Rigging for the New Year

It’s the beginning of the New Year, and I know it’s cold outside. ‘Tis here in the South, far worse in the North. Yet, I know many of us are ready to take to the field or are contemplating plans to do so. We turn to checking our equipment and making sure it’s ready or deciding to go for something better. After all, we are desirous of the best experiences we can have and share with our fellow and intrepid travelers. How shall we rig for the adventures of this brand new year?

Standard equipment now, a good pair of binoculars, field guide, a good pair of boots, cap, some means of carrying the necessities. Yet, I know there are many times when a good scope is required as well. A good scope requires a good tripod. Ducks and shorebirds on the water, Sandhill and Whooping Cranes in grassy fields and marshes, Gallinules and Green Herons in the bayous-all better seen with a scope. Don’t forget the Peregrines on the rocky cliffs or the Bald Eagles nested in the pines above a mountain lake. There are so many times when a good scope is such a grand instrument to have at hand.

Experience tells this author that one should not try to just get by when considering any optical equipment. This is true for scopes as well. Remember you are buying or wanting to buy equipment that will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors for years to come. You are also buying the company. Make sure the company backs their product with a great warranty and service.

The Vortex 20-60 x 80 Viper HD Spotting Scope is worthy of your consideration. It is backed up by an unconditional and unlimited warranty. It comes in two configurations, straight and angled. Its lenses and prisms are of high density glass and fully multi-coated. The fog proofing is accomplished with Argon gas, a noble gas, extending the life of the scope owing to its inability to attack the O-rings and seals. It has dual focus, a great feature. Couple that with the Vortex Pro Skyline Tripod and you have a rig that is easy to get into the field and will make the experience so worthwhile. Pair a quality scope with a quality tripod. There is nothing more frustrating than having your investment in a scope being compromised by an inadequate, wobbly, heavy, useless tripod. You’ll find the Skyline is the polar opposite of that with anodized padded aluminum legs and a balance hook. It’s topped off with a micro-fluid head for smooth, easy panning of the environs. The Skyline is again backed by a very good warranty.

This author is ready to go on his next trip to the field and knows exactly to what body of water he heads. Binoculars-check; boots-check; field guide-check; cap-check; scope and tripod-you bet! Hope you’re equipped and ready as well. Happy birding!

Tips to Bring Back the Spark in Your Marriage

Marriage is not an easy ride and it is often shaken by problems and trials. One of the hardest trials is when your marriage is losing its spark and getting dull. Couples in a stale or boring marriage may start to get confused if the relationship is still worth keeping and may end up separating if they failed to bring the spark back in their relationship. If your marriage is getting stale, you need to know how to bring back the spark in your marriage to save your troubled relationship.

When couples are caught up in the increased responsibilities of raising kids and climbing the career ladder, the marriage often suffer. Couples tend to focus more on their daily responsibilities and end up doing their own thing for the family and neglected their needs as couples. They are trapped in a routine of married life and this makes the relationship boring and lifeless. While raising your kids well and securing a stable career are good things, you also need to focus on your relationship to make your marriage last.

So how to bring back the spark in your marriage? You do not have to struggle to restore the spark that once filled your relationship, the following tips can be helpful to bring back the spark in your marriage.

Reminisce with your spouse. Bringing back old memories will remind you and your spouse on how much you love each other. Revisit the place where you first met or where you got engaged. Watch your wedding videos and look at your old photos together to remind you how happy you felt when you said “I do” to each other and realize that losing the spark in your marriage is just a phase that you both need to survive.

Appreciate your spouse more. We all need to be appreciated even with the little things we do every day. Appreciation is a validation that your spouse is doing meaningful things for the family. If we are often neglected and ignored, we get a negative feeling that our efforts are worthless and we get less encouragement to continue with the relationship. Sometimes we are quick to give criticisms and slow in giving praise. Couples have the wrong notion that appreciation is only given to extraordinary achievements or if a spouse did something great beyond his or her responsibilities. This is the very reason why some marriages become stale and boring. They become like robots who just do things for the family and eventually feel nothing because they are not appreciated. Praise your spouse for working hard for the family, for being a good parent and for being a good spouse. Make it a point to notice and praise even the little things your spouse do every day. Even a simple hug, kiss and saying thank you as a sign of appreciation could make your marriage more romantic and exciting. Your relationship will get better and it will be easier to bring back the spark in your marriage if you will praise your spouse more.

Surprise your spouse even if there is no special occasion. Make his or her ordinary day extraordinary by giving surprises. We usually remember and give gifts on special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays but if you want to bring back the spark in your marriage, give small gifts on ordinary days and make your spouse feel special even if there is no special occasion. Your spouse will feel more loved making the relationship alive.

Give your spouse a day-off. If your wife is usually tied at home with her daily chores, do the chores for her and let her have a day-off and spend a day to do the things she want to do for herself. If your husband always drive for you and the kids, give him a day-off and allow him to enjoy once in a while with his buddies or male friends. Everyone needs a break once in a while not to be burn-out. If you want to bring back the spark in your marriage, it is important to give your spouse the time to recharge his or her energies.

Do not make small things a big deal. Do not carry grudges and do not allow small issues spoil your daily relationship with your spouse. It could be tiring to live in a marriage where issues arise after another issue. Make your marriage a pleasant environment and avoid grudges as much as possible. Make a list of the things that can be tolerated and things that needs to be compromised to avoid conflicts.

Create new memories. Make it a point to travel and create hobbies that you can do together to create new memories and spend more time together. Relationships will become stale without new memories and experiences. Step out of your daily routine and explore together things that you want to experience for a change, it maybe bungee jumping, mountaineering or it may be as simple as going to museums to appreciate different works of art or try a new restaurant every week to experience something different each week. Be adventurous and share new experiences to bring back the spark in your marriage.

Daily conversation. Spend quality time every day to talk about your individual feelings, hurt, frustrations and what you want with each other. Miscommunications or misunderstandings can be avoided if you check in with one another every single day. Regular conversation also strengthens your bond with each other. If regular conversation is not a common practice in your marriage, it is not too late to start now. Set aside a few minutes every day to sit down together to have a good conversation. It may be over coffee or after you tucked your kids in bed. You can also plan a date night or lunch out once a week to have more time to talk to each other. Make it a point to converse every day with your spouse despite the overwhelming demands of married life if you really want to bring back the spark in your marriage.

Say “I love you” more often to your spouse. It is a common mistake to just assume that your spouse already knows that you are in love with him or her and you do not have to say it in words. Spouses still want to hear those words. Aside from verbal words, there are also other ways to say “I love you” to your spouse like writing a love letter or sending personal love messages to your spouse though text messaging. If you really want to bring back the spark in your marriage, you have to verbalize your feelings of love to your spouse.

Losing the spark in your marriage is not the end of the relationship because there are ways to re-ignite the spark and make your relationship alive again. To save your troubled marriage visit Saving A Troubled Relationship

There is an excessive amount of traffic coming from your Region.

It’s the beginning of the New Year, and I know it’s cold outside. ‘Tis here in the South, far worse in the North. Yet, I know many of us are ready to take to the field or are contemplating plans to do so. We turn to checking our equipment and making sure it’s ready or deciding to go for something better. After all, we are desirous of the best experiences we can have and share with our fellow and intrepid travelers. How shall we rig for the adventures of this brand new year?

Standard equipment now, a good pair of binoculars, field guide, a good pair of boots, cap, some means of carrying the necessities. Yet, I know there are many times when a good scope is required as well. A good scope requires a good tripod. Ducks and shorebirds on the water, Sandhill and Whooping Cranes in grassy fields and marshes, Gallinules and Green Herons in the bayous-all better seen with a scope. Don’t forget the Peregrines on the rocky cliffs or the Bald Eagles nested in the pines above a mountain lake. There are so many times when a good scope is such a grand instrument to have at hand.

Experience tells this author that one should not try to just get by when considering any optical equipment. This is true for scopes as well. Remember you are buying or wanting to buy equipment that will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors for years to come. You are also buying the company. Make sure the company backs their product with a great warranty and service.

