Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The French Bread Guy

"Hi Al, this is the bread guy..."

I receive this greeting every Monday evening from the French Bread Guy. He tells me the three varieties of bread that he is making and I place my order (so far I have bought, sourdough buns, a walnut loaf, a whole wheat loaf, and soon a oregano garlic loaf). The bread will arrive Tuesday night at the Commonplace Coffeehouse. I love Tuesday nights at work. One, because my bread is coming and two, because I am able to break bread with people who are in the shop at the same time I receive my bread. I become so overjoyed I must share this wonderful bread with two or three people.

There is something about this that has and is becoming quite clear to me. Is it that bread possesses these unnamed powers? or is it that there is something about food and The French Bread Guy that naturally excites and pulls people together?

There is a student whom I order a loaf of bread for too. She comes in and pays me for her bread. Next she sits on the couch and cuts slices of bread and passes it out to anyone in the vicinity of her seat. It is a delight to look around the shop and see people strangely connected through slices of bread. I absolutely love it.

The more that I sit and work at this shop the more my definition of community is being redefined. I have become sick of the word and yet cannot get it out of my head. This bread and this concept of delivering bread is outside the normalcy of how we live today in America. Yet there is something intriguing and quite pleasant about it's delivery. Maybe it's that his little daughter decorates each bag as he bakes or that all the ingredients are natural and posses no preservatives.

With all of this to say...I love bread and enjoy the fact that a man who lives in this community is willing to drive around Indiana, Pa and deliver bread to each person on his list. What if we lived like this daily? What if there were more French Bread Guys and what if...what if we honestly spent the money and time to serve and be apart of the places we live.

Just thinking of this makes me hungry.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


A lady came into the shop the other week. I complimented her mittens as I made her a nice warm hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. She was a small lady with short hair and a warm smile. She told me that she made these mittens. After she paid and she took them and had me feel how soft they were. They were soft.

I looked at her in shock....in shock that a human can actually make such beautiful mittens. She asked me what color I liked? I told her that I am a brown person (whatever that means?). She said she would make me a pair. I asked how much a pair would cost. She said that she just likes making mittens. As she walked down the hall I shouted that I would buy her a cup of coffee for such a lovely pair of mittens...I felt that this was all I could do, because she said she was going to make me mittens and charge me nothing.

Last weekend I found a box on the counter with my name inscribed on a yellow piece of paper. Inside were soft, nice, beautiful brown mittens. On the left mitten is a small threaded heart. I was told by another barista that this heart signifies the "left" hand because it is closest to your heart. What an amazing gift, all deriving from conversation and nothing that I deserved.

I love my mittens.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maybe everyone was right....maybe.

How many times have I heard, "oh...your going through the book of Hebrews...umm..." As if I am about to go build my own pyramid in a day or cure cancer. I was frustrated by this response and gathered all my resources together...be it various translations, commentaries, and web resources. I spent a week on chapter 1:1-3....hmm. Yeah Hebrews is quite a difficult book of the bible.

I would like to think of it as rich and rewarding. However, right now, I have found myself groaning (literally) in aggravation. How do I express the beautiful message of Hebrews without boring students out of their minds with fact after fact? Let alone, discerning which direction to take the passage because there is so much information packed tightly into each word!

A letter that recognizes the rich history of the Jewish tradition and the heavy plee to not ignore the salvation of Christ. That He is greater than the law, and that He is the completion/fulfillment of the law itself. The persecution that was going on at the time and the groaning of the author for the readers of this letter is so emanate in the beginning of this book. The warnings and the longings to remain steadfast...

What can we take from this? What is so deeply embedded in this book that charges us to live faithfully and longingly? Maybe people were right, this is a difficult book to work through and warm up with. But something inside pushes me to keep on kneading the passage and to challenge my students to do the same.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

No Time

Lots of thoughts are jumbled in my brain. It's been a looonng weekend and time is short as I have much planning in my midst. Yet here are some phrases/words to dwell upon. I hope to touch on them later, feel free to add your own thoughts/phrases/words....


Bread/Fresh Air


The art of listening

Latte Art


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Musak for the Ears

I have been fascinated by NPR's Song of the Day. By fascinated I mean addicted. You are able to read a review of the artist and then listen to a song of theirs.

I started making a list (as if I do not have several thousands of those already) of the artists I am enjoying and hoping to hear more about to see if they are truly worth a cd purchase. Here is what I have thus far:

1. **Emily Haines & Soft Skeleton

2. Chris Garneau

3. Peter and the Wolf
(sort of creepy, he has played concerts in graveyards and deserted islands...)

4. Okkervil River

5. **Elvis Perkins
NPR sample

6. **M.Ward

7. Sera Cahoone

8. The Cold War Kids

9. **Soaked in Strings
NPR sample

10. Ron Sexsmith

11. **Alexi Murdoch

12. Final Fantasy
(member of arcade fire)
NPR sample

13. Gretchen Parlato

14. Jose Gonzalez

15. The Shins
(any thoughts on their new album!! I think it's pretty swell)
Trivia: what book is being held by the shins on the right hand side of the screen?

16. Joanna Newsom

Isobel Campbell
(former Belle and Sebastain singer)

These are NOT in any particular order
** = I really enjoy these ones!
Some of these artist I have already advocated for, but wanted to add them
The links are to the artists site, yet can also be found on NPR's!

If anyone has any thoughts on these artists let me know (like I said, I'm dwelling on these, and not completely sold on all of them). I hope you become as "fascinated" as I have. ENJOY!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pieces of the Story

I'm trying new templates. Not sure if I like this or not..... It may get a bit experimental here in the next few days.

About those random slips of paper that I was talking about earlier. Is there a correlation there to to the way we run our lives. The pieces that are so important and yet also the piles of baggage that we stack up. The stories that create who we are, the ones that we hate and yet the ones we can never truly get rid of. Sometimes I hate my story, I hate the way I consistently do certain things or the way that I think, because this story/these experiences have shaped me. Not to shift blame, but to recognize that these pieces are a part of my thinking/feeling. I don't want to get rid of them, because they are so important; however, I want to organize them so I can utilize them properly...

Saturday, February 03, 2007


You know all those tiny pieces of paper that you need and yet, don't need all at the same time. Those papers that have important information on them. What do you do with them all?

I was cleaning up a bit today and have piles of random papers. They are all unrelated and yet equally important. I am unsure if I will look at any of them ever again, but if I throw them away I will definitely need them. Weird how that happens...

What do you do with your random important pieces of paper?
(I think there is a parallel here somewhere, a parallel to the way we live our lives...or at least insight to how I live mine.)