As we were emailing and Facebook messaging back and forth, I asked Nicole if she would like to illustrate my book Labyrinth Wedding. She said yes, and there began our second project together. I told her what the book contained, and she painted away. You will see her joyful wedding scenes as part of the non-fiction book coming out soon on Amazon: A Spiritual Guide to the Labyrinth Wedding.

But God wasn’t finished with his Pam-and-Nicole project. I wanted to do something with those lovable Jesus pictures that just kept pouring out from Nicole’s brush. At first, I thought of an inspirational art book, similar to Blessing to Go. I am always thinking of the unchurched, since I was one for 38 years, and I found the joyful Jesus paintings spoke to my soul. Though the theology of the bleeding, suffering, crucified Christ may be true, the ugliness of those images can hardly draw in the seeker. Why would you follow such an unappealing mentor? But you would follow Nicole’s vision of Jesus. In fact, you would want to hug him, laugh with him, fall in love with him. Her paintings pulled at my heart, and I knew they would draw others. We had to share him somehow.

Enter Shelley Hitz. At the Colorado retreat, I mentioned my ideas to Shelley, and she said, “I like to make my books interactive. What about making it a journal for people to write their responses in?” Light-bulb moment! So that is what we made: a journal with Jesus on one page, a related scripture, and space to write a response to the painting, the verse, or both, or neither. I wrote a little introduction on various types of journaling the reader can use, in case they are just learning the practice. I am very excited about this project, and I will think you will be too, when you see our Jesus in Jeans Journal.

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