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Some recipes for soul food | Faithful Living
“To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world.”
--Charles Dudley Warner
A few years back, my husband and I moved our wood stove into our shop and purchased a fireplace insert that heats the first level of our home using propane. We set the thermometer and it keeps us warm. But I will always enjoy the natural beauty of a wood stove. Better yet, a backyard bonfire.
The faster our world processes information and the more connected we become to music and information, texting and public discourse, the more I value my simple pleasures and activities that force me to slow down. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m becoming more introverted, because I’m generally energized by people. I would say that I’m beginning to see the wisdom in learning how to quiet myself. Unhooking from media at some point each day. Training my thoughts to focus on the sacred and the spiritual --- on God, Himself. He promises that if we learn how to enter into His very presence, He’ll gift us with genuine rest.
A growing number of medical experts tout a similar message: Get plenty of rest, aiming for seven to eight hours of nightly sleep. They point to studies indicating improved relationships and increased weight loss if that’s your goal.
And while both results are good enough to entice me into bed at an earlier hour, so I can hop out of bed early to meet my friend Leslie at the gym, I believe wholeheartedly that the rest our bodies require is much different than the rest needed by our souls.
One of my favorite books is “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and she includes an outstanding list of ways to rest your soul. This list includes things like cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Keeping your house picked up. Breathing deeply and often. Learning how to say, “No.” Savoring the beauty around you. Not answering the phone during dinner. Surrendering expectations. I’m all in favor of this list. It’s appropriate for men and women, young and old. Good stuff, I say!
But how can you allow the beauty to calm your soul if you’re experiencing deep emotional and spiritual pain? Your spouse has just died. You are at odds with a family member. You feel guilty about an unresolved situation. You can’t see God’s work in your life or feel His touch. You can’t find meaningful employment.
These are the things that tire our souls and the very things God is there to soothe. But we must take some steps. We must be willing to get quiet. Read about God to understand the ways He demonstrates His love for us. Choose a mentor who has experiences with God, can listen to our frustrations, pray for us and offer helpful suggestions. Learn how to worship.
It’s a lifetime of quiet discovery. But it’s time well spent for it will nurture a relationship that will rest our souls.