MarriageMondays: Honeymooning @ Jiaosi

Sometimes I feel a little guilty dragging you guys along with me in reliving my honeymoon. But then I get over it hehehe. I mean, what else is a girl suppose to do with all these beautiful photos and memories? Good things are best when enjoyed with others right? 🙂

So in my previous post on our stop in Jiaosi on our honeymoon, I didn’t get to post much on the food we enjoyed during our stay there. Since it is Taiwan, the nation of endless supply of unique and delicious food, I felt that it was my duty to share with you what we ate. 

What we ate while in Jiaosi…and all over Taiwan:

little cakes with some coffee from 85 degrees Celsius. This store is a Taiwanese national chain with the exception of the two stores in Los Angeles California that is sadly far away from me. Or is it a good thing…I am trying to eat healthy now. 

some local specialties that are cooked in the hot spring water (I think?). We were served these choices to go with our congee (稀飯)at the hotel we stayed at. But after awhile, the server figured out that Dustin and I didn’t like most of these things which included chicken liver : P 

We also enjoyed some local fresh vegies!!! These are my favorites!

I introduced Dustin to my favorite ice cream bar in Taiwan. It has carmel ice cream sandwiched inside of thin waffle layers. So good!

 

Dustin, an avid ice cream fan also approved of my choice

I stopped by the Lore Dong night market with my friend Pauline which is a night market in a nearby town famous for all the good eats. But then again, is any town in Taiwan not famous for its food? Hm…I don’t think so. 

Dustin decided to pass since we would mainly be shopping and eating strange exotic things hehehe.

Here’s a shot of the night market. Basically, what a night market is: 1) takes place at night (duh) 2) has lots of good food 3) great shopping 4) where lots of Taiwanese kids like to hang out at night. 

We stopped by to get ourselves a bowl of Dong Gui (當歸)noodle soup which is a soup made from Chinese medicine that is beneficial for your health. 

Here’s a picture of the delicious soup which comes with cellophane noodles (also known as glass noodles, bean thread noodles, Chinese vermicelli. It’s made from beans or yam starch) and slices of tender lamb meat. It’s making me hungry just looking at it…yum….

Pauline really enjoyed it. 

Of course no night market trip is complete without oyster omelets! 

Oyster omelets are made with eggs, some veggies, cornstarch and oysters. It’s topped with a Taiwanese style ketchup, basically a lot sweeter than the ketchup in America with a bit of a spicy kick to it.

Ok, you can stop salivating now. I’ll leave you alone til next week…mwhahaa…..

Finding Life in the Face of Death

Lately I’ve heard of several around me who have lost someone recently or are seeing their loved ones suffer through various illnesses. Though I know God is their comforter, the compassionate High Priest who is not distant from our sufferings but one who has suffered it all, still I feel quite inadequate to give the grieving what they really need. 

The truth is, I do not have the answers nor what they need. Only God can comfort a wound that deep.  

Even though at times God won’t answer the questions we want so much to be answered: Why did this happen? Why not someone else? Why this way etc. He knows what will truly comfort our hearts and is faithful to walk with us, the process of breaking and mending. 

Thinking back to the time my sister Grace passed away, I was a mess. I felt really awkward, exposed and embarrassed. Grieving in front of strangers is the most uncomfortable thing ever. 

But through the process, the Lord let me feel His hand and see His eyes of kindness I did not see prior to that. Good does come out of these deep sadnesses. Out of the seed’s death comes new life, new blossoms and fruits. 

Though I don’t believe that the Lord purposed people to die tragically, He is able to bring good out of the seemingly senseless pain. He is able to speak words that breath life to places that have died in us. 

There were countless times, especially before my wedding when the Lord would give me dreams of Grace that deeply comforted my heart that was missing her. Dreams where she would embrace me, where she would bring revelation from God to me. I’ll never forget the time when I was in the middle of worship and she said to me, “I’m doing the same thing as you!” 

God knows us better than ourselves and will speak when we’re ready, in unique ways that will touch our hearts the deepest. He knows our favorite color, our favorite song, our favorite food better than we do. He will use the depth of His knowledge and love for us to bring healing into our hearts. 

