Sunday, October 6, 2013

Coffee Toffee and Comfort Zones

Recently, I tried the Coffee Toffee Cupcake at Crumbs Bake Shop.  I visited the one in Braintree, Massachusetts, but there are locations all over the United States.

I usually don't try coffee flavored desserts.  I don't drink coffee, never have, and I am not a huge fan of coffee flavoring.  But since, as readers of this blog can attest,  I seem to only eat desserts with chocolate, caramel, or peanut butter, I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone and try something different.

I am happy to say that I enjoyed the Coffee Toffee Cupcake.  It was a vanilla cupcake, topped with vanilla cream cheese coffee frosting, toffee pieces, and a caramel ribbon. The frosting was oddly addictive, the coffee flavoring adding just the right amount of edge to the cream cheese flavor.  The toffee pieces and caramel added a welcome sweetness.  The cupcake was fresh and moist, but had a gooey caramel center, which was a bit much after the rich frosting and toffee candy.  For me, surprisingly, it was the coffee cream cheese flavoring that I enjoyed the most.

There is something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone.  There is a graphic that has been all over the internet, showing a circle which is labeled "your comfort zone" and another circle far away from the comfort zone, which is labeled "where the magic happens." I am a big fan of this graphic. Getting out of my comfort zone led me to St. Francis House.

A number of years ago, my son was performing in Boston, half a block away from the St. Francis House homeless shelter.  I had heard about it and was interested in the work that was being done there.  I thought about trying to take a tour after dropping my son off for rehearsals but it seemed too daunting at the time.  There was some discomfort around the idea of walking through the doors alone.  There was definitely some fear.

Fear often comes from a place of ignorance.  A few years after that I had the opportunity to learn more about St. Francis House through a special program and dramatic presentation.  I found out more about the shelter and learned more about the poor and homeless people that it serves.  I learned that 800 people a day find a hot meal at St. Francis House.  They also find rehabilitative services, mental health and substance abuse counseling, clothing, vocational services, medical services, and art therapy.  I finally took my tour, and then met with the director, and found out that there was a need for a music program.  

That was about three years ago.  Now, when I walk toward the doors of St. Francis House, I am greeted by people who call me "teacher" or "the music lady."  Some standing just outside the doors will ask me if music will be happening today.  Some will see me a block away and will share with me that they were talking about music group with a friend that very morning.  Some will stop me as I am leaving and will simply say thank you.  

I look forward to my St. Francis House visit every week.  I look forward to sharing music, to visiting with those that attend the music programs, and to feeling the joy and the healing power that music provides.  And I can't believe that there was a time that I hesitated to walk through those doors.  

There is magic, indeed, lying just outside of our comfort zones. It's a great place to be.

Have a sweet week.  


  1. What a blessing for the people of St. Francis House when you entered their doors. Definitely a life lesson to try and expand your Comfort Zone

  2. Thanks so much for your very nice thoughts and thank you for reading!