Folding Pages

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I have recently started folding pages.  It’s like origami, but uses entire books.  My most recent endeavor is shown above.  It’s an old CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.  It took me around eleven hours to do the more than 10,000 folds necessary to make it look just the way I wanted.

As my wife can sadly attest to, I tend to have conversations with inanimate objects.  And with eleven hours to kill, that book and I had some lengthy conversations.  The main one went something like this:

Me: It’s so nice to see you.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to get started on this.

Book: Get started on what?

Me: Page folding.  I’m going to make you into something beautiful.

Book: But I’m a handbook of chemistry of physics, I’m one of the most useful books on the planet!

Me: Exactly, I know you are an incredibly useful book, but I want to mold you into something more!

Book: Okay, I guess you can get started.

(Mike starts folding pages)

Book: Are you done yet?  It’s getting a little painful with all of those changes you’re making to my pages.

Me: I know it hurts, but it’s going to take a while.  Trust me, it will be worth it.

(Mike continues folding pages)

Book: I’m done.  I’ve been patient, I’ve let you do your thing, but this is getting ridiculous.

Me: Please hang on.  We’re almost there.  If you could only see the vision I have for you…

(Mike folds the final page)

Me: There, I’ve finally made you into what I had envisioned.

Book: Wow, I had no idea.  I was content to sit on the shelf and gather dust, but you’ve made me into something amazing.

Me: You were always amazing, I just helped you to see it.

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I hesitate to cast myself in the role of our Heavenly Father, but I feel that he is doing the same thing with each of us.  We are often content to remain the way we are, but He sees the wonder within us.  C.S. Lewis expresses this far better than I:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Impossible Bottles

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One of my many random hobbies is putting things into bottles.  I know, exciting isn’t it?  I think it’s a lot of fun to do and even more fun to look at the final product.  I have a couple of rules when making impossible bottles:

1) Everything has to go through the mouth of the bottle (no cheating and cutting the bottle)

2) Each item must contain what it is supposed to contain (e.g. the card boxes must contain cards)

As you can imagine, each bottle takes quite a while to make, which gives me a lot of time to think.  One thought I had is that the objects in the bottles are rather ordinary, but the fact that they are in a bottle makes them extraordinary.  Isn’t that a bit like each of us?  I have seen “ordinary” people do some pretty amazing things when they are placed in the right situations.  The funny thing is that the situations or circumstances they are placed in often seem impossible.  Have you ever looked at where you are in your life and thought, “Just look at my life.  I have too much to do and too little time to do it.  Lord, why are you expecting the impossible from me?”  Just remember that it’s only impossible if you try to do it alone.  “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

The Parable of the Oh So Many Trees

Yea, it came to pass in the beginning of the autumn of the year two thousand and twelve that the leaves were just beginning to change colors.  And a man did go forth and did gaze at the leaves; and behold, let us call him Brother Spike Cross, for behold it is fitting.  And it came to pass that as Brother Spike did gaze upon the leaves he was not filled with wonder, but instead was filled with loathing.  For behold, he knew that soon the leaves would fall.  And behold they would not simply fall in a nice pile, but would be scattered to and fro across the whole of the yard and their number would be as the sands on the seashore and as the stars in the sky.

And it came to pass that the thought of this multitude of leaves did fill him with rage; and behold, his anger, yea his fierce anger, did inspire a plan.  And this plan was simple and yet oh so very devious.  For he did say in his heart, “No branches means no leaves.”  And it came to pass that he did say again in his heart, “No trees means no branches.”  And with this thought he did journey forth to the garage to fetch his tools.

And behold, his tools were simple and yet they were cunning.  For he had not a chainsaw; yea, it sufficeth me to say that he had not the permission to purchase a chainsaw of epic proportions.  And yet he had three tools and he did gather them in his hand.  And behold, they were a small set of pruning clippers, a small folding handsaw, and (the most cunning and devious of all, as you shall see at the end of this record) a pocket chainsaw.

