Our Former Foster Becomes TV Star

04 Aug

Kingsley Profile PicOne of our recent foster dogs: Kingsley, wrote “home” to tell us of his latest adventure: as a TV Star!

HI all … It’s me Kingsley and I had such an exciting day … About a week ago NBC called FOWA Rescue to ask if I wanted to have a part in an episode of their new series “Unraveled” … so of course they said yes. So my foster mom Diane and my friend Shirley were there to watch me perform … Everyone said I was a natural … and everyone on the set was so nice to me …. Watch for when it premieres in the fall on the Investigation Discovery channel … I am not going to give the story away but this is me and the actors who played my family …It was a great day … lots of treats and attention … Not to shabby for a heartworm positive black dog from the south … Don’t worry Jen , Brandy and Doug I am still the same sweet dog you knew when you saved me… and I am forever grateful you fought so hard to keep me alive …
Love and Licks – Kingsley


We knew him when

Kingsley came to us as a heartworm positive rescue dog from the Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Animal Shelter in Newport Tennessee for treatment of his condition and some behavioral training: he was kind of excitable and unruly. He quickly became a favorite here because of his abundance of personality.  Read More…



03 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on      Sometimes we find ourselves wishing things could be the way they were.  However “the way they were” did not last very long. Whatever past circumstances we long for were temporary at best.  Nostalgia is a fickle feeling.  It can give us pleasant thoughts about days gone by and yet it can cause us to be so unrealistic about the past that we penalize our present and our future.  Time moves on and change is inevitable.  The “good old days” are but a memory of a time when we thought we had less stress and strain.  We tend to forget the complications of life back then because present complications overshadow anything that ever has been.  In an attempt to escape the painful perplexities of today we try to reconstruct yesterday according to how we wish it had been.
     Even though things never were exactly the way we think they were, we must never stop making beautiful memories.  It may be out of the way we think things were that we find the motivation to create a tomorrow in the way we want it to be.  In this manner our memories are closely connected to our dreams.  Perhaps the only way we can construct our dreams is by remembering the way we wish things had been.  
     Therefore, as we long for the “good old days”, we can actually prepare ourselves for a better “new day” if we understand that every day has its share of hopes and horrors.  The key is to be realistically aware that today we are making memories for the future.  Yesterday is but a reminder that today contains the ingredients for a healthier tomorrow.
     The major focus of our lives needs to be on the present.  It is the only time we have.  We cannot honestly reconstruct the past nor can we accurately produce the future.  “Today is the day of salvation.  Now is the accepted time.”  Forgiveness and grace as well as beautiful memories enable us to live with our past.  The kind of hope that produces a positive attitude enables us to move graciously into the future.  It is the disposition of the present moment that controls our appraisal of both.  
     Let us, therefore, never minimize this present breath of life, this existing heartbeat of love, and this moment of consciousness.  Indeed the psalmist gave us great insight when he wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Thunder, and Lightning, and Bears: Oh My!

29 Jul

before the thunder On Sunday afternoon (at around 2:30) the National Weather Service issued a severe weather warning for all of northern Tennessee and southern Kentucky until 8:00 PM.  It was the usual warning of severe thunderstorms, lightning, damaging hail, possible tornadoes, and the potential extinction of our species.   This warning included our county, but we were on the lower edge of the warning area.  Pictures started appearing on Facebook of massive lightning bolts and large hailstones.  One fella had in his hand a hailstone and a baseball; the hailstone was the same size as the ball, so his was no exaggerated claim.

Here, on Piney Mountain, our dogs sat out on the porch watching the neighborhood.  Unconcerned as could be.  The skies were cloudy, but there was no evidence – even to them – of bad weather.  At supper time they came in and we began our Sunday evening NASCAR race watching festivities.  At 8:15 PM it began thundering.  By 9:00 the lightning was flashing, the thunder was rolling back and forth across the sky and the rain began to fall.  I’m happy to say all we got out of it was a torrential rain … and thunder and lightning.  Lots of thunder and lightning.   Read the rest of this entry »


Woodworking and Green Stuff

28 Jul

Of Mice and Mountain MenThis post will primarily be a gardening update.  Gardening has become very weird the past couple of years, and a bit frustrating.  But first, should you ever find yourself unable to get to sleep and out of milk to warm, you might peek into my Smoky Mountain Woodworks page on Facebook.