I pray that all of you going through difficult times will be encountered by His unfailing love. 

Married to Mr. Grace: Message by Lou Engle

Great message from Lou Engle on dying to the law and being married to “Mr. Grace.” Lou preached this recently at the Passion for Jesus conference here at IHOP-KC. He touched on how The Call (his ministry) was birthed from a revelation of the bridegroom and not on holiness and consecration. Click here to listen to the message. 

Dustin and I were deeply blessed by it and I hope it blesses you as well. 

The Joy of True Freedom: Dead to Sin Alive in Christ

I’ve  been in a rut. A head banging the wall, tears flying nearly every day, wondering what’s going on with me, kind of rut. 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it through how I’ve been blogging lately, but I myself certainly have. But slowly I think I know what the Lord is putting His finger on, the need to know the Gospel, the power of grace in my life. 

When I first got saved in high school, I would get in the classic prayer position by my bed, and pray that the Lord would remember my sins. I didn’t think it was fair that God forgave and forgot my wrongs. I believed that in order for me to change and live up to His standards, I needed Him to remind me of my wrongs. But that is not the ways of God, rather, the ways of man. 

It says in Romans 6:6-11, “our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him… Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are no longer slaves to sin. Christ took upon Himself the sin of the world, in order that we may be redeemed by His blood, proclaimed righteous, pure and holy before God. His blood speaks a better word than the accusations of the enemy who tells us day and night that we are still sinners, when in fact we’ve been redeemed and freed from sin. 

But what about my struggles? My weaknesses? My inability to stop falling into the same “sin?” Are not my failings an indication of my sinfulness? 

In Christ, the requirements of the law and the condemnation that comes when they are not obeyed are put to death. God put all of our sins, our past, present and future sins upon His Son. Then, God poured out His wrath upon Christ. 

Therefore when we are weak, when we struggle, we can come confident before God, access the power of grace to help us overcome, be transformed into His likeness. We are in fact, lovers of God struggling with sin, not sinners struggling to love God. 

It is in being founded upon this truth, of what has already been done for us that we begin to receive God’s love, dwell in His presence, gaze into His beauty which is the true source for transformation. Then, upon the foundation of The Gospel, of grace, we can build, do all that the Lord has called us to. 

The enemy wants to keep us separate from God, staring at our weaknesses and meditating on lies rather than on the truth. Looking to our law keeping to be righteous rather than looking to the finished work of the Cross. 

For years, as a believer, I’ve yo-yo-ed constantly between highs and lows. Times when I would try to keep the law, be a perfect Christian without help from God, then come to the end of myself. It is then that I come to Christ for help. But the Lord desires that I behold the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world daily whether I feel good or bad. Whether I believe I can do whatever task is before me or not. For I need Him for all things. Apart from Him, I have nothing. 

So I pray, that the Lord will release revelation on grace into our hearts. Help us Lord, to access all that You have paid for through Your Son. Strengthen us, to turn a deaf ear to accusations and receive Your unchanging love towards us. 

Getting Things Done

I feel like I’m constantly learning how to become an adult. Even as I’m nearing thirty, I’m still growing in the area of time management and learning how to prioritize my life. 

I believe many of us find ourselves in the same boat. Growing up in this era of “do what you feel” combined with a lack of fathering, many of us born in this generation find ourselves wondering, confused and frustrated. 

I want to share a helpful tool Dustin shared with me today. This tool, the Merrill Covey Matrix is from a popular project/time management book, First Things First. Here’s the link to a great explanation of how to implement it in your own life. I’m thankful that there are tools and people out there gifted in organization and time management. I need all the help I can get! : ) I hope this helps you with all the responsibilities you have to juggle as it is helping me.

Aside from helpful time management tools and apps, what we need most is to know the heart of God and agree with His patience toward us. He is not angry, frustrated or impatient with where we’re at. He is always available and happy to help us with His limitless love and power….something I need constant reminders of. 

Lord help us be kind and patient towards ourselves as You are towards us. 

How Much Are You Worth?: Tearing Down Lies and Altars, Embracing Truth

How much am I worth? This question has plagued me however consciously or unconsciously for years. I want so much to matter, to be heard, valued and esteemed. 

With those goals burning in my heart, I sought the approval of my parents, friends and later when I came to Christ, the approval of my leaders and pastors. I did not realize that I allowed leaders to become my idols. Rather than worshipping God, I started to worship at the feet of my leaders. 

I bowed down and submitted to their words, advice and opinions without question. Even at times when I disagreed with what they taught and ways of doing things, I still submitted like a slave. I was fearful that if I disobeyed or disagreed with them, it would result in the removal of my leadership positions in the church and from the place of favor with my leaders. I gave leaders and pastors the seat in my heart that was made for God alone.

Ultimately, God is the only One who exalts and humbles men, not pastors and others in the place of authority. He alone has power and authority over my life. He alone deserves my adoration and worship. On the day of judgement, my leaders can’t vouch for me. I will stand alone before God to answer for my actions and who I worshipped and obeyed. 

In His kind and gentle nature, God has been helping me tear down these altars I’ve built. Restoring Christ to the place of authority in my life, healing this hunger in my heart with the truth of His love. He has been whispering to me, “take hold of what is already yours. You ARE the pearl of great price.” 

This potent truth takes time to sink in and God has been patiently wooing me and cradling me with it for years. Never angry or impatient with the pace of my heart nor does He shrink back when I shut Him out. He’s always knocking, always waiting, always ready to love me right where I am at. He is ever so faithful to feed us truth that sets us free.

Beloved, we all hear God. He is a good Father and Shepherd who allows His sheep to hear His voice. He has set leaders over our lives to teach and guide us. We need these people our lives, but God is jealous that we have a personal relationship with Him. Christ came to bridge the gap between us and God, not so that we need another medium to reach Him. God is faithful to remove all that hinders His love, all that we believe that is leading us away from the truth, even if it means at times allowing our pastors to let us down or hurt us. Not that this pleases God, but this is just what naturally happens when men are in charge. 

The indwelling spirit, God living inside of us leads us to all truth. And the truth is, we are the pearl of great price He died for. Oh Lord, draw us ever deeper into this truth. Help us live from this place of knowing we are Your pearl. 

HealthTuesdays: So What CAN I Eat??

It seems that when one finally decides on making healthier eating habits, most information available out there tells you what NOT to eat. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it’s been a bit confusing as to what I can eat now that I’ve learned what to avoid. So I’ve been on a hunt for helpful, easy to read charts to assist you in your path towards better health. 

I first became interested in improving my diet because of how tired I noticed both Dustin and I were. Running on a tight schedule and juggling all the responsibilities we have as intercessory missionaries, we need all the energy we can get! 

I myself have gone through the health roller coaster. Because of the stress I was under, I fed myself unhealthy things in order to “save time” and get more stuff done. But in the end, what I did to save time, resulted in deterioration in my health, fatigue and moodiness. 

Then I heard about Dr. Vaughn through several people in the community. Dr. Vaughn is a naturopath doctor in the area who is also a strong believer. He began to notice the increased of patients from IHOP-KC and also the common health problems he found in these patients, chronic stress. Many people, facing the same issues as Dustin and I, made the same poor diet choices as a result: lots of coffee, sweets and/or carbs. These foods, rather than helping us perform our tasks they only resulted in fatigue, illness and decreased ability to focus. 


Below are two links to two informative charts I found on NaturalNews.com, an independently run site with great information on nutrition and natural health.  Both charts provide a basic overview of what foods to avoid and what to feed yourself and those you love. 

Honest Food Guide: pdf with great nutritional information on what types of food you should eat

What to Eat and Avoid: informative graphic cartoon by naturalnews.com with an easy and helpful guide on what to eat and what to avoid 

So far I’ve yet to come across a healthy version of the food pyramid. If you have, please let me know. I’ve heard that the food pyramid which is put together by the USDA is not a correct representation of the nutritions our bodies need everyday. 

