Add Persistence To Your Key Chain


“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
:: Thomas Edison


You can use persistence in all aspects of life. Persistence is an intangible key that will bring reward while facing challenges in life.

A recent example is water damage I was experiencing in my apartment. I kept checking-in with my landlord and my problem was solved. In such situations, you can’t assume one phone call to your landlord will be enough.

For me, persistence is the yearning to continue until I get a desired result. I closely associate persistence to perseverance and endurance.

Why? It’s continuing to try even while experiencing adversity. Re-read the previous sentence.

When faced with hardship, continue to press on. Will it be easy? No, prepare to work through frustration. Prepare to work through pain. Will it be rewarding? Yes. Prepare to feel success; to find new-found confidence.

Working through hardships in life strengthens your character to face future adversity. Upon overcoming challenges, you’ll feel more confident when presented with future challenges, and you will see reward.


Think about what you enjoy to do. Persistence comes in handy for the following activities:

Finding a job – Keep your focus. Follow-up. Maintain a positive attitude. Continue to apply.

Fishing – Keep fishing when the fish stop biting

Hunting – Continue to hunt even if you don’t see the game you’re after

Working out/Sports – When you feel a side cramp coming on, keep running. Play hard the entire game, whether your team is losing or winning.

Graphic/web design – Software/coding can be stubborn, persistence is a way to feel those “aha” moments. Keep trying to bring your vision to life.

See a pattern? Keep and continue are used over again. No challenge, or any word similar to “challenge”, is a ticket to quit.

You see, being presented with a challenge means being presented with an opportunity. You can tell yourself to quit, or continue. Believe in yourself, your ability; and spark that curiosity to always try one more time. Will trying one more time accomplish what you started?

In life you’ll face opposition, difficulties, and failure. And to overcome these obstacles you must keep going. Persistence is key; add it to your keychain.


This is the second of a continuing series on discovering your intangible key chain.

Discover Your Intangible Key Chain

How many keys are on your key chain? What key do you use most? Car key? House Key? Does the most used key vary from season to season? Ever lose your key chain?

intangible key chain

In short, keys are key. They lock and unlock; start and open. As we find out, usually by experience, losing our keys disrupts our daily routine.

Knowing where your key chain is gives you peace of mind.

How about your intangible key chain? Intangible keys can be characteristics, skills, strengths that help you get through the day. They can be different from person to person. Such keys help you organize, help you see clearly, give you peace of mind, provide you with insight.

What does a key chain enable you to do? The ability to add and remove keys. Keep this point in mind! That’s the freedom and blessing of a key chain. Always be willing to learn and adapt. Certain parts in your life may find you adding on to your character. New friends may bring about a new perspective on life.

The freedom of a key chain also allows you to keep keys on, and that’s okay, those keys are your foundation. They allow you to stand for something. Throughout your life, you’ll realize the keys that brought you through the rough times in life. These are keys to hang on to.
Over the next few week’s stop back for a new key discussion.

Next week, we’ll cover one of the keys I’ve discovered to help me overcome obstacles. It brings richness to this quote, “Behind every challenge lies reward.”

This is the first of a continuing series on discovering your intangible key chain.

Continue reading the series below:


Thoughts On A Bus

I took a trip to Minneapolis, MN by bus February 15 and jotted down thoughts as they came to me on the five-hour bus ride. *Note I wrote this in the present tense.

“Thoughts On A Bus” are thoughts organized into a list of topics. You see, what happens is your mind starts thinking about songs; phrases in songs. You start thinking how you relate to those songs; you start drifting off into perspectives on life. Let’s ride through them.

Some background about this trip: I get carsick while trying to read in automobiles, limited service prevents me from being glued to my smartphone, and, I must conserve battery life. So, pen and paper are my entertainment. And since I always carry a notepad along, I’ll jot what comes to mind. 


Observation and Thinking for Yourself

Thoughts On A Bus

Technology will never overtake the natural world.

You must observe the natural world to get a sense of reality. Don’t let technology stop you from observing what’s around you. If you do, you’ll lose sense of your reality and what it means to think practically with your own mind. You still need to think for yourself no matter how technologically advanced our world becomes.

Web technology allows you to look at how the world thinks, and how the friends in your social networks think. But, where do you stand?

To learn about the natural world means observing the natural world. We still need to be out in the natural world to learn the most from it.

Here’s an example: you can post, tweet, or pin about “dirt”. But, to grab a handful of dirt and feel it get under your nails; this is reality.


The simple things in life 
Part of Zac Brown Band’s song

Chickenfried  is stuck in my head during this trip:

“Simple things in life mean the most,
not where you live, what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes,
no dollar sign on a peace of mind”

For me, the simple things are having a job to pay the bills. It’s an accomplishment to be able to send in that check for rent/mortgage, and to pay your bills on time.

More importantly, “No dollar sign on a peace of mind.” Think back to this phrase often. Also remember, our troops have fought and are fighting to maintain a peace of mind. Freedom brings peace.

What you learn in work and school
School teaches how to learn, work teaches how to adapt to others’ style of communication

Pioneer Days 
Think of how it was traveling with horse and wagon.

  • You had another living creature with you. Horses need to eat, show emotion like you.
  • It was you exposed to the elements
  • Maybe you had something to read
  • No electronics
  • No gas stations
  • Sometimes no clear path, you made your own as you went.
  • However, you did have God

God gives us something to grasp in a world uncertain, faith in Him.
It’s like a handlebar you can grab and hold on to, God gives us faith to do so.
He’s the solid foundation.

Running Into Colors, Faith, and Promise

While on a morning run during the spring of 2011 I saw a rainbow in the clouds and after my run, reflected on this covenant from God.

While looking at a rainbow in the sky, it’s God’s covenant he will never again destroy the world with a flood. (Genesis 9:11-17) With every rainbow, God’s keeping his promise.

There are problems in life; some problems seem like floods. It’s refreshing in such times to remember God keeps his promises. It’s refreshing to see a rainbow in the sky. How many rainbows do you see?

Every time you see a rainbow God’s reassuring you he keeps his promises. Amazing we still see rainbows appear; the first one appeared in Noah’s time, that’s B.C.!

A promise God has made is that we’ll go to heaven by believing in his son; God doesn’t break promises. I am unable to see God, yet am able to see his promises. In fact, every time you see a rainbow, you see God’s promise. God keeps his promises.

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds. I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. ” Genesis 9:14-15

Life’s Roller Coasters

It’s awesome to hear God-given talent through song.
While listening to John Denver’s song:

“Looking For Space”, I jotted down the following:

I’m realizing I can relate to lyrics in this song and they help me explain certain feelings in my life.

“Looking for space” helps me reflect on my values, my goals in life and where I see myself in the future. 

Sometimes I wish I could fly away,” I imagine eagles soaring and how they represent freedom. It’s about those times I feel like I need a break from work or facing a new challenge in my life. Fishing also comes to mind and the freedom of exploring God’s creation. 

“When I think that i’m moving, suddenly things stand still. I’m afraid cus I think they always will.” I relate to this line because there’s times problems arise while everything’s going well. Some challenges take longer to overcome so I feel stuck in a rut. Some ruts take more work to get out of than others. Once I’m out it’s rewarding and I am refocused.

“Sometimes I fly like an eagle.” Hearing this inspires me because when God is brought into perspective, I feel refreshed and feel like I’m soaring high like an eagle, suddenly everything’s clear. The big picture is that God wants us to be in heaven with him; we have the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

High points are exhilarating; low points are puzzling. The reality is that life’s a roller coaster. Your faith is a roller coaster. Sometimes it’s strong, other times it’ll seem weak.

Always living in you, God will strengthen your faith and be at your side throughout your life. It will feel like you’re flying on eagle’s wings. Other times you’ll seem to be in a slump and may find yourself in despair. Whatever the case, God is always walking with you, never leaving you. It’s a sweet dream.

St. Paul says, “I am convinced neither angels nor demons can separate you from the love of God.”

God’s love is strong, so strong he was willing to send his only son to die on the cross. Jesus Christ died for all people, humbling himself to live as a human and be tempted, tortured, and mocked; that we may live and have life to the full.

When in despair or feeling like you’re stuck, remember Jesus went through temptation and challenges as you and I do, so he knows exactly how living in this world can be. He promises, surely I will be with you always to the very end of the age. That alone is exhilarating. God keeps his promises.


Tame Gravity Standing Sideways

After a trip out west in 2010, I jotted down the following thoughts on snowboarding. 

Snowboarding’s a sport where gravity takes over. It’s a free-for-all in snow.


After you start going downhill momentum builds. Wind in your face; the natural scenery around you; the snow beneath you. You’re riding over snow, not sinking in it.


WHOA! Know gravity can easily get away on you and take control. This may be fun or scary. I lean towards fun.

It’s all in the challenge. Behind every challenge lies reward. The challenge of trying a new run, the challenge of keeping your center of gravity beneath you and the challenge of controlling your speed the steeper the run is. Accomplishing a black, blue, or green run, hanging out with friends, being outdoors, and exercising freedom, are some of the rewards of snowboarding.

