Sow and See

A week ago, we had subzero temperatures here in Canada. Two days ago, a snowstorm of winter proportions hit us with full force. I curse the all season tires we have on the car and it’s poor performance on slick roads! Yet — We’ve dug ourselves out and declared war on the white stuff. Teehee, you wanna know what we did while the rest of our world hid in the shadows of a few more weeks of winter? We planted seeds for spring!

Yup, the Sunblaster grow light is up and running and the basement has turned into our little mini greenhouse. We are still beginner gardeners, here, but I’m following in the footsteps of a few others who seem to have started things (and seem to know what they are doing). I don’t know if we are doing things right; I really didn’t research seedlings or time zones or whatever zones, nor have I planned what may need to be started early or late or … well, let’s just say I went on a whim and threw some seeds in some dirt and stuck them under a bright light with a well watered mat.

A few weeks back we heard a good sermon on the passage in Mark 4 about the parable of the Sower who sowed some seeds. Which seemed perfect to chat about since we have started the little urban garden in our basement recently. We were reminded that the farmer just scattered the seeds aimlessly… or so it seemed. Does it seem illogical to you that nowadays we plant neat little rows of crops and the farmer of old just threw seed willy-nilly so that it lands in all different types of soil? Why waste the seeds on ground that won’t produce harvest? Upon further research, I discovered that that was, indeed, the way the sowers sowed back then! So much for planning!

Which brings me back to our little grow light and our early seeding experiment. We have simply planted and will see what happens. Which is exactly what God wants us to do with the gospel! We have no idea who God’s story will hit and when … it is simply our job to sow the seed. Ecclesiastes 11:6 says:

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

ESV

As many of you know, my word for the year is “brave” (you can read about it here)… and I am trying to be brave about sharing my faith, even in subtle ways here and there… because I will never know what kind of impact I may have. Will the seed grow and be strong? Or will it be just the beginning of a spark and others will fan the flame? Have I made an impact in someone else’s life by reflecting God’s love when they needed it most? These are the questions I must ask myself often.

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So, what do you think, my beloved readers and followers? Would you be interested in a deeper study about the parable of the sower? Should we look at it for a few more weeks? Shall we see where the “growth” may take us? Leave me a comment below if you are interested in studying this with us (or any topic you might like!) This week our corn has been the first to pop it’s head out of our indoor trays. Last year, our corn didn’t grow or flourish at all… could this be the start of a good crop this year? We can’t know for sure… but we are remembering that we just need to sow and see!

An Essay about Compare and Contrast

Remember when you had to write those compare and contrast essays in school? Three points for this, two points for that, proper “proof” of your argument for or against, hamburger paragraphs, thesis statement and conclusion…blah blah blah. My kids are suffering through that experience right now so I’m being blessed with the feedback. This is not one of those essays, however. It is a post about comparing and contrasting though… and what I am musing about this week.

This lockdown world has forced many of us to branch out into the online world and buy from a pre-described list of products. Myself included. And call me old fashioned, but I still like to look and feel and taste and smell the stuff I am about to purchase. A stock photo and short blurb just doesn’t cut it sometimes… especially if the “thing” is new to you. So, here’s the story:

In great hopes to get a jump start on our Urban Garden, and to save a little cash, and at the prompting of so many better-than-me-gardener posts, I decided to start seeds in the basement under a “grow-light”. Which conjured up all kinds of grow-op images of secret marijuana plantations concealed in my basement under the devise of jumping into the cannabis free market and raising someone’s stock prices… but, I digress. Apparently starting seedlings requires light and heat and “stable” conditions… hence the grow light.

The search for : The Sunblaster 1600… 200 Version

Which thus begins my search and comparison… online. I knew what I wanted: The Sunblaster 1600… complete with trays… the large size, not the micro garden for mere herbs… I need light for beefsteak tomatoes, baby, and maybe watermelon… but where would be the least expensive place to find it? Without crazy shipping costs? So began my compare and contrast adventure. Which is hard, because, as I mentioned, stock photos and small descriptions don’t always give you the information that you want. Dimensions were listed in both inches and centimeters, some sites included shipping, some could be picked up curbside, some had different product numbers… How is a girl to compare apples to apples when you’ve got granny smith vs. gala??!

It takes some investigating… and asking questions, and good old pen and paper lists and conversions. You will be happy to know that the Sunblaster 1600 …200 version… is now sitting on my counter ready for set up! And the mighty Amazon was not the best deal in town (in case you wanted to know). I’ll keep you posted on the seedling development.

