RIP Target: 21 years as a faithful feline friend

Target has been my faithful feline friend for most of my life. I picked her from a litter of kittens from another local farmer when I was 8 years old. She has been my responsibility and faithful feline friend for the past 21 years seeing me through grade school, middle school, high school, college, my move to Arlington, and my marriage to my beautiful Ngoc.

Today (Dec. 8, 2011), Target passed with both Ngoc and I present at 5:10pm. I expected her to pass earlier, but I always believed that God would keep Target in my life until I was with the mate He had destined for me. I’ve held this conviction for many years that He would grant this as a sign for me of hope, excitement, responsibility, and joy. God is so good; for Ngoc is my wonderful soul mate.

Target had notified us that she was ready to go by eating her last meal two weeks ago (Nov. 22, 2011). She continued to drink water every day, but refused to eat. When brought to the vet, we were told that she looked healthier than many 5-year old cats because nearly everything about her health checked out to be top shape (dental, organs, etc.).

Target’s attitude even until the moment she passed was positive and friendly. Here are a few memories that made her a faithful feline friend.

  1. Target and I shared a bed-time ritual for as long as I can remember. I would lay down each night and she would crawl onto my chest to sit there while I petted her and scratched her back and then her chin. She would turn around and lay on my legs as we went to sleep.
  2. Target wasn’t judgmental. Many times I would have friends over and she would be sure to meet anybody who stopped in (even in the frat house). I remember many weeks where I held Bible studies, feasts, parties, or other events at The Embassy where she would greet everybody with a friendly purr.
  3. Target loved to be nearby, particularly settling down on some paper. For many years, she would sit (or stand) between me and the monitor or settled on a nice cozy stack of papers. Of course, if I would get up for even a moment, she would jump into the chair to claim it as her own.
  4. Since being married, Target was faithful to help us rise in the morning. Around 5am she would arise, sit near Ngoc’s face, and watch intently until Ngoc moved. If she got impatient she would gradually purr louder and louder until Ngoc moved. Once Ngoc moved, she would purr louder, lick her face, and then walk over top of her and do the same for me. Ngoc thought it a joy to be awoken around 5am each morning. Maybe that’s why Ngoc so much enjoyed getting her back throughout the day (see video).

I’m sad to see my feline friend gone, but it’s been a great 21 years full of memories. It was much harder for me to say goodbye today than I expected, but I’m glad that I was there until the very end. And while she was only a cat, she was my feline friend. Ngoc asked me if we should get another pet because making these decisions and losing something we love is hard – my answer is an emphatic yes, because love is absolutely worth the heartache.

We’ll miss target, but we celebrate her life and the joy she brought us.

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Dream Session – April 2010

When was the last time you daydreamed? Have you dreamed about life goals, ambitions and the full life?
Let’s dream dreams that are destined to fail without divine intervention.
Some of us have dreams that we never talk about or pursue. Some of us share the same dream and would go for it, if only there was somebody to go with us.

The Guidance/Input

  1. Guiding Deck: Dream Session 2010-04-24
  2. Book Highlights: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
  3. Men for Marriage (for men only)
  4. Living a Good Story, an Alternative to New Years Resolutions
  5. Let Story Guide You [MP3 Excerpt (2MB)]
  6. Facing the Giants [YouTube, MP4 (13MB)]
  7. The Best Motivation Video [YouTube, MP4 (3MB)]
  8. Lecrae – Go Hard [YouTube, MP4 (9MB)]
  9. Disney Pixar Up! – Married Life, Carl & Ellie [YouTube, MP4 (66MB)]
  10. Randy Pausch – Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams [YouTube, FLV (229MB)]

In Action


We each leave the time with a list of goals, dreams, ambitions and new friends. We realize that wanting to have lived a good life requires intention throughout. We have looked at each other’s goals and have figured out ways to take the next step for each other. We are connecting our friends with other friends and colleagues; we are affirming dreams; we are coming alongside our new friends to pursue the same dreams – together!

Next next step is accountability. We’ll need to make sure that we all take the time to move on the next step:

  • Develop the plan
  • Call the friend, relative or connection
  • Do the research and move in the direction we know to be right

There seems to be some demand for another one of these sessions from some friends who weren’t able to attend. We’ll see what happens – who wants to spearhead the next one? Follow your dreams and make simple things like this happen!

Question the norm, the expected, the rational path

As I was talking with a friend this evening, it hit me that this world (society – our lives) is so infiltrated with deception. In particular, I was ranting how men aren’t men anymore. Why can’t we guys take responsibility for our romantic relationships? The women in our lives are constantly attacked with lies about their identity, where to find value, gossip, loneliness, and so much else. So, when God lays out the fact that men need to take responsibility to protect the women – are we not protecting these treasures from the lies they constantly battle? What kind of reassurance is it to the woman to leave her wondering about something so very dear to her (something that likely occupies much of her thought) – her romantic relationship. Blurring the line between the responsibilities of men and women cannot lead to the joy that these relationships were meant to exude. For, how can anything that is apart from God’s perfect plan most full and amazing? Let’s be men; let’s be clear; let’s lead with responsibility and humility; let’s live the full life!

Along similar lines, we have been so brainwashed by our world with a feeling of entitlement, independence (maybe American independence is actually ripping us from what we need the most, dependence on the body of Christ), and arrogance that we don’t even realize it. The Evil one has worked against the goodness in society for generations to where we see tendencies that move us away from God as actual traits that are godly. We are so deceived. “It’s natural, there are good reasons for this mentality, and it’s necessary to exist in this society” – I agree with all of these. However, in the parable of the unmerciful servant, there is a king who forgives a servant, then a servant who doesn’t forgive. Moral of the story – forgive when forgiven. But, Rob Bell goes a step further and points out that maybe it’s not as simple as do X, but it’s a complete perception and society issue. Maybe our world and how it works may be against the God who created us and His design. Take a gander for yourself.


Scripture: Matt 18:21-35;;&version=31;

“If I stick with the accounting system, this guy is never going to pay me back.” ~ kings thoughts.

Somebody has to pay the debt. The king pays the price, bears the cost, and dies to the system so that the servant may have a new life. [Sound something like Jesus?]

Forgiveness costs somebody. When we decide to get revenge, we are essentially saying, “I’m not paying for this one.”

What if I chose to pay the cost when somebody sins against me? What if I chose to say, “I’m not going to keep track of all of the wrongs or rights.” What if I didn’t view the world as if there are scales with good on one side and evil on the other? What if I saw the beauty of truth for what it really is – the face of God.

Follow this up with a few songs.

Passion – One Pure And Holy Passion:

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You

Dizmas – Redemption Passion Glory:

This is redemption,
that you would die for me
And this is salvation,
that you would live in me
This is rejection,
that they would all hate me
And this is submission
that I would live holy

Hillsong – In Your Freedom:

In Your freedom I will live
I offer devotion, I offer devotion

Thailand Day 2

Up early, 6AM, breakfast downstairs at the hotel. I receive a text from SooBin sometime during the night. We will meet up with him at noon. But until then, Ami and I will go to check out the Grand Palace along with the Wat Pra Kaew template. After walking there, not too far, we decided to forego a tourguide and walk the place ourselves. Now, these places aren’t like museums and tourist attractions in the US where everything has a story written next to them. Nope, we wandered through the array of highly decorated buildings, museums, and temples (wat’s) without knowing anything about what we were seeing. However, we did stand near other tour guides and listened in to figure out what the heck we were looking at. Two hours and I was exhausted and we resolved that if we go to see anything else that is moderately complex that we will rent a tour guide – we notice that there was one tour guide for two people in several cases.

