Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

These Cookie Crisp Asteroid Treats are out of this world!

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

Cookie Crisp Asteroid Treats #FoodAwakens

The Star Wars™ franchise evokes some pretty strong emotions for me. One of the first movies I remember watching in the theaters was one of the films in the original trilogy. I remember the drama, the flashing lights, the roar of the giant spaceships, the funky aliens, and the intense battles on other worlds. The larger than life story that unfolded on the big screen captivated me in a way that no other film has ever come close.

I was already a big fan. I loved the Star Wars™ toys. I would play for hours with my neighborhood friends. One of my favorite things to do was to turn the space under our kitchen  table into a huge base for the good guys. It was safe in there. And we could plot the final push against the tyrannical forces of evil.

A perfect base #FoodAwakens

I think it’s safe to say that the kitchen table was the perfect base for the good guys. It could serve as an ice cave, protecting them from the harsh elements of a frozen planet. Or it could easily convert to a giant spaceship, headed to meet the enemy head-on. Or it could also become a base in some forested terrain with giant trees that provide a canopy of protection over the heroes as they hide from their foes.

While growing up, the perfect morning for me would have begun with an hour or two underneath the kitchen table, preparing my base for battle. Then I’d probably listen to the Star Wars™ storybook on my little record player in my room. Then the galactic battles would begin and I’d play with my Star Wars™ toys for the rest of the day. Or maybe my friends and I would go outside and re-enact one of the climactic battles outside. I would only slow down in time to eat some breakfast. For breakfast of choice? Why, Cookie Crisp, of course. Finding a toy inside the cereal box would have been the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake.

Free toy in Cookie Crisp #FoodAwakens

This is an exciting time for our family. Like many dads who grew up on a steady diet of Star Wars™ films, books, costumes, toys, and Saturday morning cartoons, I faithfully did my duty and raised my kids to be fans of the same cinematic universe. So we’re all counting down the days until the release of the next chapter in the saga. Continue reading These Cookie Crisp Asteroid Treats are out of this world!

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.

 

Looking back: 10 posts for 10 years!

10 posts for 10 years

It seems this has been a week of significant milestones for this humble little blog. I published my 2000th post a few days ago. And then this weekend marked the 10th anniversary…or “blogiversary”…of this blog. I want to thank you again for sticking with me. It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?

Over this ten year span, I’ve written about a lot of different life experiences. Some were great. Some were awful. Horribly awful. Here are some highlights from the past decade…

  1. I shared my seminary experience.
  2. We said goodbye to my nephew.
  3. I discussed my most memorable travel experiences. This list was written in 2006. There are several more memories I can add (like two trips to Florida and a life-changing trip to Ethiopia to bring Mihret home). I’m all about making memories with my family!
  4. When we left Tennessee and returned to Indiana, I shared a few more memorable goodbyes I’ve had along the way.
  5. I’ve shared quite a bit about coaching instructional baseball.
  6. For the second time in less than a year, I had to say goodbye to colleagues at work thanks to layoffs. The day after the second layoff, my father in law died. Man, I still miss him.
  7. Philmont Scout Ranch always manages  to show up in a post or two a year. I think this one about leadership lessons is my favorite.
  8. I’ve shared some fun stories, too. Like the time I had to break into my parents’ house. And how I proposed to Christy.
  9. Of course, our lives were changed when we brought Mihret home. I wrote about that. A lot.
  10. And there’s always Star Wars. Give me that Star Wars. Nothing but Star Wars.

OK. That was actually more than 10 posts. But how can you pick just ten out of two thousand? I’ll tell you how…

You can’t.

Thanks for looking back at the last 10 years with me. I can’t wait to discover what happens next!

We’re sending a Northpole gift to Ethiopia with love

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

The Christmas Spirit has come early to our house this year! Because our adoption agency has officially matched our family with an older boy in Ethiopia, we can start sending him emails, letters, pictures, and care packages. That means we are able to send him Christmas gifts this year.

