Night in pisgah

A short window of time opened up in our work schedule last week that Joshua and I decided to take advantage of and slip off for a couple nights of camping and fishing.  We went on a short and easy backpack trip with Joshua’s 7 month old puppy Ginger.  She was a bit anxious during this new endeavor, but bravely followed her leaders.  Spring was just unfolding in the high elevations along the Art Leob Trail and the MST.  We passed numerous trilliums in bloom, and the forest was alive with songbirds.  Along with the many towhees and juncos, I noticed some unique yellow colored birds: Golden Crowned Kinglets, and a new sighting for myself, a Chestnut-sided Warbler.  Another yellowish bird provided insufficient time for identification.    The next day some beautiful wild trout were sourced and brought home to provide some high quality omega 3’s.    The fingerprints of the Creator were impossible to miss.  How wonderful to witness the beauty of His creation!

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Oatmeal

I’ve been sick most of the week with a nasty cold.  Just sick enough so that my body won’t work, but my mind will.  What a frustrating combination!  My family can tell when I am on the mend because I start getting really hungry and begin fixing meals at random hours of the night and day.  This was particularly delicious.

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Healing Oatmeal

Water

1 apple and 2 large whole dates, diced

1/3 c whole rolled oats

Handful of raw almonds

Tblsp of raw honey

½ lemon, squeezed

Tsp of cinnamon

Dash of salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bring water to near boil and begin adding ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes (or until the apples are soft, and the almonds are swollen), stirring occasionally.  Additional water might need to be added while cooking.

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Climate Change?

It seems now as though every severe weather event is pounced upon as an opportunity to tout the effects of climate change supposedly caused by humans.  Speaking of climate change, human’s concerns over such relatively small changes in the long term global climate indicate just how specific human’s environmental needs are.  And how earth is comparatively suited so perfectly for humans.  And therefore that maybe we were intelligently designed and placed on the earth by a Creator God?  (Of course this does not give excuse for abusing the planet; contrarily we should be stewardly to the creation that God has placed us in.)

To end with a bit of satire:  Climate change is simply one of mother earth’s natural habits.

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Chasing the elusive snow

Last week Joshua and I took a quick overnight trip hoping to catch the forcasted snowstorm right in the act.  We left Newberry Creek around 5pm on Thursday evening and made it to the parkway in a couple of hours where we set up camp.  We started the hike in the rain, which eventually turned to snow as we neared 4000 feet of elevation.  Unfortunately, only a fraction of the predicted precipitation manifested itself.  It was enough however to make for some adventurous travel conditions and beautiful scenery.  Friday morning we walked into the state park and to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, before returning via the same route.  I was thankful the my ailing Achilles tendon seemed to hold up very well to the 20-something miles that we walked on Friday.  I also got to test out some new backpacking recipes that I plan to share here soon.

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Krauting Galore

November brought the close of an especially productive gardening season.  For the first time, we planted a serious fall garden consisting of multiple varieties of lettuce, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage.  By far the most exciting process was making sauerkraut from our abundant cabbage crop (we had nearly 30 heads of cabbage with the largest weighing 8 pounds).   I just finished the last batch to complete a total of five gallons of kraut that will hopefully last a several months.   I fermented the kraut in the croc, then packed it into quart jars where they should keep for months in the refrigerator.

This process of lacto-fermentation was one of the major ways of preserving food before canning was popularized a couple hundred years ago.  Apparently, the history of sauerkraut goes back at least 2000 years.  The cool thing about sauerkraut is that it’s filled with healthful enzymes and probiotics that will bless your gut with an abundance of wonderful flora.   Be sure it is raw though– Nearly all commercial sauerkraut has been canned and hence is missing all those enzymes and little good guys.

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Pack Crafting

I Timothy 4:8  “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

Life is rolling along.  Nearing my 23rd birthday, I consider the potential that at least a third of my life is behind me.  I see how incredibly short life really is, especially compared to the eternity to come!  With that realization, it makes me want to constantly reassess my priorities in life so that I might make a greater eternal difference.  And I love backpacking, but getting out to do it just doesn’t materialize very often.  Spur-of-the moment trips seem to be the typicality.  This is okay though, because it keeps my mind from being kidnapped by the planning process of grandiose excursions.

