Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 Year in Reflection


"Shine your "light" through each of us"

Sal w/fam at Afton Alps Snowboarding (Hastings, Minnesota)

I also went with my family to Mall of America to celebrate my younger brother's birthday. We went out to eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant and walked a little around the mall. For work, we did our 2nd annual BINGO game with the kids at St. Mary's Elementary School. It was nice to see folks I work with mingle with the local kids. Great exposure for both sides of our diverse community.


I wore shorts on February 10th of 2017 as it was an unusual "above average" warm winter day. We had our annual "Valentine Dance" at Clinton, MN with my workplace. Usually, it's single digits or below zero each year during the dance.

"This Child is Yours"


I went to the cities on my birthday weekend to attend my older sister's future brother in -law's "Bachelor's Party". We did geocaching in Bloomington and did various activities in downtown Minneapolis. We had a unique encounter with a guy begging for money as we were heading to our car in the parking ramp...

"Satelite Guy" asking for money in streets of Downtown Minneapolis-What would you do?

Went to the annual "Philippine Day" at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood, Minnesota. This event grew out of the St. Paul Landmark Center, so they started this in a bigger venue at it's current location 2 years ago...

I saw a former college friend, Andre and a high school friend, Sean (no picture).

Music: New Song-“Deliverance”


The biggest highlight of the year was being part of my older sister's wedding with James in Chanhassen Dinner Thetre in Chanhassen, Minnesota..

Pictures are personal, so not posting it here. However, I'll post this selfie snapshot (click on pic for video) when I visited Prince's Paisley Park Studios in the same city.

I just wanted "thank God" for an awesome wedding and to see the whole family present, which was an answer to prayer!

Music: Karaoke-“Unforgiven” (originally by Metallica) by Crazy lil’ Sal


The Minnesota Vikings (several current players) visited our town of Morris, Minnesota on May 3rd..

"MN Vikings @BigCatStadium -Kai Forbath Personal Interview

"Stop F'n & Start Prayin' for the World" by Crazy lil' Sal


I created a blog on installing a ceiling fan for the first time, which I hope viewers/readers can learn from some of my installing mistakes-> Home: Installing a Ceiling Fan Step by Step

Praise the Lord, I won tickets to this annual family music concert festival. I never ever been to this annual event in Blaine, MN. I won a pair of tickets (via Minnesota Gospel Twin Cities that ministers and feeds the "poor"), so I even bought extra as a gift to some family members I took..

Joyful Noise 2017: "Life Challenge" to All by Nick Hall from

Please prayfully consider donating, giving your time or blessings to the "poor" or the "least" amongst you throughout 2018 and beyond!

I took a day off from work to attend one of the 2 day Morris Local Flavors Celebration -Rural Arts & Culture Summit Conference hosted by my local college alma mater .

I visited my sister and her husband in Mahnomen and then we drove together to watch a baseball game in Fargo..

North Dakota: Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks vs Gary Railcats Baseball Game

Here is another Praise God report: We were walking to the ball park to buy tickets when a couple in a motorcycle (I saw this as a "symbol" and reminder of this book a college friend wrote called-"About Face", which was my first book to read in it's entirety in one setting!) came by offering their tickets for FREE! They said they weren't able to watch the game and just wanted to give it away! What a blessing from the Lord!

I would later doing my annual visit to the North Shore by going to Duluth, Two Harbors, and the surrounding area with some college students that one was my renter at the time...

Minnesota: Duluth-Lift Bridge Visit

We visited this place called "Fitzgers Brewhouse, which we found via "google map" as my friend Wahid was looking particularly for "good root beer" (see blog I wrote afterwards.

Minnesota: Jay Cooke State Park Visit-Drive

"Let Your Kingdom Fall"


Minneapolis: Boom Island Park-Bridge "Chillin'"

I had a week off during July 4th, so I took advantage of that time spending with family down in St. Paul. We rode bikes around Minneapolis. Afterwards, we went to see fireworks at Maplewood Light It Up Fireworks

I then biked more by going towards the St. Paul Bike Trails (Battle Creek-Pigs Eye-Mounds Park), but they were closed by the Highway 61 underpass bridge.

