Nov 12

Things I saw in my kids’ school cafeteria today

A lunch lady in a faux fur vest and purple apron.
School-issued lunches consisting of a thin slice of unnaturally colored mystery meat on a hot dog bun.
Offensively indiscriminate use of ketchup and mayo packets.
A child with an entire salt shaker in her lunchbox.
So much open-mouthed chewing.
Fruit cocktail from a can.

Oct 12

Branson, Missouri

A friend and I drove nearly 20 hours to get to Branson, Missouri today. We just arrived about an hour ago. It’s 12:35 AM. We’re hungry, so we came to the only place still serving food – The Andy Williams Moon River Grill. I am immediately inspired to make a list of the strangeness in Branson:

1. So many giant photos and billboards of elderly celebrities wearing sequins
2. The Andy Williams Moon River Grill
3. Yakov Smirnov
4. Whoa everyone is old here
5. They call Branson “MoVegas”
6. A Dolly Parton tribute show (isn’t she still alive?)
7. TV commercials selling tickets for “Lunch with Greg Brady”

Sep 12

My Focaccia Bread Recipe

4 cups of white bread flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1.5 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 tablespoon of dry instant yeast

1/4 stick of completely melted butter (not too hot!)
1.75 cup of warm water (approx.)
1 tablespoon of dry instant yeast dissolved in less than 1/4 cup warm water along with a very small pinch of sugar. Let it sit for a couple minutes to foam.
1 cup dry red wine

First, mix all of the dry ingredients together in a big bowl.

Mix the melted butter, yeast/water mixture and warm water with the dry ingredients BUT only use 3/4 of the hot water at first. You may need to add the rest of it in, you may not.
Mix it well before you decide whether you need a little more water. Make a ball out of the dough. You want the dough to be a little tacky. If it’s too sticky, sprinkle in a little more flour.

Knead the dough for a full 5 minutes. Work the entire mass of dough by kneading it on a counter top. It should end up with a uniform texture.
Form the dough into a tight ball – try to stretch a smooth, tight “skin” over it and pinch it at the bottom.

Put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and flip the dough ball in the oil. Leave it in the bowl covered with a damp towel in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Drink wine.

When the dough ball is about twice its original size (usually 45 minutes), fold it into itself from the top, re-stretching a “skin” over it.
Wait another 45 minutes and repeat.

Roll the dough flat into a rectangle to fit into a baking sheet (approx 18x 12)

Oil a baking sheet with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Put the rolled dough onto the cookie sheet, pour about 1 tablespoon olive onto the top of the dough, then season and salt it (kosher salt, ground pepper, cheeses, meats, dill, rosemary, basil or any combination). Gently and evenly “dimple” the surface with your finger tips. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

Put it in the oven on the center rack and bake it until its light/golden brown (about 15-20 minutes).
Let the focaccia cool, then cut into squares or strips to serve.

Sep 12

Some myths and lies

You look good in that bow-tie.

No one got hurt. That’s all that matters.

As long as you’re happy. That’s all that matters.

It’s the little things that matter.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

Diet ______ is just as good as regular.

I’m committed to ________, I just don’t have time to spend on it.

You don’t need to put salt on that.

You can’t change how you feel.

Aug 12

A good month

After 3 1/2 weeks of travel, I am back to the more normal routine here in Richmond, VA.

Here’s what I did this month:
(This post is meant to be read with the song “I’m Too Sexy” as background music)

My family and I went to Chihuahua, Mexico for one week. While we were there, we signed a lease on a new facility for the School of Mission Mobilization. It puts the training program right in the center of the city of Chihuahua. Now, we can be more accessible for the rotating faculty and the churches with whom we are partnering. We are still using the original facility in Matachi one week per month. The new property has a swimming pool.

My wife and I went to Cancun, Mexico for a one-week vacation. We stayed with a friend who lives there (gracias Claudia!). It was great, of course. I got sunburned and loved it.

I went to Liverpool to visit Anna Ridley. She is a member of our World Horizons team and she is in the hospital with an extreme form of Guillain-Barre syndrome. She is currently paralyzed by this condition, but she’s getting better. We picked on each other and prayed together.

While near Liverpool, I also visited (and stayed with) other friends and fellow members of our organization – David and Lesley Skews. We ate, drank, talked and had fun. David taught me that Liverpool is where God lives.

I spent the next week in Wales attending a 30 year anniversary celebration and conference for World Horizons. More than 300 of us got together for this celebration and I met lots of people doing great things around the world. I also collected as much Welsh food experience as possible. Thanks to my Welsh friend Mike Adams, I accumulated a good list of food-firsts.

Back in Richmond, I’m sitting in my office in the Edit Gallery (the U.S. headquarters for World Horizons and Hillside Missions) writing a “To Do” list on my chalkboard. This is also a list of things we’d appreciate prayer for:

Fill the Training Director position
Fill the Administrator position
Recruit trainees for training in Richmond and Mexico
Create ad content for an ad in “Relevant Magazine”
Create content for printed promo materials/brochures
Plan our participation in Urbana 2012
Plan the 2012 US staff conference
Prepare the 11/2012 the Middle East trip training
Plan the 2/2013 Cambodia trip
Transition from Quicken to Quickbooks
Set up DonorPerfect
Schedule speaking engagements for “How to become a missionary: 5 steps”