learning to say "no"

NoMy mom has a cute plaque in her house that proclaims "Stress is what happens when your gut says 'no' but your mouth says 'yes.'"

As one who longs to please others, I thought I had to do it all.  If someone at church asked me to do something, without even thinking I would respond "sure!"  If one of my friends asked if I was free, as long as that spot on the calender was open regardless of what I had personally planned for that time, I answered "of course!"  Only thing is that later, I would regret my "yes."  I would begrudgingly go--mad at myself and resenting the person who asked me.  Or even worse yet, sometimes I would call at the last minute and cancel. 

In some warped way, I thought telling all people "yes" all the time is what I was supposed to do.  I was being a "good girl."  But, really telling people "yes" made me angry, stressed, resentful, tired, and at times even unreliable.

In America, full time for college classes is considered 12 hours.  My second semester, I took 18 hours, worked part-time, and was a member of at least half a dozen groups, and my door was always open to visitors, and I never said "no" to anyone  Why?  I wanted it all.  I wanted to please people and make friends and graduate on time because "I was perfect." 

Once, at about midnight, I was in the midst of complaining to my roommate that I was stressed and tired and worn out from school work and always helping people.  Knock!  Knock!  Knock!  An sweet international student was at our door, "Amanda, I need help. I can't . . . . by myself.  Will you please come?"  As, the words, "sure I will" were forming in my mouth, my roommate placed her hand on my shoulder, "she can't tonight, but I can." 

Why?  Why could I not say no? 

I had several conversations with a dear college friend, Melissa, who began to share with me her convictions about how God had not designed us to be so busy and stressed.  That we were to live more simply and enjoy him and enjoy who he had created us to be.  I saw how much peace she had, how she enjoyed doing what she did choose to do, and how effective her impact was on campus.  She might not ever have known it, but she was the one who taught me that it was ok to say "no."

After that semester, I never took more than 12 hours a semester.  I choose my classes carefully, and I only graduated one semester late (and that was because I chose to be a exchange student for a year).  I carefully selected to be a part of the one group that matched my talents and gifts.  And, I began to feel free to tell people no.  Life was worth living again.  I wasn't so stressed.  I enjoyed my courses.  I enjoyed helping people again.  There was joy in the service--not guilt and resentment and frustration.

I also had a classmate who was legally blind.  He often needed help.  He was actually one of the first people I told "no."  He asked for something that wasn't pressing on a week of a big test.  Years later, he told me, "Amanda, would you like to know why I feel comfortable asking you for help?"  Of course I would.  "Well, you were able to tell me 'no.'  If someone, tells me 'no,' I know I can always ask and not ever become a burden to them." 

Now as a tent-making missionary who teaches college students there are many, many things that can fill my time.  I have choosen to keep things simple.  To invest fully in the things God has created me for rather than the things "I could do because I have time for them" or "I could do because someone asked me to do them."  That doesn't mean the welcome sign on my door is gone and that I am a hermit.  It simply means, I no longer feel guilt when I say "no."  It means I choose wisely my commitments and how I spend my time.  It means my "yes" is truly a "yes, I'd love to."

Taiwanese people do not understand why I don't easily add a few classes for lots of extra money--I am single, have no kids, why not fill every waking moment with money making opportunities while I can?  Well, its simple really, I want to be the most effective Amanda I can in order to glorify my God.  If I don't have time to rest, to be with Him, and to refuel, I am not effective and can't enjoy life or Him. 

Knowing my limitations is a beautiful thing.  Being able to say no--to myself and others--is not easy for this reformed people-pleaser and perfectionist, but the benefits it yields are well worth it for me and for those who ask for my time! 

contentment and grace

19993450Not too long ago, I wrote about how hard it is to be content (with singleness) and how I longed to know Paul's reciepe of contentment that he writes about in Philippians.

Tonight, I stumbled on to an article by Carolyn McCulley about Contentment in the Wait.  Near the end of her article she says:

Contentment calls for humility. We have to intentionally humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand when our circumstances don’t work out to our liking. Without a doubt, it is humbling to go year after year with a hope deferred! It’s very humbling to keep showing up at family events as the only single sibling, or to go to the wedding of a former boyfriend without a date. But we have to remember that, as Christian women, we’re not here to promote our personal success stories, anyway. We’re here as trophies of grace — broken clay jars carrying around incredibly valuable treasure. Even if the Lord should grant our petition for marriage and a family, our witness and purpose do not change. Only our circumstances change. [emphasis mine]

I had forgotten that I am a trophy of grace.  For most of my life, I have spent too much time trying to earn my already gifted salvation trying to prove my worth.  What a joy it is to celebrate that I am a trophey of grace.  How underserving I am to be one--but I guess that is the whole point! 

I mean . . . really now. . . imagine that!  God considers me a trophy--a symbol of success or victory--that he prominetly displays in his dwelling place.  He is proud of his work in my life.  He was victorious, and I am the trophy.  The trophy of grace.  I am not on display on his heavenly shelf because of the things I have done . . . but because of of what he has done.  Just like athletes earn the trophys they receive, it was God who did the work in me.

As a sidenote: Carolyn alludes to the same concept that I blogged about a few days ago, she just approaches it in a slightly different light.  Its not the focus of her article, but she reminds me again that my goal in life--to know and make known God, to glorify him by enjoying him--does not change if I one day wed.

Father, may my contentment be found in you alone.  Thank you for placing valuable treasure in this messed-up broken clay jar.

false gods

Thumbnailserver People all over this globe are worshiping false gods.  And I am not talking about TV, work, food, or football.  I am talking about physical idols representing false gods.

Check out this video of a worship song from India (a "Telugu folk song").  I found it while reading about a project to help India become more literate. 

How the people of this world are so blinded and living in darkness!

Oh how they need Jesus!

making scripture important


For 2006, I want to make Scripture an important part of my life.

First, I would like to memorize whole sections of the Bible, not just a verse here and a verse there. I am praying now about what to memorize first.  I found this list of articles on scrpture memory.

the gifts of singleness and marriage

Wife_and_mother_1 The desire to be a wife and mother has been lingering in my heart for a few months now.  When I was 16 or 17, God and I had a conversation.  I had just found out I had PCOS and might not be able to have children.  At that time in my life, all I wanted to be was a wife and mother.  To be a stay at home mom was my career goal.  I was an avid Elisabeth Elliot reader and had several other books on my selves such as A Good Man is Hard to Find Unless You Ask God to be the Head of Your Search Commitee.

My conversation with God went something like this:
God: Amanda, would you be willing to not have children if it meant serving me better?
Amanda: But, God, I love children and want to be a mother so much.  However, now I know I might not be able to birth children, could I adopt?
God: My question is: would you be willing to not be a mother if it means serving me better?
Amanda: Oh.  Well, I would be very sad if I could not be a mother, but if I could serve you better, then OK; I am willing.
God:  What about being a wife?  Would you be willing to be single if it meant serving me better?
Amanda: Yes, Lord, if it means serving you better.  Yes, I am willing.

After that conversation, I realized that books about singleness and marriage were more important to me than my Bible.  I also had great peace about being single and enjoyed growing closer to God and finding out some of his neat plans for my life that never could have happened if I had followed my own "life plan."

Then it came time for college.  My friends and classmates started dating and getting married.  It was very hard to not be jealous of them.  It was at this time that God and I had another discussion.  He showed me 1 Corthians 7.  He convinced me that my friends were exchanging their gift of singleness for the gift of marriage, but that my singleness was still a gift.  That I should celebrate with them, knowing my God is a good gift giver (Matthew 7) and both mine and their gifts were good.  Again, I had peace about being single and was able to celebrate with my friends.

I have never truly been on "a date."  I am now almost 28.  American media makes fun of people who haven't had sex in a month or even in a week--I have now gone my whole life without a real date and with never even being kissed by a man.  Oh, what would the media do with that?!?  But this is an off topic blip in my post. 

My point is this: for the first time in over 10 years, I am starting to long for marriage and motherhood again.  Why now?  Is it me not being wholly satisified in my Father?  Is it because my younger sister is getting married?  Is it because my best friend from college became a mother this year? Or, is it because my Father is stirring up the desires of my heart because something is going to change?    

In November, I read 1 Corinthians 7 nearly every morning.  I really like verse 17: "And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life."  And I wrote about my longings in my first blog in June and November.   

When I read 1 Corinthins 7 again this fall . . . 2 things stuck out to me 1) I can use my time as a single to become more intimate with my Savior and 2) "marriage is spiritually and morally right and not inferior to singleness in any way" in other words marriage is not a step up or a step down from singleness. 

I was just now surfing the net when I found an article by Albert Hsu entiled "Demystifying The Gift Of Singleness."  The end of his article further explains/supports the second idea above:

Furthermore, the gift of singleness does not determine an unalterable lifelong destiny. In fact, everybody starts out with the gift of singleness. The "gift" of singleness is descriptive, not restrictive. It does not prevent singles from getting married if they so desire and circumstances permit. Neither singleness nor marriage is a permanent state; both can be temporary.

In addition, the metaphor of a gift exchange affirms that singleness and marriage are gifts of equal value. It is rude to refuse a gift, to tell a giver that you don't want what you received and throw it back in his or her face. However, it can be entirely appropriate to exchange a gift for a different one of equal value. Think about taking a Christmas gift back to the store. You can't exchange it for something that's more expensive. But you can exchange it for something of the same value.

So it is with marriage and singleness. When a single gets married, it is not a promotion, a step up to a more valued position, as though marriage were a more expensive Christmas gift. Rather, it is an exchange of one gift for another of equal value.

Still not sure what my heart is doing right now or why it is doing it.  Still not sure what I am longing for.  But I do still rest in the One who gives good gifts and trust Him alone to satisify my desires.

76-107 of 100 things that make me happy


76. stepping on the scales and seeing the numbers get smaller
77. chocolate chip cookie dough
78. sitting close to someone I love
79. making someone else happy
80. reading
81. checking things off my “to do” list
82. feeling successful
83. encouraging others
84. doing/saying things that make others smile
85. new office supplies (especially pens and paper)
86. walking barefoot in green grass
87. riding my moped
88. chatting with my 81 year old grandmother online
89. getting scanned in handwritten notes from my neenee emailed to me
90. pink things
91. pizza with cheese in the crust
92. frozen oreos soaked in milk
93. hearing stories from the “old days” from my grandparents
94. watching someone else fulfill their dream
95. spending all day alone (in my pjs) and doing nothing
96. rolling down a grassy hill
97. having a clean apartment
98. successfully preparing a new dish
99. getting a great deal on something (finding a bargain)
100. giving someone a gift that they love
101. walking barefoot on the beach
102. helping others
103. getting a massage
104. hearing other people laugh out loud
105. listening to the logic of children
106. rays of sunlight from the sun rising or setting falling into my living room
107. hearing the laughter of a child

new photos uploaded

I have posted many of my Christmas 2005 pictures to my flickr

I still need to upload pics from my time with the Minnich family and the ones from the memory card on my broken camera (which will take 2-3 weeks because the camera in the repair shop and my card-reader won't read this card for some strange reason).

Anywho . . . below are some random pics (everytime you reload/refreash the page they should change) from Christmas 2005--surf on over to my account on flickr to see the rest. 

Please leave a comment on flickr or here to let me know you stopped by! :)  By the way, comments in Chinese are ok too.


51-75 of 100 things that make me happy


51. smelling new/old books
52. being in a library
53. my mom’s chicken and dumplings
54. my grandmother’s homade rolls
55. hugging my paw-paw
56. having my feet massaged
57. using scented lotions
58. using a new phrase in Chinese correctly
59. having painted toenails
60. a new haircut
61. dark chocolate
62. oatmeal
63. ginger candy or snaps
64. playing on swings
65. sitting in a rocking chair
66. hearing the crunch of leaves underfoot
67. watching butterflies flutter
68. a new book
69. new gidgets and shiny gadgets
70. getting off an airplane in a different country
71. laughing till I cry
72. having pictures of friends, family, memories
73. snowmen
74. blowing giant bubbles
75. popping my gum

merry christmas!!

Dsc042013_1 This has been a great Christmas weekend!!

I spent the weekend with the Minnich family--we opened presents on Christmas Eve, and had "Christmas Dinner" on Friday and Saturday night!  Then today, Christmas Day, we worshipped in the park.  I got to hold the Minnich's youngest son while he slept.  I think that truly might have been the best Christmas I got this year.  What a blessing!!

When I came home this afternoon, I waited for Gilby (he was being doggy-watched by a student), and then we took some pictures and opened our gifts from NeeNee and PawPaw. :)  He loves his new mini-kong. 

Then, I called my family and Ellen to tell them Merry Christmas!!  It was great to hear their voices.  Just wish I could have joined them for pancakes.

All in all . . . it was a nice weekend! :)

p.s. will post some pics from the weekend tomorrow.

it does not feel like . . .

Dsc0671711It does not feel like Christmas. 

Living in Taiwan has its pros and cons.  And, I suppose one of the cons is "missing" Christmas.  Sure we have red and green, songs about "one house [sic] open sleighs," Christmas trees, and santas galore, but we are "missing" Christmas. 

Because I don't get a vacation for Christmas (not an offical holiday here) classes continue, there are things to grade, finals to write, and life is "normal."

I miss Christmas.

I miss stopping to just be with family.  I miss thinking about and planning the gifts I want to give.  I miss seeing Christmas lights.  I miss decorating the tree with memories of years gone by alongside my mom and sister.  I miss making Christmas cookies.  But, what I really miss most is my family.  I want to sit on the couch and laugh with them.  I want to see their faces as they open presents.  I want to sit around the table that has been prepared in loving care.  I want to be with them for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Instead, here it is day before Christmas Eve, and I am trying to clear out my guest room for a bed that is coming, trying to find a way to get Gilby to a student's house for the weekend, trying to prepare something to take to a friend's house, trying to not feel gulity about not being ready, trying to not feel guilty about the huge pile of papers that won't get graded this weeked. 

I guess the most important thing for me to do this weekend, is to sit down and spend some quality time worshipping my Savior--to forget about the guilt, to forget about what I think I am missing--and focus heart and soul on the one I love most and who loves me most.

He is the reason for Christmas.  And because of that--I can't miss Christmas if I celebrate him.

Merry Christmas, Yall!

26-50 of 100 things that make me happy


26. gazing at a star filled sky
27. holding a baby
28. smelling a baby
29. watching children play
30. seeing grandparents with their grandchildren
31. feeling like I look nice in a new outfit
32. noticing my clothes are getting looser and looser
33. being complimented by others
34. having a house full of company
35. playing games
36. solving a puzzle
37. be silly with friends
38. having sheets and towels that are dried in a dry
39. overhearing someone singing to themselves
40. seeing someone I haven’t seen in a long time
41. the sound of the ocean
42. daisies
43. sunflowers
44. electric blankets
45. good music
46. telling others about something I learned
47. bookstores
48. plum green tea with lemon
49. watching the sunset
50. watching the sunrise

my camera's bad day

40145_1My camera had a bad fall today.  It was attached to a tripod that got knocked over. :(

Immediately, I noticed the battery/memory stick door was a little loose (both popped out upon impact) and a chip on the corner.  My heart started to flip-flop at this point.  The camera turned on and could still take pictures; however, the flash was broke. 

So, I have dropped it off at a repair shop, and it should take 2-3 weeks to hear back from them.  If the repair is less than 500 NT, they will just fix it.  However, I seriously doubt that will be the case.  So, I have already started thinking about its replacement

This camera was excellent to me.  I've had it less than 3 years, but have taken nearly 7000 great pictures with it.  It stayed in my purse every day of those three years!  My purse feels empty without it. :(

gilby plays fetch

Dsc06659I got this little jingle bell ball on impluse.  Gilby LOVES it!!  He will go get it and then bring it to where I am sitting, drop it, and then bark.  He is inviting me to play.  My job is to throw it for him. 

Because it has a jingle bell, he can hear it, and he follows the sound of it.  He will play fetch with his other toys (squeeky stuffed ones, plastic bottle caps, and tennis balls with ropes), but he can't hear them.  And, if he is not paying attention he is not sure where to go to retreive it.  This, on the other hand, can be heard as long as it is moving which is great. 

I can sit on the couch and throw it into his crate, the bathroom, the study, the kitchen, or even my bedroom (if I bounce it just right).  He without fail will return it to me. 

It is just too cute to watch him prance, jump, and run.  Oh how me makes me smile!! :)

01-25 of 100 things that make me happy


01. watching my puppy play fetch
02. waking up to my puppy licking my ear
03. snuggling under a warm down comforter in winter
04. finishing a good book
05. talking to family on the phone
06. getting an email from my little brother
07. receiving surprises in the mail
08. the scent of cinnamon
09. a long bike ride
10. doing something I thought I was unable to do
11. hearing my parents say they are proud of me
12. getting and giving hugs
13. when my students finally “get it”
14. watching my students succeed
15. a cup of hot chocolate
16. a warm, candle lit bubble bath
17. looking a old pictures
18. telling silly childhood stories
19. having my boss tell me I am doing a good job
20. lighting candles in my home
21. decorating for Christmas
22. baking cookies
23. having clean sheets to sleep on
24. talking to my friends
25. writing something I think is well written

Today was a bad day

21540999_1 Oh me. . . not good.  I overslept this morning, but awoke with a terrible head ache.  You know the kind over one eye where you don't want to eat, don't wanna see light, and don't wanna hear a single sound.  It was bad. 

What was worse . . . is that I woke at about 9:45, but I had classes starting from 8:00!  Oh dear.  AND, to make matters worse, last week I had lectured them all on the importance of being on time.

I guess sometimes things our out of our hands.  But, I feel terrible--physically and in the "i'm sorry" sense of the word.  I also had to cancel a party for this afternoon. :( 

Yep.  Today was a bad day. 

started cataloging yesterday


There was a time when I actually started to put the library of congress numbers on the spines of my books and arrange them in that order. Rumor has it, the First Lady kept her books arranged like this too.

It was too time consuming for me to continue that project, but using librarything sounds like something I would benefit from and could do easily.

Currently all books in my bedroom and living room have been added. Now to do my study . . . uh that will take awhile!

