Friday, December 28, 2012

And It all Began with a Prompt from FB.

FB (trying to get me to post something profound on it's site just like everyone else's posts about going shopping, christmas hats, and random stuff that they think people will actually read and enjoy): "Share how things are going, Hannah"

Well... lets see... first and foremost, I'm hyper (which by reading the rest of this post, will make the previous sentence an understatement). I worked all night and drank a bunch of strong coffee this morning to keep me awake for the day.

My dog thinks he knows how to crochet with all 6 skeins of my yarn that had been all neatly put away in their tote. Now they're a tangled mess.

 My little sister doesn't like my taste in music (or should I say the way that I play one song 1/2 a billion times and sing obnoxiously loud along with it 1, because I like it, 2, cuz I'm trying to figure out how to play it--actually singing like that would make it harder to learn but ya know sometimes you gotta mix things up!--, and 3 because I'm so hyped up on coffee that obnoxious is really the only way to sing a song), so she tries to take over my computer by force but it systematically shuts down on both of us due to a cooling fan not working (need to take it in to the pc doc).

It's snowing beautifully outside, I'm just glad I don't have to be driving in it. Although Capt. America (my awesome little car) is a trooper in the nasty weather. You should have seen him on our way home from work this morning! Fun stuff! :)

I want some eggnog... it's sitting nice and chilly in the fridge all the way across the house but I don't feel like getting up to pour myself a cup, and yet it's still calling my name. heh, Gotta figure out an invention to get it all the way over to me in a pretty glass mug without lifting much more than a finger. And people wonder why there's so much obesity in America... :-/ Sheesh

I really want more coffee too... not sure if I should try it though cuz at the rate I'm going now, I could be to Mars by midnight. Not that I want to go to Mars, it's just what I've learned about the equation of me + no sleep + not so much food + lotsa caffeine= ... MARS! Yep, screw any type of drug, folks: When I've got my coffee, the world needs to say a prayer for everyone remotely in touch with my life.

SO yeah, in case you weren't already thinking this... it's a good thing I came here, instead of posting this right on my profile on that social website. Goodness, knowing that only a remote amount of people will read this here than all the people I don't even know on fb who would've seen how absolutely insane I am, makes me relieved!!!

Ha... so I'm going to post this only to read when I'm off of this caffeine high. And then I will contemplate living like a hermit til my dying day after making a complete fool of myself to the world wide web. Til next time!!! :)

***Posting this as I hear my little sister playing the exact song I was trying to learn earlier... Well at least the incessant replaying got into someone's head!!! Maybe once this coffee wears off, I'll be able to play it too. Hmm...***

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's All About Faith, Folks!!

"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." Colossians 2:16-23

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Great Deer Hunting Escapade!


the three musketeers

As some of you know, I absolutely LOVE deer hunting! The whole anticipation in the months leading up to opening morning (which I believe should be a national holiday. ;)), the inability to fall asleep the night before because you're so excited, or you're worried you'll sleep through your alarm clock (usually a combination of both); the waking up at 5am and guzzling a whole pot of strong coffee with fellow deer hunters around the table as everyone makes their plan of action, recalls previous hunting seasons, and makes bets on who's gonna shoot the biggest deer; the sound of truck engines idling; the usually quiet country roads suddenly alive with vehicles (mostly pick up trucks); "Turdy Point Buck" playing on every speaker system in the area; driving around while it's still dark, to claim a chunk of land before another hunter does; the complete silence in the woods before first light, and then, as it gets brighter out, the sound of the first gun shots to open the season.

Yes, it's a highlight of my year. 

My brothers and cousins got me hooked when they would come in from the woods with stories and proof of their endeavors. ;) So, I went to Hunter's Safety, my cousin lent me our late Grandpa's Ruger 243, I bought myself an orange coat, inherited my big brother's Gander Mountain ball cap with a bullet hole through the bill, and got dubbed with the nickname "Big Nah" on my first Opening Day.

That first day was an experience. I didn't get a chance to shoot a deer but we got chased by a paranoid man on a 4-wheeler as it was getting to closing time and we were heading home (no, we weren't doing anything wrong). I don't know about anyone else, but running headlong through thick, short pines at dark, trying to keep up with your brother and cousin, with firearms in tow, while a 4-wheeler roars up the road behind you and not knowing if the man was going to shoot you or just run you down, and all I can think about is how hilarious the whole scene must look but I'm trying to keep my laughter to a minimum, while my cousin is about to hyperventilate from fright, and my poor brother, who is the only one that has a well rounded view of the situation is trying to keep both of us quiet. Yeah, it was enough to get me completely addicted to the whole gun season thing. 

