Unplugged Solitude

Fontana Dam Lake

Every day I read some type of “devotional” or encouraging spiritual words.  Sometimes I read from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and often times from Quest by Dr. David Jeremiah.  From time to time I throw in thoughts from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  On March 3 these words from Sarah Young touched me.

Swam solitude
(Written as if Jesus is talking to me.)

“I LOVE YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE, not for what you do. Many voices vie for control of your mind, especially when you sit in silence.  You must learn to discern what is My voice and what is not.”

And then on March 23 I read the following also from Jesus Calling. 

THIS IS A TIME in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possession, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete.  Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care.”

On March 24, my friend Dinah used this exact devotional for our leadership group at Community Bible Study.  As I listened to her share, it was as if the Lord was saying, “just in case you didn’t get this the first time, I’m giving it to you again.”

Solitary Walk in the Lake District of England
Solitary Walk in the Lake District of England

Last fall I did some reading about the practice of “solitude”.   Solitude is primarily about NOT doing something. Just as fasting means to refrain from eating so solitude means to refrain from society. When we go into solitude, we withdraw from conversation, from the presence of others, from noise, from the constant barrage of stimulation.  My life in 2016 is noisier and louder than anytime I can remember.  Computers, cell phones, text, Facebook, reading, studying, more phone calls, cooking, writing, and constant movement. I live in a beautifully quiet countryside and yet rarely experience quiet solitude.    Do you find the same to be true in your life?

Bridge solitude
Last fall I decided I will practice a day of solitude once a month.  I wanted to do this once a week, but even I knew that wasn’t realistic given the commitments on my calendar.  I made the decision based on my desire to then share the positive effects of such experience. To date, I have spent exactly ZERO days in solitude.  I have really great intentions with poorly executed follow through.  I also realize that my intention to spend days in solitude so that I could write about it probably was not the correct reason to practice solitude!

View from the Appalachian Trail
View from the Appalachian Trail

When my Chief Culinary Consultant-turned-adventurous-hiker  attempted to fulfill a life-long dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail, I admit I was a bit jealous.  I certainly didn’t want to hike the Appalachian Trail, but the days he spent in solitude and the whispers he heard from the Lord, gave me pause.  The lessons he learned from the time on the trail are still making an impact on him each day.

Violet Garden Wall Solitude

So, for the last month I have begun to “let go.”  I am giving up some responsibilities that I previously thought no one could do but me. (Ridiculous thinking.)  My goal is to spend time with the Lord, in prayer, in solitude, reading, walking, and resting.  I plan to spend at least one day a week this summer away from the world.  No phone, no computer, no contact.  Can I do it?  I’m not sure.

Beersheba Vesper Point Cross

In addition to spending time alone with God, today I am going on a sabbatical from blogging. On June 4, 2016 I will celebrate 5 years of blogging.  To date I have written 684 blog posts, fielded 2,231 comments and taken over 50,000 photos!  The friends, satisfaction, and peace this has given me is enormous.

Exmoor National Moor, England
Exmoor National Moor, England

I really enjoy writing.  I love to cook.  My photography skills have improved.  My family enjoys the meals I prepare.  But I am not sure this enjoyable hobby is where the Lord now wants me spending large amounts time.  I plan to be back here on June 4th and I hope you will be here too and help me celebrate 5 years of My Daily Bread Body and Soul as well as share any thoughts my solitude sabbatical has given me to that point.

Moon Over Bath
Moon Over Bath

You will still find all my great recipes posted and printable from this blog, I just won’t be writing new posts.  I am going to surrender to His power and love and in quiet solitude listen to Him.

Blessings and Peace,
~Catherine

Friends Hot Chicken Salad

Hot Chicken Salad
Hot Chicken Salad

This recipe for hot chicken salad reminds me so much of my new favorite veggie casserole!  Before you think I’ve mixed up my fowl and my veggies let me explain.  Every once in a while I eat something that I just can’t get enough of.  It is usually when lots of people are around and I either make a complete pig of myself or I restrain and then can’t wait to get the recipe and head to the kitchen!

mixed veggie casserole tabled

This happened to me when I ate the veggie casserole.  I was at a potluck function and I only took a little spoonful because I couldn’t quite decide what was in it.  Bad move. After the first bite, I was trying to act inconspicuous as I quickly made my way back to the food table! 🙂

Alice's Chicken Salad
Alice’s Chicken Salad

My friend Sue has always called me a chicken eater because I really do like most everything CHICKEN!  But chicken salad usually puts me over the moon.  Such is the case with my  sous-chef dish-washing mom’s chicken salad.  Yum.

Hot chicken salad
Hot Chicken Salad

But hold the fork … make way for my new favorite hot chicken salad!
But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

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