Thursday, November 30, 2017

Teaching Kids the Importance of Keeping Track of Memories (For Disaster and Historical Purposes)

There are certain items we possess that have more than just monetary value, and sometimes it is difficult for children to realize this. It is important however, that we teach children the difference between items have a high financial value (electronics) and items that have long-term meaningful worth (achievement certificates). For example, a third grade report card may not be of much value to a teenager, but when that teen becomes of midlife age, that once insignificant document is now precious. As a middle-aged adult, I look at the "collectibles" of my young children and my diseased parents, and realize they are not just fun to look at, but a jewel to behold. Learning the true value of items we possess is one of the life skills taught in the 4-H Youth Development program, and should be a lesson taught to our own children.

Picture a scenario where a family finds out that severe weather is heading their direction, and notified to evacuate to a safe location. The family tells the children and decide they will depart in the morning, and can only take minimum supplies and valuables, because of constraints on space in the vehicle. What items will the adults pack, and what will the children’s choices be?

As adults, we know to take important documentation regarding our home, finances and medical needs. However, children on the other hand may have difficultly choosing, when they learn they can only take one suitcase. It is important that we begin to teach our children to begin to organize their things and separate what is important or not.

This document focuses on important papers and photographs; and how to store, organize, and prioritize them. We can support and teach our children to be prepared and give them tools to assist them.

Methods for Safe Keeping and Archiving Important Documents and Pictures

Items should:

  • Be stored in their original (paper) and digital format, but in some cases you may wish to digitize paper documents. 
  • Be prioritized into categories such as Mundane, Important and Critical. 
  • Be kept in a safe, water resistant and portable, designated spot for retrieval and evacuation. A plastic tote box works well for this, as well as zip-top bags within the tote to subcategorize. 
  • Consider the “shelf life” of a document. Birth certificates, mortgage papers and deeds should be kept for a lifetime, whereas monthly utility bill records may only need to be kept for a year. 
  • For families and individuals with more than one computer or electronic device, the Cloud can be useful as a repository. The Cloud is electronic off-site storage or an online web storage space, some of which are free and some are not. 
  • Purchase a portable back up hard drive to archive files on a regular basis. Computer hard drives, phone storage and thumb drives can be lost, stolen or damaged, causing the information to be lost forever or prompting expensive recovery services. Recording these data to a compact disc or DVD is also a good option. 
  • Consider storing critical copies with other family members or safe deposit box allowing for redundancy protection. 
Whether paper or digital, store documents and images sorted by the primary individual it concerns. In the short term, it is tempting and acceptable to sort the images by event, such as Family Reunion 2009, but ultimately as time goes on, individuals will want their own images or documents. Sorting single person images are easy. For example, a picture of Sally goes in a plastic tote or electronic file labeled with her name. Pictures of multiple individuals can be stored under the eldest family member in the photo. You may create your own organizing system for this purpose.
Purchase or set aside a section of files or tote box for grabbing and evacuating in hurry.

So if your papers, files and photos need organizing, remember – we never know when a disaster may come and we need to evacuate. Being organized and prepared will reduce stress levels, aid in recovery and preserve valuable items for long-term benefit. If we include our children in this process, they can assist with the task and start a healthy habit that they may carry into adulthood.

Targeting Life Skills in 4-H, Marilyn N. Norman and Joy C. Jordan, UF/IFAS Extension Publication #4HS FS101.9, 2006.
Keeping a Household Inventory and Protecting Valuable Records, Michael T. Olexa and Lauren Grant, UF/IFAS Extension Publication #DH138, 2016.

From a Fact Sheet by:
G. Koerner, 4-H Program Assistant, A. Lazzari, 4-H Agent, G. Whitworth, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Florida / IFAS Brevard County Extension, November 21, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Really Good Chili

For today's Annual United Methodist Church Charge Conference and Pot Luck Dinner, I made a new chili recipe that came out really well!

