Sunday, December 21, 2014

November 2014

I began the month by putting up my new portable garage, which would take a week to finish (in-time before the early winter). After working on the portable garage (<-feel free to contact me for password to view pics) on the 3rd, I volunteered at Pizza Ranch to help with a fundraiser for our local church's future mission trip to India. Unfortunately, it was on a Monday, which was a very quiet. However, we were very thankful for them giving this opportunity to raise any amount for this cause. I would then return to the Ranch on Thursday (6th) for a joint UMM Alumn-Current Student supper. We were all given a discount (only $5 from our own-pockets) as a motivation to go to this annual event. I joined a couple of friends (Andrew and his dad) that I haven't seen or talked for awhile. It was good catching-up with them. On Friday (7th), I was hoping to finally finish putting the portable garage by strapping the cover that I already put the other day. As I was going to strap it, the wind started to blow hard and it took the whole cover off :(. I was so close too! If I just put one strapped in the right place, it would've held it. Unfortunately, the wind kept blowing and rained a little too, so I gave up! I decided to just work on it the next day. A friend (Matt) that was going to visit the area emailed me that he'll be in town, which I told him I wouldn't be able to meet with him with this portable garage cover dilemma. Matt offered to help, which I took that invitation and decided to "recruit" others to join us to make it a group project.

On early Saturday (8th) morning, I wanted to finish some last-minute fall projects before this impending snow storm. I finished early and I decided to do some prep work of the portable garage cover. Well, I felt God gave me this great idea to use my winter roof shovel poles to slowly gently move the covers-it worked! Praise the Lord! I told my friends that the cover was placed and we can hangout to do something more fun. I would hangout with one of them at a local fast food restaurant for lunch, but he wasn't up to hanging out with the others afterwards. Matt and I ended up getting together with a friend to fellowship instead. It was a great time hanging out! I would later join Matt with a couple of other friends at Bella Cucina to have a great talk and we ended up talking about our faith. It was a great unexpected conversation topic, which would be an endless continual topic and others via facebook.

I would do the finishing touches of the tie-downs of the covers on Sunday as the snow storm was expected the next day. I thank God I finished on time as the next day was a "Snow Day" (no work). I somehow was sick on Monday (10th), so I tried to sleep in a little longer with the day off. I decided to rest and watch a movie online.

On the 15th (Saturday), I attended Real Ministries, which was a great evening of testimonies people shared with the Thanksgiving theme. My housemate (Jin from Korea) would make Filipino Chicken Adobo on Sunday (16th). He asked me to give him some tips as he's really like this particular fish.

I went back into recording music again as I wrote "Shine Your Light for Him" on the 18th (Tuesday).

On Friday (21st), I used one of my vacation days to visit a friend in Moose Lake. The weather (30's and sunny) was considerably "perfect" compared to previous "winter" days the past 2 weeks. The following day (22nd-Saturday), I went to a one day Men's Life fellowship gathering at Hosanna Worship center. It was awesome to hear testimonies of men from the community I've known since living in Morris.

On (Sunday-23rd), I recorded another song called "My Christmas Story", which was my first "rap" song!

Thanksgiving fell on the last weekend of the month, so I went "home" (St. Paul) for the weekend. I was great to visit most of my family (including my Uncle Totoy at a senior citizen apartment residence) as my sister couldn't join us for the first time since she moved "out of town". I was thankful to God for a safe drive home as we had great weather most of the weekend.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

October 2014

I started the month by donating blood as the American Red Cross Bloodmobile was in campus. I missed the last opportunity when I was in the Twin Cities during the summer due to miscommunication. I try to do this regularly as I feel a cleansing in my body and plus it benefits someone too medically. The next day, I went to worship practice at my local church. I also made a video of the song "Come Lord to Morris" as part of my recent songs inspired by God since the Storm of the Planet Conference.

The 1st weekend of the month was UMM Homecoming, which my friend Joey P. came to visit all the way from Jacksonville, Florida. It was the first year that our friend Shannon couldn't make it due to personal reasons. It was a great homecoming as I met old college friends, one from Louisiana.

On Monday (6th), I finally found the "water line" (just 2 inches or so next to the "sewer line") after getting some leads/advice from some local experts (e.g. utility guy that marks them and city engineer guy). This was such a relief as it helped me know where I can finally put the drain pipes in and what area to target whenever we dig to replace the sewer line. I also did another video "Don't be Afraid to Step in Faith".

On Friday (10th), I was so thankful to God for an answer to prayer (A "friend" that was in a vehicle accident late this summer is getting "better" and will be coming "home" soon after being in the hospital for awhile).

The following day, a friend visiting Morris from the Cities called me up to hangout with him and his family. It was a beautiful day to hangout at the WCROC Hort Gardens. Earlier in the day, I did Zumba with a friend/co-worker, so this got me "energized" for the day. On Sunday (12th), it was awesome to see a couple come to church for two Sundays in a row. What makes this exciting is this couple hasn't been to our "local church" for years. It's such a blessing to know how God has been working on them and never gave-up! Just like the story of the Prodigal Son. After church, I joined a "friend" for lunch at Don's Cafe as she shared about her trip this past summer to Honduras. Later in the afternoon, the worship team from my local church got together for a bonfire hangout at one of the family's place out in the country. We had a great time playing soccer and football before our "potluck" prior to the bonfire chat.

On Monday (13th), I was relieved to hear another prayer answered after sharing a facebook post on praying for friends in Japan. There was a forecast for the "world's largest storm" to hit this island country, but I believe many prayers (mine included) were answered as the storm downgraded-Praise the Lord!

After some dialogue on the "bullying" issue, I decided to write a blog about it-> "Ways to deal with Bullying as a “former” victim and bully too"

When I went to my part-time (overnight) job, I was asked by my co-worker for prayer (health issue), which I told him I'll gladly pray. The next day, he would tell me that he feels better, which was an answer to his prayer-healed! On the 16th, a friend I've been praying for almost a year declared that he's "cancer free". This was such a faith builder as another friend shared recently online declared this too.

I took my 1st week of vacation from October 18th-26th from both jobs, so I decided to head to St. Paul to visit family for a week or so on Friday (17th) after work. I enjoyed taking pics of the Fall color changes along I-94, particularly during a long traffic delay (1 lane only) around Rockville Minnesota. I'm always thankful to God for the safe drive home every time when I drive from Morris. The 1st full-day of my vacation, my parents and I went to this Vietnamese restaurant, which I like the soup. Unfortunately, my parents thought the sodium or MSG was too high (Seafood) for them as they didn't feel good afterwards. In the afternoon, I drove by Mounds Park to take pics of the fall colors around downtown St. Paul. I would end up taking more pics throughout my vacation of the fall colors as I drove around the Twin Cities. On Sunday (19th), I decided to check out this church (Church of Acts) along White Bear Avenue I've frequently drove by every time I'm visiting the area. It took awhile to start as the 1st service (8am) was just finishing and the 2nd service (10:30am) didn't start a little after 10:45am. It was a great service as the worship was rock music and there was a lot of dancing and interaction. The people were very welcoming as almost every member came to welcome me. I didn't get out of the service till a little after 1:30pm, which I decided not to stay for the potluck with time.

