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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 5 (of 63): Details on Health-Diet

Link to the Beginning, and Link to Last Post

Welcome Back

If you are new to this blog feel free to click back to the beginning to see where it all begins. I’ll keep the intro & recap short as today is another smoking busy day, LOL.

Quick 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 5AM 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.

Health Plan (Part 3)

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.

Diets! I’ve tried most of them and in future posts I will highlight the best and worst in my experience, based on effectiveness and difficulty. Most diet’s fall into one of four categories, based on their focus. Before choosing which diet to do, I recommend reading “Think and Eat Yourself Smart,” by Dr. Carolyn Leaf. She lays out the foundational thinking changes that will make almost any diet work–well without which no diet will work. After that it’s more about finding a diet that fits your temperament than finding the “right” diet. the “right” diet is the one that you can do.

Category 1 diets I call “Elimination diets” which focus on avoiding foods that you’re sensitive to or that may not be compatible with your blood type. There’s a lot of science behind this method and many version of them get results. They can also be simple to stick to because you have a list of what you can and can’t eat and there isn’t much you can so it’s hard, but not complicated.

Category 2 diets I call “Control diets” which focus on how much you eat more than what, although they still care about what you don’t eat. These diets can also be effective, but they require a lot of self discipline and they are complicated. It might sound like I’m being critical but weight watchers is a Control Diet and is one of the longest running weight loss systems out there and there’s probably a reason (probably the support groups is the reason).

Category 3 Diets I call “Fasting,” which could be thought of an extreme form of Category #1 or #2. Fasting has been scientifically shown as beneficial in many ways, including benefits to insulin issues, as well as the obvious–weight loss. It’s also biblical in that Easter, Danial and Jesus all fasted in extreme fashion, and Paul spoke of it in combination with prayer as a tool of focus. (Note that two of the four people who fasted for 40 days went directly to heaven without dying.) The recent fad of intermittent fasting has had great results and the benefit I like personally is that it shrinks you stomach, adjusts your taste buds and fast starts other methods of dieting. Intermittent fasting (iFast) requires discipline but its the simplest (and cheapest) of all diets. I still recommend reading a book and consulting a doctor before doing it as it’s a pretty big step. (Danial Fast is probably the one I’d recommend).

Category #4 Diets I call “Supplement Diets,” which focus on adding nutrients not found in modern foods. This is where Dr. Leaf’s book is key. She makes the case for “eating clean” among other things. What’s unique about her argument, is that it comes from a balance of science AND faith, which often make for strange bed fellows, but work in this case. I rate Supplement Diets generally more complicated than difficult. You need to research what’s missing and which source of it is truly a good source. Or just trust the MLM/network marketing company that is hawking it. (If I sound cynical I’m not–I think most of them have great products.)

Category 4 diets are best when combined with one of the other diets as you can seldom rely on adding vitamins, stimulants (and mainly pro-biotics) to your old habits and get good results. I favor a combo of these diets across the board. It’s a lot of work up front making a plan, and it can add expense to diets that are naturally cheap, ad time to diets that would be fast and easy, and ad discipline to diets that don’t have to be, but the key is finding what works for you. If you try for three months to lose 30lbs and you only succeed in losing 10lbs it’s still better than gaining 10lbs, which is easy to do if you aren’t doing anything.

Tomorrow’s post will detail the plan I made for this season based on all this research and study.

Update

Slept in to 6:30 AM this morning. Which doesn’t trouble me the way it did yesterday, because my wife took today off work to start painting, so this is more a remodel focus day than a normal weekday. Ironically, I have a bunch of writing work to catch up on, so…

My weight was down to 297 this morning–awesome–I knew yesterday was a fluke. (I weighed-in at a different time, but even if that wasn’t the case many times when dieting you’ll plateau, or even bump up by retaining water or something, for a day. We shouldn’t stress too much about that. In fact, I usually try to only weigh-in every three days to have more of an even average. I only started weighing every day because when I did Optivia last time because it’s such a fast drop, and this time because I’m blogging this every day.)

