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  1. Here we are, with my 4th cleric challenge, and while not much is changing with the format of the challenge, there are some underlying shifts happening. Starting with the fact that I have not tagged this with ranger, and instead am running in the warrior guild. You'll notice that my crest hasn't changed, because I'm easing myself into this, but my Ranger Brain(TM) is being put in the closet for 2024 while I focus on my three main goals of the year: becoming an ordained deacon in the Anglican Church of North America (which may take longer than a year), gaining as much strength as possible, and completing my barndominium. 1- Become an Ordained Deacon in ACNA I will be starting seminary classes on January 29. It's about a 2 year program, but depending on how things go my first semester, I may double up on classes. On Wednesday, I have a meeting with the Bishop, after which I'll hopefully have a better idea of the timeline for everything else. I'm actually not sure my seminary certificate is required to be ordained, but I do love classes, and it should be helpful, so either way I'm completing the program. 2 - Strength GainZ Why did I spell gains with a capital Z? I really don't know, but we're going with it. Anyways, I'm really enjoying lifting, and I want to take advantage of still being in the period of my life where strength is fairly easy to come by. I feel good when I'm strong, life is easier when I'm strong, and the stronger I get now, the easier it will be to maintain once my immortality wears off. I'm currently following Stronger by Science's free programming which so far has served me well. 3 - Complete Barndominium For those of you who have been following, you know I've been working on building a barn + apartment for 1.5 years already. The barn portion is mostly done. Horses are moved in, and they are loving life in their new digs. This will mostly be on hold for the beginning of the year. Through the winter, I may pick away at finishing a few things inside the barn. Once spring arrives, I'll be focusing on finishing the apartment. The goal is to be moved in by the end of 2024. Since it's all interior work, the weather isn't actually that much of a limiting factor, but at the moment I have very limited daylight outside of work hours, so I'm waiting for longer days as much as nicer weather. There are lots of smaller things I still want to incorporate into my challenges, but here are my big 3 for the year. Let's do this!
  2. Spring is near for those of us in the northern hemisphere, so I think a spring themed challenge is appropriate. The key word for this challenge is NOURISHMENT. An account I follow on Instagram, Noble King Wolf, posted a quote that has stuck with me: "I don't want satisfaction. I need nourishment." That is my overarching goal for this challenge: to be nourished. Goal 1: Nourish My Soul speak gratitude: say a brief prayer of gratitude upon waking re-instate a morning devotional practice (reading/listening, prayer/meditation) daily gratitude journaling: write down at least three things I am grateful for every day practice at least one act of random kindness every day spend at least 30 minutes outside in nature, preferably near trees and water Goal 2: Nourish My Heart spend quality time with wife and kids; include physical touch (hugs, high fives, snuggling, etc.) speak at least one compliment to my wife daily practice at least one romantic gesture for my wife daily spend time daily reflecting on things that I love listen to music that lifts my heart Goal 3: Nourish My Body move my body in fun, dynamic, and challenging ways that feel good eat foods that nourish rather than satisfy (i.e. nutritious whole foods with simple ingredients, no "empty calories") savor what I eat and drink; use all of my senses to truly enjoy it drink more water; no seriously, drink more water listen closely to my body's signals: eat when I feel hungry, rest when I feel tired, be alert when I feel stressed/overwhelmed/irritated/anxious Goal 4: Nourish My Mind read something for at least 20 minutes per day listen to informative and/or inspiring podcasts read at least one scholarly/educational article every day complete the daily requirements on Duolingo complete the daily requirements on Elevate
  3. For this challenge, I have one goal: to nourish my mind, body, and soul. I will achieve this by being mindful of everything I "consume," making a conscious effort to only partake in things that nourish me. Mind: read at least 10 pages of any book that develops my mind in some way learn something new every day (via websites, videos, podcasts, articles, etc.) view art that calms and/or inspires my mind complete a daily crossword complete the daily goals for Elevate and Duolingo take a mindful walk every day; don't stress about time--the focus is on intention, not duration. Body: complete the Daily Dare on Darebee stick to an exercise routine: Monday: Sprinting Tuesday: Lift heavy things Wednesday: Move slowly, play, rest Thursday: HIIT Friday: Move slowly, play, rest Saturday: Lift heavy things Sunday: Move slowly, play, rest practice Yoga daily post workout fast intermittently (using Zero app as a guide) drink enough water eat foods that nourish my body (i.e. avoid processed foods that contain "empty" calories) Soul: maintain morning routine: daily meditation/prayer daily breath work daily scripture and poetry reading spend at least 30 minutes in nature daily spend quality time with wife and children
