B is for Bible Journaling: Blogging Through the Alphabet

Welcome back to Blogging Through the Alphabet!  My friends My friends Amanda from Hopkins Homeschool and Annette from A Net In Time are co-hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet.  This week’s letter is B.




When I first saw examples of Bible journaling on Pinterest, I was immediately captivated.  Then, I was blessed to win my very own Bible journal in a giveaway.  It’s an NKJV Bible designed especially for journaling and creativity, with two-inch wide blank margins on each page.  Some pages have lines for writing.



How does Bible journaling work?

So how does one use a journaling Bible?  You can highlight verses that are special to you.  You can letter a key word or words.  Or you can illustrate a scene from the Bible.  Personally, I’ve been jotting down verses that are meaningful to me as they come to me.  Sometimes, images pop into my mind along with the verses, or that are connected to them in some way.  Then, I’ve drawn them into the blank spaces provided in the Bible.  Sometimes I’ve drawn them on printer paper first, then traced them into my Bible.  I’ve also traced images from a coloring book, then colored them in.  I’ve used colored pencils, erasable colored pencils, Micron pens for outlining and lettering, and I’m looking forward to using paints as well.


blogging-thru-alpha-b-pic-2Why Bible journal?

I can only speak to my own experience.  But sitting down with art media and my Bible is the most wonderful and beautiful adventure for me.  Engaging creative work with Bible meditation (which really does happen as one sits down to illustrate a verse) is peaceful.  Encouraging.  And a new way of worship, for me; another method I can use to seek God in my relationship with Him.  It can bring God’s Word to  life for me in rich and vivid ways.

You don’t need to be a fabulous or experienced artist to Bible journal either; I am neither of those.  But the experience is truly enriching and grace-filled.



Blogging Through the Alphabet Linkup

Just click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the linkup.  You’ll be able to see lots of others’ ideas about the letter B!



Enjoy!  –Wren


Make Your Bible Journaling Amazing with this Bible Journaling Kit~A Review and Giveaway (Ends 12/7)

**Congratulations to Ken O, selected as the winner of the Bible Journaling Kit!”

I have just had the opportunity to be creative with the neatest product!  FlyBy/Propeller Consulting, LLC sent me this Bible Journaling Kit from Ellie Claire to review.  It has been so fun to integrate into my Bible journaling and has really inspired me!  Best yet, you have two ways to enter for a chance to win your own kit!


What is Bible journaling?

I believe that there has been a true resurgence of the creative arts lately in America.  You can see this even at the grocery store, where you can see neat coloring books with incredible drawings just waiting for you to fill in with color.  This creative expression has found its way into Bible study and devotional times, as individuals have taken art into the white spaces of their Bibles.  Lettering, drawing, painting, and stickers all bring verses or ideas to life with vibrant color.

Publishing houses are even creating Bibles that have margins or pages especially made for Bible journaling.  I am blessed to own several Bibles for my own reading and Bible study; but I was given a Journaling Bible (published by Crossway) which I use for journaling.  You can also use a plain journal.  All you need are colored pencils, ink, and whatever else you might like to use to color and illuminate verses.

And why would you want to write or draw in your Bible anyway?  To make special note of meaningful verses.  To help you remember those verses.  To express creativity with the words of life that the Bible contains.  To use art time to create something that inspires your spirit.  I’m sure there are more reasons…those are just a few that I came up with!


What is in this Bible Journaling Kit?

