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Forum topic by dennis mitchell posted 02-12-2008 07:20 AM 2077 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5367 days

02-12-2008 07:20 AM

Woodworking for me has been a statement that our lives have value. The act of creation is important. The stories of fathers passing this skill on to our kids is more important to me than if someones dovetails are off center. I remember the saw stop drama, the critique dilemma, and tantrums, including my own, at the contest votes. (just don’t like rustic, I guess) Lumberjocks has been a place of light hearted jokes and friendly banter. I see lots of new folks showing up every day and I can’t help but think they are attracted by the fellowship. It sure can be a shelter from the crap I get out in the “real” world. My family has lost young kids in a strange war. Kids are losing their parents due to meth. People are working much to much. Medical bills have ruined my life. If you just want to learn to cut perfect dovetails someone here will direct you to the knowledge you need. If you want to know why Jesus was a carpenter or just why a high school shop teacher can save a kid from a life of despair pull up a saw horse and dust off a corner it will take many voices and a long time to tell that story. The best lesson I got was from an old drunk. During a major period of trauma in my life he told me “Dennis, Life is just too important to be take serious”. I guess I feel that way about Lumberjocks.

35 replies so far

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4836 days

#1 posted 02-12-2008 08:20 AM

Nicely put. I’m a newcomer here and sure have enjoyed my stay thus far.

-- Eric at

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5352 days

#2 posted 02-12-2008 08:30 AM

Thanks Dennis,

I used to tell the guys that worked under me, let’s have some fun today.

Why make things seem like a lot of work.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5213 days

#3 posted 02-12-2008 12:13 PM

on my personal journey, loss of a loved one made the point real clear—life is important. All the rest is just stuff.
The intensity of emotions that get riled up over the most trivial of things.(I shake my head)... and life goes by.

I’m reading a book right now that talks about how “things” are our way of trying to discover or label who we are. What we are really looking for is that inner peace, that connection with all things (life). I personally think that the reason is so successful is because underneath all the “stuff” there is that connectedness with each other and with wood, and thus trees, and to all things. There is a calmness that goes along with this craft (and this site) because we “know” what life is all about. Friendship, nature, peace…

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4927 days

#4 posted 02-12-2008 02:13 PM

I never realized you were a philosopher Dennis. I appreciate the atmosphere around here, as you do.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5379 days

#5 posted 02-12-2008 02:23 PM

I had a boss once tell someone about me “Scott’s great. He doesn’t take life too seriously.” I thought it an odd thing to say at the time (when I was in college), but I responded “You can’t.” My girlfriend at the time (studying science, not art) said that I had better take life seriously. Guess where she is now?
Life is too important to take seriously. When we’re at the end of our days looking back, we aren’t going to wish we spent more hours at the office, billed more OT. We’re going to wish we made our days more fun!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5453 days

#6 posted 02-12-2008 03:16 PM

Amen Brother Dennis Amen. Preach it brother. We’re listening.

Thanks for your comments.

This is a great place. All are welcome. Even us galoots.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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patrick m

197 posts in 4866 days

#7 posted 02-12-2008 03:39 PM

Hey Dennis , Haven’t been here in a bit , I remember all your comments and now I’m a bit embarrassed to be one of those “dovetail” guys… You said to me early on , Spend more time in the shop and not on LJ. Well I took that to heart… I need to hear the bold truth sometimes. The tough Love… You also commented on Siddhartha , my all time favorite book… Helped save my life from “a strange war” Your surely not alone here. Woodworking is one of my other worldly places I can retreat and find answers in… Strange I never thought it would turn out like that. But I had that shop teacher your talkin’ about. Old biker hippie maniac sculptor genius… You just reminded me Ya gotta GIVE BACK !!!! PAY IT FORWARD !!! Thanks Dennis . ‘RESPECT” , Patrick

-- PJM.`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><((((º> ""BY HAMMER AND HAND ALL ARTS DO STAND""1785-1974 nyc Semper Fi, Patrick M

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patrick m

197 posts in 4866 days

#8 posted 02-12-2008 03:46 PM

Hahahah , This is great ! a cute girl writes Hi where youa’ll from , and I think it broke a lumberjocks record for replies in shortest amount of time. Sucks I only got one reply for my dovetail help , hahahaha ! I can’t stop laughing , looks like I’m lightening up. Take care brotha.

-- PJM.`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><((((º> ""BY HAMMER AND HAND ALL ARTS DO STAND""1785-1974 nyc Semper Fi, Patrick M

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Peter Oxley

1427 posts in 4927 days

#9 posted 02-12-2008 03:53 PM

I’m with you, Dennis! I’ve been thinking along similar lines, but hadn’t figured out how to express it to the group. You said it just right.

Hey, you never told me to spend more time in the shop instead of on LJ. Why does Patrick get sage advice and I don’t? I want some sage advice!!

-- -- --

View Hutch's profile


106 posts in 4950 days

#10 posted 02-12-2008 04:00 PM

Thanks Dennis. I just received an email from my sister with much of the same sentiment. I don’t know who to credit for the original.

God’s Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups-porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite-telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup,
we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.”

God brews the coffee, not the cups. Enjoy your coffee!

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Leave the rest to God.

- Sorry for the long post but I thought it fit.

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 4814 days

#11 posted 02-12-2008 04:16 PM

I just recently came across this forum and this is my first post. By the way, thanks for the welcoming comments. Right of the bat I noticed a decidely more pleasant and thoughtful tone to the forum, and I’ve pretty much seen all the others.

