Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

whatever may pass and whatever lies before me.

Sunday evening. Easter Sunday. I was sitting at the kitchen table, focused on my laptop. PinkGirl came over and turned my chair sideways so she could curl up on my lap and lay her head on my shoulder.

“Mom? How can I find joy in God?”

wow.

13 years old.

Immediately, I prayed.

“Lord, is this moment one of the reasons for everything that’s happened over the last year? Have you been preparing me for this question? Please help. Please speak through me.”

Me: “Well…for me…the way I find joy in God is to grow closer to Him. There are a few things you can do to grow closer to Him. You already know what’s first though, right?”

PinkGirl: “Pray?”

Joshua 1 9 prayerMe: “Yep. There’s lots of different ways to pray, but I think the way that brings me closest to God is practicing His presence. You remember what I told you about practicing the presence of God? How I first started doing it?”

PinkGirl: “No.”

Me: “I imagined Jesus physically with me everywhere I went – in the passenger seat of my van…”

PinkGirl: “oh yeah.”

Me: “Jesus is right here with us now.”

I pointed to the chair next to us.

“If you imagine Him sitting right here with us – not just sitting here, eavesdropping on our conversation, but actually participating in it, it changes everything. And sometimes not in a way you might expect. It won’t be all rainbows. You won’t be thanking Him and praising Him all the time. If you really do imagine Jesus with you wherever you go, you may find yourself crying and yelling at Him sometimes. Telling Him all the things you don’t think are fair, begging him to help you and heal you and protect you and getting frustrated or mad or even heartbroken when He doesn’t do what you want or expect or if He’s slower than you think He should be. But you have to be honest with God.”

PinkGirl: “He already knows anyway.”

Me: “Yeah, He does.”

We sat there for a while, talking about all the different ways to pray. We talked about honest, wide open prayer, without holding anything back. We talked about how authentic prayer helps us to grow closer to God and how growing closer to God helps us find joy in Him, no matter whether we’re happy or sad about what’s happening in our life. We talked about how happiness is temporal and based on our circumstances, but joy in God is eternal and based on who He is and our relationship with Jesus.

Me: “Prayer is when we tell God everything. But we also need to listen to Him. What’s the best way to hear from God?”

PinkGirl: “Be alone with Him?”

Me: “That’s one way. I call that abiding in Him. But that’s next. Something else comes first. The best way to hear God speak to us is to read His Word.”

PinkGirl: “I try, but I don’t understand a lot of it.”

Me: I get that. There’s a lot I don’t understand either. But here’s the thing. There’s a lot you do understand – way before you even get to the stuff you don’t understand. You understand what you learn in Bible [class], right?

PinkGirl: “yeah.”

Me: “So, see? You understand more than you think. Outside of Bible [class], what’s the last thing you read on your own?”

PinkGirl: “I don’t remember.”

Me: “You understand the scriptures in your devotion book, right?”

PinkGirl: “yeah.”

Me: “What was your last devotion about?”

(thinking)

PinkGirl: “I don’t remember.”

Me: “When do you do your devotion, in the morning or at bedtime?”

PinkGirl: “In the morning.”

Me: “After your devotion time is over, how often do you think about the scripture you read later in your day?”

PinkGirl: “none.”

Meditate on Gods Word Read BibleMe: “Just reading the Bible isn’t enough. You won’t grow in your relationship with Christ if you don’t remember what you read. You have to engage in God’s Word. That takes effort. How can you remember the scripture from your morning devotion throughout your day ? And for days after that?”

We talked about how on our own, reading the Bible isn’t something we want to do all the time and that God knows that. We talked about forgetting to read the Bible or not making time for it. We talked about how we make time for the other things we love. We talked about the first and constant thing we should do: pray and ask God to give us a desire to read His Word. We talked about the fact that we can’t just “do better” on our own. We talked about asking God to give us – to bless us – with a hunger for His Word – with a hunger for Him. We talked about setting reminders on her iPod, bands on her wrist, special jewelry, even writing notes to herself on her hand.

Me: “After reading the Bible, another good way to hear from God is to abide in Him. You called it being alone with Him. When are you ever truly alone. Quiet and still?”

PinkGirl: “When I’m in my room.”

Be still and know that I am God Psalms 46 10 Pause the noiseMe: “I mean really alone and quiet. No itouch, no iPad, no tv, no internet, no youtube, no text, no instagram, no facetime…”

PinkGirl: “oh.”

Me: “Sleeping doesn’t count.”

