You Confess And He'll Forgive ~ Bible Art Journaling Challenge: 1 John 1:9

by @Fitzysmom

Bible Art Journaling Challenge: 1 John 1:9

This week's Bible Art Journaling Challenge is based on 1 John 1:9.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I made that confession of faith at an early age. I was raised in a dysfunctional family and because of the things that were inflicted on me a seed of hate began to grow. The interesting thing is that hatred is what brought me to the foot of the cross. As the Holy Spirit began to woo me He also began to reveal my sin and part of that sin was the hatred. 

While I became a believer at an early age I by no means always chose the right thing. In fact there were many instances where an outsider would probably outright question my salvation. But the miracle in my life is found in 1 John 1:9.

I confessed my sins and God was faithful and just and He forgave my sins. Then miracle of miracles He went on to cleanse me from all my unrighteousness. Glory to God! 

By no means is this a closed group that is limited. This body of Christ is open to anyone who will confess and believe. If you've not made this decision please consider this your personal invitation. I'd love to spend eternity getting to know you better. Just think of the stories we could tell about God's faithfulness. Amen and amen!

The Process

This week's art project is more a what not to do tutorial than a to do one. I had planned out in my head what I wanted to do but when I sat down to do it I guess I was a bit distracted. So here's what I did and how I fixed the mess.

Seal the page.

Step 1: Seal The Page

My first step is commonly to seal the page of my Bible that I will be using. I like to use this Delta Ceramcoat All-Purpose Sealer. It leaves a nice smooth surface and after a couple of days the page tends to straighten right out. I usually seal the page I am working on and the back side of it as well. That keeps the edges from wanting to curl and it also puts me a step ahead! 

Brilliant . . . right? Ummm, not so smart this time. You see I intended to use colored pencils and micron pens for my project. 

The mess.

As you can see from the above picture this particular sealer doesn't do so well with colored pencils, Pigma Micron Pens, or watercolor for that matter. Normally when I am using these elements I don't seal my Bible page until I am finished with my project. I've not had problems with any of these products bleeding through. After I have everything like I want it I spritz with Krylon 1311 Matte Spray. (I will say that I LOVE the Delta Ceramcoat All-Purpose Sealer when I am working with acrylics.)

On a side note you can use the Krylon between layers too. For instance sometimes I paint something and then I use the Krylon before I ink it in. The reason that I do that is because I can always quickly remove smudged ink with rubbing alcohol and it won't ruin the painting underneath.

Decide on the layout.

The Real Step 1: Decide On The Layout

In the original challenge the technique is about hand-lettering. That was my original plan. I measured the space that I wanted to use in my Bible then I went into my Publisher program and messed around with some fonts I liked and then I printed it out.

I used Saral transfer paper to transfer the outline of the words onto the page. I really like using Saral because it is wax free and water soluble. This comes in very handy when you are painting. Instead of trying to erase your graphite lines with an eraser you just take a damp paint brush and lightly scrub the lines and they disappear. 

Add some color.

Step 2: Add Some Color

Since I made a mess of the Bible page I needed to figure out a way to cover it up and start over. The easiest thing seemed to be using my pattern as the main thing instead of just a template. So I trimmed around the words and then added color.

I wanted an ombre look so I used Indigo Blue, Copenhagen Blue, and Permanent Blue Prismacolor Pencils. I started at the bottom with the darkest color (Indigo Blue) and worked my way up to the lightest color (Permanent Blue). 

Blend the colors.

Step 3: Blend The Color

When I use colored pencils I want the end result to have a watercolor or blended look. Without the blending step it has a very amateurish look to it. To avoid that I like to use Gamsol and a blending stick. 

I keep my blending stick clean and sharp by rubbing it on an emery board. There are fancier tools out there but that is what seems to work for me. Using Gamsol is as simple as dipping your blending stick in the liquid and then rubbing the blending stick on your colored pencil to blend the colors and lines together. I went over the outside boarder and then lightly did the words.

Glue the text in place.

Step 4: Glue The Work In

Now that I have the colors blended like I want them it is time to glue the text onto the Bible page to cover the messy words up. I like the Elmer's Craft Bond glue stick. It goes on in a deep blue color so that you can see that everything is covered but then it dries clear. I prefer the extra strength as opposed to the school glue. I've used it on several types of surfaces with good results.

Finished work.

Finished Project

Well, it isn't what I originally planned but I am okay with that. Having to cover up the ugly is a good reminder of the meaning of the verse. The work of the cross was designed to cover the ugly in me. 

Want To Join The Fun?

Rebekah R Jones has put together a wonderful group of fellow Bible doodlers. If you are interested you are welcome to join in the fun. A new challenge is posted each Tuesday. Check out her introduction to the Bible Art Journaling Challenge on her blog and join the Facebook group and/or the Google+ Community.

If you are interested in seeing more of my Bible Art Journaling posts just go here and you can scroll through them.

Disclosure of materials.

Believe Student Edition by Randy Frazee ~ Living The Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus

Believe: Student Edition by Randy Frazee

Book review disclosure.

Young Adult Nonfiction/Bible

You've heard the story of the Bible.
Now it's time to make it your own.

Think. Act. Be.

Let the bible transform you. This is not a book that leaves hearts unchanged.

Believe Student Edition takes you on an exploration into ten key beliefs, ten key practices, and ten key virtues of Christianity. Grounded in carefully selected Scripture passages, Believe Student Edition is a spiritual growth experience that takes you on a journey to think, act, and become more like Jesus.

The Bible is more than just a book of stories. It's a blueprint for living. Let the words of God change you as you learn how to think, act, and become more like Jesus.


My Thoughts

Teenage years can be turbulent. Pressure from outsiders and from ones self can make day-to-day living a maze of uncertainty. But what if there were a way to help our teens navigate that path? When they were younger we were so diligent about reading them Bible stories before bed but now that they are older it is easy to set that aside. I say let's not slip into the idea of entrusting others to guide our teens. Instead let's engage them with Scripture and show them that there is a plan and they are part of it.

Randy Frazee's Believe Student Edition is a great tool to begin an in depth study on what the Bible says about how we as Christians should think, act, and be. It goes along with the other editions of the books and curriculum so that you could easily incorporate it into a family study. Each of the thirty chapters cover the exact same topics that the adult and kids' editions cover. The only difference is that the writing is being addressed to the teenage audience it was designed for. 

I say that this would be perfect for a family study but I also think it would be a very useful study in youth groups as well. There is a whole student curriculum DVD study that goes along with it that would help introduce each topic to the entire group.  

I would recommend this to any family with teenagers or any group that works with teenagers. The study of God's Word will give them a solid foundation and an assurance of who they are and what is expected of them in the body of Christ.

Connect With The Author

Randy Frazee

Disclosure of materials.

Desperate Measures (Port Aster Secrets, Book 3) by Sandra Orchard - Mystery Book Review

Desperate Measures (Port Aster Secrets, Book 3) by Sandra Orchard

Book review disclosure.

Port Aster Secrets, Book 3

Kate won't be safe 
until all of Port Aster's secrets are revealed

Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the supposed "miracle plant" that tore apart her family years ago. She's certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding her father's disappearance. She's willing to risk anything to find the truth, including her relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But with so many people in pursuit of the plant, going it alone might be a fatal mistake.

Award-winning author Sandra Orchard pulls out all the stops in this breakneck and breathtaking conclusion to the Port Aster Secrets series.


My Thoughts

The sign of a good mystery is when you are absolutely positive you know the answer and then get to the end and say, "What . . . I never expected that!" Those were my feelings on Desperate Measures. I'm not going to say much about the story line so you won't know what the mystery was, but it was a good one. I was completely lead astray. I feel like I should apologize to several of the characters because I judged them so harshly.

This series has taken a long time to wrap up (first book came out in June 2013) but it has been worth it. I enjoyed the lead character Kate Adams and found her job as a researcher to be fascinating. With the first book Deadly Devotion, I wasn't too taken with Detective Tom Parker, but he sure has grown on me. 

I would say that technically you could read Desperate Measures as a stand alone mystery. But why would you cheat yourself of the pleasure of the building suspense? I would recommend that you read the whole series starting with Deadly Devotion and then dive in to Blind Trust and finally rap it all up in Desperate Measures. Now that all three books are out I am completely jealous of those of you that get to read them in closer succession. I think you are in for a real treat.

Connect With The Author

Sandra Orchard

Disclosure of materials.

Believe: Kids' Editon by Randy Frazee ~ Children's Book Review

Believe: Kids' Editon by Randy Frazee

Book review disclosure.

Children's Book/NIrV Bible


The Bible tells an incredible story about God's love for the world. But what does that mean for you? This edition of Believe written just for kids takes you on a surprising journey through the Word of God to discover the core beliefs, practices, and virtues of Jesus-followers throughout the ages.