Hotness, we arrive back at D&D and there is SooBin. Wow, what a relief to meet up; turns out that connecting without cell phones or knowing anything about the city and having much of everything in an indiscernible language is difficult. Ami and I also meet Angie (SooBin’s traveling partner for the previous several days); she’ll be along for the whole two weeks along with us. After short deliberation, we decide to eat and discuss our upcoming agenda. While eating, SooBin runs into somebody he met several weeks earlier in Vietnam and she shows us her bedbug bits and instills fear in all us about sleeping in beds in Thailand.

We then book a 2-day trip to leave the following evening for Chiang Mai. We’ll have the trekking and elephant riding experience that are the trademarks of Thailand. Luckily, we’ll also get to hit up Chiang Mai on the weekend to participate in the markets. I’ve heard that these are cheap and fun markets for Thailand. Plus, I’ll be happy to get out of the fairly dirty city of Bangkok.

All four us depart to check out the other nearby attractions of Bangkok to knock them out before heading out – Reclining Buddah (Wat Po) and the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). Ami and I headed back for a 1 hour Thai massage before dinner and would meet back up with Angie and SooBin at 7pm for dinner. After standing at the meeting place for 15 minutes and then walked along Khaosan Rd looking for them to no avail. Not again, split up from them again and no good way to reconnect. So, Ami and I walk around and decide to book a day trip for the following morning to Ayutthaya to check out the old capitol of Thailand. Afterwards, we grabbed some food and headed out to check out a tailor for some suits. After a while in the suit shop, I consented to be swindled and purchased several suits. After the suit purchase, Ami and I wanted the streets for a bit looking for a good place to have a few drinks. We settled in on this little bar run by a woman named Nok (pronounced nook). She managed to run a bar with no overhead, she simply setups a bar on the sidewalk along with some chairs and tables and starts serving. After a few drinks, we ask Nok about a “ping pong” show. Angie had mentioning wanted to go see it that night since it was going to be our last night in Bangkok for some time. So, Ami and thought we’d see if we could find her and SooBin there.

Nok got a taxi for us and off we went. Soon, the taxi driver was lost and didn’t speak any English. He managed to find a police officer on the road and talk with him for some time. After a while the police officer just got in the car with us and off we went. We make it to the show and only to be asked to pay 1000 Baht entrance fee (~$30), absurd! So, we weren’t going to go in to see the show, but we got him to consent to 1000 Baht for the two of us including the first drink.

Wow, I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all, but this was extreme. And, being my first real night in Thailand; the prostitution was much more overt than I expected. Luckily, I was with Ami and I’m pretty sure that has stayed off much of the would-have-been approached from these girls. At the show, there was this guy that had pulled out his camera and was attempting to video part of the show. What an idiot. Bouncer people jumped over the tables and grabbed the dude’s camera. Totally sweet, there was some yelling and almost a fight right next to me. Could have been fun to throw some punches. Oh well, didn’t happen. Ami and I left soon thereafter because it was getting way too out there / gross. After a taxi back, some more street food, we went to sleep fearing the bedbugs.

It was a good day, and our only day in Bangkok. We’ll be leaving at 7AM to visit Ayutthaya and then head directly from there to Chian Mai. We may not see Bangkok again until we come back to fly out – who knows.

Thailand Day 1

As I step off the airplane in Bangkok, I realize that it’s not going to be the sunny but cool climate I found in Ethiopia. The humidity and temperatures seem to be about what I live with every day in DC. I proceeded to walk level 3 of the airport since that was where I was going to meet Ami to begin our Thailand experience. After completely walking it once I was a bit worried because, if we didn’t meet up there it would have been more difficult to connect later.

We managed to get a taxi ride to where we were planning to stay. But, upon arrival to the hotel we were to stay, there was no SooBin. I emailed, texted, and attempted to look him at the place, but to no avail. I grabbed my first bit of food in Thailand off a street vendor, Pad Thai (what a surprise). About 3AM, Ami and I booked a room at the hotel for quite a high price and got some sleep.