It was nice to stay in the cities during the weekdays as I was able to hangout with my niece and nephew after school. I would play soccer out in the back (Battle Creek Middle School Playground) a couple of days during the week as it was a warm fall week. It was still chilly as I had pants, but moving around kept both of us warm. On Wednesday (22nd), I took my mom to the Mall of America after picking-up my smart phone to a techy to diagnose the problem of my smartphone that stopped working, which I ended-up paying $40 to find out the "SIM card portal had some H20 and is not fixable" (found out a month later I just needed a working SIM card from my network service since it expired). Prior to driving up to M.O.A., we stopped over at the new outlet mall in Eagan, which I wasn't really pleased as there wasn't much compared to Albertville.

On Thursday (23rd), I decided to attend at least one of the three days of this conference on Islam at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. There was high security due to the prominent speakers (e.g. former Muslims that became Christians) sharing. I left the conference early so I can pick-up my niece and nephew from school. We had a great time later in the evening watching Veggie Tales videos and skyping with their parents (vacation and work related trip in Las Vegas, Nevada). My niece would end-up doing my hair, which I didn't realize what she did until afterwards. I thought it was so funny, that I had to take a selfie->

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On Friday (24th), I rode my new used bike for the first time around Battle Creek Park. I brought my nephew to this school's carnival fundraiser. It was fun to see him having fun and playing all these games. The past two days has been great picking-up and dropping off both my niece and nephew to and from their individual schools. I told my co-worker the following week that this was great training to be a father...someday!

I left to go back to Morris the next day for a friend's pre-wedding party get together at the local bowling alley, which would be cancelled. It was good to be back "early" still as I had to do some yard work (mulch leaves before the coming winter). I was blessed to have a former neighbor (Craig) mow part of my yard. I also came back early for the 2-day conference Passion for Jesus w/ Bob Sorge: Day #1-Oct 25th 2014 "Covenant", which would be another faith-challenge-builder in my life!

I would come back to work on the 27th after a week long vacation. It was great to be back as many from work showed how much they missed me. I would follow the World Series and the Kansas City Royals lost a close one (2-3) against now 3x World Series Champions (the last 5 years or so) San Francisco Giants. I was a little disappointed as I was rooting for the Royals (hasn't won a World Series Championship in 29 years). On Thursday (30th), I attended a community gathering called "Estar in el Prairie Reception and Artist's Talk in Morris at the local art gallery (PRCA). It was great to see some people from various parts of the community and a friend (former resident) too...

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It's been awesome to see the Spanish community slowly becoming more integrated here in Morris, Minnesota!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

September 2014

I spent my Labor Day (holiday) doing some house project as it showered a little in the afternoon. I put in the pipes and "bird seed" gravel over it in the right side (south eastern) of the month plus long trench project. I'm just glad I finish digging! I filled it in by hand using my neighbor's (Craig M, who is moving :( ) borrowed wheel barrel..a great workout! I continue to do this on Thursday (4th) as I did little by little like the month long digging project. I would do a little more of filling this 6-8 foot deep trench during the first weekend of the month between the workshops of this conference (Storm the Planet-see notes by joining Good News Ministry). This was such an inspiring motivational conference that I'm still "trying" to apply as I write this, which I'll be sharing more through this month's and future blogs.

Through the 2nd week, weeks after, and currently-God laid a "new song" in my heart, which was planted during the Storm of the Planet. I never ever thought I'll be doing this. Many years ago, there was a "prophetic" encouraging word that I'll be doing this, but my friend and I joked about this. Here is one song I wrote recently that took a month as I had to get a new piano to help me..

"Don't Be Afraid to Step in Faith" (October 6th 2014)

I don't spend too much time to "edit" the music as I usually just do one recording and then add my piano playing (still in the works too). Stay tuned for more as the "new songs" are to encourage people.

On Thursday, we had another anniversary of 9-11 , which I will always find "new" findings of what "really" happened in this unfortunate event.

The 2nd weekend, I went to Moose Lake for my once every other month visit. I took pics of the "early-stage" of Fall colors at Moose Lake State Park in Carlton County. The next day (Sunday), our local church had a share by missionaries from India. Then we went to our pastor's house for more shares of this country and the mission experience overall, which prayer was the theme message that was heavily encouraged.

I finally found the "sewer pipe" by the foundation where I dug the trench on the 18th. It was by the water line that was marked, so that helped! The following day, my workplace was another challenging day as we were short-stuff, but thankful to God to get me through one of many more! What helps me to get through long hard workdays like this is looking at the future, I was looking forward to my once a month visit to the Twin Cities. I was planning to attend some events, such as..

Harding Senior High School's 1st Spirit Walk/ Run (Fundraiser)
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Also, the same weekend was my nephew's birthday, which we celebrated at my younger brother's house.

When I got back to Morris, I would attend a special guest speaker at a church my friend invited me to. He shared a message that was a theme (e.g. social identity, gifts, etc..) from the conference earlier this month.

I started a new house project on the 23rd (1st day of Fall), which I put special rubber pavers in my garage driveway. I just did a little as I want to test how it work with the coming winter season. The next day, I bought pies from the the annual Faith Lutheran Church Bazaar. I shared one of them with my students at my weekly ESL-GED classes. I noticed my students didn't like it as it was too sweet, which I've noticed from the past that many international students feel the same way. America's "unnatural" desserts are really too sweet with fake sugar! On Thursday, I went to my local church worship practice, which I always look forward too with a "new song" perspective after the latest conference. On the 26th, I treated a new UMM student (Jackie from Idaho) to the famous Don's Cafe. I met Jackie online through one of my facebook group's (Good News Morris, which she joined almost a year ago when she first applied at the local college and wanted to learn more about our college-community. We've been in dialogue since and it was great to meet her in person (face to face) the first time.

During the last "Fall" weekend of the month, it was the 2nd day in a row with 80 degree (Farenheit) weather, so I had to take advantage of it since I wasn't able to do everything that I wanted to do during the summer. I invited a friend (Chris) to a game of tennis, which I would later go with him to celebrate his early birthday with his family at Pizza Ranch.

After making a long list to the "new songs" that the Lord laid in my heart since the conference earlier this month, I tried to come up with the lyrics to the titles and recorded my first song...

"Lord's My Healer"

It would be the first of more to come....

Friday, September 26, 2014

August 2014

I started the first day of the month with my drain pipe trench project. I was in the "mood" after finishing a similar project for Jost Construction last month. I did other projects around and outside of the house the next day. I finished screwing the gutters I put on my garage for better stableness with the potential heavy snow on top of the garage during the long Minnesota winters. I also worked on my downstairs bathroom shelf (make it more stable too).

The 2nd weekend of the month, I went down to the Cities for a high school buddy's wedding. In fact, he had two weddings (traditional-Vietnamese & Cambodian and regular the next day). It was a great cultural experience and fun overall to celebrate a long time friend's BIG DAY! I also took advantaged of that weekend to help my older sister and her boyfriend "move" on Sunday. It was a productive and fun weekend!

