Love, Loss and the Power of a Bowl of Soup

{Giveaway is Closed} Winners are Joan M and Arlene and they have been emailed.

Today, I’ve got a special treat! My long time blog friend, Edie, who write the beautiful blog, Life in Grace,  has written a wonderful book. I haven’t read it yet, but will as soon as it arrives. I know without a doubt that the book is good because I’ve seen a lot of gushing online about the book and that folks couldn’t put it down so I can’t wait to read it too.

I’ve shared Edie’s home and a bit of her story here on my Feature Friday series, when I featured her new home, built after a devastating fire at the end of 2010.  Her family lives in Tennessee on a pretty lake and experienced a horrible fire that took everything they had.  They rebuilt, from ashes to beauty, and Edie is a wonderful story teller and a conveyor of faith so I know this book will be a wonderful read. We have all gone through loss in one form or another, I sure have and lived to tell about it.  It’s how we handle those trials and losses in life that define us and boost our faith.

Here is part of Edie’s story, in her words below…..

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Three days before Christmas in 2010, our house caught fire in the middle of the night. Before morning light, everything we owned was gone. Only by the grace of God did any of us make it out alive.

I sat numb and cold watching the sidewalls crack and roof give way.

How ironic that after all those years of hearing crazy stories about my Daddy burning things down, fire was now my legacy too. Sister found me on the frozen ground when she drove up with Mama. I rose to greet them and then fell into their arms, letting the heartache of forty years have its way.

When I looked back on it, my whole life had been preparing me for this day.

When I was six, my Daddy was taken to jail for throwing a cinderblock through the back window of our car. My sister and I were sitting in the back seat when it happened. Nobody was hurt but nothing would ever be the same either. When I was eight, I began weekly visits to Brushy Mountain prison to see my cousin who’d been arrested for armed robbery. Then at twelve, I drove my Daddy home from a bar one night when he was too drunk to see straight.

By the ripe old age of 27 when I was in medical school, my Daddy died of lung cancer and something in me broke—like a dam too fragile and cracked to keep back the constant beating rains. And here I stood again, watching my life literally burn down around me—the kind of profound loss that had come to feel inevitable to me.

By late morning, only the chimney was swaying in the wind. Everything was gone—everything except for the turquoise chair that stood untouched by the stove, glimmering beautiful in a sea of charred life.

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It was my own rainbow—the slightest hint of hope. Maybe all was not lost.

A few days later, I was in Knoxville with my sister getting the bare essentials. Things that would make me feel like me again—makeup and cowboy boots and a computer. I shudder when I look back at the photos. I had a black eye from jumping out of my two story window, wore ill fitting borrowed clothes for days, but I think it was the lack of hair products that made me look the most pitiful.

We walked by Williams Sonoma and I went in to look at their soup pots. I had spent the last few years since quitting my job as a family doctor trying to figure out how to be at home and soup taught me the way. My sister very kindly and tenderly said, “Um, you don’t even have a stove.”

Oh yeah, the little detail of my house just burning down.

I bought the soup pot anyway.

Days after everything I owned burned to the ground, I was now the proud owner of a computer, some cowboy boots, and a dutch oven, while my stove and a lifetime of memories lay in an ashy heap.

People fed me for weeks, God bless them every one, but I found my way back to life again by making soup, by feeding my people.

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That very same dutch oven sits on my stovetop everyday and reminds me that my calling is to serve and love and feed and I can do that no matter what burns down around me.

That soup pot gave me something tangible to do, someone to feed, someone to think about besides myself. It’s teaching me still that there’s always some one right in front of me who has needs that I am perfectly suited to meet, regardless of my education level, my current job, or the circumstances in my life.

Just a simple pot of soup. A bowl of hope and nourishment and life.

A reminder of the great blessing it is to have a home and stove and people to feed.

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Edie’s spiritual memoir, All the Pretty Things, releases September 2oth. It is her hard fought memoir—a story of fatherlessness, of being untethered and unspoken for; the story of how her life burned down around her in a million little ways and how she sometimes set fire to it; the story of how she finally found redemption among life’s ruins in the love of a Father who never lets go.

