Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas & Moving

It was a different kind of Christmas this year. It is hard to try to establish traditions when so much is always changing. This year was very much a Polmerican Christmas. I went to a Wigilia (Christmas Eve) dinner. It was a traditional Polish Christmas Eve, we gathered as a family, all of us Americans and Polish that work in the shop. One of the girl’s mothers hosted it. The night started with sharing oplatic. We ate beet soup, cabbage dishes, and carp. We enjoyed poppy seed noodles and dried fruit punch. Dessert was ginger or lemon cookies, ginger bread cake, and poppy seed cake. After stuffing ourselves and opening presents we loaded into the cars and headed to the Rondo. Once again this year we served coffee and cookies at the Wigilia Pod Rondem and we also sang some American Christmas carols. This event is set up as Wigilia for those who have nowhere to go. The majority of the crowd it attracts is homeless. We thoroughly enjoyed passing out coffee. I had an interesting moment there. A homeless man came up and offered me a peace of his oplatic. He said merry Christmas in Polish. I felt bad because I had no oplatic to offer him (since I was backstage when it was passed out, I missed it). He still offered it, so I broke and piece off and responded merry Christmas in Polish. He shook his head and said merry Christmas in Polish again. So I responded Merry Christmas in English and his face just lit up. I was blown away that he wanted to share with me (an American he did not know) and he wanted me to respond to him in English because usually people are nervous when we use English. I was trying to use the Polish that I know and this man wanted me to offer him blessings in English. It was a neat experience to not only share the oplatic wishes with a stranger but to do it in our own languages.

Christmas Day was great! A group of us gathered in the upstairs apartment. The other volunteers here had some family in town and so I spent Christmas with them. We started the morning with breakfast and stockings. We moved into presents and were blessed with unexpected gifts. We spent the rest of the day playing, cooking, and eating. We enjoyed a walk in the snow. I am finding that no matter where I end up I some how become the one that is getting picked on. I came back a very snow covered girl! But, it was a time in the snow I actually enjoyed! I got to spend some time on skype watching my family open Christmas gifts, it was hard to see everyone there and not be there too. Christmas dinner was a collaboration of what was traditional in our families. It was a good day, with friends that have become family.

During all of this celebration I have been also facing a time of change. My apartment looked a little sad this Christmas because it went pretty much undecorated. That was because I am moving. I am in my last few minutes of living in my apartment. It looks very sad and empty now. I will be staying with the other volunteers until I move to Krakow. It will be interesting!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Packages, Customs, and a Christmas Party

One of the most exciting moments for a volunteer is when they receive a package or letter from home! This week (because it’s almost Christmas) was a week of packages. When the postman walks in and one of the Polish girls calls your name, you can’t sign the slip fast enough to grab the box and see who it is from. And of course you forget about what task you were in the middle of because you are so excited to rip it open and see what great treats from home are in it. As I ripped into the one from my Mom I noticed the majority of it was wrapped, which means- DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS! Luckily, my mom knows me well enough to know that it DRIVES ME CRAZY to stare at presents and not be able to open them. (I was the child that always got in trouble for trying to peek at everything under the Christmas tree.) So, there were a couple things I can have right now! :)

I also received a slip in the shop mailbox this week. I was hoping it would be the package I was expecting. (I had something special ordered from the States while I was home). I took off to the post office in hopes to retrieve my SYPHON Coffee Maker. Instead the slip was for a letter. When I got back to the shop I opened the letter and saw the invoices from my Syphon folded with an official looking letter. When that letter was read to me (my friend had to read the Polish to me) I learned that my Syphon was stuck in the post office customs. And I have to go there and basically bail it out. Well, a coffee Syphon does not exactly look like and innocent gift and it is not a cheap coffee maker. So, I knew this was a task that my broken ponglish could not explain. I convinced an amazing friend to come with me to bail it out. That proved to be a crazy task! First we went a tram stop to far and had to walk back! Then we began a game of wait and explanation. My poor friend had to explain to them what in the world I was importing because no one had seen one of these before and it looks like something out of a chemistry set. And my friend did not know what it was. She only knew it was used to make coffee! So, round and round we went until finally they said I could have it if I paid 99zl and promise it was only for personal use. Ok, I’ll pay it! Then we had to go to the cashier and pay the bill. The cashier was fascinated with the picture in my passport and told my friend, “you speak very good polish” of course my friend is Polish!!! After we finished with that crazy lady, I was told no we go to another room and you can pick it up! YES!!!! After an hour of explanations I can pick it up!!!! We walk into the room; the guy has me sign a piece of paper and says 3zl. 3zl!?! For What?? I just paid 99zl to bail this thing out and now you want 3 more?! Yes, I had to pay 3zl for the guy to stamp a piece of paper saying that I paid the fee to pick up the package! I love government processes!!! Finally I was able to carry my Syphon to the shop! And now I can enjoy Syphon coffee everyday!

Last night was our Christmas party at the shop. We had a great night! We had a concert of both Polish and Irish carols. We had an artist come and express the Christmas story. Painting and telling the story at the same time. Our conference room was turned into a shop featuring all of our friend’s handcrafted items. We also collected canned goods for Bread of Life. It was a very successful and fun night! And in true Christmas Party fashion- I danced around the shop in my Angel wings! (Some traditions you just have to keep!) At the end of the night I was asked to do a demo for all our friends of my Syphon and we all tried syphon brewed coffee! It was great successful night!


Poznan Gospel Workshop

We partnered with a gospel choir (Gospel Joy) here in Poznan during their Gospel Workshop. It was a great experience. We made a lot of new friends. We heard some great music! It was a crazy fun weekend! One of the girls put together a video from all our footage to show our experience there.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Facing Changes

Sorry, it has been a really long time since I have updated anything. The month of November just disappeared in a haze of emotional stress. I have been faced with a lot of personal challenges. I was lucky, I got to be home for Thanksgiving! However it happened because of a sad circumstance. My Grandmother Fitch passed away. I was lucky to be flown home to be a part of the funeral and to have some time to be with family. It was a different experience for me. Flying home to visit, not to stay. I am learning more and more what it means to give up and let go to follow the call God has placed in my life. It was good for me to be home. I really appreciate those who made it possible for me to take this time with my family to heal.

Business at the shop in Poznan has been steadily rising. We broke a huge record in daily income a couple weeks ago. Also, we have brought on 2 more Polish girls as part time staff. We are so busy we are needing more and more workers! We are looking into hiring another person to be the main cook. At first this sounds like exciting news for me, because that means I get to train someone so I do not have to be in the kitchen so much. But really, we have to find someone for Poznan, so that they can survive after I move! For me, it's leaving one kitchen for another. It is very exciting that Poznan has become so busy that we need to hire more employees!

I am heading into my last weeks of working in Poznan. I have only about 3 weeks left in Poznan. I am feeling the sad and excited emotions all mixed together. All of my friends are here in Poznan and we have such a great work flow going at the shop. But, Krakow is going to be great. I want to be a part of the work God is doing there! I am ready to face a new set of challenges. This holiday season finds me packing, planning, and trying to figure out how I am going to get everything to Krakow. :)

Big Changes Are Happening Soon!

Adjusting to the FREEZING COLD

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Work & Friends

Yesterday it was announced (unofficially) that October was our biggest income month, which is great because September was before and before that August was... So, business just keeps getting better and better! With this great business comes busy days. Longs days spent in the kitchen keeping up. But, FINALLY I have a routine down. Which means, there were some moments this week I got to join all the others out front to talk with people. That is exciting for me because I get lonely being stuck in the kitchen. I also, kind of got an assistant! One of the other volunteers finally had some extra time to learn things in the kitchen, which means a little extra help for me!

The highlight of this week is what happens when we are getting ready to close the shop. For some reason the end of the night is just a lot more fun. Of course by this point we have had too much coffee and are tired so we get a little goofy. But, those are the moments that I treasure. We discussed everything from what sounds animals make in different languages to guys and their computer games to how my preparation of turkey changed someone's life. There is even a song about my giving of turkey to eat! Crazy moments that only those involved would find hilarious. But, those moments with friends are memories that will last a life time. Far too often I have been tired of my daily tasks, but those moments of working with friends make it all worth while. It is hard to find a job where you not only spend hours laughing, but also crying and praying together. Though this week was filled with many funny moments, there were also many tear filled ones. These tears were not shed because of fights or problems, but because someone on the staff was hurting and as friends we hurt with each other. I am so thankful to be at a place where I can walk through the doors, share that I am devastated over bad news from home and immediately be prayed and cared for. It is a joy to be working with friends. That is what makes Sweet Surrender so much more then a coffee shop. I believe that our customers see the difference when they walk through the doors. When the staff is so close to each other and filled with the love of Christ it spills over to those we serve simple coffee and desserts too. I love being in a place where the joy on the staffs faces spills over onto to each person that comes through the door. That is how you change someone's life by working in a coffee shop!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kitchen Work

