Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Java with the Judges: Week 3

Java with the Judges
Gideon

Java With the Judges (Coffee Cup Bible Series)

Welcome to Week 3 of the SoulPerSuit Blog group venturing through the book of Judges together.

Here's a refresher on our schedule:

March 3- 16: Introduction and The Good Guys
March 17- 30: The Good and the Reluctant
March 31- April 13: Gideon
April 14- April 27:
Jephthah
April 28- May 11: Samson the Conflicted
May 12- May 25: Civil War and Anarchy
May 26- May 31: Wrap- Up

Reminder:
- This SoulPerSuit group is hosted solely on the blogosphere. All the information this Judges group needs can be found right here on SoulPerBlog and in your personal copy of
Java with the Judges.
- If you don't happen to have your own blog but still want to participate, just use the comments section here to share your thoughts on the book of Judges.
- If you're participating in this
Java with the Judges study, please let us know when you've written a new blog post relating to the study.
- Be sure to visit the other
Java participants' blogs to see what they're thinking about the book of Judges.

Right here on SoulPerBlog every 2 weeks I'll be posting some Shuffle the Deck activities to kick start your creative thinking. Rhonda will keep us visually motivated on Gallery Wednesdays, and Sandi will offer some additional insights to round out each study with a set of Play Your Hand questions.

(Not sure what any of that means? Click this link for an overview of each aspect of SoulPerSuit.)


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Shuffle the Deck activities for "Gideon week."

1. Make a cootie catcher: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Cootie-Catcher

2. In the movie
Waitress, making pies is Jenna’s art form. She used it to process and deal with all the trials, events, and emotions in her life. She made “Fallin’ in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie," “Lonely Chicago Pie," and “Jenna’s First Kiss Pie." (More pies from the movie.)

Like Jenna, make a luminary that represents you today – your feelings, tasks, or events today. Represent these with simple images/icons that you put on a paper bag. You can cut the images directly out of the paper bag, you can draw or write directly on the bag, or apply cutouts, clippings, or stickers. You can make any size and any number of luminaries. (Example: make a small one that sits in your kitchen window.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

SPS on Twitter



SoulPerSuit is now on twitter.




Follow SPS and get:
  • Study updates
  • Blog summaries
  • Discussion questions
  • Quotes
  • Links to artists
  • Links to study resources
  • Book recommendations
  • Movie recommendations
  • and other fun stuff
What can SPS do for you through twitter?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mentors - Judges 2

A couple of years ago I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder that evaluates natural talents. Along with a top five list of those talents or strengths, comes a helpful action item list on how to best utilize your them. One of my strengths is Focus which means I am extremely efficient and goal oriented. One of the action items for this strength said "Identify your role models. Write down in detail why you want to focus your career toward similar kind of achievement."

I couldn't think of anyone. At first, this seemed arrogant but I think I was being a little too hard on myself. Personalities are complicated and being a severely disciplined person, I tend to put my head down and drive forward carrying the weight of everything myself. I don't think I can or presume to ask anyone else for help. I'm too busy trying to do my thing perfectly to see how great everyone else is.

This question has come back up for me as I'm evaluating what I want to do with my life and how I want to direct my passions but I still can't think of anyone. Well, not anyone who's not fictional. There's Trinity from The Matrix who had such unwavering faith that she lost all of her fears when the world around her was quite literally being shredded. There's Eowyn from The Lord of The Rings who acted with such courage and loyealty to defend her people. And even when these women were called to fight a battle, they did not lose any of their femininity.

Who are the women who got a late start in life but made great achievements? How are they motivated to push themselves forward despite their obstacles? Who are these women in today's culture? I know they're out there but my head has been in the sand.

Who are your mentors and are there any women today, in the public eye, that inspire you?

Gallery Wednesday - Judges 2

Free to be Me

This is the companion card to the "Fear" card I made the first week. The cards were painted at the same time. I knew then that flying away in freedom was going to be a process, not a flip of the switch or one walk through a labyrinth.

As I write this, I have to admit that I feel very much back in the fear prison more than ever. Did you see the movie The Aviator about Howard Hughes? The accuracy of the facts aren't what's important but the image of Hughes near the end, imprisoned in a room of his own making came in my head. The progression of accepting your fears builds and builds until you've given in to so many of them they are all you see. I remember thinking at the end of the film how sad, what a waster of a great mind. Are we not doing the same thing with the gifts and talents God has given us as we use fear and circumstance over and over again as an excuse not to glorify Him as the wonderful beings we are?

I got that image of Howard Hughes and finally became more afraid of the room than the fears. I want to keep that image of cowering in that room when so many love me and care for me and see my potential. It's still a long path to trust and courage but at least I prefer it to the room.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives,
And freedom to prisoners."
- Isaiah 61:1

Monday, March 23, 2009

Play Your Hand

Monday is "Play Your Hand" day here at SoulPerSuit. Play Your Hand is the SPS label for the exercise in which we give you thought-provoking questions about the week's study. Because we're journeying through Judges, this week's questions relate to our second week in the book.

If need more info about how to do Play Your Hand exercises, go here.

For this week: Choose one of the questions below or one of your own. As you ponder it, think about how you can make an SPS card to illustrate your idea of choice. Here are some idea options for week two:
Make a card about...

. A time God delivered you.
. An altar to your faith in God. Something that chronicles how He’s been faithful that you can show others, “See what God has done for me.”
. Areas where you use your gender as an excuse.
. Being like the biblical Barak—what what conditions do you place on your obedience?
. Being like Deborah—whose faith you can bolster with your presence?
. Being like Deborah—how can you encourage someone to godly action from “behind the scene”?
. Being like Jael (see painting)—what unconventional, yet familiar thing in your life can use to glorify God?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This is Your Brain on Glitter - Judges 2

Here's the result of the Shuffle I did from Monday to create a first prize tiara.

Public Service Warning: View at your own risk.

video

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gallery Wednesday - Judges 2


Time is flying by so I didn't finish my Shuffle for a first place award this week. I'll work on it today and get a picture up soon. It's a fun Shuffle so I can't wait to do it.

Tiaras have really been on my mind lately so I decided to make that my first place award. Here's a little drawing I did of my idea. The main part will be made out of fun foam attached to an old headband. Everything I use to make it will come out of all my art stuff. It'll give you an idea of just how much stuff I have! I have no idea how I'm going to do those poufy things at the temples. Maybe a giant bow or some tissue paper?

I'm going to get sick of seeing my art work every Gallery Wednesday so you guys send me your stuff so I can post it instead!

You will be a majestic crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal turban in the hand of your God. - Isaiah 62:3

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Java with the Judges: Week 2

Java with the Judges
The Good and the Reluctant

Java With the Judges (Coffee Cup Bible Series)

Welcome to Week 2 of the SoulPerSuit Blog group venturing through the book of Judges together.

Here's a refresher on our schedule:

March 3- 16: Introduction and The Good Guys
March 17- 30: The Good and the Reluctant
March 31- April 13: Gideon
April 14- April 27: Jephthah
April 28- May 11: Samson the Conflicted
May 12- May 25: Civil War and Anarchy
May 26- May 31: Wrap- Up

Reminder:
- This SoulPerSuit group is hosted solely on the blogosphere. All the information this Judges group needs can be found right here on SoulPerBlog and in your personal copy of Java with the Judges.
- If you don't happen to have your own blog but still want to participate, just use the comments section here to share your thoughts on the book of Judges.
- If you're participating in this Java with the Judges study, please let us know when you've written a new blog post relating to the study.
- Be sure to visit the other Java participants' blogs to see what they're thinking about the book of Judges.

Right here on SoulPerBlog every 2 weeks I'll be posting some Shuffle the Deck activities to kick start your creative thinking. Rhonda will keep us visually motivated on Gallery Wednesdays, and Sandi will offer some additional insights to round out each study with a set of Play Your Hand questions.

(Not sure what any of that means? Click this link for an overview of each aspect of SoulPerSuit.)
___________________________________

So, ready to launch Week Two? Here are a few Shuffle The Deck activities to start it off:

1. The Best of the Best
Make a first place award (ribbon, trophy, crown, sash, etc.) to give to yourself.

2. Chorgatron 6000
Using magazine clippings, objects from your junk drawer, drawings, and other found objects, glue them on paper to build a robot that will do your most dreaded chore(s).

3. Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Human beings are always coming up with unconventional ways to use things. Old boots and whiskey barrels as garden planters, using a butter knife as a stand-in screwdriver, holding hair back with a pencil or a chopstick, etc.

Think about your daily routine and write down some examples of your creative uses for ready-made goods.
OR
Challenge yourself this week to find a useful, but unconventional job for something in your house, desk, or purse.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

SPS on Facebook

Updated 03/16/2009

Are you on Facebook? So are we.

If you'd like to be a part of the SoulPerSuit Group on Facebook, let us know so we can send you an invitation. You can leave your Facebook account name in the comments or e-mail it to us at soulpersuit at soulpersuit dot com. just do a search for "soulpersuit". When the search results show up, click the "Groups" tab. We should appear on the first page. Click "Request to join" and we'll approve it asap!

