reading as a Christian discipline

Kim from Hiraeth asks some questions about reading as a Christian discipline.  Here are my answers to her questions:

Has reading Christian blogs increased your desire to tackle weighty Christian tomes? 
Increased desire?--yes.  Actually caused action?--no.

Have you learned of Christian authors and theologians that you might not have otherwise known or read?

Probably Spuregon is the biggie for me.  After reading a quote on someone's blog, I just had to get me a copy of Morning and Evening.

Have you purchased or borrowed books that were recommended by bloggers?
I bought a book by a blogger because of finding her blog--Carolyn McCulley's Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

I also bought John MacArthur's Twelve Extraordinary Women, Randy Alcorn's Money, Possessions & Eternity, and Jerry Bridge's The Discipline of Grace because of blogs I read.  I also have "wish listed" many, many, many more, including, Across the China Sky just a little while ago.

Have you read fewer "real" books as your blog reading has increased?
No, not at all. 

Has the availability/searchability of great Christian works caused you to rely upon them merely as resources?
Not sure.  Usually seeing someone unless reference or quote someone makes me want to go read more, go read all.  Not just go search out something.

Do you think reading the great Christian authors and theologians is important and/or profitable?

Do you read them?
I try.  I want to.  I would love to be better about making even more time for reading them.

If so, who do you recommend?
Right now I reading Bridges, Piper, and Spuregon. 

homemaking meme

Sallie wrote this meme, and I've seen it on a few blogs here and there recently.  So, I thought I'd give it a whirl.  Life as a single homemaker in Taiwan looks like this for me and my doggie:

Aprons – Y/N?  If Y, what does your favorite look like?
Yes, but not plural--just one.  It matches my table cloth--kacky with red lines.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake

Bake?  You mean in my teeny tiny convection oven?  Brownies.

Clothesline – Y/N?

Yes, my dryer is also teeny tiny--a gift to myself two Christmases ago. Most people here don't have one.  So, I am thankful for sheets and jeans that are dried in a dryer--but most everything else goes on the clothesline.

Donuts – Have you ever made them?

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day
You are supposed to do this homemaking thing daily??  In that case, does making my bed count?

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
Nope.  No one has one here in Taiwan.  But, I do have these nifty nets that sit in a "drain cup" in my kitchen sink to catch the odd and ends that fall into the sink.

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?

Ironing – Love it or hate it?  Or hate it but love the results?
Ironing?  Hmmm . . . I think I have an iron, maybe, somewhere, but I couldn't promise you for sure. 

Junk drawer – Y/N?  Where is it?

I have a "catch all drawer"--in the top of my shoe closet by the front door.  Just money, keys, my business card file-book, and a few other odds and ends in there.

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme
Black and red.  Black dishes, red glasses and other red stuff (spachulas, measuring cups).  My (green) cabinets are covered in black marble contact paper, and my (mustard yellow) fridge is painted black. 

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Having company over.  I think it is really hard to enjoy housekeeping when I am doing it only for myself.

Mop – Y/N?

Yes--I have no carpets.  Only white tile in every room.

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Nylons??  Huh?  Do you mean pantyhose?  I haven't worn pantyhose since the 90's.  And, if you don't mean panyhose, I would guess the answer is with the machine--cuz I don't handwash anything.

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
If my teeny tiny convection oven counts--then I can pretty much see all thru the window, but I still like to open the door. 

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
Does "put" include "kind you order from the local pizza place"?

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Drink a cup of coffee or tea and read a little.  But, living alone--all my moments are "quiet."  So, that cup of coffee or tea only comes when I make myself stop "doing."

Recipe card box – Y/N?  What does it look like?
No, but wish I did.   

Style of house – What style is your house?
Hmm.  I live your typical Taiwanese high-rise apartment: a little white concrete box.

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Yes, but I also like placemats.  I prefer paper napkins though.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?


Vacuum – How many times per week?
Well, Swiffer and mop weekly, but vacuuming not so often.  Remember--its all tile.

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
You mean you are supposed to do it weekly?  I am not going to tell you how I know this, but I can go two weeks without washing anything.  So, let's just say I could do 2-3 loads each week.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
YES!!!!!!!  Without lists I am lost!   Sometimes, though, my lists are only on the computer.

Yard – Y/N?  Who does what?

Nope--apartment living.

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Again, you are supposed to do this daily?! Then I guess on the days I do it taking care of a hot spot counts right?

not really here

I am not "really here." 

For two and a half weeks, I am staying with a friend and her family in another city.  So, I am getting about 10 minutes of computer time each day.  So, last week I had all my posts set to auto-post. 

I read and appreciate all your comments, but I just don't have time to respond till about Feb 6th or so.

