I do think I should thank the USA for all of the years I was welcomed to live within its borders–23 in total. I met such kindness there in the early years. Difficult times were always helped with unexpected kindnesses, love and care.

The Dry Frio river in Texas

These are difficult times for us all, of that there can be no doubt. But in our difficult times, we find friends and friendship. Did I ever tell you of the time when I lived in a remote place where I built my home on land that had no water? I was hauling water from the river on a weekly basis. Thankfully the river was pure enough to drink. Well, one day a man I knew nothing of asked me what I was doing for water. I told him I hauled the water from the river. He said, “Well I live in Houston but I own that little place across the road from you. It’s been on the family for four generations now. I have water. I’d like to give you access to my water storage for free!” The man left and came back the next day with 350 feet of water pipe with all the fixtures and fittings I would need to hook into his water supply. “Come with me and I will show you something.” Peter said. Across the field, he showed me the pump, the tank and where to make the connection. He told me that I needed only to bury the pipe 6″ deep as the freezes were never that deep. His parting words were. All of this is a gift to welcome you to Texas and the USA.

My first home in Texas. My son Joseph was born in the bottom room on the right hand side. I built the chimneystack from river rocks.

A few months later I cut myself badly and couldn’t work for a few weeks. A neighbour heard of my dilemma and sent me a check for $10,000 as a gift with a note saying, “We owe no man anything except a debt of love. Please receive this free gift.”

My love for the Texas landscapes like this never wane.

Did I ever tell you about . . . Well, I’ll tell you of that one and maybe a dozen others like it later maybe!

Thank you, USA for all your lovingkindness to me and my family. I will always love you! I do hope that you remain safe in the face of all conflicts and adversity. The 20th of January will be a day of many transitions but throughout history, we have always overcome. My heart is always with you!

37 Comments

  1. Dave Gordon on 20 January 2021 at 12:03 am

    The United States of America that you see on your flat-screen television bears little or no resemblance to the United States that actually exists, in three dimensions, from sea to shining sea (and a bit beyond).

    • Karen Byrd on 26 January 2021 at 1:04 am

      Hello Paul,
      Thanks for the kind words about Texas! It’s been my home for 60 years! I will be visiting the UK in June and I’m so looking forward to it.

  2. Frank Kras on 20 January 2021 at 1:15 am

    Thanks for the kind words Paul. I was stationed in England 40 years ago, and fondly remember the kindness of strangers.

    • Matthieu on 20 January 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Tank you so much for this beautiful story! Our American cousins can be that kind of men and women.

  3. Keith on 20 January 2021 at 1:21 am

    Your words ring with encouragement and hope. Thanksgiving is often
    powerful that way. Thank you.

  4. Samuel on 20 January 2021 at 7:11 am

    Those images are very captivating of pioneering your own life and finding the skills you had really could be put to the test and you could do it.
    What every boy imagines his life as an independent courageous adult will be.
    I’m signing up for a new training course in a trade in my early 30s and I’m quite apprehensive.
    I don’t know if I could have done more to find a path in woodworking thru an informal mentor ship or dedicating myself to learning independently. But the time has some and I need to do something, which I hope will allow me to mentor and be independent when I’m done.
    I am sort of alone I feel and not sure of what I really think and u know…this may be my last chance to reinvent myself,
    Anyway, day by day I guess

    • Samuel on 20 January 2021 at 7:21 am

      Oh, I do know I could have done more, I didn’t think there was a way to support myself and educate myself at the same time in woodwork.
      Instead of getting my thoughts together I got engrossed in negative emotions.
      Anyway, clarity comes with action and so hmm

  5. Tom on 20 January 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Texas has a unique culture where anyone will help a stranger out.
    Not so much in the northeast part of the country where people look at you in suspicion when you say good morning to them. You most certainly picked the right place when you decided to settle in the U.S.

    • Mark on 24 January 2021 at 2:26 am

      Lovely stories of kindness and humanity. I live in the Northeast, and find it sad to see so many assigning kindness to geographic region. I, in my touring musician days, traveled all over the country regularly, and found plenty of kind and considerate people in every state, and in all areas rural, suburban, and urban. I have also met plenty of people who I did not find good company from small towns to big cities. Kindness and consideration are not geographic traits, they are the traits of a good person, and good people are everywhere. I would say to all who think they live in the only pocket of decency in an entire country, or even the entire world, you need to get out there! Extend your boundaries and lay down your preconceived notions. Generalizations borne of rumors and fear spawn ignorance and intolerance. They take away opportunities for growth and relationships, sow division, and rob us all of good company.

    • Dan Root on 26 January 2021 at 3:08 am

      I live in the northeast, and feel strongly that people are lovely everywhere. My community is open and giving, and welcoming to strangers. People are people; no matter where.

