Doodles for My Daughter

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Hard as it is for me to believe, my daughter is graduating from college this week, and will be heading off to grad school in Colorado. She is super excited, both to be finishing college, and to be embarking on a new adventure. We took a lot of photos while we were in Colorado last month, and this one, which seems to capture her exuberance, is my favorite:

I’m still trying to decide what to get– or make– for Sam as a graduation present, and while pondering possibilities, I remembered what I made for Sam’s high school graduation, and decided to share it with you tonight.

“Doodles for My Daughter” was the collection of the 100+ pieces of advice & encouragement I wrote and illustrated for Sam during her senior year of high school. There were so many that I needed two albums to hold them all!

Basically they were ‘love’ notes that I left out for her to find every morning. Below are a few examples: the bottom two were drawn mid-year, and the top two were done during the last week of the school year.

In looking back, I realize that Sam’s high school graduation present was the start of my meditative journaling practice. These days I tend to journal in the morning rather than before bed, but the daily practice of putting pen to paper really helps me stay grounded. I highly recommend meditative journaling as a way of growing both creatively and spiritually. Leave a comment if you are interested in exploring meditative journaling and would like me to share some ideas on how to get started, and some of the Zenspirations® journaling prompts I use.

Doodles for My Daughter evolved into another book, With God All Things Are Possible, which I wrote for Harvest House Publishing.

I was asked to create a gift book that would be appropriate to give as a graduation present, and I based many of the pages on pieces I originally drew for Sam. Here are photos of the original art, and the finished gift book pages:

As you can see, I was often able to take a concept and work it into a finished design.

Sometimes I just tweaked the design and added color:

On other pages, like the one on the right below, I used the text but recreated the art and lettering.

Although I’m still working on Sam’s graduation gift, I do have gifts for you to give the special grads in your life. The first is a FREE DOWNLOADABLE card:


The second is something I’ve never down before– a gift with purchase. In honor of Sam’s 2017 graduation, I’m going to include a free copy of With God All Things Are Possible with every order of $17 or more (not including shipping) during the month of May! There are lots of new things in the Zenspirations webstore, including the Strathmore water color pads, the Spellbinders rubber stamps & dies, and The Crafter’s Workshop stencils. Hope you’ll have fun looking at– and trying out– the new things I’ve been working on. It will be my pleasure to send you a free copy of With God All Things Are Possible, which is usually priced at $10.95, which you can keep for yourself, or give a graduation or Mother’s Day gift, when you place a webstore order of $17 or more.

Before closing tonight, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who left a comment on last week’s blog letting me know what you’d like to see added to the Zenspirations webstore. Congratulations to Diane Napolitano, who won the contest! Diane, please check out all the new products in the webstore, and let me know what you’d like as your prize and where to send it.

Stay Zenspired,


17 thoughts on “Doodles for My Daughter”

  1. Bravo! Another wonderful blog! How I love to read about your love for your precious daughter and about the wonderful, thoughtful doodles you made for her!! What an amazing gift for Sam!! Thanks for all of the photos and the back story about your books. I definitely want to get your book, With God All Things Are Possible.” It sounds like it’s very special!! Thanks for the downloadable Graduation card, too! You always think of ways to bless people. I’d love to hear more about your meditative journaling, too!

  2. H Joanne,
    I would love some ideas and prompts to get into meditative journaling.
    I find your work so relaxing to admire it just exudes love, fantastic, thanks for sharing your God given talent.



  3. Hi
    Did you ever teach first graders at Ramstein Elementary? My teacher’s name was Miss Fink. I’m just wondering if that might possibly be you?


  4. What a wonderful gift for Sam, both the inspirational doodles you left for her in the mornings, and the compilation you presented at graduation! I’m sure she treasures them. I would love to hear more about the meditative journaling. I’m trying to motivate myself to put pen to paper every day, but haven’t gotten there yet. Perhaps some inspiration derived from your process would jump start my creative juices.

  5. As always, your blog this eeek is terrific. Hard to believe it’s almost graduation time. With love, Jill

  6. Joanne, you do such beautiful work, this little book you just showed is great for anyone, not just grads.
    I am also glad your daughter is coming to Colorado. I have was born and raised here. I plan on living the rrest of my
    Life here. Hope she will like living here.

  7. Your artwork is fascinating to see also, love the coloring books.Your daughter looks like you. How proud you must be of her.

  8. Good morning Joanne. It was great talking with you and others in our group face to face. I love the book you made for Sam’s high school graduation…I could make a book of pictures, but don’t have the words to add…they just don’t come to me. I would be interested in the meditative journaling process.

    Have a great week.


  9. I am very interested in exploring meditative journaling and would like you to share some ideas on how to get started, and some of the Zenspirations® journaling prompts you use..
    Thanks for sharing your talents. Love you and your art.
    Suzanne raley

  10. I am very interested in learning how to do some meditative journaling and would like you to send some Zenspiration prompts. I am recovering from back surgery and spend many an hour in bed and think this would be a great encouragement.Thank you so very much

  11. You have the greatest ideas. You’ve inspired me to do this for my daughter who will graduate when she’s 50 after putting 3 kids through college and a 6 year old through preschool and kindergarten

  12. So very very special, this will be something that Sam can share with her own children in years to come.

  13. I had a mother’s journal when my daughter was a baby to write down important words of wisdom I wanted to be sure to share . Now looking back at it 15 years later it is a bit hard to decipher. I guess sleep deprivation does that! I think your idea with the art journal is so much more accessible. I have a few years left before graduation so thanks for the wonderful share of your project. I would relish Zenspired prompts. I was sorry to miss the Sunday evening meeting due to unexpected family responsibility, but I so appreciated your wonderful blog today. Congratulations to your daughter on her big achievement!

  14. Mazel Tov on Sam’s graduation!
    I have your book “With G!d All Things Are Possible” and I love it. I love seeing how it came into being from your notes to Sam, such a loving gift.
    I too, as others have said, struggle with journaling and would love your ideas. I haven’t heard one bad idea from you in all the time I’ve been in this group!
    ((Hugs)) Toni

  15. Joann,
    I would love to learn more about meditative journaling. I love all your work and appreciate you sharing your gift with us.
    Congratulations to Sam on her graduation! Looks like graduate school is going to be a blast for her!!

  16. What a wonderfully thoughtful gift for your daughter. I would love to learn more about how to getting started with meditative journaling.

  17. Congrats to Sam! Beautiful photographs! Thanks for all the freebies as I don’t even letter at all….I guess i need more classes. I would like to begin with meditative journaling …where do we sign up? Thanks for all you do for the art community! Just found you on Instagram!

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