On the 15th (Friday), I attended a friend's concert "October Ocean - FREE Debut show" at our new local church building. It was a great time to hangout with friends on a Friday night.

During this month long digging trench project, I was able to chat with many passer-bys. It was a great opportunity to chat with neighbors and community members that I haven't had time to chat with.

On Wednesday (20th), I was able to go the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre with my workplace to see "The Little Mermaid".

On Friday (22nd), my family and I went to the annual "great together"-> Minnesota State Fair . It was almost the perfect weather as it wasn't too hot and partly cloudy. It much more comfortable compared to last year as this year was less humid.

Family at Minnesota State Fair 2014 Part 3: Parade & Bus Ride

On Sunday (31st), my local church hosted a picnic and water baptism at Glacial State Park in Starbuck, Minnesota.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

July 2014

The month of July started with "fall-like" (60's) weather as I recorded on my "praise book". On Thursday (3rd), we had worship practice. I had to work July 4th weekend, so on Friday I took advantage of our "day off" by cleaning my attic . I also did my blogs for both April and May as I've been so busy (just like right now on September 13th-I'm finally doing this and hope to do August too). On Saturday (5th), I attended the "Real Ministries" worship time (1st Saturdays of every month), which our (Morris Community Church) local church family hosted this. For this being a holiday weekend, it was a pretty good turnout. Most importantly, we were there for God! Please pray for this particular ministry led by college students as their hearts are to see God's family come together in unity (John 17).

I was grateful for a friend (Tony F.) paying my lunch at Pizza Ranch after church on Sunday (6th). We would later attend the Spanish service (Nueva Vida Iglesia) that evening together, which another friend (Pat) would bring his co-worker. It was awesome to see "others" join this Spanish church service that I've been attending now for the past 3-4 years.

On July 8th (Tuesday), I started a side landscaping job for some friends. They knew I dug a trench for drain pipes in my backyard years ago and they needed someone to do a house they plan to sell. It was an area between a nearby house, so they couldn't get a backhoe. I decided to take on the job as a great workout, which I finished within a week. However, he asked me to do remedial jobs (e.g. landscaping), which I would work several hours after my full-time job throughout the month of July. It was a great side-job and workout (instead of going to the local fitness center)! In the end, I calculated close to 23 (10 hours digging) hours!

During the second weekend of the month, I went to do my annual once a weekend visit to the Twin Cities. I took advantage of MLB (baseball) All-Star Weekend as Minneapolis hosted this year's national event. Prior to heading to the cities, I stopped over at Hometown Bakery as it was it's last days (closed the next day), which I had to get at least some items (pie for friends and cinnamon bread) for the "last time". On Saturday, I hung out with some friends at Square Lake (Stillwater, Minnesota) for a picnic. It wasn't the best weather as it was cloudy and sometimes they had to close the beach due to a forecast storm (never happened). It was a fun time hanging out with my buddy's family that I haven't seen for a long time. The next day (Sunday), I went to MLB Fan Fest 2014, which was a great time to see the different booths and activities all under one roof (Minneapolis Convention Center). On my way to this event from where I parked (next to the Target Center), I had the opportunity to share God's love with a homeless man. This made my time for this event more meaningful and worthwhile! I then walked back to the area by Target Field and had another interesting encounter. This time, I was eating my lunch at Barnes & Noble along Nicollet Avenue when a guy got arrested in front of me. He was taken by handcuff inside a squad car and would later be released. It appeared that he had some issue inside one of the MTC buses and the cops had to talk with each other before letting him go. I then walked around Target Field for some outdoor events before going in when the doors open for the Futures Game...

Thank you to this lady (photographer) from St. Paul
"I got a pic of the field during batting practice prior to the Futures Game

I found some great seats (behind homeplate), which cost only $37 at a retail price of $100. Following the game, I saw part of the MLB Celebrity Softball Game 2014 that was played 30 minutes or so after the game prior. I had to work the overnight, so I had to leave after the introduction of the "celebrities".

I would watch the rest of the All-Star week activities from home in Morris. It was nice to see our state in the "national" spot light during this annual baseball celebration event. I did a little organizing of my garage on Monday (14th) prior to coming down in my basement to watch the Home Run Derby via online (Satelite Direct).

On Friday (25th), I watched the last music concert (Word Will Spread (screamo rock genre music)by friends from church.

On Saturday (26th), I went to Moose Lake for my every other month visit of a friend that's sentence there for 7 years at the state prison. As I drove back to Morris, I stopped in Glenwood for their annual "Waterama Ski-Show". It was beautiful weather, as I wanted to soak the sun and enjoy the summer weather before I called it a day.

On Tuesday (29th), I attended my first and only softball game (Accelerated Chiopractic) of the season due to knee complications. I ended up scoring towards the end of the second game that night and I played catch with one of my teammate's kid. I wished I could've played :(!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

June 2014

I started the month while in the Twin Cities during my monthly visit. I went with fam to the annual "Grand Old Days", which was a showery-cloudy day. It was still fun to hangout with family as we went to this organic restaurant....

French Meadow 6:30AM-2:00PM / Friday-Sunday 6:30AM-3:00PMLUNCHDaily 6:30AM-5:00PMFrom organic eggs and our signature fruit & nut pancake to rustic sandwiches and hearty soups, French Meadow has an abundance of healthy and alternative options for breakfast and lunch.St. PaulFrench Meadow Bakery & Cafe1662 Grand AvenueSaint Paul, MN 55105 (google map)p 651.789.8870f 651.789.8871HoursSunday - Thursday / 6:30 am - 11 pmFriday - Saturday / 6:30 am - midnightHappy HourMonday-Friday / 4 pm - 5:30 pmParkingFor your convenience, off-street parking is available across the street from the restaurant in the shared lot with Patagonia. Street parking is also available.Manager /

I ordered this "healthier" blueberry "organic pancake, which tasted somewhat dry. However, it was my first organic pancake and I know it's very healthy, so that made me enjoy it more. We missed my niece (Alyssa)being in the parade as we were still at my younger bro's house (watching cartons with my nephew Stefan), so she was a "little" mad :(. I went "hurriedly" went back to Morris after our get-together as I wanted to get home to see how my basement is after some torrential rains (3" reported fell over night) and more was coming. I came home and everything appeared ok, so I went to cover the front part of my house with some tar maps to divert the water coming from the metal roof away along the slight decline ground as far away from the house as possible. Also, I came early in case a college friend (Ryan F.) was coming early to visit, which I would later find out he was coming the next day.

Ryan and I would hangout at Pomme De Terre river by the dam to fish. I went to visit him and his friend along the shore after work as they've been fishing most of the day. It was good to see him as he's become a regular visitor here since he's been coming a lot with his involvement with the UMM Alumni Board.

