Monday, March 31, 2008

An Afternoon with Lang Lang

Mom, Ashley, Hunter, Lexi and I were able to experience a unique opportunity to see pianist Lang Lang, a favorite classical music artist of ours, at a special event yesterday afternoon at Steinway Hall. It was a very small, private event so there were no crowds to fight and Lang Lang took the time to meet his fans who had gathered. He signed cd's, joked around, answered questions (even while playing ping pong) and concluded the event by sitting down at a piano and performing Chopin's Etude Op. 10 No.3 and then a Chinese piece.

It was an incredible event, and I'm still amazed that I got to be a part of it.

Lang Lang arrives at Steinway Hall

Playing ping pong

A very humble and gracious guy, he always complimented the people around him

Being interviewed by the Star-Telegram

Here Lang Lang introduces the music he plans to perform

There are not words to describe how beautiful his playing was, especially in such an unique and intimate setting...

It was as though he was in my living room, playing on my piano.

Lang Lang and Fans

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Cupcakes

Take a look at these delectable looking chocolate peanut butter mousse-filled vegan cupcakes.
who'd have thought??

My favorite place to visit for an unforgettable cupcake is Sprinkles Cupcakes. It just happens to be very (dangerously) close to our church and offers the ultimate in cupcake eating. I am not kidding. You just thought that cupcakes were for kids' birthday parties.

Note to self: must take friend SW to their Phoenix location... ;-)

Springtime Baking Fun

idea from

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Breakfast

Every Easter, for as long as I can remember, Mom has made it a tradition to set out a special breakfast, decorations and all. Now Ashley has taken up the tradition, and she and Mom go all out for the day:

After reading all of the Easter posts on Femina, we plan to make the Resurrection celebration even more meaningful next year for our family.

Friday, March 21, 2008


While at the Ligonier conference last week I had the privilege of working with and getting to know some new friends, and in particular a girl my age who I especially enjoyed talking to over the entirety of the weekend (hey SW!!!). She raised a very thought provoking question during the conference and then again in an email this week, one which I have given a lot of thought to lately so it was amazing to hear someone else asking the same questions I have been for the last few months. Namely, what about singleness and the role of young, reformed Christians in this area? On the part of the single men, I wonder why more are not seeking out a marriage partner from a seemingly large pool of qualified, dedicated women in the church. What about women? What is our role in encouraging without flirting and being a friend and listener without compromising our emotional purity?

One thing God has definitely convicted me on as I have pondered singleness is the false assumption that I am currently waiting on his will for marriage. I hear the term thrown around a lot in evangelical circles, that singles who do not currently have a prospective partner in view are "waiting" on God's will. If the will of our omnipotent God does not involve the here and now, but only the future, then what comfort and hope can there be found in his sovereignty? Obviously I am in God's will, it is just that his will now dictates that I am single during this time. Perhaps I am waiting on marriage, which is a correct statement, but not on God's will, for his will is now, this day, and not just tomorrow or for specific life events. I think this has been one of the most comforting assurances God has given me as I visit again the question of using my singleness to glorify him while I hope for future marriage.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I just returned yesterday evening from a mini vacation to Florida. I attended the Ligonier National Conference, an arts festival, spent time on a quiet beach, watched dolphins (they came very close to the dock I was watching from), got sunburned, had an airline adventure, visited with friends old and new, stayed in 4 different locations (it's a story), and had a great time overall.

Unfortunately, I forgot the camera...

(above photo taken last year)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Secret Believers

If you are interested in witnessing to Muslims or are just curious about how Christians live in the Middle East, then I highly recommend this book by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen. I had started reading it after hearing Brother Andrew speak last fall and had only made it about halfway through as other books demanded my attention (my book club keeps me busy!), but was able to finish it while lying in bed sick yesterday.

Here is the book summary from

In his letter to his protégé, Timothy, Paul says, I have fought the good fight. In Arabic, those last three words are translated jihad. In Secret Believers, readers are introduced to Brother Andrews protégé in the Muslim world, Butros. In this riveting true story of the Middle Eastern Church struggling to come to grips with hostile governments, terrorist acts, and an influx of Muslims coming to Christ, readers will meet a group of men and women they never knew existed. The names and places have been changed to protect the real people in the real places. But the stories are true. In his most incredible and eye-opening book to date, Brother Andrew invites you to meet: Ahmed, a young Muslim terrified by nightmares until he is introduced to Isa (Jesus) Mustafa, a former leader in a fundamentalist Muslim movement that persecuted Christians Salima, a privileged young Muslim woman who is held captive by her family when they find a Bible in her possession Abuna, a priest faced with an aging congregation and constant threats to his beloved church and many more. Secret Believers not only gives readers a glimpse of the lives of these courageous believers, it also proposes four practical initiatives for Christians in the West to help these persecuted brothers and sisters. It calls us to join this new kind of jihad, leaving vengeance behind in favor of forgiveness, radical love, and unyielding prayer.

I was very surprised to read in the book's epilogue that although the US set Afghanistan free from Taliban rule, the new constitution in place there strikingly resembles the old Taliban constitution. So why are we over there if we are not changing things? Christians are very much oppressed, even under US supervision. Here is a recent report from Open Doors:

The status of religious freedom for Christians deteriorated in 2007 in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan (from No. 17 to No. 15), Libya (from No. 26 to No. 23), Jordan (from No. 40 to No. 39), Belarus (from No. 42 to No. 41) and the Palestinian Territories (No. 42).

In Afghanistan, the major incident of the 23 South Korean Christians who were abducted in July 2007 gave the country a worse mark than in 2006, though other incidents also contributed to this.

Again, why did we go into Afghanistan to free people from oppression if they remain still under oppression?

I came away from this book very much impressed with the fact that I need to be more informed on what US policy is and is not doing in the Middle East. I encourage you also to do your own research and not be complacent hearing the news reports, which almost always fail to make us aware of the persecution of believers in other countries. Definitely not "news worthy" for our celebrity-saturated, consumerist driven news reports (I'm sorry, but I am still shocked to check news websites only to get celebrity gossip. It's why I visit international news sites now).

Go take a look at the Open Doors website. If you have never heard of Brother Andrew, I recommend you become acquainted with him by reading his autobiography, God's Smuggler.

Also, we need to pray for the persecuted church. As the book Secret Believers reminds us, do not pray for, but with them, for they are not just fellow believers but our brothers and sisters in Christ.