December 2019

A Simple Way to Brew Some Connection

a drip coffee maker and a keurig in the background
Photo by Jessica Beckendorf

We have a Keurig in our office – a newer, fancy-ish model. We have a box of shared coffee pods, a stash of cups, and often a bottle of coffee creamer someone bought and wrote “for everyone” on the label so we could all partake. Both coffee drinkers and those that prefer tea love using this convenient machine.

Late last  week, on a whim, I purchased a couple pounds of seasonal flavored coffee and brought them to the office to share. I assumed we would just pack the reusable Keurig K-cup on an individual basis every time we needed our coffee fix. 

But what happened was so much better.

I arrived to the office late on Monday morning and I could smell the delicious Maple Pecan flavored coffee as soon as I walked through the door. One of my coworkers had dug out our old Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker and made a pot for the office. I was thrilled since I hadn’t had any coffee yet, and especially since I dislike messing with the reusable K-cup, much less having to do it more than once to satisfy my healthy coffee craving.

I made sure to thank the person that made the coffee, but otherwise thought nothing of it.

Another pot of coffee was waiting for everyone on Tuesday…another lovely surprise, but again I thanked my coworker and thought nothing more of it.

On Wednesday there was no pot of coffee waiting when I arrived. I was disappointed. Thinking it was just my coffee craving that needed a fix, I asked a coworker to show me how to make a pot (yes, I’m an adult that should know how to do this, but I use a snobby system at home and don’t know how to use a Mr. Coffee). As I waited for the pot to finish brewing, coworkers would stop in to chat for a moment, asking if the coffee was almost ready.

The conversations were short, but authentic and completely focused on each other. It was wonderful.

I looked at the lonely Keurig in the corner and realized that having shared coffee pods, creamer, and mugs just didn’t feel the same as sharing the same pot of coffee with others. The former is an individual process, a bit more clunky (and wasteful!), and disconnected. Kind of like any day where I am not making an intentional effort to connect with others with the gifts of generosity and time – the day feels lonely (individual), clunky (less focused), wasteful and disconnected.

May there be a pot of coffee (opportunities to connect with others) waiting for you every morning, and when there isn’t, may you have the generosity and courage to brew some yourself.

Written by Jessica Beckendorf, Network Literacy – Military Families Learning Network

December Webinars – RSVP today!

Webinar Spotlight!

Man using a computer tablet.Staying Safe Online: Protecting Your Finances and Data

Learn how to help your clients spot the red flags of a scam and how to protect their computers, smart devices, and information.

Here’s what participants were saying about this webinar:

  • “Excellent information provided.”
  • “Thank you so much for the very useful information. I feel better equipped now with all of this new knowledge.”
  • “Great information and well presented!”
  • “This was excellent. I learned a lot.”

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Finding Holiday Cheer in Your Heart Rather than Under the Tree
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How to Manage Your Emotions and Finances during the Holidays
Check out this post for some problems and possible solutions to think about during this holiday season in an effort to navigate your way through managing both your emotions and your finances.

Savor the Flavor this Holiday Season While Remaining Mindful about Nutrition
Are you trying to lose or maintain weight this holiday season? You may feel like you have to miss out on all of your favorite foods, but that’s not the case! Check out these tips for keeping the calories to a minimum without missing out.

Planning for Your Child with Special Needs: Holidays with Extended Family
Do you worry about your child’s disabilities and “explaining” why you might have to care for your child with special needs differently? We have some suggestions on how you might make the communication journey easier for all concerned this holiday season.

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PCS Caregiving: EP. 3 – Manifestations of Grief

‘Manifestations of Grief’ is the third episode in our PCS Caregiving podcast series where we discuss a variety of family caregiver issues and how helping professionals can better serve military families as they PCS from their role as a spouse, friend, partner, or loved one to a caregiver.

Any kind of loss can make us feel grief. We often only think about grief as a response to death; but, gains and losses happen throughout our lives, in a variety of different situations, and the losses often trigger some form of grief.

Tune in as guest speaker, Andrew Crocker, talks about the physical and emotional manifestations of grief. Overtime, through working through the grieving process constructively, hopefully the ups and downs caregivers may face get less severe, the difficult periods become less intense and shorter as time goes by.


Moving Toward Inclusive Practice – Practicing Humility

In this episode we hear what humility looks like in the area of cultural competency.  Through stories and conversation, Dr. Phibbs addresses knowing how to manage humility and power in a way that moves an agenda forward – everyone needs to be a change maker.