  4. "Quiet friend who has come so far, feel how your breathing makes more space around you. Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell. As you ring, what batters you becomes your strength. Move back and forth into the change. What is it like, such intensity of pain? If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine. In this uncontainable night, be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses, the meaning discovered there. And if the world has ceased to hear you, say to the silent earth: I flow. To the rushing water, speak: I am. Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke Greetings and Happy Holidays fellow Rebels. As some of you know, life has been wild crazy busy for me lately but for good reasons. While this is always a difficult time of year for me personally, I am determined to rise above dwelling on past traumas and instead focus on upgrading my mind and body as I turn this new page in my life. My challenge will be similar to my last one with a few minor changes. Since winter is approaching and cold weather is already upon us, I am returning to my Wim Hof training. I'll be squeezing it in with my morning meditation practice. I am also intermittent fasting again but not in the same way as before: I will eat if I feel hungry (as in stomach actually growling), but if not then I will hold off until I am hungry. So here are my challenge goals: PHYSICAL GOAL: Lift heavy objects as often as possible and move in ways that bring me joy. This includes cinderblocks, logs, stones, kettlebells, weights, and my own body whenever the opportunity presents itself (yoga, Darebee workouts, etc.). The key is to have fun moving again and to lift mindfully, focusing on specific muscles/muscle groups and specific movements. NUTRITIONAL GOALS: I will eat mindfully, selecting foods that nourish my body and don't leave me feeling blah after eating them. From the Harvard School of Public Health: "Eating mindfully means that you are using all of your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices you make. This helps to increase gratitude for food, which can improve the overall eating experience. Mindful eating encourages one to make choices that will be satisfying and nourishing to the body. However, it discourages “judging” one’s eating behaviors as there are different types of eating experiences. As we become more aware of our eating habits, we may take steps towards behavior changes that will benefit ourselves and our environment." This will also include eating only when I feel hungry and not because I'm bored or because I think I'm hungry. This requires me to listen to my body and be mindful of my hunger. MENTAL/SPIRITUAL GOALS: I will re-instate my morning practice which will now include Wim Hof practices. I will meditate twice daily (morning contemplative meditation and evening gratitude meditation). I will read and post one poem a day, as well as write a poem of my own every day. I will read at least ten pages of a spiritual development book daily. I dropped the ball on the "poem a day" goal last time, but I struggled because life was so busy. Now that I'm finished with my Master's degree work, I should have the time to read and compose some poems. MORNING PRACTICE: 0400 wakeup prayer/contemplative meditation scripture reading breath work (Wim Hof) cold shower
  5. I had a plan. I really did. And then during my devotional/prayer time, this verse came up: "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son," -- Colossians 1:13 Message received. I have been in some emotionally dark places this year, instigated mostly by current events and being too much in my own head. If you've been following me for a little while, you know that some old bad habits have crept back up, and I have been fighting some demons, slaying some dragons, and bouncing between feeling like a failure as a husband and father and feeling hopeful that I really am doing as well as I can in the circumstances. This challenge, like many that have come before it, will have three categories: Mind, Body, and Spirit. It will be themed after things that give me hope: scripture, poetry, music, nature, fictional and real-life characters, motivational videos, stories of success and overcoming adversity, and of course lots and lots of time with family and friends. I will use a daily point system based on the level of personal difficulty. For example, even though I love to read it is difficult for me to sit still and focus for for an extended period of time. Therefore, that task is worth more points. Every 250 points I will "level up" and will reward myself in some way (sleep in, eat a cheat meal, buy something for myself, etc.). Mind (17 points): wake up early Monday-Saturday -- (1 point) read for at least 20 minutes a day -- (5 points) learn something every day (via podcasts, articles, videos, etc.) -- (5 points) complete the daily goal on Duolingo (Spanish) -- (1 point) journal daily -- (5 points) Body (22 points): intermittent fasting (at least 16 hours) -- (5 points) practice the Wim Hof Method daily using the WHM app -- (5 points) daily workout -- (5 points) integrate creative movement throughout the day (walking, squatting, crawling, sprinting, etc.) -- (1 point) eat mostly (75%-80%) whole foods -- (5 points) no sodas and at least 11 glasses of water daily -- (1 point) Spirit (11 points): meditate at least 10 minutes daily -- (5 points) daily prayer/devotional/scripture reading -- (1 point) reach out to at least one friend or family member a day via message or call -- (5 points)
  6. After succeeding in a respawn challenge, Skywalker is determined to make this reboot last. It won't be easy, as one more intensive course week and several due dates for writing assignments are awaiting. So, the challenge will be realistic and simple. Keep successfully doing what works, and keep working on that which wasn't successfully done in the previous challenge. AND I'm adding a study-related one, just in case. Subquest 1: start the day with devotions (Scripture study, meditation and prayer) -> 1 WIS + 1 CHA Subquest 2: do at least >7000 steps/day -> 1 STA Subquest 3: completely cut all unintentional time on the internet (entertainment, news, social media, etc.) and spend it on research/writing instead -> 1 WIS Subquest 4: go to sleep before midnight -> 2 CON Subquest 5: run at least 2x/week (1x long run + 1x tempo run) -> 1 STA + 1 DEX Subquest 6: lift 2x/week -> 2 STR So... I'm ready to step into the larger world once again.
  7. It's good to be back in the Rebellion! I got some pretty ok results in the first three challenges (#1, #2, #3), then unexpectedly moved to UK for postgraduate studies (take-it-or-leave-it scholarship thing) and coped with the adaptation, work, study and family balance during the autumn term, running and lifting only very occasionally, while ditching my daily walks altogether. In Nov, I failed a respawn challenge. In sum, I let Darth Paunch punch me too much (fueled by the Galactic Writing Assignments Empire). All in all, I threw that lightsaber behind way too many times. It comes to an end. In the latter part of January (original time of the year when I left the Mordor realm of inactivity in 2018), I resumed my running and lifting routine, though I'm still in the process of gearing up. I got myself a new fitness tracker (Huawei Band 3 Pro - for £58 on Amazon Warehouse) with GPS and swimming mode, which adds to motivation (I detest carrying my phone on runs - and this band tracks runs with GPS, showing the pace, distance ran and heart BPM on its own screen in real time, which I always wanted; also, I plan to subscribe to a swimming pool as soon as my academic year ends). Here's the new beauty: And here are some pictures from today's walk around Binfield (finally found some kinda hilly paths which resemble the hills of Maruševec in Croatia that I quite miss): So at this point, I'm pretty optimistic. However, I need to temper it with realism. First, the challenge reports will have to be Twitter-style - nowhere near like this introductory post (took me over an hour!). I made an Accountabilities Twitter-style thread during the failed respawn challenge, but there weren't any posters beside me, so I will not double it, but instead am branding this challenge as an "abridged-posting mode" one. Thus, both my goals and posts will be simple. Also, the following two weeks I have an intensive course, which means my goals during that time will be a smaller bite. So here it is: Subquest 1: walk >4000 daily steps during first two weeks and >8000 daily steps during second two weeks -> 2 STA Subquest 2: run 1x/week during first two weeks and 2x/week during second two weeks -> 1 STA + 1 DEX Subquest 3: lift 1x/week during first two weeks and 2x/week during second two weeks -> 2 STR Subquest 4: go to sleep before midnight -> 2 CON Subquest 5: start the day with devotions (Scripture study, meditation and prayer) -> 1 WIS + 1 CHA Give me that lightsaber alright! P.S. looking forward to the end of the academic year, when I'll be able to hang out with you much more! Wishing all of you a rocking 4WC!
  8. Good day. My name is Wolfen, and although I call the Adventurers guild my home, I felt that since my focus for this challenge is more spiritual than usual and my goals are to increase time studying scripture, praying, and meditating, that it would be great to join the Druids for this challenge. Below is a quick bio that will add some context to my reasons for this challenge. You can skip it if you want to go straight to my challenge goals. My main goals for this challenge are: Pray the Lord's prayer every morning, as well as a more personal prayer. Study scripture daily; this includes journaling as I study. Meditate daily after studying scripture; this should be a balance of quiet time and contemplative prayer Bonus goals: WHM breathing during meditation time cold showers daily 100 bodyweight movements/day continue running regularly (see past challenges, especially Wolfen Runs for His Life and Wolfen Hits the Trails) read at least one book about Jesus; title suggestion to be posted later
  9. Hullo there, fellow hobbits and adventurers! As a warning to some who might not be comfortable with this, my challenge will be dealing with a lot of spiritual challenges in my Catholic faith life. If you don't wish to read about such topics, I suggest that you move on to other threads. At the same time, I do value and welcome support from any who wish to join me on my journey! My name is Hollybell Took, and I live in the rolling hills of the Shire, also known as southern Minnesota. I have had a rather tough time during the past few months as I have battled depression, a binge-eating disorder, horrendous school politics in my teaching job, and a break-up with the man I love most in all the world. Most of all, I have been realizing how out-of-balance my life has become. My goal has always been to keep my faith at the very center of my life, but I feel as though I have neglected my faith for far too long, which feeds into my mental health challenges. A sick spiritual life and mental illness easily contribute to an unhealthy physical life as well. Lol, as I was typing this, my roommate's cat stretched her paw onto my keyboard and opened an incognito tab. Perhaps the movie Cats and Dogs was onto something? Because of my incredibly hectic teaching schedule (even more hectic than normal teachers) for 9 months of the year, I decided that trying to make a challenge fit into the usual four-week slot just isn't helpful for me at this time. This is my first actual week of summer break, and I want my challenge to stretch out for the next 12 weeks until I return to work. That sounds pretty ambitious, but I have goals set out with several checkpoints to help me keep track of my progress along the way. I am also requiring myself to seek assistance from others who can help me reach my goals. After all, Frodo couldn't take the Ring to Mordor on his own. He needed help from a variety of different people with unique knowledge and skills. I intend to follow his example by using the friends and guides I have met over the years to help me make this summer the final hurdle I need to overcome in order to achieve a stable life and get back on the path towards sainthood. I am targeting five specific areas to work on throughout the summer, and I made sure that the action steps I take will help with multiple target areas at once. Rather than make a specific plan like "I want to lose 30 pounds by doing x, y, and z", my goals are designed to help me look at the bigger picture, to regain my perspective on life, and to gain the skills needed to improve my life in the long-term. Mental Health Take daily antidepressants and begin taking medication for eating disorder. I only just started treating my depression about two months ago. Wow, I never realized how helpful anti-depressants would be! My new doctor specializes in mental health and eating disorders, and she is really awesome. She and I set up a plan to start taking medication for my binge eating disorder during the summer, once my body has gotten used to the anti-depressants. See a therapist regularly. This is a bit of a headache since my insurance is changing slightly in July. Once it changes over, I intend to start services with a therapist in my town. Follow the other goals! I kept the mental health section short because most of the other goals will also be really great for my mental health. Spiritual Health (Many of these items will only make sense to other Catholics. For non-Catholics, please see my glossary below.) Ask favorite priest to be my spiritual director; meet at least 3 times during summer. This is sort of like counseling, but only about spiritual things. I have finally come to realize that mental health ≠ spiritual health. Even though they do often go hand-in-hand, I need to address each area separately. I hope to meet at least three times with this priest during the next 12 weeks. In the past, he has always had great advice and resources for me, and I know he will help me stay accountable to the other areas of my prayer life I intend to work on. Pray a rosary at least five times per week. My summer job involves watering plants at a nursery. It is pretty easy and boring work, so it is easy (and very relaxing) to pray while I work. I want to start with praying the rosary during each of the days that I work and eventually expand to praying it 7 days each week. It only takes about 20 minutes to pray, but I often have trouble motivating myself to get started. Pray Liturgy of the Hours once per day. LotH is a really awesome form of prayer using Scripture to reflect on God's relationship with humanity. It has been incredibly helpful for my prayer life in the past, and I intend to return to it. It has different prayers for different parts of the day. If I had a LOT of ambition, I could pray it five times each day (for prayers at the morning, day, evening, or night, as well as additional readings). Right now, however, I just want to commit to praying one part of it each day, whether it is the morning, evening, or night prayers. Spend at least one hour per week with the Eucharist. Yes, this involves physically leaving my apartment to go pray in a chapel. But this is also the best way to reorient my prayer life. Attend weekly Sunday Mass at new parish and offer to help with music ministry. My roommate and I recently decided to join a different church because our current one doesn't really have an active community, and we felt a little like outsiders there. I have a difficult time going to Church if I don't know people there, so I need to meet people. And music (specifically playing clarinet) is one of the best ways I can serve in the parish and meet the other musicians, at the very least. Creativity Read at least 5 great books this summer. (Currently reading The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. This is seriously an amazing series!) I love reading, but I get VERY easily distracted by Netflix and video games. I want to get back to reading once again. Any fantasy book recommendations are appreciated! Make Paper Mache decorations for classroom. Pinterest is horrible. It gives me too many ideas of fun things to do for my classroom. Last year, some of my students made these huge, fluffy clouds that now hang from the ceiling in my classroom. I plan to make a paper mache Haku (dragon from Spirited Away) to fly above the clouds. That will be pretty ambitious, so I have some smaller paper mache projects to help me practice. Right now, the plan is to make a bunch of masks to hang on the wall (Majora's Mask, Blue Spirit mask from Avatar, Princess Mononoke's mask, and No-Face from Spirited Away. I welcome any other nerdy mask suggestions!) If I finish the masks and Haku without too much trouble, then I will consider making the floating city of Laputa as well. I don't think it will actually be as hard as it sounds, but it will certainly take a good deal of time. This sounds like I am adding work to my schedule, but it is really relaxing! Write for at least 5 hours per week. I really want to get into writing. I have a great idea for a fantasy novel, but I get bogged down with world-building and with planning out the plot and characters. I may continue working on the novel this summer, or I might take a break from the novel and work on some short stories. Either way, I want to work on writing in some form throughout the summer. I struggle a lot with accountability for writing. If there are any other writers out there, I would love some advice! Play music! I used to play clarinet and piano all the time. I still play piano sometimes, but not as often as I would like. I don't have a particular goal for this area. This is just here to remind me that music exists and that I should look to music anytime I am in a rut. Exercise Go canoeing/kayaking 3 times. This is something I have always wanted to get into. I recently found out that a state park nearby rents canoes, and my roommate and I plan to visit her family's cabin to go kayaking sometime soon. I wish I could go more frequently than 3 times, but I need to make sure to go with a buddy since I really don't have a lot of experience with watercraft of any kind. I grew up in one of the only counties in Minnesota without any natural lakes... Walk to Amon Sul! I absolutely despise going to a gym for exercise. I don't mind the bodyweight exercises on NF, but really I need to spend the summer doing my favorite form of exercise: hiking. I am taking on the "Walk to Mordor" challenge, and by summer's end, I will reach Weathertop, which is 240 miles away. I am using an Android app to help me track my progress. Year 2018 Trifles: I want to add some fun challenges throughout my travels (similar to the Anniversary Event Trifles, as any other LOTRO players may be familiar with).While I spend the next 12 weeks hiking 240 miles, I will be checking off as many of these items as I can: Wave to a beaver Take a picture of a fox See at least 30 deer Identify at least 15 different wildflowers Find a good walking stick Quack at a duck Chase a goose (mostly out of revenge for all the times I have been chased by geese) Find 5 secret writing nooks in the wilderness (nice, lovely places to pull up a chair and start writing) Take 10 sunset pictures Take 10 sunrise pictures Stand under a waterfall See at least 3 rainbows Sing "A Elbereth Gilthoniel" to the Evening Star Visit 5 different state parks Walk 10 miles in one day Take a selfie with a squirrel (easier said than done) Take a picture of an owl Go stargazing Find an eagle nest Eat wild raspberries Hike beneath a full moon (Any other ideas are welcome! I will happily add any challenges you guys come up with, as long as they are feasible for my geographic area.) Nutrition See a dietitian. My doctor recommended that, in addition to treating my binge eating disorder with medication, I also see a dietician to learn some strategies for portion control and healthier eating habits in general. I just need to set up that appointment, and then I can check this off my list and possibly set up a more structured nutritional plan for the summer. Limit eating out to once per week. Fast food is a