{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Delighting in observation.  Taking a moment to just sit and watch.  Finding joy in the awe of a moment.  This is living with every intention.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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Driftwood Coffee: Drinking Coffee with Intention

Coffee.  It’s a morning ritual for so many people.  It’s dark and deep and mysteriously bitter yet surprisingly delicious.  Maybe the ritual is about the smell.  Or maybe it’s about the taste.  Or maybe it’s about the routine.  Or honestly, maybe it’s just about the glorious caffeine.

But what if you could make it about more than any of those things?

What if your morning coffee experience could be an intentional moment?  A moment to stop and savor.  A moment to prepare for what lies ahead.  So many of us grab a cup o’ joe and hit the ground running.  There’s no sipping, no savoring.  It’s all a rush.

But that coffee that you’re sipping?  It has a history, an origin.  It doesn’t just appear in your cup.  There’s a process to it and as with all art, it deserves more than a cursory glance (or in this case, sip).  But it’s hard to adjust our minds to be intentional about something that we’ve taken for granted for so many long years.  So maybe it’s time to re-examine the coffee that fills your cup, your belly and your energy level every morning.

Start local.  Find a company that consciously chooses their coffee bean, based on things like ethical farming and country of origin. {Remember: Allow your spending to be intentional!} Then let that local company roast that bean to pure perfection.  Buy it fresh.  Then use delicious pure, filtered water and pour your cup immediately.

Now sit and savor.

Here in Corpus Christi, we have a local company that does just that.  Driftwood Coffee Company, a locally owned and operated coffee roasting company began as a hobby but it quickly grew into a dream of bringing ethically harvested coffee to the local community.  Over the years, Driftwood Coffee Company has grown and expanded but it has never lost its original intent.

Randi and Steven first began roasting their own coffee beans in 2009 when a friend shared his hobby with them.  A popcorn popper, some online green beans and Steven found himself falling in love with the science and the art of coffee bean roasting.  Randi fell in love with the idea that she could choose where to get her coffee beans from and by doing so, she developed an appreciation for its origins.  She researched farm after farm looking for real folks ethically raising beans and supporting causes that she believes in (such as Women’s Coffee Alliance).  And she found them.

After a few years of roasting beans for themselves, Steven and Randi spent a year away from home doing missionary work and while they were gone, they found themselves missing the familiar routine of roasting beans and then savoring a cup of freshly made coffee every morning (they served in central Asia where fresh coffee was hard to access and a rare treat).  When they returned home in 2013, Steven quickly picked back up his hobby.  Soon Steven and Randi began to see a vision for something beyond a hobby.  They wanted to share delicious, ethically raised, perfectly roasted beans with local folks so with a leap of faith, they bought a real roaster, converted some personal space into a roasting area and began marketing to local coffee shops and coffee drinkers.

Now four years later their specialty beans can be found in seven local shops and stores (including places like Coffee Barrel, a non-profit cafe where all profits go to providing restoration for victims of human trafficking) and their website hosts an online shopping experience where you can have their beans shipped directly to your door or you can read their blog and learn all kinds of fascinating facts you’ll be glad you now know (and your coffee drinking experience will surely be enriched by this newfound knowledge).

Randi and Steven are a beautiful testimony to allowing intentionality to seep into life.  Despite the chaos of being parents, working full-time jobs and volunteering with their church, they still manage to find time to sit down first thing in the morning with a cup of freshly made coffee, made from beans they have lovingly roasted to perfection and intentionally savor the moment.

Couldn’t we all benefit from a little more sipping and savoring?

 *Start sipping coffee intentionally today.  Allow Driftwood Coffee Co to introduce you to some amazing beans…you won’t be able to help being intentional when you taste that goodness in your cup!  If you’re local, head over to one of the shops that features Driftwood Coffee’s amazing coffee or you can order on their website and have it shipped directly to your door.

**Photos are courtesy of Taren Martin Photography**

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Sometimes it takes an interruption that literally steps in our way to make us stop and notice what’s around us…embrace the interruption and savor the moment.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

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Fed by Bread: Intentionally Making a Difference {One Baked Good at a Time}

There are the people that talk and the people that do.

