Our Urban Garden

When I was in elementary school, we did those career quizzes that predicted what kind of employment path you might choose based on your interests and skills. My number one vocation, three times running, was “farmer”. It never happened. I am a city girl born and raised, although, I’ve had my fair share of farm experiences. Horseback riding, picking berries, we even brought home baby ducks for the weekend after we hatched them at school (my mom was not too pleased either as we didn’t tell her her bathtub was going to be occupied for three days with stinky, mess-making, fuzzy little creatures!) My grandpa was a great gardener too, and I loved following him around his garden. It was always laden with deep red geraniums in hanging pots, an abundance of peas and beans … and I always fell for his trick of tasting the sour grapes from the not- quite-ripe vines that overhung the trellis walkway.

This year, the youngest and I attempted our first “real” urban garden. We have done a few potted tomatoes in the past, but our soil is poor, and we have a lot of shade, so not too much grows in our neck of the woods. This year, since moving our carport, a plot of earth literally opened up for us. We planned early and picked seedlings to start (part of my going greener adventures). It has been fun to watch her get excited about watering and weeding! Sadly, Ontario has had a terrible spring this year… wet and cool for way too long… and then we skipped right into hot and humid summer, so I am pleased that anything grew in our little urban farm experiment! Today, we harvested a bumper crop of mixed lettuce! Complete with a beetle of unknown variety and several creepy, crawly earwigs! Success! Organically grown produce! In the city!

Part of the fun of success is letting my imagination get the better of me… I get carried away with thinking about the next project… beautifully tiered growing boxes of fine veggies, plots of land with free ranging chickens that get tucked into adorable coops at night. Corrals with milk producing goats shoving their annoying little kids back from climbing over the fences. Oh, I could learn how to make goat cheese! Or lavender scented goat milk soap in small, handmade batches!

But alas, my ever patient hubby reminds me to “be satisfied with what you have”. Delight in the joys of what you have — right now. See your current success as a blessing, and not always look for bigger or better. I’m trying. But I crave more. I fight this inner struggle of my dreaming heart — and my practical head. I know I would become overwhelmed with a bigger plot of weeds. I know escaping chickens would drive me crazy, and failed goat’s milk soap would frustrate me (even in tiny batches). But a girl can dream, right?

Am I alone in my struggle to do more? Not likely. Perhaps, this is why Jesus used so many examples of agriculture in His teachings. Sure, it is something the people would be familiar with, but it is also such a growing and changing creature in and of itself. Agriculture — urban or otherwise — requires good growing conditions, fine weather patterns, and a whole lotta hard work! The people of Jesus’ day understood that His parables about soil or mustard seeds are partially dependent on what they did and partially dependent on trusting God for the process.

We have read countless children’s books to our crew about how we can plant seeds and water and give good soil, but only God can grow the seed. Our little plot of land has reminded me of those simple truths. We pray for our family members to be healed, or go to church, or see our faith as something real. We send them books to read and online articles to ponder. We teach our kids Bible truths and send them to Christian summer camps. But only God can grow the seed.

We have one lonely carrot in our urban garden. One. Oh, we planted lots… but only the scraggly top of one, singleton carrot is showing. We have no idea if anything is growing beneath the surface. Perhaps the visiting bunny may finish it off completely before the harvest season. I want and wish it to be fat and plump and delightfully orange… but it may be only a tiny root come the day we finally dig it up. And I will again be reminded, that God is in control, and we need to be patient, and just keep trying again — next year.


Want to see a tour of our little urban garden? Check out our Instagram page @mittonmusingsblog or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Mittonmusings/

15 Great Canadian Facts

Happy Canada Day!! For this week’s blog post, I thought we would take a look at our great country and my list of 15 fun facts about Canada! Since mittonmusings.com is the “Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist”, it seems appropriate! Enjoy!

1. Canada is the second largest country in the world, covered by a total area of 9.98 square kilometers from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

2. We have 10 provinces and 3 territories.

(I remember when we only had two territories…but the next generation would have Nunavut)*groan*

3. Canada has 6 time zones!

I guess this is why it is so expensive to fly from one part of Canada to the other!

4. We have the forth lowest population density in the world. Only 3 people per square kilometer.

Most of our land is covered with forest (or snow). A lot of us live in the cities too. Maybe this is why so many Canadians are introverts like me!

5. Canadians are among the most highly educated people in the world.

We rank first in the number of adults with a tertiary education. Over 51% have attained at least an undergrad from university or college. So smart, ya’ll are…especially since reading my blog! 🙂

6. We have 9% of the world’s renewable water supply at our fingertips!

7. Each Canadian generates approximately 640 kg of waste per year.

Which makes me think….if we spent our Canada day holiday at the beach, did you clean up your picnic or use re-usable dishes? Do your part, people! It’s so hard to be “green” and convienient isn’t it?!

