Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interview: Stefanie Modri

Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives. Which is exactly why I love this interview series.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Stefanie Modri. Stefanie is an obstetrics nurse and founder of The American Garden Tool Co. which, as the name implies, sells all American-made garden tools.

She has taught me a lot about organic gardening and is brilliantly helping Jeff and I dream up plans for our new farm. (Incidentally, our husbands went to high school and college together, so I have them to thank for meeting this fascinating woman. Thanks, guys!)

Meet Stefanie.

StefanieModriWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I asked my husband to help me answer this and he said, "Honey, you are constantly wonderstruck!" He's right. I am. I guess I'll choose the most recent wonderstruck event--the process of moving a house down the street, around the corner, wherever, but without it all falling apart. Just the concept of up and moving a whole house has intrigued me for years. 

Recently, we were in Cape May, New Jersey. The Angel by the Sea bed and breakfast, I learned, used to be one big house further away from the beach. At one point, the home was moved to be closer to the beach. However, it was so large that it had to be cut into two halves to successfully move it. What looks like two homes joined by a walkway is actually one big home, split and settled further apart than it originally was. I am fascinated that a house doesn't shift and become an utter wreck by the time it lands in its new destination.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

Since I work night shift, I am thankful when I am able to sleep in my own bed at night. Often times, I want to tell others to be thankful for sleeping in their bed at night, every night. However, it wouldn't really mean anything to them if they never have to work at night away from their home. I am also thankful to have a husband readily available every morning to help get our children to school on time and safely.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

I think the only part that is tough is the after school homework and getting dinner ready time. I have come to deal with it better by 1) trying to have a part of the dinner prepared before they come home from school, 2) shutting off technology and not making phone calls or doing business work during the after school time, and 3) sitting next to the kids when they do their work, rather than just hovering over and visiting them while they work. The kids and I can stay on task better this way and we each have less distractions. Plus, I can watch them do their work, which helps to catch mistakes they may make and can help them to improve their learning.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

The faces I make. I know I make faces. I don't have a poker face. I would also like to be more conscious of the odd things I say. I am just being me but I may not always realize how my words are being interpreted.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

Lists, lists and more lists. I balance being a wife, mother of two, commuting nurse, business owner, writer, community member and several other roles by making blocked lists of the different segments of my life. I take a piece of paper, fold it into eight sections and title each section. The lists of goals/what needs to get done for each section help me to stay focused and not get overwhelmed. Otherwise, the list looks like it is 50 items long! I also take long baths and naps, early and often. I don't indulge in expensive gifts for myself but I do like to vacation. Ultimately, I try to think about what I will be happy about when I die. I am happy to spend time with my whole family and I try to do things that I completely enjoy, even if I am not perfect at doing them.

StefanieModri3cropAbout Stefanie Modri:

I have been an obstetrics nurse for over 16 years, have lived in Hawaii, love to travel to Europe and enjoy running my company, The American Garden Tool Co. I have completed two sprint triathlons: the first one, I came in second to last; the second one, third to last. I had a blast doing each of them, and met my goal to just finish and have fun--even if I only started training a few weeks beforehand.

I am married and have two kids. And I knew I was going to marry him the moment I saw him 17 years ago. 

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