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."

Our family is growing. So I’m stocking my medicine cabinet.

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

Stocking up our medicine cabinet #HealthySavings.jpg

Our family is about to grow again. Soon, we’ll be a family of six. Our family is about to explode in anticipation of this boy’s arrival. We have his bed ready. We have tons of clothes for him. We already know his name and we can’t wait for him to fill the empty chair around our dinner table. We’ve had one waiting for him for a while.

The empty chair at our dining room table #HealthySavings

I mentioned that he’s a teenager. Right? And that he’s currently half a world away. And our waiting has been longer than any pregnancy could ever be. But that’s part of the adoption journey. Christy has already met him. She got to hug him and spend a lot of quality time with him and love on him for almost a whole week. Hopefully, I’ll be meeting him before the year ends. That’s exciting.

In the meantime…

So we’re kind of stuck in between the excitement of knowing our son will be coming home and waiting for the rest of the bureaucratic requirements to be completed. Can I be real with you for a second? This waiting? It’s hard stuff. But it gives us a chance to be prepared. So we’ve taken this extra time to get things ready. We want to be prepared for when he finally joins our family. And now that it looks like we’re finally seeing the light at the end of this tunnel, it’s time to start putting the final pieces together at home.

One area that was in desperate need of some tender loving care was my medicine cabinet. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it was bare.

Empty Medicine Cabinet #HealthySavings

It’s time to start preparing.

An empty medicine cabinet like this is unacceptable. Our house needs to be prepared for the unexpected. It’s almost winter, after all. It’s time to get our house in order. This would be important even if we were still just a family of five. But as a family of six with three teenagers in our home? It’s important to be prepared.

This kid is quite the soccer player. He loves the sport. I have a strong suspicion that he’ll want to play soccer with me whenever possible. This is going to be a challenge for two big reasons. The last time I played competitive soccer was when I was in fourth grade. The fact that I didn’t play anymore after that should tell you how good I was (or wasn’t) at soccer. Plus, I’m not exactly “young” anymore. I’d be an old-timer in almost any professional sport. Aches and pains and soreness are not exactly uncommon when I happen to participate in athletic competitions. But I can’t tell him, “No. Dad can’t play right now,” when I really can play. So I’ve got to be ready for some sore muscles.

I work at an elementary school. Germs are always flying around – especially during the upcoming cold months. There is no way I can get sick. I have to be ready to fly to my son’s homeland and bring him home. I can’t afford to get sick.

Of course, just in case anyone in our house does happen to get sick, we need to be ready for that. Time is running out. If I wait until these events happen, it’s going to be too late.

I began stocking my medicine cabinet.

So I went around the corner to my local Walgreens to pick up a few items and rescue my medicine cabinet. The display near the Pharmacy area had exactly what I needed.

Walgreens #HealthySavings Display

I knew what I wanted. And I found the items quickly. It was great to find everything in one place. It was also nice to see that I could save up to $15 on Pfizer products during the month of November.

Of course, I had to get some Chapstick for our youngest. She loves her Chapstick. She’ll be very excited to know that I bought two of them this time: one for her and one for her new brother. They’ll match!

Walgreens Coupons #HealthySavings

With some of the incredible deals that were available, it only made sense to double-up on my Centrum MultiGummies. The deal was just too good to pass up. And since I’m looking for a way to boost both my energy and my immunity as I prepare to start trying to keep up with another teenager in our house, it was a no-brainer to plan ahead and buy two months’ worth of the vitamins.

Centrum MultiGummies #HealthySavings

Some of the Pfizer items included in this great deal at Walgreens include Thermacare, Advil, Children’s Advil, Chapstick, Nexium 24HR, Emergen-C, and Dimetapp.   It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up for the winter. And it was a great way to get our house’s medicine cabinet ready for the newest addition to our family.

Stocking up at Walgreens #HealthySavings

The medicine cabinet is less bare. I feel pretty good about its status now. So now that our empty medicine cabinet has been filled, hopefully our empty chair at the dinner table will be filled very soon, too!