To click this goal off, I will have all books that i own in taiwan on my librarything. Not sure if I have more than 200 books (excluding sample textbooks) here in Taiwan or not—it is free up to 200 books.

However, adding tags, comments and ratings . . . don’t know if or when that will be done. And about all my books in the States—hmmm don’t know if that will ever happen either.

not knowing


Not Knowing” by Mary Gardiner Brainard (1837–1905)

Not knowing the things that shall befall me there.—ACTS XX. 22.

I know not what will befall me: God hangs a mist o’er my eyes;

And thus, each step of my onward path, He makes new scenes arise,

And every joy He sends to me comes like a sweet surprise.

I see not a step before me as I tread on another year;

But I’ve left the past in God’s keeping,—the future His mercy shall clear,

And what looks dark in the distance may brighten as I draw near.

For perhaps the dreaded future is less bitter than I think;

The Lord may sweeten the waters before I stoop to drink;

Or, if Marah must be Marah, He will stand beside its brink.

It may be He keeps waiting, for the coming of my feet,

Some gift of such rare blessedness, some joy so strangely sweet,

That my lips shall only tremble with the thanks they cannot speak.

O restful, blissful ignorance! ’t is blessëd not to know;

It keeps me still in those mighty arms which will not let me go,

And lulls my weariness to rest on the bosom that loves me so.

So I go on not knowing,—I would not if I might;

I would rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light;

I would rather walk with Him by faith than walk alone by sight.

My heart shrinks back from trials which the future may disclose,

Yet I never had sorrow but what the dear Lord chose;

So I send the coming tears back with the whispered word, “He knows.”

I love this kind of poetry. Oh, if I could compose like Anne Bradstreet or Mary Gardiner Brainard I would write poems. But, alas, I cannot, so I am left to quote them instead.

This poem, “Not Knowing,” captures my heart’s cry. It echoes the desires of my inner me. I could not express my own emotions better than Brainard does in this poem.

For most people, not knowing is a scary thing.  But as the Message translates Acts 20:22,  that even though "I'm completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there,” there still "is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go . . . ." Paul goes on to say that hard times matter little; however, “what matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.”

So, here I am.  I am following an unknown path.  I am compelled to follow it. So, I am sending back the coming tears with the whispered word, “He knows.” So, I am eagerly anticipating the joys that are to come as I attempt to focus on what matters most,  enjoying the privilage of being His messenger of amazingly good news!

And because He does know this path, although narrow and unknown to me, it is worth traveling.

O restful, blissful ignorance! It is blessed not to know!

my desire to be content

Heart3 滿足. . . content.

It is not easy to be content.

In a letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, "God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.  . . . don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life."

In another letter, this one to the Philippians, Paul says, "actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.  I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.  Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.  . . . You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus."

Oh, if only I knew his recipe! because it is not easy to be content. 要滿足是不容易的.

I love my life.  I enjoy doing what I am doing.  Yet, deep inside I ache for a family . . .  for a man to love me and protect me, to care for me and provide for me, to be there for me in sickness and in health . . . for a baby to grow inside of me, for a baby to feed from me, for a child to call me mommy.

Oh, if only I knew his recipe! because it is not easy to be content. 

I long to be content.

It is not easy to be content.

a compliment

Today I am tired.  I don't know why.  Maybe I didn't sleep well.  I slept "enough" . . . maybe it was just not "good sleep."  I don't like this feeling at all . . . like I am stuck in slow motion.

Well, I was paid a compliment today that made me feel good.  Some students were speaking in Chinese behind me and I heard "可是Amanda不會." Since that is the only part of the conversation I heard, I asked, "Amanda can't what?" The student told me that I had not stereotyped him like others do.  I had not made assumptions about him based on his clothing style and mannerisms.

To me--this is one of the best compliments I have received in a long time. When people tell me I am pretty or that my hair is fun or that my nose is long . . . these things mean nothing to me. I mean sure we all like to hear that we are beautiful, but I know many people here say it simply because I have white skin and an American passport, not because I truly am. Also, I have no control over my curls or the length of my nose, yet I have complete control over my actions and beliefs. So, this compliment actually meant something to me. Moreover, I guess another reason it was powerful was that he wasn't telling me this . . . he was talking to someone else about me.

So, even though I am very tired today and am not going to go do the errands I should do and even though I feel crummy . . . I did have a little highlight in the middle of the day. :)

a thankful heart

Thanks_1 Here are some of the things that I am thankful for this year:

1. For being able to be thankful (last year was hard on me, and it was difficult to have a heart of gratitude).
2. For a loving family who is so supportative and fun to be around--I am truly blessed with a wonderful family.
3. For four living grandparents who love me so much.
4. For good friends new and old.
5. For my puppy (who is chewing up my whole home, but offering me loving compainionship as well).
6. For being able to live in Taiwan
7. For having my needs (and most of my wants) met.
8. For being able to work at a job I love.
9. For my students--who make me feel special.
10. For finding out what was wrong with me and being able to take steps to correct it.
11. For becoming more healthy and whole this last year--physically, emotionally, spiritually.
12. For safety.
13. For peace that cannot be explained.

and last but not least . . .
14. For a God whose love is beyond measure and is without condition.
15. For the neverending grace and mercy of my God.
16. For eternal salvation that does not depend on me.

Being grateful in English / American culutre is a different concept than being thankful in Mandarin / Taiwanese culture.  In Taiwanese culture you should be thankful TO someone.  But in English, we are simply "thankful for something."  I suppose that perhaps this is related to our concept of God.  But I can't be sure what the difference is . . . right now I only recognize that it is there.


my doggie has a name

My little guy's name is . . . . . Gilby!

Even though Gilby is not the highest on the poll right now (I actually voted for Quincy, myself) after talking to some other people and they all "voted" for Gilby but don't have computer access and after I unconsciously called him Gilby a few times the other day . . . I decided Gilby it should be. :)  Cute name for a cute pup, right?

Here is my current fave pic of Gilby:


my new doggie

我的小狗來了!!  好高興哦!!

YEA!!  My new doggie has come!!!

However, he still has no name.

Gilby1_1 Gilby3

Isn't he just the cutest??

my door

Here is the door to my apartment:


When I came home today, it made me think of my "milkshake-ness" -- a little American and a little Taiwanese at the same time!  For those of you who can't read Chinese, the red paper says "peace and joy."

my observation of cultural difference #10012

in america, if you have some kind of repairman or delivery man coming to your house . . . you plan on waiting for them for a L  O  N  G  time!  In fact, if they say they are going to come at 9 AM, you might as well take off work for the whole day!

Today, I had some pieces of furniture delivered.  On the schedule it said it was to be delivered after 3 PM.  I got a call at 1 asking if it was ok for them to come at that time. 

WHAT!!?!?!  early?  you gotta be kidding me!! 

I am impressed with their efficiency.

oh, and now i just gotta find someone to come help me put it all together . . . any volunteers?

a misspelled word

so you found a misspelled word.  i did too.  but you knew what i meant anyway, right?

i am a terrible speller to begin with and then add to that my typos and well . . . you have a few (probably several) spelling mistakes on this blog.

but that is ok, i am not going to stress about them.  so you shouldn't either.  i probably know about the mistake(s) you found--i see them as soon as i reread a blog entry.  but fixing them is time consuming, i just don't wanna worry with correcting every spelling boo-boo.

and, yes, i am an english teacher.  and, no, i don't count off for spelling errors! :) 

my illiteracy

You know living in a foreign country presents all kinds of interesting problems.  And, these problems are only compounded if you are illiterate in the native language. 

Well, I am not exactly illiterate.  I can read maybe a thousand Chinese characters (of the appox. 8000 a college grad in Taiwan knows).  So, my mere thousand characters do not qualify me to understand the directions on the back of a bottle of Drano.  Heck, it doesn't even qualify me to be able to pick out the product I need off of the "cleaning supply shelf" at the local "everything for sale" store.

But, thankfully, Taiwan is kind to their illiterate.  The bottle of Drano has great graphics on the front to let me know it is Drano (it even has the English word, of course that is partly under the price tag).  And, there are nice, easy to understand line drawings on the back of the bottle telling me how to use the product.  And, I do know enough Chinese to be able to read the "1/2 bottle" and "1 hour" and other stuff like that. 

Drano_2 Drano_1

So, I am grateful for the people at Drano thinking about me and my illiteracy when they wrote the directions for how to use the stuff.  I don't remember there being little pictures that go along with directions on stuff in the States, but it has been awhile since I looked.  So, this summer I will look and see if I just remember wrong or not.

Oh . . . and I did successfully get my tub's drain un-clogged! :)

my culture

culture (n.)
  • the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time;
  • the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts;
  • the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization;
  • 文化
As I am preparing to go back to America for the summer after residing in Taiwan for the last year, I have been reflecting on culture and preparing myself for reverse-culture shock or reentry shock.

One of my students remarked to me a few months ago, “you are eighty percent Taiwanese,” an observation prompted by a certain dish I was eating for lunch. This actually caught me by surprise because he had also commented on the multiple American products that I had in my bathroom shortly after I had returned from the States last year. In addition, as part of poking fun at their teachers at the “Thanking Teacher Banquet” my beloved students also awarded me the “rejects her own nation” award. When trying to explain it, a student said, and I quote, “you have been melting into our culture; you do many actions that are much like a Taiwanese.”

So, have I?
Have I rejected American culture and adopted Taiwanese culture as my own?

Well, yes and no.

I have concluded that I belong to a small group of people who are “third culture” people. I am not fully American and not fully Taiwanese (as far as culture is concerned).

I am a milkshake.

A milkshake is made of ice cream and of milk.  Once shaken, it is no longer milk and no longer ice cream . . . it is something altogether new.  That is me.  That is my culture.

Choc_milkshake1And, if I say so myself, milkshakes are pretty tasty treats.

Oh . . . as long as I am a milkshake, I wanna be a chocolate one (with whipped cream and chunks of chocolate on top!! :)

ha. . . i thought of another example. . .

My milkshake example is from the American in me. And the next example is from the Taiwanese in me.

I am a 獼猴桃冰沙.

Kiwi_bingshaPeel a kiwi. Throw kiwi in blender. Blend. Throw in some ice. Blend again. And what do you have? The world's best icee! A nice blending of fruit and ice . . . but again something new--no longer ice and no longer a kiwi--a mix of both. YUMMY!!

my weekend

Culture shows herself in many ways.  A very easy way to observe her power is look at how different culture groups take trips.

Recently, I went to Kenting with 5 beautiful Taiwanese girls, and then I went to Kenting this weekend with two American families and some other (mostly) American friends.  The juxtaposition of the two weekend trips (both 3 days long) to basically the same place is a showcase of culture herself.  And perhaps words alone cannot portray the true depth of the all differences I experienced on these two trips; nonetheless, this is my meager attempt to do so.

# of pictures taken on Taiwanese trip: close to 300
# of pictures taken on American trip: 6

# of places visited on Taiwanese trip: too many to count
# of places visited on American trip: 3

Time spent at each place on Taiwanese trip: too short to time
Time spent at each place on American trip: 2 hrs to several hours

# of times places were revisited on Taiwanese trip: 0
# of times places were revisited on American trip: same beach 2 times X 2 beaches

# of times to "Kenting Street" on Taiwanese trip: at least 2
# of times to "Kenting Street" on American trip: 0

Swimming on Taiwanese trip: only in hotel's pool
Swimming on American trip: every day at the beach

Sun on Taiwanese trip: umberallas and sunscreen were both used by all
Sun on American trip: I was the only one to use sunscreen

Both trips were fun.
Both trips had lots of laughing.
Both trips were a time of relationship building and relazxing.
Both trips music was listened to while in car (albeit different kinds of music).
Both trips had good food (albeit different types and eaten with different "rules.")

So, as you can see . . . this is not a judgmental thing saying one way is better than the other.   I totally enjoyed both trips!  It is simply an attempt to look at how culture influences the things we do and how we do them.

my anonymity

anonymity is defined as
one that is unknown or unacknowledged.
when someone's name is not given or known.
匿名; 作者不詳.

My anonymity.  Right!  Like I have any!

