He is Risen!!!

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But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” ~Luke 24:1-7 ESV

Wishing you a blessed and happy Easter!

Yours in Christ,
Todd the Hiker

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2015.

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Rocky S2V Ambassador!

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The past couple of weeks have been quite eventful for me, to say the least. After the ambassadorship with UST Brands announced last week, this Thursday I was contacted by Rocky S2V (Smart, Strong, Versatile) about joining their team of ambassadors. Once again, little time was required for me to formulate my response, another quick and hearty, “Yes!”

Rocky has been well known for making top quality boots for the military and outdoorsmen since WWII, and in recent years they have adapted and expanded their line into an “integrated system of outdoor apparel, footwear, and outdoor essentials.” I have already had the opportunity to try out a couple of items from this product line the Agonic Mid-Layer Jacket and Dead Reckoning Trek Pants I am wearing in the photo. The Agonic has already become my every day spring jacket and go to for hiking on cooler days. Given the great performance of these items, I am really looking forward to putting the rest of their gear through the paces.

One other thing that makes this such an exciting opportunity for me, aside from Rocky’s well-known name and long-standing reputation for quality and ruggedness, is the fact that they are based in Nelsonville, right here in my home state of Ohio. They are just a couple hour’s drive from home, and also quite near one of Ohio’s scenic treasures, Hocking Hills State Park. Somehow I sense a visit to ROCKY BRANDS™, Inc. and a hike at Hocking Hills may soon be in the making; I can’t wait!

IMG_0803Cedar Falls, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.

Todd the Hiker

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2015.

Meet Campstake

Today marks my second featured blog post, “Highlights from Big Bend,” on the Campstake Journal over at Campstake.com. Take some time to give it a read and check out some of the other articles while you are there.

By way of introduction, back in December I was approached by Brandon Painter from Campstake who asked me if they could feature my Red River Gorge – Off-Trail page on their blog. At the time I knew little to nothing about Campstake, other than they were one of the many outdoor oriented acquaintances I have made on Twitter.

With a quick bit of checking I learned they are a start-up company with plans to release a web application (Spring 2015) that will allow campers and backpackers to ask for and make recommendations about camping destinations around the nation. What is intriguing about Campstake’s approach is the ability to get recommendations as broad or narrow as you desire, down to specific campsites! Their ultimate vision is much bigger, but rather than try to explain the details here, I’ll let you read about in their own Journal post, “On the Horizon.”

I like what I see over at Campstake and am honored to be counted among the group of great outdoor bloggers who have been featured on Campstake Journal, many of whom I know from time spent on the #HikerChat Twitter chat. I see this as a great opportunity to develop relationships, broaden my audience, and, at the same time, help someone else who is also trying to encourage people to get outdoors where they can enjoy the beauty of God’s magnificent creation!

In the past week, they released the Campstake Recommendations portion of the web application that allows you to ask for and receive recommendations from friends. I spent some time working with a fellow blogger, Jonathan Roberts, trading recommendations to test out the app and provided Campstake with feedback that I hope was helpful.

Bottom line, this app is very easy to use from the perspective of both the “asker” and the “recommender;” requiring you to do nothing more than fill out a couple of simple forms. The app takes care of notifying your friends of the request, and then emails you when they respond, which they also do by filling out a simple form. One more great part of using Campstake is that whenever someone submits a fully completed recommendation they will donate $1 to outdoor conservation funds!

I can’t wait to see what comes next and am excited to work with Campstake as we both encourage others to #getoutside and #exploremore!

©Todd D. Nystrom and Todd_the_Hiker, 2015.

Distracted

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV) – Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

IMG_1323The lights of Lebanon, Ohio shine on the horizon obscuring the stars on a clear March night at Caesar Creek Lake.  Furnas Shores, Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville, Ohio.

If you have ever lived or traveled far from any towns or cities you know just how many more stars become visible in the night sky once you escape the lights of civilization.  In fact, if you find a place that is dark enough you will be amazed at the number of stars that fill the night sky, including the vast river of stars that make up our own little corner of the universe, called the Milky Way galaxy.  However, if you live anywhere in the United States east of the Mississippi River there are very few places where you can get away from effects of light pollution and truly see the vastness of the night sky. And if you live in or near a city, or even most large towns, your view of the stars will likely be obscured by the myriad of lights we use to illuminate the night.

In much the same way that the lights of civilization obscure the stars in the night sky, the busyness and distractions of everyday existence too often obscure the voice of God in our lives.  Even when that busyness is well intentioned and purposeful, like Martha’s, it is still distracting.

By no means do I think Christ is suggesting that we just sit around all day reading, contemplating, and discussing the Scriptures, though I suspect we are all in need of this far more than we are in need of one more task added to our daily routine.  There are plenty of passages that advocate hard work and service.  But I truly do not think most of us need prompting to stay busy, whether with useful, productive endeavors—which also include our time serving in various church functions—or time wasting trivial tasks like checking e-mail, browsing on Facebook and Twitter, or just mindlessly watching television.

What I do think Christ is telling us is that we do not spend enough time just sitting at his feet and listening to his voice.  We do not spend enough time in his Word, coming to him in prayer, and simply seeking to understand what he is telling us through these daily means of grace.  Even though I regularly avail myself of quiet devotional time early each morning, I still find that the distractions and busyness of life quickly crowd back in as soon as the rest of my day begins.

This is one of the many reasons I often find myself in need of refreshment and time away, going out into God’s amazing creation, far from civilization, to gaze up at the sky on a clear night and see what an uncluttered view of the universe looks like, both literally and figuratively.  It is during these uncluttered times away that I find myself realizing just how small I am in this universe, and just how great and amazing is our God, who created and sustains it all.  To know that this is the same God who is powerful enough to create all of this, yet he loves us so much that he chose to send his Son to live the perfect life that we cannot, and die the death we so deserve for our sins.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  John 3:16-17 (ESV)

Are you distracted?  Are you taking the time to hear the voice of God speaking to you through his Word and his creation?  Find the time.  Make it a priority.  You will be amazed at what you discover.

IMG_2681Even with the light of a half-moon the Milky Way galaxy is still visible once you are away from the distracting lights of civilization.  Red River Gorge Geological Area, Daniel Boone National Forest, Slade, Kentucky.

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

The Rock that is Higher than I

Psalm 61:1-8 (ESV)

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;  from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,  for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.  Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!  For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.   Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations!  May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!  So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.

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Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest, Slade, Kentucky.

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

Greater Love Has No One

John 15:12-13 12This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

IMG_1576The next generation.

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those Americans who have paid the ultimate price and laid down their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we too often take for granted. We should also take time to thank those who are serving now so future generations may continue to enjoy these same freedoms.

Happy Memorial Day!

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts
© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

And Now for Something Completely Different…

I spent this evening playing paparazzi, so I am taking a break from my normal nightly posting schedule to feature our church’s worship director, Jefferson Bennett on the occasion of the release concert for his first full-length CD, “One.”

It was a fantastic concert that was well attended, with many from North Cincinnati Community Church braving this cold January evening to support our dear brother Jeff.

IMG_0395Jefferson Bennett and his wife, Andrea, performing at The Underground during the release concert for his first full-length CD, “One”