Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Purpose




Well one down and three to go. Yep, my oldest graduated from high school and has ventured out on his own. To say that this was an interesting experience would be an understatement. Not because of Dan leaving home, but all of the crazy comments my wife and I have heard about having a graduate. You know the comments. “He’ll be back”, “Get your wallet ready’, “You need to constantly check up on them so they don’t screw up”, “You have to be so sad that he is leaving” and way more. These comments are not anywhere close to accurate.  I will miss having him around, but missing him doesn't come close to how proud I am of the man he has grown into and the future he has. 

Disclaimer: this is not a blog about what we did right as parents, it’s a blog about confidence in God’s direction. Way too often I hear parents say they hope that their kids grow up to do the right thing. Hope is important in life but it can’t be the goal to parenting. The reason I have confidence in my kids’ future is because of the deliberate purpose that we are raising them with. I am not talking about guarantees here; like I said, I am talking about following God’s direction. 

The Bible tells us to raise our kids up in the way they are to be. This means in the way that He made them. So if we have a gifted athlete, it is our responsibility to raise an athlete that loves and serves God. If we have a gifted artist, it is our responsibility to raise an artist that loves and serves God. To do this we are responsible to raise our kids to know all the attributes of who God is. This means showing and teaching grace and judgment,  love and anger, hope and brokenness, joy and sadness, friend and ruler, and a whole lot more. Just like God knows everything about us, it is for us to understand who our kids are, what makes them tick, why they make the decisions they do, what are their dreams, their gifts and limitations. Then set your expectations on what they are capable of and NOT what we as parents want. Finally, as parents we need to realize our kids are entrusted to us by God and He is still in control. 

When it come to Dan heading out on his own, I have confidence in what God has done in his life over the last 18 years. This confidence comes from knowing that we don't have unrealistic expectations for him, but have brought him up in the way God made him. As parents, we always had a purpose, and not hope, in the decisions we made while raising him. We took the time to know him and understand who he was and made the sometimes tough and sometimes absolutely hilarious decisions that would help him be the man that God made him to be. One of the things that every parent struggles with at some point, and will overwhelm you if you don't keep it in check, is taking it personally what your kids do. Part of growing up is testing limits. Sometimes the limits they test are gravity and sometimes they are the limits we as parents set. As parents, we need to understand and remember to be objective and just, when these limits are tested and not take it personally. This is one of the core causes of parent-child frustration. We need to make sure our limits are Biblical and appropriate to each kids’ level of responsibility. Holding a kid back is just as destructive as not having limits at all.

Kirsten and I set out to raise our kids to be adults that will serve God and serve those who God puts in their life. Every decision we have made and are making comes back to this purpose and what each individual kid needs to get to where God wants them. It seems wrong to most people, but to do this we have less rules and not more. The four rules we have for our kids are: If the Bible says its wrong, it’s wrong. Don’t lie. Don’t be defiant. And put other before yourself. Yep that’s it. These are the only things that were punishable offenses. Everything else is a lesson of life that we lived and worked through together. Just like God does with each of us. This includes letting each kid live with the decisions they make. Yes, again, sometimes it’s hard to watch and sometime it is hilarious to watch. Here is the hard fact about raising kids. You can’t give them what they need to grow up. You can supply tools, vision and motivation, but they need to experience all of life, both the ups and downs to grow up. They can’t learn responsibility without the ability to fail. They can’t learn to have faith without the ability to go through trials. As parents we are called to protect our kids but not to shelter them. As Dan ventures out on his own I know he will have successes and he will have trials, and he can’t have one without the other. 
Like I said, I will miss him, but not nearly as much as I will have fun watching what God’s does with him. Kirsten and I have confidence because we taught him to follow God’s direction and we did so with purpose as our goal not hoping that he does the right thing. 

Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker
241ink.org

Monday, May 21, 2018

Real Answers


It has been just over 13 years ago now that I was injured as a volunteer firefighter while engaging a wildfire near my hometown at the time. As I laid in my hospital bed asking what happened, many people gave their opinions, quick anecdotal answers, and life experience. Without fail, they always justified their comments by saying, “there was nothing you could have done” or “it’s fire, it just happens.” I knew in my heart and mind that they were trying to make me feel better, but the reality was clear they didn't have any more answers than I did to why I got hurt that hot April day. Instead of feeling better, I struggled. Struggled with what I had done wrong, what I should have done different, why I did everything right and still got hurt.

