Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

twang /twaNG/ (noun) a sharp vibrating sound (as of a plucked string)

So, last night, at praise team rehearsal, the sound guy asked me if I remembered the complaints about my voice being “piercing.”

Me, laughing: “no….I hadn’t heard that. It seems that information was filtered from me.”

SoundGuy: “Well, when you hit a certain frequency – 3.5 kHz – your voice gets really loud and piercing. You don’t do anything different, it just happens on it’s own. I put a filter in your profile at 3.5 kHz, so it doesn’t happen anymore.”

I look at my son, who also runs sound. He confirmed, “I’ve heard it too.”

Me, to my son: “pshhh. why didn’t you ever tell me?”

My son: “Cause it’s fixed.”

(can’t fault him. he’s pragmatic too. if it’s fixed, it’s over, so what’s the point of talking about it?)

Me, suspecting: “Is there a particular song where it happens?”

SoundGuy: “Well, definitely the bridge on ‘No Sweeter Name’. . .

Me, interrupting: “I KNEW it!! That bridge does NOT feel right!”

SoundGuy, continuing: “I don’t remember what else. But it’s fixed. It doesn’t happen anymore.”

Me: “Still. This is SO cool! I’ve gotta ask my voice teacher if she’s ever heard of it. THANK YOU for fixing it! And, really, THANKS for figuring it out! (pause) How did you figure it out?”

SoundGuy: “wahh, wahh, wahh, wahh, wahh, wahh…” (something about watching a gauge while I sang and applying a filter at 3.5 kHz – seriously, there’s a reason I don’t run sound.)

Me: “I’m an anomaly!”

Skip to the next day (today). I’ve already scheduled a voice lesson. If it’s possible for me to control this phenomenon, I’ve got some work to do!

But I’m curious, so today I Google: “voice piercing 3.5 khz”

This is SO cool (emphasis added):

Twang is the bright, brassy, ringing voice quality commonly heard in country-western singing, witch cackling, a child’s ‘‘nya, nya’’ taunt, and is equated often with duck quacking. Physiologically, twang is produced by narrowing the epilarynx via constriction of the aryepiglottic sphincter. The acoustic outcome of narrowing this laryngeal vestibule is a clustering of the third, fourth, and fifth formants resulting in a higher amplitude of all vowel spectra in the vicinity of 3.0 kHz. Perceptually, the voice is amplified with piercing intensity because this increase in energy between 2.8 and 4.3 kHz corresponds with the resonant frequency of the external auditory meatus; as a result, fundamental frequencies below 1.0 kHz receive a boost of 15–20 dB in sound transmitted to the middle ear without an increase in vocal effort by the speaker. This production has been exploited by expert speakers and singers to boost vocal resonance or ‘‘squillo’’ and is referred to as the speaker’s ring or singer’s formant.” (from A Novel Treatment for Hypophonic Voice: Twang Therapy)

I can learn to EXPLOIT this?!?! I can’t wait for my voice lesson!

November 30, 2011 Posted by | laugh!, learning curve, music | , , | 1 Comment

conversations with myself.

(Some of you know I’m writing a book. Most recently I’ve been focused on accountability. Don’t know how much will make it through final edits, but today, this is what came out of my memory and my fingertips. Note: (1) This was many YEARS ago. (2) I do NOT really talk to myself like this. That would be crazy.)

I have a collection of coffee mugs that completely fills the kitchen cabinet I’ve designated as the “coffee mug cabinet.” So far, when I get a new mug, I’ve been successful in getting rid of an old one so the coffee mug cabinet stays full, but doesn’t overflow into another one.

I also have a collection of CHRISTMAS coffee mugs that completely fills the same cabinet.

You see my problem.

When I first started collecting coffee mugs, I didn’t pay attention to how much space they took up. I saw a coffee mug I liked and I bought it. Eventually I got to the point where all the mugs didn’t fit into the space, so I started packing up the Christmas mugs and storing them in the attic, only taking them down during the month of December.

