>Picture Truth #1 Nature and Inner Peace by Gary Fultz

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Boundary Waters canoe Area Wilderness Waterfall

I admit it; I wanted to stop, build a cabin and stay here forever. A sense of inner peace flooded my very soul. In the spirit of that moment I forgot about everything practical. I could have shucked all commitments, responsibilities, job, the coming winter, and a small detail that I was in the middle of guiding a group of teenagers on a 60 mile wilderness trip by canoe. I entertained the thought “I could live here!”

Boundary Water Walleye

    The fishing was great in all the surrounding lakes, A deer had just stepped out of the trail to let me by as I carried a canoe and pack to the next lake, and what a view. Ahhhhhh, water , food, scenery, and away from lifes headaches!
    This scene in the small valley would be totally hidden but for the ominous sound that could be felt as much as heard. The trees crowd together by the mighty little stream. White cedars bend themselves over the water to get as much sunlight as possible. Boulders, smaller rocks, and downed trees froth the tumbling water as irresistible and immovable create their own niche in natures synergy; a microcosm of life everywhere. I relate most to the driftwood in some ways.
    It’s a place of life and death. This life giving water is not a quiet stream after it rains. A few days before we arrived it had rained seven inches in one night. Rivers and quiet streams hadturned vicious! We had already witnessed the the power of this water as a man and two sons tipped their canoe trying to cross a raging river. A strong teenager (a future Army Ranger) and I shot the rapids to rescue the dad as he was clinging to a sinking backpack. I can still hear him calling to his sons “tell your mother I love her” as he neared the edge of  a series of cascading waterfalls. The emotional cries to dad from the young men hanging on to small bent trees in the foamy water will never leave me.
    I felt the essence of nature, in this particular spot, calling me (although my wife would say I have hundreds of those spots). In this place I felt danger, adventure, beauty, peace, and unexplained emotion. What a place to contemplate the purposes of life, the essence of purpose, or whittle on a stick!
    I already know (Iam constantly reminded) that creation in nature does not care about you; only the creator does. I’m not sure why we feel close enough to God by hanging in and around His artwork. Nature does not help you when you are caught in the current and the canoe tips. If a sudden storm catches you in big water the white caps do not wait until you get to shore safely. The concept of “Mother Nature” is false; there is nothing personal there.

Mystical morning in Boundary Waters
    I love the adventure, beauty, the challenges of the wilderness,and all the stories that come from being there. I love the feelings that come from my “waterfall” places. But, it’s easy to be deceived by the illusion that nature can satisfy the craving for inner peace, much less impart us with any lasting peace beyond the moment.
    I visited this place again with another group of Boundary Waters Wilderness seekers. I stood in the same spot with the same emotions and more as I said to my Creator “Jesus, You really made a great spot here, thank you for letting me see and feel all this!” Nature didn’t care, but God was there with me as we were immersed in the majesy of the moment.
Loons enjoying the calm waters
 Gary D

   

>Best fishing tackle for Ice Pike By Gary Fultz

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Brass flutter spoon
    It cannot get any less complicated than a stick with some fishing line, leader, and a spoon hook. It’s all you need to catch northern pike through the ice. My brother and I have pulled out over 200 fish through the ice this winter alone, fishing mostly weekends.
    Is there some skill involved? yes. Does it help to put bait on the trebles of the spoon? sometimes. Are they always biting? What kind of a question is that? Let me put it this way; We usually out-fish the tip-ups with live bait and the dark houses with spears. In short, this is the deadliest ice fishing method I know of to get the most northern pike through the ice. 
    How about some testimonials of fishing this method. 

