Categories
Faith family Fear focus Life

Listening

Batman Says:

Sitting out on the deck early this morning before most of this part of the world wakes up, I closed my eyes and just listened. Ever do that? Just listen? Interesting what the result may be if you do. Because I was outdoors, and Peach and I live out in the country (not deep in the woods away from all sounds of man like I wish but, still country folk) I get to hear nature, sometimes mans noise butts in, but mainly nature. Early like this, there are still night creatures about but also the day crews are waking up and moving about. It’s a peaceful time, and the amount of nature that could be heard (probably could hear more, but for years of teaching shooting numbing my hearing 😳) night hawks, whip-or-wills (Chuck-will’s-widow more often) early morning Cardinals, Mocking birds and of course, the always present sound of roosters crowing, Horned owls, Barred owls, and Screech owls… you get the idea. All add their voices at one time or another, together or separate, frequent or rarely, and just listening to them relaxes me.

There are at times no sounds at all, it’s creepy still, the time of morning or night when as Sherlock Holmes put it “the powers of evil are exalted”. Times like these some get nervous or frightened, but as Don Williams sang “Nothing makes a sound in the night like the wind does, but you’re not afraid if you’re washed in the blood like I was”. Night sounds (early morning, too) can stir up fears in people, an involuntary reaction stemming back to the days when it was kill or be killed, and wild carnivores roamed everywhere, it also stems from man’s evilness to one another where certain elements prey on weaker victims. But in the here and now, the sounds I hear are stealthy, and then some are musical, neither cause fear as I have and still hunt the evil most refuse to acknowledge exists and fear little in doing so (“Fear profits no man” ..13th Warrior). Settling more in my comfy chair I hear leaves rustle, probably a mouse or mole looking for edible yummies, as I look up thru the live oak leaves to the crystal clear ink black sky with its brilliant sparkly lights (them is stars in case you didn’t get it) flashing colorful lights from far away. You can almost hear the trees talking to the wind and each other (probably wondering why we get to move around when they can’t) with soft subtle voices that you either believe in or don’t. If you believe, you can quietly hear the soft voices on the wind, maybe not understand them but you can hear them if you listen. Most refuse to hear those quiet voices from things in nature, especially those they hear when it is dark, and they do it out of fears. Fears of the unknown, fears others may not have heard it and would ridicule or belittle them, fears they would lose friendships or companions.

“Fear does not stop death it stops Life and worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles it takes away today’s Peace”

If you must fear, the fear should be that you have let God down by not following his word. (Squirrel ran by…apologies)

Listening teaches us so much more than talking does, and if most people would open their ears and close their mouths, they would learn tons and there would be way less conflict. So I sit, when I can, be it at home or at work (rare but I do sometimes get the chance) and I listen to what the world is trying to tell me. I hear the sunrise, I hear the wind, I hear Gods creations great and small. I don’t always understand them, but I hear them all, each has its own unique voice, some booming some barely perceptible. None of these would I be able to hear if all I did was talk. The gift of silence is often underestimated, but having the ability to let someone talk or vent, without interjecting, is a rare ability that more people need. Take the time to shut up and just listen, I bet you hear a lot and maybe learn to appreciate silence more.

“What’s that Peach? Sorry wasn’t listening” 😬

Categories
Faith family health Life

Camping and Stuff

Batman Says:

Raise your hand if you like camping 🖐🏼🖐🏼. Peach and I are, and pretty much have always been, fans of camping which is another one of the thousands upon million of reasons I love her. Her family, like mine, were brought up as campers. Cars were packed up stuffed full of tents and paraphernalia as well as kids, then off to some spot, usually a known place where they feel comfortable, and the camping set up begins.

Dads all over the world will get this..the frustration level increases to just before nuclear meltdown stage right about the time the !*%!%**%#! tent is finally up. Then when the blood pressure comes down from the stratosphere, the relaxing can commence.

