Friday, January 29, 2016

How to Pick a Bible Verse for Journaling

One thing that can really stump a newbie Bible Journaler is knowing where to start! It can be quite intimidating to randomly go to the Bible and pick something to journal on especially if you are new to Bible reading. Today I wanted to talk about a few ways that I go about picking a verse to journal on.

1. Through my daily reading

One place I encounter verses is through my daily Bible reading. Over the years, I've used several Bible reading plans including reading through the Bible in a year, reading through the Bible chronologically, reading through the Bible in two years as well as reading through a book as the Spirit leads me. There are lots of great bible reading plans. (Just google Bible reading plans and you'll find a ton.) If you are new to reading the Bible, I recommend Psalms, Proverbs, the gospel of John or 1 John as great books to start with.

Right now, I'm reading through Psalms so a lot of my journaling has been on Psalms. Sometimes I'll read a verse and journal on it that day but if I don't have time or if I find a verse elsewhere (like in a sermon or class), I'll jot it down for a later journaling session. When I'm feeling uninspired, I have a handy list to read through.

In the case of this verse, I found Psalm 27:10 to really resonate with me. It reads "For my father and my mother have forsaken me but the Lord will take me in" (ESV). Being rejected by your earthly family is one of the hardest things a person can go through. I have been estranged from my mother since 2008 so this verse really spoke comfort to my soul. I didn't know it at the time, but when I did this journaling I was less than a week away from seeing my mom again after many years.

Even though this encounter with my mom didn't bring the tear filled healing of our relationship that I desperately wanted, this verse was such a comfort to me while my mom hung onto the things that had come between us. Because I had journaled on this verse, it was so easy for me to find it again in my bible and to commit it to memory even though I am not a memorizing type person!

2. By searching topically for a verse that speaks to my life right now

Sometimes, I will go to the Bible and look specifically for a verse that has to deal with something in my life right now. About two weeks ago, my grandfather passed away a bit unexpectedly and I really needed some comfort from God. He lead my to Psalm 34 which is chock full of great verses.

 One place to help you find verses is by using a concordance which lists verses that a word is used in. My study Bible has a small concordance in the back which I use frequently to look for verses. You can also use a Bible app or website like to search for things like "comfort",  "joy", "forgiveness" and "peace" depending on what you need. As you grow more experienced with Bible study, you will learn where these verses are but there's no shame in looking them up!

So sometimes God gives me a verse and sometimes life sends me looking for one. These where the two verses I took with me to my grandfather's funeral where I had to see my mom again. (I was out of town for 5 days which is why I took last week off from blogging.) Both ways are equally valid expressions of God speaking to me in love.

3. Through a Devotional or Bible Journaling Challenge or Journal Along

As the Bible Journaling Community has grown, more interactive journaling activities have arisen. There are devotionals, such as those by Illustrated Faith, Journaling challenges (see Bible Art Journaling Challenge) and other journal alongs (such as Seasons Illustrated). A lot of them exist on Facebook so go check them out. They may be centered around a theme, an artistic technique or a particular scripture that everyone journals on.

This particular journaling is from the Seasons Illustrated Esther study and while it doesn't have as much of a personal connection for me as the previous two, it is so cool to journal along with others especially if you live somewhere that Bible Journaling hasn't really caught on yet.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Konmari Journey Part #12: Kitchen-Cooking Supplies

I'm moving right along in the kitchen using the Konmari method. I'm working through Mari Kondo's Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to declutter my home. Today's video tackles a large section of the kitchen which is cooking supplies (except baking stuffs which will be next).

I was really happy with the amount of stuff I got rid of in this section. I also went ahead and did a bit of organizing to make stuff more accessible and I'm loving it so far!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Emerald Jacket for Weekend Sports

Winter has finally arrived in Florida and it is cold! It's quite amazing how much I've acclimatized in just one year! Since we had what may end up being the coldest weekend of the winter this past weekend, I've been pulling out all of my cold weather pieces to help stay toasty warm.

One of the bummers about living in such a warm area is that my hand knits don't get much wear. It's really just not cold enough for all of that wool. And I do really like knitting too. :(

This also explains why this lovely knitted jacket has been lingering as a UFO for almost two years.... Fail. I started this piece in January 2014 as a second Knit for Victory project and finished it in March 2014.

And then it started getting warm and I put off sewing it up. Somewhere along the way I put together the bodice and attached the sleeves but never got the collar attached. I was quite nervous about putting a zipper in a knit but I did end up purchasing a separating zipper and even threw it in the pile with this piece.

Since it was going to be chilly, I decided to go ahead and finish this piece up so I could at least get a couple of wears out of it. Now that I'm more experienced with hand picked zippers, putting the the zip was a cinch and now I have a cozy sweater jacket!

I was very inspired by Tasha's green wool bomber jacket so I just had to knit this up in some yummy green tweed wool. My guage ended up being a bit odd so I had to do a lot of work to adjust the pattern to match my guage. (I used two of Tasha's excellent tutorials and a lot of math. Thank's Tasha! 1 & 2) But I just had to have this color jacket so it was worth it. I don't remember what I did now but I did add some notes to my Ravelry project page back when I started.

This jacket is super cozy and not itchy at all which is great because I have almost no long sleeved shirts any more. I'm really quite proud of this piece because I had to rework the pattern so much and also conquered some new construction techniques.

Don't expect any more knitting projects un the near future though. Aside from not really having a winter anymore, on my last few yarn purchases, my guage has been way off (by like an inch or more) and it's been rather discouraging. I don't know if it's bad yard or I'm knitting oddly or what but it's way too much work to rework a pattern than much unless I really love it.

At any rate, my current stash of knits will do me quite well. I do need to dig the rest of them out so they can get some wear. I have a matching hat for this jacket somewhere.....

I also wore my gray corduroy skirt and Wearing History Ruthie blouse to finish off this outfit. While I do enjoy getting to wear my summery pieces 85% of the year, it is refreshing to get to wear some more wintery pieces every once in a while.

 Either way, I'm oh so happy to have this UFO finished instead of languishing in the knitting box.

 What have you been knitting this winter?

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Favorite Bible Journaling Supplies

Today I'm going to share with you some of my favorite Bible Journaling supplies! One of the great things about Bible Journaling is that you can really be creative and design your pages based on the tools and techniques you love best. My own set of supplies is heavily influenced by my background as a scrapbooker and I encourage you to shop your own stash of crafting supplies when you get started journaling.

What should I journal in?

One common question new Bible Journalers have is what to journal in. There are specific Bibles designed for journaling. They have wide margins with extra space for your art. I have an ESV Journaling Bible by Crossway. I picked one with a pretty cover but they have a wide variety of styles available.

The pages are a cream color with faint lines in the margins. If you are not a fan of ESV, other translations are available. At the time of this post, there are also NIV journaling bibles (they look very similar inside to the ESV ones), KJV and NKJV journaling bibles available. Other options are note taker bibles which have narrower margins than the journaling ones or even regular bibles. If you are on a budget or not sure that you are ready to commit to a journaling bible, you can do your journaling in a notebook or a Bible from a thrift store.

When shopping for a bible, I encourage you to go seek out your local Christian bookstore. There's something really awesome about getting to feel a book before you purchase them. If there's not one in your area, you can also purchase them on or even Amazon.

What supplies should I get?

If you are just getting started with Bible Journaling, I encourage you to start with what you have at already. There's so much you can do with just colored pencils! My first journaling supplies were colored pencils, watercolor pencils and some micron pens. Art supplies can get pricy so I like to buy a cheaper brand to see if I like it before investing in some nicer ones.

Watercolor pencils are just what they sound like-watercolors in pencil form! You can draw and then wet with water for a great watercolor effect. I also really like micron pens. They come in a variety of thicknesses and colors and won't bleed through your Bible pages unless you are very heavy handed. My most used ones are black size 05, 03 and 01.

Some other handy writing utensils are a pencil and good eraser. Pick a white eraser that won't leave pink marks on your page. I also have a white and silver Gelly Roll pens for accents. And a ruler for making things straight.

Stickers are also a great beginner friendly tool. You can use your own favorite stickers but I love the ones by Illustrated Faith. They are especially designed for Bible Journaling and have lots of great faith based words on them. You can't buy them directly from Illustrated Faith but Christian bookstores and etsy shops sometimes carry them. I purchase mine from the bookstore at my church.