And with these tools, nay these implements of destruction, Brother Spike did venture forth into the yard.  And it came to pass that he did take the pruning clippers and did shear off each and every branch that was within his reach.  And behold, he did go forth to even some of the mighty trees in the yard and did jump up and did grasp the branches and did pull them down near unto himself and did cut them until the branches did fall to the ground and did never rise again.

And behold, this was much to the liking of Brother Spike, insomuch that he did spend much time in the yard and great was the destruction to the low hanging branches and small trees and shrubs which did grow throughout the landscape.  And behold, at times there were branches which were too much for the tiny pruning shears to cut through, but behold, did this stop Brother Spike?  Nay, for he did proceed to bring forth the folding handsaw and did unfold it and did lock its blade of many teeth into position and did proceed to slowly but surely hack his way through the limb of any tree which he could grasp.

And it came to pass that the branches did litter the ground and he did desire to burn them, but behold he did content himself to drag them away to the edges of the yard and did throw them in that low and somewhat swampy area of the yard which did serve no purpose but to breed mosquitoes of doom.  And he did gaze upon the yard and did see that there were no more branches within his reach and yet there were an exceeding number of trees, and yea, some were rather small and others were mighty, and yet even the smallest of the trees did exceed him in stature.

And it came to pass that Brother Spike did envy the trees and their loftiness and that they could enjoy the cool breeze and the amazing views from above whilst he did have to drag himself through the dirt.  And behold, he did survey the landscape and did choose a tree to destroy, which was close unto him.  And yea, it was a modest tree of only approximately four inches in diameter.  And he was angry and did push on the tree and to his amazement it did sway and shake before him.  And behold he did smile and did push the tree back and forth until it did topple over and he did laugh for although the tree was twenty feet tall its root ball was exceeding tiny, like unto a volleyball.  And for this reason did it fall before him.

And it came to pass that Brother Spike did glory in his own strength and did find another tree of similar size.  And behold he did tree to push it over as he had the other unfortunate tree, but behold its roots sank deep into the earth.  Nevertheless, he did notice that there was a small hole in the base of the tree and the heart of the tree seemed to be rotting.  And he did see that this weakness might be exploited.  And behold, Brother Spike did grab hold of the tree and did attempt to bend it, and yea, after some time and effort the tree did crack right at the point of weakness and did topple to the ground.

And behold, there were an exceeding number of trees and yet some were deep in the forested part of the yard and were not easily accessible and so Brother Spike did seek for those trees which were alone or were standing upon the fringes of the forest.  And he did find a suitable specimen which was large, yea, even exceedingly tall.  And yea, it was too large to push over or to break down by hand, and therefore he did bring forth the folding saw again and did begin to cut a notch into the tree so that it might not fall upon his head.  And behold he did set forth in earnest to cut the tree down.  And yea, the sharp teeth of the saw did cut into the base of the tree and the sawdust did fly and yea, Brother Spike became weary after approximately three and one half minutes of sawing.  And yea he was about to give up, but behold he did notice that because the tree was standing far from the other trees it had no support.  And yea, he did decide to use the loftiness of the tree against itself.  And yea, by pushing the tree, behold its own weight did cause it to topple although the cut in its base was relatively small.

And yea, then Brother Spike did bring forth his most cunning tool, the pocket chainsaw.  And as it lay coiled like a serpent in the grass he did think back to how he was able to obtain it with great ease from the internet.  And behold, it did not appear to be a devious implement of destruction, but its teeth were exceedingly sharp.  And its design was exceptionally cunning, for as he did place it against a tree and did pull, much pressure, yea indeed all of Brother Spike’s weight was brought to bear against the base of the tree.  And the pocket chainsaw did rip through the wood with such ferocity that it was near impossible to remove the saw.  Yea, the pocket chainsaw did cut through even large and mighty trees such that they did fall to the earth.

