Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It may sound a little strange, but I've always liked announcement time....whether at school, church, or work, whenever you hear someone say "we have a few announcements" I get a little excited.... whether they are good things that are happening, events to look forward to, or even bad news that must be shared, announcements have a sense of anticipation. Something's going to happen, something's going to change, something.....
Tonight I went to a beautiful candle light service and it made me think about the "announcement" that some angels made to certain poor shepherds... indeed it was an announcement that would change the world. Tonight I was struck anew by just how BIG Christmas is. It changed history. It was an event anticipated for thousands of years here on earth, planned before the creation of time, and never forgotten since.
So Merry Christmas all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This morning I went to a baptism at my church here in Yilan. One of the five people who were baptized has been a student at our English Bible study since last year. She's a really sweet woman with two daughters. They joined us on our trip to the botanical gardens last semester too.

Here are some interesting things about baptism in Taiwan:
  • Yesterday in Taichung there were over 700 people baptized in an outdoor swimming pool. It made the evening news. I'm not sure if it was because of the sheer number or because it's only about 13 degrees outside here now.
  • Taiwanese churches often do baptisms on Christmas or Easter, or very close to them.
  • My church back home baptized by immersion where you went backward into the water. Here many people kneel and are dipped forward so just the front half of their body gets wet.
  • And an interesting theological point: in Taiwan if you ask someone if they're a Christian, their answer is based on whether or not they've been baptized. There's a lot I could say about that, but I've probably blogged about this before.... comment if you want more deep theological discussion on this blog ;)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

December is here, and it's high time for me to update my blog! This month will be busy and fun, with a lot of Christmas activities. I started it off the right way by putting up my Christmas tree and baking cookies. Since I actually have a LIVING ROOM now, I bought a larger tree, although I was too cheap to go any bigger.
I made three kinds of cookie dough and froze it for later. Tonight I took the sugar cookie dough to my friends' house and rolled it out and cut out shapes with the kids.
I was really happy with this recipe which added a little bit of spice to the dough. They rolled out really nicely after being chilled.

Christmas Spice Cookies

    *Flour, white, 2 cup
    Baking Powder, 1.5 tsp
    Salt, .5 tsp
    Ginger, nutmeg, cloves ground, .5 tsp each
    Cinnamon, ground, 1 tsp
    Butter, unsalted, .5 cup (
    Granulated Sugar, 1 cup
    Egg, fresh, 1 medium
    Milk, nonfat, .0625 cup


Sift first 5 ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in flour mixture with milk. Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll and cut **, bake at 350 for 11 minutes or until light brown.

**if you don't want to roll and cut the cookies into shapes, you can put the dough on parchment or wax paper and roll it into a log prior to refrigerating, then just slice and bake after it's chilled for an hour.

Frost and decorate with colored sugar, cinnamon pieces or any other Christmas decoration of your choosing.