Wednesday, 3 October 2018

a beginner's guide to faith journaling : part 1, process

hey all, today i'm going to answer some questions about faith journaling - what it is? what's my process? why i do it? how to start? i've only been doing this for a few short months, but i've picked up lots of tips that i hope will be of use to those of you interested.

let's start with the reason why i even started to journey down this path... i think i'd seen a "related" video on YouTube about "bible journaling" and clicked on it - i watched til the end and i had never seen anything like it before! i thought, wow, a creative way to spend time in the bible, why haven't i thought of this before?! honestly until that moment, each time i'd taken my bible out to study i'd found it a real struggle to spend much time reading, let alone meditating on it. i love group bible study but that had been a challenge for me to get to with a little one, and it's not the daily practice that i knew i needed.

so, after watching that video, i actually started this whole process off with getting a proper "journaling bible" (the ESV Crossway Double Column - US/UK), which is super pretty and was a great starting place for me.

i did a few spreads with craft things i already had, but it felt a bit too "confined" for me - the margin wasn't big enough and the text wasn't big enough, and the paper is really thin (and i'm not the most delicate of people!). and i also felt a lot of pressure to do it perfectly because i didn't want to ruin my bible...

so i bought a Leuchtturm 1917 journal (US/UK), which is one used often for bullet journaling, and started writing, doodling and painting in there, and then my real style evolved...

i have previously done quite a bit of scrapbooking, both in the traditional sense and also with a Project Life style binder (i recorded all of our time living in Belgium that way). so i had quite a lot of stickers, washi tape and other bits and bobs i could use. though i must admit to purchasing a few new bits to experiment with.

i'll list in part 2 some of the things that i think are quite essential items if you're interested to start, and i'll definitely share a 'what's in my journaling bag?' style video in the future to show you what i've been taking on trips with me.

but let me first explain the process, because a lot of people have asked that on instagram...

 - firstly i search for a quiet hour or two, most often when my son is sleeping, so that i know it won't be disturbed time and i can fully let myself enjoy the process of creating and spending time in the Word. 
 - i like to get out all of my craft things before i start so i know what i've got to work with. i don't have a separate craft room, i just keep everything in boxes under our sofa bed and then get that out each time - it's a bit of a faff but it's so worth it!
 - next i get out a bible study, turn on a podcast or just open my bible and turn on worship music, and sometimes a combination. and i open up my journal.
 - sometimes i just start writing as i listen and read, and sometimes i listen and read first and then create. it just depends on the day. sometimes i just create a journal spread based on some amazing quote or verse that i've read that week and want to remember.
 - as for quite how i go about it, i take inspiration from a lot of my favourite creators on social media, (see below) and then i just go from there. sometimes i have an idea in mind of a picture i want to paint or a medium/craft tool/method i want to try out, but other times i just journal what i am reading/listening to. 

there are lots of people who've inspired me along the way, and i wouldn't be doing this if they hadn't inspired me, so here they are, some are Christian "bible journalers" and some create other types of journals:
 - Scribbling Grace
 - Doodling Faith
 - Grace Laced - and I would really recommend Ruth's book with the same title (US/UK)
 - Johanna Clough
 - The ReBookery
 - Merel Journals 
 - Meg Journals
 - Katie Jobling
 - Sarah Swan
 - Cheyenne Barton
 - Pinterest! i've got a whole board full of journaling ideas, so that's also another great place for inspiration from a wider variety of creators.

i would love for you to comment on your favourite inspirations in the comments box too - it's always fun discovering new people!

and without these people i wouldn't have felt confident enough to try out acrylics or watercolours or collage. i find watching other creators really inspiring.

the MOST important thing for me is to have a time and space allocated at least once a week, if not daily, to get out my bible and spend time in God's word, meditating on a verse or worshiping with music, and this is the first time i've really been able to and feel excited to do it!

so i praise God for leading me down this path, where i eagerly anticipate my next session, where i carve out time in my day to sit with Him and spend fully focused time. it's a great way of putting your phone to one side and relaxing too.

i've spoken to a few people who've said they would find my style of journaling too distracting - they thought they'd end up getting too caught up in whether something looks good rather than with spending time with God - to this i can say 2 things; 1 - journaling isn't for everyone and 2 - give it a go! if you end up spending at least some time reading the bible instead of none it's a big win!! i also find that some days when i spend time making just one verse look pretty instead of an intense study, i still spend the rest of the day thinking about the verse, meditating on it and singing praise songs. it's a bit like creating adult memory verses.

anyhow, i've loved it so much that i've created a journaling travel bag that i've taken on my last two holidays so i can keep on creating and reading His word. i'll share more about that in part 2!

extra notes:
 - my bible book tabs are from a seller on Etsy, you can find them at OpenBookPrintShop and they are the 'Magenta Rose' edition (click here).
 - my favourite podcast to journal to is the Journeywomen Podcast with Hunter Beless - it's been a fantastic blessing to me, and i'd recommend it to anyone. also the associated playlist on Spotify is fab.
 - i've had to take a lot of pages out of my Leuchtturm 1917 because i have been adding in so many pockets and tip-ins/flaps and other things to bulk it out, you can easily take out pages by finding the middle parts of each signature and gently taking them out where they've been sewn.

to see a talking flip-through of my journal, watch the video below on my YT channel:

please let me know your questions, and i will do my best to answer them! otherwise, please hit the follow on Bloglovin button to be notified as soon as part 2 is out (all about my favourite supplies)...

