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Bible Journaling Basics...

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Bible Journaling Basics...

Hi everyone!  Sorry this took me all week to get posted...  This week has been busy with car issues and home repairs.  So fun... I know.  ;)-

So I did a post about Bible Journaling back on January 15th but I've had so many people since then ask me about it I thought I would do an update.  And, since I went to Italy with Shanna Noel, the "OG" Bible Journaling lady, I have some more insight into this art form that might be interesting to you.

If you are new to this, Bible Journaling really has been around for a very long time, just not in the way you see all these pretty bibles on Pinterest.  We know many bible theologians, authors and bible study leaders who have shown us ways to highlight in our bibles.  Or we have underlined or written notes in the margins of our bibles.  We were just cleaning out the garage last week and I found three old bibles of mine!  I opened them to see highlighted passages that spoke to me as a young girl and even hand written notes in the margins that I was so happy to read 30+ years later!  So this is not new... But what IS new is taking this "note taking" or "highlighting" in your bible to a whole new level!

This is how it all started for me... well I think for Shanna too.  If you haven't been to one of her Bible Journaling classes I highly recommend going!  She shared how this page came about and it's a really great testimony.  But when she posted it on Pinterest she really didn't think anyone would notice or think twice about it... Oh how she had it all wrong!  This blew UP.  This was what I first saw on Pinterest and got immediate goosebumps!  I think thousands of people felt the same way!  Especially those of us in the scrapbooking world!  What??  You can actually color in your bible?  And you can put STICKERS in your bible??!  hahaha

At first I think it was a bit shocking for some people.  But for me it was a way to COMBINE my LOVES!  I love color, I love art, I love creating... AND I love the Lord and His Word!  To put them together was a lightbulb moment!  But what I didn't realize would come out of this is a new found PASSION for God's Word.  It's not actually ABOUT the stickers and colors and fun stuff... Oh it's definitely a fun aspect of it... but it wasn't the ultimate GIFT that I have gotten out of this. 

That is the GIFT of a closer relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

So I truly encourage you to start this if you are at all interested.  There is NO right or wrong here.  There is no judgement, no perfection... It is ALL about you and your alone time in His Word and what He speaks to you and wants you to focus on.  I am not an artist in that I have great hand lettering skills or artist abilities and can draw a gorgeous tree or lion like you may see on Pinterest.  Do NOT stop yourself from this expression of faith because you don't know how to draw!  Use stickers, paints, letters, etc... and just go for it!

Here is a picture of some of my favorite items I bible journal with.  And below I have a list of some of the items I have found work best on the thin bible pages.  I give a "Bible Journaling Supply List" at all my classes so this is pretty much off of that list:


Ink pads from Illustrated Faith
Pigment based inks like Stayz On work best and don't bleed
India Inks from Faber-Castell
Chalk Inks from Prima or Ranger


Water color is my favorite and any cheap water color tray works.
Pebeo Paints.  These are acrylic but when applied you can see through to the pages.
Water color pencils
Faber-Castell Gelatos are one of my FAVS!

Pens & Markers:

Prisma Color Premier Markers
Faber-Castell PITT pens are great
Stabilo Fine Liners and Markers
Copic Pens
Illustrated Faith has a line of pens that work great too
Crayola Twistables actually are great if you want to have just a little color


Studio Calico Spray Ink
Heidi Swapp Color Shine
Sei Tumble Dye (very vibrant... use sparingly)

These are just some of the many products you can use.  Added to these items I would say to experiment with:

Stickers of any kind
Lettering - Whether it be by hand or with letter stickers
Stamps - There are thousands to choose from!
Washi Tape - we all LOVE Washi tape, right?
Tabs, paperclips, shaped clips
Flowers, Scrapbook paper, embellishments (get out your old scrapbook stash!)
The sky is the limit of this... so use your imagination!

Here are some TIPS for working in your bible with these products:

I like to PREP my bible pages first before I paint or color in them.  This isn't a necessary step if using some of these products above but I just prefer to do it. It gives you an added protection on the thin bible pages you are working on.  You can use a Gesso or Matte Medium.  These both strengthen the page and give some "tooth" to the page so the inks adhere and stay.  I like to use Art Basics Clear Gesso as it dries fast and smooth. I apply it with an old credit card/room key and just put enough on to cover very lightly over the whole page.  It only takes a few minutes to dry if you have a very thin layer of gesso. 

If I am spraying ink (as in my very first bible page below) I spray the ink from a good distance away and have a few paper towels on hand to blot the ink right after I spray so it doesn't soak in too much or be too dark.  

When using watercolor, (or Gelatos which are water-based) I like to use a blender pen instead of water and paintbrush. That's the water brush you see in the page below.   This is because you can have more control over the amount of water you are using when you use the water pen.  I always have a paper towel when doing this as well because I like to blot my pen on the towel so I can control how much water goes onto the thin bible pages.

