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  1. It's been a long while since I've had a gif-laden challenge. Or a themed challenge. And everyone can always use more Avatar in their life. And the new year seems a good time to do that. In a way, the limited challenges have been my vague attempts at keeping myself moving forward in some way, while dealing with a whole lot of other crap. There's been a lot of upheaval, a lot of change, a lot of drama, and a whole bunch of RP sitting in the corner rocking back and forth with anxiety. I think a majority of these things are ultimately one-off things (shodan exams, company reorgs, house buying, dojo moves and fundraisers), but also they were a slew of things that I feel prevented me from actually focusing on myself and what I want, rather than being pulled along and put into a form of survival mode (Okay yes, the house thing is all on me, but damned if I underestimated how that process works). And so far in 2020, there are definitely things I'm looking at that aren't my most favorite thing to deal with that I'll have to do, but for the most part I want to take 2020 to refocus on my needs a bit. Within reason. 1) Teaching to Learn - Teach once a week, and train at least four hours After all of the drama that happened a few months ago, I am now covering a Friday night class at my dojo for the foreseeable future. (Cliffnotes version of previous drama: Asked to start covering morning classes and teaching. Then asked to cover a class and told I couldn't teach. When I asked why, got told 3 different reasons for why I couldn't teach and in every case was excluded from any form of communication. Then ignored. Now this.) So the large issue here is.... technically the Friday night class is a weapons class. I have been given permission to *not* have it be a weapons class if I so wish, but my dojo does so few weapons things that I would rather not. Honestly, it's a good chance for me to work on the relation our weapon work has to our unarmed techniques, and is a good study in physiology, using ones center, and extension. But it also means that I need to work on all of those things. So on top of trying to figure out the best ways to relay those things to other people, I really need to solidify things myself on that front. Entertainingly, I taught this same class last week as a last-minute favor. The only 'negative' comment I got from the yukyusha was that he "Did totally stab me" when I was trying to teach something. Hey, I'm learning, was my response. But I should work on not getting stabbed during class. 2) Count All the Calories - Track everything eaten, every day, even if it's a hassle My weight/body fat has spiked pretty high since the car accident/depression/forced shodan exam anxiety that defined Late 2018/Early 2019. I tried to do some things, but nothing really worked that great. I kept kind of waffling on what I allowed and what I didn't. Work has a million snacks, which made stress eating happen a lot more than I would allow over all. And for a while I was pretty much dependent on the food that was ordered on company dime to save money. But that meant I let myself get lax about my eating habits. Stress made me less likely to batch cook anything. And since moving I haven't exactly restocked my kitchen and freezer to have good, quick meals. So I need to start logging things again, and hopefully in a couple months I'll at least comfortably fit in the majority of my clothing again. I'm angling for about 2000 calories a day. No idea where my weight is at, and honestly if I step on a scale I'll get depressed. So I'm avoiding all forms of "pre" measurement here. Yea, not great for trending, but better for my mental health. 3) The Morning is Good - Wake up MWF at 0530. See how plausible it would be to leave the house at 0600 for a workout. So the holiday challenge I got somewhat comfortable with the pre-0600 wake up. I didn't make it to the 0530 time regularly because a lot happened and I needed to prioritize sleep and recovery and sanity over an arbitrary wake up time I set for myself that did not impact when I got to work. But trying to get to that point this time is the goal. I've got a tentative plan that I'll join the gym literally across the street from me early next year, but I want to make sure I'm up and somewhat human before I go drop that cash. I would love if it were a slightly fancier gym, but I can't complain since it's like $15 a month. But anyway, we can see how I fair doing early mornings. At least now I have a coffee pot that will start brewing coffee when I set it, so that's great. 4) All Reading is Good Reading - Read something every morning over coffee I have a goal in 2020 to read 30.... things. I tried to keep some tabs on what I read in 2019, but I lost count, and 30 seems like a good number. I'm leaving it as "things" because I'm totally going to count novellas and graphic novels in this count. Probably not run-of-the-mill comics though, unless its a compilation that covers an entire story arc. But I do want to tone down my morning reddit browsing that's jumped up in the last few months. For the most part I'm not exactly learning anything, and I rarely feel strong enough about my opinion that I consider it worth it to comment on things I do read. So at least I should try and at least read things I feel stronger about and will help me. First book I'll finish in 2020 is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. I'm about halfway through it right now. Nothing particularly earth shattering other than realizing a lot of my reactions make perfect sense, and why I've been feeling so drained at work lately (read: Having to extrovert for things a lot more because a lot is annoying me and not recovering well enough after the fact because crazy 2019). Morning reading should help with the pre-work charging, though. And thus begins my 2020 challenge. We'll see how good I am at maintaining it.
