Grab a Napkin…and try this! With thanks to Becky Davis Shelton

Guest Post by Lisa Nichols Hickman author of Writing in the Margins.

The margins of Becky Davis Shelton caught my eye this week when I learned she is Bible journaling with napkins!


Check out her work and a bit about her below.  Anyone else out there journaling with napkins?  If so, we would love to see your work.

How did you get started Bible journaling?

I have actually journaled in my Bible since I was ten or twelve years old. Until recent months, “journaling” for me was note taking in the margins of my Bible and underlining and/or highlighting scriptures that had special meaning to me. Around a year ago, during my daily perusal of Pinterest, I started noticing Bible art journaling pins on my feed. The more I saw, the more intrigued I became with this beautiful and meaningful artwork. In March of 2017, I began researching online the different journaling Bibles on the market and ended up ordering my Inspire large print and a large set of artist quality colored pencils. Thus it began.


What difference does it make in your life?

Art journaling has kept my mind literally in the Word on a daily basis. I never journal a verse without studying at least a chapter. I believe God put me on this path to keep me centered on His Word.


Do you have a favorite scripture verse for yourself? Do you have a favorite scripture you have journaled? Why are these your favorites?

I have many favorite scriptures. Probably foremost is Galations 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This verse describes my life on this earth. Jesus gave himself for me. That is powerful.

Other favorites are:

John 14:6 – I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I John 1:9 – But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

I love Ephesians 4:32 and have journaled this particular verse. It’s been a favorite scripture since I was very young. It has special meaning because in just a few words is explained how we are to treat others, exactly what type of forgiveness we are expected to extend to others and why.

What are your favorite tools to use? And do you have a technique you would like to share?

I think my very favorite tool is my light pad. I am no artist! I do lots of tracing of pictures I run across. I love glitter and metallic gel pens. I have a number of different brands and use them all! I use tons of washi tape, pre-printed die cuts and borders as well as cuts I make myself on my Silhouette Cameo.

As for a technique, lately I have learned the napkin technique, which produces such vibrant and colorful images on the page. My preference is to be able to read all scripture printed on the page so it is a challenge to find the right napkin that allows legibility and lends itself to the scripture.


To accomplish this, I used Dina Wakely clear gesso for the process.  I put one coat, then the napkin, dry it, another gesso coat and dry it. Then I add my lettering and other decorations.   You might check Dollar Tree for lots of napkin choices.  And you might also consider a napkin swap with friends in your Bible journaling community locally – or even across the states if you are in a virtual group.



You may see more of Becky’s work on Pinterest!  Enjoy taking a look at her work!

Planning with Illustrated Faith

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different planners:  Day-timers, a three-ring binder with a daily to-do list, and the Happy Planner.  I know in this digital age it may seem strange to have a paper planner, but personally I find it so helpful to have one book where I can write all my notes and appointment reminders, just as I keep all my art in my Bible!  Below is a collection of planners I’ve used over the past few years.

I was happy to discover that the Illustrated Faith Planner has a similar layout to a DayTimer with a monthly calendar spread and a weekly place to journal “to do” lists and notes.  The Illustrated Faith planner is much thicker than a Daytimer, but it’s shorter and narrower so that it could fit in a large purse.  The major advantage is that the Illustrated Faith planner is very pretty and coordinates with my Bible Journaling supplies.  Of course, all the supplies that work well in a Bible also work well in a planner, too.  My planners are practical and always get messy, but stickers and washi tape make everything more fun.


Through the years, I’ve learned its best to keep all appointments on one monthly calendar.  I started filling in a few dates today.  The eye glasses on the page reminded me that I needed to make an eye exam appointment.

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Today, I also thought a little bit about how best to use the weekly layout.  One really cool tip, I learned from Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith is to use washi tape to divide the planner page in half.  This lets you carve out space for whatever you need to plan.  I like to plan our dinners and grocery shop once a week.  I also find it motivating to keep a quick log of my simple home workouts.  I love the idea of writing down prayers in my planner when others ask me to pray for them or when I have a joy to remember.  This still leaves me a little room for some word art and adding a memory or picture from the week.  There are so many different ways to organize the journaling space.

For each day:  I am in the habit of writing down the three things I would like to get done each day.  Many other things always come up, but I find if I set my priorities and limit the list to just three things, I get a lot more done.


I don’t know that I’ll stick with the color scheme below, but I picked out a color for all the things in life I need to plan.  The Tombow Dual Brush Markers are nice for planners since they don’t bleed and they come in so many colors that its easy to match a color scheme.


I had fun playing a bit today with the new planner.

Today was the kind of crazy busy day that reminded me why I need a planner.  I’m in the midst of a big project at work.  My daughter had a dance recital practice tonight.  My son had a baseball game.  I had concession duty.  I also had a Deacon meeting.  My mom asked me to join her at an event, too.  That’s five places to be at one time!

In the midst of rushing here and there, for a brief moment, I caught a beautiful glimpse of my daughter in her dance outfit and my son in his baseball uniform.  I didn’t quite have time to take a picture, but I savored the moment in the midst of the craziness.  I thought of the phrase:  “Life is what happens when you are planning something else!”  Somehow everything fell into place tonight with the help of my husband (who now can make snow cones and walking tacos), neighbors, and grandparents!  I’m grateful for this crazy, but fun season of life!  And for a fun, new planner to help me figure out how to get it all done!

Happy Pentecost

On this Pentecost Sunday, my pastor preached on Acts 1:8, a verse I just spent a lot time playing with as I watched Shanna Noel’s Process Video.  On this Pentecost Sunday, our minister reminded us of the story of our church, which was founded in the 1700s.  I live in a town called Chambersburg, and Colonel Chambers, the first European settler to the area, leased the land to our church for the price of one rose per year; our church still pays one rose each year to a member of his family.  The ceremony took place today.

Our pastor spoke of how the church was founded in the frontier days, when survival was in a matter of question, shared how our church survived the burning of Chambersburg during the Civil War, and was sustained through two World Wars and the great depression.  He reminded us that the Holy Spirit has been guiding us and sustaining us as a congregation for centuries and offered us the assurance that the Holy Spirit is still at work.

It helps to hear this long-term perspective from time-to-time.  We sang the Hymn “I Love to Tell the Story.”  The sweet, old hymn talks of telling the story to those who haven’t heard it, which is how I often think of witnessing.  The song also reminded me that those who know the story best still hunger and thirst to hear it, too.  We are called to be witnesses in all kinds of circumstances, and I think we receive the story ourselves in new ways as life presents us with challenges and new situations.  Despite what the song says, the story never really gets old!

I came home and did the page in my Bible that I practiced on paper last week.  Happy Pentecost!