As an avid outdoorsman, I have always wanted my soon to be 18-year-old son, Carson, to take a liking to the outdoors as well. I wanted the opportunity to hunt, fish, and snowmobile as father and son; to take these opportunities and simply enjoy what God has created. Be granted yet another opportunity to create memories that we would both be able to cherish forever.
After years of sharing my hunting and snowmobiling stories with Carson, he has slowly begun sharing those same interests. This past January, we went on a father and son snowmobile trip at our lake home in Northern Minnesota and after four days of playing in the powder and riding hundreds of miles, I have him hooked. He now looks forward to those white flakes falling from the sky so we can ride once again. Having him excited to snowmobile was a definite score for me but I was excited to see if I could get him hooked on another one of my favorites – big game hunting Rocky Mountain Elk!
For the past four years, Carson and I have attended the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Fundraiser. I will admit, he begrudgingly attended with me the first year as he was almost certain he would be bored. But four years later and he was looking forward to the event and to his first big game hunt for my favorite big game animal, Rocky Mountain Elk.
When Carson and I first talked about going on an elk hunt together, he wasn’t completely sold on it. He was concerned about several things including the length of the hunt, whether he would get a good enough shot to actually harvest the animal, and how rigorous the actual hunt would be. So you can imagine my excitement when he shared that he was finally interested and ready for his first big hunt.
Together we started prepping. We went to the range to get him comfortable and confident shooting at long distances with a high powered rifle. We spent time hanging out watching elk hunting shows and talked about what would relate to our future hunt together. Finally, this past month – we ventured to Southwest New Mexico for their youth elk season.
The first night we arrived, our guide took us out to do a little scouting in hopes that Carson could hear his first bugling bull elk in the wild. Within minutes of getting to the scouting ground, he saw several cow (female) elk and heard his first bulls bugle from nearby. His excitement was palpable as he stated: “there is no way I’m going to be able to sleep tonight, Dad”.
The next couple of days were absolutely amazing. Carson experienced first hand what drew me and so many other hunters to this amazing sport. He passed on a couple of mature bulls on the first and second day as he was beginning to question whether or not he would be successful in harvesting a bull. His patience was tested and I had to encourage him to not get frustrated and continue to wait for his opportunity. Finally, on the morning of day three, he made an excellent shot at 325 yards and harvested his first trophy 6×6 bull.
To be right at his side, witnessing how calm he was in waiting for that perfect shot after waiting for what seemed like an eternity was so incredibly rewarding for me as a parent. Watching him walk up to his first bull elk after harvesting it is something I will remember and cherish forever. As you can see from the smiles on our faces – this is a memory of a lifetime for both of us.
I am beyond excited that he is hooked on another one of my favorite activities and I look forward to enjoying this wonderful sport with him for many years to come.
I share this story with you not to push or force your children into doing what you like. But instead, to give them the opportunity to experience and take interest in your “likes” on their own. Be patient. Give them time. Talk about your interests and eventually, they may begin to enjoy and share your interests so you can experience them together. Almost 18 years later and I am excited to have a snowmobile and elk hunting partner for life!
In a few short weeks, my wife and I will be sending our oldest child of three off to New York City as she begins her career in Fashion. This is something I’ve dreaded for years as my family is everything to me and I truly love being together as one unit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shed a tear or gotten anxious just thinking about this day. Although I’m nervous as hell, I’m very excited for her to embark on something she truly loves and to watch her live out her dreams.
As a parent, I can tell you the last twenty-three years have flown by faster than I had ever imagined. I am extremely grateful we as a family were able to spend this entire summer together under one roof. As a family we enjoyed boating, crying, laughing, arguing, sleeping in late, cuddling, watching the stars, warming up by the fire, making s’mores, eating popcorn, fishing, getting lost in conversations, and most importantly – creating memories that we’ll never forget. As I watch her prepare to spread her wings and explore this thing called life, I can only hope Lisa and I have done a good job of raising her and giving her direction to make sound decisions for the rest of her life. For those of you who have children – embrace your time with them. Enjoy every single moment and create memories that will last a lifetime.
People often ask me what the one thing is that I wish I could change. My answer is consistently the same… time. I would do anything to turn back time. To have my children be small again so I can truly cherish and embrace everything about them and our family. Time is something that no matter what you do, you can’t get it back or slow it down. Don’t wish time away. Make the most of every moment. Create memories that you can cherish forever!
I’m sure by now you’ve all heard of Maddie Poppe. Many of you, including myself, spent the last few weeks glued to the TV as she won us over with her amazing voice while competing on American Idol. This 20-year-old from small town Clarksville, Iowa has spent her entire young life devoted to music with the dream of someday making it big. A dream of someday being able to perform on a stage doing what she knows and loves – entertaining people with her soothing voice and humbling charm. This past week, her dreams came true as she was crowned the winner of American Idol. From the moment she was announced as the winner – her world forever changed. With a national recording contract, her new life of stardom has only begun. But I’m sure it didn’t come easy or without sacrifice.
Her father started her down the path of loving music but it was her hard work, dedication, and determination of never giving up that put her on that stage in front of millions! Her desire to win helped crown her as the 16th winner of American Idol! Imagine for a moment if she would have given up or thrown in the towel when things got tough. Imagine if she had never put herself out there and auditioned for American Idol. Would she be where she is today? We will never know. But what I do know, is all of our lives are similar in the fact that anything we do or try will require commitment, dedication, hard work, and sacrifices in order to achieve success.
So the next time you want to give up and quit – push through it! You never know what the outcome of all your perseverance will be!
Live beneath your means.
Return everything you borrow.
Stop blaming other people.
Admit it when you make a mistake.
Give clothes not worn to charity.
Do something nice without having to gain recognition.
Listen more; talk less.
Take a 30-minute walk every day.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Be on time.
Don’t make excuses.
Be kind to unkind people.
Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
Take time to be alone.
Cultivate good manners.
Realize and accept that life isn’t fair.
Know when to keep your mouth shut.
Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.
Learn from the past. Plan for the future.
Live in the present.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, because at the end of the day – it’s all small stuff!
I can’t take credit for the simple reminders above but I found this list a couple months ago and it was too good not to share. I believe in a lot of these and try to incorporate them into my everyday life.
If you took the opportunity to watch any of the 2018 Winter Olympics (or like myself, was glued to the TV at every waking moment); you witnessed not only part of history, but saw firsthand how pure dedication, hard work, and commitment for something you love can pay off. Of the 92 competing countries, the ages of the competitors ranged anywhere from 15 to 51. Regardless of whether or not it was their first Winter Olympics, or for one athlete – her fifth, they all had one goal in mind; to capture that gold medal.
For the few that achieved their goal, I’m sure it was a moment where their emotions were indescribable. A moment in time that they will not soon forget. A moment where all the sweat, tears, and hard-work has finally paid off. Just imagine the endless hours, heartache, and sacrifices that went into the training for this one moment. For most, it truly has been a lifetime of non-stop training for the love of their sport. The strict lifestyle they must have adapted to is one that should be commended. But just imagine the sense of purpose these gold medalists must feel!
Now think of the opportunities we all have in our own lives to be a better person, associate, spouse, friend, parent, or significant other. It all comes down to a few things similar to an Olympic Athlete – dedication, commitment, sacrifices, and hard work. Imagine what success being that focused in on being a better person would bring you. The opportunities to have stronger fulfilling relationships and a richer healthier life are within your grasp if you want them bad enough!
There isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t run into someone who is downright negative about everything. I’m sure we’ve all had our run-ins with the individual who doesn’t enjoy what they do, lacks respect for others, is quick to judge, and to be completely candid – simply appears to hate their life.
However, it’s negative people like this that I often find myself asking, why? Why are they that unhappy? Is it envy? Are they simply not a positive person? Would they rather find fault instead of seeing the good in someone or something? Or do they maybe feel they’re in a rut that they can’t get out of?
Regardless of the situation… “life is too short to be a piss ant!” Or in my own terms – I hope you strive to be that positive individual who is respectful, appreciative, and courteous. Strive to live your life to its fullest. Live a life that bleeds adventure! This is a motto I’ve lived by for years and have preached to my kids since a very young age.
The next time you witness someone letting something get the best of them and you can see it starting to consume them – try to be that positive influence in their life. Then maybe, just maybe, they can begin to focus in and see all the positivity around them and they’ll cease to dwell on all that is negative.
With the New Year comes a year of new challenges, goals, and desires. Each of these has a common theme – they all start with you. You decide your attitude for the day. You decide how much you’re willing to push and hold yourself accountable. You decide the path you’re going to take.
Let this be the year excuses don’t overrule your accountability. Let 2018 be the year you push yourself on a daily basis to make the most of every possible opportunity. Get out of your comfort zone (I’m talking way out of it). Go try something new. Move forward this year and truly push yourself to grow.
Remember, it is not success that brings your happiness, instead, it is happiness that brings you success!
How can it already be December again? It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone and that the Holidays are upon us. This is the season of spending quality time with friends and family and creating lifelong memories. It’s time to continue with your family traditions or time to create new ones. It’s the season of giving and reflecting on the past 12 months. Although this time of the year can be extremely stressful and work can be more demanding than usual, it’s important to set aside time to truly enjoy special moments with those close to you. Don’t forgo creating memories
and reminiscing because you’re too busy or don’t have the time. Being able to fully enjoy this time of year is important to me and should be to you as well. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & Happy New Year!