Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

Then Sings My Soul Saturday: Father, Spirit, Jesus

Another new song for our church’s 9:30 praise team this week:

For more Saturday music, check out Then Sings My Soul Saturday every Saturday hosted by Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

August 29, 2009 Posted by | christian living, music, youtube | , , | 3 Comments

this cracks me up every time.

I will even rewind it to watch the entire thing if I miss part of it.

When the dad chuckles at the end, I laugh out loud. My son rolls his eyes.

And yesterday, when my son was taking too long in the shower, I threatened to log into his Facebook account and post something on his wall about him being stuck in the bathroom.

I love technology.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

the relentless pursuit of a “good day.”

I wonder if I’ve always seen seasons in my life. Looking back, I don’t remember ever feeling anxious for certain times in my life to be over. I’ve hated a job or two and couldn’t wait for them to be over, I’ve hated a class or two and couldn’t wait for them to be over, but in the seasonal aspect of my life, I feel like I’ve always been comfortable right where I am.

I’ve been a long time true believer in the concept that “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I have a framed print in my living room with the words “Life is a journey.” on the top left corner. It’s a photo of a dad and his toddler son. The dad is painting the wall. The toddler is to his left, coloring on the newly painted wall. It was a two page Nissan magazine ad, I called a 1800 number to get a (free) copy of the print back in the 90’s and had it framed. “Life is a journey” is something I’ve believed for a very, very long time. I believe that everything I’ve experienced – the good and the bad – has led me to the person I am today.

Because I see life through this lens, I try to sincerely pay attention, and really ENGAGE in what’s happening today. I also have this overshadowing perspective that time is FLYING by. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced a personal crisis that threw me face to face with what’s important. But I have paid attention when friends have faced serious illness and death. My focus has been strengthened even more by Rachel Barkey’s testimony. I have a deep realization of what matters to me and try to make decisions based on those priorities.

One priority? My kids.

I didn’t have my son until I was 30. I had completed my education and had started working on my career. It went well. Launching my business in 1994 brought wonderful blessings, personal, professional and financial. I’ve been through some changes with regard to my work status as I do my best to stay true to my commitment to my family. As my family’s needs change, I adapt. But work is another post. This is about family.

Older women told me that the years with kids at home would fly by. We hear that so often as young mothers, covered in baby spit up and smelling like a combination of day old b.o., curdled milk, peanut butter and playdoh and we think, “yeah, yeah, yeah, I need a shower! and a nap. and some solitude.” And I really did need a shower and a nap. I desperately needed a little solitude. Sometimes I got them on the same day I needed them. Sometimes not.

But I KNEW it was true. These days are FLYING by! There’s an urgency about this time with my kids. I don’t want to waste it. I don’t want to let it slip by, while I focus on things that, in the big picture, just don’t matter. I’ve been on the other end of that kind of mothering. I fiercely don’t want that for myself or my kids. I said FIERCELY.

I get to the end of a day and really, really want to have used it well. Some days I look back and see myself saying and doing things I wish I hadn’t. But I have no patience (or time) to wallow in regret. I just tell my kids I was wrong and I’m sorry. Then I start over and try again the next day. Sometimes I don’t even wait for the day to end before I start over. Sometimes I catch myself in the middle of the day and change gears right then. But no matter what I say and do in my effort to achieve “a good day” there’s always been one underlying foundation. I feel like I’ve always done it, but it took a conversation with a client a few years ago to make me conscious of it.

The kids were little. FavoriteSon was 7 and PinkGirl was 18 months old. I remember because I was working at a client site during a firm wide computer upgrade in the summer of 2002. I was with another contractor, in an attorney’s office and the contractor asked: “Mr. W, how did you get such great kids?” Mr. W thought quietly for a few seconds and said:

“Well, you know, I’ve always respected them, no matter how old they were. I’ve always been interested in what they think and how they feel. I’m interested in what interests them. I just really enjoy spending time with them, whether we’re doing some activity together or just hanging out. I think they’re really great people.”

As I listened to Mr. W, I suddenly understood why I cared that a Charmander evolved into a Charmeleon and then into a Charizard. Because FavoriteSon cared. I knew why I actually spent a Friday night reading the entire Official Pokemon Manual to determine whether I would allow FavoriteSon to get into the Pokemon phenomenon. (My favorite Pokemon is a Jigglypuff. When they sing, they put you to sleep and then draw all over your face. Yes. I have a favorite Pokemon.) It’s why I watch every TV show my kids like. (They don’t watch that many shows.) We have a lot to talk about when I watch their TV shows. Learning opportunities abound. I listen to their music. I make FavoriteSon Google song lyrics for our approval before he’s allowed to download music. I made FavoriteSon “friend” me on Facebook.

I want to know anything they want to tell me. Because, someday – someday sooner than I would like – they aren’t going to tell me so much.

So in the middle of all this, I try to make the everyday a “good day.” Sure there’s the dishwasher to load and unload – again. And the laundry – with the man stank of football season. And the bathroom floor, the cat hair on the stairs, kicking a path through toys in PinkGirl’s room, the homework, the kid chauffeuring, the kid bickering, the lunch packing, and whatever that smell is in my van. I tire of this list. You get the idea.

But the thing is, this is life. This stuff happens. E V E R Y day. I can’t stop it. But when it does stop, it will be OVER. And I believe older women when they tell me they remember it as a GOOD time in their life, some even say it was the BEST time in their life. In that frame of reference, this time is so short!

I am COMPELLED to make “good days” in the middle of this fast paced, ever changing thing I call my life. It is so funny how the kids, when asked about what they remember about their past, come up with the simplest of things. Dragging the kitchen table into the family room and covering it with blankets to make a tent in front of the TV. Sending in bowls of popcorn. Leaving the table there for hours because I really had no compelling reason to put it back. Knowing as I handed the popcorn through the blankets that there would be vacuuming in my future.

I’ve spent this regular ol’ Monday afternoon with my daughter while FavoriteSon was at football practice. She and I picked him up, greeting him with a cold Gatorade. I started this post while she was doing her homework and now, as I finish it up and FavoriteSon is in the shower, I hear my husband and daughter in the next room. She’s cracking up. He’s blowing a raspberry on her belly. It’s a school night and there are still lunches to pack, clothes to lay out, showers to finish and prayers to say. Homework is done, dinner is done, the kitchen is trashed. Again. Monday night football for FavoriteSon and FirstHusband. Reading for PinkGirl and myself.

It was a good day.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | intentional living, pragmatic parenting, women | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sings My Soul Saturday: Lead Me to the Cross.

Our church’s 9:30 service praise team is introducing two new songs to the congregation this week. I’ve been singing it all week in my car, walking around the house with my mp3 player, freaking out the cats, I even woke up to it in my head this morning.

I can’t wait for the congregation to learn it because in my head I can hear the women singing the bridge. It just floats. So beautiful.

For more Saturday music, check out Then Sings My Soul Saturday every Saturday hosted by Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

August 22, 2009 Posted by | christian living, music, youtube | , , | 3 Comments

weird al: white and nerdy. and funny.

I’m adding to my “little known facts” today. Here’s the latest:

“Weird Al is on my mp3 player.”

I think he’s flippin hilarious, and brilliantly creative! I love his fast paced wit. The final youtube video for “White and Nerdy” has embedding disabled, but this pre-production video allowed it.

Can you tell who that is dancing in the background? I know Weird Al is supposed to be the main attraction, but I can’t stop watching Donny. He’s fearless. And a great sport!

CLICK HERE if you want to watch the completed video and find out what they did with the green screen.

Fans of The Big Bang Theory will love it! We can’t wait for September 21st!!!! Season 3!!!

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | laugh!, youtube | , | 4 Comments

WFMW: office chairs at the kitchen table.

We’ve made a big change here at Casa Aqua (the name Casa Aqua is a long story. Suffice it to say we are no strangers to dehumidifiers and industrial carpet fans). We ditched our straight backed wooden slat chairs (as comfy as they were) and have purchased four office desk chairs for our kitchen table. Take a look:

kitchen chairs before1

kitchen chairs before2

kitchen chairs after

Last year we experienced a shift in homework time-continuum as FavoriteSon tried different locations to complete his homework. Neither of my kids likes to be isolated during homework time. Neither of them want a desk in their room to do said homework. I’m sure it’s because they just can’t bear to be apart from me.

(convincing and heartfelt pause)


But seriously, this is a good thing. Because they both tend to “daydream” (code word for mild ADD) and I find myself asking “Are you distracted?” “Whatcha doing?” and “Status report, please.” when I see them doing anything BUT homework.

By the end of last year, FavoriteSon’s homework location of choice was MY reading spot:

Reading Spot

Reading Spot

He complained that the chairs at both our kitchen table and our dining table made his back hurt. I couldn’t disagree with him. So, we sometimes let him do his homework while sitting here. By the end of these evenings, he was sprawled across the loveseat, eyes drooping, pretty much useless. We would send him to bed and wake him up early to finish in the morning. On the days we forced him to sit at a table, the whining was frequent and escalating, extending the time he spent doing the homework in the chairs of pain. (physical pain for him, a whole NUTHER kind of pain for us.)

This year, we had a plan. We took the kids to Staples and Office Depot to pick out chairs. FavoriteSon settled right into a $90 chair. A little steep, but we agreed with the condition that he N E V E R complain about the seating for homework again. And that he MUST A L W A Y S sit at the kitchen table to do his homework.

PinkGirl kept picking out cushy velour chairs FirstHusband and I vetoed every one, envisioning a daily task of removing crusty food from an increasingly hard and stained surface. ewww.

We finally found a $70 chair for her that was COMPLETELY adjustable. The seat goes up and down and tilts forward and backward. The back goes forward and backward as well as up and down. The entire chair moves up and down. And the arms are adjustable.

Of course, it didn’t match FavoriteSon’s chair. And while I’m not opposed to the quirkiness of this “office chairs in the kitchen” idea, I DO have some sense of aesthetics (aka decorating), so we opted to get two and two. FavoriteSon and I have the same chair and FirstHusband and PinkGirl have the same chair. (So what do you think? Do I need a more contemporary table now? I can’t decide.)

Two evenings of homework and so far, so good.

And yes. I am sure I see scratches on the floor already. But I do not care. This floor has had “character” for years now. When my kids are grown and have moved out, I will have a beautiful kitchen floor. But in the words Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen): “It is not THIS day!

And I’m okay with that. This works for me – and my family.

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

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

August 19, 2009 Posted by | home sweet home, intentional living, pragmatic parenting | , , , , | 3 Comments

sometimes free just isn’t worth it.

My newspaper subscription ran out. I know this because last week someone called to ask if I would like to renew it. Considering the labor intensive household task of carrying the newspaper from the driveway directly to the recycling bin has lost its appeal, I said “No thank you.”

The nice lady told me I would need to call another number and actually cancel the paper, she was just in sales.

okay, then.

So this week, another nice lady called to again tell me my newspaper subscription was expired. FirstHusband and I had talked a bit between these two “courtesy calls” and decided we really don’t mind getting the Sunday paper. It actually gets taken out of the bag and sifted through before laying around the house for a few days – BEFORE it goes into the recycling bin. Sometimes I even take Thursday’s paper out of the plastic bag to peruse the food section. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: We don’t really want so many papers per week. Just Sunday is good.

Her: Well, you actually only pay for Sunday’s paper, the rest of your papers are free. It’s a really good deal. If you only get Sunday’s paper, you’ll still be paying the same amount.

Me: I realize that, but at this point, our free papers are causing us extra work on a daily basis. We have two soaking wet papers in the driveway right now.

Her: Oh.


Her: Do you have any pets in the house?


Me: You mean the kind of pets who might need shredded newspaper? . . . No.

Wait. Did the newspaper sales person just suggest that I use the newspaper for the direct purpose of letting my pet pee on it?

The newspaper industry is in serious trouble. I feel compelled to lend some assistance. If you don’t need any newspaper to soak up pet urine either, here are some more reasons to subscribe:

Maybe you could make this for your pet at Christmas. So festive!

August 16, 2009 Posted by | laugh!, youtube | , , , , | 2 Comments

the friendship algorithm.

We love Sheldon. He makes us feel like we’re normal. And of course, since we’ve learned this simple formula, making friends has never been easier.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

August 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

a matter of perspective.

At the library yesterday, I happened upon this book just laying flat on one of the shelves:

Extraordinary Women: Fantasies Revealed: 58 Women of Accomplishment Portray Hidden Dreams and Real Hopes

58 prominent, accomplished women were asked what they dreamed about becoming when they were children. Surfers, ballerinas, opera singers, Olympians, doctors . . . Each women was featured in a two page layout. Their answers appeared on the left and a photograph portraying them in that role appeared on the right.

What they dreamed about becoming when they were children.

Some of the answers fit the question. But the two that struck me the most didn’t. Instead, they answered the question:

What is your dream? Subtle difference.

The dream of CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien, photographed snuggled in bed with her four children – including twin boys – all under the age of five?

Eight hours of sleep.

Then, you turn the page and you see . . .

Madeleine Albright.

Her dream? Worldwide democracy.

I busted out laughing. Eight hours of sleep vs. worldwide democracy. Did the editors put those two back to back on purpose?

But really. It IS a matter of perspective. Tell me that Madeleine Albright wouldn’t dream of eight hours sleep if she had four kids under five years of age.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | books, laugh!, women | , , , , | 5 Comments

miles, planks and rambling.

1.5 Miles in 24 minutes and a 2 Minute Plank. Just updated my exercise log.

No more (insert whiny voice here) “but, but, but, I had s u r g e r y . . . ” excuses. If I don’t post an update tomorrow night, somebody kick my butt back into play!

I’m surprised at the 2 minute plank. I didn’t think I was going to be at 2 minutes, that’s where I left off before the surgery. The 24 minutes are about what I expected. I’ve got to pick up the pace on that.

I was SOOOOO cranky last week. Tonight, during my walk I realized how much I really missed the mind clearing that comes with the walking. It’s a VERY busy week, but I’ve just got to make time for it. I’m shooting for a minimum of 15 minutes a day, but once I’m going, it’s pretty easy to keep going. I just need to put my shoes on. Once I get my shoes on, I just need to walk to the sidewalk. Once I’m to the sidewalk, I just need to walk past the next house . . .

I’m also paying very close attention to food intake this week. I’m feeling very run down, kinda like when I was anemic (before the surgery). I’m going to have my iron tested, maybe tomorrow, but I’m trying to eat healthier to see if it makes a difference. I don’t really diet anymore, I’ve changed to a more sustainable eating plan that focuses more on what I SHOULD do instead of what I shouldn’t do. Like instead of saying I’m not going to drink so much Diet Coke, I focus on increasing my water intake and I don’t have room for Diet Coke. Same for eating. If my goal is to eat two servings of fruit in a day, then I have less room for anything less healthy. Like chili cheese Fritos. I’m measuring food for a few days to remind myself of serving sizes, timing my meals and snacks to space them about every three hours in an effort to keep my metabolism up . . . that kind of thing. Trying to take my vitamins every day too, including my B12 – maybe I need a vitamin log.

I’m also going to try to sit in my sauna every night this week. It should be hot now. I love my sauna. Thank you God for my sauna.

(I’m reading Beyond Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson and I’ve been busy thanking God for His overabundant blessings – even more than usual.)

Tomorrow is open house/meet the teachers for both kids, sports physical for FavoriteSon, haircut for FavoriteSon, football practice for FavoriteSon. And the check engine light came on about 2 blocks from home today. And I’m one of those people who is compelled to get the engine checked when the check engine light is on. I have no idea where that’s going to fit in the day.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments


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