3 more pink pens bit the dust

Well . . . . I am FINALLY done grading finals!!!!!

23 research papers, 54 essays, and 24 biz english portfolios (filled with various emails) along with other various tests and exams have all been read and assigned grades. 

. . . sigh . . . that was the most grading I think I've ever done.  Three college level writing classes is pushing the limit of sanity.  :)

And, yes, I really did use all the ink up in a total of 5 pink pens--all different brands. (I even had to resort to grading the last set of papers in bright blue ink.)

at 7-11

711 In Taiwan there is literally a 7-11 on every corner, sometimes even TWO at one intersection.  When you have something like 22 million people squeezed into something the size of 1/15 of Texas, it makes sense.

So, today when I was playing 20 questions with my students, I thought it quite clever when nearly every group included the question "can you buy it at 7-11?" in their process to figure out what the item to be guessed was. 

I've never heard that question asked when playing in America . . . . just one more fun little part of life here.

reading scripture by genre

Usually I enjoy structure and much order.  I don't like it when someone changes the song in the middle--I need completion, please let the song finish and then change it. 

I don't like flipping the channel during commercials; mute is just fine, thank you.  All that jumping around annoys me. 

I can't start one novel without finishing another one first.  If the novel is bad, it hangs around for awhile unread and keeping me from reading other novels, till finally I get smart enough to just throw it away and move on. 

My Bible
So, why am I telling you all about my completion-complex?  I'm trying something new this year--reading the Bible by genre, reading a different genre each day.  So far, I'm enjoying it despite my completion-complex.

Let me explain.  Each day of the week I read a different genre (literary type)--so on Sundays it's the Gospels, Monday it's law, Tuesday it's narrative/history, Wednesday it's the Psalms, Thursday it's poetry, Friday it's prophecy, and Saturday it's the epistles.  Kinda interesting, huh?

I don't recall at all how I surfed upon this plan, but I do know that the genre based Bible reading plan that I am using is from this site.

At first I thought it might get confusing or I might not like all the jumping around.  I thought I might lose focus or concentration.  Nope.  Not at all. 

One thing I have noticed different with this reading plan is that
since each genre is not equal in length, but they still divided each genre into fifty-two selections, some days the section is only
two chapters while other days it might be six. 

Nevertheless, I am actually quite enjoying having each day specialize on a certain type of writing.

Hmmm . . . wonder if I'd enjoy the Literary Study Bible.

Do you use a reading plan to guide your daily study of Scripture?  If so, what kind of plan are you using?  Are you enjoying it?

eating at a department store

Chicken with Rice Omelet and Curry

Department store food court food in Taiwan is actually quite good. 

I had this for dinner one day last week when I was starving.  It is a fried chicken breast served with a tomato rice omelet and curry.  It also came with corn soup (aka thick egg drop soup), steamed egg (with mushrooms, fish balls, and chicken broth inside for flavor), salad (shredded-cabbage based), and some herbal jelly soup.

And, to make it even better . . . this yummy meal only cost me about five US dollars.  Sweet huh?

bye bye curls

For those of you who didn't know, my tight little curls are all natural.  I've been a curly girl my whole life.  Once I understood some of the keys of taking care of curly hair--keeping them well conditioned, no touching after they are dry, and so on--I've learned to love them. 

But, after nearly 30 years of basically the same hairstyle I decided it was time for a change.  I've been thinking about it for a long time, but last week I took the plunge and permed my hair straight.  It took four hours for them to relax and then straighten and then smooth and then set my very curly hair. 

And straight it is!  Wow.  It feels so different.

Here is what my hair looked like before:

amanda 2

And here it is now:

new straight hair

One of the main differences between permanently straightening it and ironing it straight like I did a few times last year (my Christmas pictures) is that my hair still wanted to be curly--so it kinda formed some waves and had body and bounce.  Right now it just hangs there--so board straight!!

I washed straight hair for the first time in my life this weekend.  It feels SO DIFFERENT to wash straight hair.  And, I had to go out and buy a hair dryer--and blew my hair dry for the first time in my life too.  Crazy I tell you. Crazy.

I don't know how long it will be till I miss my curls and want them back.  But, for now I am enjoying the change. 

The other thing I worry (not real worry, just ponder occasionally) about is what to do when I have very curly roots and really straight hair.  If you have any ideas or have dealt with that problem before, I'd be happy to hear your suggestions!

constest over . . .

Well . . . my student received 2nd place in the Million Star 2nd season. 

She did very well all season long.  I hope another record company signs her up for a contract because (1) she deserves it and (2) she is a crowd pleaser--so many people like her. 

Good job, Rachel!!!  You did well. :)


RachelLast year, I discovered one of my students had been singing on TV.  But, because I didn't have cable, I only watched a few of the videos of her on YouTube.  I told her I had seen her singing and was impressed.  It was then that I found that what I had watched was small potatoes . . . . and that she had sung at other times on other shows too--as recently as just that past weekend.  But, she didn't tell me exactly what or brag or go into details. 

So, fast forward to this summer when I moved to Tainan and a typhoon blew through at the same time.  As I sat in my friend's apartment locked safely inside and utterly exhausted, I flipped through the channels . . . and I SAW HER ON TV!!!  I was shocked.  I mentioned it to my friend and found out that my student entered a "Taiwanese Idol" show on a major TV network. 

There are currently three different "Taiwanese idol" shows on prime time right now here in Taiwan.  My student is on the one called 星光大道 in Chinese.  They call it "Million Star" in English but a better translation of the show's name would be "Path to Stardom" or "Avenue of the Stars." 

So, ever since August of last year, I've faithfully watched this "Taiwanese Idol" show on TV each weekend.  It starts on Fridays at 9:30 and lasts till midnight.  Good thing for me they replay the last two weeks of shows back-to-back again on Saturday and Sunday.  So, in total I have four extra chances to see each show in case I miss the Friday night one or if I fall asleep on the couch before Rachel, my former student sings (she graduated last year).  (By the way, if you remember Judy from this summer, Rachel and Judy are best friends.)

Well, they have it down to the top five and tonight the show is live as they determine the ranking of the top five and declare a winner.  Rachel has consistently received high scores throughout the show.  And currently is in first place from the last 3 weeks of "top 6" competitions when they started adding the scores together for the top 6 and not just kicking off the low achievers! 

So, no doubt that tonight I will be watching this show and cheering on my former student!!! 

Here she is in a couple of her most recent performances on the show (the first one she is in a duet with one of the judges in a fun song called "it doesn't matter"):

i now "officially" look like my mom!!

I saw this over at An Open Book, and thought I'd see if a computer algorithm agrees with most casual observers that I look like my mom.  It did. :)

(P.S. My dad's name is not "dan" . . . I mistyped "dad.")

my blog's chinese name

Awhile back, when I was changing the design of my blog, I translated the title into Chinese.  I never incorporated it into the blog design, but thought I'd post it here anyway just 'cuz.


Of course it means "following an unknown path," but if we translated it literally it would come out more like this: "taking steps on an unknown pathway." 

If you wanted a more word-by-word translation, it would come out more like this: "Walking Unknown Road/Way/Path On"

And, if you want a character-by-character definition it would come out more like this: "Step Walk (indicates current action--hence "ing") Not Know (particle for making adjectives) Course/Way Road On."

And, if you want it in pinyin, it would be: "Bu Xing Zai Wei Zhi Dou Lu Shang."

And, just for fun, here it is in some different fonts.  The font I used above is my favorite Chinese font.  I like it best because it's fun, but I also like it because it comes with a matching fun English font and they go well together.


Isn't Chinese fun?

Oh, and if you happen to be looking for some fun, free Chinese/Asian fonts (like the one in my blog header) look hereKudasai is my favorite, but I also like Japan and Chowfun.

a woman's heart

My sister sent me this quote last week.  It was encouraging to me, so I thought I'd share it with you. 

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her."

(I searched online to see if I could find the source, it looks like it is probably from Maya Angelou.)

buying books overseas

Living overseas has seriously helped me to curb my book-buying addiction.

My mom says she can always tell when it is time for me to come home because packages start arriving.  I start shopping my wish list and sending books to my parents' home to wait for me the month or two before I leave.

Amazon.com's international shipping on books is SO high--sometimes more expensive than the book itself.  So, last year when I read on a blog about a company that ships books overseas for under three USD ($2.97) a book, I was giddy.

I've ordered from BetterWorldBooks.com twice.  The first time it took about two months or longer to get my books (I was beginning to think they had been sent to Thailand), but the second time it took less than a month.  The first time they come in an M-bag (I had ordered several) and the second time, they just came in a simple box.  Both times they had been shipped from Switzerland?  Sweden?  I don't remember, but some "S" country. :)

I've been pleased.  It's nice to once again be able to order (cheap, used) books and actually have them shipped to me.  I've not found every title I've searched for, but I have found many.

If you live overseas and need a book craving filled, you might wanna check out BetterWorldBooks.com.

Oh, yeah, and the profits go to fund literacy, and shipping is free to US addresses, so even if you aren't overseas, you still might wanna check 'em out. :)

(I thought I'd read about it on a "girl blog" in the fall.  But when I searched my g-reader, I only found a mention of it on the Bell Site in the summer.  Anywho, thanks anonymous girl blog; sorry I can't give you a hat tip.  And thanks to Jackie Bell for recommending good stuff to others too.)

tatoos and hello kitty

What do tatoos, Hello Kitty, Beethoven, working dogs, and Holland have to do with each other?

Give up?

They are all topics of the research papers I find myself correcting and soon grading.    Other topics include New York City, diabetes, the Disney princess (an awesome paper by the way), the MINI Cooper, online gaming, and Louis Vuitton.   I am learning so much.

Dear blog, 
I miss you.  Will be back soon. 


Reading through the biblical account of the Creation and the Fall get me excited.  They are my second favorite part of the Bible "to story" to people who have never heard it before.  There is some really great stuff in there that as people who've grown up with the story just totally miss.  (Note to self: this is a post topic for another day.)

But, the other day, in the midst of being excited about reading the opening chapters of Genesis, I saw something I'd never noticed before: it was during Seth's lifetime that men began to worship (call upon the name of the Lord or be called by the name of the Lord). 

I read my Bible with colored pencils near by so I can mark themes (kinda my own version of Kay Arthur's inductive study).  One of the things I love marking is worship.  So, perhaps that is why this time I actually saw this verse.  This verse left me pondering much and asking lots of questions.  I did look it up in a commentary, so I could get some of my questions answered.

All this thinking about worship reminded me of a post I wrote last January  . . . I share it with you again:

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
all  of his 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 time 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

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

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

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

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

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."

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

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.

Originally posted on January 4, 2006.

seeing pink

Grading Essays

I feel like my words are missing . . . my students have stolen them from me. :)

In the last 24 hours, I've corrected approximately 60 essays.  I have about 20 more to go by tomorrow afternoon, and then 40 more for early next week, and then oh . . . about 60 more later in the week.  Most of them are 2-3 pages, but about 20 are close to 10 pages each.

My hand hurts, my vision is blurred, and I've actually emptied the ink out of one pink pen and am about to finish off my second one in a matter of just a few more essays.  (OK, so maybe my arm hurts from sleeping on it funny, and maybe my vision was only blurred for a few seconds when my contact was doing something funny . . . but I really have used up the ink in 1.8 pink pens.)

Finals are in two weeks; but since I teach three writing classes, the majority of my students need to turn in final drafts of essays, research papers, or business emails they've written over the course of the semester.  Which means I am helping them to do their final editing.

. . . which means I'm seeing pink and will continue to do so until mid-January!!

[Oh, yeah, but don't feel sorry for me.  I am not complaining.  I love my job.  Just felt the need to explain why I've not posted much . . . I have no words left to express my own thoughts. :)]

a new favorite

oatmeal casserole

When I babysat for a missionary family awhile back, the mom made oatmeal casserole.  It was the first time I've ever tried such a thing.  You eat it warm, but pour milk over it kinda like cereal.  I am an oatmeal lover, so this new twist to an old favorite was a welcome treat.

I decided to make it for my own weekend-before Christmas guests who were spending the night.  Like many casseroles, you can put it all together the night before, leave it in the fridge and just pop it into the oven the next morning.

Here's what I did:

1/3 cup butter

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup raisins
2 small apples, chopped skin on
1/3 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans
1 cup plus 2 TBSP. milk

3 cups quick-cooking oats

Grease a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish (I don't have a casserole dish, so I just used a cake pan). Preheat the oven to 177C or 350F.

Drop in the eggs and beat them slightly. Add the brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well, and make sure there are no brown sugar lumps. Whisk in the melted butter and the milk. Stir in the oats.  Stir in the optional raisins, apples, and nuts (although optional, these make it oh so scrumptious).

Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. The top should be starting to brown. Remove from oven. Spoon into bowls and pour milk over the top.

I just mixed everything right there in the casserole dish.  This fed six of us, even with going back for seconds.  I also happen to know that it is good warmed up in the microwave the following day.

Next time, I am going to experiment with using Splenda instead of the brown sugar, I know it will give it a slightly different taste, but that'd be ok. 

Also, the original receipe I followed was slightly different.  One difference is that it called for 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder; I didn't have that so I left it out.  I didn't miss it, but you might.

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