Plates – 8/21/17

IMG_1962Now that the fall garden is planted and sprouting, I’ve been able to get back to the wood shop. After my wife gave me the lathe for Father’s Day, I gave a lot of attention to turning bowls and chalices. I’ve done a couple of small plates, but I have not had the time or the opportunity to work on larger plates that would work well for patens. Since I would like to start making communion sets, I’ve been wanting to work on some plates/patens.

Below are pictures of three plates I recently finished. I started to feel a little more comfortable with the process by the third plate! The biggest challenge I experienced was turning the underside of the plate — I ended up leaving a small rim to elevate the plates off of the table. Still, I am going to need to give a little more attention to smoothing out the surface of the plate.

This first plate is made from African Zebrawood. It is a little over 9 inches in diameter. It was very fun to work with this Zebrawood. I have about thee more pieces of it left, so I will probably be working with it again pretty soon.

The second plate is a segmented piece consisting of Walnut and Poplar. It is about 10 inches in diameter. The gluing process was not too difficult, but there are a few gaps. I went with a simply design, but I like how this plate turned out.

I am not sure what type of wood is used in this third plate. It came from a box of scrap pieces from Berlin G. Myers…good people. It is around 11 inches.

Cedar Bowl – 8/16/17

IMG_1935My father came across a cedar tree on a pile of debris earlier this summer. I’ve been able to use this particular cedar tree in several projects already.

I cut one of the logs into blanks a few weeks ago. The piece of wood I used for this bowl was among those blanks.

I have been excited to see what could come off this particular piece of wood! The blank was cut at the point of an emerging branch. Due to its dual-tone grain, cedar already offers interesting patterns. I was especially interested, however, to see what affect the darker branch would have to the overall look of the bowl! I will include a picture (with a different filter) of the inside of the bowl, which shows the variant in tones between the lighter living tissue, the redness of the core, and the darker branch at the base of the bowl. Once more, I have left the wormholes in the living tissue for added character.

Gavel – 8/9

I don’t believe my father is accustomed to using a gavel in his courtroom, but I wanted to turn one for him to have, at least, for display.

This particular gavel is a bit different from traditional looking gavels, but it is what I imagined. I thought I would put some rounded beads in it, but I like the look of the lines so I left them as they are.

The gavel was turned from the piece of Sapele my sister gave to me, which my father thought was pretty cool.

Also included are some pictures of a small bud vase I gave to my mother turned out of oak.

Botched Bowl & Vase – 8/8

IMG_1838I am not sure if it I turned a vase or a candlestick holder. Whatever it turned out to be, my wife apparently liked it enough to place it on the mantle!

I started with a section of a branch from a Magnolia tree. I intended to turn a bud vase, but the particular tool I used to cut the inside wall was not sufficient enough to cut to the bottom of the vase. The outside wall was so thin that I did not want to risk another cutting technique. When I get an extension for the drill chuck, I will come back and make a deeper cut.

I began working on a spalted Oak bowl a little over a week ago. The Oak was still green when I cut into it, so I used a microwave to quick dry the wood before shaping it. I also experimented with CC glue to fill the cracks that had formed during the drying process.

The final piece was not nearly smooth as I would have liked! There was a great deal of tear out on the end grain. I eventually set the bowl to the side because I was growing frustrated.  In the meantime, it has been quite functional in the kitchen!

The Life of a Seed, Part Four

SeedThe life of a seed has much to do with the receptivity and the response of the soil. And, in the same way, our receptivity and the responsiveness has an effect on the proclamation of Jesus.

The series, The Life of a Seed, has explored the Parable of the Sower with the intention of understanding how a seed grows into a fruit producing plant. Grasping the considerable influence the ground has upon the life of a seed enables us to know the deeper meaning of Jesus’ teaching.

The previous messages in the series resisted the urge to move quickly to Jesus’ explanation of the parable so that we might pause and reflect upon the instruction of Jesus associated with the Parable of the Sower. This reflection saw an emphasis placed upon the need for the crowds (and, to an extent, the disciples) to “see” and “hear” the proclamation of Jesus.

The interpretation given to this instruction to “see” and “hear” was a need for anyone who encounters the proclamation of Jesus to “receive” and “respond” to the proclamation of Jesus – or, more simply, to be attentive to the proclamation of Jesus.

As a result, we discover a choice is presented to anyone who encounters the proclamation of Jesus: one can “see” and hear” – one can receive and respond to the Word of God proclaimed by Jesus. Or, one can choose to reject or neglect his proclamation…

Our final message allows us the opportunity to finally reflection upon the explanation of Jesus, whereby he addresses each of the four soils upon which the seed is sown: the path; the rocky soil; among the thorns; and, the good soil.

Each of these soils receives and responds to the sown seed in a different manner and to a different effect!

In the end, we learn the parable is not about a negligent sower or an insufficient seed; rather, we discover a generous sower who sows out of the abundance of seed so that all may have the opportunity to receive and respond!

And, the same in true for us! The Word of God has been sown into our hearts by a generous God about of his abundant grace. This Word is most profoundly sown through the proclamation of Jesus (which we encounter in Scripture; through the tradition of the Apostolic faith; within our experience; and, through the gift of reason). Encountering the proclamation of Jesus presents us with an opportunity to choose how we will receive and respond. Be encouraged, therefore, to “see” and “hear” … to receive and respond … to be attentive to a greater truth.

Listen to Part Four of The Life of a Seed.

Previous messages in this series:

  1. Part One
  2. Part Two
  3. Part Three

Communion Set – 8/2

IMG_1801I’ve seen a lot of pictures of segmented bowls, goblets, plates, and other turned pieces and I have been insterested in the process creating a “laminated” or “segmented” piece.

I was presented with the opportunity to experiment with lamination last night. After getting the boys to bed, I went outside to work on an idea for a communion set.

My sister had given me a piece of 2.5″ x 2.5″ Sapele, which I have been able to use for a smaller chalice, but I was not sure how I could use the same wood to create a paten to turn a complete set.

I decided to cut a piece of the Sapele in half and glue Spruce between the two pieces of Sapele to create a larger diameter for the paten. I must say, I was incredibly surprised to see how strong the glue held the pieces together!

I was encouraged with the results as I ultimately would like to be able to work on more communion sets. This experimentation with lamination will certainly create the possibility for different designs.

 

Cedar Bowl – 8/1

IMG_1733I was able to get a little time in the wood shop this morning before heading out to make visits. The past month has seen some extremely humid mornings, but today was unusually comfortable for this time of year which made for a pleasant morning.

I returned to a piece of the cedar found on Edisto Beach. This particular piece had a limb coming out of it,  which made for an interesting design on the outside wall of the bowl.

 

Sprout: Inspiration for Emergence

SproutWhat is holding you back from emerging from the depths of the dirt and living in the power of the light?

Many of my messages and reflections have given a great deal of attention to all things garden related over the past few moment. There is a simple reason: my son and I planted our first garden this past Spring. We really had no idea what all we were doing, but we had a fun time figuring our way through it and forging new friendships with people who wanted to help us in our efforts!

(Aside: Our first efforts for germinating seeds was pretty hilarious. You can listen to the story in this message from the series The Life of a Seed.)

There have been many blessings that have come from our gardening experiment: watching the plants produce fruits, eating the fresh vegetables, and sharing our vegetables with others! Of course, the greatest blessings has been the opportunity to spend time with my son…

Among all of the blessings, there was a most spectacular and awe-inspiring moment that helped me see the true beauty in farming! — A couple of weeks after my son and I placed the seeds into the germination cells, small sprouts began to emerge from the soil!

The emergence of these sprouts was, well, almost magical…better still, it was divine!

As these sprouts pushed through the soil, they began to unfold into the light. The first leaves opened up and exposed themselves to the light of the sun (or, in our case, the heat lamp). They made themselves vulnerable, accessible, but also receptive to the light that would nurture and sustain their growth!

The sprouting of a seed is a perfect image for a new found faith of a Christian believer.

Faith is like a seed sown into the heart. The seed begins to sprout and grow. As the sprout emerges, it (ought) to open to the light. The light serves the health of the sprout by nurturing and sustaining its growth into a productive plant!

The Word of God is sown into our hearts by the proclamation of Jesus. Those who receive and respond to his proclamation will see faith founded upon the Word begin to grow and emerge. The awe-inspiring beauty of the whole thing is faith emerges and begins to open to the light of the Son, which nurtures and sustains the faith through the power of the Spirit.

The Word of God has been sown into your heart through the proclamation of Jesus! What will you do? How will your heart receive and respond to this proclamation?

My encouragement to you today is to simply be inspired to emerge!

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The Life of a Seed, Part Three

SeedAre you at a place where you can see and hear your blessings?

The third message in the series, The Life of a Seed, allows this question to guide our exploration of the Parable of the Sower.

The message focuses upon Matthew 13:16-17, where Jesus reminds the disciples of their blessing: The disciples are blessed to see and hear the things (the preaching, teaching, and deed of power of Jesus) they have seen and heard! The preaching, teaching, and deeds of power have revealed the secrets of the kingdom to the disciples: the hidden presence in Jesus and the future realization.

Applying these verses to our experience requires a little more of a stretch: You and I share in the blessing of the disciples. You and I have been blessed to see and to hear. Specifically, I am referring back to an earlier interpretation of sight and hearing – to see and to hear suggests our ability to receive (behold) and to respond (understand) to the proclamation of Jesus.

Our ability to see and to hear is rather evolved, too:

  1. We can encounter the secrets of the kingdom and come to a greater understanding of the proclamation of Jesus through our accessibility to the experience of the earliest follower of Jesus! – We have the witness of these early Christians’ encounter with the Word of God recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
  2. We are, also, blessed to learn from the experience of the saints! Everyone from the Church Fathers to the present theologians have passed on their experiences of divine encounter! And, we have the tradition and holy practices of the Church, which invites us to encounter the proclamation of Jesus (and, therefore, the Word of God) in Spirit-filled ways.
  3. The blessing belonging to us extends into our present experience as much as it exists in the past experiences of those who have preceded us in the faith. You and I are capable of encountering the proclamation of Jesus through the Holy Spirit! We can have unique experiences of the Word of God, which reveals unto us truths of the secrets of the Kingdom – The Kingdom is amongst us; and, the Kingdom will be fully realized in the future.

So, are you in a place to see and hear your blessings? It is more than a question of whether or not you are appreciative of the good things given to you! At the heart of the matter is your ability — really your willingness — to receive and respond to the proclamation of Jesus (through Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience)? Have you assumed a position of attentiveness to the proclamation of Jesus that might enable you to see and hear the truth being revealed by God. 

You can listen to the messages in the series at the following links:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Elevator: Awkward Encounters of God

Riding the elevator with a stranger is awkward. Bottled up inside a confined space with someone you do not know — very uncomfortable.

I do not like awkward situations, because – obviously – they are uncomfortable!

I usually attempt to break awkward tension in any given situation with a joke or some light-hearted comment! My friends know this about me. They think I am a kidder, who likes “to stir the pot,” but really, I’m just super uncomfortable in awkward moments. I guess making a joke or making a light-hearted comment is my attempt at taking control of the situation.

Inside an elevator with a stranger is a whole other level of awkward, though! I wish I had a standard comment on the ready to ease the awkwardness – something like, “Random fact: Hippos secrete red sweat when they are upset.” That type of knowledge bomb would certainly destroy any degree of elevator awkwardness!

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I once rode in an elevator with James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul.” I do not think I said anything to him. I remember staring at his teeth – also, random. Maybe that should be my elevator ice-breaker. “Hello, my name is Ross. I once rode an elevator with James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. And, now, my new friend, you can say that you’ve ridden in an elevator with a man who rode in an elevator with James Brown!”

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All of this to say, I rode in an elevator with a stranger today. A young man, with tattoos all along his arms and multiple piercings. I stepped into the elevator with him and the awkward tension. How should I stand? What should I do with my hands? Where should I look? What should I say/not say?

I went with the standard head nod and, “What’s up, man?” — You know, alpha male material.

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Apparently, that’s all the guy needed to start telling me his story – His father was in the hospital with a surgery, he was hoping to be released later in the day, he had come down from New York to help his mother with his father, he sold clothes for a living, and he was headed to Florida before flying back to New York.

Y’all, I was only taking the elevator to the 3rd floor! He told me like ten stories within 2 stories worth of an elevator ride!!

I guess the reason we feel awkward – the type of awkward we feel in an elevator with a stranger – is because we all have a story to tell. We have this inherent need to relate, and to relate well, to others. The awkward tension we feel in the elevator with a stranger is not the discomfort of sharing a small, confined space with someone we have never met. The awkwardness results from our resisting the need to relate to others.

There are times in life when we bump into God like a stranger in an elevator. We encounter God in the midst of our life and we have no idea what to say – “Hey, God! Hippos sweat turns red when they are mad, but you probably already knew that!”

God has a way of showing up when we least expect it and when we are least prepared for God’s presence. It can be a little awkward – How should I stand? What should I do with my hands? Where should I look? What should I say/not say?

The awkwardness we experience when we unexpectedly encounter God in the midst of our life results from the same inherent need to relate, and to relate well, to others.

Specifically, at the core of our heart is the inherent need to know God and to be known by God.

“Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by Him.” — 1 Corinthians 8:2-3

Any awkwardness experienced when encountering God is normal! What to do? How to stand? What to say/not say? These uncertainties are the result of a natural need to exist in relationship with God. You have a story worth being told; and, God has a story for you to live. The awkwardness is simply the assurance that you are meant to know and be known by God.

Watch out the next time you step into an elevator. Who knows, you might find yourself riding with God the Father of your soul…not to be confused with the Godfather of Soul.