I have been getting emails lately informing me that this November is my 5 year college reunion. Wow! 5 years! If you told me 5 years ago that I was going to be a cook at a coffee house in Poland I would have laughed in your face. But, yet here I am, spending at least 9 hours everyday in a tiny kitchen baking desserts and cooking soups & sandwiches. Much to everyone in Poznan's surprise, I actually can cook. Well, it's no surprise to me that I can do that part of the job considering that I grew up in a household where I was the only one who enjoyed cooking and tended to be the only one who cooked or baked anything. However, that was a secret that I kept from those I worked with here because the last place I wanted to end up was in the kitchen! :) Funny how God tends to put me in the last place I was trying to be! On the other side there is a lot more work in the kitchen then just following a recipe (which I tend to add my own flares too...). I am learning I have to think logically, not an easy task for me. What?! I have to plan how much of an ingredient I will need for a week??? What I have to actually keep track of exactly what I put into each recipe so it can be duplicated by some one else?! No, one told me that was part of working in the kitchen! I am learning... I think the greatest moment to show how I operate in the kitchen happened last week.... Our organized detailed oriented volunteer walks in and says, "Katie I would like a cost break down of our new menu items so we can check how much profit we will be bringing in." My response- an innocent smile.... But, I am learning and with the help of this particular volunteer I am becoming detailed in my kitchen. (Which has recently been given the name "Katie's Cave" because I am always hiding in it, not by choice, but because the work in there is never done!) And so here I am 5 years out of college using my theology degree to make scones and soups. Isn't it interesting where God moves us? Sometimes it is exactly where we thought we never wanted to be, only to learn that it really is not bad at all.

There are two big things that has made working in the kitchen something more than just a simple task of following the directions left by the last volunteer in charge. First, business has at least doubled if not tripled since the first directions were left. This is a huge praise! We are busy! And it means I spend everyday just keeping up with the orders that come in. The second thing is we have expanded our menu! I love our new menu items, however more items means more cooking! And with new items it means more ingredients and details that need to be organized for whoever will come after me. So, this has become my life standing in a kitchen during the shops open hours and spending time retyping changed recipes during non-shop hours. A busy life!

I hope you are not getting the idea that I am no longer having fun because of my new tasks and extra busyness. How could I be who I am without finding fun in each task?! And no one is as entertaining as me in the kitchen, there is always some disaster occurring! :) I will stop there before I get myself into trouble!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Moments in Time

It's no secret that I have been struggling a lot lately. It seems the past couple months have been nothing but emotional highs and lows. Some directly connected to the shop and stress and others connected to personal situations. But, I think I have finally figured it all out. Well, life is not going to get any easier at this point, in fact I think it is just going to become even more stressful for me. But, I have learned the value of the moment.

Last Sunday evening I wandered the streets of Poznan with one of my best friends. We had our french fries and ice cream because they are supposed to make us feel better. Then we just walked the city center and talked and talked and talked. We dumped everything on each other. We both have been going through so much and have been so busy that we had not really talked in weeks. So, we dumped it all and wandered the streets. Then we looked around us and said, "wow, Poznan is beautiful at night, all of the old buildings lit up, and standing here with a true friend." I realized it's moments like this that I should be living for. Nothing was solved, life still has all of it's stresses. But, that doesn't matter because in that moment there was total contentment in being there with a best friend and knowing that no matter what else I have to face, I have a best friend in a beautiful city that has my back and I have hers.

Today is my day off. But, I traveled to the shop to meet another good friend to go jogging. (Yes, I am allowed to jog if I wear my brace!) I look forward to these days every week. It's a moment in time where we can just release everything and share about anything. I have never been a person who needs to workout with a friend, but these mornings have become almost therapeutic for me. And since I was at the shop, I might as well make myself my Kenyan pour over. But, I did take it to go! As I was riding the tram home, sipping my coffee and nibbling a raspberry bar, I had another moment of contentment. I enjoy working in a coffee shop and being able to work with friends. And even though I know things are going to get more stressful for me and changes will be coming, I am content with good friends and good coffee.

Life is a series of moments and no matter how hard we try we will never be able to predict what will happen in the next moment. Life will always bring more and more stress. We will always face ups and downs, but they are simply moments in time. The only guarantee we have is this one moment. I have decided that in this moment I want to be happy and feel the contentment that life is good.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Go Team POLMERICA!!!!!

I spent the last week in Oslo, Norway attending the Nordic Barista Cup. There were 6 of us from the Poznan shop that were able to attend. I really wasn’t so sure about this trip when we decided to go. I mean, I like coffee, but I was far from being a coffee nerd. However, I made the commitment that I would learn whatever our coffee expert volunteer wanted to teach us. So, I left on this trip ready to try to learn and to be the one who keeps the energy high. The moment we stepped off of the tram in down town Oslo, until we stepped on it to leave, I was in heaven! Ok, maybe not exactly heaven, but it was wonderful! I saw a seagull, in the middle of the night while walking to find our hostel and I knew WATER!!!! The first day we had time to explore the city and we did! The opera house, the streets, the bay, it was all beautiful! And then the conference started. I realized I had no idea about coffee and what gourmet coffee was. I was taught how to do cupping, how to taste the differences between different roasts, beans, and such. It was an eye opening experience! I drank my first cappuccino without sugar! Yes, if it is a quality shot of coffee, you do not need sugar. And I have to say, Starbucks is not quality coffee. (I learned that too). Also, hearing from farmers and seeing the work it takes to actually get a coffee bean was impressive too. I never realized how much went into such a simple shot or cup of coffee. But, it was not all session of learning. We had a lot of fun too! Each night was a different amazing dinner in an amazing venue. Each night we ate wonderful Norwegian food. I had salmon, whale, moose, pine jelly, brown cheese, fresh crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, and so much more. One of the dinners was a Harry Potter theme. It was amazing! The lodge they rented looked like something that could have been in the movie. And it was located on a mountain overlooking the city, right next to the massive Olympic ski jump venue. The sites were amazing! But, with all the amazing thing we learned, and saw, and did, there were 2 things from this trip that really stuck out-

First, I am in love with siphon coffee. Siphon’s are amazing they are so much fun to brew coffee. I really, really, really, need one of my own. I also learned what my favorite kind of coffee is. I tend to choose Kenyan coffee, or ones with the fruity flavor. Also, I was inspired to do coffee and dessert pairings. I can create menu items that go well with different coffees. I have become a barista chef! And I can inspire our team members with great stories about great coffee vs. the evil king starbucks!

Second, our staff at the Poznan Sweet Surrender has never been closer. We developed our own country! We became one team combining both cultures into one! Being away and learning together has grown us all. It seems we are all on the same page and wanting to jump full speed ahead into creating a higher quality shop. Gourmet coffee is scarce in Poland; our shop has the opportunity to be on the front line. So, if people in Poznan want gourmet coffee they must come to our shop. And when they come into our shop for great coffee they also get to experience our great love for Christ and each other! We had a brainstorming session about where we wanted to go after what we learned. The excitement coming from the 6 of us was overwhelming. We dream big! I am so glad that we had this chance to grow closer and the opportunity to bring positive change to our shop and our ministry!

Oslo was amazing! Go Team Polmerica!!! Where we are Polmericans that speak Polmerish! :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Busy Doesn’t Even Begin To Describe It

I know it has been forever since I have updated anything. Life is CRAZY BUSY!!! I have not had a moment to stop since the Krakow W & W Trip. The shop has become busy! And that is great! Our business has sky rocketed compared to what we were doing before. What a blessing that is!

We lost our cook! Our volunteer kitchen manager had to return home to take care of family business. So, this left a hole in our shop that needed to be filled. I was asked to fill it. I am now not only in charge of Outreach I am also head cook and menu planner. The funny thing is that I have been spending so much time trying to avoid being in the kitchen and now I am running it! I now have mixed emotions about this job. I don’t mind doing it, but with everything going on it seems I spend all day in the kitchen, which is not where I want to be. I am also training one of our volunteers how to do the basic menu food. He’ll get it all learned just in time for us to change the menu for fall!

