I was so thrilled to receive this beautiful devotional and supply kit designed by Illustrated Faith’s Melissa Garcia (@pienthesky) and produced by DaySpring.com. “I Am” explores 14 concepts finishing the sentence, “I am…” with words like capable, daughter, patient, faithful… ” The topic is so perfect, and he subtitle of “Digging Deeper” really spoke to me. On top of all that this kind of floral art is not one I typically create myself, and I was excited to be challenged in a new way artistically. The spiritual and creative challenges these kits bring really is one of a kind. Since DaySpring.com and Illustrated Faith utilize different designers for these kits each month we really do get something so unique each month and I’d encourage you to pick up the kits that specifically feel out of your comfort zone. The supplies included in the kits will most likely feel familiar (acrylic stamps, stickers, alphabet stickers, washi tape etc.) but the topic and style can be what you really find challenging.
Like each monthly kit “I Am” is a 14 day devotional – this time each exploring a topical word and each entry includes a subtitle and Scripture to go with it. I LOVE this because it provides key words that you can use right on the pages of your Bible. Sometimes summarizing in a few words what you are learning, so it fits nicely in the pages or margin of your Bible, can be tough. Melissa Garcia has done that for you but she also has not done all the leg work, I love that her prompts challenge me to think and dig deeper – they provide a great spring board for me to do the heavier Spiritual lifting.
Take a look at the unboxing video I made to see these supplies more first hand and hear my initial thoughts and tips as I go through this gorgeous kit.
I’ve been journaling for just over two years in my Bible, but I still feel like a newbie in a lot of ways. I am amazed at all the tips I learn as I watch other creatives and as I dive into this spiritual practice more. I’ll share a few of the recent tips and tricks I’ve been using. Some are more practical and supply based while this first one is about how I, as a busy Mom of 3 – soon to be 4 – work to find time to get into the Word of God.
First I add go through my craft stash and I add supplies to the kit’s awesome tote. I select supplies that coordinate (or contrast in that perfect way) and I take these on the go! I found that using what I have on hand makes me really get creative and it also provides the time that sometimes I just can’t anticipate or create for myself to dive into my Bible. Here are some things I add to my tote.
- Coordinating Washi tape (look for colors or patterns that match – colors and patterns).
- Ink pad in coordinating or contrasting color (I chose a blue and black this time). I like the bit of navy hidden in the stickers and washi (I LOVE navy) so I wanted to use it more.
- I added in a navy, burgundy, and peach neo color crayons to my pouch (these are my new favorites) and a paint brush or two, because then all I need is a bit of water to create color on my pages.
A few other tips I’ve learned by watching other Bible Journalers:
- Trace your alpha stickers to make them stand out.
- When applying your alpha stickers start with the last letter first, so apply them right to left, which will ensure you don’t run out of space. It’s okay if they extend over Bible text – you can typically read around them. (see this short process video made by @illustratedfaith to see both of these first two tips in action.
- Use the leftover outer portion of the alpha stickers and cut around them in squares so you have even more letters to use, this is fun because a bit of the pattern is left on the backing paper. (check out this example from @bibleinspiration on instagram)
- Take a look at all 14 days of the suggested Scriptures in your Bible to see if you have already journaled the majority of them. If so you might choose to just create art in the devotional booklet instead of your Bible or you might choose to select alternative verses that fit the days’ themes. I do this a lot because it also makes me dig deeper into Scripture. I always include the original Scripture, the designer provided, on my page so I can cross reference if I need to journal on an alternative Scripture.
- Include the devotional hashtag (#IF_iam for this study) and date on each page so it helps trigger your memory when looking back at your entries. I also include titles of books or authors’ names I am quoting for the same reason.
- Don’t forget to tab your page using the stickers provided a tab punch (tutorial here). Sometimes I pick a specific color to use for a whole devotional and pre punch them to put in my tote, or I love the idea to punch out a tab from a spot on the stamp backing card. Several times I have seen creatives do this in a section that has text from the kit that you might not otherwise utilize, like the message from the designer, and then use it as a tab that is covered in word confetti! So cute. See an example of this from the Rise Up kit made by @illustratedfaith here in a quick process video.
- Use those bookmarks as tip ins (flaps) to double your work space or on days you don’t have as much time to create, but want to keep the design consistent. To create a flap/tip in just tape the bookmark in with washi tape but don’t run your tape to the end stop just short of the end of the bookmark on both sides. This will allow the bookmark to flip open, if you put the tape past the end it inhibits your ability to lift the flap.
