The Devoted Life, a Creative Journal by Marjorie Jackson

Nutrition is about what is in something that we put in our body.  Like green beans or cookies.  Everyone is aware of food nutrition, but are we aware of our spiritual needs?  What are we feeding our soul?  What do we give our young women to put into their hearts, minds, and spirits?  I have just the thing.
The Devoted Life, a Creative Journal by Marjorie Jackson is delightful.  It is marketed and labeled as being for teen girls, but any woman could use it.  There are 31 devotions so this is a month of inspiration and encouragement.
The book itself is rather small and slender.  It would easily slip inside a purse or tote.  The cover is a sleek stylish imitation leather and doesn’t look like a young girl.  There is an attached pink ribbon bookmark to keep reader’s place marked.
At the beginning of each section is the title along with small illustrations to color.   The daily devotion consists of scripture followed by one-page commentary and three additional scriptures for in-depth study.  There is room to journal any thoughts from the lesson or prayers.
This would make a wonderful small group study for older teens or young adult ladies.  Actually any ladies’ group would enjoy it.  Topics are relevant and timely.  Friendship, family, relationships, God, trust, and prayer are just a sampling of the subjects tackled. Lessons are short enough to get finished in a little amount of time but long enough to teach readers.  It has plenty of free “create your own” spaces.
The coloring and journaling devotional are becoming very popular.  After looking at some others, I can honestly say this is one of the better ones.  Don’t be misled when you thumb through it.  It will look pale and drab.  It is just a plain coloring journal.  Wait until your creative ideas take over and colors bloom on the pages.  It will be a masterpiece to treasure for years to come.
I highly recommend this lovely, God glorifying Journal.  I have twin granddaughters and look forward to buying each of them a copy when they are a bit older.  In fact, I plan on doing it with them.  It would be a wonderful group project, gift, or something to buy yourself.  I give this a 5 out of 5 stars and hope there are more to come.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, honest ones.

Chatting with Author, Illustrator SE Foster…..You’re Never Too Old to Color

It is my pleasure to chat with author, illustrator SE Foster today.  Previously she sent me copies of her coloring journals.  What lovely products!  If you are not into coloring or journaling, I would encourage you to try both and start with hers.  I loved them.  
Her journal coloring books are such a delightful change from the other tedious intricate designs with minuscule parts in them.  Often I start those and become discouraged that I won’t be able to finish, so I give up.  These are different, doable.  The pictures are larger and very pretty.  The scripture and journal questions provide food for thought.  While reflecting I was able to color, pray, and write down thoughts.  The author has designed well organized, thought, beautiful books.
I highly recommend her beautiful journal/coloring books.   The format is easy to use and would be great for any age whether a beginner or seasoned pro.  It would make a fantastic gift for camp.  I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.  Now let’s chat a minute with the creator of them.
Hi Shannon!  Tell us about the type of book you write?
Okay, I write and illustrate books in the Christian/Spiritual Genre that are coloring journals.  I wanted to offer more than just a coloring book and thought the scriptures reflection and journal prompts would make a nice addition and maybe set it apart from other coloring books on the market.
I totally agree and see a great potential for these.  Women’s groups, youth groups, camps.  I could go on about them, but let’s learn about you.  Do you have a job in addition to writing?
Yes, I do.  When I am not writing, painting, drawing or making jewelry I teach water aerobics at the local YWCA for 2 hours a day Monday-Friday.
Wow!  You are a busy lady.  Tell us your story of how you came to be published.
My first book came to be after I started drawing flowers for the 100 Days Project that is popular on Instagram. One particular day I was having trouble uploading my daily sketch to Instragram and decided to post it on my Facebook page instead. One of my author friends said I should make a coloring book. I, of course, told her “no I don’t think I could do that”.
Well, I for one am glad you did.  Your newest book is a bit different from your first.
Yes, my second book is called Coloring Through the Seasons with God: 12 month Prayer Journal with Coloring Pages.  I published my first Prayer Journal with Coloring pages in July of 2017 and around September the idea came to me to do a 12 month one instead of a 30 day one like the first book.
How long did it take you to create this book?
To be honest I am not entirely sure how long this one took as I didn’t keep track as closely as I did with my first book. My first book took well over 300 hours. I sketched out each floral element and word and then inked them onto tracing paper. Then scanned those into my computer and I turned them into vecotor images.  After cleaning them up I was finally able to place them in the document to create the pdf file to upload. My second book the pages were drawn entirely on my Ipad Pro that I purchased with proceeds from the local sales of my first book. That eliminated so much of the work as I could drawn an entire page and then send it to my computer to be put into the file to be uploaded and published.
Yes, much more efficient.  Is this dedicated to anyone?8260A270-E084-4707-9DC8-4308455C8E05
I dedicated both of my books to my husband. He allows me to do the things I love and be creative. The ladies in my weekly bible study groups were also instrumental in the process of both books and I acknowledged them as well.
Shannon, when did God first call you into this ministry?
I felt the nudge from God to make my first coloring book in April of 2017.  My initial response was no as was my response to the second and third nudge. Finally after the fourth nudge I took the plunge and started creating my first book at the end of April 2017 and published on July 6, 2017.
It falls in place when God has His hand on it, doesn’t it?  How quickly did doors open for you?
Well, I haven’t had many doors open for me. I do have copies of my book in a local Christian Book store.  I have been researching and praying for guidance on what to do next to get my book out there to those who need it.
Did God send you an answer?
In February 2018 I had sent my book to an author who spoke at our local ISI Women’s Conference for her to review. She loved the book and wanted to send me a proposal to work with her on promoting my book. I knew that there was no way I could afford her so I told her not to waste her time sending me something I knew I couldn’t do. She then asked me what I could afford. I told her (it wasn’t much as we had to put a roof on our house in March and had taxes to pay in April).

