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.
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:
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.
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
Have a great day! I’d love to win. ?
The book sounds delightful
I would love to win this book! I love all her books.
Wouldn’t it be great if I’d win??….. No postage or packaging for you!
I think you’d qualify for the friend that’s had a tough year. 🙂 Blessings to you and your daughter. I hope you win.
Mom!! You commented! 🙂 🙂
I wouldn’t mind winning a good read! ?
To quote my boys – “I want, I want, I want!” smirk
A comment. Any comment? Yes, I am in need of this kind of new breeze as well.
I enjoy your blog and it would be fun to win this book!
I’d like to own this book. 🙂
I have really enjoyed Dorcas’s previous books, and would be delighted to add this to my pile.
I’ve read most of her other books….and enjoyed them! I really need this one, too! 🙂
Sounds like a good Chris gift for my mom….that I would read first.
I Would love to read her new book! Sounds delightful!
Thanks for sharing…pl add my name to the basket! Faith H
I have all kinds of whiffs at my house…a fragrant whiff would be so welcomed! 🙂
Laughing with my boys over this comment!
I just found this blog from someone’s what’s app status. It’s what I need. God bless you as you serve Him!!!
I love her books- so fun and refreshing!
crossing my fingers…….I’d love to win this. 🙂
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.
Sounds like another good book by Dorcas!!!
Sounds so refreshing! Thanks for the reminder that “it will be okay in the end” -needed that reminder this morning.
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 .
I’d love to win! I enjoy Dorcas’ writings…
Discovered your blog through another friend’s blog. Enjoy your perspective. Would love to win this book.
I’d love to read this book.
I’ll try winning this book one more time, before I go and order it for myself.
Would enjoy reading the book.
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!!
I enjoy Dorcas’ writings very much! Would love to enjoy more!
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!
I like your writing style and I would like very much to read one of Dorcas’s books!
Lovely review… and I’d love to win this book!
I love her books and her writing style. I’d be delighted to own the book!
I love Dorcas’s books! And your blog 🙂
I love your review and I would love to win this book.
Would love to win a new book-I love to read!
I would love to read her book.
Long been a fan of Dorcas’ writing and would love to win this book!
I would also love to win this book.:)
Don’t see the comment I tried posting before, so I’ll try again cause I really want to win this book! ?
I ordered a copy on Amazon today! But I would like to subscribe to Dorcas blog. I missed the address
Here it is
Thank you, Regina. That is correct.
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!
I would love to win this book!
Sounds like a good book for helping a mom gain fresh perspective!
Would love to win!
She (and you!!!) have a way with words that articulates what I need so many times. Thanks for entering me.
Would love to win this book!
Ah yes, I’d love to win! And I’ve so enjoyed her blog tour.
Meeting lots of new bloggers.
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.