Monday, August 12, 2013

True Confessions

According to my Googled sources, it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Is that wise? Should we?  I kind of get the point.  The more I think about that, the more I believe it. I don't think she meant to jump out of an airplane or to be a dare devil.  Stand up.  Be heard.  Live your life with integrity.  How many things do we avoid that would make our lives simpler in the long run if we met the fear and put it behind us?  How much better off would we be if we confronted one or two of the very things that intimidate us? The fear of the unknown keeps us stuck sometimes.  Allow me to address one fear this morning. I have a confession to make.

This is the way I start my day, every day, with my computer and my coffee.  I love coffee.  I have loved coffee ever since I was a little girl, and was allowed to drink it after dinner with the grownups at my grandparents' house in Virginia.  We drank it hot in the winter; we drank it iced in the summer.  They allowed me to add big spoons full of sugar to mine so I REALLY loved it. I even like decaffeinated coffee.  For me, it's all about the flavor and the smell.

I will even drink decaf!
I will drink coffee black, if no cream is available, but I like it best with half and half, and not that fat-free stuff either.  I still like it sweet, but stevia is my sweetener of choice these days.  If I'm going to have the calories of the creamer, I need to cut back somewhere.  My favorite blends seem to be Hawaiian Kona and Starbucks Blonde...I blend the Kona with the Blonde decaf for my morning brew.

I don't get all of the hoopla about Starbucks. Until they came out with the light blend known as Blonde, I hated all of their coffee.  Too dark, too bitter, too yucky.  I love coffee-flavored candies, ice creams, and even, almonds.  Yes, there is such a thing.

My coffee addiction reared its ugly head several years ago after a very long "dry spell."  I had only used it for medicinal purposes in college when I was making the 30 hour solo automobile trip across country to get to school. I enjoyed every single cup along the way, until I was just one big jittery nerve. was so good, though.

You're probably wondering when I'm going to do the thing that scares me. I did it already.  One of them, anyway.  I just admitted, in broad daylight (that's a figure of speech; it's pitch-black dark at 5:30 in the morning here) that I drink coffee.  I hide the fact that I love coffee.  I am a closet coffee drinker. Today I am apologizing to those I love who suspected, and wondered why, I hid it.  I have a misguided notion that if I don't appear to be perfect in every way, people will not love me.  Notice I said APPEAR to be perfect.  Everyone, including myself, knows I am not perfect in any way.  Have you seen the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances?  That title is a running theme in my life.

You see, I am a MORMON coffee drinker.  Mormons don't drink coffee, as I'm sure you know.  Not GOOD ones, I remind myself from time to time.  That has been my mindset all of these years; guilt nibbling at my mind whenever I took the time to think about it, which really wasn't all that often.  I'm sure that was self-preservation on my part. Who wants to beat themselves up about something they have no intention of changing?  That would get old.

My dad is an expert joke teller.  I did not inherit that trait, unfortunately...but allow me to butcher the joke my non-Mormon father used to enjoy telling me, his BYU Mormon daughter...

A hooker was being booked into jail.  After her mug shot and finger prints were taken, the policeman escorted her back to her cell.  "Can I get you a cup of coffee?" he offered.

The lady was offended, and said with a huff, "I don't DRINK coffee. I'm a Mormon."

Abstaining from coffee is a big deal in our culture.  It's the cornerstone of our worthiness.  And yes, sometimes it seems like a bigger deal than some of the more obvious big honesty, integrity, and being Christ-like in our dealings with our fellow man.

One time we were preparing for a family Christmas gathering.  My children were visiting my husband and me, and my mom and her husband would be joining us.  "Put the coffee maker in the hall pantry!" I shouted to whomever would help me as I finished making last minute preparations for dinner.

"What are you doing?"  my son asked me.

"Hiding the coffee maker.  Grandma's coming."

"Oh, I didn't realize we had to pretend to be people we're not tonight.  Should I go put on a long-sleeved shirt to cover my tattoos?"

"Absolutely not!" I told him. My heart sank.  What WAS I doing?  Was I telling my children they have to hide who they really are to be loved?  Oh, I hate this about myself...hiding things that I must not think are right, or I wouldn't hide them, right?  The two of us had the attention of the whole family now.  All eyes were on me.  "I just don't want to throw this in Grandma's face.  Out of respect for her, I'm going to put the coffee maker out of sight."

"If that's what you want..." my oldest said, as he unplugged Mr. Coffee and took him down the hall.  When I saw him next, he had on his long-sleeved flannel shirt.  Our house was plenty warm on this cold winter night.  I smiled weakly at him, hoping he would know I was sorry I wasn't being honest with my mom.  I gave him a hug.  The people-pleaser in me was in total conflict tonight.  In making my mom "proud," I was disappointing my kids.

You probably can't believe I'm even mentioning this, if you're a coffee drinker.  If you're a non-Mormon coffee drinker, you probably REALLY can't believe I'm doing this.  If you're a Mormon non-coffee drinker, you are probably praying for my soul.  Now I'm being dramatic, but that's just one of the services we offer here at Happy Acres.

I drink coffee.  I love to drink coffee.  If you feel the need to judge me for this admission, so be it. I've decided I'm okay with that.  I'm in the camp that believes we'll be judged the way WE judge.  So my advice to those who sit in judgement on my life is:  judge judiciously.  I'm going to love myself in spite of my indiscretions.  I invite you to love me, too.

During a delightful meal with one of my Mormon friends, I admitted to her that I loved coffee.  She didn't bat an eye.  "Is it good?" she asked.

"Oh, it is SOOO good," I confessed.

She went on to tell me a little story from her past.  There was a period of an hour or so that she thought she was going to die.  She had been having some medical issues, and required further testing that would determine if her condition were terminal.  During her fretful wait time, she wandered through the grocery store, pondering her life.  If this were her time to go, what would she want to do before she died?  What experience did she still want to try?  Do you know what she concluded?  The one thing she wanted to taste before she died was coffee.  We both laughed.  One of her friends suggested she go ahead and "scratch that itch."  And yet, I suspect, she won't.

My friend is a rare bird.  She can live her religion without making those around her feel less for not living theirs.  She loves people, in all of our weaknesses and all of our glory.  She celebrates us for who we are and who we are not.   After spending that sweet afternoon with her, I have decided to live my life out loud, without apology.  Except for the one "I'm sorry" mentioned earlier here. I do apologize for hiding who I really am.  We cannot control other people; we can only control our reaction to what they do.  I release my attempt to control your opinion of me.  Love me or not.  Accept me or not. Take me as I am, in all of my glory...and in all of my weaknesses.

What scares you?


  1. We love Denise, whether she's who we think she is or whether she's a closet coffee drinker or whatever!
    I used to try to be whoever others wanted me to be. I had a group of church friends and a group of other people. I was one person in one group and another in another. I suppose I wasn't really all that different but they were things I didn't let on for fear of not being liked...such as I like a glass of wine or even two. And I also like beer. Because I like them and drink them sometimes does it make me bad? I decided that what others think of me is their business not mine and I'm not going to waste the precious days of living my life worrying over it. I'm so happy you've decided to embrace yourself. It is the only way to real inner peace.

    1. So I'm not alone? I think that's one thing I like about writing. It invites others a peek into my life, and when they respond, I realize there are common denominators for all of us. "The family of man" concept is reinforced.

  2. Well said. I am so glad you are living your life "OUT LOUD!"

    1. Lisa...thanks for stopping by. You are one of my heroes!


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