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Hi Ladies,

I have a few things to tell you all about. Through today (October 14, 2014), When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography, kindle edition is free!  Yes, free I tell you.  So hurry to the Amazon kindle store to grab it through this link.

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o   Must let Covenant Eyes know by October 15th to participate

 

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tumblr_n2y9d64ocR1qjfoqfo2_1280You may or may not be aware that our family attempted a week-long dal bhat experiment a couple of weeks ago.

First, some history:

When Kadi and I were in Nepal with Tiny Hands International, we learned that most Nepali people eat dal bhat—and only dal bhat—twice a day. Dal is soup made out of lentils and bhat is rice. When we were visiting one of Tiny Hands’ children’s homes, we were treated to some yummy dal bhat. Upon our return, we’ve told others about the practice of eating this staple twice a day—every day. The discussion has ensued multiple times that it’s hard to imagine eating anything twice a day, every day.

Somehow this resulted in me spontaneously asking my family if they would consider a dal bhat “fast” or experiment for a week. Could we eat dal bhat twice daily for a week without grumbling? Truly? I don’t know what I was thinking other than that it would be an incredible opportunity for us to set aside our fixation with food and focus on prayer for Tiny Hands and those doing God’s work in Nepal. The whole family agreed. 

Seriously … all 3 kids (18, 14, 12 y.o.) ALL said they wanted to do this. There was no trickery and no money exchanged hands. 

I promised you blog posts, recipes, and many updates. Yeah, about that …

Here’s the thumbnail version of how that went down …

We planned to do our experiment from Sunday through the following Saturday. Then all of my kids made plans to be away from home that Sunday night. (Welcome to life with teenagers!) Later that evening we lost a dear friend to a heart aneurysm and the rest of the week was insane, but that didn’t stop us!

IMG_4867Monday morning I woke up early to make my first dal bhat for the kids to enjoy for breakfast. Note: I did not get up early ENOUGH! I did not put nearly enough water in my pressure cooker for the rice and lentils that I attempted to cook together. (The Indian guy at Rice N Spice told me I could do it that way, but it was the only time I made that mistake. If you’re a pressure cooker guru – knock yerself out!) Let’s just say we had something akin to a softball and nothing that anyone could eat more than 1 or 2 bites of. Kadi’s comment … “I see some weightloss coming my way this week.” (Indeed!)

That said, we had a football player starting practice that day and I knew he and the rest of the crew had to eat something. The dal bhat hit the garbage can, so the boys ate frozen pizza for lunch. #fastfail I didn’t join them.

By supper time, I had invested 90 minutes in our dal bhat supper and it was worth every minute of it! I tweaked the recipe over the course of the week, but here’s the recipe I ended up with. Mind you, I was feeding 3 teens, including 1 football player and 1 who we can almost watch growing (it’s freaky)! We also wanted enough left over for people to have a small dal bhat lunch at noon the next day if they chose to do that. 

Dal
Soak 2 cups dal
(lentils) – (Nepali is black, red, or yellow. Get what you can find) in several cups of water for 20-30 minutes. You will dump that water and anything that floats. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. (I actually used 3-4 cups chicken broth with 2-3 cups water)

Meanwhile, in a small pan melt 6 T. butter (ghee), 1 onion (diced), 3 cloves garlic (crushed/pressed)(This is my favorite part of making the meal. There’s something very satisfying about squishing that clove through my press. #easilyamused), 2 cm piece of fresh ginger (chopped), 2-3 red chilies. Cook these up until translucent. 

When the lentils come to a boil, add the cooked spices to the lentils. Turn the lentils down and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. salt, 8-10 curry leaves (we got this at the Indian store), 1 tsp. mustard seeds (crushed) (I bought a mortar and pestle … something I’ve always wanted because crushing fresh spices … well, YES! Second favorite part of making this.)

While ALL of this is going on … Make your rice.

Bhat

I used Basmati rice— “Nourished by the snow fed rivers of the Himalayas” that I picked up at the Indian food store. 
2 cups Basmati rice – soak in water for 30 minutes. Discard water. Add 3 cups fresh water (again, I used 3 cups of chicken broth) and 2 T. melted butter (optional). Bring to a boil. Cover pot with a tight lid, turn the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.

