Walking on Eggshells

If you’ve been a follower of mittonmusings.com for any length of time, you’ll know that I would love to have a set of backyard chickens. Crazy, I know. Living in the city doesn’t allow me the luxury of the coop, but my Instagram feeds follow a variety of homesteaders who have hens, so I live vicariously through them. Recently, they have all been posting great pictures of eggs…stylish rainbow shades nestled in cardboard cartons and vintage bowls or balanced on thick wooden farm tables. It’s the middle of January and their hens are still pumping out breakfast blessings in all kinds of shapes and colours (Yes, different hen varieties produce different coloured eggshells…another reason to want a flock…humbug to store bought, plain old white eggs…but I digress). So, eggs.

rainbow shells! (from Easter egger chickens)

One must admit that eggs are a pretty cool part of God’s creation… the shell of a chicken egg contains more than 17 000 tiny pores that allow air and moisture to travel in and out of the workings of the inner egg. The shell is made up of almost entirely calcium carbonate, with two thin membranes underneath that contract and cool when laid, making the egg fairly solid and bacteria and dust resistant… and yet we think of eggs as entirely fragile. (reference: https://www.exploratorium.edu) Apparently the colour of a hen’s ears will determine egg colour… and has something to do with developmental proteins…. wait… chicken ears??? Okay, let’s just stop there.

So, eggs. More specifically, eggshells. While scrolling feeds and enjoying posts of coloured eggs, my mind began to wander to Easter and eggs and those fabulous carved eggs and the Ukrainian burnt (Pysanka) eggs… all so pretty! I read an article about the famous Faberge eggs bejeweled and bedazzled for Russian royalty in the mid 1800’s. Designed as miniature works of art, most contained a “surprise” inside — a tiny picture or little automation. Ancient “kinder-surprises” minus the chocolate! Artisans often marvel at the perfect shape of an egg… and consequently it’s been used as a base for all kinds of art.

(photo via CNN) Faberge “peacock” egg

Notwithstanding all the facts we’ve discussed above, we must all agree in one simple fact about eggs: they are fragile. Even hardboiled eggshells can easily be pealed and crushed. I am sure there are many an artist who were heartbroken when eggshells snap at the slightest over pressing of their tools. Perhaps this is why they choose this delicate medium…the fragility adds to the beauty.

And so, my friends, it is with us. Our fragility makes us beautiful. Oh, we think we are strong. Bold and courageous, we harden our hearts and press on through life thinking we can do it our own way. Perhaps we even flaunt our rainbow colours and stand out against the whitewash of the crowd. We are like the Faberge eggs: bedazzled works of art on the outside, but contain small surprises on the inside. Surprises that catch us off guard when a crisis comes: surprises like guilt, fear, and doubt. Our inner insecurities leak out when we are cut deep…like the yolk that oozes from a soft boiled egg. We are weak, fragile and easily broken.

Yet, it is in our brokenness that we learn to trust in the One who makes us strong again. Some of you may remember that I’ve chosen a word for the year: BRAVE. (Read about it here) Part of the growth I want to develop in myself this year through “brave” is described in 2 Corinthians 4. As a follower of Christ, I have a great treasure to share, but I am a weak vessel, a jar of clay, a fragile egg, if you will. I easily succumb to fear, doubt, shyness and insecurity. Especially when it comes to sharing God’s “good news”. The Bible reminds me that it is not me who does the work…but me in Christ who becomes the Brave one.

Sometimes that strengthening needs to be through brokenness. We need to be softened, molded and corrected. Sometimes we may just need to be bold and take chances. Circumstances can make us brave… through Him. Are you still walking on eggshells? Or are you ready to be brave with me? Until we meet again, friends!

Preparation

So, I’m just going to jump right in and start: I’ve been musing about “preparation” recently. Physical preparation for things, mental preparation and yes, even spiritual preparation. There’s been a lot of talk about it during the pandemic: preparing for the “next wave”, vaccine distribution and simply being prepared for lockdowns, curfews and staying at home. Could we have been “better prepared”? What does that look like?

To help clarify, I looked up the definition (via Google):

PREPARATION: noun

  • the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.
  • something done to get ready for an event or undertaking (plural noun: preparations)
  • a substance that is specially made up and usually sold, especially a medicine or food.

Basically, it’s getting ready. Of course, all of us do this is some way, shape or form. We dress and wash and go off to work. We prepare meals and write speeches and plan events. There are varying degrees to this “getting ready”, and some of us are better at it than others. In fact, some of us are borderline OCD in our colour coded, labelled and listed worlds of organization… all in the name of being “prepared”. It gives us a sense of control. We are “ready” for the beginning of an event and have ticked all the boxes in order to be in that state.

Others are a little more lacking in this realm of the cohesive flow chart. Some seek the adventure of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants way of taking on tasks: wing it and see what happens. They make little consideration for the future and tend to like it that way. In the Mitton house, we have both highly dramatic prepare-ers and those who are highly prepared for the drama of the unknown. Me? I’m somewhere in the middle… I like the control, but some days I lack the effort needed to even think about preparing for the next event. Especially as I get older. Maybe there is less of a future to think about as you age. Perhaps different stages of life require different obligations. Young moms need to be a little more prepared than those of us who have young adults who should know how to take care of themselves by now (Notice I said “should” — ahem).

