a fave Taiwanese sweet treat


This is 花生豆花 or "hwa shung dou hwa" or Peanut DouHwa or Peanut Tofu Pudding.

Whatever you wanna call it, this is my second favorite Taiwanese sweet treat (first place is chawbing or shaved ice).

It is a soy bean based pudding topped with brown sugar water and peanuts.  Yummy!!

A small cup (this one) costs 20 NT or about 60 US cents.



Theme: Sweet | See More Sweet Stuff

care packages

Jim, who maintains Missionary Blog Watch, has asked missionaries to write about care packages.

The thing is most missionaries I know would say they don't "need" anything.  Living overseas has taught us to learn to do without a lot of what we thought we needed before coming to our new countries.  Also, there are now so many things that we are able to find here.  Here in Taiwan, we have a Costco near-by where we can get brownie mix and extra chunky peanut butter.

The greatest thing about care packages though is the little glimpses of home they offer.  They scream "we miss you," "we are thinking about you," and "we care."  I guess that is why they are called "care packages" and not "things-you-need-to-survive packages."

So, even though most missionaries I know would say they don't "need" anything, we all delight to receive stuff from back home because it is a reminder that we are not alone.  And, little bits of comfort are nice. :)

I brainstormed about things we'd like to receive in a care package with a good friend of mine who has been a missionary in Taiwan for 12 years--she is married and has 3 small kids.  Together we came up with the list below, so please know that this is NOT an Amanda wish list). 

Things that might bless an overseas missionary family:

  • (Sugar free) Koolaid packets

  • (Sugar free) Jello packets

  • Envelopes of prepared mixes (sloppy joe, taco seasoning, salsa mix, ranch dressing, Italian dressing, gravy, so on)

  • Instant cooking things (ex: Shake and Bake)

  • Other dried foods, like cereal, oatmeal, or poptarts  (Here in Taiwan, we have a good supply of oatmeal and cereal, but in other countries these things are not so easy to get a hold of.)

  • Extra-active yeast (for making bread)

  • Hair stuff (clips, barrets, pony tail holders)

  • Candy (things like Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts, Twizzlers, Smarties)

  • Sugar Free candy (Lifesavors, things like that)

  • (Sugar free) Chewing Gum (in Taiwan we have trouble finding Spearmint and Cinammin flavors, I'm sure children would appreciate strawberry or grape bubble gum)

  • Magazines in English (My grandmothers occasionally send me copies of Woman's World and Reader's Digest)

  • Scented/Smell good things (for example: small candle, potpourri, or Plug-ins, with the plug-in device unless you know they already have it.  Scents are so important to me now.  Especially at the holidays it is nice to have a "smells like Christmas" feel in my home.  But, something like plug-ins might not work in other countries, Taiwan has the same electricity system as the US)

  • Decorations for holidays (holiday plates and napkins, even something like a paper 4th of July table cloth could be fun.  My grandmother also once sent me Easter clingies to put on my windows.)

  • Other holiday related items sent near that holiday (like an Easter egg dying kit before Easter or candy canes near Christmas).

  • Things that are "American" or "Canadian" or in my case "Texan" . .
    . you get the idea. (I loved it when my mom sent a very Texan "fixin'
    do list" pad and some chili mix.)

  • A memento from their fave sports team

  • DVDs (especially for children, might want to ask if they have a Region 1 DVD player if you are sending DVDs from America)

  • CDs but itunes credit would work too

  • Books in English

  • Tampons

  • Razors

  • Deodorant

  • Mascara

  • Socks

  • Over the counter meds (cough drops, coldeze, aleve)

  • Children's books in English, small toys (match box car or stuffed toy), or things like fruit roll ups or gummy bears (IF they have children)

  • Hobby supplies (things for scrap booking, quilting, cross stitch, card making or stamping--IF they have those hobbies)

  • Small games (new card games or logic puzzle to solve)

  • Online gift certificates (amazon.com and landsend.com both ship overseas)

  • My friend even suggested a including a list of websites or blogs they might want to check out when they have online time.  She said she doesn't have time to search and find good sites, but loves being encouraged by sites that do get recommended to her.

Tricks and Hints

  • You don't have to send a lot to mean a lot.  A small envelope with a few packages of gravy mix and a card would mean a lot.

  • Don't be afraid to ask the missionary specifically for help.  For example, "I'd like to send you some reading material is there a book or magazine you've been wanting to read?"  OR "We are wanting to send you some personal items, do you need razors or deodorant?  If so, which brands and scents could we get for you?"  By asking specifically, it helps us not be so shy in telling you what we need.  It is really hard to answer the question "what do you need us to send you?"

  • If they have children, try to include at least something small for them.  It is nice for them to know that they are remembered too.

  • The USPS has an international shipping envelope--Priority Mail International--that up to 4 lbs costs a flat rate.  Each country is different--to Taiwan it is $9.  If you ship this way, you can send it on Monday, and we will have it by Friday.  Wow!  That is awesome.  They also have a box with a variable charge rate, but it costs more. 

  • If you are sending big packages, consider sending it by ground and not by air to save on shipping.

  • You can cut and paste the address in the country's language--ask the missionary for an image of their address (well, if they are computer savvy).  Just add in all caps the name of the country in English underneath the foreign language address.  (This is how my family sends me stuff.)

That is all I can think of for now.  If you are an overseas missionary, and have thoughts on things that would bless a missionary or some other tricks and hints for sending stuff, please either comment here or even blog about care packages on your own blog.


Scripture tells us that "knowledge puffs up" (1 Corinthians 8:1).  It is so easy to get puffed up.  We all know stuff and this stuff-knowing fuels our pride.  But we know that God opposes the proud, and commands us to "humble ourselves." 

