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Archive for the ‘Coffee’ Category

Starbucks vs Dunkin'So far as long as I’ve been drinking coffee, I’ve been a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee person. Everyone knows this. It’s something I pride myself on. After all, why pay more for a cup of coffee at Starbucks when you can get one that’s better at Dunkin’ for less?

Until now. *Sigh.*

For some reason, lately, I can’t get enough of Starbucks coffee. Really? What is the deal?

It used to be that I thought it was too acidic, too strong and just plain not as smooth as Dunkin’ donuts. Now, my tastebuds have decided that Dunkin’ is too sweet – even when it’s black.

It’s giving me an identity crisis. And I’m not sure what to do about it. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the coffee enthusiast. What’s your favorite brew? Drop me a line and share your common grounds. 😉

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FaithBarista_FreshJamBadgeG

Bonnie Gray over at Faith Barista (cool name, right?) has started this nifty new feature called Faith Barrista JAM | Keep Faith Fresh. Here’s how it works: She throws out a topic about faith, and we all write a post and link it up on her site. Sounds like fun, yeah?

Today’s topic: How does your faith affect your personality?

It’s interesting that this was her topic for this jam. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And I wonder how people who don’t have faith deal with everything life throws at them.

How do you deal with stress? Pain? Injustice? Loss? Grief? Without someone to turn it over to? Without hope? Without faith that all will work out? Even if it’s not the way we think it will be.

Facing Crisis

For me, faith is an integral part of my life. It’s something I’ve always had. My parents are Christians, and I was raised in a Baptist Church. God has always been there. He’s always been part of my life. When I was paralyzed in fifth grade with a rare condition, it was God I turned to, my parents turned to, and prayer from my church, friends and family that the doctors said healed me. The Easter Seals child for that year, had the same condition and he’ll never be able to walk again. And yet, here I am, nearly 30 years later healed and well.

When I face everyday challenges, it’s my faith that all will work out the way it’s supposed to – even if it’s frustrating, irritating, heartbreaking and painful along the way – that keeps me going.

Core Values

We recently had this organizational exercise we had to narrow down our core values to five. Here are mine: Faith, hope, wisdom, happiness and humor. Notice that faith and hope are right up front, and that springs from my belief in God, as does wisdom. This is key for me. I believe that in all things we must be wise – even if that means being unpopular for our decisions. And through faith, hope and wisdom comes happiness. Happiness in my family, in my friends and in myself. Last, but certainly not least, is humor. Another key value. I can cope with anything through humor. Humor and, yes, I’ll say it again, faith. 😉

So, how does faith affect my personality? It’s the core of my very being. It’s who I am, what I believe in, how I face challenges and how I want to live my life. In faith. That’s not to say I don’t struggle with it sometimes or that I’m always Miss Happy. But, when I dig down deep inside me, it’s there. I just have to call on Him.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. ~1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)

Discovering Our Common Grounds

How does your faith affect your personality? Drop me a comment and let me know your story. And stop on by Faith Barista to let her know as well.

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Cappuccino at Coffee Break in Lund, Sweden.

Image via Wikipedia

After all, you deserve it, right? Today is National Coffee Day. Who knew? But this is right up my alley. 😉 As most of you know, I can’t begin my day without a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in my hands. It just wouldn’t be right, after all.

Free Coffee

Several coffee shops are offering free or discounted coffee today, including participating Dunkin’ Donuts! Check out your local stores to see if they’re taking advantage of this wonderful national holiday. Ha!

History

According to punchbowl.com:

Coffee dates as far back as the 9th century. It was first discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi. He noticed the stimulating effects that the coffee berries had on his goats and began to experiment with them.

A century later, coffee began to be roasted and traded by Arabs. From there, the beans entered Indian and European markets and the first coffee shop opened in Constantinople in 1475. The popularity of coffee took off and began to grow at an exponential rate.

Today, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil.

Common Grounds

So no matter how your take your coffee: black, cream, sugar, latté, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato or just plain old coffee, enjoy yourself a cuppa today! Then, let me know which coffee you chose – and how delicious it was! I can’t wait to enjoy our coffee breaks together to discover our common grounds.

