:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome John!

So.  The first guy in the COFFEE world.  No pressure or anything.  
I’m John.  To earn income I work as a Paramedic.  I also build things.  Things like stained glass, custom knives, wooden things, metal things, all sorts of things.  I also enjoy the following things in whole or in large parts… Gardening, flying, swimming, eating, cooking, painting, writing, camping, canoeing, picture taking, exploring, creating, singing, guitar playing, learning, and I’ve probably forgotten a few –ing’s, too.  
I was a United States Marine in my younger days, and spent a great deal of time learning the finer points of destroying life.  Other than the whole killing people thing, I loved my time in the service.  I do believe that the US is the best country in the world, but I think we have a long way to go to live up to our potential.  A long, long way.   Along with my service jobs, I’ve done a few other things since high school.  I’ve been a Lutheran youth director, a seasonal vegetable harvester, a custom carpet manufacturer, an over the road trucker, a touring musician, a motivational speaker, a factory line worker, an office manager, a small business owner, and a few other things.  I’m a Jack-of-All-Trades, but I don’t feel like I’ve mastered any.
My challenge for this COFFEE adventure is not about overcoming fears.  The only fear I have is loss of my family, and my wife and I have a pact that I will die first to avoid that fear.  That and heights.  Well, not the height really, so much as the falling from and eventual meeting of the ground. 
Long ago, I used to go after what I wanted and do it, regardless of the hurdles.  I want to get that person back.  I want to find the adventure in this life and do it.  My first goal is to replace the picture of me on the Mississippi River taken on an expedition in 2002 with a current picture of me paddling somewhere.  I used to be fun.  I want to be again.
Mostly I enjoy the company of my wife and two kids, as they are easily the most entertaining group I could have asked to be involved with.  My dad taught me that all of life is an adventure.  I want to pass that on to my kids.  Time to get going.


Holly said...

Welcome John! I am thrilled that you are here! Patresa speaks very highly of you and now reading your intro, I can see why. I love the variety of things you've done in your life, especially the over the road trucker:) My first song (lyrics only) that I wrote (I've only written 5) is called Truck Driver's Daughter.
I can identify with that "I used to be cool" feeling. I went to Peru in 2002 and hiked the Inca trail. Oldest son was born in 2003...then I went....wait, um...yeah...not as much. (Okay to be fair, I did go to Guatemala where we adopted our second son). I think it's a poignant theme for some of us...getting back to who we once were, while at the same time becoming who we need to be. All while balancing the beautiful gifts that we have right here, right now. Like your family, who sound amazing. It's refreshing to see anybody write with such love and affection for their family...and, I'm just gonna say it...especially a dude!
Welcome welcome welcome FIRST COFFEE MAN!

amy said...

Welcome, John! I'm really happy we have a boy on board COFFEE now!

As the daughter of an Vietnam Army vet, I always have to say thank you to people who've done time in the military--not an easy thing to do. Plus, they do expect you to kill other people, and that does always suck.

Other thoughts about your intro post:

1-Heights are not my favorite either. I always think about jumping--not actually wanting to jump, just thinking: what would happen if I jumped right now? in kind of horrified way. I read once that this weirdness has a psychological name/term, and a lot of people do it. Phew! On THAT.

2-Wow! On all the jobs you've had.

3-I agree with your USA thought--we're such an awesome country, and I wish we'd prove it to ourselves and everybody else more often.

4-I am tickled green (because it's St Patrick's Day) that you love to hang out with your wife & kids. And that you want to instill a sense of adventure in your kids--I love that.

5-I can't wait to read about your adventures in re-capturing your fun.

Glad you're here!

Anonymous said...

This John guy sounds decent, but I just wish you'd picked someone with some real-life EXPERIENCE...who's been a few places and done a few things... Just kiddin' - super to see so many old friends and awesome new-to-me folks on this here blog. Thanks for the inspiration, y'all!
-Martha L

Steph said...

