Welcome to the Epistellein idea center!

Welcome to the Epistellein idea center! I'm so glad you stopped by. I couldn't show all the journals I've made for others at my Etsy site so I decided to create a blog where I could share pictures of the ones that are already in use. You'll also find design ideas I have for other journals that I'm hoping to make in the future. Browse through the posts and read the many different stories that have been unsealed in an Epistellein journal. Then be inspired to start unsealing your own!

Happy storytelling!
~ Jennifer

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanksgiving and St. Nick family journals

Here are some of the Thanksgiving and St. Nick journals I've been working on. Holidays are great times to start new family traditions as well as perfect times for preserving family memories!

Thanksgiving journals are used from year to year to record how the Lord has abundantly blessed your family. They're fun to use at the family dinner on Thanksgiving or can be prepared ahead of time and then shared while everyone is gathered for the meal.

St. Nick journals help to capture the magic and wonder of little ones who are waiting for Santa
to arrive. They can be used to write letters to Santa or make wish lists.
And it's extra special when Santa leaves a note in the journal for the children to read on Christmas morning! How cherished will those memories be when the children aren't so little anymore and parents get to relive the joy of those younger years.

These journals are for sale at my Etsy site. And as always, I'm happy to create one that suits your color preferences. I have lot of other designs ready and waiting to be made!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mighty Warrior

I came to know about Lisa and Will's brave battle for their son's life after a college friend asked me to pray for the couple and their newborn. Soon, I was joining others on their CaringBridge site to come alongside and lift little Albert up in prayer and love. After several weeks of incredible medical care and waves of prayers reaching out on his behalf, little Albert received his restoration in Jesus' arms. During his short life, he touched countless lives and his legacy sees no end in sight. His incredible mom and dad have taken their loss and seen the opportunity for gain in it...gain for others in need of a message of hope and comfort. I'm so inspired by their faith and focus on the promises of God for them, even in this season of letting go. And I can't wait to hear the good news about their family expansion, which I'm confident is on the way.

Here's a picture of the journal I made for them. Lisa told me that they're writing letters in it for the next baby as a stand of confidence in the Lord and the goodness He has planned for their lives.

Proud parents with their mighty warrior

Read Albert's story at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/albertjones

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Miles Can't Separate

One of my most favorite journals to design was the one I made for my mom and me to keep. Since 1996 we've lived at least 3 hours apart and seeing each other in person is limited to holidays and a week during the summer, not nearly as often as the weekly cuppa coffee we'd like to share. But this journal helps to make the miles a little shorter. I write in it for awhile about daily life or plans I'm working on for the next season or the bigger dreams I have about the future. And when I visit Mom back home, I take it along and drop it off for her to write in during our next time apart. I chose the butterfly theme since we both have an affinity for them, but also because the butterfly is a creature that moves on for a season, yet always knows it's way back home.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Way to Remember

My journal making endeavor began with a family from my hometown that I had never met. My mom worked with a lady who had asked for prayer for her daughter, Sherrie, who was ill with a serious heart condition. I was moved to hear that there were 3 young children in the family, ages 7, 4 & 3, to care for while their mom battled for life in the hospital. Tragically, Sherrie died not long after I learned of her story and a deep desire to help in some way came over me. I was too far away to help with meals or childcare and a simple note of condolence didn't really seem to express the depth of my sympathies either. As I was praying for the family, the picture of 3 journals came to mind and I knew I had been given the idea I was searching for. Through my mom, I found out that Sherrie's favorite color was blue and she loved wild flowers. I found 3 different sets of appropriate paper and came up with the designs below. Each journal is for one of the children. The oldest, McKenzie, has been writing in hers on her own. The other 2 journals are being filled by family and friends with stories of Sherrie for the younger children to read as they grow. I'm hopeful that as they come to understand that their mother's time in their physical lives has ended, a way to remember her beautiful life has begun.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

