Archive | March, 2009

Chocolate Coffee Cake


This is a family favorite coffee cake that is perfect for a cold summer morning and best enjoyed with some fresh fruit, smoothie, and/or hard boiled eggs. Excellent as a dessert as well! It is a scrumptious special treat, especially for any chocolate lovers! I have just been experimenting lately with adapting it to including the benefits of soaking the whole wheat flour, and I have had success! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but feel free to experiment with using other whole grain flours as desired)
3/4 – 1 cup natural sweetener (we use rapadura or sucanat, which are delicious!)
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil (or combination of both), in its solid state
1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder (as desired, we use 2 Tbsp)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
dash of cloves
1/2 cup nuts (we used candied pecans for the top!), if desired
1 cup cultured buttermilk, kefir, whey, yogurt (or your preferred acid medium for soaking)

SOAKING STEP: In a large bowl, combine flour and acid medium (buttermilk, kefir, whey or yogurt, as desired). Cover and allow to soak for 12-24 hours.

After soaking, combine remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan and cover with chopped nuts, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

If you want to skip out on the soaking, follow these directions:

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar; cut in the butter/coconut oil until crumbly. Add cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and cloves; mix well. Make a well in the center; pour in the buttermilk and stir until moistened. Transfer to a greased 8 x8 baking pan and sprinkle with nuts. Bake as instructed above.

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Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 7

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 7 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 7 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. Past chapter summaries can be viewed here: part 1, part 2, part 3 part 4 , part 5 & part 6.We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading. Chapter 7 focused on Hospitality & Culture.


Understanding culture is important to hospitality because Scripture clearly teaches the priority of including the stranger or alien in our hospitality endeavors (Ex. 22:21; Lev. 19:34; Deut. 10:12-21; Ps. 146:9; Heb. 12:2). The nations of the world are coming to America. In fact, in many cities of America, internationals outnumber Caucasians. You do not need to go to a foreign country to be confronted with different cultures and peoples needy of the gospel. We have immigrants, students, and those who are here on business purposes surrounding us if we simply look around.

When international students come to our country, for example, nearly 90% never enter an American’s door!  They are new to our culture, surroundings, and experiences, and need love and compassionate people to befriend them and guide them in the process. Many come from closed countries…most are the brightest and best representing their country. Could we make an impact that could result in the spread of the gospel to the nations?

“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). Paul communicates the importance of adapting our methods of communication to fit our audience in a relevant way for the sake of the gospel!

“Hospitality is missions. Hospitality is a tool you can use to love people and make ‘disciples of all nations’ of the world (Matt. 28:18-20). Consideration of culture is a key element in practicing hospitality as you endeavor to model Christ’s love – so ‘that they may be saved’ (1 Cor. 10:33).” (page 200)

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Adjusting to Life with Two

img_5458A typical morning lately at our house resembles something like this…a little potty training, lots of cloth diaper changes, dealing with a difficult stage in child training a toddler, and all!

The clock chimes seven o-clock and the baby awakes (if we are lucky). Titus is fed while we have our morning devotions. Karis awakens and needs a diaper change and dressed for the day (and do that hair so we can see her little face!). Mommy needs to get dressed. Karis is extremely hungry and makes it known. Mommy prepares breakfast while trying to figure out what should be pulled out for dinner. Titus begins to scream with tiredness and ready for a morning nap. Mommy prepares to get Titus ready for a nap while delivering breakfast to Karis and Daddy, only to discover that Titus has burped up everywhere and needs a new outfit (yes, he is a burper!). Change Titus and lay him down for a nap.

Mommy finally sits down for her breakfast only to last for a minute or two before Karis has completed her breakfast and wants to get down and read stories with Mommy. Mommy engulfs her breakfast while reading stories and trying to clean up the kitchen (or at least throwing it all in the sink!). She looks into the mirror and decides it would be nice to do her hair but only after Karis sits down on the potty chair and Titus has been nursed and changed once again. It is 11:30 am and time for lunchtime. Wow! Life is busy and I only have two!

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Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 6

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 6 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 6 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. Past chapter summaries can be viewed here: part 1, part 2, part 3 part 4 & part 5.We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading. Chapter 6 focused on Hospitality & Others.


James 1:14-16 begins this chapter, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Goodbye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?”

What is Biblical Compassion?

Hospitality is not about you and me. It is “a sense of empathy for the distress of others coupled with the desire to minimize that distress and demonstrate kindness and mercy.” Compassionate hospitality takes the attention off of ourselves and directs it upon others. Compassion leads to action. Jesus is our primary example. He actively felt compassion for the lost and hungry multitudes that constantly surrounded Him and demanded His attention. He tirelessly gave Himself to meet their needs, both physical (with the provision of food) and spiritually (ministering to their heart). Read more: Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; 8:2; Luke 9:11-17.