My wife left her car keys at the new house last night so we had some panic this morning trying to get my daughter to school. Then it took some time to retrieve things. It ended up with a delay, but in truth I got some reno project management things ironed out so I feel like we’re on track over all. We are both pretty worn out from this week and plan to keep our regularly scheduled pizza/movie night with Olivia (daughter). We need to stay fresh and give Olivia some familiar traditions during this process.

One last, quick rant–what the heck is with light bulbs. We’re replacing every bulb in the new house because they’re like 40 watt candles. I like to see what I’m doing and the bulbs you get these days in America are terrible. You can’t see, they don’t really last longer, and they create an environmental mess when you throw them out. That is such an example of modern environmentalism to me. If you disagree please comment on this blog post, or if you agree. And if you know where I can get some black market incandescent bulbs let me know…

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.

Day 2 (of 63): It Begins

Link to The Beginning and to Yesterday’s Post

Welcome:

Welcome to my journey. Yesterday I laid out my life goals for quarter 2 of 2021, which is the time between now and June 9th when I turn 50. This tends to be the point in life when men and women take stock of where they’re at in life, in relation to where they thought they’d be. This is especially important for me because as a coach I’m a big believer in context:

We need to know who we are
Where we are
Where we believe we want to go, and
The plans we believe will take us there.

I try to do that thinking two to four times a year, but what sets this time apart is my 50th birthday. This could be the pinnacle of my life in many ways. I don’t mean because I’m cresting some hill and it’s all downhill from here. I just mean that my youthful physical strength hasn’t gone yet, but I’ve lived enough to gain some wisdom. Many philosophers comment that it takes 40 to 50 years for a man to figure out where to begin. We can lament that life is half over before we figure out what’s going on, but I choose to take heart. Warren Buffet built his fortune starting in his 50’s. Sometimes the big work of our lives doesn’t reveal itself until we’ve walked far enough down the road that we can see it.

Quick Recap:

I like to group my life goals so because we can’t work on everything all the time and we can’t really do one thing to the exclusion of everything else. That’s not to say we don’t benefit from doing an 80/20 purge. It’s good to prioritize things that we do well and delegate or delete things with low yield. But by grouping my goals into quadrants I can balance be intentional about moving the things forward evenly and not neglecting something that later caps my growth. (Think of a half barrel filled with water. It won’t hold more water than the height of the shortest slat.)

Whenever I can, I pick a single project that moves several categories forward–my one big thing of the season.

So I use the classic categories:

You’ve heard the old saying, “Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise?” Well, I think that brilliant. I’m not the first to find it so. Craig Ballantyne started an awesome challenge called ETR (for Early to Rise), which lets you set your own goal in one of those areas and then puts the winners in a raffle to win $10,000. He has some great resources and I love his journey to success story.

I see 4 categories in the old saying. Health and Wealth are self explanatory. Wisdom, to me, is about Spiritual Health because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). I also see the Early to Bed/Rise part as indicating schedule and organization being a value. (I include things like doing an 80/20 efficiency/effectiveness audit). Yes its saying that the action of maintaining a good schedule is key to success in the other areas, but I think engaging with each of these 4 quadrants on a regular (daily or weekly) basis will help the other quadrants. It’s possible, even common, to exclude one of these quadrants in our daily life, but it will end up making it harder to succeed in the other areas.

So my categories are (2) Health, (4) Wealth, (1) Wisdom, and (3) Organization. I give you priority numbers (#) because I rank them in order of my values.

The Plan:

I spoke of my priorities in My One Big Thing Section of yesterdays blog. Build an ADU into our new house & move in, without losing ground on my health or career (both of which had already started to stall out because of Covid and Phase 1 stress of selling mom’s house/finding a house). I also announced that I’ll be blogging nearly every day for 63 days as a way of maintaining perspective during this busy season.

I haven’t yet shared the rest of the One Big Thing Plan. Starting with Schedule. I’m going to rise everyday at 5AM and go to bed and read at 9:30 each night. The first 5 hrs belong to God–I worship, shower, cartoon breakfast with my daughter*, journal (AM Pgs**), men’s prayer call, and writing a blog.

I don’t start the career/income portion of my day until 10AM (unless I have a special circumstance and this is for 63 days remember, some seasons have different rules). I say career/income because as a self employed person/independent contractor it’s not a simple thing to describe and mostly nothing you’d want to read about. What is worth mentioning is that I’m following my own advice, which I’ve given many times on blog posts, coaching session and speeches, that entrepreneurs should set a work schedule and protect the time they allocate for family and personal time. For this 63 day season, I have between 10AM and 5PM to deliver value and earn income.

My evenings belong to my family. This will shift a little as I can justify remodeling our new house as time spent for my family, but I’m still going to draw a circle around specific date nights with my wife and with my daughter.

Tomorrow I’ll go a little deeper into my diet and health plans for this season and/or my plans to make gains in my career/income too. But this post is getting long so I’ll end with a quick update (some of which will make more sense after tomorrows post).

Quick Update:

I got up this morning at 4:50 AM (10 minutes early) My time with the Lord was great, no new revelations. Time with my daughter and my men’s prayer call. Everything went to plan which I’m not assuming will always be the case, but I’m off to a great start. I’ve been doing well at eating my punishment food, LOL, which is something I’ll explain tomorrow.

We signed papers yesterday on the house and it recorded with the county this morning. So as soon as I complete some work projects and take a meeting with the pastor of my church, I will pick up my daughter at school and meet my wife and mom at the new house! WOOOT! I can’t wait to start the reno over there later this week.

Day 1 (of 63): Plan & Prep

Link to Post #1

Quick Recap:

I haven’t blogged in quite awhile. I’ve had some big wins and I’ve hit some walls, but I’m entering a new season in life–I’m going to turn 50 on June 9th and I want to be physically and financially fit by then (more on that in a minute).

I’m returning to this blog as a way of processing externally. I hope my readers will be encouraged, entertained, and pick up life hacks along the way. My life is an adventure seasoned with moments of deep insight and hours of whackado fun. This is your chance to watch what I’m doing and judge for yourself what might work for you, while avoiding the pitfalls I stumble into.

About me (in three sentences or less):

I’m a writer. I write marketing copy professionally and I write books, both fiction and non-fiction (Christian self-help style). I also coach Christian creatives and Entrepreneurs in writing/publishing, or conquer work/life obstacles.

How This Blog Works:

For those new to this blog, here’s how it works–I’m not a wise old man yet, but I’m half-way there. I’m still in the trenches with you but I’ve figures some things out that I want to leverage to reach my goal of being physically and financially sound by 50 years old. I need you to keep me accountable and to compensate you for that help, I’m willing to be vulnerable and transparent so that you learn along with me.

One of the things I’ve learned is that a key to mastering change is to find you one big thing. Remember in the movie “City Slickers,” when Curly holds up his index finger and says, “life is about just one thing?”

The Premise: One Big Thing

The story of Rocky illustrates my life philosophy well. Rocky is nice guy and an enforcer for Pauli (a low-level, mob-connected bookie). Rocky is in love with Pauli’s sister, Adrian, who abhors violence. This could have been a tragic romance, but thank God Stallone was brilliant. Rocky knows he must remake himself to win Adrian’s heart but wise enough to not leave his lane. He channels his abilities into fighting in the most socially acceptable venue and uses his feelings for Adrian to fuel his efforts–even though he isn’t assured that she’ll accept him.

There’s so much to learn by that movie. Adrian doesn’t train Rocky into becoming husband material, he refocuses his talent and goes for the brass ring because he sees a away to change his whole life for the better. He moves how and where he does what he’s good at so that he can earn a living and get the girl. Adrian still has to decide if that’s what she wants.

Identity

Your one thing is always rooted in your identity. Some of the people like me call themselves warrior/poets. I call myself a Cleric, because I’m deeply connected to God, I fight for what I believe in, and I guide other adventurers who are taking the same journey I am–to find a way to live inline with my values that is effective an authentic. A cleric is also a writer, and that’s one of my primary ways of processing life.

One goal of this blog is to shorten the cycle between input and output–between having experiences and sharing them with fellow adventurers who might need to glean lessons from my hard knocks.

I’ve found journaling essential to processing my life events into usable wisdom and publicly committing to goals essential to following through with challenging things. So another goal of this blog is to hold myself accountable to you, dear reader, for living an examined life.

Why Should you Read this Blog?

If your journey is similar to mine (at least for this season), you will find encouragement and inspiration, hope and commiseration, in following along on my trek. What’s my journey?

As I mentioned, I’m turning 50. I need to deal with the things I thought I’d have by now but don’t, and figure out how to steward what I didn’t expect to have, but suddenly do. I’m married to my dream lady, which only took 40 years, and we have one brilliant daughter who is turning seven very soon. My father passed away in 2003 and my mother has reached an age where she’s done living alone. So we’ve decided to buy a house together and live multi-generational.

In 2019 I finally struck upon the best use of my talents and my BS in business. I pursued training and certification as an life and entrepreneur coach, which I love but have not been able to scale as a business yet due to a little pandemic we’ve been having lately. My career also includes copy writing for a friend’s digital marketing company, which has saved my bacon. I’m so grateful for Threo. I’ve added skills and experience that radically improved my writing income.

Phase 1 is complete. Mom’s house is sold and she’s moved into the place we’re renting. My certification is in place and LLC exists. I’ve also been honored by my church with ordination, which opens up some sacerdotal counseling opportunities. I’m eager to explore some of the modalities that will offer. I consider it a good fit with my vision for coaching–I help people get clear on their goals and what’s holding them back, then make a plan to move toward their goals, and I get to walk with them (Cleric/Adventure Guide).

Phase 2 starts today when we sign at the title company for our new home. Then we will do some remodeling to accommodate a main-floor living space for mom, which we call the ADU (Additional Dwelling Unit). After that we all move into it, and I get to refocus on building my coaching and writing business.

Other important things that must happen during this season:

I can’t let go of my health. In January of 2020 I lost 25 lbs (of 65 I hope to lose) and I kept it off for a year. Then during phase 1, I gained back 10lbs. So my emergency protocol is activated. I have to go back on the diet that I lost all that weight with for about a week to get back on track.

In order to steward my new opportunity with my church I need to take a class called grief recovery method, which I’m looking forward to because I have some hurtles of my own to address. I don’t need to be perfect to help others, but I’m a hypocrite if I’m not at least working on my own stuff.

Also, I can’t go backwards at my brand new coaching/writing business, while I’m remodeling a house and moving two households into it. Some of you are probably tense just reading about this. Yeah, it’s…very exciting…I’m blessed to have a lot going on in this season. Did I mention I’m also unpacking a lot of stuff because I’m turning 50 this year? Of course I did.

Do you see why I need your help?

Writing this blog is kinda my one big thing.

I’ve now laid out for you, dear reader, my list of important and urgent things. In this blog you can follow along on this season of my grand adventure. I will unpack details of how I intend to pull off each area of my goals and I’ll tell you how it’s working. Writing each day will be my therapy and my accountability to continue pushing.

Stay tuned for the next installment…as soon as tomorrow.

Christian Influence Peddling

Isn’t influence peddling a crime? What are you on about this time, Andy? Influence means power. I believe Christians have an unhealthy relationship with power, and therefore an uncomfortable relationship with influence.

Another word for it might be, persuasion. When I was an English major back in college, writing to persuade was all the rage. It was technically one of five styles of writing, known by the lofty term “rhetoric,” but most of my professors were of the opinion that there wasn’t much other reason to put fingers to keyboard than to persuade the reader of something. It conjures up images of cynical people saying things like, “everybody is selling something.”

The other day I had the pleasure of interviewing a young lady named Jessica Kriegel, who helps companies create growth through aligning their corporate culture with their values and strategy. She mentioned that companies all have a culture whether they intend to or not. They either let it happen organically and then end up fighting it every step in order to reach goals, or they intentionally pursue a culture that communicates and reinforces the companies vision and keeps employees engaged and pulling the same direction. It made me wonder, what if Christians have an influence whether they mean to or not?

