CSB Study Bible for Women [Review]

Lifeway was kind enough to send me a copy of the new CSB Study Bible For Women to review on my blog, so today I will be focusing on this beautiful new Bible. Make sure you read until the end of the post to find out how you can win a copy for yourself!

To order a copy of the CSB Study Bible for Women on Amazon, click here.

This new study Bible is an update of a previous version, The Study Bible for Women (HCSB), originally published in 2014. The same editor team of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley are part of this updated 2018 version, which includes a new design, expanded concordance, and a new layout for the study content within the text. The text itself is the updated, highly readable and highly reliable Christian Standard Bible translation. This study Bible is written by women for women.

At the beginning of this Bible is an introduction and an article on how to study the Bible. I love that this article encourages women to study the text deeply for themselves, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s word, the resources included in this Bible as well as outside resources. This Bible isn’t about devotions and emotions, it’s about study God’s word to know him better. It gives lots of great suggestions about how to have personal Bible study and engage with the word of God.

The design and color palette in this Study Bible is feminine without being too “frilly.” The color scheme reminds me of the She Reads Truth Bible, which is done by the same publisher (read more about the She Reads Truth Bible here). The flowers adorn the top of the introductions to each book of the Bible, and the teal and coral colors are carried throughout to highlight word studies, Biblical Womanhood articles, and the Written on My Heart sections at the end of each book. The colors are subtle and visually appealing throughout the text.

Major female figures throughout the Bible are highlighted in Character Profiles. Other study features include Doctrine, charts and graphs, Word Studies, Biblical Womanhood articles that highlight different topics concerning women, Hard Questions, a features index, a large concordance, and maps in the back. The study notes included at the bottom of the scripture text help explain further the context and meaning, as well as helps to aid the reader to study further on their own.

One thing that I want to note about the content of the study material in this Bible is that the topics of womanhood, marriage, and motherhood are written from a strong complimentarian viewpoint. I took some time to read a few key passages and the corresponding notes and articles pertaining to these topics, and I found them to be more conservative. I felt it was worth mentioning for those who may hold different viewpoints, and as with any Bible or Bible study material, I always encourage you to read for yourself to decide if this is right for you.

Overall, I think the CSB Study Bible for Women is a great resource for women wanting to learn how to study the Bible deeper. It may not be the right Bible for every woman, so feel free to explore my other Bible reviews listed here. To order your own copy of the CSB Study Bible for Women on Amazon in the sand/turquoise hardcover as shown in the pictures, click here. To order the teal flowers LeatherTouch cover, click here.

I will be hosting a giveaway for this Bible on my Instagram @kountingsheepbiblejournaling starting after this post is published and running until Friday, May 25th at 11:59pm AZ time. Click here for more details on how to enter!

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

Advertisements

Less Hustle More Jesus

The topic of the newest Illustrated Faith kit, “Less Hustle More Jesus,” is very timely for me right now, since this will be my last kit review for the Illustrated Faith launch team. With my daughter’s recent autism diagnosis, I had to assess what things I could remove from my plate in order to lighten my load. I’m the type of person that wants to do all the things, and I often take on way more projects than I can handle. I decided that stepping down from the launch team would help me continue to journal and review products without being on a specific schedule. It can be hard to meet deadlines when the demands of caring for my daughter often prevent me from accomplishing tasks when I want to finish them. I am so grateful for the past year that I’ve been able to receive the kits from Dayspring in exchange for doing unboxing videos and reviews, and I look forward to continuing as a regular Dayspring affiliate. That means I will still be posting about my favorite products, creating process videos, and my affiliate links will still earn me a small commission when you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. The proceeds go towards both supporting my Bible journaling ministry and supporting my family. Thank you to my readers and followers for your continued support!

To order “Less Hustle More Jesus,” click here.

Now let’s talk about this adorable kit for May, “Less Hustle More Jesus.” If you find yourself in a similar season of burnout or feeling like you’re doing too much, then this kit is perfect for you. The 4 session cards focus on 4 different scripture passages that encourage you to focus more on resting in Jesus. The 4 journaling cards also have scripture that leads you to explore this theme further either on the card itself or in your bible. Most of the die cut pieces also have scripture references on the back, so this kit is just saturated with God’s word!

A big change to the kit this month is the return of a full size 4×6 stamp set! In lieu of washi tape, the stamp set is a double alphabet that includes both solid block letters and letter outlines to create layered lettering on your page. I really appreciate when the stamp set from a kit is versatile even after I’m finished going through the content of the kit. An alphabet stamp set is an essential staple in the Bible journaler’s stash, because it can be used over and over again.

3 heart tip ins, die cut pieces, and cardstock stickers, including wordfetti, help round out this kit. The fun design helps to lead you into celebrating how wonderful it is to just simply rest. It’s okay to play, and not let our lives be dominated by work, by the hustle of every day life. The bright colors and cheerful icons put a smile on my face, and I feel like this kit just really helps to lighten my mood every time I use it. I decided to use “Less Hustle More Jesus” with my 100 Days of Bible Promisesbook, and it’s been fun to see the different elements of the kit fit in with the different promises of the book.

My goal with this journaling kit is to use up every piece of it. I’ve gotten off to a good start with these 4 entries that I’ve already had the chance to work through in my book. For Day 15 after putting down some acrylic paint, I cut one of the heart tip-ins down a little bit to fit better into the space on the page, as well as cut out the section of Psalm 23 that was on one of the journaling cards. I used a die cut piece as my tab at the top of this page. I finished it off with some stamping and washi tape from my stash.

For my entry on Day 16, I wanted to use this cute vintage yellow bicycle from the first session card. I added some acrylic paint, marker, and pen marks to the page, then glued down the die cut and bicycle pieces, and then added some alphabet stickers to finish off my phrase. This washi tape from Documented Faith reminded me of bike tire tracks, so I thought it was the perfect way to finish off the page.

My Day 17 entry already had a lot of fun elements printed on the page, so I didn’t have to add much. I cut out the cake and fork from the journaling card, since this promise talked about God providing for us. I used the alphabet stamps from the kit to create the colorful layered letters. The washi tape from my stash was the perfect complement to the colors of this page. I finished it off with some stickers and journaling using my pink Illustrated Faith pen.

I jumped ahead a little bit in my book to find an entry that would pair better with the theme of this kit. Day 26 talks about finding strength in God by trusting him. I basically recreated my entry from Day 17 on this page by using the same techniques and elements. I like to recreate my own pages in my journaling because it helps me when either my creativity is low or I don’t have a lot of time to come up with something completely new.

I’m confident I’ll get at least 4 more entries out of this kit, if not more. The alphabet stamp set is truly my favorite part of this kit, and I’m so happy that I now have one like this in my stash. While I’m sad that there was no washi tape included with the kit this time, I have been surprised at how much washi I already had that complements this kit. The washi tape can be hit or miss for me in past kits, so I’m glad that the value of the kit went more towards a super versatile stamp set this time around.

If you would like to purchase your own “Less Hustle More Jesus” kit from Dayspring, click here. To purchase the 100 Days of Bible Promises book, click here.

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

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: In Bloom Book

My third recommendation in this blog series for Mother’s Day Gift Ideas is the amazing book In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee. I had the privilege of being on the launch team for this book back in February when it was released, and even though my review is a little late (better late than never, right?) I knew I just had to share this book for Mother’s Day. I seriously think every woman can benefit from reading this book! This post today is written more towards women, so I think this is a great gift to give to your fellow mom friends, soon-to-be moms, women who hope to be a mother someday, or even a gift-to-self this Mother’s Day.

To order In Bloom by Kayla Aimee on Amazon, click here.

In Bloom is part memoir of Kayla growing up in the 90s, part stories about navigating how to raise her daughter to be a confident woman of God, and part call to action to put aside insecurity once and for all to finally bloom into the confident woman God created you to be. This book not only was touching and witty, but it put into words many things I have felt myself, especially having grown up in the church in the 90s in a culture that viewed “biblical femininity” one way that I didn’t exactly feel like fit into.

To explain why this book spoke to me so much, I must explain a little bit about my background. My mom raised me to be a strong, outspoken/opinionated, independent woman, which seemed to be at odds with some of the teachings and cultures I was surrounded by in church while coming of age. I’ve had a lot of time in my adulthood to explore for myself what the Bible says and what it means to be a woman of God, and as I have shed some of the self-imposed misconceptions of my youth, I have seen God do a greater work in me than I would have planned for myself. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I’d be sharing my personal journaling publicly for everyone to see and read, I would have probably locked myself in my room and never come out (hello, introvert here). I am so grateful to now have a book like In Bloom to recommend to women who have felt insecure and need some encouragement for how to bloom into confidence, and hopefully do it a lot earlier in life than I did.

If you have ever felt out of place or that God got it wrong when he made you, then run to go read this book! Kayla writes: “When we imagine ourselves before and after, we think of the end of one thing and the beginning of another. But that’s where I think we get discouraged because we assume change means becoming someone completely different. Maybe we’re looking at change all wrong. It seems to me that if we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the beginning, then our renewing isn’t meant to keep changing us from one old thing to another totally new thing, over and over again. It’s meant to liberate us of our shame, enhancing our gifts and adorning us in grace” (page 142). Kayla’s writing in this book is so relatable and accessible, and I was flipping through chapter after chapter, not able to put it down. I think one of the biggest messages of this book other than confidence is that you don’t have to live in shame. What a liberating truth that God does not want us to live in our shame, but instead he wants us to be liberated through Christ to use our gifts and bear fruit!

This book is more than just a story. It’s a guide to help identify your sources of inadequacy and insecurity that have bombarded you throughout your life, and replace them with affirming truths from God’s word that you are accepted, loved, and filled with purpose. The text is saturated with biblical truth without being imposing and judgmental. Instead, In Bloom is a celebration of being a confident woman and embracing who God made you to be.

I enjoyed this book so much that I had to bring some of the lessons I learned into the margin of my Bible. I journaled this page in my Thrive Bible in Psalm 92:12-15 “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

I highly recommend this book, and I think it’s a great resource for helping to instill a culture of acceptance, confidence, and flourishing in the next generation of young women, especially as mothers raising daughters. To order your own copy of In Bloom for yourself or as a gift on Amazon, click here.

I’m also having a giveaway over on Instagram @kountingsheepbiblejournaling for a copy of In Bloom, as well as other goodies. Head on over to my account to enter to win a copy of this book!

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

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: God’s Call to a Deeper Life

For Day 2 in my Mother’s Day Gift Ideas series, I’m going to share this sweet little book titled God’s Call to a Deeper Life by Nancy Taylor. This book is a 366 day devotional specifically for women to experience the word of God in a new way. When I read the description for this devotional, I was intrigued: “God is calling to your heart from every page of His Word. Can you hear His voice? Or does it sometimes feel like you’ve read it all before, and the words enter your mind but fail to permeate your soul? Get ready to experience Scripture in an entirely new way through these 366 devotions. Open your heart to God’s truth in a way that is clear, personal, and relevant to your life. Let these devotions bridge the gap between the eternal, unchanging words written in the Bible and your heart’s desire to connect with the One who cares most deeply for you.”

To order a copy of God’s Call to a Deeper Life on Amazon, click here.

The style and design of this book is very beautiful and feminine, with the pink and gold colors being carried throughout. It was designed with gift-giving in mind for women who love to use devotionals, especially daily ones. The writing style reminds me of that used for the daily devotionals included in the Thrive Bible (review here), even thought it’s a different author.

The devotionals themselves start with the date, a key passage of scripture to explore for that day, a paraphrase of the passage written by the author, and a section at the bottom of the page for reflection. I will admit that I typically like my devotionals to dig deeper into scripture than this type of book, but I appreciate what the author is trying to communicate by paraphrasing. She’s trying to help the reader experience the truths of God with fresh eyes. The author has specifically chosen those verses which are often all too well known, and tries to reinvigorate the reader’s experience with the text.

From a Bible journaling perspective, I think this book would make a great supplement to help guide you through a year of scripture to explore further with journaling. Since each entry is fairly brief, it leaves room for further exploration in your Bible. It makes a great guide for choosing a daily passage , as well as guiding the reader to further reflection.

I think this book would make a great gift for moms who may feel discouraged or disconnected from their daily devotional time, or have a busy life with a demanding schedule. God’s Call to a Deeper Life is the perfect little daily push to reconnect with God and the Bible, without being too overwhelming. You can order God’s Call to a Deeper Life as a gift for the mom in your life on Amazon here.

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

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: One Year Bible Expressions

I know sometimes it can be hard to shop for moms, especially ones who seem to have it all, so I will be doing a blog series all week long about some of my Mother’s Day gift ideas that you may not have thought of! My first recommendation is for the One Year Bible Expressions Journaling Bible. Tyndale was kind enough to send me this beautiful pink hardcover bible to share with my readers, and I was thrilled to receive it. I had wanted this bible back at the beginning of the year, since I’ve never used a One Year Bible before, but they were sold out at the time. If this Bible would be something that would interest your mom or wife, make sure to buy it now rather than waiting til December/January when it’s in high demand (hint, hint)!

