Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post for 2008 - To Every Thing There is a Season, Ecclesiastes 3. 1-8

Well, today is New Year's Eve - a time to reflect on events that happened this year with opportunities to make New Year Resolutions. Drawing from these verses in Ecclesiastes, I find comfort. Comfort in God's Grace, Mercy and His Sovereignty.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

A time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Wishing You a Blessed New Year.

An Insightful Review of 2008

While there are numerous prolific and astute commentators, this article by Dave Berry deserves to be widely read - an apt yet entertaining description of events that took place in 2008. Click here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night from North Carolina

We want to share our joy with you during this special season. The first part was sung in Dutch - that was why I was absent - and the rest in English.

Piano Recital

David has been diligent with practicing the piano. He recently - this past fall - started taking lessons from Karen Enzi who teaches Music at Montreat College. As you can see in the video, David is quite good and enjoys playing the piano.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Publication Update

My chapter contribution, see Chapter XVII Trusted Computing: Evolution and Direction of this textbook Cyber Security and Global Information Assurance: Threat Analysis and Response Solutions will be published April 2009.

I would like to engage in more writing in 2009, hopefully publishing a paper or two peer-review journal articles related to information security and assurance. There are a couple projects I will be wrapping up from 2008 that will hopefully be foundational work for the papers I will be writing.

This is a first for me - so I am thrill but humbled by this experience. Writing this book chapter taught me many things - diligence, perseverance, and timeliness among others. As I Corinthians 3: 6-8 says "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor".

What I want for Christmas?

Hannah and David have been asking me what I want for Christmas - they are so sweet. Now that they are older, they want to make sure Gerda and I receive some presents under the tree. In our family, we do not go overboard and get caught up with the shopping frenzy - I did ask for a pair of comfortable slippers and a bow tie - never had one and so I thought it would be great to add to my collection of 'regular' ties. Yet the greatest gift is freely given - the birth of Jesus Christ as Savior and Him alone for the propitiation of our sin.

I came across this fascinating 'toy' BIGDOG - well actually it is not a toy but an advanced piece of technology. Look at how 'life like' the legs are, it evens gallops like a horse - excelling in various real-life situations. According to the company, it is the "most advanced quadrupled robot on earth" and it continues to receive funding from DARPA.

I can see many applications of this technology both in humanitarian and unfortunately in war-time scenarios. I hope the technology be used for good rather than for evil. As Genesis 50:20 says "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Concert - Hannah's Violin Performance

Last night we were treated to a wonderful Christmas concert led by choir director Mrs. Cathy LaFrombois. The kids did a wonderful job performing - with numerous solo presentations - and we are so proud of them all. The featured video consists of two carols - On This Still and Silent Night arranged by Laura Farnell.

A special mention to Hannah Teo - as is presented in the video - she made us Proud! Hannah started learning the violin this past fall and as you can see, she is quite good at it. We encourage her to continue learning and playing the violin and equally important, that she enjoys and takes pride at it as well. Above all, that she delights in playing and serving - as King David wrote in Psalm 100:1-2 to, "make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing".

Monday, December 8, 2008

Montreat College Computer Information Systems Majors

Last night, we hosted a fellowship meal. Our last get-together was in August and I prepared barbecue. This time they requested Asian - we had Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers, General 'Teos' Chicken, Thai Red Curry served with Chicken and Green Beans and Singapore Shrimp (for those in Singapore, this is the receipe for the Singapore Chili Crab). For desserts, we had Pumpkin and Apple pies. Judging by what were leftover - actually not much - it was a resounding success.

Many of my students are from North Carolina and surrounding states like South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Yet we have one coming from Connecticut and far away countries like Sierra Leone, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. They are taking final examinations this week and then heading home to spend Christmas with their family and love ones.

These students have many talents and gifts and I know, in addition to my teaching, is to help them discover their unique role they play in God's overall plan. Each semester, we strive to learn about technology, its application in the corporate world and how technology can enable firms to be more competitive and productive - after all, we live in a globalized society. So I am blessed to be able to engage them academically, intellectually, spiritually, and equally important, set an example for them - it is certainly a calling and definitely more than a 'job' - a task I am eager to perform daily.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Reflections

Many of us here in the States are celebrating Thanksgiving - preparing meals - Turkey and other goodies, traveling to love ones, and for many, the start of the Christmas shopping season - though I suspect retail sales will be adversely affected by the current economic woes.

Yet I am very thankful - for my aging parents whom I will get to visit soon in January, for my wonderful and supportive spouse Gerda, my delightful children - Hannah and David, for my siblings and their families (too numerous to name), for my church family and wonderful pastor whom has faithfully preached the Word, for meaningful and productive work and for good health.

In response, please allow me to share this following verse: O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 136:1–3) . The Psalmist is making the point, repeating the same phrase three times - no other passage in the Bible where any other phrase appears three times in succession.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, whom successfully led the country amid the severest crisis - the American Civil War, said this

We have been the recipients of the choisest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Visitors This Morning

At around 7:30 this morning, I was pleasantly 'startled' by two deer. Ordinarily this is a common occurrence - however the deer came into our fence-in backyard (as you can see in the photo below). With camera in hand, I took the first photo without their knowledge - I was in my home office looking directly at them - they were no more than 6 feet away.

