Friday, November 30, 2012

Blog Tour Stop #18

Second-to-last blog tour stop: Christine at Shall Run and Not be Weary. Read the review and enter the giveaway, then read on about this family's experiences with international adoption.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jenny's Concert

YOU are invited to come hear the Joyful Noise Choir's Christmas concert. Friday, Dec. 7. Prelude music at 7:15 pm. Concert at 7:30. Community Bible Church, 2600 Stoltz Road, Lebanon, Oregon. I'm both biased and unmusical, but I'm told that this is an exceptionally excellent choir for its small size. Come hear for yourself.

Blog Tour--#17

This blog tour has been great fun for me and I hope for everyone else involved as well.

Today we head to Bethany's blog at About My Father's Business, in which we discover that she and I have similar husbands.  What fortunate women we are!

And a Quote of the Day:

Me: [Reading blog tour comments] Oh dear. How can I tell if all these nice comments are going to my head?
Emily: If you start having dreams that they're going to make a movie out of your book.
Jenny: with Brad Pitt starring as Dad.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Tour--Stop 16

Kim Martin and I go way back to my Amish days, and in today's review she remembers what happened when our horse, Fern, got too old to pull the buggy up the hill.

Since then, we've met at very random times and places, and I wish we could sit down and reminisce over a pot of tea.

You'll enjoy her review, I'm sure.  Right here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blog tour stop #15

The last week of the blog tour is underway.  If this is an east-to-west journey, we're about in Utah and getting to Idaho soon.  It's been fun for me and I hope for you, too.

Today we go to Mark Roth's blog.  He was nervous about being the only guy on the list but he shouldn't have been.

Here's Aint Complicated.

And coming up:
November 28-- Kim Martin at Sweaters 4 u 2
November 29-- Bethany Eicher at About My Father's Business
November 30-- Christine Weaver at Shall Run and Not Be Weary
December 1--Gina at Home Joys 

Thanks for coming along on the journey.

Ordering information for Tea and Trouble Brewing:

Send a check for $15 (includes postage) to:

Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

Special: all four of my books for $40, including postage.  U.S. customers only.

Or order from Amazon.

Thanks again for coming along for the ride.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Signing at RG

This Thursday from 4-6 pm there's a book signing at the Register-Guard building at 3500 Chad Drive for RG authors.

In case you can't read this, the others are Bob Welch, Jan Eliot, and Bill Sullivan.

They had this very nice ad in the print edition, but I couldn't download it from the website, so I scanned it instead.

Hope to see you there.

Blog Tour #14

Back to the Blog Tour: Today we visit Mary Ann at A Joyful Chaos. Mary Ann is the co-author of the "Lily" books, based on her childhood. You can check them out in the sidebar after you sign up for the giveaway.
Here's the link. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blog Tour--Stop 13

 Today we go all the way to Poland and Anita Yoder's Tis a Gift to Receive. She's a true word-crafter and you'll enjoy reading her past posts. She's also the first blog tour host to do an interview.

Here it is.

Friday, November 23, 2012


There are plenty of things I like about Christmas.

The music.
The celebration of Jesus's coming.
The food.
The family gatherings.

But there is one thing that I very much dislike: shopping for gifts.

Or, more accurately: shopping for gifts when I have no clue what people need, and have a feeling they really don't need anything I can give them.

You are all bouncing in your seats, waving your hands, and yelling, "But Mrs. Smuckerrrr..!!"

Calm down. I know what you're thinking.  I should get creative and make stuff.  Special stuff.  Personal stuff.  Tea cozies and candles and tote bags and cookies in re-purposed tins and big stick pretzels dipped in white chocolate.

I won't have time for that unless I don't sleep for the next month.  Also, this is too much thinking for a brain so overtaxed that it forgot to invite John and Laura to the family Thanksgiving dinner, thinking they were still in Poland or something.

Thankfully someone else was on the ball and called me up.  "Um, Dorcas???"

The other day while Jenny was in choir I wandered around Walmart, picking up milk and meat but also scouting out gifts.

Clothes? How many people really want their moms to buy them clothes?