Stocked Medicine Cabinet #HealthySavings

Want to know more about these and other great Pfizer products? Check them out here!



The update we’ve been waiting 11 months and 15 days for…

"11 months and 15 days..." -  hourglass - Original image credit: Habib M’henni / Wikimedia Commons

Original image credit: Habib M’henni / Wikimedia Commons


11 months and 15 days.

Almost 50 weeks.

Close to 350 days.

Approximately 8395 hours.

That’s how long we’ve been waiting for a document from W’s home region. It’s an important document that’s required for the US Embassy to be able to complete their investigation for the PAIR (Pre-Adoption Immigration Review) process. Submitting to PAIR is the final hurdle to clear before we’re able to travel to Ethiopia and bring W home.

We received notice that our case was submitted to PAIR today!

This is HUGE news.

It seemed like the timeline for completing this adoption had been in a holding pattern while we waited for this document to be completed. And now it’s finally submitted and the clock can start moving again!

While it’s not time for me to start packing my bags just yet, we can now confidently say that it should be happening soon. Like, within the next few months (barring any unforeseen circumstances). That’s a big-huge deal.

Adoption ain’t for the faint of heart, y’all. And I am excited to meet my boy! I’m hoping and praying that I don’t have to wait very much longer.

Aly, Bella, and Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind formula

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

Bella Close Up #BrightMind #ad

It wasn’t meant to be…

Nine years ago this Fall, our family walked into a local animal rescue shelter in Upper East Tennessee, determined to bring home a dog named Bella. Christy and Aly had been there earlier and they had fallen in love with this beautiful, gentle giant of a dog. As we all walked in to meet Bella for the first time.

As we entered Bella’s cage to meet her, a family walked in with a leash. They had just adopted her and were taking her home. We were sad. I think Aly was pretty close to devastated. They already had a connection with this dog and we were looking forward to  having her join our other dog, Diego, as part of our growing family. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

Perfect timing.

As we walked around the rescue shelter, wondering what to do next, Aly watched a family bring in an adorable 10 week old puppy. She was white with some brown spots. Nobody was sure what breed she was. Maybe some type of beagle/pointer mix?

The details really don’t matter that much. Because Aly was instantly in love. As soon as the family left the building, we made a beeline to the volunteer who was working that evening and instantly began the paperwork to adopt this precious little puppy.

We named her Bella, in honor of the Bella we were originally planning on adopting. We left home that night, fully intending on bringing a Bella home. It just wasn’t the Bella we were expecting.

Puppy Bella

The photo above was taken shortly after we brought her home. Just look at that face! Who can resist those legitimate puppy dog eyes? We instantly fell in love with our Bella. And Aly has considered her to be a sister since Day One. And their personalities really do mirror each other. It’s kind of spooky how much they’re alike sometimes. These two have a very close bond. They have very similar spirits and temperaments. It’s almost like they’re soul sisters.

She’s growing up like everyone else.

Bella’s definitely not a puppy anymore. In fact, now that she’s older than 7 years old, she’s considered a senior. Now that Bella’s older, her nutritional needs are changing. Like any other family member, we want to give her what she needs to remain healthy. And providing the proper nutrition is pretty important. The experts at Purina  have discovered that a dog’s brain chemistry begins to change significantly. This change can have a pretty big impact on a dog’s memory, awareness, and decision-making. That’s why Purina has created the Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind for adults. Their formulas were created with senior dogs like Bella in mind. Owners who include Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind as part of their dog’s daily diet may see an improvement in their dog’s memory, attention, and trainability.

#BrightMind available at PetSmart #ad

We want the best for our dog. After all, she’s kind of like family. So we went to our local PetSmart to give this new formula a try. Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind includes enhanced botanical oils that promote mental sharpness in older dogs like Bella. Some owners have seen improvements in their dogs’ mental sharpness in as little as 30 days. That’s pretty remarkable! So we wanted Bella to give it a try.

