Thoughts on the Meaning of Life… Todd Helmkamp

Archive for the ‘Things I’m Doing’ Category

Forward Progress!

Posted by Vogeler on August 19, 2011

Well, we got all of our documents and the contract notarized yesterday, so we’re about ready to send that in to our agency.  A very gracious family loaned us the money for our application fee (almost $6,000!) interest-free, so that’s a great blessing.  We’re getting ready to submit our loan and grant applications, so we should be in good shape financially.

Apparently, not many people want girls (why, I don’t know), especially toddlers, so we’re at the top of the list and could get our referral at any time after our docs are turned in.  From our referral date, it would be around 5-9 months until we go to bring her home!  I can’t believe how quickly things can go.  It’s kind of frightening, but we’re really learning how to trust and lean on God during all of this.

Yesterday was a bit difficult with the boys, they were pretty crazy and jumping on each other, fighting, etc., and I actually caught myself thinking, “We’re introducing another child into this mix?!?”  But hopefully she’ll be on the quiet side.  🙂

And I start grad school on Monday.  Perhaps my timing is  bit off.  🙂


Posted in Adoption, Announcements, Things I'm Doing | 2 Comments »

The Financial Side of Adoption

Posted by Vogeler on August 15, 2011

Usually, I take care of most of our family’s finances.  Once every couple of weeks or so, Bethany and I sit down to talk about our budget, where we’re (ok, I said “we” but its mostly “me”) overspending, where we are on our debt payoff, etc.  With the adoption though, things are different.

I’m really proud of her.  She’s really taken control of the adoption process, making sure all of the paperwork gets filed, the checks get mailed where they need to go, and investigating different countries and agencies.  We’re at the point now where it starts to get expensive (an internation adoption can cost over $20,000!!), so she’s applying for interest-free loans and grants.  I’m amazed by how many organizations are out there to help people pay for adoptions.  One that I really like is called the Both Hands Foundation.  Both Hands seeks to match widows who need help with home maintenance and or repairs with parents who need help paying for an adoption.  People come together to help the widow and get sponsors to donate money that is then used for the adoption.  One thing I really like about it is that a widow gets helped in the process.

We haven’t decided if we’re going to explore Both Hands as an option.  But I think it’s a great idea and wanted to get the word out.

Posted in Adoption, Things I'm Doing | 2 Comments »

We’re Adopting!

Posted by Vogeler on August 9, 2011

In case you haven’t heard the news, we’re in the first stages of adopting a little girl, most likely from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We decided to adopt because we knew we wanted more children, and since we already have two wonderful boys we wanted to be sure we got a little girl. But the main reason we chose adoption is because there are literally millions of children around the world who live in horrific conditions. And although we can’t rescue them all, we can at least offer a loving, safe home to one child.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the details of our journey, and also opportunities for you to help if you desire. We will also share ideas on how you can help orphans all over the world.

We hope you’ll join us on this exciting new chapter in our lives. God Bless, and thanks!


Todd & Bethany

Posted in Adoption, Announcements, Things I'm Doing | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

“Happy Anniversary Baby, Got You On My Miiiind…”

Posted by Vogeler on November 19, 2008

The title of this post are lyrics from a great song, entitled, “Happy Anniversary” (surprise!) by the Little River Band.  Man, I love those oldies.  (The song is from 1977, the year before I was born, so it counts as an oldie.  So there).

But that’s not the focus of this post.  No, the focus of this post is that my blog is officially two years old!! (OK, two years and two days.  I forgot.  Sue me.  It’s not like I forgot my wedding anniversary, for pete’s sake.  Who is pete and why do we care about him?)

In honor of my two year anniversary, I will not be giving away free stuff.  If I made money from this blog, I would.  But I don’t, so I’m not.

Instead, I present to you…..   *drumroll*

Todd’s Favorite Posts from the Last Two Years!!!

*pause for cheers and applause*

(note:  these are my favorite posts, not necessarily the best or most profound.  You’ve been warned)

10.  It’s Official!!!!! /It’s A Boy!! (tie)

9.  Bye -Bye Myspace

8.  Passing Through

7.  Today’s Pictures

6.  My New Blog!! (shameless plug)

5.  Ten Years Later

4.  The Importance of A Christian Education

3.  Things I Learned From Reading Louis L’Amour Novels

2.  An Excellent Look at Early Church Relations and Discipline (link updated and fixed)

1.  Be Careful What You Read (I should be on Mythbusters!)

Are there any you would add?

Posted in Announcements, Fun Stuff, Questions for Debate, Ramblings, Things I'm Doing, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Sell Your Books For Cash!

Posted by Vogeler on November 15, 2008

I just stumbled upon a new service that I will be using, called Cash4Books.  Basically, you create an account, enter the ISBN number from the books you want to sell (the number above the bar code on the back of the book), print the pre-paid shipping label, ship the books, and Voila!  Cash!

I haven’t actually done this yet, but one of my favorite bloggers, Money Saving Mom, gives it the thumbs up.  If you decide you want to try this out, do me a favor and use my referal link, because I get extra cash for referrals.  Click here to try it out.  It’s a great way to snag some extra cash, and it’s a form of recycling!

Posted in Announcements, Things I'm Doing | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Lo, I Have Returned!

Posted by Vogeler on April 18, 2008

Hi, all!  Sorry I’ve been away for so long, but life has been messy recently.  First, my position was downsized, so I had to find a job and was off work for a week.  You might think that would give me plenty of time to write.  You would be wrong.  See, I had a small, adorable, pooping and puking machine home with me that loves to sleep at the babysitter’s but apparently believes it is his duty and God-given right to not sleep more than 15 minutes at a time at home.  So that took a lot of time.  Good news is, he has put on several pounds and now is at least on the growth chart for his age, at the 25th percentile.

