The Hidden Garden

I almost forgot to let you all know that The Hidden Garden, my newest children’s picture book is now a real-live Something! No longer a computer file, or a hope, or a wish. It’s been transformed into ink and paper and a book to hold and share!

This is a pretty exciting thing for an author. (…and a baker’s daughter…)

Here is the cover.

Hidden Garden (cover only)

And here is a summary of the book.

Within every heart is a hidden garden. We can neglect it until the weeds take over and the flowers wither and die. Or, with the help of Christ, we can care for it and make it a place of beauty, grace, and joy.

This charming parable will encourage children (and adults) to open the gate to Christ and tend the garden of their heart with loving care.

And here is a picture of me holding lemons–just because.

jane lemons close

And here is what three very nice people have to say about the book…

…just beautiful! So simple yet profoundly moving. This is exactly the view of salvation I want my children to absorb. The list of ways to open the gate of our heart at the end of the book are applicable to children and adults alike. Literature that makes me want to be a better human being is truly a gift.

–Molly Sabourin, author of Close to Home, podcaster, blogger, and professional photographer

The garden is much more than a metaphor in the Christian faith. It is a sacrament. Jane Meyer has not so much written a new parable as transcribed–in the simplest prose for the very young–the heart of the Gospel. The Hidden Garden is a beautifully written book and a vibrant bouquet of color from the hand of illustrator Masha Lobastov.

–Vigen Guroian, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, and author of The Fragrance of God

Those who read this colorful book will realize that it is never too early–or too late–to care for one’s heart as for a garden.

–Jim Forest, author of Saint George and the Dragon

So, if you’re interested in finding out more, just hop on over to my website and check out The Hidden Garden book page. There’s also a fun link to an interview with Masha Lobastov, the illustrator.

And I’m on Twitter. And on Instagram. And on Facebook. (Sheesh, that’s a line up of ridiculousness right there…)

You can purchase copies at the Conciliar Press website, and pretty soon Amazon and other online sites will be stocking it. You may always head over to your local bookstore with the ISBN number: 978-1-936270-38-5, and they can order you a copy as well…

Lastly, if you’d like a signed copy of the book, for yourself, or for a little one, just email me and I would be happy to sign a book and ship it straight to you. They are $20, including stateside shipping (let’s chat if you live outside the States). Easter is coming and this sweet book would be lovely tucked in a basket next to those dyed eggs and bunny finger puppets.

Back to baking. Rosemary rolls on the rise!

In Process :: The Hidden Garden

Well, there is absolutely nothing in this post about bread. But there is an awful lot of giving, when it comes to the task of writing. There is the gift of time, that my husband affords to me as I build this career. There is the gift of a publisher believing in you. There is the gift of offering a creative piece of work–a part of your own heart and mind–to a reader, and in this case my favorite kind of reader, a small child.

So, a new gift is coming. Just wanted to share the beautiful cover of The Hidden Garden, due out February 1st, 2013. Masha Lobostov is the artist, and the book is currently in production! Such fun.

Three years in the works.. Here it is!

2012–Preparing for the Feast of Saint Brigid

My husband and I are planning a menu for our favorite Irish feast of the year. Thankfully, the eve of Saint Brigid’s feast day, when we do all our cross weaving, falls on a Tuesday! Corned beef and cabbage, (and Irish soda bread) here we come…

Here’s the order of events:

Today! Order the wheat for weaving. For the last several years I’ve been so pleased with the wheat from Dale Scott. I order the starter kits (just $22 including shipping) and that’s all I need to make several crosses. You can also order one of her handmade Saint Brigid crosses. They are lovely…

Soon. Clean the house–especially take down the Christmas cards that line the back wall. (And, put away all the ornaments that are all over the coffee table in the living room. And… finish writing the last of the Christmas cards!) Oh, my.

January 31st. Have a party! Wheat weaving, Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage and a wee bit of Irish ale. There are great instructions on how to weave a Saint Brigid cross on this old post of mine.

February 1st. Bake bread and take it out into the community, Saint Brigid style. I’m looking forward to that day…

Note: If you’d like a signed copy of The Life of Saint Brigid to read to your munchkins or to send to some other child, just leave a comment or email me at jane@janegmeyer.com and I can sign and send you one. They are $15 including shipping if you contact me by the 20th of January. Otherwise, you can buy one from:

Amazon

Conciliar Press

Or order it from your local bookstore…

Or… you can simply listen to the book on my website–here’s the link to my page. There’s an audio file in the little swirly thing, read by my super favorite British accent friend, and fellow author, Chrissi Hart.

Happy upcoming feast!

