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.

Sources: 
  • 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.