Monday, December 12, 2011

Keepin' it Local...

Over the past three years, due to a newly found love for vintage, coffee, and the local establishment, I have found myself frequenting local coffee shops.  I do so mainly to take in my surroundings, sample a great cup of joe, and work on whatever i find myself doing (reading, journaling, homework, sermons).  These trips and conversations with my local baristas have allowed me to compile a list of my favorite places in the respective cities I have lived.

Beginning with Bloomington-Normal, IL I find myself at Coffee Hound in Bloomington.  This being my home town I did not find this place until the summer after my senior of high school.  The beautiful architecture of the apartments around and the small street it has placed it's self on brings me to fall in love with sitting outside on one of their many patio chairs and reading.  My drink of choice here is a 16 oz Vanilla Latte in an in-house mug.  Their latte art is out of this world and the slight vanilla taste that they add to their latte is what puts it over the top.

Coffee Hound - Bloomington, IL
Moving further east at my current home we find two great coffee shops.  First is Mo Joe's Coffeehouse in Downtown Indianapolis.  This great independently owned coffeehouse offers anything from sandwiches, to bottomless coffee, to local beer.  The thing that continues to draw me back to this place is the location.  Found directly off of Michigan Avenue, it is in the heart of a thriving Downtown Indianapolis and peering over the skyline while drinking some great coffee is something that is truly magical.  My drink of choice would have to be their bottomless coffee.  At $3 a cup it is the perfect choice when you are looking to spend a long day working on anything.

Mo'Joe's CoffeeHouse - Dwtn Indy
Just slightly south in my beautiful fiancé's hometown of Greenwood, IN we find Strange Brew Coffee.  Living just down the road from this shop in Bradford Place, I have found myself frequenting this place after working for most of the day at Emmanuel Church of Greenwood.  The awesome music and cozy seating is what makes this probably my favorite coffee stop in Indiana, not to mention the wonderful Barista's, Joel of Mustard Room Design.  My drink of choice a medium drip coffee at $1.75 w/ .50 cent refills.  I either fill up my vintage mug with either their Holiday Grogg or Arabian Roast, both never need cream or sugar because they are that good.  All in all, if you are looking for a cozy place with great people and not mention great coffee this is your joint.

Strange Brew Coffee - Greenwood, IN

Lastly, furthest east to Jennifer and I's newest home, Cincinnati, OH you will find Corner Bloc Coffee.  This shop located in the heart of West Price Hill is owned and operated by Bloc Ministries which is a non-profit after school program for intercity kids in the Greater Cincinnati area.  The profits from this wonderful shop go to furthering the ministry of this after school program.  While in school, I had the privilege of working with this program for 2 years, when Corner Bloc opened, naturally, I fell in love with the coffee shop.  This stop offers a variety of homemade goodies, not to mention all organic, but my favorite is either Mama's Chocolate Chip pie, or Andy's Homemade Granola and Yogurt.  On the coffee side of things, my drink of choice would have to the Haria coffee that is hand brewed by my favorite Barista and good friend Danny Kester.  With jazz nights once a week this place is always an exciting and friendly place to call home.  
Corner Bloc CoffeeShop - West Price Hill, OH

This ends our tour of normallyINDIE's favorite coffee destinations, but with Jennifer and I's most recent move back to Cincinnati, coming January 1st 2012, I am sure we will continue to find small, quiet places we love.  


till another day,


normallyINDIE

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here We Go...

Today marks the last day of my internship at Emmanuel Church of Greenwood, Movement Student Ministries and the last day of my college career at Cincinnati Christian University.  Upon the completion of my internship this friday I will officially be graduating from college with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies and Youth Ministry.  It has been an exciting 3.5 years of college, but that is not what I am here to write about.  It is an end of an era with Greenwood, IN.  I have spent the last nine months of my life working at my beautiful fiancé's home church working with the Student Ministries team. I had the honor and privilege of working with a youth pastor named Shane Combs who has taught me how to be a man of God that truly cares for every person he sees including strangers, his family, and especially his wife.  He has been a perfect example for me as a man and I am so excited to be partnering in ministry with him in the future.

Speaking of the future, last weekend I had received some amazing news.  As many of you know it has been a long journey of applying for jobs, searching interviewing, and praying.  In October I had the opportunity to interview with Benji Sayre of Groesbeck United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, OH.  This job I found on the work database of CCU's website under the title of Community Youth Coordinator.  Benji explained this job as a split between a co-youth pastor and a director of their after school program called CHAOS which caters to intercity high school and jr. high students in the Colerain area.  After working with Bloc Ministries in the West Price Hill area for the past two years, this job really enticed me.  At the end of the interview they gave me an opportunity to interview for a second time with the church search team.  Although this interview was a little later than I would have liked it to be, it took place December 3rd at 10am.  I was interviewed in three separate rooms by three separates groups of people.  Although I was not used to this format, I felt that I thrived in it.  Jenny and I then took some time to head to our favorite coffee shop in Cincinnati (Corner Bloc Coffee Shop).  This is when I got the call I had been waiting for for the past six months.  Benji gave me a call and let me know they are offering me the position as the Community Youth Coordinator for Groesbeck United Methodist Church Student Ministries.  This was the answer to our prayers and Jennifer and I had been waiting for months for this to happen.  It became official on Tuesday morning when I accepted the offer to work with the church.

It is a new beginning that will lead my future wife Jennifer and I to a new home in Cincinnati and on January 2nd I begin the journey of ministry that I have been praying for since my call to ministry when I was sixteen years old. We could not be more excited for the fact that God is leading us and we are merely following.  It if were me I would have loved to have gotten the first job that I applied for in June, but little did I know since the opportunity I had a Bloc in 2009, God had been grooming me for this type of ministry.

But with new beginnings comes goodbyes.  I would love to take this time to mention those people that truly ministered to me in the past eight months.  I have spent countless hours talking with Shane Combs and Jason Beck, two men that I would trust my life with, Thank You.  I have spent hours drinking coffee with Adam Ferrel, a high school student I am truly excited to see God minister through him.  He motivates me every day to become more and more like Christ, Thank You.  Eating lunches with Dallas Havens, talking about college and working through issues that completely can cripple us, Thank You.  Every Tuesday morning at 6am, spending an hour studying scripture with my McTuesday boys.  Working with my student small group leaders Makenzie Essig and Miranda Gladish, Thank You.  Lastly, flying planes, working through family issues, and praying together with Jennifer & I's small group leaders, Ralph and Lucy Hill, Thank You.  All of these people have had such an amazing influence on my life and I am so ready to continue in ministry with them over the next couple of years.  But it truly saddens me to leave this family here in Greenwood and move to our new home.

But what I do understand is that God is going to provide people for this new season of life that will teach us and provide us with the opportunity for growth.  This season of life here in Greenwood, IN God has been preparing us the next opportunity.  This next opportunity is leading Jennifer and I to Groesbeck United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, OH and we could not be more honored to partner with God in this.  We are praising God and saying thank you everyday and cannot wait for what is to come.  Here we Go...


till another Day,


normallyINDIE

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

That Time of Year...

If you know me at all you would know that I am not a Christmas music guy.  The fact that they start playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving and that they play 24 hours of Classic Christmas songs on Christmas day drives me crazy.  But for some reason, this year I decided to try something a little different.



