Tag Archives: Coffee

Just Indulge


We can’t afford to go to Paris or stay at some fancy resort. There are days when indulging can make ones home feel four-star.

Like buying Mayan Mojo, a fresh roasted coffee from Pangea Bakery (roasted by Prescott Coffee Company) so our morning coffee feels luxurious. Or buying Challah bread from Pangea Bakery so I can enjoy garlic bread with my spaghetti. In this mass-producing society, some food, lovingly crafted makes a regular morning or evening special. I couldn’t resist sneaking a piece or two from the bag when I got home and lathering it with Salmon cream cheese. Sometimes a four-star experience only takes a little extra money, your home, and someone sitting across from you to enjoy it, too.

Just indulge.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Like a Zombie Costume in a Broadway Musical

Their house was dark. Trick or Treaters scoured the neighborhood. Everyone was having fun, but that house seemed to stick out like a zombie costume in the middle of a Broadway musical. They were another unfriendly house, until I began to believe I, too, should shun Halloween.

That lasted for several years, early in my (pretend) Christian belief until someone turned the light on in me. Why was I shunning Halloween?

And every year, I read blogs, both for and against it, of people of all Christian walks making statements. To me, shunning Halloween is a form of legalism. We’re adding to what the Bible says. This is a culture thing, not a religious belief thing. It’s a fun event for children and adults. Kids in costume are not practicing witchcraft, doing divination, or calling up the dead. They are playing pretend characters like what we used to do as children with our blanket and cardboard forts and invisible friends. They are superman saving the world, G.I. Joe coming to the rescue of Barbie, or a villain looking for world domination.

Whether you hate Halloween or love it, this is an excellent time for Christians to reach out to their neighbors. I would urge you to step away from your inhibitions and try a few suggestions:

1)  Hand out candy with or without a costume. You can hand out scripture candy or regular candy. It’s a believer meeting a stranger at the door, encouraging a small child with a smile, or speaking to a neighbor you hadn’t seen in months because you never socialize.

2)   Don’t hand out tracts. Tracts are a major disappointment to a child. They are looking to stock up on candy; hence, the pillow cases. You’re not going to evangelize at the front door. It’s conversations that open up topics about Jesus.

3) Carve a pumpkin. You can create pure art out of these things. You can carve a cross or Jesus. You can make a sneering face. The point is it’s just a pumpkin. Don’t forget to roast the seeds.

4)  Play Christian music. An excellent choice for those who don’t like Halloween. Sadly, our Christian station goes to preaching after a certain time instead of music. While I don’t mind the preaching on a normal day, this is a social event. Social events need music.

5)  Have a haunted house. Fond memories of past Halloween’s, of haunted houses, and pure fun are great for them to reminisce about as adults. You’ll be the talk of the neighborhood. “Look,” they’ll say, “That neighbor has a great haunted house.” Perhaps when they find out you’re a Christian, they might even consider coming to your church.

6) Have something for the adults to encourage them to come away from the curb. Every year we have cookies and fresh brewed coffee for the adults and candy for the children. It solved my dilemma when I would have teenagers come, some barely in costume, trying to get free candy. Trick or treating is for children and so my cookies and coffee option give teenagers a choice to be an adult (coffee and cookies) or to be a child (candy only).

7) TALK to people. The coffee and cookies brings the adults away from the curb. It also shows you care about them when you take the time to listen and speak. Eventually, you establish a reputation in the neighborhood. On a cold night, nothing is better than conversation and hot coffee.

8) Trick or Treat Warnings. Unfortunately, the later it gets the more we get the parents whose kids are allowed to plunge both fists into a bowl of candy or run to the cookies and grab them without asking first. So we usually close before we get to that part of the evening. That’s when the crowd trickles and we know the evening is ending. One of us always has to put the food and candy up high because in their parents culture it seems kids are allowed to be undisciplined.

9)  The Teenagers. You’re too old to trick or treat.

10)  Candy.  I only give out hard candy. With over 200 visitors, expenses pile up. Plus, if I had chocolate, that would be a tough choice for the teenager. If I were a teenager, I would lunge for the chocolate.

So, if you are a Christian, think outside the box and stop being the only dark house in the neighborhood. You’re missing an excellent opportunity for a harvest.

This year a friend is letting us borrow a portable fire pit. Please join us on Halloween! We’ll be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (thereabouts).

Mornings Before Work

The bathroom light cuts into the dark room across our bed and right into my eyes. I turn beneath the covers and curl into a ball, face averted from the light. The water in the bathroom sink runs. The toilet flushes. The light in the closet flicks on and I squeeze my eyes shut, hoping for a few more minutes of sleep.

