Back home in London, after traveling through five states for a book tour in the US, I stand in the kitchen and gaze through the window, watching pedestrians wrap arms around waists. Attempting to harness warmth that a brisk wind violates, their boots and wool coats reveal any hope of a lingering autumn.

Staring at strangers out the window as wine sauce reduces on the stove is required mental work for making sense of what seems a senseless election year of sensory overload.

The whir of the mixer, the ting of the timer, chocolate melting in the oven, the aroma of beef stew simmering in the oven—it all seems like a holy union, as if the act of cooking is saving me from wintering somehow.


Rhythms provide anchoring during seasons of transition. And along with rhythms comes the manna of ruminating practices—those simple actions that miraculously calm the hurricane of internal processing so we can rest well.

Cooking has turned out to be one of the ruminating practices that help me trudge through questions breezing wildly through my head. While chopping carrots, kneading bread, and making cookie dough, all the things I’m unsure about become settled and contained.

Ruminating allows your mind to drift away from the detritus long enough for swirling thoughts to settle with different perspective. Peace and clarity are often the result.

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he used words to create imagery of abundance, blessing, and fruitfulness when he was speaking of God fulfilling his promise. He appealed to their felt needs with sensory overload, using words that describe; wait for it—food.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. Deuteronomy 8:6–9 NLT

Being drawn to cook when my mind is in a state of unrest is now a revelation instead of an oddity. When we are in seasons of life that don’t make sense, when God seems to have turned around and walked down the street, our heart longs for a glimmer of the Promised Land. And cooking is one small step toward eternity.


For some, pulling weeds in the garden is a ruminating practice that allows time to think, assign meaning, and obtain focus. For others, knitting, painting, or a jog around a park brings peace and clear-headed thinking.

When we struggle with a lack of inner quiet or find sitting still a miraculous feat, consistently adding a ruminating practice to a Sabbath rhythm can mean peace—and the truth—will come to mind, spirit, and soul more quickly.

Rest is not a recipe with five easy steps, but a reorientation toward what makes me hungry in the first place. We must rest in order for him to rise within us.

Ruminating overrides my bent to quench thirst for outcomes with my own remedies.

The mysterious flavor that satiates a hunger for the meaning of life is what draws me back to the kitchen to create food for my family.

I cannot explain how cooking cures lassitude and why I cook with my shoes off. But I do know that the mystery is why I’m drawn to wait on God instead of hustling for preferred outcomes.


We touch, smell, taste, hear, and see heaven in small daily increments. In olive oil and garlic simmering in the skillet, in honey dripping off fresh bread, a cool drink of water on a hot day—these are all reminders of God’s faithful presence with us.

He keeps his promises.

Ruminate and allow Truth to save your soul from wintering after an election year.

What is your ruminating practice of choice?




GraceTable is 2 years old this month and we’re celebrating with a few giveaways. Leave a comment below to enter to win one of THREE copies of Shelly Miller’s brand new book, Rhythms of Rest, courtesy of Bethany House Publisher. (U.S. residents only, with apologies to our international friends.) You can find Shelly’s book everywhere books are sold. 


Shelly Miller / Posts / Blog
Shelly Miller is a veteran ministry leader and sought-after mentor on Sabbath-keeping. She leads the Sabbath Society, an online community of people who want to make rest a priority, and her writing has been featured in multiple national publications. Her first book, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, will release with Bethany House Publishers in the fall of 2016 with a second launching in 2017 with Lion Hudson. Find more of Shelly’s writing on her blog, Redemptions Beauty, and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where she loves to share photos of the beautiful places she visits while living as a committed immigrant in London.
  • Judy

    Shelley, thanks for so beautifully sharing this encouragement toward rest by ruminating. Cooking or a long nature walk would be my choice activities, and I can tell when I’m not scheduling enough of this reflective and slow time.

    I’m saying Amen to this… these are reminders of His faithful presence and He keeps His promises.

    November 11th, 2016 8:25
    • Shelly Miller

      Judy, I love taking long walks with my camera and like you, notice a big difference in my perspective and ability to process if I am not having time to ruminate. Thanks for being here at Grace Table.

      November 11th, 2016 9:14
  • Susan

    I love this Shelly! I think cooking is an act of creation-an infinitely optimistic act. It also nourishes and restores and restoration is what we crave after times of busy-ness, trial, loss or disappointment. I so appreciate you words (and you) Shelly! ❤️❤️❤️

    November 11th, 2016 9:10
    • Shelly Miller

      Susan, you are so wise. I couldn’t agree with you more about cooking being an optimistic act of creating. Now, doing the dishes? Not so much.

