We’ve been on vacation for the first part of July and will be for the next week or so.  July is an embrace month… and when we get back from vacation, I plan on taking the last two weeks to join in on Hustlemonth.  Hustlemonth is a project that a friend of mine started as a way to get moving on some of his dreams by setting aside a month and take every opportunity to get good work done.  I love his tagline:

jumpstarting your dreams with a month dedicated to the grind.

I’ll be taking those weeks to jump back into a few web projects that I have been making some slow progress at over the last few months.  I’ll be diving into WordPress and hopefully learning a ton while I am at it.

If you have some a dream or a project that has been sitting on the shelf and needs some work to get going…. head on over to the Hustlemonth site and see what it’s all about.  It’s not too late to join in on the fun.

Camping Food

Our family is heading out on a short camping trip today.  As we have been in the process of packing, some of our “normal” camping food turns out to be a bit problematic.  Hot dogs, marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate bars, store bought granola bars, etc… all these seem to fall pretty squarely into the processed foods category we are trying to avoid.  For the sake of ease, and for our kids, we made a few concessions.  Not a lot, but a few.

We have also encountered a bit of a storage problem.  One great thing about a lot of processed foods, is that many of them don’t need to be kept cool.  As we have loaded up on fresh veggies and fruits, much of it needs to be refrigerated or put in a cooler.  Our dorm-size refrigerator and medium size cooler are bulging at the seams!  We will probably have to take a second cooler for this 4 day trip.  If we are still practicing “real food” in July when we go for 7 days, we might have to search out a local farmers market to hit mid-week.  Now that I think about it though… that is probably a great thing to do anyway!

Clarifying “Processed”

All attempts will be made to stay away from processed food.  The only processed food we will be eating is the kind we process on our own.

At the pub the other night, I was telling a friend about our month of “real food”.  I told him that we are tying our best to stay away processed food.  He replied that one of the hardest parts about that would be flour.  Hmmm.  Although we knew flour is processed, we didn’t think about whole-wheat flour as something we were going to stay away from.  There are certainly various levels of processed.  When I got home, I figured I had better clarify what types of processed foods we are trying to stay away from.  Here are the “processed” parameters that we came up with:

  • Stay away from high fructose corn syrup!
  • Anything with more than 5 ingredients is probably processed to a fairly high degree.  This is an interesting one, as it takes out most bread products that we have found at the store.  We are making our own bread for most of this month (trying to stay away from white flour).
  • Even if there are less than 5 ingredients, if you have no idea what one or more of them are, that’s a bad sign.  The classic example here is monosodium glutamate (MSG).  Turns out, I don’t really know what that is.  We were at the store just today and one the items on our list was peanuts, but most of them had MSG as one of the ingredients.  My wife finally found kettle roasted peanuts in the produce section that didn’t have MSG.

That should help as we move forward.  We’ll see if we have to make any more modifications as the month goes on.

Lofty Goals – May in Review

Apparently, I tend to set goals that are a bit beyond my reach. I started this blog in the middle of last December.  In the four and a half months before May, I had posted 31 times. Then in May, I set out to post everyday.  I would have doubled the blogs post count had I succeeded! In retrospect, it would have been more realistic to shoot for every other day.  I ended up posting 19 times in 31 days.  Some thoughts on my month of blogging:

  • I didn’t reach the main goal, but I actually feel like it was a very successful month.
  • I really enjoyed blogging on a regular basis.
  • I struggled to think of content at times, but embracing daily blogging forced me to write about new and different things.
  • Knowing that I was going to be writing on a regular basis caused me to pay a little more attention to all that was going on around me.

Overall, it was a great exercise.  I’ll slow down the pace a bit, but I’ll still be trying to post 3-4 times a week from this point forward.  Hmmm… is that goal too lofty?

Barefoot Running!

