Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

need some “sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, spending too much time on the internet” medicine.

PinkGirl did the writing on the sign in sheet at her school for me so I wouldn’t spread germs:
Date: 4/18
Time: 9:01 (school started at 8am)
Reason: “Mom is sick”
Disapproving look from temp worker at the front desk.
Me: “Be nice or I’ll hug you.” (to myself)


Doc: “When did this start?”
Me: Thursday night. Been living on Sudafed, Mucinex & leftover hydrocodone.”
Doc, laughing/shaking head: “You’re not supposed to tell me that.”
A few minutes later: “You need a shot. You’re wheezing.”
Today, I love that steroid shot more than coffee. not kidding.


Lord, thank you for my doctor. Thank you for that relationship. You sent me to him so long ago that I forget to appreciate that blessing. Thank you for all the free and affordable medicine – and for the steroid shot.


For the next few days, the acronym “LOL” will be replaced with “COL” because lately, the first doesn’t come without the second.

PinkGirl: Mom, what does “COL” mean?
Me: Coughing Out Loud, because when I laugh, I start coughing.
PinkGirl: “You should just say LOL.”
Me: “Yesterday you told me I was too OLD to use LOL.”
PinkGirl: “Well, old people can use it in private.”
Me: “How old does someone have to be before they should only use LOL in private?”
PinkGirl: “29.”


what the heck? I took some of the samples my doctor gave me for symptoms and within the hour I felt like a complete space cadet. The decongestant was phenylephrine. I usually take pseudoephedrine. I may be wrong & my symptoms were the cause of the lightheadedness, so I’m going to take the next dose – with supervision.

(I really, really needed a decongestant. The effects of the sauna wore off too fast and my neti pot wasn’t even working. Benadryl is an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine – which is also the main ingredient in TylenolPM, Nytol, Sominex…KNOCKS me out. TylenolPM dosage says take two, I can never handle more than half of ONE. I was taking Mucinex for the chest congestion.)


Lord, thank you for this day of rest. Please help me to get better so I can get back to “real” life.


I changed my mind. FirstHusband says I shouldn’t take any more phenylephrine. He said we had a phone conversation earlier today and I was really “out of it.” (I think I remember talking to him…)

Nobody called me today and asked me to volunteer for anything did they?


Lord, even in my tiredness and with all these nasty germs, please show me how I can serve you today.


PinkGirl: “MOM! The duck came SO close to me this time!”
Me: “Did you feed it?”
PinkGirl: “Yeh, cat food.”
Me: “wait. have you been throwing cat food in the back yard?”
PinkGirl: “yeh”
Me: “For how long?”
PinkGirl: “a week. maybe two.”
NOW I know what the raccoons are digging for and eating every night.


okay, I have a new game for the Easter Bunny Cake blog post of 2009.
Will it beat its own record?
The highest number of views it got in a single day was 3,709 on April 3, 2010, which was ONE day before Easter last year. Today it got 2,135 views.


eBay sent me a “Happy Anniversary” email today. Eleven years and they can’t spare a coupon code? At the very least they could have made it fun and included the item titles of the very first things I bought and sold.

Later…Obviously, I don’t watch TV when I’m sick. I hang out on the internet and search my email archive file for my very first eBay auction win: A Mr. Potato Head Voice Changing Recorder. eh. big whoop.


My daughter felt compelled to show me this video today:

April 18, 2011 Posted by | caffeine, health, laugh!, poor me some whine, status updates, youtube | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey JC, JC won’t you smile at me die for me?

I have musical traditions.

Our family has to listen to Nat King Cole sing “the chestnut song” (The Christmas Song) while we decorate the Christmas tree.

Satchmo has to sing What A Wonderful World in my house on Thanksgiving. Multiple times.

and on Palm Sunday, I have to listen to Hosanna (“Hosanna, Heysanna”) from Jesus Christ Superstar. Has to be done.

I was introduced the Jesus Christ Superstar at 15, when my chorus teacher trusted me with my very first solo. It was “I Don’t Know How To Love Him. I wasn’t a Christian.

I had absolutely no idea what I was singing about.

