Classic Hymns: Read and Reflect with the Classics [Review]

As we enter December and the Advent season, I know a lot of people are looking for devotionals and reading plans to use both in personal study and with their families. B&H Publishing was kind enough to send me a copy of the book “Classic Hymns: Read and Reflect with the Classics” to review and share my thoughts. I thought this would be a great opportunity to suggest a non-Christmas-themed devotional. You can order a copy for yourself on Amazon through my affiliate link here.

First of all, I love hardcover, cloth over board, books. The outside cover gives a feel of a classic, timeless title. I also liked that it wasn’t flashy or gimmicky, which is very appropriate for Hymns since they are a more traditional style of worship.

The book includes 90 traditional hymns, including several Christmas hymns at the end of the book. Each chapter is just a few short pages and includes the full text of the hymn, Bible study questions with a suggested passage to read, personal reflection questions, and a prayer suggestion/topic as promoted by the hymn. I would consider the text of this book to be more of a devotional, since it doesn’t really include historical information about the hymns themselves other than the songwriter(s) and the year it was written.

I really like the fact that you can choose how in-depth you want to go into studying the hymn and suggested Scripture passages. I think this would be a perfect devotional to use during Advent when time can be limited, and I’m looking for a thoughtful, but brief study.

I grew up going to baptist churches, where we often still used hymnals and “praise and worship” style songs projected onto a screen was just starting to emerge and gain popularity. So I have a fondness for hymns and enjoy any resources that take traditional hymns and bring them to a modern audience. I will say that I’m a little disappointed that there wasn’t more historical information included to give context, as well as maybe some small explanations of the phrases and theology of the hymns themselves for those who may not be familiar with the language of hymns. Overall I would recommend this book for both personal and family study for those who want explore hymns in relation to scripture. I am looking forward to exploring this book more and using it as a study tool with my Bible journaling.

You can order “Classic Hymns” on Amazon here.

Please note this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through the links at no additional cost to you. B&H Publishing sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All pictures and opinions are my own.

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Gratitude Documented Round-Up and Cyber Monday Sale

I wanted to share the journaling pages I did for Gratitude Documented. I didn’t journal all 30 days, and I wasn’t planning to, so I’m happy with the amount of time I was able to spend in thankfulness this month. I did a process video for one of my pages, so make sure to check it out here. (Psst, make sure you read to the end of this post for a Cyber Monday coupon code for Dayspring!)

I did my gratitude journaling in both my Inspire Praise Bible and my Documented Faith Binder. Not every page had a “fall” theme to the art, since an attitude of thankfulness should be something I try to have year-round. I also got to try out my new Documented Faith products that I received as part of my Blessed Friend ambassadorship. I think my favorite new item is the Bible sticky notes that are great for adding prayer journaling to the margin.

I have been loving my new Inspire Praise Bible as well. I tried to use a combo of blank margins and illustrated margins as I did my Gratitude journaling. I noticed that when I kept the entries simple or just colored, I was able to focus on the gratitude prompt a little more than on the pages where I was trying out some different techniques.

It’s been a lot of fun to see how different people interpret the same prompt in different ways in the margins of their Bible. That’s why I love being part of the Bible journaling community, because even though I’m mostly experiencing this community online, it still feels like a tight-knit group of people sharing their heart through their art. And that’s something to be thankful for.

In total, I journaled 10 pages in my Bible and 4 pages in my Documented Faith Binder for Gratitude documented. It was fun to have a bunch of supplies to choose from, but at times it was overwhelming to have all the different pieces. My plan for Advent is to keep it a little simpler when it comes to supplies, since I will be trying to journal every day in December. If you journaled for Gratitude Documented, how many entries were you able to finish? What was your favorite prompt? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below.

You can grab the Gratitude kit here for the last few days of November, or pick up the Advent kit here to get a head start for December. For one day only, use code MONDAY17 to save 35% off your entire purchase at Dayspring here (excludes Willow Tree). Sale ends Monday 11/27 at 11:59pm. You can order the Inspire Praise Bible on Amazon here. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to receive new blog posts right to your inbox!

