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.

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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 | Truth in Good Fruit

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“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Matthew 7:15-20

I was in my pre-teens when I learned a very expensive lesson … rather, my parents bore the weight of the expense while I dealt with the embarrassment and aftermath of my poor decision. I grew up the 80s and 90s when the landline phone was king (long before the smartphone). I just LOVED talking on the phone. I talked on the phone A LOT (sorry Mom and Dad). I was also very young and very immature and very impressionable. An advertiser’s dream, really.

So, when I stumbled across some advertisements for a phone-in psychic, I was dazzled. Someone who could remarkably and accurately tell me my future?! Sign me up! Maybe she would tell me if that cute boy in my class liked me back? Maybe she would would tell me if I was getting that killer boombox for my birthday? I was desperate to know what the future held for me, so I called in. My eyes didn’t even pause over the fine print. The fine print which explained that each call would cost $5.95 to connect and another several dollars per minute to continue. Yes, per minute.

I wish I could say I called just once. I wish I could say I called just twice. What I can say is that well over a HUNDRED dollars later, my parents got the phone bill and confronted me. I was caught and I crumbled under the reality of what I had done. My parents, of course, were upset about the expense they would have to pay. But what they were truly disappointed in was that I was even reaching out to a psychic. I was seeking truth in a place that I would never find it.

Matthew 7:15-16 speaks of false prophets who appear in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are like ravenous wolves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. A lie. A farce. A predator out looking for prey. It goes on to provide aid in identifying those false prophets – by their fruit, because a healthy tree will produce good fruit and a diseased tree will produce bad fruit. You’d better believe a false prophet is going to be bearing some bad fruit.

In a world full of “fake news” and false prophets, inauthenticity and mirages of “reality”, it can be really hard to tell truth from fiction. But the Bible gives us this incredible road map for truth and markers for finding it. Truth bearers are also good fruit bearers. But what is good fruit? Well, we’ve learned in Galatians 5:22-23  what that fruit is – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Those qualities are pretty clear to see. You will know good fruit when you see it. And similarly, it can be pretty easy to spot bad fruit. What kind of fruit is your life producing? Have you seen bad fruit, in yourself or in others? What kind of fruit do you want to surround yourself with?

I’ve never called or even had the desire to speak to a psychic since. I now know where truth is truly found, and my eyes have been opened to what a false prophet really looks like in this day and age. I’m truly grateful that the word of God has been a light unto my path, giving me a road map to truth and shining a light on deceit.

I started off my entry this month with a very soft wash from a gray gelato just on the left margin of the page, which I buffed in lightly and then set with a light wash of water. I love that gelatos can behave like watercolors and I loved this effect! I then went in with the cute little branch/sprout stamp from the July Faith Art box and stamped with a Versamark pad and white embossing powder to create a nice crisp white embossed background. I used a scrap piece of paper to mask off the right side of the page and again keep everything in the margin.

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After that I went wild with the stickers from the kit and laid down all of the fruit of the Spirit, accenting each one with the fun enamel pieces. I very lightly traced over everything with my white gel pen, and outlined my verse with a black journaling pen.

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I cut out a tab from the devotional card backer and layered it with a bit of washi tape and a few more stickers from the kit.

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I felt like the page really needed a fun pop and I was SO INSPIRED by Julie’s page last month where she created a cute little shaker for her page, so I decided to go for it. I cut out the reflection questions from the kit’s devotional card and tossed it in a pocket page with some buttons, sequins, glitter, and a few of the enamel pieces from the kit layered back to back to form little colorful circles. I sealed it up using my Fuse tool and added a bit of washi and some more stickers to form the fruits title.

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To finish it off, I made a quick clip from some pink and gold baker’s twine and used that to clip the shaker to my page. I was back in my super chunky bible again this month so I didn’t mind the thickness it added and I loved being able to have the reflection questions right there. I had so much fun with this one!

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My prayer for you, my friends, is that you will always look for the good fruit and to cultivate a life in which good fruit springs forth from you. Do not be deceived by false prophets or anyone that tries to convince you that you are anything but a precious and loved child of God. May the Holy Spirit be revealed in you through your good fruit.

Be blessed, friends!

Not sure where to start with the Faith Art box? 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 | 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.