That's what I thought.

Electronics?  Tools?  There is no possible way I'll pick the right thing without being specifically told, so why not just hand them a few twenties and say, Here.  Help yourself.

Popcorn in Santa tins, cellophany pre-packaged cappuccino mixes with cups, glass jars with red candles so strongly scented of cinnamon that they set off an asthma attack.


Here's what I like:
1. When I know someone needs something and I can fill that need.  Like a gas card for your child's teacher.  Or the year Paul's sister needed a coat and we all pooled our money and Bonnie--whose taste we all trusted and who enjoys shopping--went and picked it out.
2. Words.  If I send Christmas cards, I can't sleep at night unless I include some words conveying what these people mean to us and why they're special.  I would be thrilled if everyone who normally buys me gifts would sit down and write a few pages of nice words instead.

Well, I also wouldn't mind that cute little teapot at Shoppe of Shalom, ceramic, with an infuser, or the stack of cute note papers in the third aisle.

But words would be fine too.

Today I was talking with a young person about how those first gifts after you start dating are fraught with peril and heavy with meaning.  I remember buying Paul I think two different gifts and returning both of them before I finally bought a set of James Herriot books because he likes to read.

However, he has never really liked James Herriot.

He married me anyhow. And today he went to Home Depot and used a gift card from last Christmas to buy some on-sale tools he needed, then he came home and gave me the tools and said I can wrap them up and give them to him for Christmas.

We are one couple who does not fight about finances.

The young person I spoke with, who has an actual guy in her life this Christmas, said,

Quote of the Day:
"I always thought if I was going to buy a guy clothes, it would be from a cool store, like Old Navy.  But the other day I was kind of startled to realize that if I was going to buy clothes for him that he'd like I'd probably have to go to Coastal Farms."

Blog Tour, Day 12

Marching on with the blog tour: today we visit MaryAnn Yutzy's Xanga page, where she reminisces, reviews, and even offers a photo of Tea and Trouble with a very charming teapot and teacup.
 Trust me, perusing this will be more fun than fighting crowds at the mall.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blog Tour--Stop # 11

Today we go way-way-way up north in Alberta to Luci's blog, Quiet Hearts.  It was nice having a Canadian on board so we Americans could all spend the day fixing and eating food.

You'll enjoy Luci's post, and the rest of her blog.  She has a thoughtful, humourous* touch all her own.

Here it is.

*spelled in honour of Luci.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blog Tour Stop 10

Today we head over to Treasured Up and Pondered, a beautiful blog by Beverly.  You can read a sample chapter of my book for free, enter the giveaway, enjoy the review.

Right here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Tour #9

Today we go local again.  LeAnn is my friend Jean's sister and a writer who tells about her life at W.L.E.N musings.

Connections: lunch together at a writers' workshop once upon a time.  She offered me meaningful empathy when I lost a nephew, as she lost a nephew in Iraq.  And once upon a time I met her law-enforcement husband when he was um, enforcing the law. 

Here's her post.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blog Tour Post 8

Today we head over to the intrepid Rhonda Schrock's blog.  You'll see that she and I have a lot in common.  As she says, our "works in progress" text us incessantly and call us "Mom."

Don't forget to comment if you want to enter the giveaway.

Here's her post.

(Sorry, I had the wrong URL here.  It's fixed now.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blog Tour Stop 7

Today we go to visual artist Lydia Jo's blog for a review and giveaway.  Enjoy her review, leave a comment, and then click around to see her photos.

Lydia Jo Photography

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Tour, Day 6

Today's stop is at Crystal's Cliffnotes.  She read my Letters from Harrisburg in the RG when she was a child.  Have I been writing long enough for a child-reader to grow up and have children of her own?  Apparently so.

A fun read, and a giveaway of course.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blog Tour, Day 5

Today's blog tour stop is IttyBitty Blog. 

Darcy is the only blog tour host who reads my column in the newspaper, long before it ever shows up in a book.  Thanks, Darcy!

