Hello Friends, For those of you who have been following this blog and reading my post, you may have noticed lately that I've had to re-post old pieces, or skip days that I normally blog. Over the past year, I've been on a journey of putting all I have ...

Taking a Break and more...


Taking a Break

Hello Friends,
For those of you who have been following this blog and reading my post, you may have noticed lately that I've had to re-post old pieces, or skip days that I normally blog.

Over the past year, I've been on a journey of putting all I have into my writing. As the year is coming full circle, I've become rather busy trying to make ideas come to life and earning a living at the same time.

Also during this year, I've had to learn discipline and how to manage my time. Some things simply have to be set aside for a season, and this is one of the things I've decided to set down. For now. At least for the summer while I build a new project and work toward making freelancing my main source of income.

I'll keep the blog up and running. Please feel free to revisit old post, I think the lessons are universal and never grow old.

I'd also love for you to visit my writing blog: Scribbles where I'll continue posting at least once a week on this years writing journey and what I'm learning along the way.

My new project can be found at In A Castle Faraway. My goal is to encourage a love of reading by offering parents and teachers ideas on how to make books come alive. I'll be introducing new children's books as I come across them, including an occasional novel and mid-level reader, and providing discussion questions, activities for free and for sale and author/illustrator information.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for visiting here, for reading and sharing with me. I appreciate you all. And I do hope to return to In Still Places sometime in the future.

God bless,
Jackie C.

    
 


Wonderment Wednesday - John 10

A shepherd enters through the gate.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep hear his voice and come to him.


He calls hiw own sheep by name and leads them out.

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they recognize his voice.

They won't follow a stranger;
they will run from him because
they don't recognize his voice.

´╗┐John 10:2-5 (NLT)
    
 


Wonderment Wednesday - Deuteronomy 32

He found him in the wilderness,

in an empty, windswept wasteland.


He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him,
guarding him as the apple of his eye.

He was like an eagle hovering over its nest,
overshadowing its young,



Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air,
teaching them to fly.


God alone led him;
(Deuteronomy 32:10-11 MSG)
    
 


Still Reflections: Pruning

Neglected...


My fault, completely. I'd waited for the perfect weather. Waited for the spare time. Waited...for what I should have simply made time for.
Now one plant had completely dried up and withered away. The young basil would be next if I didn't intervene...and soon.


Leaves hung limp. Brown spots covered the yellowing ones. Dirt, hardened and caked, became unmanageable around the thinning stem.

This would be painful.



Recovered...

First I soaked the earthen pot in water to get the dirt loosened and workable again. Then, ever so slowly and carefully, I plucked off each damaged leaf, knowing to leave them would sap the plants limited strength. It would need all it had to disperse its roots into the ground I'd put it in.
Sweet basil scent tickled my nose, enticing taste-buds of delicious meals it would one day flavor. But not yet... Not these diseased, damaged leaves. Gloved hand opened, as crushed, pieces of possibilities fluttered into the trash bin.






Once done, it looked about as pathetic as my dogs on bath day, all scrawny and trembling in the breeze.

Exposed. Bare. Weak.
Finally, I set the fledgling plant into it's home in my garden, conditioning the dirt around it, readying the ground to receive its new occupant.

Then I hoped for the best.


Salvaged...
It seemed a harsh way to treat a plant. And as I worked, thoughts struck me as they often do while gardening....

How many times have I neglected my spirit?
How many times have I put off tending to it?
How many times had God needed to come in and prune off the dead, ignored growth in my heart?
Doesn't my spirit need good, fertile ground to take root in? Doesn't it need frequent drinks of His holy presence to quench thirst? Doesn't it require a strong Light presence to build up strength?
How many times have I found God plucking away the damaged parts of me?
I've been left feeling exposed, bare, weak...

Yet, despite how harsh it feels at the time, His loving hands work diligently to set me back in firm ground so I can grow strong again and produce what I've been created to produce.




Established...
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers...Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)




    
 

When We Hurt Eachother

Does anyone really mean to hurt another?

I suppose, when we hurt, sometimes we lash out at others in our hurt and anger.
But purposefully? With intention? Not when it's someone we love.

Yet, it's the ones we love the most that we tend to hurt the most.
Like angry words at a child when they break something valuable.
Perhaps its a spouse who's not measuring up.
Maybe it's simply taking advantage of someone, forgetting they have feelings, or that they have their own issues they are dealing with.
Or it could simply be letting someone down who put their trust in you.
I don't know why this happens. But the more we love someone, the worse it feels when the hurt comes.

We forget our own humanness. We forget that people are fallible. And the only thing or person of perfection is God himself.


How can we avoid being hurt?

I don't think we can. We are human, and as we've been given the gift of love, so much comes within the pretty package: hurt, guilt, joy, fulfillment, failure, and so much more. We hurt because we love, actually. I just don't think there's any getting around it.

C.S. Lewis wrote:
"To love at all is to be venerable. To love anything and your heart will be
wronged and possibly broken. If you want to make sure to keep it in tact, then
you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with
hobbies, attachments and little luxuries, and avoid all entanglements. Lock your
heart up in a safe place like a casket or a coffin of selfishness. But in that
casket, safe and dark and motionless and airless, your heart will change. And it
will not be broken. Instead, it will become ungrateful... impenetrable...
irredeemable.... The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly
safe from all the dangers of love, is hell."


I hurt a friend's heart. And mine is broken as well. I cried many tears when it happened, and I'm sure they did as well in one way or another.

God gave me that friend and trusted me with a precious heart and I got careless. And it would be easy to blow it off, to say "Well, I apologized and they need to forgive and get over it." But it's not that easy. Sometimes we forget what a priceless gift friends are. We forget the price Jesus paid for us. As humans, we forget each other's value.

I never meant any harm. I made a very bad choice. Unwise. I had thought a lot about it, but I don't think I prayed it through enough. Or perhaps at all. That's so important. Involving God in all we do, especially when it concerns others. It's easy to run ahead and forget to not take a step until you have a tight grip on His hand.

Then your left with a thousand broken pieces and you wonder if it's possible to clean up such a mess. A mess I myself have created. And I don't suppose all the brooms and dustpans, all the superglue in the world can fix it. So I turn to God and ask for His intervention.

Father, I've made a big mess and I need your help to clean it up!

I sit and think of all the things I could have done differently. It's strange how much clearer all the should have dones are in hindsight.

I pray that time will heal what's been broken. That God will step in and repair the damage I've so carelessly caused. I pray  for given another chance. And with that second chance, I'll take better care and remember what a gift friendship is. Something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Father, teach us how to be good, solid friends. Help us remember to never forget what a precious treasure people are. We are all your children, and you love each and every one of us as if we were the only one on the face of the earth. Help us to value each other in that same way. Amen.

jc

A repost from the archives, because some things are worth repeating.
    
 

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