The Third Place and Home

? I got home this week. It's odd, really, because I've also been home all month. I've been home in our condo in Lexington, or on the lake in New Hampshire where I've spent nearly every summer of my life. I breathe in the fresh air of those places and my inner sense of being profoundly at home is magnified. And then I arrive back in Palm Beach Gardens, my own home, my real home. I love the process of…

What makes a city?

I am doing a little thinking today about the cities we live in. You know that PLACE is so important to me. Imagine my delight when Buddy Hoffman suggested I read "Sidewalks in the Kingdom" by Eric O Jacobsen. I haven't gotten past the introduction yet and he's already speaking my language. So just for an appetizer, look at this list of characteristics of what it means to be a city. Shared public spaces Mixed-use spaces Non-essential beauty and artistry…

Third Places: Why “MY bookstore cafe nourishes me

Today I noticed the magazine rack, just over the top of my book. When I would pause my reading and look up, the headlines popped out at me and made my mind spin in a thousand different directions. It's this burst of stimulus-induced creativity that keeps me hanging around that cafe. This is what I saw, and subsequently what went through my mind today. Newsweek Magazine: with its headline "Finding the right college for you." This sent me off thinking…

Am I responsible for Starbucks?

Well, yes. I single-handedly pay for Howard Schultz's salary each year, but that's not what I'm referring to. My quest for the perfect coffee shop environment is rooted in my desire for that mythical "great good third place." It is the place on which Coffee Shop Journal is based: the place where community and coffee and culture meet, grow and develop. Now I've toured pretty much all of the coffee-based shops around here, and I can tell you that my…

Youth Ministry in the marketplace: Friday Night Lights

Tonight David and I shared a Johnny Rocket's booth and indulged in chocolate milk shakes, onion rings and a killer game of dot-to-dots on my iPhone (yes....it's a fun app). We had a great time hanging out and watching the kids come and go from this local hot spot. The movies are located nearby, and the high school football game had gotten out minutes before we sat down. Johnny Rocket's was a hopping spot in our community tonight. I thought…

Who do you need to thank?

I have three posts lined up to write and I can't write any of them. It has been such a long and such a confusing day that there's no room for anything else. Yesterday I wrote about crying with others, and today I was given the opportunity to practice what I preach. There are days when I feel that my life is filled with the mundane tasks that serve no purpose, that ministry is what happens to other people. Not…

Alexander McCall Smith and Coffee Shops

Flying home from Boston yesterday I was reading Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith. Having just typed that, the book sounds so "paperback romance"! It's not...Alexander McCall Smith has written lots of great contemporary Scotland-based fiction. My favorite is Espresso Tales.  Anyway, I came across this little passage that sums up my passion for community and the possibilities of connecting in third places like coffee shops. Matthew was crossing Dundas Street to that side of the road where Big…

How to Make a Coffee Shop into a Third Place

We've talked a lot about coffee shops as third places here at Coffee Shop Journal, but it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly how to do that. Usually it all comes down to a personality: either the barista's personality, or the staff who work there. In addition, if you are interested in making your third place a missional outreach, the living out of your faith in the marketplace can sometimes feel artificial, when you are striving for authentic. The other…

And I thought it was just lunch

I've been holding off on writing about this place because I want to get a picture, but after three visits to my new favorite lunch place I can't hold off any more. David and I found a cafe called MJ's cafe, featuring fresh semi-organic wraps and sandwiches. We wandered in soon after it opened simply because it is in our neighborhood and we are trying very hard to support local, non-chain businesses. MJ's, it was immediately apparent, is a family…

The rhythm of life – time to slow down

Recently I read a post on Ron Martoia's blog about the rhythm of his life, and how he recognizes which activities are crucial for him on a daily basis. His post got me thinking about the rhythm of my own life, and over the past week I've been casually noting how I react to the ins and outs of my day. I don't know if any of this will interest you -- surely everyone has their own rhythm -- but…

×