Starbucks, Getting Rich, Good Deeds, and Dirty Ovens

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being us...

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being used as a secondary logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a friend who is very rich. She once said to me, “If people wouldn’t spend 5 dollars for a Starbucks coffee everyday, maybe they wouldn’t be so broke.”

Well, there you have it. The answer to welfare.

So, I think of her when I stop at Ingles’ grocery store after work, and get my daily Starbucks iced tea. A large–very large, the largest one you have please, (I generally point to the plastic cup I want)–with a little sweetener and a little lemonade.

Now, here’s where it gets wonky. I get the exact same size iced tea every day, made the exact same way. I mean Starbucks majors on that, right?  Yet, in one year of visiting this Starbucks, I have never paid the same dollar amount for my tea. It ranges in price from $4.32 (what I think it actually costs) to $2.32. Sometimes it is $3.32. I never know. Mr. Starbucks Man/CEO are you reading this? Because here’s what I’m thinking. While my friend assumes I’d be so much richer if I didn’t waste money on my daily Starbucks, I’m figuring Starbucks would be much richer if they charged the right amount for their tea, consistently (whatever that is).

But, I’m glad they don’t. That would be so boring.

Okay. On to good deeds. I did two today. One involved money. I have no idea what my rich friend would say about me giving money to a single mother who is pregnant again, and dying for some ice cream.  If they wouldn’t waste their money on ice cream?  Who knows? My rich friend is on a cruise in the Greek Isles at the moment, where the temperatures are getting close to 100 degrees, so I imagine she is throwing down some cash on her own ice cream (or iced latte).

My other good deed did not involve money. It involved me withholding judgement. It was the harder one of the two, especially since the single mom inspired me to my own Rocky Road experience, so that good deed didn’t feel too hard.

The reason for all this good deeding on my part is church. The pastor keeps yammering on doing them and so finally, I thought, what the heck I’ll a good deed a try. I will admit to feeling like the Lord should reward me “just a tiny bit.” He did not. Here’s what I got for my good deeds.

After being oh so noble, and helping others or withholding judgment, I decided to cook for my evening meal. For the enormity of that statement, read this. I roasted vegetables that I bought at Ingles’, right after purchasing my Starbucks tea (today’s cost: $3.32). I put them in my 350 degrees oven, grabbed a quick shower, feeling amazingly organized, and then when I reached in the oven to pull them out, I flipped over the roasting pan, and well, potatoes, zucchini, squash, kale, all ended lying in a olive oil heap on the bottom of the oven, smoldering.

At least there was no fire.

I considered eating them, anyway. When was the oven last cleaned? I couldn’t remember if it had ever been cleaned. Wouldn’t that just make them char-grilled? Then, I remembered my good deeds. Hey what happened to that? Where’s my reward? On the bottom of my dirty oven, that’s where.

So, instead, I had Rocky Road ice cream for supper with my Starbucks tea. I am poorer to the tune of $3.32 for the tea, but I am not sitting in 100 degree temps, and somewhere there is a single, pregnant mom eating Rocky Road ice cream with her six-year old daughter who likes Belle from Beauty and the Beast. My granddaughter likes her too.

Going Minimal, Ready for Wherever God Sends Me (I think, I hope)

I decided on the minimalist approach to my blog design, because that is my life now. Minimal. I’m in transition, and so I travel light.

After spending 20+ years building a life for a family, which meant buying furniture, Christmas decorations (and Thanksgiving, Easter, July 4th decorations…) and outdoor furniture and grills for family cookouts, and suitcases for family vacations, and on and on, I now hear God saying to my spirit, “Keep it light.”

Moving from South Turkey Creek, where I lived over 20 years, was an eye-opener. Not a new one, really. I’ve often wondered if we Americans have too much stuff, but to be the living example of it while emptying out my things from South Turkey Creek was sobering. Why on earth did I have all of that? Was it really necessary? Who knows? I probably thought it would make our home more home and our family more family.

Now, the things in my home would fit into one moving truck, and not the 18 wheeler kind. It is rather refreshing, and I contemplate if I will keep it this way or eventually replace what was left behind with more of the same. Again, who knows?

I don’t hear God suggesting it. In fact, he seems to be saying just the opposite. While others are asking me when I plan to start dating again (as if all I have to do is to accomplish that is stick my head out the door and holler for a man), if I’ve decided where I am going to live (as in permanently), and will I always manage a flower market (after all, it is a blue collar job), I feel God saying I want you ready. Ready for what? I don’t know. But now, I am in a position to go wherever He needs me too, without hindrance of man, house or job. It is pretty exciting.

I’ve always wanted to be used by God for something BIG. I’m probably not even supposed to write that as the Christian motto is often about finding contentment in the least of circumstances. But, there it is. I don’t mean Beth Moore kind of big. I mean small actions that lead to big reactions. I mean everyday things that impact eternity. Like telling someone Jesus loves them and for the first time they believe it. Or quite literally giving someone a cup of water who is thirsty.

I am still looking for a home, but I am beginning to understand that my new home may not look a thing like the last with its cherry paneling, big stone walls and cathedral ceilings. Perhaps it will be a hut in a remote place, or a palace on a cliff, or a brick rancher on a street corner. Wherever it is, I am ready.