Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I teach outdoor education and recreation. I teach parents and teachers to take the children outdoors for enrichment and appreciation of nature and all it offers us. I am also a huge proponent of outdoor education for the skills it can teach us about doing without modern day appliances, which in turn may someday give us an edge if we are forced to cope with a natural or manmade disaster. People forced from their homes have a better chance of survival if they have developed a sense of well being and confidence in the absence of electricity, running water and a warm cozy bed.
Mitch’s book gives a detailed description of what it’s like to live on the street, and the way Pastor Henry had compassion upon these people to make their live not just more comfortable, but bearable. One of the characters loses his toes from frostbite. Can we even imagine? A wise person once told me, “The key to happiness is gratitude”. This principle is demonstrated and affirmed in the book when some of the homeless rejoice in being granted just a few comforts, like some used clothing or shoes without holes.
I challenge us all to consider this as the new year approaches and we think about all we have to do in 2010 and goals we wish to accomplish. Take some time to consider those not just less fortunate, but those who have nothing, and do something to make a difference in your community.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Well Christmas is over, and the New Year is approaching. Santa Claus was good to our family, although it was a little leaner under the tree than some years. One of the gifts I received this year was a book from my Sweetie of one of my favorite authors, Mitch Albom. (I need to list Mitch as one of my Favorites in my profile.) Mitch is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press and authors many fine books such as Tuesdays with Morrie, 5 People You Meet in Heaven, and now his latest book, Have a Little Faith.
I’m not a book worm, so in order to read with good comprehension and most importantly captivation; I need a quiet place with good light and a little white noise. Have a Little Faith, kept me wanting more from the very first page to the very end with only a few short breaks in between. The reasons it hooked me are his style and layout mostly. I love a book that has new chapters every two or three pages. Similar to a blogging style, the book left me finishing one thought, then lead me on to the next which was sometimes completely different, making me think – but not too hard. Beyond this technical aspect is Mitch's humanness that he portrays. His thoughts and feelings are those like I might have in similar circumstances, and his people are real - ordinary folks with extraordinary stories. There is greatness in the ordinary - that point comes across crystal clear.
From Mitch’s site… Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have A Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an 82-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. - Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor – a reformed drug dealer and convict – who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.
So Mr. Gus, you may ask, What does this have to do with the outdoors? Are you rambling? - The answer is no. As I read about the Detroit pastor and his work with the homeless, I reflected upon those who live at the mercy of the outdoor elements by necessity, rather than by choice. The reason for this book review at all is because of the impression it made upon me in this way.
Here is a great follow-up article to the book in USA Today: 'Tuesdays With Morrie' author Mitch Albom keeps the 'Faith', Updated 9/29/2009 10:39 PM.
Please read my upcoming follow up: Outdoor Living, Recreation for Some, Necessity for Others, to post Dec. 30, 2009.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This season, we celebrate that sacred moment -- the birth of a child and the message of love He would preach to the world; that we are our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper; that, "pure in heart," we do unto others as we would have them do unto us; that we devote ourselves to "good works;" that we are summoned to be peacemakers.
More than 2,000 years later, that spirit still inspires us... And it's why, as so many of our fellow citizens struggle through tough times, we are called upon to help neighbors in need. And it's why, with our men and women in uniform serving far from home, in harm's way, our fervent wish remains, this season and all seasons -- let there be peace on Earth. - Remarks by the President, Barack Obama, at the 28th "Christmas in Washington" Broadcast, National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., December 14, 2009.
The speech in full.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays
'Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you long for the sunshine and a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can't beat home sweet home
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Now as a Floridian, its making me start to wonder about our road-killed wildlife. I'll have to look up the Florida FWC numbers, but when I asked myself, Are more possum killed by small game hunters or by cars?, I laughed out loud! Florida drivers smashing possum and armadillos, attract more buzzards than Palm Beach attracks New York retirees. But does this, or can this have any beneficial affect to us and our families, or is it just a sad sad thing?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
When I first started using the software, it was from one of the larger insurance companies, and I spoke to one of their reps. They told me that too many people try to make claims for stolen or ruined valuables, but they offer no proof those things ever existed. After using the software, I found it extremely intuitive and useful. Some tips as you start to inventory your items: Do it in a logical order. I opted to inventory my most valuable items first, which made good sense. After those were done, I went room by room and did other valuables. Lastly (and ongoing) I use it to keep track of account numbers and log-in information. Many of us nowadays have multiple account numbers for our banks or shopping online, it’s hard to keep track of all of them. What You Own Home Inventory does a great job with this. Finally, when your done – save a copy to your hard drive and burn a copy to disc. I keep mine in the safe, with the intention of giving a copy to a family member in case all my things go up in smoke.
