Memorial Day Reflections

Memorial Day Reflections

American Flag. Battle. Freedom. All are Memorial Day reflections; feel them in your soul. Allow yourself to feel the depth of how our country was founded and what it took to defend our freedom. Soldiers have fallen in battle to protect our freedom. Ponder this, men and women were willing to die for future generations. Generations they may not get the chance to see.

memorial day reflections

The flag, eagle, and words USA are symbols with deep meaning.

Freedom. It’s the ultimate form of expression. It’s also America’s heart and soul. It’s what my fellow Americans enjoy everyday. Let us not forget why we can enjoy our freedom.

God blesses us with freedom and blesses our military with men and women who were willing to die defending freedom. Listen to the line in Lee Greenwood’s song:

God Bless The USA, “I’ll never forget those who died who gave that right to me.”

The hobbies you have, the free will to do them, and the freedom to spend time enjoying them are the result of the soldiers who died in combat. Let us continue to think about this.

The soldiers who died in combat were fighting for the freedom we’re using to celebrate today. Whether you want to celebrate by: fishing, going to a parade, grill burgers, drink, have a campfire, go camping, or stay inside, the freedom of these choices was fought for.

We are blessed for what those soldiers have done for you and I. We are further blessed for what servicemen continue to do.

Be proud of the fallen soldiers who fought for America.

Be proud of the fallen soldiers who fought for America.

Let every fellow man come together regardless of party and realize what has gone into the making of this country.

Zac Brown Band’s song:

Chickenfried provides a line for Memorial Day Reflections, “Salute the ones who died, the one’s who give their lives.

The reason we are celebrating this holiday is for all the fallen soldiers who gave their lives that we may continue to celebrate in freedom. May we all take time to think about the meaning while we celebrate each Memorial Day.

By Josh Schwartz 2013.

Fishing’s A Bridge To Cooking

Fishing’s A Bridge To Cooking

The reason why fishing’s a bridge to cooking is because I’ve picked up on certain aspects of cooking from eating the fish I catch. The lessons below are what I have learned from making fish and can be applied to other game dishes. Read on!

Fishing's A Bridge To Cooking

Crappie are some of the best eating fish. Sometimes I just just use olive oil and a little lemon pepper.

How Not to Overcook
You can tell when fish is done when the flesh is flakey and white. Use this as a measuring stick whether you’re grilling, baking or pan-frying. It’s good to know when fish/meat is done so you know the warning signs of when it’s starting to overcook.

Simply, keep an eye on your food and check it often. You’ll have better success grilling if you don’t “grill it and forget it.”

For deep-frying, when the breading is a light brown it’s done. If it’s a dark brown it’s going to be over cooked. Watch the fish as it’s in the fryer so you can see the different color phases.

Cleaning Fish
Learning to fillet fish comes in handy when cleaning other game since the concept of following along the bone to remove as much meat as possible still applies.

You can scale and gut your catch. Simply scale the fish. Cut off head. Gut it. When cooking, you can stuff the fish with vegetables and seasoning of your choice.

Variety Of Techniques
I’ve used a stove, deep fryer, grill, and oven to make fish. It taught me what to use to make fish, and how to use appliances. I’ve use the these skills to make other food.

Grilling fish introduced me to using tinfoil and oil for cooking.

Learn As You Cook

  • Cutting up vegetables is something I learned when preparing fish.
    Cook your fish with green peppers and onions for great flavor. The flavor is not too strong since you can still taste the fish itself.
  • Side dishes complete meals, and rice goes great with fish.
  • Lemon Pepper seasoning is great with fish. Less seasoning is better while cooking. This allows people to season as they desire while eating fish. You can’t remove excess seasoning from cooked food.
Fishing's a bridge to cooking

Fish seasoned lightly with lemon pepper, in a tin foil boat ready for the grill.

Ask questions and experiment with different spices, methods, and species of fish; it’s the only way to expand your cooking ability, and understand the flavor of each fish. Some stomach meat on fish is good, others not so much.

A great resource for fish cooking ideas is Sporting Chef Scott Layeth; check out his list of fish recipes.

Try the spices and ingredients you have in your pantry and garden to use them in new ways. This is why fishing is a bridge to cooking. Once you cross the bridge to cooking you’ll start knowing what methods you prefer and can share with other fisherman.

