I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Color Me Challenged

One of my friends posts photos of her accomplishments on her Facebook page...nothing new there, right? We all do it, or have friends who do. But these photos caught my attention because they were pages from coloring books that she'd filled in with colored pencils.

I hadn't heard of Adult Coloring Books before that. Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but it's a Real Thing. A Big Thing. Johanna Basford's Secret Garden, published in 2013, has sold 1.4 million copies and is an Amazon bestseller.
Amazon purchase link

The last time I colored a picture (with colored pencils or crayons, between the lines) was at church, helping kids with a project. I remember many, many hours helping my kids fill in the black lines in various coloring books, and a looong adventure spent coloring a complicated American Girl poster with my daughter.

But me, coloring, all by myself, for myself? Umm... Nope. Can't remember anything once I was out of school.

Basford's second book, Enchanted Forest, is pretty popular, too. It has over 300 Five-Star reviews on Amazon.
Amazon purchase link
Basford hand-draws each page, which is far too complicated for young hands. The pictures look beautiful, I admit. But spending time coloring one? Me? Maybe you're thinking something similar. I'm too busy. If I'm going to indulge in something creative, it has to pay off...

Uh-oh. I think I'm getting the point.

Basford isn't alone in creating coloring pages for grown-ups. Lucy Mucklow and Angela Porter offer an entire Color Me Series.

Amazon purchase link
Here's the back cover copy:

Our lives become busier with each passing day, and as technology escalates, so does our access to work, obligations, and stress. Constant stimulation and expectation have left us burnt out and distanced from the present moment. "Now" has become something that happens online, not in the space and time that we physically occupy. Color Me Calm is a guided coloring book designed for harried adults. Art therapist Lacy Mucklow and artist Angela Porter offer up 100 coloring templates all designed to help you get coloring and get relaxed.

I don't know if I'll hop on the coloring bandwagon, but I am challenged by its intention. When was the last time I did something creative just to be creative? Not for my career (writing books). Not to give as a gift or complement my new release (beading bookmarks with my daughter for giveaways for my book).

I honestly don't remember, because even though I didn't realize I was doing it, I've judged creativity without "purpose" as something I'm too busy to do. And as you might have guessed, I'm stressed out. Fretting. Sad about a few things.

Stress and sadness are part of life, but God has given us many ways to cope with it while we shelter under His arms. One of them is rest.

In resting, we let Him do the work. We trust Him enough that we can let go and let Him handle things while we take a break. He made us to need sleep, after all. So why do we often look at fatigue and rest as a weakness?

Coloring might go along with that. Creating just to create. Not for show. Not for anyone else's eyes. Just to feel the paper give way to our pencil, to hear the swish of strokes while the color of our choosing fills the space between the lines.

Blood pressure goes down. Heart rate, down. Rest.

I think I still have a Spiderman coloring book around here somewhere...


Karen Lange said...

I just saw something about adult coloring books online too - maybe it was Facebook. It made me think of my late friend Nancy, who kept a coloring book and crayons around for times when she was stressed. She told me that it really helped her relax. Like you, I don't know if I will jump into this, but the idea along other avenues appeals to me. I have several coloring books here for my grandson, so if you need to borrow one, just let me know! :)

Susanne Dietze said...

They are sure popular, Karen. I just saw a commercial for adult coloring books.

I suppose the trick is to find something creative that soothes us, and then don't neglect it. let me know what other avenues you explore!

Thanks for coming by!