To order a book from me:  mail a check for $15 to:
Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR  97446

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grammar Gone Wrong

Today we will learn about commas in a list or series.

You learned this in the fourth grade: word-comma-word-comma-and-word.

The flag is red, white, and blue.

Phil, Marcus, and Fred are my brothers.

Today I did laundry, talked on Skype, and washed the dishes.

We note that the series should be a series of similar items.  All colors, or all guys' names, or all verbs.

This is called "maintaining parallel structure."

Maybe this illustrates what I'm saying: (Found here)

Maintain parallel structure with items in a series.

Items in a series should have parallel structure. You maintain parallel structure when you use equal grammatical units. If the first item is a noun, then the following items must also be nouns; if the first item is a subordinate clause, then so must the other items be.
Nonparallel structure looks like this:
Harry spent his afternoon Glub. , Glub. , and Neigh..
Harry spent his afternoon playing tennis, returning overdue library books, and then he ate a mushroom and pineapple pizza.
Parallel structure, the correct way to list items in a series, looks like this:
Harry spent his afternoon Glub. , Glub. , and Glub..
Harry spent his afternoon Neigh. , Neigh. , and Neigh..
Harry spent his afternoon playing tennis, returning overdue library books, and eating a mushroom and pineapple pizza.
This afternoon, Harry played tennis, returned overdue library books, and ate a mushroom and pineapple pizza.

There is this terrible habit spreading over our great land to start off a series and to do ok with items one and two, but item three goes slithering into the blackberry bushes in a different form altogether.

It drives me crazy.

I started tearing out bad examples from newspapers and magazines and copying them from websites, and in a very short time found these:

From JCPenney:
"We're offering free sitting fees, a free 8x10, and we'll also email you a digital copy."

From the Eugene Mission newsletter:
"'I love it here at the Mission.  There is acceptance, no judgment, and I've made a lot of friends.'"

From Bloomberg Business Week:
" Obama: 'I've now dealt with a lot of world leaders, and I think that Chancellor Merkel is smart, practical, and I trust her when she says something.'"

 From a Best Buy ad:
"Meet Fitbit Zip.  Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and uploads wirelessly to your free account via Bluetooth 4.0/Smart Ready devices."

From a ShopKo eyecare center ad:
"See more clearly, sharper, and vividly than ever before!"
[this one almost works, but the more you read it, the worse it gets]

 From a quilting website:

"We make quilts, wall-hangings, crib quilts & specialize in repairs, as well as finish the quilt top that you have started." 

"You’re educated, well-read and are the go-to person for solving your family’s and friend’s problems."

"Crocheters already know how to tension the yarn, hold things in their hands, and all they really need to learn (in order to knit) is how to pass a stitch from one needle to another."

from the teen arrested in killing of Jessica Ridgway)

 "A former classmate, Austin Caisse, 17, described the suspect as “brilliant,” and told the Post he was into Japanese culture, anime, and shared an interest in collecting knives."

 I rest my case.

But I can't resist a few more samples of other bad stuff I found.

In a story about moving to Canada if your candidate loses:
"So, as we watch the election results with baited breath, hopefully none of this information will even be necessary."

[baited=earthworm on a hook; bated=restrained]

From an author's website: (yes, an author's)
"Denise is a mother to 3 incredible boys, one GIRL dog, and a wife."

And last but certainly not least, this from a facebook conversation about a home remedy:
"That has helped purge me of a blood clot and my mother in law."

Blog Tour--Day 4

Head over to Miriam's blog today for a thoughtful review of Tea and Trouble Brewing.  Giveaway included.  And a list of connections.  Connections make me very happy.

Here it is.  Enjoy.  Win.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blog Tour Day 3

Day 3 of the blog tour for Tea and Trouble Brewing takes us over to Gabrielle's charming blog, Project Paperie.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Amazing Calendar

There are many perks and benefits to being The Principal's Wife.