  2. Had a proud teacher moment today. I just created a handout for my 12th grade English/Language Arts students about the Hero's Journey. The idea was inspired by the chapter in Steve Kamb's book Level Up Your Life that talks about the Hero's Journey. I plan to share some quotes from Steve's book before we dig into some "heroic" literature (Beowulf, Don Quixote, King Arthur, etc.). I think we may also read The Alchemist. I would do a familiar book, like the first Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, but most of them have read those already (or watched the movies).
  3. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to keep up with NF this round, but I'm sure going to try! Nothing flashy here, I'll just be doing my best to meet these goals and post updates. Feel free to post funny things and keep us all entertained! Background: I was just hired (three weeks into the school year) to teach a 5th/6th combined class in a very small rural school. This was unplanned (I started a few days after I received a text asking if I had a teaching license) and my husband and I are trying to adjust from me being a housewife to me working full-time. The first week of this challenge I will be shadowing the current teacher, the second week I will be teaching while she observes, and by the third week I'll be on my own. Goals: Eat Breakfast Since having to be up at 5:30am this past week , I stopped eating breakfast. I grab a banana and eat it in the car. I’m just not hungry that early and my usual breakfast of eggs makes me feel queasy. So, I need to cook ahead and have some healthy things ready that I can take and eat in the car or at school in the mornings. Love my Dog My poor baby gets left home all day now so I need to make more of an effort to care for him when I get home - a walk as soon as I get home and at least a few minutes of playtime. Run Complete the Platform 9 3/4 walk/run (virtual) by then end of September. Sign up for another Hogwarts run for October. Plus, run at least 1 mile twice a week. (This can be “running” up and down the bottom stair inside if needed, in which case 1/2 mile counts.) Prep Ahead Before I leave my classroom at the end of the day, everything for the next day will be prepped, copied, and set out ready for the morning. Bonus Goal: Preserve the Weekend! Grades for the week will be done and entered into the electronic grade book by Friday at 3pm. (writing projects or other special projects excepted)
  4. Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you. Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. --Rumi After writing and re-reading this intro it feels somewhat heavy and serious. Which it is. But not in a sad way. Rather in the way of opening and expanding and becoming stronger. In the way of taking this moment and using it to grow. What I'm trying to recognize in life is this: I am the strength that I seek. I spend so much time reaching outward for appreciation, acknowledgment, courage, permission, justification, and empowerment that I have missed entirely that I am capable of all that -- and more -- within myself. I am so afraid of making a mistake that I often don't trust myself with my own intuition, aspirations, and beliefs. Even when the pain of staying quiet and stagnant becomes all-consuming. I can count on half of one hand the number of decisions I've made just for me and nobody else; without influence or response to judgement. And though what resulted wasn't always easy and never perfect, those decisions opened doors to a better, more confident me. This challenge is about not losing myself to the start of the school year. It's about putting myself first while deepening my compassion toward others, two things I've struggled to do for the past several years. It's about respecting the slow process. Health Goals: Yoga 3x/week. During this challenge I will start my search for a new yoga class or studio. I have a few in mind that I would like to visit -- it's just a matter of pushing aside my worries and doing it. I learned last challenge that I like going to a class with a teacher and other students. It gives me skills that I can practice more easily at home. Ideally I would like to take a class once a week and then commit to practicing at home at least twice a week. Eat mindfully: 1) 2 servings of fruit and/or veggies each day; 2) no chips. The ban on chips is an extension of last challenge, and I want to keep going with it and know if I don't make it an official goal I'll likely fall off the wagon. And although I was doing really well with my freggie intake during this past school year, this summer turned into a long break and I'm cringing as I realize just how little I've eaten over the past few months. So, starting back up small and manageable. Limit Facebook scrolling to 1x/day. For me this is most certainly a health goal. Staring at the computer or my phone hurts my eyes and my brain and my shoulders; Facebook seems to be my biggest weakness. Last summer I was trying out being an online health coach and was instructed to post on Facebook several times a day, so I started to get used to (and enjoy) using social media as a tool for sharing interesting information. However, over the course of the year it