Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

Life in the Fishbowl - Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

When hunger bites at you, bite hunger back!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BiteHungerBack #CollectiveBias

Bite Hunger Back #BiteHungerBack #ad

I had forgotten how much growing teenagers eat in one day. We have two teens in our house right now. One of them (who shall remain nameless) is pretty much a bottomless pit. This kid would still complain about being hungry after eating a seven-course meal.

I get it, though. They are teenagers. So I understand the change in eating habits. School takes a lot out of you. Athletics takes a lot out of you. Following your favorite Boy Band’s every move takes a lot out of you. So you’ve got to eat. It’s part of being a growing teenager. I get that. I really do. But – holy cow – they can eat. A lot.

Hungry teens with forks #BiteHungerBack #ad

And this has me worried.

We are in the process of adopting a boy from halfway around the world. If everything goes the way we hope, hell be home with us by the end of this year.

He’s a teenager, too.

So that’s going to make the challenge of keeping our family’s bellies full without breaking the bank even more difficult. Don’t get me wrong. He’s totally worth it. And he’s going to make our family complete. But if he has half the appetite our other teens have, we could be in a heap of trouble.

Fortunately, there’s HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites and HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites.

HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites

Made with high quality ingredients, HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites can help fulfill your kids’ seemingly never-ending hunger. The Snack Bites are available in a variety of flavors, including Hickory Ham and Cheddar, Pepperoni Pizza, and Cheesy Beef Nacho. The Breakfast Bites flavors include Bacon, Egg, and Cheese, Sausage, Egg, and Cheese, and Ham, Egg, and Cheese. Once you try them, you’ll discover that they’re a satisfying snack with some serious staying power.

HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites at Walmart #BiteHungerBack #ad

You can find HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites in the frozen snacks section of your local Walmart. And during the month of April, you can save $1 off HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites with this coupon!

HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites are great any time!

Pepperoni Pizza HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites

When my teenager with the bottomless pit as a stomach complains about hunger pains a half an hour after dinner, HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites can help tackle that appetite. It’s great. My kids can pop them in the microwave without supervision and in almost no time at all, they can have tasty, cheesy goodness for a hearty snack. HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites are made with quality ingredients, including 100% real cheese. With the snack that bites hunger back, you can satisfy the hungriest of appetites.

Kick-start your day with HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites

HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites Close Up #BiteHungerBack #ad

I’ll be honest. Nobody in our house is a morning person. So breakfast before school is usually a pretty big chore and it’s also kind of miserable. With HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites, however, we can make the most of our morning with bites full of breakfast awesomeness. Much like the Snack Bites, these Breakfast Bites are stuffed with quality ingredients like 100% real cheese. They are a great way to bite through your morning hunger and start the day off on the right foot.

Thanks to HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites and HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites, I feel a little bit better about our family’s future with three teenage mouths to feed under one roof. I know their hunger will be satisfied with these hearty snacks. Now I can worry about other things: like how to get three teenagers to share a bathroom. Or share the remote control. Or put their dirty dishes in the sink. I hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew.

Be sure to check out HOT POCKETS® online by following them on Twitter, liking them on Facebook, and following them on Instagram for more great ways to bite hunger back when hunger tries to bite you.

 

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I’m not myself when I’m hungry at work

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

I'm not myself when I'm hungry #WhenImHungry #ad

I love my job. I have talked about how difficult the job can be at times, but I really do love it. I had no idea how fulfilling this job could be when I signed on. I had no idea how exciting and humbling and awe-inspiring it would be to watch a student write his name for the first time. I get more high fives and fist bumps and hugs in one week than I did during my entire tenure at my previous place of employment. I love these kids. And I work with a great team.

I love my job.

And that’s why I need to be at the top of my game. I want to give these kids my best effort every day. They need my best effort. And that doesn’t happen when I’m hungry. Because I’m not myself when I’m hungry. I’m more like a grumpy, grizzly, grouch.

Hungry Face #WhenImHungry #adMy palms get all clammy. Beads of sweat start to form on my forehead. My stomach starts to grumble. My lips begin to tremble. And my eye begins to twitch. I’m rarely a happy camper when I’m hungry.

It doesn’t exactly create the best academic environment when one of the instructional assistants is distracted and coming close to going on a rampage because he’s hungry. So I turn to SNICKERS®. I’ve especially become a fan of the SNICKERS® Peanut Butter Squared.

SNICKERS® available at Kroger #WhenImHungry #ad

I can pick one up in the checkout line at my neighborhood Kroger. It’s the perfect combination of peanut butter, nougat, peanuts, and caramel covered in milk chocolate. Oh, man. It’s so good. And it really hits the spot. It’s the perfect snack for when I’m starting to feel smacked around by my hunger in the middle of the day.