Use everything in this kit. The note from Shanna Noel provides you the hashtag but then makes a beautiful addition to your page. The bookmark is perfect for marking your spot in the devotional booklet and use these bookmarks right in your entries or to bless others. I saw that @the_EricaJane uses them to bless others by writing prayer and Scripture on them and leaving them on windshields of cars in parking lots. I love this!
The acrylic stamps, when mounted on an acrylic block allow you to see where you are stamping them (unlike wood back stamps) which is super convenient. I also love how versatile these stamps are this time. I can see using the florals year round and the leaves are perfect in spring, summer or fall entries depending on color choices.
And seriously you guys I mean it when I say use this tote. If you toss coordinating and contrasting supplies in with the kit and take it on the go I promise you are more likely to journal and make your way through this devotional. Yesterday I journaled at the park with my kids playing in the sand pit – I used our drinking water to add water color to my pages! Kids thought I was crazy. I can journal at my parents house when we stop to let the baby nap, I journaled while camping this past weekend, I’ve been known to pull it out at the beach (talk about inspiring) or even just at my kitchen table while the kids eat.
I’m gong to share a few insights with you since I’ve been able to dive into the devotional and hopefully you’ll leave feeling inspired to “dig deeper” yourself. The first day was all about being without fear. The provided Scripture was 1 John 4:8-18 which explores the idea that God’s perfect love casts out fear. I had already journaled on that specific page so I started to explore other Scriptures about fear. What I found was that the word was primarily explored and expressed two ways. The first was how Garcia was using it and was mentioned in 1 John 4 – that fear has no place in us as followers of Jesus because His perfect love casts it out. The second way fear was discussed was having a “fear of the Lord.” What I found as I read was that if we grow and allow the fear of the Lord to envelop our lives the unhealthy fear is cast out and replaced with beautiful promises from the Lord.
So I included a bit of a word bubble featuring some of the things I am promised if I fear the Lord and allow His perfect love to cast out fear. His promises are so good for us and as we explore the Word of God we really get to know His character and His promises. That is what I want more of in my life!
I loved the visual Garcia gave on Day two of “mountain top moments” so I actually used the mountain acrylic stamp from the “Rise Up” kit that Kristen Wolbach designed last month and kept the entry very simple. I used navy, peach, and burgundy neo color pastel crayons and a bit of water while the kids ate lunch to create the backdrop. The words written around the mountain are “fully capable” and “equipped” which came from the Scripture reference in 2 Timothy 3. Under the mountain I included “accept training, teaching, reproof, and correction from Scripture.” I used a Faber Castell Pitt Big brush pen to write the key word and also added “HE MAKES ME…” and “rely on Scripture” as reminders to me of what God was speaking to my heart. I used the gorgeous washi from the kit to hold a tab in place and I love the simplicity of this entry!
Another tip is to use the journal as a place to explore ideas for your page. Sometimes that just means writing as I work out what God is speaking to me but this time it also included a practice space for the visuals I thought I might want to include. I quickly stamped the mountains in the journal because of the picture Garcia painted of “mountain top moments” not really knowing if it was the direction I wanted to go in my Bible. But after adding a few thoughts to the page there I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do in the margin of my Bible. It also gave me a place to practice my hand lettering and fonts I might want to try. I like that they coordinate, but that I didn’t put too much time into the journal page.
And my last entry I’ll share is about “faith” on Day 9. I found this page just coordinated so beautifully with Day 1 and with another devotional I read each morning called New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. This is my final tip this time around. Look for ways God is speaking to you, where lessons you are learning collide. It is in these moments when I fell His hand leading me, His voice speaking, and His spirit teaching me. Several of the past few days entries in New Morning Mercies were about faith (transitioning from amazement of God to faith in Him) and fear. I was overwhelmed with how beautiful the coorelations were, and I just couldn’t deny that God was speaking to me. I used several quotes from Tripp’s book on the pages of my devotional booklet and then the concept of His faithfulness allows me to be faith(full) really resonated in my heart. Use your resources, explore, look for connections. You too will dig deeper and He will speak.
Thank you so much to DaySpring.com for sending me this kit for review. It’s truly a gift to me. I hope you’ll use one of the affiliate links above to snag this month’s kit or one from the past. I know you won’t regret it! Also don’t miss these brand new greeting cards that you can use to bless other’s in your life. The words on them and the designs are just so HAPPY!
Shop new Shanna Noel Greeting Cards today.