turned into a tool for distraction and although I do often find good tidbits posted, more often I just end up falling down a frustrating rabbit hole. My goal is to give myself one time during the day to check and scroll through Facebook. I'll have to sort of "see where it goes" and figure out how to manage this. Life Goals: Focus on honesty + voice. This is a goal without parameters or guidelines. Simply, I want to stop being so afraid to speak and honor my truth. Whether it's sharing an idea during a staff meeting, asking for what I need at home, or following a pursuit I feel passionate about, I need to start cultivating the ability to be honest. I don't take this to mean that I need to start opening up and sharing everything about myself all the time; I am still and will always be an introvert with a very capital I, and I love that about myself. But staying closed up and silent all the time isn't working for me anymore. It leads me to feel resentment, passive aggressiveness, anger, and hopelessness. I direct frustrations at people I shouldn't and allow myself to get wrapped up in negative, spinning thoughts. Consider life outside of teaching. Welp, this is a big, scary goal that I've sort of been dreaming of since I started teaching 4 years ago. Almost immediately after I started my first year I knew wholeheartedly that teaching wasn't for me. There are many things I love about teaching, but being a teacher in a public school just doesn't fit. I lost control of myself so quickly. I gained 30 pounds, got really sick really often, fell into deep depression, and stopped connecting with my friends and family. I wasn't me anymore; I would look in the mirror and not see my face. I told myself that I would make it to 5 years, and now I'm about to start my 5th year. Last year was a lot better and I felt mostly successful and confident, but I still didn't feel very happy. What has kept me tied to the job is the money and insurance and vacation time, I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to find something that would support me as well. So I want to really think about what might come next and ease some of my fears: show myself that this isn't the end of the road.
  5. Between grad school, wedding planning, report cards, testing, and a million things, I had to sit February and March out. But it's spring! Days are longer! Snow is wetter and heavier! Green has begun to appear! And I am back for a new challenge (one which I have already started... shhh) Quest 1: STR ↑ I will attend the gym 3x or more a week. Days of the week will change, but I plan to do at least 2-3 days of Stronglifts and at least 1-2 days of cardio (Zombies Run!) Quest 2: Food LVL ↑ I am using Staci's level 1 lunch plan I already did it this week, but I have some ideas for how to make next week better. Anyway this goal is to do chicken, veggie, sweet potato lunches on work days. Quest 3: Hydration ↑ I don't drink enough water, so instead of complicated ounce goals that I will probably fail at, this one is simple: I will start each morning with a glass of water. Quest 4: LUYL I'm getting married this summer so there are so many fun things I could do for this! Unfortunately I am really disorganized and my formal observation is coming up this month. So my goal for this one is to clear off the long counter around my classroom and either organize its contents, or put them away, or discard them. That's all ETA: measurements:
  6. November is always a difficult month for me. This year I'm taking on more responsibility at work, trying to finish my masters degree, and planning my wedding, on top of the usual November difficulties. Luckily, if I can make it to Thanksgiving, it will be pretty smooth sailing. So, getting through this reminds me of getting through a ... Dungeon! Quest 1: Keep my health bar up (+3 CON, +1 WIS) In order to make it through the dungeon, I am going to have to watch my health bar. I have to keep up the heals, because if I let my health get too low, I'm a goner. For this quest, I will take my meds every day, + a multivitamin. Week 1 and 2: +1 CON Week 3 and 4: +1 CON Week 5: +1 WIS Week 6: +1 CON Quest 2: The grind (+2 DEX, +4 STR) As tempting as it is when you're tired and your party is flagging to pass monsters by, the only way to be successful in the game is to keep leveling up. For this quest, I am going to build my strength by going to the gym at least 3 times a week (gymnastics or regular gym). Week 1: +1 DEX Week 2: +1 DEX Week 3: +1 STR Week 4: +1 STR Week 5: +1 STR Week 6: +1 STR Quest 3: Saving the game (+1 STA) Everyone knows that if you go too long without saving, you're bound to regret it sooner or later. For this quest, I will record my food intake in myfitnesspal at least 5 times each week. Quest 4: Treasure Hunter (+2 WIS, +1 STA, +1 CHA) I'm not usually a completionist like some people I know, but I do have a few treasures in this dungeon I really want to pick up along the way. READ plans +1 WIS Report Cards +1 WIS APTT Conferences +1 CHA Action Research class +1 STA At the end of the challenge, I will have an additional: +4 STR | +2 DEX | +2 STA | +3 CON | + 3 WIS | + 1 CHA I plan to post photos. If I can manage it, I will try to do that after work today.
  7. All right, another challenge. Sorry I was late with my summary of the last one, but, the time away was amazing! We will keep this one simple! Starting Stats 154 lbs at 5'7" but stupid scale (checked on 4 different ones) says 36% body fat due to 31" rib cage supporting a large chest. New goal is to go from 35" waist down to 30" by my birthday in October. Balanced Mind - I am stressed about being self employed as it makes it harder to get a new mortgage in a new province. I also am hating my FitBit as it shows me how little sleep I am getting in the 8-9 hours I am trying to sleep. I resolve to rent for up to 6 months and to accept a paid position by December 1 to qualify for the second mortgage. And I resolve to solve my sleep issues and get at least 6 hours of sleep per night (I'm showing a low of 3 hours 19 minutes and max of 6 hours 1 minute over the past month and I sure feel those days when I have had less than 5 hours!) Balanced Meals - I am slowly learning what combination of foods make my body happy and which ones make it angry. I have cut out all pop and alcohol and am taking food grade herbs to end my sugar cravings. Works like a charm when I take them!! Tastes a bit like alfalfa, but, your taste buds can't taste sugar for up to four hours! No more cheating!!! Doesn't affect the taste of fruit sugars - yay! and I will choose to eat five veggie servings per day even though they may only be in two meals to start. Balanced Body - Sunfit program - three days of workouts, one day of rest for the first 30 days, then four and one for the next 30 days and five and one for the last 30 days. Started July 22 and have adjusted rest day by one day due to soccer game. Also want to get 10,000 steps per day as per the FitBit (approx 5km) for five of seven days and finally, determine the cause of pain in my big toe joint - it is not red, not swollen, a little stiff and hurts to walk some days. Makes it hard to do pushups and burpees and mountain climbers Oh My! Cheers to all the challengers!
  8. Hey, I'm teaching some kids in secondary school (ages 13 - 14) about the importance of silence in our lives. I was thinking of adding some meditation, or Yoga or Tai Chi and was wondering if some of you druids could give me some suggestions for good exercises?
  9. This challenge will be almost a replay of the previous one for me. During this challenge I will have a 2 weeks vacation which I will spend skiing, hiking and visiting my parents and family. I want to keep the daily practice also those time, but if instead of doing my kata I end up rolling on the floor with the kids, I will consider my deal done for the day (both handstand and kata). Daily rain The only part where I succeeded was the daily kata practice, which I will make "more difficult" this round. This time I am raising the bar to 5 kata or 10 minutes of single techniques (or short combinations) practice + 2 CON, + 2 DEX, + 2 STA The roots in the sky Same as previous challenge, every day I am dedicating 5-10 minutes to handstand + 2 DEX, + 1 STR Seeds I am re-adjusting the teaching side of this challenge: it should depend only on me if I can succeed or not, not on my students. I am reserving 30 minutes 4 times each week (but the 2 when I am on vacation). If nobody show up I have the books of Trias Sensei (founder of Shuri ryu) to read, to strengthen my knowledge of the theory behind the stile + 2 CHA, + 1 DEX, +1 WIS Changing leaves (life quest) Last time I failed in getting in touch with a local lawyer, so here it is +2 WIS As last time, there is a spreadsheet for me to track my activities
  10. I need grounding. Few months ago I started a hormonal treatment which is changing a lot my inner balance. It is a good change, but still it puts me out of balance. And for a monk balance is everything . I still aim to become a fully fledge assassing one day, but for the moment I go back to my roots, and since I have been a monk all my life before I joined the rebellion, for this challenge I am back here. Grounding is a continuous exercise, a state of mind, so also my goals will be "continuous", more on building the daily habits than doing some heavy training few times. I'll check my "done" on this spreadsheet Seeds My Sensei died last May. After that I formally joined a new school where I have been training randomly for the past 8 years. I am learning the new style. I also have 2 brand new sort-of-students, two colleagues who discovered that I used to teach karate and asked me to teach them something. They are my "guinea pig" to whom I am teaching the new style. And yes, they agreed on that We work on technical stuff, nothing strenuous, just half hour before work or after lunch. My goal for this challenge is to dedicate at least half hour to them every day. Part of the task is also to keep them motivated so they are also willing to keep training. I take a partial break from the challenge while I am on vacation (15-18 November and 12-16 December) + 2 CHA, + 1 DEX Daily rain New style means new kata to learn. My challenge will be to practice at least 3 kata each day. I could be the same repeated 3 times, or 3 different ones, depending on the feedback I get from the