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To Symbolize the Goodness of Our 9 Years of Marriage, I Ate This Maple Bacon Donut for Breakfast (Photo)

Amanda and I are marking 9 years married today.  We woke up and wished each other a Happy Anniversary and planned a nice lunch together (it is a work day after all).  Also, in a splurge of celebration we went to our favorite Coffee Shop in Bluffton, SC: The Corner Perk for Raspberry White Mochas, and stopped in at The Surgary bakery next door for a breakfast treat.  As a symbol of the deep goodness of our 9 years of marriage, I picked ‘the Homer’ donut.  It is a rich Maple Donut covered with bits of Bacon.  Oh yeas – lots of bacon my friends.  Marriage – Great.  Life – Great.  Bacon on Maple on donut….tasty.  Love you Amanda, and thanks for the Donut ;D !

No Coffee Challenge Day 5! Just Because the Naysayers Say I Won’t.

I have friends that say it won’t happen.  They tell me they give me five days and I’ll be back on coffee.  The sensible side of me says you’re right, I probably will, I only quit because of stomach flu last Thursday and I needed to stay hydrated.  But the stronger rebellious side says “NO, you don’t know me.”  “I’m gonna do what I want – even if that means I’m gonna feel groggy forever and the rest of my life to prove it…”  so I haven’t had coffee for five days.

After 9 days you are technically no longer addicted to coffee.  I am looking forward to Day 9.  I imagine that Day 9 will be like sunshine after many cloudy and cold raining days.  I will suddenly feel much warmer, and I won’t have to hold onto my blanket and watch Smallville with Amanda for comfort.  I’ll just do those things because I can, not because of an addiction.

So you say, what’s your plan after Day 9?  I’ll tell you my plan.  Two coffees a week, and remain unaddicted.  I’ll have one on Wednesday before Youth Group, and one on Sunday before Confirmation and Worship – IF THAT.  I haven’t decided.  I may just stick with tea, or something different, or just do decaf coffee forever.  I’m still working this out.

But I need your support.  The rebellious side of me says this will be a good thing.  If you send me coffee, please send Decaf ;) Amen.

Cafe/Diner Coffee – Oh Yeah.

Simple pleasures in life are often the best.  Little things like 2D sidescrollers with very little challenge and infinite lives make me happy.  A potato chip after a bit of work tastes so good, and a glass of iced water on a hot day is close to heaven. This morning I experienced simplicity as I have many other mornings but only now I am giving it some writing time: the Cafe/Diner mug of coffee.

It’s infinite.  As long as you sit there, it gets refilled.  Though it is not deeply roasted like Starbucks, or brewed to golden perfection like staple Dunkin Donut drips, it is perfect in its ease of use.  I show up at a local cafe for breakfast with some people I know, and a pot shows up in a waitresses hand.  I can choose decaf or caf (I always choose caf), and I am able to decide how hopped up I want to be for the rest of the day.  Extra charged – 4 cups, charged up – 3 cups, normal – two cups, laid back and slightly drowsy – 1 cup.  O cups is not an option.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of the not so perfect, extra simple, infinite cup of dark brown joe with a little bit of steam from your local cafe/diner – go!  Get some.  Its a simple pleasure waiting for your consumption.  Put away the Mountain Dew and appreciate the not so appreciated mug of coffee ;)

Unintended Consequence of Caffeine – The Loss of Dreams

I recently left Caffeine behind.  I am a still an avid coffee drinker, but now drink only decaffeinated drinks.  The reason that I quit was for my personal sanity, and feeling of normalcy.  Having three large cups of coffee a day (as I acclimated to a new habitat and job after my move to Hilton Head Island) had me thinking through the process of rehydration (lots of water) and the effect of lots of bathroom breaks.  Not to mention that when I did not rehydrate well enough, I became anxious and stressed out.  Coffee was no longer for even the effect of being more effective – it was something to feel normal in the morning, something to keep me going in the afternoon, and something to boost me for my evening activities.  I guess I could call myself an addict in a minor way, because I did not want to stop because I did not want to feel the withdrawls.

I did quit though, and it took two days for the withdrawl symptoms to hit me.  I became groggy, my memory was often shot, I had a constant headache, and was muscle tired.  But I was determined to stop.  Even two and three weeks later, there were hard days, and the temptation to just have another cup of coffee is always there.  But I’ve held and I am now a month off of caffeine, and I don’t think I’m going to go back.  I still enjoy coffee, but not for the drug any longer.

As I regain a sense of normalcy, and my brain begins to function at its higher levels once again, I would like to share a bit of what was lost in the time I was drinking coffee so heavily because there are things that are lost when you begin to depend on this substance for a good while.

(1) I began to sleep longer and was tired more often.  My productivity eventually went down the tubes, and my ability to become motivated to do things became harder and harder.

(2) I didn’t want to exercise because of the lethargy, though my wife was good at getting me out to the gym anyways.  That kept me healthy, but my energy in other things such as chores was seriously waning.

(3)  I stopped Dreaming.  And this is the thing I find most important about not being on Caffeine anymore.  I find that when I dream and remember the experience, it is usually about what I’ve been processing or thinking about the day prior.  Often the material is important enough that it helps me think through who I miss in life, who are important to me, and my feelings for them as I dream and process those dreams.  It is so unfortunate that for a long period of my last few years, I did not dream.

The dreams, post caffeine have been vivid, like when I was a kid, or a teenager.  I wake up earlier than I did before, and I have time to lay in bed and think and pray about the meaning of my dreams.  I go to places that I want to go, I see people that I have good or sometimes strange feelings towards, and I have conversations that I never would be able to have in real life.  But it is very real.  I wake up with a sense that I’ve been living in my sleep in a deep way.

A challenge to those of you who have walked into Caffeine with open arms.  It may not be affecting you in quantitative ways (productivity, goal getting, etc.) but you may be missing out on something very intense and very human – the ability to dream.  So go through the withdrawls for a month – get off of the substance, and rediscover how you and your mind functions on its own.  I find it to be a more robust and intense experience.  The ebb and flow of life is certainly different, but I’m finding it to be better, and I still have the taste of a great decaf peppermint mocha when I feel like it.

Picture sourced from: http://www.biojobblog.com/coffee_roaster%281%29.jpg

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