Speaking Truth in Love + Crunchy Caramel Popcorn Recipe

In November, I wrote “Pondering” as my journal title. Ironic? I think not. This is what I’ve been pondering since then.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

Speaking truth in love. We’re commanded to do it. We hear lots of teachings on it. We read articles about it. But how often do we do it? When a brother or sister’s sin is made apparent, how often do we pray about bringing it up with them?

This topic has been on my heart for a few months now. I heard a sermon on it a while back (I wish I had taken notes, but I was probably bouncing a baby on my hip while listening) about how the Church has been failing in this area in recent years. God continues to bring it up, like on this Instagram post, and show me that He wants me to grow in this area.

But it’s hard, right? Growth tends to be hard.

My first question to myself was, why am I not doing this as God lays it on my heart? I think mainly fear. Fear of what others will think. Fear of how the recipient will react. I do not want to seem holier than thou! Fear of not keeping the perfect balance of 100% truth and 100% love.

Since I’ve been thinking about this for a while, below are some tips and thoughts that I’ve gathered:

  • First, pray. A lot. Confronting someone or speaking truth in love is usually a deeply sensitive and emotional event (although it doesn’t always have to be—see below). Be sure it’s the Lord alone who is directing your actions and words.

  • Check your motives. Is pride or selfishness driving me, or is it love? God’s love. Love that wants to see this person grow and change to be more like Jesus.

  • Point back to the Word. Not in a Bible-beating way, but a back-up-what-I’m-meaning way. Just as our feelings shouldn’t be the reason we confront, neither should we try to make them feel better about themselves. The reason we’re confronting is because God laid it on our heart to bring up something that needs to be changed. The focus needs to return to Him, not stay on themselves. Isn’t that when true changes happen?

  • Our job is to function as one Body. We should seek to build the person up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), be humble and gentle (Ephesians 4:2), and pray for one another (James 5:16). Our words should not do more harm than good!

  • Does it have to be a big ol’ intervention?! Definitely not. Sometimes people just need to be nudged to see their sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words.

  • The recipient may take it hard. I know I do! But if he/she is rooted in Christ, it will only be a matter of time until God softens their heart and shows them He was just using you to shape them to be more like Jesus. Sometimes my eyes play tricks on me and I see words spelled differently (which I think is somehow tied to making me wickedly good at Wheel of Fortune). When I look at “truth,” I see “hurt” almost spelled backwards. There may be pain in these conversations, perhaps pain afterwards if it’s not received well, but I think God knows that this pain is far less than the pain incurred if we let our brothers and sisters continue in sin.

  • Which is the end goal, right? “To put off our old selves…be made new in the attitudes of our minds…to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, emphasis added) The fact that we are created to be like our mighty, holy God gives me goosebumps. Don’t we want to do any and everything to get closer to that likeness? I know I do!

What about you? Does the community you’re a part of speak truth as it should?


Growing up in the States, we always ended up with a tin or two of that famous flavored popcorn. Original, cheese, and caramel was the standard. I remember watching Christmas movies with a tin of it next to me. It was just part of the deal.

Of course we don’t have such tins here in Asia, but nor would I want one anymore. I can’t even stand microwave popcorn since discovering the deliciousness and flavor variety of stove-popped!

This caramel popcorn is pretty much the best thing you’ll ever eat. Warning: it’s highly addictive. But who doesn’t need a treat while watching your favorite Christmas movie?!


This popcorn pot (similar to a Whirley Pop) is the best $15 I’ve spent in a long time! For regular popcorn, I just add the kernels, oil, butter, and salt all at the same time. Fully-popped corn every time!


You know a sauce is good when it’s made mostly of butter and sugar!


Bring it to a full boil.


After a few minutes, the texture will change dramatically. So cool to watch!


Once you begin to pour, you have to work fast!


This is definitely not coated evenly, but when I’m shoveling it in by the handfuls, I don’t seem to notice!


Crunchy, salty, sweet goodness. Enjoy!

Crunchy Caramel Popcorn

Makes 10-12 cups
Time: ~1.5 hours
Adapted from The Kitchn

3/4 cup unpopped corn kernels (10-12 cups popped)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup  butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2-1 teaspoon kosher salt*
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Gather ingredients and equipmentArrange two oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 250F (120C). Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Once you start making the caramel sauce, everything comes together quickly so have all the ingredients and equipment you need handy.

Make your popcorn with whatever method you choose. If you’re using microwave bags, make sure it has no extra salt or flavoring added. Check this out for various methods. (As you can see, we have the Chinese version of the Whirley Pop. I.love.it!)

For the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the sugar until the sugar is completely moistened. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, boil for 3-4 minutes while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan continuously. (Boil for a minute less if cooking on an electric stove.) Remove from heat. → The exact cooking temperature isn’t critical with this recipe, but ideally you want the sugar mixture to reach between 250°F and 300°F. The longer you cook the syrup, the crunchier it will be. For very crunchy popcorn (my favorite!), stop cooking when you see the first wisps of smoke coming from the sugar mixture.

Off the heat, add the vanilla, salt, baking soda,  and stir until combined. The sugar mixture will bubble up violently. Continue stirring until you form a thick, glossy sauce.

Slowly pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn while stirring the popcorn (it helps if you have a partner for this step — one person pouring while the other stirs the popcorn– thanks, Hannah!). Continue stirring the sauce into the popcorn until all of the kernels are coated.

Divide the popcorn between two baking sheets, spreading the popcorn out into an even layer. It’s ok if the popcorn clumps together. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes and breaking up any clumps.

Let the popcorn cool completely on the baking sheets. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a week. Ha! It never lasts more than a few hours in my house. 🙂

*For a salty/sweet version–my fave–add the full teaspoon of salt!


  1. Keri December 13, 2015


    We are so blessed to be on a team with you for many reasons.  Two of my favorite reasons are in this post:  Number 1:  You love people so much you want to speak the truth in love for his glory.  This is a blessing to those around you even though it is hard to do sometimes.

    Number 2:  You are a great cook and we get to benefit from you needing to post pictures on VA of your delicious creations.

    Have a blessed Monday!

    1. Ashley Felder December 14, 2015

      Thanks, friend! Glad to be on this journey with you! Glad you don’t mind being the guinea pig. 😉

  2. Michele Zintz December 14, 2015

    This is a tough one for me too, and living in Asia has not always helped.  I’m wondering how others deal with speaking the truth in love cross-culturally, particularly in cultures where ‘saving face’ is more important than truth and confrontation is avoided at all costs.  It seems to get trickier when we are talking about different levels (also a big thing in the cultures I’ve lived in).  I know this is a huge topic, but I’d love to see some discussion on it.  I’ve learned a lot, but have so much to learn in this area!

    1. Ashley Felder December 14, 2015

      I’m definitely no expert!! Actually, I’m praying through a situation to talk with a local Sister now. Good timing for me to put my advice to use. 😉

      It does seem tricky in this Asian culture. I think ultimately, though, we have to go back to the Bible. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit for words and direction. Jesus was counter-cultural. Some people received his words, others hated him for what he said. We have to know this could happen to us, too. But what it comes down to is (possibly) losing a friendship or perhaps losing that person for eternity.

      The hardest part for me is checking my motives, then speaking with 100% truth and 100% love!

  3. Grace L December 14, 2015

    I must admit that I am not good at all with “speaking the truth in love” but I really like the Biblically based challenge you lay out for us, Ashley. Thank you. I find that I don’t like to make waves, and I am thankful that I am not in a situation that requires me to do so. Thank you, Ashley, for sharing this with us.
    And can you post the link as to where to buy the Chinese version of the Whirley Pop? I would love to order one:)

    1. Ashley Felder December 14, 2015

      Right there with ya! I, too, would rather just be the peace-maker and people-pleaser. But when the HS continually nudges me to say something, how can that be denied?!

      Here’s the link to the one we bought: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z09.2.0.0.mZb5cA&id=12446938875&_u=ekfcclc6e44

      One note about it, though..for some reason, they screwed the lid on! Makes for interesting cleaning. I don’t worry about it a ton since I only make popcorn in it, but when I do want to give it a good wash, it takes a bit of extra effort. I’m sure there are other versions that made the lid differently!

      1. Grace L December 15, 2015

        Thanks so much for the link. I have already ordered one for my movie loving husband as a Christmas gift. Looking forward to trying it out!


  4. Michele Zintz December 14, 2015

    100% agreed!  And that’s the hardest part for me too.  Two things I have found particularly challenging in Asian culture in this area:  First, that anyone who feels ‘lower’ than me in some way (position, age, etc.) will receive advice very graciously, but not necessarily ‘get it’.  It’s hard to know if they really understand it as a Biblical truth, or a western thing, and they may very well not follow-through.  Second, and kind of overlapping with that, anything I say that is outside the cultural norms, even if it is biblical, can be kind of blown off as a western thing.  “You just don’t understand our culture.”  In one situation, I gave some examples of sinful things that are perfectly normal in American culture and asked if I should do them, since that is my culture.  That did help some of those listening.  Some it just made angrier because they couldn’t argue with it!

    I don’t like confrontation either, and would be just as happy to go with the non-confrontational cultural flow many times.  I have to check my motives not only for speaking, but even more so for remaining silent in some situations.

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