In December, my cabinet overflowed.

Then a few years ago, I had a long overdue epiphany. When I UNpacked the Christmas mugs, I PACKED the everyday mugs in the same box and instead of putting an empty mug box back into the attic for the month of December, I put a full mug box into the attic.

There’s a lesson here. Just in time for the chaos of the Christmas season.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I’m dead:

You CAN have it all, you just can’t have it all AT THE SAME TIME.


Choose on PURPOSE.

Everyone knows someone who’s schedule is overloaded. Someone who has said “yes” to too many things. Someone who tries to do so many things, they do none of them well. Someone who is a job hog. You may even BE one of those people.

I used to be one of those people, until I had a long, honest, humbling talk with myself:

FedUpMe: “What is your problem? WHY do you keep doing this?

MartyrMe: “what?”

FedUpMe: “WHY do you keep saying yes to everything?”

MartyrMe: “Well, they asked me. They NEED me.”

FedUpMe: “They need you. They need you? Are you sure you don’t need them to need you?”

MartyrMe: “Of course not! I’m doing all this out of the goodness of my heart. Because I’m a good person and I want to help.”

FedUpMe: “and you get nothing out of it.”

MartyrMe: “NO! Most of the time people don’t even appreciate all I do for them.”

FedUpMe: “Of course they don’t. Nobody appreciates a half-%&# job.”

MartyrMe: “I do NOT do a half-%&# job!!! I work my butt off! Look at my schedule! I don’t have ANY time for myself! EVERYthing I do is for other people. I don’t even have time to work out! I run on coffee!”

FedUpMe: “This is me you’re talking to.”

MartyrMe: “But…”

FedUpMe: “Save it. You’re not selling that load here. Look at everything you do. You don’t get anything out of it personally? How many of these things you’ve committed to come with lots of people telling you how great you are? How many times do you tell people about all the stuff you do so they’ll tell you how great you are? (mocking voice) ‘Oh, I just don’t know how you do it all!'”

MartyrMe: “I can’t just quit. There’s nobody else to do it.”

FedUpMe: “Are you really that arrogant?”

MartyrMe: “If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done.”

FedUpMe: “Are you sure about that? Are you SURE that you’re not hogging a job someone else wants? A job someone is just WAITING for you to give up so they can have a shot at it? A job you really aren’t suited for? Are you afraid someone else might do it better? Because I’ll tell you now, they probably could. Because you do a half-%&# job.”

MartyrMe: “shut up. I do NOT do a half-%&# job. I’m doing my best.”

FedUpMe: “You did not just say that. (pregnant pause) What is your favorite Churchill quote?”

MartyrMe: “shutup.”

FedUpMe: “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”

silence. brooding. arrogant brooding.

MartyrMe: “I never liked you.”

FedUpMe: “There are a lot of people who don’t like me. And yet I’m still breathing.”

MartyrMe: “You’ve got issues. and you’re bossy.”

FedUpMe: “duh. I’m YOU.”

MartyrMe: “I can’t just quit. I’m already committed.”

FedUpMe: “Yeh, well, you’re gonna be committed if you don’t find some balance in your life. Look. Start by figuring out two things:

First, what’s important to you? What are your goals in life?
Second, what are you good at? What talents has God blessed you with and which ones are you actively developing?

Be brutally honest with yourself, but more importantly, ask other people for feedback and give them permission to tell you the truth. Then you’ll know what to let go of, what to keep in your life and what you need to improve on. If you want to do something and you aren’t very good at it, then GET good at it. Learn. Practice. And don’t forget. There are seasons for things. Just because you want to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it NOW. You don’t have to do everything at the same time. You CAN’T do everything at the same time. Not well. Rotate your commitments.

Like Christmas coffee mugs.

November 29, 2011 Posted by | christian living, intentional living, laugh!, learning curve, poor me some whine, pragmatic communion, pragmatic presence, what I've learned | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

time’s a wastin.

A family in my church lost their mom to cancer last night.

Warning: Death always makes me even more freakishly intentional about living out my faith and if you are someone in my life, I will be relentlessly encouraging you to do the same.

If you don’t want to hear it, avoid me until my human nature nicks away at my memory and motivation and I go back to a “normal” level of intentional living.

Cancer TICKS me off.

Thinking about this post today: even a princess tapestry needs dark threads.

November 19, 2011 Posted by | christian living, intentional living, pragmatic communion, status updates | , , , | Leave a comment

God gave her to me on purpose.

PinkGirl spent nearly an HOUR crying last night. About E.V.E.R.Y.thing. She went from one problem to the next, never stopping, sometimes overlapping. When, between tragedies, I suggested that she might be exhausted, she said,

“Mom, sometimes I just need to exhale all my emotions.”

God gave her to me on purpose.

I’m so thankful she’s so self-aware and articulate.

During PinkGirl’s uncontrollable tearfest, one of the many, many things she was crying about:

“and technology is going to replace books!!!! (weepy hiccups) That’s why Borders closed. People are going to stop buying books and everybody’s just gonna have Kindles!!! (each syllable in the word Kindle lasted about 10 full seconds – more weeping).

Me: “Hey, now that’s not true. What did I get in the mail JUST TODAY?”

PinkGirl: “boookssss” (pause for more hiccups) “But, how did you order them?”

I feel the need to spend some time at (a brick and mortar) BAM.


November 17, 2011 Posted by | books, christian living, family, laugh!, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting, status updates | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

make the hard choices.

Most of the time, when we say we have no choice, we are wrong.

It’s just that the choices may be really, really hard. Radical. Beyond what we can imagine.

Doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice, just that we don’t want to make it.

November 10, 2011 Posted by | christian living, intentional living, pragmatic communion, status updates | , , , | Leave a comment

bible study. clarified.

I hate that I’m guilty of doing this:

“If we study [the Bible] with the assumption that we as readers use our individual contexts and experiences to shape our own meanings from the words, then Bible study will consist mainly of a series of personal reactions and opinions. The dance will be chaotic and, in the end, narcissistic.

This takes humble intention, not only to do it, but to first recognize that I haven’t:

On the other hand, if we study with the assumption that God intends to give us meaning that we can receive more or less clearly through words, then Bible study will consist of learning to “dig into” the words as carefully as possible, so that we come closer and closer to the meaning God intends us to receive. We will come closer to him, for the words come from him. That’s the point. We will grow to love the divine master director of this dance, which is as beautiful as the universe he created.”

Bible Study: Following the Ways of the Word
Kathleen Buswell Nielson

November 7, 2011 Posted by | christian living, pragmatic communion, status updates | | Leave a comment

#thankful: faith and health

I’m a day late on this, so I’ll have to do two: I’m thankful:

1. that everyone in my immediate family knows God, loves God, desires an active relationship with God and strives to serve God in their every day lives.

2. that no one in my family is battling a life-threatening illness.

November 2, 2011 Posted by | christian living, family, status updates, thankfulness | , , , | Leave a comment

poor jack.

I’ve murdered jack.

cut him up into small chunks.

Now, I’m boiling jack.

pureeing jack.

and freezing liquified jack.

soon I’m going to bake him in a few loaves of bread.

later this month, we might even turn him into soup.

poor jack.

(and his friend, Harry Potter.)

Check out the recipes – both with a print-friendly version in PDF:
Bread Recipe: jack-o-bread
Soup Recipe: Mom’s Pumpkin Soup

(After spending so much money on pumpkins, I can’t, in good conscience, just throw them away. Have you SEEN the price of canned pumpkin these days?) eek!

NOTE: If you BLEACHED your pumpkin to make it last longer – do NOT do this.

November 1, 2011 Posted by | food, holidays, laugh!, recipes, status updates | , , , , , , | Leave a comment



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