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

November Gratitude Kit Review + Prep

Since I’ve had a chance to play with the new Gratitude kit from Illustrated Faith that Dayspring sent to me, I wanted to share my review as well as some of the ways that I will be documenting my thankfulness next month. If you’re looking to get started with the Gratitude kit, you can order through my Dayspring affiliate link here. To watch my unboxing video, click here

When I first opened up the kit, I will admit that I was a bit disappointed. But as I started looking at all the supplies that Dayspring offers from their Gratitude Documented line of products, I realized that I don’t really think this kit is meant to be a stand-alone one. It coordinates perfectly with the Gratitude Documented Bible Journaling kit and other products in that line, so my thought is that they didn’t want to repeat anything already available in the ephemera, stickers, and stamps. Like I mentioned in my unboxing video, you can pick and choose what products you can add-on to the Gratitude kit. There are also some great autumn printables in the Print and Pray shop, including the free 30 day Gratitude verses prompt, available to download here. There’s is no devotional content in this kit, so having the free 30 verses is helpful. 

I’m grateful for lots of different variety this month, which allows me to pick and choose what I want to use (or pick all the things to use)! I know there’s a lot of anticipation for Gratitude Documented, so I thought I would share a few ways I’m going to be working through my kit, supplies, and verse prompts. There’s no right or wrong way to journal, and there are lots of great ideas from the Bible journaling community to provide inspiration. 

First of all, this is a very busy time of year for me as a small shop owner, on top of all the holiday stuff. In addition to being on the Illustrated Faith launch team, I’m also a Blessed Friends Ambassador for Documented Faith for the next 3 months. Add in the Inspire Praise Bible launch team I joined, and I’m juggling a lot of things. In order to keep myself from going crazy with all of these amazing opportunities, I decided the best thing to do was to simplify for the next two months until things die down. That means I will be only using my Inspire Praise Bible (review coming soon) and my Documented Faith binder. All the other things I’ve worked on previously will be put on hold so that I can really focus on just a few things at a time. And I think this is a great lesson for Gratitude Documented, that you can use what you have and what works for your busy schedule. 

I know there are lots of people who plan to journal daily for all 30 days of November, but I know for me that’s just too much. I do want to explore all the verses, even if I don’t plan to journal every single one, so my solution for that is to use the 30 day verse prompt as my Scripture writing for the next 6 weeks (2 weeks of October and 4 weeks of November). That means I’ll be writing out 5 verses per week in my Documented Faith binder.

The great thing about this binder is that the included inserts are great for scripture writing. There are blank monthly calendar view inserts that I could use for a quick daily thankfulness list. I know many people are creating booklets or travelers notebooks, but I tend to gravitate towards things that are more like a journal, like my Bible or a planner. 

I tend to do my scripture writing in one sitting, which will allow me to pull a few verses that I can journal further in my Bible. This page in the Inspire Praise Bible happened to have an illustration for the verse from the Gratitude prompt, so it was perfect to add some of my own embellishments to the blank margin on the opposite side. I used the square cross-hath geometric stamp from the Gratitude kit to Create the green marks all around the edges of the pages. It reminds me of leaves, but it’s much bigger and great for layering. 

Since the kit only came with 3 acorn tip-ins, I used the kraft mailer to create 4 more acorns. I won’t be making a little booklet or paper bag book this month, so this was a great way to use up the envelope, as well as to just use what I have. Because that is, after all, the point of Gratitude Documented: to be grateful for what you have and what God has blessed you with. It’s not about the supplies, however fun they may be, it’s about having a heart of thankfulness and using that to propel your worship to God. 

I hope that this post provides some inspiration for a few different ways to document your gratitude in November. To purchase the Gratitude kit, click here and use code IFSHIPSFREE for free domestic shipping. To preorder the Inspire Praise Bible on Amazon, click here. To order the Documented Faith 365 Binder, click here

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. Dayspring sent me the Gratitude kit in exchange for my honest review. Adorn-It sent me the Documented Faith binder as part of my participation as a brand ambassador. All pictures and opinions in this post are my own. 

Gratitude Kit is Here!

Are you ready for a month of thankfulness? November’s Gratitude kit is now available for sale on Dayspring here. Today is also the last day to save 25% off your entire order with code FAMILY plus free shipping on orders over $50! You can watch my unboxing video of the Gratitude kit here

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the Illustrated Faith newsletter at illustratedfaith.com to receive a free 30 day prompt to use for the month of November (scroll to the bottom of the page for the newsletter sign up).

To order the Gratitude Kit, click here

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

She Reads Truth Bible [Review]

When I found out that B&H Publishing would be sending me the She Reads Truth Bible to review, I was ecstatic! I’ve had this Bible on my wishlist ever since it came out April this year, but I hadn’t been able to justify ordering another bible, even though I needed one to use for reading/studying purposes separate from journaling. Ever since it landed on my doorstep, I’ve been carrying it around everywhere (not hyperbole), and I’m so glad it’s finally in my hands. (You can order it from my Amazon affiliate link here).

Here is the description of the She Reads Truth Bible from the publisher: “The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of ‘Women in the Word of God every day.’ The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.” 

This Bible is done in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation, which is the same as the HCSB but they have just recently dropped the H for Holman the name of the publisher. My husband introduced me to this translation, and it has quickly become my favorite, especially since it uses both word-for-word and thought-for-thought styles of translation. Here is the description of the CSB translation from the publishers: “The She Reads Truth Bible features the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) text. Translated by more than 100 scholars from 17 denominations, the Christian Standard Bible features an optimal blend of accuracy and readability that’s faithful for serious study, and written with heart-stirring clarity that inspires readers to live and share it.”

So now that I’ve told you what this Bible is, let’s talk about the included features inside. I received the gray linen hardcover, but there are several other colors and styles including an indexed version and an imitation leather softcover. This Bible includes two ribbon bookmarks, one red and one white. A genius idea, and they are spaced in two different spots to make it easier to mark your place depending on which part of the Bible you’re in. The supplemental material in the front includes an introduction, the gospel message, information about the CSB translation, and an explanation of key features. In the back there is a one year reading plan, a concordance, the Apostle’s Creed, and a list of key verses for each book of the Bible conveniently color coded based on genre.

Each book of the Bible begins with a key verse artwork piece, a one page explanation/historical background, a map, a timeline or a chart based on the content of the book, and a reading plan for the book that also gives supplemental verses for further reading. Spread throughout the text are 189 devotionals that expound on a particular section of scripture in order to direct your heart to God. These devotionals are written by the women of She Reads Truth, so I would consider them the highlight of this Bible (besides the Word itself) for anyone who has used She Reads Truth for personal study before. 

The format of the text itself leaves room in the margins for notetaking and art worship. However the pages are extremely thin, thinner than most journaling Bibles I’ve encountered, so I could imagine it might cause a lot of shadowing and bleed through. If that is something that concerns you, I would recommend using this Bible more for reading instead. I have found that my favorite Zebrite Bible highlighters do not bleed through the thin pages (they do shadow), and I will be using them to highlight meaningful verses. I have given an example in my reading and highlighting of Proverbs to show a block of text that I highlighted and what it looks like on the back side of the page. I did try to press lightly and not go over the same spot twice to keep the shadowing to a minimum and prevent bleed through. (You can purchase the Zebrite Bible highlighters here.)

I did also feel like the cover was a bit plain for my personal taste, but I am glad to see that they chose colors and covers that would appeal to a broad range of women. Many women’s Bibles tend to be overly flowery and feminine, so the She Reads Truth Bible took other tastes into consideration when creating the aesthetics. I did purchase a quilted “Purple Fancy” cover for mine, which you can find here on Amazon if that’s your style too. This cover fits this Bible great with just a little room to spare. 