I have fond memories of all night fishing trips on the river where we kids were forced to finally go to sleep in a huge old Army GP medium tent that my dad and uncle put up (can’t do it anymore as there are bleepin houses where we used to camp). But anyways, they were fun trips. Also remembered are the trips early in Peach and my marriage with the rug rats all crammed in a small tent, nothing could make these trips or the memories of them better that they are. Road trips to the camping spots also hold many fond memories along the way. We once stopped off in the Echota Cherokee Capitol Historic Site in Georgia and wandered around old log cabins and buildings where old settlers lived. No school classroom on the planet could replace the effect of actually being there, feeling the wood, seeing how the Cherokee people lived and survived in a completely different environment than they were use to….(I feel a squirrel running by). Our boys were products of both private, then public, and finally home schooling (Peach is a wonderful and patient teacher with the smarts of one of those people with all the alphabet letters attached to their names, and she came by her wisdom the right way, she lived and learned). I will not bash any form of schooling, I just believe that learning math you can use, English you can speak, and the history of your country as it was not as someone thinks it should have been, prepares kids better for real life than study guides set down by committee (you take God out of the equation, you aren’t worth the paper all those alphabet letters behind your name are printed on), just my opinion, again I’m not trying to change yours so don’t try and change mine. Told ya, Squirrel!

Anyways, we explored several places along the way to that camping excursion, and we learned a lot. Some of the trips were hot and sweaty, some cold to the point of ice, all were trips I would not change for anything in the world. I believe the time out in the fresh air, be it at a spring and river, or on a mountain top, did wonders for myself and the family. Working together to set up camp, exploring, building the camp fire and keeping it going, cooking meals, cleaning up, all have their places. Gathering around the fire at night roasting marshmallows or other stuff, talking and laughing, it freed the soul of stress. The downside to any of it, if there is one, is that it never seemed to last long enough, before long it was the night before packing up and going back home. Everyone’s movements slow, but time speeds up. No one wants to leave but we eventually get packed up and away we go, headed back home.

Seldom were there trips that we did not have a really nice time. It seems camping and the trips to and from always seemed to agree with us. Everyone returned with a happy disposition which sometimes lasted well into the week following.

I think the fun of camping is just being together “roughing” it for a couple days as a family. We slow down, we bond as a group, we “Live, Laugh, Love” and repair ills that society piles on us.

Just my opinion…yes you too can “chuck it in the bucket” difference is, I’m not trying to change yours 😉.

No Peach I did not pack your hair dryer”

Categories
Faith focus Life photography

Mystery of Sunrise

Batman Says:

It starts as the darkest part of the night, then barely perceptible it begins. The darkness lightens, tantalizingly slow at first, then if all is right, color starts to erupt from below the horizon like dragons fire spewing forth. It continues to grow and strengthen impossibly bright and the glowing red orange ball we call the sun breaks the horizon pouring forth its warmth and light. 

I have always been fascinated by sunrises, dawn skies with their promise of new beginnings with brilliant colors one day, dull and gray the next, and a myriad of in between looks that keep us guessing. Attached are a few sunrise pics we took over different times, hope y’all enjoy them, and get up early with a cup of coffee (glass of juice, whatever), settle into a comfy spot and watch the dawn light rise like a phoenix displaying Gods handy work for all to see

All these are as they were seen, we don’t tinker (means muck with) the photos by filtering or brightening them.

God created them, we figure that’s good enough.

No Peach I did not put all the sunrise photos in one post thank you very much”

Categories
Faith family Fear focus health Life

Unremembered Forest Things

Batman Says:

When I was little (yes everyone I once was little and didn’t have adult cares, how long ago? None of your business cheeky bugger), I was born (not hatched or beamed down as some believe) in a very small country town. I was actually the only one of my siblings born in this small town, but my moms family was from there and we lived there a short while. We moved to a different place, not to far away from where I was born and made frequent return trips there, so much so when I was small, it was as if I never left. Many memories of those days are gone, lost or pushed aside by other information garnered over the many years of my life (no you don’t need to know how many!). Some are still there and pop up at weird times to remind me of something (I truly wish I knew what that was) and they sometimes linger about showing up off and onto annoy me.

