Appreciating Nature While Outdoors

Appreciating Nature – God’s Creation 

snow on trees

Each time you’re afield, take time to appreciate nature; things that you can only observe from being outdoors. Sounds simple, though, do we always do this?

While out hunting during this past year, this thought came to mind, “enjoy the simple and come back for more.”

Slow… down… and enjoy the world around you; observe what’s around you. What’s the weather doing? How do the trees look? What’s above you? What are you walking on, dirt, sand, gravel, is there a marsh coming up?

Feel the sense of freedom of the great outdoors. Exploration makes up hunting as well as the shot itself. It’s just another reason why “smacking some birds” or “smoking a deer” are not the only things that make up hunting.

appreciating nature

Reached out to catch the snowflakes as they fell during Wisconsin’s late bowhunting season.


Take snowflakes for example. We have learned that snowflakes are geometric patterns either from articles, science class or pictures of them.  However, to actually hold a snowflake in your hand and make out their geometric design is awesome and in real time. It’s one of the mysteries of God’s creation. God created this world for us, you and I to enjoy.

A random thought here, It’s always amazing to me how the trees can grow upright, against gravity.



appreciate nature

Saw a fallen tree from a distance and pictured myself making a fort of it if I were stranded.

This post been in my head for a while so decided to take a break from the venison recipes to share. Next post will continue the venison recipe series.

The Hunt Continues

The Hunt Continues After The Shot.

(Second blog post on my first deer.)

Remember, the hunt continues after the shot. After the shot, the deer will need to be gutted. After gutting, the deer will need to be skinned and processed. It’s why hunters say, “the shot is just one part of hunting.”

My dad, grandpa and I worked to skin and quarter my first deer. (The quartering process was another part of the hunt that made memories.) After skinning, I took the meat to be processed. Taking the meat to be processed took priority to getting the head and hide to the taxidermist.

Cooking Your Trophy Is the Greatest Trophy

In my book, the meat was the trophy. I say this because when fishing and hunting, obtaining a meal is my main objective. The goal of my previous deer hunts was to obtain deer meat. Going 13 years without shooting a deer, made each meal of my first deer it’s own trophy. With my first deer, I’m able to cook meals with meat from a deer I shot myself. (Achieving the goal set when obtaining my hunter’s safety license.) At each meal, memories of those who have helped me come to life again.

grilled deer heart

Grilling the heart of my first deer. Eating the heart brought the hunt full circle that much more.

When eating wild game from your hunts, the hunt is prolonged. Each time I sink my teeth into venison, I relive the shot, as well as, gutting and skinning the deer.

First deer mount

The European mount of my first deer was a bonus. Trophy from the hunt: venison and sharing time with family

Gain Responsibility 

It’s a fact that hunting also teaches how to be responsible with the game you kill. Hunters should remember this; anti-hunters must learn to understand this. Therefore, as a sportsman, I want to respect the animal by making sure the meat does not go to waste. This is why hunting teaches responsibility. Hunters learn the value of life and what it means to be a steward of the land.

Learn Cooking Skills

Just as fishing helps me cook, hunting teaches me about cooking as well. In the next series of blog posts I will be sharing meals and recipes made with the venison from my first deer taken during the 2013 Wisconsin bowhunting season.

Here’s a few venison meals – more meals to be added to this list:

The Hunt Continues

Above all, I’ll continue to look forward to future hunts and meals with wild game and fish, and, yearn for the next hunting season. It’s why “the hunt continues.” And if I don’t get anything, that’s alright too. My passion for the adventure and the thrill of even finding sign is what drives me. Read more on the following posts:

Blacksmith For A Night

A while back there was an older movie involving the career of a blacksmith on a local TV channel that caught my attention as I was making dinner.

Although I do not remember the name of the movie, I do remember the setting…

The setting of the movie takes place in early century England. The main characters are a blacksmith and his family. Watching the program reminded me how fascinated I am with the job of a blacksmith, so, I jotted down the following:

If I lived back when blacksmiths were popular, I would hope to be a blacksmith. Why? Well, I would enjoy the hard work, lifting heavy tools, making tools, becoming better at my craft and sharing knowledge with other blacksmiths.

Getting scars, burns and other wounds from the job would not deter me, but rather, encourage me.

Sitting back to admire my hard work would bring satisfaction. It’s the sweat, the heat of working by fire and forming the metal that interests me.

I desire the feeling of accomplishment along with thinking about ways to work smarter and harder. Working smart is finding ways to become efficient with your time so you can accomplish more. Working hard allows you to accomplish more with the additional free time. It’s a continual cycle that will streamline your workflow.

Knowing my hard work will be used in a practical way would keep me going. Through my actions I’m recognized; respected for the work of my hands. I love the idea of excelling at hard work; having something physical to show for my sweat is rewarding.

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.

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.

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.