Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sunday School Speed Dating...

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team."
-Phil Jackson 

Somehow I've found myself leading my Sunday School class each week... sometimes I long to share the responsibility, but more often than not, I'm really grateful that it forces me to dive deeper into the Scripture lesson. In the last couple of months, I've led the class through a variety of small group studies, including Old Testament Characters, Animate: Faith, and Better.

However, before we move on to the next series, I wanted to take a week just to celebrate us as a class... and to encourage everyone to get to know each other better.

I organized a game of "Sunday School Speed Dating," putting a new spin on tried-and-true icebreaker questions. Here's how we played...
  1. Divide the group into pairs. With an odd number of people, you could easily have a group of 3. [I made pairs of cards that matched with the same washi tape pattern.] Seat the pairs together so that they are facing each other.
  2. Hand each pair an envelope of seven Question Cards. Each card is numbered and has four questions in three categories: Memories/Childhood/Spiritual. Download here
  3. Pairs ask and answer the questions on Card #1. There's no pressure to answer every question. Some questions may have quick answers; others may incite more dialogue.
  4. After 5-6 minutes, switch pairs and answer the questions on Card #2. [One half of the pair moves clockwise to the next set of chairs. On the next rotation, the other half of the pair moves counterclockwise.]
  5. Continue until you've answered all of the cards or until you've run out of time. [Just fyi... in the 30 minutes that we were gathered, we went through 5 sets of questions and would have continued, except the bell rang signally the end of Sunday School.]

I had the privilege to overhear some of the dialogue, and it was so neat to hear people who are usually quiet in Sunday School wrapped up in conversation.

I'm hoping that we can make this a tradition of sorts... taking time between lessons to bring us closer together. Maybe it's with another round of "speed dating" or maybe it's another activity...


Do you know any other successful, non-cheesy icebreaker/get-to-know-each-other/team-building ideas for adults? I'd love to build an archive to pick from!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy hearts...

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Valentine's Day around here was low-key. The great snowstorm of South Carolina cancelled our dinner reservations for Thursday night. So on Friday, we treated ourselves to Mexican food and curled up on the couch to watch the Olympics. My kind of celebration!

Although this holiday usually seems all about the girl, I wanted to make sure that I celebrated my own valentine. I gathered a couple of random, but totally Rob gifts.

Not necessarily the traditional Valentine's Day gifts, but he loved all of them.
  • LOVE YOU... this perfectly honest card from Emily McDowell
  • The Recipe for Love = YOU + ME... plastic cereal bowls with measurements... we went back to Target this weekend to buy another set
  • How can I MEASURE my Love... a bamboo digital food scale... Rob's been weighing food all weekend
  • We are PERFECT for Each Other... Pitch Perfect on Blu-Ray... we've watched it twice already this weekend

I'd say it was a hit!

Mirror makeover...

"Mirror, mirror, here I stand. Who is the fairest in the land?” 
-Wilhelm Grimm

So... this happened a few weeks ago... I just realized that the blog post about it has been sitting in draft mode. Oops!

After a conversation with my friend Lesa over our Friday lunch, I was determined to get the guest bathroom mirror framed over the weekend. After seeing many a Pinterest pin about this easy peasy makeover, the project had been sitting on my to do list for months. I used these two tutorials as a guide and inspiration: here and here.

Of course as with many a DIY project, it took longer than I expected, but it still wasn't difficult. Just a lot of wait time, waiting for glue to dry or paint to dry. I'm tickled with how it turned out. I'm ready to frame the bigger mirror in our master bathroom as well ... I'm thinking I'll mimic a double mirror like this.

And, just to give you some perspective... here's the other side of the bathroom. Before we moved in we painted the walls and added the vinyl "wooden" flooring.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Gifts of Imperfection...

"Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging."
-Brenè Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

I'm a big Brenè Brown fan. Earlier this month I saw that she and Oprah were running a repeat of The Gifts of Imperfection e-course... the soul-searching/art-journaling/wholehearted-living theme seemed to fit right into the place where my head and heart lie at the moment. When I saw that the second lesson was called "Cultivating Authenticity" [my word for 2014 is "authentic"]... I was a goner. I forked over my credit card number and made plans to embrace my watercolors and Prismacolors for the next six weeks.

One of the DIG Deeper prompts this week encourages me to share my journal with a community of people who will keep me inspired. I can't promise that I'll share every page in this space, but here's at least the first week... I'm going to let the pages speak for themselves.

Permission slips // I give myself permission to...

Perfection pledge // I'm imperfect and I'm enough.

Courage is a heart word // Who has earned the right to hear my story?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Authentic... my intentions

"How we spend our days is of course how we spend our life."
-Annie Dillard

The January prompt from Ali Edwards' One Little Word workshop encouraged me to list my intentions for the year.

This year I hope to...

Continue my healthy routines... increasing my fitness level // making healthy eating choices // limiting sodas // taking care of myself. I made great progress in this area in 2013 and hope to continue that momentum this year.

Explore how I want to grow professionally... I'm pretty sure that I won't be in my current position for the rest of my life. I find myself longing for a bit more creativity, a bit more autonomy, a bit more alignment with my passions. I have some ideas about "dream jobs," yet they all seem very distant from where I am today... after a year of mere survival (2010-11) and then a couple of years of sheer gratitude for having any job (2011-2013), I find myself ready to find out what my "dream job" might be and to start moving in that direction.

Focus on what really matters... uncluttering the house // buying quality and fair-trade // living fully in this moment // making intentional choices.

Strengthen relationships... connecting with Rob in a more loving and honest way that respects both of our needs // supporting Callie as much as I can through this season of change // corresponding with family members, like Dan and Mimi through monthly letters // reconnecting with old friends, like Ashley and Hillary // hosting another party or get-together for local friends.

Find a sustainable way to serve the community/church/world... I worry that the most obvious volunteer opportunities (soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.) won't be a good fit with my introverted personality (although I'm willing to be surprised!); however, I know that my design/planning skills could be a great asset for the right non-profit. The challenge is finding the time and energy to do something "extra."

Hope to get pregnant and experience motherhood...
But, be at peace if that (or anything else that I have planned) doesn't happen on my timeline... As it has been said, "the only constant thing is change." No matter what happens this year, there are guaranteed to be some instances of upheaval, unfamiliarity, and paradox, either by choice or circumstance. I hope that I am able to honor and even grieve those losses, but then lean into and embrace the unexpected changes.

Look for inspiration... Since I am yet not sure what exactly what I'm looking for this year, I want to embrace as many soul searching opportunities as I can. You can only hear answers if you're listening. I've bitten the bullet on Brene' Brown and Oprah's The Gifts of Imperfection e-course. I've also added several titles on my to-read list, hoping to gain insight from the perspectives of those who have gone before me. I'd also be open to some kind of life coaching/career counseling/mentoring/etc.

Follow my progress and be inspired.

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