About mittonmusings

A Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist!

Should we get a Puppy?

We have become a statistic. A Covid-19 statistic. No, there’s been no virus here, but we have entered a crazy stage along with almost half of the population right now. We are looking into getting a puppy. Apparently, everyone else is getting a “Covid canine” too! If you’ve been following mittonmusings for any amount of time you will have heard me mention our zoo before… creatures abound at our house and are a vital part of our lives. Although there has never been a dog. I love dogs and we have done our fair share of dog sitting — I just happen to be a cat person and know that dogs are a bigger commitment of time, work and money. And yet, here we are on the brink of dog ownership.

Now before you go all judgey on me and think we are just looking to fill the gap during the pandemic, don’t. I certainly do not wish people to get a dog and then abandon it in six months when the world goes back to normal and there is no longer “time”. Please don’t do this! We were thinking about it before we all went into lockdown — but since then, the search has been increasingly difficult! Obviously, we were not alone in our quest! The pandemic has forced people to clear their schedules and fuelled the fire for furry companionship: adoption inquires jumped 122% in the first month of lockdown (petfinder.com), fostering increased 500% (wow! 500%) as shelters began to shut down and people wanted to “do good” with the time on their hands (ASPCA). In Canada, humane societies saw a 30-70% increase in adoption and fostering applications, and registered breeders were very quickly sold out of puppies and added to waiting lists up to two years ahead! Kijiji has been flooded with “backyard breeders” asking astronomical prices for cross breeds and scams are abundant. People are looking for companionship.

All of this has had me thinking and comparing. We’ve been debating between a few “high energy/high maintenance” breeds and slower, more “family oriented” dogs. I have some definite “no’s” on my list… and some confusion about a few ads I’ve seen (what on earth is a doganoodle?!)… add an honest budget to the list and finding a pup has not been easy… much to the youngest’s dismay and discouragement. So many choices. So much diversity. So many pros and so many cons.

At first, I was going to compare these thoughts to the faith profiles of Mary and Martha in the gospel of Luke. Each of the sisters had unique priorities and personalities … a high working drive and a calmer, more relaxed approach to life. Jesus points out many valuable points in both approaches and reminds us that companionship is the goal. As I considered the sisters, I discovered that we can expand those thoughts to each of us and our churches at large. God’s kingdom, like the available dog breed list, is HUGE. Pedigree people are just as valuable as the street “mutt” in God’s eyes — He made us all and has placed us right where He wants us to be in order to do great things for Him. He wants us to be loving companions even (or especially) during a quarantine.

I was reminded of it during Sunday service today. We are to be kind, to hate sin, but to be radical in our love for others — especially during this “new normal” we are living in. Some of us are struggling to keep it together as fear and anxiety take over. Some of us are craving a good game of fetch and are dying to be social again. Some of us need a challenge to get up and out of the doghouse. Others need strict and constant training. We all need love. Now please don’t think that I am comparing humans to dogs. I’m simply using the analogy, that like dogs, we each have different needs and are uniquely gifted for specific purposes. It’s not our job to compare — we don’t have to pick people like we pick puppies. Our churches should encourage one another to serve and be served.

The Mary and Martha story reminds us to examine our priorities in addition to sharing our gifts. Our new puppy will be welcomed into our “zoo” and will change our routines for sure. It will be fun, but require effort. We are hoping it all will work out as a balanced leap of faith. I found a blog while researching for this little post with a great prayer that focuses on that balance. It makes me think that we are kind of like a new puppy in Jesus’ great big new house. I hope the author doesn’t mind that I am borrowing it:

Heavenly Father we open the doors of our heart to you.  We long to spend time sitting at your feet and learning all that you have to teach us.  We long to lay our heads on your lap and have you comfort us.  We long to know you as well as you know us.  We pray for wisdom in making our priorities in our day; we pray that you would guard us against the bossiness of our feelings and emotions that sometimes stand in our way.  Like Martha, we offer our hospitality, and like Mary, we choose to sit at your feet. Thanks to God who wrote our story and made it unique and beautiful.  Amen

From: https://lauriehampton.com/2018/11/18/three-lessons-learned-from-the-mary-and-martha-battle/

A Blog of Faith

Well… I’m just going to start typing this post and see where it ends up. It’s hard to write a “lifestyle blog” when there has been very little “life” happening. Do you really want to hear another thought about my laundry? Who knows? Maybe you do. Maybe you want to hear that I have been sleeping in, eating whatever, whenever. Maybe you want to hear how the teenagers are running amuck and personal hygiene is going out the window during this pandemic. Would it bring you comfort to know that I, too, have been falling apart some days and letting the day pass with very (and I mean very) little accomplished? Do you want to see more of my baking, craft fails or urban gardening? Perhaps pet pics? Cat videos are popular, right? I can do those. Or #momlife woes of teenage messy rooms and lost socks?

What should I blog about??

I feel like I have been stuck in this time warp — I know things in my head — but have been stuck in the valley of “unmotivation”. I’ve classified mittonmusings.com as a “Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist”…. but how do you inspire others when there is little left to feel inspired about? Truth be told, I know that’s not accurate. I know that if I honestly took a good look around, the natural world would inspire me to smile. Our urban garden is slowly starting to produce, my family is safe and generally happy. We have been blessed with a stable income and good food on the table. We face very little persecution based on race, religion or culture.

I’m so very, very lucky in a plethora of ways. I tried looking back at some other faith based blogs… fabulous writers who have book lists and bible studies and printables. Their instagram pages are flooded with tailored shots of dogeared, leather bound Bibles and cups of coffee in handmade pottery cups from local, sustainable shops. What’s their secret? I work hard at my social media… but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I worry about showing off my kids “in public” or exposing personal information only to be used in some sad meme. Or hacked into and all my life savings stolen. Not that I’d ever be on that top priority list, I’m sure. It’s a funny paradox as a blogger — wanting to go viral but not to be exposed to the world at large.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Yet, I am encouraged when I get little notes and comments (sometimes privately) from other wallflower readers that they liked this week’s post; or that some professional photographer liked my photo. The blog blossomed as my way to learn technology. I’ve learned some. I need to improve my skills, though. Perhaps that should be on my goal list. Anyone have suggestions? Free classes ‘cuz I’m cheap, though. Partnerships, perhaps? Maybe I should write a book? Should I curb my internet fears and make YouTube videos of family adventures? They would be interesting — trust me.

I’ve been thinking about our pastors and church leaders who have been forced into this internet world during the lockdown of 2020. They were called to serve people. And although the world wide web is a valuable tool, I am sure many preachers wish they didn’t have to share their sermons to a camera screen. I suspect it’s really hard to shepherd while self isolating. No one thought church would have to move online. Ministry is hard to do via Zoom. Or is it? God is bigger than my little world and He has given me an outlet to reach folks I would never (and may never) meet. And He has called us to be disciples — to put ourselves out there. Even if it’s only in my own comfortable little box right now. Even if it’s not to 1K followers. I’m here to bless the few that are are gathered — google analytics can just eat cake. And if I get up the courage to throw caution to the wind and step out of my box, I suspect He will bless that, too.

First Thessalonians 5 is rich with instruction, and reminds us to “hold on to what is good”. To test and encourage one another. Perhaps this whole world pandemic has given us a chance to see the good and make it the essential service. Things that you can’t buy or sell. Personal touches that you feel and experience. The things we miss by not being together… and the the frustrations we feel by being together just a little too much. We are such complex creatures, aren’t we? Which means there should be no end to musing about life and the great, big God that gives it to us each day. Keep on, keeping on, oh faith bloggers and loyal readers, as will I.

Moving On

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

It’s a small little verse tucked in to the end of Luke 2 (verse 52) but contains a wealth of information. And a lot of time. It’s the only verse we have that tells us about Jesus’ adolescent years before we see His ministry begin in adulthood. (Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about that — I didn’t truly research it). It’s a verse that I’ve been reflecting on this week as the youngest Mitton moved on from elementary school.

School (albeit the strange form of online-homeschool-semi-vacation-time-filling-preparatory-work as it has been for the last few months) is now completed for the summer. Our youngest was supposed to have graduation ceremony from our elementary school, which ends in grade 6, and move on to middle or junior high. Covid-19 prevented any kind of formal celebration — but that is another muse. For me, it was the end of an era. All four of our kids attended the same elementary school, and we parents were quite active in all of it’s goings ons — bake sales, track and field events, farm visits, pizza days, talent shows, concerts, parent teacher interviews and the school council. I’ve been on our elementary school council for almost 20 years… and now it’s done.

This past week, my current council blessed me with a “drive by” parade and a flood of well wishes and tokens of their thanks for my service. At first, the introvert in me was completely taken aback, and thoroughly embarrassed — the principal and vice principal, administrators and even key teachers showed up on my front lawn. (To the absolute detriment to my children’s self preservations — now the teachers know where and what our house looks like! The horror!) Alas, after the initial shock, I, well, I “had a moment”. Private thoughts and personal memories of each of our children’s first days, struggles and moments of joy flooded back as I reflected later. I, too, met new friends, shared highlights, valley lows and packed a whack load of lunches. I learned about other cultures, set goals, experienced frustration, joy and pride as I watched as my children also grow in “wisdom and stature”.

I don’t know what education looked like in Jesus’ day. I don’t know if Mary homeschooled or if education was at the temple or under Joseph’s care in the shop. The Bible verse tells us Jesus grew in wisdom — which means He persevered through experiences that lead Him to make decisions, to grow, to debate, and to decide in which direction to move forward. He grew in favour with God and man — which means He had to study the Torah and be taught foundational principles, as well as participate in traditions and festivals. It means He made new friends and endured teasing, perhaps even bullying, by peers. I’m sure He had chores and bookbags and homework. I’m sure Mary baked for neighbourhood kids and shooed them out to play. Did she have to send two healthy snacks and hope Jesus didn’t lose His indoor sandals? Did Jesus get frustrated learning how to knot the perfect tzitzit or did Joseph have “take your kid to work” day?

It’s a small little verse tucked away at the end of our “Christmas story” in Luke 2. For me, it’s packed with almost 20 years of memories of my own kids and many “I wonders” about another child who grew, yes, but yet had such a special mission. Time has a cruel way of never standing still. As my youngest “moves on” and I am forced to move with her, I will continue to pray and trust that we will all find favour with God and man. Enjoy your summer vacations, my friends!