Posts Tagged ‘life’


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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Posted in Matters of Faith


Independence Day

03 Jul

Independence DayI was chatting with a friend this morning and he mentioned that he has been trying to convince his co-workers this week that we are not celebrating the 4th of July: we are celebrating INDEPENDENCE DAY. He makes an excellent point.

This holiday is not about BBQs and boat rides. It’s not about fireworks displays. It’s not about getting a day off work and a long weekend. It is about a time when our nation stood up on its hind legs and said, “We’ve had enough, England. We’re tired of over taxation. We’re tired of big government telling us what we can and cannot do, think and believe. We’re tired of Aristocrats looking down their noses at us and treating us as mindless rabble. We’re tired of being exploited and lied to.”

And we did something about it.  A nation of farmers and shopkeepers took up arms and went toe-to-toe with the British military … and beat them.  But not without significant loss of life and damage to property. In so doing, we earned the right to think for ourselves, to govern ourselves.

THAT is what the celebration held on July 4th is all about, and we would do well to remember Independence Day so we do not once again become dependent, which leads to subjugation.

By all means: fire up the grill, invite friends and family, and touch off some fireworks.  But as you celebrate, remember that the celebration is not about burgers on the grill or booming starfires in the sky – it’s about freedom.

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Posted in Prattlings


A Right Fine Settn Porch

24 Jun

senset from the porchThere are few things I find more enjoyable than the simple pleasure of sitting on a proper porch with my beloved and a glass of cold lemonade on a warm summer evening. This evening is one such.

Temperatures during the day had gotten up into the mid 80s, but as the sun slides down behind English Mountain across the valley from us the temperature eases. The sky splashed with pink, rose, mauve and vermilion slowly deepens into amethyst, violet and plum. A few bright stars burn through the gauzy haze of high, thin clouds which provide a canvass for the setting sun to paint upon.

To the south the multiple ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains slowly disappear into the dusk. A Chuck Wills Widow sits in the top of a tree across the hard-road, a hundred feet or so downhill from us, and serenades us with his gentle melody. Crickets chip, cicadas thrum, tree frogs trill.

A flying beetle thumps determinedly against the glass of the porch light. It looks like a June bug, but it’s the wrong time for June bugs, unless he’s a confused June bug. I switch the light off to save him from endangering his well being (and annoying us) and so we can get a clearer view now that the sky is dark.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Prattlings


Concerto of Pain

27 May


trumpet of pain

Via Oberlin College

A single, high, prolonged trumpet blast shatters my blissful bubble of sleep.  Was that Gabriel?  Is it time?

Alas, no.  As consciousness replaces confusion I find that the blast was not sound but pain – which can be similar – and the trumpeting is emanating from my right shoulder.  Now that I am more aware, my neck and upper back begin playing harmony to the lead trumpet in a horn concerto of pain.

I attempt to mute the performance by shifting position.  But that only boosts the volume.

I am cold. It was hot when I fell asleep and I covered only with the sheet.  Now it’s cooler and the muscles in my back and neck are tense from the chill.  I pull up the quilt and wrap it around me.  In a few moments the harmonies diminish, but the lead horn continues blasting its lilting tone.

I reach for my watch: 3:30 a.m.  A groan offers bass counterpoint to the tenor lead horn, which continues to strip away the grogginess of slumber.  Twenty minutes pass and other instruments are joining the melody of madness.  Hips, lower back, an elbow chime in.  A tooth throbs in low accompaniment.

Sleep is defeated, sent scurrying away by this reveille.  I roll out of bed, test my balance and head for the Tylenol bottle and coffee maker.

It’s Monday morning.  I pulled a stump Saturday afternoon.  As is generally the case,  (Read more: )


This Writer’s Home: Our Bungalow, What and Why

04 Feb

The home Marie and I built here on our mountainside property is a bungalow. No, not a dung beetle, not a buffalo, a bungalow.

log homeInitially we were certain we wanted a genuine log home, because they just look so GOOD tucked back into the woods and because their solid log walls are touted as being highly thermally efficient. So I researched the various species and shapes of logs used, construction methods, benefits and drawbacks. I read many personal tales of folks who had built a log home, what worked, what went wrong, and how they felt about it years later. In the end we abandoned the log home idea for several reasons:

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Posted in Prattlings


Driving Through Life

01 Feb

sign, paths, directions, roads, which wayLife is like driving a car.  There are many, many things vying for your attention, some of them important, some of them best ignored. Knowing which is which is key.

Among the most important is the road ahead.  Look as far down it as you can and watch for signs of trouble.  By seeing a potential problem ahead of time you can slow down, look it over, and steer around it safely.

Watch for the signs and signals posted along the way.  They are there to guide you.  When you reach a cross-road, be alert for traffic which may not yield to you, and know which way you need to turn.  Driving around aimlessly is not likely to get you to your destination.

It is good to glance in the rear view mirror from time to time to keep tabs on what’s behind you, but don’t focus on it.  Becoming fixated on analyzing the past will only blind you to what’s ahead and cause a collision with something you could have easily avoided had you been paying attention.

God is the trustworthy traffic reporter hovering high above.  He sees all the roads and crossroads, knows where the trouble is and how to get around it.  Tune Him in and He’ll advise you on how to avoid the snarls and frustrations of life.  Tune Him out and you won’t know you’re heading for trouble until you’re caught up in it with no way around.

If you remain aware of what’s behind you, but focus on what’s ahead and stay open to advice from above, life will be much more simple and you’re more likely to arrive at your chosen destination safe and sound.

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Posted in Matters of Faith


Warts and All: Made a Mistake?

06 Dec

gavel, judge, rulingI once posted one of those step-by-step discussions of how we build a piece of furniture; the more interesting discussions from our In The Shop blog become permanent articles in the library section of our custom furniture web site.  In this episode I discovered a mistake had been made in the piece of furniture and discussed my remedy for the error.  Shortly after having posted the chapter I was hailed by a constant reader and frequent critic to ask, “Why in the world did you admit to having made a mistake?  Doesn’t that undermine peoples’ confidence in your work?”

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Dealing with a Speed-Bump in Life

01 Mar

speed bump, problems, life, difficulties,It has happened to all of us; we’re cruising along the boulevard of life, one elbow out the window, our favorite happy tunes playing on the radio, hand tapping the wheel in time with the tempo.  Everything is grand, and we’re having a great time.  So great we miss the warning sign; “Bump Ahead’.  Then BAM-BAM, we’re suddenly careening along, barely hanging on as we try to slow down and get off to the shoulder so we can assess the damage.

It’s never fun to feel like the wheels have been ripped out from under you, but when it sneaks up on you suddenly, out of the blue is especially devastating.  What can you do?  How do you proceed from here?  Read the rest of this entry »