We are told to "clothe [ourselves], all of [us], with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Peter 5:5). 

So, what is humility?

Humility does not mean having a low self-esteem.  It is possible to have a low self-esteem and be prideful at the same time.  I know because I've been there.

Rather, humility means having a right understanding of who we are in light of who God is. 

Humility does not mean downplaying the gifts and talents he has given us.  Humility does not mean denying the abilities God has given us. 

Rather, humility leads us to serve others with the gifts, talents and skills God has graciously given us.  In Phillipians 2, Paul calls us to have the same mind as Christ, who humbled himself and took on the form of a servant.  We are able to honor others and serve others with the skills, talents, and gifts God has given us when we "in humility count others more significant than [ourselves]."

For an even better look at "What is Humility?" John Piper explains what God has told us about humility:

1. Humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in
2. Humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus
3. Humility asserts truth not to bolster ego with control or
with triumphs in debate, but as service to Christ and love to the
4. Humility knows it is dependent on grace for all knowing and

5. Humility knows it is fallible, and so considers criticism and
learns from it; but also knows that God has made provision for
human conviction and that he calls us to persuade others.

Read his full article for the Scriptures he uses for each of these five points.

Oh, how I long to stay humble--but how very often I see pride rearing its ugly head into my thoughts and actions.  Help me to stay close to the cross--where I can more clearly see the holiness of You and the sinfulness in me.  Father, help me to actively be humbling myself, counting others as more significant.  Like the song says, make me to be a servant, humble and meek.

This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by following an unknown path.  This week the theme is The Beauty of Humility and is being
hosted by Scribbling by BlairJoin us next week for The Beauty of  . . . (your choice) over at Leslie's Lux Venit.

what is Kaohsiung like?

Well, check out this 4 minute video to see every day stuff you are likely to see in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan--a harbor city on a tropical island. 

Even thought I live in Kaohsiung County and not city, these are still things I see daily.

(If the song is too much for you, turn down/off the volume.)

the sky today was awesome!

Blue Sky!!

First off the day started with a brilliant blue sky.  Now, this is nothing special if you live in Texas (or many other spots on earth).  I can't stop staring at the sky whenever I go home. 

But, here, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the sky is normally gray.  Yeah, sadly it's gray from all the pollution.

But not today.  Today it was a brilliant blue!!  It was so wonderful!!

Later, after classes this afternoon, my students called me to the office window.  And, then they showed me a beautiful rainbow! 

It totally arched all the way across the sky.  I don't think I've ever seen a complete (I know its really only half) arching rainbow in the sky,


Thank you, Father, for the reminder that you always keep your promises. 

recent finds

Two blogs I recently added to my Google reader which might be of interest to other missionaries are:

Kingdom Journalism and Missionary Geek.

Here is what they are about in the words of their authors/keepers/blogger owners(?).

The purpose of the Kingdom Journalism blog is to challenge and encourage Christian mission communicators around the world as they "describe God's mighty works" (Acts 2:11).


Missionary Geek is a blog about technology, productivity and ministry.
Focusing on the modern missionary, we'll look at the latest tools,
processes and hacks that will help you do your job easier, more cleanly
and leave you with more time to drink coffee with your friends. 

Know of any other blogs along these lines?  If so, please do tell.  I wanna check em out. 

HT: I found KJ via Missionary Blog Watch and MG via KJ. :)

design styles

My Bedroom

When I was in Dallas last summer, I got to stay with both my sister and a good friend from college.  I have always admired both of them for their decorating abilities. 

LeAnn always made our college dorm look cozy and inviting.  Sarah has always had cute rooms and decorations.  Whenever I visit either of them I have to guard my heart from coveting after what they have--both their decorations and their knack for decorating! 

Which is kinda funny since their styles couldn't be more different!!  LeAnn is more homespun cottage with a touch of romantic or country depending on which room you are being hugged by at the moment.  And, I love it.  Her home is so warm and inviting. 

Sarah, on the other hand, uses a more contemporary style with a touch of Tuscan from her beautiful wrought-iron accessories that adorn nearly every room in her new home.  And, I love it too.  Her home is also warm and inviting--just in a different way.

I love that as women, we get to add touches of beauty to the world around us.  I enjoy visiting Sarah and LeAnn's homes to see how they are creating beauty in their living spaces, to see how they are expressing parts of their personalities through decorating the areas around them.

Since I love both of their styles and then have my own style preferences too, it shouldn't be a surprise what the results were to this really fun quiz I took from hgtv.com.  According to their twelve questions, my design style is "eccentric with a touch of sweet and classy."

Colleagues at My Home 2 years ago

They say: "for you, it's all about the mix.  Any style is welcome in your world as long as it complements something else.  You're drawn to
funky interiors and eye-catching color combinations (think red and
blue, orange and turquoise, purple and gold).   You like contrasting
patterns and unconventional architecture.  You enjoy furnishings that
remind you of your travels mixed with modern pieces and offbeat
antiques." I think they hit the nail on the head (except for maybe the color combo thing).

They also suggested for decorating inspiration, I should look at rooms in one of these three styles: eclectic, southwestern, and Mediterranean.
Of these three, I like the eclectic best.  Some of the Mediterranean style rooms appeal to me; however, I personally don't care for
the southwestern style in my own living space. 

I do, however, like the styles they call contemporary, transitional, and Asian (I wonder why?). Oh, and just for FYI, I really like this Asian style living room.

 [The top photo is my "pre-pink" bedroom; my mom made the curtains for me.  The bottom photo was taken in my living room two
years ago (and not much has changed since then).   My mom and I
sewed the pillows in Texas, and my students helped me stuff them and stitch them closed here in Taiwan.]

