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

Saturday, December 10, 2016

November 2016

I started the month with our monthly worship practice (Thursdays) on the 3rd. I played some soccer after work the week after (10th) as the weather was still "ok". It got really cold, but I braved it with Luciano on Friday (11th) to cheer for our local high school football team in the 1st round of the state playoffs at Alexandria..

Unfortunately, the Morris Alberta-Chokio Area High School football team lost, but it was a hard fought at the end. If they won, they would've played at the newly built U.S. Bank Stadium the week after.

The year is coming to an end quick, so I had to use up some vacation days. I took 3 days off during the 3rd week of November, but gave up one since my workplace was short staff. I plan to make it up by the end of the year. I took advantage of the 1st day off (Monday 14th) by visiting my sister and her boyfriend after visiting a friend in Wadena. Along the way from Wadena, I took a beautiful sunset along Detroit Lakes..


When I got to my sister and boyfriend's house, I would join my sister to a local group fitness class. I ready worked out earlier before this road-trip, so I didn't push myself too hard. We had some supper at the house and I slept a great 8+ hours!

On my way back to Morris, I took some great photos along the way and stopped at Fergus Falls' Walmart to stock-up on some supplies.

I had 2 additional days of the following week before Thanksgiving weekend. I had to go to Alexandria on Monday (21st) for my quarterly teaching training meeting (for Adult Basic Education). I spent most of that day doing some house cleaning and various errands.

For Thanksgiving weekend, I spent the 4 days visiting family and help with house projects (e.g. cleaning ) . We had our annual pot-luck at my younger brother's (family) house. Great time to reflect on God's blessings and to continue that throughout the year. What blessings are you thankful to God for? I'm thankful to God for many of his blessings (life, family, friends, work, and than many gifts/talents/skills to enjoy life and bless others).

During one of my days off, I came up with this parody worship-praise song as a dedication to what's going on in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation in North Dakota..

"Come & let your Justice fall in this place..."

The last week of the month, I had 2 days off from work, so I spent most of them catch-up on some house "maintenance" projects prior to my every 4 year city inspection as a landlord. I did some painting and making sure all the detectors (smoke & carbon monoxide) were working. I had my inspection on the 30th, which I took a list (e.g. fix leaks in some plumbing) of more projects to do for next month before the deadline (17th of January).

Friday, November 18, 2016

October 2016

We continued our weekly soccer in October, which the weather remained beautiful most of the month. My local college where I graduated had their homecoming, which my friends (Joey & Shannon) came again for another consecutive "countless" year. They weren't able to arrive till later (Friday) due to personal reasons. I picked them up and greeted them at the Student Center after a KUMM (local radio station) concert. Unfortunately, my car wouldn't start. After countless tries with the factory alarm going on late at night (10:45ish pm), the local campus police officer was successfully able to to stop the alarm after I handed him one of my wrenches in my tool box that was in my trunk of my car. I decided to leave my car there and follow the suggestion of the campus officer to replace the battery the next day when there will be daylight. I gave up fixing it after I wasn't successful getting a response via text from friends to help as it was late! My friends ended up calling the Morris Taxi service and I just walked home.

The next day, I got up early to get a new battery and replace it myself as my friend (Tim, the mechanic) still hasn't replied. I carried my new "expensive" battery ($160!, which Tim called it a rip off) via bicycle and was able to fix it. Tim finally came after I put the new battery and was able to drive to my house. Unfortunately, the car shut off as it remained idle in my driveway. It started up again after contacting Tim to check it out again, which we test drove it around town and couldn't diagnose the problem-probably just had to warm the battery more by letting it run.

I was thankful to God that this car was able to start and run, but was still weary it wouldn't start again. I told my friends that my car isn't 100% working, so I suggested them to use their Morris taxi pass the remainder of the weekend of Homecoming if they need a ride. I would later get my car working with no problems...praise the Lord! This car issue came along with other 2 challenges at the time ("comes in 3 saying" :( ). I was already having problems with my desktop computer, which I wouldn't get running for the most of the month of October. I ended up replacing my hard drive with a $300 Samsung solid state drive, which I never heard about until after doing some research. Tim spoke highly about it, so it was actually a blessing to purchase this and haven't had any problems since replacing it sometime the last week of October. It was such a blessing as it got my computer to start quicker and run smoother too! I was able to upload one of the songs I recorded the previous month...

During Homecoming, I was able to see my former mentor (who motivated me to ready my Bible daily) Stu F...

...who I passed by on my bike with my new car battery, but wasn't able to chat as I was going down a small decline. I would meet him at my local church, which we were able to catch-up and share what God has been doing in our lives in this small group fellowship activity during our monthly community "communion" fellowship.

The third "challenge" during the beginning of October was my bike, which I had 2 flats within a week time. I ended up buying a new bike "back" ($70) wheel after taking it to the bike shop (Eul's Hardware), which they suggested me replacing it as the bearings were worn out (probably caused by me going over the curb too many times and my weight was too much for the thin back tire). Fortunately, I got it fixed and was thankful to God for all these challenges to be taken care of....Praise the Lord!

A former co-worker invited me to meet with her friend about this potential business at Old #1 on Tuesday (11th), which ended up being one of those "make money quick" pyramid scheme business. I learned from my mistakes in the past (e.g. Equinox International, Quickstar, Powermall, etc..), so I wasn't able to get tempted by their fancy presentation.

