A Season of Growth

Back when school was actually in, and I was musing about if homework was actually necessary, (Ha! Little did I know!) there was a lot of talk about this idea of “growth mindset” among educators and how it influences our students and how they learn. I suppose, it really is how we all learn. In case you have no idea what I am talking about, here is the general idea:

growth mindset, proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, describes people who believe that their success depends on time and effort. People with a growth mindset feel their skills and intelligence can be improved with effort and persistence. They embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism and seek out inspiration in others’ success.

Those who hold a growth mindset believe that they can get better at something by dedication of time, effort and energy. Working on one’s flaws, and the process—not the outcome—are the  most important components. With time and practice, people with a growth mindset believe they can achieve what they want. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset.

From: https://tophat.com/glossary/g/growth-mindset/

There is some confuddled methodologies and thought processes surrounding this whole idea — but it is what I have been musing about this week. “Growth”. I’ve been thinking about literal growth — changes you can physically see, as well as the more mystical, unseen growth, that we all do as people when faced with situations like this global pandemic we are all experiencing right now. Three weeks in, and people are starting to talk about the consequences. I’m curious to see how this will change us. Will it change us for the better? Or will we revolt and protest? Only time will tell. Speaking of time; it is finally starting to be “spring-like” around here and, like I have said so many times before, time has a way of moving forward… worldwide pandemic or not. The buds are starting to show up on the trees. We have started our little seeds and the kids have cleaned up the backyard garden (hurray for quarantine — we are ahead this year!) and we are dreaming about fresh veggies! We also fostered some baby ducklings for 3 weeks — which was definitely a growth project! Those tiny things grew fast! I’m not sure I am cut out for farming — as much as this city girl dreams about it, (constantly) it would certainly take some “growing” on my part. Perhaps these cuties will be a topic for a future muse.

Which brings me back to my muse. I think growth is a unique entity. We have “growth spurts” and we have long, slow, lengthy times of maturing that seemingly takes forever. It’s hard to see growth in those times. We think that nothing new is happening. Like a young tween waiting to get curves or the first facial hair. Often, those are times of renewal and recovery (or perhaps discovery?) — so that all the conditions are right for good growth. It’s been a month of ups and downs for the Mitton crew during lockdown 2020. I get excited about a new project or homeschool, and just as quickly get sad and frustrated. Some days I dream big, and other days I can’t seem to get moving at all. They tell me that’s normal. It seems we are in a season of growth.

So as I navigate this time, I’ve been encouraged by the words of Lamentations 3. Verses 22 and 23 are the most famous, of course, and the most uplifting when it comes to sparking Hope and Encouragement:

But it is interesting to note that the full chapter is a lament. It’s not that encouraging. It’s full of despair and depression. Then the writer comes to the realization of God’s ancient idea of a growth mindset. Each morning is a new day. And God’s love is faithful. It’s a process, with ebbs and flows of good and bad. A journey with a goal, where success is measured by time, effort and persistence. And failure is part of the process.

So, what about you all? Are you feeling stuck in the lament? Are you wallowing in the darkness of unemployment, uncertainty or just simple boredom? Tomorrow is a new day. Filled with new doses of mercy, light and hope from a God whose faithfulness is timeless. May you be encouraged, my friend, by the journey itself. Your successes will be achieved through time, effort and tiny steps forward. Oh… I am certainly not there either. My mind dreams big, but the flesh is weak, and laziness, to be truthful, is a whole lot easier. Share me some love, okay? Post a thought, some encouragement, or something you’re doing to make this season of “slow growth” helpful for all of us! I love to hear your comments.

Want some ideas for some things to do during your “slow growth” time at home? Check out these posts: How to Stay Motivated Brag Tags DinoSaurs or browse through my old muses like the Colouring Party!


Is it Okay to Doodle in Church?

Welcome back! This week, we have a guest post from my friend, Ruth. She inspires me on so many levels! So, I asked her to give me her thoughts on art and worship! I hope she inspires you, too!

Hello! I’m so honoured to be a guest blogger here on mittonmusings. My name is Ruth, and when I’m not working at my full time job in technology, I love to paint and draw. You’ll often find me doodling in meetings and during church. I love bright, colourful things and so the recent colouring party postings have been right up my alley!

I’d like to share with you today a series of questions and answers with my thoughts about colour and art.

Let’s start with an easy question: what’s my favourite colour?

Ok, so that’s not really so easy because I don’t know that I have one particular favourite. However, if I absolutely had to choose, I suppose it would be red. But what I really like about red is how it comes alive and vibrates with life when put beside certain blues and greens. When I’m painting, I love to start with a red under painting and then layer greens and blues on top, allowing the red to peek out in places, making the painting really come alive with colour.

Ruth’s “waterlily” with red underpainting

Why do I doodle in meetings and in church?

Contrary to my husband’s teasing, doodling while listening to a sermon isn’t a distraction. It actually helps keep me stay focused by not allowing my mind to wander and think about the milk I need to add to the grocery list or a work challenge that I’m struggling with. This article from Harvard Health Publishing supports what I’ve experienced.

Doodling is different from drawing in that there is no planning or prior thought to it. I never know exactly what will end up on the page! I just start with a shape and then keep adding to it. They say that doodles can tell you something about a person — but I don’t know what my doodles say about me, except that most of them end up looking quite floral, so I suppose that’s the gardener and nature lover in me.

How does art make me feel?

Drawing and painting connect me to the person that God created me to be. Let me try to explain. For many years, after I graduated from university, I stopped making art. I was working hard on building my career and then I met my husband and had babies. And I began to feel like I had lost hold of something important. A piece of myself had gotten lost and, even with all the good in my life, I desperately needed to find it. When I started painting again, it just felt so right.

Ruth’s sermon doodles

When I’m drawing or painting, I’m connecting with my subject in a very intimate manner. In the process of painting, I get to explore and really get know God’s creation. I feel immensely privileged. While I’m painting, and I’m in the flow, it’s the best feeling in the world.

How can art and colour be incorporated into worship?

Art has long been entwined with the church. Look no further than the beautiful stained glass windows of many churches. Can it be used to worship? Absolutely! A verse, a story, a sermon – any of these (and more) can be inspiration for worshipful art. It doesn’t need to be representational either. Creating abstract art can be a very fulfilling and spiritually rich experience.

When you think of God, what colours do you see? When you think of His love, His creation, His sacrifice? Use colour to express your thoughts and feelings of your Creator and His creation.

Some of my favourite tools and products that I use to create art

And finally, let me leave you with some practical information. Here are some of my favourite products and tools, all of which can be found at your local art store:

•        Pigma Micron pens. My preference is the 01 but I also use the thicker 03 and 05 pens as well.

•        Sketchbook. Any one with good, thicker paper will do and allow you to use pen without bleeding through.

•        Golden acrylic paints. They may be more expensive but they are worth it!

•        Birch board and mounted birch board. I prefer using wood over using canvas as there’s not as much “give” and I have more control. It’s also a smoother surface to paint on.

Is it Okay to Doodle in Church? Thoughts from a guest blogger!
You can find more about Ruth at http://www.ruthlindamorton.com

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on art and colour in the comments below. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook.

I Still Believe Movie Review

Have you ever thought about the colours of the stars at night? It’s true! Stars can range in colour from deep red to bright blue and pure white! A star’s color indicates its temperature, (red = coolest, white = hottest), composition and relative distance from earth. Its luminosity indicates its size, (the brighter it is, the larger it is). There are many colored stars in the sky and, with a little planning, you can see a rainbow of star colours from your own backyard. I’ve brought the colours of stars to your attention because we’re adding it in to a Bonus Colouring Party Post!! You’ll want to read it, because it includes a giveaway!!

The beloved and I were recently granted a pre-screening of Lionsgate’s newest faith-based movie, I Still Believe, directed by the Erwin Brothers (creators of I Can Only Imagine). It’s based on the inspiring true love story of Christian singer-songwriter, Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss. And let me tell you: Hollywood is making leaps and bounds in Christian themed, wholesome, but still entertaining, movies! Okay, it’s not as epic as Lord of the Rings, but the cinematography is good, the soundtrack is fabulous, and we’ve come a long way from the faith-based, family-friendly films of old. Many of you know that I hate a cheesy, gag-inducing love story — so if I can recommend this one, you gotta know it is worth your ticket. But bring the tissues. It’s one of those. Here’s a sneak peek at the trailer:

The star studded cast of KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Shania Twain and Gary Sinise portray the story of Jeremy Camp’s early beginnings in Christian music and his marriage to Melissa. It’s a story of young love in the midst of a scary diagnosis — and Still Believing that God has a bigger purpose and plan! If you’ve been following mittonmusings for any length of time, you will know that’s a theme that we muse about often. Our life journeys are not so simple, but if God has a plan… there will be a purpose fulfilled! So, I am excited to be promoting a theme of hope that means so much to us here in our little blip of the internet.

It’s been over eighteen years since Camp wrote the words to his song “I Still Believe” in response to Melissa’s story. Yet his faith and trust in God almighty is still vibrant and clear. His life was changed when he met Melissa, and he hopes the movie will be one more step in sharing her story. If you’d like to see more from the filmmakers and those involved in the movie, I’ve posted “the Heart of the Story” here on my Facebook page. God didn’t design our world to include suffering, pain and crappy diseases like cancer — but the Bible promises that He will work all things to His glory and good. And He uses you and me — single stars in this huge expanse of time and space, to write the stories that point us heavenward. Melissa’s character reminds us of this in the movie when she says her suffering will all be worth it if one person’s life is changed because of her story. And so it is with us.

So why stars? It’s a little side plot that Melissa’s character uses to remind us all that even the most troubled stars often shine the brightest. And supernovas can give us some of the most beautiful images (and colours!) in the galaxy — if only we take the time to Still Believe.

The Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant (pixels)

We’ll get back to our regular “colouring party” posts on Tuesday, but because I Still Believe is opening in Canada on Friday, March 13th we wanted to give you this bonus post today — and Give you a chance to win tickets for the show!!! Valued at $25 Canadian, it’s just in time for March break! Take the kids! Who’s bringing popcorn?! Sorry friends farther away, This Movie ticket Giveaway is only open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) who are over the age of majority. The contest closes March 15th, 2020 at 11:59pm EST. Items you receive may vary from those shown. Click HERE to enter!