All posts by Olivia

You Are the Coffee Shop Pastor!

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Thanks for stopping by. It’s coming up on the season of giving and the season where you will be busy with get togethers and gift giving. In other words, you are going to be meeting people, talking with people, and I want to know if you are ready. Are you ready to listen? Are you ready to take genuine time to hear someone. Are you ready to share your thoughts, but not monopolize the conversation and turn it into being about you?

If you aren’t sure how that looks, The Coffee Shop Pastor is for you. Here is one man who listens and interacts with those who come his way. He isn’t preachy or shoving the Bible in faces. He’s simply being the listening ears and offering encouragement to those he encounters in a coffee shop.

Do you go to a coffee shop regularly? Or the gym? Or the library? Or the bar? The where doesn’t really matter. It’s the relationship building you do as you meet people. Yes, even one meeting can be the catalyst for that person in ways you can’t even imagine because our God is good and He knows what we all need.

I challenge you to skip your cup of coffee today and purchase The Coffee Shop Pastor to begin reading tomorrow. It’s not a Shakespeare or a Charles Dickens, but it is a story of what you can do – and you don’t need to have pastor as a title to do it. It is also a devotional with some questions that are meant to make you think about how you are being a coffee shop pastor right where you are.

Hop on over here to read advice from the real Coffee Shop Pastor. He is not only my husband, but he has a great desire for you to live out your life on mission wherever you are. Yes, even in a coffee shop. Relationships can be built anywhere and they lead to conversations about Jesus. People will notice that you live your life differently and they will want to know why. Eventually – be patient.

The way you take time for people can have a lasting impact on them. It can be the beginning of a consideration of a relationship with God or the beginning of a relationship with you. If you don’t take the time to listen, you will never know.

Yes, ordinary people, like you and me can make a difference. Here’s the background of how I came to write the book and why it’s so exciting that people are buying it. Thank you for your support.

 

Missional Living – People Are Coming to Your Door this Halloween

its-no-trick

Whether you like it or not, Halloween is a big deal. Decorations go up, parades are planned, and kids get to dress up and become whatever they want. Trick-or-treat night is a big deal. Have you seen the candy displays? So, what are you giving out to all the visitors? Yes, visitors…to your front porch…no invitation needed. Don’t tell me you’re hiding with the porch light off!!!

If missional living isn’t a part of your line item household budget, it needs to be. Let me tell you what we did last year and I hope you copy this idea and put it to work at your house, in your neighborhood, with the people around you.

Last year, we decided to go all out. We live in town, with sidewalks, and lots of families around. PK and I decided to go big. We got a ton of candy – the good stuff, six big containers of hot cocoa, two (or was it three) gallons of apple cider, and 200 coffee cups with lids.

Yes, we set up shop on our front porch and gave away candy, hot cocoa, and warm cider to everyone. Kids, parents, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, a few people we knew and a bunch of people we didn’t know. My husband felt like a barista. I think we had 20 cups left. No one complained when the line was ten deep or they had to wait for the next batch of warm cider.

In fact, do you know what happened? People talked and laughed. We weren’t strangers. We were people out with our kids. We could ooh and ah about costumes and commiserate about how something fell off or so and so was having a melt down and by the way what’s your favorite candy you are taking out of your kid’s bag.

Does this mean you can’t take your kids out trick-or-treating? No. I took mine out while Keith manned the stand. It was a chilly evening, but I had my cup of cider with me. It was advertisement. Someone said, “I could use a warm drink” and I replied, “Go up to the house on so and so street. They are giving it out for free.” I didn’t say it was my house, because it didn’t matter. Word got around that our house was the place to go.

halloween

Did we convert people and invite them all to our MAG? No, of course not. But we were friendly and open. We were just being kind. People tried to pay us and we said ‘no’. They asked why we were doing this and we said because it sounded like fun. It’s really that simple. Be kind. Be the only light of goodness that people might see all week.

So, go get your Halloween spirit out. Go buy more candy than you can imagine. Get some cocoa, cider, and cups. Or get whatever you think people will enjoy. Set up on your porch or lawn and get ready to serve. Be a presence in your neighborhood! Don’t just talk about it. Take action! Have fun!

Oh – one last thing. Don’t worry about being Pinterest perfect, your heart intentions are much more important. Prior to the picture with PK being taken, a gust of wind came and blew my ceramic pumpkin off the table and it shattered. Like I needed to clean that up in the midst of everything else! Really, just have fun!

 

4 Reasons I’m Glad My Book is #108,251 on Amazon

I'm Glad

So, I am very excited today because my book, The Coffee Shop Pastor was released in Amazon’s Kindle store! It’s #108,251 in the paid Kindle store and ranked for sales in three other areas too. I copied this right from Amazon, just now:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,251 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

You are probably wondering how being ranked over 108,000 is a good thing and why it makes me happy? Well, let me tell you why this first time author is excited and how I am spending my book release day.

  1. I actually have an item for sale on Amazon. If you have Prime, you are probably an avid Amazon shopper and spender. There are so many things you can buy (we bought our 20 foot ladder and had it delivered) and now I am selling something on it. In fact, if people specifically search for coffee and pastor, it will come right up…you never know!
  2. My kids are slightly impressed. A couple of weeks ago when I told my kids I had uploaded my book to Amazon, one responded, “the real Amazon?”. Yes, the real Amazon. I showed it to them and got a “cool” from them. My kids need to know in this fast paced, changing, techie world that they can have a side hustle. They already know about my Teacher Pay Teacher site. (By the way, I’m having a great month there, best sales ever – 15 items and it’s only August 10.) I’m an entrepreneur of sorts and they can be too! If I don’t make the effort to show my kids what can be done, will they ever go out on a branch and try?

    My kids have heard me yell at my computer trying to do this blog stuff and ebook stuff. Now, they can see the finished product. It takes hard work and dedication.

  3. I’m not a Hemingway or Dickens and that is okay. Look, I’m not going to lie to you, this book is probably not going to be on the classics, must read list 100 years from now. But, it is a good read. It’s a great story about one person. One person in this busy world who listened.

    YOU can be that person!

  4. If I had given up, I wouldn’t be #108,251 on the list. I wouldn’t even be on it. That is the truth. So many times I wanted to just give up. I thought, ‘this is stupid’, ‘who cares what I write’, ‘I’ve only got four subscribers’, ‘why bother’, and on and on. Have you been there?

    It is a real struggle to not compare myself to other people’s success and recognize that the success I have is just right for me because that’s how God wants it. And so I am celebrating.

If you are trying something new, you just have to keep going. It’s a great feeling when the final product is done. Yes, like a turkey done! And then you get to celebrate. The Today show called, but I was already busy. Here is how I’ve been spending my book release day.

  • I went for a bike ride at 6:00am and did an extra hill because it was too dark at 5:30am. That half hour in-between waking and riding allowed me to check my email where Kindle let me know my book was released.
  • The kids and I harvested delights from the garden. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and zinnias are filling bowls on my table! They weren’t thrilled about helping, but when we pulled a six inch carrot out we were all impressed.
  • PK showed me my book that he ordered on his phone. It made me smile that he supports me.
  • I made pickles because over the winter, homemade pickles with grilled cheese is delicious!
  • We had homemade pizza for lunch because football practice is right at dinner time and PK was able to eat with us, so it just worked out.
  • I might just make a cake too!

This is the stuff of life. Opportunities are there and I made one for myself. If I hadn’t written The Coffee Shop Pastor, I would still be wondering if I could. Go ahead and put the doubts away and give a project of yours a try. That picture at the top? That’s me and how I feel when I get to dip my toes in the ocean in December, or I look at my kids, or at the end of a successful school year when the last bell rings, or at times like these when I actually did something I wanted to try. I want to keep that feeling and this picture is a reminder to me to keep going. Good luck!

