Blogging from the Heart

I want to start this post by saying “thank you”. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading this post all the way through to the end and supporting me by becoming a “follower”. Thank you for encouraging me by sharing and commenting. This blog thing started as an excuse for me to learn some technology. To broaden the scope of my horizons. If you’re curious, you can read my first ever post here. I don’t consider myself a writer, nor do I have ambitions to publish a book or creative set of poems or muses. I write from the heart about weird and wonderful things that happen, here, in our neck of the woods. Things I think about, things I question, things I struggle with. I also blog about things I love. My muses have blossomed and bloomed and it has become easier to share. Especially with regards to my faith journey.

I didn’t start out trying to be a #jesusblogger. I had no intention of writing devotionals or bible studies, nor do I wish to be the next woman of faith speaker. And yet, my muses quickly morphed into my ministry. We launched 30 Days of Blessings as a side project and I’ve learned more and more about websites. A self proclaimed introvert, it somehow became easier to share my faith journey, here, “on paper”, than from behind a pulpit. That’s one of those things about your own little space on the internet. It seems private, and yet it is not! It’s a tool. And any tool can be used for both good and evil. My hope is that you will find my space used as a platform for encouragement, growth, challenge, and to make you think. I don’t intend it to criticize or point fingers at any one source.

You will notice I have no affiliate links, no brand collaborations, no sponsors are knocking down my doors wanting to advertise. In fact, I pay extra to not have pop ups and advertising flashing across the screen on my homepage. Am I against it? No. I follow and read many a blogger and instagrammer who earn their living through influencing. It’s just not where I am at. I have no intention of quitting my job and blogging full time to earn thousands of dollars online. It’s my learning curve. Plus, I promised my family that mittonmusings would still allow me time for them.

Words on a page may not mean the same to you as they do to me….

Some weeks are difficult. It takes time to research, write, design decent photos and schedule and post. I’ve committed to weekly blogs and stayed up late to finish them. I have no technical background — so post many of my social media follow ups by individual upload. I don’t know how to keep stats and follow algorithms and make perfect SEO posts. Yet, I read every comment and see every follower. I learn and grow by studying and through the help of others. I hope that I encourage and shed light with each post. But the internet is tricky. Words on a page may not mean the same to you as they do to me. My attempt at humour may not come across as such. My Canadian references may not apply to followers in the Philippines. My opinions and muses about things that happened two years ago may have changed and grown from when they were originally written about. Which leads me open to criticism. And vulnerability. An introvert’s worst nightmare.

I recently stumbled upon a fellow faith blogger who shared my fears — and yet encouraged me that despite the vulnerability… jesusbloggers can still be salt and light to a darkened world! According to thinkaboutsuchthings.com, more than half the world’s population in 2019 has access to the internet. That’s over 4 billion humans online. It’s estimated that 3.48 billion people now use social media in some form or another. The internet is our mission field! (and yes, I do link and share on this blog! They are references for you to check out and discover — as I do).

I have two degrees hanging on my wall. I study and work hard. I love learning. But I am far from perfect. My words don’t always convey the meaning I want them to. You may disagree with my views and my opinions. But, I encourage you to be part of the conversation. Please don’t write me off because of something you find here. I challenge you to question and discover along with me. I am one in a sea of opinions. If you join the adventure and follow along, you will learn a bit more about the imperfect me, and how, through a whole lotta grace and mercy, I’m learning to write from the heart.

Toothpaste Caps are Useful Tools

So I need to vent a little bit. Please bear with me. A woman in (midlife) crisis is allowed to blow off a little steam once and awhile! Can anyone please, please tell me why on earth my smart and darling children cannot figure out how to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube?! I am forever finding toothbrushes back in their container, towels on the rack, but always the toothpaste cap sitting next to the tube. Really?! And before you flood the comments saying that I can get those tubes with caps attached… yeah, tried that…cap attached but left open!

It always seems to be those little things that keep coming back to bug me. The toothpaste cap, the shower curtain left open, the lights forever on in completely empty rooms, the cupboard doors left open, the pile of shoes at the front door, the … well, you get my point. We always seem to have some little quirk, some little thing that just drives us crazy. And it is usually something that someone else does. Our quirks. No. Not me. Why do we notice them? Why do those seemingly innocent things urk us to the point we are tempted to declare toothpaste cap war in the bathroom? I mean, does it really matter if the cap is on or off?! (Besides the fact that the caps get lost and then the minty gel is dry and sticky and exposed to who knows what sitting on the bathroom sink…)

Come on, I know I am not alone in this quandering. What’s that thing that drives you batty? The way your beloved folds socks? The way your toddler insists on hiding snacks on the shelf for later? That annoying pen flick ? Or maybe it’s someone at work… or worse, a friend at church? And, no, it’s not going to ruin your lifelong friendship, or cause holy war… but it is just that constant dripping faucet that eventually leads to a complete flood.

Recently, our Bible study group was learning about just such little things. The Devil is devious and uses a variety of ways to deceive us… both big and small. In Canada, Satan uses tiny nuggets of temptation to move us ever so slightly off the path of our journeys with Christ. It’s such a subtle thing. We waiver, or compromise, just a bit, and then a bit more, and soon we are heading in an entirely different direction then we intended. I’m sure you’ve heard countless stories of people who got caught in a “little white lie” that soon snowballed into a deep pit of deception. We don’t intend to blatantly disobey… it “just happens”.

I am sure you would agree with me that those other-people-quirks-that-drive-you-crazy habits are ones that are simply not priorities — to them. Toothpaste caps are obviously not forefront in my children’s minds. Which is why we have practices and disciplines that help us stay on the path. Soldiers and first responders practice drills over and over again, so that when a crisis does come, they simply react automatically. Tiny muscle memory procedures that prevent bigger issues later on.

I guess we all have to learn to be a bit more aware. We all need to focus and question and examine our day to day. Is there something I do that is causing grief? Is there something that is a subtle step sideways that just might lead me down the wrong path? Do we need to establish more practice and disciplines that will help eliminate the subtle deviations? Maybe I should just be thankful that the kids brush their teeth… and put up a big sign on the bathroom door: DON’T FORGET THE CAP!

My Top 5 Potluck Dishes

I’ve been baking today. Technically, I just opened up some pre-made cookie dough and plopped spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets — but that’s considered homemade, right? I like to bake. I usually make things from scratch, but I happened to have this dough, on hand, in my freezer, and they were quick and easy. I’m baking for our potluck dinner after Sunday’s service.

You’re familiar with the potluck, yes? A gathering of people who contribute to the meal by bringing a dish to share. Sometimes you are assigned a course, but I love it when it’s a free-for-all and the “luck” part comes in because you never know what will be on the table. I’m still waiting for the day when everyone brings dessert (and only dessert). Churches tend to organize such things (number one: because it’s cheap!) and the sharing and fellowship around the table brings a coerciveness to a body of believers that is reminiscent of Jesus and his followers. We just “connect” over food. It’s the same when we gather for family reunions or dinner parties with friends. There is just something about mulling over a meal that brings us a sense of comfort, peace and joy. I think we are losing some of that in this day and age when our meals are on-the-go and quick. We’ve substituted the country kitchen for the drive thru. The traditional mentorship of generation to generation is emphasized when grandma teaches the young brides her pie crust techniques. And who doesn’t love baking Christmas cookies as a family? You get the picture.

All this is not to say we can’t enjoy the conveniences of our modern day, however. I am using a premade cookie dough, afterall! But as I do, I muse about the bigger picture: fellowship. It is so vital to our world. We must continue to value it in spite of our cultural, physical and even spiritual differences. We all must eat to survive! So, this season, as you gather together to feast on the platters brought from near and far, consider yourself “lucky” to be blessed by family and friends, new and old, who care enough about you and yours to bring you a plate of freshbaked (premade) cookies!

To celebrate the great potluck, here are my top 5 shareable dishes!

  • Meatballs with BBQ sauce and grape jelly! First discovered from a friend who shared them during a summer potluck at the trailer. Yummy, feeds a crowd, and only three ingredients! Find the recipe HERE
  • Hamburger Casserole! My mom used to make this for every church potluck when we were growing up… and a quick Friday night meal before heading away for the weekend. This is also a pretty easy combination and can be adjusted to your own taste…but this recipe is pretty close to the traditional one mom used to make!
  • Pizza! Potlucks can be brutal for picky eaters who don’t like their food “all mixed together” (can I get an “amen”, oh mom of toddler or teen? No worries — I hear ya!) Pizza of any variety seems to be a big hit — even when they won’t eat anything else. Just buy the ‘walk in special’ on your way to church! We have been enjoying family pizza making nights using my sourdough starter. If you wanna try it, check out this post.
  • Butterscotch Confetti! This one goes under a whole host of names… but it is an old go-to for me from my Company’s Coming cookbook. It’s one of our neighbour’s favourites, and so I make these squares as an afterschool snack for when they all hang out at our place playing endless hours of Risk or Monopoly. It’s also a quick, but decadent, one to take to a ladies group gathering. Try this link for the recipe.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies! This is a personal favourite, and if you read the post here, you will see why. It just stirs up all the goodness of tradition, childhood memories, and all things lovely. Bake a bunch to give as gifts, make some to share, bake ’em with the grandkids!

Have a favourite potluck or shareable dish?! Share in the comments! But above all else, remember that the purpose of the gathering is to celebrate each other… the food is just a bonus!