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Posts posted by notKosmic

  1. Day 122: no Video Games Detox
    Day 1: no Internet/TV/Youtube & added-Sugar

    Last night I felt awful.  I was eating a bunch of kettle korn and watching some shows with my wife.  We finally had some time with each other.  I enjoyed it.  Until... I couldn't sleep until 2am because I was feeling warm, headache, foggy... I think from sugar!  Yikes!  My body isn't used to it.  I want to keep it that way.  

    So, 2017 is going to be a new year of discipline.  No surfing the internet, no TV shows, no Youtube.  And, no added-sugar.  An apple or something is fine.  

    Starting a new challenge because I need it.  I haven't played video games or looked them up on Youtube or looked at streams in some time.  But, the second head of the internet hydra has merely replaced that one.  Time to slay that nasty being in me and live a life of discipline this year like I truly want to.

    Wish me luck!  I'll post on how that is going daily.  This is the next challenge for me.

  2. I saw a pyramid that turns this one upside-down.  Our greatest needs are philosophically defined,  pursuing what is good, beautiful, and true.  That is what makes us human.  It is true we can't do that unless our basic needs are met, but how much are we truly thinking about pursuing food, clothing, etc. in our modern age.  Well, I hope not too much.  Those things are taken care of more easily than ever before.  We have so much more time to pursue works of wonder... but distractions are so well-done we easily give our whole minds and souls to games.  May we seek first the best things and leave behind the worthless ones.

  3. Day 119

    Wow, that is way too long!  My previous post is too much stuff.  I don't even want to look at it.  I think I'll just stick to a short paragraph.

    Today, I want to wean down my options for the year... see what is really worth focusing on and sticking to it.  I might as well put all my thoughts on here and start weaning it down.  It's okay if I don't do everything.  it may take a few years to do this... but that is okay!  

    Areas of focus:

    Exercise: calisthenics and jogging (Prep for Navy) something daily and eat small meals every three hours.

    Relationships (wife, kids, community, my brothers):

    1. turning off distractions when I'm around my kids and wife (turn off bluetooth--don't listen to a book and tune out your family!, turn the phone off while at home as much as possible,
    2. being fully present in conversation and listening to people, love=attentiveness.
    3. Help with chores around the house with joy.
    4. Take girls on "dates" monthly.
    5. Take my wife on real dates once a month (dinner, hike, movie, play, symphony, museum, etc.),
    6. get away with my wife at least once this year for a long weekend without kids at a nice resort or something (make sure it isn't a "pastor and wife retreat" because we end up having to spend lots of time with other people instead of each other.  
    7. Family: Take advantage of "free" Tucson Symphony Orchestra tickets due to Lily taking lessons with a violist from the symphony,
    8. Brothers: Hikes with my brothers while we talk about being men and literature.
    9. Volunteer: continue in community leadership councils and volunteering at the elementary school to develop friendships in the community.

    Reading: Listening to great works of fiction (Audible) (listen to at least 12 books), work through reading list for 2017:

    1. Ancient Greek Lit, Great works of Western Civilization (from Wes Callihan).



      : The Iliad

      , The Odyssey. 

      Drama and Lyric:

       Book Reader: Aeschyls, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Eurpipides, Sappho, Pindar, Theocritus, Hesiod, Quintus of Smyrna, Apollonius of Rhodes. 


       The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, 

      The Landmark Thucydides,

       Xenophon: The Persian Expedition. 

      The Philosophers:

       Plato: Six Greek Dialogues,

       The Basic Works of Aristotle. 

      Recommended Additional Reading:

       The Homeric Hymns, 

       Expanded to full texts by the drama and lyric poets.

       Euclid Elements. (Might want to purchase Wes Callihan's Greeks teaching series to be a guide through these texts).
    2. Works on Pastoral Identity (continue working through Eugene Peterson works). Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work. Wendell Berry, ... (3 works for the year)
    3. Year of Biblical Literacy Prep (2018 for church) http://bible.realitysf.com/resources Eat This Book, ... (5 works for the year)
    4. Modern works: Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A. O. Scott; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt; How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson; Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari; The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead; Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance; A Jesuit Off Broadway: Behind the Scenes with Faith, Doubt, Forgiveness, and more by James Martin SJ and Stephen Adly Guirgis. (7 works)
    5. Devotional Work: read through Bible this year, St. Gregory of Tours Lives of the Fathers, prayer through Psalms, scripture memory
    6. Poetry: memorize a few classic poems, start with "If" by Kipling. (4 poems memorized for the year. try listening to them at least once a day.

    Memory: Memorize the New Testament in five years (big hairy goal: four verses a day with review, one hour of time a day, make use of "off" times).  a few poems too.

