Monday, November 24, 2008

Today is The Day!

Today is the day of our closing. I am so very nervous. I have such cold feet, and my entire body is filled with butterflies. I want to run the other way...I want to cry. I'm scared. I'm so scared. Where did my confidance go?
Noooooooooooooo. What have I done?

Brenda said it's like giving birth.

Labor pains hurt.

But in the end...

It's so worth it.

God, please lead us. Guide us. Fill us with wisdom. Please breath your Holy Breath into this restaurant, and all around it. Please Lord, let us be able to use this place for your Glory and your praise! These are times of economic uncertainty, and I know we can't do this without you. There is no doubt that you have given Joe and I incredible blessings. We know that. We are unworthy of all that you have done for us, yet you continue to give us grace and mercy and patience. Lord, I am so grateful. My words can't even express how much I appreciate what you've done and are doing for Joe and I. Lord I dedicate the Tavern on the Square to YOU Father God! I WANT TO USE OUR RESTAURANT FOR YOUR KINGDOM!
Your daughter who loves you so very much, Susan

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life in a fish Bowl

I have been traveling along this bumpy path of life and another stumbling stone got in my way. It has caused me to have to change direction slightly.
As I've told you many times before, I have layed my life down and given it over to Jesus, so I believe that He knows best. He speaks to me..sometimes in whispers and sometimes in shouts..sometimes through His word, and sometimes through a song. Sometimes He speaks when I am praying, sometimes when I am not. Sometime He speaks while I am laying in bed, sometimes while I am walking. Sometimes He speaks through others, and I know..I just know He sends people in my to help me to hear His voice and to help me along this journey and to live this life.
I have such amazing friends. Godly friends. Some of those friends speak truth to me, and in this world there are not many people who will tell you the truth, especially if it's not pleasant.

These couple of weeks really have been rocky. Some people haven't been very kind to Joe and I. It's hard for me to understand why people aren't kind. My lawyer told me this. He said, "Susan, your a good Christian woman, but your problem is that you think every one is good, but they're not."
People are mean and nasty and even evil. And I know myself, I know it's true, but I forget. You see, I'm so weird. I know I am. I'm not naive, not stupid...maybe I am stupid..but I live in this kind of bubble world ..I just want to be myself, and I want to love people, and I want to do good, and I really want people to be happy, and I want to change the world, I want to make it a better place for others. I want to bring light and love to the world! I want to bring happiness to other people's is what I live for. But..I have such a hard time seeing other people's points of view. I go through life with blinders on. I don't have perephial vision! I see things from my view!! That's bad!!!!!!! It's burned me many times before!!! I hate that I'm like that! I can't see how other's might feel about something!
I write so many of my feelings here. I am real and honest. I am truthful. I tell people that i'm sinful and dirty and I am sooooooooo far from perfect. I fail so many times. See..but I'm okay with that because I know that I am human, and all of us are dirty, and ugly, and sinful..but God loves me anyway..God loves us anyway, and honestly.....when your eyes focus on God, who cares what the rest of the world thinks of you...I ONLY want to please my Father in HEaven!
That's how I live. But once again..that's me. There's the rest of the world out there!

BUT... as my lawyer said..not everybody lives like that. And those people who aren't good, they will hurt you. And maybe even people who won't mean to hurt you, will hurt you.

Am I being ambiguous? sorry..

It has been brough to my attention, that my life is going to more public now. My blog has been getting more attention then usual. I've seen that in the numbers of visitors I get each day.
A friend, who I love because they are not afraid to tell me the truth, has told me that my blog exposes myself to much. I say things that people shouldn't know about me. I talk about private things and I shouldn't in a public way.

When this friend told me this, I was shocked. I mean..really shocked. For those that know me deeply, know I would NEVER EVER do anything to hurt anyone intentionally. NEVER!! If I wrote a post that hurt someone's feelings, I would want to cry. I try to be so encouraging and positive and uplifting to everyone! As I said earlier, I want everyone to be happy and filled with love and happiness etc..

But my friend pointed out examples..and she was right. They were very personal blog posts. I just didn't realize..I didn't think..I was stupid, naive, thinking everyone is good and they won't think bad thoughts.. they just love me and want the best for me etc..etc...

My mistake. I was corrected. I thank God for this friend who loves me enough to tell me the truth and to correct me.

So..I called a few others up and got some advice. They agreed with the friend. They didn't think I should take my blog off entirely..they told me they enjoyed reading it..but said I shouldn't post such private thoughts..

But I love posting my private thoughts. I am real and I can't be any different. I won't be any different.

So what do I do?

Thinking...thinking...thinking...Lord help me to discern. Give me wisdom.
I will keep blogging, because both of my girls LOVE reading my blog. It will be my legacy to them one day. They will always be able to feel me through here, when I am gone.
So should I make my blog private, should I share it with only a few close family and friends? Or should I stop writing so intimately?

I still haven't decided. My thoughts are going towards, doing two different blogs. One public. But that will take even more time, and my free time is getting smaller and smaller.

So..which direction will i go?
Where will it take me?
Who will come with me?
Who will cause me to stumble?
Who will hold my hand and help me?
Who will walk beside me and listen to me
and talk to me and be my friend?
Who will I encounter along the way?
What will I do?
I don't know these answers but I do know who will lead me and I do know where I'll end up.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Guess what?

Want a good laugh today?


My dog ate my TEETH last night!


I have a partial that I wear in my mouth to replace some teeth I lost.

I was so tired last night that I took them out and put them on my nightstand instead of the normal spot in the bathroom.

I woke up and Nikki had her tail between her legs looking at me with that dopey look she gets...

I knew

I looked on my nightstand and..

they were gone.

I said, "NIXON!!!" and she rolled on her back and closed her eyes

The partial was next to her..

The teeth ripped off


I hate leaving the house with my missing teeth showing!!

I had to go to work.