I have a few more auto-posts ready to go, and I hope to post some pictures I've taken when those run out, but make no promises.  So, if you see some spotty, inconsistent blogging here in the next week or two--that is why.  :)

thru my windows (Part 1)

I've been wanting to share what kinds of things I can see from the various windows in my life--my office, classroom, living room, bedroom, and so on.  This is not the best view I could use to start this, but, it does fit this week's other posts.

So, continuing with the landry theme, here is the view from my guest bedroom:

the view from my guest bedroom

That's right--come visit me here in beautiful, tropical southern Taiwan, and the view from your guest bedroom will be of my "laundry porch"!  If you draw the bamboo shade, you will be able to see my tiny dryer and my clothes line along with my (American) clothes cleaning products. 

cleaning the washing machine

Since I talked about my need to do laundry on Monday, I thought I would share with you how to clean a Taiwanese washing machine.

As I've mentioned before, the directions on products are pretty friendly to the illiterate here in Taiwan because they are often pictorial.  Sometimes, they are even cute! :)

Check out the back of the package for my "washing machine cleaner":

how to clean your washing machine

Cute right?

Just for kicks, here is the front of the package too:

"washtank cleaner"

not yet

In Chinese, when asked "are you married?"  the answer is either "yes" or "not yet."  You can not answer this question "no."

At first and until a year or two ago, this really bugged me. 

By saying "not yet" it implies that one day I will be married.  If I was trusting in God's sovereignty and providence, who was I to claim that I would one day be married?  It felt it quite presumptuous of me to say "not yet."

That was until God taught me about hope.  Hope is not wishful thinking and longing.  Hope is placing my trust in a all-kind, all-knowing, all-powerful God.  Knowing that he has already provided for me what I need most--Himself, a Savior, the Messiah.

I was speaking with an older single woman recently and I confided in her how my heart was changing because of hope.  That it was ok for me to say "I am not married yet.  I want to be.  I am preparing to be a wife; when I make decisions now, I do so thinking about how it might possible impact my future husband.  However, if I never marry that is ok too." 

She immediately jumped on my thoughts and told me I was not at peace with being single--how could I be at peace with being single but still long to be a wife at the same time?  She told me I should pray for God to either give me a husband right away or for him to completely remove all feelings of longing to be a wife.  That if I was longing and He was not providing, I was not right with God. 

We, as single women, hear this kind of "wisdom" all the time.  I used to believe it.  Now I don't. 

It is possible to be both content and hopeful at the same time.

I don't know why or how God chooses to bless the way he does.  But, that doesn't mean I still can't hope.  It doesn't mean I can't prepare for something that might never come.  It does not mean that my single years are mine to do with as I please.

Douglas Wilson explains this SO much better than I could:

[T]he time a person spends when he is single should be time spent in
preparation for marriage. This is important even if he never gets
married. This is because biblical preparation for marriage is nothing
more than learning to follow Jesus Christ and to love one’s neighbor.
In other words, preparation for Christian marriage is basically the
same as preparation for Christian living. Christians are to prepare for
marriage by learning self-denial, subduing their pride, and putting
their neighbor first. (as quoted by Carolyn McCulley)

Oh, and by the way, now I don't mind answering the question, "are you married?" with "not yet."  In fact, that is how I answer the question in English now too!

another year, another weiya

This year, just like last year, my school had a "wei ya."  The WeiYa is a banquet that companies hold in honor of their employees at Chinese New Year.   

Chinese New Year this year is at the end of Feburary--because the Chinese calander this past year had an extra month.  We have leap years with an extra day; they have leap years with an extra month.  No kidding.

Anywho, even though Chinese New Year is still so far away, our semester is over, so our school had our weiya. 

Here are 9 of the 10 courses served at our weiya:

WeiYa Foods (Chinese New Year Dinner from company to employees)

1. Appetizer, 2. Thick soup, 3. Tasty fish,

4. sticky rice with crab, 5. shrimp, 6. peking duck,

7. baked mini lobster with cheese, 8. chinese herbal something or other, 9. tropical fruit

The one dish not shown was soup.

Here is a shot of the weiya from the 3rd floor of one of our buildings:

Wei Ya Tables

That's about 25-30 tables (some not pictured) with about 10 people per table so about 250 to 300 people all feasting at the same time, with KTV and "door prizes" to boot!

In fact, this year I actually won one of the raffle style prizes.


Inside my red envelope was a gift certificite to Carrefour (a super wal-mart kinda place).  My first time in four years to win anything at a weiya!! :)

And, one last part of a banquet--wedding, weiya, whatever--in Taiwan is that guests get to take home the leftovers in "doggie bags."  How great is that!!

Francis's Doggie bag

There are a few more pictures on my flickr set for the 2007 weiya.  Such as a before and after of the whole (yummy) fish, a close up of the duck heads on the plate, and more.

vacation means . . .