Like my grandpa’s place where we stayed at times, he had a tater field and would pay us kids a quarter for whoever dig up the biggest tater (by hand of course). Even fonder memories were of visits to my Aunt and Uncles house (10 minute walk across one dirt road and a couple fields) where they had rabbits (for eating, sorry no pets) and a pond that I would spend hours catching and releasing bream and catfish in (unless my uncle said “keep’em we will eat them for lunch/dinner”). My childhood memories of these times were to me idyllic and I’m saddened that they slip out of remembrance only to pop up occasionally now days.

My grandpa, my uncle and sometimes dad if he were not off helping someone fix something (seems I remember him always fixing stuff for people when we visited there) would take me fishing on a river that ran thru our little town, and at this part of the country, separated two states acting as part of the state lines. When it was summer and it hadn’t rained much, you could basically walk the river for miles without ever getting past thigh deep (on a small boy) except for parts around stumps and widow-makers (underwater snags).these deeper pockets is where the “Stump Knockers” (google it) were hiding and where the lines from our cane poles were put to catch what we could then move on to the next.

Sometimes my grandpa or uncle would stop and stare off into the woods as if seeing something but try as I might I never caught what they were seeing. I asked over and over ‘what are u looking at grandpa /uncle ” and would get “nothin son” or “just looking”. My aunt told me later that they were seeing “forest creatures” and she would laugh. Now as a small boy this fascinated me to no end, but soon I would be off to other small boy things and it would be forgotten.

Fast forward a few years (again, don’t ask how many, it’s rude) and I spend as many spare seconds as I can in the woods or creeks, hunting, fishing, photography, just being outside with Peach, or whatever. This is my happy place, my forget all your troubles, relax and just “breathe” place. Took me several years to catch on but I think I finally get it..

People who spend time in the fields, forests, swamps and natural places will know immediately what I mean in a couple seconds, some others will also as there are other types in the world. Here you are, let’s use photography as the reason you are there in nature just as a for instance. Strolling along slowly maybe with purpose in mind of something to photograph or maybe not, then, without knowing why or even thinking about it, your focus is drawn to a area or specific spot, why? Did u subconsciously see something, was it a memory of something from a time ago, or something else?

I have come to believe in my own silly mind it is done with purpose and you were drawn to that spot where one of the Unremembered Forest things was, or had just been. Your mind saw it before your eyes could catch it and your vision focused on the spot it just vacated. Good hunters have a developed sense of where game can be found, same goes for good photographers and other nature lovers. We all have in us a Predator instinct, that’s why our eyes are set in front of our head and not out to the sides (look at a cat as opposed to a deer). This instinct does not go away, but now days it’s suppressed by societies belief that “hunters are evil” (sorry squirrel ran by).

When we were children and out in nature I believe we could see the unremembered Forest things, and they weren’t afraid to be seen, but as we get older and refuse to believe, they have become skittish and we only get to see the places they just were when we spooked them.

There are so many unexplained things in nature that scientist and nay-sayers roll their eyes at, doesn’t matter, I still believe. I spend lots of time outdoors, exploring the wild, and I am constantly being drawn towards things without knowing why.

Here is an example of not seeing what’s there, I took this picture without knowing why, the colors are ok, but I didn’t really think it was that awesome. I was drawn to it without knowing why, snapped it and moved on. As I reflected upon it later I recognized the image before my eyes, if you do not see an “Angel praying” then you need to get outside into the forest for several days to reset your brain before it’s to late.

Seeing for the first time in ages the hiding places of these “things” sometimes leads one to make up rationalizations for why we chose that spot to focus. That’s cool If that’s what you believe, who am I to try and dissuade your beliefs? Just like I chunk opinions of others who try and dissuade mine into the “bucket” with the other rubbish.

I call these things “Unremembered Forest Things” because I believe that when we were small, and well before our brains were polluted with things society thinks we should know, we knew these “things” be it creatures or something else. But over time we have forgotten them, only to be reminded every so often subtly by our unconscious mind, a tugging of your focus for no apparent reason to a certain spot, and hint of a smell, or whatever. Watching the stillness of a pond where no breeze is blowing, when suddenly there are ripples on the surface as if a stick was drawn across it, Water Faries dancing on the surface? Naw just the wind right?