4 Ways to be Courageous Every Day

Be courageous

Do you like coffee? Do you like the atmosphere of the little shop or the hustle and bustle of people coming and going and wonder what their stories are?

Do you work out at the gym or go out for walks at the park? Do you go at the same time and recognize some of the same people who are there the same time as you?

Do you like to unwind at the end of the day or week by getting a nice cold one or sipping on a delicious, local wine? Do you ever see someone sitting alone and wonder why they are alone?

Are any of the above you?

Do you ever work up the courage to actually say something to someone or listen without expecting anything in return? Do you take time to put yourself second so someone else can be first? Do you?

In a world where everyone seems to be isolated by ear buds, closed off by window blinds, and house entry is behind the closed garage door, how do you get to know people? In a world where Facebook posts show what fun everyone is having and Pinterest shows perfection, how do you get to know people? Here are 4 ways to be courageous and go out on a limb and meet people.

  1. Be aware: If you take notice of your surroundings, you will find something that you can work into an icebreaker to start a conversation. Notice things around you such as:
    • the appetizer or drink you haven’t tried yet, comment on their outfit (color, shoes, earrings, etc.), the weather, the sunrise, their cute dog, whatever is on the TV, a play on the field
  2. Be open: Instead of looking closed off with an imaginary ‘do not disturb’ sign on, make yourself accessible. Open up by:
    • opening your shades, sit on the front porch, use your front door, uncross your arms, take out the ear buds, put your phone away, take off your sunglasses
  3. Be friendly: The old saying goes, turn that frown upside-down. This is an action like:
    • smiling, laughing together, not being short or rude with someone, taking a moment to stop what you are doing and recognizing someone
  4. Be quiet: Don’t always be loudest voice and realize your opinion isn’t always the best. In the quiet, learn to:
    • listen without judging, be present in the conversation, offer your experience in a similar situation without judgment or opinion

You have to realize that doing these things probably won’t  turn you and that other person into life long friends overnight. But, in that moment, you are offering yourself as someone who is kind, someone who cares, and someone who wants to be there. You have the power to impact lives around you. This is what my book, The Coffee Shop Pastor, is all about. You don’t know how your meeting with someone will change their lives. We have a responsibility to make disciples without being all religious. Being aware, open, friendly, and quiet are easy ways to get people to let their guard down and let them know that you are interested in them as a person. Check out my book and use the questions at the end to guide you so you are ready to be a courageous version of the coffee shop pastor.

pic from Amazon

New Book! The Coffee Shop Pastor

pic from AmazonSo, maybe three years ago my husband (PK) said something to me and I think I jokingly said he was the coffee shop pastor. The phrase stuck in my head and ideas started coming and I thought, hmm, I’ll write a book. After writing here and there for almost a year, I sat down and typed it up. All that time and it wasn’t even 50 pages long! Wow, this is hard.It didn’t matter, I thought it was a nice story and wrapped up an electronic, PDF version for him for Christmas. He said he liked it. I decided to turn it into an ebook for several reasons.

  • One, I wanted to make it real. So many people have good things to say and I believe this story does as well.
  • Two, we buy a lot from Amazon and how neat would it be to see something I did on their site.
  • Three, I have four kids and I want to inspire them and show them what can be done if they set their mind to it!

This book will help you realize the impact you have just through conversation. When you listen, really listen, you can hear people.

You don’t need a fancy degree or years of training to listen. Every day, opportunities come your way and you can be the one to help someone along the way.

The Coffee Shop Pastor will be available on August 10, 2016, but you can pre-order on Amazon here. Be sure to check out this book trailer above to see what it’s all about! Don’t forget to share with your friends. Thank you!

 

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Goodness

Last summer, the kids and I had a cowboy day. We dug out some cowboy hats and bandanas, made up a wanted picture frame, and had a water gun duel at high noon. It was a lot of fun, but the real treat was dinner. I told them we were going to have Bacon Blankets for dinner. This was a throwback meal to when I was growing up and I hadn’t had it in ages. All the kids like bacon, they all like bread, and they all like cheese. I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit.

Bacon Wrapped Goodness

These Bacon Blankets are super easy to make and with all the bacon wrapped recipes floating around on the internet (bacon wrapped corn on the cobb?!?!) I’m feeling trendy! Just last week, we decided to make them again and the kids were delighted. PK was happy to have them too!

Let me just say, these aren’t good for you. The bacon juices (ok, fat) seep into the bread and onto the cheese and it makes a glorious mess on your grill. But, it makes your taste buds dance. You see we often look at life this way I think. We see the bacon – the bad for you or life’s troubles part, and forget that the bacon, cheese, and bread – all together, makes up life. It makes your life!

I want to encourage you to embrace your whole life…the good, the bad, the tasty parts, and those that leave a bad aftertaste. You really have something special to offer, everyday, to those around you. Bacon Blankets are delicious because it is all together. Sure, you can eat  each ingredient separately and each will taste good, but the fun is in wrapping it together.

If you’re a little behind in your quiet times or can’t settle into reading the Bible, (me included) think about it this way. You can read little verses here or there and they are good alone, but when you get the whole story, in context, it can really come alive and your Jesus loving taste buds will start to dance! PK did a great series on Ecclesiastes.  You can read my take on it and see how together faith really is better.

Ok, so here is the recipe for Bacon Blankets so you can make yourself some bacon wrapped goodness for your dinner!

Ingredients:

  • bread (two pieces per person…hubby may want three)
  • cheese (I used American, but muenster or mozzarella would be delicious too – one slice per piece of bread)
  • bacon (one slice per piece of bread)
  • toothpicks or kabob sticks

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Put a piece of bread down, one piece of cheese on top and roll it up. Wrap a piece of bacon around the rolled up bread and cheese and stick some toothpicks in it to hold. Repeat. Cook over the grill the best you can without burning them until the bacon is done the way you like it. Eat. Enjoy. Let your taste buds dance.

20151009_153415Need something for dessert?

These Lofthouse copycat cookies are really good and quite easy!

 

 

How Losing a Drill Bit Reminded Me to Help Others in Their Faith Walk

How Finding a Drill BitThe other day, I told my son he had to help me fix the fence around our yard. Pieces were coming loose and before they kicked a ball into it and it completely fell over, I thought we should try to tighten things up. I told him he could use the screw gun. Score! He was into that idea. So, we started in one spot and fixed the gate. We moved across the yard and he carried the screw gun. We get ready to start and he realizes the drill bit is gone. Really? He promises he tightened it up. After  saying his name dramatically several times and sighing heavily we try to back track.

Looking for the drill bit in the grass is a serious needle in the haystack event. I wished I had my dad’s big magnetic roller that he used on job sites to pick up nails. That would find it in no time. I run to the basement and find a little magnetic wand thing for picking up nails or screws if you drop them behind something. I go back out to the grass and realize that won’t help at all. Plan B.

I holler for the other three kids and tell them to get out back. I tell them what happened and describe what we are looking for. The five of us kneel down, shoulder to shoulder, on the grass and we start crawling and running our hands through the grass. Within 7 seconds my second oldest cries out, “I found it!” We whoop and holler and I give him a hug and tell him we couldn’t have done it without him. Off we go to finish our fence repair.

What does this have to do with helping others in their faith walk? Well, that drill bit is important and without it, I can’t use my drill. I would have to go to the store, search the aisles for the right bit, buy it, and head back home before I could finish fixing my fence. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted my drill bit back. So, I looked for it and my son looked for it, and when we couldn’t find it, we called three other people to help us find it.

Remember the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15? The lady loses a silver coin and then sweeps and searches for it until she finds it. Then she celebrates and tells others that she finds it. It is our job to see who is lost and go after them.

Who are you shoulder to shoulder with? Have you met someone who doesn’t know Jesus, but maybe through your friendship with them they are starting to open up? Don’t gallop off on your own. Stay shoulder to shoulder. Perhaps you know someone who is falling away from their faith. Stay shoulder to shoulder with them and run your hands through the grass together. Then celebrate when they find their way back.

