in the midst of wedding week

19914487 We (my sister, my mom, and me) are right in the midst of "wedding week."  We got a lot done today, but there is still lots to be done tomorrow and Thursday and even Friday to get ready for "the big day."  Sarah and Chad's wedding is Friday night.

Sarah is going to be beautiful bride.  I have enjoyed being with her this so far this week, and I am looking forward to the next three days in helping her get ready for her wedding.  My dad is going to be not only giving her away, but he is also the officiant of the wedding.  How cool is that!?!? 

It is going to be a very special evening.  We are blessed.

Thank you for all the comments and prayers and well wishes!  I wish I had time to respond, but this is wedding week . . . so, there is no time now.  I can't wait to show off pictures and be able to blog more about this event and my time home.  But, now is not the time. 

Hope yall have a great week . . . I won't be back here till the weekend.  Have FUN!!

home sweet home

I got back to Austin at 11:00 pm . . . my mom, dad, and brother were all waiting for me at the airport!  :)

The trip was pretty uneventful except for the fact that when I got to LAX I was tired and not sure what flight I was on.  Since I bought my tickets last summer, the flight number (and time) had changed--but no one told me this; they only issued me a ticket with the new info on it.  By the time I had finished immigration and customs, the original flight was at take off time.  I was scared I was missing my flight to Austin.  I got to the AA line, and I couldn't even form a complete sentence in English.  I told the guy, "I . .. I'm . . . I am afraid . . .I am afraid that."  But, he was kind.  He said "You are afraid?  Why?" and then told me all that I needed to do.  It was different than the last time I flew LA to Austin, but easier!!  So that was good.

Anyway, I am safe and sound and at home.  It is 12:50 am here . . . but my body tells me it is early afternoon.  Ahh . . . jetlag.

ETA: oh and the stars!!!  How very much I miss stars when I am in Taiwan.  Not only are they "big and bright deep in the heart of Texas" . . . but well . . . there is more than one. :)  YEA stars!!

i'm leaving on a jet plane . . .

EVA plane takes off

KH Int'l Airport

I am leaving my home right now--at 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon (Taiwan time)--and (if everything goes smoothly) in about 21 hours I will arrive in Austin, Texas, at about 10:00 Friday night (Texas time).

So, if you see this page at the top of my blog . . . I am either in a taxi, an airport, or airplane.  So, please pray for my safety. :)

Do you wanna know why I am going home?  Because my beautiful sister Sarah is getting married next Friday!!!  I can't think of a better reason to fly 1/2 way around the world (well, at least 8000 miles) than to celebrate my only sister's marriage! 

have a nice trip

my door now

Last fall,   I posted about my apartment door for the first time.  At that time, it was a little Taiwanese and a little American.  I don't have a "spring time" door decoration from America, so it is only Taiwanese right now.

However, every time I come home, I enjoy my door.  So, I thought I should share it with you.  At Chinese New Year, everyone changes out the red papers on the door.  Below is my 2006 red door paper.  It is written in ancient Chinese script by my best friend's grandfather.  He is an amazing man (and I don't think I even have a picture of him--Ellen, next time I visit we will have to take pictures with your grandparents!!)  Not only does he do Chinese caligraphy, but he plays the erhu.  He learned how in his 80's--He is the reason I am now learning how to play it too. 

Anyway, let me show you a picture of what is hanging on my door right now.  It is the beginning of John 3:16 . . . literally translated from Chinese to English: "God loves the world's people."

For God so loved the world


Flowered Egg and Chicken Congee

This "rice soup" is known in the west as "congee."  In Chinese it is called 粥 (pronounced zhōu, or in easy-English-spelling "joe").  "Joe" is a kind of "rice porridge." 

This one here is with "flowered egg" and chicken; well, as you can tell it also had veggies in it too.  I really like this kind of "joe."  It is much better than plain white "joe."  When I had food poisoning--about a year ago--all I ate for three days was white "joe."  So, "joe" has a very fond spot in my heart.  I will always be grateful for "joe"--it all its wonderful varieties.*  

But there is a problem, "joe" is VERY HOT . . .and now it is summer time and well . . . very hot foods just aren't as appetizing as they were a month or two ago. 

