Woodworking

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Another perspective from G.

~Sallie

 

If I could be given any one skill that I don’t have now it would be the ability to work with wood. Who among us hasn’t seen some beautiful piece of furniture, or statue or something made of wood, and hasn’t gone “Isn’t that beautiful !” Well every time I see something like that I say “I wish I could make something like that !”

Back when I was in the Marines I had a friend who was a wood smith. I’d go over to his house just to watch him make that magical transformation from raw wood to something magnificent. I’d watch as he meticulously cut, turn, rub, and angle, sand and polish until that stubborn wood was reborn into a work of art. I was envious of his talent, and remain so to this day of anyone who can wood work

. Have you ever noticed the hands of a master tailor or master barber? Their hands are terribly misshapen and deformed. This comes from years of holding the tools of their craft in a certain way for hours a day on end. The same is true of a master woodworker. Not only are their hands misshapen but they are rough and worn, have cuts and bruises, and broken fingernails. Wood is a hard and tough taskmaster, and does not surrender itself to a transformation easily or readily. You MUST love the craft, and LOVE the wood. But I’ve never known a master woodworker who complained about the price they paid.

One day at my aforementioned friends house, we were sitting at the dining room table. As we were talking about woodworking, he launched into a fabulous monologue. I remember it still: “G I made the table we’re eating off of. I took the wood and shaped it into something my family and friends eat their sustenance off of. While they hardly if ever notice, it gives me great satisfaction knowing they are helped and enjoying their meal on the fruits of my labor. Same is true for the many items around this house I made. It’s doubled when I made something for someone and gave it to them, and now it’s in their home.”

I told him my envy and jealousy of him was now doubled. My friend, and several more, have tried to teach me woodworking over the years, but my hands just don’t have the ability, dexterity, and agility needed to be any good at it. (Never mind the patience!) But I swear to you that I NEVER see a beautiful thing of wood but I don’t envy the hands that created it. Think about it please.

P.S. I haven’t seen or heard from my friend in well over 30 years. We lost track of each other, common for military people. But I think of him often. Why? Because in my home office is a gorgeous chair, MORE beautiful with age then the day it was made. He gave it to me, and I use it almost every day— Thanks pal, you CREATED something from almost nothing, and it is a part of my life. What a legacy, a legacy craved in wood!

 

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Do Over

Dear Fellow Journalers,

This month we will be treated by some of G‘s perspectives. This one is really good.

Enjoy,

~Sallie

I’m an amateur golfer, a VERY amateur golfer. I play with a bunch of old guys like me. We’re out there for the exercise and the camaraderie, not the competition. So if someone makes a really bad shot, we give them a “do over.” A second chance to make less of a fool of himself. It’s all in good fun. No one really cares who wins.

I got to thinking the other day about how nice it would be to get a “do over” at life. You know, a chance to do things better the second time, and the first mistake wouldn’t count. But such is not our lot in life. We must live with our mistakes, and take the consequences of them.

So let’s have a little fantasy here. Let’s pretend that we get a “do over” at whatever mistakes we made. And let’s expand that to include the things we did that were not mistakes, just things we wish we could have done better.

Taking a minute to examine things we’d like to do over, we discover they fall into 3 distinct categories:

  1. Things we did that we didn’t have the knowledge and or skills to do 2. Things we did in the heat of some emotion or passion 3. Things we were forced to do, but really didn’t want to

Looking back at the thing you’d wish to “do over”, I think you’d wish that you would first change which ever one of those things compelled you to act. Change the motivation and you can change the outcome. I think that’s the place to start.

Next thing you’d need for a “do over” is permission. Not one of my golfing friends can “do over” unless all of us agree. Permission must be granted by any party who was aggrieved. No permission, no “do over”.

The last thing to think about is do you really want a “do over.” If you did the best you could the first time, your “do over” might just make things worse. You should be sure a “do over” is the best thing to do. Maybe you should just leave well enough alone.

Someone a lot smarter than me once said that the only time close counts is in horseshoes and hand grenades. Maybe then the best thing to do is forget about “do overs” and just do the best you can the first time.

EVERY DAY IS A TRAINING DAY—LIFE IS THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED !

“The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits.”~Albert Einstein

It doesn’t take long for information to become knowledge, but for it to become wisdom sometimes takes a lifetime. — Preeta Krishna

Letter to my future self

Dear Fellow Journalers,

One of the projects New protestants participate in at Holy Family Retreat House is to write a letter to their future selves about their experiences on retreat and encourage themselves to attend the following year.They write the letter, address it and the staff mail the letters on the appropriate date. This practice began about 10 years ago and as far as I can tell it really has helped the retreatants on their spiritual journey.

So why write a letter to your future self? What would you say?

The following are some encouraging words from some famous people on what to write:

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/11-pieces-of-the-best-advice-that-celebrities-would-give-their-younger-selves

 

~Sallie

 

 

Sharing pieces of our hearts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

I have always been fascinated by letters. Letters speak to me and I suspect to you also. More than a quick note, they often convey our deepest emotions and are treasured both for the content and the writer. Many letters are from loved ones now gone and speak of events in our lives that we forget. I have kept letters from my family, former co-workers, students, friends. Re-reading those letters keep me ever appreciative of those folks who were in my life when I needed them the most.

