COFFEE: The Life-Blood Of Our Spirit

It has to be written in all caps, doesn’t it? Because that’s what it does to us — finds us in our lowercase, sunken state and helps us to take command our lives, bold and confident.

I recently had to go several months without enjoying the comforting touch of a warm coffee mug in the cool morning. With a stomach so inflamed and reflux so ready to emerge,  I had to put the coffee bean grinder to rest. But this morning (on International Coffee Day, she says very poetically), I am cherishing a rich, velvety cup. (If you’re interested in how I overcame digestive inflammation and reflux alternatively, read the piece published next week in which I explore that adventure.)

So, on this morning, we celebrate; we celebrate life-filled mornings, the aroma of coffee filtering through the house, and the promise of another day. And coffee isn’t the only guest I invited to this party. Here are 6 unique, unexpected coffee-inspired products that broaden coffee’s place in our lives (who knew it could be any more influential, right?):

Presse Coffee Brewer – $28.95

This thermos-style coffee maker evidently provides mobility, efficiency, and fresh, hot coffee – everything we want in a morning.

The brewer uses a ‘manual immersion brewing method’ that creates a bold cup of coffee in about 3 glorious minutes. Basically, you put your carefully-chosen coffee grounds in the thermos, pour water over them, and press a filtering, layered insert into the cup. In minutes, you’re drinking the coffee you created with your own hands. How majestically simple.

There is a curse that accompanies being a devoted lover of coffee; when put in a situation in which coffee is inaccessible, a werewolf-like transformation occurs. As is usual in our human condition, coffee love is often paired with coffee dependence. This thermos keeps the beast inside on during commutes, while hiking mountains, and on camping trips.

Grinds Coffee Pouches – $11.99

Now this is interesting. Grinds – a company with its heritage on Shark Tank, where somebody recognizes a great idea when they see it – has created small, delightful packets of flavored coffee grinds, much like chewing tobacco packets, but without the cancer and with the caffeine! Hurray!

Part of adoring coffee is adoring coffee products, and this one deserves to come home with us. The new, innovative thought behind the product is luring, and every coffee drinker appreciates a different way to weave coffee into their day.

If you’re a caffeine-loving smokeless tobacco user, this idea was specially designed for you! If using a coffee grind packet satisfies your craving for even an hour a day, that’s another win! Coffee and health and cravings satisfied – what more would we want?

Coffee Bean Cookies – $29.99

It’s a great age when you can buy fresh cookies on the internet. And the era is even greater when those cookies come with coffee beans baked inside to create potentially one of the best treats thinkable.

Not every coffee lover enjoys eating coffee beans (perhaps only the fiercest fans, one could argue!), but cookie dough and coffee beans are a pair happily cherished by enthusiasts. Most coffee shops are consistently stocked with chocolate-covered coffee beans because they understand that their customers just can’t get enough of sweetly-coated coffee beans.

Coffee beans baked into a cookie is something even loftier. How creative and delicious that thought! All of the best things wrapped into a unique dessert. Enjoy these cookies with only your favorite coffee-loving person. And – dare I suggest it – have these cookies with a hot cup of java.

Coffee bean plant — $9.95

15 Seeds Arabian Coffee, Mountain Coffee, Arabica Coffee, Coffee Shrub Of Arabia Coffea Arabica Plant

This is about as serious as coffee dedication gets. To help your favorite caffeine-crazed companion become a more avid coffee lover, to help them reach greater heights in coffee enthusiasm, here is the gift that transcends our artificial world to deliver the most natural coffee imaginable.

Growing your own coffee beans (which you would later peel, roast, peel again, grind, and make into incredibly fresh and aromatic coffee), enables you to be involved in every step of the coffee-creating process. How fulfilling! With full control over a rewarding project, how could your coffee-adoring gift recipient do anything but love you for providing them with this opportunity to create coffee?

The leap from coffee drinker to coffee creator is something uniquely enjoyable – to become part of what you love. Enjoy the coffee grown by your own hands!

Wine crate coffee table – $195.00

What better to go with a ridiculous amount of daily coffee than a simple, modern coffee table? Of course, we like our coffee to taste good and look good – ambiance matters much to us as humans, and this coffee table sets a calm mood perfect for a slow morning with one’s favorite coffee.

