Rock On

They say a diamond is a girl’s best friend. I think that’s true because a diamond is really just a big rock. When I was little, I loved rocks. I still like rocks, actually. Diamonds and otherwise. Have you ever been to one of those touristy-type places that have the gift shops with all the souvenirs? In Canada, it is usually filled with maple syrup and cheesy t-shirts and keychains with red maple leaves plastered all over them. Just beside the “make-a-souvenir-coin” machine (which costs a toonie to produce a copper penny — go figure) is usually a large bin with rocks of various colours and sizes. Sometimes it is filled with highly polished “jewels” and a little velvet pouch, and sometimes it has a more rustic feel, with jagged flint pieces or maybe even fossils. This bin always seemed to be the first place I headed when I was younger.

I’m not sure why, but I was thinking about this, this week, and the whole idea of “rocks”. What was the appeal to me? Why did I love to dig through this bin and search out the most special of samples? (I hardly ever bought any as they were always too expensive for a hunk of earth, but still…) I had a fairly large rock collection when I was younger. Those cool ones from the beach, with stripes of red granite or even man-made chunks of asphalt worn smooth by the lapping waves. Or memories of my kids who searched out the flattest stones to skip across the lake. Nothing like a toddler’s pocket full of pebbles to make a mom giggle. Saggy little butt cheeks. And Heaven forbid, you suggest leaving them on the path! Our minivan probably still has a few pebbles hidden in the drink holders!

The kids may have moved on from sagging pockets, but I still love a good geode and totally embarrassed my kids on a trip awhile back as I donned my safety goggles and hammer to crack open the beauty I had picked out of the bin. I even spent the money on that one. I will openly admit, I am the proud owner of a few rock piles… both inside and outside my house. I’m no geologist, but rocks are pretty cool.

If any of you followed us on our 30 Days of Blessings journey, you will remember the day we targeted Rocks. It was a simple reminder to focus on the strength of God’s character, and yet remember how something so seemingly mundane can be so beautiful. Glittering diamonds from lumps of coal and all that.

Amethyst is one of my favourites!

So, if you are searching for some encouragement today, imagine your younger self crouched over that big bin of colourful rocks. You dig and dig, and examine each one, hoping to find the perfect specimen. That one with just the perfect smoothness, or that hint of colour, or that sparkly spot that may mean gold or some other precious jewel embedded in the rough. When you’ve finally found it, you tuck it away lovingly in your black velvet pouch and pull the drawstrings tight. Your treasure has been found!

Now, imagine the rock is you. A diamond in the rough, waiting to be polished by the Master jewel maker, a treasure to be cherished. Displayed in His vast collection, handpicked from all the others, just because someone saw the potential of gold in your tiniest of cracks. God works like that. Or perhaps you have been worn smooth by the ever constant waves of life and you’ve been chosen, now, to soar across the expanse — simply for the shear joy of seeing you fly! You are a treasure.

Rock on, my fellow boulders, Rock on.

Disappointment at Tobermory

Have you ever been disappointed? Not the average, my-ice-cream-scoop-just-plopped on-the-ground disappointed, but really deep, dark, down sad? Admittedly, it’s not an emotion I struggle with too badly. Introverts tend to shy away from anything that might grip us with disappointment, so throwing ourselves out there any farther than picking a favourite ice cream at 31 Flavours, doesn’t happen often enough for us to worry about. I hear it’s not the same for people pleasers. My hubby suggested this post, so I have a full disclaimer that it’s his story.

Anyone who knows my beloved, knows he loves a good adventure. Few years back, he wanted to tour a little town on the harbours of Georgian Bay. A boat tour of FlowerPot island near Tobermory, Ontario was the goal. Esteemed hiking trails, breathtaking scenery, the cool waters of Georgian Bay — a road trip adventure for the family. This was the plan for us. Tickets on the tour boat were secured, good food was consumed, and shoppes were browsed like the adept, adventure seeking tourists we were… all was ready for our great adventure to Flowerpot Island. Until the hurricane.

Seriously. We woke up the next morning to crazy high winds, rain, hail and a deluge of weather that was unusual enough to slightly worry about our safety in the hotel, let alone out on the water. Needless to say, our boat tour was cancelled and refunded. The hubby was disappointed. We made the best of it, but I knew he was slightly crushed.

Fast forward to this summer, where yet again, my adventurer and his nobel followers embarked on another trip to Tobermory in search of the allusive FlowerPot Island. Tickets for the tour boat were secured, good food was consumed, and shoppes were browsed — and weather was monitored. We looked good to go! No sign of rain. We sat in a quaint, greasy spoon diner, munching on toast and eggs, when the cell phone went off… “I am sorry, Mr. Mitton, the winds are predicted to be too strong to dock at Flowerpot Island this afternoon as scheduled. We would be happy to have your family on our tour of Georgian Bay, but for your own safety, we will not be docking.”

