Saturday, July 27, 2013

UBUNTU

In my life, up to this point, the things that have meant the most to me almost always revolve around other people. Life is simply better when other people are around. 

Having somebody to throw a baseball with as a young boy. 
Having a sweet brown eyed girl to listen to on the other end of the phone line. Having a family to squeeze around a small kitchen table. 
It really does not get much better than that.

I am not sure who instilled this philosophy into me, but the importance of choosing good friends because you become like your friends was something I can remember hearing often as a child. In many ways this is true. 

You will not always support the same sports team, 
delight in the same books or enjoy the same foods 
but you will develop a desire to love and help them 
and the things they are most passionate about.

Maxton, Deacon, and Rohan, this is why it is important to choose your friends wisely. If you choose friends that seek status, pleasure, comfort and a carefree life those will be the things you seek. There is nothing wrong with seeking to improve yourself. I am not saying do not seek to become a better employee, boss, husband, father, or citizen.Work hard at those things; be excellent at all that you do.

What I want you to think about is why.
Why do you want to succeed?
Do you want to succeed so that you can have a comfortable life?
Do you want to succeed so that you have a nice family?
Do you want to succeed so that you are respected?
Do you want to succeed so that you feel like your life has meaning?


You may have wondered why I started out talking about friendship and it would seem like I just switched to a different subject. 

What I want you to see is that your desires 
for personal growth, success, and meaning 
are not wrong 
but should be intricately connected
 to friendship and community.  

When people use their time, talents and treasures to better all others in their community then life can become beautiful.

A part of doing community life well is give, for sure, but it is also being able to receive from that community as well.

“A person is a person through other persons. None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are. A person is entitled to a stable community life, and the first of these communities is the family.” -Desmond Tutu

Notice, Desmond says that we "need others" in order to be human. You need to receive from people. 

Receive 
help, care, love, laughter, joy, support, 
gifts, healing, conversation, smiles, 
food, a place to rest, acceptance....

When you receive you show that you are in need, that you are not just some kind of god that needs nothin-from-nobody. 

When you receive you are enriched and in return you can enrich others lives around you. Ubuntu is cyclical. When somebody is helped they in return desire to help.

Give, yes! Give generously of your heart, soul, mind and being to those in your community. Lavish others with goodness. Seek to become the best you can so that you can give the best away. But also, find friends that do the same and stay close, receive from them. Don't let them go. If circumstances take them away, stay close in whatever way you can. You will become like the people you love the most and if your closest friends are seeking Ubuntu, you will too.

UBUNTU : Respectful, helpfulness, sharing, community, caring, trust, unselfishness

 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cheetos

  • There is no greater snack for boys than Cheetos. 
Seriously, if you are going to do the sensational summer snack do it right. Go in head first and eat the whole bag.

Ok that might be over the top but there are a couple helpful hints.

Eat'em outside (no shirt works well too)

Share'em with a bro

Seriously, he will love you forever if you share'em with your brother.


The age old question? Napkin or lick'em? OK, that's not really a question...lick'em everytime :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"I can do that"

When I was a young boy I used to love art. I still enjoy it but it definitely is not a high on my priorities during this season of my life. 

As a child I would absolutely love watching the incredible American painter and TV host Bob Ross make happy little scenes, with happy little trees by happy little rivers. It was a happy time and every tree had a little friend. "Everyone needs a friend" you know.

I remember, very vividly watching (probably completely obvlivious to the world around me) Ross swirl around paint on his palette and gently lift just the right amount of paint off with a brush. He would slowly make simply stroke that seemed to fall effortlessly onto the canvas. He made it so simple and as I watch I remember even more vividly this thought going through my mind...

"I can do that"

The best part of this thought, in that moment, is that I actually believed it!

I literally believed, without a hint of doubt, that I could match the patient skill, stroke for stroke, of Bob Ross by simply watching a couple of episodes of The Joy of Painting.

20 years later.....

Maxton, my 3.5 year old, absolutely loves gymnastics and he does not even know what that word means yet. He loves cartwheels and tumbling and especially standing on his hands. a lot. Today I got home from work and we had a 15 minute conversation while he was staring at me upside down.

Before every drop of blood rushed to his head I told him I want to show him something. So we headed over the the laptop and I asked him if he likes gymnastics.

