Through Christ Devotional Completed

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

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

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

Click here to shop for Illustrated Faith Devotional Kits at Dayspring (affiliate link). To purchase the HCSB Illustrators Bible on Amazon, click here

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. All commission earned goes towards supporting my family and funding my Bible journaling ministry. Thank you for your support!

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Woodland Fox Baby Blanket Pattern 

New crochet pattern now available on Ravelry and in my shop: the Woodland Fox Baby Blanket! A great addition to any woodland or rustic themed nursery, and makes a great baby shower gift. 

I’ve had the idea for this blanket in my head for awhile but struggled to figure out how to make it work. Finally late one night as I was going to bed, it finally came to me. So I got to work, and the Fox blanket was born. 

Pattern includes written instructions and a color chart for the fox face. This would be a great introductions to crochet colorwork. Basic knowledge of how to change colors needed for this blanket pattern. 

To purchase, visit my shop here. Also available to download on Ravelry here. Make sure to link your projects on Ravelry! I also offer ready made or custom order Fox blankets in my shop!

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. 

Inspire Bible: May the Fourth

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

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

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

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

WIP Wednesday: Loggy Squares Blanket

I am slowly making progress on crocheting one of my old patterns in order to update it. I’m loving these bright cheery squares! These colors together make me so happy. 

For a project like this, I would normally wait until all the squares are made to see them together. However I needed to be able to visualize what they would look like in a row as well as take some measurements, so I’ll be assembling them as I go. It will be fun to see this blanket take shape one row at a time. 

Check back soon to see when the Loggy Squares Blanket Pattern goes live. 

Scrappy Squares Blanket Pattern

Introducing the newly revised Scrappy Squares Blanket Pattern. Knit up all your scrap and leftover yarn into this fun and whimsical blanket. Easy to follow instructions with tips on how to create your own fun Scrappy Squares Blanket. 

Available to download from Ravelry here

Available to download from my Etsy shop here

The Message Canvas Bible [Review]

I had the privilege of winning a copy of The Message Canvas Bible, so I’m going to post my review here. This is my first time with a softcover journaling Bible, and I like the flexibility of the cover. However, I know as I fill it up, it will be harder and harder to keep it closed, and I may consider getting a stretchy band to help with that. 

This is the description from the publisher: “Center your heart and mind on the story of God with The Canvas Bible as you color nearly 300 hand-drawn illustrations, including 150 hand-lettered Bible verses. 

Using The Message’s creative language and vivid metaphors, your imagination will be bursting with ideas for crafting, coloring, and drawing. Meditate on the very words of Scripture, and hear God’s voice speaking to your heart.
Make this Bible one of a kind by adding your own beauty and style. Fill the extra space with your own illustrations and prayers. Immerse yourself in the words of Scripture. Decorate this Bible as a gift for someone you love. Slow down as you color and enjoy a more relaxed pace. Let the story of God paint the canvas of your imagination!”
I really like the style of illustrations in this Bible. It reminds me of an adult coloring book the most out of all the illustrated Bibles I’ve seen. I feel like it would be appealing to both men and women, despite the cover being on the more feminine side (the hardcover watercolor cover version would be a more gender neutral option). The illustrations are more geometric with lots of lines and inner repeating patterns that would make for many hours of meditative coloring while reading scripture. 

This is also my first introduction to The Message translation, which is a modern paraphrase of the Bible. I wouldn’t use this translation for a deep Bible study, which is not its intended purpose anyway. It’s intended to be read like a story to make it easier to understand in today’s language. 

One thing to note about The Message is that it only has numbered chapters and the verses are left unnumbered. This is to allow for easier reading, but makes it harder to find a specific verse in a traditional sense of looking up chapter:verse. 

Each book of the Bible has an illustration at the beginning. I like the variety of lettering and styles used to illustrate each start of the books of the Bible. There is also a variety of plain illustrations as well as lettered illustrations that highlight a verse on the page.

The softcover is slightly larger than my Inspire and Illustrator’s Bibles. I have come to prefer single column journaling Bibles, as it makes the text easier to read as well as offers more room for journaling wherever there is poetry (like Psalms). I also really like that the preprinted illustrations are black outlines. My Illustrator’s Bible has gray outlines, and it makes it difficult to see the illustration once it has been colored. 

I spent some time coloring the Old and New Testament pages, and I was happy to find them not too small to color with a colored pencil. I know in my Inspire Bible that some of the illustrations have parts that are too small to color easily, so I found the Canvas Bible slightly easier to color. I’m excited to spend many more hours reading such a unique translation and coloring the many beautiful pages. 

To purchase The Message Canvas Bible softcover 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 contained within this review are my own. I received a free copy from the publisher as part of a contest, and this review was not required as part of my winning. All opinions expressed within are my own. 

Inspire Bible Journaling

It’s been awhile since I’ve journaled in my Inspire Bible, and I recently started using it again. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I won my copy in the contest right before it was released! I also can’t believe that I’ve been Bible journaling for almost a year and a half now. I haven’t yet “finished” a Bible since I seem to journal in multiple Bibles at once, but I’m hoping this year to retire one or two as I continue my creative art worship.

I had been doing my journaling in my Illustrators Bible for the last 6 months, and it has started getting very full. My time is often limited with two babies now, so I switched back to my Inspire Bible. I like the illustrations better in the Inspire and wanted to do more coloring rather than my own art all the time. 

I’ve also started coloring with my oldest daughter. I gave her a composition notebook to “journal” in as I read Bible verse to her. She may be young (almost 3) but her journal is the first coloring book she reaches for when it’s time to color. I think she likes the blank pages that she can color however she wants. 

For now I write on the back of her pages to document what we talked about and did together. Someday she will be able to look back and read about our special time together learning about God and his word. I hope that by starting her young that I am creating a little journaling buddy for many years to come. 

It’s our special activity to do together since adding baby sister to the family. My days are often very long and very full juggling the needs of two young children. However it’s become a priority for me to set aside some time for myself every day to journal or crochet. These activities help me to cope on days when it’s hard and to keep some identity of myself separate from my children. I love them more than I can ever describe, and taking just a little bit of time for myself helps me to be a better mom for them. 

Bible journaling also helps me focus on my word for the year “grace.” To give grace to myself during this time of transition and adjustment. To give grace to others when my fuse is short and my frustration is high. And to remember that when I fail at all of this, God has given me the ultimate gift of grace through his son Jesus, and He is the one who saves me and sustains me. 

WIP Wednesday: Lipstick Granny Ripple 

For this weeks installment of work in progress Wednesday, I’m featuring my Lipstick Granny Ripple blanket. I started crocheting this blanket last year as a side project for myself to work on between my shop orders. With the rush of Christmas and birth of my second daughter in February, it got pushed aside into a closet. But as April 20 approaches, I wanted to finally finish this blanket that’s been 9 years in the making. 

The reason why April 20 is significant to me is because that is the day my sister Heather died 8 years ago. I had originally started knitting a blanket for her with this yarn to give her for what would end up being her last Christmas, but unfortunately I never finished it in time. The project sat in a bag for many years and several moves before last year I finally decided to repurpose the yarn into a different blanket for myself. The original pattern I picked wasn’t a good fit for this yarn, but for 6 years I didn’t have the heart to undo my work, even if it never made it to my sister. 

Now as the 8th anniversary approaches, I have a strong desire to finally finish this blanket so I can wrap it around my two babies. It’s sad they never got to meet their Aunt Missy, but there are traces of her everywhere in our house. 

The Lipstick Granny Ripple will be just one more memory to add to our family and remember the one who isn’t here. Working on a yarn project has always been a way for me to cope with hard things in my life, so it seemed appropriate to work on such a special blanket this time of year. Someday I hope to tell my girls about the story behind this blanket as they pull it out to play with and cuddle under year after year. We love you Heather, forever in our hearts! 

All is Bright // Ben-Hur [Review]

All is Bright by Nancy Gunthrie

Due to a mix up with shipping, I didn’t receive this in time to use for Advent last year, so I’m saving it back to use this year. This devotional coloring book includes a family devotion and coloring page for every day of December, as well as additional activities and talking points in the back. The devotions are written by Nancy Gunthrie to provide the spiritual journey through the advent season and set the stage for each illustration. 

The illustrations are detailed and thoughtful, ranging from abstract lines and swirls to hand lettered messages to pictures depicting the nativity. The pages are a nice quality great for coloring with pencils and markers. The size is big enough that several people could gather around the book to color together while still being small enough to be portable. 
I can’t wait to go through this book in December, and I would recommend it to any family looking for a fun but meaningful coloring activity. 

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Carol Wallace

As an English major in college, I loved grabbing a thick classic and sitting for hours reading. Now as a busy mom of two, it’s hard to find time to read big books like I used to. That’s why I was excited to receive a copy of this adapted version of the classic Ben-Hur story to read. I haven’t ever read the original or seen any film adaptation, so this was my first introduction to the story. 

I was confused by the subtitle “A Tale of the Christ” since the story itself centers around a young Jewish man named Judah Ben-Hur. The text follows him through his journey of betrayal by his close friend Messala, exile and revenge, and eventually an encounter with Jesus that leaves him seeking a path of forgiveness instead. Although he does interact with Jesus, I didn’t feel like this was the main focus of the story, at least in this version. 

The writing itself felt accessible to a wide range of modern audiences while still keeping some of what I assume to be the original language. While reading it, I definitely wanted to go back and read the original version to see what Lew Wallace actually wrote and if the more antiquated language would add to the richness of the plot. At times the story felt a bit flat, which is a downside of reading a condensed version of the original story. 

All in all I found this to be an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a more modern introduction to the story. 

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