Category Archives: teaching

The ClutterStuff Shoppe!

To shop or not to shop that was the question. My wife and I just returned from a very much needed day “away from the farm.” What we had decided to do was to get away from the smokie haze of the wind drift smog and take refuge on the north shore of Lake Superior.

historic lift bridge

Everything is changing!

First of all the drive took us through some of the most beautiful areas of northern Minnesota and past some of the range cites/towns on our way to the Great Lakes. The closer we got to Duluth the cleaner and more clear the air became. The “fog” had lifted, the clouds had all begun to thin, and soon the air was pure and clean and clear. With a windless temp in low seventies the Lake emerged smooth as glass and all the troubles we had been smothered by back home receded into the darkest parts of our concious awareness! What a change! Words are not good enough to describe how we felt. If only you had been with us you would know!

Along the way other changes were obvious. Some of the old tourist trap shops were still present, but every once in a while a new one or two or three had been built and/or sprung up in the old locations since we last made the trip. The brightly colored signs, the out front displays and the many clutches of curious folks such as us were coming and going. We couldn’t decide where to stop. But once we had gone to the end of Minnesota point and back, visited with an old frined, and made our way to one of the finest restaurants in Duluth, we began to relax and make plans for the rest of the day! So much was new and so many of our favorites were still there, we had a hard time mapping out our course for the rest of the day! WOW!

What about the shops?

There are hundreds of them. All over the place. How could we do justice to the seductive invitations? Maybe its the color of the paint. Maybe the architectual style, or maybe it was simply that we had been to that shop before and we knew what to expect. We have tried a lot of them; bar food restaurants, candy stores, clothing hangouts, ice cream parlours, pie shops, hand made this or that, artisan studios, and the places of learning that peddle their fare and finished products! We even stopped at the “absolutely must do” shop, the smoked cisco favorite of the driver of our car!

The shop that beckons

Let me degress here a little bit to make a point about different retail shops as I see them. There are those who “make it” and are successful, and those who come and go like these beautiful days on the North Shore. The survivors are the ones that are here to stay and they always have been. When you go into one of them you know immediately why you are there! Maybe its polished agates, clearly handmade wrought iron, or yum delicious pie alamode. There’s no guessing, there are no hooks, there’s no opportunistic proprietor trying to sell somethinig, anything, using the language of market blab just to make a few cents on over priced “ClutterStuff” picked up somewhare or nabbed at a clearance sale of dusty imports.

When sisters love to make candy and are pasionate about it you know! It looks like candy, smells like candy, and tastes like candy! And once you’ve tried some you can’t be told otherswise and you will go back again and again to get some more! Then there are…

The ClutterStuff Shoppes!

This is a Brewery!

Since I live in metropolitan with over a million people, I am familier with shopping! I’ve been taken shopping, I’ve been made to go shopping, I’ve even exercised my perogative by going shoping by myself, for myself, and without any kind of restraint (That’s another story!).

What you see is what you get!
I want you to know that I know a great shop when I see one. I also know a “crap shop” when I get sucked into one! If you are thinking about starting a business and opening a shop then, please, oh please, don’t make a great idea turn into a cesspool or dump of cast offs! Here I must tread lightly, but let me say that in my opinion, if you have a passion and a great idea then go for it. But make sure that your shop is identifiable both within and wthout. Don’t let some fast talkng consonee talk you into making your shop look like a collection of a “pickers” dumpster! Everything in your shop should serve the underlying core business you want to pursue. If you want to sell junk then call it a “junk” store, “Grandma’s suff unlimited” or “Tools Grandpa couldn’t wear out!”

The Peace of God?
Sometimes churches are like that! You walk through the door to the sanctuary and it smells like “pot Luck.” You look at the outside marquee and you’s think the pastor’s sermons are going to be some of the biggest jokes. Seating yourself in a beautiful quiet place to search your heart and recieve peace for your soul, and what happens, the ear splitting thumping and banging of heavy metal is served up endlessly. No “Good news to be heard, only a steady flow of psycho bable designed to make you feel good and live in the delusion that “all is well.” When you leave you move away to the quiet of a noisy world wondering about the definition of “Church!” Is this a “ClutterStuff Church like to many others?

May your church be about Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now may The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus!



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Pastor Kogler

Hope Is Positive: I See a Hopeful Horizon

Hope for 2017.

As I write these words I’m looking at my calendar and planning ahead for hope filled new year. This is an activity that is done by most people every time we get to the after Christmas time before the

How do You See It?

New Year’s observance. I see a hopeful horizon for 2017.

I’ve chosen the following words to guide my thoughts: Romans 5:2-5: (ESV) 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[a] into this grace in which we stand, and we[b] rejoice[c] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

There are two words here that draw our attention, they are: “Produce” and “Hope.” This reference is also optimistic.

