one of my students sings on tv

On March 19 of this year, one of my students (whose English name is Rachel) appeared on TV to sing a song as part of a contest show. 

You can watch her in the following youtube video and see a little of Taiwan TV culture at the same time. :)  She even gives an acapella encore.  And the audience even claimes to get "chicken skin" or as we say in English "goose bumps."

She has an awesome singing voice in my unbiased opinion.

single in Christ

In a nine-part series John Piper recently did on Marriage, Christ, and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God, his last sermon was directed towards singles. 

It is entitled "Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters."

I highly reccomend watching it online or downloading the mp3 to listen to offline. 

It was so encouraging as well as challenging. 

I've not yet listen to the first eight sermons in the series, but I wholly expect them to be excellent and right on target as well.  If you are married, you might want to take a look listen.

culture difference #312

Cultural differences come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are based on thoughts and beliefs--presumptions about the way the world works and values a group of people hold in common. Some are much simpler than that.

If you were to ask my students about what is culture they would probably answer with things like "food," "holidays," and "weddings."  They would be somewhat right.  However, culture--the way we live our lives--entails, oh, so much more than that.  It involves some great big things and some little tiny things as well.

One of the things I loved showing international students when I was in college was how I made my bed.  It is totally different than how they made theirs. 

We take all aspects of our culture for granted.  And, it can be little things like keys and light swiches that are really interesting to people from other cultures.

Some things about life in taiwan that used to seem so abnormal, now seem so normal and common place to me.  Speaking of keys lets take them as an example:

keys in taiwan

Before coming to Taiwan, I'd never seen a round key with holes in it before.  I need it to open the basement door of my parking garage staircase.

Key_in_chinese And, the key with "LACEE" on it above--how cool it that!?!?!  It looks like a key to a treasure chest, right?  But in reality, it just opens the lock on my moped. 

And that pointy key with grooves on four sides?  It has a notch in it at the top, so I know which way to insert it into my front door.  Pretty nifty in my opinion.

The black rectangle opens the outside door of my apartment building if I come home after 11 pm.  Beeped-beep and I'm in.

Why two sets of keys you ask?  Well, remember I drive a moped: I don't want my keys too heavy and big while I'm driving with them all exposed.

In the coming weeks, I plan (Lord willing) to showcase here on my blog some of the myriad of little cultural differences that have intrigued me and captured my interst while living here.

So, if there is anything you are wondering about . . . ask, I'll try to get a picture and show you.  Send me on a scavenger hunt; I dare you.  :)

Carnival of Beauty This Week

Carnival of Beauty

This week the Carnival of Beauty will be hosted by Susanna over at Through a Glass (whose computer is up and running again).

This week our theme is The Beauty of Esther.

We welcome you to join us! 

Please consider writing a post on Esther and then sending it to Susanna.  (And be sure to thank her for
helping out in a pinch!)

For more info on the carnival, check here.

P.S. I am still taking ideas for future CoB themes . . . please keep sending them my way!  Thanks!

wait, wait, wait

A Maranatha Music song from the late 1970's has been running through my head all weekend:

We must wait, wait, wait on the Lord

We must wait, wait, wait on the Lord . . .
In His timing He will tell us
What to do, where to go, what to say

You know there are times when the path might be unknown, but there is only one way to go--forward--so that is what you do.

a fork in the roadBut, what about when the path has a "y" or comes to a "t"?  Ahh, that is when life gets exciting.  That is when faith is tested. 

So, here I stand at a "y" in this unknown path waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

It is, oh, so tempting to do things the Amanda-way.  It is, oh, so tempting to apply Amanda-logic.  It is, oh, so tempting to not be patient!

"Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long" (Psalm 25:5).

I found this sermon by James Smith (1869) to be of great comfort, encouragement, and exhortation.  If you find yourself in a place of waiting--please do click over and at least skim if not soak in what he is saying.

Here is a not-so-brief clip:

Believer, you may be independent of all creation by realizing your dependence upon your God, and waiting upon him continually.

You must believe:

the love he has to you,
his watchful care over you,

his delight in you,

the promises he has given you,

the provision he has made for you,

the glory he will get by you, and

the honor to which he intends to raise you.

In so doing,

the fear of man will die,
joy in God will spring up,
the peace of God will fill your heart and mind,
your dependence on creatures will cease, and
you will be happy in looking only to the Lord.

"My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from him." "Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt you to inherit the land– when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it."

. . .

Before us are difficulties, seemingly as great as the Red Sea before Israel; behind us are obstacles, as fearful as the Egyptians behind them. Besides which, we have no Moses with the rod of God to make a way for us.

What can we do? Do as the prophet of old did, who said–-"I will wait upon the Lord, who hides his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look
for him.
" Yes, wait on the Lord, who has given you this precious promise–-"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go; I  will guide you with my eye." He will point out the way, he will teach you in the way, he will guide as a loving Father or a faithful friend.

There are no difficulties with him. He sees the end from the beginning. He has directed thousands, millions, who have been in as great or greater difficulties than you are. What he has done for others, he will do for you. Hear his own word–-"I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."

Wait, therefore, on the Lord, and say–-"Behold, as the eyes of  servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden  unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us." (emphasis mine; the sermon is public domain)

WaitThe entire sermon is good.  Smith
covers in what circumstances we must wait, what we should wait for,
what we should do while we wait, and even why we should wait. 

I wanna keep cutting and pasting more, but I will refain from doing so and just once again say: go read it if you find yourself, like me, in a place a waiting. 

Oh, and when I am done waiting . . . I'll tell you which part of the "y" I was instructed to take.

Father, please help me to be patient as I wait upon you as I follow this unknown path.  There are times, like right now, when I wish the path wasn't quite so unknown.  But, I am ever so grateful that you are the one who is guiding my every step.  It is upon you that I depend.  And, so, I wait on you, trusting you, depending on you alone.

to die is gain

"For me to live is Christ, and to
die is gain
" (Phil. 1:21).

Look upon your dying day as a gainful day.
There is  no gain compared to that which comes in by death.  A Christian gets more by death, than he does by life.  To be in Christ is very good--but to be with Christ is best of all, "I desire to depart and be with Christ,
which is better by far!" Phil. 1:23. It
was a mighty blessing for Christ to be with Paul on earth--but it

was the top of blessings for Paul to be with Christ in heaven! Seriously consider these things--

By death you shall gain incomparable crowns!

   A crown of life, Rev. 2:10; James 1:12;

   A crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. 4:8;

   An incorruptible crown, 1 Cor. 9:24-25;

   A crown of glory, 1 Pet. 5:4.

There are no crowns compared to these crowns!

By death you  shall gain a glorious kingdom! "It is your Father's pleasure to give you a kingdom!" We must put off their rags of mortality--that
we may put on our robes of glory. There is no entering into paradise--but under the flaming sword of this angel, death--who stands at the gate. Death is the
dirty lane thr
ough which the saint passes . . .

  to a kingdom,

  to a great kingdom,

  to a glorious kingdom,

  to a peaceful kingdom,

  to an unshaken kingdom,

  to a durable kingdom,

  to a lasting kingdom, yes,

  to an everlasting kingdom!

Death is the dark, short way, through which the saints pass to the marriage-supper of the Lamb!

(Thomas Brooks, 1675, from "Words of counsel
to a dear dying friend
Public Domain as seen on Grace Gems.

Grace Gems has Brooks' comforting seven page letter, "Words of counsel to a dear
dying friend
in it's entirety.")


making sacrifices

When I first started brainstorming "the beauty of sacrifices" for this Carnival of Beauty, I instantly pictured my grandparents, both paternal and maternal. 

I imagine my PawPaw as a young boy taking care of his baby sister--combing her hair and dressing her.  I picture him doing without so many times thoughout the years so that others may have.

I can see with my mind's eye my NeeNee as a young newlywed living alone as her new husband served our country overseas.  I see her crocheting blankets, using her time and talents so that others can be warm.

Grandpa_basic_training_in_indianapoI see my Grandpa as a boy during the Depression.  I see him and my PawPaw both as young men dressed in their uniforms, ready to serve our country and lay down their lives.

I envision my Grandmother as a young girl picking cotton, giving up her dream of going to college, so that her family's needs are met.  I think of her working late at night at her sewing machine so that her five children will all have clothes to wear. 

I can see all of them giving of their time, talents, and money to the things they care about and to their churches.  I see them volunteering . . . teaching Sunday School in the preschool department, teaching English to new immigrants, working in the soup kitchen, delivering food to shut-ins.

I see four people I want to be just like.  I see four people I admire so much words fail to convey my true admiration.

What my generation and those that follow mine lack as a whole is an understanding of the beauty of sacrifice.  However, it is something our grandparents fully understand and embraced.  For that I am grateful.

Wasn't it Jim Elliot who said, "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"? 

Father, please help me to not be a fool.  Help me to freely give what I can't keep anyway so that I may fully gain that which I can't lose.  Thank you ever so much for giving me godly grandparents who seek you and were willing to make and still do make sacrifices for their country and for their families.  Help me to truly understand the beauty of sacrifice.

This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by following an unknown path.  This week the theme is The Beauty of Sacrifice and is hosted by Ann at Holy Experience.   Join us next week for The Beauty of Esther. 

In September of last year, we also visited this same topic.  At that time, I wrote about being a living sacrifice.  If you'd like to see what others wrote about please visit Renee.

Sacrifice in Chinese

Hola! Ni Hao! Guten Tag!

I'm back!!  It will take me awhile to get back into the blogging grove.  I really did abandon it for the last two weeks.  I only visited a few select special interest blogs--my google reader is overflowing.  But, I'm just going to have to "mark all as read" and move on.  Hope yall don't mind. :)

The Carnival of Beauty is going on this week with a WONDERFUL topic!  This week is the Beauty of Sacrifice!  It is to be hosted over at Holy Experience, by Ann.  She has given us till Tuesday 9:00 PM EST . . . which is 9 AM on Wednesday here in Taiwan--just in case you were
interested in that little random fact.

Thank you to both Sara and Patricia who hosted while I was breaking--I'll be over to check out yall's CoB's soon!!

I have decided to make a few changes to the CoB and will be announcing
those soon.  For now, I would like suggestions for future topics.  Our
current line-up will only last one more month.  So, if you have any
ideas, please send me an email!

Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday--mine was pretty good! :)

a little bloggy catch-up

bloggy break
Bloggy Break Announcement

It is time for Amanda's first official "bloggy break."  There are so many things I want to blog, but instead of blogging about them they are trapped in my mind.  And, it's kinda weird, I've been asking lots of blog-related questions to myself, but instead of taking the time to answer me, I've been "pre-composing" posts.  This in turn irratates me.  (Is it possible to irratate yourself?)

Anywho,  I am going to take at least a week off from blogging, but I might take a little more than a week--I don't know.  Last May, I took an "unofficial" bloggy break because my brother was here--so maybe this will become an annual thing.

Carnival_of_beauty Carnival of Beauty
The Carnial of Beauty will continue.  There are even a few more hours left to submit to this week's Carnival, "The Beauty of the Holy Spirit" over at  Sara's blog, Stones of Remembrance.  And, next week, the theme is "The Beauty of Sunshine" and will be hosted by Patricia at Pollywog Creek. 

So please consider joining us this week and/or next week.  At least stop by and see what we are all about.  Also, if you do particiapte in the CoB, please remember to thank the hostesses each week!!

One more thing, about the CoB, I've been doing some praying and some brainstorming, and I am looking forward to making a few changes upon my bloggy break return.  Hopefully some positive ones.  Thank you to all of you who offered me ideas and encourangement--on-blog (comments)  and off (email).

Thank you
Dinner Survey Update

Oh!  Thank you,  thank you, thank you to all of you who took the Dinner Time in America Survey.  There were over 150 survey participants to finish the survey!  My students were/are so excited.  They are now starting to sort through the results.  It is so fun to watch them respond/learn from to your answers.  Thank you so much for helping them!! 

When we meet next week to discuss the project, they will select the winners of the contest.  Then, when I return from my bloggy break, we will announce them here. 

Hope you all have a great week (or two)!!

in joy,

Flat Shiloh in Taiwan

Well, it is past time for Flat Shiloh, friend of Flat Stanley, to leave Taiwan.  She has had a great time here in Taiwan and has enjoyed trying many, many new things.  She even tried the new high-speed rail!

You can see all her pictures in Taiwan either by watching this flickr slideshow or by watching the slideshow below which I made in order to show my students how.

pardon the dust

Please forgive me if a few pixels are out of place.  I am trying out a slightly new arrangement for my blog.

As I actively declutter my house this month, I decided to declutter my blog a little too.  Just like I don't move funiture around very much, I don't really redecorate my blog all that much either.  But, it is time for a little spring clean.

Thanks for your patience while things settle back into place and move around a little.

Feel free to offer constructive criticism.

i sick

In the words of my little sister "I sick."  (Yeah, my sister is 27 years old and married, but that doesn't stop her from whinning when she doesn't feel good.)

It is weird.  For the last two years I've made it completely "cold free" all the way through "cold season."  But, come May and June, I battle the colds. 

This week is the worst possible week for me to be under the weather--grades are due Friday.  I can barely make it through all my classes (I didn't go in at all yesterday and showed a movie on Monday), much less stay up late to grade midterm exams.  uh oh . . . what am I going to do . . . .

20125849My throat has hurt since Sunday. :(  I have these huge sneezing fits that I inherited from my mom, and, I've slept till noon both Monday and Tuesday of this week--Gilby likes that (the sleeping, not the sneezing). :) 

And you know what I'm craving?  soups and plain hot water.  Only drawback to my cravings is that it is in the high 80s with high humidity here!  Yuck!!

Anyway, I am just ready to start to feel better.  Maybe tomorrow.  I hope.

(oh . . . and happy birthday, DadI feel the same way about you this year as I did last.  Sorry I have no energy to write you a better birthday post on my blog.)

the splendor of flowers


The lens of my camera loves to focus on flowers.  Maybe that is because the amateur photographer behind the lens loves to gaze upon flowers. :)

Each flower is unique and special and beautiful.  How creative God is!!

And, if he takes time to dress the flowers in splendor, how much more does he care for us? 

I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or
what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not
life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into
barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more
value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But
if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and
tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O
you of little faith?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  (Matthew 6:25-34, emphasis mine)

How great God is!!

This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by following an unknown path.  This week the theme is The Beauty of Flowers and is hosted by Ellen at MzEllen & Co.  Join us next week for The Beauty of the Holy Spirit. 

P.S.  Can you tell that the bottom left-hand photo is the flower that is in the logo for the CoB?

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