Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mitford Moment: Listen to Others' Stories

"'Miss Sadie,' he said, 'I've been hoping you'd tell us tonight about your schooling in Paris.'

'Oh, do you really want to hear that old stuff?'

'Yes!' said Marge, curling up on the sofa next to Hal. Even Barnabas assumed an air of expectancy. And Emma noticed that Hoppy Harper, who was sitting in Father Tim's wing chair, was as relaxed 'as a dishrag,' she later said.

'I hardly know where to begin, it's been so long. But, if you're sure...'

Everyone was absolutely sure.

'Well, then,' she said, sitting even more upright, and squaring her shoulders. 'Paris, France, was where I fell in love.'

Miss Sadie paused for a moment, her face beaming, and looked around the room. Father Tim saw at once that the truest meaning of the term captive audience was being demonstrated right before his eyes."

~ At Home In Mitford by Jan Karon page 54-55

I love this visual picture of everyone relaxing and listening to the story of one of their beloved friends. When given the opportunity, may I be willing to sit and listen to willingly!

Now for some Mitford fun! I have an extra copy of Light From Heaven, the final book in the Mitford series. And, I'd like to pass it on to one of you!

To be entered, please leave a comment including your favorite thing about Mitford or a way that you try to create "Mitford" in your life. Rather than a random drawing this time, and since I have extra time right now, I will choose a favorite answer among the comments left. Comments will be accepted until noon (EST) on Thursday, January 24, 2007. And, the winner will be announced on Friday, Jan. 25th.


Anonymous said...

Monica, because of your sweet blog...I just recently bought the first three books in the Mitford series. start reading them!! How sweet to know I could have the last book from you!! Thank you for being such a blessing to others! Please enter my comment!

TamaraP North Carolina.

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

How fun! That is the book that I am now ready to read. Now to answer your questions...

What I love most about Mitford is their sense of community. Whenever Father Tim is out and about he is greeted friendly and everyone seems to know everyone. How special it would make you feel to walk down the street and people greet you with a friendly Hello! and even the grocer to know your name! What a sense of security it must be for the people of Mitford to know that no matter what there is a group of people to rally behind them and to support and help them.

I have been touched by this series. It has made me long to live a simple life where people really care for each other. As much as the series makes me long for the small town life, I have come to realize that you can create the sense of home and community no matter where you are.

Here are some of the small things I have started doing:

Instead of just waving hi to my neighbors I am actually taking the time to stop for a minute and to chat.

When going to the grocery store instead of looking for the shortest line I have started to go through the same cashiers line. We are building a friendly, chatty relationship and even Megan is getting excited when I tell her it is time to leave the store and lets go see Mary.

I know these changes are very minor and may seem small to many, but the way I look at it is that it is the little, simple things in life that bring the most pleasure!

All things bright & beautiful... said...

I only started reading Mitford books after reading your blog, Monica.
I like the way everyone is accepted for who they are. They may have odd or inconvenient little ways but all are accepted and indeed those differences are celebrated because in Mitford right is right & wrong is wrong! How lovely to live in such a non prejudiced & non judgemental community where scripture is so readily remembered & the Word is the way to go! Mitford embraces a lot that we have have left behind and I want my own little little part of the world to undergo a Mitford metamorphosis! But living a la Mitford requires simplicity & commitment which I am trying to bring to my own lifestyle & relationships.
Blessings to you & your baby.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Mitford! What lovely stories about a warm and friendly place! I agree with "My Heart is Always Home" that my favorite thing overall about Mitford is the sense of community -- a place that "takes care of its own."

So much of the caring for others comes from Father Tim, which inspires me to have that kind of caring for those around me. Taking fresh-baked banana bread to new neighbors, checking on a long-time neighbor we haven't seen in awhile or shoveling her sidewalks when it snows (Dad does that!), and offering a cup of coffee and a listening ear to a soldier home on leave are some ways we have recently tried to demonstrate that in our neighborhood. Getting to know my coworkers, reaching out to get better acquainted with people in our large church, and greeting people who serve me at the store or post office or library with a smile and kind word are other things I try to do.

Then of course, there are the Mitford memories you and I have made together! Our Mitford trip, our Mitford dinner, and most recently, our Advent walk are all treasured memories associated with family, friends, and our ties to the dear people of Mitford.

No need to consider me for the drawing since I already have "Light From Heaven" -- but count me among those who are trying to recreate a bit of Mitford in my world!

Love you! Mom

Gena said...

I am just finishing the 3rd Mitford book. I'm not sure why I didn't read them when they were new - probably because I was in the throes of birthing children!

