Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Traditions: How to Enjoy A Warm Cup....and a MUG SWAP!

I read an article a few months ago, and instead of paraphrasing, I'm going to post the first couple of paragraphs.  If you find this as interesting as I did, you can read the rest of the article here.
"I recently asked a friend of mine who had just returned from Spain what the best part of her trip was, and her answer surprised me. She said she had seen the most amazing thing in Spain. No one in Spain walks down the street holding a cup of coffee. 
Spain has a real coffee culture. In other words, not only is the coffee good and varied, but people sit in cafes and enjoy it. Sitting and enjoying is so much a part of the experience that it is fairly difficult to even find disposable cups at a coffee place. In America, it is exactly the opposite. It would be hard to find a regular porcelain cup at most coffee places in the United States. In fact, when I recounted this story to another friend, he wondered what they drink their coffee out of in Spain without disposable cups." ~ Rabbi Davie Kalb (The 3,000 year old secret to switching off in a switched-on world.)
I was discussing this with a friend of mine (who has been a missionary to various parts of the world) what her experiences with the coffee cup have been.  (Hi Elise!!!!) :o)  She now resides in Latvia, and says that only very recently, disposable cups are being offered at coffee shops, but not for the purpose of on-the-go guzzling. "If you drank coffee on a bus, people would give you strange looks," she said,  "Instead, people will take their coffee to the park, sit down on a bench, and drink it there."

Really?  Are we Americans missing something here?  I rarely think of my cup of hot tea as something to "enjoy."  Okay, maybe the first few sips...the rest might as well be administered intravenously for the sole objective of caffeine intake.  And honestly, I usually have to reheat my beverage about 4 times before I even get a chance to experience the last sip (which, more often than not, is lukewarm at best).  What about you?  Do you use your time to drink your warm cup of coffee or tea to relax, reflect, and enjoy life?  Or do you gulp it on the go, hoping for the sweet relief of caffeine to acquiesce your mind and body into alertness?

On this Monday morning, I would like to offer a little challenge.  Can you sit for ten minutes and enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea without any distractions?
No computer.
No newspaper.
No book.
Stare out the window if you must.
Resist the urge to put on music or the television.
Put your feet up, let your fingers intertwine around your mug, watch the steam send swirling bits of magic into the air, breathe in the fragrance of sweetness, and sip.
Feel the hot ceramic on your lips.
Breathe.  Sip. and Breathe again.
And if you find your mind wandering to the busyness of your day, try thinking of one thing you're thankful for for every sip you take.
Repeat until the cup is completely empty.  And you are joyously full.
This is how to enjoy a warm cup, my friends.  Let's try this together, shall we?   

And to offer a little bit more inspiration, we will be hosting a MUG SWAP!!!  For me, my mid-afternoon treat is getting out a pretty mug and filling it with something piping hot.  So why not share some mug love and inspire someone to ditch the styrofoam cup and experience the joy of a hot beverage on one of these chilly winter mornings?

Here's how it works:

 The Swan Bay Family Mug Swap

1.  Shoot us an email (swanbayfamily(at)gmail(dot) com) with your name and address....and while you're at it, leave a comment below to say, "I'm in!" (I think if people see there are lots of people who join in, they will be more likely to participate.)
2.  Spread the word!  The more people who participate, the more fun it will be!  Share this post on facebook, instagram, and twitter! 

3.  On Friday (the 25th) , I will be facebooking or emailing you your assignment (the name and address of someone else you will be sending a mug to.)     

4.  On or before Friday, February 1st you must find and mail your mug.  It can range from $0 (Hey!  I found a fun mug that I never use in the back of my cabinet) to $20 (let's not go too crazy, people.)  It can be from Etsy, Target, a thrift store, the dollar store...there are so many fun, creative, funky, and pretty mugs out there!  If you want to save yourself a step, you can order your mug online and ship it directly to your recipient.

And don't worry...I'll have the master list.  I will harass anyone I need to until all mugs are delivered safely to their new homes. 

I hope this will inspire us to start the tradition to ditch at least one disposable cup a week and cozy up to a warm beverage.  Let the mugging begin!   

***The Mug Swap is now Closed.  Thank you so much to all who participated! ***


  1. I'd LOVE to "mug" somebody! I'm in!

  2. I'm in too... I have my collection of mugs on display on shelves in my kitchen, ready for me to fill each morning with my cuppaJoe...It is really fun for me to choose my cup of the day. I must admit, that although there are rare days that I can take my mug of creamy coffee out to my deck and sip while listening to the birds, mostly I enjoy my coffee at the computer or with my is part of my joy of the moments...I am not known for sitting longer than two minutes at a time without a book or computer at hand. Do "two minutes" count? Sheree

    1. I would say 2 minutes is better than most, Sheree! Glad you can find a happy place with cup in hand :o) Glad you're in for the mug swap!

  3. Megan, I'm in! Also, the friend I'm staying with here in Peru (originally from Minnesota, serving as a missionary here) would love to participate. Here's the deal. She will get a mug from Peru, I'll get one from Latvia and I'll send both of them from Latvia. (The post is cheaper and more reliable.) Whoever gets our names can send them to addresses in the States. One to NJ, one to MN. Could that work? Our mugs will be sent the week of February 4, as I will be traveling back by then. So add Elise Carey and Julia Mueller to the list, if it could work.

    Love this idea!

    1. That will work, Elise! Thank you! :o)

  4. Megan!!!!!!! This is an awesome idea!! I am in!!

  5. Replies
    1. Hi Sarah! So glad you're going to join our mug swap! Can you email me at : swanbayfamily(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll be sure to put you on the list! Thanks!!!

    2. (with your address) thanks!