Me: “If you want to be closer to God, if you want to find joy in Him, you have to spend time with Him. Think of it this way. When you and PeterPanFan (her BFF) hang out together, you grow closer, don’t you think? You talk to each other, you have inside jokes, you start to think alike, finish each other’s sandwiches…even when you two are at your own houses, when you interact over the internet through text or instagram, you’re still spending time with each other even though you are miles apart. But if you were at your house and she was at her house and you weren’t interacting over the internet, you wouldn’t be able to hear her. What would happen to your friendship if you didn’t spend time together?”

(thinking)

Me: How connected can you be to God if you don’t spend time alone with Him?

(quiet. thinking)

Me: So. Prayer. Reading God’s Word and Abiding in Him. There’s something else you can do to find joy in God.”

PinkGirl: “what?”

Me: “Gratitude.”

PinkGirl: “Thanking Him?”

Me: “Actually there’s two kinds. Giving thanks for His blessings and praising Him for who He is. When you thank Him for blessings, you begin to recognize those blessings in your life more and more. And when you praise Him for who He is, no matter what your circumstances are, it helps you remember that God is sovereign and nothing happens to you that He doesn’t will or allow.”

We talked about disappointments, God’s providence and the peace that comes from trusting that all circumstances – which lead to both happiness and sadness – are God’s providence. We talked about tapestries. And praising Him, no matter what.

We talked about a lot of things. The things I’ve shared here are the things she gave me permission to share.

Afterwards, I realized.

Prayer. Reading God’s Word. Abiding in Him. Gratitude. P.R.A.G. The first four chapters of the book I was writing about how to experience a more intimate relationship with Christ. Seems so easy, just looking at them here. Not so easy. To do or to write about. If they were easy to do, every Christian would do them. If they were easy to write about…I haven’t been able to write for months. But in these precious moments with my daughter, I was able to articulate a summary in kid language.

He has been preparing me. Not only for that question at that moment.

God is Good. All the time.

(CLICK HERE for the story behind the song.)

April 22, 2014 Posted by | christian living, learning curve, music, pinterest, pragmatic communion, pragmatic parenting, praise team music, prayer, thankfulness, the search for Joy, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“churched”

The other day, someone asked me if my kids grew up “churched.”

The pause before my reply was noticeably long.

I was thinking.

What does that mean? I realize my personal background and filters contribute to my way of thinking, but no definition I could come up with made it seem like growing up “churched” would be a good thing. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

adjective: “affiliated with a church.”

Well. That’s vague.

churched.

The word has connotations. Through my personal filters, adding “ed” after the word church makes it reek of religious knowledge and practices, not relationship with Christ.

So, if growing up churched just means my kids grew up knowing the traditions of church – whatever church or religion that might be, then yes, they grew up churched. They know what a call to worship is, they can sing the doxology, they know what to do with an offering plate, they know the different ways to take communion and what an alter call is. They know what the Apostles’ creed is and they know the Lord’s prayer doesn’t end with the words “with liberty and justice for all.” They can follow the verse order of a hymn and even though they both have searchable Bible apps, they can find a scripture in a Bible with paper pages by it’s reference. In more contemporary churches, they know that a worship service usually begins with what we in our family affectionately term a “giddyup Jesus” song, and they know why this video is funny.

So, if all that means my kids grew up churched, then yes. My kids grew up “churched.”

Some might say, “Well, it’s better than nothing.”

Not necessarily.

Here’s the deal. If all that stuff is a precursor to a personal decision for Christ or an expression of a growing relationship with Him, then yes. It is better than nothing.

BUT, if all those things are part of their life instead of or apart from a growing relationship with Christ, I don’t necessarily think growing up churched is better.

It might actually be worse.

I’ve personally met so. many. people. who grew up going to church and as an adult, have not only abandoned church, but faith altogether.

A few months ago, I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His. (CLICK HERE to read that post – and if you ever think about praying that, brace yourself.)

One clear and constant answer has been the fact that so many people have turned away from faith in Christ without ever really knowing what it is.

Who He is.

Growing up churched has kept more than a few people from relationship with Christ because they think that all those things I mentioned about church is evidence of a relationship with Christ.

Not always true.

That’s what I was thinking during the extended silence that followed the “Did your kids grow up churched?” question.

But when I broke that silence, what did I say?

“uhhhhh. Well. We took them to church if that’s what you mean.”

I am so articulate sometimes.

The truth is that despite all their knowledge and understanding of religious practices, my kids never heard the gospel explained in kid language at the church we attended. Hell was too scary for kids and Jesus was a role model, not a Savior. Discussions about asking Jesus to come into your heart? The Holy Spirit as a helper after you ask Jesus to come into your heart? No. (By the grace of God and through an extended, painful revelation process, we now understand that we need to be part of a Christ-centered church.)

We went to church on Sunday mornings, did a few summers of VBS, went to some fall costume parties, some Christmas breakfasts with Santa and some Easter egg hunts. Sunday school was mostly Bible stories and crafts. VBS was a rotation of Bible stories, crafting sessions and outdoor games interspersed with music, snacks and cute videos with moral and ethical messages.

They learned that God loved them. They learned they should help people. They learned God wanted them to be “good” like Jesus. They learned that they should give joyfully.

teach children diligently Deuteronomy 6 6-7But my kids first learned about having a relationship with Christ from my husband and I. Because we knew that our faith couldn’t be theirs by force or wishes, we prayed that the Holy Spirit would draw them to Christ, and we told them about Jesus. Through our lives – our words and our actions – they saw what faith in Christ really is – a relationship. They knew Jesus loved them – no matter what – just like we loved them. We prayed with them, we did family devotions together, we were authentic with them about the lessons God was teaching us, we listened to their problems, their fears and their joys and we continuously helped them to view and navigate all three through faith in God.

By the grace of God, they both accepted Christ at a very early age. By the grace of God and equipped by the Holy Spirit, we did our best to disciple them as they grew in their faith.

We enrolled them in Christian school because we wanted them to learn as much about the Bible as they did about math, science, history, spelling and English. When they moved onto middle school and began building on that Bible knowledge and learning theology, we actively engaged them in discussions that helped them figure out and ground themselves in their own beliefs, some of those beliefs different from what were being taught at school. As my son has grown older and graduated from high school, he’s come to some beliefs that differ from his mom and/or dad. (No surprise, mom and dad don’t always agree either.)

Regardless of the tangential beliefs we each have, we share faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. All four of us depend on the Holy Spirit to equip us for the life we live, striving to follow the Father’s will.

My husband and I are confident that each of our children have their own faith in and relationship with Christ. We pray for those relationships regularly.

But “Did your kids grow up churched?” is a yes or no question. There wasn’t time to think through all that, much less say it.

Hence the blog post.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | christian living, pinterest, pragmatic communion, pragmatic parenting, praise team music, prayer, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

toxic concoction.

Doubt and Faith Toxic Concoction Mark Buchanan Your God is Too SafeI got cocky.

I thought I could logically justify my faith in God.

You’ll find some Christians who’ll tell you they can do it.

not me.

not anymore.

When someone told me my faith was illogical, irrational and unreasonable, I bristled. Or should I say, my ego bristled? I challenged them to prove it.

They couldn’t. (Their emotionally charged reasoning was circular and redundant and they completely ignored me when I poked questions into the holes in their arguments.)

But in the aftermath of those discussions, I discovered I couldn’t disprove it either.

Science and logic have limits. There are some things that can’t be understood or explained (and a definition isn’t an explanation).

Like what causes gravity.
Like human consciousness.
Like quantum entanglement (what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”).

Like God.

Doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Just means we don’t understand why. Or how.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that God cannot be completely understood. I forgot that a God I can understand is a God I create. Confine. Any God I can completely understand is limited by time and space and the extent to which I can understand.

Any God who is limited by my understanding is not transcendent.

I was reminded – the hard way – that I don’t want a God I can understand.

It was a season of extreme paradox in my life.

My faith had never been stronger and I had never been more aware of my weakness apart from Christ.

My faith had never been stronger and I had never been more intimately and desperately dependent on the Holy Spirit.

I prayed daily for wisdom and discernment and empathy and compassion. I prayed daily for Him to continuously make me aware of opportunities to be the hands and feet and voice and ears of Christ. Watching and listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit had never been more in the forefront of my awareness. I prayed not only for the Holy Spirit to prompt me when to speak and act, but when to be silent and still.

I prayed for Him to equip me in what I honestly knew to be beyond my capabilities.

and then.

The person who told me my faith was illogical, irrational and unreasonable asked me a simple question:

If God is sovereign, why pray?

You’d think I would have considered that question before, me being all spiritually “mature” and everything.

Turns out, I had never really thunk it through. I had dismissed it, thoughtlessly citing Biblical platitudes like “I pray because Jesus prayed.” and “I pray because the Bible tells us to pray.”