I love Mitford's charm. I love the beautiful flowers Ms. Karon describes and the fact that the entire town celebrates Spring. I think my favorite thing is their sense of community and love for each other and their commitment to keeping things just the way they are. I think it is so wonderful that they realize that their people are their best asset.

I live in a relatively small town and I know so many of the people that I come in contact with each day. My neighborhood is very Mitford-like and I try to do my part to keep it that way. I bake for all of my neighbors at Christmas. I bake (but in smaller quantities) at Valentine's Day. We visit with each other on our street, or in the cul-de-sac. We plan Easter cookouts each year.

I am thoroughly enjoying my Mitford journey and can't wait to read the rest of the series!

craftymama said...

I am just finishing up the first book in the series. I can't wait to finish it. It is due back today so, I have to get to reading! Thanks for introducing me to this series!

Anonymous said...

Hey Monica,
I adore the Mitford books!!! I fell in love with them years ago all by myself. But then when i was pregnant with my last (#4),who is now 6yo!, I was put on bedrest, i was 21 or 22 weeks along. Needless to say because of circumstances and fear i became depressed. My husban had recently started the Mitford books( probably is therapy), I could not sleep, He started reading aloud to me. This would relax me and allow me to go to sleep. Precious memories. Now whenever he reads aloud to our family (one of our favorite things), i get REALLY relaxed and have even gone to sleep : )!!! Recently we gave to each other for Christmas *Home to Holly Springs*. While he was on Christmas vacation from work he read it aloud to me at night. We laughed together and cried and it was wonderful to spend time with my husband in this way. I loved that time, incredibly special to me. The book, might be our favoright so far. Jan Karon is a genius!!! Her writings have been a blessing to me in may different ways. I am so thankful for what she has given to us. Anyway i have the book so please don't enter me. I just wanted to share a little of what and why Mitford has meant so much to my hasband and I. tammyp

*carrie* said...


I enjoyed reading the excerpt you posted since that's the only Mitford book I've read so far. And of course I appreciate the connection to Paris!

Beth said...

I just stumbled onto the Mitford series a few months ago. I'm enraptured! My favorite thing is watching Father Tim find such joy, humor, and even frustration in people's lives. His ministry is so rich and engaged. Sometimes ministry is just the opposite. I'm encouraged and refreshed everytime I read one of the Mitford books!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mon...
I don't know anything about the Midford books, but just wanted to write you a note to let you know that my husband and I are praying for your family, and especially for you and your little boy.

May God continue to fill you with his strength and joy.
Karen Lichlyter-Klein

Jeanne said...

Hmmm, I must live on another planet because I've never heard of the Mitford books, but I'm checking my library right now. :)

No need to enter me in the contest, it appears from the comments I'm going to be in for a treat as it is.

Amy said...

I am embarrased to admit in this Mitford-loving company that I, an avowed bibliophile and trained librarian, have never read one fo these books! I must remedy this.

Anonymous said...

Oh Man! In of course a Dooley Barlowe way.... :) I love Mitford. I am an almost 4 year member of the Mitford BB (ya'll should check it out) join us on the "Porch" for some fun. I had the pleasure of meeting many "town folk" in 2005 at the First International Mitford Homecoming in NC and we got visited and had a tea with none other than Miss Jan Karon herself. They had another one this past summer in Blowing Rock that I couldn't attend. Bummer...

But Mitford in my life...It is an everyday thing. I have made some wonderful friendships with these ladies in the cyber community. I know now that there are other christian women that have the same intrests and values that I do. They give me such a sense of safe community. These women have prayed for me and many others thru difficult and wonderful times. They have given to the needy on our board and they have rallied around the sick. Now if that isn't Mitford-Like I don't know what is. I praise God for them. Thanks for your wonderful blog and how it brings a little more Mitford into my world! Amber said...

I started reading the Mitford books three weeks ago and just finished the last one last night! I couldn't put them down. I love how they are so "real" and "homey" and encouraging to walk on in our faith and be Jesus to everyone we meet...even in the most simple ways.

Jami said...

Hi Monica. I hope you and your family are doing well! I know y'all can't wait til the new baby comes!

I love Mitford because it reminds me sorta like Mayberry and what communities could be if everyone tried. Everyone in Mitford loves one another and try to help out when they can. If places were half that great there might be less violence.

Live Laugh Love,

Susan P. said...

