“How did you do that…?”

It’s that time again! Time for book launch! YAYYYY!

You can buy my new book, The Luminous Mysteries, here if you want — heck, you can buy the complete(!!!) whole series here, if you prefer! A week from now, all the paperback versions of the books will be released on November 20, so you can buy them all that way too! Plus, they’re only $15.95, as opposed to the higher $25.95 price of the hardcovers. (Yay!) The books are also available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, if you prefer that! (I offer free shipping from my shop, but it’s hard to beat Prime Shipping two-day shipping…)

OKAY. END THE SALES PITCH.

Because I want to celebrate!

This project has taken about two years to complete! And trust me, it’s been a wild two years!

When I first started this, oldest daughter was two years old and my son was about five months old. And at first, he wouldn’t sleep in his crib at all. So, I would snuggle with him and hold him with one arm while collecting pictures and making books with the other. So! That took about a year.

Then! As soon as I started getting ready to release the books, I found out that I was pregnant(!!!!) with my third! (See this blog post!) And that was exciting! And then I had this third baby right before my second book launch. (No, really, just look at this blog. A couple of hours after I posted this blog, I had my baby. WHAT.) And then, while juggling an infant (right now, she’s nine-months-old), I finished and published the last two books.

…see what I mean? It’s been a wild ride!

So! As you can imagine, when  I meet people at my parish and they find out that I’ve made these gorgeous books that my parish sells at their little gift shop, their first reaction is to look at me. Then they look at me juggling my small children. Then they ask, “How did you do that…?”

Which, honestly, is a great question!

And I wish I knew the answer.

Still! I want to show you where this was all made! Starting with… the boring book piles!

The books!
The books!

These are the boxes of books that I have stashed in my basement! So, if you order a book directly from me from my bookshop, the first thing I would do (besides dancing a little jig!) is to head downstairs and grab a book!

In the past, I’ve used these books for mostly local things… my parish has a little gift shop that supports the attached Catholic school, so I provide books to them, and they sell them to support our local Catholic school! I’ve sold a number of them to a nearby Catholic homeschooling group as a bulk order. (By the way, if you would like to do a bulk order of ten or more books, just email me and I’ll give you a nice discount.)

And I’ve donated a number of them to help support causes and people! For example, I am donating an autographed set for a local auction to help out our sister parish in Uganda to help them raise some money for their hospital, since they can’t afford medical supplies until they pay off their debt. Plus! We have an ultrasound machine to send to them. 🙂

After all, what’s the point of having a little religious business if you don’t use the income to provide for the needy? That would be quite hypocritical!

So! It’s a tiny operation, but a mighty one! And it’s expanded quite a bit since the last year… which is kind of scary but exhilarating at the same time.

Then, there’s the actual making of the books!

Where my books are made! Via IllustratedPrayer.com
My dinosaur computer, with all three kids playing next to it!

This is where my books are made! Do you see the desk with the old iMac? That’s the computer that I used to make my books! Can you believe it???

Honestly, it’s a bit of a dinosaur (14 years old, to be exact… I checked the other day) and it’s been on the verge of death for several years now. In fact, my husband is still surprised it works — while we were dating, it was constantly about to die. And that was six years ago!

Now, it can’t really access the internet anymore, so I have to use another computer (aka, this 8-year-old laptop!) to blog, access artwork, and other things that involve the internet. Yet, dinosaur or not, it has a whole host of old graphic design software that I got a long time ago in college.

One of these days, I’d like to replace it, since, like I said, it’s on the verge of death and has been for several years. But, for now? Well. It’s not about to explode… yet.

I think.

And then there’s the kids! Do you see them playing together nicely? I purposely put that play area right next to me so that I could keep an eye on them! The big kids are playing with a barn, while the baby watches them very closely. They have a car that they like to zoom around in. Also, if you look veeery closely, you’ll see that right next to the car is a sheet of paper which is actually some music notes to play an xylophone.

…it can get very noisy here!

But, of course, them playing quietly with each other is a rarity that usually doesn’t happen very often. And so, “work” often looks like this:

Holding two children at once! Via IllustratedPrayer.com
My baby and the four-year-old!

First, the baby needs to be cuddled, because babies need lots and lots of cuddling! And so, I pick her up and cuddle with her! All the while typing one-handed whatever needs to be typed up.

Then! The four-year-old gets curious and asks five million questions about what I’m doing. And so! Thus, many discussions are started! At this point, I am pretty sure that my four-year-old has an in-depth knowledge of religious art, graphic design, accounting, and starting a business.

So. If you’re from Harvard and reading this, may I suggest that you provide an honorary business degree to my four-year-old? She’s earned it!

And then! “Work” starts to look like this!

Three of them!

And so, all three of them start to climb on me and ask questions and point at the computer and giggle and basically need to be held and loved.

And then?

Well!

I made these books because I felt a tug on my heart and felt that God was calling me to make these books. In fact, my children helped inspire these books! The idea of these books came while trying to juggle the two oldest while praying a Rosary with them. So, I made these books as a kind of ministry to spread the Rosary, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do so.

But!

God has given me three beautiful blessings to take care of and love.

And they always come first.

And so! No, I am not quite sure how I made these books, to be quite honest. It’s been a lot of work and a huge lesson in humility, patience, and perseverance. And I’ve had a huge amount of help and support from my husband, my immediate family and my parish family.

It’s quite humbling, in fact to reflect on how much help I’ve received by so many people… for instance, The Sorrowful Mysteries was essentially made when I was having some pregnancy difficulties and having a tough time just moving around normally. So, I couldn’t move around much without pain… but I could work on the computer still! And so I did, while my husband handled so many of the things that I would normally do, but couldn’t. (A perfect time to reflect on the Sorrowful Mysteries, no?)

And so, for all of you who helped — and there are so many of you who have helped — thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And to all of you who are reading this and perhaps have bought a book or two: thank you so much. Like I said, it’s still quite a small operation! And, by small operation, I mean reeeeally small. And by really small, I mean I run it as a solo operation. But it has a lot of heart, and I am so grateful for all of your support.

Anyway! My children are reminding me that it’s time to play. So, once more, thank you all and God bless! You remain in my prayers. <3

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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