Faith Journey

Do you have a favourite car? I’m not a big car buff, so as long as the vehicle gets me from A to B safely, I’m happy. The eldest and I were chatting about cars recently — she wants a mini cooper. She has yet to get her driver’s license, and is nervous about driving, so thinks a cooper will be “safe” and easy to maneuver. The youngest wants a big truck for the same reasons. So many vehicles out there on the roads. So many choices for travelling. So many arguments and thoughts about what brand, what qualifications, what this, what that. Fuel mileage. Safety features. Electric?

Photo via the Car Connection

Remember the good old days where you shoved all your kids in the back of a big ol’ wood paneled station wagon and went “road tripping”? Seat belts? Not a thing. Car seats, ha! (Not that I am condoning such reckless behaviour…buckle up, people!) Yet, you understand, right? The ultimate road trip was fun. It was exciting to see who would barf first, or get all the alphabet letters in license plate guessing games. And trips back then were screen free! How did we ever survive?? How did our parents survive? And who was in charge of the map? A paper map… that had to be folded back together….

If you’ve followed along at mittonmusings.com for any length of time, you’ve certainly noticed our references to our “faith journeys” or our “spiritual journeys”. Maybe you are wondering what exactly that means. It’s what I’ve been thinking about recently as well. And there is no simple answer. Let’s start with the word “journey”. The simplest definition is this:

“an act of traveling from one place to another” or

“a long and often difficult process of personal change and development”

Oxford online dictionary

Those two statements may not be as simple as they appear. Journeys involve ups and downs and backwards and forwards. Not to mention pit stops along the way. “Faith” adds a deeper and even more complex thought to the definition. Faith in what? Faith in whom? Then we can chat about how does that faith affect the life choices you make on the journey? Spirituality can mean something quite different. I believe humans are intensely spiritual beings. We’ve been designed that way. Consequently, our world is relatively open to “spiritual” things these days. It’s when we draw lines and point fingers that things get complicated. No one wants to be intolerant. And I’m not talking about “church” or “religious beliefs”. Although they certainly play a role in the journey.

Let’s break it down a little more. A road trip begins and ends. There is a point A and a point B. How you get to point B from point A is up to you…. you can take the scenic route up the mountain and through the valleys, or straight across the highway. But the journey always starts with choices. Who or what will be the master of the journey? Who will be in the driver’s seat? Who will you trust to get you to your final destination and where will that be? The crew here at mittonmusings, hopes that driver will be the Christ of the living Bible. It’s who we’ve chosen to be in the driver’s seat of our spiritual journeys that will one day unite us with Him in Heaven. He’s our point A and Heaven is our point B. The Bible is our map and we are making stops along the way to share the experience with you! Are you ready to start the journey? Share with us! Follow along as we chat each week about our journey. And maybe a little bit about our favourite cars!

The Good OLD Days

Welcome back to another week of me feeling old. Wait. That didn’t come out right. Welcome to another week of being old. No. Thinking about being old? Thinking about old things. Yeah. That’s it. Welcome back to another week of musing about old things. I’ve been mulling this one around a bit, and trying to figure out what to pinpoint my thoughts on, but it doesn’t seem to be working. So, I’m just gonna jump right in and see where this post ends up, okay?

Old covered bridge near Kitchener-Waterloo

Okay, back to being old. Uh, I mean thinking about old things. I’ve been diving in to some “time period” books as of late. Now, I am no history buff, so I don’t devour stories of pioneer women locked into hardships and whirlwind romances, but I can appreciate the struggles of these ladies and trying to balance homemaking and being present in civil war times and ‘doing their part’ for the country. Or trying to live big dreams in a world where women are underappreciated and pegged into certain, shall we say, domestic rolls. Somehow, I think American history and the 1800’s seem to be a book genre all it’s own — and kudos to the authors who research such topics. Again, I’m no history buff, but it seems there are a lot of you out there who read these things.

I’m not so sure Canadian times were much different from their American counterparts, especially when it came to homemaking: we have apple pies and little houses on prairies here, too! And it is not just in my recent literature choices. In fact, I’ve been seeing lots of people “returning to their roots” as of late. Perhaps the pandemic of 2020 has allowed us the time to bake from scratch, sew and craft, and appreciate the “good old days” of family gatherings, game playing and gardening. Homesteading has become mainstream — especially for millenials. So what draws us to these old fashioned treasures? Do they hold a mystery of some sort?

A few weeks back, we took an impromptu, post Covid holiday to the Kitchener-Waterloo area in southern Ontario. With our new puppy. That, in itself, is an adventure, but I’ll try and stick to the topic. For those who are unfamiliar, this area is known for its large population of mennonite groups and such delights as the St. Jacob’s farmer’s market. A rich heritage and belief system of “old ways” and “traditions” (not to mention a plethora of mouth watering baked goods and fresh produce!) We’ve been numerous times and have enjoyed the bounty of harvest at several times of the year. This time, we ventured out of our traditional visitor spots and explored some ‘off the beaten path’ trails and smaller towns. We ate lunch at Bonnie Lou’s Cafe (on the patio with the pup) and the Mitton crew heartily recommend it! Oh, the pie….

