31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt. 

I've spend so much time, and money, at Fortezza this year and I've not regretted it at all. When I started at NL, we had no office and I did all my work out of Starbucks and a home office I built. As NL matured and grew, we got an office space, but I can't stand spending more than a few hours in there every day. I need a coffee shop environment where there is a buzz of people, great coffee, and some social & relational interactions with people. 

Starbucks served that purpose for a lot of years for me, but when Fortezza opened, it changed it all. This local coffee shop is unlike any other local coffee shop in my opinion and one of the main drivers of that for me is their actual coffee, not their ability to make espresso drinks. I'm not sure what it is, but so many other local coffee shops I go to, the regular black coffee is an after thought shoved on the counter in an air pot. I just don't want to go pay a premium for a cup of coffee that's not good because I don't drink lattes all that often. Fortezza cares as much about their coffee as they do an espresso drink, which isn't really about coffee for me, it's about the attention to their craft and their business. It's the care towards the lowest transaction cost as much as it is to the highest transaction. I like spending money at places that care about the small things as much as they care about the big things. 

Beyond the goods, the people are great and it's what makes any "3rd place" hangout for folks. It's refreshing to come to places several times a week and know the people working there while being welcomed back every day as I take up my spot at the front window. 

Fortezza, I'm grateful for your entrepreneurial spirit, warm atmosphere, commitment to the small things, and gracious spirits. I hope I've been as good of a customer as you have been a host. Thanks for making a great cup of coffee that ruins about any other cup of coffee for me. Mission Accomplished. 

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AuthorAndrew Hoffman

31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt. 

Mark Miller has blessed me tremendously over the past year and a half as we've gotten to know each other and as he's chosen to get behind the efforts at Team NeighborLink. I would say that his influence and commitment to building a healthy and fun cycling community has been one of the biggest reasons we've had such success in the past year at Team NL. Mark is a natural leader and influencer. Mark is the kind of guy that is committed to his goals and invites people to join him, and communities need guys like Mark, which is why I'm so grateful for him this year. 

I've talked before about not really being much of an athlete and I'm definitely not competitive in traditional ways. Winning doesn't drive me, but having a great experience while getting better does. Mark is driven far more by competition than me and knows how to be successful, but he's learned from years of competing that there has to be more to it if you're going to stay engaged and want to do. So, these days he's as competitive as ever but not at the expense of making sure it's still fun to do and that it includes others. That spirit resonates with Team NL, his friend circle, and a lot of our athletes, which is why I'm grateful for his leadership within the Team. 

I'm grateful for Mark's generous spirit when it comes to including others, sharing his wealth of knowledge in cycling and beyond, and his willingness to represent a cause that really has nothing to do with cycling, but does have everything about loving others well. Something I see him do a lot of. He's a mentor to many, whether he calls it that or not. Mark has married an equally engaging and welcoming wife, Laura, who I see do the same thing. 

Mark, thanks for your continued support this year. It's meant a lot to me and I've appreciated your energy and desire to get others involved at NL. I look forward to 2016 and many more adventures together. I really want to do more 1-day trips regionally with the crew. 

Posted
AuthorAndrew Hoffman

31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt. 

I would have never guessed that one of my best friends would have been made after we bought a house in a neighborhood we knew little about, and he'd live on my street just a few doors down. Michelle and I met Josh and his family before we even bought our house and got to know each other as we started renovating our place before moving in. Since then, our families have become good friends. They've since moved away, but our relationship continues to grow and deepen just like lifelong friends do. We're still pretty bitter about them leaving our street, but we love that they follow the Spirit-led promptings towards life-giving opportunities even if it means making challenging decisions to leave those they love behind. 

I'm grateful for friendship that can still grow and develop despite distance. I appreciate how much Josh and I can relate with one another, which creates a relationship that's transparent and gives space for asking big questions and challenging assumptions. I appreciate the dreamer nature of Josh and how he leads and teaches others from that spirit. I love how he and his wife parent their daughters and have included them in everything. They're daughters are loved well and it shows in the character their daughters have developed so far. 

Most of all, I'm grateful for Josh's friendship and care of that. I'm always looking forward to our next conversation, hangout, or text conversation that usually includes razzing each other about something. Thanks for being a friend, Josh! Now, GO HOME. (Inside joke of when our daughter was about 2 and could yell at Josh to go home as he'd leave our house to walk home.)

Posted
AuthorAndrew Hoffman

31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt. 

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It's fitting to be grateful for Dave Ramseyer on Christmas Day since he is the one that pursued me as a high school kid as a friend in an effort to introduce me to Christ. This has been one of the most significant decisions I've made in my life. 

Dave became a good friend and even though we haven't seen much of each other the past few years, we have the ability to quickly reconnect any chance we get. I'm personal grateful, but I'm most grateful for all the other lives Dave has invested in the past 15+ years. He's truly been a friend and leader to hundreds of young people that needed someone to love them, give them direction, and provide a path to the hope that things will work out despite their belief that things will never get better. 

Thanks for your friendship and the work you do every day to love students. I hope you recent move back to the midwest will make get togethers a tad bit easier. 

Posted
AuthorAndrew Hoffman

31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt. 

This young guy has been one of the bright spots of my last two years. Josh was the young, talented local cyclist that got introduced to cycling and took to it quickly with great results. Being that kid, he got a lot of attention as the kid that could be something. I first learned of Josh that way and then I met his now brother-in-law several years ago and got introduced to Josh that way. Josh and I met up one Christmas break and naturally connect around cycling, love for the community, and a heart to see athletics be more about relationships than just winning. 

Josh ended up interning for me at NeighborLink to run Team NeighborLink for the summer which turned into an entire year while he was back at school. Our relationship grew to a friendship and I've been grateful for that ever since. Josh is a very talented cyclist on the cusp of professional level status and handles all the pressure that comes with that with an level-headed nature that I admire and is far more mature than most 22 year olds I know. I've grown to be grateful for that maturity, kindness, and love for others Josh possesses. He is the kindest and most thoughtful competitor that I've met over the year who desires to win, yet make sure he's getting to know the guys/gals around him also competing. 

Josh, I'm grateful that you trust me and allow me to be in your life as a friend and mentor. You need to know that you're influence in my life has been significant and I think more of you than just a former intern at NL and or a young, talented cyclist that I can talk bikes with. I affirm the way you intentional about your faith, the love you have for Katie, and the character in which you display every day in the circles of influence you keep. You are having an impact on those around you. I'm for you. Michelle and I are for you and Katie. I can't wait to see what the next few years look like for you as you move into being an emerging leader in your circles. 

Thanks for being a friend. 

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AuthorAndrew Hoffman