Reduce Reuse Refurbish and Repent

Don’t you love the way your computer seems to “know” what you’ve been researching? You search up one little thing and you are bombarded with ads for that thing for the next two weeks. Or you happen to “like” a video or post, and your inbox is over run with similar posts and opposing views from like people…even those folks you haven’t heard from in awhile. Isn’t technology wonderful? Algorythms and secret formulas that lock you in to keep you engaged… Hopefully, mittonmusings.com is on your radar and we get the repeat customers!

“Flip”

Blatant plugs aside, my feeds have been filled with “furniture flips” lately. Or thrift finds that people refurbish and renew. Then these folks go on to make a financially significant side hustle… making thousands of dollars in seemingly quick and easy revenue. I don’t know if “flipping” is as easy as they make it out to be on television … but there it is, tempting me to try. I love to thrift, but I don’t have that knack that some people seem to have. They easily see the beauty and potential in long forgotten objects. I want to, though. I love to see things made “anew”. Plus, I don’t like to see things simply tossed in the trash because they are no longer “fashionable”. Hence the hoard of craft supplies in my basement. I’ll use them someday. I will. And they will be beautiful….

I got thinking aobut that little prefix: “re”. Reuse, recycle, refurbish, renew… and repent. According to dictionary.com, that little prefix is defined as:

a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition, or with the meaning “back” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion:regenerate; refurbish; retype; retrace; revert.

Which makes sense when we are talking about redo or refurbish. We can even “recycle” lots of things over and over again. But does “repent” have the same prefix? Maybe not. Still, for the sake of argument, let’s decide for the moment that it does. Or maybe it revolves around the second half of the definition and one must move back before moving forward. That sounds a lot like how I repent. Or maybe how we should repent. We do something we shouldn’t and for a second, we need to step back and take ownership. They say that we have to “name it and claim it” in order to change our behaviours for good. In order to move on with clean slates.

It’s like that piece of furniture or house we want to renovate. Sometimes you have to strip off the old paint and pull off the wallpaper to really get to what’s underneath. Only then can you start afresh and move forward. Do you see it? I used to have to remind my kids about this. “Saying Sorry” means very little unless you actually change your behaviour. True, sometimes the “saying sorry” is the first step in stripping off the old, but true change only occurs when you keep going forward.

Then there is the “again and again” factor. Ever fall into the trap of “here you go, God – I’m done with this or that”, but then we take it back again and recoil into our same worries, sins and destructive behaviours. It’s tough. I graciously acknowledge that this is the hardest part of our faith journeys. The one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, day to day journey that leads us heavenward. But….

But. The reason I love “flipping” videos so much is the before and after. The “new” from the old is sometimes so different, the transformation is breath taking. And so it is with us, my friends. As we become new creatures in Christ, the old is (sometimes slowly) stripped away, revealing the true beauty that we were designed and destined to become. Here’s to one more step forward… and a little “re” now and then.

The Best of the Harvest Season!

Welcome back to another week of mittonmusings! It was a lovely fall day, today, and I reflected as I walked the puppy in the sunshine. I also bought a couple of pots of beautiful fall mums for my front porch. * Sigh* Tis the season of sweaters, pumpkins and corn husks! In Canada, the seasonal change of autumn marks another opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors… the leaves begin to change colours and the crisp air reminds us it’s time to prepare for winter.

It sparked a little debate recently – this idea of “the fall season” – and all it’s goodies. What would you say is the true fall taste or flavour? Are you a die hard pumpkin spice latte fan? Or is apple fritter and warm cider your go-to? A few years ago there was pumpkin spice everything!! Maybe apples are passé and only come around in September when it is back to school and all that.

What gets you excited about in autumn?? Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

Either way, Covid has put a damper in all the farm visits and pick your own adventures. No fall fairs happening… at least not the traditional ones. I don’t know about you, but drive by visits simply can not be the same as getting down and dirty with some farm critters… am I right? No cider samples. No corn on a stick. No candy apples and fritters. Hmmmn. Smell all the smells. Taste all the tastes. Hug some chickens.

The Harvest Season has always been a time of rejoicing — even in Bible times. Jews celebrated the grain harvest and the Feast of the Tabernacles with abundant joy and thanksgiving for all God’s good gifts. He has provided, not only from the Earth, but through His teachings and blessings. It was a time to gather with friends, family and yes, even foreigners, to celebrate and share the blessings… both physical and spiritual. Covid restrictions aside. Here’s to hugs and good food!

Interestingly, the Spring Harvest was the Israelite’s more “important” time in terms of crop gathering. The major crops of the land in that day (and maybe even now?) were wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey. Wheat and barley were the staple of the people in those days and constituted over fifty percent of the average person’s total caloric intake, followed by legumes (e.g. lentils), olive oil, and fruit, especially dried figs (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE-66 CE, 1992, page 129). Grain harvest was in the spring, so technically, it was more vital to their survival than the fall Harvest. I think Canada only gets rain and worms in spring. Still, the fall festivals were the ones to enjoy! Be merry, the Bible tells us!

And yet, no matter when the crops are ready, the point of the celebration is the same. The Bible describes our heavenly father as the “Lord of the Harvest” (Matthew 9:38). You see, the blessings and provisions we enjoy don’t actually belong to us… they belong to the “Lord of the Harvest”. And His message is twofold: we are blessed, and we are blessed to bless others. Many of you will remember our “30 Days of Blessing” Challenge… we designed it to remind us of exactly that fact. It was a practical way to share a little kindness each day… not only to ourselves but to those around us.

And so, my friends, as you drive thru and savour your next pumpkin spice latte, or devour your next apple fritter, remember that God’s beauty is not only in the falling leaves, but in the choices we make each day. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. It’s difficult for me to see the needs of others easily. Some of you are truly gifted in this way and are constantly doing good works. I need reminders. Maybe that’s why God made so many markers out there: fall colours, sweet smells, delicious tastes, cool breezes. Maybe that was His was of saying, Look! I am the Lord of the Harvest, and I’ve made all this for you!

Be blessed, friends! Happy Fall!

The Waiting Game

Have you ever had to wait for something? Perhaps you’ve been waiting a little longer these past few years – wow – years of the global pandemic. Things have been at a standstill and we are “waiting” for things to grow, change, move forward… Everything seems to take longer. We voted today in Canada, and we were told the process would take longer as everyone kept their social distance, and polling stations were shuffled in order to control crowd sizes. Our little crew moved along quite quickly and we didn’t have too much trouble. But you get it, right? Line ups, cues, and the like, are a lesson in patience.

And then there is the unknown. Waiting for decisions to be made. Waiting for lab reports to run. Waiting for news to arrive. What will be the answer? How will that outcome change me? Will I be part of the change or simply part of the wait? Any expectant mama knows all about this waiting game. As the little one grows, we become totally attached… emotionally, physically and mentally. And then when the waiting is over… well that baby rocks your whole world. But first, you have to wait.

I’ve been waiting for something for a little while now. I know the timing is not right, but I’m still eagerly awaiting. I anticipate and plan and “prepare”… but I’m still stuck in the waiting stages. And to be honest, I hate it. I’m not one for quick decisions, but I do like to see progress once a decision is made. I like to see that there is some movement forward. I’d even take movement backward, as long as there is movement. I don’t like the “stuck” in the proverbial purgatory of neither here nor there. Perhaps I’m not a very patient person. I have some flaws… patience is a virtue. We’ve written about this before. It’s still a hang up of mine. If you care to find out the sweet truth about patience being a virtue, you can read about it here. Moving on…

Each one of us must be patient at some point. It’s just the way life is. We learn the coping skills at a very young age. Breathe, cry, scream, yell, throw things… fester and mumble and complain… leave guilt ridden hints about how slow other people are… I guess your reactions depend on the thing you are being patient about. I was going to say you “mature” in your waiting game… but realistically there are plenty of grown adults who behave a lot like impatient toddlers. Cue drama. Two years old, or twenty two… same drama. Or is it? I know some very patient people. Those even keeled, totally “zen” folks who rarely get their feathers ruffled by having to wait. Is it a skill? Is it the way we are wired? Lemme know if you have an answer to this one, because I struggle with the “wait”.

Our pastor touched on this waiting game on Sunday’s study of Acts 1. Jesus told the disciples to “wait” for the gift I am sending you (i.e. the Holy Spirit, see Acts 1:4). Perhaps many of the disciples were like me… and not so good at the waiting game. They had seen some radical things happen in the short period before these words, and I am sure they were “chomping at the bit” to see the early church’s movement gain momentum. But Jesus told them to wait. If they had chosen not to wait, then what power would they receive at the day of Pentecost? One definition of waiting I found was this:

noun: “the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens”

I like it because it indicates steps. I like steps. Wait until this, or this…then this. This helps me get through my waiting. I can do this and this until this. Then wait. Until this….

The waiting game is not an easy game to master. It’s a learned skill. It takes some guts. It takes self control and patience. For many of us, waiting is a struggle. They say good things come to those who wait. This was certainly the case in Acts 1. I’m hoping it will be for me at the end of my waiting game… and I trust that God gives you the patience to wait as well. Until next week, my friends! I’ll be waiting!!