Trust: Easy Come, Easy Go..or is it?

Over the past few months, the world has been hit with so many devastating and disappointing news. Most recently this news has come in the world of sexual harassment. The news is littered with stories… and there’s a common thread: people used their position of power to violate the trust of others.

Trust is a tricky thing. It comes naturally to all humans because we desire to be close to someone. Trust is what makes this closeness possible. Yet when that trust is violated at any point, it is twice as hard to trust again. Trust is necessary for the world and without it we would have a world full of skeptics and nothing but mistrust and destruction. At times when the news feed reads the way it does, it may seem like trust is not possible.

But Uncle Ben in Spiderman’s famous quote “With great power comes great responsibility” can grant insight into trust.  Trust is violated when power is misused to harm someone or something. Regardless if someone has status of influence or not and to what degree it is, everyone has issues and will (if not already) violate trust at some point. Where we people fail to understand and live out is that NO ONE IS IMMUNE! We all make mistakes. The severity maybe different but generally we all make mistakes and thus cannot be trusted (or rather, we can trust when we realize that we all make mistakes and we should expect frail, human beings).

So why is the news painting such a negative picture of high profile people falling from various positions and why does it hit us so hard? I am going to use an old, Biblical term here: Idol. The idea of an idol is to create something (either in our own image or something we desire) and worship — follow, use, need, and focus on it. It becomes this “untouchable” and “perfect” image of whatever you are after. For celebrities or people of influence, this status is all over because of the nature of their job or position. Smaller issues that we normal people would not care about as much are magnified even more when you have that status, thus the fall is great.

There in lies the issue of our failed logic: Some people are more important than others. They become idols and when they fall it leaves an impact, a massive one. They are not superhuman and deserve a different level treatment. They are human beings, just like you and me, and struggles with issues that we all struggle with. To idolize someone, wether you know it or not, needs to be where the mindset and action change. And those with great power, influence and status need to be reminded that they are just like everyone else BUT with a different difference: a Greater Responsibility. Funny how we only focus on the NEGATIVES of people, and do not celebrate the POSITIVES of those who are using their power for great, positive things. Maybe the issue is what we focus on – just a thought.

So how do we live on with trust fully knowing that at any moment, that trust can be violated and cause damage? Would it be better to lock ourselves away and do not come out? No- so I offer this suggestion: Forgiveness. To often we love to hold grudges against people who have done us wrong because it is easier. Forgiveness is much harder because it means you are releasing the person off the hook. NOW it does not mean you have OKAYED what they did, that person needs to repent (again, another Biblical term that means to turn away from and go towards…or in other words, a complete 180 in their life). The repentance isn’t some sort of cheap word and action, but a deep internal change that is seen by all. Forgiveness is the mental and physical understanding that you are like me and you deserve it as much as I do. In this society, we love to demonize people…especially good people. In some way, it is a necessary side affect of our idolization of people. But that demonization should not be continued. Forgiveness, though a harder path, is the higher path because it promotes moving forward for all parties.

Forgiveness at this level, I believe, can only happen through the power of God. And then a re-shift has to be taken into account as to how we view each person we come in contact with and see from various media outlets. I have always said to people, “You need to trust in God because He will never fail you. I have proof of that in my own life and journey. Mainly because people have failed me time and time again. To think it will stop now is stupid. People will fail me all the time and I probably will fail you at times. So don’t put you faith, trust, hope in me…but it in God.” We can do life together as long as you don’t lift me to a higher status because chances are I will disappoint and I do not want you world to crash. I am not planning on doing anything that will violate that trust in any way nor does this give me an excuse to do whatever I want. That is where accountability and honestly comes into the mix to build us both up. Your overall trust cannot and should not be in a idea, feeling, human or object. It will fail you 100% of the time! From my experience, I can trust God no matter what because He has never violated that trust in my life.

The old philosopher and theologian Paul quotes a song that says this about Jesus:

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

This passage in a beautiful way points to one main idea: Humility! Some call it “The Divine Disgrace” Why would someone of ultimate status and power give that up to be weak, limited and die for doing nothing wrong? It is crazy, yet trust was not violated. In fact, it shows me that God was building trust with His creation through Jesus. This is not the natural or normal way of human thinking! Most people would do the opposite of this song and say “Screw you all”. But God’s compassion and patience lead Him to make the move first to establish trust to his creation that first turned their backs on Him. Imagine if victims forgive their perpetuators. That is what happened here but in an ultimate wholistic way.

While this is our stance on trust, forgiveness and support – it is in no way EASY! In fact this is very hard but I have learned from experience that forgiveness and repentance have to be lived out in order for healing and restoration to happen. From there, trust can be rebuilt.

My hope is that today you are encouraged to place your trust in the right places, and offer forgiveness.  It is then that we can enter this holiday season, and say, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

 

 

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Logo Explained. Pt. 2

Coffee Connections no square

The previous post I commented on the CIRCLE of the logo. (Missed that post? Its ok! Click HERE to read up on it). This time I want to dive into the name itself that takes the first half of the circle.

If you do not know our full story yet, it is a long and amazing journey that is still happening. Yet how it all started was way beyond anything either Sharon (my wife) and I could have imagined or planned. We are in the final approval phases of a video a friend took about our story, so look for that on our Facebook page.

As we took this faith journey away from what we knew into what we did not know our mindset had to change in order to accomplish what we felt like God was telling us to do. Coffee was going to play a main part in this journey, but we felt like something deeper was in need of being addressed. As we searched for what this need was when we moved to Hilliard, we did not have to look far at all. Being in a new community, surrounded by new everything to us, we searched for a place to be connected with. The Hilliard Ray Patch YMCA became that for us till our footing became in various different spots.

What we noticed is that people are BUSY! This is not an excuse NOR something most enjoy. It just happens. Kids, sports, job, relationships, and the list goes on. Everything is demanding on the time of us all and we noticed this NEED that started to seep into our lives- connection. Not a virtual one, but a human one where you can sit face to face and enjoy a conversation about life, where the kids can play together and where strangers can become friends over a common like event or item.

We knew that Coffee and Connections had to fit together because one does not happen without the other (unless you like nasty coffee or shallow interactions). These connections need not to just stop here and now, they are intended to help each other and those we are connected with. To help each other out by meeting each others need for connection and belonging. To help each other out by meeting needs (physical, financial, spiritual and so forth).

Unbeknown to us at the time, the coffee community is one that encourages everyone in the process (from farmer to consumer) to connect with each other to make a deeper impact and more meaningful experience. A year ago I was listening to a SCAA talk and the speaker says that all coffee is good, but to say “yours is the best” is rather prideful and slap facing to the other farmers in the world who are doing the same work. No- the only difference between coffee’s is the relational factor. It is this factor that enhances the cup to “good” to “the best”. Coffee helps create this meaningful experience, even from its earliest forms. So if the coffee community was all about building connections, sharing information and helping each other grow then it would make sense to join the two names together-

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I have said elsewhere that people don’t need coffee (they want it). But what every person desires is connections. A community. A place to belong. A place that they know and are known. This desire pushes people to be part of sports, a certain job, a certain degree focus, a certain food or life style change, etc. Coffee is just a common and known medium that helps create this community. Think of coffee not just as a “drink” or “energy booster”. Think of it like a ramp that brings you into a large road of possibilities. Coffee is a agricultural product. Free of race, political view points, spiritual beliefs (or the lack of), and so forth. It is a blank slate to start over, to add too or to get better. It becomes a way for people from all walks of life to come and connect.

Logo Explained. Pt. 1. The Circle

Coffee Connections no square

As most of you know our logo is a large circle with our name and a graphic of a pour over. In the next few posts, I want to take some time and explain why we loved this graphic so much, what it means for us as we look at it and how it helps us make valuable decisions. (Credit to my brother in law – Matthew Constance – for creating this logo).

The obvious place to start is the circle. Within it contains the name and graphic we love so much. But the circle itself is so important. People use the circle in terms of various life experiences and circumstances. Sayings like “I am running in circles” means you are spending energy going nowhere. Big philosophical sayings like “Life is a circle. The end of one journey is the beginning of the next” moves one to think more that just here and now. Chances are you are seeing circles everywhere you look because THEY ARE!