This weekend we had a special treat! We had 3 couples from Nampa, Idaho come visit us. The Neils, Stallcops, and Hulls. It was great to have them here. Especially the Neils because they are practically family! With their help we hosted a proper High Tea Party. We had a great turn out of women and we even had a news crew show up! We were advertised on the local news! I had the joy of preparing the food for the Tea Party- everything from sandwiches, to shortbread, to yogurt parfait to panna cotta. But everything turned out perfect! And our Sweet Surrender staff stepped up and pulled of an amazing event! Plus our guest servers from Nampa were perfect!

As we head into September we are expecting to continue getting busier and busier. Business is beginning to take off! And I am ready to face head on any new challenge that is brought to me in the kitchen!

Work & Witness To Krakow

Back in August I got the privilege to head up a work and witness team from my home church. My parents and my wonderful friend Shantel came a few days early and joined me in Poznan. I got to show them my church and my city! I loved having all three of them squished into my tiny little apartment. I think the greatest thing about it was that I got to show them my life here in Poland, the sites, sounds, people, and food I am surrounded by everyday. After a very short time of touring we hopped a sleep train to Krakow, where we met up with the rest of the team.

In Krakow we began the process of transforming an office space into a coffee shop. There was a lot of busting holes and trenches into the cement floor and brick walls. All of this had to be done so my Dad could do all of our plumbing. We had to design the bar and where the client bathroom would be. Plus the entire kitchen set up. It was a lot of long days of hard work. We ended up finishing most of the plumbing, all of the electricity, most of the bar, the tables, most of the painting, and the furniture bought.

But, all work and no play is not the way I do things! So, after each day of hard work I took the team to a different spot in the city to explore. We saw Schindler’s factory, the Jewish district, Auschwitz, Wawel Castle, the Old Square, and other random parts of Krakow. It was great to have my friends from home here. I loved sharing my life and my passion for Poland with them. The team was great! They all worked hard and stayed positive. However, I think them being so great made the distance a little harder on me. It’s hard to see and hear what you are missing. It would be nice to be able to have both worlds together all the time!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Last Sunday I met up with two great girls and caught a tram to the train station. Once there we climbed aboard a night train from Krakow to Poland. The great thing about catching the night train was that we could buy tickets for a sleeping car. Which means we got to sleep in beds for the 7 hours it took to get to Krakow. The greatest thing about this is we did not waist a day on traveling. But.... it was an experience of togetherness. The beds were not too bad, I actually slept! But the room was tiny, it had 3 beds on one side, stacked up the wall and then a narrow place to stand and a sink in the corner. It was extremely close quarters! But we each climbed into our bunk, talked for a few hours and then passed out to awaken outside of Krakow. Once we got off the train I had to find a tram that would take us to the other side of the city, with only a street name... We made it to the correct neighborhood, but did not see a street name anywhere. Finally I entered a hotel and asked where the street was. Once we got on the right street I then discovered that the street number we were looking for was at the other end of the street! Finally we made it to the location of the soon to be newest Sweet Surrender Cafe! The building is so cool looking. A great use of metal and brick inside and out! I am so excited to have our shop there!
After a much need rest we set out to explore the city of Krkaow. Once again we had a detour of finding a tram stop, but we made it to the Town Square. We explored the shops and churches around the square. Then headed over to Wawel Castle and the Cathedral! I LOVE Wawel! It is my new favorite place. The sights from Wawel are amazing and there is a dragon the spits fire! How could I not enjoy that? We also explored the mall located across the river from the shop location. After all, I need to know all the great places to shop and eat nearby! :)
After exploring the sights and enjoying eating out on the square we called it a night and headed back to the apartment we were staying in. One of the many located above our future shop. This time I was able to get us the perfect tram and bus routes to get us dropped off right in front of the future shop. The next day the girls took off to Auschwitz and I took off to learn more about Krakow on my own. I was excited about exploring the city and finding great places....and then it started raining.... and I didn't have my umbrella.... But when has some rain ever stopped me before? I explored to Jewish Quarter, saw a synagog and a cemetery! And I even got to try and practice that Hebrew I studied in college.... yeah I don't think I remembered much of it... I toured Schindler's factory and was reminded of the tragic past that Poland holds. I also heade back to Wawel where I explored the grounds in the rain! I may have been soaking wet, but it was beautiful and worth it!
After a day of exploring in the rain I met up with girls and we caught another night train back to Poznan. I loved Krakow! It was a beautiful city! I am so excited to take my Parents and a work team from my home church there next week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

B-n-KayKay's Kichen & Other Random Craziness

This past week was a Blast! A mixture of sugar, caffeine and a new responsibilities!

