To Be Inspired

To get in the habit of writing again. Taking time off becomes easier, and soon, you find yourself not writing. In speaking with a friend this morning she said, “Write about coffee!”

My daughter returned from Boston with a brown bag of goodness. Out of all the things she could have brought, she knows my heart. It was a bag of Blue Bottle coffee beans.

The way I view coffee has evolved over time. What used to be my morning ‘wake me up’, is now a magical moment.

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The coffee bloom and a Chemex.

My relationship with coffee became quite serious this year.

Visit local coffee houses, (not franchises), or the coffee booth at a Farmers Market, and ask questions like…

Where do your beans come from? When were they roasted?

When you purchase whole bean, check the bottom of the bag. It should have a roasted date stamped on it. Beans stay fresh for two weeks before they start losing their freshness. Only grind the amount you are going to use.

I used to made my coffee at night, and set the machine to brew automatically for the next morning. Stumbling out of bed, after the beep was the start of my day. I didn’t realize what the machine was doing for me is actually a magical moment. Moments aren’t timed or automatic.

Moments are deliberately made in the present moment.

I placed the coffee maker on a shelf to give away, and pulled out a french press. That is how I made my coffee each morning, but eventually I knew there was more to learn. My daughter taught me the magic of a pour over. It took time to get it just right, but what a challenge to learn!

When my daughter brought home Blue Bottle, I graduated to the Chemex. This has been the most challenging, yet rewarding of all! I don’t have it mastered, but I keep trying.

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The Chemex.

My daughter has the Chemex down to a science, and an amazing cup of coffee is a science. A Burr type grinder crushes each bean, instead of emulsifying them with a blade, so they are uniform. You can weigh the grinds, (my daughter would), but I don’t go that far. Even after using a French Press, Blue Bottle taught me how to improve. To time the steep for 4 minutes, and no more. Then press the brew, and how much resistance the press should have.

In the heat of the summer, cold brew is refreshing in the afternoon, so today I ordered a bottle to make it myself.

There is always something to improve upon. I went from having ‘just coffee’, to altering my morning routine for this moment. Now when I awake, I drink a bottle of water to give my body time to wake up. The Chemex is complex, and it’s early, so I wait for my daughter to appear. She makes a Chemex, but if she’s not here, I do a pour over, or French Press, and practice with the Chemex after I’m fully awake.

My friend asked me this morning, “What inspires you?” Well my friend, you do, along with a really good cup of coffee.

 

I Want Normal

The life my daughter and I share is not normal. We care for one another at a very high level. We watch each other, and learn how to do so. We are now down to the details.

I bought a new toothbrush holder, and noticed the openings are large enough to hold more than a toothbrush, so I put my razor in it. I recently noticed she had followed suit. Her razor now stands beside her toothbrush too.

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To love one another like God loves us. Unconditionally.

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Fresh flowers in the house as often as possible is normal.

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She makes her famous crepes when I need some extra care.

At a young age I told her, “Everything has it’s place. When you take something from it’s place, you need to put it back when you’re done using it.” We know where things are.

When my daughter visits her Dad for the weekend, I want it to feel like home when she returns. Her room is never messy, but I go in and change her sheets, open the blinds, add fresh flowers if we have them, and light a candle.

I don’t have to ask her to do things. She knows when she’s away from home, this feels good to come home to. She has been shown to uncover the beauty.

When I am gone for the day, she goes in my room and makes the bed, opens the blinds, and lights my candle. Not because I asked, she just knows what that feels like.

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She surpasses me. I didn’t take time to make cookies throughout her life, but she knows I love them. After a long day on Thursday, I walked into the house to these.

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And yes, I made a coffee pour over to go with them!

Our kids are watching. What are we showing them?

My daughter is now watching me stretch and grow myself. This year, I’ve been doing the hard stuff. Cleaning house in more ways than one, but that will be another Blog.

My daughter has gifts and talents to make this world a better place. We are called to use everything God has given us, so I am walking through every door He is opening.

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All of the notes I left for her when she was a child have come full circle. She left this on the fridge for me last week.

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I told her, “I am happy for us, that this is normal.”

Listening for quiet

Making a coffee pour over has a calming effect over me.

Once I go through all the steps of setting it up, I’m forced to slow down, and enjoy the process. Watching as the boiling hot water, slowly escapes from the spout of the pour over kettle. It hits the coarse grounds, and they begin to bloom. (My fave) Today, I poured the water very slowly, in attempt to keep the bloom alive for as long as possible.

