basketball camp, it was easy to say yes.

In Luke 18, the widow received her request just so the judge could be left alone.

How much more we bestow upon our children whom we love? Much more than just an annoying stranger like the story in the Bible. And as much a we love our boys, God loves us more than that. I cannot wrap my head around love like that. And it makes me want to run to my Father God, be in tune to His voice, just like my son showed me.

She Won, She Won!!!!

Hello!
Most of you know my good friend Denise of “Life With Four Boys” she is a regular guest poster here on Praise and Coffee, well she was chosen as the Morning Mom on our local tv station WXMI FOX17!!!

I’m so proud of her!!!

Jump over to her blog today to read all about it and if you are in the area, tune in to see her!

Getting Your Vision Checked

Today we have another guest post with my good friend Denise, who I just happen to be going to a writer’s conference with this weekend!!!

Yes, it’s sure to be good fun. Lots of learning, laughing…and of course conversation that takes us way into the wee hours of the next morning. It’s a requirement when you stay in a hotel with a girlfriend!!

Enjoy her post and click on her logo to visit her blog, you won’t be sorry, it’s very cozy there.

I wear glasses. Well, actually, I wear contacts because I don’t like to wear my glasses. You would think something so close to your eyes would not get banged into, but when you have boys you are always getting banged into and glasses are not a safe thing to wear.

S3 began kindergarten this year. In order for him to go to school, he needed his vision checked. Of course, I didn’t pay attention to this fact until the weekend before school began. I brought him to the local Walmart that has a box the kids look into, they tell the lady what the picture is of and I get a little slip to hand in at school. It’s a breeze, I had been assured. Except S3 failed this test. He was so intrigued with the box and how they got the pictures in it and he wanted to see the lady make the pictures big and small again. I shopped and brought him back but he still wanted those pictures out of the box. She failed him and I was furious over the whole ordeal.

I took him to our local pediatrician’s office the week school began. Our great pediatric nurse knew what had happened and took him aside, pumping him up to pass the ‘easy’ test. He failed again, much to the shock of both she and I.

I had to walk across the hall and make an appointment with my eye doctor so they could pass him once and for all. S3 seemed to be enjoying trying to take the tests, enjoying them a bit too much in my impatient opinion.


They asked me a bunch of questions about his vision and I assured them he was fine. They began the process of checking his vision and found that, he indeed, did seem to be having a difficult time seeing. I figured that would happen, I mean, we are at the eye doctor. They do need us to buy glasses, right?

They looked deeper and found he had a serious eye problem. Corrected with glasses, perhaps corrected completely one day, but the fact was he had not seen properly since birth. His vision was seriously in need of help. And quickly.

We shopped around for the blue glasses that best fit his face. All the while I was wondering how I would keep these on his face, how they would not be bumped into. S3 wanted the big sunglasses that looked like bug eyes but figured the blue ones with just regular glass would work too.

I had watched as the doctor had checked his vision and I watched the light in S3’s face as he realized he could indeed see the birthday cake, or car, or anything else that happened to flash up on the wall. As a mom, I felt horrible that I had not realized his need sooner. As a doctor looking at the situation, they assured me we would have had no idea without the thorough exam that he was suffering from poor vision.

I love how God uses just such situations
to reveal Himself more deeply to
us.
I wanted to share the very personal way
God used this to show me an
important lesson.

I am my children’s mom. God put these four boys in my husband’s and my life to raise them in the Godly way they should go. It is up to us to keep them on track at this point in their life, keep them on the ‘straight and narrow’. So I had better know the truth of what I am teaching them. How often don’t I just assume I know? I have depended upon the upbringing of my parents – which I could not have done with out – to teach my children now. If I am not in the Word myself, how am I going to be able to teach my children the truth? How do I know if I’m well when I am not being regularly examined, if I don’t have someone who loves me enough to say “Silly girl, you are seeing it the wrong way!” and then help me find the correct way to see the situation. God’s way.

This point was driven home to me with S3’s glasses. I was 99% sure that his vision was just fine and dandy. There was nothing wrong with him at all. But it took a trip to a special physician to point out to me what I could not see with my own eyes.

I need to keep going to the Great Physician, to God, to make sure that I am doing what is right, raising our boys according to his word. Because I can be 99% sure I am correct, but I may be 100% wrong. I need that trip on my knees to God, visiting in His Word, listening to Him, to know how ‘well’ we are. There are those in our lives to point us the way we should go like the pediatric nurse and the impatient woman at Walmart, but until I go to the Physician Himself, I am just pointed in that direction. I have to do it myself. It’s great I am in church, learning in service and Sunday school, but until I am on my own with God, I am just ‘pointed in the right direction’.

S3’s glasses will get banged into, they will be difficult to get used to. But the outcome of him wearing them will far out weigh him not having them. Sometimes I feel like the Christian life “bumps” into others, causing discomfort and awkwardness. But the outcome of living for my loving Father far out weighs turning my back to the truth of God.

The song, “What do I know of Holy?” by Addison Road is one that always gives me goose bumps. I don’t have the album, but there is a line in the song (so I don’t have an exact quote) that talks about praying but she says all the words instead. I could have gone to the dr’s and told them all the reason’s why I didn’t think S3 should have glasses and walked out feeling better, I had explained it all to them, and S3 would have been just as vision impaired. It’s only when we stop, listen, act…that is when it changes.

What if I had told the optometrist she had no idea what she was talking about? What if I had told S3, “you know, honey, if you want those hideous sunglasses instead of real glasses, that’s okay because that is what you want.” What if I get these glasses for S3, he puts them on and says they are too hard to wear and I say “oh, that’s okay honey, you don’t have to wear them. We just had to buy them and that was all it took for you to see clearly.”

We need to act out what God has taught us. It’s only by S3 wearing them daily his vision will be improved. The moment he takes them off, his vision is wrong. The moment I turn my back to God, my vision is wrong, my life is wrong, my heart is wrong. It’s only by me turning to God daily that my heart condition improves, therefore leading to a life improvement.

I hope these words that seem to have tumbled onto the computer screen give you reason to pause and consider, “How is my vision? When was the last time I went to the Great Physician for a check up?” There is no time like the present.

October Praise and Coffee Giveaway AND Awesome Guest Post!

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This month’s Praise is:

Hillsong’s “Faith + Hope + Love
You are going to LOVE it!!!! It’s my current favorite!

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!


TO ENTER DRAWING:

~> Post a comment to THIS post after reading Denise’s post and tell her how much it touched your heart- I know it did mine!!!

~> 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…you’re so blessed this first day of October!!!

A guest post from one of my favorite-est girlfriend’s Denise (click on picture to check out her blog!)

Where Are the Stars?

Our youngest, S4, has a fascination with stars. When we are out in the evening, he must search the sky for the first star. Once he finds it, he points excitedly, jumps up and down, shows it off to anyone near him as if we have never seen stars before and then breaks into song….

“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are……”

It’s the cutest thing ever.

The other night we, S4 and I, walked out to the shed where we keep the deep freezer stocked with ice cream. The sky was filled with stars and S4, who is very afraid of the dark, clung to my hand and sang. Anyone who was with him must sing as well.


When I went to bring the ice cream back that night, he didn’t want to go with me. It was just too dark. “But you sing the song, Moma”, he told me as I headed out.

I knew he would ask if I had indeed sang it when I got back in so I did sing it to myself, feeling pretty dorky, as I walked to and from the shed. And sure enough, he wanted to know if I had sung the song. I was glad I had.

When it’s a cloudy night, S4 will look for the stars and panic when he doesn’t see them. He is sure some sort of catastrophe has occurred and taken the stars. Without stars, what is the purpose of night?

I try to explain to him they are just beyond the clouds, just beyond what we can see. He is very skeptical. He searches the sky until he can, indeed, see the stars again and then, once more, we must sing the song.

So often when this happens I think of how that is in my Christian walk. When going through the dark times, I am scared. God is the light that gets me through. He sends me a million trillion reminders of His love. “His banner over me is love” is the song that runs through my head. He is there and while it is dark, it’s in the dark I see the beauty.

But there are times when I can’t see God in the midst of my dark time. I can only see darkness everywhere, every dark shadow and crevice is something to take me down and out for good. I don’t want to be out in the night, I don’t want to walk from point A to point B. I know God is there, but I can’t see Him. And it is difficult in that time to praise Him, to trust Him, to see the beauty in the darkness.

