Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

I. Want. More.

I’ve described my mother as a “defiant non-compliant diabetic.” She ate what she wanted, when she wanted, blood sugar be damned. After decades of neglect, her body began to deteriorate and finally shut down completely. I found a receipt in her wallet dated just days before her death. She had driven through Burger King on the way home from dialysis and ordered a BK Stacker (22 grams of fat, 700 mg of sodium.). She was suffering from congestive heart failure, taking 14 different medications and on dialysis 3 days a week, but she wanted a BK Stacker, so she got one. There were more fast food receipts in the pockets of her clothing and on her desk.

Time and time and time again she chose immediate personal gratification and a comfort zone, over long term goals, discomfort and inconvenience – and not just with food.

She bought what she wanted when she wanted it, even if she didn’t have the money.
She wanted a warm, inviting home, but she focused on the house and its contents more than the people who lived in it.
She wanted passionate relationships, but was controlling and plagued with pride.
She wanted to travel and experience new things. But instead, she booked the same vacation for years.
She loved to play the piano. But she didn’t make time for it.
She loved to sing. But she only sang in the house. And rarely.
She wanted to write. But she didn’t.
She wanted so much, but she settled for so little.

Her desire for the things she wanted made it challenging and sometimes impossible for her to recognize, much less appreciate, the blessings she had. Her inability to see that she had power to change her circumstances if she stayed true to her long-term goals kept her firmly rooted in mediocrity and the status quo.

I paid attention. And I learned quite a bit about what I want for my life by watching her choices.
I still pay attention. And I look for consequences – good and bad – so I can learn from other people’s choices. I learn a LOT about what I want as a result of my OWN choices and their consequences.

My mother had a stroke and blamed her doctors and her medication. She had a stroke and I got a personal trainer. Before and after her stroke, she relied on medications to make herself feel better and to lengthen her life. Before her stroke, I was following in her footsteps. After her stroke, I began relying on exercise and lifestyle changes to make myself feel better and to lengthen my life.

I had a choice. I could continue to go with the flow and eventually find myself at risk for a stroke or I could intentionally and consistently walk backwards against the current. If you know me, it shouldn’t surprise you that when I’m floating in a lazy river, I will at some point, become bored and walk backward against the current. It’s a metaphor for my life. I intentionally choose to view every experience God has allowed in my life – good AND bad – as a blessing. Together, these blessings fuel me with determination.

I’m a big believer in benchmarking. When I want to learn how to do something, I find people who do it well and I copy them. But I also learn what not to do by watching the things that people, myself included, do poorly. I pay attention to choices and consequences – good and bad. I call it opportunistic learning and it helps me discover what I want in my life.

I want more than immediate gratification and a well worn spot in my comfort zone.

I want MORE than the comfort of air conditioning, dry, pleasant smelling clothing, a good hair day, less laundry and an extra hour every day. I don’t consider a handicapped sticker on my car to be a well deserved ticket to a great parking space and the inability to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded scares me more than a hurricane warning. The inability to walk up a flight of stairs at all scares me more than an actual hurricane.

I want a stronger body, even if it needs two showers in one day, generates smelly, wet laundry, “wastes” 30 minutes or more of my day and requires a longer walk from the parking lot. I want to get stronger as I get older, not weaker. I want to be a good steward of this body God has blessed me with. I’ve experienced the limitations of a body that won’t do what I want it to do and I hated it so much I NEVER want to experience it again. I’ll do anything I can to make sure that my body doesn’t deteriorate due to neglect.

I want MORE than a 6 inch high plate of nachos with a phenomenal cheese sauce or the most decadent, melt in your mouth chocolate lava cake in the world. I want MORE than the thousands of milligrams of sodium and double digit grams of fat in the restaurant food that saves me from cooking dinner when I don’t feel like it. I want MORE than a bedtime snack of ice cream or a Grand Slam breakfast from Denny’s. I want MORE than a BK Stacker.

I want unblocked arteries, normal blood pressure and stable blood sugar. I want my 7 day pill case to be filled with vitamins and supplements instead medications. I want to model good nutritional choices for my children, especially my daughter. I want to live a longer, healthier life than my mother did. I’m not swayed by spoonfuls being shoved in my face along with an exasperated voice telling me to “just taste it.” It’s not that I secretly want it and am just denying myself. I really don’t want it. I’ll never be convinced to abandon my long term nutrition goals just because someone belittles me for not eating something they want to eat. I’ll never belittle them while I watch them eat – but I also won’t sanction their choice or cave to middle school level peer pressure by picking up a fork and joining them.