Carving is an essential skill that all snowboarders must learn; it controls your speed. Controlling your speed helps tame gravity, meaning the faster you learn how to carve the faster you’ll learn to love snowboarding…and snow. That’s the thing, snowboarding is about enjoying winter, cold weather, and snow! Suddenly, you’ll have a yearning for a snow storm and look forward to the first few flurries.

What do you enjoy about snowboarding – or – skiing? Any tips you’d share that helped you out and any advice for beginners?

Budgeting for Fishing and Life

How much do you hunt and fish? If you’re like me, you look forward to trying out new gear, anxiously drive to your hunting or fishing spot, yet realize you must still pay the bills and save. Budgeting’s a skill that will help you save money on what you love to do while managing your finances. How you spend your money will help determine if you can hunt, fish, or both.

No matter what your age, budgeting is something that’s good practice. It teaches you how to manage, how to plan, and how to have will power. You see, budgeting gives you wisdom; wisdom to say yes, wisdom to say no.

Throughout my life I’ve been on a budget. Since college ended I’ve been on a tighter budget, yet budgeting is not just for college students or those who’ve recently graduated. Continue budgeting throughout your life, control your money or it will control you.


1. Budgeting allows you to save.
2. Budgeting allows you to see exactly where your money goes. (you may find you can put aside more money for your sportsman lifestyle, and know when to scale back.)
3. Budgeting allows you to give back to God. Know that it’s God’s first.

Feel Your Money 


I’ve learned to still withdrawal cash at the bank. Physical money. When you can feel money, you don’t spend as much. It also helps you stick to the dollar amount in your pocket and not go over budget. This helps to set limits, thus, eliminating the feeling to spend more.

Example, I allow $60 a week on groceries. If I get to the checkout and my total is $62.90, I’ll put something back so that I am only spending $60.  If I had a debit card it’d be pretty easy to just hand over a plastic card to the cashier, accept $62.90, and be on my way out the store.


Money’s Invisible When Using Plastic

You don’t see cash when you use plastic. In fact, how many of you carry around your register with you when using your debit card? It’s pretty easy to lose track of your balance when you are not looking at it. This is the danger of credit cards/debit cards. Since you don’t see your balance you will be more likely to charge something you don’t need and spend money you don’t have. You may think, well I can pay that off in a month, but how can you know for sure the money will be there if you don’t know your current balance? Impulse buying can be eliminated by knowing your balance.

Therefore, if you do use debit cards realize your balance, use your register, track your purchases. Be aware of your balance and set limitations for how much you spend. Budgeting produces discipline which will guide your spending. Impulse buying can be eliminated by knowing your balance because you’ll be using your head, not your heart.

Always think about unexpected car repairs, and budget more than what you actually plan to spend. Doing this means any left over money you have can go into the savings.
                  Saving money means you can: 
                  1. Take control of your finances; have your money work as hard as you do to make it.
                  3. Save for unexpected expenses.
                  2. Set goals on future fishing/hunting gear.

How To Budget

One method I use and recommend is this: The day you get paid write on the back of your pay check where your money will go (write the bills you’ll be paying, gas money, groceries, savings, church, county fair, etc). This allows you to see how much your bills cost, your balance after bills, what you can save, and what is too much money for you to spend in a month.

This also allows you to incorporate spending-money and realize you’ll be able to either save more than you thought, or buy that one item you’ve had your eyes on.

Think Fishing & Hunting

It takes patience to fish and hunt as it takes patience to save. If something’s on sale don’t buy it right away. If it’s on sale now, who’s to say it won’t be on sale again? It’s okay to wait. You may find the item on sale is not something you need. You may also realize that you really could use that item, so it makes sense to buy it. Always think through your purchases.

As my dad mentioned to me once, “it’s your money until you spend it.” Remember, once you spend it, the money’s gone. Which is another good reason to use cash. You actually see that money go out of your hands and into the cash register. You can feel the change you get back.

change, coins,

Common Sense & Discipline (If you don’t have it, don’t spend it. )
You don’t need a degree in accounting, finance, or be a mathematician to effectively manage your money. Set priorities of where your money will go. Start budgeting to save and enjoy your passions!

Share Budgeting Tips
What tips do you use for budgeting? Let’s hear ’em in the comments!

By Josh Schwartz 2013. Author’s note: Fishing can represent the lifestyle you live or your own favorite hobbies. Fishing’s my fav so it’s picked for this post!

Reflective Morning

Today’s blog post comes from guest blogger Kirsten Pfeifer, grad student at University of Minnesota, recalling her early morning adventure in Minneapolis.

bridge sunrise
“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning. It’s time to sing Your song again.”
– 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord), by Matt Redman

Waking up early in the morning, before the sun is plenty high in the sky is not particularly a priority in my life. However, one cold December morning I challenged myself to get up early enough to see the sunrise. I enjoy taking any type of nature photos, so knowing that the sunrise would present some ideal shots served as motivation for me to abandon my blankets for a few warm layers and a pair of running shoes.