Last Christmas I spent the holidays listening to Seabird's Over the Hills and Everywhere - Christmas EP and this take on the classic Christmas songs was refreshing.  Therefore I was optimistic when it came to listening to some Christmas music this year.  I went ahead and downloaded the She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas CD and if I could say I am impressed.  These slow melodies and wonderful harmonies between Zooey Deschanel and whoever the "him" are soothing.  I first heard She & Him sing on the Elf movie (Zooey sang with Will Ferrell in the Bathroom, Baby its' cold outside).  They also had a major role in (500) Days of Summer's soundtrack, which if my readers don't know that is the hipster anthem.  This duo soon became one of my favorite bands.  Therefore, when I found out they would be putting together a Christmas CD, I was ecstatic.

This CD has inspired me to get back into the Christmas music by dusting off those old tracks in my iTunes library, subscribing to Bing Crosby and She & Him Holiday Radio on Pandora, with the hopes of falling in love with the soothing sounds of the Holidays once again.

Although I am not a regular old who from who-ville, I am getting there.  My skin is turning from its' Grinchy green back to normal and the love for Christmas is beginning to creep back into my heart.

Happy Christmas



till another Day,



normallyINDIE

Monday, November 21, 2011

In the Ministry...

Now when I say "the Ministry" I am not referring the the Ministry of Magic from the world of Harry Potter (excited that the final Harry Potter Movie came out), I am referring to the Ministry of Jesus Christ.  It has been a few weeks now, but on October 29th 2011 I had the opportunity to become an ordained minister into the Christian Church/Church of Christ Non-demoninational sect of Christianity.  That sounds like a lot, but in laymen's terms that means I have become an ordained minister into the Christian faith.  What this means is that I now have the ability to perform wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies, and am considered an ordained ministers while applying for jobs.  It is a great benefit, but most of all it is the ushering in of a new member into the ministry of pastors that have been thousands of years in the making.
Official Invitations designed by Turquoise Feathers 

My wonderful fiancé put together a ceremony to commemorate all of my achievements as a student as well as my call to ministry.  The night included words from Joel Craig who has been my mentor in ministry since the beginning of my call in Junior High, my granny Gladys Wheeler, who despite her absence was able to send an audio of touching words of leadership (she has been my motivation to pursue ministry since I was a little boy), and lastly my father Jeff Tod who I was baptized with and have looked up to since I was able to speak my first words.  I was given the opportunity at the end of the night to share a little bit about my vision for ministry as well as my gratitude for those around me.  I was truly honored to have been given this call by to go into ministry and each of the people that spoke had amazing impacts on my life in a vital way.

God has called me into the ministry and this ordination was just one of hundreds of thousands of steps.  After taking this first step, I look forward to continuing on this journey of life with my beautiful fiancé by my side and our call into ministry leading us.  God is going to do amazing things through us and I just hope I am one of his many tools that he uses to spread the gospel to the ends of the Earth.


till another day,



normallyINDIE

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sabbath...

Sitting in staff meeting on Monday at Emmanuel Church of Greenwood, I did not really know what to expect.  It always seems to be something different and exciting every week.  This week we had free Chickfila breakfast and coffee which is always nice, but beyond that there seemed to be a sense of importance to the day.  I did not really know what to think until our senior pastor Danny Anderson came up to the front of the room to give us our Staff Development piece for the day.  On a side note, at most of our staff meetings Danny, or another member of the staff, gets up in the front of the room and gives us a nugget of truth that we like to call Staff Development.  It can be anything from inspiration, to a challenge, but this week was really exciting.  He decided to talk about the subject of taking a Sabbath.

For most the Sabbath is a worn out term that died with those that practiced it in the Old Testament, but Danny challenged us to take it in a much more literal way.  He painted to picture of the Sabbath as a divine law it is to be kept, not only by his pastors and teachers, but by all who call themselves followers of Christ.

The sabbath consisting of three ideas, filling up your emotional, spiritual, and physical tanks.  He described it as such, throughout your week all of these tanks drain out what must be kept in us in order for us to do the work Christ called us too.  Most of us merely hope that we are sustained enough to survive, but we are called to so much more.  We are called at least once a week to take a "Sabbath" consisting of refilling these tanks to the level that is healthy.  This can include, but is not limited to, doing things that truly fill you up which for some could be working out, reading, writing, praying, meditating, working on projects.  But what is most important is that all the things that your do on your Sabbath are centered on glorifying and thanking God for what he has given you.  Truly taking the time to revitalize yourself and your relationship with the Lord, which so often is set aside due to the busy nature of our culture.

Therefore, when Danny challenged us with this idea that we MUST take a Sabbath, I began to think, "am I taking a Sabbath once a week, and if I am what does it look like."  I came to the conclusion that my Sabbath is nonexistent.  Yes, I have my regular spiritual disciplines that include reading, writing, journaling, and prayer, but I am not taking time to truly glorify the Lord on one day.  Am I truly taking a Sabbath?

I am now devoted to finding a time and a place to do just that, take a Sabbath that will refill all of my tanks and glorify Lord in the process.  My Sabbath, whatever day that is, will consist of time studying scripture, blogging, journaling, reading books, sipping on coffee at my favorite coffee shop, watching movies, sleeping in, and a little praise and worship with my fiancé.  All of these things are the things that truly fill me up and bring glory to God in the process.

Although I am not totally sure how to implement this into my weekly life just yet, I am dedicated to making this a part of my routine and especially a part of my marriage.  I have also challenged Jenny with this idea and given her the opportunity to think about what her Sabbath would look like.  It being drastically different than mine, she will find a way to fill her tanks once a week and truly glorify the Lord in the process.

I truly thank Danny Anderson for challenging us with this idea and thank the Lord for setting it on his heart to share.  I look forward to spending my Sabbath with the Lord and seeing the true life change that comes as a result.  I would challenge you to think of this idea yourself and truly begin to examine what your "Sabbath" may look like as your go about your daily life.


till another Day,


normallyINDIE

Senioritis...

It will be 4 short weeks and I, Alec Myles Tod, will be graduating from Cincinnati Christian University with a Bachelor of Sciences in Biblical Studies and Youth Ministry.  It was 3 years in the making, but I am finally at the point when I can begin to call myself a college grad.  It is one thing to be a college student and have that satisfaction under my belt of learning, but it is yet another to say that I am the first of the immediate Tod family to graduate from college.  My mother and father both did not graduate from college for different reasons, therefore growing up and graduating from the school of handwork and discipline.  They have worked very hard to get to the position they are in now, specifically my dad, and this is just the next step for me in that hard working journey.

But with this upcoming deadline comes a disease that is contagious and is known as "Senioritis".  Yes, I was treated for this disease in the fall of 2007 when I became a High School senior.  Throughout High school I was given amazing opportunities to excel and senior year was no exception.  But it seemed that I was so concerned about what was going to happen in college the next fall, that I forgot what was right in front of me.  Because of my impatience and anticipation, I lost opportunity to speak with people about Jesus Christ.  I was so ready to continue on this journey that God calls life, that I did not realize the rest area would be humanity.  These lost opportunities have motivated me to become the person I am today, a fully dedicated life to the service of students.

In the same situation, it is only 4 shorts week away and I too will be feeling the true affects of senioritis.  I am battling these feelings as week speak with some going for me outside of work at Emmanuel Church of Greenwood.  Graduating Dec. 2011, Start a new job Jan. 1 2012, Getting Married (March 10, 2012), walking at commencement May 12, 2012.  As these major events have me looking at least 8 months in advance.

But what I have come to realize is that we have been placed in every situation we see ourselves in for a reason.  That the most important thing to realize is to passionately spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.  For me, in this very moment, I have been placed at both Emmanuel Church of Greenwood and One Mission Society for a specific reason.  Although that passion may fizzle, I have begun to realize that worshipping God through the obedience and trusting your life with Christ is what must happen.

As a senior I look forward to every day that I am given and especially the opportunities that are placed before me, whether it be marriage, a job, or merely speaking the truth of the gospel to a person that I meet.  I am truly honored to be a small part in the redemption of this earth.


Till another day,


normallyINDIE

Sunday, November 6, 2011

6 Weeks and Counting...

Those of you who know me well, would know that I have been working alongside Shane Combs and the rest of the MovementSM staff for the past 7 months.  It has been a journey all the way from my first nerve racking days in May of this year, wondering what the summer would, all the way to this moment when I am staring at the calendar and it reads November.  Many would believe that at this moment I will begin to be sad and nostalgic, but I am not I just want to express to those that are listening the impact that the Movement Student Ministries as had on my life.

As I said before I came into this ministry without knowing anyone (besides Shane briefly) in May of this year.  I jumped right in working on Summer programming, trips, WOODLANDS, with Amber and that time Mitch.  It was a great summer of trial and error and getting to know one another, especially getting to know Shane, not only as a boss, but as a true friend.  Shane had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Dallas in early August and because of his fear of flying Mitch and I had the chance to drive and tag along.  This may have been one of the best bro trips I have taken in a long time.  Although, their were ups and downs there were conversations to be had and memories to be made.

We then moved into the heart of the Student Ministries calendar, the fall.  This year was especially exciting because there was a vibe of anticipation and excitement.  We began Cell Groups and leadership that went off great with over 200 students in the Cell Group ministry.  More students every week were coming and hearing about the gospel of Christ, many of them accepting Jesus into their heart for the very first time.  There is nothing better than the feeling of when a student truly "gets it".

In the meant time, I began a bible that meets on Tuesday mornings at 6am with 6 promising young minds and a co-leader (Jason Beck) called McTuesdays.  This name given to the program by the students reminds us of the day and the fact that we will be enjoying wonderful McDonald's breakfast as we dive deeply into the word of God.  We went through much of Genesis, stopping every 4th week to have a Question week where the students can ask anything they would like.  This study has not only challenged the students, but it has challenged me to continue to teach at a high level and grow with the students.

My fiancé had the privilege of going on the Cell Group Leadership trip to Gaitlinburg where Jenny fell in love with some amazing young ladies (Mackenzie Essig, Miranda Gladish, and Alex Harrell).  She then became the first two's Cell Group Adult Leader and they have been great friends ever since.

Moving forward things have begun to slow down student ministries wise, but only to amp up last week when we threw Block Party 2.0, a fall themed party for all the students involved in Cell Groups (275+).  It was so exciting to be a part of such a huge success and we are so excited for Block Party on Ice which is coming soon.

With all of these crazy things that have happened in my 23 weeks here at MovementSM and all the other crazy things that are still to come, God has taught me one thing.  He has taught me that despite your attitude or the attitude of those around you, in is your responsibility to glorify him to obedience.  Not the obedience of just following his commandments, but true obedience involving trust, peace of mind, love, dedication, gratitude, giving, and sacrifice.

As I finish out these last couple of weeks at MovementSM, sadly, I am so excited for what is to come and what God has in store for Jenny and I.  Whatever it may be I am merely excited to obey God in that call and continue to worship him through obedience, with a joyfully, humble heart.


till another day,


normallyINDIE

An Artist at Work...

As many of you know, Jenny, my wonderful fiancé, and I have begun to spend much of our time at the tattoo shop.  We have built a relationship with an amazing tattoo artist named TJ Harmon.  We originally met him at randomly when I wanted to get a tattoo to symbolize my love for my beautiful fiancé.  We were referred to Irish Ink in Greenwood by a couple friends and I ran into TJ, TJ Harmon to be exact.  He did an amazing job with the paint palette tattoo on my right hand and it was a perfect artist-client relationship after that.
Although this isn't the best picture (the Red and the Orange have since then come in much better) it was a perfect tribute to the artist that is my fiancé.  

It then got us thinking, "What other tattoos are next?"  Jenny then had the honor of working with him to create a truly beautiful memorial tattoo in honor of the wonderful Melvin & Doris Schroeder.  

It was truly an honor to be a part of the tattoo process and to make this tattoo a reality.  TJ Harmon at this point moved from Irish Ink to a new tattoo shop, because of a misunderstanding with management, called Main Street Tattoo in Old Town Greenwood.  After this amazing tattoo, my beautiful fiancé gave me a gift for my birthday.  Two Years Early on October 9th, my then girlfriend (Yes, is still Jenny :) ) gave me a tattoo for my birthday.  

  
This year, October 9th 2011, she decided to continue that tradition by surprising me with a trip to Main Street Tattoo and a meeting with TJ Harmon.  Seven Hours Later and a lot of pain, this was the product on my left upper arm.



This, still an unfinished piece, is by far my most detailed piece with the shading, deep lines, and colors.  I was in awe of how wonderful this work actually turned out and I am so excited to add some color to finish off the shoulder cap and to continue to the elbow.  But this is not all.  Last week TJ had a special of $50 an hour and Jenny had the wonderful idea of getting a random tattoo that is small, but still important to each of us.  so we got each of these tattoos respectively (Jenny on the left, me on the right). 



Jenny, a tattoo based on the DCFC song "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" with the date 10-16-09 which is the day I officially ask her to be my girlfriend.  Mine on the other hand, was the chi-rho symbol which was used by Constantine on his army's shields.  This symbol meaning Christ or power and strength, thus it was placed on my left forearm under the word Power in Greek.  

This brings the total tattoo tally for me up to 6 and Jenny up to 7 with many more ideas to come.  This long relationship with TJ does not seem to be stopping soon and we are so excited to begin to spend time with him.  For all of this would not be possible without the talent and drive to TJ Harmon to do tattoos.  

He is truly a master artist and a great friend of ours.  If you ever need anything as far as tattoos go, please go to him.  This is the beginning of a great relationship and I cannot wait to see how it continues.  As Jenny and I grow and mature, so will our relationship with our tattoo master, TJ Harmon.  


till another day, 



normallyINDIE

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Move Mountains...

If any of you have been following the posts from the past summer and fall semester, you realize that I have struggled with this idea of trust.  Not trust the individuals of the world, but trusting the created of this world.

As many of you know, I am in my final 7 weeks of my internship/college career and will be beginning my life in the real world.  The real world of paying for rent, gas, food, shelter, and any wonderful gifts I would love to give my beautiful fiancé Jennifer.  This pressure has brought me to either fully trust God or worry about where my future was going to lie.  And if I can be completely honest, I have leaned much more toward worry than toward trust.  Although I have been praying every single day about my future, that was part of the problem.  Although I was praying, I was praying merely about the problem that I claimed to be "ignoring".  These faithful prayers only lead to more worry than true, leaving my commitment to God's will for my life dependent on what he was going to do regarding my future career.

But it was not until this past Sunday that I began to fully realize what it meant to trust to Lord God with all my heart.  As a youth ministry we had the opportunity to visit the Rising at Northside Christian Church in New Albany, IN.  We got connected with their ministry because Matt Allman the youth minister at the Rising was a part of OASIS at Eastview Christian Church when I was a student.  We have stayed connected over the years and when we, as a youth ministry, were given the opportunity to visit another service, the Rising stuck out.

Matt was the speaker for the night and he spoke on what happens when you truly confide in the Lord.  He emphasized the fact that God still moves mountains, you will find peace when you trust in the Lord, and also find Rest in his arms as you allow him to be your protector, provider, and father.