Everywhere I go at school, I have students who are not in my classes shout out "hello Amanda."  When I lived in Meinong, the people across the street when I waited for the trash truck one day had an entire conversation about me . . . not behind my back, but right in front of me. I don't know these people . . . how do they know me?!?

I go to the train station in another town and run into someone I met when I was an exchange student.  I go with my students to eat chaw bing in downtown KH and run into someone I met once three months ago.  Then, this week, I was driving home from the store and one of my students passed me on a moped with her brother.  I know these people . . . but what are the chances?

And most recently, I made a foolish traffic decision on my moped.  And, while oncoming traffic wizzed by me on the left and the right . . . I heard someone say "hi Amanda."  Oh my.  I can't even make mistakes in the middle of an intersection without someone recognizing me!

Yes, that is right.  I have no anonymity.  None.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  無.  沒有.  Nil.

And that is not necessarily a bad thing.   Just something I am not sure I will ever get used to.

i am

I am a daughter. 
I am a granddaughter.
I am a sister.
I am a friend.
I am a teacher.
I am a missionary.
I am a writer.
I am an employee.
I am a tenant.
I am a co-worker.
I am a student.
I am an ErHu player (albeit a beginner).
I am a cyclist.
I am a foreigner.
I am an American.
I am a Christian.
I am a sinner.
I am a woman.
I am many things . . . even more than this short list.

But there are two things I am not.
I am not a wife.  I am not a mother.
Two things I am beginning to long to be.


To long for something . . .
to want something very much;
to have an earnest, heartfelt desire, especially for something beyond reach;

And, yet, even with these longings beginning to grow in my innerself, I am completely at peace. I know my Heavenly Father is always in control.  I say with confidence that He has promised to give me every good gift.  So, if marriage and motherhood are good gifts for me, they will one day be mine.  I know He has also told me that when I delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart.  So, for now, I will be my Father's child.  I will be His alone and continue to find delight in Him.

my erhu lessons

One thing experts advice language teachers to do is to take a language course every so often in order to remember what it feels like to be a language student.

I haven't been taking language classes, but I am studying something that is brand new to me--music. And, as I have been learning to play the 二胡, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, I have learned some things about being a student that should help me as a language teacher.

fundamental basics are necessary.
   --they are not fun; but they are necessary for future success.

feedback is crucial and a balance (between negative and positive) is necessary.
   --if all I hear is how good I am, I can get overconfident.
   --if all I hear is how poor I am doing, I can get discouraged.
   --hearing my teacher say "good job" makes me happy to continue practicing.
   --hearing my teacher say "hold it this way insead" also makes me happy to continue.

review is nice.
   --it lets me refreash what I should know.
   --it lets me feel successful.

there are times when I need a challenge and times when I don't.
   --if everything is challenging, it makes me want to quit.   
   --if everything is too easy, it makes me want to quit.
   --if there is a balance between challenging and easy, I feel much more willing to try.

practicing must be a little every day.
   --15 min for 7 days is much better than 1 hour for 2 days.

the teacher is not always right. :)
   --sometimes she makes mistakes too.

the teacher knows best.
   --the things she does to help me learn are worth it even though at that time they don't make sense to me.

my fifth year students

I still remember my first class at Fortune.  It was writing class on a Friday afternoon . . . only half of the students showed up.  I didn't feel like a teacher at all.  I was clueless in more ways than one. 

A tall guy named Charlie (later to be known as Jermaine) came and asked me where class was going to be.  Huh?  I got to decide?  Well, the classroom of course! (I didn't know that the class was a "split class" and that some of the students would be in the "class's classroom" and the others would be in the "writing classroom."  No one told me.)  It was in that way that I choose the "chien ban" for my writing students; and "ho ban" for my business English students.  How little I knew then!

Since then, I have learned a lot.  You see my students think that they are the students, and I am the teacher.  But the reverse is also true.

They taught me lots of words.  I now know the meaning of "dong diao" (fail), "chow ke" (skip class), "ko fun" (take away points), "ho ban" (back half of a split class), "chien ban" (front half of a split class), "jia ban" (Class A), "yi ban" (Class B), "chee jong kao" (midterm exam), "chee mou kao" (final exam), "bu ke" (make up class because teacher or school needs to rearrange the class meeting time), "di ke" (class with subsitute teacher), "shou kao" (take a class again because you failed in the past) and more! 

They taught me how to be a teacher.  I learned that the most important thing I can give my students is the ability to believe in themselves, to have confidence.  I do not have a single student that does not have the potential to be excellent.  Each one has incredible strengths and talents.  These students allowed me to experiment with them.  I was able to try new things and explore new ways of teaching.  And in return they told me what worked and what didn't work and how I could make it better the next time I tried.  For this I am forever grateful.  They also taught me how to  s l o w  d o w n;  now granted, a few of them will tell you I still go too fast.  But, hello, I am a heck of a lot slower now!

They taught me to accept help. I like to be needed, but I don't like to need.  My students taught me that it perfectly ok to ask for help.  Perhaps from my western upbringing, I used to think that asking for help was a sign of weakness; thus I didn't ask.  And, thus, I lacked.  I have learned to ask for everything for help in running simple errands such as "please go back to my desk and get me the xxx that I forgot" to "I have strange red bumps on my leg, can you take me to the doctor."  Now, I have to admit, I am still taking this class, but I am learning and will continue to improve.

They taught me how to have fun.  Believe it or not, I am a very uptight girl.  I like things to be in order, and I like for things to be done right, and I like for them to be done now.  My students taught me how to loosen up a little, to enjoy life more.  They also taught that it is ok to not be perfect, to learn to laugh at my own mistakes.  In doing so, life become more fun.

In the last two years, I have poured my heart and soul into an incredible group of kids (young men and women) who could actually be my younger brothers and sisters.  In fact, that is what they have become.  I will forever cherish in my heart the memories I have made with them from countless hours of time in classes to the countless times we laughed and played. 

It has been my joy and my honor to watch these students, my students, grow.  I remember when I first met them they had difficulty uttering more than a sentence in English to me at a time.  Now, they can give 20 mintute speeches alone, write several pages of creative text, have multi-hour long conversations in English.  How delighted this makes my teacher's heart!  However, not only have they grown academically, they have also grown in other ways too.  I have seen them mature into young men and women.  I have seen them develop self-confidence.  How delighted this makes my friendship's heart!

