Near As I Can Figure

My first time visitor from across the lake wanted to see the little saw mill operation. He was a bored brother-in-law visiting the neighbor and got my number somehow and found our place after assuring me he wasn’t a telemarketer on the 3rd call. “So, what made you decide to build a little cabin?” “Well (I scratch my head through the sweaty cap and stroke a short beard) I had 3 windows and some lumber left over from a project and felt it was a good fit”. He paused to slap at a gaggle of mosquitoes on his arm “why in the woods?” I squelched a small chuckle in half and said “Where would you put the in-laws? (Now you guys know this is in good fun right?). He pressed on. “How soon will you have it done?” I shrugged my shoulders and grinned, “when the fish quit biting and probably after I help some brothers on two other building projects here and there.” His sigh was audible. It made me feel like a country hick. Felt good!!

I dropped the act a bit and shared the real reason for a little rustic off-grid cabin in the woods by our house. Guests are a gift and often need a gift. A writers cabin. A nature photographers cabin. A fishing buddy cabin. Grandkids and scary story cabin. A personal retreat cabin. I could go on, but I will share some of the things I pause for in my life. Things which make me realize how much nature often upstages my level of wonder, awe and worship of our creator. We all need a big rock on the lawn with an inscription “If You Don’t I Will” (He says in Luke 19:40, “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”)

In This Case…Flowers, seeds and garnish

Gary

Several bear have helped themselves to the yard and back deck. some day I will take a clear picture while I’m not chasing them away.

Artists Law of Thermodynamics

I wanted to show you a header picture I took this week. You had to be there to appreciate the full beauty and grit of an Iris flower growing in a foot of water and high grass. The dynamics and lighting were astounding. The color contrasts were worth staring at for a long time. Several species of bugs were attracted enough to have a steady stream of insect visitations. Then I tried to take a picture and capture the scene, the mood, the color and light and insects. I fell as close as one might fall in love for a wild flower as a picture taking artist-writer.

You may have just looked at the picture and said to yourself “hmm, nice picture”, if you like pictures of flowers. A whole lot of something(s) were lost from my experiencing the flower to your experience seeing a picture worth quite a few words (by my estimation). We just experienced this natural law; “The second law of thermodynamics states that as energy is transferred or transformed, more and more of it is wasted.” My emotional experience transferred to a photograph and words to you have lost about 95% of it’s energy. More than that if I cannot find good words to bring it together.

Simply translated: I write about an awesome experience or insight the world needs to hear about and the reader says “hmm, nice thoughts”. I take two hours or two weeks on a perfect fantastic picture which conveys the essence of nature in it’s fullest beauty. Someone looks at it and says “Oh, nice.” Yep, lost a ton of energy from the creator to the rest of the world.

So, let me add something to the picture (as I took more than one). I may get an “oh my, would you look at that” on this next picture of the same flower. Or not.

See the eye? You didn’t know flowers have eyes did you?

Now I have lost your interest in the flower and my flower picture is about the eye looking back at you. You are totally distracted. It’s a really good picture though and will probably be worth more words to everyone except botanical people. So what am I writing about here? Oh ya, how much energy is lost from writer to reader? About 99.9%

One more example from this weeks pictures. I took 20 pictures of this Barred owl placing it’s self in the same tree as nesting robins. our whole backyard was full of bird protesters of every small species incited by the robins. I named the spot beside the raspberries “Cacklephonia.” Seemed fitting.

Seems innocent enough. and yes, I got close.

I experienced these pictures in real time. I spent an hour attempting to shoot pictures I couldn’t get from the ground while listening and watching dive bombing birds at the big owl. The owl would merely mew softly like a cat while giving me “the look” everyone sums up in one word “who?” My point exactly made by a friend “that’s an owl”

If a picture worth a thousand words can, at best, convey only a small percentage of the experience of being there, think how hard we as writers, artists and photographers have to work at communicating our thoughts, emotions and stories. How much work and talent does it take to make a difference?

In this light, think of how amazing this experience was for the world to conclude this about the disciples of Jesus? “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

I cannot begin to imagine the powerful experiences (many recorded) these men had to effectively change the world. So powerful the pagan world around them was constantly being changed. The second law of thermodynamics doesn’t work on God. Jesus last words prove correct for the last 2000 years and the great artist and writers energy is transferred 100% with no loss of energy

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

This challenges me to the core. I want to know and experience Jesus in such a way.

Lets keep growing…noticeably, and rely on his power.

Visible New Growth in a balsam

Gary

Psst…And the eye?? it’s a bumblebee.

Again

I have a heart condition. It’s a secret to most. Those who have deeply known me over a long period of time just accept the processes of life. Eyes dim, thought delays lengthen, shorter strides gimp as the former wings of my heart and soul grow slowly defluttered. I want a good heart again.

I want to walk through the woods with unspeakable joy again.

I want to see the un-see-able as I gaze through the treetops into the heavens, past the galaxies again.

I want to rescue desire and wonder to mountains above, to wrist away warring-fear-demons smog. Again.

I want my acidic tears of grief to be purified by joy into refreshing life drops where they fall again.

I want my hearts strong rhythm refreshing and cleansing every cell, so what’s dying may live again.

Oh Lord, I need your heart to beat in me again. You can have mine. Again.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Again

Oh friend, have you ever searched your heart and found it shriveling? After the rocks of life have so cracked the looking glasses of reality, how do we see clearly? Eternity is seen with the heart, but only clearly with the creators heart in us is life and eternity in focus at the same time.

Gary

Mind Muddles

I’ve been sick. too sick to think with any speed or accuracy I guess. Long pauses are my friend. Lot’s of things like questions, coughing spells and too many vitamins give me the mind muddles. I have a sneaky suspicion that those little viruses that cause me so many problems are a lot like what the preachers describe as the character of sin in one’s life. “Sin will take you further than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay.” I suspect another point would be that sin creates a “mind muddle” on the spiritual end of things. What do I know? I have a muddled mind.

The ironic part of being sick, with high fevers for awhile, is there is so much time to think. Let the beauty of that statement sink in (believe me, I’ve tried). Right now, deep thinking works about as well as shoving off from shore in a canoe with no paddle. I have experiences there and it’s a good idea to bring your fishing rod for something to do until you drift to the end of the lake. Oh, and bring your cell phone to let the family know you might be late for supper and possibly breakfast.

This downy woodpecker has a muddled mind. See his beak? He keeps beating out tunes on my grill cover

Now my fevers are gone and recovering is real slow. I have actually gained some insight about myself, God and life in general. I felt good one day, rushed outside, worked in the garden and went on a photo-shoot to the lake. That cost me about two weeks of extended recovery time. More thermometer in mouth and parking under blankets on the recliner in front of the picture window time. Again. And, again. I digress. I think much of my time looking out the window was in worship on the lowest level one can get. Seriously; on my level of muddled mind, all I could do was look out the window and see the trees, birds, sky, new buds and leaves and say “wow”. Nature is sure beautiful. Look…Oh look! that squirrel is climbing a tree! “They do that sometimes” said my wife.

My prayer has been “thank you Lord for making such beauty, and thank you for even a muddled minded sickly guy being able to enjoy it.”

I’m getting better every day. I can get out for short periods of time, rest awhile and go again. I can now take off the 30 foot retractable dog leash off my ankle without getting dizzy bending over. This means I am more responsible now for how far I go beyond the deck. If you do not hear from me in awhile, again, I am probably in the canoe.

I do have a few pictures to share from a few of my short outings…enjoy and stay healthy!

Click on any picture to enlarge and for slide show.

Gary

Being Five

I picked up a small stone and tossed it into the center of the smooth surfaced pond. I began to understand. I waited until all the little ripples had dissipated, the frogs had quit but began to croak again. The surface was once again as still as the morning air. Once again I could see the fluffy white clouds moving in the waters reflection. I picked up a fist sized rock and vaulted it high to land in the center of the pond creating a big splash and bigger waves that eventually swayed the cattails, and small willows on the sides of the pond. Now I understood. I was five.

Maybe mom helped my understanding when she disciplined me for sassing her. Maybe my little brother helped by doing what I did and was disciplined, then I was disciplined again for being his example while mom cried. Maybe the time my little brother killed a chicken with a board; not on purpose but in trying to scare the chickens one got in the way. It was quite small but that was supper. The weight of the board was enough to kill even if it was the chickens fault for getting in the way. I threw another rock in the water, each time knowing and feeling the ripple effect. One thing changes everything. One sin and I can’t seem to quit. One funny thing and everything is funny. A pebble quiets frogs. Think what a monster could do. I’m hungry – I must go home.

60 years later I watched in horror as some watched in glee, as a man signed many many documents changing hundreds, then thousands, then millions of lives. Now world economies and massive gains and losses on many fronts are in the waves. The weight of a signature in the name of ideology has been around for centuries. I watched a squirrel bury an acorn; possibly food for later or a giant oak tree. Cause and effect effect effect effect effect effect …..only God knows. Only God can interject. Only God can keep track of it all. Only God’s signature has more weight. Meanwhile, we are at the edge of times pond waiting.

It’s true from Adam and Eve if you can believe what God said; “eat of this fruit and you will die.” You meaning you and everyone following. You; meaning plants, animals, bugs and all of nature. You; meaning thistles, killing to eat, killing each other (by the first generation). You; meaning decay of the mind, will and emotions inside as well as the exterior. You; wait until what’s bad is good, good is bad, the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. You; declaring rocks are the problem, waves do not exist, you do not matter except to exist as matter. Now we have cyberspace rocks; “Oh Lord Save Us”.

Turns out He did save us; if we can believe God.

So here I sit with my thoughts. How much weight can a signature have? How much weight does God have when he says He signed for us? It’s the gospel truth. He signed with all his lifes blood and that’s as serious as one can get. He promised “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49;16). He delivered. Doubting Thomas like many of us would say “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John 20:25).

(26) A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (28) Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (29)Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

God’s signature is everywhere if you believe. God’s signature is nowhere if you don’t. Oh that we could all be five and understand.

When a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? I say, ask the beaver, his signature is all over it.

These were my thoughts as I Wandered around on foot to the lake and through the woods with a camera a couple days ago after almost 5 inches of rain melting massive amounts of snow….The signature of God is everywhere in nature. I am glad he has inscribed my name on his hands. I believe he honors his word. I understand effect effect…. Maybe it’s because I am walking the same exact land and stand in the same exact places as when I understood. Please understand, because sometimes I am five.

Click to enlarge and for slideshow. 4 of these pictures were taken earlier this spring of the beavers.

Gary

Surviving The Crash

Several of you have wanted to know more details of my cousins daughter surviving a plane crash in Alaska last month. You may have seen something on the news or googled “plane crash on a lake in Alaska”. Notice the open water in the background if you clicked on the link.

Ashley and Glenn talk some about this in their local rural church. It’s very much worth hearing their thoughts then and today. There is a long journey ahead to get back to the top of a mountain.

This is a “before” picture. I hope it can happen again Ashley!

As a backdrop, keep some little tidbits of information in the back of your mind.

This from a text today: “The hardest part about telling the story is that it takes so long to set up the story that many of the miracles were not even mentioned.  Lake Illiamna is the 7th largest freshwater lake in the world. 1) Had the pilot started the turn 10 seconds sooner (which equals 1/2 mile), the plane would have crashed in open water.  10 seconds later and they would have crashed in the rocks.  It was perfect timing to crash onto 30 inches of ice in a bay.  2) The plan crashed in the middle of a turn, hitting wing first.  This caused the plan to cartwheel, which caused the engine and battery to be ripped off, so that there was nothing to ignite the leaking AV fuel.  3) God allowed for one of the texts to make it out, which gave coordinates and situation.  Just that small detail shaved off an hour or more of search and rescue response. 4) There is the triple A battery, that was in someone’s pocket, which was nearly sliced in two,  protecting an upper thigh from a potentially deep cut”

The list goes on and on of seemingly small details of life and death significance.

This interview, in their local church, is a part of the palm Sunday service. Pick up the conversation with Ashley at 39:45 and Glenn’s challenge as a father at 57:30. going into this. Understand this is someone with a very recent miraculous survival story. (Scroll to Ashley talking at 39:45 and Glenn at 57:30)

Scroll to Ashley talking at 39:45 and Glenn at 57:30

When asked if there was anything else I should put in this post, Glenn asked for this prayer of encouragement from Colossians 1 :9-11.  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience”

Ask questions in comments, and, yes an account is being set up to help pay emergency evacuation and medical bills beyond what insurance will cover. I will post that later on my regular garyfultz blog

Thanks

Gary

Leap of Faith

My thought from my morning time with God today, and, taking a picture of a squirrel.

An everyday activity if you are a squirrel. Loping up a tree, running across branches as thin as a wire and sailing into the next tree just for the fun of it is a normal leap of faith; if you are a squirrel.

However

If you are a regular human person, that leap of squirrel faith will land you on the ground hurting in places you didn’t know about. I know about this. As a child we siblings, and coerced friends, would climb trees and bend them down to the ground. That got old so the next idea was to see how far through the forest we could go before touching the ground. Leaping does not work, in fact it hurts. Thankfully the idea died before one of us, you know, used dads insurance again.

Let’s say that this kind of leap of faith for a squirrel is ridiculously small. Now, let’s call it small and name it “Mustard Seed Faith”, (because it’s small). Humanities greatest trapeze artists can’t do what a squirrel can do. This is often where I go wrong. I ask the wrong questions and often side-step the important.

I know that God wants his followers to live by faith, walk by faith and emulate great people of faith. But, all too often I skip to the part what faith is supposed to look like (You know…all those fruits of the spirit, miracles and fearless leadership God has called me to.) and somehow think I can shortcut the process of becoming one who intimately knows the heart of God. In my head I know that quality and quantity time spent on one’s knees and in the word results in a small seed. There is a long ways to go being the tree by streams of water with deep roots and lots of fruit.

All these words and a picture just to say that leaps of faith in the spiritual are but a reflection and outworking of who we have become in Christ.

God has called us to become way more than we are. God has called to to more faith than we have. Our part is to being one positioned to hear HIs voice clearly and respond to what he asks. Those around will see you taking a leap of faith and you will land it. Like the squirrel, this is who you, in Christ, have become.

My personal prayer question: Do I have even a tiny leap of faith in me Lord?”

Gary

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ” Hebrews 11:6

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Writers Drift

They do. They drift. Okay, so do I, maybe, I guess…Lot’s of life applications here.

I thought of this while shoveling out our driveway and then three more driveways on our road. The winds created a ground blizzard and made huge packed drifts where cars and trucks once passed through. All our drives are 100 yards long (give or take some distance). At this point I need to show you a picture of my shovel in case you think a retired guy is superhuman. Disclaimer: I wrote that for me as I know it never crossed your mind.

My snow shovel.
Yep, snow piles are everywhere this year.

Think about how easy it is to drift in life. Life’s storms and winds come up and change our direction. things pile up and our energies are used just to cope and get by.

I write this to encourage those of us who write to consider how grounded we are to the message we have set out to get across. It’s easy to drift with the winds and react to the times. If we write just to be read, it is like me shoveling snow (with the skid steer bucket of course) because I like shoveling and piling snow. Anywhere, everywhere. It’s fun! I’m afraid I have accomplished many things in life needlessly.

Truthfully, I have heard many public speakers who just like to hear themselves talk. I have read many a blog with a sigh thinking “and your point, encouragement, entertainment value or motivation is…?”

My last point is a spiritual consideration directed at those who follow Jesus.

I use a skid steer to shovel snow as it’s not humanly possible to move that much snow after a storm with hard packed snow drifts. We have no business tackling jobs without making sure we are onboard with God’s will and God’s power (not from asking God to be onboard with us). This is the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is from a conviction that this is what God wants us to be about. This is from our walk and living relationship with a risen Christ in us.

When we drift from operating on God’s leading and his power, we fall into the big drift of powerless mediocrity.

So, watch out for those prevailing winds of time, the storms and blizzards of life and the drift that so easily happens. “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1

“Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” psalm 127:1

  1. Take a walk 2) have a talk 3)get right 4)Stay tight!

Gary

Rest, Rest, and The _ _ _ Story

A couple years ago I received an email from a new-found writer and blog follower.  RON BOUCHARD, THE BURNING HEART wrote “Hey Gary, don’t neglect the gift God has given you. Write man write!!” I had not put out a post for awhile and he made sure I was not going to quit. So I didn’t. Sometimes it just takes one encouragement. He was short and to the point and he said about the same thing 3 different times…Yep, that’s a friend. A friend I never got to meet.

Since then Ron has battling cancer, taken chemo and gone into remission. We have encouraged one another and he has been on my prayer list. I had not heard from him in awhile on his small but mighty blog so I sent him a message or two around Christmas. Yesterday I was delighted to see a post from “The Burning Heart”, until I opened it.

I admit it was hard for me to see Nancy’s post on Ron’s site. Those who had visited his site will smile and also be saddened. We should remember to lift up Nancy and family to the Lord.

Click here to see Nancy’s post on Ron Click here for update

Ron, as well as many of you, wanted to make it to Minnesota (in the summer) and spent some time in the boat with me. A fireside chat in the back yard with smores to the mosquito hum and possibly the coyotes would yip or the big gray timber wolves moan. We would absolutely have a fish fry.

We will miss his posts and emails while Nancy will miss Him. One thing we could all take from Ron’s life and writings; He did not hold back his heart. His Blog title was accurate. You know his heart is still burning with a flame for God.

Ron related to those on the Emmaus road “And they said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 Should that not be said of us?

I keep re-reading this…” He had sent a text that he was tired and going to rest before driving home, and…”

Rest Ron, Rest. at least the weather is perfect there. It’s really cold here. We will keep writing from our burning hearts!

This morning was cold. Xtra Cold…

Ironic that Life here goes on, and on, and un…til it hits forever.

Gary

Dad, I See You Put Your Life Into Words

Each Day With God

By Doyle Fultz

When in the early morn awake, slumber from your eyelids shake.

Hasten to thy closet fare, Begin the day in humble prayer.

Thank Him for the day at hand, and the sun so bright and grand.

Ask for care through early hour, And for strength and serving power.

The morning hours have passed so soon, now the sun is high at noon.

Hasten to thy closet fare, Sustain the day in earnest prayer.

Thank Him for His care and power, and the peace of early hour.

Ask Him for sufficient grace, to end the day at normal pace.

Oh, the day has passed so fast, as darkness spreads its hovering cast.

Hasten to thy closet fare, End the day with grateful prayer.

Oh, the days they come and go, Peace and war with friend and foe.

But the one who hastens fare, to his closet in petitioning prayer.

Is the one who stands abreast, and wins the victory of trial and test?

Life is one big cross to bear, Bear it strong-in fervent prayer.

I found this poem in dads things. It’s time (after a couple years) to share the thoughts of a man of God trying to grow through all life’s struggles. I still hear his voice sometimes and I turn around in the old shop to ask him where he put….???

This is how I remember my father. I have spent much of my life on my own journey, yet, experiencing the presence, power and sometimes the absence (feeling) of an ever present God who enjoys and rewards one drawing near.

Standing on the promises here in the woods Dad…bye for now. I’ll be along in a while.

Gary