5 Things: Todd

I like the challenge of big, difficult projects (and small, easy ones, too).

Our first house was one of those 100 year old houses with “good bones,” but like most things 100 years old, the skin showed its age. I undertook a complete renovation of the house while we lived there; not a single room in the house went untouched. Some projects were easy, like lights, paint, and windows. Others, like completely gutting the basement and reconstructing it, were much more intense. The process was a wonderful challenge, and I was able to see the fruits of my labor along the way.

kitchens
Kitchen before and after

Our current house is significantly newer, and as a result the projects are smaller. I still enjoy the challenges (most of them) that renovations bring, but I am able to be more creative while completing them. During our recent kitchen face-lift, Melissa commented that she would like some soft lighting to have on during the evenings so she didn’t trip over the island while trying to find a snack. I installed timer-based lighting above the cupboards that turn on for the few hours someone might wander through the kitchen after dark. Almost all my projects start with an innocent musing from Melissa.

 

I think some of life’s best lessons are learned in the woods, on a boat, or over a cup of coffee.

I am a very analytical person. My plans and actions must be well thought out before I begin. I have found the best places to think are those that are quiet, and my house is not quiet. Being out in nature not only provides me with solitude, but it also puts my problems into perspective. I am a small dot in the world, and many of my issues are a small dot in my life. Being able to step back and look at the big picture of my life makes me feel at ease when life’s challenges arise.

sunset
Sunset on the water

I have found that some of the best guidance I have received in life is from people significantly older than me, and it is often shared while sitting together over cups of coffee. I have friends my own age that can provide sage advice, but they do not have the experiences and wisdom to fully mentor me through life’s challenges. My childhood was strongly shaped by the strong character and integrity of my father and grandfather.

 

Work is really important to me, but it’s not the most important thing to me.

For more than one reason, my professional work is important to me. Since we are a single income family, it is my duty to make sure there is enough money in the checking account for the bills to be paid. It’s a big responsibility to say “I will be sole provider,” especially in the oftentimes consumeristic society we live in. However, the financial part of work is not the only part that matters to me. I want to perform work that makes the lives of others better. I also want to feel a sense of accomplishment. Having tangible results from my labor makes explaining what I do easier.

While my work defines part of who I am, it is not the biggest part. Being a Christian husband and father is a much greater piece of me. Work may be what allows our family to have everything we need, and many things we want, but it is not more important than my wife and children. You can expect to see posts from me that talk about the balance I attempt to maintain between work and family.

 

I like being a guy, but I have a soft side, too.

I enjoy many of the stereotypical guy activities in life: sports, cars, the outdoors, woodworking, home renovations, etc. However, those items do not dominate my time like they did before our kids were born. My priorities changed after Melissa and I were married, but nothing to the extent they did after each of our three daughters came home.

Snack time with the kids

I still find outlets that allow me to satisfy the urge to build, break, catch, or conquer something, but they are fewer and farther between. I now blend the desire to spend my time with my family doing things they enjoy and with my hobbies and interests. My woodworking projects have changed from building furniture and clocks to making scarf racks and repainting things bright, bold colors. However, the willingness to shift that focus has allowed me to spend more time with my kids and work alongside them doing something we can all appreciate.

Being a guy doesn’t mean you need to be macho. Being a man means you live up to your promises. I promised Melissa that I would stay with her through thick and thin, and the same promise was made to our kids. Showing them what it means to sacrifice for their benefit teaches lessons far greater than my best lecture ever could. I hope to demonstrate this quality in the posts I share.

 

I fear failure.

I really don’t like losing. I dislike the feeling of not succeeding at something I attempt, hence my desire to so thoroughly contemplate my actions. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I own them. I have no problem stepping out in areas I am strong in, but the fear of failure leads me to be hesitant in areas I feel I am lacking.

I can look back at my life and see many times where I should have taken a chance, but fear froze me and I didn’t. Opportunities missed have shaped my life just like the risks taken. This blog is an example of me stepping outside my comfort zone. It is my hope, that as I share my life and stories with others, that I can be pushed to grow in new areas where I once felt uncomfortable.