Category Archives: Soul Food

A Sweet & Peaceful Retreat – Oasis Christian Center & Retreat

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Can I just say, “Wow?!” Have you ever been to the Oasis Christian Center and Retreat in Kentucky? I had not even heard of it until I was invited to join a Community Bible Study leadership retreat a few weeks ago.

I knew before I even left the center that I wanted to share this little place on earth with you, my faithful readers!

My sous-chef dish-washing mom and I traveled the 100 miles from our home in Middle Tennessee north on I- 65 to Kentucky. It was an easy drive; the sun was shining and the frigid temperatures of the previous days were a distant memory.  As we made the turn off Highway 100 onto an almost-two-lane road we were captivated by the serene country vistas.

Dormitory and Large Gathering Room

A few miles of curvy road later we saw the retreat center. Multiple buildings were neatly sitting on the top of a hill surrounded by pastures from the farm it used to be. Immediately my mom remarked, “It sure looks neat as a pin!”

For the next twenty-four hours, we were cocooned in a restful and peaceful retreat from our busy lives of the outside world. The center has twenty-four individual rooms that are incredibly clean, sweetly decorated and within an easy walk from the main event center, chapel, and dining room. Additionally, they have a large dormitory that sleeps forty-eight!

After meeting up with our group I was introduced to “Andy” who would be my technician for the two times I would be presenting during the retreat. Immediately I was drawn to Andy because he is very kind, high-energy, and full of techie-talk!

Andy quickly assured me he could handle my PowerPoint, the sound system and any special requests I may have. True to his word, he handled everything with expertise! During my first presentation that evening I neglected to advance my PowerPoint slide as I spoke – he caught it and had the slide up before I even realized I had made a mistake!

Andy and his dad, Robert, cooked our meals, set up the dining room, put together a lovely serving table and waited on us hand and foot. I felt totally at peace, cared for, and really spoiled!

Saturday morning I spent time walking around a lovely pond that was set up as a prayer walk. Cards containing a variety of scriptures were placed on the poles that decorated the path around the pond.  Even though the sky was threatening rain and the winds were picking up, it did not take away from the precious time I had reading scripture and being in prayer. It was awesome!  Even this dreary winter weather didn’t douse my enthusiasm for being at Oasis Christian Center.

This retreat center is family run. In 2001, God gave Robert and Janet McClung the vision to start a Christian retreat facility where churches could bring their people to connect and grow.  Five years later in 2006, God opened the door for the McClungs to buy 75 beautiful acres in Franklin, KY and start Oasis Christian Center and Retreat.  They sold both their businesses and “dream home” in Hendersonville, TN and started construction in 2007.

Today, son Andy and his wife Courtney live on site and love to welcome guests to this beautiful place.  Andy’s brother Chad, rounds out the management team. Chad calls himself the “outdoors guy” and loves building and maintaining the various structures at Oasis.  He keeps a sharp eye on grounds and wants them looking perfect for guests.

Oasis Christian Center & Retreat is easily accessible from many locations in Kentucky and Tennessee including Franklin, Scottsville, Bowling Green, Westmoreland, Nashville, Portland, Gallatin, White House.  While most of their retreat guests come from Kentucky and Tennessee, they aren’t just limited to those states.  They’ve had guests from all over the United States and from other countries as well!

As Andy and I were doing some blog-talk I learned that five years ago he started the blog and website Today, it is the #1 leader in camp and retreat planning resources. I have only scratched the surface of reading information from the site but I already have downloaded some free sources for game planning, themes, and retreat checklists. I can already see how this is going to help me in our family reunion planning for this summer!

When I told Andy and his father how much I loved the place, Robert said, “Oh you should be here in the spring, summer, and fall. It is stunning!”  I can only imagine that it is!

Blessings, Catherine

P.S.  I plan on sharing my recipe for Sticky Biscuits with Andy!  I think they would be an awesome addition to their breakfast buffet.

Breakfast featuring Sticky Biscuits

Top Posts for 2017

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It is not my nature to spend a lot of time looking back.  I love the present and always get excited about the future.  But today, the last day of 2017 I think it is appropriate to look back to the top blog posts of the year.  This list is based on top views for 2017.

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts takes the top honor again this year with 97, 184 views this year.

Oh my goodness, this is a great recipe and others think so too!

Second place honors with 26, 306 views goes to Easy (And Delicious) Homemade Chicken and Noodles!

This recipe caused a little stir this year when a reader pointed out I wasn’t using “homemade noodles.”  I corrected the error and quickly included my favorite homemade noodle recipe along with the post featuring store-bought Amish noodles!  From my midwest roots, we always serve chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes.

Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw

Third place weighs in at 25,152 views for this Picked Vegetable Sandwich Slaw. This is a surprise for me.  I first posted this recipe in 2013.   I know it is an awesome addition to any sandwich or hotdog and apparently, now there are a few others that think so too!

