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

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

151 Replies to “Giveaway: Fragrant Whiffs of Joy”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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 .

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. Whee! I missed this book on Anita’s blog, but imagine a second chance!
    I’d love to read this and then pass it to my mom, who is an avid Dorcas fan.

  7. Well so far I have not had any luck winning a book, though I have faithfully commented for two long weeks! ? I feel lucky on this, the last day. Fingers crossed! P.S. I have all if Dorcas’s other books. Big fan right here.

  8. I love her books! Would have bought one today but the store I was in didn’t have them yet… of course I’d rather win one anyway ?

    1. Oh hey, come on. Surely you have an American friend who could be persuaded to “borrow” the book until you get to visit her? 🙂 All I need is an American mailing address to send it to, and you’re good.

      That’s up to you. But thanks for your kind words.

  9. Along with everyone else commenting, I’d love to win this book! 😉 And I really like your evaluation of optimism, you put into words some of my thoughts!

  10. Sounds interesting! I haven’t read any of her books. I would also enjoy wrapping and giving it to a close friend who is going through some rough times.

  11. Just read your previous blog post as well, and it confirmed that my next post to write will be “Silver Linings.” It’s more than okay to admit the clouds of gray are not okay.
    And I enjoy Dorcas Smucker, even though I’m not a mother. I would love this book!

  12. Thank you for sharing the quote from Dorcas about adulthood and making peace with the life you didn’t foresee…that quote made me stop and take the time to enter in hopes of winning the book. ?

  13. Another giveaway! One more try at winning!?This book would be the perfect birthday gift to myself lol! Just the encouragement this mom needs! And I’d love to share it with friends/family. Pls pick me!! ?

  14. My mom has several of Dorcas’s books. I am currently borrowing one and enjoying reading it aloud to my husband. If I would win the book, I would probably give it to Mom to add to her collection where the rest of us could borrow and enjoy as well.

  15. I certainly am a pessimist when it comes to entering giveaways…but I suppose it won’t hurt to try again to win this book. Maybe I should just stick with the guaranteed way after this.

  16. Dorcas and her family are one of the bright spots in life!! And Shari, I’m a minister’s wife also… I come read your blog when I want to feel ‘normal’ 😉 Love your humanness…

  17. Dorcas spoke at my church back in the days when I had one small child that never seemed to stop screaming and a small voice in my head telling me it must be my fault. I’ve read her blog ever since. I’d love this book.

  18. I don’t have much time to read these days, but sounds like a good book to have beside my rocker when I put the baby to sleep. 🙂

  19. I have already ordered three copies of this book for gifts…but winning a copy would allow me to spread the joy a little further.

  20. If your giveaway is still open, thank you for the chance to win Dorcas’ book. Her blog and yours are my favorites of the handful that I still follow.

  21. I just realized this evening that it’s been awhile since I read Dorcas’s blog and when I did I discovered the giveaways. I hope I’m not too late! I would love to win this book but if I don’t I can always buy it. ?

  22. Coming in at the eleventh hour… or maybe it’s passed. I’m still recovering from a literal Thanksgiving week and could use some fragrant whiffs. Thanks for giving me a chance.

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