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Month: December 2016

I just want to go camping and forget my Adult Problems!!

I just want to go camping and forget my Adult Problems!!

Going for our family walk on a cold night

                   We have been blogging for almost a year now. I started out thinking that this was the silver bullet for all the things going wrong in my
life. My job was boring and driving me crazy every day! My property was not living up to the potential that I had thought it should and that was
frustrating. Probably the worst thing was that I felt so overwhelmed that I was either pulling away from my family or taking out my frustrations on
them, and that was causing loss on such a deep level. We were on a slow descent into a living hell and I knew it and couldn’t stop it; or so I
thought. For me, it was bad because no amount of hunting, camping and fishing could help me conquer the frustrating situations. It would lessen the
pain for a small amount of time, but it wasn’t taking it away like I thought it should. Our title for this post has been popping up all over my social
sites and while I believe that spending time in the outdoors has its perks and even health benefits, it can never fully heals your soul.

                I had a remarkable talent for looking at the heights from where I thought we had fallen from and wondered how I could have lived through it at all. But not being grateful for being alive, I only longed for the days when I thought that I had it all. And so I started this blog, more as a way to
express some of my doubts and failings from our camping trips, but more about the underlying problems we had found ourselves in. Hobbies can only help you to focus on your current situations and sometimes not very well if you don’t take the time to focus on what’s really going on. I was trying to add more and more hobbies to fill my time; fly tying, playing the guitar, camping, woodworking …… And then, the move happened! I finally got to be close to the river and we were down there a lot and we still have been so glad that we did it. It had to be a God thing that it happened, because our house sold in 12 days! Plus the house we bought had just come on the market and we were so lucky to get it and finalized everything on the same day, selling our house and buying the new one.

              Our aim was to make Eli’s life easier by having friends that he would go to school with, could attend church with, and see in our daily
lives. We wanted a good school district and the best for our son. Good aim? I still believe that it was a good move. It has freed up the time to
really focus on our underlying problems, let us have time to come together as a family. And what was the underlying problem? There were many, but the one that I want to focus on is materialism. How does this come together with fishing and camping? Our trip this summer made me realize that we have a ton of gear, sometimes over-abundance. Why does camping truly need that much stuff to make it enjoyable? Truth is that it doesn’t. We used some things heavily and relied on them when it poured ie) good water-proofed tent, shoes and EZ up! Tarps were a must, food and cooler were essential as were the water containers and camp stove. What were the things we didn’t need? All the toys for the boys!!! I read a snippet that said that kids nowadays have as many as 268 per child!!! Did you get that number? 268 is the average, which means some kids have more than that. It went on to say that a child plays with 12 per day on average. Why do we have so many things then? It’s our need for providing more than what we had or thought we had as kids.

                Christmas has become focused on what we can give our children, gift-wise. When really all we need to pass down is our knowledge about what we have. I really didn’t have 268 toys when I was growing up. I had the outdoors. I spent a lot of time in the woods behind our house, spent time with our dogs in the yard. I had a father who was interested more in what he could get out of us kids than what he could put into us. It’s not his fault so much as it was his way. His father was worse and only had kids to help him amass what he thought he needed. The problem was that he let things rot away rather than use them. My favorite memories of spending time at my Grandpa’s were riding tractors that hadn’t been running in years and that wouldn’t run even after he was gone. So much of what he thought he needed for running his farm; we threw into a bonfire when he moved from one farm to another about 8 years before his death. Then there was another bonfire when he died. Why did he think he needed so much? He had lived through the Great Depression era and he saved things that he had been without during that time thinking that his kids might need it just in case. I think he was the original Boy Scout who came up with the motto; Be Prepared! I have been gifted 2 little special boys who are looking to me to prepare them for life and we all have this need to provide for them with material needs, our generation probably more than any other on the planet before us. I take my responsibility seriously and I want to take good care of my sons, but just like camping/fishing/hunting there is gear that can be left at home and the trip is just as memorable and special than if you had toted it along and made yourself more weary by having it. I have finally peeled back the layers of myself to find that I don’t need so much to enjoy my family. I really need only them.

              We all want the best for our children and are just coming to the realization that we can’t just hand them all they need for life.Finding out
that we can’t just ignore our problems or gloss them over with gifts is one of life’s lessons that is hardest learned, but so well worth the time it
takes to achieve. Our kids have to work for it just like we did, maybe not quite as hard for some as others, but hopefully they can appreciate the
climb, the sacrifices that we have made for them and give some of their abundance back. To those that haven’t found your joy in the outdoor world
that I do, meet up with someone and find out why we are so crazy about life in the wild. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, peace be unto all
who haven’t found HIM yet!

What Fish and Fishing teaches us about life – Part 2

What Fish and Fishing teaches us about life – Part 2

Scrolling through friends’ posts on Facebook, I came across one that peaked my interest. My friend relayed a story from their point of view that had to do with memories of their father. Apparently, the stories hit a nerve with this friend’s family because they took it wrong. What strong emotions our family elicits!

I don’t have a strong relationship with my biologic family; not one like I want for Jenny and the boys and I. I feel like a fish egg. I was planted on a sandy-bottomed river only to be left behind by parents who had their own plans for their lives. Left to my own life, I have had people describe my upbringing as being raised by wolves. I don’t know what that means because wolves stick together in their pack. I got used to providing sustenance for adults (only the first fish metaphor); I brought home groceries a lot after I took my first job. This may seem like paying my way, but I felt like it took advantage of my nature (my responsibility-for-the-world complex). Maybe my feelings were taken out of context just like my friends’, but had my family acted more like a family then I wouldn’t have felt like this.

Maybe if we had spent more time together, I wouldn’t have felt like I was swimming upstream all my adult life (Couldn’t help it). It’s these facts that make me want to spend an over-exaggerated amount of time with my kids. Hopefully, if we spend so much time together, then they will gloss over the parts that I wasn’t so happy that my kindergartener made the trip to the principal’s office 3 times in one day! Maybe they’ll look back at their lives and feel the same feelings that I feel about the people who stepped into the hole that my family left. There were so many people, who had an influence on my life that cannot be denied, and if they had not, I would not be the man that I am today. My “Adoptive” family made it possible for me to deal with the tough situations that appeared for newlyweds, who stepped it up and taught me the value of being at the river, and the ones who were with me when I ran into the dam instead of going over it (Keep going or is it cheesy now). As my friend Jake tells me when things get rough, “We may have to kick our shoes off and dig in with our toenails so we can gain inches, but we will get forward progress. We may not gain yards, but forward progress is what we’re going to achieve together.”

So what has this got to do with fish? Fish swim upstream better when they have someone beside them (and in front of them and behind them) to help push them up the current. We face life better when we have a support system to beat the currents of our life. Family is important and this time of the year brings lots of chaos, but we all need to remember our family comes first. Life can throw all kinds of trash down the river, but if we have a strong family, we can weather whatever comes. Make time to get outdoors and appreciate what God has given to us. May the season be good to all. Merry Christmas and peace be to all this holiday season.