The book I worked on through spring and summer of this year is finally available! It’s actually been out since October, but I wanted to wait until it was a little closer to Christmas before blogging about it. Many of you have already messaged that you’d found it and purchased it, and to you–thank you!!! You will never know how much that means to me.
The Gifts of the Nativity is such a special book to me. There are tender memories and my testimony of the love of our Heavenly Father and Savior painted into every page. I took this project on just as we had moved from Chicago to Texas a few weeks before Christmas last year. I actually accepted the offer in a hotel room during our “homeless” period while we closed on our new house. I was pregnant and due in April. My editor and I decided to align the “due date” of my illustrations in April too, so I would finish before the baby came. As it turns out, working from a new studio in a new house (read: boxes everywhere) amongst a very difficult pregnancy slowed me down quite a bit; not only that, but my little guy had plans of his own and decided to come early and not without some very serious complications for both him and me. However, my wonderful publishing company was so gracious and understanding of my circumstances and extended my deadline a few times while I was dealing with the setbacks of pregnancy. I am grateful for many reasons.
With the delivery of my little boy and our complications, I spent many days both in a hospital bed myself and crib-side in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Those were special and sacred hours. They were hard and long hours that at times seemed unending. We experienced many miracles and sweet, tender mercies during those days, however. And to me, one of those tender mercies was that I had not yet finished my illustrations for the book. When my circumstances and surroundings seemed to overwhelm me, I let my mind drift to prayer and also to the pages of this book. I could get away for a brief moment and paint the images in my mind.
When we finally brought our little boy home, and I was out of the hospital from surgeries, too, I was able to get back to my work and finish these pages. It seemed to me, though, that work was already done: my design choices were already made, the colors were chosen, the illustrations had been “painted” once before… When I look at the pages now, I can’t help but be reminded of our Heavenly Father’s love for us. He provides for our every need. Tender mercies.
The book is available through Amazon: The Gifts of the Nativity. I hope you can snuggle up with those you love during this Christmas season, enjoy the words and illustrations of this book, and feel the spirit through its pages.