Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Mitford Cookbook : What It Really Meant

My friend Sky is my friend in real life. I've known her for, um, many years. She and her husband were transfered to the Navy base in the town I grew up and began coming to our church. The first night we met them they offered to come and help tear up our kitchen floor in a house my family had recently purchased. They didn't just offer to come and help. They came over and helped - right there on the spot! I was 18 or 19 when I met the most awesome young married couple I had ever known. They invited me and my other single friends over to drink tea and watch spaghetti westerns. (I confess, I still don't really know what classifies something as a spaghetti western.) I didn't spend time with her just to watch movies. I just liked to watch her live life. I still do. She inspires me.

Fast forward half a dozen years or so and Sky listened to me talk about "this guy" named Jonathan. I have this huge fear that her memory is far, far better than mine and she probably has the audacity to remember everything that I said about him at the time. I just remember sitting on the floor in her home in Virginia and not really understanding what I felt about "this guy." I seem to recall Sky wearing something of a Knowing Smile. (I try not to think too hard about that, actually.)

Fast forward some additional years and now we're both married with three children a piece. She is my faithful prayer warrior. When things are bad (and I mean really, really bad!) I can pop her a quick e-mail and say, "PRAY!" She will. I know it. I am never made to feel alone in a trying situation. I know I have back-up. And she knows she has back-up. I value that.

One of the things that continues to bind us is our love of books. Truly, the situation with my books being damaged in the smoke has been rather distressing. It's not that I fear that they won't be tended to. But they have been rather wrapped up in "argument" between the insurance company and the cleaning company and the arguments over my books is extremely distressing to me. I like it that I have a friend who "gets" this. It's not that she just "understands that Carrie has this thing about books." It's that she feels the pain. And I know it.

So what does Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader have to do with this post?! Sky kindly sent a care package to me and the kids with a couple of titles to help tide me over as I'm away from my own home library. One of the titles in the box was this one. I'd never browsed through this book before but I do love the Mitford series as calm, lazy, cozy reads. This book has excerpts from the Mitford books and is also filled with recipes. I picked up the book to read a few of the excerpts and came across this one:

He had missed the old rectory, too, with its clamor and quiet, its sunshine and shadow. Never before in his life as a rector had he found a home so welcoming or comfortable - a home that seemed, somehow, like a friend. ~ A Light in the Window, Chapter One

This is one example of a time when books bind hearts. Sky knows how much I miss my home with all of the familiar 'sunshine and shadow.' She knows I miss and worry for my books. (She also knows, as I do, that I shouldn't let the birds build nests of worry in my hair!) She reminds me. But even in reminding me of truth, she acknowledges the stress and sends a little encouragement in a welcomed form to say, "I hear you. I get you." That lightens the burden considerably.

Writing this post helps me to remember something that Sky has had to learn in her long and frequently painful years as a military wife: Home is where your family is. Home is where God resides. (And oh! He is everywhere at all times! Even in temporary housing situations!) Our ability to connect with the people we love is not confined to particular spaces. Learning to be content is not something we can maybe think about doing. Learning to be content is what we're supposed to do. Even though the housing I am currently in is unfamiliar to me, God still blesses through familiar friendships. He reminds us that His mercies are new every morning. And He reminded me through Sky that though the journey is sometimes incredibly difficult, I do not have to walk it alone.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New Living Translation)


Annette Whipple said...

Sky, what a dear you are...because I take Carrie's word for it! Carrie, you captured a beautiful woman and faithful friend so gracefully.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...


collettakay said...

What a lovely post :)

Shonya said...

I'm thankful for Sky and the friend she is to you--what a thoughtful thing to do!!

Sky said...

Oh, woman! You went and made me cry! I am so glad that I could help you in some way, from far away. You have helped me so often. Your prayers and friendship have got me through my Dark Ages. I love that Ecclesiastes verse, having a Christian kindred spirit, (an Anne friend who prays!) who will pray when you ask with no questions asked is a blessing that I am extremely grateful for in you and am so happy to return!

I smiled really big during your "this guy" part... ;oD

My heart aches for you and your books, that is my worst fear about having my books, is losing them! Because even the exact replacement copy (if it could be found) wouldn't replace my old friend. Know that I pray that it will be resolved,and they will be restored safely to you.
Here's to never walking alone, Praise the LORD!

BerlinerinPoet said...

Great post, Carrie. I loved your choice of verse at the end!

Stephanie Kay said...

An old friend is the best kind of friend! The ones that remember you "when." I ditto Sky on the potential loss of your books. Identical replacements just aren't the same.

Bluerose said...

Send one of Sky my way, please! ;) I'm so happy for you that you have such an awesome friend!

*This book has my all-time favorite cornbread recipe (I think it's Puny's). I don't even really like cornbread, but this one is so good. I use a bit less oil than it calls for, though. Awesome!

Krista said...

Oh, I so love the Mitford series! I'm so surprised I had never heard of them until my mother-in-law introduced me to them!
And what a blessing it is to have true friends! I have known my best friend since high school and it is lovely! She can definitely "remember when..." :)

Cassandra said...

awwwww, what a sweet, sweet post. You are lucky to have such a good friend.

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