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  1. THE SILVER ARCHER: CHALLENGE 1 This month, school is winding down and summer with all its glorious possibilities arduous research is opening up before me; and the end of finals means the end of excuses for crappy eating. I've gained some weight back (114.5 pounds), woke up on Monday feeling terribly sick and confused with what I think may have been a blood sugar crash, and have learned the hard way that I need to eat a little bit regularly in order to stay emotionally stable and healthy. So this month, my plan is to maintain the good habits I've built at the gym and not let those slide, but to really turn my attention to how often and how much I'm eating. This is also the first challenge in which I become the Silver Archer. (If this image screams "Sky has been playing on again instead of doing her homework ... yeah, that's what it screams to me, too.) When a Keeper of the Silver Bow goes and trains with a Master to learn how to maximize her powers of healing and clarity, she becomes a Silver Archer, a Ranger with more responsibility to lead her corps and protect the people of the land in the way of peace. Her ability to clarify, to make peace, to heal with love and story - all of these become more a part of her, and her skill and precision with the bow become greater. She is gaining the knowledge she will need to become a Protector one day. In less than 2 weeks, Sky will officially begin her studies with Mistral Uí Diarmada, a Master who has been a Keeper, a Silver Archer, and is now one of the Protectors of the Northern Forest. She will teach Sky how to control her emotions, how to train her body and mind, and how to use her skills for the good of the Kingdom. Sky will need to be disciplined, focused, determined, balanced, and healthy in order to learn well and give her all to her studies. She will need to fight against the attacks of the Dark Elf and her own insecurities as she leaves behind Ayre Kallana, her first teacher and the one who taught her how to be a Keeper and a Ranger. And she will need to stay committed to her quest and her goals to avoid being distracted or led away into shadow. Here is my first Silver Archer challenge: Food: Track every breakfast, lunch, and dinner in MFP - 6 days / week for 4 weeks (72+ meals): +1 CON, +2 WIS - 6 days / week for 3 weeks (54-71 meals): +1 CON, +1 WIS - 6 days / week for 2 weeks (36-53 meals): +0.5 CON, +0.5 WIS - 6 days / week for 1 week (18-35 meals): +0.5 WIS Total points available: +2.5 CON, +4 WIS Eat at least 100 calories at breakfast and 290 calories at lunch on weekdays - 5 days / week for 4 weeks (20 days): +2 CON, +2 STA - 5 days / week for 3 weeks (15-19 days): +2 CON, +1 STA - 5 days / week for 2 weeks (10-14 days): +1 CON, +0.5 STA - 5 days / week for 1 week (5-9 days): +0.5 CON Total points available: +5.5 CON, +3.5 STA Stay at or below exercise-adjusted calorie limit (baseline: 1220 cal) - 7 days / week for 4 weeks (28 days): +3 CON - 7 days / week for 3 weeks (21-27 days): +2 CON - 7 days / week for 2 weeks (14-20 days): +1 CON - 7 days / week for 1 week (7-13 days): +0.5 CON Total points available: +6.5 CON Cook dinner 2 nights / week - 2 times / week for 4 weeks (8+ meals): +2 WIS - 2 times / week for 3 weeks (6-7 meals): +1.5 WIS - 2 times / week for 2 weeks (4-5 meals): +1 WIS - 2 times / week for 1 week (2-3 meals): +0.5 WIS Total points available: +5 WIS Exercise: Go to gym 2 times / week - 4 weeks: +2 STR, +2 STA, +2 CON, +2 DEX - 3 weeks: +1 STR, +1 STA, +1 CON, +1 DEX - 2 weeks: +0.5 STR, +0.5 STA, +0.5 CON, +0.5 DEX Total points available: +3.5 STR, +3.5 STA, +3.5 CON, +3.5 DEX Walk 100+ miles - 80+ miles = +1 STA - 90+ miles = +1 STA, +1 STR, +1 CON - 100+ miles = +1 STA, +1 STR, +1 CON Total points available: +3 STA, +2 STR, +2 CON Spiritual Health: Finish reading Revelation, 2 Corinthians, Psalm 1-75 - Revelation: +0.5 WIS (almost done with that) - 2 Corinthians: +1 WIS - Up through Psalm 75: +1 WIS Total points available: +2.5 WIS Total Points Available: +20 CON, +11.5 WIS, +10 STA, +5.5 STR, +3.5 DEX (although STR may be adjusted if I do a lot of weightlifting this month) Bonus Activities / Rewards: - Row 3000 km: Eat a small slice of cake - Row 3000 km more than once: Post about it on social media - Walk 100 miles or more: Buy a new pair of cross-trainers - it's time!! - Complete 10 or more overhead presses with 15-pound dumbbells: Buy a small dish of ice cream from Coldstone Creamery (but just a small one!) - Get my learner's permit renewed: Buy a new dress This is pretty ambitious, but most of the food things were things I was trying for anyway, so I'm not really adding any new elements, just trying to do better at writing them down. And my workout goals are a little vague at the moment, but I'm trying to find exercises besides rowing to build my shoulder and chest muscles, both for functional strength and for better-looking shoulders. I'm hoping to stick with my current routine of walking, rowing, and lifting, but maybe put more emphasis on the lifting part. And as always, if it turns out that I've bitten off more than I can chew, I will pare it back once I've given this a try. *deep breath* Here we go!!