So, this here might be my last bowl of "joe" for awhile. :)

*Well, except for the "thousand year old egg" variety. (Thousand year old eggs are the only thing I have eaten in Asia that I refuse to put into my mouth again, including stinky tofu.  And please note that Wikipedia is not exaggerating when it says "From a distance, the odor of stinky tofu is said to resemble that of sewage or a garbage dump, even by its enthusiasts."  So, imagine how terrible the "thousand year old egg" must be if I would eat stinky tofu again if I had to!

[Update: after re-reading this post, it sounds like I am talking in very simple sentences--as if you all were my students.  Sorry . . . I had just finished a day of teaching EFL!  My brain was stuck in simple mode.]


Part of a morning market

This is the verse on my desk calander (for April 14th; I'm just now changing it):

喫素菜、彼此相愛、強如喫肥牛、彼此相恨。 (箴言 15:17)

Translation: "Better a meal with only veggies shared in love than a slab of prime rib served in hate" (Proverbs 15:17).

How true!  How very, very true!!

[The picture is of part of a day market in Kaohsiung City.]

average american

You Are 40%
"Average American"

You are average because you live within three miles of a McDonalds.

You are not average since you have (at least) a college degree.

Interesting since at that McDonalds that is 3 miles away I would have to order in Chinese.  BUT, if I were home in America, there would NOT be a McDonalds within 3 miles of my home. 

If I am 40% "average american" . . . what is the other 60% of me?  "unaverage american"?

. . . . Deep thoughts, today huh?

two hard weeks

Last week was hard.  This week is stressful too.  So much is going on and the deadlines are pressing in and the result is  . . . well . . . tiredness and stress.

A dear friend of mine keeps reminding me (by reminding herself) that God's joy gives us strength.  She gets this wisdom from Nehemiah 8:10, "Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!"

Joy--the joy of the Lord--is something I need to cling to right now.  Isn't it good to know that when things don't seem to be "joyful" by all rational logic--there is still a joy that can be had through the filling of the Spirit? 

May the joy of the Lord be our strength today!
(Go on now . . . sing that song, you know you want to!)

the 5 browns


I was searching for some classical music on itunes last night, and I stumbled upon a group called "The 5 Browns."  They are 5 siblings (2 brothers, 3 sisters) who are all Julliard-schooled concert pianists. 

You can actually watch a clip of them all playing together and listen to clips on their site.

I am no music critic, but I am enjoying my newly purchased music!! :)

last thursday

my neighborhood

Picture above is taken from the balcony of my school right in front of my office.  This is my neighborhood.  I live within a 5-7 minute walk of the school.

Below is a picture of one of my graduating classes.  This is my very small public speaking class.  They have attended a 5 year college program, so they took classes at my school for the last three years of high school and the first two years of college.  So, these students are sophomores, but they are getting ready to graduate.

Speech Communication Class

The picture below is taken of me with Eve, Edison, and Roberta (the short-term missionary who came on Thursday to stay with me for three days and two nights).  I have both Eve and Edison in two different classes as well as advise them on their graduation project.  They are great girls and are very helpful!!

the girls


Below is the actual building where I teach.  We have a campus nearby that is a work in progress.  They are working on the classroom buildings now.  So, this summer our classes and offices should all be moved to the campus.  But, for now, this is where I work.

Fortune Institute of Technology

life beyond myself

In the Living Beyond Yourself study that I am doing right now, the "meat" of Beth's message via the video this week was this:
The power of the Holy Spirit can develop in us heightened:

  1. Perception,

  2. Discernment, and

  3. Insight.

(She also pointed out that discernment is overwhelming a positive thing: to be able to discern what is best.)

Another thing she mentioned in the intro video and brought back up again at the beginning of this week is:

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we will

  1. do things we couldn't

  2. feel things we didn't

  3. know things we wouldn't

I am enjoying this study so much.  People around me hear me all the time starting out sentences with "In the LBY study I am doing, I learned . . . "  I am sorry that I don't have time this weekend to go into more detail into all of these. 

I had a short-term missionary with me this Thursday-Saturday.  We were able to prayerwalk my community and share the gospel with some of my students. [What a blessing!  Praise the Lord!!]  As we walked into temples while prayerwalking . . . we preceived the
spiritual warfare going on.  Until you have physically walked into a temple where idols are being worshipped you have no idea what this comes close to feeling like.  There is no way to describe it with mere words.