All of this was all things I have heard before, but there was never a better time to realize the fact the God truly WILL bring peace and rest in the Lord.  With my life in mind, I have begun to realize through prayer and worship the last couple of days that trusting in the Lord does not only include trusting in him, but also believing the he can truly do miraculous things.  With these miraculous things in mind, I have peace in the fact that my God is just that, my God.  My father, creator, protecter, and provider that will do just that, provide.

It is not a fact that if God will move mountains, but when God will move mountains.  I have found peace is this fact and I am now finding rest.

till another day,



normallyINDIE

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reality TV...

Although the original reality TV is considered to be Survivor, I like to think otherwise.  I like to believe that the trails and tribulations of the lives of those who call Newport Beach, CA home was indeed the first reality TV show.  Although the OC is not technically reality, it was based on a reality.  And I do find it to be embracing, but after getting the first and second season on DVD and spending the past weekend watching much of it, I have begun to realize the connections that can be found between "reality TV" and "reality".  Yes I said it connections between Ryan, Seth, Marissa, and Summer of the OC to our reality.

Those of you who are/were fans of the OC know that life at Newport Beach is filled with drama from beginning to end.  With the beginning of a new problem, soon following the resolution of the fast conflict.  this cycle, although abstract, may be closer to reality than we think.

It may not necessarily be the same drama that has hindered the lives of the Cohens that occurs in our world, but it is just not.  Week seek for our lives to simply go day to day without any problems and work themselves out to the way that we sit fit.  For example, if my fiancé and I had it our way there would be no problems in our relationship, no tension in our family, no job searching (first job was a yes), and no financial worries.  But the reality is that our will is not "his" will.  Although it may seem tedious or trivial, God has led Jenny and I through ups and downs that have built us to be who we are.  Not merely to make us better "people", but to prepare us for the ministry he has set before us.

We are all given opportunities in our life to bring glory to his name and our lives are a living testimony to the glory that is found in the arms of God.

Our lives may be just as dramatic as the Cohens of Newport Beach, but what is known is that through the ups and downs and through the drama purpose is found.  A purpose of living a life worth being called Son's and Daughters of God.  We have been given an opportunity to serve God that goes much deeper than the trivial and tedious acts of day to day life.  But instead the glory that is shown today will ring in the hallways of heaven for all of eternity.

till another day,



normallyINDIE

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Baby Was Born...

22 years ago today I was born into this world by a mother named Susan Tod and a father named Jeff Tod, some of the most caring and loving people.  Over the years I have lived in St. Louis, South Florida, Central Illinois, Cincinnati, and now Indianapolis.  This time I have seen many places, met many people, and grown in many ways, but none like I have grown today.

Today I had the opportunity to spend the day with my fiancé Jennifer Schroeder at Main Street Tattoo getting my birthday gift put on my upper forearm by an amazing tattoo artist TJ Harmon.  But the tattoo was not the thing that I have really grown by.  But instead, it was the love that the tattoo symbolized.

Over the last couple of months, Jennifer and I have completed the book 5 Love Languages and I have found that Jennifer's Love Languages are Physical Touch and Quality Time.  Mine, on the other hand, are Gifts and Words of Affirmation.

This tattoo today was one of many gifts that I was given from Jennifer this weekend and it made me feel so loved.  The fact that someone would care so much about me that they would plan something, purchase something, or coordinate a get together astonishes me.  Jennifer is filled with unconditional love for me and this tattoo is just one of many instances when she has shown me this.  I could never believe that someone would love me in this way, but Jennifer's love for me is truly a symbol of Jesus' love.

Unconditional Love is the reason that we love.  Unconditional love is what saves lives.  October 9th 2011 is just another day that I was shown what this love really looks like.


till another day,



normallyINDIE

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Small Screen...

If you know me personally, you very well know that I have a mild addiction to DVDs.  Since the beginning of college and my parents telling me I had to build my own library of DVDs, I have spent countless hours sifting through sale bins, glazing my eyes over titles at discount stores, and searching the web for the next best DVD.  My total DVD collection is somewhere in the upper 200s, not to mention 50 or so DVDs in my lovely fiancé's possession.  This "addiction" is so prominent that it is a running joke amongst my family that for holidays all they need to do is send me with 50 bucks cash to Disc Replay and I will be happy carrying out 25 new DVDs.  But recently, because of the convincing from a couple friends, I have moved from buying movies on DVD to buying TV series on DVD.

I have enjoyed a few TV series since the beginning of my college years and if I don't already I seek to have them on DVD so I can share and enjoy them with family, friends, and mostly my fiancé.  Favorite TV series are as follows:
                   
                      The Office (Own Season 1 - 7)
                      How I Met Your Mother (Own Season 1 - 6)
                      Scrubs (Own Season 1 - 8)
                      LOST (Do Not Own)
                      Boy Meets World (Do Not Own)
                      Friends (Do Not Own)
                      Rob & Big (Own Season 1 - 3)
                      Saved by the Bell (Own Season 1 - 4) [Jenny's Favorite]
                      Parks & Recreation (Do Not Own)
                      the OC (Do Not Own) [Embarrassed that I like this Show]
                      Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory (Do Not Own)
                      Psych (Trying to get into this show for  Tyler Cadwell )

The list goes on and on as I find a new show that seems worth buying.  I know what you are saying, "What about Netflix?  They have most of these shows and you get them all for $7.99".   I do have a subscription to Netflix, but I am just more of a old school kind of guy in the fact that there is just something about having the box in your hand that makes it seem much more real.  Not to mention I hate when TV show skips cause the internet connection is poor.

So yes it may be an addiction, but I am okay with that because one of my joys in life is buying a new DVD and sharing it with those I love hoping that they get a laugh or are convicted by the message that is given.

If you have any suggestions for TV series' that I should be buying next on DVD or any other DVDs I should be buying comment below.


till another Day,



normallyINDIE

Saturday, September 24, 2011

OUR Big Day...

Those of you who know me personally know that I will be marrying the most amazing woman in the world on March 10th 2012 (just 168 short days away).  We are both so anxious to start our life together, living in who knows where, moving into our apartment, getting our first Dog, etc... All of the things that married couples will get to do we are both so excited to bring into our lives.  As a part of Turquoise Feathers , Jenny is photographing a wedding this weekend for a couple of great friends.  We could not be more happy for Clay and Anya, but I am not gonna lie, jealousy has begun to sink in.

But as I battle with the jealousy and anxiety, I begin to realize that God has brought me to the place that I am on September 24th 2011 for a reason.  I am currently a Student Ministry Intern, seeking a full time position and many times I wonder why God has placed me where I am currently.  I have become so anxious to move to the next stage of life (job, marriage, new life) that I have begun to forget why God has me where I am today.

As Christians we are called to live in urgency and hope that today will be the day that the Lord, Jesus Christ will return to save us from this wicked world.  Therefore, it is important to always live in the moment "making the most of every opportunity" (Eph. 5:15-16) today.  In that God has provided for each of us an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to bring glory to God everyday, calling us to take advantage of those opportunity now.

With that being said, although my anxiety for marriage and my new stages of life are normal, they are not what I am called to.  God is continuing to move and lead in my life today September 24th 2011.  I am seeking the follow the Lord today and if I am given to blessing of the breath of life in the morning, I will do the same.


till another Day,



normallyINDIE

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Makin' it a Habit...

As many of you know, reading has become a big part of my life since I went to college just three years ago, but it was not until May that I was given the opportunity to have free time.  This free time brought about the opportunity to make myself read books.  Not just any books either, but books that I actually want to read and if you know me you know that this opportunity has caused me to become a nerd.  A nerd that if I had the opportunity would go to Half Price Books or any other bookstore for hours searching for books, old and new.

