To the Wind-Naysayers.

This is me running as fast as I can away from those ridiculous Patagonian winds. Guys, they are real and they are ferocious. Photos courtesy of the legendary Brandon Wehmen

South American Winds & Obvious Thoughts & a Joke.

The winds rolled like thunder across the mountains. Brandon and I were zipped tight in our bags listening to the terrifying roars make their way to us. The winds that sounded like a dying troll were gentle compared to the silent gusts that whipped our tent mercilessly through the night. Sleeping in this storm was madness, but the exhaustion of hiking all day eventually overcame us and away we went to the shallowest sleep possible. The winds were our night companion and our morning wake up call. No fresh mercies for this day.

For two weeks my friends and I enjoyed these ever-so-joyful winds, the Chilean & Argentinian culture, the grandeur of the mountains, and the blandness of the food. It was a trip of weariness brought on by our strict itinerary of hiking, hiking, and more hiking. When I boarded the plane home I felt like a man who had crossed the finish line. Completely exhausted, but so happy to have run the race.

This adventure abroad reminded me of many truths, but the clearest reminder was that life is meant to be lived. As I read this I am aware of how obvious of a truth it is. Of course life is meant to be lived! But the unfortunate reality is that I consistently suffocate the daily adventure of life with television, self-help blogs, and the question of “what if”. South America rekindled my love for life and living the day that is at hand. The excitement of waking up and tackling the day with a song in my mouth and heart full of passion is back. For too long have I placed Christ into a routine, turned friendships into errands, and formatted the week into a checklist to be completed. Those days, praise God, are over.

So what do I love today? The smell of grape surf wax (is it ok to eat that stuff?), this incredible cover of the miley/billy ray hits, Zephaniah 3:17, and this joke….Why did the super hero flush the toilet?

Because it was his duty.

What’s Been the What

Does life just get busier the older you get? Sure feels like it.

This past month has been chock full of adventures, meetings, and all the other hoorah that’s associated with this type of year. On top of that I’ve been having a blast with a new project that I’m about to announce. right. now.

www.SubtleAdventures.com

is my new site. It’s focus will be on the more outdoorsy stuff I post here on Teh Lemonsmith. Expect camping, backpacking, lots of cycling photos, and all that jazz. I’m pretty proud of it, and excited to build content for it. If you’re into that kind of stuff check it out.

As for TehLemonsmith.com never fear not much will change around these parts. I’ll continue with my shallow ponderings of life, christianity, and general nonsensical thoughts and post sporadically.

Well that about covers it for today. I hope you all are having a great December!

RIP Killer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Take pictures of the things you love.” Although I forget where I heard it, I took it to heart and I am glad that I did. Our beloved beagle Killer is really gone this time. I say really, because he has escaped death before, but unfortunately this time it is not so. We all loved this dumb happy dog. He was terrible to take on walks, a total attention hound with his incessant barking, and a general nuisance most of the time. But regardless he was our dog, and we took great joy in him. Today is a sad sad day, but we are thankful. We’re thankful for the blessing of having Killer the beagle in our lives.

RIP you happy honking dog you. We’re gonna miss your big dumb smile.

A (slightly exaggerated) Hunting Story.

The morning darkness was cold and blinding yet we walked onward as dirt road transformed to deer trail. We softly muttered words hoping that the animals wouldn’t hear as we wondered aloud whether we would be blessed on this fine morning. My hands were frozen, and all I really wanted was for the sun to peak over the mountain bringing that sweet warm sunshine. All adventures require sacrifice I remind myself. After a mile of walking we go our separate ways, Ross to the edge of a field and me to my tree stand.

I have learned that hunting is a hobby of patience. There is the skill required in taking a well aimed shot and strategy in where to go, but overall it is a game of sit and wait. In many ways it reminds me of hitchhiking. Find a good spot, cross your fingers, say your prayers, and hope that it all works out.

The morning turned out to be a flop, and so I moved my tree stand to a big dead tree with branches that overlooked a highway of deer trails. I sat in a janky tree stand that was (probably) bought for ten dollars at the Saturday morning flea market. The stand consisted of a narrow metal ladder that you strapped to the trunk of the tree, and at the top was a metal grate and seat. Perched high above the ground I bit my nails thinking about the safety of my setup. A crappy treestand  that is bound to a rotting dead tree. Totally safe right? I pictured myself losing my balance and falling to my sure and immediately painful death. After seeing how easily my collarbone snapped earlier this year, I have no false hope that I could survive an 18 foot free fall. I would be vulture food by nightfall.

After fretting about falling for the better part of an hour I decided to crawl down to a lower branch. The tree stand would lead me to an early death, but this lower branch was large enough for me to stand upon. I could place one foot on the branch and than wrap the other foot around the tree stand ladder for balance. Once I found balance I notched an arrow in my bow and stood in this wonderfully comfortable position for the next hour as my feet ached and my mind wandered. Are trees the only organism that continue to stand once they have died? 

90 yards out a doe walked into a clearing to graze. My mind focused, and I stood silently hoping that she might enjoy some of the tasty grass beneath my tree.

I watched and watched and watched, but the doe made no move in my direction. A 90 yard shot was impossible for my level of skill. She would need to walk much closer. I continued to watch the doe, and just when I thought my luck was bad I heard a noise to my left. From my peripheral vision I could make out 3, maybe 4, deer walk from the bush and walk DIRECTLY under my tree. A doe lead the pack, and I couldn’t make out the rest. She was 7 yards below me, and she knew that something was up. Perhaps she smelled me as she stood uneasily looking around. I knew that I had to make a move or they would leave. My heart jackhammered, and as quickly as I could I pulled back the bow. She heard me, and jetted. I aimed at her, but she was gone. But there was one that hesitated farther out. He stood for only a second, and that moment of hesitation cost him his life. He was the first deer I have killed.

The rest of the story is that my dehydrated friend Ross came over, and helped me drag the 140 pound beast through the darkness as our veteran hunting guide led us through the night. It was terribly exhausting. Ross was snappy, I lost my cell phone, and our guide heckled us the entire way. By the time we got back to camp my arms were spent, my hands were smeared with blood and dirt, and I smelled like death. What a great adventure it was.

Going to Work on a Rainy Day

My hand fumbled for my phone in the dark. What time is it? The phone came to life shining the bright blue numbers 6:05AM. Outside the rain continued to come down loud enough that I would have a hard time going back to sleep. Rain is a rare enough occurrence around here that everyone will have great small talk today.

My morning routine of coffee, shower, and reading blitzed by and before I know it I am driving slowly through the rain to work. Californians get a bad rap for driving slow in the rain, but I have my reason. The tires on my truck have balded, and corners are drifting nightmares. I would rather take an extra five minutes driving to work than slide off a bridge or something. So i drive slow and the heater warms my feet, all the while I get closer and closer to work.

On the side of the valley is Mount Toro dressed in dark grey clouds. Only the base can be seen. Someone once said that our vocation is where the world’s deepest need and your deepest passion meet. Right now my passion is hiking to the top of that mountain. I volley the idea of calling my boss to let him know that I wouldn’t be in today, and that I have an appointment with a big ole mountain. In the end I went to work.

I hope heaven is the kind of place where we can take a day off and go climb a mountain.

Inspiration Exists

Inspiration exists, but it must find you working. –Pablo Picasso

Having Missional Friends Makes Sharing the Gospel Easier

(Creative Commons: Stew Dean)

Four months ago I was praying for a roommate, and this Korean guy kept coming to mind. We knew of each other because we worked together at the church, but our paths rarely crossed. I cleaned toilets. He created graphics and designs. We didn’t collaborate much. I kept praying, and he kept coming to mind so I decided to talk with him. After a church service I said hello and in my stupid awkward honesty I told him that I was praying for a roommate and that he kept coming to mind. His face became serious, and he looked straight at me, “Tyler! I’ve been praying for a friend and YOU came to my mind. I’ve been wanting to talk to you!”

YAY for Jesus telepathy!

We started getting coffee together in the early morning. It turned out that he wouldn’t become my roommate, but we have become great friends. What I like about my new friend Kyon is that we’re on the same page. He is all about the gospel. He is all about sharing the gospel, and he’s got a deep compassion for those who are hurting. We share similar convictions.

I think often about the obstacles and fears that hinder Christians from sharing the good news with people in their lives. We all can think of someone who we would like to come to Jesus, but for whatever reason we often hold back from initiating conversations about the christian faith. Although there are obstacles, I got to thinking of reasons that help us become the kind of people who are open about our faith with others, and one huge motivation for me has been having people like Kyon in my life.

They say that you are the product of your closest friends. If I want to be the kind of person who is bold and courageous, the kind of Christian who isn’t afraid of talking about Jesus, than I need to surround myself with other believers who want this as well. If I surround myself with people who are all about sharing the gospel chances are that I’ll become that kind of person as well.

This is exactly what happened when Kyon and I became friends. We both were struggling with sharing the gospel with others. We both had a heart for people and we wanted people to get Jesus. We wanted people to understand Jesus, but we were holding back. It wasn’t long before our passion for sharing the gospel motivated the other to get out there and actually do it. We began feeding the homeless, getting to actually know them and hear about their lives. We worked together in the high school youth group discipling students. We met a young man who was clueless when it came to Jesus and began taking him out to lunch. We started going to low income apartment complexes to bring food, build relationships, and talk about Jesus. Our relationship and common passion helped us overcome our hesitations and actually do what we wanted to do.

What I learned from this experience is that if you want to be all about sharing the good news of Jesus you need to have friends who want the same thing. Having people who I can relate to, encourage and be motivated by has made all the difference for me.

Makers. The Glass Cabin

My dream place would be a giant room with lots of windows. I think I have found it. Anyone have the coords to this place? I can get in by crawling through an open window.

(HT: TodaysLetters.com)

The Anti-Funk 1000 Visitors Challenge

Last night I ate a bowl of vanilla ice cream before bed. My ice cream levels were too high for sleep so I took my flowery moleskin (yes it’s floral. It was going to be my beer journal before I noticed the flowers) and started scratching down goals. From time to time I get in a weird funk and have this deep awareness that I’m coasting through life. The cure to the funk is a challenge. So in the spirit of getting rid of the funk here is my self challenge.

In the next 31 days I want to have 1,000 unique visitors come to my site.

That’s the goal. One thousand different people paying their respects to TehLemonsmith.com. It’s not too far fetched of a goal, because I hit the 662 mark years ago when I was blogging more consistently. With some solid posts, a handful of artsy photos, and a bit of sheer internet luck this challenge will be a cake walk.

So here’s the thing: I’ve got a challenge. Why don’t you come up with one too? Something outrageous and fun that you can push yourself towards for these next 31 days. I was hesitate to not take on my goal, because of the possibility of failure. Posting about my challenge would only make a failure more public, but then I realized WHO CARES? It’s ok to fail, because hey! at least I tried!

So c’mon what’s your personal challenge? I’d love to to hear about it in the comments.

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