On the third week of my hospital stay a young man pushed in a pastor friend of mine who was recovering from a stroke. The pastor induced him as Dave, a wildland firefighter, and that we might have some stuff to talk about. Dave and I started talking and without either of us knowing, the pastor snuck out of the room leaving Dave and I to talk. Turns out, Dave was more than a wildland firefighter, he was a fire behavior analyst. As we talked I was able to ask questions and he was able to give me the straight forward and sometimes hard to hear answers. In the weeks after we met, he sat down with me and helped me go through the computer modeling so I could see exactly why I got hurt and what I did right and what I did wrong. Without what Dave did for me I would still be asking those questions. I was able to get closure on that part of my injuries.

Fast forward 11 years and questions were still coming up. Questions I did not anticipate or quiet frankly know how to handle. So I did what everyone does, I started asking around wondering if someone had some answers. The trouble with these questions is that they were dealing with the emotional injuries I was either still recovering from, or in some cases, was still finding. Just like after I got hurt, people gave their opinions, quick anecdotal answers, and life experience. But this time, without fail, they ended their thoughts with statements to  my questions like, “you just need to get over it or that’s in the past you need to move on.” Needless to say, this only made things worse.

It wasn't until one day at a local bait shop that I ran into a guide named Chuck who takes  wounded veterans out fishing, that again life began to change for the better. Chuck had some of the answers to my questions and found me someone who had even more answers. Chuck did two things that the others didn’t. First, he listened before I started talking. He knew I was struggling before I ever opened my mouth or asked a question. Second, he didn't make up answers and found someone who had the answers. This gave me the hope I needed to keep working through the emotional struggles I have daily. 

Last week I had the opportunity to go fishing with a group of guys who made a huge impact on my life. Healing Patriots is a group of guys who have been there, asked a lot of the same questions I have and found the resources they needed and I that have desperately been looking for. What they did for me emotionally on this fishing trip was no different than what Dave did for me while I was in the hospital. They answered my questions honestly and started giving me the tools to work through the struggles I am having. They did this without placing blame on me for struggling, unlike many others I have asked for help from. 

I am writing this for two reasons: first, if you have struggles in life there is hope. It’s discouraging and even seems hopeless when you ask questions and you are blown off or condemned for even asking the questions you are struggling with. The answers are out there and there is hope. Secondly, when people come to you with life questions don’t make up answers, give anecdotes and tell them to get over it; that only makes it worse. Give them the truth and if you don't know what it is, help them find the people that do know the truth. The real answers are powerful and life changing. Here is just one example: since the day I got hurt I have asked why people would call me a hero if I was the guy who fell off a fire truck and had to get rescued? Last week I got to ask a combat veteran that question. First thing he did is give me a hug and then he said, “Geremy, you are a hero because you got on the truck in the first place.”  This is just one of the answers that changed my life and gave me a new perspective and hope. There is power in having the questions in our life answered regardless if those answers are good or bad because not knowing the answers is one of the most difficult things for people to handle. 

Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker
241ink.org

Monday, April 2, 2018

That will never work


A hundred years ago when I was in high school I had an opportunity to go on a skiing trip. Now I thought this was a completely awesome opportunity, due to the fact that it was one week after MY spring break. Meaning,  I would get two spring breaks. Not a bad idea at all. There was one thing getting in the way, money-that’s right money. I needed some. Every year I worked all summer and had plenty of spending money all through the fall, but by March, cash was not necessarily readily available. The youth group I was attending, saw this very similar problem with more kids than just me and came up with a fundraiser. They planned a bowl-a-thon. You know, go out and get pledges for each pin I could knock down to raise money to go skiing. For me this was a bigger problem than the money. The fact that I bowled so badly that I would have never raised enough money to go, was the least of my worries. I just couldn't get over the fact that I would be asking people for money, so I could go have fun skiing. I needed a better option. While I was considering my options, everyone, youth leaders, parents and friends were asking/telling me to either go bowling or take my name off the list. Then I figured out the way I was going to pay for the trip. It was perfect. I could do what I was good at, earn my own way and have extra spending money. I was so excited to have finally figured it out. But when I told my youth leader that I was going to fish an ice fishing tournament to pay for my trip, I heard it for the first time, “That will never work”. “You gotta be kidding me, what’s he know?”, I thought. 

These four words cut to the heart when used in the wrong context. I see so many people wandering through life empty because of the way these words have been directed to them as they grew up by the people they love and look up to. Now, because I know someone is reading this with a hyper-critical, pessimistic world-view, thinking to them self, “What if it won’t work, what if they could get hurt, what if they have unreal expectations,  what if                        ”. To you I am saying, “take a deep breath and quit taking things out of context.” In fact, you may be the very example I am talking about. The person whose vision and ability to explore was robbed from them because of these four words and others that have the same damaging results. There are times to use these words. Like the time a college roommate was going to mix some cleaning supplies that would have ended us all. Or when someone is hooking up a vehicle wrong to pull it out of the ditch. What I am talking about is when these words are used to condemn creativity and the pursuit of someone’s identity. This happens when parents, coaches, teachers, guidance counselors, pastors and others are shortsighted, only looking at their own history and not the capabilities and opportunities of the person in front of them. 

I was frustrated but not defeated. I did however keep my mouth shut and not share my plan with anyone else, including my parents. The night before the tournament and the bowl-a-thon, I asked my mom to borrow $20 for the entry fee and bait for the next day. She gave me a crisp, new $20 bill and she asked me if I really wanted to go fishing instead of bowling (she knew how badly I wanted to go on this ski trip).  I confidently told her it was taken care of and I could fish and go skiing…no bowling required.

The irony to this story is when I was on the lake and all set up, I had multiple friends and other guys I knew stop and ask why I was fishing where I was because “there’s no fish here”. I remember thinking to myself, “really, is everyone narrow minded and pessimistic?”  

I went home that night with enough money to pay my mom back, go on the trip and have plenty of spending money. That’s right, I won…in two categories. Not only that year, but through the rest of high school. I fished to go skiing each year.

This isn’t a fishing and skiing story. It’s not even a story about me. 


I could tell you countless stories of these words - “THAT WILL NEVER WORK”. In my life I heard these words in: how I chose to go to college, how I got my first job, how we raise our kids, and more. I hear these 4 words all the time and witness their misuse and destruction almost everywhere I go.  

We are called to build each other up. We are called to raise kids the way God made them. To do this we need to stay away from these four words, learn who people are and focus on learning together instead. We need to work with the people and opportunities that are in front of us, not the history and heartache that is behind us. I make sure everyone I work with knows that, “the key to success is failure and not repeating our failures.” 

We all have a choice: look at what won’t work or take the time to learn who somebody is and figure out what support they need to reach their potential. You might just be surprised at how well it does work. 

Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker
241ink.org

Friday, November 24, 2017

Stop Being Thankful?


It’s Black Friday and I am up way too early and waiting around almost like everyone else, wondering if this is worth it. You know, wondering if we really learned anything about being thankful yesterday while gorging on turkey and stuffing, or in my case, ribs. Now, I’m not in a store shopping, I'm up waiting to go back to sleep because at 42 years old, I am getting to learn about how thankful I am for little things like toilet paper at 6AM. Sitting around waiting to get tired enough to get to go back to sleep so I can at least feel like I got to sleep in on a day off, is almost as much fun as waiting around to get something you never knew you needed until it is 75% off at 4AM for one day only. 

We hear a lot about being thankful and learning to be thankful as we grow up. Currently I’m still trying to figure it out as I raise my kids; but maybe that’s the wrong goal. I am not making some big, huge new parenting declaration here, I’m just making an observation and talking it though with you all because my bladder decided I should be up this morning. So here it goes. 

Should we focus on thankfulness or contentment?

I remember growing up having adults tell me and other kids that “you need to learn to be thankful”. I, like every other kid, have gotten the look on a birthday or Christmas that promptly tells you, “you will act thankful for the white socks that are 3 sizes too small that you got from Grandma’s aunt that came to the party this year…don’t say anything but ‘thank you’…do not embarrass me a parent or you may stop breathing…are we clear”. What I have learned is that being thankful gets way harder the older you get if you don't understand contentment. This is partly due to the fact that most adults harp on the act of being polite and call it thankfulness-leaving the heart out. I made this mistake with Peter when he was about 2 1/2 years old. We were all sitting around the table for a meal and he look at Kirsten and boldly said “I want more juice”. Being a good Dad I looked at him firmly and said, “Peter, what do you say to your Mother?” Because after all, you need to be stern with this young misguided kid so they don't grow up not being thankful, right? Peter looked at me, looked at Kirsten and you could see the wheels turning, the gears grinding as he contemplated the next words that would come out of his mouth. With apprehension and a lot of uncertainty he looked at me and the words that come out of his young, innocent 2 year old mouth, “I, I wannn’t morrre juice???” Ding, ding, ding, I needed to learn something that morning…not him. I was so concerned with teaching thankfulness (politeness) that I missed being content with Peter. He had just learned to simply say what he wanted when we asked him. He wasn't being rude, I just didn't meet him where he was at.  

