Friday, November 17, 2017

New Book by Dorcas Smucker

Rhonda High! (comment number 3)
You win! If you could send me your mailing address that would be sweet! Congrats. -Jo

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy 

Order the book from Dorcas Smucker at
 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446. 

Books are $12 each plus $2 postage. 
Checks or PayPal accepted.

Dorcas Smucker is my favorite.  She makes me laugh and then she makes  me cry. She is a Mennonite ministers wife and her content is refreshingly similar to the life that I am familiar with. Her house is full of teenagers that come and go and keep her on her toes and keep her pretty current as only teenagers can. She talks about her 100 year old father and appreciates where she came from. She blogs at and has written many books. 

My favorite chapter in her most recent book is "Serendipity and the Wayward Text". For real... I love stories like this, random stuff that you can't make up... Dorcas sent a text to the wrong number, something about being pregnant and congrats and it went to a maintenance man that worked at some place that she was scheduled to go to.  So she got to meet this guy... all very strange and hilarious. 

In another chapter I read this.... "The year ahead holds opportunity for adventure, I'm sure of it.  There will be new experiences and new skills to learn.  But they won't come in green-tinted nature photos shared on an iPhone screen. Instead, they will involve people who need something from me, they'll look like hard work, and they'll take time."


What would be really neat to post right here is a picture of me and Dorcas; but I never met her in real life! Bucket List. 

Here she is writing in her natural habitat. (love this picture) 

Now for the most sorrowful chapter that I read. "The Words I Said I'd Never Say" Dorcas talks about becoming the older woman who says, "Make sure you enjoy them while they're little. They grow up so fast." to Mom's like me at the grocery store. I got all emotional while I read this because I just hate to hear it. I mean, I should probably love to hear it, and I totally believe it to be true,  but I am really struggling right now with my toddlers and I feel bad for not enjoying this stage more.  When we put Hank to bed these days? He climbs over Stuart and up the stairs to see what Nate and I are up to... he will do this 4-5 times before settling even though the punishment is the same every time. It's exhausting, and I'm sure it will only last for a short time and very soon I will miss it. (ha! never.) That evening I was telling Nate how I had to cry, and I started reading parts of the chapter aloud to him... and there I was sobbing and laughing all at the same time it was very attractive. 

On to the giveaway. Let me a comment. I plan to draw a name randomly Monday morning. U.S. mailing addresses only (it's fine to enter if you live elsewhere, just have me mail it to someone in the U.S.) If you have trouble leaving a comment just message me and I can comment for you. One autographed book will be sent to the winner, compliments of Dorcas herself. 

Trying to get a family picture for Grandma's Christmas card...
before it gets too dark at 4:30PM. Dreadful.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Olive's Birthday and the Cat

Olive wanted a cat cake. I winged it.

 This is a very sassy 4 year old. 

 What you see is sweet potatoes and scabs from falling on the driveway.

 Right now I feel like if it's not one thing it's something else. We had a cat for a bit. While we were on chorus tour my Mom acquired a stray cat.  She sent this lovely spring kitten home with my children. We slowly tried to acclimate it to life with our dogs. Because it was not a tiny kitten it did so much better with the dogs and stood it's own. We were all thrilled when it worked and the cat and dogs were friends. Then Stuart got ringworm. Then the cat climbed up in the engine of big blue and met her end. Nate came to the door one day and I heard him say, "Where's Mom?" then when I showed up. "I killed the cat, thankfully the children didn't see it" He was so sad. Nate loves cats. So Olive had a cat for her birthday and then she didn't. She's hoping for one next year. 

Both dogs expecting a litter of puppies soon. What have we done.

I had to follow big blue home from the cabin... it had no tail lights. In the rain. It was stressful. 

One of the most gorgeous fall days.

So glad to be at the cabin when he brought this deer in.
Nate and his hunting. He does not hunt like my family hunts. He does it his way. I get kind of embarrassed. But look at him now! A bonafide hunter as his sister called him.

Thanks to some tips from the pro hunters around, like my brother Tristan and my cousin Ryan, he cut it up himself. Mia helped, she was thrilled. For real, she loved it.

Is it normal to have to babysit your pressure canner the entire time? I tweak it the entire time. 

I opened a jar that very night. Thickened the broth and ate it over some leftover potatoes. We all loved it, so I did another canner full the next day.

 The dogs are seriously sad that the cat is gone.

Yvonne gave me so many tips on what to do with the deer meat. This is some marinated back straps on top of a half of a jalapeno (still had some in garden, score) wrap with bacon and pop in the oven or grill until the bacon is done. Amazingly yum. Recipe here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Chorus Tour

Here is the bunch that we took on tour with us. Tour sure is a growing experience. By the time we got back Sunday night and gave a local program we had 4 more people join us and Nate said their eyes were big a few times. "Keep up!" Looking back, Rhoda and I should have switched places.  I sure do love these people. They have been so great. Fabulous. 

We have been spoiled with our bus driver. 

We were running a tad late to meet the bus on the day that we left but I made Nate turn around for this game. He was all, "When are we going to play it?" oh, just every day. I'm so glad that they did play it or I would have felt a lot worse about being 10 min late. 

 The Billy Graham Library - more like a museum. I know for myself, the title "library" kind of threw me. 

I was quickly sewing a shirt before we left and the band at the bottom was just not going well. The second time it got perfect only I put the tie on in the back.... so annoyed. 3rd time was the charm.

 So happy to stay with Josh and Kim. This was a highlight. 

An old little church that a new congregation just started to meet in. Fun! They served us kettle corn afterwards. The perfect blend of sweet and salty I heard the girls exclaiming and I had to agree.  

Some of the girls had a giglefest here during the program. Someone almost fell off the risers which caused someone to laugh/gasp/but mostly snort. I am so thankful that I wasn't singing this particular time. I have a track record with laughing fits myself... 

We stayed in a little cabin with 6 girls the last night. It was so cute. I did pity Nate a little bit but he was raised in a house of girls so the Lord had prepared him for this. 

 Some of the girls stayed with Aunt Martha's Bible Story's son and family and 28lb cat!

Some of you will recognize the famous Davy Showalter. He had a friend who smoked us some pork sandwiches. Top notch. 

Handed to Nate after the program Sunday night.