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.

 

A New Way to Reflect

I began Skipping Stones a little over a year ago. My hope was to reboot a failed attempt at  blogging from years ago; to have a place to write for the sake of writing. I celebrated my 100th post the other day! As I have shared previosuly, I never imagined how rewarding keeping a blog would be, nor did I expect to find such encouragement within the blogging community.

The tag line communicates my original intent for Skipping Stones:

“Skip a stone over water and you will discover you cannot control its destination. Some stones leap to the sky, others dance across the water, while others simply sink. My prayerful meditations are like these skipping stones. I never know where they will land, but I believe God is revealed in the process.”

My writings and messages were the ideal place to begin the blog; after all, my writing and my messages have been a reliable place to reflect upon the presence of God in my life and the life around me!

New opportunities have been presented to me over the past year, and each of these opportunities has enabled me to experience the creative power of God in new ways!

My son and I planted our first garden this past Spring. I wrote about the decision to prepare a garden in the post tillit a couple months ago. The blessings  from the garden has supplied the inspiration for many writings and messages over the last couple of weeks: everything from what a cucumber can teach us about the Christian community to the feeling of wilt when we are exhausted of the Spirit.

The garden has been a place of inspiration and I pray the garden will continue to be a place for me to witness the creative power of God, which may just show up in my writings and messages…

I have recently found another way to experience the awesome power of the creator…

My wife gave me a wood lathe for Father’s Day this year. I have no experience in wood working and I certainly have no experience in wood turning, but I have had a truly awesome time learning the lathe and trying to figure out how to turn wood!

A lot of my writing time as been given to my new adventures in woodturning, which  may explain a bit of my absence from the blogging sphere. The time in the wood shop has been very inspiring, though! I would hope, and I would image, there will be some writings and some messages emerging from the wood shop before too long.

While I might not always walk out of the wood shop with a new idea to reflect upon in my writing or in my messages, I do hope some creations will come from this time that will help me to better perceive the wonderment of the Creator. For that reason, I established a separate category on Skipping Stones to provide a space to chronicle this new adventure! Since the wood turning is different from my writings and my messages, I though it would be appropriate to properly categorize it!

Anyways, here are a few pictures of some of the pieces I have been working on over the last few weeks!

Blessings to you all!!!

The bowl and chalice were my first two projects. The bowl was made from a piece of scrap pine. The chalice is black walnut, which was given to me by a friend.

Each of these pieces are cedar from Edisto Beach, SC. My father called me a couple of weeks ago. He was driving to our beach house and passed an entire cedar tree that had been cut up and placed on the side of the road. I image the tree was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew. I picked up several logs the next day, which has produced some interesting pieces with wormholes running though many of them.

Also, the chalice and paten pictured above was the first complete communion set!

These bowls were made out of spalted Sugarberry, which is also known as Southern Hackberry, from Edisto Beach. The wood came from a tree in our family’s yard. My family has not been able to identify the wood for several years, but with the help of some friends in the timber business we finally discovery it to be a form of hackberry. The tree was trimmed a few months ago and the debris was placed in a pile on the edge of our property… I had no idea the wood had spalted nor that it would produce such interesting grain patterns! Anyways, I have made several pieces of out this wood, but here are a few examples.

My sister gave me a piece of Sapelle and several magnolia branches. The goblet is the sapele, which I gave to here. I left a bit of the bark on the magnolia to give a little additional design. I actually sent the magnolia bowl to my grandmother. The additional bowl was made for a friend. It is made from oak I found on the side of the road…

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