Praying the Word – Part 1

As a believer is Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord, it is important that I stay in a state of relationship with Him and am grounded in the Word of God as well as the presence of God.

All of that sounds very formal and almost ethereal in manner and application but the simple truth is that to know God I must know His word and to be in a relationship with Him I have to do that through the avenue of prayer.

Prayer in and of itself can be intimidating, embarrassing, uncomfortable and down right rote. Let me ask a question. This is for those who are believers in God. Feel free to answer if you are otherwise but, have you ever wanted to hear God speak to you in an audible voice? Hang on to the answer to that question. I’m going to circle back to that in a minute.

In order to pray the Word of God there are some key elements you need to have in place. These have nothing to do with quiet places, comfortable surroundings or mood setting music, although, those concepts will help but they are not necessary.

First, pray the name of the Lord.  Psalm 9:10 “And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.”  Sorry for the formal language translation but the point is you need to know the names of God and pray those names into your life daily. What does that mean? Everyone has a name and everyone is know by many names. As a person my wife’s name is Sharon. To my children she’s mommy. To me, she is sweety, honey, babe or the ultimate sugarbooger. The point is she is know by many names and each has a particular connotation to the relationship and the person relating to her. God is no different. He has many names and they all mean something special and reflect multiple aspects of how He relates to us and how we relate and worship Him.

There is a simple Bible song called “Praise the name of Jesus”. Would that I could sing it for you but the tune is the thing for the moment. Using that tune as the base you can sing aloud the names of God and use that as an opening of the lines between you and God on a daily basis. It is important to do this out loud. You need to use your eyes, your ears and your voice to make this most effective.

Below I have provided the lyrics. You provide the tune and the voice and God will provide all the rest. Some will see this as the most queer thing you can do. I caution you to not let stereotypes get in the way of meeting God on a personal level. I’m a man’s man to be sure, but I can tell you personally that when this is done with an open mind and an open heart, God will use this in a powerful way in your heart and mind. Don’t do it lightly. God is not mocked.

Jehovah-Jireh (yir-eh’) See Genesis 22:14                                                                              Praise Jehovah-Jireh, praise Jehovah-Jireh,                                                                          You’re my source, You’re my sufficiency, You’re my provider                                                In you will I trust. Praise Jehovah-Jireh

Jehovah-Rapha’ (raw-faw) See Exodus 15:26                                                                        Praise Jehovah-Rapha’, praise Jehovah-Rapha’,                                                                    You’re my health, You’re my healing, You’re my physician,                                                    In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-Rapha’

Jehovah-Nissi (nis-see’) See Exodus 17:15                                                                            Praise Jehovah-Nissi, praise Jehovah-Nissi,                                                                          You’re my flag, You’re my banner, You’re my victory,                                                            In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-Nissi

Jehovah-M’Oadash (Mc-kaw-dash’) See Leviticus 20: 7-8                                                      Praise Jehovah-M’Oadash, praise Jehovah-M’Oadash                                                          You’re my light, You’re my holiness, You’re my sanctity,                                                          In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-M’Oadash

Jehovah-Shalom (shaw-lome’) See Judges 6:24                                                                      Praise Jehovah-Shalom, praise Jehovah-Shalom,                                                                  You’re my peace, You’re my comfort, You’re my security,                                                      In you will I trust. Praise Jehovah-Shalom.

Jehovah-Rohi See Psalm 23:1                                                                                                  Praise Jehovah-Rohi, praise Jehovah-Rohi                                                                            You’re my guide, You’re my shepherd, You’re my protector                                                    In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-Rohi

Jehovah-Tsidqenuw (tsid-day’-noo) See Jeremiah 23:6                                                          Praise Jehovah-Tsidqenuw, praise Jehovah-Tsidqenuw,                                                      You’re my life, You’re my redemption, You’re my righteousness,                                            In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-Tsidqenuw

Jehovah-Shammah (shawm’-maw) See Ezekial 48:35                                                            Praise Jehovah-Shammah, praise Jehovah-Shammah,                                                          You’re my friend, You’re my faithfulness, You’re omnipresent,                                                In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-Shammah.

