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Category Archives: Biblical Studies

The ESV Illuminated Bible – Review & GIVEAWAY!

Hello readers! It has been quite a while since my last post, and I know most of us are running around crazy trying to prep the turkey and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving! But, I hope you all can take a moment to check out this BEAUTIFUL new Bible that I just received, as I’m sure it will make the perfect choice for a Christmas gift this season!


I’m talking about the brand new ESV Illuminated Bible! Friends, this is no ordinary Bible. I must say I have NEVER received a more beautiful item to review for this blog. This Bible is absolutely gorgeous! It is a dark blue (other options available) cloth hardcover, with a permanent slipcase, both of which feature gold foil floral design.



This gold is carried over onto the gilded pages as well. And the gold doesn’t stop there. What makes this Bible truly special is the artwork contained within the pages. There are over 500 gold ink illustrations within the pages of this Bible, which range from full-page book title pages to small hand-lettered verses in the margins.



As I have said before, I am a huge fan of Bible journaling. This Bible is perfect for journaling, with its wide margins and smooth cream paper. There is plenty of room for additional lettering, sketches, and writing. And if you love the idea of journaling, but you don’t feel comfortable with your hand lettering and drawing abilities, this Bible is the perfect solution. The pages are already decorated with beautiful artwork, so you can just use the remaining margin space for adding personal notes, thoughts, prayers, etc. Or, for that matter, you don’t HAVE to write or draw at all. The pages are so elegantly done, they can certainly just be left as-is.

The quality of this Bible is simply amazing. It would definitely make the perfect gift for any special person in your life. (And let’s face it, is there any better gift for anyone than the Word of God?) It is sure to be a family heirloom.

If you would like to know more about the making of The Illuminated Bible, check out the video below:

Ok, now you’ve seen it, so I’m sure you’re wondering where to get your own! See below for all the Bible’s full specs, and then head over to purchase your own gorgeous copy on Amazon HERE or from the Illuminated Bible website.

The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible’s single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs—inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God’s Word.

  • 9-point, Lexicon
  • Black letter text
  • 2-color printing
  • 64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations
  • 50 full-page verse illustrations
  • 250+ hand-lettered margin verses
  • 100+ other illustrations throughout
  • Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, whose work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target
  • Thick, cream-colored paper
  • Wide margins
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Permanent Slipcase

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About the Artist:

Dana Tanamachi is an American lettering artist, graphic designer, and illustrator whose exquisite typographic murals ignited the worldwide chalk-lettering trend.  She has been commissioned by clients such as Instagram, Target, Google, Time Magazine, Nike, and West Elm. Learn more at

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this reviewand post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



Bible Journaling Kit from Ellie Claire – Review & Giveaway!

Good morning, readers. Long time no see! I have taken quite a long break from blogging, but I am so happy to be back so that I can share another awesome product with you. And this one is for the moms!

Bible journaling seems to be everywhere. A simple search on Pinterest will show you all sorts of gorgeous, perfectly hand lettered, expertly illustrated Bible pages. But what if you’re just starting out? You don’t know exactly what you need, where to start, or how in the world you’re ever going to get your Bible to look like those amazing examples. Friends, let me introduce you to the Bible Journal Kit by Ellie Claire.


So what is so fabulous about this kit? Well, let me start by telling you what is included!



  • journaling pen
  • 8 colored pencil twists
  • 4 sheets of word stickers
  • 4 sheets of alphabet stickers
  • 24 tab stickers
  • 1 pouch with adjustable strap to fit Bibles of all sizes
  • 1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines


And how will all this help you??