As I have become a nerd, I have read a great amount of books with countless books to go (42 new books if you want the real number).  As follows are the books:

Poems - Emily Dickinson
Jesus for President - Shane Claiborne
Communicating for a Change - Andy Stanley
Harry Potter 7 - JK Rowling
A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis
The Abolition of Man - C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain - C.S. Lewis
Simply Christian - N.T. Wright
The Weight of Glory - C.S. Lewis
10 Commandments of Marriage - Ed Young
The Penultimate Peril - Lemony Snicket
The Sacred Marriage - Gary Thomas
George Macdonald - C.S. Lewis
Slow Fade - Reggie Joiner

As you can tell I have spent a lot of time with C.S. Lewis this summer, but what I have found lately is that marriage books are much of my focus.  I have learned a lot from these books as I prepare to marry Jenny Schroeder of turquoise feathers and through these readings God is teaching me how to be the true provider and protector of my new family.

As I continue on through the rest of the year I am hoping to continue to read 50 pages a day and soon enough finish all 75 books in my library (about 40 to go).  The writers of these different books have each taught me something different this year and I am so excited to continue to learn and grow with the ideas found on the pages.


till another day,




normallyINDIE

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Renegade ...

Chicago, the home of the Cubs, Derrick Rose, and the Renegade Craft Fair.  Every year the Renegade craft fair comes to Wicker Park Chicago with 300+ Artists, food, music, and great products.  New to the craft show scene Jennifer (Turquoise Feathers) and I decided to head up to Chicago and stay with a  couple friends of our this past weekend, Alexz (bird trouble), James.  These were two awesome people that we actually met at the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange this past June.  After meeting at the festival in June we have been keeping in touch and thought we would spend some time with them.

The weekend was filled with great times in Wicker Park which included the fair, McDonald's, the office season 7 on DVD, estate sales, & #twitterlessjames.  A friendship that begun with a simple handshake and twitter mention has blossomed into a great partnership of promotion between BirdTrouble & Turquoise Feathers.

We have already begun planning our next trip back up to Chicago to spend another great weekend in the most hipster and vintage neighborhood with Alexz and James, we are now in the process of everyday life.  But sometimes Jennifer and I find ourselves thinking about the Chicago life wondering someday if that will be us.

I encourage you check out Alexz at birdtrouble.blogspot.com, she makes some amazing handmade clothing, bags, and accessories.  And always check out the amazing Jennifer at turquoisefeathers.blogspot.com.   Stay up to date by following me on twitter @normallyindie.


Till another Day,



normallyINDIE

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Flood...

Recently I have been given the opportunity come to McDonalds here in Greenwood, IN at 6am every Tuesday and meet with a small group of guys from Emmanuel Church.  For the past three weeks we have been meeting and I have been teaching and reading through the first couple of biblical stories in Genesis.  We will continue to do so for the next 13 weeks over the next couple of months walking through the rest of Genesis, dissecting the context and culture while doing so.  This bible study (McTuesdays/Breakfast Club 2.0) was modeled after DM2 at Eastview Christian Church during my years in high school.  It gives me an opportunity to teach in an advanced way as well as give the students the opportunity to dive deeper into the scriptures in a way that is unlike Sundays.  God has called us to deeply understand his scripture and especially the events and people he used to complete his will.

Specifically this week we were reading/teaching through Genesis 7 - 10 focusing on the Flood.  What is interesting that I have found about reading about Noah is the fact that he was a man that walked with God, this being the first human being to be considered to be in relationship with God in this way.   He truly was in relationship with him and the only man to do so since the fall and not again until the arrival of Jesus.  But this was not what stuck out to me most through these four chapters.  The overarching them that seemed to be at the center of this relationship was the fact that Noah trusted God and did not ask questions.  Noah trusted God through the construction of a boat unlike anything he had ever seen.  Noah trusted God through the actual Flood without knowing when it would cease.  Noah trusted God through the ceasing of the rainfall and the reconstruction of the Earth.  Without asking questions Noah did what the Lord asked of him, always trusting that God would provide for him.

After finishing the lesson and thinking back on what I taught, I began to bring together the connection between my life and Noah.  Although I am not saying that God has chosen to act through me in the magnitude of a Flood, I do believe that he has chosen to do something in me.  I am simply in preparation for what is to come in the future.  As January looms and my graduation date gets closer and closer, the provision God has given me throughout my life just makes me continue to trust him.  The past five months of my life I have been in prayer with God specifically for the provision.

Noah brings to light an amazing story of biblical triumph, but most of all provision.  God's provision was at the center of his life and I long to walk with the Lord.


till another day,


normallyINDIE

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

House Church?

As I am in the beginning of the church job search, I cannot help but wonder what the church was like in the days of the apostles.  In the lifetimes of Stephen, Paul, and Peter.  What was the structure?  What was the theology?  Did they have all the answers to all the major questions, Heaven & Hell, Suffering, Destruction, and Pain.  From what I have read and very shortly studied, they did not have all of the answers or for the most part know what they were doing.  At the times of the early church they were merely beginning their journey of christianity.  Therefore, they did not know what to say on any of these major issues, in fact the leaders of the then House Church spent much of their time seeking out the advice of Paul, Timothy, Peter, and many other leaders in the Christian movement.  But even then the leaders would seek out the counsel of the scriptures.  True refuge was found in the God-breathed scriptures and these scriptures became the center of who they were, the decisions they made, and the way they acted not because they were told to do so, but because what they were doing was for God.  Although they may not have had all the answers they did have the answer that matter, that being the fact that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to save the lives of all of humanity from the crippling sin that was at the center of their lives.

 After truly thinking about these ideas, I have come to the realization that there is something very organic and natural about this model.  The fact that nothing got in the way of them truly sharing the gospel to other people because they just realized that it was their job to do so.  They felt the urgency of the story they were telling and the fact that if you do not choose to join in then, you will no longer be in eternity with Christ and his followers.

Something very organic in nature reminds me of a program that we have been holding for a couple of years now at Emmanuel and I have just been given the opportunity to be a part during my present internship.  To give you all some background, Cell Groups are the names of our student led small groups.  These small groups consist of a leader, co-leader, and prospective leader as well as as many friends they can pack into their house.  Lessons are established ministry wide for each of the 10 weeks of the semester and are provided for the leaders.  The leaders then essentially lead the group of people through the lesson and eventually preach the gospel message to, hopefully, a group of unchurched people.

I had the honor of visiting a cell group for the first time and I really was able to see the parallel between the house churches Paul was setting up in the New Testament and the Cell Groups that are taking place today.  These are merely a group of people, leaders included, who do not have it all together and aren't trying to.  These are just house churches that have leaders that long for their friends to be in relationship with Christ and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen.  Although the leaders may not have all the answered, God has equipped them with the tools necessary to preach the gospel to their friends.  (I will speak about what I believe to be these tools later this week so stay tuned).

God is leading his church, not through huge productions and fancy lights, but he is leading his church through people who are willing to admit they don't have all the answers, but that they merely know that God is alive in them and they want to share that hope with as many people as possible.  I pray daily that I am one of those people and I plead with God not to harden my heart because I am distracted by everything else.  We are called to be the church, not a building, but God's people sharing the hope, love, and grace we found in the true living God, Jesus Christ.


till another Day,


normallyINDIE

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ink...

Tattoos are a huge part of my life and even more a part of my fiancé Jennifer Schroeder's life.  I started getting tattoos in 2007 for my 18th birthday.  This tattoo was really simple, but it has a great place in my heart as my first tattoo.  This tattoo is a wooden cross with thorns wrapped around and a sign that says "KING" at the top.  Although this tattoo is small and may possibly needs some more work added to it, it was my first and always will be. 

