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Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Photo Credit:  Ahborson from
I love it when people use their God-given talents.  I am especially in awe of those talents that seem so extraordinary to me.  One of those talents is that of woodworking.  I’ve seen the magic that some men and women can do with simple pieces of wood.  They can create cabinets, book shelves, beautiful furniture, tables, chairs, desks, benches, swings, and the list is endless!

About eight years ago, my husband and I assembled a large wooden playset in the yard for the kiddos.  Have you ever had the unique pleasure of doing that?  Well, let me tell you – if you can make it out of that project still married, you can make it through anything!  Ha!  There were gigantic boxes full of a gazillion pieces of wood, screws, nails, other random items, and a set of instructions. By the grace of God, that thing was eventually built.  However, during that time is when I developed a deep appreciation for all of those woodworkers out there.

Many times, I can’t even get a nail straight in the wall.  Wham!  Oops, it bent to the left a little bit.  Whack!  Let me try to make it straight again.  Nope.  Now, it’s bent to the right.  Grrrrrr.  Let me chunk this nail in the trash and start all over.  Don’t EVEN think about looking under the things hanging on my walls.  You will be dazed and confused by the quantity of nail holes.  Shhhh…don’t tell my husband.

How in the world do master woodworkers do it?  With all the measurements, precise cuts, intricate angles, hand-picked materials, perfect tools, and detailed schematics – I’m amazed!  Truly amazed. There was a website I found that said, “We sell plans so detailed that the projects practically build themselves.”  Now, THAT I’d like to see!

All of this talk about woodworking brings me to two stories that I’d like to share.  The first one will provoke some thought and the second one will probably give you a giggle or two.

Story #1 from Mikey’s Funnies:
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms, fell into conflict.  It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then, the long collaboration fell apart.  It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on the older brother’s door.  He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.  "I'm looking for a few days’ work," he said.  "Perhaps you would have some small jobs here and there.  Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother.  "I do have a job for you.  Look across the creek at that farm.  That's my neighbor.  In fact, it's my younger brother.  Last week, there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us.  Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better.  See that pile of lumber curing by the barn?  I want you to build me a fence, an 8-foot fence, so I won't need to see his place anymore.  That’ll cool him down, anyhow.”

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation.  Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.  The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing.  About sunset, when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped.  There was no fence there at all.  It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other!  It was a fine piece of work with handrails and all.  And the neighbor, his younger brother, was heading his way, with his hand outstretched.

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."  The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, hugging.  They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.  "No, wait!  Stay a few days.  I have a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

Story #2 about bridges:

A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer.  Suddenly, the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, “Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.”

Without hesitation, the man said, “Build a bridge to Hawaii, so I can drive over anytime I want.”

The Lord said, “Your request is very materialistic.  Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking - the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific; the concrete and steel it would take; it would nearly exhaust several natural resources!  I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things.  Take a little more time and think of something that would honor and glorify me.”

The man thought about it for a long time.  Finally, he said, “Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife.  For example, I want to know how she feels inside, what she’s thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says ‘nothing’s wrong,’ and how I can make a woman like her truly happy.”

The Lord replied, “Hmmmm - do you want two or four lanes on that bridge?” (Hee hee!)

We may not be able to figure each other out – why we do the things we do or don’t do or why we say the things we say or don’t say.  However, let’s try our best this week to build bridges instead of breaking them down or burning them completely.

We may not all be handy with wood, but I think that each of us has some woodworking talent within and that is for…building bridges.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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