Saturday, August 29, 2009

Golden, Colorado

Earlier this week, I spent two days in Denver – which for good reason has been dubbed the Napa Valley of Beer. Included on our itinerary was a stop in Golden to, among other things, tour the Coors Brewery. For those who have completed this tour, your highlight might have been the three free beers at the end, and not that I minded those, I found Adolph Coors’ story to be very inspiring.

Coors, orphaned at a young age, learned to brew beer during his apprenticeship in his native Prussia in the 19th century. He stowed away on a ship to America in order to evade conscription – indeed our hero was a draft-dodger. Over time, he eventually made it out west working along the way as a brick-layer, fireman, a foreman at a brewery and finally in Denver as an owner of a bottle making plant – indeed our hero pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

Coors might have made a great living and still have been an immigrant success story had he swallowed his dream of establishing his own brewery and just been a bottle maker. However, while running a successful bottle-making plant, Coors devoted a day a week to fulfilling his dream by (drum role please) relentlessly looking for the perfect spot and conditions to do just that. Of course, he did just that in Golden, Colorado and the rest is history.
So for anyone out there who has a dream, be it beer making, folk singing or novel writing, take it from Adolph Coors that it is never too late and no obstacles are insurmountable to fulfill that dream. My only caution is to avoid windows in Virginia Beach hotel rooms

Thursday, August 27, 2009

वही इस माय टाइटल ट्रांस्लातेद इन्तो हिन्दी?

Over the weekend I made my first official bid on a house. I tried very hard to be sober minded about the whole endeavor – telling both my parents and the realtor that I hadn’t formed an emotional attachment to the property (even though it had!) because after all as scores of friends have shared, it often takes many, many offers for one to work. And indeed those of scores of friends were right, my offer got turned down.

And so, my modest, humble, yellow three bedroom house with an avocado tree in the backyard close enough to literally throw a rock to the house of some of my best friends and an address that would keep me in Pasadena but VERY close to Sierra Madre will be lived in by someone other than me.

UNTIL, my realtor emailed me that the offer didn’t close! Alas, there is hope. I am still not packing my bags or prepping to make the gallons of guacamole that will inevitably manifest themselves with all of the avocados at my disposal, but the plot thickens.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Eeyore's Hope

I haven’t blogged in quite awhile. I don’t know if it is the heat, Brett Favre becoming a Viking, my dad’s recent 70th birthday, house hunting (that is right, despite all odds, home ownership is on the horizon), writer’s block, the countdown to my upcoming vacation to the big apple, my semi-monthly episode of malaise/mind-numbing cynicism or that the sky is falling – maybe my friends are right, I am Eeyore! Whatever the case maybe, I’ve decided to get back on the proverbial horse again. So, here goes.

Lately most of my professional life has revolved around organizing a backpack drive for at-risk kids in an under-resourced school district. (Social Justice speak for needy/underprivileged poor kids) This endeavor is not dissimilar to other projects I have participated in both as a volunteer and a community leader working in skid row. Not to be too theological or over-spiritualize, but my experience has been that these kinds of things require much prayer and a lot of shots in the dark/knocking on doors yet tend to work out in the end.

But backpack drive 2009 has really gotten me down as of yet. I suppose it might be because I am (too oversimplify things greatly) on the other side this time where collaboration has proven easier said than done. It was much easier to be the novelty on the outside representing homeless kids instead of the person a cubicle over who fill in the blank. And maybe if I was honest, five days before the deadline of these sorts of endeavors I tend to have these sorts of episodes, Brett Favre notwithstanding.

Tonight, though something that restored my faith in humanity and sincere Christ-following transpired. My co-worker invited me to share with a group he leads about the drive and then he would send them out to shop for backpacks and school supplies. He gave a very appropriate lesson pointing to kingdom models of stewards and investment. I gave some woefully inadequate descriptives and elaborations clouded by stage-fright (even though, I tend to be pretty good in front of crowds) before the crowd was dismissed to their charge. After, I mingled awkwardly, catching up with old friends but more than anything worrying that I had royally blew the whole assignment.

Amid this mild dose of self-pity, I was approached by a TOTAL STRANGER who wanted to basically give me a check instead of buy backpacks. We talked for awhile before he handed me a folded up check. I left shortly after, detouring at the grocery store where in the parking lot I unfolded the check more to remember the guy’s name than anything else only to discover that the amount was in quadruple digits! I was shocked. I thought maybe a few hundred at best; mind you I had never met this person, but four digits? Because we didn’t know each other, I really believe this man acted out of his honest belief and application of the brief teaching my co-worker shared. His generosity and humility reminded me there are people out there who simply follow Christ.