The Forest Backdrop

Welcome back! The weather has been so lovely these past few days, that everyone seems to be out enjoying it! One of the benefits we enjoy living in Canada is experiencing four full changes in season! (Remind me that in the dead of winter, okay?) This fall has been absolutely gorgeous, and many people are commenting on how striking the tree colours are. God’s beauty is displayed so vibrantly in such a seemingly mundane object like a tree! We, too, were out enjoying the pleasant weather this weekend, and we saw quite a few people snapping photos of themselves along the trails — the vast forests aflame with colour as their background. I was amiss as a good blogger and didn’t take any photos. However, I marvelled at how this background blended into a solid “hue” all its own. Can you imagine what I mean? Each individual leaf is part of an individual tree, part of a whole forest of trees, set within a forest floor blanketed with fallen leaves. The unique shades and intonations of each individual made up the variation in texture and pattern of the whole. Like those photo montages of maps etc made up of headshots.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I came across this devotional thought by Anne Ortlund, recently, which kind of struck a chord with me and this thought of “parts of the whole”:

“Who can explain God? It takes all of Jesus Christ to explain Him. There are hundreds of functions and facets and names of Jesus: The Light, the Ancient of Days, the I Am, Wonderful Counselor, the Light of Isreal, the Branch, the Rock, the Lord, the chief Cornerstone, the Way, the Truth, the Life and on and on and on. He is the express image of God’s Person, but it takes every facet of him to reveal fully the glories of the Godhead.

This is the Christ in whom you’ve been placed. This is the Christ who surrounds you — above you, beneath you, around you, before you, behind you, within you. This is the Christ who is all, and in all. You are complete, ‘running over’ in Him”.

Anne Ortlund

Like the forest backdrop, the attributes of God, are uniquely blended into a vibrant tapestry of all He is and all He is to us. It’s like standing amidst the fallen leaves on the forest floor and trying to pinpoint one red leaf high above you. It can be done, but you miss the beauty of the variation all around you. Try it next time you are doing some “forest bathing” (it’s a thing… look it up). Make a list of all the characteristics or names of God you can think of… and thank Him for the many more you have not yet discovered! Joy, peace and love to you!

The Power of Wind

Last night I watched a blip on the largest offshore wind farm on CBC’s 60 Minutes (Am I old enough to watch 60 Minutes now? Oh the horror!). Anyway, this wind farm is off the coast of London near a town called Grimsby. More than 300 turbines spread across 335 square miles in the open ocean and generate enough electricity to help power more than 2 million homes daily.  The wind is a renewable, clean and powerful source of energy. Literally powerful. The highest wind speed ever recorded occurred on Barrow Island, Australia.  On April 10th, 1996, an unmanned weather station measured a 253 mph wind gust during Tropical Cyclone Olivia.  Beat that, Marvel Comics.

Hornsea Wind Farm Photo credit: CBC 60 minutes

The Mitton crew shared in its own little wind adventure this weekend. Well, at least the two of us did. If you saw my Instagram stories this week (and you should follow my Instagram … it’s my favourite social to post on!) you would have seen a little clip of our beach wind adventure. We visited the shores of Lake Huron on Saturday — and it was just a tad windy. The wind was whipping the sand about and stinging my bare ankles like tiny sharp hypodermic needles. I’m thankful it wasn’t whipping about my face. My hair was doing enough of that, I didn’t need the sand to compete. It wasn’t cold. We experience enough cold winds in Canadian winters to appreciate that. Still, we felt the power of the wind.

We watched a few parasailors take advantage of the weather. Obviously, their wind suits shielded them from the icy water… but I bet they felt the wind! I can’t imagine the strength it took to hold back the sails, because, from our observation, that wind was pulling them in hard. Those little parachutes filled up as soon as they were flung open! Those guys caught some great air that afternoon. Two stories high, I’m sure! Brave, I tell ya.

The hubby loves a good storm, and I watched him run out to the lighthouse pier, only to be caught full-on by a crashing wave on the concrete. He got a little wet. 🙂 He’d make a good storm chaser if I’d let him. I’m just not ready to be left on the yellow brick road all alone just yet. Kudos to the spouses who kiss their lobster fisherman goodbye for to brave the highest seas! (Or pirates, Navy guys or … well, you get it). The wind and waves are a mighty enemy and must be respected at all costs.

Grand Bend, Ontario

I’m sure by now, you see where this post is going. The Bible mentions the power of the wind numerous times. Matthew 8 reminds us that Jesus was in control of the storm. The disciples (many of whom were trained fishermen!) marvelled at His ability to rebuke the waves and calm the storm. The prophets of old were told to watch and observe as the Lord’s presence was seen in the changing weather. Mighty winds, cool breezes, storms, waves and flashes of thunder. The Psalms tell us time and again how God calms the raging storms… literally and figuratively within our own heads. Often we get too bogged down by so many things, that those tiny grains of sand driven by the wind, begin to feel like piercing daggers!

Are you caught in a storm, my friend? Are you feeling the powerful wind whip you down and the waves crash around you? Or have you harnessed the power for your own enjoyment like the parasailors? Do you know the One who controls both the mighty tornado and the gentle breeze? He’s worth every encounter. Seek Him and give Him a little shout-out the next time that little leaf floats down beside you … or when your umbrella blows inside out! For the Lord is not in the wind, but controls it!

Turkey Coma

Happy (belated) Canadian Thanksgiving! By the time you read this post, you should be recovering from a “turkey coma” and eating leftovers! We had ham this year, but I have a turkey sitting in my deep freezer for an occasion when I feel the need. So, it got me thinking… why turkey? What fun facts can I learn from such poultry? Who discovered it? And why did God let such a darling bird grow into a grumpy, yet impressive thing? If you’ve been following mittonmusings for any length of time, you know my fascination with chickens… but turkeys could be on a whole other plain. Toms are mean! They will (and have) attacked people. The babies are cute, though…

Baby turkeys are cute!

The male (tom) turkey is the only one that “gobbles”. Allegedly, the girls make a “purring” noise when they are content. Who knew? The females are more like chickens… and I can’t argue with the fact that God made them quite beautiful. In fact, turkeys were once bred for their colourful plumage — not their meat. And an impressive plumage it is: an adult turkey can have 5-6 thousand feathers! Think about that next time you find a stray fluff on your dinner… imagine the Pilgrims plucking those things by hand?!

Now. Back to “Turkey”. How did they get such a name? Apparently, the Spaniards first discovered them in Mexico in the sixteenth century and took them back to Spain as part of their discovery spoils. Eventually, the gobblers made their way to England around 1541 and were given the “exotic” name of an export associated with the Turks. (A “Turkish hen”) Confusion? Yup.

Not from Turkey

Still, the birds sure tasted good, and so became a staple eat. Especially at Thanksgiving. We have the Americans to blame for that one. Roasted turkey became a traditional dish after the American revolution when the British loyalists fled to Canada as refugees and brought the meal with them. And so it stays. 39% of the total sales of Canadian turkeys in 2018 were set aside for Thanksgiving dinner. However, Christmas sales totalled 2.7 million birds: 42% of the total year’s sales. A second in the holiday stats? Do we love Christmas turkey more? Maybe only in Canada.

Canadian Thanksgiving, for those of you not from around here, does differ slightly from our neighbours to the south. Not only in our choice of dates, but our holiday involves less football, there’s no big parade, and certainly no black Friday shopping. We get less time off and we tend to focus on the three F’s: food, friends/family and fellowship! Turkey or no turkey.

In fact, our Canadian Thanksgiving is more associated with the harvest season. In 1859, the ministers tried to ask the colonial government to initiate the holiday of Thanksgiving to “thank God for His existence — evident by His bountiful Harvest granted to His people” (a little different from the focus of our American counterparts).

And harvest can be a beautiful time. The weather is great, the colours are fabulous, and the food is plentiful! A perfect excuse for a holiday! Although, I did muse as we drove through the colourful tree-lined roads this weekend: What beauty is in death… the fall colours are really a bunch of tree leaves dying and preparing for a long, hard winter. Sorry, I digress.

Thanksgiving turkeys. Whether you like a stuffed bird or not, the holiday should be about more than the food. Thanks – giving. God reminded His people to celebrate, and celebrate often, in remembrance of all He has done for us! Especially now. In this world so full of despair and darkness, our attitude of gratitude should be all that more evident. I am trying to remember this every time I look at my grocery bill! Thank you, Lord, that I am able to provide for my family. Many are finding it increasingly difficult these days. Is it just me, or are prices going up all around us? But this is a muse for another day. Perhaps, I do need to think about having a few turkeys in my flock of someday-hope-to-have-chickens. I’ll start with the cute little ones.