Family Reunions

Welcome back, dear friends! Did you even notice I was gone for a week? Don’t answer that, it might hurt my feelings. Anyway…. I’m back. And things are beginning to feel a bit more “normal” again. We’ve eaten out a few times, we went to church, we are actually starting to see people again… Yes, even I, the self proclaimed introvert to end all introverts, was known to remark about how I “missed” people. Especially “my” people. Are you feeling it, too? It was on my brain as a topic for this post: reunions.

Both the hubby and I are from fairly large families, and so we’re used to attending more than one family reunion. Our kids have had to share in their own mix of cousin and great auntie greetings… whether they wanted to or not. We’ve attended both the large, once a decade giant relative gatherings, and the more intimate family night with a few immediate siblings. Both are equally special. Both are meaningful. Both can be hard. Let’s think about it for a minute. What connects you? A name? The same heritage? Some little bit of DNA that gets passed around from generation to generation and mixed up along the way? Marriage creates in-laws (and out-laws). Ya’ll might have red hair and freckles or love the same weird food or share the same interest in model trains as great-great-great grandpa. Or not. Yet, somehow, somewhere along through history, you’ve become family. And that’s the connection. Like it or leave it. You can’t pick your family.

I was thinking about this as I sat in church a few Sundays ago… rejoicing in the comfort of meeting together again. Not because I particularly was dying to be with people, simply contemplating the fact that we were all there for a common purpose. There was something about meeting together that “connected” us. I didn’t even know half of the people gathered there that morning. I probably didn’t even like some of them! Many of us have different backgrounds, different spiritual journeys, different views on theological truths and different ways of practicing our faith….and yet, here we were, gathering together in the rain to be blessed by a speaker with some knowledge that he was willing to share that day. Perhaps knowledge that would hit each of us differently based on where we were in our walks with God. Isn’t that the beauty of the church, though? I don’t have to know you or even like you to be connected to you… I simply share a common bond that unites us together … like family.

The more I grow and reflect, the more I am intrigued by other people’s faith journeys and the faith practices that are meaningful to them…. and why. Many are steeped in tradition and souls often find comfort there. Others are refreshed by more “modern day” practices and open mindedness. I’m not going to debate either here… I’m simply bringing them forward for reflection. As long as we are grounded in Biblical teaching, I’m good. The Bible tells us that if we have accepted the gospel of Christ, then:

17 And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.

Romans 8:17 AMP

Like members of the family at the reunion, we share the same connection. Some common factor that makes us part of the family. I used to think it would be a great idea to have nametags at reunions that would say “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I belong to so-and-so” just to keep all my cousin’s straight. Isn’t it cool to think that in church we would all have the same point of reference? “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I belong to God because of Jesus”. Have you felt this before? Randomly, you meet someone and just get a “sense” that you are connected to them in some way? That’s the spiritual blessing of being heirs.

So my beloveds, next time you have to make macaroni salad for great auntie Mildred’s family reunion… just remember who your name tag links you to… and smile as you get your cheeks pinched by some crazy cousin.

Mother’s Day Muse

Somehow I feel I should be writing about Mother’s Day this week… and yet, I am feeling drastically underqualified to comment about such things. Raised 4 kids. Grieved the loss of a child. Learned from some of the best moms going. Boys. Girls. Fur babies. The check list is filled with seemingly adequate accomplishments on the Mother-of-all-time list. But that is one of the funny things about motherhood isn’t it? There are no instructions lists. No colour-coded guide book on how to raise children. God gives us some help in His Word, but a lot of it is trial and error isn’t it? Not to mention the fact that each kid is different from the next. In some respects, that’s what makes the challenge of parenting worth the effort! You never know what your gonna get!

Therefore, instead of writing a long post about my adventures in motherhood, I simply want to encourage you: do the best you can. Pray a lot. Trust others and ask for help when you need it. Be blessed and appreciate the little things. One of my favourite verses is Luke 2:19, where the narrator of the Christmas story reminds us that even when all the chaos of shepherds, angels and barn animals were encroaching on Mary’s person, she simply “treasured up these things and pondered them in her heart”.

If you’ve been reading mittonmusings for some time, you’ve heard me mention this before. You’ve seen the glimpses of my “ponderings” and “mused” along with me about the treasures I find each week. Even this year, as I reflect on the most recent Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the strong women who have influenced me in my parenting journey. And I see the next generation reflecting the efforts of the “village” that helped raise them. Reflections I treasure. Methods I sometimes ponder deeply.

Thank you for following along with me each week, here in this little corner of the internet that we call “home”. Your comments, likes and follows affirm that somehow my words are valid. That somehow someone “out there” is interested in the quirkiness of our crew and the adventures we share. Keep them coming, my beloveds!


Here are some links to previous “muses” you might be interested in:

To Begin to Be

Another week has literally flown by in my world! It’s almost a contradiction of sorts…we are supposed to be in a “stay-at-home”/ lockdown situation and yet I have been busier now than before the pandemic! I’m spending long hours at work, while everyone else is at home dirtying dishes, eating up the food and otherwise creating messes that no one has time to clean up because zoom meetings and stay at home activities are consuming all the rest of the waking hours. It’s tiring, this “not doing anything”. Which makes it seem like there is nothing to write about… everything is vaccines, Covid numbers and infection rates. Is there nothing else to talk about?

Of course, there are always things to muse and ponder over… we just have to be prompted in the right direction, which was my go-to this week… a writing prompt (thanks “The Grace Space” Facebook group!) I chose the word “become”. A verb. An action word. “To begin to be” is how google describes it. I like that. “To begin to be”. It evokes images of emerging from a cocoon, transformed into a new being…changed. Metamorphosis. Transformation from one thing to the next. I suppose it is not necessarily the direct change, but the process of change? Hmmnn. A good word to ponder: become.

image from Godsfort.org

We helped our eldest move in to her first bachelor apartment this weekend. She has “become” an official tenant of her own space. In charge of paying rent, filling out forms, and signing up for her own bills. She’s responsible for her own space and must now manage it unfettered from her parents. She has “become” independent. As mom, I am excited for her. I am curious to see how things play out. She’s been out of the house since starting University, but this is one more step… out of the nest. As parents, we will certainly be available for advice giving, guidance and care packages. You are welcome “home” for a meal and free laundry, but the time has come to venture and learn and grow on your own.

Likewise, the youngest became an official teenager this week. Age thirteen means no more excuses. It also means we can no longer eat off the children’s menu and get the “under 12” discounts. The kids have become adult material. Well, at least teenage material. “Begin to be”. I guess the hubby and I are becoming empty nesters. I know it is only beginning to be because the state of my house indicates there are certainly still fledglings hanging around eating up all the snacks! Yet, we are beginning to see glimpses of the future. Now don’t get all sentimental on me. This is what you trained them up for! (Read more of my thoughts about this here.). It delights my heart to watch my kids take on tasks that challenge and grow them. Perhaps I am a little too eager for their independence. Perhaps I will regret not keeping them young a little longer. So far, I am enjoying the “beginning to be”.

One of the very first verses I had to memorize as a kid was 2Corinthians 5:17:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

ESV

The bible is full of verses similar to this. Thoughts about “becoming”. “Beginning to be”. Changing, not only from our former (sinful) selves, but continuing to grow, mature and develop “in Christ”. Maturing. Much like my children are doing as they go through this earthly life. The scholarly word for this becoming is sanctification. Being set apart as holy, and refining oneself to a life of purity, consecration and Biblical service. Here at mittonmusings, we call it the faith journey… one that I share about each week (even when I don’t feel I have much to write about!). It’s not about the perfection, but about the journey, the process, the “begin to be” action word. Butterflies are one of my favourite symbols of this journey. You will notice them on our logo and blog banner… because they give us a very clear example of how our lives are changed from the touch of Christ: we start out as lumpy, worm like caterpillars and emerge as changed beings… still fragile and delicate but beautiful nonetheless. It’s an image that makes me smile. What will you “begin to be” this week, my beloved?

Photo by Alexander Löwe on Unsplash