“I prayed specifically”

She asked me to pray about it and let her know. So the next day while I was teaching water aerobics, I told one of my friends about the conversation.  I said that I was going to pray about it and I was going to be very specific. “Ok God” I was going to say, “IF I am supposed to work with this woman the money for the fee is going to have to come from sales in my Etsy shop or I won’t be able to do it.”  I went home and said that exact prayer before bed. When I woke up in the morning there had been a $45 sale. Later that day a $152 sale, and then the entire amount was there within about 12 days from when I offered my prayer to God.  With pleasure I have started working with her and am very hopeful about what will come of our time together.
God is so good!
Tell us a few of your favorites:
Book:     Gone with The Wind
Color:    Purple and Teal (again just can’t pick one)
Food:     Cheesecake
Smell:    Lily of the Valley
Animal:  Elephant
Hymn:    It is well with my Soul
Song:     Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams
Drink:     Diet Ginger Ale
Candy:   Lily’s Sugar free Salted Almond Dark Chocolate bar.
Movie:   That is a tie between Gone with the Wind and Brigadoon
Place:    The foothill mountains in Colorado by Boulder.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Both and Strawberry.  Neapolitan is my favorite flavor.
Coffee?  Cream, cocoa powder and Stevia
Scripture:      Be Strong and Let Your Heart Take Courage ~Psalm 27:14
What would be your dream vacation:  A trip with my two sisters.
Destination and mode of travel:   I would love to fly to Ireland, France, Italy, Scotland, and Sweden( I have a pen pal there from when I was in 7th or 8th grade).
Favorite hymn of SE Foster
Anything you want to leave the readers with today?
Yes, they may keep in touch with me or purchase my books using the following links:
Links to purchase signed copies of both books
A Stroke with God
Barns and Noble
Coloring Through the Seasons with God
Thank you very much, Shannon, for this lovely time.

Find a Book Friday: The Prayer Map Journal for Women

Today I have a very different book for you.  It is a prayer journal.  Do you use one?  Would you like to try?  Journaling while praying is one way of keeping track of when and what you and our Heavenly Father discuss.  It offers a record to go back and review.  Most importantly, if you say you are going to pray for someone, please do.  A journal is a good place to list that.09F4AE98-0700-4C4A-82A4-C0EB5037D870  Praying for someone is lifting them up to Jesus for intercession.  No better problem solver ever.  Let’s check this journal out.

The Pray Map Journal for Women by the Barbour Staff is a spiral bound paperback providing a delightful way to record daily prayer time with God.  Published by Barbour Books this 176 page Women’s journal has a whimsical cover and inside road map for prayer.  It would be an easy to follow outline for someone wanting to dig deeper into a prayer life.
This guide to prayer journaling is not just for women.  Teenage girls and preteens would benefit from this as well.  Each entry or day consists of two pages with different sections and a road with arrows directing where to go next.  Beginning with the date, readers are guided to a section for prayer, followed by one on thanks.  The next destination is “I am worried about” which did not settle quite well with me.  C0D229C1-5568-4EAB-A509-3F1D831C0F13I am hoping (and suggesting) in reprints that the word “worried” is replaced with concerned or something else.  (It is a goal of mine to stress not to worry as Jesus teaches us.)  After that stop, readers go on to listing people they are praying for and then themselves.  There is a wrap up, scripture, and that day is complete.  It sounds more detailed than it really is.  This is easy to understand and follow.
The Prayer Map Journal is a great tool for any woman or young woman of faith.  Whether you are just beginning or have been doing this for years, this journal will be a tangible reminder of what you have been bringing to the Father and the date.  It is a medium size 6” x 8” paperback and not too thick.  I can fit it in my purse or tote bag, and it is lightweight..  Retailing for just $7.99 makes this jewel very affordable.  It would make a nice gift for a prayer group, girls’ small group, women’s group, graduation or Mother’s Day.  I highly recommend it and give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I would have given it 5 except for the “worry” reference.  Whether you decide to journal or not, keep praying.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Writing Our 2018 Story

We have closed the last page of our life story for 2017.  I hope it was a best seller in your eyes.  A new year brings a new beginning or book.  It comes in with a blank page or clean slate.  Are you hoping the year that begins today is better than the one that just finished? IMG_0181
A new year carries endless possibilities with it. I read posts on Facebook stating that New Year’s Day was the beginning of a blank 365 page book for each one of us, and that we should write a good one. Some claimed 2017 to be the worst year on record for them. Others wrote about the things they wanted to improve upon or change starting today.

Let me challenge you. Get a brand new journal and write down an outline for your 2018 story. I know it hasn’t happened yet, but think about what you would like to happen. For me reconnecting with some old, dear friends is very important and long overdue. My Christian novel remains half written so 2018 is the perfect year to complete it.  Cookbook #2 is a little closer to being finished but needs work.  Any year past, present, and future is the time to deepen my relationship and walk with Jesus. Of course I need and want to get healthier, too. In August 2017 I began a new venture selling a Pampered Chef. It is my hope to improve on that this year. How about those goals? Pages and chapters for me to live and write.

Will you partner with me? We could try it together and encourage each other. Over our blank pages we need to speak and pray positivity.  Begin by asking God’s will to be done.  Thank Him for guiding and directing.  No more “I can’t lose weight, I am stressed and too busy, or it is never gonna happen.” Replace those with “absolutely I will lose weight, there is time, and yes, it will happen!”

Get your inspiration from your Life’s Rule Book or Holy Bible and your Heavenly Father.Design Scripture will give you the help, peace, and strength you need. Remember the verse in Matthew that says “With God all things are possible?” How about in Philippians where it tells us “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Proverbs gives great counsel “Trust in the Lord with all your heart….”  We need to commit Bible verses to memory and claim the promises they give.

Keep me updated on your happy story. Working together we can make a positive difference in 2018. We will start with each other and see what trickles down from there.  I think it is time to turn a “no” into a “go”!  It is exciting to realize that we have the pen and blank paper for our 2018 story, not to mention the best Editor ever.  I am ready to start my new story.  Are you?