It doesn’t sound like a bad thing to be influential. That makes it sound like you have a reputation you’ve earned for being able to get things done, and therefore people are more apt to get onboard with whatever you’re doing next.

These days, I see it used as a job description–a “social media influencer.” That’s when someone has a following and they’re paid by people (with something to sell) to recommend their products or services. We don’t feel manipulated by this concept until we really sit down and think about it. Let’s face it, the world has grown very complex and we’re drowning in information. Nine out of ten people consult reviews before making an online purchase, and 84% of shoppers trust an online review as much as a friend’s. Social media influencers can be a professional reviewer who acts as a sort of tour guide to the possibilities. Of course, many are just accidentally famous or a swimsuit model, or just someone who’s built an audience.

The price an influencer charges depends on the number of followers they have, i.e. the number of people they influence. If I’m right, you influence people every day. What sort of influence are you having?

God has been speaking to me about this topic for a while, although I didn’t know this is where He was going with it. All good things come from the Father of Light (James 1:17). God put the 1st couple on Earth in His image to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) Since Jesus was the second Adam (Romans 5) we are restored to that purpose. Which means all that “good” coming from God to us in Christ is ours to do something with.

1) Be fruitful
2) Multiply
3) Dominate the earth

What does it mean?

What is are we here to be and do, as a people and individually?

I’ve been pursuing the answer to these questions for a decade and I have a lot of answers. The 1st part of my discovery I put in my book, “Primacy of God,” which makes the case that we don’t receive the answers to a lot of our questions because we won’t let God be God. God didn’t put it on us to be holy and redeem ourselves. He knew we’d fall and He planned for His son to pay the price. We must embrace that mystery. It’s beyond us to do some things and if we hold God out of those we won’t receive the substitutionary power of God. Can we nullify our salvation? I doubt it. But we can constrain God’s ability to bring transformation in our lives by insisting, “we’ve got it from here, God.”

But I made the case in Book 1 that there is a path out of the wilderness into our personal Promised Land and I said I was on the banks of the Jordan across from Jericho listening for God’s guidance. I promised that when I found out how to cross into and lay hold of my Promised Land I was share it with you, so you can lay hold of your own. I get emails from readers all the time asking when I will finally write book 2. I believe I’m ready to do that. I have been fighting and searching hard for an answer and I believe I have it.

When I wrote book one, “Primacy,” I blogged the rough draft and then cleaned it up to publish. My readers got to follow along for free. I want to do that again. It’s not a simple process. You’ll have to let me blog each day wherever it goes. I can’t promise that it will come out in perfect order. This is frantic and often messy process, but I’m committed to it.

Starting Monday, 2/22/21

Starting Monday, 2/22/21 I’ll be blogging every day, for 63 days or until book two is complete. So join me as I draft “Authenticity of Self,” and discover with me what it looks like to march around a walled city declaring that the land is yours in the name and authority of God.

What’s all this got to do with Christian Influence Pedaling? Well, if I’m right, everyone has an impact on the world around them. We can let it be our reactions to our circumstances that only declares the pain of our situation in the context of what we’ve been through in life (our scar tissue/experience), or we can be intentional about what we’re putting into the world. If we choose the latter, we can be a conduit of something that runs counter to our circumstances. We can choose to be light in the darkness.

Things happen to us. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Blessing or curse often depends on our perspective. A farmer likes rain, a home builder not so much. What if every circumstance in your life were engineered by God to bless you if you could find the right perspective. What if choosing to live in that perspective influenced how the people around you view what’s going on around them.

What it God wants you to be a Christian Influence Peddler?

It’s scarier than that even. What if He has a plan for you to serve others so you earn the right to speak into other peoples’ lives? What if He wants you to learn something about persuasion so that when you have right to bend someone’s ear you are effective at it? What if God has a plan to make you worthy of a larger audience, but it involves getting purged of your dark places?

Or maybe you’ve been dreaming of that your whole life. A mentor of mine, Pedro Adao, once told me he suffered from ministry idolatry. He knew how to make money but he wanted to do something really great, which meant saving kids in Africa or something. Long story short, Pedro learned that doing business right makes it ministry. Business is about solving problems and when you do it in a manor that lines up with the Kingdom you can witness about the King.

The secret we’ll discover in “Authenticity of Self” is how to be a conduit of Kingdom by receiving Good from God, Being Transformed by it, Taking authentic Actions to hand it to others, and Having Kingdom Results. It’s about living inside out in Authentic Vision and Rhythm. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll see you all on Monday.

PS If you have questions you can reach me by replying to my posts on my FB page or LinkedIn or posting a comment on this blog. I’ll respond to any of these and I check them often. If you’d like a free half hour clarity call with me reach out to me at sirbunch@talescribe.com and ask for a link to my schedule. God designed me to be a guide to the wilderness of the soul, which means in addition to writing I help people through business and life purpose coaching.

Penny Library – Jan. 2020

Portrait of a Native American

He waved her off, shook his head, and said, “No thanks. I’m fine already.”

Bella smiled and offered him her hand. “I’m Bella Squire.”

He shook her hand and said, “Pete.”

I’d also seen Pete Bowyer before. He was Native American, of the Klickatat tribe. His ex-wife was a waitress at this diner. Pete was semi-traditional, most of his family danced or drummed for a show at a casino just North of Vancouver Town, but Pete liked to hunt and fish. His other hobbies seemed to be drinking coffee and keeping tabs on his ex-wife. 

Poor Bella was chasing a branded bull with that one and her eyes narrowed when she realized it. So she turned her attention back to Mani.

Pete took a pouch out of his pocket and crumpled some tobacco from it onto a rolling paper. He licked the edge of the paper and rolled a cigarette with one hand which he stuck behind his ear.

Penny Library – Dec. 2019

Portrait of a Cowgirl

The moment Mani took his seat she left her’s and approached him.

“Is this seat taken?” she asked, resting her hand on the back of the chair to Mani’s left. When he shook his head, she sat and offered her hand, “Bella Squire.”

“Nice to meet you,” said Mani, good-naturedly.

Bella smiled. She had shoulder-length blond hair tucked up, under a cowboy hat. Her shirt bore as much filigree as the fabric might hold and her jeans were tight enough to prevent her from putting anything in her pockets, even her hands. But I knew from past encounters that she rode barrels in the rodeo for a living. I’d also seen her sing Karaoke on a few occasions and I knew that she did that as well as she rode a horse. According to the wall in the men’s room she rode everything well, but I have no reason to believe it or not.

When Michelle freshened up her coffee, Bella brought out a small flask and spiked it. She offered some to Mani and he gave her a wink.

She poured a dash in his cup as well and then turned to offer some to the man on her left.

Penny Library – Nov. 2019

Portrait of a Fighter

I parked up front and shouldered my laptop bag. It was cold, but not so cold I needed the coat I wore. As I reached the entrance, a vehicle pulled in and parked next to mine. I paused with my hand on the door handle and looked back to see who it might be. A Toyota pickup someone body-lifted three feet, twenty years ago, rolled to a stop and its owner stepped from the cab.

He wore a camouflage jacket, rugged work pants and boots. He wore his face clean-shaven and his hair short and flat. I knew him by reputation, Manual Salazar, or as they nicknamed him in the octagon Mani Scar.

I held the door open and stepped back to let him pass. He gave a short nod and crossed the foyer where he returned the favor and held the inside door for me. We both headed for the counter. I let my bag drop into a swivel seat and sat near the cash register with my back to the door. Mani removed his coat, revealing his signature tank top that bore an American flag and accentuated his bulky chest and arms. As he sat in the seat on the end, by the restrooms, I noted the tribal tattoos that began at his elbow and patterned nearly to his neck over his left shoulder. The pattern parted around an earlier tattoo that read “I bleed for my country,” and a large scar from a bullet wound.

I knew from seeing one of Mani’s MMA fights, that the shoulder facing the bathrooms bore another tattoo reading simply ‘Army Ranger.’ Outside the octagon, Mani had fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.

I could stare at him no longer without being weird so I took in the next patron, already seated at a booth in what had once been the smoking section.