  6. Paul. on 20 January 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Amazing stories thanks for sharing. I can replicate stories of amazing hospitality and kindness from strangers when I lived in rural Africa. Even subsistence farmers would lovingly invite me in to their mud houses to share their food. An incredibly humble experience.

  7. Bill on 20 January 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you, Paul! Your words are so kind. I have lived in Texas twice and visited a few more times. Don’t really care for the weather (and I’m a New Englander, haha), but the thing that always stood out for me about Texas was how nice the people are. Really extraordinary. As a veteran and an American it’s great to hear about some of the good things about my country during what has been some dark times. I am hoping for a brighter future. Cheers, my friend!

  8. Herbert Brauer on 20 January 2021 at 1:51 pm

    I’ve been to the US on a few occasions, always as a student, and was often met by kind, giving folks yes… like every other country right now, they’ll have to sort out their relationsip with their leaders in all areas if their lifes and I have no doubt that they will.

  9. Andrew on 20 January 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you Paul for the heartwarming stories.

  10. Curtis Enlow on 20 January 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you, Paul.

    I was staying at a B&B in Castle Comb, Wiltshire many years ago, and talking with my daughter back home on a small pay phone in the parler. I was hurriedly making my goodbyes as I explained I had run out of coins (the overseas call was expensive!) when our host exited his residence, placed a small stack of Pound coins near me, winked and walked back into his residence.

    I think humans everywhere – when allowed to – are good, kind, noble creatures. That is our daily struggle, to be who our Creator meant us to be.

  11. Dan Roper on 20 January 2021 at 2:52 pm

    Great words about the kindness of others. As a Texan, we would welcome you back at any time. Our great state is a little less without you here.

    • James on 20 January 2021 at 6:29 pm

      Second that Dan. As you know, “Life’s too short not to live it as a Texan”.

    • Rod Brink on 25 January 2021 at 3:47 pm

      As another Texan, I too want to thank Paul for all his efforts to educate all those interested in woodworking and say that his remarks about Texas are appreciated. As long as Texas remains majority conservative it will remain a Republic that always fights for the freedoms we have enumerated in our US constitution.

      Woodworking is truly a marvelous activity that I have grown to love especially since I was able to increase my knowledge and skills because of “Sellers University”. I have built boats and repaired boats the past 15 years and have increased my skills because of Mr Sellers generous gift of his time to share knowledge and experience with the world. I would say Paul Sellers has been a Godsend to so many people in a time where old world skills are being lost and his efforts have shown so many the extreme enjoyment of leaning some basic skills and creating from wood. Additionally Paul has clearly shown that you don’t have to have a ton of money to get into woodworking just a avid interest and desire to learn.
      Thank you Paul Sellers.

      At 72 I have a goal for the upcoming year to continue to add to the skills I have learned from Paul and could not thank him enough for providing such a valuable resource to all.

  12. Lisa B. on 20 January 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Your words made my day, gave me some heart at a time when real freedom — freedom of speech — is now in serious danger in my country. Thanks Paul

  13. James Monette on 20 January 2021 at 4:28 pm

    I’m from the Northeast, Vermont, and I guess we are a little contrary up here. there is an old book about Vermont titled, ” Contrary Country “. Not bad reading.

    I think Paul has given as much monetarily, and much much more, by providing his free instructions on how to work with wood. I Don’t mean to be flattering the man either.

  14. James Monette on 20 January 2021 at 4:30 pm

    I’m from the Northeast, Vermont, and I guess we are a little contrary up here. there is an old book about Vermont titled, ” Contrary Country “. Not bad reading.
    I think Paul has given as much monetarily, and much much more, by providing his free instructions on how to work with wood. I Don’t mean to be flattering the man either.

  15. James Monette on 20 January 2021 at 4:31 pm

    I’m from the Northeast, Vermont, and I guess we are a little contrary up here. there is an old book about Vermont titled, ” Contrary Country “. Not bad reading.
    I think Paul has given as much monetarily, and much much more, by providing his free instructions on how to work with wood. I Don’t mean to be flattering the man either.
    This is not a duplicate comment.

  16. todd trebuna on 20 January 2021 at 4:33 pm

    The media would have you believe that the most important connection is the connection between people and screens. When in fact, it’s about people in real relationship with each other. That is where barriers get broken down and where love dwells. Your examples are the best kind of examples and too little shared. Be well Paul. Love your content. I am a subscriber and am a better woodworker because of your teaching. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  17. nemo on 20 January 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Some of the most generous acts in my life have been by Americans that I’ve never met in person. I particularly recall in my student days, in the days before the world-wide web, that I asked a question on a Usenet gliding-list whether anyone had a copy of a schematic of an airband handy-talky/portophone so I could build my own (being a student with limited means). I got one reply from an American (still know his name to this day) who saw my request for a schematic and said he had a working portophone he didn’t use, didn’t want any money for it and would ship it, for free (he worked as a pilot for that shipping company).

    To say I was dumbstruck was an understatement. He did not want any payment in any shape or form. In the end he finally agreed to accept a bit of tangible handywork I had made. There are several more examples I won’t get into, but my view is that Americans are some of the most generous people I have dealt with, even though I’ve never lived there. It’s an image that differs greatly from the view one gets when watching the news.

  18. Andy Gienapp on 20 January 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you, Paul. I was similarly welcomed in when I was in England…and in every other country I have visited in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

    That tells me that more often than not, the people of the land rise above whatever political or social mess is going on. They are just people who want to live, love, raise their families, and maybe do some woodworking on occasion.

    You are always welcome in the U.S.A.

  19. Craig French on 20 January 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Paul,
    Thanks very much for your kind words. It means a lot especially in these days that we have been experiencing. I have a fondness for the U.K., a part of my heritage, England, Scotland, and Ireland.
    God’s blessings to you.

  20. Jon Bowers on 20 January 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Paul,
    As I Texan and a veteran, I’m so humbled and grateful for your kind words. I had a tough day today but, I was also met with the kindness of strangers. That got me through this trying day. God bless you and yours.

  21. Len Kennan on 20 January 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Paul, thank you for your beautiful story. loving and caring for those around us is so important. Today after watching our 46th president take office, i am once again, proud and hopefull to be an american.May we be a beacon of light for the whole world to see. I have learned so much from you,many thanks! Len from Connecticut.

    • Paul Sellers on 21 January 2021 at 7:52 am

      I can’t imagine that any nation will ever be a true “beacon of light for the whole world to see.” Most nations offer very little beyond the adoration of power, prowess, money and influential success in things like sport, world dominance through consumerism and economics. I tried to think just which nation does not see itself as a “beacon of light~” and then I tried to think which nation would I like to follow as an example of wonder and amazement. I couldn’t think of one, not one. But what gave me real hope was th reality of meeting individuals I have seen or heard of in different nations and thought to myself, this man, this woman, this child, they have humility. This is the one who would and could be “a beacon of light for the whole world to see.”

      • Artur Darmofal on 23 January 2021 at 5:39 pm

        Only after horrible crisis or disaster showing who we really are for this planet. Until then just economic growth, growth and growth…

      • Rod on 25 January 2021 at 4:09 pm

        Agree again with you Paul… the worldwide communications that we have access to do show all people that personal relationships are possible worldwide and we are all better for it. Your efforts with your website are a prime example … as as such I think common interests have helped to bond millions of people to people in other countries. For example, from my boatbuilding passions I have come to know and communicate with scores of individuals around the world and as the world wide web shows us… these opportunities only increase every day. Additionally the growth of Woodworking and the innovations we see today are definitely making the world reality a easier larger community because of the ease of communications.

  22. Steve on 21 January 2021 at 1:09 am

    That must be a Texas thing. Here in Southern California you probably would have had your car stolen, and half your amazon packages stolen by porch pirates as a welcome

    • Rod Brink on 25 January 2021 at 3:59 pm

      I’d say the USA was a beacon of light until the most recent election. Following our constitution, maintaining our freedoms, and the government having a prime responsibility to protect and take care of all its citizens is a great example to all nations. When our constitution is followed it is one of the most amazing documents ever written in history.

      Sadly, the divisions in this country are far from over… and I must say Paul’s contributions to the world make it easier for people to have fuller lives by sharing Paul’s passion.

  23. Hasan on 21 January 2021 at 10:56 pm

    I didn’t know you built a house! I hope you tell us more about that and other stories 🙂

  24. D. J. Muse on 24 January 2021 at 4:05 am

    Thank you, Sir, for your observations. I’ve had limited opportunities to be exposed, one on one, with individuals from various countries and backgrounds, but am a strong believer that one needs personal interactions to best understand each other. My personal experiences with individuals from Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Checzk Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, heck, even Texas for that matter… well people are good, caring, and concerned about their fellow man. With the possible exception of folks from Michigan, USA, but that’s a different story, let’s focus on the positive.

    Let us get to know individuals before we presume to judge.

    Thank you for your comments and faith in us as humans. Love your work.

    An Appalachian hillbilly living in the US Midwest…

  25. John on 25 January 2021 at 3:52 pm

    Paul, I’m a Brit but I lived in Alaska for 10 years, I found the people to be some of the kindest, funniest folks I have ever met. Americans have a phrase, paying it forward, which is a great thing to do. At a time in my life when I needed it, my friends were there. I always think of them when I give money to charity or help someone….gotta keep the momentum of that kindness going and pay it forward.

  26. Andrew Cormack on 26 January 2021 at 12:29 am

    I’m from England and now live in the North East of the USA. The people here are very welcoming. Just like in many countries, away from the big cities people are friendly, helpful and wonderful.

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