Overall I am highly pleased with this Bible, and I am very confident in my recommendation of the She Reads Truth Bible. Whether you are new to the She Reads Truth community or a veteran, this Bible would be a great addition to any woman’s library. 

To purchase your own copy of the She Reads Truth Gray Linen Hardcover on Amazon, click here. For the Poppy Linen cover, click here. And for the Navy imitation leather softcover, click here

Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission when you purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. I received a copy of the She Reads Truth Bible from B&H/Lifeway publishers in exchange for my honest review. All pictures and opinions contained within are my own. All other products mentioned were not provided, but rather purchased on my own. 

New Word Nerd Devotional Kit + Freebies and More

The new Word Nerd devotional kit by Illustrated Faith from Dayspring is now available for sale. This cute kit includes 4 weeks of devotional content, 4 journaling cards, a stamp set, die cut pieces and a full roll of washi tape. To see my unboxing video of the entire kit, click here

If you’re a bookworm who loves Jesus, then this kit is for you! I’m so excited to work through this one, especially since I proudly wear my nerdy girl status! I wanted to do something a little different this month, so I made a paper bag book. I’ll be doing a tutorial and flip through video later this week as well as posting a blog post with more details. 

If you buy the kit before 9/29, you get to pick a free gift at checkout! Plus use code IFSHIPSFREE for free domestic shipping. That’s an almost $40 value for only $20, so hurry and get your kit and freebie here

A bunch of new releases also landed on the Dayspring website today, including a new style of my favorite Organization bag. You can see a video of my Organization bag and all the supplies I can stuff in mine here. There’s also a new starter kit that contains the original Created to Create devotional and pieces, great for beginning Bible journalers! You can find all these goodies and more by shopping through my affiliate link here

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through my links, but there is no additional cost to you. All opinions and pictures contained in this post are my own. 

How I’m Journaling: Gratitude Documented

Illustrated Faith and Dayspring have released three new collections this month: Faith > Fear, Gratitude Documented, and Advent. You can buy the items individually, or pick up the journaling kit that has an assortment of commonly used items for Bible journaling. Dayspring was kind enough to send me the Gratitude Documented journaling kit, and it is so cute! To see my unboxing video of the kit, the coordinating stamp set and other goodies, click here. (Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through my links, but there is no additional cost to you.)

Instead of posting a “review” type post, I thought it would be fun to show you the two different ways I plan to use my Gratitude Documented supplies. This kit is seriously packed with so much stuff that I’ll definitely be able to use it over the next three months leading up to Thanksgiving. What better way to spend some reflection time while journaling during some of the busiest months of the year than to focus on prayers of thanksgiving? 

Even though this kit doesn’t have any devotional content, every single die cut piece has a verse on the back to prompt journaling. That means 39 pieces equals 39 verses of possible journaling. Not only that but the stamps (sold separately) can be used over and over again, which is the main reason why I had to buy the stamps to go with my new kit. It’s always tempting to hoard favorite pieces, waiting for just the right “page” or right “verse” or right “moment” to use it, at least it is for me. I would encourage you to use it up, just like I’m trying to do! Don’t be afraid to create because you might “mess up” your pretty pieces. Mistakes happen, messes happen, and some of my favorite or most memorable entries were happy accidents that I go back to over and over again. After all, once you use your favorite pieces, it’s not like they’re gone forever; they’re right there on the page for you to enjoy and remember what God taught you in that moment. 

So the first way that I will be using this kit is in my Bible. For my first page using the kit, I decided to jump in and use one of my favorite pieces: the “blessed” tree stump. I don’t know why, but I just thought it was the cutest. Luckily there’s also a stamp in the stamp set that has a similar stump without the words, and there is a sticker piece, so there will be other opportunities to use this design. 

This Bible is getting quite full and it took me awhile to find a die cut that had a verse I hadn’t journaled that page already. I eventually settled on the leaf that had Colossians 2:6-7 on it, which reads, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” That word “rooted” helped tie in my cute little tree stump with the words “blessed.” I find that when I am the most rooted in Christ is when I can appreciate my blessings the most, because He has truly blessed me beyond what I deserve, and it’s so easy to forget that. 

This particular page also happened to have some shadowing from messy paint on the other side, so it was a great opportunity to use a tip-in from the kit to mask that in the margin. I also got a chance to use my new Illustrated Faith acrylic paints, and I really liked how the pink paint came out the color as displayed on the tube: very bright and vibrant!

The second way that I’ll be using the Gratitude Documented kit and stamps is in my Faith planner. I just recently found an Illustrated Faith 2017-2018 planner on clearance at Hobby Lobby and couldn’t resist. I’ve been needing a more organized way to keep track of all my tasks that seem to be adding up as the holidays approach, and I’ve always loved keeping a physical planner instead of just using my phone calendar. Since I don’t really need all the weekly layout space for planning and lists, I’ve been using that section each week to write out verses from a weekly scripture challenge I’m using based on the topic of contentment. I felt like contentment and gratitude go together very well, so it was great timing to be using these verses with this kit. 

Each Sunday I’ve been trying to sit down and write out my weekly verses and then decorate the leftover white space. I like writing out all four verses at once and then decorating the spread in one sitting, so then I can flip back to it throughout the week and read over the verses. With two young children, it’s often hard to commit to a daily task of this kind during the busy week, because sometimes I just don’t get enough free time. But I always have a little bit more time on the weekend to write them out when my husband is off from work, and then I can always find a few minutes each day during the weekdays to reread my verses. I’ve only been doing this for two weeks now, but I’ve found that it helps me to have a better mindset to face the week. 

Illustrating in my planner also gives me an opportunity to use some of the bigger pieces that I may not want to use in my Bible. I knew that I probably wouldn’t use this “I am thankful for…” die cut in my Bible, but it filled up the bottom blank section of my planner page perfectly. I also plan to use some of the tip-ins with my planner as well, because I think some of the writing prompts will fit in better where I can have more space for writing than the margin of my Bible. 

So those are two of the ways I’ll be using my Gratitude Documented kit and stamps over the next few months. I definitely think these new collection kits are a great starter for newer Bible journalers, or for busy moms like me that just need some simple pieces to get you into the word throughout the week. If you are interested in picking up this new Gratitude Documented kit, click my affiliate link here to shop. For the stamp set, click here

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through my links, but there is no additional cost to you. Dayspring sent me the Gratitude Documented kit in exchange for my honest review. All other products mentioned were purchased on my own. All opinions and pictures contained in this post are my own. 

Created to Create 2 Kit + Watercolors [Review]

I hope you had a relaxing Labor Day weekend! It’s time to jump back into the week with a new blog post. Today I’ll be reviewing the Created to Create 2 devotional kit and Illustrated Faith Watercolor set from Dayspring. You can see a full unboxing video here on my YouTube Channel, and purchase your own kit here (affiliate link).

When I heard that the kit for September would be a sequel to the original Created to Create kit, I knew it would be a good one! After I received my kit, I was pleasantly surprised to see the fun colors and inspiring content; it made me want to jump into my Bible right away. The September kit definitely spoke to my personal style more than the previous kit. I was also happy to see that the content was similar but not an exact repeat, especially for those like myself that already had the original Created to Create. 

Some of my favorite pieces in this month’s devotional kit would have to be the cute little scissors stamp, the die cut banner pieces, the giant word die cuts, and all the colorful stickers. I also love that this kit is an opportunity for me to explore this topic again and do different journaling entries. I worked through the original Created to Create kit when I was still figuring out my journaling style, and some of those entries didn’t turn out how I was hoping. So being able to journal through the sequel gives me an opportunity to try some different things this time. 

