Something Awesome is Happening in Nelsonville-York

I am like a dog with a bone when I get an idea in my head. My mind focuses in on something I want to do, and I’m off– a high-speed train coming straight at you.

That’s awesome when it comes to things like kindness. It’s what gives me the jolt to quickly go and do something kind before I stop to think about all the ways it could go horribly wrong.

But it’s a little less awesome with other things.

We had been looking at lake cabins for a while before finding one to buy in Ohio’s  beautiful Hocking Hills last November. Before we even closed on it, I started envisioning the timeless memories our family would create while kayaking around the lake.

So, I started looking incessantly at kayaks.

Nearly every day for five months I searched the internet for kayaks. Finally my husband threw his hands in the air, rented a truck and said, “Let’s just go to the store and buy the $#@$ kayak!”

At least, that’s sort of how it went down…

And then I bought a 1500 piece puzzle.

You know that every lake place needs a puzzle, right? You just leave it out on the table and as people walk by, they can add a piece.

One small problem. We didn’t have a table.

This became a bit more complicated than the kayak. You see, I didn’t just want a table, I wanted a specific table that I had created in my mind. I wanted it long and narrow and made out of wood. I wanted it to have two benches that could fit all the way underneath it in case we wanted more room to play dominoes on the floor (since the table would be taken up with puzzle pieces).

After numerous in-store and online shopping excursions, I still couldn’t find exactly what I wanted within a reasonable budget.

In desperation, I turned to Facebook.

“Does anyone know someone in the Athens area who could make me a table for less than a gazillion dollars?”

A super energetic problem-solver named Julie responded a few minutes later. “My brother is a woodshop teacher and he and his kids have been making some amazing things.”

And that is how I learned about the incredible happenings in Josh Woodburn’s Nelsonville-York woodshop classroom.

This table became so much more than a table. It became a piece of art that will be handed down for years. It became a reminder of good people who passionately teach willing students a skill they will use for the rest of their lives. It became an icon of the next generation of boys who are quickly growing into kind, confident, able men.

Saul and I got to meet the high school boys who made our table, along with the man who, through his quiet daily interactions and example, reminds them that (aside from beautiful furniture) they also have the ability to create the life they want to live.

Here are some photos of the table. I hope as you look at them, you see what I see: immense kindness from so many angles.

The table and its craftsmen, along with (my cute husband) Saul and their teacher, Josh Woodburn…The adorable benches… 

The boys signature on their artwork…

The puzzle on the table!!! This could take us all summer to finish…

And finally, a God wink. Something Josh could not have known… In our family, when we see a penny, we take a moment to remember that God sees us, cares about us, and wants to meet us in our everyday lives. Josh and his students used pennies to cover all of the bolt holes in the tables and benches.

There is something awesome happening in the Nelsonville-York high school. And I’m certain, it’s going to continue to spread.

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