On Thursday (5th), the first of four Talent Shows started at East Side Park, which has been a great annual summer community get-together. They had 11 acts, which is the most I've seen in years for the 1st week-mostly kids from St. Mary's School. On Saturday (7th), Chris tagged along with me to Alexandria to get some stuff for my on-going house projects at Menards. On our way to Alex, he took me to this Indian mound before going to downtown Glenwood (north of) highway 28, which I never knew existed until now. I'm very fond of Indian mounds as part of Native American history.

On Monday (9th), Ron N. came over to finish installing my windows (attic, kitchen, and master bedroom). It's his second time doing this as I'm doing a number of replacements as money comes. I can't wait to finally get all my windows redone. I'm also doing my on-going garage cleaning, which I was able to get some more "junk" (old windows, wood, etc..) as a "friend" replied to my tag on facebook that I'm trying to get rid of some building materials to make more room in my garage.

We (workplace) went to Benson for our annual movie-picnic for both Swift & Stevens County D.A.C. on Wednesday (11th). We saw this animation (Wizzard of Oz in animation) movie, which I wasn't able to watch all of it because of the "busyness" of my duty with work. My friends didn't like it, so I didn't really miss much. After the movie, we had a picnic at the Swift County D.A.C, which I played kickball (kicked a home run)for the 1st time in many years!

On the 2nd weekend of the month, I went to St. Paul for my regular visit (1st of 2 within this month). I helped trim branches for my dad, which he climbed a high ladder boldly despite me telling him I can do it! This apple tree has really grown since my mom planted (just threw it in the garden) this many years ago! It was Father's Day weekend, so it was a good visit "home". I was scheduled for my local church worship team, so I had to leave early Sunday morning (6ish) to get back in time before service (10am) for practice. After service, I would go with a friend (Chris) to the local golf course to the driving range. I couldn't believe how much water/rain Morris got after being gone this past weekend...

Before pic taken Saturday, June 7th 2014 & After Pic taken 15thSpring in the Air & Ground News Sports

Some other places (e.g. roof damage at the Morris Public Library & St. Mary's School) in town would get water damage. I too had water damage last year from a rain storm, which was due to having no cover in my roof while putting on my metal roof. I took the shingles out already and I tried to cover the roof as much as I can, but water found it's way in. I finally was able to repaint some patches in my kitchen that paint came off due to the rain water leak on Monday-Tuesday (16th-17th). This was one of my summer to do projects and was able to get it done before "summer" officially started.

On Sunday (22nd), we (Morris Community Church) had the worship team from Nueva Vida Morris that I've visited/attend since they started years ago, come play music in our service. The pastor (Hector) later shared a message about "God's timing" for everything in our lives no matter what circumstances that is challenging we face. It was a great service overall as I brought a friend (Evan) from my workplace and he was on "fire"!

My last day of the month was my bi-annual dentist appointment, which I learned some tips to "better" take care of my teeth. Got any personal tips yourself?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 2014

May 2014

On Monday (5th), DAC hosted their annual "ARC Board Meeting Picnic" with the help of Willies Super Valu (owner grilled burgers and brats). We couldn't ask for a better day as God brought sunshine and beautiful weather.. Praise the Lord!

The following day (6th), I hung out with some friends (Yuu & Chris) at Old#1 to watch both the Minnesota Twins play (lost 4-2 against Central Division last place Cleveland Indians :( ) and the Minnesota Wild (2nd round of the playoffs) win Game #3 (down 1-2) against the Chicago Blackhawks by 4-0!

On Wednesday after my weekly ESL-GED classes, I went over to a special service going on at a local church family's house. It was a great service even though I came late for the last hour of it. This past Sunday's guest speaker (Michael G.) shared and led a prayer service for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Good News Ministry).

I started the 2nd weekend of the month by going golfing (driving-range) with my housemate (Yuu) on Friday at (9th-Pomme De Terre Golf). It was my 1st time to go this year as the weather was great. We then went to Old #1 again to watch the 4th game of the Wild vs. Blackhawks series. We ended-up winning that too as we had home ice advantage. Yuu and I each invited all our friends (Hakeem-sp?, Julie, Jillian, and Wagner-newest ESL student from Brazil) to join us as we had a great time hanging out.

On Saturday (10th), it was the UMM Commencement Graduation, which I was happy to see my housemate and others that I've befriended graduate. It didn't rain as they forecasted, but it was too windy and there was a "little" chance. Thus, they had to move it indoors. The following day, like many years after UMM Graduation, it was "Mother's Day". We had a special service to honor the moms at my local church. We had a guest from our connection to Mexico-Vineyard Church, which I would invite them to the "Spanish-speaking" church ( Iglesia Nueva Vida) at the Morris Evangelical Free Church. I haven't had the chance to visit my hermanos-hermanas (brothers-sisters) in Christ there for awhile, so it was good to see them. The next day, my housemate (Yuu) had to leave for Japan, which he left the following day with his girlfriend to the Twin Cities. He would then leave the next day by plane to home. It was a blessing to have him over at the house, which encouraged me on my mission or "calling" in housing international students to "welcome" them to Morris. O

On Wednesday (14th), we had a cultural experience of trying a Brazilian drink called "mate" (pronounced as "mah-tee"). This student brought his unique cup and we all started sharing it as a volunteer (Jon) bought a bag from his own home to share with the class.

The next day (15th), we had our 1st official practice for the men's softball team. My left knee isn't completely healed from my unfortunate knee accident when I fell on ice last March, so I took it easy (not diving for balls) as I work a knee brace. However, I felt good hitting during batting practice! I would later go to another practice the following week and not play any games for the season at this point (4th of July) as I want to rest and focus on other activities (e.g. play music).

On the 3rd weekend of the month, I took my every other month or so visit to Moose Lake Prison. It was a nice day for driving (60's). When we got back from Moose Lake, we stopped over at Molitor's Place Restaurant. We drive by this place every time, so we got curious on checking this place out...

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I ordered this fancy personal size chicken pizza, which reminded me of Bella Cucina's! They had a great sweet potato fries too, which I shared with my friend.

I sung with my local worship team the following day (Sunday 18th), which I enjoy everytime! Later in the day, I continued my summer projects by preparing my garden (tilling and planted seeds such as sunflower and potatoes).

On Monday (19th), we had our (workplace) annual board-staff supper after work. It was a great evening and I had great time with the people I saw with over a delicious meal catered by a local restaurant (?).

The following day (20th), we had another volunteer work time at the new church building. They had to do some preparations for the new carpet. We did some moving and cleaning. The next night, I was invited to a couple of friend's bonfire. We stayed up till past 10ish in the nice evening before the mosquitoes! On Thursday (22nd), I went to my 2nd softball team practice, which I had a great at bats (many line drives)! Too bad I won't be able to play :(... I did more house yardwork the next two days including cutting the large bush in front of the living room window. However, I couldn't cut the 2nd one (by housemate's master bedroom) due to a baby robin...

Baby robin (?) 's nest on the bush in front of my house that I was about to cut on Saturday, May 24th 2014

It was like a "Divine" intervention as I was about to cut this bush, but my blade broke (worn out)after cutting one branch. I was about to cut the branch that had the nest, which I wouldn't see till the "parent" bird attacked me (flew towards me, which I had to duck!).