So, what is your decorating style?

bloggy smarts

Leslie at Lux Venit mentioned in her bloggy story two weeks ago that she wished she "had known more about blogging etiquette" before beginning to blog.  Several of us asked in the comments for clarification.  Someone even asked for a class on the topic. :)

Well, Leslie didn't disappoint at all.  Last week she posted a mini-series on Blogging Etiquette.  It is well worth your time to read these three thought-provoking posts.

Blogging Etiquette (I): thoughts on what to do on your own blog

Blogging Etiquette (II):
thoughts on how to behave on other's blogs

Blogging Etiquette (III): all about bloggy community with thoughts on blog rolls and the "weirdness" that makes blogging the joy it is

God's free mercy

Mercy_in_chinese"The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made" (Psalm 145:9).

It is God's free mercy which every day keeps hell and my soul asunder.

It is God's free mercy which daily pardons my sins.

It is God's free mercy which supplies all my inward and outward needs.

It is God's free mercy which preserves, and feeds, and clothes my outward man.

It is God's free mercy which renews, strengthens, and prospers my inward man.

It is God's free mercy which has kept me many times from committing such and such sins.

It is God's free mercy which has kept me many a time from falling before such and such temptations.

It is God's free mercy which has many a time preserved me from being swallowed up by such and such inward and outward afflictions.

(Thomas Brooks, 1669,
"A Cabinet of Choice Jewels. Public Domain as seen on Grace Gems.)

"Great is your mercy, O Lord" (Psalm 119:156).  Oh, let us rejoice that we have such a merciful God!!  "I will sing of the tender mercies of the Lord forever!" (Psalm 89:1).

My Comment Policy

I've avoided making a comment policy for as long as I could, but now I feel like it is time to publish one.  There are two points in my comment policy.  One is how I respond to comments and the other is that I do feel free to unpublish comments.

Responding to Comments
Like all bloggers, I like comments.  I read them all.

Nonetheless, I just
physically don't have time to always respond to all of them.  I do make
an effort (when carbon-based life isn't too hectic) to visit the blogs
of those that comment here, and try to respond when I can. 

don't get your feelings hurt if I don't respond to your comments.  It
is nothing personal--I just probably have a class to teach, a dog to
walk, a student to talk to, or a meal to eat. :)

Unpublishing Comments
I also unpublish all comments that are rude, try to persuade me or my readers to convert out of Christianity, or are otherwise trying to stir up trouble.  Conversation is ok; trolling is not. 

One of the purposes of my blog is to share with familiy and friends about my life in Taiwan.  It is also to help people who are interested in missions know how to better pray for the Taiwanese.  However, I am not able to control who reads my blog, and people who are not the intended audience read it.  That's cool, but it does not change the purpose of my blog. 

So, I refuse to enter into a debate on my blog (because I just don't have the time)--especially with people who make false assumptions about me, make false claims, or resort to petty namecalling and know nothing about who I am or what I really do.

So, there you have it. . . that is how I deal with comments here on following an unknown path.

Any questions?  Feel free to ask!!

shiny memories.

fun with door

This was graduation day two years ago.  After the graduation ceremony, we went out "to play."  While we were waiting for some of their classmates to come join us, my students took the opportunity to take lots of pictures.  When I found the shiny door and showed them what they could do with . . . well, they got excited. :)

I miss you guys!


Theme: Shiny | See More Shiny Stuff

The Beauty of Babies

Carnival of Beauty

This week's carnival surprised me a little.  I thought for sure we'd get lots of pictures of cute little babies.  There are lots of you out there with those kinds of pictures to share. 

Instead, we have a great assortment of different kinds of reflections all centered around the idea of babies. :)

Join me traveling around bloggyland to read about The Beauty of Babies.

First, and probably most exciting, Revka finally realized that she had been trusting in her
of salvation rather than in the Person who saves. 
Monday morning, she became a "new creature" in Christ. Read all about it, in her long, but great post: A Beautiful Birth.

Next, travel with me to the UK, where Susanna who is expecting, posts just about the changes that takes place in a baby and how each one has its' own beauty.

Next lets go back to the States--the deep south--and visit Bethany who is reflecting on her young son, how he's growing up too fast, and how he'll always be her baby.

Then, come on back here to my little corner of Asia, to read about how a single woman deals with mommy-longings in oh, baby.

Thanks for joining this week!  Next week will be over at Blair's Scribblings for The Beauty of Humility!  Come join us!!

oh, baby!

Rio's Second Daughter For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

(Psalm 139:13-16)

Babies--they are so precious. 

I know not if I will ever be a mother.  I know not if I will ever experience what if feels like to have a human being intricately woven inside of me.  I long to . . . I desire to . . . but, I know not.

For now, I must be content with holding little bundles of blessings that belong to others (like the one pictured here who belongs to one of my students).  I can cradle them, snuggle with them, sing to them, rub my cheek against their fuzzy heads, kiss their chubby little cheeks, and then I must give them back to their moms and dads.  It is not easy to stay content when everything inside of screams with the desire to be a mother. 

Instead of children to raise, all I have for now is hope.  And, I don't even know if that hope will ever not be deferred.   All I know is that for now it is. 

But that is ok, because like I mentioned yesterday, the Most High God is both all-good and all-powerful all the time.  He saw me while I was still an unformed substance. He cannot not keep His promises.  He is a great gift-giver, a Father who likes to give gifts to his children.  He is trustworthy.  It is far more than worthwhile for me to trust Him alone--even with deferred hopes and strong desires.

Father, I thank you for so graciously helping me not to covet, not to envy.  I could not on my own.  Please continue to keep bitterness at bay and hope, even though deferred, burning bright.  I place my trust in You alone.

This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by following an unknown path.  This week the theme is The Beauty of Babies and is being hosted here
. Join us next week for The Beauty of Humility over at Scribbling by Blair.

check out my cool new guestbook!!

and sign it too, please!!

HT: Wholly Devoted

P.S. I'm keeping this post sticky for awhile, scroll down past this for new posts.

lucky stuff

From blogging with my students (in the internet English course I am teaching), I learned two new things about The Dragon Boat Festival this week.

I learned this from Amy:

Fragrant packageFragrant package2

OH~~~ we have a very specially "Luckly Thing" and you can hang up it
just like a necklace, AND it can protect you safe & well this
year, moreover it's smell fragrant.

I call that "fragrant package"in English, because I don't know how to say that word,HA~

I learned this from Tim:

Some say if we can stand the egg upright at noon on the day of Dragon Boat Festival, it would bring us good luck for the rest of the year.

No one ever said teachers knew it all.  I learn so much from my students!!

On a more serious note though, do you see a pattern here?  My students, my neighbors, my dear friends trust in "horses and chariots" (Psalm 20:7), they trust in auspicious items, and desire lucky things and lives. 

Would you please join me in praying for them they too will place their trust in the name of the Lord our God?  Please ask God to open their eyes to the truth that auspicious stuff has no power to make lucky things happen. 

The Most High God is an all-powerful, all-loving God, and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).  May they one day soon know it too!!

bloggy contests galore

Well, this is the week for bloggy contests!!

Back in mid-March, I entered one of Camy's book give-aways.  And, I was one of three to win a hard back copy of Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. 

Camy sent the book--internationally--back in early April.  And . . . I just got it this week!!

How cool is that?  Just in time for some summer reading!

Thanks, Camy!!

She is currently giving away two books that you can enter to win!  Go to her site and check it out!


Also, my students held a bloggy contest here on my blog.  They were giving away postcards from Taiwan to people who helped us spread the word about taking a survey about dinner in America.  They were hoping for at least 50 people to take the survey, but with yall's help . . . . they had over 150 people take it.  They were so ecstatic!

The winners of their postcard give away are . . .

Ashley, and

If you'd ladies would please make sure I get your mailing address--email me--then I will pass it on to my students who will get you your postcard ASAP. :)

Thanks again to all who helped us out!  We really appreciate it!

Dragon Boat Races (video)

I found one of Sam's videos from last year and some of mine from 2004. 

So, below you can see and hear what Dragon Boat Races are like--at least here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan! :) 

Here is Sam's video:

Video from the beginning of a race:

Video from the end of another race:

If you want to pretend you are actually here watching, you will need to
go find a steam room or some place where you can feel extra sticky from
all the humidity. :)

Happy Belated Dragon Boat Festival!! (端午節)

Dragon Boat Races 2006

Yesterday was the Dragon Boat Festival.  So, it was a public holiday for us here in Taiwan!  Yea!!

Sam took the above photo last year when he and I went to watch the races on Love River in Kaohsiung City.  Sam also took some awesome video of the races, but I can't find it right now.  If I do locate it, I will upload and share.

In addition to racing dragon boats, people enjoy eating "jong tz" or "sticky rice dumplings" . . . neither phrase tells you what these things are, right? :)

Basically "jong tz" are triangles of sticky rice stuffed with meat and mushrooms and then wrapped in bamboo leaves.


Here is a mosaic I made using one of my student's photos that she took of her mother making "jong tz."  [Thanks for sharing, Larina. ;)]

Can you identify all the items below that are put inside the "sticky rice dumplings"?

Jong Tz

Graduation Taiwanese Style


Saturday night, I went to the graduation ceremony at my school. This was not a new experience for me, but because two bloggers recently commented about the whole Taiwanese graduation experience on their blogs, I paid more attention to the culture differences myself.

did a great job describing exactly what a typical high school graduation is like here in Taiwan.  There are a few differences between high school and college graduations, but on the whole they are quite similar.

Taiwanese graduations tend to be quite informal, and there is no focus on the individual achievement of the students.  Ours even included a rock concert at the end (although about 75% of the graduates had left by that point).  At least at our school (but it seems like at others too) students take pictures the entire ceremony (such as the one above) and wander around at will.  No other teachers were present except the "mentor teachers" (or class adviser).  (I showed up because the students had asked me to--not because I was required to be there.)

Graduation in Taiwan
At one point, after some dancing and bar tending on stage, the top student of each department was called on stage to receive in honor of all students in their department a diploma.  All the graduates stood and were pronounced graduated.  The dean of each department then went through the crowds and moved the graduates tassels from the left to the right.  This however was the first time I had seen this happen.  Then some awards were given to top students in each class.

Diplomas will be passed out to those who can receive them later--ie have actually passed all their classes and only took senior courses this semester.  If they have to attend summer school (or even one more year) or are are still taking a junior class (which isn't completed until the first week of July) they can attend the graduation ceremony but will not get their diploma.  The receiving of your diploma is a very informal thing done with no pomp and circumstance at all. (One or my former students told me that at his current school, they actually "graduated" before taking finals.)

Char makes two points I whole-heartedly agree with, first, she points out that unlike our western focus on the individual, here in Taiwan the "students were graduating as a class, as a grade, as a school."

It is another example of the "Big Me" (society) vs. the "Little Me" (the individual).  In Taiwanese culture the Big Me always outshines the Little Me.  In some ways I like that they were together as a class--that they were able to graduate with friends.  I remember in high school, college, and grad school graduating next to perfect strangers since my friends were not next to me alphabetically.