You know what I’m referring to, right?  I’m sure you’ve met folks of both kinds.  There are the people that dream big and talk big and make big plans and have a vision but somewhere along the way, they get lost in all the details of pulling it off.

And then there are the people that dream big and they just do it.  They jump in with intention and nothing stops them.  They’re persistent and passionate and unstoppable.

Those are the people that inspire me….the people that DO.

Take for instance, Hollie.  Her delicious line of bread and baked goods does more than put food on the table for the folks that purchase it.   “A South Texas bakery nourishing African youth,” is the opening line on her website.  And while that is exactly what she does, it’s about more than just food for Hollie.  It’s about relationships.

Born and bred on an Oklahoma wheat farm, making bread is just genetically programmed into Hollie’s hands.  So after traveling internationally throughout high school and college and witnessing poverty and its effects on women and children, Hollie knew that she wanted to do something that would give the people she had met through her travels a chance to break the cycle of poverty.  When the time came and she felt a calling to reach out and help with the world food crisis, it seemed only natural that she would do what she knew how to do: bake.

In his book Start Something that Matters, a book that inspired Hollie, Blake Mycoskie says, “Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world—all at the same time.”  And that is EXACTLY what Hollie began doing in 2009.

Fed by Bread began in Hollie’s own kitchen in 2009 (when she was 7 months pregnant!).  Folks began to spread the word about this bakery with a mission and a grassroots movement was born.  After a few years of using the proceeds from her baked goods to sponsor children with companies like Compassion and World Vision, she knew it was time to form a relationship on a deeper level with a company that shared her vision.

Enter Africa New Life, a ministry that “exists to transform lives and communities through Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Acts of Compassion.”  Africa New Life focuses their ministry on Rwanda, a country forever changed in 1994 by the Rwandan ethnic genocide that killed more than 800,000 people.  Hollie crossed paths with Africa New Life in 2014 and immediately felt that this was what she had been looking for.  She began to send the bulk of her Fed by Bread proceeds to them (with a small amount reserved for the children she sponsors through Compassion and World Vision).

That same year, Hollie was able to visit the village of Kageyo in Rwanda and actually meet the people behind Africa New Life along with the children that were benefiting from her baked goods.  She was met with an overwhelming display of gratitude and her heart was full.

She knew at that moment, without a doubt, that what she set out to do was truly being accomplished.  Her intention to feed the hungry and break the cycle of poverty was being accomplished, one baked good at a time.

Today Hollie enters the commercial kitchen at Annapolis Christian Academy where she does her baking and sets about her tasks with intention.  While her hands are immersed in dough, her heart is immersed in thoughts of the children this dough will provide for.  She has started something that matters.

It’s not just a bakery, it’s Intentional nourishment with a purpose.

*You can support Hollie in her mission by ordering online and either picking up goods locally or having them shipped to your door.  While most items are intended for local pickup, she has a selection of baked goods that can be shipped.  Regardless of whether you pick-up or have it shipped, I promise her baked goods will make your breakfast table a happier place.  Plus knowing you’ve spent your money to make a difference is an intentional thought all of its own.*

**All photos are courtesy of Kristine Endsley**

 

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

It’s all too easy to stay inside until the rain is over.  Next time, step outside and don’t be afraid to get a little wet.  You never know what you will find.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

The world is so full of tiny little wonders.  Look around and notice some today.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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Shopping Locally: An Intentional Means to Support My Community

My childhood summer memories are filled with the smell of acrylic paint and ceramic shavings.  Even now I sometimes dream of bottles of paint and electrical wiring and kilns burning hot.  My fingers still ache to clean a piece of greenware, to feel the rough texture beneath my hands.  These things permeate my memories because of the summers I spent in the beautiful City of Oaks with my grandparents.

They were hardworking, self-employed folks who rose long before the sun came up.  Grandpa loaded his produce truck and drove off into the sunrise while Grandma headed down in the dark to her workshop.  She’d spend the first few hours pouring slip into molds and preparing her ceramics.  I’d stumble down hours after she’d awakened and joined her in her shop where she’d put me to work cleaning and painting all the ceramics I’d chosen to work on that summer.  Sometimes Grandpa would pop in during the afternoon to wire the lamps and make the music boxes sing beautiful songs.