We had our last church service at the local high school, which was a mix of emotions (sad that we are leaving this place we've had service for many years and happy to get out of here to move on :)) . We had a couple of guest that came, which coincidentally was a friend (along with his girlfriend) that used to come to this church many years ago. However, he came when we were meeting at the "old" local elementary school. It was actually his first, only, and last time at this high school auditorium. I took them both as a treat to Don's Cafe for lunch after service, which they went on to Chokio for a friend's high school graduation. It was a great fellowship time!

It was Memorial Day (Monday 26th) the following day, which I didn't do anything special besides doing stuff on facebook. I did some multi-media projects (videography-photography), clean tools in my garage, etc.. The next day (27th), we had our first "unofficial" church worship service-prayer meeting at the new building. We didn't have the new chairs yet, which we used some "used" ones. It was cool! I then went to the 2nd game of my softball teammates to cheer them on and I dressed in case as a back-up. We won the 1st game (15-3) and lost the 2nd game (3-15), which I probably brought "bad luck"! :( , A co-worker (THANKS Christine B.!!!) of mine gave me a couple tickets to the movie "God's Not Dead", which I actually got teary as it brought up a lot of life challenges (e.g. elderly, Alzheimers, Cancer, Philosophical questions on: life, creation; etc... I can't wait till this movie comes out in DVD, which I would love to share that "God's Not Dead" (Newsboys challenged us to text this at the end of the movie) to as many people.

The last weekend of the month, I went on my monthly trip to the Twin Cities to visit familia. It was a scary moment Friday evening with my nephew as he was coughing blood (came from his bloody nose) as he's been sick after coming home from North Carolina for a vacation. Thank God he got better. I also came home to help hook the computer I bought as a gift to my parents, which is supposed to be "elderly" friendly! Then my friend Wanny (h.s. buddy) text me to read his book (about motivation) online on his story that I never knew about since I've know him during junior-high school!

April 2014

We started the 1st day of April "Fools Day" with snow, actually a little "blizzard". Big enough to cause some major drifts to cause this SUV to be stuck..

I found this truck stuck along my drive back home from my 2nd job early Tuesday morning. I thought it belonged to a friend (Tim) of mine, which I would later found out it wasn't after helping shovel some snow. The snow drifts caused a 1 hour "late-start" at my regular job. I was able to catch-up on my computer (pics and vids) project for that 1 hour.

One the 3rd (Thursday), I participated in my 1st MCC (local church) worship team practice. It was fun singing as joining the worship team will be an additive to my personal growth with my Heavenly Father (e.g. after my "Father's heart" as David).

On Saturday (5th), I went with my housemate (Rai) to the annual CNIA Pow Wow at the university. We would meet a couple of former college peers (Ryan & Jen) of mine with their kids. It was great to see UMM alumnus that come visit Morris again.

On Sunday (6th) during church service, I was part of the worship team for the 1st time! I was nervous a little, but when I kept reminding myself I'm singing to my Heavenly Father-my "butterflies" went away!

The following day a friend "out of the blue" came up to me and ask "how do I become a Christian?" (long story on how this came about). I thought it was very "God-timing" with the circumstances prior and during. I shared this (see photo album) as I was trying to find the "basic simplest" explanation. This is the story I emailed to my pastor and youth pastor of my local church..

"Update: 4.7.14

I thought of this share several days after when I was going to go to the local college to watch this movie (Jeremy Lin Story), but I kept telling myself "I wont' go unless I find someone else to join me to watch this". Well, it hit 7:30ish and I decided to stay home. Sometime later, my housemate came home from work. I told him about the movie that was being played. I shared some videos online of this guy's story. My housemate appeared to have a lot in his mind, so I would share with him. Then it led to sharing the Gospel (Salvation) story, which we ended up praying together to "accept Jesus" into his heart. Praise the Lord! Welcome brother Yuu!

I've been "trying" to grow in this more in "waiting/seeking" God's heart..daily for His purpose and His plans


I was motivated after this, so the following day I took a "friend" out to eat to just do some "personal chatting". I've learned to be more of a "listener" as people just "want to be heard" if we just take time. As I write this, I think of two other people in this community I've actually gone out to a "meal" with to just chat. I'm praying that these conversations will go "deeper" to point to God as the source of all these guys' (one of them actually past away, so I encourage one to pray more to "dig" deeper before it's too late :(-just like that song "The Living Years") hope" in their "life-challenges".

Ironically on this topic, the next day, I would read updates of former college alumnus and found out till "now" that a friend/former housemate died last year. I just visited this guy and sent him a video to encourage him after he shared his struggles. I wonder if he could've got this encouraging video much earlier??? ..or if he did?..One of those BIG life questions that I'll probably won't know until I get to Heaven :(...

On Thursday (10th), I went to an event at the local college campus called "Coming to America" (stories of UMM community sharing about their experiences coming to America and abroad). There were many great stories-too many to share here! Those who were there, I'm currently working on putting a photo archive with some video clips I took of this event for future generations to hear. I believe "we" all have a story to share to encourage, inspire, and even entertain others through their current "on-going" challenges as immigrants, refugees, migrants, or anyone traveling abroad to a "new country"-culture.

I went home for Palm Sunday weekend, which was also to celebrate both my sister and mom's birthday. We went to House of Wong (see sample dish) in Roseville, which was my 1st time there. I met James (sis' b/f) adopted dad for the first time, which we had a great lunch-chat with his family and ours.

When I got back from Morris the following day (Monday after a 3-day weekend) my local church needed volunteers with "tearing down" our future church building for remodeling preparations. I was so thankful my housemate (from Pakistan) was willing to work and tear down as he was ok doing this to help pay for his house rent. The following day (Tuesday), when I went to work. Several clients from my workplace told me they missed me even though I was just gone for a! Well, I was very touched by this as I realize my workplace has become like a family already after almost 9 years now.

On Wednesday (16th), we had a snow blizzard, which isn't too a surprise living in Minnesota all my life. Then the following day, Rai and I did more work in the church remodeling project. I had to leave after a short time for worship practice at our temporary location (former Morris Life Care Pregnancy Center office). A lot of the snow that we had yesterday was already melting today with our near "Spring-like" temps.

It was the Easter holiday weekend, which we had "Good Friday" (18th) off. However, I was battling a sore throat. I was able to get a lot of errands (e.g. fax/scan old notes from ministry school back in 1999, upload videos from my vacation back in the Philippines in 2012, etc...) done with the start of my holiday weekend. On Easter "Resurrection" Sunday, my friend/co-worker (Paul) invited over to have supper at his house with his family. It was such a blessing since I couldn't be with my family back in St. Paul for the holidays. Unfortunately, my battle with my sore throat got worse, which I had to call in "sick" for the 1st time this winter on Monday (21st). It was a good time to rest and I watched this interesting "prophecy" video called "Harbinger". The following day, I still wasn't feeling good, but just a "little better". My co-workers told me I should've stayed home, but I didn't want to be gone after a 4-day weekend. I brought some home remedies (e.g. apple vinegar), which I googled to help fight this sore throat. I'm just not a fan of going to the doctors, so I "google" (e.g home remedies) for all my ailments and it seem to help and safe time-money!

