I had an unusual Sunday morning last week. I normally go to early church and leave home by 7:15 a.m. but I didn’t have to leave until later because we are getting a new pastor and we were to meet him and his wife between services. Pastor Eric Longman from Jackson, Missouri, was voted in by the congregation. He and his wife came to our church to visit with the members on Sunday. We are waiting for his decision to come to our church. 

While I was getting ready I had the TV on and got interested in a story on “Sunday Morning” about the wood carver, David Esterly. He is truly an artist! He works out of his barn in the rural hamlet of Barneveld in upstate New York. Some years ago while studying literature in London he had a chance encounter while walking down Piccadilly with the woman who later became his wife who suddenly grabbed his arm and said, “Let’s go see Grinling Gibbons.” They went into a beautiful church from the 1680s.

Looking up he saw an extraordinary tangle of vegetation carved in wood. Grinling Gibbons turned out to be the greatest British wood carver.

Esterly spent eight years in an English cottage, teaching himself to carve. He was haunted by Gibbons with words sort of whispering over his shoulder telling him he was better than Esterly.

In 1986 a fire in the royal palace of Hampton Court destroyed some of Gibbons’ masterpieces. Esterly was chosen to restore and even replace several of the master’s creations. He is truly a sculptor.

While spending time meeting with “Sunday Morning” Esterly first noticed symptoms of what was later diagnosed as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

With the help of assistants, David Esterly has completed a commission for Bentonville, Arkansas’ Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. At age 74, he finished his final work.

He said, “I’ve lived my life by the connection between brain and hand. And now I’m ending it by precisely that connection being snatched away from me. So, to me, there’s something richly meaningful about that.”

This story was produced by Anthony Laudato. To find more information: davidesterly.com

I am going to Crystal Bridges to see his work. His works are absolutely masterpieces.

Each time it rains, I am sure the folks on the Arkansas River are cringing. It takes so long to recover from a natural disaster. It changes the direction of a life, sometimes for the better but it takes a lot of pain recovering before it gets better. Sometimes it is something some people never recover from.

Have you noticed how much better you feel when the sky is blue and the temperature is just right? I have always thought I could not live in parts of the world happily where it is dark and rainy often. I am so happy I was born in the hills of Northwest Arkansas!

Have a great week.

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