And just as a disclaimer, being chased by an angry man on an ATV is quite abnormal and has never happened since. ;)

So yeah, I LIKE the fourth week of November in Wisconsin. :D

But after hunting for two years and not even getting a chance to shoot one. I was starting to think that I would have to break my vow of not shooting anything smaller than an 8 point buck, and put my goal of getting a larger buck than Levi has ever shot off to the side as well. So, this year, on Opening Morning, as we were getting ready to head out to the woods, I decided that the first deer I saw, I was going to shoot. 

After getting out into the field with Levi, and Bailey and sitting for a while. And me being my hyper self, couldn't keep quiet and kept complaining about the spot because I couldn't recall any nice deer being taken off this field and wanted to go somewhere else. And my brother telling me to be quiet and sit still, and Bailey laughing at us bantering back and forth. 

So about 15 minutes after daylight, we slowly started walking down the edge of the pines (the same ones that we hid from the guy, two years previously) and taking turns with going in front. It had already been decided that Bailey or I would get the first chance to shoot a deer, since Levi had already gotten a nice buck during bow season. And just as Bailey and I traded places to me being in front, and her in back. We spotted a doe running into the pines about 200 yards ahead. And seconds later Levi, who had been spotting through his scope, whispered excitedly "There's a buck coming!!!" I got a glimpse of it as it was standing in the corner of a pasture, but both of us at the same moment said "No, that's a horse, it's too big to be a deer." And, disappointed, we were about to turn around and go to a different spot. But then, the "horse" JUMPED over the fence and we caught sight of it's antlers. Levi had a better view of him at that time and he exclaimed "Hannah, it's a MONSTER!" I started getting excited, and Levi has crazy adrenaline when he's hunting and I was feeding off of that and my adrenaline was sky-rocketing and I could hardly hold my gun up to look through the scope. :P

The buck was only visible for a second or two and then he disappeared into the pines. We started walking down the edge, hoping he would pop back out long enough to get a shot at him. At one point, I looked through my scope, and saw four cloven feet walking along the edge of the pines. Then the buck appeared out of the low branches, and walked towards us as we stood on the crest of the hill, in plain sight. Levi whispered to me to slowly get down on the ground so I could get a better shot-- I was in no shape to be able to shoot standing up as it was. ;P So, I sssssssslllloooowllllly start kneeling down on the ground, all the while keeping my sights trained on the deer and him STILL walking straight towards us! At different points in the LONG seconds to get to the ground, the buck would stop and look at us, and I would freeze mid-squat for agonizing moments until he would start moving again.

I FINALLY got to a prone position, and steadied my sights on the buck. Levi kept whispering "He is SO HUGE, HANNAH! This is the Biggest Deer I've EVER seen!" in between coaching me to wait for a broadside shot. I had gotten a glimpse of the deer's antlers but all I was focusing on now was getting a good shot. The ONLY thing ringing through my mind was "I Can't MISS!!! If I miss, I'll NEVER live it down!!" ;) And with the thick pines being right there, I had to make the shot count or else watch the Monster disappear, only to haunt me in my dreams. lol

At the same instant that the deer turned broadside, he started stepping into the pines and Levi exclaimed "Shoot him now!" just as I was pulling the trigger.

The blast of the gun echoed throughout the valley. And we strained our eyes to see the outcome. The buck had disappeared into the undergrowth of the pines. We all booked the 140 yards over to the area I had shot him to look for blood. And as we neared the place, I saw massive antlers moving in the tall grass next to the trees. 

I think I must have floated the rest of the way because I don't remember how I got over to it so fast. ;) I had shot him in the shoulder/spine and he dropped right where he was.

The first thing Levi said to me as he came up to it was "I hate you..." and "You're not allowed to shoot anything else this year." Haha. But all of us kept repeating, "He's MASSIVE!!!! HUGE! MONSTROUS!!!" 

We then had to call Dad to come help carry the Beast the 3/4 of a mile to the road. As well as send texts/phone calls to family, announcing my first kill, and then convincing them that I really did. 

 first cuts and yes that's blaze orange nail polish ;)

I tried gutting the deer. I really did. But I was freaked that the knife was gonna slip and chop my fingers off since I had never done it before. And the deer's body was so large that it was hard to reach with my short arms where I needed to. So Levi took over (yeah, he's pretty nice), but not until some of the buck's blood had been smeared across my face according to the traditional "First Kill" fashion. 