Fast forward a year later, and I am sitting in a wheelchair after I got hurt and the kids are being polite and thankful for all the gifts that people were getting them for Christmas. I, on the other hand, was a mess. The guilt that I couldn't get anything for my kids was overwhelming. I was thankful, but far from content. This emotional dilemma went on for many years, fueled by the mis-teaching that my generation received on politeness over thankfulness. Life sucked. We were never taught about the relationship of contentment, thankfulness, grace and giving. 

I had to learn a few tough lessons in order to even come close to understanding what it meant to be thankful. The first lesson came one day when I was having a conversation with a mentor about not being comfortable receiving anything from anyone else. He looked me in the the eyes and asked, “Geremy, do you take joy in giving to others?” I replied “ Well, yes, what’s that have to do with it?” He answered, “Then why would you take the joy away from someone who wants to give to you?” Yep that stung and took a little time to get over. The next lesson is this: as a culture we are so worried about safety, that we do everything possible to prevent anything bad physically and emotionally from happening to us. The unintended consequence is that we lose the opportunity to overcome, the opportunity to learn faith. It is interesting to see the look on peoples’ faces when I tell them that one of the best things that ever happened to me was getting hurt.The third lesson is this: no matter how hard you work to change your circumstances, life still happens. The difficulties in life aren’t personal, they just happen. When we take them personally, we skew our understanding of grace. We don't deserve anything, grace is getting what we don't deserve.

Contentment is interesting because it changes your view on a whole lot more than you think. It changes how you are thankful. Contentment is being ok with whatever you get. It means you are ok with financial security or wondering where your next pay check is coming from. It means you are thankful for the success of other and the toys they are able to get, while not craving anything more for yourself. It’s not about politeness, it’s about being at peace with what you have and where you are at. 

Yes, life is worth waiting around for, both the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the frustrating and the success. Many years ago a young man said it best, “God will get us through this, but if He doesn't, that’s ok.” So as we go through the holiday season let’s learn contentment and thankfulness. 

I wonder what the chances are that I can fall back to sleep…


Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Want My Money

We just got back from a long, rewarding, hard and fun weekend selling fishing tackle at a ice fishing show in South Dakota. Peter is going to be sixteen soon and it is a blast watching him shine doing what he loves-talking fishing. It’s hard to believe that he has been running Missouri Secrets Tackle with his brother for 8 years now. At first, Kirsten and I were just parents with a drivers license at sport shows like this one, but this year Peter got his own drivers license, bought a new truck and keeps mom and dad around for moral support. There is a lot of parental pride watching Peter and Dan’s success in a small little venture they started when they where eight and ten years old, respectively. However, there is a back story that needs to be told, not because of what we see in our boys, but what we hear from the older generations.

So how did Missouri Secrets Tackle come to be? Well, when I got hurt in 2005 we lost everything in a gradual destruction of our business and finances. It was a time when every financial decision we made was a no-win situation. Money wasn’t tight; it was non-existent. Due to our situation and the plan that we were going to raise our kids to work for what they wanted, before I got hurt, we started having the kids do odd jobs to earn some spending cash. Keep in mind that Dan was 5 and Peter was 3 when I got hurt.

When Peter was 4 or 5 he wanted to start shooting the .22 so we asked him if he had some money to buy some rounds. He went to his room and came out with a handful of change and bills. On our next trip to town we stopped at the sporting good store. Peter ran to pick out two boxes of .22 rounds and we looked at the price and made sure he had enough money to cover the cost. This was not the first time he bought something with his own money, but is definitely the time I remember. He proudly walked up to the register and placed his rounds on the counter. The clerk rang them up and asked for the total. Peter proudly counted out the money and gave it to the clerk. She took the money and placed it in the till. Peter’s face instantly turned from pride to a horrified, confused combobulation as he look at me and said, “what is she doing with my money?”. I said “putting it in the register, that’s her job”. He looked back and forth between me and the clerk a few times and with a desperate confusion in his young, crackling voice and tears streaming down his face he proclaims “I want my money” without skipping a beat, the clerk leaned over the counter and with all the compassion she could muster looks at Peter and says, “Honey, I feel the same way every time I go shopping”. After a little convincing by me and the clerk, Peter decided to leave his money in the till and take the .22 rounds home.

