A Blog of Faith

Well… I’m just going to start typing this post and see where it ends up. It’s hard to write a “lifestyle blog” when there has been very little “life” happening. Do you really want to hear another thought about my laundry? Who knows? Maybe you do. Maybe you want to hear that I have been sleeping in, eating whatever, whenever. Maybe you want to hear how the teenagers are running amuck and personal hygiene is going out the window during this pandemic. Would it bring you comfort to know that I, too, have been falling apart some days and letting the day pass with very (and I mean very) little accomplished? Do you want to see more of my baking, craft fails or urban gardening? Perhaps pet pics? Cat videos are popular, right? I can do those. Or #momlife woes of teenage messy rooms and lost socks?

What should I blog about??

I feel like I have been stuck in this time warp — I know things in my head — but have been stuck in the valley of “unmotivation”. I’ve classified mittonmusings.com as a “Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist”…. but how do you inspire others when there is little left to feel inspired about? Truth be told, I know that’s not accurate. I know that if I honestly took a good look around, the natural world would inspire me to smile. Our urban garden is slowly starting to produce, my family is safe and generally happy. We have been blessed with a stable income and good food on the table. We face very little persecution based on race, religion or culture.

I’m so very, very lucky in a plethora of ways. I tried looking back at some other faith based blogs… fabulous writers who have book lists and bible studies and printables. Their instagram pages are flooded with tailored shots of dogeared, leather bound Bibles and cups of coffee in handmade pottery cups from local, sustainable shops. What’s their secret? I work hard at my social media… but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I worry about showing off my kids “in public” or exposing personal information only to be used in some sad meme. Or hacked into and all my life savings stolen. Not that I’d ever be on that top priority list, I’m sure. It’s a funny paradox as a blogger — wanting to go viral but not to be exposed to the world at large.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Yet, I am encouraged when I get little notes and comments (sometimes privately) from other wallflower readers that they liked this week’s post; or that some professional photographer liked my photo. The blog blossomed as my way to learn technology. I’ve learned some. I need to improve my skills, though. Perhaps that should be on my goal list. Anyone have suggestions? Free classes ‘cuz I’m cheap, though. Partnerships, perhaps? Maybe I should write a book? Should I curb my internet fears and make YouTube videos of family adventures? They would be interesting — trust me.

I’ve been thinking about our pastors and church leaders who have been forced into this internet world during the lockdown of 2020. They were called to serve people. And although the world wide web is a valuable tool, I am sure many preachers wish they didn’t have to share their sermons to a camera screen. I suspect it’s really hard to shepherd while self isolating. No one thought church would have to move online. Ministry is hard to do via Zoom. Or is it? God is bigger than my little world and He has given me an outlet to reach folks I would never (and may never) meet. And He has called us to be disciples — to put ourselves out there. Even if it’s only in my own comfortable little box right now. Even if it’s not to 1K followers. I’m here to bless the few that are are gathered — google analytics can just eat cake. And if I get up the courage to throw caution to the wind and step out of my box, I suspect He will bless that, too.

First Thessalonians 5 is rich with instruction, and reminds us to “hold on to what is good”. To test and encourage one another. Perhaps this whole world pandemic has given us a chance to see the good and make it the essential service. Things that you can’t buy or sell. Personal touches that you feel and experience. The things we miss by not being together… and the the frustrations we feel by being together just a little too much. We are such complex creatures, aren’t we? Which means there should be no end to musing about life and the great, big God that gives it to us each day. Keep on, keeping on, oh faith bloggers and loyal readers, as will I.

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!

Celebrating during Covid-19

Welcome to another week of mittonmusings. Things are finally starting to open back up again and life is returning to our “new normal”. That seems like a strange notion to return to, but most of us have never been through a worldwide pandemic, and so we go with whatever the powers that be tell us. Which includes this whole idea of social distancing and isolating ourselves from others — especially the “vulnerable” ones in our society. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for safety and am a big believer in following the rules, but I couldn’t help but wonder this week: What will all this isolation do to our sense of celebration?

The middle kid celebrated his birthday this week. We’ve already celebrated two other birthdays in lockdown, and, of course, Father’s Day was this past Sunday. We were supposed to have a graduation, too, at the end of the month. Many of our normal celebratory gatherings and rituals have been cancelled. And yet, I have seen so many creative ways to mark special occasions in spite of lockdown. So, what does one do to mark a memorable day? Why do we do it that way or this way? Does it reflect the people celebrating or is it to mark the celebration itself? It’s interesting to ponder — especially as an introvert. I’m not much for celebrating, and we have a family debate each time a special date rolls around. Please feel free to comment on your thoughts to help the case one way or another. But as for me, I think about things. The reasons we do things — why and how, and then why “that how”? I get it. Humans were created to be social. We need each other and were created for interaction. One look at how Covid-19 has panned out and we see it. Just watch the news for awhile and we will see that we are geared to fight and protest and share joys and sorrows and injustice. Even if it is over zoom or from the balcony ledge. Forget the news… any kindergarten class will show you those things, too.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

According to Seline Shenoy (The Dream Catcher/ Happiness Project) there are five benefits to celebrating:

  • 1.Cultivating a sense of community: One of the most opportune times to bond with our families and friends is during special occasions.
  • 2. Instilling a sense of meaning and significance to our lives:  Participating in the customary rites (cutting cakes and drinking champagne) instills a sense of reverence and appreciation for the gift of life and connects us to a more omnipotent force.
  • 3. We will create lasting fond memories: The human mind tends to recall memories that carry a high emotional charge to them. When we commemorate a special occasion, we are essentially placing a mental bookmark on an experience, thereby making it easier to remember it in the future.
  • 4. It adds fun and excitement to our lives: Celebrations can be incredibly fun and provides us with the perfect opportunity to engage in the joys of life such dance, song, food, play and laughter. 
  • 5. We take our place in the circle of life: When we commemorate special occasions, we are essentially connecting with our humanity and the commonality that we share with all those who have been long gone before us. We tap into the timelessness of the human spirit when we take the time to pay respect to the important rites of passages that were celebrated by our ancestors in the yester years.

I don’t know if I agree with all of the five reasons, but I suspect sociologists and psychologists have been studying the whole idea for longer than I have, so who’s to argue? Besides, I love a good piece of cake. And my scrapbooks are filled with memories shared, so it must mean something. I think God just wired us that way, so that’s life.

I couldn’t help but find our past week of celebrations a little strange though, considering the times we were in: masked family, no hugging, keeping our distances … can you celebrate without the physical connection? Obviously, you can. We’ve participated in a virtual wedding and drive by birthdays this year. We “celebrated” — but it was strange. Did we miss out on some sort of secret? Or is it simply strange because it wasn’t the way we are used to doing things?

Sigh. I guess this muse has truly been that — a muse. I don’t have any answers this week. No insights or revelations. I’m simply pondering. Would you consider sharing your thoughts in the comments or on my socials this week? I’m curious what you might be thinking. How do you choose to celebrate? Why? Did God instill it in us? How has history played a roll? Or culture, tradition or socio-economic status? And what will it look like going forward from here?!