Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | One True King

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“But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes.
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.”

Jeremiah 10:10

I’m not a huge consumer of junk food… but I do have a mean sweet tooth. Do you remember several years back when Hostess announced that it was closing it’s doors? Now, I wouldn’t say I was devastated or anything, but I will admit that I was bummed. Bummed because those chocolate cupcakes with the white swirl on top were one of my guilty pleasures. We all have those little things that are probably just not that appealing, but end up being a bit of a vice.

I used to allow myself a package of those every once in a while as a treat, OR when I donated blood. I could always count on the blood bank to have my favorite treats. So when Hostess announced it was quits, I thought I would be devoid of my indulgence forever. It wasn’t a short time later that that “imitators” started popping up in vending machines and storefronts.

I was reluctant, but I gave them a try. They were NOT my indulgence. They were dry. They were sort of tasteless and weirdly sticky. They were not Hostess. They were in fact just imitators. There are SO MANY imitators in our life. Things that promise they are real and satisfying. But when you look down deep, they are just that, fakes. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to guide us to truth. There is nothing that reveals truth better than our God!

Jeremiah 10:10 describes our God as the ONE TRUE GOD. There is nothing artificial, tasteless or fake about Him. He is great. He is powerful. He is above all. Better than that he is the LIVING GOD that is above all. Living means that he still acts and intercedes for us every day. He doesn’t just sit back and watch our lives unfold. He is active and present in them.

For my page this week I decided to go royal and honor our one true King. I started by using the ink smooshing technique (smooshing ink onto plastic packaging, spraying a bit of water on it and “smooshing” it on the page several times). I used Distress Oxide ink in Faded Jeans. I LOVE this color of blue and it coordinated with the kit just perfectly.

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Next I decided to do a little bit of hand lettering with a gold American Crafts marker. Lettering is NOT my strength but I felt like that was the only way to do it for spelling out the title King and I’m actually happy with how it turned out. I added a few other alphas and wordfetti from the kit to spell out “He is the one true King”.

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I went in drew a box around my verse and drew a few little gold stars with the marker and then hit the whole page with some gold splatters using a Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor in Blue Gold.

I finished the page off with a little sparkly gold washi tape, that sweet blue bow from the kit and the One True King medallion sticker.

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This was a quick and simple entry but I really like how it turned out. The blue and gold combo is one of my faves.

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Friends, I pray that you know and celebrate the one true God and King in your lives. I pray that you know of his power and might but feel his compassion and love for you. Do not settle for cheap imitators and fakes to full any holes in your life. He is above all and will cover all. He is the King of your heart.

Be blessed, friends!

If you’re looking for inspiration using the Faith Art Box, follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? We should be! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Child of God

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“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

1 John 3:1

I’ve already shared a few stories about my dad here in the blog, so it’s probably easy to tell that I’m a big fan. 🙂 I know that I am very lucky to have the father that I have on this earth. He is wise, loving, kind, patient, strong, protective and a strong follower of Jesus. My dad has modeled so many important things to me and has helped shape me into the woman I am today. A lot of my best stories involve him. I love him dearly.

This made it particularly hard and painful as my dad started showing some strange symptoms a few years back. Besides a pretty progressive amount of forgetfulness that was not characteristic of a man in his early 60s, there were other things – confusion, anxiety, mood changes and declining comprehension. We began round after round of testing, second and third opinions, traveling for expert doctors and finally landed at a specialty clinic north of where we live. Just a few days after his testing there in December 2015, the doctors called a family meeting and sat us around a large oak table where they broke the news that my father had early onset Alzheimers Disease at a moderate stage.

Everything became a blur punctuated by a few phrases… “terminal disease”, “will never improve”, “average diagnosis to death…8 years.” I had seen signs of my dad slipping away prior, but this made it official. My dad was fading and we would have to watch him fade away before losing him completely. To say my heart was crushed is an understatement. I never imagined the possibility of losing a parent in my 30s or 40s. We were supposed to grow old together, sprout gray hairs together and laugh about “the good old days”.

My emotions have ebbed and flowed as we’ve navigated the last 3 years since his diagnosis and the slow loss that accompanies time. I have really good, strong and positive days, and I have very dark, sad and lonely days. Mourning the gradual loss of someone who is standing right in front of you is indescribably painful and exhausting. As I explained the emotional roller coaster to my best friend, I found myself choking out what my heart had been struggling with…”Sometime soon, I won’t have a dad anymore. Who is going to take care of me? Sometimes you just need a dad! I can’t do this life without my daddy.”

It was a few weeks later that I first heard the song “No Longer Slaves” from Bethel Music and cried my eyes out. These particular verses were gut-wrenching and beautiful to me:

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name.
I’ve been born again to my family
Your blood flows through my veins. 

I’m not longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God.

I am surrounded
By the arms of the Father.
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance.
We’ve been liberated
From our bondage.
We’re the songs and the daughters.
Let us sing our freedom.

It was a real WHOA GOD kind of moment for me. Though I will have to endure the pain and loss of my early father, I will never be without a Father. The God of the universe was my father first. I AM A CHILD OF GOD. I belong to him. I always will. And what greater love is there than the love of our heavenly father.

I have found great comfort in the knowledge that I was, am and forever will be loved by our Father God. No matter what comes, I am his child and will be covered by his grace and compassion. On tough days, I meditate on 1 John 3:1 and the promise contained therein. The promise that our Father loves us so very much that we are called his children. And I honestly feel his arms wrap around me and surround the pain, and provide me with peace and love.

When I opened the August Faith Art box I was blown away when the very first thing I saw was the child of God medallion sticker. Friends, our God really meets us where we are at and where we have a need, and I needed to be reminded of this powerful truth.

This was an emotional entry for me and honestly, creatively, I struggled. I was inspired by the beautiful entry that Lindsey did last month and so I framed out the verses for the entry in a similar fashion. I then got out some different shades of red and pink gelatos (Iced Currant, Red Cherry, Metallic Melon, and Guava with some accents of Metallic Icing) and made some circular shapes reminiscent of the rosettes in the stamp set. I used a light wash of water to make a watercolor effect and blend the shades together. After they dried I stamped in the rosettes on top using black VersaFine ink using some paper masks to layer them and then sprinkled in some leaves from this and previous kits.

DSC_3711I then framed the verses with a few strips of light blue paper that matched this month’s colors and fastened on this sweet lace border using a bit of clear embellishment glue. I used a dimensional dot to place the child of God medallion and make it pop up so I could layer the blossom stickers underneath.

I finished with a few of the enamel shapes from last month’s kit and a bit of journaling at the top right of the page.

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I really wanted to include the lyrics from the No Longer Slaves song to make it really personal so I cut the reflection questions from the devotional card, printed off the lyrics and fastened them to the card, framing it in a bit more of the lace border. Then, I used the wordfetti from the kit to add the title, “My name is child of God”. DSC_3715I love this little extra card! I’m using the sweet floral print bow to secure it into my bible. DSC_3717

And I love that it includes the great reflection questions on the back. I love having a reminder of what I’ve been studying right there on my page.

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My prayer for you is that you would know the love of our heavenly Father. Love that is deep, pure, unconditional and grace-giving. No matter what your earthly father is like, or whether you know or have a relationship with your dad, you are still a precious, loved child of God and there is nothing better than His love for you. His love covers all pain, fear, shame and doubt. You will forever be his.

Be blessed, friends!

Need inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? We should be! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Bounty of Blessings

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22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

Galatians 5:22-23

I am very fortunate to live in Central California for a lot of reasons. But, one of my favorite reasons is the absolute bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables grown here. Reedley, a town just north of me (and consequently where I met my husband… at a peach orchard of all things!) is known as the “fruit basket of the world” because for the size of the area, it produces more fruit than any other place in the world!

All throughout the valley, tucked between country homes, little housing tracts, large expanses of land, dairies, churches and a network of roads are orchards, vineyards and fields producing masses of fruit – strawberries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, kiwis, oranges, cherries and more. We have the best fruit and I have learned more about fruit than I ever thought possible living here.

The most important thing I’ve learned about farming is the incredible amount of work it takes to produce even a small harvest of fruit. There is no plopping seeds in the ground, splashing a little water on it and walking away until harvest time. Farming is painstaking, backbreaking, expensive and time-consuming work. It takes great dedication to sow, water, protect and harvest. There is disappointment along the way. And there are also tremendous awards when all goes well.

Galatians tells us all about the fruit of the Spirit. This is a different kind of fruit than the ones we are chopping up for that sweet summer fruit salad, but there is a lot we can learn from this fruit. The fruit of the spirit is literally the harvest sown when the Spirit abides in you. If you are walking with and in a relationship with the Lord, his Spirit is living in you and it will produce fruit… the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That is some GOOD FRUIT.

But just like the farmers that rise with the sun and retire well after it has gone back down, good fruit is not produced without investing yourself. You must invest the time, effort and expense in producing good fruit in your life. It doesn’t just come on its own. Good fruit comes from living and being led by the Spirit. But what incredible blessings come from that investment! Who doesn’t want the blessing of love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Oh, goodness yes! What an incredible bounty of blessings comes from living in the Spirit.

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I probably say it every month but I am in love with the July Faith Art box. My eyes were the size of peaches when I opened it up. This is such a gorgeous and fun kit – so much that I went a little color crazy, but I couldn’t help it!

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I started by very lightly putting down some heart stickers from the kit to create little masks and putting a light layer of washi tape over my verse to mask that. I then experimented with some of the Studio Calico Color Mists by lightly spraying a few coordinating colors down (I first covered EVERYTHING in sight but my page and sprayed very gently and from a great distance). I let it dry completely because these are very rich and saturate quickly. I lightly pulled up the heart stickers I had placed to reveal some nice crisp hearts.

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The pattern on the back of the devotional card is AMAZING so I just had to fussy cut some letters to form the FRUIT part of my title. I did a little additional outlining with a white gel pen and accented it with a few of the cute enamel pieces from the kit. I went back to my super chunky bible this month so I went a little dimensional and used foam tape to elevate my title and even glued in a button over my “i”. I finished my title with a few of the wordfetti pieces and Spirit sticker and traced over everything with the white gel pen.

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I made a little cluster at the bottom of the page for a little GROW subtitle, which I stamped in white craft (pigment) ink and added another little button and enamel accent. I used the round alphas from this month’s kit to put in the date for my entry. The page was looking a little bland so I grabbed my white gel pen once more and added some dots, crosses and other textures to mimic the sketch style of the devotional card art.

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I finished the page with a little cluster tab at the top, combining a little mint washi tape, a sticker from the kit and a quick clip that I made from some scrap ribbon.

My prayer for each of you is that you choose to walk in the Spirit of our Lord so that you may experience the incredible bounty of blessings that come when you live in his power. I pray that you are living a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Be blessed, friends!

You’ve got to see the incredible things being done with this month’s kit! Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. I love making new friends, so please check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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.

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.