Saturday, December 29, 2007

Put It in Your Pocket

In the current issue of the 3.1.6 Journal, SoulPerSuit is featured in miniature.
Pocket-sized, if you will.
They say good things come in small packages, right?

Pocket SoulPerSuit is a one passage, one page interaction with the Scriptures. Much like a full-length SoulPerSuit, Pocket SoulPerSuit uses a passage of the Bible (in this case, nine verses from the book of Mark) and a handful of thought-provoking questions to allow you to explore yourself, your Lord, and your creative medium of choice: All against the backdrop of Scripture.

This is a wonderful spiritual "bridge" for the Holidays. Most Bible Studies and adult Sunday Schools don't reconvene until January. Many of us are eyeing 2008 as the year we want to delve deeper into the Scriptures. The next full-length SoulPerSuit session is a few months away. So here's your opportunity to take a spiritual step forward and bridge the gap between 2007 and 2008. Try the Pocket SoulPerSuit.

Click below to order your 3.1.6. subscription and get your hands on the Pocket SPS. You can choose either a paper copy or a pdf. file.

(And of course, it always thrills us to see what you create, so send me your Pocket SPS results at soulpererin at yahoo dot com, and I'll post a pocket-sized gallery here on SoulPerBlog to showcase your creations.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Mas?

Christmas just isn't right without "Christ," is it?

What ideas have you heard and/or executed for keeping the focus on Christ this Christmas? What are you giving God this year for His birthday? Here's a link to an article I wrote that will hopefully help you keep the focus where it belongs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sense of Taste

Engage your sense of taste...

Chocolate covered pretzels. Chex mix. Wassail. Sugar cookies. Almond Roca. Sharp cheddar cheeseball rolled in pecans. Carrot pudding with rum sauce (see picture). These are the flavors that come with the season in our house.

What about you? What foods say "Christmas" at your place?

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Cindy Who Felt Christmas Stocking*

As we're all thinking about Christmas lists- our own or someone else's- I thought it'd be fun to find out what you'd like to find in your SoulPerStocking. List some things below that Santa can bring you that would move you further into creativity and imagination. Or something you use consistently to get yourself thinking in a more creative vein. Or even something new that you've never tried before and would love to test out in the coming year.

For my own SoulPerStocking, I'm eyeing the Beinfang Notesketch journal. Each journal page includes both a blank area (for sketching) and a lined section (for jotting notes.)

Notesketch Pad

I'd love to try my hand at some pen and ink drawings in 2008, and this fine sumi brush pen looks like an exquisite re-introduction to the technique. Of course, then Santa would need to leave me a roll of rice paper too.

I have always loved the way Pearl Ex powder works. I can mix it with almost anything viscous (including plain old Elmer's Glue) and make something look pretty. Paint it (mixed with glue) over a plain piece of watercolor paper and I've got an subtly enhanced backdrop for my next masterpiece. Also good for making things look radiantly holy or explosive. ;)

And then, just for something kind of off beat and inspirational, I'd like something handmade from . The artist's hosted on this site are plentiful. And plentifully creative. You simply must browse.

I kinda like this coaster called, Bird School, by Robot Candy.
So vintage, so colorful, so cheery. I think I had a book like this when I was a kid.

Bird School Coaster

Or this mini glass mobile to hang from my car mirror. Cool, eh? Art in the car.
Made by Leah's Glass Creations

Custom Glass Car Mobile

So what do you want in your SoulPerStocking this year?

*Cindy Who Christmas Stocking, by Miss Mosh.

Meaning-Full Gift

Paula, who participated in our last SPS Coffee Cup study in the Book of Ruth, wrote this after making these coffee cuffs to raise money for clean water:

Between shopping for the shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child and the Samaritan's Purse catalog that sits in the basket in the bathroom, [my five-year-old] just hasn't understood why we would give toys to the kids but nothing to the moms. Wouldn't the moms and dads feel bad if they didn't get anything? If she wouldn't have held onto this idea of giving something to the whole family, I would never have followed through beyond the shoeboxes.

