“Swimming the Sun” and other fun…

Swimming the Sun Front Cover, Author Jack JenkinsJack Jenkins' book, a collection of short stories titled Swimming the Sun, is now available in the Country Living Store!

Swimming the Sun

In a time so filled with things much bigger than life, this book is dedicated to the small –to real life; a manual of downward mobility; a celebration of joy for things and events often unseen and unthought in a world running faster than the speed of life.

About the Author:

Whole-grain guru, Jack Jenkins, is the former nationally syndicated radio host of 'Looking at Tomorrow' and 'American Reflections', the inventor of the Country Living Grain Mill and, not least, the father of seven children. He is a firm believer in appreciating the many small miracles that surround us, yet all too often go unnoticed as we rush through our hurried and busy lives.



Audio Excerpts from Swimming the Sun:


Fall Unraveling

The first school buses of autumn send shivers through me. It’s true. Those yellow-carriers-of-children to some endless dolor of desks and chalky dust evoke in me inner prickles of impending loss. Once the diesel-belching yellow dragons start sniffing out the summer-bleached children I know that all that’s halcyon and warm will soon be shorn and shrunk.

Long and leisurely swims in the lake will end and the curtains of night will draw ever tighter around the waning windows of winter light. Everything, everything will be foreshortened.

The constraints of ever encroaching dark will make the weight of time seem heavier still. We mortals, already foreigners to time, will count and pray for the day when light will start to spread her wings with ever broader, bolder bands of gold and blue and warmth. Such are the thoughts that impending winter evokes in me here in the Pacific Northwest.

All of those feelings were static-charged and loosely stuffed and jumbled in my mind as I walked our youngest child, Jaime, to the end of our drive to catch her bus on the first day of the school year.

I have always felt that children are especially keen when it comes to reading emotions and thoughts. I could pretend and act all I wanted but I had no doubt that Jaime was not immune to my fall forebodings. She was feeling the same as I about climbing onto that malformed monster that carried little children away from hearth and home. But come it did, the door opened and hissed in true dragon fashion as I lifted Jaime onto the first step of the bus. The driver did her best to smile invitingly at her newest conscript. It didn’t work. Jaime turned to me with panic, lunged back into my arms and dug her small fingers into my sweater. I spoke consolingly, I assured her that a fun filled day awaited her. Hypocrite! The driver gave broad nods of affirmation, each nod punctuated with a telling look at her watch. Jaime wasn’t buying, then the driver dug into her, surely well practiced, bag of tricks and pulled out a treat. “Ah, see what I have for the children on the bus this morning —your choice of one of these candies.”

The treats turned the tide of impending tears but I could tell that a current of apprehension still lingered as I placed her on the steps inside the door. Nevertheless, Jaime turned, put one small foot on the next step up and reached for the lure. The driver’s face flashed a look of triumph—the captive was hers! She reefed on the door handle and it swung shut. I heard no sobs —all would be well. The dragon hissed once again and off it rolled down the autumn hued road. It wasn’t until the bus started moving that I noticed the tug. My clinging child had taken part of my sweater with her onto the bus. The dragon’s closing mouth had ensnared Ann’s lovingly knit sweater on one of its bolt like teeth and now both my last-born and my last knit sweater were disappearing down the road. I don’t know if knitters have any terminology for the reverse of knit one, pearl two, but whatever it might be it was happening rapidly right there on my very own torso. My sweater was disappearing from the bottom up. I waved my arms frantically hoping the driver would see me in her mirror. She did. Through the bus window I saw her sketch of a wave—her thumb and forefinger had formed a circle of success. The driver’s foot, now heavy with conquest, shoved the pedal to the metal. Simultaneously the bus lurched forward and belched a beluga size balloon of sickly-gray exhaust. It hung there in the still autumnal air in the shape of a giant exclamation mark—an odious testament of triumph over tenderhearted fathers, family and hand knit sweaters.

It was with heavy heart and a lightened sweater that I turned and walked down the drive. Would Ann believe my more than bizarre story? Should I take the sweater off and bury it in the garbage can? Perhaps Ann wouldn’t miss it, then perhaps she would.
I opted for the truth, strange as it was. Ann listened, suppressed a smile, then gave the hopeful promise that she could mend and re-knit.

Unravelings come into every life. And not surprisingly they come more frequently as the weight of each succeeding year gets heaped unrelentingly on the scale of time. One can only hope and pray that there are loving and willing menders and re knitters standing by when you encounter the yellow dragons of life. Of course the best assurance of that happening is if you can look in a mirror every day and see a loving and willing mender and knitter reflected there.

Order a copy of Swimming the Sun!


  1. Jerry and Jodi Jensen on February 5, 2013 at 6:08 am

    We both enjoyed the book. It was a great read!! It took us back in time a bit.

  2. Bob and Margie Ellis on February 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    We both enjoyed Jack’s humor and insights. He shares with us an appreciation for the simple and wondrous things of life that we so readily take for granted, or even fail to notice.

  3. Marie Nelson on February 19, 2013 at 2:49 am

    This book is a delightful, refreshing read. I love it; it takes me back to a more gentle, reflective way of life. A time when life was simple and beautiful. I am just enthralled!

    Marie (Gustavson) Nelson

  4. corby bernard on February 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I read Jack’s book slowly, as you would any good book, in order to savor the wit and compassion of each story. I found myself chuckling over things I too had observed ,but also many that had passed me right by. I recommend this book to all those looking for light reading with a hint of pure genius

  5. Marv Johnson on March 8, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Each of your stories in “Swimming the sun” make a moral or spiritual point that uplifts and brightens the day. It should be read a story or two at a time to savor the experience.

  6. roy morris on March 23, 2013 at 5:44 am

    I’m a avid reader, when I picked up the book, I couldn’t put it down. It was very enjoyable and educational. Its a book you can reread and learn something new every time. Way to go Jack! Thanks for lessons.

  7. Fred Mundy on April 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Jack:

    I have been too long delinquent in sharing my experience with your wonderful book “Swimming the Sun”. I started reading it after my scriptures, and I’d read a little every night. It was such a pleasant re-direction from the schedule, rush and technical drive of the day. What a gift to enjoy a more real perspective and have a bit more peace each night. Thank you, Jack!


  8. Staci on May 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    We feel so blessed to read such an insightful and beautiful piece of work. It’s real and honest, yet clever and entertaining.

    -Jarum, Staci & Lexi

  9. Tanya Yancey on May 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    This book is a delightful read with unexpected twists and turns on what some would consider ordinary. Jack’s infusion of descriptive vocabulary and love for life and family are very refreshing and subvert time. Thank you Jack for infusing our lives with grand vistas of love and thought!

  10. Jacinthe Johannessen on June 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I truly enjoyed reading this book. Life is full of wonderful moments if we will only take the time to enjoy them. This book is full of such moments, shared in a most beautiful manner. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  11. James Gibbs on July 13, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I have enjoyed these light-hearted, poignant tales from Jack’s experiences with life in its simple form! Oh how touched I was when I read about Victoria! Bravo, Jack!

  12. Ann Baird on July 23, 2013 at 12:13 am

    I so enjoyed Swimming With the Sun! What a fun read. I loved the insights into life through someone else’s life experiences. Thanks so much for sharing your stories!

  13. Karen Brock on August 11, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Jack’s book is great. I read it twice last winter, then lent it out to a friend. The stories have his unique perspective on simple enjoyments that many of us overlook every day. If we all could stop and look at the world through Jack’s eyes, even for a few minutes a day, there would be less stress, road rage, and intolerance! I will get the book for Christmas gifts for friends and family!

  14. Craig Henderson on November 4, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I really enjoyed the stories in the book. It felt like I was swimming right along with Jack. I felt the same wonder. Shivered a bit with the late fall and daring winter swims. Lake Shoecraft seems to be a great place to raise a family and go on adventures. I will enjoy the book again soon.

  15. Brenda Duce on November 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Taking in a chapter or two each day reminded me of the importance of slowing down and enjoying the beauties life has to offer. Take the time to read and share this wonderful book.

  16. Lonnie Carpenter on December 10, 2016 at 4:50 am

    Jack, I did as instructed and totally enjoyed listening! It was wonderful to see you today.

    • Country Living on December 13, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Thank you for being a good friend all these years. Jack

  17. Gene Till on February 21, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    A warm beautiful voice from the past, at a time when verses from the scriptures filled the mornings in our youth, in a land of the morning calm. It was not always easy to meet the task of the day, but together we pulled and achieved our goals that made us who we became.

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