It has been an adventure keeping up with the work of John Saddington aka 8Bit (and formerly Tent Blogger). Yes, I’ve known John for many many years. He’s inspired me from a publishing perspective on many different fronts. John is all about blogging. He’s been doing it every day for over 15 years. Today I want to tell you about his latest project, mnml. MNML is a macOS app that is specifically for posting on Medium.com. John sent me a demo version so that I could review the app. While he sent me this product for free, I would not endorse it if I could not fully get behind it. I love mnml! It reminds me a lot of Desk, the macOS app for publishing to WordPress. Software can be a funny thing. I enjoy keeping up with certain developers and trends but not everyone is like me. So that’s why this review is here. I believe writing is essential to a personal pursuit of a healthy life. I also believe leaders (at all levels) benefit from publishing their words to the world – whether it’s on a blog, though an email newsletter, on Facebook, or even on Twitter (micro-blogging). Medium is still new to me (I’ve started a new publication called Tech Trainer) but it has so much potential. It’s very fun to see the great headlines about writing, productivity, and life-hacking. If you post on Medium or want to start this summer, pick up mnml so that the tech gets out of the way and you can focus on the words, not the details of publishing.
The purpose of this newsletter is to be a resource of articles for people interested in leading a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. My reading material focuses on health and wellness with occasional instances of personal productivity, discipline, and habits.
3 Treads worth tapping into – Harvard Health
I love these three but my mindfulness has been achieved listening to my Apple Watch and the Breathe app rather than Buddhist practices.
Tabata, HIIT, and yoga? Yes please!
The question I try to address each week with clients struggling with exercise adherence.
Easy for the morning guy (myself) to say. Morning routines – always worth considering. Could this be a training area for you in 2017?
From the blog:
One week with Apple Watch Nike+ TL;DR this device is fantastic
Love This Book: the vlog (first four episodes)
As we ended the year last week I talked with numerous clients about reverse engineering 2017. I encouraged them to envision what they wanted their health to look and feel like at this time next December. It's a poignant time of year to look back but also (I would argue) look ahead. What does that look like? What have you built? How have you gotten stronger, faster, healthier? So you have your goal for 12 months down the calendar. What's next?
I know what you're thinking: "I'm scared to start because I am afraid I won't keep it up." Or worse, "Everyone's starting their New Year's Resolutions, and I'm not into those. If everyone's doing it, I'm out." Let's all put down our device and realize it doesn't matter what other people are doing. You, my friend have a goal for 2017 and it's time to start. But starting is probably the toughest part of this whole thing. I know because I'm right there step-for-step with you.
What am I starting in 2017? First off, I'm starting with less. I did really well reading devotionals last year, beginning each day reflecting on portions of the Bible or topics to become a better man, husband, father. Over the years I've gathered multiple devotionals (most of which are fantastic) but what I've realized is that by not focusing on one, I've watered down the messages and concepts. I've essentially robbed myself of the full impact of a single entry. This year I'm down to one entry per morning. I haven't decided on which one or even if I'll switch throughout the year (month-to-month?). See that? The plan doesn't have to be perfect. But I have to start.
I'm reading less. That's not completely accurate. I'm reading less of the tech Twitter stuff that I absolutely lovereading. I'm refocusing my daily Twitter news to actual news first and my exercise science and fitness news second. As I've reflected I've the last couple weeks I've realized a clear fork in the road when I sit down to read: I could go left and read to make myself better professionally or I could go right and read fun tech stuff that is useful but does not help pay the bill or feed me in any way other than as a hobbyist. Reading less of the tech stuff will be an intentional disciplined move to reading what matters to me.
These are just a couple ways I'm starting with less. But I'm also starting things new, and yes starting today. A big part of what I want to accomplish in 2017 includes writing publicly more. Each year I typically write more than the previous year, so as a writer I'm improving. Win! I am a big proponent of writing every day even if it's just in a journal or something that never gets published to the world. At the same time I believe that putting public posts like this on the internet force me to be at the top of my game, continually get better, and punch fear in the face. It's not easy to write in public. But the successful people that I read were one day in the same boat: they had to start writing and hitting that publish button. One of my main goals for 2017 includes writing more on a weekly basis. I ended last year with a new writing project, Tech Trainer, which I am very proud of. I will continue this project in 2017 – it still feels like I'm "starting" this one.
Finally I'm not starting new health and fitness but I am starting a new training focus this year: I'm calling it TriForty. Again, the goal here isn't to list out all the details of what I'm starting but rather make the case that starting is one of the hardest part. Yet we all can agree that there can be no finish, no journey, no struggle and victory if there is no start.
1/1/17 and it's time to start.
My work typically starts at 5:40 every morning. Don’t feel sorry for me; I’m a morning guy and I’m doing work I absolutely love. Lately my Friday client load has been starting later, 7:20 to be exact. This has allowed me to get to favorite coffee shop first thing in the morning. They open at six and there’s only a couple regulars that sometimes beat me to the register.
Why get up early when I could instead sleep another hour? Two reasons. First, I have found that if I get up at the same time every day I’m much better off. Second (and much more importantly) it gives me space to get my head right. By Friday there are usually unfinished tasks, new duties and ideas to process, and limited time to wrap it all up. The Firefly at 6am Friday helps me finish well.
Music has always been a big part of my Christmas season. In high school I loved decorating Mr. Brooks’ choir room while listening to Christmas music starting the Monday after Thanksgiving. For as long as I can remember singing Christmas carols in church has always warmed my soul. My dad often sang a solo of Oh Holy Night at our Christmas Eve service. Christmas is way more than music, but songs get my heart and mind ready for the season.
Giving Gifts: Our Talents
Since becoming a Christian in 1998, Christmas has grown deeper in meaning to me and to my family. And songs have played a big role all along the way. Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about gift-giving and gift receiving. I’ve leaned heavily on my faith as I’ve learned what it means to give a great gift. It was in this spirit that I wrote one of my favorite blog posts as I contemplated the full breadth of Little Drummer Boy. It ended up being a four-part series including the introduction based on my favorite rendition of the song by Jars of Clay. If you only have a couple minutes, check out Scene 2 and Scene 3. With that commentary as a backdrop, gift-giving has a new meaning: we can bring ourselves and our talents.
Giving Gifts: “The Christmas Album You Need”
This past Sunday I posted:
I got a bunch of responses, some expected and some I never saw coming. I proceeded to take each person’s comment and create a Spotify playlist: I offer you 2016 Friends Christmas album.
Late on Sunday I got a text from my friend Todd. He saw my Facebook post and wanted me to know that he had bought be “the Christmas album you need.” Monday morning I downloaded it and by 5:30am I was listening to a brand new album because of the generous gift of a friend.
It takes me back when I think about the role of music this Christmas season. The Spotify playlist is nothing special except it is! There is nothing unifying that playlist except they are the 16 friends who decided to share with me their songs and it turned into a collaboration. There is nothing special about Todd’s album that he gifted me except there is! It’s new, it’s good (!), and it was as genuine as it gets; I asked for song suggestions and a friend who really likes music picked out an album that he thought I would like.
I want our gift giving could be as simple as these two examples: a friendly collaboration and a simple $9.99 iTunes purchase. I hope Christmas music the next four days can take us to such rich and warm places as this.
Memorizing Romans 12 has been a great experience thus far. It has taken a lot of work, showing up every day and giving it five minutes. But I have seen the progress week after week.
The end is near. Verse 19 has been a challenge for me so here it is all by itself. Everything up until this point is going very well, only a couple mistakes here and here.
If you aren’t taking the memory challenge I understand. Even if you don’t believe you can finish at this point, pick a couple verses and commit some of the passage (v. 9–21) to memory. Having Scripture in your mind and on the tip of your tongue is always a good thing.
We are driving through Minnesota on the way back from pheasant hunting in South Dakota. It’s the second time I’ve been in this trip and it is so good for my soul. Anyone who know me know that I am not a hunter. But I am turning into an avid bird hunter, so I guess I am a hunter.
Steve and Paul have been on all six trips. John Paul and Chris have been on four. This year they invited Pat McGelligot and Paul Ziolkowski. What a great time spending more time you Pat and getting to know Paul more.In typical Robertson fashion we ate very well; Steve did all the cooking. We couldn’t hunt until 10am, so after a casual breakfast we prepped lunches and gear for the day and were in our way. We hunted hard until sunset, logging 9-11 miles (thanks Fitbit) each day. Back at the cabin we had to clean birds and help Steve prep dinner. It was 10pm or later by the time this was finished and we were all very tired. I haven’t had five days of sleep like this in forever. Literally. Lunch at the Simon farm
On this trip I have build wonderful, strong memories with family and friends. Cultivating these relationship is critical to my life. They are built with these six men but it also prepares me for other trips I will lead in the future with other men. The Roberson family is all about relationships, legacy, life experiences and adventures.
I am so excited to get home. We all are. Men are great but family is better. Both are necessary. We all serve the same God and thank Him for the blessing that has been pheasant hunting in South Dakota.
I have had a surprising amount of success memorizing Romans 12. As I’ve built the passage up to verses 9–16, I came to (what I believe to be) a natural break in the text. So I decided to start over with just two verses this week.
After just a couple days I was already trying to add this onto the first section. Certainly still a challenge but worth the effort.
At Blackhawk Church, our current series is called Romans: The Gospel for a Divided World. I have accepted the challenge from our pastor to memorize Romans 12:9–21.
This week as I’m going to ask you to trust me and this keyboard. I’m going to write out what I’ve memorized thus far and even though you can see the image below, It wasnt’ there as I was writing these verses from memory:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, always serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Serve the Lord’s people who are in need. Always be hospitable. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn.
How did I do? Are you taking the challenge? I am finding tremendous value in memorizeing and reciting each morning on my commute to work.