The Rest of the Story: How Muscadine Press Got Started

The Jones Family Easter 2015

Hi friend! It's Leslie Ann here again. I'm guessing we probably have more in common than you think. To start with, there's this: my life is busy. Very busy. How about yours?

In addition to being the owner of Muscadine Press (and everything that goes along with that), I'm a wife, mama, writer, Bible teacher, PTO volunteer, and family schedule manager. It's a lot.

When my girls were in preschool, I was overwhelmed and struggling to keep up (they were cute though, right?). I was a professional Sunday school curriculum writer, but I could hardly manage to find time to study the Bible for myself, which made me feel like the biggest phony ever.

On the rare occasions that I sat down with my Bible, my mind wandered. I'd get to the end of a chapter and realize that I had no idea what it said. I'd spent the whole time going over my to-do list and thinking about who knows what. Certainly not the Word of God that lay open in front of me.

Something had to give, and that’s when Muscadine Press was born. I knew that I couldn’t be alone in the struggle to do all the things and draw near to the Lord at the same time, so I decided to do something about it.

Before we go any further, I should probably rewind a little bit and tell you that in addition to writing devotional material and Sunday school curriculum, I had also been running a custom stationery business for six years. Stationery, address stamps, and invitations were my thing, and I loved every bit of it. 

The only problem was that I always felt torn between the two sides of my work, and I never knew how to answer when people asked me about it. Was I primarily a Bible teacher and writer? Or a stationery designer? I honestly didn’t know, but I knew that God had given me a heart for both, and it was this unique combination that led me to start Muscadine Press.

Combining my passion for helping people understand the Bible with my love for pretty paper, I began sketching out plans for a quiet time journal to help busy women like me make the most of their time in the Word. I needed something to help me focus on what I was reading, reflect on the Truth within, and apply it to my life, and I imagined that other women might need it too.

After nailing down the daily format and settling on cover designs, I finally decided to name it the Dwell Journal, because my hope and prayer was that each journal would help women dwell on God’s Word, so that God’s Word could dwell in their hearts. 

The original Dwell Journal

When I shared the first photos of my work in progress on instagram, I was blown away by the response. Friends and family were all asking where they could get a journal, and I knew then and there that this is where the Lord had been leading me all along. 

Over the next few months, I closed up the custom stationery shop, stopped accepting writing contracts, and began hunting for a printer who could produce the journals on my very limited budget. The first journals launched in November 2015, and since then, I’ve shipped out hundreds with the prayer that God would use them to help his people cultivate faithfulness one day at a time.

A sample page from the Dwell Journal, a 30-day quiet time journal designed to help women make the most of their quiet time.

Since then, a lot has changed. Muscadine Press started with a simple quiet time journal, but the line has grown to include a range of encouraging and inspirational gifts, each designed to do good through our partnership with Amazima Ministries. In 2018, we launched wholesale, and now you can find our journals and gifts in shops across the country.

As this side of the business continues to grow, I can’t help but be amazed at what God has done. He took my struggle and is using it to help countless women draw near to Him, and I’m just thankful that I get to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see what he does next. 

Until next time, grace and peace.

Leslie Ann Jones, founder of Muscadine Press

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