Round about’s (especially in Hilliard), Icons on the bottom of a screen, wheels, bottles, bowls, cooking pans, and the list goes on! They are everywhere and most go unseen or noticed. So how can the circle play such an important part of someones life?

Mike Breen says that people have a start and an end – like a straight line. As you walk this line of life, every once in a while you get a significant moment that forces you to pause and think or evaluate your life. He calls these events “Kairos” moments. A death in the family, first child’s birth, job openings or closings, world disaster, etc. These moments are key to helping you develop better as a human being. They are not to be passed up, but to be taken with a great deal of respect and focus. It is these moments that shape you!

As you enter this “circle” you go through phases in which the evaluation to change and be different takes place. This change isn’t suppose to be a “lone ranger” action. It is supposed to be and designed to be done in community. When done correctly and over time, you come around and your life changes for the better (or the worse- pending on what you decide to do). The circle is a great image of change taking place so you can continue on your journey in life.

bev

Coffee Connections was started with the knowledge and experience that people go through things all the time! Some good and some bad. We know life in community is better because it is there where you feel safe, feel challenged and feel not alone. If a place existed where anybody can come and invite others into their life of change, we want to be that place! The circle for us speaks unity. It speaks friendship. It speaks hope. To everyone.

What is great about this concept is that ANYONE CAN DO IT! You don’t need a shop or a large community to be there from someone in their life changes. You can do it at your home, at work or at the various places you connect with other people. The circle, like this, seem simple yet is truly intentional and purposeful. It can be done and chances are you have everything you need to be part of it!

Coffee Connections wants to be that third place, that safe space, that hope for not only you but also for those you are doing life with.

Year One in the books!

reno

Hard to imagine that one year has passed since we took over Solar Cafe! The location has been so ideal. Thanks to the City of Hilliard and the many people who have worked so hard to bring people to this downtown area, we have meet so many people throughout the year.

Some have become good friends. Some needed help that was beyond themselves. Some were looking for people who would care for them. Some were looking for support during a rough time. Some were looking to celebrate. Some were looking for meaning and purpose. And some were looking for something that was greater than themselves to invest into.

14202757_635526213285405_1707879203474768731_nWords cannot even express the gratitude we can give you community of Hilliard for a great first year. Sure it wasn’t easy but you stood with us and supported beyond your duty. The crazy part is – we have so much more to do. We still get people into the shop saying this was their first time in or they have never heard of us till they did a search for coffee shops or were walking Old Hilliard. That means we haven’t even started getting out what we can ALL do as we live, work and play in Hilliard. It is certainly a community effort to make our community even better.

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This year has been full of experiences that we would not trade for anything. Experiences that were filled with hope and joy, and some that were hard and painful. Experiences that force you to get better. Experiences that show you where the warning signs are and a track history of “if I do this, then this will happen”. Experiences that are reinforced in books all around on how to handle things or what to look for or how to lead. Experiences that have the desire to make someone better and make an investment into the future.

community This year has also been one of firsts. No duh, you say! But seriously, I do not know about you but as much as I love repeating things- there is something fresh about “well, that is new”. I always love the new when it is exciting, not so much the challenging new. But both are needed for a well rounded life and experience. What I look forward in this 2nd year is an reinforcing of what was laid, growth and pruning of what needs to go, and growth beyond what we see right now.

 

Lastly, this year as been a year of hope. Through the you (the community), we have given over $14,000 to non-profits locally and around the world! The is something to celebrate as you where and are part of hope going to so many people. Yet still so many people have suffered loses, pain, disappointment and isolation. As a location, Coffee Connections has been a safe place for people to connect and start the healing process. It has also been the place where renewed life and purpose has been reinforced. It has been a placed were encouragement and “I can do this” mentality has won over. One of the first things we did a year ago before renovations was pray over the space, asking God that a peace would enter the lives of anyone who would enter these doors that they have not felt before. I am so grateful we have done this because we have had some many people comment on this very thing without knowing why and are grateful for it.

It is what we are all about: The People! We want to serve our city and love our neighbor. Its a passion that crosses any wall without creating offense. Its a focus that determines why we do what we do. To connect with each other, to serve one another, to promote unity and diversity.

