Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | He Overcomes All

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 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33

In college I studied journalism. I loved stories and I loved being a story teller. As a result, I watched and read the news A LOT. I devoured the newspapers in the morning and poured over the news in the evening. I liked knowing what was going on in the world and I liked thinking about how I would tell the stories if I had the chance. I was young and the stories captivated me.

As time went on and I grew older, I navigated my career away from journalism and in to advertising and marketing. Though the storytelling part of the news still appealed to me, I noticed that there was not much “good news” on TV. Every night was a back to back agenda of crime, destruction, hatred, theft, war, death and suffering. It was all too much. This compounded as the years passed and peaked when I had my children. I almost never watch the news or read news stories anymore. According to the news, there is almost no good left in the world.

I of course know that this is not true. But what really encourages me is knowing that even if the world is filled with hate and war and crime, there is the knowledge that our Lord and Savior has overcome it all. He overcame through his sacrifice and death on the cross. And I believe he overcomes for us every day. Because he overcomes, we have PEACE. Peace among all the things we see on the news. Peace and promise that we are going to be met in paradise. Pain and suffering are big. But our God is much bigger. Thank you Jesus! You overcome!

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The colors in this month’s Faith Art Box are so summery and bright. They make me smile! I ADORED the cute pattern on the back of the devotional card so I set about trying to recreate it. I used Target’s Hand Made Modern paints swirled on using some sponge daubers. After those dried, I used the ADORABLE texture stamps from the kit and stamped in using a black Versafine ink pad and white Craft ink.

I laid down a few titles including “Take Heart Jenn” using the stickers and alpha stickers in the kit. I recently read a devotion that talked about how important and powerful it is to personalize scripture. This is most easily done by adding your name to scripture and I must tell you, it really does feel powerful and like our God is speaking directly to you. I don’t know about you all but I definitely needed to heart the words “take heart”.

DSC_3464 I’ve gotten really interested in looking up the dictionary definitions of words so I looked up the word overcome and found that it meant defeated, prevailed and overpowered. Amen! I added that into my journaling and then layered in some washi tape and the rest of my titles, finishing the page with the SWEET striped bow (STRIPES ARE MY FAVORITE!).

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My prayer for each of you reading this is to know that our God is so much bigger than the ugly that we see on the news. He’s bigger than the pain and suffering in our days here on earth. He has overcome, and he will continue to overcome, for you, every day. He wants you to know the peace that he offers and to know that his peace covers ALL. Be blessed, friends!

Have you seen all of the amazing ways you can use Faith Art Kits? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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Bible Journaling, Other Fun Stuff

Creative Retreat Kits | Gentle Shepherd

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“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.”

-Psalm 23:1-3

For years I have thought of my father as a “gentle giant”. Towering at over 6 foot 4 inches, my dad’s presence is not something you typically miss in a room. In fact, I feel like it might have been quite a big factor in me never having many suitors during my dating years. 😉 Though he’s built like a linebacker, I never thought of him as an enforcer. I always thought of him as my protector. My guide. My source of wisdom when the world didn’t make sense… which in my teen years, was often. He is truly, a gentle giant with a heart for his family and an even bigger heart for Jesus.

We often think of leaders needing to have a commanding presence, or needing to instill a dose of fear in order to be respected and followed. But real leadership is not found in a commanding, order-barking presence. It’s found in gentle giants. It’s found in shepherds, guiding foolish and meek sheep like us. A good leader creates a love and trust that makes you WANT to follow them and allows you to have faith that you are in good hands.

I love the countless references you find in scripture describing our Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a shepherd (the good shepherd, the one shepherd, chief shepherd). There is something truly remarkable about the peaceful but fierce guidance of a good shepherd. He tends his flock and will not lead them astray or allow them to fall into an enemy’s hands. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. He also leads his sheep to wells of living water so they will not be thirsty. What a precious gift, the love of a shepherd gives us.

I’m truly thankful for the gift of my earthly father and all of the years of his gentle shepherding  to make me the woman that I am today. But I’m completely speechless when it comes to the love and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, the one true shepherd of each and every one of us.

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I decided to dive into my hymnal with the May Faith Art box and found this beautiful hymn called Gentle Shepherd written by Gloria and William Gaither (1974). The words are beautiful:

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us, For we need You to help us find our Way. 
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us, For we need Your strength from day to day. 
There’s no other we can turn to, Who can help us face another day;
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us, For we need You to help us find our Way. 

I started my entry with a very soft wash of a few Hand Made Modern acrylic paints from Target, using a baby wipe to apply. This give such a sheer lovely, easy application. Next I got out some texture paste and mixed the yellow acrylic paint in and then smeared it over the crosses stencil that is cut into my bible journaling mat from Illustrated Faith. I wanted a little extra dimension and texture paste works like a charm!

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I then laid down a few titles using the stickers and alpha set in the kit, first “Jesus Leads – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Trinity” and then “Follow in Faith”. I accented with my yellow striped washi tape (I use this one so much!) and outlined with a black journaling pen.

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I then used the devotion card to make this little “garden” at the bottom of the page, using various stickers from the kit to make the flowers. I layered it with a little strip of green scrap paper I had laying around and affixed the little “follow him” title on the bottom. I used this to do a little private journaling on the back.

I finished with a tab punch from the devotion card as well as that adorable yellow gingham bow. I really like hymnal entries and how they tie so beautifully into the scriptures I’ve been studying.

Friends, my prayer for you is that you know the love, provision and protection of the good shepherd. Know that you are being led down the best possible path and that you are under the constant and vigilant eye of the shepherd who loves you more than anything. Be blessed, friends!

There are so many fun and creative ways to use Faith Art Kits. Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. Let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Faithful to Completion

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“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  -Philippians 1:6

In recent months I have cultivated a real love for gardening. I’ve always been interested in it but never really had the gumption (or time) to do anything about it. But recently, I went to a garden expo and listened to a gardening lecture and was completely fascinated with how the speaker talked about gardening, as therapy. I could use some therapy. I was hooked. I dove right in and have now been spending regular hours outdoors – weeding, planting, pruning and communing with nature and with our God who put it all into place. It has been so good for my soul!

My sons have been curious as I’ve embarked on this new adventure and have been eager to join in the fun. This past weekend we ventured out to buy some soil and mulch and my 5 year old begged for some seeds to grow his own plant. He picked out some beautiful periwinkle blue morning glory seeds and excitedly dashed home to grab a paper cup and handfuls of damp, dark soil to bury his tiny little seeds into. He watered it, set it in the sun and sat back in anticipation.

It was just minutes later when he declared in frustration, “why isn’t this thing growing yet?” I laughed a little then explained to him that it not only takes sunshine, water and soil for little plants to grow (which is what he’s been learning in school), but that it also takes time. Lots of time. And that we have to be very patient, but that the wait is SO WORTH it when we see that beautiful little plant pop out of the ground.

He wrinkled his forehead and proceeded to ask me about every 5 minutes why the plant hadn’t grown, when it was going to grow and why it was taking so long. I could not help but think of us, as children of God. We are so very eager for the HARVEST, but have no patience as we navigate the planting, watering, weeding, pruning and growing. We want the rewards right now. We want the deliverance of the desires of our heart today. But we become so weary as we labor through the twists and turns that happen as we grow, the pain we experience in the pruning and weeding (of God cutting the useless stuff out of our lives) and the agonizing wait until the bloom.

But the bloom is the best part! That’s the part where God brings to completion the very things that he has planted in us. What incredible beauty there is in that. There is beauty in waiting. There is an exercise of faith in waiting. But we know that the God who starts good works in us will be faithful to complete them. We just have to wait to bloom. And when we bloom, we should glorify the God that planted in us from the very beginning.

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When I saw the May Faith Art kit and the sweet blooms, I just about lost it. It’s crazy how God moves in you and then reminds you of his good in those movements. I needed this sweet reminder that the things that God has planted in me are growing, and that the blooms are coming.

I started my page by laying down my title, “what God planted in me will bloom” with various stickers and the alphas from the kit along with my favorite yellow striped washi.  I then added a soft wash of watercolors from Dots and Dust (how amazing are homemade watercolors?!) to look like soil. I added in some flecks and pebbles with a black journaling pen and added some personal journaling.

