Stunt Double


One of my dad’s sayings when I was young (the first 18 years of my life) was “If you pull another stunt like that…” and some type of age appropriate (in his mind) consequence was named. The bad part was he often didn’t mention which stunt he was talking about. “Don’t look at me like you don’t know what I am talking about! Usually he was thinking of only one of the three or four potential stunts possible (I think).

Throughout my life, my risk/reward analysis system of decision making has been lopsided toward the reward side. I now have a grandson like that, I sigh and cringe while watching. The little guys hands and feet are quite a ways ahead of his thought process. May he live to see his grandkids, bless his crazy heart. I wrote about him in “Cold Cold Hands” possibly my best writing piece when I had less readers.

Last Week

One would think I have learned to play on the safe side of life. NOoooo. Being side lined with a neck injury for a couple weeks made me looking for a crack in the door to get outside and go fishing. Never mind that it was -40 F for 4 nights in a row with minimal warming in the day. Never mind the wind chill factors that might freeze ones face off in less than a minute riding on an ATV from the shop to my fishing spot on the lake. Never mind all my equipment was sitting outside in my fishing sled and froze solid. I went fishing

When my life is replayed for me on judgement day I’ve asked the Lord if he couldn’t delete this part. I actually didn’t do anything wrong but everything went wrong. Murphy showed up. You have had those times right??

I dressed in my extreme cold weather gear. The ATV started. I hooked up the fishing sled. I made it to the fishing spot. All is well! It’s -25F with wind chill -50. I’m still warm, life is good on the lake. I drink in the frozen beauty through frosted eyelashes. I am 100% giddy . I should have gone home.

The ice auger started but the throttle was stuck on idle. I found the little lever that the throttle spring was suppose to control and put it forcibly on full throttle with a pliers I found in the ATV (amazed myself at being so prepared) and started the auger again. At full throttle the auger didn’t want to drill a hole anywhere, instead it wanted to drill everywhere and tried to catch my heavy coveralls on the sides. I had visions of the auger getting away from me and going down the lake on it’s side and taking out other peoples fish houses. I finally found the other handle with the hand that pulled on the starter rope and managed to contain my wild auger by drilling a hole in the ice. As I am drilling the thought occurred to me that I couldn’t slow down the auger as it punched a hole in the lake. My thought came to fruition as the powerful auger pulled the lake water up the hole and over my coveralls and boots. I lifted up the auger out of the hole bringing the water with it over knee high and started drilling another hole immediately while cradling the motor with one arm to free up a hand to hit the “off” button. Whew, close call. I am now only 75% giddy but ready to fish.

I pitched the ice fishing shelter, pulled out my propane tank and tried to hook up my heater, The coupler was froze, it wouldn’t turn so I took out a match and heated the brass with a match. a quarter turn and it was froze again. I tried and tried but it was a no-go fishing without heat situation. Something caught my eye as I was putting the heater away, the coupler O ring seal was broken. It would have leaked propane gas if I had connected it and upon lighting a match the fish house could have burst into flames and burned down. Whew…close one. I stowed my potential flame thrower in the sled. I am now 50 % giddy.

I fished for an hour in the fish house with no heat, no fish, the wind picking up and my ice fishing hole as well as my fishing line freezing up. I pack up to go home. The ATV grinds over but will not start. I try again and again. I pause and switch it on and off. It’s colder. Finally as the battery is dying and it’s on it’s last juices it actually starts and I can drive home. I arrive home with face frozen, parts of me cold and no fish. I am now 0% giddy.

I parked the ATV and sled in the shop and walked on our icy drive to the house. I spotted my wife bringing our dog around the bend from a short walk and decided to hunch low and take a couple of skips sideways to get a reaction out of the dog (you know, growl at me or something and then wag his tail in pure admiration). I had my new extreme boots on, which are not made or recommended for anything but walking or sitting in extreme weather, they caught on each other and I fell awkwardly. I landed wrong and cracked a rib. -25% on giddy-ness now. I wish it were not a familiar feeling. My wife knew where to look for the elastic band used for broken ribs.


So, here I sit looking out the window again drinking coffee and other hot beverages with the camera handy, lots of reading, thinking time in these much warmer drab days. There has not been much to shoot but the evening moons and a stray owl. I would laugh at my comedy of errors but it hurts to laugh.

No one one gets a stunt double in living out this physical life. Sometimes I sure could use one. I live mostly fearless even in these troubled times. Why? God has his finger on my life’s buttons, not a virus, not the governments decisions and not what’s not in the bank account. I realized in all my recent mishaps that I actually have a stunt double for my appropriate consequence with God, who is the central part of my life. All so I could know Him and have a relationship with Jesus Christ who died and then beat death, a stunt I know I cannot do. I have chosen to accept that stunt double in my place. 100% giddy over that!