. . . tackling the dirty laundry that I let build up at the end of the semester.

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker.
Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

A Puritan Prayer

O God of love,

Preserve . . .

  my understanding from error,

  my affections from love of idols,

  my lips from speaking deceit,

  my conduct from stain of vice,

  my character from appearance of evil;

that I may be








  zealous for Your glory and the good

    of my fellow-men.

Cast Your cords of love around my heart,
     then hold me and never let me go!

(HT: Grace Gems! Jan 2007)

sam's one request

When Sam came to visit me this summer, his only request was . . . "to see the monkeys."

We tried on more than one occasion, but the monkeys live in the wild, so we couldn't make a reservation and request they be present when we arrived.  :)  However, right before we left to go back to America, we got to see them!! 

monkeys on the mountain


Sam fed the monkeys peanuts and bananas.  And, his one wish about Taiwan came true!

Sam feeds the monkeys


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what it was

Two weeks ago, I get a call from a delivery guy.  He is downstairs
with a package for me.  I go down to get it, and he tells me it needs
to be refridgerated.  Hmm, what could it be?

Inside was green tea cheese cake with bits of taro.  My best friend
who lives in north Taiwan overnighted it special delivery via 7-11 to
me!  Pretty special, huh?  (I bet you didn't even know that in some contries 7-11 can be your delievery service, right? Yeah, me neither till two weeks ago!)


The cake was incredibly rich--I had trouble finishing one piece because of how rich it was.  Ellen knows that I just love green tea flavored treats, so when she saw this, she thought I should be given a chance to try it out. 


What is just as cool is the beautiful box in came in.

So, that is what it was

Yall came up with some really funny and  some really clever ideas. Too bad I don't have some kind of cute graphic to give you as an award for making me laugh and all.

It turns out the first person to guess was actually the closest, but she is Taiwanese, so maybe she had an unfair advantage! ;)  Too bad I don't have a cute graphic for her either.

And, too bad I don't have one for Ellen for being an awesome, gift-giving friend!  Thanks girl!  You're the best!

i highly recommend

The finals have been graded, the learning journals read, and the semester grades posted.  WooHoo!!  I am done with the "fall" semester!!  I don't have to teach a full semester again until March 1st!!  Sweetness! 

Oh, but don't worry--I have PLENTY to do in the next month--my calendar is already very full. 

I wanted to thank you for praying for Char--she's home again to work on recovering and healing.  And to top things off, she has a few screws loose.

Since tomorrow is my first day of "winter break," I am taking the day off from the computer too.  I am not even going to turn it on. 
But don't worry, I will tell you the answer to this "what is it?" post on Thursday!   I know you are just dying to know.

Instead of reading my blog tomorrow, I highly recommend to you the following: 

Posts like this one are why I started reading Sallie's blog!  Find out how Sallie "copes with abundance." 

Sallie has some other oldies but goodies on: Calling vs. Clutter and Simplyifing Choices.

Carolyn at Solo Femininity may not be posting as often as she once did, but she still posts great stuff for us single ladies!  Check out her recent post on Abigail's Initiative

I also really enjoyed her "Seeking Wisdom for the New Year" post awhile back.

loss of all confidence in self

"Just as the sinner's despair of any hope from himself
is the first prerequisite of a sound conversion; so the
loss of all confidence in himself is the first essential
in the believer's growth in grace.

(Arthur Pink)


"Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

photo hunt: technology

According to Wikipedia,
technology "is a broad term dealing with the use and knowledge of
humanity's tools and crafts."  Perhaps one of the oldest technological
advances known to man are eating utensils.  And, out of all the eating
utensils known to man, I know of none better than a pair of chopsticks.

Sarah and Chopsticks

These are pictures of my brother and sister using chopsticks during their (seperate) visits to Taiwan. 

Sam is so good with chopsticks, he can even eat ice cream with them!!  Here he is eating his fave flavors in Taiwan, which were mango and taro.

Ice Cream with Chopsticks!?!

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Photo Hunter

the package

Here is a little game that will make you think.

I love stuff like this!

guess what this is


Do you know what this is?   (Sorry the pictures is a little dark, but yes--it is a "green" color.)

I'll post the answer in a few days--till then I'll leave you in suspense. ;)

a prayer request

Back in October, my bloggy friend Char, who is from Canada but lives and teaches here in Taiwan, broke her ankle.


photos borrowed from Char's blog

Tomorrow, she goes in for a second ankle surgery.  Would you please pray for her?  Surgery is always a "scary thing," but imagine doing it in a foreign country in your second langauge. . . . hmmm, not something I wanna do.

So, since we are 13 hours ahead of "Texas time"--if you are in America and pray for her on Wednesday during the day, you are praying for her while she sleeps, and if you pray for her Wednesday night, you are praying for her on Thursday morning.

