Monday, December 24, 2007


I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

As my family knows, I've never been real into decorating the exterior of the house with Christmas lights, but I've found something I may be interested in...



Great idea don't you think?!
The only problem may be the extension cord....

Wow, think of all the fun contests you could have!

Reportedly, the moose got into some crab apples that had fermented and got a little tipsy.
I kinda doubt the veracity of the story. Who gave the moose a breath-a-lizer test!?
How many fermented crab apples would it take to make the moose a little loose?

But, you will notice in the background of the picture, he was near Bernie's Bungalow Lounge. Hmmmmm.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I have a wireless keyboard and mouse for my office computer.
It can be very helpful not fussing with those wires,
the batteries run down.

I received a message on my computer monitor that stated
Your MX5000 batteries are critical!
I had three immediate thoughts...

I imagined my batteries mocking me. And then...
"I've got to get some AA batteries" and
"wouldn't it be nice if we had that kind of monitoring system for our relationships or contact with others."

Matthew 7:1 says, "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging." (The Message Bible)

I love the wisdom of God's Word.

Psalm 34:13

Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.

Psalm 39:1

(A Psalm of David)

I said, "I will guard my ways
That I may not sin with my tongue;

I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
While the wicked are in my presence."

Proverbs 13:3

The one who guards his mouth preserves his life;
The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 21:23

He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.

I think my best prayer is... "Lord, give me a warning device in my own spirit that I will detect any critical spirit in me." Oh yes, "and keep my batteries charged, Lord!"

Hooray for Evergreen Airlines

I have to say, I have about had it with hearing "Have a Happy Holiday!"


If it weren't for JESUS being the REASON FOR THE SEASON, no one would be saying "Happy Holidays."

Well, forgive my rant, but I was thrilled when I received an email from Evergreen Airlines (based in Taiwan) stating,

EVA Air wishes you a Merry Christmas!

Best regards,
Evergreen Club

So, three cheers for EVA A/L!

I will definitely fly on their airlines on my next trip back to Vietnam.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I really have not published enough about my trip to Vietnam.
It really was an incredible trip.
I am so excited about what God is doing in that nation.

The people are so loving and open.

One stop that touched all of us deeply was the state run school for deaf and blind children.
You could tell that the teachers were so full of love and caring for the children.
There were over 160 children receiving care and education.

They give the children an excellent education, but they also want to equip them with a skill that will enable the children to support themselves when they leave the school.

They teach the older children how to sew. The sewing machines they have are all borrowed and they are of a kind that reportedly break down frequently. The school would like to have better machines that the school would own.

The factory that loaned the machines to them were coming in a couple of weeks to take them back. For only $2,000.00 they would be able to get all new machines.

If you'd like to help, get word to me. Call or email.
This is doable, don't you think!

My Birthday - November 28

Joy was exclaiming, "Honey, I should be taking your picture!"
I explained to her that I decided to have some fun on my birthday and "turn the camera" around.

So I kept a pictorial log of the day.

I remembered that I could get my truck washed for free on my birthday. So that was my first stop after breakfast.

For me, it was a full, fun, productive day of work.
It started with a great breakfast with my wonderful wife and the day wrapped up with a great Bible study as we are going through the book of Daniel.

Office meetings with friendly people!

On my way to lunch

Lunch = $2.09

Joy preparing dinner.

Birthday Dinner with Joy and Jill.

Back to church for band rehearsal, choir and Bible study.

Here's part of our Bible Study group!
I don't think they've had the teacher take their picture before.

Choir members rubbed in my new "decade". They are so fun and photogenic!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I really got a kick out of how cold this sign was reading....

Now, I admit, it did get down to 2 degrees last night, but WOW!

Some of my minister friends don't like "Church Signs", frankly, I do.

I especially liked it when this digital sign read, just before the temp went up, "You've ended your search for a friendly church."

Maybe it should have read, "Come in out of the cold, it's warm inside."

Lest you get the wrong impression, this is a good congregation, they are wonderful people. They love God and are passionate about following Him.

Hey, maybe they did that intentionally to get people to pay attention to their sign! If so, GOOD JOB!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Willie Nelson

Somewhere I just heard Willie singing, "In the air again, I just can't wait to get in air again..."
2.5 hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan waiting for the next leg of the flight on to San Francisco.
EVA Airlines is a great way to fly!

And they serve REAL meals and are you ready for this.... they use real (as in not plastic) metal utensils.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chaos Ballet

I am so impressed by the Vietnamese people. They are gentle, courteous, fun loving and patient. At least the people I have met.
(I bought a battery for my camera from this man.)

According to wikipedia,
With a population of over ~87 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies; according to government figures, GDP growth was 8.17% in 2006, the second fastest growth rate among countries in East Asia and the fastest in Southeast Asia.

