Valerie Sjodin copyright 2011
I haven’t posted as much recently because I’ve been working on a book that includes part of my journey  in artwork, Scripture, prayers I’ve written, and prayers of others I use and have been blessed by. This is the cover image. Self-publishing is one of those things I said I would never do because I tried once with a print and hated it. So why am I doing it now? For me it is paradoxical. It’s almost like the death of a dream allowed me to consider it. One of my dreams was making an art and prayer book and have it published, but the dream never included self-publishing. It didn’t seem viable to me. So the change or death of my dream has been in my motivation, and that I couldn’t shake the idea of putting together a prayer book. I’ve been making prayer books, painting, and journaling for years. I had a lot of material on hand and I thought it would be nice to have a representation of it in one place. But that was not enough to motivate me to go to the effort to make a published book. 
A few questions kept coming to my mind: “If my grandmother would’ve had the opportunity to publish a book like this would I want it? Would I want my kids to have it? Could it be it encouraging to others?” I kept answering, “Yes.” And even more, I sensed the nudging of the Spirit. So I asked God to help me overcome obstacles if He wanted me to do it, and then I forged ahead without thinking about publishing, marketing, selling, etc. Honestly, my timing often tends to be off on things, but for the first time in history, self-publishing is doable and a realistic option for the average person. 
I had a few obstacles that needed to be overcome. The first was I needed to learn a new software program. I had the program InDesign, and I wanted to learn it. I had bought it with an educational discount of Creative Suite when I took a few college courses in Photoshop a number of years ago. I also have a good friend and graphic artist who gave me a lesson on setting up a document. She also had just published her book of worship paintings through Amazon’s CreateSpace. I bought one of her books and was encouraged to see her beautiful paintings in a book. So my first obstacle was on its way to being removed. As I moved through the book making process I googled what I needed to learn about the program and watched tutorials. Then I applied it directly to my book document. There were times of frustration and “do-overs”, but that’s part of learning.
The second obstacle for me copyright questions about some of the prayers. Through having four of my images in the Mosaic Bible I remained in contact with an editor who is both kind and knowledgeable. He answered my questions and cheered me on. So my second obstacle was overcome.
My third concern was never an obstacle, but a source of encouragement. My husband is overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the project. I couldn’t do it without his support. Two of my friends helped with editing, and a number of people have read it over giving input, finding typos etc. I am grateful!
The biggest obstacle has been myself. I almost hesitate to talk about it here because I’m not done with the process and there may still be some wrestling and angst in my near future. I’ve just ordered the proof. It feels like I just gave birth and the baby will come in the mail in about a week. It has been an inner battle to persevere. Things have gone wrong, taken too long… I question myself, and know it will not be perfect. I have had to let go of perfectionism and will probably continue to have to. It’s so hard to strive for excellence and let go of perfectionism at the same time. That’s when I have to just hand it over to God and say, “You take it. It’s yours. Help me do my best and You take care of the rest. This is our project, not mine; I’m joining you, not the other way around. I trust You. You have made this possible. Your will be done.” I think that thinking can apply to a lot of things in life.
So I’ll keep you posted on progress and introduce parts of the book in some of the following posts. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope you have a blessed day!


  1. Awesome, Valerie. I can't wait to see your book. Your paintings deserve a book because they are wonderful and you are a gifted artist. I love the line in the last paragraph, ""You take it. It's yours. Help me do my best and You take care of the rest. This is our project, not mine; I'm joining you, not the other way around. I trust You. You have made this possible. Your will be done." That's a great way to look at any endeavor.

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