Saturday, October 4, 2014

Getting Up Early

Getting Up Early

Seven months have passed since my last post.

Seven months ago my wife and I were managing a self-storage business, living on-site, in a small town in eastern Oregon. The work was interesting (for awhile), frustrating (often), but it provided for our living. Sharing the work with my wife allowed me several days off each week. I connected with a fishing buddy, learned to fish for salmon and sturgeon. I caught two salmon, a couple bass, and one huge monster of a sturgeon (a 7-foot long sturgeon is a monster in my book).

We had deep connections there with family and friends, but felt cut off from our grown children and our one grandchild, who all lived in southwestern Idaho. Many applications for work in Idaho returned unanswered, but we decided in early May to buy a camp trailer, move to our daughter's farmhouse in Meridian, Idaho, and see what might develop.

We submitted our resignation from the self-storage business, began packing and saying our goodbyes. On the very day on which we left town, I got a phone call from a company to which I'd sent an application many weeks prior. I scheduled an interview with the hiring manager for the next day. The meeting went well and they offered me the job immediately. I started work the next day as a door finisher for a building supply business in Boise.

A week later we found a house that fit our needs: within 20-30 minutes driving distance from our granddaughter, friendly and safe neighborhood, a garage (euphemism for wood shop), and within our budget. We closed the purchase and moved in a month later.

The work I do at the building supply business is identical with that which I did in my parent's business from 1990 to 1996. My parents began a building supply business in Ontario, Oregon in the early 70's, and all of us five kids worked there at different times, in different capacities. When I left in 1996 to work as a school administrator, I didn't think I'd ever return to the door-building business.

But I have.

The work is tough physically, and there is a stressful pressure each day to work fast without error. I'm unable to do either thing consistently. But I enjoy working with wood, and my experience allows me to work on non-typical, non-standard doors. The management is anxious to develop written procedures to standardize the work, and I absolutely thrive on that kind of project.

I now have much less time off, however. I must leave the house at 6:30 a.m. for work, and I'm completely exhausted when I return 9-10 hours later. I've been unable to write much, or play guitar, or go geocaching or putter in my garage/workshop.

And that discourages me frequently.

But this morning I did something different. Right now it's a Saturday morning, about 7:30 a.m. I've been up since 5:00 a.m. I finished up the writing of four posts to a Bible study blog (Isaiah Chapter Eleven, broken into four parts), and I'm writing a post to this blog for the first time in seven months.

Feels good.

Normally I'd sleep in on Saturday, finally getting dressed and ready to do something worthwhile by 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. But we all know how home chores, to-do-lists, meals and cleaning, and necessary obligations can eat up a day.

Writing must be pretty important to me, because when I'm able to post something coherent, even if no one else reads it, I feel good about the time spent doing it. I don't get that same feeling when I mow the lawn or fix the car or repair the broken chair. But the lawn, car and chair are still important. I want to do those things, but I also want the delight of writing.

Getting up early is probably the key.

photo credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. via photopin cc, image modified by cropping

Saturday, March 8, 2014



"You youngsters have it so easy!"

The old tumbler shook his head sadly and spat into his soda can. I laughed silently at his grumpy whine, and I got ready for him to settle into his typical reminiscing rant about the "good old days". I liked the old guy, but I'd heard his stories now for years, and they never changed.

"Ever' house has a fence a some sort, and yer tumbleweeds jest nat'rally get caught. You don't haf to no more'n step out yer front door and you got a dozen fresh tumbleweeds in nothin' flat. Hell's fire! A six-year old boy can grab more'n two or three by hisself an' still have time to play Nintendo all afternoon!"

He made another deposit into his can. I peeked around at the faces of the folks gathered round the campfire. A couple were rolling their eyes, but most were smiling and encouraging the old geezer to continue his song and dance. I didn't mind it myself. He might be exaggerating a bit, but he really was right. When we want a tumbleweed nowadays, there's almost always one in the yard, or up against a neighbor's fence. It wasn't always so easy, and the tumbler had a right to boast about the hard life he'd survived.

"Tumbleweeds in the old days had nothin' to stop'em once they got to goin'. Miles an' miles a flat land, no fences, no buildin's to speak of...nothin' for what to catch'em nor stop'em. A feller'd haf to push his horse mighty hard to keep up with'em, an' even so you'd only get maybe one or two at a time, an' you'd have miles an' miles to backtrack back to home a'fore you could enjoy the fruit a yer labor! But us tumblers knew how to do it right. We could catch hun'erds an' hun'erds in one day!"

My grandson's eyes opened wide, and he impulsively asked the old man how they could get so many.

"We boxed 'em, my boy! We'd yip an' holler an' slap our pots an' pans and the wind would start blowin' an' we'd chase those weeds right into a box canyon. The walls o' the canyon would close in an' the herd would bunch up an' slow down an' they'd come to the end a the canyon and pile up on each other an' stop. We'd have hun'erds an' hun'erds a 'em there, pantin' an' blowin an' stampin'. In one day we'd have enough weeds fer ever fam'ly in the town fer the whole week. The townsfolk would clap an' holler an' give us free drinks an' smile at us 'an the editor a the paper would print it up the next day like we was the troops comin' home an' then..."

The old man's story faded to an end. He stopped mid-sentence and let his words dry up as if the incoming tide of memories had just washed out the fragile story of his life.

I drained the last of my cold coffee and walked out of the fire's light to stand next to the creek. I listened to the water running over the rocks until the cold of the night drove me back to my tent.

Creative Commons License
Tumbleweeds by Milt Reynolds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tolerance: The Definition Has Changed

Tolerance: The Definition Has Changed

The New Oxford American Dictionary has not caught up with the change, but the modern, popular definition of "tolerance" is radically different (I believe, dangerously perverted) from the "old" meaning.

Oxford defines TOLERATE as "allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference". The word originated in the early 16th century from "tolerare", Latin for "enduring pain".

TOLERANCE is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, to "endure the pain" of the existence of something.

What is the new definition?

According to D. A. Carson, "tolerance" has changed from accepting that lots of people have different views, some of which are wrong, to agreeing that all views are equally true.

What difference does this make?

A diametric difference!

Mark Driscoll recently wrote an essay about the changing definition of "tolerance" that helps explain the ground-shifting difference between the "old tolerance" and the "new tolerance".

The old view of tolerance was based upon three assumptions:

  1. There is objective truth that can be known,
  2. People believe they know what that objective truth is, and
  3. Disagreements, dialogues and debate will give everyone an opportunity to learn, grow, change and possible arrive together at the truth.

The new view of tolerance refutes all three assumptions:

  1. There is no objective truth than can be known,
  2. People do not have the truth but only what they believe to be the truth, and
  3. Disagreements, dialogues and debate are useless and lead to needless conflicts and prejudices

Anyone else notice how intolerant the "new tolerance" appears?

It denies moral absolutes by holding to the moral absolute that there is no moral absolute.

It denies that anyone knows any truth.

It denies discussion or debate.

If "tolerance" truly has changed its meaning for us, is that because there is no other word that accurately represents the new meaning, or is it because there is no better way to change people's minds than by controlling word definitions?

What other English word captures the intent of the "new tolerance"? What other word means to agree with every opinion and to discourage disagreement or debate?


That's it. The modern world's highest virtue has become "agreeability". One person says coffee, and all the world must say coffee. Another says yes, and all the world must say yes.

Even as I write this I must make my examples benign, lest others erupt in hostile "tolerance". When a person's value or power is threatened by disagreement or debate, their response is to gather a mob and throw stones.

The other word that comes to mind at this point is "insanity". Conformity to a common opinion of coffee versus tea will never happen for humans. Why do we think it can happen with morality? We will never reach a concensus concerning some moral opinions. We will never be without the need to disagree, dialogue and debate.

If you wish for no conflict, don't call it "tolerance". Call it for what it is: "agreement".


Photo credit: stevendepolo via photopin cc

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Door

New Door

Here's some pix of a new door I installed in our new home:

Inline image 2Inline image 1

I mounted a bipass track on the living room side of the opening, hung a 32-inch hollow-core door, and concealed the track with a 1x6 piece of hemlock.

Applied a thick coat of oil with a rag, let it set for about 10 minutes, then buffed it smooth with another clean rag. The next day I did the same to add a second coat. Being impatient and pushed for time, I installed it. It feels smooth and dry, kind of a satin finish. The instructions on the tung oil container said to add daily coats to get a glossier finish.

My next project is a kitty litter cabinet. We want to conceal our kitty litter box in the house. We've seen several examples:

We bought a 24-inch bathroom vanity cabinet at Home Depot. I'll replace the sink top with a piece of nice birch plywood, edged with a strip of hemlock, finished with tung oil. The cabinet is painted white. I'll cut a hole in the side of the cabinet and install a kitty door:

I'm so excited about having a work schedule, and space, to work on woodworking projects! We invested in a nice compact table saw...I think it will be good enough for what I'll need it for, and it's small enough to fit in our storage unit:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not A Big Fan Of Sports

Not A Big Fan Of Sports

I'm not a big fan of sports

I barely glance at the sports section of the newspaper, and that brief look is only to see if the comics are hidden inside that section.

However, I'm not sure that I should publicly reveal this critical moral failure of mine. I have (had, up until this moment?) many friends who are huge fans of sports, all kinds, any weather, any time.

I honestly try not to allow my disinterest to appear as dislike of those who enjoy sports. I DON'T dislike you! I just find it extremely hard to share in your joy. But that doesn't mean that I'm not glad that you joy in it.

I've heard that there's a big game scheduled this Sunday. I actually attended a Super Bowl party one time. The food was great! By taking a moment here and there to stop crunching on chips and dip I was able to listen intently to the running commentary of the true fans in the room, and I could sort of keep up with who was playing, and whether "our team" was ahead.

I'm sorry. This is getting hard. I can feel the aura of disapproval and pity from all my sports-loving friends. I'll stop soon, I promise.

Anyway, here's a great post by Barnabas Piper regarding the moral conflict that may be gripping many of you even now:

Is it wrong to skip church in favor of a Super Bowl party?

Barnabas offers a very reasonable answer that is encouraging, even for me!

Keep in mind, as you consider whether to check out his article: Barnabas is a huge fan of sports.


super bowl 034 by djnaquin67, Creative Commons License, horribly mangled and misused by the author!