Has God Been Call You To Step Out?

Have you been feeling God call you to step out? Do you want to start something organic and let God direct the movement and conversation?

You don’t have to wait for permission to grab some girlfriends or the lady at the bank who’s been on your heart and go for coffee.

We want to help you facilitate connection, encouragement and inspiration…

We are very excited to announce that our first in the series of Praise and Coffee to Go’s is available on Kindle for $2.99

Praise and Coffe to Go Volume 1

Available on Amazon

Six Praise and Coffee Conversations to help you facilitate a Praise and Coffee group (or any small group) as you gather in coffee shops or around kitchen tables.
No preparation required.

All you have to do is grab your Kindle or iPad and invite two to twelve friends to a coffee shop/restaurant or around your kitchen table.

Consider these six conversations a springboard. Do not hold rigidly to them, instead let the conversations serve your group fluid and flexible. We pray they lead you into conversations that promote connection, encouragement and inspiration. No one in the group is required to participate, but do encourage anyone to share.

Praise and Coffee to Go is not intended to resemble a classroom with students and a teacher but, instead, a group of friends sharing life, laughter, tears and the desire to connect, encourage and inspire one another!

Praise and Coffee to Go is set up for gatherings of two or more, but of course you could use the lessons as a personal study or devotional.

Conversations include:
Get Things Brewing: These include three ice-breaker questions to warm up the group. These are intended to launch comfortable, casual conversation. You can go around the table and ask the ladies each question or read each one and let the participants choose a question they would like to answer.

Steep: Scripture and thoughts to contemplate and consider how they apply to each of our lives.

Press It Out: This is the heart of your gathering, questions to spur conversation. Do as many or few of these as you like. Use them as conversation starters, not classroom questions. Note: if your conversation takes you in a different direction, GO THERE and have an authentic discussion. Connect, encourage and inspire one another!

Extra Shot: Some days we just need another shot; that’s what these are for. Take the discussion farther with scripture. Discuss how each of the verses apply to your life and help you become the woman God created you to be.

This is the first of many that we hope to publish for you and we also plan to have them printed, I’ll keep you posted about that!

The book is available on Amazon here: Praise and Coffee to Go

Special thanks to Ronel Sidney for ideas and encouragement and traveling this Praise and Coffee journey with me, you are the greatest friend and strength to me, and Anna Fontaine for helping me with edits early on in this process.
You are welcome to use these in groups not labeled “Praise and Coffee,” but if you are interested in starting a Praise and Coffee group in your community join our Facebook page to connect with other women who meet around the world: Praise and Coffee Leaders


portfolio cups copyI had a beautiful morning. Nine ladies sitting around a table at Panera Bread.

The stories ranged from a single young lady who loved to knit to an “experienced” woman of 92 who had raised five children and also started an organization to spay and neuter feral cats in South Florida.

This is what I love about Praise and Coffee. No agendas, just a springboard of questions to get the conversation going and see where it leads us.

It was Dawn’s first Praise and Coffee and she did a fabulous job! She encouraged us with Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and made sure that everyone had a chance to share what was on their heart.

I loved hearing about one woman who was becoming a Grandma for the first time. It would not have been her plan to see her daughter having a child right now, but God was giving her a love for this baby that she will help raise.

Another gal had just recently lost a lot of weight and another was feeling especially insecure about what God wanted her to do with her life.

Real women with stories to share.

I think Marty (she’s 92 but has decided to reverse the numbers and celebrate her 29th birthday each year from now on) blessed us most when she shared how she has walked all these years with the Lord.

She said that it’s all about F-A-I-T-H.

F- fantastic

A- adventure

I- in

T- trusting

H- Him

She encouraged us to be aware of Him in our lives every single hour. She said that luck has nothing to do with the wonderful things that happen in our life. It’s all about Him.

I couldn’t help but sit there and think about how she was exactly twice my age and still on fire for God, I love it.

Then Dawn, who seems to have the most solid faith of anyone in the room, shared how she’s struggled to find hope when her heart was broken.

