Thursday, August 31, 2017

Enjoying the Show

For Annalyn's "bachelorette" party we went out for teppanyaki.   It was really fun watching the chef  cook our food.  The food was delicious too.

From left to right
Tori, Nastia, Annalyn, Anastasia, Brittany, JJ's mom Jenny, Sveta, myself, and Julia.  JJ's sister Jessica took the picture.
Annalyn and John (JJ) get married in less than 38 hours.
How exciting!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It's a Good Thing They're Here

Annalyn's very good friends Tori and Nastia are here.  Tori flew in a couple weeks ago and Nastia flew in yesterday with Adam.   Now wedding preps are moving full steam ahead!
However, there is a BIG change in plans.
Hurricane Harvey has brought so much flooding displacing tens of thousands of people that our church was asked/offered to shelter 100 of the hurricane victims-- but only if we would be willing to change venues (at no cost to us).
Last night we went and looked at the facility overlooking a beautiful golf course (though Annalyn and JJ already knew they would make the change) and agreed to have the reception there.
It will be very nice.  A handful of church family has offered to help us make this move as seamless as possible in such a short time.
It really is the least we can do in light of the current situation down in the Houston area. 
Praying for the flood victims of Hurricane Harvey. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Two Happy Birthdays

Paul and Caleb both have August birthdays.  Often times we have celebrated them at the same time, and this year was no different.  With John out of town and my lower back giving me major problems it has been difficult managing for me.   So... it was an easy decision to go out for dinner with the bunch to celebrate.  We decided on a local pizza place, only there is actually two of the same place each owned by a brother.  Even though I talked to Andrew who suggested the place, I gave Julia and Thomas one address, and Andrew gave Caleb the other address.  Eventually we all ended up at the right one.

The owner of the pizza place was very friendly and accommodating.  After filling up on delicious pizza where the pepperoni hides under a wonderful layer of cheese, the waitress brought out a plate of cheesecake squares.  It was a really yummy gesture!
Back at home we sang happy birthday and had chocolate grahams and opened presents.  
Happy 17th birthday Paul!!!!  You make us proud!
Caleb is so funny and such a great sport.  Since technically his birthday isn't until next week, he insisted that Paul get the honors.  But, since I wouldn't see Caleb on his actual birthday he still went through the traditional act of blowing out his candle by relighting the same one Paul blew out immediately after Paul was done.  It was memorable.

Happy 21st birthday Caleb!   We love you so much!

Happy birthday to two amazing, fine young men!  We love you!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

John's Asia trip (by John)

Before I left, Christine and I just had to have a bit of final "alone" time so we tried the Cracker Barrel.  It was fine, company was the best.

Next day, drove to Dallas to fly directly to Shanghai, China...

...where my company's Corporate Headquarters are located.  This city has 24,000,000 people!
The next morning I flew due North to a different city called Yan Tai which is right across the Yellow Sea from North Korea! (had to reschedule flights based on first being cancelled due to rains...)
From Yan Tai, I drove about an hour to our factory orchards and factory...

Great people making great juices !  Above are apple trees.  The original "red fujis" from Japan.  Every single one is bagged (for protection against weather, sprays, insects, and birds) and this region is FAMOUS for its apples!  We make the best apple juice!   A different part of the factory was pitting and canning cling peaches like I used to do in my Del Monte days !
I stood in the Yellow Sea and enjoyed the scenery, but sure missed my family...

And I loved my crazy meals in this country !!!
From actual fresh stingray to "hot pot" (very popular) to complete unknowns...

Then I went back to Shanghai and walked 3 miles (I needed the exercise) to a KFC (to cancel the exercise I guess).

Best part was the orange sherbet / vanilla mixed cone (not shown).
Along this 6 mile (total round trip) walk, I got some cool pictures I'm fond of...

Next day at Headquarters, I presented my findings of the plant and from "my office" there, you can see Baidu's building (they are the "google" of China--and google is not allowed in China--unless you do like I did, VPN to the US).
The next day, I drove two hours to Hangzhou to catch a flight to Hong Kong.  Probably similar trucks are in Texas but I hadn't seen one quite like this before...
At the airport, had I been in such a mood described below, 
I may have wanted a frosty sea cucumber treat !

Or maybe a warm box of...
Mengchan's Donkey meat !
Closest even remnant of Christianity that I saw in China was one of the escalator warnings which are a bit like the middle of James 1:27...
Anyway, I landed in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday night and enjoyed very much church on Sunday which was nicely cosmopolitan (and done in English).  Next to me was a man from West Africa named "Cross", behind me was a lady from Kenya, preacher was from U.S., and the speaker was the founder of Project Life.

After church I walked to Lumpini Park which was AMAZING.  I saw fish, turtles, a crazy big water monitor (lizard) and amazing scenery and festivals...

Here are a few videos too...

The next day, (Mondays always come...) I went to the Thailand office.
And the team took me to a local Burger King !

Then I began next day the long drive down the West Coast of Thailand to the factory!

Lots of coconut trees.  I even saw a few wild monkeys!!!

I can't show more pictures of the great factory, but it is great !
Tomorrow is Friday-- my last day here-- but I'm not going to new territory so my picture taking is likely over.  I see my family again Saturday if Tropical Storm Harvey doesn't pound Texas too hard and get my flights delayed --so pray for that with us !!!

Other Thailand photos to make this blog complete...
I love chocolate and I love corn chips therefore, I love Thai food !!! (?)
Other (already) fond memories for me...

Thinking of my sons with all the Marvel stuff oddly in the front of this hotel!
Been a great trip but I sure will be glad to be back with family.