Sunday, September 25, 2016

July 2016

My July started with a 1 1/2 week vacation, which I started my 1st full day off by going to an evening concert (Johnny Holm) with friends..

I deliver papers with clients in my regular ft-job, so we decided to do it on Saturday since Monday was a holiday. Unfortunately, the door to the local paper was closed, so I decided to ride my bike at the local park after dropping off the work vehicle. I took a lot of video and pics of various birds along the bike trails.

Later on, I would drive to Albertville Outlet shopping mall with a couple of friends. On our way, we stopped at Starbuck to check out some planes during a fly-in breakfast at their airport. On our way back from Albertville, we drove to Lake Maria State Park along I-94, which I 've always wanted to check it out after passing the sign of this state park many times. We timed it to head back and stop at Starbuck again for their annual fireworks show.

I would take advantage of our week vacation by going to the cities to spend time with family-friends in St. Paul. I would watch the fireworks through my parent's backyard patio screen as I watched other firework show "live" on t.v. My nephew had baseball practice at Battle Creek Elementary School, so I joined him, my brother, and his teammates. I ended up playing soccer with this young boy (Somali) playing nearby as his mom watched.

It was the annual big summer "Prairie Pioneer Days" in our town (Morris), which I went with some friends to a a rock concert in town. They had fireworks in the background, which made the venue more interesting. I got a free drum stick when the drummer threw several at the crowd towards the end. It capped the evening for me!

The following day, I would attend my favorite pancake feed and watched a little of the parade from my house during the afternoon. It was a great weekend before I had to go back to work the next day after a 1 1/2 week vacation.

One of the karaoke songs I did this month was Annie's Tomorrow, along with many theme parody songs from church worship-praise music: Come & Let your "peace" (parody from "presence" & NO longer a slave to...."anger" (parody from "fear"). I ended up sharing a short 10 minute message at church (Sunday, July 17th) about these parodies, which we can change the wording and fit/declare (in Jesus' name as spiritual warfare) our own personal life challenges or circumstance in life.

"Lord give us a New Song..."

I took advantage of the nice "hot" summer weather by going swimming at Glacial Lake with a couple of co-workers after work on Tuesday, July 26th. I was able to build enough confidence to swim past the swimming area and go as far deep out shore. I was hoping to do it more as "fresh" water is a lot better than "indoor" chlorinated water!-> see Health: Be more safe in Swimming Pools?

On Thursday, July 28th-we had the first of many weekly soccer/futbol pick-up games in Morris. We met for the first time at the UMM soccer field and it was fairly hot (80's)!

My friends who had the last weekend off from work, joined me on a road-trip up the North Shore on Saturday, July 30th ..

Gooseberry Falls State Park Visit (July 30th 2016)

and the South Shore-Wisconsin- side & Michigan: Upper Peninsula the following day (Sunday, July 31st 2016)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

June 2016

I was inspired to write this song titled "Why do you do what you do?". I worked on my video house project (e.g. DVD labels) for the guy I've been doing this since almost the beginning of the year. On the 7th, I helped my renter with more of his college writing paper by editing it. I attended this community mentoring (Kinship) fundraiser information meeting, which I biked in hot steamy weather Thursday evening (9th). The following day, I did more biking as it was my Friday "off" from my ft-job. I went biking over 6+ miles or so with my pastor (Pat) despite my pedals breaking off mid-point of the ride. We then went to Don's Café for breakfast.

The 2nd weekend of the month (11th), I took Caio & Luciano (ESL students visiting from Brazil) to Glacial Lakes State Park, which I had fun kayaking-great upper body workout!..

I continued my bike-workout by riding to the local grocery store carrying 2 empty gallons and would fill it. Then rode back with one in each side of my handle bars. I was part of my local church worship team on Sunday (12th), which is always a faith building growing time for me.

On Tuesday (14th), I attended our annual "Defensive Driving" in-service, which is always a great life-application review (e.g. just take your time and not speed!). I worked more on my health-fitness blog (15th) as we didn't have any ESL classes. A "friend" on facebook mentioned about TMJ, so I decided to share my personal experience on how I deal with my TMJ.

I went to the cities for my monthly visit on the 17th, which I spent time with parents as my "fathers' day" weekend. I helped my dad (along with my younger brother) replaced a leaky toilet.

The Morris Kiwanis Talent Show was only 2 weeks this year due to lack of participants, so I would take pictures and videos of the last 2 Thursdays of the month. It was a great time to get-together with people in the community and hangout with Caio & Luciano-introducing them to some friends that were present.

