Blog post by Jenny Long
This is a great question, and there are as many answers as there are practitioners. Here’s what is working for me at the moment; I invite others to share their tips in the comment section below.
In the past, I’ve used sketchbooks, bullet journals, and composition notebooks to house my devotional materials. Because the Names of God theme had SO many beautiful resources, I began searching for a “container” that allowed those resources to enhance my devotional time and NOT pile up on my desk! After some trial-and-error learning, I decided to construct 12 envelope journals – one for each Name of God theme for 2023. (For journal-making directions, please refer to the September 2022 Creative Haven with Denise Miller and Diane Marra.) This six-sided journal has three “hidden” pockets and plenty of space for written reflection, AND it fits easily into a gallon ziplock baggie – perfect for grabbing on days when I am sitting bedside at my dad’s care center.
Here are the details:
Front Cover: I used pieces from the Yahweh ephemera packet, along with some gelli-printed hymnal sheets to decorate the front.
Inside Left Panel – I used similar ephemera resources to decorate the front of this pocket panel. Hidden inside is a 4”x 9” tag, on which I’ve connected my Logos 365 (REST) and January’s Name of God. I used this space to reflect on Yahweh’s command to observe the Sabbath/Rest, as He also rested on the seventh day of creation.
Inside middle panel – For many years, I’ve used a calendar on which to record daily reflections on my devotional reading. I’ve found that if I record even just one word, the message of the devo sticks with me much longer than if I merely read it and go my merry way. For January 2023, I’m reading from Portals of Prayer and daily recording a word/phrase on this calendar page (from the Yahweh Practices Collection). I haven’t decided if I will color these spaces or keep them black and white.
Middle panel pocket – Behind the calendar is a pocket in which I’ve tucked a 17”x 6.75” piece of cardstock, folded in half to form four panels. On the front panel is my monthly gratitude list from the Yahweh Practices Collection. On the other three surfaces, I’ve adhered the lovely Prayer Spaces page from the Yahweh Practices Collection. Due to confidentiality, those pages aren’t displayed in their entirety, but I’m finding those spaces to be just the right size for recording my personal prayers.
Inside right panel – In this area, I’ve adhered Carla Kramer’s lovely Name of God template (see January Day of Prayer packet) to record prayer requests for Visual Faith Ministry and its coaching team. Again, due to confidentiality, I’ve placed a blank example over the template on which I’ve already written many prayer requests this month.
Right panel pocket – For each month of 2023, the Day of Prayer theme is also that month’s Name of God. Reducing to 80%, I copied onto sticker paper my colorful Day of Prayer graphic, as well as my Reflection Page. Each is adhered to one side of this tabbed pull-out.
Back left panel – This panel actually tucks beneath the front cover. On it, you’ll see Denise Miller’s beautiful original artwork. Over this artwork, I’ve adhered a clear acetate envelope. Inside that envelope are twelve 4x6 index cards from the Yahweh Practices Collection. These cards are used for recording the 12 verses from the Yahweh Scripture Scribing project, a free resource in the VFM Shoppe.
Back center panel – My original intention was to leave this area blank, but when I read the January devotion by Eden Keefe (free resource in the Shoppe) and saw Jennifer Barbe’s artwork, that plan changed. I’ll be adding color to this image and recording some key words from the devotion.
As I’m rereading the description of my envelope journal, it sounds complicated. Please keep in mind that some of these practices are daily in nature, while others are more “one and done.” Having all of these pieces collected into one journal allows me to see connections between and among my devotional practices. The outcome is a much deeper daily walk with Jesus. For that, I give Him my thanks and praise!