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..).