really big temptation for me, and I need to stop picking it up. One way I plan to help avoid that temptation is to leave my money at home when I go to work. I only live about 10 minutes from work, so if I do actually need to go buy something, I can stop home and pick up my money. This will keep me from stopping at Culver's or McDonald's on the way home from work. Cook at least one new recipe each week. I need to get back to looking up fun recipes on NF, Pinterest, and other websites. Generally when I do cook, I eat healthy food. But when I fall into a rut, I eat mostly junk food. It also helps that I really enjoy gardening and currently have a healthy patio garden of herbs and veggies growing. By the end of the summer, I want to have a recipe book so that I can look for inspiration even when I am busy. Checkpoints: I have a couple of different ways I am going to keep myself accountable throughout the summer. I have a habit tracker in my bullet journal which will help me keep track of daily habits such as medication, writing, and eating out, etc. Some of the other goals also involve setting up appointments. I can't really plan a deadline for each meeting without knowing the schedule of the priest, therapist, and dietitian, but I can make a deadline for scheduling an appointment. And I do need to set deadlines, or else I will fall into my usual summer trap of "Oh, but I have all summer to do that. I'll do it later." By June 24th: Visit with Gildor and the other elves near Woodhall (41mi) Finish three paper mache masks Have the appointment with dietitian Send email to priest to request spiritual direction Check off at least 5 trifles Ask about music ministry at new church and sign up if schedule allows By July 8: Rest at Tom Bombadil's House (98mi) Begin seeing therapist Go canoeing/kayaking at least once Check off at least 10 more trifles Begin paper mache Haku By July 22: Reach Bree (135mi) Finish paper mache Haku, start Laputa if time allows Check off at least 10 more trifles By August 5: Finish the trek through the Midgewater Marshes (198mi) Check off at least 10 more trifles Create recipe book (either physical or digital) to track favorite recipes By August 19: Reach Weathertop (240mi) Possibly finish Laputa if time allows Check off entire list of trifles Glossary (for Catholic terms many probably don't know): Eucharist: Lembas bread for humans. Spiritual waybread for the journey. God: Dungeon Master. Liturgy of the Hours: Ancient tomes filled with chants, songs, and wisdom of the ancestors. Music Ministry: A group of bards who support the party (congregation) in battles (Church service). Priest: Party leader who is actually competent because of the large amount of time spent collaborating with the Dungeon Master. Rosary: A beaded chain with multiple purposes: whipping roommates in the face, cat toy, devotions to Elbereth (Mary)
  10. So, time to finish this challenge trilogy that started on Feb 5 - to go out of my comfort zone into the unknown and run the Wings for Life World Run as fast as I can. It wasn't easy for Luke to turn himself in to two most powerful Sith in the Death Star II in a desperate effort to restore freedom to the galaxy in that final battle. And it was quite a duel, both physically and even more psychologically, just like every good race. So, the main quest again stays the same (though I am rising the minimum to 12 km instead of 10 km) and it will hopefully and finally be fulfilled during this challenge. Subquests are also very similar, with upgrades/increases (marked purple). Why? I don't want to experiment too much before the race; I just want to hold myself accountable and improve on those things that work for me. Subquest 4 is entirely the same since I failed it last time. Decided to put to an end to those hurried devotions by designating at least 20 min of uninterrupted devotions, which means I'll have to be really disciplined in going to bed in time (Subquest 4) so that I can also get up in time to do the devotions before the day kicks in. Main quest: Run between 12 and 15 km in the Wings for Life World Run (Zadar location) on May 6 Subquest 1: do: (a) >6500 steps each day; (b) 1 weekly long run (>12 km, but shorter in the taper week); (c) 1 weekly speedwork with <5:30 min/km. -> 3 STA + 2 DEX Subquest 2: strength train 3 times a week with a weekly increase of the reps in a set on the pull-up bar (+1 rep each week - starting from 5 half pull-ups and 10 half chin-ups). -> 2 STR Subquest 3: have a: (a) vegan protein powder after each workout and (b) an IF three times a week. -> 1 CON: facilitates muscle gain & repair and fat loss + 1 CHA: increases attractiveness and confidence Subquest 4: go to bed between 10:45pm and 11:15pm, without internet; only devotions and time with wife permitted. -> 2 CON + 1 STA: boosts my immunity and energy levels Subquest 5: start the day with at least 20 min of uninterrupted devotions (incl. Scripture study, meditation and prayer), and end it with at least prayer. -> 2 WIS: helps me make wiser decisions + 1 CHA: makes me peaceful and better with people Let's bring freedom to the galaxy!
  11. This Padawan passed the first challenge in a Han Solo fashion (started good, went back to scoundrel habits, and only barely passed by showing up at the end). Now, as a Level 2 Padawan, I plan to do it more like Luke Skywalker (consistent throughout) - and learn how to do instead of try, especially getting more sleep. My main quest remains the same - only the race is now one month closer, so it requires greater discipline. At the same time, I tweaked goals to be more attainable (e.g. aiming for 10:45pm bedtime, but permitting 11:15pm as a pass). Subquests serve the main quest and my long-term fitness goals. I decided to make them more tangible and fun by adding stat points (full points can be gained only at 100% of completion and will be decimally reduced by lesser percentages). Main quest: Run between 10 and 15 km in the Wings for Life World Run (Zadar location) on May 6 Subquest 1: Follow the weekly running+walking program: (a) >6000 steps each day; (b) 1 weekly long run (>10 km) that includes hills; (c) 1 to 2 speedworks (tempo/HIIT/fartlek) per week. -> 3 STA + 2 DEX Subquest 2: Strength train 3 times a week (bodyweight + dumbbells; barbell is optional). -> 2 STR Subquest 3: Have a: (a) vegan protein meal after each run or strength training, and (b) an IF twice a week. -> 1 CON: facilitates muscle gain and fat loss + 1 CHA: increases attractiveness and confidence Subquest 4: Go to bed between 10:45pm and 11:15pm, without internet. Only devotions and time with wife permitted. -> 2 CON + 1 STA: boosts my immunity and energy levels Subquest 5: Start each day with Scripture study, meditation and prayer, and end it with at least prayer. -> 2 WIS: helps me make wiser decisions + 1 CHA: makes me peaceful and better with people So, let us DO!