In the stillness and quietness, I find my peace, and I find those parts of myself from my childhood I thought were gone forever. Sometimes I can just stand still in the woods, for hours at a time and be content. This refreshing memory inducing time is only ever bettered, when I have my Peach along with me. Peach gets it, she gets me to, she knows there are things we cannot explain, nor do we have to try, we should just enjoy them.

God has filled this wonderful earth with creatures great and small, and it’s up to us to “remember” them all, and to take time to go seek them where they are.

Hope you all enjoy this ramble, and it’s my wish that if you want to, you go into nature, and let your unconscious mind guide you, follow it, and see if it does not reveal some of the “Unremembered Forest Things” that you knew in your childhood years.

Did ya see how that last pick looks like it has a turtle in it Peach?”

Categories
Faith family focus health Life life styles

Stores

Batman Says:

Click and “poof” whatever you want is delivered to your home, you don’t ever have to leave again. Some call it convenient, I call it the slow death of “Stores”.

Remember going to the store? It was a trip, a journey where you met people, said hello and actually conversed. It was a time away from the house, sometimes it wasn’t convenient to have to go, others it was just fun. I remember during the summers when I was young (again, none ya business when that was) we would sometimes ride our bicycles the 5 miles down our barren county road to the wooden country store in the middle of the ‘tater’ fields just to get a NeHi soda and sometimes even candy. We sometimes played the worn out pinball machine, sat in the shade and talked to the “old guys” that hung around and we just had fun. Then we rode back home down that lonesome road.

As we got older the trips were made in trucks and we somehow didn’t have time to sit around and talk. And the trips to the “store” became less important. We found more “important” things to do I suppose. Shame, I kinda miss it now that I’m “growed up” supposedly.

I think somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood we lose a special part of ourselves that if we kept, we would never not want to always see, hear, and visit places and things, and “stores”. Now with modern tech, it’s all too simple to become a hermit and just have anything you wish, dropped outside your front door. I, for one think it’s sad, I’m not saying I don’t use these options here and there, I’m saying we should never stop totally, taking the trip to the store. Giving up the chance to see an old friend, or make a new one, is not worth missing just for convenience.

Take it from Batman, you’re never too old to make new friends and renew old friendships, chances are better for both if you’re out and about as opposed to being a hermit.

No Peach this does not mean I go to town every time you do”

Categories
Faith family focus Life photography

Nights

Batman Says:

Nothing profound here (not that I’m ever real profound) just pictures we have taken at night, trying to learn the camera…enjoy

“Hope y’all enjoyed them as much as we enjoyed shooting them in the wee of the morning”

Categories
coffee Faith family Fear focus Life life styles Time management

Range Day

Batman Says:

Today, today was a good day, with many things accomplished, some partially, others put off till another day. Today started with a perfect breakfast of Bacon and eggs cooked to perfection by Peach. I used the French press to make a batch of Black Rifle “Coffee or Die” coffee (yes, that’s a thing here). Showers, load the truck (watch Peach go back inside because she forgot her phone), head to the range for a class with one of our long time clients and she is bringing her daughter for the first time.

Great range session, I think some new skills were learned and I believe all had a good time. Peach and I try and be attentive to clients needs and wants at the range and tailor training specific for them, this one is a photographer, often off on her own. She is a super shot (trust me on this, she’s really good) so we worked on scenarios where she was photographing and had to drop the camera, draw and shoot, all which after a few slow repetitions, she did with moderate speed, and excellent skill. Her daughter who also is a great shot and safe gun handler, shoots a rifle with skill that would make some tough guys stand up and take notice (I did, as this was the first time meeting her), both mom and daughter made the morning very fun.

Backtracking a bit, I have been teaching people to shoot for a long (very very in case you must know) time, I am a NRA pistol instructor, a Police firearms instructor, a Class K (can give armed security guard firearms classes) instructor, and give Concealed Carry classes ( CCW classes to Law Enforcement and Military families are always free thru Peach and my Company). All this is done as a side to mine and Peach’s full time jobs, we do it because we feel people need good, safe and friendly training and the two of us together, do our best to give it.

So back to today..

Peach took the time today to do a little shooting with her Glock, and I did my best to help her do it right. She is already a good shot, and more important, she is SAFE WITH FIREARMS any time she handles them. Peach has a “block” issue, I’ve come to recognize this when she shoots. She is such a perfectionist that when a bullet does not go EXACTLY where she thought she was aiming at the point of trigger break, she gets frustrated and unconsciously blocks out any instruction.

At this point I’m going to point out an old saying I heard someplace “a husband should not try to teach his wife to shoot”, why? Because it can, and often does, lead to hurt feelings or worse. My personal belief is that if your relationship is a strong one, and you (that means you husbands, or boyfriends) can show superhuman patience and kindness, all the while smiling and being gracious, then by all means then teach them to shoot (yep, your prolly right, hire someone else). Ok back to the “block”….

Patience and repetitive skill sets will get you past the “block”, as stated earlier, Peach is a good shot and has the right mindset for self defense and for sport shooting. She wants to improve and wants to shoot more than we do. So today started what I hope to be a recurring theme of getting us out there shooting more together.

Today’s only issue with shooting for Peach was rounds impacting lower than she thought she was aiming. I could see the muzzle dipping at the point of trigger break (some would call this recoil anticipation but that was not why she was doing it). Peach’s issue wasn’t recoil anticipation it was lack of trigger time with this new gun, which has a firmer trigger pull. I had her dry fire (first time without her knowledge) and she immediately saw the muzzle dip. We worked a few times with dry fire and letting her use a bit more finger (leverage works no matter how small the lever) and after less than 5 minutes, the dip was gone. Live fire and she was back on the money, now after each reload she was still sending a few rounds low, but she recognized it and concentrated on the trigger break and front site and it all came together. She wanted to stop after one particular round of shooting, but me being somewhat obtuse ( think I used it right this time Peach) I had her shoot one more magazine, and I just stayed back and out of the way. Six rounds in the 2″ circle was the result, Peach was happy and I was happy for her (always try to end any skill contest on a good note).

None of this will mean much to a lot of people, it will offend some, and some will get it. Today was a “good day” for Peach and I and I hope it was a “good day” for you all as well.

I’m going to end this post with a hopeful request..

Say a prayer for their safety and give thanks for their sacrifices, and if you see a Soldier or a Police Officer tell them you appreciate all they do.

“No peach you cannot shoot an apple off my head no matter how good a shot you are”

Categories
focus Life life styles Time management

Courtesy and Common Decency

Batman Says:

Maybe I’m from the wrong era, I suppose I could be, or maybe people just don’t care any more (some never did anyways). I recently found out that some girls, ladies, females (hope that covers it), actually get offended when they are called Ma’am!!?? I have never in my life (no you don’t get to know how old I am but I remember 3 manual channel television sets) heard something so stupid.

I’m from the South (southern United States), we, since we were old enough to talk were taught to be respectful. Respectful to our parents, our elders, and anyone we met at any time. We were taught to answer men, boys, males (see I did it for them to!) with “Sir”, it wasn’t an age thing it was a manners thing. We were taught to answer ladies (see above) with “Ma’am”, again did not matter how old they are/were, when we answered a boy or girl, man or woman, it was with “Sir” or “Ma’am”. It was a courtesy and a sign of respect to our parents that what they taught was actually being used. I, to this day, open doors for people, I tip my hat (I wear cowboy, baseball, boonie hats) to ladies young and old. I get funny looks at times but if I screw up and forget I subconsciously wince remembering my daddy’s hand swat the back of my head “where are your manners boy?”.

Manners: the act of being respectful of others without expecting anything in return for it (Batman definition). The last thing someone should be when they are addressed as “Ma’am” is offended, and it’s a sorry state of affairs that ANYONE would be. Look, there are a bazillion reasons one can find to be offended by someone’s words or actions, being offended by being called “Ma’am” is ludicrous (Peach didn’t know I knew fancy words) to say the least.

