Celebrating Milestones

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sometimes you start something on faith, not having any idea where it will take you. When I embarked on writing a weekly blog one year ago, I had no idea what an important part of my life it would become. I never dreamed that I would discover heartfelt connections to a community of compassionate, creative people who share my passion for making a difference in the world. Although I haven’t actually met most of you (yet!), I feel I know you through the comments you are kind enough to leave about what I post, as well as the artwork and insights you share. Making the commitment to spend every Monday night working on the blog has helped me find my ‘voice’… certainly my posts have gotten longer! Most of you haven’t seen the image I created for my first weekly post, so I thought I’d share it tonight.
The image was accompanied by these words: “I believe that each of us is on this earth for a reason… and that we each have the power to help make the world a better place. We can each exercise the power of kindness; the power of compassion; the power of reverence and, most importantly, the power of love. Remember, a single loving act can transform the world!”
Transformation is a concept that really resonates with me. As those of you who are regular readers know, the tag line for Zenspirations is “Live by Inspiring Others to Fly”, and one of the ways I try to do this is by sharing suggestions of small things we can all do to make a difference, and encouraging those I share with to then share with others. I’d love to know how you try to inspire others; and I hope you’ll join me in trying– and sharing– an idea I have about Celebrating Earth Day 2015.  
To commemorate Earth Day 2015, I thought I’d plant some roses this week. One bush will be planted in honor of my friends’ twin babies, who were born this afternoon; one will be in celebration of a special anniversary, and I’m going to plant a third in memory of my friend Leigh Edwards who died unexpectedly earlier this month. What I plant will not only beautify my little piece of the world, but I hope the flowers will always remind me of the special people in my life. I got this idea from my friend Ketra, who planted Lady Banks roses in memory of my husband, and sent me this beautiful photo of them last month.
SoSomeday, when the roses I plant in Leigh’s memory are in bloom, I plan to take a photo and send it to her husband and children to let them know that she is being remembered with love.As this is the 1st Anniversary of the weekly Zenspirations blog, I want to THANK YOU for being part of the Zenspirations community, and for sharing your thoughts and ideas. I read everything that you write, and greatly value your opinions. It means a lot to me that you not only respond to what I’ve posted, but read what others have written… I was especially touched by the comment that Kate Adderly left for Jill Therriault this past week… so Kate, this is for you… please let me know where to ship it. 🙂To THANK everyone who reads the Zenspirations blog, especially those of you who comment regularly, I wanted to do a 1st Anniversary ‘Give Away’. I asked Sakura and Strathmore, manufacturers of the pens and paper I use to create most of my art, if they would supply prizes for this special celebration—and both companies generously said yes!
But before we talk about a new give away, I’d like to give you a recap on the Cover Conundrum blog from two weeks ago. There were 123 comments—more than I’ve ever gotten before! Overwhelmingly, most people would prefer to see the dove on the cover of the Expressions of Faith book. There were 91 votes for the dove versus 24 votes for the angel. Although the dove was the clear winner, it was practically a tie between the 49 people who voted for the left dove and the 47 people who voted for the center dove. Only 12 people voted for the right dove, so I’m taking that one off the list. Assuming my publisher agrees, there will be text on the cover: 59 people would like to see text on the cover versus 39 who voted for no text. And lastly, what I should work on when I finish the Birds & Butterflies and Expressions of Faith books is unclear—50 votes for Trees and Leaves and 54 votes for Heartfelt Expressions. I guess I can’t go wrong either way!
And now for the winners: Terra Bos was the first name I drew, and Jen was the second name I drew. Congratulations to you both! Terra, I have your e-mail address since you subscribe to my blog; Jen I’m not sure how to find you! Even if you subscribe to the blog, I don’t know which of the 2 Jens, 2 Jenns, 14 Jennifers, 4 Jennys and 1 Jeni you are! Please e-mail me at [email protected], or leave a comment letting me know how to find you.
Not knowing how to reach Jen has led me to make a change in how to manage the give away. Rather than my putting all the names in a box and drawing one at random, I decided to try Rafflecopter as a way to pick the winners. At the very bottom of this blogpost you’ll find a Rafflecopter icon; if you click it you’ll be guided through the process. I tried it on ‘preview’ and it was pretty easy to do, but I’d really appreciate knowing how you liked using Rafflecopter, and whether you think we should keep using it.
So now, on to the Give Away! I’m delighted to be able celebrate this milestone by giving away three different things: a Calligraphy Prize, a Drawing Prize and a Coloring Prize. There are, however, some eligibility requirements that I need to let you know about. First, I regret that we are not able to do any international shipping. Second, in order to be eligible to win one of the prizes you must be a blog subscriber. If you don’t already subscribe, you’ll be able to subscribe through Rafflecopter. One of the things I like about Rafflecopter is that you can ‘earn’ additional chances to win one of the prizes by doing additional tasks, such as liking my Zenspirations by Joanne Fink Facebook page, following me on Pinterest, following me on Instagram, or leaving a comment letting me know which cover design you’d prefer to see on my Kickstarter book. (More about this below).
If you do all of those things you’ll have five chances to win one of these three wonderful prizes:
CALLIGRAPHY PRIZE (valued at $75.00):
This prize includes what is shown in the photo above.