Hope more than an attitude

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

Optimistic people see the best in the world. Optimistic ideas have been around for a while. Consider Voltaire’s “Candide” (1759) he mocked them thoroughly. Here’s an optimistic quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Sometimes, however, it seems impossible to have or to maintain a positive and/or optimistic attitude or point of view.

Hope for all Generations

I have come to know several individuals who are the very opposite. Instead of looking forward with eager anticipation, they live in the darkness of fear and trepidation. Whenever the slightest variation in their lives appears they become upset, agitated, their personalities change, and they lash out against others and with much “hand wringing” while negatively influencing others. Baby Boomers and “millennials” fall into these cohorts.(Pew Research Center reports and data on the Millennial generation, and describes “millennials” as those born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.)

Reasons for Millennials Lack of Hope

The number of millennials is greater than boomers and the numbers in the greatest generation. Asking specific questions about religion, God and heaven when speaking to a millennial, more often gets a response of uncertainty if not hopeless pessimism. The reason for this is attributed to the lack of training in higher and more lofty matters of life. Boomers raised them while placing emphasis on the matters of self, stuff, and cynicism. This era of “empty” training should be laid at the feet of the “Boomers” and their wholesale pursuit of consumer satisfaction.

Grandma Has Hope

This explains why “grandmothers” are the better ones to ask about removing stains with Apple cider vinegar (ACV). Boomers would just throw their soiled things away while “older” generations would clean them up with ACV. If you’re really interested here’s something you can read: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/13-ways-to-clean-your-whole-home-with-apple-cider-vinegar-235579

Hope for little children

We gain further insight then when we see that so many of our 3, 4 & 5 year old children have not been baptized. They are not because their parents have been taught to leave them on their own. ‘When they get older they will decide.’ They are not taught to pray, they do not understand death and dying while they see it all around them, and their hearts and minds do not know about forgiving love, mercy, compassion, and human spirituality.

This is especially saddening when educators, doctors and psychologists talk of the same ages as the most important for training in the basic concepts of self worth, socialization, forgiveness and human spirituality.

When something goes wrong during the formative years, that has an effect on how the person grows and develops later during adolescence and adult life. Most time lines consider the first five years the formative years, and during this time social skills and basic motor functions are learned and practiced. Learning to walk, talk and use the bathroom are some key examples of these formative skills.

In addition, personality is greatly impacted by these years. Many basic likes and dislikes, such as arts and sports, have their beginnings in this period. Emotional development also starts in the formative years. It is important to focus on encouraging a child’s intellectual and thinking abilities during these years, as it can have a significant impact on them later in life. It is difficult to make up for a lack of this encouragement at an older age because by the end of the formative years so many basic building blocks are set in stone. For example, a child who does not learn to speak early enough will have difficulty learning later on.” https://www.reference.com/family/formative-years-cdabfff5b1d7e413#

(Please note that most school districts implementing 4-k programs seek to perpetuate the humanistic world view)

The Bible is full of directions to train up children. The last time I counted there were 31 easily identified passages. Proverbs 22:6 is readily understood: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Children of all generations are to be given hope. That hope is based on the righteousness of Christ. They need to learn about Jesus. We teach the children at home, in our preschool, Sunday School,  Christian Day Schools and confirmation classes to have an optimistic perspective based on the absolute truth of God as set forth in the Scriptures.

May we do all that we can to teach by word and example the message of the Gospel!



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Latest Seasonal Pen

I’m not a deer hunter anymore. Instead, to make pens like this one I use the antlers that I find on my walks along deer trails, or those that are brought to me by friends. The other day I heard a person comment about the senseless killing of such magnificent creatures just to get the antlers.  I tactfully asked for permission to explain that the antlers on male deer grow new every year. They are shed and fall to the ground for the tiny creatures to consume as food. Living in Minnesota and having many friends in Wisconsin I have no trouble buying or gathering suitable antler material.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
30 cal lever action deer antler ball point

My pens are not made from unused or poached animals. The very idea goes against my nature. Instead when I receive or discover an antler I always ask where the antlers came from.  Then I clean them, size them to fit the pen kit I use, and then polish the material to produce a lasting memory or very special writing instrument. The pen pictured is a fine example of a high end sportsman’s pen.



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Cursive, Print, Pen or keyboard!

Boy did I stir up a bees’ nest! Actually, I came upon one that had already been disturbed. It stemmed from a report in our town about the school districts in our state laying aside teaching the artistic skill of writing in cursive. The big debate was over  whether to make the kids learn how to write in cursive or not. Keyboarding, printing, and when one doesn’t have a smartphone, iPad, or keyboard, maybe, if you have to ….print…but,  please, oh, please don’t make ’em master themselves and their urges and as primary grade  students learn how to write in cursive.  Why that’s tantamount to making a youth practice the piano after someone has thrown a football or baseball his or her way. Hey, maybe I stumbled on a great idea: Let’s add "cursive teachers" to piano teachers, "tap dance  and baton teachers"  and have writing recitals. What d’ya think? We could sell videos, give away smart phones or mini iPads….the possibilities are endless.

