Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Update on Emzel

Anyone who has known me well in the last 20 years knows that my pregnancies are absolutely awful. For weeks I hover so close to the edge that Heaven seems close enough to touch and it wouldn't take much to make me let go of here and slip over there.

Then things start to improve, ever so slowly, and I actually begin to become aware of my surroundings, such as my husband. Then I venture outside for the first time in a month, shuffling weakly, and maybe sweep the kitchen floor, before I lie down for a few hours to recuperate.

A very long and dreary recovery follows, during which I again get strong enough to step up on a chair or lift a gallon of milk. During this time I still feel absolutely rotten from head to foot, but Paul and others continually remark about how much better I'm doing.

I do eventually recover completely, praise God.

I say all that to say that Emily's illness has been eerily like a pregnancy. She never threw up, but otherwise it was a bit too similar--weeks in bed feeling horrid, weakness, a longing for Heaven, obliviousness to her surroundings, and that sense of feeling completely yucky from head to foot.

In fact, I said as much to the doctor, and added that I was glad there was no chance she was pregnant. He implied I shouldn't say that, as he's seen a few too many pregnant teenagers with moms who were sure they couldn't be. Yikes. Well, at least I was right this time.

Anyway, we dipped Emily seven times in the Jordan as the doctor advised, and soon after that she came down for breakfast with the family, which caused great elation, then sadly right before Thanksgiving she caught the flu that Ben brought home from school and got knocked off her feet again.

Two days ago, to my astonishment, Emily came downstairs and asked if I had any work for her to do, and she cleaned out some bathroom drawers. Yesterday we all went out for supper at the gourmet restaurant of her choice--Taco Bell--her first such excursion in many weeks. Today she cleaned up the kitchen. When I went into raptures about how she's getting well at last, she grumped that she still feels awful.

So I think she's in the stage of recovery where everyone around her can see the improvement and her new interest in her surroundings, but she's still feeling gross enough that she feels like she's as sick as ever.

So that's where she's at, and enormous thanks to everyone who has prayed for her and encouraged us. We have a long journey ahead, I'm sure, but I have more hope than I've had for a while.

Quote of the Day:
"You know what's kind of disheartening? In books when a character's sick like me, she always dies."


What could I offer as incentive to get people to review my books on Amazon? (Not that I'm getting obsessive about my books on Amazon or anything, or my rankings, or those cool little sidebar boxes, or the fact that I am now an Amazon Associate and can pull up stats on how many people click on the cool little boxes, or the fact (best of all) I've earned $4.29 on an Amazon gift card thanks to people clicking here and then buying! (Thanks, all of you!)

Anyway, I would appreciate more (5-star, preferably) reviews on Amazon like all the cool authors have, and rather than begging and whining I think I should offer a reward. But what?

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Many years ago Amy wrote a poem that I entitled Desperate for a Rhyme:
"God made
Many things there is.
People made
Bubbly fizz."

Emily and I like to brainstorm about hymns we know with questionable lyrics that can be taken more than one way. She thinks the authors were desperate for a rhyme. I think they just had trouble with pronouns. Such as:

"I will call upon the one whom the wind and waves command."

"Sin and death his kingdom shall destroy."

"Twas Gabriel first that did proclaim to his most blessed mother. . ."

Or maybe we're just weird, or we had a bit too much (non-alcoholic) bubbly fizz.

Quote of the Day:
Edit: quote of the day censored by embarrassed daughter.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Special on Books

Someone emailed me today and said they couldn't find my post about buying my books, so here it is again:

The two titles are Ordinary Days and Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting.

You can ask for them at your local independent bookstore or click on the sidebar boxes to order online.

Or you can get an autographed copy from me.* Each one is $10 plus $2 shipping. And here's the Special Offer: Two or more copies are $9 each. If you order 5 or more books sent to one address (U.S. only) postage is free.

Mail a check to:
Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

*No, this doesn't improve my ranking on Amazon but is actually preferable in other ways.