The last weekend of the month, I rode with 4 of my ESL students to Benson's outdoor water park, which we had a great time. We ended up going to DQ for a cool treat and then went back to Morris to this "Hog Roast Fundraiser" for Options for Women...

The next day, I took the guys from Brazil to the annual "Vikingland Band Festival Parade" competition in downtown Alexandria. It was the biggest and longest for this annual event, but we stayed till the end and met this cool guy that took our picture..

During work, my co-worker asked for a prayer request for this kid that was missing from her family's town in South Dakota. We would find out later the kid was found..praise the Lord!

Current Bike Challenge Stats as of 7.24.16...

6,002 (out of 42K in the Nation) National Rank (this Challenge) 1,667 Points (this Challenge) 286.9 Miles (This Challenge) Points Impact 25%Recreation 75%Transportation 2.5 miles This week 1 Active day this week

Sunday, July 3, 2016

May 2016

I watched the "National Day of Prayer" online "live" from my house after finishing up some yardwork. I was about to attend the special service locally, but wasn't able to finish mowing in time.

The first weekend of the month, I brought some of my ESL students (Caio & Luciano from Brazil) to the cities to stay with me at my parent's house. We first went to Hudson, Wisconsin just so they can say they've been to another state. We then drove a little north across back to Minnesota to the beautiful river town of Stillwater.

We were waiting for my co-workers/friends (Oray & Olga) to call us to meet us at the Festival of Nations late Saturday morning. However, due to family circumstance, they wouldn't meet us till 2:30ish. I would give them a tour of the riverfront in downtown St. Paul. To kill time, we walked around the big outdoor annual "Cinco de Mayo" in the beautiful sunny day. We still had some time, so checked out Como Zoo for awhile before they told me they were on their way from the west area of the Twin Cities. Ironically, they happened to get lost and saw us coming out of Como Park's parking lot..coincidence?..not! God divine baby..hehe!..Praise the Lord!

We ended up driving together to the River Centre in downtown St. Paul. Along the way, I accidentally led them to a Wrong Way street, which was my 2nd time doing this in the Twin Cities (1st time happened in Minneapolis..hehe!). When we finally got to the parking lot, we met my sister and my niece & nephew outside of the parking ramp...

We all hung out at the Festival of Nations, but it was hard to stuck together as a big group. We ended up going our separate ways to see the rest of the event.

After the event, we visited a mass service at the St. Paul Cathedral, where we met my parents at the end. We toured around the beautiful church building before heading back to my parents' house for the night.

The next day, Caio & Luciano wanted to go shopping at the Mall of America, which I would see "Sea life Minnesota Aquarium" for the first time. We would walk all floors of the mall from 11am-5pm or so. It was nice to see some new additions and the remodeled front area (north side)..

We then drove back to Morris and went through downtown Minneapolis along the way. However, the guys were too tired, so we didn't stop to take any pics around the city.

When I got back to Morris, I picked-up my new fixed lawn mower, so I'm ready for the new year. On Thursday (12th), I had a "challenging" day at work, but it worked out. I would spend 3 hours of yardwork after going home, which is somewhat relaxing to just be outside.

On Saturday (14th), I missed the local college graduation for the first time that I can remember. They started a new rule that you need tickets (invite from students) to attend. They've had some over-crowding issues indoors in the past, to it was probably a way to cut down on congestion. I ended up working out at the nearby gym and would see the guest speaker (former Minneapolis mayor) coming out.

I painted the garage in my backyard of my house, which was supposed to be my summer project. However, due to the early nice weather. I decided to start early.

We had no work on Friday starting the last week of the month, so we had had a 4-day Memorial Weekend. I spent it by catching-up on many of my on-going projects. I was supposed to do the paper route on Saturday (28th), but the door to the local paper place was lock. I decided to ride my bike around Pomme De Terre and caught a lot of great footage of various birds. I love the wildlife and nature!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

April 2016

I started the first weekend by going to the annual "Taste of Asia", which I used to take part in organizing this event when I was attending the college here at Morris. It's nice to see this event still go on since graduation and enjoy watching the new students of ASA each year organize this...

"Picture of Kevin C., who I got to know through my current renter"

I spent the first weekend doing my taxes, which is a little later than last year due to no snow days this past winter. I like to do it on days with bad weather, which there weren't that many. I was then able to have some "fun" by going golfing on Monday (4th), which I took a couple of my English students from Brazil (1st time)...

"Trying" to teach golf (driving range)

The second weekend of April, I joined thousands online around the world watching the #Azusa Now Revival 2016 that was being web telecasted "live" via online. This comes in a critical time in our nation-world with the up-coming "crazy" Presidential campaign election.

I went to the cities the 3rd weekend to celebrate both my mom and sister's "be-lated" birthdays. We celebrated at a Chinese restaurant (House of Wong) in Roseville, which was a good quality time spending with family.

I got back on Sunday evening, so I can attend a concert some friends were putting on at the Platform. I bought a CD and was flattered to see my name on the credits (thank you)...

The Platform Present: Matt O' Leary & Friends (Nina & Kurtis) 4.16.16 Pt1

I then came home to upload this video (above) and realized my name was mentioned in the song ....aww :)..thanks Matt O!..

Passover (around the time of Jesus' resurrection) was the 4th weekend of the month. I "tried" to recognize this "feast of unleavened bread" by not eating "bread" for some days as a rememberance of God's blessing. I attended a concert by a guy from IHOPKC on Sunday name Ryan Kondo, who will be going to New Zealand by the end of the summer for a mission calling.

The following day, we had our annual staff board -appreciation supper, which my co-worker's husband (Fred M.) cooked some great ribs. I rarely eat "red meat", but was opened to it just this once ;) Thanks Tammy & Fred M!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

March 2016

I started the month by accepting an invitation to check out the local Jehovah Witness service, which was actually "better" and "more interesting" than I expected. I still believe their philosophy (see notes) isn't "Christ" focus, but marveled about their presentation.

I felt led writing a "death" metal song that needed some drums, so I recorded various drum beats and spliced some of it this song I wrote..

Music: New Song-“Heal the Pain” (of my past)

On Monday (7th), I had my every other year physical exam, which I made my appointment before my bus license was about to expire. Well, I unfortunately didn't pass the "eye exam" part, which my personal doctor scheduled a last minute appointment to get an eye exam the next day. He was worried about my license about to expire soon. I learned not to do my physical exam to close to the expiration day next time. Well, I was worried and continued to fast more so I can improve my eye sight within 12 hours. I prayed and ask friends to pray while I researched online on what foods (e.g. high carbs or processed sugars->cereal, which I didn't eat and would later decrease my buying of this breakfast food) affect bad eye sight. Thank God for answering this prayer and concern, which my eye sight actually "improved" (went from 20/50 to 20/30!). Thus, I passed my eye exam the following morning.

After my physical exam on Monday, I rode my bike home quickly as my younger brother was making a stop-visit before going further northwest to Fargo. We ended-up going to Mi-Mexico..

It was Marcelo's first visit to Morris since he graduated back in 2001. The next day, one of my ESL students from China invited me and a friend of hers for supper. I didn't realize it was her birthday until that day, so I gave her a "last-minute" b-day card. She cooked some great authentic Chinese food and others!

I went to the cities on my birthday (18th) to spend time with family-friends during my monthly weekend visit. I would visit a high school buddy (Sean) as he hosted a birthday celebration part at his "crib". It was good to see "old" former high school friends there too. The next day, I attended the annual "Philippine Day" celebration, which was held at a new venue (Aldrich Arena) in Maplewood. It was great time hanging out with the family.

I was blessed by a "gift" on March 22nd (after my birthday) by a "resident" of Morris showing her appreciation of what I've been doing in the community. I'll just say, it was definitely a provision from God and I thank Him for it. Just like the story last month of reaping what one sows. :) So-called "Easter" weekend came early this year (last weekend of the month), but learned the actual Passover-Resurrection weekend is in April. I took advantage of the "holiday" (Monday 28th) by working on my photo-video project for Gary and went outside to play tennis to enjoy the "Spring" weather.

February 2016

The first week of February was busy with my new photo-video project for a local resident in Morris. I would work on this almost daily after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the entire month. I saw it a blessing. On the 4th (Thursday), I would have to then quickly go to my local church for our monthly (every first Thursday) worship team practice (learning new songs for the month). I started the first weekend by getting "pumped" at Body Pump (fitness class) at the local gym. I then went to get my first fishing license in years to go ice fishing for the first time in my life...

...with a friend/co-worker (Paul J.) as another friend/co-worker couldn't make it. I brought various sporting equipment to make it more enjoyable as we waited for a bite (never got one-probably we made too much noise). It was fun to be out as it wasn't too cold (notice I was wearing my "fall" jacket only). It was like our pre-Super Bowl party!

On Thursday (11th), I went to the local elementary school to watch my first high school basketball game this season. I mainly went to give my support for the 2nd annual "Morris Special Olympic Fundraiser" (see pics). The game was actually fun to watch as the Tigers lost a "nail-biter" at the end.

The next day, my workplace would go to Clinton for the annual Valentine Dance. This was the first time I can remember we had above zero temps :)

We had President's Day (15th) off, so I took advantage of it to visit a friend (Cory) in a group home he was staying up north. I ended-up blessing him with some "healthy" grocery foods to promote "healthier" eating. I would be later blessed by winning a $30 dollar gift certificate from my pt-teaching job during a teacher's training meeting on the 22nd to a grocery store in Alexandria (where I bought the groceries from). Praise the Lord! On my way back to Morris, I stopped at Andes Tower Hills to do more snowboarding as they had a "holiday" discount :)

One of the parody songs that came to my mind earlier was the Ghostbusters and thought of "Bug" busters..

Music: Parody-“Bug Busters” (originally Ghost busters) by Crazy lil’ Sal

I went to the cities (St. Paul) for my monthly family-friend visit the 3rd weekend. I would spend some quality time with parents and my sister (e.g. went grocery shopping in our neighborhood) by sharing some pics I took from the past year.

I started a food blog recently and did one on French Toast..

Breakfast Starters: French Toast of Different Flavors

We have been having some newer students (e.g. Mexico, Brazil, etc..) for our weekly Wednesday ESL classes, which many of us happen to be at the monthly Community Meal the same time on Monday (29th).

Sunday, February 14, 2016

January 2016

I started the "new year" at my parents' home after watching Sound of Music at the Ordway Theatre with family the night before. My mom would watch the Rose Bowl parade with me as we relaxed at home. The next day, I went with my brother and his family to watch Alysa's gymnastics performance at Farmington, Minnesota. It was a good 30+ minute drive through suburbs like Inver Grove Heights, etc.. She has really gone better since she started in various areas of the sport! I had to get back to Morris the following day, which was a nice drive back from the Cities.

It was our 1st day back at work on Monday (4th) and it was good to catch up with co-workers and friends on what we did during our long 1 1/2 week vacation. I had my ESL-GED classes on Wednesday (6th), but no ESL students. We just had G.E.D. students for the next 3 weeks.

On Monday (18th), we had MLK Holiday off from my ft-job (2nd year in a row!), which I would go to the annual Community Meal at Faith Lutheran Church after a workout at the RFC. The day started cold and it got a "little" warmer, so it was nice to be out and about. I spent most of the day catching-up on my current video project (St. Mary's Christmas Program from last month).

We had our first ESL student on the 20th (Wednesday), so it gave us hope with this community program. It took awhile to get back to the groove. I would start a new "multi-media" project on Thursday (21st) for a resident in town that a friend in the community referred me to. My friend was too busy, so he asked me if I was willing to help out this particular long-time resident. I would ended-up helping this individual for a longer term project (more than 10+ hours suggested), which I'm currently working on at this moment. It was actually a blessing!

On Saturday, I would start the day with continuing this recent "multi-media" project in the morning for 3 hours. I then attended the monthly R.E.A.L...

There were some encouraging words spoken by the R.E.A.L. member of the worship team, which was a great faith builder!

I would attend a former friend's funeral wake service :( the next day (24th) after church in Benson. It was a time to mourn and reflect, which was a blessing to chat with his immediate family members. He (David) played softball with us for our church (co-ed) team back in the days during our summer church league in Benson. I would ended up getting to know him more as his family became members of our local church. I got to know him more as he became my supervisor at the group home, which I joined "last minute" due to some unexpected emergency circumstances. It became a blessing (financially-Praise the Lord-Jehovah Jireh!) as I would work to this day at, but a different type of group home now.

On Thursday (28th), I would go to Andes Tower Hills with a friend-co-worker (Oray) of mine...

as a make-up day from last weekend (due to friend's funeral wake service). It was an pretty good day despite the icy conditions, which I fell several times and hurt myself. It was a good practice before going somewhere bigger this coming weekend (Lutsen).

I would first go to the cities to visit family on Friday (29th) and stay overnight before leaving early Saturday (30th) morning for a 4 hour drive to Lutsen. I would hangout and meet my younger brother's family...

It was actually an ideal almost perfect day (too hot) as it was sunny and really didn't need all my winter gear. It was such a blessing and a great time..

I thank God for this time to spend with my younger brother as part of his birthday and his family-friends. We would end up visiting our older sister in Pine City along the way back and did an outing at KFC there. After hanging out at her and James' apartment, I took the back roads through St. Cloud back to Morris. It was a blessed weekend!