I work part time for a company called Prairie Community Services, which I started full-time back in the summer of 1999 after graduating from the local university. I was asked to fill-in and work a weekend as they were short staff. It was probably my funnest time of my job as I got paid to supervise the "developmentally disabled clients" (young kids-teens-adults) at this annual camp they attend called Camp Confidence Learning Center in Brainerd, MN. Awesome place as a resort "escape away" for this particular population. Please consider donating your time and and money to see what this place is all about and how you can make a difference!


“Smiley Face” (originally “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga) by Crazy lil’ Sal

I went to the cities several times this month, which was the most of all year. I drove my renter a couple of different weekends to the UofM TC Campus looking for his new "home". I then went to the Minnesota State Fair with family, which we went to our favorite area-"Midway: Games"..

My parents rode the Sky Ride for the first time since we were "kids". I would also go to Red Lobster twice with the family to celebrate my dad's birthday and another time with just my parents...lots of seafood this month!


I started the month with my only softball game(s), which my friends from my former softball days decided to do a "last minute" weekend tournament. Unfortunately, we were double eliminated , which I felt very bad as I had a poor batting average (1-2 hits out of 10 or so???).

I then celebrated "Ramadan" with my renter and friends by going to Alexandria to a former ESL (English as a Second Language) student of mine.

I drove my work 15-passenger mini-bus to Chanhassen Dinner Theater to watch "Grease". It was great weather and the whole trip went well..thank God!

The Minnesota Twins baseball team were getting hot, so I wanted to watch as many games at Target Field..

First game was on 9.15.17

Second game was on 9.30.17 with a friend (Chris, who doesn't like pictures), which I left in the middle of UMM Coming Weekend (despite friends came all the way from Florida and St. Paul). This is how HUGE of Minnesota Twins fan I am.

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Twins didn't make it past the Wild Card (against the Yankees) :(, which I watched with some friends at the local bar in Morris, MN.


I went through a drawing streak during fall, which here is one of my favorites

I attended "Grandparents Day" with my parents at Capitol Hill in St. Paul, which my niece and nephew showed us around. It was nice to see the school where my younger brother went to when he was growing up.


For work (ft-job), I was asked to drive some clients to the annual regional Special Olympics Bowling tournament in Moorhead, MN. It was very windy driving back, which I'm thankful to God for getting us safely home!

“The Stand” (originally by Hillsong) by Crazy lil’ Sal

I went home for Thanksgiving (every we should be thankful and grateful!) and did some "family time" (e.g. went out to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant, walking around Como Park/Lake, and "window shopping" at Rosedale Mall)..

During the weekend, my sister wanted to workout, so we decided to go to Maplewood Community Center..

Fitness: Plyometric-Jumping Exercise w/ "HealthFitnessLifeGuy"

*this is the launch of my youtube channel focusing on health, fitness, and lifer overall as my instagram account is named after-> #healthfitnesslifeguy

Fitness: Various Plyometric Training Exercises


Fitness: Warm-up Stretches while Standing Up to Psalm 33 Reading Pt. 1

I went with some friends "early" Saturday morning to watch "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"..

It was actually not that bad as I didn't bother to read/watch any reviews-> Movie: Star Wars -“The Last Jedi” Reflection

But, a "better" movie I went to see later in the month down in the Twin Cities with my younger brother's family was...

Movie: “Jumanji-Welcome to the Jungle” Reflection
This movie ended up beating Star Wars the 3rd week I believe??

Karaoke="Hark the Herald Angels" (originally by Charles Wesley)

This is just some of my reflections from 2017, how about yours? What were some of your highlights? What are you looking forward to in 2018?

more coming soon!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

December 2016

I started the month with getting the first Friday of the month off. I took advantage of this day by going to Standing Rock Sioux Native Reservation in the Dakotas. I was doubting first of going, but after doing this blog (Neutral Perspective: Dakota Access pipeline project’s Pros & Cons ) from a neutral perspective and getting a lot of "hits'. I wanted to see this whole movement with my own eyes after getting frustrated with the "violence" going on between law enforcement and the "water protectors" (a.k.a. protestors) via social media (many friends on facebook sharing posts on this issue)...

