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Issue 14-16

Silence and Sunset

Dear Friends,

For most of my adult life, I have either been seeking places to practice silence or giving opportunities for others to practice it. Hungry Souls has introduced the 24-Hour Advent Retreat, the 3-Day Retreat of Silence, Spring Slowing for the Soul, and now the 8-Hour Advent Retreat of Silence. One of the goals on my bucket list is to take all the templates we have developed through these years and make them available to people who either want to use pieces of the retreat for their own benefit, or who want to lead a retreat themselves and could use a hand getting started.

I can’t emphasize enough that deep spiritual growth will not take place unless we program in regular practices of finding God in the silence. Twenty minutes a day jammed into a busy overcrowded schedule may be better than nothing, but it is not better than regular, intentional times when we set ourselves aside to do nothing but meet with the Creator who loves us and who longs for us.

At all the retreats we’ve planned, at least half the people attending have never spent a day, or 24 hours or three days in silence, so we carefully attempt to design a program in which the silence will not overwhelm them. Look the following template over and see if any of it applies to your own personal journey or to those who look to you for mentoring.

Also, due to weather and grey skies, we were not able to end our 8-Hour gathering enjoying a sundowner—the sun setting over a half-hour period with no manmade structures interrupting the 180-degree west-to-east perspective. So I’ve included a photo Melissa Timberlake and I took yesterday looking over the creek at Turtle Creek Acres and the marsh. You don’t want to miss this. It’s been years since I’ve watched a brilliant sunset. Breathtaking.

sunset2.jpgSundowner at Turtle Creek Acres

Here is a sample/excerpt from Retreat of Silence (8-Hour) day schedule.
NOTE that if you would like to see the entire document, you may CLICK HERE to download it. You are welcome to adapt it and use it for your own retreats/events.

Advent 8-Hour Retreat of Silence
December 3, December 5, 2015
9:00 to 4:00
Turtle Creek Acres
“…And the Darkness Has Not Overcome It”


9:00 - 9:45  GATHER AND BEGIN TO LISTEN (Bell Rings)
• Welcome: What brought you here, and what are you hoping for?
• Pass Out Day Scheme/Explain, Introduce Silence
• Show Where Stations Are, coffee/tea/snacks, chocolate bar
• Introduction Question: When was one of the first times you heard God speak to you and you knew that it was He?
• Give Out Journals
• Scripture for Meditation: Different readings of John 1:1-14—Gullah, James Earl Jones, Script for Two Voices

9:45 - 10:45 SILENCE BEGINS
Question for the Morning: WHAT IS THE STATE OF MY INNER LIGHT? (Flame, radiance, glow are synonyms you might explore.) How do you explain your answer?

NOTE: Listening is often a matter of paying attention to your deeper self. For some people, inner intelligence is often the way God speaks. Intuitive folk are comfortable with a subjective way of knowing. For other people, direction or counsel or comfort comes through a process of mental reasoning. Rational folk are more comfortable with this second approach.

However, God can speak to us through his written word, through quiet inward nudges and communications, through the voice of friends and family, through life’s circumstances, through a study of theology, through something that is read that is not sacred Scripture, through the body, which has a very literal language. Knowing, however it comes, must be accompanied by a practice of silence, solitude, and of listening.

The following two exercises help you to pay attention.

Ask yourself the Question for the Morning: WHAT IS THE STATE OF MY INNNER LIGHT? Then be still and listen to the answer(s).

Try this exercise: Describe the state of your inner light by using the five senses.
How does it feel if you touch it?
What does it look like?
How does it taste?
What does it sound like?
How does it smell?

USE YOUR JOURNAL TO MAKE NOTES, RECORD YOUR THOUGHTS, CAPTURE WHAT YOU ARE HEARING. If you want to make collages to add to the pages, or if you want to color symbols or illustrate your Advent journey in any way (perhaps today at the Tactile Table), leave some pages blank in between your note-making.

Again, you can CLICK HERE to download the full Retreat day-schedule document. You are welcome to adapt it and use it for your own retreats/events.

Karen Mains


Sunday, December 13 - Open-House for Buying GBP Bags

We are asking you this Christmas season to make an INTENTIONAL PURCHASE. This means that:
• You aren’t looking for a bargain.
• You are sticking your nose up at blue-light specials. 
• You are not hunting for the cheapest item on the shelf or on the rack.

Instead, you are purposely determining to purchase bags made by Kenyan sisters who are eager to work their way out of poverty. These beautifully-made kanga-cloth, East African fabric shopping bags have been re-priced with enough margins so that hard-working women can feed their children, meet the rent bill, afford tuition, and buy school books.

We’ve raised the prices on the bags confident that most of you, wanting to live with a GLOCAL mindset (living locally but thinking globally), will intentionally purchase bags that offer a decent living to the women who make them. Your purchase can help break the cycle of poverty.


For those who live in or near West Chicago
See you for a crucial twenty minutes at:
Global Bag Project Holiday Open House
Time/Date: Sunday, December 13, from 3-6 p.m.
Place: New Jerusalem House of Prayer
100 Wycliffe Drive
West Chicago, IL 60185

The God Hunt (Ordering / Donation Info)

This month, for any gift of any amount, we will send one autographed hardback copy of The God Hunt as our way of saying thank you. If you are interested, please email me at or phone me at 630-293-4500. There are various ways you can help. A few ideas:

* Send a gift in the amount of your choosing and receive a hardcover copy of The God Hunt in return.
* Buy quantities of The God Hunt at $5 a book plus $2.72 for postage.
* Buy a whole box of books (32 quantity) for $150 plus $15 for postage.

If you would like to send a gift or make a purchase, you can call the number above (we can take credit cards), or mail a check made payable to Hungry Souls to Box 30, Wheaton, IL, 60187.

stacked boxes of books

David and I are planning on moving to Turtle Creek Acres in McHenry, IL. We would rather sell down these boxes of God Hunt books (32 per box) still in our garage than move them. Help us out!


The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to

Karen Mains

Karen Mains

"I can’t emphasize enough that deep spiritual growth will not take place unless we program in regular practices of finding God in the silence."
Practicing Our Faith
by Dorothy C. Bass

For over 40 years, I have kept an almost-daily record of God’s interventions in the ordinary (and sometimes not so ordinary) circumstances of my life. So when distress came my way, catastrophe and loss, I have developed a sure conviction that God is present and active no matter what is going on. Going on the God Hunt is one of the spiritual games David and I developed to teach our children how to recognize God’s involvement in their lives. Through the broadcast ministries, it spread nationally and became a huge help to so many who wondered where God was and what he was doing.

We have a bookshelf full of cases of hardcover copies of The God Hunt in our garage and would rather have them read and used than sit in storage. Details for procuring the books are in the NOTICES.

Back-cover copy from The God Hunt:

Finding God incognito in the world...
is delight. It is joy. It is wonder.
It is a childlike, wiggling anticipation that somewhere, any moment, just around the next corner, when you least expect it,
the Divine is going to jump out,
... and you are going to respond,

Join Karen Mains on the God Hunt—a playful and profound way to seek and find those seemingly ordinary moments when God intervenes in your life with guidance, care and help.

You'll find such moments happen more than you think! And you'll be drawn into deeper communion with God as you tune in to the many ways He answers prayer, shows evidence of His love, helps you do His work in the world and "works all things together for good."

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