Then earlier today, one of the students I am close to became a believer in my living room! [Praise the Lord!!]  We (me and another missionary) shared again the plan of salvation and invited him to believe--and he did!!  As we shared with my student, the atmosphere in the room changed as we fought with spirits and principalities.  As we shared, it had to the Holy Spirit talking through us.  It could not have been us.

I am so thankful that I do not have to rely Amanda.   I am thankful that the Holy Spirit can move in me, that He can help me to do things I couldn't, feel things I didn't, and know things I wouldn't.  I am thankful that He gives me heightened preception, discernment, and insight.

I am so thankful to have this opportunity to have a bibical foundation and logical approach to understanding so many of the things I have felt, believed, and wondered about.  God's timing is perfect, and I am grateful.

Lord, move me.  Compel me.  When you say "move it" . . . I wanna move it!  I want to do things I couldn't, feel things I didn't, and know things I wouldn't.  Lord, I want to walk in your Spirit.  Please give me heightened perception, discernment, and insight.  Let me walk in the filling of your Spirit.  Please make Your presence known, not only in my life to me, but in my sister's lives, and in my new brother's life as well.  Fill us and move us. Take us over.  Let us resonate with you.  We truly are desperate to hear from you.  As Beth says, we are nuts over you.  You are the most exciting thing!!  Fill us.  Teach us.  Move us.  Oh yes!  Amen.

JannaFlipflop Robin
  This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

paper products with handles

paper towels

Paper towels are sold in six-packs here.  Also, they are in convient-to-hold plastic wrapping--complete with handle. 

toliet paper

Toliet paper doesn't come on rolls here.  Instead it comes stacked (like Kleenex) and wrapped in plastic.  Then there is a box in the bathroom to hold the stack. Then these "bags" are sold in a pack of 8 or 10 also wrapped in plastic and come with a carrying handle too.

When I was in the USA last summer, I actually missed these handles on the paper products.

Personally, I think it is a very smart and convienent idea!!

this week's carnival of beauty is up


Head on over to She Live's and see a collection of posts all about the beauty of aging gracefully!

questions to ask yourself

Back in January, I found a link to a list of questions to ask yourself at the beginning of the year on the girl talk blog.  This list of 10 (+21 more bonus) questions is written by Donald Whitney to help us "consider our ways" (a command given by God to His people through the prophet Haggai).  The Message actually translates Haggai 1:5, "Take a good, hard look at your life. Think it over."

Since I was swamped at the new year, I decided then to save the good, hard look till my birthday.

All I can say is WOW!  What a great list of questions to ask myself and journal about.

I've not finished all 31; nevertheless, I highly recommend you either bookmark his list of questions page or go ahead and print out a copy.  You can either stash away this valuable resource and use it on your birthday!  Or, if you want, go ahead and start answering all 31 of them now--one-by-one for a whole month. 

What are you waiting for?  Go take a look!

a real foreigner

Friday, I ate breakfast at McDonalds.  I actually took my Bible and my Living Beyond Yourself study with me.  I went to the second floor (yes, McDonald's here are multi-story complexes). 

The A/C and lights were off.  But that was ok--it was nice and quiet and there was plenty of light streaming in from the windows.  I had the whole second floor to myself.

About 15-20 minutes of enjoying the aloneness and quiet.  The manager came in and turned on the lights and A/C.  She also asked me to move to the side of the restaurant because  . . . a preschool was coming for a field trip.

So, within 5 minutes my quiet second floor was filled with the laughing, squeals, and high pitched chatter of four and five year olds.  Mixed in to this was the continual repeating of the word "wei gou ren"  (which means "foreigner" or literally "a person from an outside country").

I just choose to ignore them--cute as they were.

After McDonald's, I went to a bookstore to get a few items.  And guess what!!  The same preschool kids were all piling out of their school's vans at the same time right there at the bookstore!

They kept repeating "wei gou ren," so I smiled and even gave them a little wave. 

A small group of the brave ones approached me. 

"Hey, did we just see you at McDonalds?"


"Why are you here now?"

"I am going to buy some stuff."

"Oh. Are you a real foreigner?"

"Yes, I am a real foreigner."

"Really?  You are really a real foreigner?"

"That's right.  I am really am a real foreigner."

"If you really are a real foreigner, could you say something to us in English?"