      November 11th, 2016 9:15
  • Jamie Griffith

    I would love to win a copy!

    November 11th, 2016 9:20
  • Katrina

    When I need to get away from all the chaos (whether it be external or internal), I often head outside to walk. We live in a rural area and have some pastureland, so I have the gift of that space and quiet (when I make time to absorb it). If I want companionship, I take our old Rebel-dog along. He appreciates the time out as much as I do.

    November 11th, 2016 9:21
  • Rebecca

    Ruminating. I haven’t realized it, but that is exactly what I’m doing when I do the dishes. Cooking, when it’s just for fun and not “required”, turns me back into a little girl playing house with pretend dishes on a toy tin stove, but the dishes…no one in the house comes around at dish time begging to help. Quiet abounds as the rest of the family are like mice who have scattered to their respective hidey holes avoiding the big bad danger of dish time. All alone in a house of silence I can look out the window and contemplate God’s goodness to my heart’s content. Not so great for my hands but wondrous for my heart.

    November 11th, 2016 9:38
  • Penny

    What a wonderful giveaway! I need to implement this principle of Sabbath and rest in my life.

    November 11th, 2016 9:51
  • C Allyn

    Gardening for sure. The other day, raking leaves but honestly that seemed more like venting.
    How about making a curry for dinner every day for the past three weeks?
    The other day while shopping for groceries I met a lady in the dish soap aisle, a stranger and we both stood there in between other shoppers talking about food.
    Call us foodies.
    We shared stories, exchanged ideas and then without trading names, we said goodbye and went back on our way shopping.
    It was a moment. A simple exchange and yet it changes my day, my thinking.
    The experience was one of connecting with something I loved to do. I felt invigorated. The conversation went beyond the immediate thoughts circling inside my head. It was good to think about something else.

    November 11th, 2016 9:52
  • Laura

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing. I too have found many thoughts can be worked out through kneading of bread and simmering of food that takes time. It is a place where I can focus on the task but at the sane time work out those thoughts with God. Love the imagery you feed us here; it truly makes me long for more than what we find here and reminds me of His promises. And thank you for the giveaway chance!

    November 11th, 2016 9:53
  • Tammy Mashburn

    “Rhythms provide anchoring during seasons of transition.” I love this quote, as I move from year three of chronic illness towards year four, it rhythms, rest, routine, have anchored a body that flails around.
    Shelly, this post resonates in so many tender places of my heart! Thank you for your words.
    Since I met you at Nest Fest, I can put your voice to your words!
    Tammy Mashburn, the girl with the charming cane 🙂

    November 11th, 2016 10:26
  • Anna

    Thank you for this beautiful message-so badly needed this week. Blessings.

    November 11th, 2016 10:28
  • Linda Cushman

    I never thought of it this way – thanks for your insights! I tend to get outside in creation or spend time organizing a drawer or closet. I was never able to put words to why that was helpful – but now I can!

    November 11th, 2016 10:38
  • Mandi

    I simply adore this! Thank you for this post, Shelly. It’s so nice to be able to see your thoughts reflected in another’s words. Cooking always restores my soul, helps me take a breath- and cooking barefoot is the only way to go!

    November 11th, 2016 10:45
  • Jorge Roa

    love to read one of your books.

    November 11th, 2016 10:56
  • Nicole T. Walters

    “Rhythms provide anchoring during seasons of transition. And along with rhythms comes the manna of ruminating practices—those simple actions that miraculously calm the hurricane of internal processing so we can rest well.”

    You always speak right to my heart! I can’t wait to read the book. My rumination of choice right now happens to be fall walks under a clear sky and a rain of leaves coming down. It changes with the seasons but right now this is the practice that allows me space to think. I found a park near work where I can slip away at lunch time and I look forward to it all day. Transition is so hard on the soul. Learning slowly to sabbath and how vital it is.

    November 11th, 2016 11:24
    • Kris

      Thanks for reading here, Nicole! You have won a copy of Shelly’s Rhythms of Rest. Would you kindly email us your mailing address? Send it to


      December 19th, 2016 14:49
  • Cherish

    This is beautiful, I am having a hard time coming to terms with the result of this election and the future we are facing. I am hoping and praying that God will help me keep to healthy rhythms for my family in order to weather this transition period.

    November 11th, 2016 11:36
  • Michele J

    As I’m experiencing a particularly tough personal season, rest and connecting with Jesus is something I need to make a priority.

