Giant Mug

Mug - 11This mug is really fun, and really huge! I keep this one in my office/classroom at the church and it is usually stocked with mini Reese’s Cups for the kids. To provide some scale for this pic I put my Ninja Turtle action figure inside it–that’s good ‘ol Leonardo peeking out over the rim there.

This colossus was another gift–as you might have discovered by now, I really like coffee mugs, so people who get to know me often figure out that they make great gifts for me. This was given to me by some good friends from Taiwan who, if memory serves, found it for me while they were visiting Disney World. I met several Taiwanese friends while I was living in Findlay, many of whom were graduate students at the University of Findlay. I met a lot of students there while sailing on the U.S.S. Curry House, and while serving through the church we planted in our house–called Night Church. But looking back now, some of our closest relationships were with the Taiwanese… a couple of them even lived with us part time, unofficially… And I really miss their sense of humor, their humility, their willingness to just jump in and help us cook or do dishes or clean the house, and also the way they would take to the kitchen and display their mastery over authentic cuisine with mighty elegance. Our church even had a softball team, of which they made up about half the roster.

So this mug entry is for them… Dennis, Beck, Ya-Lan, Ching-yi, Mo, Tracy, and the others… I miss you all, and your awesomeness will not be forgotten!

Originally posted on Instagram @ajcoffman on April 23, 2014

Dad’s Mug

Mug - 10This small mug has been in the Coffman house for the last 30 years or so. It was a gift to my dad from the rest of us in the family. Being 35 now, and ministering to kids in an urban poor area of Indianapolis, many of whom do not live with or even know their dad, I realize how much of a blessing it is for me to be able to say that, in my life, the words on this mug have rang true. My dad has always been there for me, and has never failed to encourage me at my weakest points, and challenge me at my most stubborn. Of course as a kid I took him for granted, argued with him about almost everything, and probably gave him more than any man’s reasonable share of headaches, ulcers, and gray hairs. 

My dad and I did many things together as I grew up, and while I remember things like collecting basketball cards, taking trips to the comic book shop, him volunteering as a sponsor for some of my grade school class field trips, being a youth sponsor at our church, setting up our household aquariums, the fact that he let me watch and record The Simpsons on VHS tapes when they first came out (most of the other kids at church weren’t allowed to watch it) getting season tickets to the Pacers, and going fishing at the lake across the street… But what I remember most, is that my dad just spent time with me.

Now I’m not a dad myself, and I’m sure there are plenty of things I’m terribly clueless about, but I think my dad did it right, and I’m glad that he is, and always will be, my best friend.

I love you, pop!

Originally posted on Instagram @ajcoffman on April 22, 2014

Arizona Mug

Arizona MugThis next coffee mug, like the one I posted yesterday, is also an old classic in the Coffman house. It’s been in our repertoire of mugs since as far back as I can remember. Though we did take a couple of family trips to Arizona in the mid 90s, I think it goes back even further, and was most likely a gift from my Aunt Charlene & Uncle Joe (Snell) who used to spend their winters camped out in Apache Junction, at the foot of Superstition Mountain. As a child I was always fascinated by their old farmhouse (near Hazelwood, Indiana) with its many mementos and pictures of the Old West. If you knew my Uncle Joe, then you also knew what it was like to sit in the company of John Wayne. Their house was a portal for my young mind to imagine the mysteries and wonders of Arizona, taking me forward in time to a place I would eventually see for myself later on when I was in high school. It was even more fascinating in person. And just as I once went forward through their mementos, their potted cactus, their pictures, and hearing their stories as I grew up–now I go back, through my coffee mug!
Originally posted on Instagram @ajcoffman on April 12, 2014

Mug Stories – Great Grandma

White MugRecently, while setting aside some things that need to be packed away, and while unpacking some boxes that had not been opened since I left Ohio, I had the realization that a great portion of my life can be recalled through coffee mugs. This small white cup, for instance, saw heavy use in Findlay most recently, and if you ever had coffee or tea at the Curry House, chances are good that you’ve held one of these. But this is actually from the first set of coffee cups I can remember. I can still recall my great grandmother sipping her coffee from one many years ago (I must have been 8 or 9 at the time). It was Thanksgiving, and she called me aside later in the evening to talk to me specifically. She wanted to tell me about prayer, and how important it was (I think she was a Roman Catholic, but whatever specific strain of Christianity she held to, she was very devoted and very spiritually minded); she told me that God would always be there and would listen if I just took the time to talk to him–and though it seemed strange at the time, and most of my mind was probably elsewhere, I still remember it to this day when I see this coffee cup. It was the last time we had a conversation before she died.
Originally published on Instagram @ajcoffman – April 11, 2014