Journaling Bibles as Gifts {Free Printable}

Monday, January 26, 2015

The best gifts are personal ones where you put your heart into it, and God's Word is one of the best gifts ever given to us. So one day I realized that the combination of the two {God's Word and the heart of the giver} would make a great present for someone entering a new era in life whether it is as a graduate, a young adult entering the world, newlyweds, or brand-new parents. So here are some ideas on how to go about creating a gift journaling Bible.

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First, gather your supplies. Here is a list of what I use...

A Journaling Bible. I like the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible for gifts because it gives enough space to write a message or two about some of the verses on the page.

Eco Highlighter Pencils - These work great! No bleeding through the pages.

These Black Pens-Fine black lines for journaling.

Then you need to choose your verses that you want to share. It helps to write out your thoughts before putting them in the Bible to make sure you get the wording you want. To get some ideas take a look at these posts. These verses and thoughts will eventually go into Bibles to give my sons. I will probably have to shorten some of them, but it gives you an idea.

To give you some ideas here is a printable with lists of verses you can use for different situations: Grads, Newlyweds, and New Parents. For grads, you can give words of wisdom or speak blessings over their future lives. With newlyweds, I would pick verses on relationships and for parents there are lots of verses that pertain to teaching our kids or imparting wisdom. Hopefully, it will get your creative juices flowing and you can branch out from what I suggest. If you feel a suggestion doesn't fit then try some others.

Here are a few photos of a gift Bible that I am working on to give you more inspiration...

I pray that I have given you enough inspiration so you can go and create a special gift for a loved one!

On My Book List {2015}

Saturday, January 24, 2015

This year I started with no real plan on what I was going to read. I have been kind of wandering around looking for something. And when I don't read, I go crazy! I know there are people who don't like to read, but I feel lost without some time spent each day soaking in a book. So here is a list of books that I am planning on reading in the first half of the year...

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Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest will be a re-read for me. Bonnie Gray's memoir helped me heal last summer when I was a part of her book launch. We share similar stories...both sufferers of anxiety because of life experiences. Here is my original review.

Wait Only Upon God: 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures in the Waiting is what I will be using during the Lenten season (February 18-Easter) this year. This is another re-read for me as I have already read it to review it {See here.} My Word of the Year is HOPE and this fits perfectly as waiting on God is hope in Him.

I am going through The Jesus I Never Knew  along with the study guide with a friend. We will be getting started soon, but I have read the first chapter and really like the premise. I am hoping that Yancey's book will give me a new perspective on Christ.

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All caught my attention on Ann Voskamp's blog this past week. All of us struggle with keeping a tight rein on our tongues, and our relationships suffer for it. I struggle to know when to give grace and when to speak truth. Our words are powerful and can bring life or death depending on how we use them.

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love was recommended to me by a friend. I have never read anything by Sally Clarkson but have heard about her books for years. A guide to an intentional life.

I am intrigued by the premise of  Donald Miller's book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. It is a look at being authentic no matter what. Being who you really are. I struggle with this as I tend to mold myself to what others want and need. I have found though that in the end it really doesn't work. Can't wait to read this one! {Comes out on February 3rd}.

Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. sounds like a book I learn how to stop chasing perfection and leap into life with faith.

So what are you reading this year? I would love to hear as I am always on the lookout for a good book.

When Healing is on Your To-Do List

Friday, January 23, 2015

When you are wounded you begin to wonder if you will ever heal. It just doesn't seem possible. The hole is too gaping. The cut too deep. You try to swim, but all you do is sink in sorrow. 

My deepest desire for this year is to heal. To be healthy. WHOLE. I am doing whatever it takes. I am a list maker and love checking off things on the list. Heal. Check. However, it doesn't quite work that way. Some say time heals all wounds. Not so, but healing does take time. In my list-making efforts I forget the most important part. The most important PERSON. Healing doesn't come totally through  a long list of to-do's. Healing comes from a loving Lord.

I still feel that in order to heal I need to work toward healing my heart, but Jeremiah 30:17 is a sweet reminder that I can "let go and let God" as the saying goes. Ultimately, He is the one reshaping me. He is the one that allowed the heartache to come crashing in. Not to break me beyond repair, but to make me new. To refine me. I can rest that He will bind the gaping wound. Stop the bleeding. Pull me out when the water gets too deep. I don't have to have it all together to be healed. I can heal while He pulls me all together.

Are you in a place of brokenness? Feel like you will never get out? Do you wonder if you can be put back together again? He heals. In His own time. In His own way. It will happen...

Heal. Check.

Need more hope? Check out this series, Verses of Hope.

Writing Your Psalm 136

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

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A full week of insomnia and raw emotions can leave me empty. I can't think straight. The whole world looks dismal regardless of what reality is. So on Thursday I picked up the devotional the boys and I have been going through and started reading. Paul David Tripp writes about Psalm 136 and how it is a history psalm and a love poem. Expressed over and over again is the concept that His love remains no matter the circumstances.

It then hit me. I needed to write my own Psalm 136. I needed to recall what has happened in life and that through it all His love has endured. Following the model of the psalm, I wrote one short statement of my personal history and then the phrase, "His love endures forever." With each statement came peace. Life has been difficult at times, but in the end His love is a constant. He has loved me at my worst. He has loved me even when others have not. He has loved me in the heartache. He has loved me!

Here are a few of the statements that I can share publicly...

Give thanks to the Lord because He works all things for my good.
His love endures forever.
He has done for me what I could not do for myself.
His love endures forever.
He allowed me to be broken.
His love endures forever.
He walked me through heartache.
His love endures forever.
He allowed what happened to me to free me.
His love endures forever.
He delivered me from fear.
His love endures forever.
He gave me space and time to heal.
His love endures forever.

This exercise in writing has been healing for me. I can look over the past and realize His love was with me in all of it. Yes, there were hard circumstances. There were times I thought He had abandoned me. There were times I wondered if He really loved me considering what was happening around me. We all go through situations when we wonder about His love. Maybe it is time to pick up a pen and get some paper. Write to remember. Look at your past to know His love was always present. His love never left. You are His beloved and His love endures forever.
The devotional that inspired me to write my Psalm 136...

I am linking up at...

Beloved Brews Linkup

Waiting on Him {A Giveaway}

Monday, January 19, 2015

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Just wanted to let all my blog readers know about this great giveaway! If you are wondering about what "Wait Only Upon God" is about, please check out my review here. Candace, the author of Wait Only Upon God is doing a giveaway in celebration of the release of her 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures in the Waiting. So read below as she tells you about it and enter for a chance to win some great prizes!


God's Word has a lot to say about waiting on Him. I hope you will join me on this 40 day journey as we seek Him above all else and dig into His Word together praying the scriptures about waiting.

I'm so excited about the release of my new prayer journal and I want to celebrate with you!! So, some of my dear friends are helping me to throw this give away for you!!

Give Away Includes

Here are the items you could win! There will be ONE winner, U.S. Resident Only.

Give Away Dates

Give away begins Monday, January 19th and will end in 1 week. I will notify the winner (U.S. resident) by email, request your address and send you a fun package in the mail! Yay!

Rafflecopter Entry

Please use this rafflecopter form to enter the give away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When the Waiting is Hard

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I am a rather impatient person. Waiting is not my thing. However, God has seen fit in his infinite wisdom to teach me what it means to hold out and hope. This year I am focusing on I was extremely excited to find out that my friend, Candace, was creating a devotional/prayer journal about waiting on God. Waiting and hope are one in the same. {Actually, in some languages like Spanish "hope" and "to wait" are the SAME word!}. After several hard years of emotional angst and a long process of healing I am so in need of hope. 

When I opened up this e-book and started reading, my eyes filled with tears. This is so what I have needed these past few weeks. I have waited for reconciliation (in one case for years). I have waited for the brokenness to be whole. I have waited for the anxiety to subside. But I have been waiting on the wrong things. To have hope you must wait on a Person not a circumstance. Waiting on God is being with God. Our hope is in Him not in the less-than-perfect life that surrounds us.

Candace's book contains forty days of waiting on Him. Each day there is a verse, devotional thought, and a place to write your own prayer. The information can be used at any time, but she has gotten it ready in time for Lent. Lent starts February 18th this year, and if you read one portion each day {except on Sundays} it will take you through the Lenten season up to Easter. {Sundays aren't traditionally included in the Lent period.} But as I went through the book I feel it can be done anytime especially if you are in a season of hard circumstances. Also, you don't have to be Catholic {I am Protestant.} to use this prayer journal. Whatever your denomination it can be helpful in focusing your heart towards Christ before Easter arrives.

Wait Only Upon God releases today and is on sale (the e-book version) this first week for $6.99. After that the regular price will be $7.99. Candace has offered to my readers a coupon code for $2.99 off the regular price of the e-book version for one week. Please use the code ARCHITECT. Also when you purchase her e-book from her site or the paperback version at Amazon, you have access to some freebies! On the special freebie page (A password is provided in the book) you will have access to a prayer journal page, pretty Scripture printables, phone wallpapers, and a printable version of the poem at the beginning of the book.

Also, Candace is doing a giveaway for the release! Please stop by this post to read more about it.

So what are you waiting for? It's time to wait on God. 

Five Ways to Make Peace with the Past

Thursday, January 15, 2015

If you have visited my blog in the past few years and spent any time here, you know I have struggled with healing. I want to be whole. I have fought for it. I have prayed for it. Along the way, I have learned some valuable lessons. How do you make peace with your past when all you are are broken pieces? How to put yourself together when you can't hold it together? How do you heal and walk whole again? I am convinced I don't know all the answers. Healing is in a sense a mystery to me, but I have found some actions and attitudes that help...

Give God the broken pieces. Last year I wrote a post how to make peace with your past by giving God your broken pieces. At the beginning of healing that is about all you can do. Sometimes brokenness can be so severe you can't pull it together. You just need to hand it over to the One who knows you better than you know yourself.

Own your piece. I have to say that "owning your junk" is the hardest part of healing. As human beings we have an aversion to admitting that what we have done is less than perfect. Sometimes we justify it by rationalizing that we are only 10% or 30% at fault. Or sometimes our piece is so big {think 90%} we can't even begin to own it. The only way to be at peace though is to own your piece of the problem. Have you had a hard heart towards someone? Did you hurt them with your words or actions? Did you lie? Did you harbor jealousy? Whatever it is, own it! And owning it means that you confess it to the one you trespassed against. "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." {James 5:16} Apologize. Don't justify your actions. 

Let go of the pieces. Forgiveness is never easy, but it is the only way out. By letting go of another's hurtful actions we can be free. We can begin to heal. Send them to "Jesus Jail". Let God deal with their sin. He knows their hearts. He sees the big picture and knows what they need. Forgiveness is a process, but make it the goal no matter how long it takes. It goes against human nature to forgive, but it really is the only way of being released from the pain.

Accept the pieces given. For me, one of the most healing things I have done is to ACCEPT. Accept the pieces of my broken past. They are a part of my existence now. To fight to try to get rid of what has already happened only makes it worse. The more I wanted the past to change the worse the anguish. Not that it is easy to accept the pain. Once again it is a process, but accepting the pain for what it is makes the pain go away. I makes no sense, but it works.

Be grateful that one day the pieces will make a beautiful picture. All those broken pieces will make a bigger picture some day. Isn't that what mosaics are all about? Take the shards to create a stunning work of art. Hold out for the art. Wait for God to make beauty from ashes. In the meantime, thank Him for how He is working in your life. List the good that you already see coming out of the heartache. Even if you can't see the big picture yet, rest in the fact that God is not finished with the masterpiece that is your life.

Need more resources for healing? Here are some posts that might help: