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Tuesday
Nov242015

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.

FEATHERS & LEAVES DANGLE:

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

 

BOLD FLOWERS & LINES:

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


DELICATE FLOWER:

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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/. 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,
Joanne

 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (17)

Dear Joanne,
I read your beautiful pictures thanking God for his blessings. I am so very thankful for you. You draw beautiful pictures that you allow me (for free) to download and color or redraw myself. How amazing is that? You truly help my soul be healed and find health. Thank you so very much!!!

Most Sincerely,

Sue

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSue

Thank you SO VERY MUCH for sharing your lovely work with so many. I am grateful for the inspiration and education you have given.

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Lewis

Joanne; You are a gift to our community, to the artistic community, to all of us, the world. I love your generous way of reaching out and sharing not only your art--which I do love--but your emotions. So many people just stuff it and become ill. Your generosity helps me to reach out and share too. Hugs to you!
susanna

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersusanna suchak

thankful for you. thinking of you.....

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentervarda

Hugs! Thank you so much for sharing your post and the lovely pages to color.

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda Miller

Joanne, you say that your morning journals are not meant to be works of art; but they are works of art from your soul. I believe God views them as beautiful works of art. Thank you for sharing these. They inspire me.

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterQuwatha Valentine

Thank you so very much for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVicki N

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Joanne. I am extremely grateful for my family and friends and my life. I am also thankful for having found your blog and your wonderful coloring Zenspirations group. I have found new life in coloring and doodling and it is extremely fun and satisfying!! Thanks again for all you do for us and hugs to you during this holiday season.

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWanda Radler

I have several of your coloring books and I like to redraw and color them, like the other person mentioned. This activity is soothing for my soul, especially since the passing of my mother unexpectedly 3 months ago. Thank you for your inspiration Joanne.

Carla

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarla Beck

I am so thankful Joanne to have you in my life.

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPamela pritchard

I am so thankful Joanne to have you in my life. I have all your books now except just one and you know about that. God Bless

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPamela pritchard

Dear Joanne,
May God continue to bless you and your family as you have blessed so many others with
Zenspirations. I am now beginning to create with God an art Journal. I've never attempted
this before and am excited to give it a try. Many thanks for your creative drawings and inspired
words!

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSr. Mary Lynne, CSJB

Thank you so much for your tender loving kind words you share in the work you do, it is so inspiring and encouraging to know there are truly kind people still in this world. I know there are people out there that are seeking kindness from others and have lost hope I hope they are guided to your pages so they can see that there is still hope and that there are people who truly do care and when they enjoy coloring the pages you freely offer I hope they feel the warmth and kindness from it as I do. Thank you so much for all you do. My prayer is for any who are lost may be found, any hungry may be fed, any cold may be warmed, any without cloth may be clothed, any that are hurting may be comforted. God Bless you in all you do and may you have a most glorious thanksgiving. Your friend Louise

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLouise Brown

Thank you for being such a giving person. You are Blessed.

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJG lively

Thank You for sharing your talents.
Vickie

November 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVickie

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours dear Joanne. You certainly do a lot of giving...you are such a kind and generous soul and I want to thank you for being so generous with your love and creativity. I am so glad we have met over the net and count you as a good friend. Enjoy spending time with your loved ones. With my thanks and love, Jane xx

November 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Zenspirations has touched my life in so many ways. First, it makes me take time out to be creative and relax so I can get away from the stress of my job and daily life. Second, I have really enjoyed seeing everyone's creativity shared amongst the group and learning different things along the way and for the new friendships that I have developed through this group :) Lastly, I am most thankful and grateful to you Joanne. :) I appreciate all your hard work and endless hours you put in to make this group successful and all your books so AWESOME! You have given me more confidence in my work because of the inclusion in your books this past few months and I am so touched by that. But most of all, I appreciate your new friendship! I am so looking forward to meeting you (and Jill) in person in Mar.! Peace and God bless you, my friend <3

November 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGail Beck

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