Persevere Devotional Kit [Review]

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the changes to the Illustrated Faith monthly kit, Persevere. When I received my kit in the mail, I wasn’t exactly sure where to start. I looked over each piece and read through the devotional cards. As someone who likes structure, it was a bit daunting to not have the devotional booklet anymore. Today I actually had a chance to sit down and journal using the kit, and I had my “aha” moment for how I’m going to use it. I have to say that I think this new kit is really going to appeal to my personal style of journaling and give me the freedom to pursue other studies throughout the month in addition to working through the Persevere Kit. It took me a long time to create my first page in my Bible and my journal using Persevere, but now that I’ve done one day, I’m ready to share my review, as well as some ideas for how I will be working through it. I am finding myself gaining more and more excitement about the new format of the Persevere Kit, and I hope you will join me! Click here to purchase your own kit, and continue reading more below.

First, I want to give you an idea for the content inside the kit. You can also watch my unboxing video here on my YouTube channel to see more. The things that remain the same in the kit are: a full roll of washi tape, a welcome note card from Shanna Noel, and a stamp set. The stamps are a smaller 3×4 size, but still have plenty of variety for journaling. The things that are new: die cuts that are already cut for you, heart shaped tip-ins, journaling/devotional cards, thinner stickers, and a smaller string-tie envelope.

4 cardstock devotional cards and 4 cardstock journaling cards replace the 14-day devotional booklet of the past kits. Although I like having the structure of a guided study guide, I personally struggled with sustaining momentum for all 14 days. I was also torn about what to do with the notebooks once I was finished with them, because I normally keep just one big journal, and having a bunch of little journals made me feel disorganized.

I like to use a blank journal in addition to my journaling Bible, and I don’t really like having too many different notebooks/journals/bibles to keep track of. Now with the journaling cards, I have the freedom to use whatever journal I prefer. I think this will appeal to many people who, like me, prefer a certain type of journal/notebook/binder/planner/bible. You can just add the cards to your favorite journal, rather than using a journal provided for you.
I’m really in love with the floral designs of the stamps and scattered throughout the kit, as well as the gold foil accents everywhere. The quality of the products is amazing considering it’s only $20 for the whole thing! A lower price point is definitely very appealing to me, since we live on a tight budget and the old price point was often out of reach for me to participate monthly.

I’ve grown really fond of ways to make Bible journaling a bit easier and faster since I often have to squeeze my time in during naptime or after my babies go to bed, so having lots of paper pieces already cut for me is so great. There is a generous amount of die cuts included that match the style of the kit. I especially like that there are extra verse references on some of the smaller die cuts to also encourage more journaling ideas.

Another way to make journaling a bit easier is lots of stickers! They are all so pretty that I had a hard time using a few in my first day of journaling, because I want to make them last. I like that there are more tab options and they are also bigger than the previous kit’s cardstock sticker tabs. I also like that most of these stickers are fairly small, so that means a lot more to go around.

As I mentioned above, I finally had my aha moment of how I’m going to use the Persevere kit. The great thing about it is, you can use the kit in your own unique way, and I’ve already seen some great ideas from others! My plan is to use 1 devotional card and 1 journaling card per week, so 2 journaling entries per week for a total of 8 entries in the month. I usually start to wane after about 7 or 8 days in past devotionals, so I thought this was a good plan for me. I will also be using the cards in my blank journal as a way to write out some more lengthy prayers than I would typically put in my bible as well as do some scripture writing based on the verses provided. I then will use the other embellishments and stamps to journal the verse on the card in my Bible. If the card doesn’t have a verse, then that’s where the verses on the paper pieces can come in.

I’m really excited to journal through this kit now that I’ve had time to process the change and think through how I’m going to use the pieces to fit my personal style. There’s not just one right way to use the Persevere kit, and I love that the redesign seems to have allowed for more room for creativity and individuality while still working through it together as a community. To purchase your own Persevere kit, click here. I will be doing at least one process video, so make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I would be happy to answer them!

Please note post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for sharing products I love to use at no additional cost to you when you purchase through the link. I was given a Persevere kit from Dayspring in exchange for my honest review. 

“I Am” Devotional Kit [Review]

img_1469.jpgThanks to the generosity of Dayspring, I was sent the July Illistrated Faith devotional kit “I Am” to review and showcase as I work through it over the next month. This was my first new kit for 2017, so I was thrilled to see how floral and feminine it was, two things that appeal to me. The pictures do not do this kit justice; it’s even prettier in person. If you would like to see an unboxing video I did, click here to see it on my YouTube channel.

