On the limb above me he chattered. I was in complete camouflage with a face mask and gloves, but he knew I didn’t belong. I enjoyed our conversation, but I think he was displeased. It was a simple thing, but a treasure.
There are often treasures in life that have very little monetary value but warm a heart and bring a smile. I have been reading of becoming more aware of them through the writings of Ann Voskamp. I must admit I play the part of the squirrel far too often. I chatter and moan about the interruptions that take up my world. Things that are out of place and I don’t think belong are an irritation and I bristle at the thought of having to put up with them.
I ask forgiveness endlessly for my chatter in the face of such blessings. One of the great values of hunting for me is that it leads me into a place where I can see treasures, but that I can’t talk or they will disappear. I sat still recently for over two hours while hen turkeys moved through and even napped within a few feet of my location.
I get paid for talking in part, but I remind people that preachers are not paid for overtime especially at noon on Sunday. Talking when there should be stillness is like the pig with the gold ring. Whatever the beauty that could be the smell prevents the seeing. Words can stink even when they are true. They tend to spoil and rot when piled up needlessly.
These are the words that get in the way of hearing God. They can echo so loud that one can’t hear the whisper of the near God. God’s words are so valuable that sometimes He doesn’t repeat them for the noisy soul. Noise is often the byproduct of the heart that is troubled with life’s challenges.
David was fleeing Jerusalem with Absalom closing in to take over the city. All David’s men are noisy, but somehow David’s soul is still. The catatonic scenes rise in volume until Shimei is shown dusting David with rock and cursing. Enough shout David’s men, but David calm still speaks, “It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good” (2 Sam 16.12).
Clearing the noise both outside and from within is not an easy task. It is a discipline that many think is unnecessary or impossible. I have not perfected it, but I am learning to admire it. I think its admiration is part of its learning. The strange function is that silence to the noise does not yield immediate answers.
Truth is this, some things learned cannot be taught, but are learned only by experience. My children teach me this all the time. I see them doing things I used to do, but no longer, and I am glad, but I cannot give them a reason. I am not frustrated by this. I understand now better the value of aging.
Perhaps we can find stillness in more moments by listening with more than just our ears but even our souls. It is scary to be this vulnerable with God on the loose. Yet, I am sure He can be trusted to speak what we really need to hear.
Posted in Hunting, The wonders of creation, Walking with God | Tagged 2 Samuel 16:12, Ann Voskamp, being quiet, hearing God, listening | Leave a Comment »
Sunday afternoon, Brad and I went to collect some firewood. The winter just doesn’t want to give up. With a bed full of wood we drive around just to see if there are any birds out. A large group of toms run from the field into the pasture that I have permission to hunt. I look at my watch and tell Brad, “I’m going to be here tomorrow.”
Daybreak I am watching a group of three tom’s strut, but I can’t wait as Leon is heading out of town and I want to see him. I’m planning on going to Kelly’s this afternoon, but the clock won’t move fast enough. It is only 11, but maybe they will be there early. I go ahead and drive out to where we saw the birds yesterday. I put out a full flock of birds, a tom, a jake and two hens. Just before noon a hen yelps behind me and walks through the decoys and on out to the south. Maybe she will bring in the rest of the birds. A half hour later she returns, and moves in close. Not more than a few feet from me but I can’t see her behind a limb that is hanging from the fallen tree that is serving as my backstop. I finally get my head twisted around and I can see her. She is laying down taking a nap about 10 feet from where I am uncomfortably watching. I slowly move to a slightly better stance and hear another bird behind me. It’s a second hen and she too moves into the 10-20 foot range and takes a nap with the other bird. It’s about 1:30.
My rear end is about as stiff as can be and it’s been over an hour. I check my phone it’s 2:45. I’m close to paralyzed. I p
op a knuckle and the birds stand at attention. After about ten minutes they begin to calm back down, but I have to move or I am going to die. My leg spasms from a cramp, and the birds crane their necks to get a better look. They start to cluck. I fear I am busted after over 2 hours of stillness. Behind me I hear a high pitched “put, put, put”. I groan another hen. But alas a flash of black moves to my left peripheral. A
nice tom is strutted up next to the decoy. I decide to just swing and shoot before the hens see me. Down he goes and I struggle to my feet with a frozen knee and the other leg asleep. I never even see which direction the hens went, but I role over the tom to see a great pair of spurs. It takes more time to get the blood back into my limbs then it does to gather the decoys, but I have the finest trophy yet in my career.