Left Shoulder Blade
Corey @ Artkore Tattoo Normal, IL 

My next tattoo came a couple of years later a few months after I started dating my now fiancé Jenny Schroeder.  This tattoo came 2 years later, this time a present for my 20th birthday from my fiancé.  This tattoo took a lot more thought and the basis behind this tattoo is Jesus Christ.  It is a price tag that is tattered and torn this symbolizing us as humans broken and torn without hope.  Printed on the tag is the word "PAID" symbolizing the fact that our tattered and broken lives are paid for.  Then as the tattoo continues there is a crown on the corner of the price tag with purple blood dripping down.  This symbolizing that Jesus has paid our sins and given us hope.  His blood is purple (purple being the color of royalty) and he is the true KING.



Right Chest
Skinquake Greenwood, IN

Now the addiction really began as my hope to get more and more tattoos grew.  This time it was about a year and a half.  This was much more spontaneous.  Jenny and I were merely feeling like getting another tattoo so I found some script that was meaningful to me.  This tattoo is actually traditional Greek and it is the word POWER referring to Acts 1:8 which states "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." Jesus is speaking to his disciples just before he ascends up to heaven.  This verse has been the center of my life throughout college and it has kept me focused on my future and my role that God has for my life.

Left Forearm
Artistic Design Indianapolis, IN 


My latest tattoo came much quicker and has meant more to me than any other tattoo I have.  This tattoo is a symbol completely for my fiancé Jennifer Schroeder who is an artist at heart and always will be the most talented artist I know.  This tattoo came just a couple weeks ago in August of 2011.  This is an artist's palette symbolizing her artistic talent, it includes four colors on the palette.  Starting from the left is the color red symbolizing how powerful, independent, and strong she is.  Next, is orange (one of her favorite colors) symbolizing her happiness, bright attitude, and the sunshine in her eyes.  Then comes Purple which symbolizes royalty and the fact that Jennifer is my princess.  the final color is turquoise which is her favorite color, this is also the color that is on the brush.  This tattoo came our of my dedication to her and the future e will have together.

Right Hand
T.J. @ Irish Ink Greenwood, IN

Tattoos are a huge part of my life and there will be many more to come with about 10 more ideas to come including a tattoo Jenny and I will be getting together in order to symbolize our wedding.  When I got my first tattoo I did not think I would be a heavily tattooed person, but as my journey in life has continued and my love of tattoos has grown I have begun to realize that this would become a reality for my fiancé and I.

Till another Day,


normallyINDIE

Friday, August 19, 2011

Childhood dreams...

I have felt a little like dreaming about the past recently.  With that being said, as a gift from Netflix (aka i payed $10.99 a month for it) I was sent Angels in the Outfield on DVD.  When I opened this envelope I was so excited because I had not seen that movie since I was 10 years old.  Seeing Danny Glover, "Maggie", "Roger" & "JP", and  the rest of the cast just brought back a flood of emotions from when I was a baseball playing star in little league.  A little leaguer with the dreams of becoming a Major League star someday dawning the colors of my favorite team only one day to play in the World Series.

But the most amazing thing about our lives is that our dreams and aspirations seem to change on a regular basis.  As many of you know, I am not a major league baseball player (still a big fan of baseball) and my dream to become so is no longer there.  But the thing is that my dreams and aspirations although different are still at the center of who I am.  These dreams not coming from a '90's childhood hit movie, but coming from the ever growing relationship with God.  Since 1999, after accepting Christ my life changed as well as my dreams.  My dreams to have an amazing wife and to have a great job, but with these dreams comes a lot of stress and worry.

Our summer has been spent thinking about these dreams and the worry that comes with these dreams.  Where will our next pay check come from?, where are we going to live?, how are we gonna save for a car?, how do we furnish our apartment?, what city will we live in?.  All of these worries have consumed our conversation for the last several months and some of these worries have even dictated some future we have considered making.

But as I continue to think about it, the dreams of working in ministry and preaching to students about the passion I have for Christ.  This dream has begun to become tainted by the lack of response from churches and the ever growing need to pay the bills in the coming months.  But what we have come to realize is that these dreams, although they may change over the years, they are still at the center of who I am.  God has given me the passion and love to serve him, so if that means I serve him in the church or serve at some other profession, my motivation for my dreams will be to serve God daily.

Although my dreams have changed since Angels in the Outfield, they still have the hopes of being something amazing.  When I come to the end of my days I hope for God to welcome me with the words, "Welcome good and faithful servant, you ran the race and kept the faith."

Till Another Day,


normallyINDIE

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Not much of a Camper...

So those of you who  know me personally realize that I am not much of a camper.  Jenny and I both do not really care to jump in an RV and travel to the Grand Canyon like the Grizwalds.  We are just not about the camping thing, so when I signed on to become the intern at MovementSM I found out that we would be going to camp.

Okay, before you think we are a country church that goes camping for a church retreat we went to camp at Woodlands Camp and Retreat center in Cleveland, GA.  From what I heard before I got on the wonderful charter buses (with DVDs & WiFi\) was that Woodlands was a plush camp that truly takes care of their campers.  So I was excited when we pulled up to the camp and saw the amazing cabins, the beautiful lake, the amazing trails, and the beautiful forest background.  Needless to say this would be a comfortable camp for myself to be at home for a week.  But what i did not realize going in was that God had a few lessons not only to teach our student ministry, but also us as a staff.

God gave me the opportunity to truly listen to his leadership in my life including trusting him with my career choices coming up (which seem to be a recurring theme in my blogs this summer).  God also gave me the opportunity to spend some time with Shane Combs, who is truly a blessing to my life.  Even looking back at the decision I had to come to Emmanuel, I began to realize that it was truly God who gave me this opportunity.

The final day of camp I was given the opportunity to worship God, but worship God in a way I had not worshipped in forever.

This summer God has truly become the center of my life, in my future marriage, my decisions, and my personal life.  God is everything that I am and everything that I seem to be.  God is my life and I look to serve him through everything I do in the future.

Until another Day,


normallyINDIE  

God, why me?

The Problem of Pain.  This is a timeless question that is at the center of most people's lives at some point or another.  I know personally I have asked God numerous times, "Why me?"  Why do we have to be hurt even though we are followers of God?  Why do we have to tragically loss those we love?  Why are we sometimes treated like Job of the Bible?  Does God truly care about us in the midst of suffering and how do we see God communicated in a world that is so filled with destruction, it is clouded.

I had the opportunity to recently read The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis as a part of my study through the Signature Classics.  This is a novel that is not unlike the rest of his writings, a novel that is describing the fact that our life is filled with hurt, but how does this communicate the love found in Christ.  This is the question the Lewis wrestles with and what is interesting is that he never states that our life should be centered on our suffering or that our suffering is a flook, but instead our suffering is an opportunity for us to praise God.

Like the story of Job, Lewis illustrates the fact that our suffering is a testament to fall back on Christ.  That our suffering is an opportunity to say Christ is the center of my life despite this suffering that seems to cripple.  But these opportunities are the opportunities that truly build my character as a follower of Christ.

This past year I have personally dealt with suffering in the form of running into death face to face.  On February 14th I got a call that one of the students that we work with at Bloc Ministries was shot and killed.  Although this student was not my son or brother, I truly felt the weight of his death on our ministry and my life as a follower of Christ.  I asked the question of "Why us God, why him?".  It was not a few weeks later that my fiancé and I were faced with death again, when her grandmother died.  This was devastating for my fiancé, just the fact that we saw death face to face.  Again we asked the question "Why God?"

But after reading this book and looking back it does not make the sting of these tragedies any less, but it made me realize that in these situations my trust in God was built.  Also my dedication to meeting the physical and emotional needs of others is what makes us true followers of Christ.  For there is nothing more organic than life and death.  And there is no better opportunity to seek God than in these two situations.

We Miss you Grandma Schroeder and Deore

Until Another Day


normallyINDIE

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Reading List

As many of you know one of my goals this summer is to read 50 pages a day everyday.  Although I have not exactly kept up with the goal to a T it has been great to go through my once unknown library of books and read through much of it.  Right now I have about 30 books that are still unread in my library and I look to finish all of these books by the end of the year.  Lofty goal, but I feel if I stay dedicated I can do it.  Here are some of the books I have read since my internship began 7 weeks ago: 


Love Wins - Rob Bell 
Poems - Emily Dickinson 
Jesus for President - Shane Claiborne 
Communicating for a Change - Andy Stanley 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling 
A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis 
The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis 
The Abolition of Man - C.S. Lewis 


Each of these books have given me different nuggets of knowledge and truth that I have begun to try to include in my daily life, scripture reading, and sermons on a regular basis. 


I was given the privilege to purchase the Signature Classics by C.S. Lewis which includes the much heralded Mere Christianity.  But as well as this Christian Masterpiece, it includes eight other books that I have been dying to jump into:  Screwtape Letters (read), Grief Observed (read), Abolition of Man (read), Great Divorce (read), Problem of Pain, Weight of Glory, Miracles, and George MacDonald.  All of these books give the reader a deeper insight into the thoughts of C.S. Lewis not only as a writer, but as a person.  Int he book Grief Observed, Lewis tackles his feelings about his recently deceased wife.  You can just feel in the words that he is unable to handle this tragedy and is uncertain how or why a God who loves him would do something like this.  This truth just simply bleeds through his writings and you can truly feel the emotions he is feeling.  Each of the Signature Classics have this feeling of emotion and power to them unlike any other writer I have come across.  


That being said, I have committed to reading all nine of his Classics in hopes that after reading them I will have gained a new insight into the God that he and I both serve.  


If you may hear anything in this post hear this, Lewis' writings will give you a new and profound look at the God you serve and will open your eyes to an entirely new being you otherwise did not know existed.  His passion, emotion, and dedication for the living God is unparalleled and these same feelings will surely be a product of your reading these Classics.  


Till Another Day, 


Alec

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pain ...

So there I was excited about the final softball game of the year and it hits me, running to first base, over stepping the bag and falling slamming my head, back, and left arm on the ground.  Thinking i was okay just lying there for awhile, realized the rest of the night that my arm was hurt pretty bad.  Playing through the rest of the game, the pain intensified.  Got home and I realized that it is worse.  My beautiful fiance and I went to the St. Francis Hospital in Southport, IN.  After a couple hours of testing, x-rays, and waiting we received the verdict that it was no fractures, but severe bruising and swelling of the tissue in my elbow.  After a day of rest and pain, I realized that the pain is still pretty bad.

So what this means is nothing, but what I have realized is the unconditional love that comes from it.  My fiance Jenny spent the night at the hospital with me as well as got me donuts from Long's Bakery this morning, iced my elbow, and watched golf with me as I was still in pain.  Now this is not just about someone doing nice things for me, but the unconditional love that comes from this.  Jenny loves me so much that she would not have thought any different about it.  He first instinct was to help me and it was so because she loves me.

This love she has for me is not just for the feelings that may come from it, but her love for me is about sacrifice and action.  In order for me to really understand her love I have to see it through her actions.  And she proves it to me everyday that she is truly in love with me.  My fiance is the most wonderful and sacrificial human being in the world.

This love makes the waiting 7 months to get married harder than ever.  Everyday I get more and more excited to be with her.  She is the one and I am awaiting the moment I can show her my unconditional love for her someday.  I am waiting...


Till another Day

normallyINDIE

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Networking & Things of other Nature

Jenny and I had the opportunity to take the week and head to the North American Christian Convention on Tuesday - Thursday of last week.  Those of you who don't know what this is, it is a Christian Convention of churches, mission organizations, bible colleges, publishing companies and everything in between.  For most this convention is an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, pray, and learn alongside those who are also involved in the ministry.  For me all of this took place, but in a another way "networking" was at the center of the convention for me.

Normally this is not something that I enjoy doing, I tend to spend much of my time listening and learning rather than trying to make contacts with people.  But this year was different, for I am searching for a job in the future and I am truly seeking to make some contacts in the Christian Church realm.  With this being said, I spent much of Tuesday walking around the convention center, seeking out opportunities to mingle and meet people of influence in the fields I am seeking to move into in the future.

One such group I was able to speak with just by chance was One Mission Society of Greenwood, IN.  Much of the conversation with Garrath who works at OMS I had no idea that they were stationed in Greenwood, IN.  But when I found that this group was located in Greenwood, it peaked my interest.  My fiance and I have set a meeting with this group in order to speak about any job opportunities they may have available in the future.  A group opportunity for me to seek out employment with a God centered group.

But what I find most interesting about this whole situation and my continued job search as a whole is the role that God is playing in the whole situation.  As I was walking around the entire convention, the one booth I happened to stop at was a society that is within 5 miles of were I currently work and is also seeking out employment of someone like me.  I do not think it was a coincidence that I happened to stop at this booth, but it was God who was leading me to the place I was called to go.  God continues to do so throughout the process of choosing a job as well.  I have continued to ask for trust in God and he is giving me opportunities to do so and I truly believe that God will continue to provide for me and my fiance.

When it comes to "networking" I am not necessarily a fan, but when it comes to "networking" God has become the center of my contacts and trusting in him is at the center of all that I am.

For another day,

Alec

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Turquoise Feathers

As many of you know I am engaged to the beautiful Jennifer Schroeder, but what many of you may not know is that she is the designer behind much of my material including www.normallyINDIE.com, www.about.me/alectod, as well as all of my photography.  When she is not helping me make my stuff look great, she is busy running her very own free lance business called Turquoise Feathers.  She does everything from handmade vintage knick knacks to photography, web design, print design, logo design, drawing, and painting.  She is an amazing artist and truly has a passion for what she does.  Here are a couple Screenshots of  here self designed www.turquoisefeathers.com and turquoisefeathers.blogspot.com

turquoisefeathers.blogspot.com

www.turquoisefeathers.com


This is just a sneak peek into what my talented fiance can do.  I hope you enjoy looking through her wonderful blog and website and make sure an follow her soon.  Also if you need anything done print, photo, or web she is your girl.  Email her with the link below jennifer@turquoisefeathers.com

Till another Day 

Alec 
twitter: normallyINDIE

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Personal Whirlwind...

Man, what is going on in my life.

As many of you know I am currently the Student Ministries Intern at Emmanuel Church of Greenwood, engaged to a wonderful fiance Jenny Schroeder , and am currently on a quest to Blog Weekly (this one is a little late), read the One Year Bible daily, journal daily, and read 50 pages daily.  Although this may seem like a lot, it is these spiritual disciplines that have kept my mind, body, and spirit centralized on God.  In all the chaos that is the summer and all the chaos that goes into an internship, planning a wedding, and just daily life in general I know that these four things will stay central to who I am and the spiritual growth that takes place.

What has been the fruits of these spiritual disciplines as they have played out over the past month and a half.  I have found a revived sense of strength in knowing that my creator God is central to my life.  I have built a renewed trust and hope in him both in my personal decisions as well as our decisions as soon to be newlyweds.  I have come around this idea that intentional habits, lead to intentional spiritual growth, thus intentional growth leading to intentional life change, this intentional life change leading to a deepening influence.  All of which are imperative to the saving of the lives of the people I am around on a daily basis.

