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 [Review]

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. This Bible also comes in multiple cover options, if pink fuzzy neon covers aren’t quite you’re style.

To order your own copy of the Girls Slimline NLT Bible in the “Love” cover on Amazon, click here. To order the Guys Slimline black and blue TuTone cover style, click here. To order the Teen Slimline with gray cover, click here. And finally the Pink Indexed version is available here.

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

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission when you purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. Tyndale sent me a copy of this Bible in exchange for my honest review. All pictures and opinions contained within this post are my own.

Photo Friday: A Late 30

 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

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.

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!

Inspire Bible Journaling Holy Week: Day 3

 It’s time for Holy Week Day 3 entry in my Inspire Bible. The passage I chose for today is from Luke 9:22-25 “‘The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,’ He said. ‘He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day He will be raised from the dead.’ Then He said to the crowd, ‘if any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily and follow Me. If you try to hang onto your life you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?'”

 For this page I came up with the idea to use the colors of the Inspire Bible for my illustration today. I wanted to keep it simple, since I was limited on how much time I could spending journaling today. I love that I can take as little or as long as I want, and yet I’m still spending time reading God’s word and impressing it on my heart.

  Here is the list of supplies that I used:

  • Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils and regular colored pencils
  • Apple Barrel craft acrylic paint 
  • Faber-Castell Pitt pen
  • Teal gel pen (did not like this one because it was easily smeared)
  • Illustrated Faith printable for tab and glue stick
  • Illustrated Faith heart stickers
  • Illustrated faith heart stamp and stamp ink
  • Date stamp

I swiped acrylic paint on with an old gift card, making sure not to get it on the passage I outlined. I wanted that section of scripture to stand out on this page, but all of the words are still readable through the paint. I used colored pencils for the actual illustration, and then added in some heart embellishments. 

 I did have someone ask me what this Bible looks like with tabs, so here is the top view of my Bible so far. In this Bible, I have chosen to just tab the pages I have journaled. Since the edges are so pretty, I didn’t want to also add in Books of the Bible tabs too. But that’s the great thing about this Bible: you still have the freedom to make it your own style, despite the pre-printed illustrations and edges!

 For the day before Good Friday, I decided that I wanted to spend some time in Isaiah 53 (page 879). Join me tomorrow in illustrating how God prepared His people for His plan to save them even before Jesus ever walked this earth. If you would like to receive notifications for when new blog posts are published, you can subscribe to this blog, follow me on Instagram @kountingsheep, and follow me on Facebook here

Inspire Bible Journaling Holy Week: Day 2

 As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am journaling in my Inspire Bible for Holy Week and invite others to join me. For the second day of Holy Week, I decided to journal in 1 Peter 3:18 which says “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” Yesterday I also got the email newsletter from Illustrated Faith with a free Holy Week printable that I used for the color inspiration for this page, which eventually led to me illustrating the next page too. 

 The supplies I used for this two page spread were the following:

  • Master’s Touch heavy body acrylic paint in neon colors (from Hobby Lobby)
  • Illustrated Faith free printable 
  • Illustrated Faith stickers
  • Illustrated Faith washi tape
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Pen
  • Pink and White Gelly Roll gel pens
  • Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils
  • Scissors, glue stick, and an old gift card for spreading the paint
  • Date stamp and stamp ink

None of these supplies bled through, and I do not prep my pages. The acrylic paint goes on really smooth and dries really fast, so I was able to add the embellishments quickly after painting. I use a pea-size amount of paint on the edge of an old gift card to swipe the paint onto the page. The paint is translucent enough that even with overlapping layers, the words of the text are still visible.

The words “sacrifice” and “suffering” really stood out to me as I was illustrating these pages. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, once for all time, we are reconciled to God, and through the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can face whatever trials we may experience in this life. Christ became human and suffered so that He could sympathize with our human suffering. 
  1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear Friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” I love these bright, colorful, vibrant pages to remind me that my joy comes from God, even in the midst of trials, and that Jesus’ work is finished and He lives!

 Join me today in illustrating Luke 9:23 on page 1249 in the Inspire Bible, which officially released today! Feel free to tag me in Instagram @kountingsheep if you will be joining me on this journey through Holy Week in your Inspire Bible.

Inspire Bible Journaling Holy Week: Palm Sunday

This week is traditionally referred to as Holy Week, and includes Palm Sunday, Good Friday and culminates on Resurrection Sunday (Easter). This year I decided to journal my way through the week in my Inspire Bible. Each day I will be posting a finished page from the previous day, as well as the unfinished page I plan to illustrate next. I encourage anyone who would like to join me to sign up to follow this blog so you can receive email notifications when the new day gets posted. (Click “Follow the Blog” either in the sidebar if viewing on a computer or at the bottom of the page if viewing mobile.)

I was a little disappointed there weren’t any illustrations specifically for Palm Sunday in any of the gospels that describe “Jesus’ Truimphant Entry” in the Inspire Bible. Since the NLT translation doesn’t use the word “Hosanna” in the description either, I decided to journal the illustration a few pages after this passage in Matthew 21 that had the words “LORD” surrounded by leaves and flowers.

The supplies I used for this page include the following:

  • Artist Loft Watercolors
  • Pentel Aquash Water Brushes
  • Illustrated Faith Pen
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Pen
  • Date Stamp
  • Black stamp ink
  • Cross washi tape
  • Illustrated Faith chipboard tab
  • Illustrated Faith mat

These supplies are some of my favorites and most used when it comes to illustrating in my Bible. I do not “prep” my pages and apply the supplies directly to the page. Most of these supplies do not bleed through to the other side; only the stamp ink bleeds through sometimes but not every time.

