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.

Keep Away

Welcome back my friends, and thanks for joining me each week and taking an interest in our rather (seemingly) un-eventful lives as I share glimpses of what my brain processes every now and then. Believe it or not, it’s been quite busy in the Mitton household this week… we finally attempted to put up some Christmas decorations (although we still haven’t fully unloaded all the boxes yet!) and yes, I tried my hand at the citrus garlands (read about it here). We all have been working long hours and feeling the pinch of time. We also started our dog training this week. An adventure all its own. “Reese” is now seven months old and at that awkward teenage male stage — perfect to start training. *insert eye roll here*

Among the books and plans and online “games” to keep said dog entertained, mentally stimulated, and on his way to becoming the perfect dog, we learned that food is highly motivating. Typical for any teenage boy, right? But I digress… Training. We have been practicing our “sit stays” as well as something called avoiding the “keep aways”. A “keep away” is when your off leash pup easily responds to your voice and comes ever-so-obediently to just within arms reach – and then quickly dodges your grab – and eagerly runs in the opposite direction. All fun and games as we attempt a catch-me-if-you-can chase. Tongue a’ lollygagging all the while. Mothers of toddlers also understand this game… especially just before bath time or as you head out the door. Who needs shoes — or even clothes — am I right?

Okay, so you get the picture. Now let’s push it out a bit and begin to ponder with me… how many times have you played the “keep away” game? I’m just as guilty as my doggie. I tend to be an avoider. I struggle with the conflict or the confrontation, or simply just don’t want to give up my freedom for something that might be hard or challenging. I know I am not alone. Lots of us play keep away… not only with others, but often with God. Have you had that niggling of the Spirit one too many times to do something or say something, and you eagerly move towards the obedience just to turn away at the last minute? Even when our hearts are in the right place and we want to obey, our fears and misgivings often get in the way of the final commitments to get “locked in”. Those nasty little “what ifs” make us second guess, doubt and scare us out of what could be special treats and pleasant rewards.

Or perhaps you are a bit like Jonah and Nineveh. Jonah 4 lets us in on Jonah’s secret: He didn’t head off to Tarshish because he was afraid, he really was throwing a little pity party and wanted God to have the Ninevites pay for their wicked ways…not repent and be granted mercy! Maybe you “keep away” to watch from the sidelines as someone struggles or fails when you could be in there sharing God’s love and mercy. Are you out for revenge and eager to watch the wicked get their “just desserts”? Even when God calls you to love and compassion?

I’m here with you, my friend. “Reese” and I are both on the journey to learning. Both of us are in training to give in to the gentle tug on the leash and avoid the keep away game. And if you are here, then maybe you are on the journey with us. Or maybe you are just starting the journey and are getting “leashed up” shall we say in this whole following God thing. I encourage you to share! mittonmusings never claims to be perfect. It’s simply sharing the adventure as we walk along. And I am pretty sure the treats in God’s reward pouch are worth it. Until next week, my friends!

Garbage In…

It’s been a long, stressful day, and I am tired and a wee bit grumpy. In fact, the last month or so has been long and wearisome. Covid-19 is taking a toll, the new puppy is full of energy, I started a new-to-me job, it’s been difficult deciding how to school the kids, church in person or church online… it’s been a challenge navigating this pandemic and all the seemingly normal tasks have had added demands and adjustments. Maybe you’ve been feeling it too. Perhaps my job is not to complain. Joy in circumstances and all that. I don’t know about you, but some days I have a hard time being joyful. Some days I have a hard time connecting and being the light of Jesus in ways I know that I ought. Some days I choose not to shine.

You wanna know what the new puppy did this week? He’s been barfing socks. He’s a labrador — and I know they have iron stomachs, but he has a particular affinity for socks… and with a house full of teenage boys, socks seem to be quite readily available. And he’s quick, too. And so, I have been panicking about intestinal obstructions, up at night worrying about possible major surgeries in our future for exploratory searches to find foreign bodies — and the guilt about not having enough energy to follow around the dog and his adventures in eating strange things. I was told not to worry “he throws them up whole”… and I wondered at this gift – until I got to see it for myself. Yup, an esophageal miracle: sport sock completely intact, gagged back up, packaged neatly in a thin film of bile. (Sorry * graphic warning* for those of you who are squeamish). It’s actually quite impressive in a sword swallowing magician kind of way… how did that little body encapsulate such a bulky thing and expel it, all while wagging it’s tail and happily playing for the last hour?

Alright, enough of the gory details — but I share them with you to explore some thoughts with me. I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase: “garbage in, garbage out”. It’s actually a computer reference, implying that what you enter into a software will influence the information the computer will spit back at you. Perhaps you’ve even experienced it as my new co-workers and I have as we navigated this new computer system implemented in the last few weeks. Unless you follow the correct steps, you don’t get to the place you need to be. And that can be frustrating. And so it is with life sometimes.

When your faith journey is “disconnected” or you’ve been entering in all the wrong stuff, it tends to come back up. Or come back out. And not in the way you want it to. We get grumpy, burnt out, and ill tempered. People say that you need some “self care”. A time to replenish and recoup. And although those words seem fostering and valid, I’ve been challenged recently about that whole idea of “self” care. If, as believers, we have died to self, are we feeding the wrong entity? If He is the vine and we are the branches, does watering the leaf do any good? Or is it better to quench the roots? To dig deep and choose nourishing food that sustains and grows us. Not fillers made of old socks. Do hot baths and candles really replenish the soul?

Do Hot Baths and candles really replenish the soul?

Now, please, don’t get me wrong… I love a good spa day as well as the next girl. And I’ve convinced myself I “need” them once and a while too. Yet, no amount of warm drinks and essential oils are going to repair a damaged heart. It takes the life giving, supernatural gift of grace given to us by a perfect heavenly father. I’m saddened that we are missing some forms of our corporate worship connections during this pandemic. Even being the introvert I am — fellowshipping with other believers fuels the flame of my heart. It is the soul food I sometimes require.

So, what of it, my friend? Are you spending your time devouring sports socks only to throw them up later? Guilty as charged here this week. There. I even admit it to the whole internet. I’m not connected in the way I need to be. But there is always tomorrow…