Heavenly Father, would you please give Char a peace that goes beyond her understanding tonight and tomorrow?  Please give her the ability to know and understand all that is going on around her and to her--even though it might be in a language other than her native one.  Please heal her ankle and keep her safe.  Lord, please use this situation to bring glory to Yourself.  Give her oppotunities to share your Good News with others while she is recovering from surgery.  Amen.

Thanks for joining me!

snacking done right.

works for me: eating healthy

Shannon is running a themed "Works for Me Wednesday" this week on "healthy eating."  She is asking for healthy recipes, but . . .uh . . . well . . . I am single.  I know that does not preclude the fact that I still have a kitchen and still prepare things to eat; however, let me just tell you now, I don't have any recipes to share. :)

So, instead, let me share with you some of my snacking tips for healthy eating.  You may already know and/or use some of these tips, but now at least you know what works for me!

1. Plan my snacks. I plan a mid-morning snack, a afternoon snack, and after dinner snack.  If I plan them they are something I look forward to, which helps me say no to cravings.  And, if they are planned ahead of time, it helps me avoid wrong choices later.

2. Prepare them ahead of time. I like to use those little "snack-sized" plastic baggies (oh!  so that's why they're called that).  I go ahead and fill them with the right "snack size" portion.  This helps me because they are ready to go--toss in my purse and walk out the door ready.  And it helps me because I don't grab the whole bag and overeat without meaning to.

3. Choose healthy snacks. For me, healthy snacks include all kinds of nuts, cheese, carrots, dried peas (they are great).  At night, I also like me a little sugar-free Jello made with Diet Coke (or Coke Lite as we have here) instead of water and topped with whipped cream.  In the States, I also splurged on low-sugar chocolate ice cream bars (so sad that we don't have those here.)

4. Do it.  If I snack, I don't let myself get hungry--so I preempt
possible cravings.  If I snack, I keep my blood sugar levels more
even--which is a good thing.  And, best of all, snacking makes me happy. :)  Who doesn't like to be happy while eating healthy.

And here are my hints for how I keep from eating snacks when I shouldn't be:

1. Grab my water bottle instead. If I "crave" a snack and its not snack time, I make myself drink water--I feel full, I am meeting my goal of getting my water for the day, and maybe the craving will go away.

2. Snack, but snack healthy. If water doesn't do the trick, I go ahead and have a high protein snack.  Better to give into the craving when it is small with a healthy choice than later when it is big with an unhealthy choice.

3. Brush my teeth.  Who wants to ruin a fresh minty mouth by eating something? 

4. Put on some teeth whitening strips. Can't eat with those thingees on.  AND, because I am eating healthy (and losing weight), I smile more--what better than to have great white teeth to go with my bigger smile.

So, what are your tips for snacking healthy or for not snacking unhealthy?  Care to share?

True Beauty

We declare it in song all the time:

“Come see the beauty of the Lord!”
"Oh Lord You're Beautiful!"
"Jesus, how can I tell you how beautiful you are to me?"
"Beatutiful one I love!  Beautiful one I adore!  Beautiful one I adore!"
"O Beautiful of Heaven, O Sovereign God transcendent"
"There is no other God but You; There is no other more beautiful."

We proclaim Christ to be the "lily of the valley," "the fairest of ten thousand," and "altogether lovely."

But, when I first think of the "beauty of Christ" the first verse that pops into my head is Isaiah 53:2:

"He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

and no beauty that we should desire him."

According to this Jesus was not physically attractive--nothing striking or gorgeous about him as he dwelt on earth.  But, all of heaven is enamored with his beauty.  Isn't it a wonderful, sweet paradox!?! 

As I think about the Beauty of Christ, I find myself woefully incompent to write about it.  As my fingers search out the keys to hit, my heart swells with adoration that cannot be expressed in ten thousand words.

So, let me share some quotes I enjoy on this topic:

Words cannot depict the preciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to His people, nor can they fully tell how essential He is to their satisfaction and happiness!

As the river seeks the sea, so Lord Jesus, I seek You!

O let me find You and melt my life into Yours forever!


There is a thing called 'beauty', which prevails upon the hearts of men. Mighty men, not a few, have bowed before it and paid it homage. But if you want true beauty, look into the face of Jesus,for there you have the concentration of all loveliness.

There is no beauty anywhere but in Christ.

O sun, you are not fair, when once compared with Him.

O fair world and grand creation of a glorious God, you are but a dim and dusky blot compared with the splendors of His face.

When we shall see Christ, we shall be compelled to say that we never knew what loveliness was before. When the clouds are swept away, when the curtains which hide Him from our view are drawn aside, we shall find that not anything we have seen or heard of, grand or graceful, in the wide universe, will bear a moment's comparison with Him, who was once seen as a root out

of a dry ground, but shall presently fill heaven and earth with luster and gladden all hearts with His glory.

(Spurgeon, emphasis mine)


The longer we look on 'created gaieties', the leaner and less lovely they
so that, by
the time we have viewed them forty, fifty, or sixty years--we see nothing but vanity in the creature! But when ten thousand ages are employed in beholding the perfection and beauty of Jesus--He still appears more and more lovely--even altogether lovely!

(James Meikle, emphasis mine)


Not only is his teaching attractive, his doctrine persuasive, his life irreproachable, his character enchanting, and his work a self-denying labor for the common good of all his people, but he himself is altogether lovely.

Do not look for anything lovely outside of Jesus, for he has all the loveliness.

All perfections are in him making up one consummate perfection; and all the loveliness which is to be seen elsewhere is but a reflection of his own unrivalled charms.

Jesus is the monopolizer of all loveliness.

He is the engrosser of all that is admirable in the entire universe.

(Spurgeon, emphasis mine)

And, let me end with more of Meikle's words because they capture my sentiments exactly:

Alas! I can say nothing of His true excellencies! They overwhelm my laboring thought, and are too vast for my feeble conception to bring forth!

my "front porch"

As you probably know, in Asia people take off their shoes when they enter a home.  Sometimes shoes are taken off for entering classrooms or resturants or other places too. 

When my students come to visit me, they take off their shoes and line them up on the stairs outside my front door.

outside my front door

I took these pictures as some students were leaving my home after a Christmas party a few weeks ago.  Some of the students (and thus their shoes) had already left (were gone) before I thought to capture it on film.  When they were all there, the stairs were full and about half were Converse.

Here are shots of my students putting on their shoes right in front of my front door. :)

Rita putting on her shoes Sarah putting on her shoes

This post is the start of another random series showing you some of the "corners of my home."  I will show you were I keep my shoes in my next "corners of my home" post.  (I also need to remember to take pictures of where I park for that other random series I have going.)

Happy Tuesday!
sig tag

A Comment on Comments


Sallie informs us
all that this week is "National Delurking Week." 

Like Sallie, one of
the hardest parts of blooging for me is keeping up with and responding
to comments.  I appreciate and read them all even if I don't get a
chance to respond to them--either via email or in bloggyville.  And, I also read several blogs but don't really comment (often).

Nevertheless, in honor of Delurking Week, I have two questions:

How do you handle comments on your own blog?  How do you like/prefer for bloggers to handle your comments on their blog?

At first, I tried to respond here on my blog--so that there was a conversation going on the post--I like that.  Then I realized that I rarely go back and read responses to comments on the blog where I posted the comment--especially if it is a day of surfing.   So, now I either go to that person's blog and leave a comment  or I email a response to their comment.  This method leave a little hole on my own blog though because it might seem as if I don't reply to people's comments (which sometimes I don't, especially if it is a busy week). 

I know of one blog I comment on that I as soon as I comment, it signs me up to be notified by email when a comment has been posted on that post.  I like that insofar as the blogger can comment on the blog and the commenter gets the emailed response--two birds one stone.  I don't like it as a commenter when it is a hot topic and I keep getting unwanted emails that I didn't know I was signing up for.

So, back to my questions. . . .

How do you handle comments on your own blog?  How do you like/prefer for bloggers to handle your comments on their blog?

Oh, yeah, and don't forget to do some delurking as you travel around bloggyville this week.

Carnival of Beauty

Carnival of Beauty

Sallie has now posted the new topics and hostess for 2007.  Yea!!  Go check it out and seriously consider joining us!  We'd love to have you!! 

In fact, you can join us this week--why wait?  This week the topic is the "Beauty of Christ."  If you are new to the Carnival of Beauty, check here for info on participating.

never again.

Last week, when I posted my three food policies and pictures of a soup I now love, I mentioned that there is one thing I will never eat again.  ejia asked what that thing was so that she would not mistakenly serve it to me if I ever sat at her table. ;)

So, here it is.  Here is the thing I will NEVER put in my mouth again:

I've actually blogged about it before, but not really in detail.  So, let me introduce to you the thing I will never eat again--ever--no matter what.  It is the 1000-year-old egg, aka the century egg.  In Chinese it called "皮蛋" (pi dan).

Century Egg

The first time I tried this black, partially-translucent preserved substance, I had no idea what it was.  I just saw these black slices of "jelly" on a pretty plate.  It was 1998, and I was in China at a "thank you" banquet with a bunch of principals from schools in the area.  So, being polite, I tried it.  As soon as it was in my mouth, I regretted my bravery which made me put the whole slice in mouth without trying just a bite first.

Oh my--never in my life have I ever regretted sticking something so small into my mouth before!!  It truly is the only thing (as an adult) that I has ever made me gag.  It was all I could do to smile and chew. 

Now, like most "delicacies" there are some people who just LOVE the 1000-year-old egg--which is really only 50 to 100 days old.  Here in Taiwan, it is often cut into cubes and placed in congee (or rice soup) or sliced and added to slimy sliky toufu [click links for pics]. 

But, no thank you!  Not for me!!  Believe me it is not jelly and does not taste anything  at all like cheese.

photos in this post by FotoosVanRobin, irrational cat, linyi & 10dier.



Can I just say that when it is 58F° inside it is cold!?!?!

58F° outside is not bad--in fact it is nice.  But inside?  and with no heater? 

Let' just say "brrrr." 

I can no longer feel my toes and fingers.  Off to put on socks and more clothes before snuggling into bed.

one of the greatest men I know


One of the greatest men I know turns 75 years old today.  My PawPaw is one of the most gentle, loving, compassionate, kind, patient men I have ever known.  He never meets a stranger.  In fact, I had to long ago deal with the fact that nearly everyone he knows who is younger than him consider him their "other grandpa" (jealously you know).   

He is also a great story teller.  As a little girl, I would go and spend days and weeks at my grandparents house.  He used to rock me and read to me before bed time.  But, my favorite of all was when we would lay down together, and I would put my feet against his back while he patiently told me story after story after story.

PawPaw and Me

My sister and I both love my PawPaw's hands.  They are so not small
by any strech of the imagination.  They are both strong and soft, rough
but gentle at the same time.  I love it when he wraps his hand around
mine.  There is no other feeling like it in the world.

My PawPaw loves Jesus, loves children, and loves his family.  His favorite hymn is "Jesus Loves Me."  He has worked in the church nursery/preschool for over fifty years--soon (if he hasn't already) he will be telling stories of God's love to the third generation of children from the same family. 

I could go on and on and on about just how wonderful my PawPaw is.  But, that would just embarss this humble man greatly.  So, let me just end with this:

Happy Birthday, PawPaw!!  I love you!!

Happy Birthday PawPaw

before email

The Good Old Days

If you click to the site--click with caution, not all cartoons are squeaky-clean.

It was a little over ten years ago, that I got my first email address.  It was 

Life has never been the same since. 

How is it possible that it can feel like both such a long time ago and just yesterday at the same time? 

i like this stuff

Living in a foreign country, I have the privilage of trying intersting new foods all the time.  So, I have three "food policies":

  1. I can try anything once.

  2. If I can swallow it and keep it down once, I can probably try it again (but maybe later).

  3. If I can swallow it and keep it down twice, maybe the third time I try it I might actually like it.

Over the course of the last ten years (I first came to Taiwan in 1997 for a month), I've tried all kinds of things.  And there is only one thing I will never put in my mouth again; however, there are many things that I didn't care for at first but have grown to LOVE.

Anywho, last week must have been the third time I tried this soup because I now know that I LIKE IT!

Sour and Spicy Soup (aka

Can you tell what kind of soup it is?  The Chinese name for this soup is 酸辣湯 or "sour-spicy soup."  That's right--it is "hot and sour soup."  And it is yummy.

We have a version of it in American-Chinese restaurants, yet I've never tried it there.  So I don't know what the American version really looks or tastes like.  Because, yall, I used to be a proud card-carrying member of the "picky eaters unite" club.

So, I wanna know . . .  if you've tried "hot and sour soup" out side of Asia, does this here look like the Western-Chinese restaurant version of the soup or does it look totally different?

Sour and Spicy Soup (aka

Oh, and here, it is not served in some little, tiny pre-dinner bowl.  It comes in a big fill-your-whole-tummy sized bowl and costs less than 60 US cents.  Or, if you are blessed it is free because the store owner likes you and wants you to try new things, so she occasionally gifts you with free soup or noodles. 

Nice, huh?  One more reason to love Taiwan.


Sam on MRT

Do you wanna know what verse my kid-brother (13 yo) counts as his favorite verse in the Bible?

I'll give you a hint: it comes from today's chronological Bible reading.

Sam's favorite Bible verse (if memory serves me right) is Job 1:21: "And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'"  (And this is coming from a kid who had all of his birthday presents and Christmas presents from 2005 stolen during multiple break-ins in the course of just a few months.)

I, however, tend to favor the verse right before Sam's favorite: "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped" (Job 1:20).

In a matter of seconds--in the times it takes to utter a few sentences--the greatest man of all the people in the east tragically lost each and everyone of his ten children, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and all but four of his very many servants. 

And what does the grief-stricken guy do? He worships.

I love that word: w o r s h i p. 

a taiwanese woman worshiping

It has become so much more meaningful to me living here in Taiwan.  I have seen people worshiping great, big, HUGE idols, people worshiping tiny 12-inch tall idols, people worshiping old trees, people worshiping even the stumps of old dead trees, people worshiping stones and tablets, people worshiping ancestors (both those from generations long ago and those recently deceased).

My idea of what is worship has changed so much since living here.  Before it was only something I did with others.  It was something I did in Church--it was singing songs and listening to sermons.   What I did alone was "quite time" or "devotions."  When I was a new believer, I did not know I could or should bow before God of All and worship.

Don't get me wrong.  I knew and could teach others and wax eloquent about the fact that our daily act of worship was how we lived our lives. And, I knew that worship is a coperate act we do together when we gather as believers.

Don't get me wrong.  I know that people in the western world "worship idols"--TV, football, blogging, movie stars and so on. I know that.

But that is not what I am talking about.  This is different.  It is markedly different. 


We, in the West, do not kneel before our TVs and computers clasping our hands in front of us and make a choice to actually, physicaly bow before a graven image of the "god of entertainment."  But, I have friends, coworkers, students,  neighbors who do make the choice to kneel before an idol, clasp their hands around sticks of incense and worship.

Watching them worship has changed the way I myself worship the Almighty.  I cling to that word "worship" in the Bible more so now than ever.

Job, upon hearing that all he owned was destroyed, did what?  He worshiped. 

The scholars from the East followed a star and traveled miles and miles, why?  They wanted to worship. 

What did one of my favorite characters in the Bible, Gideon, do after hearing the interpretation of his dream?  That's right, he worshiped. 

Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel . . . they all "worshiped." 

Often the Bible simply tells us "he worshiped."   Sometimes it says "they bowed their heads and worshiped," but, many, many times it is written as "and he fell down and worshiped."

When was the last time you "fell down worshiped"?  When was the last time you stopped activity, put aside the reading plan, the prayer request list, and memorization cards, and worshiped

Don't get me wrong.  I am not saying don't do those things.  I am not even saying those can't be "acts of worship."  But, I am wondering,
when was the last time you (and I) fell down, face to the earth, and worshiped the Most High God?

I wanna be like Job, and Gideon, and Moses, and David, and Samuel, and . . . . .  I want my first response to the proclamation of good news to be that I worship.  I want my first desire after hearing bad news to be that I worship. 

And so, after she clicked save, she knelt before the Most High God and worshiped.

help for a poky pc

Is your pc sometimes a slow poke?  Do you get frustrated when your computer seems to get stuck?

There is a simple freeware solution!!

FreeRAM XP Pro is a great little program that sits in my tray making my computer run smooth and fast.  I love it!  Whenever my computer gets a little sluggish, I just doubleclick the icon and then click "go."  And, presto, my computer is better and faster.

But, it also is running behind the scenes to make sure my computer is running at optimal speeds all the time. 

There are more advanced features too if you like to tinker with "advanced settings."  But if "advanced settings" are not your cup of tea--no problem, its easy enough for people who like the PhD (push here dummy) versons of programs.

I've used FreeRAM XP Pro on both my laptop at home and desktop at school for over a year now, and I give it a two thumbs up!! 

Plus, it truly is freeware.  That means . . . it's FREE!!

It works for me!

oh! how merciful!!

Our God is of another order. He notices every one of us; there is not a sparrow or a worm but is found in his decrees. There is not a person upon whom his eye is not fixed. Our most secret acts are known to him. Whatsoever we do, or bear, or suffer, the eye of God still rests upon us, and we are beneath his smile—for we are his people; or beneath his frown—for we have erred from him.

Oh! how ten-thousand-fold merciful is God, that, looking down upon the race of man, he does not smite it out of existence. . . . But see how, when he observes the sin of man, he does not dash him away and spurn him with his foot; he does not shake him by the neck over the gulf of hell, until his brain doth reel and then drop him forever; but rather, he comes down from heaven to plead with his creatures; he argues with them; he puts himself, as it were, upon a level with the sinner—states his grievances and pleads his claim.

There yet remains hope, even for the scorner.

Hope in a Saviour's veins.
Hope in the Father's mercy.
Hope in the Holy Spirit's omnipotent agency.

--Charles Spurgeon

more precious than fine gold

Various selctions from the sermon Spurgeon preached on March 18, 1855, entitled "The Bible":

Ah! you know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your day-books than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from beginning to end, and what have you got? A mouthful of froth when you have done.

But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that man writes, a catch of the day, is greedily devoured.


Most people treat the Bible very politely. They have a small pocket volume, neatly bound; they put a white pocket-handkerchief round it and carry it to their places of worship; when they get home, they lay it up in a drawer till next Sunday morning; then it comes out again for a little bit of a treat, and goes to chapel; that is all the poor Bible gets in the way of an airing. That is your style of entertaining this heavenly messenger.

There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write "damnation" with your fingers. There are some of you who have not turned over your Bibles for a long, long while, and what think you?

I tell you blunt words, but true words.

What will God say at last? When you shall come before him, he shall say, "Did you read my Bible?"


"I wrote you a letter of mercy; did you read it?"


"Rebel! I have sent thee a letter inviting thee to me; didst thou ever read it?"

"Lord, I never broke the seal; I kept it shut up."

"Wretch!" says God, "then, thou deservest hell, if I sent thee a loving epistle, and thou wouldst not even break the seal; what shall I do unto thee?"

Oh, let it not be so with you. Be Bible-readers; be Bible-searchers.


God may be seen in the stars; his name is written in gilt letters on the brow of night; you may discover his glory in the ocean waves, yea, in the trees of the field; but it is better to read it in two books than in one. You will find it here more clearly revealed; for he has written this book himself, and he has given you the key to understand it, if you have the Holy Spirit.

Ah, beloved, let us thank God for this Bible; let us love it; let us count it more precious than much fine gold.

(HT: TeamPyro)

my verse of the moment

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but
later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have
been trained by it.

(Hebrews 12:11)

let's be honest


I am the kinda gal that makes tons and tons of goals and lists.  I analyze.  I plot.  I plan.  I have great intentions for wonderful things. 

But . . . you see, I am a "SHE"--a Sidetracked Home Executive (and I don't even have others to manage, just me) [see flylady for more info on SHEs].

I struggle with perfectionism.  So, really this means I have really high expectations but they end there.  My list gets lost, forgotten or just plain ignored.  The first tiny inclination of possible failure (keep in mind we are not even talking actual failure here) sends me running for the whiteout, eraser, delete key.  I want to hide the fact that I am not perfect--even from myself.

I love the way Blair keeps track of all her goals with weekly and quarterly assessments.  How smart!  How brave!  I would never dare to that in public because I fear failure; and, I just am not that brave.

I look back at 2006, and am a little sad that I let the tyranny of the urgent take place over the things I truly value.  So, unlike last year, this year I made a list of 85 specific and measurable things I'd like to see happen in 2007.

I not ready to share my 85 things list, but here are some basic themes--by God's grace--I want to make a priority for 2007:

  1. Scripture Memory
    I hope to memorize these verses in Chinese and begin working on memorizing an entire chapter, possibly a book in English.

  2. Systematically Reading thru Scripture
    I can't decide if I am going to read it chronologically thru the year or from cover to cover in 90 days.  (I am going to try for the last one, but if I get too far behind, go with the first one.  Is that good or bad that I've already created a safety-net for possible failure?)

  3. Sharing the Good News
    I want Jesus to be a natural part of my daily conversations.

  4. Reclaiming my Health
    By the end of 2007, I would love to have my PCOS under-control, which includes some lifestyle changes.

  5. Reclaiming my Home
    I have let clutter pile up and keep me from enjoying my study and kitchen.  I want these rooms back.  I will be using flylady's routines to help me babystep my way back into a home I can enjoy.

  6. Studying Language
    I really, really want to study Taiwanese conversation.  I also would like to take some formal Mandarin classes--I haven't done that in 7 years now.

  7. Relationships
    Living alone allows me to become quite self-centered.  I want to be better about calling my family and friends in America as well as making an effort to be a better friend to those around me here (I could start by being better about answering my phone).

  8. Doing New Things
    Whether that is finishing things I started years ago and haven't finished or trying something new that I have always wanted to but just didn't dare--I am going to make an effort to try them (again) this year.

This year I plan to do things 15 minutes at a time.  I want to
quit letting perfectionism and the the lack there of paralyze me from
doing the things I long to do.  I am going to live in grace.  I have
lived too long not realizing grace was for believers too!!

I long to be a girl after God's own heart.  I long to know Him and make Him known.  I long to share with the Taiwanese people just how great a God He is.  I long to see the Taiwanese people worship Him in joy and expectation!  I want His reknown and glory to the be the foundation for all I do.

For more New Year Meditations stop by Laurel Wreath.

Happy, happy NEW year!!

Happy New Year!!!

Firecrackers and fireworks--yes they are different (one goes "pow! pow!" a hundred times and the other "swoooooosh! pop!")--went off all around my apartment from about 9 or 10pm till about 2 or 3am in random intervals.  Let's just say, "welcome to Taiwan, land of 'we love firecrackers and fireworks.'"

Somehow I caught a cold this weekend, so I plan to spend the rest of my day putting away Christmas decorations, grading papers, and napping (with probably more napping than anything).

Real exciting, huh?  Actually, I don't mind at all--rest is nice.

In other news, Sallie has posted the new list of Carnival of Beauty topics for 2007!!  I love this carnival and encouage you to participate!!  Go check out the great list of ideas she has choosen for us!!  I can't wait!!

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