Sakura of America provided:

set of 6 Pigma® Calligrapher 1mm

set of 6 Pigma® Calligrapher 2mm

set of 6 Pigma® Calligrapher 3mm

Pentouch Gold

Pentouch Copper

Pentouch Silver

Pen pouch

Strathmore provided:

A 9 x 12 pad of 400 Series Drawing paper

A package of 10 Parchment Cardsand Envelopes


COLORING PRIZE (valued at $50):

This prize includes what is shown in the photo above.

Sakura of America provided:

A 10 piece set of Gelly Roll® Moonlights®

A 10 piece set of Gelly Roll® Metallic

2 Black Glaze pens

Pen pouch

Strathmore provided:

A 9 x 12 pad of black ArtAgain®paper, 24 sheets

A 9 x 12 pad of Smooth Bright Construction paper (includes 6 colors), 30 sheets


DRAWING PRIZE (valued at $60.00):

 This prize includes what is shown in the photo above.

Sakura of America provided:

A six piece color set of 05 Pigma Micron pens, which includes black, blue, green, red, purple and brown

An eight piece set of black Pigma pens which includes 6 Microns (005, 01, 02, 03, 05, 08), a Pigma Brush and a Pigma Graphic

A three piece set of black Pigma Professional Brushes in black (small, medium and large)

Pen pouch

Strathmore provided:

Two 9 x 12 pads of 400 Series Drawing Paper 

Whether or not you want to enter the give away, I’d be grateful if you would share your thoughts about the cover of the book I’m about to self-publish (another milestone to celebrate!). It’s taken me MUCH longer than I had originally anticipated, but I’m almost done with the revisions, and will be able to send it off to the printer very soon. The last big decision I have to make is whether to stick with the original cover design (gold foil on black), or to go with a softer, full-color cover design. Here are the two options:

Please let me know which you prefer and WHY you prefer it. 

Here is what the back of each version will look like:

I’d welcome any other comments about the covers (or anything else that is on your mind). As a reminder, unless you have a truly unusual name, please sign your comment with your first and last name, or your first name and your e-mail address. That way I’ll be able to find you!

And now, here is the Rafflecopter icon you can click in to enter the Zenspirations 1st Anniversary Give Away: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck, Happy Anniversary, and thank you for celebrating this milestone with me. 

Stay Zenspired,


166 thoughts on “Celebrating Milestones”

  1. I love the color cover. For me it feels more like a hug, which is something you need after a loss.

    About a year ago my husband gave me a copy of one of your books. All my life I 'doodled' all the time on just about anything. Your book encouraged me to buy a real live drawing pad and try my hand at your style of tangling. I now have more drawings than I know what to do with. I have filled numerous pads and have done lot's of Christmas gifts for all my family and friends. Your books are on my wish list for every holiday, (although I think I have just about all of them). Drawing has brought such joy to my life. I am so thankful for that first book and enjoy seeing everything you do.

    Thank you, Cindi

  2. I prefer the softly colored version on both sides. The black and gold is beautiful and very dramatic, but I think the soft, soothing colors are more fitting for the subject.

  3. Hi Joanne, devastated as I am that I can't put my name in for the prizes, (I live in the UK, you see.) I still want to comment on the colourways you offer for the book. The black and gold is dramatic, striking and very beautiful but it is not, I feel, as comforting as the colour version. The colour one is also more YOU than the other and, since your contribution is the most valuable part of this project, I'd go for colour. It makes it more of a personal message from you to whoever reads it and when someone has/needs a book like this, the personal touch really counts.

  4. Love the black & gold! It is very pleasing to the eye! Congratulations for a wonderful year! Love reading the blog every week even if I do not always have time to post comments! Love your work Joanne!

  5. Hello Joanne, What a lovely way to honor someone in planting flowers as a memory of them!!
    I like the softer colors for the cover. It is just soothing to look at, more peaceful!

  6. Congratulations on the anniversary of your blog Joanne! My heart was deeply touched with the color cover, I agree, it is very comforting.

    Last fall, I planted 2 lilac bushes from seedlings near my front door in memory of 2 of my sisters who went to heaven too soon. Our family name means "lilac" so I thought this would be a fitting way to honor Deanna (5yrs) and Shanna (30 years). I have two more ready to plant for my grandparents in the back near the birds and the water they would have greatly enjoyed if they were still here.

  7. i like the color. While the black one is nice, the color is more cheerful. When you loose someone it is a black time, trying to coop. But we must go forward in faith and brightness knowing we can get through this and there are brighter days in store.

  8. I do prefer the colour one. As someone said above, when you lose someone, it is already a black cloud event in life. The colour one is not overdone to convey a false cheerfulness but rather is one respectful, I think, of what the receiver is feeling and going through.

  9. Gold and Black is very eye catching and most days I need a kick in the pants to remind me I will find a way out of the depths of despair. I also have to admit, the contrast of the gold and black is far easier for these old eyes to read.

  10. I love the softness of the full color cover. I believe it really conveys your softness and gentleness.
    The black and gold is elegant and lovely too, but the full color cover really seems like you.


  11. when can we expect to get the books for which we donated before Christmas. it is the middle of April and they were promised for February, I believe.

    Thanks you for your response.

  12. I love the idea of planting roses in honor of someone, thank you for that. My husband has been wanting to plant roses, but we live in Phoenix, AZ where you really have to have a green thumb to grow things (which I do not) so I haven't been excited about it. Now maybe more excited because there are people and pets I would love to honor.
    I like the soft colors of the cover best. Happy Anniversary!! I really enjoy your blog, FB, and Pinterest. You are a wonderful inspiration to so many.

  13. I'd stay with the black and gold. I've "known" the book since the beginning, and I'm attached to the original. I think this book stands apart in so many important ways from your other work. I can't believe its been a year since you started the blog! hugs & love,

  14. I love the colour one. But.. I love them both!! 😉 However, the black and gold reminds me that I lost somebody… I choose the black one.Iwona

  15. I like the color version better. It is more peaceful looking, which is more fitting for the subject.. Even though the black and gold is striking in appearance, It looks too glam to me.

    I love following you and you are my Tangling idol. I was hoping to meet you this past March in The Villages,FL for one of your classes, but something happened so it was canceled. Darn…..:( Hopefully someday I will have the opportunity.

    Love the idea of planting flowers or a tree in memory or in honor someone or an occasion. Such a lovely idea.

    Thank you for keeping us Zenspired! Love your work!

  16. Joanne, I enjoyed reading this post, especially about planting flowers and plants in memory of special loved ones! What a wonderful tradition to pass along and beautify the earth.

    As for the book cover, both are beautiful but I prefer the color cover. It whispers HOPE for anyone who looks at it. It is light and yet harmonizes with a person's grief as well as hope.


  17. The color version is better and more YOU. It is really soft, artistic and soothing to the eye.

  18. Joanne, you create such lovely work! My preference is for the Black with Gold Foil. I love the elegance and simplicity of it. Awesome work, as usual.

  19. I like the color version….to me, color is hopeful….there will be better days ahead.

  20. While the gold on black certainly is eye catching, I very much like the colour version – it seems to convey all the emotion you feel when losing someone but there's still that glimmer of hope! Thank you for all your beautiful and inspiring artwork. I love seeing that I've got an email from you!!

  21. Joanne, Happy Anniversary!!! I have joined your blog within the last year and missed your drawing to launch your blog. What a beautiful inspiration!!! I am so excited to purchase your book When You Loose Someone. I have a long list of people I want to give a copy to and I haven't even seen it yet. I just know that you will do a beautiful job. I like the colored cover because it is softer and more comforting to me. I tried out the Rafflecopter and found it really easy to use. If it makes your life easier, I'm all for it. Congratulations again and I look forward to another year of your inspirations.

  22. I love the black and gold cover the best. The colored cover is beautiful ,too, and definitely looks like your beautiful work, However, the black and gold stands out more. For marketing purposes I thing it would bring attention to the book. Thanks for the opportunity to win the prizes. I love your thoughtful blog and love the content. Wishes for great success with the new books.

  23. I'm drawn in to the beautifully colored one.
    It seems more heartfelt and real with the sky and soft colors.
    When I go outside, into nature, I hear the birds and see the beauty in nature and am ALWAYS thoughtful of those I love who have passed on, yet are still with me. A butterfly going by, or even a wilting plant, can cause me to think that someone I love is also thinking of me.
    Beautiful work, whichever you choose.

  24. I like the last cover design… the one that's blue on front and back. I don't know why I like that one the best, it just appeals to me most.

  25. I like the colour version as it's warmer, more comforting and more YOU! Your art is uplifting due to your wonderful sense of how to blend and use colour. For one of your books to be in black seems somehow …sad. If I saw it on the shelf I would never believe that it was by you.
    ~ joey ~

  26. Hi. I prefer the colorful one. The black & gold is beautiful but I feel more peaceful looking at the other one. I agree that the colorful one is more you, represents your work.
    My niece passed away in January & then my sister passed away in March. Some of the cards I recieved had memorial money & suggested I buy a perennial. I decided to plant a memorial garden for all those loved ones I have lost. I have lost my parents, 5 siblings, 3 brothers-in laws & lots of friends. Way to many. I find excitement in planning my garden even as I look at the snow coming down.
    Thank you for your uplifting posts. I am enjoying the inspirations & I am loving doodling. I am doing watercolor backgrounds & then Zentangle. I always look forward to your next post.
    Hugs & Blessings
    Ida Mae

  27. I like the one with color. During times of pain and grief I tend to gravitate towards God's creation and the colored one reminds me of the beauty in nature.

  28. I like the lavender cover – the black is too stark – it doesn't give a feeling of hope, light at the end of the tunnel feeling.

  29. I like the soft full color versions of the front and back covers. I think it's more fitting for your subject matter.

  30. I like the color cover. It is welcoming.The black ones don't have the personal feeling of the colored ones. The black covers are too formal and rigid.

  31. I love the color version. Having experienced the sudden death of my husband of 21 years not long ago, the need for lightness and bright colors in my life has increased so much. The colors are beautiful and hopeful, and this has definitely been a journey of hope. And patience. Learning zenspriation-type drawing has helped me find a good, quiet, focused place to be in the evenings, helps me settle in and be thankful for all I have.

    So glad I came across your artwork earlier this year, Joanne! Blessings to you!

  32. First I must say that you got me hooked on tangling. I love your art and am so happy that you share with all of us.
    As for the covers I love the soft gentle colors. It inspires me that there is better days ahead. The black leaves me sad.

  33. Hi Joanne – I much prefer the colored version of your book cover. It reminds me of you and your incredible art! Thank you for your wonderful blog. I do enjoy it so much. Chris

  34. I would love to have all your book as I think you are so interesting with your zen tangle, I just dicover you last year (in august) and I follow all your videos.. Thank you ever so much.
    Should I choose I will choose this : Zenspirations Dangle Designs, Expanded Workbook Edition

    Kind regards
    Mariane Cordes

  35. Oh, Joanne, you give us the hardest assignments! I like all your art. I think I would prefer the black and gold front and back. It is so elegant and seems to me to be one that looks like it is to last forever. However, the blue one is nice and has a touchy, feely look. But my vote is for the black and gold.

  36. I like the colored ones. It's muted enough to show mourning, but the black is too stark. The book is uplifting and I don't think the black is.

  37. Can't wait to get my books! Favoring the black and gold, classy, generic not too feminine.

  38. i really like the colored version. So much more comforting. God Bless You for all that you do and for all that you share!

  39. I like the soft color cover. When I lost a loved one, black felt like a very depressing color. The lighter color seems to give a feeling of hope that things will get better.

  40. Joanne,

    I prefer the color version of the cover for your book. After losing someone, as you are aware, the world can seem so dark. What people need is to see that color can return to their lives. Your color cover does just that, returns color to the darkness of loss.

  41. Hi Joanne
    Happy First Ann with your Blog
    Just wanted to thank you for being such a blessing to me personally .
    The flowers are beautiful and what a wonderful remembrance of the ones you love and when they bloom year after year it has a special meaning of those remembered .
    I personally have planted special trees and given away they new sprout trees to my family and friends in honor of there loved ones it brings me so much joy to see my tree bloom every year and hope that it will do the same for them..
    On your book cover I like the last one it looks more softer to me .. But then I looked again and felt something about the first one maybe the bold black then the softer at the back ..
    Thank you for helping me heal I suffer from a chronic illness and you art helped me when I was totally bed ridden from shingles ..Thank you for letting God use you .. To be a healer with your gift ❤️Angelina

  42. The full-color cover has my vote. I feel comforted looking at the full-color. I assume that the book is to help to a person move on taking their fond memories WITH them. The black and gold seems very cut and dry, final. It gives me the feeling of having a memory, leaving it, and moving on.

  43. Hi Joanne. Congratulations on the first anniversary of your blog! I just recently came across your work through Pinterest, then saw some of your books at Michael's, and I'm in LOVE! As for the book cover, I am really drawn to the color one. Like others have said, it feels more warm and comforting, and seeing the colors does make me associate it with you. I wish you much success with it! I could have used it when my mom died 2 years ago. Thanks! Christine

  44. I love the black and gold (front and back). The colors and design distinguish this from other books.

  45. I prefer the softer, colorful covers for your books. The black and gold seem somewhat daunting, while the color implies more of the feelings associated with loss instead of just grief, while also implying hope.

  46. As much as I like the colored one I think the black and gold is very elegant and appropriate for the subject matter.

  47. It looks like the colored version is winning. But I do prefer the black and gold. Is it possible for you to publish the book in both black and gold and the colored version?

  48. I like the black cover. I think it would be more likely to catch my eye on the shelf. 🙂

  49. I love the elegant gold on black for a change.
    The soft color is your calling card.

  50. I love the cover in color. It just seems to portray the happiness zenspirations creates. And I love color! The world needs more color.

  51. While I completely agree with the other comments about the color version being more "you", Joanne, I am strongly drawn to the black and gold. It feels more congruent with the theme of the book.

    Loss is about integrating the darkness and light in the human experience. You've captured that beautifully.

  52. They are both beautiful and I am torn between the two! The black and gold is elegant and reverent considering the topic of loss. Yet, the one with color does give a bit more "cheer" to the topic. Is there some way you could combine the ideas – like putting a color border around the black with gold letters?

  53. I like both, but the full color version is more consistent with your other book covers, and therefore more recognizable as one of yours. Plus, the softer colors seem a little more cheery which could be more comforting than the dramatic black background.

  54. I love your art. My favorite cover is the colored one. It has a warm and fuzzy feel to it. Can't wait to see your book. Look forward to the weekly blog.

  55. Your artwork is so calming! I love the color book cover! The black and gold is great, too. Maybe with a little color added in that would change my thoughts for that cover. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us! Always so very inspiring!

  56. Wonderful giveaways! Congratulations on your blogiversary. I wanted to chime in on the covers. While normally I am more of a color girl, for this particular project I love the black and gold. There is something rich and elegant about it. I know that if I was looking at a book about grief after my mother died, I think I would gravitate toward that cover. It's beautiful.

  57. Joanne, I like the coloured cover. The black is too somber, and I have never worn black to a funeral. The people I love would not want me to be sad, although they know I will be. The coloured cover makes me feel hopeful that colour will return to my life as the pain lessens. When a loved one dies, the world is for ever changed, but it can still be beautiful and enjoyed. I want to feel that life will get better. The black would always sadden me, despite the increasingly hopeful messages you have included in the book. Can't wait to get my copy, and so happy your Kickstarter project was successful!

  58. Although the gold and black cover is striking and lovely, the color cover seems more sympathetic to me.

  59. I prefer the last one…the blue color is much more uplifting than the black, I think. I just love you work. Not only are your creations absolutely awesome, but more importantly, I take your zenspiration writings to heart. Thank you for sharing your creations and yourself with the rest of us.

  60. I prefer the last one…the blue color is much more uplifting than the black, I think. I just love you work. Not only are your creations absolutely awesome, but more importantly, I take your zenspiration writings to heart. Thank you for sharing your creations and yourself with the rest of us.

  61. Both are lovely, but the softer, colored version seems to me most appropriate, as you might be reading this at an already harsh time in life when you are most in need of softness and light.

  62. I like the colored version of the book cover. It feels more relaxing and gentle to me.

  63. The coloured version is our preference. We too are sad that we cannot enter your giveaway being in New Zealand!

  64. I find both covers enjoyable to the eye, however I am more drawn to the darker cover.

  65. Your designs have inspired me in ways that is hard to describe. I had never been touched quite like I have been looking at your work. Since purchasing some of your books I take my drawing materials to work with me and draw during my lunch hour almost every day.
    My choice for the cover would be the colorful one. The black and gold is beautiful, but not very comforting.
    For Christmas I gave my stepmother the very first book of yours that I bought one year ago. I also gave her some pens to draw with. She has had some major physical problems with lymphedema, falling and shattering her arm and knocking out teeth. She spends most of her time in a special chair with her legs raised. I know she used to draw and that she likes to send cards to friends. I thought she would find your work very inspirational. She recently let me know how much this has meant to her especially during the night when she is all alone and awake. She had never seen anything like it before. Her favorite things are the dangles. She says it takes her away to a different place while drawing. Thank you for what you do. You inspire so many. May God bless you and your continued work.

  66. Personally I like the colored version best. the black is too bleak and dreary when one is already coping with a departed loved one. Color sings that we are still living, and those that that have departed have been called home (with God).

  67. Really prefer the softer color version as it seems more hopeful and brighter. When I prepurchased the book, my plan was to give it to my sister who lost her husband suddenly, similar to your circumstance and at about the same time. Since then we've lost our mother as well. The color cover is one I'd like to be able to give her. Of course I'll love either one you decide to use. Your work is always beautiful and appropriate.

  68. Both of your covers are so beautiful, but the color one seems more comforting and sweet to me. The color version also says "Joanne Fink" in the very best way!
    Also, I tried the Rafflecopter link…the only issue I had was that I already subscribe to your blog, so i could get no further on the site for more chances at the giveaway. I'm not terribly techno-savvy, so I'm sure the fault is mine, so I'll just go for one shot at it! At any rate, it was truly wonderful of Strathmore and Sakura to make the prizes so worthwhile! Thank you for the great idea and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
    Carol Horlock

  69. I really like the color version best. There is so much black associated with death and mourning; I think the soft colors are much more soothing. The black is certainly striking, but to me it doesn't convey the message properly.

  70. Congratulations on the first anniversary of your blog. I didn't find you till early this year and look forward to getting some of your books. My husband passed away a year and a half ago and I would buy this book. If both books were on the shelf I would choose the colored one, it seems more comforting and calming to me. I love your art, and although I can quilt and make things following a pattern, I can't see the picture in the blank space that you see as you draw. Hopefully I will have that talent in Heaven!

  71. Hello Joanne,

    I love the full color and appreciate the softness and feeling of comfort it conveys visually. I can't help but think of my parents who have both passed.

    This is the first time I have ever commented on anything, but I am so touched by your artwork and words of inspiration, I feel compelled to participate.

    I am new to Zenspirations and Zentangles, and look forward to incorporating both into my daily life. This is also the first blog email I have received from your site, and I can't wait for more to come!

    Thank you for sharing your talents with the world!


  72. I like the blue cover better. The blue represents the sky and the heavens, a connection to the loved ones we have lost.
    The yellow flower represents hope and knew beginnings, the opposite of the tears and sadness of the other flower.
    The black cover is too dark, somber and sad.
    Thank you for creating a book with comforting art and words that we can share with those we care about, when they suffer the loss of a loved one.
    Congratulations on your one-year anniversary!

  73. I actually like the gold on black. It has just got a special appeal to me. I am just so excited to see and be able to buy this book soon. I wrote a lot of poems after my husband passed away and I lost my way. We were definitely soulmates and I had a hard time after being with him for over 43 years. It felt like the major portion of me was gone. Writing poetry really helped me work my way back to me. I love your work. Thanks so much for sharing everything the way you do.

    Hugs, Jane
    [email protected]

  74. I like the color version better. It imparts a peaceful feeling. The black and gold is elegant in it's own right but gloomy.

  75. I prefer the blue. It's softer and more gentle feeling. I think the black and gold is too harsh for the subject.

  76. Hi Joanne,

    Seems like the colored version is coming out ahead and I agree. The black/gold rendition is stunning, but not as YOU as the soft colors, nor as comforting.