Dear Matt,

You have no qualms about telling everyone you’d like to have a girlfriend, but there’s something you need to know before you have a woman in your life, and that is this: logic, reason, and statistics are highly overrated.

I do realize that you are not only a guy, you are also a Smucker, two enormous obstacles to overcome in absorbing this lesson. But hear me out.

So last night I explained to you that Amazon.com has something like 4 million books on its racks, or maybe it’s 2 million, at any rate, several million. And when you look up a book on Amazon you can also look up its ranking, with the smaller numbers being the better sellers.

I have two books on Amazon and I check their rankings regularly. In fact, I keep a scrap piece of paper under the keyboard where I jot down each new milestone. It has been glorious fun to see them rise from 700,000 to 400,000-ish and then on up in the 100,000s and lately, with the Christmas rush, into the 30,000s.

Of course, each leap upward gives me visions of a fattening royalty check. And the other night when Upstairs hit the dizzying height of 27,162, I just had to call you into the office to show you.

And you said nonchalantly, "Yeah, that probably means you sold a few more recently."

I said, "Matt, this has gone up from like 500,000 to this!" and I tapped on the lovely number on the screen.

And you said, "Yeah, well, statistically, at that level, if you sell one book it would jump you up several thousand points." And you stood there eating your sandwich like a nerdy unfeeling engineering student, utterly unimpressed with your wildly successful mother.

Listen to me: in a situation like this, you swallow the logic and reason, grin big and say enthusiastically, "Hey, wow! That’s great! I’m impressed!"

Just so you know.


Quote of the Day:
"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."
--Proverbs 1:8

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning and just a quick post
before I plug in the crock pot and get ready to host.
As a blogger, today, I just want you to know
I'm thankful for DSL after dial-up slow
And I'm thankful for people who stop by the Shoe
whether daily or seldom or many or few.
Lurkers and commenters, agreement and snark,
RC and Sis Becky and Arlene and Mark,
Humor and sympathy, advice or a lecture
Off on a tangent or purely conjecture.
I'm thankful for geeks who tweak HTMLs
And for daughters who pose as someone else.
I'm off to make dinner but please know this is true:
On this day and always I'm thankful for YOU.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tired of Mice

Twice in the last week I saw a live mouse in the laundry room wastebasket. The first was a frisky little guy who launched himself upward and practically levitated 8 inches in the air over and over but was unable to clear the top edge. The second stayed at the bottom of the wastebasket looking thirsty and tired. Paul got rid of both.

Then on Sunday right after dinner I heard a snap-screeeech. Sure enough, a mouse was barely caught in the trap and was screaming, which puts me right over the edge. Paul got rid of that one too.

And on Saturday one ran under the fridge and Matt made a valiant effort to kill it a la his save-the-day-like-David routine, but it disappeared completely.

And I've heard various scritchings and scratchings in such places as make it necessary to re-wash all the china for Thanksgiving, just in case.

And today in town I opened the glove compartment of the car to get my hand sanitizer and there were my kleenexes and spare Subway napkins in shreds. Ok, mice in the house are bad enough, but a mouse in the car is too, too, much.

It's only November, and I am tired of mice. It's going to be a long winter.

Quote of the Day:
"The reason I got up so late this morning was because I was trying to finish my dream."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Me, Cars, Computers

Rule 1 of my relationship with cars and computers is: "Whatever I did, it was the wrong thing."

This last weekend was full of church meetings up at Sheridan, an hour and a half away if Paul is driving, and we ended up with two cars up there on Sunday evening (long story) and Paul couldn't find anyone else to drive one home so the lot fell on me.

Now I don't like driving at the best of times, but at night, on curvy roads, in the rain, is The Absolute Worst. And my eyes are awful at night and I slam on the brakes because a car is turning out in front of me and it turns out to actually be the reflectors at the end of someone's driveway, etc. etc. whine whine.

So I said I'd rather drive the Honda, (old, stick shift, iffy prognosis) than the Kia (first car of ours that has any risk of theft, but full of children in the back seat).

