One of my favorite things about fall is hot drinks. I love coffee, tea, hot apple cider (if it’s actual apple cider and not that trash that starts as a mix), and hot cocoa from Bob Evans (because it's the best). So, I guess I like most hot drinks.
A multi-billion dollar industry suggests I'm not only one who feels this way. If you want to see an impassioned argument, say one of two things in a room full of people. Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes are disgusting or I love Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes as much as I love my own children. People will jump to defend the PSL or loudly agree with you about them being overrated. They will have reasons, pie charts, and anecdotes. Be careful though. Watch out for sharp objects or heavy plates because this is close to a lot of people’s heart. You’ve been warned.
Something I like even more than hot drinks are the mugs that hold them. Notice I said mugs not cups.
Here’s what I like about mugs:
1. They’re hard to pass up. Mug designers know what they’re doing. I love mugs with funny things on them. I love artistic, delicate mugs. I love mugs about my favorite things like Harry Potter or reading or Jesus. I was coming home from a wedding yesterday and I saw the state mugs they have at Starbucks. The Ohio one didn’t appeal to me.
Then I saw the Wisconsin one. It was pretty. I love all the green. I was like, “This’ll remind me of our trip to Wisconsin.” Then I stopped myself. “Do not buy a mug from Wisconsin because you spent a day and a half there for a wedding.” This brings me to another point. Mugs are cheap. Compared to other things, mugs are pretty affordable which is how you find yourself feeling like you need to buy a random Wisconsin mug at a Starbucks on the Illinois Turnpike.
2. Mugs tell a story. I have a bunch of mugs. More than I need, but I can’t get rid of them because they tell a story. I have a mug from a camp I used to go to which reminds me of the people I love there. I have one from a trip to Disneyland before we had kids. We were in our 20’s and we were the kids. I have mugs from writers conferences. I have a beautiful mug with stars on it that was a gift from one of my best friends. I have a mug my kids got me for Christmas one year. It’s from Sur la Table and it’s monogramed. You might think they got me an S for Shannon, but no. It’s an M for mommy. How amazing is that? No way I’m getting rid of that ever.
3. Mugs aren’t made of paper or styrofoam. Sure there’s utility in a disposable cup. It has a lid. It can be thrown away. It’s not fragile. We all get excited when Starbucks rolls out their holiday cup. Reminds me of the great red cup controversy of 2015. Don’t you wish we could go back to a time when the big controversy was over a red cup? It was the “War on Christmas”! A friend of mine asked if I was upset by the cup since I’m a Christian. My response? “It’s lazy, but I’m not offended.” I can’t imagine the marketing room that day. “What if we just make it red?” And they all agreed?
Anyway, back to my point, mugs aren’t disposable. They aren't spill-proof. They don't fit in a cupholder in your car. It’s hard to walk around with them. If the drink inside is really hot, they require us to sit down away from little people who could be injured if the drink spills on them. Mugs are made to make us slow down. They make us sit down. Paper cups say, “Go”. Mugs say, “Slow down. Take your time. Have a seat.” I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need an excuse to do that more often.
Fall is a great excuse to stop and have a hot drink. But it’s what happens over the mug that matters.
Use a mug to have some time alone. Times when I’m the most short-tempered are usually the ones when I haven’t had a single minute of quiet all day. Brew a coffee or grab a teabag and sit down and just be quiet for a few minutes.
Use a mug to connect with a good friend. How easy is it to say, “Let’s go get coffee”? People are always looking for excuses to get coffee in the fall. Use a cup of coffee to catch up. To encourage one another. To pray for one another.
Use a mug to connect with God. Read your Bible. Pray. Write. Whatever makes you feel more like yourself -do it over a hot drink.
I have a tendency to file memories away by what hot drink I enjoyed during those times. My sister and I love chai lattes. When she was in high school and I was her teacher, we would often stop for a chai latte after school. I can’t drink one without thinking of her.
If Bigelow still made vanilla almond tea, I'd be transported to my college house reading The Hiding Place for the first time.
Let's make memories this fall, so when we have a certain drink we think of the time when we laughed with a good friend or when God revealed something amazing to us in His word. Have good conversations over a hot drink that make you look back with fondness. And if you can, use a mug.