Tia Stanfield and her incredible Note-taking approach to Bible Journaling…

Thank you Lisa Nichols Hickman for sharing Tia’s beautiful, heartfelt comments!

After seeing Tia Stanfield’s photos on the Journaling Bible Community Facebook page – I knew I had to get to know this gal. Her pages are not filled with illustrations, but with back to basic highlighting and note-taking. For those of us overwhelmed by all the artistic approaches to Bible journaling, Tia is a great reminder of what is the essence of this craft: praying, reading, taking Scripture to heart and letting a wonderful conversation begin. I reached out to Tia this week to get to know her just a bit.

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Tia, tell me a bit about your life….
I’m a SAHM to our two girls, Abbie 12 & Lily 8. My husband and I have been married for 15 years, together 17. Both my girls are ADHD, so keep me rather busy and with Abbie starting Jr High, that is getting even crazier. They do Girl Scouts, youth group and Abbie does Taekwondo, so I play mom taxi most days. I love being a full time mom and wife.

We go to Good Shepherd CC in Boring, Oregon. It’s an amazing church to call home. Real bible teaching. We are currently working through James and will start Hebrews in Sept. I like that it is taught from the ESV translation. We have been attending Good Shepherd for 14 years. I’m excited for Women’s bible study to start up in Sept. We are going to be going through the first 5 books of the OT.

My mom was hit and run over by a car in 2000. Due to this and her diabetes, she is unable to live alone. So, she and my brother live with us. It can be rather challenging as she is a rather negative person and a bit demanding with little concern for what is someone else’s. I’m am trying to honor God by honoring her but it is a daily struggle, I have to admit.

How did you get started with Bible journaling?

I had a few likes on my Facebook page and saw Time Warp Wife’s bible pages that she shares on her time line and I fell in love. I found a group for bible journaling and bought a journaling bible. I managed a few pages with art and lettering but quickly realized I was not going to be able to do what I wanted with my limited art skills. Sadly, I don’t have time or money to take class to become a better artist, so I put it up for about a year. Then, God inspired me to change how I was using the journaling bible.

I always wanted my journaling bible to be a gift to my girls. So, I started highlighting verses that spoke to me and adding notes and prayers to go along with them. I am loving how this is drawing me closer to God and that I am leaving them a gift that will have meaning to them one day.

Tell us about a time when Bible journaling made a difference in your life:

When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, the pregnancy pinched off a nerve in my lower back that caused long term nerve damage. Then, when I went in for the C-section to have her, there was an issue getting the needle in correctly for the spinal, also causing long term nerve damage. Due to this, I was unable to sit in any chair/seat that was not super soft. On top of that, I had some health issues that made me rather dormant for about 6 years. I was unable to sit at church, walk for a long time, keep up with the girls. I was just existing, not living.

As I was unable to do bible study at church, I started doing the SOAP studies from Love God Greatly. They did a study on Psalm 119. I was studying verse 37. When I read it in the amplified, I was moved to tears.

…restore me to vigorous life and health in Your ways.

These words were a promise from God that I did not have to continue to life a half life.

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I prayed these words and God moved me to start low carb eating. That was in late July 2015. As of today, I have lost 96 pounds. I can now walk 2.25 miles in an hour. I can sit at church with a lot less discomfort. I am starting the bible study again for the first time in 9 years. (Last time was when I was pregnant with my youngest, before this all started.) I can breathe better with my asthma. The Lord is fulfilling His promise to me, daily. Only with God, I was able to lose 50 pounds in 3.5 months from not cheating once in my new way of eating. That is God, not me, not will power.

What supplies are helpful to your process?

I love my micron pens and the no bleed sharpies (black case not the grey). I just started using the new sharpie highlighters with the see-thru window in the tip. Really nice and they are not too dark, so they don’t ghost much and rarely bleed. I also love my ruler for making straight lines for arrows to a special verse. I use pink, orange, green and blue. Sadly, purple is just too dark, it bleeds through really bad.


Revival Camp Update

My journey through the Illustrated Faith’s online workshop “Revival Camp” continues!  I feel like this devotional experience has been so inspired and watching Shanna Noel’s tutorials reminds me of the feeling I had doing Bible Study with some of my favorite youth leaders when I was in high school.  I appreciate her honesty and love for God and, of course, her Bible Journaling tips.  It’s so much fun to watch her create!

For the “Grow” badge, we focused on Nehemiah 10:29, a passage where the people of Israel took an oath to return to God’s Law as given to Moses.  Earlier when Nehemiah actually read the law to the people, they burst into tears.  It’s not easy to follow the 613 commandments of the Old Testament.  I am grateful that Jesus has made the law simpler for us:  “A new commandment I give you that you love one another:  just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”-John 13:34.  An oath seemed to fit well with the Revival Camp theme, so I made one myself:  “I will grow in Christ and keep learning to love others as Christ loves me.”

As this weeks devotional encouraged, I spent some time with Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:1-8.  There are many parallels between the two passages.  The more time I spend Bible Journaling, the more I discover that certain phrases appear often throughout the Old Testament.  Both of these passages suggest that if we meditate on the Law of the Lord day and night, God will prosper our way.  I was inspired by Shanna Noel’s video this week to break out my water colors to paint a tree planted be by a stream.  As I read Joshua 1:1-8 I was most taken with the words:  “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”  I felt encouraged by these Words to keep growing in Christ through all the passions that God has placed in my heart during Revival Camp and to be strong and courageous in my pursuit of them.


As I’ve been working through the Revival Camp devotions, I typically work in my field journal first, but I made an exception this time.  For our “Adventure” badge, the passage was Nehemiah 4:16-17.  In this passage, Nehemiah describes the work of rebuilding that took place while under constant attack from enemies.  Let me say:  THIS IS NOT MY IDEA OF ADVENTURE!  This just sounds awful and stressful and not the most productive way to get work done.

It does sound like a very fun preschool lesson to teach, especially with young boys.  I can see myself telling the kids this story in a room with those big, red, cardboard brick blocks, giving the children hammers and swords.  How much fun would that be?  What could be better than play sword fighting while building with blocks?  What could go wrong?

Personally, I really don’t like conflict.  I used to think I avoided it because I was like a butterfly and just floated away to prettier places.  Now I know I avoid it because when I am engaged in a real conflict, I stand my ground firmly like a bear.  I either win the conflict or the relationship ends.  And I hate to see it get to that point, so I rarely bring things to a head.  I look for the compromise instead, and if possible, the win-win solution.  I choose my battles carefully and reluctantly.  I’d much prefer to make others happy.  Many people mistake me for a people-pleaser, but that’s not quite accurate.  I just happen to deeply and truly enjoy seeing others happy, and I treasure my relationships.  (I’ve always related to Winnie the Pooh, and he is still a bear no matter how cuddly and soft and thoughtful he may seem.)

Conflict has always felt like the end of the world to me, not an adventure.  I really needed to hear these words from the devotional:  “Your dream is a fun adventure, but every action story has an element of conflict and ours is no different.”  This is a whole new way of thinking for me and one that I intend to fully embrace going forward!


The devotional dared us to identify areas where its a challenge to remain focused and to make a plan for these areas.  We were also encouraged to think of what weapons we need to claim victory.  I was reminded of a familiar passage from Ephesians:  the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness given by the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the Word of God, prayer, and perseverance.

I don’t think of “Love” as a weapon, but recently I was at the Flight 93 memorial in Shankeville, PA.  It is such a beautiful park now and I would encourage anyone to visit.  It is inspiring to see a place where a great tragedy occurred transformed into a place of healing and beauty.  While I was there, I listened to a speech by George Bush on continuous loop as my husband and kids looked at the other exhibits.  These words stuck with me:  “Individual choices make a difference.  Love and sacrifice triumph over hatred and evil.”


“Revive” is the theme of the camp and also the theme of the next passage.  For this badge, the verse was Isaiah 40:30-31.  I wrote out the verse while playing around with a scriptier style of writing.  It’s so beautiful to know that God does not stop at reviving us or restoring us to a previous state.  When we wait on the Lord, we will soar like eagles!  That’s an awesome promise!

The devotional encouraged us to make a list of ways to quiet ourselves.  I’m an introspective sort of person who needs quiet, so I have a crazy long list of options.  One thing I’ve been doing since watching the movie War Room is literally going into my closet and shutting the door and praying.  It feels surprisingly good to be alone with God in my closet.  (My kids think its a bit strange!)  I also love being in nature and coloring.  Sometimes being alone is not enough to quiet my soul.  I need to be with someone who knows exactly what I need.  Recently I went to see my friend Sarah, who I’ve known since kindergarten.  We sang along with the song “House at Pooh Corner” in her mini-van, colored together, and enjoyed milkshakes at Steak & Shake.  My hope is that everyone has a person in their life who calms and quiets their soul.  Sometimes we experience God’s perfect love for us most concretely by simply being in the presence of someone who loves us no matter what!


Only three more weeks of Revival Camp to go!

Stumbling Block

I have a challenge in my life right now, and more than anything, I want to do the right thing, to do God’s will.  My biggest hope is that we can put forgiveness into action and simply let things go more smoothly in the future.  My biggest fear is that an action I take might become a stumbling block to another person’s faith.  I am far from a saint, but I do my best to live my life so that others can see Christ in me.  I don’t want others to find a fake or phony Christ.

My husband gave me this advice, which I am still pondering:  “If you don’t want to be a stumbling block, get out of the way.  Think about it:  A ladder can lift you up, but in the wrong place it will just bonk you in the face.”

My prayer for the day:  Lord, let me be solid as a rock for you, but never let me become a stumbling block!  Let me be a ladder that lifts others up.  Don’t ever let me bonk someone in the face.

Here’s how it appeared in my Bible.  Spending in the Word is balm for my soul!!!


Preaching the Gospel to Myself

I had a rough week.  I got angry about something relatively minor, and may have said some words in ear-shot of my kids that I should not have said.  When I’m a little bit angry, I decompress by laughing, but whenever I get really angry, I decompress by crying.  As I was doing my best to get my grocery shopping done on Saturday, I was holding back tears.  By the time I got to my car, I was a mess of tears

Sunday at church, I was crying tears again during the prayer of confession and even more so before communion.  Then we sang the song “I Can Only Imagine” and I felt such grace and healing in my heart.

But when it was time for bed, my thoughts turned to trying to understand why I reacted the way I did.  It was five o’clock in the morning before I got to the bottom of it and discovered the deep underlying fear.  Here’s what surfaced:  “If others don’t see the value of my contributions, I start to fear that I have no value.”

Well, there’s no surer way to kill a fear than by bringing it into the light.  That’s sort of a silly fear.

And a very un-Biblical fear:  God so loved the world that he gave his only son!  God shows us our value in that Christ died for us.

I’ve heard it explained this way:

Regardless of what you do to a dollar bill, crumple it, step on it, or fold it into origami, it’s still a dollar.  Inflation may reduce its purchasing power, but the nominal value does not change.  As children of God, our value never changes in God’s eyes.   To let us know how priceless we are, God bought us with His own beloved son.

When I ponder that, I start to protest:  It doesn’t seem right; the numbers can’t possibly match.  Still I hear God whisper:  Find your worth in Christ.