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July's Illustrated Faith Kit: Yes & Amen!

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, and I was supplied the devotional kit for free as part of the IF Launch Team. 
The links below won't cost you a cent more, just cover a Starbucks run or two for yours truly. Happy shopping!

Another month means another Illustrated Faith kit! The July kit Yes & Amen premiered a week or so ago, and I'm already head over heels for Junelle Jacobs's writing and art. I mean, COME ON, just take a glance at that cover! I was swooning at first sight. Not only is the kit beautiful on the outside, but just like every kit that DaySpring sends our way, "How He Loves" is brimming with goodness and encouragement.  What a blessing it is to work alongside these ladies, and it's a treasure to learn from them every month!

Also, talk about timing! DaySpring is having a customer appreciation sale with 25% OFF the entire store! I'll include the discount code at the bottom. You're not going to want to miss this!

You may recognize Junelle from from her blog, aptly named Yes and Amen. Her Instagram is full of smiling sheep and pretty florals, stunning sketches and adventures with her family. Her art workshops look divine, and I'm honestly mourning the fact that I can't ship off to Italy with her and Shanna Noel this fall. Bible journaling on the Italian coast?! What a dream!

I love that Junelle's sheep and sketches made it onto the acrylic stamp set, too. "Yes & Amen" are front and center in the set, and I have a feeling those are going to get a lot of use this next month. 

This month's acrylic stamps include:
  • "yes & amen"
  • "rest in Him"
  • "God"
  • "go out with"
  • "joy"
  • "praise"
  • "love"
  • "Jesus"
  • "great"
  • "faith"
  • a heart
  • a floral design
  • a sheep and mailboxes*
*I'm not gonna lie, Andrea and I had a chat about what that sketch actually was. 
I definitely thought it was a fence, but she thinks it's mailboxes. Whatever it is, it's so stinking cute! 

Each kit comes with an Illustrated Faith ink pad, and the green this month is so rich! I'm typically a traditionalist, sticking to my black ink pad from a previous kit, but the green is gorgeous. It's a nice change from the brighter colors we've received in the past, and it will go great with the mustard yellow pad from earlier this year. 

Acrylic stamps are all the rage right now and for a good reason. Pro tip: (haha, or anyone tip really)  I store my 4x8 stamp sets from the IF kits in a 6x8 binder using photo sleeves. They slip in and out so easily, and I can always find which one I need! I have a number of acrylic blocks in all sizes, and the standard block by Illustrated Faith works great with these kits! Another tip: if you misplace your stamping block (like I frequently do), just use the plastic lid of your stamp set. It totally works!

The Yes and Amen kit wouldn't be complete without a roll of washi tape, and I love the type written phrases that are on repeat this go around!  It reads "how He loves us" with a little heart, "go out in joy", and "yes & amen". I actually put the washi tape across the top of a blank white notepad then stamped "yes & amen" across the bottom to customize it even further. I love having this space for notes right on my desk or tucked in my planner. The washi gives it a bit of pizazz and personality, don't you think?

Don't forget that your stamp backer is chock full of cut outs! There are one inch circles, another "yes & amen" graphic, and plenty of type written phrases! You can see them poking out of the Bible pages above. I cut out one of the circles and used it to tab my Bible journaling page and the bottom floral image was from the stamp backer, too. I couldn't help but add in the gingham paperclip that came in with the kit, too! You can never have too many tabs in my opinion ;)

I kept this page simple with the cut out and some labels from various kits ("Your amazing wild love" is from the Illustrated Faith Revival Workshop!) and finished the page with some journaling. Isaiah 55:12 was the first verse in the devotional, and it has held a place in my heart for quite some time. I highlighted it with a Faber-Castell brush pen and journaled with the Illustrated Faith precision pen. Finally, I dotted the page with enamel hearts by Bella Blvd. I use those things everywhere!