It fits perfectly in my backpack so I always know where it is and I can get to it easily. And since two squares come in one package, I can eat one and save the other for later. Of course, I can eat both squares in one sitting, too. Either way, my hunger will be satisfied.

SNICKERS® in my backpack #WhenImHungry #ad

I need to be able to give my full attention to the kids who are under my care when they’re at my learning station in our classroom. There’s no time to become a grumpy, grizzly, grouch. My time with these students is too precious. So there’s no time to be anyone but myself when I’m teaching them. So I can’t get hungry. Because I’m not me when I’m hungry.

SNICKERS® saves the day #WhenImHungry #adI’m definitely not myself when I’m hungry. Who are you when you’re hungry? Why not share it with the world? Enter the SNICKERS® “Who are you when you’re hungry?” contest by uploading a personal photo or video from your Computer, Facebook, Instagram or use the SNICKERS® Meme Generator to create something new! Voting begins at Noon on 5/11/15 and ends at 11:59:59AM ET on 7/15/15.

Be sure to check out more fun stories and recipes by visiting #WhenImHungry, too! You just might find yourself inspired. And you’ll definitely find ways to have your hunger satisfied.

 

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K is for ‘Koinonia’

K is for Koinonia #AtoZChallenge

Summer in the Son (aka SITS) at Kentucky Christian College (now known as Kentucky Christian University) was an annual tradition for our youth group while I was in high school. In fact, it looks like it’s still an annual tradition for them.

My experiences at SITS were highlights of my high school career. I guess you could call Summer in the Son an Ebenezer in my life. During my Freshman year, I was on the team that won the conference’s volleyball championship. Later on (possibly the year before my Junior year), I had the honor of standing up with one of my friends and watch him get baptized. I was introduced to the music of Rich Mullins, DC Talk, A-180 (later known as Audio Adrenaline), and Al Denson. There are some days where I think about songs like Be the One

and Beyond Belief

…and I have a little tear well up in the corner of my eye. It’s not because the videos are so hokey. Don’t get me wrong. They are pretty hokey. But the tears well up because the music takes me back to that Ebenezer. And I remember where God had brought me. And how far He’s brought me since those five amazing Summer experiences.

Summer in the Son was where I was challenged to shock the world with the Good News.

At the end of each night, our youth group would meet in an upper room in the Chapel. We’d sit in a big circle and share highlights and lowlights from the day. We’d laugh. We’d cry. We’d open up. Some people would share some pretty deep secrets. There was a lot of praying. There was a lot of hugging. And more crying. And more hugging. And more praying. And it would go on for hours. It was pretty intense. There were many nights where we’d be late for curfew. But that was OK. Because something BIG was happening. And God was moving in some powerful ways.

It was known as koinonia - “fellowship.”

There are very few moments since my SITS days that I’ve really, truly, experienced a deep connection with so many people on such a strong, personal level. I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit was working on us and through us during those intimate moments in the upper room.

I’m thankful for these moments in my past. I’m thankful for the adults who were there and prayed with us, prayed for us, listened to us, and supported us. I’m thankful for the other students who were there and for the bond we continue to share. I’m thankful for the grace that was showered upon us. I’m thankful for the unconditional love that we encountered each night. I’m thankful for the healing that began and the friendships that grew.

I’m thankful for the way God uses simple, no-frill meetings like our koinonia sessions and turns them into something that’s life-changing.

**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. You can see my other entries to this year’s challenge here. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**

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J is for Just Love Coffee

Here’s a friendly reminder that you can get a fabulous cup of coffee (or hot chocolate or mugs or apparel) delivered right to your doorstep. When you purchase from Just Love Coffee Roasters, you’re supporting fair trade around the world. Plus, you’re supporting our adoption efforts when you follow this link to make your purchase.

Just Love Coffee Roasters

Image via The Cultureist

If you’re gonna buy coffee anyway, why not help others in the process? Am I right?

If you hurry, there’s a special roast just in time for Mother’s Day. Who can pass up the I Love Mom Coffee Roast?

**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. You can see my other entries to this year’s challenge here. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**

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I is for Injera

I is for Injera #AtoZChallenge

This image of injera was edited by my daughter. She did a great job, didn’t she?

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with injera. OK. “Hate” is too strong of a word. But there are times where I’m really not a fan.

What’s injera, you ask? I’m glad you did!

Aly eating Ethiopian food with injera

That’s Aly trying injera back in 2009.

Injera is the spongy, sourdough-type bread that’s a staple in Ethiopian cuisine. It’s thinner than a pancake and thicker than a crepe. It’s part of the meal. It’s also the meal’s plate. And it’s your utensil.

You read that right. No spoons. No forks. You simply tear off some injera and scoop up some of the stew or veggies or lentils or whatever you’re eating. It’s messy. And kind of fun.