The devotional was written by Melissa Garcia of @pienthesky on Instagram. She is known for her acrylic flowers and beautiful hand-lettering, so the whole design of this set reflects that. But more than that, she has written a 14-day devotional that guides me to dig deeper into who I Am in Christ. I’ve only had a chance to read the first day, but I’m already enjoying her writing style and the prompts that encourage me to reflect.

The first day spoke about being Fearless, which was so timely for me as I have been facing a lot of fears lately. And the great thing about these devotionals is that they aren’t dated, so you can go through this booklet at any time, at any pace. I have a hard time keeping on track with dated reading plans, so this is perfect for people like me.

My favorite part of the kits is always the stamp set, and I have yet to have a floral set, so this was perfect to add to my stash. I don’t have a lot of time to do freehand drawing the way I used to a year ago when I first started Bible journaling, so I’m always looking for stamp sets that appeal to my style. It’s much faster to lay down some paint and stamp over it, especially when I have an active toddler and young infant vying for my attention. But spending time in my Bible is a priority to me, and using the Illustrated Faith devotional kits helps me stay motivated to do just that.

The next part that I really enjoy about this kit is the stickers. I’m so happy that the kits now include alphabet stickers and more embellishments than just the backer card, because it gives me more opportunities to create cohesive entries without too much work. It’s always fun to add extra items from my stash, but it’s nice to have double the options from within the kit itself.

The zipper bag is another new addition this year, and it is so handy! I like to keep all my supplies together while I’m working through the devotional, so the bag helps to accomplish that. It’s the perfect size to fit everything plus a few extras, especially for those that don’t have a travelers notebook to hold the inserts (like me). I’m all about organization and this bag helps with that. And let’s take a minute to admire the washi tape: whoa! I like to add the themed washi tape to each of my Bible entries as well as the devotional itself, and the washi rolls that come with the kits are always a generous amount. The mini floral print on this washi tape is very pretty and includes multiple colors from the theme, so it will look great on every page I create.

Last but not least are the backer card embellishments, margin journaling cards and magnetic bookmark. There are just so many options for illustrating with this kit, and each piece is carefully thought out and designed to enhance the devotional booklet. The ultimate goal of this kit is to “dig deeper” into the Word and who “I Am” in Christ, and I can’t wait to see how God works in me over the next month.

To pick up your own kit, visit this link here. Please note that it is an affiliate link, but it does not cost you any extra. I receive a small commission that helps me to continue bringing reviews to my blog and help support my family in a small way. I appreciate your support! I will also being doing at least one process video of a page I create using this kit, so make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Please note that I received this kit from Dayspring in exchange for my honest review. I only review products that I truly enjoy and use. Thank you to Dayspring for sending me this kit. 

Through Christ Devotional Completed

I finally made it through all 14 entries of the Illustrated Faith “Through Christ” devotional. It’s taken me since January, but I’m so proud of myself for actually finishing a devotional all the way through. I tend to lose interest before finishing, so it’s nice to know I can actually finish. 

I really enjoyed using a different color for each entry and also trying new techniques with acrylic paint on some of the last few entries. I also spent a lot more time writing out prayers in my Bible to go along with many of the entries. I felt God drawing me back over and over again to His word. That’s the beauty of Bible journaling to me: it’s not just about the art, it’s about how God is working on and speaking to my heart. 

I’m now working my way through the How He Loves Us Devotional from last year, and I will have an exciting new kit to show you in a couple of days. Make sure you are following my blog so you can receive an email every time I post. 

Click here to shop for Illustrated Faith Devotional Kits at Dayspring (affiliate link). 

Thrive Devotional Journaling Bible [Review]

One of my gifts for Mother’s Day this year was the new Thrive Devotional Journaling Bible, released last September by Tyndale. After looking through this beautiful Bible, I thought it would be fun to write a review for the blog and share my initial thoughts. I’m getting close to retiring my HCSB Illustrators Bible, and the Thrive Bible will be the next one I journal in. I’m excited for the Thrive Bible because not only is it a journaling Bible, but it also contains 365 devotionals, written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. 

