Thursday, October 8, 2020

Fresh beginnings...

 I've had a number of blog posts planned recently that just never got written. The days seems to pass by swiftly at the moment and even though spring school holidays are over and my husband is back to teaching I've not had much free time as there's always quite a bit of catch-up to do with regards to my work whenever holidays pass.

A sense of overwhelm, or perhaps a weight of too many uncompleted tasks, felt heavy on my mind these past few days and whilst trying to get through that long to-do list and respond to too many emails I realised the most important thing needed was to stop everything, draw away and sit quietly at the feet of Jesus. 



Drawing away takes time, it needs full attention given over to He who holds the answers and direction we so truly and deeply need. Sometimes this means an hour, other times it may be days or weeks. What the Lord chooses to readjust in our lives may be minor or it might require a prolonged season of change, much like removing a rootbound plant from an old pot and replanting it in rich fertile soil with room to grow deeper and stronger, room to flourish and no longer wither. 

In my garden I see every day the dying back and withering of old blooms which are past their prime and right beside them the first buds of new growth holding a promise of beauty, quiet simplicity and delight to my eyes in the days ahead. 

Roses...





Hibiscus...




I wonder if I sometimes try to hold on to what is comfortable, the rhythms that most suit my nature and desires, instead of letting things go, allowing them to fall away in order to create time and space for something new to grow...for when we add more to our life without first letting go of something no longer important, essential or needful, we overburden our days. First we must make available a space, a fresh opening, with no crowding or squeezing - then that new thing has a fresh place to dwell. 

There's a decluttering happening within me now, not just the spring cleaning type, but in my thoughts, plans, business, designs, emails, social media, relationships...every area of my mind and the daily routines I follow are under scrutiny. I've become aware that the very impersonal nature of social media, the one dimensional momentary snapshot of another's life, really tells me nothing about them and I wonder today why I give it time in my life.

The days of  blogs, of bloggers actually sharing stories and every day life in such a way that you get to know them, is becoming rare. Is this because our attention span is less today? Have we adjusted to scrolling, looking at the pictures and not really reading? Not being genuinely engaged?



I find this even on the blog. Emails arrive asking questions about 'where' and 'how' that were explained clearly in the very blog post they refer to. Did they just want the free pattern or the recipe or some other thing and didn't bother to read the post? 



My own blog reading has fallen by the wayside, I should add. I think that's another consequence of social media...it takes time there to run a business, it takes time to be involved with a group, it just takes time...time which would be better spent on rediscovering some favourite blogs and truly getting to know a handful of people well. 



So this current time of processing my everyday life, decluttering my mind, considering what to let go of and what to keep, what to embark on and what must draw to a close, fills my prayers and draws me into many wonderful quiet times at the feet of Jesus. He's not done with me yet, nor will He ever be until we meet face to face. He's not done with you either, sweet child. 



How long since you stopped everything and gave Him your full attention?

How long has it been since you sat at His feet and really listened? 



This morning I wandered the garden and took these photos, amazed at how just when we imagined our harvests were over, a new crop of vegetables my beloved planted in rich well composted soil, is flourishing. Our previous backyard garden crops this season did not fare as well as we'd hoped, and he realised that the soil we'd used wasn't fertile enough, it hadn't been cared for as it should...so in faith he planted again very late in our tropical growing season, using far superior soil and gathering more knowledge of how to grow well in this climate and then implementing what he'd learned. 



The results have been quite astounding. And those results brought me right back to the message I'm sharing today.





The soil of our life needs to be developed well. It requires time in prayer and at the feet of Jesus, a nourishing watering from the Word, repentance towards God and turning from the things that pull our attention away from Him, knowledge of the Scriptures to identify the weeds in our life, Christ-given strength to pull those weeds out, and renewed seeds of faithful hope for the Christ-like blooms which will then begin to flourish in our character.

Today is a fresh beginning dear one...wipe the slate clean, let go of the things which bind and overwhelm you, discard the excesses which rob your peace. Seek gentleness, pursue righteousness, choose to be uncluttered by the distractions of worldly media which is almost always negative and mostly false, cut back on social media and seek deeper relationships with fewer people. 

Take time to examine your heart, your needs, your not-so-nice character traits...and ask the Lord's help in identifying what roots need to be removed and what He would like to plant in their place. 

Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others. Give yourself permission to not be perfect, to not be the answer to everyone's problem, to not have to participate in online discussions because you feel an obligation to do so...seek the Lord's desire for YOU. 

I have a long way to go with where He's leading me, but I have all confidence in Him and know without doubt that His way will be the best because He knows me, He called me, He can equip me and He can correct my journey gently when I stray. Which is exactly what He's been doing this week.

Pray for me? I'm praying for you. xxx


This is our new hen, Penny, whom I affectionately call Penny-Pen.


On Sunday our dear Daphne-hen died. She'd mourned the passing of her sister Bess quite deeply and just never recovered as they'd been inseparable for years (we got them a year ago but they were already old) and I don't think she coped being alone. Just as Mr E planted a tree over Bess last month, he planted a tree over Daphne as well. 

Penny was a surprise find on Monday as a couple nearby were moving house and needed someone to take their hen. She's got quite a strong feisty character but over these past few days has become quite affectionate. Hubby has two new hens arriving soon, young ones, and he's also got a new coop to build. I said I wouldn't get attached to any more chickens as we keep them for eggs and not as pets...but within 48 hours dear Penny-Pen changed all that. 



Anyhow, I'd best be off now as I need to get some groceries and post a parcel before lunch. 

I look on today as a fresh beginning, and there's excitement, relief and peace within me. I hope and pray that if you've had need of these thoughts today that you also will be able to renew, refresh, start over...and flourish.

gentle hugs,


48 comments:

  1. We all need time to regroup ourselves from time to time. Love Penny!

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  2. Thank you for your inspiring posts. First off, your garden and flowers are just beautiful. We have a very old hen here. Her name is Henrietta. She is the last surviving of our first flock and we figure to be about 8 years old. I have no idea how long they live! We don’t eat her eggs anymore but the dogs are grateful for that added to their food! It is so difficult to tell where the whole world is heading though we’ve read THE Book and know these are very much earthly birth pangs. Being able to read your musings always causes a regrouping in my own life and heart. We still need each other. God made us for community. Look how it is battled for in person! But we are not without hope and that too is above our human understanding. I just want to say thank you and hope you can receive it as a virtual hug!
    Donna R in Texas

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  3. My daughter lives next door, she has a dozen chickens. They free range and often wander up our way to visit. Each hen has a name though I don't remember all of them. They certainly each have their own personalities. I so enjoy them and look forward to their visits.

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  4. I know what you mean about the nature of blog posts these days. So many people post what they must because their blogs are an extension of their business. I say this knowing full well that you're in business too, but your blog isn't a platform for that ALL the time. You share from your heart too, and that's what blog-readers appreciate (I think). The same is so - even MORE so - on Instagram. I have been so dismayed these past few months to see more and more business-only IG posts. What happened to just outright honest sharing, without motivation for financial gain? Like you, I've been doing a lot of pandemic pondering about possible changes in my activities. Less time on social media seems like an option, followed by removing myself from quilting organizations, especially those that cause consternation. I'm grateful to be spending daily time with the Lord, praying about this, and being engaged in a new Bible study which for me is the best way to be connected to God. I know you're connecting too, and that's wonderful.

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  5. Oh Penny Pen is just delightful Jenny. Look at that sweet face ... inquisitiv!! Your post is timely today as I have been feeling the same. I find myself scrolling Instagram & not really reading everything - it all seems to require SO much time. I do still enjoy reading blogs though & have certainly made the most wonderful cyber friendships through blogging. I think folk like Instagram because its quick in this fast paced world - whereas to read a blog post takes time & effort .... & it certainly seems to take time & effort to post one, especially with the new blogger platform we now have to use. Have a lovely day in that piece of paradise you live in my dear friend. xx

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  6. So sorry to hear about Daphne. I'm sure you will miss her. Penny is a pretty hen. Be sure to post pictures of the new hens when they arrive. I love seeing your livestock. Sending you hugs and prayers from me and wet sloppy kisses from Digby!

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  7. I'm not sure if I've ever posted a comment here - if so, it's been a very long time ago. So glad I read through this post. I'm not on any social media anymore, but I do enjoy my blogging buddies. The ones I enjoy the most are the ones who share their lives - the good and the hard things. Good food for thought here that I will be thinking on for a while. Thank you, Jenny.

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  8. Hi Jenny,
    Today's post is so true. especially the part where you write about people asking how and what when it's all clearly there in black and white on your blog which is fantasticly organised and very clear to understand :)
    I heard on a farming programme, I think, that they named there cows Big Mac and Whopper so that the kids would have an idea where the beef ends up.
    Enjoy the jorney, discoveries and time while on this path. Once a few ties are losened it feels like another weight has been lifted.
    hugs, and take cre,
    Joanne

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  9. Very thoughtful Jenny and so true. We are currently decluttering the house and I think it is time to declutter a few other things too. So sad about Daphne. How lovely to have a second crop of veg coming along. Love and prayers. xx

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  10. So true Jenny.

