Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stylish Blogger

Jenny D, you know I care about you or I’d never do this!  LOL!  I don’t often get things like this:  but I thank Jenny from the bottom of my heart.  I don’t think there’s many left I could pass this on to that haven’t gotten it already so know for sure that you all have some thing that you add to my life every single day that make you worthy of this award…I don’t say this lightly!  I only wish my wife would allow comments because I say for sure that she and her blogging are worthy of this award!  So, seven things about me?  Things that you may not know?  That’s not easy since I pretty much put my life out there on my blog as it is!  Here’s a few things that you may or may not know about me:

1)I’m southern born and western raise.  I was actually born in Charlotte, NC (shout out Carole!) but raised here in sunny Montana (just kidding about the sunny thing!)

2)I play guitar which is mostly praise and worship in our church but love heavy metal and many other styles of music on my own time.

3)Started traveling abroad at 18 years old to Ghana, West Africa and have since been to India (where I lived in what was then called Madras for some time), been to England, Ireland, Scotland, Thailand, the Philippines (where I also lived for a while and where I met my wife of sixteen years now)

4)I’ve got three kids that still live at home:  Danielle, my first born (15), Michael my son (11) and Gabrielle…always called Gabby(5)

5)I’m a concealed weapon permit holder and have taken classes with my Glock 37 which is a variation of a .45 automatic and I’m registered with the Sheriff…I’ve just renewed my permit in fact.

6)I intend to return to the Philippines this year with my whole family…our little one has never been there before…we’ve not returned since 9/ could use prayer…we will be gone for 2 months finding a house for a mission team that will follow us.

7)I’m a licensed and ordained minister…I received my ordination papers at just 17 years old and have taken 3 year correspondence bible school training while on the mission field…I was a straight A student…I just loved the subject matter!


I think that one of the most underrated things in life is faithfulness and steadfastness.  So much talk of change, reform and the rhetoric of the two but where is the faithfulness?  Where is the steadfast commitment to dance with the one who brought us so to speak?  I grow weary of speeches that are nothing more than a flash in the pan that have no substance even while they are being spoken.  I’d like to see someone stand for the principles that are so much under assault these days.  You cannot have morality apart from God nor can you wring your hands about how the Constitution is out of date while it’s straying from its principles that has put us in the mess that we are in now.  I have been reading an excellent book called:  “The Real George Washington” that talks about all the things that brought us to and through the Revolutionary war.  It seems that George Washington has been brought low by many today who suggest or openly say he was just some lousy slave owning polytheistic despot.  Reading his true history and writings you quickly find that none of these things are true…but this is all in the book so I digress.  The one thing that caught my eye recently in my reading was where the book mentioned the two foundational pillars in the Constitution which were 1) The existence of God and His naturally established order in this earth and 2) The citizens of a republican nations must be virtuous and moral.  Benjamin Franklin said:  “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.  As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”  I believe this is not only true of nations but of people on a personal level.  We cannot have morality without God nor God without morality.  Thus the conundrum that our nation and so many others find themselves in today.  We forsake basic morals and try to appease this mistake by saying all things are equal and thus become more and more corrupt which in the end leads to chaos.  I don’t care if you’re talking personally or nationally:  this is a recipe for disaster.  All of these things being said I stand on the principles of our founders…I believe in them and will endeavor to do my best to follow their lead.  On a ministry level I’ve never found a ministry more true to Godly principle than Eagle Ministries International.  We have always done our best to listen to the voice of God and follow that through good times and bad to see its fulfillment.  It is important to surround ourselves with such people and to remain steadfast.  Africa is a shining example of hearing something from God and following it through even twenty years after our last trip there!


Our last trip to Africa led us to another church.  This one is the church of Pastor Christopher Kuma.  They were having some traditional African singing going on before we started ministering for the day.  The male vocalist was particularly strong.  Often men and women alike twirl hankies as they move to the rhythm of the music.  Pastor Christopher gave some edification before the service moved on…note the poster on the back wall showing my big African brother being the speaker of coming meetings.  Travel too and from where we needed to go often found us in heavy traffic with intense heat beating down on the bus.  I seldom got pictures because not everyone likes to have their picture taken but I did get this to give an idea of the road we traveled on.  Coming home from long journeys like this was a precious thing especially when a snake of fried plantain awaited us!  I particularly like sprinkling Johnny Salt on it that I brought from America for a sweet/spicy treat!  Plantain looks a lot like large bananas and is often served with African dishes.  We have been hard pressed to find it here though Walmart does carry it on occasion…lately it’s been awful though.  I’m still not over my obsession with tropical plants.  They have a unique look especially to those of us that live in the cold so much of the year here in Montana!  Just look at the hand of God’s artistry here!  Some blossoms had such huge petals that they seemed like a pink pile of rags!  Others were more delicate like the wildflowers I’m used to seeing in the mountains here.  Sometimes the sun beat down so intensely that flowers looked like little suns themselves…now I miss that heat.  How I wish I could have shown these pictures to my grandparents while they were still alive…perhaps they would have known what these plants wereThis tree would bleed white syrupy liquid if it was even barely scratched.  I was particularly surprised to see cactus here…the thorns look vicious but were actually very soft and rubbery.  I told the kids that I thought this looked like “Mickey Mouse Cactus”.  The lizards loved to hide in the cactus to avoid the attention we were giving them.  These are some of the peppers that give so many Ghanaian dishes a lively bite!  I hope your day has a lively bite to it as well!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Home is Where the Heart is

I have heard this before but I guess I never knew just how true this could be until I began to travel with my family.  I’m a single child so I’ve never had natural brothers and sisters or had that attachment that many know.  I’ve been traveling since long before I graduated high school.  Traveling abroad seemed as natural to me as putting on a familiar t-shirt.  Sometimes I found myself travelling alone and like anyone else my heart would yearn for home and family.  Once I married and had a family of my own I found that the longing to return home wasn’t as intense as it used to be.  Our family started traveling together abroad in the Philippines and then on to Japan and then just last year to Africa.  It was such a comfort to have them with me.  It was like for the first time I had brought my heart right along with me as we traveled.  My family is more than just blood they are my fellow mission team members and I’m so proud of them!  My heart now goes wherever we go because they are with me!


Perhaps it’s this sense of strength that has inspired me to try new foods and be less picky…I want to share in adventures with them thus the day we had an African food feast I highly anticipated it!  Many new things were being prepared including these rice balls…these things stick to your ribs!  Like in India where I visited and lived for some time dishes took quite some time to prepare so there were two ladies who came and worked all day on the meal.  Part of what flavors the food is the preparation itself.  These tools are not modern but they provide a unique flavor that I am sure would be lost in a modern preparation method.  Note this immense paddle that was used to stir the rice as it became thicker.  I found the food to be very tasty yet very heavy.  This is Fu-Fu in light soup with a savory meat.  I couldn’t even come close to finishing this though it tasted wonderful.  I smile looking at this picture now.  It looks rather like a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravybut it’s much heavier than that.  The Africans laughed as I grew so tired that I had to rest soon after eating this…yep, I’m still just an abruni!  I’m never a man for a nap so I picked up my camera and went outside to take a few pictures to work off my food a bit.  The sun was glorious through the fan palm on the guesthouse grounds.  The flowers on the grounds were a subject of fascination for me…but my head was so heavy…perhaps if I helped them stir the rice I would have worked this feeling off more quickly…seriously…doesn’t this look like mashed potatoes?  The mind is so funny how it grasps for the familiar when confronted with the unfamiliar!  Right now the snow and cold has become the familiar but I find myself clinging to Ghana now which has become my home away from home.  Where the flowers always blossomand the generator runs way too often!  Finally I found even I was growing weary with the scenery on the compoundso after taking a final picture of this tropical pine tree that’s never had it’s needles covered by snowwe headed out to see what the neighborhood was up to.  Can you imagine living in a place where your house was surrounded by castle like walls covered with rusted spikes to keep people out?  Would you leave all you know and are familiar with to see things like this?  I would have said I’d like to years ago but never would have dreamed that I’d be standing here with my family now.  We walked together with our African family seeing the sights strange to our eyes…relishing each thing we’d never seen before…enjoying the adventure with the familiar love we have for each other.  Smashed glass served as spikes on some, we come from a place that has houses that sometimes don’t have a fence at all let along defenses like this!  Growing near this formidable defense was a tree…chamomile!  I’ve had the leaves from this in soups in the Philippines without even knowing what it was…oh so good!  You can really feel the healing properties from it when you taste it in a dish.  Imagine getting your meat from a local butcher…that’s what they do here..few use the local superstore for their needs.  Spiked fences provide wonderful clothes lines..I’m sure this worked better than the razor wire fence we were using!  Glorious sights!  My children weren’t buying banana or plantain at Walmart…we were seeing where these things grew first hand!  Here the familiar and unique often clash.  Clover is familiar to all of us…but how often have you viewed it with a curious and suspicious tropical lizard watching you?  I’ve seen little flowers before…but how about these thorns…and again the lizard looks at me like I’m crazy!  What a blossom!  This palm nut cluster doesn’t even look like something from this planet!  The ground was littered with the palm looks almost Christmas-like…well almost.  I’m thinking someone looked pregnant..I’m just sayin’  .  Hey, are you smiling for the camera or threatening me?  I’m thinking not all the locals were friendly.  Sometimes we were so tired that we fell to using energy drinks…here was one that became one of our favorites…note this particular ingredient…talk about familiar yet stranger!  LOL!