Stamps are so much fun! No drawing experience required! I have quite a bit of stamping supplies from my scrapbooking days so it's a technique that I love to use. Many of my stamps and inks are from a scrapbooking company called Close to My Heart. I love that they make color coordinated products! There are also some faith based stamp companies. My favorites are Growing Meadows and Illustrated Faith on etsy. If you use acrylic stamps, don't forget your stamp blocks!

Speaking of scrapbooking, I also love using scrapbooking paper in my Bible. It's an easy way to add color and pattern to a page. Plus, you can stamp, paint, draw, etc on it with no bleed through! Again, a lot of mine is from Close to My Heart but use whatever kind you like.

I've also been experimenting with some new to me techniques and products. I have a beginners set of water colors which has been really fun. I also have been playing with Faber-Castell gelatos which are sticks of pigment in chapstick shape. They come in color coordinated packs of four and you can do so many things with them. Use them wet. Use them dry. Apply dry and then wet. Stamp with them. Fun things!

 Cute crafting pet is optional but very adorable!

 What are your favorite Bible Journaling supplies?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Konmari Journey Part #11: Kitchen - Food

Yes! We have made it to decluttering the kitchen! I've decided to break this subcategory down a bit more to make it a bit more manageable. I'll do food, baking/cooking supplies, and dishes & tupperwear.

For the food category, I'm focusing on getting rid of expired things again. Also, my husband was diagnosed with a medical condition triggered by gluten which means he's gluten free for life. I haven't done a de-gluten purge of the pantry so I'm sure I'll find some things which can be donated that he can't eat. Alright, here goes nothing!

Monday, January 11, 2016

A New Patio Dress

I am so excited guys! I finally have a vintage patio dress of my very own! And look how cute it is!

Lately, I've been really wanting to add some southwestern and Mexican flair to my wardrobe. Given that I also live somewhere rather warm for most of the year, a lot of the styles are very practical for me. I'm not generally a fan of anything country/western/cowboy but I'm learning that there are some other aspects of these styles that I do enjoy.

Adding a vintage twist is always helpful. I just adore ric rac especially the yards and yards of it needed for a really smashing patio dress. I've been stalking etsy for one in my size and budget. It certainly helps that I can shop for summer pieces all year round and pretty much where them as soon as they arrive.

This particular dress features teal, lavender, gold and black ric rac. And while they aren't my usual colors, I adore this combo! So pretty! And I'm a sucker for the ric rac with the gold woven in.

I actually have a few packs of just such vintage ric rac that I'm saving up for a special project. I actually purchased fabric for it last summer but when the fabric arrived, it wasn't quite what I wanted so I used it for something else. But I still have my ric rac day dreams.

If you had told me a year ago that I'd love wearing a white dress, I'd have told you you were crazy. Even my wedding dress was ivory. But Florida Stephanie has acquired a slight tan (ie so I look like a normal human being and not an albino) and white looks much better on me now.

Another favorite feature of this dress is the closure. It's super simple. Just a slit in the back that closes with one hook and eye. Yay for elastic waists! I like the little peak of skin especially since the neckline is so high.

It's quite a fun, twirly style of dress. And twirling brings me so much more enjoyment knowing that I didn't have to do any of that gathering! I loathe gathering. It was really interesting for me to find that this skirt is a lot less full than the one I made. Next time I make one, I can cut down on fabric, ric rac and, of course, gathering.

Also new to this outfit are the shoes. I've had several old pairs kick the bucket and I needed some new practical basic shoes I could wear every day. This black pair fit the bill. And as a bonus, they have nice squishy stuff in the soles.

I'm pretty sure I'm hooked on these patio dresses now. I just adore everything about them! Of course, it may be a while before I find another elusive one in my size and my budget.

 Until then, I plan on wearing this one loads!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Konmari Part #10: Household Supplies

Today we're doing a very practical category in the Konmari process- household supplies! This category includes all of the consumables that you use to maintain your home as well as things like mops, brooms, vacuum cleaners and other miscellaneous cleaning supplies. This one is a bit long since I had lots of small areas in this category.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What is Bible Journaling?

bible journaling, bible, art,

Welcome to my very first Bible Journaling post! Today I thought I'd tackle the most basic question. What is bible journaling anyways?

Bible journaling is a type of art journaling which involves making art as part of your journaling process especially in a book or notebook. In bible journaling, you are using art as a way to illustrate, understand or meditate on the scriptures. Many people create these works of art directly in their bibles but you can also journal in a notebook.

Journaling entries can be as simple as writing out a verse in the margin using pens in different scripts. Or it can spill over into the entire page and include a variety of fun supplies! You can also include great quotes, song lyrics, prayers or study notes as part of your journaling. It's really up to your imagination!

The goal of bible journaling is to help you connect with the scripture on another level. It's great for creatives, visual learners or anyone who wants to help hide scripture in their heart. You do not have to be an artist or own lots of fancy art supplies.

If you've never done anything like this, it can feel a bit odd doodling in your bible. I grew up in a church where you were expected to keep your bible pristine and perfect looking. As an adult, I became part of another church that was heavy into bible study so I quickly became comfortable making bible study notes in my bible but that was serious bible stuff. Making art in my bible seemed a bit, well, wrong when I first started.

But when I really thought about it, I realized that God is a creative God. He made this planet, all the living creatures on it, all of the gazillions of stars and beautiful galaxies! As human beings made in His image, we were blessed with that creative nature too. In fact, the first time the bible mentions the Spirit of God filling someone in the Old Testament is Bezalel in Exodus 31. He was given artistic ability to be able to make the ark of the covenant, the robes for the priests, the tent for the ark and alter. I can't imagine that a God who took all of that effort to create all of that beauty would be upset about us making beautiful things for Him!

I've always been more of an analytical person and I read very fast. I've always struggled with taking my time and really pondering scripture rather than just reading to get it done. Bible journaling has helped me slow down and really focus on a small section of scripture. I'm also terrible at memorizing things and I feel like bible journaling has helped me remember scripture better.  

I'm so excited to start sharing more of my bible journaling pieces with you! In my next post in this series, I'm going to go over some of my favorite journaling supplies and give you some ideas for where to start. Until then, you can check out my bible journaling Pinterest board for some more inspiration.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Florida Orange

Over Christmas break, the hubby and I decided to spend a night away across the state in the historic town of St. Petersburg. (Apparently Florida has a thing for towns named after famous towns in other countries...) It's a very cute area with a great arts district and tons of yummy restaurants. And, of course, lots of shopping!

Our first stop was a quick trip gulf side for a few hours on the beach. The water was actually a bit chilly and the beach was very busy! Our local beaches are usually quite quiet so we weren't prepared for that.

Thankfully, there was a cute pier and shopping area nearby so we walked around there first. Lots of touristy type shops. We didn't buy anything (except for some yummy ice cream) but I've gotten fonder of window shopping.

The evening was spent window shopping in downtown St. Petersburg with some yummy Italian food for dinner. We did a lot of walking around and it was quite nice to just hang out together and relax.

The next day, we hit up more of the arts district. Alas, we forgot that many small businesses are closed on Mondays. So much of our window shopping was actually just looking at shop windows.

 I also got to wear my new prescription sunglasses! The sun really is much brighter in Florida and sunglasses are a must.

So I decided to get some prescription sunglasses after my last eye exam. It was actually a lot easier to find cool retro style sunglasses than regular glasses.

At any rate, they pretty much look fabulous with everything including this great orange ensemble. Lots of people really liked this skirt! Floridians love their oranges.

Then we found this great colorful mural and I had to get some outfit shots in front of it. Sometimes it's just so fun to pick a background that is very modern with a retro outfit. Plus, it was very orange!

And right next to it was a huge orange wall with a green door so we shot there too! It was so much fun to be shooting in an urban setting again. I love where we live now but I do miss the downtown living.

 It was so great to be able to walk everywhere and there were quite a few bicyclers out and about too! Unfortunately, our town isn't very bike or pedestrian friendly and I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed walking and biking to work everyday!

 Guess I need to make walking and biking more one of my resolutions for 2016!