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon) has a population of about 8 million.
I consider myself a pretty good driver, but I am SO glad that I have not had to drive in this city.
The term I came up with to describe the traffic is CHAOS BALLET.
I seriously don't know how people negotiate the traffic.
The city has many round-a-bouts. 4,5 or 6 streets may funnel to this one round a bout and thousands of bicycles, motorbikes, buses and cars converge, do a pirouette and exit on the other side!

Here is what wikipedia says about the traffic.
Recently, the number of motorcycles has increased to about 3 million. There are also over 500,000 automobiles, packing the city's arterial roads and making traffic congestion and air pollution common problems. If Beijing is "the City of Bicycles", then Ho Chi Minh City may be called "the City of Motorbikes". Visitors shouldn't consider the city's streets as dangerous due to the motorists' general behaviour of dodging pedestrians. In general most people follow traffic rules and enforcement of traffic law is improving. However, drivers can still be seen driving the wrong way up a one way street or ignoring red lights.

I have observed all of those things in that description!

Several times I have seen 4 on a motor bike and the driver talking on the cell phone!

What these people load onto their bikes and these three-wheeled "trucks" is mind boggling.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Yesterday, we arrived at the hotel at about 1PM on Saturday. After checking in and showering. We set out to look around. Across the street is an interesting shopping mall.

I needed to buy a battery for my camera and after a little while I felt myself fading. It was about 3:30 PM (3:30AM Chicago time) so we went into a nice coffee shop and I ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee.
WOW, it was stronger than straight espresso. I LOVED IT.
I've got to have another!

Posted 6:50 AM Sunday, October 28


When I am in another country, I love to try as much of the authentic food as is possible.
How many remember the scene from Indiana Jones, the banquet scene...

What a great evening. We were taken to dinner at COM NIEU SAI GON - Vietnamese Gastronomy Restaurant.
It was a blast!
Back to Indiana Jones - a couple of the guys suggested that our meal may be similar to that.

One of the first things they brought out was a very small dish of very small and VERY hot peppers... YUP, you're right. I used my chopsticks and popped one in. OH MY WORD was it hot.
And nothing on the table with which to extinguish the FIRE.
It was an interesting sensation to feel it burn all through my mouth and gravitate on to my lips.... A couple of other brave souls tried it as well. About 15 minutes later, I had lost burn. Cool...

We did no ordering for ourselves. Our friends ordered for us. There was a lobster dish that was great. Barbeque pork (not at all like b'que in the USA), fried sticky rice, sliced beef over bean sprouts that tasted like radishes with tomato slices.

There was a rice dish that is baked encased in clay. They break the clay at the table side - sounds like breaking a dish - take out the baked rice and toss it across the room to a waiter that catches it on a plate! That must be the origination of the "throwed roll."

There were many other dishes... I tried them all. Some I enjoyed, some I.... well, left alone.

It ended with papaya.

All of that cost $150,000. per person. That is in their currency - dong. Equivalent of about 10 dollars.

Posted at 6:20 AM, Sunday, October 28


My trip to Vietnam started in a somewhat unusual way.
As I passed through security at Terminal 3 at O'Hare, I noticed a kiosk, with two nurses standing there and a sign that stated "FLU SHOTS". I thought, "what an unusual place to be offering flu shots." I was early for my flight, so I pulled over, rolled up my sleeve and got my flu shot.

I arrived in San Francisco and 11:30 PM and met the other pastors and ministers and boarded our flight on to Taipei, Taiwan. I can heartily recommend EVA Air. That leg of the flight ended up being 13 hours.

One interesting feature was the screen on the back of the seat in front of you where you could keep yourself posted on the progress of the aircraft. This screen was when we were still 4,000 miles away and had 5 1/2 hours to go.

Looking at this screen caused me to realize just how close in proximity all of these nations and major cities are. Fascinating... at least to those who love maps and geography.

I need to go to bed. It is now 9:20 PM. It is exactly 12 hours different from Chicago. We are going to a church service in the AM. It is to be an eventful and historic service.

Also, I will blog tomorrow about the fabulous and interesting authentic Vietnamese meal we had tonight.

Good night America!

By the way, don't be confused by the time stamp. It is off because it is based on USA Central Standard Time. Also, it is rather challenging to use BLOGGER, all of the directions are in the Vietnamese language.
I think I did pretty well!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dangerous Driver

Have you seen people doing dangerous behaviors?
As I was driving down Essington, I noticed someone driving along and reading a novel.
I may not have noticed except they were weaving within their lane. Traffic was going the speed limit and traffic was somewhat heavy. I was afraid I was going to witness a "rear-ender".

I wonder what the title of the book was?
Maybe you can suggest a title.

I found a good one on Drive Without Fear: The Insecure Driver's Guide to Independence (Paperback)
by Norman Klein (Author)

Go ahead, I want to hear your book title ideas.