As they leave my school, I am both sad and happy at the same time.  I am sad because I am going to miss them a lot!  They are so very, very special to me.  I am happy because they are pursuing their dreams, their futures, which of course are going to be bright. 

I love you guys. 你對我來說很重要. 請和我保持連絡.

yours forever,

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

originally posted on msn spaces.

photos of these last two years

my goal

One of the great feelings in life comes from making and then meeting goals!  I have come to realize that there are actually very few things in life that I control.  However, how often I get on my bike and what I do on my bike is one of those things that I do control. 

I would love to one day be able to bike all around Taiwan . . . you know, an entire island trip on my bike.  But I have other goals before that happens, I want to bike to Meinong this fall and then Kenting maybe next year.  This June I just want to bike about 48 km and do it in a little over 2 hours.

Yesterday I averaged 23 km per hour for about a 20 min ride.  My full 50 min ride average though was 19.6 kmph. 

The thril of doing something you have never done before cannot be replaced!

my perspective

There are giants living in the land.  The land is great, but the people there are huge and scary.  God says this is the land I give you, but we say "thanks but no thanks.  It's just too frightening."

Why is it that I consistenly fail to see the world the way my heavenly Father does?  When we look at the world from a human perspective, we make judgements based on things that are not accurate. 

I know His ways are not my ways.  I know His thoughts are not my thoughts.  I know that mankind's greatest wisdom is His most foolish thought. 

Father, give me your eyes.  Help me to see the world as you do.  Help me to see myself and others as you do.

my perfectionism

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
- John Wooden (mountain climber)

Why is that we allow our limitations to define us?  As humans, we tend to look at the things we can't do and mourn our weaknesses.  Instead, we should focus on that which we are able to do and celebrate that achievement.  This is easy for me to see when I am reading the learning journals and logs of my students, and yet so hard for me to put into practice myself.  My tendancy towards perfectionism denies me the freedom to acknowledge that I have strengths worth celebrating.

Moreover, it is in my weaknesses that I am able to find joy in an all-powerful God.  He completes me.  If I struggle to fill me . . . I will forever be struggling.  If I acknowledge that I am unable to be perfect, He becomes the center, the focus, and not me.  This is a relief.  This is a joy-giving, freedom-bringing realization.  So, why, therefore, am I perpetually forgetting this?

Father, be strong in my weaknesses.

"Instead, God has chosen the world's foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world's weak things to shame the strong.  God has chosen the world's insignificant and despised things--the things viewed as nothing--so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.  But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord."  (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

my story

Clip_testifyWhen I was seven, I told my mother she could no longer love me. I told her I was a bad girl and that I was too bad to be loved again. Together, my mom and dad, took this opportunity to tell me of God's redeeming sacrifice through Jesus Christ.  I then trusted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.  My dad baptized me on Feb 1, 1986; ten years to the day after he was baptized.  I have since sought to know and make known my incredible living God.

The summer after my 15th birthday, I recommitted my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ at a summer camp.  At the time I believed that meant I was to enter career ministry.  Surrendering to a career in ministry was not easy because I am a pastor's daughter and I know how draining and difficult being in the ministry can be.  Nonetheless, after I made the decision, I began to think about my future.

At the time, I thought that my career in ministry would be with apartment ministry and apartment churches in an urban area in America.  I spent a summer ministering in inner-city Houston in 1995.  Then in college, I spent two years ministering in downtown Dallas with an after-school program and an apartment church.  I didn't want to be in "churchy" ministry.  I longed to meet people's practical and felt needs in order to meet their real need.

However, in 1997 a month long trip to Taiwan through my university changed everything.  Although I experienced immense culture shock, I began to fall in love with the Taiwanese.  I returned to the States and became active in making relationships with international students.  Again, I was devoted to meeting practical and felt needs in order to meet their real need. 

However, this time instead of loafs of bread and after-school tutoring, I offered friendship and help with academic essays.

I then spent my senior year in college as an exchange student in Taiwan.  I loved it.

When returning to finish my last semester of college, I struggled with how to return to Asia to live and serve my Lord and pay off my school loans as well.  After much prayer and consultation with people I trusted, I decided to attend graduate school and work on my master's degree in teaching English as a foreign language.

Now, I have graduated from UT Austin and live in Taiwan.  I again hope to meet people's practical and felt needs in order to have the opportunity to meet their real need, which is why I am using the English language as a ministry tool.

I serve an incredible God who has shaped my hopes, dreams, and experiences to give me joy and bring Him glory.  What a wonderful combination!!

Praise Him!!

(See more on why I want to live in Taiwan.)

even more about amanda


I live in KaoHsiung County in
southern Taiwan. This is my fifth year to live in Taiwan, and I enjoy Taiwan very much. I live in Taiwan because God brought me
here to show the Taiwanese people His Love for them.

I am in Taiwan as a tentmaker--I support my missionary work by
teaching college courses. I teach public speaking, biz
English conversation, and English composition (the essay) regularly.  I have also taught Songs for EFL Teaching, Movie English, Internet English, listening, and pronunciation.

I graduated with my master's degree in Foreign Language Education
(2003) from the University of Texas at Austin. I received my bachelor's
in communication theory from Dallas Baptist University (2000).

My mom, dad, and kid brother, Sam, live near Austin, Texas.  Both my parents are teachers, and my dad is also a bi-vocational pastor.  My sister, Sarah, and my brother-in-law, Chad, both work for the Arlington Police department.  Everyone in my family enjoys laughing--and laughing loud--something I didn't realize on my own (an "outsider" pointed it out to me).

I am single, which is something I would love to be changed. :) 

And, last but definitely not least, I am a daughter of the King. I am saved by grace--something I of course do not deserve!  I desire for all that I am and all that I do to bring glory to God.  I desire to know him and make him known--this desire is the foundation of all that I am.

Thanks for stopping by following an unknown path!  I hope you find something that "tickles your fancy!"

The Carnival of Beauty

What is the Carnival of Beauty?

