Drawing Close, Encountering Joy

Janice E. Kirk

Bronze - Reviewers Choice Awards
Available for purchase at your local independent bookstore and at:

From Fort Rock to Hovenweep, redwoods to the Rockies, ocean to high desert, here is an invitation to connect with the natural world. Psalms and prayers for the earth unfold from early morning dew through daytime hours to the night watch. Delight in the colors of dawn, linger in the fellowship of the forest, savor the solitude, lament the losses, be refreshed by tumbling waters, celebrate the glories of life, and hear the robin singing . . . singing. Draw close, enter into the experience. Encounter the joy and peace of the natural world. Through the eyes of an artist, discover nature’s abiding witness to the “wondrous Mystery wrapped in beauty.”


Here is what we know. Ours is a perilous time of mass instability, with grief and lament at the loss of a beautiful world trailing everywhere. All the more important, then, to discover beauty and nurture wonder for a life of joy, even among the ruins. Janice Kirk does just that with prayers and psalms and sketches in the garb of good poetry. Read slowly in a quiet place and be fed.

Larry Rasmussen
Author of The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing

Janice Kirk sweetly remembers her family trips to the furthest reaches of the West in poems and passages of praise. Hers is a voice of appreciation and invitation that will make you want to find not only such a place as the hidden campsite of Marmot Spring but also the hidden source of living waters that provide for us a resting place, now and forever.

Paul J. Willis
Author of Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades

A faith-based collection of drawings and writings that personalizes the grandeur of nature.

During repeated visits to natural settings in the American Southwest, Kirk writes, she “was overwhelmed by wonder upon wonder in the beauty of creation,” believing that amid the natural surroundings of Colorado was “where God found me.” This volume compiles her Christian observations. Each entry opens with a passage from Scripture, followed by poems that effectively vibrate with her sense of the immortal and sacred. “Praise God at dew point wakening,” she writes in “Creation, Hymn of Praise.” “Praise God at tints of dawn, / Praise God at morn unfolding.” Some entries take the form of prose, as when she offers gratitude to God for “water—the pure and sweet life-giving flows, for springs and seeps that moisten thirsty ground, for rivers, streams, and all reserves icebound.” Later, the author expresses despair over signs of the presence of humankind within this bucolic realm, from deforestation and pollution of the air and water, which are viewed as a betrayal of the humankind’s stewardship of nature: “See the destruction we have caused / Separated from designer, we shattered the design / Parted from our God of order, we live in disorder / Godless, we are loveless” (“Lament with Jeremiah”). Ultimately, however, this collection is full of joyful abandon for the natural world, infusing even seemingly simple scenes with rapturous detail, as when her children follow her husband “across slippery rocks, stopping to explore small pools haunted by hermit crabs and bejeweled by green anemones and purple sea urchins.” Kirk’s choice to intersperse her own drawings along with her writings and Scripture passages offer readers a warm invitation to gaze at images as well as reflect on the text.

An earnest and emotional set of drawings and ecstatic writings.

Kirkus Review

5* - the perfect tool to begin a journey of inspired living

I am very spiritual and have always been especially attached to this realm’s nature. It is within nature that I feel my best and always wondered why all religions always looked for God away from the natural world. “Drawing Close, Encountering Joy” by Janice E. Kirk is the missing link found in all the different ways man has found to pray to their maker. The book is a perfect tool to connect with God through his gifts to us. To recognize Him within what surrounds us instead of looking for Him far away in the heavens. The author does this by presenting a compilation of psalms, prayers, poems, and meditations, reflecting and elevating the beauty and grace of God found in nature. Through the written words and sketches, readers will discover a refreshing way to pray, to be grateful, to get inspired, and to energize their soul.

The author presents her work and art to readers structured in 5 perspectives of Nature: Dew Point Awakening, Morning Sing, Prayer Walk, Campfire Cadence, Night Watch, and Chorale Choda. In this format, I found it to be a guide to a spiritual journey that led me to discover myself as much as God within nature. The different poetry styles and visual art mixed in with prayers, psalms and song was not only effective as a tool, it also gave an entertaining factor and appreciation for the author’s talent.

Here is one of my favorite pages, to help you visualize what I mean. The page begins with a psalm followed by a sketch of the shore and ends with a poem:

“God’s sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness… Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace. (Luke 1:79 MSG)

Tideline Turning

Not quite land, not quite sea,
The tide line marks the way
Between loose and
And wave-washed grains.
How did you and I begin
To find the better course? -
Your sloshing through wet sand,
My slogging through the dry
Until our paths converged,
Wet, tempered, dry,
Dry eased the wet,
Transition mix that formed
A narrow way,
Firm with better footing.
Now our undulating path leads up the beach
Gulls quacking
Rush of waves
Pelicans fly single file above
Ocean home to bobbing seal
Fishing boat upon the waters
And us, together walking.”

“Drawing Close, Encountering Joy” by Janice E. Kirk is a must-have little book of inspiration for everyone looking to lift their spirits and view of the world. It is the perfect tool to begin a journey of inspired living. A five star read that will help readers achieve a five star view of the world around them and beyond.

Susan Violante