Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Journey

My Mom received a recent edition of the Mitford Grapevine and following is a portion of the letter from the author, Jan Karon.

"Gentle Reader:

Thanks for your warm embrace of Light From Heaven. Though 'Light' is the series' final novel, it has excited great interest in the first, At Home in Mitford, resulting in legions of new Mitford readers.

My sincerest welcome to any of you who're visiting this website for the first time. Writing the Mitford series was, for me, a richly rewarding and many-layered journey, and I hope it has been thus for you. I remember my great-aunt Maude who, when I was seven or eight years old, embarked on a journey to California. In those days, no one I knew traveled so far; indeed, my clan kept close to home (had to feed the chickens and horses, and, of course, slop the hogs). This trip of hers was so wondrous that she talked about it for years. Each time she came to visit us on the farm, she would tell us again about California. Who needed radio when we could listen to the indefatigable Aunt Maude?

So. Why don't we talk about our journey through the nine Mitford novels? Be assured we needn't go on and on for years. Just a couple of weeks will do, don't you think?

What did you learn, if anything, from this body of work? Many readers say they've read through the series several times. Did you ever do this? Why? Some critics say that Mitford isn't real, that people don't really live like that, or behave like that. What do you think? If you were encouraging someone to read the series, what would you say? In this series, you've 'seen' God at work in the lives of the characters. What is your take on the God you found in Mitford?

Please toss in any and all comments you feel moved to share, and thank you.

As we all launch out into a new year, I pray that it will be a bright one; indeed, the best year yet--for you and all those whom you cherish. I never got the hang of making serious resolutions, so let's just leave it at this: Draw close. Hold hands. Life is short. God is good.


I have been wanting to respond in some way to this "Journey" and what I have so enjoyed about reading the Mitford books. But, time has gotten away and I just haven't done it and today when I followed the links to do so on her website - found it was a big bulletin board where I was basically lost.

So, I humbly submit my thoughts and memories from the journey here for the readers of the homespun heart. Thank you for indulging me!

My Journey to Mitford

I don't remember when I read the first book, what I initially thought, or where I even got the book. But, I will never forget so many things that I have learned from the wonderful and sometimes aggravating friends in Mitford.

Those in Mitford know how to appreciate the simple things in life. They create beautiful circumstances around themselves not only for themselves, but for others. They take a pot of flowers to a friend, surprise each other with a picnic, pop through the hedge with a pot of soup, or just sit in a favorite chair and read a comfortable book. These are the joys in life that so often go overlooked.

Reading and re-reading the Mitford books always draws me deeper into my faith and relationship with God. And, into a small community of people where simplicity and peacefulness of life seem to reign. The descriptions are so beautiful and inspiring - such as the candle-light midnight Christmas Eve service at Lord's Chapel or the ceiling at Fernbank.

In our family, we have adopted several quotes that are often repeated such as, "Consider it done!" And, I often think of the prayer that never fails and, "Philippians 4:13 for pete's sake."

Overall, when I think of Mitford - I think of a place that my heart yearns to live and experience. So, my Mom and I have a saying to each other of creating Mitford-like experiences where we are. How can I make choices that make life simpler and sweeter? How can I make someone else's day better by cheering them up, as so many do in Mitford?

I will continue to read these books again and again, because I am always drawn in, always encouraged, always inspired, and always feel At Home In Mitford.


Anonymous said...

Dear Monica:

I so enjoyed reading your thoughts and insights about our friends, the Mitford books. :) I'm hoping to read through the entire series again before we go on our "Mitford trip" in May.

I've also enjoyed feeling the kindred spirit with you that these stories evoke -- our love of the sweet, simple joys of life and our desire to create that for ourselves and those around us.

Since I can't pop through the hedge for a visit with you whenever I want, I appreciate the insights and thoughts you share on this blog! It's another way to stay in touch!

I love you!

Chrissy said...

Monica - I've very much enjoyed reading your archives so far. I too am a lover of the Mitford books. The name of my blog, Winterpast, was inspired by those books. I hope you'll pay me a visit sometime.

By the way, I think we may be not too distant neighbors, as I live in the lowcountry too...I don't want to give too much away about my location here though.