It was a beautiful morning.
It reminded me why I started Praise and Coffee in the first place.
Just a few women, sharing life over a cup of coffee.


If you would like to share in this ministry, hop over here to find out how (or email me): How Anyone Can Start a Praise and Coffee

I am also starting a six week online study this Monday, October 7th. I’d love to have you join us!
Check here for more details: Becoming Me Through Him ~ Online Study 



It’s here! Summer 2012 Praise and Coffee Magazine

We hope you enjoy it and we’d love it if you share it, tweet it or pin it!

Creative Way to Apologize

Hello! Happy Friday!

After yesterday’s post, I thought something a little more light hearted would be good. But let me just say, wow. Not only was that the most traffic my little blog has ever seen, but I was overwhelmed with email and messages after that post, many of which brought me to tears. I said a prayer for each of you, and I plan to write more about abuse in the future.

Late yesterday afternoon I jumped in the shower to get ready for these sweet ladies who were coming over.

They are planning to start their own Praise and Coffee Nights here in West Michigan. We had so much fun!

But as I stepped out of the shower, this letter was slid under the bathroom door, along with a marker that clearly took some time to jam under the door.

It said:
Dear Mom and Dad I em sry I was men to you do you frg m yess or no srk wun

Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry I was mean to you, do you forgive me? yes or no, circle one

She waited impatiently outside the door with constant requests that I “circle one.”

I opened the door and asked what she was talking about. When was she mean to us?
Evidently she felt that she was mean to us the night before when she had a bad attitude. I had forgotten all about it, hello-just another day with a 7 yr old.

It’s so funny sometime what their little hearts hold on to.

Of course I wrapped my arms around her and gave her lots of love but that wasn’t enough, I had to “circle one.” And she wanted me to go back in the bathroom and slide it back under to the door to her.

I obliged.

So, next time you blow it and need to apologize to someone I suggest you write a little note, feel free to use Lauren’s words, and slide it under the door when they are showering. It is hard to stay mad at someone who spends 10 minutes jamming a marker under the door.

The Nightmares

Lauren’s been struggling with fear. Fear of bad guys. It overwhelms her at bedtime. She’s afraid that they will come in during the night and take her from us. It plagues her nightly. She begs me to lock all the doors and windows and questions me repeatedly if I’ve followed through.

It breaks my heart. What brings this on? We’ve never given her reason to worry. Our house is in a quiet safe neighborhood in the country. Her Daddy is a proficient marksman, her 250lb 6’1″ brother lives here, we have a security system and this.

Sure, she looks harmless NOW, and she is recovering from being hit by a car but I guarantee you, she would get all kinds of ugly on someone that tried to get in this house uninvited.

But how could she feel unsafe in this house? Why doesn’t she trust us to protect her?

Night after night she simmers and stirs on the irrational notion that someone could burst into our home and snatch her from her warm bed. I sink exhausted into my chair when she falls to sleep but it’s a temporary pause until she wakes shouting at strangers that she imagines in her time between sleep and wake.

She mumbles and cries, thrashing in bed, “Momma!! Mommy! No no no!” and my heart aches as I try to quiet the anxiety pouring out of her cleft scarred lips. She’s not fully conscious and eventually she quiets and falls back to sleep. Often I’m summoned back during the night to lie next to her after the bad guys come back in her dreams.

As I wrestle with how to convince her that she’s safe, I think of how God must feel that same way about me. He’s given me no reason not to trust Him, no clue that He would abandon me. In fact I’ve learned that even when it looks like He’s walked away and left me with my fears, I find that He was there all the time. He was just quiet for he moment, watching to see who I’d run to. Like mine, His arms ache to comfort His children.

Just like I long for Lauren to rest in the security of her home, I know the Lord wants the same for us.

Psalms 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Whew, I didn’t break out in hives.

I can hardly believe the LIVE webinar went off without a hitch. I didn’t break out in hives, the dogs didn’t attack the UPS man and Mitt Romney didn’t call, not even once.

