I’ve always been a note taker. NERD ALERT – but I actually loved ‘note day’ in school when we had to write down what the teacher would put up on the transparency (if you’re younger, you may not know the awesomeness that was a transparency…bless your heart). I’d see the words and write them out and doodle all around them. For some reason, if I made something ‘pretty’, I remembered it better. Same with church – I’m the great-granddaughter of a Southern Baptist minister and have spent the majority of every Sunday of my life in church taking sermon notes. I would watch my Momma write in her Bible since before I could spell – so I’d illustrate what I thought the preacher was preaching about on my bulletin with stick people and flowers.
I actually owe this Blog post and this entire thought process to my Momma. She’s such a Godly woman – the exact kind of Godly woman that I hope I’m on my way to being. Constantly praying for her family and friends – constantly encouraging others – constantly inspiring me. In her Bible are pictures of my brother and I, newspaper clippings of special events that have happened in her life, drawings that my brother and I made for her when we were little. Her Bible is also full of fun colors – highlights of verses and phrases that spoke to her. Words from a sermon or quiet time written down that she wanted to never forget. A few years ago she even had to have her Bible re-binded. THIS is the kind of Bible I want.
I first read of the Journaling Bible in my ‘Suggested for You’ newsfeed on Instagram (God shows up in the most amazing places, doesn’t He??) It immediately reminded me of the Bible I wanted to create for myself like my Momma has, but with space to write and draw and doodle and really have fun with it. Since my life is so involved with hand lettering, I figured this would be the perfect medium to cross that with my love of God.
I received my Journaling Bible yesterday – and this morning was my first in using it for my quiet time. My idea for this is to write, draw, doodle, etc every day with verses, quotes, etc from either my quiet time or a sermon for an entire year, which will give me at least 365 entries. When this year is over, I’ll ‘gift’ this Bible to someone special…then I’ll begin on another one. I can’t think of a more intimate and special gift.
After posting my first entry on Instagram this morning, I was flooded with questions, so I decided to post this Blog entry on how to get started with a Journaling Bible and where you can get the supplies I’m using. I’ll be posting randomly on Instagram, but for daily entry updates, follow the board I’ve designated on Pinterest.
I researched a bit before purchasing my Bible. I wanted something hardback so it would be sturdy to write on even if I was sitting in the pew at church. I also wanted something that had room for me to doodle in. Thirdly, I wanted one that wouldn’t break the bank. I decided on the black, hardbacked version of the new ESV (which, to me is the easiest version to understand) – and after a bit of online retail therapy, I found it at Amazon for only $28!! You can one just like mine HERE!
Next, you’ll need a few fun things to really put your mark on the Bible and make it yours!
I know from experience that Crayola Twistable colored pencils are 1) awesome quality and 2) won’t bleed.
Also – use a basic, old school ball point pen. It’s not my favorite pen to use, but again, you want something that’s not going to bleed through the pages.
The washi tape is just a fun, colorful addition here and there. Use it for borders, for tabs, or just because it’s pretty (who doesn’t love washi tape!?) You can literally find this stuff everywhere now – but I always seem to score some fun ones at the Target Dollar Spot.
For the daily entries, I decided to go with my favorite devotional, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. This is one of the most popular devotionals and I love it because it’s short enough to fit into any time you have available and it ALWAYS seems to speak to me and say exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it! Mine was a gift, but you can get yours at any book store, Walmart, Target, or HERE (my copy is in the teal leather, but this pink one is super fun too!).
The Jesus Calling devotional is nice because it’s assigned to each day of the year. So, I simply found today’s entry (2/25) and started there. I read the devotional for today, and highlighted what I wanted to illustrate in my Bible. I decided on “a grateful heart protects you from negative thinking”. Each day’s devotional also has scripture to reference. Today’s was Colossians 4:2, so I flipped to it in my Bible and that’s where I illustrated today’s quote in the margins.
The book of Colossians is short, and there happened to be some empty space on the opposite page at the end of the book, so I took advantage and also drew out another quote that went along with the devotion.
I wrote everything out in pen first, then went back in with my colored pencils and accented the important stuff. Then I added washi tape and embellishments to make it really pretty. I also dated everything. Dating things is SO important – especially when you look back and think of what you were going through at that time and what you drew out meant to you right then and there. It’s a great way to remind yourself to thank Him for your blessings when you can reflect on situations and see how they worked in your favor, eventhough you may have doubted it at the time.
My final piece of advice in starting to journal in a Bible is to have a space just for you to draw in. For me, it’s the space in the loft upstairs that has ‘my’ couch in it, but there’s really no reason for anyone to sit and hang out in. It’s quiet, I know that no one will bother me, and it’s my special place to focus and really soak in everything.
So, there are the basics to starting in your Journal Bible. I can’t wait to see how God blesses me through this daily time alone with Him, and in turn how it will bless the person I give these to when I’m finished with them.
Let me know if you have any questions or input and any tips you have on journaling through your faith!