Happy Chinese New Year!

20127128Well, happy "Pig Year" to you!!

This is the first time in four years, that I am not celebrating Chinese New Year.  I am off in another country--not Taiwan and not America--till the end of the month.

I really wanted to "pre-blog" to show you some short video clips of what Chinese New Year is all about, but, well, life got in the way. :) 

So, see you at the end of the month when I am back in Taiwan and winter vaction is officially over!

Happy Chinese New Year!!

I've been lost in the 1600's

In addition to going to the beach, another thing I love about winter vacation is that I have time to read for pleasure.  I have time to really get lost in a book--not just read a few pages before going to sleep.  Reading is a love that has been passed down to me from my grandparents and my parents.  I am in all sense of the word a bibliophile.

Most recently, I've been lost in 17th century England walking alongside the Puritans as they suffer from persucuition and struggle to surrive. 

I enjoy reading biographies and historical fiction.  And, one of the best authors of Christian historical fiction is Jack Cavanaugh. 

I read his Book of Book Series on Bible translation a few winters ago.  A member of the Church my dad pastors sent me Beyond the Sacred Page and Glimpses of Truth.  I was sad when I finished reading these two books because I learned they were the only two in the series.  They were so well written and I enjoyed them so much, I wanted to read more about the history of the English Bible and its various translations.  In fact, just thinking about them makes me want to read them again--but I've long given them away to others to read and enjoy.

Anyway, when I was home this summer, on a whim, I bought the first book in Cavanaugh's first series--The American Family Portrait Series--The Puritans.  I recently read and finished the novel, and I was not disappointed at all!  TpuritansIt is a fantabulous book! 

Thankfully, this time the series consists of eight books.  Each book tracing a generation of the same family through American history.  I was surprised that over 3/4ths of The Puritans takes place in England, but it is true that The Puritans lived there first before becoming The Colonists

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series, so I can continue reading about the fate of the Morgan family and their faith.

Do you have a fave historial fiction book or author you reccomend?

what is outside your window?

Take a look at what you can see outside of a language school over in MexicoThe Cottrill Family, missionaries who live in Cuernavaca, Mexico, share with us what you can see thru their windows! 

And, another missionary-family-in-training also show us what they can see outside their window in
Ontario, Canada. Brrrr!!

Anyone else out there wanna show the online world what the view is like outside the windows that make up "your world"? 

If you do please leave a comment here on my blog or over here at this missionary blog watch (if you are a missionary), so I we can go enjoy your view with you.

valentine's day

Some jokingly call it National Single's Awareness Day.  But, living in Taiwan, I don't really have the full impact of the holiday like those of you in America do.  Sure people know it is V-day, and yes young dating couples will go out tonight, but I am not reminded everywhere I go that I am alone once more on a lover's holiday.

Last year, I took a personal retreat right at this time.  It was such a good experience I decided to make it an annual tradition.  This year, however, things will be a little different.  I leave tomorrow morning to another country for a little over a week, so I am spending V-day cleaning and packing.  I do hope though that I get to spend some of my time in the other country alone with God, reflecting on the past and praying about the future. 

It is only a focus on God, the lover of my soul, on days like this that allow me to keep going.  By focusing on Him and His grace, on Him and His work in my life, on Him and Him alone can I prevent days like today from becoming pity parties. 

Because I promise you, on days like today the enemy is actively whispering in my ear lies of deceit.  And the only way to ward off the envy and self-pity is to take my eyes off of me and what I don't have and place them on Him, all that He is, and begin to count my blessings.

And remember: "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" (the Message's paraphrase of part of 1 Corthians 7).

I wish all of you a very Happy Valentines Day!!

old city wall in HengChun

For some reason, I am drawn to windows and doors. 

I enjoy looking at old doors and windows.  There is something calming about them.  And, something mysterious too--what is on the other side?  How many people have looked out that window or walked through that door?

I also LOVE the old city gates that are sprinkled throughout the cities of Taiwan. 

Last week, when Ellen and I were in Kenting, we stopped for little bit and enjoyed the old east and south gates as well as the old city wall.

ellen and the old south gate

me on the old city wall

me on the east gate

info about the old city gate

a benefit of teaching college in taiwan

One of the greatest benefits of teaching college in Taiwan is winter vacation!! 

I turned in grades for the fall semester sometime mid-January, and classes for the spring semester don't start until March first.  So, that means I am right now half way through my eight week winter vacaion. 

Last week, my best friend and I went to Kenting.  We watched the sunset twice on White Sands Beach, enjoyed lots of yummy food, and crossed a mountain on a moped in the rain.  We also dipped our toes into the Pacific Ocean, and even though we were soaking wet we had a picnic on a cliff overlooking the most souhern tip of the island.

Ellen and I had a blast!

me and ellen

sunset at the beach

sunset at the beach

ellen and her fave rock--the "human head rock"

More pictures here, and more coming soon.

thru my windows (Part 5)

My mission team has monthly meetings in downtown Kaohsiung.  The place where we meet is on the 10th or 11th floor--these are two pictures I took from that meeting room at sunset. 

kaohsiung city at sunset

kaohsiung city at sunset

These are all the pictures I have on hand that show you the view from my windows. 

I love windows and doors, so as I keep taking pictures from the other windows I pass or from homes I stay in, I will share them with you. :)

And of course, if you take a picture from your window . . . please do share your view with me!

thru my windows (Part 4)

Although the views from my classrooms and office are wonderful, the view from the windows in my home are a little  . . . well, they remind me that I live on a tiny, over-populated island.  Below are the views from my living room and my bedroom windows, that's right, as my guest, you actually have the best view of all from the windows in my home!

thru my living room window

thru my bedroom window

Oh, how observant of you--that's right.  That is a street lamp right there outside my bedroom window!  And, no, it doesn't keep me up at night because I have bamboo shades that keep out ALL light!  But, thanks for asking and being concerned!

**UPDATED to ADD** The "bars" on the windows box in the window ledges.  I have two theories as to why they so many home here have them.  Theory one: they extend the "space" of the house--many people keep plants or hang clothes to dry in these spaces.  Theory two: when you live so close to your neighbors, it would be very easy for a theif to jump on to your (al beit) small balcony and then climb in thru the window--the bars/wire grid prevents this from happening.  All grids on my windows and laundry porch do however have another little "window" with hinges that supposedly open if unlocked (but, I've never actually tried).  Interesting, huh?

thru my windows (Part 3)

The view from my office is also quite awesome!  I love walking in and pulling back the curtains. 

Wanna see why?

the view from my office window

It is not always quite so beautiful though. 

Below you can see the same basic view from my office window--before, during, and after a rainstorm.

thru my office window . . . rain

thru my windows (Part 2)

Ok, so here is a much better view than from my guest bedroom

I love the view from my writing classroom!!

the view from my writing classroom

the view from my writing classroom

Isn't it great!?! 

It is a wonder I am still able to teach when I'd like to be gazing out the window!

(new) taiwan blogs

Sandy is a IRL friend who is also a college teacher, tentmaking here in Taiwan.  She and her husband have been in Taiwan about a two and a years, but she just started blogging!  Check out her new Neipu Notebook.

Actually, the Bells have been blogging for awhile, but their blog is a "new to me" blog.  Jackie and Fran are missionaries to Taiwan (have been here since 2000).  I've been enjoying their blog and view of Taiwan from the north side, maybe you will too.  Check out TheBellSite . . . from Texas to Taiwan (Hey!  that sounds familar)!

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