The Good OLD Days

Welcome back to another week of me feeling old. Wait. That didn’t come out right. Welcome to another week of being old. No. Thinking about being old? Thinking about old things. Yeah. That’s it. Welcome back to another week of musing about old things. I’ve been mulling this one around a bit, and trying to figure out what to pinpoint my thoughts on, but it doesn’t seem to be working. So, I’m just gonna jump right in and see where this post ends up, okay?

Old covered bridge near Kitchener-Waterloo

Okay, back to being old. Uh, I mean thinking about old things. I’ve been diving in to some “time period” books as of late. Now, I am no history buff, so I don’t devour stories of pioneer women locked into hardships and whirlwind romances, but I can appreciate the struggles of these ladies and trying to balance homemaking and being present in civil war times and ‘doing their part’ for the country. Or trying to live big dreams in a world where women are underappreciated and pegged into certain, shall we say, domestic rolls. Somehow, I think American history and the 1800’s seem to be a book genre all it’s own — and kudos to the authors who research such topics. Again, I’m no history buff, but it seems there are a lot of you out there who read these things.

I’m not so sure Canadian times were much different from their American counterparts, especially when it came to homemaking: we have apple pies and little houses on prairies here, too! And it is not just in my recent literature choices. In fact, I’ve been seeing lots of people “returning to their roots” as of late. Perhaps the pandemic of 2020 has allowed us the time to bake from scratch, sew and craft, and appreciate the “good old days” of family gatherings, game playing and gardening. Homesteading has become mainstream — especially for millenials. So what draws us to these old fashioned treasures? Do they hold a mystery of some sort?

A few weeks back, we took an impromptu, post Covid holiday to the Kitchener-Waterloo area in southern Ontario. With our new puppy. That, in itself, is an adventure, but I’ll try and stick to the topic. For those who are unfamiliar, this area is known for its large population of mennonite groups and such delights as the St. Jacob’s farmer’s market. A rich heritage and belief system of “old ways” and “traditions” (not to mention a plethora of mouth watering baked goods and fresh produce!) We’ve been numerous times and have enjoyed the bounty of harvest at several times of the year. This time, we ventured out of our traditional visitor spots and explored some ‘off the beaten path’ trails and smaller towns. We ate lunch at Bonnie Lou’s Cafe (on the patio with the pup) and the Mitton crew heartily recommend it! Oh, the pie….

We also stumbled upon “The West Montrose Covered Bridge” the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario, affectionately known as “the kissing bridge” because the wood covering allows for *ahem* some shadowed privacy. I suppose some traditions never die. Which brings me back to things of “old”. Why do we hold dear to traditions? Are they better ways? Does the future hold promise? Should we change for the sake of change? I don’t know. The jury is out for me on this muse. Some days I feel stuck in the middle of old school pad and paper vs. cell phone texts. Does church need to “get with the times” or be examples of time honoured traditional practice? Is the Bible “old fashioned”? Can Christians be relevant to this fast paced generation of instant gratification? Where does the balance lie?

Does it even come up in conversation anymore? What I do know is that God’s word is timeless. It has passed the test of times past and will continue to inspire and convict well into the future . It’s supernatural. It continues to reach even the youngest generation. Still, we need mentors and wise elders to council and enrich. And vibrant new voices to challenge and question. Perhaps our trip to the KW area was a good example for us: Modern highways and hotels and rich,homemade pies baked in tradition, all with a little love thrown in under the shadow of a covered bridge — for balance between the two worlds.

Back (to school). Not.

Today is supposed to be the first day back to school. The first day of the routine that I crave. The first day of stability and predictability. The anticipation of new books, a new adventure and fresh starts. Alas, 2020 has thrown yet another curve, and school isn’t happening today. I must wait for it. It won’t be the same. Masks. Hand sanitizer. No visitors. No workshops for me. Perhaps you are out of the back-to-school routine and today is just another day for you. But no day is ever routine, is it? Each day brings its own challenges, its own opportunities and its own joys and sorrows. Time doesn’t stop until our final breath has been taken. I want things to go back to normal. I want to have things “the way they were”. Maybe I won’t be granted that. Maybe God is teaching us new things. Different things. Things meant to challenge and grow and stretch us. I must learn to be adaptive. To trust in the future and learn from the past.

I had a few ideas about what to post this week, but none of them seemed settled in my heart. (Did you know that I worry, fret and pray over each week’s post and hope that it touches you and my internet audience in a way that God wants?) And so, I thought I would link a few of my previous “back to school” adventures for you. If you’ve read them before, sorry. If not, enjoy. Joining the adventure of mittonmusings.com means following along in our journey of ups and downs, past and present. All the while learning. So — see you next week friends, with new thoughts.

Teacher’s Gifts: A Lesson in Gratitude

Back to School Blues

What Makes a Good Teacher?

Moving On

Brag Tags

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!