Mom took one look at me when I got home and handed me a washcloth... haha
ahh... I can't grow out of being a tomboy... :P ;)

Not 15 minutes after I shot my deer, we got word that Andy shot a real nice 9 pt. buck as well. Mine still out did his in mass and height but not by a whole lot. :P ;)

I'm sitting weird because I couldn't get enough leverage to lift my buck's head right :P 
That's just how big he was. ;)

The next day, the three of us again went out to the pines. And not even 200 yards from where I shot my first buck, Bailey got her first deer as well. :)  I now know better than to complain about that spot not being good for hunting... :P ;)

So all in all, it was an amazing season this year. I'm so glad that Bailey got to FINALLY get a taste of what hunting was like with my group here. We got to have some fun times just hanging out that week (in between the nights I had to work. :P). And it was nice to not be the ONLY girl in the hunting party for once. ;)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Autumn Hike

So a couple weeks ago, some Awesome friends came over for the weekend. And, as is usual, chaotic fun was over-abundant the entire time. ;)

We decided on Sunday, after everyone was thoroughly stir crazy from being cooped up inside a small house that we should go hiking. And since we had always wanted to take the O'Briens to this one park, it was unanimously voted upon to go there and run off some energy.

The place? Hoffman Hills. A cool hiking trail that leads up, down, and around hills, through pines and birch trees, and eventually ends up at a 60 foot tower that looks out over the landscape for miles and miles. It's a *gorgeous* view, to say the least!!! :)

So with jackets, hiking shoes, water, and cameras in tow, we headed off. Taking the "most difficult" trail to the tower. And let me tell ya, it sure showed me how out of shape I really am. :-\ But it was a blast!!

*ALL photo credits go to Bailey*

 Better get right... or you're gonna get left! :P

 We pretend we like each other... ;)

 The moms and pops.

 Levi just couldn't resist...

And got just the reaction he wanted. :)

Destination in sight!

Told ya it was a pretty view!

Best friends :)

 Lego people? :P

"All who wander are lost..." ;)


Almost. ;)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tale of Two People

"Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies." --Charles Jefferson

I've been reading this book on and off in the past year, and have been challenged and encouraged by it. But it wasn't until recently that I came to understand it's concept in a very direct way.

It was because of two people I have come to know. We'll call them Gladys and Grace.

Both are confined to a wheel chair and need help with basic things, like putting their shoes on, and brushing their teeth. Both need more than one person to assist them from sitting in their chair to laying down in bed. Both are well acquainted with the pain that racks through their bodies day in and day out. Physically, they have the same challenges.

But their attitudes are far from being remotely the same.

Gladys spends the entire time complaining about the pain, the meal she just ate, the day being terrible, and how hard it is to do anything. She stays in her room the greater part of the day, hardly ever smiles, "thank-you" is said in a tone that denotes any kind of gratefulness, and anyone assisting her, soon dread her requests.

And now for Grace. Her face always has a smile, a sweet word for the nearest passerby, and a childlike joy to any form of assistance given her. She is considerably older than Gladys but yet exudes a joyfullness that makes her seem years younger than her age. Her happiness in every day life is contagious. She rarely demands anything... because most around her offer their assistance before she asks.

See the difference? Both have the same challenges, but the way they react to them changes their attitude. Gladys has a dark outlook, Grace finds something to be glad about each day.

And now here's the kicker. The person who claims to be a Christian, is Gladys.

Surprising huh? You'd never know by seeing how she chooses to act.

The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment, it is the fruit of a thousand choices. It is a godly habit and pattern that over time becomes a new muscle in our spiritual makeup.

I never thought gratefulness was that big of a thing. It's always looked at as lower in the goals of achievement in Christian life. But it is a vital part in growing in any other aspect of Christianity.

I can't love if I'm not grateful. I can't have joy without being grateful. I can't have peace without gratitude... I can't worship without gratitude...

It all comes down to a choice. I can choose to be unhappy. Or I can choose to be grateful.

Will you join me in choosing gratitude?

Is the gratitude that flows out of your life as abounding as the grace that has flowed into your life?

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be *thankful*, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." -Hebrews 12:28 NIV

--Note: All italicized quotes are taken from the book "Choosing Gratitude" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss