No intro needed . . . just watch.
HT: persecution blog
No intro needed . . . just watch.
HT: persecution blog
So, is the USA an antipode of China? Nope. Not at all.
Using this little antipodal toy, I found out that from my home in Texas, if I could dig straight through the earth, I would wind up somewhere in the Indian Ocean. [The top map is the original location and the bottom map is its antipodal point.]
And, if I were to dig all the way through the earth in a straight line from my home here in Taiwan . . . I would wind up in Paraguay. [And, no, Taiwan is not the same size as South America--the map scale on the left is different.]
So . . . I might not be EXACTLY 1/2 way around the world via the earth's core at least, but I sure am close.
And, Tiffany, one of my cousins who came to visit at the end of July, had just left Argentina after being there a year. For the year that she was there . . . we lived almost exactly on the other side of the world from each other! Cool!
(I know nothing about Kellie Coffey except for this song.)
Many women in my family (including me) have PCOS, which is the leading cause of infertility in women. 1 in 10 women have it.
The powerful emotion that this song evokes causes tears to stream down my face. I long to have a family, to be a wife, to be a mom . . . this singer has tapped into my heart of hearts, but even she has more than I do. She has a "husband to love."
It would be so easy to be bitter and envious.
But you know . . . in reality--in the nitty-gritty-in-your-face-this-is-life reality--I would still choose to be single and childless if it means God is better glorified in my life. Oh, make no mistake, being a wife and a mother is something I really, really want!!! But glorifying God is something I want even more. (Clarification: Not that he wouldn't be glorified if I became a wife and a mom, but only He who knows how he can best be glorified in my life.)
Tears continue to fall.
He is all-powerful--He can do what he wants when he wants.
He is all-good--He is a gracious, loving Father who gives good gifts and keeps his promises. He has met my greatest need of all and blessed me way beyond I deserve.
What right do I have to be bitter or envious? None whatsoever.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Two Additional Thoughts
First, you know what else? Even though her song is powerful and brings tears to my eyes each time I watch it, I am not sure I would be willing to die in order to become a wife and a mom. Namely, the pragmatics of it just don't make sense. If I died to become a wife or a mom, well then I can't really be a wife or a mom now can I? I'd be dead.
Second, after I first heard this song . . . I later thought about the One who HAS died for me. . . it is humbling. I am grateful for His tender loving mercy and everlasting grace. How undeserving I am! . . . yes, the tears are falling again.
My officemate and good friend, Kady, jokingly calls me "google girl" because I love google and all their cool gidgets and gadgets that make life online easier. I know google has it's drawbacks, and they probably know more about me that I know about me, but still you have to admit . . . This is just too cool!
When you choose something from the pull down menus (which are actually checklists), the listings below instantly change to meet your criteria. How cool is that!?!
The pull down menus available to you and the options inside them also change according to what you have checked in the other pull down menus.
You can even choose "grid view" and see the photos associated with the recipes (of course sometimes that might mean a picture of grandma, but I am sure she is the cook).
You can sort by a myriad of options so that the listing (or grid) falls into line in the way that best fits your needs.
Speaking of "Google Base," the virtual recipe box is actually just a small part of the larger "Google Base," which is way bigger (and just a tiny bit scary):
Google's goal is to organize the world's information, and that includes almost anything you might want to contribute, whether it's your store inventory, collection of original poetry, or research paper on cancer receptors. You can submit your information using either the standard web form or, if you have more than 10 items to submit, via our bulk upload options.
Wow. Just wow. Google (the noun) is giving all new meaning to google (the verb).
Don't forget you can still vote for amanda. hint. hint. :)
Well, check out this 4 minute video to see every day stuff you are likely to see in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan--a harbor city on a tropical island.
Even thought I live in Kaohsiung County and not city, these are still things I see daily.
(If the song is too much for you, turn down/off the volume.)
Two blogs I recently added to my Google reader which might be of interest to other missionaries are:
Here is what they are about in the words of their authors/keepers/blogger owners(?).
Missionary Geek is a blog about technology, productivity and ministry. Focusing on the modern missionary, we'll look at the latest tools, processes and hacks that will help you do your job easier, more cleanly and leave you with more time to drink coffee with your friends.
Know of any other blogs along these lines? If so, please do tell. I wanna check em out.
Saturday night, I went to the graduation ceremony at my school. This was not a new experience for me, but because two bloggers recently commented about the whole Taiwanese graduation experience on their blogs, I paid more attention to the culture differences myself.
Charlotte did a great job describing exactly what a typical high school graduation is like here in Taiwan. There are a few differences between high school and college graduations, but on the whole they are quite similar.
Taiwanese graduations tend to be quite informal, and there is no focus on the individual achievement of the students. Ours even included a rock concert at the end (although about 75% of the graduates had left by that point). At least at our school (but it seems like at others too) students take pictures the entire ceremony (such as the one above) and wander around at will. No other teachers were present except the "mentor teachers" (or class adviser). (I showed up because the students had asked me to--not because I was required to be there.)
At one point, after some dancing and bar tending on stage, the top student of each department was called on stage to receive in honor of all students in their department a diploma. All the graduates stood and were pronounced graduated. The dean of each department then went through the crowds and moved the graduates tassels from the left to the right. This however was the first time I had seen this happen. Then some awards were given to top students in each class.
Diplomas will be passed out to those who can receive them later--ie have actually passed all their classes and only took senior courses this semester. If they have to attend summer school (or even one more year) or are are still taking a junior class (which isn't completed until the first week of July) they can attend the graduation ceremony but will not get their diploma. The receiving of your diploma is a very informal thing done with no pomp and circumstance at all. (One or my former students told me that at his current school, they actually "graduated" before taking finals.)
Char makes two points I whole-heartedly agree with, first, she points out that unlike our western focus on the individual, here in Taiwan the "students were graduating as a class, as a grade, as a school."
It is another example of the "Big Me" (society) vs. the "Little Me" (the individual). In Taiwanese culture the Big Me always outshines the Little Me. In some ways I like that they were together as a class--that they were able to graduate with friends. I remember in high school, college, and grad school graduating next to perfect strangers since my friends were not next to me alphabetically.
Char also points out that by only allowing the top students to be recognized on stage, "it doesn't do a lot to encourage the majority of the average or even mediocre students. They should be given the chance to feel proud of their achievement, even if they weren't number one in their class." I agree.
I would add to this that the focus is not at all what any of these students have done. When I told my students "congratulations" in English or Chinese they were kinda dumbfound and would tell me "congratulations to YOU." The short speeches made during the ceremony mostly wish the students good health in the future--one VP even reminded the students to exercise so they could live longer. Nothing is said about "you worked so hard and we are proud of you."
Instead it is more like a goodbye or going away party. The ceremony starts off by talking about what a sad day it is and how hard it is to leave and say goodbye to friends. It ends with groups of students hugging and crying tears that can't be stopped--and this in a culture where displays of affection and emotion are very rare. It is further not about their accomplishments because some of them won't even be graduating for another month, summer, or even school year.
Some other things of difference to note:
In a nine-part series John Piper recently did on Marriage, Christ, and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God, his last sermon was directed towards singles.
It is entitled "Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters."
It was so encouraging as well as challenging.
I've not yet listen to the first eight sermons in the series, but I wholly expect them to be excellent and right on target as well. If you are married, you might want to take a
The ladies over at Titus2Talk have some excellent thoughts on praying for missionaries. Their list of ways to pray for women serving overseas is an excellent one.
I would LOVE for people to be praying prayers like this on my behalf!! (All of them hit the nail on the head, so to speak, but number four made tears fall.)
And, the analogy that the visiting missionary shared with her is so RIGHT ON!! Just like you can't pick up food with only one chopstick, "in the work of missions, you need both the missionary out in the field and people at home praying."
How much we value your prayers!!
Cool video explaining Web 2.0 in under 5 min. Watch and learn.
Created by: Michael Wesch
[Hat tip: Josiah's blog]
Or, if you'd rather have a flashback, here is a 1993 intro to Internet (that's right, no definate article).
We've come a long way, baby!
I've really been enjoying a recent addition to my blogroll--The M Blog--a blog by Guy Muse a missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
I cannot express in words how much pictures like this delight my heart!!
He also has an excellent set of quotes on church planting and the church planting movement. These quotes are actually part of a series of posts done on The M Blog--if after reading the quotes you are interested in more--browse around you'll find some good stuff.
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!!
About this time every year, I begin to search for a "read thru the Bible in a year" plan. As I was searching this year, I found some cool stuff. So, I thought I'd share it with you.
As you probably well know, there are several options of "year-long reading plans" to choose from. If you haven't seen it yet, the ESV Bible Blog displays them in a unique way. They are charted so that you can actualy visualize the path through scripture different plans guide you though.
Also, on that same blog page you will find links to the various reading plans in the ESV, of which you can subscribe for the RSS feed of the reading plan (here are all the ESV Bible RSS Feeds avaliable).
(I think) I have choosen the chronological reading plan for 2007. When I clicked to look at today's reading, I noticed a little "listen" link. I clicked. I listened. I like listening to scripture being read aloud--it's historical, bibical (faith comes from hearing), and very modern all at the same time.
Some other neat tools I found are:
What tools or resources do you use to study or access Scripture online?
Do you try to read thru the Bible in a year? If so, what plan do you use?
I am no crafty person, but I am looking for ways to put Christ into CHRISTmas, so I loved the idea of 26 (one for each letter of the alphabet) ornaments that each proclaim who Jesus is hanging on my Christmas tree.
I really enjoyed searching online to choose the names I wanted to use. For some letters there were way too many choices, but other letters left me no choice at all.
I "cheated" and used "Alpha and Omega" for the letter "Z." "X" also was a strech with "eXcellent One." And, I made two for "G"--Gracious One and Glorious--because I had made so many decisions by the end that I couldn't decide any more. So, my set actually includes 27 ornaments. :)
I also added one more touch to mine--I made them bilingual. One side is English and the other side is the Chinese for that name.
As you can obviously tell, I went an easy route and just used a paint pen, some glue, and glitter on red Christmas balls, but Dawn (a more crafty person) has some other ideas for making your own set.
Thanks to all who played along and tried to guess what these things were:
Michelle (a missionary in South Korea), who said she was taking a "LONG shot" guessed the answer to what they mean very well!! They are based on a foreign language, but not Greek like Crystal (a friend from college now living in the UK) thought.
As you probably know the 2008 summer Olympics are going to be held in China. For each Olympics, the hosting country gets to create the pictograms for the sports. Earlier this month, they announced what the seals for the olympics are going to look like.
The two pictograms above represent diving and judo--just two of the thirty-five pictograms that "integrate [the] pictographic charm of inscriptions on bones and bronze objects in ancient China with [the] simplified embodiment of modern graphics."
Fun, right? I just love them. Here are some more:
See all 35, more about them, and pictograms from previous Olympics here.
Piper also has other resources on Complementarianism in his online library. And, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is edited by Piper and Wayne Grudem, is also available online in a pdf file for download (free).
Go; read; be challenged!
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!
Found a new word today: blook.
I found it in on a site for advanced ELL's (English Language Learners--those people learning English not as their native language). Here is what they say about the word:
Many recent neologisms have emerged from the comparison between the real and online world. For instance, we now talk about e-tailers as opposed to bricks-and-mortar retailers, or face-to-face as opposed to virtual sales. The transition from printed to electronic page has been one such area, turning diaries into blogs (weblogs) and magazines into webzines. And now, in what seems a bizarre twist, we’ve come full circle, as blogs, commentaries originating firmly in the virtual world, are becoming blooks, texts made of real bits of paper that you can hold in your hand.
Interesting! I have heard of one person whose blog had become a touchable, printed and published book--but didn't know it should be called a blook. :)
Check out the rest of the lesson/intrduction of the new word at their site.
Have you ever heard of a blook before? Am I just behind the times living across the ocean?
Carolyn Mahaney, one of the girls from girl talk, posted this at the beginning of January:
7 Habits of the Highly Effective Woman
1. She rises early
2. She maintains the spiritual disciplines
3. She focuses on relational priorities for every season
4. She sets up regular times for planning
5. She develops an effective to-do list system and calendar/planner system
6. She establishes an efficient routine for managing her home
7. She organizes her house systematically
You can read her explaination in the rest of her post.
For me, it gives me something to ponder: Which ones am I already doing? Which ones do I need to work on most?
I really think that FLYlady is helping me to establish many of these through simple routines and babysteps. So, I am grateful to the FLYlady.
Just glancing over the list, I think I like it a lot as something of a ruler to measure how I am doing in becoming the kind of woman I want to be. I do think I would add an eighth habit: finds women she can trust to hold her accountable. I cannot over empahize the value of being held accountable (but more on accountability another day).