It is no surprise to me that the Cheese Frenchee holds the 4th place of honor.  This recipe is a walk down memory lane from my childhood. Growing up in Nebraska Cheese Frenchees were available at Kings Restaurant.

I asked my sister-in-law, Jeanne, where she still eats them these days in Nebraska. She immediately responded with all kinds of information including this picture!

9 Can Vegetable Soup

9 Can Vegetable Soup comes in at number 5 most viewed posts for the year.  If time prevails homemade vegetable soup can’t be beaten, but having said that, this is an amazing blend of flavors that never gives away the simplicity of the recipe!

Scripture Cake rounds out the top 6 most viewed recipes for the year.   This is a recipe I adapted from one I found on the internet in 2013.  It’s a fun recipe to make for a group and then put them to the test of Bible knowledge to come up with the ingredients!

In 2017 I have had the extreme honor and blessing to step into a new role at Community Bible Study.  As an Area Director in middle Tennessee, I am privileged to walk beside 3 middle Tennessee classes and shepherd their Servant Teams.  This probably sounds like strange lingo to anyone not familiar with Community Bible Study.  But suffice it to say that in-depth Bible study has transformed my life and the more I study the closer I walk with God.  In-depth Bible study brings the character of God alive and truly allows for a personal relationship to develop.

The Mission of CBS is: To make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in our communities through caring, in-depth Bible study, available to all.”  

For all the new year’s resolutions people make, studying the Bible and having a truly meaningful relationship with our Creator is the one change that can and will affect all others.  One resolution that is worth keeping!

It is my prayer for 2018 that I become even more intentional in discovering the plans the Lord has for me.  My prayer is also that you will discover the joy waiting for you as you get to know God personally.  If you do not know how to get started or make this happen, send me an email through the Contact link and I would love to share with you.

Having Abby Hughes join My Daily Bread Body and Soul this year has been a wonderful blessing! From both of us, we wish you a Happy New Year and a wonderful and joyful 2018!


Life Lessons From The Hive by M.J. Miller

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Mary Jane Miller

Mary Jane Miller is many things.  She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee University, a drama teacher, an artist, a Bible teacher and former missionary with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), a beekeeper, a gifted speaker and my friend!

Whenever I read a book with the thought to then write a book review I go into it with no pre-conceived ideas except to write my experience to the best of my ability.  From my earlier reviews, you may remember that I have a personality flaw that causes me to read the ending before I read the beginning.  With M.J.’s book, I tried hard to control the urge to flip to the back and read the wrap-up.  I am so glad I did!  When I arrived at Chapter 30 “Bee Yourself”,  MJ’s analogies and encouraging words and Scripture were truly the perfect ending!  Life Lessons From The Hive arrives just in time for the gift-giving season! But honestly, anytime is a good time to buy this book and share with those you love.

Now … back to the beginning.  My copy of Life Lessons From The Hive arrived just before I was flying to NYC for the weekend.  My intention was to buzz right through the book on the outbound flight.  I began reading and was quickly amazed at how one-moment M.J. is explaining a detail about a honey bee and the next sentence she has expertly paralleled the life of a honey bee with spiritual lessons useful to you and me!

M.J. has the heart of a missionary, the flair of a drama teacher and a sweet humor that makes for an entertaining book filled with easy-to-understand life lessons. I laughed right out loud as I read at the antics of the bees and the encouragement she gives to humans!

If you are a Bible teacher – this book is for you. M.J. fills it with analogies you can use when teaching Bible lessons to young and old alike.  I found myself highlighting, making notes, and finally just marking all the places I want to return to and re-read. Every chapter is specific to an activity in the life of a honey bee and the life of a Christ-follower. M.J. wonderfully weaves together the lessons she has learned from her thousands of bees and generously shares with the rest of us.

Life Lessons From The Hive it is an easy read, affordable, entertaining and packed with encouraging lessons everyone needs!  Speaking of affordable, I just saw on Amazon where they have dropped the price for Christmas gifting.  You can read a sample by clicking the link below or go directly to Amazon to buy the book!

I loved learning about honey bees but I especially liked learning how these smallest of God’s creation have such life lessons for me! Thank you M.J. for sharing what God has shown you through the life of a honey bee.  I can’t wait for your next book!  What is it about?

Happy Reading,



The Gift Left Unopened

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Today, I am speaking at the Hephzibah House Christmas Tea in Manhattan.  I am blessed to be in New York City with my husband and connecting with many wonderful women of God.  Since ya’ll can’t be with me I decided to share part of my presentation with you via this blog post.  God bless you and thank you for the time you spend at My Daily Bread Body and Soul!

