Day 8 – 10 (of 63): Catching Up

Links:

Link to Day 1, Link to Day 7

For those who followed my previous crazy journey’s, here’s the post the Friday before I started this one, which puts it in the context of this blog as a whole: Christian Influence Peddling.

Welcome Back

Welcome to Wednesday. As anticipated there will be days when I just can’t get something posted (even though I’ve given myself permission to post less than perfect copy b/c it’s a blog after all). I’ll try to give a fast update of the last 3 days. Then a quick section on the topic for week 2…the Spirit.

Feel free to skip down to the update section if you’re all caught up on this blog.

Quick Recap of this Blog Series

I’m a writer (fiction/non-fiction/copy) who’s turning 50 in June. When I have a season of big changes to adapt to and big projects to take on, I like to combine it all into a plan I call a journey. I’m calling this journey Spring 2021: Cleric Journey – (It includes such things as turning 50, remodeling a house, expanding my writing business to include entrepreneur & life purpose coaching). I typically journal me progress, big wins/big flops, but this time I’m blogging it so I can…

  • Inspire or help some folks facing similar life situations.
  • Share tips I’ve learned or that people suggest to me that I decided to try out.
  • Stay committed to progress by stating to all my readers what I’m doing and if it’s working or not.
  • Eventually turn it into a written resource for the Creative Christian Entrepreneurs I coach.

Note: The thinking behind journeys is this. When facing busy seasons in life, we need to impose some routine on life, and be flexible other places. We need to decide what our life is about, that authentic to us, and not lose site of that while taking on those big projects of crazy seasons that happen to all of us in life.

Goal Recap

My goals/priorities this season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
– Losing weight & getting younger, (soon auditioning new diet/exercise plans).
– Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5 AM every weekday and spending time with God (which includes writing this blog).
– Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business, and faithfully stewarding opportunities with my church.
– Remodeling a new home so that we can start living multi-generational with my mom.

Update

Monday woke at 6 AM, weighed in at 298.6 lbs (I really hope that the couple pounds back is water weight or something.) Work began, I had a lot of trades in there all at once–concrete guys, plumber, HVAC. Holy cow. I’m blessed because it can be really hard to get that many people doing that many different things all at once on one project.

Tuesday woke at 6:30 AM, when my daughter tapped on my back and said she was hungry. Weighed in at 298.6 lbs. Managed to get to the chiropractor. Lots of sun this week, which is a miracle. Bought some tools I need for this job. And supplies. Holy cow materials are expensive right now. My buddy Bruce is a retire contractor, and he flew up to visit his daughter, and he’s been kind enough to show me the ropes on many of the skills I need to know. He’s startled how many trades we’ve got working and right at the start of the project. We have a lot of favor going.

Today woke at 5 AM, thank God, and prayed for strength since I only got 6 hours of sleep, got out of bed at 5:20 when my daughter tapped on my back and asked, “is it morning?” weighed in at 298.8 lbs. last day of sun, maybe, for a bit.

Spirit

Argh I’m so out of time... I’ll try to come back and update this afternoon.

Day 7 (of 63): The Week Ahead

Links:

Link to Day 1, Link to Day 6

For those who followed my previous crazy journey’s, here’s the post the Friday before I started this one, which puts it in the context of this blog as a whole: Christian Influence Peddling.

Welcome Back

Well it’s Sunday or should I say Monday. I couldn’t get this cleaned up in time to hit publish yesterday. I meant to lay out my plans for the upcoming week and I’d written that much so I’ll throw that on and move onto day 8. Let’s dive into my plans for week 2.

Goal Recap

My goals/priorities this season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
– Losing weight & getting younger, (soon auditioning new diet/exercise plans).
– Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5 AM every weekday and spending time with God (which includes writing this blog).
– Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business, and faithfully stewarding opportunities with my church.
– Remodeling a new home so that we can start living multi-generational with my mom.

Update

Saturday was an awesome painting party. My friends showed up and really helped us move the project along. Here are some pictures of the progress.

Dining Room Before and During Remodel

The Week Ahead

Aside from the new health plan, which I’ll detail below, most of the plans for this week are about the house reno.

The HVAC guys and concrete guys start work on Monday. My carpenter flies in Monday and will start Tuesday. I still don’t have a start date for the plumber, and I haven’t found the roofer or the exterior painter.

I have a day/time, location and committed participants for the grief recovery class but not quite sure which could mean Monday it’s starting. Maybe this today, that would be something wouldn’t it. AAAAHHH!

Focus

The blog so far has focused on very tactical things–the soul and body lever of being. I’m going to shift this week and talk about the Spirit level more. For more details on the levels to a human you can read my book “On Becoming a Man.”

Level 4 Environment: We can impact our environment but we don’t control it. We often spend a lot of time trying to control it, but we can’t. We have authority as restored beings through Christ, to impact that world–what Genesis calls “Fierce Mastery,” but the free will of others also has authority. God himself established man’s authority on Earth and He doesn’t violate His own command.

Level 3 Body: We do have a lot of control over our bodies. It’s a level where we interact with the world around us. We control our actions and reactions. Our bodies suffer age, illness, and injury, but we don’t have to give into all the effects. Joshua claimed in his 80’s that he was as strong as he had been in his 40’s. Was he simply bragging? I’d like to think he wasn’t.

Level 2 Soul: Our Mind, Emotions, and Will. Our personality and perspective live here. I often call it the battlefield of the soul, or the wilderness of the soul. I’m not being dramatic. This is the place of deeper clash between the outside forces trying to define us and the inside forces of true identity. We have near total control here in Christ if we choose to engage with it. This is the place the scriptures mean when they speak of the renewing of the mind. But it’s not the deepest, truest part of our being.

