Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Humility, US Elections-2, Annunciation to Mary
Volume 6 No. 384 November 18, 2016
 

IV. General Weekly Features

Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash And Apple Salad

by Noelle Carter, LA Times

Ingredients:

1 medium to large acorn squash, seeded and cut into wedges

Cooking oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup Banyuls vinegar

3/4 cup grapeseed oil

2 large tart apples, such as White Pearmain or Hauer Pippin

Splash of lemon juice

1 pound mixed spicy baby mustard greens, such as Golden Frill, Red Streak or Suehlihung

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1/4 pound Rinconada Tomme cheese

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 deg C).

2. Roast the squash: Lightly coat the squash segments with a cooking oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet tray skin-side down. Bake until cooked but still firm, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the wedges. Cool slightly before assembling the salad.

3. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a medium, sealable container, combine the vinegar, grapeseed oil, 1 teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper. Seal the container and shake to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasonings and flavoring as desired. This will probably make more vinaigrette than is needed; the vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

4. To prepare the apples, julienne them using a knife or mandoline. Toss the apples with the lemon juice to keep them from browning.

5. Place the greens in a large bowl with the hazelnuts and apples. Drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette over and toss until coated, adding more as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Place the dressed greens in individual bowls and place segments of the roasted squash alongside. Drizzle a little dressing on the squash. Using a potato peeler, shave strips of cheese on top of the salad and serve.

Each serving: 556 calories; 16 grams protein; 43 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams fiber; 39 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 29 mg cholesterol; 19 grams sugar; 667 mg sodium.

Note: Adapted from Susan Dumeyer and David Sundeen of Windrose Farm. They use white acorn squash; you can substitute regular acorn or even delicata squash. Arugula can be substituted for the spicy mustard greens, and another firm white cheese (such as manchego) can be substituted for the Rinconada Tomme.

Source: LA Times

Family Special: 15 Things to Make You The Happiest Couple in the World

By Tamsyn Valentine, FamilyShare

I remember the very first day I got to wake up next to the man I loved and call him my husband.

We were in a beautiful place, in a beautiful room, on a wonderfully comfy bed, and I thought to myself, "Can I get any happier?"

The good news is yes, because being married to your best friend is filled with so many amazing and happy days.

But because this is real life, it is also filled with not as happy days, and straight up incredibly hard days.

Even through these hard times together as a couple we find ourselves still being incredibly happy and most devoted couples do as well.

But is there a way to be even happier?

The answer is yes, and these 15 things are sure to not only increase the happiness you have as a couple, but to keep it going throughout your entire marriage.

1. Flirting with your husband/wife

Don't underestimate the power of the flirt, especially when it comes to your spouse. I mean, it's probably what got you together in the first place!

Just because you are married doesn't mean you have to stop the fine art of flirting, because flirting is an important part of keeping the spark alive.

2. Having inside jokes

Humor can really solve so many problems, and having your go-to laugh-your-pants-off inside jokes will always make you and your spouse super happy.

Make sure to even write them down in a journal or notebook, that way if either of you are having a bad day you can pull it out and laugh together.

3. Constantly complimenting each other

Who doesn't love to be complimented? Especially by the person they care about the most?

Making an effort to compliment your husband or wife on a daily basis will bring so much happiness to both of you, and also will remind you to always be looking for the things you love about your spouse.

4. Caring about each other's day

Even if you both think you know exactly what the other is doing throughout the day, you don't actually always know.

When you show that you both care about all the in-and-outs about how each other spent the day, you will feel happy and that what you do with your time really matters. It will also help you to look forward to the time where you get to come home and share things with your spouse.

5. Always trusting one another

Obviously trust is very important in a relationship, and when it is 100 percent there, you are probably each going to be happier.

Make sure to express that you trust your spouse and the decisions they make, even if it's something as small as letting them help all the kids with the homework or picking out the new paint color for the house.

Small things really matter when it comes to building happiness!

6. Being willing to compromise

Even happy couples disagree, but the difference between those who stay happy and those who don't is usually because the happy couples are always willing to compromise.

Everyone can't always get their way all the time, and understanding this can lead to lasting happiness.

7. Continuously expressing love

If you love them why not say it?

You will never regret saying you love your spouse too much, but you will always regret saying it too little.

8. Actively dealing with confrontation

When you fight, the worst thing you can do is pretend it didn't even happen in the first place.

Not being afraid of the confrontation that can sometimes happen between you and your spouse can actually make you a lot happier and help you solve issues quickly and effectively.

9. Always wanting to listen

Sometimes I think we underestimate the power of a listening ear.

Letting your husband or wife know that you are always there to listen to them no matter what will make you both incredibly happy and feel incredibly loved.

10. Not holding any grudges ever

Holding grudges is both unproductive and a waste of energy.

If you want to be a happy couple get in the habit of never holding a grudge against your spouse, but just talking about the things that are bothering you with openness and understanding.

11. Make time together a priority

Time is a precious gift that we never seem to have enough of, but time with your spouse should be even more special and precious.

Make that time you have together always a priority, and you are sure to always be happier you did.

12. But also time apart

As important as time together is, happy couples understand that time apart is equally as important.

Now I'm not talking about extra-long periods of time that occur often, but just every once in a while when you feel it's needed, to take some time to do your own thang.

13. Try new things as a couple

Adventure can be the life blood of continuously being happy.

Try new things together, face your fears together, and experience things you've never seen or heard together.

14. Always find common ground

Remember how close you got to your teammates the four years you played soccer in high school? Or your roommates in college?

Usually one of the big reasons you were so close is because you had common ground, meaning you shared an interest or a hobby that you all loved.

For happy couples this is super important, because this is the way you stay connected as the years pass on.

15. Always help each other grow

I believe happiness is directly tied to growth, and although growth is difficult at times, it also makes you a better and happier person in the end.

Helping each other to always grow and learn will increase the happiness level of your relationship.

2016 FamilyShare
Source: jewishworldreview.com

Family Special: 5 Habits You Don't Realize Will Ruin Your Marriage

by Arlene Pellicane

There we were standing in front of our new home, grinning with a bright red SOLD sign for a picture. The excitement of moving into a great house had temporarily eclipsed the stress of packing three weeks before Christmas. I couldn't see one thing wrong with the house.

But then we moved in.

The sink began to leak. The ceiling fan and light needed repair. Unpacking was overwhelming. The dream home ended up needing some elbow grease and hard work.

That's like marriage, isn't it? We go into marriage with a bright red SOLD sign - we've gladly moved out of the old house of singleness to the castle of married bliss. Prince Charming and the Princess ride off into the sunset, but then wake up 100 mornings later, realizing some elbow grease is required to keep a marriage - not just a house - going strong.

A house left on its own falls into ruin over the decades and so does a marriage. Ruin is defined as "the physical destruction or disintegration of something or the state of disintegrating or being destroyed." Here are five habits that can easily creep in unnoticed, slowing eroding the foundation of your most important relationship:

1. Disrespect and a lack of love become the norm.

In Dr. Emerson Eggerich's book Love & Respect, he writes that when a husband feels disrespected, he has natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. When that wife feels unloved, she reacts in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. This "crazy cycle" goes on and on, causing a relationship to disintegrate. Wives, don't wait for your husband to act lovingly to you, bringing your flowers or speaking words of tenderness. Give him unconditional respect. Husbands, don't wait for your wives to show respect, give her unconditional love. Shower her with tenderness, no matter how moody or mean she may be.

2. Down time equals screen time.

How much quality time do you spend each day with your spouse? Sitting across a dinner table while both of you texting does not count. Being in the living room together while one person checks email and another person watches TV does not count. Whether we're checking our phone, playing video games, or watching a movie, constant screen time poses a huge threat to meaningful connection in a marriage.

When my husband James and I were dating 19 years ago, we could literally spend hours sitting close together on the sofa, talking and cuddling. This was before kissing! I don't expect you to spend hours snuggling up to your spouse, but what about 15 minutes of talk time on most days? We have no trouble giving our phones or tablets 15 minutes of undivided attention. Let's shift that attention to our spouse.

3. Children come first.

I have two children in elementary school and one in middle school. When I'm an empty nester someday, I want to be close to my husband. I don't want to spend 20 years hyper-focused on my kids, centering my whole world around them, just to be staring at a stranger (my spouse) after the kids leave home. I don't think you want that either.

Children seem needier so we can pour our energy - too much energy - into meeting their every need and want. But make no mistake. Having a child-centered family is not healthy to your baby, toddler, child or teen. The best gift you can give to your children is a rock-solid, loving relationship with your spouse. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:24 that a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. You are one with your spouse, not with your children. In God's design, your children are destined to leave you and create their own families. Your spouse is the adult you'll be with for the rest of your life, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health.

4. Laugh less, kiss less.

Most people get married to a person they have fun with. No one you've met has laughed their way to divorce court. The joking, teasing, flirting, and smiling at one another can wane as the years go by. Working hard, paying bills and having kids can extinguish romance and laughter in a hurry. That's why it's important to schedule fun activities and spend time together so you keep creating inside jokes and happy memories.

When I interviewed sex therapists Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner for my book 31 Days to a Happy Husband, Joyce said, "If there was one key to leave you with, it would be to kiss passionately. It has to do with I love you' and it feels so good - it's going to keep my pilot light on so I can get more turned-on on a regular basis. We love kissing."

My friend jokes she's afraid to kiss her husband passionately each day for fear he'll think it's the go signal. If you can relate, make it clear to your spouse that you'd like more kissing to be part of the home improvement plan. It will lead to more intimacy, but it won't always be the go signal.

5. Always think of yourself first.

If you want to be unhappy, keep asking yourself "What has my spouse done for me lately?" We live in a "me-first" world that has influenced the home. It's natural to behave selfishly. It's unnatural to act as a servant. Yet the Bible clearly tells us that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. If you want to ruin your marriage, consistently evaluate situations by asking "Is this good for me?" When you are lobbying for yourself in a marriage, no one wins.

But if instead you ask, "Is this good for us?," you will act more generously to your spouse and that goodness will certainly boomerang back to you. When you make the decision to serve your spouse and consider his or her needs as important as your own, you move from being a victim in your marriage to a victor. The victim says "I'm not being treated fairly." The victor says, "I'm going to out-serve you. God will bless me when I'm blessing you."

What home improvements will strengthen your marriage? Today's a great day to get started. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can roll up your sleeves and put some elbow grease into your marriage. As you approach your marriage prayerfully and with purpose, you'll watch it transform from shaky to stable, good to great. Being aware of bad habits is the beginning. Taking action to swap out bad habits for good ones is your next step. Having a happy marriage is worth the effort.

About The Author:

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 'Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World' and '31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife'. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Family Life Today, The 700 Club and Turning Point with David Jeremiah. ...

Source: Live It

Christian Persecution: Christians 'Under Caesar's Sword': Responding to Worldwide Persecution

by Eric Metaxas, BreakPoint.org

One hundred years ago, one-third of the population of Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was non-Muslim. It was home to hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians.

Today, Istanbul, now the capital of the modern state of Turkey, is less than one percent non-Muslim.

This did not happen by accident. What's more, the same forces that turned one of Christianity's great cities into a virtual Christian-free zone is still at work throughout the world.

These processes and possible Christian responses to them are the subject of an important new project, "Under Caesar's Sword," and a short documentary by the same name.

The project is a joint effort of the University of Notre Dame and the Religious Freedom Center of the Berkley Center at Georgetown University. The goal of the "three-year, collaborative global research project" is to investigate "how Christian communities respond when their religious freedom is severely violated."

Note that I said "when" not "if" their religious freedom is severely violated. As the project's website tells visitors, "today Christians constitute by far the most widely persecuted religion." It cites a study by The International Society for Human Rights, which states that Christians are "the victims of 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world." Christians are also "the only religious group that is persecuted in all 16 of the countries highlighted as egregious offenders by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2012."

All told, a Pew Research Center found "that between June 2006 and December 2012, Christians faced harassment and intimidation in 151 countries, the largest number of any religious group."

If you're a regular BreakPoint listener, some of these dismal numbers should be familiar to you. What won't be as familiar are the faces and voices behind the numbers. Nor will the localities featured in the 26-minute documentary.

The stories told by "Under Caesar's Sword" take place not in ISIS-controlled Syria or Iraq, but in Turkey and India, two ostensibly non-sectarian democracies. In India, Christians who've been harassed or worse by their Hindu nationalist neighbors, have to file complaints at police stations festooned with Hindu idols covered in garlands and other offerings. Not exactly the stuff confidence in the legal system is made of.

In Turkish-controlled Cyprus, all evidence of that island's rich Christian heritage, which began with Paul's companion Barnabas (check out Acts 4), is being systematically eradicated.

As the film tells us, "Everyone agrees that we're seeing religious cleansing, ethnic cleansing on a massive scale" in parts of the world.

So how are Christians responding? As an Indian Christian leaders says in the film, "The first response [to the harassment and persecution] is prayer . . . We do not retaliate, we do not respond as possibly other communities would do."

It's not only Indian Christians who have foresworn retaliation. As Daniel Philpott of Notre Dame noted, this is, with very few exceptions, the standard Christian response to persecution, harassment, and humiliation.

What's more, Christians have not only foresworn retaliation, they are reaching out to their non-Christian neighbors in the hope that these neighbors will see them as fellow Indians or fellow Turks and understand the deep roots of Christianity in those countries.

This important effort deserves our support. Come to BreakPoint.org to view the documentary and to learn more about our brethren living under Caesar's sword.

[Editor's Note:

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.]

How to Go from Good to Great - and Enjoy the Rewards - In 4 Easy Steps

By Mark Ford

It was awkward.

A colleague had asked me to revise a sales letter he'd commissioned. He called it "run of the mill." He wanted me to "bring it to life."

It was rather ordinary copy, and bringing it to life required changing nearly 30% of it.

But the problem wasn't the work. It was the fact that the writer, a successful copywriter, was a friend of mine.

I worried that Sarah (not her real name) would be upset I had changed it so much. And that because she was upset, she would "veto" my revisions.

Happily, she didn't. After reviewing my edits (not knowing it was I who had made them), she sent a letter to my colleague acknowledging the copy was better. She promised to learn from the corrections and "write at that level next time."

I remember seeing that response and thinking: "Sarah is going to be really, really good."

This story has two morals:

The first is about pride and its opposite (humility). If you want to accomplish great things and/or learn complex skills, some amount of pride is necessary to push yourself forward. But false or overreaching pride (Aristotle's term was "hubris") is a major obstacle.

Sarah was an accomplished copywriter. If I had to rank her against her peers, I'd say she was, at that time, in the top 20%. She'd earned the right to argue with my changes, but she didn't. The pride she had in herself had brought her so far as a writer already. In this case, at least, she wasn't going to let false pride halt her progress.

False pride is a very common problem among copywriters - no, among every sort of writer. But when writers believe - or desperately want to believe - their writing is above reproach, they damage their careers because they can no longer benefit from learning from others.

This is equally true for musicians, tennis players, salsa dancers, sumo wrestlers, and CEOs. Those who are willing to say "I am good, but I can learn to do better" do better. Those who say "I am the greatest. Nobody knows more than I" are almost sure to take a serious tumble.

Ego. Selflessness. Pride. Humility. Confidence. Fear. There are so many emotions that play a part in personal development. What you want in your career is the confidence that follows accomplishment, not the pride that precedes a fall.

Or, to put it differently: No matter how good you are at what you do, there's someone out there who can teach you something.

Think about your strongest skill - the talent or capability that is most important to the achievement of your main goal. Now ask: "Am I willing to acknowledge that there are people in my universe who are better at this than I am?"

If you can accept the possibility that there are others better than you, then you can learn from them. If you extend this perspective, you'll realize that you can learn specific things from people who don't have your overall mastery.

And now we come to the second moral of this story: The only good way to improve a skill is to practice it. Reading about it is certainly helpful. Talking about it with people who are experts may work, too. But no amount of reading and talking will do nearly as much as regular, focused practice.

Human beings are designed to get better through practice. Everything we ever learn to do - from walking to talking to writing concertos - gets better through practice. Practice makes our fingers move faster, our hearts beat stronger, our brains think smarter.

Or think of it this way: Nothing in nature stays the same. If you're not getting better, you're only getting worse.

And that's what Sarah should know about her future as a copywriter. If she continues to practice her craft - while taking advantage of everything she can learn from more experienced and skillful copywriters - the likelihood that she will be great one day is better than 99%.

With practice and a willingness to keep learning, Sarah will one day be among the very best copywriters in the business.

So here's the program for greatness:

Have pride in yourself - enough pride to expect that at any given moment, you will do the best job you can.

Know that getting better begins with the recognition that there are people out there in the world who know things you don't and can do some things better than you. Have the humility to seek out such people.

As your skills improve and your reputation for skillfulness spreads, resist the lure of false pride. Cultivate humility. Be confident in what you know but open to learning new things.

And make learning and improving your skills through practice a lifelong habit.

About the Author:

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today.

Source: ETR 2016 Early to Rise Publishing All Rights Reserved

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