This blog post is dedicated to my friends  Dinah Agnew,  Nancy Reak and my sous-chef dish-washing mom!  Dinah is the one who first told me about the gift she almost left unopened.  From the moment she told me about it I’ve wanted to write this story because I feel the same way about the gift I almost left unopened.   Nancy, another friend who walks closely with God, as you will read has played an integral part in the story of the gift I nearly left unopened.  And last but certainly not least, I would not have started down this path if my mom hadn’t been willing to come along.  Love to all of you!  Thank you, dear Lord, for Dinah, Nancy and Mom,  all tremendous women of faith,  strong and mighty Prayer Warriors and women who truly live out their faith every day.

Can we all agree it is the gift-giving season?  I mean who hasn’t bought a gift recently?  The last few days? Last week? Anytime this month?  And then there are the TV ads, radio jingles, internet pictures of gifts, gifts, and more gifts!

I am writing to tell you I am the world’s worst gift giver.  I can feel my husband and sous-chef dish-washing mom rolling their eyes right now.  However … read on.

My gift-giving wows started a long, long time ago.  I started babysitting when I was 12 years old and from there I worked in fast food, waitressing and finally a radio station – all before I was out of high school.  I always had a little money from working and I was probably around 16 years old when this misadventure took place.

My mom had a very sweet yellow teacup and saucer sitting in a prominent place in our home.  One day I decided to surprise her and have that little teacup delivered to her filled with baby’s breath and petite yellow roses.

I slipped the teacup and saucer out of the house and took off to the local florist.  Yes, they would make a beautiful little bouquet and deliver it the next day, on Saturday, when I knew my mom would be home.  Such a good idea.  What a good daughter I am.

That evening when we gathered for dinner my mom promptly lined my brothers and I up and said: “who broke my teacup and saucer?”  Well, my brothers quickly denied knowing anything about a broken cup and that was true.  I, however, wasn’t about to spoil the big surprise coming and so I quickly said: “I didn’t break it.”  All of this was true.  Mom was mad.  And to make matters worse, somehow, somewhere she found a sliver of glass on the floor and that was PROOF one of us broke her precious teacup and saucer.  AND if that wasn’t enough, now we were lying about it!

We all maintained our innocence and it was a long, awful night.  But I knew the surprise would be worth it.  The next day the doorbell rang, I could hardly breathe as mom opened the door.  There it was … that beautiful teacup filled with the most gorgeous little arrangement.  Immediately my mother started crying.  What? Crying? What is that about?  She sobbed and sobbed.  She couldn’t have said “thank you” no matter how hard she tried.   Boy, that didn’t work out.

Fast forward a few decades. I actually gave these exact same sandals to my husband — two Christmas’ in a row.  No, really I did.

And then there was the birthday gift … My husband’s birthday was approaching and I noticed he had searched out Black Walnut Crackers on Amazon.  We live in the country with a few black walnut trees and cracking those little nuts is challenging at best and impossible at worst.  I determined that a black walnut cracker was exactly what he wanted and no doubt needed for his birthday.

I placed the order and lo’ and behold I was not home the day it was delivered.  But he was home and took the package and placed it in the hallway.  He never said a word to me when I got home but as I walked in the house there it was. Since when did Amazon start marking the contents of the box on the side IN BIG RED LETTERS?  

Okay, are you getting the idea? I have gift-giving issues!  However,   my worst gift-giving catastrophe was still to come!

To date, my worst gifting situation arrived just in time for our 20th wedding anniversary.   My sweet and thoughtful husband had planned a cruise (which we had never been on) to celebrate our anniversary.  As we made the plans he said, “this can be our anniversary gift to each other.”  I probably nodded or said “okay” but in my heart, I knew I wanted to reciprocate with a lovely gift just for him.  A watch — a gold watch.

My sous-chef dish-washing mom and I had appointments in a city about an hour from us and I knew that would be the right time to do a little gift shopping.  At lunch that day I called my hard-working gardener husband who was spending the day mowing grass and weeding our flower beds. It was June and he was happy to be outside!  I just called him to say “hi” and let him know we had arrived in town.

After lunch, I said to mom, “Hey, there is a Jared’s!  Let’s go look for a watch for Lee.”   So we did just that.  The gentlemen who helped us showed us an array of beautiful watches.  After some time and discussion, I chose just the right one, all the time telling him about my husband and how this was going to be a surprise 20th Anniversary wedding gift.

That evening as we sat down to dinner my husband-of-almost-20 -years said, “you know we agreed the cruise is our anniversary gift to each other, right?”  Gulp.   Then he went on to say, “besides you know I sure don’t need a new tie!”  I choked and laughed at the same time while trying to say “you don’t even wear ties much anymore.”

Sitting right there at the dinner table I just could not look at my sous-chef dish-washing mom.  I knew if I looked up and saw her face it would be all over but the shoutin’!  And then  he said, “And the very last thing I need is a new watch.”

That was it. I put down my fork, look at my mom and her eyes were as big as saucers.  She was spitting and sputtering trying to say something but nothing was making sense.  I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Okay, what is going on.”

He had such a twinkle in his eye I knew he was enjoying every minute of this.  I, on the other hand, was not.  Then he said, “While you were shopping for my new watch I think your purse called me.  I heard the whole thing!”   Sure enough, he was the last call I made before going into Jared’s.  I must have bumped my phone as I was shopping and redial kicked in and indeed called him.

However, for all the gift-giving troubles I have had,  I am a really good gift receiver!  We all love to receive gifts, don’t we?   But today I want to tell you about a gift I almost left unopened.

Beginning in 2005 my friend Nancy asked me every year for 6 years to join Community Bible Study.  CBS is a worldwide ministry with local Bible studies for men, women, and children in communities throughout the world – AND Shelbyville, Tennesee has a class! The commitment is from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each Thursday morning, during the school year – 30 weeks out of the year with about 15 to 20 minutes of study and devotion time each day.

What do you suppose I told her year after year?  I am too busy – I couldn’t possibly spend 15 minutes every day reading and answering Bible study questions AND THEN spend 2 hours every Thursday morning too! I just couldn’t.

After all, I had a bed and breakfast to run. I had other obligations.   A short-term Bible study maybe — but ongoing for 9 months there was just no way!

We sold our Bed and Breakfast in 2007 but I still couldn’t find the time.  I did take part in short Bible studies here and there but no big commitments for me!

In July 2011 Nancy and her husband Dick invited us over to dinner.  We had a lovely evening and as we were getting ready to leave Nancy handed me two Community Bible Study applications. One for me and one for my mother.

I said, Nancy, what has possessed you to ask me every year for 6 years to join Community Bible Study?”

She looked me straight in the eye and said, “The Holy Spirit puts it on my heart every summer and I am sure it is YOU He is prompting me to talk to.”

Ah, well – the Holy Spirit – hmmm that’s a different matter.

In 1965 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, confessing all the sins a 9-year-old could possibly think of.  And now many years later standing before Nancy hearing that the Holy Spirit had put it on her heart to get me to Community Bible Study – I felt a quickening and said to Nancy – “I’ll get these back to you tomorrow.” And I did.

The journey of in-depth Bible Study I have been on since August 2011 has been life-changing. I am a transformed woman because my friend Nancy would not stop when the Holy Spirit prompted her to offer me the gift of a lifetime!

This is a gift I almost left unopened.

God has known all along the plans He had for me, but I wasn’t cooperating.  He had plans to bless me – to give me hope and a future – plans to fulfill my hearts desire to share the good news of the Gospel.  But I wasn’t cooperating. Thank God for the Nancy’s of the world who do not give up when the Holy Spirit prompts them to act!

From the CBS website, “There’s something breathtakingly beautiful that happens when God gets ahold of our hearts and minds and invites us on a journey of discovery. The big questions of “who we are” and “why we’re here” are no longer hopeless wonderings.”

“Instead, these questions are replaced with a deep knowing that God is alive and speaks with love, mercy, and grace.”  Through in-depth study, it’s been my experience that as I grow to know God and love God, the most beautiful stories emerge: stories of healing and friendship, of restoration, of growth and perseverance, of joy in the face of adversity, of triumph.

The study of God’s Word is the essential discipline for spiritual formation. God never intended for us to stay where we are at the moment of saving Grace! According to the dictionary — Grace itself is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. According to the transformed life – Grace is the free gift God gives us that we do not deserve but He gives us out of His love for us.

Timothy had the privilege of reading, studying and memorizing God’s Word from infancy. He learned firsthand how the Scriptures transform us.

Paul says that God’s Word is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness. It is a guide that helps us live according to God’s will for us!

—  Teaching focuses our mind and shapes our thinking.

—  Rebuking steers our conscience so that we don’t travel the wrong direction.

Correction directs our will so that we see the wisdom of God’s plans

And Training in righteousness shows us how to act more like Christ!

Through the gift of God’s Word and His freely given Grace, there is nowhere I’d rather be than in the Word!

Through the study of God’s Word doors have been opened and God has been so gracious to allow me to participate in furthering His Kingdom on earth.

What gift is it that you have left on the table?

Is God calling you deeper into His Word and into a personal, daily walk with Him?

Is God nudging you to bring home your prodigal son or daughter?

Is the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation still lying unopened on a tear-stained pillow at night?

Do you know that God want’s the absolute very best for your relationships with your children, your friends — for your marriage – he wants ABUNDANCE for all of us in every part of our life. Work – love – relationships – all of it covered in His grace with abundance.

“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27

What is the gift God is calling you to open today?  Please, don’t let another day go by without opening the gift He has for you.

~ Blessings, Catherine

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