24 lbs 6 oz, 10 1/2 beard, & 3 inchs of spurs total up to 75.375 point tropy
Posted in Hunting, Turkey Hunting | Tagged Buffalo Creek Calls, Kansas Hunting, turkey | Leave a Comment »
now that is a great word. It is the central word of the Christian hope and message. Jesus resurrected from the grave. More importantly he validated God’s promise of complete forgiveness.
Resurrection is used to describe many things, but really only one resurrection has ever truly occurred. Back from the grave, buried, bundled, and with a boulder guarding the entrance, Christ explodes the power of death and comes forth. His disciples can’t believe it, Mary is confused, the Jews are making up stories, and the Romans are embarrassed. It all is way outside of anyone’s plans or imagination.
Two thousand years softens the force of the word, but not the reality. Many today think it myth or legend. Most just ignore it as even a possibility. Yet, consider if Christ did, if this Jesus man really did, if all those Old Testament statements are true, if the Apostle died believing with all they had what does this mean for us? Isn’t the entire rulebook for life altered if Jesus arose! How can anyone just walk away from the implicit implications toward their own destiny? I, YOU, anyone can know they stand before God as forgiven.
The empty tomb fills my mind with possibility. What is my possession? What is my response? What is my direction? What is my expectation? Since Christ is Risen my hope, your hope, our hope is as secure as anything could ever be. Believe it. I said BELIEVE IT. Live it, LIVE IT, LIVE IT!!
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Col. 3:1–3 (ESV)
Saints at Rock Creek Bible Church gather for an Easter Sunrise service.
Posted in Walking with God | Tagged Colossians 3:1-3, forgiveness, hope, Jesus, Living, Resurrection | Leave a Comment »
Lance Armstrong cheated. Nobody made the hall of fame for this year in baseball. P.E.D’s are they ruining sports? Cheaters abound. Some even suspect that Chip Kelly’s departure from Oregon to the N.F.L. is related to coming NCAA actions against Oregon. Wow, when will it stop? Someone last night on sports radio said to radio host Rod Dibble: “Just nail them all to a cross.” I paused as I thought about the context to that idea.
I think most people associate Jesus with being the one person by name that they could recall was nailed to a cross. I was under the impression that most considered him a scape goat to the charges by now. The reason he was nailed to the cross could be described as a vindictive act by harsh critics that couldn’t win the verbal arguments so they resorted to mob actions backed up by weak politicians.
The contemplative soul would have to ask if at some level this is not taking place today as well. Drugs and addictions are common place within culture now more than perhaps at any other time in America’s history. Substances previously thought dangerous are being adopted as legal in several states. Yet, we seem eager to hold these “role models” to a standard that many in their own private lives do not adhere.
Scape goats swing bats and ride bicycles these days. What is amazing is any reference to the need for moral accountability to the Supreme is met with harsh criticism. In a day when all kinds of acts are caught on film (even the violence of pushing someone into a train) the thought of God’s eyes watching over us is more than we want to allow in the public debate.
Someone should be nailed to a cross. Someone needs to be held accountable. That someone is you. That someone is me. I am not ready to allow just anyone to see all that is going on in the hidden areas of my soul are you? Think twice before you arrogantly say, “I’ve got nothing to hide!” Someone really does need to be nailed to a cross for us. Fortunately, someone has been.
That really is the message of the cross: That when you come to realize your true guilt you may find a pardon. Hear this story in one sentence of a man in need: “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
With the nails in my hand I come to a cross bent in exhaustion by my failures, sin, excuses and debt. I lay down to die, and a stranger takes the nails and asks for my place. I look in his eyes and discover that one who I have tried in vain to blame for all my problems is actually standing before me ready to be the answer to my greatest need. God in Christ bears the nails, the cross and the shame. It is a gift to the one tired of their own cheating ways.
