Coffee Shop Journal

The future of Coffee Shop Journal


I am in a post-Maxwellian overload. If you’ve been to any major thought-provoking conference, you know what I mean. Ideas are pouring past my poor brain faster than I have time or energy to write them down. Now some of that  may be due to caffeine overload (probably is!), but not all. This Maxwell conference has impacted me more than others I’ve been to, perhaps because the emphasis was less on leadership and more on personal goals and — quite obviously — dreams. I can actually imagine some bosses who took their teams to the conference being nervous. “Dreams? I’m not sure I want my team dreaming. I think I want them working. For me.” It is a tension: inspire people to turn their dreams into concrete reality vs. inspire people to lead others in the work to which they’ve been called. Or signed up for. Dilemma. David and I, in fact, took our top level employee with us. I can’t wait to see what dreams he has, though I certainly hope they include us!!!

So today I am dreaming over Coffee Shop Journal, and my other blog (rarely updated) Dancing Thru her Daddy’s World. I originally separated the two because Dancing had a personal focus while Coffee Shop — theoretically — has a more missional (caffeinated missional…ooh…new description of who I am!) approach. But over time, as you all know, who I am and where I go has seeped into Coffee Shop while Dancing has waited patiently in the corner.

Here, my readers, is my question for you. And for once I need you to pause and comment for feedback, if you would. Should these two blogs be combined or continue their separate lives? Should Coffee Shop remain as focused as this scatterbrained person can make it? Or would you like to have the personal posts mixed in? Today David and I were sitting at a lovely waterway cafe by the intracoastal waterway. I wanted to write about it. But it’s really a Dancing post, not a Coffee Shop post. I’m a woman in conflict!

Another interesting side-effect of the conference is that I have picked up my old-school, handwritten, doodled in and loved journal again. For the past year I’ve not been using it, but today I can’t leave it alone. There  are some things that just don’t fit into a digital world, aren’t there. I’ll be intrigued to see how the journaling finds its way into my writing. It always does, in the end.

So help me out, those of you who care…give me a little feedback while I’m still in this super-productive, hyper-creative, change-the-world mood.

And a final word of warning: don’t attend a Maxwell Conference days before you need to be utterly practical because you are throwing a welcome-home-newly-married-couple party for 40 people!

Coffee Shop Journal gets a new style!


Coffee Shop Journal is trying out a new style! What do you think?

David and I are not finished tweaking the re-design, but I couldn’t wait to “live in the new space” for awhile. I’d love to hear your comments as we work through this process, so please comment and register your opinion. At the moment, these are some things that I’m pondering:

  • I don’t have enough coffee here! My java-loving heart wants to see some more coffee cups or coffee beans or something. Working on that.
  • More color? On the other hand, white is clean.
  • What do you think of the font and the font size? Is it readable? This was one of my pet peeves on my last design, so I want to get it right.

Happy Birthday, Coffee Shop Journal. Enjoy stepping out in style!

Coffee Shop News


Hello everyone! I’ve missed you! I deliberately took most of Easter week off from the blog in order to practice the concept of Sabbath, resting, allowing God to speak into a space of time and energy. But I’m back and brimming with tidbits that don’t fit into whole posts. So enjoy the chatter around the coffee shop today.

  • Last year I went to a conference called Q. At the time, I knew Q was having an impact on my life, but a year later I’m amazed at the shift in my perspectives and attitudes. Perhaps the most fulfilling result of Q has been all the internet friends who I either met there for the first time or met subsequently through our blogs and twitters and facebooks. One of my first tablemates at Q, Lawrence Tom (or LT)  is an American Born Chinese Pastor. We’ve stayed in touch over the year, and his faith encourages me to keep stretching. Today he posted a twitter about a NY Times article that profiles homeless people selling papers as a way to pull themselves up. It seems to me that this topic keeps popping into my life, though I’m not sure why! Anyway, it is an interesting article.
  • Speaking of Street Roots and my short conversation with George, you can read their response to my visit on their blog here.
  • My friend Melody from Seattle told me that you can buy the new Starbucks Via instant coffee from Costco now, at a cheaper price than in the stores. Of course, those of us not in Seattle have not seen Via in the stores yet, though you can order it online at Starbucks.
  • I’ve got a backlog of posts swirling in my mind for the next week or so. Sneak preview? Easter Changes Everything at Christ Fellowship; I traveled to Seattle to make the pilgrimage to the mother ship of Starbucks; Connections with family in the northwest; running on a treadmill reminded me that someone is always watching…there are others, but that will do for now!
  • Finally, while I was distracted traveling and spring breaking etc., I completely skipped over the one year anniversary of Coffee Shop Journal!!!! Wow! I’m still in love with the day to day interaction out in the blogosphere, so I’m predicting more anniversaries to come. I think that will need to be a post in and of itself. But I also think one year needs celebrating. Maybe a blog redesign?

That’s all for this post-Easter Monday afternoon. For one brief moment in time it is quiet in the house, with no distractions. I’m going to soak it in and listen to the sound of the warm clothes in the dryer and the coffee pot brewing me some Bella Vista. Life is so good.

