Whole Rai


Recently I served dinner and just before I sat down, as usual, I grabbed my phone to snap a quick picture. There were a couple of groans letting me know that my husband and daughter weren’t exactly thrilled that I was holding them up from chowing down because I thought that the food “looked so beautiful”. Herschel told me I need to start a blog for all of my food pictures, so I did! It’s about much more than food. It’s about Whole Life, or whole living. Our body, mind, and spirit. Come check it out at wholerai.com

Whole Rai

Morning beauty


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This is the morning view from a walk earlier this week.

The way the colors changed so drastically within minutes was mesmerizing! This sequence of photos was taken in a three minute span.

I’m really surprised I didn’t fall while I was trying to pump those arms and turn around my body for another great view.

Aren’t sunrises just the best?


Attitude, Photography
Bluebonnets are here!

Bluebonnets are here!

Spring is a great time of year. Renewal and new growth in nature reminds me that we are all capable of coming from a dreary season of life to a time of blooming and beauty.

Our neighborhood walking path was dotted with beautiful bluebonnets and I drank in the loveliness of these flowers as I exercised outside this morning.


I’m grateful to be able to walk around the neighborhood. Thankful for a body that’s in motion today!


Depending on your viewpoint, it can look as if the bluebonnets go on endlessly.

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God’s glory in my backyard

God, Photography


This morning I had a worship service in my car, which moved to my backyard. I was suppressing a huge grin as I drove home from early morning school carpool. I couldn’t wait to get home and photograph the beautiful sunrise! I decided to take the long way home where most of the drive was in a school zone so that I was forced to drive really slow and would have the best view of the sunrise.

I don’t know if you believe this or not, but I think everything we do can be worship if our heart is pointing to God. Think about it for a second.

Olympian Eric Liddell said that when he ran, he felt the pleasure of God. We too, can feel the pleasure and presence of God in our daily activities.

Obviously our activities that are sin will not be worship of God, but worship of ourselves and our pleasures.

This morning in the brisk fifty degree air, I snapped multiple pictures and smiled at God’s glory in the sky. These photographs represent worship of God as Creative Artist.

Sunrise, sunset

Photography, Uncategorized


These are some of the breathtaking horizons from our sandy Christmas in Florida. I can’t help it…I get totally giddy and delighted when I see beautiful colors in the sky!

African wall photos-I just can’t get enough!



After blogging for about a year and a half, I just discovered this handy little tool that you see above. It’s so fun! You insert pictures and it places them in order for you. I can’t get enough and wanted to show you some pictures that we’re considering framing for the living room.

If you are new to Coffee with Christine, then I need to tell you that our family loves Africa. We especially love African people. We lived in central Nigeria for a couple of years and grew to love some great Nigerian people. We learned a lot from them and appreciate many things about Nigerian culture. More about that another time. 🙂

The pics above are all from Kenya, when Danielle and I went to the Kibera slum in Nairobi in June.

Blue Skies

Attitude, Photography


When you look at this picture, what do you see? A stunning morning sky, or power lines; an eye sore? I can’t help but see beautiful vivid blue as a background with silvery white clouds. I am convinced that if we are looking for beauty, we will see it. We can focus on the positive in other people, our situations and hardships, and in nature, or we can hone in on the negative.


Sometimes a perspective shift is all it takes to see things differently. This view is still from my backyard, but you’re seeing more of the beautiful sky. I live in a suburban area that is mostly a developed concrete jungle. You really have to look for beauty in nature and you must be intentional. Otherwise you’ll mostly notice stores and shopping centers. What do you want to see today? Focus on beauty in people and nature, and you will see more of it.

A friend was telling me about one of her neighbors visiting with her in the front yard. Her young daughter gasped with delight as she pointed out a beautiful rainbow in the distant sky. The pessimistic neighbor scoffed and said, “Heck, I can see a rainbow anytime I want with a water hose.” This perfectly illustrates how much our perspective matters. We can appreciate simple beauty in life, and intentionally look for it. Or we can be pessimistic and ridicule those who see the brighter side of things. Which one will you be today?

Who else?

Photography, Uncategorized

Who else but God could show up at the dawn in my suburban neighborhood like this:

This was the view from my back door as I entered my garage a couple of mornings ago. I was darting into my car to grab something and I gasped at this kind of beauty that declares the glory of God!

A minute later the colors had morphed a little- what a great Artist God is!

