Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Be Still & Know

I have a large post-it note inside the front cover of my journaling Bible with a list of scriptures. Each item on this list represents a page where I began an illustration that is not yet complete. Some of these illustrations I began during a class I was taking, others I started on a day that got busy before I the page was complete, and a few include items I added as part of a demonstration in a workshop I was teaching.


The purpose of illustrated Bible journaling is to illustrate and journal what we are learning in the Word, the messages God is speaking to our hearts, and our prayers to Him. This part of the process is very personal and often requires some time of quiet reflection. This week I've been working through my list, taking time to read and reflect on the scriptures as I complete these pages.

Over a year ago, I took a class at The Little Blue House in Keller, Texas, and Tracy Pounds shared a photo that she'd printed on clear sticker paper. The picture shows an old wooden sign with these words on it: BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. During the class, I adhered the photo in my bible next to Psalm 46.


Psalm 46 is a reminder that God is our refuge, and I used one of my favorite journaling techniques (rewriting and personalizing scriptures) and a Micron pen to add journaling to this page.


Then I took time to outline the scripture and add letter stickers and embellishments to reinforce this reminder to be still and remember that He is my God!


The final step for me is adding the date with a date stamp (which I did after snapping the photo).

When you take a Bible journaling workshop, do you always complete the project or "assignment" during the class? Or, like me, do you leave having tried a new technique or product on a page that needs to be finished?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Time Ice Skating

When I had the opportunity to teach  my oldest niece Nichole to ice skate on our trip to New York in 2007, I had no idea that I would eventually teach all my nieces. Honestly, I'm not really all that good of an ice skater myself. I was 30-years-old the first time I tried ice skating at an outdoor rink in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was wonderful! It snowed and my skates made little tracks through the snow while I was skating around. I remember thinking how it was very similar to roller skating (which I'd been doing all my life), yet different because the blade was so narrow and the ice was really slick!

Back in 2010, I created a layout about that first ice skating adventure.


Over the past ten years, I've had the chance to teach all four of my nieces to ice skate. In fact, one of the ACTIVE things I've been up to over the past month was taking each of the twins on their first ice skating adventure. When I saw the asymmetrical sketch and layout assignment in Week One of Cathy Zielske's new workshop, Design Your Life 2.0, I knew this was the story I wanted to tell.


I printed a photo of me with each of the girls and absolutely love the way this layout turned out. It just makes me so happy to have this connections story scrapped!


It's been a couple of months since I've created a layout, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time in my craft room with pretty paper and FUN photos! What story have you scrapbooked lately?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

One Little Word - April & May

When I chose ACTIVE as my word for 2017, my desire was to take a look at a variety of areas of my life and make improvements and changes to create a better balance overall. I wanted to invite more ACTIVITY into my weekly routine and to be ACTIVELY involved in things that add value and joy to my everyday life. While I'm not sure that I've necessarily put in the work to engage with my word, I have definitely been ACTIVE this year!

This weekend, I'm catching up with the prompts in the One Little Word 2017 class. The April prompt suggested putting sticky notes with questions (about my word) around the house where I'd see them throughout the month. I didn't actually do this, but I did write some questions & my reflections a couple of months ago. I created three cards that I slipped into the back of the page protector I used for the February prompt.


For May, Ali encouraged us to choose photos depicting how our word was working in our lives. Since one of my ACTIVE goals is to be intentional about investing time in relationships that add value and joy to my life, I chose photos from January through May that represent this goal in action. I printed nine photos so that I could add them to the back of the page protector I used in January. I added a label sticker, a handwritten description, and a puffy heart sticker to each photo.


I'm excited to have made some progress on these prompts and hope to complete the June reflections and July creative prompt shortly!

Have you been ACTIVELY engaging with your word this year? What photos would you use to show your word in action?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Polished Arrow Hidden In His Quiver

And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished arrow;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.
~Isaiah 49:2

This scripture was referenced in one of last week's devotionals in the Streams in the Desert book I'm using during my quiet time this year. The author talked about the polished arrow and how polishing is the result of grinding off the sharp edges until the arrow is smooth and ready for use. Just like the arrow, we often need to be "polished." Our polishing is the result of difficulties in our lives; we may not understand at the time, but these difficulties smooth us and prepare us to serve the Lord when He calls.

I wanted to remember this idea, so I took time to illustrate it in my Bible using bits & pieces from the Sweet to the Soul I Am Not Alone Bible Journaling Kit, which contains a couple of arrow die cuts. I also included letter stickers, a "God is With Me" sticker quote, and a decorative paperclip from the kit. Then I added some creative lettering and doodling along with handwritten journaling to complete the page.


I had a previous illustration in the margin next to this scripture, so I simply added this new illustration and journaling on the opposite page.


I love these reminders that God is polishing us and preparing us and protecting us and is always with us!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Reading for Education, Entertainment, and Expansion

I haven't read as many books this year as I normally do, however I'm still completing an eclectic mix of books.

Education

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385349947/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0385349947&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=69c03850350f693c6394429916160aed

Lean In: Women, Work , and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg was recommended by a business coach who helps women scale and grow their business. As my teaching business/ministry continues to grow, I'm reading more books for inspiration and knowledge.

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook. She shares her story as she encourages women to stay in the workplace and lean in to success. She discusses the "leadership ambition gap" and says that "choosing to leave the workforce was not the choice we thought so many of you wound make" when talking to/about other women who have left the workforce to care for families or due to frustration.

Honestly, I didn't like her much at the beginning of the book and felt like it was a whine-fest about why there are not more women in leadership positions. However, she was honest about her own decisions and how her husband helps her as she discussed becoming a mother and making hard choices (like leaving the office at 5:30 everyday to be home for dinner, but not letting everyone know she was leaving then). She made some good points about women needing to stand up for themselves and "sit at the table" and about the need for men to support women in the workplace. I don't necessarily agree with all her views, however it is a very readable and thought-provoking book.


Entertainment

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0395616190/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0395616190&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=108444a55b830b8abedd37b25899172b    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446696331/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0446696331&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=9bcb8f395efc9201ef84a75a73ff5104    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0736912916/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0736912916&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=5330a9aef30122fa1ef49e4081a06ee9

All three books I've read purely for entertainment recently have been loaned to me. First, my niece Laurie shared her copy of A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner. This was a great read! The story is set in Elizabethan times and the main character is 11-year-old young Alice who witnesses her father's murder. She then flees on foot to York because she fears the murderers are after her. She is befriended by several choirboys and they decide to hide her in the choir by disguising her as a boy and calling her Pup. This is an engaging read that has a very satisfying ending.

These next two are the books my sister Brenda sent me as part of our monthly book swap this year. The June book was A Brother's Journey by Richard B. Pelzer, the younger brother of Dave Pelzer who shared his story of abuse in A Child Called It (which I read many years ago). Honestly, this book was somewhat disjointed as Richard shared about growing up in an abusive home. Reading it I felt like he was just trying to build off the story of his brother to have a book published. And, unfortunately, there was no real resolution  to the story as he simply ended it when he was a teenager still living with his terribly abusive and negligent mom. This was a quick read that brings to light how in the 1970s child abuse was often overlooked or simply ignored by others who didn't want to get involved.

The July book my sister shared was Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick. I read this contemporary Christian romance many years ago, also. I only remembered the very basics of the story, so I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it earlier this week. Sophie comes to America from Czechoslovakia, but finds it difficult to get a job because her English isn't perfect (despite speaking four other languages). She eventually becomes a housekeeper for Alec, a widower, and his three children. She does a fantastic job taking care of this family and their home and builds relationships with each of the children. Alec, still grieving and spending many extra hours working doesn't really notice her until much later. As you might have guessed, they fall in love and are eventually married.

[As a side note - the recent books I sent my sister were Invisible by Jennifer Rothschild (which I reviewed here) and Journey to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor (which I reviewed here).]