Fast forward 11 years…Dan and Peter are selling fishing tackle at sport shows across the upper midwest and one of my favorite things to do is talk to all the folks who are watching Dan and Peter sell tackle.  There is a comment made that completely caught me off guard the first time I heard it. But now that we've been following the boys selling tackle for eight years, we hear this comment between five and 10 times every show. What's interesting about this comment is who it comes from. It's typically from the generations that lived through the Great Depression and World War II. These are folks that I have a lot of respect for and they generally don't speak about personal things with much of anybody. And because of this, I was first caught off guard by this comment and now realize how close I was of been guilty of the same thing they're commenting on.

The conversation typically goes like this. They ask what exactly is going on with two young boys selling fishing tackle and I give them a quick little description of how Dan and Peter were earning money to support their hunting and fishing habits and learn the value a dollar. And then they look at me or Kirsten and say “this is amazing, I ruined my kids.” You can see why it caught us off guard the first couple of times we heard it. Every time I hear this comment we ask, “what do you mean by that” and the answer is typically the same. They say something to the effect of “I did everything I could for my kids so they didn't have to work like I did, and because of that, they have no work ethic and they expect someone else to do everything for them.” This show was no different; we had six people come and ask what was going on at our booth and make this comment and we had the same conversation.

What's humbling about this conversation is that Kirsten and I probably would've never stuck to our plan or at least never been as strict as we talked about before we had kids, if I never would've gotten hurt. And if that was the case, none of our kids would've learned the valuable lessons about faith that we as a family have had the opportunity to learn over the last 12 years. There's a really good chance I would not have had the opportunity to take the stage with my son Peter at this sport show and teach a seminar entitled “Raising an Angler”, where he and I discuss what it takes from the parent’s and child's perspective to raise a kid to love and respect the outdoors. So don't be afraid to make your kids work for things. Don’t be afraid of not giving them what everybody else has given their kids. What I've learned over the last 12 years is that the most important thing you can give your kid is the one thing only you can give and that's you. You can only teach them what you know and help point them in the direction they need to go for the rest of their life. It’s a lot of fun to learn hard work, determination and what it means to have faith together as a family. 

Don't miss out.

Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker

Monday, November 6, 2017

Questions from the Blind

This year our house made an life changing decision. You know the kind of decision the neighbors and friends will question. The “what are the Olson’s thinking, have they gone mad” kind of decision. We chose to not apply for rifle tags for deer gun season this year, so we would have no excuse to not learn to waterfowl hunt. Yes, you heard me right, we gave up tenderloins for ducks. 

What makes this so hard to explain is that I really should be writing a blog on confessions of a failed water fowler. Quite frankly, I stink, no hope of ever being successful at water fowling, stink. My record for the last 30 years is 1 goose and maybe a dozen ducks. A couple of years ago some buddies invited Peter and I to go goose hunting on a cold, snow-covered veterans day and I shot my first and only goose to date. It took me 2 boxes of shells to down that first goose and I should look at it as a life long accomplishment. But I have to live with Peter who has the ability to humble any man in his presence with what I like to think is a unequalled lucky streak. That day at age 12, Peter, with a half a box of shells got his first 5 geese. This, with the knowledge that my kills are 1 duck for every 10-12 boxes of shells that I shoot, and my wife hits everything she shoots at, is enough for most guys to hang up the decoys and stick with the tenderloins.

So you are wondering what’s up with the life changing decision; well there is something about a waterfowl blind and the conversations that happen in that blind that you just can’t replicate anywhere else. In the blind you need to be still, but not quiet, giving you a time to talk about life, while allowing nature to put it all into perspective. There is a beauty to watching the sun rise over a fog covered pond with the anticipation of what is to come. Knowing you will always learn something that day that will help you make it through life. 

This year’s waterfowl season is only half done but it has exceeded any expectations I could have had when our family made this life changing decision. This isn’t because I shot my second goose and 2 ducks and I am only two boxes of shells in to the season. It has been a great season because of the questions from the blind.

