Filling Dads Shoes

It’s not possible, you know, to fill dad’s shoes. Why do I even want to try? What drives one to be the hero and mentor someone else has attained to? If for no other reason than to retrace his steps or maybe to accomplish similar feats. I don’t know but it’s hard to just stand and grieve without making promises that parts of dad will live on through me.Dads Shoes_1eml

Then I look at dads shoes. They are weary and worn, like his life at the end. Why it wasn’t long ago a nice young couple paid for his meal at the local burger place because they thought he looked homeless. He felt guilty nodding to them with a smile and climbing into his shiny (and expensive looking) truck and driving away.

I have a similar stride and gait in life as dads in many ways. Somewhere between integrity, work ethic, hunting, fishing, loving God and family, our paths are continually crossing. Dad’s path has taken him into eternity while I’m still bushwhacking the valleys, scooting across the ledges and climbing the mountains of life. From the looks of it, my shoes just might have some miles to go yet. I hope to make the most of that time given.

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I do want to find the old tree dad often talked about deep in our hunting territory. When dad was young he knew this tree. In later years he would stop and rest awhile and say to “his” tree “how are you doing old timer”. My shoes will take me there soon just to say some last words. I know…talking to a tree? I sensed you might understand.

My oldest daughter best describes why dads shoes walked well and influenced so many people through life. When her younger sister needed medical attention for long periods of time, she spent that time with grandpa and grandma. One day when she was very young she was following grandma around and asked her “Grandma, why does grandpa sit at the table every morning with a cup of coffee and read his bible?” Grandma put her basket of laundry down, turned and grabbed her by the shoulders and said “listen…since your grandpa started doing that, he has become a changed man!!!”  (insert urgent tone here) 

So, I cannot , will not, don’t have to fill dads shoes. They are retired. But, I find myself following in his footsteps which not so oddly seem to be following someone who wore out their sandals.

  The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way. (Psalms 37:23)Jesus Rock

Gary

PS: for more about the ways of dad… Check this out… https://garydweb.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/pushy-discipleship/

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One Cast, Two Fish Story

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Its not often a fish is caught on the first cast. Two fish with one cast is, well, unusual and has the makings of another fish tale. This one is special as it’s one of dad’s oft fished lakes.

I was getting together with a close life long friend and we decided a boat on the lake over a crappie hole would be just fine. Taking the old boat out with an iffy motor was possibly an adventure so after it started we circled the lake and shut down for a nice drift, cast and chat down the less fished side of the lake.

First cast and bam, nice fish! got off. Wham, another hit and a tussle bigger than the usual crappie began. A very nice walleye was netted. The fish rolled up in the net and my hook swung free so I tossed it out of the way and untangled the fish. I was going to put the fish in the live-well but saw my rod going over the side of the boat. Dropping the fish I grabbed the rod and felt another fish on. Fish #2 was bigger and that’s my story. I had thrown my hook over the side of the boat into a waiting walleye.

We made several drifts, caught many small perch, another big walleye, talked about the stuff of life, dying, the future and navigating the days ahead for both of us.

My phone interrupted fishing and we had to go. Upon entering dads home I knew it was true. Dad was gone. I thought I had a little more time. This fisherman would trade all the great fishing stories in the world for some more time with dad. The reality is that life is that way. We live, work, raise a family, retire and die. Yes, I know, we fish and do lots of other stuff and it’s good. There has to be things in our lives as an aid to building deep bonds relationally. There must be ways to model faith, hope and Love.

Our family has a deep bond of love for one another. Dad and mom set out to follow God and live that way. Their kids (including me) live that way. Our kids live that way. Yes dad would have loved that fish story. I guess I’ll have to wait till I pass on to tell him.

Please click on some of my deeper thoughts and spiritual insights on dad and dying here. I wrote it last month after visiting dad knowing that time was short. Meanwhile, I will keep loving my family and fishing. In that order.

