Thursday, July 29, 2010

Luke 6:45

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Our lips are mere messengers of our heart.
-Josh Harris

"A person's words can be life-giving water;
words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook."
Proverbs 18:4

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taiyuan, China.

Before I went there, I knew very little about it or what life would be like there.

A city of over three million.
A huge coal mining industry.
350 miles from Beijing.
A whole different culture.

And that was just about all I knew.

But now...
now when I think of Taiyuan, China, literally hundreds of pictures come to mind.


Like the fortune teller that sat on the sidewalk everyday. Multiple times a day I walked past him on my way to and from teaching English. Every day he was in the same place with his paper and cards, waiting. Watching the world go by. Often we'd exchange greetings of "Ni Hoa" and smile and wave at each other. Once he motioned for Rachel to sit beside him as he wanted to learn a few English words, starting with our names!
What is life like for him? Does he still sit there on the street everyday?

Like the man who had a corner store beside our apartment building. A tiny, dingy little place; his bed was in the corner of the room. He had a small fridge and sold the cheapest cold water (a real treat!) Almost every day on my way to teach I'd stop by to get a cool drink. How excited he was to practice his English "hello" on me. One day his smile was extra big as he handed me the water bottle and tried another new word: "Good bye!"

Hearing music at the park -- and finding anywhere from 5-9 men playing an unusual assortment of instruments.

The eager faces of my students wanting so much to learn English and how to do things the "American way."

Or listening to the garbage trucks and street sweepers drive up and down the streets -- playing Christmas tunes.

Sitting in a restaurant enjoying my meal when a waiter walked by with a net in his hand -- with a fish laying inside flapping for all it was worth! Someone must have ordered fresh fish for lunch!

Making new friends.

Running to catch the right bus.

Being introduced to 'bubble tea.'

People on the other side of the street shouting "Hello" (and then laughing and grinning when I replied "Ni Hao!")

Shopping at the market -- bargaining for lower prices.

The smiles of the children.

Praying that God would somehow use me for His kingdom's sake, despite the things against me: the language barrier and limited time.

Eating with chopsticks.

Seeing everything from a goat to a computer being carried across town on a bike.

Posing for a picture -- and seeing everyone else whip out their phones to get a picture of us "Americans".

Seeing expectant mothers and realizing it would be a one time experience for them.

Watching people exercising at the park by walking backwards. (It is good for ones kidneys.)

The open friendliness.

Tearful goodbyes...

And the list could go on and on...
Taiyuan is no longer just a city in China. It is where I spent seven wonderful weeks, made lots of new friends, experienced a different culture, had time to fellowship with the family of God, and gained a much bigger picture of my God and how He is working in our world.

"...The Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations."

Isaiah 61:11

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ephesians 4:15-16

"Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

It is a wonderful thing when God's children realize we are nothing apart from Him! When we understand that we need to be totally dependant on Him, it takes away all competition, striving, and selfish ambition.
-Brother Yun

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2:12 pm

organizing my recipes
(and getting some fun new meal ideas in the meantime!)

Q&A: Camera gear

From Amanda:
"what kind of camera/lens do you have? Where did you learn photography?"

I currently own a Nikon D80 and a Nikon D70, with a f/2.8 70-200 zoom lens, f/4.5-5.6 70-300 zoom lens, and a f/3.4-5.6 18-80 lens.

As far as where I learned...
I've done a lot of reading and study on my own. I also took a week long photography course in Dallas, Texas through the
Institute of Photographic Studies. (And if you are hoping to learn more about photography, I can't recommend this highly enough! Outstanding courses taught by photographers who not only excel at their work, but are sold out for God, too.)

If you don't have extensive amounts of time or resources to invest, I'd recommend these free online photography courses. A lot of basics are covered, but it is excellent material. A few of their courses are entitled:
Beyond the Basics
Camera Composition
Digital Photography

from MB:

"what cameras do you recommend? Just say, not too professional, but nice quality?"

A lot of money can be spent on cameras, gear, and accessories.
And Nikon, Canon, and all the other camera companies seem to keep coming out with new models all the time!

If you are serious about photography, you'll want to do some research and buy a camera with manual settings. Often times a point and shoot camera will pre-set everything for you and leave you with very little room to learn and experiment. Make sure you can change the aperture and shutter speed and control whether the flash is on or off. I'll mention, too, that
whenever I'm trying to research cameras, I check out
They have all the latest specs and info, as well as costumer reviews.

And if you can't afford a professional D-SLR camera, keep working with what you have! Develop your eye and work at being creative and doing the best with what you have. The following story makes me smile every time I read it:
An amateur photographer was invited to dinner with friends and he took along a few pictures to show to them. The hostess looked at the photos and commented, "These are very good! You must have a good camera." The photographer didn't make any comment, but as he was leaving to go home, he said, "That was a really delicious meal! You must have some very good pots." [smile]

For my readers who enjoy photography -- what camera and equipment do you use? Do you have any advice you could share for someone who is camera shopping?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Weekend snapshots

The Lord reigns!

Let the earth rejoice!

All the people see His glory.

You, Lord, are most high above all the earth.

You are exalted!

...He preserves the souls of His saints.

Light is sown for the righteous

...and gladness for the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the Lord!

Give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

The Lord has made known His salvation.

He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness.

He has done marvelous things!

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Excerpts from Psalms 97 & 98

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Wedding bells ahead!

Congratulations Andrew and Kori!!

It has been such a delight to watch the two of you as your relationship has deepened -- and I'm looking forward to seeing what God will do in the future! Kori, you've been our adopted sister for many years; I'm thrilled and thankful that my brother decided to make it official!! [grin]
God's richest blessings to you in the coming days!

"Increase and abound in love to one another..."
1 Thessalonians 3:12

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Prints for pennies

UPDATE [July 13]: I just received an e-mail that they are now running the special through July 18! So if you missed it the first time around, you still have time to take advantage of their special offer!

Through July 11, Snapfish is running a special offer of 50 prints for 50 cents + shipping.

Sign up or log in, and when checking out use the code JULY4PENNY.

Also, if you are a first time user you will get 50 free prints for signing up.

Yay! It seems like I always have pictures that need developed, so I was excited to find this deal today. After such a wonderful weekend, it will be hard selecting only 50!! [smile]

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Psalms 141:1-2

"O Lord, I call to You.
May my prayer be set before You like incense."

God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God's heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, and outlive a world.

E. M. Bounds