Flash forward . . . a few years. It’s never been easier to listen to this song – now I get to WATCH it too. And this year, I noticed something I never caught when I listened to the audio recordings. If I ever noticed it while watching before, I flippantly attributed it to a video glitch, although seeing it now, I wonder how I ever made that mistake.

Watch the 10 seconds that begin around 2:29 minute mark.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | christian living, music, pragmatic communion, youtube | , , , , | 3 Comments

sick pants.

FirstHusband came home & I went to the top of the stairs to talk to him.

Me: “I’m up here.

(pause)

Doing nothing.

(pause)

Just started.”

FirstHusband: “What just started?”

Me: “Me. Doing nothing.”

FirstHusband: “Go for it.”

Me: “It’s not the same.”

FirstHusband, sympathetically: “Did you throw away your sick pants?”

Me: “no. (sigh) They’re just too giant. I have to hold them up when I walk.”

FirstHusband: “that’s a GOOD thing.”

Me: “I know. (pause) But these aren’t the same.”

FirstHusband: “I’m sorry.”

sigh.

I’m not the only one who has “sick pants” right?

(Mine are were plaid flannel. You know, that really, really soft flannel that comes from decades of use? But. They are XL. and I wear a medium now. and the elastic waistband is as old as the flannel. Warning: I’m not sure I’m done mourning them yet.)

I need to go into the sauna again and burn some germs. die germs. die.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | fight the frump, laugh!, peace love mickey, poor me some whine, status updates | , , , | 2 Comments

Word-Filled Wednesday: Psalms 42:5

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Psalms 42:4-5

(CLICK HERE to read a short devotion/prayer
that goes with this verse and photo)


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

April 13, 2011 Posted by | christian living, Word-Filled Wednesday | , , | 4 Comments

tracking the drift.

“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Psalms 42:4-5

How does it happen? How do I consistently dedicate daily time with God – for months – YEARS – and then just . . . stop?

I don’t understand it.

But I do. The Bible is full of stories about people forgetting God. Elijah experienced discouragement. So did David. Story after story. My faith is no stronger than theirs.

It seems like it was a “single moment” kinda stop. I think. I’m not sure. Maybe it was gradual. I need clues. My prayer journal is my historical record. When did it happen? Working backwards, I see near daily journal entries for April, and for March 31st. The last entry before that? March 23. I didn’t write in my prayer journal for 7 days. That represents a week without dedicated time with God.

The March 31st entry begins with:

“Lord, I miss my time with you. It’s so easy to get distracted and allow my time and thoughts to be pre-occupied by what I believe to be the “demands” of the day.”

Please draw me back to you. Remind me till I see.

Then I read the words that reveal I was smack in the middle of a spiritual desert on March 31st:

“Please bless me with an overwhelming awareness of your presence in my life, not in an abstract, general way, but in an intimate, detailed way. Help me to be aware – to STAY aware of you. Please don’t let me find myself going through the motions, doing what comes “next” without considering whether it should be done at all.

Please reach into my heart, past all the barriers and bring me back into intimate fellowship with you . . . Lord I miss the joy and peace I experience when I’m in close fellowship with you. I miss the recognition of you working in my life . . . Please encourage me today, please jolt me into a place of desperate desire for time with you, for the saturation of your Spirit in my every moment.

The next day, April 1st, I took my first step back. I’m still finding my way, so I’m not ready to explore that part of my journey quite yet. I’m looking for a trigger. Wondering what I need to address before I can get completely clear of this desert. How did I get here?

Realistic or not, I’m also trying to avoid the next desert trip. I’m compelled to try and figure out what to do differently next time. Because I’m not so arrogant as to claim there won’t be a next time. I’ve still got one foot buried in the sand as it is.

What was I praying about in the days before I took a nose dive into a spiritual abyss? Or, as evidenced by the gaps in my prayer journal, what was I NOT praying about?

I have no idea if I’m going to be able to track back to a trigger. I’ve got some journal reading to do. I’m starting with March 23rd and working my way backwards.

Prayer in distress dredges the soul. It is a good thing to keep a note
of the things you prayed about when you were in distress. We remain ignorant
of ourselves because we do not keep a spiritual autobiography.