A short post for today, but I am very excited to get running again.  I have tapered off since March, when I exercised almost every day, mostly running.  I just started reading The Barefoot Running Book and I can’t wait to get started! I have never really enjoyed running, and I thought this new twist might help, plus I love the minimalist reality to it. Bonus… the author is from Grand Rapids, MI! Here is a link to the book if you want to check it out.

Daily Blogging?

I just sorta threw this out there at the end of my post about momentum:  What if I blog every day in May?  On one hand, I like the idea of writing everyday.  I think it will force me to look for things each day worth writing about .  It might cause me to reflect a little deeper about everyday realities and current news events.  On the other hand, I wonder what the heck I will write about!  Certain days will be no problem.  I might see something really cool, or maybe just have something on my mind worth writing about.   But what about those days that, well… are just normal.  When nothing special happens either in my life or the news and nothing in particular comes to mind;  What then?

Over the next week or so, I will be trying to brainstorm ideas for those days.  I want to get a list of things to write about so that I have a bit of a “bucket” to pull from once I get into the thick of everyday posting.  The blog is going to look a bit different, though.  Up to this point, all my posts have been directly tied to my experiment with embrace and refrain.  I am going to need to go outside of those boundaries into some uncharted territory (for me).   I am excited to see how this goes.  Here are a few things that pop into my head in terms of categories:

  • Sports:  I love sports and the NFL draft is coming up this week!  I am a big DETROIT sports fan, so I might post about the Lions draft and maybe about the early MLB season with the Tigers.
  • Learning Web Development / WordPress:  Over the last 8 months, I have been learning as much as I can about web development and WordPress.
  • My new profession… adventures of a stay at home dad.
  • My experiences as a Youth Pastor:  Before my recent switch, I worked in youth ministry for 12 years.  There might be something in those 12 years worth writing about…
  • Apps, iPad, Apple, etc:  I’m an Apple fanboy… what can I say?
  • Embrace / Refrain Updates:  I continue to work on all 3 of my first 3 months practices at lesser levels.
  • Things I’m thankful for:  My wife writes a daily list of 5 things she is thankful for.  It’s a pretty cool thing to do.
  • Politics:  Nope…  not going there.
  • Photos:  My own quirky version of Instagram!

Well… that’s not a bad list for starters.

Get Off the Couch – Exercise in Review

Well, just a few days late, here it is… my exercise log for March:

  • March 1:  3 Mile Bike
  • March 2:  1.75 Mile Run
  • March 3:  1.75 Mile Run
  • March 4:  Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 6:  2 Mile Bike, 2 Mile Run
  • March 7:  2 Mile Jog/Walk, 6 Mile Bike
  • March 12:  2 Mile Run
  • March 14:  2 Mile Run
  • March 15:  2 Mile Run
  • March 16:  Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 17:  3 Mile Run
  • March 18:  1 Mile Run, Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 19:  2 Mile Run, Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 20:  1.5 Mile Run
  • March 22:  4 Mile Bike
  • March 23:  2 Mile Run
  • March 24:  3.1 Mile Run (My own little 5K)
  • March 25:  10-15 Mile Bike
  • March 26:  6 Mile Bike
  • March 28:  2 Mile Run
  • March 30:  2 Mile Run
  • March 31:  2 Mile Run

I didn’t exactly reach my goal of exercising every day, but I definitely got out more than I would have if I hadn’t given this embrace a shot.  By the end of the month, I felt pretty comfortable with a 2 mile run, something I couldn’t say at all at the beginning of the month.  For the most part, I struggle with any exercise that is just for the sake of exercising.  I enjoy things like riding a bike along a nice path, mountain biking, playing ultimate frisbee, etc:  doing fun things that also just happen to be exercise.  Unfortunately though, the opportunities I have for those things isn’t enough to keep me in shape (any more).  I did notice though… that as the month went on I began to enjoy my opportunities to exercise a little bit more.  I think if I kept it up for another couple of months, I wouldn’t have to fight against the temptation to be lazy quite as much!   Or maybe not….