I’d like a serving of…. Enjoying Café Gratitude!

I’d like a serving of….
Enjoying Café Gratitude!

By Lauren Hasson

Shanna and I pulled out our BFF’s Guide to Summer Fun, deciding to plunge into some out-of-our-box ideas!  Sunday afternoon we were off exploring on a date to Little Italy.  Dressing to impress brought out our wannabe Italian heals and Milan inspired outfits (after all… it was a date!). 

Our Italian tour began with discovering art stores, a flower shop, and bookstores before winding our way to Gratitude Café, a promising recommendation by Katrin Lotze.   The décor was beautiful and fresh, celebrating a delicious plant-based menu.  Enthusiastically, our waitress approached.  “Everything on the menu has a name.  Check this out …. bountiful, elated, awesome, humble.  You order by saying, “I am, and then the name of your dish.”

I found myself wanting to order dishes that make me feel inspired, like “I am magical, I am dynamic, I am thriving!”  We decide to go along with our server’s desires and Shanna places her order, “I am present.  I am care-free.”

I decide to follow along, “I am connected, and  I am care-free decaffeinated!”

In a staccato whisper, “Ohhh, I’m sorry, we don’t serve decaffeinated coffee.”

“So, I am not care-free?”  I restrained myself from the humor that was quickly growing out of control in my mind.  I ended up with a turmeric almond milk latte, which was deliciously different.

After more shops, we balanced out our delicious vegan meal at our next stop, Extraordinary Desserts, executing a swan dive into the decaf cappuccino and coconut cake.    The day brought joyous conversations, laughter, shared insights, and perfectly ending in our dreams scribbled out on paper.  Yes, we were mesmerized by the beautiful inspirations found in Little Italy.!

Next morning I found that my magical afternoon with Shanna opened up my heart for more.  Writing in my journal, I expressed thanks for such a splendid day and then found myself missing my beautiful daughter Sophia.  Between her classes in OC and friends in town, I was longing for some significant time with her too!  As I was settled in with my morning tea, Bible and journal, I found myself speaking my heart out to Him, asking Him to open some space to be with her.   The next thing I knew Sophia came bounding in, “Hey, do you want to go with us to North Park?  I want to show you some great places we found the other day.  You’ll love them…. Flowers/Coffee, Casa Artlexia.  Leaving in a few!”

He answered my hearts cry within literal seconds of asking Him.  

Listen to what He shared with me later…..

“Precious Daughter,

I love to surprise you with gifts of love and friendship.  I know how you were really wanting some time with her (Sophia).  What’s in your heart is important to me.  I am delighted to give you these things.  As you spend time in My presence, pursuing Me, I am working things out for your life.  It gives me such pleasure to watch My plans unfold for you because I love you.  I am opening up places of greater hope in you.  It is vulnerable because you become aware that they haven’t happened yet.  As you ask Me, I open up doors for you in my answers.  The greatest door is the door of belief.  As you entrust your heart to My care, I am able to create within you the greatest, most fulfilling gifts.  You desire relationships that are intentional, loving and full of Me.  Ask Me for these things.  Believe in Me in greater measure.  Be grateful for all that I’m doing and will do for you and those you love. 

These small moments in life are the most prized.  They are when you are laughing, enjoying another person, opening up in vulnerability, delighting in promise, making meals over music as you make your kitchen into a huge cooking mess…. This is life, this is precious.  Taste and see how good I am.  Allow Me to take you out of your box all the time!  What would that look like?  How would you grow?  Then when I do, thank Me and others with gratitude.  Express your gratitude in ways that others can receive My love too. 

I am excited about this summer time.  Let’s slow down the pace and enjoy each other’s company.

Your loving Papa.”

Thank you Father for all you’ve done.  You nourish my soul in Gratitude Café. 

I AM Dazzling.
I AM Interested.
I AM Holy.
I AM Gracious.
I AM Delightful.
I AM Here.
I AM For You.

I AM great at surprising you, because I adore you! 

Yes, I’d like a huge helping of each of those!