I am a parent, some say a good dad and I’m sure some say not, I’m ok with that, no one can say with honesty that I’m not polite and that I did not teach my boys manners. They came out durn good young men, too by the way. I can tell you this, and you can take it to the bank, there will never come a time, no matter if I’m walking with a cane and hunched over, that I won’t tip my hat to a lady, or won’t hold the door for someone or won’t say “Ma’am or Sir”. Be offended if you will but you’re missing the point.

Parents young and old want their children to be respectful, respect is taught at HOME and part of that respect is manners. Teach your kids to say ma’am and sir, show them how to be polite to strangers and friends alike, in the end they will thank you for it I bet. If you’re on the receiving end of a respectful greeting, don’t be offended that the “old guy” called you ma’am, he meant it as a compliment out of respect, not as a slight.

Respect for each other, coupled with manners, if everyone practiced it, would make the places we live in so much nicer.

Common Decency is another, where did being decent as people to each other go, does anyone know? In today’s society all I mostly see are people in a hurry to go someplace without regard for any of the people around them. I’m going to use something different as an example instead of cars, let’s use boats.

From the biggest to the smallest, boats of all shapes are running around on lakes, rivers, oceans (substitute with any other body of water) in greater numbers than ever before. I see it daily as one of my many duties is operating the Police Marine unit. I was out today as a matter of fact, and the longer I stayed out, the more discourteous other boaters became (or I noticed it more). Boaters cutting each other off, following too close, waking each other with hurrying to get nowhere fast. Boats are for recreation, and therefore by definition are supposed to be for fun and relaxation, so why is everyone in a dad blamed hurry all the time? Rules are simple in my neck of the woods, always have a lookout, always slow down around bridges, mooring fields, anchored vessels, and marinas. If we would all just slow the flip down, be courteous to your fellow boaters and it will be safer, and I bet you have just as good a time as you had flying around like your pants are on fire.

Common Decency, another dying art, and that’s a pity as I see it.

Yes Ma’am Peach, I’ll get that garbage out in a jiffy

Categories
faith family focus Life life styles photography

Nature’s Beauty

Batman Says:

Starting a series I think, it will be a few of the pictures Peach and I took/take of what we consider interesting or pretty things and or places.

Each of these pics were taken either by myself or Peach, and we have such similar tastes and styles relating to photography it’s as if Peach took them as I was contemplating the exact picture or vice versa. There are so many beautiful things to see if we would just stop and take notice, there is beauty in every corner of this good earth, and Peach and I will tromp along and try and get it on camera, to share with everyone.

Sit back, close yours eyes, then open them to the world we all see, but not all take the time to notice…

Every place, every critter, every thing, has a story, we just need to open our minds and hearts to hear the stories and see the beauty.

Hope Y’all enjoy these as much as we have taking them.

Yes I know you told me to charge the camera batteries Peach, I forgot”

Categories
family Fear focus food health Life life styles photography

Hummingbirds

Batman Says:

Hummingbirds, cool little creatures that buzz around almost always unnoticed by us clumsy humans. Beautifully colored feathers, wings beating 900 bazillion miles per hour (don’t go there, they beat really fast). One of those funny little birds that does it’s job (pollinating) without a care what we think.

I, for one, think this is an excellent attitude to have. Imagine if more people were focusing their attention on what they were doing, instead of worrying about what everyone else was doing. I mean think about it, if we are honest with ourselves, we would realize that we probably are worrying about other people’s job performance, their personal lives, how they dress, or their opinions, about 90% of the time. It bothers us how others do things, don’t do things, say things or not, voice their opinions or not, when instead, we would be more productive and be happier if we only worried about ourselves. I’m not talking isolationism, I’m talking about paying attention to your wants and needs, instead of being upset that “Bob or Susan” got a raise or promotion when they “never do anything”. Focus on you, the right people will know who does what eventually, and if not, I bet you will still be happier, concerning yourself with your stuff, instead of others.

Be like the hummingbird, eat drink and be happy just being you.

Yes Peach I know I need to refill the bird feeders…”

PeachandBatman.smugmug.com