I encourage you to look on Pinterest and see what speaks to you.  If you are nervous to start in your journaling bible, start in a art journal.  I have several journaling bibles now and my first one does have mistakes in it.  But I look at it as an art journal that I learned in and I am ok with imperfection.  These are not really the bibles you are taking to church or doing your bible study with.  Some of the pages will be covered, some of the words you won't be able to read.  That is totally OK with me because I have other bibles I will take to church or study in.  These bibles are where I do my WORSHIP and ART in.  And let me tell you... it is life changing!

Some people have asked "How do you start?"  How do you know where to begin?  Do I start in Genesis and work my way through the bible?  Well, the answer really depends on YOU.  

I have found that as I started this journey it has changed along the way.  And it may look different at different times.  Sometimes I have a devotional that speaks to me so much that I want to do a page in my bible on it.  Sometimes I hear a song on the radio that prompts me to look for a verse I could journal in relation to that song.  Or sometimes I am going through something  difficult and I look up verses to help me and that inspires me to make a page.  There are so many ways to be prompted... just go with what the Holy Spirit is putting on your heart.


This page was inspired by the song by Hillary Scott.  How many times have we heard this scripture and not let it really soak in?  One thing I LOVE about Bible Journaling is that it has helped me remember more bible verses than I ever have before!  And now I find myself thinking about them during the day and repeating in my mind ALL. THE. TIME.  Especially this one because it is where I find I have to remind myself daily to trust the Lord and His will... not my own.

This page I made while in Italy WITH Shanna!  It was such a fun time together.  I had had a prayer running through my head before the retreat and had circled these verses.  I posed about it a few weeks back if you want to hear the whole story...  But this page is BIG for me and I am praying BIG prayers over it still.  The paints we used in class were the ones she brought from Pebeo that she collaborated with them on.  Then she had some fun stencils that I used with a globe stamp and my PRAY BIG stamp I got from one of the ladies that came to my retreat in June.  I love this page and go back to it often.

So as you can see there are SO many things you can use to CREATE in your bible!  To me it is a time of worship and a time with the Lord.  I don't have time to be creating like this every day but it is something that has become a top priority in my life.  I LOVE that it has pushed aside other things in my life that were time wasters and this is now a life saver!

Next week I will be talking about being a LIGHT in this world and how the Lord shines HIS light on the darkness in our own lives.  Kinda a tough one I'm finding out...

Hugs to all of you!  

Have a wonderful weekend!!  I'd love to hear what you use if you have any FAV products you use in your Bible Journaling!  You can leave a comment for all of us so we can see what fun "tools" you like to use as well!



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The Pursuit...


The Pursuit...

The Pursuit... When you think of those words, what comes to your mind?  The pursuit of happiness?  The pursuit of money?  Dating?  A car chase?

We are pursuing so many things in life... and there are things pursuing us as well, right?

I'm just going to be open and honest with you.  I have pursued WAY too many things that I shouldn't have.  I have spent way too much money, too much time and too much energy on things that were a complete waste of all of that! This world makes us hungry for it ALL.  We want to have it all, be it all... but what is it that we gain from all that?

This week has been a strange one.  (again, real world here... )

Dealing with Rebecca's pain levels and energy levels as she returned to school hasn't been easy.  Watching people you love and are praying for make decision after decision opposite of what they should be doing is heartbreaking. We have also been going through the house and getting everything we don't want anymore ready for a garage sale.  Boy I tell you, does that make you see the junk you've wasted so much money & time on or what?   It's a shame.  And getting ready for a wedding and company coming in less then two months...

As I'm writing this I am flabbergasted (yes, that is still a word I use) that everything going on this week has a purpose, a reason why they are all happening at the same time.  All the thoughts in my head have a direction.  It's crazy to me to think that at the same time and space that I am going through/ doing these outward "things",  the inner "me" is working on/figuring out the connection to all of it.

You see if you've read my blog post below you will know that I have been reading a devotional called "The Pursuit" and it's from a bible app called You Version.  It's my favorite app on my iPhone!  (and by the way...those who don't have an iPhone can still get all the same bible plans at ... that's for my friend who is the last one holding out on getting a smart phone ;)

I've read a lot of devotionals on that app but one of the latest called "The Pursuit" really got to me.  It brought new light on something and I wanted to share it with you.  You see I know as a Believer and follower of Christ we are to study His Word.  To be in His Word.  To pray.  To live out His word.  Those are all things I know I should be doing... and I DO want to do them!  But do I put them on my "to do list" and then check them off like a good little christian?  If I'm truthful here, have I been doing my devotional, going to church, doing all those Christian "to do's" and then calling it good? Because there are so many other things I have to do too... I have a family, I have to do laundry, get the groceries, help the kids... and the list goes on and on. 

