Unplugged Solitude

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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

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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!
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Hot Cross Buns for Easter Dinner

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hot cross bun 2 dozen

Are you making Hot Cross buns tomorrow?  I plan to make them tomorrow afternoon for Sunday Easter dinner.  These buns are so delicious, fragrant and a beautiful addition to any Easter dinner table.  I posted the recipe last year on March 30, you can get the recipe here.

anditwasbeautiful coverI haven’t been blogging much this month.  Other life demands have kept me from this, one of my favorite past times.  My last blog post was a blog book tour for and it was beautiful.  

When the tour ended the publisher sent out a thank you email to all the blog writers who had participated.  I was stunned to see this quote of mine, as part of their email.

“From the beginning, this book is a real page-turner. Oh, it’s not filled with the super-sleuth heroin and a murder mystery to solve. It’s a page-turner because once I started reading Kara’s words about how Grace showed up in her life, I couldn’t get enough. Page after page she described the horrors of cancer and then she wrapped it all up in the love and compassion of friends, the strength she found in her hero, her husband, and finally the mercy and grace and love that she experienced from Jesus.”

If you missed the post you can read it here.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to share some of Kara’s words and thoughts.
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and it was beautiful … by Kara Tippetts, Book Blog Tour

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anditwasbeautiful coverIn July of 2014 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my friend LindaKaye sent me a message and said, “My daughter has a friend fighting breast cancer right now. You must go read her blog at http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/”.

I did as LindaKaye suggested. I was captivated by Kara Tippets. What I didn’t know was that I had arrived in her world towards the end of her fight with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2012 she had been writing and fighting for several years. Over the next 9 months, I followed her blog posts, I would write a comment here and there to encourage her and as she shared her hard, very hard life, I got to know her.

Kara Tippetts went Home to Jesus on March 22, 2015, after a long battle with breast cancer. Blythe Hunt wrote this on Kara’s blog the day she died.

Her well-known blog Mundane Faithfulness, where she originally posted about motherhood and living in kindness, became a blog about looking for God’s Grace to show up even in the hardest, messiest, ugliest places. It was a window into her life of chemo, church planting, spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen with her littles, her passion for Jason, her passion for those who don’t know Jesus, and her struggle to accept her growing cancer as God’s story for her life. Her self-described “mundane” life appeared anything but mundane to her readers who inevitably fell in love with her inviting, joyful personality and her love for and trust in Jesus; readers were attracted to her honesty, vulnerability, sense of humor, and simple faith. She never hesitated to share the hard moments, but she always pointed her readers—and herself—back to Jesus.

As the cancer spread, Kara courageously embraced her situation, trusting in a Sovereign God. She believed that cancer was not the point, but Jesus was; how she responded and trusted Christ in the midst of this hard was where she would find Grace. As Kara and her family processed what God was calling them to live out, she invited her community to join her journey through this seemingly impossible ordeal—how would she trust God in the midst of sickness? And then, how would she trust God in the midst of dying?

the hardest peace
In the fall of 2014, David C. Cook published her story, The Hardest Peace.

just show up kara tippetts
Just Show Up
, written with Jill Buteyn, came out on October 1, 2015.

And It Was Beautiful, was released on March 1, 2016.  and it was beautiful is Kara’s final book, celebrating life in the midst of the long good-bye. In a nutshell, this book is about living and dying well.

kara 20
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