Giveaway: Fragrant Whiffs of Joy


Literature / Friday, November 24th, 2017

Update: As of 1:00 pm on December 1, 2017, this giveaway is closed.

Confession: Sometimes I need to be reminded that it’s going to be okay.

This is not the same thing as pretending it’s okay when it’s not, as I wrote in my last post – I mean I need to be reminded that it’s going to be okay in the end.

I’ve never been sure if I’m a pessimist or an optimist, because I try to put a good face on everything, especially if you meet up with me in real life, but hidden inside myself I’m often sure we’re all going down, boys. My husband, on the other hand, has more than his share of snark and cynicism, but underneath it all, a constant certainty that we’ve turned the corner. He’s relaxed, it’s going to end well, and life is good.

What do you call that?

I love his steady perspective and rely on it more heavily than anyone guesses (except him) (and sometimes not even him), but from time to time I really need to hear a woman older than me say that it’s going to be okay. What is the “it”? It’s mothering, pastor’s wife-ing, mistakes, canning season, science experiments in the boys’ bedroom, wintertime, life. It may not be easy, but it’s going to be okay.

This week I remembered why I love Dorcas Smucker so much as an author and a friend: she’s a beautiful optimist. The ugly kind of optimist is the one that denies any hardship or pain, but delights in throwing solutions around. Stop crying, hon. Chin up. The beautiful kind of optimist is the one who’s seen a lot, handled a lot, freaked out a lot, and come full circle to the satisfying rest of experienced living: not much is worth hyperventilating about. Relax, hon. Cry, breathe, smile. Try again.

Dorcas recently released a new book, Fragrant Whiffs of Joy, a fresh collection of the newspaper articles she writes for the Eugene Register-Guard. She’s stopping by here today (kum ba ya, my Lord) to share a copy with you.

When I sit with Dorcas, which isn’t nearly often enough, she usually has a cup of tea in hand. She’s been an important sounding board for me in writing, mothering, and letting go of shame.

The book itself is like a cup of tea: relaxing, fragrant, warm. She writes about her ninety-eight-year old father, her six grown children off to college, her blackberries, her jam-packed schedule, and her cats. She sends texts to the wrong people, wilts in the heat of summer, makes lists, buys too much fabric, assembles a pot roast to put in the oven. You can see her bustling around, loving people, laughing with children, canning grape juice. And saying, “It’s going to be okay.”

This book contains my best-of-the-best, all-time favorite Dorcas Smucker quotes, the one that has graced a chalkboard on my wall for two years: “This is what it means to be an adult, I think: to make peace with the life you didn’t foresee, to see spiritual significance in the daily repeated tasks, and to find fulfillment in doing them well.” That’s from one of my favorite chapters, “Love on a Plate and Fragrant Whiffs of Joy.” (p. 13)

Another favorite chapter, that kept me laughing upon multiple re-readings, is “Heavy Burdens in a Hot Summer,” in which Dorcas pulls back a memory of directing a Christmas play. One young girl acted the part of a poor mother clutching her baby through a snow storm. Dorcas writes,

She had one line to say: “Oh, I am so weary and cold.”

Thankfully I had a sense of humor, and the girl who played this part was not easily discouraged, because for some reason she could not recite that line. “Oh I am so tired and hungry!” she would say before collapsing into the snowbank: a pile of quilt batting from the sewing circle, covered with a white sheet.

“No, no.”

Back up the aisle I sent her. A slow turn, and toward the front again, into the wind: “I am so weary and tired!”

“No! WEARY and COLD.”

“Oh, I am so cold and hungry!”

I am not sure that she ever got it right, even on the night of the program. I should have let her ad lib, I guess, because she had the right idea. The original line is now seared into my memory, and I always think of it at times like this.

Sometimes, in certain seasons of life, it feels like we’re all weary and cold, fighting our way into the winter wind. Our shawl isn’t nearly enough protection, and we are about to collapse into the snowbank with the baby in our arms… It seems we will never reach the front of the church, and we certainly won’t hear the miraculous chimes when they ring in the steeple on Christmas Eve. Health issues, difficult relationships, financial stresses, caregiving – all of these can seem like trials that will never end. (p. 60)

I think you need this book.

If you’re interested in owning a copy, you have two choices: one whimsical and one practical. First, you may leave a comment below and be entered in a drawing to win one copy that Dorcas and I are giving away today. Second, you can order the book directly from Dorcas – that way it’s guaranteed.

Or you can try the first option first, and if that doesn’t work, go on to the second. That ought to do the trick.

Dorcas’s earlier books (also delightful) are available on her blog:

Ordinary Days
Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting
Downstairs the Queen is Knitting
Tea and Trouble Brewing
Footprints on the Ceiling
Sunlight Through Dusty Windows: The Dorcas Smucker Reader

To order a book, contact Dorcas Smucker at 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446, or [email protected]. Fragrant Whiffs of Joy is priced at $12 each plus $2 postage. Checks or PayPal accepted. Discounts available for combination orders. Also available here on Amazon.

Would you like to own this book? Please drop a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.


I was given three copies of FWOJ – one to give to a blog reader, one to give to a personal friend who had a tough year, and one to keep. Giveaway will close in one week. Open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by random.org.