Our cook is on vacation and since I am the "trained in everything" girl, these next couple weeks I am the cook! At the beginning of the week I was not feeling 100% excited about this but now I am lovin' it! This is only because of the development of B-n-KayKay' Kichen. B is another volunteer that I am teaching the kitchen stuff too. And of course, I am KayKay. We have turned the cooking into a crazy experience. We may not be the most efficient or speedy cooks, but we are by far the funniest! I think any mistake possible has happened while we were making blondies, cookie, raspberry bars! Like when I got into a fight with the whisk..... or got butter all over myself and the counter.... or the time we were going to make a 1/2 batch and got talking and oops it's a full batch..... or how about when the marshmallows boiled over and attacked the stove top....... Maybe not the most efficient cooks, but by far we are the most fun! Our craziness has also ran out of the kitchen and spilt over into the coffee bar. With the development of iced mochas, iced chia tea lattes, and changes to our cold drinks. We began experimenting again and started testing it out on our friends!

Thursday morning we took an early trip the the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral. I took our 2 new volunteers to see it. Well... one of them is a history guy that likes to explore old buildings. As he was walking around the smaller chapel on site, trying to find a way in he stumbled upon a fence. And behind that fence was a skeleton! So, I immediately became interested. After hearing a few words in English the team digging up the skeleton opened the gate and had a chat with us. They are excavating 2 different sites near the Cathedral. They have found parts of the church, graveyard, and some other buildings. All of these pieces they have found date back to the 15th century. And we got a private tour of it all by the guy in charge of the excavating! One of the volunteers even got to climb down into the whole and check out stuff with them! It was so neat to see the discovery in progress and it was really impressive to see a skeleton from the 15th century being discovered

Finally, we have been given new rules and some new coffee skills this week. As much as I just love rules..... (since when do I follow rules) these ones needed to be adapted.... Well, ok maybe they are good, we just need to find creative ways to follow through with them. So, I have to wear an apron all the time now.... well aprons make great capes! And I am learning how to make the best shot of coffee ever and how to educated the people on the best shot of coffee. And that is a great task for......
Super Coffee Girl!

Yes! It has been a fun week!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time Flies And We Keep Moving On

I had a realization that I have not written anything in a really long time! We are in some ways really busy at the shop and in other ways things are moving slowly.

We are pushing full steam ahead with the Krakow shop. In a week there will be a meeting with the final contract signing for the building. Once that happens it will be a push of work to get the shop open in October. There is a lot to get done in a couple months! Luckily we have one Work & Witness team coming from Pittsburg! Yes, my home church is coming in the beginning of August to work on the shop. I am excited! I was given the job to be the organizer on the Poland side of things for the Team. It is not as easy of a job as I expected. But, it is going to be a great experience!

At the Poznan shop, things are slowly trucking a long. We had a great Bon Appetite Party! We sold lots of drinks. Everyone loved the food we sampled! The band was great! We changed our hours at the shop and added all the salads, wraps, and baguettes to the menu. However, the students have left the city for holidays and the temp is rising, so our business is declining. We are hanging in there and brainstorming different ways we can build the business back up.

We had a new volunteer couple arrive from the States a couple weeks ago. They are amazing people with a huge passion for coffee and ministry! I am excited to see all of the plans and suggestions they have to bring changes in the shop. I have also had the privilege of showing them different things around Poznan in the mornings before we go to work.

I am now trained in every aspect of the shop! I am now a master behind the bar and in the kitchen! I tried very hard to be fired out of the kitchen during my training the past few weeks. But, no matter how many questions I asked, spoons I dropped, or challenges I made, I was not kicked out of the kitchen! I think our Chef found me more entertaining then challenging. I guess I am destined to be stuck in the kitchen after all!

Please continue to pray for us as we try to find ways to bring business in the Poznan shop back up. Also, pray for the Krakow shop, that we get all the contract settled so we can begin the work of getting that shop open!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big Things Happening Soon

We are opening a third shop!!!! The missionaries just returned from Krakow with some big news for us. We are going be opening another shop in Krakow. Things are getting started. We have a building secured and connections made. The goal is to have the shop open by October. The only thing that may slow us down is some much needed workers. Luckily there is no major construction that needs to be done. Just a lot of plumbing and electrical work. Plus plenty of painting and decorating! On top of opening this shop we will also starts shipping Sweet Surrender treats to be sold at gas stations. The BP stations here have Wild Bean Cafes in them. They have asked us to package our American treats to be sold in these shops. This will also be based out of the Krakow shop! Big exciting things will be happening!!!!! Now we just need some Work & Witness Teams this summer! Any takers? :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We are throwing a party on July 2nd! We are going to be changing our menu and hours after this party. So, during the party we will be sampling out menu items. Hopefully this will help with boosting the amount of business in the shop.