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Pella, IA

Pella's Town Square (via cwwycoff1)

So my friend who writes the Mis-conceptions blog tagged me in this little blogging game of 10 things you never knew about me. Alright, I’ll play. 😉 Here goes.

  1. I’m an only child. I know, I know. I hear many of you saying, “Aha! That explains it!” Yep, you caught me. It’s true. And this is probably one of the main reasons I’ve always been so independent (and strong-willed). 🙂
  2. I participated in a 60-voice a capella choir in college that toured the U.S. and Europe. This was one of my most fun activities in college. I definitely miss it!
  3. I went to college in Pella, Iowa. Yes, where they make the windows. The company actually began as Rolscreen Corporation because of its “disappearing” Rolscreen® window screen, and changed to Pella Corp in 1992. The town is a picturesque step back in time, and resplendent with Dutch heritage from its town square Glockenspiel and brick-paved streets to the Dutch letters and annual Tulip Time Festival. This is where I met one of my best friends, Jennifer. Definitely some of the best four years of my life.
  4. I met and married my husband in less than a year. Yes, it truly was a whirlwind romance. We met at work in October of ’95, got engaged in February of ’96 and married that October. Next month marks our 14th anniversary. Clearly that approach worked – at least for us.
  5. I grew up in a town that had only 3,000 people. Galva is wedged between the Quad Cities and Peoria in west-central Illinois. I lived there from the time I was four until 16, and I still go back for the class reunions as often as possible. It was a great town with great people!
  6. I’m still friends with three girls I met when I was: (1) Kathy at four years old; (2) Ann at eight years old; and (3) Katie at 10 years old. Not too shabby, huh? Two of the three still live in Galva, and the other lives in Chicagoland. While we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, I still consider them some of my closest friends!
  7. I switched high schools half-way through my sophomore year in high school. Yes, this definitely placed me outside my comfort zone. And, let’s not forget that I moved to my rival school. My mother already taught at the school as a high school business teacher, and my dad took the superintendent’s job. I learned a lot about myself during that move, and met a few people who had a significant impact on my life.
  8. I was Valedictorian of my high-school class. Surprised? Yep. That’s my one claim to fame, I guess.
  9. I grew up with educators for parents. My mother is a retired high-school business teacher, and my father is a retired math teacher, turned principal, turned superintendent. Education is definitely in my blood, and I strongly considered going into teaching myself. I still consider it every once in awhile. Who knows; maybe some day?
  10. I would love to move back to my home town. As much as I like the town I currently live in and love my neighborhood, nothing could compare to the small town I grew up in. If only I could convince the hubby of that.

Discovering Our Common Grounds

So, what are the 10 things we never knew about you? Care to share your own blog post? Simply want to leave a quick comment? I can’t wait to learn what I never know about you.

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Image by: deletem3

A short funny to (hopefully) make you smile.

So my son woke me up Wednesday morning by crawling into my bed as quiet as (an extremely well-fed) mouse (that is hard of hearing and thinks he’s being über-quiet but really barrels into the room more akin to a freight train with several squeaky wheels). He proceeds to place his super-cute face nose-to-nose with mine.

As I feel that hot little breath on my face, I slowly and begrudgingly pry open one of my eyes to find myself staring directly into the very large, very hazel eye of my six-year-old. Bat, bat, bat, go the insanely long eyelashes swooshing against mine. (Why is it that boys always get the best lashes, anyway?) I giggle and close my eye quickly, only to open it and bat back a few seconds later. This produces a second giggle, this time from the six-year-old.

He backs away, lays his head on the pillow and “tries” to go back to sleep. After all, it’s only 6 a.m. – and it’s my day off. Come on, people! Give me a break. Let’s at least sleep in until 7 a.m., shall we? Shortly thereafter, the not-so-quiet mouse is at it again.

Pat, pat, pat. Pause. Pat, pat, pat.

He’s patting my arm, like an adult might do to calm an upset child. Not that I’m upset; just trying to sleep. As I once again pry my eyelids open, I see him smiling down at me with his angelic face. This again causes an onslaught of giggles from me. How is it that someone so mischievous can have such an innocent expression on his face?