Posted in Sports, Walking with God | Tagged Cheaters, Cheating, Chip Kelly, cross, Lance Armstrong, MLB, NCAA, NFL, PED's | Leave a Comment »
According to the game camera the old toms were coming by this opening about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s what O.B. told me. The timer wasn’t set correctly, but it was close enough for a try. I put away my things and headed out as soon as I could that direction the clock read 2 in my truck and it was a twenty minute drive.
In the rush to leave the home, I had forgotten my Walker Game Ears, binoculars and hunting tags. At least I had shells. Then a quick glance down at the truck revealed the flat tire. It would need changed, and hopefully I would be back before dark. I have learned sometimes a whole lot of bad luck adds up to good luck.
I moved in quickly it was now 2:30 PM and I really wasn’t sure from what direction the birds came. Above the area where the camera had been I see what appears to be several birds on the opposite side of the field. If I had my binoculars I could tell better what I was seeing. I crawl the rest of the way in not sure if that was the big toms or not.
Now that I am in the location that O.B. recommended I am trying to find the exact spot that he mentioned, but I can’t be too particular because that may be birds on the other edge of the field. Did I say that I left my binoculars behind. I make my first call on the slate call that Ryan gave to me. There they go to my south and west three big black spots moving fast on the other side of the timber line. Not sure if they are moving in or away, but as fast as they are moving something scared them. Probably me from when I crawled in and didn’t check the end of the field close enough.
The woods go quite now. It is the quite you have when you know something is close, but you just haven’t spotted it yet. There it is a doe. Probably a yearling. She is at the corn. Directly behind the thicket that I thought would give me some good coverage. I don’t have a shot. No big deal with the doe, but I can guarantee that those birds if they show up are going straight to the corn that is still there. The better part of 45 minutes she walks around and inspects the entire opening. It sure helps a guy to stay still when a deer is close by checking out everything. As soon as she leaves I am going to adjust my spot to be able to shoot toward where she has been. Finally she moves off into the brush and I think I can swing around to a bit better position.
Not so fast there was a cluck and now into the meadow comes two long beard toms. If they move about twenty yards east and I won’t be able to shoot at them. That is exactly where they are going, to the very spot where the deer had been, just like I suspected. I think the lead bird is in range and I have a good look at his beard. I let my first shot go. He staggers and drops, the other bird is there too. I aim and shot, but miss. He is directly in the sunlight and my shot really wasn’t a very good effort. The first bird now is up and starting to run. I shoot again and he takes the air. At the top of the trees he folds his wings and drops. I am going to need to run him down.
I reach the other side of the field where he is settling into the bottom of the dry creek bed. I take my last shot, a very hurried effort, and clean miss him. He starts to run. I am not more than twenty yards from him, and it is clear that he is not going to go far. I make the dash to grab him and trip over a tree limb. The second sprint meets with a great deal more success, and I have him in hand and with a quick flip am able to ring his neck. I gather back to my original position and realize that I am missing my cell phone. Back to the creek and I find it where I fell down.
Twenty minutes later back at the truck I start the work of changing my flat still no cell tower or I would have asked O.B. to come help. Finally with tire changed and the sun well down over the horizon, I show my prize to O.B. and then later Sean Kahler. Number 80 with only one tag left for this year. With any “luck” I’ll be able to fill it too!
20 lbs, 11″ beard, 3/4 spurs.
Posted in Hunting, Turkey Hunting | 1 Comment »
Driving along the highway I’d seen the house before and wondered exactly who might live there. Strange, but I discovered now that I’ve actually known the family living there for quite some time. Convenience made it possible now that I can stop and have a short visit.
Resting in the living room, visiting with them all the youngest of the family had a case on the floor. I wasn’t sure if it was for toys or what but upon inspection became clear the case held a violin. Mother asked son if he wanted to play and of course he did. So without much tuning we were all honored to listen.
Now with the air tuned to music another child played the piano and dad the guitar. I was not a member of the family but felt as though I was getting a special view of their love and acceptance. It was pure simple and beautiful.
