Imagine raising six spirited kids on a grass farm—today. Newspaper columnist Dorcas Smucker and her brood live out their days in full view in this collection of musings—picking blueberries while watching for bears, hoping for angels while driving off the freeway, moving into the “thousand-story house,” and enduring lectures from teenage children about the virtue of respect. Three books in one, this collection includes Smucker’s Ordinary Days: Family Life in a Farmhouse, Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting: More Family Life in a Farmhouse, and Downstairs the Queen Is Knitting. Often slightly off-stride and with disarming humility, Dorcas finds endless materials for stories and life lessons in everyday happenings. As she says, “I, like my mother, feed my children mashed potatoes and stories. I repeat the ones I heard from Mom and turn our family escapades into tales to be repeated while washing dishes or snapping buckets of green beans on the front porch. A story is much more than just a story, of course. It is entertainment, identity, interpretation, and lessons. This is who we are, this is why we do what we do, this is important, that is not, and don’t ever whack your brother’s finger with a hatchet like your dad did to Uncle Philip.” This delightful trilogy includes some of Smucker’s best writing. She covers topics and dilemmas everyone can relate to while also inviting readers to explore her Mennonite family’s more personal experiences. Her voice is humorous, encouraging, and at times, doubting, but she never takes herself too seriously. As you read, her stories will entertain you and ultimately soothe your soul.
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