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Have you heard? Coloring books for adults are all the rage right now.

According to Parade magazine (July 12, 2015), apparently hundreds of coloring books are available now to help you “cheer up, chill out, and get your creative juices flowing.”

50 Shades of Happy: The New Joy of Coloring is the catchy title of one of the books in the coloring book gallery.

Recently, I’ve spotted this trend in some posts on Facebook. And then last week my good writer friend and blog buddy Marylin Warner devoted a whole piece to the enchantment of coloring pages for adults, citing the magazine above. Because she included some links to free downloadable pages, I decided to take the challenge and print a page. After all, who doesn’t want to

  • Be in the moment
  • Engage both sides of the brain, the creative and tactile
  • Go back and enjoy a simpler time

Here’s how I played with color:

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Technically, it’s unfinished, but that was not really the point. Choosing the colors and applying them to paper put me in a different world. As I filled in the curly spaces, I felt both relaxed and focused. It put in touch with the girl and the box of 48 pointy Crayolas.

* * *

In June I met a new friend, Julie Sisco, who introduced me to Praying in Color, another way for both youth and adults to use color creatively. And, yes, the author, Sybil MacBeth, suggested using supplies you may already have at home: colored pens, pencils, markers, even crayons.

Sybil MacBeth has created an active, visual, and meditative way to pray: Active because you draw your prayers, visual because you see your prayers, and meditative because you revisit your prayers throughout the day.

Author Sybil MacBeth is a dancer, a doodler, and a former community college mathematics professor. As the author of Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God (2007), she combines her experience in the mathematics classroom with her lifelong love of prayer to offer workshops and retreats that engage differing learning styles. Praying in Color has been translated into Korean, Spanish, and Italian. (blurb from back cover)

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She invites a variety of personality types to think of prayer in a new way:

  • Visual or kinesthetic learner
  • Distractible or impatient soul
  • Word-weary pray-er
  • Short-attention span
  • Restless body type
  • Tendency to live in one’s head

MacBeth includes some examples of what a prayer map may look like and the instructions are simple.

Write the name of someone you want to encircle in love and concern. In a curvilinear model, draw colored designs around the name. Add more names and loops easily as you go along.

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Or use a square style and a different color palette

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Your sketches could also be adapted to illustrate verses of scripture

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(All examples from Sybil’s book.)

Author MacBeth is quick to mention that “Praying in color does not presume a particular religious belief” though she is a Christian.

“It is a way of preparing the soil of my heart for possibly receiving the touch of a power greater than myself.” (87)

What do you think of adult coloring books? The idea of praying in color?

How do you use color creatively? Join the discussion here.

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Up next: Moments of Extreme Emotion – A Lunatic in London

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