Author: Charles Hunter III

Hi. I'm Charles, a Personal Chef, Blogger & Recipe Developer. Welcome to The Salted Table. A place where I tell stories about food, life and living local in Nashville, TN and beyond.

trying to forgive…

The Door Of Forgiveness

i’m always torn about how i feel when it comes to my childhood. i didn’t have a bad childhood but it was no sunny spring day when i look back. i’ve dealt with situations in my life that have scarred me for what I believe will be an eternity. no matter how often i say “i’m over it.” out loud, the truth is “i’m not over it.” i’m broken. broken into a million little pieces and i simply don’t know where to start putting it all back together.

i believe people on the outside believe i’m perfect and that my life has been easier than most. but that’s only due to not revealing a stained past. a past i still relive in my mind weekly. it haunts me and for the longest time i dreamt of having that part of me surgically removed. i simply find it astonishing how our mind and body allow us to relive past events as though they happened yesterday simply through a rush of emotions.

my father was an alcoholic when i was young. he was a bartender, a carpenter and a man with a sharp tongue. he knew all the right things to say and all the right moves to make. my mother was always in the medical field and she had a heart bigger than this world could bear to hold. she wanted to take on everyone else’s burdens and solve everyone else’s problems. not too say that she wasn’t a good mother because that would be far from the truth, but there was room for improvement, like most mothers, i presume. i honestly don’t know where to go with this because my story is so intricate and i’d hate to paint the wrong picture and give you the wrong introduction to my life.

all i wanted to say today is that the hurt i feel is crippling to the person that i can be.
crippling to the person that i want to be.
and crippling to the person that i will be.

is there really a way to overcome so much pain, so much anger, so much hurt that you can live a productive life? a life that won’t allow you to continue taking steps back every time those painful memories come flooding back in, filling every crevice of your mind. i don’t know. is there a separate Bible chapter for dealing with this kind of hurt? does it get better with time or do you simply suppress it every time it resurfaces?

why is walking through ‘the door of forgiveness’ such a daunting task?

Advertisements

a new perspective…

Silence and Chaosmany people seem to tackle the first of the year with this notion that everything is somehow going to be different but I can’ t help but wonder what different looked like at the end of the year. what percentage of these people with their new year’s resolutions and big prompts to change, are really changing?

i’m not sure how to approach this year. i don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions but i believe in changing your tactic or even your perspective to attain new results. it doesn’t have to be a long list that needs to be accomplished in three-hundred and sixty-five days but simply a shift in thought. going forward with this journey called life it is my desire to be more aggressive in my decision-making. i’m methodical and i like to think about details and look at an issue all angles but in the past this process often snow balled into an abyss of procrastination that has often gotten me into trouble.

if we could cut all the crap for a moment.

i don’t know what i want out of the future. i know that i don’t want to continue waking up and thinking about what i should be doing with my life. i don’t want to wonder if i’ve missed out on something by not making the right decisions or chasing the right opportunities. i know that i don’t want to judge people based upon their looks, personal characteristics or ideas. it is my desire to love without condition, to be more Christ-like with every move of my finger but it seems like i’m always falling short. if i can be honest for a moment sometimes i feel like Christians have it the hardest and i know it’s a lie but that’s how i feel.  all i want to do is serve my God and yet, here are all the stumbling blocks positioned in the perfect places for me to fall.

why can’t we say no to sin easier than it says yes to us? why won’t God simply take away my desire to do wrong in my heart and in my mind? why can’t i just simply live to love Him and love people without all of the in-between?

sometimes i feel as though after all the scriptures and all the sermons and all the words, i still feel lost in my faith and for me that’s a scary feeling. after all, we as men are the stewards, right? leading the flock and sheltering the lost? but what am i to do when i’m the one who feels lost, when i’m the one who needs the shelter? maybe i should simply say i want to grow deeper in my faith and with that will come all the answers to all the other questions or maybe i’m back here in two-thousand sixteen telling you about another year without a new perspective.

what does the “new year” mean to you?
what changes are you making?

autumn’s song…

autumn's song by Silence and Chaos I’m awakened by the morning sun creeping through my blinds.
my hands caress my face over my eyes to fight the light.
my legs massage the ruffled sheets as I turn over to hide from the light.
my eye’s are greeted by the soft light that cascades across her face.
I smile.
my limbs graze across the bed and drunking-ly find their way to the floor.
the cold wood floors send a chill up my spine as my feet shutter at their greeting.
I sit and stare into the bathroom for a moment and allow the remnants of sleep to linger.
my eyes refuse to adjust to the glare off the mirror sink.
I reach for a t-shirt draped across the bottom of the bedpost.
I put on my socks with rulers stamped onto both sides and head for the kitchen.
the light from the kitchen window stretches across the floor into the foyer.
I clumsily reach into the white cabinet for a coffee cup.
i press the power button on the Keurig.
I popped in the K-cup and I wait.
the coffee drips and the aroma is morning.
I lift the cup up to the light of the window to see the steam.
i exhale
I walk towards the front door and stare into the yard
I look up and acknowledge the tree has began to change.
i exhale
I reach down to pick up a leaf and admire the details.
every vein.
every point.
the gradient.
I take a sip of my coffee and I place it on the ground.
I reach for my phone and focus it on the cup.
i snap
I look up into the tree and say a silent “thank you”.
I walk back into the house and down the hall. coffee in hand…

turning thirty…

IMG_2750.JPG

 

I believe that somewhere in the past I was a birthday person, but I’m not very much of a birthday person anymore. I’m not sure if that is something that comes with ‘age’ or maybe its the realization of that you actually only have one ‘day of birth’ and the dates following that are only a reminder of your existence, or something like that. I thought that thirty would feel like some huge milestone. Like, I would be thirty and I’d be able to look back over all my accomplishments while sipping an over-priced latte and say, “all is well”. But that’s not how it turned out.

I’m thirty and I have a list of things to show for my twenties. The years that apart of me feels like I let go to waste waiting for my dreams to come to me as opposed to chasing them. I don’t intend on letting my thirties fall prey to the same condition. I’ll be more intent with the way I spend my time. I already know that my relationship with God is at the top of the list of things that need to be worked on. I haven’t been praying nearly like I should, it’s almost safe to say, I haven’t been praying. God hasn’t been at my center and I’ve been feeling off-balance because of it. I find myself listening to mainstream radio, becoming convicted by the lyric content  and turning on some CCM (Contemporary Christian Music). I find myself telling people I’ll pray for them and I never get around to officially praying for them so I’ll say a quick something in the car on my way to work. I pick up the Bible with the intent of reading but I set it down in another location and begin doing something else of less importance. It almost sounds like complacency but I’m not completely sure what the root of the problem is but I know that it starts with me.

But this post can’t feel completely doom and gloom because some beautiful things have come out of my twenties and I’d be remiss not to mention them. I was still trying to figure out who I was and where I wanted to go in life when I moved to Sevierville, TN to attend culinary school. I was young and ambitious and I knew that I needed to leave Oak Ridge if anything would ever happen for me. I loved living alone and having my own space to explore the details of who I am and what I wanted to be. I made some great friends along the way and I lost some friends along the way. Some people became estranged and that can feel a little overwhelming when I think about it but I try not to think about it.

I met my beautiful wife in my twenties and we’ll just leave the whole fighting cancer thing out for now. But she’s on of the best things that ever happened to me and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel as though I deserve her. I left Sevierville and moved to Knoxville and then moved to Nashville, which I would say is the best thing I’ve ever done. I love Nashville and I love that it’s a city that breathes and inspires creatives of all types. I’m not sure what it is I want still? I’m not sure if I should sit down and make a list of pros and cons or if I should just keep doing what I’m doing until that moment of clairvoyance takes place.

All I think I know is that I want my thirties to be better than my twenties. I want to love people more and I want to be fearless in seeking friendships. I want to have meaningful connections with people beyond good mornings and hellos. I want to find people who will be invested in knowing me the way that I want to know them. I want to find a church home and begin to plan for our future as parents and productive members of our community. We bought a home this year and I want our neighbors to know us and I want them to know Christ if they don’t already. I want to begin leaving a carbon footprint that’s worthy of taking credit for. I desire to be more organized in my thoughts and not feel so overwhelmed when I have multiple tasks. I want to live with less stress and I don’t want to dispute mundane details. I want to take advantage of beautiful weather and go for walks and hikes and explore the beauty of living in Tennessee. I want to live with the intention that I’ll leave a mark of positivity on every one that I come in contact with–a mark that will leave them wanting more out of life as well.

I’m looking forward to my thirties and it is my prayer that God will bless me with the health and ambition to accomplish all these things. And during the process, I’ll continue to strengthen my relationship with Him. Be blessed and have a happy Sunday.

 

the broken parts…

Silence and Chaos, Abandon, Brokenness, Beauty, Tennessee, Christian Bloggers, Christianity,, Life, God, Photography, Moody photographyIf we were going to all agree on something–I think it would be safe to say that we are all human. We are all full of flaws and have things about ourselves that we wish we could fix, that we wish could be different, like someone else. We would agree that there are pieces of us that we don’t want other people to see, our broken parts, our battered and neglected pieces that keep us afraid from letting in the light.

We find comfort in darkness and we take pleasure in people only being able to see the bits and pieces that allow us to appear as though we have it all together. From those dark places we judge and criticize others for not appearing as cool as we’d like to portray ourselves. I’m guilty of this  daily but are you willing to admit that you’re guilty of this too? I’m not here to convict you only to help you become aware of just how human you really are.

I grew up in a Christian family and somewhat Christian environment and I say that with hesitation, because looking back I see that there were so many things taking place that God would never stand for. I’m wiser now and have obtained more knowledge as to what the love of God is–and how he wants us to live for HIM, and what that should look like from day to day. This portrait reminds me of all that brokenness I  harbor inside of me, all of the fragments, torn bits and pieces that I try to hide from you on a weekly basis. Those pieces that I’m trying to reveal through this blog and by taking baby steps in my daily life.

I sit with coffee in my hand, or in silence in my car and sometimes I stare at the ceiling why I lie in bed and think of my life. I think of what it may look like to other people through my words, actions and behaviors and if that portrayal is true. And if I had to be honest, I’d say it probably doesn’t. Sometimes I want to break a plate on the ground, take a photo and post it to Instagram with the caption. “today, was a shitty day and i want a do over.” But I resist because cursing isn’t of my nature and my pastor says that bitter & sweet don’t come from the same place. But that doesn’t change the fact that the broken plate I didn’t photograph is still the way I felt.

I want to talk with God, you know, literally talk to God in a one on one setting. I want to inquire as to why I have so many broken parts? Why can’t I just be the person he wants me to be without the trial and error? How come I can’t refuse the urge to curse, be negative and cynical every time I feel overwhelmed? I want to know why I struggle with addiction? Why can’t my father and I have an authentic relationship? Why does my mother feel the need to lean on me for support when I feel as though I have nothing left to give? Why can’t marriage be like the Hallmark movies? Why are we so hard to satisfy as people? Why is good never good enough?

Maybe, you have some questions for God burning in your heart? I’d love to hear what they are and how are you currently dealing with the broken pieces of you?

Sunday Tunes: Bryan & Katie Torwalt

Bryan And Katie Torwalt | Silence And Chaos

Bryan & Katie Torwalt are relatively new to the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) world and their music is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. Katie’s voice a soulful quake of praise-filled melodies that you can’t help but to get lost in. Bryan’s voice contrasting in rich tenor tones that support Katie’s qualities to a tee, together they are a powerhouse and I can’t wait to see how God uses them to do his will in the kingdom. I accidentally stumbled upon their music when ‘Nothing Holding Me Back’ came on my Jesus Culture station via Pandora, which is a track form their freshman album ‘Here On Earth’. And I haven’t stopped listening since, always in anticipation to hear something new. So it goes without saying that I will be purchasing their new album, Kingdom Come, and recommend that you do the same if you are a fan of such bands as Jesus Culture, Hillsong United, Gungor, or JJ Heller. I know that you will absolutely love everything that Bryan & Katie Torwalt are. Here are some of my favorite tracks from them and a link for you to listen to them live. Its the perfect beginning to an already blessed filled Sunday morning. After all, you’re alive.

Nothing Holding Me Back
I’m A Lover of Your Presence
I Breathe You In God
Glorius
Weight Of Glory
I Will Trust You
He Is The Light

And here is the link to watch them perform some of their freshman album and their new album live. I highly recommend clearing your schedule and grabbing a cup of coffee, you won’t want to miss a second of it.