And it came to pass that he did use his cunning techniques to fell several more trees and it was exceedingly quick and easy, such that he did clear many small trees in the course of an hour.  And as each tree fell he did behold that they did take their leaves with them and the knowledge that he would not have to deal with those leaves in the autumn did make Brother Spike exceedingly glad.  And yea, there were still a multitude of trees in the yard and Brother Spike knew that he could not possibly bring them all down, but yea, for those trees which had fallen it mattered not how many were still standing for they themselves would never rise again.

For further reading see The Parable of the Oh So Many Trees – Explanation

The Parable of the Mighty Big Rocks

Yea, it came to pass in the summer of the year two thousand and twelve that the sun did rise extremely early in the morning.  And with the rising of the sun, so arose a man.  Yea, it behooveth me to change names to protect the foolish; therefore let us call him Brother Ike Cross.

And it came to pass that Brother Ike had a yard and within that yard there were contained a multitude, yea, a plethora of rocks of all shapes and sizes.  Yea, and all of them were exceedingly heavy as though they were made from the remnants of a dwarf star.

And it came to pass that Brother Ike did journey forth from his oh so comfortable air-conditioned bedroom and did venture out into the exceedingly hot and humid land round about his home.  And he did carry forth from the garage his tools of manliness, namely a pickaxe and two shovels.  Yea, and one of the shovels he affectionately named Herbert the Magnificent.  And Herbert did have an exceedingly strong blade and metal running more than halfway up the handle, so as to increase its mighty strength.  For behold, Brother Ike was a man of brute strength (and exceeding humility) and had broken another shovel (from henceforth known as Tiny Tim) and therefore Brother Ike’s kind and wonderful wife had given Herbert to him as a tool befitting the job that lie ahead.

Therefore Brother Ike ventured forth, taking with him his tools, and did survey the yard, noting the numberless rocks which did jut forth from the land like the teeth of a fossilized rancor.  And behold, Brother Ike did have a meeting later that morning and therefore had a limited amount of time to complete this mighty endeavor.  But he was not wearing a wristwatch and so his aforementioned lovely wife promised to call him in when his time was up.

And so despite the immensity of the task, Brother Ike began by choosing a seemingly modest and tiny stone, which did only protrude from the earth a matter of inches.  And it came to pass that he used his exceedingly cool pickaxe to probe the edges of the stone and to uncover it.  And once it was uncovered he was sore amazed at the bulk of the stone and did almost abandon his task and return to the comfort and air conditioning of his home.

But behold, Brother Ike knew that this path led only to woe and misery.  For the great day of reckoning was fast approaching in which Brother Ike would be called upon to mow the lawn.  And he knew that the stones would act as immense obstacles to the mowing of the lawn and that he would be forced to maneuver around them at all times or risk breaking a blade on his lawnmower.  And he also knew that this would cause his temper to flare with the brightness of a thousand suns and that he would weep and wail and possibly gnash his teeth.

And so, to avoid this awful fate, Brother Ike did draw forth his shovel, Herbert.  And he did plunge the shovel into the earth thousands of times.  Yea, my heart is pricked because of my boasting and it was possibly only a dozen times.  But nevertheless he did unearth the stone and did pry it loose from the ground and did roll it forth to the edges of the wilderness.  And there he did place the stone as the base of a wall that would separate his land from the wilderness which was infested with ticks and poison ivy and possibly Gadianton robbers.

And thus pleased with his initial fruitful efforts, he returned to his tools and did venture forth to find another rock.  And lo, he only had to travel two and one half feet.  And he did smite the earth with his pickaxe and did pry with his shovel, but to no avail.  For the rock would not budge.  And behold, he did notice that there was another stone and he did uncover that stone and found that it did overlap the previous stone.  And it came to pass that as Brother Ike removed the upper stone he found that he had freed the lower rock so that with much effort he was able to remove the stone which had previously bested him.  And these stones were also rolled to the edges of the wilderness to be placed as a barrier.