Isn't it so wonderful that we can create our own little Mitford wherever we may live?!!
Some of the ways I try to do that are:
homebaked goodies to neighbors "just because!"

surprising them with some veggies from our garden

sharing "cuttings" from the plants in my yard that I know my neighbors love

taking a meal over when I know someone is sick, in the hospital, had a baby

gather some neighbors together and go on a little nieghborhood stroll

sending cards of encouragement or even "just because" cards

organizing a big neighborhood bbq

watering flowers, taking in mail, feeding pets when my neighbors are gone

praying for my neighbors is also something I feel led to do ~ and oh, what a privilege

finally, the easiest thing anybody can do is have a big smile, wave, and say a friendly hello:o)

Marsha said...

Ah...Mitford. Although I don't live in a Mitfordish kind of place, Father Tim reminds me very much of the Rector at the Episcopal church I attend. Kind of gives me the warm fuzzies.

Being absolutely truthful, one of the most consistent ways that I "keep" Mitford is by making marmalade cakes! They're very popular at fellowship coffee hours!

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Monica - Don't enter me because I haven't even read the first book yet, but I just had to tell you that I'm about to! Your "Mitford Moments" are so wonderful I just have to read the books! The publisher should be paying you:)

I'm praying for you, btw. Bedrest with littles can't be fun!

Patty said...

I love Father Tim! So honest about his feelings... he is far from perfect and is willing to admit it. And, he loves his dog!

Love the simplicity of the towns life. Friendly folks.

We try to keep our life fairly simple without too many outside activities. Dinner is eaten together, even if it's not at the dinner table. Sometimes, we all sit around the coffee table and eat, if it's a simple dinner or not! LOL

Don't enter me, I think I've read this (I started out of order on these books!) I also read Going Home (I think that's what it was called) when it came out. About Father Tim's childhood...very interesting.. love Jan Karon's writing

Be Well Monica!

The Stepford Wife said...

Well, I just have to enter for a chance to earn the book. I live in rural USA, and the only bookstore anywhere near here doesn't carry the Mitford Series. Really, it doesn't carry anything but a startling and vast array of cookbooks! And having no credit card to order off of Amazon, I'm really sort of stuck. LOL!

I've been reading your blog for about a year, and I've just loved the "Mitford Moments" posts... So much so that I've copied and pasted most of them in the "hospitality" section of my management blog. I figure that even if I can't read the books for myself, I can still carry forward the inspirations it produces for others, right? :)

I read Anne of Green Gables because of this blog (now on Chapter 23 of Anne of Avolea), so it kills me I can't find the Mitford books! I love Anne so much, and I truly think I'd love the Mitford books too, if I could only find them... :D

Misslisslee said...

My favorite thing about Mitford is how I was introduced to the series. My first son was born at 24 weeks, and I was in the hospital on a negative incline (the technical name is Trendellenburg, I think) trying to stop labor for almost a week. One of my sweet friends from work brought me the first Mitford book to try and help me keep my mind off of things. It was such a wonderful and practical gift, and I have enjoyed the series so much. I never read one of the books without thinking of her. She was always such a kind, thoughtful friend, and sadly, we have lost touch since.

By the way, that boy of mine is almost 10 now and miraculously a perfectly normal, healthy boy and a light in my life, so it's a story with a happy ending, which is my other favorite thing about the books.

Anonymous said...

Monica, I have never read the Mitford series or heard of them until reading your blog. I am seriously interested though as they are definitely my type stories. I will have to go to the library and investigate. I love thinking that people could be warm and friendly no matter what. If everyone could just love one another the way the Bible says. What a world it could be, huh? Paula from Ohio

Anonymous said...

I haven't read any of these books yet! Your blog is the first time I heard of them, but they look like the kind of literature that I wish were more popular nowadays!

Edi said...

I think the thing about Mitford that is so special, is that it is a place that we HOPE is really out there somewhere.

In our busy lives, in our "impersonal" neighborhoods where neighbors barely look your way, let alone stop and say "hello", we can imagine, we can dream, we can hope that there is a Mitford that really exists...and maybe someday we will find it. Or maybe someday, we will make it happen.

I have only read one of the Mitford books, inspired by your Mitford posts...and I have another on sitting on my desk waiting to be read.

Kerri said...

Ahhh....the Mitford series. I was just trying to explain to my SIL yesterday why she should read this series. It gives you an urgency to enjoy the simpler things in life. You begin to appreciate the joy of just sitting on your front porch (or wherever) and drinking a glass of sweet tea as a warm breeze is blowing through your hair. It makes you smile when you see a gathering of little old men in a donut shop chatting it up about the weather. It has made me realize that it is the people in your life that make it special, not what you have.

The best series that I have ever read.