Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Doing the little things...

I am currently work as a Sales Associate at my favorite store, Urban Outfitters.  It is located at the Keystone at the Crossing Fashion Mall on the Northside of Indianapolis.  Two years ago the store opened and I had the opportunity to be apart of the team that helped to open that store, although I had to leave shortly after that to pursue a position in ministry.  Upon return to Indy, I was given the opportunity to work with a great team of people at Urban Outfitters once again.  Although some of the work may seem repetitive, I learn something every time I go into work.  Whether it be a meaningful conversation with someone who needs it or helping a customer find that perfect gift for a loved one.  It is the smile of satisfaction that really helps motivate me to continue to strive to get better.

As most retail jobs go it can be hard to be noticed as an individual with how fast paced the work is, pushing as much inventory as we do, and hiring as many associates as we have, it can be easy to fall through the cracks.  It can even feel as though your work is forgotten, but that is not how I feel at our store.  The managerial staff always makes a point to motivate, encourage, and most of all genuinely appreciate all of the hard work that each of us puts in, no matter how small it may seem.

Last night, I spent the evening vacuuming and cleaning the store because it is important to us to have a store that each customer loves coming back to and for many people this task can seem meaningless or unimportant, but working at Urban Outfitters has allowed me to truly appreciate each role that a team member plays.  I do not have to go down the line, but if each associate/team leader/manager did not do their job, no matter how small it may seem, then our store would not be as successful as it has been over the past two years.  It is because of the continue encouragement and motivation from the Team Leaders and Managers that really reminds me the important role that I play on the Urban Outfitters team.  This type of leadership is worth following and this is the type of team that I am happy to be a part of.

Thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to be apart of such a wonderful team.

till another day,

normallyINDIE (Alec Tod).

The Duck Commander Family - Book Review...

Finally back to reading and writing some book reviews on a blog that has been silent for a little while.  I am sure most of you have fallen into the craze that is Duck Dynasty.  What is not to love, a great family of American people with great beards and even better hearts.  Still unsure how women like that would fall for bearded country folk like the Robertson men.  For all of you Parks and Rec fans, it brings to light the same confusion that takes place when you think of Jerry & Gale Gergich.  Anyway, this post is specifically about the Duck Commander Family book that was released a couple of years ago, authored by Wille & Korie Robertson.

It is an interesting read that brings you into the lives of the entire Robertson family before they were apart of the reality show Duck Dynasty.  Thus giving the reader some insight into what makes their family and business work the way it does.  One of the most unique parts of the book is each chapter is named after a famous Robertson family recipe, which at the end of each chapter is shared with the reader.  But what I appreciated most from this book was the brutal honesty that can be found within the pages.  They were very truthful in the words that they shared about where their family came from whether it been good or bad.  All the words were shared as honestly as possible and in a world filled with "reality" tv, this is something to be appreciated.

The book brings to light some of the marital/family issues that took place among Phil & Kay, the tough starts for Willie & Korie, as well as a birth of the Duck Commander franchise.  Overall it reminds the reader of how family always comes first.  You may love what you do, but if you are not able to come home at 5pm with a family who loves you know matter what your first quarter numbers were, then it is not worth it.  This book brings back the importance of family before business, something that the working american must be reminded of on a daily basis.

till another day,


Friday, October 25, 2013

A Great Conversation...

As many of you know I am currently working as a Sales Associate at Urban Outfitters at the Fashion Mall @ Keystone at the Crossing.  I have had the opportunity over the past couple of months to have some great conversations with some great people that I otherwise would not have met.  Although I am currently not serving vocationally at a church, I have had a lot of opportunities to serve his church through his ministry.  The opportunities I have had to speak with some great people has reminded me about the importance of making yourself available for the holy spirit.  He reminded me that even if you are not excepting it, it is important to understand that when you make yourself available, a conversation will happen.

For so much time over the past two years I have been involved with leading other people to be available for the holy spirit and have conversations with people they care about life, ministry, & who God is to them.  I spent so much time doing the leading that I forgot to have those conversations myself.  It has not been until now that God has shown me the importance of doing this as a leader.  If I am going to lead people, I am realizing now that I need to have the conversations myself.

Working at Urban Outfitters over the past couple of months has shown me how powerful our God is.  As I look toward to the future whatever ministry I have the opportunity to serve in whether it be vocationally or on a volunteer basis, I will never forget the importance of the little conversations.

till another day,


Our Little Family...

Last year my wife and I were lucky enough to make our family a little bit bigger.  As we were packing up to move to Michigan from Cincinnati we found an add on craigslist fro a wonderful mini-dachshund puppy.  After traveling just north of Downtown we found our beautiful puppy, Indie.

Our beautiful puppy was just under 3 lbs and we fell in love.  We were so happy to have him in our lives.  Although the first week of raising him in an apartment in downtown Cincinnati was pretty rough, we got through it on 10 hours sleep and a lot of patience.  We then traveled to Michigan and we could not be happier.  

Sleepy Boy

He loves playing w/ clean sheets 

Working @ TF Studio, LLC

Indie's 1st Christmas, 2012

1st Road Trip to Michigan

After 1.5 years of life we could not be happier to have a wonderful puppy.  He is such an amazing, mini part of our family and we could not be happier.  I am so happy to continue to watch our family grow (maybe more puppies or kids in the future) and I hope that he continues to enjoy our life here in Indy.  He sure does love his Colts, Cardinals, Pacers, & Gators.  

till another day, 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

What I am looking toward...

The next couples of months are an exciting time, the holiday season is coming and with the holiday season comes great music, great food, & great traditions.  Some of the things I am looking forward to for the next couple of months is my wonderful wife's caramel apple cupcakes, caramel apples, apple cider, christmas cookies, Aunt Gwen's homemade caramels, hot chocolate, & a great cup of coffee.