I have beautiful memories of those summers.  Her shop was busy, her till was full, her ceramics were beautiful, her art and classes were therapeutic.

Now Grandma’s shop isn’t the bustling place it once was.  It could be said that Grandma aged and worked less, but that isn’t true.  Even at 86, she still gets up before the sun rises and heads to her workshop.  No, sadly, it isn’t the bustling place it used to be because of a number of reasons.

Maybe I could argue that ceramics are a dying art.  Or at least doing ceramics from start to finish the way she does, is a dying art.

Or maybe her shop is failing because of the giant shift to a bigger America from the small-town America it used to be.

Now we have the world at our fingertips.  Why go pop in to a local shop when I can just as easily order the same thing online (and probably for a cheaper price)? Or why shop small business when I can go into Mega-Mart and buy a cheaply made version of whatever it is I’m looking for?

Why indeed?

When we travel an hour and a half from home and visit Goliad, we are greeted as if we’re old friends, despite the fact that no one knows us there.  We pop into the local sandwich shop and in the fifteen minutes it takes for them to prepare my order, I listen to the lady behind the register chatting away with all of her customers on a PERSONAL level.  She calls out to the young people leaving, “Hey, tell both of your mamas I said hey,” and to the customer that just walked in, “Hey sweetie, how’s your granny feeling these days?”  The next guy walks in and she asks, “The usual? How’s life out at the Presidio today?”  Everyone is a friend and everyone is welcome.  They bake their bread fresh and take pride in their sandwiches.  I suppose I could chalk it up to amazing customer service, but the truth is, it is the EXACT same in every store we go into there.  There are eclectic shops filled to the brim with quaint, unique items.  No mass-produced China made products lingering about.  There’s salve made by a local herbalist using local plants.  There’s salsa made by a local mom who is able to stay home with her kids because of her sales.  There are clothes made by a talented, local seamstress.  There’s even a cookbook boasting of local recipes, gathered together by the people there.  And those are the products that are the first to be recommended.  There’s a sense of community.

It used to be that this city of mine boasted of a few locally owned book shops.  Now they’ve been run off by corporate America. So I grab my Starbucks and get lost between tall organized shelves of books at Barnes & Noble.  The booksellers don’t recognize me in the sea of faces that frequent their stores.  The employee turnover rate is high.  There’s no personal connection with the people there.  I miss the charming armchair shrouded with piles of books at the locally owned shop.  I miss the personalized recommendations.  I miss the community.  I miss the deeper purpose to all this buying and selling.

But that’s what happens when we stop supporting local.  Big business moves in.  Small business gets crowded out.

So why indeed?  Why shop local when the world is at our fingertips?  Why frequent the places close to our homes and get to know the folks behind the products, the goods and the services?  Why make a connection with the folks behind the register at the bank and the grocery store and all the other places we frequent?

Because people matter.

I miss the community.  I miss the idea that shopping and browsing are less about what I’m buying and more about who I’m buying from.

Aside from the necessity of food, most of our purchases are superfluous.  We have a choice about what to shop for and where to shop for those wanted items.

That’s why I first try to shop small business local.  I openly admit I don’t do it all the time.  I don’t have a bank vault with coins to swim in at my disposal and so I do have my budget and my bottom line to consider.  You’ll still see me grab my cart at our big chain grocery store and do some price comparison shopping.  And sadly, I have been known to haunt the aisles at some of the mega-stores in our area in an effort to buy cheap.  But when I can, I prefer to shop with the folks who are the backbone of this community of mine.

I think of my Grandma and her dwindling business and I want to support the folks like her who put themselves out there and try their best to do what they love.

I like knowing the process that my end product has gone through.  Whether it’s coffee beans or bread or lotion, I like knowing where the ingredients came from.  I like the idea that I’m supporting the American dream of entrepreneurship. I like supporting small-businesses with real people.  I like knowing the products were made ethically and sometimes even with a far reaching benefit.  I like knowing that I’m supporting that stay-at-home mom in her business or that my dollar goes to support that family I hold dear.  I like knowing that the product I hold in my hand is a labor of love.