We also stumbled upon “The West Montrose Covered Bridge” the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario, affectionately known as “the kissing bridge” because the wood covering allows for *ahem* some shadowed privacy. I suppose some traditions never die. Which brings me back to things of “old”. Why do we hold dear to traditions? Are they better ways? Does the future hold promise? Should we change for the sake of change? I don’t know. The jury is out for me on this muse. Some days I feel stuck in the middle of old school pad and paper vs. cell phone texts. Does church need to “get with the times” or be examples of time honoured traditional practice? Is the Bible “old fashioned”? Can Christians be relevant to this fast paced generation of instant gratification? Where does the balance lie?

Does it even come up in conversation anymore? What I do know is that God’s word is timeless. It has passed the test of times past and will continue to inspire and convict well into the future . It’s supernatural. It continues to reach even the youngest generation. Still, we need mentors and wise elders to council and enrich. And vibrant new voices to challenge and question. Perhaps our trip to the KW area was a good example for us: Modern highways and hotels and rich,homemade pies baked in tradition, all with a little love thrown in under the shadow of a covered bridge — for balance between the two worlds.

Fresh. Then Refresh.

Whew! It’s been a week. We’ve spent the last six days up north, house sitting for friends who have an even greater zoo than we do: Chickens, bunnies, dogs and more! Plus my kids, and a restless husband who thinks holidays must include several walks and trail exploring, makes for a busy, but full week of adventures! Not to mention our new (currently untrained) puppy added exhaustion to the list. Chores were to be done and early morning walks were on the agenda. No wonder farmers are in such great shape! However, we also spent some time just chillaxin’ on the porch reflecting in the sunshine. It was a different kind of ‘vacation’ – and perhaps many of you have experienced similar days during this pandemic. A forced rest, even.

The youngest of the Mitton crew lapped it up. She’s a lot like her mama — animal lover with a keen sense of devotion, and less inhibition and worry than I do now that I am older (and know more than I should). She was definitely in her happy place! Baby bunny cuddles and dog belly rubs are this girl’s zone. One of her favourite things to do was check the nesting boxes for chicken eggs. Poor birds were disturbed several times a day, as she hoped to discover their treasures… it was a bonus if the egg was still warm! One day we discovered the perfect egg. I know, weird thought… but really. It was the perfect egg shape, with rounded edges and ever-so-slight point at the top. A beautiful tan colour, dappled in a smooth textured shell with a few darker specks to give it just the right amount of shade. If I were a painter, it would be a perfect still life subject, nestled against a lightly stained wood grained table… but perhaps that’s not your thing. Just work with me, okay?

The perfect egg… what a treasure!

Nonetheless, the discovery of “the perfect egg” had me thinking about God’s provision. His treasures, given to us in nature. Rich colours of flowers and sunsets, the smell of morning dew, the ruggedness of flint rock cliffs, the softness of my new puppy’s fur. As we devoured fresh eggs one morning this past week, we talked about whether “fresh eggs” were different tasting. My verdict is yes, most definitely. Fresh always seems better! If you google “fresh” the top ads are all about food. Next come “natural based” skin care products…. and then something in Fortnite? That seemed a little off topic, but whatever. Summertime is an explosion of freshness! My socials are filled with farmer’s market produce and your country lakefront cottage pics. It seems like holidays are the perfect time to renew and refresh.

If you look up the definition of “fresh” and it’s similar based “refresh”, you’ll discover a myriad of definitions: not stale, pure, new, or recently come into existence. Even bold and brassy, as in don’t get “fresh” with me, young man. Interesting, eh? I recently embarked on a 5 day study/devotional on Refreshing. A big part of that “refreshing” is rest. Our physical bodies need that rest to recoup, recover and refresh. Our spiritual souls need that renewal again, too. It’s exciting when a piece of scripture becomes “new” again, isn’t it? Like fresh oxygen breathed in, our souls need a good cleansing every now and then as well.

a quote from my new devotional study

I’ve missed some of that worship as we’ve been isolating. It’s hard to have deep conversations and rich discussion via a webcam. Radio praises aren’t the same as revival concerts where fellow believers are singing from the heart, and straight up to heaven! But God is still very much present, and very much behind the scenes, preparing our hearts for revival, renewal and refreshment. Perhaps many of you have been forced to “rest” right now. To reflect on what is important. Maybe others of you are looking to “refresh” and start anew. I think it is a God thing. This desire to reflect and gather perspective. To assess and refocus. Then you are able to appreciate small treasures, and reflect on the simple things that God gives us — like the perfect backyard chicken’s egg.