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The Beagle For Beauty November Edition - Giveaway Winner!

"I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains" Anne Frank

‘The winter winds and rains were coming and the woods knew it, yet against the grey sad background they spread themselves in a beauty that was like a shout of triumph in the face of death’.

The Castle on The Hill, Elizabeth Goudge.

Hello kindred ones,

A warm autumn fireside welcome to everyone who has joined us through the giveaway this week. The enthusiastic response has been wonderful, I can't wait to get these life-giving goodies into yours hands. I hope the invitation to the Beagle will open a door for relationship with you and that'll you'll stick around for a longer spell after the giveaway is over.

If you're wondering who I am?

My name is Jacqui (Jacqueline as a naughty child) and I live with my Australian hubby of 25 years, our two grown children and our 12yo Viszla, Alba, the Ginger Ninja as we call her. We live on the outskirts of London. Here I am pictured in one of my happy places, walking, connecting, talking with a kindred and gathering wild flowers. I love slow living, it's a fight to keep it that way.

I'm 52, hot flashed, strength training (gym loathing), a graduated Home Educator, photographer, writer, reader, student of poetry, hope bringer, encourager, curator and creator of beauty, nettle grasper when it comes to sticky topics. I'm more curious than certain. Being an INFJ I can take things too seriously so have to practice the art of play, it's very restorative.

I came to Christ at 27, two weeks after my wedding and following the loss of a very close friend. At the time I was an aspiring screen writer, had written a self-help book for teens and was a friend to booze and cigarettes. I had anxiety disorder. Hot mess basically. My friend's loss of hope which ultimately claimed his life was and is, the catalyst for my quest for all things meaningful. I am driven by the desire to instil a sense of worth and value in others. Jesus is not an abstract intellectual idea, nor a set of rules or behaviour modification to adhere to. The Word became flesh and lived among us, God became human and God loves humans, every part of us not just our Sunday best. I think when we learn to love our humanness we will lean into a deeper more fully blossomed level of God's love. I love this tapestry of Jesus handing his mum a flower. Imagine the scene, "look mama, I picked you a flower. Actually, I made it for you, like literally." 😄 Humanness. Beautiful.

I believe as Sarah Clarkson says that 'words form worlds'. My bookshelves, bedside table, baskets, nooks and crannies are filled with various authors. Some are yet unread waiting in the wings, I always have several books on the go and never enough time to read. I am a student of theodicy.

Theodicy: A vindication of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil.

In addition to my still life creations, art, poetry, food, film, music recommendations etc each month you may find here conversations about church culture, spiritual abuse, childhood trauma, theology, beauty, parenting 'out of the box 'children (OCD/ASD), but always with hope. I have a burden for those struggling under religious shame or guilt. Nothing gets my dander up more to be honest. I was in a cult for seven years in a Word of Faith environment. Much of my Christian journey has been about unlearning.

I believe it's vital that we engage with faith in a robust proactive way and endeavour to wrestle with some of the hardest doubts and fears we have. We are called to explore together not blindly follow. Discipleship not dogma.

"Our task is the very opposite of reductionism"

Philip Yancey, Disappointment With God.

Once upon a pre-menopausal time I was a portrait photographer. My hubby became desperately ill in 2015 for a prolonged period and I had to lay my camera down. Lockdown 2020 saw us all with far too much time on our hands and so I picked up the lens again and this time started with flowers. I became enchanted with the Dutch Masters style of oil painting and wanted to capture that mood with my digital images. Still life is a beautiful balance between the abundance of life now in the face of the life hereafter. It's a visual prompt that says enjoy it but don't count on it in the long run.

It's been two years since my first Beagle. The journey continues.