"nope" he said.

"Do you know what that is?" I asked

"nope" he replied again.

I turned on the laptop and headed over to Youtube, the place any good father takes his son to teach him a lesson. and showed him this video.








At first I thought he was stunned at what he was witnessing, but right there, right in the middle when the guy just sticks a quadruple back flipimmajig Max looks me right in the eyes and boldly declares to all of the witnesses in the room


"I can do that"

The best part of this was that in that moment he actually believed it!

I love that about kids. I wish that we could all have that kind of confidence about our dreams. I wish that we didnt listen to fear so much. I wish we had people so passionate about changing the world and doing good for others that they the believed they could solve life's biggest problems.  Listen...

If you want to go to Central Africa say..."I can do that"
If you want to adopt a child say...."I can do that"
If you want to change careers at age 45 say...."I can do that"
If you want to develop a plan to get water to every person in the world say..."I can do that"
If you want to go to college say..... "I can do that"
If you want to walk across the street and meet a neighbor say..... "I can do that"
If you want to end the sexual slave trade say...."I can do that"
If you want to get out of debt say..... "I can do that"
If you want to save yourself for marriage say..... "I can do that"
If you have desire to go back to school say.. "I can do that"
If you want to write a book say ... "I can do that"

There is something in your heart stirring to get out. You have a dream and passion to make this world better than when you started. You have to decide to pursue it.

Will there be setbacks? of course
Will you fail? absoluetely
Will fear (and maybe even friends) tell you not to do it? no doubt

Will it take a lot of time? anything important does
Will you doubt it? probably everyday
Will you actually do it? Maybe

Maybe. That seems anti-climatic but its the truth.

I would be a fool to tell you that you will achieve 100% of your dreams! The reality is that you might not. But you must realize that you just might. 

"What if" is such a cool place to think about.


What if we did cure cancer.
What if you did write an all time best seller
What if every child in the world could go to school
What if people accepted everybody regardless of choices they made.
What if nobody had to worry about where clean water would come from.


The road to success of "What if" always leads through maybe. You will never achieve a dream or change the world turning away from "Maybe". You will never reach the goal by going to the valley of "I can't".

One final thought...honestly, sometimes you can't. again that's the truth. A 5 Gallon bucket can never ever hold 6 gallons. We all have limits. If "I can't" creeps into the landscape of your life remember than when "I can't" remember you are not alone and "We can".

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Smile

-Smile as much as you can


In life you will have troubles, difficulties and struggle. Do not deny the pain or miss the lesson to learn through hardship. When you walk through darkness the light will always seem much more beautiful. There are plenty of people in the world who are going through the same if not more difficult situations. Do not deny it but do not add to the gloom of this world if you can help it.

Be a light that shines bright for all to see.
Give people hope and joy.
See the good in life and bring attention to it.

There is something about a person smiling that changes anothers perspective, it may even save their life.  

You may not be able to remove the pain from a person's life but you can give them a dose of happiness if even for a moment. Smile. 

Smile. That's all it takes. It's contagious and will melt a heart of stone. Give it to the world and give it often!



Friday, April 26, 2013

Innovation

-Never stop innovating.


There are ideas all around us. 

These ideas will release imagination and creativity in our mind, having the potential to solve problems and help the world in a thousand different ways.

People will say that because something is done well (a playground with a freaking sweet climbing wall for example) that you should stop improving it or thinking beyond it. Don't Listen to these voices. 

Most won't even think about it. Most will be happy just to go up and down the wall; obediently getting in line to place your hands and feet where somebody else tells you to on the wall. Don't settle for what has been already created, go deeper with ideas.

Never stop seeing the world from a different Angle. Your angle. You are the only one in the world who can see the world, and all it's problems and oppurtunities, with your perspective. Just maybe your perspective is the one that will solve a major dilemma in the world.

Be like Max.

Max says, "That's a cool climbing wall, but look over there. Mt. Everest needs to be scaled! I can do it! Oh sweet look at this rope that just happened to be lying around waiting to be used to scale the side of this mountain."

I love that about kids; they get a toy for their birthday and inevitably they turn to the box and the endless adventures it will provide as a rocket ship, doll house, or submarine!

We can learn so much from this.

