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.