Archive for October, 2010

“LEFT-HAND MONKEY WRENCH”

October 28, 2010

 

 

 

When I was in the United States Army stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, we would periodically have these nice, comfortable, fellowship outings in what we called the “boondocks.” It wasn’t exactly like going on a company picnic or a family camping trip. These were field exercises to train us in case we were called to combat, so we didn’t have all the comforts of home. We were playing “war games” to prepare us for actual combat conditions. These were serious “games” that would last for a number of weeks, but there were times of levity.

When we were on manuevers, I drove the Adjutant’s jeep. He was a Captain and my rank was just below nothing. When he got bored, he liked to have a little fun with me. One day he asked (ordered) me to go to the battalion supply tent and bring back a “LEFT-HAND MONKEY WRENCH.” Well, I was not totally uninformed about monkey wrenches. I grew up on a farm so I was familiar with many different tools. I especially knew that a ‘LEFT-HAND MONKEY WRENCH” didn’t exist…it would fit either hand.

But, an order is an order so I decided it best I play the game. So, in obedience to my Captain, I walked to the battalion supply tent and asked the supply sergeant for a left-hand monkey wrench for my captain. I really expected the sergeant to laugh and tell me how stupid I was. But, at that time I didn’t know how the game was played. He looked at me with a very serious expression on his face and said the only left-hand monkey wrench in the battalion had been sent to “Charlie” Company. So, he sent me to the supply sergeant at “Charlie” company. Yeah, you guessed it! The “Charlie” Company supply sergeant said that someone in Company A had come and borrowed it. So he sent me to Company A. I know you can probably guess the rest of the story. We had five companies in our battalion.

None of the supply sergeants laughed at me. This is the way the game is played. There was laughter, however. While I was walking around the battalion area, all the supply sergeants and my captain were having a great time on the field phones.

Orders are orders!

There are times in life when God tells us to do something we really don’t understand. But, our responsibility is to obey. I have a lot more fear in not following God’s orders than I did when ordered by an army captain to do something that I KNEW was a joke. In working for my captain, I built a relationship with him and it served me well during that time. He watched over me at all times. So it is with God. As we listen and are obedient to His commands, our relationship with Him grows strong. He will watch over us at all times and give us wisdom in dealing with everything that comes our way.

After the search for a “LEFT-HAND MONKEY WRENCH” was over, I could sit back and have a good laugh with my captain. Now, each time God brings me through a difficult situation, I can sit back a have a good laugh with Him.

After all….ORDERS ARE ORDERS!!!

 

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“JANSEN’S BOOKCASE”

October 11, 2010

I finally finished the bookcase for Sir Jansen of Hurst Castle.  This is a picture taken in my shop.  The top section allows for adjustable shelves.  One shelf is shown here.

Here is the bookcase with the additional shelf and they may be adjusted at 2″ spacing.  Pam and I drove to Hurst Castle in Nassau Bay to see Jansen and visit with Stephen and Chelsea (mom & dad) on Saturday.

I had promised Chelsea a woodworking project for the addition to the family some months ago.  She decided on a bookcase and gave me the dimensions for where she wanted it placed in Jansen’s room.  They have decorated and provided Jansen with a very special room.

After getting the bookcase situated in its proper place, Pam and I were blessed with holding Jansen while we visited with Stephen, Chelsea, and their visiting friends.

 

As I post these pictures  I became aware of how often we don’t record ALL of our memories.  Pam was also able to hold Jansen, but I didn’t think about taking her picture.  I guess it is just a man’s “thing.”  I know that recording memories is an “emotional” thing and men just don’t operate on that basis.  We think we are big, macho warriors.  A few months ago, Lyndsey asked me to locate some pictures of she and Pam when she (Lyndsey) was a baby.  When I started my search through all the picture albums,  I became aware that there were many more pictures of Lyndsey and I than for she and Pam.  How very unthoughtful of me during those early days.  I wish I had taken the initiative to be a photographer a lot more than I did.

After visiting with Chelsea and Stephen for a while, we continued on the remainder of our adventure.  We traveled to Galveston and located a condo I had been trying to find for quite a while.  It belongs to a friend of mine and we had stayed there when Lyndsey was a baby.  We finally located the condo, drove by and saw Chelsea’s parent’s house, and then went to the Strand and an early dinner at Willie G’s Seafood Restaurant.  While at Willie G’s, I noticed a family of four taking pictures of their outing.  Each picture they took, there was a family member missing….someone had to take the picture, right?  I asked if I could take their picture for them and they readily agreed and appreciated it very much.

 Now I know why there were so many pictures of Lyndsey and I without Pam.  Someone had to take the picture and it should have been me a lot more times.  Most of our very precious memories are the three of us on some kind of adventure somewhere.  Now I wish I could have “overs.” 

So, you men…take the time to be a photographer for your family or volunteer for another family.  Record those beautiful memories that will mean so much in years to come.

Pam and I were blessed this weekend visiting with a beautiful young family.  I pray God’s blessings on them each day of their lives.  May they live in the abundance of God’s love and be an example of that love.

“LYNDSEY’S BOWL”

October 6, 2010

 

This past weekend Pam was in Panhandle, Texas visiting her parents.  Her dad was being honored for his long service as deacon at The First Baptist Church.  This was a short turn-around trip for her.  She was there two weeks before for a highschool reunion.  I usually spend time in the shop during her absent.  This was a time to finish Jansen’s bookcase so I could deliver it to Hurst Castle.  I finished the bookcase on Saturday morning, transplanted some Hydrangea bushes, and repaired a garden hose so I had some time on my hands.  I decided to create a bowl.  It had been a while since I had done any work on my lathe.

The picture above is the work in process.  When asked how I make a bowl, I always reply that I remove all the wood that is not the bowl.  So, this work in process still needs a little fine tuning to remove everything that is not the bowl.

I was talking to Lyndsey and mentioned that I was making a bowl.  She asked who it was for, and I told her I wasn’t sure yet.  A few months ago I made a bowl for each person in her office…except Lyndsey.  I told her what the bowl looked like and I thought it would be very beautiful.  She reminded me that the only bowl she has is a small bowl I made her when she was at The University of Texas.  It was just a small bowl that you put your “stuff” in.  She didn’t have a large bowl for her “nest.”  I took this picture with my camera and sent it to her.  The next time I talked to her she said, “I WANT THAT!”, just like the woman did in “Napoleon Dynamite.”

I finished the bowl Monday night and below is the finished product.  All the “non-bowl” wood has been removed.

This bowl has 33 pieces of wood.  One piece of pine for the base, 16 pieces of cedar for the two darker rings, and 16 pieces of red oak for the lighter rings.  It is 11 inches across and 4 inches tall.  This is one of my larger bowls.  Most of the time they are 6″ to 8″ across.

Now that it is finished, I will need send it to Lyndsey so she can find a home for it in her little “nest.”

As I was taking these pictures this morning, I looked at the decorations in our dining area. 

Looking at the fall decorations I realized how blessed I am to have a wife like Pam.  She honors me with all the things she does to make our house a home.  When the seasons change, Pam goes to the attic and retrieves the proper decorations.  Those who know her, know that she is very organized and our attic is arranged to easily find the proper decorations for Christmas, Easter, July 4th, etc.  If you will look at the last picture, you will notice that even the M & M’s are in the “fall colors.”

Back to Lyndsey’s bowl.  I hadn’t forgotten that she didn’t have a large bowl for her apartment.  And, I was not waiting for her to tell me she needed a bowl.  Lyndsey and I have a very special “father-daughter” relationship.  She is not afraid to let her wants and needs be known to her father.

This is the kind of relationship God wants to have with His children.  He is aware of all our needs…and wants.  He is the Provider of all our needs and often provides some of our wants as a bonus.  Our relationship with God is based on faith and action.  We are not to just sit around complacently waiting for God to provide all our needs.  In faith, we are to take action and ask God for our needs.  God is faithful as our Provider and I believe there are many times He has already set aside a blessing for us and is waiting for us to just ask.

So, when you have needs, ask God.  In times past, when God was faithful in providing my needs, I can only wonder:  Has He been patiently waiting for my prayer?  Has He wanted to ask me why I waited so long to ask?