When presented with a new shiny completed toy a child will often go for the empty box. In our soul, our nature calls to us, tells us or pulls us to create. From our inner being we strive to innovate, push the limits, dream big about what could be.

Don't stop dreaming. 
Don't stop creating.
Don't stop innovating.

The world needs you to be passionate about something.
The world is waiting for you to create something.
The world wants to know what you are bringing to the table of life.

Climb on young dreamer. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Secret Stash

  • A Secret Stash is better than cash 
 Little brothers are always getting into your things. Parents always make you share your things. The solution is to create a secret stash.

All little boys have these "treasure boxes" and most keep them until they are put in a box themself.

This "ditty box"  is more than just an accumulation of material possessions. For inside of this vault of personal belongings you will rarely uncover any item of worldly value.

The value that is found in this collection is tied not to the monetary weight of each piece but the story each item weighs on the collectors heart. We are creatures that forget and when we delight in an experience we often encounter a trinket that we can preserve to eternally lock that memory in our brain.

For ages, boys have collected these treasures and it is fun for a father (or mother) to help launch his son on this exciting journey. Women, you understand this. You, however, tend to be a more systematic creature organizing memories in books of scrap.

I recently had the pleasure to help begin Maxton's Secret Stash.

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 The Stage of Explanation

A young boy will grasp the concept of a Secret Stash much quicker than you may think. This is especially true of boys that have younger siblings. I had a lot of fun with the explaining stage; the mere thought of having a private place that nobody in the entire universe had access to was obviously an intriguing concept to Max. For a three year old (with 2 younger siblings) it ranks up there with mixing multiple Kool-aid's in one cup.

Needless to say (for once) I had Maxton's utmost attention as I began to lay out the blueprint for this promising proposition.

1. "Put your things in your box"

Do not put your brothers toys or trinkets in your box because he will ransack your box and retain any and all possessions that you have swiped. Most likely he will return the favor too. 

2.  "If you hide your secret stash remember where you hid it"

OK, this one seems obvious. I did not think this one would need to be told to Maxton because he has his mother's memory. In fact I was going to keep this entire adventure the above single rule. However, in the excitement of moving the stash from location to location to throw of the little blood-hound brother who he believed was hot on his trail, he misplaced his box.

That's it. 2 Rules. You need to keep it simple, open to discovery and free to make the experience whatever they want it to be.

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The Stage of Accumulation

As your son begins to acquire his possessions be careful not to set too many rules. Obviously, my son at age three is not going to be harboring illegal drugs; just check in every once in awhile during nap time to make sure nothing is stored away that could cause some sibling rivalry. Besides this keep it open and you will be fascinated by what your little collector puts value on as he amasses his memory treasures.

At this point of the game, young Maxton is mostly gathering some of his favorite things that he does not want to share but as time goes on I think it will inevitably become a treasure chest his future wife will roll her eyes at as he will over enthusiastically recalls countless stories to tell his buddies.

Don't tell him I told you this but Maxton's Secret Stash is currently securing:
  1. Thomas trains
  2. A rock from Lake Michigan
  3. $1 from Aunt Julie
  4. A gold medal (which he probably believes is for winning a race because he loves thinking he is being fast)
  5. A Hammer
  6. 3D Spiderman glasses
  7. Several "gold doubloon"(tokens from an arcade)
  8. Crackers (apparently holding out for when his parents don't give him a snack!)
  9. Last but not least, the most recent addition to the box of wonders is his Superman cape!






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The Stage of Retrospection

The third and final stage of this journey is what this pleasurable pastime is all about. The moment when you go back to your box, slowly lift the lid and walk down memory lane. In that moment you will return to a place in time that pure memory can not take you. Boys, and men, are creatures that are visually stimulated and seeing an object will evoke a memory much deeper than simple recollection.

This stage is even greater when you can share it with others; Whether its a couple of 7 year old's bantering of their grand hyperbolic adventures or an 86 year old great grandpa reliving his golden years in front of starry eyed young lad's captivated by the majesty of such treasures each is landing in the final stage.

The beauty of this process is that the final stage does not mean the end is in sight. The journey continues and the memories are waiting to be made and retained. 

Remember, in that moment when you kiss that cute little brown eyed girl, on the 7th hole at magic mountain and something in your brain tells you to steal the golf ball because you will want to remember this moment...do it (I did). When you win a medal for a season of sport or a medal of honor, you'll want to share that story...keep it. When you lose your first tooth or find a penny from your birth year...hold on to it. Oh the stories you will tell!

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Remember that keeping a treasure box is about retaining your story and sharing it with others. Your story is worth holding on to and passing on to the next generation. Your story will tell of your battles, victories, maybe your lady and your purpose in life; those that will follow will need to know that you faced these adventures with courage and honor and have the trinket to prove you made it to the other side.  

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 “We used to wait in the library in the evening until we could hear his key rattling in the latch of the front hall, and then rush out to greet him; and we would troop into his room while he was dressing, to stay there as long as we were permitted, eagerly examining anything which came out of his pockets which could be regarded as an attractive novelty. Every child has fixed in his memory various details which strike it as of grave importance. The trinkets he used to keep in a little box on his dressing-table we children always used to speak of as “treasures.” The word, and some of the trinkets themselves, passed on to the next generation. My own children, when small, used to troop into my room while I was dressing, and the gradually accumulating trinkets in the “ditty-box”—the gift of an enlisted man in the navy—always excited rapturous joy.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

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What's in your box? Here's some suggestions to get you started.
  1. Photo
  2. ticket stub
  3. pocket knife 
  4. compass
  5. Medals - athletic, academic, military, scouts etc.
  6. Zippo lighter
  7. shark tooth
  8. world money
  9. family recipes
  10. yo-yo
  11. bullet shells
  12. class rings
  13. 4H Ribbons
  14. Leatherman
  15. rabbit's foot
  16. Dog tags
  17. Police badge
  18. Harmonica/Kazoo
  19. small vacation souvenirs
  20. favorite pen
  21. straight razor
  22. religious medallions 
  23. sea shells
  24. arrow head
  25. duck call
  26. name tags
  27. fossils
  28. G.I. Joe
  29. baseball cards
  30. rocks
  31. tie tacks/clasp/cuff links
  32. (handcuff) keys
  33. cigar cutter 
  34. sand dollar
  35. bottle opener
  36. $2 bill
  37. Flight wings
  38. corncob pipe
  39. Dried flower from prom/wedding
  40. Rosary
  41. Varsity Letter
  42. autographs memorabilia
  43. graduation tassel
  44. Guitar pick
  45. Shifter knob
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For another great article (where I gained much of my inspiration) check out THE ART OF MANLINESS BLOG : HERE

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spinnin Boys

  • Spinning = Fun = Thankfulness
  • Enjoy it while you can and be grateful that you could!
As a little boy you must realize that this is the greatest time of your life. There are things in life that amuse you as a little boy that you just cannot as an adult.

Take spinning in circles for example.



If this were me and my brothers, all of whom are in our 20's, this video would just be awkward. It would be awkward because we would not be enjoying it as much as Max and Deac. It would feel unnatural and we would not enjoy it mostly because it would make us sick.

However, they do not get sick no matter how many times they spin and enjoy every moment of this game.Two toddler's spinning is perfectly natural. This is something new for them and the thrill of just going around in circles is exciting. Deacon literally just learned how to do this a day prior to the video being shot.


When you discover something new in life, something exciting, suck all the life you can out of that moment. Whether it is a new relationship, a new coffee, a good song, time spent with your kids or parents or just a walk around the neighborhood. Reach deep into your soul and meditate on the joy you are experiencing. It won't be long and that excitement of the new will pass. Appreciate these moments in life when you are able to get everything out of life that there is to get and soak it up.

When you are able to consciously realize you are experiencing something good you can be grateful to God for giving you those moments. The boy with a grateful heart is the boy that finds life to be the most meaningful because he realizes that life, special moments spinning around the basement, is a gift. The very fact that you have healthy legs to enjoy such a special moment is a gift that was given to you from a God one that loves you very much. Tell Him thank you for these moments.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meaning

"Though we are given names before or shortly after we emerge from the womb, our names are often reflections of who God has created us to be or the work God wants to do in our lives."  - Margaret Feinburg

Because this is absolutely the case for my three boys, I have labeled this post as both a "Wonderstruck" and a "Be a Boy" post
 
I have a love/hate relationship with the naming process. I absolutely love having names that are really interesting, unique and have a great meaning. However, I hate the long process it takes to come up with a name that is interesting, unique and has a great meaning. It can be very difficult to meet all three of these criteria. Now that we have had our third son, Rohan (pronounced Rowen), I would like to take just a minute and give a brief description of each of our three boys names, what they mean and why we chose them. 