Each week women from around the world write on a specially selected topic allowing them to reflect on the beauty of Christ in the world around us.   

The Carnival of Beauty was started by Sallie
near the end of 2005.  For over a year she sponsored the Carnival of
Beauty which is hosted by a different Christian woman each week. In the spring of 2007, Sallie passed on the sponsorship of the Carnival of Beauty to me here at following an unknown path. 

 Please join us as we seek to glorify Christ in our writing!

What is the purpose of the Carnival of Beauty?

1. Encourage women by reflecting the beauty of Christ in our writing.

2. Meet women online who cherish the beauty of Christ that we might not have met otherwise.

Who can participate?

Any Christian woman can participate as long as she falls under these guidelines:

  1. Is in personal agreement with the following statement: I
    believe in the Godhead of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
    Spirit as revealed in the Holy Bible. I believe that Jesus Christ is
    the only Son of God and my only means for the forgiveness of my sins
    and my salvation. My salvation is found in no one but Jesus Christ.

  2. Is not a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or Seventh Day Adventist.

  3. Does not promote the emergent conversation/movement on her blog.

  4. Does not promote theological distinctives in her Carnival post so as to refrain from controversial debate.


What do we write about?

Past Carnivals (2005-2006)


January 3: The Beauty of A New Year

January 10:
The Beauty of Christ

January 17:
The Beauty of Bread

January 24:
The Beauty of Mary and Martha

January 31:
The Beauty of Chariots of Fire 

February 7:
The Beauty of Creativity

February 14:
The Beauty of Innocence

February 21:
The Beauty of Isaiah

February 28:
The Beauty of Red

March 7:
The Beauty of Saul/Paul
March 14: The Beauty of Fragrance
March 21:
The Beauty of Photographs
March 28:
The Beauty of Being Made in the Image of God
April 4:
The Beauty of the Resurrection
April 11:
The Beauty of Femininity
April 18:
The Beauty of God’s Provision
April 25: The Beauty of Patience

May 2:
The Beauty of Flowers

May 9:
The Beauty of the Holy Spirit
May 16:
The Beauty of Sunshine
May 23:
The Beauty of Sacrifice
May 30:
The Beauty of Esther
June 6: The Beauty of Strong Men
June 13: The Beauty of Truth
June 20:
The Beauty of Babies
June 27:
The Beauty of Humility
July 6: The Beauty of  . . .
July 13: The Beauty of Summer
July 20: The Beauty of Grace
July 27: The Beauty of Play

August 3: The Beauty of (free)
August 10: The Beauty of The Lord's Day


August 17: The Beauty of Prayer

     (a dusty frame)

August 24: The Beauty of Change

     (Ashley @ twentysixcats.com)

August 31:The Beauty of Learning

     (Bethany @ A Picturesque Life)

September 7: The Beauty of (free)

     (Anna @ Little Soul, Big World)

September 14: The Beauty of Autumn

     (Ashley @ twentysixcats.com)

September 21: The Beauty of Discipline

     (Blair @ Scribblings by Blair)

September 28:  The Beauty of Hope

     (Sara @ Stones of Remembrance)

Oct 5: The Beauty of Love by Amanda
Oct 12: The Beauty of Joy by Vicki
Oct 19: The Beauty of Peace by Sara
Oct 26: The Beauty of Patience by Ellen

Nov 2: The Beauty of Kindness by OPEN
Nov 9: The Beauty of Goodness by Blair
Nov 16: The Beauty of Faithfulness by Sara
Nov 23: The Beauty of Gentleness by Susanna
Nov 30: The Beauty of Self-Control by OPEN

Dec 7: The Beauty of Praise by Sara
Dec 14: The Beauty of Tradition by Ellen
Dec 21: CoB Takes a break
Dec 28: The Beauty of This Year by Susanna


The hostess will announce the Carnival pieces on Friday.  Your entry should be a newly written piece, published the week of the Carnival.

Although the goal is about promoting the beauty of Christ, the piece
does not have to be explicitly about Christ. It can be about family
matters, home life, children, marriage, creation, friendship, cooking,
homemaking, hobbies, etc. Anything that reflects the beauty of Christ
and fits the topic.


How do I submit a piece to the Carnival?

Send an email to <carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com> with the following information:

1. Your first name

2. The name of your blog with the link

3. The name of your piece with the link

4. A brief one or two sentence description of your piece that will be in the listing of the Carnival submissions.

5. Send your submission on or before Thursday by the deadline the hostess sets.

What else do I have to do to participate?

  1. On Friday, remind your readers that it is Carnival day and provide a link to that week’s hostess.

  2. If you would like to use the Carnival of Beauty logo on your blog, feel free to do so. If you would link it back to this main Carnival of Beauty page, I would appreciate it.  If you would like a logo already coded, please email me.

  3. You do not have to participate every week to be a part of the Carnival.  Submit pieces as you are able.

  4. Feel free to join our Carnival of Beauty Google Group.  You can get email announcements about hosting and reminders of upcoming carnival info.


    Google Groups

    Subscribe to Carnival of Beauty


  Visit this group


How do I host a Carnival?

  1. On Monday of the week you are hosting, please post a message that lets people know (a) you are hosting, (b) how to submit a post, (c) set the time deadline for when you stop accepting submissions on Thursday.  Also feel free to email the google group during the week to send a reminder about the CoB.

  2. On Monday, please email me--amanda--and let me know which email address I should forward the Carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com emails too.

  3. When you receive a submission, it is nice to let the blogger know you received her entry.

  4. In the past, the CoB hostesses have listed the posts in the order received with their own post last.  Let's continue this tradition.

  5. Feel free to adjust someone's description if needed; also, writing all entries in third person makes the CoB sound more consistent.

  6. Also, please feel free to be creative and add your own personal touch to the CoB. 

  7. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a submission and/or
    blog/author, do not hesitate to contact me.

  8. On Friday, publish the CoB! :)  Email the google group to let us all know that the CoB is up and ready to be read.


Anything else?

  1. Continue to send recommendations for topics as they come to mind.

  2. It is nice if we take the time to leave a comment and thank the hostess each week.

  3. Enjoy the beautiful writing we are all sure to discover!

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