About mittonmusings

A Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist!

A Thankful visit to Transvaal Farm

Hello again, my friends! We just got back from a wonderful, long Victoria Day weekend. We opened up our tiny trailer and got our first real taste of summer — despite the fact that it was still quite chilly. Oh my, we are so ready for some warmer weather over here!

Which got me thinking about all things vacation. Therefore, I wanted to throwback to a few weeks ago, when I took a lovely, little “mini-vacation” with a couple of good friends. We had an awesome time together — simply enjoying each other’s company, with no set agendas, just doing whatever tickled our fancy (which was a whole lot of shopping!) We journeyed to little town called St. Marys, near Stratford, Ontario (Canada!) and spend a few days in a wonderful little place called Transvaal Farm.

The guest house, situated on 50 acres of rural farmland, was quaint — and perfect for the girls’ getaway. The home features two bedrooms, a lovely sitting area, and a country kitchenette, allowing us to save some money by cooking our evening meals in-house (all the more cash for shopping!) Our host, Cindy, and her working partners, were eager to show us around, and we reveled in the delights of the goats… and you guessed it… CHICKENS! (I don’t know what it is with me and chickens, right now….but I am lovin’ them!)

Although not a true bed and breakfast, our hosts delighted us with a stocked fridge full of fresh goat cheese, delectable, baked artisan bread and treats… and, of course, farm fresh eggs! We even got to gather our own eggs, direct from the coop, one day! We visited during off season, so many of the garden’s goodness’s were not yet available, but I’ve been told that the property boasts a lovely variety of fresh veggies all summer long. I did see quite a few rhubarb patches, too! I understand that Cindy hosts some wonderful classes on all things good and yummy, as well. I encourage you to check it out!

Our felted owls
Our crazy little felted owls!

The girlfriends and I spent our days touring around the surrounding cities, thrifting (I was on the hunt for glass bottles!!) enjoying cafe lunches, and quaint little gift shops. We found boundless treasures and laughed and chatted for hours. We even tried our hand at some felted owls one night. Which led to a deluge of giggles at our own inadequacies! But, the fireplace was warm, and the company was even warmer. It was such a refreshing time for me!

I am so blessed. Indeed, I must remember to be thankful. To take time to reflect and thank God for the bountiful blessings He provides — warm beds, nourishing food, a bountiful earth full of good things, and lasting relationships with friends who bring such value to my life. I must remember to be thankful that I am blessed enough, financially, to take time away from working, to be a bit frivolous with my time. I must remember to be thankful for a family that is home waiting for me to share my joys upon my return (and to hear me talk about chickens… again!)

Have you made your blessings list? Have you taken the time to indulge in a few days with no agenda, to laugh with friends and collect fresh chicken eggs? To pet the barn cats and enjoy lattes at a quaint, small town cafe? To find treasures hidden away in a thrift shoppe? Oh, may you enjoy coming home again to the faces of your beloveds, because your absence has made your heart grow fonder. Be blessed, my friend — and be thankful.

Moms who Mop

There is a poignant scene in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, where Jesus’s mother, Mary, is desperately wiping his blood from the cobble stone walkway where He was just brutally tortured moments before. It’s graphic and gruesome. Yet, to me, it is such a vibrant picture of motherhood. Here is a mom, who’s firstborn son has been wrongly accused, and is about to be crucified. Mary has watched Jesus grow from a tiny baby into this radical man who has had such an impact on His world, and although she doesn’t understand it all, she knows somewhere deep in her heart, that she must do something to support Him… something, anything… even to the point of wiping up bodily fluids.

From The Passion of the Christ 2004

I had a wonderful mother’s day weekend away with my own mom and daughters this year. We had fun together and enjoyed our time. I read the posts on social media about mothers everywhere… flowers and cards and beautiful Sunday brunches. Florists all over Canada just moved into the red based on their sales for this one day a year. But let’s be honest, moms. Motherhood is tough.

Children do not come with a set of instructions. There is no book, no podcast, no blog or youtube channel that will tell you how to mother your beloved. Because there is no one exactly like you… and no one exactly like your kid. God made each and everyone one of us special. Which makes mothering hard — and absolutely beautiful at the same time!

I am really quite amazed at how resilient God made us mothers. Our bodies take a beating and fight back. We survive sleepless nights and midnight feedings, we kiss skinned knees and manage the daily task of hair brushing and teeth flossing. God knew what He was doing when He made babies so cute… because despite all the paranoia, we often do it all again… and then a third and a forth and a tenth time! What were we thinking?!

And then! Then, we pray for soul mates and fret and worry when they leave the nest and fly away and become their own. And we get angry because it’s not how we wanted it to be. They deviate from our perfect mother-knows-best plans and we can no longer shelter them. We have to let them go — and let God. Or we don’t understand why God has given us this challenge, this extra need, this life curve that throws us off our plans for a future of flowers and rainbows. And we cry out “Why”?! Trust me, I’ve been there.

Or maybe you have to be the mom to your own mother now. Roles are reversed and you have to be the caregiver to the one who once cared for you. The vulnerability is still there. You have to make hard decisions, and be the one to fight for dignity, and be courageous and kind. You become like Mary in the movie. You don’t quite know what to do — but you have to do something! So, you mop the floor.

I have met many brave moms. Courageous mothers who fight like momma bears for the sake of their children. They advocate, protest, speak out and speak up. Still others who quietly, yet equally as bravely, support their children with every ounce of their being, through silent prayers whispered late at night. Parenting is hard. This is why God gives us families and communities and villages… and the internet! We need each other. Good grief, if even Mary didn’t know what to do in her crisis situation, we can consider ourselves in good company.

So, if your Happy Mother’s Day bouquets have now slightly wilted, and you are feeling a little frazzled by it all, remember that there is no magic wand. No fairy godmother to make it all go away, and no enchanted mice to clean up the messes. God has chosen each one of us for His specific plan, and the specific plans for each of our beloveds. We must learn to trust that God knows the why. We just have to bring along the mop buckets sometimes.

Just a cup o’ Joe

I love a great cup of coffee. There’s just something about that rich, creamy goodness that soothes my soul. I have lots of friends and relatives that are “tea toters” — which I just discovered during this post — does not mean a tea lover!! I will have to find another name to label my friends with, as the phrase really has nothing to do with tea! It is actually spelled “teetotaler” which really means they abstain from alcoholic drinks — which isn’t really my friends…well some of them…oh my — where was I? See — ya’ll need to drink coffee!

Anyway… yes. Ahem. The soothing calm of a good cup of java. Just a cup o’ Joe, as they say. Why coffee? Well, there is a lot of chit chat about coffee and the “need” for it in the morning. That the caffeine in coffee is somehow required to wake us up. To fuel us in our daily tasks. Now, I do enjoy it with my breakfast, but I don’t often get the chance to linger over it. (Much as I would love to, but I am an on-the-go coffee girl). That’s what thermal mugs are for. I like mine with cream or milk — but have been skipping the sugar for years. I think I had my first taste of coffee during my last year of high school — pulling all nighters for exams and projects, and figuring I “needed” it to stay awake. More than likely not true, but I learned to like the taste from then on out. Pumpkin spice latte season? Don’t even get me started! Most people agree, they love the smell of roasting coffee beans…even if they don’t drink it. Hmmmn…yup, coffee is it.

We Canadians love our coffee! (Photo Credit Adi C.)

We Canadians especially love our coffee. According to the Coffee Business Intelligence Site (*giggle* who knew there was such a thing?!) we average about 2 and a half cups a day, and are in the top ten for consumption per capita. In 2014, Tim Horton’s sold 2 billion cups of coffee per day. That number, I am sure, has sky rocketed since roll up the rim started giving away its millions. If you are reading the blog from a place other than Canada… let’s just say Timmies is a Canuck thing and you have to live here to understand. But again, I digress.

the Canadian coffee consumption 2019

I recently watched a national geographic clip about coffee. The photographer traveled to interview farmers who have come back to their family farms to carry on the tradition of coffee farming. It was interesting — coffee is truly an artisan craft. There is still very little automation in the process… the ripe, red berries are always handpicked, and the drying and roasting is slow and time consuming.

Coffee drinking is generally associated with a slow process as well. A lingering. We meet “over coffee”. Coffee is about the social and about relaxing and enjoying one another’s company. We laugh. We hug a mug to feel it’s warmth radiate through us on a cool, crisp morning. It does awaken our senses and help us appreciate the world around us. There is no etiquette to coffee drinking. No pinkies up, no china saucers, no formal attire. It’s pajamas and wool socks with our frothy goodness-es.

Even if you think of coffee drinkers around the world, it reverberates the relational — espressos in Italy with lovers chatting at bistros, Turkish men debating over strong brews, African or Colombian farmers sampling wares and fine tuning their trade with thick skinned, weathered handshakes and smiles. Moms at Starbucks taking a break to reconnect with girlfriends. Business partners making big plans over coffee breaks (with donuts!) Sorry tea drinkers — coffee brings us together. It gets real with coffee.

My friends, have you “had coffee” lately? I don’t really mean the drink, of course, I mean have you taken the time to be with someone? To nurture a friendship? To chat? To linger and catch up? Or taken the time to wake up your senses to the world around you? To breathe in the aroma of God’s world and let Him wrap you in the warmth of His love? I’m pretty sure Jesus is a coffee drinker…the Bible does say “He brews” (groan). I bet he can make those cute little frothy milk pictures on the tops of lattes too… just to make us smile.

I hope you get the chance to sit and sip awhile today. To savour the warmth and drink in the people of your little world. To enjoy the richness of your relationships and the spice of life with the people who mean much to you. As for me, I smell a campfire brewing in our backyard as I type, so maybe I need to bring a few mugs out. Bottoms up, my beloveds!