Getting Started in Bible Journaling

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Friday and thank you to everyone who entered the "Give me Jesus" and more giveaway and congratulations to Jaime W. who won the giveaway!!

Be on the lookout for some great new giveaways coming up!!! (Just in time for Christmas!)

I wish I could give all of you a Life Lived Beautifully Journal but obviously I can't. For those of you who didn't win and still would like some help in the journaling department I wanted to share a little bit of how I journal and what Bible journaling looks like.

Where to Start:

1. Buy a Journal ( Ah yes, this is necessary) and some good pens.

I love ones that have lines and a spiral spine so I can flip over the pages easily. I tend to ramble a lot in my journaling because, heck it's just between God and I, so I like journals that will easily last me a couple of months. There are days when the words aren't flowing but it's nice to not feel limited. Here are a few that I found that were cute and not too expensive and of course the Life Lived Beautifully Journal is such a great option and on sale now for $15!! I just purchased mine!!

Journal 1                    Journal 2              Journal 3

I am a fast writer and I write in cursive when I journal because it's just more fluid and easier for me. No one else would be able to decipher my handwriting, but that's okay. I am really particular about what pens I use. I hate using pens that hinder me from writing as fast as I would like and are uncomfortable to use. I love  Sharpie Pens. They don't bleed and the ink is fine and smooth. It makes such a huge difference to have a great pen.

sharpie pens
2. Pray
Before you get into the word and start writing, give God glory, thank him for his goodness, ask him to speak to you and edify you during the time you have. Share what's on your heart and what you are going through. Lay your requests at his feet. Of course there is no secret formula. We pray and come to God and he listens and allows us to listen as well.

3. Open up your Bible

I know this sounds like a no brainer but sometimes it can be such a battle against our flesh, time, distractions and the devil to just open the Bible up and start reading. I always read a Psalm or Proverbs each day and go through another book or two. You don't have to read tons of chapters to hear from the Lord. Sometimes it can be just one verse that will speak volumes to you. The main thing is being open and receptive to the word of God, realizing that is alive and active. God always wants to speak to us. We just need to listen. I don't think that we always have to be reading something that is pertaining exactly to the situation we are in, but read it just as it is; the living breathing word of God and let it sink into our hearts and minds so that we can live and grow by it.

4.Write down a verse that spoke to you

Like I said, you might not feel like you are always reading something profound and directed at you, but there are those times when God is speaking directly to you through his word. Write down the scripture that impacted you. Start writing how it spoke to you and what you feel it means and how God wants you to apply it to your life.

Sometimes I just write my prayers to the Lord. My mind can get easily distracted and wander so I find when I write as if I am talking to God it keeps me focused and able to clarify what is on my heart and what I want to convey to God.  There are times when my heart and mind get weighed down by all the prayers that are on my heart. When I write down all my prayer requests, I feel a weight lifted. Even though God already knows them, I know that he is pleased and welcomes all my prayers and burdens as I bring them to him.

I love making lists. I find this is a great way to change my attitude and perspective. If you are having a hard time finding what to write or pray start making lists. Prayer lists, thankful lists, dream lists. One of my favorite things about journaling is being able to look back and see all that God has done. It's so easy to forget all the prayers that have been answered and the heart work that has been accomplished. It might have taken place over the course of years and years of prayer and perseverance but it's great to have such a tangible reminder( provided you can read what you wrote) of all that God has done in your life through the years.

5. Whatever your day looks like God can still speak to you

I don't journal every day and some days I barely get into the word. I wish I could say I have a great prayer life all the time and I spend an hour or more each day with the Lord. But unfortunately things don't always go as I plan or would like. I am always so thankful when I put the Lord 1st and spend the first moments of my day with him. Even when I try so hard to be intentional, some days it just doesn't happen...

Sometimes I squeeze in a few verses as I sip my cold coffee amidst the leftovers of breakfast, while my kids are calling my name way more than I would like.

Sometimes I hear God speak a verse to my heart as I am doing dishes or sweeping for the 30th time in a day.

Sometimes my husband is working late and at least a few of the kids are asleep and I am able to sneak away(to my bedroom) and enjoy a few moments to pour out my heart to the Lord.

Sometimes I go running and worship and pray as I run.

Sometimes I get up early and after a few minutes of quiet I hear little footsteps pattering towards me.

No matter what the scenario God's grace is there for me and for you. I never want to stop seeking to get away with him in the quiet place, behind closed doors, or out somewhere by myself. But most days I am learning to seek him in the chaos and the noise as well. I am learning to ask him to teach me and speak to me as I go about my day and to be mindful that he is able to speak to me even when I don't have the perfect quiet time. I lose my train of thought easily so I am happy when I am able to sit and write down what God has spoken to me through his word so I don't forget!

I never planned on sharing about Bible journaling, it somehow came about. I am not an expert on the Bible or how to spend time with the Lord but I am just like you; desiring to be faithful in my prayer time and with this great life manuel that we have been given.  My personal relationship with the Lord is just that personal; between Jesus and I, but I do pray that out of it God can work and use me to encourage you. The way you communicate with the Lord might be entirely different from how I do and that's okay, as long as we are seeking him!

Do you Bible journal? What do you like about journaling? How has it changed how you read the Bible and spend time with God?

Are you just starting out? What are you hoping to accomplish through it?

Linking up here.

Life lately in pics: Free Museum Day

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A couple of weeks ago our city had free museum day. I have always wanted to go but was afraid to brave the crowds by myself with the kids. Josh hates crowds and was busy that weekend but I decided to go for it, since it would be pretty expensive otherwise to take them all. And you know the saying, "If its free, it's for me!" 

I was hoping to make it to the museum of fine arts and the history museum but we didn't make it past the museum of fine arts. There was also a chalk art walk that we visited which I'll share pictures of soon.  After the museum, chalk art walk and over a mile walk back to our car; we were all ready to go home.

Thankfully we only had one melt down from Luke and then he fell asleep as we were leaving the museum.  

They all did really good in the museum despite Luke not wanting to go in the stroller and letting out a few loud screams. I had brought snacks and water bottles in hopes of keeping him quiet but the people that worked there, soon confiscated them:(

There were some really nice volunteers that took the kids and I aside and shared with us some interesting details about the sculptures and art.

Luke just kept saying "WOW!" every time we entered a new room. Some people thought it was cute and others definitely gave us some looks of disdain. 

Elisabeth Lige'e- Lebrun Julie as Flora roman goddess of flowers 1799
Richard Hall 1884 Gathering at church entrance
Jules Joseph Lefebrvre portrait of Julia Foster Ward 1880
Leon Bonnat 1833 Precious moments
Jimmy Ernst Sea of Grass 1982
Georgia O'Keefe poppy 1927

Peter Sarkisian Extruded video engine II
Wilhem Morgner 1910 untititled
Henri Lebasque still life peonies

I am so proud of my little artists. They have really developed a love for art. Their talents are always amazing me. Israel has taken a few art classes but it's evident his artistic gift is God-given. I think he appreciated the museum the most and was amazed at how lifelike the paintings were. The kids went back and forth a few times trying to figure out if some of them were paintings or photographs.

Some of the more modern works of art were quirky and imaginative but I have to say we all really loved the older paintings. We are really lucky to have such famous paintings right here in our home town museum, from Monet to Matisse. 

The younger ones might have been a little too young to appreciate all the culture and beautiful art. Ellie's favorite part was jumping in the elevator. We tried remodeling the girl with the baby boy but Luke just wasn't into it.

Ideally I would have liked to just have taken the three older ones but I am so glad we went and we all really did enjoy the experience. I hope to take them again next year but hopefully get a babysitter for Luke next time...

Do you jump at the chance to get anything for free?

Are you a lover of art? 

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Don't forget to enter the Give me Jesus Journal and more GIVEAWAY if you haven't already! Only 1 day left!

Grace upon Grace

Monday, October 19, 2015

 As I watch my children play and run around like wild banshees I am filled with such joy. I love seeing my children having a great childhood. It's the best! Somedays I can't believe that I get to stay home with them. I really feel spoiled at times. Of course there are those days, but for the most part I just don't understand what I did to deserve this.

I have an awesome husband who is my best friend, who was also born to be a daddy; loves me and our kids amazingly and who supports me in mothering, homeschooling and all of my outlets and pursuits. I have a comfortable home and working car. I have married into the best family on earth, I have a brother, sister and mom who I love and many wonderful friends.