What am I spending most of my time on?  

What AM I pursuing?

Well, guess what?  No matter what I am pursuing... there is Someone pursuing me!  Pursuing YOU too.  And it's the Lord God almighty! Here is an excerpt from the devotional that I want you to read:

The Proposal

The most exciting revelation you can have as you begin your pursuit of God is that you’re not the one who began this pursuit at all. God started it. He pursued us first! In fact, God is continually pursuing you! This truth is evident throughout the entire Bible. It’s most clearly seen in the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus shows us that God wanted to pursue a relationship with us so much that He was willing to enter the world He created and live among us as a human so we could know His heart and see His great rescue plan for us. God sees exactly where you are and what you’re doing, and He still loves you. He is persistently and patiently pursuing and inviting you to join Him.

We’ve had a couple of big weddings in our family recently, and weddings are so wonderful! But what about proposals? Few things in life are as thrilling as a proposal—the romantic offer to take the hand of another and intertwine your lives together, two becoming one. That’s exactly how the Bible describes Christ’s pursuit of us—like a groom eager to be betrothed to His bride. This is God’s heart toward you, a relentless love, offering all of Himself to you. Yes, God is pursuing you!

Now you have a decision to make: Will you choose to pursue Him? Before you answer, consider the cost of saying, “Yes!”

In a proposal, the ring offered may be a free gift to you, but your groom paid a high price for it. What will it cost you? Your whole life in return! When you accept His proposal and wear that ring, you’re committing to belong to your groom forever and pursue Him in return.

When we follow Him, we begin to see Him for who He truly is, and we learn who He has created us to be. Will you accept His proposal to follow Him, or will you tell Him to go away? Are you willing to leave everything to pursue Christ?

I'm not sure who is the author of this devotional on YouVersion, but that's GOOD.  I started looking up more bible verses on this and the one that touched me the most was in Psalm 23 and what inspired me to do the bible journaling page above.  In some translations (not in the ESV bible above though) of Psalm 23, verse 6 reads:

6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord  forever.

Don't you just LOVE that?  He loved us first, and he wants to have a relationship with us first.  Us.  The messed up, no time for this, pursuing everything but Him, got no time for this... Us. 

Rest in that my friends, because that is life changing.

And guess what?  That makes me want to PURSUE Him even more!  It makes me think all these stupid things I waste my time and money on are NONSENSE!  Because He is good.  He is constant and He is faithful.  Whatever else I am "pursuing" or spending my time on probably isn't all those things... Well I know they aren't.

So as I was reading this devotional it also inspired me to do three new bible journaling pages:

God's purposes will never change.  I can change my mind every 10 minutes... but God is constant and sure and His purposes will lead me to good.  

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand."

God's character will never change.  He is good.  Me... not so much.  I may be good some times or do something nice here and there... but He is consistent.  He is faithful and good.

Psalm 100:5 "For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations."

God's promises will never change!  He ALWAYS keeps His promises.  Can I get an AMEN for that?  This is one I am so thankful for.  I struggle with this because as a mom I have a hard time keeping "promises" to my girls.  In fact so much so that I don't say those words "I promise" ... I usually say "We'll see..."  In fact that is such a statement I make that it's now a joke in our house.  But still, even the littlest will tell me "but MOM, you promised...."  Ugh.  It's an area I need help in for sure!

Numbers 23:19 "God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that he should change His mind.  Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?"

I am so thankful for these truths.  They give me hope and strength and a PASSION that makes me want to learn more about Him!  So how do I do that?  In the busy day to day, in the competing attention for my time... How do I pursue a relationship with the Lord?

I am not perfect and by no means have the answers... but what I have found in my own life in drawing closer to the Lord, it has been through a few things:

1. Worship - worship music is big for me b/c it goes straight to my heart and emotions.  It touches me where not many other things go.  It has brought me closer to the Lord in the last few years as I made a decision to listen to mostly only this kind of music.  It's on around the house, in my car and when I go to church.  It's on when I'm in my art room bible journaling and it's a big part of my life.  Who are we listening to?  Who are we worshiping on a daily basis?  I'd rather worship and serve the Creator.

2. Prayer - This is another one that has taken a while for me to "get" and I hate to admit that.  But growing up it was a bedtime, mealtime thing.  Not an all day communication with the Lord God who created me!  I tell you this IS the most important thing to "get" and it will change your life when you do.  It is our channel into what the Lord is trying to show us and I am in AWE of how He uses prayer.  There is power there and His promises are there in His word that we need to pray over!  I am SO thankful for people like Priscilla Shirer (who wrote Fervent) and Mark Batterson (who wrote all the Circle Maker books) for opening my eyes to the power and importance of prayer.  I am praying BIG prayers over many people and many issues and I can tell you that I am 100% SURE that He is going to answer them in BIG ways as well!  Thank you Jesus!

3. Bible Journaling - Thank you Lord and thank you Shanna Noel for posting your simple little painted bible page on Pinterest a few years ago... It opened a whole new world to so many people. (I can't help but sing Disney's "A whole new world" as I write this, lol) But it has allowed my creative side to join with my visual side INSIDE the most important book and part of my life, my relationship with Jesus Christ!  I know that has drawn me closer to the Lord and brought me deeper in my faith and helped me to pursue what the Lord is wanting me to pursue... 


Time with Him.

His will for my life.

And that is what I want for all of you as well...

But I will tell you it comes with a disclaimer though:

There is a BATTLE going on for your time and your heart. The enemy wants to take your time so your prayers are weak and your passion is neutralized.  I want to talk more about that next week because we need to be aware of what we are fighting and what we can do about it.  (A hint for next week though... God's promises are what we can count on for this battle!)

But like I asked in the beginning of this post... What do we gain from all of this?

Well, a life with "stuff" is fine.  It fulfills us for a time.  I like stuff, don't get me wrong.  But I can tell you from experience... (and as I sell this "stuff" at a garage sale tomorrow for 50cents...) it doesn't fulfill any deep longings in our heart because only the Lord can do that.  And when we follow THAT passion, that pursuit... we GAIN everything!  

Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Ezek. 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

I pray those verses will bless you and move you to seek after the Lord and His plan for your life.  

Have a GREAT weekend everyone!!  

OH, WAIT... I HAVE A GIVEAWAY!!!  I can't forget to post the GIVEAWAY!!!

If you leave a comment on this post you will be entered to WIN one of 3 Giveaways!  You can choose from one of the Shanna Noel's Class kits from our Art & Faith Creative Retreat in Italy, or my Traveler's Notebook Class Kit from the same event, OR a new journaling bible!!  

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON HERE!  Let's see... why don't you leave a comment on what you have found that helps you to focus on the Lord and draw closer to Him in your own walk with Him.  I think that might bless all of us to hear others share their journey as well.

I will pick THREE winners next Friday!  

(And if you are person who won the last GIVEAWAY, I still haven't heard from you, so please let me know your address so I can send you your gift...) 

Hugs to all,









Bible Appreciation Month


Bible Appreciation Month

This seems kind of funny to me, but I heard on the radio last week that it is "Bible Appreciation Month".  So even though I think we should appreciate it every DAY, I thought I would play along and do a blog post on Bible Journaling.

As a side note: I did a blog post about a month or so ago called "Let me tell you about Bible Journaling" and I would definitely go check that out if you want detailed information on the how and what about "coloring" in your bible.  I give lots of information on my favorite products and some techniques that are important steps in the process...

But for today I wanted to spend time talking about my "new found" love for God's Word.

First a little background on me:  I was raised in a Christian home, loved the Lord from a very early age, grew up in the church and married a man who also loves the Lord.  I never had a "rebellious stage" in my life, have always tried to do the right thing, read my little devotional each day and trust me, I AM so grateful for all of this!  I say all this not to show off a life that's all rosy and perfect.  I say this because I think I was living the "typical christian life"...

And that's SO safe.

Safe is fine, nothings wrong with safe... but safe isn't GREAT.  And I'm not so sure that safe is where the Lord wants us??

I'd say about 4 years ago the Lord started moving me out of the "safe zone" and there were a few things that made me see He was stepping me out in faith and going to "move me and use me." lol

First was my stepping out in big time FAITH when I started my Creative Retreats in Italy.  That was a huge leap of faith and one that did not come easy.  As most of you know that come here to my website, I LOVE what I do and it's a total DREAM JOB!  The Lord opened the doors for me to do these retreats in beautiful Italy and bring all of YOU to a place I love!  That wasn't a "safe" decision for me to make and I have seen the Lord working in ways I never imagined because of it!  (that's for another blog post some day...) But I will say that what I "thought" was MY dream was really the LORD'S WILL and He started showing me daily what HE wants me to do, the minute I was OPEN to doing His will... (BIG leason learned)

Another thing I remember moving me out of the "safe" zone was coming across the following video.  I think I probably saw it on Facebook a few times before I clicked on it.  I still remember watching it through and being so totally blown away by this guy and what he was saying.  It was such TRUTH.  It was "OUT THERE" and yet it was needed to stir things up for people.  Take a minute to watch it.

Jefferson Bethke

Jesus > Religion

What a way to put it! Jesus is SO MUCH GREATER! A RELATIONSHIP is so much GREATER then Religion.

I bought his book, then bought more of them and gave them away.  I encourage you to read his book or go to his website and check out more of his videos.  

The last thing that I feel lead me closer in my walk with the Lord happened close to two years ago.  I was on Pinterest of all places. (lol, the mom hang out online :)  Just scrolling through and out of the blue I saw something that

BLOWS MY MIND, again...

(I really don't say that all the time  :)

Somebody had taken PAINT and SCRAPBOOKING SUPPLIES and used them in their BIBLE!  What?  I was floored!  Because my heart instantly new that I was created to do that too! I had been scrapbooking for the last 18 or so years, involved in the industry and on many different design teams over the years.  My Creative Retreats are based on creating scrapbooking and mixed media art!  And here I was looking at two things that I LOVE deeply, (the Lord and Art) and this person COMBINED THEM!!  My heart was exploding! <3

I tell you that day I searched for hours for more information on this, I found that this woman had started a FB page called "Journaling Bible Community" and there were about 200 people in the group at the time.  I asked to join and never looked back! I talked to this woman and told her how it jumped out at me.  Now it has grown to a world wide explosion and Shanna Noel, who started it has seen what the Lord can do through such a simple act of stepping out and doing something your heart(i.e. God) is telling you to do.  Shanna is actually TEACHING with me this September at my Art & Faith Creative Retreat and I am so beyond excited and blessed to spend this time with her and all the ladies getting deeper in His Word!

All of these things have drawn me closer to the Lord, to delve into His Word deeper, to let it spill forth in my life each day and get me out of the "safe zone" I was in. I think of this verse in Psalm 27:4 that says:

"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple."

I want to DWELL in the house of the Lord...  I want to meditate daily on His Word...  I want it to CONSUME my life!

That is what the Lord is calling each of us to.  To be in His Word daily.  To have it on our lips, to be ready with an answer, to SHARE His love with others...

For Bible Appreciation Month I want you to please pray about what God's Word means to you.  You don't have to get out your paint and stickers and put them in your bible if you don't want to.  But get a prayer journal, or sign up for a online devotional bible study through Our Daily Bread or She Reads Truth.  Or read Jeff's book that I mentioned above. Open God's Word and ask the Lord to show you His will for your life.  Start in Psalms, it's full of beautiful praise to the Lord.

My word for the year (Ali Edwards started #onelittleword years back) is DWELL.

My prayer for all of us is that we would DWELL in God's Holy Bible and gain life from it.  Learn from it and share His message of LOVE to a world that so desperately needs it!

Here's a few Bible Journaling Pages I did recently that may inspire you to find your passion in His Word like I have.  

I found this quote on Pinterest that Toby Mac got from Paulo Coelho and I knew I had to do a page on it.  As Christ followers, we are an example to the world... good or bad.  Let's do our best to be the example Christ wants us to be, to share His love and kindness to the world.

I did this page a few weeks ago when someone I love was having a hard time.  That's another reason I love bible journaling.  When I'm struggling with something or someone I love is, I can turn to the bible and find a verse that helps to remind us that the Lord knows.  He's always there and He is always FAITHFUL.

This old hymn has new life in my bible and in my heart!  How great is it that we serve a God that forgives us,  who heals us and who redeems us!

This bible journaling page I did last night and this morning.  I love Rifle Paper Company and took inspiration from one of their cards that I bought.  Life IS so beautiful when you realize that God is Love!  That He wants us to know that love and then give that love to others.  To give HOPE and LIFE to this world. Here's what the passage in 1 John says:

1 John 4:7-12 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

The bible is a living, breathing book of life and it is because God loves us SO much that He gave us His Word and His Son.  Take a look at it again with new eyes and be BLESSED this Easter Weekend as we celebrate what Jesus did on that cross for our sins to be NO MORE!  

Hugs to all,









Love, Tuesday...


Love, Tuesday...

Hi everyone!  

Loving THIS Tuesday and I really want to say THANK YOU to all the new people who have come to my website to check out my Creative Retreats!  I started these destination retreats in 2012 and this year marks my 5th year bringing people to beautiful Bellagio, Italy and Paris, France.  There may be more locations in the future but this DREAM JOB really started from a passion for Italy and wanting to bring my love of CREATIVE ART and ITALY together.

2016 is going to be another incredible year and will actually be TWICE as great because I am hosting TWO Creative Retreats in Italy this year!

Most of you have come to check out the Creative Retreat this June with Cori Spieker - The Reset Girl.  If you are new here, then check out the blog post below this, you will find out all the information (and NEW PRICE) on our retreat this June.  Thank you for being excited about this week and signing up!  For those who are still thinking about this weeklong event, there are two apartments left so send me an email soon if you are trying to get together a group to go!  I've had a LOT of interest in this retreat so I have emailed another accommodation in town that I use, to see if they have any extra apartments.  I can only have a certain amount of people each week because of the space limitations in a small Italian village like Bellagio.  But... I have always said that I will make it work if you are feeling lead to join us, so just give me a heads up if you are still thinking about this so I can plan on how many extra apartments I may need to reserve. (you can email me or leave a message under the contact page above.

For those who ARE signed up and coming to the retreat in June, Cori and I have added a faith element to the retreat and I know her life story will inspire all of you!  I will be teaching a travel journal class as well as sharing some bible journaling with everyone.  Cori will be teaching three classes based off of her Planner business.  I'm so excited about all 3 of her classes, but  "The Faithful Planner Girl" workshop looks like such an inspirational class... I can't WAIT to take it!

I also wanted to let you know about the Art & Faith Creative Retreat in September!  This is in the same beautiful location of Bellagio, but with a faith element to the week that is really life changing.  Last year was the first year that I started this kind of Creative Retreat and it was such a blessing to share a week in Italy with people of faith!  All different people from around the world came and not only did we enjoy ART together,  it was an open and honest setting where we were able to share in a deeper way because of our faith connection.  It truly was an incredible week talking about the GIFTS God gives us and how He wants us to use them (and gifts is plural... as in we are given more then one gift!)  It made me realize going forward that I want my retreats to be more then just a beautiful week in a beautiful setting... I want you to enjoy a week that you've learned more about yourself, you've grown deeper in your relationship with the Lord and you leave with the motivation to bring these knew truths to your life back home!  

So please check out the Art & Faith Creative Retreat this September in Bellagio!  The teachers for this week with me are Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith and Junelle Jacobsen from Yes and Amen. If you don't already know these two talented ladies, I really think you should click on their names above and go check them out.  They are true gifts from God and have such a love for people and the Lord, it shows in everything they do.  This year Shanna will be sharing her testimony and how she got into Bible Journaling.  I know her classes will be life changing as she shows us how to grow deeper in the Word through this art form.  Junelle is an amazing artist in so many ways!  I can't wait for her classes as well and for her to share her heart with us as well!  She is an incredible water color artist and her beautiful artwork is something I aspire to learn!  I am SO honored to have both of them teaching with me and I can tell you, this week is going to be really AMAZING!  

September is also the perfect time to come to Bellagio and Lake Como!  The weather is still warm but starting to change into the beautiful Fall colors on the lake.  The crowds have gone home and you get to experience this place like a local.  And since I know most of the locals... you will really feel like you've stepped back in time to the Italy in your dreams!  

Again, this retreat is almost sold out and I have checked to see how many other apartments I can get for this week as well.  I know with all my heart that the Lord is in this week and I want anyone and everyone who is feeling called to be there, to come!  So please email me or message me above and let me know if you are thinking of joining us.  I want to make sure I have enough room for everyone who wants to be there and I know the Lord will work it all out for you to come!

I hope you enjoyed all the fun photo collages I put together.  Most of these dreamy photos were taken by the talented Cathy Walters who joined me on my 1st Art & Faith Creative Retreat this past summer.  I am SO thankful to her for capturing a glimpse into my retreats in such a beautiful way!  This is just a sampling of the week we spend together and the fun I have sharing this gorgeous place with every person who comes on my retreats.  It truly is a JOY to show you all the places and the people I have fallen in love with on Lake Como!  

I hope to see you in Italy this summer!

Hugs to all,

Laura McCollough








Let me tell you about Bible Journaling...


Let me tell you about Bible Journaling...

I think it's been about two years since the day I discovered Bible Journaling.  I remember it completely... I was scrolling through Pinterest and saw a picture of a bible that had PAINT and STICKERS and FLOWERS on it!  I couldn't believe what I was seeing?!  I had never, ever, ever considered that you could do that IN. YOUR. BIBLE! (Shocked emoji inserted here)

But it instantly touched my heart in such a way that I got "goosies"  (ya know... goosebumps) I just knew it was something I wanted to find out more about and start doing!  So I researched a little bit more on Pinterest and found Shanna Noel's Blog.  I was SO excited to see what she was doing.  I mean it was taking two of my FAVORITE things and combining them!  

So I went and bought a journaling bible (an Black ESV from Crossway) and I also joined the Facebook group that Shanna started called "Journaling Bible Community" when it was I think around 200 people in the group.  It has now grown to thousands and thousands... You should join if you are at all interested in this.