8. The average Canadian consumption of eggs is up from our declining trend — to an average of 190 eggs per year!

See! My teenagers, alone, have contributed to the increase… need those chickens, my friends!!

9. We are one of the most ethically diverse nations, with a large scale immigration program.

10. The most common Canadian last name is “Li”.

Literally, our mission field is arriving to our doorsteps!

11. “eh” is officially listed in the Canadian Oxford dictionary as a valid word.

12. It is against Canadian law to have comics that depict criminal acts.

(Sorry Marvel and DC… I guess no more movies for you, eh?!)

13. There is no official church of Canada, and religion is considered a private matter.

The government allows freedom of religion in Canada as a constitutionally protected right. A fact that I am grateful for! It means I can share my views openly!

14. 65% of Canadians surveyed in 2016 say they believe in God.

It is interesting to note that this belief in God has been steadily been decreasing since 2005, where 81% answered yes to the same question. Currently, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Canada. And it seems like our vast immigration has influenced our religious affiliations. 49% of Canadians say that their religious beliefs are important to them… the question is why? A thought to ponder.

15. Only 8% of all Canadians view evangelism as positive.

We are a spiritual nation, but no longer a Jesus following one. We think that our religious beliefs should be that of a private matter…. not to be shared. Not to influence others. No Bible should dictate the laws and rules of our great nation. I’m sad to see the decline, and continue to muse of how I can do my part to raise awareness about the One who influences my daily life. Oh Canada! May God truly keep us strong and free!

all facts were gathered from the great world wide web… and are non of my own!

Happy Canada Day, my beloveds!

I Challenge You!

Finally had a little break from the busy work schedule of last week! I escaped North to visit the oldest beloved. It means I will have lots of work to do when I get back home, so it may not really be too much of a break, but for now, I am relishing the quiet. An introvert needs her time to recoup, you know!

Today, we worshiped at her church… a younger crowd of Jesus followers meeting together to praise the Lord with a little more flash and flourish than I am used to, but a great Bible based message was given, and I am thankful she has found a place where her faith can continue to grow away from home. The pastor’s sermons are relevant connections to the group living there, intended for their special circumstances and neighbourhood. It is different from ours at home… and that is okay. Which got me thinking about an activity I saw in a classroom about a month ago.

The teacher had a bulletin board displayed with challenges that the students made up for their peers to attempt. Simple things like “write a poem like me”, or “play the game I made for you to try” or “make up a cool emoji to use to describe your feelings”. My understanding is, that it was an exercise to create some student choice, as well as an activity that allowed the students to interact and learn from their peers. I thought it was quite a noble concept for public school — and got me thinking about the world as a whole.

I have many friends who have chosen to home school their children. Others who choose to send their children to private or religion based schools. When our eldest was born, we explored various options as well — even considering Montessori learning. As parents, we want the best education possible for our kids. We also want our values and culture to be relevant and present in the lives of our beloveds as well. For many of us, this includes our faith. Especially at a stage where their development is so poignant to their future lives. Let’s face it – whatever we have exposure to when we are young, we tend to use as part of our future lives also.

But let’s get back to trying to condense my muse into something more concrete. I guess what I am trying to say, is that no matter what our background, no matter what our culture, no matter where we grew up, or what kind of life we have led, we come to the cross on the same level. Yet — we need to learn from — and be challenged by — our fellow humans. Our peers. Different cultures. Different methods of learning. Different methods of worship. To use our five senses in worship, thus allowing our faith to grow in whole body, soul, mind and spirit. Fellow students of Biblical learning, challenging one another in love, to go beyond what we know, to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. It’s a Biblical concept that instructs us to learn from each other, to meet together to fellowship, to share ideas and grow in our relationships. It’s part of who God made us to be. The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’s day knew the law — but Jesus was always challenging them to live out what they learned… with grace and love.

I will be the first to admit that this is not easy for me. I am quick to be negative. I am quick to criticize this or that as not a “proper” method of worship. I, too, have my own biases and preferences. Therefore, I too, must do my research and discover if something is simply tradition, or is it a biblical practice? Can I learn from my peers and be challenged to try something different? Do I choose to hide from the “grey areas” of the faith world and not engage in discussions about difficult topics? Can I learn from someone else’s background? Or worse, will it strengthen my children’s faith by allowing them to be exposed to hard questions? To be confronted by their friends? Or do I hide and protect them from it all? It’s not an easy answer. Are you up for the challenge? I’d love to hear from you! In what ways have you been called to give an answer by others? Has it been easy or hard? Share in the comments!