I called the dentist and he said to come in and he would be able to make me a new the end of the day.

I love Dr. Snow! Honestly...He is a really, really great guy and awesome dentist!

I love the girls in his office. They are so nice too!

Guess what else?

Dr. Snow's grandma invented the Tavern Sticky buns. WOAH!

Her name was Rose Roberts..she rode her horse to work everyday to make the sticky rolls... Fascinating!

Everyone seems to have a story to tell about the Tavern! I love it!

I hope you had a good day today. I hope you are keeping warm! I hope and pray that you have safe travels wherever you go!

Thank you Brenda

The flowers are beautiful!! I put them near the register for everyone to admire!!

You touched my heart today. You are such a wonderful friend. I am so glad that we are living life together. I love dreaming, and sharing and praying and talking and laughing and inspiring and counseling and listening and encouraging and supporting.and understanding...and all the many other things that we do together!
The future holds something exciting girl... dare to dream it!!! *And to believe it!!* I love you,

DId you ever notice?

The Daily Bible verse at the bottom of my blog page? This is today's message:

Party Planning!

I am going to have a party! A celebration party! A gratitude party! A love fest! A God is Amazing and we want to glorify Him with thanksgiving party!!!
I want my friends and family with me to celebrate what God has done in our lives!
It's going to be in January. I will look for a date today. Who wants to celebrate with me?..Come on.. Let's PARTY!!!!!!!!!!


Spreading the message...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our closing is Monday!!

Many of you have emailed and asked why the Tavern blog has been made invite only. After the closing, when the Tavern is officially ours, I will open up the Tavern Blog and continue to update everyone on the happenings!

Until then I will post all I can here.

Please know that our lives will be very, very busy these next few months, so If I'm not emailing or posting as much, it is for that reason!

Yesterday Joe and I went to Boardman to do some Christmas shopping.
I'm trying to get as much done as I can now.

I talked to my Aunt Linda and David is still in ICU, but doing better. I pray that he continues to improve.

Brenda is still not feeling well, please keep her in your prayers.

Anne's cat died so please send a prayer her way too. I know how she feels, losing Sarah just a few months ago.

Lauren is doing really good without having her computer! I am so very proud of her! She is going to try to better her life, by conquering her addiction to the computer!
Go Lauren!
Ally tried out for the school play "The Music Man". I'm proud of her for trying out! Go Ally!

Nikki is much better. We truly thought she was going to die yesterday. If you didn't know..We took Nikki to a new vet Monday afternoon, and she gave her two sets of shots and a heartworm pill. The heartworm pill was too much for her, and Nikki got really sick. We read the heartworm pamplet that described what happens when a dog is over-medicated, and she had all the symptoms. She was very lethargic and had dhiarria and vomiting. It was scary.

I miss Kim! We need a girls night out my friend.

Speaking of girls night mentoring group is meeting this Friday evening! I so look forward to brainstorming with these amazing women that I'm lucky enough to share ideas with!

I have been watching my diet more carefully and I am at 81 lbs lost! I would like to lose 10 lbs by Christmas!!!

Next week is a really busy week for us and it is our last week at The Neshannock Creek Inn Restaurant!! *That is so weird to think!*

I hope you have a beautiful day today! God is so good. I am so incredibly blessed. Lord thank you for your grace and mercy and love!
My friends..thank you for loving me and showing me grace and mercy too!
His Servant, Susan L. Hougelman

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Whenever you get close to doing something really great for JUST KNOW..Satan is right around the corner ready to pounce! We've been under attack this week..big time! BUT GUESS WHAT???? GOD is SOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!! God is Good in good times and bad times! When the sun is shining or when a hurricane is knockin' God is ALWAYS GOOD!!! Jesus CHrist you are the ruler of my life, and I have layed it down for you. You never promised us that life would be easy but you did promise us that You'd be there with us! I love you Lord so very much! I praise your name ..I shout it from this little ole' blog..all over the internet! I love you LORD! I love you Lord! I love you Lord!

This next note is written to my enemies as well as my friends..because I love Jesus

I love you too : )

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Please send some prayer our way..

Pray for my Uncle David who had a heart attack this past Friday. He is doing fine, but this will be very scary for him. Please pray for his wife Linda too.

Please pray for my friend Brenda who is feeling very sick and is on her second round of antibiotics and still feeling miserable.

Please pray for Joe's dad and the situation that his family is in.

Please pray for my family. Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together and my family has been torn apart. Please pray for healing.

Please pray for Lauren, who we are trying to help her get away from her addicting behavior.

Please pray for Joe and I and the girls. Our life is going to change very dramatically in two weeks. We need strength and guidance and wisdom that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Please pray that we continue to follow and obey Him and keep Him first in our lives!

Thank you. Susan


I'm watching the latest video sermon from Newspring church. Clayton King is the teaching pastor and he delivered this week's message. It's from a series called "Beautiful". It's a series mainly for women.

He's talking about Mary and Martha.

The message talks about how we should be more like Mary and less like Martha.

Martha was the sister who served and prepared meals and was the hostess
while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and spent time with Him.
Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to come help do the dishes, but Jesus told Martha that Mary was right where she should be..with Jesus.

Our relationship with Jesus..should be our number one priority in life.

Clayton goes on to say this, :
Women want to be "loved unconditionally,understood patiently, and accepted completely,because of who she is, and not what she does."

I don't know about you..but that is the exact truth for me. That is what I pray for. Unconditional love, patience and acceptance for what I am, not for what I do.
If you want to view the sermon go to and click on the watch video. You will be so glad you did! IT's AWESOME!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"To create is to potentially embarrass oneself in front of others. It is about the courage to be oneself and to be seen as oneself. Putting ink to a page, or pressing one's fingers against clay, or typing a line of computer code, or blowing glass and realizing mistake. Or success. With everyone watching. But most importantly, you.

