Seattle, Washington, United States
For those who love coffee, poetry, art, or stories - stay. Have a cup with us.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

sunday sip: a holy day

I am spending the day watching Harry Potter, eating, and laughing with my family. That, to me, is a holy day. May you be blessed by whatever it is that you believe.

And, as always, may your coffee be hot and strong.

Join me for a cup.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

don't forget

I have kept up (more or less) with my New Year's Resolution, Coffee Lovers. That means, of course, that, since January, it has been four months of music, music, and more music. Today, entirely by accident, I discovered a new artist.

I went to search a song from the finale of Parenthood (which was entirely satisfying for a finale, by the way). I found four incorrect versions, until I found the name of the artist on Parenthood's website: Brett Dennen. So I searched his version of "Hard Times", and, as is my luck, couldn't find it anywhere.

So I ended up listening to his other songs instead. One of them especially stood out of me and it was something I wanted to share with all of you. The song is called Don't Forget - you can find the whole song here: It is a love song of the best kind - one that loves on multiple levels and can be given to anyone.

May you spread your love like laughter
and find whatever you're after.
Open all of your windows and let the music
spill out. Don't forget, don't forget
mmhmm that I believe in you.
Should you forget, should you forget -
let me remind you. I am behind you.
May you dance like rain
upon a still lake. You make this world a
beautiful place. No more crying, don't shun your light -
keep shining. Wipe your tears from your sweet face.
Don't forget, don't forget,

That is my favorite section of the song. It's about more than a way of loving; it's a way of living. I don't know that I can say it any better than Brett already has. We are the sum-total of our our experiences, our light, our smiles, our tears, our love for others, and others' love for us.

I love to come across art - of any kind - that makes a statement about so much with so little. An instrument or two, a few penned words, and suddenly the world is a beautiful place. We are agents of change in how we (and those around us) see the world. It is not a big, scary place, filled with borders, cultural divides, terror, or differences. It is filled with lakes for us to rain onto, with sweet faces, with lessons we should not - cannot - afford to forget. Life, like coffee, was meant to be devoured...and also shared.

Brennen's last line: Life is loving and letting go.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

and just for fun....

And don't you love her expression?

Anyway, I feel like we're really serious here at Stronger Coffee. These pictures were on my flashdrive and other blogs I read.

I like pictures.

Until Thursday?


Sunday Sip: plans?

I was thinking about something today: things hardly ever go as planned. And, since they don't, I figure it's better to adapt than to worry. If we planned ahead for everything, we'd have no time for living. So better to just move on and grab a mug. Join me for a cup. -Michael

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ways to live

I realized something rather sad today. I have always been a person who feels things strongly. Thankfully, the people around me are the same way. I've grown up in a passionate, loud family, with friends who understand what it means to cry, laugh, and dance for the hell of it. And I think that is a beautiful way to live. But our culture has begun to glorify a very different ideal of existance. We are not to share our feelings, our observations, our fears and successes in public settings. Modern Americans like to hold each other at arms' length and call it hugging. I'm confused as to why. No one has ever offered me a date that coincides with the day we decided, collectively, that the status quo was more important than those it governed. I've never had someone show me the events in a person's life that causes such fear of emotion. But, of course, like so many other painful maladies - this drainage of emotional expression from our culture is fueled by fear. I don't think we have ever been free of fear as a species. It is one of the remnants of the animal that we are still in the process of evolving away from. This seems especially odd, this fear, when you look at what our culture does glorify. We are not afraid of musicians-turned-rapists. We are not afraid of the consumption of resources or of corruption in our businesses and government. All we fear is feeling. It is a national numbness. The worst part about it, though, is that we are crying out for someone to tell us what's on their heart, not just what's on the top of their head. Look at the raging success of emotionally open and brilliant artists like Florence Welch or the run-away success of powerful musicals like Next to Normal. As long as the emotions aren't our own, we are fine with them. And that's disappointing. When we were children we were always told: Courage is not the absence of fear. We neither understood nor appreciated it then. Suddenly, however, our emotional health and the depth of our relationships rests on true courage: The knowledge that something is more important than fear. I only write this today because I love the people I'm surrounded by, but I hold no love for the side of our culture that does not want us to share ourselves. So, I propose a new type of firebrand: one who FEELS. May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy. -Michael

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Sip: Clocks

I almost forgot today's Sunday Sip, because my calendars did not transfer over when I switched phones. Which makes me wonder, why do we live our lives subject to schedules and clocks? Isn't life too short for thirteen day planners? And isn't coffee just too strong for all of that attention given to the clock? Join me for a cup. -Michael

Thursday, April 7, 2011

climb & fall

I tried something completely new to me today, Coffee Lovers. I went rock climbing at one of those large, professional gyms with the ropes, walls, and "boulders." It was a really worthwhile thing to try. I had a lot of fun (and intend to go back).

But I also spent a lot of time on my back. When the only thing keeping you on a ninety degree angle is the strength of your fingers and toes, you end up falling. A lot. We all got a good laugh out of each fall, and yet there was always that feeling (when laying on the ground, looking up at the wall) that maybe taking off the shoes and spending the rest of the afternoon on the bench sipping Vitamin Water is a good idea.

It isn't. This is about the point when you all start rolling your eyes. Oh, Michael - you aren't giving us the old 'get back on the horse' sermon, are you? Yup! It's one of those things I don't think anyone can hear enough (myself definitely included).

Mediocrity is not anything we are born into. It is not something another person can force us into. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." She was absolutely right, and I think a lot of us know that.

But what we forget is that, while people aren't allowed to make us feel inferior against our will, mountains can't either. It doesn't matter how many times the mountain throws you off, how many times you slip off the rock, tumble to the ground - break. You are not subject to your obstacles, but you are subject to your reactions to those obstacles.

I was a severely stressed out kid. I was sufferer of the oldest and most common of maladies: worry. My life changed significantly thanks to my middle school leadership teachers. Mrs. Bach and Ms. Thomas (to whom I owe a lot) taught me, over the course of three difficult years, that worrying solves no problem. Reacting badly to the fall doesn't make the fall hurt less.

It's something I don't think about often. But I think rock climbing today was a good reminder that coffee is strongest when enjoyed, steaming, at the top of a mountain, even if it took a hundred climbs to summit. And for those of you who remember when I was obsessed with the path to joy, I think I've found it. The one thing that gives us meaning and defines our ability to truly live well is persistance. There is no mountain that defines us, because there are no mountains we cannot climb.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.


Photos by (the ever-brilliant) Shreya Tewari

on the topics of mountains and joy.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I am so sorry to all of you for the lack of posts this week. I will be back on with a post on Thursday. Currently, I'm working on a series of five poems for a poetry contest and they are consuming all of my attention. If I can get Karma on my side, I should be finished this week. Enjoy a break until Thursday. Listen to a little bit of Regina Spektor. Dance in your underwear. Eat a danish. Or just drink coffee. -Michael