4. Rinke, Kari RN

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A coffee shop on the corner of Washington and Central in downtown Minneapolis is a favorite place to meet with friends, dream about my future in nursing, and people watch. I thought it would be like a similar shop near the mall, with a suburban ambiance, although I did anticipate a different population visiting this particular place. Now, I have established a presence (and a favorite drink). I wonder which barista will be working, or if any of the runner's club members would be dropping by. Will the chairs by the fireplace will be open, or will the two homeless men be catching some comfortable sleep?


In this coffee shop, I feel comfortable, cozy, and peaceful. There is a unique calmness in the ambiance of this urban location. It feels homey, like buying a cup of coffee there instantly welcomes you as a part of the neighborhood. I love being surrounded by groups of people having conversations over coffee-discussing life's issues in different languages.


I often wonder the extent to which various regulars could come to know each other just through eavesdropping on coffeehouse conversations. I wonder how many people the homeless men have come to know just through listening. Does anyone ever talk with them? I like to think about how many opportunities there are to cross paths with people in the city, where lives seem to overlap. And I like to wonder how God will use that, or is using that in my life now. Who has overheard my conversations about faith and family? Who has heard the passionate conversations about public health and ministry or about Africa? Who has heard how I love my boyfriend? And who has thought about how Christ loves humanity, simply because they were eavesdropping?


I like when there are endless possibilities for sharing and touching lives; when simply living requires intimate interaction with other people, especially people who are different from me. I like the idea of abandoning the car that puts me in my own little world and separates me from my neighbors. I want to know who my neighbors are, and let their lives minister to me, and mine to them. Sitting at this downtown coffee shop, I realize: it is not the coffee that is so wonderful, but rather the people with whom I share it.


"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:19, NIV)


Health Benefits of Coffee?

Could a favorite beverage of nursing students be seen as a health food? According to WebMD (2004), drinking one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce type 2 diabetes risk to single digits. Other studies have shown that people who drink coffee on a regular basis lower their risk for developing Parkinson's, colon cancer, cirrhosis, and gallstones. There is some evidence that coffee can stop a headache, boost mood, and prevent cavities. Caffeine can enhance athletic endurance by stimulating the brain and nervous system. Some benefits of coffee are a direct result of the higher caffeine content as well as the antioxidants.


Conversely, coffee is not for everyone!! Excess doses can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat. Coffee can raise cholesterol levels. Pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis should be advised to limit or avoid coffee.


So how many cups of coffee is enough on a daily basis? One cup provides some benefit, but an increased advantage comes with drinking two mugs. So enjoy your favorite beverage to start your day or share a break with friends.


Kirchheimer, S. (2004). Coffee: The new health food? WebMD. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from


Texting: A Risk for Thumbs?

The Times of India, April 14, 2009, reported that texting using cell phones can damage your thumbs. Research conducted in two South African high schools revealed that over half of the 318 teens interviewed had at least one of the primary symptoms of repetitive strain injuries, which included pain or tingling in their hands, neck, or back. Some even reported having developed blisters from text messaging. Thumbs are not as dexterous as other fingers and cannot tolerate the repetitive movements required to enter letters on the keypad of a cellular phone.


Retrieved August 24, 2009, from