Today is Chinese New Year’s Eve, and here in Taiwan that’s a big deal.  Most schools close for three weeks (ours closes for one), extended families get together, adults give children hong baos (red envelopes with money), and good luck getting any sleep at night with all the fireworks.

I received this chart recently from a colleague and thought I’d pass it on.  I think it’s really interesting how many similarities there are between Passover, in the Old Testament, and Chinese New Year as it’s been practiced for centuries.  You could see it as one of those examples of how God has inserted hints about Himself and His Word into cultures around the world.  Discussing these similarities can be a great way to bring up the gospel and get people here interested in the Bible.

I shared this chart with my 5th graders (most of whom are from Chinese families) the other day.  Though I’m far from an expert on Chinese culture, the kids agreed that these points are pretty accurate.  They did assure me there are some exceptions (one boy told me his family always goes out to buy cookies late in the evening on New Year’s Eve because they always seem to forget they need them until then), but apparently most items on the chart do fit well with how their families celebrate Chinese New Year.

Jewish Passover
Chinese New Year
(Ex. 12:2) first month of the year
first month of the year
follow Lunar Calendar
follow Lunar Calendar
(Ex.12:4, 5) sacrifice whole lamb or kid – unblemished
sacrifice whole pig, chicken, fish – unblemished (now, with smaller families, pieces are acceptable)
killed twilight before Passover
killed New Year’s Eve
(Ex. 12:46) no bones broken
no bones broken
(Ex. 12:22) blood smeared on door posts and lintel
red paper pasted on door posts and lintel (now, lucky sayings are usually written on these banners; originally they were blank)
(Ex. 12:8) feast that night
feast that night
(Ex. 12:8) only eat unleavened bread week of Passover
only eat unleavened bread week of New Year (flat sweet cakes)
(Ex. 12:8) eat bitter herbs
eat bitter vegetables
(Ex. 12:12) first born struck dead if no blood was on the door
According to legend, children would be eaten by a beast named Nian who came to each home at night looking for someone to devour, but was afraid of the color red and would flee from it.  Children wear red at this time, and many red items are displayed in homes.
(Ex. 12:15) cleanse house of all leaven (yeast) for week of Passover
clean house from top to bottom for the New Year
(Ex. 12:16) work ceased on first and seventh days for a holy assembly
work ceases for almost everyone
biggest festival of the year
biggest festival of the year
(Ex. 12:22, 46) none shall leave the house until morning
(Ex. 12:35) silver, gold and clothing taken/asked for from the Egyptians
traditionally, everyone stays home New Year’s Eve
new clothing and red envelopes of money are given at New Year’s
Ark of the Covenant carried on poles (though not at the first Passover!)
idols carried in parades on poles
Many Strange Women, an inspirational romance novel by award-winning author Parker J. Cole, is a story of an unlikely couple: Solomon Greene and Celeste Martin, who never expected their relationship would be anything more than a bargain.  

Synopsis: Solomon Greene made a deal with God–If He’d send him an unattractive woman, he’d marry her on sight and do what was spiritually right by God. After all, he needed that kind of wife to help him escape from his sordid past.

Celeste Martin made a deal with Solomon. She’d be his ugly wife. All she wanted in return was his name. She was in love with her sister’s fiancé and he would be the only man she’d ever love.
Solomon had no idea that he’d find his wife fascinating. Celeste didn’t know that one taste from her husband’s lips would have her wanting more. Yet many strange women were between them. Could Solomon ever escape from his past? Could Celeste ever love her husband?
Book release date: January 28, 2014 
You don’t want to miss out on the week-long Many Strange Women launch from January 28th to January 29th.  Like her Facebook page and you’ll be automatically entered into the giveaway. In addition to the Facebook party, you can enter the grand prize drawing below for a chance to win a $100 gift card to either Target or Amazon (you choose!), or choose from the prize gallery.

Click here to view or download the book.
 Parker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who  spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their beloved dog, Sarah. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. Visit her website at and click on the “news and events” tab to enter her ebook scavenger hunt and win an awesome prize from her prize basket!

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Deep in the Heart Cover Final 1-18-2014
Deep in the Heart
by: Staci Stallings
FREE January 25 – 27th
Then, only 99 Cents… January 28 & 29th!

About the Book

Just out of college and completely alone in the world, Maggie Montgomery has one shot left to save her life from an abyss of poverty and hopelessness. Clinging to the last shred of fuel and hope, she arrives at the mansion of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer. Although Maggie is clearly not what Mr. Ayer and his wife have in mind for a nanny, they agree to hire her temporarily until they can find someone more appropriate to fill the position. However, Maggie’s whole world is about to be up-ended by two way-over-scheduled children and one incredibly handsome hired hand. As she struggles to fit into a world she was never made to fit in, Maggie wonders if she can ever learn to become a perfect version of herself so she can keep the job, or is she doomed to always be searching for a life she can never quite grasp?

Keith Ayer despises his life. As the son of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer and the fiance to a Senator from Texas’ daughter, it looks great on the outside, but inside, he is dying. He would vastly prefer to manage and train his father’s racehorses. However, everyone else thinks that is beneath him. He needs to get into industry and build on his father’s success. Suffocating under the constrictions of his life, he meets Maggie, and she begins to teach him that wealth and power is not everything in this life. But can Keith defy the two most powerful men in Texas to follow his heart?

“Staci Stallings… Christian fiction at its best!”

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Staci Stallings
  A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including being the co-founder of and the founder of Grace & Faith Connection.

Follow Staci StallingsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

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Recently I had my students do a project where they got to create and write about their own imaginary worlds.  In one section of the project (my favorite part to grade!) they had to make a list of the laws that must be followed in their world.  It’s always an interesting glimpse into their priorities, to see what they consider important enough to make a law.  And the consequences they set for those who break the laws give an interesting glimpse into their sense of justice!

Most of my students came up with the kinds of things you might expect (don’t murder, don’t steal, etc.) but there were a lot of unusual ones as well.  Here are some that I found the most interesting.  Enjoy!

No act of violence and/or aggression is allowed.  The violator will need to do public apology, attend 100 hours of Anger Management Course, and do 1,000 hours of public service.

No drinking wine after 10:00 p.m.  (Consequence: pay $400.)

All adult ghosts receive $500 every month without working.  (Consequence for adult ghosts not getting $500 every month: $500.)

No war.  (Consequence for having war: 30 years in jail.)

Every doctor needs to have a PhD and will have professional learning every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  (Consequence if they don’t: $1,000.)

There can only be 5 movies out in the theater each day.  (Consequence for having more than 5: $7,000)

No cutting down trees.  If you cut down 1 tree, you’ll have to plant 10 trees.

No pouring oil in the ocean.  (Consequence: 5-10 years in prison.)

All people shall have guns or will be executed.

No betraying your own species unless you are a qualified spy.  The bigger the betrayal, the longer you have to stay in prison.

Everyone must learn how to use a gun when they are 5 years old.  (Consequence for those who don’t: go to the army and serve for 5 years.)

Show kindness and respect to people that sell stuff to you or anyone else.  The consequence is working with that person that you were mean to for three weeks and they don’t have to pay you any money for your work.

No one can have slaves unless there is a proper explanation for one.  The consequence is cleaning up three houses each day for one week for someone.

Obey your commanding officers, or else you will go to prison or have to do a chore for the officer you opposed.

You can’t kill or even catch a glimpse of the king.

Citizens shall not steal.  If caught, the citizen can face scraping gum off the floor for an hour.

Citizens shall not poach endangered animals.  If caught, the citizen could face fines of up to $100,000 or having to go to high school again.

Citizens shall not smoke.  If caught, the citizen can face fines of up to $550,000 or having to dance in front of a crowd of one thousand people.

Citizens shall not commit adultery.  If caught, they can face drinking five glasses of mud and eating one serving of fire ants.

Citizens shall not abuse a child.  If caught, the parents can be taped to the wall and laughed at for one day.

No smoking anywhere except the smoking rooms, or else you will have to smoke ten smokes at a time in a small room.

No barging into other people’s conversations.  Punishment: you will have to live with no talking for a week.

No eating candy.  Punishment: 50 years of jail and a $50,000 fine.  (In this world, the citizens are teeth!)

No playing pranks.  (Consequence: 8 years in jail.)

All names of people and places have to start with the letter “P” or you’ll be imprisoned until you die.

Everyone has to get educated for at least 21 years until you become 30 years old, or you’ll be banished.

Don’t kill the king.  You will be in the jail forever.

Everyone has to prank six times a day or they will be banished.

Do not play with fire near the only Doughnut Tree.  You will be warned and fined $100.

Treat others kindly.  Punishment is being put in the stalks.

No littering.  Punishment is having your house turned into a dump.

No wasting water.  Punishment is having no water for a month.

Don’t tell lies.  Punishment is being the court note taker for one month.

Restaurants who use bad chemicals in their food shall be put in jail for fifteen years.

No cheating others.  You will spend your time with a poisonous snake in a small room.  The snake might decide to bite you.  Then you will die.

No destroying nature unless told to, or you’ll go to jail for one month.

No wearing clothes that aren’t decorated with a star, or you’ll be sent to jail for two years.

The population shall not be higher than one million people.  If it exceeds the limit, the youngest child dies first.

One household shall not have more than four people.  If it exceeds the limit, the youngest dies first.

Let the elderly eat first, then you.  The punishment for not doing so is 20 years in prison with two meals per day.

Everyone must pick a job after they are 12 years old, unless they get stuck with their parents or going to school.  The punishment is working until they’re 66 years old when everyone else gets to stop at 65.

Thou shalt not eat meat except on holidays.  If caught thou shalt be eaten by the pack of hungry wolves near the Dark Forest.

No one should lend money to someone else.  The punishment is paying $100 to the government.

I’ve had my classes do this project for several years in a row now.  Click on the links below to read some of the interesting laws created by my students in other years:

Student laws from 2016

student laws from 2015

student laws from 2013

student laws from 2011

student laws from 2009

student laws from 2008

student laws from 2007

I’m happy to welcome author Precarious Yates as a guest on my blog today.  She’s going to share an excerpt from her new book, The Captives, as well as tell you how you can download ALL THREE of her books for FREE!
Precarious Yates

Precarious Yates is a shepherdess living in the middle of the USA, 500 miles from the nearest beach. She hopes to live closer to the ocean soon. While in Ireland, she lived one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. Those landscapes and seascapes inspired The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy. The whole trilogy is free for download for the next three days! Here’s an excerpt from the first book, The Captives:

Kindle cover storm 1 The Captives copy

Mookori looked up at the high windows with the lanterns hanging down from the roof. Hopefully he would be able to chance more interior light soon. He stepped through the door with the prisoner’s provisions and set them on the floor as the door locked behind him. The prisoner stood from his lightless hiding in the corner and lurched forward toward Mookori. In the dim illumination from the windows he saw the barnacle armored aquavian; the dull grey armor made him look both lifeless and menacing. It covered most of his body, going up his neck and falling short of his jaw line to frame his face. A fey smirk marred his lurid visage. He poised for attack, then his legs faltered. He collapsed, keeping his gaze on Mookori, his eyes flashing intentions of violence. 

Mookori sat on the hard sand and pushed the plate of food gently toward the prisoner. “If you want to attack, the food will give you the strength you need.” He poured the water into the bowl and placed it beside the plate. “You won’t win a fight half-starved.” The prisoner looked down at the plate and flung it away with all his strength. He continued to glare at the prince. “If you want to defeat us, what good will it do to let yourself die in my captivity? Unless this is not your war, and you remember, somehow, that you were once free.” He remained silent, holding the prisoner’s gaze. 

The prisoner threw his whole face into the bowl to drink. For a long time he didn’t lift his head again. “You are free from their control,” Mookori continued. “Why do you still cling to it? We’re not shifting you from one master to another. You were once a sovereign people; we want to see your sea returned to you again.” The prisoner pushed himself into the air and landed atop Mookori, pressing him to the ground. He used what strength he had left to pin the prince, holding the collar of his cloak. Mookori didn’t struggle with this weakened foe, but waited to see if he would speak in his temporary victory. The prisoner panted and spat, glowering over him.

For the first time, the each book of the trilogy is available for FREE download! This offer will end on Midnight of Wednesday, 1/22, so act fast!  Click on the titles below to download:

The Captives


The Tiller and the Song

cover pic

Deadly Secret By Sharon A Lavy

About the Book

The covering on Evalena Davidson’s head invites all kinds of confidences and sharing, a blessing on Denton Community Hospital’s oncology ward. But people expect her to be perfect, which makes living up to the promise of her Old German Baptist uniform a challenge. Pete Neper, head of the sanitation department senses unrest among the employees but finds it a challenge to track down the cause. Danni Wagoner, another oncology nurse is implicated in a drug scam. Old German Baptist Brethren, with their adherence to traditional ways, do not get involved with the law. But how can Evalena turn her back on a friend? This unlikely trio put their lives and reputation at risk to uncover a deadly secret in an attempt to identify a killer before someone else dies.


Sharon A Lavy 
Writer of Inspirational Women’s fiction with a touch of Suspense. Sharon A Lavy lives with her husband in SW Ohio. When not reading, writing, or sewing for her family, she enjoys traveling with her husband in the German crafted Flight Design airplane they call PaPa. Sharon is best known in the novel writing community, as that German Baptist lady. In the Old German Baptist community she’s a dressmaker, a pattern maker, and the sister who writes. And in her own mind she’s a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, but above all a child of God. ~~ Her greatest desire is to be a woman after God’s own heart~~ Sharon has a heart for hurting women, and writes women’s fiction. Because when~~it’s all said and done~~It’s all about relationships.
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Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Sharon A Lavy! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!