Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

Chi?

I had a massage Thursday.

Picture it. A dimly lit room. The sound of water. Soft instrumental music. Candles flickering. The soft smell of eucalyptus floating in the air. The massage therapist discovers the steel cord in my shoulder and begins to transform it back to human muscle.

Then, she says: “Did you hear about that guy over in Deltona?”

Me: “oh, no, don’t tell me any bad news, especially if it involves children.”

Her: “No, it’s nothing about kids. This guy murdered this other guy and then shot a police officer in the face.”

Good feelings gone. (From a Disney movie. Who said it? )

I spent the next hour changing the subject to more positive things. Over and over and over. Seriously. She’s had some fairly negative things to say in previous sessions, but this time, she complained every time she opened her mouth. Nothing good to say about anyone or anything. Everyone is stupid and a pain in the butt, from her ex-husband, to her son, to her boyfriend, to the vitamin sales rep . . . she even had vulgar things to say about Muscadine grapes after I changed the subject to fruit in a final and desperate attempt to keep things positive. I thought talking about fruit was safe, noting all the great fruit in season right now. She picked one to complain about and called it a shXXbag. And that isn’t the only curse word she tossed around. Seriously? How can a massage therapist not make the connection that continuous negative conversation doesn’t compliment a massage?

What is the deal? She has worked miracles on my shoulder over the last few months. Was she just having a bad day? Has she just become too familiar with me? And if so, has she not paid attention to the fact that I don’t use foul language? Or say mean things about people? I don’t want to know what she had to say about me after I left.

I’m taking a break from massage. I don’t know if I’ll go back to her. She does good work, but the experience is not positive. I spend the time and quite a bit of focused energy pointing out good things in life. Not restorative. Emotionally draining.

I went to an open house for this spa two weeks ago and got a free twenty minute acupuncture session. Interesting. I’ve got a number of health issues which could supposedly be treated with acupuncture, from reflux to eczema, not to mention the arthritis in my neck. I’ve had craniosacral massage before and it was actually very effective in relieving pain, so although I don’t understand it, I know it worked. I figure it’s time to find out whether acupuncture will work for me. Tomorrow I go for my first full session and I’m thinking I’ll try it out through my surgery date.

As usual, looking for information. Anyone have acupuncture treatments? Thoughts? Advice?


It’s a backwards edition over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. Click on over and see if you can help someone out!

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer

March 30, 2009 Posted by | health | , | 5 Comments

H-Day: April 30th.

That would be the date for what I’m hoping is the final “ectomy” in my life. I’ve had a myomectomy and a polypectomy to remove my pesky fibroid tumors in the past but they always come back.

I’m finally taking away their home forever.

I’m impressed with how fast this is happening. I made the decision in late January and just a few short months later . . .

I banked a unit of my blood on Friday afternoon! That’s a big deal because of my low iron. I passed my iron test and I didn’t even study for it. My doctor is very conservative and wanted me to bank two units of my own blood just in case. I’ve done it for my past surgeries and ended up not needing to use it, so hopefully the same will be true for this surgery. (FYI – Donating your own blood for later use is called autologous donation, just in case you ever need to know.)

This time, I had to work a little to stop the bleeding. I’ve never had that happen before. I had to use ice and extended pressure and today my arm looks pretty bad. I guess from where the blood kinda backed up under my skin? It’s a big, oblong, purple/yellow bruise, a little over 3 inches from one end to the other. I’ll spare you the photo, it’s not pretty.

I’m seriously wiped out today. I did an hour of strength training and it was a LONG hour. I was definitely weaker than normal. It took some determination to get through the hour without wimping out. I recently read another blogger say she was able to hold a plank for two minutes and I was freakishly and competitively driven inspired to do the same. I was able to do a minute forty Friday morning and I was hoping to make it to two minutes today. yeah . . . no. A minute forty five. I’m supposed to do strength training again tomorrow. I’ll try again. I started sublingual B-12 supplements today so hopefully that will help.

I have 5 more appointments/tests before the big day, including a complete cardio workup.

I can’t wait for the other side of this surgery. No more fatigue. No more low iron. No more feminine hygiene products. EVER.

I should do a giveaway. Or a bonfire.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | exercise, health, poor me some whine, women | , | 4 Comments

uncool mom. cool mom.

What I learned this week:

1. I am not a cool mom.

2. I am a cool mom. FavoriteSon was asked to move up to Varsity Track now that his middle school track season is complete. He was invited to a “track party” the night before the meet. First high school party. We knew the host parents and the coach was going to be there too, so we let him go. When I picked him up around 10pm, I didn’t go up to the door and knock like the other parents. I pulled up outside, parked the car, turned off the headlights and sent him a text message:

“I’m parked outside. Whenever you’re ready. No rush.”