Oswald Chambers: The Best from All His Books
Oswald Chambers

April 12, 2011 Posted by | books, christian living, devotions, pragmatic communion, prayer | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

she’ll be here all week.

PinkGirl: “Mom, ya know why it’s really good to have a dog?”

Me: “no, why?”

PinkGirl: “cause they can tell when you’re gonna have a seizure.”

Me: “Are you going to have a seizure?”

PinkGirl: “I don’t know. I don’t have a dog.”

Me, laughing: “you crack me UP, girl.”

PinkGirl: “I’ll be here all week. (pause) I’ll be here all life.”

April 7, 2011 Posted by | family, laugh!, status updates | , , | 1 Comment

do they make church appropriate stretchy pants?

One thing I do when I sense distance between me and God is to beg Him for opportunities to serve him. It never fails to draw me into a more intimate awareness of His presence in my life. The last few weeks, I’ve been begging.

Then, at Tuesday’s yoga class, I was asked to join a few ladies to do “Son” salutations to the Lord’s prayer – during the church services on Sunday.

I was not excited about this opportunity.

Seriously, doing downward facing dog in front of the entire church congregation? Not what I had in mind when I asked God for an opportunity to serve him.

But isn’t that frequently the case?

I ask God for an opportunity to serve him, He provides one and my response is, “but. but. but. I don’t want to do THAT!” I don’t always have specific ideas about how I COULD serve him but I DO have ideas about how I DON’T want to serve him and sticking my badonka donk butt up in the air for a downward facing dog in front of the entire church congregation is firmly on that list.

Was firmly on that list.

Today, I asked the yoga instructor, “After you do yoga during a church service, do you find that someone new comes to class after that? Because they were prompted by seeing it?”

“YES!”

oh.

well.

okay, then.

And I’m reminded. God can use ANYthing for his purposes and glory. Even a downward facing dog.

So, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to serve God. With a joyful attitude. I’m sure I will have a joyful attitude, I just haven’t quite gotten there completely. Yet. Right now, I have a positive attitude, which is a long way from where I was this morning.

As I drove away from yoga this morning, I realized this opportunity supports something else I’ve been doing for the last few months. I’ve been posting my fitness goals and my daily progress on my blog, facebook and twitter. I’ve received feedback (on and off the internet) that my fitness updates have been encouraging to more people than I realized. I really thought that I would post these updates for my own personal tracking, but the feedback that I’ve received has been a two-way encouragement. People see me fail and try again and they are encouraged to try again. They see me nick away at fitness goals, a little every day and they are encouraged to do the same.

I’ve made a commitment to be a good steward of this body God has blessed me with and to hold myself accountable by sharing that commitment with others. To stand on the stage this Sunday morning and sing with the praise team – and then, moments later, NOT participate in yoga during the Lord’s prayer after, would NOT be in line with that commitment.

Now I just need to go shopping for church appropriate stretchy pants.

April 7, 2011 Posted by | christian living, exercise, health, laugh!, poor me some whine | , , , , | 1 Comment

in the dark. surrounded by trees.

an analogy. no. an allegory.

When I first began recording, the studio I sang in was separated from its control booth. The doors to each room were around a corner from each other and there was no window between the sound studio and the control booth, like you often see on TV. I was completely separated from people – physically, visually and audibly.

It was a little weird, especially because there were long minutes of silence between takes while the guys in the control booth were talking to each other and I couldn’t hear them – or see them.

It was also very, very cold in that room. I remember bringing a jacket and a scarf, even in the spring and summer. I would tuck my fists in my pockets and wrap the scarf around my face because my fingers and my nose would get so cold.

But the weirdest thing about that studio was that the lights were on a motion sensor. After about 15 minutes, the lights would automatically turn off and I would be left in the dark.

pitch dark. There were no windows, remember?

Even more challenging was the fact that I was surrounded by what the sound guys called “trees.” They were actually big fat, foam-like tubes on stick-like stands. I’m not sure exactly why they needed to surround me the way they did – I’m sure it was to enhance the sound and create a “sweet spot” in some way – but the bottom line is that when the lights went out, it was a challenge for me to find my way past the trees and move into the motion sensor’s line of sight to activate the lights again.

The recording sessions were about 3 and a half hours long and, tucked in the middle of the microphone (with all its accoutrements) and these giant trees, there was no place to sit down. At the end of the session, I was tired. I was tired from the singing and I was tired from the standing.

If you’ve read my last “four minutes with God” post, you may already know where I’m going with this. (if you haven’t, go ahead and click the previous link and catch up, I’ll wait. really, go ahead, it makes the rest of this post less confusing)

For a few weeks now, spiritually, I’ve been in the dark. surrounded by trees.

But here’s the thing. When I was in that studio and the lights went out during a take, I didn’t stop singing. I kept going. It didn’t matter that I was in the dark. I knew what I was supposed to be doing whether I could see or not. I didn’t really even need to see the lyrics sheet because I knew the song by heart.

I actually found that I sounded better when I couldn’t see, if you can believe that. The darkness meant there were less distractions.

Singing in the dark helped me focus on what was important while allowing me to abandon myself to God’s leading – at the same time.

Disconcerting at first, but as I grew more dependent on the instincts I believe God provided for me, instead of the tangible, visible microphone, the lyric sheet with its numbered lines, the headphones with the cord that kept overlapping my right arm, the line of masking tape on the floor to mark where I should stand…

I realized I didn’t need all those assurances. They were tiny, irrelevant markers of proof for what I confidently knew:

- the microphone was working and there were people in the sound booth who could hear me
- they were taking the work I was doing and making it even better.
- I didn’t need lyrics if I knew the words by heart.
- it might be cold, but it was temporary and I was equipped for it.
- yeah, I would get tired, but nothing beyond what I could handle and I could rest later, after my work was finished.
- if I started out standing in the right place and didn’t absently step away, I would stay in the center of the sweet spot.

All of that led me to an even greater assurance: that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing, when I was supposed to be doing it and that I was being equipped by someone far more able to help me than all those other things.

When the lights were on, it never occurred to me to abandon all the markers I could see and depend wholly on an “invisible God” as Philip Yancey calls him.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of this experience in my life and showing me how it relates to the lessons you’re teaching me right now:

- You are with me whether I can see You or not.

– I can depend on You whether or not you provide me with easily recognizable assurances or ask me to trust You as You lead me through the dark for a while.

– I’m going to keep singing, knowing You can still hear me and knowing that you’ll show me what I need to see, when I need to see it.


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Communion blog.

April 6, 2011 Posted by | books, christian living, music, pragmatic communion, pragmatic practices, prayer | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

so I failed. NOW what?

One of my favorite movies scenes is from Elizabethtown. After Orlando Bloom’s character tells Kirsten Dunst’s character about his colossal career mistake, she replies:

“So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed. You failed.”

Harsh, I know. But then she says,

“You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.”

My translation? “So you failed. NOW what are you going to do?”

I failed. I didn’t meet my March fitness goals:

Goal - Walk an average of 2.3 miles per day, totaling 71.3 miles.
Actual – Walked 69.2 miles, short 2.1 miles.

GoalBOSU pushups: average 20 per day, total 620. (originally 10 per day. I doubled this goal – big mistake.
Actual410, which is 100 over my original goal and 210 UNDER my modified goal.

Goal - 2 Minute Plank: Average one per day, for a total of 31 times, If I missed a day, I was supposed to make it up.
Actual23, 8 short of goal.

Goal – 1 Minute Superman: Average 1 per day for a total of 31 for the month, miss it? Supposed to make it up.
Actual -23, again, 8 short of goal.

NOW what? I’m going to set new goals for April and strive to achieve them.

I’ve taken a look at why I failed and I’ve discovered a few things:
- The daily 1 minute superman and the 2 minute plank were reasonable goals. That’s THREE minutes a day.
- Increasing the walking distance was a waste. I need to walk smarter, not longer. And I need a day off.
- I HATED those BOSU push-ups – because I wasn’t successful. I couldn’t do 20 of them in a row. And they never got easier. I found myself skipping the floor work altogether because of those stupid push-ups. Besides, they only worked isolated muscles. I hate doing that – waste of time when I could be working multiple muscle groups.

So here are my modified fitness goals for April:
1 one minute superman per day, total of 30. (already behind)
1 two minute forearm plank per day, total of 30. (already behind)
Yoga/Strength training: 3 days per week. (this will be a challenge)
Walk an average of 2 miles per day – taking Saturday’s off – for a total of 50 miles – at 6.5 percent incline on the treadmill. (that’s the smarter, not longer part). Any walks in the flat neighborhood with FirstHusband will be bonus miles.

I’m also adding some nutrition goals:
Take my vitamins and supplements every day.
Eat at least one serving of fruit every day. (this may be the most challenging goal of all. not because I don’t like fruit, but because, in general, I often forget to eat much of anything after breakfast)

WHY am I doing this? Because just a few short years ago, I couldn’t. I’ve been given a second chance to take care of this body God has blessed me with and I’m determined to be a good steward of it. Did I mentioned I was DETERMINED?


I’m blogging my daily fitness updates in my exercise log, and posting my daily progress on my Facebook page and my Twitter account, so follow along any way you like:
1. Subscribe to the blog via email or RSS (there are widgets in the sidebar to subscribe)
2. “Like” my Facebook page to see the updates in your news feed or
3. Follow me on Twitter!

I would LOVE it if you would join me in fitness accountability by commenting either here or on the facebook page and letting me know your progress too!


Still lurking around, thinking about the possibility of making small changes in your day to get healthier? I want to encourage you to set a reasonable, sustainable fitness goal for yourself for the month of April and (here’s the key) make yourself accountable to someone! If you do it, let me know how it’s going and I’ll pray for you!

If you currently have an inactive lifestyle, consider exercising 1 minute a day. ONE minute. And (here’s that key again) make yourself accountable to someone who will support and encourage you! (If you exercise for ONE minute per day for a week, tell me and then I’ll tell you why I only challenged you to work out for ONE minute)

April 5, 2011 Posted by | christian living, exercise, fight the frump, health, intentional living, what I've learned, women | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

four minutes with God: 1 Kings 19:10-15

whatareyoudoinghereelijaha Quote:
“Sometimes we experience a terrible dryness in our spiritual lives. We feel no desire to pray, don’t experience God’s presence, get bored with worship services, and even think that everything we ever believed about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is little more than a childhood fairy tale.

Then it is important to realize that most of these feelings and thoughts are just feelings and thoughts, and that the Spirit of God dwells beyond our feelings and thoughts. It is a great grace to be able to experience God’s presence in our feelings and thoughts, but when we don’t, it does not mean that God is absent. It often means that God is calling us to a greater faithfulness. It is precisely in times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God.(emphasis added)

(from Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith and
The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life both by Henri Nouwen)

my Prayer:
Lord, I’m going to keep listening for your voice even when I think I can’t hear you.
I’m going to keep looking for you even when I think I can’t find you.
I’m going to keep talking to you even when I think I’m not making sense.
I’m going to keep reading your word even when I think I don’t understand it.
I’m going to keep serving you even when I’m not sure I’m doing any good at all.
I’m going to keep singing to you, knowing you can hear both my words and my heart.

Lord, I know these thoughts and feelings are lies. I’m so thankful that my faith isn’t grounded in them because they are temporary. You are eternal. And you are here with me, whether I can sense your presence or not. Thank you for that knowledge, it’s my rock.

the Word:
“He [Elijah] replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.”

1 Kings 19:14-15(NAS)

My Paraphrase:
Elijah: “wah, wah, wah, I just witnessed your unlimited power, but now I’m sad and I feel alone.”
God: “I am HERE. Why are you still here?”
Elijah: “wah, wah, wah, I just witnessed your unlimited power, but now I’m sad and I feel alone.”
God: “Go. You have work to do, and whining isn’t on your to-do list.”

1 Kings 19:10-15(NAS)

the lyric:
“This is my prayer in the desert, when all that’s within me feels dry. This is my prayer in my hunger and need, my God is the God who provides…I will rejoice, I will declare, God is my victory and He is here.”
from Desert Song by Hillsong

“Come Holy One, awaken me, to your design, from my sleep.”
from Your Name by Curtis Froisland


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Communion blog.

April 4, 2011 Posted by | books, christian living, devotions, four minutes with God, music, pragmatic communion, pragmatic practices, praise team music, prayer, youtube | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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