    Language Study: Ancient Greek (Pharr book on Homeric Greek, a few lessons a week, ,much is helpful review at this point.), Spanish (not sure how to do this), Latin (to prepare to teach my children in a few years)Hebrew

    Groups of other men (learning communities): Charlotte Mason Idyll Challenge, Journaling on gamequitters and reading other people's journeys, The Edge, Wheaton College Group, Drexel Heights Pastor Group, 

    How to do this: One thing that isn't working out of late is waking up and reading for long enough in the mornings.  I need to get up early enough to exercise and do my devotions.  But, I need to set aside a few hour segment most days of the week to get away from everyone else and just read.  There is a separate building at the church that no one goes to that has a nice leather couch in it.  I will try to get away over there for a few hours a day to read.
    Say "no" to most all other things that might try to get my attention.  Unless of course they are more important than the current task.
    Not watching TV, not playing video games, not playing chess.com, and being intentional should go a long way!

    I'll keep track of "how many" hours I've taken to read and therefore how many books I've read through in the weeks, months, and years just to start keeping myself accountable and compete with myself a bit on this.  Should be fun!  Let's see what this new year holds.  

  4. Day # 118


    Gratitude journal

    Today, we have out little boy home for 24 hours.  He has some sort of infection on his pinky.  Green in the center, white, then the tip is all red.  He is heading to the pediatrician now... 

    Thankful that he is doing much better.  Thankful we have an appointment today.  Thankful my wife can take him.  Grateful for enough strength to get through this next trial with hope.  Praying he will be alright and the docs have a good treatment.  His immune system isn't that great from too many fluids and everything and taking so much blood for all of the tests these last few weeks.  Anyway, I'm trying to be grateful and warding off the panic that rises up again.

    One amazing thing that happened/I did today

    I got up this morning after an exhausting night and read for a bit.


    I walked for 45 minutes and did 60 squats.


    Proverbs 15:1, Ephesians 1-3.


    Reading + taking notes

    Psalm 6. Genesis 19-21. 

    Dante's Inferno, Canto  . Life can be hell.  Dante is helping me get through it.

    Getting to bed before 9pm

    Yesterday, I got to bed before 10pm which is better than a few previous nights.
    Today, I got to bed at 9pm.  I slept long!  Feeling better.

    Weekly Goal(s)

    Make a reading list for the year.  
    Decide what language(s) I will study. (Ancient Greek and/or Spanish)
    Limit the groups I'll be a part of.  There are more opportunities than ever right now... I need to be wise.  I shouldn't do everything. (Wheaton, 4Tucson, Navy, Idyll Challenge, ...)
    Reading: Charlotte Mason, Chapter 10

    Monthly Goal

    At work: get vision team working together again.  We've been off for the holidays.  Finish strong!

    3 Month Goal

    Memorize Ephesians chapters 1-3.
    Start jogging. (Been walking for last few months)

    What went well today:

    Didn't completely flip out when I saw my son had an infection.  I did better not allowing the stress to get to me.  Instead of going on chess.com right when my wife left I got on here and journaled instead.  

    What I could have done to make my day better:

    ... less chess.com later in the day.  No chess.com!

    What I will do differently tomorrow:

    ... no chess.com
    And, going to try reading at work for a few hours by setting an "appointment" so I can't be disturbed.


  5. I've been pretty triggered lately with my wife in the hospital, baby boy sick, and taking care of everything at home with the two girls and trying to work, clean, laundry, etc. etc. Tough stuff!  I need strength and to adapt, but it has been a true test.  I haven't done amazing 24/7.  I've been playing chess.com again... I was on Youtube last night for a few hours... I get so tired of myself.  

    I need discipline and not escape, but I find myself doing exactly what doesn't help me or my family!  I hate this sometimes.  How do you stay intentional during trying times?  

  6. Day... it's been a blur.

    My three-month-old son has been in the hospital for two weeks now.  I pray he can come home soon.  There is no trauma like a sick baby.  I'm thankful for God and modern medicine.  Hoping continued improvement for here on out.

    Need to adapt and be strong for my family. Discipline, not escape.

  7. Good to hear your update. Consistent journaling can help you keep your mind clear and focused.

    What is the "Challenge?"  Yes, I need to journal daily!  It might help me stay on the track of goals.

    I think I've been listening to this podcast too much.  It is really good but I had a great journey the other day.  I left my phone in the car and walked through a rose garden.  I eventually got close enough to the roses to just stand there and really see them.  It was amazing to unplug and just spend time to really see and hear without digital noise.  Maybe when I run and walk I should not listen to things on my phone as much.  I do like learning while I go, but maybe I can save that for my drive time and look forward to it...


  8. Day 93!

    I haven't journaled for exactly a month... I just was Cam's response to "journaling daily is a good way to clear your mind."  I need to keep that in mind.  

    I haven't gone back to video games the whole time.  I watched a chess video or two... the world championship just happened and all.  I feel "caught up."

    I was using coach.me, but I was tracking way too many things.  Then, it got buggy and wouldn't work on my phone.  So, I deleted it.  I've been reading voraciously.  I started studying language again.  I am walking and counting calories.  I think I may not need to count the calories everyday.  I'm in a good grove of small meals every three hours, even an apple in the in-between times.  I will start jogging in a few weeks, sticking to a plan.

    What is the "Challenge?"  I would like some principles for this stage of things.  I feel like this detox was life-saving.  Not that I was going to kill myself, just that I was killing myself, my soul, my life daily with video games.  I was numbing myself, self-medicating, with this digital drug.  I'm doing my best to set boundaries on my digital life.  I deleted Facebook a month or so.  I haven't missed it.  I don't watch the news.  I listen to the three-minute NPR news each morning, and that seems to be enough about "earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars."

    I'm reading The Iliad. It's wonderful. Richard Lattimore translation.

    I have an interview in Washington DC on Thursday.  I wouldn't have been ready for this opportunity without gamequitters and you guys.  Thank you!  I hope I get it!


  9. Well done, Reno F!  Good luck on your writing and online business plans.  I'm currently listening to "Personal MBA," and I truly enjoy all of the principles of business that actually matter explained well.  If you haven't read it yet, I would definitely recommend it =)  

  10. Day 63

    Wow, I haven't said anything in a while.  I've overwhelmed myself a bit with various things.

    I will try coach.me.  I tried Habit Bull, but it limits you to 5 habits or you have to pay.  I was using Loop Habit Tracker, but the font is too tiny.  I don't even up it every day.  Habitica was starting to obsess me a bit but this app doesn't even get me to open it!  Hah!

    Habits I need help with of late:

    Finances.  I listened to an interview on NPR called Irrational Spending Habits or something.  The one thing that stuck with me is this:  "We all think we are good with money that we are better with it than we actually are."  I think I am above-average with money.  I'm not.  I spend money too much: eating at In-N-Out Burger and buying books and tools... I'm a spender.  So, I told my wife that I would ask her before I make a purchase each time.  That is hard to do sometimes... We are on a spending freeze... "You Need a Budget" looks like a good budgeting tool that syncs with your bank and phone and lets you know which categories have funds in them... (Only $27 left in groceries... or -$5 in eating out.)  I will try these.  Do you guys have any other suggestions? 

    Oh yeah, I also found this helpful from "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."
    Broke people: buy stuff
    Middle Class: buy liabilities (Debt)
    Rich: buy assets
    *That's easy to remember and sort of motivating in a way!

    Searching for a good habit.  I'm still looking for a good "break" habit that is challenging, progression-based, and enjoyable.  Reading has been going in and out of this.  Playing an instrument is another one that is hard to keep up with but I'd like to make it work.  What do you guys do to take a break?  (It is so easy to go on Youtube and watch dumb stuff about the elections in the US... yikes!)

    Fitness: I'm tracking my calories with MyFitnessPal everyday.  I've lost about 6 pounds so far.  I'm walking a lot more regularly too.  In a few weeks I will start a running plan.  

    Reading: I did well for a few weeks.  I was reading 30-50 pages a day.

    Navy... Then I applied to be a Reservist Chaplain in the Navy.  The application process is just crazy.  This is eating up a lot of my emotional and all other energy... So, that's why I have been away for a while.  It is pretty crazy how much you have to do... Yikes!  I'm getting a little tired of it... I need to push through!

  11. Day 51

    I may need to lay off of Habitica/HabitRPG and use something else that isn't gamifying my life.  I think it helped for a bit to get me over the edge... but I need something else.  I'm getting to use the app like a game instead of like a tool.  

    Do you guys have any recommendations?

  12. Day 47

    Thankful for:
    1.  Spoke to a Navy Chaplain recruiter yesterday about being a reservist Chaplain.  Seems like a good opportunity to pursue and pray about.
    2. Coffee.
    3. My son slept for two hours in a row by himself from 1AM-3AM... it's the little things, you know?
    4. I desire to stay focused on my calling even when pursuing a part-time opportunity on the side.  I want to be faithful with what I have now.
    5. Resilience, listening to the chapter on friendship was really good yesterday.  We have friends for pleasure, virtue, and utility.  Most men I know don't do well making and keeping lasting friendships.  Friendship is a worthy pursuit in itself.  And, as Aristotle said, virtue is a wonderful side benefit to friendship, not the main goal... My wife is definitely my best friend.  Yet, I'm most grumpy and mean to her at times.  

    I'm trying to read more often.  I started something with my three younger brothers.  We're going to get together and talk about our reading monthly-ish.  Each month one of us will bring a book for everyone to read before the next meeting.  So, each of us will get a chance to recommend something... I guess this is a "book club."  But, I do desire to be real friends with even my brothers.

  13. Reno F, I will have to try that!  

    Day 45!  Half way!

    Thankful for:
    1. "Daddy-daughter" date... took me little girl to the symphony for "The Planets."  Pretty awesome orchestra and videography in the background.
    2. Time with the rest of the family after.
    3. Half way!
    4. Slowly but surely taking myself away from things that distract me.
    5. If I hate it & don't have to do it = eliminate it.

  14. Day 44

    Yes.  The internet, in general, has a lot of negative side effects.  The worst may be just the near constant "arms length" reach it has into my mind... meaning, whenever I'm almost bored, I cave immediately and find something to fill that space.  Always thinking about my Facebook, or what's possibly on Youtube, or checking my email, or finding another show to watch, or looking up an interesting article about "anything."  I saw a guy who went a year without the internet who is a millennial.  He had quite the interesting experience.  But, you lose so much when you aren't connected at all too...

    I'm trying to find that happy medium where I'm disconnected but it is available as a tool.  "StayFocused" helps on my computers... can only have ten minutes a day on Youtube, Amazon, Hulu, etc.  I installed an App Locker on my phone to keep me from mindlessly going on the web or Youtube or anything with a search.  If I want to search something or use it... I need to get my wife to put the code in.  That helps take the desire away a bit.

    I want to read 40 pages a day.  That takes some deep reading time to accomplish.  I read 50 the first day, 28 the second day, and 6 the third day... still need to read today!  I want to take away the things I don't love out of my life, like Facebook and mindlessly consuming Youtube, so I can make time for things I do love: my career as a pastor, dad, husband, reading, etc.

    Slow and steady wins the race!

    Thankful for:
    1. my kids playing and "helping" with chores.
    2. Good coffee each morning.
    3. Lots of volunteers working hard for about 4 hours at the church to clean and repair things!  The place looks decent again!  
    4. DIY projects.  I dug a trench with a young guy helping me around the base of the church.  We put termite stuff in there and filled it back in.  
    5. Blisters.  Hard work feels so good!

  15. Day 43

    Thank you Robin and WorkinProgress for the encouragement.

    Today, I finally did another step.  I deleted my Facebook account (and Twitter, which I never use anyway but I don't want to shift over there from Facebook.)  I'm glad to have it gone.  I've been reading up on the negative effects of video games and have seen the negative effects of social media as well.  There are some great articles out there on this.  This guy summed it up quite well in his Ted Talk:

    "Quit Social Media"


  16. Day 42

    I haven't succumb to video games of late.  But, I've had a hard time with the normal internet and Youtube mindlessness.  Watching TV and the Late Show... It is hard to purge these things completely.  I've had a much better time keeping up with exercise and reading each day.  Sometimes I get down on myself for a few little negatives and forget the major POSITIVES that are happening!  My state of mind is much more clear.  I'm more present with my wife and kids.  I'm also reading a lot more, deeply reading, and enjoying that very much.  I'm getting more done and procrastinating less.

    Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  This takes time, right?

    Thankful for the journey.

  17. Day  41

    Thankful for:
    1. Narrowing focus.  I did an exercise that is attributed to Warren Buffet.  I wrote down 25 interests I want to pursue in my life.  Then, I circled the 5 things that are most important to me.  Then, I was told to avoid the other 20 things like the plague!  Those are the things that interest me just enough to pull me away from what is truly important.
    2. Important things to me: Be a great husband, father, pastor, a man of prayer, and reader.
    3. Working on these five things daily.
    4. Reading 40 pages of The Scarlet Letter this morning!
    5.  Relaxing into things... I burned myself out a bit there... worrying about a second career, etc.  Once I let the church know what was going on... well, things are getting better again.

    Thankful!  My son is a month old!

  18. Day 34

    I missed a day of journaling!  Today, rough start!  Feeling sick and weak... maybe I'm getting ill or it is the prolonged effect of sleep deprivation starting to rack my body.  Whatever it is... trying not to slide into oblivion.  Working on things that are helpful and good and true.

  19. Day 32

    I'm looking forward to the day when I get into stage four... unconscious fluent competency with this.  A day when I won't need to look at some app to see what habits I want to work on... a day when I naturally choose good things and not these other things... It is hard work!  But, each day I practice I get closer to that day.

    Thankful for:
    1. Doing good and helpful things
    2. starting my days with prayer, reading, and walking
    3. Waking up and holding my baby boy for a while so my wife could sleep a minute.
    4. Options!
    5. Hearing this in Resilience, "Pick the pain you can confront most productively."  Wow!  That's another way to face a "fork in the road."