Last night as I sat sewing, she made tiny pictures of families to put on the backs of the cards all the while chattering away about how excited these kids are going to be to have clean water just like we do! My heart has been pricked - by the Holy Spirit moving in my daughter's life and by thinking about those moms, who are more tired than I, who really need a cool drink of water.

What I've been thinking about is that my part in the "rest of the story" is to just do the next thing. Am I willing to do my part in God's big picture when I can't see the end result. I don't know how taking care of a needy family will impact my children. I can't see if a water system will really make a difference in another family's life. Who knows if this family will ever get to hear about God because we sent money for water. But, my part is to just do my part and let God take care of my children's hearts as well as the physical and spiritual needs of another family. Ruth followed Naomi, Boaz took care of a desperate woman, I work on a simple project with my
family and send money to another family that is in need of water - living water. Today that is my role in the rest of the story.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What's Your Fave and Why?

Yesterday my family and I spent the day at George Washington's estate, Mt. Vernon. My husband took this shot facing the Potomac from the mansion. Even though the fall colors were "past peak," they far outdid what the trees in our home state of Texas do this time of year. And I couldn't stop saying, "Look at the colors! How beautiful!"

Fall color is not the only thing I miss about being a "transplant" in the Lone Star state. I had forgotten the sight of leaves, three or four at a time, slowly falling zig-zag to the ground. Back at my in-laws', my daughter and her cousin raked a bunch of leaves into a four-foot pile and then ran and jumped into the middle of it.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Family time, pumpkin pie, fall colors (both of our families live in places where leaves change color). I love to set a table full of beautiful china and smell the aroma of nutmeg and ginger and cinnamon.

What's your favorite holiday? Or season? And why?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thomas Heatherwick

Photo by Donald MilneOne of my favorite artists growing up was Leonardo da Vinci. My admiration resulted from a short documentory that showed da Vinci as a scientist, documenting, testing, and experimenting with his world.

Thomas Heatherwick is the subject of a Wired magazine article, "Bright Stuff" by Tim McKeough, He is a designer whose work is "the intersection of art, engineering, design, and architecture." In a recent documentary, the BBC referred to Thomas Heatherwick as "the new Leonardo da Vinci". To see his work, you'd understand.

Check out Heatherwick's web site to see his indescribable work including a bridge that rolls up, a three-story rolling staircase, and the sculpture made from thousands of glass beads strung on over 26,000 steel wires.

Friday, November 09, 2007

In the Mood

I'm a sucker for color. Bold and vibrant. Calm and soothing. Festive. Elegant. Riotous. Innocent. Color can bring such emotion and storytelling to a work of art. (And your kitchen, if you paint the walls in just the right hue.)

Recently, I found the blog, Snippet & Ink. The blog's creator, Kathryn, puts together daily "inspiration boards" to lend viewers a hand envisioning weddings, big events, and- I'd even go so far as to say, a sweater and skirt combo from their own closet.

One thing I enjoy about looking through Kathryn's boards are the places my mind immediately goes when I see her color and textural choices. My body relaxes with her pale green and cream combo. I'm slicing into a knife and fork BBQ sandwich when she pairs rustic red with tidy white. I'm bundling up for a sleigh ride when she pulls out the cool whites and Nordic blues. Each board is a scientific and artistic sampler of a slice of human experience.

Here are some lovely examples of Kathryn's colorful vision:

Board #60: Rebeckah's Miami-in-Toronto Wedding

Board # 57: Blue's Clues

Board #48: Autumn on the Beach

Board #13: Curious George

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Have you checked out GodTube? It has the potential to be the greatest tool ever OR one huge violation of intellectual property rights. While you're debating, if you haven't viewed the little girl reciting, Psalm 23 it's a must-see--especially for those of us who claim we can't memorize. (Case in point: What word comes at the end of this important phrase: It's the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had hair of gold like their mother--the youngest one in ???)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

SoulPerSuit Site

Sometimes new ideas are as close as the stuff we peruse frequently. When was the last time you spent some time wandering around the SoulPerSuit web site? For a detailed, illustrated explanation of how SoulPerSuit (SPS) works, click here. For some free art tips, click here. For the gallery of creations from the Mocha on the Mount study, click on the pictures here. Send your own creations, questions, or comments here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Am Not God

That may not come as a shock to you but it was a revelation to me today.

I began Week 4 of Premium Roast with Ruth during lunch. After reading chapters 3 and 4, Sandi asks: What details in the Book of Ruth encourage you to trust God more fully?

I had to really work through this question because, at first, I really didn't see anything encouraging.

Ruth is wonder woman! She's young, she's strong, she's healthy. There's no information about her thoughts or feelings. She doesn't appear stressed, tired, lonely, discouraged, home sick, depressed, resentful, or angry. I'm not Ruth and I don't ever foresee being like her. Who can, is what I want to know. This is not encouraging.

There are a lot of "coincidences" in Ruth. God's timing and handy work is obvious. The conflict appears to be that Naomi says she's empty. Then in four short little chapters, Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz's lives are turned happily ever after. Naomi is no longer in fear of starvation, Ruth has security, and Boaz has a hot wife. Full. But the message isn’t that things always turn out happily ever after because sometimes they just don't. Will I see a happy ending to my conflicts?

  • I read one time where a woman prayed everyday for years so that a relative might be saved and they were. I haven’t prayed everyday for my father. I’ve gone through periods of discouragement and given up. Now I have guilt.

  • I’m waiting for approval from the insurance company to have some surgery. There are dozens of factors involved. Will the approval come through and in time? If I don’t call the doctor’s office and insurance company every week it won’t move forward.
Do you see my god-complex?

It appears that not only can I save marriages and souls, but I can also speed up insurance claims!

I seem to believe that if I do the exact right thing I generate sovereign power. By doing or saying the exact right thing I can manipulate the universe to heal disease, reconcile relationships, and unite you with the Creator.

How’s this working out for me? Not so much.

So how does the Book of Ruth encourage me to trust God?

Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz didn’t try to make anything happen. They just did what was within their power to do. They loved, learned, and lived.

Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live! I also call on you to love the Lord your God, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. –Deuteronomy 30:19-20

God is the one with the plan. And you know what? It’s working out perfectly.

That’s encouraging.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


My three prize-drawing assistants just pulled these names out of the batch:

Heather Diane Tipton
Carla Stewart

Please E-mail me at to select your coffee cuff style and arrange shipping details.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beginning at the Ending

Ruth 1:3–5 Sometime later Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, so she and her two sons were left alone. So her sons married Moabite women. (One was named Orpah and the other Ruth.) And they continued to live there about ten years. Then Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died. So the woman was left all alone—bereaved of her two children as well as her husband!

A friend asked me, “If you could write a novel on any subject, what would it be?” I told her I would someday love to know enough about the ancient Near East to write a fictionalized account of the life of Ruth of Moab. I’d start with her childhood in Chemosh-worshipping* territory, cover her interracial and interfaith marriage, her ten years of infertility, the loss of her husband and his relatives, her conversion, her struggles with an initially ungrateful mother-in-law, her marriage to old-guy Boaz, relations with her new ex-hooker mother-in-law (Rahab), the coronation of her great grandson, David, and her relationship with his wife, Bathsheba. But, I told my friend I’m afraid it might not have enough drama.

You don’t actually have to be an expert in ancient Near Eastern history and customs to get a handle on Ruth’s story. In Ebony Moon, Dallas Seminary professor Dr. Reg Grant reset the story in modern West Texas. When I picked up Reg’s book, I didn’t know he was telling Ruth’s story. So I read away about this family of couples, and just about the time I grew to care for all the characters, Reg killed off the father-in-law and both of his sons. I thought perhaps Reg needed some help learning to craft a novel. Nobody starts a book by having half the main characters die! What if Little Women started with Beth and Meg croaking? If "Star Wars" began with the deaths of Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Not a chance.

Yet about the time the sister-in-law caught a Greyhound out of town in Reg’s tale, I slapped my forehead. He’s recast the story of Ruth! I realized I’d shoved Reg into a novel-writers’ box. Sometimes good stories—the best stories—start with authors breaking the rules. The story recorded in the Book of Ruth starts with loss upon loss. Consider what we find in the first few verses of chapter one. There was a famine in the land of Judah. This couple leaves “the house of bread” (Beth-lehem) to find bread elsewhere. The irony! Imagine walking into the grocery story and finding every aisle empty. It’s hard for most in the West to imagine the fear and pain of going hungry with no prospect of a full stomach.