Update: As of December 1, 2017, this giveaway is closed.

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151 Comments
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Cheryl Ehst
4 years ago

I was recently given your blog link by a friend….I am subscribed for life….what an encouragement, the first few blogs I read, have been to me! God’s blessings to you for enriching others!!! Cheryl Ehst

Kelsie
4 years ago

Have a great day! I’d love to win. ?

Regina
4 years ago

The book sounds delightful

Serena
4 years ago

I would love to win this book! I love all her books.

Mom Coblentz
4 years ago

Wouldn’t it be great if I’d win??….. No postage or packaging for you!

Linette
4 years ago
Reply to  Mom Coblentz

I think you’d qualify for the friend that’s had a tough year. 🙂 Blessings to you and your daughter. I hope you win.

Steph
4 years ago

I wouldn’t mind winning a good read! ?

Ruthie
4 years ago

To quote my boys – “I want, I want, I want!” smirk

janelle
4 years ago

A comment. Any comment? Yes, I am in need of this kind of new breeze as well.

Lena
4 years ago

I enjoy your blog and it would be fun to win this book!

Linda Stoltzfus
4 years ago

I’d like to own this book. 🙂

Anna Nisley
4 years ago

I have really enjoyed Dorcas’s previous books, and would be delighted to add this to my pile.

Ruth Anna
4 years ago

I’ve read most of her other books….and enjoyed them! I really need this one, too! 🙂

Claudia
4 years ago

Sounds like a good Chris gift for my mom….that I would read first.

Lori Weaver
4 years ago

I Would love to read her new book! Sounds delightful!

Faith
4 years ago

Thanks for sharing…pl add my name to the basket! Faith H

Joanna
4 years ago

I have all kinds of whiffs at my house…a fragrant whiff would be so welcomed! 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  Joanna

Laughing with my boys over this comment!

Livin4Jesus
4 years ago

I just found this blog from someone’s what’s app status. It’s what I need. God bless you as you serve Him!!!

Emily
4 years ago

I love her books- so fun and refreshing!

Shaunda
4 years ago

crossing my fingers…….I’d love to win this. 🙂

Cor
4 years ago

Dorcas is one of those people I’m looking forward to someday getting to know- hopefully in a relaxed sort of way over a cup of tea. For now I’ll have to be content with her books.

Mary King
4 years ago

Sounds like another good book by Dorcas!!!

Rhoda King
4 years ago

Sounds so refreshing! Thanks for the reminder that “it will be okay in the end” -needed that reminder this morning.

Brenda B
4 years ago

Whiffs of joy around this time include pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, Carmel lattes . I would love to give this book to a friend of mine who has had a trying year as a single mom .

Marnita Kornelsen
4 years ago

I’d love to win! I enjoy Dorcas’ writings…

Linda W
4 years ago

Discovered your blog through another friend’s blog. Enjoy your perspective. Would love to win this book.

Angela
4 years ago

I’d love to read this book.

Rhoda
4 years ago

I’ll try winning this book one more time, before I go and order it for myself.

Jane
4 years ago

Would enjoy reading the book.

Kara
4 years ago

I would love to win this book! A person can never have too many good books to read and I know this one would be good!!

Linette
4 years ago

I enjoy Dorcas’ writings very much! Would love to enjoy more!

Louise
4 years ago

I’ve long been a reader of Dorcas’ blog. She cracks me up and reassures me and is so relatable. So much wisdom from a mom who’s been there. I’d love to win a copy of this book!

Beth
4 years ago

I like your writing style and I would like very much to read one of Dorcas’s books!

Katrina Martin
4 years ago

Lovely review… and I’d love to win this book!

Ruth Fisher
4 years ago

I love her books and her writing style. I’d be delighted to own the book!

Joanna
4 years ago

I love Dorcas’s books! And your blog 🙂

Dawn Harshbarger
4 years ago

I love your review and I would love to win this book.

Kris
4 years ago

Would love to win a new book-I love to read!

Laura
4 years ago

I would love to read her book.

Lynnelle
4 years ago

Long been a fan of Dorcas’ writing and would love to win this book!

4 years ago

I would also love to win this book.:)

Janessa
4 years ago

Don’t see the comment I tried posting before, so I’ll try again cause I really want to win this book! ?

Ina
4 years ago

I ordered a copy on Amazon today! But I would like to subscribe to Dorcas blog. I missed the address

Regina S
4 years ago
Reply to  Ina
Elisabeth
4 years ago

You articulated the optimism/pessimism/realism dilemma so well. Thank you! And Dorcas’s writing is delightful: if you’re the one who introduced me (I can’t remember now), then thank you!

Samantha Dueck
4 years ago

I would love to win this book!

Christine
4 years ago

Sounds like a good book for helping a mom gain fresh perspective!

Sue
4 years ago

Would love to win!

C.S.
4 years ago

She (and you!!!) have a way with words that articulates what I need so many times. Thanks for entering me.

Sandra Plett
4 years ago

Would love to win this book!

4 years ago

Ah yes, I’d love to win! And I’ve so enjoyed her blog tour.
Meeting lots of new bloggers.

Regina S
4 years ago

Well, I wasn’t actually going to enter the giveaway for really dumb reasons but now that I’m a reader of this blog now, I figure why not? So here I am.