*and also please note, this post has got amazon affiliate links in, which don't cost you anything extra but do help me keep my blog running, so thank you very much if you do chose to use them.

Monday, 3 September 2018

i cried when i crossed the border

this last week we've been in France. Normandy to be exact. Valliquerville to be even more exact. and we had a wonderfully relaxing time, enjoying the good food and relaxing environment of French holiday living.

we've been on many family holidays with the little one, and each time, even from his youngest age, he's loved to travel and be away from home. we make sure to pack well, and plan even better. you can see some of our previous travelling with toddler posts here, here and here, and here for my essentials checklist for our toddler.

this time we bought Pete's mum along with us, and we road-tripped there and back through the Eurotunnel. which all went pretty great, other than on the way over he burst into tears the second he saw the train we were driving on to and didn't stop throughout the whole time in the tunnel - i think he was confused about the sort of train it was, as well as tired, and he thought it was too loud. anyhow, the way back he loved it!

and also the second we came off the tunnel and landed in France i started crying because i just really miss our life in Belgium and all the people there, and i was wishing we were driving the other way instead.

but France isn't so bad...

we stayed in an AirBnB in the grounds of a chateau. we got a good deal and it was a really beautiful location in the middle of nowhere amongst fields of potatoes and sweetcorn. the house was stunning and cosy, and there were plenty of animals to keep the youngest and oldest amused.

we were thankful for the fire, because the weather was a little chilly round the edges and windy some days too. so a few days we lit a fire in the evening and it was just what we needed - which helped give us something to look at as the wifi didn't work and the television was all French channels.

we did a good lot of looking around the local area at some of the tourist spots, but we also spent a good lot of time at home, reading, playing, cooking, eating and bible journaling (for me).

some of the places we did visit in Normandy:

 - Caudebec-en-Caux, a cute town on the Seine, which has a glorious church, fab museum, lots of boat tours and (arguably the most important) the best bakery of our whole trip

- Monet's Garden in Giverny - i've visited before, but it was half my life ago when i was a teenager. now with a finer appreciation of beauty, as well as a greater knowledge of flower varieties, i enjoyed it more than i could've imagined. totally worth the wait.

 - The Chapel Oak in Allouville-Bellefosse (Le Chene Chapelle) - this was a cute surprise one, as it was just down the road, but i've never seen anything like it before. it's two little chapels carved into a tree, and then with this big staircase going up around it. it's a pretty little village to walk to as well.

 - Honfleur & Deauville - these two places on the coast were lovely little towns, and we took one morning for each, and got to go over the Pont de Normandie twice.

Deauville is the best place we visited for clothes shopping, if that's your thing. i wasn't in need of anything so i just enjoyed window shopping! the beach front is huge and very famous for its boardwalk and beach-huts named after celebrities. the architecture is so well preserved and unlike anything i've seen anywhere else in my travels.

Honfleur is a quaint little tourist town, with lots of artists and patisseries and good places to eat. there's also a great old wooden church and this fabulous carousel, which our little one thought was amazing...

- Velo-Rail to Etretat - on the last day of our holiday we all took the railway down to Etretat, which was so much fun on the "bike", as you can tell from our sons face.... it was all down hill so mummy was also smiling!

the line was short and stopped in the pretty coastline at Etretat, where we spent a good few hours walking the boardwalk, eating cake, playing in the park and my husband walked the cliffs with the toddler on his shoulders.

it ended up being a very relaxing holiday, despite doing something every day, there was plenty of time to relax and enjoy doing our own things. and Normandy was a brilliant place to visit with our toddler - i would recommend it to anyone with children. the only caveat i would have would be that the French people in Normandy did not like to speak English, so if your French is limited i would stick to the more touristy places like Deauville and Honfleur.

thank you for reading, i hope you have a lovely day x

Sunday, 12 August 2018

gardens in the rain, and the restorative power of plants

yesterday we spent the afternoon out at exbury gardens. it was one of those mornings that started great and then disintegrated... so we packed ourselves into the car, let the todder fall asleep and drove around the new forest. almost as soon as i was in the countryside i could feel my spirit lift, and so my husband decided to drive us to somewhere new (to us) that he knew would make us all feel brighter.

exbury gardens was created by the De Rothschild family, and is a really well established garden. it blends into the Beaulieu River in a way i've never experienced in a garden before, and the view from the bank is absolutely phenomenal, even in the rain.

obviously, right now we're sort of into visiting gardens (see our visit to Hillier Gardens), because the 2.5 year old just loves to run around and i am really enjoying the restorative power of creation, especially in its cultivated form rather than wild - but i think with these gardens being in the middle of the forest, there was a good deal of both on offer.

since working with flowers for a living, i love to see them cultivated so beautifully, and it inspires me one day to do the same - i hope one day i will have a garden that i can invite other people to sit in and enjoy. i even love having just a few pots at the moment because it brings me such joy!

there is one particular garden at Exbury, the Sundial garden, which is hidden away and is absolutely abundant with flowers at this time of year, it was so gorgeous and i could've stayed there for a whole day.

the garden also has its own steam train to ride on, which was fun for all of us actually, not just the toddler!

we also ate at the cafe, which was really delicious! the only thing i'd say is that it's a pretty pricey experience, so it wouldn't be a super regular thing for us, but it's definitely worth going and we will go back in another season (and maybe on a sunnier day!)

thank you for reading x

currently listening to: better love by green river ordinance

you may be interested in reading: 25 things to do with a toddler