Now, I’ve taught youth in the preteen category for over 50 years and I know what it’s about when I say with regard to learning how to write, "There’s trouble in River City!" Yeah, Yeah, I know that some eager to "be on the curve" techie type is going to say: "old man, readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithm’tic when out with the hitching post." Really?, perhaps, (Why, just the other day, I saw an electric car tethered to a power outlet on a post, hmmm) just maybe, that’s part of the reason why we Americans have a hard time keeping the label, "Made in America" on the products we buy and use. Sure the kids are bright, and yes, they learn quicker that the speed of light, but, in my opinion, it seems that part of their brain is being short-circuited while they’re being under trained when tthey’re not required to learn how to write their names. Most of them can’t read the "hen scratching of their peers, much less the letters and gift cards that grandma or grandpa sends them. What happens in our family is close to "rip open the card, glance at the picture, and show me the money." It’s really simple, they act like that because they can’t read either the printed or written words that are placed before them.  "R U with me so far?"  It used to be that I would get requests to translate letters sent from Germany. It was because the recipients didn’t know the language or recognize the letters with their special markings, etc. What I’m writing about here is nothing like that. It’s far more problematic.

Let me tell you that something relative took place in a class I was teaching just yesterday. The need for translating came about because a fellow who had been ill missed class. His buddy had been kind enough to take notes for him while hie was gone.  Then it happened… the sick dude, as he was called, was given the unreadable notes for the class taken by his buddy. But the notes were worthless! Why? Because the note taker’s "printing" was so bad that the words  were unintelligible for his friend. What made it worse, and, I think proves my point, the guy who took the notes was asked to decipher his printing and he couldn’t!  He couldn’t read his own writing. Ouch!

So… I guess I’m aiding and abetting the youngsters in their misery by making a pen that has both a ballpoint with which to write on one end, and a interactive tip on the other end with which to swipe or stroke a screen. Sometimes you have to ride two horses at the same time. Which brings me to my shop project for today. I was experiencing a little problem in achieving true roundness on my pen blanks. This I determined had to do with the flex of the mandrel that they’re turned on. So, when I came upon the solution presented by one fellow turner, I thought I’d give it a try. Well sure enough it worked…in the picture you can see how I still used the mandrel, but turned only one section of the stylus pen I was making. The note taker in the story above will get the stylus/pen with which to learn and to practice learning how to write in cursive while stroking his iPad. LOL!



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Pens – the basic stuff

I suppose a library of printed books could be filled with a discussion about pens, pencils, and the many different forms of writing instruments used by mankind throughout the ages. In all the cases that I know they are an extension of the human hand that allows the user to make some kind of mark. Those markings are different than those made with a brush in that most pens have only one point at which they touch the surface upon which the mark is to be made and left behind. Brushes on the other hand have many bristles and together are used to carry the medium that is being used to make a mark. A fountain pen comes close by using the two parts of a nib between which the ink flows to make its mark.

From charcoal, cunieform styli, quills, lead pencils, and many other different forms and instruments loaded with or carrying some sort of stained liquid an individual was and is able to convey by pictures, doodles, or complex symbol set, the ideas their minds have conceived and learned to portray in some form of writing. It is fairly amazing how the human brain can be trained to transfer ideas to graphics or things that can be seen and understood by others. As a student of languages, whether it be singular or multiple, to be able to read and write is a very important part of education, socialization, communication and interpersonal interaction. Although the keypad upon which my fingers are pressing to write these words does that and much more, there is an enduring quality to hand writing that makes it preferred in so many contexts.

As a pen maker I try to imagine how and for what the writing instruments that I craft will be used and by whom they will become an extension. From the time that I have been able to write I have been aware that when you see my hand writing you see something unique and special. My signature is mine, my letters are easily distinguished from those of others, and the style itself tells a trained observer many things about me in addition to the word or marks I have written. This is mostly true for everyone.  At the same time I have always been aware of the differences in the pens and pencils that I have used because I am left handed and hold my hand in a way that is different from most of the other people that I have watched as they have left their mark. When I add my signature to something, I do it very carefully and with purpose.  Unless I agree to what is being signed or written I will not add my signature.

It is with that same care and attention to detail I like to believe that I make my pens and those pens I might make for others. I hope that the pens that come from my hands become an extension of that person’s self. That’s why I can call my pens "signature" pens. They are all unique and specially made to my standards and according to the ability that I have at this point in my life. If you should want one, please let me know and I will make one for you.



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