Thursday, July 7, 2016

What is Bible Journaling?

What is Bible Journaling? #illustratedfaith #biblejournaling #journalingbible #journalingbiblecommunity #biblejournalingcommunity #faithart #artworship #ipaintinmybible
By now, if you are a Christian and have been any where on the internet in the past year, I can almost guarantee you've come across Bible journaling in some sort of capacity. Some of you may be thinking, "That's the coolest thing ever!" Others, however, may be thinking, "What in the world is this, and why would anyone want to do it?" If you identify with the latter, today is your lucky day. I've got the answers you've been looking for.

We'll start with the basics.

What is Bible journaling?
Well, that answer is quite subjective, but here's the best way I can describe it for you. Bible journaling is an act of responsive worship. I like to call it "art worship." I've also seen it referred to as "faith art." Think of it as a response to the Lord of whatever you might be reading in the scriptures. It's so much more than mindless doodles or just making the pages look pretty. Just the same way we worship with prayer or song, we can worship Him with our creativity. (Isn't that awesome?!)

What are the benefits of journaling?
I've already pointed out that journaling is an act of worship, but there are other reasons why I think you should give it a try. I personally can attest that journaling brings about a deeper connection with the Word of God. Reading the Bible becomes interactive. To respond with art, you first have to have an understanding of what the scripture is saying. I find myself not just reading the scriptures, but truly studying them and asking, "What does this mean, and how can I apply it to my life?" From these questions, I get my ideas of how to respond and what imagery I want to use to journal. Secondly, I find the process of creating the art highly meditative. When you are creating your artwork based specifically on a certain passage of scripture, you are thinking more intentionally and deeply on that message and connecting with it on a more personal level. I find that journaling also makes memorizing scripture easier because your mind is connecting the scripture with the imagery you are creating, making it easier to recall.

Do I need a specific Journaling Bible?
The answer to that is no. You could technically just use whatever notebook or loose paper you want. I do use an ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, but that's just personal preference. There are so many Journaling Bibles out on the market now, you can surely find one to fit your personal needs. They even have Bibles that already have some artwork in them that you can color in coloring book style if you don't feel comfortable with your own drawing skills. There is something for every person, in almost any translation you prefer, at any price point, regardless of your artistic abilities. The possibilities are endless!

I want to point out that not all Bible journaling is the same. Remember, it's very personal and no two people's bible journals are going to look the same. Some people may not do any artwork, but instead they might use it as a prayer journal and write out their prayers in the margins. Some people use their Journaling Bibles specifically for artwork and use different mediums that may cover the words completely and use a different Bible for their reading or studying. Others, myself included, prefer to use their Journaling Bible as their main Bible for journaling and for reading, so we only use mediums that are translucent so the words are never covered to the point of being illegible. There is no right or wrong way to journal. It's all between you and God.

[Click here to check out my post about my favorite Bible journaling supplies.]

I have been Bible journaling for almost two years now, and if you can't tell, I'm highly passionate about it. Bible journaling has completely changed the way I read and study the Bible and has helped me truly fall in love with the Word of God like never before. If you'd like to take a peek inside my Bible, here's a video I did a few months back of a quick flip-through.

Stay tuned for more Bible Journaling specific posts here on the blog. Also, you can follow me on Instagram @cammorrison as I post my journaling pages regularly. I plan to do an updated flip-through video on Youtube sometime after we get done moving.

Until next time,

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Refining Fire

Truth is, the only word to describe our lives as of late is stressful.

You may know that we have been on the house hunt for quite some time, but the Lord just kept pressing on our hearts that it was time to go "home," as in our home town. Although it seems we barely just got here (even though it's really been a year and a half), and we've made some really great friends and love the church we attend, it just became quite clear to us that if we don't let go of here we'll never be able to see what it is God has for us there. So, after a long house hunt here and many closed doors, we started pursuing the house in our home town that Jake and I have been in love with for several years. Truth is, it's been on the market for quite a long time and every time we'd pass it, we'd dream that we could one day live there. It seems that day is almost here. We're currently under contract and have a closing date. The move is bittersweet, but I'm so ready for it to be over and done with. We'll miss our friends and church family here, for sure, but we're confident this is what is "meant to be."

All that being said, if you've ever purchased a home before, the process is stressful. And since we are self-employeed, the process of applying for a mortgage loan is extremely complicated and frustrating to say the least. I certainly pray that this is our forever home and we never have to go through all this again! No joke, it's taken months to finally get here, to see the finish line, and I'm honestly still holding my breath afraid that something will fall through. I know it's all in God's hands, and we're quite confident He's been leading us here this whole time, but that doesn't mean going through it is a walk in the park. Far from it!

So here we are, about to move. The beginning stages of packing have even begun. All the while, we've got several big commitments and obligations we're trying to work around, and we're also trying to homeschool and keep a somewhat legitimate schedule. There's so much on my plate right now, I could just topple right over any minute, figuratively speaking.

This isn't a complaint or rant, though. I've told you all this because I wanted to let you know that God's grace and mercy are getting me through. I struggle with feeling guilty, as if I don't have any right to feel stressed out. I know how blessed and privileged we are to even get to walk through this. Some people may never own their own home. Some people would love to be able to have three precious children to stress them out. Some people would bend over backwards to be able to own their own business no matter what a headache it causes at the bank. I know all this, and it keeps me at times from honestly letting go and give these problems to the Lord. I feel like I don't deserve to be worried or stressed over these situations because other people have it worse than me. Am I the only one who feels this way? Friends, here's what I've realized. Other people's struggles and hurts don't mean our own has to be discredited. The Bible says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)." It doesn't say, "Give only your worries and cares that are tougher than someone else's to God." He wants all our worries and struggles and fears, even the smallest ones, because He loves us. All that I'm going through, it's just refining fire. He's teaching me to draw near to Him, get on my face before Him, even for the smallest of cares, because He wants a deep, intimate relationship with me. He wants me to know Him and truly rely on Him in everything. I'm learning, too, that by not bottling up my stresses and pretending that I'm "fine," I have more peace and joy, which is exactly what He wants for me, and for all Christians. 

Isn't it awesome, that no matter how long you've been a believer, He is still continuously teaching us? This scripture is one that I've known, even memorized, for YEARS, but today it speaks to me in a new way, and I'm so very thankful.

Here's to learning something new. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Little Did I Know...

A couple of weeks ago I posted about our family's cycle of back to back illnesses. I wish I could say that our sickness ended and we've all been well and good since, but unfortunately that isn't the case. Things have continued, and have even gotten quite a bit worse.

After my last post, we've gone through another round of Hand, Foot, and Mouth and then for the past 7, yes SEVEN, days we've been battling the most awful stomach flu I could ever imagine. It started with just me, but then all three kids quickly got it and we've yet to find relief. As soon as I think we're all better, someone starts throwing up again. (TMI, sorry!)

All I can say is, I called the enemy out, and he came striking back even harder. We're not surrendering, though.

Although I'm a relatively "crunchy" mama when it comes to household cleaning supplies, my Thieves cleaner and my other natural homemade cleaning supplies aren't cutting it. I'm breaking out the Lysol for this junk!

I wish I had a more uplifting and encouraging update, but sadly we're all just barely holding on at this point. I'm going to spend the remainder of my evening disinfecting (again) and tackling this Mt. Everest sized pile of laundry and praying with all my might that we get through tonight with nobody puking in their bed. (Eww...again TMI, but it's my current life.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

To the Mom Who Feels Invisible

(This post contains affiliate links.)

To the Mom Who Feels Invisible #momlife #encouragment #biblicalwomanhood

I think we've all been there. Feeling like we're alone, insignificant, invisible. Some of us have traded our education, our careers, our hobbies, our lives to constantly pour into our families and our homes. This act of service seems (at times) to go unnoticed and unappreciated. We may even be on the receiving end of judgement and scrutiny of others because by staying home, we're "wasting our potential." According to the world, this work, this continual act of service and love, isn't supposed to be as fulfilling as a long, successful, money-making career. *eye roll*

Are you feeling this way, my friend? Oh, how I wish I could reach through the computer screen and give you a big hug and tell you, "I've been there." Heck, sometimes I'm still there! This is for you.

I came across this video one day on Facebook. I honestly had never heard of this woman before. (Her name is Nicole Johnson and she has a book called The Invisible Woman: A Special Story for Mothers.) If this doesn't encourage your heart, I don't know what will. I found myself praising God and feeling so refreshed and renewed by the end of this video. Please, watch. You will not be disappointed.

Oh, dear friend, I hope this video brought you just as much encouragement as it did to me. My mission is clear and my mind renewed. Carry on, sweet momma. You are NOT invisible.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Family Illness and Spiritual Warfare

Ok, what I'm about to say may seem a bit dramatic or extreme, but I'm 100% serious.

I'm starting to view our family's never-ending cycles of illness as a type of spiritual warfare than mere coincidence.
Family Illness and Spiritual Warfare #spiritualwarfare @SurrenderedMom

Yes, you heard me. I think this junk is straight from the enemy! Why? Because the effects aren't just physical. They impact almost every aspect of our lives and relationships, sometimes for the better, but oftentimes not.

For example, the frustration of constantly feeling yucky and still yet having to tend to everyone else who is also feeling yucky starts to attack our attitudes. We start getting grouchy and short with each other, often raising our voices, and hurt feelings are almost inevitable. Kids who don't feel well are whiny and cry a lot, and adults who don't feel well are often grouchy and impatient, especially when there is lots of whining and crying going on!

It's one thing to go through a round of everyone having a cold. But when you have two weeks of cold (followed by the two months of continuous cough!), then 48 hours of stomach virus, then well for one week, then two weeks of hand, foot, and mouth virus combined with two of us having double ear infections, then one week well, then we're back to another stomach virus...That's just too much for this momma to deal with! On top of that, we are literally trying every preventative measure to ward this stuff off. We are using essential oils, constantly washing hands, disinfecting when necessary, eating well, and yet we're still catching every bug within a 50 mile radius!

So what are my clues that this might be a spiritual attack?

Well, number one is that all the illnesses have seemed to fall on a time where it keeps us out of church, Bible study, ministry or fellowship in some sort of way. For example, we missed church this morning when I was supposed to sing on praise team because three out of the five of us were up in the middle of the night puking. I just don't think this is a coincidence! The enemy is trying his best to keep us away from the body of Christ, and I'm on to his schemes!

Number two is that by weakening us physically, we also seem to have a weakened resolve. I mean that by we are having to work much, much harder to treat each other in a Christ-like manner. We, in the flesh, want to be hateful and demanding and selfish and irritated with one another, but we have to work harder, keep in the Word, and pray fervently for our hearts just as much as our physical condition. This is so much easier said than done, and I admit to failing way too often.

I could be totally wrong, but I am aware that the enemy is out to "steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10), and I know he loves to attack families, especially ones who are trying their best to follow after Jesus! He wants to knock us off our tracks and render us ineffective. What better way than to keep us from body of Christ and attacking our attitudes and causing division within the family unit. (This isn't unheard of...just read the entire book of Job!)

I'm not going to stand for it! Sorry, "enemy," you're not welcome here! As I'm recovering from this stomach bug, I'm praying over my family one by one, for their health and for their hearts. I'm cleansing my home and trying to provide some immune support through healthy meals and essential oils. I'm digging into the Word of God to refill my spirit and give me the strength and resolve to push through, even when I'm still feeling yucky. And I'm praising the Lord for all the friends and family we have praying for us.

I know it may sound trivial. I know people out there are going through much, much worse, and I praise God that although we are going through virus after virus, we are still alive and well. No matter what we go through, He is still good.

Do you think this is crazy or do you agree with me? I'd love to hear your insight.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Our Daily Routine

Our Daily Routine, Homeschooling and Homemaking @ #homeschool #routine

Today is the first day in the past couple of months that I feel like we've gotten back to our usual groove. Our schedule was completely thrown out the window during my mural painting. Then as soon as I finished, all three kids cycled through the hand, foot, and mouth virus, and I'd say it took us at least two weeks before I felt we were completely rid of that awful illness. But now, finally, everything feels like it's back on track.

Now, here's where I tell you that I am a total type-B personality. As much as I really, really want to be the super organized type-A, I'm not. I just naturally am a laid back, go-with-the-flow, spontaneous type of person, so I really have to work hard at sticking to a schedule/routine. I do try my best, though, because it just makes everything in our home, especially our homeschool, work so much more smoothly. Getting into our routine has also drastically reduced my stress level, that's for sure!

I wanted to give you a little inside look at what our current routine looks like. It is ever evolving when new responsibilities and obligations arise, but right now this is what is working for us.

Morning routine:
  • Wake up
  • Make bed
  • Shower/Get ready
  • Switch over laundry/Put in load of laundry
  • Unload Dishwasher
  • Make breakfast/clean up
  • Daily chores (Post coming soon on my weekly cleaning schedule.)
After breakfast and before clean-up, we read and discuss our daily Bible lesson. Then, while I'm doing the chores, they help do things like filling up laundry baskets or wiping tables etc. If I'm doing chores that they aren't big enough to help with, then I give them an activity to do, like sit at the kitchen table and color, play with play dough, etc. or send them to their room to play, or even let them watch a movie or an episode of Wild Kratts or Super Why. Yes, I let my kids watch TV. I'm no SuperMom. Elena will often work on her math during that time because she can complete most of it all on her own.