So it dawned upon me how important it is to be creative. Because it means you have within you infinite capacity to experiment. You are unafraid to go somewhere new because you are creating a new thought process about your own creativity. You know that if you stop and no longer challenge yourself, you cease to be creative. You become still, silent, and the bow no longer connect with the strings and music is not made. And you do not exist. You show you do not have the courage to exist.

Creativity is courage. The world needs more fearless people that can influence all disciplines to challenge their very existence. Creativity is reflection aimed not at yourself, but at the world around you."

- John Maeda
One of my customers wore a shirt with this saying on it yesterday. It made me chuckle.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Don't be afraid of the space between your
dreams and reality. If you can dream it,
you can make it so."
- Belva Davis

It's Dave... *sigh* In case you didn't know..I have a crush on Dave. : )

You Matter to God!

God loves you.

Church Planting

Church planting has taught me how to start this business. The following two posts could be written about a church or a business or even just your life! These two Christian men are so intelligent! I have learned so much from them.

Mark Batterson on Purple cows

Purple Cows

At the Sticks Conference I talked about Trojan Horses, Purple Cows, and Broken Windows. Thought I'd share a few thoughts about purple cows.

One of my favorite marketing books is Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The book revolves around this metaphor: if you've seen one brown cow you've seen them all. But a purple cow, now that would catch your attention. One statement in the book has profound implications: "If you aren't remarkable you're invisible."

Every church needs to paint itself purple. I'm not talking about gimmicks. I'm not talking about being different for difference sake. I'm talking about making such a remarkable difference in our communities that we are unignorable.

I have a couple core convictions:

1) the good news ought to make the news. Brown churches sit on the sideline and invite the community to come to them. Purple churches are always going and compelling. They are making such a big difference that they become a highly visible part of their community. And people drive by the brown churches--the churches that are invisible--to go to the purple church.

2) The greatest message deserves the greatest marketing. I know that marketing is a dirty word in some church circles, but does it get anybody else riled up that Madison Avenue is far better at pedaling its worthless wares than the church is at preaching the good news? I have a problem with that. We need sanctified competitive streaks.

3) The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet. Too many churches look too much alike. We need lots of different kinds of churches because there are lots of different kinds of people. Every church has a unique churchprint and ought to be a unique expression of the gospel in their kingdom niche.

So how do we paint ourselves purple? For starters, dare to be different. You might offend some Pharisees, but that isn't who you're trying to reach. Secondly, disrupt the routine. I think it starts with your personal routine. Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. You need to get out of your routine so you can have some purple thoughts.

As a leader, you need to cause confusion. Jesus didn't do orientations. He did disorientations. You need to find new ways of saying old things (see the Parables). You need to find new wineskins. You need to sing a new song. Neurological studies have found that familiarity stimulates the left-brain. Novelty stimulates the right-brain. We need some Spirit-inspired, right-brained ideas that capture the imagination of the church and the world

Tony Morgan's ten reason's why you're probably going to fail.

10 Reasons Why You’re Probably Going to Fail

It’s not your passion. If it doesn’t make your heart beat fast or cause your mind to race when you’re trying to sleep, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

You don’t have a plan. You need a vision, and you need to identify specific steps to make that vision become reality. That includes a financial plan. (I happen to believe you need direction from God on this.)

You’re waiting for it to be perfect. Test-drive it. Beta-test that new idea. You’ll fall into the trap of inaction if you think it has to be absolutely right from day one.

You’re not willing to work hard. Everything worth pursuing in my life has involved discipline and perseverance.

It’ll outgrow you. Keep learning. Keep growing. But more importantly, build a team of people including leaders that can be who you’re not.

You’ve had success in the past. I’ve watched organizations hang on to a good idea for too long. Time passes. Momentum fades. It’s risky to let go of the past and jump on the next wave.

You’re unwilling to stop doing something else. Complexity is easy. Simplicity takes discipline. You can’t build a healthy marriage if you’re unwilling to give up dating other women. Who/what do you need to stop dating?

You won’t build a team of friends. Anyone can hire from a resume. You need to find people you want to share life with. In the long run, great relationships will get you out of bed in the morning.

You won’t have the tough conversations. When breakdown happens (and it always does), someone needs to put on their big-boy pants and initiate the difficult conversation that leads to relational healing.

You’re afraid of failure. When fear consumes you, it will cause you to do stupid things. You’ll let negativity distract you. You’ll embrace the known, and grow comfortable with mediocrity. The more often you fail, though, the more often you’ll find success.

Here’s the deal. I don’t think this list is just about personal failure. This is about organizational failure (your ministry, your church plant, etc.). This is about business failure (your start up, your turnaround effort, etc.). This is about relational failure (your marriage, your dating relationship, etc.). The same principles apply.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Do you Christmas shop online?

I heard God's voice this morning..

It used to happen to me a lot. I haven't heard it for a while. I heard Him this morning. When God gives me a vision, I usually get sick to my stomach. It's a feeling that is very strong and big. I get a "knowing". THe last vision I had was a vision of my neice Victoria, one day adopting a child from overseas. That was this summer. I saw a picture of it. The one this morning was very clear. When I began building a coffee house/youth room at my church God told me to build a team to make it happen. I had never been on a team before. It was a new experience. When I had the vision to start a new church plant, God told me to build a team to help make it happen. Being a part of that team was one of the best experiences of my life.
This morning, God told me to put together a team to help get the Tavern started.
I can't do it all myself. Not if I want it to be all that it can be. Also..this is going to be a community restaurant, not just our restaurant.
I'm going to begin praying that God puts people in front of me that desire to be part of an amazing team! Let them seek me out and I will know for sure it is God's will, not my own.
Lord send them.
"I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me." Phil 4:13

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to think like Leonardo DaVinci

Leonardo da Vinci was the ultimate multi-tasker: an accomplished scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. If you want to be a Renaissance Man (or Renaissance Woman), you can learn a lot from how Leonardo da Vinci lived and thought. Based on studying the life and work of this famous polymath[1] anyone can emulate da Vinci with the following steps.