The webinar went a bit longer than I had hoped for and of course I have a million more things I wish I would have said, and why did I make that funny face so often and good gravy what was going on with my hair?

But here you go, if you’ve been thinking about starting Praise and Coffee Nights this video shares the heart of them with you.

The ladies that attended were truly a delight. I wish they had all been here in my kitchen. I would have baked them something fattening and yummy.

Here are the links for the Ebook:

And webinar:

This is a fresh approach to women’s ministry. Sharing conversations that matter as REAL women with real hurts, joys and trials.

  • No agendas, just relationships.
  • Gathering 3-12 women together, facilitating conversation and allowing God to intervene.
  • Based on Matthew 18:20, when 2 or 3 gather in His name, He comes.
  • Meeting outside the four walls of the church with women from all backgrounds, churches (or no church) and walks of life.
  • Sharing life.

And this is me. Watch the webinar, you’ll understand.

Thank you Denise for all the behind the scenes stuff that you did while sitting in my dining room all alone, I really should have baked you something. I love you to pieces.

Have a great weekend!!!!

PS: I almost forgot…if you would like to join in with women all over the nation world starting Praise and Coffee Nights on March 15th, click here:

Cruising, Comedy, Lysa TerKeurst and Dogs

Hello, hello girlfriends!
This is pretty much a random ‘catch you up’ kind of post….

First let me share what it looks like here in Michigan:
Isn’t that gorgeous? My daughter Stephanie took this while I was gone…
I can not believe that as I write this shivering in my office, that one week ago today I was sailing the ocean blue. No, I did not see the news about that OTHER cruise ship until I was about to come home thankyouverymuch.
Yes, Melissa Mashburn and I went on a cruise/writing conference. It was so much fun.
One of the best parts was seeing my son perform with 321 Improv. Sad to think I had to go all the way to Mexico to see him perform. I have seen him do his stand up, back when he won Funniest Person in Grand Rapids 2010, but this was the first time watching him with 321 doing improv. They were hysterical. Stomach ache hysterical.
Yes that’s Chonda Pierce laughing at them too! I adore her. She is not only funny funny funny,

but also has a beautiful heart.
I had so much fun meeting online friends and making new ones!
 Heather Williams who Denise  interviewed for our latest magazine.
And the most hilarious and fun Mary Snyder who screamed “Sue Cramer is the bomb.com” every time I saw her. (She’s also in the current magazine.)
I did not lay in the sun one time. I tried. I walked up on deck to get some sun and it was a bit cloudy so I jumped in the hot tub instead. Cue thunderstorm and I was back in the room sitting on my balcony with Mel.
One afternoon Mel and I ordered room service, all desserts, and sat on our balcony. Seriously, every dessert on the menu. When they delivered it they asked where the kids were…no kids just us. They smiled and nodded and told all their waiter friends that we were complete freaks. I know they did.
But we didn’t care. We saw dolphins. Yes dolphins, jumping right outside our window. We screamed and called Matt. He ran up to our room but the dolphins went away. As you can see it was rough seas on the way back from Cozumel.
I also got to see and have breakfast with my sweet friend Lysa TerKeurst. Oh mercy I do love her. We have so much in common it’s a bit scary and I’ve actually lived her post from this week.
And speaking of dogs, cause Lysa did…this is my neighbors dog looking in at me while I’m working in my office:
His name is Shadow and he’s come over to make friends with my dogs. One of my dogs loves him, the other would like to put her shock collar on him and hold him over the fence line.
But when I bring our dogs in, cause it’s downright freezing here, he barks at me, begging to let him in also. I try ignoring him but then he whines and crys and finally does this:
What’s a mom to do?
Eventually I cave in and against my better judgement I let him in and this is what I get:
I suppose I could spiritualize this and talk about how God brings us in from the cold hard places of life and lets us rest in Him.
Cause He totally does.
Love you, hope you have a wonderful weekend!!
PS: What would a post about cruising be without a pic of the fun towels they left in our rooms:
Thank you Royal Caribbean and Premiere Christian Cruises, you are awesome!

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