Getting fishing again? A cautious 15% giddy and gaining. Meanwhile there’s moon watching and the owl poses nearby.


Lines cut from scenes:

“Am I in heaven?” “No, you are in whoville” OK wrong line in wrong movie.

Daughter: “You are too hurt to go fishing!” Me: “hold my coffee”

Nature Walkabout with Coffee

View from our front picture window. You can’t see the cold.

I take a sip of coffee and look out the front window.

I am at the bottom of the hot chocolate can and the coffee bean bag indicator is sitting on E. Nursing a painful neck injury has made me participate in the winter sport of drinking a hot beverage while watching the outside world through our windows. Even though nature’s winter has been -15 to -35 below zero Fahrenheit for the last week and the wind chills have reached -70 I want to participate, kind of. The smart people on TV say this will continue another few days. Then spring, yea!

A young fawn often walks the perimeter.

For now I am relegated to peering out windows and thinking strange, or at least new thoughts. Being I have the camera handy I put my coffee down and capture the local fawn of the bunch of deer gathered by the back deck

I take a couple more sips of coffee while deer watching. I didn’t think the old doe would make it this long into winter. These temperatures must be tough on her

I drink some more coffee and ponder the trees. Sigh…I never tire of tree watching

Fascinating is the architecture of trees. How the limbs on a white oak tree can hang straight out for 50+ years is wild. Gravity and fatigue defying cellular structure.

I take another sip, put the cup down for a bird picture

Our Christmas tree bird feeder

I did not take down our outside Christmas tree. The chickadee’s think the string popcorn is their bird feeder. Maybe next year every ornament will be edible for the birds. There’s a business idea for someone…how about an edible outdoor Christmas tree. If you make it…someone will buy it! I would buy it, especially if it came with a big bag of coffee beans.

I watch the sky blush slowly, winter a little embarrassed? More like “There’s more to me than cold” Coffee is getting cold “You are a bad influence ole winter”

I take my last sip of lukewarm coffee. I’m thankful.

I take a look at the camera heart stirring. Lord willing I will mend to fish again!! I begin stirring the last of the hot coco. ARGH


Invasive Maneuvers

Yesterday I wanted to invade another world.

I meticulously planned it out (that means I finally found my go pro camera) and gathered my ice fishing stuff together for the invasion. I needed drilling equipment (ice auger) to penetrate the barrier to the underworld. I needed a stick(I cut a thick willow stick), line (very strong) a hook and bait to plunder said underworld (our frozen over lake). I needed an ATV and sled to safely drive onto the barrier (20 inches of ice will hold my truck).

Have a look. I invaded. I came, I saw, I plundered and ate the spoils!

I’m like that 4th fish. I like to think I ignore most things, especially media, out there

Aside from the temps dropping with a very cold breeze I looked into a world that none of us could survive for more than a couple of minutes without scuba gear and a very warm suit. We would then last long enough to run out of air unless we found an exit from this world and into ours again.

Have you ever had dreams like this? I haven’t (not true). My brother and I put a pickup (dads brand new 4×4) through the ice one time. I do not recommend this as it generates dreams, bad ones, for the rest of your life.

I can think of all kinds of ways we invade each others world and all kinds of ways the rest of the world tries. Advertisers, sales, every kind of media and now drones (I had to throw that one in). I can think of how God invaded our world and then became like us for a reason (Christmas and Easter, John 3:16, do you know about this?)

To the fish and underwater world I am an invasive marauder (in my defense that‘s natures way (eat or be eaten). I willingly admit I love fishing and fish fries.

To my fellow human beings; let’s learn how to love one another and just overlap in each others worlds gently with generosity and good will. Kindness on social media would be a great start. Me, I take all kinds of people fishing. We talk and break bread together over a meal of fresh fish FILLETED BONELESS

By the way, look closely at that fish. some of it is fresh fried fish eggs, the roe sac in a northern pike is extremely good (Ok, it’s not for everyone but there’s no bones).

Go ahead, name some basic invasion maneuvers where you are gifted in other worlds. Me, I’m on a learning curve with the go pro (and a few people), I wonder if they make underwater drones?



When 2 people love deeply, they stoke each others fires

Ahh, to be young again

2nd honeymoon. By the time this picture was taken we were 9 years into adventuring life together. We were already learning how to stoke each others fires. We had survived my cliff diving, several wilderness adventures, 3 children (almost losing one twice), having money, being downsized, broke, and already on my 4th career. Standing at 12,000 feet and still kind of wet from whitewater rafting earlier, we stopped for a picture.

