One Real Woman: Your Mess is Mine


I have always loved the image that we are all “beautiful messes” …that there is beauty in our imperfections and in our faults. Yet, I don’t think this displays the full picture. We’re not supposed to be messes. Yes, we are sinful people that sure make a big mess of things and have messy stuff in our lives, but this was never the intention. This is not the end of the story. The real beauty is in something else. Continue reading “One Real Woman: Your Mess is Mine”

La Cucina: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

La Cucina

Welcome to our Saturday Special:

La Cucina

Each Saturday for the month of September, the Authentic Grace blog will be featuring recipes from some of our Grace Chapel women.  Enjoy!

 Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


For complete recipe and others like it, you can visit


for the crust:

3/4 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for the filling:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice*(see note)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, slightly beaten


to make the crust:

Line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor or blender, crush crackers until fine. Add melted butter and process till combined.

Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake in the oven for 7 minutes.

to make the filling:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese for 30 seconds until creamy.

Add sugar and mix well.

Add pumpkin and mix in well.

Add vanilla, flour, pumpkin spice and salt. Mix well.

Add eggs and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

Pour the filling over the baked crust. Tap the pan against the counter to release the air and get rid off air bubbles on the surface.

Bake the cheesecake for 35 to 38 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit in room temperature until completely cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 4 hours. The longer the better.

Remove the cheesecake from the pan. Slice and serve.

Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 2 days, in an air-tight container.


If desired, top the bars with whipped cream, a dash of ground cloves and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

*don’t have Pumpkin Spice on-hand?  You can make it from ingredients you may already have!

Ingredients for homemade Pumpkin Spice

  • 3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Do YOU have a favorite Pumpkin Recipe?  Share it with us!

Email it to THIS EMAIL and we can share it next week!!

One Real Woman: Engineering & Design


In 2014 I graduated from OSU and accepted a job in Medford, Oregon.  I was so excited because I thought that I would finally get a chance to settle down after moving around every six months during college internships.  Medford was not too long of a drive from my family and I was working in aviation, which was what I wanted to do with my degree.  I felt like I had a plan and a direction for my life; however, I quickly learned that God’s plan for the next year of my life would be different than mine. Continue reading “One Real Woman: Engineering & Design”

La Cucina: Sweet & Savory Bacon-Wrapped Italian Plums

La Cucina

Welcome to our Saturday Special:

La Cucina

Each Saturday for the month of September, the Authentic Grace blog will be featuring recipes from some of our Grace Chapel women.  Enjoy!

 Sweet & Savory Bacon-Wrapped Italian Plums


contribution by:  Danae Allen

We hosted a family birthday dinner last week and I (thanks to Labor Day) had the day off. I was invited to make the appetizer for our gathering. We have an abundance of Italian plums this late summer from the old tree at the bottom of our field and though I could eat them by themselves all day long, I wanted to use them in a creative sweet/savory dish. Lately, I’ve done bacon-wrapped dates for appetizers when the family hangs together, and so I went searching for a similar recipe using plums. Here is what I found:

Really Amazing Inspirational Recipe

And here’s what I did with it:

Sweet & Savory Bacon-Wrapped Italian Plums (served 7 bacon-crazed Allen-people)

15-20 Italian plums, sliced almost completely through and pitted
1/4 – 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese
15-20 strips bacon, cooked
fresh rosemary, about 30-45 leaves

If you have the grill hot, place the plums fruit side-down and grill for 1-2 minutes until the juices start running. If you aren’t using the grill, just place them fruit side-down in a sauté pan and cook over low-medium heat until they soften a bit and get juicy. You may have to do them in stages if you have a lot of plums to use.


Remove them from the pan and allow to cool for a minute. Begin filling the crevice with gorgonzola – I used about a teaspoon of cheese per plum.


Add 2-3 leaves of fresh rosemary and close the plums. Finish by wrapping with a slice of cooked bacon. Serve immediately.


danaeSooooo…AG’s very own Danae REALLY wanted to post this delicious recipe today…We just couldn’t say no!  YUM!!

Danae loves cooking and can’t wait for the day when she has more time to spend in the kitchen.  This post first appeared on her personal blog:

One Real Woman: Deliverer


Germany was a country devastated  by a cruel war, an evil leader, and a demonic regime. My mother survived the horrors of the Nazi Germany, but not without its deep affects upon her life, her family torn apart during and after the war. It was into this environment of demonic oppression and generational sin that I was born.

I have very little memory of my early years of life, few pictures, no shared stories of what I was like as a baby or child. My mother left me in the care of my grandmother at 10 months old. I don’t know who my father was. I did not see my mother again at until the age of 5 1/2, when I came to the United States with my grandmother and uncle. Two years later my grandmother died of cancer, a serious loss to me. I became a US citizen at age 10, only to move to England shortly thereafter, and once again I saw my homeland. These were a difficult 3 years: family hardships, traumatic events, and more confusion about my life.

By eighth grade, I was back in the USA, and life began to be filled with night terrors of war and an evil presence. I had many doubts about who I was since I knew nothing about my history, my father, or why my mother left me in Germany. I had a continuous feeling that I was a “bad person” and deserved death. I say all this to give you some understanding of the roots that dominated my life for the next 15+ years.

Abandonment fears, survivor’s guilt, a deep lack of trust and suspicion of people, no sense of identity or destiny, and much mental oppression took their toll on my mental health. The story is too long to tell of the depression, demonic affliction,  mental breakdowns, counseling, and the struggle it was to live a “normal” life.

God, in His mercy and loving kindness, called to me in my darkness and brokenness. Not knowing anything about Him, I asked Jesus into my life at age 21.


During the next few years God worked in my life to bring deliverance, and tremendous healing of my distorted thinking, fears, family curses, occult influences and strongholds.  I learned to fight against the lies and schemes of the evil one and to protect my mind from attack and oppression.  As my relationship deepened with God, I learned to invite the work of the Holy Spirit to be a part of my walk, talk, and prayer times with the Lord. Many times I cried out, called out, and inquired of Him for answers, wisdom, and guidance of how to do life and relationships. In His great faithfulness, He always answered in some way.

He showed me my purpose as a mother, wife, friend, and follower of Christ. He led me to be a prayer minister helping others to heal and be set free just as He did for me. In time, I was called to establish and administrate a non-profit healing prayer ministry. For 16 years I worked as director of Desert Gardens training and equipping others in prayer ministry, teaching classes for personal growth and spiritual development and doing prayer/ counseling for individuals and married couples.

Although I dissolved Desert Gardens and retired before our move, my gifting, skills, and purpose have not changed completely. God stills calls me to pray for healing, protection from the schemes and wiles of the evil one for my family, friends and those He would ask me to minister to. There are still days I need to call upon the Lord for Godly reminders of who I am in Him, how much He loves me, or discernment and wisdom to rebuke a harassing evil spirit.  My personal growth in the Lord doesn’t stop here, nor does my desire for the ongoing work and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  I still seek to walk in the fruit of the Spirit, His healing power, and to set the captives free.  May my life be an ongoing testimony of His great love, faithfulness, freedom, and the joy and peace we have in Christ Jesus.

bridgetIn Summer 2013 after Bridget Shank retired, she and her husband Brian left their long-time home and church community of friends in California. They felt called to move to Wilsonville to be by their son, his wife, and their 3 grandsons. Bridget found a new season in life, new adventures, and new purposes into which God leads her. They have been at Grace Chapel for 2 and 1/2 years and believe they are in the right place for this season of their life.