I left my apartment building and began  running towards the Mississippi River. The sky was dark grey. It still felt like nighttime, yet I was dodging commuters on the sidewalk heading toward the University hospital ready to start their work day.  I ran along the riverbank, wasting time until the sun was ready to break free from the horizon. I turned to my left where there is a sandy area that I had visited a couple times before, and was surprised to see about fifty geese floating in the water, as still as statues. I stopped to appreciate the stillness and serenity of this scene before continuing along the path.

Minnesota sunrise

The sky began to light up with streaks of yellow and orange, and I captured the colorful array to the best of my Kodak’s ability. Soon, I was lost in the process of discovering new camera angles to shoot from, finding a variety of natural elements to include in the foreground, and experimenting with the reflections on the water. Before I knew it, it was time for me to leave the riverbank and return to reality.

However, this hour allowed me to enjoy my hobby of photography and my love of exploring nature, all while appreciating the beauty of God’s creation.

This morning, I learned how valuable a single hour of time for oneself, before jumping into another hectic day can be.  Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city commute, and finding solace in the trees by the river helped remind me that every minute of that day was a gift from God. He had given me the ability to rise early from my slumber in order to experience these quiet moments and to see the colorful sunrise he had painted. Therefore, I wanted to take in as much of its beauty as I possibly could, and face the day with the only attitude that is suitable for a blood-bought child of Christ; an attitude of gratefulness.

“I won’t take it for granted, I won’t waste another second. All I want is to give you a life well-lived to say ‘Thank you.’”  – Good to be Alive, by Jason Gray




Your Hobbies Lead To Adventure

I believe my hobbies allow me to look at everything as an adventure. To me adventure is fun, curious, refreshing, freedom, and a way to get outside. Hobbies are a way to break up the normal routine(make the everyday life fun and exciting), gain experience, and can help you enjoy the different seasons throughout the year.


Biking and fishing go together. You can save gas and go where a car cannot.

Overlap Hobbies:

You see, you can bike to a fishing spot, may find a new fishing spot while scouting for a hunt, or biking/long-boarding around, and find a new hunting spot by fishing, and vice-versa. Doing multiple hobbies opens up the door for exploration exponentially.

Snowboarding, ice-fishing and hunting require ways to keep warm. Therefore, you may find yourself using your clothing layers and technology from snowboarding to stay warm ice-fishing. This also allows you to kill two birds with one stone since you can wear the same clothes for ice-fishing as you do snowboarding.

Each hobby also has there own tools to adjust gear specific to that hobby. Because of this, you can learn about how to use tools and may find that tools from one hobby will work for a different one. Again, this is a way to overlap your hobbies, and learn things from different hobbies.

Your homework:
Write down your hobbies (the things you like to do, and the things you spend money on for enjoyment). After you’ve written them down, keep that list handy and check back here for a new post on finding adventure through your hobbies.

Opening Day Fishing 2012 (2 of 4)

This is the second post in a 4 part series on my 2012 opening day of fishing in Wisconsin.

In Southeast WI, it was raining on opening day. Seeing as there was no lightning, I threw on a rain suit, hooked up the boat, and headed out.

While anxiously launching the canoe into the water I was imagining a bass hitting my topwater bait. My rods were rigged with lures appropriate for the spots I wanted to try first.

After starting the motor and heading to the first spot I had planned to go to, I noticed the wind picked up since I left from home. Because of the increased wind, the water was too rough to use a buzzbait. (Buzzbaits and other topwaters work best when the water’s calm or when there’s a slight chop.) I ruled out my original plan and began to feel unsure of where to go.

At this point in fishing, you have to adapt to the weather conditions. As a fisherman and hunter you’re at the mercy of what nature throws at you; your success depends on how you overcome adversity.

Because I was already heading towards the far end of the lake, and since the wind was blowing in a direction that I could drift back towards where I launched from, I kept going. Besides, since there was a no wake until 9am and I was already half way towards the far end of the lake, I just wanted to get there.

First fish of opening day hit hard! Snapped this pic and released

Finally, I got to the far end of the lake. I started the drift and realized there more weeds than normal, and the wind was drifting me faster than expected.

During the initial drift I wound up in an unfamiliar location of the lake, but it  did look promising so I went with it. It was by a patch of reeds. Nobody else was fishing here.

Reaching for my spin cast rod rigged with a Kalin Grub and pink jig head I took a cast. Moments later I felt my first strike!

(Stay tuned for part 3 next week!)