Greater Action

I don’t want this blog to be a soap box from which I preach, I am no preacher. But from time to time I cannot hold it in. So here…

Two people that have impacted me lately.


First: I have recently been reading Bill Coperthwaite’s book “A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity”. it is a great book, there is just so much in it.

Second: The other day I went to the chapel at Eastern Nazarene College where author, and activist Shane Claiborne reminded us to take action in our communities showing the love of God. They are literally taking guns and smithing them into garden tools! How awesome is that?!

from AK-47 to shovel and pitch fork

Both, Bill and Shane, are speaking volumes to where I am right now, especially in this political era.

I want to give you an excerpt from Mr. Coperthwaite’s book that has been very timely this week.

“For many, the knowledge of a Jesus, a Lao-tzu, a Buddha, or a Gandhi is complete and unassailable. But we do them and their vision a disservice when we follow them rather than using what they have taught to build upon as we strive toward our goal of a better society.

When we merely follow another, we take a potentially creative mind out of service – our own. We tie up A natural resource, just as much as when we put away money in the mattress.

We don’t need more disciples, we need more apprentices, the difference being that an apprentice serves as a follower only temporarily and is expected to go on and work independently. Wise apprentices recognize that the masters are always a part of them, that within them is a partnership of apprentice and master artisan, including all the other masters that came before.

Good apprentices know that they are in the process of becoming masters and that as responsible artisans they must seek to improve upon the knowledge entrusted to them and go further.

As apprentices we are not better than those who went before. We are a part, an extension of our predecessors, the newest buds on an ancient, living tree. If we do not reach up to the sun and down into the soil for nourishment to help the tree grow, we have not been  faithful to the trust invested in us.

It is always easier to take the words of a Jesus, a Gandhi, a Marx, or a Confucius as constituting Holy Writ.  This involves less reading, less study, less thought, less conflict, and less independent searching, but it also means less growth toward maturity.”


Just something to think about, I pray that you will take action for the greater good.



Tinkerin Day

Here on the South Shore, we had a snow day on Tuesday. I love snow days, though shoveling is getting old, especially now that I feel it more. Snow days are family days for us. Whenever I can, I like to get the kids exposed to woodworking. I was recently talking with a friend of mine saying that I am always looking for something quick to carve for the kids to play with. He asked if I had seen the gnomes. Nope, I haven’t.

We went outside and found a stick about 3/4″ diameter, it happened from an apple tree. “Much too big.” He said. Typically one would look for something about the size of your pinky finger. He brought it into his shop and cut a couple of 6″ to 8″ lengths (enough to hold on to while carving). And showed me how to do it.

Suniya and I went out the night before the storm to gather a few sticks. We found one from a maple, one from a mulberry bush and a pruning off our pear tree.


Start out about 1/2″ down by cutting around the circumference at 90°. I do this by pinching the work between my thumb and knife and rotating the top away from me. Just go through the bark a bit.


Then cut a notch out about an eighth to 7/64″ (please note the sarcasm implied). This will define the brim of the gnome’s hat.

Now shape the hat. It can be a straight up point or you can at a notch to make the hat have a bend. It’s up to you on the character of the gnome, be as crazy as you want it’s only a few minutes out of your day if it doesn’t work out. Besides it’s a tinkering day (rainy or snowy).

Cut in the gnome’s beard simply by making a swooping cut about half an inch down from the brim of the hat. Utmost control of the knife is required as a slip would take the brim of the hat clean off.

Lastly cut the gnome from the stick. Take care when doing this making sure you are cutting him square off. You don’t want a drunk gnome, they are a bit ornery.

The most fun part is allowing the kiddos to be creative in coloring these little things. They love it!


The only problem is, they add up quick.


We’ve used oil paint, sharpies, watercolors, colored pencils and crayons to color these things with.

Happy tinkering.