Hot Mess

According to the urban dictionary, a “hot mess” is:

“When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray, but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.”

Often our place is just a plain old mess… no hotness to be seen at all. Recently, the dog has “matured” enough to the point where his “killer instincts” have kicked in … and no stuffed animal is safe any longer than 10 minutes under his newly acquired prowess. “Reese” goes in for the jugular (or the crotch?) and brutally pulls poor Teddy apart from the inside out! Fluff and floof fly everywhere… and we have to be on guard duty for missing eyeballs or bits of squeaker or other intestinal hazards… not to mention cleaning up the stuffing. The living room quickly turns into a warzone with destruction strewn across the floor like new fallen snow. Cardboard boxes also end up gathering in bits under the couch or dining room table. Dogs are messy.

Poor, decapitated chicken.

And then there are the teenagers… home alone to fend for themselves in the midst of online learning and a pandemic lockdown. Not only has my grocery bill gone up… so has the pile of dishes in the sink. And the towels in the laundry. Why do they shower so much? They have no where to go. Hot messes, indeed.

I used to think babies were messy… and they are. Ahh… the good old days of projectile vomit. Sorry. Moving on. Just wanted to make the new moms feel included. Anyway, I am discovering you really never grow out of messes. They just change depending on the season you are in. I suspect our retirement years will be filled with bits and bobs from newly taken on projects, or travel, or dare I say, grandkids?

I used to look at the fingerprints on our glass door and ponder. The window reminded me that the kids were happy, and our house was full of love and laughter… and messes. Messes are part of learning and exploring and being confident to try. Getting down and dirty allows us to feel the Earth and experience the sensations of the world around us. None of us “have it all together”, because life is messy. And that’s okay.

Messy can be a good thing!

The Bible tells us in Luke, that Jesus came to save the lost — the messy — if you will. Those of us who doubt, and question, and weave back and forth on our faith journeys instead of making those bee lines to the pearly gates. In fact, I think He made us with a deep desire to explore, discover and test the best things in this world He made for us. Sometimes, that gets messy. Yes, Life is messy, but Jesus has the dust pan and broom. He takes our dismantled, insides out, missing eyeball chaos and transforms us into hot messes. We won’t be perfect until the end of this life, so we must learn to appreciate the fingerprints on the windowpanes. Take the good with the bad, and rejoice that we are still moving forward… even if we weave a little.

Well, my beloveds, I am off to do the dishes (one more time), but tomorrow when I look in the mirror and my see that slightly wrinkled, finger-nail-polish chipped, post Covid homemade haircut reflection, I hope I remember that in God’s eyes… I’m still a pretty hot mess! And you are, too! Be Blessed.

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 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!