Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

We are being spoiled.

We are currently in Ocala, FL, staying at my Mom's house. We are being spoiled. She cooks whatever we want, or she takes us out to eat. She even does our laundry and folds the clothes! We are truly being spoiled.

This was a good place for us to get over jet lag. Not only because we are being so spoiled, but it is also a little warmer here than in Maryland, so we can become slowly accustomed to the much colder weather here in the States this time of the year.

The kids are having a blast. My Mom has this routine, where she takes them to McDonald's with a huge playplace for lunch, then she takes them to the dollar store. She also takes them shopping for lunch stuff and treats, and she took them to see Happy Feet, some penguin cartoon movie.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. My Mom has been cooking for almost two days. I know this will be quite a feast. Then after the holiday she is taking us to Walt Disney World for two days.

Danny is also spoiling us in that he is no longer getting up at 5:30 or 6:00, but sleeping in until 8:00.

Eric helps make things more festive.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On to the other side of the world.

I can't seem to not blog our long haul trips. Plus I need something to do to while away the hours as we travel to the other side of the world.

After spending a fun day in Manila, we got up at the ungodly hour of two in the morning and headed for the International Airport. When we got there, the check in counter was swamped with people. Then something amazing happened. This is the kind of thing that only happens in the Philippines. An airport worker saw that we had an infant with us, so he opened up another ticket counter just for us so we could check in and not have to wait in the lines. He said this was a special line just for us since we had a baby with us. Again, only in the Philippines.

So here we sit waiting at our gate, saying goodbye to the Philippines for three months. I still can't believe we are actually leaving. The flight to Hong Kong is just under two hours, we will stopover there for about two hours, then it's the big hop over the North Pole to Newark, NJ.

Later, in Hong Kong International Airport . . .

We are all enjoying Starbucks to warm us up. The kids got hot chocolate and Chris and I have carmel lattes, very nice. They also have a play place here so the kids can run around and get some activity before the fifteen hour sitfest on the plane. We were hoping to get row 32 seating since that is the row that has a crib that attaches to the bulkhead so Danny can sleep some place else rather than on either Chris or I. Unfortunately row 32 is already booked, I assume by another family traveling with a baby. We did get row 16, the forward compartment bulkhead. No crib but lots more legroom. Better than nothing.

The kids have started to run around on the playground. Faithy has spilled half her cocoa on Danny's blanket, so I better go and clean that up.

Later, on Continental flight number 99 Honk Kong to Newark, NJ . . .

According to the trip progress monitors, as I write this we are currently somewhere over Russia. Contrasting with what happened to us in the Manila airport, where our having Danny allowed us to jump in line--Chris saw that three adults, and no families with babies, were sitting in the row we wanted. We asked the flight attendants if we could switch with them. We had the same exact seat with the same extra legroom, just no crib option. It would have taken them all of five minutes to move their stuff, and their trip would have been no different. Unfortunately they did not want to be inconvenienced, the did not give up their seats. Again, contrast this with the treatment we received in Manila, when they saw we had a baby with us. We are pretty steamed. They could not get off their fat butts for just a few minutes to help us out.

Oh well, just thirteen more hours to go.

Later, somewhere over Alaska . . .

So I guess I am back in the United States now, or at least in American airspace. Since we have so much legroom, Eric is actually sleeping on the floor next to the bulkhead, Faithy is next to me, and Chris and Danny are in the seats behind us, with Danny sleeping peacefully in his own seat. He has been out for several hours now, it is so much easier this way, with us not having to hold him the entire flight. Eric is out like a light, and so is Faithy, curled up in a ball next to me. I am hoping to get a few winks myself. At this point in the trip, we have about eight more hours to go.

The movie choices suck big time. "You me and Dupree," give me a break. The kids channel is showing old cartoons so I will probably watch that. Or I could watch Chinese soap operas and practice my Mandarin. Actually I am not studying Mandarin Chinese. I only know the words for hello and thank you, and Gerneral Tso's Chicken.

Just seven hours and forty-eight minutes left.

Later, still not able to sleep . . .

The trip monitor says we are somewhere over Queen Elizabeth Island, Canada with just under six hours to go. Our arrival time is estimated at 1:55 the afternoon of Sunday November 12. Many hours, and a world away, we left Manila very early morning, Sunday the 12. This is what happens when you cross the International Date Line. Will try to get some sleep.

Finally on the ground . . .

We are in the United States, the customs immigration officer said to us, "Welcome back." It is good to be back in our native land. Notice I did not say it is good to be back "home," Iloilo is home.

We are sitting here at the gate waiting for our flight to Orlando, watching football on a big screen TV. Overall the long flight from Hong Kong went pretty well. Danny slept almost the entire flight, especially once he got his own seat to sleep on. Eric and Faithy traded the floor and they all got pretty good sleep. I finally dropped off for the last couple hours of the flight and got some real sleep, I even started drooling.

The game is over, the Jets beat the Patriots. Time to get on board.

At my Mom's house the next day . . .

The trip is finally over. Mom took us to Friday's for our first American meal. Got to her house around midnight, and just woke up, it's about 11:00 AM Monday morning. We all got some really good sleep, even Danny slept through the night. It is good to be at my Mom's. She spoils us with whatever food we want, trips to Disney, etc. This is the best place to get over jet lag.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pastor Ted

I have always been impressed with the life and ministry of Pastor Ted Haggard. He graduated from ORU in the 70's, and he would return to the school to preach during chapel services and also to conduct the annual Men's Conference for the Students. I was always impressed with his straight talk and uncompromising attitude concerning personal integrity.

With a very heavy heart I have been following the scandals that have been swirling around him over these passed few days. I now have heard that after voluntarily stepping down from the senior pastorate of New Life Church in Colorado Springs (a church he started in his living room), the church's oversight board has now dismissed him outright. The associate pastor and worship leader, Ross Parsley will be serving as the interim senior pastor.

I knew Ross while at ORU, he was the student worship leader during chapel services. My brother Eric moved to Colorado Springs to work with the church and their worship department. I remember sitting in Pastor Ross' office still shell shocked over the sudden death of my brother from an auto accident.

My heart and prayers go out to Pastor Ted and his family. I still admire the ministry he has built and the impact for Christ he has had through his now 14,000 member church. I also am praying for my friend Pastor Ross as he now is called upon to lead this congregation through this difficult time. Join me in my prayers for them.