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Value: All about the people

community

For the next few blog posts, I wanted to present our values at Coffee Connections. We have one key value that we live by – All about the people. That key value is lived out in two ways: Love your neighbor and Serve your city. For this first installment, I want to touch on the origins of “All about the people.”

Many may find it surprising, but Coffee Connections was not part of a 5 year plan that we developed. In fact it wasn’t even on the radar! But God gave a vision and we began to walk that way. This story is shared elsewhere on the blog. Through this whole process,  the heart of serving people has always been at the core.  It is what we believe and how we act towards humanity.

A greek scholar tells this story – He was presenting an idea on a line from the Bible that says “for God so loved ALL the world…”. The student wanted to know the greek translation of the word “all” as to see if the meaning was different in any way. The greek scholar said, “Well the word ‘all’ in greek means…” As he paused for a few the auditorium got very quiet as to be schooled by an expert and their minds exploding with a very different meaning than what they were used to. “well, it means ALL”. A slow laughter rippled around the student body. So when we say “all about the people” we mean “ALL!” There is no segregation, disunity or defense against beliefs and life styles. People are people and they all have value. Devaluing people is defacing who we are an entire human race.

The “About” is the part in the slogan is simply points to whom the “all” refers. It’s People.  People means, well, you get the idea! Whether a child or an older adult and everywhere in between, we care about all people. One of the heart beats of the shop is for a multigenerational, multiethnic, and multidiverse group of people that can all gather.  We envision people sharing their dreams, desires, worst days, struggles and joys. A strong, supportive and movemental force that is driven by a deep and even spiritual desire to go beyond oneself. All about the people isn’t just an idea, it is our life style.

It’s a value.

It’s a community.

It’s a mindset that pushes one to be selfless and welcoming to make each other better. Because we all know we are better off together and we cannot stay where we are at and hope for better. We have to get better, we have to grow, and we have to share. We are living organisms that grow, so let’s grow together by sharing and listening. It’s messy…it’s beautiful…it’s All About the People.

The Perfect Shot?

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The perfect shot. If you talk to coffee professionals and experts, this is possible despite being complicated. Even the idea of THE perfect shot has variables. That being the case, lets take a moment and pull apart these words “Perfect Shot”.

Perfect. A attribute that is hard to obtain and qualify. Chances are your definition of perfection is different from mine and every person you talk to. Perfection is the pursuit of your whole being without fault or defect. No flaws, no issues- just perfect. Now, don’t get me wrong here. Perfection is something to shoot for because it shows in your work and life. It gives you a sense of validation and expertise that can be needed in various situations. Yet it often leads to some negative expectations and ultimately isolation. Perfection often brings a sense of the elitist mindset that defines who you are or what you. If your actions are not ABOVE anyone else and the definition is cracked in some way, the victim mindset sets in and a slow decline starts that shows itself in negative actions. Its a chase of all things “mine” and gives no wiggle room for error.

Rant over – Now lets talk about Perfect in the sense of an espresso. To do this, you need to have an espresso machine that will produce the right amount of pressure. Then fresh roasted coffee that is ground on a fine setting. Add the correct amount of ground coffee into the portafilter (around 14-18 grams. Next, you must tamp it to create a condensed puck. Pulling an espresso shot isn’t hard when you have the right equipment and knowledge.

Shot. The coffee is pulled from the espresso machine making a nice “mouse tail stream” to create three distinct layers: Body, Heart, Crema. Based on what kind of beans you use (example: single origin or blends) will result on the level of taste and those three layers. Your climate and region will also play a part into this result. Oh and don’t forget water purity. So yeah- its a lot and can be exhausting. Constant practice to create the perfect espresso shot is not only costly but also time consuming. Most of the time, most baristas look for key traits within the shot and adjust from there. Perfection in an espresso shot is a hard thing to grasp from time to time.

Its not that coffee workers “settle” for average. It is beyond that. It is seeing what has been given to them, with the knowledge that they have and adjusting where needed to create a shot of espresso that is palatable and on par. Though not perfect, which we already saw as objective to each person, the shot of espresso will be the very best it can be in that moment. Growth in how to adjust both machine and bean will add to getting better, of course. This is a must. A life- long learn and discoverer process.