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That magnificent bloom.

I listened intently during the process. When the water first hit the grounds, and the liquid drained into the empty cup, it was noisy. I could hear it trickling. As the cup filled with the hot liquid, the trickling became quieter, and quieter.

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I knew the cup was full when it was completely quiet.

Give from the Heart

Do you ever feel led to buy something, and not sure why?

I was in an antique book shoppe, and found a copy of one of my favorite books. It was beautiful, and I wanted it, but I already owned a copy. So, I left the shop without it.

Not getting the book bothered me for weeks, but I didn’t need it. Then God revealed it wasn’t for me, I was just supposed to buy it. It was to be mailed to one of my dearest friends. I called the shop, thinking it might be gone by now, but it was still there, and has been mailed to my friend.

This happens to my daughter too. She was in a coffee shop in Austin, TX, and saw a newly released book about brewing the perfect coffee, at home. She felt led to buy it, but we know how to brew coffee in numerous ways, so it wasn’t for us. She brought it home, laid it under the Christmas tree, and waited for God to reveal who it was for.

Our favorite coffee shop is Chaparral Coffee in Lockhart. It’s right down the road from our house, and we go there frequently. The coffee is excellent, but we love the people who work there. They take such good care of us, and we feel loved. The book was to be given to the owner, Austin.

You never know what day and time he works, but we trusted that today was the day! God had it all lined up.

We walked in with the book, and there he stood behind the counter. We ordered our drinks, and he made them in our favorite house mugs. I paid for the Chai Lattes before giving him the book. I didn’t want him to feel obligated to give us our drinks. He loved the book, and was very thankful.

We had just caught him before his shift ended, but as he was leaving, he walked over, and stood between us, as we sat on stools. Wrapping an arm around our shoulders, he squeezed us and said, “Merry Christmas girls! Take those cups with you.” We were stunned, but hugged him back.

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You just can’t out give God when you give from the heart.

Everyday is Different

My daughter brought home a case of these yesterday.

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This is happiness. Butter and coffee. What is not to love?

Our dog was laying by her bedroom door today, while she was on the phone. She opened her door to step out, and he moved out of the way.  She asked, “Was Mochee laying by my door this whole time?” She was barefoot, and noticed the warmth of the hard wood floor where he had been laying. I love that she notices these small details of life.

Our landlord is burning brush in the field next to us, and all we can think about is wanting to roast marshmallows.

Now it is night, and I stepped out on the porch a few minutes ago. Living in the country, you always where shoes stepping out there at night. Every now and then you will find a Scorpion hanging out on the porch too. Our ginormous, white, barn cat is laying on the step. He will take down a Scorpion for the person who cares for him.

I feel more at ease with him laying there. We named this cat ‘Meh’. because he doesn’t fully meow, he just says, ‘Meh.’

Everyday is different, and I love that about our life.

At night before bed, my daughter and I talk about what we would like to accomplish the next day. It’s not set in stone. We stay flexible throughout the day, and let life flow. We make a plan, but also make adjustments where needed. If it’s that important, it will get done, but when it’s time.

I haven’t found anything more important than just spending time together, and making adjustments throughout the day for each other’s happiness.

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The Don’t Wants

To discover what I want, I journey through the don’t wants.

Earlier this week, I walked into the kitchen wanting coffee.

I had set the machine up the night before, but instead, there was black liquid oozing all over the kitchen counter. The pot wasn’t fully engaged to allow the hot liquid to flow. The basket inside was filled with water, and grinds were everywhere. It was not pretty, so after cleaning up the mess, the coffee maker went into a cabinet. The don’t wants.

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This is pretty.

Really good coffee beans deserve to be fresh pressed.

When our hearts are happy, we know what we want.

 

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Now my morning coffee is relatively ceremonial.

We recognize our wants, when we realize our don’t wants.

It’s a Choice

Since deciding to take a Social Media fast, some friends have called me out. Facebook detects a connection, and is telling on me. To stay connected to my daughter while she is at her Father’s this weekend, we’ve used Messenger. Facebook Messenger is an app that is  made by Facebook, but is separate. So, nope. I have not posted one Meme.

For me, it’s not about disconnecting from people. I love people, so why would I do that? Maintaining social media sites take a lot of time, and energy. So much so, someone created automation to do it for you. Again, what fun is that?

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It all started with my phone. Sometimes the bill is due before the weekend, and before payday. I get paid on Monday’s, so I get to choose. Do I want an active phone, or money for the weekend? I choose having money to spend, over my phone.

I’ve used Cricket phone service for 5 years, and it works. There are no contracts, and you just pay month to month. No re-connection, or late fees, just pay when you need it.

The phone turns into a blingy paperweight, and I’m out the door. An iced latte would hit the spot, so I hop in my truck, and drive 10 minutes down the road to Chapparal Coffee.

This young couple moved from Austin, TX, to open this coffee bar, and his name is Austin! He has the best vibe, and it’s pure joy just walking in the door. Coffee and I have a serious relationship, and I have learned a lot at Chapparal. I go there several times a week for the coffee, and the people.

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Austin at Chapparal Coffee, Lockhart, TX.

His wife brings in wildflowers, so there are always flowers. Walking in today, Austin had just finished installing a couple of beer taps, but not for beer. Oh no lovely. This is magical!

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I could not believe what I was seeing. Ginger Beer!!!!

Austin handed me a glass to try, and it was unbelievable! Like an ice-cold mouthful of fresh ginger with fizz! The Kombucha is green tea with fruit, so I fell in love with that too! I grabbed half a pound of coffee beans, (which lasts us a week), a Kombucha, and Ginger beer for later. Money spent was $14.00. Not to mention the fellowship, love and laughter.

Some friends scoff at me for spending money on high quality coffee. “Being a single Mom with a part-time income, how do you do that?” I’m going to drink coffee, so it might as well be a life experience. The coffee costs a little more than the grocery store brands, but it’s well worth the extra dollars.

Experimenting in the kitchen on the weekends is a newfound love. The last time I went to the local grocery store, they had some huge basil plants on display. My daughter and I chuckled at how big they were! I’ve been wanting to try this Basil Hummus recipe, so instead of paying $3.98 per packet for a few fresh Basil leaves, I opted to buy this guy for $9.00.

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It should bring plenty of Basil Hummus and fresh Pesto!

Since trying my hand at the Boston Ferns, (which shout out to the lady who left a comment with tips), this spoke to me today. I have a planter full of dirt sitting on my porch from last years plant demise, but we’re gonna give this Basil a go.

When I went in the store to pay for the Basil, I took a walk through the flower department. Fresh flowers are a love of mine and my daughters, but not just any flower. We have a few that are special to us, and this time of year is for Peonies.

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This little bundle cost $6.00. They will be fully opened by the time my daughter gets home, which will double the joy.

These choices bring more meaning and beauty to my life than my phone. I’m able to choose today, and the end result is showing others, “I love you more than my phone.”

Chill Your Grind

Walking into small, local businesses makes my heart happy. I receive immediate gratification walking into someone else’s dream. Home schooling my teenage Princess, we yell “Field Trip’ at least once a week and go in search of some local goodness.

290outsideThis morning took us to Giddings, TX wanting to find somewhere quaint for breakfast. Highway 290 runs straight through Giddings where we found 290 Grind. This was the most serene and peaceful place I’ve walked into in a long time.

Clean, simple lines, wood floors and ceiling and every table held a story from the past. Each table was beautifully unique, but all the chairs were solid wood with a black finish which gave them something in common.

Unlike a lot of coffee shops I’ve been in, this one didn’t fall into the “Can I display my stuff here?” The owner of this establishment is staying true to their dream. Giving us a place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and delicious food in an uncluttered atmosphere. 290boardThe first thing I noticed, standing at the counter to order, was the chalkboard menu. We see these often but this one was simply perfection! Just another clue of attention to detail they aspire toward.

290chairsStepping into the dining area, I spotted these magnificent chairs and small table nestled up front with a view. This area is beckoning for two people to enjoy some coffee, one another’s company and people watch all at the same time. Does life get any better than that?

Heading back home I ran into a lady that I hadn’t seen in a while. She recognized me as the Letitgocoach and shared how busy she has been. She went on to imply as long as she’s busy, she doesn’t have to change. I smiled and invited her to connect with me when ready. Taking time to sit with yourself is how you get to know yourself. Some people avoid it, but it’s the best way to become the best you can be.

If you need a simply fabulous place to reconnect with yourself or other’s I highly recommend 290 Grind. Maybe those two inviting looking chairs aren’t for two after all. One could be for you, while the other could be waiting for the new and improved you.