Monday, January 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Be Like Christ

{art available here}
cross photo copyright Slavomir Ulicny used by permission

I am currently studying the book of Philippians, one of my all time favorites right up there with Ephesians and Colossians and John and .... well... too many to list...

In any case, I am being greatly encouraged and challenged. We just finished chapter 2 and I was thinking of how I have visually illustrated several of the key Philippians passages already (more to come!)

This particular piece I originally created for my hubby's cousin's wife. I chose to show the cross here, even though I often try to use more illustrative images (other than the obvious "Christian" symbols). But, for this particular passage part of the power of it is the culmination of Jesus' extreme humility and obedience, resulting in His death on the cross. What could be more powerful of an image than the cross to show this laying down of His life.

In studying it again, I can only say Lord help me to even begin to do this in my own life. May your Spirit fill me so that I truly love others as you did: by putting them first and pointing them toward the Heavenly Father.

Grace & Peace,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Custom Life Verse Design Work: Victory

I created the above art for a friend of a friend & it has really touched my heart.

Not only is she a cancer survivor, but she also went on to finish a triathalon!

I love the verse my friend chose for her, found in Isaiah. Tis so true.

God gave her victory!

If you are interested in custom art, just contact me at

Grace & Peace,

Friday, January 13, 2012

blogworthy: photobomb chen style

This year my hubby & I have gotten a kick out of some "photo bomb" websites... not all are appropriate, but many are very funny. A photobomber is someone who jumps into your picture to essentially ruin it. They are especially funny {I think} in wedding photos.

OK, anyways, it is my goal this weekend to edit through the 1,000 + family photos on my hard drive & get them organized & order prints for the kids' albums. As I have been reliving our 2011 photos, I came across the above 3 which make me laugh. Maybe it's just because it's my own kiddos, or the fact that we've shown some photobombs to them which evidently inspired them, but in any case, I for one have gotten a good laugh today.

Enjoy the Chen style photobombs.

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Content in 2012

Be Content.
My words for 2012

Too bad God is STILL working on me with this one. I sit and think when did this restless heart begin? I can see a few prominent factors for sure that keep leading me to this place where I want to get out of & am just thankful today that the new year has started fresh, that His mercy never changes, that He is ever so patient with me & that His grace abounds.

How fun God is that my year would also start out with a new Bible study, based on the book of Philippians. You know, the book of JOY & giving THANKS in all circumstances?! Once again I see God's humor in my life and am so grateful to have a God who meets me where I am at.

Other goals/hopes/dreams I have for this year include:

1. I am keeping a Gratitude journal every day, inspired by Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience blog:
It has already been such a blessing to me, as I get the winter blues every year. This January, by doing the gratitude journal I am on the lookout specifically for what to give thanks for & take joy in & honestly I feel it has helped my heart.

2. I also want to workout at least 3 times a week. {I know, sad} But, hey you have to start somewhere & if my goal is too extreme I know I will just give up. Baby steps to feeling more healthy & energetic.

3. I want to separate work & family more. This has been my biggest struggle as a stay at home mommy who also works out of her house. I hope to have more defined hours & that my work is more hidden or seamless. And that when I am with the kids in the house, I am really truly present with them and not thinking about other things. {Which is partly why I like to take them out of the house: so that I am fully focused on them and having fun, but again... it is winter!}

4. I hope to do their AWANA with them & different devotions that meet their different needs. The days of reading kid's bible storybooks are over for my favorite little mister & he wants more meat. Though, honestly he does still fully engage in The Jesus Storybook Bible, but the other kid's bibles I use with them I notice him either checking out or reading his own bible. I am seeing more that my 3 kiddos are a different levels than ever before & I want to help meet their spiritual needs. This in a big way includes me doing their AWANA verses with them, and not just saying "go work on verses", but rather processing the meaning behind the Scripture. {Did you know I also worked at AWANA? My first job out of college with no design skills under my belt. Ha!}

5. I want to spend more time with real friends than internet friends. {sorry you all.} I see my need for real relationship & community are strong & I love my times with my girls.

6. I long to be content in where my business is PERIOD. Let me tell you, there is SO much more I want to do. Ideas, creativity, marketing, photography, licensing, etc... And I continually struggled with this in 2011 by both comparing myself to other artists as well as things in my own heart and ultimately lack of time. I am first and foremost a wife & mommy & my kids dearly need me. I want to be patient and content in the timing of things for my career. I long to trust God more and more with it, His will for Life Verse Design and that I can have confidence as I move forward I know it is His direction and blessing in my life. I of course do plan to grow my business this year and be wise with it; I just want my heart to be ok with where it is at and know I can do much more after pumpkin-poos begins full time schooling.

7. That said, another goal I have is to design a website of my own so Life Verse Design has its own home. {I can be sure that my friends who are going to help me are getting a chuckle out of this goal, as I have had sketches of my site since last February!} I keep designing new products and fun stuff rather than buckling down into the world of web design! I have so much to learn, and have loved ETSY but this past selling season, I saw many of ETSY's limitations.

8. My last goal includes being IN God's Word at least 5 x's a week. Again, I am thankful for my Bible study & the accountability it brings for me to keep this goal.

OK, that is it. Off to finish up a book I have been designing for Tyndale House Publishers. All you romantics out there may want to someday pick it up :)

OH, 2 more things... sorry so wordy today:

1. With it being day 12 of January, all I can say is the above goals are already hard to keep & old habits are hard to break, but God will give me direction.

2. Sunshine girl was looking at my art and said, "Mommy, you need more COLOR!" So, alas I have begun an entire new line which is in its baby stages. The "BE CONTENT" gives you a sneak peek. It has been tons of fun researching color palettes and ideas for new designs. And, it is all I can do to stop & really design a website. HA!

Grace and Peace,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jesus Storybook Bible : Over half million sold!

I just received news that the Jesus Storybook Bible has now sold over a half million copies & has been translated into 17 different languages!

I had the ultimate privilege of designing this book!

When my sunshine girl was merely 6 weeks old, I received a call from Zonderkidz asking if I would be the designer of the project & come to Michigan to brainstorm with the creative team & Sally Lloyd Jones herself! So, we took a little family trip to Michigan & I would nurse sunshine girl in between meetings. The creativity was flowing and it was my honor to work with an author so passionate about design & illustration, as well as an INCREDIBLE illustrator, Jago.

Reading through the manuscript raw, brainstorming the illustrations: the character's look & clothing, the details of the environment they were set in, the points of view, the emotions I wanted each and every piece to communicate, and story boarding each and every page was not only a labor of love, but it put in my artist's mind a rich image to recall as I now read through both that Bible to my children as well as my own Bible. I love how I will be sitting in a sermon at church & hear one of the stories & the image Jago, Sally, the Zonderkidz team & I created pops into my mind.

What a great book to teach your child (& yourself!) about God's deep, passionate, and endless love for them!

This post by Anne Voskamp concerning the Jesus Storybook Bible also brought tears to my eyes and gratitude to my heart when I happened upon it a couple months ago. wow.

I highly recommend you all to get this Bible for your family, your church, heck.... anyone you know! Available here.

To learn more about my {other life} as a book designer, you can gladly read this post.

Grace & Peace,