MAXTON LUKAS SHIMER
Maxton's name was the most laborious for Gina and I to come up with. Most people probably have their children's names all picked out before they are even married but this was simply not the case for Gina and I. I knew that I wanted a good meaning and she knew it had to be unique, other than that we did not have a clue where to start! As we began to tear through every baby name book at the library and I went through every baby name website we both really liked the name Max. Gina did not like Max as it was so we pursued alternative options. Maxwell, Maxamillion, Maximus etc but none of them felt right. I saw in one book that Maxton was an English surname and threw it out to Gina hoping she would bite. We both loved it.

The reason why I like Max so much is that is means "Great". I want my son to be great at whatever he does in life. Whatever passion and dream that stirs in his heart I want him to never settle for being "OK" at something or "just getting by". I want him to excel and do incredible things with the time he has here on earth. This is not to say that I expect him to be perfect or strive for perfection. Nobody is and I get that. I simply what him to believe that God can do something incredible, something great through Maxton.  


Maxton's middle name is Lukas. This means "Light". By pairing these two names together it is the prayer of Gina and I that Max would be a "Great Light". In the Bible we are told that we as Christian's are the "light of the world". We, as followers of Jesus, should let the light of Jesus, the love he has for others and the truth he offers be something that shines incredibly bright for all of the world to see and be changed by. Whatever Maxton chooses to do in his life I hope and prayer that the light of God, the love and hope he offers people will be something that illuminates a dark world through Maxton's life.


  
DEACON JAMES SHIMER
When we decided to try and have another baby I was thrilled at the thought of adding to our family! I was obviously even more thrilled when we discovered this was going to be a reality in our life. Baby #2 was on his way...wait a minute that means we have to come up with another name...ugh! We tore through books and websites again but this time I discovered a name in a random place. I remember sitting at a Deacon meeting one night and our folders had on the front cover DEACON : A SERVANT written on the front of the folder. I thought to myself, wow that is something I would love for my son to be known by. So I pitched it to Gina and it stuck.

There is a scene in the bible (Mark 10:35ff) where two brothers, James and John, come to Jesus and in a round about way ask God to make them great. There is apparently brotherly rivalry taking place. Jesus tells them that the one who wants to be great will be the one that is the servant to the others.  He gives them as an example himself, he did not come to be served (although he was God and deserved to be served if anybody did) but he came to serve. In fact, he came to give his life up for others. 

I think about my son, Deacon, and I do not think there could be said anything better, or greater, about him someday than that he is a boy/man that lived a life that put others before himself. People wrongfully assume servanthood is a life of weakness but if you think of all of the public servants, firemen, police, military these are not weak individuals but people who have dedicated there life to putting others needs ahead of there own. There is something remarkable about that.

Deacon's middle name, James, is actually the only name that we have chosen after an actual person. The son of my namesake is somebody that I believe is truly a servant of God. Jamie Miller is somebody who has dedicated his life to serving God and other people by proclaiming the message of Life that God offers us through his son Jesus. I would love for my son to live a life like Jamie, choosing to honor and following close after God and serving His church well.

 
ROHAN CROSBY SHIMER   
Then along came #3! 

When we found out we were having another baby I had hoped we would have a girl because then I would not have to come up with another boy name. Ok, that is not completely true. I was thrilled to find out we were having another boy. It was going to be difficult process to find a name that was meaningful and interesting so I went right to work.
Eventually I discovered a website that allowed you to search names based on a specific suffix. We liked the idea of having the name ryhme with Maxton and Deacon so I perused the names ending in -on, -en and -an.

After scrolling through the hundreds of names with a similar sound I came across the name Rowan. I really liked it based on nothing more than the way it looked and sounded. I also loved the nickname "Ro". It just seemed tough, and if you are going to be the youngest of three boys I assumed a tough name might fit him in the future. Being bullied for many years has to make a tough guy, right?

One of the variant forms of Rowan is Rohan. I knew Gina would like the different spelling so that is what I suggested to her first and it stuck :) Rohan means "red-haired" but it also means "Ascending". We went with the later meaning; it would appear that he will not have red hair :).

When Gina was adopted, the paperwork at the hospital said "Baby Girl Crosby". When we learned that fact about her past we decided that Crosby would be a fantastic middle name for Ro. The meaning of Crosby is "at the cross"

Some people will look at the pairing of his names and be confused. Normally, when you think of somebody that is ascending you do not typically think that would be paired with in ancient roman form of capital punishment. "Ascending at the cross" seems like a paradox to the average mind.

However, when you read the bible you will discover that it is filled with paradox.
For example:

There is strength in weakness
  • 2 Cor. 12:10 .....For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Those that give actually recieve.
  • Acts 20 :35.....‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Serventhood to God actually leads to freedom
  • Romans 6:22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Finally, the last example is the greatest paradox of all in the Bible. We were all made to be in a relationship with God. We were all made to ascend to the heights of heaven and enjoy a perfect relationship with God forever. God is perfect and because we wrong him and fail to keep his law we are not able to ascend and enter a relationship with him.

However, even though God is perfect and demands perfection from us he does not leave us in our poor state of being. Jesus descended from heaven (Philippians 2) to ransom us from the penalty we had been sentenced to because of our sin against God . We deserved death for our sin (which is why all humans die) but by his death on the cross, if we accept his payment on our behalf, we can now ascend into a perfect relationship with God. When we come near the cross and accept Jesus we are able to ascend into a relationship with God. Near the cross their is life for all.

This is the theme of the Bible. God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we could be with him in heaven when we die and have a life of acceptance, impact and purpose here on earth now.

Rohan Crosby means "Ascending at the Cross", this biblical narrative is the greatest story of all time and it is my prayer that my son Ro comes to know this story. It is my prayer that he lives this story. That he looks up to God and sees a God that pursued him by accepting him even when he had done God wrong.

I pray that the reality of God's love, that he has made a way for everybody to ascend to Him at the cross, fuels a fire in my boys hearts to be a great light in the world serving God and all the people in this world with passion and great urgency

As Margarert said, I hope when they hear their names they remember "our names are often reflections of who God has created us to be or the work God wants to do in our lives.







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Philip's Cup #1 : North Market Coffee Roast 2013

Saturday morning my sister and I went to The North Market for the 2013 Coffee Roast. 

A wonderful morning filled with coffee educational experiences, an electric atmosphere and of course lots of incredible coffee the 2014 Coffee Roast is something you will want to put on your calender for next year.

The Coffee was grown and harvested from countries all over the world; from Burundi (UpperCup) to Equador (One Line) which was my favorite of the Day (and my lil sis Julie's) brewed in an incredible 12 hour process! Searching all over the world many local roasters from right here in Columbus (with several other local Ohio towns) showcased the most incredible line up of flavors I have ever experienced in such a short amount of time. It was a perfect opportunity to test your palate and discover the rich diversity of coffee which was labeled today by a Cafe Brioso barista as

"the most flavorful drink in the world" (I agree). 
  
I learned a lot about coffee this weekend and some things that have nothing to do with coffee. My senses went into overload so I really want to take a minute and reflect on the roast, coffee and culture in general before I go on with life and forget this great experience I had..

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So what's in my cup you ask?

Coffee is the obvious answer to that question 95% of the time. 

I love Coffee.

Anybody who knows me knows this simple fact about me. 

Coffee runs through my veins. 

I never cared for the stuff until sophomore year of college. I had a roommate who had lived in Columbia and he introduced me to real coffee. Particularly good espresso. We played soccer together and would take a triple before many home matches. From this point in my life I was never satisfied with a simple black cup of McDonald's and Maxwell House just made me nauseous. 

I am not a coffee snob. Honestly I believe there are very few, if any, coffee snobs. By definition 

"A snob believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons..." [Wikipedia]

Therefore, when people label others as a coffee snob all they are saying is that this person believes themselves to be better than others because they drink a particular grade of coffee. People do not think like that! They just don't. They do not believe becuase they pay $4 for a cup of coffee and you pay $1 that they are somehow better. OK, maybe some sad soul might actually think that but... 

"Coffee Snob's" are just misunderstood. They do not think they are better than others because they enjoy a different cup of coffee; they simply believe they have found a better cup of coffee. This places no "inherent inferiority" on you the bad coffee drinker. People can simply place a higher value on a particular grade of coffee. You may be skeptical so I can prove it by this simple fact.

Most "coffee snobs" would gladly invite you into this magical world of specialty coffee. 

Snob's would use their position to distance themselves from those who are not like them. Those that have been labeled coffee snobs, however, welcome others to join in the discovery of magnificent flavors. Coffee is not something made to divide people; coffee is meant to bring people together and everybody is welcome in this community. Those that dare to venture out into this beautiful world of wonderful aromas and complex flavors will in the end agree that their really is a Cadillac level of coffee that they have been missing out on.

My sister and I saw this on Saturday at the North Market Coffee Roast. Barista's and "coffee snob's" united in one incredible event leveling the playing field for all of those future explorers of the specialty coffee world. They opened up an opportunity so that people felt comfortable to explore, learn, test and ask questions. Not one barista at the event made me feel stupid, isolated or excluded from this community. It was a safe and exciting opportunity that I hope you can experience one day. 

Normally on my blog I write about the bible, God and Christianity and the above statements are very relevant to the church. I am not going to get into it but if you are a Christian I hope you read back through that and ask yourself is that statement true for those exploring the church, God and Christianity around you as .

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Check out the A+ students in the front row! That's me taking notes... :)


Picture was used with permission from Breakfast with Nick
Check out Nick's post with lots of pictures from the 2013 North Market Coffee Roast!

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Where did Coffee Snobs come from? To understand why you may feel like there are coffee snobs you must understand the history of coffee in America. One of the barista's from Boston Stoker (Dayton) gave a presentation on Espresso 101. In this short presentation he quickly pointed out something I had never heard before called "Third Wave Coffee".

In a nutshell, there have been three waves of coffee in the United States which are basically three "generations" of coffee as my little sis later stated. 

Wave #1 : This generation is marked by the coffee can. For many years people in the united states have been satisfied with Folgers, Maxwell house, etc. This is the coffee you probably saw your grandma pull out of her freezer in a gallon size can. This generation got the job done but tasted horrible. The job being it caffenaited America. This coffee, although it tasted like burnt rubber, did wake us up in the morning. We were able to stay awake in that 8 a.m. college humanities course or make it to work, clock in a few hours before heading over to the white Mr. Coffee pot to get refueled at the first coffee break. It was bitter but it got the job done.

Wave #2 : The second wave begins when large coffee chains introduce customers to a higher level of coffee. This coffee still was not very good but for $2 you could stop at Starbucks every morning on your way to work and enjoy a cup of joe that was like nothing you could ever brew at home. It was far better than the first wave and available on every corner.  The barista on Saturday explained that he was thankful for starbucks; this absolutely shocked me.  He said that if it was not for Starbucks people would never have been introduced to a higher level of coffee. However, the quote of the day came when he said.
"Starbucks really treats people right. Both their customers and the benefits that they offer their employees. If you want to support them for being good to people, do that...but the coffee is still bad" 

Starbucks was an improvemnt but we still had not arrived. They paved the way for the third wave.

Wave #3 : This wave is actually beginning all over the United states right now. People are beginning to see that coffee can be much more enjoyable and satisfying than they had once believed. The best must be pursued in every industry and the coffee industry now has the support from the consumers to explore all possible opportunities with this product. Last year the coffee industry sold 130,000,000 bags of coffee. Of that amount, 37% were considered specialty grade. People are buying into the understanding that coffee can be an incredible experience and are now willing to pay for it.


Another lecture I sat through went through the entire process from growing a bean all the way to the cup I am holding in my hand. There are hundreds of steps in the process and several ways to ruin the bean in every step. It is absolutely amazing to me that something that needs so much care over months and months only costs $3-6 in the end. After you sit through a lecture like this and hear all of the variables and all of the ways that this little bean could be ruined you really learn to appreciate what it is in your cup.

We see the care that farmers have taken to plant, harvest, wash, dry and process a quality bean, the care it takes to transport it thousands of miles, the care it takes a coffee shop owner to select the best quality beans, the care a roaster takes to roast a perfect batch, the care a barista takes to select, grind and brew you the perfect cup of coffee. Quality coffee must be cared for. To buy into a product that that you know has been cared for like this does not mean you are pretentious or a snob; you simply have come to appreciate the quality of something over the quantity. Coffee snobs are therefore people who have just experienced this higher level of coffee, appreciated it and are now riding this third wave.

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One problem that we as Americans struggle with is that we are excessive consumers.   

We go into a thrift store and for $100 you can buy a months worth of outfits. In a store like this you have to purchase a lot of material in order to get to the point where you feel satisfaction. 
$100=25-40 Pieces of clothing =satisfaction
We go to Old Navy and for $100 you can buy a weeks worth of outfits. The same things occurs. We must buy a lot in order to feel satisfied with our purchase.
$100=10 Pieces of clothing =satisfaction
Another person can walk into a high end clothing store and for $100 can purchase a pair of designer jeans. Not really, but for the sake of the illustration we'll pretend this is possible.
$100=1 Piece of clothing =satisfaction
This does have to do with coffee, hang with me.
Which person is most satisfied with their purchase?
They are all "satisfied" but one consumer needed less to get them there.

Some consumers find satisfaction in deals and steals from stores. They often spend just as much but their satisfaction comes from more. They have to get more for their dollar or else they feel like they have been ripped off. 

What I found interesting on Saturday was that in the Espresso 101 presentation this concept was incredibly visible.

If you start with an incredible high end product and perfect it in a cup the consumer can be satisfied with one single shot of espresso. I got to taste during the presentation and I must say I could have went home happy with that one little taste.

However, becuase people are excessive consumers and coffee shops have not been trained to make a good quality product a terrible predicament has occurred. Good espresso is not available so people must add to it to obtain satisfaction. They  add milk to make a Latte or cappuccino to find that sense of completion. 

The presenter said it is much like Alcohol. A person will start with a fruity drink with little to no alcohol, graduate to martini and then eventually on to whiskey. When we can graduate from more down to the base substance and still find a sense of satisfaction we have achieve a high quality product.

I am happy to say that Columbus is on its way to becoming one of the countries most established areas for high grade specialty coffee. New coffee shops are popping up all over the city as well as a demand for many more local roasters. 

I urge you to get out on a Saturday morning and take pride in our city. There are many coffee shops to explore so don't let the coffee snob scare you away. He is not real. You will pay a higher price than your $1.75 for a large a Tim Horton's but I can promise you this. When you explore and dive into a cup from one of these local shops you will leave satisfied.


Your Columbus Coffee Checklist:

Cafe Brioso
One Line Coffee
Luck Bros’ Coffee House   
Upper Cup CoffeeBackroom Coffee Roasters
Stauf’s Coffee Roasters
Hemisphere Coffee Roasters
Crimson Cup 
Silver Bridge Coffee
Cafe Brioso
Thunderkiss Coffee Roaster  
The Bexley Coffee Shop
Impero Coffee

LTown Coffee (London)
Boston Stoker (Dayton)

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This is  the first post in an ongoing series of that I would like to  write about my love of Coffee. I will write about interesting facts, brew methods, local coffee shops, educational experiences, as well as review my favorite coffee and many other coffee related items. This is a developing idea and as you can see from my first post there is much to learn about coffee and from coffee and I hope this just creates a platform for me to log my journey. Come back with a cup of coffee and check in on what we have discovered!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Your Mom

  • Your mom is to be treasured. Tell her how special she is. A lot.

Max is getting to the age where he knows how to say nice things to get his way. He is quite good at it actually.

"Papa, you are really strong...Let's play Avengers. You can you be Hulk"

I'm going to play every time with a pep talk like that.

He recently started saying "I love you", which when he does it without being prompted just melts your heart. Unless it is followed by "I please have some fruit snacks?"

I noticed that when he says this to his mom, he looks at her in the eyes and says "I love you", he smiles and snuggles in real close for a hug. He has no agenda. He just treasures her. He truly from the bottom of his heart loves her and wants her to know that.

Max you are doing a great job. Keep it up son.
Deacon, I know you can't say it yet but you are the biggest cuddle bug and I know she feels it  from you too.