My New Neighborhood Market

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 23 2010

Springfield has been abuzz about the opening of Bistro Market, the first grocery store in the heart of downtown Springfield. I’ve been particularly interested in its arrival, since it is just a few steps down the street from my office. This is the view from my desk… the roof of Moseley’s Office Furniture, a parking lot, and Bistro Market is on the first floor of the brick building:

The store opened on Friday. My co-workers and I walked through the store and were impressed and excited that it was all so… nearby! For lack of a better term, it’s “cool-looking.” It’s designed well with a big-city atmosphere, yet still feels warm. The Springfield Business Journal has posted some photos of the interior here. We were most excited about having staples such as ice, paper plates, etc. available within easy walking distance! This will definitely cut down on our miles driven when we have office parties.

It was so busy on Friday, I decided to wait to actually buy anything. So I walked down today to grab a to-go lunch from the salad bar. The store was very busy again; the seating areas were all full. However, I stepped right up to the counter and ordered and paid. I was in and out of the store in under five minutes. The salad bar had a great selection of fresh, high-quality ingredients. I made my salad with pear chunks and pecan halves, along with a little shredded mozzarella, bacon bits, carrots, and ranch. It. Was. Delicious. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill salad bar. They also have fresh fruit and sides like pasta and potato salad. (Blueberries + cottage cheese = yum.) I remembered to snap a photo about halfway through my salad:

The only downside was that the salad was a bit more expensive than what I usually pay for the salad bar at Dillon’s grocery store. However, you pay by weight at Dillon’s, whereas Bistro Market charges a flat fee. Theoretically, you could load up that to-go box with as much food as it could hold. Also, the time and gas I save by just walking down the street makes up for the extra cash expense at Bistro Market.

I have a feeling I will be eating many lunches at/from Bistro Market. Between the salad bar, deli, and hot food bar, it’s almost like downtown Springfield workers have their own company cafeteria! I’m looking forward to getting to know my new neighborhood market better. Judging from the crowds on the first few days, it will be around for a long time.

Notes from Donald Miller’s Keynote at Echo

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 06 2010

The opportunity to hear Donald Miller speak was one of the main reasons I decided to go to Echo. I read his latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, recently and it changed the way I think about life. During and after his session, the #echo10 Twitter stream included some comments from people who were disappointed in his presentation. Even Donald Miller himself tweeted that he “felt ick” about it. I think people were expecting the man who wrote an entire book about the importance of story in our life to tell us stories. Instead, he presented statistics and step-by-step ideas on how to make those stories happen. Once I settled into what he was saying, I was excited that he was giving us all the secret to inspiring ourselves and others to live great stories. I was furiously taking notes through his whole speech. Here’s what I managed to capture:

Donald Miller
Keynote Address – Echo Conference 2010

In his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink reveals what really motivates us. External, financial rewards actually hurt production. Having a clear, altruistic purpose is what really motivates people. (He referred to several other statistics that supported this idea, but I couldn’t catch them all!)

People will buy the story every time. Tom’s Shoes are OK-looking shoes that don’t last very long. They’ve become popular because they have a great story and a goal to help others.

To tell a story that will change the world:

Start planning by creating a Single Climactic Scene

  • This tells the story of the people affected by the project.
  • It is a fully-fleshed, personable end goal with a visual image that is intellectually and emotionally engaging.

Questions to ask as you develop your Single Climactic Scene (SCS):

  • What is the project?
  • What are the outcomes you’re responsible for?
  • Why is this good for your organization, your customers, and your community?
  • Describe one of the scenes that can ONLY happen if you bring about the SCS.

After you’ve written the SCS, ask yourself:

  • From my associates’ perspective, why might the SCS not be engaging?
  • Have I captured a scene that employees and customers can envision?
  • Can my people make an emotional and intellectual connection with the SCS?
  • Does bringing about the SCS mean we’ve accomplished all we are responsible for?

After the SCS is finalized, ask these questions as you begin to work to achieve it:

  • What are the most obvious conflicts that we’ll encounter as we pursue the SCS?
  • List all MAJOR conflicts that you can anticipate. If these go unaddressed, the SCS will not happen. (This step automatically sets priorities.)
  • What is the deadline for the SCS?
  • With that deadline in mind, when must we respond to our anticipated conflicts?
  • Enlist/hire the appropriate characters to overcome the conflicts.

God wants you to take responsibility for your life. Take a risk; tell a hard story.

Notes from Kem Meyer’s Breakout Session at Echo

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 04 2010
Here are the thoughts I managed to scribble down during Kem Meyer’s breakout session. I’m 2 or 3 chapters into her book—I can’t wait to read and apply the rest!
Less Clutter, Less Noise
Kem Meyer – Echo Conference 2010
  • We are trying to persuade people to change.
  • Don’t push your agenda, personalize it.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear
  • Our job is not to send a message, it’s to release a response.
1. Check your ego.
  • We overestimate what we have to say; we underestimate how it will affect the hearer.
  • People aren’t open to my change prescription (“You’re not the boss of me!”)  and are offended by insider language.
  • Think less about what you have to say, and more about how it impacts others.
2. Get an image consultant.
  • Have someone else (co-worker, spouse, friend, etc.) look at your work for context.
  • Have someone test your assumptions.
  • Draw on the perspective of others.
  • You can’t assume others will respond the same way you do. Learn about your audience. (Don’t make your audience do the hard work of trying to figure out what you’re saying.)
  • Think about influence, not control. (Kem told a personal story about her daughter. Her daughter had been behaving rebelliously. Kem realized that when she stopped telling her what to do, and started having a conversation with her, things began to change. She successfully applied this same principle to all of her communication.)
3. Keep it simple.
  • If you want to maximize response, you need to minimize options.
  • Think progressive dinner, not potluck! (Don’t give immediately give your audience every bit of info they might possibly need.  What do they need to know first–the MOST important thing? Then what do they need next? Then next…?)
  • Which is more effective–the food pyramid or “3 months or 3,000 miles”? (Which do you think about and actually use more often in daily life? It’s the simple one.)
  • We don’t need more content, we need to fix the flow–make information easier to find.
  • Let people sort themselves. When you need size 8 running pants, you don’t look for the Size 8 Running Pants Store. You go to a store that has clothes, then you look for the women’s clothes, then you look for athletic wear, then you look for pants, then you look for size 8! People can find the information they need if you make it easy for them to self-categorize.
  • “A generation ago, the question was, ‘What is truth?‘ Today, it’s ‘What’s the point?‘” -Billy Graham
  • Output should decrease, conversation should increase.

Notes from Jon Acuff’s Keynote at Echo

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 03 2010

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Echo Conference in Dallas, Texas. It’s a conference for people who work in church media, but there was TON of info I’ll be able to apply to my work in the marketing department of a staffing company. It was personally refreshing and professionally inspiring.

I took tons of notes, and will be sharing them over the next few weeks, as I have time to type them up and get them posted. I’ll start with my notes from Jon Acuff’s keynote. Jon is the creator of, a site that he started to discuss the problem of Christian “Christianizing” pop culture phenomenons. He said he expected it to only last a few weeks, but two years, and one book later, it’s still going strong. Here are the ideas I managed to jot down:

The Rhythm of Social Media
Jon Acuff – Echo Conference 2010

Three elements to successful social media:

- Americans are subjected to 3,500 marketing messages each day.
- Surprise can help your message stick.
- The brain tries to associate new information with old ideas. If your idea isn’t new enough to grab attention, people will tune it out.
- For example, Jon’s “Booty, God, Booty” concept is surprising and more memorable than simply saying, “Sometime we compartmentalize our faith.”
- There is a difference between being shocking and being surprising. A shock is a shortcut–cheap and quick.
- Our stories should have a seamless, short gap between the hook (the surprise) and the core message. (How can a church move from “come to church Sunday for a chance to win a new car!” to “Jesus died for you”? It’s a ridiculous stretch.)

- You have to be consistent. “Single Ladies Devastation” was not Carlos Whittaker’s first YouTube video of his kids. It’s what he does every day.
- Exodus 13 – Like the Isrealites, sometimes God takes us on the longer road because we’re not ready for the battles of the short road. We often don’t want to accept the gift of the desert road, but God takes us on the long way because He loves us.
- Focus on the vital instead of the viral.
- God is about filling hearts, not rooms.

- It’s kind of obvious, but honesty communicates powerfully.
- Ad agencies are catching on to this:

- We think we have to be cleaned up to do what we do. “I’m not ready yet.”
This is where the devil can attack us. He’s not omnipotent, so he only attacks the       things that benefit the kingdom. When you start using your talents, he attacks you.
- Having a separate ‘online you’ and ‘offline you’ is dangerous.
- Jon told a story about a kid who accidentally put mustard on his ice cream, but rather than accepting a free, clean bowl of ice cream, he just stirred it in, because he was embarrassed. We don’t have to eat the mustard ice cream! You can’t fix your life by stirring the bad stuff in. Jesus came for the failures and mess-ups. He’ll give you a clean bowl.
- Fame is dangerous in the Christian world. Don’t chase fame; you’re already famous to God.
- The headline about the Vietnam kindergarten-building effort on was “Blog Raises $30,000 in 18 Hours,” but it actually took 18 months of relationship-building and daily blog posts.

What I’m eating for lunch this week – RBCOO

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 15 2010

For ten days in January, I did a Daniel Fast. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s based on the diet Daniel and his friends ate instead of the king’s rich foods as described in Daniel 1 and 10. There are several versions of this fast out there, some are more strict than others. Most people do 21 days, but a 10-day period is also mentioned in the book of Daniel, and I wanted my first attempt to be achievable. Basically, I didn’t eat meat, dairy products, bread (or anything made with non-whole-grains), or sugar. I followed the guidelines used by Elevation Church, so I allowed small amounts of honey, olive oil, and spices. It was a good experience, and not as difficult as I anticipated, although I wouldn’t call it easy. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to ease into the high-fiber aspect of the fast to avoid some…. unpleasant… side effects.

But this post is not about the Daniel Fast itself, but rather one of the meals I ate while on the fast. I liked it so much that I still eat it fairly frequently. In fact, I made a batch Sunday night and have taken it to work for lunch every day this week. It’s super-easy, healthy, tastes good, and reheats well. I don’t have a name for it, but when writing a shopping list or something, I’ve been abbreviating it as: RBCOO. (Rice, Beans, Corn, Olive Oil)

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups uncooked brown rice (I use Minute Brown Rice–not the brown-est, probably, but definitely the easiest.)
15 oz can black beans – rinsed and drained
11 oz can sweet corn – drained
1 tbsp. olive oil
chili powder

Cook the rice as described on the box. Mix in the beans and corn. In a large frying pan over med-high heat, sautee half of the mixture in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil; sprinkle with chili powder to taste as it cooks. I usually leave it in the pan for… I don’t know… 3 or 4 minutes. Just until it looks done. Repeat with second half of mixture. Makes 6 1-cup servings.

Like I said, super-easy. You could skip the sauteeing, olive oil, and chili powder if you were on a stricter fast, but it tastes much better and adds some healthy fat to the fiber and protein. Here are the basic nutrition facts for a 1-cup serving:

225 calories
4g fat
5g dietary fiber
6g protein

You could also add chicken or beef if you wanted to make it a little heartier (but it wouldn’t be Daniel Fast-friendly, obviously.) It is very filling as-is, though. A 1-cup serving, plus a couple snacks like some almonds and an apple easily get me through my day at the office. I snapped a few pics when I made it Sunday night:

active:water 5K flyer + my fave free typeface

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Apr 09 2010

My friend Jeremiah recently asked me to put together a flyer for a 5K fundraiser his youth group is hosting. He needed it quickly, so I threw this together:

active:water is a cool organization that raises funds for clean water and sanitation projects around the world. They raise money via 5K races, sponsored marathon runners, and other active endeavors.

I’m always glad to help out my old youth group and I’m proud of them for raising funds for such a worthy cause.

The flyer itself is simple. (Like I said, I put it together quickly.) I initially worried it doesn’t say “5K! COME RUN!” loudly enough, but I think it was more important to focus on the  purpose of the 5K… clean water. I hope the one-color blue-on-white will make it stand out among other flyers which are usually black on bright paper or very colorful with photos.

For the type, I chose League Gothic, which has become my go-to “cool” typeface lately. I tend to gravitate to bold condensed fonts for flyers because I can get more info in a smaller space, yet it’s still readable from a distance. League Gothic also has a touch of that retro/letterpress/concert poster feeling. Best of all, it’s FREE from the fine folks in The League of Movable Type. I’m looking forward to using some of their other offerings, especially one of the serifs… Sorts Mill Goudy has a lovely italic.

Design ramblings aside, if you’ll be in the West Plains area on Memorial Day weekend, register for the 5K (or 1 mile walk). If you’re not in the area, consider doing what you can to support active:water!

Awesome Apple Bread

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Nov 25 2009

Awesome Apple Bread

I decided to try this recipe for two reasons:
1) I have received Recipe Exchange emails from a couple friends, so wanted something fall-ish to share.
2) I wanted to bring something breakfast-y/snack-y to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe on, and tweaked it a bit based on some of the comments, and I think it turned out great! It was easy to put together; I definitely plan on making this again. I also want to try a healthier version with whole wheat flour, lower fat, etc… but here’s the buttery, sugary, real deal (at least there’s fruit, right?)

Awesome Apple Bread
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp.)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups apples, peeled and diced
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, and I opted out)

Combine and set aside the oil, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to oil mixture gradually. Add apples and nuts. Bake in two regular loaf pans or three foil loaf pans for 90 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

Here are a few photos of my process:


1 Comment | This entry was posted on Aug 11 2009

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