I said something simple in English, and then told them to go stay with their teacher. 

As I walked into the bookstore, I couldn't stop smiling for a full five minutes.  They were just so cute!

pour out my heart

If you have hung out with me "in person" you would know that I love music.  I constantly have music playing, and if there is none playing--I make my own.  Songs are able to express emotions and feelings I have in ways that no other means can.  For me it is: skip the shoe shopping--lets go buy some new CDs!! 

[But let me just insert here that I am a total amateur in music--can't read it, can't write it, can't tell if I am on tune or not, and am only just now starting to learn to play an instrument.  Music is just a passion.  Make a joyful noise, amen?]

Just now, as I was taking a break with Gilby in my lap, I just let my heart pick a song and started singing it.   It, my friends, is a perfect song for the Living Beyond Yourself study I am doing.

Beth (Moore) taught us last week that we need to pour out confessions and concerns in order for there to be a pouring in and pouring fourth of the Spirit in our lives.  Just look at the lyrics of this Vineyard worship song written by Craig Musseau!!!

Here I am once again
I pour out my heart
For I know that You hear
Every cry
You are listening
No matter what state my heart is in

You are faithful to answer
With words that are true
And a hope that is real
As I feel Your touch
You bring a freedom to all that's within
In the safety of this place
I'm longing to . . .

Pour out my heart, to say that I love You
Pour out my heart, to say that I need You
Pour out my heart, to say that I'm thankful
Pour out my heart, To say that You're wonderful!

But, lyrics alone aren't enough . . . you must listen to this song!  It is AWESOME!  (Here is a clip of it I found online.)

what!?! 29 already??

I glanced at my doctor's computer screen as he was talking.  Lots of yellow and green Chinese characters on a black screen--a list of patients for today, I surmised.  One column had ages--again, surmising.  I scanned the column quickly . . . 45, 70, 67, 29, 80, 19, 22, 54, 31 . . .

I didn't see 28.  Hmm, maybe I surmised wrong.  Maybe they are numbers of something else.  So, I went back to paying attention to the doctor and our conversation.

He goes to write out the prescription on the computer and clicks the line with 29.  I glance to the left of the 29--sure enough!  There is MY Chinese name!! 

29?   What!?!  How can that be!?!  My 28th birthday was only yesterday! 

But, the form for the medical records was "gotten" from my official government health insurance card so 29 is my "official age."

Then I remember . . . "oh! that's right, many Asian cultures count the time that we are spent being woven together in the workshop of the womb as a year of life." 

Now I am in a state of shock. 

Thursday I was 27. 

Today I found I am 29.

I thought I had another whole year before I had to contemplate turning 30.

Guess not.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.   You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You
saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your
book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139: 13-16, New Living)

please interrupt me.

Solo Femininity's

Courtship reveals how necessary this masculinity is.
Many modern young men approach a girl, and they are quite serious as
far as their intentions go, but they are afraid of interfering with her
life. "You know, she is going to graduate soon, but she wants to go to
school at Notre Dame, and I don't really want to go to Notre Dame, and
showing interest in her would really disrupt all her plans." But the
whole point of courtship is to disrupt a young lady's plans.
A godly young woman is not going to stand around waiting for marriage.
Rather, she will be preparing herself for marriage. This means she will
be heading in some particular direction, and not just marking time. A
young man should not be afraid of disrupting, because marriage is by
its very nature a disruption of her previous way of life.
(Her Hand in Marriage by Douglas Wilson, bolding is mine)

Carolyn adds this in her explaintion/commentary on the quote: "So, we are not to just stand around. We are to be making plans for the
future--and praying for godly men who know how to risk interrupting us."

I totally agree with her!!!   Amen! 

Or, as the Message would translate it, "OH YES!!"

standing amazed

Last night a friend re-introduced to me worship leader Dennis Jernigan (who has an awesome testimony).  So, I went through my own cd collection looking to see if I had one of his CDs. And I found three.  So, I put one in and started listening to it. 

Familiar songs of worship from my college years washed over me.  One in particular grab my attention because it is the same concept that Beth Moore touches on in the Living Beyond Yourself study I am doing.