Gary

 

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A Family Tastes the Wilderness, and it’s Good

Another Smallmouth bass for release

My oldest grand daughter is going into her senior high school year so she had the privilege of choosing the family vacation. She chose to go to the BWCA wilderness with grandpa as guide. How cool is that? 5 days unplugged from technology and looking at the sky for hints of a weather forcast. 5 days of learning how to see. Really see. 5 days of soaking in all that nature at it’s whims without asking. 5 days of georgous blue waters, rain storms, wind, cold, hot, starry skies, open fire cooked foods and, well, mosquitoes and black flies.

To all you families considering a week of being onplugged; go for it and work through the learning process. You will be better, much better for it. Kids, go for it. Your eyes and ears will be opened and conversations and memories will be had the rest of your life. Take a peek at a few highlights.

Grandma and grandson on the portage trail between lakes in the rain.
Otter eating fish swimming by camp
Yep, big walleye, catch of a lifetime
And she caught supper. This kentucky girl knows how to fillet fish as well.
My son with a very nice smallmouth bass
Sunset after a long rainey day
Ahhh…The art of taking all the bones out of a pike on a canoe paddle with enough fish left to eat
The boys were always drying something around the fire
Fire, hot chocolate and great conversation. A family that loves each other.
Wonder boy won the tussle from shore after almost being pulled into the lake
little man decided frogs were safer after hooking a huge alligator by the canoe (probably a monster pike). Lost the fish and all his line …Proud of his “frog moat” though

We watched a nymph crawl on the tent and become a dragonfly. We used life jackets for sleeping pads. The kids found out that 30 degree (F) ratings on sleeping bags mean you will get cold at 40. The colors in nature never clash, they just enhance each other. There must be 30 shades of green! It would take a lot of faith to believe all this order came randomly by chaos. We love the wilderness! Life lessons abound and were talked about (another time with more pictures).

Now we are home, it was better than a good dream. Tonight we toasted our wilderness trip with Smores (toasted marshmellows over a fire put into a graham cracker sandwich with a piece of chocolate bar).

These pictures are but a very small taste of our wilderness experience. Thanks for coming along, and yes we ate several meals of bass, pike and walleye as well as returned most of our fish to live a bit longer. Many fish stories for another time. You really should go into the wilderness if you can…go for it. Unplug awhile!

Gary

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Gone Fishing Stories

Getting a group of fishermen together on a nice saturday morning is kind of like throwing a party for introverts. It’s hard to get people to show up. fishing day eml

About 40 guys and a slew of boats at this little but mighty country church. I suspect a nice breakfast helped the draw. Many are friends. father and son combos arrived as well as the guest speaker (Me). I’m still not sure if they clapped enthusiastically because I did a good job or because I was done in a timely fashion so they could git fishn..

Diversity all over the place. Why there were canoes, pontoons, big, little, old, new, and the guys were as different as the boats. I think I got about 3/4 of the guys in the picture as I was being introduced.fishing day a

Here is the starting point but not the gist of it.You guys have been telling stories all morning. . I want you to realize that your life is one big story and you only get one shot at it.” I followed with stories and points and ended quickly as we are fishermen, and fishing takes valuable time.

Thanks for the pictures guys

 


Without hesitation, these guys are helping each others story. As much as they love fishing, they realize that we only live in the dash between the numbers on our headstone someday. All the stories that we make happen on the water are much more important than the catching. Thanks for a great day Marty and gang.

Gary

Gary at the river

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My Kind Of Fishing Event

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There is so much more to fishing than catching fish. How are you going to start your summer?

Gary

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Fishing: I Must

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We got a little close so the ducks were talking to us about that

Some write, some garden, others have their various go to activities but I fish. Fishing is my all purpose activity cure for, well, about anything. Sad? go fishing. Happy? I mean too happy? go fishing! Need some reflection time? Need to pray? (we all do), go fishing. Need to feel like you are helping others? That’s what fishing buddies are for! I rest my case. If you can’t help the other guy(s) in the boat with your expert advice you haven’t spent enough time on the water. We can talk later (preferably in a boat) about logical syllogisms.