Personally, I find arguing or heatedly discussing anything with font on a screen to be completely inane. Really now…the normal course of everyday life offers more than enough opportunities for pointless conflict. Do I need to search out someone half a world away so I can trade barbs? Surely you jest…

I’ve always used these forums as a learning tool, and I can’t begin to describe how valuable they’ve been. Those of us who grew up sans computers can only marvel at the amount of knowledge that’s right at our fingertips today.

One of my favorite questions to myself is “How important is it?” Usually…..not very.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5015 days

#12 posted 02-12-2008 04:18 PM

Yeah, Dennis, we gotta keep havin’ fun. Some times, while beating our brains out trying to make a living, we forget that we used to enjoy the time we spent in our shops. I guess that’s why I sometimes just stop and build something I want. I too, enjoy the comraderie and friendship we share here. When I signed on there were a few over 1200 of us. It was still a small community. It still is. I don’t want to come here and argue or make anyone feel bad. This is where the gang hangs out and I would miss all of you if you weren’t here.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View MtnManMEP's profile


26 posts in 4813 days

#13 posted 02-12-2008 08:56 PM

Well spoken Dennis, and everyone else. From someone who dedicated 110% for 18 years in the corporate world, has lost many loved ones, both young and old, and spent the better part of my life to date obsessed with what society currently paints as success, I can fully testify that true happiness does not come from money, possessions, accomplishments or power; it’s about relationships and sharing of ones life and experiences with others. Obviously, we are each different and exactly what works for me may not work for anyone else. But I know that keeping a light heart and positive outlook every day is necessary to keep me from being drawn back into the must have, must do, drive-for-more mentality.

Fly fishing and woodworking are two activities that tend to be more intrinsically satisfying for me. As Dennis stated, it’s not so much the finished product or outcome, but rather the process that is fulfilling. (Drinking good whiskey or scotch also falls into this grouping but for obviously different reasons.) I’ve fished since I was a boy but I’ve continually found most fly fishermen to be stuffy and overly obsessed with perfect technique, gear and results. That’s fine and good on occasion, but to fish like that always is not satisfying, at least not for me. Woodworking is something that I’ve only recently taken up and while my exposure to other woodworkers is limited, I’ll have to say that they generally seem to have a more relaxed and positive approach to the craft than the fishermen I’ve met. While I’ve only been a member here shortly, this forum has done nothing to dispel that perception of woodworkers and I certainly hope that will continue to be the case.

The bottom line; spend time in the shop, spend it on the river, spend it on LJs but spend it positively and in a manner that really provides true happiness and fulfillment, otherwise, you’re just in it for a ride and when you reach the destination, I’m sure you will find it not nearly as fulfilling as the journey could have been.

That said, it sure is getting deep in here, better bring be wearing boots before visiting Dennis’ next topic.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5379 days

#14 posted 02-12-2008 10:38 PM

I’ve been thinking about this post on the drive in the job today – and its nice to have that little reminder every once in a while, whether the anecdote about the coffee, or Boardmans simple rhetorical question, how important is it?
So much energy is either spent on things we can’t control or debating between too many nearly identical options.
As someone who let his possessions possess him as a youth, I’m so glad it didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t have to keep up with the Joneses. Sure their 60” TV looks nice, but I bet their bills don’t! (and we don’t have cable anyway!)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View gene's profile


2184 posts in 4936 days

#15 posted 02-13-2008 05:23 AM

I used to keep up with the Joneses and try to out run them at times. In 1982, all changed over night. After a long night at the hospital and the joy of being there for my child’s birth at 2 a.m. and it probably being the high point of my life. Next came the worst day of my life. At around 9 a.m. the next morning, I was awakened to the phone call that would forever change my life. The doctor said that we had some serous problems and that I needed to come in for a talk. (Downs Syndrome) I will dispense with the filling sorry for myself and asking why stories.
I will say that the worst nightmare of my life turned my values completely around. What had mattered, expensive house, new car, nice cloths, didn’t matter, and what didn’t matter, did, your family and then you really find out what true friends if any, you have.
It took me a while to understand the true gift that God had given me. To be satisfied with what life brings, to change for the better the things you can and to live with, what you cannot.
The people that have truly inspired me in life were my parents and in present day is my son Gregory. He has been and is a true blessing from God to me.
For any family that has gone through having their child being born with a birth defect. You have my utmost respect and well wishes and may God bless you. I wish the world were a perfect place, but it’s not. Things happen that are not in our realm of control.
Before joining LumberJocks, I had been a member of a couple of other sites. I saw the bickering, complaining, the mad at the world attitude of a lot of the members and therefore I did not join in on forums or discussions.
That’s the reason that this site is so great. A real family type atmosphere. People having respect for other peoples feeling and yes, occasionally a little bickering. Like every family, sometimes its nice to clear the air.
I as many of you, would find it hard to worry about daily problems and build something at the same time. Just imagine what that project would look like? (LOL)
As the old saying goes. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade! And as for we LumberJocks here? GOT WOOD? BUILD SOMETHING !
Life is truly too short to worry about the small things. Tomorrow, something serous could happen to change our lives forever, and today just could be the last day of our life here on earth. So folks, lets enjoy it to its fullest! Lets just chuckle at the small stuff and keep on getting up.
This is just my point of view and what I feel is important to me.
May God bless all !

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

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