35 years later (after picture) we haven’t caught our breath yet as we are stoked. Our coal beds run deep. Man, I would love to make it another 44 years with this gal.

Psst…A hint on love advice from a couple with no bad years…(1) It really doesn’t work to stoke your own fire. (2) Read 1 Corinthians 13 4-7 on love.


Peace Walker

Where do you go to get away from the worlds cacophony? Daryl Madden hit it on the nose in just a few poetic words . Please read these two posts. Thanks Daryl

Sandra J with her thoughts and photography ran with it in her winter wonderland Thanks Sandra

I spend a lot of time in three places. One is in nature enjoying creation and another getting to know the creator as in Daryl’s last verse. Third is living everyday life attempting to be a peace walker from the core of who I am to what I do. Click on any picure for a better view.

Where does the noise disappear for you? Are you getting away to be still? Do you even have a space or a place to go? Even if you are in the middle of the worlds wars or in the middle of the most serene wilderness it does not mean you have or do not have turmoil inside.

Have you met people who seem to be at peace? It’s inside them like an extra ingredient making them palatable and savory to the world around them. Salt of the earth people. Peace walkers. Like Jesus. Like followers of Jesus who emulate him (not the cacophony religious ones on Fakebook).

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Jesus, Matthew 5:13)

Peace is oxygen to the soul and much of the world is dying of spiritual hypoxia.


My Christmas Card to you

May you find the peace you are looking for this Christmas. In a world filled with power hungry leaders playing the real life game of “Simon Says“, We will always have the choice to find peace by knowing and following the Price of Peace.

May you find the opposite of what the world gives. Good news, peace, joy, love and purpose. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Here is a peek at snow falling for 8 seconds. You can use it as a background?? and a few images from this season. And, yes I have been busy fishing.

Merry Christmas wherever you are in the world


The Old Doe

She is old. She won’t make it through another Minnesota winter. Shunned in the deer world so she keeps to herself and decided humans are better. She follows me around the yard hoping for a hand out and a few words to perk her ears up. She doesn’t show signs of having CWD as the local Department of Natural resources has assured me from pictures. They asked me to watch her but not feed her. I sin frequently as do a couple neighbors.

Social distancing at six feet away from humans…sometimes

Last weekend our group of deer hunters gathered in the yard before daylight as we all hope to harvest a deer or two for the freezer. The old doe walked into the middle of the group. I should have warned them. One of the nephews commented “somethings really wrong with this picture” as he tried to pet her.

Life is full of ironies. The old doe has become as innocent as a newborn. Her instincts of flight and danger are gone which suggests some type of disease which will kill her either directly or by car, wolf, coyote, slowly this winter or any number of possibilities. No matter, it’s straight forward. She will die. So will we.

Lessons from the old doe. One: don’t live in fear (however that translates in your case) because life is short. Two: lets take better care of our neighbors, than we do the old doe. They need us, we need them. Three: don’t worry about what the rest of the herd thinks. Shut off the news feed. Do what we were created to do. Figure out how you should Love God and love people. Eternal things are the most essential

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing(which was dangerous back then), but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see The Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25


Uncluttering: What is Where?

The picture says it all. There are thousands of “finds” in dad’s shop. Just try to find something, specific. You can, umm…eventually. This is what moving onto mom and dad’s place can be like after they are gone.

Dads been gone awhile and everything here was a part of his life. I have siblings that will walk in, look around and then weep. Almost every item is a story and we do not want to forget any of our stories. But, dad is gone and he left a lot of stuff. Do you need a 7/16 wrench? we have about 30 of them, I think, somewhere. When dad couldn’t find the 9/16 wrench he just bought a new set.

It’s taken me 4 months to come up with 39 plans for a useable shop. The hardest part is getting past the clutter and potential inventory to prioritizing what and how we will use the shop. What stays, what goes, where is what? does what work? and, can we walk into the shop and grab it? It’s always been a family shop and it will continue to be that way so it might as well be useful.

When I stare at the image of the cluttered shop, I see life. I see the clutter that builds up in relationships when words are not put in their proper place. Angry words are kept and not thrown away. Broken promises are not mended, they are just put aside with the new promises. Generations hoard and pass on life clutter. Clutter becomes ingrained in culture. Honesty, truth and moral values become lost in the clutter and are deemed unusable in an end-justifies-the-means society. Even our faith can become so cluttered it ends up as a burden too heavy to drag around. Possibly too expensive to fix. Let’s face it, fixing clutter will cost us, often more than we want to pay. Like sin it also keeps us longer than we want to stay.