My husband soon nudges me with his hand and he kisses me, then walks into the other room. I hear the clink of a spoon against a mug, the opening and closing of the refrigerator, then Fox News comes on the television. I roll out of bed and look at the time.

4:30 a.m.

This is the way it’s been for the past nearly ten years. I rise in the morning to have coffee with my husband. I watch the seasons outside my picture window from the light blue-gray in the east of late summer to the blackness of winter’s late rising. The quiet moments we share over coffee before he leaves for work are precious to me. Moments like those have been precious to me since 9/11 when the airplanes rammed into the towers. There were people who didn’t have coffee with their spouses that morning who perhaps didn’t kiss their spouses goodbye. So when I married I wanted to make sure my husband knew he was loved every morning. The words are every bit as important as the action.

Sometimes, we talk and other times we stare across the tops of our mugs in a sleepy, catatonic state, waiting for the caffeine to jump start our senses. Then, we hug and kiss, the dog jumps on us, whines and barks, and after the screen door is closed, my hand presses against the screen where his hand rests before he goes to work. A reluctant goodbye, a shared touch. When I turn back towards the living room, it is empty, but not forlorn.

I live in a house of love and laughter.

Describe your perfect morning with your spouse.


Touring Arizona Coffee Houses: Havens For Writers – “KickStand Kafe”

On a whim, my husband and I chose not to hike that day in early January, but to get into the car and drive…somewhere. He suggested a road trip. I suggested a coffee shop and combine business with pleasure. Real life community doesn’t just happen online, but in coffee shops, too. In this case, another review for my column, “Touring Arizona Coffee Houses: Havens for Writers.” In the past I have reviewed Cupper’s Coffee House and Wild Iris Cafe. To read more about these columns, click here.

Kickstand Kafe opened in 2009 and is located near downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s off of Humphreys Street close to the T-intersection where one gets a choice to turn right or left towards Snowbowl. It’s larger than it looks and parking is a little challenging. In our case, the curb had several inches of snow. We couldn’t tell if it was painted red or white. Kickstand Kafe was worth the parking troubles.

When you walk inside Kickstand, immediately I could tell this place would be somewhere I would take my laptop. Emily, the assistant manager, was very welcoming.

“KickStand has always been about being a local coffee shop in the community and we strive to support other local businesses which is why our food items are predominantly handmade by local cooks.” Emily explained.

The food and pastries were eloquently displayed, and the cookies looked as if they had come from Grandma’s oven. Tony and I ordered lunch, lattes and dessert to get the full feel of the place.

He ordered a green chili burrito and I ordered free-range javalina burrito (carnitas and papas). Both of us ordered coffee drinks–caramel nonfat latte and a white chocolate mocha.

Emily says, “Our most popular food item is probably our bacon burrito. With hash browns, cheddar cheese, eggs, and bacon, it’s very tasty! Our most popular drink is probably our Sling Shot, which is a caramel and vanilla latte.”

Let’s not forget dessert. Tony couldn’t resist a cinnamon roll (warmed in the microwave) and the dark chocolate chip cookie was my choice. Emily took the trouble to warm the cookie in the microwave. On a bitterly cold day, this comfort food warmed us. But more than that, Emily’s friendly attitude made the place as welcome as my livingroom.

Some pluses with this café is the drive-through for those of us who have to have our caffeine on the run and the coffee card where every so many punches you get a free one. Kickstand Kafe also has a child’s area. That’s unique as most coffee houses do not have that option. In one of the pictures I posted, look behind my husband, Tony and you’ll see the tiny table. The wi-fi is secured. I didn’t ask for a password as I was able to get on an unsecure network nearby.

The center tables are generous and there are many areas to sit from narrow tables against and facing the windows to side tables and couches and chairs. If I lived in Flagstaff, I would probably favorite this place and Emily would frequently find me here. I think what won me over was the free-range javalina meat they used in the burrito I ordered. Being a hunter, that’s a plus for me.

Kickstand Kafe also gets involved with many charities. Emily tells me in our interview, “KickStand tries to be very involved with the community and charitable organizations by donating time and goods. Some of our organizations with which we have been involved include the Bare Aspen Ranch Wine Tasting to benefit Special Olympics, the Shadows Foundation, and Wine and Dine in the Pines to benefit Northern Arizona University athletics.”

