Monday, July 10, 2017

Silently Gazing Upon God

I absolutely love reading and hearing about others interpretation of God, and His work within their lives and in the world. One of my favorite theologians is Father Richard Rohr, but sometimes he’s a little too deep for my understanding. I read his work anyway, and try to pull out the meaningful pieces that can make a difference in my life, and how I should respond to the call of God in my relationships.

Today in his daily meditation, Monday, July 10, 2017 the topic was Rebuilding on a Contemplative Foundation by Silently Gazing upon God.

This title really caught my attention,
Silently Gazing upon God. Immediately it made me think of seeing God through the eyes of a child and how we see His influence in nature.

Rohr quotes Rowan Williams, the 2012 Archbishop of Canterbury by saying, “To be fully human is to be recreated in the image of Christ’s humanity; and that humanity is the perfect human 'translation' of the relationship of the eternal Son to the eternal Father, a relationship of loving and adoring self-giving, a pouring out of life towards the Other.”

Coming up is the word 
contemplative (noun and verb), which I like to partially define as spiritual listening. One who is contemplative is a Contemplative.

Rohr goes on to say, “To be contemplative as Christ is contemplative is to be open to all the fullness that the Father wishes to pour into our hearts. With our minds made still, and ready to receive, we are at last at the point where we may begin to grow… and we seek this not because we are in search of some private “religious experience” that will make us feel secure or holy. We seek it because in this self-forgetting gazing towards the light of God in Christ we learn how to look at one another and at the whole of God’s creation.”

One way we can experience this oneness with God directly, physically and spiritually by observing His universe in nature. We can gaze towards the light of God in Christ through His creations.

For example, in the image left we see a time-lapse image of all the stars rotating around Polaris, the North Star. I have experienced this only once in my life. The image 'Star Trails' was taken by Marjan Lazarevski, Skopje, Macedonia (formerly Yugoslavia). Photo caption: While other stars apparent positions in the sky change throughout the night, as they appear to rotate around the celestial poles, the Pole Star (Polaris) apparent positions remain virtually fixed.

I hope we will all find the time to look closely and gaze upon God through his creations, either earthly or heavenly and realize how close we are to the presence of our Creator.

gus


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What is Standing In The Way of You Reaching Your Peak?

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with this phrase repeating itself through my mind, Don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of reaching your peak!


I am not one to believe that dreams are special premonitions that come from God or a psychic realm. Yes, I do believe that God can influence our thoughts and dreams, but we may be just as likely to have certain dreams because of stress, past experiences or something we consumed that gave us a reaction, like pepperoni pizza.

I do have some idea of what inspired this post. Recently I received a copy of my Social Security benefits and projected retirement earnings. The summary was very inclusive from the year I first filed taxes at age eighteen until last year. In the chart you could see the gradual increase in annual earnings from then until now. It was very interesting.

Let's look at the following graph. It is fictional and generic, and could represent many different things.



The points on the graph could represent the stock market, home finance spending or the number of tomatoes you picked in the garden. Consider this. Is it possible that the graph could represent even a wider range of ideas for growth and decline? Could it represent human virtues such as happiness, spirituality or self-confidence?  I think it can.  Let us suppose this scenario for an example using the human trait (or way of being), Self Confidence.


Let us say Point A is when I was nineteen years old, and had all the hope and confidence in the world. I climbed through life until point B, where I was laid off from my job. At Point C I found a new source of employment until I discovered I wasn't emotionally fit for that line of work (D). Point E represents another beginning, going toward Point F which represents the future.

This could all hold true, but it is also very subjective. We cannot quantify emotions simply by the numbers, and we could have just as appropriately used Emojis on the vertical axis, like they do now for measuring pain in the hospital - but I think you understand my point.

If we spend some time contemplating our personal (or familial) growth or happiness we can begin to see trends. Using the information that comes to us from within, counseling with others and from the Still Small Voice of God we may be able to make different choices that can stem-off potential future low points in our lives.

Now back to my question. What is Standing In The Way of You Reaching Your Peak? Is it life style changes that need to be made, or relationships that need to be mended? Perhaps a job change or restructure is in order, or you need to re-evaluate your social and family life priorities. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that doing the same thing over and over brings us the same result, and until we're ready to raise ourselves up to new heights by making new and different choices, we can expect the trends to repeat themselves.


gus

Friday, June 30, 2017

My Love of Knot Tying


Image result for knotIn recent months, I have been able to implement my love of knot tying into the 4-H Youth Development program. In the next upcoming weeks I am offering a knot tying class that is completely booked; and I have had great success and satisfaction in teaching kindergarten children how to tie their shoes.