I will admit that my one criticism for the new Created to Create 2 kit is that the stamps and some of the die cuts are a bit heavy on the paint brush theme, and I wish there had been a bit more variety as to those pieces. I would have loved to see a watercolor set stamp or paint swipe stamp included. However I do have the original stamp set to supplement this kit, but for those who don’t have access to the original stamp set might be slightly disappointed. I still highly recommend this kit because there’s so much good stuff, the colors are super fun, and it’s such a great way to explore God our creator and how he has infused us with creativity. 

In addition to the Created to Create 2 kit, Dayspring also sent me the Illustrated Faith watercolor set to share with you and try out for myself. I have had my eye on this set ever since it came out, so I was thrilled to find out I would finally get a chance to have a set of my own. I love the portable size and the fact that it comes with a travel brush. This would be a great set to take on the go. 

These watercolors are artist quality, which means they are not chalky, they are smooth on the page when dry, and they don’t bleed through! All are common concerns from Bible journalers, so this would be a great set to add to your stash. The colors are vibrant, and of course match well with other Illustrated Faith pieces. Today, Tuesday September 5th is the last day to get this set for only $10, so go grab a set of your own here. I will be doing a process video with this watercolor set, so make sure you are subscribed to my YouTube Channel here.

Leave a comment below with how you plan to use the Created to Create 2 kit! Check back later this week for another post. Shop the last day of the End of Summer sale here and get great Illustrated Faith products at up to 70% off. 

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

Illustrated Faith Turns 3 + My Story [Giveaway]

Illustrated Faith turns 3 today! To celebrate this milestone, Dayspring is hosting a giveaway for one lucky winner to receive ALL 19 of the devotional kits that Illustrated Faith and Dayspring have done together. So yes, that means even the retired kits like the original Created to Create. For your chance to win, enter the giveaway here between now and September 5th.
img_2661-2I am so grateful for discovering this wonderful community of Bible Journaling! I started officially Bible Journaling on January 1, 2016 after a very difficult and painful church experience that had left me broken and distant. But God sought me and brought me back into his word so that he could heal my heart. Expressing my worship and prayers creatively through illustrating in my Bible has brought such a renewal to my crushed spirit and healed me in many ways. The community of creatives illustrating in their Bibles gave me a chance to interact with other Christians again without worry of being hurt again.

I’ve also never shared so much of my faith before publicly, and I love that my illustrated Bible pages have given me that opportunity! I’ve had the opportunity to lead a Bible journaling night with my friends, and this month I’ll be starting a monthly gathering at my home to share Bible journaling with friends on an ongoing basis. I’ve also just recently become a Dayspring affiliate and part of the Illustrated Faith launch team, which means I get to share products that I already use and love!

I can’t wait to see where Illustrated Faith will take me in the years ahead, but I know one thing: God is faithful and he never leaves me.  He has created me to be passionate about creativity! I’d love to hear your story of how you got started Bible journaling, so feel free to share in a comment below! If you want to get started Bible journaling for the first time, feel free to ask me questions in a comment. Here are some tips from Illustrated Faith for getting started:

Don’t forget you also have until September 5th to shop the big Illustrated Faith sale here. And grab the New Created to Create 2 kit here.

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

Created to Create 2 Is Here!

The sequel to one of Illustrated Faith’s most popular kit, Created to Create, is now here! This fun kit just released today, and it is so cute! Created to Create 2 will help you unleash your God-given creativity as you illustrate in your Bible with all the cute embellishments. You can grab one of your own here and use code IFSHIPSFREE for free domestic shipping. 

Don’t forget to shop the big Illustrated Faith sale, and pick up some extra goodies to go along with your kit at a discounted price! Watercolor and acrylic paint sets are only $10 each (originally $30)! Items as low as $1, so don’t forget to add a few extras to your shopping cart here

I will have an unboxing video of the new Created to Create 2 kit later this week, so make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here

Please note post contains affiliate links. This just means I receive a small commission off purchases made through the links at no additional cost to you. Pictures courtesy of Dayspring.