] StepsCuriosità. Curiosità is an "insatiably curious approach to life and unrelenting quest for continuous learning". Great minds have one characteristic in common: they continuously ask questions throughout their lives. Leonardo's endless quest for truth and beauty clearly demonstrates this. What makes great minds different is the quality of their questions. You can increase your ability to solve problems by increasing your ability to ask good questions. Like da Vinci, you should cultivate an open mind that allows you to broaden your universe and increase your ability to explore it. Here are some ways to apply Curiosità:

Keep a journal. Bring a journal wherever you go and use it often. Write your ideas and thoughts there. Try to write several statements a day that start with "I wonder why/how..."
Observe according to a theme. Choose a theme and observe things according to the theme for a day. For example, let's say you choose "communication". For the entire day, observe every type and instance of communication you come across. You can then record your observations in your journal.
Stream of consciousness exercise. Pick a question and write the thoughts and associations that occur to you as they are. Don't edit them. The important thing is to keep writing. This is also referred to as freewriting.

Dimostrazione. Dimostrazione is "a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistake". Wisdom comes from experience and the principle of Dimostrazione helps you get the most out of your experience. Here are some ways to apply Dimostrazione:

Check your beliefs. Do you hold any beliefs that you haven't verified through experience?
Three points of view. First, make a strong argument against your belief. Next, take a distant view of your belief (for example, as if you live in a different culture) and review it. Finally, find friends who can give you different perspectives.
Analyze the advertisements that affect you. Look at the advertisements in your favorite magazine and analyze the strategy and tactics they use. Find the advertisements that affect you most and find out why.
Find “anti-role models” to learn from. List the names of some people whose mistakes you want to avoid. Learn from them so that you won't encounter the same pitfalls.

Sensazione. Sensazione is "the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience". According to da Vinci, we can best practice Dimostrazione through our senses, particularly sight. That's why one of Leonardo's mottoes is saper vedere (knowing how to see) upon which he built his work in arts and science. Here are some ways to apply Sensazione:a
Write detailed description of an experience. For instance, describe your experience of watching a sunrise in your journal.
Learn how to describe a smell.
Learn to draw.
Listen to different sounds around you. Learn to listen to different intensity of sounds from the softest (e.g. your breathing) to the loudest (e.g. traffic).
Live in the moment. Practice mindfulness.
Sfumato. Sfumato is "a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty". An essential characteristic of da Vinci's genius is his ability to handle a sense of mystery. Here are two ways to apply Sfumato:

Befriend ambiguity. Find some situations in your past where you faced ambiguity (e.g. waiting to hear if your application for a job you wanted was successful). Describe how you felt.
Ask yourself questions that relate two opposites. For example, ask yourself how your happiest and saddest moments are related.
Practice the Socratic method. The goal with the Socratic method is to examine possibilities, and that is done by asking questions, not by giving answers. Socrates was known (and criticized) for asking questions to which he didn't have answers.[2] The key to using the Socratic method is to be humble. Don't assume that you or anyone knows anything for sure. Question every premise.

Arte/scienza. Arte/scienza is "the development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination". This is thinking with the “whole brain”. Mind mapping is a powerful method that can help you combine logic and imagination in your work and life. The end result of mapping should be a web-like structure of words and ideas that are somehow related in the writer's mind.

Corporalità. Corporalità is "the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise". Leonardo had amazing physical ability that complemented his genius in science and arts. Here are some ways to apply Corporalità:

Develop a program for physical fitness. Your program should include three things: flexibility exercises, strength training, and aerobic conditioning.
Develop body awareness. Study anatomy. Try yoga. Dance. Do some contact juggling. Whatever strengthens the connection between body and mind, go for it.
Cultivate ambidexterity. Leonardo could work with both his right and left hand and regularly switched between them. You can cultivate ambidexterity by using your nondominant hand for relatively simple tasks like brushing your teeth or eating your breakfast. Later you can use your nondominant hand for writing.
Connessione. Connessione is "a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena". This, in other words, is systems thinking. One main source of Leonardo's creativity is his ability to form new patterns through connections and combinations of different elements. Here are some ways to apply Connessione
Find ways to link things that seem unrelated. For example, you can try to find connections between a bear and the World Wide Web, or geology and the Mona Lisa (real name "La Joconde").
Imagine dialogues. Imagine talking with a role model to gain new perspective and insight. Or you can imagine how some role models would discuss your problem.
Think about how things originate. Take an object and think about what elements are involved in its creation and how.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What dreams may come..

I had a dream two nights ago that I can't stop thinking about. Has that ever happened to you? You know it's a dream..just a dream but it causes you to think about things you don't want to think about.

I try to keep negativity out of my life. I push it away. I don't want it around me. But sometimes it creeps up..and catches hold of me, and I can't get away from it. I can't run and I can't hide. It's there and it's holding me captive. I've got to deal with it.
My sister always says to me, "Don't let anyone steal your joy!"

I was going to end this post with, "I need to deal with this. I don't know how, but I need to deal with this." I went online to look for something that went with "Don't let anyone steal your joy." And I found this article.
I don't know what BBC radio seems to be some kind of radical site..but I really liked what this guy wrote. Basically he says, "When you feel a conflict, an anger, a sadness, a guilt, a remorse, a fear or any other negative emotion/energy..... meet it with unconditional love." Wow. Now that is radical!

Here is the full article. Take from it what you want.

Don't let anyone steal your joy!
That is a wonderfully enlightend statement made by a heartfelt man, Paul Berlin. He is a radio host for a national radio program.

I have listened to him for years and always remember hearing those words as his closing statement to the audience after each broadcast.

Remember, how we perceive these energies around us is of utmost importance to our future (reality). When we react to these perceptions in a negative way, we are learning a lesson..... otherwise, we would not react to them. The lesson is this. Don't allow your perceptions to manifest negative energy.