    When you first started your blog I read it and enjoyed so much your words and art. Over time, I began reading more and more of the comments (and haven't they increased exponentially?) and believe as you do that a wonderful community has been created thanks to your efforts. If sharing warmth, creativity and caring are marks of success, then you win a blue ribbon!!

    Am eager to scroll down and see how the new Rafflecopter works……..

    Best to you, as always…..

  77. Hi Joanne,
    firstly l want to say Thankyou again for my name up in lights, l have sent you a e-mail, l love the idea of planting the roses, there is something very special about planting something in remembrance of our loved ones, and to remind us of all the beauty they brought in our lives, l have read all the comments about the book covers and l do love them both and maybe the colour one is winning and yes l agree that the coloured version is more you, but the black and gold is so stunning and really stands out to me, and because the book in on a entirely different subject to what you normally do , l believe it is more fitting to the subject in mind, and l know that some people are finding the black a bit morbid and want the colours to light up their lives again after their sad losses, maybe if you added the colour inside the lines of the gold that might help, l love the black, but you must go with what your heart feels right for you, l will be buying the book reguardless of which colour , because of the message it brings to all, and happy first Anniversary , HUGS , KISSES, LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO YOU……. Kate

  78. Joanne, your thoughts, artwork, and ideas always inspire. Thank you for sharing so generously of yourself with all of us.

    My preference for the book is the color version…so heart-warming. The black and gold is dignified and dramatic, certainly fitting the "mood" of how a person feels at the time of loss. But the color version feels like a much needed hug one needs at that time.

    Love and best wishes to you always in all ways.

  79. I vote for the simple elegance of the black & gold for the front cover. It's a reminder of the loss of my dear wife and her leaving for the church triumphant, but at the same time the gold leaves me with such great memories and the encouragement to live a fruitful life. The colored designs are great & so contrastingly effective for the rear cover. Thanks Joanne.

  80. Both of them are beautiful, but I like the black with the gold lettering the best. It is very elegant.

  81. Depends on the vibe you are looking for, on your choice of cover. The black/gold is dark, elegant and classy. The colorful one is cheerful, soft and lovely. Love your work!

  82. Oh, Joanne! I LOVE the gold on black. Somber, understated, quiet, soothing, appropriate. How I would LOVE a copy with that cover to give my precious sister who's husband of 35 years died suddenly 10 years ago. Anyway, you know how much I love you and a hearty hug and congratulations on this milestone! I'm so grateful to be on this journey of art and faith with you. You ARE a Zenspiration! <3

  83. I like the richness and elegance of the black with gold foil for your cover. It makes the book unique and special, which it needs to be as a tribute to one's loss. I'm a subscriber, and I'm off to Rafflecopter. Thanks for the opportunity to help select your cover, and to enter the drawings.

    [email protected]

  84. Hi Joanne,,,,today is Earth Day, and when I saw your first drawing above, with the Earth on it, I thot, how appropriate. And you probably didn't even intend that. Isn't it delightful the way things work out like that?

    For your new book, I prefer the colored cover, front and back. Tho the subject is about loss, and black is appropriate for that, the colored version seems more hopeful, joyful, in the midst of the pain.

    Thank you for all you do, what a blessing you are to me!

    xox, sandy 🙂

    PS, I am excited about the anniversary giveaway! off to Rafflecopter…

  85. Congratulations on your wonderful milestone
    You are such an inspiration to all of us.

    I prefer the colour cover of your new book.

    I will be entering the comp fro here I Australia however I know
    You can't ship to me if I win. I do have a friend in The US who I could have it sent to.

  86. Thank you, Joanne! I am so excited! Congratulations on your one year blog anniversary. I just love your work. I like both of the book covers, but I think the colored one is more soothing and comforting in a time of loss.

  87. I personally don't like Rafflecopters. I would make putting your email address required instead of optional. Or, you c old have people put their email in their comment this way: name (at) aol (dot) com. If someone doesn't put it in, they are disqualified from giveaway.

    I love your first book and I love when your newsletters come out. I immediately know it's from you. Your style is so unique and makes me happy just looking at it.

    The rose your friend planted in memory of your husband is so pretty. More people should do that instead of sending flowers to funerals.

    Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway.

  88. Congratulations on your blog anniversary! Thanks for the entry to a fantastic contest. I'm new to drawing, journaling, etc. and just beginning to gather supplies.

  89. I commented before I finished! Oops! I like the third cover best because it's my favorite color & I like the softness of that color.

  90. Congrats on everything! Though I really love the combo of the black and gold I think the color is more fitting for this book due to its content. In a rough spot like dealing with loss you need some brightening and cheering up and I think the colors do that. Also, the color is more Joanne Fink to me…Your stuff is always so delightfully colorful!

  91. Peace be with you Joanne,
    I think the colored cover is lovely. The tears on the plant (right side of the cover) show up more with the blue background than in simple yet elegant gold and black. Even though the black and gold cover is a more traditional colors for a remembrance book – the light blue background softens the look. I've have always found shades of blue very calming and soothing.

    Your blog and the sharing of your art work is fantastic. I've been getting your blog for just a few months and really enjoy it. Thank you.

  92. Hi, Joanne! I much prefer the softly colored cover. After a loss, there is so much black all around that it is tempting to just sink down in it and hide. I believe the color encourages us to see things in a new way and begin to move on toward healing. I am always a fan of light instead of dark!

  93. I love your work, and I'm continually inspired by it.
    I'd like to speak to you sometime about publishing a small book myself.
    As to your cover. I prefer the black and gold. It's classy, bold, and somber.
    But, you could do them both, if the publisher will go for it. Best sellers
    do it all the time.

    Thanks for all you do!

  94. Joanne, I always enjoy your creativity. I do prefer the softer colors on the book cover. I hadn't seen an update recently.

    Happy Blog-iversary!!! Very very awesome!

  95. I prefer the black with the gold! It has a more caring look for someone who is mourning.

  96. When I 1st saw the cover the book, I thought it was perfect, until now. I like the color version so much better! It gives a hopeful feeling to the grieving process & I'd guess that is the message you are trying to relay to people. I have been & am even more now looking forward to having a copy of my own, & also have many people to give it as gifts.
    As for the Rafflecopter format, it was very simple & easy to use.
    I am actually going to try it for myself at my own website & give away a Custom Made Adult Size Hula Hoop!
    I would love to gift one to you, if it is something you think you would be interested in!
    I'd love you to check out my site, as it is my way of trying to inspire peace, happiness & joy into people's lives, the way you do with your pen to paper art. And for that, I want to thank you.
    You have inspired me so much.

    I also want to know if/where you post a schedule of where you do public appearances. I saw that you are coming to (or may even be in) NY, & would be so upset if I missed you. Unless, of course, it was for a personal trip, & you are not doing a workshop or book signing or anything like that.

    I will send you an email so you have a way of responding, as I know you cannot here.

    Again, Thank You for all your work!

    Jamie Torres

    P.S. My step-dad Chris Bankey told me to say "hi".

  97. I really like the black and gold foil.
    It is very dramatic and eye catching. The colors speak to the occasion…
    from the darkness and the depth of despair will come the sparkle of the gold of the loved one etched in the tapestry of you!!

  98. I'd love to see the coloured version. The black makes it so harsh again feeling the loss while the coloured one accompanies the soothing text inside.

  99. I love the one with color, as I feel it softens the subject. It's very comforting and calming

  100. My eye is drawn to the dramatic gold/black cover, but I feel like it needs something more. I prefer the full-color blue cover.

  101. Happy Anniversary to you, Joanne! So many accomplishments to celebrate…thank you for sharing your gifts and art with us!

    I prefer the colored version of the book color because it feels softer and I love how you integrate color into the design.

    With warm regards,

  102. I like both covers, but I think the black/gold stands out more. The black/gold is more appropriate for a loss and will distinguish this book from your other more colorful books. Leigh M.

  103. It's amazing to me how people are affected differently by different colors. The colored version is a sweet sadness to me but the black and gold is strong and bold to me, showing that the love for the one who is gone has a solid foundation.

  104. Like so many others who have commented, I get a feeling of peace, love, and serenity from the color one and think that more appropriate for the theme. However, I do like the black and gold, but I think it would be better suited for another theme.

    This is the first time I have commented here, as I have only discovered your blog a short time ago. My mother, who just celebrated her 95th birthday three weeks ago, has been zentangling since it started several years ago. Her mother was a seamstress by occupation and also did hand needlework and passed this talent and interest down to her daughter, my mother, who continued it and enhanced it by branching out into all sorts of crafts and fine arts as well. She has a blog, called "Sarah's Art Treasures" which can be accessed at https://treasuredarts.wordpress.com. My mother, like her mother before her, is passing down her interest in art to her children, grandchildren, and now her great grandchildren.

    Thank you so much for publishing this blog; I am thoroughly enjoying it! I love your style of art and especially that it always sends a spiritual message, too. It always inspires me, encourages me, and just generally makes me feel so much better about the world and myself!

  105. I prefer the softer colored version. When I think back 5 years when I lost my husband suddenly, I was in a dark place trying to claw my way back. I needed (and still need sometimes) the softer colors, the promise of spring warmth for me and a sunny and bright heaven for him.

  106. I luv the colored cover more than the black and gold because its softer and not as harsh. It invites you to open it up and see what"s inside. The black cover, not so much, I would think its like a guest book…. I hope you left some uncolored pages inside the book for us to color ourselves… 🙂 LUV IT either way.

  107. I like the ombré effect of the bluish-purple cover. It seems more appropriate for
    the content.

  108. I like the blue cover best although they're all beautiful. For me, it is more inspirational and uplifting in that light blue pastel…giving the feel that things will really be better and life does go on. Thank you for your art!

  109. Hello! I just LOVE your wonderful work! Wow! I only heard about your work this afternoon, and I have read a great deal of your blog already. Congratulations on your book contracts, and on having your books carried by Michaels! I will look for your books next time I am in Michaels!

    Regarding the book cover, I very much prefer the colour version, as it is so much more soothing and personal than the black and gold. The black and gold version seems very formal and stiff, almost as if a funeral home might have on display at a service. I have lost so very many people whom I loved, including my first child. Reading books was the primary way that I survived these terrible losses. Since losing my father almost two years ago, I have starting creating art for the first time in my life, as a way to heal and soothe my soul Your colour cover seems to reach out to and comfort my soul. Good luck with making your choice! I noticed comments above that favoured both versions!