In a world where the headlines constantly show the worst, we need to do the tough work of helping others find their way to the one we are in relationship with, Jesus. It is time to get down on your knees, shoulder to shoulder with others, and start helping to find that lost coin. Get your hands dirty in the grass and don’t miss a spot. You’ll know when your search is over and then celebrate with others!

Don’t realize the important role you hold in making disciples? Check out this blog post from The Coffee Shop Pastor called, “Mobile Disciples”.

Mobile Disciples

 

James 3: Good and Bad is From the Same Mouth

20160515_080154James 3:3-12 tells us that from the same mouth comes both praises to God and cruel words to others. I tried to convince my class that good words came from the mouth and bad words came from your pits (because they are the pits), but they said no and giggled. I have to have a little fun teaching!

What a great lesson for all of us, even me. It’s the end of the school year, I still have concerts and commencement to get through. And those people (teenagers) are just as excited about summer as me. Kind words that build each other up are going to go a lot further in making it a great end of the year than grumpy words. I’ve written about kind words before and saying things that build people up. You can read about it here.

20160515_070351For this craft you will need:

  • 1/2 sheet white paper folded into thirds
  • 1 tongue (I had red paper on hand, but you can easily do white and have the kids color it)
  • 2 strips of paper
  • tape, scissors, glue, markers

20160515_070456If you watch the video, you can see how it is all put together. Fold the white paper into thirds, tape on the strips (see how I cut them from the scraps around the tongue?) for finger holders, glue down the tongue and draw the eyes and nose on. Pretty simple.

When you are finished, have the kids take turns having their mouths say nice things. You will love what they come up with!

Here are a couple other crafts you might like that have open and shut parts:

He is Risen, celebrate the good news

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Ephesians 2:19 You are all part of the family

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Genesis 1:1 Powerful creator

Genesis 1 1 Craft

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!

The Path of Faith

the path of faith

Faith is trust and belief. Think of all the things you need to have faith in each day. Faith that your car will start to get you to work. Faith that your kids will be safe at school after they get on the bus. Those examples of faith are ones you can see and at some point in the day have answers too. But what about faith in regards to God? You can’t see Him, so how does it work?

The path of faith is not an easy one. In fact, to grow in faith means that you are going to fail. Yes, failure is a part of faith. Faith says, that despite the fact that I’ve fallen, I’m going to get back up and trust God’s plan. Proverbs 24:15-16 says, “Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” When we trust God’s plan, we are saying, “Ok, God, I need to listen for your voice and do what you want me to do. My way doesn’t work, show me Your way.”

Living by faith will stretch you. It’s not sitting on life’s La-Z-Boy.     -PK

Proverbs 16:3 tells us that God directed plans will succeed in His way. And you know who’s going to everything in his power to derail your God directed plan? Who’s going to get in your face and mind and plant seeds of doubt, confusion, and discouragement? You got it. Satan. Satan loves when we start to think, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this”. Jesus had it hard and he had Satan going after him too. Satan wants you to fail. Jesus wants you to flourish.

While Satan whispers doubts in your ears, Jesus is coming after you and is there for you. And even when the object of our faith doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to, Jesus is still there. He says, “Yup, there’s Olivia. Have to leave these 99 here and go after her”. And I should add “again” to that! Isn’t it awesome that he will go after that one sheep? It’s you, its me. Oh the love!

Faith is finding joy in whatever we are going through. They are not the joy suckers. In fact, remember to enjoy the suck. Be centers of joy and don’t let those joy suckers win.

Our human desire will never be satisfied. Proverbs 27:20 tells us, “Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.” What we need is our faith to remind us that what we have, the path we’re on, and God’s gracious love are enough. Faith that is strong is faith that trusts. Faith that trusts is faith that believes. The path of faith isn’t straight, but if you keep God as your focus, the bumps don’t seem so bad.