When I finally looked at the question straight on, my entire relationship with God came to a screeching halt.

I couldn’t pray.

I wanted to turn back the clock. To unthink what I was thinking. I wanted the faith of a child.

I wanted stronger faith.

Suddenly and overwhelmingly, I identified with Philip Yancey when he wrote:

“I envy, truly I envy, those people who pray in simple faith without fretting about how prayer works and how God governs this planet. For some reason I cannot avoid pondering these imponderables.”

What was so different about this question this time? It came at a critical juncture in my life. After arguing with God for months, I had finally taken the terrifying step of obedience by sharing something I believe God was revealing to me. Something I tried to ignore. Something I didn’t want to see: That I was part of a church which marginalized grace, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, prayer and relationship with Christ. That we forgot 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 and were ignoring Matthew 28:19.

I was genuinely repentant and prayed desperately for God to bring revival. Heartbroken, I asked for people to pray with me. I was blindsided by how angry people were, how fast and how much they misunderstood what I said and how vehemently they rejected not only what I was saying, but me.

I had argued with God, finally doing what I believed He was prompting me to do and I was faced with closed hearts, closed minds and slammed doors.

So I did what anyone “mature” in their faith would do. I ran into a cave and hid.

A dark cave.

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.” He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:4-9

Go ahead, sing-song it with me.

“Julie and Elijah, sitting under a tree, w. h. i. n. ing.”

I prayed.

and then I couldn’t.

Because God is sovereign and God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do.

And then I prayed because I couldn’t help it.

Because a life void of intimacy with Christ and utter dependance on the Holy Spirit was vastly empty. and hopelessly dark.

Desolate.

I prayed because I couldn’t help it while at the same time believing that praying to a sovereign God who’s working a plan and doesn’t need my help was…pointless.

Not logical. Not pragmatic.

And that’s where faith is required.

And where doubt came in.

I never doubted the existence of God. I never doubted Christ or the Cross or the redeeming power of His blood. I never doubted my salvation.

I doubted the point of me.

If God is sovereign, why pray?

If God doesn’t need me, why would He even bother with me? Why did He even bother with me?

And that’s why I say I can’t logically justify my faith.

In my darkest night, when God was completely silent, when the logical, rational and reasonable foundation for my faith was beyond my sight,

I still had faith.

I still have faith.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | apologetics, books, Christ-Centered Church, christian living, pinterest, pragmatic communion, praise team music, prayer, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the home project that never ends: the gameroom.

If you missed the living room makeover, CLICK HERE  to see part one photos and CLICK HERE to see part two photos.

After the living room floor was down, we continued through the opening into – what would be for normal people, the formal dining room – but for us is the game room, (or what the kids used to call the playroom when they were younger).

The game room got its own makeover back in September of 2009. You can CLICK HERE to see those before, during and after photos, but here’s one of the “after” photos that gives a frame of reference with regard to the opening connecting it to the living room.

game room charging station

And after the flooring in the living room was down, that opening looked like this:
(the navy blue curtains you see in the above photo are tied in a knot in the photos below)

game room before

Here’s a full shot of the opening from the game room side.

game room before 2

Ready? Here we go.

All the living room furniture that we had been storing in the family room while we were laying the living room flooring had to be moved OUT of the family room so we could store all the game room furniture in the family room while we laid the game room flooring.

Did you follow that?

Here’s what it looked like. Living room furniture in the in family room:

temporary familyroom living room combo

Game room furniture in the family room.

game room in living room

And a week later. Notice how much messier the family room looks after what at that point was over a month of continued home chaos. That’s paper shredder guts in the middle of the floor, but vacuuming just seemed so…pointless.

game room in the family room 2

In the process, we had to unhook all the electronics and come face to face with the chord chaos we had been ignoring for…a long time.

game room cord chaos

What a mess.

Then I went to EPCOT.
Seriously.
I took PinkGirl to EPCOT and my FavoriteHusband and FavoriteSon tackled the game room floor prep while FavoriteHusband took breaks to hack my facebook and post photos of their progress.

game room floor sand

Take note of that round appliance in the photo above.
It’s an air purifier.
We had three different ones running the entire time.