Of course my life has been fraught with pain, death, and disappointment just like everyone else but at this point in my life I am feeling very blessed. Though my life is not without stress, worry, fear and the occasional dysfunctional family problems; I know that my life right now is not the norm.

It could be easy to say I did all the right things, I was always the good girl and so my wonderful life was coming to me. It could be easy for me to get apathetic and want to shut myself out from the world and not care about others. It could be easy to for me to fear bad things happening because things are going good right now. It could be easy for me to pull away from the Lord because I am not in a desperate situation.

What is apparent to me more each day is that I have done nothing to deserve all that God has given me. I have to resist the temptations to give into those lies that would whisper to me that I don't need to seek God, that I don't need to care about others, that I have been a good girl. It is not always easy.

It is only by God's grace and mercy that I have anything or am anything. All that I have and am is because of him. Every day I am in need of him for my very life. I never want to come to a place where I think I have arrived or have it all together. The more I see my sin and my need for a Saviour the better off I will be.
The world would tell us the opposite of this verse. That we are good in comparison to others. That we deserve the best. That if we believe in ourselves we can do anything. That we should follow our hearts at whatever the cost. That we should have happy and perfect lives. That we should boast in our gifts and our abilities. That we should fight to get to the top. That we should chase after our dreams.

Once I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and rule and reign in my life, my life no longer belonged to me. I have to choose daily to surrender my dreams, my goals and my plans; knowing that ultimately God's are far exceedingly better than mine. I might not always understand... but I trust him.

I love the life that God has given me. It's not always easy, but I keep thinking about how it's all grace.

I could never muster up enough faith on my own to believe God for prayers that I have been praying for years to be answered, I could never love my family without God's love, my husband and I could never love each other and have such a great marriage if God wasn't teaching us to humble ourselves, I could never get out of my comfort zone if God did not enable me, I could never live in peace and joy after  experiencing tragedy and hurt, I could never know God's unspeakable comfort in the midst of trial and pain, I could never have any hope of eternity for myself and my loved ones,  I could never save myself from my sin and my's only grace...grace upon grace.

Whatever season of life you are in right now, God's grace is there for you too.

Are you struggling in your marriage?...there is grace.

Are you experiencing family sickness or difficulties that seem insurmountable?...there is grace.

Are you aching for a loved one that you have lost?...there is grace.

Are you struggling with each breath to keep your head above water?...there is grace.

Are you pulling your hair out as you try to parent your children?...there is grace.

Are you in a season of blessing and peace?...there is still need for grace.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

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How are you seeing God's grace in your life?

~If you haven't already don't forget to enter the Give me Jesus Journal and more GIVEAWAY!!! ONly 1 day left!!

Life Lately in Pics: Nature Walk

Saturday, October 17, 2015

There has finally been a slight change in the weather lately. Fall has been slow in coming to Florida but we are beginning to feel a difference in the air. I feel like I hold my breath all year for when the weather changes and I can go outside without sweating. Don't get me wrong, I love living in Florida. I am so thankful that the sun shines on us just about every day and I don't have to bundle my kids to go out all the time. But I do wish it wasn't so hot for so long.

The days have been non stop from sunrise to sunset around here. It takes a lot to care for a family of seven! Not to mention homeschooling 3 children and keeping the 2 little ones out of trouble. Since the weather has been so much more bearable we have been getting out as much as we can to enjoy it. Though I like to start our school days early sometimes it's nice to get out early and come back and do school.

We set off for one of our favorite stomping grounds this week. We love this park. It's probably the only spot in the city that has rolling hills. We love looking for alligators, birds, turtles and other critters. There is also a little nature center that the kids never get tired of seeing.

Some days are really hard and I admit that I look forward all day to getting the kids to bed and other days I have to pinch myself. I feel SO blessed that I get to be with my kids all day. I get to not only teach them but they teach me so much, as I see through their eyes, feel their little hands grasp for mine and listen as they tell me their ideas, random and sometimes hilarious thoughts about life.

Our days aren't always picture perfect but I am so thankful for God's grace in our lives. No matter what our days look like or how good or not good they go, He is faithful to be with us and and give us what we need for each day inspite of ourselves and our circumstances.

Do you have a favorite park that you go to?

How do you see God's grace throughout your day?

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"Give Me Jesus" Giveaway!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

 You guys! I am SO excited! Gretchen and her team at Life Lived Beautifully have generously given me one of their Give me Jesus journals to give away to YOU!

Getting into the word, journaling and spending time with Jesus is near and dear to my heart. I have been journaling since I was 9! The theme of my journaling has changed over the years quite a bit (as you can imagine) but it has now become one of the main ways that I communicate with the Lord.

There is nothing more important in my life than my relationship with Jesus. Everything in my life flows from it. My desire is to know Jesus more everyday and by doing so make him known. I do not want to remain stagnant. I want to grow and mature. As you know, any relationship takes time and effort. You don't get to know someone overnight.

I have found that reading the word, meditating on a scripture that has spoken to me and writing it down have become so vital to my spiritual life. I get very easily distracted in my thoughts. When I write down what is on my heart to God and what he is speaking to me; it gives me focus. As I write down scripture it becomes imprinted on my heart and mind throughout the day. As I write down my prayers, I feel a weight lifted as I lay my requests before the Lord.

 Each of us has our own way of communicating that is most comfortable for us. For me it is writing. I can articulate what I am feeling more clearly through the written word than the spoken. Not that I don't pray audibly and in my thoughts to the Lord, but writing has opened up a new door of communication that has helped to give me purpose in my thoughts and prayers.
As you can see I am passionate about spending time with the Lord and I want you to be also. It is integral to our survival as Christians living in a world that says you don't need Jesus. I know I need him every day and I never want to come to a place where I don't think I need to grow more in my walk with him. As Christians we need to continually be encouraging each other and spurring each other to make Jesus #1 in our lives. We can't do it alone. That's why I love Life Lived Beautifullys' heart to do just that; encourage women to live lives fully, abundantly and beautifully before the Lord!

I love their journals! The layout and sections help you organize and structure your time in the word. This is a 40 day journal with a scripture or quote for each day to get you inspired. If you have never journaled and don't know how to start, Gretchen takes you step by step and shows you right where to start! Not to mention the beautiful artwork on the cover. Pretty things are so much easier to use!
Whatever your role in life right now, I can understand how hard it can seem to find time to get away with the Lord. The truth is we have to make time. Believe me, we can. If we can peruse instagram, facebook and pinterest; surely we can carve some time to sit at the Lord's feet, enter into his presence, dig into his word and let him sing over us with his love.

Ask God to help you make time. He wants more than anything to have communion with you. He will make a way for you. He will give you the supernatural grace and strength to seek him; whether it be early in the morning, during your lunch break or before you go bed.

I am always amazed at how every time I choose to say no to my flesh, pick up the Bible first and converse with my Father; he is always there waiting and always, always tells me just what I needed to hear. It might not always be what I wanted to hear, but his truth washes over my soul breathing life into me.

There is no way we can accomplish all that we have to do during the day with joy, purpose and grace if we are not first seeking the source. #preachingtruthtomyself

I could go on and on but I'll save it for another post;)

If you need a fresh burst of motivation to get in the word, spend time with the Lord and be encouraged I would love for you to enter the giveaway, follow Life Lived Beautifully and Faithful With the Little, and get fresh, transparent, imperfect encouragement and real life sent right to your inbox!

But wait...(I've always wanted to say that;) Not only will you get the Give me Jesus journal when you enter the giveaway but I am also sending with it the Bethel CD Tides with the song "Give me Jesus" and a few sharpie pens, because you need good pens to journal (I am very particular about what pens I use and I love these ones!) AND....a $15 Starbucks gift card!!! ( just in case you need an extra excuse to get out of the house and wake up with some coffee or tea while you are journaling!!!:)
I believe worship is so powerful. I love how I can turn on a worship song and be transported into God's presence. I would love for you to be able to listen to these songs, open up your Bible and journal and be ushered into God's presence. To be overwhelmed by his truth, to gain new perspective, to know that no matter what you are facing, what your day holds; God is in control and he is on that throne and to know that his love for you is unfailing and unconditional.

So without further ado... here is the Giveaway! I will be holding it for 2 weeks! The rafflecopter will choose and notify the winner. ( because I just can't) I am so sorry to my dear friends living in other countries but this giveaway will only be available in the U.S. and Canada.

The more options you enter the more chances you get of winning! One of my favorite things about being a blogger is that I get to give things away! I am praying that God will put this giveaway in just the right hands!

I pray this would be the theme of our lives!

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

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