I actually had a feeling of peace about the whole job thing.  For what seems like the first time in my life, I wasn’t freaking out about not having a job.  I knew God was going to handle things, and sure enough, He did.  I am now GM Certified Internet Manager for Noble Chevrolet-Cadillac (formerly Jack De) in Kendallville, IN.  I’m very excited about the chance to build an Internet Department, and in some ways it feels like I’ve come home (I worked here for nearly three years before the other-place-that-shall-remain-nameless-not-that-I’m-bitter-or-anything).

So things are going pretty well right now.

By the way, we had an earthquake this morning.

No joke, there was a 5.4 Richter Scale earthquake that started in Illinois that we felt in Northeast Indiana.  Pretty crazy.  We were awake because Brennan was crying so we felt it shake the house.  Wild!

I will try to keep this blog much more updated than I have.  Sorry for being gone so long, and thanks for staying with me!

Posted in Ramblings, Things I'm Doing | Leave a Comment »

The Economic “Stimulus” Package

Posted by Vogeler on February 25, 2008

Well, the so-called “Economic Stimulus Package” has passed, which means that Americans will receive a tax rebate check this summer.  Here is a link to a really good article by Clark Howard that explains it well.

Although it’s nice to get “free” money, it’s not really free.  To pay for this, the Federal government apparently is going to issue treasuries, which are basically loans to the government (kind of like a very large CD).  So, the next generation essentially gets stuck with the bill.

I agree with Clark that this is not a good idea, for two reasons:  one, as previously mentioned, it’s not a good long-term solution like a revamped tax system would be.  Two, it encourages more consumer spending on luxury and semi-luxury goods.  I, for one, will be using mine for debt paydown or savings.

Some of you know that I am currently (along with my lovely wife, Bethany) on a crusade to be debt-free by the time I’m 40 years old (I’m 29 now).  Far-fetched?  Sure.  But I know of people who have done it, who had a ton more debt than we do.

Here are some of the personal finance blogs I read daily:

Saving Freak

Joe Sangl


All are fantastic resources with information on how to take control of your finances.

Posted in Ramblings, Things I'm Doing | Leave a Comment »

My Overweight, Out-Of-Shape Self

Posted by Vogeler on January 7, 2008


I used to be in great shape.  Then, I slipped to being in pretty good shape.  When I got married, I was sliding down the slope to average shape.  Having been married for a year-and-a-half, with a wife who cooks excellent meals, packs my lunch for me, and buys groceries every week, I am now definitely in less-than-average shape.

Ergo,  my boss, friend, and business partner Brett and I are going to convert half of my garage (I have a garage!  Hooray!) into a workout area.  So far, we have my training bag and some carpet.

We plan on getting a hanging bag, some weights, and some other stuff.

So, if you’re in north-east Indiana and want to work out, call me.

Also, if you have workout equipment you aren’t using anymore and that you want to donate to poor (ok, not really, but student loan payments suck), out-of-shape people, let me know, cause we’ll probably take it.  🙂

Now playing: Jeremy Camp – Restored
via FoxyTunes

Posted in Ramblings, Things I'm Doing | 5 Comments »

Ten Years Later….

Posted by Vogeler on December 9, 2007

In August of 1997, I began my undergraduate studies at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

In May of 2000, during my junior year, I flunked all of my classes (because I was drunk all of the time) and was kicked out.

In August of 2005, I was re-admitted to Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne Indiana, taking one class a semester.

In August of 2006, I began taking a full course load of five classes a semester.

Today, Sunday December 09, 2007, at 4:32 pm, I finished my last paper for my undergraduate career. I have no in-class finals. All of my assignments are in.

As of a week from Monday, on Monday December 17, 2007, I will have completed my Bachelor’s Degree, and finished college.

Ten years later.

Now, on to Graduate School!!

Posted in Announcements, Things I'm Doing | 6 Comments »

Pride Goeth Before a Fall, But I’m Still Pretty Cool.

Posted by Vogeler on October 1, 2007

I finally got tired of Windows Vista eating the system resources of my pc at work and made the switch back to XP Pro.  You will not BELIEVE how much of a difference it is.  Try running XP Pro with 1GB of RAM.  Nerd heaven.

The non-cool part of this is that I had to re-customize my pc.  Lots of programs to install, files to transfer, etc.  It took me about four hours total.  Sigh.

I was using Windows Live Mail (it’s replacing Outlook as mail client for Vista)  because I now have five email accounts that I check regularly, and it was annoying because I had to login to each one manually (I know, I know; life is hard).

When I reinstalled XP Pro, I initially installed Microsoft Office, but we ended up needing that copy for another workstation that had to have it.  So I used instead, which I love and highly recommend.  It’s open-source and free.  But, it doesn’t have an email client (that I know of).

Enter Mozilla Thunderbird!  Da da da da!

I downloaded it, configured all of my accounts, and am now using it without any help from my boss, friend and business partner Brett or my good friend Nathan.  I didn’t even check out the help file or the help forums!

Brett had helped me set up Windows Live Mail, and before that I hadn’t used a mail client at all.

So I’m feelin’ like a pretty cool dude.

If you think this is small and petty, I got one thing to say to you:  Get offa my cloud.

Posted in Announcements, Ramblings, Things I'm Doing | 2 Comments »