Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Found God in Coffee...

I LOVE coffee.

Regular coffee (with cream)... flavored coffee... hot coffee... lukewarm coffee... ANY coffee...! I'll make my own coffee - get "good" coffee - drink vending machine coffee. I just love it all.

My favorite coffee shop is a local spot called Kidd Coffee; it's my happy place-- the place with the GOOD coffee. A large Almond Joy (expresso, steamed milk, coconut flavoring, almond flavoring, and mocha) or a Nutty Irishman (expresso, steamed milk, irish cream, and hazelnut flavoring) is the BEST way to start my day.

I've designed my own coffee cups - one with photos of my kids, one with pictures of my favorite TV show (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), one with photos from my favorite book (Twilight), and one with a collage of my dog, Mick. The cup really doesn't matter - it's the coffee that I love - but I do love having a fun cup to drink from.

I found this wonderful story about life and coffee at I hope you enjoy it as much I did. :)

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just MAKE the best of everything.

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
Psalm 24:1

Our quality of life is not determined by the stuff we have, the money we've piled, or the size of our house, car, or wardrobe. The quality of our life is determined by our relationship with God, our acceptance of Jesus, and our relationships with others.

Don't make the cup more important than the coffee inside.
Enjoy the coffee.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God & Tools

When I was a kid, my mom bought my dad a lathe at an antique shop. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this was a gigantic monster of a machine that is supposed to help a carpenter shape table legs-- the theory being that my dad could make some table tops (the easy part) and use this $200+ hunk of metal to create the detailed legs (the harder part).

That lathe sat UNUSED in our garage for several years... before my parents finally sold it at a garage sale.... they probably should have dumped it much earlier, but they clung to the thought that SOMEDAY... Dad would use it.

Our church just completed a month-long study on a book by Kerry & Chris Shook called One Month To Live." If you only had 30 days left on earth, what would you do? How would your behavior change? And WHY aren't you doing that already?

One of the chapters talks about people that bug you - and equates those people to different types of tools:
  • The HAMMERS - the ones who are always forcing their way and railroading everyone into their way of thinking.
  • The SKILL SAWS - who know just the thing to say that cuts to the quick and hurts feelings.
  • The VISE GRIPS - the needy ones who ignore social boundaries and suck the energy right out of you with their issues and drama.
  • The GRINDERS - people whose emotions are always on the edge - ready to explode at the slightest infraction.
  • The AXES - who tear down the hopes and dreams of others with their negative attitude and comments
  • The HATCHETS - who hang on to those o-l-d grudges... forever!!
  • The PUTTY People - the ones with no spine, who agree with everything and never stand up for themselves nor anyone else. These people can't say no, and you never know what they are thinking because they can't think for themselves.
It'd be easy to think, CHUCK 'EM! These tools are defective! Irritating! Broken! Why should I keep hanging around these tools in the shed when they are such drainers???! Just like Dad's lathe, I should have dumped them a long time ago...! However, we're not talking an old bucket of toxic chemicals - these are just the regular tools in the shed...

God hasn't placed these "sandpaper" people in your life just to annoy you. One of the reasons He may have gifted you with a Vise or a Hammer-friend is to help you learn to deal with all types of people AND... to maybe point out one of your own tool-type behaviors.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)

It's not our job to judge these people - or point out how they are such a tool... Rather our job is to serve as a healing agent... To use the gifts we have been blessed with to help others and to accommodate others' needs. We cannot point out all of the faults of others all the while ignoring our own quirks and issues. I can be such a tool sometimes... a little hammer mixed with a tiny bit of hatchet with some grinder moments mixed in. I'm just thankful that the other tools in the shed overlook (or just resign themselves to dealing with) my quirks and continue to be my friend.

What tools are in your life? How can you be the best possible friend to them?

And what friends are you SO THANKFUL for because they put up with you and your own tool-type behaviors...?

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