Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | A Season of Preparation

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Now that we are halfway through the month I’ve heard that quite a lot of people using the November Faith Art Box to document Advent. I just loved that idea so I decided to do something similar and use the kit with a sort of “mini series” about preparation for this wonderful season of joy, celebration, anticipation and gratitude.

This season holds a special place in many people’s hearts and I am no exception. I have always loved Christmas, though the reason behind that love has changed and evolved as I have matured. As a child, of course, the draw of presents and treats was almost electric. Now that I am grown and have children of my own, I get the double joy of watching them experience the wonder of Christmas in its twinkle and treats, and to help them understand, as I have learned, that the best gift we could ever receive is the love and salvation of our Savior. Thank you God for sending your son for us!

This season, I am preparing my heart for all of the many facets that this season offers, in experiences and in remembrance of the tiny King who came to save. As I mentioned, I did a series of 7 mini entries using the kit, and I love how each one has both special meaning and slightly different look. This was great because it allowed for in depth bible study and a short creative time to finish – which is ideal in this busy time of year. It also helped for pages that already had a mini entry (much of my current bible has entries from Lent) .

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I wanted each entry to have it’s own unique look and feel but have a common thread. In this case it was the same color scheme, a few lines of personal journaling, and a date stamp to document each day.

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I didn’t do tabs for each of my entries, but I couldn’t resist using this sticker from the kit as a little medallion at the top, secured with a little washi tape (I got rid of the stickyness on the back using the EK Success Powder tool).

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I also wanted to be sure to us ALL the elements in the kit. I mentioned in my last post that I always sort of forget about the stamps so I decided to be sure to use them as often as I could… though I just fell in love with the pine branch stamps and used them almost exclusively! The entry above had a little white embossing in the title too and I love how that turned out.

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For the entry above it doesn’t show AT ALL in photos but I layered both brilliant white and platinum pigment ink stamping using the cute star stamp in the kit. It makes for a great background with a subtle, shimmery pop.

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I also dug around in my stash to find some coordinating enamel dots, another item I always forget to use. I love how they look like little festive pops of candy here. I also just HAD to use that cute mini leather bow. How fun is this delicate silhouette?!

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I did a little ink smooshing on this page with the Distress Oxide inks I used in my last post as well. I just loved how they coordinated with the kit and gave a soft wash of green. And black splatters… a must. 😉

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Sometimes, a little washi tape is all you need to tie a title together. I had about two minutes for the entry above so that’s all I could do, and I sort of love this simple, sweetness of this. These entries really allowed me to focus on the scripture first.

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Right when I saw those pine branch stamps I envisioned a wreath so I knew it would happen at some point. This is probably my favorite little entry of all of them. I love that little wreath, and I ALWAYS love the message of hope. Now, and every time of the year.

I didn’t follow a study for this series, I actually just did my own research and tried to focus on the things I wanted to be sure to prepare for this season. These verses really meant a lot to me and I hope you can take the time to check them out for yourself:

  • Prepare for REDEMPTION:  John 1:29
  • Prepare for HOPE:  Romans 5:1-5
  • Prepare for WORSHIP:  Matthew 2:1-2
  • Prepare him ROOM:  Luke 2:6-7
  • Prepare for JOY:  Luke 1:14-15
  • Prepare for MIRACLES:  Matthew 1:18-25
  • Prepare for his FAVOR:  Luke 1:26-38

Friends, I pray that you take some special time to prepare your heart to celebrate our King this season. I pray that God reveals to you the areas that you need to focus on and that you feel deeply how much he loves you and wants you to draw close to him. May you find the time and words to share with those you love how valuable this precious gift of salvation is.

Be blessed friends!

Need some inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. I love friends! Find me @bibleartgal.

Other Fun Stuff

Creative Retreat Kits | Joy to the World

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“Joy to the World! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing”

-Joy to the World, published in 1719, written by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

-Psalm 98:4

Friends, can I share with you how immensely glad my heart is that the holidays are upon us?! I had the amazing gift of writing the devotional for this month’s Faith Art Box, so hopefully, you know how deeply I feel about the importance of preparing our hearts for Christ as we enter into this season.

We prepare so very much for Christmas, through capturing that perfect Christmas card image, to buying gifts for everyone we love, preparing for holiday parties, baking trays of sweet cookies, and “decking our halls” with all the twinkle and trim that we can to make our homes festive. This season, I’m challenged to put in the same effort with my heart. My home might be ready to reflect on Christmas, but is my heart ready to remember the birth of our King and truly savor what he came to do for us?

As I dove deeper into Joy to the World, the carol that inspired this month’s devotional, I was struck to find out that it wasn’t intended to be a Christmas carol at all, but rather, as a poem inspired by Psalm 98. At its heart, it’s a true expression of the joy and power of our great Savior. A psalm expression of his love, the offer of salvation and faithfulness that springs forth even from the depths of the earth… the seas roar, the rivers clap their hands, the fields exult. That is some deep and expressive joy!

A lot of times I think we make the mistake of thinking that reflecting and preparing our hearts needs to be done in silence, in reverence or in study. But we serve a God of joy! We serve a God who delights in our praise and worship. This holiday season, I intend embrace the heart of Psalm 98, of Joy to the World, and will prepare my heart with joy of knowing intimately our King, who was born to save! I hope you’ll do the same.

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I knew I wanted to journal with this hymn and I wanted to keep this page pretty simple because I really didn’t want to cover up the lyrics (especially after I researched the heart of it). I always forget about stamping so I thought it would be fun to kick off this page with stamping… and when I saw the pine branch stamps in this month’s box… my heart went straight to garlands.

I used both pine branch stamps and layered them to form garlands, using Distress Oxide Inks in Cracked Pistachio and Lucky Clover. I then added a few embellishments to the garland using some of the heart stickers from the kit. It needed a little contrast, and a bit of sparkle so I added in some simple dots using a metallic gold marker.

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I knew I wanted to incorporate that sweet blue bow in the kit so I laid down a strip of plaid washi (from one of the Illustrated Faith Revival Camp kits this summer) that coordinated really well with the kit, both to reinforce the page and secure the bow. On top, I layered the word Prepare from the wordfetti in the kit as a reminder of the heart of this hymn… “let every heart prepare him room”.

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Lastly, I added a little more of the plaid washi at the bottom of the page to tie it together. On top of that, I layered a label sticker from the kit and then stamped 2018 in gold ink. I try to pick a hymn to focus on each holiday season, and seeing as I became so invested in this one, I found it to be the perfect fit.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you prepare your heart as we enter into this holiday season. I pray that you know how deeply and fully God loves you and that YOU are the heart of why he sent his son. May you seek and find joy this season in all that you do.

Be blessed and pursue joy, my friends!

Need some inspiration as you prepare and journal this holiday season? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? Let’s be! I love friends. Check out my IG @bibleartgal.