I’ve been detailing the woodworking projects I’m working on again: that should put you to sleep in no time.  When I’m not working on anything, I share other people’s projects that I found interesting.  Don’t look at those: They’re stimulating and will get the brain wheels cranking again.

Seriously, when I was furniture-making full time, I always posted daily updates of what I did and how I did it.  Many customers commented that they loved being able to watch their custom creation coming together, and it instilled a better appreciation for the amount of work and attention to detail it takes to build fine furniture.

Now, on to the business at hand …

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27 Jul
Calvin S. Metcalf on Patience     As our Christian lives develop, patience becomes the key to the caliber of our commitment.  It determines the depth of our perseverance.  It controls the quality of our thoughts and actions.  Through patience we acquire the skills to face life’s annoying circumstances.  Patience creates an inner tranquility that adds smoothness to life’s ruffles.  It defeats fear through faith.  It controls dissension with love.  It conquers despair with determination.  It offers hope in the midst of that which seems hopeless.  Patience combines the energy of trust with the spirit of obedience to create a godly attitude and lifestyle.
     At no other time are we nearer the Lord’s dream for our lives than when we express patience.  He calls us into the kind of life which requires us “to wait upon the Lord.”  When patience is absent we often move ahead of God with devastating results.  We hurry through life unwilling “to be still and know that He is God.”
     Our prayers quickly evaporate in selfishness and futility.  We lose our quiet moments of unhindered worship.  When patience is absent we lose the spiritual stamina to keep God as the focal point of our lives.  Our thoughts focus on the trivial and our energy is wasted in meaningless pursuits. 
     Without patience we run the risk of losing control of all our virtues.  In haste we say things we do not mean.  In moments of anxiety we do things we later regret.  In anger we hurt those we love most.  In restlessness we create problems for everyone with whom we share a bit of life.  In bitterness and rage we lose the ability and the desire to forgive.  Without patience the vision of grace escapes us.  Our nervous energy plays havoc with our health and our only hope is for patience to save us from ourselves.
     The calming effect of our own personal commitment to God is no doubt the answer to our struggle for patience.  In Christ Jesus we experience the ingredients for a patient mentality and the prospect for an unfaltering spirituality.  In Him alone is the peace of patience.  May our prayer be for the “gentling” power of the Holy Spirit to be obvious in our lives at all times and in every crises.

Fly Me to the Moon (or at Least to Nebraska)

22 Jul


My step-mother recently passed away. While the term “step-mother” often conjures up images of an abusive pseudo-parent: this was not the case with Doris. She was always kind and loving to my siblings and me, never tried to replace our birth-mother and was a devoted wife to my father for over 30 years. I felt it was important that I get to her funeral to pay my respects to her and to support my dad. Achieving that goal proved to be somewhat daunting.

My initial reaction was, as normal, to drive the 1,000 miles separating me from her home of Sprague Nebraska. But a number of factors conspired to make that option impractical. Some of these might have been mitigated through car-pooling with a brother who lives in the same general part of the nation as I, but that too was quashed by circumstances.

Marie and I decided the best option was for me to fly to Nebraska and back and we began researching airfare and schedules. In the end we decided on United Express, a division of United Airlines, and a flight plan that took me from the Knoxville Tennessee airport to O’Hare airport in Chicago then on to the Lincoln Nebraska airport with only a 1½ hour lay-over in Chicago. This would get me to Lincoln by 9:45 AM and I didn’t need to be back on board for the return flight until 6:15 PM, giving me most of the day to visit with relatives and attend the funeral service. The cost was doable and it seemed a reasonable solution.  Read the rest of this entry »


Recycling Can Be Rewarding

21 Jul

rewards for recyclingFor many people, knowing that consistently putting recyclable materials into the special bins helps keep the planet healthy, saves room in the land fill, avoids pollution of water, soil and air, reduces manufacturing costs, conserves natural resources, and keeps their city and county taxes lower is all the reward they need. They’re helping to achieve a grand goal. For others, more of an incentive is needed.