“Mom? Do you know why I’m doing all these cute things?” he asks in all seriousness. *Snorf.* (That’d be me trying to hold back a snort and a giggle at the same time.)

I blank my expression and say, “No, why?”

“Because I want you to get up early and come downstairs with me. I want to spend some time with you,” he explains.

Alright. Who can say no to that – even at 6 in the morning? I proceed to give him a big hug, and then drag my definitely not-so-quiet-self out of the bed and into the bathroom to prepare for the day. Gotta love it when your day starts off as great as that!

How did your day start today? Did your little ones or not-so-little ones give you some “fraddling” as my friend Michelle says on her site? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a comment.

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The Ordeal

The dreaded day is over and all is well! Thank heavens! Here’s the play-by-play for those curious:

Thursday

4:45 a.m.

I crawl out of bed and drag myself into the shower to prepare for the day. Ugh.

5 a.m.

I wake the munchkin, and help him pick out a “friend” to accompany him to the hospital for his journey. It’s Bob the Dog, an adorable Dalmatian and his turn-to-stuffy for anything remotely traumatic. (Getting his tonsils out definitely qualifies.)

5:20 a.m.

We pile in the car, with me driving. (Stress and early mornings don’t make for coherent driving from the hubby.) And the journey to the hospital begins.

6 a.m.

We arrive at the hospital, spend 10 minutes trying to find the entrance. (It’s harder than you might think.) And make our way to the reception desk, where we’re greeted by a friendly receptionist who checks us in and sends us to Ambulatory Surgery. We check in there, and they usher us into a communal room, where another family is already awaiting their turn in surgery.

We make our way to last bed in the room, turn on some cartoons and begin the wait. The nurse comes in and talks with us and with the munchkin to prepare for the day’s events.

6:40 a.m.

Next, is a visit from the anesthesiologist, who explains the process:

  1. Give the munchkin an oral sedative, which should calm him down and make him very happy.
  2. Take him into surgery and apply the face mask, which puts him to sleep.
  3. Insert the IV.
  4. Perform the surgery, which should last no more than an hour.
  5. Move into recovery, which should take about 45 minutes.
  6. Return to this room until he’s fully out of the anesthesia, can eat something and walk on his own.
  7. Go home and begin the recovery process.

Sounds simple enough, right?

7:05 a.m.

The nurse returns with the sedative. Unfortunately, due to the lovely taste, half of it ends up on the bed. Great. Next, she dumps a bag full of lipgloss onto the bed. “Pick one,” she instructs the munchkin.

Huh?!?

After several minutes of smelling, it’s settled. Kiwi. O-kaaay. What are we doing with this exactly? It’s rubbed on the inside of the mask that will deliver the gas to put him to sleep to make it smell yummy. =)

7:25 a.m.

By the time they come to wheel him into surgery, there really is little effect on his agitated state – since half of the medicine ended up on the bed.

He begins to cry. *Sigh.*

7:40 a.m.

The nurses, the hubby and I try to calm him down. We talk about Bob the Dog, and ask if he, too, is going to get his tonsils out. We wonder what he’ll think of the whole process, etc. A bit more at ease, off he goes. The hubby and I turn to one another, and know that all we can do now is wait and pray. With heavy hearts, we head off to the waiting room, where we’re greeted by a cheerful volunteer and shown the status screen that indicates the progress of the surgery.

And we wait. And wait. And…yes, wait. Luckily, they had coffee. Granted, it wasn’t Dunkin’ Donuts, but it worked.

8:50 a.m.

The wait is finally over. The doctor comes into the waiting room to tell us that all went well. Yippee!!! He says there was very little bleeding, which is good, but that the adenoids were squishy. O-kaaay. Evidently, this is a sign that he’s had chronic infections, which may have never truly gone away. With the tonsils and adenoids now out, it’s all about the recovery. The doctor explains that we’ll probably be waiting another 30 minutes or so, and then they’ll call us back to the original room in which we started to be reunited with the munchkin.

9:05 a.m.