On Wednesday (23rd), it was a very eventful day for my housemates. My housemate (Yuu from Japan) had his senior seminar on "tatoos". Then, my other housemate and I went to Subway (despite the latest new on "rubber" made material bread they have, but as long I don't go there often). We didn't have time to go home to make supper as we had to be at the local elementary school for Rai's presentation in our weekly ESL classes. He wanted to get some practice before his actual "real" presentation at the USDA Soils Lab as part of this end of the week farewell. I learned a lot more about "Sunflowers" as that's what was his research project during his 6-month stay.

The next day (24th), I attended the annual "Women of Today Talent Show", which I try to support my co-workers/clients each year. It's very entertaining for whoever I bring too, but there was no one that came with me this year. It was a great time as I took this cool rainbow pic prior to going inside the American Legion to watch.

My last day of the week (25th-Friday) was pretty "easy" as I had to to take clients almost all day to the RFC as I subbed for a co-worker that usually took them. This is part of my job I mostly enjoy :) When I got home it was a beautiful day, so I wanted to take advantage of it and with Rai being around before he leaves. I asked him to hold the ladder as I did some "finishing touches" (caulking) the roof around the sky windows after I found some holes with leaks last summer when we put it up with the metal roof. I'm just hoping this will be good for the future. Time will tell as I don't like climbing the metal "slippery" roof. It took me a long time to figure how to do this late last summer.

For my housemate's (Rai) last full day, I treated him out as my guest at the annual "Taste of Asia" at the local campus. He was supposed to leave on Sunday, but it was postponed due to unusual circumstances. Instead, he left the next day, but very early 2ish in the morning! It was a great experience to meet 3 guys now from Pakistan as it's been very culturally enriching!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

March 2014

I started the month by going to the RFC (Regional Fitness Center) with my housemates (Rai & Yuu) and friend (Ed) playing basketball. Every 1st Saturday of the month, the local fitness center is open for FREE for community members. We took advantage of this day by playing pick-up basketball....

*see Good News Fitness

Jaime would join us in later game, which he would personally invite us afterwards to his presentation at Jane Adams later in the week.

My housemates would join me later in the evening for the community-wide monthly "Real Ministries Worship" at a local church (Hossana Worship Center). It was Rai's first time at a church "like" service, so it was cool to see him experience this event.

The next day, I went to the local indoor skating rink to ice skate my first, only, and last time of this winter season. I "hit" myself for not doing this more during this winter season, but I had a great time. It was fun to see a couple of co-workers (Johnnita & Lori) from my full-time job and other community members I know there...

While ice-staking, I was trying to learn how to skate backwards. This kid (friend's son) started to teach me, which I thought it was very kind and cool of him. He skates for a junior league, so he was pretty good!

On Saturday (8th), I did my every-other-month visit to Moose Lake. It was the "best" weather compared to the past 3 weekends, so it was nice to leave the prairie lands to the forestry part of northeast (e.g. Pine County) Minnesota.

The following day (9th), I went snowboarding with a friend of mine at Andes Tower Hills (Kensington, Minnesota). The weather was so nice (48-50 F) that I didn't even wear my winter jacket, just my workout jacket.

On Wednesday (12th), we had a special guest (Elvira) that presented about Kazakhstan during our weekly ESL-GED classes (Morris Literacy Project).

The following day (Thursday 17th) I participated in the MCC worship team practice as an "observer" in training before I start the next month. I decided to join after my Pastor (Pat) shared the "need" last month. I wasn't sure at time last Fall whether I was going to be around in Morris with my ESL career ambition. It didn't workout, so I stayed and decided to join this church ministry. I'm also looking forward to this involvement will help improve my singing as I've grown a passion for over the years (e.g. took voice lessons years ago). There are many other benefits of joining the worship team, which I'll probably add in future blogs.

ON Friday (14th), I had my every other year "physical exam" for my bus certification. I'm wasn't worried about not passing it, but just the eye-exam part. I've pass the last 3 exams, which I contribute to it to my change of lifestyle and eye patch therapy (I alternate covering my left-right eye almost daily throughout the year). I wanted to make sure I pass this year, so I did a special "fasting" almost a month prior to this exam. I "tried" to avoid any sweets a month prior to my eye exam. I also took this "detoxification" pill a month or so prior to cleanse my body of "toxins". I purposely scheduled it before my birthday, so I can celebrate "a little" after. Well, it paid off as I did pass the eye exam. Praise the Lord!

I started working on my taxes earlier this year after procrastinating last year (finished a day or two before the deadline). It paid off as I did more filing on the 16th (Sunday); Did my 2010-2013 carryover from my basement house projects on the 20th (Thursday). I did this after taking my housemates for supper at the Ranch House for a brunch buffet. It was such a blessed time as many friends from church were there the same time. Part of living in a small town!

On my birthday (18th), there was another snow storm, just like last year! However, it wasn't big enough (only 1" or so actually stayed from the forecast 6"-12" of snow precipitation-uncertain amounts melted) to cancel work unlike last year. We would have another "overestimate" snowfall projection storm on the 27th, which 1-4" that fell melted right away too.

I did my annual birthday tradition of going to the cities during Philippine Day. I brought 2 housemates of mine (Rai from Pakistan & Yuu from Japan) this time to celebrate my 37th birthday with family and friends. I gave them a tour of Downtown St. Paul (e.g. State Capitol) and the surrounding area, which they seem to enjoy. One of my favorite stops was a trip to Mounds Park-Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood, which I was very excited to visit this historic archaeologic spot. Unfortunately, i got too excited where I slipped on hard ice and still feel the impact as I write this to this day (Monday, April 21st 2014). We also visited the other side of the river to downtown Minneapolis (see Foshay Tower Skydeck Pics).

On the last day of the month, I watched a life-touching theatrical performance of the life of "Christy" Huddleston performed at Central Square in Glenwood, Minnesota. I carpooled with a couple (Wayne & Julie) from my local church, which it was great fellowship time to and from Glenwood!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

February 2014

I started the month by driving to St. Cloud to see my 9 yr-old niece (Alyssa) compete at a gymnastics tournament. I brought a cheering section with me from Morris to join with her favorite fans (family). She won a position (3rd) medal too in the individual floor competition! It was a blessing to hangout with family (bro and his family) and friends (housemates and another UMM college student from Japan).

The following day (Groundhog Day) was the Super Bowl, which some friends (Ed & Aisanne) invited my housemates and I over for a party. I stayed for only for the first half and half-time show (Bruno Mars!)as I had to do some other stuff at home and jump start (one of many times during this cold-winter season) my other housemate's (Jin's) vehicle.