All in all it’s a great place to write and the food is delicious. There are outlets and it’s quiet. The prices are reasonable. I give this coffee shop a thumbs-up for excellent service, atmosphere, and lattes.  If you were leading an (IN) RL 2012 gathering, Kickstand Kafe would be ideal.

Will You Pray With Me? Dear Lord, Small businesses are important to the local economy of any town and coffee shops are ideal for real life community. I pray that you help this business grow as Emily asked so that her business may continue to grow in her community. And thank you, Lord, that there are such generous businesses as Kickstand Kafe who, in spite of tough economic times, continues to give back to the community. In Jesus Name, Amen.


Touring Arizona Coffee Houses: Wild Iris Cafe

hands were a little shaky here...

The owner has graciously declined an interview for this segment of Touring Arizona Coffee Houses: Havens for Writers. Her friendly attitude earn this place as a great place to write, drink coffee, and enjoy homemade treats.

Someone asked me, “Where is Wild Iris Cafe?”

It’s a small cafe hidden away on Granite Street near Prescott Unified School District. Granite Street runs behind Whiskey Row. Wild Iris sits on the banks of Granite Creek. Their windows overlook the shaded walking path along the creek. The shop sits in a beautiful adobe-like plaza with a shaded patio and rustic shop.

There are numerous tables, traditional living room chairs and couches, a coffee table, and plenty of outlets. The Wi-Fi is password protected and there are free refills of regular coffee. Wild Iris also has a coffee card, pies and baked goods that you can specially order, and light lunch items. You can also buy their specially roasted coffee or loose leaf tea and a vareity of unique items from their shelves.

One day I ordered a “Special Caramel Machiatto,” and what I got was art.

On New Years Eve, my husband and I each ordered a different cheesecake. I ordered the chocolate cheesecake and he ordered the pumpkin cheesecake; all made from scratch. The chocolate cheesecake was good, but not as good as the pumpkin cheesecake. The chocolate wasn’t chocolaty enough, but the pumpkin was creamy and tangy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
chocolate cheesecake

Oftentimes, I come here to write or read. The other day I ordered a Cherry Muffin. The hasty decision came in my indecision. I was next in line under a time constraint, but every bite was worth it. My mouth relished the sweet, large cherries baked into the coffee cake-like treat.

iced cherry muffin

I’d rate this place five-stars. The clerks are friendly and seem to love their job. There are plenty of places to sit and lots of outlets. No one bothers you as you work, and the conversations around are quite stimulating.


Touring Arizona Coffee Houses: Havens for Writers Series

Personally, I find the best place to de-stress is in a coffee house. Some might grumble the lattes are overpriced and McDonald’s has cheaper drinks, but coffee houses go way back to the 1400s. The first one opened in Constantinople. We’ve come a long way since then, but why do we pay so much for what is essentially ambiance?

In this new column, I am going to take you with me on a tour to discover unique coffee houses in Arizona. I will provide photos, a review, and an interview of the owners.  You will learn new things about them like what charities they contribute to, what they believe, and maybe I can convince them to share a recipe or two. You will also see why coffee houses are such a haven for writers from this writer.

I will review the coffee house on coffee, ambiance, food freshness and taste, and highlight the little things they do that make their place so unique. This column will go for a long time and before each post I will announce it on my Facebook, Google, and Twitter pages.

Be aware that I will not post bad reviews. I will visit a coffee house before I email the owner for an interview and gain permission to take photos. If I don’t like the coffee house, it will not appear here. This doesn’t mean that because one doesn’t appear here that it’s a bad place to visit. It might mean I haven’t ordered coffee from there yet.

The first column will post in December.  I also take suggestions. You can email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com to send me your preferences.

I hope you’ll join me as I discover these small wonders.



It’s finally cold. Leaves form miniature hills on each side of the cobbled walk. I am heading to one of my favorite haunts, The Wild Iris Coffee Shop.

Its lunch time and I need a break away from the office to sip coffee and write. Dog walkers are bundled in thick coats. The sky is a deep blue, sparsely populated by clouds.

I am content.

I run to the crosswalk not wanting to miss the light and spend more minutes waiting and finally arrive at the shop. This time I did not break the piggy bank to get a regular cup of coffee. A stressful day deserves a treat. Or at least that’s my rationalization. My husband will need some sweet talking to convince him of the extra dollars spent today.

It’s interesting what one hears in a coffee shop.

Two men are talking; one man sounds like Gabby Hayes (okay, some of you younger ones are giving me blank looks, but I grew up on Roy Rogers and loved Gabby).

Gabby talks about religion. “I found religion.”

As if you could find it, I thought.

“Really?” The other man leans his chin on his palm.

Gabby laughs. “Yeah, my girlfriend…” And he continues his conversation, bashing his girlfriend and religion in one breath.

One day you are not going to bash it. One day you will see and I hope it’s not too late.

You don’t find religion. You can’t become religious to appease your girlfriend or relatives. You’re either a believer in Christ or one in darkness. We are not allowed to sit on the fence anymore. In this culture, we can worship anything, but according to God we can only worship Him.

And that’s not a religion.

It’s a way of life.

I return my empty coffee cup to the bin and throw away my napkin. I have five minutes to walk to work. Plenty of time! I breathe in the fall air and hurry back to the office with a more relaxed frame of mind.


The Gift of An Isolated Moment

“Why didn’t you text them?” Tony kept asking me after he arrived home from work.

Friends forgot a pre-planned lunch date on Saturday at Wildflower Bread Company. I could have called them. Maybe most people would have called immediatley, or sulked about it over a cup of coffee.

Not me.

“I had to go into town anyway.” I bought a cup of coffee and a morning glory muffin. I enjoyed sitting quietly in a booth, bathed in sunshine. No computer or pressing need distracted me. I took out a book and read, grateful not to be in a hurry.

I’ll probably call them this week and reschedule, but I relished that unexpected quiet moment on Saturday. My friends are usually very reliable and I know something probably came up. Plus, you can’t get mad at someone when their mistake gave you an isolated moment away from the everyday. A gift of rest from God.

What happened when your plans went awry? How did you react?






The Elephant House
Image by funnycat44 via Flickr

The late afternoon light wanes. I glance at my phone and realize that I had just spent the whole afternoon listening and talking to a friend. A layer of foam lay on the bottom of my empty cup. Remnants of caramel stick to the lid. It’s afternoons like these that open my eyes to the never ending possibilities of coffee shops.

Maybe I’ll spend $2-$4 on a cup of coffee, a fancy, or a tea, but I’ll reap the benefits of a low stress day and inspiration. I’ll connect with someone, a new friend, or an old one and leave their companionship a little better off. There’s something about a coffee shop that immediately relaxes me. I don’t know if it’s the sofas, the chairs, or the walls of windows or the small windows facing the creek. I can understand why J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter Series in her favorite coffee shop. There’s something about it that brings me home.

What do you like about your favorite coffee shop? What’s the name of your favorite coffee shop?


Taking Notes Sunday: Scripture, Coffee, and Memorization

A photo of a cup of coffee.
Image via Wikipedia

“Are you going to memorize it with us?” My pastor asked me in the office.

I plastered a smile on my face. “Um…”

Am I?

He’s beginning a new series in Philippians. Each Sunday we will be presented a new memory verse. Our pastor challenged us to challenge him during the week. Now I wonder if anyone will challenge me. It’s not a bad idea to toss out this memory verse thing onto the congregations shoulders. His children, he says, memorize scripture in school. Why shouldn’t we?

Perhaps I should have been more enthusiastic about this new project and announced with some enthusiasm, “Yes…I am!” After all, the card sat beneath my computer so I am forced to notice it everyday. I intended to, but suddenly got embarrassed. My friends know this of me. I get embarrassed at odd moments for odd reasons, even I can’t explain it, or don’t wish to explain it. His message on Sunday regarding Fellowship also affected me.

It inspired and offended me. He put down coffee. Yep…that’s the only reason he offended me. He put down coffee (you know I’m joking, right?). Then, he made some interesting points about fellowship. I have been trying to get the definition of fellowship more broadly defined for the last couple of years, working to break down the walls in service and be a Christian family in truth. In fact, the notes from Philippians 1:9 says love is not mere sentiment, but people love their walls, or are unaware of them. I hate my walls.

Walls keep me from living boldly. Walls keep me in a safety net neither risking hurt or enjoying life. No one can live in distrust 24/7. At some point, you have to trust God that He will put the broken pieces together as you extend a hand in friendship. My heart may feel black and blue and others may think I am foolish to live with a heart nailed to my sleeve, but the hurt is worth the risk of obtaining a new perspective or a new friendship. Risk taking has always been in my blood. I frequently push the envelope to try a new idea.

Please no comment from the peanut gallery.

To answer your question, Chris, yes, I am. I am going to attempt to memorize scripture.

What did you learn from your sermon on Sunday? How are you going to apply it throughout the week? Have you ever tried memorizing scripture? And what is your position on coffee?

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