The bible is more than just a book of stories. It's a blueprint for living. Let the words of God change you as you learn how to think, act, and become more like Jesus.


My Thoughts

In the Preface of the book Randy Frazee begins by telling the story of King Josiah. You'll remember that he was eight years old when he became king. 2 Kings 23:25 says: "There was no king like Josiah either before him or after him. None of them turned to the LORD as he did. He obeyed the LORD with all his heart and all his soul. He obeyed Him with all his strength."

How did Josiah become such a king? It was because he was read the Word of God and he followed it. Isn't that what we want for each of our children, to become well versed in Scripture and to follow the precepts it contains? Believe: Kids' Edition is the perfect start for that lifelong journey. 

The book breaks the process down into three sections, THINK: What Do I Believe?, ACT: What Should I Do?, and BE: Who Am I Becoming? Each of these sections use the NIrV edition of the Bible which is designed for a third grade reading level. There are thirty chapters that also correspond with the adult and student editions of this book making it a great tool for weeks of family devotions.

I was very pleased with this simplified version of Believe. I say simplified meaning vocabulary not content. Randy Frazee has been thorough in his covering of the main concepts of Scripture. The discussion questions are a nice touch to make it interactive rather than just a one way teaching from parent to child. Our family was blessed by this resource and I think yours will be too.

Tell Me More . . . Yolonda Sanders {Author Interview}

Tell Me More . . . Yolonda Sanders

In today's Tell Me More feature I want to introduce to you a new-to-me author Yolonda Sanders. The third book in her newest series recently came out and it is a spine-tingling suspense thriller. If that is the genre that you love (like me) you should check it out!

The Protective Detective Series by Yolonda Sanders

I began to wonder just who this mystery woman was behind these intense story lines. I wanted to know the important things that a curious sort like myself wonders about. I decided to reach out to her and ask her to tell me more . . .

If you could invent something that would make life easier, what would it do? 

I would invent a time suspender so that, when there are not “enough hours in the day,” I can pause time around the whole universe to complete my daily tasks without having them carryover into the next day.

What two items would you grab if your house was on fire?

I would grab my Bible and my laptop.

If you could travel back in time to a specific moment in history, what would it be?

I would go back to the Garden of Eden to try and convince Eve not to eat the fruit.

If you had three wishes,what would they be? (You’re not allowed to wish for money or another wish!)

My first wish would be to live a long, healthy life. My second wish would be to make a valuable contribution to our world through some new discovery that will make people's lives easier or cure a deadly disease. My third wish would be to successfully complete a marathon by running the entire way.

What’s the one thing for which you’d like to be remembered? 

I would like to be remembered for my compassion for others.

There you have it friends . . . the important things we need to know about Yolonda! If you had the opportunity to ask her anything what would it be? Leave your curious questions in the comments and we'll see if we can get her to chime in and end the suspense.

Yolonda Sanders

Once Upon A Summertime (Follow Your Heart, Book 1) by Melody Carlson ~ Contemporary Fiction Review

Once Upon A Summertime (Follow Your Heart, Book 1) by Melody Carlson

book review disclosure

Follow Your Heart, Book 1
Contemporary Fiction

She's looking for her big break. 
She never imagined it would depend 
on a blast from her past.

Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it's a safe choice for a young woman starting out her career.

Then, out of the blue, she gets the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to reinvent herself and reinvigorate her career by moving to New York City. She applies for a management position at a stylish new hotel, The Rothsberg. But the city is full of surprises--not the least of which is discovering that Sean O'Neil, a once-upon-a-time crush, has applied for the very same position. 

This sweetly romantic tale of dreams come true takes you through the storied streets of New York City--and into the depths of the human heart. 


My Thoughts

If you're looking for a nice read to escape all this crazy summer heat you've just stumbled upon it! Melody Carlson has once again brought us a light read that is the perfect anecdote to a lazy summer afternoon. Even though it is a light read it isn't fluffy. The characters are well developed and the story line is interesting.

Anna Gordon is our female lead and I really like her. She was raised by her grandma who made many sacrifices for Anna. When Anna's grandpa dies she gives up pursuing a prestigious career in hotel management to come back home and be with her grandma.

When we meet up with Anna she has been sleeping on her grandma's couch and working at the Value Lodge for two years. The situation is less than ideal but as Providence would have it everything is about to change. A chance encounter with a childhood friend brings about the chance of a lifetime. With her grandma's blessing Anna takes a chance and applies for her dream job in New York City.