    I love reading your posts.

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  11. I too need to declutter my mind somewhat. This was a timely post for me. Thank you. x

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  12. Sad to hear about Daphne. It think it would be hard to be separated for her long time companion. But dear Penny - what a treasure. Bless!

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  13. Awww - so sad to read that your other hen, Daphne died too. I get attached easily to animals - and our grandchildren have named all of their hens. Those hens are just 4-5 months old, but I too worry what will happen, when one or the other dies. Do you know the song - "At the close of day, when you kneel to pray, will you remember me.......when I pray, I will pray for you." We will do that for each other, Jenny! Enjoy your day!

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  14. Amen! This post was especially inspirational to me. As we start coming out of quarantine, I want to not go back to groups, meetings, etc just because I have always attended and listen to where God directs me. I admire your unapologetic change of direction when you feel called on a different path.

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  15. I try to really read posts and truly connect with folks and I'm drawn to people like you who do share snippets even of their day to day lives. And I try to achieve that too in my posts. Meanwhile, a young couple I know purchased a farm and spent the first two years readying the soil for planting. I'd never heard of having to do that. It was time consuming and costly but they are reaping(literally) the benefits now with producing superior vegies. I purchase a box every two weeks from them. Daughter has hens so we too get fresh eggs which are awesome. Love reading your blog always, Jenny.

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  16. Thank you dear Jenny for your thoughtful and timely words. Blessings!

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  17. I am not a poster, but I have been reading for awhile. I loved this post. Such wisdom in these words. Thanks for sharing your heart today as it truly blessed me.

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  18. Dear Jenny I always read your posts . Word for word my friend. Over the years I have dropped all blogs but yours and Annabelle's and a newish to me one That I dearly enjoy reading also by Jess Strangers &^ Pilgrims on Earth and Shabby Art Boutique.....And that's it. No time for any others at this point in my life. And I do not go on Instagram that often. And I only follow and participate in 1 group these days on FB. I am slowly trying to unsubscribe from hundreds of emails I seem to get from out of the blue. Trying to simplify some things in my life so I will have more time to do things I enjoy. Like sewing/crafting/stitching and household things and bible study. I'm so sorry to hear about your hens passing away. But happy you now have a new hen.and will be getting more soon. Love your Blog and you sweet friend. Hope that Blossom and the girls are still well. Be well my friend, Love and hugs allways

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  19. Amen, Jenny. I don't (and haven't) done social media. I enjoy reading blogs. I have subscribed to many of them over the years, but in the last year have been unsubscribing from many of them because the content is just mostly advertising for their shops or sales pitches. I also don't need to receive a blog post every day, especially when there isn't much if any new content or when it is he same stuff everyday. I have been unsubscribing from many of them for that reason.

    I love your blog for the real life content. I save posts that have really touched me or caused me to reflect more deeply--like today's post. Continue to follow God's leading, Jenny and God bless you and yours.

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  20. Being on the road so much recently with my grandchildren has taught me I don't need all the social media that I used to want to read. They are much more important and am finding social media less so. Cutting back while they are with me has shown me what I do and don't need. What a loving God to show me these things in that manner!
    Blessings, Donn

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  21. Thank you for sharing and encouraging. Love your flowers and garden. Like Penny also. We like keeping chickens but haven't been able to for a while.

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  22. I think your posts are well read by most of your followers. I know that sometimes I am pressed for time and can't read one, so I put it into my "Jenny" mail folder to save for another time. I also put the posts that have a special meaning to me in this folder so that I can read them over again. I am not always aligned with all of your views, but I enjoy learning those differences and they give me great food for thought! And I do so love your patterns-free ones and the ones I purchase! Thank you for all you do and share with us.

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  23. Hi, Jenny: I don't often comment, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your blog and your efforts to keep it "honest". I not a terribly religious person, but I read every word you post and take what you have to say to heart, and try to apply it to my life. I have a blog that I use to record my sewing efforts, but I'm going to reactivate it (haven't posted since June) and add some of my own life to it. Thank you for everything you do! PS: I am sorry for your loss - pets are family too.

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  24. As I was reading your blog, my mind went to the geraniums in our garden. I always snip the old, spent blossoms and amazingly, there is a new one popping into place. I just hadn't thought of it in quite the same way as you did. So I think this afternoon, I will snip the old and pray for new! Thank you for sharing this thought. And as an aside, I love blogs!

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  25. Thank you Jenny for taking the time to share your thoughts about your garden and family and especially about how important God is in your life. I am always inspired by your blog and feel more calm and centered after reading your posts. Nothing like a pandemic to make one focus on what is truly important. God bless you and your family as you wait for your new grandson to be born.

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  26. Penny-Pen will be a new friend for you and will teach the new younger chooks well. I'm so sorry you lost both Bess and Daphne...I know how attached you were to them. Obviously God knew you were getting Penny! You're so right with your observation that we need to let some things go before we are able to receive something new. I know that I want a slower tempo to my life and I need to prune some things before I actually take that step. Some blogs will stay, but I will cut my list down to 5-6 that I really care about. I know which ones they are because they are the ones I've kept reading after my father passed. Praying for you, dear Jenny!

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  27. I needed to read this post, Jenny, as I am in the same place. I know I have to cut down on social media - some days it seems so pointless and then I receive a post like yours. Going to pray on this some more. I know an answer will come from the Lord.

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  28. Oh gosh dear heart, what a strong but simple post, so rich and deep. I read it over 3 times....this is exactly why I stopped blogging, it was becoming meaningless to me. When I started designing patterns, it became more and more difficult to blog about every day life instead of the patterns....so much of what I was doing before was sharing things I'd made, from other people (mostly you, lol) and I found I had nothing else to blog about! And reading blogs? Very rare anymore that I see any as rich as yours.

    It's also why I left instagram and pinterest. I'm still on facebook but ONLY because of the bible quilt. I can feel the Lord pulling me away, into a small place where I can focus on Him. Here in my neck of the woods we're entering into a time of rest, for all growing things are going into hibernation - and I can feel that happening within me as well, a time of rest in the word and the opportunity to gather strength for the next bit to come. Each season is a blessing.

    I'm so sorry about poor Daphne. I pray Penny-Pen will be a blessing to you both. Thank you dear heart, you always have words that uplift and encourage, and somehow reflect my own life - God has truly given me the sister of my heart. Love you so much.

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  29. Jenny your words always seem to resonate with me. I've not read my Bible for a few days, for various reasons, and I've been feeling a bit 'off'. Having just read your blog it seems so obvious - I need to go back to His words and spend some time thinking and praying. Thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction.
    Gill

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  30. A fairly new subscriber here and I want you to know I love reading your posts. You share your heart honestly and freely. You have a way with words that's almost poetic. Often I am encouraged or convicted by what I read. Our son died suddenly from a brain aneurysm 2 years ago now. His wife and our little grandchildren live almost 2 hours away and our sweet DIL is not very communicative, and we miss them so....we ache for our son. Praise God he loved Jesus with all his heart!
    Honestly, I haven't sat at Jesus' feet much since Andrew died. I hurt so much and have been so angry. Your words prompt me onward, to work on remedying that. Thank you.
    I love your reading about family and farm/acreage happenenings. We live on a farm in Iowa USA.
    Love your stitching too. Hopefully someday I will try it.

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  31. There always seem to be seasons of life. Some are very hard. At the beginning of the year, I began to look at my social media contacts especially FB and IG. At first they seemed easier than going to blogs just to see if anything had been posted. But somewhere, things changed.
    These days, I mostly only use FB for "private' groups - usually a class I take. And they became a problem too - too much information and not much application on my part.
    A few accounts I really like but they became over subscribed and clogged my feed. So I let these folks know I was still following them, just no on FB.
    I've really had to look at Overwhelm and clear away so much interference and set boundaries where I never expected to need them.
    I haven't blogged since my sister died and I accomplished her last request. I realize, I had gone overboard with social media to hide from or e distracted from the grief.
    I have unfollowed a lot of folks on IG, too.
    And today, I picked up a needle and started to quilt a small piece. I also baked a gingerbread cake and a loaf of bread and took a bit of a walk outside - I think 'myself' is waking up again.
    I love your garden photos, Jenny and I'm making a note to shop for compost and fresh soil early spring so I can plant a garden again.
    This is a messy ramble, thank you for making a place at your table to be real.

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    1. Dearest Elaine, may the Lord guide you into many 'waking up' moments in the days and weeks ahead. May He stir within you a season of fresh beginnings. xxx

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  32. You are always so good at expressing thoughts that are shared by many of us. We all need to re-evaluate our priorities from time to time and seek God's wisdom as to what to let go of or stop doing. I have to renew my mind daily and remember that our loving Father is protecting and guiding us if we will take the time to listen and then follow.
    You are one of the very few people I follow. I consider you (and them) a friend even though we have never met. I do hope you are feeling well these days!

