Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Draw in my Bible???

Do you ever draw in your Bible? I'm not talking about graffiti-style drawings, but drawings that speak to you through Scripture. 

Before I say anything else, let me say that I am definitely artistically challenged. So much so that when my SIL & I go to a wine & paint place, I have to indulge because it terribly stresses me out. My paintings end up looking more like one of Picasso's abstracts, and not in a good way. When I was in 3rd Grade we had to draw a bird in art. I had the most beautiful bird in my mind but just couldn't get it to paper. I'm the boy in the back of the book "The Dot" (Peter Reynolds) who says he can't draw a straight line with a ruler. Get the picture?

A friend introduced me to Bible Journaling. I don't know how long it's been around, but I just recently caught the bug. On second thought...the Book of Kells has been around since the 6th Century! My guess is that the modern Bible Journaling began with non-Catholics. Honestly, sometimes they have the best ideas when it comes to praying and reflecting on the Scriptures! Sometimes I'm a bit jealous of some of the "cool stuff" they have. There was definitely a Protestant Journaling Bible long before there was a Catholic one. And now there are 2 Catholic Journaling Bibles! Both of them contain an Imprimatur; it just depends on your preference.

The Catholic Journaling Bible (the one I have) is a joint venture between Blessed is She and Our Sunday Visitor.  (New American Bible Revised Edition)There are some pages with verses, but most of the pages have wide empty margins for you to write in. Inspire is the other one. (New Living Translation) There are more than 450 illustrations already included. The downside, though, you don't have a choice of what verses to reflect on. I like that I decide what to write/draw/color in my Bible.
From the Blessed is She/OSV The Catholic Journaling Bible
You have your what? The first time I drew in mine, I was a tad bit nervous. We aren't brought up to write in our Bibles! I was brought up that you don't even highlight in your Bible! But you know what? It's okay because it's a reflection method! My friend told me that there's no right or wrong way. It's your Bible so do what you feel is right to spend time with God. 
My first "solo" art journaling picture
I use the Bible Study Evangelista's LOVE the Word method. If you're interested in this, I would highly suggest reading her book How to Pray Like Mary. I previously tried this method but obviously had no idea what I was doing. Or, if you're more of an auditory learner, she has talks at the bottom of the page. The book really helped me understand the method. Sonja suggests trying the method for 40 days. As I write this, I'm on day 22 and am already feeling the benefits. LOVE the Word is an easier way to do Lectio Divina. It is for me, anyway.

After I do my LOVE the Word journaling (writing and meditating on the verse that stuck out for me) for the day, if I feel like it I'll get out my Journaling Bible. I don't do it every day but I'm trying to at least art journal on Sundays. Then again, if I'm not inspired, I don't do it. It shouldn't be a chore or something you feel like you have to do.  Here's an example of a very simple one I did:
Remember I told you I'm artistically challenged? I spend some time looking through some printables that I found online. Some are free, some are from ETSY. I also look through the clipart that I already have. (I did buy an LED light pad to make tracing easier.) While I'm looking around for a picture to trace, I'm thinking about the verse and my "take away" from it. 
I just wrote out the 1st 2 words on paper before I attempted to free-hand, used washi tape, a "Faith" sticker, and a stencil for the flower. 
The hard part for me is to not compare my entries with others'. My friend is very talented; she can free-hand her illustration and her writings. I have to rely heavily on tracing (even letters) and stickers. Coloring books help, too. There's this thing called "tip-ins"; it's basically just a paper you stick in your Bible. I think you're actually supposed to glue it in, which I did, but just didn't put enough glue on it! 
From Mysteries of the Rosary: A Catholic Coloring Devotional by Drawn to Faith
I will say that I've spent probably too much money; I get sucked in that way! All you really need is coloring pencils...and I'm talking Crayola, not the expensive kind that you'll see in the blogs. Crayola has these really cool coloring pencils that sharpen themselves! They actually feel more like crayons on the papers, but they are pencils. 
I used clipart for the water & boat on this one. Washi Tape quickly adds a little color. 
I'm just at the beginning of my Bible Journal journey. I like that I can pair it with my LOVE the Word take away and spend more time reflecting on what message God is sending me that day. Are they perfect? You can see for yourself that they are not. Are they pleasing to the eye? If you like Picasso's abstracts then you'll probably think mine are okay. But that's not why I'm doing it, and that's not why I'm sharing. If you think it's something you might be interested in but you're saying, "My pictures will never be as pretty as (insert name in here)", so what??? It's what you get out of it that matters. 
I found some pictures of the yoke in ETSY (Beautiful Good News). I printed out on a full-page clear label sheet and cut out.
So, go on and draw in your Bible! Write notes in it, add postcards...whatever you feel like doing that will bring the Word of God to you and will make it stick!

If you're interested in drawing in your Bible, my friend started a new Facebook Group: Catholic Art & Bible Journaling. Even though it has the word "Catholic" in the title, we all know that "catholic" means universal. People of all faiths are invited! The group is private, but just leave a note that you saw the group through this blog post & we'll le you in!

Resources for learning how to Bible Journal:

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