Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

facebook fragments: 02/01/14 – 02/07/14 (superbowl & chaperone duty)

Posting this a week late, as usual…

Saturday, February 1, 2014
Who else would have to eat these one line at a time?

Cheddar Jack Cheezits Grooves

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Shopping for a new blender because we smoothied ours to DEATH.
This is my favorite amazon.com review so far:

Pros: It blends. I can make protein shakes with this blender. Cheap.
Cons: Does not clean itself. Does not make my drinks for me.

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I LOVE shopping online instead of in a store.
Free shipping and coupon codes make it even BETTER.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014
Yo, FirstHusband. Taking the power supply from a laptop that can’t hold a charge is like taking a crutch from someone with a broken leg.

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Listening to my husband sing “Let me sleep on it” softly as he’s putting away groceries.
This is what happens when he drives his son’s muscle car and listens to classic rock.

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FavoriteSon: This smells disgusting!
Every time I think something died in our garbage disposal I look next to me and there’s BROCCOLI.

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FavoriteSon: “Watching the Superbowl commercials early on youtube is blasphemous.”
Meanwhile, there’s a Doritos commercial coming up that reminds me of this one:

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This one made me laugh.


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Monday, February 3, 2014
I’m chaperoning PinkGirl’s 7th grade trip to a “coastal classroom” on an island in south Georgia later this week.
FirstHusband went with FavoriteSon when he was in 7th grade so I’m getting some info.
Apparently, there will be a night hike.
And supposedly, “snakes are in hibernation this time of year.”
umm hmm.
#ilovemydaughter

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Going over the packing list for the trip I’m going on with PinkGirl’s 7th grade class. My least favorite item on the list? “Plastic bag for muddy clothes. (clothes may come home very muddy and wet!)”
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There was no floor laying this past weekend.
My flooring shipment was somewhere north of snow & ice.
26 boxes of flooring will be here tomorrow between 1 and 4pm.
I think I’m going to get a free pallet or two as a bonus.
#pinterest

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Me: “There’s no floss down here.” (two story house)
FirstHusband: “yes there is.”
Me: “I am NOT using the bubble gum floss. (pause)
Why do we even HAVE bubble gum floss? How old is it?”
But did I throw it out? no.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Make homemade marshmallows. #thingsiwillneverdo

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Teacher: “Who wants to be in charge of bringing cups to the snack party tomorrow?”
PinkGirl: “ME!”
Teacher: “okay. and who wants to bring homemade brownies?”
That’s my girl.
#ilovemydaughter

kid homework fail? I think not.
red solo cup

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Least favorite task of the day complete:
taking a double bagged diarrhea sample to the vet.
#tmi #pitifulcat

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“Legal fees, jail time and loss of business make the sale of humans a less lucrative trade. Regardless of the verdicts, raids and arrests send a message to the local community that sexual slavery is not acceptable. When we apply pressure to the trafficking mechanisms from a legal standpoint, we slowly force modern-day slavery into the category of higher risk and lower reward. This is potentially one of the greatest steps we can make as a community fighting this injustice.”
(to read the full article, CLICK HERE)

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It occurred to me that coffee at a “coastal classroom” might be…less than optimal.
This is going to be a disappointment, isn’t it?
#ilovemydaughter

tasters choice hazelnut instant coffee

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014 (at the CRACK of dawn)
The coffee pot is fully loaded.
none of that half-caf, half-decaf nonsense today.
#ilovemydaughter

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Thursday, February 6, 2014
Breakfast is at 6:30am.
At 5am, a cell phone alarm goes off. (set for the previous morning)
Seconds later, it goes off again.
And again.
The 3rd noise is multiple voices calling the cell phone owner’s name in a fruitless attempt to wake them up, followed by “SOMEBODY POWER IT OFF! ” and “ARHHH”
It’s now 5:45am and the cell phone owner is still asleep.
“Somebody WAKE HER UP! Her cell phone woke US all up at FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!”
#13girls3chaperones2bathrooms

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PinkGirl, coming in the chaperone room to change: “you have clean floors in here. You don’t find that a lot out there.” #suburbgirlproblems

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My kinda field trip. Even it is cold and windy. #ilovemydaughter

St. Simons Island Beach

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Thank you God that it is NOT raining.
Thank you God for the rain jackets I bought and brought.
so. cold. so. windy.
#beachhike

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Cumberland Island Guide, talking about the Carnegie family:
“How did they make their money? I’ll give you a hint. Pittsburgh.”
Teacher, under her breath: “steel… steel.”
PinkGirl, exuberantly: “They would STEAL IT!!”
Me: “not that kind of steel, babe.”
Oh.
#ilovemydaughter

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Answer: terrain and wind chill.
Question: what is it about an 8 hour hike on a coastal island that exponentially kicks my butt more than a 14 hour, 25,000 step, park-hopping day at Disney theme parks?