Side Note- I am beginning to enjoy watching the World Cup... maybe I am becoming European.... :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010


This week has been a fun week! Except for the weather. Earlier this week we got up to 90 degrees. I know, I should be use to that because of summer is Cali, BUT it is much more humid here then it is at home. And then when you add in the fact that everywhere you go at home there is air conditioning. I am not so lucky here.... You do not even want me to get into an explanation of the hot trams stuffed with more bodies then should be allowed.

Well, this week I got to experiment with our summer drink menu. I got to create some different smoothy options and cold coffee options. Last night we tried out all of the different drinks on our church group. I got good reviews of them all. I am excited to add them to the menu. We have an iced latte that very much resembles a frappucino, and ice cream coffee, and then what we call freezes- which come in the flavors of strawberry, lime/mint, and pina colada. Along with my drink experimentation there was also some new recipes being tried out. Our summer menu is going to be wonderful!

So, with all this extra cooking and drink making going on we had to make a trip to Makro earlier this week. Makro is very much like cosco. It's where we get bulk supplies of stuff and they have everything, yet not always the same things every time you go. Our shop was desperate for a Makro trip, we were running out of supplies. And as I was pushing the cart through the store and assisting with this trip I felt very much at home because it was just like following my father around cosco. Endless shopping with a heavy over flowing cart. Then add to the fact that there is not a single shopping cart in this city that rolls straight. They all veer one way or another. Well pushing a cart that does not go straight while it is loaded down with food, water, soda, juice, and cleaning supplies can be an interesting task. I had a number of close calls with hitting shelves and other carts that refuse to drive straight! Oh the joys of shopping in Poznan!

Things are looking good for our shop and church group! This summer is going to be good! :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back to Work

I have been in Poznan for a week now. I am finally settled in and adjusted. I think I am on the right time zone now. :) I have moved everything back in my apartment and added all of my personal touches. I love that I am back in my same apartment. It makes me feel like I am home again.

Sweet Surrender is open regularly now. Most days I am at the coffee shop hanging out. I last some of my skill at making coffees. They are not as pretty as they were before I left. But, I think as I make more I will be able to get it back. I got to make some more homemade marshmallows! I have also gone back to painting. I thought there was no way there could be anything left to paint in this place. I spent how many days painting last time??? I don't even know, but it seemed like it was a gazillion hours. Well, there is more painting now! There were some flower boxes for outside that were started. We are decorating them. And to go with the theme of the shop they are getting to ever present checkered pattern border. You know when you have been painting that pattern too long when you see it every time you close your eyes. And yes that has happened to me.

I am thoroughly enjoying the COFFEE! It is nice to be back in Europe and pretty coffee! Or, maybe I am just bias towards Sweet Surrender and experimenting with my own creations. Life is GREAT!

Friday, May 28, 2010


I have arrived in Poznan, Poland! I got in yesterday around 8pm Poland time. But I hung out with at the shop with old and new friends until about 2am. Then, I finally made it to my apartment and bed. I also got my first experience of driving in Poland! It went well considering it has been years since I've driven a stick and all the signs/lights are not the same. This morning I had to force myself to get out of bed... jet lag and switching so many time zones is not a help... I wandered to the store first because food and water were much needed items! Now I need to get myself going with unpacking/moving back into my apartment. It's good to be back!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


"Leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again..." Today I am taking off from SFO and flying 14 hours to Berlin, where I will be catching a bus to Poznan, Poland. I am not looking forward to the long traveling process. I really do hate airports and airplanes. Plus, 14 hrs on a plane by yourself is kind of boring... But the end result of being back in Poland is worth it all. I am so EXCITED to be going back to my 2nd home. I can not wait to work at Sweet Surrender and get back involved in the ministry we have in Poland. Please pray for me as I travel. And check back regularly for stories of the amazing adventures that await me in Poland!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Big Changes

Life has been busy!!!! I have been in the States these past four months working on raising funds to return to Poland. As of s week ago I raised over my goal to stay in Poland for a year! Wednesday the 26th I will be leaving from San Francisco and traveling about 18 hours to Poznan, Poland. Once there I will go back to working in the Sweet Surrender coffee shop. I am so EXCITED!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I hit a major milestone in my life. I was ordained as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene. It was an amazing experience, one very hard to describe. It is a joy/relief/honor to be at this point in my ministry!