Depending on the time, (and the weather), we'll either go outside for a break, or work on more school that the little kids can get involved in, then we do lunch and clean up.

After lunch, we finish up what schoolwork that needs to be done, and then we have a daily "quiet time" in the afternoon for about an hour to an hour and a half. This helps us all just take a break from the hustle and bustle of our day and the kids have a time of "rest" even though they don't nap anymore. I'll let them play in their room as long as there is no tv or electronics involved and they don't get too rowdy. If their room is a total wreck, which it often is, I make them straighten things back up during quiet time. I use this short, quiet break to do my personal quiet time reading/bible study. (Shocker! I do not do it first thing in the morning before the kids get up. I am not a morning person and I find that if I try to focus on reading/studying the Bible in the mornings, I cannot focus or struggle to stay awake, so I wait until I feel like I can give it more focused attention. Plus, I find the mid-day break is exactly what this momma needs to refresh and refuel for the remainder of the day.)

Since we are business owners, my husband doesn't work a normal 9 to 5. Some days he works from home, some days he comes home at 4 pm, and some days he's not home until 7 or 8. I usually call and check in and get his ETA before knowing when to start dinner. As much as I wished we ate at a scheduled time, it just isn't possible unless we ate without him, which I just will not do unless it's absolutely necessary. After dinner, and depending on what time it is, we spend some quality family time and then start a nightly routine.

Night routine:
  • Dishes/clean up kitchen
  • Take out trash
  • Switch over laundry/Put in another load/Fold and put away
  • 20 minute clean-up (main living areas)
Like I said, our nightly routine is a bit more flexible depending on when Jake gets home, but I try to have the kids in bed between 7 and 8. After the nightly routine is complete, I usually spend some time blogging, watching movies/shows with the hubs, or reading. At the end of the day, I mostly just like to enjoy some quiet!

I'll say it again, I am no SuperMom. Far from it! This routine is our ideal guideline for how we'd like our days to go, but there are quite often times where a wrench gets thrown in our plans, and that's ok! Whatever doesn't get done just gets moved to another day or just deleted altogether. (These are the times I'm thankful that I'm a type-B.) There are lots of more productive things I could add to my routine, but right now, this is about all we can handle. I have to say, though, that I'm so thankful that homeschooling gives us the freedom to be flexible in our routines and schedules. 

I'm sure this routine will be modified in the future, especially when the younger two kiddos join in on the schoolwork when they get a little bit older, but as of now, this is working. They say, "As long as it works, don't try to fix it," right!? 

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks into our daily lives. Until next time...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Praying Over Your Homeschool

Praying over your homeschool - Free printable! #homeschool

I don't know about you, but I find that generally this time of year we get into a homeschool slump. That's been especially true this year because we've just been so insanely busy that burnout seems to be looming in the horizon. We've also been fighting off sickness after sickness it seems, so our motivation and energy are both extremely low at the moment. In an attempt to be proactive, I've created a little game plan to help us push through.

First of all, we decided to switch up our curriculum a bit. Sonlight just has been a bit much for us at this stage of life. I find that the workload and time it takes to complete just isn't working for us. We need much more flexibility, so I've decided to give Five in a Row a go. So far, we're really enjoying it, and I can definitely see myself using it with the next two kiddos, too! 

As well as the curriculum change up, we've been planning our trip to the Teach Them Diligently homeschool conference next month. It's given us something to look forward to and get excited about. We're making the trip into a little mini-vacation as well and are looking at doing some fun family outings while we're there, including visiting the aquarium and the children's museum. (Fun and educational...go us!)

Most importantly, I've spent time looking up scriptures that apply to homeschooling and am planning over the next 30 days to pray these scriptures over our family. Some I'll pray over myself as I try to teach and train my children not only educationally, but spiritually as well. Some I'll pray specifically over my kids, as well as praying that their ears will hear and their hearts will be fertile soil. Some I'll be praying over us all! Each day, I'll be writing out the scripture in my prayer journal and praying about how it affects us specifically, and I encourage you to join me! Grab the free printable below!
Scriptures To Pray Over Your Homeschool Free Printable #homeschool

There are many more scriptures throughout the Bible that are relevant to homeschooling and parenting, and if you have a favorite, leave me a comment below and let me know. I hope this 30-day prayer plan is a blessing to your family and your homeschool!