So we headed home in the dark, rain, etc, and I insisted that Paul go ahead of me so I could putz along as slow as I wanted without feeling guilty for making him putz along also.

He warned me the alternator in the Honda is dying.

I got to Corvallis and noticed the interior lights were dimming and the windshield wipers were going slower and slower and the white lines were getting more faded.

Down Peoria Road I was leaning forward and clutching the steering wheel like an old grandma in a pickup truck. I could still see signs but the white lines were almost disappearing.

Then right before Fayetteville Drive I stepped on the brakes and the engine died completely. Panic. I quickly put it in neutral and turned the key. Nothing. I found a spot to ease off the road, and no one was coming, thank you Jesus.

I called Paul, who had just arrived at home. He came and rescued me, but first we pushed the Honda further off the road, with him inside steering and me at the front (long story and less misogynist than it sounds) through deep wet leaves, which I found is much easier than pushing a car out of snow, which I have also done in church shoes. And then he drove me home.

As I was relating what happened, he wanted to know what I did when it stalled. " Did you put it in gear and pop the clutch, or did you turn the key?"

I knew instantly that as always, whatever I had done was the wrong thing. But at that very instant my cell phone rang! And when I was done talking on it I artfully turned the conversation to other things.

Don't worry, Paul would have been nice about it, but I just don't like to discuss it.

That is also why I got Tom to put those cool little boxes in the sidebar to link to Amazon, as Hans suggested, because if I would have tried, believe me, everything I would have done would have been the wrong thing.

Quote of the Day:
"I like Christian books where the main thing isn't like how to be a Christian and stuff."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Emily, Again

On Monday I took Emily to Dr. Hansen in Creswell, a D.O. who diagnosed her with food allergies five years ago. He read over her printouts from all the blood tests, checked her over, and said he really thinks she has West Nile fever. This was the test result that had come back "equivocal," or slightly positive, as opposed to all the others which were negative. The other doctors we consulted didn't seem to know what to make of this test, but Dr. H. seemed more sure this was it, both from the test results and because he had treated several other WNF patients in the last six months and Emily's symptoms are similar to theirs.

West Nile is spread by mosquitoes, and there is no cure for it. Some people get the virus and never know they had it, others get a mild fever, others get encephalitis and get really sick. The worst victims have the worst long-term effects, of course, but even those with a mild fever can have fatigue, difficulty concentrating, confusion, lack of coordination, and other effects even a year later.

Dr. Hansen is big on natural cures and said the best thing to zap a virus is a high fever, so we are supposed to induce one in Emily every day for a week via a "mild fever bath," which sounds like a nice soak in a bubble bath but is far more miserable.

We've done it twice now. I fill up the tub and she gets into her swimsuit and into the water. I have to monitor the temperature of both the water (104-108 degrees) and of Emily. Her temp is supposed to go to 103 and stay there for 15 minutes. But since she starts off at 97 or less when she's well, we only go to 101, and even there she gets lightheaded and weak and gasps for air and gets a headache and nearly faints. I have to stay right there and make sure she doesn't pass out completely and slip in the water and drown. Afterwards she's too weak to get out of the tub by herself.

So yeah, not the funnest project in the world but our last best hope. Dr. Hansen mentioned that we might feel like Naaman dipping in the Jordan and that's exactly how I feel. I do tend to trust him, though, because I'm desperate and because he didn't try to push any products on us and didn't tell us we had to keep coming back. "I really think this will help. Give me a call and tell me what happens."

I am sure there are skeptics reading this who think we must be nuts. Maybe we are. And then there's this to think about:

Quote of the Day;
"Naaman's servants went to him and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, "Wash and be cleansed"!' So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy."
--2 Kings 5: 13, 14

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Posting Like a Young Person

I read a lot of young people's blogs, since it's the best way to keep track of my big kids and their friends.

I've noticed there are a few types of posts that often show up on their Xangas, and I find them intriguing, not least because I don't think I could post like that even if I tried hard.

a) The picture post. Lots and lots of shots and shots--in the car, all in a bunch at the restaurant, two or three friends leaning into the picture (Rule 1 of Being Young: You Must Lean Into Each Other For The Picture). This sort of post is almost impossible for me because 1. I don't go out in big hilarious groups much and 2. the prospect of getting the pictures off the camera and into the computer and onto the blog post is just too daunting with Matt and Amy both gone.

b) The song lyrics. Young people are really into their music, and songs really, really speak to them. I find this interesting. I get the feeling that they have these jumbled emotions in their heads that they can't seem to put into words, and then they hear a song on K-Love that expresses their feelings exactly. So they post the lyrics, and I'm sure it doesn't mean quite the same to me reading as it does to them, but I'm glad they posted anyway. However, if I tried to do this I'm afraid it wouldn't really connect with people because I would either post old-fashioned hymns:
O happy is the man who hears
instruction's warning voice
and who celestial wisdom makes
his early only choice.

or John Schmid:
O fenza maus, vo vit du naus?
Uff diesem Riegel shrping ich nous.
Dot iss un loch, no gay ich nei
un dess sell au mei haemet sei.
(Trans: O fence mouse, where are you going out? I'm running out on this rail. There's a hole, I'm going in, and this will be my home. [to the tune of O Tannenbaum, yet. It's so sweet. And it has such a sad ending: "Then comes a dog, and digs me out. Then I'm a dead fence-mouse. Then they lay me to rest and cover me with leaves." Trust me, it's a lot more sentimental in German.])

c) The mysterious, slightly-ominous statement:
"And then there are days that you get to the end of, desperately wishing you could start all over again and do differently....."
"what if you want something very, very much, you've wanted it for a long time and it's right within your grasp... but one thing and only one, small issue is in your way. SO little but SO insurmountable!! why??? grrrr.... "
"i feel wound up tight as a drum, just Waiting for Something to Happen"
"There are dreams, and there is foolishness. It's a thin line sometimes. But what would have happened... what could happen... "

These are actual quotes (hope you don't mind, you-know-who-you-are). I read them and think, Oh so beautifully put and mysterious, but WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT??? And especially if it's someone I know, I do way too much speculating.
When I write, it's specific or nothing, so I admire this ability to toss out a filmy foggy phrase into the cold fall air and leave it floating there.

d) The dryer lint:

Well i'm kinda slacking on keeping up on updating this thing. been busy. but haven't really been doing a whole lot. mainly just work and relaxing in the evenings with the girls. if you can call it relaxing. it gets pretty crazy around here.

hey ya'll...it's been a while. a lil update on my o so exciting life for ya...um school started which is sadish cuz that means summer is over...and i love summer.

Those are quotes too, and if the authors happen unfortunately to come by here, let me give them this gentle advice: write your post, then delete the first paragraph, and it will be much more interesting. And use capital letters now and then.

e) The spiritual questions and church complaints. You've all run into those I'm sure so I won't copy them here. I can't write the latter because I am the preacher's wife (of course I don't have any complaints about the church, ever, either, so don't get me wrong here). And I can't write the former because it feels too private.

So, since I can't post like a young person, I guess that makes me an old person. And here's my advice to other old people and all parents, aunts, teachers, and mentors of young people: READ THEIR XANGAS.

Quote of the Day:
Emily: That doesn't make sense.
Jenny: Well what you said made sense to me but I want to pretend it didn't. So there.
--(How one of their many recent arguments ended.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Rant for Today

What is it with magazine writers and food? Sometimes I wonder what planet these people live on. Do they have no metabolism at all, or maybe they’re sadistic 400-pounders determined to make normal people feel guilty for eating food.

I started reading the latest Readers Digest today, that magazine that has descended from its excellent, incisive articles of 40 years ago to bite-size fluff today. But I still read it, so never mind that. Anyway, on page 51 is the obligatory article on How to Not Overindulge This Holiday Season and Get Grossly Overweight.

So to quote from RD: ‘You’re working, taking care of the house, shopping, cooking, dealing with the kids and relatives. You need more energy, and you need food on the fly. You consider a Grande Espresso Frappuccino and a slice of pizza."

So far so good.

It goes on, telling you that’s a very wicked idea. You need to limit caffeine (ok, I can see that, but not real well). And then: "Try filling sandwich bags with green and red pepper strips, carrot slices, celery sticks, or a whole-grain bagel or crackers with hummus, nonfat cream cheese, or jam."

I’m lost here. How on earth am I supposed to finish my shopping and everything else without fainting, on that kind of fuel? Even the pizza and espresso wouldn’t be enough for me, I'm afraid. Throw in a thick bowl of broccoli cheese soup if I’m at Safeway, or even something juicy that used to moo, from Burger King, and I might make it.

Then there’s the part about food at parties. "Never arrive hungry." "If you’re ravenous, it’s even harder to control yourself at the buffet." "Before you eat anything, get a drink of seltzer, water, or juice." "Decide which few things you’ll try, and have one or two bites of each."

Ok, here I’m so lost you need to send Search&Rescue after me. It’s like it’s some kind of moral flaw to be hungry and/or to eat food. I always operate on the premise that if you work hard and/or don’t eat for a while, you get hungry (or even ravenous), which is as things ought to be, and then you eat some food, and then you aren't hungry any more, and it is good for your body to do this. And if you go to a place where there is lots of good food that people want you to eat, so much the better.

Naturally, these magazine writers say you’re supposed to eat a salad or a whole-grain bagel before you ever leave home, so you’re not hungry for the good stuff at the party. Oh please. I'll bet they have a bowl of nachos and a plate of brownies beside the computer to nibble on while they type this stuff.

Here’s my advice for this Holiday Season: Get hungry. Eat food. Quit when you’re full. Give hearty thanks. Make sure you eat some of my SIL Bonnie's fudge; it's the best in the world.

Quote of the Day:
bobble gum
stuffte animal
radio like mom's purple one
toy bow and arrow's
candy bar
camera? hahaha
sling shot"
--Steven's Christmas list. Here's one he wrote over two years ago.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Today's Deja Vu

Back when I had three small children, I used to think, "Someday I'm going to wonder how on earth I survived this." Matt was 4, Amy 2, and Emily 8 weeks old when we moved to an Indian reserve in northern Ontario. We lived in this little cabin with no running water, and it was so cold the ice on the lake behind the house got to be 4 feet thick, and I used to set Emily's little playpen/bed up on kitchen chairs near the wood stove because the floor was so cold, and it took half an hour to bundle everyone up to go out the door. (And we walked 5 miles to school, in the snow, uphill both ways, yada yada)

Well. Fast forward 17 years. My neighbor lady, Verna, has three small children just like I did. Jayce is 4 and full of mischief like Matt, Sholanda is 2 and very smart and articulate (like Amy) and the new baby is a girl named Tymber. ( A good Oregon name.) Today I babysat Jayce and Sholanda for over 4 hours. And I thought, How on earth did I survive back then?

Surprisingly, I didn't think this because of all the activity and scattered toys and such. That wasn't a problem. I thought it because these children talked the. whole. time. It didn't stop. And I thought, this is exactly what mine were like. How did I ever keep all the wires in my head from disconnecting?

Matt, as I recall, asked questions from the time he got up til he fell asleep at night. 118 "why" questions in a single day when he was 3, for example. And one day I had a guest and she said, "How can you answer all those questions without going crazy?" And I said, "Questions?" It turned out that for the last 15 minutes I had had my mouth on automatic pilot, answering his questions, while the rest of my head was thinking about something else.

So, yeah, I know this is what little kids do, and it's good that they're curious and all. But I have a new respect for Verna, and for myself for surviving that stage, and I wonder how I did it.

Quote of the Day:
"OOhh! The dog!
The big dog!
I'm scared of the dog!
Can he come in?
Can he?
Can he get me?"
(No, the door is shut.)
"He can't open the door?
He don't got hands?
He don't got hands?
He can't open the door?
You gots hands.
I got hands.
See? I got hands.
Our baby--my mom's baby--she gots hands too.
Hey, where's your dog?
Where's your dog again?
Why is your dog sitting? Or laying?"
(Because he's tired.)
"Is that why he don't wanna come see us?
What's that noise?"
(The dog barking.)
"What's he barking at?
Maybe if animals come he barks at them!
Then we could build a fire and cook the animals for him!"
--Jayce and Sholanda

Lynn's List

I go all giddy when I see one of my books on someone's list, so you can imagine my response when I received this in an email today from Lynn Frost, the librarian in Junction City. It's her column for the Junction City Quarterly, and (gasp) she put me right next to Mother Goose and A.A. Milne. Of course I'm donating a copy of Upstairs to the library. It was the least I could do. Lynn said she was not angling for a donation, honest.

The Essential Bookshelf by Lynn the Librarian

The season of giving is here. so what would this librarian suggest if someone had only about 20 inches of bookshelf? Essential books: here is my top-ten list.
1. A dictionary. The Random House Websters College Dictionary goes for about $25, and contains expressions like ‘my bad!’ and ‘senior moment’. But an older dictionary will do: $5.
2. A general knowledge overview is a must, but given the Internet, encyclopedia sets are thing of the past. A used copy of The Random House Encyclopedia at $40 will suffice. It contains 3,000 pages of knowledge, including an atlas. Search for that obscure fact under such headings as “The Universe” and “Time Charts”, then you can browse to your heart’s content. A more concise treatment is The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy; What Every American Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.. ($29.95) Or an overview of the world’s facts is a world almanac. ($7.00 ) You need not have the latest edition, as many things do not change: state capitals, measurements, etc.
3. The Merck Manual of Medical Information ($19.95) can save you much angst over ailments, and will aid in determining when to seek medical help. It is written in lay terms, and is arranged by topic, from basics to body parts and systems. It includes information on children’s health, accidents and injuries.
4. Every household should have a cookbook. A good basic source is the 50th anniversary edition of The Betty Crocker Cookbook. ($17.95) Use it to cook everything from old fashioned comfort food to vegetarian dishes – complete with how-to photos and nutrition information. When put to use you have no excuse; you too can cook.
5. While in the do-it-yourself mode, you can refer to the Reader’s Digest New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual. You’ll learn about repairs, tools and safety in all areas of the home, and have a sense of accomplishment when you have completed a task.
6. Along that line, Simple Home Solutions: Good Things with Martha Stewart Living ($22.50) with instructions on how to remove stains, peel a tomato, build storage systems, you name it.
7. Every home should have a good read-aloud. I recommend Dorcas Smucker’s Ordinary Days; Family Life in a Farmhouse and Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting. ($9.95 each) This gives you the opportunity to share local color when there is a power failure or to have a sense of shared tranquility before you turn the lights out.
8. It is great to have a book for and about children: Mother Goose for example. There are so many versions: The Real Mother Goose, ($9.95) also Mary Engelbreit’s Mother Goose, ($19.95) A 75 year old treasure is the set of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner. They are the best stories to share with children. Reading these can also give a child the first ah-ha-experience that a book and a movie do not always have one to one correspondence.
9. You need a book that speaks to your passion: a novel, or art, gardening, history, philosophy, self-help, health. . . It should be a book that is a pleasure to hold, to read and re-read, and something you would like to share with others.
10. The book that is the foundation of your faith tradition.
Lastly, you need your very own library card. They don’t take much room so go ahead and get one for yourself and each member of your family. Use it frequently. And the world will open up to you and your loved ones. Junction City Public Library has about 20,000 books along with dvds and talking books. Come and enjoy them.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Steven, Orphans, and God

Steven is 13 years old today. He is a wonderful, funny, gifted young man and we are blessed to have him in our family.

When we were in the process of adopting him and one miracle after another was unfolding, I got the distinct sense that this was not our doing. God was doing something powerful here, and we were only along for the ride, with very little control over what would happen next.

There's something about adopting a child that makes everyone come out of the woodwork with their own adoption stories, and we have heard many in the last three years. Over and over, people have told me of hardnosed caseworkers and judges who suddenly had a change of heart, dates that clicked into place not a day too soon or too late, uncanny events surrounding the adoption, and many more coincidences that can only be credited to God's hand orchestrating it all.

So I have had the sense that something big is afoot in God's kingdom with this whole thing of orphans and adoption. Ok, maybe it's been happening for years, I don't know, I just know that I've had an increasing awareness of it, like an approaching freight train.

And now more and more Christian ministries are getting involved in caring for orphans, and World magazine told how entire churches are taking in orphans.

How like God to unleash his power for the smallest, the poorest, the weakest, the abandoned ones with no voice and no power and no one to speak for them.

Read more here and here.

Quote of the Day:
"You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed. . ."
Psalm 10:17,18 NIV

Monday, November 05, 2007

Irritating People

I think it was Bill Gothard who propounded the theory of difficult people being like a chisel chipping away at the rough rock of your character to produce a diamond. I can still remember that overhead with the drawing of a diamond getting pieces chipped off.

One of the disadvantages of being a hypersensitive person is that people irritate me a lot more than they do, say, my easygoing husband. Paul gets somewhat annoyed at bombastic, know-it-all young men, but that's about it. And he is still nice to them. And he doesn't dwell on them for any length of time.

Then there's me. I get irritated beyond bearing at a) clueless people who steamroll over everyone else b) people who screech when they talk c) sullen teenagers d) people who don't listen e) bombastic men of any age, especially if they're preachers f) women who are syrupy on the surface and poison underneath g) patronizing people h) people who act super-spiritual i) people who interrupt others j) people who don't like my children k) dads with control issues l) people who come up to me and gush about Beverly Lewis and the Ay-mish m) kids who bully others n) well, that's all I can think of at the moment but trust me there are more.

I must be a very very rough diamond.

And then there is the very disconcerting thought that I am probably an equally irritating chisel in the hands of God to refine some other people's characters. Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Quote of the Day:
"My tablecloth is bluer and my things aren't as faded."
--Paul's mom, after a laser procedure on her eye

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sales Pitch for Young Men

My SIL Geneva worked at Meier and Frank, a nice clothing/home furnishings store well above my means, for a number of years. It was very entertaining, at our Christmas dinners, to hear her tell about the customers on Christmas Eve.

Toward evening on December 24th was when the young men came wandering into the store, she said. Invariably they needed a gift for a mom or a girlfriend, or both. Invariably they had no idea what to get. And invariably when Geneva said, "Well, what size is she?" they said, "Oh, about like you."

Geneva is 5 feet tall and probably a size 4.

So Geneva would gently ask a few more questions and steer them toward an appropriate gift.
Since Christmas is next month(!), I have an idea for all the procrastinating young men out there: get your mom a copy of one or both of my books, Ordinary Days and Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting.

Moms are far and away my most numerous customers, and even the ones that don’t read much have been known to read these because they consist of a bunch of stand-alone chapters that can be read one at a time over a cup of coffee.

You can buy them online here and here. Or ask for them at a bookstore.

Or you can order from me and get an autographed copy. They are $10 plus $2 shipping each. And here’s the November/December special: if you get two or more copies, they’re $9 each. If you get five or more copies sent to one address, shipping is free. (U.S. only) If you like, I can mail the book(s) directly to your mom.

Mail a check to:
Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

I don’t know if a girlfriend would like one of my books or not. I think I’d suggest perfume or fancy coffee or chocolates instead.

(Matt: just so you know, you can always buy me a gift card from one of the espresso stands in Harrisburg or that one by the Shell station on 228)

Quote of the Day:
"I'm really glad my skin grows with my body, because snakes have to shed their skin and I'm glad I don't."