Most days I don't feel much over 20.
And even if I want to forget that I'm near 40, my children remind me.
Yesterday my daughter said, "Mom, your hair is not turning gray. It is turning white. Because that is what happens when you are old."
Well, if I am becoming old, I decided I better hang around women who are aging gracefully. Like Dorcas Smucker.
In Dorcas' newest book, Footprints on the Ceiling, she writes about the wonderful things about turning fifty including "seeing the end of the story."
And in this volume Dorcas delights us with stories. Stories of how she wrote off romance - until her footprint on the ceiling of the seed warehouse caught the eye of her future husband. Stories of teaching Grandma to send an email and a daughter to make an apple crisp. Stories of a mother's botched Christmas plans complete with a yowling stray cat which turn out with a good ending after all.
And that is just the first three chapters.
Dorcas has that gift of seeing stories in every day happenings. And even better she sees redemption and second chances in those stories. Not every story ends with "happily ever after" but all end with the hope of seven miles of daffodils that bloom long after the death of the one who planted the bulbs. I read Footprints on the Ceiling laughing at the craziness (and interrupting Ed's book to read to him about Grandma and the Media), crying at the tender spots, and nodding as Dorcas gives a dose of encouragement.
If you have read Dorcas' other books Ordinary Days, Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting, Downstairs the Queen is Knitting, and Tea Cups and Trouble Brewing, you have followed her through motherhood. In Footprints on the Ceiling, her six children are spreading their wings and moving out into the world on their own.
And since I still claim to be a younger woman - a few bends in the road behind Dorcas, I took note of her tips on parenting - teaching a daughter how to recover a blueberry muffin disaster, learning that digging through garbage might not be the best way to fix problems, and keeping connections strong when a son chooses a different path.
As Dorcas says, "I've learned to be relieved when the cookies taste awful and the car runs out of gas. It means my husband and I have managed, for the moment, to set the boundaries where our teenagers are making choices for themselves but he consequences are still manageable."
As her children grow up, Dorcas' parents are aging. She records stories from her heritage such as washing your face in dew on the first day of May. She discovers she is like her mother in the blackberry patch - and in noticing the outcasts. She sits in the ICU and considers the dividends on the long term investment of raising children.
Dorcas grew up Amish and is now the wife of a Mennonite minister in Oregon. Recently my sister-in-law gave one of Dorcas' books to a friend who thought she understood the Mennonites and Amish by reading Amish novels. (She didn't.) Dorcas' books are human and real and a far better glimpse of true life than a novel. From every day life in Oregon to travels to Jamaica and Thailand, Dorcas gives me hope that fifty can indeed be wonderful.
Learn more about Dorcas at her blog Life in the Shoe,
And now the good news.
I have a signed copy of Footprints on the Ceiling for one of you. Let a comment below (if you are reading this by email, click on over to Home Joys to let the comment) to enter the giveaway. If you want, you can share a brief story of how you met your husband (even if it was not with a footprint on the ceiling). Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you.
Dorcas gave me a review copy of her book but all the opinions on this post are my own. I will never recommend a book that I do not truly enjoy.
Footprints on the Ceiling is available for $15 per book,
postage included. You can mail a check to Dorcas Smucker, 31148
Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446. US addresses only. To
send a copy to Canada or overseas, email Dorcas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giveaway will be open for one week and is for US residents. Winner chosen by Random.org.
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