Need Encouragement Today? Listen to our “2014 Mugs and Muffins” message!

We had the best event several Saturdays ago… Our FBC Cleveland’s Women’s Ministry annual “Mugs and Muffins.”  It was a sweet time of fellowship, encouragement, and prayer.  Just what was needed for a “back to school boost” and God’s reminder not to give up!

Our speaker, Melanie Redd, did a wonderful job.  She writes an encouragement blog at  This is her tagline:  Stepping Closer Ministries – Hope & Encouragement from God’s Word using creativity, humor, simplicity, and a large dose of common sense.  And that’s just what she delivered at our event.


FBCC WM Mugs and Muffins 2014


If you missed it, you missed a true blessing.  BUT, we don’t want you to totally miss out.  Using the mic on my iPhone, I recorded the encouraging and challenging message from our  speaker, and you can listen to it on Sound Cloud here!  Yay!  {You’ll just have to sign in to Sound Cloud (  It’s free, and like “Youtube” for audio.}



Melanie shared a few of these ideas and pictures on this blog post and some quotes and scriptures she used in this post.   If you want a continual dose of encouragement, you’ll want to sign up to receive her blog emailed to you.

And, you’ll want to get a copy of her book, Stepping Closer to the Savior.

You can order the book in paperback form from Amazon here, or get it in the e-book edition here. 


I promise it will be worth the time to turn on Sound Cloud and pretend you are sitting around a darlingly decorated table enjoying a delicious muffin and hot cup of coffee or an ice cold coke.  Join us for our virtual Mugs and Muffins message, and I promise you’ll be encouraged!



On an “Underground” Mission with Jesus – and you?

Hi my friends.  I sure do wish I could spill the beans and tell you every detail about this trip the Lord, a friend, and I are embarking upon within the next few weeks.  But for the safety of those involved, and most importantly, for the preservation of the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I must speak to you in some type of a code.  It’s rather clandestine feeling. ;-)

Smelling Coffee's Underground Mission Trip - and how YOU can help and pray.

This week I’m finalizing messages and handouts for two separate retreats to be held across the globe with two very special groups of women.  One group is a gathering of American Sisters who are living their lives by spilling Jesus upon everyone they encounter.  They and their families have left the American comforts to live, work, and serve in a totally different culture as the lights of Jesus Christ.  It’s no conincidence that the Good News of Salvation and Redemption through Jesus is spreading like wild fire over there right now.  And so is the persecution of believers.  These men and women and children are being used by God to build up and strengthen His Body in this area like never before!  We call these ladies “M wives.”

The second group of ladies I’ll be gathering with have grown up in this culture.  Most were raised believing that there was no God except the leaders of the government.  But because someone who knew Jesus faithfully poured into someone else’s life, the Gospel was shared, accepted, and lived out among the nationals.  It’s been hundreds years in the making , but now the Body of Christ is growing across this continent.  The ladies I’ll be joining are the leaders of or the wives of the leaders of the underground “gatherings” that meet in this nation.  They are part of a movement of believers who refuse to surrender their worship of the One True God to the national government.  They are brave and faithful sisters of ours, and I can’t wait for the honor of serving them.  We call this group “HC wives.”

My friend Gena and I will be leaving week after next to spend some time in this country with these women.  Working with God’s servants over there, we have planned two separate retreats for the ladies.  When I think about them and how they live, then compare it to how I live… I wonder what in the world I have to say to them!  They are our heroes in the faith…The ones who have given up position and provision in order to serve the Lord and to be called by His name.  What could I possibly bring to them from my cushy American Christianity?

But almost as soon as that question rolls out of my mind and into my ears, the Holy Spirit is ever so faithful to remind me that I can’t bring them anything, nor was I called to.  I am called to go and to serve these ladies, conveying to them the refreshing reminder of Jesus’ Power and Presence and Provision and His Ever-Watchful Care over their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  My job is to obediently lift up the Name of Jesus and pray diligently for & with these ladies.  God has promised to take care of everything else.  I’m thinking that this may end up being one of the deepest privileges of my entire life…

But I’m helpless to do this on my own.  If you only knew how very far away from ANY of my natural inclinations or abilities this trip is, you’d have to shake your head and say as Ricky Ricardo does, “Ay yi yi yi yi!”  Seriously… I’m not the adventurous type.  I’m just a home body who is satisfied to travel the world through the Christian fiction books I read and by viewing pictures on the internet.  My top bucket list travel destinations only go so far away as a beach chair in Hawaii.  So this whole thing is totally out of my comfort zone.  Furthermore, I have no sense of direction and get myself lost even in my small, well-blocked-out town.  I’m kind of scared in crowds of strangers and often struggle with motion sickness.  Yep.  I certainly was not the logical candidate screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!” for this particular ministry.   That’s why I KNOW it is of the Lord.  There is NO POSSIBLE WAY I could plan and carry out this task without Him… and without the help of so many others!