Parent-teacher conferences are a breeze.
If the children misbehave in school, I don't have to tell their dad about it.
We get cool stuff from A.C.E., like flash drives and notebooks.
We get cool catalogs, everything from cheerleader uniforms to cheap cutesy erasers, shaped like hamburgers and hot dogs, made in China of course.
I get to provide props for the Christmas program--the ham for the Herdmans' food basket in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the guys' bathrobes for the Nativity scene, Paul's old graduation honor cords for the angel's sash.  It makes me feel included.

But last Sunday in our mailbox we found the most amazing perk ever.  Seriously, I am not trying to make you jealous, you who are not the principal or his wife, but I won't blame you if you are.

It was a free calendar for 2013!  And not just any calendar.  It was a lavishly illustrated calendar from a place called BIO Corporation.  More than any calendar I have ever owned, this one earns the title of "truly unique."

Every month's page is beautifully decorated.

And then, above the beautifully decorated month, is a whole page of detailed descriptions and pictures of "preserved specimens" you can buy for your school.  See?  Here they offer "Sheep organs."

On the February page, they give you a helpful little sidebar lesson on hearts!  How clever is that!

 Check this out!  A cow uterus, either pregnant or not!  Your choice, but the pregnant one is a seasonal item, just remember that.
 Fetal pigs!  As they exclaim here, on sale for only $2.95!!  Wow!
I'll bet YOU don't get to look at something like this for the whole month of July!

 Pig-in-a-box, Cat-in-a-box, Frog-in-a-box, even Rat-in-a-box!!

Excuse me while I note this for my Christmas list.  I'll bet Grandma would like this much better than shower-gel-and-pouf-and-lotion-in-a-box.

The selection is simply amazing!  Turkey heads!  Pig stomachs!  Garter snakes by the bucketful!  Lampreys!  Frogs!  Preserved leeches!

I hope we can agree on a prominent place to hang this calendar to grace our home in the coming year!

I tell you what, there's nothing quite like being the principal's wife!

Unfortunately, our daughter somehow failed to appreciate the unique qualities of this gift.  Here she is looking at the samples of skinned cats.

Quote of the Day:
"Beef organs?? Ewww is that a dead pig?? [flip] Eww!! [flip] EEWWW!! Mom, look at this!!  They preserve RABBITS??? Ohmygoodness!  OhnoOhnoOhno! A cat!  A pretty cat!  You can buy dead preserved cats!  I'm not kidding that is just gross! [whimper] This is horrible.  You have to destroy this.  I'm almost in tears!"

Blog Tour--2nd Stop

Today's featured blogger is Jan Pierce at Words for the Journey.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today's Column

Today's column is a lighthearted expansion of the Wall Words blog post.

Here it is.

Blog Tour: First Stop

First stop on the blog tour for Tea and Trouble Brewing: A thoughtful and thorough review by Amanda Bird at Birds' Books.

Stop by, enjoy, sign up for the giveaway.

Thanks, Amanda!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I'll bet there were hundreds of people like me, people who ran into Rachel only occasionally, but whenever they did, they felt like a wilted potted plant who had just received a soaking cupful of cool water.

I don't think we talked much the first time we met.  Her husband, Ernest, was the guest speaker at our mission's annual "Staff Fellowship," and Rachel and a baby or two came along.  It was held way up north at Stirland Lake High School, back around 1990.

We were living at Round Lake then, deep into challenges far too big for us; lonely, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  Ernest spoke about "The Wilderness."  I recall this because his stories of the Israelites in the desert paralleled my own life, and I remember sitting there in tears while he spoke of the hardships of the wilderness, and of a place of water and palm trees.

Those of you who have been there will recall how the chapel at Stirland Lake was on the top floor of the main building, and you came up the stairs at the back of the chapel.

I was sitting there in one of the back rows listening to one of Ernest's talks when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see Rachel coming up the steps and standing at the top.  I think she was holding a baby, and she stood there looking at her husband with a face I can only describe as "glowing," a rapt expression that said, "That man is the most amazing guy in the universe and I am so proud of him and I am the luckiest woman in the world to be his wife.  And just listen to him speak, did you ever hear anything so profound?"

Her face also said, "I am totally content and happy to be completely anonymous in the background."

It was not a face you'd forget.

