Getting Rich, Starbucks, Good Deeds, and Rocky Road Ice Cream

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/Woman/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 so 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 give 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 and 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, while 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 up 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. I’m good with that. And, I’ll clean up the veggie mess later.

A Bit of Random (its hard living in my head)

So, today I stopped at the big, new grocery store about 20 minutes from my house. Same grocery store, Ingles, that I shop at in my small town, but they had a bigger field (old farm) to build this one on, and so they maxed it out. I found it terribly confusing, and I had a hard time deciding whether to ditch the carb diet and go for a sub at the Boar’s Head Subway-like counter, or stick with my Starbucks tea. I went for with tea. It was $4.22.Wanna bet they’d charge me $4.22 every time? Cause they are snazzy? They had tvs everywhere, and families were eating their dinner in the cute cafe-like spot next to the Starbucks. They even had big, coffee shop overstuffed chairs near the Starbucks.

But, they had the produce and the dairy together.

I don’t like that.

So nix on them until I forgo the carb diet, and then I’ll splurge on a Boar’s Head sub, but get my tea at my Starbucks. My Starbucks charged me $3.12 yesterday. Cha-ching.

Then, I spent a ton of time on-line killing time. Or not. Depending on whether you consider it career enhancement. That’s what I’m calling it (as opposed to stalking or laziness, take your pick). Check this place out. Flora Grubb’s Garden Shop in San Francisco. The chick’s name is actually Flora Grubb.

Why did my parent’s not have the foresight to give me a cool name like that? Surely they not knew I’d end up a horticulturalist with a huge passion for anything called a plant. Because you know her stuff is that cool because her name is that cool. She got the design gene the minute her parents said, “Its Flora, Flora Grubb.”

I want to work for her, but what would I say? My name is Cinthia Milner? I can’t bring myself.

I have a friend whose husband did the 50 year old thing on a massive scale. Grew out his hair, hangs with the yogis and changed his name. Changed it to, are you ready for this? LL Peace (the LLs stand for Light and Love). I so wish I was kidding.  Every once in awhile I get on his facebook to see what ole LL Peace is up too. Now, that is simply stalking. I also take it a bit personally because I adore LL Cool J, and I think he stole his moniker. His ex-wife moved to England. Who can blame the woman? I am considering a visit, although I don’t know her all that well, so again, it would be, “Hi, its Cinthia. Cinthia Milner?”

My name gets me no where.

It was 68 and rainy today, and all day I kept thinking, I should be wearing my Wellingtons. Yes, I bought Wellingtons. I work outside in a rain forest. What’d you expect? And, yes, they were a lot of money. (150 if you’re wondering.)

For some reason that last sentence came out with a bold font. I have no idea why.

And, grocery store is highlighted to Wikipedia in the first sentence. Again, not a clue. WordPress just sometimes does its own thing. Which frankly, is disturbing.

My neighbors on one side of me have awesome landscaping.

My neighbors on the other side of me do not.

Since I’m in the middle, I’m waffling.

Today, I went along with this conversation that made me uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable because since I came to know Jesus (almost 30 years ago), everything about me has changed. But now, I am working again for the first time in 20+ years.  And, work is very different now. People feel free to talk about things that, well, are a bit on the vulgar side. I didn’t say anything during the conversation, i.e. I didn’t contribute, but I also didn’t stop it or walk away. I just stood there feeling strange and embarrassed and sad because shouldn’t I be a better Christian by now? 

I think so.

Indulge, Repent, Repeat

Indulge, repent, repeat. I saw these three words on a t-shirt today and found it rather humorous, if a bit close to home. It was a t-shirt advertising mustard, of all things. Of course, I want one. And, of course, I want to wear it to church. But, of course, I won’t.  We Christians aren’t very good at laughing at ourselves. I blame Paul. He wrote all those letters and never included even the hint of humor. Come on, Paul. Not even one joke?

Of course, repentance is not a laughing matter, and Biblically speaking, it is not something we can even do ourselves. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We cannot drum up repentance no matter how much we flog ourselves. But, the advertisers weren’t talking about that kind of repentance. They were talking about the sort of thing we promise ourselves we will start doing tomorrow but never do, hence the repeat part.

Here’s my list of what I promise myself I will stop indulging in, and repent of beginning tomorrow.

