Former Miss America is putting faith into 'Practice'
Putting her best faith forward is nothing new for author, former Miss America and TV personality Jane Jayroe.
As the author of the devotional "Devote 40 Days" and creator of the popular Esther Women luncheon series, Jayroe has kept spirituality front and center in the lives of Oklahomans and beyond.
Faith is also the focus of her new book "Practice: Unleashing the Power of Faith ($22.95)."
Like "Devote 40 Days," it is a devotional that features the personal faith testimonies and spiritual stories of many prominent Oklahomans. The book was published through the publishing arm of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
"Practice" features stories from Oklahomans from all walks of life, including Mo Anderson, Dave Lopez, Dewey Selmon, Cindy Truong, Kim Henry, Richard Kopke, Noma Gurich, Willa Johnson, Shannon Miller, Clarence Hill Jr., Kristin Chenoweth, former Gov. Frank Keating, Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Phil Busey Sr., Dan Rooney, Alton Carter, Tisha Tate, Regina Tisdale and Tom Love, among others.
"I just love hearing God's story through the lives of other people," Jayroe said during a recent interview.
"It's just a labor of love."
Jayroe said profits from the book will benefit the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
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Jayroe said it took her five years to gather the stories featured in the the new book, partly because she looked for divine inspiration about who should be included.
"I tried to be intentional about who God called me to hear," she said.
Her goal was to show how the Lord's story may be found in the stories of people's lives, whether their journey played out on a national stage or whether their journey has been more local in nature.
And each of the stories are special, she said.
"I really don’t have a favorite in the sense that each of the pieces speaks to a different aspect of spiritual growth, like loss, courage, spiritual joy, purpose, love," Jayroe said.
She said some of the stories such as the ones from football great Dewey Selmon and artist Mike Larson are memorable to her because she wasn't familiar with them.
"For instance, most of us knew the Selmon brothers but what a beautiful picture Dewey paints of the blessings of his family even in their lack of material wealth. I had no idea that a visual artist like Mike Larsen had such a deep spiritual connection with the world and how he experiences everything," she said.
Jayroe said another story that stood out was one from Regina Tisdale, widow of basketball great and musician Wayman Tisdale.
"I was a big fan of Wayman Tisdale so I found his widow and interviewed her. They were high school sweet hearts," she said.
Put it in practice
She said the book's title comes from a conversation she had with the late Sister Benedicta Boland, a religious sister who served as her spiritual mentor for a year.
"I asked her how do you gain spiritual maturity. I could see the sense of peace and wisdom in some people that just seemed like they exist at a deep spiritual level regardless of circumstances. I expected a kind of sophisticated answer from her and she said one word: 'Practice.' She said you can ask God for the desire to practice," Jayroe said.
She said she began to think that Boland's advice to practice could be applied to other areas of life like sport or music — areas "that if we don't have that regular use, that regular effort, that discipline, we really don't move forward."
Jayroe said it may also be applied to matters of faith, whether it be church attendance, worship, Bible study or any of those spiritual disciplines and the sharing of stories could be considered such a discipline.
The book may be purchased at bookstores like Full Circle Books, Best of Books in Edmond and at the bookstores at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, United Methodist Church of the Servant and the Gaylord Pickens Museum. Jayroe said it also available online.