Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Meet Him at the Well

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13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 

John 4:13-15

I had the distinct pleasure of writing the devotional content for March’s faith art box and I sort of wished I could have an entire book to fill. When it comes to the subject of living water, let’s just say my heart is full. My heart is full because I have known what it’s like to be thirsty. And no, I don’t mean being in need of a Gatorade, but being deeply, spiritually thirsty and feeling like there was nothing to quench me.

I’ve been a Christian since the first grade, nearly my entire life, and though a huge part of me knows how incredibly blessed I am, a part of me also knows how easy it can be to get disillusioned in my faith. Things start to sound more like cliches than truths, bible verses get quoted for comfort but often lack the spiritual depth that our God intended, and you can start to operate by “that’s just the way it’s always been done” kind of thinking.

When I got to college, I was nearly bowled over by the constant spiritual attacks and rhetoric in the curriculum asking me to give grounds for my faith, only to quickly attempt to knock it down. I struggled greatly in those years to give the real reason for my faith besides “that’s just the way I raised” or “because my parents taught me…” That would not stand in the world. I found myself so deeply thirsty for God, and not just because that was the only thing I knew, but because I craved RELATIONSHIP with him. I was lonely, lost, overwhelmed and so very, thirsty for Him.

I’m happy to share that I survived those college years and as a result built an incredibly strong faith and relationship with the Lord that I defy anyone to try and topple. In the years since, I have seen God answer prayers, deliver desires of my heart, and reveal a path and purpose for my life. Over and over again, he has met me at the well, much like the thirsty Samaritan woman in John 4, and quenched my thirst with the Living Water that only our Lord and Savior can give. We come to him as sinners, and leave filled with his gift of living water and the promise of eternity with Him. Thank you, Jesus!

For my entry this month, I knew I wanted to use that sweet sketchy well stamp from the kit and I knew my title before I even started – Meet Jesus at the Well because it’s happened for me over and over again. I come to him, a sinner, and leave forgiven, filled and loved.

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I started out by laying down my background by smooshing some Distress Oxide inks in Broken China and Peacock Feathers with a few sprays of water and the plastic packaging from the kit contents. I let that completely dry and then stamped in the well at the bottom of the page using archival black ink.

Next, I worked on my title by starting with a pink plain label/tag that I found in my stash (I think this was from Studio Calico) and building my title on top, using the adorable water drop alphas and some of the stickers in the kit. I also decided to use some of the stamps and one of the tag stickers (I love these new additions to the sticker page!). I secured that down with a few washi tapes from my stash as well and finished if off with the living water sticker from the kit.

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I wanted to use more of the wordfetti so I did a Mad Libs style journaling at the bottom, using the stickers to supplement my writing. I then went in and outlined everything with my black journaling pen to make it pop and to tie in the black stamping.

I added a few more bits of washi around the page to tie everything together, including some at the top of the page to create a better foundation for my bow. How CUTE are the bows in this kit?!

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To pull it all together, I hit the page with a little bit of black watercolor splatter. I felt like it needed that rustic look to help the well stamp feel more organic and sketched.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that in your time of thirst and need, you seek out Jesus. Meet him at the well and offer up your heart. I promise that in return he will give you soul-filling, thirst-quenching, all-fulfilling living water. With our God, you never need to thirst again. Drink, and be satisfied.

Need some more Living Water inspiration? 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.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | The Greatest Commandment

“And he said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Matthew 22:37-39

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I recently did one of those cheesy Facebook “assessments” where it screens your account to find out that words that you use most often. I wasn’t entirely surprised when it told me that single word I use most often is LOVE. Honestly, I was pretty delighted that the word love is constantly on my lips. And I do consider myself to be a person of love. One, because that’s just the way my heart leans – I have big emotions and when I love something, I REALLY LOVE IT. That goes with people, equally. I LOVE my people.

But more importantly, I love because our God commands it. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 22 that loving God was the greatest commandment. And not a shallow, easy love. But to love “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And why not?! Because our God loves us more than anything. He loves us so much that he sent his son to the cross for us. The ultimate sacrifice of love.

Second to that command to love our God, is to love our neighbor. And no, that doesn’t mean just the person who resides next door to you. Neighbor = everyone. Even that nasty person who cuts you off in line at school drop-off. It’s loving the thief that steals the package from your front door. It’s loving the careless coworker who says the project you poured countless hours into wasn’t that great. It’s loving the parent who never loved you the way you desperately needed and deserved. It’s our own kind of sacrificial love.

This is not easy! Just as I mentioned that I am a person that loves deeply… unfortunately, when I don’t like something, I REALLY don’t like it. Loving is not always easy. Loving sometimes comes with a price or a sacrifice of our own. But love is always worth it. Love is powerful, cleansing, healing, and restorative. I can’t really count a time in my life when love was wasted – even if it wasn’t returned.


Let’s jump into the entry! I started by highlighting my verse in a soft pink because I keep forgetting to do that first and I often get carried away and make art right over my verse!

Once that was taken care of, I knew I wanted to use the gorgeous embellished letter stamps in the kit. I stamped out LOVE first and then grabbed some fun Dear Lizzy Thickers from my stash to spell out Lord. There were so many letters that coordinated well with the February kit colors! I used the awesome, simple black alpha stickers from the kit to compliment my titles.

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I layered in some strips of fun yellow striped washi to break up my titles. I can’t remember where I got this washi and it makes me sad because it’s almost gone and I use it A LOT. Next, after stamping out Love again, I grabbed all my alpha stickers and made the People title using all sorts of different letters that coordinated with the kit colors. I liked how varied this look and felt like it represented how different people can be!

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Then I grabbed some markers and filled in the flowers and embellishments on the stamped letters. I used Stampin Up markers in Regal Rose, Pretty in Pink, Daffodil Delight and Bashful Blue – some or all of these may be discontinued because they recently re-worked their color line. I finished up by adding some fun enamel dots and hearts to the page just to pop. I love how these looked with the stamped letters!

I was gifted this cute heart fabric clip and decided it had to go on this page. I secured it with the washi and then laid down a label sticker and other stickers and alphas from the kit to spell out love.

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This was such a quick and easy entry but I love how it turned out. I hope you guys are enjoying the kit this month as much as I am!

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you practice love in your daily life – love God with all your heart, your soul and your mind. Love his people, even when it feels like they don’t deserve it. Love because the Lord commands it and love because it feels so good to love and to receive love. Love first, and be amazed at what follows.

Need creative inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits.  While you’re there, come find me and let’s be friends! I’m @bibleartgal. 

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | All Kinds of Love

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“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Deuteronomy 6:5

February is upon us… bring on the red roses, stuffed teddy bears, and conversation hearts candies! Though, I recently heard a news story stating that the candies would not be made this year because the original company that made them went out of business last year. Initially, there was quite an uproar about it. People just can’t do without those chalky, sweet hearts with simple sentiments! The reporter quickly added that the company that took over plans to stock the shelves with them next year. Phew!

Without a doubt, there will be plenty of imitations and copycats this year to get us through. We get so worked up about the commercial part of love. We toil and fret over the perfect gift for our beloved and react all sorts of ways about the gifts bestowed to us by our partners – as if the gift itself is the sole measure of our love and understanding of one another. But, just like the conversations hearts, though there is great value in our earthly love and relationships, they are NOTHING in comparison to the real, true, lasting and all-encompassing love of our God. Imitators have no place.

As commanded in Deuteronomy 6, we are to love the Lord our God with ALL our hearts, ALL our soul, and ALL our might or strength. This is not conditional love. This is not love that takes or break or gives up when it’s too hard. This is not love that holds a grudge. This is not love that questions or doubts. This is a love to live by and to die by. Christ already did that for us, to reconcile our sin once for all. THAT IS LOVE.

The greatest part? As much as we strive to love and serve God… it’s just the faintest whisper of the love he has in return for us. THAT love is beyond human description. It’s love that can’t possibly be summarized on a conversation heart. It’s sacrificial, powerful love.