1. Eating.

2. Shopping.

3. Finances (refer to number 2, please)

4. Starbucks (refer to number 3 please).

5. Keeping vampire hours.

6. Rising early to have time for a healthy breakfast (refer to number 1 and 5 please).

7. Exercise. (Who am I kidding?)

8. Call my mother. (There is no reference for this one, I just need to do it.)

And, that is the superficial stuff (except for Mom). If I included a list of major things, well then, true repentance would be needed. For instance, who can take care of my bitter heart, or judgmental thoughts? Will a half-hearted promise to myself before drifting off to sleep change my sharp tongue? Or is determination enough to forgive what I believe is unforgivable?

The clever t-shirt not-withstanding, the dilemma, whether superficial or deep, is that we need Jesus either way. We can’t repent and not indulge without his help. He is the willpower or determination we need. Oh, I know. It is not cool to say that. It is okay to say God, but nobody likes it when you bring Jesus into the dialogue, because honestly, that is where repentance rears its head in the truest definition of the word. That is the place where the conviction of the Holy Spirit shows up, and each time we deny Jesus his rightful place, we feel the dishonesty in that. Repentance is turning away from our rejection of Christ, and acknowledging him as Lord of all, even ourselves.

Repentance over all the little things in life, yes, but repentance over thinking we’re our own god and rejecting Jesus as God, well, start there. The rest will come, including calling your mother. I know because I called mine tonight.

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.

Rainbows, Boring Days, and Women’s Roles in Church

I am feeling particularly healthy after last night’s sad tale of a meal. Today I ate a pint of blueberries and a bag of low-sodium almonds. And, I had a Starbucks tea with only a little sugar, and a little lemonade. I feel a Blizzard coming on after such a healthy day.

It was a rather uneventful day. I went to church. It was boring. But, I’ve already noted my thoughts on church, so I won’t get too far into that now. We’ll just leave it with boring. And no women served in any position AT ALL.  I was going to leave that comment out of this post, but well, here I go. So, what’s up with that? I mean what century are we in? Listen, I’m not all about women being pastors, mainly because I never felt called to be one. So, in typical Cinthia fashion, if it doesn’t affect me then I just can’t get interested.

But, come on. I mean a church full of suits running the show? There were no women greeters, no women taking up the offering, no women handing out the programs, nothing. I have to admit I got out my Windows phone out, and checked my hair dresser’s facebook status to see if she is headed back to work anytime soon. She just had a baby, and I am dying over here. Turns out she was in church having her little one baptized. I am thinking my hair was not on her mind.

Then I ran through my Twitter feed to see if anything interesting was going there. There wasn’t. Then, I decided that I was sitting in church, I should listen. But, I got distracted by the lady in front of me whose hair really looked good, and I considered texting Anna about my hair. Scoff if you like, but Anna would have understood and likely responded back if she had not been dealing with a toddler and an infant in church. And, probably tons of family who came for the baptism. See why she’s my hairstylist? She gets it.

And, if you’ve made it this far into this post, then congratulations, because really, how random can you get? This is why I love blogging. Nobody would publish this mind-numbing diatribe, but here it is posted on the internet for all the world to read.

So, onto the whole women in the pulpit thing. I realize that Scripture does not sway too much in the direction of women preachers, and I am a Scripture girl, but I also know that several people I respect (Anne Graham Lotz) and my friend, Karen, who is now a pastor, have studied the Scriptures and determined that Scripture supports women in that role. So, I’m going with them on this one. And, I like seeing women in leadership roles at church. It makes me happy. All those men in gray, drab suits put me to sleep. They look like they belong in the mafia.

I felt like I was ten years old again watching the men in my home church pass along the offering plates, open the doors at the end of the service, shake hands all around and generally run things. I didn’t like it at age 10, and I don’t like it now. It isn’t because I have an issue with men. I don’t. I just prefer to see church all mixed up. Women, children, men, people of all persuasions and race. Church should be a big rainbow of people, not men in gray suits. At least, that is my version of happy church.  I like it when we’re all worshiping together equally. This place felt like a man’s club that allowed the women in for this one day out of the week and we best behave while there. I found myself whispering to the other women.

I really do believe that every denomination has it a bit right, and every denomination has it a bit wrong. The church I attended today, I believe, has it a bit wrong on the issue of women in church roles. They did, however, nail the music.

And, in the spirit of oneness–no names regarding which church it is.