New Year’s Resolution(s)

I have never been one to have a resolution for the New Year…but this year why not do 10?  So here are 10 things I plan on doing and working on this year so I expect my family and friends to hold me accountable…

1) When going to the grocery store, don’t buy ice cream

This has become a rather unhealthy obsession…where I will eat at least 5 bowls of ice cream in a given week.  Vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate granola and dark chocolate chips or M&M’s…errr my god…I’m salivating thinking about it!  Since this is the year I turn 30 and my stomach will most likely start to grow exponentially I’m kickin’ the habit officially.  4 days in and so far so good.

2) Eat more vegan

I certainly don’t plan on giving up meat entirely but I can probably stop having meat in some form or another in every meal.  I just want to limit my meat intake mainly because it just feels so gluttonous to eat it all the time.  I respect the vegan diet and while I don’t think I could ever become one I at least want to limit how much meat I eat moving forward.

3) Consume less and recycle more

I recently finally paid the $75 to get a recycling bin so I can recycle at home.  I have been so cheap about this and figured it was a good time to start.  I also want to find more creative ways to use less non-renewable products both at home and at thirty-thirty and to find ways to re-use materials if possible.  As an example at work I plan on re-using more Rubbermaid bins to store coffee rather than the extra step of using large gallon size plastic bags to store coffee that we use to fill our retail bags.  While this creates an annoying step of washing the bins more often as opposed to just being able to chuck the plastic baggie when it’s empty it is much more sustainable.

4)  Pay off my CEFCU credit card

This card has been a thorn in my side since 2009.  It is the only credit card I carry a balance on and has been used in emergency type situations over the past several years and I’ve finally been making more payments than transactions on it.  While I’m not sure how I’m going to pay it off I’d like to find a way.  So…if anyone wants to give me $3,000 … you know where I work 🙂

5)  Take our dogs to the dog park

This may seem ridiculous because we are now a family of four.  But I feel Kam and I are pretty decent parents and are very involved with our kids day in and day out.  So much so that we neglect our first two non-human children, Baxter and Koffea.  I feel like all we do is tell them NO constantly or OFF or something like they are always annoying or in trouble. They deserve some fun every now and then too so I plan on making an effort to take them to hang out with other four-legged friends.

6)  Be more involved in local politics

I never thought I would do this, but I registered to vote in 2014.  I did so in order to be able to legally sign a ballot that would help get a woman named Linda Bolliger onto the City Council ballot.  If elected this Spring she will help be a voice and leader to make some shiz happen in the warehouse district and for other small business owners and entrepreneurs.  So, now that I’m registered I think I’d like to get more involved in local politics and also to help be a voice for the voiceless.  Not sure how this will look but I plan on at least being more aware of the issues at hand.  I definitely want to use my voting more to see Food Trucks become a thing in Downtown Peoria this year.

7) Relax at work a little more

I’m pretty high strung.  As thirty-thirty has gotten busier that means I have gotten busier and I’m constantly wearing lots of different hats.  However, I want to remember that my job is freakin’ awesome.  Contrary to what many might think, there are very few days that I’m aware of this…and that needs to change.  I plan purposefully trying to embrace what I’ve helped create and those wonderful friends and co-workers who spend their days alongside me.

8)  Write more blogs

I plan on writing more.  I love to write and it helps me reflect about what I’m learning and doing in life.  This will annoy many of you but hopefully excite at least a few of you…

9) Talk about Jesus more

I’ve become so annoyed with Christians that it has become increasingly difficult to talk to anyone about Jesus….especially my sort of atypical views about him.  So this past year I sort of just kept quiet and not have not really talked about anything I’m learning or thinking about in order to keep people from jumping down my throat.  While I don’t plan on going onto Facebook and starting a discussion I at least want to do better about finding ways to talk about faith and spirituality in more causal and personal settings.  I really care about these matter a lot and it’s not worth it to sit on what I think about God and not share it with others even if they may not like it…but perhaps I’ll find that many will be refreshed by what I’ve been refreshed by about God over the past several years.

10)  Open a second thirty-thirty location

This has been something we’ve wanted to do for about a year now.  And while we originally had thoughts about starting a second one outside of Peoria… we have warmed up to the idea of starting a second one in Peoria.  More details to come but just be on the look out for some exciting things in 2015.

Happy New Year!!!

I just want to write…

It’s been over a year since my last post…doesn’t seem like that long ago.  I have wanted to write and always think about writing but have felt like I’ve had nothing insightful at all to say over the past year.  One thing I can say looking back is that having multiple children close together is absolutely insane.  I have no idea what we were thinking and applaud those who have done and who are doing and still feel motivated and find ways to have a life outside of their children.  For whatever reason we have found it increasingly difficult… and I can’t help but feel guilty about that and I hate it.

I absolutely love being with my kids and enjoy being a father more than I ever imagined I would but it has certainly gotten in the way of my opportunities to socialize or be involved in pretty much anything that isn’t work.  What’s also weird about my feeling guilty is that in reality this “boring” and “difficult” family life has actually improved Kami and I’s relationship in every area and we’ve never been closer.   It has also provided us a much needed insight that for many we are living a life that many people want (certainly doesn’t always feel this way).  We several friends and family who have been trying to get pregnant for a year or more and haven’t been able to.  This is something that is frustrating for us because we are always complaining about how difficult babies are and how boring our life is when many folks really want this opportunity and haven’t been able to yet. So if anything this should make us feel grateful.  And lastly, I’ve become increasingly aware of those choices by some friends and family couples that have made the conscious decision not to have kids.  And while I can’t relate to this either, I have certainly become more understanding of the benefits and joy that that decision could have on someones life for themselves and for the rest of the world.

All of this to say is that no matter where you are in life, especially as a twenty-thirty something year old, try to embrace where you’re at in the moment and make the most of it.  There will most likely ALWAYS be something to complain about and feel guilty about.  This isn’t to say that certain issues aren’t a bigger deal than others, it’s just that we are always going through seasons of frustration, doubt, boredom, anger, and unhappiness about something.  Try to do what you can to find the silver lining and know that God is with you and at work and there are always places to find him if you want to.

Now, if I could only take my own advice….

The power of acceptance…

Our fixation on wanting the world to see that Christians should be acknowledging and claiming homosexuality as a sin is, in my opinion, really an expression of our own insecurities about our own sin. 

 

We feel that we are speaking the “truth” out of love…and that yes of course we should love “them” but we must make sure “they” know that “we” don’t approve of “their” lifestyle. 

 

What if we talked this way about every sin?

 

Greed, Pride, Lying, Anger, Lust, Hate, etc…

Let’s say you have a friend named Bob.  Bob is a straight, 32 year old, male.  He works for State Farm and makes $100,000 /yr.  He is successful and works hard for his money, works long hours so he doesn’t get to spend much time with his family but he does this hard work to provide for family and pay for his $250,000 house, his 2 car payments, his expensive wardrobe, among other fun gadgets and products.

Or maybe another friend, Cal, He occasionally lies to his wife, family, friends, and even himself about his occasional lust after other women. 

Or there’s Wally, who because of his neighbor’s son’s death in Iraq, has a general hatred for Muslims.  He has a deep anger that burns in him for the “liberal” media and owns a couple guns just in case things do get out of control he can defend himself against anyone who might try to hurt him or his family. 

Or Melissa, who can’t find forgiveness in her heart for a father who left her and her mother at young age.

Or there is Ty, who’s incredibly proud of his successful coffee shop that he can’t imagine ever being in the wrong about anything coffee related.

 

Now let’s imagine this describes you.  And a few days ago some some famous outspoken Christian celebrity comes out and said something like…

“You know, I really don’t understand “those” people who make all kinds of money and constantly and continually give into “that” lifestyle of greed and materialism.  Even more so, how can “those” people that have wonderful loving relationships lust after other women so often.  It’s kinda disgusting to think about really.  And how can someone live in such hate towards another person and generalize the people of such a big religion like Islam? It’s really disturbing and unfortunate that “those” people have to obsess over their politics in such a way that it brings so much hatred towards others.  And seriously, “those” people that can’t even forgive one another!  And let me tell you about “those” proud business owner-entreprenuers out there…who scoff at those who didn’t dare dream of a more fulfilling life and holds themselves higher because of this!  Seriously, all these things are wrong and they are sin and we need to acknowledge it as such and speak the truth to “them” so they can turn from this “unnatural” way of life and start truly living.”

How would you react?  Would you feel the stabs of the “they’s” the “them’s” the “those’s”?

 

In this light of sin, how are these people any different from someone who is gay? 

 

Why do we insist on putting this issue on another level.  Why do we insist that this issue must be dealt with as a precursor to stepping into the life and call of Jesus? We don’t do that with any other sin or way of life….and this brings me to my next thought…

 

Since when are WE to be the ones calling out and naming sins in peoples life? 

“Let he is without sin, cast the first stone”

None of us have this right…it’s up to Jesus to do that and decide that.  I think it’s natural for friends to get together and get to know each other and out of that relationship a discussion of their own sins and shortcomings come up and there can be reconciliation and change (if needed) that happens through that ( and this is in part the role of church community) but calling out sin and reminding others (whom we don’t even know) of their sin is not something we are called to do… Let’s not forget the plank in our own eye. 

 

So what are we called to do? 

 

Simply, love and accept.  Follow God’s greatest commandment which is to love God and love others.  ALL the law hangs on these two things.  And I think they are paired for reason…how do we truly love God?  How is that love expressed, seen, and felt?  By loving others. 

This isn’t “tolerance” it’s actually BIGGER and more difficult to do than tolerance.  It’s to truly love and accept people in spite of whatever sin or shortcoming they have (or think they have).  It’s what we expect God and others to do for us and so we shouldn’t expect us to have to do anything different.  And in doing this, we partake in the resurrection.  We partake in God’s redeeming love for creation and we start seeing the “others” humanity and realize that we are just as much an “other” as “they” are.  Only until we truly get to this understanding will we start seeing the reality of God’s kingdom at work in us and in our world. 

 

My prayer is that the Church heeds this rather than resists it. 

Link

6 of the Best Coffee Roasters in AMERICA

Just found out today that we (thirty-thirty Coffee Co.) were mentioned on Yahoo Shine as being in the top 6 of the best 28 coffee roasters in the country.

Yes, a coffee shop in Peoria named one of the top roasters in AMERICA.

Crazy.

Still trying to wrap my mind around it.  Feel both humbled and proud.  I know that we’ve put a ton of work into restoring an old historic building and serving some great coffee out of it…but never thought we’d get the kind of recognition we’ve gotten in less than 2 years of being open.  We are really wanting to go places and we are so proud to be representing Peoria.  Almost comical to see Peoria mentioned among cities like New York, Chicago, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, as having some of the best coffee in the country.  Comical, but at the same time refreshing and absolutely legitimate.

We’re bringing some much needed hope and revitalization to this city.  I knew Peoria had it in them to support us and so proud of our customers for catching onto our vision and integrity.

Hopefully this is a testament to sticking to your beliefs on what you feel is right and best, regardless of what others think or say you should have or do.  We held fast to no drive-thru, no fake syrups, no flavored coffees, no huge sizes, no huge menu or deviating from a menu that we created and called good.  I know we take a lot of crap for not offering certain things and not always giving the customer what they want (or think they want) but only serving things our way…which is to hold the coffee to it’s purest and highest form and trust that it will speak for itself.  We don’t try to be pretentious just particular.  Quality over Quantity.  Huge emphasis on hospitality…and hospitality doesn’t mean we give the customer anything they want…it means we serve our skillfully prepared beverage with love, respect, passion, and integrity…and we do that with a smile..and with confidence.  That’s what gets you recognition as being the BEST of something.

We still have A LOT to learn and A LOT of ground to cover as we grow.  But it’s nice to get a boost of encouragement like this every now and then.  Hopefully things like this will lead us to more business and more wholesale accounts so we can grow, provide more jobs, pay our AMAZING staff more dollars, supply benefits, and more opportunities.

Thanks again to anyone who supports us.  Hopefully we will start seeing some more Peorians stopping in our shop….because if you thought we were “just another coffee shop” now you have no excuse to not check us out because one of the best 6 coffee roasters in America is in your backyard Peoria.

Grace and Peace,

Ty

P.S. Saturdays Journal Star will have an article about this in the local section.

The Color Crew

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I’m sitting here typing that as my son, Berkley, watches a show on Netflix for kids. He mainly watches just two shows.  Curious George (duh) and The Color Crew.  Why he loves the Color Crew so much, I have no idea.  There are a total of four 32 minute episodes.  We’ve probably watched them each (no joke) easily 100 times in his 10 month old life.  He LOVES it!

All the show is is a crayons bouncing around mumbling, giggling, laughing coloring things in.  Literally the only intelligible words that come out of the show are color names.  So if an orange crayon is bouncing around making grunting noises as it hops around and then colors in a pumpkin on the screen it will exclaim “ORANGE!!!” at which Berkley shakes uncontrollably and laughs, smiles, or screams in excitement.

This is the entire show.

In a small way (bear with me) For whatever reason it made me think of God and us humans.  In this situation if God were Berkley and we’re the crayons and he’s looking at us, watching us move around, create, and operate in the world he’s pretty interested in what we are doing…watching intently…just waiting for something intelligible to come out of us.  How Berkley gets excited about the words that occasionally come out of the colors,  I think those are things like LOVE, GRACE, FORGIVENESS, PEACE to God.  And the mumbling and grunting is us trying figure things out or messing up or have different ways going about getting to the point that we show LOVE, GRACE, FORGIVENESS, PEACE.  Berkley isn’t really interested in the inbetween part but when the crayon exclaims “BLUE!!!” he gets pretty pumped about it.

