Technical Difficulties

Well my friends, this post is going to be late. Apologies to those who read early on Tuesdays, but it just is what it is. I wanna say that I had “technical difficulties” and there was trouble uploading or downloading or syncing or something. Truth is, I’m just lazy and never got around to posting until now. But for the sake of saving my blogging status, let’s just say that there were technical difficulties, okay?

It’s what I’ve been musing about a little this week. That weird and wonderful subject again: technology. It’s a topic I chat about now and then, not because I am a big fan, nor am I techno-savvy or in anyway an expert, but because I am just the opposite. Self taught and struggling through. Our world is so automated now. Especially in this 2020 pandemic: Zoom chats, iphone messages, and let’s just take a moment to ponder how many students are now being educated via a screen! Bless your hearts, educators who have stepped up and had to put yourself out there “online” for all to see. If you saw my “unboxing” in last week’s post, you’ll note that technology (especially videos) are really not my thing. Leave me a printed note and this girl’s a happy clam. But, I digress.

The Mitton crew had a moment last week where we did have some technical difficulties, however. Minor, for sure, but our computer “upgraded” and suddenly we were locked out of our usual password. After numerous tries (why do we always check? It’s like pressing the elevator button over and over — it doesn’t make it work faster but we are convinced it does) we finally ended up changing the password and moving on. I’m positive ya’ll have experienced this in one form or another. Or you need to access an account you rarely visit and have forgotten the password? Or they make you change it — oh, and not to one you have used in the past, oh no, it must be new, with 8 letters and a symbol, but not an uppercase letter, nor your mother’s maiden name but contain the number 3 and be linked to your first pet… you get the picture.

I know, I know, Computer systems are there to help. Just think of all the advances we have made since the internet! Efficiency is the goal. Fast speeds and 5G’s. And it’s not the computer program’s fault if something glitches, it’s the user’s error, right? I’m learning a new system at work, and am struggling to remember the “steps” to get to certain screens. I know the information I want is there and available — but how do I access it? You hear me, right? I’m not alone here, right? All these thoughts have been swimming in my head this week and I’ve been trying to make connections (literally!). Are computer systems like our spiritual walk? We serve a perfect God who has all sorts of information available to us if we only knew how to take the correct steps. We are fallible humans who fall one too many times into the category of “user error”. We get “locked out” of blessings and joys because we haven’t linked in recently to the program and God’s plan for us.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Perhaps you’re debating the pros and cons of physical, real life connections versus “online”. Does God still work via the internet? I hope so, or this blog is not worth my time. Are you and your church leaders struggling to serve your communities “from a distance”? Should you open up the building or continue on YouTube? Are you a parent trying to plan for a safe return to school, but still being supportive of your teachers and your child’s friends? I want things to be different. I want things to be “real” and not the polished Instagram version of faith. I want to have truth and not algorithm based “likes”. Yet, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I’m limiting God too much. Surely He works above and beyond the confines of the internet. Of course the one who created the universe is not limited by digital glitches and binary systems. My faith is small. For Christ does not have “technical difficulties”. May you and I both be encouraged by that thought this week.

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.

Celebrating Freedom

Happy Victoria day! Happy Belated Mother’s day! Happy Beginning of Summer! Happy who-knows-how-many day of Lockdown! I don’t know about you, but I am feeling the need to wish you a happy something. To celebrate. To move forward. To move on. Things are slowly, slowly starting to open up around us, but we are still being cautious, and many of our “normal” summer events have already been cancelled. Covid-19 and the pandemic of 2020 will cause us to question how we do things for sometime. Life will go on, but we need to be prepared for changes going forward. We usually spend this first long weekend of summer at our trailer, opening up, dusting off the winter, and looking forward to sunny days and slower times. Instead, we are still home. We’ve been doing slower days for three months already! Home — but still keeping ourselves busy. We are ahead of schedule this year with our little urban garden, and the youngest has been itching to get our seedlings in the ground. This weekend was spent in preparation!

We expanded our growing space this year by purchasing two raised beds… and 3 cubic yards of soil! (which is a whack load of dirt, lemme tell ya!) I guess if I can’t have the farm, we are going to bring it to me, by golly! Now, let me premise the rest of the story by saying we are not great at building projects. We have limited experience and even more limited tools. But where there is a will, there is a way, right? And, so, we spent the entire day building, levelling, shovelling and soon — planting! I thought, great — I will blog about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5. Seemed like a gardening-type verse to focus on. Yet, as I read the passage over this week and meditated on it, the context, and what I might muse about, I was convicted by the following verse:

“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Galatians 5:26 (NIV)

So much of my isolation has been spent scrolling through news feeds, searching for ideas, plans, gathering information. This is not inherently wrong, of course, and it has become part of our lives — especially now, when everything has “moved online”. And so I muse: How much have I envied others as I scrolled? Have I become conceited in my own posts as I “brag” about what I am doing at home? I’ve found myself looking at the newscaster’s artwork on the walls as I listen to the news. I wonder about the kitchen gadgets and the furniture and lack of dirty dishes as I look up new recipes. I see the actors and actresses without their camera crews and wonder how they pull off their great looks without help. What about those Zoom Meetings? Perhaps you’ve been seeking out worship and devotions and watched churches who can put on heavenly displays. Or maybe you’ve been like me — totally jealous of the Instagram stories of vast acres in the hills, with perfect rows of green growth… and chickens.

photo credit: silvertulipgifts (Etsy)

The Mitton crew has had a good weekend. Our garden beds turned out great, and we worked together as a family. We spent time outdoors and got a lot accomplished. I am proud and feel good about the things we did. We have reason to celebrate those things. Still, I am reminded to be humble and remember that God has blessed us with the means and the abilities. As He has blessed those I see online. I must remember not to listen to the voices that remind me of the doubts and insecurities I have. The ones that tell me what I have is “not good enough” . The envious thoughts of “if only…”

Oh my friends, I hope and pray that as I post each week and share my pictures and muses with you, that you understand that we are on the journey together. Our lives are far from perfect, and those on the screens are far from perfect too. We all need a Saviour and the fruit of the Spirit. It’s hard to balance dreams and reality, isn’t it? To curb our envy, and still pursue lofty goals. Galatians 5 reminds us that we were called to be free as we walk in the Spirit, and not be burdened by the desires of the flesh. It is my prayer for us on this long weekend. Here’s to celebrating that kind of freedom!