God always brings the morning, whether they are filled with sunshine or storms. There is always the sun. God always brings the night, whether they are star filled or dark. But God is always in control, always there, and I am reminded of that when ever I have to again remind my little boy that the stars are indeed there…that morning will indeed come… How often don’t I need God to remind me the same way? “The dark night will pass, I am faithful and true.” And it’s these reminders, these little stars, if you will, that get me jumping up and down, praising God for His faithfulness.

Guest Post from Denise ~ Take the Jump!

Click on the picture to visit Denise’s very fun blog!!
~~~
“Go as fast as you can, don’t worry how you’ll land.”

These words were words of advice from our oldest son (S1) to you next youngest son (S2).

S2 had just been given a new used bike by our neighbor lady. It hadn’t been out of her car for a full ten seconds before he was on it, riding around the driveway, zooming down the field road, jumping it down the old barn path. The bike was just for him, he was sure.

About an hour later, S1 and S2 burst into the house and stumbled out the story excitedly how S2 had finally jumped his bike with both wheels in the air off of S1’s bike jump. S2 has worked at doing this for two years now and today he conquered the feat.

Apparently I didn’t show the proper excitement because they continued to talk among themselves as I worked at getting dinner on and the counter washed down. “See, I told you that if you just go as fast as you can, don’t worry how you’ll land, you’ll be fine and make a great jump.”

I nearly added “and get a broken leg so you can spend the rest of the summer in a cast” but didn’t. He knew that already, we’ve already taken a few trips to the local ER.

They went on their way outside (I was thankful they put on their bike helmets) and continued practicing their jumps. But S1’s words stuck with me…..until God just slammed them into me.

Why don’t we live our lives that way for God? This is the verse that just flooded me “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

S2’s goal was to jump the bike ramp, to be up in the air. How he landed hadn’t even crossed his mind.

What if we lived our lives so sold out for God, so upward, full throttle,
without any selfish concern?

Of course, there is a balance here. You can be so ‘spiritually filled you are no earthly good’. But if we lived our faith for God as the exciting life it is rather than worry how others would perceive us, imagine the freedom in that? The power.

I was thinking this all through as S4 stormed into the house and slammed the door. “That bike hurt my feelings! I don’t like that bike! I not ride it no more!” And he didn’t. He got out his matchbox cars and lay on the floor and played with those.

He missed the goal. S2 seen the goal, was scared because he’s tried this MANY times, pushed for it, flew thru the air and landed it. S4 gave up. How often don’t we do that? “Oh, I’ve tried church. I’ve tried that whole spirituality thing. I’ve tried God. It was too many rules and I got behind and I’ve got too much to do………..” I don’t need to give more examples; we’re good enough at those on our own.

But what if we just pressed toward that mark, that life God has called us to, just as hard as we could, despite our fears, despite our previous failings?

Imagine if we took that jump………

Guest Post ~ Rockin’ Worship!

Another guest post from one of my favorite girlfriend’s Denise!

She wrote this after the last Praise and Coffee Night, it was such a cool evening worshipping with Trinity ftL all those ladies, I loved it!!!

Rumor has it, their CD is out…I plan to have it available at the Praise and Coffee Night August 13th.

Ok, now on to Denise’s article! Be sure to click on her logo and visit her blog too, you will love it!

 

Rockin’ Worship

I had to clean my porch. Well, let me start farther back than that. We live in a very old farmhouse, and the front of our house is an old porch that the previous owners remodeled with windows to connect it as a room of the house. It has no insulation, it slants toward the door, it has no electric and it is my second favorite room in the whole house. The reason I fell in love with the house in the first place. The ceiling is robin’s egg blue and I painted the trim super bright yellow when we moved in and the floor is chipped dark blue. Everyone loves my porch.

We used it as a mud room this winter for the first time. It was a little odd to take a cute room and make it into a ‘drop’ room but it worked. And it has stayed that trashed drop room since winter and it was well past time to clean it out. It was so nasty I ended up just taking the garden hose into the porch and spraying it down. It was gross. Dirt I didn’t know existed came pouring out.

I took everything out of the porch, cleaned it and brought what I needed back in. It’s all cute again with two rocking chairs just waiting to be rocked in and chat with someone special. Our youngest was exceptionally impressed with the rocking chairs. “Come sit wid me!” he said to me, rocking back and forth.