My knot tying began when I was a boy, and my dad taught me how to tie knots on our sailboat.  Later, I perfected those skills as a Boy Scout. A few years before he passed away, he gave me his well-used Ashley Book of Knots, by Clifford W. Ashley, which is the world standard for knot tyers everywhere. Recently I found this poem which warmed my soul.

Ode to Rope
As I cast off for that very first time,
The “rope” in my hand has now become “line”.
And hauling the sails to the top of the mast,
That “rope”, now a “halyard” holds strong, taught and fast.
Then sailing in brisk winds full force on a beat.
The sails are trimmed in by that “rope” that’s a “sheet”.
And now at my anchorage with sails safely stowed,
I trust in that “rope” that now serves as a “rode”.
Through all my life I will never lose hope,
Of a reason or time to play with a rope.

By Lt/C Barry Briggs, S, of the Durham, NC Power Squadron, published in the August 1999 edition of the National Power Squadron magazine, The Ensign.

gus

Friday, May 26, 2017

Targeting STEM through 4-H Shooting Sports

Targeting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in education started to become a mainstream in American schools from about 2001 to 2005, and some speculate as early as 1985 (Education Week Archives, 2015). Naturally, 4-H being at the forefront of research based science education, and positive youth development (PYD) started to implement STEM into their programming.

4-H Shooting Sports, a major project area in the program became popular in the 1980’s, because it is a quintessential example of 4-H’s “Learning By Doing” approach. In addition, 4-H Shooting Sports has a unique ability to attract and retain teens of both genders. The major disciplines (sports) within the program include archery, rifle, shotgun, black powder and hunting.

From the inception of the program and to this day 4-H Shooting Sports instructors are taught to primarily teach safety, but also taught how to provide PYD activities with an academic focus including:

  • To increase the knowledge, skills, competencies, attitudes, literacy and interest of youth in Science 
  • To increase the number of 4‐H youth pursuing post‐secondary education in Science, and 
  • To increase the number of 4‐H youth pursuing careers in Science (B. Kwang, P. Brewer, Colorado State University, 2011)
A few examples of STEM in 4-H Shooting Sports include:
  • General – Mechanics of propulsion and engineering design
  • Archery – Energy stored and released, body mechanics
  • Black Powder – Chemical reactions, technology evolution
  • Rifle – Physics of flight and trajectory, human optics
  • Shotgun – Mass, velocity and distance of flight
  • Hunting – Wildlife biology, conservation
Whether on the range, in the field or classroom 4-H Shooting Sports gets kids involved in healthy, challenging, outdoor activities that not only stimulate their minds but also reinforce a healthy lifestyle. The project also supports team (pro-social) interaction as well as individual achievement, goal setting and evaluation. Florida is fortunate to have support to provide these activities, and UF/IFAS Extension in Brevard County is doing its best to implement them with the help of volunteers.

If you are interested in participating as a youth or volunteer, be sure to watch our events page or contact Gus Koerner for more information Tel: 321-633-1702, Ext. 229 or email: gkoerner@ufl.edu.


gus

Friday, April 21, 2017

My Scouting Resume'

I think more than any other event or occurrence, my Boy Scout experiences had the greatest influence upon me. Therefore, I see it important to include what significance it had upon my life.

Now at age 54, as I begin to enter into this program again, I wish to share my history in the Boy Scouts of America program. I'll try to include as much detail as possible.

Please bear with me as I write and update this journal entry, as it may take a while...

The Sub-Cub Era

Cub Scouting

Scouting

My Eagle Scout Project
I refurbished and repainted the house which held our local Scout Round Table meetings with the help of a dozen volunteers. I couldn't have done this without the support of my parents.

David, Chuck and I
David Sturdivant and Chuck Jaecks were in my Troop 326 and were my best friends.  David passed away about 2015.

My Philmont Experiences
As a Cub Scout
Trek 1
Trek 2
My Wilderness Survival Merit Badge Experience

My Trip to the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base

My World Jamboree Experience in Oslo, Norway
Primary Source: Wikipedia

After being selected for the World Jamboree, I became a member of Troop 32, representing Texas. I was one of about 30 scouts.

The 14th World Scout Jamboree was held July 29 to August 7, 1975, and was hosted by Norway at Lillehammer, on the shore of Lake Mjøsa.

King Olav V and Harald V of Norway, who then was crown prince, opened "Nordjamb '75", as it became popularly known, in the presence of 17,259 Scouts from 94 countries. The slogan was Five Fingers, One Hand, an example of international cooperation on the part of the five Nordic countries responsible for its organization.