My poor, forlorn, Beloved sat dumbfounded, half eaten toast halfway to his open jawed gaze as he peered out the window to the absolutely clear blue sky. His slightly less adventurous wife just laughed. I did. I giggled at the upset and pure absurdity of it all. We simply could not understand how this was happening again! It was laughable.

In the end, we did enjoy our “non-stop” tour of Georgian Bay. And yes, the winds were quite high, and the boat company was completely within their rights to ensure the safety of their passengers by not docking in the narrow, rock encrusted alcove, so we could simply have an adventure. Were we disappointed? Sure. But: we did meet a lovely couple from the States who were also sidetracked by the bump in plans. And we did learn some fun facts about the Niagara Escarpment, and we did ride the waves and dream of bigger things.

Perhaps boat tours are only a step up from fallen ice cream cones on the scale of disappointments in life. Maybe your journey includes lost loved ones, betrayal, heartache and deep disappointments, that in no way compare to this little story. Perhaps you have rode the waves of cancer, job loss or other pain. 1 Corinthians 15 reminds us that God knows our disappointments, and He gives us hope to overcome them all! So, be encouraged that even when our plans are thwarted in what seems to be clear, blue skies, sometimes the Captain of the ship is simply protecting you from the rocky shores, and wants to just give you the tour ‘around’ instead.

If the Shoe Fits

It’s only a week back to school and I’ve already heard “Where’s my other shoe?” twelve times already! Can I get an amen from any other moms out there?! Now let me explain: we have a very small entrance to our front door that spills out into our ‘open concept’ kitchen and living room. I do not have a mudroom. I do not have an enclosed porch. There is no room for shelving, no hooks or fancy baskets. I have a few shoe trays and a small closet that homes our collection of winter coats and boots, and a large amount of hockey paraphernalia. I have tried to organize and tidy our shoe collections… but we have six people in our family, and live in Canada, where all four seasons can accumulate into one week, so we have a giant pile of shoes at our front door. And it seems to be growing.

Believe it or not, they are not all my shoes, either! Despite being the prime aged woman, I do not have a large collection of shoes. I have worn the same plastic sandals since April. For every occasion. It’s the rest of my family that has created the pile! Elementary school requires two pairs of shoes per student: one for indoors and one for outside. Then there are flip flops and hand-me-downs, and dress shoes, and athletic shoes that are only for this or that sport, or running, or “the lucky pair” only for games or tournaments, or the ones that still fit but have a giant hole or broken shoe laces. Oh, and then the hubby has a casual dress pair and a fancy dress pair. Plus the hiking sandals, and the green stained ones for cutting the grass. Seriously, we have shoes for cutting the grass.

I also have teenaged sons. Yes. Those of you who have lived this stage know what I am talking about… the stink. The lingering odour of one-too-many-soccer-matches or the accidental slip in the creek that allowed some feisty bacteria to breed a large set of offspring. I could run a level 4 biohazard lab at the World Health Organization headquarters with the contents of those shoes. Those blessed runners rest outside for a day or so before they are allowed to find refuge in the pile.

And so I have been musing. One about how blessed we are for gracious people who share hand-me-downs. Two, about how fortunate we are to live where seasons change and how lucky we are to have multiple pairs of shoes and boots that accommodate the weather. Many suffer for basics, let alone for a set of shoes for “special occasions” (or cutting the grass). My mind has wandered through phrases like “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” or John the Baptist’s statement about being “unworthy to untie even the laces of Jesus’ sandals”. *Giggle* I even watched some Youtubers trying to recreate Cinderella’s glass slipper run down the stairs. (Technically glass shoes are very hard to run in!)

photo from

I’ve concluded that shoes may give us a glimpse of our deeper selves. Our “journeys” so to speak. Biblical shoe references speak of ties that bind (pun intended) and of contracts. Athletes claim the shoe can make or break a performance, as do ballerinas who spend hours breaking in their slippers. Cinderella and glass slippers indeed. And you, my friend? Where have your shoes taken you? What journey have you walked through that has made you who you are? Who’s sandals are you not worthy to untie? Are you blessed to have a full closet? Does it inspire you to see others in a new light?

For these reasons, I will remind myself to rejoice as I tidy up the pile at my front door…or yet again…search for the lost shoe that has run off on it’s own under the couch just before we are off to school. And contemplate the day when the pile will be diminished and only my plastic sandals will sit at the door, and then, it will be tidy, but I will be sad.