Then I sat in the car and rehearsed Praise Team music for the next morning’s church service. He came out in 15 minutes. I asked him if he preferred the text message or if he would have been okay with me knocking on the door to get him.

Text message. Good to know.

3. What happens at a high school track party. The coach gives a 90 minute testimony and motivational talk. Also good to know. (Both FavoriteSon and the host parents told me.)

4. I need to wear sunscreen to the Varsity Track Meets. They are during the day on Saturdays. Middle School Track Meets are during late afternoon/evening hours.

5. I need to make sure the memory card is in the camera. Before I leave the house to go to a track meet.


To find out what others learned this week, check out What I Learned this Week hosted by Musings of a Housewife.

Check out other cool moms at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer

March 24, 2009 Posted by | family, pragmatic parenting, what I've learned | , , | 12 Comments

Chicken Grape Salad

A track meet lasts for hours. HOURS. I suppose I understand. If FavoriteSon doesn’t rest between races, he tends to ralph. But what to feed a runner between races? Too much and again, ralph. Too little and they don’t perform as well. Then there’s getting him to eat something at all.

Here’s the scene: He runs a race (and wins, of course). I walk to the field with Gatorade or water. He waives me off and turns away. (Because it is NOT cool to talk to your mom at a middle school track meet.) His coach says, “Take the Gatorade, your mother knows what she’s doing.” (That’s RIGHT!)

After a few weeks of that nonsense, I explained to FavoriteSon: “When I walk out on that field and hand you a bottle of Gatorade, I’m invisible. Your friends don’t even see me. You know when they see me? When you waive me away and your coach calls you out in front of everyone.”

silence. thinking.

I continue, “Here’s what I’ll do – after a run, I’ll bring a small snack and drink to you on the field, hand it to you and walk away. No one will even notice me. Okay?

“ok.”

It worked out perfectly. After the first race, I walked out to the field, handed him half of a peeled navel orange and walked away. No eye contact necessary. Didn’t even interrupt his conversation. After his second race, I walked out with a banana and some Gatorade and he actually talked to me. I waited and took away the rest of the banana and the Gatorade bottle. I will not take that as a sign that it is now acceptable for me to interrupt him when he’s engaged in post-race conversation with his friends.

Last week, I packed us a dinner and brought an ice chest in an effort to stave off concession stand food. The big hit was the chicken salad. It takes about 5 minutes to make! The first version was canned chicken breast, drained, shredded and mixed with light mayo and white grapes, sliced in half. BIG hit! This week, I ran out of mayo and had to substitute spinach dip. LOVED it!

I don’t assemble the sandwiches before the meet because they tend to get soggy. I just bring the salad in a container (square, of course), some bread and a fork. I can assemble the sandwiches right there in the stands. Here’s my sandwich from today, using the leftover Chicken Grape Salad:

chicken-grape-salad


Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Need more? Head over to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Kim at Forever . . . Wherever!

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer

March 24, 2009 Posted by | 5 minutes, family, health, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting, recipes | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

conversations with my mother. 2nd edition.

This past week, Grace came straight from God, through me, directly to my mother. It was a fairly constant flow.

My mother is visiting from Arkansas. I have been filling her days and evenings with activities (with me) to distract her from my dad and sisters. FirstHusband says they owe me big time. She leaves Monday morning, early. I plan on sitting on my love seat on Monday morning, with a cup of coffee, listening to the clocks tick.

Here’s an example of this week’s conversation with my mother:

My Mother: “Did I tell you my joke about the zebra?”

Me: “No.”

My Mother: “The zebra asked St. Peter if he was white with black stripes or black with white stripes.”

Me: (no. please no. not one of these jokes.)

My Mother: “St. Peter told the zebra to ask God. God said, “You are what you are.” The zebra went back to St. Peter and said he didn’t understand God’s answer. St. Peter said, “You are white with black stripes.” The zebra asked, “How do you know?” St. Peter said, because he said “You are what you are.” If you were black with white stripes, he would have said . . . “

Me: (oh, please don’t say it. please. somebody please tell me that my own mother doesn’t think this is funny. Thank you God, that we are in the car and I’m the only one who can hear this. )

My Mother: She finishes the joke. (and if you don’t know what she said, GOOD!!! That means we’re making progress in the world.)

Me: (instead of the expected laugh, smile or chuckle) “You know I teach cultural competence, right?”