Being it’s been a long time since writing anything down, you guessed it, I went fishing. My fishing buddy had his boat more ready than mine and we needed some talk time as life has thrown us some mean curve balls lately and it was opening fishing day here in Wisconsin.

Hey G.W. I took pictures to prove it, ducks and all. A good evening of fishing

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A nice 18″ smallmouth bass

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A very nice 27″ walleye…good catch partner

The fishing is always good. Sometimes the catching is iffy. Last night we did good for a season opener. Our conversation was exceptional and the evening was magnificent on the water. Get out there people and have an adventure in the outdoors gifted us by an awesome Creator! (I can already hear an amen from the other end of the boat).

Gary

Posted in abundant life, adventure, Fishing, fishing adventure, fishn, GaryFultz Blog, gone fishing, Nature, outdoor adventure, perspective, quality of life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Do Something Different

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When you find yourself out of step with the universe, do something different.

When you focus on your failures more than your successes, do something different

When your failures seem to be lead to more fails, do something different

When…Don’t try sky diving!!! do something different

It is the first day of t shirt weather (it’s over 40 degrees!! yea!) so I’m doing some reading with coffee on the screen porch contemplating how do the three of me selfie. Morning t shirt weather cp

 Gary

 

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A Snowblowing Life Principle That Works

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My answer to being totally snowed in.  I want one of those! I need one of those!

  Please follow this flowing stream of words around a few bends of thought.

The southernmost neighbor asked a friend if he could use his tractor and snow blower for our driveway. I think he saved us all a lot of money. I sent him a text “hey neighbor, awesome job blowing out the drive. I want to make sure you include me on the expenses so I do my part” He texted back “I got it covered, thanks”

So how did we get to be such good neighbors? Ah, relational questions. let’s continue.

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Five Snow blowers buried under the snow. Would you buy a snow blower from these guys?

This weekend my northernmost neighbor visited his cabin. His offshoot of a driveway was partially plowed (only to his shovel barely sticking out of a drift). He couldn’t possibly shovel the rest of the way as it would take all weekend. He bought a big walk behind snow blower. A couple hours later he made it to the garage, then the house.

Listen in on our conversation and get a feel for our relationship. Me, “great job blowing snow!, I didn’t know you had a blower.” Neighbor, “I had to go buy a blower just to get in, so if you ever need a blower, I’ve got a good one.” Me, “thanks man, did you buy it from the dealer down the road?” Neighbor, “nope, I took one look at the place and decided they know nothing about blowers.”

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This tractor could blow out my driveway. Would you attempt to buy this one?

 Stop right here! This is a worldwide problem. The fix is as hard as changing our DNA

I drove to the local sales place just to take some pictures. I dare say that they could sell 10 times the number of snow blowers if they used some of them to blow their own snow.  That tractor with a snowblower attachment would have sold (many possibly) by now. I’ve been in sales and it’s a good idea (and requires a little extra work).

 Here’s the deal: Life’s storms heap a mess on us way too often. We all end up with issues in our lives more often than we care to think about. Relationships with our neighbors, co-workers, bosses, businesses and even between politicians (gasp). I’m telling you, it’s in our DNA to mess up life with each other.

What would America or any other nation look like if just our politicians interacted like my neighbors and I? We don’t know each other very well. We have quite different belief systems and philosophies in how to do life yet tackle issues common to us together. We do have one thing in common though We know how to go the extra mile.

I have a few suggestions, just to counteract our natural DNA bent as people

Go the extra mile. Don’t be lazy. Blow out the snow if you sell snow blowers. What ever product you are touting, make it look like it will serve others well. Have an extra good blower for the closest church to blow out peoples drives and walks that cannot do it themselves. Why? because you care…right? And, yes, there is a cost to caring, initially.

Go the extra mile. Visit and meet your neighbor, let them know you are there for them when you have established a little trust. Bring them cookies or do something out of your way with no strings attached because you are and will be a good neighbor. Teach and model how to be a good neighbor. You can do this …right? The proof that you are a good neighbor is when they begin to be one to you.