God graciously called a traveling partner to join me on this trip, and Praise The Lord, Gena has done this before! Whew!!!  Whatever she says I need to do, I just reply, “Ok… I’m putting that on my list.”  She has handled all of the “business arrangements” of our venture and freed me up to focus on the ladies we will be serving.  Bless her… I have a feeling Gena might be muttering a few ”Ay yi yi yi yis” before the weeks are up.  Y’all… pray for her, please! ;-)

The other “impossibility” in taking on this mission was the financial side of it.  But God always completes what He starts… and that’s exactly what He is doing through so many of YOU!  When I gave the Lord my “yes,” the very next step was to begin raising the funds.  None of these ladies have anything extra to pay for their own retreat, and in reality, I don’t either.  So Jehovah Jireh was going to have provide.  I started the “Go Fund Me” campaign in February with a rather large goal, and as of the writing of this post we have only about 7% left to raise.  We averaged the cost for each lady to attend at $100, and so many of you have sponsored one or more of these sisters.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

If God has called you to donate to this cause and you haven’t yet done it, would you please go to my Go Fund Me site here and donate?    Even $5 – $10 will make a difference and sponsor someone’s foot or hand. ;-)

As far as providing for the ladies to attend, we are just under $500 short.  But anything given over the goal will be taken with me and used to purchase some practical items needed so desperately by the HC wives.  (Many of the Christian nationals have lost their jobs because of their Christianity.)  We were given a list of simple household items like soap, towels, and bed sheets that would be such blessings to them if we were able to provide these.  I am praying for enough extra to be able to bless each of the 40 HC wives with something for their home from their American brothers and sisters.  Would you please pray about donating and helping with this?

All of the “Go Fund Me” money needs to be raised by Sunday, August 31.



One of the “M” wives coordinating the retreats wrote this note to those of you called to participate in this mission:

Dear sister in Christ,
It has been an exciting past few months as I have worked on the logistics for Jennifer to come minister to us and the local ladies here. Many of the women here have never (not even once!) been to a women-only event where they have been nourished through the Word and fellowship. Not even a Bible study!

As you can imagine, we are all looking forward to showering them with goodies and doing our best to give them a meaningful time with the Lord and others. We want to wash one another’s feet and bestow a blessing on each lady. There are many ladies here volunteering to do different parts of the retreat, from running the registration table to leading worship. We are all pumped!

When I asked some of the ladies what they would *really* like from this retreat, what their hearts hunger for, the answer was unanimous. They want a deeper intimacy with Jesus. They just wanted to hear the Word of the Lord. This is very special because some of the M ladies here have no local church where they can hear the Word and fellowship with other believers!  Likewise, many of the local wives have no other women with which to share their needs as a pastors wife. This is spiritual food for them.

We are so thankful for your part in making this happen for these women (of which I am one!). We could not do this without YOU. This isn’t just a fun time for us; this is an opportunity for spiritual nourishment that we rarely get. I promise you that your gift will be gratefully received and deeply appreciated by those of us attending and serving on this side of the world.

On behalf of your sisters over here, thank you.
Retreat coordinator


Another way that YOU can serve with Gena and me on this trip is through your prayers.  Would you please commit to pray with us and for us over the next 4 weeks?  We are finalizing preparations this week and will be traveling in September.  We would be ever so grateful for your prayer coverage as we go.  ”Ay yi yi yi yi!  ;-)


Please pray for the nation’s Christian millions

Prayer Requests for the national Christians

  • Pray that the church will continue to grow in numbers and in truth.
  • Ask God to provide valuable Biblical resources for church leadership.
  • Pray that those who are enduring severe persecution will persevere in their faith.
  • Ask for God to deliver great encouragement, strength, wisdom, and boldness to His people.

Prayer Requests for the M’s who are serving overseas

  • Pray that the M’s will have personal revival, which will then spill into the lives they touch.
  • Ask God to remind His servants of His faithfulness and His awareness of them and their family’s every need (personally, emotionally, corporately, and physically).
  • Pray for the M-wives and children as they balance and struggle with “normal” issues, in addition to the risks of living and serving secretly in a foreign country.
  • Ask for God to bring great encouragement, strength, and boldness to the wives we will be serving.

Prayer Requests for Jennifer and Gena’s September trip.

  • Pray for Gena and Jennifer’s protection, wisdom, provision, boldness, health, and strength as they travel and serve the HC and M wives.
  • Pray for God’s covering over the ladies as they gather, meet, and return to their homes.
  • Pray that God would do a healing and restoring work in many hearts.
  • Pray for our families back home as they continue life without us. ;-)


I can’t wait to experience all God has planned as we prepare and go on this adventure!  I may be able to do a quick blog update if I have access to a secure server.  Otherwise, I’ll be able to tell you all about it when I get back home.

Thank you for participating with Gena, Jesus, and me on this underground mission.  Whatever happens from here on out is right… because God doesn’t make mistakes.  We are heading into this with joy and that peace of the Lord that passes all understanding.  A men.



Monday’s “Makes Me Smile” – the Hot Flash edition

And I’m smiling already just thinking of these pictures.  A friend called me last week to tell me that I’d been on her mind a lot lately (though not because of some amazing spiritual breakthrough she has had, or some witty thing I’ve said… but) because she has now become what I have been for a few years now… one hot mama!  Her poor family is going through the freeze as she is going through the fire.  Somehow, knowing that someone else is experiencing or has experienced the same life-phase makes me smile.  Not because of the torture for which she is destined in the next few years, but because having friends in the same phase just makes life a little more joy-filled.  Misery loves company.  Right?  ;-)

I have been collecting some funny mid-life pictures for a while now, so in honor of my hot friend C. who is a newly inducted member in the menopausal moms club, I offer these pictures in hopes of making us all smile.  After all, what is the alternative?  It’s either laughter and acceptance or tears and fears.  So we might as well laugh.  Yes?

























Ever tried any of the below?










If these don’t make you laugh… just wait.  One of these days you’ll get it.  Either you or a woman you love will experience these very things.  So if you can’t relate right now, bookmark this post for the day to come when you’ll need a little:


Of all of the pictures, I think this last one is my favorite.  hahaha!



A blessed new week to all of you, whether you are “hot” or not. ;-)



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