I want MORE than a good marriage. I want MORE than candy and flowers and jewelry on Valentines Day and my birthday. I want MORE than a husband who handles car maintenance, toilet repair, heavy lifting, jar opening and high shelf reaching. I want MORE than a “good” sex life and a husband who does what I want in order to get it. I want MORE than a husband who agrees with me to avoid conflict and who spends time with me because he’s supposed to.

I want a GREAT marriage to a man I can’t go a day without talking to. I want to be the person who respects my husband more than anyone else in the world and I want him to know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I want to come to the end of my day and be confident I didn’t say a bad word about him to ANYone. I want to be the kind of wife he wants to come home to and I want to be genuinely happy that he’s home when he walks in the door. I want a partner – a LIFE LONG partner – who tells me the truth in a gracious tone of voice, motivated by love. I want us to share EVERYthing without holding back: our thoughts, our ideas, our weaknesses, our fears, our passions and our bodies. I want to share household and parenting duties and I’m thankful that I figured out early in our marriage that different isn’t wrong. I want us to be able speak in idioms and always understand each other. I want us to be able to communicate with facial expressions and eye contact. I want to stay married to my best friend for the rest of my life and I’m thankful that we are both willing to run to a marriage counselor the minute our relationship can be described as “fine.”

I want MORE than compliant children who make good grades, keep their room clean and behave appropriately at all times. I want MORE than happy, safe children. I don’t want my children to do what they’re told because I say so.

I want to hear about everything that interests them, because I know that if I don’t listen with interest, they will stop telling me. I want to be challenged by their mind, fascinated by their discoveries, respectful of their ideas, convinced by their reasoning, inspired by their passion and exasperated by our differences. I want to always strive to respect them as individuals instead viewing them as extensions of myself. I want to be comfortable with their potential to embarrass me for the sake of their (and my) learning curve. I want my children to learn life lessons from remorse and disappointment as well as from pride and achievement. I want to equip them, not protect them. I want them to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, even when nobody is looking.

I want MORE than the ability to pay my monthly bills. I want more than a nice car and a big house with a screened pool. I want more than great vacation destinations. I want more than stuff.

I want to be debt-free. I want to own my home, not hold a mortgage. I want my car to start every time I turn the key, and if it does, I don’t care how many miles are on it. I want to be a good steward of my financial blessings. I want to save and pay cash for the things I want. I don’t want to pay interest. I want to teach my children the value of a wise financial choice. I want to teach them that delayed gratification ultimately makes them happier and more secure than an impulse or convenient purchase. I want to give God MORE than 10% of what he entrusts to me and I want my kids to want to do the same.

I want MORE than to help lead a “good” praise set on Sunday morning. Lukewarm makes me restless. Holding back makes me unsettled. Trying to please everyone is deeply discouraging. Settling for fine wears me down. I don’t want to give God less than my very best. No one is drawn to mediocrity.

I want to work my butt off to prepare and when Sunday morning comes, I want to block out all the logistics and make myself open and available for God to equip me for service. I want to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, not the body language of someone in the congregation who is missing His presence because they are preoccupied with what someone else thinks. I want to allow myself to be saturated with the Holy Spirit, so much so that Satan doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell of distracting me from my goal of bringing as many people with me as I possibly can while I abandon myself to authentic, consuming praise. I want to go all out and see what God will do with my all.

I want to use everything God has given me – the good and the bad – to serve Him. When I write, I have no idea if the result is a cathartic purge or if someone will identify with something I say and be encouraged or changed by it. It’s just as possible that what I’ve written will alienate or discourage someone. I have no idea if God will use it to reach someone, but I pray He will. I don’t want the words I write to be in a vacuum.

I. want. MORE.

Do I always get it right? Not by a long shot. I do not find all this to be intuitive. These are determined choices I make, over and over and over again. And when I screw up, I start over, even if I have to start over multiple times a day. But I’m not going to stop striving. And I’m willing to wait for whatever God hasn’t entrusted me with yet. I’m willing work for it.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness,knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 5-8

“Never neglect what you’ve seen God do in your life. Take a careful look at these things from God’s perspective, all the way from your birth to where you stand right now. They’re all significant.”

Experiencing the Spirit
Henry and Melvin Blackaby

July 16, 2012 Posted by | christian living, debt free living, fight the frump, food, goodsteward/body, health, intentional living, learning curve, motivation, pinterest, pragmatic communion, pragmatic parenting, what I've learned, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

little known facts: I am a Peep Hater

I haven’t added to my “little known fact” list since January of 2011. It’s way overdue for some attention.

