About mittonmusings

A Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist!

It’s a Jungle Out There!

I thought this week’s blog post was going to be about sweet peas. Pretty little flowers. Popeye and Olive Oyl’s cute little cartoon baby. The fragrant little plant that makes a great veggie. We have some peas… and I dunno if they are sweet peas or not… but I have them growing in our urban garden. I like them… they grow well and we’ve had some great harvests. I was going to tell you about how I went out to tame them with some clips and string and bamboo skewers and how proud I was of them. But that is not how this muse went.

I went out to discover the garden has become a virtual jungle. The great rains we’ve had in the last few days have turned the place into a labyrinth of green! Okay, I admit it. Perhaps I am not as diligent at weeding as I should be… but these are not just weeds… the actual veggies have exploded! Currently, we have some zucchini plants and some cucumbers which are holding their own and doing their “normal” spread. They are behaving. The peas and beans are now quite ladened down with heavy vines and I am not sure how to separate them. They have no more space to expand to, so they are growing into each other. Even my strawberries are shooting out tendrils!

Yet, my biggest “expander” (and I say this with a little excitement) is our pumpkin vine! The youngest wanted to try it this year, so we simply threw a few seeds in a space near the end of the garden before the sunflower patch. Well… as they say, if you plant it … it just might grow! Our pumpkin has now weaved it’s way through the sunflowers, down the fence and reaching up along the side of the lawn into Neverland! The vines have taken over!

So, I did a little research. Apparently there are two different kinds of “vine” expansions: twining or hold fasts. Vines that use tendrils wrap around their supports using thin, leafless stems… those curly cues you see on grape vines, for example. Other climbers use “sticky” pads or aerial roots to adhere to almost any smooth surface. Like ivy growing on ancient castles. So how do they know to grow up and wrap around something? They don’t. Vines do something called “thigmotropism”. Those little stems grow until they mechanically “hit” something… by wind or whatever… and end up twisting around the structure to hold on. This is why you can “train” vines to climb a trellis. (Obviously my jungle proves we have not done this!) There are some very cool looking slowmo videos of “thigmotropism” out there. Look it up!

Not my peas…but Sweet Pea (lathyrus Odoratus) is a photograph by Maxine Adcock/science Photo Library which was uploaded on February 24th, 2021.

So… what’s our take away from my jungle adventure? You got it… John 15:5 comes to mind. “I am the vine, and you are the branches…” Growth occurs when we are attached to a stable structure. Heaven knows we certainly need something stable in this ever changing world!! Especially when we are facing struggles. Or the unknown. Or simply putting the “feelers” out on a big decision we need to make. Wanna know another cool thing about thigmotropism? The bigger the stimulus the plant receives, the faster the tendril growth and the stronger the coils become! Sound familiar? Yup, often our biggest valleys in life produce the greatest and strongest amount of spiritual growth!

Well… turns out my fragrant and pretty sweet peas were not as encouraging this week as my jungle of pumpkin vines! I guess that is just the way it is sometimes in life. Here’s to “thigmotropism” and to you, my growing friend! Hold fast this week!

“Your Focus Needs more Focus”

I was in charge of walking the dog this week. Not a big deal, he’s pretty good about walks now. There was a time, though… a time when that puppy of ours was a bundle of energy and was distracted by every person, stray dog, fluttering bird or swaying blade of grass. He’s older now and a little less distracted… but the odd time he loses focus. Just like the rest of us. Or as the next generation of karate kid training says “your focus needs more focus”. Love Jackie Chan.

Which had me musing this week. Focus. What are we really focused on? The center point. The hub. The nucleus of your world. Focus. The clarity in the situation. The distinct, well defined, finger-pointing “thing” that makes it, well, “it”. Some of us have a goal for a time. Raise our kids well. Focus on a career that will lead us to financial stability. Finish college. Buy a house. Many of my readers will note that I have had a #wordoftheyear for the first time in 2021. I chose it to bring a little focus into my life for the next 365 days. (You can read about it here).

FOCUS

Our physical bodies are often something we focus on as well. How many workouts target one or two “problem areas”. Buns of steel, anyone? Or calming ourselves down by focusing on our breathing, or pulse, or making each step deliberate. It helps keep us under “control”. The control is needed to keep us from going off on tangents, wild goose chases or as a friend puts it…rabbit trails. Alice got into a lot of trouble following a rabbit.

Clarity. Good clarity comes from the right focus. My glasses help me see clearly. Microscopes and telescopes bring clarity to objects our eyes simply cannot see without help. It brings a fuzzy, undefined image into something we can recognize and understand. And often learn from or learn more about with study.

So why focus on focus? It is a strong contender in our ability to keep going. It goes hand and hand with hope. When we lose focus, we easily become distracted… and then the journey is no longer enjoyable. Like our puppy walks. When we had to correct, refocus, pull on the leash and speak harshly to the pup… nobody enjoyed the outing. Sure, truth be told, all of us need a little distraction now and then to break the monotony of tunnel vision. Maybe breaks are even necessary. Yet, focus brings us back to the point.

The beginning of Hebrews 12 reminds us to not only to stay focused on the end goal, but shows us how Jesus was our perfect example of this:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Hebrews 12:1-4 NLT

His love for us. Our weak faith. Our focus on the finish line before us. What about you, my friend? Does your focus need more focus? Are you pulling in all directions? I know I struggle with this all too often. May you be encouraged to “focus” along with me in the next few days, and set our eyes on the finish line, as we enjoy our walk together.

An Old Poem

I came across this poem in an old, old book I have. The book contains daily thoughts and devotions, and I was hoping it would give me some inspiration for this week’s muse. Interestingly, I could find very very little about the poem’s author, a Ms. Patricia McGavock. I understand that the poet is blind, yet obviously a woman of great faith. In this day and age of fast paced film and Instagram photos, I trust this simple story encourages you this week. We are so quick to flit in and out of our daily tasks, and the flashes of photos across our screens do little to satisfy us. We’ve become “blinded” by it all.

I’ve seen a lot of recent posts about gardens, vacation spots and pretty flowers in my feeds, and the poem seemed to strike a chord… what would my senses tell me if I could no longer see the images? Would I still trust the One who leads me? Hopefully this week’s (albeit short) muse will speak to you in a way that my words would not. Enjoy. Be blessed. See you next week!

"Would I could see the beauty of the flowers
whose sweet perfume pervades the Summer air,
The grass so soft beneath my faltering footsteps,
That thing called light I'm told is everywhere.

Then I could see the trees in Autumn glory,
The little birds that flutter to and fro;
The colours of the rainbow, sunset glowing;
The changing seasons as they come and go.

But I am blind and cannot see such beauty,
No moon or stars illumine my long night,
No dawn of day or sunrise in the morning
can share with me the wonder of their light.

Yet I am glad, when each new dawn comes breaking,
To feel the morning air, the sun's caress,
To touch the gentle softness of a rosebud,
and breathe the fragrance of its loveliness.

The scent of rain upon a country footpath,
Soft music and a voice that sweetly sings,
God's hand in mine as He so gently leads me --
I need not eyes for all these wondrous things."
Photo by Ella de Kross on Unsplash