As I traveled home I wondered if ever the services of the church I attend are as attractive. Maybe not to those that attend, but perhaps they are to God. He listens with a little different ear than some of us do.
His ears responded to the call of a cross. He can hear the sound of the little lamb lost deep in the woods. He can discern the whispers of a prayer from the far corner. He hears and understands what no one else can.
I’m glad it’s true because often I don’t know how to pray, but He hears it as it should’ve been said. Since he is my father, he’s trying to teach me to listen in the same way. I sometimes think I’m learning but I do know that I still have much to learn. Thank you today for hearing me Lord. Help me to hear others.
Posted in Friends, Walking with God | Tagged family, music, Thanksgiving | 1 Comment »
Sometimes an age old saying needs to be rewritten. I walked into a favorite hunting spot only to hear the familiar sounds of birds in the midst of a bickering match. I looked carefully in every direction before taking the next step only to see the two going at it 30 or so yards in front of my position. There is no way they weren’t going to see me there and I needed to get down but there was nothing around me that was remotely suitable. So I stood as still as possible. A third and fourth bird joined in the fray and finally one of them spotted me and they all resumed their discussions in the greater privacy of the adjacent timber.
I determined to move to a tree about ten yards away as carefully as possible and then see if the flock of jakes would return for a late afternoon stroll before heading up to the roost tree that was behind me only a few yards. As I tried to negotiate the short distance the birds clucked and yelped from what couldn’t have been more than fifty yards. I slowly made my way on my knees using a ditch for cover until I finally settled comfortably at the base of the tall cottonwood with buck brush to my side and the north fence not more than 10 feet. The birds were to the west clucking occasionally, and scratching in the leaves.
A clear yelp echoed through the timber not long after I had settled in with a mouth call resting on my tongue and my shotgun on my knees. Movement to the south could it be another bird coming to join the flock west and north? No, a buck with a rootbeer float for a beard. Looks like he had been busy and was now moving along the pond dam going west. A squirrel moved along the limbs above me not more than a ten feet away. He snacked on a nut while trying to discern exactly what I was. I was comfortable and still and it looked like I might need to be for some time as the sun continued it journey west and began to turn yellow for the descent to sunset.
With a few light clucks the birds announced their intention to move and I came to full alert knowing that soon they could reenter the pasture where I had first seen them. On cue they moved into the field, but all were shielded by a fallen tree, plus there was the hope in my mind for a larger older tom, but no only 5 jakes, and now they were moving west up the hill and well out of range.
Since the day will be over within the hour, and the point of hunting is to have some fun, I just cutt into the group and faded off with a softening yelp. The birds stop half way up the hill and look back. A cluck and a short cutt, and now they are heading down the hill in a lopping jog. They moved out into the pasture still moving down, but now drifting more toward the south. Perhaps they’re in range. Anyhow they have stopped moving and stand erect looking my way. Without much more thought I take a shot and drop the middle bird. The other four jump and run in circles before settling down. I shot again, but miss, and then again with the same result. One of the birds runs south, another back toward the timber, but one of them heads my way in a gallop. I’m on him with the one shell I have left, but want to wait until he stops to be sure I don’t miss. At about twenty yards he starts flying straight at my position still. At less than 5 yards I either have to shoot him or he’ll be by me and into the timber. I take a quick shot.
The bird hits the branches of the bush next that is spread above my head as well, and as he falls he half hits me, and the ground by my side, Kamakazi! Thrashing there on top of me and my gun is empty. I’m defenseless, but I don’t think he is going anywhere soon. I later discover that the blast has removed his beard (rats!). The other birds are gone except for the first one I shot, so I count the steps going out toward him. At fifty I pause and look. I’m not sure if I am halfway to him yet. Another forty-five strides until I am beside the jake, and he has still not moved an inch. Over ninety yards, and five feet, my longest and shortest kills ever both within 5 seconds of each other. A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand.
The left bird at 90 yards, the right one at 5 feet.
Posted in Hunting, Turkey Hunting | Tagged fall turkey hunting, Kansas Hunting, wild turkey | 1 Comment »