Monday, August 31, 2009


Lately, I have found myself in a state of limbo.


2c : an intermediate or transitional place or state (

Everything as I know it is changing. Tomorrow night will be my third week at Indiana Wesleyan after switching from Bethel. The model is quite different from Bethel. The first class is my first foray into management.

Right now at work, I am working with my replacement, Matt. He is going to be a huge asset to our fabrication facility in Bremen. Matt will offer fab a brand new perspective as he focuses, and helps our organization re-focus, on the four windows of wire drawing: dies, lubricants, copper, and machines. We are extremely lucky to have someone with his balance of technical and people skills. However, it is quite an odd experience to hand off my position to another person. Yet, I do this with a great deal of hope - hope that Matt will re-energize our organization and be a positive change agent.

Tomorrow morning, I will drive to Lafayette and continue transitioning to my new role at the fabrication facility. This is the first time in my time at the company that there has been a process engineer designated for the Lafayette fab facility. I am excited about this change and looking forward to the influx of machinery that is coming on-line now and in the months to come. This facility has an incredible amount of potential, and my hope is to help this facility to become a world-class manufacturer of bare copper wire.

On Saturday, Job is going to start playing keyboard at church. It sounds like we are both going to play for a few weeks - two keyboards! Honestly, this transition is going to be difficult. It is pretty crazy to think about how the hours have added up over the years with the group. Trent is a great band leader and his passion for worship is energizing. Jim, Laura, Leigh, Kim, Brittany, Jan, Abby - these folks make a unique group, and it has been a joy to be a part of the group over the past few years.

Finally, I look forward to spending time with Jenn. The past 8 months have been such a whirlwind and our visits always seem like "trips" - Jenn coming to Bremen, me traveling to Rensselaer, or both of us meeting somewhere else. It will be nice just to take an evening walk, have dinner, even just read together - appreciate and enjoy the simpler things of life.

Take care,


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Running with the cows

Lately, Sunday has been my favorite day of the week. Sunday offers a time to recharge. (However, I can't wait to be able to spend a Sunday afternoon with Jenn. The weeks are counting down to the new job starts in Lafayette.) I have written about Sundays in past blog posts so feel free to move on in your web-browsing. However, today, I had two special experiences.

The day started out like a typical Sunday. I reluctantly rolled out of bed around nine and worked on my management homework. The financial statement assignment ended up being fun. It was exciting to already have a bit of a background in accounting from classes over the past year. I also enjoyed the library assignment and am getting excited about doing some literature research again.

Mom called and invited me out to the farm for lunch. Of course, it is hard for me to say no to a meal. After letting the food digest for a bit, it was time to for the Sunday run. Sunday is almost always my "long" run day. I put long in quotes because it is long for me, but I have some friends who would consider this relatively short. Anyway, around mile 10, some clinking noises reached my ears. Turning my head, I was surprised to see an entire herd of cattle angling across the field to meet and run along beside me. I'm pretty sure that there were 30 to 40 in all, and it was almost overwhelming to see them running across the green pasture right towards me. Having the opportunity to get outside and run and bike on Sundays has been such a blessing this summer.

This evening, I was reclining on the porch and herd someone say, "What are you doing?" Looking up, I saw Donna on her bike. This is not the first Sunday evening that Donna has been on her bike and stopped to talk for a few minutes. These have been wonderful times, and I am thankful for them. Our paths crossed most significantly last summer on the retreat to Vermont. Donna has been like another aunt, and I'm so thankful for our conversations and her wisdom.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thinking Big and the Story About Investment

The contents of Michael Port's book, The Thinking Big Manifesto, have been on my mind much of this week (see previous posts). Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to listen to the parable of talents while driving to meet up with Jenn at her parents' house.

In this parable, Jesus talks about thinking big. Jesus tells a story about a boss who went on a trip. Before leaving, the boss gave three of his employees some money. Upon his return, the boss learned that two of the employees had invested the money that he had given to them; in fact, they doubled the money. However, the third employee hid the money and returned it to the boss without even any interest from a simple savings account. The first two employees thought big. The third employee was scared and he thought small.

So I took some liberties in paraphrasing this passage, but Jesus is pretty clear:

The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.' (Matthew 25:26-27)

I tend to live pretty cautiously. However, this past week, I intentionally stepped out of my comfort zone on several occasions. In one situation, I had a very frank and open conversation with one of my superiors at the company. All of this required trust - trust that Jesus accepts me and loves me. I can't think of a better way to overcome the fears and doubts that sometimes seem so gripping.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thinking Big Continued

The Thinking Big Manifesto continues to pervade my mind. Honestly, it has actually helped me look at some of my decisions through an entirely different lens.

According to Port, "To think big is an act of originality and creation, an act of abundance."

Somehow this sounds strangely familiar. But, I'll save that for another day.

He continues later, "Thinking big is always backed by good hard work."

It is about action.

People who think big stand for something. This gets them excited. This excitement excites others. It ends up being contagious.

Right now I'm trying to figure out what I stand for... what drives me... what gets me contagiously excited.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Think Big Manifesto

On Sunday, Jenn and I stopped by Barnes and Noble. I headed over to the business section because right now I'm very interested in the topic of leadership. I scanned through a few books and then came across a rather small book with a rather bold title, The Think Big Manifesto. I'm about 48 pages into this little gem of a book and am just about going crazy with excitement. As you might suspect from the title, this big is about thinking big - about dreaming and seeing dreams to fruition. However, in describing "thinking big" the books also has to describe "thinking small."

The author Michael Port writes, "People dominated by their small thoughts and those who are thinking big struggle against one another: ... those who chose abundance versus those who choose scarcity... " A few years ago, I worked on a project that was dominated by small thoughts. Specifically, the common thought was that our employees were too busy to test the product using an improved test method. In fact, I still recall the fiery outburst that occurred when the instruments went out onto the production floor. Yet, twelve months later, this new measurement system had helped to achieve huge (multiple zeros) monetary savings. A conflict of thoughts existed - small thoughts versus big thoughts.

A friend recently shared some stories about this conflict. His storiesprobably best fit in one of these descriptions from Port, "the bold entrepreneurs versus those who dare not dream" or "the adventurers eager to explore new territory, new ideas, and new ways of being versus those set in their ways, whether by rigidity or timidity."

I guess that I'm left with a question:

Why not think big?

(Well, I can say from experience that there are a lot of reasons. However, I'm quickly starting to recognize that the reasons are pretty goofy.)

Take care,


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Going Without Knowing

Last week, I went to class for the first time with the IWU cohort meeting at the Varsity Club in Mishawaka. For the the first time in my now-winding academic career, I left a class and hated it. The class just seemed to soft. I had been hoping for some more substance. However, as I worked through the assignments this morning, I started to realize that maybe I didn't like it because it was out of my comfort zone. It was too different from other classes and programs. After completing the assignments, I'm starting to change my mind. The relatively simple assignments forced me to start writing some things down, and pieces of the larger puzzle are starting to come together. One item, though, left me feeling more than a little uncomfortable:

"List something you have always wanted to do."

So why did this part of the assignment bother me so much?

Well, the question has to do with dreams and aspirations.

I still remember as a youngster making "fertilizer" in a 5 gallon jug and trying to sell it. I also remember working out in the shop making birdhouses for gifts and to sell. In both of these cases, I dreamed of one day starting my own business. I also remember using the microphone of the old 8-track (yes, I remember those things) and preaching because I dreamed of being a pastor. My brothers can attest that they used to have to go to my school in the closet because I dreamed of being a teacher.

Over the last few years, my dream bank has diminished drastically.

Now, instead of dreaming, I too often find myself saying things are not possible.

However, by recognzing the deficiency, it is amazing how quickly the dreams start to come back:

Getting a Ph.D.
Studying piano (again)
Starting a scholarship fund
Writing a book
Teaching at the college level
Making a difference

Although extremely nervous about the upcoming job change, I am also excited by the opportunity for change. I'm not sure how it will play into any of these dreams but it certainly will be the start of a new adventure. (Of course, there are many new adventures to come in the next year.) I've already picked up some new books to read in preparation and anticipation for this change in jobs.

At class on Thursday, we read Hebrews 11:8-10:

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (NKJV)

Abraham knew all about new adventures and the challenges that they evoke. I'm confident that he had fears and anxieties. However, he went by faith and vision. As John Maxwell points out, Abraham also went with confidence, hunger, and resolve.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Paul, Imprisonment, and Management

In anticipating my transition from a walker to a commuter, I have been trying to identify pieces of my day that might be appropriate for incorporation into my morning or evening drive. Thursday and Friday, I started experimenting with listening to the Message on CD. I listened to Ephesians, Philippians, and part of Colossians several times as part of my trip to class on Thursday evening and Lafayette on Friday morning. I kind of had my doubts about listening instead of reading but have been pleasantly surprised by the insights.

One of the nice things about the Message version of the Bible is the introductions to each book. These are included on the CDs. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to Philippians. The introduction describes Paul's apparent happiness despite being imprisonment. Yet, the writer of this introduction unlocked something for me. The writer indicates that happiness is not something that can be learned out of a book. Instead, "something more like an apprenticeship is required, being around someone who out of years of devoted discipline shows us, by his or her entire behavior, what it is." By reading or listening to Paul's words, it seems obvious that Paul lived out a joy-filled life. Paul offers an example of what it means to live not necessarily by direct instruction but by simply being. I mean, here is this guy sitting in a prison. Yet, all he can thinking about are other people and their relationships with Christ. He writes, "I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered."

By example, Paul highlights the importance of relationships - leading others, serving others. Fast forward a day and I'm reading about managers:

"The Gallup Organization, which has polled millions of employees and tens of thousands of managers, has found that the single most important variable in employee productivity and loyalty isn't pay or benefits or workplace environment; it's the quality of the relationship between employees and the direct supervisors."

In living out his faith, Paul (a supervisor of sorts) developed deep relationships with people all over the place. Consequently, even his imprisonment could not squelch the productivity of the mission. Instead it prospered. Now that's a manager.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Yesterday, I received an email with an announcement:

"We are pleased to announce that Todd Huff has agreed to accept the role of Process Engineer in the Lafayette, IN Fabricating (Bare Wire) facility reporting to Andy Wiseman at the end of September 2009."

So, I guess that means it is official. A few weeks ago, I was offered this position at the Lafayette facility and was pleased to have this opportunity to gain improved proximity to Jenn. Although this decision was difficult, I'm excited by opportunities for continuous improvement and growth at the Lafayette facility. Also, as much as I have come to appreciate Bremen, it is probably not a bad idea to step out of the "bubble" for awhile. However, I am extremely thankful for the friendships that have developed after moving back full-time to Bremen from West Lafayette and school in Rensselaer. It is kind of strange how paths can cross almost unexpectedly. In addition to the job change, I will continue pursuing the MBA at IWU. Again, it is difficult to leave Bethel but I'm excited by the IWU program. The next year should prove to be interesting!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August Sundays

Honestly, I think my mind must be a little fried or something because I haven't been able to come up with much to write about lately. Yet, I miss writing, and so tonight I'm just going to write about August Sundays.

August Sundays are probably some of my most favorite days in the year. Today, for example, started out by waking up and reading. (I'm reading Reliquary, the sequel to Preston and Child's Relic. These guys are amazing!) Then, it was time for some coffee. Typically, I would take my blanket and pillows out to the porch and bask in the sun on Sunday morning. However, it was hazy and not too sunny. So I took the coffee and went back to my bed. I learned that if the pillows are all propped up just right, it is possible to read in bed and drink coffee. It doesn't get much better than that. (By the way, I have settled on 2 cups of coffee a day. A lone cup a day just wasn't working out.)

Around 11:30, I packed my back-pack, filled my water bottle, grabbed my bike helmet, and road out to Mom and Dad's. Now some of you might think it is way too hot to ride bike. However, I have been waiting all summer for heat like this. (I think this probably comes from my Grandpa Wise. He likes the heat, too.) Post-lunch included basking in the sun and reading while the food digested. After an essential pit stop, I headed out on a 10 mile run. It probably sounds kind of gross, but I just feel really alive running out in the hot weather with the sweat seeping out. This afternoon's winds interacted with the sweat to provide some welcome relief.

After biking back into town, I read some more, did some dishes, and even cleaned (crazy, I know).

Then, I headed into work to finish cleaning out my cubicle for Matt (most likely, there will be more to come on this tomorrow).

So all-in-all nothing earth-shattering or even that exciting. However, it certainly is wonderful to just bask in the glory of a wonderful August Sunday.

Take care,


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For the times they are a-changin'

Yes, Bob D., they are.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Locked In

Tonight, my extreme strength (right) got a little out of control. The high temperature as of late have caused my front door to warp. Unfortunately, it warped in such a way that the deadbolt would not slide open when I turned the twist knob. This evening, I wanted to open the door to go onto the front porch, and when I turned the twist knob, it sheared right off the deadbolt. So for now, I can only use the side door. Of course, I tried a few things and then decided my time would be better spent running. Maybe D.J., one of the maintenance guys at work, will have a strategy for getting this door open!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Cannot Find the Way Alone

Last week, Trent sent me an email inquiring about a hymn that his grandma was trying to find. The song he asked about was

As I journey through this vale of sorrow
The way seems so strange and unknown
Lord, I need a helping hand to borrow
For I cannot find the way alone

I cannot find the way without You
Dear Lord, look down from Thy throne
And make Thy light to shine around me
For I cannot find the way alone

When the raging storms of life confound me
Dear Lord, wilt Thou keep me Thine own?
Let me feel Thy precious arms around me
For I cannot find the way alone

And make Thy light to shine around me
For I cannot find the way alone

Tonight, I pulled up the lyrics again to read them over again. The first line struck me. What is a "vale of sorrow?" Onward to and the definition of vale:

Main Entry: vale
Pronunciation: \ˈvāl\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French val, from Latin valles, vallis; perhaps akin to Latin volvere to roll — more at voluble
Date: 14th century

1 : valley, dale
2 : world

We live in a world of incredible pain, death, and sickness - a vale of sorrow. A lot of times things just don't seem to make much sense. Maybe it is death, a troubled economy, depression, sickness. Whatever it is, it can settle in like an oppressive fog making the next steps unclear. It can be paralyzing. Yet, this simple song reminds of someone who guides through the storms.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Saul's Mishap: All or Nothing

As I continue to slowly work my way through 1 Samuel, I have been pretty fascinated by some of the stories. The most recent story to catch my attention involves Saul and his disobedience. In 1 Samuel 15:2-3, God gives Saul some very clear instructions:

"'I'm about to get even with Amalek for ambushing Israel when Israel came up out of Egypt. Here's what you are to do: Go to war against Amalek. Put everything connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And no exceptions! This is to be total destruction—men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys—the works.'"

God says, "No exceptions."

So, of course, like any good subject, Saul makes some exceptions in verses 7-9:

Then Saul went after Amalek, from the canyon all the way to Shur near the Egyptian border. He captured Agag, king of Amalek, alive. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army made an exception for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn't include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban.

God was not very happy with Saul. In fact, God rejected Saul as king of Israel.

Saul decided not to listen completely listen to God. Sure, he listened to most of what God had to say. He had the idea, but he failed to listen completely to what God had to say.

Last night, Trent and I were riding bike and I mentioned this story. Trent said that this is pretty much how a lot of us our with God. We tend to hold back a little bit - save just a little bit for ourselves.

In my life, this has been a pretty common theme. I have always tried to have a back-up plan. The most significant example involves work. Because I have a teaching license, there is always just this little piece of me lingering back and wondering about teaching. Lately, I have been wondering what it would be to let go of this and just dive fully into my work in technical services at Coleman. Well, let's just say it has evolved from wondering about to acting upon these thoughts. Honestly, I can say that the last few weeks have turned into some of the most enjoyable days of my tenure at Copperfield-Coleman Cable. Sure it is stressful and I still have problems with anger. Yet, it is also exciting and even interesting again. In a lot of ways, I feel more relaxed and am grasping the importance of relationships and building bridges. I'm pretty interested to see what the next weeks and months have in store.

Take care,


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Okay, so this week I'm a weaner. Please note the spelling! I just thought it would be humorous to have the title of the blog post be weaner because of my experiment to wean down my coffee consumption.

Last week, I decided that it would be a good idea to start backing off on my coffee consumption. (This idea was not mine. I heard about it from someone else and it sounded like a good idea.) My consumption level had climbed to 4-5 cups in the morning and an occasional cup in the afternoon on particularly tiresome days. This just seemed like too much. I started needing to have that cup with me just to get through the mornings. So last week, I backed down to strictly two cups a day. After a week at two cups, I felt like a conqueror. It was no problem! In fact, on Sunday, I went without coffee for the entire day.

Then, Monday.

1 cup a day.

Not good.

My typical routine in the morning is to stop by my desk for a few minutes and then head out to get that first cup of coffee from the break room. Only on Monday, the first cup was also the last cup. I really couldn't believe how much I longed for that second cup of coffee. Unfortunately, the situation did not improve on Tuesday or Wednesday. In fact, today, I almost poured a second cup in the early afternoon.

This has proven to be a much more difficult project than anticipated. There is just something about drinking that warm liquid. I enjoy the Starbucks experience and making French pressed coffee to drink with Jenn.

What will the the future hold? I'm not sure. However, it is still a goal to get through this week drinking 1 cup a day.



Sunday, August 2, 2009

Continuing from Previous Post

So I'm back to blogging after abandoning Thursday's post.

Today was just a beautiful day and a much needed break for me. The day consisted of a lot of reading, bike riding, and walking. Sometimes the pace of life just gets too intense and it is essential to just unplug for a day. You might be saying something about me just getting back from two retreats and a camping weekend. But a day like today is just different - no agenda, mostly alone, a time to simply be, a time to decompress, a time to just enjoy life.

On Friday night, I headed down to Rensselaer to visit Jenn. I did not sleep great the previous night so was in need of a coffee to keep me awake on the drive down. For quite some time, I have known that there is a Starbucks at the Martins in Plymouth. However, I just could not remember the location of the Martins. However, on Friday evening, the light bulb went on and I knew exactly the location of the Martins and sure enough there was a Starbucks. Well, on Saturday morning, I woke up with a sore throat and ear ache so was really in need of a warm beverage on my throat. So I went to the Starbucks at the Plymouth Martins again on my way to Bremen. As the lady handed me the coffee she asked if I was interested in the free donut that they were offering.

"Free donut. Are you serious?" I exclaimed. (I'm not exaggerating, this was a major exclamation.)

"Sure," she replied, "a free donut with every grande or larger beverage compliments of Martins."

So I thanked her and grabbed a delicious donut with apples in it. (The apples made it healthy, of course.) She knew I was pretty excited and said that she was glad to make my day. (She really did make my day.) This turned into a Starbucks-Martins Experience.

Well, honestly, I can't figure out how to segue back into my other post from Thursday. But I wanted to return back to this whole idea of appointing a king. On the surface, the request seems somewhat innocuous. Yet, it was far from harmless. By asking for a king, the Israelites turned down the King, God. Just like everyone else, they wanted a mortal to be their king.

This story applies to every day life. How many times do I deny God and appoint other things or people as kings in my life? How many times do we all do this?

Some kings in my life...

Coffee - it might seem goofy but a friend recently backed down coffee consumption and it kind of dawned on me that my coffee consumption was getting kind of out of hand. So this week I'm hoping to be down to a cup a day. (Last week was two cups a day.)

The opinions of others - a lot of the time I'm way to concerned about what others think instead of thinking about what God thinks of me.

Fear - I struggle with fear and it is easy to let this take control of life. Yet, trusting in God vanquishes those fears.

The list of potential "kings" in our lives is endless...

Name brands
The most recent fads
The "American Dream" (it has become more than little warped)
TV shows
_______________ (fill in the blank)

So I guess this is something that I'm hoping to think about more on the daily journey. Who is really the king in my life?

In closing, tonight I would just like to remember the ill, the suffering, and the grieving. Maybe you can do this, too.

Take care,