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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

India & Pakistan History

So, last night we watched the very powerful movie Gandhi. Wow, what a very good movie! I have read little bits here-and-there in my research and reading of India, but this movie really brought it all to light a lot more clearer. You see, I'm not at all interested in political issues very much. But I was glad to really realize the depths of India's independence from British rule, and the sad aftermath of Hindu and Muslim conflicts. It really solidified my understanding of the division (in country and attitude) between India and Pakistan. I'm also reading a book right now that highlights the struggles for Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) to become an independent state from Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan). I truly believe that to know a country (and it's people), you have to know some of the vital part's of it's history. The struggles they have faced. The blood and tears that were shed to make it what it is today. And to have some fathom of understanding as to why there really is such a huge clash between Indians & Pakistanis, Hindus & Muslims. Once again, I can say that I feel just a bit more knowledgable about the nation that Jesus Christ has placed in our hearts to reach with His Gospel!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Planning and Plotting

Well, after a LONG delay in posting, I am finally back again with a bit of wonderful news...we are finally planning a trip to Mumbai, India!!! After much time in prayer, and God's provisions, we have begun the long and tedious task of making arrangements for our long-awaited trip. So far, we have gotten a "game plan" in place for the sights we want to see, and what areas of Mumbai we actually plan to visit. Our hotel is about 99% chosen. Our visa applications (and pictures) are ready to be mailed. We have a pretty good idea of the flights (and cities) we will layover in. I was blessed by my awesome husband with a cam-corder, to video journal the event. We even know approximately when we will be going (much to the chagrin of a dear Indian friend and her warnings of intense summer heat). But, the time is finally nearing!!! After 2 years, it's finally happening! I (almost) never thought I would see the day. All we need now is the most important piece to this whole puzzle...money. But I trust fully that God will provide. Things are already in the works, and so, I cannot wait to update further on our status! Stay tuned.....! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Biryani and Saris


Well, here I am again, after a long sabatical. I am the kind of person who needs some inspiration for things, and was lacking a little for any new blogs. But, here I am, and with two wonderful inspirations...biryani and saris!
So, I've now attained a long list of indian cooking accomplishments. I can make naan, jallebis, gulab jamuns, tandoori chicken, aloo gobi, chana masala and so many others that I cannot remember. So, the king of Indian dishes (at least to some food affecionados) is biryani, and I found the greatest, easiest recipe online buy a wonderful sikh man. It may not necessarily be "authentic", but it's truly wonderful and now one of my family's favorite Indian dishes.
And now, the saris. In the two years that we have had a "heart for India", I've never owned or even tried on a sari. But, in one night, I gained 4 saris and learned how to drape them. Basically, I met the nicest Indian lady online, whom I contacted about buying saris. She invited me over, and showed me her array of beautiful saris. She even took the time to help me drape a sari, which was very kind to say the least. As the girl in the Indian Doritos commercial says, it "makes my heart feel good!" LOL!!! If you haven't seen that commercial, you've gotta google it!
All we need to do now, is GO already!!! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hindi or Hindu?

Recently, I was chatting with a cousin online, who had read my blog and was asking if I was Hindu. It dawned on me that I should probably clarify something, for those out there who are unaware of the difference between Hindu and Hindi.

Hindi is the main language of India. It derives from the original sanskrit and is usually written in the devanagari script, not with roman letters that most of us are familiar with. It can be transliterated into roman script though. Although it is the "national" language, many regions have their own language and dialect that is preferred. Punjabi, Tamil, etc. Most middle-class Indian schools will teach English, Hindi, and the regional tongue. We figure knowing Hindi and English should suffice for being a missionary.

Hindu is the main religion of India. Many gods and idols are worshipped in this religion. Kind of reminds me of a religious buffet. People seem to pick and choose which god they will devote their prayers to, especially depending on the circumstance of their life. Need good luck and prosperity? Ganesh is for you. Want a god that likes to indulge and be light-hearted, try Krishna. If one doesn't meet your needs, there's a myriad of others to choose from. Not so in Christianity. There is one God, known by many names: Yaweh, I AM, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Raffa, Jehova Shalom, God Almighty. He is part of the Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Almost as fingers are part of a hand, so are the Three connected together, but different as well. And the message, or gospel, is so simple...allow Him to be your Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and you will have everlasting life with Him in Heaven. Nothing complicated. And even in His perfect state (of which most Hindu gods struggle), He allows sinners to come unto Him, and He forgives them and changes them. He doesn't expect perfectionism from us, only obedience and surrender. I would much rather serve a God that cannot be "appeased" by mere human convincings. I am grateful for my God, my Savior, Who loves me, despite me. No other god can compare to that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sickness and Soup

Sometimes in life, you just don't have much new to say. Thus my delay in adding new posts. But, I think it's a good time to post now (while the kids are upstairs preoccupied). I had a wonderful success with making my own Indian recipe last night! My poor husband caught a cold from my daughter, and was miserable yesterday. So, last night I decided to make chicken soup. Actually, I was nearly begged to make it. But I did not feel like making my typical plain 'ol boring chicken soup. I was really inspired to add a touch of Indian flare to it. You see, I tasted a really wonderful version at our favorite Indian/Nepalese restaurant, and was hoping to find a close comparison recipe. But, to no avail. Neither my precious collection of Indian books, nor the Internet provided a satisfactory end result. I was about to just give up, but the poor hubby looked a bit defeated when I said I couldn't find a suitable recipe. So, with determination, lots of Indian cooking experience, and a "batting average of 500" (as my DH says), I armed myself with a bunch of veggies, some chicken and a variety of my Indian spices, and went to work. In about 45 minutes I had prepared one of the best Indian meals I have ever created! So, along with the Indian books I've read, the Bollywoods I've watched, the Hindi words I've learned, the accent I've aquired, the clothing and accessories I have purchased and worn, and now the knack for cooking Indian foods, I feel like I am truly becoming Indian. Now, if only I could just get to India!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chaos and Calm

Life has been VERY busy lately! The kids and I finished homeschooling the last week of May. Then our church was moving into a new building, and so we were busy with packing and cleaning. Then a dear family member, from Pueblo, passed away. With visits in Pueblo and a memorial service in New Mexico, you can imagine all that went into that week. The following week was our annual bible conference in Tucson, AZ. This was a wonderful time of refreshment, but very busy none-the-less. After that, we were busy with getting our new church building renovation started. It's still not done, but we are in "holiday weekend mode". Also, I've been to a used book sale and have been scanning the internet for some good homeschooling ideas. Then there's "I'm bored" stoppers...activities for the kids and I to do during the summer. Oh, and did I mention that I decided to take on the hair-brained idea of painting a couple rooms in my house?! I'll be a pro at painting once it's time to help with the walls in our new church building. Whew!
Despite it all though, I'm at peace. I may not look like it all of the time on the outside, but on the inside, I know the great things that my Savior is doing in my heart. The peace He has given me through life's busy times, whether happy or sad. The love He has given me for my family, and even the stranger that walks in from the street at church. The patience that He is still teaching me with the curve balls of life, and the bickering of my kids. The challenges that He has placed in front of me, and will help me to succeed in. Our conference theme was "Preparing for His Calling, Preparing for His Coming." Either way, He is preparing me. Whether we get to answer His call to India (and any other city/country) or anticipate His coming (the time is near!), I know all that I go through in life, whether chaos or calm, He is with me, and is preparing me for whatever is down the road of life.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comparing Apples to Apples

There is a saying we all know that goes, "comparing apples to oranges". This basically means to compare two different things with each other. So, it can be assumed that comparing Indian and Mexican food, which is as diverse and different as their cultures, cannot be compared to each other, right? Well, in regards to cooking, yes, I suppose that can still be quite true, although at times, quite the opposite. My personal favorite herb in the world is cilantro, also known as coriander. When I make salsa, I throw in large handfuls of the stuff! As well, when cooking Indian food, I am also very generous with adding it to the final product, or as a perfect ingredient. Other staples of both cuisines are garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Since moving to Colorado 20 years ago, I have become pretty experienced with cooking an array of basic Mexican foods. Then while I was experimenting with Indian recipes, I was quite astonished to realize that these common ingredients are shared with many Mexican dishes. Of course there are a myriad of differences that I could also bring to light, but for now, I just feel like comparing apples to apples.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reading and Realization

One of my favorite things to do these days is reading Indian fiction. One book was a historical-fiction work that focused on the lives of Shah Jehan's (famous for the Taj Mahal) parents, an Emporer and Empress of Mughal India. A second book focused on the cultural understandings of how residents of an apartment building in Mumbai deal with the circumstances of a poor man who has lived on their building steps. Another book retold the life of an Indian woman and the various struggles she must face through marriage, family differences, motherhood, war and widowhood. Each of these poignant works have done two things: opened my eyes up to the social and religious struggles in India, and also brought me to the realization that I truly have learned so much about India. Now I know that the cultural differences in India are as numerous as the population count, I'm again very excited about how very much I have learned. When I read these accounts, I can easily understand what they are talking about when they mention sati or pooja, when a particular food is mentioned, when a particular character faces persecution for something, that any typical American would never understand. Just like a person cannot fully understand marriage or parenthood until they are actually in the midst of it, I know I will not fully comprehend all that India has in store. But, I am again, one step closer to empathy. You cannot minister to people if you do not understand them, their culture or their situation. One can easily judge others if one has not walked in the shoes of others. And so, through the wonder of books, I can at least imagine walking in their shoes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hindi ~ Romanization and Devanagari


Hindi has become a second language in our family. We started learning some romanized versions many months ago, like 1,2,3 are ek, do, teen and blue, red, green are neela, laal, and hara. We've learned some initial phrases like hello, my name is..., how are you?, etc. It's been great, and we are all very excited for summer vacation to arrive so that we can focus on it much more. I'll even be incorporating Hindi days, where we can only communicate in it. This will be challenging, but fun and beneficial in our learning this language. But, my personal excitement has recently begun with learning the actual Devanagari script. I've pretty much mastered recognizing, reading and writing the first four consanants, which are basically ka, kha, ga, and gha. This became even more exciting when I could locate these letters in actual hindi words, and the realization that once I master the entire Hindi alphabet, I'll actually be able to read in that script...this will open up so many doors to communication when we go to India. And once I learn this, I'll be able to easily teach my kids and husband. Amazing how much more the world opens up when you learn a new language. Even more amazing is the fact that will will not have the usual language barrier that many missionaries face when going to a new country. No, we won't know Marathi, Gujurati, Tamil or many of the other languages of India, but with the knowledge of English and Hindi, we should be pretty well off. Now we just need to find some Hindi speaking people to practice on. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Blessed Life and Oh the Dream

It's been some time since posting. I'm sure there are things I could have written, but life gets so busy at times, especially when you have a family. While praying this morning, I came to the realization that I am truly blessed. I have a wonderful, loving, Godly husband, who is also an extremely loving father to our children. We've had our ups and downs, but through our almost 13 years of marriage, God has sustained us and our love has grown more and more. I also am blessed with the ability to stay home with the two other most important gifts of my life...my son and my daughter. I can hardly believe that she is nearing 8 and he is nearing 10. And the greatest part is that I get to spend so much time with them through homeschooling. Yes, it's difficult at times, but aren't most things that are worth it in life? We have our spats, but what a blessing and privilege it is to help mold and shape these two precious children into people of God. So, here's the crux of the message today...before 13 years ago, I had prayed and dreamed. Prayed so often that God would be merciful to me and allow me the opportunity to meet a man, who would become my husband. That I could share life's experiences with. That prayer was answered. Then, I prayed and dreamed of raising children. I longed to hold a baby in my arms, and know that I was responsible for that little bundle of hopes and dreams. And this prayer was answered, twice. Thus, I am living the dream. Which leads me to another dream. One only God could place in the heart of two typical Americans. India. The realization hit me, that at one time, I prayed and dreamed of being married and having kids, and I'm living that. Just as one day, I'll be living the answered prayer and dream of being in India...not just a trip, but actually living there and doing all I can to lead those people to Jesus. Oh the thought, of how many other wonderful dreams will come to be.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Busy in Ministry and Hopeful for India!


Whew! We have been quite busy lately, and it's not about to stop. Most of our free time (outside of homeschooling for the kids & I, and work for Dad) has been used with church activities. Every weekend in January, we had someone over for a meal or coffee. Then this month, we've been gearing up for our church concert, in both drama team and with a musical "group" I'm in. With the possibility of people coming over at any time, I've had to make sure my house is clean, which is not always an easy task, let alone a mom who's wearing so many "hats". But, it's all worth it, and I would not want to trade it for anything! Busyness means we are not bored. Ha! I don't even know the definition of the word anymore. But it's very exciting indeed!
Also, since last year was a tough year financially, "Uncle Sam" owes us this year, and not just a small amount! Praise God for this! With the blessed tax return, we'll be able to pay some debts, give a generous offering to God's work, and the rest is being saved for a very hopeful trip to India!!! Of course, things can change, but we are tentatively going either in June for an impact team (help missionaries) or maybe even in November for our anniversary. I would actually choose the anniversary option more, because the team is going to Bangalore, but David and I have felt a deep longing for Mumbai. It would be so wonderful to spend a week in the city, shopping where the people shop, riding the public transportation, eating where the locals eat, seeing the sights, but mostly just living for a short time with the people that God has placed so deeply in our hearts. So many people have questioned us with, "wouldn't you rather spend your money going on some luxery cruise?" or "don't you want to spend less money and go down to a tropical Mexican resort?" A heartfelt answer.....NO! It's like settling for a bowl of cereal, when you can have a full breakfast of eggs, potatoes, meat, pancakes, fruit, etc. Why settle for less?
So, now we just wait, and see where this path takes us...where our Father leads us. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tejal Family and Pani Puris


Well, tonight we made the trip up to Thornton, and stopped by our favorite Indian store, Tejal. We truly love going there! Jacob and Molly are the owners, and such wonderful, friendly people. They were happy to see us, and shared pictures of their daughter's Indian wedding with us. I might say, very beautiful indeed! David even said that his heart "leapt" at seeing the Indian people and such. We were invited, but since airfare to India is over $1000/person, we could not make the trip. Spending time with Molly & Jacob is always a treat for us. It's fun to interact with the people that God has placed in our hearts to reach with the gospel. Molly & Jacob are already believers in Jesus, so it's even more like visiting family when we go. While there, we also purchased some spices and other trinkets. I decided to buy a pani puri package, which included some chutneys to use with them. Pani puri are like chips in texture, but are hollow balls, that you fill with various items. Of course, we know that the ones fresh from Juhu Beach or Chowpatty Beach must be so much better, but we liked them none-the-less. It's always fun to try something new that is both Indian, and not American. Looking forward to the day we can actually walk those beaches, see those people, experience the real thing. Hopefully October will be the time this year! Unless God has other immediate plans for us. :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Aloo Gobi and Missionaries


Well, after such a busy holiday time, I'm glad to be back in the saddle of "normal" again. The husband is back to work, the kids and I are back to homeschooling, and maybe, I'll get back to the normal routines of life. Over the holidays, we had a chance to go to lunch with some friends of ours that were missionaries in India. They then pastored locally for a year, and now have gone back to their mother church to await the next plan God has for them. We went to lunch at a local Indian/Nepalese buffet, and really enjoyed ourselves. During conversation, we were discussing our favorite Indian recipes, and promised to email the recipes to each other. Since I had a couple minutes today, I decided to do just that. And, I thought I would share with anybody else who may be interested. This is a pretty good recipe that I think is pretty accurate, and hopefully not as "Americanized" as many other recipes I've tried. Enjoy!

1 lb potatoes, cut into 1 in. chunks
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped (I actually use ½ and remove seeds)
1 lb cauliflower, broken into florets
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp salt
Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), to garnish

1. Par-cook the potatoes ion a large pan of boiling water for about 10 mins. Drain well and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry them for 2 minutes until they begin to splutter. Add the chilli and fry for a further 1 minute.
3. Add the cauliflower florets and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes.
4. Add the potatoes and the ground spices and salt and cookf or a further 7-10 minutes, or until both the vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.