Hard . . .

So some folks may have noticed that I try to title my posts with a single word or phrase followed by an ellipse. And then I try to end my post with that same word or phrase. No particular reason but just a style thing for me.

Writing a blog everyday is hard stuff. As a writer, you struggle with “do people really want to hear this stuff?” or my personal favorite is where I sit down to write and NOTHING! I mean nothing comes to mind. My typical answer is not to post anything but I need to get past the writers block and just put down the topics that I have running around in this head.

Now for the real topic of this post, hard.

Life is hard. Love is hard. But nothing is more important that living a life full of love. I still remember how hard is was for my wife to carry three babies and give birth to our wonderful children but she did it well and full of love.

When something is hard it typically means it is worth doing. Not always but still worth evaluating.

Living a life full of love is our main job. Jesus said it best (kinda helps that He is God) “Love your neighbor as yourself”. When you live a life full of love, everything changes!

No more selfish behavior . . . You know most of our bad behavior is simply because we are selfish. If we love then we cannot be selfish. If we look for opportunities to love others, we cannot fail.

But let me put one thing into absolute clarity, love is NOT acceptance! Love is not looking the other way when evil happens, love is not avoiding conflict and so many others things love is not.

The choices are not always easy but to make those choices in love is the right answer.
Life is hard but live a life full of love and watch what happens!

Hard . . . yes but so worth it!

Why I Hunt . . .

NOTE: This Article is from 2012

As I prep the upcoming site with content and thinking about what new content will be featured on the site, I ran across a great article by another great hunting/outdoor site (WiredToHunt). Specifically Mark Kenyon wrote a great ‘manifesto’ that I believe every individual should read (Virtues of the Responsible Hunter) as it outlines a lot of what I believe about hunting and how it should be treated.

The only improvement would be to move the “Hunter Safety” section first but honestly that is just nitpicking.

But regardless, this is about why I hunt (or at least supposed to be). But again Mark nails it right on the head for me and so here I swipe from his site with a little editing for my own flavor:

  • To bring my family together with a common passion
  • To become a part of nature for a short time
  • To harvest meat for my family
  • To carefully manage the populations of deer throughout the country to prevent an overpopulation that could lead to mass starvation, excessive car deer accidents and spread of disease
  • I hunt because of the process. The months of hard work, scouting and preparation that all leads up to one heart pounding, nerve shattering moment.
  • I hunt because the need to hunt dwells deep inside each one of us, it pumps through our blood and it is part of what defines humanity and the survival of our species
  • It brings us back to a primal, natural state of peace and selflessness in nature
  • I hunt because it is natural

You see hunting is not about killing. Or else it would not be called hunting. The animals I hunt typically have a much better chance at getting away than I do of getting them. I firmly believe in “fair-chase” hunting and will NOT hunt on a high fence ranch which in my mind equates to shooting fish in a barrel. As I once read, the animals I hunt have more of a chance than the lettuce a vegetarian eats!

Hunting is a part of my heritage. My grandfather hunted and taught me how to shoot both a .22 and a shotgun. I loved my Grandaddy and there is often times I wish he were around to hunt with me now. He taught me safety, how to be quiet, and just to enjoy being out in the woods.

But I also have a side of my family that is VERY against hunting. My aunt probably despises that I hunt. She is a wonderful woman whom I love and cherish very deeply but on this we just disagree. But you know what is amazing about her? She still loves me in spite of it. I understand her points and unfortunately there is some logic to her angst against hunting due to the number of irresponsible hunters that are in the field.

I know that I am doing my part for conservation as well. I used to get Ranger Rick, Audubon and a number of other wildlife magazines from my aunt and my Grandmommie. It was my Grandmommie that taught me to respect the wildlife along with my aunt. I have hand fed deer and squirrels before and still marvel at their beauty. My heart still races just seeing the deer in the field and looking at their grace.

So hunting to me is more than the kill. It is about life and enjoying the creation that God gave us as well as taking care of the creation by proper wildlife management.

Mark said it best “I hunt because it is natural”.

Being a Dad . . .

As I watch my children grow and change before my very eyes, I marvel at what God has given me in my kids. I watch my girls love attention from me and want me to “see” them. “Daddy, look at me dance” or “Daddy, watch me do this” and my son just wanting to punch me in the arm and have me punch him back!

