Ain't no Copperhead

Ain't No Copperhead

If you've been following all the news lately on the Catching Creation Instagram and Facebook pages you will be excited to know that today is the day.  We are finally done recording "Ain't no Copperhead" hip hop song.  It's all about snake identification or rather the misidentification.  Every year I get countless tags on social media, texts and frantic messages about people finding copperheads.  Nine times out of ten the "copperhead" is one of two harmless snakes; the Dekay's brown snake or the juvenile black racer snake.  Both have patterns and in the dim twilight at a hazy wood line I guess I can understand the confusion. This misidentification happens frequently enough that as a team we decided to make this funny song about it.  I hope you enjoy it and please share it on all social media platforms!  What should we make a song about next?  Leave a comment and let us know!

This song was recorded and mixed by Stephen LaVine, filmed and edited by Stan Lake.   It was performed by Daniel Charles, Chance Feimster, Thomas LaVine, Stephen LaVine, and Stan Lake.  Special thanks to Barry McGee and Deric Cook for dancing their hearts out on a hot summer day for this video!

If you liked this song be sure to check out our other song "Slippy Slimy Salamander" and get your wiggle on as this catchy song lays eggs in your brain.

Thomas LaVine and  Stephen LaVine both have lots of amazing stuff going on with their music careers, please take a second and check out their new albums and go follow them on social media!

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Ain't no Copperhead
Ain't no Copperhead

Garter Snake In My Back Yard

Woo Hoo!  After working on my back yard habitat a bit and mowing tonight I found a beautiful garter snake!  Check out the video below.  Leave a comment on the video on youtube about all the cool things you're finding in your backyard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbDQRM_dieM

Elon University Radio Interview

Elon University Radio Interview With Alex Rose

Recently I was contacted by Elon University radio host Alex Rose about my ministry, Catching Creation.  He was intrigued with what I do and made the hour or so drive from Burlington, NC to Winston to come record an interview about Catching Creation.  I think he did a great job with the interview and editing.  Check it out.

Catching Creation @ Calvary Chapel Of Fort Lauderdale

On Feb 8/9 I got the opportunity to speak 5 times to a combined 2500-3000 children at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale about Jesus and his awesome creation.  Have YOU been made into a new creation?  If this program looks like something your church could benefit from please shoot me an email at Info@catchingcreation.com .  I'd love to travel to where you are and present the Gospel with my animal friends!

Anti-Bullying Program With Snakes

I was able to partner with L.I.T. City youth and do an Anti-Bullying program with my snakes at Wiley Middle School in Winston Salem NC 

We got to shoot this in a middle school gym so please forgive the audio quality.  During the course of the program we talked about animals that have been bullied since the beginning of time, the snakes.  Hognose snakes would hypothetically get picked on by other snakes because of their funny looking noses but the thing that makes them stand out is what makes them special.  I talked about the adaptations of the hognose that help it overcome being bullied (or preyed upon) by other animals.  I used corn snake morphs to talk about genetic diversity and how the differences between the snakes are only skin deep.  Lastly I used a large boa constrictor to illustrate the heaviness of what we are carrying around when we are bullied and that if we partner with someone else we can help share the burden and turn our hurt into hope.  I hope you enjoy this and if you're interested in having Catching Creation at your public school feel free to contact Info@CatchingCreation.com

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Hanging Out In The Rattlesnake Den

Did you ever play that game when you were a kid that required you to pretend the floor was made of lava and the couches and other furniture were little islands impervious to being consumed by said lava?  Now imagine being grown and having a similar situation while out observing wildlife, except now substitute lava for deadly pit vipers and the couch for loose crumbling boulders.  Now that I have painted that beautiful picture, welcome to my most recent adventure.

My first Cottonmouth capture circa 2002

After a late night phone call and Facebook chat with a good friend and snake mentor of mine I got invited to go observe some rattlesnake dens in an area I hadn’t been before.  I jumped at the chance.  My friend Zach Orr has been showing me the wonders of the serpent world for the last 15 years or so.  I met him while in high school when he came and did a presentation on venomous snakes for our natural resources class.  It was one of those presentations that stuck in my mind since I was already quite passionate about snakes.  A few years later I linked up with Zach again at a reptile show and he gave me his contact info and we began a friendship that has been priceless to me.  I have learned so much from his hands on experience and seen so many things in nature that I wouldn’t have had the chance without him.  I held my first venomous snake (a large cottonmouth) with him behind the camera when I was 18 and fresh out of basic training.  I saw my first pygmy rattlesnake with him and countless other snake firsts.

Photo Credit Zach Orr

This adventure would be no different.  This particular journey began rather early for me as I waited at a local Starbucks for him to pick me up since I live at the approximate halfway point to our destination north and west from where we normally hunt for snakes.   After a dizzying ride through curves and back roads I stumbled out of the car wanting to vomit from motion sickness.  We had arrived.  I ambled up the steep incline to our destination taking many rest breaks along the way.  Partially because I’m out of shape and partially because the mountain was so steep you almost had to climb and scramble upward and had it been any steeper ropes might have been necessary, just to give you an idea.

bouldersOnce I finally reached the top, where Zach had been patiently waiting, I saw what looked like massive piles of rubble.  The ridgeline we were on housed hundreds, maybe thousands of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus).  The piles of boulders ranged from gravel sized on up to car sized rocks.  Weathering and erosion over time created this habitat that proved to be the perfect winter resting place for cold blooded serpents.  I had been to rattlesnake dens before in other mountain ranges further south and east and this area’s topography was almost like an alien landscape to me.

zachThe boulders, no matter how big or small, weren’t exactly stable to walk on.  You really couldn’t tell whether the large rock you were standing on would support your weight or would slide and roll down the steep incline promoting a rockslide.  It was quite deceptive and each step was calculated but sometimes even when you were cautious the rocks would slide.  The terrifying part about this, aside from falling to an untimely death and being crushed by rocks, was that under most rocks contained a hiding viper.  I stepped on several moving boulders only to be shaken to my core by the telltale sound of an alarmed rattlesnake.  There were a few moments where the rock would shift, the snakes would rattle and I had to frantically deduce where the sound was coming from.  Was the sound coming from beneath me, beside me, where I’m about t put my hands/feet?

I'm starting to get a bit concerned after seeing so many snakes

After we had seen and heard approximately 25 rattlesnakes, which according to Zach was a “bad” day, I began to get quite nervous about this adventure.  As I was looking up the hill at Zach and seeing the rattlesnakes coiled under the craggy rocks above me, my cooler sized boulder began to shift without warning.  As the rock slid downhill I lost my balance and fell face first down the hill crashing chest first, then knees then hands into a pile of boulders.  I didn’t even give my body a chance to register to pain before I was up, catlike, balancing on new boulders after my fall.  My heart was pounding, my knees were shaking and I was praying, “Lord please don’t let me have landed on a viper.”  Once I was able to catch my breath and dust myself off I saw that I only sustained a few scratches and bruises, thankfully there weren’t any snakes ready to defend themselves and in my eyes it was truly a miracle that I didn’t get hurt worse than I did.

©2013 Zach Orr

Rattlesnakes will typically congregate in the fall in rocky outcroppings to den for the winter.  They will often communally hibernate together in these areas and utilize this seemingly perfect spot together twice a year.  You will see them out en mass in late fall as they are coming from miles away to find shelter and again in spring as they emerge from their wintry sleep.  Although I ran the very real risk of being greeted by an angry bite from a pit viper this trip I couldn’t have blamed the snake.  I was in his territory, his house and invading his space.  It’s only natural for him to defend himself and even though the risk was great, seeing these amazingly beautiful animals in their natural habit trumped any threat involved.  Rattlesnakes are a vital part of the ecosystem and their partnership with other predators in eating rats and mice carrying Lyme’s disease ridden ticks is vital to the health of an ecosystem.  They are one of natures systems for checks and balances and if we can truly see their beauty and try to understand them then perhaps our children will have the benefit of seeing these amazing creatures.  Remember that all created things were originally created good as it says in Genesis 1:31 and we shouldn’t villanize things we don’t understand.  Snakes are great!

Peek-a-boo

Like A Loaded Gun On The Playground

I love the macho bravado in the air this time of year.  We have on one hand every armchair quarterback giving his or her reviews of the most recent game—what season is it anyway?  We have school pride in the air, hunting season on the way, and of course, with the cooler temperatures coming we have the last big movement of snakes.  I often get tagged in posts on social media sites showing some mangled snake asking for my post mortem identification of the slithering offender.  99 percent of the time the alleged venomous snake is merely a misidentified harmless snake that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  That rare moment when someone actually kills a rightly identified venomous snake is usually met with heroic praise by the online peanut gallery.  Such comments as “the only good snake is a dead snake” and “you’ve got to kill them ‘cause it’s like leaving a loaded gun on a playground” are simply absurd and rooted deeply in ignorance and fear. I realize that some snakes carry venom that is potentially harmful and even life threatening to humans but let’s be honest, when was the last time you heard of someone being bitten by a viper that didn’t first harass the snake.  I know of one occasion where a dear friend of mine was moving logs on a woodpile and got tagged on the leg by a copperhead. That seems to be a more unusual occurrence and not the norm.  Statistically most snakebite victims are males in their early 20’s and alcohol is typically involved.  I imagine that most of those incidences probably start out with the phrase “hey buddy hold my beer and watch this.”  You can avoid envenomation by simply letting the snake slink off to hits much-preferred hiding spot.

snakegun

After doing a quick internet search I saw that only around 12 people per year die from snake related injuries but almost 3 times that number die yearly in the US from dog attacks.  Can we use that same logic to villianize dogs?  I mean the only good one is a dead one in my opinion—only not really.  So why are snakes different than dogs in the public eye?

Why do we fear snakes so much?  Is it so deeply rooted in our interpretation of the Genesis account that we ultimately hate snakes because of their satanic representation? I get that Genesis 3:15 says God will put enmity between humanity and the serpent but weighing Scripture against scripture we see where God says in Genesis 1:31 that all of his creation was “very good.”  So at least the original design was for snakes to be good and for humans to live harmoniously with them.  Of course the curse changed EVERYTHING but we can see in Numbers 21 where Moses held up a bronze staff with a serpent on top of it and by faith the people who looked on it were healed.  Subsequently they were healed of their snakebites but lets just look past that.  Medically we are finding benefits from snakes all of the time.  Copperheads are used in cancer research, rattlesnakes in heart and stroke medication, so on and so forth.  The initial design was for good and post-curse we just have to dig a bit deeper to see it.

What is the purpose of this rant?  My heart is to show that we need not fear any animal.  Even from a Biblical perspective God has given us dominion and charge over creation.  He calls us to steward the resources He created for us.  God didn’t create anything that was bad, so despite your best well placed hatred for snakes, God created them and they’re something to be valued.  I pray you can find the value in things created all around you and then give the glory right back to God, the one who created it all!

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Snakes In The Church!!!!

If I had a dollar for every weird look, awkward pause on the phone and email that went unanswered regarding my particular brand of ministry I think I would at least be able to buy a new snake...  I absolutely love what I do.  Somehow God has allowed me to combine my two passions into a job that really doesn't seem like a job at all.  I get to do what I love, how many people can honestly say that?  God is growing this ministry exponentially all of the time and I get to experience more and more things that I otherwise wouldn't get to experience.  The draw back is that most people don't share my love for ALL of God's creation.  I get asked to leave on occasion due to my scaly ministry partners, people often gasp or run out of the building when I pull out Rosie the rather large red tailed boa constrictor.

  I see the faces of parents grimace when I talk about the hognose snake's toxic saliva and cane toad's poison glands (both of which are harmless to us!) but the best part of what I do involves the joy on the faces of children when fear is replaced with wonder.  And in the end even the most squeamish of spectators is at least intrigued.

You see I firmly believe that God created everything inherently good in the beginning.  Sometimes it may take a moment for us to realize the goodness of say venomous snakes (which I do NOT use in presentations!), but God is good and so is his creation.

The curse of sin obviously changed the nature of everything that God created BUT the hope is that we can still see the good in everything and give God the glory for it.  My job is one part evangelist and one part conservationist. God has entrusted us with some pretty awesome natural resources and I think he takes pleasure in our responsible stewardship of said resources.  At a very basic level if I can illustrate the unconditional love of our heavenly Father and explain the effects of sin, separation caused by the curse and redemption in Jesus Christ and that snakes (and other creepy creations) aren't evil; then I have done my job.  My heart is to teach you, your child and anyone else that God not only loves you but he has a plan for your life and wants you to be made into a new creation.

 Jesus desires a relationship with you and it all started in that garden both before and after the temptation that came in the serpentine form.  After saying all of that I sincerely hope you will consider having me at your church, public or private school, vbs, summer camp, youth group, family service or really anywhere that has a captive audience and wouldn't mind my animal ambassadors.  Thanks for your prayers and support from the bottom of my heart!

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Are You Royal Like A Ball Python?

Are You Royal Like The Ball Python?

          If you have spent any time in your local pet store or flipped through a book about snakes, you have probably seen pictures of the Royal Ball Python; more commonly just called the Ball Python.  Did you know that the Latin name for this snake is Python regius?  The scientific names of animals often will give us a more descriptive name of the animal and it also eliminates the confusion with common names.  In the case of the Royal Ball Python, aka Python regius, we know that the genus name Python refers to a class of constricting snakes and the species name, regius, actually means “of the king or belonging to the king.”So let me ask you again, are you royal like the ball python?  If you are a believer in

          Jesus Christ the answer is YES!  Let me break it down for you.  John 1:12-13 says “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  Galatians 3:26-27 says “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and if you are among those called children of God you too are heirs to royalty.  Romans 8:17 says Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” 

royalballpython

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

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Corn Snake Hatching Time Lapse

Check out my first corn snake hatchling of the year.  I set up the Gopro Hero 3 camera and let it go for a couple hours and then sped up the footage.  First corn of the year is an A melanistic, not too shabby. 

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Spotted Salamanders and the Church

Check out this clip from our first Catching Creation shoot of the year down in Blacksburg SC.  We shot video with what we had and the cameras ranged from Iphones, Gopros and even a Sony DSLR, we strongly believe in using what you have and know that God honors our faithfulness in the little things and is preparing us for the better equipment to come.  I'm really excited about this new DVD coming up and the team God has given me to help shoot new episodes of Catching Creation.  We are 1/2 way funded for our new Canon XF100 pro camcorder package that we've been saving and raising money for!

 

Check out a recent devotional about Salamanders HERE

Camp Grace Snake Bite!

I got to visit Camp Grace this week to do a few presentations, take kids out to listen to frogs at night and teach about creation and the creator.  While there we caught several awesome reptiles and amphibians.  Here's a video of me getting bit by a red bellied water snake.  Enjoy! 

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camp grace swamp
camp grace swamp
basilisk
basilisk
slimy
slimy
red belly
red belly

This Is Why I Do What I Do!

Check out this awesome promo and testimony video from Channing Guest down in Macon Ga.  I will be speaking at his church, Christ Chapel in Macon, GA on May 19 and at Pine Forest Baptist that evening.  Invite your friends and come experience the wonder of God's creation!  It's such an encouragement to see that this ministry is impacting lives both young and old for the sake of the kingdom.  Isn't God great!  I am humbled and honored that he took the time to make this video and blessed that the Lord set it all up.  It's hard not to have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think about what this ministry can accomplish for the sake of the Gospel.  YOU are special and YOU are loved and I want you to know that in Jesus name! 

Seeing lives changed for Jesus and being a positive influence in a world littered with filth is why I do what I Do.  My prayer is that the Lord will continue to use me as an effective minister of his Gospel.  I'm so thankful that of all people the Lord chose me, transformed me and can use me for his glory!

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Are You The Venom Or The Cure?

Are You The Venom Or The Cure?

One of the groups of animals I am most fascinated with are pit vipers and other venomous snakes.  They are perceived as something inherently evil and of no value to humankind but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I genuinely believe that if God created it then it’s good and sometimes we just have to dig and find its goodness.  In the case of pit vipers and other not so favorable venomous snakes there is the potential for benefit to humans through the very thing people are afraid of, the venom.  Did you know that scientists are using snake venom to help find cures and treatments to things such as cancer, strokes, heart problems and etc?  Venom is all a matter of context.  To those on the receiving end of an angry bite venom produces death, but to those in the operating room being treated with a serum derived of snake venom, it brings life.

 The same thing is true with the words we speak as Christians to an unbelieving world.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this verse references the tongue and eating fruit.  If we rewind scripture a few chapters back we are reminded of an event that took place in Genesis chapter 3 where a snake deceived Adam and Eve and they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Once they tasted of that tree they were no longer allowed to eat from the tree of life.

When we use our tongue to bash fellow Christians or say things to offend those in the world then we are not eating from the tree of life.  We are speaking death and even though the words we may be saying may have the essence of life to them, the context in which they are received relegates them to death.  We must choose our words carefully and truly try to speak the truths of God in love so that they are received in the proper context.  Are you the venom or the cure?

IMG_0071

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

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Have You Ever Been Stuck In A Rut?

This is an example of what the Catching Creation weekly Email Newsletter looks like. If you haven't subscribed already you can do so HERE

Have YOU ever been stuck in a rut?

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

--  Galatians 6:9-10 (The Message Bible)
The excitement kept me up almost all night.  I tossed and turned in my bed until the alarm clock started blaring it's offensive siren breaking the silence of my fitful slumber.  I quickly got dressed, laced up my boots and drove sleepy eyed to Starbucks to meet the rest of my team to consolidate into one vehicle.  Everyone drove in from there respective cities and we converged in Winston to embark together on the first Sandhills adventure of the year.We found not one but two Eastern Hognose snakes right next to one another after a short hike at our first stop.  I almost stepped on one!  We were blessed and encouraged to see that they were a pair and most likely getting ready to breed.  They both hissed, striked, spread their necks like cobras and then when that didn't scare us away they rolled over, musked and played dead.  We got back to the car in route to our next stop and were excited to see what else the day would bring.Everything seemed to be going perfectly.  That is until we sunk my Nissan Altima up to the doors in sand on the sandy trail road we were on.  Isn't life like that, everything seems to be going smoothly and then BAM you get stuck in a rut.  As Galatians 6:9-10reminds us, we can't give up when times get tough because if we just hold on and stay the course we will eventually reap the rewards of our efforts.  God showed me this weekend that sometimes the best way to get out of a spiritual rut is to surround yourself with fellow believers and work together to edify and encourage one another when any member of the faith community is feeling down.Despite the day literally going from bad to worse after we dug the car out of the sand I have to say that I'm truly blessed to have such an amazing team for Catching Creation.

Click the pictures to check out my extremely talented team below.

Until next time ... Stan Lake Catching Creation

P. S. Please pray for Catching Creation.  We really need a primary camera to film with for our upcoming DVD.  Our intention is to try to either get a Canon XA10 or XF100 so that we can film Catching Creation at the highest quality possible and get amazing footage to showcase God's glory click here to help.

If you're stuck in a rut, find some friends to help dig you out! Click to Watch the latest Catching Creation video!
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