  12. Last challenge saw a rather substantial advancement in rank and responsibility. While on pilgrimage to Rome, the Crown of Northshield confirmed me in my office of Seneschal of Nordleigh - a small canton south of the great Barony of Nordskogen, and beholden to the self-same Baron and Baroness. A small and poor frontier territory, with barely enough people to even grant it status as a canton, Nordleigh historically had supported the great colleges of that region, but those seats of higher learned have turned their backs on the people, preferring to stay safe within their own walls. The majority of the officers have fled to the more civilized lands in the Barony proper, while I hold out down in the border lands. It will be interesting ….. Upon returning home, I also learned that their Dread Stellar Majesties had elevated me to the ranks of the (minor) nobility. I was too ill to attend the minor Court at Lupercalia (having invested quite a lot of time and money to go to the big Twelfth Night Festival); so I have not received my circlet and scroll, but word has reached me, and I will try to meet up with the Prince and Princess in a couple of weeks. So, I am ennobled and charged with keeping these lands safe …. And perhaps making them grow and prosper over the next few months. But how??? First, days will be long and busy as Spring returns to these lands. So, my first order of business each day will be a good breakfast!!! I figure if I start the day out with a clean (Whole 30 or Paleo) breakfast, I set myself up for more healthy eating throughout the day. And I start building good habits that will carry me through living alone if I get a new job ... down on the plains of another Kingdom .... but let's not get ahead of ourselves. As a Forester, I need to be ready to outrun the bandits that inhabit our woods. So, I will continue to run 3 times per week, according my my plan. I need to be ready to run 5K for the Zombies Run Virtual Race on April 19th. Archery practice is required weekly, and another strength training session of any kind will happen each week as well. I went out to the range, and people have been practicing already. I was glad to have 4-wheel drive in order to deal with the soft roads and parking lot, however. And, in my new role, I need to defend this territory from invaders. I’ve decided that Ingress will get me out of the house and walking marginally long distances. As a challenge, I will keep all of the portals north of Greenvale Avenue and south of the woods in Resistance hands by going out daily to capture or reinforce them. They tend to get captured on weekends, but our team has been very lax in playing the game (I blame Pokemon); and I have a lot of work to do!!! Finally, following up on my pilgrimage, I will do devotions each morning. I am reading the Rule of St. Benedict with commentary, followed by prayer or other reading as the spirit moves me. I am also going to up the ante this time and track ---- with a reward. If I get 70%, I get one additional item for my SCA garb collection If I get 80%, I get TWO If I get 90%, I get THREE If I get 95%, I get FOUR
  13. December of 2017 was my first time in 51 years of life doing a formal year-end inventory, and I am using the data I gleaned from that experience to formulate my goals for 2018. I modified the categories from Level 10 Life, and came up with what I want to focus my attention on for this year. I'm stashing these here so I have a place to look for inspiration to create my four-week challenge goals more intentionally vice haphazardly as I have been doing. Spirituality: Add a daily prayer focus to the beginning of every day; add a brief gratitude bullet at the end of every day (record in BuJo) Re-boot prayer journalling habit, using The Power of Prayer Journal because that actually worked out great for me when I used to use it Physical Health: Participate in my gym's annual 3-month nutrition Transformation Challenge, starting Jan 13 Figure out what my actual maintenance calories are Learn to do unassisted chin-ups Squat my bodyweight Add HIIT sessions to strength workouts 3x/week Marriage: Verbally express gratitude/appreciation at least daily Environment: Convert horribly cluttered and neglected bonus room/junk storage room to cozy, welcoming Hobbit Hole/library/writer's sanctuary Incorporate Weekly Home Blessings into weekly routine (FlyLady quickie whole-house-cleaning) Commit at least 15 minutes/day to de-cluttering and tidying up using combination of FlyLady and Marie Kondo methods Relationships: Commit at least two days a month to face-to-face time with friends (women's ministry events, coffee dates, Wednesday studies) Call at least two out-of-town family members (mom, one of the sisters, eldest) every month Career: Schedule specific daily times for records maintenance and reporting Use Pomodoro technique for mundane tasks Finances: Pay of three smallest of remaining student loans using snowball method Replenish emergency savings used during recent emergency veterinary surgery Pay off medical/veterinary bills by July Helping: Volunteer at domestic violence shelter Take supplies to DV shelter at least monthly Buy at least one thing for food pantry at every weekly grocery trip Mental: Take another Coursera course, possibly Stanford's "Mathematical Thinking" Learn contact juggling "Butterfly" Finish Duolingo French, start Duolingo Welsh Complete BookRiot 2018 Read Harder challenge Read 120 books (Goodreads goal) Emotional/Personal Development: Continue daily meditation Write Morning Pages Finish rough draft of novel The BIG THREE goals for the year are officially: Finish novel Create library/writer's sanctuary Pay off three student loans I plan to re-visit these at least quarterly, modify or add to as needed.
  14. This group is for sharing the insights we gain by doing the daily prayer devotional, "Draw The Circle" by Mark Batterson. You can find the book at most major book retailers or on Kindle. This is a 40-day Christian prayer devotional with the focus on getting us into regular, daily quiet time with God. The goal is to submit more of our lives to the direction of God. If you'd like to participate, just jump in. Find what day we're on and pray for God to speak to you. Read that chapter in the book, then share your personal insights with that day's lesson. I highly recommend keeping a personal journal to record your insights, as oftentimes God reveals something to you in a slow progression, and you only realize it as you review what you'd written in your journal. You can keep track of your prayer requests in that journal as well -- it's another way that God will begin revealing His will to you.