Level 1 Spirit: This is the place of our true identity. Before the God set the world in motion He dreamed up who we would be, uniquely. When Christ died in our place, he restored us to that intimate walk with God. He made a way for God’s original vision to come to pass. We were Spiritually dead and then we became Spiritually reborn. Our spirit is like an infant and the Spirit of God comes to dwell with us in our hearts–the thrown room of our lives. Our spirit carries the authority God intended for our lives, but we don’t know how to rule so the Spirit of God acts as an advisor, and teacher. Together we can carry out God’s plans on Earth. Binding and losing what is in heaven and on Earth.

The effective human existence on Earth is only possible when a redeemed person lives from inside out. That’s one part of three keys to reigning as a son/daughter of God in this life. I have so much more to say on this topic but I’m out of time. More later today in Monday’s official post…

Day 6 (of 63): Week 1 Review

Links:

Link to Day 1, Day 2 Link , Day 3 Link, Day 4 Link & Link to Day 5

For those who followed my previous crazy journey’s, here’s the post the Friday before I started this one, which puts it in the context of this blog as a whole: Christian Influence Peddling.

Welcome Back

Welcome to Saturday. I’ll try to give a fast update of yesterday and lay out plans for next week. Last week I gave details on my research and thinking for the health initiative portion of this journey. As promised, I’ll cap that off today with the diet & exercise plan I’m committing to the for the rest of this 63 days. Then I’ll intro my topic for week 2.

Quick Recap

I’m a writer (fiction/non-fiction/copy) who’s turning 50 in June. I’ve been journaling for a few years, but my attempts to blog come in fits and spurts. Personal blog that is, professionally I manage a blog for a car inspection service with joy and ease. Since I’ve got a huge Spring ahead of me, with turning 50, remodeling a house, expanding my writing business to include entrepreneur & life purpose coaching I’ve decided to move a large part of my journaling online.

My hopes for this is two fold:
First that my readers can glean some tips on how to handle these seasons in their life. If nothing else you’ll learn some things not to do.
Second just writing what I did, what worked and what didn’t, will keep me accountable. (I once read that people dieting were more successful simply by keeping a food journal. This is sort of that, only for my entire life for one season.)
Bonus Hope: If this is at all successful I’ll turn this blog into a resource for people I coach.

Note: The thinking behind journeys is this. When facing busy seasons in life, we need to impose some routine on life, and be flexible other places. We need to decide what our life is about, that authentic to us, and not lose site of that while taking on those big projects of crazy seasons that happen to all of us in life.

Why 63 days?

Because of a book by Dr. Leaf that recommends taking 63 days to change a habit. 21 to move the habit from short term memory where it takes active effort to do it, 21 one to move it through mid-term memory and 21 to make it stick in long term. Some of the changes I’m making are simply projects that will get done by hook or by crook, but some of these are changes I’m making to my lifestyle.

Change happens in life in two ways. Most of the time it’s thrust upon us and we must recover from it. That takes a grieving process which I’ll be learning a lot more about when I start the Grief Recovery method in early March.

Sometimes change comes by force of will. We decide to alter our way of doing life in the hopes of changing life’s trajectory. There is a few thousand methods and theories around doing that from Alcoholics Anonymous to the Genesis Process. Studying change is a passion of mine and during this 63 days I’ll be taking a journey to put into action my theories on intentional change management.

Goal Recap

My goals/priorities this season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
– Losing weight & getting younger, (soon auditioning new diet/exercise plans).
– Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5 AM every weekday and spending time with God (which includes writing this blog).
– Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business, and faithfully stewarding opportunities with my church.
– Remodeling a new home so that we can start living multi-generational with my mom.

Last Week

Last week was about what I expect from a big transition week one. Monday and Tuesday were pretty glorious. Wednesday was bumpy, Thursday was grumpy and Friday we pulled out a win, or win-like outcome.

I mentioned that my wife lost her keys, got our daughter to school late and ultimately found her keys at the new house. I’d fallen behind on some paid writing gigs and meant to catch up Friday morning but ended up doing a bunch of other stuff first including running Kristin to get her keys. What’s funny is that my wife loses things about once for every five times I do, but when she does it’s a whopper.

We started prepping and painting yesterday, and I remembered in the early afternoon that I CAN’T PAINT. I hate doing it AND it hates me back. I also couldn’t find my grungy cloths so I ended up getting pain on one of my favorite shirts. Don’t tell my wife but that probably won’t stop me from wearing it. LOL.

We made great progress though, thanks in large part to the fact that my wife is an amazing painter. She has a steady hand and doesn’t bother to tape things off. It’s crazy, but my wife is exceptionally good at nearly everything she tries to do. I think God had her marry me as a cosmic version of a golf handicap.

We also got some great news from sub-contractors yesterday and several aspects of the build are going to happen on time and on budget. But another big reason we got back on pace yesterday is that my buddy Jeff came over to help paint and knocked out the stairwell that we weren’t even going to be able to do, because my wife and I can’t be trusted on ladders. Gravity is a cruel mistress.

So from the clutches of disaster our project is on pace. Jeff is one of my inner circle, BTW. My team. I haven’t mentioned my team yet but I have 5 guys I’ve been doing life with for more than a decade. The last few years we’ve been getting on a zoom call every weekday at 7 AM to check-in and pray for each other. The weekend between announcing this journey on this blog and starting it we ran to coast for a two day retreat, just us guys. What’s amazing is that our wives. get along and tend to go to the beach together not long after we do.

On the health front, I should mention that I’ve been on a diet this week that isn’t the one I’m moving forward with. I had lost more than 25 lbs on Optivia in January 2020. It was successful and doable, but brutal. I’d try it again sometime if I could modify it some. I had some of the food left, which I kept in case I ever weighed over 300 lbs again and in phase one of this year I popped up to 302. So I ate the rest of what I call my punishment food. I actually have 3 “feedings” left to eat today. I jokingly call them feedings because I had to keep my heart light on that diet. (Lightheartedness is a key to losing weight no one talks about).