The second photo saw the 'mom' alerted to my movement and in a split second, took off like a lighting bolt - clearing the fence effortlessly. Unfortunately the yearling tried to follow suite but was unable to escape.

For a tense few moments, the yearling was trapped in our backyard - I was outside and could see the frantic look on its face. I wish I had pursued it more aggressively - not to harm the deer but to capture more photos. Yet, I did not - it was cold this morning at about 36 degrees and I chose to come in the house to get to the back door. By the time I got outside via the back door, I saw the yearling finally exiting out the back gate (which was ajar and that was how they got in the back-fenced area in the first place).

I reflected on this event - a bit perturbed. On one hand, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to witness this encounter and take some photos but on the other hand, I wish I had some video footage to share. Yet, such is life - do I see things as half full or half empty? This occasion has taught me contentment with what I have - but also a reminder to live life to the fullest - to have the courage to act. As Paul exhorted Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Chapter to be published

One of my summer projects is bearing fruit! This past summer, I engaged on a writing and research assignment on a topic dear to my heart - trusted computing.

This coming spring 2009, my book chapter contribution - See Chapter XVI. Trusted Computing: Evolution and Direction of this reference textbook Cyber Security and Global Information Assurance: Threat Analysis and Response Solutions will be published by IGI Global.

Writing has not always come easy for me.... but as I work at it, I am finding satisfaction and joy in this reflective process. I hope to do more of it both professionally and in maintaining this blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Integration of Faith and Learning in Higher Education

Last week, I included this article by Dr. Dockery, President of Union University as a class assignment. I like this article - Dr. Dockery provided historical context of the origins of Christian Higher Education in the U.S - how the integration of faith and learning was the essence and goal of almost every college in America. However that has all changed and now we have about only 800 colleges and universities still maintaining some form of church relationship or affiliation.

Upon reading this article, students will learn about the foundation and purpose of Christian Higher Education. This understanding is important - I want them to reflect on what this means in their personal lives, in their faith walk, and how this worldview can impact others. I hope to share some of their reflections (in general terms) in a future post.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WIC Conference, Oct. 24-25, 2008

Every Fall, the women of the PCA (western NC presbytery) gather at Ridge Haven Conference Center near Brevard, NC, for two days of fellowship, learning and worship. Susan Hunt, a well-known author, public speaker and Bible scholar, discussed Titus 2, and the true calling of women. Excellent, insighful and challenging presentation with an equally powerful Q & A session. Truly, words of wisdom from a loving Christian woman who seeks to encouage future generations of women to know the Scriptures and practice its wisdom as directed by God.

Our First Video - David's Popcorn Sales Success Story

We celebrate with David on his accomplishment - he is a great salesman.

David receiving his award ($100 Gift Certificate from Walmart) from his Scout Master Mr. Howie.

Look what we found in our nearby creek :-)

Today David and Hannah found this crayfish! It looks a little scary, but is harmless. Crayfish are in the lobster family. We found them in our fresh water creek, took these pictures, and let them go unharmed. We love the creek and its critters, especially the salamandars.

Attack of the CLAWS!

And another.

Here are some more - notice the fresh water salamandar.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some pictures of the house

Hi All, We thought we would share some pictures. Montreat is a unique place. Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, lies a community of about 700 permanent residences, with the college and the conference center. There are about 450 students at this campus where I work - the rest are in Asheville and Charlotte and during the summer months, the conference center attracts thousands of people who come from all over for church retreats. In years' past, the college and the conference center were one entity but they split during the 1960s I believe. I am only a mile from work and sometimes I do walk though it is more convenient driving. There is much wild life here - black bears, foxes, and plenty of deer.

Front of house

View of dining room where homeschooling occurs

The Teo Christian Academy (yes the government requires us to name our school and that is the official name) - the best teacher, the best female student and the best male student. Picture taken by the principal :-)

The teacher taking a break for a good cause. We are depending on the wood burning fireplace to keep us warm throughout the winter.

Our maid took this picture - just kidding. Two bedrooms on the first floor and three on the second floor. So when are you coming to visit?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It official! We received word that our teaching/service grant to Manila is approved! We are extremely excited to be blessed with this opportunity. As a Rotary University Teacher Scholar, I will participate in Rotary programs and service projects as well as to facilitate international partnerships between my local Rotarian sponsor and host clubs and districts in the Philippines.

The kids made a count-down calendar - 201 days before May 11, 2009. We will spent 3 months during the summer in the Philippines.

I will be teaching a course at this university - Philippines Women's University - a faith-based non sectarian institution of higher education. A good friend- Kiko Benitez whom we know back in our days in Madison, Wisconsin introduced us to this fine establishment.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our first post

Our family decided to start a blog to share our memories - with photos and videos of things we do and places we visit.


Jeff, Gerda, Hannah and David Teo