Monthly Archives: October 2022

The Quest

I’m a gentleman homesteader. That means I don’t want to pull a calf, muck a stable or harvest a duck or chicken. I lived with my grandmother several times. I collected eggs, ate tomatoes in the garden and wondered about the storm cellar. I tried to talk her into opening a restaurant called, “The House of Grits and Gravy.” I have never been or do I want to be a farm boy. There is something inviting to me about a farm or homestead. An empty commercial building or house is painful—I usually calculate what kind of business will fit in the building and neighborhood. On a Monday morning in Indiana, Isaiah 58:12 demanded attention. “That’s you!”
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins      and will raise up the age-old foundations;  you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,      Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 
I’ve dug and framed footings, roughed in houses and laid sod. Still, that doesn’t qualify me for 58:12. Following that Monday morning, I searched for land, staked out buildings downtown and parked in front of old mansions that reminded me of Ante-bellum construction. All I lacked was about a million dollars more than I had. One day I was standing in my office when urged to grab a legal pad and two pens and go to a coffee shop. (Two pens in case one went dry.) “I will…tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Before I left the coffee shop that day, I had outlined “Gone To Southwood,” and was instructed to build with words and stories what I had seen and people I would meet on a land-based Conference grounds named Southwood. We lived on a Bible Conference Grounds when our kids were preschoolers. What we experienced during the summer camping seasons ignited visions. Nothing occupied our dreams more than a Retreat Center. We sang, preached and seminared at Bible Conference facilities in Michigan, Florida, New York, Connecticut. We saw what God did and we wanted in on it. I studied historical camp revivals in Kentucky and New York. Whenever we sang “Impossible Dream” or put a cross-stitched plaque “The Quest” on a wall in our tour vehicle it always included visions and prayers about a retreat center. Over 40-50 years in a progressive revelation, Southwood Conference Center grew. It has been populated with stories we heard across the country and put legs under our various burdens, visions, and callings. One evening in a Bible study at church, I drew the acres of property and buildings of Southwood. Even I was surprised at the construction styles, detail and planned building and ministries. With the late fall 2022 publication of The Carafe Conspiracy, the 5th ebook in the Southwood series, it would be a good time to “visit” Southwood and meet the staff, team and guests.
“It had been a plantation with no name. Now the acres house a faux antebellum mansion, a glass and steel seminar structure, Bethany Lodge houses court appointed kids and pieces of families in healing mode and a fine coffee shop. Populating other buildings is a core of teachers, therapists, pastors, healers, builders and those with day jobs like Sally who is a UPS driver, a native of Sudan. The TV-Internet visibility draws clients and conferences. This tribe authentically live their faith to embrace, equip, encourage and empower each other and those who visit for a weekend and those who stay until they are well.”

The Southwood ebook Collection

Gone to Southwood The Whales are Singing Pillars & Porches Depot—On Track Carafe Conspiracy These books and other non-fiction books by Dean can be reviewed at:

Dissecting Dragons

Chapter 6

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3).

The question remains. How do we renew our minds? Someone said…

“Don’t just kill your dragons dissect them and see what they’ve been feeding on.”

Renewing the mind is exactly dissecting what we feed the dragons who try to hide in our personal strongholds.

Let’s tweak our perception. “Renewing the mind” can automatically put us on a religious sidetrack where the emotional and mental aspect of “renewing” is diminished or lost. Let us think in terms of “Redesigning the mind.” That is how radical the brain specialists are about neuroplasticity.

Apostle Paul says, “Don’t think of yourself more highly—but make sure you think of yourself! But not a lot.” The purpose of self-awareness and renewing is also clear. Notice the movement through these verses to the reason for mind renewal: “towards the goal of true maturity.”

“…that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Romans 2:2b J. B. Phillips)

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind

A podcaster talked about “Take control of your thoughts.” I’ve heard that preaching/teaching many times. It really is the key to mind-renewing and mind-mending, but I don’t remember ever being given a step-by-step guide how to. Not too long-ago advertising/marketing writers talked about each of us receiving 3000 ads per day. I heard this week that the average American receives up to 10,000 messages a day from devices, ads and requests for time, money, energy. How can we sort through thoughts numbering in the thousands? All of the resources I’m studying talk about mindfulness and mindsets.


Dr. Caroline Leaf’s definition:

“The ability to bring attention to our self-awareness, to recognize how we are thinking or feeling at any one moment.” (Think, Learn, Succeed, Baker Books, 2018.) Page 173

The Google Definition:

“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”

             That sounds exactly like Emotional Intelligence.

If you are struggling with depression, burnout, or anxiety, please find a group or class. You can read Ms. Leaf’s book. The Mindset Activation Tips at the chapter ends are helpful. Here are a couple of things she says about mindfulness:

“Allocate time, at least sixteen minutes a day, to just thinking and allowing your mind to wander.” (P.52)

“…if you do not capture thoughts and monitor incoming information, it is hard to change toxic and chaotic thoughts, which will steal your mental peace and your ability to build useful memory and learn.” (Page 57).

I am using the Ignatius Examen reminders and questions. Remember our purpose for all these words and building self-awareness is to:

  1. Offer our bodies as living sacrifices,
  2. Monitor how incoming ideas, thoughts, appeals for our time, money, energy are affecting our body, soul, and spirit,
  3. Ask if our thoughts and new memories are moving us toward maturity. If not, then we can reset our mindsets.
  4. Manage our Minds and relieve the anguish of anxiety and despair of depression.

Reset our mindsets—Reset our thinking—Reset our Perception, Perspectives, Plans.

I want to share a few more words about Mindset in the next Quest and then a chapter on how Holy Spirit heals and resets our thinking.

©2022 D. Dean Benton,    Wonderer & Meanderer,