If we take a look at life, people crave attention and then pass it off as “I don’t know why I am doing this” or even better “it doesn’t matter or I don’t have an end goal to this” is a passive aggressive attempt to minimize the feelings and thoughts that are within them. We all do things out of “need”. Some are public, others are private. Social media has this way of showing “perfect” without showing the mess. Even those in a mess look perfect. Right?! We start measuring up to others and what they do and who they are and see ourselves as missing that “perfect” mark that they are hitting often. Its only in a good, health and open community where perfection is stripped away and the reality of messy is available. A weight is lifted, freedom is found and “my best” is celebrated.

You are not settling for “average” or “normal”- which if you think of that those definitions can be subjective based on a person’s outlook and upbringing. You are moving forward away from what drives you and those around you crazy! You are moving away from perfection and into enjoyment of life. Perfection is an illusion people chase. Rather, aim to chase the realities of becoming better in all aspects of your life, to be a life long learner. To share that with others as they learn and grow. Together you will create a life system that is the best and most enjoyable.

 

Starting off strong

love-neighbor

We are in week two of Coffee Connections occupying 4004 Main Street. So far it has been busy and we have been interacting with so many people. The responses that we have been getting from the Hilliard community is so encouraging. We are very grateful for everyone who has been coming out and the regulars that continue to come in.

I said above that “we have been very busy.” I am not joking about that or trying to make ourselves better. It seems like every day we our running out of something. As we have made lists and bought what we need, the amount of people ordering has been much higher than we anticipated. The coffee is just a major indicator about how many people have been through our space. I roasted a lot the weekend we opened (or at least I thought it was) and we ran out THAT DAY! I am grateful for Tim and the Coffee Mess for having coffee ready for me to resupply. Then that following week I had to continue to get more and more coffee from Tim. So to prepare for our second weekend, I did a total of 9 roasts (roughly 1 to 1.5 pounds) and we used all of that up by Sunday. To say I am grateful is an understatement.

In addition to all of this, many people are coming and showing the space to family and friends. We have been getting stop ins and calls from various businesses asking if they could use the space for meetings, events and rentals (the Annex which should be ready early October). Our hope was for this space to be used by the community to love their neighbor and serve this city – it certainly is happening.

A look ahead makes us more and more excited. The fall season brings so many fun events that we are just thrilled to be part of. We will be hosting a Coffee Tasting event, Coffee and Canvas, a Hayride in the south of Hilliard, and much much more!

As we move forward strong, keep stoping in and following us on Facebook. We are here to serve this city and love these people. We are here to add value and meaning into people lives.

 

 

Renovations! Not to be done in a day

reno picSince last week, we have been working on renovations at 4004 and 4006 Main Street, Hilliard Ohio. Visit our facebook for more pictures and videos of what we have done.

This week has been all about painting the main house (4004 Main Street). We have been blessed with various people coming by to volunteer their time and helping this space to get completed.

For me, one of the more frustrating pieces to all of this is the amount time it takes to do a project. Painting here, organizing there, cleaning up over there and the list continues. I have been used to getting this done rather quickly that things that take time frustrate me. Ironic, this journey is about slowing down and doing it right and waiting for the right time.

Do not get me wrong, we are moving fast and getting so much accomplished! The little things can throw me off and get me down. I want to see if come together quicker yet I am not seeing the detailed small stuff that needs to take place first. These small things are so important and need to happen in order for everything to look good and fit together.

renoLike I said, so many people have helped out already and so many will continue to help out- to that I am grateful. Many hands make lite work.

So what have I learned so far that I can pass on to you?

1 – Be thankful! Things will not always go the way you hoped they would go, people will disappoint you, and projects will take longer. Yet being thankful will reverse these into – learning to grow through unexpected times, appreciate those who are around you and do what you can.

2- Take care of yourself. I have this guilt feeling of not being there to help out. Even right now, I am thinking how dare I take time and write this blog while I can be at the shop doing more stuff. But its important, especially if I want to continue to be productive.