Go the extra mile. Make your social media of such that strangers who think way different than you would like to emulate you. Arguments, no matter how “right” you are do not solve problems, they only make the relational and ideological rifts further apart.

Go the extra mile. I’ll say it again, do not keep score. My neighbor just bought me an appliance dolly. “They were on sale” he said. I thanked him profusely. I didn’t see that coming but I think he is trying and not succeeding in keeping score. I have told him that I grew up in a family that does not keep score but we help when we can.

Go the extra mile. Spend a little extra money on people. Make being relational with others a priority. The world is too small for several billion people running around with me, me, me first actions. The money is less important than people. feel free to disagree with that one because that’s a hard one to act out in real life. I once paid way too much for a car from a student trying to get to college. I was in college at the time. It hurt but I had a full time job and full time college load. He needed it more.

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My plowed drive (a quick fix) and snow covered roof 24+ inches up there

As I type and twitch a little, I have asked a guy who really needs some extra cash to shovel off our house. He has a newborn at the house and has some needs. Here’s the twitch. He gave me a low bid. Great! I told him when he is done we will review the bid and I will pay more if warranted. Trust me, it will be warranted and I will insist even if he says it is OK. It will cost some extra money but on this one he needs me to choose the extra mile this time. 

The extra mile is an investment in one’s character and should be a valued thread woven throughout our society. It starts with each one of us personally. It’s hard work that pays huge dividends realized by many others down the road.

Now, my disclaimer: I can be a good negotiator when needed. I might buy something cheaper than you intended to sell it for. Sorry. I will probably turn and give it to the roof guy.

My Testimony: All this to say I have no claims on sainthood. Any claims to the molding of my character are credited to knowing Jesus Christ. This works! Does it make sense that being a follower of Jesus pushes me to emulate His ways and character? No one becomes like Christ by sheer will power. Jesus changes our natural DNA character…ever so slowly over time. This is what makes me tick.  Jesus is my most important relationship 

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

I should really sell snowblowers with “Go the extra mile” stickers on them. That’s a clue for the clueless (people like me sometimes) to do the neighbors drive if needed.

I’m quite sure you can identify the places where you may need to go the extra mile. Make it so and your world will be a better place. It comes back around. eventually.

Gary

Update: Ok guys, fess up. Two days after I posted this, the sales place all of a sudden displayed their wares snow free. Either the owner is back from Hawaii (?) or somebody gave them a call. Maybe coincidence? Anyway, good for them…I might buy that tractor.

Posted in abundant life, accomplishment, accountability, adventure, Build Faith, Dangerous snow conditions, devotional, devotional thoughts, discipline, Gary Fultz Blog, goals, initiator, intentional, knowing God, most imortant relationship, perspective, Planning, purpose in life, purpose of life, relationship building, relationship control, relationship with God, snow conditions, spiritual concepts, Spiritual Perspective, story telling., Uncategorized, Work Hard | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Cold Winter Fashion Statement

Bundle up! 

How’s that for a statement. And yes, you can fashion up if it makes you feel better.

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It’s -10, I will be outside for 5 minutes and I am dressed to stay warm for 20 minutes

But while I have you here I will give you a few tips on thriving in weather below zero. My personal best was dressing for -52 degrees without the wind chill factored in. I stayed warm for a few hours in that weather but it doesn’t happen without some winter knowledge.

Remember rule #1. Stay warm! That’s it. Do what you need to do to stay warm for longer than you think you need to. Most other rules are subtitles under rule #1 by the way.

Winterware 6 eml I’m modeling my latest fleece lined wool pull-over here. You like it? It’s one of a kind. I designed it, I helped pick out the material and my wife made it. It’s warm with a long sleeved shirt underneath to +35 degrees. I put a thick fleece jacket under to inactively stay warm to +10 and actively warm to -10 degrees. I can put a down parka over to stay inactively  warm to -35.

I am wearing a wool stocking cap, wool fingerless gloves to push camera buttons and lined leather gloves which will keep me warm for 20 minutes at -10. The boots have a thinsulate lining good for 20 minutes at -10.

