A Restless Soul

Welcome  A couple weeks ago I was in the middle of another little meltdown.  I say “little” because I wasn’t mad or fully depressed about anything.  There appeared to be no reason for my mood.  I wasn’t even really acting out.  I just had this incredible feeling of emptiness.  I told my husband that I was feeling pretty emotional, you know, just trying to give him a heads-up, and all.  Of course he asks, “Why?  What’s wrong?”

Does anyone else have trouble answering that question sometimes?  I mean, sometimes it’s pretty obvious what’s bugging me or if I know it’s hormones or whatever.  Other times, though, it’s very hard to explain.  I may not even know what’s wrong, let alone explain it to my husband, whom I feel deserves an explanation of some sort.  I finally told him, “I just have a restless soul.”

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Food For Thought  I saw a quote in one of my books recently, addressing my thoughts precisely: “Many women just give up.  Instead of making life happen, instead of chasing the dream of their heart, they just let life happen.  Day after day, the same old same old rut and routine, living their lives out in quiet desperation.” (The 10 Best Decisions A Woman Can Make; Pam Farrell; 1999; Harvest House Publishers)  Sound familiar?

I have a restless soul.  I have no other way to explain it.  Yes, I do love to travel and when I read quotes about wanderlust and the desire to get out, go more, see more, and do more, I’m always thinking, yes!  That’s me, I want those things too!  But I think it’s even more than a desire to travel, go places, and have adventure.  As I get older, my adventures get smaller, yet I feel I’m always seeking something.

I don’t like drama or chaos, but when my life begins to feel mundane and boring, I start feeling this “restless soul” issue.  I’m in a stage of life where I am surrounded by people with exciting news and celebrations.  At age 40, I am wedged between the younger generation who are announcing pregnancies, having gender-reveal parties, and moving into new houses.  On the other side, I have friends and family that are having retirement parties, retiring to their new homes in the mountains or at the lake, and sharing exciting news about their kids getting married or they are becoming grandparents for the first time.  I’m in life’s carpool lane, going somewhere, but so focused on the road ahead, I feel I’m missing some of the most interesting stops.

So my restless soul leaves me asking, what do I have to look forward to?  My husband and I are stuck in this pattern where every day is the same.  Get up, go to work, drive daughter to school and activities, work on the blog/book, help daughter study and complete homework, clean house, run errands, watch some television, go to bed.  These are all great things and I am very grateful that I get to have these experiences as wife and mother.  But is this it?  Have I run out of things to be excited about in my own life?  There’s no concert or event tickets waiting for a future date.  There’s no vacation scheduled on the calendar.  There’s no home renovation or move to announce.  No big life events or changes waiting in the wings.  To express my feelings honestly, nothing important or significant.

Okay, not true.  What I do, along with the millions of other women every day, is important.  Being there for my husband and daughter, doing my part on the house end, seeing that the bills are paid on time and the budget is maintained…these are significant tasks.  But exciting and fun?  Not really.  It feels like everyone else in the world has something exciting going on in their lives right now, whether baby or house-related, job promotions, or grand holiday plans.  I know that’s not true, though.  There are other people experiencing this thing called life, in all of its average normalcy.

Is there anything I can do to cure my “restless soul” that doesn’t include a major life event or breaking the bank?  Well, yes, here are some things that have helped me.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of a different perspective and getting out of the same routine.

This list may not seem like that big of a deal, but making small changes can make a big difference, a simple distraction from the ordinary.  I have done each of these activities on different occasions.  They’ve helped me and maybe they will help you, too.

My personal favorite from the list is number 10.  A few weeks ago, right in the midst of some amazing fall weather, we left church on a Sunday and I just said to my husband, “What if we just keep driving?”  So we did.  We drove straight past the exit for our house and kept driving, stopping for lunch after awhile, and then continuing on until we found a neat roadside shop selling Amish-made goods and sundries.  Our family enjoyed perusing the items and selecting a few for home.  Then we made our 90-minute drive back home.  The sun roof was open, the windows were down, the music was playing, and the laughter was plentiful.  While it’s not possible to take a full vacation right now, we can still make a “normal” Sunday into a mini-family-adventure.  That simple change in our routine left the three of us with lifted spirits and memories only our family can fully appreciate.  And that’s okay!

So what is your favorite cure for a restless soul?  Do you have a simple, economical solution, or do you find you MUST get away for something big?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Today’s Scripture  The best cure for a restless soul?  Be renewed, day by day, by scriptural inspiration, encouragement, and wisdom.

Today’s Recipe  Oh, my restless soul would love to be in Tennessee right now.  Even though I can’t make that trip right now, I can still give my nod to Nashville with my Hot-Chicken inspired dish.  These are my Sweet Heat Drumsticks, a new family favorite, with a hot brine and a sticky, sweet cayenne glaze.  I don’t really want to eat fried chicken any other way now!

Just a note about my recipe: I was afraid too much cayenne would be crazy-hot.  My tablespoon of cayenne in the glaze seemed like so much!  It was just right for my family, satisfying taste buds of my mild-obsessed daughter to my husband’s raging inferno preferences.  While my husband says a little more heat would be just fine, I found this amount of cayenne to be a perfect middle-of-the-road balance.  Feel free to adjust the amount after you make it once and know your own preferences.

Sweet Heat Drumsticks
In the spirit of Nashville Hot Chicken, these are my Sweet Heat Drumsticks.

 

Sweet Heat Drumsticks (makes 10 drumsticks)

For the Brine

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3 lbs chicken drumsticks (legs), about 10

For the Glaze

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 TBS cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and salt

For the Dredge

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

 

Heat all the brine ingredients, except the chicken, in a large pot over medium heat, stirring to fully dissolve the sugar and salt.  Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.  Once cooled, add chicken, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.

Drumsticks in hot brine.

 

When ready to cook chicken, remove from refrigerator.  Remove chicken from brine and place on rack to drain (I used a cooling rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet).  Begin to prepare the glaze.  Combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, heating over medium heat, whisking until completely combined.  Turn off heat and begin to prepare chicken.

Fry chicken until golden brown.

 

In shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and pepper for dredge.  Heat enough oil in large skillet to reach about an inch.  Oil should reach a temperature between 325 and 350 degrees.  When oil is hot, toss the drumsticks in the dredge and place in oil, being careful not to crowd.  Turn chicken after about 10 minutes, cooking an additional 6-10 minutes.  Remove to a tray lined with paper towels.  Before serving, toss the drumsticks in the Sweet Heat glaze.

Toss cooked chicken in Sweet Heat glaze.

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