My biggest question when I first heard about the kits was, what are the devotionals like? I'm pleased to tell you that they are a great combo of content, scripture, and space for reflection/creation. Day 1 was short and sweet, and the scripture of the day was written right at the top. We were left with a question for reflection, and I jotted down my answer on the lines provided below. I dated the page using the Illustrated Faith date roller and popped in a bit more washi tape to dress up the page.

Each kit also comes with 3-4 scripture memory cards that can either be placed in your journaling Bible or used separately. I've been collecting mine all year long and I'm trying to come up with a special project just for them. I'll keep you posted when I figure it out! Currently they're tucked into an envelope I glued to the inside front cover of my journaling Bible for safe keeping and ease of use. I love the cutie gold mason jar pictured above, and there were MORE mason jars on the stamp backer! Hoorah! 

One of my favorite additions to this journaling Bible are the kit stickers on the back cover. Each of the Illustrated Faith kits released by DaySpring this year have come with a 2 inch circular sticker that echoes the design of the kit. Pictured are the stickers from the Yes & Amen kit and the You're Beautiful kit from earlier this year. I've been saving them but didn't know where to put them until now! I definitely foresee this continuing in future journaling Bibles to come. Speaking of which, I'm starting my SECOND journaling Bible for 2016 (my third total!) on Friday with the start of July! How crazy?!

Speaking of crazy, I'm not kidding when I say DaySpring has a steal of a deal going on right now. They're having a customer appreciation sale which includes 25% off the entire shop! Just use the code THANKYOU at checkout and you'll feel plenty appreciated ;) Plus, a little birdie told me there's free shipping for orders over $50... just saying. Shop the sale HERE and pick up your Yes & Amen kit while the sale is hot!

Have you played with the Illustrated Faith kits by DaySpring?
If so, which one is your favorite?
And just for fun, hat are you saying "Yes & amen!" to today?

PS. There's a giveaway, too! Enter below to win an ESV Interleaved journaling Bible, the Genesis IF kit, and $100 to DaySpring. Go go go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fancy Friday: Week 2

Another week of summer has come and gone! You know what that means? It's time for another round of Fancy Friday! It's also the last Friday in June, how crazy?! Hmm... that must mean my birthday is right around the corner ;) You can find last week's fun finds HERE, and I'm already gathering ideas for weeks to come. 

Oklahoma no more!

I'm back at my grad school apartment packing up with my Mom all weekend. I had an interview yesterday at a high school in Texas and fingers crossed I'll know where I'm moving next week! Even so, we're getting the place in boxes so that when my lease is up at the end of the summer all we have to do is get a U-haul and load it up before driving back across the Red River with all my things.

In the moving process, I've come across lots of hidden gems and old favorites, some of which I need to part ways with. Stay tuned for an Instagram sale at @shop_theclosets in the next couple of weeks! I may also do a giveaway with some bundles of goodies once I unpack! Woohoo!

A Holy Experience

Ann Voskamp has done it again. If you're not subscribed to her blog by now, you should be. Every word she writes and every writer she features is anointed and so poignant, whatever the topic may be, and it always feels so timely. My favorite articles lately include:

Create in Faith Retreat

Oh my stars! I'm so excited for this, y'all! It deserves a post all on its own, but I had to sneak it in today. This August I am hosting the first Create in Faith Retreat! It's a two day girls' weekend, blaming in the hill country of Texas, complete with nights around the bonfire making s'mores, crafting classes and Bible journaling, exploring Fredericksburg and tasting the best sangria you'll ever have, all in the company of sweet ladies from around the country. Won't you join us? Space is limited, and registration opened this week! Join me and the sweet Beth of Free Spirit Farmhouse this August for a weekend you don't want to miss. Find all the details HERE, and stay tuned for more details next week!

There you have it! It's back to packing for me ;)
What are you up to this Friday?!