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Then I added a small round sticker to signify a “seed” and layered in one of the cute blooms from the kit. For my tag I cut out a coordinating green from a set of paint chips (they make great tags!) , layered in a few stickers and embossed it with the BLOOM stamp from the kit. I anchored it with a little more washi tape and couldn’t resist adding the sweet pink bow from the kit. Finally, I highlighted my verse with a little bit of thin pink washi tape.

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My prayer for each and every one of you to is feel loved, valued and at peace as you wait for the blooms in your life. God has promised to complete these good things in us. Know that you are not alone in your wait and that beautiful blooms are coming! Be blessed, friends.

Inspiration is all around! Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Memory Keeping

Creative Retreat Kits|His Promises

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“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will waters become a flood to destroy all life.”

Genesis 9:13-15

I’ve always been terrified of thunder storms. Something about the loud boom and crackle of thunder strong enough to shake the windows always makes my heart race. As a child I remember running to my dad in fear and him saying, “God is talking right now,” when the cracks of thunder would roar over our house. While I’m in awe of the power of God in those moments, I’m also very aware that I am a fragile, tiny human that is deeply vulnerable.

The crazy thing is that I also love a good storm. There is fascination buried in that fear. And maybe, just maybe it’s that I hold out hope that the end of the storm will bring a bright rainbow. We don’t get a terribly large amount of rain where I live in Central California, and we don’t get epic storms like you see in the Midwest and East coast. But every once in a while, we get a good one and right at the tail end, the clouds will part and the sun will pierce through, igniting a bright, prismatic rainbow stretching from one end of the sky to the other (the perk of living in very flat lands).

I adore rainbows. Beyond the science of it all, it’s just shockingly beautiful and every time I see one, it reminds me of God’s promises. From the very first promise in Genesis where God specifically set a rainbow to be a reminder of his covenant and promise to never flood the earth and destroy all life again, to the everyday promises that he makes to his people:

  • That he loves us.
  • That he died for us to forgive our sins, once for all.
  • That he is all powerful.
  • That he heals the broken-hearted.
  • The he has compassion for us.
  • That he will give us wisdom.
  • That he has a purpose and plan for our lives.
  • That he will never leave us or give up on us.

I could go on and on listing his promises. They are endless. I can barely wrap my mind around a God who promises so very much to his people, but still sees and loves me. He sees me in the storms and he shows me his promises. I look at storms differently now. Though there is still fear, I hold on to his promises and love and always look for the rainbow.

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We’ve had quite a few storms in my neck of the woods the last month or two and I’ve been loving it. We’ve also been blessed with some crazy beautiful rainbows. One so beautiful that I grabbed a photo and raced home to make sure my little boys would see it, which they did and loved. I’ve actually taken a lot of “rain pics” the last few weeks (guys, we were so desperate for rain in our dry lands). I thought it might be fun to do something a little different and use the April Faith Art kit to do a pocket page for my scrapbook.

I started by laying out my pocket page protector and then printing a few photos, keeping in mind the dimensions and to space them around the page evenly. I put everything on top of the protector before I ever put anything in pockets. It allows you to quickly move things around and make adjustments easily. I pulled out some coordinating scrap paper and washi tape from my stash that would match the gorgeous blues and pop of yellow in this month’s kit. I swoon for the color combo of this kit!

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I printed out the verse in Genesis, as well as some song lyrics from Rain Down, by Delirious. I then wrote up a quick journaling card and then got to stacking things up.

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The stickers in the kit were absolutely perfect for a rain-themed page. I used SO MANY of them, but still had plenty to go around.

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The secret to a fun pocket page, scrapbook page, even bible journal entry is LAYERS. It’s all about layers. And the more you layer various textures and colors, the better. If I sit back and look at a page and think it’s just “undone” looking, I just add another layer. You really can’t go wrong… though I would caution from going too layer crazy! 🙂

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I pray that you are all able to see and feel God’s promises for you every single day. He is there in the storm of whatever you are going through. His promises do not fail. Look for the rainbows. Be blessed, friends!

Don’t miss out on all of the awesome and fun ways to use Creative Retreat Kits. Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling, Other Fun Stuff

More Exciting News!

I’m so happy to share that I’ve been accepted to apileofashes Sticker Squad for April and May! I love the beautiful pieces that Ash creates and I’m so thrilled to get creative with her products. Be sure to follow the other girls on the squad. There is some serious talent in this group. Stay tuned for more.

