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Springtime of a new habit (SJfT)

05 Apr

Hi, and welcome to my blog this Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday of April. I’m your host today.

Have you ever experienced things coming together in your life in surprising yet seemingly meant-to-be kinds of ways? That has just happened to me.

Late last year I felt the urge to again pursue an old love of sketching and drawing. My son gave me a sketchbook and set of drawing pencils for Christmas and I have since spent many hours making pencil sketches from photographs.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got an email from the publicist at Fox Chapel Publishing, asking if I’d be interested reviewing a book they’ve recently published—Complete Guide to Bible Journaling.

I had seen journaling Bibles for sale but was never sure how they were meant to be used. This might be a good opportunity to find out, I thought. And any kind of how-to combining journaling and the Bible into perhaps some kind of spiritual practice or discipline interested me, so I said, yes, I’d review the book.

61dwrZAkbaLIt arrived about two weeks ago. On opening it, I was immediately smitten. For I quickly discovered that Bible journaling is a movement (and you might all know this, but it was news to me) that is not concerned with just writing reflections, thoughts, sermon or lecture notes in the roomy margins of specially designed journaling Bibles, but drawing, sketching, illuminating, decorating, lettering, scrapbooking, and even painting in one’s Bible!

“In its simplest definition, Bible journaling is a way to express your faith creatively. Putting pen to paper is a great way to remember and record biblical concepts that are meaningful and relevant to your life” Complete Guide to Bible Journaling, p. 8.

The guidebook is helpful and beautiful with sections on what Bible journaling is, tips, tools and techniques, eleven profiles of Bible journaling artists, a gallery of amazing Bible journal pages, and a bonus section of stickers, line art objects to copy, and many pages of traceable banners, borders, flowers, animals, words, etc.

I promptly looked through my bookshelf and found an old wide-margined notebook New Testament from my student days. Though I have since ordered a complete journaling Bible, while I wait for it to arrive I’m already experiencing the springtime of a new-to-me spiritual practice.

And it does seem like a set-up from our loving Heavenly Father! For here is a very meaningful and fun way for me to put my enjoyment of the graphic arts to use in Bible reading, meditation and worship.

Here are a couple of my early efforts. Explanation of my thought process is in purple.

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My first Bible journaling effort–my OLW “Listen.”

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Phil. 4:6,7 is my life verse. I had to illustrate that next.

I have often imagined taking off  worries and concerns in prayer as taking off a backpack and leaving that pack loaded with my cares with the Lord. In this illustration, I pictured that as leaving them at the cross.

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Detail 1 of previous page.

The thought of leaving cares at the cross brought to mind a snippet of a verse that talks about that. Google to the rescue and I soon had the verse’s reference–from Isaiah.

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Detail 2 of previous page.

On further reflection, I realized that one doesn’t go from prayer with a merely lightened load, but with new clothes! Another verse from Isaiah speaks of that. (In my sketch, I didn’t want to draw a person or a robe, so chose to illustrate this idea with an empty box–just tissue paper left.)

And now I’m eager to find out what spiritual adventures you’ve been having.  Please leave the links to your Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday posts with Mr. Linky—and thanks so much for joining in!


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20 responses to “Springtime of a new habit (SJfT)

  1. Donna Smith

    April 6, 2017 at 4:00 am

    I have been curious about the “journaling” Bibles. For some reason I haven’t gotten into them. But your post has me researching them again, and I finally found a KJV. Maybe it is time to try using my margins…

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 6:12 am

      Thank you, Donna! I can see this “art form” suiting you and your multi talents perfectly. The journaling Bible I ordered for myself is NKJV (the version of my study Bible and I love it) large print! I’m sure it will be massive, but not one I’m planning to lug around a lot, just to dwell in at home.

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  2. margaretsmn

    April 6, 2017 at 4:04 am

    I’m impressed by your drawing talent. I’d like to get a gift of a Bible with your drawings in it. That act of drawing is meditative in itself. I see how this would be a worthy activity. Mine, I’m afraid, would not look so lovely. Thanks for hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday today.

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 6:01 am

      Thank you, Margaret. You’re so right, the drawing is meditative. And I’m finding it’s quite closely related to poetry and writing, in the way it challenges one to use visual shorthand when choosing images. The how-to book emphasizes that it’s not the expertise of the drawings that’s important but the graphic interaction with the Bible, which is powerful especially for visual learners.

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  3. Ramona

    April 6, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Not a drawer or a sketcher, your description of this new springtime journey and the insights gained make me want to try this out. I especially like your picture of the cross with cares and concerns at the foot of it. And the shop Isaiah empty box with its tag for the garment of praise shows the power of an image to help us learn important truths. Then Ramona said unto Violet, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Bible journaler.”

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 6:22 am

      Thanks, Ramona. Ha! I burst out laughing at your last sentence.

      As I mentioned to others, the book about journaling emphasizes that its purpose is not to create fine works of art, but as a tool to meditate on and interact with the Bible. You should see some of the spreads in the book! if I were to judge my feeble efforts against them, I would be discouraged before even getting feet wet. But it’s what’s happening inside me and how it’s making me see new things in old passages, to slow down so that I make connections, that makes this activity so worthwhile for me.