(Picture taken right before leaving Rosebud Camp after three days with

If interested in reading my personal ventures, here is the 1st of 3-> My Personal Adventure Visit to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation: Day #1 -Friday, December 2nd 2016

I had the 2nd Friday off from work again, which I took this time to install my new "water saver" toilet in the main floor of my rental house I live in. It went pretty well, which I wrote a blog on being "green" and eco friendly as part of my post-Standing Rock action (e.g. Living more of a "green energy saving life" by decreasing the dependency on fossil fuels). I even rode my bike first day going back to work in the mist or light rain.

I had more days off in December as I was trying to use all my vacation days that I didn't use since I like to save them towards the end of the year for "unexpected life" stuff (e.g. vacation to Hawaii 2 years ago). December is a month of many holiday celebrations, so I had a pretty "easy" month work-wise. I'm very blessed and thankful for my job!

On Friday (16th), my friends-co-workers and I went to see the highly anticipated Star Wars Movie: Episode 8-"Rogue 1". I ended up walking there in the cold wintry Friday evening and came early. There wasn't as many people as last year's "Force Awakens". I liked the movie so much that I had to go back on watching the 1st ever made -Episode IV: Star Wars-"New Hope" . I found so many parallels to these movies that I ended up writing a blog-> Movie: Star Wars Series Reflections

My last day at work (full-time job) was on the 22nd as we had the Friday before Christmas Eve off, which was the start of a long 1 1/2 week vacation for both my ft and pt jobs! I used my vacation time for my part-time job, so I can spend a longer time in St. Paul with my my immediate family. I spent some quality time with them and did a lot of fun winter activities:

Went to the Mall of America with my sister and her friend, which we just went "window shopping" and walked the entire 3 1/2 floor (equates to 3 1/2 miles). Then 2 days later, my sister and I took our niece and nephew ice skating at the John Oval Roseville Skating Center...

Fitness: How to teach kids ice skating?
Sal teaching Nephew How to Ice Skate

I bought 4 tickets to see "White Christmas" the musical at the Ordway Theatre in downtown St. Paul. I took my parents and nephew with me, which was a great performance....'s based on one of my favorite Christmas holiday movies, which I loved watching since I was a kid. I ended up recording some songs (karaoke version) from it prior (Music: Karaoke-“White Christmas” by Crazy lil’ Sal ) and after (Music: Karaoke-“Count Your Blessings” by “Crazy lil’ Sal” .

I then went back to Morris early Friday morning as I had to deliver newspapers with clients from my ft-job . I did some errands before going back to St. Paul the next day to bring a friend (Luciano from Brazil) to the airport that same day. When we arrived, we flew his drone behind my parents' home by Battle Creek Middle School. He shared a "live feed" of our time on facebook. My parents were awe about watching the footage as we saw a 360 view up in the air of our neighborhood. My brother took his son and nephew with us to go ice skating at Edina's Centennial Lakes Park ....

Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Personal Adventure Leaving Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation: Day #3-Sunday, December 4th 2016

Good morning (Sunday, December 4th 2017) from Rosebud Camp! I had a great 8+ hours of sleep as I slept much better compared the night before due to various factors (e.g. didn't use a blanket that I forgot I had in my storage tote, 1st night, getting used to cold weather, etc..) . As I was taking pics of the camp before leaving, there was the daily morning prayer along Canon River across from me at Oceti ..

Standing Rock: Day #3 -Leaving Rosebud Camp (Sun. Dec. 4th 16')

As I was leaving, I met a college student (lady) that was just arriving. She goes to college in New York, but is originally from Florida. This was a common thing here as people come and go. As I drove off, I was a little happy to go home, but also sad to leave this place that became a temporary home for me.

*see more pics from the camps at Standing Rock on North Dakota: Standing Rock or

As I left Rosebud Camp...I saw flocks of people and cars coming north to Oceti..

I drove back to the area close to Sacred Heart Camp to drop some "extra stuff" (e.g. clothing, food, etc..) at the church I was trying to connect with prior to the trip. I wanted to bless the folks of this reservation through them whether or not they were for or against this #IStandforStandingRock . Here is the video I took as I left to South Dakota from here (Canon Falls, North Dakota)..

Road Trip Vlog Pt. 3: Driving from Standing Rock Sioux Reservation's Cannon Ball to SE Region ND

As I was getting close to the ND border, I saw a pick-up truck off the side of the highway from the opposite direction. I decided to stop and be a "good" Samaritan to help this young "Native" man. A lady (Caucasian) who stopped by also tried to help and offered her phone, so he can contact his friend to help him. Unfortunately, his friend didn't answer. Thus, we decided to help him. A guy (Caucasian) from Tennessee happen to be driving by, which he offered his help to pull this young man's truck that was stuck in the snow off the highway. The young man had a tow rope, but broke off during our 1st attempt. I ran back to my car and got my tow rope and tried again. I somewhat helped by pushing his truck as it was being pulled. Praise the Lord! We were all able to help this young man and he drove by me to say thank you as we all departed our own ways (see video above as I explained).

"Border between North & South Dakota"

South Dakota

It was a beautiful drive through Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Reservation this early Sunday morning (December 4th 2017), which I enjoyed the scenery and quiet time with God (listened to Christian radio).

Road Trip Vlog Pt. 4: Driving from NE Region SD to SE Mobridge SD

As I was leaving the reservation and getting close to Mobridge, South Dakota. I was listening intently to NPR (National Public Radio) on one of the tribal leaders' interview on the situation on Standing Rock. Feel free to listen to it on the video above.

*see more pics of South Dakota: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation or

It was 10:30ish in the morning and I decided to find a "local church" to attend Sunday morning service in Mobridge..

I found Family Life Church as I was drawn by the name and found it via "google search" GPS app on my phone. When I came in, the people were very friendly. I then went to the bathroom to wash up, which was the first time in 3 days to do so..hehe! It felt great using "warm" water! As I chatted with some people there, they seem to back off every time I told them I was visiting Standing Rock. It seem like it was a controversial topic, which I expected it'll be prior to this trip and anticipating the same feedback when I go "home" (Morris, MN). Thanks for reading and feel free to check my facebook pics above for updated "edited" posts and your welcome to see my other album -> Road Trip: Morris MN to Standing Rock SD & other blogs on the many topics from this trip-ongoing movement!

Please continue to lift all these local, domestic/national, and global events (#standingrock #nodapl #nosabal) related to the growing number of pipeline construction and global events (e.g. Middle East, Syria, Russia, etc..) overall. God bless! Good News Ministry

Saturday, December 17, 2016

My Personal Adventure Visit at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation: Day #2-Saturday, December 3rd 2016

As I shared in my previous blog post (Day #1), I didn't sleep well and didn't get up in time for the prayer vigil along Cannonball River (tributary of Missouri River)...

... However, I was able to watch part of it, which I'm not able to share a photo of it as I found out afterwards that I couldn't take a pic of this ritual ceremony event. It was very peaceful to watch as I prayed myself and talked to God during my morning meditation. I would try to have this spirit of prayer throughout the weekend as the speakers would encourage all of us at camp to do throughout my time there.

As I walked through the camp I was lodging at, I took a pic of this cool looking bus..

I just translated it just now, which it goes something like this "Road on the way". After crossing the bridge over Cannon Ball River, I walked towards the prayer vigil and just got there as it finished :(..

While standing there, some friendly lady made a statement saying, "You look cold". I lied and replied, "I'm alright", which then just started rubbing my lower back without my! She said that massaging your lower kidneys from the back is one way to keep warm. We then chatted and she shared that she's from France. I was awwed and she then later shared she is originally from New York and introduced herself to be Emily. She ended up sharing some of her life stories of her travels since leaving her hometown of New York (was a hippie during the Vietnam War Era), which she attended Woodstock. She would later ask about my background and I told her I was Filipino American, which she replied that I looked "Native". I replied that I get that a lot. I somehow lost my notes I took , so that's about it that I can remember. Stay tune as I might find my notes and I'll share more detail of this particular chat.

