Ron Paul 2008

I typically do not write about politics, but it seems like Ron Paul is purposely being ignored by the media. (Click here for an example..) So, here we go…
Honestly, in our two party system of government it is hard to choose a good candidate and it seems we must constantly choose the lesser of two evils at election time. Other countries do seem to have more than two parties to choose from, and even here in the U.S. there are a variety of other parties that just do not get the necessary support. For example, parties such as the Constitution Party ( are almost unknown to most people. However, if you were to go up to the average person on the street and ask them issue by issue what they believe in – they would probably align themselves with a party other than “the big two.”

With that said, if you do not know who Ron Paul is yet, you may want to check into what he thinks by clicking on the picture below. He is running as a republican so that he can utilize the two-party system, but he has the ideals of a third party and has previously ran as a libertarian. What is so different about Paul? Two big things for me – over many years he has never flip-flopped over the various issues he stands for, and is one of the few candidates that I believe is sincerely trying to make America better.

And while I’m discussing Paul, the media has labeled voting Christians as the “Evangelical Vote” (click here for more on that) and are politically powerful, but they seem to be ignoring Ron Paul. I would count myself part of the Evangelical voting group, and it has been said that the Evangelical Vote could make up as much as 25% of the overall vote.

Well, if you are part of the “Evangelical Vote” too, take a minute to read Paul’s statement of faith( ), because it is just as good, if not better (ahem-Romney-ahem) as many of the other candidates. Additionally, Paul is a huge protector of unborn children and a former “baby” doctor. To me, he is what the republican party used to be.

I scraped up my knees as a kid

I  know when I was a kid, my brothers and I had a fair share of hospital visits.  I flipped over the handlebars on my bike a few times.  I went over some sweet jumps like Napoleon Dynamite did.  We gained new pets by frog hunting.  However, it seems like the current generation of kids are being taught to avoid these things.  I read this article that was posted up at Digg and thought it was insightful:

Basically, it talks about balancing safety and pampering so that kids can learn by experience and not just what they are told.

Camp Barakel Men’s Retreat – part 2

Besides getting to fish all weekend, which I consider relaxing to my physical state, I also got to refresh and renew my spirit and soul. After a long week of difficulties we headed into one of the least populated areas of lower Michigan, and also Amish country:

Amish country

Tom Harmon was our speaker (better, preacher) for the weekend, and he dug deep into the Word. We had four different chapel times throughout the weekend and he expanded upon the previous during each message. I wish I could impart the knowledge I learned, but instead I just recommend going to the Camp Barakel web site and downloading the messages which are provided for free. hosts many of the messages in mp3 format – readily available for download.

Tom spoke on being born again, and used John chapter 3 as the beginning reference for most of his messages. In this passage Nicodemus asks the question – “How do you become born again?” Tom went on to discuss the trichotomy of the human flesh, soul, and spirit and how the soul and spirit are at war after becoming born again.

The sermons that Tom Harmon brought to us were amazing and helped me renew, refresh, and recommit. There were two other activities that I enjoyed as well. First, was a night-hike where we hiked through the woods with no flashlights, and the second was a morning worship walk.

Milky Way

The night-hike was amazing. We were led through the woods, and stopped periodically to reflect on God in discussion, song, prayer, and poetry. The most amazing thing was the sky. We saw several meteorites which was fun, but I have never seen so many stars in the sky ever before. Not only that, but Cal pointed out that you could also see the Milky Way. I have never seen the sky in such a way before, and it helped me see God’s creation at its best. It made me realize how insignificant my life is amongst the grand scheme of things, but yet Christ still died for me.

Lake at Barakel

The next morning, I went on a worship walk which is similar to the night hike, but takes place in the morning as the sun is beginning to rise. Again I saw the beauty of God reflected through nature in the trees, the water, and the wildlife. There were 5-feet tall stacks of mist swirling about the lake when I first came near. As we walked silently along the lake side path we reflected on scripture about how God blesses us abundantly. At one point, there were geese flying across the lake, and forming their V-shaped flight patterns. Our guide for the walk, Lee Brown, stated that it was almost like music as they maneuvered into their final formation.

An amazing (and much needed) weekend has come to an end.

Barakel Men’s Retreat 2007 – part 1

This weekend was probably the last bit of fishing I will do the rest of the year. I may get to do some winter steelhead fishing later on, but I am not sure yet. Anyways, I got to be out on the river for a little bit, and I spent a whole lot of time on a private lake up north.

I went to the Men’s Retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend. It is a yearly event I always go to, but this time was especially warranted. I had an amazingly busy and long week leading up to the retreat. I was working on some new things at my new job that kept me late a little bit, plus everything else going on, I was trying to pack for the weekend as well. But the two events that really made the week busy were my Jeep and my masters project.

On Tuesday morning, I was driving to work and my Jeep died. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Something got sucked into the oil pump, and then into the distributor, and the shear pin in the distributor busted. So, my timing went all haywire making my Jeep run extremely rough. I had to get a new oil pump, some hoses, and a shear pin for the distributor, but it is running like a champ again. I was able to rent a pretty slick Ford Taurus for a couple of days which was fun though.

My masters course work finally came to an end on Thursday afternoon when I gave my capstone presentation. I did a usability study of Microsoft Excel versus OpenOffice Calc to finish off my Masters Degree at Oakland University. I had to wrap up some last minute items for my project and presentation, so that added some more items to complete this past week.

So, between, work, church, family, friends, school, a vehicle in the shop, and trying to get ready for my trip up north – it was a busy week.

My Pastor was gracious enough to go up to camp early with me and he even offered to drive his vehicle. We went fishing on the private lake that morning and it was the best fishing we’d both had at the camp ever. Between the two of us we had over 40 fish caught before lunch – mostly blue gills with a few bass mixed in.
Bluegill on the fly

Bass like worms


Friday afternoon I was able to visit the North Branch of the Au Sable river. I caught no fish, but just being on the river was enough. My Pastor drove the “car-less” fisherman, and he read a book while I waded in the river. Shortly after starting, a fellow who was probably just a bit older than me came along and said he was from the local TU. He was heading up a habitat project the next day and would be dropping some logs along the stretch I was in. Here are a couple glimpses of the river:
On the river

A look down the river

That night I talked my friend Jose into coming out to the lake before it got dark, and we fished till we couldn’t see anymore. He had some good luck:
Jose fishing at Barakel

Saturday, I fished in the morning off of a dock with no luck. I headed out with my friend Cal in a row boat after lunch and he said he would read a book while I fished. I told him I had a spare fly rod, and he said he’d give that a try. He didn’t read – the fishing must have been too fun. We were having no luck at first, and then I noticed a big log sticking out of the ground and just barely breaking the surface of the water. I said let’s try fishing around the log and see what happens. Next thing you know, we were reeling them in one after another. All on my hand tied pan fish flies to boot.
Bass at Barakel

Cal Fishing at Barakel

I didn’t fish the rest of the weekend, but I did enjoy the outdoors. I’ll write up another post about the spiritual refreshment I received from the weekend.

Caught some fish today

It is October 6, and it is still up in the 80s.  Way too hot, but I was able to get some fishing in on the home waters.  It was boring until the sun started setting.  I fished the river, and caught a few creek chubs.  Then I moved down to an area where there was a dam, and as the sun started to set I started to catch fish like crazy.  A bunch of gills, but I actually caught a handful of smallmouth as well.  At least four or five, and a couple that I had on were some big ones.  At least two of the ones that came to hand were over 8 inches, and they has some fight in them.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera.  So this is a boring text report, but it was not boring on the water.