For Grandmother

“What can I bring home to the grandmother?” Heidi asked after a while.

“Something good,” said the aunt; “some lovely, soft white rolls that will please her; for she can hardly eat the hard black bread any longer.”

Don’t you just love bedtime stories? Long tales that take weeks to finish? You say prayers, then open the book and the little one slowly floats into dreamland with sweet stories circulating in his head…

My big kids are too busy–too adult already–for bedtime stories, which is one reason I think God gave us John Ronan. So that we could stay immersed in the world of the little child a while longer. There are so many lessons a little person can teach a grown up.

While reading Heidi, John Ronan and I have been entranced by this little girl who has a heart bursting with goodness and life. I’m inspired on many levels by the story–to be a better mother, to find more and more ways to encounter nature, and to be the optimist and giver that Heidi is.

John Ronan has been especially worried about the blind grandmother who can’t eat hard, brown bread. He is always looking for her in the storyline and hoping that she will have plenty of those expensive, soft white rolls to eat, since she loves them so.

I’m betting that his preoccupation with the grandmother in the story has a lot to do with his very own grandmothers who are both kind and giving. What a gift to a child, to have people in your life who exude love. I’m sure that little boy of mine would do anything to keep his own grandmothers from going blind, or from lacking soft, white rolls if they wanted them.

But Heidi threw herself down by Klara’s chair and began to cry in such despair, louder and louder, and more bitterly, and sobbed again and again in her distress:–

“Now the grandmother won’t have any rolls. They were for the grandmother; now they are all gone and she won’t have any!”

It seemed as if her heart would break. Fraulein Rottenmeier ran out. Klara was alarmed and perplexed by her distress.

“Heidi, Heidi, don’t cry so!” she said imploringly, “only listen to me! Don’t be so troubled; see, I promise you I will give you just as many rolls for the grandmother, or even more, when you go home, and then they will be fresh and soft…”

We only have a few more pages of the book until we’re finished, then we’ll be moving on to a new world, and a new read. I’ll be sad to leave the Alps, though–I used to live there, high in the mountains, just like Heidi. And though I didn’t live in a hut, or go to the pasture with a rowdy band of goats, I did see God in the sky and the wind and the flowers there–and feel Him in the air, just like she did.

And Heidi now took one roll after another out of her basket, until she had piled up all twelve in the grandmother’s lap.

“Oh, child! Oh, child! what a blessing you have brought me!” exclaimed the grandmother, when the rolls did not come to an end, but one kept following another. “But the greatest blessing is you yourself, child!”

Summer 2011 :: The State of Things

6:30 am

Summer mornings mean writing time. I rise early, stumble out to my office, brew a cup of tea while my eyes adjust, say my prayers to help wake my heart and mind, and then sit in front of words, fiddling, rearranging, composing, and sometimes even rejoicing! Oftentimes the little one stumbles in, and slides onto my lap. Then I have to coax an older sibling awake, and pour corn flakes into a bowl, and ask for help. The help usually comes and the writing recommences… Right now I’m wading through a sailing scene, but don’t know how to sail. That sort of road block is just that. A Word Halter. A Story Buster! Another hurdle to overcome. Any sailors out there just hoping for an interview?

10 am

Laundry, baking, saying hellos to the late risers. Planning for the day. Jumping up and down because I sold a picture book (A Book of Questions to Blue Apple Books)! Jumping up and down because I might even sell another picture book! (on a saint, to Conciliar Press), if I can just get the words right… 10 am is a great time for jumping up and down. Gets the heart moving.

Noon

Lunch! Plums from the tree. Fresh bread and a piece of cheese. A tomato. Hopes that the sun will peek through the gloom. Hopes that the sun will dry my laundry. Hopes that the sun will dehydrate my fruit leather but not get me sunburned. Lots of hopes!

Afternoon

Library for books. Beach for negative ions and sand between the toes. Or, a train set up. Or, shopping for gifts–so many birthdays! Derek’s, Jack’s, Mom’s, Andrew’s, Lucy’s, Miles’s, Asher’s, and little babies being born–like Greyson. He got a blue and green hat 🙂 Logging the yarn projects onto ravelry. Have to find someone to eat that extra bread. The mail comes and lots of sorting happens. And after the news of two potential picture book sales are processed by my meek brain, I am humbled by  yet another rejection. Ah, the joys of being a writer.