So what should be the take home from my little adventure? Is it good to test, compare and contrast? In the case of a large purchase, then yes, this is a wise practice. In the case of school essays? Yes, you have to do those, too. What about your place of worship? Or how you worship? Or dare I say who you worship? Now, I don’t want to tread on thin ice here, I haven’t really studied “testing”… but I do think we need to be diligent in asking questions… and doing our research so we are comparing apples to apples. Does your church promote and adhere to Biblical principles? Is it God focused or leader focused? Will it waiver with the times or stay steadfast to the standards God lays out for us? Do they care about people because God cares about people or do they just want numbers in the pews… or in the offering plate?

Photo by Robin Spielmann

It’s not easy. It “looks good online” doesn’t always translate to the real product when it arrives on your doorstep. And I think it is okay to question… and pray about it! God knows where you need to be… and He will help you get there! Don’t be fooled by flashy promotions and short blurbs… if you want to grow the proper fruit… you need the proper light! Go ahead, do your research and compare and contrast. Soon, if your choices are right, you will see the seeds begin to sprout and then grow strong and mighty in the full soil of God’s true kingdom!

Celebrating Freedom

Happy Victoria day! Happy Belated Mother’s day! Happy Beginning of Summer! Happy who-knows-how-many day of Lockdown! I don’t know about you, but I am feeling the need to wish you a happy something. To celebrate. To move forward. To move on. Things are slowly, slowly starting to open up around us, but we are still being cautious, and many of our “normal” summer events have already been cancelled. Covid-19 and the pandemic of 2020 will cause us to question how we do things for sometime. Life will go on, but we need to be prepared for changes going forward. We usually spend this first long weekend of summer at our trailer, opening up, dusting off the winter, and looking forward to sunny days and slower times. Instead, we are still home. We’ve been doing slower days for three months already! Home — but still keeping ourselves busy. We are ahead of schedule this year with our little urban garden, and the youngest has been itching to get our seedlings in the ground. This weekend was spent in preparation!

We expanded our growing space this year by purchasing two raised beds… and 3 cubic yards of soil! (which is a whack load of dirt, lemme tell ya!) I guess if I can’t have the farm, we are going to bring it to me, by golly! Now, let me premise the rest of the story by saying we are not great at building projects. We have limited experience and even more limited tools. But where there is a will, there is a way, right? And, so, we spent the entire day building, levelling, shovelling and soon — planting! I thought, great — I will blog about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5. Seemed like a gardening-type verse to focus on. Yet, as I read the passage over this week and meditated on it, the context, and what I might muse about, I was convicted by the following verse:

“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Galatians 5:26 (NIV)

So much of my isolation has been spent scrolling through news feeds, searching for ideas, plans, gathering information. This is not inherently wrong, of course, and it has become part of our lives — especially now, when everything has “moved online”. And so I muse: How much have I envied others as I scrolled? Have I become conceited in my own posts as I “brag” about what I am doing at home? I’ve found myself looking at the newscaster’s artwork on the walls as I listen to the news. I wonder about the kitchen gadgets and the furniture and lack of dirty dishes as I look up new recipes. I see the actors and actresses without their camera crews and wonder how they pull off their great looks without help. What about those Zoom Meetings? Perhaps you’ve been seeking out worship and devotions and watched churches who can put on heavenly displays. Or maybe you’ve been like me — totally jealous of the Instagram stories of vast acres in the hills, with perfect rows of green growth… and chickens.

photo credit: silvertulipgifts (Etsy)

The Mitton crew has had a good weekend. Our garden beds turned out great, and we worked together as a family. We spent time outdoors and got a lot accomplished. I am proud and feel good about the things we did. We have reason to celebrate those things. Still, I am reminded to be humble and remember that God has blessed us with the means and the abilities. As He has blessed those I see online. I must remember not to listen to the voices that remind me of the doubts and insecurities I have. The ones that tell me what I have is “not good enough” . The envious thoughts of “if only…”

Oh my friends, I hope and pray that as I post each week and share my pictures and muses with you, that you understand that we are on the journey together. Our lives are far from perfect, and those on the screens are far from perfect too. We all need a Saviour and the fruit of the Spirit. It’s hard to balance dreams and reality, isn’t it? To curb our envy, and still pursue lofty goals. Galatians 5 reminds us that we were called to be free as we walk in the Spirit, and not be burdened by the desires of the flesh. It is my prayer for us on this long weekend. Here’s to celebrating that kind of freedom!