The Work of Your Hands

Several years ago, my younger brother Dan, sent me a present for my birthday.  He was very excited about it and told me to be looking for it to come.  That was a little unusual, and when I got the box and saw the size, I was not sure what to expect.

When I opened it, inside was a hand coffee mill.

I was ecstatic! When I called to talk to him about it, he told me he had found it online after much searching and it actually came from Germany.  I was so surprised at his very thoughtful gift and asked him how in the world he knew I would love something like that – and he remembered me telling him about Laura Ingalls and the coffee mill she used to save their family from starvation.

When I was little, I read through every single Little House on the Prairie book I could get my hands on, and one of my favorite stories was in The Long Winter.  Times were hard – snow came up to the 2nd story windows at times (really!) – and when supplies were running low – all they had stored were hard wheat berries.  The family survived by grinding wheat in the hand coffee mill they owned.  It made for flour for them to bake and use as they needed.  They worked hard grinding up the flour and they survived.

Hard work never goes away.  Whether it’s manual labor or focusing and studying for final exams, determination is a big part of working and success in working.

There is a great sense of satisfaction in work done well.  I think even with the curse of sin – manual labor, toil, and pain – God softened the blow with allowing us to feel a sense of satisfaction in hard work done well.  We work by His strength, but He gives us a sense that our work is worthwhile.

It’s like kneading bread.  Now I much prefer quick, easy breads because I can get them baked and start eating them wrap them for gift giving in a jif.  But I get a real sense of satisfaction from kneading a pile of warm bread dough and feeling it change under my hands as I work with it and seeing the end results in a light, fluffy loaf of bred.

It’s also like grinding fresh coffee beans.  Oh sure, there are super mega fast electric coffee grinders that would have me sipping my favorite beverage in a heart beat – and in my house the faster I get coffee the better.  But I would miss the the satisfaction of hearing the sound of the beans pour into the mill cup ~ turning the handle in smooth, rotating motions ~ opening the drawer to find dark brown grounds that smell utterly delectable ~ and then tasting that first rich sip of coffee – ahhhhhhh!  What satisfaction!

Like our Creator, who fashioned everything we know and see with His very own hands and pondering it declared it “very good” – we have the inclination to look at our work and declare its goodness as well.  Whether it’s a majestic painted work of art, or a folded pile of fresh-smelling laundry – working with our hands is a gift from God.  And it is VERY GOOD!

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Saturday Morning Fever

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Share a Cup with Me! or I Dream of Keurig…

So what’s your favorite coffee blend?  Do you have one or do you just drink the first available cup you can find?  What’s your favorite brewing system?

See, I can’t think or talk about the craziness of my week, so I’m going to focus on one of my favorite things: COFFEE!!!   I could totally own a coffee shop and would LOVE to try the wide variety of coffee roasts, bean blends, and brewing systems to see which is really my favorite.  But it might not be a profitable coffee shop if I’m using all the merchandise…

At our house, we use a percolator.  Roy grew up with one – and I have to agree with him that it makes a better cup of coffee than the standard drip brewer.  I also prefer a medium-roast coffee, although I enjoy a dark roast from time to time, too.  Especially in winter…

But I still dream about a Keurig one-cup brewer.  Mainly because we will perk an 8-10 cup pot of coffee many mornings, and not drink it all.  6 cups would satisfy me – but just me – and that’s not really 6 cups of coffee, just the measurement on our pot. So I always make at least 8 so Roy can enjoy some coffee, too.  Only he doesn’t always get to.

So we end up pouring coffee down our drain and I can’t. stand. it.

The one thing holding me back from buying a Keurig is the price of the K-cups.  Typically, we’re talking $9.99 for a box of 18 cups.  Which breaks down to a reasonably priced single cup of coffee – $.56 – compared to specialty shops and even most restaurants.  But when compared to the 23 lb can of coffee that can be bought at Sams Club for $9.99 (Okay, I’m exaggerating the size of the coffee can) – we’re talking a serious difference in prices.

On the other hand, Keurig was smart enough to manufacture a “make-your-own-K-cup” accessory, so anyone is able to use their favorite blend of coffee to make a cup for themselves at home – so it works out well.  And we can find the brewer that works for us while still saving money. WOOHOO!!!

The other factor in selecting coffee is whether or not it is FAIR-TRADE.  Organic – I’m actually not so much worried about.  But FAIR TRADE has to do with the fact that the coffee source essentially does NOT use slave labor to produce their coffee beans.  FAIR TRADE means that the source does not use slave workers in their manufacturing process and pays their workers FAIR wages for work, not pennies for hours of long days at exhaustive manual labor…

I’ve been looking more and more for FAIR TRADE blends and trying to be a little more selective about my coffee.  [By the way – the 3 products which often resort to using slave labor at the source are:  Coffee, Chocolate, and Diamonds.  Hmmm – all 3 are something women tend to love generally speaking, so I figure women can do something about it…] Anyway – more coffee suppliers are using FAIR TRADE beans, and although the price may be a tad bit higher – but not always – it’s worth a smaller variety of selections to help eradicate slavery!

Now it’s time to go get the perk percolating and get started with my day!

So what IS your favorite coffee?  Bean blend?  Roast?  Brand Name?  What’s your favorite way to drink coffee?  Do you have a favorite local shop – what’s your favorite drink there?

Weary Wednesday

We girls have been in the house together for 5 days now. More snow coming down. The babies are restless and I’m ready for some kind of nervous breakdown.  It’s a good day for online shopping!

Donna Young – oh my word.  LOVE this site.  So many great printable planning pages – and they are so user friendly!!!  And she has a blog to go along with it!

If you, like me, are in the mood for some hot tea or coffee, don’t forget to visit Teaporia, Miss Ellie’s Coffee, Rogers Gourmet Coffee & Tea, or Honeybean Coffee.  If you can’t find something you like at any of these sites, I think you should schedule a check-up…

On cold days like these, I really feel the urge to cook & bake.  Herb Trader, Frontier Co-op, and Mountain Rose Herbs offer organic & natural herbs, spices, teas, and other great items.  Watkins sells the BEST cinnamon I’ve ever tasted, and also has some great organic & natural products available online, too.


***My pictures won’t upload today so I’ll try to get Curly’s Snow Angel pics uploaded tomorrow.