  15. Coping through Hoping “What do you want out of life? That is your hope.†I've been stressing over my actions and decisions without bothering to take the time to pin down exactly what ends I hope to accomplish in life. This... is madness... and also exhausting! Time to slow down, calm down, and find my inner peace. Enter my new challenge: MAIN QUEST: Discover Hope. Goals: 1. Awaken to Hope I've scheduled a date every morning at 6:00 am for the next six weeks with God. This is where I connect with Hope and awaken to possibilities. It's time to see myself through God's eyes and ask that He establish my ways. Maybe I'll get some clarity on future plans here... and if not, there is still peace to be won! 2. Gloved Shovel I've seen too many posts about people working with sledgehammers to NOT attempt it. The shovelglove website recommends 14 minutes a day. Week one will find me at half that – 7 minutes, 3 times a week - adding minutes through the challenge as I feel ready. Oh, and I'm using a ten pounder to start out. 3. Meal Manifesto Last challenge I did 21 days gluten, dairy, and sugar free and saw no relief from my stomach / GI issues. I've since read that it could take months, not weeks, to clear up my digestive trouble. That challenge now continues, with a few more suspicious foods cut from my diet. I'll also be journaling to record my food and feelings. Life Quest: 1. Authoring Hope I really benefit from writing: putting pen to paper helps me think through problems and is inspiring. I will write every night to remind myself that my hope is in Christ. Hope doesn't rise or fall on my own failures and shortcomings. Motivation: God can comfort my heart and establish me. (2Th 2:16-17 ESV) “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.â€
  16. Welcome All Who Enter Here The 6-week challenge is upon us again, are you ready? Although the time of knights and dragons is over, until we turn on the consoles and PC , we still battle against our own personal demons, dragons, monsters, and sin. This group is dedicated to keeping God first, and helping each other battle those forces of evil. After all, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16) Just because we are soldiers under God's command doesn't mean we are to do it alone. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year coming around the corner our goals, whatever they may be, will be tested. 1. You can sign up at the link, in the Cross Guilds section. 2. Put your goals up 3. I'll put your name down as a member! That easy! I'll put up daily devotions, and it's not mandatory but discussions about it are encouraged. Also a prayer list will be put up to, everyday. But the prayers don't have to have specifics, they can be simple and brief. New Members please read The devotions I'm using is not only online, but on the Youversion Bible app. So if you can't get on Nerd Fitness you can just pull it up on your phone! Members: LostOne1775 BlamedCat Randa Rooskie Feowyn TheMormonRebel
  17. Annabjoyful and the Return to Routine After successfully completing my first NF challenge earlier this spring, I entered a time of kind of crazy life stress. My job took a turn for the worst, and I made the decision to leave, find a new position, and subsequently relocate to be closer to family. I'm happy to report that I have a new job, am happily relocated, and it looks like there will be much less stress in my life and much more manageable work hours. YAY!!! Of course that means it's time to get back into a routine. During my hiatus I have been able to manage...mostly; I haven't gained weight (but I haven't lost any either), but I can tell that my stamina is not quite what it has been, and we're not even going to talk about sleep schedules. My fitness goals are the same: I want to build muscle, lose fat, gain agility, and increase flexibility to be a better, more versatile swing dancer. BUT. The most important thing here is that I need to ease back into things, so this is a challenge that I can complete relatively easily...the challenge will be consistency. If things go well the first few weeks I may add some other objectives for each goal, but for the most part I'm going to just keep it simple. Goal 1) Fitness - Work out 3+ times a week The challenge here is consistency. In the past I did home workouts, but now I'll be using a gym as my primary workout facility. My gym workouts will be a cardio warmup followed by free weights and resistance training to cover the whole body, focusing on certain muscle groups on certain days. My secondary workouts will be Pilates and light free weights at home. I'll be grading this goal weekly, as follows: A=4+ workouts, B=3 workouts, C=2 workouts, D=1 workout, F=0 workouts Goal 2) Diet - DRINK WATER ( 2 24oz bottles of water a day) Nothing fancy, not even going to set specific food or food tracking goal; I just need to drink more water. This is the bane of my existence, and I'm feeling it even more now that I have moved further south. I can't explain why, but drinking adequate amounts of water is so hard. Grading weekly on days when I have drunk two bottles of water: A=6-7 days, B=5 days, C=4 days, D=3 days, F= 2 days or less Goal 3) Sleep - Establish a regular sleep schedule New time zone, new work schedule, new sleep schedule. Goal here will be to be in bed by 10:00 and up by 6:00. I'll be doing the same thing that worked for me during my first challenge, which is no screens after 9:00, no caffeine after 2:00 pm, and one sleep time alarm to wake me up (no snoozing!). Allowances will be made for sleeping in a bit on the weekend and going to bed later on dance nights. Grading weekly based on days when I have met my bed time: A=6-7 days, B=5 days, C=4 days, D=3 days, F= 2 days or less Life Goal - 20 minutes of devotion time every day My life is nothing without my faith in God, and the most important part of my routine will be spending time in prayer and meditation. Grading weekly based on days when I have met my devotion goal: A=6-7 days, B=5 days, C=4 days, D=3 days, F= 2 days or less Thank you for joining me on this commitment - it's great to be back! Honestly, the goal here is to just finish, but hopefully the grading system will help me stay motivated. I'll be keeping a daily log and will keep you all updated with my dance life whenever I have new pics or videos
