November 1, 2019


Konichiwa :: Permaculture :: Lives of Sacrifice


Remember when I spent a year learning Finnish with my son? En voi kuvitella sauna ilman olutta. My shining moment--being able to recite that phrase.

Well, we don't have a trip planned to Japan, but what is life without learning? Through our public library there is a free online resource called Mango Languages. My son has done a full year of French through the program and has progressed nicely, so I decided to try their Japanese. The lessons are in short 10-minute bits and I'm enjoying the new sounds. I studied Japanese briefly many years ago from an old, wisened man named Goro Yamamoto, who was an instructor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where I lived. Mostly I just wanted to be with him because he was one of those compelling people filled with light. I like that I'm thinking of him more these days...

Permaculture is a contraction of two words--Permanent Agriculture. It's about creating a habitat that reflects the seasons and habits of nature as closely as possible. It's about creating a man-made system of farming or agriculture or even urban gardening that requires as little work from an intervening human as possible. I've been intrigued by growing edible foods for a very long time... Anyway! I'm currently reading my third book out of four that I checked out of the library on permaculture and am learning new things! Gaia's Garden is a terrible title, but maybe it's my favorite book so far. It's nice to tilt your head when you read something new and consider how much more there is to know.

I'm also in the middle of two books that I pick up every couple of days to encourage my spiritual journey. Reading about the lives of both Mother Gavrilia and Father Nicola Yanney has been inspiring. They lived lives of sacrifice for others--something that I'm aiming for in my growing-old age! I am 54, people!!! How can that be? I didn't know you could still do handstands in your 50's, but you can... Mother Gavrilia was a God-listener. She spent her days tending to others (working with lepers even), with little care for where she was living, how she might be fed, and having few possessions. She had a favorite tree that she liked to say hi to, which I appreciate, and she inspired a giant flock of people throughout her life. Father Nicola was an immigrant from Syria who traveled to Nebraska in the 1890's to escape the extreme struggles in his homeland. His life is worth reading about--here is a short documentary about him if you're interested.

Graphic novels? For the last ten years I've been reading hundreds of them in preparation for writing one myself, and so I could know as much as possible about the genre as I begin to edit and produce them through Ancient Faith Publishing. This last year all my reading and hoping paid off when we released our very first one--The Cross and the Stag. It was such a delight to work on with the author/illustrator Gabriel Wilson. He's a talented young artist. Anyway, I just finished a graphic novel based on the life of Proust that I didn't care for (at all), and then this one about Audubon, who is a fascinating artist, dreamer, adventurere worth knowing about... This version of his creative life is worth every turn of the page.

What else? Perelandra? I signed up for a book club with author Nicholas Kotar, but I keep falling asleep while reading. It's me. Clearly. Not the book.

Do you have any inspiring reads to share? Good middle grade? Memoir? Non fiction? There are so many books in the world--how do we go about choosing?!



Published: November 1, 2019 | Filed under: Books

Comments (8)
Tammy Makoul said:
November 1, 2019 @ 5:40 PM

Hi Jane! I love that you make all the time to read....I’ve read Mother Gavrilia and it is special for sure. She was gifted in always saying yes. We each have a God inspired gift. I am working through the book called, In Bloom by Clare Nolan!

jane g meyer replied:
November 5, 2019 @ 4:59 PM

I've heard of In Bloom. Thanks for mentioning it here, Kh. Tammy! I recently read a book titled Flower Confidential, by Amy Stewart, about the flower industry. Fascinating stuff... Anyway, I'd love to hear if you're going to grow your own flowers so you can make arrangements? :)

Tammy Makoul replied:
November 5, 2019 @ 7:11 PM

Actually yes, that’s been what I have been working on most is a cut flower garden! I now have 6 raised beds just for that. I use the beds to help with so many things, including my 2 terriers to try and stay out of that space!!!! This is certainly my hobby and therapy. My favorite thing is to do arrangements for church. I even tried my hand out this summer with a friend of mine at a farmers market! Even though I dream to be a flower farmer, I think I’m learning that I truly just enjoy having a beautiful garden to share with people! love ya Jane and I might try getting that book to read over the winter! ♥️♥️♥️

jane g meyer replied:
November 6, 2019 @ 9:16 AM

So fun! The book by Amy Stewart is interesting, from a botanical standpoint, talking about creating hybrids and the breeding of plants, but it also dives deep into the commercial standpoint of growing flowers and some of the environmental, monetary, and other impacts that the industry has had on our society. It will probably inspire you to keep growing flowers in your backyard garden, but it also touches on the failings of big corporations, and all the crazy things growers have to do to get a flower across the world and into a supermarket... Anyway, how beautiful that you share your gift with others!

James Anthony said:
November 2, 2019 @ 8:32 PM

The Christian imagery in his Dragon King Trilogy caused me to begin reading Stephen R. Lawhead. The above; and, his King Raven trilogy -about the tale of Robin Hood- and the Celtic Crusade trilogy (about the relics of the Cross, the Spear, and the Chalice) are my favorites.

jane g meyer replied:
November 5, 2019 @ 5:01 PM

I've never read anything by Lawhead, but thanks for reminding me! One of my favorite fantasy series is The Chronicles of Prydain. I wonder if Lawhead is similar to Alexander?

Donna Kuykendall said:
November 5, 2019 @ 6:38 PM

Your stack of books is very interesting. I too am interested in Permaculture. But the one that really got my attention was Acetic of Love. I definitely will be looking to find that one ...somewhere cheaper than Amazon . Thanks for sharing.

jane g meyer replied:
November 6, 2019 @ 9:08 AM

Donna. I have a feeling that it's now out of print, so you might have to just ask around and see who has a copy. Once I'm done, I'd be happy to loan you mine! If you want to reach out to me at in about a month, feel free!

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