No more than five minutes after the doctor left, “Mom” is called into the recovery room. Evidently, the munchkin was asking for me and was extremely upset I wasn’t there the instant he awoke. The nurses had explained that children typically are so out of it when they emerge from the anesthesia that they don’t know the nurse from Mom, and the nurse serves the purpose just fine until they’re moved back into their normal room.

Right. Not the case with my little munchkin. So, I don the “bunny suit,” so named because its big, white and covers all of you like a jumpsuit (yes, you look like a giant bunny when all is said and done), and add the accompanying blue hair hat to complete the outfit. Lovely.

I head into recovery and the munchkin is crying uncontrollably. As soon as he sees me, he starts crying harder. Mom’s here, now I can really lose it, he’s probably thinking.

The nurses explain that he just refused to calm down for them. He knew they weren’t his mom, and he wanted me – no one else. Okay then. Smart cookie. After talking soothingly, explaining how proud I am of him and telling him it’s all over now, he finally begins to calm down.

After a cursory search, I don’t see Bob anywhere; so I ask the nurse if she knows if his stuffed animal is still hanging around somewhere. She said, “Oh yes. Bob’s here somewhere.” I kind of glance at her funny because she said, “Yep. We all know that’s his name and it was important that he stay right by his side.” What a nutball that munchkin is.

We found Bob hiding under the covers, safe and sound. Good job, Bob.

About 30 minutes later, after a breathing treatment, some more pain medication and lots of blood pressure checks, we’re ready to leave recovery.

9:40 a.m.

We meet Daddy back in the room. Now, it’s a matter of waiting until he’s awake enough to eat something, determining his pain level and then making sure he can walk on his own. So, we wait.

And wait.

And wait some more. (Seems to be a reoccurring theme, huh?)

10:30 a.m.

The nurse brings in some popsicles: one red and one grape, as well as some water. The munchkin’s definitely ready to eat something. He starts with the red, decides that isn’t quite to his liking and immediately switches to the grape. Yummy! He downs it in 15 minutes. Pretty fast considering they just cut out organs and burned the holes back together. Nice. He’s still kind of out of it though.

11 a.m.

I’m starving! With only a donut and some coffee to tide me over since 4:45 a.m., I’m in need of some food. So, the munchkin’s in the process of eating his third popsicle; so I head down to the cafeteria to see what I can scrounge up for a quick meal.

I walk back in the room 15 minutes later with my cheeseburger and french fries, and proceed to try to hide my food as I’m eating. No good. The munchkin spies the food and immediately demands a french fry for himself.

Yep. I knew it! The doctor and nurses kept talking about how we shouldn’t worry when he refused to eat anything for several days after the surgery and wanted only liquids, if anything. They said, “That’s perfectly normal; so don’t worry.” I’m thinking to myself, this kid has had a sore throat most of his life. Eating with one, is not a big deal, and boy was I right! More to come on that in my next post.

12:30 p.m.

The nurse comes in to get him up and walk around. He does well, and she announces that as soon as he’s ready, we can leave. Of course, at this point, there’s a “good show” on the TV, and he’s content to lounge, take in the show and chow down on his popsicles.

1 p.m.

We finally convince him to get his own PJs back on, and we’re ready to go. He now has his choice of riding to the doors in the standard wheelchair or a cool red wagon. Of course, he selects the posh red wagon, proceeds to grab his pillow and lay down in it.

1:45 p.m.

We arrive home. Thank goodness! The munchkin’s lounging on the couch, listening to some tunes.

Now the recovery process begins.

Thank you all so much for all your well-wishes and prayers during this whole process. It was extremely appreciated! I’ll post more soon.

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Join me @CommonGrounds_ on Twitter!

To better share pertinent info about this blog and the many others I follow (check out My Favorite Blogs in the sidebar), I’ve created a new Twitter account: @CommonGrounds_.

For those of you who currently follow my marketing-focused account: @laura_maly, I’d like to invite you to follow me at the other one as well.

The @CommonGrounds_ account will focus primarily on positive, Christian-focused family content, comments and links; whereas the @laura_maly account is primarily centered on marketing and social media-related topics.

I hope to see you all as followers on @CommonGrounds_ soon!

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