Posts Tagged ‘building’

We have continued building the Tree Fort on into day three and things are going quite well. the neighborhood kids have discovered the great imagination station perched in our tree and there has been quite a bit of running up and down the ladder, zig zagging through the construction zone. My youngest two have been tossing, “Can I help Dad?” over their shoulders once in a while, but never really pausing long enough to put hand to thought. If you look closely in the next picture you can see Kaleb standing in his favorite spot…the far corner just under the Eastern window.

Kaleb standing in the corner

I know they truly want to help with the building project, although mostly they want to get a hammer in their hands and hit something repeatedly until that certain something breaks.  I really want to include them in the project too…for this is one of those things they will always remember and probably try to replicate with their own offspring. But, putting a seven and ten year old to work is quite a daunting task. Do I send them up the eight foot ladder standing on the top wrung with the drill and with one hand holding the screw and board while maneuvering the other hand in place to drill the screw in while hanging on with one foot? Don’t think so. But I did find some things for them to do and feel like they were putting some time in, enough to tell their friends that they built it with me.

The West wall is sided.

Sometimes I think I feel like I imagine my kids feeling when they ask me if they can help. Probably deep down they know I am not going allow them to use the power tools or climb the ladder to the top or do any serious measuring. I’m not sure they know I am letting them do things they really can’t mess up, things that I can double check without letting them know.

I ask those questions of God often. “Can I help?” “Can I be part of showing your power?” “Can I lead someone to you?” “Can I lead a big church?” “Can I, huh, God, can I?”  Like a little kid I bounce around hoping he will pick me to help in bringing his Kingdom to Seattle. Wishing and dreaming that he will let me do something important that transforms Seattle.

I wonder what he thinks?  Maybe he gives me tasks that he knows I can’t screw up to bad. You know like I do with my kids. I am not going to trust them install the 4×4 braces, that hold up the entire fort, with 8″ lag bolts sunk into the tree. Well, not yet anyway.  But with a bit of instruction I can entrust that to my older two boys.  Of course that all depends on how they follow the small instructions. If they do the little things completely wrong because they couldn’t even have enough self control to listen and learn, then I’m not giving them any greater tasks.

Hmmm. There seems to be a parable in here somewhere. Maybe our desires to do great things must match up with our humility to be taught; to be instructed; to be built up, which requires that we are torn down first. Maybe God really wants to call on me to do great big things, but he is waiting for me to be great in the small things. Maybe God is situating Epic Life Church, testing our resolve, our submission, our humility in the small things as he prepares big things.

Or…maybe he already has us doing great big things but we see them as insignificant. Are lives transformed and reconciled to Christ insignificant? I think not.


Building a tree fort for four boys is a very important act of Fatherhood. I have heard, “You’re a genius!” spoken in my direction from my offspring more in the past couple of days than I have the entire 17 years of this parenting journey so far. Many of our years of parenting have reflected something my sister-in-law posted on Facebook this morning. “My daughter is like green tea. She draws out my toxins and impurities. Then rubs them in my face.” Thank you Erin, that about sums things up. But having my oldest two attest to my genius-like attributes makes holding the baby worth the birthing process.

Building a tree fort is kind of like building a family. At times I really am not sure I know what the heck I’m doing and then all of the sudden things look alright, only to be lead into long moments of bewilderment and complete confusion.

One of the hardest moments so far in the construction of this elevated fort of awesomeness comes with a bit of irony as I drive huge lag bolts through the bark and into the woody trunk to hold pieces of it’s cousin onto its side. The human cut and planed boards being attached to a living tree holds a whole sermon in thought but will probably never be preached. The tough part is making these boards level so the tree fort can hold some resemblance of a highly crafted structure.

Piece by piece leveling the floor.

With only one branch to build upon and the great desire to have a fort that enjoys 180 deg. view it began quite difficult to keep things level, not to mention the difficulty of building the platform frame with no supports.

First Wall and Bracing.

But with a little help from a couple of strong young men, a four by four brace and a four foot level it finally started to take the resemblance of sketches floating in my head. Once we figured out how to build the first section of the base the next few became easier. Then screwing down the floor and building another wall was as easy as making nice MLT: a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that.

Finished Platform and Second Wall

Kind of like living, isn’t it? Those foundations are so hard to build but when they are built so much can happen and so quickly. Problem is, so many of us decide the foundation building is just too hard, so like pansies, we give up and go right to building the structure without the foundation. We think all the glory is in the structure – no one ever notices the foundations  –  everyone sees the structure.

My foundation for the fort was in place long before I fastened the first plank  to it’s uncle, Mr. Cedar Tree. I actually learned how to build from my dad, then from school, then from a company that built barns, then from my own construction business I ran for several years. All of that gave me the ability and confidence to place a firm foundation so the structure can be good looking and safe.

Don’t cheat foundation building. Give it time and enjoy it. Work at it. It will always pay off. These times of struggle and hardship are what glorious tree forts are built upon.