Imagine her surprise to learn that Sean O'Neil, a guy that she has had a crush on since high school, has applied for the same job. Even though they both are attracted to each other this is a romance that cannot be. They are co-workers and there is no fraternizing among staff.

The story that unfolds has all the wonderful elements that I love in a great romance. Seemingly insurmountable odds, growing attraction, and above all the Divine destiny of the characters are worth every moment it takes to read this wonderful book. If you've not yet read a Melody Carlson book this would be a good one to pick up and enjoy. You'll be hooked!

If you happen to be reading this book with your book club you can download a Reading Group Guide here.

Connect With The Author

Melody Carlson

disclosure of materials

Faith Like A Child ~ Bible Art Journaling Challenge: Matthew 18:3

Faith Like A Child ~ Bible Art Journaling Challenge: Matthew 18:3

The verse for this week's Bible Art Journaling Challenge is Matthew 18:3.

Assuredly, I say to you,
unless you are converted and become as little children,
you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

When I look at this portion of Scripture I actually like to expand it a bit to Matthew 18:1-5. From that aspect you see that it is the disciples asking Jesus the question, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus answers His followers by telling them they need to be converted and become like little children.

A common misconception is that Christ is telling His followers that they need to be innocent and naive like children. What Jesus is really saying is that they (and we) should have the humility of a child. We should set aside our pride and become followers of Christ allowing Him to take the lead.

I was saved and became a follower of Christ at the age of nine. When I look back at my life during that time I am envious of my new found faith. I had yet to become distracted by people and places and things. My faith in God was complete. I wasn't living in a perfect environment but without a doubt I knew that Jesus was going to take care of me.  

Fast-forward almost forty years and I find myself all too often taking my eyes off of Jesus and looking to myself or others for answers. When I think about that it is absurd. I trust Jesus with eternity but not the concerns of today. I long for the child-like humility to bow to the plans of my Creator no matter what they are or where they will take me. 

The Process

In the original challenge Rebekah used Peerless watercolors and an old Bible page. I am traveling right now so I chose to use my usual art journaling Bible and colored pencils because that is what I have with me.

The above verses remind me of being carefree in the arms of Jesus. When I picture that here on earth the thing that pops into my head is swinging on a swing. image

Step 1: Select an image.

I found this delightful image on By the way this is one of my favorite sites to download free vintage images. 

I only wanted the girl on the swing so I cut around the image and then placed it under my Bible page to trace. I should add that I stuck my tablet under there as well making it like a lightbox to make tracing easier.

Step 2: Trace out image and add color.

After tracing out the image I added in some color with my Prismacolor colored pencils. I also traced out with a regular pencil the wording I wanted for the page.

Use Gamsol on colored pencil.

Step 3: Use Gamsol to soften color.

I wanted a soft watercolor look to my page so I chose to use Gamsol and a blending stick on my colored pencil. I like how it takes away the individual pencil strokes and blends it into a wash. It gives it a soft appearance that mimics watercolor.

Ink in text with Prismacolor pen.

Step 4: Ink in the words.

My final step was to use one of my Prismacolor pens to ink in the words. I have to say that I'm not terribly fond of these pens for words but I wanted color and my Pigma Micron pens that I have with me are only black. The Prismacolor pens do work nicely on other projects but they just don't do fine enough lines for my taste.

finished project

So there you have it my friends. Now what about you? I urge you to meditate on this verse and then illustrate it with something that reminds you to have faith like a child. 

Want To Join The Fun?

Rebekah R Jones has put together a wonderful group of fellow Bible doodlers. If you are interested you are welcome to join in the fun. A new challenge is posted each Tuesday. Check out her introduction to the Bible Art Journaling Challenge on her blog and join the Facebook group and/or the Google+ Community.

If you are interested in seeing more of my Bible Art Journaling posts just go here and you can scroll through them.

Disclosure of materials.

NIrV Gift & Award Bible ~ Perfect For Young Readers

NIrV Gift & Award Bible

Book review disclosure.

Early readers will love the NIrV Gift & Award Bible. And church leaders, friends, parents, and grandparents will love giving it, knowing it will be used often by hearts eager to grow a big faith in God. The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) is an accurate translation of the entire Bible that is adapted with care from the New International Version (NIV) and created especially for early readers.