"Hiiiiiiii, John!" (spoken as one who attends a certain kind of "meeting" might speak it) Welcome!!!! I, too, am stoked to have you amongst us COFFEE Chicks! Will be good to get your perspective on things.
I have to start by saying how much it made me smile to hear your thoughts about your family. THAT is how it should be! You really restore my faith that that's possible and remind me that THAT's what it oughta be like. Kudos to you for hitting the jackpot there, sir! Many, MANY KUDOS!
I also have to say that I am almost as excited to hear about your past adventures as I am to be "witness" to your future adventures! I love that you've done so much - in work and in play! Adventures are too few and far between these days, and I love the thought of actively seeking them out and making them HAPPEN. And teaching your kids about everything that's out there and possible? That's a beautiful thing! I love this so much.
You know, of all the adventurous types I've known in my day, most of them are adventurous because they understand that life is short and that theirs is their one and only. Once it's over, that's it - no do-overs, no second chances. It's NOT a fear of a life mis-spent, it's an awareness and a hunger for making the most of that one & only life... What the heck is my point? Well, my point is that I think this goal of yours, to find that uber-adverturer again in yourself and to instill same traits in offspring, is just SUCH a worthy endeavor in and of itself. It's PERFECT for COFFEE! Just perfect. So again, welcome, John! Glad to have you along for this ride!

AngieR said...

I have many fond memories of your Dad from the high school years - what a great guy! I will never forget this one time when he was telling me about his sleep schedule over a weekend when you and Jason had a bunch of different competitions or events of some kind going on and he was driving you all over Iowa. He was like "I caught an hour in the parking lot here, a half hour at this rest stop here...." Even at that tender young age when sleep deprivation was not nearly as painful as it is now, I thought he was such a rock star for that!

I am glad to get a chance to reconnect with you via COFFEE, and I have a feeling it's going to be pretty easy for you to jump back into a life of great adventure any time you want to. :-)

Wendy said...

John, whenever I think of you Shaffers, the word "alive" always pops into my head, and I mean that as a huge compliment. You all have always struck me as a family with a big appetite for life and adventure and never complacent to fade into the background. That's why it doesn't surprise me at all that you're such a renaissance man today.

And I'm with Angie, I have many fond memories of your dad being so encouraging backstage and on the Momentum bus trips, etc... What an awesomely involved parent.

Can't wait to hear more about your adventures.

PS. I hate heights too. I'll get really vivid pictures in my head of children falling off rails or people losing their balance and falling to their deaths. It's like horror movies start looping thru my head whenever I'm too far off the ground.

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Welcome welcome welcome John! I love all your ___ings! Sounds like you are one adventuresome and energetic humanoid w/ a very big heart.

Thanks for joining COFFEE. I think you are going to be cool beans with this project. Welcome Mate!! :)

Katie said...

Halllloooooooo John!!! *Yelled from across the cavernous internet* I'm so glad you're here, and not because you can single-handedly represent The Dudes. Your adventures sound book-worthy and exciting, I can't wait to hear more!

Also, I have to say I totally agree with your assessment of the US's potential and the work it would take to get us there. Also, my brother and new(ish) sister-in-law are currently Marines, and she's stationed in Afghanistan right now. But since women are never near the front lines, I imagine she's doing something womanly and helpful like cleaning out the barracks and making everyone scrambled eggs. That's what women in the military do, right? Especially those lady Marines?

It's probably not translating well, but I'm using large amounts of sarcasm there.

Anyway, I too am excited that you love your wife and children (what kind of statement does THAT make about the status of American men??? Geez!!) and it sound's like they are in for a life of fun and adventure with Dad. And that's awesome. I also think Jack of all Trades is an honorable thing to be. You know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be pinned down at a party by someone eager to learn the proper way to rewire their house. Nicely done, my friend.

Welcome, John!!! Jump on in, the COFFEE's hot!

blj said...

Well... my fellow coffee chicks pretty much have it covered. I'd have to agree with most of what's already been said, but just wanted to officially welcome you. So, glad you're here! Anxious to hear more! And I also need to rekindle some of my adventurous-ness. Thanks for the reminder.

patresa said...

another cool coffee mate! glad you're here, john! looking forward to hearing more of your new adventures and the stories and books they produce!

John said...

Wow. I have seldom felt more welcomed to a group. Thanks everybody. These comments made me laugh out loud! Katie - Semper Fi to your bro and sis. Amy - BIG thanks to your Dad for his service. Wash alum - My dad is awesome! I'll pass along the love! Everybody - Steph has it right. Life is short. (more on this later) so keep up the great work on your projects. We are all still on the right side of the grass. Thanks again for the warm welcome!

T-Free said...

Welcome, John! I can't wait to hear more about the adventures you've had in this life, and all about the new ones you will be having and writing about here. (: