Simple Sentiments

Dear Reader:

I remember a long time ago being advised to always keep a notebook and pen/pencil in the car with me because our best ideas come when we are driving somewhere. How true that observation is.

Since “Surcie” is now in my life and I am driving myself back and forth each Friday to Mt. Pleasant some amazing ideas and thoughts have popped into my brain while making this weekly trip. (And I find myself (while at a red light) desperately hunting for a pen in my pocketbook and some kind of scratch paper in my purse to write the thought down before it is gone.)

So yesterday I stopped by Tuesday Morning to look for a coin purse/wallet to get my driver’s license, credit, medical  and car information cards organized into one wallet with different pockets. It made me feel so much better knowing I had all the necessary information I need if stopped or in case of a medical emergency.

After finding what I needed I went to the stationary section and found the (title photo) mini-notebook to keep on me at all times…in the car, by the computer, and on the bedside table while reading. Covered!

The only problem was….the title of the mini-notebook was “Sophisticated Sentiments” and I thought to myself…’No…Simple Sentiments‘…the best kind of thoughts about life.

While reading the Mitford series (which takes place fictionally in a small town in the North Carolina mountains- the author Jan Karon lives in Blowing Rock, NC) one soon realizes that the majority of the characters are not sophisticated at all…just simple people with simple beliefs…the best kind.

There’s Dooley, an abandoned ten-year-old boy taken in by Father Timothy to raise while his grandfather recovers from an illness, “Homeless Hobbs” ( Who had been wealthy and gave it all away to live in the most rustic, down-trodden conditions) Uncle Billy with two gold teeth in his mouth who can bring a smile to even the rector with a joke, Miss Sadie, the matriarch of the church who knows more about the town than anyone/the list goes on and on….The spirit of Karon’s eccentric but beloved characters bring home the power of community and acceptance.

From the very first Father Timothy quote I wrote down in Book One  (“Lord make me a blessing to some one today“) I have been filled with moments of pure simple insight and delight into questions I have often wondered about….and now realize I am not alone…even Father Timothy agonizes over what we mere mortals all do.)

Since yesterday’s blog was on “Circumstances” Father Timothy added this thought to it…

“There may be circumstances in this life that God uses to keep bringing us back to him, looking for His grace.”

But perhaps it is the unconditional love of Barnabas, an immensely large stray dog who adopts the rector as his family, who shows unconditional love the best in the series…through his eyes, in his dirty paws on Father Timothy’s chest, and his head resting in his lap. Without a word being spoken he opens the rector up to a first love with his “neighbor” …preparing him for the love of his life.

It is within this simple way of life and community that I am finding myself writing down more and more ‘simple sentiments.’

So until tomorrow I will leave you with one last sentiment:

The on-going joke in the series is Father Timothy’s fall-back line of scripture for himself and others when he has reached the breaking point…

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” * “For Pete’s Sake!”

*Today when I looked out at the camellia bush/tree by the bird feeder it was filled with camellias…12 blooms with what had only been two camellias last week. Sammy came looking for me again…I half-expect him now to come peck on the window…we still have our moment of togetherness with our stares. *True confession…I take a cup of birdseed and shake it under the bird feeder every few days…just for Sammy! We have come a long way in our relationship!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Simple Sentiments

  1. bcparkison says:

    I may have said this before but I will never understand why the Mitford series hasn’t been made into a made for TV series. Well…maybe I can. We all have in our own minds the characters and I’m sure Jan Karon does too. Real people might not match up at all. I do enjoy these books and now reading back through them I find things I just don’t remember from the first time. #3 (these High Green
    Hills ) is missing and we have no idea where it could be so…off to ebay I think to find another one. There are also some new stories my Mother and I got left out of. We need to find those too.


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