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If you subscribe to our newsletter, you might guess that some of our group here at 3 Winks have had the chance to travel lately! One of those is Alicia and her family who have traveled down to Ecuador to visit with my SIL's family. So, I am happy to get to take over her feature this week of What to Read Wednesday.
The Perfect Birthday Gift:
Another fun fact is that Alicia left on the day of my mother's birthday. My mom just turned 96 years old! She is amazing and one thing that she loves to do is read. That fact has probably greatly contributed to her still being of sound mind at this time of her life. Not only that, she always shared her love of reading with me and my siblings throughout our lives and I am so grateful for that.
Well, one series of books that she absolutely loves is the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. My mom and my sister attended a book club with ladies from church. At Home In MItford, the first volume in the series, was one of their selected books for their club a number or years ago. They both loved the book so much that they sent it to me and I fell in love with it as well. I have since read the nine books in the series, plus the spin off books, for lack of a better word and I just discovered 2 volumes that I haven't read yet! So, guess what I sent to my mother for her 96th birthday? She hadn't heard about or read them either! She was so excited! Let me tell you, it is hard buying gifts for a 96 year old! Last year I sent her a gift card to a restaurant that I thought she would love and then found out that they don't even have that restaurant in my home town! Birthday gift fail! When I found out about Come Rain or Come Shine & To Be Where You Are, I knew I had found her the perfect gift!
Here is What is So Great:
Mitford is a small town in North Carolina and is the fictional creation of the Author, Jan Karon. The people in the town are hard working, God fearing, mostly good people and the main character is an almost 60 year old bachelor Episcopal Priest named Father Tim Kavanagh. The descriptions of the town and how it looks are amazing. There is even a map of the town in the front covers of the books. In the first book, we read as Father Tim is adopted by a giant dog, then he adopts a boy from a troubled home and he meets his future wife! Not only that, we are introduced to wonderful characters like Miss Sadie, Louella, Dooley, Puny, Percy and the lunch crown, Uncle Billy, Miss Rose, and many more. All of these people find themselves in one way or another indebted to Father Tim throughout the books as he selflessly serves them and in the meantime he learns more about himself.
One of the enjoyable things about this series of books is the way Ms. Karon can turn a phrase that keeps you either chuckling or feeling inspired. For example, the aforementioned dog that adopts Father Tim has a long way to go before he wins over the parish secretary. When she first meets him, she says, "That wasn't a dog! That was a _______," and you would expect her to say horse where I left the blank, right? But, no! She says, "That wasn't a dog! That was a Buick!" It was just so unexpected! There are so many similar moments as we listen to Father Tim's thoughts throughout the books. I love how the author gave Father Tim such a charitable heart. In one instance, close to the beginning of the book we learn about this heart. The sweet octogenarian of the town, Miss Sadie visits him at the rectory to tell him of her old housekeeper's plans to visit her. Father Tim offers to bake a ham for her for the occasion. "Why bless your heart,' says Miss Sadie. 'Don't even mention it!' he said, feeling his heart blessed already. " I just loved that, and there are so many more moments that don't come across as preachy but just sweet ways that inspire me to be kinder to my neighbors.
Another thing that I love about the Mitford Series is that Father Tim loves to read not only the scriptures, but Blake and Wordsworth as well. There are many wonderful quotes and references throughout all of the books. As a matter of fact, the Buick sized dog responds to commands given in the voice of scripture or eighteenth century poetry. When there are problems in the books that seem almost insurmountable, Father Tim always prays the prayer that never fails, "Philippians four-thirteen, for Pete's sake." (You can look it up in the New Testament yourself.)
There are descriptions of comfort food in the books that so many fans have wanted to know how to make, like the Orange Marmalade Cake, that Jan Karon finally published a cookbook. I have tried many of the recipes and have found them delicious! You can find the book on Amazon here.
So many of the stories in the books are hilarious, (I've read those parts to my husband many times, not being able to keep them to myself), or sweet and poignant, that they can stand alone, outside of the books. So, there has also been published The MItford Bedside Companion that is a compilation of many of those stories that helps you not to have to search through every novel to find a certain moment. It also contains author reflections about the stories.
The interesting thing is that while Mitford can seem idyllic, It actually takes place in the modern world when there are also problems with addiction and abuse and poverty in this little town. But, in these books we read of ways of using love and kindness, perseverance and faith, patience, prayer, long suffering and forgiveness to overcome many of life's trials. These books filled me with hope and compassion. If you haven't read them, I recommend them with all of my heart. They are such a favorite of mine. If you read them, or have read them already, be sure to let me know what you think! And I will let you know how my mom liked the last two volumes, (and how I like them as well).
3/22/2019 10:26:48 am
Happy Birthday to your Mom! 96 is a wonderful age, and what a great gift to choose for her. I've not read this series but I've heard great things about them. I need to add them to my reading list. Sharing on the H&S Facebook page. Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I hope you have a lovely weekend!
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Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!