Hi. I'm Nicole!

Wife.  Mama to two busy toddler babes.  Trying to seek Jesus each day, through each season.  So glad you're here!

Favorite Bible Study Tools

I've continually had people ask me for this post and I'm finally getting around to organizing it!  if there is one thing I love... it's bible study tools!  Studying the bible is something that I love and that I'm passionate about.  I really enjoy digging deep into passages and LEARNING.  Using these tools are so fun for me!  But, I want you to hear me before I even get into what tools I love... You don't need a single thing besides the bible to meet with the Lord.  Not a journal, fancy highlighters, or anything else.  Don't get caught up in needing "stuff" that you miss the Lord.  I love that He's given people vision to create products that help aid our walk with Him, but don't let that become a crutch.  He is faithful to meet us exactly where we are and His word is living and breathing.  We can meet with Him simply. 

However... I do love some good tools! Here are just a few things I've used that I love. 

My Keyword Study Bible is what I use daily.  I also have a paperback ESV study bible that I like to use with my Keyword.  I love the Keyword because it will have different words underlined and in the back of the bible you can see how it translates to the original hebrew or greek, so you can get a better understanding of the context of the passage.  It doesn't have as much commentary as the ESV study bible, so I like using that one when I really need some more help decoding a passage!  I also love the Keyword because it has pretty wide margins.  You can scroll my instagram for photos and you'll be able to see my bible in several recent posts!

(The Keyword bible I linked above is the ESV version, but I have NASB.  Personally, I would order the ESV!)

from left to right: prayer journal, redeemed devotional, be still journal

I've had the privilege of being a brand rep for Kristin Schmucker Shop over the past several months so I've been able to try out some amazing products!

 I really love this prayer journal because it really helps to organize daily prayer.  It breaks it down into several sections to pray over and it's a two page spread.  It really is just enough space to pray over different things daily.  I think this is an amazing tool to really get you into journaling and organizing your prayers!

 I just went through the redeemed devo as I've been going through my chronological study.  It was a great way to get extra content on Exodus and I really enjoyed learning new things from Kristin!  Her devotionals are definitely more devotional than study, so keep that in mind.  I think they are amazing tools for when you are studying a specific book of the bible.  It gives you extra commentary, keeps you accountable to keep reading, and and really makes you dig into scripture!   

The Be Still journal is something I use daily.  It is a two page spread for organizing what you're learning in your quiet time.  On the second page it has two questions that really prompt you to apply what you've learned from the passage and I love that.  I take it to church and bible study each week to record what I learn there, too.  You can use it in so many different ways!

Y'ALL.  If there is one thing I really want you to have... it's these highlighters!!!! haha!  They go on kind of like a gel crayon and DON'T BLEED.  Truly, they are amazing and I think everyone should have them.  Get them in the Kristin Schmucker Shop here!!

The Give Me Jesus journal is another resource that I just love!  It's another great quiet time journal designed by Life Lived Beautifully.  It has a "heart check" section at the beginning to really get your heart in the right place to go through this journal in your quiet time.  I love that each day starts with a "grateful" prompt to get your mind on praising Jesus for what He's doing.  I will probably keep switching back between the Be Still and Give Me Jesus journals each time I finish one because I love both of these shops and the unique things each journal brings to my quiet time. 

pregnancy prayer journal, adoption prayer journal, grateful journal (Val's shop is currently closed until she releases new products, but I'll update these links when her shop is back!)

I LOVE Val Marie Paper! Not only is Val one of my favorite instagram accounts to follow, she has some amazing prayer products.  I'm currently using her pregnancy and adoption prayer journals.  They help to really organize my prayers while also helping me keep a journal of this season of our lives!  They have been a huge blessing to me these past few weeks and I'm so grateful Val has created these products.  The gratitude journal is just a place to be able to write down little things I'm grateful for each day.  It was created after she read 1,000 Gifts, which is one of my favorite books ever, so I love the idea behind it!