I love injera because of its deep ties to Ethiopia. I love injera because it reminds me of Mihret’s first home. And now it also reminds me of “W’s” current home. It’s a beautiful thing.

There are times, however, when I’m not really a fan. Sometimes it’s too sour. And I definitely don’t like injera by itself. Fortunately, it’s not supposed to be eaten by itself. And when you tear off a chunk and grab a handful of doro wat or doro alicha or cabbage, carrots, and potatoes?

Oh man.

I don’t think it gets any better than that. Somehow, the sourness of the injera just works with the rest of the food. It’s an amazing experience.

And I can’t wait to have some more.

**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. You can see my other entries to this year’s challenge here. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**

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H is for Heroes!

H is for Heroes - A to Z Challenge

Oh man.

The Age of Ultron is almost here.

I’m a sucker for hero movies. So I can’t wait for the second installment of Avengers! It promises to be a great way to kick off Summer!

How about you? What movies are you looking forward to this Summer?

**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. You can see my other entries to this year’s challenge here. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**

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G is for Getting Organized

G is for Getting Organized - A to Z Challenge

All my life, keeping things organized has been an issue for me. It started in elementary school and got worse throughout my academic career. Let’s not talk about my pitiful excuse of a science fair experiment that I tried to throw together over night in middle school. Or the semester-long research paper that I scrambled to research and write the weekend before it was due my Junior year of high school. And that poetry project I pulled an all-nighter to create during my Freshman year of college? Although the final product was pretty good, I’m convinced it could’ve been better. It certainly wasn’t my best effort. I’d run out of time. Because I wasn’t organized.

“Get organized.” That’s something I was told quite a bit during high school and college. I was even told that by my immediate supervisor in my first experience in full-time ministry – the one that only lasted for 9 months. Part of the reason I didn’t last that long was because of my poor organizational skills. People just kept telling me to “get organized,” though. And I was never really given any tools to discover how to get organized.

I knew I needed to get organized. I just didn’t know where to start. So I’d write “Get Organized” as an item on my to-do list. Like that was going to help. Are you surprised that I never checked the box on that line of my lists?  I didn’t really know any better. I have the feeling that a lot of people feel that way. They know they need to improve the way they have things organized, but they just can’t figure out how. They don’t even know where to begin.

I’m not the most organized person in the world. Just ask Christy. But I’m better than I used to be. I’ve read books. I’ve checked out articles on the Internet. I’ve watched news segments about organization. None of that really helped. The best thing I did was about ten years ago. I got help. I was able to talk to someone and she helped me figure out how to take tasks that were overwhelming and break them down into manageable things. She helped me realize that I need to create patterns in my own life so I can maintain some level of control when things get all crazy and seemingly unmanageable.

At the time, I was also learning about management at a pizza place. The best thing I’ve taken away from that experience was this little nugget: Don’t wait until later. If you think of something that needs to be done, go ahead and do it. Don’t wait until later because you’re assuming you’ll have time later in the day. You don’t know what is going to happen later in the day. So don’t put off until later what you can do right now. This is true in most things, not just the pizza making business. If something needs to be done, get it done. Don’t procrastinate.

Both of these mentors in my life helped me realize this key thing when it comes to getting organized:

Getting organized is a process, not an event.

You can’t just wake up one day and say “I’m organized.” It’s not an item you can just check off your list and everything is magically organized for the rest of your life. It’s an ongoing process. At least, it’s an ongoing process for people like me. I have a feeling it’s an ongoing process for you, too.

Here are some things that have helped me get a handle on the organization process. Now I don’t have to just write “Get organized” on my to-do list and hope things magically get better:

  • I use alarms like crazy. If I want to remember to do something, I have to set an alarm. That makes my phone buzz a lot (I usually use silent alarms), but it’s totally worth it.
  • I hinted at it a week or so ago, but I’m a big fan of Evernote. I used to use it all the time when preparing for sermons. Now I use it to help keep me on task. I know I’m only scratching the surface of its functionality the way I use it. Michael Hyatt has taught me quite a bit about great ways to use Evernote. I’m still learning.
  • I’ve used Trello for projects. It’s a nice visual taskmaster.
  • Even with all of the bells and whistles on my phone, I still use a physical calendar to chart out my “editorial calendar” for my blog. Have I followed it to a ‘T’ this year? Nope. I think I was a bit too ambitious. But it’s definitely helped to keep me on track.
  • I try not to procrastinate because I know it gets me into trouble. Still working on that one. A lot. And I’m trying to encourage my kids to avoid getting into that habit because it’s a hard habit to break.

I’m no organization expert. Like I said, just ask Christy. But I’ve gotten better. Seminary kind of helped force me to get a handle on things. But I’m still not great. But that’s OK. It’s a process, not just an event. This leads me to ask:

What do you do to stay organized? What lessons have you learned? What tips can you share?

I want to keep learning. I need to keep learning and keep getting better. And the only way I can do that is by learning from other people. So…what tips do you have?

**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. You can see my other entries to this year’s challenge here. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**

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F is for Final Four Fan Fest

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”James Naismith

Rumor has it that Indianapolis received some rave reviews about this year’s Final Four. And why not? Basketball rules the roost in Indiana. And Men’s Final Four weekend is a great celebration of all things basketball. Combining the two? Well, it just makes sense. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect combination.

So we spent Sunday afternoon/evening in Indy. It was not your typical Easter Sunday for us, but at least we managed to have some ham sandwiches on the way to the festivities.

We joined 3,500 other kids in a giant basketball parade, dribbling through the streets of downtown Indy. There were a few organizational speedbumps in getting the whole thing started, but that’s probably to be expected. Once we were on the road, there was nothing to stop us.

We also got to play around in the Fan Experience inside the Convention Center. Then we got to ride a Ferris Wheel and hear some live music. For the whole day, we spent a grand total of five bucks. And that was to park. I’m not sure you can beat that deal!

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

 

It was a great day full of fun, family, and music. And walking. Lots of walking.

Not a bad way to spend your Sunday afternoon, though. We can’t wait for the Final Four to return in five years!

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E is for Electric Youth

I originally wanted to write about Evansville for my “E” entry. But then I wrote about the University of Evansville for “C is for Championship.”

It would also behoove me to say that “E” is for Ethiopia. But I said that two years ago. And I’d rather not repeat myself in such a challenge. OK, I am going to repeat myself in a post later this month. But I already told you I was going to do that during the last A to Z Challenge.

So that leaves me needing a new topic for the letter “E”. I think I know exactly what to say. And my wife is going to love it.

E is for Electric Youth #AtoZChallenge

This one’s for you, Christy. Love ya.

Go ahead. You know you want to dance. You can’t fight it. Because it’s the next generation, which is part of the future that only belongs to itself. And it’s electric.

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Get rid of your stink with Irish Spring Signature for Men

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MySignatureMove #CollectiveBias

Get rid of your stink #MySignatureMove

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love my job at the local elementary school. Seriously. I love it. It’s challenging. It keeps me on my toes because something new happens every day. I couldn’t ask for better teammates to work with. I’ll be honest, some days are really tough. But it’s quite rewarding. That makes everything else worth it.

It can also be a pretty dirty job.

And there are times when I wind up taking some of that mess home with me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had food smeared on my pants or my shirt or my hair. And…well…how do I say this delicately? There are times when I have to deal with some stinky situations, if you know what I’m saying. And that stink can sometimes follow me around even after I leave the school. And sometimes I don’t even notice that stink until much later.

What is that smell #MySignatureMove

Truth be told, I’m kind of inclined to initially blame my son for the stink. He’s a teenager, after all. And he works out with the football team after school almost every day. That includes speed drills. So he sweats. A lot. Believe me. I know about teenage boys and body odor. So it’s easy to point the finger at him. But once I conclude that this unfortunate smell is not him, I try to blame the dog or the sewer or some poor unsuspecting neighbor who happens to walk by our house. I do eventually accept the fact that I am, in fact, the one who brought home the stink.

Once I discover that I’m the source, I know it’s time to do something about it.

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Walmart In Store Photo #MySignatureMove

Made with natural ingredients, Irish Spring Signature for Men products are available at your local Walmart. The soap is a bigger cut, created with man-hands in mind. And the great new scents will help you banish the stink from your home.

Man sized soap for man sized hands #MySignatureMove

If you like smelling good and feeling clean, you need to give Irish Spring Signature for Men a try. If that doesn’t already convince you, maybe this will: Purchase one of the new Irish Spring Signature products and get $5 off a VUDU purchase! Take a picture of your receipt and then go here to upload your receipt. Next step, enjoy watching!

VUDU screenshot #MySignatureMove

It’s that simple. How cool is that?

Maybe you have a teenage guy at home and he smells…well, he smells like most teenage guys do. Or maybe he doesn’t usually stink, except when he’s playing sports. Instead of trying to figure out a way to dance around the issue, why not just give him some new soap? What are you waiting for? Get rid of that stink!

Soap and Body Wash #MySignatureMove

Or maybe your situation is like mine. You work at a job that has the potential of generating some serious stinkage. What are you waiting for? Man up and get rid of your stink!

Shower #MySignatureMove

This ain’t your Daddy’s Irish Spring – not that there is anything wrong with the original scent. But this is a new generation of body care products for a new generation of men. And when you decide to use it to ban the stink from your life, I’m pretty sure your family will thank you. Your neighbors might thank you. Your co-workers might thank you. Your goldfish might even thank you. And you just might discover your signature move.

#MySignatureMove mirror

Who in your life needs to banish the stink? Is it you?

 

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