About little bit about the conference: it is always a nice event when we get together with the other local United Methodist Churches and give an accountability report of what has and will transpire for the year.  Out little Saint Andrew United Methodist Church, and sister churches in the area are doing great things to show people the love of Christ.

The Chili I made from scratch, and not really following a recipe, so therefore I have to jot down how I did it so it can be done again.  It's like any good scientist would do in documenting an experiment with procedural notes, so as it can be repeated by someone else.

Really Really Good Three Day Chili

I used a 5 quart Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, and a 10 inch cast iron skillet.

Dry Red Kidney Beans, 1 pound.
10 cups of water
1 large white onion, peeled and cut in half
2 chopped cloves of garlic
5 Bay Leaves
1/2 teaspoon Chile Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons of Salt
1 pound cubed steak, finely chopped when partially frozen
2, 10 ounce cans of Original Ro-Tel Tomatoes with green chilies
Additional Salt and Pepper to taste.

Thursday night, I cooked the Kidney Beans exactly according to Pati Jinich's recipe Beans: Frijoles de Olla or Beans from the Pot, then I put them in the fridge until the next evening after the dutch oven cooled a bit.

Friday night, the next day, I put the pot back on the stove on medium heat.

At the same time in a skillet I browned the chopped beef and added 1/2 of the onion and the garlic all chopped fine.  The beef was so lean, that I had to add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  When it was all nice and brown and the onions translucent, I deglazed the skillet with a little (1/2 cup) water and added it all to the bean pot.

Next into the bean pot I added the spices and Ro-Tel.  Then I let it simmer about 4 hours. It was time for bed again, so I let it cool and put it back in the fridge until the next day. This rest time for the chili lets all the flavors marry and deepen in flavor.

Saturday morning simmered it for 4 more hours prior to serving. I removed all the Bay Leaves, so the consumers of my chili wouldn't die with a Bay Leaf in their throat. The crowd seemed to enjoy it and I would absolutely make it again.

The total cost of the dish was about $13 and served about 15 people.
Beef - $6.00
Beans - $2.00
Ro-Tel - $2.00
Spices and Vegetables $3.00

I hope this recipe works out for you!  

- gus

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Am I A Bigot? Needed Public Survey

Today on NPR I heard the results of another public survey conducted, Poll: Most Americans Think Their Own Group Faces Discrimination. 

Americans are saying "I feel discriminated against." "I feel disenfranchised." "I feel the population is against my race, gender (pick another demographic here), my etc."

When are we going to flip the coin and say, that a study was done and those surveyed admitted they had bigoted tendencies against one or another identity groups?

When I self-admit my own biased tendencies, that is when I can reevaluate how I treat others and begin to make corrections to my behaviors and attitudes to affect positive change.

I urge the media and those involved in making decisions affecting public policy to consider a self-diagnosis test for bigotry, so community leaders can start to address those with the illness instead of those who the disease impacts.


My story originally published August 21, 2017...

The following is a letter I submitted to the Pew Research Center as an idea for a future public opinion survey. Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

Dear Pew Research Center,

Subject: Idea for a public survey
Sent To:

I try to be open minded, and I am to a degree.
I do my best to be accepting of others, and I am to a certain level.
I would like to say I have a high moral standard, and I do – sometimes more than others.

It seems like our country is moving toward a situation of complete polarization.  It seems for example, if you are not completely pro-LGTBQ issues, then you’re against. Why does that have to be?

I would like to see a series of questions, a scientific social survey conducted (such as) for Racism (example):

1) Do you consider yourself a Racist? Yes or No
2) Would you hire someone of a race different from your own? Would you hire an                   African American, a Hispanic, an Asian, and so on...
3) Would you approve of your child dating someone of a different race?
4) Would you consider dating or marrying someone of a different race?

I realize I am a racist and bigot by certain definitions out there in the world, but I do my best to stay open, accepting and caring.

Why do I have to accept all races, ethnic and lifestyle options, when my faith and upbringing goes (at times) contrary to some social practices?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would like my bigotry to be quantified so I know where I stand and how I can improve.

