Augusta, GA (WJBF) — It is easy to get pulled down when life does not go as planned. One minute you’re smooth sailing, and the next life has thrown you a curveball. Author, singer, and comedian – Jane Jenkins Herlong — refers to those instances as life’s “flip-flops”. In her new book “Rhinestones On My Flip-Flips” tackles self-help with Biblical stories and a good dose of humor to help readers make the best of of those negative situations.
Brad Means: First we want to welcome back to the set of The Means Report, Jane Jenkins Herlong. She of beautiful Edgefield County, South Carolina. Jane thank you for making the journey over here.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Thank you, I’m thrilled to be here.
Brad Means: Well, I know, and it’s with good reason too because her book is called Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops. Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops has just barely been out. You’re on this book tour that’s taking you to New York City and back, and so I feel privileged that you stopped by.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Well, you all are real sweet. I’m excited about that book. That’s a really cute book and you know when you really know you have a product that can help people with humor and with good biblical self-help principles, then you can be passionate about it.
Brad Means: So if my lay interpretation of the title is correct, Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops, flip-flops being the times when life goes sideways, rhinestones being the way to make the best of it.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: To handle it.
Brad Means: Is it a journey of womanhood? Would you say that’s the audience we should keep in mind?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Yes, but I think men can profit from it as well because they can understand the way women think and you know that’s that age-old question.
Brad Means: Well and I thought the same thing that you know these are things that I can relate to. These are things that I can benefit from. All of these bits of wisdom told by setting things up as you mentioned with a biblical foundation, with these women of wisdom we find throughout the bible. And I want to break down a few of the women of wisdom that you profile, but first let me just ask you over all, when you’re pulling these women out of the bible or out of real life later in the book, it just struck me as us all needing a support system, us all needing women, men, a system around us who are wise and they can help us through life. Would you agree with that?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Oh yeah, and see with you it’d be men of wisdom which would be a Mow.
Brad Means: A Mow, yes.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: M-O-W, yes.
Brad Means: But we’re talking about Wow.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: And Wow, too, women of wisdom. You’ve got to have those good people around you to tell you the truth even though you might not want to hear it.
Brad Means: Well you start where the bible starts in the book of Genesis with Eve who is in this case deceived Eve. What can we learn from that lady? Things kind of went wrong for her.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Well, there’s so many people that I know in my walk of life, sadly, that look around, look at Facebook, okay, and go, “How come I don’t have that?” Or you know there’s really a thing with social media acting like everything’s just perfect and you think I don’t have enough. I don’t have it all.
Brad Means: It’s true.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: It’s true and then so they make a critical mistake by going outside of their family and they got in the trap. Like do this, do that, go here, and then that’s when you’re attacked and the enemy attacks. And I mean, I’m a Christian, and I believe that that can pull us down as Eve thought she didn’t have enough. And the serpent told her, oh you want to be smart, this is what you do. So she didn’t really realize she lost it all until she was outside the garden, and she knew.
Brad Means: Eve, like a lot of people that we know, she chased the shiny object. You know she was always about you know how can I improve my station in life without working for it, you know.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: And she redefined the tree. Instead of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it became the tree in the midst of the garden. And we do that to justify why we should go beyond our world and we have unhealthy consequences. A lot of women, and men too, get caught up in that. I mean we’re seeing a lot of that in pop culture right now.
Brad Means: Well it’s interesting how you can take these ancient people from the bible and relate them to modern day situations and modern day trials that we face. Same story with Martha who is domestic diva Martha. Mary and Martha were sisters. Jesus comes to visit one day. Mary’s chillin’ out, sittin’ next to him, listening to him, Martha’s going nuts.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Mad.
Brad Means: Mad.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Wants Jesus to yell at her sister.
Brad Means: Tell her to get up and do her part.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Yeah.
Brad Means: What can we learn from this domestic diva who won’t slow down?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Well it’s stress, that’s the story to me of modern day stress. In southern women, I mean we have to have it perfect. And we do it to ourselves. I mean when my husband turned 50, we renovated our porch. And we have a large old porch on our house, the house is old too. And I remember working so hard and it got closer and closer to his birthday and it was a surprise party, I ended up handing him a paint brush saying I’m giving you a surprise party, go paint.
Brad Means: You told him?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: I had to.
Brad Means: Why, he’ll never be 50 again? Why’d you ruin it?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: I know, I ruined it. And I remember I looked at him during the party and he was sound asleep. And then I asked him later what was the best part and he said when it was over.
Brad Means: Well so was it worth it? You were being such a Martha.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: I was, I had to have everything perfect. So that is a story of stress. That bible story, and you see I picked iconic women. I didn’t just dig and say let me pull out this one. I thought what have I struggled with? I’ve struggled with being deceived. How do you handle deception which also leads to a lot of rejection. That’s tough, that’s a tough human. Then how do I handle wanting everything perfect, trying to impress everybody? I talk about the Tua of homes in Johnston.
Brad Means: Yes, the tua.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: The tua. And how I had everybody else’s furniture in there because I didn’t have any. And everybody knew it, see.
Brad Means: Because everybody knows everybody’s business. But my question is this. What about, what age group could benefit the most from you book because it seems that as we get older that this kind of stuff doesn’t stress us out as much? You know, things mean less. We are less likely to be deceived. Or does it ever go away? Are we always these people who are vulnerable to the things that these women of wisdom teach us?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: We are vulnerable and it happens every stage of life. I’ve had reviews tell me which is very exciting for me to hear women say I’m going to put this on my shelf because that’s the next phase of my life. And like I talk about salty Mrs. Lott. She didn’t want to move into a new life. I have widowed friends and they don’t want to move into, they want to hold on to what they had and it’s gone. So you talk about, and then I use my humor talking about moving to the small town of Johnston and that one, and I didn’t want to move to this little tiny, I didn’t even, I was engaged, this is really crazy, and then I asked Thomas, “Where are you from?” I about died.
Brad Means: Johnston’s the best. We love Johnston, South Carolina.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: It is, but it’s so small and I’m a Charlestonian by birth, lived in Greeneville when I was doing teens.
Brad Means: Okay, so tiny.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Oh yeah, sweet, love it, great people.
Brad Means: What about fearless, fabulous Ester. What can we learn from her? This lady, right place, right time, and saved her people. How in the world can we be like her?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Bold. The wisdom to know when you step up to the plate. It might be your neck, but it wasn’t her neck. It was Haymon’s neck. But she let God fight her battles. And see we like to move ahead and say let me have it, I want to do it on my timeline. I’ll do it, I know I can do this. And of course, when I was in the Miss America Pageant, I relate to a lot of the preparation and the encouragers in her life and the experience that she might have had getting ready to meet the King, and I had the same experience getting ready to meet my panel of judges. So I kind of segue that. Does that make sense?
Brad Means: It makes complete sense and it also helps me understand how the same person who got an F in writing in college was never deterred. You’ve been like this forever.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: I have been so knocked down, but I always bounce back up. Remember those little clowns that you could pop like that and you’d blow them up and they’d bounce back up? Well I mean my humor, my comedy is on SiriusXM radio. The guy I sent my comedy to told me it wasn’t funny and I thought okay that means next. No means next. So he sees me and says gee I should have listened twice. I said well bless your heart, and you know what that’s code for. Like I’m glad I don’t have to give you a percentage, bless your heart.
Brad Means: Right, no I’m from the South. Bless your heart has a deep meaning.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: And God love you is worse, just to be honest.
Brad Means: That takes it to the next level. You know we talk about these women of wisdom from the bible, but we also find in the book, modern day sheroes. Who are some of yours?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Well, Miss Virginia Honeycutt was one, I loved her.
Brad Means: Who’s she?
Jane Jenkins Herlong: She lived in Johnston. She had the best sense of humor. She had a plaque on her house, she had an old home, and it said back in 1804 absolutely nothing happened here. I mean she just had that great, so she got me a plaque too. I loved her and I talk about her because she had to make peace with her health and her oxygen tank which she had a little saying for her oxygen tank which I probably shouldn’t say. But some of the things in there are edgy, but they’re real. And this book is not just for the church community. It’s a crossover book. And I told Hachet, that this book is for all women who want to learn how to manage their emotions better, and men, men can benefit. What do you do when you have an emotional issue? What do you do? Like with me I was infertile. You know, Gabe Watson, God bless Dr. Watson, put me in touch with a fertility clinic. And all the many years I went through being infertile and look Sarah, mother of nations, and she moved ahead and said I want my hand maiden, you know and that’s where Ishmael came from. So there’s so many things we can learn about timing and trusting, that things are going to work out, but we use biblical women and our biblical iconic women and wisdom to move to the next level.
Brad Means: Well I think it’s a wonderful approach and you’re right, the church and unchurched alike can benefit from this and it seems like the thread that runs through all of your books and this one too, humor is the key.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: It grabs the message. And I’m a professional speaker and I’m going tomorrow to Branson, Missouri, and my speech is entitled Rhinestones on my Flip-Flops. And it’s going to be a fun speech. I’ve already shared it once. But women are saying yes I would love to have more of this and that’s really why I wrote the book because I see women being controlled by their emotions and people and we need to be in control and not defined by our emotions. That’s very important.
Brad Means: I would encourage people to get Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops, Jane Jenkins Herlong.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Can I tell you where it is?
Brad Means: Latest book, yes.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: It’s at Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and I’ll be having a book signing on the 11th in Edgefield General Store in Edgefield.
Brad Means: Thank you for my flip flop too. Thank you for, Jane brought me a flip flop. It can be used to open beverages as well. I cannot wait to put it to the test. But we do look forward to the success of this book and we do thank you. Your message is very much needed in today’s society for men and women as you said. Jane, thank you.
Jane Jenkins Herlong: Thank you.