On Monday morning during my overnight shift, I had some dispute with a particular individual. It started to get "unfriendly", but I kept praying for this individual despite my anger was building-up. I'm glad I've been asking God for patience, peace, etc.. (fruits of the spirit) over the years since I became a Christian. It paid off several days later...see story-> How to Overcome Offense (through forgiveness) .

The following day (4th), I went to Jane Adams with my housemate (Rai). During the 2nd weekend of the month, I went to visit family in the cities to celebrate my younger brother's be-lated birthday. We went to a Japanese-Chinese "buffet" restaurant in West St. Paul. I got my food "freshly" cooked (see shrimp-seafood imitation crab noodle dish) , which I've started to do this instead of going through the buffet lines. While I was in the cities, I took advantage of the automotive services, like getting an oil change at Firestone (great discount with coupon from the back of the receipt of Cub Foods).

I got a discount card (50% off) from my workplace for Pizza Ranch, so I treated (Buffalo Chicken) my housemates on Thursday (13th) with a large pizza there. The following day (Valentines Day, I celebrated a friend's (Ed) birthday with some friends by going bowling at Crystal Lanes.

During the 3rd weekend (February 15th), I walked two blocks with my housemates to Dairy Queen's annual "50% off everything Customer Appreciation" sale for lunch. Then I went back with the same housemate and joined another friend (Chris) for supper later (to avoid the "meal rush hour") in the evening and got two different sandwiches (e.g. fish & Chicken). On Sunday, a friend (Ed) and I played some football indoors. I made a youtube video of Ed making the "Longest Football Throw into Basketball Morris (as we know of yet.).... ".

Temperatures were the warmest (mid 30's) in months on President's Day (Monday, February 17th), so I took advantage of this time to continue my car project (replacing new headlight covers-just did my right-passenger side). It started to get cooler, so I went inside and cleaned more of my attic (going through all my totes of ESL stuff). On Wednesday (19th), my housemate (Yuu from Japan) joined me in my weekly ESL-GED classes, which we a great conversation with a couple of students (Cambodian and Ukrainian). The "nice" warmer weather lasted only several days, which was a nice break during this "long" colder than average winter season. We ended up having a blizzard on Thursday (20th), which wasn't too bad as we had only a 1-hour late start the next day.

On Saturday (22nd), I had a family (Michael, Kerri, and son) from my local church over to hangout with my housemate (Rai) and I for lunch (e.g. Willies' Jo Jo's). We shared videos (e.g. Germany) from youtube as our educational and fun entertainment. The following day, we had our annual guest speaker (Jim M. from City Hill in Eden Prairie) come from the Twin Cities to encourage us. He actually brought a challenging "reminder" message on "Who is your #1 passion?...Jesus? We (muah) get so busy in life that we fill our time with all these "things to do" and forget our Creator. This challenged me to analyze where and how I put my time each day.

I ended the shortest month of the year with the annual fish fry (with Yuu, Ed, and Aisanne) during the start of "Lent Season", which I'm currently challenging myself to "fast (eating healthier, prioritizing my time that's more "purposeful", and sustain from certain foods also to improve my eye sight for next month's eye exam for my every two year bus driver license certification) and pray" during the 40 days to seek my "Heavenly Father's heart" more (e.g. David in Psalms).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

January 2014

I started the first the next several days after the New Year's Holiday by working out as my 2014 "new year's" getting fit goal. I joined Body Pump for the first time since last winter on Saturday (4th) to do something "different" from my normal workout routine. Also, it was a great way to keep warm in this chilly start of the new year. I recorded close to 50 below zero wind chills on the 6th (Monday) and 3 feet of "new" snow. We had a 2 hour late start on either the 6th/7th. I took advantage of this weather by watching some movies, which my housemate (Yuu from Japan) and I watched some World War II footage on youtube (e.g. Japanese of the Philippines). He was very remorseful by actually "apologizing" "out of nowhere" for the actions his country did towards the Philippines, which I was very caught by surprised and thought it was very thoughtful. Even though this didn't happen in our generation, it was actually humbling of him to do that as he already knew I was a WWII "history buff" (e.g. particularly the Phiippine arena). On the 9th, I finally finished a video project (interview of my Uncle Totoy about his life during World War II) I started back in the beginning of 2013. Later in the day, my housemates and I were invited to this supper "Welcoming New UMM International Students" at the La Fave House. A weather note on Friday (10th), the temperatures went up to 20F, which melted enough snow to cause some fog as I went to the RFC to workout after dropping off a client at the P.E. Center (UMM Cougar's basketball game) from the group home I work at.

With this cold weather, it's a great time to do house cleaning. I did more cleaning in my attic on Saturday (11th), which I'm hoping to get rid of as many unnecessary "stuff" before the winter season ends to enjoy the up-coming "much-appreciated" Spring weather. I also caught up on my video production of my trip to the Philippines in November of 2012. I was able to get 10+ videos alone of my 1st 2-3 day of the 14-day vacation there.

The weather warmed up to 39F as a high on the 12th, so my housemates and I took advantaged of the nicer weather by skiing and snowboarding at Cougar -Tiger Hill..

On Monday (13th), my housemate (Yuu) and I played some racquetball, which is a great "cardio" exercise alternative to running the treadmill or any machines all the time during the cold winter days. Then on the 15th (Wednesday), I went swimming as another great cardio activity.

We had another "snow" day (Thursday 16th) due to a blizzard. I took advantage of this by doing more cleaning (e.g. kitchen. If you can't "beat" the cold, might as well have fun in it. On Saturday (18th), my housemates (Yuu & Rai), Eric, and I went to Wilmar to get some shopping done and to explore a different town outside of Morris besides Alexandria. Afterwards, we drove to Spicer for their annual "Winter Fest" month-long celebration. We just got their just in time with an open parking spot to view the fireworks show over Green Lake! I call it God's blessed timing! The next day (Sunday 19th), I went snowboarding with several of my friends (Chris, Oray, and Olga) at Andes Tower Hills (Kensington-30 minutes NE of Morris). It was ideal snowboarding weather (32-39 F), but it was cut short (2 hours only) as my screw came off from one of my snowboard. Next time, I should bring extra screws! I ended-up watching 2 plus hours of the NFL playoff (Seahawks vs. 49ners).

On Monday (20th), I attend the 1st monthly "Community Meal" at Faith Lutheran Church, which was the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday theme. On Wednesday (22nd), we had another snow day due to another blizzard. I took advantage of this day-off by cutting my hair and then ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill at the RFC.

I did my 2nd body pump of the year on Saturday (25th) and then went to Benson with a couple of friends (Yuu and Chris) to "Mi Mexico" (great "authentic" Mexican food). I wanted to "get outside" of town with our "small window of opportunity" of nice weather before the up-coming forecast of more "bad" weather. We did have one as Monday (27th) there was no work again at my full-time job. I took advantage of the "snow day" by starting on my taxes. We finally had nice weather on a Wednesday (since the 8th), but the ESL/GED classes had to be cancelled due to a rescheduled Adult Basic Education (ABE)-GED Diploma Ceremony for last year's GED recipients. It was nice to bring my housemate (Yuu) along with me as we went shopping afterwards before going back to Morris.