Expansion

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143105507/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0143105507&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=880ffba5391800e83264ed28d956ca9c    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802124941/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0802124941&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=3a342839326299b51ea6ef0fe0f6291a

And, I continue to expand and challenge my reading with the Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winners. The 1995 winner, The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, was an enjoyable read and very well-written. The story chronicles the life of Daisy Goodwill, from birth to death, and is written from the perspective of Daisy looking back on her life. She alludes to the fact that some of the stories are made up or romanticized, especially since she obviously would not remember her birth. Daisy's mother died in childbirth and she was raised by a neighbor and the neighbor's grown son until the age of 12. She then lives with her father, grows up, graduates from college, and eventually marries a man who dies on their honeymoon when he falls out of a window. She reconnects with the neighbor's son and they are married and have three children. After his death, she has a career writing a column as Mrs. Green Thumb, then eventually retires to Florida. I really enjoyed this book and the way that each chapter of her life was written differently - one chapter was simply a collection of letters to Daisy during that particular season of her life.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen was last year's winner. This novel is about the Vietnam War and is told from the point of view of a VietCong spy. He is a northern communist, serving with the southern army to learn information he forwards to his superiors in the north. He is the illegitimate child of a Vietnamese mother and a French priest father (who never acknowledges him). Before the war, he was educated in the United States, and he has the ability to see and sympathize with multiple views. This book started out as a good read as he told his story, however it digressed when he is forced to be a part of a couple of murders . . . and the ghosts follow him from then on. He is eventually captured and tortured and sent to "reeducation" and the story digresses further with hideous scenes of torture and rape. His story is actually written in the form of a confession that he was forced to write during the reeducation process. The story definitely captures the complexity of war, especially the Vietnam War and all its controversies, with lots of references to how Americans did not understand the Vietnamese. A disturbing and somewhat difficult book to read.

Have you read any of these books? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Creative Lettering

Last month I enjoyed co-teaching a couple of Creative Lettering Bible Journaling Workshops with Jana Kennedy- Spicer of Sweet To The Soul. Jana demonstrated how to create a variety of different letters as well as decorative fills and doodles. I haven't quite mastered all the techniques, but I'm definitely enjoying adding creative lettering and doodling to my time in the Word! I like the idea of using different letter types for various words.


It's also especially FUN to combine the creative lettering with other techniques and products. In the example below, I added paint, stickers, hexis and a tab to the lettering and doodling that reiterates the message I wanted to emphasize in these scriptures.


Jana and I are teaming up again next month to bring the Creative Lettering Bible Journaling Workshops to Scrappin' Goodtime in Corsicana, Texas. Check out all the details below!

Creative Lettering Bible Journaling Workshops
 with Melissa Gross & Jana Kennedy-Spicer
 Saturday, August 5, 2017
Scrappin’ Goodtime, Corsicana TX

        Creative Lettering & Coloring/Painting                 10am-1pm   $30
Combining Creative Lettering w/Other Elements      2pm-5pm   $30
Register for Both Classes for Only $50


Melissa & Jana are teaming up to bring you two workshops packed with Bible study and illustrated journaling techniques. You will learn a variety of creative lettering techniques, coloring and painting techniques, and how/when to combine creative lettering with other Bible journaling elements like die cuts, stickers, and washi tape. We’ll practice these techniques as we illustrate our faith in the margins of our Bibles.

You will receive a creative lettering booklet, journaling pen & other goodies in these workshops.

We will be working in a Journaling Bible, but feel free to bring any Bible and/or a journal to work in. Also, bring your favorite Bible journaling supplies to class!

Creative Lettering & Coloring/Painting
In this class, you’ll learn creative lettering techniques, along with coloring and painting techniques. We will share a devotional and then take time to illustrate what we learn in our Bibles.

Combining Creative Lettering w/Other Elements
In this class, you will learn additional creative lettering techniques, along with how/when to combine lettering with other Bible journaling elements including die cuts, stickers and washi tape. We will share a devotional and then take time to illustrate what we learn in our Bibles.

Call Scrappin’ Goodtime (903-641-0855) to reserve your spot & join Melissa & Jana for these workshops merging art and faith!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Step Off the Scale & Into the Life Christ Has For You!



When I met Kelley Raetzsch in a Facebook group for female Christian entrepreneurs earlier this year, I had no idea that God was orchestrating something that would result in a collaboration allowing Kelley to share a message of how we are more than the number on the scale and allowing me to share creative activities that reinforce that message!

You may know that I feel the Lord calling me to encourage women to serve Him in their everyday lives through workshops, retreats, and events that merge faith and art. I am so excited to be working with Kelley, a registered dietitian, who is called to be a Warrior Dietitian helping women break free from the burdens and bondage of eating disorders, dieting and the drive to be thin. A week ago, we launched and opened registration for an exciting event!

Check out the video below to watch Kelley and I share the story of how God brought us together as we introduce this weekend retreat and how you can join us in learning to live freely as women of God through teachings, individual and group reflections, illustrated Bible journaling, and much more!



Registration is open for this event - the early bird special rate is valid until August 1. Space is limited, so if you are interested in joining us, please check your calendars, click here for more details and register today!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Christmas in July Card Class at Personal Scrapbook

Christmas cards are FUN to create at any time of the year. In fact, this year I even created some in January! However, July is always a favorite month to take time to think ahead to Christmas and prep a few cards. So, I'm excited to announce my newest Christmas card class scheduled for July 13 at Personal Scrapbook in Allen, Texas!


Christmas in July Card Class
  Thursday, July 13, 2017
10am-noon or 6pm-8pm
$20

Join Melissa Gross at Personal Scrapbook for an all new Christmas card class!


We'll create four Christmas cards using cardstock, patterned papers, and die cuts. Plus Melissa will share tips for creating gift tags with the paper scraps.


Basic tool kit (trimmer, scissors, adhesive and pop dots) needed to complete class. Other supplies - chalking, stamping & distress inks in light browns/vintage photo.
 

Call Personal Scrapbook (972.351.8717) to sign up & reserve your spot today!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - Catching Up

Wow, a  month has flown by since my last Monday Mail Memo post! How about a little catch up today!

First, there's been an abundance of happy mail. (1) Two DO-ER t-shirts I ordered from a great company called MakeMeAvailable. (2) A sweet note & gift, which I'll share more about later, from a new friend. Kelley is a registered dietician offering in-person and online services . . . and we are currently collaborating on an exciting new event that will be launching later this week! (3) A sweet card from my friend Darlene. (4) Some gelli plates and combs that Susie (owner of Scrappin' Goodtime) sent so I could prepare for last week's classes. (5) A couple of boxes of labels (also for last week's classes) and a new book, all from Amazon. (6) A hand-delivered box of chocolates from Lithuania, brought over by employees for the symposium put on by the company where Robbie is CFO/COO.


Another t-shirt also came in the mail - I won this one as part of a giveaway in the My Embraced Life Facebook group. It was so beautifully packaged!


Next, I've enjoyed teaching quite a few classes, sometimes wearing my new DO-ER shirt!


When I first met Jana Kennedy-Spicer (of Sweet To The Soul) and saw her Bible pages filled with creative lettering and doodles, I knew I wanted to collaborate on some illustrated Bible journaling classes. We taught two workshops at Personal Scrapbook earlier this month. It was so much FUN to co-teach and to see the enthusiasm for the Creative Lettering and Bible Journaling techniques we shared along with devotionals on mentoring and hospitality.

Last week, I spent three days at Scrappin' Goodtime in Corsicana and taught two workshops incorporating devotionals and a variety of painting techniques. It's such a joy to spend time in the Word with creative women!


And finally, there have been a couple of great family outings. I arranged a horseback ride for Mama's Mother's Day gift. It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast! This was the first time Mama's ever ridden a horse!


This past weekend we headed down to Southeast Texas to see my twin nieces in their dance recital. Paige was so lovely in her ballet, lyrical and tap dances, and Laurie was amazing in the clogging number! We were also able to spend time with my sister, brother-in-law, and Pun'kin (niece) and take my Daddy (who was also there to see the dance recital) out to eat for Father's Day. It was a really nice trip!


It's been a busy but FUN and ACTIVE time around here. Watch this space over the next few days for exciting news on what I'll be doing in the next few months!!

What's been going on around your place?

Monday, June 12, 2017

July Make A Joyful Noise Mixed Media Class at Scrappin' Goodtime

Announcing another brand new class coming to Scrappin' Goodtime in Corsicana, Texas, on Saturday, July 1 - a FUN mixed media project!


Make A Joyful Noise 
Mixed Media 12x12 Scripture Frame
 Saturday, July 1, 2017 (2pm-5pm)
Scrappin' Goodtime, Corsicana TX
$30

In this class, you'll use a Clear Scraps Acrylic & Chipboard 12x12 frame to create a mixed media home decor piece using Illustrated Faith Bright and Brave papers and a variety of embellishments including doilies, lollies, ribbon, flowers and epoxy stickers. In addition, Melissa will be sharing a short devotional on Psalm 100.


Basic tools needed for class: paper cutter/scissors, adhesive, pop dots, glue dots. Optional: black chalk ink.

Call Scrappin' Goodtime (903.641.0855) today to reserve your spot
and join Melissa Gross for this 3-hour class merging art and faith!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hospitality

One of the admonishments to Christians in Romans Chapter 12 is to be "given to hospitality." We tend to think of hospitality only as entertaining, feeding, or housing visitors. Yet, Christian hospitality also encompasses HOW we welcome and serve our guests. In fact, the how is much more important than the what or the where. We are to serve graciously and with a heart of love, without complaining (1 Peter 4:9).

This page was traced with a pencil into my interleaved Bible from a coloring page in the Inspiring Women Soul Inspired
Bible Study. Micron pens, colored pencils, and watercolors were used to complete the image.

There are numerous examples of hospitality in the Bible, but my favorite is recorded in 2 Kings 4:8-10.

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.”

The Shunammite woman began showing hospitality to Elisha by inviting him into her home for a meal. She recognized this man of God as well as his need of a place to stay when he passed through, so she convinced her husband to add a small room to their home -  I like to think of it as the very first guest room! Not only did they add a room, but they filled it with the things their guest needed - a bed, table lamp, and chair. Without asking anything in return, this couple showed true Christian hospitality!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

July Intro to Bible Journaling Workshop at Scrappin' Goodtime

I'm excited to announce my next Intro to Bible Journaling Workshop coming up at Scrappin' Goodtime in Corsicana, Texas, on July 1. Check out all the details below!


Intro to Bible Journaling Workshop
Saturday, July 1, 2017 (10am-12:30pm)
Scrappin' Goodtime, Corsicana TX
$25

In this class, we’ll discuss the beginnings of Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling, why and how to use a Journaling Bible (or a Worship Journal if you prefer), supply tips and tricks, various journaling styles and techniques, and where to find inspiration for your illustrated journaling. Melissa Gross will share a devotional and we’ll take time to illustrate our faith in the margins of our Bibles.

This class is perfect for anyone new or just getting started with Bible Journaling, as well as those who have been journaling for a while but would like additional information and inspiration for illustrating in the margins (or across the whole page) of the Bible!

We will be working in a Journaling Bible, but feel free to bring any Bible and/or a journal to work in. The class fee includes an Illustrated Faith You Rule Bible Mat and Journaling Pen. Additional items needed to create will be provided.

Call Scrappin' Goodtime (903.641.0855) today to reserve your spot
and join Melissa Gross for this 2½ hour class merging art and faith!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A New Look

Last week I had lots of FUN taking photos to create a new banner and making changes to give this site an updated look! First, I created a mood board on Pinterest to pull together the colors, which (of course!) included a bright yellow.


Next, I wandered around the house pulling items in those colors and staged them on top of the projects shelf.


When Robbie arrived home with plenty of fresh flowers, I set to work taking lots of snaps.




Then I pulled my favorite into Photoshop Elements for a few edits!


It's been a couple of years since the last spruce up here at Daily Life - Bits & Pieces, so I'm excited to unveil the new look. What do you think?

(If you're viewing this post in a reader or email, be sure to pop over and check out the updated look HERE!)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Illustrating the Book of Esther

I've mentioned before that the Book of Esther is one of my favorite books in the Bible. There are several reasons I enjoy reading, studying and teaching on this book:

(1) All the elements of a great story are present - a hero, a heroine, a villain, a great plot, humor, irony, intrigue, suspense, etc.
(2) It's a short book - only 10 chapters.
(3) While the name of God is not mentioned at all, His hand is at work throughout this book, just as He is at work in our lives even when we can't see Him.
(4) There are lots of feasts and celebrations - who doesn't enjoy a good celebration, right!

In preparation for the illustrated Bible journaling workshops I taught a couple of weeks ago, I spent time reviewing this book and adding illustrations in my journaling Bible. (A couple of these pages were created previously, but I'm re-sharing as I go through the story here today.)

Setting the Stage - Chapter 1 sets the stage for this dramatic story, so I traced an image from a coloring page. The page was finished with Micron pens, colored pencils, and a clear Wink of Stella pen (to add shimmer to the curtains). The first feasts, hosted by King Xerxes, are found in this chapter.


One of the very talented ladies (Jan) who has attended several of my classes actually draws all the illustrations in her Bible. She gets lots of INSPIRATION from Pinterest, then draws and colors in her own illustrations, which she's graciously allowed me to share here.


Tough Being a Woman - My friend Minetta used the subtitle to Beth Moore's Esther Bible Study as a heading for this book.


Queen Esther - We first meet Esther in Chapter 2 - an orphan who has been raised by her cousin Mordecai. She is taken to the king's palace during a nationwide "beauty pageant" designed to help the king find a new queen. Amazingly, in the midst of everything, she found favor with all who saw her. I used the Creating in Faith Esther stamp in the margin of my Bible and filled it in with colored pencils before adding a short caption with a Micron pen.


In the display Bible at Scrappin' Goodtime, I covered the background of two pages with Pure Sunshine Dylusions Paint, then used stencils and gelatos to add subtle hearts and circles. For the left page, I added punched hearts, a piece of washi tape, and a paperclip tab. I used a marker to add my handwritten journaling list. For the right page, I again used the Esther stamp, which I colored in with markers and colored pencils. [Honestly I'm not thrilled with how Esther looks on this page, however I enjoyed once again reading and meditating on this story as I illustrated this page. Remember spending time in the Word is more important than how the page looks!]



One of my workshop participants, Jerri, cut a photo from a  magazine to use as INSPIRATION for Esther and it turned out fabulous. I also really like the way she used a border stamp as the header. Another class participant used that same stamp to create the valance for curtains on a page similar to mine setting the stage. I've had this stamp in my collection, but it has gone unused until now! I can't wait to try it on a page soon, too!


Jan drew another stained glass look for the page in her Bible introducing Queen Esther.


Haman's Plot - Esther's story takes a huge turn when Haman, the king's right-hand man, creates a decree that will annihilate the Jews - all because Modecai will not bow down to him! I added a few layers of torn washi tape to this page, but used most of the space for journaling the story in chapter 3.


Such a Time as This - Mordecai sends word to Esther in the palace that she  must petition the king for the lives of the Jews. There ensues a back-and-forth dialogue which ends with Esther agreeing to go in to the king despite the fact that she could be killed for entering his presence without being summoned. During that conversation, Mordecai reminds her that she may have come to the position of queen for "such a time as this." I used a purple gelato to create the background for my page, then added stamping, white letters stickers, and handwriting to complete the scripture.


Sorrow into Joy - Of course, God was in control and the Jews were saved, which called for a celebration. Some of you might recognize this page from the Scrappin' Goodtime display Bible as one of my not-so-stellar Bible journaling pages, however, as I took time to cut the banner pieces from patterned paper scraps and choose letter stickers for the wording, I was also thinking about God's provision and how often He has turned my own sorrow into joy.


For this page in my journaling Bible, I added a polka dot napkin because polka dots go with celebrations, right. Then I simply used letter sticker for the journaling.


The primary reason for the celebration of Purim is to remember how God saved the Jews from annihilation, so Jan's illustration at the end of the book is perfect!


Lessons - There are so many lessons in this short book! Minetta listed some of them in the margin of her Bible using a combination of handwriting, stamping and letter stickers.


I've obviously simplified and shortened Esther's story here in this blog post, and I hope you're inspired to take a fresh look at this dramatic book! Have you read and/or illustrated the book of Esther? Which part of Esther's story resonates most with you?