Let me say that again.

We’re sending Christmas gifts to our son in Ethiopia!!

To Ethiopia with love #NorthpoleFun #shop

Of course, we’d prefer to celebrate the holidays with him here with us at home, but we’re going to make the most of this opportunity and share this Christmas with our son who happens to be halfway around the world. It’s tempting to want to go overboard. But we won’t. I promise. We won’t. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved in this story.

I’ve thought long and hard about what to send him. We still don’t know a whole lot about him. What makes him tick? What’s his favorite color? What size clothes fit him best? Does he believe in Santa Claus? I honestly doubt he’s even heard of Santa. What about snow and snowmen and snow angels and snowballs and snowball fights? Has he ever had a snowball fight?

Well, considering that the coldest month only has an average low of around 40 degrees, it’s highly unlikely that he’s ever seen any significant snow accumulation. So it’s even less likely that he’s been involved in a snowball fight.
Avalauncher #NorthpoleFun

There’s always a chance of a white Christmas where we live. So this young man is in for a pretty big shock when he finally experiences Christmas with his new family. Thanks to Hallmark Northpole toys , he’ll know exactly what to do with the snow (once he gets over the initial shock at how cold snow actually is).

Northpole Collection at Walmart #Northpole #shop

The Avalauncher is available only at Walmart. It is a handheld launcher that sends ping pong sized foam snowballs soaring into the air. It’s such a blast to play with that we bought two of them . It also comes with mini cardboard targets so you can work on your aim in preparation for your next epic indoor snowball battle.

Avalauncher targets #NorthpoleFun #shop

Based on the upcoming movie on the Hallmark Channel, the Northpole toy line is full of fun toys, decorations, and gifts for the holiday season. You’re sure to find a gift for kids and adults of all ages.

In keeping with the childlike spirit of Northpole, I can’t wait to share this little piece of holiday fun with our new son! We won’t be sending the Avalauncher itself. He’ll have to wait until he’s home with us to play with that. But we are sending snowballs and the targets so he can practice his aim and be ready for an all-out snowball battle when he finally comes home with us.

We’ve already had several skirmishes and ambushes over the past few days. I think that tend will continue throughout the holiday season – and beyond!

I ambushed @cgfootballboy25 with some Avalauncher snowballs. #NorthpoleFun

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I can’t wait for him to receive this package. I also can’t wait to have our first video chat with him. Who knows? Maybe we’ll break out the Avalaunchers and snowballs and have an epic battle that spans halfway around the world. That would be pretty memorable. And making memories a key part of the holiday season.

 

Celebrating the Power of Dad

Life lesson Keep your eye on the ball

Dad has taught me a lot of things over the years. One of the most important things, however, comes from the years he coached me in baseball.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Me the Little League player

That’s a pretty important lesson when it comes to baseball. But it’s also pretty important when it comes to life. Keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the things that matter.

Faith. Family. Friends.

Keep them front and center. Stay focused on them. If you do, your life will be full of joy. You’ll be rich in ways that most millionaires dream.

That’s what my Dad taught me.

Oh, and if you happen to catch a few fish along the way? Well, that’s even better.

I have tried to pass this lesson along to my kids. Keep your eye on the ball.

Dad was my baseball coach. I’ve tried following in his footsteps as a coach, as a mentor, and as a friend. I’m doing my best to pass along what he has taught me – especially when it comes to priorities. That’s the power of Dad, after all.

Faith. Family. Friends.

Keep your focus on them. And don’t forget to have some fun while you’re doing it.

Oral-B understands the influence that dads can have. And I’m happy to be partnering with them this Father’s Day. In a society where the impact of involved dads is getting short shrift, it warms my heart to see companies like Oral-B creating commercials like this. They truly understand the power of Dad.

See? Oral B gets it. They understand the power of Dad. And they’re even taking it another level. Oral-B has teamed up with March of Dimes and Eli Manning to honor dads everywhere. Pretty cool, right?

It gets even better, though. Since fatherhood is full of moments that make a dad smile, Oral-B wants dads to take care of their teeth. To help ensure that dads everywhere have healthy smiles, Oral-B is offering a special $7 off coupon for their Oral-B 7000 BLACK, their most sophisticated and technologically advanced brush yet. Not only is it engineered to perform, but it’s stylish, sleek, and precision-engineered, featuring 8,800 oscillations per minute and 40,000 pulsations per minute. It’s the perfect gift for the gadget-obsessed guy in your life.

Celebrate the power of Dad in your life this Father’s Day. Smile about the little things. Marvel at the amazing things. And remember to keep your eye on the ball.

Disclosure:
I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.

Our Indiana Comic Con Quest

Our Indiana Comic Con QuestTowards the end of February, I approached Christy with this proposal:

“After Aly’s (ISSMA-related) choir concert that Saturday morning, how about I take all the kids with me to Comic Con downtown? Aly and Mihret would be free. I’d just have to pay for me and Aiden.”

I thought this was the perfect win-win-win proposition. 1.) I’d get to go to the first-ever Indiana Comic Con. 2.) Christy would get to have some time to herself, which is hard for her to come by. 3.) I’d be stepping up my effort to properly raise a gaggle of geeks. It was the best idea I’d come up with in a long time.

Here’s how she replied to my foolproof plan:

“That’s money we don’t really have right now. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Ouch.

She seemed pretty committed in her response, so I really wasn’t going to press the issue. She was probably right. There are a lot of irregular expenses coming up. It probably made sense not to spend the extra money. Besides, some family members still send me birthday money. So I figured I could use that cash to cover the admission prices anyway.

Then my birthday came. My family gave me a nice little surprise. Christy was going to take Mihret to her school’s Carnival on Saturday and I was going to take the big kids to Comic Con! Christy and the kids had already planned the whole thing out before I approached Christy with my proposal.

My family.

They get me.

A rough start

When Saturday morning finally came, it started with a potentially disastrous beginning.

That’s right. My worst nightmare came true. I slept through my alarm and Aly almost missed one of the most important performances of the year. I’m convinced that it’s only by a miraculous act of God that she got there in time. We were sure that her choir was scheduled to perform at 8:00. We pulled into the parking lot at 8:01. Our hearts sank as we approached the gym and heard voices singing. We were late. She had missed her performance. Her grade was going to suffer. All because Dad couldn’t set his alarm.

“Well,” I said, “you should support your classmates. Let’s stand at the door and listen.” We walked to the door and peeked in the window. A different school was performing! We quickly looked at the schedule that was posted on the wall and found her choir. She joined them with approximately 4 whole minutes to spare.

They finished warming up together. Aly and the choir filed into the gym to perform. And they sounded wonderful!
Aly's choir

Whew. Crisis averted.

When we got home, I threw on my Chewbacca shirt, ate the breakfast that Christy had prepared for us, and we were on our way to a day full of all-out geekness. And walking. Lots of walking.

With all of the events happening downtown that weekend, I was a bit worried about getting gouged in a parking lot. Some of those event parking prices are ridiculous. I parked in a lot that was right across the street from the Convention Center. And it only wound up costing me $7 for the whole day.

Whew. Another crisis averted.

When we entered the Convention Center, things got a little crazy.

"Hey kid! The line ENDS here. It begins… THERE" #LongLine

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A lot of digital ink has been spilled about what went wrong with the logistics of Indiana Comic Con. Since this was only my second ever convention like this (GenCon was my first), I’m nowhere near an expert. So I’ll just say that signs are a good thing. And if you really want to get a grasp on how many people will be there, it would be a good idea to make it cheaper to buy tickets ahead of time instead of at the door.

Now, let’s move along…

Indiana Comic Con Randomness

As you can see, we had a great time while we were there. Even though a sword fight or two might have broken out.

And then a sword fight broke out

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I really enjoyed seeing the collectibles. I honestly wish they had more.

Shockwave

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They also had another Shockwave from Japan. He cost $350.

That’s a lot of cash. I think I’m in the wrong business. 😉

The Droid Factory was the first Star Wars toy I ever had. I remember standing in the toy aisle at Service Merchandise, trying to convince my parents to buy me a sand crawler. It was awesome. I was pretty sure that it even came with an escape pod. But there were no action figures that came with it. So my parents talked me into getting the Droid Factory so I could build my own droids to play with. It was pretty cool.

Dude! I have this!!!

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Aiden recognized the Droid Factory when he saw the box. Parts of the toy are still in my parents’ basement. He remembers playing with it. That was a pretty cool moment where we were able to bridge our generation gap.

I like to give mom a hard time about my Star Wars toys because I used to keep all the boxes. One day, while I was at school, she threw all of them away. I use pictures like this to remind her how valuable those toys would be if I still had my boxes that she had tossed out. In reality, I know that the toys are nowhere near mint condition because they were played with over and over and over again.

But it would still be cool to have the old boxes.

While I was excited to see items like Shockwave and the Star Wars Droid Factory, I was most excited about explaining the awesomeness that was Intellivision to the kids. They didn’t quite understand my excitement, but I did get them to admit that I would totally kick their collective tails in biplanes. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have an extra $150 sitting around. I’d have been tempted to buy this.
Intellivision - $150

Aiden really enjoyed talking to some of the comic book artists, especially Ron Braun. I think he also enjoyed hanging out with Darth Vader. Unfortunately, it appears that he was seduced by the Dark Side.

I guess Aiden joined the Dark Side 🙁

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There is still good in him. I can feel it…

Aly really enjoyed the costumes. She liked seeing the costumes everyone made. She also liked dressing up herself.

Aly at Indiana Comic Con 2014

 

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Aly and Elsa

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I think the 6(ish) year old Batman was her favorite.
Young Batman and his Batmobile at Indiana Comic Con 2014

We’ll be back

We had a good time at our first-ever Comic Con. While there were some bumps in the road, I think the overall experience was worth it. Aiden and Aly have both said they’d like to go back next year. So, we’ll be back, Comic Con. Hopefully it’ll be even bigger and better next year!

Indiana Comic Con Selfie

Star Trek fans: this dad needs your help!

Kids in Space

I have a big confession to make. Some of you aren’t going to like it. But that’s OK. I’ve come to grips with this horrible parental neglect that I’ve been practicing for the last decade or so. The whole situation is what it is and it’s time that I man up and own what I have done.

Or what I haven’t done.

I like to dabble in the art of geekery. I enjoy a good superhero story or a sci-fi flick. I still wouldn’t qualify myself as a “gamer,” but I have allowed myself to get caught up in the occasional pursuit of video game domination. It’s because of my interest in all things geek, I’m pretty excited (it took all that was within me not to say “pretty geeked” here) about Indy PopCon*. But when push comes to shove, my first true geek love has been and always will be the Star Wars universe. That being said, there’s plenty of room for Star Trek.

And that’s where I’ve failed my kids.

This might even be a bigger failure than the fact that Aiden’s favorite Star Wars episode is Attack of the Clones. I don’t know how I allowed this to happen. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to admit it.

My kids have never watched Star Trek.

There. I said it. I know this is a travesty. But it’s time to fix this situation. And that’s where I need your help.

Since I’m introducing them to the Star Trek universe, I need to provide an introduction. How do I do that? Where should their starting point be as they boldly go where they had not gone before?

Come on. You knew that reference was coming.

Begin at the beginning?

In The Sound of Music, Maria tells us that the very beginning is a very good place to start. That ain’t happening here. Thanks to Netflix, I recently had the chance to re-watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And that’s definitely somewhere I don’t want to start with them. In fact, I’m not even sure if they’d miss anything if they never saw it. Unless they desperately need to understand some cultural reference to V’Ger. Or fall asleep. Then I guess they could watch it.

Now that we’ve established that we aren’t beginning at the beginning, where does that leave us? I remember watching The Wrath of Khan in the movie theatre. I didn’t eat my popcorn during the rest of the movie after watching this scene. I was scared those wormish things were in my bucket of popcorn and would crawl into my ears.

Oh man. It still makes me squirm. That’s some good filmmaking right there.

Since I’ll be watching it with them, I could guide them through the film, filling in the gaps along the way. That would make sense, right? Then I could follow with the two subsequent sequels that complete this story arc.

I have no desire to watch Star Trek V again. So I don’t really want to subject them to watching a bunch of retired guys flying around the universe in search of the Divine. It just didn’t hold my attention and I highly doubt it’ll capture theirs, either.

OK, so we’ve established that I’m not going to initially show them The Motion(less) Picture or The Final Frontier. Might as well throw Insurrection and Nemesis into that category, too. They’re decent movies, but let’s face it: Insurrection feels like it’s just a really long episode of The Next Generation. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a film. And Nemesis? Well, it just feels like a big ol’ mess.

So that leads into the reboot.

Let’s recap, shall we? 

This is the order I’m thinking of showing the Star Trek films to my kids:

  1. The Wrath of Khan (II)
  2. The Search for Spock (III)
  3. The Voyage Home (IV)
  4. The Undiscovered Country (VI)
  5. Generations
  6. First Contact
  7. Star Trek (reboot)
  8. Into Darkness

OK, Star Trek lovers, I need your insight!

Is this the right path to take? Or should I start with the Next Generation films and then somehow fill in the story after those? The problem with doing that is they really won’t care that much about Kirk’s appearance in Generations if they don’t know who he is or why he is so significant.

I would assume that very few of you would suggest that we start with the reboot. Right?

And then once we’re done with Star Trek, I guess I should introduce them to Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters.

Oh man. I’ve failed my kids. I’ve failed them.

Please help!

Oh, and live long and prosper!

 

 

*Yeah. That’s an affiliate link. I’m a member of the Indy PopCon Street Team! 😀

The 2013 Matty Awards

I know.

Last year when I announced the winners of the 2012 Ralphies, I said that the award wasn’t going away. I said I was a sucker for tradition and that I was going to keep calling the awards the Ralphies even though this blog has absolutely nothing to do with anyone named Ralph.

I was wrong. Oh well.

It just makes sense to make this switch. So the awards formally known as the Ralphies will now be known as The Fishbowl Awards Presented by (insert sponsor here) – the Mattys.

OK. That’s a mouthful. But that’s OK because there really isn’t a sponsor, nor do I intend on finding a sponsor for these awards. But, if someone ever feels the need to sponsor such an awards, there will be room to add a title sponsor. It works for the Rose Bowl (presented by Vizio this year) and the Tournament of Roses Parade (presented by Honda). Why couldn’t it eventually work for the Mattys?

Just planning ahead. Because, you know, I’m definitely the planner in this family (and now I’m moving my tongue that was firmly planted in my cheek).

So without further ado, I am pleased to present

The 2013 Matty Awards

Fishbowl Award

Best Movie

I think I saw more movies this year than I’ve seen in any year in recent memory. Star Trek Into Darkness was pretty fun. It was even more memorable because Christy and I actually got to go there on a date. I think the last movie just the two of us went to was Shrek. Yeah. It’s been a while. Other movies I saw included JobsThe Fifth EstateIron Man 3Hotel Transylvania, Despicable Me 2and The Book Thief.

Disney's Frozen

In a field full of worthy candidates, Frozen stands out as the best movie of 2013. Disney has managed to recapture some of the magic from their Renaissance Era. The songs are catchy. The story is engaging. The themes – love, self sacrifice, and accepting people who are different from you – encourage you to think about the topics more deeply after leaving the cinema. It has a Broadway musical feel to it, much like Beauty and the Beast.

And Alyson is determined to build an Olaf snowman after seeing Frozen.

It’s a very good movie. I think it’s the best one I’ve seen all year. If you’re as into the movie as our family was, you can go ahead and pre-order your own copy of Frozen.

Best Album

Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War
I heard about Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War while listening to NPR on the way home from work. From the first note, I was hooked.

Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War is a compilation of songs that were written during the US Civil War. The songs are performed by current artists like Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, and  Old Crow Medicine Show. It’s good stuff. And I’m not even a fan of most of the musicians on the album.

While this isn’t an album I can listen to all the time, it’s a pretty phenomenal album. Some of the songs, like Lee Ann Womack singing The Legend of the Rebel Soldier, will haunt you for the rest of the day. Other songs like Kingdom Come and Down by the Riverside will make you want to get up and dance.

It’s a great album for anyone who has even a hint of interest in Civil War history.

Best Song

Oh man. I had trouble with this one. So I asked my kids for help. That’s right. I outsourced this award this year.

Here are their choices for Best Song of 2013:

Aiden

Aiden surprised me with his pick. I thought for sure he was going to pick Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. But he didn’t. And I’m kind of happy about that. I used to like the song. Then I watched the video. Stuffed animals fighting in a pit? Come on, man.

Aiden chose Hall of Fame by The Script (featuring will.i.am). Interesting choice there, my boy…

Alyson

Although the video is banned at our house, the song isn’t. Aly tells us “This is my jam!” every time we hear Miley Cyrus sing Wrecking Ball on the radio.

Mihret

OK. I didn’t really give her a choice. I picked it for her. It’s The Cups Song. And you can see why from this video.

See? Adorable.

Best Book (Nonfiction)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan CainAs I said earlier this yearQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking is a must-read for everyone. Are you an an introvert? You gotta read this book. Do you know an introvert? You gotta read this book. Did you pass an introvert while you walked through the aisles of your local grocery store? Yep. You gotta read this book.

Then give a copy of the book to a friend.

This book should also be required reading for all seminarians, ministry interns, Elders, pastoral staff, worship leaders, small group leaders, Sunday School teachers, and Senior Pastors.

Yes. It’s that important.

Best Book (Fiction)

I don’t remember reading any memorable fiction this year. Glancing at my bookshelf on Goodreads confirms that I did not read any works of fiction this year. That’s unfortunate. It must be fixed.

Central Indiana residents have been challenged to read 26 (or more) books in 2014. In order fix my anemic fiction record, I’m jumping into the #Read26Indy challenge. That’s about one book every two weeks. In order for that to happen, I’m going to need to find some good works of fiction. Any suggestions? I’m all ears!

Best TV Show

This category has been retired.

Best Sports Moment

Sunday, March 10
Michigan at Indiana

The Hoosiers defeated the Highlighters for their first outright Big Ten regular season championship in decades when this shot doesn’t go in…

The ball rolling around the rim as Michigan's final shot against Indiana fails to go in. via sbnation.com

While watching that shot in realtime almost gave me and every other Hoosier fan a heart attack, it’s such a great memory now.

Best Blog

There’s a tie for this year’s Matty for Best Blog.

Indy with Kids

Indy with Kids

With Indy With Kids, Katy has created a great resource for families in Central Indiana. And the site keeps getting better. She has shared some of her vision for 2014 with me and she has some pretty amazing things planned for the coming year. She’s also a pretty cool person to meet in real life.

Katy has been named one of Babble’s 100 Best Bloggers of 2013. But I think winning a Matty is waaay cooler. 😉

Geeking in Indiana

Geeking in Indiana

I’m a geek. I live in Indiana. That’s enough of a reason to love Tony’s Geeking in Indiana. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a pretty nice guy. Maybe even the nicest guy on twitter.

What about you?

What do you think about the choices? Am I right? Did I miss the mark on any of them? What are your favorites from last year? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

*This post contains some affiliate links. If you click the link and buy something, I get a very small percentage of the purchase. It’s a win-win situation. Does this impact my opinions expressed in this post? Absolutely not.

 

2013 in one photo

2013 in one photo

I have found the perfect photo that best encapsulates 2013. It’s this photo of a whole bunch of clocks.
Clocks
2013, more than any year in recent memory, has been defined by time. Aiden became a teenager. Aly became a middle schooler. Mihret started Kindergarten. Christy and I celebrated 15 years of marital bliss.

There were times where the clock couldn’t move fast enough – like when I waited for Christy to come out of surgery. I hate waiting. And so time seemed to stand still that day while I was forced to wait.

In reality, though, it feels like time has gone by all too quickly in 2013. Every time I turn around, it feels like one of our kids has grown another inch or two. I know the veteran parents warned me that time with your kids disappears all to quickly and they’ll be gone before you know it. It hasn’t really hit me until this year. None of the Todd kids are babies anymore. And it feels like that happened far too soon.

And I can’t help but think of Dave as I think back on 2013. We certainly didn’t have enough time with him. I could flesh this out more, but I know you know what I mean.

Shoot, I even got to witness a last-second loss by one of my favorite college basketball teams this year.

The saying is true. Time does march on. It waits for no one. I think that’s why Scripture urges us to make the most of every opportunity we’ve been given. Because the clock continues to tick, and a whole lot of time will be behind us before we realize it.

I think that’s why the traditional Todd family motto that I discovered this year resonates with me so deeply. It’s up to us what we do with this life. In order to make the most of it, it behooves us to live! 

I want to fill every tick of the clock with a life well lived. How about you?

This post begins the #ThinkKit December post-a-day blog writing challenge by Smallbox. You interested? It’s not too late to join in!

In a good place

In addition to our brief taste of Heaven during Homecoming at Milligan, I came to a realization about life in the Todd house. I know I’ve known this for quite some time but I was finally able to admit it to myself and say it with some confidence.

We’re in a good place.

The big kids have adapted well to all areas of middle school life. Mihret is loving Kindergarten and has special services available to her that would not have been as easily accessible if we still lived in Cowan.

We’re in a good place.

Christy is working at her dream job; providing Special Education services in a Christian school environment. I’m really liking the direction our company is taking. I get the opportunity to help blaze a new trail as we strive to remain leaders in our industry.

We’re in a good place.

Show Hope Celebration

For the last 10+ years, or hearts have been drawn towards new church work. That’s why I enrolled at ESR ECS to begin with. That’s why we became so invested in Sonlife/Southside/Summit Church. That also makes me wonder why I wound up pastoring a church that was more than 110 years old. But that’s a moot point for the purposes of this conversation. It’s probably worth addressing at some point. But not now. It was what it was.

Because of the soft spot in our hearts for new church startups, we knew the moment our pastor announced the vision that we would be participants in the establishment of a new satellite campus of our church. After a year or so of being pretty gun shy about committing to any type of ministry involvement other than the occasional preaching gig, it has been exciting to participate in this new effort and to watch people come to Jesus for the first time.

We’re in a good place.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had our share of uncertainty, worry, and heartache since moving here. But even with the difficulties that come with life, we have a strong Life Group and a growing group of friends to lean on. I’m glad we’re somewhere we can share our journey with others who rejoice when we rejoice and hurt when we hurt. I firmly believe that God has just begun to write the opening paragraphs of our next chapter here. And I think I can safely say that it’s going to be a roller coaster ride. I’m looking forward to what’s next.

Because we’re in a good place.