Here’s #30:

I would rather eat a Brussel sprout than a Peep. bleh. It’s like goo with glitter on it.

and again. bleh.

and #31:

I have absolutely no problem, however, purchasing Peeps for the sole purpose of blowing them up in the microwave. After seeing this on facebook, we’ll be new to “Peep Jousting” this year. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, “I don’t care who ya are, that’s funny right there.”

and a fitting end to a Peep in my opinion.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | food, holidays, laugh!, youtube | , , , , , | 2 Comments

praying for a powerful turnaround on this.

Just pinned this on my pinterest.com board entitled “wrong” with the caption “There may very well be more than a million better ways to combat childhood obesity than these ads.” (this photo is embedded – I did not upload it to this page)

Source: 5minutesformom.com via Julie on Pinterest

I became aware of the ads because Jillian Michaels shared one of the photos on her facebook page and asked for people to “weigh in.”

I showed this photo to 11 year old PinkGirl and asked her what she would think if she saw them on a billboard.

“Those kids probably feel horrible and honestly, I don’t see how these would change anything.”

I’ve stuck my nose in this one.

[BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER, PLEASE LET ME DISCOURAGE YOU FROM POSTING ANY COMMENTS ON THE FB PAGE OF THE ORGANIZATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS “CAMPAIGN.” IF YOU WANT TO POST ANY COMMENTS, PLEASE DO SO ON JILLIAN MICHAELS FACEBOOK PAGE INSTEAD. THEY ARE READING THE COMMENTS ON JILLIAN’S PAGE. THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS PROMOTE THIS ORGANIZATION. IF YOU “Like” OR COMMENT ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE, I WILL CONSIDER THIS POST A FAIL.]

That said, I did comment on their page – BUT I did NOT “Like” the page. Here’s my first comment:

It’s clear that [stopchildhoodobesity] has good intentions. However, in communication, intention is irrelevant. The true measure of success in communicating your message is how it is being encoded and decoded (sent and received) . Are you watching what’s happening on Jillian Michaels facebook page in response to this ad? Over 3100 comments before I started writing this one on your page. Up 100 more as I finish. If your intention is to be effective, don’t dismiss people who aren’t responding favorably to your approach by telling them to focus on solutions instead. [stopchildhoodobesity] is in a position to gain quite a bit of support here. Praying for a powerful turnaround to this.

They didn’t respond to my comment and it seems they were unaware of what was happening on Jillian’s page. About an hour later, they posted a status update thanking Jillian Michaels for “joining the conversation” and explained that it was “hard to judge the purpose of the ads if you are not in Atlanta seeing them first-hand.” They further justified the ads by saying “The intention was to start a conversation and it worked.”

really? They thanked her? Did they not read the (at that time, more than 3500) comments on her page?

Then, someone commented on their update by saying:

“I’m in full support of what [sco] is doing & to have a woman as powerful as Jillian Michaels on board, it only re-affirms [sco]‘s positive campaign…”

oh.

no.

“positive” campaign? I usually ignore ignorance, but after that comment, I just couldn’t, in good conscience, just click away. Here’s my comment on that update:

[to commenter] Jillian Michaels is NOT “on board” with this and I hope [stopchildhoodobesity] doesn’t mislead people by allowing them to think she supports them when it isn’t true.
[stopchildhoodobesity] – Atlanta does not have a culture the rest of America doesn’t understand. If your intent was to start a conversation, your job is done. Once people have identified with an issue, they need direction and help to take ACTION. Jillian Michaels focuses on solutions, not conversation. And she does so with compassion and empathy.
Please consider consulting a professional PR person to protect your reputation. You are on the cusp of a big PR mistake.

They responded with this comment:

“This post was to thank Jillian Michaels for joining the conversation about childhood obesity and share the “Stop the Cycle” video to further the conversation.”

They still don’t get it.

This organization REALLY needs the help of a professional PR person. They are losing credibility by the minute. It’s only been a few hours and the photo on Jillian’s fb page has over 4000 comments – written by some of Jillian’s 1,165,161 facebook fans – NOT Jillian. She did NOT join the conversation.

Praying that [stopchildhoodobesity] will ABANDON this campaign and redirect their efforts and resources in a more positive direction. One which focuses on SOLUTIONS.

February 17, 2012 Posted by | exercise, food, goodsteward/body, health, pinterest | , , , | Leave a comment

I’m on a “reverse” diet.

That’s what FavoriteSon is calling it.

I’m trying to consume more calories on a daily basis. Sounds crazy. I know.

But the truth is, left on my own, I forget to eat. (CLICK HERE to read why.)

Case in point? I downloaded the “myfitnesspal” app and have been tracking my calorie intake since Wednesday, February 8th. On that day, my net intake was 820 calories.

820 calories?! I know. NOT good. I had no idea.

I say “net” intake because myfitnesspal calculates the calories expended and factors them in. Since my knee is better, I’m back to exercising every day. (My treadmill readouts actually indicate I’m burning more calories than myfitnesspal says I am, but I’m sticking with myfitnesspal or these numbers would be even worse.)

How did I even discover this? I walked 30 miles in 6 days and didn’t lose an OUNCE. Not ONE ounce.

myfitnesspal described it like this:

“Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are eating too few calories. Not only is it difficult to receive adequate nutrition at these calories levels, but you could also be putting your body into starvation mode. Starvation mode lowers your metabolism and makes weight loss more difficult. We suggest increasing your calorie consumption to 1200 calories per day minimum.”

After I injured my knee on December 2nd, I had to cut back on my exercise and I gained a few pounds. By the end of January, my knee was feeling much better so I set a challenging fitness goal for myself. I wanted to walk an average of a mile a day for the month of January. Problem is, since I didn’t set the goal until January 26th, that meant I had to walk 30 miles in 6 days.

When I didn’t lose even an OUNCE, I knew what my problem was. My brother-in-law,
a fitness trainer had already explained it to me. I just hadn’t been motivated to do anything about it.

Until I had to dig out my fat pants. I couldn’t fit comfortably in my clothes anymore and I had to move up a size in order to breathe when I sat down.

I set that freakish 30 mile goal to jumpstart a little weight loss.

THIRTY MILES and NOTHING? That just ticked me off.

So I downloaded myfitnesspal . . . and a new reminder app. I set multiple alarms on my phone and android tablet to remind me to eat. I already had an app, but its capabilities were too limited.

Here’s how my week played out:

Wednesday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1351
Exercise: -531 [Walked 3.5 (4.5% incline) miles]
Net Calories: 820

Thursday, I did better:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1397
Exercise: -289 [Walked 2 (4.5% incline) miles]
Net Calories: 1108

And yes, I did notice that the reason I did better is because I exercised less. That’s not going to be my long term solution to this problem. I need to eat more.

Friday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1588
Exercise: -651 [1 Hour Yoga, Walked 3 (4.5% incline) miles]
Net Calories: 937

Saturday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1085
Exercise: -437 [Walked 3 incline miles (2 @ 4.5% incline 1 @ 5% incline]
Net Calories: 648

Sunday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1152
Exercise: -367 [Walked 2.5 (4.5% incline) miles]
Net Calories: 785

Monday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1439
Exercise: -123 [1 Hour Yoga]
Net Calories: 1316

Tuesday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1784
Exercise: -286 [Walked 2 (4.5% incline) miles]
Net Calories: 1498

Wednesday:
Goal Intake: 1200
Actual Intake: 1425
Exercise: -593 [1 Hour Yoga, Walked 3 (5% incline) miles]
Net Calories: 832

So how’s it working out? I started a week ago today and I’ve lost 3 pounds.

I realize my days have been pretty inconsistent, but I’m much more aware of my nutrition, so that’s progress! And although I HATE counting calories, myfitnesspal makes it pretty easy. FirstHusband joined too, so we’re tracking together. And the phone alarms are really helping. Hopefully, this new routine will develop into a habit and I won’t have to pay so much attention to all this.

I’m DETERMINED to be a good steward of this body God has blessed me with!

10am alarm just went off. I’m supposed to eat a snack now. bleh. I’ll do it, but bleh.

February 16, 2012 Posted by | christian living, exercise, fight the frump, food, goodsteward/body, health, intentional living, learning curve, motivation, poor me some whine, women | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

blend until purple.

My daily addiction:

1 cup skim milk (90 calories)
1 cup fat free yogurt (any berry flavor) (100 calories)
2 fistfuls of frozen blueberries (1 cup = less than 85 calories)
6 frozen strawberries (about 5 calories each)
blend until purple.

An antioxidant, vitamin C loaded snack that tastes like dessert for around 300 calories!

I’ve spent decades of my life not eating fruit on a daily basis. I’ve gone weeks at a time without eating any fruit. Not because I don’t like it, because I really like most fruits. It just doesn’t occur to me to eat any. Multiple times per year, I make resolutions to eat just ONE fruit per day. Finally, I included it on my fitness log (see the sidebar to the right) to try and put myself in a situation where I have to be accountable.

I also have a problem getting enough calories, which causes my metabolism to drop. I tend to forget to eat.

Smoothies solve both problems. I’m actually consuming fruit on a daily basis for the first time in my life and making them is easy and takes less than 5 minutes, so eating doesn’t intrude on my day. It doesn’t hurt that I actually crave them now.

I stumbled upon the smoothie idea while trying to get PinkGirl to consume some sort of nourishment in the morning. Trying to get that girl to eat breakfast before school is a chore! A few friends suggested I try smoothies and since PinkGirl loves Planet Smoothie, I thought it might work. It only took about 3 or 4 months to finally hit on a recipe that I actually liked. (for ME, not her. She still wavers about what she likes. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a recipe she really likes.)

But I was having blender issues. If the Vitamix is the BMW of blenders, it seems my little Oster was the VW bug of blenders. It was either forming a little pocket of air at the bottom and doing nothing or it was spinning like crazy and only blending the bottom half of my smoothie. I had to add more and more milk to thin it out so the blender would actually blend the entire smoothie.

I put a new blender on my Christmas list.

Which really irritated me because I own an Oster Kitchen Center with nearly every possible attachment, similar to this one:

It transforms from a blender to a chopper to a slicer to a mixer to a juicer to a . . . it does everything but clean itself. We got one as a wedding present from my husband’s parents and about 10 years ago, it died and I replaced it at our church’s WHALE of a Sale. Since all Oster attachments are interchangeable with every Oster made, I even bought a newer countertop blender to switch to the chopper when I needed it:

dsc_0129

So I was not looking forward to having a different blender on my countertop. It was going to mess up my system.

FirstHusband surprised me with an early Christmas present: An Oster Milkshake blade for my blender!

My little Oster just got tricked out!

And THIS ONE is also on its way, so we’ll see which one works better.

December 19, 2011 Posted by | 5 minutes, fight the frump, food, goodsteward/body, health, recipes, wise buys | , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

anti-candy strategies.

How to make sure you actually still HAVE Halloween candy by the time Halloween rolls around:

1. Buy candy you hate.

2. Have your spouse take the candy to work until Halloween.

3. Have your spouse HIDE the candy somewhere in the house.

4. Buy replacement candy after you’ve vandalized your house looking for hidden candy.

Thankfully, at the present time, I’m closer to #3 than #4.

October 28, 2011 Posted by | chocolate, fight the frump, food, health, laugh!, status updates | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cheddar Jack Cheez-its, you have no power over me. today.

Problem: I want a fistful of Cheddar Jack Cheez-its.

(Regular Cheez-its pose no threat to me. But . . . these are CHEDDAR JACK Cheez-its. They have Cheez-it SUPERPOWERS.)

Strategy: I’m going to get a nectarine. and if I still have room for Cheez-its, I’m getting a fistful of cherries.

(I may still want Cheez-its after that, but there won’t be room. That’s my theory anyway.)

Today, I’m going to be a good steward of this body God has blessed me with.

And I will not whine about it.

much.

nectarine gone. going to get a fistful of cherries now.

July 12, 2011 Posted by | fight the frump, food, goodsteward/body, health, intentional living, laugh!, microactions, poor me some whine, status updates | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

there’s no coming back from this.

NOOOOO! FirstHusband taught FavoriteSon how to make Ramen Noodles!!!

800mg of sodium a serving! It’s WRONG. wrong, I tell you!

It’s like a drug dealer – giving an unsuspecting innocent child a “free sample.”

It’s like Microsoft in the 80s – giving schools free copies of MS Office.

It’s like giving someone a single Lays potato chip.

I was coerced into trying them – about three noodles. That should do me. For life.

(I’ve been told they make a low sodium version, it’s my only hope.)

May 24, 2011 Posted by | debt free living, food, health, laugh!, poor me some whine | , , , | 2 Comments

fine dining.

Made Cheater’s Chicken Parmesan tonight. Calls for chicken nuggets.

We used DINOSAUR shaped nuggets. Because we’re classy like that. (and because they were BOGO)

I may have thrown a little too much at our debt this pay period. We’ll be eating VERY frugally for the next week and a half. SUPER cheap recipes are hereby desperately solicited!!

Me to FirstHusband: “WHY did you buy Ramen noodles?”

FirstHusband: “It’s for me and the kids.”

Me: “You could have just gone to the Tack Shack and gotten a salt lick.”

FirstHusband: “It was only 17 cents!”

Me: “and worth every penny.”

I just can’t do it, even if they are only 17 cents a package. 800mg of sodium. PER SERVING. (2 servings per package.)

May 21, 2011 Posted by | debt free living, food, health, laugh!, poor me some whine, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

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