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How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?
The correct answer put a group 1st in line for dinner.
PinkGirl nailed it.
Everyone else had to stand in line in the freezing cold and sprinkling rain.
#iREALLYlovemydaughter
#hotcoffee

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Facing the Giants. #dry #warm #tired

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Friday, February 7, 2014
God is good, all the time.

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It’s been one of the longest, shortest, frustrating, rewarding, heartbreaking, hopeful, disappointing, hopeful 3 days of my life.
Kids who love Jesus,
kids who need Jesus and are looking for him
and kids who keep themselves so distracted they have no idea how much Jesus is jealous for them.
Praying this trip remains a stone in their shoe.
Praying that the Holy Spirit would draw them closer to Christ.
AMEN.

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PinkGirl after coming home from a 3 day trip to a “coastal classroom” in Georgia: “I’m gonna take a shower.”
FavoriteDad: “A warm shower?”
PinkGirl: “The water in that shower was either like the inside of a volcano or where the Titanic sank.”
true. there was a very, very small window on that shower dial where the water didn’t burn you alive or freeze you to death.

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I was complaining about an incompetent vendor billing error.
PinkbGirl, dramatically gesturing: ” Mom. Let it Go. Let it Go.”
FavoriteDad: “You know, you can never legitimately say “The cold never bothered me anyway” ever again.”
PinkGirl: ” It’s metaphoric, Dad.”

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I’m home.
I’ve been in the sauna.
I’ve taken a shower and washed my hair
and I’ve written some alternate lyrics to “My Favorite Things” that I’m calling “Suburbanite Things”

Toilets with knee room and floors with clean carpet
Light bulbs that light things and wi-fi and Target
a king size mattress, complete with box springs,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Sinks with hot water and unfrozen throne seats
Paths free of horse scat and clean shoes and warm feet
Ground with no incline, wind with no sting
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the cold bites
When the wind stings
When I need a heating pad,
I simply imagine suburbanite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.

February 15, 2014 Posted by | family, fragments, freakishly organized, laugh!, pinterest, poor me some whine, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting, prayer, status updates, thankfulness, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 01/25/14 – 01/31/14

Saturday, January 25, 2014
Me, to PinkGirl, who was head down in her iPad: “Whatcha up to?”
PinkGirl: “Talking to people.”
Me: “Who ya talking to?”
PinkGirl: “What difference does it make?”
Me: “When I’m on the phone, what do you always ask me?
PinkGirl, grinning: “Who ya talking to?”
Me: “When I’m texting someone, what do you always ask me?”
PinkGirl, rolling eyes: “Who ya texting.”
Me: “So, who ya talking to?”
#ilovemydaughter

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PinkGirl: “Mama, you know what I realized? Owl is a narcissist, Rabbit has OCD, Piglet has anxiety, Pooh has an eating disorder, Eyeore has depression and Tigger has ADHD. (pause) Kanga and Roo…I don’t have anything for them.”
#ilovemydaughter

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FirstHusband and I CRACKED up. The music was a dead giveaway.
(And he’s either a bachelor or his wife was NOT home.)

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Me, to PinkGirl, who’s in the shower: “Do you have a towel?”
PG: “no” and after I give her a towel: “Thank you!”
Me, to PinkGirl, who is walking upstairs wrapped in her towel: “Please put on your wrap and hang up your towel.”
PG: “I’m going upstairs to get dressed.”
Me: “yes, I know. Please put on your wrap and hang up your towel, so that the NEXT time you take a shower, your towel will be AVAILABLE to you….and I can see you mocking me.
PG: “Yes, but I did it with a smile.”
#ilovemydaughter

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Check out what my FavoriteHusband made with scraps of 2×4 today. #pinterest #honeydo

DSC_0111

DSC_0112

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Saturday, January 26, 2014
The distance between being a target & praying for the shooter is so much shorter for my daughter than myself. #sweetestbedtimeprayers

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Monday, January 26, 2014
I’m going to be painting walls this week and my brain will be idle, so I’ve decided to spend the time in prayer. Is there anything I can pray about for you? Message me. You don’t have to tell me exactly what to pray about if you’re not comfortable sharing – God knows.

Luke 18

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I shared a facebook updated by Mandisa:
“Yesterday #Overcomer won a #Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song and Album…and I wasn’t there. My reasons why might surprise you. I wrote about it here.” –> http://wp.me/p3Gq0r-cE

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Listening to PinkGirl sing mouth guitar to this while I’m painting.

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Day One of painting complete. The big red wall is gone. Both cats are still black. Success. In case you missed it, here are the photos so far: (click the photo to see the post with all the photos)

the living room makeover - moisture barrier2

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13 year old PinkGirl, at the beginning of watching this video: “What’s this puppy doing? I’m intrigued.”
I love hearing my kids use words like this in everyday conversation. #ilovemydaughter

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Clearly, my socks are broken.
And we need to replace the sliding doors in this house.
#cold

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Bank decided to replace our credit card.
1st vendor I updated?
My amazon.com 1-click, of course.
Then paypal, then…2 hours later…I hope I’m done.
#thankyoutarget

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Chili 2 ways tonight – white bean chicken & traditional (but with ground Healthy Choice sausage because I’m out of ground beef) and cornbread. oh. & Beano for an appetizer.

Both my men will be in the house with me all day tomorrow. I, of course, will not need it. I always smell like books.

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It is NOT okay to be mean to someone & then act like it never happened. It’s dysfunctional. Own it. Apologize.
Even if it’s uncomfortable.

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What a PHENOMENAL story of God’s providence!!!
#providencenotcoincidence

Snapshot of Grace – Crecco / Maianu Family from Christ Community Chapel on Vimeo.

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I hate it when Ernest is sick. (Ernest is my laptop.) His battery transplant from Ebay has shipped. Meanwhile, I’ve been tethered to an electrical outlet for days.
FYI, Ernest got his name from the following book quote:
“For some reason, everyone thinks, ‘I should know how to write.’ No one thinks, ‘I should know how to play the piano.’ But when it comes to writing, ‘I should know how to do it.’
What if I told you a story about a man who buys a piano, sits down to play for the very first time and is shocked when he doesn’t sound like Arthur Rubinstein?
‘I don’t understand,’ he complains, ‘I’ve listened to lots of music, I should know how to play the piano.’
Ridiculous you say? Yet there you are: Banging away at the typewriter, you’re mortified when your work isn’t as good as Ernest Hemingway’s. Hell, it isn’t even as good as Ernest Goes to Camp.”
from “If You Can Talk, You Can Write” by Joel Saltzman

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To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.

February 4, 2014 Posted by | family, fragments, freakishly organized, laugh!, pinterest, poor me some whine, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting, prayer, status updates, thankfulness, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 01/18/14 – 01/24/14

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I have a harmony stuck in my head.

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PinkGirl. Please STOP doing the Chocolate Dance and get ready for bed.
#ilovemydaughter

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
PinkGirl. Please STOP doing the Chocolate Dance and get ready for school.
#ilovemydaughter

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A huge THANK YOU to Kristen from BodyInUnity Inc.! After more than 6 months off, I went to my 3rd Christian yoga class yesterday at a new location for me – Willow Creek PCA in Winter Springs (FL). Locals, if you’re looking for a Christian yoga class, I can personally recommend Kristen! Check out her class locations and times through the Body In Unity website, HERE. (scroll down to see the schedule) NO FEES! Donations only!

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It would appear that Bob the Cat and I are playing the “Cat Wants In-Cat Wants Out” game today.
I’m reminded of the Sad Cat Diary:
“I put in a simple request regarding the door to the garden. But seemingly out of sheer spite, the authorities refuse to hold the door open long enough for me to decide whether to go outside. or inside. or outside. or inside.”

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Logged into my bank yesterday. My credit card had a zero balance. And I had a brand new credit card. with a brand new number. A card we didn’t apply for. showing that missing balance.
Thank you Target.
and NO thank you. I do NOT want a Red Card.
I don’t need a new bank account number too.

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The 2014 Living Room Makeover is stalled. Technically it’s because I haven’t ordered the rest of the flooring yet. Or painted the room. Or picked a paint color. Until today. Paralyzed by tones of wheat, I finally settled on one. Not because I loved the color, but because the name of it is “Pecan Sandie.”

Yes. My decorating choices are guided by cookies. That being said, when asked about the decorating delay, I shall steadfastly deny procrastination, indecision and cookies and blame it all on the busyness surrounding the production of PinkGirl’s latest play. She’s Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Last weekend and this weekend.
Do they make a paint additive that smells like cookies?
(click below to see the before photos and the progress so far)

new flooring sample

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Thursday, January 23, 2014
The garbage cans I ordered came yesterday. Opened the 1st box, not the 2nd.
PinkGirl: “Mom, what was that crashing noise this morning, right before Bob started crying?”
It really does look like the top of the 1st box could support the weight of a cat, doesn’t it?

boo and bob on cardboard boxes

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My dentist is going to tell me I need a crown for a cracked tooth.
She’s also going to tell me I need a night guard because I clench my teeth while sleeping, which resulted in a cracked tooth.
Which has been cracked for years.
Which is why I’ve said no to the crown for years.
Today I find out if the crack has grown. I really do NOT want a crown. I already have one and it was a significantly less than optimal experience. (By the time I needed my next cleaning, I had a new dentist.)
I’d rather paint the living room than go to the dentist.
okay. I’m done whining.
for a while.

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If I actually intended to use this flap on our new garbage can, this crooked sticker with bubbles in it would make me grumble every time I threw something away.
#ocd

crooked recycle sticker

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“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

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Friday, January 24, 2014
Spent a couple of hours at BrightLight Books yesterday.
And a couple of hours reading.
#incurablebibliophile

book binge

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Need. Bookcases.
#incurablebibliophile

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The clothing and makeup is dated, but the message is timeless.
Jump to the 16 minute mark to get to the guts of this:
(or check out the book version “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” It’s short. 178 pages.)

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That yoga class I took last night?
Feeling it right now. I am seriously out of shape.
Even the bottom of my feet hurt.

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Little known facts about 19th-century protestant non-state missionaries: “Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.” Read the full article HERE.

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To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.

February 3, 2014 Posted by | books, christian living, exercise, family, fight the frump, fragments, freakishly organized, goodsteward/body, health, home sweet home, intentional living, laugh!, microactions, motivation, music, pinterest, poor me some whine, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting, praise team music, status updates, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

color.

shut the front doorI’ve been given some serious what-for.

PinkGirl became aware that I said “dammit” in my blog the other day.

multiple times.

“MOM!”

hhhhhhhhhh.

I have a 12 year old censor. and she. is. bossy.

meanwhile, she thinks it is hilarious to tell me she “shipped her pants.

the fact is, I grew up with a mom who used “colorful” language.

nautical colors.

a LOT.

rationalizing Julie says, in comparison, “my colorful language is pastel.”

cuz that is so much better.

hhhhhhhhhhh.

I admit.

I sometimes cuss in my head.

sometimes. my head leaks out of my mouth.

not often.

and my colorful vocabulary is limited.

mostly to the “d” word and the “h” word.

those are in the Bible, right?

FirstHusband: “maybe so, but do you want your daughter to say them?”

hhhhhhhhhh. no.

every once in a while, the “sh” word comes out with a “no” in front of it.

I definitely don’t want my daughter to say that.

I think the “a” word and the “b” word are crass.

and I really HATE the “f” word.

In full disclosure – I am sure I’ve said them all.

having grown up with colorful language, I can tell you that it takes intentional effort to find alternative colors.

but back to the brain to mouth leakage.

if we are acquaintances, you will witness no leakage.

if we are friends…

it’s possible. you may witness leakage.

do I think such leakage is acceptable?

hhhhhhhhh.

no.

oh. look. another failure.

besides. if you know me, you know I hate pastel colors.

so I’m watching Tim Hawkins list 101 curse words Christians can say.

my favorites are:

crapola.
flippin.
shut the front door.
geez. louise.

and especially,

fer cryin out loud.

or external silence. with internal cussage.

and there it is.

ugly.

thankfully, forgiven.

I’m not going back to the colorful blog post and deleting the color. It would be a cover-up. a lie.

if you want perfect, you shouldn’t read this blog anymore.

there’s no perfect here.

[CLICK HERE to see a listing of all the blog posts in this series "the search for Joy."]

June 7, 2013 Posted by | christian living, family, laugh!, pinterest, pragmatic communion, pragmatic parenting, the search for Joy, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

how to get your kids to wrap their own gifts without ruining the surprise.

If you put your kids Christmas gifts in unmarked boxes, you can get them to wrap their own presents.

You’re welcome.

Source: wayfair.com via Julie on Pinterest

December 24, 2012 Posted by | ehow, family, fragments, freakishly organized, holidays, laugh!, pinterest, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

photo caption: all is well.

FavoriteDaddy reading The Hobbit to PinkGirl last night.

Reading the Hobbit

December 22, 2012 Posted by | family, intentional living, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Volcanoooooo (a sixth grade science project)

Here’s how PinkGirl’s volcano science project turned out yesterday:

If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember FavoriteSon’s volcano project. Here’s an excerpt from that blog post:

We end up at Michael’s craft store with four packages of quick drying clay, a terra cotta pot and . . . a rocket engine. Yes. Michael’s sells rocket engines. FirstHusband is smiling and FavoriteSon is explaining how there really IS a type of volcano that explodes like that . . . The boys spend all morning Saturday wiring and soldering. Then they go into the backyard to test it before they make a terra cotta pot LOOK like a volcano. It works. It explodes. I look at FavoriteSon and say, “When you get sent to the office on Monday, give them your dad’s work number so he can explain how that’s perfectly safe.” . . . Then it’s tested again, this time adding sand to the top of the volcano so it shoots dirt up into the air and looks even more realistic . . . either FavoriteSon will be suspended or he will get an “A” on this project. (postscript: he got an “A”)

So. This time, explosives are NOT an option. PinkGirl has the same science teacher FavoriteSon did. No playing the “I had no idea” card. But PinkGirl wanted “a BIG explosion.” How to do that without ignition? FirstHusband wanted to buy a portable compressor, but his attempt to justify the expense by coming up with other things to do with it after making a volcano explode?

FAIL.

So my father (SuperPappy) suggested the shop vac reversed. The lampshade idea came to me during a severe allergic reaction to crafting after my husband said the words “paper mache” to me. We picked out a dirty, torn lampshade and got a 25% discount. Final Sale. No returns.

No problem. Crafting avoided.

As you can see, the explosion was a HIT. The ash went higher than the fence.

Here’s the written report PinkGirl wrote to accompany the volcano shown in the video:

“Volcanoes are amazing things of nature and only God can create them. Still for my project I tried my best and I also had fun while doing it. From deciding what type of volcano mine is or what type of eruption it will have it was a fun learning experience that I would love to tell you about.

The First thing I did was paint the lampshade (which is my volcano). It was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be because I had to mix paint to find the right color. The second thing I did was cut a hole in the box big enough for the pipe. Then I cut the top of the lampshade out with bolt cutter. (It was awesome!) After that I measured and cut the pipe to the right size with a hack saw. (My dad helped a little for this part but I did cut with a hack saw.) Next I glued the pipe to the adapter and cut the small pipe to the right size and glued it to the adapter and the elbow of the other pipe. Then I put another hole in the side of the box and put the side pipe in it. Next is my favorite part. I put coal in a bag and crushed it with a hammer. After that I poured the ash and coal in and covered it with saran wrap. Then I painted the box green and put the “Snow” on the volcano. The last step was decorating it with little touches to make it look better.

During the process of building my volcano I learned all about Composite volcanoes and plinian eruptions. Composite volcanoes are made out of ash, tephra, and lava. Plinian eruptions are violent and have lots of ash and poisonous gasses. Mt. Saint Helens was a composite volcano and had a plinian eruption.

I always thought a volcano just meant lava and smoke but I now understand that volcanoes are much more complicated than that. God must have had fun designing and creating volcanoes. He is a very creative God who has an amazing imagination. Volcanoes are dangerous magnificent things that create new land, give us dazzling treasures, and really open our eyes to show us how marvelous our world really is. I can only imagine what other planets are like.

December 19, 2012 Posted by | christian living, family, flashback, laugh!, poor me some whine, pragmatic commotion, pragmatic parenting, youtube | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

t-minus 12 hours.

Me: “PinkGirl, you know what time it is?”

PinkGirl: “what?”

Me: “Time to lay out your clothes for school tomorrow.”

faux fainting.

extreme, dramatic faux fainting

Me: “And pack your lunch.”

PinkGirl: “Noooooooooo!!!!!”

and just like that. Summer is over.

August 12, 2012 Posted by | family, fragments, intentional living, laugh!, pragmatic commotion, status updates | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

do the right thing because it’s the right thing.

Last night I was repeating: “God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do.”

FavoriteSon went out. On a Friday night. First time driving in heavy traffic IN THE DARK.

“God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do.”

In the end, God brought FavoriteSon home safe.

Actually, his friend drove him home because they finished up after 11pm and his dad and I won’t allow him to drive past the State of Florida driving curfew for 16 year olds (11pm). We have to go pick up his car today, but it’s a very small price to pay to reinforce the lesson that we don’t break the law, even if he “probably wouldn’t have gotten caught.”

April 14, 2012 Posted by | christian living, family, intentional living, microactions, pragmatic parenting, status updates | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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