free mp3 download from

Each month offers a free download of one of their books. 

This month they are offering Don Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Ever since finding his Ten Questions to Ask on your Birthday article, I've been wanting to read more of his stuff, particularly this book.  This free download is the entire unabridged book--so that nine hours of recoding.

Directions for the free download can be found on Whitney's homepage or by signing up at   It's simple really, just use the coupon code they give you during the "check out" process.

Only thing is you have to hurry  . . . this is March's last day.  And since Whitney's book was a March special, the free download expires once it is April in the PDT time zone (wherever that is!).

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the content of the book--as it is has been on my "wish list" and not my "I've already read list," nor can I vouch for the quality of the audio download--as I only downloaded it this morning.

our taiwanese wedding banquet

So, right after the ceremony, we headed over to a large Chinese restaurant for the wedding banquet. 

Law's parents picked out the restaurant, but we were pleasantly surprised that they had chosen a restaurant that was own by a Christan.  Very cool!!

Here are some of the banquet highlights:

  • Before the whole thing started we (the bridal party) were ushered into a little room for a small rest.  This was very nice.

  • We were then introduced and entered the banquet hall.
    Abu Extras (750)

  • There were 27 tables at our wedding, which means 270 people.   (Ten people per table is the traditional standard. You tell others how many were at your wedding by telling them how many tables there were.)

  • 270 people at a wedding banquet is not considered a large wedding.  Small to medium at best.  I've been to one with 100 tables--that's 1000 people!!

  • Also, just FYI, only about 80 people attended both the church ceremony and the wedding banquet.  Many just showed up for the banquet, some were only able to attend the ceremony only, and students were invited to ceremony only.  So, less than a third of the people at the banquet had been at the ceremony.

  • After the formal introduction, we sat at the head table at the front with parents, and uncles (and their wives).
    Banquet (19)

  • After the first dish or so was served, we went "on stage" with his parents
    and my best friend's father, Lin BaBa, who stood in as my "Taiwan
    father." (I love how the two dads seems as if they are standing at attention.)
    Banquet (23)

  • We toasted everyone (using cranberry juice, interesting to me since in the States we probably would have used grape juice).
    Banquet (25)

  • Law and I then did the "couple entwined armed" toast together. :)
    Banquet (28)

  • After a few more dishes, we sang a Karaoke song together.  The only love song I know in Chinese is "The Moon Represents My Heart," so that is what we sang! :)
    Banquet (29)

  • Then he had to "wei wa" wine.  "wei" means to feed someone
    something--kinda like a mother bird feeds her baby chicks (and "wa" means "me").  SO . . . he first had to put the wine into his mouth and then
    "pour" it into mine. All I could think about was "don't you dare get any
    on my dress!" :)
    Banquet (34)

  • Soon after that the two of us toasted the main family table--parents and uncles.
    Banquet (35)

  • Next, his parents, Lin Baba (my adopted Taiwanese dad), and Big Uncle joined us as we toasted each table.  Waitresses guided us through the entire room, and followed us making sure we all had full glasses.
    Toasting Tables at the Banquet

  • There were several other Karaoke songs sung.
    Banquet (69)

  • Law's parents decided on all the dishes that were served.  There was a lot of seafood.  I ate little, and appreciate the photos people took of the meal since I didn't get to see it all.
    Banquet Food

  • When Law's brother and his girlfriend wanted to sing a song, Law "punked" them by making them kiss for a long time.  They "punked" him back by making us show him how . . . so we kissed for 9 seconds--the whole room helped keep count. "9" in Chinese is pronounced "joe" which is the same pronuncation of "long."
    Kissing Games

  • After a bit more eating and Karaoke, we stood at the door kinda like a receiving line, passing out candy and photos to our guests.
    Banquet (79)

  • Some of our good friends stayed a bit longer, and so we took a few more photos together.