Although my life this past month has been a true whirlwind of emotions, feelings, life change, and chaos, I have found one thing to reign true throughout and that is the fact that "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you."  These are the words of Jesus to his disciples in Acts 1 after he revealed to them the fact that they are the ones being called to make disciples across all the world.  This overwhelming task would have undoubtedly lead to a wave of emotions and doubt if it were not for this phrase "YOU WILL RECEIVE POWER".  Jesus assures us, just as he assured his disciples, that we will receive power if we choose to trust in him with our whole lives.

In the midst of the chaos, I continue to choose Christ on a daily basis and in return I receive power from the Holy Spirit.

I challenge you with the same, you will not be left in weakness.

Till Another Day

normallyINDIE
Acts 1:8

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Decisions?

As many of you know, I am engaged to the most amazing girl in the world, Jenny Schroeder (www.turquoisefeathers.com) and with this comes a lot of new things.  Specifically we have a lot of decisions to make.  These decisions range from where we want to go on a date to where do we wanna live.  We are visiting a few apartment complexes this coming week and I am currently in the process of applying for church positions for my looming graduation date coming December 2011.

All of these decisions are things that Jenny and I were not ready for, but we are facing them head on.  With the decisions that this high of a level, they can easily become overwhelming.  But like most people who call themselves followers of God, we say we trust in God to provide.  I too find myself saying this, but after saying this I still find myself trying to make a certain outcome happen.  For it is easy to trust God when things just keep coming, but when you are in my situation, trusting God is something of its' own.  I have found that in order to truly trust God with everything, I must not worry about what is to come.  I am looking for a job, but I must trust that God will provide me with exactly what I need.  We are looking for a place to live and I must trust God that he will provide a neighborhood for us.  Trusting God with the unknown is something I am learning and trusting that God will truly work for the good of those who love him.

If we as believers truly do trust in God that means not worrying about how God is going to work, but just trusting that he will.

God works for the good of those who love him, therefore we must truly trust that he will do so.

Monday, June 13, 2011

True Hipster Inside Me

 So I recently signed on a cell phone contract with my fiance thus getting the iPhone 4 in February.  After downloading countless Apps my fiance turned me onto Instragram.  A photography App that makes people like me who can't take pictures, take pictures that actually look Hipster.  Here are a couple of pictures that I was able to take over the past couple months.  Enjoy!!
The Bloc Kids 
CCU Library

Bloc Kids #2

Sermonizing 


True Patriotism

Our Wedding Venue

INDIEana HandiCraft Exchange:  SWAG Bag

"Put the Hoop Up"


Shaggie "Our Labradoodle"
Great Read

An Amazing LP
Artwork from Jesus for President

Gas Prices are Killer

My attempt at super easy point and shoot photography.  Hopefully my very talented fiance can teach me a thing or two. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Love Wins" - Book Review

In honor of all of the controversy and my fondness of Rob Bell, I decided to purchase and read his new book "Love Wins".  What follows is my personal book review going Chapter by Chapter to describe the issues that are stated in each.

Chapter 1 - What About the Flat Tire 
          This chapter centered on the idea of the people in scripture and how they truly respond to Jesus.  What I took away from this Chapter was just truly understanding the fact that our life here in earth is about nothing else, but how we respond to the actions of Jesus.  For Jesus' ministry on Earth was not only words, but throughout history actions were a product of the words that were stated throughout scripture.

Chapter 2 - Here is the New There 
        For most it is understood that Heaven is a place that is much further from where we are presently, but Rob brings about another idea on the picture of Heaven.  For Rob it seems practical that for those who consider themselves to be followers of Christ, Heaven can be seen throughout daily life.  Through the illustration of the rich man parable that the love, joy, and peace of Heaven should not be considered to be missing from our present day life.

Chapter 3 - Hell 
        Much of the Hell discussion throughout this book is the most controversial section in the book.  For like Heaven, Hell seems to be seen in our daily lives.  It is believed by Rob that we have an opportunity on a daily basis to accept or reject God's calling for our lives, with the rejection comes destruction and turmoil.  This being lead by the opportunity to choose God daily.  This is a freedom that is through the truth that is spoken through the gospel.  Through this, like Heaven, Hell can be seen daily, Hell is here now and Hell is later.

Chapter 4 - Does God get What God Wants? 
        God heart is at the center of his ministry including his Love being at the foremost center.  As stated throughout the last chapter Love is a free choice and each person is given the opportunity to truly choose God's love.  It can even be believed that given enough time, everybody will turn to God.  For Rob believes that "untold masses of people suffering forever doesn't bring God glory."  For God will eventually melt even the hardest of hearts.  But on the other hand God's gift of love is free, thus the choice to be in love is free.   Love cannot be forced or manipulated, but it is a choice.

Chapter 5 - Dying to Live 
        Accepting the gift of love also includes the acceptance of Jesus' forgiving act on the cross.  With this acceptance of Jesus' forgiveness is an acceptance into a different lifestyle.  Thus each person who has chosen the love of Christ has chosen to die to their old lifestyle and engage in a new lifestyle that is centered on the actions paved by Jesus and his ministry.

Chapter 6 - There are Rocks Everywhere 
        Jesus is all around.  Paul found that Jesus was in all things including a rock.  Therefore Rob considers Jesus to also be apart of all cultures and apart of all areas of life.  But with this inclusion in all aspects of culture, brings to light the fact that Jesus will save everyone, which is not necessarily what Rob believes.  Instead he believes that Jesus is as wide and as narrow as the opportunities he gives his people to accept the gifts of love.  For Jesus is exclusive, but yet inclusive because he is a part of all aspects of culture.  Thus Jesus being present in ever aspect of creation, shows that he has given each person the opportunity to accept him.  For it is understood that it is only through Jesus that the breath of life can be found, but Jesus has given all people the opportunity to find it.

Chapter 7 - The Good News is Better Than That 
       For many churches today the idea of the Gospel is centered on "punching your ticket" to eternal life with God.  Although the church does center it's sermons and ideas on the action steps that come with Christianity, the most important aspect of Christianity is "punching your ticket".  But what Rob establishes is that the Gospel is much more than that.  When the gospel is reduced to such a point, the good news of the gospel becomes a ticket.  The good news of the Gospel is much more than that.  For the gift of the gospel is an unfair opportunity for the people who choose it.  For all people deserve death, but Heaven is our destination if we choose so.  Jesus is the rescue from the wrath of God, for God's wrath must be justified, but instead of us being held for our actions we are freed from this wrath.  The good news of God is much more than just a ticket, but it is a lifestyle change and a justification from the horrible life that we are given on this earth.

Chapter 8 - The End is Here 
      This chapter centers on the idea that our opportunities continue to pass as we go through life.  An important quotation that is at the center of this chapter is "While we may get other opportunities, we won't get the one right in front of us again."  Taking advantage on a said opportunity can be the most pivotal decision made.  The decision that we take and make on a daily basis will be decisions that field the rest of our life, meaning these decisions matter more than we can imagine.  Decisions take a whole new role, when you realize the importance of every small one.

All in All, this book brought to light many issues that I did not think about before.  The idea that God's love is truly at the center of his ministry, thus making the ministry of the Gospel much more about daily decisions to choose the love of Christ than "punching your ticket" to an eternity with Christ.  I do not feel the controversy did the book justice because despite all that was said, the scriptures still reigned true. There were so great ideas to be taken out of this book.