It frosted hard out on Bittersweet Farm this week for the first time this fall. We’ve had a couple snows already. Thursday morning I drove over to Plymouth to speak for the Baptist Convention of Michigan Leadership Conference and the ground and branches were covered with a thin layer of snow. Still some of the trees were bright with color. This week the last of the leaves came down except some of the stubborn oaks.
It’s “shirt-jacket” weather. I have a fleece-lined buffalo-plaid shirt-jacket that I keep near my writing desk up in the southeast corner of the house. It was a gift from our son Daniel and his wife Katelynn. I’m wearing it right now. Hope, Hannah, and Dale bought me one for my birthday that hangs at the top of the basement steps. I have worn it for the whole “leaf-blowing” season this year. It’s lined with thick fleece and has quilt-lined arms and handy pockets. It is heirloom-quality, outdoor, shirt-jacket. The Norwegians would call it “Koselig” (Pronounced kinda “Koose-u-lee” or “Koosh-lee”). A shirt jacket on a cool fall night is cozy, comfy, Koselig. It’s like a mug of coffee or a fire crackling and a favorite book on a winter night. It’s like a meal and a warm conversation with a friend. It’s like bundling up for a walk. It’s like stepping out on the porch as the moon rises into the bare trees east of the house like it did last night. It’s like the feeling you get when geese or cranes fly over at dusk, calling to each other as they fly. Koselig. You know what I mean.
I told Lois she needs to make a Koselig Candle but I discovered that it’s alread been done: Koselig Candle Company
A New Jeep on Bittersweet Farm
We have a new Jeep in the family. Hope owns a Wrangler now. When Hannah and Dale are here it looks like a Jeep lot now.
Some of Bethel’s finest servants sit in the back row every Sunday. They keep an eye on things and miss very little. The Back Row Ladies at Bethel and salt-of-the-earth. They are the heart and soul of the church.
This year my birthday landed on a Sunday. This is a smiling providence for a pastor. There were songs and cards and gifts and fruit and balloons and warm, happy greetings all-around. Between Sunday School and church some of the Back Row Ladies filed into my study with one of the most thoughtful and useful gifts ever. The ladies are a part of a Monday-night card-making group. They made me dozens of home-made cards for my use in ministry. They put them is a large stationery box and presented the to me.
Jan Karon has created a fictional small town in the mountains with an small Episcopal Parish served by a pastor named Tim Kavanagh. The town in Mitford and the books are all full of warm, feel-good stories of love and kindness, of characters who really care for one-another. Mitford is a wonderful place to be. There are times that Bethel is “Mitfordly.” Sunday was one of those days.
A couple weeks ago Wayne and Scott Bliss drove out to Bittersweet Farm and they gifted me with a beautiful film of the place taken from overhead with a drone. That day when they drove away and I waved until they were out of sight, deeply grateful for their kindness. Mitfordly, you see?
I want to be Mitfordly like Pastor Tim Kavanagh.
The other day our water-heater failed. Come to think of it, it was on the cold morning when the snow first covered the ground. I called Tom McGee. Tom is a pipe-fitter and comes from hard-working, God-fearing, Jesus-loving and serving people. His dad kept the busses running at a church across town for many, many years. His mother was the secretary there for 35 years. I called Tom.
“Are you without hot water? I’ll be over tomorrow.”
He was there. A few hours later we had enjoyed some good conversation and a shopping trip to Home Depot and we were back in the hot water business. He refused to take any money for the help. When we pressed him he said, “Well, why don’t you do this. Why don’t you send an Operation Christmas Child box for each member of the household.”
Mitfordly, don’t you think.
It’s November. Thanksgiving month. It’s getting cold out there. Be Koselig and Mitfordly. Spread a little love around. It’s a warm and wonderful way to live.
November 10, 2019