Once you have your Bhat on low and your dal simmering … I would take the meat off a rotisserie chicken that I picked up at Sam’s Club. (I bought 2 chickens every other day). In Nepal, this would only happen once a week or less. Truly, the lentils are loaded with protein and other great nutrients, so the chicken isn’t necessary, but we were eating this for a week and I needed to keep my family on board or I’d be eating a LOT of dal bhat by myself!

Each day I’d also cook up/steam other vegetables that I’d add to the dal. Each day was different, but I used: Broccoli, cauliflower, garden green beans, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini …

I also made Alu dum (curried potatoes) twice.

Alu dum

2 pounds of potatoes

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp garlic (pressed/minced)

1 tsp fresh ginger (minced)

1 tsp red chili pepper

1 ts. coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp. Garam Masala (available at Indian food stores)(Mentioned in my new favorite movie: “100 Foot Journey.”)

Boil potatoes until 1/2 cooked. Drain. Slice and brown in butter. 
Cook onions in butter until light brown.
Add ginger, garlic, red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder, and turmeric. 
Add salt.

(The real recipe says to add 1.5 – 2 cups of water at this point, boil it, and add blanched beans or spinach. We didn’t do that.)

Time Out for a Trailer!
 

When the lentils are soft (not mushy) and the rice is finished, remove the big red chili’s and the curry leaves. Then it is time to eat. This was the best part. The house smelled yummy. We put bhat (rice) on our plates, followed by a hearty helping of dal to which the veggies and chicken had been added. When we had potatoes, we just piled them in there too. Then we mixed it all together with the fingers of our right hand! (In Nepal, you eat with your hand and only your right hand! The left hand is considered unclean and is used for personal hygiene in the bathroom. Ah-hem.)

IMG_4875

In Nepal, our friends taught us to form our 4 fingers into a scoop shape. Scoop up the dal bhat, then scrape it off your hand and into your mouth with your thumb. All of us ate this way for the entire week, with the exception of Ben, who refused to use his fingers after the first day. (Who knew?) Caleb, on the other hand …

IMG_4878 IMG_4877 IMG_4876

In case you’ve heard our oldest  imply that our dal bhat experiment was an epic failure, let me explain. SHE had photo shoots and out of town commitments several nights that week, so SOMEONE (all fingers pointing at Kadi) was only able to actually be at the dinner table 2 nights. One of those nights we were at the visitation for our friend until 8 p.m. and the idea of STARTING a 90 minute prep. meal was inconceivable. #Dominostotherescue 
The rest of us did eat dal bhat Monday through Sunday (we shifted the days back from our original plan). The boys added a lunch in there as they have those football and growth issues, but Mike and I stuck to dal bhat for breakfast and supper for the 7 days (minus one supper).

OUTCOME …
So what? We ate the same thing for 7 days. What was the point? What came of this little “experiment”?

1. For 7 days I never heard, “What’s for dinner?” I also never heard one kid … not ONE … complain about eating the same meal again, and again, and again.

2. We talked about Tiny Hands ALL WEEK LONG! They were forefront in all of our thoughts and prayers. 

3. Speaking of prayers … We decided that first night that we were going to pray “Nepali style” all week at dinner. In Nepal, people pray out loud all together. When Kadi and I were there we were captivated by this noisy, passionate, God-focused prayer that eliminated any “speech making.” No one worried about whether they were praying well, using the right words, remembering everything that might offend someone if it’s forgotten. We loved it. The first night we prayed this way at dinner, it was honestly awkward. The boys finished in 30 seconds flat, and I interrupted my own prayer to sternly instruct, “You are NOT done praying! Keeping going!”  … So, it wasn’t a very spiritual moment, but you have to parent in the moment.

Nights 2 – 7 were a totally different story! Our prayer time at the table will always be some of my fondest memories. Even as I carried my own pleas to the Lord —for Tiny Hands, those who would be intercepted from sex trafficking, the children in our children’s homes and those waiting to be in a safe home, the house parents, the president and his wife, the rest of the Tiny Hands partners both in Nepal and the U.S.—I could hear my husband and children doing the same. They were sold out prayers, filled with emotion and longing. They were hope-filled and grateful requests for more of HIM in a world filled with injustice. We added prayers for friends who are suffering and hurting – who have lost and are losing loved ones. We prayed for our church and this world whose pains cry out, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”

Tonight my boys came home from youth group and Ben (14) shared that he asked his small group to pray Nepali style. Bless.
There’s more to tell about our week-long dal bhat experiment, but this has already crossed the line of how much I’d expect you to read. If you’re still with me – God bless! I’ll tell you the rest of the story soon. 

Until then … Jai Mashi (Christ is Victorious)

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Victory LambYou can hardly turn on the news or open the paper without seeing signs of the world in unrest –floods and drought, earthquakes and extreme natural disasters. Along with these headlines are Christians martyred for their faith–Iraq, Syria, Indonesia, China–the list goes on and on. When you consider all that is going on in the world, it’s not a far stretch to consider the Revelation and its prophecy of Christ’s second coming. Many have considered this book to be difficult to understand and less approachable than other books of the Bible. Scholar and author, Mark Wilson has penned a new book, Victory Through the Lamb with a unique perspective. He lives in present day Smyrna,  (Izmir) Turkey, one of the seven churches John addresses in Revelation. Wilson’s goal is to introduce his readers to Revelation by pointing them to Christ’s ultimate victory detailed in Revelation. Each chapter begins with a vignette of victory that martyrs of Christianity experienced in earlier centuries. The final chapter also includes the deaths of recent martyrs that impacted Wilson in Turkey.  He also penned his own translation of Revelation for his reader to accompany his teaching.

 The Bottom Line

Wilson’s choices of biographical accounts of the martyrs is outstanding. Their witnessing through their death was often sad but inspiring all the same. I found myself captivated by their lives and left seeing martyrdom as less tragic and truly a witness to believers and non-believers alike.  Wilson would next present a section of Revelation followed by exposition of the Scripture. These sections were insightful and written in a more scholarly format, which was quite different from the personal accounts in the martyr stories. While both were good there was not a transition linking them together so the format of the book didn’t really work well for me as the reader. I believe there is very good content in his book, but I was bogged down by the lack of transitions between each section. As a result, I missed the overarching point of his book.  I admire Dr. Wilson’s intent and his heart, but unfortunately the book as a whole fell flat for me. I give it 3 of 5 stars. Book Description

The book introduces Christians to the book of Revelation through a study of one of its key themes: victory. Running counter to Revelation’s prevailing interpretation, it proposes that Christians, represented by the audience in the Seven Churches, have been in tribulation since the first century and that Revelation was written to help Christians be victorious over the challenges of life. Each chapter opens with an aVictory through the Lambccount of martyrdom. The final account tells the story of the three believers in Malatya, Turkey, who were brutally killed in 2007. The book is dedicated to the three. The volume also features a new translation of Revelation by the author, a scholar who has worked on Revelation for over two decades and who lives in the land of the Seven Churches—Turkey.
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Weaver Book Company (September 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941337015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941337011
  • Retail Price: $17.99

Available at these retailers for less: Amazon Weaver Book Company

About the Author

Mark WilsonMark Wilson (D.Litt. et Phil., South Africa) is the founder and director of the Asia Minor Research Center in Antalya, Turkey, a country in which he and his wife Dindy have lived since 2004. He serves as Visiting Professor of Early Christianity at Regent University, Associate Professor Extraordinary of New Testament at Stellenbosch University, and Research Fellow in Biblical Archaeology at the University of South Africa. He is the English editor of the Turkish archaeological journals Adalya and Anmed. He also blogs for the online Bible History Daily. He is the author and editor of numerous books, articles, and reviews including a commentary on Revelation (Zondervan), Charts of the Book of Revelation (Kregel), The Victor Sayings in the Book of Revelation (Wipf & Stock), and Biblical Turkey: A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor (Ege Yayıları). Wilson is a member of twelve academic societies, including the Society of Biblical Literature, the Evangelical Theological Association, the Institute of Biblical Research, and the New Testament Society of South Africa. His particular research interests are the ancient Jewish communities, Roman roads, and biblical history in Turkey. He has been married to Dindy for forty years. They have four adult children, four granddaughters, and four grandsons. Notice: I received a complimentary e-book for an honest review of this title through Shaun Tabatt at  Cross-Focused Reviews and Weaver Book Company      

photo credit: /\ \/\/ /\ via photopin cc  

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Love Like a Boss“Like a boss.”

It’s the act of doing something as a boss would do it, and believe me “it” can be anything.

You can …

blog like a boss …

tackle like a boss …

lead worship like a boss …

pull a tooth like a boss …

decorate like a boss …

eat a burrito like a boss …

remember names like a boss …

Honestly, you can do just about anything “like a boss.”

Instagram has 2,403,062 #likeaboss posts. WHAT??

This week, Jen Hatmaker even posted a picture of her hand holding her new “Like a Boss” mug, because she does a lot of things “like a boss.”

Before I even saw her mug, which I might or might not have coveted a little bit, I was noodling on the idea of “like a boss.” Each time I read or hear that someone has accomplished something “like a boss,” my heart hears, “Yes! Now THAT is how it’s done! Bam! (Emeril Lagasse’s version of “like a boss.”)”

I confess, I want to do something “like a boss.” But what?

You might think a better question would be, “But WHY?”

I don’t want to do something like a boss because I care so much what other people think. Okay, I care a little, but once I turned 40 (a few years back) I started caring less about the opinions of others. (It’s a gift you get when you hit middle age. Thank you very much!)

But I really care what God thinks. Ephesians 6:7 reminds us to “Work with enthusiasm (like a boss), as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (The insertion is mine obviously.)

I really want to hear a hearty, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I get to heaven, and I’m not going to lie, I’d be more than a little okay with an enthusiastic, “You, Vicki Tiede, loved like a boss!” from Jesus.

That’s it. I want to love like a boss. Scripture tells us to love God and love others. 

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment. 
A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
~Matthew 22:36-38

There’s such a sweet bonus in choosing to love like a boss, because when you do that it begets other “like a boss” opportunities. Catch this:

When you love your husband like a boss, you’ve just done marriage like a boss!

When you love your children like a boss, you come close to nailing parenting like a boss!

When you love others like a boss, then you find yourself  being a sister, a daughter, a friend—like a boss! You seek justice, you serve, you sacrifice, you put others first, and you forgive—(indeed!) like a boss.

And when you love God like a boss, you walk humbly with your Maker and Teacher, you obey Him, you serve Him, and you grow in your knowledge of Him … and you do it all like a boss.

It’s seems like a no-brainer to me; the very best thing any one of us can do “like a boss” is to love.

Let’s start a #LoveLikeABoss hashtag.

For heaven’s sake, let’s start a #LoveLikeABoss MOVEMENT!

Post a picture or a story on Facebook, Twitter, and / or Instagram with #LoveLikeABoss, if you have …

1. Been on the receiving end of being loved like a boss,

2. Caught someone else loving like a boss,

3. Loved like a boss yourself and it might inspire someone else to do likewise, 

The world we live in today … well, it’s a mess. I suspect it will get messier until Jesus comes, so while we’re here, let’s make the world a better place. Let’s choose to #LoveLikeABoss

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Last week I shared that I am walking a difficult path with my dearest-friend-who-is-like-a-sister. I’ve never done anything quite like this before. That means, I’m processing, stretching, and learning as I go.  For over a year, Emma and I have talked about the fact that we are learning a new dance. We don’t know the steps and we’re probably going to step on each other’s toes, but we are oh-so-careful to be gentle in the process.

I fear that I may step on some toes in this post, dear reader. That’s not my intent and I promise to be as gentle as I am able to be. Nevertheless, as I learn these dance steps, I have discovered that there are some unspoken “rules” that – if followed – prevent wear and tear on the most vulnerable toes in this routine. So, I’m begging for grace as I cut to the chase and share what I’m learning … 

One thing that has become clear to me is that many people have no idea what to say to a person who is dying, to their family, and to those closest to them. Most of us are trying to figure out our place—where we fit—if we fit at all—in the puzzle.

I read something over a year ago that stuck with me as I suspected it would be important for this stretch of the road. It was a system for how to avoid saying/doing the wrong thing in these situations. I made notes and kept them … it was THAT good. As one who has historically been known to engage her mouth and heart before her brain, I needed to figure this out. I’m going to apply the technique to Emma. (I’m sure she loves being my test case.) This is my take on the model I read about (don’t shoot the messenger, please):

Imagine a diagram of concentric circles. The innermost circle is Emma. (If you have a loved one who is experiencing a trauma of some sort, you can put their name in the circle.) She’s the one who has the metastasized breast cancer, so she gets the center ring. 

The next ring is the person closest to her. In this case, it’s her husband Kevin. (The person in this ring gets extra grace when it comes to the guidelines that follow.) 

This pattern continues with the next closest people. Children, parents, siblings, and intimate friends are in smaller rings than less familiar friends and acquaintances. 

We don’t need to be told exactly which ring our name falls in. Really … We don’t need to know! It will become apparent as time passes. We’ll figure it out.  The only person who really knows where people fall is the person in the centermost circle, and she probably couldn’t give us a list unless we’re in one of the smaller circles. The bottom line is: Don’t get hung up on this.

This is how the circles will help so that we communicate with love and grace without sticking our foot in our mouth and unintentionally hurting someone’s heart. 

Emma (or whoever is in the center of your concentric circles) gets to say WHATEVER she wants to say to ANYONE. Period. She can also choose not to say things too – her choice.

Everyone else can have opinions and think things, and say things as well – whatever they want to say – but ONLY to those in BIGGER CIRCLES.

Read that last line again, because this is the sticking point. (Don’t pass “go” until you completely understand this.) 

When we are having a conversation with anyone in a circle smaller than ours, we need to listen more than we talk. We need to comfort, encourage, and support, not give advice or share your opinions. Oh, and no one in a smaller circle wants to hear that we know “exactly how they feel” – because we don’t, and even if we have an excellent experiential story that we are confident is similar to their experience – save it, because it isn’t. No one else’s experience has ever been and never will be exactly like the person in the center circle’s experience. (We need to dial-a-friend in a bigger circle if it’s eating us up not to share.)

This simply is not about you or me. It’s not about what we need. It’s easy to get caught up in how we are feeling and as a result create discord and stress, when we really long to contribute to a peaceful environment. It’s not about how hard this is for us, and believe me, I know that it’s breaking your heart just as it’s breaking mine. Can we agree to talk to someone who’s in our circle or one that’s larger about that? Better yet, let’s pour out our heart to the One whose shoulders are big enough to bear all of our burdens.

My notes say, “Comfort IN, dump OUT.”

That means we don’t “dump” on anyone who is in any of the circles that are smaller than ours. Instead, pour IN comfort, love, support, and prayer. 

I’d like to make special mention of children. If the person in the center ring has children, let’s take special care about what we say to them. They especially don’t need our stuff dumped on them. It’s not necessary to ask them any questions about their parent’s health. Ask an adult. Figure out who your friend’s chosen point person/care-traffic-controller/gate-keeper is. If there is something we really need to know, ask his or her “person.” If it’s curiosity or worse – understand that there are just some things we don’t need to know and refrain from asking.

Imagine all the scenarios that this concentric circle model fits. It’s not just when you have a friend or loved one who is dying. This fits anytime someone is in crisis; a divorce, job loss, home burns down …

It’s normal in these situations to wonder … What will he do about X? How are they going to handle Y? Do they have a plan for Z?

Here’s the deal — if we are part of the answer to X, Y, or Z, we can trust that someone in a smaller circle will come to us directly. If they haven’t, then we probably don’t require answers to these questions.

As long as I’m on a roll, I might also mention that when we tell someone who is facing a terminal diagnosis, “but you look so good” – though our intention is to compliment her, it actually invalidates her pain and symptoms. By God’s grace they hope they look better than they feel. Palliative care can sometimes help them navigate a little bit longer than they would if they weren’t getting help managing pain.

So this feels like an awful lot of DON’Ts. Sorry about that. I know how helpless you feel to do or say the right things. We all feel that way in situations like this.

There are some things we CAN say.

We can admit, “I don’t know what to say, but I care about you and I’m praying for you.” (Then DO it! There is absolutely nothing more powerful than prayer.)

It’s appropriate to say, “I have no idea what this is like for you, but I am here if you need anything.” (Don’t say it unless you mean it.)

Above all else, tell them you love them.

Recognize that there will come a time when, because of the particular circle we are in, we will no longer have an opportunity to tell them anything this side of heaven. Then we continue praying and we continue caring for those in the smallest circles. 

 

IMG_4826

On Sunday morning, we sang “10,000 Reasons.” Okay, so I ugly sobbed and croaked out “10,000 Reasons,” arms raised and heart full.

And on that day when my strength is failing

The end draws near and my time has come

Still my soul will sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years and then forevermore

 I can only speak about my friend, but the reason I believe Emma looks stunning—even now—is because Jesus is in her eyes. He is filling her up with more of Himself than ever before. I know this is true because I see Him in her eyes. It’s what hope and glorious anticipation of Home looks like in the eyes of one who has followed Jesus imperfectly, but oh-so-closely all her life.

With her arm raised in praise on Sunday morning, and the support of the one her soul loves, I rejoiced that our eternal future is sealed. My friend and I will sing God’s praise unending – ten thousand years and then forevermore.

 

 

 

 

 

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