This kit has everything you need to get started with Bible journaling!  (Except your own Bible or a journal.  You’ll need to provide that.)  All of these art supplies are neatly boxed in a sturdy blue slipcase:

  • 8 colored pencils which twist to advance
  • A felt-tip archival pen
  • 3 sheets of 24 sticker tabs
  • Alphabet stickers (4 sheets of two different fonts)
  • Clear stickers with inspirational phrases and symbols (4 sheets of these, too)
  • A plastic protector mat with 8-inch ruled lines on one side, and wavy borders on the other
  • A lime green zippered case to keep all your supplies (it even has a strap to slip around the cover of your Bible)

bible-journaling-2How I used the kit and art tools

I am pretty new to Bible journaling.  I have a Pinterest board that is devoted to Bible journaling ideas.  And I have that Bible that’s made just for journaling.   I also have a TON of art supplies (we love doing art in homeschool and I teach an art class at our local coop).  But somehow, prior to receiving this Bible Journaling Kit, I just hadn’t quite been able to make the jump INTO Bible journaling.

It turns out that having the right supplies can make all the difference!

One of my favorite verses, Psalm 20:7, reminds me of a special time I spent in Russia.  So my first experience with this neat Bible Journaling Kit was to illustrate that.  I chose the famous Russian landmark, St. Basil’s Cathedral, for my drawing.  I pulled up a picture of the cathedral online and drew it free-hand (in pencil, of course!).  Then I used the twisty colored pencils from my kit to draw it in.  I was pretty excited that I had all the colors I needed!  After I colored everything in, I used the felt-tip pen to highlight and outline.  Last, I wrote in a phrase from the verse.  (I clearly need to work on my lettering some more!)


Next, I was reading my Bible one day and ran across this verse:  “But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy and her people to be a gladness.” –Isaiah 65:18.  I loved that!  There are many places which are wonderful to visit, but how many of them were actually created to be a joy?  I knew I’d found my next verse.

I didn’t freehand this one but used outlines from a coloring book that I own, that I thought really communicated the idea of an Israeli city.  Again, first I used pencil, then the twisty coloring pencils, then outlined with the felt-tip pen.  (I still need to work on my lettering!)  Then I wrote a phrase from the verse and, at the bottom of the page, the verse address.


Wren’s Ideas for Bible Journaling:

First of all, don’t be discouraged if you think you’re not creative or you don’t know where to start!  ANYONE can do this.  Do an online search for “Bible Journaling.”  Browse Pinterest.  There are some amazing ideas out there to get you started!  Then, get (or win!) your supplies.  Then, jump in!  You can see below that I’m doing a heart for my next journaling project.  It’s coming along, slowly but surely.  🙂


Here’s a process which has worked for me that you can try, if this is new or seems overwhelming to you:

  1. Think of a verse that you love or that is meaningful to you.
  2. Brainstorm; what images do you think of when you meditate on this verse?
  3. Practice.  Draw those images on printer paper.
  4. Trace or draw in your Bible or journal with pencil.  (Unless you’re a super-confident artist, in which case, you can just draw already!)
  5. Color in your drawing.
  6. Find a font you like to letter a phrase or the address for your verse.  Print it out, place it under your page, and trace.  Color it in!
  7. For interesting definition, highlight your colored drawing with a black felt-tip pen.  It really makes things pop!
  8. Now—enter my giveaway.  Maybe you’ll win this cool set of Bible journaling supplies!


Enter here for a chance to win–two ways!

First, you can enter here via my Giveaway Tools entry form.  Just click on the pink link below, which will take you to my Giveaway Tools form:

Entry Form for Bible Journaling Kit

In addition, the publisher is also giving away 5 Bible Journaling Kits!  Just enter via this link for your chance to win:


Where can you purchase your own Bible Journaling Kit?

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BNBibleJournaling
Amazon: http://bit.ly/BibleJournaling
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/BAMBibleJournaling
Christian Book Distributors: http://bit.ly/CBDBibleJournaling

Enjoy!  –Wren

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

The ESV Family Devotional Bible ~ A Review & Giveaway

Do you have devotionals you can combine with Bible reading for your family?

ESV Fam Devo Bible banner


We do–in both family worship time and in homeschool.  We love to begin our homeschool days with prayer and Bible reading, whether it’s simply a Bible passage or chapter, or a devotional that closes with Bible reading.  FlyBy Promotions and Crossway Books provided a copy of their new ESV Family Devotional Bible for us to use and review.  And even better, we have a copy for someone to win (see below!).


ESV Devo Bible 1What is the ESV Family Devotional Bible?

This Bible is especially fashioned for parents and children to read and use together.  The ESV  translation enables children to understand, read on their own, or even read this Bible aloud.  It is a hardback Bible, sized perfectly to hold in smaller hands.  The laminated hard cover is comfortable to hold, and is decorated with thumbnail-sized paintings of scenes from Bible events.

In the ESV Family Devotional Bible, you’ll find everything you’d normally expect to find in a Bible; all 66 books which normally make up the Old and New Testaments of the Protestant Bible.  There are two tables of contents at the beginning which list first, the books (and their page numbers) in the order you’ll find them.  The second one lists the books of the Bible in alphabetical order, along with their page numbers.  There are 8 gorgeous maps of Bible places at the end of this Bible from different eras, which also list some main events of each era:  The Lands of the Patriarchs; The Exodus from Egypt; The Lands Assigned to the Tribes of Israel; The Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon; The Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah; The City of Jerusalem, The Land of Israel during the New Testament; and Places Paul Visited.  These are truly excellent resources; they have great design and are so simple to read that children will easily understand them.  Important locations are marked clearly, with notes about events connected to various places.


ESV Devo Bible 2The neatest extra additions to the ESV Family Devotional Bible are the family devotional pages scattered throughout it.  There are 130 devotions in all, which cover key Bible events from creation to the revelation given to the apostle John (and, there is a complete listing of the devotions along with their page numbers at the end of the Bible).  Each devotion contains a vivid painting of the event described and a listing of the Bible verses covered in it.  Then, there are several paragraphs written about those verses, along with questions for the family and a key verse that’s connected with the devotion.  Here are some that you’ll find in this list!

  • God Calls Abram
  • Joseph’s Troubles
  • God Heals Naaman of Leprosy
  • Josiah and the Priest Who Found God’s Word
  • An Angel Visits Joseph
  • Jesus Blesses the Little Children
  • Peter Escapes from Prison
  • and more!


ESV Devo Bible 4How we used this Bible–and our impressions

My son, who’s in the eighth grade, and I used this for our morning Bible times as we began our homeschool day.   First, I’d read the devotion aloud and share the picture with him.  Then, we’d read the key verse.  We actually started in the middle of the Bible, with the story of Hannah, and moved on from there.  (Hannah’s and Samuel’s story is a very special one to our family!)

I have to say that we just loved using ESV Family Devotional Bible, and we will continue to!  The paintings for each devotion are both beautiful and highly descriptive, of what each Bible event could have looked like.  That helped us think more about each event.  The devotions themselves are beautifully written; perfect for family enjoyment and for reading aloud.  We also loved the way that each devotion we read in the Old Testament included a short paragraph at the end that pointed to Jesus.  What great connections!  The key verses gave us something else to think and ponder on, and were very well-chosen for each devotion.  In short, it was perfect for our mornings in our homeschool day.  But it would also be a fantastic addition to family devotional times at bedtime, or during weekly family worship.  It would also be a great Bible for children to use on their own!


ESV Devo Bible 3I also really enjoyed that many of the devotions aren’t the ones we’re very familiar with.  I love that!  There is so much treasure in the Bible, but it’s easy to focus on some of the more well-known events and stories for devotional writers, it seems.  Here, you’ll also see Philip and the Ethiopian, Why We Never Need to Worry, Jesus Heals Ten Lepers, Lydia Trusts in Jesus, Elijah and the Woman Who Trusted God’s Word, and many others we might not usually see in a children’s devotional.  Awesome!

You can visit the social media links for Crossway Books below, for more information.  And now, I have one copy of the ESV Family Devotional Bible to give away to one blessed reader!

***If you have won a giveaway sponsored by FlyBy Promotions/Propeller in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to enter this giveaway.***

Otherwise, enter using the Giveaway Tools form below!




Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Enjoy!  –Wren

Phenomenal, Sweet Bible Study for Kids from Grapevine Studies

This semester, Jackson and I were SO blessed to have the opportunity to use and review Grapevine Studies‘ Bible study for kids, the New Testament Overview Part 1, covering the Birth of John to Jesus’ Ministry.  We received a physical Teacher Level 3-4 Book and a physical Level 4 Student Book.

Grapevine Banner

What is Grapevine Studies?

Frankly, it’s a Bible study company that I wish I had discovered years earlier!  Grapevine Studies produces the most creative and unusual Bible studies for children, ages 3 all the way through the teen years…and beyond!  Students read and hear God’s Word, and then draw the scenes they’ve just studied using stick figures.  It is truly the most creative Bible study method for children that I’ve ever used.  It is a delight!

Grapevine Studies has a huge variety of Bible studies that parents and teachers can choose from, like:

  • Creation to Jacob
  • The Resurrection
  • Birth of Jesus
  • Old Testament Timeline
  • Ruth
  • Joseph
  • Esther
  • and more!

They’re appropriate for families, homeschools, Bible classes, Sunday schools; really, anywhere that children are being taught the Word of God.


Grapevine 3The New Testament Overview Part 1  Study

We received the physical set of Grapevine StudiesNew Testament Overview Part 1 for Level 4 students, who are teens.  This included a complete Level 3 & 4 Teacher book as well as the Level 4 Student book.  (We supplied the binders.)  The books have a printed cover which we slipped into our binders’ front sleeves.  The insides are 3-hole punched and ready to place in binders or folders.  The  course can either be taught with one lesson per week (e.g., for Sunday schools or other weekly meetings) or on a daily schedule (perfect for homeschools).  This will enable students to complete the course in 12 weekly lessons, or 45 daily ones.  For the Level 4 course, students will also need a Bible dictionary, a topical Bible, and a concordance which can be purchased separately from Grapevine Studies.  (And colored pencils.)

The Level 4 Student book covers New Testament events from the birth of John through Jesus’ ministry.  Students will learn Bible timelines, Scripture memory work, and complete pages for stick figuring the lessons.  There are also review pages at the conclusion of the lessons plus a Quest Page, which allows students to do extra study in their resource books (the Bible dictionary, topical Bible, and concordance).

Grapevine 4The Level 3 & 4 Teacher book is a plethora of helpful information.  It includes an introduction to Grapevine Studies and their mission and purpose; goals for the student and teacher; scheduling tips and a supplies list; and directions for teaching the lessons, the timeline, review pages, Quest Pages, and section/final reviews.  It has a page for each lesson along with Scripture and lesson narratives, and fully drawn stick figures for each one of them!

Grapevine 2How we used it

The short answer is, “with great delight!”  But you’d probably like to know what we did each day.  Basically, we just worked through the book a little bit at a time.  The Birth of John to Jesus’ Ministry begins with some Bible timelines, as Grapevine Ministries loves to lay out a clear foundation for each lesson and to show students where in Bible history things happened.  So we began with a timeline of the Old Testament!  Because really, all of our stories do begin with Adam, don’t they?  Other high points of Bible history are drawn, in stick figure form, on the timeline.  We looked at Noah, Abraham, David, the Babylonian Captivity before we reached the New Testament, and completed a New Testament timeline.  This timeline began with the birth of Jesus’ cousin, John and cruised through Jesus’ childhood, baptism, and ministry.

Grapevine 8Each day, Jackson (my 14-year-old) and I would gather our binders and his colored pencils and sit down before our easel, which has a whiteboard on one side.  We have many colored whiteboard markers, which I used to draw the various characters in our lessons.  We’d read the listed Scriptures, then the short summaries on each event.  And then I’d draw the stick figures of the lesson on the whiteboard as Jackson drew them in his own book.


Grapevine 6What we thought

It is a little hard…even with the superlative adjectives my readers know I regularly employ…to explain to you just how much we both LOVED this study.  First of all, it is Biblically accurate.  Each and every narrative is faithful to the Scriptures it is drawn from (no pun intended!)  Second, it is very easy for students to understand, and for teachers (or moms) to teach.  And third?

It is just a JOY.  It is a joy to teach, and a joy for the student to learn!  Every day when it was time to pick up our Grapevine Studies, both of us were honestly thrilled.  And joyful.  And we both commented on how neat the study was as we worked through each and every one!

Children delight in recreating the Biblical narratives through stick figures.  It is fun to do…and the amazing thing is that they really learn so much as they draw and listen.

Grapevine 7

Have you ever prepared Bible lessons for your children using curricula that was too deep or heavy for them, or just not right for their learning style?  We have; and I am always dismayed at those experiences.  My deep desire for my son is that he will love the Word of God; that he will know that he can always go to it for help; that it is one of the ways that he can draw closer to God.  A significant reason I am so delighted with Grapevine Studies is because it really aligns with those hopes I have for my son—and it helps him along in them!

You’ll notice that one of the adjectives in my title describes this Bible study as “sweet.”  It really, really is.  There are two verses that really sum up what Birth of John to Jesus’ Ministry has been to us.  First, Proverbs 16:24:  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  And second, Psalm 34:8:  O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!  Every day that we opened our Grapevine Studies, we tasted the goodness of the Lord, and the sweetness of His words.  And if that’s not reason enough to use this particular Bible study…I don’t know what is!


Grapevine 5And finally….

I’m sure you can already tell that we adored Grapevine StudiesNew Testament Overview Part 1.  My son Jackson wanted to say, “Definitely! I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to try it, because it is so good.  It is phenomenal!”  I am in absolute agreement.  This study is Biblically sound, and the Scripture study is faithfully presented.  But it’s the daily creative work itself that is the most unusual.  When students (and teachers) draw the stick figures as they study each Bible story or fact, they’re not only doing something fun and creative; they’re making mental connections in their hearts and minds in ways I’ve never seen in other Bible study methods.

Grapevine 1 Visit Grapevine Studies to purchase New Testament Overview Part 1, and you can see all their other amazing Bible studies.  You won’t regret it!  And you can stop by to visit their social media pages via the links below.


Enjoy!  –Wren


Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review} 

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Best Kid Bible Ever ~ Zonderkidz’ FAITH BUILDERS BIBLE

What if you could combine Bible reading with your child’s favorite building toy?

Faith Builders Bible banner

Then you would have Zonderkidz‘ awesome new Bible for brick-building kiddos, the Faith Builders Bible!  We were ever so fortunate to receive and review a copy of this outstanding Bible for Jackson to use.  And we have just loved it!


Zondervan Logo_zpsaxmkrrcjWhat is the Faith Builders Bible?

The Faith Builders Bible was created especially for children (or really, Lego lovers of ANY age) by  Zonderkidz, the children’s publishing section of Zondervan.  It is a complete Bible in the New International Reader’s Version, which lends itself very well to children who read on their own, or for parents reading the Bible to their children.  The language is very accessible to younger readers, or those in elementary or middle school.  But this Bible also has some very special features that will delight brick fans of all ages!

The Bible itself is an 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ hardback book with a laminated cover.  It’s just over an inch in thickness and is very sturdy.  The pages (except for the color photos interspersed throughout the Bible) are tissue-thin, as you’ll often find in Bibles.


Faith Builders 1What will you find in this Bible?

The Faith Builders Bible contains the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • an Alphabetical Order of the Books of the Bible list, complete with page numbers
  • A Word About the New International Reader’s Version
  • All 66 books of the Bible
  • DictionaryFaith Builders Bible 01_samptxt_zpse6j85o3u
  • a listing of “Great Bible Stories” and their page numbers in this Bible
  • Bright, glossy pictures of astounding creative brick builds of crucial Bible scenes
  • “Building Block” verses and building ideas
  • The ABCs of Salvation, The Lord’s Prayer, the Fruit of the Spirit and more


Faith Builders pic 3How we used the Faith Builders Bible

We like to include Bible reading as part of our homeschool day, and as part of our lives overall in general.  Jackson used the Faith Builders Bible for his daily Bible reading.  I assign him a chapter or two for his devotional reading, which we like to do at the beginning of our homeschool day.  We’ve also used it for Bible read-alouds for a Bible study we’re currently doing on parts of the New Testament.

I like to vary Bible versions for my own Bible reading, because for me sometimes a different wording of a familiar verse can bring fresh meaning or vision. The NIrV has blessed us with that as well.  It’s very understandable to a child’s ear, and it works well whether it’s read aloud or just to oneself.  We’ve particularly enjoyed it as we have studied the beginning of the book of Luke.  Words we’re familiar with about Zechariah, Elizabeth, Gabriel and John have read beautifully aloud and have sounded fresh and vibrant.

Faith Builders Bible 03_samptxt_zps6uee1la1And…Jackson and I have sat together and looked at the pictures of Bible scenes built via Lego bricks.  They are truly spectacular; you can tell that whoever composed and created these builds must be thoroughly familiar with, and a lover of, both Lego bricks and the Word of God.  The pictures are just incredible, and each one includes a short description of the Bible scenes being depicted.

We also built the Lego display of the stacked books of the Bible, arranged by categories (i.e., history, prophecy, gospels, epistles, etc.).  It really gave us a vivid illustration of all that our Bible is comprised of, and can offer!  This inspiration to see brick-built Bible scenes will not only bless and encourage your children, and maybe even teach them.  It’s also very likely to inspire them to build their own faith-related brick creations!

And, our favorite parts of this Bible?  Jackson’s favorite brick page was probably the building of the tabernacle.  It’s pretty spectacular, and enables the viewer to finally SEE what that ancient prescribed place of worship could have looked like.  My favorite was Samson at the temple.  It is just majestic, and the moment is just before Samson’s strength returns and it all comes crashing down.  Like these, all the Lego builds are beautifully done and communicate much more than just the coolness of Lego.  They remind us as well of the great truths of the Christian faith and of Jesus and all those who have gone before us.



Faith Builders Bible 01_samptxt_zpse6j85o3uWhat we thought about it

I have to admit that when we received this Bible, Jackson and I were both seriously overjoyed!  (There even might have been some jumping up and down.)  It is REALLY a delight.  And joy and delight truly are the right words to describe how we felt about it!

Picking up the Bible in our family is something we regularly do.  And Jackson does have a Bible of his own, that he used before we received Faith Builders Bible.  But the combination of two of his favorite things–brick-built creations and the Word of God–added up to a book he was eager to use every day.  There weren’t many days when we didn’t pick it up and say words to the effect of, “This is SO cool!” or “I can’t believe this build of (fill in the blank).”  The pictures of the Lego builds of Bible scenes are incredible.  We like that familiar Bible stories are listed at the back along with page numbers, so if my son wants to read about the feeding of the 5000, for example, he can check that list, find the correct page(s), and go right to the account.  This is something that I believe will help all children!

I do want to share that the pages themselves are very thin, yet not quite as delicate as one might expect.  The font size is small yet is almost bolded, so that the words are pretty easy to read (even for adults!).



Faith Builders pic 4Our recommendations

We definitely, definitely recommend  for your children!  The pictures and Lego builds are spectacular.  Any child who loves building with bricks is going to adore this.  And best yet—maybe the photos and building tips they’ll find in Faith Builders Bible will encourage them to read more of the Bible!

You can find Zonderkidz‘ wonderful kids’ Bible at Faith Builders Bible.  Be sure to check it out!  I’m sure that your own favorite Lego-loving child must have a birthday or other celebration coming up!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zonderkidz/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/zonderkidz

Enjoy!!  –Wren


Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}Crew Disclaimer