Sunday, August 26, 2007

Answering The Call

Next Thursday the millions of stars from the night will slowly give way to the hues of the morning light. At first will be shades of blues and violets followed by reds and yellows of the dawn over the Cabinet Mountains of northern Idaho. As this is occurring, I will be descending 1000 feet down a mountain side into the wilds of elk country. I will travel past the tall spruce that stand as sentinels to God, through red huckleberry brush and around mountain ash bushes laden with bright orange berries. All my senses will be an alert as I may not be the only predator there. The area is home to black and grizzly bears , mountain lions , and the newly arrived predator- the wolf. Where the mountain side meets the tangle of the awful alder brush is the beginning of a small stream . I will quietly stop in some cover and cow call to see if there is a bull in the area that would be using the headwaters for his muddy wallow. If need be I may also grunt and squeal at him to challenge his authority over this area. I'm hoping he answers the call. I wait now in great anticipation.

As I thought about this opening day for elk hunting, I was reminded how God asks us to answer the call. Jesus said He waits at the door and knocks. What Door? I have never heard him knock on my front house door. No, He knocks at the door to our hearts. That can be frightening to most people. A few months ago, God came to me in a very audible way and told me to start Into The Wild Ministries. Not only that, He told me to go register it on the web. Now me of little faith tried to tell Him the name would surely be taken. So I searched for Into The Wild and yes it was already registered. I said " See God , I told you ." Then HE said " Put Ministries with it." Guess what, it worked! I don't know where His call is going to lead me but I know it will be an exciting journey. He has put me in touch with people across this nation and some in far off lands in just a short time. Just prior to His beckoning, I said that I would never write a blog. He must have laughed over that one.

It is important that we listen for His call and often that faint knock on the door to our hearts. He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth but He wants us to walk with Him and be His friend. That is absolutely awesome! He can use YOU, will you let Him? Remember Philippians4:13

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Celebrating Forty Two Years

Ardella and I celebrated our forty second anniversary yesterday , a little different than most couples. Some would opt for a cruise or an exotic get away but not us. We went to the mountains Monday evening and came back last night because I had a tooth extracted this morning. No I'm not in pain, not at the moment anyway.

We went to scout for my archery elk season which starts August 30. On Monday evening we were first rewarded by seeing three does and a short time later two yearling bucks. One had a weird rack. We drove up an old road to look for elk and as we rounded the curve , a huge buck stood feeding about 100 yards away. He did not stay there very long but was nice to see him. Later I got out of the truck to peek over a hill and there was a cow and calf elk feeding up an old road so I snuck back to the truck and shortly they appeared on the hillside. The calf probably weighed 175 pounds but still wanted to nurse from mom. The cow acted like it's nursing days are numbered. Now that cow is safe with me as I won't shoot her when she has a calf but I suspected she was not alone. The next morning we went back to see if there were other elk below the hill and yes they had feed on various plants all night. It had just rained so the tracks were fresh. I tried to find the their trail but it looked like those elk flew in and ate and left the same way. There is a brushy old clearcut and some dark timber to the north but I could not find the trail. So we started building a ground blind in an old slash pile but found out it was home to some unfriendly yellow jackets so we moved up the hill to a small bushy hemlock tree. Just behind the tree was a stump for setting and it is only about 20 yards from their trail. We took some camo cloth and draped it around the tree and across some logs so it will hide me pretty good. Then we took old branches and stuck them behind to hide my silhouette. I know there will be a bull with those cows soon.

Later we went on another walk up to a big rock where we could see for miles. Wow , God made some beautiful country in north Idaho! Even Sadie seemed to enjoy the view from the rock. We also found where another small herd of elk had fed the night before. This time I found their trail that came out of heavy timber at the top of a clearcut. These are nonflying elk.

We spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing. I'm very fortunate to have a wife that enjoys the outdoors as much as I do. She has put up with my short cuts and wild adventures all these years. She is also my favorite hunting partner so I hope she bags that big buck.

Thanks Dear for putting up with me and for our two wonderful daughters.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blessings From The Heart

Last weekend Ardella and I had a booth at the Arts and Craft Fair at the city beach. We saw many old friends and customers and met some new friends through our art work. We were amazed at the number of people that have purchased our birds and it was nice to hear how they enjoy them in their homes.

We had a friend from Libby, Montana stay with us and it was nice to visit with her . Another couple from Libby were at the show with their beautiful handmade rockers. They are built to last generations and are so comfortable.

The biggest surprise came on Sunday morning when we had a lull in activity. I gazed across the lawn and saw a woman smiling and waving at me. It was Lisa ,a dear friend and former neighbor whom we haven't seen in over ten years. She ran across the lawn and gave me a big hug. As the excitement calmed down some I noticed a pretty young woman standing at her side. The eyes and smile were familiar even though she was about three or four when I last saw her. It was Kia , Lisa's daughter. Ardella soon joined us and the hugging was repeated.

I worked five falls in Alaska for Justin, Lisa's husband. Justin is a master outdoors man and owns a fishing lodge and hunting service in southwest Alaska. He is the best! We became friends with them when they moved to our neighborhood ; actually more like family than friends. They are great people and when they lived here their boy and girl were quite young and we would babysit them so the parents could have break once in a while. We had many fun times with the children. My favorite was draping blankets over the furniture to make an Alaskan camp and then we would hunt bears, caribou, and moose. Of course we always got our game.

We started reminiscing about the past . Kia has always been special to us ; it was more than those big dark eyes and joyful presence. Kia was born with a hole in her little heart and when she was about three the surgeons scheduled an operation to repair it. I remember the day like it was just yesterday. I went to the hospital to be with Justin and Lisa. We were all pretty quiet and the concern for this little girl wore on all of us. I remember praying with them for God to guide the doctors hands so this little angel could live a normal life. It seemed an eternity before the doctor appeared and the room went very silent. We heard " She is going to be okay." The next thing we knew was Lisa's legs were starting to buckle so we helped her sit down and absorb the good news. I went home and Ardella and I came back two days later to see Kia. I had visions of a little girl in bed with tubes and monitors attached to her. We were very surprised to see Kia setting on the edge of her bed wildly swinging her legs in and out and that big smile had returned. She immediately asked us to take her up a few floors to the nursery so she could see the babies. Lisa said it was okay so Ardella and I went, each holding Kia's hands as she excitedly walked down the hall toward the elevator. We couldn't believe this little girl had just under gone such a serious surgery. It was truly a day of joy.

Shortly after that our friends moved and we were not to see Kia for over ten years. On Sunday , Ardella explained it best to Kia. Ardella said" Honey, you are more than a memory, you are and always will be in our hearts." A heart blessing another heart; just how God would want it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What's In Your Pack ?

The other day I took my hunting pack apart to see what needs added for elk hunting which starts August 30. I try to carry enough to stay in the woods overnight in case I have to. Yet at the same time I don't want much extra weight either. Here are a few things in my hunting pack: two flashlights and extra batteries, game bags, extra knife, knife sharpener, Gerber hatchet, folding saw, compass, GPS unit(new this year), lighter, game calls, scent, allergy pills( for bee stings),toilet paper, flagging ribbon,space blanket, extra socks and gloves,and hunting license and tags. I also will have food and water and a jacket or wool shirt tied to the outside of the pack. Binoculars will always be worn around my neck and on my belt will be a favorite hunting knife and pepper spray in case I run into a grizzly bear.

A rigid framed pack will be left in the pickup in case I need to transport meat. I recently tallied all the bears, elk, moose, deer, and caribou that I have packed out for myself and other people over the years. The sum is around 30,000 pounds! No wonder my back aches. Some packs were a light load and others a big burden over difficult terrain. One of the worst packs was a bull elk Ardella shot across a canyon and took three days to get it out. It was so steep that I lost my footing on the first pack and quickly threw off the pack with an elk quarter which bounced down the slope into the creek bottom about two hundred yards away. More about that elk hunt in a later blog.

Some times people carry heavy burdens due to what comes along in life. Some of these burdens we cause ourselves , others just catch us off guard. Luke 11: 28 - 30 tells us Jesus is ready to carry our burdens for us. He tells us in Him we can find rest for our souls. I find that very comforting that we have a Lord and Savior who takes on our burdens. It means He loves us and wants to help us through all our trials and heavy loads. The more I turn over to Him the better my life goes. So if you are carrying a heavy load, why not turn it over to Jesus and walk with him and get refreshed.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Training A Child

Sometimes simple lessons on life happen in nature and once in a while I'm fortunate to observe them. Yesterday I was tractor mowing a three acre field for a lady northeast of Sandpoint. Her property is in the Selle valley which used to be the farming area of the county. Now it is mostly small acreages with a few farms and horse ranches. There was a harvested hayfield just north of the area I was mowing. I noticed an adult red tail hawk in a cottonwood tree in the fence line and a juvenile hawk about seventy yards away in another tree. I saw the adult hawk launch into the air and it glided without a wing beat over the field ,slowly descending toward the ground. When it was about six feet from the ground it folded it's wings and landed on an unsuspecting mouse. The young hawk immediately flew down and landed about thirty feet away from it's parent. Soon the adult picked up the mouse and flew upward and the youngster also took to the air. The parent flew toward the young hawk and when they were a few feet apart it released the dead mouse which fell to the ground. The young hawk quickly dove down and landed on the mouse. It then ate the poor critter while the parent went back to a nearby tree. Now, the older hawk could have just given the juvenile the mouse on the ground but did not because the youngster needs to learn how to hunt mice and catch them if it is going to survive on it's own. I have observed hawks all my life but had never seen this training lesson before. I thanked God for what I had just seen.

Proverbs 22:6 says Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. God tells us to train our children right and they will grow up and remember their upbringing. Parents and grandparents have a big responsibility to instruct the children in a way pleasing to God.

I am so thankful for the simple life lesson the hawk showed me. I also believe keeping a child close to God's creation and letting them learn life from His creatures is a good way to start.