My Health Plan

After the giant posts explaining why I think the way I think when it comes to health, this will seem a bit short and simple. But simple is a key to any health change. Most of what makes a health change work is the stuff that doesn’t involve diet and exercise–it’s the mental game. Another key “commitment”–declaring you goal publicly and having friends and family on board to support you. You may even need to cut some people who wouldn’t support your goals out of your life temporally.

Another key is faith. We need to believe what we are trying for is attainable and attainable by us. We are going to succeed at trying even if it falls short of the goal or takes more effort than anticipated.

The final key planning. Here’s my plan:

Schedule is a big part of it. Going to bed and getting up at a consistent time is a key life success in every arena, because getting enough sleep is important brain function, attitude, self control, and eating schedule. There is a rhythm to life and we need to find our stride in that rhythm or lose creativity, focus, and self discipline.

I’m a fan of intermittent fasting and no matter what else you do, eating in a window (10 hours or less) will empower a diet. I’m committed to doing just that on weekdays.

I’ve also started Thrive by Level. I can talk more about that later but it’s basically a network marketing company that separates the water soluble vitamins into capsule 1st thing in the morning, then a probiotic shake for the fat soluble vitamins 20 minutes later. This prevents me from delaying any foods first thing in the morning like a true iFast. However, it works well with the five fueling theory in Optivia. So I will be using that as my first fueling from 5 AM to 5:30 AM each weekday.

BTW My weekend will vary mostly in schedule as I try to take Saturdays off from labor. I also allow myself a cheat meal on any diet so I’ll be doing that Friday or Saturday night.

Other fuelings consist of both broth, a food bar under 200 calories, a slice of cheese or jerky, avocado/apple/banana, or a protean smoothie. I will continue to drink coffee each day, but I ad collegian powder to it, and only flavor with half-n-half and monk fruit.

I’ll be very active during the construction phase on the house so I’ll be eating both lunch and dinner. My wife makes great dinners so I’ll just have to be vigilant for lunches. Both of those meals will be keto compliant. I’ve found that if I want to control carbs the key is fats to fight cravings and lots of fiber to cushion the carbs I do eat. So lots of salmon & avocado.

I like to increase protean but not by adding a lot of meat. I’m a fan of meat, but I have to try for more veggies (legumes), cheese, and eggs. My wife and I like to use a local butcher during diets since the quality of the meat we do eat is SO much better.

That’s most of it on the diet front. Clearly I’m counting on the house remodel for both activity and exertion. If I wasn’t getting that, or on days when I end up writing instead, I do a morning round of Ti Lo Han (a type of lunge and squat from martial arts) and push ups. Then I set alarms for each fueling during the 5 times a day, and I attach some sort of walking or push ups to that fueling.

That’s about it. If I forgot something I’ll add it as I go. If this isn’t working to take weight off I’ll pivot in week 3.

Day 4 (of 63): Details on Health-Exercise

Link to the Beginning, and Link to Last Post

Welcome Back

Welcome to the edge of oblivion! Okay it’s not that bad. LOL. Yesterday Kristin (wife) and I went over after work and tried to map out some of the remodel. It was fun, cold, and oddly tiring. Thankfully my sister had to pickup some things from our house and brought us dinner so we made it home in time to eat and put our daughter to bed. This is just a sample of things to come and it already derailed our usual routine enough that we overslept this morning.

I hate getting up late. I needed the sleep but holy cow my morning was chaos. Thankfully we got Olivia (daughter) to school and managed to do the things that had to be done.

Quick Recap

My goals for this season are to buy a house, build an ADU for my mom to live with us, move into the house, and launch my coaching business, without losing ground on my writing business or gaining a bunch of weight. I’m also turning 50 in June and processing all that comes with that. FUN.

Did I mention that I sprained my knee last November and re-injured it in recent snowfall a couple weeks ago. I mention it because I’m getting around much better and I thank God for that.

Health Plan (Part 2)

As promised, details of my current health plan. I want to ad a big disclaimer here. This is the plan I made for me and the thinking behind my plan. Don’t do things with your health unless you consult a doctor first.

I divide fitness into Diet and Exercise. Exercise has two components being active and actual exertion. Your baseline level of activity is super important and the most overlooked aspect of most fitness efforts. They assume if you are a warehouse worker, or an accountant, you have roughly the same regular daily caloric burn. Recent studies show that being sedentary is terrible for our health. No matter what we need to be active each hour.

Exercise #1 –Activity. One solution I discovered while developing my silly rules program. Based on two books, “The Power of Full Engagement,” (Loehr & Schwartz) and “The Coaching Habit,” (Micheal Bungey Stanier) I’ve been able to come up with some pretty cool ways to kick simple things I do every day up to another level. Imagine if, every time you ran to the bathroom to release some pressure, you did 5 push-ups leaning against the counter. You can increase your workout by 30 to 50 push-ups a day without sacrificing much time or burning up much willpower. If your job is sedentary, this is a big tip to level the playing field with people who actually burn calories while getting paid.

Another important habit to incorporate is walking at least 10 minutes at a shot. I used to write at coffee shops pre-covid. During the silly rules project I developed the habit of walking whenever I got stuck. Rather than sitting and thinking, I walked and pondered. It was revolutionary. Walking is fantastic for your digestion. It also get’s you breathing fresh air which gives you energy without caffeine. It also breaks up your time sitting. And as a bonus I got unstuck much faster while ponder walking than I did staring at the screen.

Exercise #2 –Workout. It’s vital that you break a sweat at least 3 times a week. In addition to just being more active we need to raise our heart rates. You can pay someone a lot of money to teach you how, and I’m not putting that down, but it’s not rocket science. You just need to elevate your heart rate. The more you do it the better you’ll get at it, which actually means you’ll have to do it a little more to get the same results next time.

However, this is great news. It means starting a new exercise program isn’t the big deal you’ve probably been making it out to be. Most of us out of shape types tend to over do it our first time and then quit because of the pain. At some point you’ll exercise until it hurts and have it still be healthy, but that’s probably not day one. (If you are young it could be day one, I used to go out and over do it with decent results when I was more resilient–now that’s not an option.)

So their are two easy ways to start. The best is to take up a hobby or sport. Get into a dance class, finally learn to swim, buy a bike and hit the trails on a weekend, or join a softball league. If you’re having fun and others are expecting you to show up, you’re more likely to stick with it. The other way to do it, if you are really out of shape, is to get a fitness tracker and join a gym. Go work out and pay attention to your heart rate. Know your resting heart rate and if you can, use a machine to work out until your heart rate elevates to the fat burning zone. Subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate and then try to get your heart rate to about 70% of that number of beats per minute. In the beginning keep your heart their for as little as 8 to 12 minutes–less if your feeling short of breath. You should almost be able to hold a conversation while working out without grabbing for air.

Update

Woke at…well, at 11:50 PM, 3 AM, & 3:50 AM, but I got out of bed at 6:30 AM–90 minutes behind schedule. I’m not saying this to complain, just want to be accurate in showing how journey’s go. They are sometimes inglorious. Also I missed my consistent weigh-in time. (Consistent weigh-in is important because it fluctuates so much across the day. I try to weigh myself 1st thing in the morning every day–naked.) Today I weighed in after my shower, after breakfast, etc. so I have an inaccurate number, 302 lbs.

Today…

I have copy-writing to do, at least 4 items.
Then I will meet the concrete guy to get an estimate.
Then lunch with friends, get my mom and head back to meet the HVAC guy for an estimate.
Then take my mom to an appointment.
Then go back to the house with my wife to prep for painting the downstairs.
Then play with my daughter for a bit and finish the writing I didn’t get done this morning.

Don’t forget this blog isn’t spelled perfect, etc. not because I’m an idiot but because I’m just journaling my attempts to do all this without losing me in the process. God has big plans for me and I’m not going to get caught up in urgent stuff. I don’t have very long to blog this morning so I will keep it short. Hope your day is going more smoothly than mine.

Day 3 (of 63): Details on Health/Fitness

Link to the Beginning, and Link to Last Post

Welcome Back

Welcome back to my journey, where I’m sharing my efforts to move toward physical and financial fitness before I turn 50 (despite some pretty big life events that could derail a person). When I call this a journey I’m being intentional about that name. I believe life is an intimate adventure with God, your family and your tribe. We have seasons we walk through, whether we engage with them or not, but when we choose to be intentional with them (what I sometimes call “living an examined life”) then we can engage with the season as a journey.

A journey could be…
An effort to remove a heart wound, or
Replace a bad habit with a good one, or
Lose weight or
Find a new job.

I know some of you are probably thinking I’m actually having some sort of mid-life crisis. I really don’t think so, but you can label it however you like. I tend to have my freak-outs at odd numbers. I remember waking up on the morning of my 25th birthday thinking, “every day from here on, I’m closer to 30 than I am 20.” It weirded me out for months. Then when I eventually turned 30 it was no big deal at all.

This time, turning 50, feels like a positive. My beard has gone grey, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, I’m overweight but happily married…people are starting to take me serious. There is more good than bad in life. I just see an opportunity to take stock and address some of things I’ve let go, and let go of some things I’ve been addressing.

Quick Recap

My goals/priorities this season, which I’m addressing in one project (One Big Thing), include losing weight, getting up at 5AM every weekday and spending time with God (which includes writing this blog). Also, it includes launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business, and I’m also remodeling a new home we bought yesterday so that we can start living multi-generational with my mom.

For several years I’ve been journaling, which is a massive help to me in planning my day and staying sane. I follow a specific style I call AM Pgs, based on Morning Pages which Julie Cameron created in her book, “The Artists Way.” As a writer, engaging that part of my brain helps me clear (defrag) my brain. Because AM Pgs have been so successful for me I’ve decided to blog out this journey instead of just journaling it. The goal is to share it to help others while doing what I already do for me. (I’m not holding myself accountable to do that right now, since I’m throwing time at this blog but I hope to do both before this 63 days is up.)

Health Plan (Part 1)

As promised, details of my current health plan. I want to ad a big disclaimer here. This is the plan I made for me and the thinking behind my plan. Don’t do things with your health unless you consult a doctor first.

I divide fitness into Diet and Exercise. I’m going to have to do a post on each this week and then one detailing what I’ve ultimately decided to do for my health plan on this season (look for that on Saturday ish???) But in the short run, this is what’s happening.

I mentioned that I’d gained some weight during phase one of this year when I helped my Mom (age 81) sell her house and move in with my family, and I mentioned my “punishment food.” January of 2020 I took on a journey (one big thing) that included getting certified as a entrepreneur coach and auditioning a diet called Optivia. I was both impressed and repulsed by that diet. The results were phenomenal, I lost almost 30 pounds in 5 weeks. I was also hungry almost ever second of every day, my complained of my body odor (side effect of ketosis) and I hated the taste of a lot of the food. I ended up making it through the 5 weeks I’d committed to with a little help from a great coach (who also sold me the food). I even got my wife to join me for the last week.

We have about 5 days of food left at that point and I’d picked through the best they had, so what remained was the worst of the worst. Thanks to Optivia I finally got under 300 lbs, which had been eluding me for four years. (At my heaviest, I was working at my first real job with benefits and everything and I was stressed so bad I hated waking up in the morning–thank you Vancouver Housing Department. I weighed 375 lbs developed sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and bombed out of college. But that’s another story.) I’d fought my way down to 315 lbs but Optivia got me down to 289 lbs in a little over a month. I was able to stay between 290 lbs and 295 lbs for a year.

Want to know my secret for keeping the weight off? I promised myself that if I ever broke 300 lbs again I’d have to eat the rest of the Optivia food. I put the rest of the food in the garage fridge and everytime I went of 295 lbs I’d go look at it, shutter, and drop a lbs or two on the spot.

Well, I got so distracted moving my family upstairs so mom could have the main floor master in our rental, and packing mom, and selling her house, etc. I popped to 302.8 lbs. So I kicked off this 63 days with my “punishment food.” I gotta say, it’s not as bad as I remember. Of course its only day 2 of 5 so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. God is with me and whenever my wife is tempted to lose her temper with me she just looks at what I’m eating and shutters. I’m being punished enough.

Update

I woke up at 4:55AM but didn’t get out of bed until 5:40. I’m not sure how to score that. I was able to pray so it didn’t put me behind schedule much, but I really don’t want to lay around in bed unless it’s the weekend.

My weight today was 300.6 which is great, Day 2 was 301.2, Day 1 was 302.8, so I’m still trending the right direction. We got the keys to the new house yesterday and we took my daughter, Olivia, to see the inside for the first time. We tried to get some measurements and go over our reno plan…and we discovered places we’ll need to change things up. Glad to find out now rather than later.

I also met with my pastor and made a plan for the grief recovery class I need to take to move ahead with that side of my career. As soon as we finalize things that will start, hopefully soon. I’m also trying to learn a new writing deliverable at my copy writing business. It’s something a major client asked me to take on, and I’m eager to add that modality, but it’s more challenging than I had anticipated. I may give some details about that in a future post–it depends on how challenging it turns out to be.

Today…I have writing business to catch up on, and I really need to meet with my Mom and my Wife to firm up our reno plan now that things have shifted a bit. I also need to start buying supplies and take them to the new house. My daughter has early release from school today, and it’s my turn to get her. I wonder if schools have a concept of how much it blows up a parent’s schedule to have these short days.

I’ll look forward to writing again tomorrow, when I’ll give some details about my “this season” plans for either wealth/income, wisdom, or productivity/organization. Soon I’ll start posting some pics of the reno work at the new house. This is our 3rd house but our 2nd big remodel–very exciting.

Journey Plan: House Fix

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Welcome…

I’m not sure how to make keep this from being the most boring Journey Plan ever. I’m still journaling and formalizing my thoughts on this 2nd quarter/new season–which should tell you something because it’s 2/3rds over. (Some seasons are like this.) It might be boring if you’re not constantly fixing up your home like me. I promise I’ll get back to the exciting stuff soon.

House Fix Journey: Mainly a list of my upcoming home remodel projects, but there are couple reasons this qualifies as a journey.

  • I’m not a “handyman.” I’ve gotten better over the last couple years, but like the majority of men I know, I feel insecure when doing these sorts of “macho guy stuff.” So I anticipate uncovering some stuff as I take on challenges I’m resistant to doing.
  • I don’t have resources. So in addition to lacking the know-how and confidence you can add a shoestring budget and less than zero time. This should get exciting!

What it is:

History–My wife and I bought our first home in 2015. It was a fixer-upper on a busy street, surrounded by rentals and apartments but the market was hot and we were lucky to get it. We’d already moved a couple times in the two years we’d been married.

We fixed it up. We fixed it up good. We overspent and then my job became unstable. The stress on our marriage made us list the house we’d only just made our own. My friends called us and begged us not to. Everyone said we were crazy, but it worked. We made good money on the sale and took a giant step toward complete debt freedom.

I wanted to just keep flipping from that point, but we weren’t eager to go back into a situation that strained our marriage. Our relationship is more important, even if we end up living out of trash can.

A few months later we bought a house in a better location, smaller, newer, but still on a busy street (I guess we have a type). We’ve been here almost two years, which seems crazy. The previous owner had a number of rentals which he sold off to retire after the market recovered. It was fixed up already…sort of.

The reality is that the repairs weren’t done that well and the longer we live here the longer the list of things that need to be done or redone. I’m unprepared but ready to start with the strength I have and trust God for the rest.

The List So far:

  • Build a shed 
  • Build a fire pit
  • Build storage into the garage
  • Replace kitchen sink
  • Wall mount the TV
  • Water heater replacement. (99% done )
  • New Windows in bedrooms, and new sliding glass door.
  • Hang house numbers and no soliciting sign & flag pole holder
  • Burn pile of yard Debris (caught up but more coming soon.)
  • Pea gravel and step stone the bare ground – 90% done
  • Yard work-trimming trees, etc.
  • Replace the Fence (4 sides)
  • Paint the Shed & Run power to it
  • Recover floors in both bathrooms
  • Replace master bath countertop
  • Rip out the deck and pour a concrete patio

More to come…

What I’m hoping God will do (heal/counsel/war/walk) with me

I’ll be hitting a number of things I don’t know how to do. I know that God will father me in learning as I go. This should speak to my identity I think.

God is looking to restore His image in me as a provider for my family. I’m excited to see how He provides.

God is also looking to upgrade my rest. He wants to be my rest (for my whole family). So I think taking on this series of projects even though we’re stretched for time right now will be good.

The steps I think we’ll take toward it

I already replaced the water heater. It went well.

We ended up deciding to pay a subcontractor to replace the windows. That’s going to be an expense but we need it done soon for insulation and soundproofing. They are supposed to come this week.

More steps to come.

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

God’s got to come through with help on finances, time, and energy.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

More to Come

Estimated Start Date: Underway.

Pics!

Journey Plan: Evening & Morning

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(Note: this journey plan is actually the journey to be supernaturally rested in God, and intentional about the things I do/say/eat.)

Welcome to Spring!

I finally finished my Spring 2018 New Season (Policy Doc.) so it’s time to revise this Journey Plan (it was a little rough but I was flying by the seat of my pants).

Welcome to the Evening & Morning Journey. I love it when I can do one thing, or pursue a single set of efforts and have it move me forward on several goals. This journey is that sort of compound project, addressing…

  • My desire to be more deliberate about everything I do.
  • God’s desire to give me supernatural rest in Him.

I’ve read (soon to reread) the book, “The Power of Full- Engagement,” by Loehr and Schwartz on the powerful way habit can set us up for success. On the flip side, if you watched the movie, “Click,” starring Adam Sandler you realize the way in which most of us use habit. I tend to go on autopilot for periods of time, during which I can make decisions that deepen a rut instead of advancing me toward a goal. As a by-product, life seems to fly by when I want to savor it.

I have many hearts desires that don’t fit the typical flow of the world (I want something other than a 9 to 5 existence, retire a 72 to start enjoying life.) I also have a very full plate of urgent things that crowd out the important things that actually feed my heart. I bet I’m not alone in this situation. God’s answer is to give me His rest so that I can run and not grow weary.

I’ve been pondering this one for a couple months and I’m excited to launch it. So here goes the details.

What it is:

I’m forcibly slowing life down by journaling more. I’m going to track what I eat. I’m going to get up early and do my version of ‘morning pages’ (inspired by the book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron). I’m also going to declare my allegiance to the light side of the paradox every morning.

Genesis 1 says, “the evening and the morning,” 7 times. To this day, Jews keep their Saboth from Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown. I grew up with the concept actually, but that’s not why I’m going to try it out again. So I’ll be starting my day the night before. Each evening, I’m going to front load the next day, so that I’m prepped for success, but I’m also going to listen to a great audiobook from Graham Cooke called the Practice of Rest.

What I’m hoping God will do (heal/counsel/war/walk) with me

As I mentioned, I actually entered this journey a couple months ago and have been doing some elements of it longer than that. I sort of backed into this one, and I’m just now able to formalize it into a journey.

Note: If that seems messy, it’s sorta how it works half the time. Sometimes God tells us what He’s going to do and then we explore it with Him. Other times, God’s does something and then makes you aware so you can unpack it together.

I’ve been rocking my mornings for about a year now. But my attitude and productivity fall off in the afternoon and I go to bed pretty much dead. I’ve been feeling convicted in this new season, to work toward greater intentionality.

I make a lot of decisions on autopilot, and that’s generally okay, however, when it comes to things like eating, it can be sabotaging. 2 Cor 10:5 says to take every thought captive, which I’d frankly I’d always felt condemnation over. They always read it after 1 John 3:15 “if you hate…you have murdered.”

Recently God redeemed the verse for me. Now I’m seeing it more like an internal martial art. Consider Phil 4:8, “whatsoever is good, etc.” think on these things. There is no negativity in God so things like anger, shame, and fear are not of God. Which means I can give them to God and be free of them.

I believe God wants to upgrade my rest in this new season. My purpose in this journey is to crack open some of these automated decisions and increase my intentionality.

The steps I think we’ll take toward it

Intentionally slowing down the number of things I expect of myself in a day. Setting a hard bedtime with a quiet time (no TV) before it. I’ve espoused getting nightly connection time with God and my wife for years, but it doesn’t always happen. I want my mind churning on the right things as I sleep.

I’ve got an audiobook resource on rest by Graham Cook that I want to go through this month.

I want to tie new routines to existing habits like shower, brushing teeth, meal times, etc.

More steps to come.

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

God’s got to come through with help on my attitude and finding the root wounds that cause me to allow this level of busyness and overwhelm.

A potential resource I’m going to explore is a type of minimalism, founded on intentional living. This is a developmental part of things, not a work in process. Link to Jonathon Levi’s coverage of Cedric Waldburger.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

More to Come

Start Date: May 15th

Journey Update: 5/5/18

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Welcome to Spring!

Andy “Sir Bunch Adventure Writer” Journey’s Update: May 5, 2018

If you stumbled onto this page prior to my main landing page here’s a link to the full list of current journeys and more info about what a Journey is.

Brief Overview:

I’m trying to update once a week on Saturdays, but as I mentioned last time, I’m giving myself a lot of Grace and Flexibility on that deadline because it simply may not be feasible. I also mentioned last time that I’d be at a men’s retreat all weekend last week so I wouldn’t get last weeks update done. Nothing like breaking the pattern out of the box, but that’s how things go more often than not with me.

Welcome to The Cleric Path, which is what I call this grand experiment in how to live more abundantly. This is a journey update I’m really excited about so let’s dive in.

God/Relationship/Family

May – Rewrite Primacy into my blog — ch10 of 10
I’ve been revising my next book on this blog as I go, and I’m finished with the revision. Don’t worry though, it’s not too late to read it for free. I’ll leave it up until I’ve finished the final steps.  I’ll give anyone who signs up for my list during this process a free digital copy of the book as soon as I’ve written the back matter and formatted it for publication.

I’d hoped to be finished prior to leaving for the Spring Boot Camp on the 26th of this month but it took until yesterday. I’m grateful to God for the content and to my awesome wife for helping me carve out time to finish this week. Reading it again, I’m blown away by how good this book is. Overall Score A-.

May – Upcoming (5/8/18) business meeting with my Awesome Wife to hammer out some details for the home remodeling projects.

Identity/Adventure

April – BCNW Retreat — Attended
No matter how much I anticipate the awesomeness of these retreats, I’m never disappointed. When I step out of the Matrix God always meets me with a special message. It was harder than ever to be without my family for the weekend but it’s important and well worth it. I’ll be unpacking my notes from the retreat over the next few weeks–stay tuned. Overall Score A+.

May – It’s a season change and I’m still waiting on God for some marching orders. In the short run, I’m going back through my notes from the Boot Camp. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

ORG (Growth & Success)/Learning

May – Evening & Morning challenge
I’m Excited by the opportunity take on a very unique challenge. God wants to help me learn intentionality. Stay tuned for a link when I’ve published a blog post detailing it.

June – Read Book “The Five Choices” /Summary to Blog — tabled to May
Haven’t started. Just plane bit off more than I can chew this month. It’s a common problem for me. This is a transition month and I’m glad to get time on projects like that I want to bring to a close before the next season gets in full swing. (I know April is technically the first month of Spring/ 2nd quarter, but much like the weather, Spiritual seasons don’t follow the calendar exactly.) Overall score, Jury’s Still Out.

Health & Fitness

May – Audition Nucific Bio x4 — ordered and started
I continue my trial of Bio x4. I do notice less hunger, more energy, and good stomach health. I’m still not implementing additional diet/workout, which will come soon, but it’s a good test of the product alone. Want to increased fiber etc. One side note about Bio x4, it’s one of those “take 5 minutes before each meal” type of systems. I hope to have a solution to that soon.

Increased step goal (7,500) is still going well B+ overall.

Daily Stretching — Not started, Tabled to May 15

Wealth & Freelance

June – Upgrade & Revise Blog — Table upgrade to next month
Work continues. Lots to do. I’ve been blogging almost every day. I still love it. I have not managed to raise the money for some of the upgrades I’d hoped to accomplish. So I give it a solid B overall.

Final Note:

April was a transition month for me. I felt that God was moving some chess pieces. I’m still feeling that, which is not to say that God hasn’t done some cool things already. I know this much about the coming season. God is setting me free of fear of public humiliation. He’s empowering me to add speaking my message, not just writing it.

I feel strange to do a half update like this, but there are still some things up in the air and I wanted to get it posted while its only 3 days late. LOL. God Bless.

PS. It’s harder to understand what I mean when I say journey without reading more about it in my next book, “The Primacy of God.

About Journey Plans

 

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(The goal of this post is to explain how I’ll be handling Journeys. Like weekly updates, quarterly course corrections,

What are Journeys?

The Goal of taking Journeys is to expose the wounds and agreements that act as constraints in our ability to behold the Glory and Abundance of God, be transformed by it, and share it with the world.

It might seem like skill building or goal setting, but it’s not. Like learning to ride a bike: you learn balance, yes, but mainly you learn how not to fall down. In the process, you fall down a few times and learn not to fear falling down. (What Randy Pausch called, head fake learning.)

What Journeys Do

Biblically speaking, there are four streams that flow from the Throne of God out through the saints–Healing, Counseling, Spiritual Warfare, and Walking with God. John Eldredge speaks about it in more detail, but in short:

  • Healing – God’s love restores a heart wound to its pre-damaged state
  • Counseling – Provides an understanding of a would or false identity
  • Spiritual Warfare – Battles for freedom from bondage to demonic thinking
  • Walking w/ God – daily interaction w/ God (clarifies our adventure, or our Identity & Relationship w/ God)

Seasonality of Journeys

We can easily divide the year into quarters (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), but Spring, Winter, Summer, and Fall have a lot of blurry lines. Spiritual seasons work like natural seasons–off-kilter and changing a little every year. So journeys really start when they start and end when they end.

However, if you try to take on a challenge thinking, “It’s okay to pull a Crazy Ivan and change to whatever’s next whenever I feel like it,” then you’re doomed to play whack-a-mole instead of drawing the deep lessons God desires to provide.

So I’ve decided that even though it is okay to follow the Wild Goose and make dynamic course changes, I’m going to push through to a preset goal line the best I can. What that looks like is that a journey is either completed or I don’t give up on it until the start of the next quarter. It’s been said that we don’t have a lack of time, only a lack of priorities.

Most of us hang onto a list of things we ought to be working on but never seem to get to. It’s a form of ‘To Do List’ passive selection, where we never have to do the work of painful deck clearing we can just never get to some projects. But what happens when the things we never get to are important to our hearts, or to our physical reality? (e.g. dating your wife or losing belly fat, etc.)

To some extent its okay to allow a healthy level of ‘decision by procrastination.’ Americans are blessed with so many “good” things to do that we can live for years before we get to the “GREAT” things that would bring us satisfaction, character, health & wealth. In fact, if you are only biting off what you know you can chew how will you increase capacity or leave room for God to perform miracles.

So I choose to engage in the process of prioritizing, knowing that some journeys may be put off until it’s bucket list time. But journeys are actually a reverse process to goal setting, so we’ll get into that in the next section.

The point here is to pick a journey, or complementary set of journeys, for three months at a time, and don’t entertain a serious course change until that three month period is over.

Journey’s vs Goal Setting

“Human thinking looks is drawn to the negative!” – Mike Galeotti

Consider this: how much time on the evening news is spent on happy things that went well?

We look at our lives, and without spending much time at all on what we truly wish it looked like we highlight the things that aren’t right and make a list of things that must change for us to be happy.

We spend almost no time at all being grateful for what we have or what might have gone wrong and didn’t. We enter God’s gates with thanksgiving (Psalms 100:4). What if the key to abiding in God’s presence is focusing on gratitude.

Think about it. There’s no negativity in God. Therefore, any place you are experiencing fear, shame, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, hatred, etc. is a place you tolerate a void in your experience of His presence.

Like a mossy rock in a stream parting the flow of abundance around it. If anything is missing that’s what is causing it–not the lack of resources (time, money, energy, know-how, support, etc.)

So, instead of making goals to fix a problem we’ve noticed, we need a journey to eliminate the constraint. This can mean tackling a place that you’ve failed, but it’s inherently relational. It focuses on something good, which we can be grateful about–even if that’s just the promise that God will come through in that place!

Journey Plans

It can be a daunting plan to write down what/why/how etc. for a journey. Still, journaling is powerful because of the warfare that springs up during this process. Recording “what the hell you were thinking” when you took on this crazy thing, will help you reveal and cling to the promise of God that inspired it.

So hopefully you’ll find journey plans for each of the journey’s God and I are currently taking on. Ideally, I will identify:

  • What I’m hoping God will do (heal/counsel/war/walk) with me
  • The steps I think we’ll take toward it
  • Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with
  • Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

Current Journeys Page & Weekly Journey Updates

I’m posting all my current journey’s to this page on my blog (because God has healed my fear of public humiliation). So I have a single snapshot of the season with links out to all the specific plans for each journey.

I’m also doing a collective update of all the journeys weekly, instead of updating each journey individually on each Journey Plan Post. This was a gut-level, judgment call, hoping that it would be easier to follow along and less time consuming to write. We’ll see if I’m right soon.

So weekly updates will include the status of journeys past and upcoming journeys.

Final Disambiguation: Journeys, Rebounds, and Walking with God

(I love the word disambiguation. It just means to clarify a place of confusion.)

Walking with God is a Spiritual stream from God through us. It combines the other three streams into a way of living out your Adventure.

You might see me take on a journey with the Goal of walking with God. How can I take a focused journey into a daily walk? I could be meaning one of two things:

  1. I’m taking a journey to get clarity of my Adventure.
  2. I’m taking on a rebound to create a positive habit.

We’ll take on a number of adventures in our lives, but your Adventure (capital A) is the unique way you reflect the glory of God into the world around you. It’s often referred to as your calling, or your purpose, or life mission. Your roles (father/husband etc.) and your assignment (pastor/banker etc.) will change over time but your Adventure will stay.

A rebound is a type of Journey which can only be achieved through focused iteration–like a gratitude journal, or new diet. These are some of the most challenging types of journeys to take on. Let’s say God creates a miracle three-day weekend alone in the mountains. You could suddenly make great strides on that book you need to write with God, but you are only going to eat 9 meals and go to bed 3 times.

I’ll soon review a book that I know speaks to positive habit forming that I believe will end up being a terrific resource for rebounds. I’ll post a link to it here…one day soon.

 

Journey Update: 4/21/18

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Andy “Sir Bunch Adventure Writer” Journey’s Update: April 21, 2018

If you stumbled onto this page prior to my main landing page here’s a link to the full list of current journeys and more info about what a Journey is.

Brief Overview:

Well, this update is pretty much on time, I think I’ll try to update once a week on Saturdays. Two of the key concepts of the Cleric Path, which is what I call this grand experiment in how to live more abundantly, is living dynamically through Grace and Flexibility. I didn’t think I’d have to post about that quite yet, but it turns out that I can’t do this simple update without a brief explanation so follow this link to one.

God/Relationship/Family

April – Rewrite Primacy into my blog — ch4 of 10
If you’re following along, I’ve decided to revise my next book on this blog as I go. I’ll give anyone who signs up for my list during this process a free digital copy of the book when it’s done.

I’m happy with the decision. It’s not slowing me down and as I’d hoped it’s motivating me to work on it every chance I get. However, I am behind schedule. My wife’s work schedule changed for the week and I just didn’t get the time. On the bright side, I got to spend more time with my little girl.

I’m part way thru chapter 4 of 10 and I’d hoped to be finished prior to leaving for the Spring Boot Camp on the 26th of this month. So I either need to do chapters a day Mon-Wed or blow the deadline. I wonder how God’s going to handle this? Overall Score C+.

Identity/Adventure

April – BCNW Retreat — singed up and paid
I’m excited about the men’s retreat. It’s important for me to get out of town once a year and go where cell phones have no reception. I’ve been to this retreat, based on “Wild at Heart,” by John Eldrege, several times and God always does something amazing in me.

ORG (Growth & Success)/Learning

April – Read Book “The Five Choices” /Summary to Blog — tabled to May
Haven’t started. Just plane bit off more than I can chew this month. It’s a common problem for me. This is a transition month and I’m glad to get time on projects like that I want to bring to a close before the next season gets in full swing. (I know April is technically the first month of Spring/ 2nd quarter, but much like the weather, Spiritual seasons don’t follow the calendar exactly.) Overall score, Jury’s Still Out.

Health & Fitness

April – Audition Nucific Bio x4 — ordered and started
I started Bio x4 on the 14th (ordered when we got back from vacation), and I love them so far. I do notice less hunger, more energy, and good stomach health. I’ve not had enough time to surround this with other health improvements like increased fiber etc. One side note about Bio x4, it’s one of those “take 5 minutes before each meal” type of systems. Those are so difficult to work into your day and as the week progressed I’ve started missing a pill here and there.

I did increase my step goal to 7,500 & am largely successful and I drink a lot of water already and I’ve been eating at home about the same as before despite a busy week so I’m going to give this week a B+ overall.

Daily Stretching — Not started, Tabled to May

Wealth & Freelance

April – Upgrade & Revise Blog — Table upgrade to next month
I’ve been blogging almost every day, which is great! I love it. I have not managed to raise the money for some of the upgrades I’d hoped to accomplish. So I give it a solid B overall.

Final Note:

I’ll be out of town next weekend, so don’t look for an update. However, I’ll probably have a lot to update everyone on the following weekend. So, we’ll see. God Bless.

It’s harder to understand what I mean when I say journey without reading more about it in my next book, “The Primacy of God.