    November 11th, 2016 13:33
  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins

    Already have your lovely book….just wanna say that my ‘ruminating practice’ (love that word!) is pulling weeds, although I can relate to the practice of cooking as a way to anchor ourselves in the familiar.
    I remember an article in Gourmet Magazine that Ruth Reichl the editor wrote about her response to the events of September 11th–the only thing that made sense to do was for her to cook for people. So she did.
    (and thanks for the bonus new word–‘lassitude’–I need to go look that up! Bless you, friend.

    November 11th, 2016 13:38
  • beth lehman

    so interesting how different we each are… i find writing down gratitude lists and taking LONG walks to be the balm i often need. my perspective shifts when i do these two things.

    November 11th, 2016 14:13
  • Bryan

    I so enjoy your blog, Shelley, and your Instagram posts, being a fellow Anglophile! I’ve had my eye on your book and could use some help incorporating rhythms into changing circumstances.

    November 11th, 2016 15:31
  • Joy

    I can always tell when my life has become “too much” because I stop cooking, baking and creating in the kitchen. The thing I love about creating in the kitchen is it forces me to be present and offers pauses as I measure, whisk, fold and sauté. Now I feel like making something!

    November 11th, 2016 16:54
  • CarolSue

    You describe beautifully my “need” to bake or cook and the comfort I find in doing so. Sharing my creations with my family, friends and neighbors is such a blessing to me as well. I have read those verses many times and had not made the connection. God is Faithful and pours His blessings on us continuously. My greatest comfort comes from my relationship with Jesus Christ. Happy ruminating!

    November 11th, 2016 18:00
  • Becky J

    ah, why is rest such hard work? I know it is much needed in all of our lives!

    November 11th, 2016 20:19
  • Marian Vischer

    A ruminating practice. I love this and am so intrigued by it. This book and its message feel lovely and timely as I long for Sabbath more than ever. A beautiful post!

    November 11th, 2016 22:22
  • Theresa

    I love to ruminate in the shower, on my porch swing, on walks, when gardening, and also while cooking. I find if I am doing a mindless (or low mind energy task) such as cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the house of washing dishes by hand then I can also ruminate.

    November 11th, 2016 23:45
  • Sarah Menefee

    Thank you, Shelly. This is a timely word for me as the Lord has been speaking to me about the importance and need for rest…

    November 12th, 2016 7:51
    • Kris

      Hi Sarah, thanks so much for reading here! We’re excited to let you know that you won a copy of Shelly’s Rhythms of Rest. Please email your mailing address to ASAP.

      Thanks!! 😉

      December 19th, 2016 14:51
  • Christina

    Thank you for this post. I have enjoyed browsing each and every post these past few months and am so thankful for your words of wisdom. I would say my ruminating practice is a walk around the pond right by my house with my small shih tzu. No phone. 😊

    November 12th, 2016 8:13
  • Joanne Viola

    As I sit here with a cookbook opened before me and a recipe in mind, I can say it is cooking and baking for sure 🙂 I already have and LOVE your book but would give this as a gift to a friend. Truly one of the best books I read this year. Blessings!

    November 12th, 2016 8:41
  • jackie

    Ruminating – my goal for today! And it can’t be looking at FB or typing emails – as that is something that takes my brain away from God…Cooking is an excellent thought. I also have a room in our new house that needs to be “put together” and most of it will require minimal thought, so that I have time to reflect upon God’s goodness instead. Wonderful idea for this morning! (and I’d also love to win one of Shelly’s books – what an excellent end to a day that is just beginning). God’s blessings to all today.

    November 12th, 2016 8:42
  • Jen

    A timely message for me. I am preparing to go away for a day of solitude and silence and am currently reading a book that will help me to just “be.” When I read your thoughts on ruminating, at first I could not think of what my own ruminating path might be. But I do love taking pictures. And I do love finding beauty in nature. So I think I shall now go on my day of solitude and silence in order to draw near to my God with camera in hand.

    Thank you, Shelley and I think I’d love to read your book.

    November 12th, 2016 9:12
    • Kris

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for reading here at GraceTable! We are thrilled to let you know that you won a copy of Shelly’s book, Rhythms of Rest. Please email your shipping address to us we ASAP.

      🙂 Merry Christmas!

      December 19th, 2016 14:48
  • Lisa Delp

    I just came across your book recently in a blog….my small group of women are going to read your book and discuss it.

    As the holidays approach and a new year is around the corner, I am anxious to learn to rest. One way I do rest, is keeping my weekly dinner date with my small group of ladies each week. We encourage and lift one another up. My tribe!