    Best wishes for continued sucess in your artistic career!

  110. I'm more drawn to the soft colors for your cover. It seems more warm and personal. The black and gold is dramatic and beautiful, but I feel the warmth of the color will draw more people in. Your work is (and has always been) beautiful.

  111. I like both cover options, but I find the black and gold more striking. Love your art, it's so inspiring!

  112. I like the second option. The gold on black is popping and I love the back. It's looks stylish and eye-catching. It's what first caught my eye. It gives me the urge to draw.

  113. Joanne, I'm certainly going to look like a stalker by following you everywhere! I have just recently discovered Zenspirations and cannot get enough of it.

    I love the color version because I can immediately connect it with you.

  114. I would choose the colored version. Its more peaceful to me. I lost my mom a year ago. She was a very loving, beautiful , elegant, and incredible person. My friends gave me a gift certificate so I could get roses and azaleas to plant in her memory in my garden. My mom liked flowers and color and so do I. I miss her terribly and yes I cry, but I know she was released from her earthly pain and gets to see the beauty of heaven. I am a semi-retired sign painter and I love lettering! I live in Ormond Beach, Fl. I and would love to come visit your shop one day and meet you! You are an inspiration to me!

  115. I prefer the softly colored cover. I think it's more your style. I already have most of your books and I love the colors you use.

  116. I really like the calming, soft pastel cover, but death is not soft or calming. The black and gold illustrates the stark contrast of grief. But my guess is that it will probably sell better in pastel!

  117. I really like the softer version. it draws me in. the black and gold is classy. but my vote stays with the softer version!! Thanks for the give away

  118. The black with gold foil is elegant, yet the soft color version is more comforting. The color version is my pick.
    Is there any reason you couldn't put a little foil on the color version? Maybe if you could do foil embossing on the words "Lose" and "Love" you could emphasize the treasure element. Maybe the swash line that is the ground (or a very straight horizontal line near the bottom for balance) could also be foil embossed as well. Just some ideas.

  119. Joanne, This is my first time commenting to your blog. I have been looking forward to your book ever since I first read about it shortly after my husband died last October. The few pages you've shown have touched me deeply. The black and gold cover is what I've been anticipating when I get my copy, so that is the one I'm voting for.
    Amy B.

  120. I really like the colored one! Thank you for this giveaway and for all of your inspiring talent!

  121. Hi! I just found your blog through Strathmore's Facebook page. What a nice blog you have!
    I have to say that I like the colored version of the book cover better–it's so hard to go through a loss,
    and the colored one is less harsh and more comforting, to me. The black and gold cover is beautifully
    done, though–I just think the colored one is easier to take for someone going through a bad time.

    Congrats to you on your one-year anniversary of the blog! I look forward to reading more entries in the future!
    Starr D.

  122. Hi Joanne,
    I like both of the covers. I agree with some peoples' comments about the colored one being more "comforting," but I think that one kinds of blends in with a lot of other books that are out there in that genre. The black and gold is more dramatic and drew my eye immediately to it. I think it would stand out on a shelf and the black implies the bleakness that accompanies losing someone that you love; the gold, a little bit of sunshine coming through – and it's a classy combination. Just my 2 cents!

    Please let me know a little more about your book when it comes out.
    Best regards,

  123. I love the Color version. It really "POPS". What a blessing you are. You have such a
    mighty voice through your Word Art. I am truly inspired.

  124. I like the softer, full-color cover. It makes me want to read the book more; the other looks too dramatic for the title.

  125. I love the Color version. It really "POPS". What a blessing you are. You have such a
    mighty voice through your Word Art. I am truly inspired.

  126. Both are just beautiful.. but I prefer the colored cover version. Love your work and thank you for keeping us Zenspired..

  127. The black is very dramatic. Love the back cover of the black, but I think I have to go with the blue since I like both of the covers – front and back.

  128. I agree with a number of the other conments. While the black/ gold covers is dramatic, the softer colored ones would be less jarring at a difficult time.

  129. I'm so glad I did find you, Joanne. My daughter and granddaughter did start to draw like you. Thank you so very much. Congratulations with your blog.
    Greetings from Holland,
    with love,

  130. I prefer the coloured cover, it is softer and more comforting. The black and gold is striking but I find it a little too hard.

  131. Personally, I love the colored version. If I am correct, the book is about the working through the grieving process and coming out on the other side a healthier, happier whole person by letting your loved one continue to live through you and as part of you. I think that leads more towards the softness of the colored version. To me, the black and gold is too drastic, too bold, not as peaceful.
    what ever you choose, it is going to be a marvelous, inspiring book that will help so many who are still trying to figure out how to pick up the piece after losing a loved one. I know there are many days I still struggle with this ten years after the death of my grandmother. I cant wait the book is on the market. From the different excerpts I've been able to come across, I feel it is going to be very therapeutic.
    Thank you,
    Candice Bishop

  132. I love both covers, but I am more drawn to the colored version. In a time of sorrow I think I would be more likely to pick up the brighter cover. Thank you for your Zenspirations, I always love to visit your Blog!

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