Features include:

• Presentation page
• Dictionary
• Complete text of the NIrV―the NIV for kids!
• “Three Ways to Read the Bible” – Explains how to read the Bible by story, subject, or person
• “About the Bible” – Describes how the Bible was written and how it came to us
• “Life in Bible Times” – Describes what life was like when Jesus was on earth
• “The ABCs of Salvation” – Helps explain the way of salvation

My Thoughts

One of the things high on my priority list is to make sure that all of the children within my sphere have a Bible of their own. I love giving these little ones a copy of the NIrV Bible. It is the perfect version for early readers and allows them to begin the lifelong habit of reading and memorizing scripture.

This edition is especially nice because it is very affordably priced but it includes all of the features that you want in a beginner Bible. If you are planning a Vacation Bible School or Backyard Bible Club pick up several copies for the kids attending. 

I also like to use it for supplements to gifts for birthday parties and other gift giving occasions. If you'd like to dress it up a bit just make a custom cover with washi tape or some other crafty idea or purchase a Bible cover. There is a presentation page that you can personalize for the special recipient.

One other thing we use this particular Bible for is the English as a Second Language classes at our church. The price is right and the reading level is perfect for those just beginning to grasp the complexities of the English language.

Disclosure of materials.

Love's Rescue (Keys of Promise, Book 1) by Christine Johnson ~ Historical Romance Review

Love's Rescue (Keys of Promise, Book 1) by Christine Johnson

Book review disclosure.

Keys of Promise, Book 1
Historical Romance

Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas 
ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle? 

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws you into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.


My Thoughts

I really wanted to like this book. It had so many of the elements that I love in a good book. It is set in beautiful Key West following the Civil War which is not the usual setting for post Civil War era novels. It is a historical fiction/historical romance story with characters that have the potential to be interesting. There is even an element of mystery surrounding several of the events. With all of that I was set to enjoy a trip back to the deep south.

Unfortunately I just didn't like the book. It would be easy to blame it on the offensive language used. But the truth is more that I just did not enjoy the character of Elizabeth Benjamin. I'm hoping that with subsequent books in the series I will warm up to the characters because I really think the story line is promising.

I should clarify my statement on offensive language. The use of disparaging racial terms is historically accurate and I understand that completely. But the story is being written for a modern audience and leaving out the slurs would not have taken away from the story. It was not the main reason I was disenchanted with the novel but it did add to the discontent. 

I most likely will read the rest of the series because there are many elements that I like about this book. I would urge you to read other reviews on this book before you make your decision as others have really enjoyed the book.

If you happen to be reading this book with your book club there is a Reading Group Guide that you can download here.

Connect With The Author

Christine Johnson
Photo Credit: © E.A. Creative Photography 2013

In Firefly Valley (Texas Crossroads, Book 2) by Amanda Cabot ~ Contemporary Fiction Review

In Firefly Valley (Texas Crossroads, Book 2) by Amanda Cabot

Book review disclosure.

Texas Crossroads, Book 2
Contemporary Fiction

She's lost her dream job-- 
but has she found the man of her dreams?

Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow's End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest who might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa's dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake's real identity?

This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.


My Thoughts

In Firefly Valley allows us to take another delightful trip to the Rainbow's End resort nestled in the beautiful hill country of Texas. Greg and Kate have made some major renovations to the resort in the months since we left them in At Bluebonnet Lake. As we meet up with them again they are ready to head down the aisle and off to their honeymoon.

One of the changes they made was to hire Marisa St. George as their business manager. The position feels like a step backwards to Marisa but after the downsizing at her current firm left her without a job she doesn't have many other choices.

Greg's friend and investment broker, Blake Kendall, can't believe his friend Greg is getting married and decides to make a trip out for the nuptials. Actually Blake is also hoping the trip will bring some much needed inspiration. Unbeknownst to most, Blake also moonlights as a best-selling author. He uses a pseudonym and never allows interviews or photos. Recently he has run into a bad case of writer's block and he's hoping a change of scenery will bring that to an end.

Since this is a contemporary romance you've probably already figured that sparks are going to fly between Marisa and Blake. You would be right. Amanda Cabot has once again blessed us with a charming tale about two people not likely to be together under normal conditions, but Rainbow's End isn't your normal place. I enjoyed reading their story and catching up with Greg and Kate and the other residents of Dupree, Texas. I'm looking forward to the next installment On Lone Star Trail which is scheduled to release in February 2016.

If you are reading this book with your book club you can download a Reading Group Guide here.

Connect With The Author

Amanda Cabot

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