Some communities have chosen to take the punitive approach with mandated recycling programs and fines – just like there are fines for littering – for not recycling designated materials. But other communities are taking a more upbeat approach by directly rewarding citizens for their participation. 

Rewards: Not a New Idea

Back in the day, kids earned pocket money by collecting glass pop bottles from their parents, neighbors and from vacant lots and roadsides. These could be taken to a grocery store and turned in to collect a bottle deposit.

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20 Jul
Calvin S. Metcalf on Dying     When we reflect upon the cross of Jesus, we are impressed by the fact that He invites us to share death with Him.  In following Him we expose ourselves to a cross-like life.  His promise is that in losing our lives we will find our lives.  Love has no greater expression than laying down one’s life for another.  The gospel is a cause worth dying for and many martyrs have made the ultimate sacrifice.  The Christian life is a risk-taking adventure.  We cannot escape its call to death even as it offers the highest quality of life.  Because life is our most precious asset we cannot make a total commitment until it too has been offered.  We can never overestimate the power of dying love.
     There is a sense in which we are all dying for something.  Some folk are dying for cigarettes.  They are smoking themselves into the throes of lung cancer.  There are those dying for excessive use of narcotics.  They are drinking themselves toward alcoholism and cirrhosis.  They are popping pills with fatal implications.  Some people are dying for their careers.  They are exhausting themselves into workaholics.  They are losing the joy of their work in the addiction to work.  We are beginning to see more and more people dying for food.  Poor diets and gluttonous eating habits are creating serious health problems.  There are any number of people dying for attention.  They worry so much about being neglected it eats away at their nervous system.  Yes, in one way or another we are all dying for something.
     The big question which confronts us is this: Is what we are dying for, worth dying for? This is where the gospel comes to our rescue and offers us something bigger than ourselves to which we can be committed.  Giving ourselves away to worthy causes is what the Christian life is all about.  From the time we are born we begin the process of death.  Hopefully on the journey we can find a life worth living through the things worth dying for.  Some people are dying for no good reason.  Other people are dying with a peace and a purpose from God.
     The cross of our Lord becomes our model for both living and dying.  The spirit of sacrifice is necessary for abundant living and peaceful dying.  Our Lord taught us that unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it cannot produce life.  Dying daily to ourselves we are resurrected in fulfillment.  Giving ourselves away to that which is high and holy exposes us to that which is high and holy.  May the Lord God of the cross give us a cross-bearing witness in a world which still crucifies innocence.  Since we are all going to die at some time, let us make it worthwhile.



The Bed By the Window

15 Jul

hospital bedTwo men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.   One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.   His bed was next to the room’s only window.   The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.   They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.   The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the descriptions of the activity and color of the world outside.  Read the rest of this entry »


How Much Does a Cloud Weigh?

14 Jul

Most normal people have, at some time in their lives, laid on their back in the grass and looked up at the summer sky as clouds drift slowly over. Often we play games of finding familiar shapes in those clouds. But have you ever wondered how much a cloud weighs?

At first thought, that would seem to be a nonsensical question: obviously, it doesn’t weigh anything because it’s floating in the air. But if you think that through a bit more, you’ll see that this claim doesn’t hold water.

Cloud watching What are clouds made of? They’re mostly air and water in some form or another. Generally this would be water vapor. Think of it as cold steam. The droplets are so tiny, they can ride eddies and currents of air that constantly swirl about in our atmosphere. Dry air is also denser than water vapor, so it will buoy the clouds up until the vapor turns to larger droplets (rain) or freeze into snow or hail.

It is a common sight here in the Great Smoky Mountains to see fog banks that form overnight along creeks and rivers be lifted up the slopes of the mountains as the morning sun warms the trees, which warm the air, which rises. As the warmer air rise, it drags these fog banks with it, up the slopes, to the mountain crest, then they launch; changing from fog to cloud (which is essentially the same thing except for location).

Water has weight: 8.34 pounds per gallon at room temperature. So if clouds are made of water, clouds must have weight. Can we calculate the weight of a cloud?

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