Purina Pro Plan #BrightMind #ad

Because changing dog food can cause unnecessary stress on a dog’s digestive system, it’s important to take a few days to transition to a new dog food. For Bella, most of her diet consisted of the original dog food with a few bites of Pro Plan Bright Mind mixed in. Each day, we increased the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of the old food. By the end of the week, she had transitioned completely to the new Bright Mind formula. Transition to Purina Pro Plan #BrightMind #ad

It might sound like that was a lot of transition, but it really wasn’t. It only took a few extra seconds to mix the food. And it was worth that extra effort to ensure a smooth transition for Bella’s digestive system. After all, she’s like family to us. And we want to do what we can to care for her properly.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out Aly already has plans for Bella to be an integral part of her bridal party if she gets married somewhere down the road. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Aly and her “soul sister.”


A relative’s switch to bluPLUS+ e-Cigs

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Readers must be 18 years of age or older. All opinions are mine alone. #bluPLUS #CollectiveBias

A relative's switch to bluPLUS e-cigs

We have a relative who is tired of smoking cigarettes. She’s tired of the expense. She’s tired of the mess. She’s tired of smelling like smoke everywhere she goes. Our family is happy to help her make the switch from cigarettes to bluPLUS+ e-Cigs. Because we’re also tired of the mess. And we’re tired of the smell. Everyone in our household welcomes this change and we want to do whatever we can to help support her as she makes the switch.

blu PLUS+ e-Cigs Xpress Kit Close up

It’s pretty easy to buy bluPlus+ products. You don’t even have to leave your home. You can buy them online with ease. And that’s pretty important for us. We’re able to help provide this relative with a regularly updated monthly supply of vape tanks. What’s a vape tank? It’s the part of the e-cig that holds the flavor. It provides the most enhanced vapor and flavor available. You can find out more information about their tanks by clicking here.

When you order from the website, you have access to nicotine strength (anywhere from Non-Nicotine to High) and flavors that are not available anywhere else. It is a personalized shopping experience. The digital store also offers exclusive discounts and sales that are only available online. And when you sign up for the blu Nation Rewards program, you’re eligible to earn some pretty neat stuff. And you don’t even have to make a purchase to participate. You can earn points by reading specific articles or connecting your social accounts.

Ordering blu PLUS+ e-Cigs online

We’re starting our relative off with the bluPLUS+ Xpress Kit. It includes a long-lasting rechargeable battery and two flavor tanks. It also includes a USB charger so you can quickly recharge your e-cig’s battery while you’re on the go.  For a limited time, the kit is also bundled with a free pack of flavor tanks.  This means the bundle contains $30 worth of product and is currently available for only $14.99, while supplies last.

blu PLUS+ e-Cigs Xpress Kit charging

In addition to the online store, there are several other ways you can keep up to date with how blu is continually improving the e-cig experience. You can like their page on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram (@blucigs) and Twitter (@blucigs). If you want to hear what others are saying about bluPLUS+, this Pinterest board is a great place to look.

I’m glad we’re able to help our relative make the switch. With bluPLUS+ e-Cigs, we’re able to provide her with a smokeless experience that feels and tastes good. Our family welcomes this alternative to the smelly, ashy, expensive lifestyle she has been living.

blu PLUS+ e-Cigs Xpress Kit wood

Mihret in the Spotlight

You know, Christy and I think that Mihret is a pretty special little girl. I know, I know. We’re supposed to think that way because she’s our daughter. But she really is. I promise. And I have proof outside of our own objective biased opinion.

You can ask the principal at her school. And you can also ask our district’s School Board.
Mihret in the Spotlight - Title

At the beginning of each School Board meeting, our district invites a school to shine a spotlight on one of their students. The schools rotate throughout the year. That gives each school two opportunities throughout the year to present a student to the School Board as one of their Spotlight Students.

The Principal at Mihret’s school chose Mihret as her school’s representative at this month’s School Board meeting. With the help of a friend, she opened the meeting by leading all attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Mihret helped lead the Pledge of Allegiance at tonight’s School Board meeting. #SpotlightStudent

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Then her Principal shared a little about their Spotlight Student. He shared a few words about her. He said that she’s an exemplary student with a bright smile and an “I do it myself” attitude.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, she was named Most Determined in her class a few years ago. I promise. We aren’t that biased when we say she’s a remarkable little girl. It’s pretty apparent. Don’t you think?

The School Board President presented her with a special certificate for being her school’s Spotlight Student.

(Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. I wasn’t quite ready to take the picture. It all happened much faster than I expected.)

Spotlight student certificate

Don’t ask me why she’s posing like this. She insisted on doing it. I think she was just so excited about the whole thing that she couldn’t quite contain herself.

She’s definitely a remarkable little girl. And she marches to her own beat. Don’t you agree?

Spotlight Student August 2015

Just in case you weren’t convinced that her parents aren’t the only ones who are totally enamored with our little girl, she also had her own cheering section that showed up at the Board Meeting to support her. Mihret's adoring fans

I’ve had the opportunity to take Mihret to school on several occasions. It’s fun to watch her cruise the hallway with her wheelchair. She waves to everyone, like she’s in a parade. And everyone greets her like a celebrity. I’m pretty sure she thinks she runs that school.

She’s already in the spotlight while she’s at school. So it was pretty fun to see her spotlight’s reach expand to the rest of the school system.

Spotlight Student

Needless to say, we’re pretty proud of our little Spotlight Student.

Then I watched God move a mountain. Again.

A “moved mountain” in Durame, Ethiopia

This adoption journey has been quite an emotional roller coaster with many unforeseen twists and turns. There might have even been a corkscrew or two thrown in there for good measure.

And it ain’t over yet.

But that’s OK. It’s kind of par for the course when it comes to international adoption. I’d imagine domestic adoption is a similar roller coaster ride.

Christy finally met “W” face-to-face. It’s been great for the soul and I hope that it will continue to warm his heart after she returns to the States.

Jeremiah 29:11. I’m sorry you had to wait so long…but I am so thankful God blessed us with you.

A photo posted by Christy Ooley Todd (@ooleytodd) on

Two more trips are required before he comes home with us. Sometime in the Fall, I hope to be able to meet “W” for the first time. During my stay in Ethiopia, I will appear before a judge and declare that yes, he is the child we’ve been trying to adopt. If all goes according to plan, “W” will then be declared our son in the eyes of the Ethiopian government. Then I’ll return home shortly after that court date. A few weeks later, we should have an appointment with the US Embassy in Addis. Christy and I will fly to Ethiopia, meet with the Embassy, and bring “W” home after that. Hopefully that will happen before Christmas of this year.

That’s the way things are supposed to happen. That’s the way the timeline generally goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it happens for us. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t happen that way, either. Because here’s what we’ve learned during this journey: God is writing this story. We are not. And the Author is going to weave this story together in whatever way He sees fit.

In high school, I wanted to do something “big” for God. I never knew exactly what it was, but I was going to shock the world with the gospel. So I kept searching for that big thing I could “do” for Jesus. I don’t think I was wrong in my desire. I might have been a little misguided in my approach. But hey, I was a teenager. I think we all were a little misguided as teenagers, weren’t we?

For I know the plans I have for you bracelets

This desire to “do” something big for God continued into my preaching years more than a decade later. I firmly believe that God can work miracles. I’ve seen them happen. It was my hope and prayer that I could somehow put God on stage and allow the congregation to see what God had done. It was almost as if I was expecting Him to perform some great act so I could shine the spotlight on Him.

Again, not a bad desire. But maybe the wrong approach. After all, God is God. He doesn’t have to perform a miracle in order for us to shine the spotlight on Him. He is worthy of worship because He Is who He Is. And that’s enough.

Then we saw God move a mountain.

God orchestrated things in such a way that He provided for Mihret’s adoption in exactly the right way at exactly the right time.

So when we started pursuing “W,” I kind of expected things to work out in a similar way. I mean, that was a pretty cool story the way everything was woven together so perfectly.

But that organization didn’t award us a grant this time. No worries, I thought. There are other opportunities. So we applied for more grants. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We had the yard sale that was hugely successful. But it wasn’t enough to cover the rest of the fees.

So we waited some more.

And waited.

And waited.

Then things started to get a little…oh, what’s the word?….tense…around here. If Christy was really going to make this trip before the courts closed in Addis and school started here, we were going to have to figure out a way to cover the rest of the fees and travel costs. Maybe we were going to have to make this thing work on our own.

Then it happened. God moved mountains.

Not only did God move the mountains, He obliterated them. He caused them to melt like wax.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord Psalm 975

We were confident that God was going to use the matching grant from Hand in Hand to make a big dent in the need. But we didn’t know how much was actually going to be donated. There was still a lot of uncertainty. And maybe some doubt.

But the donations that were contributed to the matching grant were over the amount necessary.

Then we started getting notifications of approval for grants that I had totally forgotten about. And I’d definitely forgotten that we’d applied for their assistance. But they started sending in money.

And the next thing I knew, everything was paid for. The agency fees. Christy’s plane ticket. Even the in-country travel fees. Everything was covered within a matter of days.

Yes, God is in the mountain moving business.

As I sat and watched the whole thing unfold, I started to realize something. Sometimes “doing” something big for God simply means being obedient and stepping out in faith. You do what you’re supposed to, planting seeds as you go along the way. But in the end, you sit back and watch God do what you couldn’t even possibly imagine what would be done.

All week, I’ve been humming this song. It makes sense when you look back on the events of the last few weeks.

God is writing a story, friends. And it is bigger than any of us even realize.

If you get a sense that God is calling you to “do” something, then go do it. By all means, But if you think God is calling you to go and watch and listen, then do that. Watch how He works. He’ll let you know when it’s time for you to do your part. Because He’s already at work. He’s already telling the story.


We’ve been awarded a matching funds grant for our adoption!

Family of Six

I posted this announcement on twitter a couple of nights ago…

And quickly followed it up with this…

Like I said, that was a few days ago. The details were never posted. I’m sorry about that. I had to make sure all our ducks were in a row before making it public. But now? Everything’s a go and I am beyond excited to share this news with you!

Let me catch you up on our story.

It isn’t a secret that there are many joys that come with adoption. But there are many challenges, too. One of the greatest immediate challenges is financial. With updating our home study, all the agency and country fees, and the expected costs related to travel, this adoption journey will add up to thousands of dollars in expenses.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances and some changes in the way Ethiopia handles adoptions, this adoption journey is going to wind up costing significantly more than our first.  When all is said and done, the final cost will be around $32,000.

When we announced that we had started the process for a second adoption, we only had enough money available to cover our home study expenses. That was it. We moved forward in faith, though, trusting that God was going to provide.

And God has provided every step of the way.

Through grants, sponsored blog posts, and successful fundraising efforts, God has provided in unexpected ways. And the funds have been there every time they were needed. After watching God move time and time and time again, I have no doubt that He has had a hand in this. He has moved on His own timetable. And His timing is perfect. And through His guiding hand, He has provided an opportunity to cover the rest of the expenses.

Thanks to Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc., we are close to having the final expenses of this adoption journey covered! But we’re going to need your help.Hand in Hand Christian Adoption INC

We have been awarded a fund-matching grant from Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.!

What does that mean? 
It means that Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. a non-profit private operating foundation, will match any funds that are donated for the expenses of our adoption. All funds received through our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar by Hand in Hand up to our awarded grant amount. That means that every gift will essentially be doubled. And all donations are tax-deductible.

We’ve had a lot of people who, for one reason or another, could not participate in any of the fund raisers we held during the last year and a half. They’ve asked if there was another way they could financially support our adoption efforts. We’ve asked them to wait until a later time. Well, it’s later.

Now is the time!

If you have a gift, no matter the size, that you would like to give to help us with this journey, please send a check made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption,” postmarked by July 2, to:

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Matt and Christy Todd
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS 66030

For tax purposes, please include our name on the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself!

If you have any questions about the Hand in Hand matching grant program, please feel free to email me. You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have. They can be reached via email or phone (913-248-5015) .

If the full amount available from this matching grant is reached, we will have seen God provide, through grants and fundraising, $26,000 of the $32,000 necessary to complete this adoption. How amazing is that?

Thank you for your prayerful consideration in helping a child find a “forever” family. We are so close to completing this leg of our journey!

The Yard Sale is over. Thank you!

Yard Sale Sign

I’ve been trying to come up with the proper words to explain what happened at Saturday’s Yard Sale. While I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, I think it’s altogether fitting and proper to go ahead and say this…

it was a smashing success.

It went so well that we didn’t have enough stuff left in order to justify having the sale again Monday morning. Sorry if you were planning on stopping by on Monday, but most of the major stuff was already gone. Thanks for thinking of us, though!

We raised more money than I’ve ever seen a Yard Sale bring in.

I have to say that I wasn’t so sure things would turn out like that when we opened Saturday morning. In almost every other yard sale that we’ve ever had, people show up more than a half an hour early and start rummaging through the stuff while we’re still setting up. That didn’t happen this time. While it’s a major annoyance to have people go through the items you’re selling while you’re in the midst of the mad rush to set up, it is a good sign that people know you’re having a yard sale. So when no one showed up until 10 minutes before we opened, I have to admit that I got a little nervous. What if this whole day was a bust? All of this time and effort would’ve been wasted.

People started to trickle in. The traffic was steady, but it was nothing overwhelming. I left at 9:30 to take Mihret to soccer. Before driving away, I snapped this picture:

Like I said, people were coming, but it wasn’t horribly busy. Things changed while I was gone, though. Halfway through soccer, I started getting texts like this from Christy:

It’s CRAZY!!!



It seems that the floodgates had opened and the entire region had arrived at our driveway. This is what the scene looked like shortly after I got home:

It’s going fast! #YardSale #Greenwood #Indy

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

As you can see, a lot of stuff is gone – including most of the big-ticket items. The dishwasher, drum set, trunks, bike, armchair – all gone. Stuff was flying off the shelves! Like I said, it was a smashing success.

Now that I’ve told you what happened, I need to say this: If you supported this fundraiser in any way – donations, spreading the word, prayer, etc.) – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

A brief Yard Sale update


Well, we might have been a little too ambitious when we planed on having the Yard Sale this past weekend. A ton of stuff has been donated to our fundraising efforts  (including a Foosball table, a dishwasher, and a drum set) and we just plum ran out of time to get everything ready. In reality, this is a good problem to have. Right?

So we decided to postpone the Yard Sale by one week. It’s a good thing, too. Saturday’s weather was not conducive to having any type of yard sale at all.

So now we get to have the same bat sale at the same bat location at the same bat time, only one week later. So here are the details:

Todd Family Yard Sale

Saturday, May 23
7 a.m. until noon(ish)
On Chase Boulevard in Hunting Creek in Greenwood. Simply follow the signs and you can’t miss it! You can email me if you need more specific directions.

But wait…

there’s more!

We’ll also be selling items the following Monday! If you couldn’t make it out on Saturday and you happen to be out and about Memorial Day morning, why not stop by and check out what’s left?

Obviously, the goal is to raise as much money as possible. Maybe we’ll even be able to cover a plane ticket to Ethiopia with these funds.

If you can’t make it to the Sale, that’s OK. It would be great it you’d share it with anyone you know who might be able to make it. Just click here and share away.

We’d be ever so grateful.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Thank you for partnering with us as we take this adoption journey.