Lately there seem to be a lot of books with the letter theme. Some of my favorites are:

  • “Conagher”  by Louis L`Amour
  • “The Letter” by Kay Cordell
  • “The Letter” by Katherine Hughes
  • “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
  • “One Lavender Ribbon” by Heather Burch
  • “Ribbon of Love” by Donna R. Causes
  • “Against Wind and Tide” by Anne Moore Lindbergh

Letters, of course, have been written by many people for many different reasons. Some of the more poignant of them are the ones written by our military men and women. Often written during war-time they bring to light the hardships and also the dreams of ordinary men and women caught up in horrific circumstances yet always yearning for their home and family. In an article entitled “Tribute to Veterans:Readers share War Letters“, author Andrew Carroll (November 2014), wrote: “Some of the letters are notable for how they were written as much as for what they said – like one composed on toilet paper by a soldier fighting in Vietnam.”

Carroll had started a project in 1998 to collect as many veterans’ letters as possible. In 2014 there were over 10,000 letters and he had started writing a book called “War Letters” and urged that the war letters be preserved at the Center for American War Letters. This center is at Chapman University in California. Here are some excerpts:

Written on May 2, 1865, by a man named Garret Clawson, captured the moment when Union troops learned that the Civil War was over. “The news came here this morning that the rebs had agreed to the terms and peace was made,” he wrote. “The rebel soldiers is acoming through here ever day on thare way home. They say that war is ended and they are glad of it. The rebs soldiers and our soldiers is a walking and talking and cutting up together as if they had always been friends.”

Last letters home
The rarest type of letters collected by Carroll are those from soldiers who know they are about to die. Some were dictated from hospital beds or dashed off in haste by combatants who had been severely wounded and doubted they would survive.

But one letter received by Carroll after the Bulletin article appeared depicted an even more rare moment — a Confederate soldier facing execution in the Civil War.
The letter was written by a Kentucky man named Lindsey Buckner, who was selected to be shot in retaliation for the death of a Union soldier killed by Confederate guerrillas in his home state. “My dear sister,” Buckner wrote in late October 1864, “I am under sentence of death and for what, I do not know. … It is a hard thing to be chained and shot in this way; and if it was not for the hope I have of meeting you all in Heaven, I would be miserable indeed.”

Some of the letters are notable for how they were written as much as for what they said — like one composed on toilet paper by a soldier fighting in Vietnam.

 

A dad writes his girls:  While some of the letters documented long-ago wars, others felt as immediate as yesterday, and as poignant as recent headlines.

After receiving word that he would be deployed to Iraq, U.S. Army Capt. Zoltan Krompecher sat down and composed the following letter to his two young daughters. “Dear Leah and Annie,” Krompecher began:

 

My precious little girls. I write this letter to you because soon I will leave for Iraq. Your mommy and I just tucked you both into bed, read your books, and said our prayers together.

I’ve been watching the news and am worried that there could be the off-chance that I might never get to watch you board the school bus for the first time, place a Band Aid on a scraped knee, or walk you down the aisle of your wedding. …

One night during this past December, I read you girls The Snowy Day before bedtime. The next morning revealed three inches of fresh powder. That morning you greeted me with the plea, “Daddy, can we go outside and play like Peter did in his book?” Sadly, I replied that I had to get to work but maybe we could build a snowman after I returned home. Unfortunately, it was so dark by the time I got back from work that there was no time for snowmen.

April has arrived, and I have put the sled away until next year. Winter is over, and I leave for Iraq next month. … All I can hope for is that it will snow just one more time.

Love, Your Daddy.

Unlike so many stories Carroll has read in letters over the years, this one had a happy ending. Krompecher returned to his family and donated his letters to Carroll after reading of his project in the Bulletin. “Zoltan’s letter is proof that troops today are writing letters as eloquent and profound as those that were penned decades and even centuries ago,” Carroll said.

 

 

4 Fun letter writing prompts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth weighs in:

Trying to prompt letter writing with children is a never-ending battle. Obtuse enticements (“You’ll feel good about it”) don’t work. We tried to make the ordeal fun by making a game of it. When an event (sending a thank you to a relative for a gift) came up, we practiced a letter. We had our children write a make-believe letter in their journal. One memorable letter our son wrote was to a tv character thanking “him” for not stealing the other character’s food. The imaginative letters became stencils for the real ones.

Four of the most memorable “stencil” prompted letters are as follows:

  • Your favorite ice cream shop is hiring children. Write a letter to the owner explaining 3 reasons why you are the perfect person for the job. Coincidentally, this letter helped our son when he was applying for his first job as a newspaper carrier.
  • Pretend that you’re a family pet and want more freedom. Write a letter to your owners and ask for one or two new privileges and reasons why you deserve them. I can imagine what you’re thinking!!
  • Think about a recent school trip. Write a letter to your cousin or grandparent describing your experience and what you learned. Convince them to take a trip there too.
  • Have you ever held a grudge against the shoe laces that broke making you miss the school bus or the book pack zipper that got stuck with your school work inside? Write a letter to the object and express your disappointment.

I’m sure there were many more of these Maroney letters (five children ) but these were the ones I remember the best!

~MB

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