Here’s the description from the publisher: “The THRIVE journaling devotional Bible is for every woman who wants to know God more deeply and follow Him more closely. God’s design for His children is that they live flourishing, fulfilling, joy-filled lives in Christ. Bestselling author and beloved conference speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd has devoted over 30 years of her ministry to helping women learn how to thrive in Christ, reflect God’s glory, and gain an eternal perspective. Sheri Rose invites women to join her on a year-long journey through the Bible in the THRIVE. The daily devotionals capture the very heart of her ministry by helping women discover their identity in Christ, God’s purpose and plan for their lives, and how to flourish in a faith that is pure, genuine, and life-giving. Each day’s devotional reading contains a key Scripture, a love letter from God, a reflection from Sheri Rose, a treasure of truth, and a special prayer for the reader. Sheri Rose encourages women to leave all of their concerns and struggles at the foot of the cross so they can truly thrive as the women God created them to be. This beautiful women’s journaling devotional Bible features a natural shabby chic fabric with decorative blue stitching, a THRIVE tag stitched to the front, round corners, cream page edges, and a matching ribbon marker.”

In order to accommodate the extra content while still maintaining a portable size, it is slightly wider than most journaling Bibles. It also has the Biblical text organized as double column instead of single column. However the wider size also means wider margins for more journaling on some pages, especially the devotional pages. The margins are lightly lined to help guide notetaking and written out prayers.  

The New Living Translation is quickly becoming my favorite, and I like how geneologies are listed as a list for easier reading. The daily prayers, book introductions, “treasures of truth,” and character profiles help enhance the text while reading in between the devotionals. I especially like that the devotionals are numbered 1-365, rather than dated (Jan-Dec) so you can start and stop any time of year without feeling guilty to follow a specific date. Each devotional also gives the page number at the bottom for the next devotional, since the placement of the devotionals vary from book to book. 

The light blue and cream color scheme is visually pleasing and not too overpowering.   It has some very subtle flower details, so for those who don’t care for florals won’t find them too noticeable. The pages are thin like most Bible pages, so there is ghosting of the text and color design. However the text font is a good size and still very readable. 

The supplemental material at the front includes a letter from Sheri Rose Shepherd, as well as tips on how to use and study this Bible. A Bible reading plan is included with a convenient checklist to help mark your progress. It is dated, but this is the only section that includes dates and obviously you can ignore that and follow your own pace. Since the focus of this Bible is to guide women through a yearlong journey to Thrive through Bible reading and devotions, there aren’t maps or concordance included in the back. The purpose of this Bible is to speak to a woman’s heart through the various tasks and trials she may face. 

Overall, I highly recommend this Bible for women looking to Journal their way through a yearlong journey of Bible reading and devotions directed towards the thriving heart of a woman. I can’t wait to use this Bible and add my writing and art, as well as my heart, to the margins.

Want to read more Bible reviews? Visit the Bible Reviews page to see all available posts. 

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own. I was not asked to give a review or compensated in any way. I received this Bible as a gift, and I’m expressing my opinion for the benefit of others interested in this Bible. 

Inspire Bible: May the Fourth

“May the Fourth be with you.” Yes it may be silly, but it’s fun! I decided to do a Star Wars page in my Inspire Bible. Yes that’s right. The iconic line from “A New Hope” when Princess Leia is asking for help stuck out to me and reminded me of Psalm 121:1-2 “I look to the mountains–does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” 

I didn’t have the time to paint a galaxy page, which is what I had in mind, so instead I started searching on Pinterest for ideas. The first thing that popped up was a link to this free printable set, which was exactly what I needed. 

I did a quick watercolor background in the margin with my Neocolor II and a waterbrush. I glued down the printable pieces and then added some Alpha stickers. The BB8 and Storm Trooper patches were leftover from an embroidery project I did last year and made the perfect page marker. I may do another Star Wars themed page on the other side to go with the Storm Trooper. That tiny light saber just makes me ridiculously happy. I don’t think I will forget this Psalm anytime soon. 

You can follow me on my new separate Bible journaling account on Instagram @kountingsheepbiblejournaling to see more pages, and to find out if I do another Star Wars one. Happy Star Wars day, and happy Bible journaling!

Paperback Inspire Bible Comparison

I was able to get my hands on an early copy of the new paperback Inspire Bible, and I wanted to show a comparison with my hardcover Inspire Bible. Both Bibles have the exact same content. There is no difference in the amount of pages and illustrations.

However, I was disappointed to find that there was an overall size difference. The new paperback is about half an inch shorter, slightly narrower, and then because of the thinner cover, there is a difference in the width. The difference isn’t quite as noticeable when it’s laying flat open, but a decrease in size means a decrease in margin space. I was expecting them to be the same size as far as height and length, so it surprised me to see such a noticeable difference. I didn’t look through all the illustrations in the paperback, but I’m sure there are some pages where the design gets cut off because of the size difference.

Obviously, since it’s slightly smaller, the paperback is also more lightweight than the hardcover. I think having a lighter option is great for those who want to carry this Bible around a lot. The lower price also makes it more enticing to those with lower budgets. The retail price for the paperback is half the price of the new Large Print coming out in September, so that is definitely a bonus.
Another major difference with the paperback is that the endpapers have no design. The blank edges are great for those who may want to decorate it themselves, or for those who want to add tabs and don’t want to obscure the designed edges on the other versions. Although the cover is mostly decorated, some of the flowers could also be colored in or extra detail could be added to the blank space as well.

I think over time the paperback version will have the same issue as the softcover version, in that the cover does not stay closed when the Bible is completely closed. That would definitely bother me, and I would either get a cover for it or get a stretchy band to help keep it closed. I cover all of my journaling Bibles with a handmade fabric cover anyway, so this wouldn’t necessarily deter me from buying it, but for those who purchase this Bible specifically for the cover design, that might be a drawback to using a cover. Another thing to note is that the paperback version does not have a ribbon bookmark. Again, not a deal breaker for me, but this might bother others.

Eventually there will be 4 types of Inspire Bibles: the hardcover (teal), the softcover (butterfly design), the paperback (white floral), and the large print (blue cover). I still prefer my hardcover to the paperback, but I think that the paperback will appeal to a lot of people looking for a compact, lightweight pre-illustrated journaling Bible. With all the different types, there is sure to be an Inspire Bible to appeal to a wide range of Bible journalers.

To order your own Inspire Bible, click here (affiliate link)!

Want to read more Bible reviews? Visit the Bible Reviews page to see all available posts.

HCSB Notetaking Bible [Review]

Since I started Bible journaling at the beginning of this year, I’m always looking for different translations to add to my library and study from. I was excited when I got the opportunity to receive a copy of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Notetaking Bible from B&H Publishing to review. After receiving the brown one, I purchased a second copy for myself, the red floral. I gave the brown one to my husband for Father’s Day so that we can study the Bible together and take notes, journal, pray, and draw together. I love that there were several different choices in covers so that we could have the same Bible but be able to tell them apart.

We have been excited to read from this translation, so this was a great opportunity to start. Here is a description from HCSB.org about the translation itself: “HCSB employs a translation philosophy known as Optimal Equivalence, which seeks to achieve an optimal balance of linguistic precision with contemporary clarity. In the many places throughout Scripture where a word-for-word rendering is clearly understandable, a literal translation is used. In places where a word-for-word rendering might obscure the meaning for a modern audience, a more dynamic translation is favored. This process assures that both the words and thoughts contained in the original are conveyed as accurately as possible.” 

These Bibles are beautiful and well made. Each margin is lightly lined to help guide notetaking, and even some of the blank pages are fully lined to offer more space for writing. The Bibles include the HCSB notes in the back, a concordance, and full-color maps. Each Bible lays flat when open to make it easier to study and write on a flat surface. 

I especially like that these Bibles are single column, which makes it easier to take notes right next to the verse you are studying. As far as size comparison, this Bible is bigger than my ESV double column, but smaller and lighter than my Inspire Bible. As with all journaling Bible, the pages are fairly thin and would require pens and highlighters that won’t bleed through. My favorite pens to use are Micron pens and gel highlighters, which neither of these will bleed through the page. 

Overall, I highly recommend these Bibles to anyone looking for an HCSB journaling Bible for notes or creative journaling. 

Want to read more Bible reviews? Visit the Bible Reviews page to see all available posts. 

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this review are my own. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H publishers through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Journaling Through Psalms

I have been doing some simple journaling through Psalms in my new NLT slimline Bible, as I mentioned in my review post here. This Bible wasn’t intended for art journaling, but I wanted to add color to the pages as I do my daily reading. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have a Bible now that will remain untouched by paint and color.

I also wanted to be able to show others that you don’t have to start with a specific journaling Bible in order to illustrate your faith. Just as God invites us to come right where we are, as we are, to Him, so also He invites us to connect with His word, right now with whatever way works best for us. Bible journaling doesn’t have to be elaborate; as a visual learner and a creative person, it only takes a little bit to help me connect with God’s word in a new way. 

I have found that the pages of this Bible are slightly different than in my other Bibles, and it does not take watercolor paint very well. I wanted to use this Bible as a way to try new techniques, but instead I plan to stretch myself to try different mediums. I am also trying to do some micro-journaling (aka tiny/miniature drawings in small margins and spaces). Flowers and leafy vines are my favorite, so I plan to add a lot of those to the tiny margins as I continue to read my way through Psalms. 
As I read, I am underlining verses that stand out to me and speak God’s truth to my heart. I have found that I am reading a lot more scripture in one sitting since I am illustrating a full two page spread at a time. I’m reading about five Psalms a day, so it should take me about 30 days to illustrate my way through all of them in this Bible.

