+ Caribou Coffee – Friendly Center, Greensboro NC

Caribou Coffee — Friendly Center, Greensboro, NC

This is my FAVORITE coffee shop, and my office-of-all-offices. When I want to get out of the house and put my feet up and actually get some real work done, this is where I head. (It's also a darn good place to relax, too!)

The very first time I came here, the barista memorized my name off my credit card. About an hour into my work, she called my name across the store. "Kathi" … Puzzled, I looked around, certain that no one knew me here. Finally I figured out that the voice was coming from behind the counter. "Would you like a free refill?" That's kept me coming back ever since. (And they always remember my name somehow!)

Jen, the manager, runs a very tight shop here. This is perhaps the cleanest coffee-shop I've ever been in. She's a very hands-on manager. While she's often delegated things for the employees to do, it's evident that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Earlier this afternoon, she was on her hands and knees with a scrubber going at the bottoms of the tables. Plus she makes time to just chat with people as they go in and out. And she remembers their names, too! I've got great respect for a manger like that!

One of the things I greatly appreciate about this store is the atmosphere. Even when they're busy, it's quiet. Unlike Starbucks, with its blaring music, the background music here is … well… in the background. The tables and armchairs are logically arranged so that the patrons aren't in each other's faces, and therefore chatter is just "background noise" too. It makes for a very enjoyable working environment.

Another thing I REALLY appreciate is that everything is logically arranged and I can get around the entire store in my wheelchar without a single incident. Ditto for my cane. The bathroom is HUGE, the door is light, the paper towels are right at the sink, the grab-bars are logical… someone was really thinking when they designed this place. Thank you!

Oh, and the coffee! (here I go chattering and chattering about the atmosphere and I haven't even gotten to the main point!!) Caribou's coffee is without a doubt the best coffee-shop coffee I've had. Beats Starbucks hands-down in my opinion. I'm not sure what they do differently (Jen says it's something about the roast – it flew right over my head) but the proof's in the drinking, folks. They also offer a variety of "Coolers" which are similar to a Frappucino, Smoothies of all sorts, and a mango sweet iced tea that is to DIE for. (I've actually made a trip all the way across town to get a mango tea before… no kidding!)
My daughter can attest to the fact that their chocolate caramel truffle muffin will add inches to your hips and sweetness to your life, too.

They also have an assortment of gifts, ranging from grinders and thermoses to mugs teddy bears. One intriguing item that I've added to my wish list is a "Guaranteed spill-proof" Nissan thermos mug that comes on a caribener. I'm thinking that I could clip it to the wheelchair and take Caribou with me wherever I go.

Ahhhh, bliss. 🙂

Wars Can’t be Won by Toy Soldiers

The title above is a quote by my pastor in yesterday’s sermon: Reach Across the Table: When Your Household is a Stronghold.

Lately David’s sermons have been speaking to me on multiple levels because he’s had a deliberate missionary focus. This one spoke even more because it was about how to reach our families for Christ. Even though everyone in my family is saved, I’m the only one that I can honestly say is serving the Lord.

Ken’s always struggled with the specter of his mother’s strange Christianity:

I’m a DAMN Christian! I can do what I want because I’m forgiven. You’re nothing in the eyes of God. (yes, folks, she actually said that. This is the same woman who only grudgingly accepts that I’m allowed in the Kingdom – on her good days – most of the time she thinks I’m still off sacrificing cats and boiling baby fat for ritual use…

Kayti became discouraged a long time ago when her teacher berated her in front of the class for bringing a Bible to school, and hasn’t been right since despite everyone’s best efforts – tho lately she’s starting to show signs of interest in Him again. And Bobby – he has his days where he is so close to God… and other days when he’s so far away. It’s an autism problem. Nothing that God won’t solve in due time.

So Pastor’s sermon absolutely riveted me. He made four points in the sermon.

#1 – We need spiritual insight/revelation. We can’t go around blind to the problem. He pointed out that when we take the FIRST STEPS to fixing the problem, even when we can’t see what the end result will be, God will take care of the rest.

