Ebenezers Coffee House

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 If you didn’t read my post from this past Sunday about our interest in the National Community Church and the Ebenezers Coffee House they own and operate, you might want to go back and do that now.

That’s a fine-looking building in the first two pictures above. You’d never know it was an abandoned crack house at the time Pastor Mark Batterson saw it on his prayer walk around Capitol Hill and felt drawn to it. His church didn’t own any property and–despite years of praying over it–it was a while before God opened the right doors for purchasing and renovating it. For the complete story, I highly recommend one of Mark’s books. I’m currently finishing reading Draw the Circle — The 40 Day Prayer Challenge.

My wife and I had only two time-specific agendas for our long weekend vacation in Washington, D.C. The first was to visit one of the theater-locations of Mark’s church (the church is made up of seven theater locations) on Sunday morning. The other was to visit Ebenezers Coffee House on Saturday night.

We had learned from their website that a local folk singer, Michelle Lockey, would be performing from 7:00 to 8:00 that evening. We took the Metro from our hotel and wasted some time trying to follow the directions from Union Station to Ebenezer; it turned out that the coffee house was much easier to find than the directions indicated. Nonetheless, we arrived in plenty of time to grab a table–as well as a cookie each, plus the Mark Batterson book I mentioned earlier.

We hadn’t been there long when Michelle arrived, toting Taylor guitar and Luna ukelele in gig bags, along with two stands and a box of CDs.

The folks working the coffee house made a brave attempt to set up the sound equipment, which had never failed them before. Unfortunately, it failed this time, so Michelle would have to perform without amplification. I can tell you from my own experience that doing that when you’re not used to singing and playing without a PA is tough, but she was very gracious about it.

She was all set well before 7:00, so I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce myself and tell her jokingly that we had come all the way from Richmond, Virginia, just to hear her. And to explain that was actually partially true. I enjoyed talking with her, but finally returned to our table.

Time for Michelle to start, but there were only a few customers hanging around. Somebody had moved a couple of comfy chairs to maybe five or ten feet directly in front of Michelle, so Kathleen and I took them. Great spot for pictures.

I can’t say enough good about Michelle’s performance. Her songs were terrific, and so was her singing. Although guitar was her primary instrument, she did several songs with her ukelele. I have to admit that gave me a whole new appreciation for ukeleles, which I had never cared much for before.

By the way, that one weird-looking picture–I love it!–was her whistling during part of one song.

After her performance, she was gracious enough to let me share one of my songs with her.

And I learned that Michelle is far more than just a folk singer. She’s also a good song writer and has written music for movies and TV. And she’s won some important awards. Quite a list of accomplishments.

I won’t say anymore except to add that we came home with her four CDs–and they’ve kept playing on our stereo ever since. Check out her website for more information. And to say that Ebenezers Coffee House was everything we expected and more.

What about you? Do you have a favorite place to go and hang out–with or without entertainment? How about sharing a comment?


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

Best regards,

Small World?

If you didn’t like my post about Stan Kesler on Sunday, you’ll probably want to pass on this post. But if you like this one and missed the one about Stan, you’ll definitely want to go back and read it. (That’s the one about “My Favorite In-Law-In-Law”.)

Some years ago I worked—but not closely—with a lady in another department. Her name was Sharon.

I’ll never forget the story I heard her tell.

Sharon was living in Memphis and working as a babysitter for a song writer. She didn’t say who.

One evening she’d come over to babysit. While the song writer was getting ready to go out, somebody rang the doorbell, and Sharon went to answer the door.

Can you imagine her shock when she realized Elvis was standing on the other side of the door? He was dressed in all black with the collar of his shirt flipped up and hair in his eyes.  He’d come to pick up some music .  She made him stand on the front porch while she called her employer to verify that and to get her senses back.  Elvis was so impressed that she’d made him stay on the porch that he invited her to dinner at Graceland.  She was picked up in a pink Cadillac.  After dinner, they looked at photo albums in the music room.

What a special memory.

When I first heard that story, I didn’t hear  the details. But when I met Stan Kesler, I couldn’t help thinking about that story. It never occurred to me that he might have been that song writer, and I didn’t think to ask him. That would have made for a very small world, wouldn’t it?

Today I received confirmation that Stan Kesler, my favorite in-law-in-law, WAS that song writer.

Now I truly believe in this being a small world–and not just because of the Internet.


Do you have a favorite “small world” story? We’d love to hear it. Just leave a comment.

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing”check it out here—to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Best regards,