Jehovah-Sabaoth (sab-ah-owth’) See 1 Samuel 1:3                                                                Praise Jehovah-Sabaoth, Praise Jehovah-Sabaoth                                                                You’re my rock, You’re my fortress, You’re my deliverer                                                        In you will I trust, Praise Jehovah-Sabaoth

I’ll let you have a couple days with this and then I’ll post part 2 of Praying the Word. Hope you find this enriching.

One Tarp to rule all my others….

This is a video walk through of my new DDIM (Didn’t Do It Myself) DIY tarp.  I had a good friend who is a master make this for me to my specs. You’ll be able to tell from the video I’m really pleased with it.

I’d be interested on feed back regarding the video as well. It’s only my third attempt at editing so I know I have a long way to go. Enjoy

The guys at RipStopBytheRoll are great to work with and they are continually innovating new fabrics for outdoor and DIY use.  You will also want to become familiar with Dutchwaregear. He too is a mad genius and is constantly adding innovative hardware for use with hammocks, tarps and other camping and hiking endeavors. Just two of the fine folks that made my tarp a possibility.

Hobbies

How many hobbies can one person have? This is a question that I am dealing with personally in my own little world. I seem to have a lot of hobbies and it has me rethinking many of them. Do I really have time to devote to this thing or that? Is it really a hobby if I can’t devote the level of time to it that I want to? Does the level of participation, enjoyment or satisfaction I gain from the activity warrant the expenditure of time and funds? Another matter is the time spent with my children. Can they be involved in the matter with me and still enjoy the time?

So what hobbies am I dealing with? Well, first and foremost, there is the camping/hammock/hiking thing. This is 100% off limits for any discussion of eliminating this hobby. I love it too much. I get far too much enjoyment from the process and the monetary investment to enhance and participate in this hobby is always seen as monies well spent.  There are few things that bring me as much joy as getting out into the woods and just being still and quiet. I suppose it’s the same for hunters sitting in the tree stand as the sun rises over the ridge waiting for that buck to come into range. The sounds of the world waking up are at once invigorating and soothing. I feel small and yet part of a much larger plan and process. The paradox is delightful.

There is the DIY hobby to consider. This is likely not going anywhere any time soon.  The beauty of DIY whatever is there is an end result to be had from the process. It may be new suspension parts for the hammock, a new alcohol stove, or some other bit of kit to make the hiking or the hanging or the camping more interesting, more enjoyable or more simplified. I have found that confidence breeds more confidence if not more courage to set off into other areas.  I was allowed some years back to attend a training school for furniture touch up and repair. I was terrified at the process. The thought of attempting to repair something only to destroy it more was daunting, near unto paralyzing. Within a few minutes into the training the light bulb went off concerning one particular fear, of the many fears I harbored, and it was as if a ton of dining tables had been lifted from my shoulders. I realized then that much of life is just being willing to listen, look and learn. I’m willing to try anything so long as either someone can show me the proper methods and tools or I have clear enough instructions and proper tools to attempt the task. Note that there is a complete lack of folly here. I refuse to think too highly of my skill sets but trust that with time, study and effort, I should be able to manage if not master many things. Suddenly, I’ve become handy. As has been said, if a woman can not find you handsome, she should at least find you handy.

I suppose the one hobby on the chopping block at this point is the banjo. I had, as is often the case, dove into the deep end of the pool on this one and was supremely blessed with a beautiful banjo, professional case, and all the accouterments to both learn and play the silly thing. What is most in short supply is time. If you’ve never attempted to learn to play the banjo, time is the most important ingredient. It is not like playing guitar, not that playing guitar is a cake walk by any means. However, it is a different set of skills and thinking that goes into playing banjo. I started off well and had good intentions, but alas, the fickle finger of time has poked me in the proverbial eye. I was even more disheartened when looking at the calendar for 2015 and realizing there was sincerely not going to be any “free” time to devote to yon banjo.

In truth it is about passions. Passions and truth to tell all of it. We are slaves to our passions whatever forms they take and my personal philosophy is marked by a distinct and profound desire for honesty. Honesty with myself, about myself and with all aspects of my life. You can be whatever you choose to be, just own it. Don’t tell me you profess to be X when so little of your speech or actions denote someone who is an X. Feel free to fill in the blank with whatever you wish.  It is equally okay in my thinking to not be X so long as you own that as well. The incessant desire to lie to oneself about who or what we are is ridiculous to me.  Why waste that much energy on not being real to yourself or others. That same level of expenditure of energy could be just as easily devoted to being completely yourself or a better version of yourself.  As I age, I have a truer sense of who I am and am not, how I want to share that with the world and more importantly, how I want to enhance the lives of my family and friends in that process.

So, there goes the banjo. Looking for a good home and someone who will genuinely enjoy its beauty and tone. Better yet, have the unction to spend the time with it and bring forth its deeper truth in music. I’ll toddle off for a hike or hang in the piney woods or maybe build some alcohol stoves and send them off to friends in the far reaches of the world to enjoy or…… look for a new hobby. I hear video production is a lot of fun.

Busy 2015

I’m stressing just a bit. Well, maybe stressing isn’t the proper term but I am quickly discovering that 2015 will be busier than any year in recent history.

It all started a couple weeks back while I was off for the holidays, and I received my blog report from WordPress. It was very informative and telling and I should pause and say thanks to WordPress for sending it to me. Thanks WordPress. I also need to say thanks to the folks who have chosen to follow my blog. You are a motley crew of diversity but a gracious and appreciated lot as well.  From the report I realized that I did a little better than I had thought on posting to my blog but that I also really needed to put some more effort into posting on a regular basis and keeping the topics varied, and hopefully, interesting. So the one and only New Year’s resolution was conceived. Then the challenges of the 2015 schedule began pouring in. All of the below is in addition to the “normal” day to day matters that come with a home, a wife, and two active kids.

First is the contract job I have where I was informed that where there are usually only two to three waves in a year, 2015 will have four. February, May, August and November. This is good news as funds for hobbies like hiking and hammocks and other things I like to dabble in will be flush.  Bad news is, those months will now have to be blocked off from vacations, hiking trips, mission trips or any other outside concerns in order to keep the ability to fulfill the contract operational.

Then the wife starts planning, no, not planning, just talking about talking about planning.  This is a quagmire of conversational dead ends that I particularly detest. “We could go here, or maybe there. I thought about this place.” All of which are both nondescript and completely opposite of the initial suggestion for the family vacation floated at the end of 2014. I’m already bald so I have utilized at least one shortcut for the year in that I won’t have to schedule time to pull my hair out.

Then there is the desire to do a mission trip through our church. I have wanted to do something for a couple years but just didn’t make the commitment to allot the time to go. Vacation days are few and a precious commodity in my job so they are rationed like the last morsels of bread or water on a deserted island. However, I purposed in my heart that I was going to do one regardless and spend the vacation time I needed to spend to see it come to fruition. This is a good and noble thing but now I have the issue of choosing between opportunities in Canada, Peru (on the Amazon) and Montana. Unfortunately both Peru trips are quickly nixed because of the contract work schedule. The Canada trip is an option but will cost me five full days despite the fact it is occurring over the course of the July 4th holiday and ideally I would have a company sponsored holiday handed to me for that one.  The Montana trip was looking promising until the mission we would be serving was blessed with a substantial monetary gift and now construction plans are in the air again because they can do now what they were saving for over the course of the next two years. All dates are gray again. Frustrating, yes. Impossible, no. Just the ridiculous maze of “hurry up and wait” that comes with these particular matters.

Lastly, there is my need for time in the woods or hammock time. If you read any of my posts, it is profoundly obvious that I enjoy camping in hammocks and any and all things related to that concern. I’m fine for my son or a friend to come along but I am just as happy, if not more so, to be alone. Alone time is another precious commodity that I covet jealously. With all the other functions above factored in, there is very little time or opportunity for hiking or hanging in 2015.  That is not to say that I won’t get some. I’m just going to have to be very creative and perhaps a bit selfish in the application of those opportunities. I am trying to find ways to combine any of the above with some hammock times. The contract portion actually lends itself well to this line of thinking in that I have two out of town runs, one of which is very close to a favorite personal camping haunt, so I’ll have at least two, maybe three opportunities, to have a night’s alone time in the piney woods off of that. Depending on where the wife settles on for vacation, there may be an opportunity for an extended, 2 – 3 day hike/hang where she and the kids can pick me up on the way to the final destination.  I’m even floating the idea of camping while on the Montana mission trip to “save money on lodging”. The whole unvarnished truth being told is I’ll sleep better in my hammock then any four star hotel in Montana and be happier for it while there. The fact that it would reduce the cost of the trip, is, in reality, a secondary or perhaps even, tertiary benefit.

So goes the vicissitudes of planning and scheduling a life in 2015. It hasn’t escaped my notice that it was not until I determined to post more often on the blog that the proverbial all H, E, double hockey sticks, broke loose on my calendar. I’m too un-superstitious to give that any real credit or substance. Busy is as busy does. My goal in all of it is to act and do with purpose. Nothing frivolous or flippant in any way, but approached with integrity, purpose and passion.

I’m sure glad I have a hammock to relax in.  Looks like I’m really gonna need it.

Dad’s old hatchet…

A couple months back in the process of moving my mother to a new home closer to us, I stumbled across an old hatchet head that was my dad’s. I remember him using it many times when I was a young buck and seeing it brought back a lot of memories. I remember his frustration at trying to teach me how to hoe a row in the garden only to realize I was never gonna get it. Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that he was left handed and I am right handed so every thing I did to copy him turned out backwards. I remember going into the woods in Lincoln county near my mom’s old home place to cut saplings to use for stakes for the butter beans, tomatoes, and other goodies he was so adept at growing in his massive backyard garden.  So when I saw the hatchet it was a quick decision and a declarative statement to my mother that “I found this hatchet, I’m taking it. Thanks.” This was something of his and special to me.

My dad was a good man and had a lot of talents. He could grow anything. I tell people often I would swear he could put pencils in the ground and grow pine trees if you wanted him to. He also had a knack for putting a keen edge on tools and this hatchet head was no different. He would put an amazing edge on that hatchet and could go through a one inch sapling in one shot and then would use the back side to hammer those same saplings into the tiled earth to assist in bringing forth it’s bounty. So sharp was the edge on this hatchet that in the process of doing the cord work on it, I bumped the bottom corner of the edge with my knuckle. It eased out a sesame seed size bit of skin leaving it sitting on the side of the edge. So clean was the cut it didn’t even bleed. This hatchet head had been sitting in a shed for at least 14 years, he’s been dead that long, and could still cut that easily.

As soon as I had the hatchet head I knew what I wanted to do. I knew dad had put a great edge on that hatchet and I knew he had shown me well enough to be able to keep that in great shape .  I bought another handle for it and thought I would make it my go to hatchet for car camping and the like.

This is what I ended up with. The wrapping on the handles is my doing. I added a tubing stay to the top locking it in with friction tape and the paracord bindings. The Coxcombing (spiral hitching) is in honor of his Navy service and it looks cool, adds to the gripping power and the Turks head knots are more decorative. The black ones, however, are done with a reflective paracord. Should be nice to have when grabbing the hatchet at night to add the fire or whatever else needs to be done.

Dad's hatchet (1)

Hatchett head (1) Handle knots (1) Reflective qualities (1)

I know my dad would have given me the business about putting all the fancy stuff on the handle of something meant to be so functional. That was just his way. As a family we love to crack on each other. Few things are off limits and the sensitive need not apply or participate. You know we like you because we pick at you. If we don’t it’s because we won’t waste our time, effort or considerable talents thinking of ways to gig you just a bit so we can put our arm around you after and pull you close and let you know you’re worth the mental gymnastics we invested into your particular torment. Privately though, in a quiet moment with my mom more than likely, he would share how proud he was of the work and thought I put into it.

It’s an old hatchet head. Nothing more than a hunk of steel with an edge on it. Penned over back edge showing the years of service and sacrifice it put into the life of my father, but it’s a part of him. His hands touched that, his sweat fell on it, his care and focus were centered on it if only long enough to hone the edge to make it so effective in its intended purpose. In it lays the beauty of form, function, toil, growth, purpose and hope. My dad gave us all of those things and so much more.