INKED THOUGHTS

Evening LightIt’s been overcast all day, only remnants of sun barely piercing through the cumulus balls of fluff. I was so late to work today that I was ashamed of myself and I allowed it to get the best of me. The remainder of my day was off kilter and I simply couldn’t get it back together. I drove home down the backroads listening to NPR but not paying attention. I think they were discussing ISIL but then again, who isn’t? The world is truly a frightening place though most of us have become numb to it. The tragedy in the lives of others rarely affect us if we don’t allow ourselves to feel the emotions.

Today’s Inked Thought is from my junior high school year’s. I’m not truly sure what the basis of it is, but it is one of my favorite poems. As I look through my  poetry–I realize most of it is rather moody but I guess that’s just who I was and partially still am. I believe it is from the era of my parents relationship beginning to deteriorate in front of me. But any-who, as I sit here enjoying this ‘good’ evening light, the dilcid swoons of Birdy– I hope you’ll enjoy this piece of me from yesteryear. so please, feel free to grab a cup of dark roast, turn on some indie tunes and just read. its good for you.

 

UNTITLED

as time goes on

and days go by

my life seems to fall apart at the core

where the lava of spirit boils over

my desolate night sky

invaded by inquisitive midnight creatures

and crescent moons ascend

that interminable darkness of my mind

seems to get trapped in the depth of my soul

where the stars behind my eyes gaze

alone and awaiting to be lit

 

the field of my heart is sinking

to new lows of despair

which can only be revived by another’s spirit light

a lantern that sets upon the shelf of my soul

adorn my lonely hedge of blue

with your tears of sullen joy

that I might feel your void

 

and together

we. will die alone

I want to be yours…

Abandoned Home I’ve always been a dreamer. I can’t tell you when it started or if it will ever end, but I can tell you that right now, in this space–I still dream. I get lost in foggy mornings and rainy days on a regular basis. The smell of rain has to be one of the most intoxicating things I believe you can experience. I’m not sure why anyone does drugs. I’m not sure why we don’t love life more and take in all the ‘little’ things. Have you ever stopped and listened to yourself breathing? Every inhalation is a divinely crafted push of air from God to you. Take a moment and run your finger from your palm to your shoulder blade and notice how the feeling changes–its so subtle and yet so magnificent that I tend to get goosebumps. What is this? All these beautiful things that God has created and yet I neglect Him daily, I pray less instead of more. When life gives me lemons–I cry in the silence about things I can’t control and I refuse to believe that He will free me from these burdens. How is it, I can be so ungrateful to a God who’s continually covering me in grace?

When I think about the honor it was to grow up in a Christian home where I learned the Bible and drank God’s word on a regular basis–I feel so blessed. But when I think about how far removed I am from it and how I can barely recollect many scripture verses, my heart weeps with discontent. I find myself wanting to exchange literature of poets and lyrics of musicians for that of scripture. Why, have I become so lost in these wordily things and forget about my maker until I’m knee deep back in sin?

I pray that God have mercy upon my soul and lead back to where He and I were in constant fellowship. I pray that he would restore in a heart that yearns to learn more about Him without hesitance. I pray that He would consume me and lead me to drink from the well of life once more, to leave behind the things of this of world in exchange for the love of heaven. I want to be more like Him. I want to see people as he sees people. I want to love people as He loves people. Dear God, I want to be yours whole-heartedly without condition. I simply want to be yours.

Holidays…

If you were to ask me how I feel about the holidays, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s honestly a love-hate relationship at its finest. Years ago, I too would’ve swooned at the thought of changing leaves, chilly weather that required the wrapping of scarves and the rolling in warm blankets. But life has changed drastically since that time. My parents got a divorce that took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally. I assisted my wife in the fighting of cancer for the first two years of our marriage. And there were so many other internal stir-abouts that I was continually struggling with that were pushed to the back-burner.

Every year we begin planning our holiday season with whose houses we are going to first? Though this is always a no-brainer because my family is no longer on time and does not plan properly. This year my wife’s family came in from Florida, Missouri & Arizona. It’s the first time in a while that they’ve all been in one place together for the holidays. It was indeed fun for the first couple of days and then of course with any family time, the charm begins to wear off and you’re longing to be back to normal again. Entertaining guests is such a monster of its own, especially when 24 people are involved. But anymore, I look forward to spending more time with my in-laws than with my own family.

It breaks my heart to see those words materialize but it’s the truth. I called my mom to ask what they’re plans were? She said they were on their way to eat and then try to leave and go shopping for the early Black Friday sales by four o’clock. Well, what you should know is that it was already ten minutes after two when I called. So naturally, I wasn’t going to drive 40 minutes from my in-laws to my mom’s house to rush through a meal that should be savored and enjoyed. So I suggested that we come by on Friday after they were done shopping and just heat up the leftovers and have a more personal Thanksgiving that didn’t require speed eating.

My wife and I arrived a little after three-thirty to my mom’s house. We walk up the blue steps to the front porch, knock on the door and hear it unlock. There is no one behind it but there is soapy residue left behind on the doorknob and we are greeted by no one. No warm hugs and kisses, nor the warm aroma of turkey and spices that I encountered yesterday morning. Moments later, my mom proceeds to walk down the hallway in her pajamas with a blanket in hand. She walks over to the couch, which I presume is where she plans take residence. She drops off the blanket and comes over to give us a hug, and at this very moment I was screaming on the inside. In that moment, I felt like an abandoned child in a shopping cart waiting for someone to pick me up and save me from the hurt of neglect I was feeling. In that moment I wanted to be anywhere else but “home”. She proceeded to tell me that they didn’t get back in from shopping until 2 a.m. Meanwhile here comes my sister down the hall in a similar get-up and the same complacency as if we didn’t take a four and a half hour trip to spend the holiday with them.

I walked in to the kitchen to see that yesterday’s leftovers were set out on top of the stove but they were lacking warmth. Well, that’s because it was cold. Any-who, I asked. “Where is Christopher?.” (my brother) And he was with my dad, which is the typical because my mom can only handle my dad in small doses because he cheated on her. So eight years later, we still haven’t learned how to be civil for the sake of our kids.

We sat in the living room with many awkward silences and nothing really to discuss. My mom, sister and now my brother are all on some form of antidepressant. This has been a slow downward spiral over the last several of years. And my tear ducts have run dry over the severity of changes my family has gone through in what seems to be such a short period of time.

I’m continually falling to my knees in my prayer over these circumstances and I can’t always say that I come to God with the most sincerity. I find my flesh to be doubting whether or not he’s working in their hearts anymore. I know that sounds awful but I give you truth. I don’t know how to be a disciple to them anymore. I don’t know how to save them. And there is never a day that  goes by where I don’t question their eternal fate and how I will have played a role in it.

 

 

Bittersweet farewell…for now.

Its been so long since I’ve written a post on this blog it almost feels as though I’m intruding on hallowed ground. In the beginning, the creation of this blog was to share the faith-based side of my life with other Christians or people of faith who were like-minded in their music, extracurricular activities, daily lives, etc. And well, I believe trying to separate the two were my first mistake. I’ve read a few blogs that actually do this quite well such as Food Loves Writing and The Merry Gourmet. I aspire to write as well as these ladies and you should swing by for some great recipes and stories.

I’ve been convicted in the last several months about my double-sided blog life, but I was separating the two because I was so insecure about how to approach them as one entity. My obsession and love for food with my passion to live my life for Christ. And if you were to overlook my other blog; you would see very little mentioning of my faith. Which brings me to write the post before you. Does this mean that I won’t return to Silence & Chaos? Well, of course not, but I am taking a hiatus to focus on developing my other blog, The Local Forkful, a blog about food, life and local. A blog that will cover my favorite recipes, things I’m working on in the kitchen, my few travels, stories of the wife and I, with a splash of faith throughout. But its a little bit of scary undertaking because I don’t know what it looks like. And as of lately, I can tell you that my faith has been shaky as I struggle with trying to figure out what God has in store for me. What doors I should be walking through and which doors I should be closing.

I’ve been marching to the beat of my own drum and the rhythm has been causing me nothing but angst and exhaustion. So here we are. My last post on Silence & Chaos until I have obtained the level of perfection I desire with The Local Forkful. I ask for your Prayers on this journey and hope you will come and visit. I bid you a sweet, À plus tard.