Val has an incredible prayer journal coming out this fall.  It combines SEVERAL of her journal options into one spiral bound notebook that will get you through a whole year.  I'm really excited about the idea and I think I'm going to ask for it for Christmas! You can pre-order it here

Now on to my prayer journal!!! This is the most simple of resources I use and it's probably my most favorite and it's changed my quiet time the most. I read the book Leaving Ordinary at the beginning of the year and it ROCKED me.  The author took the tabernacle, explained each element, and then compared it to our prayer lives.  It really changed the way I looked at prayer and I would highly recommend reading it.  She mentions her prayer notebook in the book and along with some amazing blog posts from Elissa, I created my own prayer journal.  You can literally do this in whatever way works for you, I'm just sharing mine for a reference!

Here are the basics of how this works for me:

-The point of this for me is to be praying actual scripture over people and situations.  I want to be praying God's Word, because that is the most powerful prayer I can have. 

-I have different spreads for different topics.  Praise, Tyler, my heart, our adoption process, birth moms and cases, heart grown baby, Crawford, relationships, and loved ones.  

-During my quiet time I keep sticky notes with me.  If I come across a verse that I can pray over a certain person or situation, I write it down and then put it on the spread in the notebook dedicated to that particular topic.  I will also search scripture for certain things I want to pray over someone/something and make several sticky notes at once. 

-Once I have a full page of sticky notes, I transfer them to the page with a pen and then I create another blank page with sticky notes.  There are several pages that I actually do NOT transfer to paper, but I will explain those later.  

-It seems complicated, but once you SEE it, I think you'll totally get it! :)

My first few pages just have some resources that I like to have on hand.  I'll continue to add pages as I find things that aid in my prayer life!  The first page is just a list of the names of God.

My first full spread is a breakdown of what Leaving Ordinary taught me.  I made some simple notes that help me to remember what each part of the tabernacle was used for and how it connects to my prayer life.  Again, I cannot recommend this book enough!!

My very first page is for praise.  I recently transferred all of my sticky note verses to the page and the right page will start to fill up with sticky notes again!  Once that page is full, I'll transfer to the paper and then start ANOTHER spread for praise. I've added several of the verse cards from Kristin Schmucker shop to some of the pages, too! 

This is the page I use to pray things over myself. Again, I've transferred all of sticky notes on the left onto the page!  I need to go ahead and transfer the ones on the right, but I wanted you to see sticky notes in action!! I just put the sticky note right on the outside of the page protector.  Easy!

 I love putting photos on some of the pages!  Here is the spread I use for Tyler.  Another tip:  If you look at the photo above, you'll see the verse written in black, with someone else written in blue under it.  I always like to write a quick reason why I picked that verse to pray in case one day I forget exactly what the Lord was speaking to my heart when I wrote it!  

This is where I will write verses to pray over our children generally and to pray over our parenting. 

The next spread is a little different.  This is more of a "seasonal" spread that will change over time.  I have one page to pray over our birth mom and our adoption page and the second page I have names of birth moms and their due dates written down from cases we've learned about (not shown for privacy).  On the birth mom and adoption process page, I'll continue to just use sticky notes to pray over these things until we are actually matched and we KNOW our birth mom.  Once we know her, she will have a specific page in the notebook where I will transfer my sticky notes to pen and paper.  I do it this way because I know I won't always be praying the same prayers over her once our baby is home, so I don't want to go through the trouble of transferring them all to paper!  Make sense?  So if you have something seasonal to pray over, don't feel like you have to do each page the same!  Do what works for you.  I'm not using sticky notes for our birth moms + cases pages and instead just writing them straight to paper because I know I want to always pray over these families.  Again, I'm just doing what makes sense to me! :)

I have a page for each baby (I'll change our heart grown page once we meet our sweet baby!!!) but I've recently redone parts of my notebook so they don't have any prayers right now!  I promise I pray for them! haha!

Not pictured is the spread before this.  It is my "relationships" spread where I will put general verses about praying over friendships and relationships.  My "loved ones" pages pictured above is where I write prayers that are specific to people I'm praying over.  I also won't even transfer my sticky notes to paper here because I am always praying new things over friends depending upon what's going on in their lives!  

WHEW.  I need a cookie after all of that. :)  I hope I didn't totally overwhelm you, but give you some good tools to look into using during your own time with the Lord!  If you have any questions, please comment!  I would love to answer specifics about how my prayer notebook works if my commentary wasn't sufficient *insert monkey covering eyes emoji*

So... are there tools that you use that I don't know about?  Share them with me, friends!

While we Wait | adoption photos

It's a GIRL!