Ladies, let me be really honest with you. I'm an awful artist. I can barely handle drawing stick people kind of bad. It's embarrassing really. I feel like you can fly under the radar as a terrible artist until you have children. Then all of sudden there are costumes, school projects, crafts, and lots of coloring pages that call you out for your lack of creative talent.
So when I got a copy of At Play in God's Creation, I was pretty nervous. I had wanted to try adult coloring but I thought, "If anyone can mess this up, it's certainly me!" When I flipped through the pages, I was immediately drawn to how "earthy" the images are. Where I expected to find stained-glass-window images, I was instead greeted with ... well ... God's beautiful creation!
The images were of flowers, trees, and my favorite ones featured waves and water. The book is quite large! I think it will take me a very long time to color it all and that's just fine with me.
I am a big advocate of turning off all blue screens two hours before I go to bed. This helps your natural circadian rhythms work correctly so you're actually tired when you finally lay down instead of being hyperstimulated by phones, televisions, and computers. The more my husband and I committed to this lifestyle change, the more we realized... we didn't have anything to do!
This book was a huge answer to prayer and not surprisingly, it included prayer! Now after my children have gone to sleep and I've tidied the house, I'll sit down with this book and color. It's peaceful. It's calming. It helps bring me to the Lord. I spend that time praying both in supplication and in thanksgiving. By the end, it's as if my Daily Examination of Conscience has poured out of me as I filled in the black and white pages of this book.
Now, in full disclosure, my colored pages look like a seven-year-old did them (see example above). I was surprised, though, that the lack of skill shown in my work didn't bother me. The peace that I gained from coloring was enough for me. I didn't mind that my skill didn't seem to improve the more I colored. The coloring ended up being personal, as all prayer is.
Don't worry if you're not natural at free-form prayer yet! The book has prompts on every page. Sometimes it'll be a quote from a saint. Sometimes it'll be a thoughtful question. Other times, it will just be a few words to get your imagination going.
My favorite page is one featuring fire! The quote is from St. Catherine of Siena "I am the Fire and you are the sparks." It inspires me every time I turn to that page. I want to be God's fire in the world spreading His love to everyone I meet.
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I would say that you should add this to your Christmas list but really you should get it for the beginning of Advent. You'll enjoy having this book to draw you into the way Advent should be spent: in the quiet contemplation of a penitential season. Let this book help you block out the noise of the world and the materialist clamoring of pagan Christmas and instead turn inward inviting Christ to come live in your heart.
We certainly need to unplug and focus on Jesus more. I believe we should do this every single night before we go to bed. If you're worried that your brain will be too tired to read or play board games, perhaps adult coloring is the solution! You don't have to think and you can let the coloring help you unwind at the end of the day. You can pray actively or just sit in silence and let the love of God wash over you!
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Copyright 2016 Sterling Jaquith
About the Author
Sterling Jaquith is a wife and mama to four little kiddos, lives in Boise, Idaho and is the host of the Coffee & Pearls show. As an adult convert, she had to discover Catholicism on her own. She is so in love with the truth and tradition of the Church that she dedicates her life to helping lukewarm Catholics discover the passion and joy of our great faith! Her books Catholic Mom Challenge and Be Merry are available on Amazon HERE!