Giving to God

The Christmas celebration is behind us and yet it is just the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for us. It is truly a time of celebration and reflection on His greatness.  I want to challenge myself to intentionally set aside time to be in His Presence and give back by serving in a new way.

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His glorious creation

Giving God my time is important and yet I often find myself getting so caught up in daily life that I put off spending time with Him. You know, things like laundry, errands, phone calls, computer time, busyness with grand kids and even some church related activities. But these are not spending time in His holy presence, listening for His voice, soaking in His peace, hearing His commands or simply meditating on what it means to be His child. I need to do more than give Him Sunday and my mid-week Bible study.  It’s time to prioritize my life so that He is number one in all that I think and do.

God has given each of us talents and riches beyond our wildest dreams. In humility I need to go before others to serve using the gifts I’ve been blessed with. I must begin to ask myself some questions like, how can I give back to my community?  Where or who in my community can I offer a helping hand?  I hear God asking me to use my teaching ability to help others. But how? I’ve retired from classroom teaching. Perhaps I will look into a literacy program and see if I can help second-language adults learn to read. I’ll keep you posted.

Let 2017 be the year you and I share His love with someone in need. Let us put God first in ALL we do.  Let that be our New Year’s Resolution.

How To Bible Journal – Part 2

This is the second post in my series about the joy of spending time with the Lord while Bible Journaling. In Part 1 I talked about getting basic supplies and the why of illustrating your Bible. Now, if you have your supplies you’re ready to begin.

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Matthew 13

I start with prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and open my heart to His leading. What is it He wants me to hear? Then as I read and meditate I wait for inspiration to come. Once I have an idea to bring a passage to life, I use my pen and just draw right in my Bible. I’ve read that many people sketch on paper first and then transfer ideas and or draw in their Bibles with pencil. I just go for it, as I’m trying to let go of those ‘perfectionist’ tendencies.  Next you can add color. I also underline the passage I’m illustrating. At the bottom of the page I put the date. On this Matthew Scripture about the Sower, I used pen, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, gelato stick and then embellished with some little yellow enameled dots in the center of the big red flower.

A cool thing I started doing was to take the first page of a new Book in the Bible and write the name along the margin with a few words that sum up the Book. For example I put PSALMS: Poetry to the Lord and I did Genesis: The Creation Story. You get the idea.

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Genesis 1

Most of the time I ink first then I use color over the ink if I want it bolder. The last thing I do is use my gelato sticks to soften the background. Gelato sticks are my favorite way to make a page pop with color and look finished. They are like an oil pastel; soft and creamy. They blend so nicely (with a tissue), especially if you are using the pastel array of colors. In this Creation Story I’ve used pen, watercolor pencils and gelato sticks. After a while you will find your sense of style and then you don’t have to spend time with so many decisions. You just create.

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Isaiah 40

At this point, you are really free to praise God while you are working and can meditate on the words you are bringing to life through illustration. It is such a joyful and peaceful place to be!

The Isaiah illustration at the right came as inspiration from a Sunday sermon. The picture is done mostly using a gelato stick, blending  colors to give the illusion of the eagle in flight. I couldn’t draw a bird so I sketched only the head and top of the wing span! I let the color do the rest. Another cool thing about the pastel gelato stick is that you can go right over Scripture and still read it just fine.

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Mark 12

Using words, squiggles, dots, dashes and loops is another way to decorate a page.  It is very simple and yet, in this Scripture it highlights the most important command the Lord gave us. To honor Him with our heart, mind, soul and strength. This page was done with a thin black pen and then a broad brush pen for the thicker lines. Words are highlighted with a colored pencil. Very quick and easy!

So, what are some good Scriptures you might want to illustrate to practice? Try Genesis (stick figures work great), Psalms 139, Isaiah 55, Romans 11, Galatians 5 or John 14.

From time to time I will post more of my Bible Journal ideas along with my thoughts. I’d love to hear your ideas!  I’m still a novice at this, but have found it brings me a step closer to the Lord as I create.

How To Bible Journal- Part 1

I LOVE spending time with God! I love spending time reading Scripture. I love being creative too, so I was excited when I discovered the art of Bible Journaling. You may know it as Bible Illustrating. But either way it’s another opportunity to be in Scripture; sharing your heart with the Lord. It has becomes such a special time for me that sometimes I fail to complete household tasks because I just want to do a little bit more!

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Matthew 7

I know Bible Journaling has been around quite a while, but I started this activity about a year ago and it’s been super rewarding. I thought I would write a few entries about what it is, how to create great pages, and some of my favorite tools that allow me to interact with the Scripture. This will be Part 1 of a 2 part series on How To Bible Journal.

Is This for Me?

There are a few basic things to keep in mind as you decide whether or not you want to undertake this kind of thing. For instance: Are you OK with writing in a Bible? Do you have the money to buy a new Bible designed specifically for journaling (margins on sides that allow for illustrations)? Do you enjoy doodling, drawing, and sketching? Is it OK if your drawings aren’t perfect? If you answered yes to these questions, you are ready to move forward!

Purchase a Journaling Bible

I have an ESV version of the Bible that I love, but there are a few others available. Right now there aren’t any specific Catholic translations, but you may find one that has wider margins than others, or you may be fine with using an NIV version for this purpose. I know many folks are hoping that a Catholic Journaling Bible will be printed soon. Once you have your Bible, it’s time to select tools that will help you decorate.

Markers, Pencils, and Embellishments

Caution! You can spend a fortune on these things, but you don’t need to!! Search your house for colored pencils and crayons. Use what you have and spend money on a few things you might really need. You will most certainly need a good writing pen that will have minimal bleeding. NEVER EVER US A SHARPIE pen as they seep through thin Bible paper. Sharpies are great for some things, but not Bible Journaling. You might like brands like Zig Millennium, Micron or Faber–Castell, as they work quite well. I like a very fine pen for writing .005, but many people are happy with a thicker line like a 0.3 or .05. My favorite brand is Micron for thin lines. If you think you might like some really bold lines, try the Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen brush (awesome). Most store have paper you can try line size out on to help you decide. Supplies can be found at local artist stores, craft and hobby stores, on Amazon or even at your local Target.

Pen, colored pencils and crayons are your basics. If you want to add more to your diversity, you could try my favorite, Gelato pastels by Faber-Castell. You might even want stickers with pictures or letters. Sometimes I even use little raised dots. Pick whatever inspires you! As you get better and more confident, you can branch out and get more things like Mister Huey’s Misting Spray, Washi tape, Distress ink pads and watercolor pencils. The list is endless.

Final Thoughts

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Revelation 19

Journaling is for connecting with and honoring God. It is a way of expressing your love for Him. As humans we can get caught up in perfectionism and pride. Don’t allow yourself to think your work isn’t good enough, pretty enough, bold enough, or realistic enough. God is pleased with your expression of love and the time you are spending meditating in His Word and finding ways to personalize them. Bible Journaling is like any other diary or journal. It is PERSONAL. There is no reason to share it with others if you choose not to. I like to get together and journal with friends from time to time and share ideas, but mostly I like to settle in and praise him privately. Do what suits your style best.

That’s it for now. Part 2 will list some great Scriptures you might like to try if you’re feeling a bit intimidated (remember, you’re not supposed to) and some more picture ideas.