“I really need to keep cleaning,” I’d say, but I did think he sure looked cute in the big rocking chair. I kept to task and soon S4 was rocking again, “Come sit wid me, Moma. I got you a piddow.” And sure enough, he drug the pillow from the couch to the rocking chair for me.

“Oh, okay,” I agreed and sat in the other chair. He rocked away with a smile.

“This nice, Moma,” he told me.

And it was. It was sweet rocking there with my little boy on my clean porch. I had been so busy putting it back together that I hadn’t realized just how nice it was to just sit there.

Later in the day I was frantically getting around for the Praise and Coffee night. I was so late! I hurried out the door without dinner; I made it too late to help out, too late for a sandwich but in time for coffee. Which I needed because I was so tired from all the work of the day.

Trinity FTL was playing and I had been looking forward to this day. But as they began to play I just kept thinking of all the busyness of the day, the things I had left undone at home, the things I had yet to do when I got home. And while the music was unbelievable great, I wasn’t ‘feeling’ it.

All the sudden the sun came thru the window and shown brightly on me just as Sue was praying for the Holy Spirit to be felt in this place and they began to play a Kari Jobe song I most love. It was one of those “frozen in time” moments, surreal. And I thought of my little boy sitting in the rocking chair asking me to sit with him. And it was like God said to me, “Are you going to give Me any of your time?”

And just like I had used the hose to clean out the ick of the porch to get to that moment where I could enjoy some special time with S4, God just hit me then, showing me all the ick that was blocking me from truly worshipping Him.

I cried. I don’t cry in public and I stood there and cried.

Thank you, God, for giving me a son to show me more of You! To show me how to have a “rockin’ worship” moment with You.

Coupons Clippers Unite!

Guest post by Denise:

In Honor of R.C.

This article today is in honor of my very dear friend, R.C. She is the coupon clipper of all coupon clippers. She finds deals I didn’t know were findable. Do you have a friend like this? R.C. could outdo them! She is quiet and sane and has a lovely personality but don’t mess with her coupons. Recently, she went shopping for her super great deals of the week and in the process of getting her goodies, her son, her purse (girls, you know how it goes when we go out) she left her coupon book behind.


She was lost and devastated.

She had spent hours clipping and sorting and finding the best deals and had just forgotten the whole manifest behind in a small, squeaky cart. She called the store repeatedly but no one ever turned them in.

I felt so bad for her. I am always amazed at her grocery shopping victories. I go to the store when I must, for the shortest time possible and load up on anything I may need for the next month so I don’t have to go again. She ENJOYS shopping. She gets way more out of it and her family eats good fresh fruit out of season and mine eats whatever is quickly worth cooking from the deep freezer – or cookies. We eat a lot of home made cookies here. But when asparagus season starts, we eat asparagus every single day – no exaggeration – from our field. I think that makes up for home made cookies every day! J

So, I was thinking of her today and her lost coupons and how I had to go to the store and thought, maybe, I should actually look at the flyer she told me to this week because of the great deals. I looked, I clipped a few coupons – just a few – went to the store and I had to admit, it was a lot more fun. We ate fresh fruit for dinner, fruit on sale, no less. It’s amazing what a little planning can do.

Like, when I am getting ready to go to Bible study. Some girls at church started a new Bible study I am now attending. If I sit down, actually do my study, read the scripture, answer the questions, and think on the questions a few days BEFORE I go I get so much more out of the study. However, I usually read it hurriedly as I am getting dinner on the table so I can clear the dinner, make it to the study, get a little out of it and repeat for next week…not a lot unlike my grocery shopping. I get what I need to get by, but not anything to savor and enjoy.

I always say that I would be all about making out a list of groceries someone would deliver to my door. Easy, simple, no travel or long lines. But R.C. encourages me to go for the gusto, the satisfaction is more. Like the difference of checking Bible study off the list rather than actually studying and growing in Bible study.

I imagine that the more I put to practice these skills the more likely I would be to miss them if I lost them, if I shoved them to the side. I imagine I would feel lost and devastated, like R.C. when she lost her coupon manifesto.

And just like life is so much better around our home if the food is ready on the table when my husband gets home, the boys lunches are packed and ready to go with fun treats and good nutrition it makes our family life so much smoother and happier. Wouldn’t it be the same with Bible study? Wouldn’t it be the more time I spent with my Heavenly Father, savoring the moment, I would learn more and appreciate him more? Yah, I think so to.

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