    November 12th, 2016 10:59
  • Sarah M

    Ohh, this is good. I’d probably have to say reading something ‘quiet’ and having open evenings to read to my kids, play a family board game, or just have a couple hours before bed to talk to my husband.

    November 12th, 2016 11:17
  • Tina

    Yes… Cooking/baking is a gift to enjoy ! It’s amazing how much it relaxes me after a challenging day.

    November 12th, 2016 11:23
  • Tina

    And if love to read your book!

    November 12th, 2016 11:25
  • Carol Van Der Woude

    Your post was restful for me! I do enjoy gardening as it allows me to ruminate. Your book sounds great!

    November 12th, 2016 12:01
  • Kathy Scott

    Ruminating over disappointments, and puzzling events through habits that are enjoyable is the way to let the Lord work within me. H will clarify what action or resolution can bring peace and calm to my spirit. The Lord is in control of everything, yet He desires that I become content in all my circumstances. When I’m outside either on a walk or just puttering in my yard, I find ruminating and prayer come to bring relief and joy to my heart. I’d love to read your book and find more ways to employ God’s rest in my everyday life.

    November 12th, 2016 12:50
  • Leslie McCarthy

    I’m in a time of life that rest is even more appreciated as grown children and grandchildren can catapult my mind into worry faster than a speeding bullet. Like you, cooking is my entry into rest. Thank you for this, and God bless you.♥

    November 12th, 2016 13:05
  • Melanie Wallace

    I would love to read your book! I never liked to cook growing up, that was always my sisters thing, but in the last few years I’ve found it to be so soothing (as much as anything can be with 3 littles running around).

    November 12th, 2016 13:37
  • Tanya

    Ahhh…ruminating is a lovely way too o describe though processing. Sometimes I spend too much time in my head and feel simply, tired. Other times as you note, ruminating, is a soothing, peace finding process. My favorite mind clearing activity is running. However with a busy 11 month old who has erratic sleep patterns and two other dear children, I haven’t gone on a run in months. Despite it’s cold dark days, I am looking forward to the rest winter provides our agrarian lifestyle.

    November 12th, 2016 14:03
  • Lisa Moreland

    You’ve offered beautiful and encouraging words pointing to a true solace that can be gained in the repetition of simple acts. Walking the paths along our creek bed, season upon season, day after day, sweeps the unwelcome din from my mind. Like chopping vegetables or pulling thread through needlepoint canvas, the repetition allows the Spirit mental space to speak sacred assurance. I need that, our nation needs that.

    November 12th, 2016 14:24
  • Allie

    Cleaning the house (order from chaos). And doing some kind of hand work. I love this–thank you for making me think.

    November 12th, 2016 21:24
  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, such a beautiful sharing in the lyrical style only you can pen. I have always loved this word and balked once when an editor removed it from my writing years ago, and substituted the word “reflect” instead. She felt people would not understand the word “ruminate.” Reflecting and ruminating, while both quiet practices, are simply not the same. Reflecting is to bounce back off a surface, but ruminating goes deeper; it’s more contemplative. And I found it fascinating that you would prefer to ruminate when you cook, because of course ruminate literally means to “chewing the cud” over and over again as a ruminant does!! 🙂 And when I had chosen that word in my writing, it was intentional. I was ruminating as I journaled (the subject about which I was writing). I find no better way to ruminate in the freewheeling kind of writing that journaling affords–where I can go over and over a difficulty until I reach conclusion. I write my way through to closure. I also love to ruminate especially when I saunter through our neighborhood or a local park. Walking is worship for me. Also when I do collage, I have found it a good time to ruminate. However we do it, God provides a way that resonates with our individual soul, and He meets us in the pondering. Thank you so much for sharing, and I’m so glad that you are home safely.

    November 13th, 2016 0:49
  • Lisa Easterling

    Cooking is like that for me, too. Writing is also a favorite ruminating practice for me, usually in the form of writing thoughts, perceptions, impressions, and questions in my leather journal with my favorite blue pen. Thank you for wording this so beautifully.

    November 13th, 2016 17:31
  • Janna Reid

    Thank you for this, and for sharing your journey, Shelly! I just started your book today and am a highlighting FOOL as I read through and ruminate on these rhythms of rest. My soul is ready.
    For me, I play guitar or violin music and practice yoga to rest and hear his voice. To ruminate and sift things. I also listen to podcasts or simply the Word out loud as I do chores.
    Thank you for your work! God bless you.

    November 13th, 2016 19:35
  • S

    I would really like to read this book.

    November 13th, 2016 20:05
  • Katie

    It is so interesting to see how differently and similarly we all ruminate.
    For me, it seems to involve something that “sets things right” such as dead-heading flowers, weeding, picking up around the house (tidying), cleaning bathrooms or clearing out closets/drawers/cabinets, doing laundry or washing dishes. Walking can also be a time for me to go deeper in thought and prayer. These times seem to bring more clarity and peace.
    As always, your words help me take stock, mentally and spiritually. Thank you, Shelly.

    November 14th, 2016 13:18
  • Nancy Ruegg

    “We must rest in order for him to rise within us.” Beautifully said, Shelly. I ruminate as I write. Formulating my thoughts into sentences slows down my thinking process, and I discover bits of truth or a deeper response of emotion as the words flow from my pen. I often do find rest on the page and a sense God’s presence around and within me as I write.

    November 14th, 2016 18:41
  • Susan

    Enjoying Shelly’s writing so much in this my season of rest. I would love to be entered for a chance to win a copy of her book. Thank you Grace Table for your generosity!

    November 16th, 2016 12:31
  • Gwen

    Shelly, for me,you cast a new light on cooking. Thank you. Our kitchen overlooks God’s beautiful world. There are trees with beautiful fall colors that remind me in His time, He makes all things beautiful. Even when the leaves fall and the tree is bare, I am reminded He sustains and nourishes. With that being said, my cooking time is a time to get alone with Him allowing Him to speak, encourage, and remind me He is forever faithful! I’m learning to rest in His presence.

    November 18th, 2016 10:29
  • Corena Hall

    Rest I used to say I would succumb to it in eternity. One of His 10 commandments because He knew us.
    Rest elusive but needed, on the Sabbath even church often wants to take that away scheduling their needs their agendas on our family day.
    Would love to read ” Rhythms of rest,” would feel blessed to receive it and share it with people I mentor. Thank you

    November 19th, 2016 8:03
  • Bree

    So beautifully written, thank you!

    November 19th, 2016 8:16
  • Linda

    Going for Loooooong walks and ruminating is what helps me come to a place of rest within a difficult set of circumstances, and knowing that He walks with me, and nothing comes as a surprise to Him !

    November 19th, 2016 8:43
  • Tamara Gonzalez

    Thanks for this, Shelly. I’m a lover of the kitchen, too, and while creating and sharing with others brings me much joy and fulfillment, I’m not sure if it truly helps me ruminate and find rest. You’ve given me much to contemplate as I consider which activites could better allow for ruminating so as to orient my soul toward God.

    November 19th, 2016 10:38
  • Paula Trotter

    I loved this story. It took me back to my days of ‘baking with love’ for my four children. We didn’t have much, but to be able to spend time preparing something yummy filled my heart with joy. In the evening I would spread a blanket on the carpet and we would then enjoy the fruits of my labor and watch a good movie, or listen to our favorite radio program, “Prairie Town”.

    The story also reminded me of how my daughter, now 30, loves to be in the kitchen, creating something delicious while listening to soft music. This act brings rest to her sometimes cluttered mind, and soothes her soul. She says it’s her therapy.

    Some times we forget that God is here with us. That He gives us those warm parts of life to rejuvenate, and draw closer to Him. I am reminded of this each time I read one of the stories from Grace Table ~ thank you so much for this wonderful place to come…and just breathe.

    November 19th, 2016 13:03
  • Kathy Scott

    Ruminating is something I always thought of as a practice that cows do as they stand in fields “chewing their cud.” Now I feel I can totally enjoy my practice of taking a walk around the corner or just find time to tidy up our yard and admire my plants. The ultimate time to just ruminate is when I sit down with a good book that brings me more perspective and escape from the unrest that stirs within. I’d love to practice ruminating as I read your book. Thanks for the good insights.

    November 19th, 2016 18:45
  • Elizabeth

    I love your blog and would love to read your book!
    What a blessing it has been in my life!

    November 19th, 2016 19:45
  • Carissa Johnson

    This is a beautiful perspective–you’re right, the soul needs to ruminate and rest after an exhausting year. Would love to read your book. 🙂

    November 21st, 2016 11:28
  • Kitty Dulgar

    Rest, something I long for. Cooking, something I do from scratch every day. I do realize it is restful for me to cook (as long as I give myself enough time). Cleaning up, not so much but I do have a husband who pitches in quite often.
    I would love to win this book!

    November 22nd, 2016 11:18

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