I love the blogosphere because it's so easy to jump into the lives of other moms out there and learn from them, share advice on anything from toddler teething to dealing with disappointment about not making the team or commiserate about the tribulation of cabin fever. It's very encouraging and uplifting to know that others 'get it' and I'm not alone on this ride through motherhood.
And then there are the lives I enter on my knees, in intercession for a sick child or family crisis that I come to know about through a prayer request posted on one of the blogs I read.
That's how I came across Katie's site last year. Her sweet little Reese was born with difficulties that the touch of Heaven would ultimately heal and by the time I came to Katie's blog, it wasn't to offer advice on how to get a newborn to sleep through the night, but rather to convey my deepest heartfelt sorrow over the loss of her precious little girl. Like several other families I've grieved with, I felt pressed to make a memory journal for Katie to write in. It's a place to remember the details of Reese's brief but indelible life, the struggle of letting her go and hopefully, with time, a place to joyfully give thanks to God in Heaven for His gift of little girls. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your beautiful baby girl with so many of us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I love the idea of taking things that had an original use and finding new purposes for them. Such was the case with this journal. I originally designed it with a green thumb in mind. I am forever wishing I had a gardening journal so I could remember important dates from year to year, what seeds I want to plant again or those I don't think I'll bother with or where I planted the yellow tulip bulbs. So when I picked the floral/butterfly paper, I was envisioning the journal someday being filled with these reminders. Imagine my surprise when it was bought by a lady who works as a MaryKay consultant. She said she likes butterflies and needed a place to make notes during meetings with her clients. So instead of a green thumb, the journal was repurposed for a pink thumb. I love how things wander from my intention to a totally different one!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Camper

My cousin Jess lives with her husband in Wyoming and gets to enjoy some of the most amazing landscapes I've ever seen. I love looking at the photographs she takes during the outdoor retreats that she leads. We don't get to spend time with each other anymore (I used to stay a week each summer on my grandparents' farm and she lived across the field, so along with the other cousins, we had lots of barnyard adventures together.) But I think of her often and decided to make a journal for her to use during her camping excursions. She was kind enough to send me a couple of photos to use, one of which just happens to show her journaling in Costa Rica! Boy, does that sound inviting right about now...we're getting ready for our third winter storm of the year and it's only February 1st. Can't wait for warmer weather to arrive!

There's the happy camper!

Jess writes about journaling...
"As an outdoor lover, leader of outdoor retreats, and nature educator,
I see and experience so many wonders and blessings in nature. Things
that can't be experienced inside. Journaling outdoors allows me to
articulate and synthesize my experience in the natural world, my love
for the beauty that surrounds us, and my connection to something
greater. "

Roots & Wings

A journal for long-distance mother/daughter relationships. Mom gave you roots and then
you grew your wings. While those might have moved you apart, a co-written journal keeps the relationship strong. A fun and meaningful tradition to start when adulthood arrives.

My friend Lori and her daughter Emma use this journal.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Great Counselor

My first sale on Etsy was a camping-themed journal. The lady who bought it said it was for her niece who was going away for the summer to be a counselor at a Christian camp. I remember the years I went away to camp and what great counselors we had. I'm hoping she enjoyed writing about her experiences and the lives she touched.


Initially, I made this journal without an author in mind. Would it eventually end up in the hands of a Susan? a Sabrina? a Stephanie? A few months later, a friend from high school stopped by for a visit with her family which includes a lovely daughter named Samantha. Today, Sam is tucking away her ideas, musings and dreams in a journal all her own. Just like her mom and I did when we were her age.

Better Than An Apple

This fall, my triplets had a student teacher, Miss Lorenz, in their kindergarten class. She was great fun and made a wonderful impression on all the students. As expected, they were very sad to see her go at the end of the semester. To help ease her exit from the classroom, all the children drew a special picture and answered some silly questions about her. I gathered these papers and secured them in the pages of a kindergarten-themed journal which we presented on her final day. She had lots of smiles as she turned each page and enjoyed the one-of-a-kind memento very much.

Doesn't she look like the perfect kindergarten teacher? We think so!

Welcome, Baby Brock!

My cousin Brianne welcomed her first baby into the family last January. To celebrate his arrival, I made a little boy journal with a "Baa Baa Black Sheep" theme. What a fun way to capture memories of the early days of new motherhood and the joy a baby brings to his mom and dad!

Welcome to the family, Brock!