Janelle Shafer

Janelle Shafer. One of a kind. This incredibly fit human being has been to the CrossFit Regional Games three times – one of which getting sixth overall – and has placed 8th in the world wide Team Series CrossFit competition with her partner Madison (If you want to find out more about CrossFit, drag that mouse/finger here). She is currently engaged, works at a popular clothing store called Lululemon, coaches, and lifts weights. In her free time she loves watching movies, spending time with her dog Bishop, and kicking back with friends.

What is the biggest scar you have (physical) and what is the story behind it? 

Funny thing is, I have a lot of scars. Between CrossFit and weightlifting your body is just beat up every now and again, but honestly the biggest “scar” that I have is actually one of my smaller scars. It was about 2-3 years ago and it happened one day after my birthday. Me and my team were at a CrossFit competition in Iowa. On the last workout on the last day of competition I was a doing a rebounding box jump where you go right to the next box after jumping down. While I was rebounding, I felt like someone had run their car into the back of my heel. I had torn my Achilles tendon. There’s a small incision where the doctors had to go in and operate.

What is one act of kindness done towards you that stuck out in your past?

I don’t know if I can think of one specific instance of kindness. As silly as it sounds, I find appreciation while I am working at Lululemon. Whenever I get to help a guest find an outfit that brightens up their face and gives them a new found sense of confidence it is always rewarding.

You have the opportunity to own your own restaurant all expenses paid. What type of food would you sell? What would the name of the restaurant be?

I would sell Chinese/Japanese food because I absolutely love that cuisine. The name would be something funny like Asian Sensation or something like that.

What verse, quote, saying, or phrase means the most to you and why? 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” 2 Timothy 1:7

This verse has been something I have consistently gone back to. Whenever I am competing or doubting myself this verse has brought me comfort and peace. It reminds me that no matter what is happening in my life God is always supporting me. Despite all the fear and insecurity that I have God is there to take it all and is always watching over.

Jim Beers

Jim is a former Communications Coordinator at Colorado State University. He retired this past year and has enjoyed refereeing, skiing in Steamboat with his family, and volunteering in the Fort Collins community. Jim is an incredibly positive and engaging person, and has a great outlook on life that continues to influence those around him.

What is the most relaxed and worry free you have ever been?

I would say there are two answers to that. The first is my childhood. I had a wonderful upbringing. My parents were supportive, I had a sister that I got along with (for the most part), and teenage angst hadn’t set in yet.

The second time is right now. Retirement has been different than I thought it would be, but different in a much better way. After deciding to retire, I didn’t know what I wanted to do right away, but dived right in and did a lot of refereeing, volunteering, and travelling with my wife. We recently decided to move to steamboat as well! The goal is to work part time somewhere up there as well as continue to volunteer to keep myself busy. The nice thing about retirement is there is no report to get out the door and no deadlines to hit. I can get involved and volunteer without dealing with the stress of management.

You have the opportunity to go live on Mars all expenses paid, but you can only bring one personal item. Would you do it? If you did, what would you bring?

I would go to Mars all expenses paid in a heartbeat. What would I bring though… A picture of my wife and family? Something more practical that can benefit me when I’m on Mars? Honestly, I don’t have a great answer to that, but I’ve thought about it a decent amount.

I can see people being sent to Mars happening in the future, and we do have visionaries in our world that will probably raise enough money to attempt an expedition. There are a lot of hurdles to jump before that’s even possible, but I think it could and most likely will happen. Before we went to the Moon, nearly everyone thought it was impossible.

What is the best advice you received when you were fresh out of college?

I went to Central Michigan University after growing up in Michigan, and right after graduation the last thing I wanted to do was stay where I was.

I began to search for a job out of State, and Denver became a huge blip on my radar. During this time, my parents kept encouraging me by saying, “Whatever you want to do, GO for it!” So I did. They were kind enough to give me funds to live with a friend in Denver for a month and pretty soon I landed a job as a DJ. The rest is history.

What verse, quote, saying, or phrase means the most to you and why?

The two words that have stuck with me the most are these: “Go forth.” Keep looking forward. Don’t forget about the experiences that have shaped who you are, but keep your eyes to the horizon for opportunities and experiences that can enrich your life or benefit your community.

Jordan Coffman

Jordan Coffman is a hunter, outdoors-man, adventurer, dreamer, and goofball who is always up for a beer mixed with good conversation. I’ve known him for about 4 years now and throughout that time he has been a voice of reason in my life and many others around him… Not to mention he has one of the most genuine senses of humor out there.

If there is one place you could live for one year with your family and closest friends, where would you live and why?

I would love to live in Iceland. It’s one of the last places I believe that still has a lot of natural landscape. The hot springs, coastline, and quite a bit of practically untouched earth culminate into a perfect place to adventure. The simplicity of life there as well would allow me to kick it with friends/family and reflect on life, not to mention live a more minimalist lifestyle.

What movie has stuck out to you the most and why has it stuck out?

Hands down Into the Wild. I think that what Chris McCandless did, if done in the right way, can be a means to re-center and ground you. It is a very sad movie, but I understand the yearning to get out there and be free, you know, not worry about trivial things that bog us down. I don’t agree with what he did to his family and loved ones, but I understand the need to get away from all these amenities and comforts we take for granted in our lives.

If pay was not an issue, what would your dream job be?

Being a Park Ranger at any park in Colorado, like in Pike National Forest, would be my dream job. I love nature and to be able to preserve what is around us for my kids and grand-kids sounds worthwhile, and you get to be in a beautiful place like the mountains while you’re at it.

What verse, quote, saying, or phrase means the most to you and why?

There’s a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that says, “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” This is simple and to the point, but it means a lot to me because if a person goes through their entire life without a drive, love, or purpose, they are just a blip on the radar, and will leave no impact or legacy in this world. Martin Luther King was both a Christian and an activist, both of which he pursued wholeheartedly. I respect that a lot.

Isaias Yetemegn

Isaias Yetemegn (Yet-eh-men) is an art production assistant for a successful YouTuber (he signed a non disclosure agreement, so if he told you who this person is, he would have to kill you). He essentially manages the acquisition and use of props for the set.

When Isaias is not working hard, he enjoys playing the saxophone and piano, busting out a few hip hop dance moves, and cooking. This guy is chalk full of funny one liners and can make people laugh with ease. If you come across him in the future, buy him a mimosa.

If you could live in one other person’s shoes for one day, who would you be?

This is a little hard for me since I am usually focused on fictional characters rather than real celebrities. I will say my hero is Jackie Chan. I adore his movies and his acting. Reading about his life story is extremely inspiring. I’m just not exactly sure if I would want to live a day in his life.

Now if we are talking fictional people I could give you a whole list. Right now I’m feelin’ Black Panther. Can’t go wrong with African royalty. After that, maybe the Avatar (as in the master of all the elements, not the blue jungle alien; screw that movie).

What is the story behind the most embarrassed you’ve ever been?

Once your brother made me go line dancing. That sucked.

What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or not)?

I very rarely drink. I have to admit though mimosa’s are pretty great. Not the most manly answer; but, there you go.

What verse, quote, phrase, or saying means the most to you and why?

“God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I really don’t have much going for me in the show business. A lot of individuals have other people they can rely on when trying to break into film and TV. But I could never stomach the idea of settling on something safe. Life is much more fun when you have the odds stacked against you. It makes the food you eat after you win that much better.

Dr. Sara Rathburn

Sara is an associate professor of geosciences at Colorado State University, specifically focusing on fluvial geomorphology (not sure what that is? Check out Sara’s short biography.)

Her upbeat attitude and dedication to research has influenced the way people around her value the earth.  Many students who have been taught by or been given a chance to meet Sara have found a deeper sense of gratitude towards geology. In her free time she enjoys hiking, back country skiing, spending time with family and friends, gardening, and cooking (she makes incredible nature bars).

What method or methods do you use for coping with stress?

The main method I use is exercise. I have been trying to commit to working out at least two mornings a week with my husband (Jim). We also do our best to enjoy the outdoors during weekends. Most recently, that has meant cooking, or packing the skis and heading into the mountains for a back-country trek.

I also try to relax at night before bed and read enjoyable books; something that takes my mind off of the day’s business. I can tend to carry a lot of what I do throughout day to bed, which results in a bad night of sleep, so reading is essentially a meditative and rejuvenating thing for me.

Lastly, my husband is great at keeping me in check. If he sees that I’m stressed, he will suggest something to help me get over it. Having people around you who are able to do this for you is very important.

Generally, I’ve paid more attention to the things that build stress in my life and tried to cut those things out or keep them to a minimum.

What is one lesson you’ve learned through a hard experience?

I’ve learned you have to be your own best advocate. You have to be able to ask for what you need, because no one can read your mind and understand you like you can.

When I transitioned from more of a teaching position to a tenure track, I didn’t advocate for lab space or startup money. Instead, I was so happy where I was at that I missed getting some essential things for starting tenure, and had to build that path from scratch.

Also it is OK to be able to show that you have mountains in your life. To say no to things that you don’t have the time or bandwidth for is a really good thing to do. Otherwise it can be easy to get taken advantage of.

If you could have unlimited resources for two weeks what would you do?

I would take these resources and help finance homes for young people that are trying to buy houses in Fort Collins (Colorado).  I would love to help build a great community of diverse people in the place where we live, rather than a gentrified community full of well off upper class people. I’ve heard so many stories of young people not being able to buy houses because they are just too expensive, and it’s hard to hear that.

When Jim and I moved in to this neighborhood we had two young kids. The house was quirky and there was a lot of fixing up that needed to be done, but we stuck with it and have made a lot of improvements. Now we love where we live.

What verse, quote, phrase, or saying means the most to you and why?

The quote that means the most to me is from Maya Angelou. She says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This means a lot to me because I try to go with how I can make people feel during interactions with students and colleagues, rather than using specific words to influence or affirm them. We want an open learning environment where we are. This brings out the best in people.

