There is Beauty All Around

Mt. Reindeer

“Mt. Reindeer”

The world is a beautiful place, no doubt about it. I don’t have to go far to recognize it either with the grandeur of Mt. Rainier a short distance away. But even we here in Seattle, as lucky as we are, grow far too accustomed to it. We drive along our roads and freeways with it towering in the distance some 29,000 feet high and ignore the beauty that is there. Amazingly taking it all for granted.

I’m reminded of my son Matt. As a little boy while riding in the car with me one afternoon he noticed the mountain (actually a volcano) amid the trees along the road ahead. With excitement in his voice and pointing toward it he said, “Look daddy, there’s Mt. Reindeer!” Might have been close to Christmas but despite his not quite understanding the name he wasn’t denied the joy a child has, and often acknowledges, for the interesting things they notice all around them.

But age and the hustle and bustle — those ever-present distractions of life — will often do that to us. They make us take the sights and sounds, as well as even the people around us for granted. I’d like to think I don’t take the important things of my life for granted, but I know I’m often guilty as well.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses and to appreciate your surroundings, family, friends and life itself especially for there is beauty all-around, if only we’ll take the time to notice.

FindBeauty

Matt and Ethan

My son Matt when he was about 8 or 9 years old (I’m guessing) had a best friend named Ethan. Ethan was a scrawny little kid and wore glasses. The kind of kid that had you looked up the word “Nerd” in the dictionary, you might expect to see his photo, or at least something close to it. His would have been a more modern replacement for my own. In many ways he was like me but not nearly as bad. I was as nerdy/goofy as they came. the best of them! King Nerd… I have proof!

Me!

Well one day after church and seeing the both of them together, as they normally were, I asked my son (and I’m embarrassed to admit it, even though it was a bit tongue-in-cheek);

“Matt, why do you hang out with Ethan, he’s such a nerdy kid?” Matt’s reply was tainted with a sense of annoyance, maybe even a little hurt. All he said was “Dad! He’s my friend!” Those four written words don’t do justice to how they came back to me. Matt’s response was such that there was nothing more to say. In fact I immediately felt bad, really bad (and still do), that I had misspoken and questioned my son’s choice in who he wanted to be his friend. Matt was a good kid and Ethan came from a great family, his parents were our friends.  He was a nice boy. Continue reading

The Community Called Starbucks

Friends don't let friends ...There’s a little campaign going on out there. It’s the Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks thing. Until yesterday I had no idea! I guess from the blogs and other online references I’ve seen it’s a political statement to say so. Along with it’s tee-shirts, bumper stickers and cups promoting the theory, there’s even multiple Facebook pages dedicated to the subject. The numbers vary but of the 18 different pages I counted only one is worth mentioning with a whopping 332 elite members (you have to ask permission to join). Most of the others show membership on the low (3) to very low-side (1). Of the more than 750-million active Facebook users only 1100 have joined the Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks bandwagon.

The reasons for the outrage vary from the glib, to the serious, to the nonsensical — or maybe it’s all nonsense. A few motives cited include corporate irresponsibility: lousy and/or expensive coffee: hatred for anything Starbucks: or as one competitor states, a means to “push” their own brand. Not wanting to get too political in my posts I’ll only say I have a differing point of view. Besides, none of this has much to do with the subject as my title indicates above. It’s all just a side show, more accurately a freak show that serves me well as a point of introduction regarding the community called Starbucks.

The affable Starbucks founder Howard Schultz created quite the phenomenon when he shaped the ubiquitous Howard Schultz - Starbucks Founder & CEOStarbucks Coffee shops into the force they’ve become today. His stores are communities within their neighborhoods. A regular gathering place for the areas movers and shakers, the policy makers, the wannabes as well as the misfits. Society’s most beautiful people often frequent their local Starbucks just to see and to be seen. I’ve had the opportunity on a number of occasions to stand in Schultz’ company in conversation with him. The experience leads me to think maybe this sense of community has something to do with his down-to-earth nature and his propensity to want to visit and talk with people. Nothing happens by accident at Starbucks.

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Those were the days …

This is a story about one of my oldest friends.  I spent a lot of time with him and his family during all of my teen years over a seven-year period.  Through most of them we were constant companions.  We were once the best of friends.  No matter what, when I hear the words “childhood friend”, I think first of Marcus and all those crazy days we spent together.  (Marcus is not my friend’s name.  I’m using it to protect his and his family’s identity.)

Friends

Marcus and I shared a lot of adventures amidst our active lives.  They included attending the same classes in school, working at many jobs side-by-side, the V.W. then the G.T.O, our travels around the beltway of D.C., and the many people, especially the girls we came to know. Continue reading

What is it About Friends?

We’ve seen the cute posters and greeting cards and we’ve all heard those all-familiar quotes about friends and friendship.  Here are a few:

– “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.” ~ Unknown

– “I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” ~ Unknown

– “No man is a failure who has friends.” ~ From the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

And finally there’s my favorite, tongue-in-cheek definition, which says; “Friends help friends move.  Real friends help you move bodies!   (See more below photo!)

Guy Friends

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