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You can find and follow these ladies on Instagram:
@bibleartgal (that’s me)
@iam_angelamarrero
@elizabethb84
@luckowfam
@besavedbygrace
@colorfuljulie
@myartsiecreations
@ajproverbsthreefive
@colors_in_her_bible
@ckabillyandcrafts

We’ll be posting on Instagram. You can shop apileofashes Etsy shop HERE and use the code “JENN15” for 15% off your order and check out her website HERE.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Even in Rain, He Reigns

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“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”
– Matthew 8:23-27

The past several weeks have brought my home state of California a series of back to back late-winter storms, bringing much needed rain to our drought-ridden lands. It’s been a dry season and this is rain that we’ve prayed for, sometimes desperately, so we don’t dare complain or fret. Though these storms have brought unexpected flooding, mudslides and worries of their own, we are still grateful for the life-giving rain. Storms, by nature are dark and brooding, sometimes downright terrifying. It can be hard to see benefits hidden in the darkness.

Can’t we say the same about the storms of life? I know that I can. The past few years have brought the same back to back storms that we’ve been experiencing lately where I live. But instead of life-giving rain, I’ve felt the pain of depression, anxiety, job loss, extreme financial stress, a terminal diagnosis of a loved one, new demanding jobs, marital discord, and the constant roar of “overwhelm” that often comes with life as a wife, mom, caregiver and more. I have often been tempted to shake my fist in the sky and shout, “Where are you God???”

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My local pastor recently preached on the passage of Matthew 8:23-27 and pointed out something so simple and profound, but something I had definitely missed the gravity of when studying it in the past. Jesus was in the boat! The Savior of the world, Messiah, Son of God, was right there, in a state of total peace, sleeping. How often do we run about frantically when the storms of life hit? Screaming, crying, begging for help. But forgetting that God is right here. He’s in the boat. He’s got us under the same hand that he can stretch out over a roaring storm and speak words of peace, and it’s over. It’s calm. Storms are inevitable, but so too is the love of our God. Without the storms, we wouldn’t need him like we so desperately do.

The winds and the sea obey him. He’s calling us to do the same. To trust and obey that he’s in control and that the calm is coming. We need only have faith.

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To say that I love everything about the kit this month is an understatement! The bows, the colors, the stamps, the powerful devotional. I started off my entry with a soft wash of pastel that I “massaged” very well into the page, wiped over with a paper towel and then set down with a very light wash of clear gesso.

I then stamped those adorable raindrops and hit them with some white embossing powder for an extra pop. I set my title down, which is my favorite part… when I saw the kit, two words jumped out at me, “rain” and “reign” and I thought… “Even in the rain, he will reign.” I traced around it in a blue Micron pen, hit it with a few splatters of white acrylic paint watered down just a bit for optimal splattering.

I found this cute cloud in my stash and layered it over that adorable white bow for a really big tag. I love a big, loud tag. Lastly, I wanted a few extra big white raindrops but wasn’t sure how to make them, then laid my eyes on the plain white hearts that came in last month’s kit. Did you know that if you cut a heart in half, you get two perfectly, cute raindrops? They were the perfect addition!

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I pray that even in the storms of this life that each and every one of you can find peace and know that you are not alone. He’s in your boat. He hears you. He knows you. He loves you. And you can trust that he will bring calm to your weary heart. Be blessed, friends!

Want to see other ways to use products from the Creative Retreat kits? Follow @creativeretreatkits on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to see how others are using them! And please check out my Insta account @bibleartgal while you’re there.

Bible Journaling

Exciting News!

I. am. still. pinching. myself. I am DELIGHTED to share that I was accepted to be a Design Team member for Creative Retreat! This spring and summer, these 9 ladies and I will be sharing a little piece of our hearts and some fun and creative ideas using Creative Retreat Kits.

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I love the ease and affordability of Creative Retreat Kits. They’ve become one of my favorite tools for bible journaling. I’m so excited!

You can find and follow these ladies on Instagram:
@bibleartgal (that’s me)
@legacyoflove_creations
@britcarleton
candiescorner
@stirthesoul
@mrcfuldeeds2010
@littlelewcreates
@yointomibiblia
@julesk.jewels
@lindseydecor413

We’ll be posting on the Creative Retreat blog and YouTube Channel. Shop the kits and other supplies here.