Graham Good

Graham Good is the lead singer of the peppy, upbeat band “Graham Good and The Painters”. He has an extraordinary ability to communicate and energize people into action, and his enthusiasm for life is contagious. He has performed quite a few live concerts with his band in Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, and Greeley Colorado, to name a few.

What was the most trouble you got into as a child?

You know, I didn’t really get caught when I was a kid. I do remember one time in fourth grade when I got busted during P.E., though. The sprinklers had begun their routine of watering the grass outside and I learned I could “aim” the flow of water, right? So I decided to spray all the girls and immediately got sent to the principal’s office. I cried. I mean, come on girls, you can’t get sprayed with a little water for like two minutes?

What do you think people in your community don’t get enough exposure to?

Honestly, meditation. Not enough people have sat down and understood the benefits of meditating. If you spend a little time every day to meditate, it would not only affect your head-space and perception of life throughout the day but would also give you a substantial energy boost. When you meditate, you start the day off with that sense of peace, and honestly, it will give you a better understanding of why people act the way they do. You’re setting yourself up to handle those falls and disappointments in life with a little more grace.

Just clear your mind and focus on your breathing, reciting a mantra or phrase that lifts you up. During meditation, I sometimes recite, “All of life comes to me with ease, joy, and glory.” Your perspective on life shapes your reality, and meditating will connect you to yourself and that higher power around you.

If you could live right now in any time period including this one, what period would you live in and why?

I would probably pick the 60’s or 70’s. I’m a hippie, haha, and as a musician, I would love to not only be a part of that musical culture but have a shot to be up there with the greats of that time.

What verse, quote, saying, or phrase means the most to you, and why?

I don’t even know if it’s a legit quote, but I love the phrase “Gratitude creates miracles”. People have different ideas of what miracles are, but take time to think about something as common as a human body. When we eat food, we’re not only digesting it, we’re creating more human. We are making ourselves grow and transforming that food into life. That is a huge miracle. Gratitude and thankfulness for your life lead to goodness. Bad begets bad and good begets good. If you’re thankful for everything, it will pull more joy into your life.

Get concert details and more info on the Graham Good and the Painters Facebook page. They are also on Spotify, so take a minute and “enjoy the funky vibe”.

Paul Merrill

Preface: Welcome to thedrinksonme.com! I’m happy you’re here. In short, the goal of this blog is to share with you random stories from people who have had an impact on my life in some way (wander over to the “about” tab, above). Sit back, take a sip of that mocha or tea, and enjoy the read.

Many moons ago, my dad offered to help me launch a blog about Kenya. An hour into the first post, it dawned on me that blogging takes work. It’s not a “snap your fingers and poof” type of deal. Needless to say, I quit blogging after about a month, but not without learning something. My dad’s own blogging pursuits had gained my respect, and, honestly, his endeavors have continued to be pivotal in the creation of this blog (his site is pmerrill.com, definitely give it a read).

To debut thedrinksonme.com with Paul seems only fitting. Without further ado, I give you random perspectives from Paul Merrill, designer, father, and one of the best darn blog writers out there.

What is one thing in your life you wish you could go back and change? 

A couple years back I was on an airplane from Hong Kong to San Francisco and found myself hemmed in between two people in the middle of the giant cabin. I was barely able to move for the entirety of the flight and threw out my neck so badly that I had to go see a physical therapist more than 4 times. After learning a multitude of exercises, I was finally healthy enough to lead a normal life again.

I wish I would have just got up as much as I needed to, even done laps around the airplane, rather than being timid and concerned about bothering people around me.

What one story do you have in which music has changed you?

No question about this one. On September 11, 2002, I went to a concert in Denver with my wife to see a group called Sleater Kinney (an American indie rock band).

We were standing at eye level with the band, one tier up from the floor, and noticed another middle aged man enjoying the concert next to us. Being the age I was (early 40s), I already considered myself an anomaly at the concert like this, but two of us? That was just odd.

Between the first and second band, we struck up a conversation. Turns out this guy was my age within 6 months, had three kids like me, was Christian, and, like me, enjoyed talking about the latest tech. Since then, he has become one of my closest friends (we have gone to over 100 shows together since that time).

When in your life have you felt the most encouraged? 

Around the time I turned 50, I realized I was in an employment slump. Work felt stagnant, and my personal business wasn’t drumming up any clients, so, I decided to pursue a master’s degree. I finally found a communication management program at the University of Southern California (USC) that fit just right. There was one caveat to this program. USC is very expensive.

As we were looking into how to pay for this degree, we were incredibly blessed by an old buddy of mine, who helped out financially in a significant way.

That degree was essentially a sharpening stone for my mind, and I learned how to think in a way that equipped me for the job I am doing today.

Generosity goes a long way.

What saying, phrase, verse, or quote means the most to you and why?

The most important words in the world to me come from Ephesians 2:8-9, “8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” 

This verse is so encouraging to me, in that a dependence on God has helped me get through all of the crazy things that life has thrown at me. Ultimately the buck stops at God.





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