6 Final Cover a

I love being organized.


OK, I love the idea of being organized.

I think this is why I’ve always been drawn to planners. Not people who plan. They annoy me (even as I desperately want to be one of them). I mean the books that keep us organized. Calendars and lists and charts to fill in and check off. So many details!

Too many details.

I love details, but I’ve never found a planner I could wrap my brain around and commit to completely. They either under- or overwhelm me. I often forget to use them. And the planners with too many details leave me feeling guilty if I fail to use all of their features or complete the goal lists for the next 5 years of my life. (Yes, yes, I’ve considered therapy.)

I essentially need monthly calendars, weekly calendars, an address book, and some note paper. Wrapped up in a pretty book. Not too utilitarian, not too frou-frou. Is that too much to ask?

1Covers a

Last year, when I started working from home, I purchased a leather disc bound organizer. It’s pretty much my office in a notebook, and I love the thing. Easy to organize, reorganize, add paper, remove paper; I absolutely love it. Mid-year, when my little 18 month purse calendar ended, I knew I’d be replacing it with a disc bound planner.

I started with a Junior sized Arc notebook from Staples and increased the disc size to 1″. At the time Levenger’s Circa planner refills were half off, so I decided to give one a go. Levenger makes great stuff, but it’s pricey. Fortunately, it’s interchangeable with Staples’ Arc system, so I Frankensteined my planner together with an Arc body and Circa’s guts. That worked, but again, the Circa pages weren’t exactly what I needed, so I knew I wouldn’t want to buy them again for 2015.

The Junior Arc notebook I had chosen has a clear poly cover, meaning I can design my own cover at my convenience. Google “do it yourself planner” and you’ll get about 22,500,000 results. Right. Everybody and her sister sells planner pages or writes a blog about creating your own planner. (And here I am.) Some of them are very nice. Some of them look like a five year old was set loose in a craft store. My cluttered brain needs simplicity, and as I’m not an artist, I needed someone else to handle that part of it for me. I purchased a pad of 12” x 12” patterned cardstock to make my cover and dividers.

11 Idea-ology a

The front and back covers are a little larger than A5, so I had to cut from a full sheet of cardstock for each, but I was able to get 2 dividers out of each page otherwise.

2 Open Cover a

13 Front and Back a

Monthly dividers


10 Dividers a


I’d considered over-engineering the dividers to choose certain flowers or patterns for certain months, but truthfully, I don’t know a thing about flowers or when they bloom, and I thought random would be fun. 🙂

The back of each page has a vintage wallpaper pattern on it. Here are a few:

12 Backs a

3 Inside Cover a

I’d saved the dividers from my Levenger planner to use as templates for this year’s planner and used clear labels and my Brother label maker to print the tabs.

8 Tabs a

I also made a bookmark that I could easily move from week to week, reinforcing the punched side with Scotch tape before punching it.

5 Bookmark a

For the planner pages, I headed to etsy. where I was bombarded with busy, colorful pages that would make me dizzy and bleed my ink dry. It took some time, but I found a lovely, simple, 2 pages per week calendar that was exactly what I was looking for. I’d created a similar undated one years ago in Word that is now long gone. I wanted a dated one this time anyway. Printed on Neenah 32 lb. Premium paper I found at Target.

7 Open a

I do like to have whole months to look at as well, but they don’t need to be big enough to write on. (Writing on the month and then also writing on the weekly calendar always seemed to be redundant to me.) I just need to picture the month. So, from the same seller, I found this handy folding calendar insert. Perfect.

4 Year Calender a

I don’t keep all of my contacts’ information in my phone. I have a couple of printed directories that hold most of the people I know, but there are other addresses that I just need to keep all in one place. A small address book is perfect, and so, again, from the same seller, I purchased these address book pages. I really only need 2 pages per letter grouping, so I added a clear label to the top corner of every other page, instead of using a divider with a tab for each one.

12 Addresses a

I still had lined note paper left from the Junior Arc notebook I’d purchased, so even though it doesn’t match the rest of the planner *twitch*, I’ll be using that until I run out. Shown here with the zipper pouch I added, as well.

12 inside back a

I’m not a tickled pick kind of person, but I am tickled pink with how this turned out! It has exactly what I need with room to grow. Now, I just need to remember to use it…

14 Both a


So my printer died the other night just as I was beginning to print my 2015 planner. :/ It’s old and was dying a slow death anyway, so I wasn’t totally surprised. The kicker is that I’d recently stocked up on ink and couldn’t find the receipt. Fortunately, I hadn’t opened the boxes yet.

Staples doesn’t repair printers, but they do take them for recycling, so tonight I headed over there with my printer and unused ink and planned to buy a new printer. They refunded $85.31 to my credit card and took my dead printer.

I had an HP Officejet Pro All-in-One in mind when I got to the store, $199.99 on sale for $129.99. As I walked around, I found an Epson Workforce WF-3640 with the same retail and sale price.

Epson WorkForce WF-3640

And lo! What does this sign say? “Plus take an extra $50 off this printer when you turn in ANY printer.”

I grabbed the sign and practically bounced to the register. “Including the broken printer I just turned in?”

Yes! 😀

So, I walked in with a dead printer and ink I couldn’t use, got $85.31 back, and walked out with a $200 printer for $84.79.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19


Crossway ESV Reader's Bible with Slipcase

Crossway ESV Reader’s Bible with Slipcase

The ESV Reader’s Bible is a unique Bible designed to immerse the reader in Scripture “precisely as it was originally written–namely, as an unbroken narrative.” To achieve this, Crossway has removed chapter headings, verse numbers, cross-references, and footnotes. They did, however, keep chapter numbers but moved them to the margin. They also provide guide passages at the top of each page .

This is not your typical Bible. Typical Bibles look more like reference books than reading books, and unfortunately, as a result, many people use them as such. What undoubtedly started as an effort to ease navigation through a library of books has led us  to practice cherry picking and considering, as Gordon Fee describes it, “every verse a paragraph.” People look up verses now the way they look up definitions. The context of verses within passages, within books, within the whole of Scripture is often lost.

So here is a book that reads like a book. And I have to admit that even after falling in love with premium leather bindings, the hardcover binding of the ESV Reader’s Bible adds to the “this book is meant to be read like a book” effect. Its handy size is also very comfortable to hold.

28 CoverLet’s take a look at the details. The ESV Reader’s Bible comes with:

  • Cardboard slipcase (hardcover edition only)
  • Sewn binding
  • Trim size: 5-1/4″ x 7-3/4″
  • Presentation page
  • Single column paragraph format
  • 9 pt. font
  • Line matching
  • Words of Christ in black
  • Red accents for page numbers, guide passages, and chapter numbers
  • No verse numbers
  • 3 maps
  • 2 ribbons

Let’s start with those ribbons. Nobody ever starts with ribbons, right? Crossway takes a lot of hits on their ribbons, but these are quite nice. Long enough to swing out through the page edges, smooth satin, and well cut. Not very wide at 6 mm, but proportionally a good fit for the size of this Bible.

23 Ribbons


Crossway seems to be married to 9 point font these days. I tend to prefer a larger font, but the Reader’s Bible is typeset well, and I found the font size to be comfortably readable.

24 Open

31 Open


The Crossway Legacy is similar in format to the Reader’s Bible, but with a few more characters per line, and of course, chapter and verse numbers, notes and section headings:

Left, Legacy; right, Reader's

Left, Legacy (original, not Heirloom); right, Reader’s


The ESV Reader’s Bible is printed on Apple Thin Opaque 20lb, 30 gsm paper. J. Mark Bertrand tells us in his first review of the Reader’s Bible that this paper has 84% opacity. This surprised me as it seems to have significantly more ghosting than the Schuyler Quentel NASB, which has different paper but the same opacity. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that my ESV Reader’s Bible suffers not only from ghosting but also from bleed through. The ink literally bleeds through from the back of the page, leaving speckles on the front. Take a look:

Close up of bleed through.

Close up of bleed through.


The bleed through is particularly bad in this section of Matthew, but it does appear throughout the Bible in varying degrees. In my review of the Schuyler NKJV, I demonstrated how the black paper trick mitigates ghosting. Unfortunately, black paper doesn’t do much for bleed through. It’s better, but the ink is still visible.

16 Bleed Through

Black paper behind the page.


Mark told me that a flip through his Reader’s Bible did not reveal the same issue, so my copy may not be representative of the whole. If you have an ESV Reader’s Bible, please let me know in the comments if you have this type of bleed through. It is rather unfortunate. The ESV Reader’s Bible is meant to offer a smooth reading experience, and the speckled paper is a distraction to me. Otherwise, the format is wonderful for reading.

The 45 gsm paper in the Schuyler Quentel NASB also has 84% opacity, and here is how these Bibles compare:

Left, Quentel NASB; right, Reader's

Left, Quentel NASB; right, Reader’s


I took photos in 3 different settings while preparing this review. During one of those sessions, a little something odd occurred.

Page curling.

Page curling.

Page curling.

Page curling.

Page curling? In an ESV Reader’s Bible?! First I’d heard about it. These photos were taken in my church’s fellowship hall. I’ve used this Bible in our worship hall and read it at home. The fellowship hall is the only location that produced page curling. My pastor witnessed it and suggested that the radiant floor heat in the fellowship hall contributed to it. Something to add to the Great Page Curling debate.

Bottom line? Even with the bleed through and occasional page curling, I recommend the ESV Reader’s Bible for anyone who is interested in reading Scripture in an uninterrupted flow without the distractions of verse numbers, footnotes, and cross-references. The format really does make a difference here. Academically, I knew that it would. The experience was more than I’d expected. A book entitled Book that reads like a book. Imagine that!

34 Open


The Hardcover can be had for less than $20 at Amazon and CBD. It’s also available in TruTone for under $30. And if Crossway ever releases the ESV Reader’s Bible in a Genuine Leather or better cover, evangelicalbible.com will carry it, too. (I work there. You know I had to link it. 😉 ) Leather over board would be lovely.