2009 has been a year of adventure for Doug and I. We have walked with the Lord in so many ways that we simply feel humbled that we get to see him so clearly at work! We are also humbled that in all of our inequities, he is using us to impact his Kingdom.
For the past couple of months, Doug has been hard at work helping develop a local coffee roasting company called "BIQA" (say it bee kuh). The story is long how Doug stumbled backwards into being a part of this adventure, but if you have a week, we'd love to tell you because that alone is all God's Glory!
So I want to introduce to you BIQA and want to share with you about this amazing company, it's ministry and how you can be a part of changing lives by simply enjoying your morning cup of joe!
Susan Jaime, the Master Roaster behind BIQA is one of 85 Q-rated coffee graders in the country. What this means is that Susan is the one responsible in going into a region, cupping their coffee beans and grading their quality. This grading sets the price point for their entire harvest and their entire region.
Through Susan's work she has built relationships with growers in 14 countries. These relationships are the backbone and ministry behind the amazing product. Most companies utilize a middle man to purchase the coffee bean which means less profit for the grower. BIQA, however, uses no middle men and purchases their beans directly from the grower by giving them fair market value. How does that translate? Susan's growers are receiving anywhere between 70 and 89 cents per pound versus the average of 3 cents per pound of other companies. You can imagine how this impacts the growers and their families lives!
The beans from the growers are then imported by BIQA right here to San Antonio. Susan then puts her Mater craft to perfection as she roasts organic, defect-free origin coffees, blends, flavored coffees, hot teas and chai's. The product of her work is superior grade coffee perfection!
There are so many layers to what BIQA is doing from partnering with ministries, creating specialty blends for fine restaurants and more. Picture wine, I have come to learn that coffee is much the same. Susan, has the ability and the art to create a coffee specific to a menu and specific for a client. It is truly an amazing business but we are even more excited how it is impacting his Kingdom!
How can you get BIQA coffee? Soon, BIQA's website will launch and we will be able to place orders there. There is much anticipation behind the well created site but BIQA doesn't want anything to launch until it is perfect. Until then, Doug and myself and those closely associated with BIQA are taking orders and either delivering them or having them shipped to your location. Want to ship it to family, friends or even someone you know whose business could benefit - we can do that too!
It's Christmas, think BIQA! We have Christmas sampler packages perfect for your gifts. Friends, teachers, clients!! 6 2oz. sampler packets in a cute box for 12$ or 3 1lb. bags for 30$. You can give a gift that everyone enjoys and is benefitting lives. I love that!
Don't forget the Chi and the hot teas! They have a great bottle of delicious Chai for $12. It's super yummy poured up in some rice milk over ice. I personally love it in the middle of the afternoon as my little "happy" break!
BIQA is also partnering with schools! Would your school like to be a part of a BIQA fundraiser? BIQA will give 40% back on any item sold to your school! What a win for everyone involved! We would love to talk with your PTA and be your fundraising partner!
If you are interested, please contact me. I'd love to chat more about BIQA with you! I'd love to help you get an order of your own to try!
AND .. friends, don't forget to ask your local coffee shops if they are carrying BIQA coffee! The more coffee beans we can sell, the more growers we can impact, the more lives we can change!!
Maybe by simply asking, we can begin to spread a harvest ... one coffee bean, one cup, one pound, and one grower at a time!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Posted by Cristie at 11:30 AM
Friday, November 6, 2009
So I am now playing the game of Clue .. or should I say, I am participating at this point. My Doc called late on Wednesday afternoon to say that my CT scans looked "good" and that he felt that he could rule away lymphoma. I am praising the Lord for that one and feeling quite a bit of relief. He then said he would like to me see an "Infectious Disease" Dr. that he has been consulting with. He didn't rule out "Sarcoidosis" .. in fact, on the contrary, to get a complete diagnosis of that .. you have to rule out other things first. Apparently, it's an obscure disease with little known cause etc.
So, I have an apt. set for Monday afternoon with this Dr. that my Dr. would like me to see. In the back of my head I think, doesn't the word "Infectious Disease" sound a little concerning to anyone? Apparently, they can run the gammit and my Doctor says, an "infectious Disease" Dr. is like a detective who takes all the pieces and puts together the mystery. Hmmm ... I get it, the game of CLUE.
So in my game of Clue, I decided that I would play. I chatted with Dr. Stigal yesterday afternoon again and asked him if he'd like me to send over all my symptoms and when I feel them. Could it be the candlestick? It sounds crazy, but they come and go, get worse and then better and then come and go again. He thought that was brilliant and humbly said when I asked if I should send them to Marilyn (his nurse) .. no, fax them to "Brian". (him)
I have to say that my Dr. is the most humble and unpretentious man that I have ever met. He called my cell yesterday afternoon. I knew it was the office as I recognized the number but on the other end was a soft voice that simply said "hello". I said "hello" as if to say "who is this" and he said "Hi, this is Brian'. Um, I am just going out on a limb here, but don't Dr.'s work a long time to earn that title. So, I answer "Well, hello Dr. Stigal". He asks how I am doing, we chat. He goes over things he is thinking through. We laugh a little as I tell him that Doug says he's been trying to figure me out for like 13 years so he wished him luck. Dr. Stigal chuckled and then said "your a mystery .. but we'll get you figured out". The conversation was not like any other that I have had with a Dr. He is so gentle, humble, and instead of the typical all knowing attitude .. he lays down his pride and totally relies on the Lord to direct him. What refreshment in his spirit! I simply continue to pray for the Lord to lead him ...
So we wait more. We see this Dr. on Monday for some more blood work and prodding. I still have symptoms .. swollen nodes, weird pains and aching in my chest that come and go, pain in my joints that range from feeling like I'm 90 to some moments just feeling a slight fatigue. My energy has increased and the praise I can report is that I have had the ability to get up, get going and do things for my family each day. That is a blessing! As the day goes on and the more I do, the more the symptoms become pronounced. Yet again another clue to this game!
Thank you for all your prayers! I continue to ask you to pray for clarity and a clear and definitive diagnosis. I have to laugh a little ... when I was younger, there was a time that I had multiple heart murmurs (well, I suppose I still do). My pediatrician became alarmed and had my parents take me to a pediatric cardiologist. I can remember the tests and I can remember it well. I also remember the Doctor saying "Well, our findings are .. she's normal but abnormal" I can totally remember my Dad's response like it was yesterday "All that to find out something we already knew". HAHA. I feel like that kid again .. going through all these tests. And yes, I am apparently still not normal. Are you surprised?
Lastly, I have a friend in this blog land world that wrote me. She is dealing with some similar stuff. She will be having lymph nodes removed .. 3 of them. They are trying to determine if she is dealing with lymphoma. Can you pray for her? Will you pick up your sword and put on your armor for her? She's a beautiful woman ..a Mom .. a wife. She's scared. She knows the Lord. Alicia, you are covered! Rest in his arms and let us be the body who places ourselves between your fear and faith ...
Thank you friends for praying for Alicia!
Until next time ....
Do you think it was the Librarian??
Posted by Cristie at 7:19 AM
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The past week has felt like a dream ... a nightmare really. I keep wondering when I'll wake up. Whose life is this? This doesn't happen ... not to anyone I know.
I then open my eyes and realize that yes, the voice telling me to hold my breathe is the audio voice of the CT scan machine. This is my life, I am the one here ... it's not a dream.
The CT scan was done yesterday morning. I wasn't aware that they'd be putting dye into my veins. A very weird sensation to say the least as the warmth of it begins to pass through your body. As the technician told me what would come, my eyes must have told her what my head was thinking.
"It's o.k. to cry" she said "This is scary, I know".
I am told to hold my breathe and don't swallow. The CT scan will be taking pictures of my lymph nodes and chest. They mark specific spots on my neck and ask lots of questions. I don't have answers really ... I feel like I am in here blindly.
It doesn't take long. The scan is complete within minutes. The hardest part physically was holding my breathe and not swallowing. Mentally, the battle rages inside of me.
The technician says the scans look "good". What does that mean .. I mean, really, what I want to know is ... what do you see?
But I have to wait.
My amazing husband has taken over my reigns. It is no longer that I find myself calling the office and asking "When". The CT passes and he calls. He calls again. Again. and yet again. The nurse tells Doug that Dr. Stigall is waiting on all the scans. He will review them and then call me immediately in. I don't need an appointment. They have "set aside" some time in the day. I am now the "STAT" patient.
Something I thought I'd never say "I'd be happy to be the patient who goes unnoticed and has to bring a book and wait in the waiting room". Apparently, the word STAT means .. something isn't quite right.
SO now we wait. I have been blown away by prayers. Friends e-mailing prayers. Friends calling. Friends wanting to help .. in any way they can. My Mom who has graciously given every ounce of herself to make our life seemingly normal. She has helped with the kids, come to visit, made meals, done laundry, and just gotten me out of the house to do the things in life you have to do .. prepare birthday party plans for our beautiful Maliah, celebrate those moments in life worth celebrating.
In the back of my head, I fight with the enemy. I rebuke his plans to cover me in fears. My heart knows that the Lord is my strength. I keep going to Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.". I work to take the belt of truth and put it on. I know this is truth .. but my head .. my head swims in thoughts at different moments of the day. I am reminded moment by moment that I'm not well. My body aches. My joints are aching .. they wake me at night. I tire easy. I know I'm not myself. A reminder that I am in a war .. with what? I don't know yet. But I am preparing to fight!
I find comfort in those whom have secured their armor and have drawn their swords to help me fight my battle. As I showered today, my eyes welled in tears as I realized that I was seeing the Kingdom here on earth. My sisters and brothers, carrying my burdens, being the hedge between my fear and my faith. Fear can seem to cripple and yet, in an instant .. it's gone and i have peace. For me, I realize that faith is indeed what we do not see but we know. I know this, your prayers are felt. In the moments that that fear creeps in .. the Lord replaces it with his calming peace and assurance - a Saint must have said a prayer perhaps. He is my God ... he will "Provide my needs before I ask. He will help me while I am still asking for help" (Isaiah 65:24).
I wait .. the house is quiet. I just spent the morning with my beautiful four year old daughter and my Mom. We picked out all the princess party supplies for the glorious celebration of Maliah on Saturday. We had lunch, we laughed and we talked. My Mom has now taken my angel and is going to get my kids from school. They are going to have a Granny and PiPa afternoon so I can rest a little and because, well, Doug says that the Dr. said that today he would call and then we'd see what was next.
Thank you, my friend, for all your doing to walk with me and our Lord. You will never know the impact and power of each step you take with me!
Pressing on .. and oh, taking a nap. I think I'll relish in a few minutes of stillness!
Posted by Cristie at 11:09 AM