A man from Bethlehem in Judah went to live as a resident foreigner. How desperate would we have to be to move to another land to quell our hunger?

His two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. We may find it difficult to see the loss here until we know “Mahlon” means unhealthy or sickly and “Chilion” means puny or weakly.

Sometime later Naomi’s husband Elimelech died. Easy to see the loss there.

Her sons married Moabite women. Naomi’s sons married outside of the faith. How would you feel if that happened to you?

They continued to live there about ten years. Though Naomi waited a decade, her sickly sons never announced “You’re going to be a grandma!”

Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died. Losing spouse and children, plunging you into abject poverty? Does it get any worse than that?

T. S. Eliot, the Nobel-Prize-winning poet wrote, “The end is where we start from.” Naomi’s life looks like it has ended, for all intents and purposes. What does she have to live for? Yet if you’ve read the story you know that her ending is only her beginning. Certainly, these “ends” at the beginning of the story paint a backdrop against which to view Ruth and Naomi getting a new start. And by chapter four we have a happy ending.

What difficulties are you or your loved ones facing? What heartbreak haunts you? It may look as if all hope is lost, as though God has abandoned you, like the Almighty One has plotted to ruin you. Yet with God such hopeless-looking circumstances can mark the start of beginnings that are far beyond what we can imagine.

Can you trust that what looks to you like an ending may be the beginning of something great?

*Chemosh: god of the Moabites.

Excerpted from Premium Roast with Ruth, by Sandra Glahn. Used by permission of AMG Publishers, © June 2007. All rights to this material are reserved.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Giveaway: Coffee Cuffs

Christmas Coffee, EuroChic, Raspberry Ice

We at SoulPerSuit like to give away a little something every once in a while to kick off a new on-line Bible Study group. I missed our group kick-off for Premium Roast with Ruth, and now we're halfway through an interesting look at Ruth, Boaz and Naomi, but I'm here and ready to gift you faithful blog readers and SoulPerSuiters.

Above, you will see one of the projects that has kept my fingers busy and out of trouble all summer long. Welcome to my creative outlet... coffee cuffs.

Of course, you are automatically thinking to yourself, "Hey, those coffee cuffs remind me of the Sandra Glahn Bible Study series that SoulPerSuit uses in their on-line groups- the Coffee Cup Series." Coffee cuff. Coffee cup. You're automatically thinking it. Like automatic drip coffee.

This is your opportunity to win yourself (or someone you love- Christmas is coming up ya know) one of said coffee cuffs. If you don't like coffee, think of these as herbal tea cozies, or hot chocolate snugglies. Any cup of piping hot steaminess would taste soooo much more chic and fun with one of these. And, they're also a perfect compliment to Sandi's great books.

We'll have THREE winners on this one. And (bonus) each of the winners will get to choose from the following cuff styles:
-Christmas Coffee: I made this from some 1970's era Christmas fabric my mom gave me. Santas, holly, wreaths, bells... Paired with gold thread and accenting green fabric.
-Euro-chic: Black and white. High contrast. Citified and sleek. Sometimes there's a touch of pink, sometimes it's just ebony and ivory. Each cuff in this series has some kind of cool action up around the top- fancy yarn, beading, some kind of little touch that just screams "STYLE."
-Raspberry Ice: I took the scraps of raspberry colored snowflake fabric (which I fell in love with and used to make my daughter's Christmas stocking 7 years ago) and worked all the other fabrics around the raspberry color. Light blue flannel from a baby blanket, blue gingham my grandmother gave me before she passed away, kitchen curtains from the 40's. These cuffs are cozy and homey. I love 'em.

All you have to do to win one is this: leave a comment describing your perfect cold weather drink. What nectar of the gods will you be wrapping this cuff around, should you win?

My own Ruth, Naomi and Orpah will draw three names and we'll post the winners here on 10/22. That's one week. Tell your friends. Or... don't tell 'em. More coffee cuffs for you. ;)

Mechanic Man

This just in... for the men out there, and for the women that have men in their lives, I also have these Mechanic Man coffee cuffs to choose from. (Don't let all the girl-yness above to scare you off.)
These cuffs are made with black denim and a complimenting red, gray and black swoosh fabric. Looks like someone squealed their tires all over the thing. And it reverses to a completely jet black cuff for no nosense. No beads on these tough guys, just a cool ragged edge all the way around. Because, of course, that's what happens when race cars squeal their tires all over something. If you have- or are related to- testosterone, enter this giveaway.

*For the record, I'm a Mocha lover.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Earth Art

The earth is the LORD's, and all it contains, The world, and those
who dwell in it.
--Psa. 24:1

(Click here to check out more NASA photos in the public domain.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Block Wall Posters

BlockPosters is a free site where you can upload a photo and turn it into a wall poster that you can print out.

The tool has a lot of flexibility built in. In step two of the process you select the size the poster will be by selecting the size of paper you'll be printing on, whether the sheets are printed portrait or landscape, and how many sheets wide you want it to be. The final result is a PDF document that you download and print.

Of course, MyGeek found this site. We have a friend who uploaded a precious black and white picture of his two sons and printed it on really nice photo paper. It's the main feature in their living room and it's fabulous. Look through the gallery to see some of the other creative ways people have used this tool.* Can you imagine blowing one of your SPS cards up to poster size!?

*Please respect copyright.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Graduate Level Coloring

I know that many SoulPerSuit participants, or would-be participants, do not think of themselves as artists. The creative aspect of SoulPerSuit strikes fear in many a heart.

So I thought perhaps I'd give you a little inside information... sometimes you can just let the medium (that's art talk for the "stuff" you use to make your creation- crayon, colored pencil, paint, glue, photographs, etc.) do the work FOR you.

Here's a great example, a SoulPerSuit card I made for our recent study on the book of Esther.

I began with a black and white drawing.
This is a drawing of a tomato. Think of a kid's coloring book.

Set of 12
Then I got out our small set of watercolor pencils. I truly think these are God's gift to the creative world. These little puppies are the key to what I'm about to show you. They are not terribly expensive, and you can do so many different things with them. Things that look really sharp and make you look like you've got a Master's Degree in Studio Art. ;) Look for these pencils in arts and crafts stores, or on-line art suppliers like Dick Blick.
Love 'em. Love 'em!

Again, think of a kid's coloring book.
I used a red watercolor pencil for the tomato, and a green watercolor pencil for the stem and leaves. Super easy. Just like being back in 2nd grade.

Here's a fuller shot of the tomato plant. I got a little fancy and colored a tiny tomato like it was still ripening. But basically, I used red and green pencils all the way through.

This pic shows the blue curlicue I added in the air behind the tomato plant, trying to make some sky. What I want to point out is the texture in that curlicue... part of it looks like it's been done in pencil, part looks like it's a watercolor.

This is the trick-
Binney & Smith Crayola® Better Quality Watercolor Brush Series 1121, 6, Hair Length 11/16"
my daughter's paintbrush. After using the watercolor pencils to fill in this black and white picture like a coloring book (and the pencils allow for a lot more control over where the color goes than a paintbrush does), I dipped the brush in clear water and simply dabbed it on the colored areas then let the watercolor pencil melt and moosh into itself. This is what they are made to do.
Such a cool effect!

Here's a wider view of the curlicue.

And a view of the entire SoulPerSuit card, thus far.

After the watercolors dried, I went back with a fine line Sharpie marker and wrote some Bible verses that came to mind. You can write on watercolor pencils, paint over them, or scribble over the top with crayons They're very versatile.

The finished product.

All I really did was color between the lines and then dab over it with water. I let the medium do the work for me and it turned out quite nice, I think.

You've just earned your Master's Degree in Coloring.

*If you have questions about a particular artistic technique or medium, or would like to understand how a technique actually works, please leave a comment here and the research-and-development branch of SoulPerSuit will gladly attempt to hunt down the information. If we haven't tried it ourselves already, you can bet we'd really LIKE to.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Ruth Resources

As our online discussion/art group gets going in the Book of Ruth, we continue to accumulate a wealth of resources that tap into both sides of the brain. Here are some faves: has wonderful textual notes on Ruth.
Heather Goodman has written a nice, brainy Literary Analysis of the Book of Ruth.
InterVarsity has an interesting online Bible study in the book.

Dr. Tom Constable, prof at Dallas Seminary, freely provides his notes (.pdf) on The Book of Ruth.

For online searches of biblical art, follow this link: Biblical art. You can view Naomi and Her Daughter-in-Law by Gustave Doré, and Rembrandt's Boaz and Ruth.

Select The Story of Ruth (1960) with Gregory Peck for your Netflix queue. And read this review of it.

If you're into animation, try this version: Animated story of Ruth (1966)

Or to read the Book of Ruth placed in a modern setting read Dr. Reg Grant's Ebony Moon.

A self-described unobservant Jewish man/writer for Slate blogs as he reads the Bible. Here's the link to what he said about the Book of Ruth.

Or listen instead of read, when you check out the audio book of Ruth.

What are your favorite resources? Any others we should add?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ruth Resources

Our on-line group begins studying Premium Roast with Ruth this week. In Week 1 we look at the history of two nations: Israel, Naomi's nationality and Moab, Ruth's nationality.

In studying Week 1 I was drawn to visuals. I wanted to see maps, time lines and genealogies so that I could put everything in context. It's just the way I think. I like to know how far apart the cities are, how everyone is related and when it all happened in reference to other events in the Bible.

If this is the way you study or you think these things might be helpful, I have provided links to what I found below. You can also find these same links in the right hand column on each of the Ruth pages on the web site. *Respect Copyright.
  • Maps - is a site FULL of Bible study resources. The map I found most useful for this study is here.

  • Genealogy - Jim Belote, cultural anthropologist, put together a great genealogy of the Old Testament. You may just want to bookmark this link because the chart is about 43" long.

  • One page genealogy - To insert in your books, I put together a one page PDF of the genealogy from Noah to Solomon.

  • Timeline - Available on, this is a textual time line from Genesis to Revelation. Bookmark this page and use it to search for specific events and/or people in your browser using "Find in this Page..." under the "Edit" option.

  • Color Timeline - SundaySchoolResources has a great color coded time line. You can reference it on-line or send e-mail to request a PDF print version for free.
You will notice that an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper, folded in half, fits perfectly in the back of the Coffee Cup Bible Study books. Use permanent or temporary adhesive to adhere 1/2 of a folded sheet to the inside back cover to keep from losing it. You could also glue a pocket or envelope (A-7 fits perfectly) on the back cover if you want to keep several resources and your SPS art cards in your study book.

*Always remember to respect copyright. These folks are freely making available the fruits of their hard work. You may print this information for your personal use or link to it from your web sites and blogs but don't redistribute it as your own, sell it, or copy it in part or in whole onto your web site or blog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ever Been to Rhodes?

Where would you like to go? What's on your travel wish list? Dream with us. I (Sandra) vote for Alaska. My husband took this photo in Rhodes. Where do you want to go?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ready to Talk about Ruth?

September 19 marks the last day to register for the Yahoo discussion group for Premium Roast with Ruth. Click on the purple box to the right to get yourself registered before it's too late.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hope from Lamentations

Today I read these words from Lamentations:
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.

Today is a day for many to be silent. In remembrance. In mourning. In loss. With questions. Waiting...
Waiting for answers.
for deliverance.
for God.

Lamentations tells us to wait expectantly. To wait with hope.

We can't run from trouble- it knows how to find us. But we can wait for our Deliverer to show Himself mighty to save.
Lamentations gives me diligent hope as I look to the horizon.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Art Cards

I'm told September 6 is the day Orthodox Christians set aside to commemorate St. Michael the Archangel and his protection of Colossae during a great earthquake.

Whatever you celebrate today, why not do so with art? Below are some links to sites where you can send free postcards with e-art ranging from Rembrandt to Frank Lloyd Wright. Make someone's day with unexpected beauty.

MOMA ecards

Artmagick ecards

Premium Roast with Ruth

We've scheduled our next SoulPerSuit using Premium Roast with Ruth.

We'll have Shuffle the Deck, Group Discussion questions and Play Your Hand questions all on the web site. You will need to purchase the book (from Amazon, from CBD), though, to do the study because it will not be on the web site like Esther was. You'll need to get your books by Sept 23 to get started with the on-line group but, of course, you can jump in whenever you can.

Sept 9 Registration begins for Yahoo Groups.
Sept 19 Registration closes for the Yahoo Groups.
Sept 23 Discussion begins on Yahoo Groups.

On Sept 9 there will be links here and on the web site to join the Yahoo group. The web site will also be updated with the schedule for the study.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feeling Blue? Or Chartreuse? Or maybe Jet Black?

Last week, I was snooping around at the Etsy shop website, and discovered that they have THE COOLEST shopping feature on there!

Click here and you can shop according to color. Any color that strikes your fancy.
Periwinkle, antique rose, sunny yellow, creamy dogwood, flame red, plain old brown...
Simply click on the color you like and Etsy's search engine will pull up all the products that match that color.

(I've already wasted a ton of time there. I'm not a shopaholic. Just a colorholic.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Esther Films

While we're on the subject of films, check out and critique these Esther films:

The 2006 flick, One Night with the King has utterly fab costumes, but don't count on the historicity. And don't think the strong romantic elements are reality-based. But enjoy it, anyway.

The classic Hollywood film version of the story is the Esther and the King (1960) starring Joan Collins (can you believe it?) and Richard Egan, and directed by Raoul Walsh.

In 1992 Hanna-Barbera produced The Greatest Adventure series, and as part of that set made a 30-minute, fully-animated video, titled Queen Esther. It features the voices of Helen Slater as Queen Esther, Dean Jones as King Ahasuerus, Werner Klemperer as Haman, and Ron Rifkin as Mordecal.

And finally, there's VeggieTales. They made an animated version of the story titled Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen, in which the girl-of-courage shows up as a young green onion. Bring the tissues.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Babette and Esther: Passions Compared

While our online group is going through Esther, I'm leading our small group, outXast, in a two week study associated with the movie Babette's Feast. I was thinking today about how the two leading ladies lived out their passion.

It might be said that the opulence and isolation of royalty caused Esther to forget from whence she came. Draped in the finest clothes and eating rich foods, how many spa days of head to toe pampering would it take for you to forget? 14? 30? How about 365? Esther adapted - maybe too quickly. At the same time she could never again return to the home she had always known or see the family and friends she loved.

Babette is forced to adapt in an entirely different way. To save her own life she flees Paris amidst the 1871 civil war where he husband and son have been killed. She becomes a refugee in the dreary cold climate of Norway where she knows no one; these are not her people. Here she trades the honorable robes of a master chef for the coarse homemade clothes of a servant. Instead of the finest French cuisine she now has the exact same meal of ale-bread soup for every meal, every day of the week.

Do both women have passion?

It’s awkward to make judgments about all the things not told to us in Esther’s story. But it doesn’t appear that she is passionate about anything because she is lead along by whatever those around her tell her to do.
  • She hangs around to be carted off to the palace (2:8).
  • She only took to the palace what Hegai the eunuch recommended (2:15).
  • She does whatever Mordecai says (2:20).
She never seems to exert her own will. Does she have any convictions? Or is she a cub who hasn’t found her teeth? It’s not until verse 4:16 that she speaks with authority and passion, telling Mordecai what to do!

Babette is nothing if not passionate. She knows food is her gift and she pursues it no matter what her circumstances. Nothing stands in her way. Even in desolate, pious Norway everyone describes what she does with food as spiritual. To know Babette is to know her passion.

So can we argue that wealth ruined Esther, hindered her, or got in the way of living passionately? I don’t think so. Esther had not yet found her passion. Living without passion is to live with fear. Passion is your secret weapon, your super power. No matter what great unknown lays infinitely ahead, the one thing you know completely and surely is your passion.

But more of us are Esthers than Babettes. And we allow a variety of things to prevent us from discovering or living our passion. Time, money, work, family, etc.

Have you found your passion? What is it? And if not, why not?