If you look around, there are myriad topics about which to blog.
One has been staring at me for about five years! I’ve had people ask about it, so I’ll explain.
My very favorite fiction book series is the “Mitford” series by Jan Karon. The series consists of 14 large books and 12 smaller, supplemental-type books. It is the story of a small town in a hanging valley in North Carolina, it’s people, and their day-to-day, living-out-their-lives, lives – together in community. I have read through the series three times, beginning in about 2003, and have read most of the supplemental books as well.
The last time I read them was in 2020 after itthatshallnotbenamed hit the scene and created angst and fear among the populace. I “go home to Mitford” when I just want something calming and real. It also doesn’t hurt that my kin are from the south, so I understand a lot of the dialect and references.
My favorite book in the series is whichever one I’m reading at the time, but I believe “Light From Heaven” kinda nudges out the others as an overall favorite. In it, the main character, Father Tim, quotes a line from one of his favorite poets, William Wordsworth. A short bit about Wordsworth can be found here as well as a loonnngggg list of the ‘first lines’ of his poems.
“If thou indeed derive thy Light from Heaven,
Then to the measure of that Heaven-born Light,
SHINE Poet, In thy place and be content.”
I love that quote so much, that I have taken it as my own tag-line on my e-mail signatures, and have it posted in my office. I have been asked why and I answer thusly: If thou indeed derive thy light from heaven (If I believe my talent, gifts, and abilities come from God, and I do – ), Then to the measure of that heaven-born light (. . .so using that talent, giftedness and ability) Shine poet, in thy place and be content (do the thing – do it well, do it to the best of my ability, and be happy.)
So to my friend Stacy, I could say – “SHINE, dancer” or my friend Shawna, “SHINE, teacher” or to my son, Dan, “SHINE, artist” in thy place and be content.
I was so happy to visit the newly-opened Mitford Museum in Hudson, North Carolina last month. Jan Karon lived some years of her young life with her grandparents, not far from there. The school she attended is now an arts and business center. Three rooms of that old school, including her first grade classroom, now house the Mitford Museum.
Fun fact I did not know before visiting the museum, Jan quit school at age 14 to get married, which was legal in the state at that time. She had a child at 15, and from that point on, was self-educated. Her life was not all rainbows and unicorns, but her attitude, love of reading, thirst for knowledge, and unquenchable spirit propelled her to become one of the top-selling novelist of all time. She took the command to: “SHINE, writer” to heart obviously!
I encourage you to SHINE – in your place of giftedness – and be content.