| July will mark my seventeenth year of doing this column. It has been a very satisfying and life-altering period of time. It all started when I bought an ad in two different newspapers for an event that was taking place. Both left my office with my first attempt at Outdoor Truths promising me they would sporadically run the article as space became available. Each paper has carried the column ever since and has only rarely missed putting it in their publication. What began with two newspapers is now in several newspapers as well as some regional magazines and on many websites. I reminisce not to boast but to tell you how blessed I have been through these many years. Those blessings have come from several avenues. First, I have had the wonderful privilege of being a part of some great home-town newspapers and blue-collar hunting and fishing magazines. The men and women who make up these publications understand a great segment of their readers are hunters, fishermen (or women), and believers in God. We may have different doctrinal beliefs, and some may not even be totally sure about this church thing, and Christians, and even Jesus. But what we are all sure about, is Someone greater than man created this earth that we get to play in every time we hunt or fish. Our local newspapers at times take a lot of criticism but they also bring you the good stuff that many folks in bigger cities never get. Another blessing that has thrilled my soul is when you tell me about how some story I have written caused you to remember a special outdoor time in your life with a father, mother, or friend. These stories come just at the right time and make me feel so honored to have had a part of bringing back these precious memories. And lastly, these seventeen years have made me more sensitive to what creation has to say about God. It was a few years ago, I realized when Jesus started his ministry here on earth, and he went looking for some good men who he would make his disciples, the first place he went was to the lake. There he found Peter and his brother Andrew and made them “fishers of men.” Many fishermen I know might not consider themselves disciple material, but God must think differently. I’ve learned God’s provision is illustrated by the sparrow and the lily, his care by the sheep, and his power in our life by his ability to speak peace to the winds and the waves. All outdoor illustrations. But more than this, I am more convinced than ever that he knows your name, cares for you immensely, and hurts when you hurt. If I began to count my blessings there is no doubt my time with you each week would be at the top.