To order the One Year Expressions Bible on Amazon, click here.

The reason why I recommend a journaling Bible, even for moms that aren’t necessarily interested in art journaling, is because it’s a personal gift that anyone can use! You can write notes or prayers in the margin, lightly color the illustrations, and just enjoy reading through this Bible. You don’t have to be an artist to use a journaling Bible. This Bible is both functional and beautiful.

What is a One Year Bible though? It’s a Bible that has the entire New Living Translation text divided into 365 daily readings that include a passage from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. By organizing the text in this way, it helps guide the reader through the entire Bible in one year in a format that is more conducive to a busy life, or for those who need the visual ease of having it organized this way instead of having to flip all over the place with a traditional bible and reading plan. Each section is dated from January 1st through December 31st.

This bible has 2 inch margins that are either lightly lined or contain a preprinted illustration. The pages are cream, the text is arranged double-column, and the page thickness is the same as the original teal cover Inspire Bible (read my review for the Inspire Bible here). In fact, the 100+ margin illustrations included with this bible are taken from the original Inspire Bible, so if you have used the Inspire before, they will look familiar to you. For me, I’m actually excited to see these images again, because I was only able to color a fraction of the illustrations in my Inspire Bible before it got too full and needed to be retired. This bible will give me an opportunity to color the images I missed the first time around.

The illustrations on the inside front and back cover are unique to this Bible, and the presentation page is absolutely beautiful! It would make a lovely gift for your mom or wife to color the presentation page and write a note to her. This would also be a great place to let children or grandchildren color for mom or grandma, creating a personal and special gift that she will cherish.

Also included in the front of the One Year Bible Expressionsis information about the New Living Translation, as well as optional ideas for how to use the reading plan of this bible and an alphabetical index of the books of the Bible. I liked that the publisher provided other reading ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of, should I want to read it differently. However I think the strength of this bible is that it’s already arranged for me to read straight through without having to find a reading plan and marking it off each day. The index is helpful for finding a specific passage, since this bible isn’t arranged in the traditional Old and New Testament format.

The hardcover is a soft touch cover with floral detail and etching. The endpapers are printed with a beautiful pink, green and teal floral print. The Bible also includes 2 ribbon bookmarks, which I absolutely love when publishers do this. It helps to have multiple bookmarks if you are reading different sections, or want to go back and reread a passage while still keeping your current place. The bookmarks match the colors of the pink and teal cover.

I did color one page of this Bible using gel pens, just to make sure the paper was the same as the Inspire Bible (it was). As with all gel pens, you do have to be careful to not color over the same spot too many times or it will bleed through. As long as you aren’t too heavy-handed with coloring, they do shadow but don’t bleed. Add a set of colored pencils and/or gel pens when giving as a gift (I recommend Crayola Twistable colored pencils here and Color-It gel pens here). I highly recommend this Bible, and I think it makes a great Mother’s Day gift!

Order the One Year Expressions Bible as a Mother’s Day gift on Amazon 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. Tyndale Publishers sent me this Bible in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and pictures contained in this post are my own.

Tis the Season for Advent Journaling

The newest Advent devotional kit is here! Advent is my favorite time of year for Bible journaling, and this little kit is packed with an explosion of color as you explore the reason for the season. To watch my unboxing video of the Advent kit, click here. To purchase the Advent kit from Dayspring, click here, but make sure you read to the end of this post for a Black Friday coupon code!

The style of this kit is such a cute vintage handmade vibe. Plus add in some cute Christmas mugs washi tape, and you can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. The biggest difference to the kit this month is that the 8 cards all include devotional material. I do wish that there had been more scripture references included with the kit, because the devotionals only include 4 verses. However there are so many other resources for Advent studies this time of year, so having a simpler kit is appealing to supplement other studies or for those who want a simpler study in the rush of the holidays and not feel pressured to journal every day.

I’m happy to see that the stamp set has more smaller stamps this month to give you more options for stamping cuteness onto your page. However as with past months, I just wish there was more variety. There are two stars and 4 bows, so I would have liked to see maybe a little tree or a little ornament. But the great thing about the Advent kit is that it coordinates with the entire line of Illustrated Faith Advent products on Dayspring, and there is a stand-alone Advent stamp set with more stamps that would be a great add-on to use with this kit. The die cut pieces are a mix of blank vintage style ornaments and a few ornaments with words on them. It would be so cute to use some of the icons from the stamp set to embellish the blank ornaments.

If you watched my unboxing video, you would have seen that the devotional cards are the perfect size to fit into a traveler’s notebook. I’ve decided that I wanted to work in a traveler’s notebook in December so that I would have room for writing as well as adding in other sources and studies as I work through this season. Illustrated Faith has several blank traveler’s notebooks that you can pick up here when you grab your kit. I’ve been having fun getting it set up in anticipation of December as well as using a bunch of fun pieces from my stash in addition to the Advent kit to decorate my notebook.

I can’t wait to share more of my journey through Advent journaling this year! Make sure to subscribe to my blog to receive updates on when new posts go live. Feel free to leave a comment below on how you will be journaling or studying for Advent, I’d love to hear from you!

You can pick up the Advent kit here. And don’t forget to use code FRIDAY17 to save 30% off your entire sitewide purchase on Dayspring now through Sunday, 11/26.

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

Inspire Praise Bible [Review]

It seems like just yesterday I was writing my very first Bible review on this blog with the original Inspire Bible by Tyndale that released March 2016, and now here I am again reviewing the newest addition to the Inspire line, the Inspire Praise Bible, which releases December 5, 2017. You can preorder a copy of the Inspire Praise Bible with purple butterfly softcover from Amazon here. If you would like to see my flip-thru video of the Inspire Praise Bible, watch on my YouTube channel here.

My biggest question when I heard that they were releasing an all-new Bible was will it have the same art or new art? Answer: all new art! And not only that, the Inspire Praise has new features as well. Here is the description from the publisher: “The new Inspire PRAISE Bible has even more beautiful line-art illustrations to color, with nearly 500 all-new full- and partial-page Scripture illustrations attractively displayed throughout the Bible! Bonus features of Inspire PRAISE include even thicker Bible paper; thirty-two colorful, transparent, praise-themed journaling pages to enhance your coloring and creative journaling journey through the Bible; plus, three sheets of PRAISE-themed stickers and a purple pocket in the back of the Bible for storing journaling embellishments. Leave traces of faith―and PRAISE―throughout the Bible for a treasure that will truly inspire! The lightly-ruled, two-inch-wide margins offer additional space to write notes and reflections or to draw and create. The 8.65-point font is larger than most full-size journaling Bibles, and the high-quality Bible paper makes it a great choice for creatively responding to God’s Word right on the pages of the Bible.

NEW INSPIRE PRAISE BONUS FEATURES

  • Even thicker Bible paper
  • Warm white paper for increased readability and brighter, purer display of added color
  • 32 colorful and beautifully-designed see-through PRAISE journaling pages printed on high-quality tracing paper and placed throughout the Bible provide extra space for prayers, praises, or additional creative expression
  • 19 full-page Scripture line-art illustrations to color
  • Three 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ PRAISE-themed sticker sheets
  • One 5″ x 7″ purple pocket in the back of the Bible for storing Bible journaling embellishments

Tyndale listened to what journalers like, and this new Inspire Praise is a response to that. My favorite new feature of this Bible is the thicker pages. I was skeptical at first whether “thicker pages” would truly make any difference when it comes to using paints and wet mediums, and let me tell you that it does! Typically the pages of my original Inspire Bible get super wrinkled if I use watercolor of any kind. The wrinkles don’t bother me, per se, but they do make me hesitant to journal on the back of a page in which I used a wet medium since it’s so wrinkled. When I used watercolors for the first time in my Inspire Praise, I was shocked at how smooth the page stayed. There is still slight wrinkling, but it is a noticeable difference how much smoother the pages in the Praise remain.

Thicker pages also means less bleed through and shadowing. The pages of the Inspire Praise Bible are still thin compared to watercolor paper or other art papers/journals, but so far I have been very pleased to see how well these pages are handling paint, watercolor pencil, stamping, and black ink pens.

The style of the illustrations in the Inspire Praise are a bit more whimsical than the original Inspire, and I love them! I definitely think the new illustrations will appeal to younger girls wanting to get started Bible journaling, as well as women who want a bit less “formal” floral style of illustrations.

The purple cover and endpapers are absolutely beautiful! I love the colors they chose this time. The partially-colored transparency pages sprinkled throughout are a fun new addition. Each one can be journaled on or left as-is (I may leave mine as-is because they are so pretty already), and highlights a verse of Praise. The page behind each transparency has a blank margin so as not to compete with the design on the transparency page.

Another new feature of the Inspire Praise is the 4-page welcome message at the beginning of the Bible that invites the reader to praise God through the reading and coloring of this Bible. This would be a great place to start if you are new to Bible journaling and hesitant to get started, as there are beautiful illustrations alongside the welcome message. It would also be a good place to test out different mediums to see how they perform on the pages if you’re concerned about bleed through.

On the back inside cover is a purple pocket containing 3 sticker sheets that you can color and add to your pages. These match the illustration style of the Inspire Praise. One of the sheets is blank tabs that you can color and/or write on and then fold over as you adhere them to the top or side of your page. The pocket can also be used to store a few smaller supplies that you might want to keep and carry along with your bible.

I am very pleased with the new Inspire Praise Bible, and I would highly recommend it! This new Bible would make a great Christmas gift for both new and experienced bible journalers young and old. The release date has been pushed up to November 30 (originally set for release December 5), and Bibles have already started shipping! To order the Inspire Praise hardcover solid purple on Amazon, click here. To order the Inspire Praise softcover butterfly design, click here.

Also, for those wondering if this comes in Large Print, the answer is not yet. Tyndale typically releases regular size versions of their bibles first and then as demand dictates, they add a large print edition. There is no new information about the release of the Praise in a Large Print edition at this time. To order the original Inspire Bible blue hardcover in Large Print on Amazon, click here.

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

Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through my links at no additional cost to you. I purchased my copy of the Inspire Praise Bible. All pictures and opinions contained within this post are my own. 

Word Nerd [Review]

As soon as I heard the devotional kit for October was called #WordNerd I knew this would be very me. I’m a total Word Nerd: I love to read and write, I have a house full of books, I have a Bachelors in English Creative Writing and Poetry, I’m a self-professed grammar nerd, I wear glasses, I’m a nerd in so many other ways, and I love Jesus and studying his word! And that is truly what this kit is about: digging deeper into the Word. To see a full unboxing video of the Word Nerd kit, click here.

Not only will I be journaling in my Bible with all the cute pieces from this kit, but I decided to make a paper bag book for the devotional and journaling cards. You can see a tutorial and flip through video of my Word Nerd paper bag book here. It was so fun to grab a bunch of my favorite pieces from my scrapbooking days and add them to this book since I didn’t have to worry about the thickness. I used half the kit and each of the stamps at least once while making my book, and I still have pieces left over to use in my Bible. That just shows you how much is truly packed into these little kits.

 I’m so happy to see that this kit included more verse options for studying and journaling than September’s kit. I’m really excited to dig in and read God’s word this month, because after all that’s what Bible journaling is about: connecting with God’s word and writing it on our hearts! You may notice that there are no heart shaped tip ins this month. Honestly I haven’t really missed them, mainly because I didn’t really use them as much as I thought I would in the previous months. But I just thought I would mention that they are omitted this month in case anyone was wondering.

I will say that I wish the stamp set had included at least the cute little bow and drink cup like the die cut pieces included, instead of the phrase “the word lights the way,” just because I can’t really see myself using that specific stamp over and over again. I like stamp sets to be something I grab repeatedly, even after I’ve finished the devotional. I know for sure that I will use the girl silhouette over and over again, she is super cute!

The other great thing that I liked about Word Nerd is that it makes a great sequel to Created to Create 2. In fact, I’ve been using the two kits together both in my little book and in my Bible, since I hadn’t finished Created to Create 2 yet. The colors go together perfectly, and for me, writing and creating go hand-in-hand. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up Created to Create 2, grab it here.

Overall I would say that this kit really is probably my favorite so far this year. Because I love it so much, I decided to giveaway one Word Nerd kit over on my Instagram @kountingsheepbiblejournaling, so head over there for details on how to enter (giveaway runs from 10/2/17-10/6/17)! And if you can’t wait to get started like I was, pick up the Word Nerd kit here (don’t forget to use code IFSHIPSFREE for free domestic shipping). If you end up making a paper bag book, tag me on Instagram I’d love to see it!

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. I purchased the giveaway Word Nerd kit on my own, so the giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram, Dayspring or Illustrated Faith. I did receive my Word Nerd kit from Dayspring in exchange for my honest review. 

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. 

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.

To purchase your own Thrive Devotional Bible on Amazon, click here.

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

Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links. 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.