Energy is either Positive, Negative or Neutral. When you feel a conflict, an anger, a sadness, a guilt, a remorse, a fear or any other negative emotion/energy..... meet it with unconditional love. This means that you must not judge it, nor compare it to your past understandings, or even try to understand it (for this is applying your past "flawed thoughts" to the present, creating a new reality that is not in the Now, but to be a part of a future aspect in a lesson that will come back to you…. in order to teach you what you so desperately want to know - MANIFESTATION). This is how Karma works in our polarized dimension of duality.

Awareness to these situations is KEY. People ask me "How can you spread such fear?" Again, I must state that awareness is key. You cannot learn your lessons by avoiding them. You Ego, that unhealthy mind, must meet each and every lesson with love and forgiveness. How else can it save you from yourself? Here is your Salvation. Forgiveness IS that salvation from those perceptions you have continually reinforced.

I look at the NWO, our government, the murderous War in Iraq, the corruption and evil that pervades our world and I realize the importance of experiencing this journey. These things are our lessons brought to our awareness. Initially we must understand those lessons until that understanding is no longer necessary. It is our choice to take responsibility for those lessons and correct our errors. Most errors are errors in judgment. Judge not lest ye be judged.

This battlefield need not be in the mind. Although the perceptions may not change until enough of us have grown beyond the pettiness of this confusion, our mind should remain at peace. We must not react to this evil with negative energy. It will ONLY reinforce the lesson.

Thus, being aware of the lessons is key. Hiding behind innocence of ignorance will get us no where. See the World we have become, and look on it with love.... for everything is exactly as it should be... right here... right now.

Happiness IS a state of mind!

So don't let anyone (or anything) steal your Joy!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's Sunday!

My favorite day of the week!! Watched Perry Noble's video sermon this morning! Then I started downloading recipes for our bakery and restaurant! I downloaded over 100 of them! I ran to wal-mart and bought some protective sheets and a notebook to create our Tavern Cookbook! WOOHOOO!

Now, I am in the middle of making dinner. Steak, Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Corn, bread, Salad, and I made a homemade peanut butter silk pie for dessert! YUMMMMMYYY!
Even though I can't eat very much.. I still get so excited over food! I guess that will never change. I love good food!

Ally and Joe are in the living room doing math homework together. Lauren is drawing on the computer.

Nikki is playing at my feet.

Life is good.

My Lauren Elizabeth

My Lauren Elizabeth is 15 years old.
She is my baby.
She will ALWAYS be my baby.
She has promised to never get to old to hug and kiss me and give me lots of love and affection! (So far she's kept her word!)
Lauren is very smart!
Lauren is very beautifuL!
Lauren is an AMAZING artist!
Lauren is very creative.
Lauren is very unselfish.
Things are not important to her.
She likes to laugh.
She LOVES the show House and likes C.S.I too.
She makes animations as well as drawings.
She is a GOOD girl!
She has a heart that loves the Lord.
She is not a leader, nor a follower. She dances to the beat of her own drum and truly doesn't seem to care if people get her or not. She is who she is!
I love that about her. She has her own sense of style and although it's different from mine, I've always respected her for that. I love that she feels comfortable in her own skin. That's a great way to describe Lauren. She feels comfortable in her own skin.
Lauren is confidant!
She get's a +'s on her speeches she gives! A+'s!!!!!! WOAH!
She is giving a 15 minute speech this week and isn't sweating whatsover over it!?!?!
That's Amazing to me!
She is Amazing!
She's my baby.
She's My Lauren Elizabeth.
I love you darling! I am so proud of you!

This is her heart. It's who she is.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Please pray!


Please Pray for Crystal's dad, Dave. He has cancer and they found another tumor on his brain, and the one on his back is growing. Their family needs much prayer!
Thanks, Susan

Mike and his Amazing Ministry

My friend Karen came over for dinner last week. Among many other things, we talked about the Tavern. I shared with her about receiving our very first reservation ! It's for 200 people in June for a graduation party in the Tavern Yards! I was telling her how Joe and I don't know how to cater, but we are going to learn!

She sat there for a few minutes and said something like this..."Susan, there's a guy at Solid Rock Church that runs this little restaurant on Thursday nights. He cooks steaks and Half-chickens, and homemade Eggplant Parmesean.. He's fantastic. WEll he just asked me to pray for him that he finds a job. He owns his own catering ocmpany, but he's been putting so much time in the ministry, that he let his catering company fall off."
He owns his own catering company!!!!

GOD.. GOD.. YOU .. YOU ... I can't barely believe what you continue to bring to Joe and I. What an amazing testimony we have to tell... and we will shout it from the rooftops! It is you LORD!!

So anyways.. Karen said she was going to contact Mike and see if she was interested.
She called us later that night, and said she was so excited she had to call Mike that night. But he wasn't home.
She called us the next morning..she talked to Mike. He was very interested.
Mike called us. He feels this is an aswer to prayer.

Mike runs this little restaurant..on Thursday nights. SO Joe and I went to visit him at the SOlid Rock Cafe! We feel Mike is an answer to prayer!

Mike cooks meals for about 40 people. Most of them are narcotic anonymous members. They love eating Mike's food and hanging out at the cafe'. Mike has an amazing ministry. We heard these guys thank him for the food, and he resonded with, "I love you Man"
Mikes mom and dad help him out by taking orders and doing dishes while he cooks.
I am so proud of him. He loves the Lord so much. He loves cooking so much too.
We all will make a good team I think!