I have also been trying to do more of my original journaling by writing out scripture and praying through it in my regular journal. I have missed doing something that has been my main method of devotions for a decade or more. I love that Bible journaling has refreshed my spirit and my time with God. It has helped me to creatively express myself as I connect with scripture as well as return to writing and praying the way I have always done. 

And of course, I had to sew a pretty cover for this little Bible. Although I like the neon blue and pink fuzzy cover, I wanted something a little more subdued. This makes two Bibles that I’ve done a cover for in this fabric because I love this pattern so much. I’m excited to read and illustrate more in this Bible. Follow me on Instagram @kountingsheep to see more pages.

Life Verse Creative Journal Set [Book Review]


Do you have a life verse? A verse of the Bible that speaks to your heart, one that perhaps you go back to over and over again throughout different seasons of your life? If you don’t have one or if you are unsure, this is a great place to start!

Life Verse Creative Journals by Jana Magruder and Morgan Grace Magruder is a set of two journals that helps you to creatively explore different passages of scripture through writing and drawing prompts. The first journal has pre-drawn illustrations and prompts to guide you through scripture and prayer to help discover meaningful verses to you. The second journal is filled with blank unlined pages to help you continue your writing and illustrating journey through prayer and scripture.

I was eager to receive this set and pleasantly surprised at the compact size of the journals. This set would be great for carrying along with your Bible as a tool to help you creatively explore God’s word. The illustrations inside the first journal are beautiful and great for coloring. They could even be used to trace into a journaling Bible. My favorite illustration was a stack of tea cups, but all of the drawings are inspiring; as soon as I opened this, I wanted to sit down to write and color and paint.

There is a good mix of drawings, hand-lettered verses, prompts, and blank space for writing. Each page is unique and different. One page even encouraged you to add in your own doodles amongst the ones already there on the page. Even the covers on both of these encourage coloring and more artwork. This set is definitely more than just a coloring book, though; it is an intentional creative exploration through several different beloved verses. The journaling prompts are not super in-depth, but they offer a great variety and the blank journal makes a good complement to do more in-depth study if you desire.

I can’t wait to get a chance to color and journal in these! I imagine that I will be using them soon as a creative study tool as part of my Bible journaling. I highly recommend this set as a gift or for yourself.

 

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this review are my own. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Lifeway/B&H Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Girls Slimline NLT Bible [Book Review]

teenbible

Today I’m excited to share with you about this sweet little Bible that I received to review. The Girls Slimline NLT Bible from Tyndale has been a great Bible to carry around and use for my daily devotions. I think the reason why I love this Bible so much is because it would have been something I would have wanted as a teen girl. To be honest, I was absolutely giddy to receive it as a grown woman!

Here’s the description from the publisher: “This adorable edition of God’s Word for girls features the easy-to-understand New Living Translation text with a soft-fur, bright-neon LOVE design and silver glittery lining. The BOLD FAITH design on the back cover encourages girls to live out their faith in ways that bring God glory. This hardcover deluxe edition also features purple page edges, neon orange ribbon marker, special presentation page, 8 pages of full-color maps, and a 53-page dictionary/concordance to help locate passages on various topics. The New Living Translation text is excellent for young readers because it is so clear and they can understand what they are reading! When they can read and understand God’s Word, God can work in their hearts!”

Not only do the outer and inner covers of this Bible feature fun colors and textures, but it also encourages young girls to Be Bold in their faith. And you have to be bold to carry around a teal and pink fuzzy Bible!

The size is prefect for carrying around to church or slipping into a backpack or purse. It is not heavy at all, and the text is still very readable despite being on the smaller side. The extra material in the back includes Concordance/Dictionary, One Year Reading Plan, Great Chapters to Read and Verses to Memorize, and maps.

I really like the suggested chapters to read and verses to memorize, because it’s a great way for teens to navigate the Bible on their own. This section gives the reader the ability to look up helpful verses by topic to help see what God’s word says about what she is currently struggling with.

Another great feature of this Bible is that it lays flat. That way you can lay it on a desk or table to read without having to worry about losing your spot if you walk away. This also makes it easier to read with this Bible on your lap in church and take notes.

I’m really impressed with the Girls Slimline NLT Bible, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and functional Bible for a teen girl (or for yourself, let’s be honest). I’ll be posting later this week about how I have been personally using this Bible in my daily devotions.

 

Please note that all pictues (except the first one) and opinions contained in this review are my own. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”