Search terms for Coffee Shop Journal

Today’s search terms from GoogleSearch Engine Terms

I thought that these search engine terms were interesting. They really aren’t a bad list of things to be known for. Some days — as most of you blog writers know — the search terms are downright bizarre. And if you go back to hunt for how in the world someone found Coffee Shop Journal by searching on “Places to get drunk in San Diego” or other such bizarre phrases, you can never replicate the steps.

No, that wasn’t  a real search term on Coffee Shop Journal, but I’ve had similar ones.

And I know that was a lame post…but I was intrigued by it.  I’m also worn out by “deep thoughts.” Right now all I’m thinking about is how I’m going to put together the wardrobes we bought from IKEA yesterday. Do you know how many small parts are in that package?????

All help is accepted!

Why this is a Coffee Shop Journal

I recently explained on my other blog, Dancing Thru Her Daddy’s World, how the death of my father three years ago rocked the foundations of my world. The process of re-grounding myself resulted in a comforting awareness of who my true Father is, and that this is the world he has given me to dance through to my heart’s content. Well in a way, Coffee Shop Journal is named for my father as well, even though I have owned the name since long before he passed away.

My dad was an amazing man. He was a Yankee proper, and full of insight gleaned from years of being a successful businessman, family man and church man. Dad’s charisma lent every gathering a little bit more depth. When he spoke, people stopped and listened carefully, because through his broad New England accent he was bound to be saying something important.

Nearly every afternoon, as 3:00 pm approached, Dad would find his way to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts for his afternoon coffee. You could set your clock by him. You could also gauge his mood by his afternoon coffee runs. On the days when the world was pressing in on him, he quietly left the house without announcement or fanfare. He wanted — needed — to be alone. He loved to sit and think. On days when he was concerned for one of us in particular, he issued a personal invitation. “Marla, David, let’s meet at 3 for coffee.” On carefree days there was a general, “Well, getting towards that time. Anyone coming with me?” But inbetween those specific invitations there was the standing realization that at 3 Dad could be found holding court in Dunkin’ Donuts. And most of the time, we were in attendance. You had to be vigilant, though: Dad often switched up his Dunkin’ locations. You see, after a while in each shop, he’d get to know the regulars and they would learn to love him. He’d walk in hoping to stop and think, and find himself surrounded by a hodge podge of folk who just wanted to be near. Switching locations helped him remain unpredictable, mysterious, and sort of independent. When Dad died so suddenly, David and I had to make a long, slow progression around coffee shops in three states to let his friends and fans know about his passing. It was a fitting tribute.

For nearly 20 years, David made a habit of wandering through the doors of Dunkin’ Donuts anytime my Dad was in town. This was difficult for a natural Starbucks lover, but the rewards were worth it. The two of them (more, if Mom and I went along) would sit and discuss the day’s business. It was a Harvard Business School education for the price of a cup of coffee. After a time, our favorite refrain was, “Stop me if I’ve told you this before, but…”

I’d love to hear that one more time.

For me, and for David, the coffee shop became our metaphor for the places in life where you discuss the important matters. We were fans of the “Third Place” long before we knew what First and Second places were. The community in a coffee shop meets a time-honored tradition encoded in our genes. We really miss the coffee shops of the past, but we’re focusing on establishing our own routines, our own interactions.

So I guess that brings us to Coffee Shop Journal, my own little spot on the blogosphere to discuss the things that matter and to learn from people who have walked a few steps ahead of me in life. My caffeine is more likely to be a double espresso, but it gives a good kick!

What Am I Doing Here?

A first post on a new blog is way too much pressure for anyone to handle! I’ve been stressing over what to say, how to say it. What is important enough for my first topic? I can’t do it. I refuse to do it. So I’m just going to tell you what I am thinking about Coffee Shop Journal right now, and we’ll jump in.

I never drank my first cup of coffee until I was 35, and I certainly wouldn’t have picked coffee shops as a place to hang out back then, either. But here we are, some years later, and I can confidently debate roasts of coffee, techniques of brewing, and even the merits of certain coffee mugs over others. I have a decided preference on that subject. I’ve also discovered that a lot of life is lived in the coffee shop. Deals are made and broken. Friends are made, or not.

A good coffee shop is a place to stop and regroup, think about the next steps in life or in the day, before heading back out into the world to make a difference. And that is how I view this blog, as well. This is a place to stop and ponder the next steps of life. I am passionate about living out my faith in the places God has given me. In the Old Testament God assigned each tribe of Israelites the place in which they were to live in their new land. God often called a person from one place to another (think Abraham heading out of Ur). God cares about places, and the place you are in is no accident. It is the realization that God cares about places which has focused my ministry in the past few years. I am on a journey to settle into my community and my life, take stock of what is around me, and jump in. I’ve grown tired of waiting for someday, and am learning to value now. Which is why I am starting Coffee Shop Journal now…even before I know exactly where it will fit in life. It is a place from which to grow, and I hope you will join me.