  • Then finally we left . . . .
    Abu Extras (977)

  • YAY!!  Weddings OVER!!!! :)

  • Abu Extras (994)

a wonderful wedding gift

We got some amazingly creative wedding gifts that I will share details of with you a bit later.  Today, I just wanna celebrate our biggest gift of all. . . . a new fridge!! :)

Many friends and family (on both sides of the ocean) graciously gave us cash as a wedding gift.  It is the traditional wedding gift in Taiwan, but not so in America.  However, we are very thankful for all our American friends and family understanding that many traditional wedding gifts from a registry in America would have been quite impractical. (Nevertheless we did register for a few items for our home, and I know my mom and sister would love to see what they look like in place, so I'll do that a bit later too.)

Boy, I am gabby today!! :)  Guess I must be excited. ;)

So . . . now . . . . for the grand revealing . . . .our beautiful new fridge that arrived yesterday: 
Yay!! New Fridge in place!!
Although it fits perfectly in the "fridge spot," from this photo it seems to dwarf our entire kitchen! :) 

The fridge part is on top (which I LOVE).  I love being able to stare directly into the fridge part.  Before we had a freezer top fridge, so I had to lean over and down to look into it.

Then below the two door fridge, there are two sections that pull out.  The middle section is for fresh fruit and veggies (a huge crisper, I guess).  And the bottom is the freezer.

So, instead of shelves, it is kinda like a top loading deep freeze--just pile and stack.  I really like it.

Here are some shots I took last night of the inside of our new fridge--this might be the only time I ever show you the inside . . . so make sure you take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. ;)  (Clicking the photos will take you to their flickr page.)


middle, crisper 
bottom, freezer
   fave feature of new fridge   
A look inside the fridge
   fridge door   
new fridge door

And, here are a few photos taken before new fridge's arrival:
bye bye little blackwhere the fridge will goLaw getting space ready   
byebye magnet

And, here is how the little black fridge became black . . .
painting the fridge (2004)

This fridge was nearly 20 years old.  It was given to me when I first moved to Taiwan.  Some missionaries on the island were leaving to go back to the States and were giving it away. 

Some other missionaries that knew I was coming took it and kept it for a few months, then when I arrived they gave it to me. 

I love the way the missionaries I've met here take care of one another and bless each other by sharing not only material stuff but of their time and care too.  God is good.

We loved little black, but he was not working quite as hard as he once
was. Sometimes he would forget to work at all, and at other times he
would work so hard EVERYthing--even the eggs in the fridge door--would
be frozen! 

He did quit working all together back in 2006, but then he came back on.  I know it sounds weird or insanely selfish to some that God would care about insignificant me and my stupid old fridge, but I honestly believe that God caused it to work again.  He cared for the widow and her son by causing her oil to run over; he cared for me by allowing a broken machine to keep running for three more years.  He is a God who cares about us and meets our physical needs.  What a great God we serve!!

after the ceremony

Traditionally family photos are taken after weddings in Taiwan.  Traditionally the bride and groom sit down front and center, and the most important people in the family then sit beside them.  With others filling in behind. 

They usually look something like this:

groom's family

or like this:

Lydia's Engagement Cermony

At the church weddings I've been to here in Taiwan.  After the family photos there is then time for photos with different groups of classmates and friends.  Bride and groom stay put, guests fill in the spaces and photos are taken.

For a plethora of reasons (namely we are fun-loving Lawrance and Amanda, our photograph liked to have fun, and we were a bit rushed for time) our group photo shots are a bit more . . . um  . . .  well . . .  "lively" than your typical Taiwanese wedding. :) 

See for yourself in another slideshow from Abu's photos below:

photos from our ceremony

Here is another slideshow of Abu's photos; this time from the ceremony.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Before the ceremony started, Lawrance lowered my veil.

  • Seating of the family included his maternal grandmother, "big uncle" and aunt, and his mom

  • His dad walked me down the aisle.

  • We had two missionary friends officiate--Mike (from America) and Jonathan (from Malaysia)

  • I choose to walk 7 circles around Lawrance at the beginning of the ceremony (a Jewish tradition symbolizing that, as his wife, my life revolves around his)

  • Then, he rolled the veil (again, I wanted to see during the 2 hour ceremony, but I knew the veil was important to him)

  • During the charge to the couple, Mike shared the Gospel clearly and succinctly using a wedding as an analogy.  It was GREAT!!

  • We tied the Cord of Three Stands again

  • We also washed each others feet (symbolizing servant leadership and mutual submission)

  • We used the same vows, but this time we each only used our own heart language

  • Lawrance sang a solo to me right after our vows (it was great!!)

  • There were five different songs in the middle of the ceremony (so we sat down)

  • I cried again during the vows . . . but this time for different reasons. :) 

I fell deeper in love with my husband as a direct result of celebrating our marriage in front of new witnesses.   However, I did tell him that although I love him deeply, I will not marry him again. ;)

After we talked, trying to compare our two weddings, Lawrance and I concluded that it must be kind of like having two children and trying to choose which one you love the most . . . it is impossible.


precermony at church

We didn't want to "hide" before the ceremony.  We were already ready; we were already married; we wanted people to know we were glad they were there, so . . . . there was no reason to hide.

The hardest part of standing out and greeting people was helping my groom let go of his wedding planning role and just relax and be in the moment.

And . . . . to answer yesterdays question . . .
Great guesses with an Asian focus!! :)  But, all wrong . . . I was told that in Taiwan rain on a wedding day indicates that when the groom was a child he used the bathroom outdoors.  I thought that was funny since I thought most little boys have done so. :)

And now for a few photos that Abu took before the ceremony started.  Mostly they are just us with friends and family.

groom gets the bride

Most Taiwanese grooms go to the bride's home to "get her."  Usually the bride's sisters and friends make it difficult on him by playing tricks on him. 

Since the three bridesmaids and I needed to start getting ready at 5 AM, we decided that it would be best for all the girls to say here and for Lawrance and his brother to come and "get us" just like tradition.  However, unlike tradition, my friends were nice to Lawrance. :)

It was raining, so we decided to use my paper umbrella, which is an icon of his mother's hometown (which is also the first city I lived in when I first moved to Taiwan six years ago).  It was the first time my paper umbrella had seen rain. :)

Although unpleasant, the rain provided for some neat photos. 

In American folklore, rain on a wedding day means good luck.  Do you know what it means in Taiwanese folklore?  Guess in the comments and I'll tell you what I was told is the answer in my next post.

Enjoy another flickr slideshow of Abu's photos.

getting ready for the taiwanese wedding

There are so many great photos, I don't know which ones to share first . . . so I'm just going to share them all.  Here is a flickr slideshow of our photographer friend's, Abu's, photos.

The three girls in purple are my bridesmaids: Ellen, best friend and previous college roommate, have known her since 1997.  Kady, former coworker and office mate, very special friend since I moved here in 2003.  And, Cindy, my future sister-in-law, she is my husband's brother's girlfriend (maybe they will wed next year!!). :)

The woman dressed in purple but not in a "bridesmaids dress" is also a very special friend of mine.  Her name is Corrina.  I've known her since 1999, when she became my long-lost big sister.  She is also the one who introduced me to Lawrance . . . I probably owe her my firstborn child she's done so much for me.

Corrina got her sister-in-law to come do our hair and make-up.  She did an awesome job and also loaned us all the hair stuff and the veil too.  She also was the one who brought the bouquets, bouts, and corsages for us.  All I did was provide photos of what I was wanting with the directions of "please use purple and no roses" . . . what she brought was better than any of the photos I sent.

God is kind. :)


our taiwanese wedding . . . a quick synopsis

Our Taiwanese Wedding ceremony and banquet was on Saturday! Today is Monday . . . I am still tired beyond all get out.

rehearsal ran late, and the bridesmaids all stayed in my home for the
night . . . so we didn't get to bed till 1 or 2. Then we were back up
at 5 for make up and getting dressed.

Groom and groomsman arrived to pick us up at 8:20 (Taiwanese tradition), and it was RAINING!! :)

the ceremony started we stood at the door and greeted our guests for
about 30 minutes or so. We had lots of people call or text to say they
weren't coming because of the rain. However, still so many of our friends and loved ones braved the rain to come celebrate with us.  We were and are SO grateful!!

church ceremony was 2 hours long (I've been told that's about average for a Taiwanese church wedding).  In addition to the vows, and charge, and unity ceremonies, it included seven songs that were song and two that were played by instruments (trumpet and flute), in addition to the bridal procession and recession.  So, we had a mini-concert in the middle of our wedding.  I was worried about it being too much and too long, but having our close friends and church family bless us with song was GREAT and made me cry. 

Oh yeah . . . .and one of those songs was a solo from my hubby to me!!!  It was SUCH a BEAUTIFUL SONG . . . and he sang it SO beautifully (if I do say so myself).   Every time he practiced it, I cried, but at the actual wedding I made it through his song without crying.

After the ceremony, we took pictures with different guests for about 45 minutes (mostly students that wouldn't be attending the banquet). Then we
took off to the banquet--got there at 12:15 and most all of the guests
were already there. All the banquet activity started at about 12:30ish.

for the next three hours there was loud karaoke and a huge feast. We
sang a song together in Mandarin (the only love song I know in Chinese). We toasted each table one by one.  That's 27 tables and about 27,000 thank yous.  

traditional thing that I did not do was change dresses three (or more) times. They
do this to "show off the beauty of the bride." They rent the dresses
from a wedding photo store, but since I had purchased my dress from
America, I didn't need to rent a wedding dress. So we choose to keep
things a bit more simple, and I just wore my own wedding dress the
entire banquet, which also means I actually got to eat and enjoy all
the karaoke. :)

After all the feasting and toasting and singing,
we stood by the door and said goodbye to our guests passing out candy
from special baskets--one was the basket his mom used at her wedding
and the other one was made by his grandfather many years ago.

must have literally taken over a thousand photos. But, so far we only have a few
that our friends have posted online. I'll share more as we have them.


Taiwanese Wedding Photos from Torri 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos From Judy Hsu 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos From Judy Hsu 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos From Judy Hsu 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos from Torri 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos From Judy Hsu 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos From Judy Hsu 

Taiwanese Wedding Photos From Judy Hsu 

From Sandy H (5) 

From Sandy H (2)  

From Sandy H (3) 

From Sandy H (9) 

That's it for now . . . .

All in all it was a GREAT day. . . . a long, exhausting day . . . but VERY wonderful too. :) 

(I "stole" some of these photos from Sandy, who blogs here.  Sorry and thanks, Sandy!!)

i don't believe in love

This week in my freshmen English classes which meet for 6 hours a week our topic was "marriage."  How appropriate right?  I didn't even choose the topic on purpose, it was just the next chapter in our book.

Anywho, talking about this topic with students here in Taiwan always makes me just a little bit sad.

Most of them--male and female--do not want to get married.  They claim they have absolutely no desire to get married.  I find this SO hard to believe.  As college students in America, I and my classmates/roommates were all about getting married and there was even the "ring by spring or your money back" saying going around, and we were teased and teased others about getting an "Mrs. degree."  (By the way, if that was true, I want my money back.)

But, maybe even things in America have changed too . . . I don't know . . . that was 10 or so years ago after all.

Here are some of the things college students (mostly female) are saying about marriage in my classes:

I don't believe in love.  It's too good to be true kinda like fairies.
Marriage just ruins dreams.
I don't want to get married because it just "ma fan" (trouble).

3 days from now

We will be celebrating again our marriage this Saturday  . . . some things are very similar to the American ceremony, and some things are quite different.

I'll write more later . . . but for now I just wanted to show you the outside of the building that we are borrowing for the ceremony. 


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