So, I will be off shortly on another adventure. Please pray for me!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Soon to be Reverend

I am going to Ordained!!! On the night of May 7th I will be ordained as an Elder at the NorCal District Assembly. It has been a long four years of ministry and lessons to get to this point. I am so greatful to finally be here. And I am excited to see how God is going to use me on the mission field in my future.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lessons I Learned in Poland

Here are some fun lessons I learned...... They are a collection of different things I heard, said, was said about me, or participated in. Each one brought joy and stress to my adventure!

1.) Don't take your laptop bag to the bathroom with you, there is not enough room
2.) Too much Spinning is bad for you, Unless it's good for you
3.) 75% of what comes out of my mouth is a lie said for pure shock value
4.) Tramming people is a great way to release frustration....
5.) Being a Mission Corps Volunteer is like signing up for slave labor
6.) You love being a slave
7.) Saying YES to our decorator means I will be glueing plates to ceilings, pulling furniture out of dumpsters, or tying fabric around cupcakes.....
8.) Talking about camels that spit and slurppies can make everyone laugh
9.) "I'm so Hippy" "Awesome" and "Yeis" is more fun to say in New Zealand
10.) "Just a few thing..." means a explanation that lasts for awhile..
11.) Personal space bubble means nothing on the tram during rush hour
12.) "This is one of those times when things are so messed up you can either laugh or cry, I think I'll laugh because it's more fun then crying"
13.) Happiness is not reality (our architect, but I intend to prove him wrong)
14.) Cleaning the splattered HOT apple cider off the wall is more important then the fact it was burning my arm it splattered on.
15.) You quit at least 4 times a week
16.) Ovens are not fun to clean.....
17.) Only in Poland is a church built with no logical entrance
18.) Screaming "give me a human" is not the way to get an agent when dealing with an automated answering service
19.) The people who love snow are those who own cars, not those who have to walk everywhere in it.

Favorite Memories

This is a video I put together of all my favorite times in my last trip to Poland. The song in it is "Sliver of Eternity" by Spencer Green.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Surrender Cafe Ministry

This is a video created by one of the girls that I work with at the Sweet Surrender Cafe. This is her expression of the ministry we do at the coffee shop.

Missions in my Blood

I was very lucky growing up. I was raised in the Church of the Nazarene. My parents have always been involved in the church and especially in missions. I was trained very young to support missionaries and missions in the church. When I was 16 my parents took me on my first Work and Witness Trip. Over Christmas break we went with a district team to Brazil. Since then every family vacation became a mission trip. I have been on Work & Witness trips to Brazil, Sicily/Italy, Swaziland, Samoa, and Guatemala. After I became a Youth Pastor I took my teens on a few different mission trips to Mexico.

When I was in Guatemala, God called me to missions. I pursued volunteer mission work through Mission Corps. I ended up in Poznan Poland. I recently returned from spending 6 months in Poznan working to support the Nazarene Missionaries there. They have established a coffee shop ministry. There are 2 Sweet Surrender Cafes on Poland; one in Gdansk, and one in Poznan.

The whole point of Sweet Surrender is to provide a place where the community can gather and be celebrated. As missionaries, our point is to provide a place where people can come, have a good time, and find what real love is. It is our goal to personally touch each person that walks through the doors of our shop. We have had people return time and time again because they are happy when they come into our shop; they tell us that there is something about our shop that makes them feel at peace. Of course, we all know that it is because our shop is filled with the love of God.

When I first arrived in Poland I was interested in helping this ministry. I saw that it was a good idea. But, when I started to become involved in the lives of the people in Poland this ministry became a passion. I fell in love with the people and the country of Poland. I see a need for them to experience a true and personal relationship with God. My heart is in Poland and I have been inspired to continue with the ministry at the Sweet Surrender Café.

Right now I am home in the States. I am speaking at different churches, trying to raise the money to return to Poland. I am hoping to be able to return in May. So, I can continue letting God use me to change lives in Poland.