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  4. Patricia J Weaver

    April 6, 2017 at 6:05 am

    I’m happiest in spring. Love the gentle breezes, everything new and yet fragile Just to let y’all know my barn cat had 7 kittens last night to give example of new life hahahaha
    any one need a bob tail kitten???

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Seven kittens! Wow – you have a feline nursery! Having left the farm, where I grew up, years ago, I miss all the new spring life–the kittens, chicks and calves. Enjoy all the cuddly furriness!

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  5. hollymueller

    April 6, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Oh my gosh! I was so excited to read your post since my mom is doing Bible sketching/journaling right now as a gift to my youngest upon college graduation next year. She did one for my oldest in which she read through the Bible (she chose a C.S. Lewis Bible for her since Libby loved Mere Christianity), underlined passages, and wrote notes/thoughts/prayers in the margin. For Katie, since Katie loves to paint, she chose an artistic one with some sketches and artwork already throughout, but Mom is adding her own sketches, stamps ( Stampin’ Up stamps), and Zentangles, which she’s into creating now. So neat! You are an amazing artist! Reminds me of Michelle Haseltine’s journals!

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 7:48 am

      Holly, thank you! What an amazing mom you have! I love her ideas of gifting these creatively enhanced Bibles to your daughters. Simply beautiful and inspirational. I’d love to see her work.

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  6. Karen Eastlund

    April 6, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Violet: I like this idea very much. I have considered this kind of activity, but so far have not tried it. I like the idea of finding images that fit our understanding as you did with the backpack. Actually, I think your images are lovely, and I thank you for sharing them. I’ve decided to try working on faith issues by way of piano lessons. I know it sounds a little crazy… but I already sing in choir led by the person who will be giving me lessons, and I know that he has deep insight into both music and faith. I hope that I can deepen my understandings as I work with him, and work on my own between lessons. For me, music is a reliable and beautiful vehicle into faith.

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Hi Karen and thanks! I love your idea of music. It’s not crazy at all! It reminds me of Mary anointing Jesus with fragrant ointment. Each expression of our devotion to Him, out of our own uniqueness, is legitimate and valuable. And it’s so good to find one’s “voice” in that way. Sing your heart out!!

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  7. Irene Latham

    April 6, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Violet, this is beautiful! I need to get this for my mom, who loves to color, and would love this, too. Thank you for sharing with us today! xo

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Thank you, Irene! As I was browsing these Bibles in the online shops, I saw that there are many kinds. If your mom enjoys colouring, there are Bibles with colouring images already in them (along with space for more drawings / notes etc.) I’m sure she’d enjoy that immensely.

      (I’m also enjoying your art poems — though not commenting because I’m accessing them on my iPad where I’m all thumbs on the keyboard.)

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  8. dorireads

    April 6, 2017 at 9:40 am

    You are quite the sketcher, my friend. I have another friend who enjoys doodling and coloring and sketching her prayers. She has used a book called Praying in Color. I’m not much of a sketcher. I sometimes draw stick figures to help me remember a yoga pose, but that’s about the extent of my sketching. I’ve tried it before, but I just get frustrated because my hands won’t translate what’s in my head. Even doodling makes me feel distracted. I do pretty well with stillness and can sit with a picture in my imagination as I pray. I love that so many people have responded with interest to this, though. I know it’s valuable. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 6, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Thanks, Doraine! I am so aware that one size doesn’t fit all. Reminds me of how some people’s writing flourishes with music playing or in coffee shops surrounded by people and bustle. That’s so not me. I need quiet concentration and privacy. And I think I would be klutz #1 in your yoga class. Viva la difference!

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  9. cvarsalona

    April 6, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Violet, your bible journaling inspired me to create a digital spiritual journal. I am impressed as the others mentioned with your ability to sketch, draw, and embellish your Bible. Peace be with you as we as start Holy Week and onto a joyous Easter Sunday.

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  10. Laurie Pandorf

    April 7, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Good morning – I’m new to this forum. I posted my writing to the link above. Do we access the other links there? Your note-sketching is gorgeous. The colors, the symbols… all add depth to your insights. Your life verse is one of my favorites as well. It’s that complete surrender that is necessary, yet sometime elusive for those of us who still think we need to remain in control… And then we look at Jesus and are reminded of his most selfless act… Thanks for sharing such an inspirational visual approach to renewal.

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  11. Alice Nine

    April 7, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Violet, I read your post yesterday and didn’t have time to comment… so I came back today. I’ve seen this type of Bible journaling before and have been intrigued by it. I’ve always written my thoughts in the margins and highlighted with “scripture pencils” special made for the thin paper of a Bible. But I’ve not sketched… I didn’t realize they made Bibles with margins for it. I wonder how it would work to share words and images with others based on a common passage.

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 8, 2017 at 6:14 am

      Alice thanks for dropping back. I think sharing words and images with others on a common theme would be a wonderful idea. There may be people (like confirmed Bible journalers) who do this. In the book about BJ, were eleven profiles of women who are at various stages in their practice of it, and I read about weekly challenges (like we have our monthly challenges on Spiritual Journey Thursday), with people sharing photos of their pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using hashtags. (e.g. #biblejournaling).

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