Meet Katie! She is 21 years old and born and raised in the Austin area.
I associate coffee with Camp Peniel in the Texas hill country and drinking it outside looking at the beautiful rolling hills and trees by the lake. I started drinking coffee the summer after freshman year when I started to work. My parents drank coffee, so I would sometimes have it for special occasions. I always liked the taste of it but never really drank it regularly until I started working at camp Peniel. How it worked was in the mornings at camp, you would get your campers up and send them to a morning Bible study and then the counselors had about a 15 minute break. During the break in the mornings at camp, the counselors would go to the lodge and pray for the week together and grab coffee. That was such a good treat, prayer and coffee in the mornings. That’s when I started relying on coffee because I was exhausted, but I also have such good memories of that sweet time.
I work at a coffee shop now, Sweet Eugene’s in College Station, and I drink coffee all the time. It kind of started as a fun thing to do with friends and a reminder of camp but then turned to a day to day thing. I always thought it would be fun to work at a coffee shop; it was just one of those jobs I just always thought would be fun to do. Then I realized, junior year of college, this was the best time to do it because after college I would start my career and probably would not have the opportunity to work at a coffee shop then. So junior year of college I applied to work at Sweet Eugene’s Coffeehouse and started working there and I love it. So yes, coffee is a very big part of my life right now. I go to work with it, drink it all the time with friends, and drink it in the mornings on my own as well.
I love working with kids! I specifically like to work with kids that require a little extra grace. To me, grace is receiving something that we do not necessarily deserve. Sometimes kids, by their actions, are going to trigger responses from other people of annoyance or agitation. In these moments we make a choice to respond in a way that is best for that child by choosing love or responding in a way that will keep them in the cycle of disobedience. Realizing that we all need grace and that we all have these “special needs” in our lives, some being more evident than others, makes giving grace in these types of situations possible. These “special needs” in our lives are sin, the actions that separate us from our Savior. But realizing this and knowing that we do have a Savior that constantly provides us with love, grace, and mercy, we can go out and give grace to others freely. In that way I see the grace that I give as an overflow of the grace that Jesus gives me. I have to have received the grace in order to give it. Teaching replacement behaviors for students instead of turning a blind eye to their negative behavior helps students be successful on their own without having to have someone tell them what to do. One of the most life giving things for me is when there is a kid who is struggling and needs support and being able to provide supports in tangible ways, whether that be through education, camp, or other ministry opportunities as well. I love to help empower kids to be successful who require a little extra help and grace. That is super exciting to me and something I love!
Something I also love to do is find connections with people. I mean, this world is so small and I think it is neat when you meet someone and you realize that you know some of the same people or you discover that you have certain things in common. That has been a really cool thing that I have learned this semester. I have had the opportunity to meet people from all across the world and students from other countries and it has been cool to realize that we come from such different cultures and places, but we still have so much in common. It is so fun to get to know these people and discover these similarities that we share, many times while sitting with a nice big cup of coffee.