Thursday Tip: Don’t Feed The Bears

Today’s Thursday tip: Pick your own blackberries and don’t feed the bears. Watch and listen…

“Do as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst part of your time! But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and God’s Word every day.” -John Charles Ryle


Food for Thought

This fall I traveled with my family to Ireland. One word: amazing.

I love hiking and being outdoors, so this was the perfect location for some beautiful walks. One day early on in our journey we set out on what we believed would be a 6 mile hike to a boat dock. We would then catch a little ferry back to our starting location and snag some lunch. Only problem, around mile 6 it became clear that we still had quite a ways to go. We were nearing 1pm and by this point my oatmeal and granola bars were a distant memory. I was approaching hangry status. (Anger fueled by hunger. Can anyone relate?)

That’s when we saw the berries.

Although I was raised in Texas, I have zero memories of picking my own fruit. We lived in the suburbs. I know of farms you can visit and pick your own berries, but I’ve never been to one.

It took some convincing to get me to reach my hand into the bushes and snag my first blackberry. I was concerned about dust and bees and thorns and poison… you know, the usual. But I finally just reached into the brambles and pulled out a dark juicy one. SO GOOD.

There’s something about reaching out and grabbing that fruit, even if there’s a possibility for a scratch or sting. It just tastes sweeter when I pick my own berries.

Ready for the metaphor?

Check out the quote by Spurgeon.

“We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Big vocabulary words, but the point Spurgeon is making is timeless.

Intimacy with the Lord is sweeter when we dig into the Word with our own eyes. Sermons, books, blog posts, podcasts, youth group, Bible study… all of these are great ways to mature and grow in our walk of faith. But are we letting ourselves be “raised” by the books we read and the studies we attend rather than carving out our own time to read and enjoy?

Remember: there is no substitute for a hand-picked blackberries.


Question #5

I’m buckling up and setting my sights on the goal. Because of that, I won’t have the time to devote writing posts for the blog during the month of June. But rather than just going silent, I’ve decided to try something different. I love hearing from you and thoroughly enjoy the interaction that happens in the comment section.

This month I’m going to ask YOU questions. I will weigh in with my own answers, but I’m mainly interested in just getting to know you. Some of the questions will be fun while others will hopefully take us deeper. After all… June is for questions.


QUESTION #5. Which person in the Bible do you most identify or connect with?


I love the story of Gideon found in Judges 6 and 7. Even though Gideon is terrified and has no military background, God still sees his potential. The angel of the Lord even calls him a mighty warrior. Gideon’s story reminds me that everything depends upon the Lord’s strength and not my own.

What about you?

Dear Carey.

A two week series on learning from the past and looking to the future…

Dear 16-year-old Carey,

A fumble may be small but you can learn from it. An outright mistake may be large but don’t worry, it actually helps you grow. And while you were a really good girl who strove for perfection at all times there is one thing in hindsight that I would warn you about. Try not to take this too personally. I am not criticizing, just trying to help you get the most out of your early days.

In first grade his name was Andy and he lasted all the way to 3rd grade. In 4th grade his name was Jason, in 5th grade his name was Grant. Junior High there was Chris, Matt, Lee, Alex, Bobby, and Graham. You really like liked Graham a lot and would probably consider him to be your first true heartbreak. In high school there was Matt number 2 and then Ryan. Ryan stuck. You kept him around till you left for college. Can I stop there? You get the picture, right?

Let’s talk about this. A boyfriend is nice. It is fun to say you have a boyfriend. It is nice to hold hands with someone in the movies, it is cool that you never have to walk to and from each class alone, and that you can stay up late at night sharing hopes and dreams on the phone. But let me tell you a little secret. A boyfriend is not needed for survival. I promise! There doesn’t always have to be a boyfriend. And while the Bible does speak of leaving your mother and father for a spouse there was no need to go on a quest for “the one” at age eight. That is just plain silly! I understand your love of dreaming and grand fairy tales.  You dreamed big. Dreams of marrying your childhood sweetheart, having kids, and telling stories that made peoples heart melt. You were crossing your fingers for romance, love notes, surprises, and things written for soap operas. I love that dreamer side of you. Don’t lose it, just use it in other ways.

Here is what I know now. Enjoy friends! Enjoy your girlfriends. Have sleepovers, stay up all night, talk on the phone, giggle, go to the mall, and bask in the sun (with sunscreen, of course). Hang out with your family! Go to church together, have lunch with them, go on road trips with a smile on your face, play with your siblings, appreciate that they are there. Don’t let boys make you so nervous! I know now that you always liked having a boyfriend because it kept you safe. You didn’t have to put yourself out there because you were “taken.” They may be boys but they are just human beings that you can learn from and have as just friends. I say all this because I know without a shadow of a doubt no matter how much you try to fashion “the one” for you it won’t do you any good. You are not the one in charge. God has to pick him for you.

16-year-old Carey, your style led to heartbreaks. You experienced more heartbreaks than needed because you were trying to control the boyfriend situation, make it work, and ignore the stop signs that God was throwing in your way. The thing you can be certain of is this: don’t worry! Don’t worry about the future. It will come.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act” Psalm 37:7a

It just won’t be in your time. It will be in God’s time. And it certainly won’t look as you planned. It will look as God desires. And this Carey, allowing your life to look as God designed for you, is the grandest storybook story that can ever be told.

Enjoy the journey.

With Joy, Carey

Bio: Carey C Bailey

I am a lover of grace through Christ, a wife to the hilarious Mr. Bailey, and a mother to two precious children of God. I host an online community for mothers called Cravings: desiring God in the midst of motherhood. After having kids, I realized I had to make a shift in my personal devotional time. The days of chillin in my comfy chair reading my Bible, journaling, and sipping hot tea were gone. I had to make it easier not less meaningful, just easier.

My goal at Cravings is to walk with moms in creating a powerful relationship with God in the midst of motherhood. My promise is that Cravings is a place of inspiration, encouragement, and community. I want you to be able to walk in and out of each day satisfied because The Bible, not cupcakes, filled you up.

Cravings first product, daily devotional flashcards, will be in stores in August. Stop by and stay awhile.

Stay connected with Carey: website / blog / facebook / twitter

Thursday Tips: Loving the Word

Tips for reading the Bible:

1.  Open.

2.  Read.

Ok.  Here are a few more. ;)


Loving the Word from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.


Translations mentioned in the post:

NIV = New International Version
NLT = New Living Translation
GWT = God’s Word Translation
ESV = English Standard Version

Excellent resource:


P.S.  I also keep this collection of special pens and highlighters that won’t mark through the thin pages of my Bible.  It is a super handy dandy tool to have on hand while I’m reading at home.