There have been a lot of questions this year but the one that sticks out so far is, “dad, how do kids learn about God as their Father if their dad here on earth abuses them?” I’ll let that soak in for a minute. Pretty deep questions for a 13 year old waterfowl hunter. It is the kind of questions you get however when you’re sitting in the blind. 

The question, discussion and answer was the reason we made this life changing decision. It is our responsibility to demonstrate for our kids all the attributes of God our heavenly father: loving, patient, kind, just, forgiving, merciful, perfect, authority and all-knowing, just to name a few. This is a responsibility that we will never be able to fulfill perfectly or even close to perfect like God does for us. But it is our responsibility to work on our relationship with God so that we can better demonstrate for our children what God has done for us. So what about the kid who grows up in a home with the lack of this example and worse, the opposite of what God is done for us.

Scratching the surface of this question, sitting in the duck blind, we talked about the fact that we don't always learn everything from our parents and each one of us needs to be an example of what God does for us. We need to hold true to what our heavenly Father teaches us in the Bible and work on our relationship with Him daily. So that through us as parents, friends, coworkers, customers or just somebody a person runs into on the street, people see an example of the attributes of God. 

The questions from the blind are the questions that help us grow. The questions from the blind are the questions to help us learn what it means to change the world.

Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker

Monday, October 30, 2017

Losing My Song

There has been a lot going on over the last 5 years and even more over the last 12 years since I got hurt. The kids are growing up and next year the oldest is heading off to college. As a family we have had a lot of fun, worked though a bunch of hard times and made a lot of memories. While doing all of this I have been learning how to deal with growing nightmares and PTSD related to the fire accident and the recovery from it.  

This last summer we had more fire than usual in the western states, meaning I was away from home more than usual. I love working on an incident management team because I am able to be myself and use the gifts God gave me to serve others during some of the hardest times of their lives. What made this summer unique is that I was in a season of life where I was broken and hopeless. I wasn’t sure how I got there and I was desperately looking for a way to get out. Little did I know, this fire season was what I needed. I needed to “find my song”.

Back in high school I was at a retreat and the speaker talked about “your song”; the thing in each of us that makes us tick, the thing that makes each of us different, the song that tells the story of what God is doing in and through each of us. I remember saying to myself “that’s cute”, and am pretty sure I never thought about it again until this summer. One night in central Montana this summer, I was evaluating life while gazing at the stars with all their brilliant beauty while the entire western horizon was glowing red with fire. As I lay in the back of my pickup watching the stars it started to make sense. As I laid there I realized I not only stopped singing my song, I put it in a box and lost it. 

What I realized is that I lost my song because I started listening to a group of people around me without questioning if their input was valid. They picked apart my podcast list, the music that spoke to me, mentors in my life, my life experiences, the books I was reading and even what I was learning in my personal Bible studies. Looking back I realized it was easier to stop listening and reading what I needed than fielding all the personal opinions of those around me. The natural progression was then to give up who I was for the same reason. The end result is “I lost my song”.

It wasn’t until the long summer out in Montana, where I got to be me without this group’s influence, that I found my song again. I had given up who I was for a group of people who are willing to naively sacrifice others for their own dreams, a group of people that asked me for my help, but really wanted me to do what they wanted at my expense, people who are impatient and willing to take every shortcut to get to where they want to go. I did this because they asked for my help and their dreams were and are the same as many of mine. But unlike working on a fire team, they are unwilling or incapable of working as a team, a team with mutual respect, a team worried about each other before yourself, a team that realizes that you don’t sacrifice another for personal gain, but you sacrifice together to save lives. 

I am not laying blame on these people for what happened, it was me that gave up who I was for them. It has been a hard lesson to learn. Most lessons have a sting to them. Like most lessons, however; it has been rewarding to see what happens when you live them out. A good friend unexpectedly passed away this last weekend and is the reason for this blog entry. Because I learned this lesson, we got to spend some much needed time together before he passed away. He and I talked about spending time together for four years but could never seem to make it happen because both of us were guilty of putting other people’s agendas before our call. Fortunately we were granted the chance to spend some great days in the boat together, gaining insight and wisdom that I would have lost if I hadn’t learned this lesson. Don’t give up who God made you to be for other people. It is hard to live with purpose when you give up who you are. It is impossible to go where God called you if you get off the road because of everyone’s personal opinions. So what is your song, your story and your call? Don’t be hindered by others, sing it, tell it and share it without apology. 

Geremy Olson
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker