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I took an unannounced week off last week from blogging and I HEARD about the missing Crockpot Tuesday post from several of you. Next time I need a mini-blogger-vaca, I will schedule a “re-run” and let you know in advance. You people are hardcore!

I modified another recipe that Mike found … and by “modify” I mean that I forgot to add two ingredients that were in the title, but the family devoured this stuff, so I changed the title and am keeping the Tiede version for a do-over in the future.

Ingredients:

Put 7-8 skinless, frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot.

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Combine and pour over chicken breasts:
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1 1/2 cups honey

1/2 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)

1/2 cup mirin (Not to be found at Walmart … FYI)

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

4 tablespoons sesame oil

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

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Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Shred and serve over rice. (We use brown rice. The kids grumble about this as a rule, but this time they were so excited about the smell of the meal, they didn’t say a word. I made 8 servings of brown rice and it wasn’t enough!)

We steamed broccoli to go with this. Mike and I added it to the honey sesame chicken and rice and LOVED it!

Sorry, I have no picture of the final product. They simply ate it too fast!

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Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world.

One afternoon we walked to the Tiny Hands International office in Kathmandu. We navigated the narrow, potholed streets of Thamel that were lined with tiny shops just big enough for a man and his carpets, scarves, flutes, or whatever other wares he chose to peddle. Thamel is the tourist center for those who think roughing it in a Third World country means pizza and “beef” that is more than likely water buffalo, not beef.

We passed the giant tree with the “do not enter” sign, marking the outer edge of Thamel, and came to the bridge.
The bridge over the river.
The river that I will always remember.

Beneath the bridge, a long shack with a corrugated tin roof and multiple entrances – was no doubt home for more than one family.

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Laundry that had likely been “washed” in the filthy, black river where livestock waded and pooped was spread over bushes to dry.

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Two young women sat nearby on buckets and combed through their long hair. It wasn’t a stretch to imagine that it had been washed in that same river.

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Litter is absolutely every. where. I kid you not. There is nary a public trash can to be found on the street, but there are piles of litter everywhere. In fact, a carpet of garbage lines the river and wild pigs wade in the slime. A familiar smell reminiscent of my parents’ hog farm just before it rains filled the air as we finished our trek over the long bridge.

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Kadi and I went back to the bridge a second time. Like the homeless family we befriended and sought out four time during our stay, we were drawn to that which seemed to break our hearts the most.

It’s the circle of humanity living under the bridge that I think of as I fold laundry that I’ve taken out of my stackable washer and dryer that sing to me when they complete their cycles … as I clean out my three-car garage … as I eat too much at Easter dinner and feel embarrassingly miserable. Let’s be honest, most of us will never know the kind of hunger that leads to mixing dirt into the soup to give it substance or eating a rock just so my tummy feels full. #TruestoriesfromNepal

What do I do with these thoughts? These images? What do I do when I wake up in the middle of the night remembering new friends who are walking in obedience to God’s call on their lives to be the Kingdom in Nepal? How do I process my internal wrestling with guilt about the haves and the have-nots? How do I deal with the shame I feel for being so grateful that it’s not me living under a yellow bridge with my hungry children, pigs, and crap? What do I do with the fact that I emptied most of the “snack” food from my luggage and gave it to the homeless family? MOST. Not all. I held some back. Why? Because they were – God help me – expensive. How do I sleep at night remembering little Rajeesh digging through the bag we gave him on our way to the airport? He was looking for food and there was none. And here I sit – still full from another day of gluttony, wondering if he had supper  - or lunch – or anything at all today – and all I have are tears.

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I have no easy answers. No complete list. I’m fumbling around in the dark here, but my eyes are wide open and my heart is still raw.

For now …

I pray for the Tiny Hands expats, nationals, house parents, border monitors, and sub-committees.

I pray for the Tiny Hands staff that are working from this side of the ocean.

I pray for those who need help most – the vulnerable, orphaned, abandoned, abused, and hungry.

I minimize and simplify and sell, sell, sell in order to fix my eyes on much more important things and redistribute this “wealth.”

[On a side note, it hasn't gotten past me that the Tiny Hands children's home parents do devotions with their kids in the morning and in the evening. Don't ask me when I last did devotions with my kids. Please. Don't ask. But I realize that they have none of the distractions that we have. I'm talking about comforts that we take for granted like electricity, heat when it's cold, choices galore when it comes to food, clothing, electronics, reading material, toys, games, TV shows ... Our MUCH means less time for the truly important things in life.]

I pray that God never allows me to forget – that He gives me His words to tell the story of His lost children in Nepal.

I don’t stop talking about what I’ve seen and learned and need to tell others about, because I can’t. I feel like I’ve been handed a story that needs to be told.

And the story includes the message that YOU can do something. (We all can.) You can pray, and give, and tell the stories too. You can shop with purpose and don’t buy what you don’t need. You can train up your children to understand that justice is the appropriate response to the Resurrection story that we all celebrated yesterday. Perhaps they will be the next generation of expats committing to “Be the Kingdom” in Nepal or somewhere else.

… and it all started with a long walk over a yellow bridge. Though the separation between my life experience and those of the families living beneath the bridge seems to be an insurmountable chasm; it is not.  We are all souls created in the image of God … more similar than different. Perhaps recognizing that truth begins to narrow the gap.

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Third-Day-642x250Know anyone who is a graphic novel / comic book fan ?  We have a couple of them in my house.  My guys love to pick up a good graphic novel or comic book when they can.  They were delighted when we had the chance to review The Third Day, a new graphic novel style book from The Good Book Company.  This book is different from other graphic novels in that the authors took direct Scripture from the Gospel of Luke 22-24 (Holman). We know the scenes depicted best as the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Crucifixion of Jesus, and the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.  Yes, the events of Holy Week in a book reviewed during Holy Week!  Imagine that!

Since they are such graphic novel fans, the Tiede boys were happy to help with the review!

The Bottom Line

Caleb- Age 11

I thought this book was pretty good.  I especially liked the scenes which showed the crucifixion. I liked how close these scenes were to the Bible. I like graphic novels because there are fewer words and expressive pictures.  Usually graphic novels have bright colors, but these illustrations feel like they are more realistic colors that match the mood and the time period. I think the illustrations were really well done.  Most graphic novels have a lot of dialogue and this one doesn’t. I missed that a little.

Ben- Age 13

I think it was really neat that the book uses the exact words from the Bible. Some people who might not be willing to read the Bible, may be willing to read the gospel story in this format. That makes this a great book! In my opinion, the crucifixion wasn’t as realistic as it should have been. The illustrators showed more blood during the part when the soldier’s ear was cut off. In contrast, Jesus’s crucifixion didn’t show any wounds or blood.  I think it misrepresents what Jesus went through for our sins. He suffered, but we don’t get that from the illustrations.

The Final Verdict!

The book is wonderfully illustrated and so captures the emotion behind the scenes  and passion of the week. I love the idea of this series.  I think that there is a definite group of teens and even younger or older kids (aka adults) who will be intrigued by this series.  The tough part of this project is getting it all to come together–the visual with the actual Word of God.  It must not have been an easy feat!  I think that there are areas it really shines.  There are other areas it was harder to get the same feel as what a regular reader of a graphic novel expects. In all, I  think this was worth reading and checking out.  I hope that they have success in this project and that additional title will be released.

Third Day Pages

Book Description

Third Day cover“The Third Day” is the first in a range of short graphic-novel-style books faithfully illustrating the unadorned text of the gospel of Luke. It has a gritty, contemporary feel to it that is far removed from the clean, bright, graphic versions of the Bible already available for younger children. This resource will introduce the biblical account of Easter to teens and young adults who enjoy reading illustrated graphic media.

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: The Good Book Company (February 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909919551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909919556
  • Product Dimensions:  10 x 6.6 x 0.2 inches
  • Retail Price: $6.99
  • Available at:
  • Amazon
  • The Good Book Company

 

 

Author

Alex Webb-Peploe is an illustrator and web designer. He lives in Cheltenham, England with Hilary and his young son Caleb.Alex

 

Notice: I received a complimentary e-book for an honest review of this title through Shaun Tabatt at  Cross-Focused Reviews and The Good Book Company

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Salvation CrossWhy is the crucifixion of Jesus the single most important event in history?

In his new book, Salvation by Crucifixion, Dr. Philip Ryken answers this through seven relatively short but meaty chapters:

1. The Necessity of the Cross (Acts 2:23)
2. The Offense of the Cross (Hebrews 12:2)
3. The Peace of the Cross (Colossians 1:20)
4. The Power of the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18)
5. The Triumph of the Cross (Colossians 2:15)
6. The Humility  of the Cross (Philippians 2:8)
7. The Boast of the Cross (Galatians 6:14)

As you likely noticed, each chapter’s theme has a passage of Scripture that digs deeper into the significance of the Gospel.

Dr. Ryken explores the cultural significance of crucifixion of first century societies (Roman, Greek and Hebrew) and what made this type of death loathsome. He goes on to help his reader understand how our contemporary society has lost touch with how awful this form of death was and how the cross has become a “tamed” symbol of faith.  He points his reader back to the Old Testament promises of one perfect sacrifice to take away all sin but reminds us that no one ever thought that it would come through crucifixion of an individual man. Yet in God’s perfect plan, He saw the cross as demonstrating power and wisdom (1 Cor. 1:18) through a humble God-man who gave it all for us all. Ultimately, if we have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for our sin, Dr. Ryken uses Paul’s letter to the Galatians (6:14) as our response to the cross– may we rejoice and have wonder in the saving power of our Savior’s sacrifice through His crucifixion on the cross!

Bottom Line

Dr. Ryken is an excellent writer who has the ability to cut to the point of his message in a very readable and succinct manner.   He writes to clearly inform his reader as a good teacher does. His writing style even makes statements you may know interesting, because you wished you thought of saying it that way!

Ryken set out to write a book that people who do not know the Gospel could easily read and clearly understand, and one that will cause the reader to see Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in a new and life changing way.  He certainly has obtained his goal.  I think that whether you are an established Christian or a new believer, you will find a clear message of Christ’ s sacrifice on the cross that will enrich your faith walk.  With Easter just about a week away, I believe that readers of this book will see new insights into Christ’s sacrifice for them.

If you want to dig deeper into what’s behind the Gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection…if you want to read a book that will inform as well as enrich your spiritual walk… if you wish you had a book that gave more knowledge to a seeking friend or new believing friend, consider picking up a copy of the I give this book five of five stars.

Book DescriptionSalvation by Crucifixion

Philip G. Ryken celebrates Easter with this thoughtful guidebook to understanding the cross. Seven answers to seven questions explain the why and the wherefore of the cross for a Biblical faith and a Christian life.

Ryken covers the necessity of the cross for salvation; the offense it gives to Jews, Gentiles, and any moral individual; the peace it brings to those who trust in Christ; the power it has to achieve God’s loving, saving purpose; the triumph it wins over sin, death, and the judgment of God; the humility it displays in the character of Jesus; and the boast it becomes for every believer.

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Focus (January 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781913072
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781913079
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Retail Price: $9.99 paperback  / $7.99 e-book

Available at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christian Focus Publications

About the Author

Dr Ryken became President of Wheaton College in July 2010. Prior to that he was Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is also a prolific author and a member of the council of The Gospel Coalition. Other books by Dr. Ryken can be find through this link.

Notice: I received a complimentary e-book for an honest review of this title through Shaun Tabatt at  Cross-Focused Reviews and Christian Focus Publications

photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC via photopin cc (modified)

 

 

 

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We’ve been home from our life-changing trip to Nepal for 5 days now. I think I can safely say I’m feeling almost human again.

(Jet-lag was killer.) Next time I come home from Nepal, I will not schedule things for the first three days.

(You read that right … I said next time. In addition to writing the book for and about Tiny Hands International and their work in Nepal, I’m asking God how He might choose to use me and my family in their efforts to Be the Kingdom. I pray that includes more trips to Nepal.)

I’ve spent much of these last five days reflecting on our 10 days on the ground in Nepal. I’ve dreamt about Nepal. The following image is one I’ve thought of countless times.

Neighborhood Man on the Street

This man lived on the street very near our guesthouse in Kathmandu. Unless we were going to our favorite breakfast haunt (Northfield’s), every time we left the guesthouse, I was lost in a labyrinth of narrow streets lined with countless shops that all looked the same. However, when we saw this man, we knew we were almost “home.” It didn’t matter what time of day it was, he was always there. He wore no shoes. He walked back and forth along the equivalent of an American city block. When he wasn’t walking, he was sitting on the second step that ran along the entire course of the Thamel shopping area, and while he sat, he wrote in a notebook. One day he wrote with a green pen, another with a black pen. I noticed. I saw him.

What I didn’t do was talk to him. We passed him every day that we were in Kathmandu and I never so much as greeted him.

When we were on the plane heading home, more than once I had moments of panic, like I had forgotten something back in Nepal and needed to go back. I forgot my shampoo in the bathroom … I should have left the rest of the protein bars with the little street family we befriended … I failed to let our neighborhood street man know that I saw him.

I think it might be regret whispering in my year, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

In my defense, our neighborhood man never asked for anything from us. He wasn’t begging, though his need appeared great. He was writing. I’m a writer, and I wondered what he was writing, but I never asked. Kadi told me later that on her way back to the guesthouse, after shooting pictures with our friend Matt, she saw about a dozen people gathered around him and he was reading to them. Oh, how I wish I’d heard (and had an interpreter with me).

As I prayed for the people in Nepal today – those we interacted with and those we did not – my mind conjured up the picture of our neighborhood man, but behind him stood a huge warrior from God’s army. Then I saw all the rest of those who are doing God’s work for Tiny Hands in Nepal, the children in the homes, the young woman who Tiny Hands intercepted 8 months ago and I interviewed, our little family on the street … and they were all surrounded by warriors from God’s army. Some had one sentinel, others had a whole battalion standing guard around them.

We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning,
for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.
1 John 5:18

Regret is a miserable bedfellow. I don’t think God wanted me to wear that cloak or listen to that lie. That’s why He showed me that though Nepal is ripe with false teaching and strange gods, our God is doing a mighty work in this country – His country.

If you have a moment, please watch this great clip of someone who did take the time to find out what was being written … and the amazing outcome.

*Kadi (my talented and much loved daughter) took the picture I’ve shared above.   Check out Kadi Tiede Photography.

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