If we follow in the footsteps of Jesus our hospitality will include: nurturing the abandoned; providing material needs; weeping, mourning, praying, and, when appropriate, fasting for others; sharing your faith with the spiritually bankrupt (Matt. 11:28-30); encouraging the weak and oppressed (Isa. 40:11; 42:3; Matt. 12:18-21); assisting with the needs of the infirm; and modeling biblical compassion.

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Guest Post: Cloth Diapering 101 – Part 2


Welcome back for part 2 from Lauren discussing all the different options available for cloth diapering! To read part 1, visit here. Lauren blogs over at Cloth Diaper Diaries.

Now that we’ve covered some of the main reasons for using cloth, I’d like to break down the methods of cloth diapering.  I know that when I first began my research I was incredibly intimidated by the whole idea of everything about it: from making the initial purchase, to actually using and washing cloth diapers.  In fact, I was so intimidated and overwhelmed that I researched…and researched…and researched!  My husband finally said, “If you’re going to do this, please just do it and stop spending so much time on the internet reading about it!”  I really hope that by the end of this post I’ve helped to simplify some of what’s mystifying, and supplied you with the information and encouragement you need to make the switch yourself!

What is meant by “cloth diapering”?

To me, there are four ways to diaper a child in cloth: prefolds and covers, fitteds and covers, pockets, and all-in-ones.  I’m going to try to give a complete explanation of each style, but it won’t be as thorough as the information you can find on my cloth blog or many other places online.  If you find you still have more questions after this post, please visit my blog and look in the “Quick-Click Table of Contents” on the right-hand side of the page.  If you don’t see a tab for your question, just leave a comment or send me an email and ask – I’m always happy to help when I can!

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Guest Post: Cloth Diapering 101 – Part 1


Guest post by Lauren, mother of two, who has tried practically every form of cloth diapering method on the market and offers her advice, reviews and recommendations through her blog, Cloth Diaper Diaries. Lauren has already been a huge resource for me in figuring out some diapering issues with our little people! Thanks for sharing Lauren!

When I was about three months pregnant with my daughter and my son was 16 months old, I suddenly began to think about the overwhelming cost of keeping two children in disposable diapers.  “How will we ever be able to afford that on our budget??” I frantically wondered.   So I turned back to something I had briefly mused on while pregnant with our son: cloth diapering.  I was amazed to learn how many more reasons to cloth diaper there are than just concerns for your budget!   Then, of course, I was a little stunned by all the different diapering styles and brands – it’s just so much information to absorb!  (Whoops, no pun intended!)  Today I hope to share some information with you on the why and how of cloth diapering.

There are three main reasons that people choose to cloth diaper: environmental concerns about the abundant waste caused by disposable diapers, the potential for adverse effects on a child’s health (including excessive or perpetual diaper rash) from using disposable diapers, and the tremendous expense of disposable diapers.

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Guest Post: Biblical Foundations for Child Education – Part 2

This is part 2 of a two part guest post by Jessica, mother of two, who is joyfully serving alongside her husband as they minister as international church planters in Eastern Europe. For part 1, visit here.

Previously I told you about what my husband and I are currently doing with our children for their biblical education.  I wanted to share with a few resources to help you out.

Resources that we read to help us get started:

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham

This is one of the three must read books that I recommend to parents.  Dr. Baucham unashamedly explains how it is parents’ responsibility to be discipling their children and explains ways to get started.  The book goes through an exegesis of Deuteronomy 6 to present the argument.  Dr. Baucham challenges the current trend of youth groups and public schooling and even if you don’t agree with everything he presents, you will be challenged to evaluate your family’s practices.  I highly recommend that both the husband and wife read this book and discuss the principles.  My husband said that after reading it, he was really challenged to make sure he was living up to his responsibility for discipling his family if he wanted to be a

Family Worship In the Bible, In History, and In your Home by Donald Whitney

This is a short book that presents the biblical history of family worship and gives suggestions of how to start family worship time and what type of components should be included in this time.  Again, both spouses should read it or singles should read it and choose a spouse who desires for family worship time.

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Guest Post: Biblical Foundations in Child Education – Part 1

bibleGuest post by Jessica, mother of two, who is joyfully serving alongside her husband as they minister as international church planters in Eastern Europe.

How Did We Start the Biblical Education of Our Young Children?

When my son was a year old, I felt very convicted that my husband and I were not fulfilling our biblical responsibility to be teaching him.  We were sporadic in our Bible reading with him and we were not having any family devotionals or worship. I was working very hard with him on counting, the alphabet, and colors but I was not spending our days saturating him with the Word of God.

After talking with my husband and asking him to begin leading our family in regular worship, I began to research what my role in the biblical education of my children would be as a wife and mother.

To aid me, I tried to pick strategic friends that would encourage us in this area.  We had growing relationships with families who were ahead of us in the raising of their children and we could learn from them.  We had friendship with families who, like us, were trying to figure out what types of practices were good for teaching our children.  We tried to absorb as much as possible from people who could teach us in this area.

We also read a lot of books and listened to a lot of sermons on the subject of family worship and the biblical education of children.  Whenever possible, we would both read the book or listen to the sermon and then try to discuss it.

We built theological library for every member our family.  By shopping the used books on Amazon, we found some great deals and began to develop a great collection of books and CDs on parenting, biblical manhood and womanhood, marriage, basic doctrine for children, devotionals and hymns, etc.  I thought of it this way- if I was willing to spend money to buy resources to teach my children to read and write, how much more should I invest on books that point them to God?

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Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 5

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 5 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 5 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. Past chapter summaries can be viewed here: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading. Chapter 5 focused on Hospitality & Your Home.


What is a home? Is the opening question of this chapter. From a Biblical perspective, a home is to be a place of refuge and a center for evangelism.

1. The Home as a Place of Refuge

“Refuge, by definition, means a ‘shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief or escape.’” Our homes are to be places of refuge and protection first to those who reside there and secondly to those we welcome into our homes through hospitality.

According to Scripture the Christian home is to be a place of: refuge for those who have done wrong (Num. 35:6, 11-15); safety (Num. 35:25-28); security – a stronghold that is safe from the hostility of the world (2 Sam. 22:3); and a place of refreshment to those who communicate the gospel (Luke 10:38-42; Acts 9:35-10:23).

One lady shares “her husband taught her that she does not need to leave her front door to be ministering. As she prepares a nice meal for her family and makes her home a haven, she is truly ministering to them.” Many other examples are given of ladies who freely welcome in individuals and families according to the sphere of influence God has placed them in. The key here, I believe, is to prayerfully seek out and ask, “who around me needs a place of refuge?’

2. The Home as a Center for Evangelism

The church of our generation has centralized all programs of evangelism and outreach to happen within the church setting, with the use of all their professional materials and methods. According to Scripture, “you find that the home, not the church, served as the center of evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity.Michael Green writes, ‘One of the most important methods of spreading the gospel in antiquity was the use of homes.’”

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Guest Post: Mission Minded Hospitality

Guest post by Ann Dunagan from The Mission Minded Life, author of The Mission-Minded Child & The Mission-Minded Family.

Mission-Minded Hospitality – Highlights from Elisabeth Elliot’s Childhood

(An excerpt from The Mission-Minded Child)

Elisabeth Howard was raised as a mission-minded child. While growing up, her father (Philip E. Howard Jr.) led the family in daily times of prayer, which included singing hymns together (including every verse) and reading the Bible. Elisabeth’s parents viewed hospitality as a “matter of obedience” and believed “it was important for their children meet Christian men and women from all walks of life, to hear firsthand their stories of the faithfulness of God, and to enjoy the privilege of asking them questions.” The family’s hospitality (especially towards other missionaries) was often expected by their church; however, instead of feeling the weight of such an obligation, Elisabeth’s mother, Katherine, told young mothers, “You don’t understand what you’re missing out on. You’re missing out on some wonderful things!” Of the six children in her mission minded family, Elisabeth and four of her siblings became missionaries.


Here’s an excerpt of an interview I did with my daughter (when she was 14 years old) about mission-minded hospitality. (An excerpt from The Mission-Minded Family)

From My Children’s Perspective: “Company’s Coming!”

–By Christi Dunagan, age 14

MOM: Christi, we have company over often, including many missionary families, and you are a tremendous help. From your perspective as my teenage daughter, and from a practical point of view, what does “Missionary Hospitality” mean to you?

CHRISTI: Well… it means I’ll have to do more dishes (without complaining), wash my sheets (making sure I’ve got matching pillowcases), clean my closet (usually two-feet-deep in clothes), straighten my little sister’s disasters, get rid of all my junk in the bathroom… and sometimes it’s got to be done really fast because usually our company’s coming any minute!

It means that after a “sit-down, nicer-than-normal” dinner, I’ll be in charge of keeping all the little kids quiet while the adults are visiting, and then, when it’s time for bed, I’ll “get” to sleep on the floor in my little brother’s room (with a smile)!

When people from Africa or India come over, they usually think my bedroom is like a royal guest house! It reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for and how much I usually take for granted.

Sometimes our visitors have never seen a dishwasher or a grocery store. One time, we all were laughing so hard with our Ugandan friend when he couldn’t figure out how a person could fit inside the little talking drive-through window at Burger King! (Our national friend was laughing harder than any of us!) Other times, village guests have stood watching in amazement through an entire washing machine cycle – with the lid up!

It can be interesting, and challenging, to hear exciting stories about how people have helped orphan children or about how missionaries have started Bible schools. It’s fun also to have special speakers from church stay at our house (like groups from “Teen Mania” or “Masters Commission”). Many times, ministers have really encouraged me to want to do something more for God with my life.

When we welcome others into our homes, especially other missionaries, it’s not just a lot of work… and an exercise in patience… it’s actually missionary training!

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