Fancy Friday: Week 1

Hey, hey, hey! Happy Fri-YAY! Summer is in full swing, and I thought it was high time to implement a fun series for the season. Welcome to the first edition of Fancy Friday! Every Friday this summer will bring you a roundup of my favorite finds from the week prior. They could be fun articles, thrifty deals, or simply things that made me say "Fancy that!" throughout the week. Enjoy!

Yes & Amen by Illustrated Faith

It's here, it's here! The newest monthly devotional kit by Illustrated Faith releases today! This month's devotional "How He Loves" was written and designed by Junelle Jacobsen, and I'm already swooning over the color scheme and the message. It makes me think of the David Crowder song we'd sing at church by the same name; the lyrics would get stuck in my head all the time.

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realized just how beautiful you are and how
great your affections are for me
He loves us, oh how He loves us
Oh how he loves us oh

I love what Junelle says: "There are times in our lives when we need this sweet reminder of who we are (in Jesus) and how much passion God has in His heart for each of us. Do you know how loved you are? Do you need a reminder of that love?" I know I do! Grab your devotional HERE today before the disappear!

A Fancy Facelift for Brave Love Blog

Did you notice the new look? One of these days I'll pick a layout and stick with it for more than six months... maybe it will be this time. I fell in love with the set up a while ago and have been waiting for just the right time to implement it. After six years on blogger, I've finally mastered the template transfer, and I finagled with it late into the night.

I've also added a new headshot, taken by the lovely Emma of Rose Wheat Photography. More are soon to come. Emma and I explored downtown Topeka earlier this week when I was visiting Rachel. She was so fun to work with and had me laughing and grinning the entire time. I'm usually very self conscious when I get my picture taken, but I felt beautiful and relaxed during it all. I can't wait to show you the rest!

Hymnal Girls + Glamping On the Horizon

Have you seen Beth's Hymnal Girls? I picked one up at the start of the new year, stamped with BELIEVE, my word for 2016, on the pretty gal's floral shirt, and I now have a plan to purchase one at the start of each year to come (for as long as she makes them, of course)! I had the JOY of spending a few days in Texas hill country with Beth earlier this month, and she is such a gem. 

I'm also excited to give you a hint about what is to come oh-so-soon. You TOO can get a chance to spend a few days relaxing in the gorgeous hill country, glamping with friends and getting crafty with your faith. Mark your calendars for August 5-7 and start saving your pennies. You are NOT going to want to miss this! ;) Follow @lovebaileyjean and @freespiritfarmhouse to get the details as soon as they are released!

73 Questions with Amy Adams

I re-discovered the 73 Questions video series yesterday, and it made me fall all the more in love with some of my favorite celebrities. Blake Lively is adorable, Anna Wintour is fabulous, and Amy Adams (video above) is simply stunning. I want to be their best friends.

Rachel and Kristin both did their own versions of the 73 questions in blog post form, so don't be surprised if you find a similar version here soon. I'm thinking it could be fun to do it right before my twenty-fifth birthday next month (NEXT MONTH?!). Stay tuned.

There you go for the first Fancy Friday! 
What about you? What made you smile this week? 

June's Illustrated Faith Kit: Lessons or Blessings

As a member of the Illustrated Faith Creative Team, I have the JOY of playing with many gorgeous and whimsical items put out by the company as I journal in my Bible. But my favorite tool for digging into the Word creatively are the monthly devotional kits by the Illustrated Faith/Bella Blvd/Dayspring dream team. Each kit comes with a devotional, washi tape roll, stamp set, ink pad, and matching scripture cards.

This month's kit was called Blessings or Lessons, written by Stephanie Smokovitch. The florals caught my eye and took my breath away from the moment I opened the package. A sweet note from Shanna, the founder of the Illustrated Faith community and company, introduced us to the kit and the author, and it was quickly tucked, along with the other scripture cards, into the pocket at the front of my Bible.

The "Blessings or Lessons" devotional looks at the people that walk in and out of our lives; some of them are blessings and others... not so much. Stephanie encourages us to look at them as lessons. There is something we can learn from everyone who crosses our paths or catches our eye.  Her fourteen day devotional gives prompts for reflection as well as dives into some of my favorite scriptures. 

I have to admit, I also got all swoony for the mason jar stamp included in the kit. I get the feeling that the little repetitive hearts are also going to be a favorite in pages to come. For those of you who may be wondering, the stamps included in the Illustrated Faith kits are made to be used with an acrylic stamping block. Simply peel the stamp from the sheet, press it onto the acrylic block, stamp away, then return the stamp to its place. The stamp sets are 4x6 (and fit easily into 4x6 photo pages for storage). 

The stamp backer (the trifold card stock) that comes in the kit is like a bonus! This go-around it included a short introduction from Stephanie about her devotional, but it also includes tabs, bookmarks, and other images that can be cut out and used in your journaling! These kits come jam packed with goodies, like this classic black ink pad, and they are a great way to dive in if Bible journaling is new for you.

The washi tape roll has to phrases printed in a fun font, and it's serving double duty for me by going on all of my snail mail lately. The tape says "a friend loves at all times" and "He is the ultimate bestie" with cute little hearts in-between. There's also a super cute paperclip with pink polkadot fabric. I usually use the clip to hold my place in the devotional until I'm through with it, then I work it into one of my illustrated Bible pages that go with the kit.

Oh man. Day one got me good. And I love that I'm sharing the Blessings or Lessons kit about friendships with all of YOU, my online friends. What a world we live in where connections can happen via the internet! But there is something to be said about getting face to face and digging into local community. This week I encourage you to, one, order the kit ;), and two, make it a point to connect with your blessings and give grace to your lessons. 

I'm excited to combine my Illustrated Faith journey with some in-person connections this summer! Today I'm visiting a dear friend I met through blogging, Rachel, and we're definitely going to get messy in the pages of our Bible this week. Also, stay tuned for more details about exciting events that YOU can be part of in days to come!

Have you jumped into the Blessings or Lessons kit yet?
If so, what do you think?! 

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but shopping these links will help me savor the summer with a Sonic happy hour treat or two. Enjoy!

52 Books in 52 Weeks: The Longing in Me

*I received The Longing in Me from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts/opinions on the book below are my own. 

The life of David is endlessly fascinating. We know him as "a man after God's own heart" and as the one who defeated Goliath with a sling and a stone. What a guy, right?! But his story is so much more than that, and God's fingerprints are ALL OVER it. 

Did you know he was (most likely) a teenager when Samuel anointed him as the future king? Did you know he was 30 when he finally took the throne? Talk about a major waiting season in the in-between, and some crazy ups and downs to boot. That is what resonates with me lately. He knew what was ahead, the end goal, but he had years of journeying with and trusting the Lord before he got there. Once he became king, his troubles weren't over and he wasn't perfect. Far from it in fact.

But God.... 

Oh, those are some of my favorite words in the Bible!

But God still chose David.

In The Longing in Me, author Sheila Walsh examines the life and Psalms of David and shares the story of her first marriage along the way. She uses both as examples of how we have a hunger deep inside us, a longing that can impact our choices and in turn our futures, and that this hunger is ultimately for God. The longing will "haunt you until that hunger gets satisfied properly".

Whether it's a longing for acceptance, a relationship, fulfillment, or the next best thing, everything can lead us back to the heart of God. They don't always, particularly when we choose instant gratification and the world's definition of satiation to fill those desires, but if we turn our eyes to the Lord and press into His will and His word, the longing can be the path to greater intimacy with him.

