When we were in Youth ministry all those years ago we were poor… dirt poor. And most of the time we did not get reimbursed for things like having teenagers drop by the house after school for a snack and a bit of conversation. I always assured the kids that if they stopped by the house I could always make popcorn and Koolade even if I had nothing else in the house. Sometimes I had enough ingredients to make cookies. And we tried to keep a stash of frozen pizzas on hand for those spontaneous “parties” when a bunch of kids would land at our house after youth group. But anyone who knows teenagers knows that they are worse than a plague of locust- they can clean out your pantry in a matter of minutes.
I discovered that many of our kids really liked the strawberry lemonade I made from scratch. I started freezing large ziplocks full of lemonade to have on hand too. Eventually I started giving away frozen lemonade as birthday presents to some of my girls who particularly loved it. It may seem like an odd gift, but I paid attention to what people enjoyed and remembered what made them happy- that was the real gift. The girls loved getting frozen lemonade for their birthdays.
Here in Costa Rica, in the absence of Starbucks and Caribou Coffee shops, I have started a new trend among our students. I serve iced coffee. I have asked various missions teams to bring me bottles of coffee syrups and we set up a regular coffee shop in my kitchen. Our “regular” students know the formula now and can instruct the newbies in how to prepare the best iced coffee drinks on the planet.
Just because I know someone will ask me for the recipe, I’m going to share it here. It’s pretty easy. It’s a cold press base which means you dump a small package of coffee into a pitcher, fill with cold water, and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Then you scoop and strain off the grounds and top off the pitcher with more cold water if needed. That’s the coffee base. Now you need sweet cream. This is made my mixing one can of evaporated milk and one can of sweetened condensed milk. To make the iced coffee drink, start with a cup of ice. Pour half of the cup full of coffee base and half full of sweet cream. You can add syrups if you like. I like to drink mine with a straw… because I like straws.🙂
Anyhow, my point is that love is in the little things like paying attention to the details of a person, knowing the things they like, remembering their birthday, or being causally gracious when they stop by your house unannounced. You don’t need to be fancy to show someone they are loved and accepted. Nothing makes me happier than to see my kitchen full of teenagers or University students munching on handfuls of popcorn and enjoying a homemade iced coffee drink. Love is in the details.
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