Hammered silver spoon
Magic spoon (Red white silver)
Magic spoon
Red and White spoon


    Sometimes we tip a treble hook with a minnow head or tail. A piece of pork rind works as long as the hooks are not cluttered with bait to impede  the action which drives the Pike crazy.
    Small quick jerks with make the spoon spin up and tip over sideways and then flutter down. The fluttering down seems to be a triggering mechanism that makes a curious pike hit. Most of our fishing is in four to six feet of water under the ice offering a good view of the fish coming in when the lake is clear. Sometimes the pike will drift in and out and watch the hook and finally swim away; come back a little while later and slam it at 90 mph. Other times they are wild and miss the hook several times before getting serious. It’s fun to watch even if all you have is an eight inch auger hole. Get in a shelter or chair with a covering and watch the action.
    A couple more things to remember; make sure the ice is safe to walk or drive on, dress warm, make the kids wear boots and not tennis shoes (I don’t know why they think they can stay warm this way), and bring a sled or bucket for all the fish. 
    Just remember the fishn is always good, sometimes the catching is as well!
                                    one last testimonial
caught on the pretty hook
Bronze flutter spoons
     They each caught fish that day. Now to fillet a Pike boneless…We will talk about that another time
Gary D
    For more information on the spoon hook click here
   

>A Case for…Outdoor Adventures By Gary Fultz

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                                    46″ pike… Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
    I’m a thrill seeker in the outdoor arena. Adventure stirs and wakens brain cells my teachers thought were missing. It’s not enough for me to to read adventure stories and fantasize surviving the “call of the wild” lifestyle; I want to live it and tell the stories. I love to take people with me and share the adventures as well. As competitive as I am I feel a greater glory when someone else catches the monster fish, takes a great picture of a cow moose with her calves, or gets to chase the bear away from the campsite. Raw rugged adventure… and it’s great! So let me build a case for seeking an outdoor adventure.

   
    I realized early on that everyone’s quest on these adventures I was leading was often quite different. Some wanted to see as much country as possible while others wanted a nice view and contemplation time. From spiritual revival to competitive fishing, the individual quests often form as the trip progresses.
   
     Some gain what they don’t seek
      Self confidence, outdoor chef training,  muscles, a reality check, and our smallness in an indifferent environment take some by surprise. Perfect weather and no mosquitoes can become killer storm and black fly hell in a matter of minutes. I have concluded one must die to become one with nature (dust to dust). Black bear often feel entitled to your camp food and may invite themselves at any time (my experience is they really dislike rocks thrown at them). No trip is even close to predictable…therefore…it’s an adventure! Why would anyone not do this?
  

    So why go to all the work of having a wilderness adventure?
    I realize some people have their adventures in the mall looking for deals, while others sense of adventure is on par with going to the other end of the hall for ice. The answer for me is a compilation of many things. I want to know myself when all pretense is stripped away, I want to know my creator and experience His living artwork, I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie (high on the Richter scale),  and I love $100 plates of food (trust me you would pay it) at the end of the day around the campfire.
Bottom line: These kind of adventures began to morph the boy into a man of character and a girl into a woman who can hold her own anywhere.
    Another Bottom line: Honesty
    That lake (15 portages and 35 miles in) you wanted to get to? No short cuts, or any other way to get there; you have to do the work to get to those lake trout. Forgot your matches? Oh well! Weatherman said five days no rain? So much for sleeping under the stars (it’s you and a zillion mosquitoes under the same canoe). You thought God was magically encountered in nature? Guess again…God is a person and not a rock, tree, beaver, or storm (a very good place to see his art work and experience Him in person however).

    Bonds: A worthwhile quest
    While nature works through a balance of give and take, people work better through relational bonds.
I’ve watch the father-son, husband-wife, family bonds grow. Poor relationships, selfish behavior, and personal discomfort bring out the worst and best in people. When the storm hits, when the wind blows high waves, when the bear walks into camp, people tend to work together. 
     There is plenty of talk time in the wilderness. plenty of bonding time for your relationships to grow.
Sitting around the camp fire one evening a teenager shared how she had met with God while sitting on a rock looking over the lake. She had never talked with God informally(and out loud) before. Another teen talked about getting to know his dad “I didn’t know my dad was so cool”! A dad gave his son a hug and said “son I’ve been protecting you too much, you are carrying the canoe tomorrow!”
    I leave you with one more reason for taking a wilderness adventure…

           Five minute exposure from an island in crooked lake BWCAW

Gary D
  
   



Food for Thought

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                               Scrambled eggs, coffee after a good Time with God by the fire this morning
I heard it….I heard it again…then again….
    How I start my day has become important to me. I have had to discipline myself to listen to all the voices vying for the days attention starting now. E-mails, weather reports, morning coffee, breakfast, and reading my bible jockey for position while I wander around in PJ’s or less wondering where to start.
Me first…
    As I sat up to the computer to read Kirsten Lamb’s Blog so I can learn how to blog.
Me first…Again..It was distinct and I didn’t need to look around. A couple of months earlier I had heard the same thing, same voice, same request, not urgent but a compelling…”Me First“.
    No coffee, no breakfast, or fire in the fireplace; just getting alone with the creator of the universe who whispers “Me First”. I have to admit the other voices are louder and more demanding. I guess I let them do that to me. So I read and wonder if God can communicate to me this morning. Does God need some backround music to set the tone? Do I need the backround music to hear God’s voice? “Me First”guess not!
    What do you do when life seems like a barren  wasteland or frozen lake…dead but for the springs?  Can I really hear Gods voice?

   I had been rereading the passage from last sunday’s sermon from Isaiah 55

Invitation to the Thirsty

 1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,                                      
   come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?                                     
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
   listen, that you may live….
    I never realized how many times we are told to listen and how many ways God talks to people. I am going to spend a season of time in study on the subject but I already get the sense that God feels we don’t listen very well. I guess the “listen, listen” is a clue. I feel like I’m a four year old being talked to.
    So this morning I listened, spent time with the amazing creator, talked a little myself, and then my parameters were reset for the day. Planning my next adventure fishing, reading and exploring the social networking world with the latest greatest book on the subject, and of course making a fine breakfast (pictured top still steaming hot).
    In what ways does God call you? Do you listen? Let me leave you with a song that often comes to my mind…Whatever it takes…Is quite a call…yet probably comes as a whisper.
    So find a spot, take a walk, get alone, listen for God’s voice in his recorded word, Listen for his voice in your busy world, Then invite Him into the rest of your day.
Gary D

>Day is Done by Gary Fultz

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                                                                                         Nice photo Hutch!

    A beautiful sunset marks the end of a perfect evening on the water. You shiver as the big Timbers start to moan at the end of the tamarack swamp nearby. It’s so still that you can hear your fingers squish a couple of big Minnesota  mosquitoes honing in on your face. Down the shoreline some type of animal is wading and splashing the water; probably a coon washing some clams, crayfish, and anything else edible. You long for one more cast with a spook in the reeds for that huge bass that swirls huge water as you drive away.
    Fisherman, adventurer, solitude seeker, beauty connoisseur, and gaggle of other descriptive words come to mind when the universe lines up for a perfect finish…and you are there.

    Some people are never there!

 It takes initiative and sometimes hard work to be in the sweet spot of your passions. I have it easy! I love adventure, wilderness solitude, on the spot breath taking scenery, and the competitive nature of the food gatherer. I hunt, fish, camp, winter camp, bring my camera, and drag a few people with me.  

   One month into 2011…Where have I been this year? Where am I going to be? Are my physical disabilities going to stop me or just modify how I get there? Am I going to just blog or have something to blog about? Well…so far so good! Just to start the year my lovely wife went out on the lake with me..several times! hence the picture.

    I’m thinking a good caption is “I out-fished him!” She is thinking…well she wouldn’t tell me what she was thinking but I know it wasn’t “I hope he teaches me how to clean fish“.
    Back to “being There“…It’s way more than chance as the movie suggests. There is something to Dina Craik’s quote as well “It’s never too late to be who you might have been”.
   Ahhh…We are back to fishing again aren’t we! We fish for goals, ways to accomplish goals, who we want to be, what we want to do.
I’m telling ya…Spend some time on the lake, Spend some time with God walking around in his artwork, set some goals that need a clear vision, good organization, and some steady work to obtain.
   If you want to just fish, I can make it happen…otherwise take some steps toward becoming who you want to be to get to where you want to go. I’m going to say this several more times…
    Take a walk
       have a talk
          get right
            stay tight…If you can do it alone it’s too small!

Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps
Here’s to walking on water…my sweet spot (Minnesota-February-with a jigging stick)

Who doin it?? What’s your ideal sweet spot?
Please make your comments below

Gary D
          

>Goin fishn…confessions by Gary Fultz

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I’m going fishing” It’s biblical you know...Peter said it a few days after Jesus was crucified. Personally I don’t need any excuse to make that kind of announcement in our house…Amen?
    We all go fishing in one way or another. It’s no different  illustration for our lives than the old “Scavenger hunt” so many youth groups do for a fun time. Are we not always looking for something…bigger? better? fun? challenging? learning? growing? outwitting the competition? enjoying the hunt? …we are fishing! Yes.. you tweeters and bloggers are fishing! (admit it).
    I am a very simple man and getting more adamant about it. Bought the sign and the T-shirt and thinking about the business…”Gone Fishn“.
    Some of us have passions that run deep. Mine do…just ask anyone who knows me (I have a list of those people and everyone else is stretching the truth!). Hi…ummm. I’m Gary and I like to fish.

 It’s taken 55 years to get towards the tipping point where I can sometimes say I am in control of my passions. I am driven toward but not driven by….Fishing, hunting, photography, wilderness adventure, story telling, and hobnobbing with people who do!
     I know that family, jobs, and other relationships are vitally important and it has been my  most important relationship (with my creator – Jesus Christ) which has led the quest to harness (not balance…that tower tipped a long time ago) and excel in the passions I was created to have.
    I have a few roads “not taken” in life but I have to say not as many as most people when it comes to adventure and risk taking ventures in the wild (I have been where that link takes you by the way).This brings to mind one last point before I head out of the house to go stand on the ice and fish with some guys who don’t know yet they need to go fishing today….Why take the easy route? After 55 trips to my beloved BWCAW area (these pictures were taken there), I have learned and relearned the greater value by far lies in going where most people will not (at least 55% of the time).

From this campsite…I have watched the sun rise
   
   
  fog lift…
sun turn to…rain…to sleet…to snow…from 60 degrees to 19 degrees in 48 hours. caught limits of wall hanging walleye, pike, and lake trout, watched a monster whitetail buck jump off this small rock cliff into the lake and swim between the islands and disappear. We were left with what-ever was chasing him. Around the corner a moose charged out of the brush and swam by one of our canoes. Nearby my brother caught and released a 36″ lake trout (his first ever and no camera), notched the paddle to measure later (I’m compiling 4 trips worth of stories from this campsite alone as it’s one of our favorite way-points to many other adventures). Oh…I forgot to mention that there is a little lake nearby with no trail to it (bull through the heavy brush with a canoe in tow) to find more big pike (our smallest is about 8 pounds so far) and another hair raising moose story for another day.
   My wife and I were on a couples trip when 2.5 million trees were downed in 100mph winds.  One of our teen trips rescued a drowning man in a rapids area, A guys trip helped 2 guys out who had stages of hypothermia, lost packs, and a holy (literally) canoe from trying a waterfall (they thought it was a rapids (deadly whoops…). A Youth Directors Training Trip was bestowed huge amounts of food. Seems a couple of guys who decided two days out of their 10 day trip was enough adventure (benefits of four inches of heavy snow mixed with surfers from California)….there I go… story telling again!
    My point is this…harness your passions to accomplish the things God has created you for. To know Him, acknowledge Him in all you do, who you are and who you are becoming, and help others in this adventurous journey we call Life. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the  life…”
    So now I’m Goin Fishn…gonna take somebody along…

you like trout?
Gary D

>Text or Tweet Me (Hezekiah 6:18)… social networking with God? By Gary Fultz

>          Text Me! (Hezekiah 6:18) YA right…go ahead look it up!
                                                                                                              Gray area here!

                                                   Where are you going with this Gary? I want to know now!
It’s all about communication and connecting right? Let’s face it; a whole lot of people send up quick (and sometimes often) prayers to God…about on the level of Tex-ting and Tweeting. The Bible does say “pray without ceasing…” and the every day – moment by moment prayers can not and will not always be all that deep. God really does want us to keep in touch with Him (listen as well) constantly. Yes I am advocating this level of prayer.
    Some will say “I want my relationship with God to be (and it should be) way more than that!”…Go for it!
Others need their fireside chats with God…all alone and contemplative… good to do when you can!
Then there are those who say “we need to listen” as well….It’s true!
    
Nothing we do can frighten God away 
We cannot impress Him either.
So first things first ….Take off the mask    

… And any other disguises
we might have in our closet.
It’s impossible to hide the real “US” from God!                         
Don’t give me that puzzled look…
Let’s talk!
On a child’s level…even better!

There that’s better.
   Take a walk
        Have a talk
             Get right
                 Stay tight

Gary D....Thanks for the flowers gran daughter!

    Add your thoughts on communication with our creator….I only scratched a couple of surfaces!


>Faith Fear and which to Feed by Gary Fultz

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                                                                                                                           Arizona  Picture By Cheryl

    Ahhh…mornings! What to wear, what to eat, who to call, what to read and write….My tone is easily set for the day by decisions before I’m really awake (it takes awhile). However…If I could watch a beautiful sunrise and then tackle the day with the faith of Abraham (go ahead…click and read it), I should be able to look at the right picture to give me the mood and attitude necessary for the day ahead. Need the eye of the Tiger for the day? Watch the Rocky video…listen to the music and you are set right? Hey…day 1..worked…day 2 worked till noon…day 3 not working….now depressed!
    “Feed your fears and your faith will starve…feed your faith and your fears will“. It’s one thing to design a pill for the day and quite another to develop a proper diet and exercise regarding faith and fear. Does my faith grow by watching the sun rise or by getting away into the remote wilderness (BWCAW)? I would like to think so…but then I know the creator. (Louie Giglio – Laminin).
How long did it take for Abraham to really believe and trust God? Quite a growing / learning curve wouldn’t you say? On the way he claimed his wife was his sister (fear of being killed) at least two times. No it didn’t happen overnight. Read about what is said about him “In hope beyond all hope“.
    The discipline to eat right, the right focus, fixation and finisher of faith verses fear is Jesus Christ himself.
    Yesterday a man at a Camp Lebanon – Mens Advance – came to me and told me his own story illustration
of a song I wrote and recorded (sang at camp) about Fixing My Eyes On Jesus Fixing My Eyes On Jesus. Out of ignorance and arrogance in his younger years he had attempted to drive through a blizzard on roads that were officially closed. As he drove through snow drifts and near zero visibility, the snow drifts became higher and the road ahead less and less visible until he was stopped and stranded. Now humbled and all will power gone he turned to pray. God could have left him there for a while or even a long while but He didn’t. A snow plow stopped behind him because he was blocking the road (good thing the driver saw him). He followed the flag on the back of the truck all the way through the storm. It was the only thing he could see. A few feet closer and he would hit the back of the truck and a few feet further back and he would lose sight of the flag and nothing else was visable. As long as he kept his eyes fixed on the flag…he was OK.

Hebrews12:1-2 is a conclusion for building true faith….way beyond sunrises, great videos, sermons, or any other pills we take to set our tone for the day.

