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A Gratitude Inspired Life

Hi Everyone,

To many people Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping season, but I try to celebrate Thanksgiving the way our country's founders intended… by giving thanks for the many blessings of my life. For me, gratitude is both a conscious choice, and a spiritual practice. It's a way of looking at the world. 

I strive to look for the blessing in every situation— especially the most challenging ones— and have developed a technique I call Zenspirations® Meditative Journaling to help me stay grounded in gratitude. This involves putting pen to paper the moment I awaken. Some days I draw, some days I write, some days I letter… but I always try to use my journaling time to connect with God.  
Unlike my more finished work, my morning journals are not meant to be pieces of art, but simply to express what is in my heart. As I count my blessings, I often begin the day journaling a letter of thanks to God; like the ones below.


Other days what pours out of my pen are heartfelt notes to myself, like these:


Still other days I try to focus on the needs I encounter among my friends & family, and the different communities I belong to:
I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this amazing creative community, and to express my gratitude I’m sharing three new FREE downloadable Create, Color, Pattern, Play pages. They are from my next book, Expressions of Nature.


Click here to download your free copy of FEATHERS & LEAVES DANGLES.



Click here to download your free copy of BOLD FLOWERS & LINES:


Click here to download your free copy of DELICATE FLOWER.

I hope you’ll enjoy using these pages as a springboard for YOUR creativity. Coloring is a great way to relax, and can be enjoyed with friend and family as a group activity, so think about printing out some of the pages, and bringing coloring tools to your holiday celebrations. I’d love to see what you do with these pages, and have set up folders in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group where you can post your designs. Here is the link: You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the imagine banner.                                                       
There is no contest this week, but if you are interested in having your work considered for inclusion in my next book, please post your design(s) by the end of the month. On December 1st my editor and I will choose some additional inspiration samples from the posted designs.
Although most people look forward to the holidays, for those who have lost loved ones, holidays can be lonely and sad. I know this first hand; it’s been four years since my husband died unexpectedly, and even though I’m looking forward to being with his family for Thanksgiving, I still can’t help wishing that Andy were here to celebrate with us. When you lose someone you love your world is turned upside down, especially the first few years after the loss (yes, I said YEARS, not weeks or months).    
Although I am strong in my faith and deeply committed to living a gratitude inspired life, it takes extra resolve at this time of year to keep hope in your heart. I’m lucky that my children and I have someplace to go for Thanksgiving. Some of my widow friends who used to host the holiday, don't have anywhere to go this year because no one has invited them (and their children) to join their family's celebration. So this is my request for those of you who will be hosting Thanksgiving: if you have an extra seat (or two or three) at your holiday table, please reach out to someone who’s lost a loved one and make sure they have a place to go. Even if they don’t join you, by reaching out you will be letting them know someone cares.    
And if you have experienced the type of loss which makes the holidays challenging… YOU ARE NOT ALONE… please don’t be afraid to ask for help— or a hug— if you need one. If there is something else you need that the Zenspirations community can provide, please leave a comment letting us know how we can help.I belong to many communities... but I am especially grateful to be a part of our Zenspirations® community. I love the positive and kind ways we support and encourage one another. 
If you have a few moments, please leave a comment letting me know how Zenspirations® has touched your life, and what you are especially grateful for. 

Stay Zenspired,







Expressions of Nature

Hi Everyone,
The art for my next book in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play series, Expressions of Nature is due in less than a month! The book was originally going to be called “Leaves & Trees”, so naturally the cover design features a tree.
As usual, I am looking to the incredibly talented team of Zenspirations Color & Creativity Enthusiasts to create the full-color inspiration samples for the book. And to make it fun for everyone I’m running another contest! 

For every design you post (and yes, you may post more than one version of the same page), your name will be entered into a random drawing for one of the following prizes:                                                                  

1. DO Magazine’s first TWO issues (the 2nd issue just hit the newsstands yesterday) 

2. A copy of my inspirational gift book, With God All Things Are Possible.

3. A copy of Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play Birds & Butterflies book. 

If you post two designs, you’ll have two chances to win; if you post five designs, you’ll have five chances to win. The prizes winners will be selected at random; the pieces to include in the new book will be selected by my editor and me.

When you are working on your pages please keep in mind that this is a collaborative effort— what sets Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play apart from all of the other coloring books on the market is that there is room on each page to add your own patterns and special touches before coloring. I look at my work as a springboard for YOURS… and invite you to embellish the pages in whatever way you like. I especially encourage your to add text which inspires you… as well as additional illustrations to make the design come alive. Of course it is fine to simply color the pages if you prefer… I'd love to include at least one simple, beautifully colored image, along with interpretive patterned art, in the inspiration gallery for Expressions of Nature.
1. You will need to post your creations by end of day Sunday, November 29th. 

2. My editor and I are looking for designs which will inspire others by showing a variety of coloring and patterning techniques, so don’t be afraid to try different things. The more you do the better your chance to be included in the book or win a prize!                         

3. VERY IMPORTANT: PUT YOUR NAME, e-dress and phone number on each design before you scan or photograph it!
4. Post your images IN the appropriate album in the new Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group. Here is the link:  You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the imagine banner.

5. If your art is selected, you’ll need to send my publisher a high-res scan (300 dpi) or the original art so they can scan it, and you’ll need to sign a Permission-to-Publish form.
6. Because the books will not be printed on paper which accepts wet media, please DO NOT use watercolors or any other type of wet media. Color pencils, gel pens, markers and crayons are all fine. 
7. Submitting pages is not a guarantee that they will be selected for inclusion.

8. Artists whose work is selected will be given credit in the book, and will receive two free copies of the book when it is published. 

9. I would like to include inspiration samples from as many ‘Color & Creativity Enthusiasts’ as I can, so I hope you’ll help me spread the word about the new book— and that I’m looking to showcase art from a variety of different people. Please invite some of your creative friends to participate!

10. You can e-mail me ( if you have any questions: please put  “ZENSPIRATIONS® COLORING ENTHUSIAST QUESTIONS” in the subject line.                                                  
Here are the images.

Click here to download OWL IN TREE.


Click here to download FOLLOW YOUR HEART FISH:


Click here to download BOLD FLOWER


Click here to download SWIRLY TREE.


But before this next contest gets underway, I’d like to congratulate the winners of the two contests we had last month. 

Congratulations to the winners of the “Color Peace” blog from October 20th (and if you haven’t had a chance to see the truly extraordinary work that was submitted for Flowers of Faith, be sure to check out the albums for the Be Still Sign and This is the Day Tree in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB Group):


Hannah Ballesteros, who won a set of the five new Create, Color, Pattern, Play books: Birds & Butterflies, Expressions of Faith, the mini “Perfectly Portable Pages” Color Peace,   Judaic Expressions, and the soon-to-be-released Flowers of Faith;
Kaleena Gharky, who won a Zenspirations® rubber stamp or clear stamp set by Impression Obsession, and      
Kathryn Leonard, who won a ‘Dangle Design’ Name Sign.

My heartfelt thanks to the 90+ people who shared their thoughts on what to include in my upcoming line of Color, Create, Pattern, Play gift and stationery products in the comment section of the Oct. 27th Coloring Products contest. Your input was invaluable and greatly appreciated. My awesome intern analyzed the data (thanks Nathaniel!), and I thought I'd share the charts he made for those who are interested. 





Thank you again to everyone who participated. The line is scheduled to debut at the Atlanta Gift Show in January. I’ll post pictures when I get the prototypes.

Congratulations to:
Susan Steinke, who won my new 2016 Scripture Calendar (from Hopper Press) & two packages of Scripture Clear Stamps (from Impression Obsession);
Wendy Jo Avey, who won DO Magazine’s 1st TWO issues 
Dorie Osisek, who won a set of 2 Zenspirations Cool Cups (from Tree Free Greetings); and
Terresa Shubert, who won the grand prize of a set of whatever products get made!
Ladies if you can please e-mail me your addresses I’ll get the packages underway.

Before signing off tonight, I have a favor to ask. If you have gotten any of the new Create, Color, Pattern, Play books, especially if you purchased them from Amazon, would you please take a few minutes to write a review? Apparently the more reviews a book gets, the more it gets promoted by Amazon. I’d especially appreciate reviews for Birds & Butterflies, and L’Chaim: Celebrate Life. Here is a screen shot of the four newest titles:



While I was on Amazon I noticed that the Inspirations book is on sale for $5.64, which is the lowest price I’ve ever seen it. I know many of you already have this one, but since the holidays are coming up I thought you might like to know about the sale. 

Hope you enjoy the coloring pages... I look forward to seeing your creativity at work!                                                                                                               
Stay Zenspired,







It's Always Something

Hi Everyone,

I am having some technical challenges tonight, and hope to have them resolved soon, 'cause I have a LOT to share this week... so please stay tuned, and as always,

Stay Zenspired,





Birthday Blessings

Hi Everyone,                                                                                                                                            
Birthdays are milestones on our journey through life… they give us a chance to pause and reflect on where we have been, to think about where we are heading, and to give thanks for the incredible blessing of being alive. And this year I am especially grateful for the wonderful people I’ve encountered in the Zenspirations® community, and the blossoming friendships forming. I was truly overwhelmed by the hundreds of beautiful and thoughtful cards and messages I received this year. I wish I could thank everyone individually, but since I am still going through all the messages, I thought I’d share the heartfelt thank you design I posted on my Facebook page:                                                                           

In addition to all of the supportive and congratulatory messages, my new book, L’Chaim: Celebrate Life… Judaic Expressions to Color & Inspire, arrived just in time for my birthday, which made it an extra-special celebration. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, and is scheduled to ship November 10th.                

It’s hard to believe, but this is the fourth Create, Color, Pattern, Play book to be published in the past two months! (If you are keeping count, Birds & Butterflies and Expressions of Faith were released at the end of September; the mini ‘portable’ Color Peace came out at the beginning of October, and L’Chaim: Celebrate Life will be available this month.) Flowers of Faith, which I’m working on now, has been fast-tracked, so it should also be available by the end of November.                                                                                      

For me, the best part of the new titles is that we've added 16 full color pages to the front of the books, most of which are dedicated to the 'inspiration galleries' showcasing the myriad of ways that people interpret the same design. I am frankly in awe of the amazing images which are being shared, and invite you to check out the latest albums in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group, to get a sneak peak at some of the images which will be included in Flowers of Faith. Here is the link:                                                                        

 I feel so grateful to be part of this incredible creative community… to be in an ongoing creative collaboration with people all over the world means more than I can express. In fact, in celebration of the phenomenon, I’m working on a new business card:

I’m planning to put the contact info on the reverse side… and would welcome your comments. 

The ‘fast-tracking’ of the Flowers of Faith book somewhat derailed my schedule this week, so I must regretfully postpone posting the results of last week’s contest until next week… but I am deeply appreciative of all the thoughtful responses you shared, and will let you know how the product development process is going.                                                                                                                                                       
Stay Zenspired,




Coloring Products & Prizes!

Hi Everyone, 

Coloring is SO popular, that in the last month I’ve been approached by several companies asking if I would design a line of ‘Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play’ products. There are not enough hours in the day to create all of the different concepts which have been proposed… and I would REALLY appreciate your help deciding what to design. To thank you for sharing your opinion, I’m offering four fabulous prizes— and the good news for all the international subscribers— you can enter! Here are the prizes:               
My new 2016 Scripture Calendar (from Hopper Press)
& two packages of Scripture Clear Stamps (from Impression Obsession)


DO Magazine’s 1st TWO issues (the Premiere Issue, shown below, and the 2nd issue, which will be on newsstands November 15th)
2 Zenspirations Cool Cups (from Tree Free Greetings)
GRAND PRIZE: A set of whatever products get made (based on YOUR input!). These are some of the products under consideration.
Below are close up views of the box of sticky notes:

and the jar label:


In order to have your name entered into a random drawing for one of the prizes, please leave a comment with your answers to the ten questions below. You may copy and paste the questions into the comment section, and then type your answers. Answers must be posted by end of day Saturday, October 31st… winners will be announced next week. Here are the questions:

1. How often do you color?    
2. Would you be interested in coloring on ’things’ (as opposed to in books)?                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
3. Which of the following product categories would you be more inclined to color, or to give to a friend who enjoys coloring?                  
  A. Cards (i.e. greeting cards, note cards, photo frame cards) 
  B. Stationery products (i.e. shopping lists, sticky notes, journals, file folders) 
  C. Gift products (i.e. picture frames, bookmarks, cool cups)                                                                                                                               
4. Would you prefer to color products which have a white background, or where some part of the background is partially colored?

5. In a journal, would you prefer to color on the outside, or to color the borders of the pages in the journal?      
6. Which (if any) of the following products would you most like to buy? Please list your top three-to-five favorites in order of your preference.                                                                                                         
a. bookmarks
b. calendars
c. file folders
d. greeting cards
e. journals
f. key chains
g. magnets
h. memo cubes
i. note cards
j. pen cases
k. photo card holders
l. placemats
m. recipe cards
n. shopping lists
o. stickers/sticky-backed labels
p. sticky notes  
7. What product(s) do you want to color which AREN’T on the list above?                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
8. What are your favorite coloring tools?                                                                                                                                                                                                          
9. What are your favorite types of designs to color? (Feel free to mention a specific book, image or icon if you have a favorite)                                                                                                                                               
10. Is there anything you’d like me to keep in mind as I begin designing this line? I really welcome your suggestions.                                                                                                                                                     
THANK YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts… I greatly appreciate your input!                                                 
I spent some time this evening looking through all of the cool images which have been posted in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group this week. If you are a Color & Creativity Enthusiast, please take a few minutes to check them out... you can look at the feed, but the real treat is checking out the albums, where you can see the variety of ways that different artists interpret the same design. Here is the link:                                               
Last week I posted two free downloadable designs from one of my upcoming books in the Zenspirations blog, and I invite you to use them (or any of my other illustrations) as a springboard for your own creative efforts. Go ahead and add patterns, borders, and additional icons. Experiment with color and embellishments... and I encourage you to make the design more meaningful by adding whatever words call to your soul. You don't have to be an experienced artist to create... this is a chance to let YOUR creativity shine! And if you'd like me to consider including your work in one of my books, you can share your interpretation of any of my designs by posting a photo in the appropriate album. I look forward to seeing what you do!                                                               
Stay Zenspired,