Monday, January 6, 2014

December 2013

I started the last month of 2013 with my mom making pancakes during my "Thanksgiving Weekend" visit "home" (St. Paul) with my housemate (Yuu from Japan). Before heading back to Morris, I went to visit my sister and her boyfriend. My niece (Alysa) had a gymnastics competition in the Highland neighborhood in St. Paul, but wasn't able to make it :(. It was a good "holiday" visit overall! On the 3rd (Tuesday), I attended the "last" Jane Adams gathering for the Fall of 2013. The following day (4th-Wednesday), my workplace (DAC) closed 1 hour earlier due to the winter storm (2-4"??). To keep warm during the winter, one of my favorite "physical workout" activities is playing racquetball! Due to cold wind chills (30 below Farenheit), my route to take clients to and from Benson was cancelled. After work (full-time job), I went out with my housemates (Kazu & Yuu) to go grocery shopping. Wind chills were still high (35-45 below), but I rode my bike 3-4 blocks to Bella Cucina to help celebrate my friend's (former ESL student, from Kyrgyzstan). I just came for dessert (Nacho Ice Cream? and had an appetizer.

On Sunday (8th), my local church was invited to join another family of Christ at Hossana Worship Center for a healing service. It was just another faith builder in my "daily growing walk" with my Heavenly Father as it taught me to seek my potential gifts through Him! See stories-> (Hossana Worship Center Healing Service with Paul Rapley, please feel free contact me to add you to my list to view or Good News Thankful).

I attended my weekly (Wednesdays @7-8am) "bible-study fellowship", which Neil & Ruth shared about the importance of applying the "spiritual gifts" (e.g. word of knowledge) daily to "encourage" others. ON Friday (13th), I used my "vacation" (day-off) time before the year ends, so I took advantage of this with "catching-up" on many errands (house cleaning) and multi-media projects. Later in the evening, I attended my housemate (Yuu's)'s end-of-the-semester "University Choir Concert. The following day, I went to do my every other month (or so) visit of a friend at Moose Lake Prison. I meant to go much earlier, but the schedule for my friend's father didn't work out and "worse" weather the weekend before. However, the weather wasn't as good too. Despite the less than 1" inch of snow falling between Moose Lake and Mora, it was still challenging to drive. Just driving slowly and carefully (using 2 hands on the wheel) was key!

On Sunday, December 15th, my local church had their annual "Family Christmas Program Service". It's a time for folks to "show-off" their God given talents to bless the rest of the church family. I then had to leave early to get ready for my job's annual trip to Willmar for the "Christmas Fundraiser Play-"The Voice" at the Assemby of God church there. I would take a picture of their Nativity set to be used as my personal Christmas Card.

Due to the past cold days, my housemate's (Jin) car needed a jump start (see miracle story)! Our 1st time was unsuccessful, but the 2nd time (after meeting with a friend at DQ about our weekly ESL Classes)-we got it, thankful to God! The following day, we had our weekly ESL/GED classes, which we had a new student (Rai from Pakistan), who will be here for 6 months or so (till April)-like his many predecessors (other USDA Soils Lab Ph.D seeking college graduates).

I didn't go to work 2 1/2 hours later the next day as I had some hours left of "vacation" time to use up before the end of the year. I ended-up working on some Christmas pictures that I plan to share with my co-workers, which many do holiday greetings cards to share amongst my workplace....

It was pretty much an easy day at work as I "worked" for 2 1/2 hours before our annual "DAC Christmas Party", which we exchanged gifts. It was fun and blessed for the many gifts. On Friday (20th), I invited my future housemate (Rai) to hangout, which we (Yuu along) watched "Hunger Games (1st)". It was my second time watching this since my 17-hour plane trip from the Philippines back in November 25th 2012.

It was the "first" official day of Winter on the 21st, but it feels like it started earlier this month. In fact, it feels like January-February with the recent "frigid" temps. To keep warm, my housemates (Yuu and Rai) and I played a game of Racqueball) on Saturday afternoon.

I got a 1 1/2+ week vacation from my full-time job, so I took advantage of this break to "catch-up" on my multi-media projects. I had to work my part-time job (group home overnight) during my 1 1/2 + week break (from ft-job), but it was a "financial blessing" with the holiday season. I biked a lot to work (just less than a mile according to my odometer when I measured it one day) during the night (for my 11p-7am shift) as I didn't want to bother starting my car for 5 minutes or longer with the cold. It was great exercise!

On Christmas Day (25th), my housemates got together to celebrate our housemate (Kazu)'s going away back "home" (Japan). We had a potluck first at our house before going bowling-my first time to do this on Christmas! I was scheduled to take Kazu with me to the Twin Cities the following day, but he was waiting for a package (economics book-> see college student discounts). It was being delivered late due to the crazy winter we've had all over the nation. He finally got the book the following day (Friday) just minutes after our scheduled time we hope to leave no matter if the book came...thank God!.

We (Kazu & I) left around 1ish on Friday for the Twin Cities after our "tearful goodbyes" to our other housemates. It was a beautiful day (30's), which we couldn't pick a better day to travel 3 hours to the Twin Cities. Kazu had the hunger for Korean food, so we went to a restaurant on Snelling in St. Paul. It was a great snack (late lunch) before heading to my parents' place. Kazu went to "hangout" with his other college friends during his 4-day weekend in the Twin Cities before leaving to Japan on Monday (December 30th). I was fortunate to stay in the cities for 4 days as a co-worker and I traded shifts together-another answer to prayer (God's provision)! Earlier, I was somewhat frustrated that I had to stay "longer" in Morris after Christmas, but it worked out with this shift change. Plus, it was somewhat "better" weather on Monday (warmer, but slicky with 1" snowfall in Twin Cities). I'm just grateful that I was able to get out of the Twin Cities before it got worse (300 car accidents according to the news when I got home). While Kazu spent most of the time with his friends, I was able to spend quality family time as a "late Christmas" get-together. I took Kazu and my nephew to the batting cages on Rice Street before doing a "last minute" video project for Kazu's friend (Ace-> Oromo Community of Minnesota 2014 Agenda). We then went to one (eggrolls on University Ave & Dale St.) of two more (spring rolls in Duc Restaurant in Woodbury) Vietnamese restaurants the next two days. On Sunday (December 29th), I took Kazu to Mall of America to get some "Minnesota memorabilia" for family-friends back at home. We when went to downtown Minneapolis to visit the Original Baseball Museum (across where the Vikings were playing the Lions in their "last game" ever!). It was very cold this day, which I can't imagine what it'll be like the next two years for the Vikings outdoors (TCF Stadium)!

For New Year's Eve, I took my housemates (Yuu and Rai) to a family's house (local church family that lives outside of town) that invited the rest of the Morris Community Church family to ring-in the New Year! I was a little hesitant about going with the cold weather (below zero) , but we (housemates and I) were tired of being indoors most of the weekend. I'm glad we went as we had a good time (eating, fellowship, playing pool, etc..).