Here are the beginning lyrics for the song "I Stand Amazed":

I see the stars that you have made
I know you call them each by name

To think father God in heaven displays

Is thinking of me in intimate ways
I stand amazed in all of Your glory

That You would die for me; I stand amazed,

I stand amazed in all of your glory,
True love's sweetest story; I stand amazed.

At the beginning of this week's study, she touches on the trinity of God.  Explaining through Scripture how each part of the Godhead works--that through the Father's will, the Son's Word, and the Spirit's way all of creation was formed.

Then she comments:

The same God who willed, spoke, and energized the universe into being directs all His care and distinctive direction to your precious life.  He continues to direct you through these same methods:  the Father wills, the Son speaks, the Father's will, to you through His Word, and the Holy Spirit supplies the power for you to obey.

Have you been feeling a little insignificant lately?  unimportant?  How's this for a change in perspective?  The entire Godhead is intimately involved in your daily life using the same power and glory with which He commanded creation into being.  He must find your rather significant! (pg. 31)

AMEN!!  and OH YES!!

First, it was such a blessing to hear her (and Dennis Jernigan) confirm the truth that the God of all creation is intimately involved in my daily life. 

Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. 

And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! (Matthew 5:26-30, New Living)

Second, the revelation of this pattern of Father willing, Son speaking, and Spirit empowering helped me to understand better how He has worked in my own life.  And, it has given me a better perspective to look for His future work in my life. 


JannaFlipflop Robin
  This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

(And if you have never heard Dennis Jernigan's worship music, you are really missing out!!  He offers a free song each month on his site--but you do need to register first.  Best way would be just buy one of His CDs--you won't be dissappointed!!)

from my mom

A_newborn_007 Sarah, my younger sister, actually came home from the hospital on my second birthday.  I thought she was a great birthday present . . . well, that is until she kept crying and took all the attention I used to get away from me.  So, I bit her.  And, I bit her hard.  :) 

But, I digress. 

Sarah and I were blessed to be raised by parents who were brand new born again believers.  They were excited about Christ and sought to obey Him the best they knew how.  God was a natural, exciting, everyday part of our life. 

Sarah_016001I love my childhood.  I have only good memories. 

I love my parents.  I only have good things to say about them.   I hold them in such high esteem.  I admire them both.

Even though I can't believe how young they were when they had us and raised us (when my mom was my age--she had an eight year old and a six year old), I don't think they could have been better parents.  I am blessed beyond measure!!

Earlier this week, my mom mailed me a letter for my brithday.  I asked her if I could share part of it in my blog, and she said that would be ok. I kept some of it just for me; although all the  ". . ." are hers--not missing parts I saved just for me.  :)

Without further adieu, here is my mom:

It is hard to realize it has been 28 (TWENTY-EIGHT!!!) years ago that you were born . . . I was so really, really, young and I had NO clue what it meant to be a parent.  However, Thanks Be to God . . . He was so faithful and merciful to lead me through His Word, His church (thank you Grady and Mary Ann!), family members (thank you Mary for all you shared!), and Christian authors (thank you Dr. Dobson and Kevin Leman!) to show me how to love, nurture, teach, admonish, and guide my precious new baby girl.

I am so amazed at how God has worked in your life these past 28  years . . . we really didn’t do anything special . . . we just trusted God with your life and He has been (is!!) so faithful to you and to us.

People often ask me, “is it hard for you to let her go to Taiwan . . . Aren’t you worried about her?”  and I have to admit, “No, it is not hard . . . because it is so obvious that is where she desires to be and where God wants her . . . why should I be worried and upset that my daughter is doing what her heart cries out to do AND doing that which puts her smack-dab in the middle of God’s will?”  I rejoice that you are doing what your heart desires!

I do MISS you tremendously and frequently wish we could go to the movies or shopping together or sit down for some heart-to-heart talks or enjoy holidays together . . . however, with the internet, it is sooo easy to stay connected . . . can’t imagine what it must have been like back in Lottie Moon’s days--waiting MONTHS for news and letters . . . No thank you, ma’am . . . couldn’t handle that . . .

Momandbabyme_1Anyway . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMANDA!

When you were newly arrived on this planet (after God “kicked you out of heaven”)* I would hold you close and gaze down into your sleeping face with such awe and wonder what kind of personality you would have, what kind of desires and accomplishments you would have . . . I couldn’t wait to get to know you!  It has been a blast being your Momma and getting to know you these 28 years. 




Isn't she great?!?  And she thinks she is "not the writer in the family."  Hmm.  I think I would have to disagree!  I Love you, Mom.  Thanks for sending me a birthday letter.

You know, Mom, I've realized something in the last three years: my strongest love language is "words of affirmation," and the one I least identify with is "receiving gifts"---so, truly, truly--this letter you sent me is the best gift you could give me!

*One day--either Sarah or I asked mom--"did you catch me?"  She said, "when, honey?"  The one asking (probably Sarah), responded, "When God kicked me out of heaven?"

47 what?

Have you ever wondered why I use amanda47 for this URL and for my email address? 

No?  You haven't?

Well, then, let me draw your attention to the fact that I use 47 in my email and this blog's URL. :)

Great, now that you have noticed . . . are you wondering yet?

No?  Not really?  Well, thanks for being honest, but I am going to tell you now and pretend you have been unable to sleep at nights because you have been so filled with wonder about it! :)

What did you say?  You wanna guess first?  Well ok.

Am I 47 years old?  No--only 28.
Do I have 47 dogs?  No--just one.
Do I speak 47 langages?  No--just two.
Is my address 47 Something Lane?  No it is not.
Is 47 my lucky number?  Nope; don't have a lucky number.
Have I written 47 books?  No. 
Number of published articles?  No.
How many times I have been to Hong Kong?  No.
How many miles between me and my parents?  Oh my, no way.  Try more like 8,000!
Is my favorite verse in the Bible something 4:7?  Nope, not yet anyways.

You want to give up?  Well, here's a hint.  Today is 04-07-06. 

Oh! What is that?  You wanna guess again?  Well, ok.

Ahh . . . that's right!! 

Today, April 7, is my birthday!!  You are so smart!

What's that?  Happy Birthday?  Ahh. .  . thank you!!  That is so nice of you!

The picture below is of me with my "Mr. DaBien" Cake.  I am guessing that you can guess what "Da Bien" means just by looking at the cake.  Right? 

Some of my students surprised me earlier this week, with this very cute cake.  If I haven't been here too long . . . my guess is that this kind of "cuteness" is probably very Taiwanese. :)  Take a look . . .see what I mean! :)

Me and My Mr. Da Bien Cake

dinner on wednesday


Here is where I bought my dinner tonight.

Outdoor vendors are really popular in Taiwan.  Not just at nightmarkets, but everywhere.  This man (on the right) sells fried chicken, tofu, green beans, sweet potatoes, cabbage, peppers, and MORE--about a 1 minute walk from my apartment complex's door!! 

The people on the left are choosing what they want by selecting from the available foods and putting them in a little plastic basket.  Then they will hand it to the vendor who will fry and season the foods for them. 

Below is a sample of what you can get to eat from a vendor like this:

Tian bu la and other Fried Foods Tian bu la and other Fried Foods

happy birthday, sarah!!

the ring

Sarah Beth!!  I love you!! 

Happy Birthday!!

Picture is of my sister the day she was engaged (isn't she just beautiful!?!?!). She is to be married at the end of this month!  Wow!  How fast time flies!!  Seems like just yesterday we were playing make-believe together--pretending to be mommies, and teachers, and hairdressers, and waitresses, and pastors, and "song leaders." ;)

I love you, girly!  You are a wonderful sister and friend.  Couldn't ask for one better than you!!

May God's blessings richly fill your life this year as you seek to know Him, serve Him, and make Him known in your new role as wife to Chad.   May the "amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit"* be with you this coming year in ways you have never known before!!  Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!!

from head to toe

O my soul, bless God.
 From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
   don't forget a single blessing!


He forgives your sins--everyone.
   He heals your diseases--everyone.
   He redeems you from heall--saves your life!
   He crowns you with love and mercy--a paradise crown.
   He wraps you in goodness--beauty eternal.
   He renews your youth--you're always young in his presence.

God makes everything come out right;
   He puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
   opened up his plans to all Isreal.
God is sheer mercy and sheer grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag or scold,
   nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
   nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heave is over the earth,
   so strong is his love to those who fear him.

As far as sunrise is from sunset,
   he as seperated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
   God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
   keeps in mind that we're made of mud.

Men and women don't live very long,
   like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
   leaving nothing to show they were here.
God's love, though, is ever and always
   eternally present to all who fear him,

Making everything right for them and their children
   as they follow his Covenant ways
   and remember to do whatever he said.

God has set his throne in heaven;
   he rules over us all.  He's the King!
So bless God, you angels,
   ready and able to fly at his bidding,
   quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
   alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are--
   everything and everyone made by God.

And you, o my soul, bless God!

(I love Psalm 103.) 

scooting around

me on my moped This is me on my moped!

Here I am on my moped!! 

The first pic is my current moped and was taken earlier this year. (I know; I need a better helmet.  I'm working on it.)  The one on the right was taken in 2003--me on my very first moped.  (That moped was stolen in the fall of 2004.)

Ok, confession time: When I take personality tests, I always check that I do not like adventures.  I do not consider myself an "adventure loving person."

When I confessed this to my friend (an American who also lives here in Taiwan) she was shocked.  She told me she thought I had a great sense of adventure.  Her reply included something along the lines of "you drive a moped in Taiwan--that is very adventuresome."

She got me to thinking. 

And, I think she is right. 

Adventure does make me smile (. . . most of the time).

Later, I came back to read my blog, and I saw the quote I had from Helen Keller in the description line: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  :)

And, the other day I caught myself thinking that being a contestant on an Amazing Race type game would be a blast!

I guess I was embracing adventure without realizing it.

I guess that is another one of those crazy things that God has changed about who I am, and I didn't even realize it on a conscious level. 

I guess from now on I better check the "likes adventure" box when I take a personality test, huh?  :)

Charlotte, a fellow Taiwan-blogger, calls her blog "Always an Adventure."  I guess that truly is what life is--in Taiwan or anywhere! 

Yipee!!  Let's go!!
Hop on the back and I'll take you for a spin.


Here is the answer to the question that prompted this post in the first place:
Q: Do you drive a scooter in Kaohsiung?
A: Well, yes.  I do drive in the city--which is crazy--but not unless I have to.  I live in Kaohsiung County--so when leaving my apartment, if I turn left I end up in Kaohsiung City after 30 minutes of riding but if I turn right I end up in a sea of rice and pineapple fields in less 3 minutes of riding.  Also, I walk to work--so I don't ride daily. 

AND--I got used to riding a moped while living in Meinong--which is major countryside with few stoplights and very light traffic.  The first time I rode in KH city--I was freaking out inside--it was a heart-pounding I-don't-know-if-I-am-going-to-live-to-tell-about-this kind of moment.  At first, I would hop off and let one of my student's "drive" as soon as we hit the "city" part.  Now, I am ok . . . well, on most days. 

So, my scooter riding adventures have been more-or-less a let-the-water-warm-while-the-frog-is-already-in-the-pot kind of acclimation.  Does that make sense?


Alright.  Now, I'm ready . . . where do you wanna go?  Vrroom.  Vrooom!! 



This was my dinner. 

They are litterally called "little dragon wraps."  These "shiao long bao" are only 35 NT--or about $1.06 US dollars.

They are yummy!!

matsu's eight-day parade


The above photo from the Taipei Times shows men dressed up like "generals" for the annual Matsu (goddess of the sea) pilgrimage that started last weekend.  It ends today--eight days later.

Matsu_protectors_1What makes me most sad about the above picture and this one
to the right
as well is that they are making the Matsu parade seem like a fun cultural event--commercializing it, giving it inflated, animated mascots.  Costumers can even download to their cell phones "safety amulets" and track the Matsu parade  with GPS devices. 

They are cute. 

This makes it fun.

But oh how deceptive! 

What a lie!

Matsu and her two protectors are not cute, innocent animated cartoon characters.  They are false gods.  Idols.  Leading people away from worship of the true God.

From a Taipei Times article earlier last month:

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join the 280km
procession that will pass through four counties -- Taichung, Changhua,
Yunlin and Chiayi -- and visit around 80 temples. Matsu is the goddess
of the sea and one of Taiwan's most venerated deities.

Matsu is perhaps one of the most worshiped gods on this little island full of idols.  Here is what she looks like in one of her temples:


Photo by: Per-Andre Hoffman   Photo by: Per-Andre Hoffman

Two weeks ago on my way to school, I noticed three small black idols being loaded into a van.  I can only assume they were images of Matsu that were being sent to join the parade.  In my understanding, once a year, the small idols of Matsu travel to the "main temple" to be recharged with her power--kinda like batteries need recharging.