I then walked back the "stage" to see of any new developments of the various speakers. Nothing much was going on, so I decided to tour the main "Oceti Camp", which I took many photos that I already have shared on my photo-video facebook posts or Sal Photo-Videography site... or

Feel free to click above for the caption (e.g. links and blogs on the various topics I'm still "researching" on).

"Above is a pic of one of the possible barracks/tents "we" helped built the other night. There were several or more of these throughout the camp

As I walked back to the "stage" to hear more speakers, there were a lot of people compared to last night. Throughout the day, there were flocks of people (mostly veterans that were expected) coming. While waiting for the next "speaker", I overheard a "Native" mom speaking to her kids...

"Look kids, this is how we live back in the "old days" (tepees)>" I asked her, where she was from. She told me she lives up north by Mandan and that she had to take the longer route from Bismark because the county closed the overpass bridge going to this camp, so they had to go the roundabout way..

"According to google, it's about 7 minutes longer only", but it depends what part of Mandan-Bismark metropolitan area"

Later, I met this lady (Heather) from California. She has been in the camp for the last 3 weeks, which I was amazed. She told me she's been hanging out with lot of Veterans since her husband is one himself...

While we were chatting, one of her Veteran (I believe an Iraq War vet) friends came to chat with her. He and I introduced each other and I noticed he wasn't as clearly spoken. He wold mumble his words and appeared he had some disability. My heart grew fond as I feel he was injured when he was an active duty. I've met several injured disabled vets before. In fact, there is this guy I met from a Men's Retreat (w/local church) years ago who suffered from "agent orange" (see Neutral Perspective: Iraq War was justified or not? ). Anyways, getting back to the chat, she shared with me how her dad is a Christian and wasn't supportive of what she was doing (e.g. "anti-imperialism", she has actively protested back in Los Angeles with "Occupy Wall Street back in 2012, etc..).

During our chat, we paused to listen to one of the speakers from the "Native" community. She gave us a history lesson of the global issues impacted by the "greed of oil" (see another blog I wrote after my experience here-> Deep Thought: Is “Oil” causing wars? ). It was like going back to college, a whole quarter/semester of information pack all in one speech. She really captivated my ears and was anxious to re"search" all she shared. In conclusion, she repeated the echo of this whole camp theme-"please be in prayer throughout" this time your here.

After she spoke, I chatted more with this lady from California. She shared about the "racial tension" between "Natives" and "Whites" (see Deep Thought: Does it matter if your part of another “ethnicity or race”? ), which I wrote after a post (after I came back to Morris) on this "on-going" topic shared on the #nodapl group I'm in. Also, she shared about the possible "spraying" of a crop plane that made many people sick. She said it could be caused by just the inclement weather, but she and many other campers noticed the increase of symptoms (e.g. throat issues, coughing, etc..) since this "crop spraying" (see Neutral Perspective: North Dakota Law Enforcement with DAPL Security Firm vs #NODAPL “Water” Protectors as I did some re"search" and some say it was a false rumor, but re"search" it yourself. I replied that I wouldn't be surprised as I shared how the "government" admitted they did this 40+ years later in Kansas over this predominately "black poor community" and they still do this (e.g. re"search" yourself "chemtrails").

Before we parted our ways, I asked if I could pray for healing for her sickness, which she obliged ..

If you read this far, please join me in prayer for not only these "water protectors", but everyone else (e.g. Morton County law enforcement too) impacted or involved (directly/indirectly) by this #standingrock movement..

"Heavenly Father, we lift all the people directly/indirectly involved by this situation in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation. We pray that justice will be done and also healing (e.g. physical and emotional/mental from the meetings that has happened-> peace and forgiveness among the "Natives", "Whites", "various ethnic groups", Veterans, law enforcement agency, residents of Bismark and North Dakota overall, etc..) from everything that has happened and still Jesus' "mighty" name..AMEN!

To be continued...

After praying for her, she recommended me to find Veterans around the camp and get to know their story. I decided to walk around part of the camp looking for one who to chat with. I took more pictures (more will be show on my facebook photo-video site) and eventually got tired. I walked back to Rosebud Camp. Along my way, I met this guy name Ivan, who is originally from Bosnia (asked him because of his accent) and now lives in Iowa for the last 2 years or so. I then continued walking to my camp site (car), so I can take a short afternoon nap. On my way back, I saw more tents being put up around my camp site. I was going to see if they needed help, but they seem to have numerous helpers. I went back to my car and had lunch. After eating, I did a quiet devotional time with God. I was led to the David vs. Goliath story prior (see @goodnews_usa Twitter account) to this trip, so I ended up reading all of it and additional chapters..

I then took a "power" nap and was awaken by more "monitoring" aviation action (both a plane and a helicopter). I then decided to check the builders progress of the tent behind my car. They were making progress! I started to walk back towards Oceti Sakowin Camp across the river. Along my way, I saw a bunch of workers chopping firewood.

I decided to ask if anyone needed help. One worker told me that there was an extra ax in the shed. As he walked with me to get it, we introduced ourselves to each other. He told me he's from the Duluth area in Minnesota. I told him, he was the first Minnesotan I've met this weekend. Then he shared that there is a big group taking turns from the area going to Standing Rock. After chatting with him, I started chopping the wood around me. While chopping wood, a worker next to me started to introduce himself to me. He told me he was from Scotland, which I was wow! I didn't have a chance to ask what interested him coming here. Instead he shared about his background on how he's in a season looking and researching his family "tree" roots. While chatting, this "Native" elderly lady was passing some cornbread to the workers. I couldn't refuse, so I took a break and accepted her offer ..

My new "friend" from Scotland and I continued to chat more. He told me that he's been sleeping from one tent to the other as he asked me where I was sleeping at tonight. I then gave him my business card , offering him to contact me whenever he's around my neighborhood.

It was already sunset and too dark to chop wood, so I decided to continue my way back to Oceti Sakowin Camp. I was delayed when a truck carrying hay bales was stuck (earlier I was helping some young ladies that were helping unload them) after unloading it's cargo.

I continued to walk across the bridge to the other camp...

...I notice some guy on the ground. I found out he was a Veteran in uniform. I decided to stay and see how I can help. Several people were there and one asked if there is a blanket thy can have to keep him warm until the medics came. I volunteered to take my jacket off and put my warm Columbia jacket on him. He said that he thinks he broke his leg after falling on the ice (very common during my weekend here). I was silently praying in my spirit for healing, which I kick myself afterwards wishing I had more boldness to just lay hands on him and pray. Several folks started to chat with him to keep him to have "positive vibes". He shared with all of us that he brought his own EMT kit in case someone needed it , but didn't imagine that he would need it. The EMT folks came and did first aid, which a group of folks carried him to a nearby pick-up truck to take him to the EMT tent. Thank God he got the medical care and praying for him and the other US Veterans!

I then went to the "stage prayer" area, which was close by and listened for more updates. They had various speakers and "entertainers". While watching-listening, my lady friends from Ohio came by and found me. We chatted how our day has been. Then we met a group of people from Chicago wearing the same t-shirt...

They shared about their support for #standing rock and we would chat a bit, but I got distracted as one of the speakers mentioned about her injury during the protest. I then look to the "stage" and was listening. I found out this was the same lady I saw in social media that got shot in the eye with a rubber bullet ....

Nov 20, 2016 Confrontation at Standing Rock

This was one of the pics (see Neutral Perspective: North Dakota Law Enforcement with DAPL Security Firm vs #NODAPL “Water” Protectors ) that really bothered me prior to coming here, so I was touched to see her in person. I missed the announcement, but I notice a bunch of people going up front and praying for her and donating money to pay her medical bills. I'm not sure if it was just for family or tribal members, but I just went up front to bless (donated $) her. I gave a hug and quietly "Jesus name..." as I touched her wounded head.

I then walked back to the group of people I was chatting with and would watch more people giving their prayer and thoughts. I continued to be in spirit and prayer as I watched. After her brother or family member shared about this young women's injury. There was a group of young men sharing about this "Round dance" happening later tonight. They shared a sample of what it'll be like. My Ohio friends and I decided we should go, so we walked to the "big tent" (a.k.a. "largest sweat lodge) later in the evening and had a great time.

It was a cool cultural experience, which I remember doing something similar when there were "pow-wow" dances back in Morris each year. As I was trying to still be in spirit of prayer in the campgrounds, I started to speak in tongues out loud during the "round dance" yelling. People around me were holding hands in a circle, smiling, and really enjoying themselves. During the dance, I felt something in the bottom of my feet that I stepped on. I stopped and picked up someone's Hyundai key chain. I put in my pocket and thought to myself, "How can I announce this lost and found?". I felt bad for the person who might've lost it and I'm sure he/she was stressed out. Within 5-10 minutes or so, a guy shouted out between dances and asked if people can look in the ground for his keys. I was just 3 people down in front of him, which I stretched my hand with a smile and said, "here you go". My Ohio friends tapped behind me and said, "that's awesome" with a smile. I thought to myself, "praise the Lord!". It felt like a "night club" scene, but in a spiritual peaceful purpose common bond type of way! :)

I somehow lost my Ohio friends as they went out earlier for a smoke break and I was getting hungry (had some tea with one of my Ohio friends earlier only), so I left the camp around 9ish and headed across the river to my lodging (car). It was a great night and felt very peaceful as I continued to pray in spirit (e.g. singing various parody songs I recorded -> "Come & Let Your Presence Fall in this place..." ). When I got to my car, I looked across the river and paused in prayer for the workers across the river as I can see them working with the lights on. I asked God that "Justice will fill this place" as one of my last recorded songs before I came to Standing Rock. I ate some of the snacks (turkey sandwich) I brought and then went to bed in my sleeping bag as I wrote notes during my reflection-meditation. It was a great day!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My Personal Adventure Visit to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation: Day #1 -Friday, December 2nd 2016

I was contemplating whether or not on going to Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation for over a week. I made a blog early August called- Neutral Perspective: Dakota Access pipeline project’s Pros & Cons , which the number of "views" was the largest (130 at the time before I left on my road trip). After the unfortunate "Civil-rights" like abuse that friends on facebook was posting, I felt the "need" to want to see this historical event going "next door" myself in person. Also, I had many other reasons (e.g. dream of two "W's" in a cloud formation in a bright blue sky, which I feel like I saw the interpretation after my trip. I'll be sharing this in Part #3 of this continuous blog). I decided to just "step in faith" on Friday, December 2nd 2016. After watching and reading about this movement, I wanted to see myself with my own eyes after getting so much traffic on my blog ( Neutral Perspective: Dakota Access pipeline project’s Pros & Cons

Friday, December 2nd 2016: I left a little after 9ish in the morning after packing my car with all my "necessities". The driving conditions between the eastern SD-MN border and the town of was a little slick

, which slowed my travel destination time. I didn't arrive in Mobridge, SD (southeastern border town of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation) till 2:15ish (an hour or so later than expected). Other factors was due to some breaks, such as getting meals at Walmart in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

When I got to Mobridge, I took my time driving through as I was curious about the town. I even drove off from main street to check out the neighborhoods..

I then stopped at the Burger King parking lot to get out and take pictures of the Missouri River..

Road Trip Vlog: Mobridge to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

It was a beautiful view!

I didn't get to the actual reservation until I went on the Highway 12 overpass bridge across the Missouri River..

I did some reading prior to my trip and wanted to visit the Sitting Bull Memorial..

I couldn't stay long as I marveled the scenery as the winter days are short, so I went back on the road to travel north to Cannon Ball. Along the way, I gained an hour as I drove through the daylights saving time zone. When I went a little back east again from McLaughlin ..

While stopping here at a gas station, I ran into this elderly native. He tried to speak to me, but it wasn't in English. I thought it was cool to hear his "tribal" language. I just smiled and walked to the restroom. I notice the price of gas ($2.45) was the highest along this road trip. I would later find out that it might've been raised to prevent outsiders traveling to the "protest" site.

I continued the beautiful scenic drive up north on Highway 24 towards Fort Yates and accidentally took a detour drive around the town. I realized I was going the wrong way, so I went back to 24 and continued north to Cannon Ball.

Before reaching the campsite, I saw the church that I found online that I contacted prior to my trip...

I met one of the caretakers (Peter) and would chat about my trip. He shared how the pastor wasn't feeling well, so I ended up asking if I can pray together with him for the pastor. He accepted and we prayed. I brought extra food, so I decided to donate some to the church before heading to the camp to see if they need some more there too.

I finally arrived at the campsite around 4:20ish. The first camp was Sacred Camp..

When I got there, I was met by a gatekeeper telling me rules of the camp, which I then drove in and found a spot. However, I didn't feel it was a great spot as there were no nearby bathrooms or community . I then drove out and decided to look for another camp, which I read about the others. However, the sun was getting close to setting, so I went back. As I was driving to the camp entrance, a new gatekeeper told me that the roads are going to get icy and might be slipper to get up the hill by tomorrow morning if I leave. I decided to look for another camp, so I drove further north on 24 towards Cannon Ball River..

I arrived at Sicangu Camp or Rosebud according to the locals I camped with there..

This was going to be my home for the weekend :)

As I drove through Rosebud, I was looking for a place to "camp". I found one just across a couple of porta potties along the river. I parked next to this car, but never had the chance to meet my neighbor as he drove off the following morning. This would become a regular pattern as people came and go. I took a pic from where I set up "camp" and marveled the beauty as the sun started to set..

.. I decided to walk around and bring a bag of snacks to hand out to people. I didn't walk too far and some young lady offered me one as she too was carrying a bag of snacks. I felt welcomed immediately as people would greet me and many would even say "welcome brother". I walked towards the entrance of the camp to the highway entrance and then veered along the pedestrian path on the bridge towards Oceti Sakowin Camp. As I entered the camp, I started chatting with a group of young Natives (teens or older?). I greeted them and they welcomed by saying "your Native" now! I then walked towards the big tent (a.k.a. largest sweat lodge) where they reportedly had a schedule of events (e.g. meetings for non violent protest).I then walked around and saw a group of people around this "stage" area...

There was someone on a mic most of the time making announcements or someone doing a performance. Across them, there was some people sitting around a fire and praying. Adjacent to the stage was a place to get hot drinks and some food ("kitchen"). I would hang out there and I wasn't sure what else to do. Awhile later, they announced they needed volunteer at the "carpentry shop" to help build tents for the incoming 2,000+/- expected U.S. Veterans. I heard about them coming this weekend, which I read in numerous social media reports and articles. I decided to go there and join to "do something"....

When I got there, a young man gave us instructions and we just started building these 4'x4' floor sections to be used. We had plenty of volunteers and we worked so fast that they told us to slow down and ended up stopping for awhile.

I decided to go and check out the "stage" for any updates in the evening. While watching-listening to the various speakers, I chatted with some young ladies besides me. They drove all the way from Ohio. They told me they are staying at a tent that their friend left for them as he left to go home after being at the camp for awhile. I would later learned that these camps had people come and go and people would take turns "fortifying" each other's camp. We would all walk back together to our camp as we were just a short distance from each other at Rosebud. I ate a late supper that evening (around 9ish) in my car and would try to go to bed. I had so much "stuff" in my back seat that I wasn't able to sit back comfortably. I ended up having a long night as I just didn't sleep well from 10ish to 8ish. I was hoping to get up at 6ish to attend a prayer along the Cannon Ball River on the other side (Oceti Sakowin Camp), but just didn't. I was awaken throughout the night and early morning. Around 6ish, a helicopter would hover both camp sites back and forth. I learned this from social media, so I turned off my smartphone to avoid of being tracked.

To be continued (as time permits for me to write)...Part 2!

Good News Circle of Tribes