I am grateful beyond words for the amount of time, energy and effort those who have been faithfully volunteering their time for these past few weeks to make this dream a reality. Thank you! Let us not give up the good work that is before us…it is only the beginning…

4004 Main Street, Hilliard OH

Solar PicWe are excited to announce that 4004 Main Street in Old Hilliard will become the location of Coffee Connections!  On August 21st, we will begin to make our mark on the space and we plan to be open this September!

Isn’t that currently Solar Cafe?  Yes, and the story behind how this came to be an option for us is truly unique.  I want to share that with you.

April is when the assignments for vendor’s spots around town are made.  Our desire is to connect with people in the community and the one spot I really hoped to get was Hilliard Station Park. And we got it.  But it was right across the street from Solar Cafe. Because we both would be selling coffee, and I desire to promote unity within this community, I decided to have a conversation with the owner.  I walked into Solar and introduced myself to Tom. I shared with him my ideas for unity with my vendor spot at the Splash Pad and asked if he would be willing to work with me.  He reached his hand across the table from me and said “thank you”. We chatted for the next hour and half, and the something that I never imagined, happened.  Tom’s true desire is to be the landlord of the property and noticing my passion and vision to have a great place for people to connect over coffee…he offered for me to purchase the assets of his business and set up shop. This offer shocked me.  First, Old Hilliard is my dream location to own a shop.  Second, it was out of left field.  We had just finished a dedicated time of prayer where I felt God clearly told me to just focus on the bike.  It seemed unattainable, though, because I didn’t have access to the funds to make it happen.

I shared this encounter with some friends and asked them to pray for us. Surprisingly, one of these friends later called me and said, “God would not let this idea go.” After more prayer, we decided to move forward as this friend became our initial investor, making this space a reality.

Since then, we have had various encounters with people about this space and their excitement about its transformation. The bike has done its job and will continue to make relationships by going out to serve people.

We plan on taking a few weeks to renovate the space and open it around the beginning of September. We’re so excited to have a physical location for people to come and enjoy great coffee and build connections.  My next post will be about what we plan on doing within the space and what it means to those who live in and around Hilliard.

Success

 

Thomas

The above quote by Thomas Edison is really drilling deep within my brain. Within recent years, Thomas Edison and his quotes have been mentioned often OR I am noticing them more as we are on this journey. Here is what I mean.

A year ago, Sharon and I sat down to figure out what we would like to accomplish in a year. Most of the stuff we added came true (mobile coffee option, relationships within various areas of life and city, etc), yet there was a handful of items that we did not anticipate or could not have known while we were dreaming.

The biggest item was the Wheely’s Coffee Bike. When it came in, to be very honest, I was taken back by all the items that we had to add to it. Then came the endless hours of getting it ready and the waiting for its approval. In the process, we found out the ‘ease’ of it getting licensed (as far as the Ohio government was concerned) to which we were thankful. Then came finding out what to do and where. A lot of time, energy and money went into finding spots and events that yield a very little return…at least not enough to support a family. Learning to simplify was tough and I am still learning to do that. We expected a greater return and easy opportunities YET we got more questions of “how” and “where.” Our starting dream was a dream and when reality hit- it hit hard! It was something that could easily send anyone walking away.

BUT!!!

Within the last few weeks, we have been getting more and more opportunities because we set ourselves up to be in various arenas of the city and have tried some different ideas. We wanted to add to what was going on (for example: Hilliard Station Park, various health runs that we were able to give back, local business opportunities, etc). Of course, we tried various things and either got a NO or no response. This is hard! Yet, to us, it is more that just coffee…it goes deeper. There is a driver that moves us to make certain decisions and make certain relationships. It drives us to be an acting part of the solution not just a voice. It drives us to create unity which springs relationships and possibilities only dreamed about. We know that as we reach out, someone will reach back and we will see our dream becoming a reality.

Its not about greed, popularity or special hand outs. Not the amount of money that comes in or spots we have. Its about staying focused on the goal – serving and building relationships.

Its what Sharon and I wanted to do a year ago and want to continue to do so that we could look back and say, “Yea- that was successful.”

Now it is up to you!

What drives you?

How do you measure success?

What do you need to stick with?

Or what do you need to let go?

Is it beyond yourself or within your control?