Graduation in Taiwan

Char also points out that by only allowing the top students to be recognized on stage, "it doesn't do a lot to encourage the majority of the
average or even mediocre students. They should be given the chance to
feel proud of their achievement, even if they weren't number one in
their class."  I agree. 

I would add to this that the focus is not at all what any of these students have done.  When I told my students "congratulations" in English or Chinese they
were kinda dumbfound and would tell me "congratulations to YOU."  The short speeches made during the ceremony mostly wish the students
good health in the future--one VP even reminded the students to
exercise so they could live longer.  Nothing is said about "you worked so hard and we are proud
of you."

Instead it is more like a goodbye or going away party.  The ceremony starts off by talking about what a sad day it is and how hard it is to leave and say goodbye to friends.  It ends with groups of students hugging and crying tears that can't be stopped--and this in a culture where displays of affection and emotion are very rare.  It is further not about their accomplishments because some of them won't even be graduating for another month, summer, or even school year.

Some other things of difference to note:

  • "The graduation song" in Taiwan is actually the one we sing on New Year's, "Auld Lang Syne."  And it is played at the end, as in "And now we will play our graduation song."

  • The red roses and ribbons they are wearing say "graduating student."  They all wear these--just like at weddings here the father of the bride wears one that says "father of the bride."

  • Something Sandy
    has pointed out is the lack of family and friends who attend graduation
    ceremonies in Taiwan.  She is right, and this just goes to further
    support the idea that this is not about celebrating a great
    achievement, but is rather a goodbye party for the graduates.

  • There are no graduation invitations to send or mail out.

  • There are no individual graduation parties or dinners--it is all about the class and classmates and saying goodbye.

  • Graduates are given flowers.  That might be the only sign of
    individual "congrats" given.  I don't really think they are given any
    other kind of graduation gift from family or friends. 

  • This year, the entire time of diploma and award giving music--which sounded like it was from a movie soundtrack--played, which created an air of anticipation and suspense.  Later songs about "new worlds" and "good friends" from Disney movies were played, which helped encourage the emotional break-down.

  • This year they students didn't march in or out.  Many left after they "stood to graduate" and their cap's tassel was moved over.

  • Since we were outside this year and it was at night, we also had fireworks to go off near the end.

  • There is only one graduation ceremony a year even for college students.  Graduating students finish the spring semester an entire month early.  And then graduate 2 or 3 weeks before the school holds finals for all the other students.

Carnival of Beauty Announcement


First, please stop by Bethany's blog to both thank her for hosting last week and then go check out all the neat posts on The Beauty of Truth that she was able to host.

Second, this week the CoB is here on my blog!!  Our topic this week is the Beauty of Babies!  And, we are changing things up a little this week.  Instead of emailing to the hostess, you can email our new carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com address with your post info.

Please submit your post by midnight Thursday--Texas time.

Next, here are the upcoming topics and their hostess:

June 20: The Beauty of Babies
     (Amanda @ following an unknown path)

June 27:
The Beauty of Humility
     (Blair @ Scribblings by Blair)

July 6: The Beauty of (free)

      (Leslie @ Lux Venit)

July 13: The Beauty of Summer

      (No Hostess yet, would you like to host?)

July 20: The Beauty of Grace

     (Sara @ Stones of Remembrance)

July 27: The Beauty of Play

     (Susanna @ Through a Glass)

August 3: The Beauty of (free)

     (Bethany @ A Picturesque Life)

August 10: The Beauty of The Lord's Day

     (Susanna @ Through a Glass)

August 17: The Beauty of Prayer

     (No Hostess yet, would you like to host?)

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)

     (No Hostess yet, would you like to host?)

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)

There are still three weeks with no hostess, so if'd you like to host one of those weeks and haven't signed up yet please let me know.  If no one takes them, we are ok, because I've not yet signed up to host, and I know a few of you have volunteered to help out if needed, which I truly appreciate!!

One last note, I've updated the main CoB page.  But, for some reason the Google Group pages are blank when I go to edit them.  I will try from my office computer on Wednesday--because today and tomorrow are holidays for me!!  But, the email address still works fine for the google group, so if you'd like to get updates and notices via email about the carnival, please sign up:


    Google Groups

    Subscribe to Carnival of Beauty


  Visit this group

Past Carnivals (2005-2006)


December 14: The Beauty of Giving

December 21: The Beauty of Tradition

December 28: The Beauty of Excellence


January 4: The Beauty of Limits

January 11: The Beauty of Winter

January 18: The Beauty of Hope

January 25: The Beauty of Serving

February 1: The Beauty of Gentleness

February 8: The Beauty of Contentment

February 15: The Beauty of Comfort Food

February 22: The Beauty of Friendship

March 1: The Beauty of the Bible

March 8: The Beauty of Order

March 15: The Beauty of My Life

March 22: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty

March 29: The Beauty of Flowers

April 5: The Beauty of Technology

April 12: The Beauty of Aging Gracefully

April 19: The Beauty of Rainy Days

April 26: The Beauty of Art
June 21: The Beauty of Self-Control

June 28: The Beauty of Coffee & Tea

July 5: The Beauty of My Country

July 12: The Beauty of The Psalms

July 19: The Beauty of Play

July 26: The Beauty of Blogging

August 2: The Beauty of Philippians

August 9: The Beauty of Chocolate

August 16: The Beauty of Frugality

August 23: The Beauty of Music

August 30: The Beauty of Learning

September 6: The Beauty of Work

September 13: The Beauty of Beginnings & Endings

September 20: The Beauty of Romans

September 27: The Beauty of Sacrifice

October 4: The Beauty of Autumn

October 11: The Beauty of Fire

October 18: The Beauty of Our Ancestors

October 25: The Beauty of Forgiveness

November 1: The Beauty of Justice
November 22: The Beauty of Thanksgiving

November 29: The Beauty of Surprises

December 6: The Beauty of Reaching Out

December 13: The Beauty of Christmas Music

December 20: The Beauty of Salvation

December 27: The Beauty of Solitude

Return to the main carnival of beauty page

Happy Father's Day!!!

Dad and Sam
When I was maybe in high school, I always thought what a rip-off it was to dad's that Father's Day came in the summer.  Since Mother's Day is in May, as kids we spent time in both school and Sunday school making things for her, but Father's Day?  Well, maybe, if we happened to be home that weekend we might make something in Sunday School for him. :)

Well, now that I live in Taiwan, June is now a school month.  BUT, today is not Father's Day here.   Father's Day in Taiwan is August 8th.  Because 8 is pronounced "ba" in Chinese.  So, August 8th is "BaBa" which is also how you say "daddy" in Chinese.  So, Baba's Day is on baba day.  Got it?

Which is also a rip off because in Taiwan Mother's Day always falls on a Sunday (it is the same day as the US Mother's Day), but Father's Day can be any day of the week.  So, everyone goes home on Mother's Day weekend and takes their mother out to eat on Sunday, but Father's Day?  Well, they go to work.

Anyway, our father's deserve our respect and admiration.  Today is a day to celebrate them!! So, Dad, today I celebrate you!

I thank you for all the ways you have impacted who I am.  I am the woman I am today because of who you are in Chirst, because of how you and Mom choose to raise me.  I am not sure, but I doubt there are many women who can look back at their childhood and teen years and rejoice because their earthly father was such a blessing.  I know you are not without your faults, but God has been so gracious to me by giving me such an awesome earthly Father.  I love you, Daddy!  Happy Father's Day!!


Bestdadlg Carla at her site, Reflections of the Times, recently held a contest about the Best Dad Ever.  I submitted this post that I wrote last father's day about my Dad.

And guess what??  We won!  And the prize was to pick out one of Carla's nifty t-shirts from her cafepress shop.  And, she even made a "Best Dad Ever" shirt for Father's Day, which is the one that I choose as the prize.  :)

Yea!  Thank you, Carla, for helping me celebrate my dad!

i do weird things

eating a shrimp's head

Yeah, that's right . . . you stick the whole head in your mouth, bite down, and chew. :)

I love shrimp.  And constantly having fresh shrimp from living on an island has spoiled me to no end, but I learned last night a new way to eat shrimp.  It is possible, if the shrimp has been deep fried to consume the whole creature--eyeballs, legs, shell and all! 

And you know what?  It is quite delicious that way! :)

The Beauty of Truth

The beauty of truth is that it sets us free.

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32).

I know . . . I've experienced this truth--that the truth sets us free--several times.

As a kid, lying was probably the sin I struggled with most.  I didn't lie straight out, I stretched the truth or made up my own "stretched facts."   I blurred the lines between reality and my imagination.  But, still it was lying.  I distinctly remember one day--maybe in third or fourth grade--sitting in the cafeteria and telling one of my stretched stories.  I remember being so convicted.  I realized that I couldn't keep all the details of all my stretched stories straight.  It was liberating to discover that if I told the truth and only the truth, I didn't have to worry about keeping anything straight.

In college, I sinned and then was convicted by the Holy Spirit; I struggled for an entire summer with the guilt of not confessing it.  The moment I went to the person I had sinned against and confessed, the moment I told her the truth, I was able to breathe freely again. 

A few years ago, I suffered from depression.  Part of it was hormonal, and while hormonally imbalanced, it was easy for me to believe "warpy thoughts."   So, part of getting out of the deep dark pit of depression was washing away the lies I had been believing with Scripture.  I remember one of my friends telling me: "no wonder your depressed, anyone who believes that would be depressed."   Her speaking truth to me and encouraging me to feed on Scripture again, helped set me free from the chains of depression.

Satan is the father of lies, and shoots flaming darts at us.  "He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing
to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies,
he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of
" (John 8:44).  He loves to keep us bound and imprisoned.

Oh, but our Heavenly Father delights in truth in his inward being (Psalm 51:6).  And it is Him who sets us free.  His truth sets us free.   What a glorious thing to delight in! 

Truth . . what a very beautiful thing indeed!

This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by following an unknown path.  This week the theme is The Beauty of Truth and is hosted by Bethany at
Picturesque Life. Join us next week for The Beauty of Babies--right here on my blog. 

ahhh! life.

I am currently without internet in my home.  Talk about a major curve-ball to my normal lifestyle!! :)

Thanks for all the neat comments on the last post.  I have lots of different posts all being simultaneously written in my head right now.  They are all aching for me to be able to type them out.  Soon. Very soon.

Thanks for your patience with the Carnival stuff.  Right when I am making lots of changes is not a good time to be without internet access at home!  But, such is life.

This week the Carnival is over at Bethany's blog and the theme is The Beauty of Truth.  I can't wait!  Don't forget you now have till THURSDAY to post!!  Yeah!!  So, come join us!

Oh, and if you have time, please swing by Susanna's blog for The Beauty of Strong Men.  There are some awesome posts there!

Yall take care and maybe, just maybe, I can be back online at home tomorrow!!

My Blogging Story

Since Inquiring Minds Want to Know My Blogging Story, I thought I'd oblige.  Actually, they wanna know yours too . . . so join in by answering these questions and leaving your linky-da-link-link here.

How did you start blogging?
I've had a website since 1999, and I would have loved to have started way back then if I'd known about it then.   In 2003, I found Blogger, but didn't quite get the concept, so I started an online database of stories from Taiwan that were totally static--not interactive at all. 

In 2005, I started to use MSN spaces since I used MSN messenger quite a bit back then. The biggest problem I've had with blogging is "who is my audience?".  Using MSN spaces answered that question for me since most of my MSN buddies were students.  So, I started by writing to my students. 

Then some how one day, I stumbled upon a blog written by about 5 stay-at-home moms.  Then clickty click click . . . I found my way to Two Talent Living (now known as A Gracious Home) and Always Thirsty (now closed). 

As I clicked and surfed my way through bloggy world, I instantly found that there was a possible audience out there other than my students.  And, it excited me.  So, I opened up a typepad account and haven't looked back since.

Did you intend
to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?

"A following"??  No.  "Readers?"  Yes. 

I didn't really "go about it."  I like being a small blog with a smaller readership.  I do think participating in carnivals and being an active commenter on other blogs helps create e-relationships which can boost readership

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been
successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

Mostly I was and still am interested in writing for my friends and
family back in America, as well as for other Christians who are
interested in knowing what life is like for a single, missionary gal
living in Taiwan.

I would like draw attention to missions in general and ministry in Taiwan in particular.  I want to showcase for others what life is like for me here in Taiwan.  I want to bring glory to God by writing about what he is doing in and through me as I live here in Taiwan.

I hope I've been successful.  I know there are times my blog has gotten "fluffy" or has lacked driven purpose, but I do have a few changes in mind to help that.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Not really.  The only thing I can think of is that I've gotten less personal/intimate in some ways.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
I wish I had thought through some of the privacy issues.  My website was with my full name, so I also started blogging with my full name.  Not so sure I would do that if I could start over again.

Do you
make money with your blog?


Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
Yes; they know and some read.  They are a main reason why I blog.  Even my grandparents and kid brother read my blog! :)  (Kid brother once even commented on the mispelled words in a story/post. A 13 year old correcting an English professor! Ha!!)  Oh, yeah, and my mom's cousin's wife, Cindy, reads my blog--she has been very encouraging all along the way. 

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
1. As Taiwanese people love to say, "Don't think too much."  Once you've thought through the key issues and decided to blog, don't worry too much.  Play with your blog and enjoy it.  Look for what you like on other blogs and see how you yourself could emmulate it in your own way.

2. If you are looking for ways to build readership, participate in carnivals, memes, and go out into the bloggy-world and leave comments.  Just like you have to be a friend to get a friend. . . you have to (start by) be(ing) a reader to get readers.

Upcoming Carnival Topics . . . Hostess Needed

Here are the upcoming Carnival of Beauty Topics . . .


July 6             The Beauty of (free)

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

August 24       The Beauty of Change

August 31       The Beauty of Learning

September 7    The Beauty of (free)

September 14  The Beauty of Autumn

September 21  The Beauty of Discipline

September 28  The Beauty of Hope

Did you notice another change?  The first CoB of each month will be free choice.  You can choose to write about the beauty of whatever you want as long as you keep to our purpose of glorying God and reflecting Christ in our writing.  You can choose something mundane and ordinary or something grand and amazing--the choice is yours!

I am now accepting requests for hosting.  Anyone who has had a post included in a previous CoB may host.  If you would like to host, please email me let me know which day(s) would be best for you.  When you email your request, please also include your blog's URL.

Thank you for all the encouragement and support so many of you have offered this week.

(Changes to the google group page and main CoB page won't get done this week, like I originally thought they would . . . maybe Monday??)

a short trip

Last week, two of my students, Gilby, and I went to PengHu County--south of where I live--for an evening of traditional Taiwanese fun.

We ate some traditional foods for dinner and then tried the famous 冷熱冰 (literally translated: "cold hot ice") for dessert.  "Cold hot ice"  is a bowl of hot treats--red beans, taro chunks, glutinous rice balls filled with peanut powder--covered in shaved ice topped with brown sugar water.

Here are pictures of what 冷熱冰 (cold hot ice) looks like, as well as pictures of me and Gilby with my students outside of the famous restaurant.

Cold hot ice

Another cool thing about this restaurant is that just outside of the restaurant is a vendor who sells mantou (steamed bread) from a converted bicycle.

Here is a pic of me on the bike, and a pic of Julie pointing to what is inside the steamer on the back of the bike. (Yes, we had the vendor's permission to play with her movable store.)  But, since the vendor was done for the day, she had already cleaned out the glass case in the front.  (I found one on flickr taken in the daylight when her case was full.)


Picture Credits: cold hot stuff 1 and cold hot stuff 2.

ladies, can i have your attention, please!

Announcing some immediate and some upcoming changes to the Carnival of Beauty!!

First . . . let me invite you once again to participate in this week's CoB!  We have a really cool topic this week that I am really excited about!  It is the Beauty of Strong MenSusanna at Through a Glass is hosting this week, and I assume she would be delighted to have a whole slew of posts submitted.  So, please think about it, pray about it, and write about it!!  Please see below for some great news about a change that will start with this week's CoB!!!!!

We have a new day of the week for our carnival!  From now on, the CoB will be on Fridays.  Submissions to the CoB will be due on the Thursday before--time still to be set by the hostess.  This will give us a few more days to compose our posts each week--something I know I need!

We have a new way to keep in touch.  I have decided to use google groups as a way to help contact ladies interested in the CoB.  Please join if you would like to get info and reminders about the CoB right in your own inbox.  I expect no more than 2 messages sent per week.


