Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mandalas in Messages from God Devotional

I've been very busy at work on a different project and have somewhat neglected this site.  BUT, it has been a VERY exciting project!  Very!!

I have been collaborating with Kathleen Schwab creating an illustrated devotional inspired by illuminated manuscripts.

The devotional features text from Kathleen's prayer journals written in the first person as the voice of Jesus.  This is similar in style to Sarah Young's Jesus Calling books.  The text is illustrated by my photography and digitally created mandalas.  The mandalas are all created from my photography.  We worked with a very talented graphic designer, Regina Martine, to pull it all together.

The book will be available for pre-order soon from our website,   I encourage you to learn more about pre-ordering Messages from God: An Illuminated Devotional.  Each pre-order comes with a bookplate signed both by myself and Kathleen.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Proof Reveal for Messages from God Devotional: An Illuminated Devotional

This is from a project of mine where I collaborated with my dear friend and fellow Smithie to create a devotional.  It has been such a joy and wondrous experience to see this come to life.

This video shows me opening the proof copy the first time which was quite exciting!

Messages from God: An Illuminated Devotional will be launched on Amazon on September 12.  Please check out the website and sign up for our newsletter!

Enjoy and stay tuned for the book trailer - my next project!

Monday, March 6, 2017

50 Precious Words Entry

This is my entry for the Second Annual 50 Precious Words Contest hosted by Vivian Kirkland. The guidelines and other entries to this contest can be found in her blog post #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge is OPEN.

A fun little fact.  This was originally "The Peanut Butter Thief".  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to test it out on a 4 year-old and a 5 year-old.  The 5 year-old said "I'm allergic to peanut butter, can you say almond butter instead?"  And so, in honor of all those kids who have a peanut allergy here is The Almond Butter Thief.

Almond Butter Thief (50 words) 

Mommy kisses me goodnight.
When the house is very quiet…I tiptoe tiptoe to the kitchen.
I open the almond butter and lick the spoon clean. Yum!  
I tiptoe tiptoe back to my bed.
I wake to Mommy saying “Wake up, almond butter thief!”
I wonder, “How did she know?”

Monday, February 13, 2017

2017 Valentiny Contest Entry

This is my entry for the 2nd Annual Valentiny Contest hosted by Susanna Hill, found here: 
The instructions are to write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused! 

Class Valentines (212 words) 

Today I get to make Valentine’s Day cards for my friends! 
I make sure I have everything I need. 
Paper ☑ 
Scissors ☑ 
Glue ☑ 
Crayons ☑ 
Glitter ☑ 
Stickers ☑ 
Envelopes ☑ 
Lollipops ☑ 
Tape ☑ 
I cut out 6 hearts, 4 squares, 2 diamonds, and 3 circles. I decorate each shape with glitter and stickers. 
I write the boys’ names on the shapes. Michael, Charlie, Jameel, and Sam get squares. Tyler P, and Steven get diamonds. Sydney, Juan, and Willy get circles. I put them in envelopes and wrote their names. 
All the girls got hearts. First I wrote their names: Missy, Linda, Angelina, Cindy, Deb, and Tyler B. Then I wrote “I like you!” on each one and put those in envelopes too.
I taped a lollipop to each envelope. 
On Valentine’s Day, I bring them to school and put them on my friends’ desks. After recess, we open our valentines. 
Everyone says thank you. Everyone except Tyler, the boy. 
I look over at him and smile, he just turned pink all over - even his ears. 
Oh, no! I I gave the one that said “I like you” to Tyler P instead of Tyler B! Then I turned pink all over too.  I think I might have cooties now.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Organized Desktop

Ah…  ADD.  I have it in spades.  Lyme Disease made it worse.  So, I struggle with staying focused and organized... and setting priorities... and completing tasks and...  Anyone else?  Am I the only one here?  I doubt it!
So, I try really hard to find systems.  Sometimes that quest translates into too many newsletters hitting my inbox and too many tabs open in my browser, and basic information overload... and not getting anything done because I'm too busy looking for systems to help me get it done.  
But, this time, I think I have found something that might work for me.  At least I hope so!!  This is a combination of a custom wallpaper, Stickies, and Windows Gadgets (most of which have been discontinued).
First, a shout out to Amy Lynn Andrews’ Use Letter for the idea.  Then a second shout out to Sandy Cruz for refining the idea.  (Gosh, I love Google!) And a third and final shout out to Tom Revell the creator of Stickies.
Now, I can only speak to Windows 7 which is what I am running on my PC.  If you are running a different operating system, then it will likely be a bit different than what I have here.  I tried to upgrade to Windows 10 but it didn’t play nice with some of my software (like Photoshop - *gasp*) and so, Windows 7 it is - and I’m quite happy.
I spent more hours than I should have looking at different “organized desktop” wallpapers.  There are a lot of really cool ones out there, the trick is to find the one that works best for you.  I tried a few and they weren’t really working the way I had hoped.  So, out came Photoshop and, voila!  I made my own.  You don’t need Photoshop to make your own if you decide to do that.  There are lots of free image editors/creators on-line and I’m sure one of them could meet your needs. Just make sure you know the resolution for your screen. (right-click on the desktop and select Properties)
But, why re-invent the wheel?  You can use a copy of mine if you’d like!  Without all the customizations, it looks like this:
laptop wallpaper.jpg
Once you have downloaded or created your desktop wallpaper, you’ll need to set it as the wallpaper and customize it to your liking.
  1. Right-click on the image and select Set as desktop background.
  2. Add any gadgets you would like.  I added the clock and the calendar to try and keep it simple (and because many have been disabled, like weather)
    1. Right-click on the desktop and select Gadgets.
    2. Click on your desired gadget and drag it to the desktop
  3. Arrange your desktop icons and shortcuts as desired.
  4. If you want to Install Stickies, you can install them from here. Follow the online instructions to download and install the program.
  5. To activate Stickies, open the software. Unfortunately, every time you open it, you will always get this warning:
  6. Click Yes.  The Stickies icon will appear in your System Tray.
  7. Right-click on the Stickies icon to access the menu and create and place notes as desired.   NOTE: You will need to re-activate Stickies every time you reboot or turn on your system.  Personally, I find this a very minor inconvenience for the value added!
Have fun!  This is not a full tutorial on Stickies.  Their Help file is very good and I’m just in the beginning stages of learning all the features myself.  Right now, I’m happy to have one sticky for each day with a simple to-do list.  I also made an extra one off to the side titled “Next Week”.

I hope you find this useful as a system or as an inspiration for you to create your own system!  Let me know how it goes in the Comments!