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 | 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.