Clutter can be found everywhere. Imagine trying to have a conversation with someone who keeps looking at their text messages (Oh, you don’t have to imagine). Imagine trying to pray in the morning while thinking of all the things you need to get done for the day (no…not you too?). Imagine… and I believe you have already thought of an area you may want to unclutter, even you neat freaks!

What do you think? It’s a start and yes it’s the same shop. Piles are now gone and the pegboard is full of things that we can walk in the shop and find what we are looking for. New shelves are in place with more coming. Lot’s of intentional work from a vision of what it will be. I’m using tools that can now be found. Constant decluttering will be a new norm. Fixing or replacing the broken, fences, gates, signs, posts, faith, prayer and all kinds of relationships. Decluttering.

Now I can go fishing or sit down and have coffee with my wife. I can get up early in the morning, read, pray, take some pictures from the deck in bare feet as the day dawns. I am at peace as the gathering winds of clutter are dissipating. “Honey, have you seen my shoes?”

“They are on the deck I think…it’s cold out there!” Oh, and that one set of footprints in the frost…they are m-m-m-mine.


Content in the Storm

Orphan fawn has adopted our place as it’s safe haven. Photo from the dinner table

Inconspicuous deer behind our deck, watchin me sipping coffee watching him.

It’s snowing and blowing and 28 degrees f. It feels like below zero weather. The deer is more at peace with the weather and winters outlook than I am, even after losing her mother.

What do you do in life’s storms? Dwell on all they have done to you? Fear what might be ahead?

What do you do with the wolves of life? Hide? Tremble at what may come?

Be safe and warm this winter little deer, there’s plenty of food and pines for shelter around our place

Remember: Yesterday and Tomorrow are thieves who trade empty coffers for our contentment Today.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance” (to the full, till it overflows, Jesus. John 10:10)

MY LIFE: In the hardest of storms God has been good…Gary

Bring Your (Good) Camera

Yes, I totally understand if you skip my ramblings and go straight to the pictures.

Life Lessons: Learned the easy way. I have a brother who claims he has learned most of the painful life lessons by watching his older brothers and then not doing that. The skeptic in me highly doubts that, even though he has quite a list of life choices which seem divinely guided (It is). He has broken more bones than me but I have more stiches and seem to be more accident prone by sheer lopsided statistics so we are even (I think). I’m not sure how our mother made it raising seven kids with extremely high risk taking penchants.

When I was 15, I acquired a “Farm Permit” to drive a vehicle within 25 miles of our farm. The “why” escapes me to this day, what was I thinking? I had raised my hand at the boys club meeting that I could supply a car and drive 80 miles into Canada for a week long camping trip. The club expedition leaders did not check my drivers license. The Canadian officials did not check my license at the border. The United States officials did not check my license even though they totally ransacked the car. I was the oldest one in the car at 15 and looked young for my age. But, dad found out and I was in more trouble than anyone else could have put me in.

Two things. 1) We can all agree here that I wasn’t thinking. Zero. Nada. Dad claimed this happened a lot. It still does. 2) I brought my first camera and four rolls of film. I totally mis-documented the trip with poor quality photos.

I learned that in one area of my life, I could actually pay attention to the details.

I’ve stretched paying attention to detail to a few other areas thankfully over the years. My value as a husband is determined by how much I invest in my wife and our relationship. My value as a father to 3 children, the same. being I value my relationship with God, I invest alone time meeting with my creator. I value capturing good images of life around me and the beauty God created should one pay attention to detail. I think God has rewarded that in my life.

So without further explanation I want to share a couple of photos with you as the scene was gifted me while fishing a few hours ago. This is the lake we live by. The same lake I have shared many stories from and will continue as it is intertwined within me from several generations back to the homesteading days.

Pictures taken from my boat between casts and unhooking fish. I brought my good camera and three different lens options, otherwise, one cannot begin to end up with images that look like what you saw through the view finder. I shoot on settings that do not wash the color out of the picture. I put the light sensor on the brightest area of the picture. I took these shots on my sports continuous shooting settings as I was standing in the boat with a stiff wind and rough water (because the fish were biting I did not go in to shore and use a tripod). and yes, Ted…Thank you for pushing me (you may have noticed these comments in other blogs comments section). I have started putting several of my photos on a free sharing website, but that’s another blog to come.

It’s my birthday today and this comes to mind as I am retirement age: Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” Ecclesiastes 12:1

Sigh…That’s so true.