"You can tap the one fountain that will quench your deepest thirst. 
You can change the way you respond to life's stresses. 
You can heal from the past and find joy today. 
Not someday. Today."
The Longing in Me, Sheila Walsh

I go back to David's Psalms over and over and over again. They're the pages most painted in my journaling Bible and most repeated in my diaries and prayers. Psalm 23 was one of the first I memorized in elementary school, and Psalm 63 holds a special place in my heart from college. I used to think them simply pretty songs about a far away time, but what blows my mind is how RAW they are. David was upfront with God about how he was feelings, the deep, hurting places, honest about his desperation and loneliness. 

Saul was after his life. His father in law, the man he went to battle for and played giants in front of, was after his neck. David could no longer live in the comfort of his home but fled and hid in caves with his men. In chapter five of The Longing in Me, Sheila shares about how in one of these caves he wrote Psalm 57:

Have Mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
He will send help from heaven to rescue me. (v. 1-3)

Dark times, y'all. And we think we have it bad. He was literally on the run for his life, begging for protection. He knew God's promises, but his days looked bleak. Even so, David finishes out the chapter with his eyes on the Lord:

My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!
Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.
I will thank you Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth. (v. 7-11)

Again and again, Sheila walks us through David's highs and lows and his songs to the Lord, reminding us that while God "will often put us in situations to let us discover what's in us," the longing is for Him and His glory, and the seasons will shift as we shift our gaze to Him.  The Longing in Me is for those of us desiring more in life and out of life, and for some reason I think that's just about all of us ;)

*This post contains affiliate links. They won't cost you a cent more, but shopping these links helps me celebrate summer with a Sonic happy hour every now and again. Thanks and enjoy! 

Believe 2016: June Goals

Oh, June. You beautiful thing you. June feels like summer. May had just enough school left in it to linger in the academic year, but now vacation can swing into full force! Well... sort of.

May was packed to the brim, and my goals were swept to the wayside more than one. However, I knew that might be the case going in, so I lugged a suitcase full of grace with me wherever I went ;) May held many reasons for celebration --finishing grad school, my sister's undergrad graduation and engagement to name a few-- as well as plenty of time in the car trekking across Oklahoma and Texas to see friends and family. Exciting things are in the works for the summer, and I cannot wait to tell you about them!

But first let's take a look at May's goals before diving into June's to-do's.

Making May Happen
Verse of the month: Colossians 3:23
"Do your best. Work from the heart. Work for your real master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance."

1. Graduate from grad school! Done, done, and DONE! I have a Masters!
2. Keep with ketogenitic planI did this pretty well for about half the month. Travels and moving sort of threw this off, but I still count it as a half-success.
3. Participate in The 100 Day ProjectYES! I am on day 42 of 100 Illustrated Days! Occasionally a page will be posted a day late, but I'm so proud of myself for sticking with it so well thus far. Check them out HERE!
4. The Contentment Challenge + Study. Okay, gotta be honest. May was rough. The Contentment Challenge has definitely put a spotlight on my bad habits. May gets covered in grace though, and June looks more promising.
5. Meet my savings goals. I've started working towards them, for sure! I picked up a retail job --not at Anthro, once closer to home-- so this will carry over.
6. Read 5+ booksYou betcha I did this one! I started by re-reading The Selection Series since The Crown came out at the begining of the month. Therefore in May I read: The Selection, The Elite, The One, Happily Ever After, The Heir, The Crown, A Severe Mercy, I'm Glad About You (don't recommend), The Longing in Me, and Princess Ever After (listened on Audible). I started Girl Meets Change, The Fringe Hours, Passenger, and I Don't Wait Anymore. 10 books completed this month which means I completed this goal twice over! 
7. Complete online certification. I made progress! It's not finished, but It's getting close!
8. Collaborate with intention (and enthusiasm!) onlineOh, this has been so fun! You can find my Illustrated Faith posts HERE and HERE, an article I've written on singleness will be published later this summer, and I've got a fun retreat in the works for you Bible journalers out there! Details soon to come.
9. Find a job. Well, I picked up a retail job, but I still haven't secured a job for the fall. I'm trying to choose to trust instead of stress, and I'm hoping now that high school schedules are coming to a close for the year that I'll begin to hear back from some high schools.

Progress not perfection, y'all. PROGRESS not perfection. I knew that moving and finishing school could throw a monkey wrench in my best laid plans, so here's to a new month doused in a whole lot of grace.

Making June Happen
Verse of the month: Colossians 3:12-14
"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

1. Summer goal refresh! This will come towards the end of the month. I LOVE that the PowerSheets have seasonal refresh pages to spruce up your goals for what the next season will hold. I did that at the end of March, and this summer brings a fresh set for July, August, and September. ALSO! BIG NEWS! Did you know that the PowerSheets are on SALE?! This never happens! Snag your own HERE for 40% off with the code SUMMERGOALS! Holy cow, this is a good deal, y'all. I swear by these things!
2. Visit Rachel! This has been on the calendar for weeks and I'm SO EXCITED! If you don't know Rachel Nordgren, you should. Im talking push pause on this post and go soak up her wisdom. I know it's done me a world of good to have her in my corner over the past year or two! This trip will be a great getaway from the day to day here, and plenty of time to listen to my latest Audible book on the long drive.
3. Help my sister wedding plan! Maid of honor duties are in full swing! My little sister got engaged last month, and earlier this week they found a venue and picked a date! I've been named the in-house wedding planner, so I'm putting my Pinterest board to work and my experience interning with a wedding planner in Austin so we can get this party started. We're meeting up this weekend to go over the next round of details and to iron out a schedule for the next six months. The big day will be here before they know it!
4. Finish The Contentment Challenge + Study. The Contentment Challenge has certainly had its ups and downs. April was strong, May was a struggle, and hopefully June will be better! It's the last month, though certain pieces of it will carry over into the months to come. This month I'm steering clear of eating out alone, not stepping foot into my fave stores (did this well in April but ignored it in May... oops) and no more Amazon ordering! I need a kick in the pants about this, y'all. Wish me luck.
5. Pack the apartment to move. I may not know where I'm going yet, but I've scheduled in some time this month to get my apartment into boxes so that when we bring the moving truck in July everything is ready to go. It's a little overwhelming to think about, but Mom and I will be able to knock it out in a couple of days. I think.
6. Read 5+ books. The reading list is going strong! I've read 42 books so far this year, so it appears my 52 Books in 52 Weeks goal will be met by the end of the month! My reading list this month:  FlawedNotes from a Blue BikeEligibleI Don't Wait AnymoreThe Shadow QueenI Was Blind (Dating) But Now I SeeA Court of Thorns and RosesA Court of Mist and Fury, and Cress I'm also revamping the Brave Love Book Club, so stay tuned.
7. Complete online certification. JUST GOTTA GET THIS DONE. 
8. Creative team duties and collaborations! I have guest posts to write for several sites and other duties for my creative teams/brand rep positions to take care of this month. I need to put them into my Day Designer today!
9. Prioritize heart healthy habits. I'm jumping back onto the ketogenic way of eating, and I can already tell a difference! Sugar and carbs make me feel so sluggish (and sometimes physically ill) so cutting those out has been a big deal. I am in two weddings this fall, so I have good motivation to kick physical fitness into gear with dress shopping on the horizon. But most of all, I want to break the bad habits and honor the Lord with how I treat my body (and my finances!) in this area. I haven't found a plan that works yet, so I'm trying something a little different this month.
10. Get new headshots/revamp BLB! It's been a long time coming but I'm getting new headshots this month as well as giving Brave Love a little make over (maybe). One of these days I'll find a layout that I like to keep around longer than six months. Grad school took some of the joy out of blogging, and I put most of my time and effort into Instagram, but I miss blogging. So hopefully you'll see more life around these parts.

Annnnnnnd that's all folks!
So what are YOUR goals for the month?
What do you want to make happen this June?