Crockpots, meal prep and personal hygiene aside, I’ve also been broadening my thoughts to something known as “preparation day”. The gospels refer to this day as the day before the Sabbath… a day to do all the work necessary to truly rest on Shabbat (Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31). Those who follow the Church of the Latter Day Saints have adopted this ancient Jewish practice as well, apparently, and prepare the day before their Sabbath. The danger of such practices, however, is when one doesn’t follow through. What happens if you don’t prepare? Are you shunned? Do you judge and become legalistic? I love the idea of setting aside a day for rest and reflection. And I love the idea of doing all the prep work ahead of time in order to be given that luxury of a full day of quiet. But is that what it is all about? Is it okay to “work” on a church day? What does “work” mean? Is one person’s work another person’s pleasure? What if God wired you as a “do-er” and that fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants creature who just doesn’t prepare? Does it make you less spiritual?

I am old enough to remember when stores were closed on Sundays and church happened morning, noon, and night. There were big Sunday dinners (I’m sure those moms worked hard!) and guests to serve. Were the good old days better? Or do the conveniences of modern day allow us to serve our fellow humans better now? At the beginning of lockdown, people marveled at the gift of time… we baked bread, we tidied and organized and spent quality time. Did it make us more spiritual? More worshipful or connected? I’m not so sure. When we are forced into spiritual reflection we do it, but I’m not sure it’s a sustainable method for growth. On the other hand, maybe it’s a good discipline to set aside a day of preparation in order to celebrate a day of rest.

I guess the jury is still out on this one. I’ll still be thinking about it. I was thinking about it when I pulled out the crockpot this morning in preparation for tonight’s dinner. Ten bonus points for me, right?!

Blessings, friends!

One Word

Happy New Year! Welcome back! Thanks for being patient with my little break and can we say: Thank the Lord 2020 is over! It’s a new year and new beginnings. I know 2020 was trying for many of you … and the pollutants of Covid-19 and the great pandemic are still oozing into the beginnings of 2021. I know we are not out of the woods yet, but I am hoping things will be “recuperating” and heading in the right direction in the next few months. Perhaps you’ve been out of work, or juggling work at home with school online, and you’ve been social distanced from the ones you love. This Holiday Season was different for so many, and yet positivity rained in with family bonds, Zoom socials and making a difference in the best way we knew how. Blessings on all of you who tried and survived! And hugs for those who struggled and still survived!

Life has a way of inching along in spite of our best efforts… pandemic or not. And that’s just where I’m feeling it this week… my house is a disaster, it’s been crazy busy at work, and the blog has been put on the back burner once again. I had big plans to organize content and research topics, and make your reading experience enlightening and thought-provoking — yet here I am again just thinking about stuff. Where does the time go?? So, here’s to still catching up…

In my thoughts this week: resolutions. Why not, it’s a New Year, right? Yet, in my “aimless” scrolling during what “chill time” I did manage, the great internet had me pondering posts of a new idea for me… all under the #OneWord. Several very smart people in my small circle of influence have embraced the idea of a “theme word” for the year if you will, a focus, rather than a resolution. Digging a little deeper, I discovered I’m behind in the game; the one word for a year idea has been around for awhile. There are several websites, blogs and pins dedicated to helping one focus on your “word for the year” (Check out this “quiz” on DaySpring.com or #OneWord365 for inspiration). I’m in for the ride. I might not be all life coach, journal gung ho…but One big word for the year sounds like it is worth a try.

I suppose the idea is to help you narrow down your aspirations. To carry a simple phrase, rather than specific goals. This way, your “theme” can carry over to various aspects of your life: health, spiritual, your work world, or your home world. So, how does one pick a word? They tell me to pray, asking God to focus my thoughts on what He wants me to accomplish. They suggest list a few words, then refine and refocus. Reflecting on the year that has past and what God’s leading you towards in the future, what is He saying? It’s tough to listen, though. I find that when I am awakened in the middle of the night, it’s God’s way of getting my attention, so that’s usually when we “chat” (I’m a pretty sound sleeper, so if I am up, there must be a reason, right? Like Samuel and Eli, my response is “Okay, I’m awake, God… what’s up?”). Once all that “musing” is done, commit to the “Word”… use it as a monthly, weekly, daily focus and see where it leads you!

Alright-y then… are you dying to know what my #OneWord is? My introvert self is cringing at being vulnerable with ya’ll… which explains the word and all its connotations. Will you hold me accountable? Will you remind me to Trust in the Almighty when I fail my word? Will you encourage me through your comments and posts when I write about my adventures with said word this year? Okay then: my word for 2021 is to be:

BRAVE


I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments… do you have a word for 2021? Have I inspired you to think of one? Share with me! And join me at mittonmusings.com each week as I “muse” about something new, and share in the adventure!