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Through Christ Devotional Completed

16 Jun

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]

16 May

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

4 May

“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

5 Jul

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]

1 Jul

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

11 May

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]

10 May


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]

3 May

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.”

Photo Friday: A Late 30

1 Apr

 I forgot to post a few weeks ago that I officially turned 30. It’s weird to think that this is my actual age, when sometimes I feel like I am still 23. It’s amazing how much my life has changed and how much has happened in the last decade. The morning of my birthday I was awake early before my daughter got up, and I decided to start the day with some Bible journaling. Psalm 30:5 “…weeping may tarry for the night but JOY comes with the morning.” It would be easy to dwell on all the bad things that happened in my twenties and be fearful about the future, but this verse was a great reminder that with God there is always joy to be found. Only He can bring the type of joy that “turns mourning into dancing.” God has brought me a long way, and He is always there for me, so I am happy to say I have lived 30 years of life!

Ombré watercolor in purple, owl stamps, flower washi tape, and heart tab. All my favorite sort of things.

Inspire Bible Journaling Holy Week: Good Friday

25 Mar

 I’m a little behind on my posts, so I am going to be brief today and just post my illustrations from yesterday and today. You can watch me illustrate yesterday’s page in Isaiah 53 here

 For today, I tried out some new watercolor gel crayons that I found at Target. I was pleased to find that they do not bleed through the pages, even with no prep, so I used them to add all this color. The paint went on really smooth and did not dry chalky. I’m excited to use them again in my Bible. 

 “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out His anger on us. Christ died for us so that whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with Him forever… Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, 23-24

I won’t be posting this weekend as I celebrate Easter with my family. I will post my illustrated pages from Easter weekend here on the blog sometime next week. I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!

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