Perspective Shift + Broccoli Salad

Like all of you, we, too, have dealt with our fair share of disappointment the past two years. In recent months, it continues to mount.

New laws taking a direct aim at our new-found education business, making half of it illegal. Vacation canceled once, twice, and now a third time due to a few (a couple hundred in a population of 1.4B) covid cases. Teammates returning for a “short” trip home, but no one knows if they’ll actually be able to come back on time—because so few have successfully returned. A young, local colleague passed away from cancer. Another younger, local colleague discovered a second type of cancer in a short two years. Rumors of political unrest have the locals shaken up.

It’s a lot to carry. Sometimes I feel like I’m carrying it all on my shoulders. I want to give up, throw in the towel, and do something easier.

But we weren’t called to a life of ease. This life in particular came with the warning that we would suffer.

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” –Mark 10:29-30

Jesus recognizes a life of sacrifice. He knows what it’s like to give up so much. And yet He follows it up with encouragement that we’ll receive more than we can imagine—in this life and life with Him!

Through all of these challenging scenarios, I’ve been keenly aware of how I act in front of my kids. I don’t want to hide that I am disappointed right along with them, but I also want to be an example of choosing a good attitude no matter what is thrown at us.

One practical way I do this for myself and walk through it with the kids is to think of the positive things within the hard situation.

Our business is suffering. God obviously has other plans. Do we trust Him to carry us until He reveals them?

Our vacation was canceled, again. Even though we don’t always agree with how things are handled in this country sometimes, we are still here to serve the people. Let’s wait and see what goodness might come out of the time of not being gone. (This round: we’ll get to celebrate our first traditional Thanksgiving in 3 years!)

More teammates are leaving with a big ol’ question mark of a timely return. They will get to be with family who have endured death and major illness. Our tiny team will be ok because we are more intentionally encouraging one another and refuse to rely on ourselves to get the work done.

Our teammate passed away from cancer. Yet, her life was one of faith and impact. Her legacy has been left with many.

Another teammate has endured cancer twice in a row. Yet, her life has been spared twice. Her impact is also far and wide and it’s clear the Lord wants to continue to use her!

Rumors of unrest lead fantastically into conversations of where my Hope lies and how I can live without fear.

Throughout all the hard, the Lord has been good to send reminders of His faithfulness. I often just need a perspective shift to get back into the right mindset to carry on, free of burdens.

What have you found helpful to change your perspective during hard times? What ideas do you have that encourage your kids to be grateful no matter what?

*****

I’ve been making this broccoli salad for years, and it’s always a hit, even with the locals who think eating raw veggies isn’t good for you! If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving soon, this is a super simple side that will bring some green to an often very tan, carb-filled table. Enjoy!

I had to go to a different store to find raisins and they only had tri-color giant ones! Always an adventure finding ingredients!
Mix, add the sauce, and boom! Done!
Perfect, fresh side dish to a weeknight meal or holiday dinner.

Broccoli Salad

Serves: 6-8

Ready in: 20 minutes

2 medium heads of broccoli

1/2 small red onion, chopped (I omit this because I don’t like raw onion!)

Generous handful of raisins

Cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

Sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

3 Tbsp of vinegar (balsamic or red wine are delicious!)

2-3 Tbsp honey

Salt and pepper

Chop broccoli into bite-size pieces. In a medium bowl, toss broccoli with raisins, onion, bacon and seeds, if using. In a small separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Taste for balance and add more of any ingredient lacking to your taste. Pour sauce over broccoli mix and stir well to combine.

As you can tell, this “recipe” is very flexible! Enjoy!

4 Comments

  1. Kathleen November 22, 2021

    Love your perspective! Such a blessing that as my kids are grown and choose to live in this land, they are passing on Thanksgiving to yet another generation. Hooray!

    1. Ashley Felder November 23, 2021

      It’s a great tradition to pass on–who can pass up a chance to reflect on what there is to be thankful for?!

  2. Grace L November 23, 2021

    Hi Ashley. I loved your post, as always. It sounds like you and your team have been facing a lot of challenges. Thank you for persevering and staying as long as the Lord allows you to be there. I pray that this transition will bring about some encouraging surprises, things you might have never imagined. Stand firm as it says in the Good Book!

    When we faced hard times while living in the country where you are, my husband and I would sing, “It Is Well With My Soul.” It has become the song we go to when we are facing unprecedented challenges.

    I made your broccoli salad this evening to try it out to see if we want to have it on our Thanksgiving table. It is DELICIOUS! Definitely, it will be on our make ahead list for tomorrow. We hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving as you give thanks for all that He has blessed you with. Did you order a turkey on Taobao? We used to do that every year when we were there.

    1. Ashley Felder November 23, 2021

      God continues to brings encouraging surprises–I’m keenly aware of them these days and oh so thankful!

      I have different songs for different seasons, but the classics are often so appropriate!

      YES! We were so thankful when Taobao started selling turkeys–only for the crazy North Americans. 🙂 I’m so happy to be celebrating with the teammates who remain. It should be a sweet time filled with all the traditional foods–something we haven’t done in a few years since being in our new org. Redeems our canceled vacation a bit.

      So glad you enjoy this simple salad! Enjoy time with your loved ones!!

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