Although there are things that I am going to miss, the golf season, warm weather, shorts, & tank tops, I am looking forward to the fall/winter months, hoodies, snow, & family.  Most of all family is the thing that should tie us all together and no I am not talking about just blood family, but I am talking about all family.

I am looking forward to the Seabird Christmas Album, listening to Bing Crosby's Christmas classics, watching all our favorite classic Christmas movies, & not to mention each of the Office Christmas episodes.  

Most of my life I have spent the holiday season dreading it because of the cold, the required moments of seeing family when it wasn't convenient, but now I am finally at the point in my life where I am beginning to value my time.  I am hoping this holiday season to truly value my family, my extended family, embrace the cold weather, & truly allow holiday season to bring out more love.  I do not want to be considered a Scrooge, I really want to be considered more like a Kris Kringle (aka the beard that I seem to be growing).   That being said as the holiday season is coming, I would like to say happy holidays and that I am looking forward to the season.

till another day,


Boy Meets World...

For my birthday I had the idea to go back to my childhood and purchase a great set of DVDs from the 90s.  The TV show being one that I spent much of my time enjoying after school with a snack (the good old days), Boy Meets World.  If you grew up in the mid to late 90s you knew what Boy Meets World was and it had the same premise of most of those after school family drama/comedies.  Great family, goofy brother, & funny teacher that seem to always get in trouble, but most of all have a story to tell in a quick 30 minutes.  Watching all of the seasons in a row makes me realize the cheesy nature of the show, but it also reminds me of the life lessons that I learned while I was young.  Even more it reminds me of the lessons that I need to learn now.

I recently had a conversation with a great friend and that friend reminded me of the amazing life that I truly have.  I have been blessed for the past 5 years to have known an amazing woman, introduced to her in October 2008.  We were two different people back then, young and stupid, but little did I know that she would be the person I would have the honor of spending the rest of my life with her.  A young 19 year old kid who was blessed with an 18 year old girl who was loving enough to give me a chance.  5 years later our love continues to grow daily, our family continues to grow, but most of all we continue to understand and value the fact that our love is what is most important.

A great friend of mine reminds me that even if everything in your life seems to be in shambles, you must understand that love is the thing that reigns true through all things.  It reigns true because it was love that God ordained from the beginning.  The love that he made an example of when he sacrificed his son for the entire world.  This is the example that we have the opportunity to follow and I am so blessed to have a wife to share this type of love with.  Life may be stressful, life may be hard, but love is all i need.

till another day,


Chemex - Chemistry & Coffee

If you know anything about me you know how passionate I am about coffee and the experience that it provides.  Much like a good book or great meal with your family, there is nothing better than coming around a great cup of coffee together.  It brings people together in a way that is unlike any other.  If you are passionate about coffee and people then coffee brewing is something that you must be a part of.  Over the past couple of years my passions have grown and so has be coffee cabinet.  Some of the methods of brewing that I enjoy most are Chemex coffee brewing & the aeropress coffee method.  Today, if I could suggest anything, if you enjoy a wonderful, smooth cup of coffee then you must grab a 8 - 10 cup Chemex coffee maker.  

Things you need: 
                 Chemex Coffee Machine - $50 
                 Chemex Coffee Filters - $15 
                 Stove Top Tea Kettle 
                 Kitchen Timer 
                 Espresso Thermometer 
                 Ground Specialty Coffee 
                 Quality Coffee Grinder 
                 Clean Filtered Water 
                 Liquid Measuring Cup 

Step One:

Grab all of your coffee tools.

Measure Water

Start by measuring out your clean filtered water. Always use a two tablespoons of coffee for every 6 oz. of water. We are going to brew 30oz. of coffee in our Chemex. All the water will be transferred to a clean and empty water kettle. Bring your water to a boil.

Step Two:

Measure your coffee.

Measure Coffee

Measure coffee. Remember two tablespoons/ 10 grams per 6oz. of water. As we are making a 30oz. Chemex, we will be using 5 coffee scoops (10 tablespoons/50 grams).

Step Three:

Grind Coffee

When making a Chemex we prefer a coarse grind similar to a French Press.

Step Four:

Set Up Chemex

When brewing with a Chemex you can only use Chemex brand filters. The thick, sturdy cone fits the large opening of the Chemex. Open filter into a cone shape and place it in the Chemex with the three-layered side facing the pouring spout. This keeps the filter from collapsing into the spout, which constricts air flow.

Step Five:

Rinse Filter

Rinse the filter by pouring approximately 10oz. of hot water through it into the Chemex. Pour water out.

Step Six:

Add Coffee

Add your fresh, coarsely ground coffee to the filter in the Chemex. Shake gently to level the grounds.

Step Seven:

Remove Water From Heat

When your water comes to a full rolling boil take it off the heat and let the kettle rest for about 20 seconds (water temperature will drop from 212 to 200 in this time at sea level).

Step Eight:

Pour Water

Wet the grounds with about 4 fl. oz. of water and let the coffee bloom for 30-40 seconds. (Fresh coffee will have a larger bloom, or foam-like head. )

Step Nine:

Ensure All Grounds Are Wet

Slowly pour the rest of water over the coffee in a circular motion, avoiding the sides/edges. Ensure all the grounds are evenly wet.

Step Ten:

Remove Filter

When all the water has dripped through, carefully gather the coffee filter and remove before serving.
Follow these steps and you will create an amazing cup of coffee not to mention have an amazing experience of brewing.  It takes the monotony of brewing a cup of coffee in a drip pot away and brings the excitement back into coffee.  Not to mention it is going to be quite impressive for all your guests.  If you would like more tips on coffee and new brewing methods comment below. 
till another day,