Author Tuesday! Hello, m’dears! We are holing up for some family time away this week, but I’ve still got an author to introduce you to today. Jerusalem Jackson Greer is the REAL DEAL. She’s a friend of mine, a co-host on Shalom in the City, and a fierce storyteller. I can’t wait for you to get to know her through this interview, and win one of two copies of At Home in this Life, which I loved. Read on!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you?
My name is Jerusalem Jackson Greer, and I live in Central Arkansas in a tiny rural community outside a tiny town outside a small city with my husband Nathan and our boys, Wylie (17) and Miles (13). We live in a mid-century fixer upper farmhouse on a small hobby farm we call Preservation Acres, where we raise chickens, grow veggies and wildflowers, and try to live a slower version of modern life. We also have a pet pig named Winston and the general farm assortment of dogs. When not puttering around the house or garden, I am a Family Minister at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, preacher, speaker, and writer.
Currently I am obsessed with the spiritual practice of creating a Rule of Life (an ancient way to take faith from something we DO to something we LIVE), all things gingham, and the new Anne with an E.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway?
A nutshell? How about a whole nut farm? Summing up my books in brief quippy blurbs is the hardest part of book promotion, but I will try:
This book is the story of how everything I thought would make me happy fell apart, and how I found peace at the intersection of mess and brokenness and beauty and happy surprises through ancient spiritual practices and sweat equity. It’s a book about broken houses, broken dreams, learning to stay married and the spiritual insights worm farms provide.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration was everything coming undone and needing to find some hope in the cracks. At Home in this Life was not the book I set out to write, but it was the book I needed to write. It was the story I needed to live and then tell. I thought I was going to write a fluffy happy book about combining Benedictine monastic practices with ordinary domestic chores – and to some extent that is the book I wrote – but it went much deeper and was much messier than I ever intended.
How do you hope readers will be changed by reading your words?
I hope that readers will find themselves in the book, find connections to their lives and stories. The book really is about learning to water the grass beneath our feet instead of always chasing or wishing for greener pastures, and I hope that this work both encourages and challenges readers to that end. I hope people find the inspiration and maybe a bit of a road map for how to show up in their life as it is, instead of waiting for it to be something different.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book?
I always feel a strong conviction to practice what I preach. This book has a lot of really good, worthwhile spiritual practices between its pages, ones that I am still working to get better at. I discovered the gifts of stillness, stewardship, hard work, and listening (to name a few) while writing the book, but I am by no means a master of any of them. I am still a novice and I still need a lot of practice – so I guess one of the ways this book changed me is that it serves as a constant reminder to live slower, dig deeper, and savor more.
Finally, a lot of my blog readers are also writers; since you just finished writing (and publishing!) a book, what encouragement or tips would you offer those who are just dipping their toes into the water, so to speak?
It is hard to give advice because people want to be writers for different reasons, and they want different things from the experience. So I am not sure what useful advice I can give. But I can share a story about a shift that has happened to me recently, and maybe this imagery will be useful to someone else.
As a creative person, specifically as a writer in my genre, I used to think of myself as a little sister, and I thought of my writing – of all my gifts and callings really – as a little red wagon that I pulled behind me as I tried to keep up with the more successful and popular kids. This was endless frustrating and demoralizing because I could never quite get “there” – wherever I felt “there” was. Recently, thanks to a lot of silence, stillness, listening (thank you At Home in this Life!) and conversations with my Spiritual Director and friends – something inside me shifted and I know longer see myself as the little sister pulling the wagon, chasing after the bigger kids. These days I see myself as me, and I see my writing, my speaking, and my callings as a beautiful farm house with an open floor plan and a wide deep porch. And instead of always feeling left out and left behind, I now see myself standing on that big front porch, the door open behind me, inviting everyone in to be a part of it all.
Y’all, I LOVED Jerusalem’s newest book; as I said on Facebook, she’s like the best of Anne Lamott. A little bit snarky and a little bit holy, I couldn’t get enough of her words. Leave a comment below to either encourage Jerusalem, win one of two copies of At Home in this Life, or BOTH! Also, be sure to write “pick me” if you’d like to win a book. Also, last I checked on Amazon, the Kindle version of the book is on sale for $4.99! Contest ends Sunday, June 26th.
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