Sunday, January 12, 2020

Here In The Middle

"So I don't wanna go home now
Stuck here in the middle alone now
Everybody's singing their song now
But I'm still reeling...

I'm not trying to run away from
This beautiful life I've been given
I'm not looking for freedom
Maybe just a little meaning
Here in the middle..."

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Make the Best of It

The Lord's timing makes me smile sometimes. This week I'm teaching our youth group about Joseph. Specifically, Genesis 37, where Joseph had some crazy dreams that he would one day be blessed by God and rule over many. His brothers, in a jealous rage, ripped the 'coat of many colors' off his back. Then they tossed him in a cistern and left him for dead. Alas one brother had the idea they could make some money off the deal so they sold him into slavery instead.

Of course, I didn't experience anywhere near the trauma Joseph did as a seventeen-year-old boy but I've always drawn hope from his life. Pondering this, I made some notes and applications that would work in speaking to the youth of our church. I even shared with our pastor about a "Joseph moment" I had the day I left for college. I remember that day vividly. I've told my wife for years how that drive was a major turning point in my life. Wouldn't you know it, the day after I shared that story with pastor, my mother sent a birthday card with a few photos. One of which was this:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Westfall House Rules

Those of us raising kids are attempting this task in a much different environment than we were raised. The technology age has its upsides and....major downsides. Inspired by the book "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters," my wife and I have organized and articulated our approach. I realize these rules might not jive with everyone's convictions, but they're a good starting point for us. If anyone has more wisdom/experience/feedback, we're open ears.

The primary principle I learned from that book is that our protective instincts are there for a reason. Our children might not appreciate the guidelines right now, but eventually they will find comfort in the fact that we are protecting them in love. It's a profound and noble responsibility.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Man Named Dale

"I never knew the silence could make me so deaf, 
I never knew that I could miss someone I've never met, 
Miss someone I've never met..... yet."   -Wes King

My father died while my mother was still pregnant with me. When I was a child I pretty much accepted this reality. I've known for as long as I can remember and that's just the facts. Emotions would only stir when I visited his place of rest.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

And I Thank Them For Mothering Me When I Needed It

"I have been mothered by a whole tribe of women, some who had children of their own, and some who didn't. I thank God for each of them, and thank them for mothering me when I needed it, and for giving me such a rich variety of images for what it means to be a mother. Mother's Day is about looking through our lives and recognizing the act of mothering everywhere we see it, and more than that, recognizing that when any of us mother - when we listen, nurture, nourish, protect - we're doing sacred work." -
Shauna Niequist

I wish I could make gifts from my shop for every occasion, but there's just not enough time. So, I seem to sprinkle gifts around to my loved ones whenever I can. This year I decided to make some trays for two ladies who've had a lasting impact on my life. 

Sue became a part of my life in high school, Pam in college. Both women had a special maternal influence that lasted into adulthood. Although I don't get to spend the time with them I'd like, I always know these two ladies are praying and pulling for me. It means a lot. 

So for Christmas this year I made two matching trays for Pam and Sue. They were made using a plane, a saw, some chisels, and my hands. I selected some of the prettiest cherry and curly maple I've come across. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dawson's Live Edge Desk

Here's a rundown of the desk I made for my son this fall. The concept for this project starts with my neighbor and friend Jim stopping by my shop one day. He said he had some walnut slabs in his garage that had come from a tree in his yard. He'd milled it up over a decade ago. Of course, I told Jim he had a buyer if he ever wanted to part with them. A few weeks later he took me up on my offer. 

They were wonderful live edge black walnut boards. None were much longer than 5 ft, but they were plenty wide and clear. I selected two of the slabs below for a desktop. 

They still had the bark on after all these years. I removed it with a drawknife but did my best to leave the sapwood and the natural profile. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Fatherless Days

Preface: Along with the woodworking madness, I’ve decided to author a few personal blogs. Personal, meaning I’m likely to ramble about my faith, my family, and just about anything else that relates to “worker” as opposed to the “wood.”
I suppose in a way I’m relating to the throngs of online bloggers out there. It’s a form of expression. Perhaps a way to organize thoughts that seem stuck in my head until I can write them down. Maybe folks will get something out of this, maybe they won't. I just know I need to write it. 

While my mother was still pregnant with me, my father passed away due to lingering health issues from a nasty car accident. The step-father I called "Dad" all growing up was a man named Jack.

"What were you thinking?, I have a right to ask
Is there a reason, Other than your past?
The great pretender, Why was I the last
To see through your skin? Is there a'll ever change?"

Hit "play" on the song and read on.