  18. *disclaimer: I don't know anything about the book or movie Eat Pray Love, I just wanted to use Eat Pray Lift as a challenge title since it fit so well with my goals. I almost called this one To Infinite Intensity and Beyond, but I couldn't come up with enough Buzz Lightyear/Toy Story themes to match my goals. So, I have this long explanatory back story written up chronicling my fitness journey for the last 2 years, but I think I may post it over on my Battle Log instead. Here are my goals for Challenge #14: EAT I follow the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) style of nutrition, but mostly eat pretty "clean". I'm not going to focus on adding weight or burning fat specifically this time around, but I do want to build some muscle, so that means Protein! Goal 1a - Average 100 g/PRO per day. From Brad Pilon's e-book, How Much Protein? - "If you want to build muscle, try to eat between 70-120 grams of protein per day, workout consistently with a high amount of effort, and possibly take your creatine." Goal 1b - 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. No averages for this one; I either hit it or I don't. Helpful CDC website on what constitutes a serving. PRAYFor the last few months, I've been in kind of a funk spiritually/mentally/emotionally. It may just be winter blues, but I've felt the desire to stop focusing on myself so much and start focusing on others. Praying is a great way to do that. Goal 2a - Finish reading A Praying Life by Paul Miller. I'm about 4 chapters in, with 28 to go. Going to shoot for five chapters a week. I've read it before and like what he had to say, but didn't take it to heart. I'm wanting to make daily prayer a habit, which leads to... Goal 2b - Pray for 10 minutes every day. I've been in the habit of reading a quick devotional in the mornings for a while now, but I want to add in some prayer time, too. Paul Miller has a good system with prayer cards for the people you're praying for, so I'm going to try using that. Also thinking I'll just rotate through friends, family, neighbors, etc. each day through the week. LIFTAs I said above, I'd like to build some muscle. That's really been my goal since I found Nerd Fitness in 2012. I've tried a variety of methods without ever plunking the bucks to join a proper gym or buy a barbell set. I also haven't had much success. For those of you that know Waldo on here, you probably know he is a "bodyweight powerbuilder". He has had amazing results building muscle without barbells. I went to him for advice last challenge and he told me to stop trying to modify barbell training programs to fit the equipment I have. I have dumbbells, sandbags, a kettlebell, and a pull-up/dip station. So, I'm trying to follow his advice while also taking a page out of his first challenge. I'm going to work out 3 days a week, with a Strength Day, a Skills/Conditioning Day, and a Surf Prep Day. (I'm not a surfer, but I'd like to try it this summer and would love to not get my butt kicked too hard.) Goal 3a - Progressive Progress. I'm including dumbbell bench press as part of my Strength Training Day and plan to go from 3x8x100# to 4x12x100# in six weeks. Goal 3b - 30 second frog stand hold. I'd like to one day be able to do a tuck-to-handstand-press and I believe the first step is the frog stand. I've been playing with them for a week or so and go up to a 20-count this past weekend, but I don't think that was a legitimate 20 seconds. I'll also be working on handstands on my Skills Day. Goal 3c(ungraded) - Pistol Squats. I got to a point in my sandbag training where I couldn't lift the heavy sandbags up to my back or chest to do heavy squats, so I'm going to try and make some progress on Pistol Squats, which have served Waldo well. Geez. Good thing I didn't include the long explanatory back story, huh? This has taken much longer to write up than I anticipated, so I'll come back and add in RPG attributes, scoring, and starting pics/stats later this week. And yes, I know I have 6 goals plus one ungraded, but they kind of mesh, right? Excited to start the new challenge! Pics and measurements from end of last challenge: Age: 37Height: 6'-1"Weight: 149.8#Neck: 13.5"Shoulders: 44.25"Chest: 38.5"Biceps: 11"Waist: 31.5"Belly: 33.5"Hips: 37"Thigh: 21.5"Calf: 12.5"Wrist: 6"Forearm: 9.5"Avg BF%: 17.44%
  19. Every time I ever imagined what the world would look like after the apocalypse I envisioned waking up some morning and looking out my front door at a wasteland, smoldering ruins, the smell of the dead and the moans of the dying filling the air. But… I never imagined this. The books and the movies led us to believe that the apocalypse would come all at once from some enormous disaster, an earthquake, an emp blast, an outbreak of some pathogen. But that’s not how it happened at all. The apocalypse is here alright, but it didn’t happen all at once, it happened slowly, like a creeping sickness, an odorless, invisible toxin that effected everyone so mysteriously that no one saw it coming, until it had already over taken us. The people around us are dying. Most people literally couldn’t walk a mile to save their lives. There are grocery stores filled with products, but actual food is scarce. Everyone is beginning to atrophy, people are hardly strong enough to carry themselves let alone do any sort of heavy manual labor. Hope is all but a memory. I see people going through their lives despairing or despondent. But not us. By the Grace of God, we’ve survived, and now it’s time to rebuild civilization, starting with our own family. Goals: Search for survivors. (Go for family walks for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times each week) Scavenge for food. (Prepare at least 3 100% paleo meals together as a family each week) Haul water. (Do heavy lifting appropriate to everyone’s age/ability using water filled containers at least 3 days each week) Keep vigil at night. (Pray a family rosary together at least 3 days each week)
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