I am sure other people are the same way. Not everyone is a complete right wing fundamentalist or completely left wing tolerant ACLU card holder. We are all somewhere in a spectrum of acceptance and bias. I would like to consider myself non-biased, but I know that is not true.  It would be more useful to have research based data determining I am (for example) a R5 and H3 (Racist 5/10 and Homophobe 3/10), than a false idea of my own identity.

Thank you.

Follow Up - Pew Research Center never replied back to me on this. (27 Oct. 2017)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

EMS Clergy Survey

To all pastors and church leaders in Brevard County, Florida.  Please take this short, 5 minute survey. Follow this link... Brevard County, Florida Places of Worship, Volunteer and Clergy Enrollment for Disaster Assistance (Church Survey)

In the spring of 2017, just prior to hurricane Harvey, the Brevard County, Emergency Management Services, in cooperation with VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, Brevard), and the American Red Cross acknowledged it would be of benefit to have Chaplains or Spiritual Support Counselors in emergency shelters to provide counseling to the occupants. These counselors would speak with the residents, then link the clients with a permanent faith-based organization of their choice, near them in their community.  Hence, this survey. Read more and take the survey.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey,

-  gus

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cam, Joey and the Turtles

This story is by Julia Koerner, about Cameron Koerner and Joey Fairbanks back in 1999. I am posting this today as a birthday present for Cameron, who is unavailable to receive gifts right now, due to his Marine Corps obligations.

Cam, Joey and the Turtles

I took these photos on a day when Cameron and Joe were on a self-initiated,100% official turtle rescue.

There was talk around the (Royal Oaks) golf course that a small alligator had been spotted in the pond just a few hundred feet from our backyard. Groundskeepers had been looking for the Jurassic critter for a couple weeks, but had nothing to go on but golfer tales up in the clubhouse.

That same pond was actually one of Cam and Joe's favorite spots for collecting abandoned golf balls, but this one particular morning they had found a hidden nest of hatching turtle eggs.

When the boys heard tell of the baby alligator from a few golfers, they came running into the house - frantically asking for a bucket they could put their newly hatching turtles in so the alligator wouldn't eat them.

We found a bucket - and I, of course, followed them out to the spot with my broom in hand to retrieve the turtles and assure their safety from any free range gator babies that might be lurking in the rushes...and of course, bash the gator with my weapon, if necessary.

Now, 18 years later, these are still 2 of Joe's favorite photos. He posts them on his bedroom wall with a push-pin wherever we live. Joe can't remember how many turtles they rescued that day. Perhaps Cameron will remember.

That same afternoon, the boys and Mother and I made an official trip to the wildlife preserve so the boys could deliver their treasured find to the appropriate authorities and ensure the safety of the hatchlings.

You should have heard Cameron retell their tale of danger, intrigue, excitement and wonder at having watched turtles hatch; kept a look-out for the mystery alligator; collected their specimen and escaped without harm. He spoke almost all in one run-on sentence...with Joe piping in, "Me, too! Me, too!" as often as he could squeeze it in.

The rangers were amazed and entertained, to say the least! On the drive home, Mother decided the boys deserved ice cream from her favorite haunt, the Moonlight Drive In.

I'm sure you heard this whole tale first hand on the day it happened - but now, nearly 20 years after the fact, here's the photographic proof of the boys' humanitarian efforts.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Letter to Sister Roberta

This is my letter to Sister Roberta, the Prioress of Holy Name Monastery, Benedictine Sisters of Florida, a long time friend and counselor.

Dear Sister Roberta,

I send my love and greetings to you all.

I am still in the Candidacy for the Ministry for the United Methodist Church, working locally in my congregation, city and county.  One of my major projects I am working on right now is to get a Chaplain assigned to every county emergency shelter during natural disasters.  That suggestion has just been approved for Brevard County. Praise God.

One of my challenges right now is the acceptance of less traditional sexual identities into the ministry, marriage and society.  Even the discussion causes me great anxiety.