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  33. Dear Jenny, thank you very much for your very interesting posts. I've been a lurker for years and never comment but I want you to know that as a bookworm I really enjoy what you write and always find your posts interesting. I send you very warm tropical greetings from the tropics of Mexico!

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  34. Isn't it interesting how another hen needed a new home just when you lost Daphne. Penny looks fiesty and she will definately rule the roost when the young ones arrive. I think a lot of people don't share much detail about themselves on blogs because it may reach some dodgy people. Social media can be a dangerous place despite having its upside. My blog mainly focuses on my craft for that reason. However, I do think some do not like reading lengthy posts and some may just want freebies. I believe that if someone is truly interested in you and what you do then they will make time to sit and read your blog. Surely it doesn't take too much time in their day! It must be hard running a business these days with so many social media platforms to manage. At least you are constantly reassessing your needs and working out a balance. Xx

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  35. Yours is the blog I read faithfully each time you post. I love the photos but the words are usually just what I need to hear myself at the time. Thank you!

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  36. I love the flower pictures and today the picture of Penny-Pen. I have always wanted chickens for eggs, but my husband is not in favor.

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  37. Thank you Jenny, just thank you for always pointing out the right path. Much love

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  38. I love your blog dear Jenny and always find lots of encouragement here. Your words often speak right to my heart 💓

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  39. Thank you for the encouraging message this morning. I will be praying for mom & baby. God bless

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  40. Some bloggers I follow post every day. Those posts I tend to just skim, not read, since there are so many of them. Love the new hen. Hope she gets along well with the new ones that are on the way.

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  41. Your blog is always timely and you put into words how I am feeling in my heart. I quit Instagram last year, then started it again. I couldn't take it and now it is gone forever. Facebook is deactivated. I kept it because I use messenger to communicate with friends, or it would be gone as well. I am thankful that you still blog and that you don't have any adds popping up. That is what has stopped me from reading others. I don't mind one or two, but some have gotten way out of hand and I quit following. Your blog is peaceful, thank you. Changes in ones life means that you are growing. Penny is adorable. How could you not get attached? Blessings, Jenny, you are loved by many.

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  42. Thank you, Jenny, for your posts that slow me down and calm my anxious heart. I am on a one year sabbatical after teaching Pre-K for 20 years. I thought slowing down would be easy and a dream come true, but it's not that easy. The Lord has made it clear that this is His plan for me this year and I have asked believing friends to hold me accountable to honor the time He has given me and not take on more. In a world that values "productivity", Jesus knows that we need times of rest. Your words speak directly to my heart. Thank you! I am praying for you and for Blossom and family. God bless you, Jenny. (no need to reply - take those few minutes and rest)

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  43. Thank you so much for this. I needed it.

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  44. Thank you so much for this post, Jenny. I print off ones that are especially inspiring/encouraging and this one certainly fit that description! As I sat and read and re-read your wise words, I just cried. I shared it with my sweet hubby, who nodded with agreement. (You probably don't remember, he had a massive stroke 3+ years ago and I am his full-time caregiver. But he is doing miraculously! Praise God!). My life, our lives, have changed so much in just a short span. I have had to take on the mantle of finances, repairs, etc., in addition to continuing my homemaking and homeschooling the last one of our 6 children. I was working on pure adrenaline for 2 years and then my health began to suffer and the Lord just said, "Give it to Me, all of it." Your post has convicted and encouraged me. I admit, some days were just so overwhelming that "scrolling" was my way to not have to think...or pray, dare I say it. Suffice it to say, I believe I have come full around and I so look forward to the time I make to just sit at His feet and listen. Stop thinking, just listen. Times are hard, but my dear Lord is still on the throne and I wake each morning saying, "I trust you for this day, Lord!" Thank you for the "Iron sharpening iron" nudge I needed to confirm the uncluttering of my very blessed life. Hugs to you, Jenny!

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  45. Hi Jenny,it's so true what you say.We need to get the foundation firm first in our lives.Lovely allergory.Beautiful photos ,time alone with Our Lord and Saviour is never wasted especially now.Micah6 v 8is my favourite Bible verse.Mat you know His wisdom God bless you richly.XMaryLou

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  46. My dear, I have things from the 1990s and one from the 80s - lol. Some day I'll get to them. "For everything there is a season..."
    Praying for Blossom and the wee one that all goes well. Blessings,

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  47. I enjoy reading your blog. It so well written and heartfelt. Thank you.....

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It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...
hugs
Jenny
x