It was back in the late 1970’s when a group of young women were meeting for a weekly Bible study/support group that I first got the inkling that there was a whole lot more to tea than meets the tongue. Marilyn Showalter put a battered old teapot in the middle of the kitchen table and slapped a yellow, strange, sleeve-looking thing down over it.  At my questioning look she said, “That’s a tea ‘cozy.’  It helps to keep the tea warm.  Everybody in Red Lake uses them.”  That teapot with its cozy became very familiar to the little group as we slugged through the challenges of marriage, motherhood, and life as it was for young Mennonite women in Central Ohio in those days.

Dorcas Smucker had her own education about cozies and teapots and methods while living as a young married woman among the Native Americans in Canada.  She traces the history of her love affair with the “perfect” cup of tea in the pages of her latest book, Tea and Trouble Brewing.

Dorcas Smucker.  This is the fourth book that she has written, and it is another well written, delightfully honest, and captivating collection of stories from the farmhouse in Rural Oregon where a Mennonite Mama seeks to maintain her sanity while she raises six intelligent, energetic, diverse and impulsively creative offspring.  She is never silent about the steadying role that her husband plays in this ongoing drama of life’s commonality — love, work, education, humor (and trouble — let’s not forget Trouble!) and the team that is “Paul and Dorcas” gives me hope and courage because of how candidly Dorcas relates the tales of family living.

When I was telling a friend that I was going to review this book as part of a “Blog Tour” she encouraged me to not read any of the other entries before writing my own.  “That way,” she said wisely, “you won’t be influenced by what other people say!”  That sounded like solid advice, and I would have followed it — if I could have.  And I did hold out until last night, then I frantically went to every site to see what other people had written.  It helped me so much from a number of stand points.

For one thing, it showed the diversity of appeal that Dorcas has.  I’m a Mennonite Mama — I’ve LIVED these stories in many forms over almost four decades of marriage.  I laughed and cried and sat quiet in my chair with memories falling all around my heart in both shining and broken pieces while I read Dorcas’ stories.  But reading the reviews reminded me that it isn’t the “Mennonite” or the “Mama” that makes this book so interesting to me.  It’s the transparency that Dorcas offers us, inviting us to walk with her through the everyday unexpected and the unwanted bumps in the road; the less than perfect responses and the relentless call to something better; the exquisite joys and equally cutting disappointments of relationships and family living and pets and finances.

I also realized that there is only so many ways on a blog to do a giveaway.  So we will make this simple.  If you want to win a copy of Dorcas’ book, Tea and Trouble Brewing, leave me a comment, and on Monday, I will pick someone (probably by a totally unbiased method) and send that particular person a SIGNED copy of the same.

(I also found out something else:  SUE BEACHY KAUFFMAN,  don’t even THINK I’m going to give you a book if you win.  You already won one.  So there!)

Of course, if you are like me, and almost never win anything in giveaways such as this and you want to circumvent chance, you can purchase the book directly from Dorcas by mailing her a check for $15 per book, which includes postage.  The address is:

31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

Or, if you prefer, on Amazon by credit card on the following link:

Dorcas’ other three books; Ordinary Days, Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting; and Downstairs the Queen is Knitting, are also available for some great entertainment with your perfect cup of tea. Read all about it in this particular blog of Dorcas’.



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36 responses to “

  1. Oh Mary I have loved following Dorcus’ blog book tour. I am one of those who seldom wins anything so I went to Amazon and placed my order only to find out they were temporary out of stock. These books must be selling fast. See you at noon. Love, Polly

  2. this sounds like a wonderful book…would love to win it 😉 your a gem!

  3. MaryAnn – I have enjoyed catching up with your wonderful writing while laid up and slowed down during my hip replacement…..I plan to make a Xanga post soon before I recover and the pace once again picks up. I have heard of Doris Smucker through Xanga but did not realize that she is an author – her books certainly sound like some I would enjoy and I will plan to buy them in case I do not win the contest! :)Thank you for continuing your ministry of xanga posts (among many others)!

  4. How wonderful, another chance to win a book, and from non other than one of my favorite bloggers, Buckeyegirlie!  You and Dorcas are alike in many way … you both write with transparency of your life, the people you love, the problems that crop up at the most inopportune times, your battle to maintain proper attitudes, and lessons to be learned from said experiences … things that each of us face every day.  Thank you!Ruth

  5. A few years back I discovered Dorcas’ blog and have enjoyed her writing. I don’t own any of her books, though, and would love to win one!

