I love how almost everything has a story.
Take my publication logo, for example.
This logo is a story roughly 23 years in the making. Like most good stories, this one begins with an epic friendship.
Chapter 1-Meet Torey
No one has been my friend longer than Torey. As kids, we were a couple of misfits. She was a wild and crazy extrovert. I was...not.
I didn't have a lot of friends when I was young, and the kids who pursued my friendship usually wanted to use me somehow. Not Torey. Like me, she just wanted to have fun with someone who would accept her as she was and wouldn't demand anything in return. Over time, she uncovered my hidden goofiness, and I balanced her out. Sort of.
The two of us hung out at least once a week. She took me camping, mudding on a four wheeler, and talked me into rolling down steep hills in a barrel and other such nonsense. We laughed together, napped together, and fought with one another. There was also this time we dressed up as Bob and Larry for a Lifeway Christian Bookstore event.
Once during a sleepover, I woke with a bad sugar crash and felt like I was going to die, and she got up and made me a cheese sandwich in the middle of the night. She came over the day my foster sister left my family and made us all laugh through the tears. She threw me a surprise birthday party when I turned 16-the only surprise party I've ever had.
I was her safe place and defender at church. There, the mean girls knew they could pick on me, but they were taking their lives into their hands when they picked on Torey. She had my back too. If other girls wanted to be my friend, they knew Torey was part of a package deal. Two for one.
We were close until she graduated from high school and left for college (without me...not that I'm bitter about that), but we've stayed in each other's lives in some capacity without fail, regardless of the distance and difference in experience, perspectives, and lifestyles.
She stood in my wedding and drove up for my baby shower. She grieved during my illness and rejoiced in my healing. Torey is an amazing friend.
She's also an amazing artist. With her whimsical creativity and sharp skill set, I knew she could take my logo concept and turn it into awesomesauce.
Chapter 2-You Are The Phoenix
Back in March 2016, I had a vivid dream that stayed with me long after I woke. (Do you ever have dreams like that? They may mean something!)
In the dream, I stood in the parking lot of a church about 15 miles south of where I live. My children and twin nieces were with me. The western sky darkened, a giant storm building and heading our way.
Out of the clouds flew a large flock of small birds. Behind them came a large, vibrantly colored bird, shielding the smaller birds with her body.
The storm blew in, and I led my four small charges into the safety of the church. I woke as strong winds began to pound the sides of the building. The kids and I were safe inside.
The next day, I Googled a description of the bird to be sure it was what I thought it was. It was. The bird in my dream was a phoenix.
But I didn't have an interpretation for the actual dream.
I prayed and felt the Lord prompt me to ask my husband, Brandon. B listened intently as I described the dream. When I finished, he was quiet a moment and said, "It's obvious."
I stared at him blankly.
"You saw yourself from two vantage points doing the same thing. You were on the ground with the kids, and you were in the sky with the baby birds. You are the phoenix."
"Huh," I replied, flummoxed by his quick and confident interpretation.
"It makes sense," he continued. "You burned up, and God brought you back out of the ashes to help the people around you. You are the phoenix."
Chapter 3-Born from the Ashes
When I decided to self-publish, I had no idea what all was involved. Fortunately, I had another longtime friend in my life who did know, and he graciously advised me. When he told me I needed a logo, I knew exactly what I wanted my logo to represent and who I should ask to design it.
The problem with a phoenix logo is that everyone and their mother have one already, and I wanted mine to stand out. Thus, the 61, which references Isaiah 61.
That whole bit about a beautiful headdress in place of ashes, building up ancient ruins, and raising up former devastations reminds me a lot of the myth and metaphor of the phoenix. Not to mention, it's one of my favorite passages in all of scripture.
Torey went to work, undaunted by all previous phoenix logos, and came up with this bad boy.
Torey, you are awesome.
I love how the phoenix looks like it's rising from the flames, how the flames also look like wings, and how the tallest flame dances over the bird's head like Holy Ghost fire. I couldn't have special ordered anything so perfect.
I love how God is always doing something. How small nudges and long friendships have lasting impact upon our destinies. How strange dreams find unexpected interpreters. How logos can turn out perfectly when you don't know what you want beyond "something to do with a phoenix". How a logo can be a conversation starter leading to what God has done for me...and what he wants to do for you.
Thank you, Torey, for your awesome contribution to my project, for your faithful friendship, for all the laughter, and for helping me get in touch with my inner weirdo. I love you.
If you want to contact Torey about a graphic design project, email her at tmorgan006(at)gmail(dot)com.