This slogan stood symbolically for:

Five fingers separately are small and weak, but together form an efficient and strong unit
  • Scouts from all five continents meet at the World Jamboree
  • The five Nordic countries jointly host a world event
  • The slogan for the Jamboree was represented in a number of ways, including one event that brought all of the Jamboree participants together into the central arena, where they formed a giant hand that was photographed from aircraft flying overhead.
The British contingent, led by Robert Baden-Powell, 3rd Baron Baden-Powell, included Scouts from Branches in Bermuda, Hong Kong and Rhodesia.

The program of this Jamboree included excursions in the mountains by international patrols, activity areas, Nordic trail, choir, visit to Maihaugen cultural museum, and the Jamboree Country Fair. The relationships that developed were in large measure due to the warm hospitality given to almost every visiting Scout in the homes of the hosts. This Jamboree included in the program several activities involving modern technology, as well as traditional pursuits such as hiking, orienteering and camping.


The Jamboree was also visited by Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and Crown Prince Mohammed VI of Morocco.

My Tapout

My Ordeal - I remember this event well, but the only parts I can recall is being very sleep deprived and sleeping on the ground under my pancho in the rain.  I highly recall the feeling of brotherhood and belonging I felt. After my Ordeal was complete, I was a member of the lodge Nishkin Halupa A Pe Lachi, Lodge # 489.  The lodge was since reorganized, and is now Netopalis Sipo Schipinachk, Lodge # 209, Warriors of the Rivers with Outstretched Arm.

I later became a Brotherhood Member. This was about 1973.

My Parent's Service
My Mom and Dad, Karl L. and Irene J. Koerner were long time leaders in the Scouting program. My Dad receive his Silver Beaver and my Mom her Silver Fawn.

Experiences With Different Troop Sponsors

Friday, April 7, 2017

Remembering Mom On April 7

This is a loving memorial to our family Mom, Irene Lillian Johnson Koerner who passed away in 2001. This story contains no special messages, just thoughts and memories...

==========================================

To my kinfolk, :)

Today is Mom's birthday.  Do you have any special thoughts, memories or photos you'd like to share with the group?

Earlier today I recalled to a friend that Mom received her Silver Fawn from Scouts.  Although a precious memory, more so are the memories of how she helped me and my other fellow scouts progress and stay active in Scouts and there was never a critter, cool rock or beautiful stick I couldn't bring in the house and receive the same admiration from her as I had for that "slice" of nature myself. Remember my cactus garden?

I also remember her sitting on my bed in the rain listening to my then favorite song by Willie Nelson, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.  She seemed to love it as much as I, and I appreciated that.

Follows are some notes from my brothers and sisters...

​Your brother. - gus
-----------------
Gus,
Thanks for being the first to share your thoughts with everyone.
I always know that around Easter time (next week) and General Conference it will also be Mom’s birthday.
Without her love, warmth, and caring I would be a different person - and not for the better.
I remember in Dayton going on a hike and bringing back a cocoon on a stick early in the spring.  A few weeks later, it hatched to release about 2-300 baby praying mantis babies in my bedroom.  Thank goodness for the Electrolux vacuum.  I was about 11.

Love,
Karl
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Mom's Obituary

Irene J. Koerner
Sep 2, 2001

INKOM, Idaho Irene J. Koerner, 80, died Aug. 31, 2001, in her home of Inkom, Idaho where she resided with her daughter, Julia Cushman and family.

Funeral services will be held at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2001, at Cranney Mortuary and Funeral Home in Logan, Utah. A viewing will be held before the funeral at 11 a.m.

Irene was born on April 7, 1921, in Logan, Utah, and lived in Preston, Idaho, until young adulthood. She is preceded in death by her grandson, Mathew Lee Koerner, and devoted husband of 52 years, Karl L. Koerner.

Irene and Karl resided in Ft. Worth, Texas, for 35 years and were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ft. Worth 3rd Ward.

Sister Koerner held callings in various church auxiliary programs throughout her life. They included: Relief Society, Young Womens, genealogy extraction, Primary and Boy Scouts of America. Her diligent efforts as den leader and den leader coach for BSA earned her the prestigious Silver Fawn award.

Survivors are: her children, Karl R. Koerner, Kristi L. Bennett, Julia L. Cushman, John A. Koerner, Irene M. Koerner, Gus A. Koerner; 33 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and two brothers, Carl Johnson and Darold Johnson.

She will always be endeared to her family for her gentle manner, love for God and family and exemplary spirit of good will.

Source: The Herald Journal.