smile at the camera

Gilby, Smile at the Camera

I think Gilby has actually learned to "smile" for the camera. When I say "Gilby, look at the camera" he actually does!! 

I used to hold a treat right by the camera and give the command.  That way he'd look at the treat and thus be looking into the lens of my camera at the same time.  But, now, no treats are needed at all.  And, not only does he look . . . he opens his mouth and appears to be smiling.

In fact, he absolutely loved taking pictures last night.  I was trying to get some shots to send home to parents and grandparents so they could see my tree.  In some of them I held Gilby, but if I decided to take one by myself he either jumped into my lap or ran over to stand by my feet. 

Silly dog . . . you think it's possible for a canine to actually fall in love with the limelight?

You see him just sittin' there beggin' for me to take his picture, right?

Merry Christmas From Gilby

how many children is enough? 8? 12? 20?

"You could buy a yacht, or you could save some children's lives and build a family," Meg, the mother, is quoted saying in regards to spending their family inheritance on the hundreds of thousands of dollars on international adoption fees!

wow!  just wow.  This couple near Chesapeake Bay has really adopted 20 children--aged 1 to 21.  Just amazing.  I've always dreamed of having a huge family--12 children is the number I always dream about.  But 20? . . . hmmm . . . that is just huge!

Even though they've been accused of adopting just for government money, they take no government money in order to run their household.

Their pockets are not bottomless, so the Kings live frugally and
with great faith, believing what they need will be provided. They
rarely visit malls. They shop at outlet stores while on vacation in
Maine, which they travel to -- and anywhere else they go together -- in
two 15-passenger vans.

The children wear hand-me-downs that are donated; friends shop yard
sales and send boxes of clothes every year. Their medical expenses are
largely covered by health insurance, but for orthodontic braces the
kids go to the dental clinic at VCU Medical Center where students work
at a reduced rate. So far, eight sets of braces are paid for and three
more are in the works.

As for college, the Kings are banking on help from scholarships and other financial aid, as well as the kids working part-time.

For groceries, they shop for sales and at warehouse stores. A local
tomato grower let the family loose in one of his fields to pick ripe
tomatoes that would have gone to waste. The Kings turned the bounty
into 350 quarts of various kinds of tomato sauce.

Go read the article . . . it is just amazing. 

{HT: Cindy}

senior class pictures

While some things at my new school are different than at my previous school, some things remain the same.  Taking senior portraits in late November and December is one of those things. :)

I teach this "class" for two "courses."  I have the back two rows for writing and the front two rows for public speaking.  They are a fun class--both halves.  In fact, I've seen them improve so much in the past 10 weeks, it makes my heart happy.  I love it when I actually can see the students learning.

All of 2008's Graduating Class from 2-4A

In Taiwan, the white collars on the graduation gowns means they are getting a four year bachelor's degree.

the holy vocation of singleness

Everyone starts by being single. Some people remain single, and at
least half of the married will end by being single again when their
spouses die. This needs to be thought about and prepared for so that
life is full and useful for the single person. How does a Christian
think about and prepare for a full and useful life as a single person?

Click here to read the rest of John Chapman's article on The Single Person in the Family of God.

[HT: Purple Cellar]


Here is an ever-changing list of some of the blogs I keep tabs on in my google reader.

Some of these blogs belong to more than one category--such as I know my college friends and several of the missionary bloggers in Taiwan in real life--but in order to make my life more simple, I just keep each blog in only one folder even though google reader allows you to stick one blog in many folders (something, by the way, I wish windows let me do with my files for school.)

And, one more thing, just because I keep tabs on these blogs and scan them in my g-reader, does not mean I endorse everything they say or do on their blogs.  As always, click with caution.


I am still here

{I didn't mean to post my blogrolls as a post.  They were supposed to go on to a "page."  This page in fact.  Right here.}

I am still here, I know it's been awhile since I posted.  I am ok.  A bit overwhelmed and feeling a bit lost, but ok.  It is always frustrating when my past experiences tell me I should be experiencing the end of a year, that things are coming to a close and refreshment is just around the corner as well as lots of time to spend with family . . . when in reality it is only midterm, I've got tons of things to do and the end as well as all my family are no where in sight.

Yeah, that can be just a little frustrating (you do notice the sarcastic tone in my voice right?).

Another reason for the delay in recent posts. . . well, my computer at home has decided to run at the speed of molasses on a cold day.  What used to take me 10 seconds now takes me 10 minutes to do.  Can we say frustrating again??

And, yet, another third reason for the lack of posts . . . . I have finally hit bloggers block or I don't know what to call it . . . maybe bloggers dread.  I don't lack ideas--I have lots of those from long before.  But, I currently lack the desire to compose--maybe that is due to the fact that I have 40 essays awaiting me to be graded and 40 more just around the corner.  My brain is like oatmeal and creativity is zapped--I've loaned it to my students when I coached them with their writing. 

It's funny really . . . .I used to have days where I could write multiple posts and still have more to write about.  I would think, "oh my how on earth do people live without blogging?  how on earth could she claim she needs a blogging break?"  Well, now that's me.  I am there.  I totally understand now.

So, for now, I am going to be doing some behind the scenes stuff--like did you notice my sidebar is now white and no longer pink?  And, like my blogrolls which were in serious need of upgrading.  I might post some here and there, but it will be very sporadic for awhile as I decide what to do with my home computer and overcome my feelings of being overwhelmed and wait for my writing ideas to come back to me.

Thanks for your concern and offers of cherry kool-aide.  They are much appreciated. 

a neat summer camp (yes, this post is 4 months late)

summer camp prayer

This summer my cousins and I joined an English summer camp.  It was a privilege to be apart of such a neat camp.

The camp was held in TaiMaLi, an aboriginal village on the east coast of Taiwan.  It was an English camp for elementary school students but we used bilingual coloring books that story the Gospel as the textbook. 

reading a bible story reading a bible story

A couple of factors made it so neat:

One is that team leaders wanted to serve Christ as families--so entire families served together.  MKs were on the frontlines leading and serving at the camp.  It was so neat to watch daughters leading worship right along side their fathers.

From the beginning the Gospel was the focus.  Several different tools were used to share the Gospel.  And, the neatest part of all was these first time hears of the Gospel were then immediately entrusted with the expectation to go and tell others this Good News they had just heard.

Also, the Gospel was told in culturally relevant ways.  One example of this was using a large scale "shadow puppet" play to tell about Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.

Another neat factor was that the "foreigners" and "locals" teamed up to
work side-by-side.   Not only did we work with the pastor and believers in TaiMaLi, but a church in Taipei sent Taiwanese believers on a mission trip to help out with this camp.  It was neat to watch the reality that we are one big family in Christ play out as believers from different countries complemented each other's work.



Over the course of the week, over 70 accepted Christ as Savior.  That Friday night we had a celebration party and 17 were baptized in a small inflatable swimming pool! 



Here is a video of one of the boys in my small group being baptized:

This little guy was baptized.

This little guy's English name is William.  Would you please join me in praying for him and the others that choose to believe in Christ one week this summer at the Joyful Hope English Camp? 

Weeks like that make being here, oh, so very worth it!!! :)

pumpkin people

Pumpkin People

Sometimes on Sunday afternoons, my little neighbors (who really aren't that little anymore), Karen and Christine come over to play games.  But, this last time, we did something different.  We painted faces onto little pumpkins (no, not oranges, pumpkins really--I promise).

Karen and Christine painting their pumpkins

Karen and Christine with their pumpkin faces

This was the first time I've actually seen orange pumpkins here in Taiwan.  Usually they are more of a yellow-green and more gourd-like in shape.

When I found these at the store I actually got a little excited.  But, I also found it quite humorous since I now know where all the pumpkin rejects from the States go to die . . . Taiwan! :) 

They had one kind of pumpkin labeled "large."  The "large" pumpkin
could still fit easily into the palm of my hand.  It was about the size of a grapefruit--maybe.  I think the family across from
me in the grocery store last week got a kick out of watching me get a
kick out of the "large" pumpkins. :)

pumpkin people

DSC03251 DSC03248

For more pictures of our pumpkin people, click over to flickr.


For the past two weeks, there has been only one thought stuck on repeat in my mind about the beauty of kindness:

It's your kindness that leads us to repentance, Oh Lord.
Knowing that you love us no matter what we do,
Makes us want to love you too.
(Part of a song circa 1989 sung by Maranatha! Praise Band, See Romans 2:4)

Please visit Cahleen for more in-depth reflections on the Beauty of Kindness.


This is what I looked like this weekend:

amanda with no curls

Yes, it only lasted the weekend.  It is/was not a permanent change to my natural curls. 

I went to get a hair cut on Thursday night, but the lady didn't know how to cut curly hair.  So, she first straightened it and then cut it.  Of course, I got the hair cut, after a massage and hair washing . . . so the entire process took about three hours, but only cost 14 USD (with no need to tip). 

I can't complain.

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