Monday, September 12, 2011

The Above and Beyond Award (I am so honored)

Don't talk to me in the morning until I've got at least one cup of coffee in me. When I wake up, I need a few minutes to adjust to being awake, but until I've had a full cup of coffee in me, I'm not saying much. And what I do say is either grunted or forced.

Now, if you know this about me, you make me coffee before I wake up, or you steer clear of me until I've done it myself. It's rare that I will wait to have coffee until after I leave the house, you know, go pick a cup up. Those trips are for afternoons only. I literally don't leave the house without my coffee. Am I addicted? I think so, but frankly, I don't care as long as I always have a supply. It's so important that when I prepared for the hurricane, I brewed a big pot of coffee and put it in an old lemonade jar in the refrigerator, so that in the worst case, I'd at least have my cold, or room temperature coffee to get me through it all.

I've been doing a lot lately, to try and help those who were hit by the hurricane (locally). Ward and I decided to do a fundraising postcard sale to raise money for the Township of Denville Hurricane Irene Relief Fund. We sold limited edition prints of Sergio & Co. and donated 100% of all sales to a fund that I created, with the help of personal banker and friend, Fara Aliotta. I started a facebook page to support the fund, relay information and raise money, and already, just 12 days since the account was opened, we've raised over $8,000. Now, I am working on getting RHONJ Teresa Giudice to do a book signing of her cookbook, Fabulicious; Fara's getting all the food donated (including fresh mozzarella) and I will get wine and the venue. (This is if Teresa agrees to come... crossing fingers.)

I do this because I can, because I didn't suffer damage from the storm, and because every ounce of my body and mind is racing to help. Helping others makes me feel better about life. While I cannot reverse the damage, I can help to repair it. We all can, if we all chip in.

My friend, Steven, from back in the day (living in Montville, we used to wait for the bus together in middle school - whoa, loong time ago), awarded me with his "Above and Beyond Award". He owns the coffee company, Port City Java, and while he now resides with his wife and children in North Carolina, he saw my efforts and found it in his heart to commend me for them. I am so honored. I walked up to my front door this morning and smelled coffee, then looked down to see a box labeled Port City Java, and my heart lifted.

If only you could smell what I smelled when I saw this. Yumm.
Now this was good, but the best part was opening it up and finding a couple pounds of coffee beans. And a really sweet note. This is the goodness in people. Steve, I hope you don't mind me sharing your letter. It shows the kindness in people, something important to be reminded of nowadays.

A couple pounds of coffee beans and a really kind note.

Here you go - Enjoy! You have a pound of Costa Rica La Flora, and a pound of Sumatra Mandheling. The Costa Rica is more acidic, and is known as the Grace Kelly of coffees, refined and elegant. The Sumatra has a heavier body, and is more earthy in nature. I like them both.

The "above and beyond award" is because I like it when folks use the means at their disposal to help other folks out -- especially when we are talking about local friends, neighbors and businesses. My business may not be local to NJ, but the owner is! We (Port City Java) try to do everything we can to support other local businesses, and I appreciate it when others do the same. I look at this as a sort of "pay it forward" type of scenario. It's small gestures that make the communities we live in better. Wilmington, NC is also quite hurricane prone (I have been through eight now -- and that IS enough) so I sympathize with the plight of folks dealing with the aftermath.

Seems to me that you use your time and resources well to promote the art that your boyfriend produces, the stores and shops that you frequent, the community you live in, and you actually DO something rather than just sit back and let things happen as they may. We can't control everything (though I do try to sometimes) but you seek to make folks lives better -- a little bit, here and there. Every once in a while -- someone will notice!

Be well, 

I am sharing this, not to re-toot my own horn, but to show that while there are some that look for the negative in everything, there are others who search out the positive, and commend people for it. Steve, you are right, we can't control everything (I try to, sometimes, also). What we can control is how we respond to what we are given in life. Thank you for taking the time out to show me that what I am doing matters, and for shipping your fabulous coffee all the way up the East Coast.

You can find Port City Java online, and on facebook. Support them. Buy their coffee. They have great hearts and fabulous coffee.


  1. Just want to let you know I just saw your blog and think you are an awesome person. You inspire me to continue helping other people, because that's something I enjoy doing. I think giving back to your community and improving the lives around you is awesome. I also very happy for you and am impressed by your strength and self-reliance. Thanks for your blog and continue posting!

  2. Thank you so much for the comment. I do love helping people, to the point that it's the one thing that I need to do to thrive as a human being. I am not sure that I am strong or self-reliant, but I appreciate that I appear to be that way, because it's something that I aspire to become.

    Thanks so much for reading my blog, and again, thank you for the comment.

    By the way, I am now upstairs in my bedroom and I swear, I can smell that Port City Java!

  3. You've been amazing. You're inspiring us all.

  4. Tiffany, that is so great! Love what you do! You are an inspiration :) Hope to see you soon honey!