Wanting to be proactive in living my life in a more eternally-relevant fashion, I felt the desire to consolidate my backpacking gear into a kit that would have more utility rather than specialty.  For a backpack, this meant find a pack that would function for overnights, family trips, fishing trips, and even as an airline carry-on bag.  I liked the looks and specs of the Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus backpack.  But paying the price of a new MLD pack wasn’t worth it to me, especially with a few sewing projects under my belt.  I also preferred the wing belt w/ hip belt pockets of my former Six Moon Designs Swift pack.  So came the excuse to search for a heavier-duty sewing machine (so I wouldn’t have to subject my mom’s machine to pack cloth) and to have some fun sewing up my first pack.  After a few weeks of patiently monitoring the local Craig’s List ads, the Lord blessed me with a steal-of-a-deal.  I found a Singer 500A (manufactured right down the road in Anderson, SC) at an estate sale for a mere 50 bucks.

I openly disclose that the design of my pack was made primarily by reverse engineering.  I fully credit Mountain Laurel Designs and Six Moon Designs for most of the ideas and inspiration in this design.  And I hope that my imitation is indeed flattery.  I did however spend a day making cardboard back-panel models to determine my exact torso length, and the best shoulder strap placement and shape.  I’m particularly thrilled that the fit turned out really well.

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The next step

So many times I have been asked “What are you going to do after college?” “What do you want to do?”  “What are you plans?”  I admit that my answers to these questions have appeared evasive.  But I understand these questions and sympathize with them much more than it appears.  In the past few years I have tried to initiate several different career paths, but each time I have felt resistance from the Holy Spirit to the steps I started to take.  The “problem” is that the life I am living is actually not my own.

Since becoming a Christian, God has begun a relentless effort (as a potter) to transform me into something worthwhile (for his service); a process of reverting the damage done as a consequence of the fall of man (which of course will not be totally complete until this body of flesh is replaced and we see him face to face).

My plan for life is to follow when and wherever God leads me.  This is so clichéd, but, I have to.  There is no other option if I want to keep in a close relationship with God.  This answer naturally leads to the second question “So what does God want me to do?”  Right now, I don’t know; but I will explain why I believe God is testing me in this way.

I believe for me personally, God has not given me a very long-term and detailed plan as to what he wants for me to accomplish (at least yet) so that I will learn to rely on him more for my strength and direction.  You see, I am a natural strategic planner— I understand the importance of crafting a goal, set of objectives, and then a strategic plan/road map to go about accomplishing that goal in the most efficient manner.  I enjoy performing calculated strategies, but also remaining flexible and navigating under my own strength.  This is probably the reason that I find multi-day wilderness travel with only 6 pounds of gear intriguing.  Ultralight fastpacking and competitive fly fishing are two of the most strategy-intensive single-person sports that I know of (I thank God daily that he has somewhat painfully caused me to put these fruitless activities in their proper perspective in relationship to Him).  I believe God has given me these abilities, but I also know that he will not use them until I can learn to rely on Him as my real and utmost source of strength and guidance.

In light of these circumstances, when Christ’s return has never been sooner, and when the global economy has never been more uncertain, I am certain that waiting on the Lord and the steps that he will reveal is the best strategic and career plan possible for my life.  Of course God does not test each one of his children in the same way, so I would hope that most young people my age would have been given a direction, if not vision for the long-term by now.  But for me, God is only shining a light on one step at a time, and I thank him for that.

The one step that God has revealed for me to take once I complete business school is to enroll in a Bible college.  This is still a scary step for me, but yet I am excited to learn the Bible on a deeper level and in a more systematic way that I might ultimately draw closer to Him and become a better communicator of Christ and the Gospel.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I recently listened to the best sermon I have ever heard on the Caleb of the Bible.  What an inspiration!  

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