Thursday, March 31, 2011

a smattering

The sun has come out... this week, finally. And it's been very happily received. So happily, in fact, that I have bid my cold farwell for good. I'm sincerely hoping that fresh air and vitamin D are the perfect remedy.

goodbye, cold.


The only thing between me and this, however, is my big, bad statistics class (a prerequisite for my grad program). This has, unfortunately, been requiring exorbitent amounts of my time. Within a few weeks, however, I shall also bid him farwell... forever. On the bright side, just studying anything has been so enjoyable that I can hardly wait to study something that I actually care about. Amazing!

stats


On a cultural note, the Taiwanese are excellent gift givers, especially when visiting our home, at traditional holidays, or, in this case, when cancelling class. Ben and I both tutor for a sweet family (Remember when we got locked out of our flat and a kind family came to our rescue? Yes, this family. Who knew what would come of our folly? God, of course. What a sense of humor.) Anyway, they cancelled on Monday, and to our delight, we had an extended evening. The dad felt bad, though, and proceeded to bring us this gift.


a gift...


Very kind. Yes. But what on earth am I going to do with all of these rolls??? We have received quite the variety of gifts, but this one may have surprised us the most. Maybe they think we eat a lot, we thought. Great. Or, maybe they found these on sale? At any rate, Ben has quickly made a dent, and they will be appreciated for months to come... (and hopefully no longer).


And finally, with hints of spring in Taipei, I thought to teach Audrey (a 3 year-old I tutor) to make tissue paper flowers.


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She loved it! It was quite the hit.


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The inspiration behind this project? My husband. You may not have known, but he really is quite crafty (in more than just one way). When we were in college, he surprised me with a lovely display of tissue paper flowers, which adorned my desk for quite some time. I loved them! After all, they're cheap, and they last nearly forever, right?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Funnies

A few funnies, from my class:

-We are learning a song for a show that we are putting on in May. The song is Mama Mia by ABBA and one of the lines sings, "Blue, since the day we parted." One of my little girls, Romy, unknowingly decided to improve the song with a line reading, "Blue, since the day we farted."

-I was thumping the back of my head against the wall one day and Henry all of a sudden shouts, "Stop!!" "Why, Henry?" "You will be stupid," he replies. Glad to know I'm not there yet.

-There is a small aquarium at our school with some colorful fish inside. All the kids like to look at them. The other day, Flynn decides to inform me that they are "garbage fish." He then proceeds to give me a discourse on them. I found out later that "garbage fish" is a literal translation of what they are called in Chinese.

And from Beth:

- Lately, I've been teaching my youngest class bits of phonics. "Oo" is one of our current sounds. We eat a lot of noodles here, so I thought it would be a great, practical, "oo" word to teach my kids. I wrote the word on the board, and drew a bunch of squiggles next to it. "Class, NOODLES." Tiger raised his hand, "Teacher, that's not noodles. That's messy!"

- Sandra came into class in a bit of a flurry one day. "My daddy...he's in the hospital." "Oh no! What's the matter?" I said. "He's... he has a rock... here." She points to her belly. "Oh..." I say, "In his stomach???" Sandra explains, "Mommy says its because he doesn't drink enough water!" A rock? Right. Got it. Poor man.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

death to... beth.


Lately, the Lord has been actively at work in convicting me of my own pride and selfishness. You may be asking, Why would you post something this personal on here? Well, in a nutshell, because I feel the Lord prompting me to be honest and transparent about life, and in this that He may use it to bless or encourage someone.

I'm always proud and selfish, and I'm often reminded by the Holy Spirit, but especially lately as I've considered my life in various aspects and thought of my motives behind my actions. Introspective? Yes. Happy? Not really. The Lord is ever effective at bringing my motives to the surface and revealing the ugliness in them to me, and I've been humbled and thankful for His faithfulness in doing so. I am reminded that He truly is the reason I live and breathe; I am in Jesus... and saying goodbye to Beth and all of the snares and entrapments that consume her. My life exists soley to bring glory to my Creator.

Reading in John this week, I came across a passage where John writes about the unbelief of people in Jesus' time. Even with Jesus' many signs and miracles, people would still not believe in Him. Some, as John quotes from Isaiah, because the Lord has not yet opened their eyes. But there were definitely some among the authorities ("many even," John says) that believed in Jesus, but out of fear of the Pharisees, they kept quiet about their faith... "for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God" (John 12:43). This cut me to the core as I acknowledged how much I love glory from others, and how terribly I fail to love God's glory. It hurt... deeply.

And then there's grace.

"And God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved."

(Ephesians 2:7-8)


And I am so very thankful. To be reminded that my God is merciful... rich in mercy, in fact. Even when am I so lost in myself, God's love reaches beyond to restore my life in Christ... simply through grace. Overwhelmed? Yes.

The Lord has used this to cause reflection of various parts of my life, and it has been incredibly helpful and refreshing to refocus my life around His glory... to once again bid my own pride and selfishness farewell with God's strength.

All of this led me to think of blogging, and how it can be the perfect outlet for self-glory. Right? I mean, who really cares what we ate for dinner on Tuesday and which mountain we climbed last weekend? Is sharing the random details of our life serving to bring glory to us, or to the Lord?

When Ben and I started a blog, it was with great hesitation, simply because we both had read blogs that had served to be helpful and beneficial, and those which had been an outpouring of information, either too personal or too purposeless. We identified that blogging could potentially result in narcissism. With all of this in mind, we still decided to start for the purpose of keeping our families and close friends informed while we live overseas, and as a way of recording our adventures and memories for ourselves in the future.

But, as the Lord has been teaching me, if at any point something in my life becomes a means of attracting self-glory or leads to prideful thoughts, I had better be ready to rid myself of it. Quickly. And for that matter, if anything in my life becomes more about my glory than about God's glory, I need to either choose to eliminate it or purposefully refocus it.

So this is me refocusing our blog. We still aim to keep our families (my mom has begged me not to give it up) and close friends included as much as possible in our lives here. And we are increasingly thankful for the cool photo journal we have of our experiences this past year. But, more now than ever, I (and Ben as well) desire that whatever we do here, it be solely for God's glory. Much less about our lives as Ben and Beth, and much more about our lives as lovers of God and His glory.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lantern


Recently, we went to the nearby town of Pingxi. Check out what we did there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan.

In the wake of last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we are left on the sidelines to watch a entire country of people sort out this major disaster. I often just crave to be on the front lines, to help in some sort of tangible way when the Lord reminds me again that our prayers are incomprehensively powerful.



Psalm 57:1-3; 11

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and
his faithfulness!

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

I ask you to join us in praying for Japan... that God will grant His peace and mercy in the midst of chaos... and that many might come to know of His steadfast love and faithfulness through this tragedy.


Thank you to those who have expressed concern for us... Tawain has remained unaffected and safe. Most of Taiwan is concerned for the condition of our respected neighboring country and friends who live there.

Monday, March 7, 2011

at the coast...

We never miss an opportunity to play on the beach, so here are some photos of the beach in Wanli (including several from my budding photographer husband)...

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Refreshing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wan Jin Shi International Marathon...in video

13.1

This weekend, Ben and I traveled to Wanli, a costal town north of Taipei, where I ran my second half-marathon. Kayt and I have been training together for the last several months, and have been long anticipating this race!

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early morning at the race site,
located on the northeastern coast of Taiwan with a backdrop of mountains

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Wanli, also known as Green Bay! Fitting, don't you think?

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my biggest (& favorite) fan

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at the starting line

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...and we're off!

So, I read on a friend's blog about her race in a mile-by-mile "journal", was intrigued... and thought I'd share the same here:

(miles) 1-3... Kayt and I took off with the gun, and felt the energy of the thousands of people around us. We were loving the race atmosphere! We ran through a dark tunnel for about a mile and a half, only to be pleasantly greeted by the ocean and quite the variety of oddly-dressed Taiwanese cheerleaders on the way out... "加油,加油!" ("Jiayou" is a Chinese idiom... it literally means to "add oil." It carries the meaning of "Go! You can do it! Be stronger!")

4-6... began with me tripping on a road reflector and stumbling on my face, to the many "Oh! Oh!" of the nice Taiwanese around us. I quickly got up with nothing but a slightly bloody knee and a shrug as if it's something I do everyday (and if you know me, well...). We felt great, and continued to keep a steady pace as we ran along the coast and passed through the little town of JinShan. We cheered on the leaders as they passed by us on the other side (ha!).

7-10... we turned around and began heading back towards Wanli, excited to be on the way to the finish! Kayt and I were mostly quiet, listening to the constant patter of running feet, with an occasional, "You're awesome!" and "You can do it!"

11-13.1...we were feeling tired and trying to do the kilometer/mile conversion in our heads. Too much effort. We called Ben & Kalan at the 3k mark to let them know we were almost finished... and to watch for us. The second wind kicked in, and we picked up pace a little as we approached the tunnel again. We knew the finish line was right on the other side, and were hyped up. We thanked the Lord for the opportunity to run and for the light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as we saw the finish line, we sprinted to the end and soaked in the electricity of the atmosphere around us. I came dangerously close to losing my banana breakfast, but somehow managed to keep it in check for the masses of people around me. We'd made it!

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sprinting to the finish...

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Tired, but excited!

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Overall, we had a great weekend. I enjoyed this half-marathon quite a bit more than my last one, and am thankful for a great running buddy in Kayt. Now we're looking at next month...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Whenever we have a weekend and some energy left, we make a desperate attempt to explore the many nooks and crannies of this intriguing island we find ourselves inhabiting. Without ado, here is the photo journal of our latest adventures...

the costal town of Jinguashi

at the coastal town of Jinguashi 金瓜石, in Northern Taiwan




the peak...

looking up to Teapot Mountain... does it look like a teapot?



to Teapot Mountain's peak

the Northern coast of Taiwan

a view from the top of Teapot Mountain... a bit of a misty day, but still beautiful.

the covered Jinshan Street

on Jinshan Street in Jiufen 九份, also along Taiwan's northern coast... Jiufen is known for this covered street that winds all throughout the small town.

overlooking Taipei

climbing Yangmingshan National Park's highest peak, Mt. Qixingshan 七星山
... this view overlooks Taipei (can you see Taipei 101 in the distance?)

the peak

almost to the peak

we made it!

We made it!



sulfur = stinky

We took a different way down, and were fortunate enough to walk by numerous piles of sulfur, intriguing but very stinky.

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall at night

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 國立國父紀念館 at night

Hope you enjoyed... have a great weekend!

Westminster Catechism Rap

A link in honor of our new school and one of our future professors. For those of you who know who he is...you'll get a kick out of this...Westminster Catechism Rap.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When in Rome...Go to KTV?

Here in Taiwan, KTV is THE thing to do. Here is a bit of footage from Beth's end-of-semester work party. Enjoy!


Kids Say the Darnest Things

A few more bloopers from the kids.


*Teacher Ben: "Alright class...goodnight, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite."

 Alvin: "We don't have bedbugs. We shut the door."


*(acting like a monster)
Teacher Ben: "AHHHHH!!! I'm going to eat you."

Wesley: (with a look of panic) "NO!!!!!! I yucky! I STANKY!" (a redneck Taiwanese boy)


*Teacher Ben: "So class, today we are learning about rain. Now tell me, is rain a good thing or a bad thing?"

Romy: "A bad thing because you can't go to the park."

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