Tight lines and good eatin’!

By Josh Schwartz 2013. This is the first of a two part series on how fishing’s a bridge for cooking. Read the second post on Connecting Fishing To Cooking. Fishing is Josh’s favorite activity in the outdoors. Catch and release and a responsible harvest are practiced.

Favorite Bass Lures

bass lures

Favorite bass lures.

Do you have any favorite lures? Recently, I put a list together of favorite bass lures for Sportsman Channel’s blog.

These lures are the ones I tie on frequently and have had the most strikes on.

From these lures the buzzbait and jig & twister tail have also proven effective for northern pike. I have landed many northern pike on the jig & twister combo. The cool thing about the twister tail is that it appeals to rock bass, perch, bluegill, crappie and walleye.

With the Wisconsin fishing opener around the corner, I plan to tie on the lures as well.

What are your favorite bass lures? Good luck to all this fishing season!

Contentment Is Great Gain

Contentment is tough to hang on to, yet necessary to keep.

Being content is making the best with the old, the hand-me-downs and possessions you already have. It’s about realizing what’s practical for your current stage of life as it will bring balance, comfort, and fulfillment.


1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Knowing Where You Stand
It’s not about having the best, but rather, making the best of what you have. Doing so takes patience, which encourages ingenuity because you’ll find ways to improve what you have. You may even find that customizing an old item is better than what’s on the market today, or simply, meets your needs.

Still Aim For Higher Ground
If you make the best of what you have you’ll know where there’s room for improvement. You can still improve the quality of your life, be ambitious, and reach for the clouds. It’s important to have balance so you avoid complacency.

Appreciate What You Have
Be thankful for what you have. Making the best of what you have also encourages you to take care of your things. So when you can afford a better option or replacement you’ll have the wisdom to make the new item last. If you can’t take care of the old, how will you take care of the new?

Furthermore, contentment helps to look for ways to make the best of situations. Making the best of what you have allows you to be content with what you have and means you’ll have a positive outlook on life. You’ll be able to make the best out of struggles you face, even those unexpected ones. Thus, it’s rewarding to teach yourself to be content.

R.I.P. Greed
Contentment provides motivation to live within your means, drowning out materialism. It’s challenging but keep in mind that material possessions come and go, rot, rust, and get old. Don’t let this happen to your outlook on life.

Be At Ease
When content, you’ll feel at peace with yourself. Being at peace with yourself keeps you grounded and is crucial for maintaining good spiritual, mental, and physical health. It brings a comforting feeling to the current stage of your life while allowing you to work toward your goals. Don’t get caught up in what people say you should have. Remember if you can afford it’s a good deal, both time, dollar, and resource wise.

Contentment’s a handy key to keep with you throughout your life. It’ll help you realize your blessings and give you balance.


This is the third in a continuing series about discovering your personal key chain.

Feeling The Passion

feeling the passion

A journey out during late bow season in WI, December 2012.

One Saturday morning, before the bank opened, I threw in the Dropped: Project Alaska season 1 DVD to kill some time.

Thoughts flooded my mind on my passion for hunting. I began to clearly think how much I enjoy hunting and I began to feel the yearning to get outside.

Watching, I related to Chris and Casey Keefer’s frustration of not seeing game.

I mainly hunt public land. It’s got heavy hunting pressure. Therefore, when hunting, my goal changes from shooting a deer to just finding sign, to just seeing deer. You see, finding fresh sign feels like success. It provides a lift to keep hunting.

Hunting is sometimes about working backwards, coming back to the drawing board and always adapting to conditions and finding ways to remain positive.

About The Pursuit
To me hunting is seeking, seeking to be successful at finding, shooting and eating game.

And that means hunting is a journey to find game. I’ve determined this is what makes hunting addicting. It’s still a journey whether you fill your tag or go home to prepare tag soup.

In the journey you’ll witness aspects of yourself and make memories with those you hunt with. You’ll experience the elements of nature. Rain and wetness. Sun and heat. Wind and cold. Fear and respect. You’re taking in knowledge and teaching by giving knowledge.

The challenge of hunting is part of the journey that’s addicting. Now, this is something I wonder: Is this how you feel? Is this how hunter’s who have taken slams still feel?

This is a second post on thoughts about hunting.

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.