Isn’t that what faith is all about? Stepping out – “walk by faith and not by sight”… actually *trusting* Him…

#2 – Personal integrity and authenticity. We cannot be inconsistent. This is where the “wars can’t be won by toy soldiers” quote comes from. He made the point that no dad should think his kids will grow up to be any more faithful than HE is.

#3 – Spiritual intensity, fire in the furnace, good-old-fashioned passion. He made a point that we are INFECTED with passionless Christianity, and I agree.

Where there is no passion, the immense power of God cannot flow. Love = passion. Miracles and faith require passion. Trust requires passion.

We should have the kind of spiritual fervor that Paul possessed when he said, “follow me as I follow Christ”. John Wesley said something to the effect of, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” David said yesterday that NOTHING happens until we become impassioned gap-standers for our families.

#4 – Alliance Reliance. We need to patiently trust God. Faith with all our hearts, leaning not on our own understanding. Ps. 3:8 – Salvation belongs to the Lord. We need to trust Him so much that we’ll be shocked if our loved ones are not saved…. not when they are!

We have to lift up our eyes and see the harvest – not the chaos (wow, that hit me hard. I live in chaos perpetually!) We also have to see the very real spiritual war that wages around us. (That’s not so hard to see.)

We have to (and this hit me right between the eyes too, because God has been speaking this to me!) become:

  • integral/walking in integrity
  • disciplined
  • intentional
  • have unconditional surrender

Wow. Good stuff there.

Storm Vision

This morning in prayer God showed me an astonishing vision.

Please keep in mind as you read this that I am not talking of the physical realm here, but the spiritual.

The world is under attack by something akin to a hurricane. Rain is falling, the wind is whipping up, and people are plunging through water that is rising rapidly and will kill them. However, they are just like the people we watched on the news from the French Quarter in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina – partying on in utter denial of what is happening.

We see the people of the world drowning in ick but smiling about it and have to wonder… are they singing, “If all the raindrops were m&m’s and gumdrops”… ? Do they see the wind as some sort of spiritual blessing and the rising water as a great pool of sweet tea to swim in? So it would seem, by the way people – especially Americans – are rushing to jump into the sea of relativistic religions. We in Christ have no blinders and we can see that pool of sweet tea isn’t so sweet. ::cries::

We (ExWitch, similar evangelistic ministries, the church) are like the rescue workers that are hurrying to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina – by bus, boat, helicopter, any way they can get there.

  • How dangerous is the work? Sometimes it’s deadly. Yet we must willingly go.

  • How many people did not heed the initial warnings to evacuate? How many are still there now, trapped and awaiting rescue?

  • How many will become sick simply from drinking that contaminated water? We hold the pure water of life? We can’t keep it bottled up in the church. We’ve GOT to take this precious gift out to the storm victims who so desperately need it. They are the ones who are going to die without it.

  • How many are still stubbornly holding out, even with the floodwaters rising… holding onto their torn up homes and businesses and families lost and saying they do not need to be saved? What they’re lost to doesn’t matter… it could divorce, homosexuality, pornography, gang violence, street crimes, separation due to religious differences… what matters is that they are hopelessly helplessly lost.

  • What of the those who are becoming more and more lawlessspiritually looting and pillaging from this religion and that? When the waters rise and they lose what they’ve scrabbled for – we must come in a liferaft for them. They must not be left behind.

  • How many will die there because they refuse to leave?

  • How many will die because no one came to get them? God cries real tears for these people.

We are called to be rescue-workers. Get in a boat. Blow up a life-raft. Put on a harness and board a helicopter. Wade out and give someone a hand out of the flood. Start handing out living water from right where you are. Don’t you dare stand still.

Katrina: Please Pray

This is one nast-ee storm.

There are people trapped in various locations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Please intercede – Fox News is saying that there’s no way for emergency personnel to get to them.

Pray. Simply put – pray.