A day on the farm pictures

Photography, Uncategorized

This weekend we got to experience a unique and fun birthday party….on the farm. I guess you could call it a funny farm, especially considering the group of us there. It was a group of our daughter’s friends and a few of us chaperoning adults. (We adults are the funny farm part!) My friend Lynette and I jumped on the mule (kind of like a go-cart for the farm grounds) and snapped pictures like crazy.

Evening light

Everyone should have at least one friend that makes you laugh till you cry….even more than one would be better! Someone that you can cry with and pray with, tell your insecurities and know that she won’t tell.

Like my mom always said: If you want that kind of friend, you need to be that kind of friend.

A horrible picture of me, but you get the idea….we were acting like silly teenagers. My daughter has told me that sometimes we act as immature as her and her fourteen year old friends. It’s true.

Barbed wire in the foreground. This is my favorite kind of picture.

Photo by Lynette….beautiful

We were hilarious wanna-be photographers while we rode around on the mule. Every 20 seconds or so, one of us would see something beautiful, we’d have to stop, take 10 or more pictures, then we’d go again.


Perimeter fence, with and without teenagers!

Birthday party girls! Photo by Lynette

Little sisters can be a joy. Photo by Raven

Lovely birthday girl glows!

The scenery at this farm is as beautiful and picturesque as it looks.


She may be mad at me for posting this, but I’m hoping the world’s most unflattering picture of me earlier in this post will redeem me. This picture is so great because you can see the happiness on her face. Swinging just makes you feel happy, doesn’t it?

A week of milestones and red velvet cake

food, Parenting

Here’s a sneak peek!

It’s a bittersweet week of milestones in our family. Our fourteen-year-old daughter had her braces removed.

Here she is happy to show her newly smoooooth teeth

This is a sarcastic “I’m smiling, so hurry up and get the camera out of my face” look. Note that she is much happier and not as sarcastic with her braces off in the first photo.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal?” Well, it’s a milestone. Our baby is entering high school in a few short weeks. She’s too tall at 5’11” to sit on our laps for over five minutes, she doesn’t need her mommy to do ponytails anymore, she makes her own breakfast, does her own laundry, and now has teeth without braces. Which only accentuates to me how beautiful she is. I already knew that, but for some reason when I looked at her without braces the day that we left the orthodontist, I got teary each time. I was suddenly jarred to this reality: She is growing up. Can you tell I’m sad?

It’s a good thing, I know, and I celebrate with her all of the big and little things about growing up. But I’m still a little sad.

Milestone number two: Our son turned twenty years old. How did that happen??? He is passionate and funny. He’s a deep thinking intellectual and philosophical type who loves to debate. He loves people and is very into music. He’s also a good photographer. Unfortunately, because he’s twenty, he isn’t here too much lately. Since our son barely sat still for his birthday pizza lunch today, I only got a picture of the pizza. Again, I’m a little sad!

Christian’s birthday lunch. Sadly, no birthday pic of Christian until we have his celebration dinner in a few weeks when he heads off to college.

However, we took some great pics of the siblings for Father’s Day last month.

Sadique, Christian, and Danielle

Overall, I think having these joyful milestones is cause to celebrate. Knowing that our son is no longer a teenager and going to college soon, coupled with braces removed and high school starting, makes me a little melancholy. I think that’s pretty normal, and I promise to journal all of the really gross sniffly parts in my private journal so you don’t have to see all of that.

Sadique is our son for the summer and holidays. He was classmates with Christian when they were in junior high in Nigeria. He also had a birthday recently, so this week we made a red velvet cake. He was eager to enjoy it because the last time he’d had a cake for his birthday was eleven years ago. (since he’s lived away in boarding schools for the past decade or so)

Happy Birthday Sadique!

Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

Sooooo moist!

I give this recipe 5 stars. It’s very moist, rich, and calorie-laden. Here’s the scoop if you want to try it.

Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Yes, I made up the name. Credit goes to our previous neighbor, Lisa Brown, who originally gave me this recipe. I just swapped out red velvet cake mix for chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350.

1 box red velvet cake mix

1 small chocolate instant pudding mix

4 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup water

8 oz sour cream

6 oz mini chocolate chip morsels

Blend dry ingredients in large bowl. Add oil and water to dry ingredients and mix well. Add eggs, stir in sour cream & chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured pan(s), and bake according to times specified on cake mix box. You can use bundt, circle pans, or 9 x 13; use whatever you prefer.

I used 8 inch circular pans & baked for about 35 minutes, then cooled 10 minutes and inverted to remove from pan. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

In medium bowl, cream together butter & cream cheese. Blend in vanilla and gradually add powdered sugar, then frost cake.