CNET had this to say about it, and I agree… CNET Editors' Review: We review a lot of programs, and it's not often that we find one that really blows us away. What You Own Home Inventory is one of those rare programs, the cream of the crop that's available on Download.com. The fact that this powerful home inventory program is free is a very pleasant surprise. The program's interface is fantastic, with a sleek, intuitive design. Users enter the rooms in their home and then the contents of each room, listing the purchase price, replacement price, and other relevant details…
Do it today, before it’s too late.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Allow youth to do the activity- don’t be too quick to correct them, show them the right way, or do things for them. Of course, if you see a danger threat, intervene immediately. The point is, some of the most important life lessons are learned by making mistakes. Adults tend to want to rescue kids from adversity. When we do that, we rob them of some of the most powerful learning experiences.
This is just one of the principles we teach in the 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Classes, but it is applicable to any discipline or subject matter, to other kids or your own. Allowing them to fail in small degrees will set up those teachable moments, like I discussed in a previous blog, 12/2/09 Teachable Moments.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
HEAD – Thinking, Managing, example Critical Thinking, Goal Setting
HEART – Relating, Caring, example Cooperation, Concern for Others
HANDS – Giving, Working, example Service, Learning Useful Skills
HEALTH – Living, Being, example Personal Safety, Self Discipline
In this blog, you will continue to see a common theme of these four topics running through as a common thread. Even though my last entry was about HAVA, Honored American Veterans Afield, I feel it important to spend some time on the Heart aspect for one more day.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Thousands of years ago our ancestors etched messages into the sides of a caves, mountains or rocks - the ancient blogger. Now we see it and wonder, “What’s this about?” Since day one of Confessions of an Outdoorsman, I’ve asked myself the same question. Today my purpose is to share things that will help individuals and families cultivate a greater interest in the outdoors and a desire to be there. Why? Because outdoor involvement stimulates a healthy mind and body, brings an appreciation that helps to preserve our environment, connects us with those from the past who once lived there in the harsh elements, and helps us, even to a wee degree to develop a bit of self reliance and many other healthy virtues. My specialty is youth development and the shooting sports, but my experience base is very broad in outdoor education. Week to week there may be topics on everything from trapping, shooting, hiking, navigation, star gazing and more. It will always be clean and family oriented but, you can for sure bet to see an occasional yarn, tall tale or perhaps a critique on some aspect of our culture. I hope you enjoy. Photo credit: Don Gennero, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
A "teachable moment" is THE teaching opportunity, right at the instant it needs to be delivered. This teaching tool is applicable for any subject matter, students of any age. For example, on the archery range regarding finger guards - you can talk about them prior to shooting, "how important they are, blah blah blah", but why take away valuable shooting time with lecture. If the child shoots without finger guards, no harm will come other than potentially sore fingers. With no glove or finger tab you'll be able to see if the string is properly positioned, then after 10 shots or so, ask how the child's fingers are. If the shooter says they're kind of sore, then introduce him to the glove. They'll get it and never forget. The trademark of every effective educator is to devise and use teachable moments.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Last night about 11 o'clock I went outside, like me and the dog often do - and immediately I was struck in the eyes by our magnificent Florida moon, bright as could be and immediately a song fell off my tongue. The words came from seemingly nowhere, from the depths of my brain. As I was singing, my recollections went back to my growing up in the Lone Star State and all of the old friends I have back there, the lonesome cowboy of long ago and some of my old boyhood nights spent under the stars. Read the lyrics. I’m sure some of you will be able to relate. The song is Night Rider’s Lament, by Jerry Jeff Walker & The Lost Gonzo Band, 1975. Is goes like this:
One night while I was out a ridin'
One night while I was out a ridin'
The grave yard shift, midnight 'til dawn
The moon was bright as a readin' light
For a letter from an old friend back home
And he asked me
Why do you ride for your money
Tell me why do you rope for short pay
You ain't a'gettin' nowhere
And you're losin' your share
Boy, you must have gone crazy out there
Ah but they've never seen the Northern Lights
They've never seen a hawk on the wing
They've never spent spring on the Great Divide
And they've never heard ole' camp cookie sing
This song was written by Michael Burton, is immediately ready to purchase from iTunes or others for about a dollar. Other singers such as Garth Brooks have done this song, but none sound as good to me as Jerry Jeff (no offense Garth). If you have experienced this song, especially the last four lines, share this experience with someone, especially your spouse or little ones to relearn the magic of moonlight.