Archive for November, 2008

General’s Pencil Company

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

As I wrote sometime before, I started to learn how to draw in Oct 07. I got myself a complete yet cheap set of pencils. (didn’t know they were cheap at the time) A year later, Oct 08, I decided to treat myself to a better set of pencils. General’s Pencils puts out a box set #10. Has a lot of little goodies in it. Everything was working out fine until I had to sharpen the Kimberly 6B graphite pencil. Oooh… it was bad. So I wrote GPC about it. Here is what I wrote:


After fifty-five years of living I finally decided to learn how to draw. I went out and bought a set of pencils in a carrying case. Over the past year I have learned to draw. Ha! Still learning. So this year I decided that I would treat myself and get a better set of pencils. At the Michael’s store in Hamilton I found a number of your products. I bought “General’s Drawing Pencil Kit #10.”

When I got home and opened the pack I felt a little bit like a kid in a candy store. I immediately tried everything in the kit to see what they were like. Your product certainly has opened some doors for experimentation. I was rather enjoying the experience.

Yesterday I took out the 6B graphite pencil, sharpened it, and started a sketch. It went quite well and I thought I would do a dozen sketches using this pencil only. Everything was going fine. I needed to sharpen the pencil and put a fairly good point on it. As I tried to finish the first sketch the lead broke. I sharpened it again and as soon as I applied the point to paper it broke again. I went from having a full pencil to a stub in ten minutes. I was a bit angry. I started to wonder about the rest of the kit. Yet I haven’t had any problems with them so far.

I don’t know why this particular pencil kept breaking. The other 6B I was using previously never gave me this problem (Royal – not your product). Quality control? Production problem? Just the luck of the draw (ha, ha)? I don’t know why this particular pencil was such a loser.

Why am I writing you? I just needed to vent some of the frustration I am feeling. Fortunately I still have the old 6B (from Royal) and I added it the group of Kimberly’s I am currently using.

They responded the very next day:

Hello Joseph,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. We rely on this kind of feedback to be sure we are making our products to meet our consistently high quality standards. Every so often, a core (lead) will have cracked before being bonded into pencil slats, so we are sorry if this happened to you. We will send out replacements on Monday from our sales office in Redwood City. Thank you for choosing GENERAL PENCIL COMPANY, making pencils with pride in the USA (still!!) since 1889.

I was surprised that they responded so quickly to my email. Oh, the promise to replace the pencil? It took ten days before a package showed up in the mailbox. Not only did they send me a replacement pencil… they sent me a complete set on pencils. More… they sent along a complimentary charcoal set.

I expected nothing from the company. They have wow’ed me with their quickness and their kindness.

So a big “Thank You!” General’s Pencil Company. You have my business.

Crossfire Open House

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

This past weekend Crossfire had an open house and a grand opening service in our new building. A lot of work and sacrifice went into getting the building ready. I have been injured the last 2 months and haven’t been able to make any contributions of time or elbow grease. Yet Sunday morning the pastoral staff allowed me to participate.

I wasn’t there. I was at home. As I lay in my bed early Sunday morning my thoughts turned to the church and what was happening that day. Words came to mind. After a bit of mulling over what was coming to me I got up and went to the computer. I wrote down those words, printed them out and sent them to the pastoral staff by my wife’s hand. They graciously read my comments to the church after the worship service. Here is what I wrote:

In the last century of the last millennium
God reached down and stepped onto
the earth where we stand today.
His people erected a building.
Their hearts were touched by God.
From here they stepped out
Into the community
And beyond to the world.

This day,
in a new century
of a new millennium,
a new generation stands
in this footstep of God.
If you incline your hearts to Him,
He will be faithful to fulfill
all the promises He has made.

You too will step out
into the community
and beyond to the world.
Through you He will show
His Power
His Wisdom
His Love.

You will become
a lamp on a hill
whose light will shine forth
for all to see.
God bless you all
on this day of
New Beginnings.

I wasn’t there but by allowing my words to be spoken… I was there in spirit. Thank you Roy and Patti.


Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Guess it is time to catch up. About my back injury… still hurts when I stand and can’t walk very far. Yet I think there is some improvement because I have cut back on the amount of drugs that I am taking. I also am finding it easier to sleep. I will be trying to get out to an evening meeting a couple of weeks from now. Got to start reaching beyond the doors of my house.

A month ago I took some restrictions off of the blog program. Sigh… and now I am getting a bit too much spam appearing on my site. So I put the restrictions back in. Shouldn’t make that much of a difference to those who are regular contributers. Others will have to wait for approuval before their comments appear.

Agents of Intolerance?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

taken from my comment post at runningpastor

I usually get tired of the old complaint that Christians (evangelical) are dumb hicks with an axe to grind and not above violence in the name of God. This usually comes from people who are bigoted themselves. The brush they use to tar us is the same brush that created them in their own image.

What is sad is that it isn’t always the people on the left. You can see it rising in the aftermath of the US election. The “right” are looking for reasons why they lost. They point their finger once again to “those agents of intolerance” the evangelical Christian.

Is it surprising that we are the whipping boy of the non-christian right and most of the left? There is that scripture that says they will think us weird because we don’t run with the same excess as they do. Another, we are in the light and the darkness hates us because they don’t and can’t understand us.

Fortunately for us, most people are somewhere in the middle. They take John (Lennon’s) scripture to heart… Live and let live. It does get tiring that the mud that some sling is aimed at Christians. On occassion we deserve it. But most of the time we don’t. I must tell you… the teflon coating I’ve been given by the Spirit sometimes wears a bit thin. Hate, their hate, can do that. And sometimes, just sometimes, I respond in kind… sigh!