    Google Groups

    Subscribe to Carnival of Beauty


  Visit this group

We have a new way to submit posts to the CoB.  Instead of each week changing the submission address to match the different hostess, you can submit to the same email address each week starting with me in three weeks with the Beauty of Babies.  What I can do is each Monday forward the address to that week's hostess.  Then all submissions will go straight to her inbox without her having to post her email address to world if she doesn't want to.  I thought I'd be the one to test drive the new email address in case there were any problems.  So, starting the week of June 20, posts can be submitted to carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com.

(NB) We have a new "testing period."  I believe the CoB doesn't have to be big to fulfill its purpose.  And, I don't wanna play the numbers game; however, part of the purpose of the CoB is to meet new women online that we wouldn't have met otherwise--and if we only have 1 or 2 posts each week, are we really meeting this objective? 

So, later this week I am going to make the new line up for topics for July, August and September and ask for hostesses for these weeks.  If by the end of September, we are still having an average of less than 5 posts each week, I am going to put the CoB to rest.  She's had a good run and has blessed many women--myself included.  I would love to see her continue to bless others and be used as a way to encourage us to reflect Christ in our writings and on our blogs.  Yet, I can't see expending my time and energy into something that is barely meeting its purpose.

So, if you are one of the ones that emailed me and told me how meaningful the CoB has been to you and would hate to see it close. . . I strongly encourage you to either consider submitting or at least commenting to thank the hostess and those whose posts were encouraging to you.  I also would like to ask you to please encourage your readers to check out the CoB and invite them to join us.

I will be updating the google groups page as well as the main carnival page on my blog later this week to reflect these new changes. 

Also, there are about two days left to submit any ideas for future topics . . . so, if you have any tucked away in the back corners of your noggin, now is the time to dust them off and send them in! 

I am very open to suggestions and welcome feedback--either in the comments or by email.

redeemed, redeemed!

Redeemed_in_chinese_2 I woke up this morning singing this . . .

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed, redeemed,

His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,

No language my rapture can tell;

I know that the light of His presence

With me doth continually dwell.


I think of my blessèd Redeemer,

I think of Him all the day long:

I sing, for I cannot be silent;

His love is the theme of my song.

I don't even know when is the last time I actually heard this song being sung or played, but I tell ya it was ALL I could think of this morning!!

Just in case you were wondering, it is one of the thousands of hymns penned by Fanny Crosby.

shared posts and a bloggy quiz

First, let me tell you about a new feature I am trying out in my sidebar.  I switched from bloglines to google reader awhile back because I saw someone else's shared post page.  I thought it was a cool idea.  So, I signed up and imported all my bloglined blogs. 

Not only do I have a page that g-reader makes for me of my shared posts, but g-reader also makes a little clipmark kind of thing that I can add to my blog.  So, over there on the right, you will find a white and pink box full of posts I've recently read and thought were noteworthy.

I am going to try to be better about marking items as shared in my reader, but, well, you know, sometimes carbon-based life takes priority.


Second, I saw this quiz first over at The Sparrow's Nest a few days ago.  I took the quiz and then stored the results in my drafts, since then I've seen it all over the place! :)  My how fast things spread in bloggyville!! 

Well, in addition to Leslie and Kim, I tested as Elinor Dashwood. 

Which Jane Austen heroine are you?

taiwan from my students' eyes

As I've mentined before, I am teaching an internet English course this semester.  This is actually one of the multiple reasons I needed a bloggy break! :)  I added 20 something student blogs to a "must-read and interact with" list on my blog-reader, and I am blogging for them as an example to follow.

Anywho, it has been fun teaching them how to blog and use flickr as well as some other online programs and sites.  Some of them have really taken off and are doing cool things with their blogs.  Others, well, they are just trying to get the hang of it. :)

I am enjoying this course because it is a way for them to use English for a "real reason."  I also enjoy seeing them interact with each other both in real life in the classroom and online. 

Now to finally get to the point of this post . . . . One of their recent assignments was to create a slideshow using slide.com to showcase a part of Taiwanese Culture.  Some of them have shared the HTML code for their slide shows with me, so I can share with you!! 

First, for no particular reason, is Stella's slide show.  Her slide show actually covers a few different aspects of Taiwan culture. 

Another student,  Nancy focused on "Stores in Taiwan."  All of her photos are of different kinds of stores in Taiwan.  So, take a look and see what it is like to do some shopping in Taiwan.

I'll post more of their slideshows in the near future!!  Keep an eye out for them and learn even more about the little tropical island we live on! :)


Stacy, an IRL friend who also lives here in Taiwan, tagged me while I was taking my bloggy break. 

It's been going around bloggy-world, but just in case here are the meme's rules:

1. Post the rules of the game.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Random Facts about Amanda:
1. I love peanutbutter and banana sandwhiches.  But, the banana needs to be squashed or smooshed, not sliced, and mixed up with the peanut butter.

2. I can raise my left eyebrow higher than my right eyebrow, but not the other way around.

At one time (during highschool), I knew how to say "hello," "yes" and
"no" in thirty different languages.  Now I can probably only do about
5-10 for each.  But, this still impress my students.

4. I do not have a credit card.  They actually scare me a little.

5. I love it when my dog licks my face.

6. During the course of my life, I've never lived in the same house for longer than three years.  And, unil junior high, the same thing could be said about living in the same city. 

7. So, I have no "home town," just a "home state." 

8.  Even though I come from Texas and have visited Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, China, and Hong Kong, I have never been to Mexico.


Like most memes I do, I don't really like tagging people, so consider yourself tagged if you not yet done this meme and would like to.  I pass the torch to you.

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