And it came to pass that as Brother Ike traveled back to his tools he looked and did behold a massive stone, the likes of which he had not hitherto even attempted to move.  But behold, knowing that the day of the mowing of the lawn would soon be upon him and that this stone would present a large and difficult obstacle of doom, he did take it upon himself to remove it from his yard.  And thus he gathered his tools and did begin his efforts.

And lo, he did wrestle with that stone and the sweat did drip from his body.  And behold, he did decide to take a quick break and to pick up several small stones, yea, which were smaller than his fist.  And he was pleased for he was concerned that his wife would ask how many rocks he had moved and that this act would pad his numbers.  And behold, he did return to the rock of doom and did wrestle again and did succeed in prying it loose from the ground.  And oh, what rejoicing he did feel in his heart.  And oh what sorrow he did feel when he realized that although it was now free of the ground, he had not the strength to lift it from the hole which he had dug.

And it came to pass that Brother Ike did proceed to murmur, and oh what a murmuring it was.  And behold, as he murmured he noticed the multitude of mosquitoes and biting flies which did swarm around his head and buzz in his ears.  And he did swat at them with the intent to smite them to the ground, that they might not return.  But behold, his flailing did only cause the swarm to increase in size until it was approximately the size of Brother Ike’s car.  And lo, he did realize that because he had drenched himself in bug spray before venturing forth, the mosquitoes and flies were unable to land upon him to drink his blood and sap his strength.  But behold, this did not stop the annoyance of their constant buzzing.

But lo, Brother Ike did look up and did behold his lovely wife standing in the window.  And he did take heart and did realize that he should publicly thank her for being so fabulous.  And it was so.  And he did undertake his monumental task again, for he did remember that the day of the mowing of the lawn would soon be upon him and that he had no idea how much time remained before he would be called home.  And so he did push and pull and pry with the shovel, insomuch that the fear of a hernia was upon him, but he did not stop.  And behold, his young son who had decided to play in the yard did come near unto Brother Ike.  And Brother Ike did request that his son push down upon a shovel while he did pull the stone from the pit.

And behold, Brother Ike was not an engineer and did not take into account that a child of thirty-five pounds should not try to pry up a boulder of two hundred and fifty pounds.  And behold, Brother Ike’s plans came to naught and he did contemplate buying a different house, one without rocks in the yard.  But he did soon realize that this was impossible.  And he did contemplate burying the rock under a small hill of dirt, but this was of course absurd, for the rock would still be there taunting him.

And behold as Brother Ike did wrestle with these thoughts he did also wrestle with the stone and did succeed in prying it almost twelve inches out of the ground.  And he was attempting to kick dirt and grass under the stone to raise it up from the ground, when to his surprise his young son did throw a Bacci ball under the rock in an attempt to be helpful.  And to Brother Ike’s great amazement this did act as a ball bearing and did allow him to finally, after great effort, remove the stone from the pit.  And there was much rejoicing and high fives.

And it came to pass that upon ever so slowly rolling the stone to the edges of the yard, that Brother Ike was called home by his wife.  And he was sore afraid that she would be ashamed of him for moving only a handful of stones.  But it came to pass that she did not ask the number of stones he had moved, nor the size of the stones.  Yea, she did only compliment him on his unceasing efforts and did praise him for his hard work.

And it came to pass that later in that same week, the day of reckoning was upon Brother Ike.  And he did venture forth to mow the lawn.  And yea, he did see that there were still many stones left in the yard and yet, he did not feel ashamed.  For he knew that he had done all that he possibly could in the time which was given him.  And as he mowed the lawn he experienced joy as he saw the places where he had removed the stones and which would never again cause him sorrow.  And it came to pass that he did mow the lawn, and he did see that the lawn was good for it was his own.

For further reading see The Parable of the Mighty Big Rocks – Explanation