Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review and First Ever Give Away!

Isn't it interesting how a string of events can bring you to a certain place in time? I remember the day last winter when I looked up a blog my sister told me about. I spent hours reading back in the archives and the name of an author, Dorcas Smucker, caught my attention. The name sounded familiar and I soon hopped over to Life in the Shoe and started reading. I fell in love quickly and when, many months later, Dorcas offered a chance at a spot on the blog tour for her newest book, Tea and Trouble Brewing, I jumped at the chance. Of course, in true "Bethany" fashion, as the day drew closer I fought the urge to jump back out of the chance :) but here we are! It's amazing to me how you can feel like you "click" with a person you've never met. Maybe it's because Dorcas and I share some things in common...we're both Mennonite, after all and, while she is mother to six, I'm expecting my fifth :)  We also share a love for writing - a compeling urge to capture lessons, memories, events - with written words. The day my package with Tea and Trouble Brewing arrived in the mail, I rushed through my work so I could curl up in a chair and read! When I reached page 121 and read the chapter titled "Paul and the Vacuum Cleaner", I discovered we shared yet one more thing in common, perhaps the most significant one of all! I laughed aloud as I read how Paul refused to cooperate with the portrait potographer and Dorcas' description of his "wolf-with-fresh-caribou repair methods". When I read the chapter aloud to Chris and received a hearty "Thank you!!" on the line "...he still doesn't do what he's told if he thinks it's stupid." I knew I was correct. We share husbands with many of the same personality traits!

Tea and Trouble Brewing is full of delightful stories about Dorcas and Paul Smucker who, with their 6 children, live in a farm house in Oregon.  Each chapter is taken from one of Dorcas' monthly columns published in their local paper, The Register Guard. Dorcas' candid honesty and insight as she relates personal triumphs and failures has the potential for producing laughter and tears, deep pondering, and reminiscing of your own. It's just the sort of book to make me look forward to a 14 hour trip to Arkansas at Christmas time so I can read chapters aloud and share the goodness with the rest of my family!

The best part of all? Because of an innocent little string of events, today I get to offer you a chance to win a copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing! All you have to do is leave a comment on  A) this blog post  B) facebook  C) send me an email at  Tell me what book you are currently reading or the last book you have enjoyed (if it's Saggy Baggy Elephant that counts! :)) I'll gather the names from all the comments on December 6 and draw a lucky winner. I will then announce the winner and as soon as I receive their email address, a signed copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing will be on it's way!

Of course, only one of you will be lucky enough to win, but that doesn't mean you have to stay left out. Tea and Trouble Brewing is available here  or, you can send a check for $15 to: Dorcas Smucker  31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446.  And there's more! Since one book of Dorcas' writing will probably make you wish for more, she has three more books for you to enjoy - Ordinary Days, Upstairs the Peasants Are Revolting, Downstairs the Queen Is Knitting - and now's the time to get them! She's offering the complete set of 4 books for $40. Just send a check to the above address and you'll have lots of stories to enjoy :)

So...don't forget to leave your comment and check back for a winner on December 6!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making memories

It's fun doing things for your children just because you especially know it will make them happy. Today jasmine has a friend here for the day! It's a first for ohio (i'm ashamed to admit it) and she was so excited. Something brought "clay cookies" to my mind, so i planned to mix them up to occupy part of their time. I remember numerous times as a child enjoying the fun and mess of clay cookies. You make the dough and color small portions then shape with cookie cutters or whatever your imagination can think of and bake them. They had a lot of fun and it was something the little girls could enjoy with the big girls. Like usual, toward the end we got sick of it and the cookies got bigger and fatter and less and less creative :) there was a nice, big flour mess and the stack of dishes is still waiting for me ... Still, i hope someday somewhere some more mammas will remember clay cookies
with fond memories and stir some up for their children! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Amongst It All

I guess I still haven't recovered from a month of writing daily! Somehow I haven't been able to slip back into my normal routine here. Maybe it's because my days have been filled with "busy" lately. Chris has been working on our heating system and on our bedroom that is not yet finished. This brings extra mess and chaos to the rest of the house which, while I'm rather happy to endure for the sake of a bedroom, does get old! Then too we've brought a few more things out of storage like our big and small book cases (now where in the world are the shelf pegs??) and, of course, boxes of books to be sorted and put on shelves (IF we can find those pegs!) Not to mention I've had the furniture re-positioned every which way trying to decide how best to fit everything in! Oh, and of course I helped w/ the hot lunch Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday and tomorrow Chris' family will all be together... Yes, it's busy and chaotic around here! But it's good. Amongst it all there's much, much good, and I am so very Thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2012

For the love of books!

I think it's safe to say that this child loves books! We still have boxes of things in storage that we haven't seen in over a year. In some of those boxes are books, waiting for our book shelf to be brought home and set up. A few weeks ago when jennifer was sick, i brought the box of children's books home. What fun! We sorted through them, picking out ones that they remembered and reading "new" ones that were isaac and jasmine's favorites. Jennifer layed around and looked and looked at books! Recently i discovered another treat that she has been enjoying. The local library has the laura and mary books on tape/cd! The first book got listened to quite thoroughly. Some of the tapes we heard over and over! Last night we got the next 2 books and she has spent *all*day* sitting close to the computer listening to those cds!! It's fun to watch her absorbing stories that i've loved for years.
Books are certainly a treasure to be loved!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back At Last :) ... Lessons on Focus

I am not a shopper. Nor am I a good decision maker (hmm...are those 2 connected?) So, an invitation to join a group of ladies for a day of shopping at an Outlet Mall sent me grabbing the nearest excuse (a big day planned the day before) and saying no. Turned out my big day got changed and I was thrown into indecision... "I don't know these women and am not the same stripe!" *And who keeps saying they're lonely and longs for interaction?* "I'm just not a shopper! Especially not that kind of stores!" *Who says it has to be about shopping? Why can't you have a good day and not buy a thing?* End result? Thursday morning I headed out feeling like an 18 yr old walking into Bible School for the 1st time. I was determined to remember 2 things: 1) It's not about shopping 2) Listen to Hearts. That day was so good for me! I realized that in spite of differences, we were 12 women with hearts that want to follow Him. Focusing on that instead of 'what do they think of me' and 'what do I think of them' was so freeing!