Candid Coffee Talk

What would we learn about each other if we set aside the formalities, grabbed a cup of coffee, and enjoyed a long conversation? As a kid, from sunrise to seven, our dining room turned into the country coffee shop. Farmers gathered, talked about their joys and fears, celebrated or complained about the weather, made fun of the new neighbor’s crooked rows (this pre-dates the modern tech that avoids such embarrassment), asked for and offered advice, debated just about anything (with humor and respect), and they practiced not taking themselves too seriously. Clean bibs soon to be tainted with soil and sweat. Honest. Vulnerable. Humble. Playful. Authentic.

That is what I have to offer on this page. Here you will find my candid, rough draft, fragmented goals, questions, likes, dislikes, and musings—sometimes serious and other times far from it. Enjoy!

What are your favorite places in the US?

  • Anywhere along the coast of Maine
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Jekyll Island, Georgia
  • Savanah, Georgia
  • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (memories working at a summer camp during college)
  • Panama City Beach, Florida (mostly because of childhood memories)
  • Mequon, Wisconsin
  • Seward, Nebraska

What are your favorite types of food?

  • BBQ
  • Middle Eastern dishes like schwarma
  • Seafood, especially charbroiled octopus, charbroiled oysters, and lobster
  • Many different Thai dishes
  • High-protein fruit smoothies

What are your proudest accomplishments so far in life?

  • Marrying an incredible woman and going through the joys and challenges of our life together.
  • Watching my two children grow up into the people that God intends for them to be.
  • Stepping far out of my comfort zone to help give Goddard College a fighting chance for the future, and learning more about living and loving across difference while striving to be faithful to my own convictions.
  • Seeing some of my past students go on to flourish and be a blessing to others.
  • Helping to design, create, and launch a number of “first-of-their-kind” academic programs that also offer inspiration for a next generation of mission-minded innovators.
  • Creating various models/frameworks that help people see things more clearly, surface and pursue new possibilities, and/or work through ideological ruts.
  • Hearing from individuals about how something that I wrote (article, book, blog post) helped them with part of their next step in life, leadership, learning, and/or service.

What are your greatest disappointments or regrets so far in life?

  • Failing to keep certain promises over the years, even when some may have seemed beyond my control.
  • Relational missteps. My default is to live in a world of ideas, designs, and concepts much of the time, even as I care a great deal about others and often find myself in roles where it is important for me to have strong relational skills, know and remember names and details about others, take initiative to reach out, follow through on communication, spend lots of informal time with others, etc. Some of my regrets are moments when I failed to do some of these things for others.
  • Not succeeding in helping people let go of destructive patterns of thought and habits that were preventing them from incredible possibilities for their future or for experiencing the joys and successes of where we were going as a team.
  • Not spending more time having faith conversations with my children when they were younger. In general, not spending more time with my family in the past.
  • Running into physical fitness or wellness roadblocks that I have yet to overcome.
  • Whatever I did in my earlier years to create the tinnitus that I now live with daily.
  • Losing the key for my early purchase of Bitcoin.

What type of music do you enjoy?

My first musical love is country, folk, and Americana ballads. I’m inspired by songwriters who are storytellers and use poignant metaphors, people like Tom T. Hall, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, John Prine, Willy Nelson, Guy Clark, Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton, and Townes Van Zandt.

What are your favorite TV shows?

  • MacGyver (the newer one)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Eureka
  • The Librarian / Librarians
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Warehouse 13

What are your favorite beverages?

  • Club soda with lime
  • Carbonated water
  • Decaf coffee and herbal tea
  • Water
  • I do not drink anything else.

Introvert or extrovert?

  • I’m an awkward extrovert, but seem to be moving more toward introvert every year.

What are your greatest interests beyond your daily work?

  • I love reading, and right now I’m intrigued by letters, biographies, and autobiographies of interesting and inspiring people.
  • I’m an ethnographic researcher, look at this world this way, and love engaging in formal and informal study of cultures and communities.
  • Writing is among my greatest passions, especially non-fiction.
  • In addition, I’ve published very little of it, but I’m a poet / lyricist, and this is a much larger part of my identity than most people know.
  • I’m intrigued by, stories, folklore, and the art of storytelling..and I’m presently intrigued by how this shows up in country, folk, and Americana music.
  • Fitness is a huge part of my life. I do some form of mobility work, calisthenics, weight training, or running every day.
  • I’m on a quest to devote at least a small amount of time every day learning a new language, and then switching languages every two years until I die. Right now I’m at the beginning of year two of my Spanish learning journey.