I’ll be proud to use it, proud to tell the story and proud to hand this to my son’s son some day. A hatchet. Cutting through the years to sharpen the heritage of a family and drive it firmly into the soil where our roots run so deep.

Satisfaction

They say you never forget your first love.  I remember fondly the auburn haired girl I meet while working and living in the Netherlands while in college, the first Huffy dirt bike I ever had, the 69′ Chevelle I learned to drive in, and the first time I slept in a hammock.  Admittedly, the hammock is awesome, though not the same heart palpitations I had from the auburn haired beauty in Holland.  No, it’s a different kind of bliss to be sure. One more akin to the the familiar, comforting hug of a mother. A secure serenity that leaves one rested, relaxed and supremely satisfied with all things woodsy and primitive.

I have been longing for cooler temps and was profoundly blessed this past weekend with overnight lows in the lower 50s.  A rarity for central Mississippi even in early October. The spousal unit and I went to a movie and late dinner that night. I had to make sure the home front was well taken care of prior to slipping off to the hammock for the night. One has to keep the main thing the main thing. It didn’t take long to hunker down to a very nice and sound sleep.

That’s the beauty of a hammock to me. The sleep. It is like none other that I experience. It should be noted that I’m a milkman’s kid. Subsequently, I spent many a summer running the route with my daddy and therefore became indoctrinated into the mid nocturnal goings on of that profession. To say I’m an early riser would be painting it lightly, very lightly.  Any day of the week sleeping in the Simmons Beautyrest in the house, I’m up, no alarm, 5 a.m. without fail.  Put me in a hammock and I won’t stir until 7 a.m. at best.  It’s that soundness of sleep that is so amazing. Couple that with the tendency to, while camping, go to bed at hiker midnight (just after sundown, usually going to sleep around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.) and you see not only the quality of sleep but the quantity also.  I can, and do regularly, function on an average of 5 to 6 hours sleep but the hammock refuses to be such a cruel mistress to me. She insists that I linger in rapturous REM mode far longer than any other place I close my eyes in rest.

So a great nights of sleeping in the out of doors was had that Friday night.  There was the bonus of a very sweet 2 hour nap on Sunday afternoon as well. An eager start to the hammock season and one I hope to take full advantage of through the end of this year and well into next in a complete state of satisfaction.

Waiting….

As I sit in my office and the heat and humidity that is central Mississippi weather continues to reign, I find myself longing for the cool of Autumn and the opportunity to escape into the piney woods once more for my beloved hammock time.

I have been at this hammock camping thing for just about two years now and I can firmly and without fear of misguided delusion say that, I am a cool temp camper. Unless the overnight temp is around 60° or below, I’m not interested. By overnight temp I mean at dark of the night it needs to be getting close to the low 60s otherwise it’s not cool enough for my tastes.

This past year starting at Christmas of 2013, I slept outdoors every weekend straight until somewhere around mid to late April. A record I hope to destroy as soon as it cools down. Because of the colder than normal winter this year, I was able to set a personal record low temp hang of 21°. We had several nights where the temps got into the single digits but they happened during the week and I was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.

Everyone, well, most everyone, thinks I’m loco in la cabeza but given I have the proper equipment and have done it so much, it really isn’t that big a deal. As to low temperature camping I know others who have slept out in temps as low as -25° (yes that is a dash denoting a negative temperature rating on the Fahrenheit scale). Admittedly, not something I am Jonesing for but if the opportunity presented itself I would have to seriously consider a go.
My brother-in-law still finds it unfathomable that I do this. I know that if I could just get him in a camping hammock once, he’d be a ready convert. Not likely to go cold like me but a hanger none the less.

So the nightly vigil has begun. Sitting watching the news looking at the long range forecast. Asking the spousal unit if we already have plans for the weekend, Plotting, scheming, hoping, praying, for cooler temps and good timing for me to hit the hammock once more. That suspended bliss. That elevated perspective. That perpendicular pronunciation of all things rested, relaxed and recreational. Whether in the piney woods, the national forest or the friendly confines of my own backyard, there is no greater sanctuary for my batter bones and beleaguered brain than the hammock.

Can someone please turn down the thermostat? It’s still a little warm in here.