This is my favorite song right now.  I hope you enjoy it.  It is Ancient Words, by Michael W. Smith.

Thank you for your support and prayers.  Bless you  all in Christ our Savior.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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


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
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.

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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

My Soul Is Well

As the reader, I hope you remember I write this blog as my journal; not for you per se, but for me and my family and I give you a glimpse of what is important to me through my stories. This song is one of the most important pieces of poetry (hymns) in my life, not just because of the words, but the story behind it all.  What do we have to fear that someone else has not experienced? Mr. Spafford is one of the top 5 people I want to meet if I go to heaven because of this faith building song.

Here is the story behind this song...

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Here are the words written by Mr. Spafford on his journey to meet his grieving wife.

It Is Well With My Soul
by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


The Saint Augustine Record
UMC History of Hymns

Monday, March 13, 2017

Getting The Most Out of Your GPS Receiver – Consider Geotagging

An alternate title for this story could be, "Using GPS in Genealogy, A Marvelous Tool, Part 2"  See Part 1.

We are fortunate to have tools such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) to help us navigate anywhere in the world. Initially for military use, and then expanded to commercial shipping, the technology has evolved to the point where every person on the planet either owns a GPS “device” or is directly affected by one. A feature on today’s cameras and smart phones often overlooked and underappreciated, is attaching GPS location data to ordinary images which is called geotagging.

At the bottom of this story is a challenge with a prize.  I encourage you to read on and go for it!

The ubiquitous influence of this technology can be seen in a car, on the news and even in social media. Who could have ever realized that the Russian flight of Sputnik, the first man-made satellite launched in 1957, could lead to a geotagged selfie of a person on Facebook®? Consider what technologies are utilized in this example. Being used to send this image is a marvel of hardware and software including a mobile telephone, a GPS receiver, the internet and complex programming for the sender and the receiver of this information. But besides entertainment, are there other ways we can use these tools for self and public benefit, and how did GPS get to be so accurate? Of course!

Timeline of GPS Accuracy

Between 1978 and 1985, ten NavStar satellites were launched as the first GPS system for military use. In the 1990s the first consumer GPS units became available and were accurate to about 100 yards. The inaccuracy was due to Selective Availability (SA) which is programming of the GPS signal to make them less accurate for nonmilitary use. During the 1990–91 Gulf War, the shortage of military GPS units caused many troops and their families to buy readily available civilian units. Selective Availability significantly impeded the U.S. military's own battlefield use of these GPS, so the military made the decision to turn it off for the duration of the war. On May 1, 2000 President Clinton turned off SA completely. Since that time, because of more sophisticated satellites, systems such as the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) to augment GPS, and land based beacons accuracy has increased to less than 1 inch!


The word Geotag is derived from geo, referring to earth and tag which means to mark. Closely related to geotag is the term waypoint. Waypoints are sets of coordinates (north or south and east or west) that identify a point in physical space referred to as longitude and latitude. If a person leaves the Earth they could also measure altitude. A geotag is that waypoint that has been attached to that application, photo or message. Depending on the technology and software, the geotag information may be more or less accurate. Accuracy however is relative to the needs of the user, in that a person looking for a restaurant, or car in a parking lot needs less accuracy than someone searching for something very small such as a property line or utility cover under snow. These two examples although practical, do not enrich our lives per se, so why should we know more?

It is helpful to know and to refer back to where location information was collected years later, and we can if we attach compass coordinates to our data (text, image, video). Examples include coordinated attached to:
  • A beautiful plant or historical marker you want to show to someone else.
  • A grave stone or historical landmark for genealogical purposes.
  • A pothole in the road to notify public road or utility companies.
  • The perfect fishing spot you found on your last outing.
  • A quick reference to your location in an emergency situation.
To enable Geotagging on your electronic device go to the Setup menu and look for an option to adjust your location parameters to enable or disable it. Once it is enabled, proceed to take a picture and then review the picture in your image gallery. In the image gallery open the picture and look for the option to show picture details. You should see a screen similar to the one left. Notice in the picture details is the filename, date, time, etc., but most importantly, the information we need in under location where it shows exactly where the picture was taken. This number can then be recorded and then back referenced in Google Earth or other mapping software to find its exact location. Easy! Right? It does take some practice, but the information you can get from this simple feature may be very useful in the future.