Early Evening

Fiddling with yarn. Checking email. Watching Douglas be the mighty chef that he is… Sipping sparkling water, or wine, or nibbling on chips and salsa. Talking about our upcoming fundraising dinners for church–and the trial biscotti I’ve been baking–so we can BUILD our church! (Can’t wait to build our church!!!) Setting the table. I love setting the table. Collecting the crew to pray, eat, laugh, eat, and read from our past travel journals. Allowing the little one to eat his dinner off the pizza peel.

Late Evening

Could be a movie. Or walking the neighborhood with flashlights. We always brew a hot pot of  herbal tea. I dream about the day that is almost gone. Reading, reading, reading (just finished the third Penderwicks–and a Philokalia collection…) Maybe I’ll mix up some dough for the next day, or update my to-do list, or choose a new picture book for bedtime. Brushing teeth, PJ’s. Bugging the big kids to get to bed. Talking about our time with cousins in Santa Ynez, or about the week in LA and the great dinner with the Dimpfls, and the birthday dinner of paella. Still bugging the big kids to get to bed.

Still bugging the big kids to get to bed.

And the lights go out

What about you? What is your State of Things these days. I’d love to know…

Saint Patrick’s Day

Two loaves of brown bread

Mixed: 10:45 am

Molded: 1:15 pm

Baked: 2 pm

 

I’m a wee bit Irish. I like the Irish. Did you know in ancient days the Celts had laws regarding hospitality? If a traveler came to your door, it was your duty and  honor to feed, provide a bed, and entertain the guest, without asking a single question or a coin in return. Saint Brigid was the best bread and butter giver ever–and I bet Saint Patrick did his fair share of charity work while wandering the green hills of Hibernia too.

I met Qu’i at the front door of her new home, and she was happy to take the warm loaf of bread, saying she and her husband were indeed bread eaters and happy to be in our neighborhood. She sported a green T-shirt and was so friendly I wanted to rush home and bake some more. (Which I did :))

But today hasn’t been all about baking and giving. We just had to read The Life of Saint Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish by Zachary Lynch (who, by the way, was recently ordained Father Zechariah!!!). If you don’t know the story well, and a true story it is, Patrick was captured by the Irish as a young boy of about 16–made a slave to watch over sheep, escaped Ireland and fled back to his homeland (which took him three years), and because he was willing to give his life to Christ and listen to the Holy Spirit in his heart, returned to that very place and to that very people who had enslaved him. I’m a big fan of March 17th. Saint Patrick is my kind of hero.

 

What memories… Many years ago, my family and I stopped over in Ireland on our way to a summer vacation in France. We had only three days in the area around Dublin and somehow found ourselves one day on the top of the hill where Saint Patrick lit his Paschal fire. An Irish friend of my husband’s was showing us the ruins of an ancient abby near his home, and there we were, wandering around that very ground where Patrick confronted the king of the land with a challenge. God is merciful and hands us the most unexpected surprises. It just so happened that when I returned to the States, I had the honor of editing the very book on Saint Patrick that I read to my son today…

And so… I think Saint Patrick’s Day is a find day to give fresh bread and wander down the street to meet new neighbors. I’m sporting green in his honor, and will knit with some sheepy wool tonight with friends while drinking cups of green tea.

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!

Preparing for Saint Brigid’s Feast

Shared a loaf of rosemary bread with a homeless man who attends our church…

In the spirit Saint Brigid and her love for those in distress, I’m asking your prayers for the man I shared my last loaf of bread with, and for my hesitancy to give him more than bread. He could use a new sweater (his has gaping holes in the elbows) and a good shave, and probably a good meal in a warm home. Though giving bread to neighbors and strangers isn’t always easy–it also is a very small commitment on my part. I’m feeling prodded to move a bit deeper–and what a perfect time to do that as the feast day of Saint Brigid draws near!

The wheat is on its way and I’m beginning to look toward the eve of January 31st when our family will be weaving Saint Brigid crosses. If you’re interested in weaving a cross at home, I’ve found the wheat from Dale Scott to be extremely easy to work with. I’m not a wheat weaver by ANY stretch of the imagination, but her instructions are simple, and the wheat is clean and smooth and ready to work with… She is currently in the middle of a move from Idaho to Arizona, so shipping may be a tiny bit slower than usual, but there’s still plenty of time to order before the 31st rolls around!

Also there are many tutorials for learning to weave. Last year I posted a video, and along with that post are some written instructions that I found helpful.

Dale also weaves her own Saint Brigid crosses, and I purchased one last year; it is stunning.

If you want to know more about Saint Brigid and her wonderful life, here are some musings about her on my website, and you can also find out more about my children’s book The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare here. She’s worth getting to know.

If you’d like to weave a cross from another material than wheat–it can be done!

So, will you be weaving with me on the eve of 31st?