The truth is, there are times I’d rather pay more and buy less because I like knowing the people I’m buying from.

I’d rather buy locally made than name brand.  I’d rather buy products with local ingredients than ingredients shipped from halfway across the globe.  I’d rather buy from the folks right here who exhibit talent and love in the form of stuff.  I’m rather proud of this country, even this city, of mine and I like knowing my dollars support that pride.

If I can’t shop small business local, I make an effort to chat in all the local places I visit.  I pick the same HEB every week and the same checkout clerk and now I know all about Maxine and her husband and his wretched fight with cancer.  I know all about RJ, my bagger, and his homeschooling family that he supports with this extra job.  I don’t drive to the next big city seeking fancy stores or better places because these people and these places…they are my community.  They are my people.

There is value in supporting what we believe in.  I believe in community and people and relationships so I intentionally shop to support those beliefs.  The farmer’s market, the local artisan, the coffee bean roaster hobbyist turned professional, the baker.

Sometimes money has more value than just it’s face value.  Spending intentionally helps me remember that.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

Sometimes it’s noticing where our feet actually are, and delighting in what’s right in front of us, rather than always looking to where we’re walking.

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Voting Twice – Spending Money Intentionally

intentional-spending-voting

I love elections.  I love clicking the button to “cast my vote.”  It’s as if I have a say in all the things around me.  As if my thoughts could actually affect the culture of society around me and the future of my children.  I truly believe, as I’ve said before, that voting is a moral obligation but sometimes it feels like voting once every four years (or even every two years) isn’t enough to make my voice heard.

The good news is you and I don’t have to wait for a major election to roll around every four years to cast our vote. It’s so simple, the way we can make a difference, yet it’s something we don’t think about.  Something that doesn’t always land on our intentional radar.

It really is simple to make your voice heard often.  You probably do it weekly, maybe even daily.  You may do it out in town or possibly you do it while still in your pajamas, tucked in bed.  Maybe you do it with friends or you’re the brave sort that does it with your kids or maybe you use it as a way to get a little alone time.  Maybe you do it intentionally, with a list and a budget, or maybe you’re a bit more spontaneous.

However you do it, you do it.  It’s buying…aka shopping.  Yep, shopping.

Where we cast our dollars, we cast our voice.

Think of it as a second vote.  A chance to voice your opinion daily.  The companies you choose to spend your money with and the items you choose to buy become a reflection of your own thoughts.  You preach about ethical work conditions and American made products, yet chances are you’ve bought plastic China made toys and clothing made who knows where in what conditions and you haven’t thought twice about it.  Or, maybe, you have thought about it but then decided that saving a few dollars made it worth sacrificing your principles.  Is it really?  Because each of those little choices influences our culture on a much wider scale over time.  It’s like your financial professor told you, “every penny counts,” except here it’s not about counting every penny to build a nest egg, it’s about making your pennies count toward something much bigger.  A cultural tidal wave always starts small.

It really comes down to being intentional.  It’s about knowing your principles, deciding what you believe is important and then intentionally putting your money where your mouth is.

Maybe you gripe about the job market in America.  Maybe you gripe about customer service.  Maybe you gripe about ethical work conditions.  Maybe you gripe about not having a downtown filled with cute boutiques.  Maybe you gripe about not knowing the people you’re buying from.  Maybe you gripe about the quality of the products you bring home.

Stop griping.  Do something about it.  Be intentional.

Visit your local farmer’s market.  Shop locally.  If you tend to be conservative about major issues, visit 2nd Vote and shop accordingly.  If you’re fed up with customer service, then stop shopping there.  It’s that simple.  If you aren’t satisfied with the quality of the products you’re buying, maybe you need to consider who’s making them and where they’re coming from.

Nobody controls your wallet except you.  No one is going to force you to hand over those precious earned dollars (with the exception of the IRS).  You get to choose where those dollars are spent.  Choose to be intentional.

 

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

The simple observation of all the beautiful things around you.  Stop and literally smell the flowers.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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