Well, the first thing you need when you begin Bible journaling is a good journaling pen. The wrong type of pen will either bleed through or smudge, ruining all your hard work. The pen in this kit is designed specifically for your needs. Then, you will want to add some color, and these pencil twists are perfect for the task. This variety of pretty colors will really make your pages pop without the worry of bleed-through that you can get with markers and highlighters.

stickersBut then there is the question of what to write. If you’re not quite comfortable with diving right into writing on your pages, the word stickers are a great place to start. I began my Bible journaling by choosing some of my favorite scriptures, so I would personally recommend that as a starting point. Grab one of the word stickers and place them wherever you like on the page. They’re in black and white, so you can doodle around them, color them in as you like, or customize them however you choose. That will help you ease into writing your own notes, quotes, and lettering. The alphabet stickers can be used in much the same way, and are great for when you’re just not quite as confident with your own hand lettering. The sticker tabs are a cute, colorful way to mark your spot for future reference.

When you do begin hand lettering, (and there are tons of online sites and tutorials, as well as how-to books on hand lettering techniques if you need ideas or help) you will find this template SO handy. It has ruled lines down one side, helping to keep that writing nice and neat and straight. On the other side is a die cut edge with several designs for adding a fancy edge or border to your decorated pages.





And last but not least, you need a way to keep all these items close at hand with your Bible, so that you’re ready to journal wherever you are. This kit comes with a super cute, stretchy pouch with an adjustable strap that fits virtually any Bible. The only thing that does not fit in the pouch is the template, but I just tuck it in between my pouch and my Bible and I’m good to go. And there is plenty of extra room in the pouch for things like additional stickers, pens, washi tape, or even a small notebook for jotting down ideas. Plus, I think it’s simply adorable. 🙂



So now that you have seen all of the wonderful goodies in this kit, let me show you where to get your own! (And remember, the holidays are coming, and these would make an awesome Christmas gift!)

Barnes & Noble:



Christian Book Distributors:


I am also very happy to offer one of my readers the opportunity to win a kit of your own! Just click the link below to enter to win!


In addition to my own personal giveaway, the publishers are hosting their own giveaway where readers have a chance to win one of five journaling kits. Their giveaway page also contains some free coloring pages for you to enjoy!


“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Home Discipleship ~ Book Review

front coverAs Christian homeschoolers, it is our job to provide our children with a solid education that prepares them for adulthood. But in the hustle and bustle of choosing courses, curricula, testing, credits, etc. we are at risk of losing focus on what should be our main goal of parenting: discipleship. But, what is discipleship exactly? Isn’t that the church’s job? Is teaching our children to believe in God enough? Where do we begin?

Home Discipleship by Kimberly Williams explains that above all, we must set the foundation of learning in our home upon our wisdom from God. This foundation is built through the discipleship of our children, by showing our obedience and devotion to our Lord. This book can help parents learn what it truly means to go beyond teaching belief in God, and to raise up real disciples of Christ.  Its 12 chapters offer a thorough study of the facets of discipleship, and includes “Practical Application” study questions at the end of each chapter to help parents implement these facets in the home.

I found this book to be eye-opening, as well as humbling. There are times when I have been guilty of allowing the discipleship of my children to take a back burner. This book, however, was not only a reminder of the necessity of keeping God as the focus of our homeschool, as well as our lives, but it also offered a plan for putting necessary behaviors into practice. Christ should be our main focus, and all other teachings must fall in line under that godly wisdom. I believe that Home Discipleship can help parents to see the importance of not just teaching children what to believe, but also showing, by example, how to live out that faith daily.

  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. ~ Proverbs 1:7



Please visit to learn more about this book, or click HERE to order your copy.


Use Promo Code U9KNMTVM at checkout for 20% off your order!


About the Author

kim 2Kimberly is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mother, author, and most importantly a disciple of Jesus Christ. Living in NW Arkansas with her husband and three precious children, her career is her family. With the loving support and encouragement from her husband and the amazing grace of God, she has been homeschooling since 2000. Each year brings new experiences, creates wonderful memories, and brings her family closer together. The Williams family realizes that homeschooling is much more than ABC’s and 123’s. It is about discipleship. Kimberly contributes to various homeschooling magazines.

Her passion for writing has one purpose, to point others to Jesus Christ. She is the author of Living Out the Word, a series of expository ladies Bible studies through the books of the Bible. In addition to writing, Kimberly also enjoys speaking to women and encouraging them in their daily walk with the Lord. She points them to God’s Word and challenges them to be a true help meet to their husbands and loving mothers to their children. In her spare time, Kimberly loves to read classic literature, play the piano, and write songs and poetry. She would love to hear from you at or on her blog at



“Gods at War” by Kyle Idleman ~ Book Review

GodsatWar_Graphic Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3

This is the first of the Ten Commandments, and for good reason. This scripture, however,  doesn’t refer only to building and bowing down to a golden calf. Idolatry is putting anything in a priority over God in our lives. There are many things in our world today that can be made into our gods – sex, wealth, power, sports, entertainment, relationships, and the list goes on. We are all in danger of putting these things in God’s rightful place as the center of our lives. In this student edition of Gods at War, author Kyle Idleman helps students understand the danger in allowing those things to gain control over our lives, and to realize that those things are no substitution for a close relationship with the awesome God that we serve.

This book is an excellent read for teenagers through young adults. It is so much more than just a book about how to keep your priorities straight.  It’s about safeguarding ourselves against the things that threaten to take the place of God in our hearts and our lives. I think the book’s honest, straightforward approach will help students to take a good look at their lives, and reflect on both their needs to keep outside interests in their proper places, as well as to strengthen their relationship with the Lord. It will help students to keep God as the center, the focus, and the everything in their lives.


To read more, or to purchase this book, please see the book’s page at Zondervan publishers.





Apologia Biblical Worldview Curriculum: “What on Earth Can I Do?” ~ Review


Well-known publisher of excellent Christian-based science curriculum, Apologia Educational Ministries, has developed a Biblical Worldview curriculum series for homeschoolers in grades 1-6 entitled “What We Believe“. The latest installment of this 4-volume series, called “What on Earth Can I Do?” presents students with a Biblical view of stewardship. My family and I have had the opportunity to review the What on Earth Can I Do? textbook and accompanying supplemental materials, the What On Earth Can I Do Notebooking Journal, What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal, and What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book for the past few weeks, and I am happy to share our experience and review.

Components of the Curriculum

What on Earth Can I Do? hardback textbook ($39.00)

bookThis beautiful full-color textbook is meant to be read aloud by the parent, allowing multiple ages to learn together. It may also be read independently by older students. The text is broken down into the 8 following lessons:

  • Your Story or God’s Story
  • Who Put You in Charge?
  • Will You be Found Faithful?
  • Where is Your Treasure?
  • Where Does Your Time Go?
  • Whose Life is it Anyway?
  • Why Isn’t It Easy being Green?
  • What Will Happen When The Master Returns?

The textbook offers a sample lesson plan for completing the study, based on 3 weeks per lesson, at 2 class times per week. However, the structure of the lessons allow for a lot of flexibility in regards to scheduling, so that families can work through the study at a pace that works best for them. This flexibility is due in part to the lessons being broken down into several smaller individual components, which include:

  • The Big Idea: lesson introduction and overview
  • What You Will Do: lesson learning objectives
  • Short Story: a story illustrating the lesson’s concept, with characters children can easily relate to
  • Think About It: review questions pertaining to the story
  • Words You Need To Know: vocabulary
  • Hide It In Your Heart: Bible memory verses
  • Integrated Learning: articles integrating other subjects, such as art, math, science, and history
  • What Should I Do?: applying godly character traits to everyday life
  • Prayer
  • Parables of Jesus
  • Going Deeper: discussion questions relating to the parables
  • House of Truth: a “hands-on memory aid”


What On Earth Can I Do Notebooking Journal ($24.00)


The full color notebooking journal corresponds directly with the textbook. It includes pages for students to record their answers to the “Think About It” questions, write definitions for vocabulary words, take notes, copy Bible verses, journal their personal prayers, and more. It also has fun word searches and puzzles to complete, as well as mini books to create that reinforce lesson concepts. Included at the end of each lesson is also a “Find Out More” page, which offers additional activities, resource books, and music and movie suggestions, for those interested in continuing their studies. This journal would be best suited for the older children of the family, who are able to write well without assistance. It also includes lesson plans, which would be especially helpful for children who like to work independently.


juniorjournalWhat on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal ($24.00)

This is a lighter version of the regular notebooking journal, intended for those students who can write, but perhaps aren’t ready for such extensive writing exercises. It includes most of the same activities as the other journal, but in a shorter form. In place of the more involved writing assignments (such as essay-type questions) the junior notebooking journal includes coloring pages that correspond to the lesson story, parable, or Bible verse. This journal allows younger students to work on the same thing as their older siblings, but on a level more appropriate for them.


coloringbookWhat on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ($8.00)

This coloring book is perfect for the littlest learners who are not quite ready for written work, but need something to keep those little hands busy while listening to the lesson. It might also be used for older students who simply enjoy coloring, as these pictures are not contained within the standard notebooking journal, and only a limited number are found in the junior notebooking journal.



How We Used The Curriculum

We had never used any of Apologia’s “What We Believe” series, so we decided to use the recommended schedule we found in the book, of 2 class periods per week, covering a lesson in 3 weeks. My older son (age 12) used the standard notebooking journal, and my younger son (age 10) used the junior level. However, we soon realized that both of them are definitely writing at the regular notebooking journal level, so in the end, they ended up sharing it. Because my sons are on the older end of the appropriate age for this curriculum, I also allowed them to read sections of the lesson out loud, while the other (and I) listened. This encouraged them to be more involved in the lesson, and made completing the notebooking journal assignments much easier. My youngest also enjoyed coloring some of the pictures when it was his turn to listen to the lessons. Although neither of them are primarily auditory learners, the lessons held their interest very well, and both have commented on how much they have learned from this study.

Our Final Opinion

My sons and I enjoyed this curriculum. I think that the notebooking journals definitely add to the study, and I personally would not complete this curriculum without them. I like the fact that the lessons are broken down into smaller elements, as it allowed for the boys to really soak up the lesson, and gave them ample time to complete the notebooking exercises, without feeling overwhelmed or tired out by overly long lessons. For continuing the study, we definitely plan to break it down even further, as we prefer to work on a study daily, rather than only a couple of times a week. I do wish there was a suggested daily schedule as well, just to make my job easier, but tweaking the schedule is not really difficult. I definitely recommend this study to any parent in search of a Biblical worldview curriculum for younger students. We enjoy it so much that we plan on checking out the other volumes in the series!


For more information, please check out the Apologia website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Please also click below to read the other Crew reviews!


Click to read Crew Reviews


Bible Gateway’s Website Redesign (Beta)

As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I just wanted to take a quick moment to share with you all the new website redesign that is in the works for Bible Gateway. The redesign is currently in beta, but it will soon replace the current website. For a preview of the redesigned beta site, please click HERE and have a look around.

New Key Features:

  • Bible annotation and personalization built around user accounts
  • Seamless cross-platform syncing of user-created content
  • Responsive design that adapts to any screen size or viewing device
  • Clean, clutter-free presentation of Bible, devotional, and reference content

For more detailed information about the new features, you can also read the latest post about the new website sneak peek on the Bible Gateway blog.

Bible Gateway will continue to offer a huge number of Bible translations, easy passage lookups, devotionals, reading plans, audio Bibles, and commentaries as well. Their free, award-winning app is pretty fantastic too. I hope you all will stop by and check out everything Bible Gateway has to offer! And feel free to share your thoughts on the site redesign. I am loving the new layout, and hope you will too!


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Blogging Through the Alphabet ~ B is for Believe


to remain steadfast; to adhere, trust, rely on



Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. ~Mark 9:23

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. ~Mark 11:24

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. ~John 6:35

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. ~Acts 16:31

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ~Romans 10:9

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. ~1 Corinthians 13:7


Ben and Me


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