Oh, you noticed the blue jeans did you? I will stay warm in them for 20 minutes at -10. my wife would stay warm in them for two minutes. Her legs get cold quickly. Everything else freezes in sequence. If I was with her I would be part of that sequence.

Do you know how to stay warm in the clothes you have? Every day I see cold people with tennis shoes, no gloves or mitts, an unzipped expensive jacket and no headwear. They rush from the house to the car, then the car to the store and on to work exclaiming “It’s cold out there”. In my mind I’m thinking…well you know what I’m thinking.

So much for my fashion walk–up the freshly plowed driveway–but I’m warm for those 5 minutes at -10 degrees. As far as fashion; you have already concluded that I am like a farmer…out standing in his field!

Stay warm out there!

Gary

 

Posted in adventure, cold, discipline, Fashion, Gary Fultz, Gary Fultz Blog, Humor, Nature, outdoor adventure, outdoor humor, perspective, story telling., Uncategorized, Winter prepared | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

I’m in Chaage (yep, totally in charge)

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Chaage: my young grandsons word for Charge

This morning seemed like a good time to shovel some snow off the roof. It’s knee deep up there and the skylights are covered. There is heat loss around a skylight, ice dams build up and any melting water backs up under the shingles and leaks into the house eventually. It was now eventually.

I found our huge snow scoop, leaned the ladder to the roof and up I went. There is quite a trick in getting on and off a ladder onto a tilted surface covered with two feet of snow and ice. What’s the worst that could happen? I swung a leg around the ladder and made it onto the roof safely while dragging the scoop. The riskiest part was over except for getting down. But, down is down and I can sometimes just jump off the roof into the snowbank…fun times. Who needs a ladder to get down?

I found the kitchen skylights, scooped lots of snow down the roof making paths with each push of snow off the roof. I was on the top side of skylight #2 when I must have done something wrong. My back went out with severe muscle spasms helping the lower vertebrae attempt to  go in different directions. I flopped down on my back in the snow as the spasms made my legs quit working. Trying to move made the spasms come back. It has been 10 years from the last back injury and my back is (was) stronger than ever so I didn’t see that coming.

I mean I really didn’t see that coming!

My first thought “this is quite a predicament”. My thought process began scrolling through the options. “Maybe I could roll off the roof? um no, Maybe roll to the ladder? No, I would roll over the skylight and There is a row of deep snow to roll through in front of the ladder. Maybe I could sit up and scoot to the ladder then drop into a snowbank? No, I would never get out of the snowbank and the cut-off bushes underneath could spear me. I don’t feel lucky today. Helicopter? How embarrassing.

I scooted (it hurt) downhill to the ladder, finally made it to a standing position, made it on to the ladder after 3 tries (that really hurt) and finally made it down very slowly one rung at a time (yep,ouch). I waded (over my knees) in the deep snow to the house (that hurt the most).

Here I sit with a thousand thoughts. You do it too whenever life throws a curve. We are reduced to what matters most with what we can do. Over half of my time is  spent managing back pain and pangs so far. When did I become so self absorbed? This has got to stop…ouch. My back just made a joke, “I’m Back” (not funny!)

So much of life we do not see coming. We are not in control ultimately. We are like my very young grandson who loves walking around the house saying “I’m in chaage” (sounds like it’s spelled) to anyone who would ask him to do something.

Meanwhile, here I sit, in complete chaage of my life. 

I am reminded of the Proverb “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Our Doings sure make us think we are in control don’t they? Sometimes God reminds us of how much we cannot do and how much we are not in chaage.

Gary

Phone rings “How are you doing? I’m fine, got everything under control here Dear (shes away on a trip). I’m in Chaage!

 

Posted in abundant life, accomplishment, accountability, Build Faith, Dangerous snow conditions, deadly spiritual perspective, devotional, devotional thoughts, eternal, Faith, Fear, Gary Fultz, perspective, prayer, purpose in life, quality of life, snow conditions, spiritual concepts, spiritual deception, Spiritual Perspective, Spiritual picture Truths, Uncategorized, Work Hard | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments