Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We have moved!

All this time I thought blogger was the problem. I have been trying to access my account for two months, and just tonight, it dawned on me that I was using the wrong password.
Well, a lot has happened since our one week (turned four week) trip to Taitung. We found a place to rent, went back to Taipei, packed up our earthly belongings, and drove six hours south with two moving trucks. Thank you Steven the mover for your excellent service, and Anna for those lovely peanut butter cookies!
And now here we are, almost moved into our new home.

A dream come true.

Thank you Lord! You knew as you listened to five years of prayers for country living, that this would come to pass.

Ken is amazing. A city boy all his life, and then a little over half a century later, he up and moves to mountains...and ocean. We can see both from our little house.

More later on life in Taidong (I prefer this spelling). We just got the internet hooked up today, so I'm indulging a little and spending more time in front of the screen than ever in these past two weeks.

Let's see if I can get some pictures in this post...

A little slow. Next time.

First order of business is to change to title. Homeschooling in Taitung seems devoid of feeling. Homeschooling in Taidong is better. Maybe I'll shake things up a bit.

Monday, September 24, 2012

the men in my life

Joseph got glasses about four weeks ago.

...the cool kind that grow dark in the sun.

Attached to his pocket it his MRT card (subway pass). Now that he is six years old, he gets to swipe his very own card. Yet he still offers to let Anna or Lydia swipe it for him. (Now that I've started, I can't stop...) He has gotten so many "helping others" stickers recently for putting Lydia's seatbelt on, or her sandles, etc. Anna is more commonly the cute clucking hen who enjoys busying herself getting Lydia ready to go outside or for bed. What a treat to see Joseph join in. Just tonight, he helped Lydia get dressed for bed. I'm so proud of this little gentleman!

Ken got his glasses about four...ty years ago. I am so proud of myself for capturing this moment. It's one of my favorite expressions of his. His mind is packed full of history, current world issues, and insights about future trends and possible improvements. He is carefully and precisely unraveling it all in bite sized pieces for me to digest. Taiwan better watch out, because Charles Spurgeon Huang is just warming up.

On another note: We are heading to Taitung tomorrow!! We are in search of a new home.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Garden

I put all sorts of fun stuff on Joseph's homeschooling application. They requested a list of courses, texts, and teachers. So I decided to put agriculture class taught by Glen and Ellin Brubaker. It would be a two month, hands on course, wrote I. I'm happy to say Joseph passed the course! A huge thank you to the teachers.

June 26, 2012:

June 26:  They each had their own plot.

July 5:

July 24:

August 25:  Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to enjoy the harvest, so Dad sent us pictures. Sunflower, purple bean, mung bean, and a few other things. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


 - I'm so proud of my little assistants. Since I wrote down "errands with Mom" as a part of Joseph's curriculum in the homeschooling application (which was accepted! How did I neglect to write that on this blog, of all places?), I felt the need to make our morning bike rides around the community more meaningful. As we parked (I carry Lydia in the front and Anna in the back of my bike; Joseph rides by himself! He was a chubby baby in my arms a short while ago) at the post office to mail a letter, a thought entered my head. "Joseph and Anna, you guys are going to mail the letter by yourselves, ok? Just go in there, stand in line, and say ' 到美國, 卡片' [which means 'to the US, mailing a card'] to the lady." They walked in a bit timidly, glancing back now and then and waited in line. They ran out a few times to recite what they were supposed to say. Lydia and I waited on the bike outside. When they almost reached the counter, Lydia asked to go in too. I have to admit, a feeling of pride welled up in my soul watching the descending staircase of children standing at the counter - Joseph's head flush with the counter, Anna's head well below, although her wrist just made it over the top to present the letter, and Lydia's sphere of curls bobbing along near the ground. I wish I had the camera.
They did it! Anna did the talking, Joseph reported later, and then he herded them to the side table to glue the stamp on the letter. Of course, a helpful grandmother swooped in to make sure all was performed to perfection. All this, I had the pleasure of watching from my front row seat on my bike, just outside the big glass windows. Then out they came in contained triumph, wide-eyed with success. Anna got to place the letter in the mailbox since it was her letter.  Joseph felt sad that he didn't get to, so I said that if he writes a letter, he'll get a chance to mail one as well. He thought of someone to write to, but soon forgot about the whole thing. 慢慢

- I envy Anna and Lydia's freedom with language. They dare to try all kinds of grammar constructions without a hint of hesitation. I wish I could be that way with Chinese. Lydia's latest: "Mommy, don't ouch your fingers!" She cautioned me as she was shutting the sun roof of our car. I had placed my hand inside to scare them.
Anna, over a year ago: "Mommy, I said it whisperingly!" She told me with triumph. I forget the exact context, but she was pleased with the loophole she had found in one of my commands, so she had to share with me how she had dodged my orders. I think I had told her that she wasn't aloud say something.

- On Saturday, we went to the library across the street, where Anna and Lydia joined the story and crafts activity that they provide every weekend. While Joseph was sitting at the table, doing homework (I accompany him to Chinese class two days a week), he looked at me and declared, "Mom, I am not a homework man; I am not a school man; I am not a crafts man...I'm a sports man." So there you have it. Joseph will pursue a career in tennis. Yup, when I pursued the topic, I found out, he had no interest in soccer, and diminishing interest in basketball. As of a few days ago, it is tennis.

- We were sewing travel pillows yesterday, when a simple object lesson emerged from the measuring and snipping. I cut out one perfectly measured pattern for the pillows, then made sure to use that one to cut the others. I didn't want to use the second pillow that I cut, lest I had not cut it exactly right. The further removed from the original, the more potential for error. It occured to me that the same holds true for the Bible. Measure everything according to its truths. Be careful about relying too heavily on other sources of wisdom which might be copied from a copy of a copy.

- There are tons more tidbits that I wish I could remember. They will have to wait until the next tidbits entry. For now, a few random pictures:

Thanks, Laura! This was the best haircut she has ever had.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Playing with Fire

...is a must when it comes to homeschooling. This is Joseph's first exposure to the flame at such close proximity. He is doing a Science project showing how tin foil draws heat away from the flame, thus extinguishing it. It worked the first time, at least.  Good times. It has been years since I've played with matches.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Anna and Lydia love to draw. They draw every day. Joseph does occasionally, but isn't as captivated by it.  Here is Lydia deviating from her favorite shape - circles.

Anna wrote a letter to her (second?) cousin, Ella. I'm impressed with the way she figured in gravity's effect on hair.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back from Lancaster

After two months of pure bliss, we are back in Taiwan.  Lancaster, specifically Gypsy Hill, is a balm for the soul. Dad and Mom actually built a kitchen with their own two hands in the basement for our use! Laura, Sara and Emmanuel came down from NY several times, and we went to Ohio for a family reunion. So many happy little details filled those waking hours, that I'm sure it would take a full day to write about them all. I'm going to take the shortcut and post as broad a representation of our stay as possible:

Joseph had an asthma attack...

...and I had a throbbing toothache. The trip over was rough.

Oh, but the joy of arriving home!

Here it is! The homemade kitchen. I still can't believe it.

Nancy provided much of our entertainment in the form of her chickens.


such contentment!

Cousin Evelyn!

...and mulberries, and raspberries, and blueberries, and cherries. Heaven.

A big thanks to Omer for his patience as we attempted warming up to two sheep that had no interest in befriending us. This little endeavor ended after a few days.

Joseph took up his job as apprentice with gusto. They trimmed bushes, planted trees, built a (very small) house, and so much more.

Bibi reserved space for Joseph, Anna and Lydia's gardens.

Bibi's zucchini! The delicious butternut squash came later.

Ohio reunion! Thank you cousins, for those beckon games that reminded me of Shirati.

Laura, Sara and I went on three sisters' shopping sprees. Of course, we couldn't resist buying these tutus.

Lydia was petting it like a puppy.

We had such good times with Lorena and her kids!


Those two months were a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.  Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Basic Principles of Life

I don't see life getting any less busy for a while, and since I have skipped the whole month of April, it's time to update.

I have been meaning to write about a seminar Ken, the kids and I went to a few months ago. Bill Gothard's Basice Principles of Life seminar. Amazing. Never have I heard scripture used so powerfully and practically.  Also abundantly. I already forgot why I was a little skeptical when I heard the name Bill Gothard. Maybe because there is some controversy surrounding him, and I had gotten wind of it. 

Well, now all misgivings have been washed away. Ken has already memorized Romans 6, Ephesians...was it 5?, I Corinthians 13, and Psalm 103. 
I'm still stumbling through Romans 6.  One thing he spoke of was the power that comes from implanting (not just memorizing) Romans 6 and 8, to master any besetting sin or bad habit. 

I could go on, but I'll just stop there for now, and urge everyone to look into this ministry and sign up for the next basic seminar.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

toothpaste - thing of the past

...soon, anyway. I am in awe of Joseph and Anna who actually request sea salt on their toothbrushes, "like Baba".  They seem to be phasing out of their cherry toothpaste. I hope to be that mature someday, but there's no telling when that will be. 

Sooner would be better than later, since the kind baking shop lady gave me the recipe for these:

Cow tongues. An Yilan specialty. Delicious! And full of powdered sugar.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yes, we do learn stuff

Just to erase any doubts that anyone may be having about whether or not we are actually conducting school at home (like this blog suggests), please find proof below:

A spur of the moment practice of Chinese phonetic symbols conducted long, long ago. This is their livingroom computer. The keyboard hooked up to the whiteboard was Joseph's idea.

Actually, we recently have done a few more phonetic symbol drills. Now that our homeschooling group has started meeting up again, they are getting a lot more Chinese practice.

Just today, both Joseph and Anna shared a poem in front of their little class. Joseph actually wrote it by himself! About a flower slow to bloom. I'm so proud of him! He's a romantic. Today, he told Ken (in Chinese) "Baba, whenever you leave for work, my heart is holding your heart" The verb in Chinese is used for hand-holding. Ken tried to correct him saying his heart will miss him, but he insisted the he meant his heart will chienje Baba's heart. My own heart melted, as I eavesdropped from the kitchen. 

 And Anna boldly stepped forward and sang a song about a little kitty invited to eat fish. (Very well known children's song). I never would have had the guts to do that when I was her age.  Not one hint of nervousness. I was watching closely, because I remember a few weeks ago, when they had a talent show, Anna walked right up to the stage and immediately lost herself in ballet.  I wanted to see what this time would be like. She later told me that her heart was beating pretty hard, but that only perplexed me more. How did she manage to hide it?  And what might God be planning with these character qualities?