I received a package in the mail from Dorcas Smucker the other day. That has certainly never happened to me before, and it was kind of a big moment for me.😉 I quote her all the time, but I’m not in the habit of getting mail from her. Three cute little yellow books were inside, and I wasted no time starting to read one of them. The other two she generously sent for me to give away, and that’s why I’m here. You have a chance of getting a package in the mail with a cute yellow book inside too! The other is going to my sister.
I was first introduced to Dorcas Smucker’s books a few years ago when my friend tucked me into her spare bedroom for a nap, handing me Ordinary Days to read. I read about Matt learning to drive. Shortly after, Mom gave me my own copy of the book, and she has given me all the rest of them as they came out. Convenient birthday and Christmas gifts. Easy to ship, don’t clutter up the house, and always greeted with enthusiasm.
I’m excited to share about Dorcas’s newest book, Fragrant Whiffs of Joy. It’s written in the same style as her other books: short articles or essays, usually beginning with a story and winding up with a profound piece of wisdom that makes you think for the rest of the day. It’s a great book to keep on the coffee table for those times when you need a five minute break from life. You can be entertained and inspired, and go back to your work with new energy. (Or you might find your five minutes kind of extending by mistake, because you want to read a little more).
This is one of my favorite paragraphs from Fragrant Whiffs of Joy:
“…when I take a long view of my adult children and the sweep of generations, I come to this conclusion: our influence and eventual success are not so much about techniques and systems as they are about who we are and how we live. Our choices and character will shape not only our children, but multiple generations to come.”
I like this thought because our children are youngish and sometimes it feels like so much could go wrong here, and what if we are doing too much of A and not enough of B, and should I bother reading that article about seven things you should never say to your child, and what if I’ve already said them, and how can we tell if we’re on the right track or veering off to the left too much, or maybe the right? It isn’t necessarily easier to work on our own characters than it is to choose a perfect parenting technique, but the waters seem a little less muddy, somehow, and I feel a sense of relief.
I like the down-to-earth style of this book. When I read it, I feel almost like I’ve found a good friend who would kind of “get” things. Take this excerpt for example:
“I have been looking the other way and humming distractedly for quite some time now, pretending not to notice as my fabric stash multiplied like mice in dark totes in the attic and expanded in my sewing room, swallowing cubic feet of space, spare rotary cutters, and skirt patterns. After all, I have plans for every piece: a summer dress, a tote bag, pajamas and many, many quilts when all the kids leave home…
…we have a deep friendship, my fabric and I, and we share so many sweet memories. These ’90s florals came from that lady who was selling her mother’s estate-a whole house full of fabric and thread, shocking in its magnitude. I promised I would never become such a hoarder even as I filled two WinCo bags with yardage for the church sewing circle.”
Doesn’t this make you feel like Dorcas would be the kind of person who would understand and care if you admitted a fault or weakness, instead of looking disapprovingly over her glasses at you? She isn’t too dignified to dress up in Amish clothes and a coffee grounds beard and pay a visit to her neighbors on Halloween night either (don’t pass judgment until you read that story yourself. You’ll probably laugh as hard as I did). These are refreshing traits in a Mennonite minister’s wife.
She talks about a wide variety of subjects, from adoption to waiting to depression to motherhood to marriage to letting go of perfectionism. No matter who you are or what your station in life, you will likely be able to identify with something somewhere. And you will go away with a more solid picture of what is really important in life.
Oh, and one more thing-you know how books just need to have the right smell? This one has it.
To enter the book giveaway, simply comment on this post by November 20, and I will try to announce a winner on November 21. To have your name entered twice, share this post, and let me know you did.
You can also order the book from Dorcas Smucker at 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446. $12 per book plus $2 postage. Pay by check or PayPal. Her email is email@example.com. Or buy through Amazon, using the link below: