Happy New Year!

And by happy new year, I mean happy new year and a couple of days! But, you get my point. πŸ™‚

I don’t know about you, but I personally love making resolutions for the new year. With the world dreary all around me (and trust me, it is quite gray and dreary right now in the Pacific Northwest) it seems to be a good time to dream a little, set impossible goals, and figure out how to achieve the impossible.

Last year, I made a bunch of impossible goals. Or, at least they seemed impossible at the time. One of those goals? I wanted to finish up the Illustrated Rosary series! Which meant that I needed to complete and publish three whole books.

This honestly seemed like a pretty impossible goal all by itself, because publishing books is hard. For 2017, I published one book (The Joyful Mysteries), and it was honestly one of the most difficult things that I had ever done. Publishing three books for 2018? I knew that was going to be tough. Add to the fact that I was scheduled to have a baby early last year(!!!) and it really seemed like I was definitely setting an impossible goal for myself. Publishing three books is hard. Publishing three books and taking care of two toddlers and a newborn? HA.

And yet… somehow, I did it. I needed lots of help (a quick shout out to my husband for getting me through the book launch periods and to the church ladies for encouraging me when I was down!) but somehow I did it. The Sorrowful Mysteries, The Glorious Mysteries, and The Luminous Mysteries are finished. You can buy them here if you want. It’s available on Amazon too… just search up Karina Tabone and you’ll see them!

…did I mention that I am still amazed that I pulled this one off? Because, really, I am!

Other surprises for 2018… honestly, Illustrated Prayer has grown quite a bit. In August, it got big enough that I applied for and got a business license in my state to sell books. (Translation: I needed to pay sales tax!) Which is still a bit of an odd feeling, because I feel like this is more of a ministry. After all, the money that I get for selling books is usually just enough to keep things running, to be completely honest. This really is a labor of love!

Yet, I cannot deny that Illustrated Prayer has grown. So, it’s time for me to take the little that it’s made, give back and make something beautiful from it. πŸ™‚

So! Here are the new plans for the new year… in addition to continue the usual blogging. (Because, let’s face it… I love blogging.) Are some of the plans a bit ambitious? Yes! Absolutely! But, honestly? It’s going to be fun…

Make a Functional Gallery for this Website

One of the biggest reasons why people come to this website is because of the high-quality, beautiful images that also usually are in the public domain. When I select images from the public domain, I try to get the best quality images, usually from the gallery itself. Which isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do… last year, I learned quite a bit of Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Greek so I could navigate the various gallery sites. (Not all of them are in English, and some of them only have their online collection in their native language!)

I tried to make a functional gallery last year, but I couldn’t because I just didn’t have the money to spend on such a code, nor did I have the time or coding ability to make one myself. So, I made do with what I had and made a Pinterest board instead with all the images that I had used on my site — plus, I pinned a bunch of gallery images from the various sources that I have used!

Well! This year looks a lot better than last year, and I am hoping to finally add a gallery of religious images with a functional search button that allows you to search up religious art. That depends on a number of things, of course… I need to find a program that I like, for starters! But I am hoping this is the first step for this website to be a useful resource for anybody who wants to find religious art in the public domain. πŸ™‚

Rosario Ilustrado

Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, but I grew up in California! And one of the best parts about California is how many Hispanics there are and how much they love the Church. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to make tacos with them for our annual taco booth at the county fair or how I would sneak in to some of their Spanish masses which, though I didn’t necessarily understand every word of it (my knowledge of Spanish is somewhat limited), I loved it all the same.

When I came back to my former parish in California and the parish I was married in, Holy Rosary, and showed the pastor there The Joyful Mysteries, he loved it. But then he asked me, “Can you do a Spanish version of these books?”

Which totally makes sense. After all, there is a huge Spanish-speaking population for that parish, and many of the parishes down there! He should know… he presided over the Spanish masses of that parish!

At the time, the answer was no. I couldn’t do it. Not then. I had too much on my plate.

But this year? I would like to try…

St. Michael the Archangel

I am in the process of making a little book which I will probably finish up soon. I originally started this book for my children. After all, whenever they have scary nightmares that make them cry, I will come up and pray with them the St. Michael the Archangel’s prayer.

Last Halloween, when I featured this artwork, I showed my oldest one that picture and told her that this was a picture of St. Michael the Archangel defeating Satan, and that this image reminded us that, no matter what sort of monsters we are scared of in our lives, that God was stronger than all of them. She was entranced with the picture and asked me if I could make a book for her so she could bring it up with her. (My kids sleep with books… I know, it’s a bit odd.) I told her yes, I could make it for her. So, I started a very simple book with various images of St. Michael set with the prayer of St. Michel the Archangel.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago! I was talking with another mom about the project. And she loved the idea. After all, her children also have nightmares. And she asked if I could make a book for her kids too.

And so! I’ve decided that since this seems like something that other parents might find useful, then I can release the book to the general public. And so, very soon I hope to release this book! It will be simple and little, but hopefully it will serve as a beautiful reminder that God can destroy all the monsters in our lives. πŸ™‚

Jesse Tree

…has anybody ever used the Jesse Tree in their home?

I ask because I think it’s a brilliant idea, but I’ve never done it. Many of my friends also love the idea, but they also have little kids around their home and it’s hard for them to finish a craft project that spans that long. Because let’s face it: it’s a month long! That’s a long time!

Yet, I think it’s a brilliant idea. I especially love the idea of bringing in scripture to prepare our hearts — and our family’s hearts! — for Christmas. And I love the fact that it uses symbolism and art to convey the beauty of the Advent season.

But for us families with little children, it’s just hard to make that happen.

So! I am going to try to make a book that has various scriptural readings which uses the same sort of symbolism and art of the traditional Jesse Tree, for those of us that like to have books to read. That way, you can have a scriptural reading every day — along with plenty of artwork! — which leads us up to Christ’s birth.

Also! This Advent season, I hope to have a blog series of the Jesse Tree that is a sort of (free!) digital version of this so that anyone — even if you can’t afford the book! — to follow along with and really prepare your heart for Christmas.

Because, really, even though I sell books and all that, the most important thing is to preach the Good News. And that should always be free. πŸ™‚

And that’s not all!

There a couple of other projects I’ve been playing with that I might have hinted about in certain blogs. And I’m still working on them! Just… they are still at the idea stage. So, I’ll hold some of those closer to my hand for now. πŸ˜‰

Anyway! Can I thank you guys really quick? Some of these things that I am working on for this year would absolutely not have been possible without your support. For instance, the gallery idea was just not a possibility last year. And now it is. And I am so grateful for your support in allowing me to spread all these beautiful religious artworks to everyone.

So thank you so much for everything!

Here’s wishing you a happy and blessed new year!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, 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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