I got to know Rachel a lot better many years later when she, my cousin Kay, and their friend Karen organized a women's retreat that I spoke at, in northern Minnesota.  Rachel was a quiet ministering angel in the background, making sure that my needs and a hundred other details were taken care of.

She and her daughter also spoke at that seminar, an amazing story of their journey through the daughter's medical issues, and of their faith and humor through it all, and of looking for--and finding--an unusual number of rainbows throughout the journey.

When the Witmers moved to Los Angeles, they travelled through Oregon a few times and came to our house for a meal or visit.  They were people we felt comfortable with from the minute they stepped in the door, and the conversation went right to the heart of things.  Again, we felt like well-watered plants on a hot day.

On their last visit, Rachel asked me about my writing and speaking.  She seemed intrigued by it, with that life-giving interest that was neither awestruck nor gushy, just interested.  And then she did something no one else has ever done, before or since.  Nonchalantly, as though she were offering to give me a recipe or do some other simple good deed, she said that if I want to, I can email her a list of prayer requests before I give a talk, and she'll pray for me.

I thought, wow, she's a busy woman, she probably has pages of people to pray for every day, and just as no-big-deal as that she offers to add me to her list.

I took her up on her offer.  It wasn't that often, but it was so nice to know that I could send her an email and ask her to pray without feeling like I was imposing, because it was her idea, after all.

Rachel was suddenly, shockingly, taken from us this last week.  A car accident in Colorado, just days before her son's wedding.

It still seems impossible, that she was ripped away from family, friends, ministry, everything she was so deeply invested in.

I considered going to the funeral, but I was committed to giving a talk at a church in town the next day and didn't want to cancel.  I knew she would have understood.

I watched the funeral online.  It was a beautiful tribute to her, a mix of grief and glory.

I remember her face at the back of the chapel at Stirland Lake, and I imagine her gazing at Jesus, at all of Heaven, still happy to be in the background, still rapt and glowing, full of love.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Blog Tour Coming Up

I was delighted with the response to my request for bloggers willing to review Tea and Trouble Brewing.  Eighteen of them!

So, starting this Sunday, I'll be directing you (almost) every day to a stop on the TATB Blog Tour.

Each blogger will not only review the book but will host a giveaway.  So the more of these blogs you visit, the greater your chances of winning.

And with all of these blogs, you'll want to stick around and read a bunch of previous posts after you enter the giveaway.  Lots of good writing represented here!

Here's the list:

November 11-- Amanda Bird at Birds' Books
November 12 --Jan Pierce at Words for the Journey
November 13 --Gabrielle Marcy at Project Paperie
November 14 --Miriam Iwashige at Prairie View
November 15-- Darcy Miller at Ittybitty Blog
November 16-- Crystal Kupper at Crystal's Cliffnotes
November 17-- Lydia Jo Martin at Lydia Jo Photography
 (day of rest)
November 19-- Rhonda Schrock at Rhonda Schrock's Blog
November 20-- LeAnn McAnulty at W.L.E.N Musings
November 21-- Beverly Silver at Treasured Up and Pondered
November 22-- Luci Martin at Quiet Hearts (I got a Canadian to post on our Thanksgiving)
November 23-- Mary Ann Yutzy at Buckeye Girlie
November 24-- Anita Yoder* at Tis a Gift to Receive 
 (another day of rest)
November 26-- Mary Ann Kinsinger at A Joyful Chaos
November 27-- Mark Roth at Ain't Complicated
November 28-- Kim Martin at Sweaters 4 u 2
November 29-- Bethany Eicher at About My Father's Business
November 30-- Christine Weaver at Shall Run and Not Be Weary

*Anita lives in Poland so she might not do the giveaway quite like the others.

Quote of the Day:
"The giveaway makes me laugh because I remember when I first started blogging and I wondered What in the world giveaways had to do with blogging.  I still don’t really know the answer to that.  But I think you will like this one.  I’m excited about doing it."
--Luci at Quiet Hearts 
[I'm not sure either how that connection came about, but it's quite effective to connect readers and books.]

Apple Fritters Recipe

Here's the recipe for the fritters we made for Steven's birthday.


Mix: 2 cups lukewarm milk
   1/2 cup sugar
   2 teaspoons salt

Add and dissolve:
   2 pkgs. yeast

Stir in: 2 eggs
   1/2 cup soft shortening.

Let it sit until yeast is active.

Knead in:
 2 med. apples, peeled and chopped,
  tossed with 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cinnamon (or less if you prefer)
5-7 cups flour
Dough should be soft but not sticky.

Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick.

Cut it into 2-inch squares.  They will be easier to fry if you spread them apart slightly at this point.

Let rise.

Deep fry in oil at 380 degrees.

Glaze with powdered sugar and water icing.

Quote of the Day:
"What do two apple fritters who fall in love do?
They fritter their time away glazing into each other's eyes."


Lots of greasy goodness going on here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Happy birthday, Steven!

Steven is 18 today.

He says he doesn't feel any older, and Jenny speculates it's because his REAL birthday is probably on a different day.

When you're an orphan in Africa, you can't go dig your birth certificate out of your mom's file cabinet to check for sure, so you have to guess.

But we all think we came pretty close to the actual date and age. The doctor too.

How do I describe Steven?  He makes lame puns with a straight face.  He communicates volumes with one raised eyebrow.  He is kind.  He grills steaks that make you sigh with their sheer deliciousness.  He is big, handsome, and athletic.

"A cool dude in a family of nerds," say his sisters.  They're right.  "Is Steven a shy boy?  Does he make friends?" my dad asked me with deep concern last August, and the girls and I got the giggles.  Shyness is not an issue, nor is a lack of friends.  Steven just has it, whatever that mysterious "it" is.

He will also groan "Oh MOM" if I describe him any further.

Steven loves apple fritters and wanted them to take to school for the traditional birthday treat to share.

So last night Emily and I made a big batch.

He was happy.

Today the sun was shining so Jenny and Steven went to Uncle Milford's antique vehicle lot and shot possible senior pictures.

(No, not a possible senior portrait.  Just cute.)
We are so blessed to have Steven in our family.

Quote of the Day:
"What do you call it when a crocodile helps you across the river?

Friday, November 02, 2012


I think we are all looking for Jesus.

We are looking for something or someone to be there for us, to satisfy deep-down, to meet that vast heart-deep need for love and for reassurance that we are ok and everything else will be ok too.

We look in all the wrong places for him, and so we're always disappointed.

Mostly, we look to other people.

Now I will grant that we are supposed to be like Jesus, and that His living water flows through us to others, and the apostle Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ."

But ultimately, we are just us, and we are going to miss it, and we are going to disappoint.

I think about this a lot, being a mom, a minister's wife, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a friend.  People want and expect more from me than I give.  Sometimes, I don't meet their expectations because I'm selfish; sometimes I don't because I simply can't.

Family and friends tend to have a more realistic idea of what I'm capable of, knowing, for instance,  that I can't leave for town without rushing back into the house three times to snatch up things I forgot.  And I am going to forget a lot of birthdays and also messages I was supposed to put on the prayer chain.

But even more I disappoint in spirit.  Anger, moods, obliviousness, selfishness.  I just miss it, over and over.

And then perhaps I will mention that little recent episode when I was speaking to several dozen ladies in a lovely living room and one of them asked, "What are the tenets of the Mennonite faith?"  Now seriously, I should not be out in public unsupervised, let alone speaking to groups of people, without being able to answer this question.  Suddenly my mind was a front-loading washer on the spin cycle, whirring with Genesis, Daniel Kauffman, the Ordnung, I Corinthians, Instructions for Beginners in the Christian Life, the book of James, and Gott Ist Die Liebe.  I could have talked for an hour, but I could not at that moment summarize our beliefs in one minute.

I'm sure I was a disappointment.

But especially, one disappoints as a writer.   I think it's easy for people to project their Jesus-needs onto writers because all they see is these tiny slices of the writer's life, put into words that resonate with their own lives, and so their imagination fills in the rest--this must be someone who is all that I am trying to be, who would truly "get" me, who has it figured out, whose family life is truly healthy, who understands our frame and remembers that we are dust.

And then, oops.  This writer writes a post on April Fools and fools you, and you think, "What??  That's like LYING."

She doesn't respond to the email you send.

She writes that they attended a football game, and you know no true Christian should do that.

She jokes about holy things.

You hear what her child did at EBI one night, and you're deeply disturbed.

Worst of all, you finally get to meet her in person and she's tired and spacey and distracted, and her teeth are crooked, and she doesn't use much Scripture in her talk, and what she uses is from the NIV.

She is not Jesus after all, but that's not what you really think.  You think, "How disappointing.  She's not who she projected herself to be.  How could she do this to me?"

Years ago, when Francis Schaeffer was the John Piper/Ravi Zacharias/Christian guru of his day, I didn't revere him as much as I did his wife Edith, a smart, classy, creative woman.  I especially liked her book "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" which gave me a whole new perspective on turning housekeeping into service and art.

Recently I've run across their son Frank's writings.  Now he may well color and fictionalize and satirize his family life, but I still find myself thinking, "SERIOUSLY, Edith??  I mean, come ON."


And then there was the woman I know who corresponded a bit with Elisabeth Elliot and was greatly helped and encouraged.  Then she got to meet her in person and it was not at all the warm connecting that she had imagined.  Even though she knew her expectations had been unrealistic, it was still very disappointing.

And I think, ok, if Elisabeth Elliot herself can disappoint someone, there will be no exceptions for us mere mortals.

Ann Voskamp writes about this sort of thing and I read it now and then after I gird up my loins and gather my courage, because going over there to A Holy Experience makes me feel like What am I THINKING to go tossing words into the great void when someone is saying it a hundred times deeper and better?

Just being honest here.  Don't get me started on Pioneer Woman.  A hundred times funnier and interesting-er.

Anyway. TMI.

Recently my friend Ilva sent me an email in which she quoted from Courtney at Women Living Well.  Courtney had just met and heard Ann Voskamp at a conference.

Courtney says,
Trust me, I’m a big disappointment in real life.
And so as I sat with pen in hand, ready to receive the message Ann had to share at the closing session of the Relevant Conference – this fearful, weary, wrestling mommy blogger found hope and tears stung as she spoke these words…
“You have been appointed to disappoint so you will point to the one who doesn’t disappoint.”
Did you catch that? It’s my calling!
This is my calling – to be a disappointment to the glory of God!
I am free! Free to be a big disappointment! Because it’s NOT about me – let me point you to who it’s ALL about – Jesus!

She continues with some notes she took about blogging, fame, and Jesus, including:

All the Christian bloggers united are thunder -we are signaling God is about to rain – rain on the wilderness of parched and dry souls. Since Jesus is the rain, we must be thankful people are reading at any blog.

And continues:

And so I conclude, I am but thunder…I pray that when you come here, God rains on your soul. And when I post something unsettling, don’t answer your email (oh the guilt I carry for not answering your emails :( I just feel terrible I’ve disappointed so many in this way) or you meet me accidently in the supermarket (multiple times I’ve met strangers who are readers in stores) and my kids are standing on their heads lol!…I will remember I am but dust…you can’t expect too much out of dust (as Sally Clarkson says).
And I am learning to make peace with my new identity.
“I’ve been appointed to be a disappointment so I can point others to the one who will never disappoint.”
It’s my honor to be a disappointment to the glory of God!

(end of quote)

I am still wrapping my head around that.  I like it, it's comforting, it's challenging.  I'm just not quite sure how it works.  How exactly do I point people to Jesus when I disappoint them, especially if it's inadvertent?

But still, an amazing concept.

And this is certainly the truth: the only one who will always be there for you and understand you and satisfy the deepest longings of your soul is Jesus.
 Quote of the Day:
"I felt so. . . in the presence of, almost . . . ANGELS."
--a guy who met my children in town and called to tell me about it.  Yes, he would be disappointed if he spent more time with them, but it would be good for him.