As I was painting this page, I was meditating on the truth that Jesus is Lord. He is Lord of Palm Sunday, He is Lord of the events of this week that we celebrate, and He is Lord of my every day. In Matthew 22: 37-40 it says “…You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Hosanna!

Tomorrow I will be posting the page I will illustrate today, which can be found in 1 Peter 3:18 (page 1462 in the Inspire Bible). Feel free to illustrate with me, and tag @kountingsheep on Instagram to share.

The Inspire Bible officially releases tomorrow, so grab your copy at your local Christian bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or online at Amazon here.

Please note this post contains affiliate links. This just means I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you when you purchase items through the link.

Journaling in My Inspire Bible

Now that I have had my new Inspire Bible for a week, I figured it was time to do another post with photos of the pages I have journaled and illustrated so far. I am really enjoying this Bible the more time I spend in it, and even more so, I feel my relationship with God deepening as I meditate on His word through creative worship.

One benefit of this Bible that I have already been able to experience is the ability to pick a scripture on my heart to color and meditate while coloring, and not have to worry about what I’m going to draw or paint. A few nights ago I was having a lot of anxiety and wanted to just spend some time meditating on Philippians 4:6-7. When I turned to the passage and found that it had a large illustration ready to be colored, I was elated! I spent an hour slowly coloring while repeating over and over to myself “don’t worry about anything, pray about everything. And God’s peace will guard my heart.” Ever since I spent time praying and coloring this verse, I have been feeling less worried and anxious. What a blessing to have this Bible in order to creatively worship and spend time in the Word!

Another thing I have really enjoyed is using watercolors with the illustrations. This is my first single column Bible, and I love having extra margin space to add to the illustrations when I want to fill in the page more and personalize the pre-printed illustrations.

One of my favorite pages that I have done was my JOY page. This page makes me happy every time I look at it, because I know that it came out of the joy that God has placed in my heart for His word. It’s been a long time since I have felt joy and passion for God’s word, and I rejoice that God has been working in my life through this journey of Bible journaling.

To purchase your own teal hardcover Inspire Bible, shop through my Amazon affiliate link here.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This just means I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you when you purchase items through my link.

Inspire Bible [Review]

Yesterday I received my free advance copy of the new Inspire Bible after winning a contest on the Inspire Bible Facebook page, and I wanted to post a review on my blog about it so others can get a glimpse of it before it releases on March 22. I was really excited to receive the hardcover version of this Bible, and it is definitely better in person than anything I have seen and exceeded my expectations.

 The hardcover has the butterfly pattern on the endpapers, which initially drew me to this Bible when I first saw it a couple of weeks ago, since butterflies are one of my favorites. There is an imitation leather version with a fully-illustrated cover and simpler design on the endpapers as another option.

I think the biggest thing that surprised me about the inside was that even on the title, introduction, and index pages there are illustrations, which would be great for testing out new supplies before trying on an actual passage. There was a lot of attention to little details that make this Bible even better.

The inside front and back covers are completely covered with beautiful illustrations. My husband joined me in coloring the inside front cover as my very first coloring in my new Bible. We used Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils and Prismacolor Pencils. This was such a great experience coloring together, and I am sure we will do it again.

The actual pages of the Bible are still thin compared to normal coloring books, but slightly thicker than my ESV double column journaling Bible. You can see some shadowing of the pre-printed illustrations, but I didn’t find this too bothersome. On the blank pages, the margins are lined, and on pages with illustration, the margins are unlined. The Inspire Bible is also about an inch taller, since it is single column and the font size is larger at 8.65 point font. Since this is my first single column journaling Bible, I don’t know how it would compare to other single column versions.

Another thing that I was happily surprised about was the Index of illustrations in the back. This is very useful for finding each page with an illustration in both the Old and New Testaments.

The New Testament had more full page illustrations in it than the Old Testament, including the only two-page one-illustration spread (there are other places in which illustrations are on a two-page spread, but they are two separate illustrations).

Another thing I liked about the illustrations themselves is that they vary in style throughout the Bible. Florals, birds, lettering, scrolls, hand-drawn scenes, mini castles, crowns, sheep, and even a deer are just some of the things to be found. But there is also plenty of space to add my own illustrations, lettering, embellishments, and journaling. There are over 400 illustrations according to the publisher, which is only about one-third of this Bible. For the most part there was a good balance between blank and illustrated pages, but some parts in the Old Testament I noticed were a bit sparse on the illustrations, while the New Testament is on the heavier side for the illustrations to blank pages ratio.


 One thing that I don’t like so much is that some of the more intricately detailed illustrations have very small details that are hard to color unless you have super sharp or thin points on your colored pencil. I don’t have much experience with new adult coloring books, but I think this is a common problem, and I wouldn’t consider it a deterrent to getting this Bible. Another drawback is that I would consider both the outer cover, endpapers design, and a majority of the illustrations to be on the feminine side, which may prevent some people, especially boys and men, from wanting to own this Bible. I hope that eventually a more neutral design will be offered.
Overall, I highly recommend the Inspire Bible, and had I not received it for free by winning their contest, I would have eventually purchased it myself. To order your own Inspire Bible from Amazon, click here (affiliate link).

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

Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. All pictures and opinions in this blog post are my own. I was not asked to do this review or compensated in any way in exchange for a review; I merely wrote this to share my personal feelings on this new Bible for others. I won my free copy on my own merit.