In the group you can post your SPS cards, participate in discussion questions, and get to know the whole SPS community.

Are there any other social networks that you use?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oops! I did it again. - Judges 1

Like the Israelites, there are some things in our lives that God has asked us to eliminate and we just haven't done it. What's amazing is that these are things God knows are tripping us up and of no benefit to our lives and to those around us. What's the deal and what do we do about it?
  1. Look for a pattern. Do you find yourself saying, "Oops! I did it again."? What do you keep doing? Is this a part of your cycle of misery? Write it down and give it a name. Come face-to-face with it.
  2. Look for the catalyst. More than likely, you're back in the cycle of misery because of fear and instead of trusting God, you've invented some other built in response when you get afraid. Why don't you trust God? Is it a lie? Find the truth!
  3. Look for time with God. Confess. Get it off your chest. Explain it all to God and ask for help. He's dying to be a part of this with you.
  4. Look forward. So, what's next? Will this ever happen again? Probably. But, things can be different next time. You have a name for what you've been doing and the trigger. You've started a dialogue with God about it. Make a battle plan. Set up reminders. Be on offense, not defense.
SPS cards are great for this working through this process.

Monday, we start Week 2 of Java with the Judges. It's a tough study. Or, is it just me?

If you're still on Week 1, that's fine. Stay there as long as you need to. We're all about flexibility here. Send in your SPS cards whenever you get them done and we'll post them on Gallery Wednesday. Post links to your blog post in our comments and we'll make sure they get highlighted too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gallery Wednesday - Judges 1

UPDATE (03/13/2009)
Other participants:
Schweers' Mom


During my personal sabbatical last week at Well of Mercy, I dug deeper into how complicated our cycle of misery is. I mean, I really wish it were as clear in my life as it reads in Judges:

The Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight... - Judges 3:7
The Lord was furious with Israel and turned them over... - Judges 3:8
When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he raised up a deliverer... - Judges 3:9

These are statements of fact. Sometimes I think that's why it's hard to identify with the Israelites during their many adventures because the nuances of who they were, what they did when and why are not there. It would be helpful to see their individual character development. There's a bottom line, they disobeyed, but, on an individual basis, it was probably more complicated than that because I'm just discovering some of these nuances about my own actions.

During my trip, I painted two watercolors. One shows me imprisoned by fear. This prison is one that I built and that others helped build around me. This is a prison that is the result of sin, mine or other's, because fear does not come from love. Who did evil first, who started building the bars, is a moot point, because at some point you have to start taking responsibility for your contribution.

This is the verse I wrote on the back:
You have taken account of (recounted) my wanderings (fugitive exile); Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? - Psalm 56:8

Thank goodness God knows all the nuances that went into building my prison and forming my actions. They are not excuses but at least He and I can parse through them together and sort out the lies that I've let poison my trust in Him. There's a prayer labyrinth outside at the Well of Mercy where I left my watercolor in hope that the rain and sun will fade that prison until it disappears.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Play Your Hand

Monday is "Play Your Hand" day. Play Your Hand is the SoulPerSuit label for the exercise in which we give you some thought-provoking questions about the week's study. Because we're journeying through Judges, the questions this go-round relate to our first week in the book. If you want more explanation and an example, go here. Choose one of the questions below or one of your own. As you ponder it, think about how you can make an SPS card to illustrate the idea. Here are the ideas for week one:

Make a card about...

. A time when you were suffering because of your sin and you cried out to God.
. Someone like a “judge” whom God sent in answer to your cry to be saved/rescued/ healed/freed.
. The Canaanites in your life, whether people, places or things. What or whom should you avoid because it/they will cause you to sin?
. Your own personal cycle of misery to remind you of the importance of obeying God. For each step, describe what you do and think at that step to remind you of what you’re doing. Write scripture, a letter, or instructions to yourself about what to do when you find yourself in this part of the cycle.


. Being like Ehud--an area of your life that requires immediate and drastic action
. Being like Shamgar--a creative solution to the need for change within you circle of influence
. How much God hates sin.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Judges Week 1

The Cycle of Misery in introduced in the first week study of Java with the Judges. This is the painful cycle we see God's people (that includes us) repeating: sinning, suffering for their disobedience, grieving their disobedience against God, and then God saving them.

In two of these steps, we are active participants: sin and supplication. For the other two steps, we are the recipients. Now if I boil this down in my analytical mind, that means, of the things I have control over, I am either in communion with God or I'm not. My role is not complicated to understand although it may be difficult to do.

In the book, Sandi asks if there is something you can do to improve where you are in the cycle.

This week I did something different and took a 1-person retreat for 48 hours. In Hamptonville, NC there is a not-for-profit ministry called Well of Mercy. Established and run by the Sisters of Mercy, it is intended for individuals - no group retreats allowed. They are meeting the need of individuals who want a place to go to be alone with God. Embedded in a beautiful, natural setting along a creek, there are no TVs, no ringing phones, and no computers! Believe me, the silence is hard to get use to.

We take vacations to de-stress. We take coffee breaks, smoke breaks, snack breaks, even "mental health" days. But what do we do for our spirit? How tired and stressed must our spirit be?

How creative can you be in coming up with new ways to vacation with God?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gallery Wednesday - Judges 1


Here's my quick shot at the circular calendar Shuffle.

The seasonal pictures were all taken around here where I live, except for summer which was taken in Florida. I've written brief descriptions of how I feel about those seasons.

Winter is my least favorite because I hate being cold. I also hate bulky clothes, sweaters, and dressing in layers.

Spring and fall are my favorites because nature puts on such an amazing color show and in the spring you can start showing off your pedicure.

I'm not sure why but I started thinking about clothes seasonally and, naturally, ended up at shoes.

My sister bought me these wonderful zipper boot shoes for the fall. I feel so stylish when I wear them.

Of course, the year round shoe is the fuzzy pink slippers.

You may notice there are no shoes pictured for the spring. Darn, guess I need to go shopping.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Java with the Judges: Week 1

Java with the Judges
Introduction and The Good Guys; Judges 1-3

Java With the Judges (Coffee Cup Bible Series)

Welcome to Week 1.a of the SoulPerSuit Blog group venturing through the book of Judges together.
Before we get into the study itself, let's do a bit of administrative housekeeping.

- We are taking TWO calendar weeks to go through every ONE lesson in Java.

Our schedule for Java with the Judges:
March 3- 16: Introduction and The Good Guys
March 17- 30: The Good and the Reluctant
March 31- April 13: Gideon
April 14- April 27: Jephthah
April 28- May 11: Samson the Conflicted
May 12- May 25: Civil War and Anarchy
May 26- May 31: Wrap- Up


- This SoulPerSuit group is going to be hosted solely on the blogosphere. Don't look for a Yahoo group or the instant messaging studio chats we've done in the past, because you won't find them. All the information this Judges group needs can be found right here on SoulPerBlog and in your personal copy of Java with the Judges.
(That said, if you're on Facebook or another social network and you see other Java participants on-line, by all means, strike up a conversation!)
- If you don't happen to have your own blog but still want to participate, SoulPerBlog is here to accomodate you. Just use the comments section here to share your thoughts on the book of Judges.
- Be sure to visit the other Java participants' blogs to see what they're thinking about the book of Judges. Of course, that means...
- If you're participating in this Java with the Judges study, please let us know when you've written a new blog post relating to Java with the Judges. A simple note of "Hey, I wrote something today, come and read it" in the comments section here is great.

Right here on SoulPerBlog every 2 weeks I'll be posting some Shuffle the Deck activities to kick start your creative thinking. Rhonda will keep us visually motivated on Gallery Wednesdays, and Sandi will offer some additional insights to round out each study with a set of Play Your Hand questions.

(Not sure what any of that means? Click this link for an overview of each aspect of SoulPerSuit.)
___________________________________

So, without further ado...
I give you...


Shuffle The Deck activities to get things rolling:

1. Create a circular calendar on one sheet of paper representing the four seasons.
Indicate within each season’s decoration- your favorite time of year, your favorite weather, how your mood changes with each season, and/or any family or household events that happen with the cycle of these seasons.
2. Who is an invaluable resource in your life, someone you are glad to know because you can cry to him or her for help? Maybe the son-in-law who’s a computer whiz, a friend who knows how to decorate cakes, the handy-man you have on speed-dial, a babysitter, etc.
Make them an especially creative, elaborate business card. Be sure to list all of their wonderful qualities and why you’re able to depend on them. Decorate it to show how important they are.
_________________________________________________

So, what next? If you've already got your Java with the Judges book, begin by reading the Introduction (pgs. ii- xvi). Jot down your first impressions of the culture in which the Hebrew judges operated. Compare and contrast that to your own culture and historical context. Note the things that don't make sense to you or any questions that arise. Get out your map pencils and color code the judges and their corresponding regions or spots on the time line. Try a Shuffle the Deck activity.

Let's roll (like Gideon's biscuits)!