sensei. Since in the school there are also many drills for kyu ranks that I have to learn, I can swap 1 kata with 3 drills. + 2 CON, + 2 DEX, + 1 STA The roots in the sky A couple of weeks ago there was a post on the blog about learning to do a handstand. I joined the 28 days program last week. My goal for this period is to keep my 5-10 minutes of daily practice. Good to work on a different kind of balance (plus, I think it is a cool skill to have) + 2 DEX, + 1 STR Life quest: talking sticks I should go to the dentist for a checkup. And I must speak with a local lawyer to get some documents recognized in the country where I live at the moment. The difficult part for me is to pick up the phone and call them. So my goal is to get an appointment with my dentist and with the lawyer + 4 WIS (2 point for the dentist, 2 for the lawyer)
  11. Elastigirl and Splitrift reminded me of the promise of fancy ninja skills and aiming for a rather simple/basic quest in difficult times to keep up the good work... so here I am, (almost) ready for my third challenge! Main quest! Stay sane and healthy during stressful times.(And possibly keep improving). So... In 3 weeks' time I'm starting a new job. As an English teacher. I've had quite a bit of practical training (so... teaching) during my studies, but now I'll officially be the only one responsible for about 12 groups of students. On top of that I'm still living with my in-laws because we can't find a place of our own (they're lovely people, by the way, but you know... ) AND my husband will be leaving for England September 1st - November as part of his studies. So I'll be by myself, in a new job (teaching is ranked among the 10 most stressful jobs there are), trying to stay sane and healthy while even aiming to improve? That sounds like a challenge to me! Well, guess I'll just have to accept the challenge, then. Goal 1: Journaling at least once a week. A way to stay sane for many it's also one of the tips given by almost every 'tips for new teachers' list. I don't want to overwhelm myself, but I want to record this journey and keep reflecting on my skills and progress. So I'll keep a journal at least once a week. Just sit down, write about what's happened and what I'd like to achieve next week. Possibly online, possibly on a separate blog or perhaps just in my thread. (I'll start next week when the challenge start to get into the habit and to think about how I want things to go while focussing on not wanting to be perfect but just do what I can). A = Wis + 2, Sta + 2 Goal 2: Stay active! Since starting running (which I gave up after I discovered BW exercises ) 1 1/2 years ago I've been pretty good at exercising 'about' 3 times a week (sometimes it's been two, but I've been pretty consistent, sometimes exercising up to 5 times a week). I haven't been this active before in my life (probably not even when I was a kid, although all the running around must have helped ). I want to keep it up. BW exercises, long walks, Stepmania, swimming... Anything goes, as long as I actually work out 3 times a week. A = Str + 2, Dex + 2, Sta + 1 Lifegoal: Actually get a folder together with activities I can use in class (and with reminders about my teaching philosophy). This was a goal last challenge - I got together some of my activities in a digital folder. I realised it would be a lot easier to look through an actual folder (as opposed to opening each file separately...) to look for a suitable activity. At the moment I'm thinking organised by category ("Get to know my students activities"/"Speaking/conversation activities"/"Grammar activities", "Quick games for when I need to fill a few minutes", "One or two full back up lessons in case something happens why the usual lesson can't happen"... things like that). A portable, not too big folder that I can actually bring with me to work if at all possible. Also a list about how I would like to teach and why teaching is important to me... to remind me of those things when I hate my job because the students are horrible and/or I just have a stupid day A = Wis + 3, Cha + 2 ------- Decided to get some stats after all . This challenge should be 'simple' (just do what I need to do) but I think it'll be a very important one for me! Now it's time to get excited about starting a new phase (and challenge) in my life. See you rebels around!
  12. Is anyone here Yoga Alliance certified? Does anyone lead a class of their own? I’m looking for insight. I want to get my 230 hour certification, but it is costly and I want to see if others feel it was worth it to them!
  13. Two of my closest friends joined my hapkido club about 18 months ago, and they've been working super hard, and taking private lessons. Last night, they graded for their green belts and I was able to be there as part of the grading team. I am super proud of them and super excited to have been able to be there for this milestone!
  14. I'm not sure how many Rebels there are in Iowa, or how many practice Parkour, but I was wondering if anybody WAS in the central Iowa area. I'm from Ames and I was looking for people who I could learn from/with.
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