17 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on being alive     It is a wonderful thing: being alive.  To be able to breathe, to see, to smell, and to touch.  These things which we take for granted are vital to our health and well being.  God in His creative grace has chosen to share a bit of His existence with us and we call it life.  He has given the energy of existence to all living things and we are blessed by it.  The sights and sounds of life explode before us and we are often unaware of their presence.  The laughter of children, the buzz of bees, chirping birds, trees, flowers, friendship and worship are just some of the things that give us a sense of awe and celebration to being alive.  Sometimes the crises of life pungently bring to our attention those simple aspects of our daily routine which have a marvelous capacity for our nurture.
   Often in our search for the profound we miss the profundity of the simple.  In our haste to show up at the important events of life we miss a thousand opportunities to allow little things to prepare us for big things.   In our search for the significant we miss some of life’s most pertinent pictures.  Life has its own candid camera as well as its serious productions.  It is a video victory when we have eyes to see and can really see.  It is an audio miracle to have ears to hear and really hear.
     Being alive is an event worth celebrating.  The more we call attention to our aliveness the more grateful we are for being a part of God’s existence.  Every day we receive multiple blessings for being alive.  Let us count them.
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Evening Breeze

12 Aug

senset from the porchAs the orange orb of the sun slid down behind English mountain, splashing the sky with rose, vermillion and mauve, the day’s heat began to wane.  The air began to move; caressing their cheeks to further cool them as they sat in their rockers on the porch before it drifted off to play among the trees.  The rustling leaves were like music.

The breeze wafted first from the south, then paused, and resumed again from the northeast, paused and swung back again as though it were playing a game.  “I wonder what makes it change like that.” She sighed.

His mind filled with images of weather charts and thermal differential flows; warm air rising, pulling cooler air in from all around, mobile low pressure cells.  He turned to her to deliver the dialogue that was forming.  She sat there, eyes closed, head against the tall chair back, as she lolled gently to and fro.  His nose wrinkled in thought, then he leaned back in his chair and resumed a slow rocking.  “Oh, it’s just playful I reckon.”

The sky deepened through the shades of purple into black as the Chuck-will’s Widow added his melody to the concert of nature.

* * * * *



10 Aug


If I were to say to you, “I don’t believe in molecules” how would you go about convincing me that you and your certainty that molecules exist are correct?

I have never seen a molecule with my own eyes.  Neither have you.  No one has.  Even those who claim to study such things have not seen them except through the filter of high technology; technology that could be flawed, or a grand conspiracy.  I have seen representations of molecules and even atoms, drawn by those who claim intimate knowledge and experience, but no molecule has ever forced itself into my awareness so as to induce in me a belief in its existence.

Yes, situations can be set up where under certain conditions actions result in a predicted and repeatable outcome, but does that prove their theories of why it happens?  These priests of molecular physics and chemistry have agendas of their own; perhaps nefarious agendas.  They promote science as the ultimate authority.   Read the rest of this entry »


Recycling Water

06 Aug

recycling waterThe historic draught of 2007-2008 opened many people’s eyes to the very real prospect of a fresh water shortage. Until then, most modern-day Americans took it for granted that clean, fresh water was always just a twist of the faucet away; forever available in any quantity we desire. During that time period, many residents, especially in the Southeast, learned the reality that fresh water is not an inexhaustible resource. Since then, more people are looking at fresh water in a new way.

Some people, while not in drought areas, want to decrease their dependence upon a water utility. In both cases collecting and using rain water and some waste water can help them achieve their goals. By recycling the water they have access to they can maximize their use of that water. But this must be done carefully to prevent health and legal problems.

Two types of water can be collected for use: rain water and grey water.

Legal Ramifications of Recycling Water

In some areas, especially in drought plagued areas, it has actually been made illegal to collect grey water and even rain water. Doing so will label you as a hoarder and you can face stiff fines for theft of a public utility. The government can’t claim ownership of the rain, but they can claim rights to ground water. By preventing rain from becoming ground water – even temporarily – they can claim to have been stolen from and will sue.

If you are on a public water utility, the utility claims ownership of the water they sold you. By diverting the grey water (non-sewage waste water) for additional use you are (according to them) receiving additional value for which you have not paid.

These are issues only in areas where drought has become a way of life and water rights are particularly precious. Most areas of our country are not so over-possessive of water rights. If your home has a private water well, the issue becomes even less of a problem. Still, before investing time and money into an elaborate system for recycling water, check your local ordinances to be sure you won’t bring the law down on you for what you see as a perfectly reasonable use of rain or grey water. Read the Rest

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Mullein: Alien Plant that Heals

05 Aug

Do you remember the movie Day of the Triffids?  It is a schlocky sci-fi adventure from 1962 involving plants from outer space trying to take over the world after blinding most of the population.  In case you’d like to see it, I’ll embed it below.

common mulleinLately I’ve been seeing these strange plants popping up along our roadways and wondered what they are.  They are big.  They look alien.  They remind me of the Triffids in the movie.  So I asked my super searcher web sleuth (Marie) to see what she could find on them.  She found an excerpt from a book written by Tom Remaley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN.  It identifies the strange plant, which grows to be as much as 10 feet tall, to be a Common Mullein.  It is a member of the figwort family of plants which is native to Europe and Asia and is identified by the Alien Plant Working Group (I KNEW it was alien!) as one of their Least Wanted Plants here in America.

Mullein may not have the ability to pull their roots out of the ground and walk around like Triffids (although they do have very shallow root systems, so; maybe!)  Nor do they spray poisonous gas at passersby, but they seem to be almost as invasive and dangerous as Triffids: at least to meadows and forest edges.  Here they spread rapidly and choke out native vegetation.

On the flip side herbalists collect mullein – a few actually cultivate them.   Read the rest of this entry »


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…

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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.”
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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 »

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Posted in Prattlings


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 …

Read more:

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Posted in Share the Love



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.
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Posted in Matters of Faith