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Monday, February 16, 2009

THE COLOR PURPLE- A NEW DIRECTION

     Having completed the transition of adding food to Java Cafe in our Dyersburg location, I was recently in the midst of catching my breath while driving back from Jackson.   A busy weekend of scooping ice cream for all of Dyersburg Middle School, filling in behind the espresso machine, and prepping for the coffee bar at Englewood Baptist Church, had left me exhausted.   The previous two weeks of ice and wind storms had left carnage all throughout West Tennessee.  Honestly I felt as if it was an appropriate metaphor for my life... I was feeling weathered.

      I was driving in silence, my Taylor Swift cd paused, while I was thinking about where this company was headed, and even where I was headed, with my life.   I noticed hundreds of plastic bags clinging to nubs of corn and cotton stalks all along Hwy 412.   I smiled at the irony- mature trees were on the ground but plastic bags managed to stick around.   It was Murphy's law in full effect.   Eventually the bags will all migrate to my yard, along with all the plastic and glass bottles of the world.  Note to everyone:  If you're going to throw something in my yard, please throw money, or candy, wrapped, preferably chocolate. 

      So the stage was set for a life lesson, as it often is, by my circumstances.   I will also admit I wasn't really in the mood to learn anything.  I simply wanted to sit down and fall asleep.  So my first response to what I was seeing  was denial.  But then it suddenly became overwhelming, so overwhelming I wished I could have paused that moment of my life.  I was simply staring at hundreds of acres of small purple flowers.

     In the movie, "The Color Purple," Shug says it ticks God off to walk by the color purple and not notice it.  The conversation that ensues is a discussion about how everything and everybody wants to be loved, and how God sometimes put things in front of us to tell us we are loved, things like little purple flowers.

    Ask the people who work with me who I am and you might get several different answers.  The truth is I want them to say, "He's a stickler for detail, He's has high expectations, He's wants to do a lot with a little, and He wants it done fast but done right."  Two years ago I would have said I want them to say, "He's gentle, he's kind, he's loving."   The career transition from ministry to merchant has challenged, even changed, my core.

    Against the back drop of hard realities, a small amount of grace, a small field of purple flowers, is a powerful thing.   It was for me.  I have moved swiftly and even arrogantly at times with employees and vendors and from them I beg for forgiveness.   I have failed to gather my identity from the fact I am loved by my Father and have erroneously looked for affirmation entirely from the wonderful people around me.  I have drifted from the fundamental belief that I am called to be light in darkness.  At times we are the field of flowers, and at other times we need the field of flowers.   I just want everybody to know the theme of this company from this day forward is to simply be something God puts in front of people to remind them they are loved.  

     As silly as it sounds I believe a great cup of coffee can improve some one's life.  I believe the fact that someone cares enough to make a sandwich correctly can make people feel valuable.  And I know great ice cream can make a child happy.    I want people to feel loved when they visit us.  Maybe that is setting the bar high but that is where the bar should be.   Being in business just to make money is a miserable life.  Being in business to be a field of purple flowers that God can use against the back drop of life's hard realities is life to the full.

      From this day forward Green Frog Coffee Co will not be one of a million plastic bags fluttering in the wind among the rubble.   We will hopefully be something God can use to remind people they are valuable, they are loved. Hopefully we will be a simple small field of purple flowers.  

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