The pilgrimage [which started eight days ago was] led by a messenger wearing one sandal
(to represent the fact he is oblivious to his own comfort) and holding
an umbrella from which a pig's foot dangles.

[Following him was] a spectacular procession of flag and incense
bearers, bands, troupes dressed in ancient army costumes, goddess
puppets and traditional musicians.

Typically, followers seek a blessing from the goddess by kneeling
before the Matsu palanquin and letting it pass over them, while
firecrackers are [set] off.*





Here are images of the parade from previous years:





In addition to people laying prostrate on the ground in order to have the godess pass over them, there are lots of firecrackers set off, insence burned, and pigs sacrificed.      


Insence  Matsupigs

And, during the parade teenage boys dressed like "messengers to the gods" often "go into trances" (spirit possession) along the parade route.

PHOTO: Taipei Times

33879876_1This is not fun and games. 

This is not cartoon stories come to life. 

This is genuine worship of false gods. 

This is idolatry at its worst. 

This is real. 

This is evil.

Oh, how lost! 

Oh, how deceived!

Please pray for Taiwanese people's freedom!  Pray for protection from attacks from evil spirits--many suffer from these.  Many people I know experience daily "evil attacks" and nightmares.  Pray for the Taiwanese to be set free by the one who is the Way, the Truth, and Life.


Later this week I will post the story of Matsu and why she is Taiwan's most worshiped deity.

For more info about the parade:

This post in a foreigner's blog has lots of pictures that he took during the 2004 Matsu pilgrimage.  His beliefs are obviously different than mine, and I have only looked at this post--but I share this with you because he has pictures that capture so much!

Here are past Taipei Times articles on previous Matsu parades:

`Matsu is everywhere' for festival (2006)
Homage to Matsu (2005)
Pilgrimage kicks off with religious fervor (2004)
Tens of thousands kick off annual Matsu ceremony (2003)
Goddess of the sea hits the road with thousands in tow (2000)
Frenzied worship (2000)
Following Matsu (2000)


Credits: Images in this post provided
by R.O.C. Ministry of Transportation & Communications Tourism Bureau, by Taipei Times, Per-Andre Hoffman, and

mommy-longings amplified

Enoch Yawns

Lately, I have been doing ok in the "fine with being single" area.  Learning to wait and trust.  What has been giving me problems however is the "mommy-longings." 

Being around babies is so great!! 

I was around them all last summer in the States and then now there are two little ones I get to see and hold often.  Just holding one brings me great joy and comfort.  There is a special feeling only to be had when a baby is pressed against you. 

Problem is this--it makes me want my own.  It makes me wonder if I will ever be allowed to be a mother or if I will find my joy always in holding and loving other's babies. 

Unfilled Desires . . .   Unmet longings . . . The tears are falling. 

Here is where rubber meets the road. 

You see, God has been reminding me of how he has worked so beautifully in my life in the past.  He has be telling me about his goodness to me in the past.  Maybe there is a reason he is doing this.  Each episode or post in the why Taiwan series is about me having a desire--a God-given desire--then me trying to scheme for it to become reality, me yeilding to Him, and then God providing in ways amazingly better than I could ever have dreamed of. 

He even very recently has been teaching me in small ways that he really does care about me, that he has compassion for me.

Could it be that he is trying to tell me something?

I hear him whispering . . . "Oh, Amanda, be still.  Don't scheme.  Don't plot and plan.  Trust ME.  I am a good God, and I love you.  I give good gifts--and you can trust that I only give these gifts at the right time.  My way is oh so much better than yours--wait and see.  I will prove I am right."

And I do trust that he is both all good and all powerful.  And I am waiting. 

But to stop the wondering and the envy is hard.  Why are others (especially when they are younger than me) being given these gifts--marriage and motherhood--and I am not? 

Oh Holy Spirit--help me to live beyond myself; help me to be different than I am.  Oh, and Jesus, thank you so much for giving those around me babies for me to love on.  I really like it a lot. 

happy birthday caleb!!

Happy Birthday Caleb!!

Mary Agnes and Dan's youngest son, Caleb, had his very first birthday yesterday!

Happy Birthday, Caleb!!

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