Seasons of Change

As many of you know, our little urban garden is up and running again. Thanks to lockdown and Covid-19, we were ahead of our game and started seeds indoors this year. As always, there are learning curves with such things and we’ve had various degrees of success. Traditionally, the long weekend in May is a fairly “safe” time to transition seedlings to outside. So, last week we did just that… off our little seed babies went into the ground with high hopes of bountiful growth. And then it snowed.

Frost damage on Corn crop (photo from agriculture.com)

I see my neighbour (who has a beautiful garden) promptly shielded her tomatoes with warming pots. A seasoned farmer I follow on Instagram threw tarps over her raised beds in a last ditched effort to protect her asparagus that finally will be big enough to harvest after waiting for three long years. We did not. Our second attempt at scraggly corn shoots look very shriveled. The others may survive with a little prayer and a lot of hope.

“Farming” is a risky business. I recently searched out what our “growing zone” is, as this seems to be a fact I should know. The website starts out with “…To determine zone number, Canada uses a formula that consists of 7 climate variables. Canada‚Äôs hardiness map is divided into 9 zones…” and continues on for about 9 paragraphs and ends with “…website includes several links intended to clarify the hardiness zones, but which seem instead to be very complicated and confusing.” 1 Ya think?? Hats off to the men and women who make their livelihood on the whims of the weather and their wage on the likelihood of storms and forest fires. They say that in Canada, we can have all four seasons in one week… and it is true. Weather is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable too.

Which had me musing about the seasons of life this week. Psychology tells us there are “stages” we go through in our average life span — seasons of growth and development, seasons of change. Many of you have eluded to these in your comments as we muse along together. That’s the beauty of exploring and sharing our faith journeys, too… we encourage each other as we go. The scriptures are scattered with references, not only to the physical four seasons we see throughout the year, but also in our “spiritual seasons” as well. God reminds us through nature how our world is in constant change… and He designed it that way.

I often question: why? Why did He design it that way? Why do things have to change? Why do we have to grown old? Why has He allowed the corona virus to infect the world at this moment? Why did He choose to come to earth at the moment He did? What will the future hold for us? Seasons of bitter cold, and seasons of preparation, growth and warmth. Each season holds something to offer, but none of them are ever perfect. Weeds grow just as rapidly in summer as the sunflowers do. Yet, the constant through it all is God alone. James 1:17 tells us there is no variation or shadow of change in the Father. We can take courage in this thought. Even in the midst of life’s seasonal changes.

My zinnias (a first time plant for me!) have sprouted cute little dichotomous leaves all tucked up in a row. I’m not sure how the frost will affect them. I’m also not sure what life will hold for us in the next year, or the next month, or even this week ahead… but we move forward through the season, and grow and adapt just as God designed it to be. As will you. Blessings fellow seedlings!

  1. (2020, https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/plant-hardiness-zones/)

Into the Unknown

Happy May 24 to all my fellow Canadians!! The first official long weekend of summer. For the Mitton crew, that meant heading up to the summer home… with all the Covid-protocols still in place and thoughts on respecting everyone’s distance. It also meant another weekend of boarding for the pupp-ers. He’s been once to doggie-daycare. He was fine. Yet, this mama is worse now with the dog than I was with my own flesh and blood. Kindergarten? Send them off kicking and screaming, I say. The poor puppy, though! He cowered behind us, all naked (they take the collars off for safety reasons) and vulnerable… and then off into the unknown…

“Reese”, off on another adventure!

Of course, the dog will be fine. The kindergarteners survive. The teens grow up. And the young adults move out on their own. Still, it had me thinking about that feeling. That vulnerable, alone, exposed moment we feel as we stand on the precipice of something unknown. It might be an exciting adventure that awaits you on the other side of the door. Perhaps one that you’ve waited for and dreamed of. Like, ahem, country homes and chickens. Or the valedictorian speech. Or your Nobel prize acceptance dinner. Maybe it’s the final visit to the specialist who has your medical results and wants to discuss it with you. It’s the parent-teacher interview you were asked to attend. Or the seniors home liaison who wants to discuss hospice options with your family.

Whatever is on the other side of the gate…good or bad…begins with that moment. You have never been here before. You don’t know exactly how it will all turn out. You anticipate. You might even prepare for it. You may have stumbled upon it by accident or out of no doing of your own … like a global pandemic. And yet, here we are. Living through history just trying to get to the other side. No other person has lived this day, this moment, of this hour, of your life. And each tick of the clock propels us into the unknown.

My family is giggling at me as I write up this blog post, because “Into the Unknown” is, of course, the famous ballade from Disney’s Frozen 2 where Elsa follows the “voice” in the wilderness drawing her into the unknown to a place where she finally belongs. Which, to some extent, is exactly what God does. He calls us to follow Him. He calls us to follow Him into the unknown. Into the scary, big wide world out there that whispers to us as we lie awake at night. (Not that I am comparing Disney to the Bible. I did that once. You can read about it here. But just work with me and ah, Let it Go, okay?) Many years ago, God promised His people that He will guide them as they travelled out of their comfort zones and into the unknown. Idols and false gods have no way of knowing the future, nor have they made the paths straight for those who follow them. Only God alone can do this:

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 ESV

Do you need this encouragement today, my friend? Are you standing at that crossroad of life? Perhaps you are hearing God’s whisper asking you to follow Him. Maybe you’ve answered the knock at the door but you need to climb back on the trail and keep marching forward. Or you’ve already been marching for a long time and are tired and in need of fresh ground. I’m imagining our dog on the other side of the kennel door running free and sniffing every friendly post along the way. Or Elsa flashing icicles at will as she glides into the unknown to a place where all the dots connect and things finally make sense.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

It’s scary. It’s … well … it’s the unknown. All the same, the verse promises us that He will not forsake those who follow Him. Let’s turn the handle and walk through the door.

Stay tuned…

Thanks for coming out! There’s no formal post this week, as I am taking a little break to try and gather some inspiration… stay tuned. We’ll be back again soon with more musings about the urban garden, spring life and the continuing lockdown saga. Blessings!