Tip! To enable "geotag" on your phone camera, open up your camera app and check the Settings there if it is not in your general Settings.

Here is a challenge with a prize!  In the photo left are the coordinates North 28.359655°, West -80.780788.  The first person who emails me with the nearest city and cross streets to this location I will personally send a prize and highlight them (if they wish) on all my social media streams. My email address is (I know I'm a nerd.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lay Servant Training - Let the Whole Church Say Amen!

In our Lay Servant class this past weekend we studied the book

Let the Whole Church Say Amen!: A Guide for Those Who Pray in Public,
by Laurence Hull Stookey, Published by Abingdon Press, ISBN-10: 0687090776, 2001.

March 17, 2017 Follow-up, this Tweet Wonderful story! Thanks @rachelnpr 'Out Of Wonder' Aims To Inspire A New Generation Of Poets  #IWantThisBook

Follows are some of the prayers I wrote from assignments. It was a very meaningful and (enjoyably) academic class. - spiritual, yet with meat and potatoes.

Adoration prayer
Oh gracious Father,
Whose love and grace is abounding,
Hear the prayers of hearts resounding.
To seek you purposely,
And serve each other selflessly.
In Christ's name, our Blessed Savior.

Collect Prayer
Oh Gracious God and knower of our hearts,
Who’s provided for us in time of need.
Bless us with purity of service,
When to others impart.
In Christ Jesus holy name.

Communal Prayer
Almighty God,
Who calls us to serve and blesses us with His presence,
In this small group in the world.
Thank you for your guidance, and
Thank you for confidence building to pray publicly,
As Jesus taught us to pray saying…
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Praise Prayer
Praise to you O Father above,
Who looks upon us with boundless love.
From the heavens to the Earth, on the land and across the sea,
We sing you praises ever to Thee.
In Christ’s holy name.

Benediction (group written)
Almighty God who lives and reigns forever.
Guide us as we depart.
Keep us safe so that we can perform your will
In the lives of others.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Today I Failed As A Minister

Today I feel like I failed as a minister of the Lord. I had the opportunity to share my testimony and strength to a person in need but instead I got pulled down into their sorrow. I related my own story of grief to them, in all my humanness, but feel I failed the offer them strength and hope in their moment of need. Where do I go from here?

I suppose that is why God meant for us to have enduring, long lasting relationships with our neighbors so that we can perhaps make a difference over time.

We all at some point go through periods of grief, anger and frustration but it is how we respond to those feelings after we realize our humanness and once again seek a more divine path. May we all be blessed on that journey.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Considering Contemplation

A while ago i discovered that I am contemplative (verb), and even perhaps a Contemplative (noun). I know this only because of my likeness to those who call themselves that. In reality I don't truly even know what it means to be one. Follows is a textbook definition of the word and a series of quotes to describe the process. At first I thought one had to be lonely to contemplate, but for me that is not necessarily true.

Merriam Webster definition of contemplation: 1. concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion, 2. an act of considering with attention, 3. the act of regarding steadily

What Contemplation is not. It is not a relaxation exercise. Whilst it may contribute to one becoming relaxed, this is simply a side effect. Contemplation is therefore not a technique but instead, prayer. Contemplative prayer is not a charismatic gift. Contemplative prayer is not a Para psychological phenomenon such as precognition, out of body experiences, levitation or other extraordinary sensory or psychic phenomena. (Contemplation involves centering prayer) Centering prayer is a method of moving this developing relationship with God beyond words, beyond thoughts to the level of pure faith. - Thomas Keating Source

Below are a series of quotes that evolve from being straightforward to heady and lofty. I get lost somewhere in the middle.

Simple Thoughts on Contemplation...

“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.” - Lao Tzu

“A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, 'Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?' . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one's time—the stuff of life.” ― Carl Sandburg

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” - Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Complex Thoughts on Contemplation...

“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” ― Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

“To broaden one's prospective is to push back the swirling winds of ignorance.” ― Joel T. McGrath

As we come to grips with eternity, our mortality and our relationship to God and others it causes some of us to stop and think and to consider restructuring our lives to be centered on what is most important. For me what is most important is my relationship to God and others. This is where I am and some of you may be too. God bless you in your journey. - gus

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Favorite Book For Any Outdoorsman, The Witchery of Archery

The Witchery of Archery, by Maurice Thompson, was originally published in 1878 and is considered America's classic treatise on the subject of archery. It can be compared to Izaak Walton's legendary fishing treatise, The Compleat Angler. (Amazon). This book would have appeal to the more ecologically minded "pre-hunter" stage of outdoorsman and traditional archer.

ISBN-13: 978-0996799119

Reviews: "The entire book is charming, and we cordially recommend it to readers generally, whether they are interested in archery or not, certain that they will find an enjoyable freshness about it that would have been a severe loss to have missed." - Peoria Call

"Mr. Thompson is an enthusiast in his pastime, but he is not less a lover of nature and an accurate observer in natural history, especially of birds; and the reader will be delighted with his experiences as a hunter and a roamer of the woods. The book is full of the flavor of nature, like those of Thoreau and John Burroughs." - Hartford Courant

This book, although fascinating from an archery standpoint my primary love is Thompson's vivid description of traveling through old Florida and his exploration adventures. - Gus Koerner

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Where have I been? Water for everyone.

Last night I headed to the store to pick up family groceries to carry me and my wife over for a few days. Drinking water was not on my grocery list. As I drove down the road about 9 PM, my default radio station was on NPR and I listened to BBC Radio, World Hacks, The Sun Water Solution and I asked myself, Where have I been?  Why didn't I know this?  What can I do so share this information to the masses?  Perhaps this is a start.  Please listen to the story or check my sources.

This is a story about how the most amazing ideas do not always work how you would like in practise. In theory it is so simple. You put disease-ridden water into a two litre plastic bottle, screw on the lid and leave it in the sun. After six hours on a cloudless day, almost all the bacteria and bugs that cause diseases like cholera and diarrhoea are killed or inactivated by the UV light and gentle warming. Professor Kevin McGuigan has proven this in the lab, but for the last 20 years he has been trying to get it working in rural African communities. It has not been anywhere near as easy as you might think.

  • About the author of this article Dr. Kevin McGuigan, director of the RCSI Solar Disinfection Research Group, Ireland,  Link
  • Wikipedia, Solar Water Disinfection, Link
  • SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection) started as an initiative of Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology. Link
  • SODIS from the CDC (U.S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Link

Friday, February 3, 2017

Maps for Going Afield

Navigation has always thrilled me using maps, a compass, GPS or the stars. Using a standard USGS topographic map is especially a pleasure because it is like hiking through the woods holding a piece of art. They are as beautiful to me as the surroundings themselves and often contain treasures on the landscape that do not show up through other methods of navigation.

About 1976 I learned this skill of laminating the map on a piece of natural cloth, making it more durable and I've always wanted to do it again and share it with folk like me. so here it is...

Maps for Going Afield

An original article by T. Fegley, Field and Stream Magazine, 1971. Reproduced verbatim, and by permission for preservation of this skill.

With more and more people taking to the out of doors and many wishing to get away from it by all exploring new territory, topographic maps have gained a new popularity. Similarly, hunters, fisherman, hikers, backpackers, snowmobilers, and Jeep-born navigators rely on their maps in the field and constantly use them for reference. As new trails are discovered and plotted, the map becomes a tool matching the compass in value. 

Although the cost of a topo map is small, constant replacement of heavily-used maps is unnecessary if you take 30 minutes or so to reinforce them with a cloth backing. It is easy and inexpensive and will give more mileage to your valuable silent guides. 

Basic equipment for mounting your topo includes scissors, a yardstick, razor blade cutter, two pans, commercial wall paste, paintbrush, and backing material such as an old starch-free muslin sheet. The sheet must be larger than the map since it is stretched and tacked along the edges. A smooth, tight surface can be had by fitting the sheet over a straight edged piece of plywood and tacking it on the opposite side after stretching. 

Fold the map so that it fits conveniently in your coat pocket. Unfold and cut the map carefully along the folded lines with a razor blade. Since the larger 7 1/2 minute maps may require more folds to get to pocket size, only the creases of the larger sections need to be cut. It is unnecessary to divide the map into too many small segments. 

Float the pieces in a pan of warm water for about a minute. With a brush, apply the paste to the back of each section and position them on the sheeting about 1/8 inch apart. The paste should be completely free of lumps before applying. 

After mounting the sections in their proper order, clean off the excess paste with a damp cloth. A gentle pressure will assure a contact between the paper and cloth. The map must be allowed to dry slowly and thoroughly for 24 to 48 hours depending upon drying conditions. 

When the map is completely dry, cut it from the board and trim along the papers edge to keep the cloth from fraying. Should any of the maps edges lift after use, a bit of white glue will do the trick. 

Your reinforced map is now ready for many hours of use and should stand hundreds of foldings. Along with a compass it will provide pleasure and safety for your travels into the wild. 

As an alternative, the map may be mounted in one piece by applying moisture to the back with a damp cloth to soften the paper before pasting. The map is then mounted and cleaned by applying pressure from the center toward the edges with the moist cloth. When dry, the map is folded to fit into the pocket. - Tom Fegely

References for Topographic Map Lamination to Cloth:
  • Tom Fegley, “Maps for Going Afield”, Field and Stream Magazine, June 1971, page 150.
  • William Hillcourt, “Your Hiking Pals”, Boy’s Life Magazine, October 1947, page 11. “I’m happy when I’m hiking, pack upon my back, I’m happy when I’m hiking off the beaten track…”, an old Boy Scout tune.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

24 Hours of Blessings

I'm feeling extremely grateful today so I decided to start my own campaign.

For the next 24 hours, (about) on the hour - around the clock I am going to list a blessing, and Tweet it under the hashtag #24hoursofblessings.

Feel free to join me by continuing it on or or commenting here.  Just for a day.

January 19, 2017 Tweets by @guskoerner

8 AM I am thankful for a job serving the public.

This morning I was greeted by Eastern Gray Squirrels.  Love these little guys, they brighten my day.

9 AM Grateful for work colleagues who are diligent and kind. Good people.

10 AM Grateful for my children who are politically aware and civically engaged.

11 AM Grateful for a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich now and then.

NOON. Grateful for a wife who's supportive, encouraging and loving.

1 PM I'm grateful for school crossing guards.

2 PM I’m grateful for smartphones that help us stay connected with loved ones far away.

3 PM I’m grateful for forgiveness that allows us to start over.

4 PM My time as a prison CO and GED Instructor was a blessing that taught me so much.

5 PM Rational-Respectful discussions of opposing viewpoints are a blessing.

6 PM Books that uplift and inspire are a blessing.

7 PM Supper is a blessing not all enjoy. Thank you Lord, please bless those in need.

8 PM Adoptive parents are a blessing.

9 PM Firewood stacked and food in the cupboard are a blessing.

10 PM Nurses are a blessing to us all.

11 PM I’m grateful for a bed to sleep in.

MIDNIGHT – I’m grateful for a cushy pillow.

1 AM Ceiling Fans

2 AM I’m grateful for indoor plumbing.

3 AM I’m grateful that someone cares enough to control mosquitoes.

4 AM I’m grateful for diabetes education and the JDRF.

5 AM Nightlights are a blessing.  Thank you Thomas Edison.

6 AM My Snoozebar is a blessing.

7 AM Chickens are a blessing I appreciate as I eat my Egg McMuffin.

May your day be blessed too.