Thursday, July 25, 2013

Food: the Great Uniter

Staying with our Filipino relatives in Florida I find that once again I’m amazed at not just the variety of foods…like this Durian that I was shocked to seeDSC02476 but the sheer volume of things to eat.  My pallet is somewhat experienced and many things I truly enjoy but Durian…well, I can’t get past the fact that my mind insists it tastes like a mix between rotten onions and something sickeningly sweet.  Fortunately there were many other things available to enjoyDSC02477.  We had so much fun with the people that our family invited over and the pool provided great entertainment as well.  The next day we visited a food market of sorts with greens available that I’d not seen since my trips abroadDSC02478.  The Filipino community is quite large but still I was amazed to see someone selling Balut.  Click the hyperlink to learn more…this picture doesn’t do it justiceDSC02479.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see some fresh coconutsDSC02480.  I was enjoying our time so much when a man called me over and started talking to meDSC02482.  He informed me that he had met former president Bush when he was selling his amazing mangoes in the past.  The president liked them so much that he named him “Mr. Mango”.  Eating one of these that he spiced up with Tabasco, Lemon and salt…I can certainly see whyDSC02483 !  It was a flavor that was totally unique.  This man had been all over the place since coming here from Mexico…I think he’s the very symbol of capitalism working and the American dream…it’s not all about corruption and failure.  Another delightful treat that I had not seen since the Philippines was being sold by the box:  DSC02485Rambutan!  It’s a delightful treat that looks pretty scary on the outside…amazing and cool in my opinionDSC02486!  By the way if you didn’t follow my link about Balut above here’s a little peak at what it looks like opened up…you might guess why I will not eat this oneDSC02487…call it a delicacy if you want I don’t eat chicks boiled in an egg if I can help itDSC02488.  Generally speaking the power of trying things, socializing and enjoying a culture has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever experienced in life.  Food is truly a uniter or a divider depending on you.  This applies to spiritual food as well.  God offers a wide variety of blessingsDSC02489.  There’s a buffet of spiritual gifts offered by God but if you choose to linger on misunderstandings of the scripture based on things about women or any variety of things you will find yourself cut out.  Bigotry is on the rise these days but for me I choose to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and love my neighbor as myself…against those things there is no law. Make no mistake there is still right and wrong but our decisions should be based on righteous judgments…God’s judgments not our own.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Trials of Life

I have to say that I’m more than fed up with the Zimmerman trial at this point.  Armchair lawyers abound and I always get the impression with it all that lady justice who’s supposed to be blind has been replaced by social justice…who is ever mindful of politics and seems to have both eyes wide open.  I don’t see a positive outcome on this thing either way.  We are preparing to go to a mountain cabin for a few days.  I relish the thought of it.  The heat here is quite high again…maybe the mountains will bring relief on more than one level.  I still want to show some pictures of our trip to Florida.  Visiting some neighborhoods there was so different then what I see in my home stomping groundsDSC02454.  We have our share of old trees but none of the type I saw thereDSC02455.  Can you imagine having a cool glass of lemonade and swinging on this swing for a bitDSC02456?  Even the stop signs have a personality so different from oursDSC02457.  One area had a phone booth reminding me forcefully of England but then there was a palm tree there…strangeDSC02458.  We spent some time in a store my wife wanted to visitDSC02459.  I think Lovely could have put some of these things to some great use with her various craft projectsDSC02460.  How about a key to hang your keys onDSC02461?  We spent a little time by this great fountain before moving onDSC02462.  I’ve got to say I love St. PetersburgDSC02464!  Next we stopped for a bit at a nice parkDSC02465.  Again I’m struck by how different it is from where we liveDSC02466.  We do have squirrels however but I still like them no matter where I see themDSC02468.  Here in Montana we have to watch for bears or mountain lions…Florida…well, that’s different tooDSC02469.  Did I mention how much I love palmsDSC02470.  Here’s a panorama of the parkDSC02472.  Last picture of the day:  DSC02473.  Next I will show some pictures of a great flea market we visited…stay tuned!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

237 Years of Freedom

We often have very visual demonstrations in our church to illustrate what we believe God is saying.  Yesterday one of these demonstrations included stars that had the number 237 on them.  This of course is in memory of 237 years of freedom in the United States of America.  Later we also saw the flag folded 13 times and were reminded what this means.  If you want to know the meaning check here:  It’s an amazing thing to think of all these blessings and realize that with that there must surely be a hope for the future.  Benjamin Franklin said it’s a republic if we can keep it.  This is my full intention.  Such a price has been paid for our freedom…we can’t simply let it all go.  Each day we need to remind ourselves just what it means.  This is something for today and every single day.  God bless America! 

I continue to remember our family in Florida today.  The familiar there is not so familiar here.  There was a system of pipes colored a rather peculiar color that we passed each time we headed to or from Thata’s houseDSC02444.  I enjoyed sitting out on the driveway in the morning and drinking my coffee while watching the antics of the squirrels performing their acrobatic featsDSC02445.  The trees are different from ours in Montana and I enjoyed the contrast of their neighborhood versus oursDSC02446.  Here we enjoy Robins, Western Meadowlarks, Mallards and Canadian Geese.  Florida has it’s own variety.  A nice White Ibis came to visit as I sat in my chairDSC02449.  The other thing that reminds me forcefully of my times abroad are the lizards.  They are quite funny with their little territories to be defended and mates to be attractedDSC02450.  They’re not easy to catch but I did manage several times to catch them…I love animals great and small…God is so very creative!  I absolutely love the Spanish moss that seems to be everywhereDSC02451.  The trees are so well garnishedDSC02452!  Well, this is a bit of a short entry for the holiday.  Blessings to you all.  Have a blessed Independence Day…don’t forget what the day is all about and why you’re able to do what you do with your family.