Christmas Manifesto


O.k., here goes! Journal your Christmas 2012 has begun.  Attempting to do a blog post each day in the month of December.  Already resigning myself to the fact that it won’t happen every day, but maybe I can post a photo and a caption at least to document the day.  Then later I’ll put it into a Blurb book like my clever daughter did last year.  Although she was doing a different project, called December Daily.  At times I’ll be focusing more on documenting traditions, holiday activities, etc. with Shimelle and her gang at Journal Your Christmas.  I’d love to have you join me.

See you tomorrow!


Using Custom Blurb Books for Fundraising!

This week I finished two different Blurb books for a non-profit organization that I help out part time.  I love creating these books and thinking of new ways to use them to help others.

The first book that I finished this month was a  (200-page) 12″ x 12″ photo book that captured the trip that I was privileged to go on in October of 2011.  I joined a team of 7 other women and 1 man who traveled to Israel and Jordan to gather information and talk to women in the Arab World about an upcoming training program that’s being offered by the Global Training Institute for Women (GTIW aka Greater Reach Ministries) beginning in May 2012.  The 6 training sessions will take place over a 3-year period.  Their goal is to see transformed women who are rooted in their biblical identity and have a clear understanding of their spiritual gifts, resulting in courageously leading other women to the same truth.  They hope to take at least 20 Christian Arab women leaders through this program and in the future expand into Eastern Europe and the U.S. as well.

Our hope is that the photos I took on the trip will help them to spread the word about the need for training and the vision of GTIW and help raise funds to pay for the women who have limited income to attend the training.  They’ve also asked me to join them in May as the photographer/historian at the first training session in the Arab World.

If you’d like to get a sampling of the big book, you can check it out here.  The photos of the people that we met with have been omitted from the online book preview for their own security, since some Christians and Muslim Background Believers risk their lives in professing their faith in Christ.

The second book that I created is a personal Prayer Journal that contains 31 blank pages to write in and a page with scripture and a photo from the Holy Land for every 7 blank pages.  If you’d like to see a full preview of the journal, please take a look here.

All proceeds from both books help to fund the Global Training Institute for Women… So after you see it, if you decide you’d like to order a few for yourself or as a gift, please use this link and get 15% off your whole order with the discount code 15OFFBLURB (all caps).   

f you write a page each day in the journal, it will last a full month.  If you write less than a page, then the journal will cover a longer period of time. In the future we may be researching other printing options to lower the cost and increase the fund-raising dollars per book and be able to increase the page count as well.  Plus we’ll be creating new designs with different photos and possibly a planner/calendar layout too!

For more information about the ministry or if you would like to contribute directly, please visit the website to donate at, send a check to the address below or contact them at:

Global Training Institute for Women
8283 N. Hayden Road, Suite 258
Scottsdale, AZ 85258

email. Info[at]GTIW[dot]com


Be sure to tell them where you heard about it!  And let me know your thoughts on what you’d like to see in future book products as well. Thanks so much!

Maui Reunion

Last night we got together with the group that went to Maui in December. It’s mostly co-workers and spouses and a great group of people.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner, then had the most fun looking at a slideshow of all the photos that everyone took and reminiscing about how much fun we had on the trip.

We also had a chance to present the Uhlmanns (our hosts for the Maui trip) with a photo book as a thank you from all of us. I had the privilege of putting it together for them. It took a long time, but was well worth it when we saw how much they seemed to enjoy looking at it. They were genuinely surprised that we had made a personalized book just for them. I think Steve enjoyed seeing some of his photos in the book since he enjoys photography as well.

And the surprise for me was that the rest of the group gave ME a thank you gift for putting the book together. It was so sweet of them, but TOTALLY unexpected.

I posted a link on the right side of my blog that takes you to the site where you can preview the first 10 pages or so of the book (which is 90+ pages in all). Once you get there, if you click on “full screen” view you’ll get a better look at it.

I will say that I enjoyed the process of creating the book and want to do more in the future. It may even replace my scrap booking to some degree. has very easy and intuitive software with dozens of templates available. I think I even read that you can create your own templates if you can’t find what you want in their selections. I ended up creating two different books because I thought the first one that I made was too small when it arrived. The second one was easier because I already knew which photos to use and just copied the text and templates generally from the first one.

I did have a little trouble with the file crashing at one point, but Blurb was very helpful and able to repair the file so that I didn’t have to start over again, which was a lifesaver. It took a little while to get it fixed, but they upgraded my shipping on the book order so that it still got to me in plenty of time for the presentation party.

Now I need to make a few revisions to the file to make the book specific for Terry and I. I’ll add pics from our anniversary and free time excursions and take out some of the “thank you” content from the other. That should be so much easier than starting from scratch though.