My Mother: “Yeh.” (chuckle.)

Me: “Please tell me you don’t tell that joke in public places.”

(I already know she tells these jokes in non-public places. And I’ve known her long enough to know that’s not going to change. The last time she included my email address in a group email and sent an “inappropriate” email to our family shared inbox, she concluded with “anyone who doesn’t think this is hilarious just doesn’t have a sense of humor.”)

My Mother: “Sometimes. But not when anyone can hear me.”

Me: “There are a lot of people who wouldn’t find that joke funny.”

My Mother: (sigh.) “I know.”

Later that afternoon, at my house, in front of FavoriteSon, with PinkGirl a few feet away:

My Mother: “Can I tell my zebra joke to YourFavoriteSon?”

Me: “No, mom. He doesn’t think like that.”

My Mother: “Please?” (sticks her bottom lip out in a childish pout, which she somehow believes has persuasive power)

Me: “No. I’ve done a lot of work here. Please don’t chip away at it.”

I will spare you the comment she made about the black pastor of the church she has been attending. I will skip the mocking imitation of the Latin accented sales lady as we were leaving a store.

I know she was leveling. She needs to see others as less.

Any time I’m around someone who makes fun of others, I see it as leveling. I perceive the person making fun as lacking in self-confidence and finding it easier to put others at a lower level than bring themselves up to a higher one. I believe the same is true for people who use non-joking sarcasm to make others look stupid.

When I witness a person making fun of someone or being snidely or cruelly sarcastic (or when I am the target myself), my view is that it stems from the attacker’s weakness and deep need to be better than others. If I can view them this way, I don’t get angry so much. I feel pity for them, and can give them Grace. But not respect.

sarcasm has its place. (note: this clip has a curse word in it)

March 22, 2009 Posted by | christian living, family, women, youtube | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Word-Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

I hate flux.

flux-capacitor

Here’s an excerpt of a devotional I wrote on this verse, back in October of 2005, entitled nosebleed:

“Last month I shared my prayer as I seek God’s direction in my life: “Lord, please use people, circumstances, your Word and your Spirit to guide me in the direction I need to go in order to glorify you . . . and please, please, please SLAM the door in my face if I even BEGIN to move in direction you don’t want me to go.”

I got a door slammed in my face.

I’ve been teaching Business and Professional Communication at the University of Central Florida since the Fall of 1998, so when I received my contract for Fall of 2005, I signed it and mailed it back – no big deal. After 7 years, it’s routine.

Two days later, the phone rings. It’s my “boss.” He’s the guy who handles the scheduling and staffing for the Organizational Communication courses. He’s new to the job this semester, taking it over from my old “boss” who recently retired. He’s nice. Friendly. Turns out, he was one of my instructors when I went to UCF.

In a nutshell? UCF is going through the re-accreditation process and he needs to “confirm” my “credentials” before he finalizes the schedule. So, we go over my resume, I tell him some recent work history and then there’s the teaching of this class for the last 7 years. Twice in those 7 years, I’d been asked to allow new instructors job shadow me. So, it’s a nice conversation. I’m confident I’ve highlighted my qualifications for the job. He thanks me and tells me he’ll let me know.

I spend the next 24 hours thinking about the possibilities. Will they offer me a full time associate position? A visiting professor position? Do I really want to work full time? How would it impact my family’s life?

The next day, the phone rings and he greets me with:

“Julie, the news isn’t good.””

To read the entire devotional, Click HERE


Join in Word-Filled Wednesdays hosted by Amydeanne over at The 160 Acre Woods!

March 18, 2009 Posted by | poor me some whine, Word-Filled Wednesday | 6 Comments

nosebleed.

This post, entitled nosebleed, was originally posted on Pragmatic Communion on October 14, 2005.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Last month I shared my prayer as I seek God’s direction in my life: “Lord, please use people, circumstances, your Word and your Spirit to guide me in the direction I need to go in order to glorify you . . . and please, please, please SLAM the door in my face if I even BEGIN to move in direction you don’t want me to go.”

I got a door slammed in my face.

I’ve been teaching Business and Professional Communication at the University of Central Florida since the Fall of 1998, so when I received my contract for Fall of 2005, I signed it and mailed it back – no big deal. After 7 years, it’s routine.

Two days later, the phone rings. It’s my “boss.” He’s the guy who handles the scheduling and staffing for the Organizational Communication courses. He’s new to the job this semester, taking it over from my old “boss” who recently retired. He’s nice. Friendly. Turns out, he was one of my instructors when I went to UCF.

In a nutshell? UCF is going through the re-accreditation process and he needs to “confirm” my “credentials” before he finalizes the schedule. So, we go over my resume, I tell him some recent work history and then there’s the teaching of this class for the last 7 years. Twice in those 7 years, I’d been asked to allow new instructors job shadow me. So, it’s a nice conversation. I’m confident I’ve highlighted my qualifications for the job. He thanks me and tells me he’ll let me know.

I spend the next 24 hours thinking about the possibilities. Will they offer me a full time associate position? A visiting professor position? Do I really want to work full time? How would it impact my family’s life?

The next day, the phone rings and he greets me with:

“Julie, the news isn’t good.”

(“The news isn’t good?” Wait. That wasn’t one of the scenarios I’d been playing in my head for the last 24 hours.)

“It turns out you’re credentialed to teach in the Business Department, not the Communication Department.”

“I’m not qualified to teach in the Communication Department?”

“No, no, no, no, we both know you’re QUALIFIED, you’re just not CREDENTIALED. You have an MBA and to teach in the Communication Department, you need 18 hours of Master’s level work in the Communication Department.”

“Oh.”

So he fills the awkward silence with an encouraging monologue.
(I think – I wasn’t really listening.)

Finally, I say, “You know, it’s okay. Really. I don’t know you very well, but I’ll just tell you – I’m a Christian and I’ve been praying for God’s direction. This means I’m supposed to be doing something else with my time and energy.”
(WHERE did THAT come from????)

“I’M A CHRISTIAN TOO! Julie, this is going to turn out well for you. I really believe that!”

wow. i do too. really.

So we spend a few more minutes talking, he tells me I can call him if I need a reference, we hang up and I no longer teach for UCF.

Excuse me while I tip my head back for a while.

March 18, 2009 Posted by | christian living, devotions, intentional living, poor me some whine, pragmatic communion, women | , , , , , | Leave a comment

i hate flux.

I’m in transition. again. I think. I’ve got a decision to make about God’s will, service, direction, music, time, commitment, family . . .

I’m flashing back. deja vu. This post was my first on my Pragmatic Communion Blog. It was originally published in September of 2005.


this is what you get when you combine:

a mid-life crisis
(I turned 29 just 12 short years ago!),
a few good books
(okay, more than a few),
a whole lot of soul searching
(my husband LOVED the conversations – all 4,263 of them.)
a background of seemingly unrelated skills, education & experience
(God can use anything, right?)
and two years of listening and waiting on God
(I hate it when God teaches me patience – again.)

I’d like to tell you my plan, but you know what they say:
“How do you make God laugh?”
“Make a plan.”

SO,

I’ll tell you how I got here, keep you up to date on what’s going on and post my musings on what might happen in the future. Your guess is as good as mine. Here’s what I pray more than anything else:

“Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you . . . “
(I do eventually stop.)

Here’s what I pray next:

“Lord, please use people, circumstances, your Word and your Spirit to guide me in the direction I need to go in order to glorify you . . . and please, please, please SLAM the door in my face if I even BEGIN to move in direction you don’t want me to go.”

Just be careful what you pray for.
(I’ll tell you about my recent nosebleed in a later post).

March 18, 2009 Posted by | christian living, intentional living, poor me some whine, pragmatic communion, women | , , , , | Leave a comment

egg cube.

I mentioned before that my kids love boiled eggs, but I forgot to mention this little gadget.

dsc_0022

It’s a tiny little vice-like plastic egg cuber. Seriously. It turns boiled eggs into squares. You boil the egg, peel it while it is still warm, pop it in the square shaped compartment and screw down the lid. Refrigerate for a few minutes and you get this: (okay. I accidentally froze mine. That’s why the sides are so wrinkly.)

cubed-egg

Then, you send it to school in a kid’s lunch box or slice it in half and serve on a plate of deviled eggs and when asked about it, you make comments like, “ouch. that had to hurt.” or “I don’t know. It just came that way.” Any other suggested responses would be MUCH appreciated.

If you pop the gadget into the freezer to chill it, you can speed up the process and cube more than one before the eggs cool off too much. The cube isn’t quite as square after the egg is cool. I need to find another one. Where did I get this one? Whale of a Sale. 25 cents.

And of course, someone put a video on youtube.

I may not be able to make square watermelons, but I can make these.


Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Need more? Head over to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Kim at Forever . . . Wherever!

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer

March 17, 2009 Posted by | recipes, youtube | , , , , , , | 11 Comments

my mother is visiting.

and that’s all I have to say about that. right now.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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