Because any coffee lover would cherish this (admittedly pricey) gift, coasters are a must, lest they ruin their new favorite furniture piece! Never let your coffee drinker wreck the things they love by ensuring coffee mug rings don’t touch the new coffee table. And that’s what we all need, right? Someone to keep us from wrecking ourselves and the things we cherish?

Heck, while you’re at it, just buy one of everything on the list.

Sugar Doilies – Prices Range

So…did doilies just become cool again? With Etsy, anything is possible.

As children (I say “as children” because it seems more appropriate, but really, it’s a fascination that carries through adulthood), we were enraptured by the little cubes of sugar our parents and grandparents dropped into their mugs. We didn’t much care for that bitter drink every big person adored, but if you got to have those delightful cubes, maybe it was worth it.

Our love for sculpted sugar is honored by these edible doilies. Coffee – the nectar of the gods – is perfect as it is. However, placing beautifully ‘woven’ sugar on the top of your cup, watching the sweet design become part of your drink, somehow makes it even greater. How regal you look with that lacey coffee!

 

 

 

Anthem Protests & Christ

That’s a fiery combination, right? Some people shame the former and others balk at the latter (and, yes, I wouldn’t forget the group that rejects both of these powerful controversies!). But kneeling during the anthem and Christ our Lord are much more than “controversies”, and they have a unique, apparently unexpected meeting place.

Whether you support full participation during the anthem, appreciate a peaceful protest, or don’t want to develop an opinion, we, as Christians, have to determine what is motivating our behavior. Is your die-hard patriotism making you intolerant of anthem protests, so much so that nothing can give you pause before vehemently shaming those protesting? Or is your penchant for rebellion swelling at the sight of protesting, such that it doesn’t matter the cause or consequences? Or is your fear of conflict or your laziness keeping you from fostering ideas about it at all?

As Christians, patriotism, rebellion, fear, laziness, and all other motivators are second-level. First-level is our obedience to Christ. The deciding factor — the Gospel in our hearts. Nations crumble. Emotions pass. But The Lord is forever. And what does The Lord have us do when conflicts arise? When ideas clash, societies rage, and people hurt?

What He always has us do: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18

On this occasion, and for every occasion, pause in prayer to listen to what God would have us do. Pray for wisdom. Pray for grace. Pray for whatever you need of God, but by all means, pray.

We should also use the tool God has given us to manage this ugly world: Scripture. And, using Scripture, might I suggest an application that you might not have yet considered? Ok, stay with me here.

When I consider the anthem protests, these Scriptures are on my heart:

“Speak out on behalf of the voiceless,
    and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.
Speak out in order to judge with righteousness
    and to defend the needy and the poor.” – Proverbs 31:8-10

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” – Psalm 82:3

I know it’s strange, unusual, and uncomfortable, because we haven’t seen it happen in a long time, but what is happening is this: we are being communicated with. Members of minority races and with impoverished backgrounds have taken up the burden of the oppressed (which is more than most of us can say) and spoken for the speechless, the unheard, the trodden. The kneelers, fist-raisers, and arm-chainers represent the minority, poor, and oppressed members of our society.

And, if you get nothing else out of this piece, take this: If The Lord has called us to be voice for the voiceless and defenders of the poor, how much more should we — at the very least — be listeners of the voiceless, oppressed, and poor?

This means that, while you might not “agree with the way they’re doing it”, this is how they’re doing it — and they deserve to be heard. Further, even if you believe you shouldn’t listen because you don’t agree with the way they’re telling it to you, listen to God. The Word doesn’t say “uphold the cause of the oppressed when they ask nicely or bear you gifts.” The Word says to uphold the cause of the oppressed. Representatives of the oppressed have asked you to conquer your pride to listen to their quiet voices — will you?

Consider for a moment the possibility that we don’t know everything — that there might be oppression and inequality in this nation as bad as they say. Research. Learn. Grow. And uphold the cause of the oppressed. We can’t do that with our eyes shut. (And by “eyes,” I of course mean hearts.)

It’s a scary thing, isn’t it, listening to others with our hearts? We shouldn’t be surprised, though, should we? God is always asking us to love with reckless abandon. Why should we expect him to let us sit idly now?

Maybe, as Christians, we’re just embittered because those “football men” have said more for the oppressed by kneeling once than we have our whole lives.

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