I went to the cities the 3rd weekend (14th-16h) as my renters' younger brother (Saad) needed a ride to the airport early Saturday morning (@6am on the 15th). I took advantage of that weekend doing family time (e.g. watched my niece and nephew during swimming practice). My younger brother invited us (mom, kids, and I) to a spontaneous road trip -Southeastern: Great River Road-Scenic Hwy 61. The weather was cloudy, but still nice and warm to enjoy the beautiful fall colors!

I attended the annual health expo in town , which the local hospital featured a key note speaker that was a former NFL Super Bowl Champion. I shared with him a little how I had some health brain concussion like symptoms too, which I would encourage him via instagram with my blog

We had our annual dance during this time at my workplace on Friday (28th), which I dressed up as a baseball player. I would do my monthly singing with my local church worship team on the 30th. I attended 2 funeral-memorial services on the 29th & 31st, which is always a good time to self-evaluate's ones' own life of purpose , gratefulness, and goal-setting.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

September 2016

I continued the weekly soccer on Thursday (1st). It was Labor Day weekend, so I did the paper route with my workplace on Friday (3rd). I then went home (St. Paul) the next day for the weekend, which I spent family quality time-including my annual time with family (only my mom) at the Minnesota State Fair.

Above is a stuff animal I won after hitting a plate after three throws in this carnival like-game.

I decided to go back to the cities the weekend after as I wanted to check out the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Below is one of the songs I recorded...

I never been to this annual festival as I really didn't have interest when I was growing up until I got older (e.g. culturally appreciative). I invited a couple of friends of mine, which was their first time too.

Fall was coming soon, so I did some house projects (e.g. exterior window boundaries screws got tighten). Also got an oil change.

Personal Mile Record Vlog Pt4

I went to the cities again for the third weekend in a row for a family member's birthday. Great time!

On Tuesday (27th), I went to donate blood

...I ended the month by going to dance my friend (Mark) personally invited me, which I brought Luciano along. We watched a preview of this adoption documentary video (e.g. He Came to Me) he's currently working on. Learning more about my friend's adoption story make me more appreciative of my own blessings (e.g. family). Hope you can check the video out and pray fully consider supporting him with prayer and a financial donation.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

August 2016

I started the first week of the month by working on my car (headlight bulb cover has been lose). On Tuesday (2nd), I was personally invited by a "facebook" friend to the local Morris Police Appreciation Picnic after all the "negative" (see "Netural Perspective: Law Enforcement-Police “Protect and to Serve?” in the news. We then had our weekly "Morris Pick-up Soccer/Futbol at Green River Park Thursday, which we would not miss at all this whole month. We had different people almost every week as not everybody was able to come the same time. My renter and his friend (from Kazakistan) was even able to come, which my co-worker (Oray) enjoyed meeting. It's been a great social community connection.

The 1st weekend of the month, I would go to the cities to attend my niece's birthday. I used the weekend to spend quality time with my parents too and celebrate my dad's birthday early since I couldn't come down here the 2nd weekend. I treated him out for his b-day by paying lunch for both him and my mom at Denny's-great wheat pancakes by the way!

My renter for 3-4+ years finally was moving, which took a longer start than he hoped for as finding a place in Mankato was challenging. He ended up moving out the 18th (compared to early July) while 2 friends he referred to already moved in (Saturday the 13th). We managed to all live together for 3-4 days as this has happened before.

One of my ESL students (Caio from Brazil) did a presentation about his country on the 10th (Wednesday) as our tradition in our classes before students leave. This gives the opportunity for the community to come and learn; however, it didn't workout for many people's schedule. Fortunately I was able to video tape it and I'm able to share it.

It was Stevens County Fair time, which I would go there only once due to busyness of two new renters moving the same weekend. I ended up taking both of them for lunch to get to know them on Saturday (13th). It was great weather and the only threat of severe weather the whole time was Wednesday night, but nothing much came out of the dark scary looking clouds that evening.

On Wednesday (17th), my workplace took our annual trip to Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, which I would drive the big bus again for 2 wheel chair clients to go the 2nd year in a row. It was great weather (foggy for awhile south of Willmar) , but there were a lot of road construction along the way that slowed us a bit, but not too bad.

We saw "Beauty & the Beast", which I had to comment on the great costume designs the characters wore. I wasn't able to watch it "fully" because I had my hands full with work.

The last weekend of the month, I would drive to the cities with a friend/ESL student from Brazil (Luciano) as he was willing to help my sister and her b/f move. It was kind of "last minute" (planned ahead) as my co-worker (John F.) volunteered to take my shift on Saturday (27th) the day prior. I called Luciano if it was ok to leave Friday (same day), so it worked out-Praise the Lord! It was an answer to prayer! We ended up going to the Minnesota State Fair that evening as a treat and some fun before moving the next day...

Minnesota: State Fair-Sky Ride (Sal & 1st time for Luciano)

Luciano had so much fun that we ended up going back here on Sunday for 7-8 hours before driving back to Morris...

On Monday (29th), I had our quarterly Adult Basic Education Consortium Meeting in Alexandria, as part of my teaching English certificate qualification for the up-coming academic season. I then went to Menards to gather some landscaping supplies that I never had a chance to work on for the beginning of the summer because I just was slacking..hehe!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

July 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Lord give us a New Song..."

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

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

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

Gooseberry Falls State Park Visit (July 30th 2016)

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

June 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current Bike Challenge Stats as of 7.24.16...

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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

May 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

April 2016

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

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

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

"Trying" to teach golf (driving range)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

March 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breakfast Starters: French Toast of Different Flavors

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