Edie Wadsworth is a speaker, writer, and blogger who has been featured in various print and online media. She writes at lifeingrace on a variety of topics that center themselves on home—including vocation, hospitality, faith, parenting, cooking, and life in the Appalachian South. She and her husband Steve live in East Tennessee with their kids.

Fun news for my readers! Edie is giving away 2 copies of her books to 2 of my readers, so if you’d like to win a copy, please leave a comment on this post. Just tell me why you’d like to read Edie’s book. I know it’s full of faith and hope, so that is reason enough!

Speaking of soup, this cheese tortellini soup that Edie posted is on my list to try. She swears by it and it looks delicious!

If you’d like to buy Edie’s book for a gift or for yourself, you can get it here (affiliate link):


- Rhoda

Comments

  1. I need a little inspiration this year.

  2. Judy Clark says:

    Rhoda,

    I would love a copy of this book to share with my bookclub at church. What a beautiful testimony! The ladies in the club would love to read this.

    Blessings,
    Judy

  3. I love Edie!

  4. Lynn Rechsteiner says:

    Thanks Rhoda for sharing Edie’s story. This type of story is what many need- I needed it today. In this hectic life it’s so easy to become unaware of the simple treasures in life that surround us each and every day. I try to just STOP for a minute each day and thank God for something–there is always something no matter how simple. I can say that after reading what she endured, that she and I are kindred sprits. I was touched by her ability to see thru the smoke and rise above. Thanks Edie for sharing a precious gift, HOPE. God bless you.

  5. The book and your testimonial sounds inspiring. Looking forward to reading it! May your Christmas season be filled with many blessings!

  6. Oh, Edie……your story is very real and life is real for all of us. Thank you for being transparent and courageous enough to share it. Your life is also one of hope, which we all need. Blogs often picture the most beautiful of stories and show the glitzy side of life. Everyone’s life and home looks perfect in blogland and posted pictures, but we forget that it is not. Thankful to see the other side of living in the real world.

  7. I always find hope in books that share victory over adversity. My heart was heavy this morning with all the fires in the Gatlinburg area and then I read your post and was reminded that God can use ALL things in our lives to make us more like Him.

  8. I enjoy her blog when I get to read it. Her book sounds like a fab read-would love to win a cooy! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I remember reading about the fire a few years back. I would love to read this book.

  10. What a wonderful reminder of hope, love and family at this time of year. Looking forward to reading this book,

  11. Just that little bit of her story touched me, I’d like to read more about her journey of faith.

  12. Mary Ripmaster says:

    Such a heart warming tale of survival. Life can be so hard but it is how we react when we are brought to our knees that is the true story. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read Edie’s words this morning. Life is good.

  13. I love to read and be inspired by people who triumph over tragedy. It sounds like a great book to share with my book club. Thank you for the opportunity!

  14. Lynn Rodgers says:

    Bittersweet story that shows God is with us through it all. Would love to read this!

  15. I have heard so many good things about Eddie’s book…would love to read it. Thank you!

  16. I’ve been looking for a way to connect to my older adoptee. Loss is very hard both us. Would to see what insight Edie has.

    • *sorry early morning

      Loss is hard for both of us. Would like to see what insight Edie has to share.

      Anyway, Merry Christmas.

  17. What a powerful story -I can definitely relate to some of Edie’s life issues, being basically fatherless myself growing up (I, too, had to drive my father home). I would love to have a copy of her book, to see how she has coped, survived and overcome tragedies. Many thanks for making this giveaway possible.

  18. This sample of her book just brought me to tears…. what better reason to read all the rest.

  19. I would love a copy of this book for the simple reminder that no matter MY circumstances, I can serve and love others.

  20. WOW! The little bit that was on your blog about Edie’s life was powerful. I can only imagine what her book could tell. She certainly has faith and grace in the midst of despair and not everyone would have handled things in the courageous way that she has.

  21. Joan Moore says:

    Out of the ashes, HOPE!!!
    What a powerful testimony.
    Thank you for the chance to win.

  22. Francis C. Moore says:

    Sounds like a good read.

  23. Edie’s story resonates with me. Loss and hope, always Christ.

  24. I would love to have this book. I love reading inspirational stories of peoples lives.

  25. Wow I don’t even know if I could stand more as touching as that snippet was – I would love to read this thanks for the chance to win – a powerful reminder of all of our blessings and the Lord’s love for each of us

  26. Oh my. It amazes me how some of us have gone through unspeakable tragedy and challenges and still can find it in themselves to overcome! I would love to read this book and find encouragement and then share with a friend who also needs it.

  27. I have been following Edie’s blog for a while now and she is so inspirational to me. I would love to win her book because, although not because of a fire, but my world has crashed right before me, and I need inspiration just to figure out how to pull myself up.

  28. It sounds like an inspiring story!

  29. Can’t wait to read more and will be asking for emails of Edie’s blog. Thank you for introducing me to her.

  30. I’m inspired by Edie’s idea to make a pot of soup in order to feed others while ultimately feeding herself. During my own trials and heartbreaks, I’ve adopted the mantra of author Elisabeth Elliot to “Do the next thing” in order to just get through. I love Edie’s idea of doing something basic like making soup to get through AND benefiting others. Sounds like a sure way to healing!
    Thank you for the opportunity to learn more of Edie’s life and ideas!

  31. Oops I put that in a reply! It sounds like an amazing book, even if I don’t win I will be checking it out!

  32. Mary Feagley says:

    I definitely need some inspiration at this time of year. Heading into surgery Friday and need some good reading material to give me some hope.

  33. Gosh, I would love to read Edie’s book! With an intro like that, how could I say no?!

  34. I cried when I read this – as I’m sure everyone did – and that is why I want to read her book.

  35. Melesa Garrison says:

    I would love to read this book, and buy a few more for my daughters and daughter-in-law. So thankful that Edie is doing well now and made it out of that horrific situation.

  36. I’d love to read it and share with my sister. She has experienced two house fires during her life. The first one, they lost their youngest child, a baby. The second, the whole house burned to the ground.

  37. I think we could all use a little bit of this book right now…..just the snipit I read was very captivating. Thank you!

  38. I’d love to read this!

  39. Lena templin says:

    Oh my what a sad story but she makes lemonade from lemons. Would love to read more of her story.

  40. Susan Lambert says:

    Oh my goodness…How this tugs on my heartstrings! It’s the simple pleasures in life we SO take for granted! I truly want all of us to get back to simple, grateful, peaceful times filled with hope in Jesus Christ! Can’t wait to read this book! Sounds so inspirational!!!
    Have a blessed day!

  41. Jessica Wilson says:

    My Grandparents raised me as my father was in prison most of my life and my mother was unfit. I was told by others that I would not be worth anything, but never by my Grandparents. They believed in me and stood by me always. I rose above my family reputation and have had a wonderful life with a fantastic husband of 28 years and 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Rising above one’s self is something I learned from my Grandparents and do on a daily basis. I even rose above myself, by allowing my birth mother back into my life with no apologies expected or needed. It was hard, but letting go of bad and concentrating on the good in life is a fundamental value that I treasure.

    • Jessica…….YOU are also an inspiration!!! Perhaps you need to write your story, too. Dr. Charles Stanley, or someone, has said that we should not waste our adversities and it certainly seems like you have not.

    • Your story is a powerful one too, Jessica! We all have stories to share.

  42. I would LOVE to read this book!

  43. This time of year is really hard for me. I loss my father in December of 2014 and my life has never been the same. The day after we told him that my daughter had been accepted into her first college choice, he was gone. He did not get to see her walk across the stage at her high school graduation or attend her prom. My father was such a great help to me with my daughter as I am a single mom. He picked her up everyday from school since kindergarten and the one thing that I wanted him to see was her walk across that stage. But it was not to be and I am still struggling with it. So, I would love to read her book as I need my faith and hope renewed.

  44. I have my on struggles and sorrows to work my way out of! I would love to hear her inspiring story!

  45. Each of us have a story to tell and I would love to read her story. We have a lots in common. She knows where her strength comes from. Wishing her the best.

  46. Kathy Lee Milliken says:

    My daughter and son in law bought their first house and it burned down 6 weeks later, my daughter and dog got out but they lost two much loved kitties. I would love to send this book to her

  47. Her story is very similar to a friend of mine who suffered a devastating house fire, and just two years later, lost her husband to esophogeal cancer. Life can be hard to bear. Jesus knows this, and feels our pain, and says in His Word, “In this world YOU WILL have troubles, but BEHOLD, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!
    What great comfort for all of us as we enter the season of hope, love and joy!
    I will be putting this book on my Christmas list to give to my friend who is still struggling.

  48. Wow, just wow! When bad things happen, we just need to remind ourselves that God has a plan as overwhelming as the circumstances may be. What an inspiring story just in this little we read.

  49. Denise Smith says:

    My home nearly washed away exactly 6 months ago in a devestating flood here in Simonton, TX. The structure was salvageable but not the contents. I can relate to Edie’s story of sudden undeserved loss of a lifetime of memories and treasures. We are still repairing the house. What few items we managed to pull from the muck smell of the putrid water that sat stagnant in our home for 10 days. I would love a copy of her book. I think hearing of someone else’s recovery would definitely help me with mine.

  50. To reinforce the belief that life is worth fighting for!

  51. Thank you for sharing Edie’s testimony. Faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love!

  52. I would love to read this book, so inspiring.

  53. This sounds like such a great book. I love Edie and gain so much from her.

  54. The ladies in my Bible Study are always looking for a good book to read. This one sounds like it will give us hope and encouragement even in the face of hopeless circumstances.

  55. I would love to read Edie’s book as it sounds like a shining message of hope, and we all need that.

  56. Sounds like a wonderful read!
    These kinds of books are great to pass between friends and family members to share positive stories:)

  57. This time of year we can all use some inspiration……some of her story could be some of my story. I have a friend who needs to know this story. Thank you.

  58. Fabulous book that is honest and real! Loved it!!!

  59. I am a lover of a pot of soup and how it can soothe the soul. I would love to read her book. Thanks for sharing with your readers!

  60. I am an avid reader and would love to read Edie’s story. Sometimes reading the adversity that others go through puts your own “troubles” in a different perspective.

  61. My sister and I would love to read this inspirational book of grace and faith.
    Blessings for all you do, Joyce

  62. Thanks for sharing Edie with us, would love to read her book .

  63. What a strong woman she has become! I would love to read her story. A good reminder to never take anything for granted, but also to never give up hope since God strengthens us.

  64. I love to read Edie’s stories. She has a wonderful way with words. And I sure could use some inspiration this year, a lot of sadness going on. But I’m doing my best to not let the enemy steal my joy!

  65. Janice Vincent says:

    Such a gift she is giving us all sharing her story and her strength…..
    Would love the opportunity to read her inspiring words…..

  66. Audra Taliaferro says:

    Beauty from ashes! Inspiring!

  67. Ivy Boswell says:

    I would love to hear the “whole” story and how it has guided her life! A reminder that even in the darkest of hours, God will carry us!

  68. I would love to win one of Edie’s books because the excerpt sounded so good! I think we all need to believe that good can come from even the most difficult of life’s challenges.

  69. I would love to win this book of Edie’s and her message of hope. My heart is heavy tonight because of the fires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN and the loss of three lives. I’m not familiar with her blog but look forward to adding my name to her list of subscribers.

  70. Jeanne bell says:

    Twenty years ago our family went thru a life changing accident. We are still fighting our way thru and would love to read this inspirational book. Thanks for the chance.

  71. I think I may have a lot in common with Edie. And she shares my mom’s name.
    Faith sees us through.

  72. I am need of Hope. Would love to read her book.

  73. The excerpt was very well written and I was pulled into the narrative. As I continue to develop the servant leadership in my life, I was inspired by Edie’s journey.

  74. Pam Godfrey says:

    It’s always encouraging to hear how others have used their life circumstances to make themselves better than before.

  75. It sounds like an inspirational story, would love to read it.

  76. Kim Nations says:

    I have read her blog. She has an amazing story. Would love to rad her book.. Thanks for the giveaway.

  77. Would love to know “the rest of the story!!!” Thanks for sharing!! Also, would love a copy of the book!!!

  78. I would love to read her book!

  79. LindaSonia says:

    I think she has a lot to say and I’d like to hear.

  80. This book sounds like a good read. Life sure can throw a lot at us!

  81. This excerpt from Edie’s book has certainly whetted my appetite to read more….thank you for sharing it Rhoda!

  82. I would love love to have a copy of Edie’s book because we share southern Appalachian roots!

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