I was obviously inspired by conversation hearts for my entry this month. Once I saw the fun pinks, blues and yellows of the February Faith Art box, I immediately thought of them.

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I started by going through my stash and finding some simple scrap paper (no large or bold patterns) in colors that would match the kit. I then took a heart punch (mine is from Stampin Up and is discontinued) and punched out a bunch of different hearts.

In order to make sure I had enough space for the hearts, I used some of the thin washi tape from Illustrated Faith to block out and highlight my verses. Next, I buffed in some Distress Oxide inks into the page to create more depth and a background for the hearts, being careful to alternate the colors so they were opposite of the heart that would be on top of them.  I used the shades Worn Lipstick, Picked Raspberry, Fossilized Amber and Faded Jeans (my favorite!).

Next, I grabbed a very small alpha stamp set and a few of the word stamps from this month’s kits and some previous kits and stamped out various love-related sentiments. I used Stampin Up ink in the shade Poppy Parade, which is a great match for the orangey red of conversation hearts text. Some of them got a little wonky with alignment but I actually loved that because if you’ve seen the original candy, they aren’t exactly precise.

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I secured the hearts down with some Tombow Mono tape. I then decided to punch a heart from the devotional card and use it for my title. I secured that down and then used the wordfetti to spell out Love the Lord Your God. I outlined it with a Sharpie Fine Pen in a pink shade to make it pop a bit.

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I felt like the page was lacking a bit of something so I grabbed my white Gelly Roll pen and drew in some detail to each heart with outlining, stitching and other marking techniques. I love the extra contrast with that white tracing! My bible is getting REALLY chunky so I opted for no tag on this page. I’m not quite ready to retire it so I’m going to try and limit my big dimensional pieces.

Friends, my prayer for you is that you don’t seek love any other place this season than at the feet of God. He loves you more than you could ever imagine and desires your heart. He desires your love – ALL of it from ALL of your heart, soul and might. He’s the only valentine you could ever need. Love, and be loved.

Need creative inspiration for this fun kit? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. I LOVE new friends! Find me @bibleartgal. 

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Worthy Woman

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.”
Ruth 3:11

We are in the time of year that many are choosing their one little word for the year. A word that symbolizes their hearts, calling, focus, goal, and direction. I’ve been at this practice for about 4 years now. Last year, my word was WORTH. It was something I had been deeply struggling with in the years prior. I will be the first to admit that I let the difficult circumstances of my life get the best of me and came to the conclusion that I was not enough and that I had no real worth.

It’s a devastating place to be, feeling worthless. It’s also a place fueled by the enemy. Satan wants nothing more than for us to feel worthless. He thrives in those conditions. Fortunately, I recognized it and so made WORTH my word. I spent the year focusing on the Word of God and on messages of truth about the person that I am… the person that God says I am. The song You Say by Lauren Daigle came at the perfect time. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it, especially if you are struggling with your own worth.

Women need to feel worthy. They need to feel loved. They need to feel beautiful. They need to feel precious and treasured. And ladies, we serve a God that feels all those things for us and more. We are truly BELOVED women in the eyes of our Savior. What HE says about us is the only thing that matters.

I loved jumping into the book of Ruth this month. Ruth’s story is such a good one and is so near and dear to the heart of women. I love this verse in chapter 3 where Boaz declared Ruth to be a worthy woman. It speaks not only of the character of Ruth and of Boaz, but to the heart of a woman itself. God sees and knows our worth. With Him, we are always worthy and loved. Thank you Jesus!

Let’s jump into this month’s GORGEOUS faith art box. The colors… ladies, THE COLORS. Let’s just say they are my absolute faves. Oceanic blues with a pop of yellow. It’s like a piece of my heart!

Because this kit speaks to the heart of a woman and so does this passage in Ruth, from the start I envisioned a silhouette of a woman’s face.

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Next, I reached for my tried and true watercolors. These ocean blues were begging for some soft washes of watercolor. I traced in my design and then just went in with several different shades, letting the water blend them together. I let it dry and then went in with another few layers, adding in hair details and finishing with a little splatter for a textured feel. For this page, I used blues from several different sets by Dots and Dust. I love her handmade watercolors.

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I wanted to be sure to use the insanely CUTE bows so I secured that to the top of the page with some coordinating washi tape from my stash, along with the blessed tag sticker in the kit’s sticker page. I just used a little EK Success Power Tool to take the stickiness of the back of the tab.

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Next, I went in and laid down my little using the alpha stickers and wordfetti from the kit (along with a few from a previous kit)… “I am worthy and loved.” To make them stand out a bit, I outlined them with a black journaling pen. I also drew a few tiny clusters of dots and circles around the page to add some more texture and depth.

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I wanted the rest of the entry to be simple and to allow for some journaling space. I often write a short prayer of thanks in these entries. I opted for one of my blue journaling pens since I was really feeling the blues with this entry.

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Friends, I pray that you know to the depths of your heart how worthy and loved you are. You are God’s beloved. He will never forsake you or leave you. And, like Ruth, if you step out in faith and trust him, he’s got big plans for your life.

Find inspiration using the January Faith Art Box, 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 | 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.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | When We Gather

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“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Matthew 18:20

I could hardly believe when I saw on the calendar just a few short weeks ago that it was officially fall. It takes quite a while for temperatures to cool and for leaves to actually fall where I live so it can take a while for it to really set in. For me, fall always ignites the practice and attitude of gratefulness in my life. Maybe it’s because it is the eve of Thanksgiving when the whole world finally takes a pause to give thanks. I like to start early and really get in the right frame of mind.

This year, the thing that rises to the top of mind when I think of what I am grateful for, is “my people”. We all need each other so desperately, even when things are good, but so much more so when things are less than ideal. This year has very much been the latter for me and I don’t know if I could have gotten as far as I am today without my people.

My support system is very small but very strong. Much of my support system is rooted in the faith of our Lord and Savior. He comes first in everything. I think of Matthew 18 when I think of my people. This passage is often referred to when it comes to conflict resolution, which it is a wonderful template for, but for me, it’s such a shining example of what strength there is when believers gather in His name. He tells us that he is with us in these moments. Truly holy moments happen when we gather in His name!

Some of the most earnest prayers I have made when gathered with my people have been asked in His name. There is incredible power in the name of God. Satan trembles at his name. Mountains will tumble at the sound of his name. You see, big things happen when we gather in His name. He is for us and he is with us. Could there be anything better?

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Let’s chat about my entry – can we talk about the gorgeous colors in this kit?! I also adored the vine and leaf pattern on the back of the devotional card (which I typically do), so I raided my paper stash because I knew I had some others with the same color palette. I started by buffing in a soft wash of ink (Distress Oxide ink in Fossilized Amber) on the top and bottom of the page. I thought this might help the mixed paper patterns blend together a bit better and because I just loved that yellow.

Next, I pulled papers that specifically had this earthy yellow, rich purple and soft gray or turquoise. I got out my hexagon die cut and cut out several sheets. Starting at the bottom edge, I started piecing them together on the page, gluing one piece down at a time, focusing just on the bottom of the page, then creating a simple cluster at the top of the page as well. I carefully cut off any overhanging pieces with a small scissor.

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I loved the beautiful Gather in His Name sticker from the kit so I used only that as my title. This was the PERFECT piece for this page! I also loved the two circle stickers that said He is For Us and He is With Us so I nestled those together down into the hexis. I framed out my verses with a bit of purple washi tape and hit the page with some purple watercolor splatters.

I loved the dark teal bow in the kit so I added that and loved how it helped tie in the various patterns and bring in that turquoise blue color. It was the perfect finishing touch to a page full of rich color!
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Friends, my prayer for you is that you begin the practice of gratefulness now as we enter this harvest season. Consider the good harvest in your life this year and be grateful for those who have come alongside you, prayed with you and for you and have gathered together with you in the name of God. He is with us. He is for us. Amen!

For more inspiration using the October Faith Art box follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Be sure to check out our Facebook Insiders group for more inspiration and some fun freebies! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Made Perfect in Weakness

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“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

There was a time in my 20s when I felt like I was in really decent shape, and was at a phase in my life when I wanted to try everything. I said YES to as many new experiences as I could. I was single and had all the time in the world, so when my singles group at church invited everyone out for a day hike in the mountains, I said YES.

What I quickly learned, just minutes into this “easy” hiking trail was that I was in fact not in decent shape and I was not cut out for hiking. Let’s just say that I huffed and puffed, and at one point, was seeing spots, on the verge of passing out completely. Layers of clothing were shed. At one point, a heroic gentleman in our group offered to carry my backpack. Even stripped of everything weighing me down, I struggled.

The mental attack on myself started, “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you do this? You are such a joke! You look like a fool right now.” I couldn’t deal with my own inner enemy screeching in my ears. I started to pray and pray hard, “Lord, I need you. I can’t do this. I don’t want to hold this group back. I said yes to this so I could live richly, deeply and fully. God, I need you.” The prayers continued as the incline grew more sharp.

As I continued to falter and take many, many breaks, I started to recite scripture. It was amazing. Scriptures I didn’t even know that I could remember by heart started flowing through me. Psalms, Proverbs, James… I recited until the intensity of those scriptures covered me and I could no longer focus on the pain in my legs or the burn of my lungs. The word of God was covering me and giving me power I didn’t know I had.

At some point, I didn’t even realize when we reached the summit. That summit contained the most beautiful oasis tucked into the canyon – a lazy river, great trees towering overhead and a peace that I hadn’t seen or felt in a very long time. “Thank you Lord!” I exclaimed, both out of relief of the end of our ascent, but also at the reward that was waiting here for me. The struggle was so worth it.

As I read Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians, speaking of our Lord, “my power is made perfect in weakness” I thought of this hiking trip. Physically, I needed the Lord to get me to the top of that mountain. Mentally, I needed his peace and guidance too. And as I reflect on it now, in my moments of great weakness (and not even physical weakness, but spiritual weakness, pain, grief, stress…) I have needed God more than ever. I think God’s power really is made perfect in our weakness. Without weakness, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Our weakness creates a hunger for God that only he can satisfy. And not only does he satisfy… he heals, restores and brings power! Like Paul says, when we are weak, we are STRONG because of our God! And often, like the oasis that revealed itself at the end of my hike, there is incredible beauty and reward waiting.

I love the subtle color scheme of the September Faith Art box and I felt that tones of gray would go perfectly. This simple entry started with just a few strips of a gray plaid washi tape, laid down at angles. On top I layered my title using the wordfetti and title stickers – made perfect in my weakness.

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Then, I used the heart stickers to form a sort of path of arrows to my secondary title, I am made perfect in you. The white border of the “perfect” and “weakness” stickers seamed a bit stark so I went in with a bit of Ice Spruce Distress Oxide ink on a Q-tip and buffed it around the edges. This helped it settle into the washi tape a bit better. I like that it ended up a bit distressed, messy and not perfect… it really fit the theme of the page. 🙂

Next I made a notecard for my sermon notes using half of the devotion card from this month’s kit. This sermon from Chuck Smith was really powerful (and can be found on Blue Letter Bible) and I wanted to capture his main points.

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I used the number stickers from the alpha stickers and a bit more of the washi to capture all the points. I cut the title out of the other side of the devotional card and attached it to the top. Finally, I used a bit more washi tape to tip it into my bible.

For finishing touches I did a little bit of splattering with gray watercolor paint. I found this cute gray fabric in my stash and made a quick clip to secure to the top of my page with a bit of washi. I tape all my clips in so they don’t fall out.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you realize how badly we need a Savior. May we not see weakness and being vulnerable as a bad thing, but rather an expression of our open need for the power and might of our God. I pray that in your weakness, you will cry out to him and find immeasurable strength, healing and love, and that you will be greeted by an oasis more beautiful than you ever imagined on the other side.

Be blessed, friends!

Not sure how you can use September’s Faith Art Box? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? Let’s connect! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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.

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.