Insurance Update
March 2016
Issue No. 66
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About Us 
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 A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides the following products: dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and AD&D, dependent life and AD&D, retiree life, long-term disability, short-term disability, and Medicare supplement for eligible Church of the Brethren employees.
Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage may also be available for eligible retired Church of the Brethren employees.
For eligibility information, call Connie Sandman at 800-746-1505, ext. 366, or contact your human resources representative.
Medical and ancillary plans (named above) may be available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.
Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities. 

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This issue comes to you at the beginning of March, when the view outside your window is of an in-between season. In the northern states, where perhaps you're waiting for the last of the dirty grey snow to disappear, and even in the warmer, southern regions, spring has not yet sprung. The days may be getting a bit longer, but they are still mostly colorless.
So what better time than now for an issue on coloring books? Yes, you heard correctly. Coloring books! Don't worry, we have not lost our senses. Did you know that coloring books for adults have become a phenomenon? They truly have, and there are some interesting features to this fad, some that can even have a positive effect on your health. Read on for more information.
In this month's Insurance Update, let's celebrate the coming end of winter and be glad for the colors of God's creation soon to be revealed, as spring blooms in all its richness. And let us be glad for the colors human beings are capable of creating with their God-given powers of imagination.
Know that Brethren Insurance Services is all about promoting good health, even if it is through something as unexpected as a coloring book.

Coloring books: A childhood pastime becomes an adult pleasure

We generally feature subjects supporting the health and well-being of our readers, and studies seem to suggest that coloring reduces stress and is good for people's health. Adult coloring books have become a phenomenon, covered by media outlets from USA Today and CNN to The Atlantic and The New Yorker and The New York Times. Even The New Republic has gotten in on the action. So why not Insurance Update? It's just too good of a subject to pass up. Who can resist the picture of adults doing what has always been a child's activity!
It all started when Johanna Basford, a Scottish artist who designed black and white labels for wine bottles and perfume vials, was asked to make a coloring book for kids. She told her publisher she had noticed that adults often liked to color in her wine labels and suggested instead a coloring book for adults. The publisher agreed, and Johanna created The Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book. The first press run was 13,000. To date it has sold more than 6 million copies. In 2015, this book and its successor, Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book, held the No. 1 and No. 2 positions on the Amazon bestseller list. Dover Publishing, already known for its books full of graphic designs, brought out Creative Haven for "advanced colorists" and sold 400,000 copies. A French publisher in 2012 issued a coloring book frankly identified as stress-relieving with the title, Art-thérapie: 100 coloriages anti-stress, which has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. And though a bit late into the market, the company once synonymous with coloring, Crayola, recently came out with a coloring book kit for adults called Color Escapes.
These statistics tell a story of success, and if you go to Barnes & Noble or any bookstore you will see racks of adult coloring books. But what is so interesting and revealing is to hear personal testimonies from intelligent adults, often professional people, about how satisfying and how relaxing coloring is. In Katie Couric's video news clip on, Christine Fedorys, a former research scientist, said, "When you have cancer, it's very stressful, you don't know what's going to happen the next day, but you have this beautiful picture and you can think about where you've been and where you want to go. It's soothing." In a video piece on CNN, a sophisticated New Yorker talked about what coloring means to her and to her friends: "I can color in a couple flowers or a couple trees and just kind of shut my brain off after a busy day and not be looking at my phone or my iPad. ... My friends who are writers, who are CPAs, who are lawyers, who are nutritionists - they're all interested in it."
Commentators have been associating the salutary effect of coloring with art therapy, the success of which is well documented. A 2006 study of women with cancer showed that after art therapy the participants "demonstrated a significant decrease in symptoms of distress and significant improvements in key aspects of health-related quality of life." Another study the same year showed similar results.
But art therapists are quick to note that coloring is not the same as art therapy. Drena Fagen, art therapist and adjunct instructor at New York University's Steinhardt School, said in a news interview, "I don't consider the coloring books as art therapy. I consider the coloring books therapeutic, which is not the same thing."

In an article on its website, Medical Daily reported on the work of Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist who is also the author of his own line of adult coloring books. "Coloring elicits a relaxing mindset, similar to what you would achieve through meditation. Like meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment. Tasks with predictable results, such as coloring or knitting, can often be calming -- Rodski was even able to see the physical effects they had on our bodies by using advanced technology." Rodski is quoted as saying, "The most amazing things occurred -- we started seeing changes in heart rate and changes in brainwaves," and he went on to say that part of this neurological response comes from the repetition and attention to patterns and detail associated with coloring.

Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, suggests that concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones.
Millie Marotta, the artist of a coloring book called Animal Kingdom, remarked, "I think a huge part of what's making coloring books so popular is that it's such an absorbing, relaxing activity. It's easily accessible. You can spend five minutes or five hours, depending on your schedule. It's an engaging activity that makes you focus your mind on what you're doing, so it's easy to switch off your mind from everyday worry and stress. ... We all did it as children, so it's familiar and comfortable."
One commentator suggests that coloring may be an effort by some people to get back to experiences of childhood. Adults have been buying children's books and young adult books. You recall how many adults were taken in by the Harry Potter phenomenon. There are even summer camps for adults that try to re-create the experiences of childhood. In Brooklyn, New York, Preschool Mastermind offers preschool classes for adults.
There are some who say the coloring book fad is escapist and childish -- adults running away from an increasingly complex and mystifying world full of uncertainties, dangers, and perhaps worse. But there is no question that it is a phenomenon. And like any great fad, its expressions take many forms; you can find coloring books for almost any interest. There are Biblical themes. There are flowers, gardens, and animals. Birds are very popular. There are images from mythology and from richly detailed fantasy worlds. There are intricate cityscapes. There are mandalas and other images designed for meditation. Two of the top 10 adult coloring book sellers on Amazon feature beautifully adorned curse words in attractive script and surrounded with flowers, birds, and other artistic motifs and patterns.
And lest we think this is all something new and an indicator of some novel social and psychological reality, an article in the New Republic reminds us that there was a coloring book craze in the 1960s when millions were sold. The designs were not as complex and the themes tended to be political and social. The JFK Coloring Book spent 14 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list in 1962. Here are some other titles: The Executive Coloring Book, Khrushchev's Top Secret Coloring Book: Your First Red Reader, The Bureaucrat's Coloring Book, and The Hipster Coloring Book.
Today, more than 50 years later, the coloring book phenomenon is partly driven by 21st-century realities. It is fueled by the Internet and by social media -- colorists post their elaborate creations on Facebook  and Pinterest. People post tips about which pencils or pens to use. Go to and find video clips explaining how to use color and achieve effects. Crayola offers an interesting clip showcasing its "Color Escapes" line while demonstrating coloring techniques.
All research and hoopla aside, we should be able to embrace coloring books for adults as something that any one of us might enjoy without embarrassment. They seem harmless. They can produce something that is surprisingly beautiful. They really can help us relax. For years the psychologists have tried to tell us that we need to get in touch with our inner child. This is a way to do that.

So, you say you are ready to start coloring ...

Are you wondering what kind of coloring book you might like? Below is a list of suggestions from the hundreds of available options. Search the Internet or go to for more ideas. Your public library may even have coloring pages you can download and print out.(Below are suggestions from the bestseller lists for and the New York Times.)
Secret Garden, Johanna Basford
Top on the list, this coloring book is full of highly-detailed gardens with floral layouts, leaves, lavish scenery, and tiny hidden creatures.
Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns, Blue Star Coloring
This book offers exquisite patterns for all levels of artists, from the beginner to the advanced.
Creative Haven Owls Coloring Book by Marjorie Sarnat
This is a favorite because of its stunning owls with tapestry-like designs in the birds and their surrounding habitats
Splendid Cities: Color Your Way to Calm by Rosie Goodwin & Alice Chadwick
This book gives you the chance to creatively color some of the world's most popular cities and landmarks.
Animal Kingdom: Color Me, Draw Me by Millie Marotta
With a fun, elaborately decorated selection of birds, fish, dragonflies, elephants, and other majestic creatures, this book is appropriate for any age group.
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Similar to Basford's Secret Garden coloring book, Enchanted Forest also features castles and treasures.
Other top sellers --
Creative Cats Coloring Book
Lost Ocean
Art Nouveau
Harry Potter and Frozen
Celtic Designs
Click here for's list of best-selling Coloring Books for Grownups
Click here to see top-selling coloring books on the New York Times list of bestselling games and activities

What about pencils and pens?
Are you wondering what coloring instruments to choose? Crayons, the classic tool of children, are not widely used. Pencils and pens seem to be the instruments of choice for adult coloring, and they can be pricey, but there are some good buys to be found (especially on the Internet). According to artist Thaneeya McArdle though, it's easy to get started with inexpensive supplies available at almost any store. She recommends using a combination of markers, colored pencils, gel pens, and pens, and to buy the cheaper brands to start out. That way, you can practice and see what you like before investing in the more expensive items.
Some of her favorite brands include Copic Sketch Markers, which she likes because they are refillable, go on smoothly, and have minimal streaking. Color choice is plentiful and they can be blended -- all signs of a quality marker. Copics are expensive though. A more affordable alternative is the Prismacolor marker, also considered a professional-quality marker. Sharpies, with lots of color choices including neon, are the least expensive and easy to find in stores.
And though crayons are not a top choice, Crayola Super Tips markers are. They are good for beginners because they come in a big range of colors and are cheap and vibrant. Thaneeya's tip for Crayola markers though - be prepared for your coloring book pages to fade. Fading is a by-product of the less expensive markers.
Another popular tool is the colored pencil. These are also available from Prismacolor and are considered artist quality. You can buy a few individual colors (at just over $1 each).
 LTCILong-Term Care Insurance
Relieve stress about the future with long-term care insurance
We just learned that enjoying an adult coloring book can reduce stress. In the busy world in which we live, things that reduce stress are good. Think about how insurance can reduce stress -- especially long-term care insurance. Knowing you will be well cared for lifts anxiety from your shoulders and those of your family. You don't have to be stressed about the future.
Despite your best efforts, there is always the chance you could suffer a debilitating illness or a disabling accident. And, of course, if you live long enough, the time will come when you will need some extra care. Long-term care insurance makes sure that you will get the care you need. It assures that your medical bills will not eat up your savings. Finally, and this is one of the best things about LTCI, it protects your children and other relatives from having to use their resources to care for you.
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance for all members and employees of the Church of the Brethren and their family and friends; and also for employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities and their families and friends.
If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information.