This past weekend, my husband and I returned from a quick trip to beautiful southern Illinois where we were repeat customers at one of our favorite cabins. We enjoyed the wine trail, swirling and sniffing and sipping local blends. But most of all, we cherish the local food, local natural wonders and the time alone. Here is what stood out for me this weekend:
1. This guy gets me. Matthew 19:6 says, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” I am convinced that NO ONE else on this planet could be a better match. No one balances me more perfectly than him. And I am so very thankful to God that his power brought us and kept us together. (For a related post see, The Vow. It wasn’t all wine and cheese, ya’ll).
2. Local art is everywhere. I have a couple of pictures but I just didn’t feel right sharing the pics without giving the artist due credit and I could not find the name anywhere. When I asked, the artist was only lovingly referred to as the metal artist or “I think he is a mechanic.” Huge pieces of art in the middle of pastures and fields that displayed such talent. Inside the gift shops local painters, stone artists, sculptors and musicians offered their heart and soul in a variety of mediums.
3. I was surrounded by nature offering up God’s word. John 1:3: “Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.” Rock formations formed over time then washed away like this natural bridge. A true wonder. A large patch of mossy rock, save for one large fern growing out of a fissure where the noon sun has touched it for years. My mind could not wrap around the ecosystem and the perfect process that brought this spot to its current state. Truly the mighty hand of God.
4. The more still I remained, the more I heard. Habakkuk 2:20 – “the Lord is in his holy temple – all the earth, be quiet in his presence.” I am an anxious person, so when I am still, it is often for a few seconds. It takes a few minutes of deep breathing and absolute stillness in a distraction free environment for me to actually be still. This weekend, on a short nature walk, I forced myself to enjoy the sounds around me. Not just for a minute or two, not just for five minutes, but for longer. Absolutely stillness. Not listening to my mind, not guessing how many minutes I have left to be still, but just listening to nature. First, I heard just silence, maybe a slight breeze. Then I heard sasquatch. I mean a squirrel. (If you’ve spent any time in the woods, you know that squirrels make more noise than any creature 50 times its size). Then the birds, then water from far away, then small cracks and pops in the trees high above. The time spent in the woods this weekend, prepared me the stillness I need in God’s presence each day.
5. Food brings people together. We ate local grub and everywhere we went were people of every age getting together over the table. So much fellowship happens when we break bread together and I realized that not once did we invite another couple over for dinner in 2017. Not once! We delivered meals and we met friends at a resteraunt once or twice but there is something more intimate and more spiritual when you invite someone into your home and offer all you have in friendship and love. If I have a resolution for ’18, it will be to open my home in fellowship.
BONUS! There is a dog at every winery! Now, that says, “Welcome to our home!”
Entire weekend getaways are not always feasible, but I hope and pray that you can make time for a change in scenery to refresh your spirit. Here are a few ideas:
Visit a hospital chapel
Sit in a swing in a local park (or swing!)
Take a walk through the park.
Grab a coffee and have a seat at the mall and people watch
Visit the local library or if you are already a regular, visit a new section.
Find an old record store and flip through actual albums. Check out the cover art.
How else do you unwind when you don’t have an entire day to spare?
Kass Fogle is a Contemporary Christian Author, Speaker and Blogger who lives with her husband and two teenaged children in South-Central Illinois. She is working on her first novel, Ruth's Garden and when she is not working the day job you can find her at the local coffee house writing, or at home baking, hanging out with family or causing trouble with her tight group of girlfriends. Kass is also a raging Football Mom.
You can follow Kass on twitter @kassfogle, visit her website (and subscribe to the blog!) at kassfogle.com (see the footer of the page) or join her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kassfogleauthor/ She'd be honored if you stopped by!
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