It took me a bit to get started and actually PAINT in my bible...  I know you may be thinking the same thing?  Am I doing something BAD to my bible?  Am I going to mess up my bible if I make a mistake and cover a word?  I've had all those feelings and quite frankly, I'm over all of that. lol   I say that to you because I believe 100% that this IS a type of DEVOTION to His Word.  That what we are doing by spending time in our bibles, by focusing on scripture and thinking on His Word is right where he wants us.  He wants us to be IN His Word, to daily meditate on His Word and to LIVE in His word.  If living to you means being CREATIVE.... then BE CREATIVE in your bible!  We were CREATED by a CREATOR and I know He loves when we use our gifts and abilities for Him.  Are we going to make mistakes, maybe cover up words or smudge some paint... Yes.  Is this the only bible we have?  Probably not.  I use this bible specifically for my time of worshiping the Lord with my artwork.  Sometimes I can't see every word of scripture... but I know that if I want to see a bible verse I may have covered up partially I can go to my other bible that I take to church with me and read it in that one.  So this is a bible for my expression and notes and journaling.  


There's a great book out by Lisa Nichols Hickman that's called "Writing in the Margins" and I highly recommend it.  It talks about how the margins in our bibles are FOR us to draw closer to His word and how over history there have been so many well known bible scholars who have worn bibles with notes and sketches in them.  I love this saying:  "A bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't."  I don't know you said that but If you think about that, it makes so much sense.  When we live our lives daily in the Word of God our lives are controlled by His love, His joy and His peace.  How can you go wrong there?

So here's what my very first journaling page looks like:



I thought for a while on what I wanted my first page to be about.  What did this new journey I was embarking on look like to me?  Well, I knew that it was going to be something exciting, I knew it was something I was going to talk about and blog about and I knew it was going to shed a light on something new, yet old...  drawing closer to the Lord through His bible.  I wanted this journey to not only be for me, but for it be to a "light to the world" for them to see Jesus through it.  That was my prayer then and still is.  I pray that this creative form of worship and devotion ignites something in YOU to go to your bible and take another look at it.  It's the only book that when you read it, the Author is there WITH YOU.  He want's to have a RELATIONSHIP with YOU.  It's not a "religion" it's not just a "good book"  It's the Word of God speaking to each one of you... because He has a heart for YOU and wants to show you how much He LOVES YOU.

I've done many, many pages in this bible and now have even bought two other journaling bibles that I use.  One is a small travel size bible that I LOVE to take on trips.  It's only the New Testament but for traveling and journaling in it, it works.  Here's a page I did in the travel size bible while I was in Bora Bora this last September:

Each right sided page is blank and I love that!  I think there are now full sized bibles that do this.  There is also a brand new bible coming out that has drawings already in the bible for you to color in!  For those who feel intimidated by this, that would be a perfect start for you.

For those who are interested in this and would like to know how to start, I thought I would share some of my tips and supplies that I like to use.  There is SO much out there and I've searched far and wide through a lot of it.  I suggest doing the same and getting an idea for what people are using and then try everything out.  See what works best for you.  I've made some mistakes and have "bleed through" in my bible... but that's part of the process.  You will find out what you like to use and want you don't like.  I love to use watercolor and I like to use letter stickers in different colors.  I use lots of pens and paints and I've even used spray ink!  But here is a run down of some of the products that I've used and what works for me.  The picture below is just some of the simple supplies I use when I want to use stickers and washi tape.  I don't get super detailed on every page. If you want to be more creative and use the inks and paints, then the list below will help you with that.

I give a "Bible Journaling Supply List" at all my classes so this is pretty much off of that list:


Pimento based inks like Stayz On work best and don't bleed

India Inks from Faber-Castell

Chalk Inks from Prima or Ranger


Water color is my favorite and any cheap water color tray works.

Water color pencils are great too!  You can color with them and draw and then come back with a water pen and blend.  love that! <3

Pens & Markers:

Prisma Color Premier Markers 

Project Life Journaling Pens

Faber-Castell PITT pens are great

Stabilo Fine Liners and Markers

Crayons & Pencils:

Crayola Twistables actually are great!

Faber-Castell Gelatos are one of my FAVS  


Studio Calico Spray Ink

Heidi Swapp Color Shine

Sei Tumble Dye (very vibrant... use sparingly)

These are some of the many products you can use.  Here are some TIPS for working in your bible with these products:

I like to PREP my bible pages first before I paint or color in them.  This isn't a necessary step if using some of these products above but I just prefer to do it.  You can use a Gesso or Matte Medium.  These both strengthen the page and give some "tooth" to the page so the inks adhere and stay.  I don't like the feel of Gesso on my pages though because it has a "grit" to it.  So I have pretty much stayed with applying a very light layer of Matte Medium to my pages.  I use a tiny amount of it and spread it on the page with an old credit card to get a very thin layer.

If I am spraying ink (as in my very first bible page) I spray the ink from a good distance away and have a few paper towels on hand to blot the ink right after I spray so it doesn't soak in too much or be too dark.  

When using watercolor, I like to use a blender pen instead of water and paintbrush.  This is because you can have more control over the amount of water you are using when you use the water pen.  I always have a paper towel when doing this as well because I like to blot my pen on the towel so I can control how much water goes onto the thin bible pages.

Just like the page above says... I want you to find who YOU are meant to be.  Who God CREATED You to be.  There is a purpose and a plan for each person and starting in His Word is where you will find that purpose.  This journey of drawing closer to His Word and studying His word and then being CREATIVE in it has changed me.  I had dreams I was following, but it wasn't until I gave the Lord the REIGNS of those dreams that I saw how AMAZING HIS dreams are.  WAY more then I could have dreamt up! 

There is a song that always makes me cry... well actually two.  But the one I'm thinking about is "How Great Thou Art" and it's  an old hymn that I sang as a kid.  But now as an adult I understand the depth of the song.  It was written in the 1880's and popularized in America through the Billy Graham Crusades.  The words are so powerful and let you see what WONDER God has created!  It's mind blowing that the GOD of the whole entire universe cares about each and every one of us.  He cares enough to listen to each of our prayers however many times a day we come to Him, He shows up when we are reading His Word and speaks to us and just loves us SO much.  It's incredible.  That's what inspired the page at the top of this blog post.  How GREAT is the Lord and worthy to be PRAISED!  <3

Carrie Underwood sang this song at a awards show a while back.  Take a listen and tell me you didn't cry... hahaha

I hope that blessed you today!  If you're interested in more about bible journaling, feel free to send me an email.  I'm going to be teaching more about this art form at my Creative Retreats this year in Italy and would love to teach locally as well.

AND... if you want to join me in Italy this year, Shanna Noel is going to be one of the teachers!!  To say I am excited about this is an understatement!!  To have the person who INSPIRED me to start on this journey TEACH with Junelle Jacobsen and myself in my favorite place is beyond exciting!  It is going to be an AMAZING week together in Italy using our CREATIVE GIFTS and sharing in our FAITH with everyone!  So I hope you will prayerfully consider joining us!  There are a few spots left and just like last year I have prayed that whoever is being called to come will be able to!  If the Lord is putting it on YOUR heart to join us, then I will find a way to make that happen, even if the spots get filled up (like last year).  So send me a message under the "contacts" page and let me know if you are thinking about it...


And if you want, you can also find me on Instagram at "akissonthechic" and for my retreats it's "creativeretreats"  My Facebook Page is "Akissonthechic's Creative Retreats & Classes" and I just joined Periscope too!!  You can find me there doing video's very soon as "akissonthechic"

Have a GREAT day!

Hugs to all,


P.S.  The other song that makes me cry is Oceans by Hillsong United... but I'll leave that for another day  :)






Guest Blogger today!


Guest Blogger today!

Hello and Happy Monday!

I am so honored to be a guest blogger today on Shanna Noel's Illustrated Faith blog!  If you don't know who she is let me tell you a little bit about her...

Shanna is an amazing lady with a heart for the Lord and His word!  She started the "Journaling Bible Community" on Facebook and I encourage you to go check it out.  It's a wonderful community of believers who have taken writing/journaling in your bible to a whole new level.  To back track a little…  I started noticing this kind of "art" on Pinterest at the beginning of this year.  I was just IN LOVE with it the minute I saw this…  In fact here is the first photo of what I saw on Pinterest:


It just got my attention like nothing has in a long time!  I knew the minute I saw this I wanted to find out more and start doing this as well!  So I did a little more digging and found this whole new world of bible journaling!  I found the community on FB that Shanna started and I instantly wanted to be a part of it.  I joined when there were around 200+ people in the group and now I think it is well over 5,000 in our group on FB!  It has really taken off and opened up so many doors for people to draw closer to the word AND use their God given talents at the same time.

So about a month ago Shanna asked me if I would guest blog for her and I was SO blown away by that.  I haven't really done as much bible journaling as I would like to because of my busy life and health issues I've been dealing with.  But I said YES immediately and prayed that I would know what to talk about and share from my bible.

I really felt like I wanted to share about how I came to find out about this creative expression in our bibles and wanted to share what my plans are for this in the future...

So please check out her blog and let me know what you think!  We would LOVE for you to join us on this journey of falling back in love with the WORD and sharing our thoughts, prayers, devotions and anything else that comes to our heart… IN our bibles!

Here are some of the pages in my bible that I've created.  You can find MANY more pages and SO much inspiration on the Pinterest Board called Illustrated Faith

There are SO many different levels of bible journaling and it really doesn't matter what your style is. It's not about showing others how talented you are or what you can do artistically, but it needs to be something that comes from your heart and whatever that expression is will be perfect in the eyes of the Lord.  I will share a few tips on how to paint on the thin bible paper, what kind of bibles works best for this and will list some of the products I like to use later on this week...

Have a GREAT Monday everyone!  I will be back on here tomorrow sharing my Love, Tuesday this week and it will be about this amazing weekend my hubby and I just had in Los Angeles...