At the end of the day, God gets pretty excited when his creation finds and lives and exclaims the meaningful stuff.  That’s what matters.  The mumbling, grunting, moving around could be doctrine or method or something but in the end as long as it leads to something meaningful and intelligible and exemplifies Jesus…that’s what God gets excited about.

So, get to know your colors.

From the conservative South to the liberal Northwest

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Many of you may know who this guy is…I had no clue..until today.  This is Colton Dixon.  Christian musician who got his claim to fame by finishing 7th in the 11th season of American idol.  I don’t know anything about him or his music but he’s playing here in Peoria tonight at Riverside Community Church.  I think it starts pretty much now.

Anyways why does this matter?  I was in thirty-thirty today to work on a few things and get my usual coffee and while waiting for my macchiato (no this is not the same thing as a caramel macchiato…this is a legit coffee drink…you should try it sometime… 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk = God in a cup) and noticed our barista, Trey talking to a couple cool looking dudes sitting at the high bar.  Naturally I joined in conversing with them as they were talking about how awesome our coffee was.  Come to find out they were visiting from Nashville, here to play a show tonight at Riverside.  They were two of Colton’s musicians.  We talked about old school bands like Third Day and Toby Mac (who apparently still make music!) and a little bit about how today’s Christian music is a little monotonous and generally unexciting.   They are trying to change that.  Which is awesome.  Talked a little bit about creativity and how it brings a fresh perspective to things and how music can be a a great example of the ever-expanding kingdom of God.  It still carries the same message but must explore new ways to communicate and adapt in order to not get monotonous and stale.  We talked a lot about passion and how each of our passions drive us to keep going even the face of fear, discouragement, and lack of understanding.  We talked about how their “fame” as musicians opens doors for them to speak into peoples lives.  And that how thirty-thirty is an avenue to do the same things and how we all need to utilize those things to have conversation and speak truth into peoples lives.

One of the most insightful parts of the conversation was about how one of them was from the deep South and one of their merch guys is from Oregon and the difference in the culture of Christianity between the two.  This is mainly interesting because it’s exactly what I’ve been writing and thinking about recently….

We don’t want to think about the fact that there are different perspectives out there when it comes to our beliefs.  Even within the same realm of “Christianity” there are varying beliefs about things.  He said that some of the best conversations he has is with the merch guy because while they come from completely different “Christian” backgrounds they are able to try and talk about those experiences in order to glean truth about what the Spirit/Jesus is saying about said topic.  And while it’s not always easy to talk about those things it’s absolutely necessary.  It’s easy to get consumed with what you believe and not even be really sure why you believe it..it’s just what you’ve always been taught or what you grew up with so you just did it that way or believed that way.  But once your eyes get opened to the fact that there can be differing views it gets awkward and uncomfortable.  It’s easy to just not say anything or to retaliate about it on fb or twitter but quite another to have a face to face conversation about it.  Because when you do that…you have to look into their eyes….experience their humaness.  You can’t just shut the computer or delete the comment you just posted or that they just posted.  You have to hash it out…figure it out…wrestle with it…together.

This is iron sharpening iron.  It’s not a pleasant feeling. Rubbing metal together sounds terrible and probably feels like nails on a chalk board…but it stimulates growth.  It makes you think twice about what your saying or what you believe or how you act.

May we continue to work towards love, peace, forgiveness, grace and reconciliation in this world.  May we live to bring the kingdom of God here NOW and not settle with an assumption that everything is broken and will never be fixed.  I think the story of God is about fixing stuff.  Jesus came and made us new.  Jesus deposited himself within us (“the great mystery” Paul calls it) so that we can live and love they way He did.  And while it’s not always easy we must begin to show the world (especially America) that following Jesus can bring real change to our lives and ultimately our world.  Unfortunately we as Christians are even divided.  And as difficult as it is in order to change the world we need to try and get on the same page about who Jesus was and what kind of life he was instructing and showing us how to live.   Maybe this starts by getting coffee with someone who has a polarizing belief as you and getting to know them as human first.  Not getting together to just fight or argue, but to let Jesus speak to each of you in a way that brings life.  You may walk away not having settled the argument but you may be able to find a common ground or a common understanding that will help you both move forward into what God has planned.

Thank you Colton Dixon for coming to town.  Your musicians are awesome!

Grace and Peace,

Ty

God’s in the stove

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Yup, that’s right!

So, I’m still reading the book “Selling Water by the River” by Shane Hipps.  In the most recent chapter I read there is a sort of analogy about a stove that helped explain an understanding of God that is really important.  I’m going to use my own words and elaborate on the idea a little further.

For starters, know that this idea that the analogy helps me understand is something that I’ve been wrestling with for quite sometime now and has recently popped up again through conversation, this book, and now even yesterday’s message at my church in Peoria.  (I highly recommend listening to it and being a part of the conversation.  Here is the link!)

So about stoves…

As a father I’m finding that there are all kinds of things I’m having to protect my son, Berkley, from…normal every day things that I never really gave too much thought to…electrical sockets, stairs, cords, blankets, and stoves.  We instill the fear of these things at a pretty young age for their protection.  There is nothing wrong with any of these things and they are very useful and very normal and give us a lot of wonderful things (electricity, food, warmth, etc) but where Berkley is in his life they can be dangerous.  So by my keeping Berkley from touching the stove I’m protecting him…I’m not being a mean father.  He may not like the idea that I’m telling him NO DON’T TOUCH but it’s actually best for him and he doesn’t realize it (yet) but I do.

As he grows older he’ll learn to understand stoves for what they are…ways to cook food.  And even when older you must be careful not to get hurt by the stove but you understand how to operate them.  Nothing changes about the stove and me, the father, doesn’t change my feeling towards the stove I simply understood the relationship between the stove and my son will change as he grows older and develops an understanding of the stove.

The child changed…the father didn’t change…he allowed room for growth and understanding that would come later.  

I believe this is how it is with God too on a lot of levels and issues.

There may be times where it looks like God changed or we say God can’t change so it has to be this way or something but in reality we have to be willing to leave room for the fact that we change in our understanding of God and his purposes as life moves on.

This idea may have bigger implications than we realize (again I urge you to listen to the podcast above).

If we are honest about the Bible we see it there too.  We know the Bible is a collection of stories telling the story of God and his people.  We can’t just look at one section of the Bible and say “well the Bible is clear here, this is how it is”.  It’s a story…there are chapters..there is character development…things change..things progress…things move forward.  If you looked at Leviticus you could make a strong case for A LOT of bizarro things.  You could say that God approved slavery, that he approved the slaughter of women and children, that we shouldn’t eat pork, that when someone punches us or kills our neighbor we should punch back and kill their neighbor.  But fast forward and look at the Gospels and you see Jesus saying things like “You’ve heard it said, but I tell you…love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, do not repay evil with evil” or you see Paul saying things like “there is no longer slave nor free, jew nor gentile, male nor female, for we are all one in Christ” or we see Peter saying, “hey things things that were in the Hebrew Scriptures…we don’t need to live by those anymore.  We can eat whatever we want.  God’s message isn’t just for us, it’s for ALL people”  All these things were huge changes.

Did God change or did we change?  Was God being patient with us in our time and space and culture and opening us up to new truths and ways of life as history progressed?  I think so…

To me, this is the danger of wanting to “go back” to how things use to be.  I think God’s always ahead of us and we must try to meet him where He is and see what He has to say and change in us to help us understand his ways more.

What are the ways God is trying to move us (or you) forward? What are the things happening today in the world here and now that God wants to speak into?  Are there things we shouldn’t be eating?  How are taking care of the Earth and handling our resources?  Are there things we shouldn’t be buying?  How does God feel about us using weapons or supporting violence?  How does he feel about our relationship to our country?  What does God have to say about how we treat LGBTQ’s and whether or not we let them participate in the Church (for the record, I think we should).  How does God feel we should treat aliens (not outer space aliens, but immigration)? How about our neighbor (now that that world is so connected this expands to pretty much the whole world…different races, nations, religions, etc)

As you can see these are not simple questions but we have to not shy away from the conversation.  Where is God pulling you?  What is your stove?  We must not shy away from the reality that God is ahead of us, not behind us…what we may have thought He was okay with before He may not actually be okay with now….so come on…join the conversation!

May we live to be where God is.  May we live to change this world for the better.  May we live to love and bring heaven to earth now.  May our eyes be open to see what God was doing in the Bible and may we allow him to be free from being confined to the Bible and speak to us in our world now into our issues today.  We must acknowledge that the world needs us (as Christ followers) to change, not be stagnant, not be trying to “go back” but to be living and speaking Truth into where we are now.

Grace and Peace,

Ty