Seasons of Change

As many of you know, our little urban garden is up and running again. Thanks to lockdown and Covid-19, we were ahead of our game and started seeds indoors this year. As always, there are learning curves with such things and we’ve had various degrees of success. Traditionally, the long weekend in May is a fairly “safe” time to transition seedlings to outside. So, last week we did just that… off our little seed babies went into the ground with high hopes of bountiful growth. And then it snowed.

Frost damage on Corn crop (photo from agriculture.com)

I see my neighbour (who has a beautiful garden) promptly shielded her tomatoes with warming pots. A seasoned farmer I follow on Instagram threw tarps over her raised beds in a last ditched effort to protect her asparagus that finally will be big enough to harvest after waiting for three long years. We did not. Our second attempt at scraggly corn shoots look very shriveled. The others may survive with a little prayer and a lot of hope.

“Farming” is a risky business. I recently searched out what our “growing zone” is, as this seems to be a fact I should know. The website starts out with “…To determine zone number, Canada uses a formula that consists of 7 climate variables. Canada’s hardiness map is divided into 9 zones…” and continues on for about 9 paragraphs and ends with “…website includes several links intended to clarify the hardiness zones, but which seem instead to be very complicated and confusing.” 1 Ya think?? Hats off to the men and women who make their livelihood on the whims of the weather and their wage on the likelihood of storms and forest fires. They say that in Canada, we can have all four seasons in one week… and it is true. Weather is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable too.

Which had me musing about the seasons of life this week. Psychology tells us there are “stages” we go through in our average life span — seasons of growth and development, seasons of change. Many of you have eluded to these in your comments as we muse along together. That’s the beauty of exploring and sharing our faith journeys, too… we encourage each other as we go. The scriptures are scattered with references, not only to the physical four seasons we see throughout the year, but also in our “spiritual seasons” as well. God reminds us through nature how our world is in constant change… and He designed it that way.

I often question: why? Why did He design it that way? Why do things have to change? Why do we have to grown old? Why has He allowed the corona virus to infect the world at this moment? Why did He choose to come to earth at the moment He did? What will the future hold for us? Seasons of bitter cold, and seasons of preparation, growth and warmth. Each season holds something to offer, but none of them are ever perfect. Weeds grow just as rapidly in summer as the sunflowers do. Yet, the constant through it all is God alone. James 1:17 tells us there is no variation or shadow of change in the Father. We can take courage in this thought. Even in the midst of life’s seasonal changes.

My zinnias (a first time plant for me!) have sprouted cute little dichotomous leaves all tucked up in a row. I’m not sure how the frost will affect them. I’m also not sure what life will hold for us in the next year, or the next month, or even this week ahead… but we move forward through the season, and grow and adapt just as God designed it to be. As will you. Blessings fellow seedlings!

  1. (2020, https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/plant-hardiness-zones/)

Blissful Rest

One of my favourite things to do on the weekends is sleep in. After a long work week, there is nothing more I look forward to than snuggling under the covers way past the alarm. I am sure there are those of you who are reading this with great distain, saying things like “but the day is half over”, “you’d be so much more productive if you got up early” and “it’s not good for you to get that much sleep”. My response? Bah, humbug. This nighthawk loves her comfort zone.

According to my internet searches, the average person sleeps about a third of their lifetime, some 229,961 hours of blissful rest. On average, we are sleeping a few hours less than we did 10 years ago. Something about workaholics, artificial light and caffeine… again, I say, Bah humbug. Studies say that the women are sleeping longer than men, but 55 per cent of Canadian women aged 18 to 64 reported troubles falling asleep or staying asleep “sometimes/most of the time/ all of the time.” Only 43 per cent of men reported the same trouble in drifting off. I guess I am not your average woman. (wink, wink)

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Of course, there are seasons in life when sleep is precious. New parents know what I am talking about. Come to think of it, parents of teenagers know what I am talking about too. Especially teenagers that can drive your car. I can’t wait until those senior years when naps come back into your life with abundance. Now, I will admit, there are times when I think… I should get up and be more productive, I should get my devotional or prayer time on track and get that hour in the first of the day. Don’t farmers have to be up at the crack of dawn for their chickens? Rooster crow and all that? I might be in trouble. I am just not a morning person.

I’ve heard there are people that have trouble sleeping. Sorry, can’t relate. I’m one of those, hit the pillow and be snoring 5 minutes later folk. And it is not because I don’t think about things…the blog is called mittonmusings, after all. I just don’t let my mind or my worries keep me up at night. Blessed, I know. Apologies to those of you who struggle with this, I understand it is a difficult thing to “turn off” your brain and shut down. I’ve heard there are tips and tricks to master this… google it.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

NASB

I don’t know who might need to hear that today, but there it is. It’s a pretty straightforward answer. No gimmicks, no oils, no teas, no white noise or pills. When your mind is racing and the thoughts won’t slow down, true rest is only found in the one who sees your every waking hour… and your sleeping ones. His peace and assurance is truly comforting. May you rest well, my beloveds.

Prepare a Place

Have you ever been in the market for a new home? Our eldest is preparing to move into her very own apartment next month, and will be needing to start “adulting” soon… setting up bills, arranging for furniture and necessary appliances… like a coffee machine! Not to mention the budget balancing in order to pay for all those things! Things are about to get real!

I remember when we bought our first house. (It’s still the one we live in, so I guess it’s our only house!) My two requirements were: a big bay window and an “eat-in” kitchen. The house we bought had neither. Technically, there was a small table in our kitchen, and our original, large, living room aluminum window was eventually replaced with a bay window… but not the romantic window seat with throw pillows that I had imagined. But it’s our home. We’ve raised our kids here, and now the dog lives here, too, and eats the cushions that are left.

Photo by Harmen Jelle van Mourik on Unsplash

The hubby and I often swing into open houses, just for fun. One day, in the dead of winter, we toured a 5-car-garaged mansion with heated drive ways and a child’s walk in closet the size of our master bedroom. I’m sure the realtor guessed that we were well out of her league with our mis-matched winter woolies on and rosy-cheeked expressions, but she graciously showed us around the chef worthy kitchen with its fancy Italian granite counter tops and copper faucets in gold trim. We ooo’d and aww’d appropriately and told her we “would think about it”.

It’s fun to dream about your ideal dwelling place, isn’t it? I can spend hours on Pinterest designing a room, or scrolling through “realtor.ca” and seeing what is available in our price range (especially since Covid restrictions have limited drive by open houses). I love a good reno show where they take an old home and make it “new”. I particularly love century homes and the restoration of old wood beams and fine, spiral staircases with polished banisters….oooh, goosebumps! Homes with character — and a yard with a chicken coop! Gets my juices flowing, I tell ya!

Honestly, I am a terrible decorator. Mostly because I’m cheap and lazy, and although I love to spend the time looking… rarely does it filter down into our actual living space. These days, I’m lucky if the dishes get put away, let alone displayed in open shelving with antique brass fixtures. Occasionally, I am inspired, and do a few Insta-worthy tasks. Here are a few I posted about in the past: Hosting a Fall Brunch, Home Made Lovely, Christmas Oranges (Yes, I did finally make the garland!!) and How much is Too Much? If you follow along with my blogging journeys, I’m sure you will see more, as I tend to write about such things.

My latest collection of books for review included a devotional called A Place Called Heaven. And although I may not write a formal review for it, the first devotion had me musing about this very topic: preparing a place. God is currently preparing a place for me in Heaven. Can you imagine what it might look like? Spiral wood banisters with grand cathedral stained glass windows? Chicken coops in the backyard? Real adult coffee makers on standby for when St. Peter comes for a chat? But even more than that, what am I doing now to prepare for that place? For my eternal destination with the Creator of the Universe? Am I living day-to-day with hopes for the future in my heavenly dwelling? Who am I asking to share the journey with me? Serious questions to make me think.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2 (American Standard Version)