  6. I did not know about Dorcas Smucker’s blog but will look it up. Tea Parties are special with my two granddaughters and  me. When they were little I had dresses, hats and shoes for them. Thanks to Abundant Blessings thrift shop. The girls added lipstick for the party. The fancy dresses, hats etc. have faded but the tea and food continues. It is harder to find time for a party as they get older and are involved in more activities and like to do things with their friends. It would be special to win Dorcas’ book

  7. Tea and trouble brewing….I know I could relate……If my name is not the one chosen,for the copy of the book,I shall search the local library,(hopefully finding the book!?)then nestle in a nook, and then all cozied up….with my tea,I shall enjoy my “date”.

  8. Even before I wrote your “scathing denial” of a book for me (ha!) I was going to mention in my comment that I already won, so don’t pick me! So there! =) I love Dorcas’ writing, and yours. When is YOUR book coming out? =)

  9. I’d love to win this book! ~another mother of many

  10. I am married to Dorcas’s first cousin and especially enjoy her books because I can tell my husband and children all share those Smucker genes! I would love her 4rth book. I also worked up at Red Lake and found that interesting about your blog. I don’t follow many blogs due to time constraints, but I loved your writing and bookmarked your site to browse later!

  11. Yes, I love how candid Dorcas is in her writings. “You mean I’m not the only one that ___, ___, ___,…” =) Her humor is TOPS!

  12. Monique

    Please include me in the drawing. Thanks so much!

  13. A book is a precious thing to hold, read and allow to guide your thoughts along another person’s journey. I always love reading how another person’s faith practice becomes practical…… please, please add me to your basket of names for the book “Tea and Trouble Brewing”!!

  14. I keep following this blog tour, hoping to win a book. It has been very interesting to find new blogs too. My mom talks about your blog sometimes though, MaryAnn; so yours wasn’t completely unfamiliar to me. By the way, you have a daughter Debra right? What is she up to these days? We hung out in VBS in New York quite a few years ago.

  15. Connie Stoll

    I have her other books and love each one of them.  Would be so pleased to have another.

  16. Beverly G.

    I have been wondering if the bloggers on this tour were reading the previous reviews; it is difficult to tell… I really, really like Dorcas’ writing and have followed her blog for several years. And now here’s another one that I look forward to checking out further. 🙂

  17. Catherine Yoder

    This book is on my Christmas list, but I could read it sooner if I won :).

  18. Vivian

    Thank you for your interesting and well-written review. I follow Dorcas’s blog and would love to read her latest book.

  19. what an excellent review!  I hope to read this book soon.  Thanks for the chance to win  🙂

  20. I follow Dorcas’s blog and would love have one of her book. Thanks for the chance!

  21. How fun to see a connection between 2 people that I enjoy reading about on their blogs! How are you, BEG?

  22. Hmnn…I have enjoyed reading many on the blog tour but didn’t feel it would be fair to enter my name since the reviewers don’t know me. But now Mary Ann is the tour guide! That puts things in a different perspective! However, you probably know almost everyone else entering, so if you don’t pull my name out of the (tea)pot, I will order one anyway. And perhaps you will publish someday? If so, I want a signed copy, please. Blessings.

  23. Oh wow, these books sound like exactly the sort of thing I would love reading!! Also, a young woman in our church is getting married in the summer, with a theme of “tea party” for the reception! I will have to buy this book for them as a wedding gift. I’m so glad you blogged about it!

  24. I follow Dorcas blog faithfully but have never read any of her books. Hence I would be so pleased to win this one.

  25. I find myself genuinely intrigued by the double entendre of the title. I’ll have to read it whether I win the give-away or not, especially knowing that your last book-gift to our household carried life-changing ways of viewing life in this world!

  26. Oh– and Major Props & Kudos for this spontaneous & creative support of another author’s work!

  27. Carol

    Another good review 🙂 would like also to win the book 🙂 Have really enjoyed reading her blogs and would enjoy a copy of the book to read and loan out.

  28. I follow Dorcas’ blogs and love them too. I thought I’d already commented on this one but I don’t see it so…..please let me win this book. But no, I don’t win things either

  29. I have heard her speak once when she was in my neck of the woods…would love to win a copy of her book and enjoy a cup of tea and piece of chocolate while reading it!

  30. A J Eberly

    This blog tour has been so interesting. It’s been fun to find new blogs and visit old friends. Keep up the good job writing.  I would love to win Dorcas’ new book.

  31. I am amazed at how many comments you have received on this blog. Could it be that others enjoy your writing as much as I do, but just don’t always comment? I have so appreciated your honesty in your writings that have challenged me in my life. It shows how human we all are and not so different from each other as we may think. I have also enjoyed reading Dorcas’s writings and her honesty. Thank you for the offer of winning her book. It will be interesting to see who wins out of this long list. 🙂

  32. Theodorella

    I would love to read this book! Dorcas is an amazing writer. 🙂

  33. You guys out there are performing a great job.freecreditscore

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