But what has really hit me recently is watching my son slowly become more interested in being with me. I got home earlier than the rest of the family tonight and my wife told me how excited he was to see that I was home. He came right out to the backyard where I was shooting my bow and he talked non-stop the whole time! It was awesome!

I also reflect on the fact that I must BE an example to him. I must show him how to love a woman by loving my wife. I must show him how to work by exhibiting a strong work ethic. I must show him how to be a man by being a man. It will not be enough to talk about it and say “do this or do that”. Instead I must BE the man I want him to grow into.

And my girls! My littlest one is absolutely becoming a daddy’s girl. On our vacation, she got up early one morning and wanted to do nothing but snuggle with Dad and watch Bone Collector together. How awesome was that?!

My oldest, NG, actually scheduled an early morning date with me over vacation to do the same thing! She said “Daddy, can we have a date tomorrow morning and get up before the other kids and watch Bone Collector together?” What Dad in his right mind would turn that down!

Being a Dad is an awesome job but filled with lots of peril if we try to do it outside of a relationship with Jesus. So I must focus my efforts on BEING a Dad by BEING a son of the heavenly Father.

I love my kids and being with them is the greatest honor God could ever have bestowed on me.

God, please help me to BE a Great Dad . . .

Give me a reason . . .

I have a firm belief that a small business can effectively compete against a large retailer all day every day! Is it hard? You bet! But it can be done.

You see the small business owner has to give me a reason to shop at their store. Maybe the reason is a friendly atmosphere or maybe a fellow community of people who share a common interest. Or maybe it is the only place where they actually know who I am and are actually happy to see me! Or maybe they carry the best products (not the cheapest) and know how to use them!

But there has to be a reason. It is the responsibility of the small business owner to give me that reason. And I can tell you now that PRICE is NEVER a reason. As a small business owner you will never win the price war and I mean NEVER. Competing on price is pure insanity and best left to the big retailers to duke it out over low margins. I often hear “that is the market price” in many business discussions and so I say get out of that market!!!! If the market you are in can not provide your business with healthy profit margins, then change markets!

I have owned three small businesses in my past. Two of which was successful and one was not. So lets talk about the one that wasn’t. There were four other competitors in town in the same market. After I started it took about 6-8 months before one of the others left the market place, probably due to his own business practices. But one store in particular was regularly kicking our butt as well as the other stores. What did they do right? Who knows! But I can tell you what I did wrong. I did not give customers a good enough reason to come to my store! I failed not because of my customers but rather I did not provide considerable value for the customer to make a switch. I was successful for a while but I failed to continue to provide that value and never provided a good enough reason to come to my store.

Really just to prove a point, you as a small business owner have to give me a reason to spend my hard-earned money at your store! And if you give me a reason, I will spend it with you versus somewhere else.

So what is your reason? What are you going to do to give me a reason to be a customer?

I am waiting . . .

Living . . .

NOTE: This post is from 2012 . . .

So let’s start with a story. This year I really started hunting deer with a bow. I hunted last year but not too seriously. This year is a very different story though. I hunted just about every opportunity I got! On opening day of deer season (rifle), I got my first buck! WOW! Completely exhilarating and buck fever set in like nobodies business. Last day of rifle season, got another deer! Man was I pumped!

But then I got my first deer with a bow and I had an epiphany as I was field dressing the deer, “This is what God had in mind when He made man!”

You see I have owned three businesses, sold two of them and done some great business deals in my days. I have traveled all over the world for business and achieved some great moments. I wrote a book and saw it on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles. And all those moments were remarkable but all pale in comparison to getting that last deer.
But the killing of a deer with a bow is not really the deal. Being in the room when my three children were born was better than any deer hunt! Seeing my wife walk down the aisle on our wedding day still gives me goose bumps like nothing else!! But still there was something unique about the experience with the deer.

You see that day I was all alone in the woods when that deer came running up to where I was. I still do not get why your heart starts to pound like no tomorrow when a deer shows up but I do know that I got to experience a remarkable moment with God that day.

I was able to provide food for my family with this hunt and it was not shooting an animal at 150 yards but rather being completely silent and still so that the deer would get within 20 yards. Then carefully and slowly draw the bow and take a careful shot. But it did not stop there, I had to go field dress the deer and haul it out of the woods.
The adventure of it was remarkable! The challenge was tangible and yet indescribable.

And that is when I realized that God did NOT intend man to live life on the coach or in an arm chair!! He intended man to LIVE!

Living is not sitting there watching a sports game on TV or going to a movie to watch someone have an adventure. Living is not living through the experience of others.

Living is getting so cold you can barely sit still waiting for an animal that may or may not show up. Living is playing ball with your son or daughter in the backyard! Living is taking your children out to the woods and showing them the creation that God has made.

Living is showing them how to make a fire, roast a marshmallow, skin a fish, clean a deer, and then make sure you leave the woods like you found them.

Living is providing for your family, helping your wife with the dishes (ok that is pushing it I know), loving your wife more than yourself, dreaming with your wife and respecting her!

Living is not a spectator sport but being in the game! You see God made man to provide, to hunt, to have adventure and to LIVE.

You cannot live life safely and expect to see all that God has for you. Especially as a man!

No more arm chair quarterbacks, go coach a team of underprivileged kids that have not seen a REAL man in a long time. No watching Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, go teach your daughter how to dance and your son to open the door for his sisters!

Go dig a garden for your wife! Go hunt/fish for dinner! Get outside and live the life God has created in this remarkable world.

So you see hunting is not the answer for your manhood, living the life God intended is the answer and He did not create you to be a spectator.
Now go live!


Excellence: “the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good;extreme merit”

“Being exceptionally good”, now that is a big statement.

In this world today, it seems that being average is the standard. Years ago a good friend and I were having one of those deep conversations about what made certain people different. We spent many hours postulating over why most accepted mediocrity for their lives and were not willing to be “excellent”. Well what we concluded was the following:

“Most individuals idea of excellence is our idea of mediocrity”

This was something that has stuck with me for years now ever since Chad and I sat there in our apartment and had our deep conversation. But to me no where is this more prevalent than in many churches today.

So back to Excellence. Think of your church, what are they truly excellent at? Be honest, brutally honest. Not looking for good or even OK but honest to God excellence. Did you find anything? Shouldn’t everything be excellent when it comes to God’s children and His home? But do budgets, operations, staff, and “tradition” get in the way? (Disclaimer: I LOVE traditions!)

Think to the old church days (pre 1800) and look at the things they brought to the world with respect to excellence. Cathedrals, Art, Music, and Literature. Ever seen an illuminated biblical manuscript or walked through St. Peters in Rome? WOW! Ever listened to Handel’s Messiah or seen Michelangelo’s David? That is excellence!

Yes I know all about the missteps of the church.

But the church set the example for so many areas in the past but now the majority sit on the sideline and let the world set the standard for us. We look to copy instead of create. Remember early Christian contemporary music, ouch! But it has gotten much better in the years since.

The church needs to look at how to be excellent! People will rush to see excellence! Authenticate excellence is what God is all about! God did not create an average world just look at a sunset or marvel at how your hands work or how the body can breathe without you thinking about it.

We wonder why our youth abandon the church. What are we offering them? We offer mediocrity and luke warm faith. Sure some will make an argument for consumerization of the church but I am starting to think that is just an excuse to keep doing what we have always done. I do not believe Christians should “church-hop” because their “needs” are not being met or they are not entertained. What they should do is fight to make their church excellence.

Do not accept mediocrity.

Jesus did not die mediocre and He surely did not save the world half ass.

So what is our excuse?

Fear . . .

I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time as it really drives so many actions and inactions by people.

Fear is a tremendous motivator. It can motivate people to complete inaction or cause a tremendous amount of action. So is fear in and of itself bad?

YES! But it can be harnessed for good.

So let’s investigate that together.

On the bad side of the coin, fear will drive many people to be completely frozen in a status of inactivity. Fear of what others think keeps you from being your true self. Fear of change keeps you in the same situation. Fear of failure causes you to never try new things. Fear of pain keeps you from going on that date because you might get hurt again. Fear of the unknown will keep in a dark cloud instead of moving into the known.

But on the good side of the coin, fear of failure can make you try harder to deliver good results. Fear of falling will make you be safe. In fact in rock climbing we often would say the day you stop being afraid is the day you need to stop climbing.

So fear can be the single biggest motivator for you to step out and make that change that you need to make.

Fear can drive you or it freeze you.
Your choice.
What are you afraid of?