Archive for October, 2011


October 27, 2011

Woodworking and bowling?  What two activities could be more different?  When I lived in Bryan/College Station in the 1970’s I bowled quite a bit.  At various times I bowled in 4 or 5 leagues.  I was single at the time so it was a great way to spend my spare time and meet new people.  I didn’t begin my woodworking hobby until the 1980’s.  As you may know, I started a new project (I don’t bowl anymore) for Lyndsey.  It’s a sleigh bed and the plans call for a lot of “measure twice – cut once” steps.

So, how is this like bowling?  In bowling I always concentrated on a spot marked on the lane.  If I hit “my spot” and was consistent in my delivery of the ball, theoretically the ball would hit the “strike zone” and knock all the pins down.  If I missed the “spot” by one inch, it made a huge difference when the ball arrived at the other end of the lane.  One inch here may be one foot there.  So it is with woodworking.  Especially when there are 70 or 80 pieces on my current project.

Headboard and footboard posts – Sleigh Bed

These posts are the first step in the project.  Two boards are cut according to the plan design.  Then these two pieces are laminated.  After that, it’s router work time.  A 3/8″ groove (mortise), 5/8″ deep must be cut on each post to receive the tenon of the raised panel that completes the headboard and/or footboard.  After finishing the grooves for the footboard post, I discovered there was a small error in placement of between 1/16″ and 1/8″.  Small error, but it’s very much like missing the “spot” in bowling.  The correction must be measured twice (at least) and cut once to keep the project simple.  The wrong correction at this point compounds the problem as each other piece in the footboard is joined.  I didn’t want to want top make an adjustment on each new piece so I needed make the right correction in the beginning.

“Laminated scrap pieces to test my correction”

With scrap material I will be able to measure twice and cut once and test the results before continuing with the laminating and router work of the rest of the pieces for the footboard.

 So, not only is woodworking and bowling similar in some ways, but they are both similar to life itself.  Each decision we make in life not only has an effect on us…it affects other lives as well.  If we miss the “spot” or don’t “measure twice – cut once” in our decisions, the effect on our life and the life of others can be tremendous.  It is very much like disobedience to God.  Sometime we try to measure sin as being small, medium, or large (maybe XXL) to justify something we just want to do.  One of our “small” sins in missing the “spot” affects our relationship with God (and others).  If we don’t make the proper correction, it is much easier to move on to the “medium” sin and then on to the “large or XXL” sin.  So, that’s the way life is like woodworking and bowling.  A little error here is a large error down the road.



October 21, 2011

Ferris Wheel

 I’ve never been a great fan for riding on ferris wheels.  Never have I been interest in where the name came from or when was it first invented, so I looked it up:

A Ferris wheel (also known as an observation wheel or big wheel) is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with passenger cars (sometimes referred to as gondolas or capsules) attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, the cars are kept upright, usually by gravity.

Some of the largest and most modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on the outside of the rim, and electric motors to independently rotate each car to keep it upright. These wheels are sometimes referred to as observation wheels, and their cars referred to as capsules, however these alternative names are also sometimes used for wheels with conventional gravity-oriented cars.

The original Ferris Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. as a landmark for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The term Ferris wheel later came to be used generically for all such structures.

Since the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel, there have been eight subsequent world’s tallest-ever Ferris wheels. The current record holder is the 165-metre (541 ft) Singapore Flyer, which opened to the public in March 2008.

Pam and I traveled to Dallas yesterday for a Texas State Fair adventure, in other words we wanted to see some of the exhibits and try some of the WEIRD DEEP FRIED FOODS.  I don’t know whether people had visions or dreams to come up with some of these foods.  It may have been their response to a nightmare they had.  Whatever the case, we did enjoy some of the offerings.

I mentioned the ferris wheel because I have not taken a ride on one since I was very young.  I tried it once and was probably more scared than thrilled because of the wind, rocking, and height.  So I have refrained from the temptation to ride ferris wheels for many. many years.  But, we were on an adventure and this is Pam’s favorite ride.  I told her I would ride with her.  This was either a surprise or shock to her.  She said it would be alright for me to sit in the shade and wait for her, but because she is Pam and I am me, I told her I would ride with her.  I really wasn’t bad and I could see the Dallas skyline.  I don’t remember how high the wheel is but while we were stopped at the top, Pam noticed a large crate filled with pumpkins and they looked like oranges to us.  That’s high enough for me.

We had a great time, listened to the Ranger baseball game on the way home, and arrived home in time to see the 9th inning and a Texas Ranger come from behind victory.  So, I guess we saw the most important part of the game.

Life is an adventure and I guess I learned a “life lesson” yesterday.  I don’t believe I’ve always had a fear of ferris wheels.  It is just not the most comfortable thing I desire to do.  As to the “life lesson,” there are many things we fear in life because of the unknown factor involved.  It is by faith that we continue forward and our faith in God replaces our fear with a peace that can only be provided by Him.  It is that faith that allows us to approach all circumstances and enjoy each adventure of life.


October 19, 2011

If you are regular reader of my post, you will recall my latest woodworking project.  I have just finished a cabinet for Pam and have started a Sleigh Bed project for Lyndsey.  Without exception, each project I have must start with a purpose.  Normally, the plans I design have specific measurements depending on where the finished product will be placed.  So, I guess each project is a special order and custom-made.  Not only are they a special order for the final location, but they are a special order because each is built for someone special.

The PURPOSE at the beginning of each project is to reach the final goal…placing it at the planned location.  However, during the entire project I may run into problems that call for making adjustments for a specific PURPOSE.  In building the raised panels for the headboard and footboard for the sleigh bed, I needed to use my table saw for the angle cuts on the edges.  The panels are 54 inches long and I discovered I could not place them on the saw table because my ceiling was too low.  This required me to move my Shopsmith to the shed on the side of my shop.  This caused a problem because the equipment is very heavy and I am only one.  But, I got it moved.  After making some trial cuts on scrap wood, I discovered another PURPOSE.  My table saw fence is only about 4 inches high, so in order to achieve the proper angle cuts, I had to build and attach a larger fence.  This is one of those PURPOSES that pops up from time to time in many projects.  When I had remodeled our kitchen, I had saved the cabinet doors and they were just what I needed for the extended fence:

Table saw, extended fence, and panel

Many times the new PURPOSE I encounter requires a lot of patience.  But, I am a problem solver and enjoy the challenge.  I was able to make the cuts for the raised panel with the assistance from a friend who came by to borrow a sander.

I was reading The Maxwell Leadership Bible discovered something about PURPOSE in Phillippians 1:12-18:

Purpose:  Paul Stayed on Mission, Even in Prison

Paul might have been forgiven had he chosen to take a little sabbatical as he sat in prison, awaiting his trial.  Yet he used even this opportunity to advance the gospel.

Paul was a leader who never drifted from his mission.  He determined to leave his mark wherever he went.  George Washington Carver wrote, “No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.”

How did Paul’s sense off purpose keep him in the battle as he sat in prison?  What did he learn behind bars?  Consider the following:

1.  A PURPOSE will motivate you.

2.  A PURPOSE will keep your priorities straight.

3.  A PURPOSE will develop your potential.

4.  A PURPOSE will give you power to live in the present.,

5.  A PURPOSE will help you evaluate your progress.

So, having a PURPOSE doesn’t apply just to woodworking.  We encounter many PURPOSES in life and God is always there for each new encounter…..and adventure.































































“50 YEARS”

October 17, 2011

Last Friday I received this “Certification of Recognition” from The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy for 50 years of licensure as a Certified Public Accountant.  WOW!  It seems like only a few years ago that I was studying for and taking the CPA examination.  The accompanying letter bestowed congratulations from the Texas State Board on being among those distinguished Texas CPAs who have maintained their licenses for 50 years.

The law requiring certification in accounting was passed in 1945.  I passed my exam in 1961 and my license number is 5,487.  I called the State Board this morning and they told me that approximately 98,000 licenses have been issued in the State of Texas.  I have often been curious as to how many active CPAs there are with a license number lower than mine.  Just curious, it’s no big deal.

In addition, the Board invited me to attend, along with Pam and Lyndsey, the December 3, 2011, swearing-in ceremony in Austin, Texas, and to be seated with the other 50-year honorees on the stage during the ceremony.  This is expected to be a highlight in the professional lives of both the new CPAs and their 50-year counterparts and to serve as an inspiration to those newly licensed.

Many people have heard my story of a mother who sat me down and discussed the various professions available.  I was 11 years old and in the sixth grade.  I decided that day that wanted to be a CPA and even though I took a few rabbit trails to the side and skipped the opportunity of a college degree.  I know that God has had His Hand on me my entire life and through hard study and my experience in accounting I was successful in passing the exam.  You can no longer qualify for the exam without a college education, so I was fortunate in qualifying through experience before the law changed.

The State of Texas recognizes the CPA Certificate as a master’s degree and it allowed me to teach night classes for a junior college when I first moved to Jasper.  That was an experience I will always remember.  Three of my students in “Principles of Accounting” later became CPAs.  I was extremely honored to have had a part in that.

During theses past 50 years as a CPA, I have been an employee of two CPA firms, spent 30 years in banking as a Chief Financial Officer, and after retiring 9 years ago (for two days), I changed my focus to financial planning.  That change has brought much joy to me to be able to be instrumental in people reaching their retirement goals.

I have had many great, and trying experiences, during these past 50 years along with many highlights.  Pam and I always look at everything that happens in life as an adventure, so I have had some great adventures during those years.  My most wonderful adventure as been meeting and marrying Pam, followed closely by the arrival of Lyndsey in our lives.  Those two make every day an adventure for me and I love every minute of it.

So, I have been blessed during my life and walking in God’s blessing has been an experience and adventure that there are really no words to express.  It is because of my relationship with Him, that I have been able to fill my life with many adventures.


October 13, 2011

I have not seen my upper lip for over 40 years because I have had a mustache that long.  I lived in Bryan/College Station for about six years and nobody ever saw me without my “stash.”  As a matter of fact, I met Pam in College Station, where we married, and she has never seen me without my mustache.  In fact, none of her family has ever seen me without it.  We have lived in Jasper for over 33 years and nobody here has ever seen my upper lip.  The last time anyone saw me with the mustache, was when I lived in Port Arthur.  Yesterday morning when I began shaving, Pam asked if I was going to shave the mustache off.  Coincidently, I had just wondered if I had an upper lip and what did it look like after all these years.

Last night before we went out to eat, I asked Pam if she would take the scissors to my mustache after dinner so I could use the razor and shave it all off.  She was shocked, but agreed.  She also wondered if she would like me without the mustache and I told her I would grow it back if she didn’t like a hairless upper lip.  SO……………………………………………………

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE OVER 40 YEARS AGO.  Well, almost.  BL (before Lyndsey), I had dark brown hair.  I always tell her the is the reason for all the gray hair.  She’s never seen my without my mustache either.  I know I haven’t changed in the last forty years because I look in the mirror each morning when I shave and ask my self if I look any different.  The answer is no, I look just like I did yesterday.  However, after looking at these pictures, I notice the gray hair and wrinkles have mysteriously appeared.  Oh, well, I guess that’s life.

I’ve grown 10 or 12 beards over the years.  A few years ago I grew a beard for an Easter Production at church.  I kept it for a few weeks after the production and then shaved it off…except the “stash.”  About a week or 10 days later Pam noticed I was without beard and I told her it had been gone for over a week.  This morning when I came to the office, only one person noticed I was “stash-less.”  I swore him to secrecy to see if anyone else would notice.  It’s been a couple of hours, and so far, I have no comments.  I also went to the beauty shop for a haircut and my hair stylist didn’t notice I had a bare upper lip.  The strange thing about that is she always trims my mustache each time I get a haircut.

There is one time in our lives when people see a change or A NEW LOOK in us.  Years ago when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, people saw the change in my outward appearance.  I at last had a look of peace about me that was visible to the world.  People may not be able to see the changes that occur to us within, but there is One who sees not only the change in our appearance but the changes that occur in our heart.  God looks at our hearts because that’s the most important change to Him.  The change that occurs within our heart is what makes possible the deep personal relationship we have with Him.  It is the changes in our heart that affect our actions and relationships with others and as a result they are able to see “A NEW LOOK” in us.