  2. Umm ... so I wasn't really thinking about finding Francis when I made my Ranger feat (potting my tomatoes), so I'm going to say that I'm feeding all the hungry Rangers who are out looking for Francis. Yes. That's it. Because it's ... outdoors ... and outdoors + gardening = Rangerish.
  3. Better wait and see whether I'm able to actually keep them alive ...
  4. Yeeesssss, thank you @maegs!! I looked and looked and couldn't find it anywhere! @Dav Ghtroc, maybe this will point you in the right direction!
  5. Hullo. The name is DeadSky. Pleased to meet you and pleased to be a part of this great little challenge thingy. Distance: Row 3000 km once at the gym during this week. Speed: Jog/run from my office to my mom's office and record how long it takes. Recover: Read two chapters in a fiction book of my choosing OR read one of my little vintage writing textbooks. Ranger: Successfully re-pot all of my plants (5 tomatoes, 1 basil, 2 dracaenas, 1 unknown ferny thing) without killing any of them. So this week, my Ranger task is to get my little balcony garden ready for a productive summer. I'll award myself a bonus WIS point if I remember to also look up and post 2 articles on container gardening, specifically tomatoes. A little work now will hopefully give me months of my favorite summer food ever, tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches!
  6. This is not related to my challenge, I don't think - I'll try to grab some time to start my challenge tomorrow, among a friend's baptismal service, half of an 18-page paper to write, two presentations to build, a dinner to plan, and six tomato plants to repot. But I had to report that I have just finally seen Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time, and while the pacing and style of the movie annoyed me at times, I have to say, I thought the climax at the end when they all joined hands to contain the power of the Infinity Stone was one of the most chills-inducing moments in the Marvel universe to date. That's what friends do. That is one of the best metaphors for friendship I have ever seen. If a friend is carrying something that's too heavy or difficult or powerful or harmful for them to carry, we don't take it away from them and try to carry it for them, but we can reach out and help bear that weight, help diffuse that fear, help absorb some of that shock. And together, bearing that load together, we are powerful. It also made me think about why it's important to get other friends to help carry the heavier burdens and not try to help someone all by myself. Gamora couldn't have saved Peter by herself - she needed Drax and Rocket to help, too. And that could be the key to my developing a healthier relationship with my friend group. If I help them build the kind of confidante relationships with other trusted friends and mentors that they currently only have with me, then we can spread the hurt around and create a strong network of friends, instead of running the risk of my burning out and disappearing and leaving them alone. Balance ... balance is shaping up to be the theme for the first chapter of the Silver Archer series. Good, healthy balance to keep myself upright and moving forward.
  7. Nooo, you're right ... and He rested, and He went to weddings and other happy dinners and events with people, and He spent time talking with His friends, the disciples. And He worked lot. But He knew how to balance them and make sure that all of His activities were to the glory of God. I think I've just found the Big Idea for my next challenge.
  8. I have found that it's not so much that you become a badass Ranger, but rather, that you already have a badass Ranger on the inside and she's trying to change your outside to match your inside. :-) Welcome to the first step of your journey!!
  9. These are awesome goals, and I think just the right amount for your first challenge back - I've found from experience that my RangerBrain™ wants to try to tackle my weight loss AND my muscle building AND my functional strength goals AND my eating AND my school goals AND my personal leveling up AND AND ... and then I get overwhelmed and crash. And even worse, that didn't just happen to me when I was new. :-) So I think this set of goals looks great and you are on track for a super successful respawn!! I'm so excited to watch your progress!
  10. Yes ... so much yes. It's impossible and unwise to think it, but sometimes I feel so heavy and burdened, like I shouldn't even be sleeping because I should be working and helping and trying to fix all the problems all around me. What should clue me in is that that feeling never, ever leads to action - it only leads to nervous scrolling through Facebook feeds or tossing the computer on the floor and going to bed. The World is not my burden to carry. I'm not the Messiah. I'm just one of His servants, and no servant in a King's realm was ever asked to take all of the responsibilities of the kingdom on himself or herself (except for Joseph, but whatever). That's kind of what this challenge is going to be about - focus, making choices, selecting what is Best and not just Okay or Good. I'm so glad!! Thanks Wolf!! I'm glad you're here! Really??? I'm coming over to follow your thread - I want to watch you respawn!! Go go go, girl! You've got this!! Thank you, EG! I like putting my thoughts into allegory because, ironically, I can be more honest that way. And I can also represent how important something is to me and how much it is troubling me - like to someone else, a bad grade or a difficult conversation might look like a small blip in my day, but it feels like I've been attacked by a horde of Orcs and left bleeding and confused on the forest floor. And I can be honest about that by putting it in a story. Thank you for following! I'm so glad you're here!!
  11. Our minis are pretty epic ... and I haven't spent much time with the Assassins, so I may not be making a fair comparison, but I'm pretty sure that we Rangers have the tightest camaraderie of any guild. Just my opinion.
  12. Thanks guys, this is all great advice and super helpful! I really want to build my upper body strength and get some definition in my shoulders, so having a program / some guidance will make it easier for me to keep track of my progress. I do plan to switch to a barbell at some point, but like @Taddea Zhaan suggested, I'd like to get a bit stronger first, especially since I don't know what I'm doing.
  13. THE SILVER ARCHER Chapter 1 I pulled my quiver strap tighter with one hand so it wouldn't bounce against my body as I ran hard up the last hill, trying to disguise my heavy breathing. Mistral would be furious that I wasn't at the rendezvous point when she arrived, and I doubted that she would accept my excuse. The sun had long set and the roving bands of enemy elves and men would soon resume their nightly pursuit of our little Ranger band. It was not safe to be out in the woods alone. When I reached the crest of the hill, I looked down and saw Mistral's campfire already burning low. I sighed and began to run down toward her. At least I had shot two small rabbits and traded for some cornmeal in the last village - perhaps that would appease her frustration. I took a deer trail down the hill so I would make as little noise as possible hurrying toward the campsite, but despite my relatively quiet approach, she was already sitting up and poking the fire back to life when I arrived in the clearing. "You stayed longer than you said you would," she said simply. I sighed and dumped the sack at her feet. "I did." She glanced at the bag, didn't open it, and looked up at me out of the corner of her eye. "Why?" I took a deep breath. No sense in covering it up. "I healed three people this afternoon." "What!" She immediately sat up and pushed back her hood to look me full in the face, her eyebrows raised high over huge violet eyes. "I told you not to use your powers without one of your teachers around! You still have much learning to do before you're ready to use them on your own!" "I know ..." I unslung my bow and quiver and sat down heavily on the ground next to her, slowly pulling off my wristlets and unlacing my boots. "But ... I couldn't just leave them there, could I? One of the girls had been hurt ... one of them was a young mother who was very sick ... and then an old gentleman who was very confused and needed help. I was the only one around." "You went to town," Mistral shot back pointedly. "You were not the only one around. Someone else could have helped them." "But not like I could," I shot back without thinking. As soon as I said it, she closed her eyes and her shoulders sank in a deep sigh. Why had I said that? I turned away and pulled my boots off, cringing as I waited for her usual lecture. She threw her stick down on the ground and rubbed her slender hands over her face with another heavy sigh. "Sky, you bear an important responsibility as the Keeper of the Silver Bow, that's true. But you're carrying far more weight on your shoulders than you should - far more than you're ready to carry. No one expects you to fulfill every need or right every wrong that comes your way. You are not the only Healer in the world. There are others. Many others. If you stop to use your powers on every crying child or lonely old man you meet, you won't have any time left to concentrate on your training and get stronger and more prepared to help even more people, in even bigger ways. Your training is the most important thing for you to focus on right now. All these side quests of yours are good, yes, but your training is best. You have a great work ahead of you that you won't be able to do if you don't shut out the distractions and practice and learn." I sighed quietly as I half-listened to the speech she had already given me three or four times in the last week. I knew her reasoning was probably true, but I also knew I couldn't just close my eyes when people saw my Silver Bow in the villages and forest towns and came to me, asking for my help. It only took me a few minutes to hold onto someone's shaking hands and listen to them pour out their heart, or to fire an arrow discreetly into the center of a bickering throng, or to place my hands on the shoulders of a wounded soldier so the King's healing power could flow through his bruised body. The practice drills and dull old texts that Mistral assigned me did not and could not seem as important as real people sitting in front of me and asking for my help. Of course, I couldn't say any of that to my teacher. "You're right," I said meekly, and reached over to push the bag toward her. "I did bring back a couple of rabbits and some cornmeal, if that helps." She looked at the bag, then at me, then shook her head and chuckled. "Sky, I'm not so easily distracted. Thank you for the food. You fry the cornmeal while I prepare the rabbit, and we'll continue this discussion another time."