The Vortex 20-60 x 80 Viper HD Spotting Scope is worthy of your consideration. It is backed up by an unconditional and unlimited warranty. It comes in two configurations, straight and angled. Its lenses and prisms are of high density glass and fully multi-coated. The fog proofing is accomplished with Argon gas, a noble gas, extending the life of the scope owing to its inability to attack the O-rings and seals. It has dual focus, a great feature. Couple that with the Vortex Pro Skyline Tripod and you have a rig that is easy to get into the field and will make the experience so worthwhile. Pair a quality scope with a quality tripod. There is nothing more frustrating than having your investment in a scope being compromised by an inadequate, wobbly, heavy, useless tripod. You’ll find the Skyline is the polar opposite of that with anodized padded aluminum legs and a balance hook. It’s topped off with a micro-fluid head for smooth, easy panning of the environs. The Skyline is again backed by a very good warranty.

This author is ready to go on his next trip to the field and knows exactly to what body of water he heads. Binoculars-check; boots-check; field guide-check; cap-check; scope and tripod-you bet! Hope you’re equipped and ready as well. Happy birding!

Satisfy Your Dissatisfaction

Have you ever heard a version of this before: “You should be satisfied with what you’ve got.”

I’m here to tell you that it’s not true! It’s dissatisfaction that can cause you to grow and become more. However, let’s be clear about 2 things: 1) you should always be grateful for what you do have. Only through gratitude can you receive more of the good you want; and, 2) dissatisfaction does not mean complaining – complainers only get more of what they don’t want! But, no matter how great you think your life is in any area, better is always available.

It is the natural instinct of every living thing to want to grow. Even the lowly weed will struggle to reach the light of day through the crack in your driveway. You want to do everything you are doing greater. A sales person wants to sell more; an athlete always wants to break the next record; and an artist wants to create a masterpiece. The longing for more is our true self wanting to be expressed.

I’m a member of the infamous group known as the ‘Baby Boomers’ – the largest mass of humanity to move through history – and we definitely were a dissatisfied bunch in our youth. We instigated a lot of changes, some of which we probably wouldn’t want to claim now, but it was dissatisfaction that helped lift the glass ceiling for women, dissatisfaction ended segregation and ended a war.

As my mentor Bob Proctor has pointed out, many of the comforts and luxuries that we enjoy today are a direct result of actions taken by someone who was not satisfied with the status quo. If Edison had not been dissatisfied with earlier attempts to create the incandescent bulb, he would not have spent his time conducting over 10,000 experiments before he invented the first, feasible long-burning light bulb. It was Henry Ford’s dissatisfaction with the manufacturing system that led him to develop the assembly line technique of mass production which brought to market products at a much lower cost; and today we can travel anywhere in just hours because the Wright brothers were dissatisfied with being just bicycle mechanics. These men believed there was a better way and their belief and action has improved the lives of people everywhere.

All of the religious books say that we are made in the image of the Creator. That means that we are here to create – create a better life for ourselves and everyone around us. Why do you think you have desires and dreams? Where do you think this yearning for more comes from? Wanting more money, more friends, and more experiences is not a bad or greedy desire. It’s greed only when you believe the way you can get more is to take from someone else. It’s only natural that we feel the urge to live more, do more and be more.

Each of us has been endowed with special gifts and talents and we are designed to share these gifts with the world. A gentleman by the name of Steve Bow, a former VP of Metropolitan Life, said that “God’s gift to us is more talent and ability than we’ll ever use in our lifetime. Our gift to God is to develop as much of that talent and ability as we can in this lifetime.” But often that doesn’t happen until you become dissatisfied with your current situation.

Dissatisfaction can move you to higher and higher levels of achievement. As the German novelist Berthold Auerback said “The little dissatisfaction which every artist feels at the completion of a work forms the germ of a new work.”

Now I ask you, do you know of anyone who complains about having too much money or too many friends, or doesn’t ever want to experience another adventure? I didn’t think so.

