Friday, August 22, 2008

Indian Burritos

Quick note, to whoever is listening: I'm in India, and
today I had some 'mutton keema' for lunch. Basically its
ground lamb prepared with a bit of spice of some kind. In
the US, I'm pretty sure we'd call this ... lamb chili.

By the way, I put mine in some roti (think really thin
tortilla) and had a lamb chili burrito. I think in India
they might call this a mutton keema kathi. But I could be

And even tho I liked it ... I'd still love a Chipotle
burrito right about now....


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Psalm 63

It appears that took the liberty of reverting my blog format to an old version. Not sure what that's about. For now I've updated the links at left. I may get a wild idea to switch blog hosts. I hear good things about Wordpress...

Speaking of the links to the left, if you haven't heard, my brother Kyle continues to excel in the Dynamo program. I'm very excited for him!

For now, I thought I might share a Psalm that helped get me through the 3 week trip to India in February. Not that India was so bad, its just that 3 weeks is a long time to be away from my family. So one Saturday in the middle of the trip, I woke up and had Psalm 63 imprinted on my brain. I didn't have it memorized ... I literally woke up thinking 'Psalm 63'. Weird, I know.

So I cracked it open. Before I post a few verses below, a couple of notes that might help you see the poignance of this scripture for me at that particular time. 1) We Americans have to drink bottled water in India, as our digestive systems aren't used to the local water. 2) While I certainly found foods I like in India, one of the things that seemed a constant reminder of my location was the absence of the familiar foods of home. I missed my wife's cooking, not to mention Chipotle, Pei Wei, etc etc.

With that preamble, here is Psalm 63:1-5, NIV:

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

That morning, reading this Psalm, I was pretty convicted. At that point, I had not 'earnestly sought' God in weeks. And here was God, pulling me into a Psalm that related to my spiritual position, and to an extent, my physical location.

I'm happy to say I've been more earnest in my seeking of God since that trip in February. I wish I could say that the seeking was simple or that I received clear answers to some complex questions on my heart. But I believe God is faithful, and I continue to trust Him. I am very thankful that God continues to pursue me, even in times when my soul feels dry.

And I'm thankful that God is as close to India as He is to Texas.


Friday, April 25, 2008

No Ordinary Child

S'been awhile. Namaste.

I've just put my kids to bed, and Celeste is at a meeting with coworkers. I was looking at Hebrews 11, and was interested by verse 23:
By faith Moses' parents hid him for 3 months after he was born, because they saw
he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. (Heb 11:23, NIV)

I got hung up in the middle there. They saw he was no ordinary child? What, did he glow in the dark? Did he never cry, as I've heard some parts of Christendom believe about Christ as a baby? Did Moses as a baby lift up his parents' 1940's pickup truck with his bare hands so they could change the tire? (Sorry, random Superman reference.)

How could they see that a newborn was 'no ordinary child'? I mean, every parent I know believes his/her child(ren) is (are) special, gifted, whatever. Myself included.

But perhaps that's what this means? Moses' parents saw something special in him -- as all parents do in their children -- and that perception, combined with their own courage, led them to action? I don't know. Maybe.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray that we would see the great things you have in store for our children, and for all of yours. And may we act, courageously and wisely, to see their potential fulfilled. Amen.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chennai Day-Trip

I know, I know, its been a week since I posted. But I have a
good excuse. Or an excuse, anyway. I've been working 12+
hour days all week!

Yesterday, though, was a very interesting day. The good
folks I work with here set up a guide to take a couple of us
Americans to several locations of interest here in the city.

First, we went to St. Thomas Mount. Now, I'll show my
ignorance here, but apparently Thomas the apostle is
believed to have come to India around 50 A.D., introduced
the locals to Christ, and was killed soon after.

On the hill where he was killed, a church has been erected.
Inside the church they have a stone that he was supposedly
carving when he was killed. The stone shows a carving of a

So we visited the church on St. Thomas Mount. In addition to
the church, there were also several great views of Chennai
up there. And there was a convenience store called 'Mount
Manna'. Not sure why I think that's so funny. But I do.

Next we drove around the city a bit. I took pictures of some
crowds and interesting buildings, but nothing to ... er ...
write home about. Hrm.

After that we stopped at the oldest Anglican church in
India, St. Mary's church. Built 300+ years ago, between the
beach and a military base. For one reason or the other, the
walls and ceiling are bomb-proof, like 5 feet thick.

They also had several books and logs, like a baptism
registry from 1817.

Next up we walked along the beach, the 2nd longest beach
in the world (behind Rio de Jeneiro).

Then we went to Sant Thome Church, where the remains of
Thomas the apostle are (apparently) buried. (Pardon my
skepticism, I just haven't researched this at all.)

Finally we stopped at a Hindu temple not far from Sant Thome
Church. I didn't take pictures there, because I was low on
cash and they charged 25 Rs (something like $.60) to take
pix of their temple.

All in all, a good time. Talk to you later,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

India Part Deux

I wrote the following in a business class lounge at the DFW
airport, while waiting for my flight.

Celeste and the kids dropped me off at the airport shortly
past 2 on Sunday, and I've found my way through check-in and
security, and into a lounge available to people flying
Lufthansa Business Class. Trip number 2 to India.

It is not lost on me how blessed I am that I am traveling
for a big corporation. This lounge is quiet, and has a bar
full of chips and cookies and cokes and fruit juices and
bottled water.

On one side of the lounge is a huge window overlooking the
runways on the west side of DFW, and I've seen several
planes take off an land so far, the sun glinting off the
windshields and wings. Apparently the room is fairly
soundproof because I've barely heard any airplane engines.

All in all, if you gotta travel, this is a great way to go.

On the last trip I flew American to Frankfurt, and waited at
the gate. It seemed like any other flight I was waiting for.
This trip, however, as I sit here in a Lufthansa business
traveler lounge, I'm struck by the number of people here who
are blatantly European.

One teenage boy wears glasses with very block frames -- as a
matter of fact, I see several pairs of very rectangular
glasses framing eyes around the room. Several are wearing
shoes that look a little like boots -- pointed toes, and
slight, thick heels -- but they stop at the ankle, like
someone forgot to finish the tops. A couple of the ladies
nearby are probably in their 40's, but wearing shirts that
bare their midriff. And very little makeup.

I'm from Texas; a woman with no makeup is practically
screaming 'not from here'. Four of them makes me wonder if
they've somehow snuck me out of the state as I passed
through security.

Of course, when I pass through Frankfurt and get on the
flight to Chennai, I'll say goodbye to these European travel
companions, and say hello to a host of people from India.
Their style of dress is both more the same and more
different. Many of the men look like they could have stepped
out of an office near mine in Fort Worth -- khaki pants,
polo or button-down shirts, loafers or other typically-
American dress shoes.

Some of the women will also be wearing western-looking
clothes. However, many of the ladies will be wearing two
outfits that are only rarely seen in the west -- sarees
and salwar kameez. I'll see if I can get a picture of them,
or maybe find pictures on the internet.

Truly, these trips to India are exposing me to cultures that
I've never had much cause or opportunity to notice.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Home Again ... For Now

Slept most of the India to Frankfurt flight (after all, it left at 2am India time). In Frankfurt, grabbed some kindereggs (candy eggs with toys inside) and (the original) gummy bears. For the kids, not for me. On the flight from Germany to DFW, I only slept for an hour or so.

Not sure I've written about this, but in India, all water is suspect unless its bottled water. If an American even brushes his teeth with tap water on his toothbrush, he'll very likely be sick. Or so the travel doctor told me. And since several of my colleagues have been sick already while in or returning from India, I take that pretty seriously. So no drinking tap water.

Now, honestly, that's not such a big deal ... except that it means you can't have ice in your drinks. None. Ever. I can imagine my older brother reading this and thinking, so what? But the problem is, if you order anything cold, it is typically delivered at just below room temperature. (Or 'luke cold', as my boss commented.)

So when I got on the American flight in Frankfurt, coming home, and ordered a Diet Coke ... it was heavenly. Ice in the glass. Cold can. Refreshing. Seriously.

And as a side note, I think I wrote about this already, but I've confirmed that I'm not a big fan of Indian food. I got some ribbing for a certain 'burning' experience I had at a restaurant over there, but that's ironic to me since I eat quite a bit of Tex-Mex over here. So its not really that I don't like the spice, I just am not a big fan of the flavor.

Anyway, I arrived home on Thursday afternoon, on schedule. Mostly stayed awake for the afternoon, playing with the kids. To bed that night just after 10pm, woke up at 5:55am DFW time. 8 hours, that's good, but I wished I could have gotten myself to sleep another 2 or 3. No dice though.

Friday grabbed a Chipotle burrito at lunch. OH MY. Oh yes.

I go back to Chennai this coming Friday (yes, 8 days after I returned from the previous trip). This next trip will last 3 weeks. The Indian folks I'm working with are really great, both kind and gracious. But I am not looking forward to this trip. I swear my kids grew in visible ways while I was gone for 2 weeks last time. This time I'll come back and they'll be driving or something. And my wife will be mumbling to herself, I'm afraid. Cursing the father of her children. Hopefully not, but we'll see.

More to come.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Notes from the Airport

Its 12:30am. I'm sitting in the Chennai airport. My flight
leaves at 1:50am. A few random notes.

The whole time we've been in Chennai our group has had the
same 3 drivers. The first driver was Abdul. If Mr. Miyogi
from the Karate Kid movie were an Indian guy, he'd be

Second, we had Karl Marx. Nice guy, actually. I'm as
surprised as you are. (Apparently Karl's dad was fascinated
by Marx, and decided to name his son after the guy. O...k.)
Karl is a very nice guy though.

And then there's Gopi. Or as I like to call him, Speed
Racer. Each day, whoever gets in Speed Racer's car is
pretty much guaranteed to reach the destination first. Its
not that Gopi drives recklessly -- honestly, all 3 drivers
are both very nice and very safe -- but Gopi seems to have
a way of anticipating where to be in the weaving mess of

In other news ... last night, in a fit of desperation, my
boss rejected the restaurant menu and described to the
waiter that she'd like some pasta, cooked with tomato,
garlic, onion, and lemon. And they made it. And it was
GOOD. So note to self: order off the menu once in a while.
You never know...

See you all soon.