                                                                                      Picture from a Kentucky vacation by Gary D

There is no substitute for building a personal relationship with the one who created us, redeemed us, and wants to spend 24/7 with us. We do this by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. So today (and ever after) lets feed our Faith and not our fears…and go beyond the pills!
Gary D


>whether or not report…Dangerous out there By Gary Fultz

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   The snow is deep here in northern Minnesota. The end of January and it’s supposed to be -7 degrees for a high. some will have -30 tonight. There is one snowbank high enough to climb onto the roof area of the house. The ladder is merely a convenience as one could jump into the snow off the roof anywhere around the house and not get hurt. I do suggest however landing flat so it’s possible to get back out of the hole in the snow. Might as well make a big one! I guess I’m remembering the time I tried to ski off the barn roof as a kid and somehow my skis pointed straight down into the snowbank. I was there till spring (seemed like) before I could undo all six straps of my army surplus cross country skis. Digging out with my mitted hands was the forerunner to the idea behind the fiber optic boring machines.
    lately I have had a hankering for grilled fish as I look out at the grill on the deck. I’ve put that on hold as the grill glares back at me squatting under the snow load. The other day as I looked out the window, the grill sent out a faint shiver and a small avalanche came off the top so there is only a couple feet of snow left. So I have unhooked the propane tank and it’s been quiet ever since
    The deer walk in snow to their shoulders, the grouse fly straight into the snow so it will cover them completely for warmth (their body heat makes an enclosed igloo in the snow), The wolves spend more time  howling a mournful wail that carries forever in the crisp air, and the bear are sleeping it all off under this huge layer of snow insulation. The fish slow down as it’s very dark under the layers of ice, slush-water on the ice (the snow-load weighs down the ice and the lake floods water on top of the ice), and then a blanket of snow that insulates even the slush-water from freezing. Water-plants die and instead of emitting oxygen they decompose and use up the oxygen. Some of the shallower lakes will not sustain life unless we get a good thaw in the next few weeks. Life, death, and danger do not seem to be optional in this world.
        The temperature is dropping and the sun is shining as bright as it ever gets. The snow merely reflects all the heat and light back into outer space. It’s the only way the snow can conquer the sun. Did you know it’s possible to be getting a winter sunburn and frostbite at the same time with exposed skin in these conditions? How strange, wonderful, and creative is the creator. How dangerous to ignore the reflections of truth that nature projects to those who would see and understand. If we think this weather is dangerous…How much more dangerous to be on the wrong side of the creator God?

This owl was not about to leave his kill…After the snow storms mice are under the snow!

    So I leave you with this tidbit from the penman who experienced another side of God “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)”.
   God invites us in from the cold to sit by the fire. It’s not a predator–prey relationship. Some of us are like the struggling rabbits in the snow and leery of anything that moves (for good reason). God loves us very much so set aside your fears and trust His love…Yes it’s as simple as that! 
Gary D

   

   

>T-Shirt Days…Reeling in My purpose by Gary Fultz

>    My T-shirts have upstaged me. Try as I might in this super creative brain of mine to come up with a catchy life mission statement in a few words…My T-shirt motto’s are ahead of me 6-zip. “When the going gets tough…the tough go fishing”…Goal…Goal…Goal…Yes it’s exciting! Who needs a therapist when I have THE T-Shirt; After all.. “Work is for people who don’t fish”…Mmm..I have a job interview coming up…what to wear..what to ware

ALL I NEED TO KNOW FROM LIFE I LEARNED FROM FISHING: 1. There is no such thing as too much equipment.2. When in doubt, exaggerate. ………………………… 3. Even the best lines get weak after they have been used a few times. 4. Sometimes you really have to squirm to get off the hook. 5. The fishing is always better on the other side of the lake.                                     6. Good things come to those who wade.

    I know…I really have to work on my brains default system. Maybe my philosophy of life gained from my teen Sage…is all wrong??? There I go doubting myself again. At this rate I’ll never get a bigger boat.
    So…I call these days when I have trouble getting my “out of the box thinking” going…T-Shirt days.
That pretty much says it all…actually go to the link and see the picture…listen to a few sentences….and it will drive you to your passion quickly…Quit Wishin
                                                        Do a Google search
                                                            Put on the T-Shirt 
                                                                Get a job!

    


        Whoa Gary…Reel? Real? Really? For Real? I can’t focus here and the laptop is slow in the fish house!
               T-Shirt says…”A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work!                            

            Coming up with this Life Mission stuff is like walking on watereasy when the conditions are right!…Ha!             
               Gary D