Be aware, however, that the people around you, especially those who raised you, might not like this new attitude. When I told my mother about the speech I was formulating in my head her first reaction was “Oh, I don’t like people who are never satisfied.” Understand many people, like my mother, believe you should just accept your current life – “this is the way it has always been and this is the way it is suppose to be.” Did you know that when Marconi told people that he believed he could send radio signals through the air without the use of wires, his friends referred him to an insane asylum?

You need to understand that the purpose of a goal is not to get material ‘things’ – although getting ‘things’ often is a result of reaching a goal – the purpose of a goal is to grow. I heard the Rev Michael Beckwith say once “if you haven’t grown in the last year, you’re not holding the same place, you have gone backwards because the whole universe is always moving. And where there is no growth, there is disintegration and even death”.

So let go of any guilt that someone may have instilled in your mind many, many years ago. That guilt may very well be the seed of a deeper feeling that you don’t deserve better. Let go of the guilt, and recognize your dissatisfaction as a sign that you not only want to live more and do more, but you want to be more.

One more thing you need to understand. After you reach that long, sought-after goal, IT will soon become the status quo, you will again become dissatisfied and will want to pursue an even higher goal!

How To Pack Your Backpack For That Awesome Overnight Wilderness Backcountry Trip

Using your personal backpacking checklist you have assembled all the gear and personal items needed and wanted for your backcountry wilderness adventure. But once again you realize this is not a simple 2 day trip to the Holiday Inn and you won’t have a luggage rack to spread open your pack and lay out your stuff. So how do you arrange everything to get at it easily and to balance and carry the load on your back up and down the wilderness trail?

Always pack with efficiency in mind:

  • Things that you need often like water, maps and camera need to go on the outside of the pack,in fanny packs or in an office attached to your shoulder strap for easy access. You don’t want to be accessing your main center compartment every hour for these frequently used items.
  • Packing your water on the outside compartment will allow access to your water without having to take off your pack off which tends to get old if you have to take it off every hour or so. You can reach the water yourself by reaching around to the side or have your hiking companion get the water out for you.
  • Store your sleeping bag in a waterproof compression sack in the bottom of your pack. This helps to make a good foundation for the remaining items and keeps the bag dry.
  • Heavier items (food, tent, etc) should go in the mid to upper region against your back making them easier to carry and balance down awkward declines.
  • Next load first aid-kits, toiletries and other mid-weight items around the heavy weight items.
  • In the backpack’s lid place smaller items that you may need to grab without disturbing your whole pack such as, bathroom kit, flashlight, pack rain cover, rain gear and quick shelter.
  • Items such as rain gear and pack covers that you don’t mind getting wet need to go on the outside if possible.
  • Pack your stove fuel on the outside compartments opposite your water so everything doesn’t get wet and contaminated if the containers leak.
  • And the very last thing to strap on is the foam or inflatable sleeping pad and any reflective space blanket you plan on taking to act as the floor for your tent. This blanket can be used as extra weather protection if necessary and should be a couple of inches less than the width and length of your tent so that if it rains water will not get on top of the ground blanket and travel under the tent.

After everything has been packed it is always a good idea to make sure the pack is also balanced from left to right. A pack heavier on one side will only place more weight on your that shoulder. Resulting in more wear (blisters) on that shoulder, lower back pain from trying to balance the weight and cause clumsiness when walking the trail and making difficult descends or step-overs. Also try to get most everything packed inside and avoid being the guy with everything strapped on the outside of the pack. You will be more organized and slicker going through brush covered trails. Some small items you might want to consider hanging on the outside of your pack include a thermometer, wind speed indicator or small handheld GPS.

After you have finally found the best spot for each piece of gear and still managed to keep the pack weight down to 30-40 lbs you will need to do one more thing. Always put everything in the exact same place every time and every trip! This will keep you organized giving you the ability to put your hands on anything and everything quickly. But more importantly when picking up camp in the morning it will help keep you from leaving something behind. There is nothing worse than stopping the second night on your trip to realize you left your cook stove 10 miles back at the last camp. If you always put everything back in the same spot it becomes easier to realize you’re missing some gear when you pack-up.