But here are some basic things to focus on to get you started:

  1. Organic foods that are non-GMO (genetically modified): I know it costs more, but when you’re a missionary and most likely do not have health insurance, feeding yourself the best, nutrient rich foods is imperative! You can either pay now or later in hospital bills and decreased quality of life and lifespan. Contrary to my previous assumption, organic foods are not just a status symbol. Organic foods actually contain much more nutrients than genetically modified and pesticide generic foods you find in the supermarket. You can find affordable organic produce in Trader Joe’s and at the local farmer’s market. At the City Market here in downtown Kansas City, all the organic produce are located in the three center aisles. Though some of these farmers are not certified organic by the USDA (since the paper process is costly), they are certified naturally grown (CNG) which pretty much is the same thing but involving less paper word and lower certification fees. 
  2. Eat whole plant based foods: stop eating chips and processed stuff, instead vouch for  salads, fruits, carrot sticks, raw nuts (almond, cashews, walnuts), raisins. Dustin and I eat vegetables three times a day. We juice in the morning before we eat our other breakfast items. We have a good sized salad with our lunch and I will prepare another vegetable dish to go along with dinner. We’ve switched our diets so that we eat meat only twice a week, usually in portions that are no larger than the size of our palms. We also started eating more lentils, beans and protein rich carbs such as quinoa rather than pastas and even rice. We will still eat grain every once in awhile (each of us have two slices of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread in the morning and have pancake  for breakfast on weekends) but we’ve removed it from much of our diet and eat a lot less compared to what we used to eat. 
  3. Drink lots of filtered water: If you can, get a water filter installed in your home, purchase either filtered water or a filter pitcher. Whirlpool’s WHED20 under sink water filtration system is affordable and highly rated on Consumer Reports. Other economical options are to buy filtered/reverse osmosis water at your local supermarket which is what we’re doing until we save up to purchase one. Make sure you use non-BPA bottles (bottles will be labeled non-BPA and not white/cloudy colored). I bring empty bottles to refill each time we need more. Another option is to buy Brita or PUR water filter pitchers or faucet mount water filters. There are many chemicals and pollutants in the tap water that is not beneficial to your health and needs to be removed before you drink it. 

Remember, eating healthy and developing a healthy lifestyle takes time. Be patient with yourself and continue to stay motivated by educating yourself on this topic. I love the energy and improved health Dustin and I are experiencing in these past months and know that you will too! 

MarriageMondays: Honeymooning @ Jiaosi

A happy Monday to you! We’re off to our last honeymoon stop in Taiwan, Jiaosi, the natural hot spring capitol of Taiwan. 

Even as I look back to where Dustin and I were relationally just a few months ago compared to where we are now, I see God’s faithfulness to lead and guide us closer in love with Him and with each other. 

There was so much I heard before marriage about preparing oneself for the difficulties and challenges of marriage that at times rather than producing sobriety in me, it produced fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the worst which I don’t believe to be people’s intentions when they shared their advice with me. 

But through every obstacle, every disagreement, every uncertainty in my heart, God has given me strength to approach Him and let Him in to help me, help us, grow more rich in our relationship with Him in the midst of it all. To continually grow in Christ is ultimately our life’s goal and vision. 

Thank you for allowing me recount God’s goodness to us, to erect these stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness with you. He is so faithful to finish what He has started in us.

Jiaosi


I believe this was my favorite place we stopped for our honeymoon. I loved the beautiful room we stayed in which came with its own stone bath and natural hot spring that is piped into the room. It was such a tranquil and peaceful place. 

The hotel we stayed at is called Living Water (心曠神怡). It is owned by a pastor and managed by my friend’s mom so we got a really nice deal. I highly recommend staying here next time you’re in Jiaosi. 

My friend Pauline and her friend were also nearby during our time there so we got to hang out with them. 

One of my favorite things about hotels and hostels in Taiwan is that the breakfasts are included the majority of the times. They’re usually pretty legit. 

more on Jiaosi next time : ) have a blessed Monday! 

Is God Still Good?

Lately, it seems everywhere I look, someone I know is going through something difficult. It’s not even sufficient to describe what they’re going through as “difficult.” I probably need to use another adjective to encapsulate what they’re enduring. 

Being someone who feels deeply and with a tendency to carry other’s burdens, my friends’ circumstances were weighting on me. It’s so easy to stare at the darkness, that’s what the enemy wants us to do, to pay attention to him and begin to believe that he’s more powerful than God. 

The Lord was and has always been faithful to turn my eyes to Him, call my wondering heart back to Him once again. As I took time this week to recall His faithfulness, actively remember His goodness and kindness to me throughout the years, my heart is once again filled with faith, with truth of God’s goodness. 

As I read Hebrews 1 this week, remember once again the power that is available to us, the burning desire of God to reveal Himself to us. I know again, give thanks again, that this is who my God is. This is who is living to intercede for my friends and family. The  prayers and heart I am joining with when I pray and worship. He was already praying for my loved ones before I prayed for them that day. He was already weeping for them, before I started. 

Thank You Jesus. For Your heart that doesn’t shut down, the heart that is always open to Your loved ones. Open our hearts to join Yours today. 

Take a moment today, to read of His goodness and faithfulness. To set your eyes on what the Word declares He is. Then recount, write down how He has blessed you even within this week. 

I Want What You Have!: Conquering Covetousness

I think I need that Louis Vuitton bag, oh and her boots and that cute jacket. Is that a new macbook pro? Oh…I want one too! 

It seems that everywhere we turn, there’s something we don’t have, want and need.  

Covetousness is something I struggle with and am continually conquering with the Lord. Especially as a missionary who intentionally chooses to live a fasted, simple lifestyle. There is simply so much everyone else has materially that I don’t. It’s so easy to forget what God has provided and stare at what is not mine. 

A few weeks ago at service, Mike Bickle mentioned in passing that covetousness is rampant in the Church and not many preachers are bringing God’s light into this propensity in man. It comforted me to know that others are struggling with this also. I am not alone, neither are you in this struggle. 

We were made to be branded. Created to have a banner over us declaring whose we are and our worth. Imbedded with a desire to possess beautiful things. Our desires are good, for it is God who put them there. But how we fulfill our longings is another story. 

I am not speaking as one who has conquered this mountain of covetousness, but rather someone who is extending my hand out to God to help me traverse its treacherous paths. Also, I just have to mention that I don’t believe that it’s intrinsically wrong that you own brand name items. What God cares about is not the outward appearances but the heart. For where our treasure is, there our heart lies (Matt. 6:21).

At first, when I began to see how much better quality shoes, bags, homes my friends have compared to me, I was ashamed of how my heart turned into a greedy hand, reaching with longing towards their possessions. 

I tried my hardest to get my mind to stop fixating on these material things. I knew it was wrong. No one needed to remind me. I felt ungrateful towards God’s provision and blessings He continually pours into my life. I felt….like poop stains. 

But condemnation, taking up the yoke of the law never gets anyone anywhere other than further from God. So the Lord gave me grace to talk to Him about it, despite how shamefully bad I felt. 

When I closed my eyes, took His hand and gave Him my shameful desires, He showed me the home I was building alongside of Him in Heaven. The home He has gone ahead to prepare for me. He showed me the heavenly storehouse, the treasuries I was sowing into. The house looked like a glass mansion. 

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Revelation 21:10-11

One day, all of these things will pass away. We’ll enter heaven and enjoy for all of eternity what we sowed in the spirit. The crown of life, the riches we’ve stored in heaven by the grace of God, treasures that can never be burnt or destroyed. 

These pains that covetousness produces in our hearts are invitations from the Lord into encountering eternity, His beauty and increasing our appetite for heavenly things we were made for. Without vision of what is to come, we grow weary and fulfill the longings God has put inside us with the temporary, unsatisfying things of this world. 

I’m sure all of you have experienced this before. After you bought that thing you’ve been longing for, the joy only lasts for a few moments. But there is so much joy in realizing these trails are working in us a far greater eternal glory that we will enjoy with Him for all of eternity. Will you take your invitation today into more of Him? Help us Abba, to take Your outstretched hand. 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:16-18