So.. we have someone to help us cater! Just..amazing.. isn't HE???

a beautiful act of kindess (for Emily and Karen)

I can't help but to share this beautiful event that has touched my heart. It might not seem like a big deal.. but to me, it was beautiful. I find it hard sometimes to be a "boss" at my restaurant. Because I love my employees, they have become friends and family to me, sometimes it's hard to correct mistakes, or say anything negative. We truly are like a family. We love and care for each other.
I came to work this week and saw a bag sitting on the counter in my waitress station. It was a bag from Liz Claiborne. It had a note attached to it. "Susan, Karen and I bought you these shirts to wear for our Christmas celebration. They are a gift. We love you. Emily"
My employees... bought me two shirts. I was so humbled. I was so heartsick. I felt so unworthy. It is hard for me to accept gifts. I don't know why..but it is. It makes me feel embarrassed. Why would my employees buy my work shirts for me????? I should be buying their shirts for them!!!!! I am the one who gives!!

But I stopped and I thought.. they are not my employees that bought my shirts. They are my friends.
My tears flowed. I feel so unworthy. Why would anybody love me? Especially the people that work with me? I don't deserve their goodness and kindness. I am meant to is hard for me to receive. It is really hard for me.
Emily and touched my heart in a HUGE way! That was a beautiful act of kindness you showed to me! That was Jesus! I love you both so very much. You are a gift from God to me. Thank you. Your friend, Susan

Christmas in Volant!

Today is Christmas in Volant! It's the the celebration that begins the Christmas season in Volant, Pa. Each shop decorates their stores so beautifully and are filled with Christmas items that are hard to resist! Joe made homecooked Chicken-n-Biscuits, Pot Roast, and Oven-roasted Turkey. For dessert we made Pumpkin Pie and Coconut Cream Pie and Of course the Blackberry Cobbler! If you are in the area come by and see us! We are going to fill your bellies with wonderful treats today!
I hope you have a magical day today! I hope God pours love and joy and peace into your hearts and you feel fulfilled with His love! I hope you get lots of smiles and are able to smile in return! Let Jesus's love shine!
In Jesus's Name, Susan L. Hougelman
(The daughter of a King)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the
world. It beats money and power and
influence. It is no more or less
than faith in action."
- Henry Chester


I am off today!! *YEAH*
My kids are sick and home from school today. *BOO*

But it is wonderful that I can be at home with them while they are sick. Poor babies!
Ally is laying in bed with me and she has asked if she can make a guest blog post!

So here's Ally. *Be good Ally!!*

Hello World!
I'm sick today :(... Home from school :) (yay!) Usually when I wake up I come downstairs, and see my mom laying in bed on her laptop writing on her blog. I find some of her blogposts interesting, so I decide to read what she has to say :) I asked her if I could write a blogpost, and of course.. she said yes! (whoohoo)
My mom and I have many similarities. I love writing as much as she does. I can explain things much better through writing. So I thought it might be funny if I shared with you an inncodent that happened to me yesterday with my puppy Nikki.
I stayed home from school yesterday too, my throat has been so sore and I have the worst headache ever! :( When I'm sick, I usually enjoy taking a nice, relaxing bubble bath. Well... Since my mom was at work, and my sister Lauren was at school. I was home alone.. well, not actually alone, alone. My dog Nikki (Nixon) was there by my side. everywhere I went. She was there.. This started to get REALLY annoying. I was sick, I didn't feel good, and I had a little dog bugging me. (ughh) So back to the bubble bath. I lit some good ole' Yankee Candles and jumped into the relaxing bubble bath. OF COURSE. Nikki ran into the bathroom and just sat down by the tub and watched me. THEN... Nikki started to whimper, and whimper, and cry, and cry!! I was getting so frustrated. "NIKKI, LEAVE ME ALONEEEEEE!!!" I shouted. But that didnt help, she still kept crying. I tried to ingore her by putting my ears under the water, and closing my eyes. About 5 minutes later a big THUMP hit my stomach. I opened my eyes and Nikki was standing right on my stomach. I figured she didn't realize if she took another step, she would land right in the water, so I picked her up, and took her out of the bathtub.. Sure enough, she jumped right back in! This time, she landed right in the water. I thought she was going to start panicking, but I was wrong! She started to swim around the tub, she seemed like she was enjoying it!
She swam for about 30 seconds and I said "Nikki, thats enough! GET OUT!" So as I went to pick her up... SHE GROWLED AT ME! She wanted to keep swimming! I laughed to myself, but then my throat started feeling worse and I needed some privacy. So I took her out once again, and I wouldn't let her back in. She started to cry and cry and even tried getting back into the tub... I think I was going to be the one crying.
So I shut the shower curtain, and waited for the crying to stop. WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE?!?!? Finally, the crying stopped, and I was relieved. So I closed my eyes, and soaked in a nice, hot, relaxing bubble bath. all to myself :)
I always think about this everytime I watch my mom write a blogpost. I think about how awesome she is, and every little word she says really means something to me. When she writes about me, my sister, my dad. Jesus Christ, The Tavern. It makes me so proud to have a wonderfull mom like her. :) (AWEEE) <3 HAHA. I believe her blog will be a keepsake that my sister and I will have in the future.. When my mom is no longer with us. I belive her blog will be a story, that I will read every single day when I'm older and away from her. CONTINUE TO WRITE MOM!!! CONTINUE "A PORTHOLE INTO MY SOUL" FOREVER!! :)
Ally :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Pray for President Obama. Pray for our country. Pray for each other. Pray that God heals us and forgives us for our sins. God hears our prayers.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV)

God's Love

My sister Dianna is a beautiful woman. She is so very intelligent, and witty and kind hearted. She is clever. She is giving, of her time, her posessions, her heart, her life. She is beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside.

My sister Dianna has been hurt so deeply by her past, so deeply within her soul, that it causes her to feel rejected and unloveable.She doesn't feel worthy of love. She is scarred. Because of this she pushes people away so they can not hurt her. Because the hurt of rejection is so very painful, it is hard to bear. Because of this, she has incredibly strong emotions that are like tidal waves. Some are more calm then others. Some wreck havoc in her life. She can't control these waves all of the time. It causes sadness in her heart, that I'd give just about anything to take away.

It breaks my heart for my sister, because she can not see herself the way God sees her. She is his child. His baby girl. His princess. God thinks she is so beautiful and delightful and so very worthy of His Love. It's not her actions that He loves. She doesn't have to do anything. He loves her because she is his daughter. He loves her because of who she is, not what she does. It's the same way we love our children. Think when they were born, they didn't have to smile at us, they didn't have to do anything to gain our love, We just fell deeply, head over heels in love with them. Our love is unconditional. God's love is a million times stronger for us.

He WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, REJECT YOU DIANNA! No matter what you do, what you think, what you say, how unworthy you feel.. HE WILL NEVER REJECT YOU!!! And my beautiful sister, God's love is all you really need. We all want the love of friends and family. That is something we must earn. Sometimes it is given freely, but unfortunately sometimes it is not..BUT THE LOVE OF GOD, doesn't have to be earned. It is given to us freely and can never be taken away. AND.. It is really all we need. You know that. Because you have CHrist in your heart.

Dianna, and anyone else who has felt lonely, rejected, unloveable, or just insecure. Look in the mirror, but see yourself the way God sees you this time. You are beautiful. You are a supermodel, a ballerina, a star... honestly. God sees you that way. YOU ARE THAT BEAUTIFUL!!! Now.. believe it. See yourself that way too.
Then go out and change the world. : ) Peace to you ALL MY SISTERS. I love you with the love of Christ! That is AMAZING LOVE!!! Susan

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Free Coffee at Starbucks if you Vote Today!

The Leadership America Needs

by Rick Warren

America needs leadership. As we head into one of the most talked-about elections in American history, we’ve heard about a lot of different issues. But we’ve talked very little about one of the defining issues of elected government – leadership.

I don’t know a lot about politics. But I do know a lot about leadership. I’ve been studying leadership for 35 years. I’ve read hundreds of books about it. I’ve been training leaders for 28 years. Saddleback teams have trained well over 500,000 leaders in business, government, and the church in 160 countries in the last 28 years.

Sure, I’ve been a leader. But the biggest reason I know something about leadership is the Bible. It is the greatest book ever written on leadership. The kind of leadership America needs right now is the kind of leadership God blesses. The Bible says a lot about the kind of leadership God blesses, but let’s focus on three primary characteristics: integrity, humility, and generosity. If you read the last issue of the Toolbox, you’ll recognize those three characteristics. In the last issue, I focused on the need to develop those characteristics when we find success in our ministries. This time, I want to look at the upcoming U.S. election through the lens of those characteristics.

1. God blesses leaders who live with integrity.

The Message paraphrase says, “Love and truth form a good leader. Sound leadership is founded on loving integrity” (Proverbs 20:28).Above all else, a leader needs his or her credibility. If you have no credibility, you have no trust. If you have no trust, you have no leadership. All leadership is built on trust. If people trust you, they follow you. If they don’t trust you, they don’t follow you.

Where do leaders get that trust? All trust comes from integrity. All of our leaders used to be known for integrity. We talk about the honesty of Abe Lincoln. Today, many leaders are much more interested in image than they are in integrity. Image is what people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what you are in the dark.

Some people say that it doesn’t really matter what a leader does in his private life. It matters if you want God’s blessing. What you do in your private life always affects your public life. In fact, that’s the definition of integrity – your public and private life is the same.

Integrity does not mean perfection because nobody’s perfect. God has never used a perfect person – except Jesus. God only uses imperfect people. You don’t have to be perfect to have integrity. You have to be honest.

We don’t need more visionaries in America. We don’t need more smart leaders. We need leaders with character. We need leaders who aren’t interested in image, but are willing to say: “What you see is what you get.”

2. God blesses leaders who serve with humility.

Jesus gave us a whole new standard for leadership. In Mark 10:43b (NLT) Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”

Jesus said you measure a leader’s effectiveness not by how many people serve him, but by how many are served by him. Most people genuinely start off wanting to make a difference with their lives – that includes government leaders. But slowly service becomes serve us. It becomes how do I feather my nest? How do I consolidate my power? How do I get re-elected? How do I get people to serve me instead of them being served by me?

Why is humility important? The Bible says in James 4:6b (NIV), “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Grace comes through humility, and disgrace comes through pride. The fundamental problem with pride is that it makes everything all about us. It’s the root of every other problem in our lives – and it’s the antithesis to good leadership.

The Bible tells us that God opposes the proud. That means every time a leader thinks he’s “hot stuff,” God opposes him. Every time. And when God opposes a leader, he’ll lose the battle. Every time. The Bible says be humble or you’ll stumble.

We need leaders in our country who’ll be humble.

3. God blesses leaders who share generously.

Generosity matters to God because it makes us like him. Everything you have is because of the generosity of God. You would have nothing if it weren’t for the generosity of God. You cannot say I’m a loving person and not be a generous person. They are synonymous. Generosity is love in action.

Psalm 112:9 discusses generous leaders: “They give generously to those in need. So their good deeds will never be forgotten. They will have influence and honor.”If you want to be a leader of influence and honor, you must learn the principle of generosity.

Jesus said it like this: “Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater”(Luke 12:48b TLB). A few months back when I interviewed John McCain and Barack Obama, I talked to them about this. America has been the most blessed nation in the world. I believe we have to be a blessing to other people. It is our responsibility. We have not been blessed just so we can enjoy it. We have been blessed to bless the rest of the world. We need leaders who understand the principle of generosity – we’re blessed to be a blessing to others.

We need to be generous with our money, but we also need to be generous with our influence as well. The kind of leader we need for America will do what Proverbs 31: 8-9 says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and the helpless, and see that they get justice.”We need a leader in America who sees how much we’ve been blessed as a country and wants to use our influence to speak for those who have none.

The purpose of influence is not to build one person – or one nation’s power – it’s to speak up for those who have no influence. We are to judge our leaders on what they do with the influence they are given.

Tomorrow we’ll have an opportunity to pick a whole slate of leaders in our country. I’m not just talking about the presidency. We’ll have a chance to pick local, state, and national leaders. How can we prepare for that election?

First, we need to pray, and we need to encourage others to pray. I hope you’ve been doing this already. Pray for the candidates. Pray for yourself. Ask God for wisdom.

Second, check the candidates out. Check out their character and competence. Know where they stand on the issues that are important to you as a Christian.

Then you need to vote. And make sure as many of your church members as possible get out and vote. If you don’t vote, you are giving up the privilege that people died to make possible. I’ve been all around the world. There are many places around the world where the people would die to have the freedom to vote. We need to take advantage of the freedom we have.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Tavern Blog!

Sweet! I finally got our Tavern Blog set up today. It's not finished yet, but if you get the chance check it out! Tommorow I will write more about the journey that God has taken us the Tavern and also add some links to other New Wilmington web sites. I LOVE BLOGGING!

My loves..

Found this forgotten picture in my cache'. This was from Joe's birthday in July. I love these three beautiful individual people. Together we make an awesome family! We are much better together..than we are apart!

Spreadin' the Jackie!!!!

So I've been thinking soooooo much..trying to spread the love! (See previous post on spreadin' the love) Honestly..I've been trying...I couldn't find anyone to be a blessing too. I was going to pay for someone's meal at my restaurant..I've done this before..feeling God's nudge.. I write "Paid in Full" and then tell them someone paid for their meal.. People LOVE it!! They will probably always remember it. That's so Jesus isn't it?? It's so much fun.. I love to see people's them look around..wondering who on earth paid for their meal! What a great feeling!
But anyways..I've been looking..I want to pass on the blessings! Well, I finally discovered a way to spread the love, last night (at about 4:00 in the morning!) (I guess that makes it today and not last night!)
Jackie Nicklas (Well that's her maiden name) used to go to my church. She also worked for me for a summer. She's so sweet. I love her inner beauty so very much. She blogs..actually she Xanga's and I have read her Xanga for geez..probably a few years! I don't read it daily..maybe just once a month or every other see how she's doing. She's good at sharing her heart. Well, Jackie got married a few months ago, and she moved to Italy with her husband, who is a graduate student.
I'm thinking..woah..that is so cool. She's living in Italy..that is an amazing adventure and huge blessing!
But Jackie is really homesick. You can just feel it in her Xanga posts... She misses American food. I'm going to send her a care package!!!! I haven't talked to Jackie since she worked for me. It's been ...about two or three years now! So she will think it's really, really random that I would send her a package...But isn't that what it's all about! A RANDOM act of kindness!!
haha!! I love this!!!!! I am going to go shopping this weekend and send it out to her next week! She will get it in time for Thanksgiving! Click on the link to read about Jackie and her experiences and woes in Italy! If you can think of anything fun that I could add in this care package..feel free to let me know!! Give me some ideas!!! Here is Jackies Xanga site address. (For some reason I can not get my links to work!!!) grrr.
Just copy and paste this into your browser!


listening to..

Gravity! I love this song!! I've always liked John Mayer but all of a sudden I'm really diggin' his music! hmmm...interesting!

Good Morning!!

I couldn't sleep last night... AGAIN! I was up all night. This is happening a lot to me lately! My mind is a good way! I have so many thoughts and ideas and the excitement inside me is MASSIVE!! Last night, I looked up recipes for baked goods. I am going to get a notebook together and start printing out my favorite recipes for the restaurant/bakery! It's getting closer! It happens this month!!!!! This is our last month in Volant. This is our last month of being the owners of the Neshannock Creek Inn.
Our lives are about to change..drastically!!!! This is such an adrenaline rush!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

P.S. I am off today. I am spending the day catching up on emails and blogs. Today I am creating the Tavern on the square Blog! I want to publicly keep track of our journey! I also created an email address for people to send us their recipes!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

On our way to school this week, we saw a horse running on the road in the opposite direction which we were driving. The horse had it's reigns and stuff on, so we figured it must have escaped from a buggy. A police car was following the horse with it's lights on. I said, "oh poor horse.." Lauren said, "What???? Poor horse?? That horse is probably having the time of his life...screaming..catch me..go ahead try to catch me cops!!!!" I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe!! Lauren was probably right!!

My weekend!

Friday morning, I sat down and talked to Frank and Darlinda from our local newspaper. We talked for about two hours about the Tavern, our church plant, pastoring, Christianity, people in general and a whole lot more!! Friday afternoon Ally and I stopped at The Pointe's ribbon cutting ceremony and congratulated Suzy and Dean Ligo on their accomplishment! Then we headed over to the Wilmington Greyhound football game and watched the Hounds get hammered by the Gremlins.. was their first loss of the season. Afterwards we went out with friends to Rachaels Roadhouse! Joe and I got home after 1:00 am and I was up at 6:00 am cleaning the house! I couldn't stand the messiness any longer! Then I went grocery shopping at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday...picked Ally up at her girlfriends house in New Wilmington and took her home and then went to work and worked 10 hours!!! Whew! Sunday... We had a huge breakfast in the morning! Then we all helped finish cleaning the house and went to visit Joe's dad. We went out to dinner at the Hickory Grille afterwards. Oh..before we went to visit Joe's Dad, we stopped at the Tavern to unload a new oven that we bought from Dunkin' Donuts!
It's been a whirlwind weekend! I feel so fulfilled : )

Cheeseman's Fright Farm!

Thursday night we took the kids to Cheeseman's Fright Farm in Portersville! WOAH! That was soooo scary and soooo much fun!! We had such a great time! Ally got put in a coffin...I was forced to go through a dark maze alone... and we all screamed ALOT!!! We can't wait to go again next year! I highly recommend Cheesemans' Fright Farm unless you are a scaredy cat!!