First the guys pulled up the old carpet and carpet pad. If you click to zoom and look closely, you’ll see some of the glued down carpet padding that FavoriteHusband and FavoriteSon meticulously scraped off the floor. By hand.

game room floor sand 2

After the floor had been scraped, there was a fine layer of white powder EVERYwhere. On the walls, the curtains, the light bulbs…EVERYwhere. The air purifiers definitely helped. I took them apart to vacuum their filters. Here’s one mid-vacuum:

air purifier filter

Then FavHubs ripped off all the old baseboards. They were those standard, boring baseboards and we had long since replaced them in the rest of the downstairs with 4.5 inch baseboards.

game room baseboard removal

After scraping and vacuuming the floor, FavoriteHusband sealed it with Kilz.

game room sealed 4

Another reason I left the house that day. That stuff has a strong odor. Gives me a multi-hour headache.

After the sealer was dry, FavHubs cut and laid the plywood subfloor. (We had to lay a subfloor in the previously carpeted areas to raise the level up to meet the existing kitchen flooring – which we were not going to remove. The new flooring is a floating floor. We installed it right on top of the existing kitchen flooring. But that’s another post.)

game room subfloor 2

Then I got back into the project. These planks have some STRONG adhesive on them, so we learned hard and fast that this job was going to go much more quickly and with less errors if we laid every single plank TOGETHER as a team.

I can’t believe, with as many photos as I took, I can’t find any of the flooring mid-install.
Here’s the end result:

game room new flooring

game room new flooring 3

Then came the new baseboards. You remember that shot above showing the old baseboards mid-rip out? Here’s that same corner.

game room new baseboards 4

FavoriteHusband borrowed a miter saw and a compressor from a friend, watched a few youtube videos to learn how to use a coping saw and look at these beautiful baseboards!

game room new baseboards

Then I needed to mop it.
Or let my irobot Scooba mop it for me.

game room scooba 2

Here’s the nearly-finished room. Still have to finish the dreaded decorating.

game room 2014 after

game room 2014 after 2

game room 2014 after 3

game room 2014 after 4

I’ll post the kitchen photos soon. I hope.

April 6, 2014 Posted by | 2014 home makeover, clean house, home sweet home, poor me some whine | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

lessons from the book of Job: you can say anything to God

Philip Yancey quote Disappointment with God Message of Job“One bold message in the Book of Job is that you can say anything to God.

Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment— he can absorb them all.

As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are shown contending with God.
They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out.

In this respect, the Bible prefigures a tenet of modern psychology: you can’t really deny your feelings or make them disappear, so you might as well express them. God can deal with every human response save one. He cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively: an attempt to ignore him or treat him as though he does not exist.

That response never once occurred to Job.”

Philip Yancey
Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud

March 28, 2014 Posted by | pinterest, pragmatic communion, prayer, status updates, suffering, therefore I quote | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

four minutes with God: break my heart for what breaks Yours.

a Quote:

(Ellen and Genie were best friends when they were kids, but grew apart over the years. Until this reconnection in their early twenties, as written by Genie.)

“For the next hour I stormed the conversation with highly exaggerated accounts of my great successes…

She [Ellen] listened quietly and at one point when my voice was way up and bragging she broke in: “That’s all very interesting. I know you’ve done some fine work, but you’re probably the unhappiest looking person I’ve ever seen, Genie. What’s really the matter?

walking wounded compassionIf you have ever heard your own defense shatter, remember that sickening silence that follows the crash right now and share it with me as I sat there with an unlighted cigarette in my hand afraid to look down at the wreckage around my feet.

She was not unkind.
In fact, her expression and her voice were so kind I quickly lighted the cigarette and faked a cough while I batted away the tears that were there brimming.

After that I told her things which I had not dared admit to myself. We were very close and yet we were shouting at each other from the opposite shores of the universe…

Ellen talked about what was at the center of her life…

“All right, what is at the center of your life?”

She said, “It isn’t a ‘what.’ There’s a Person there.

“A person?”

“Jesus Christ.”

What did I reply?

“Please!”

That’s what I said and laughed but I didn’t feel at all like laughing. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do and certainly I didn’t know what else to say.”

from The Burden Is Light by Eugenia Price

my Prayer:
Jesus, ever since I asked You to break my heart for what breaks Yours, I haven’t been the same. This lesson of compassion is not what I expected. I don’t know what I expected. Heartbreak hurts. And so does the knowledge that so many people vehemently hate or casually dismiss the Healer because of all the religious baggage that’s been heaped on top of You.

Lord, despite the heartbreak, please don’t ever let me become desensitized.

Please continue to bless me with this broken heart. Thank you for teaching me, even if empathy wasn’t the learning curve I wanted. Please continue to help me see people and to minister to them. Please help me to recognize the people who are seeking You and please equip me to extend that ministry beyond their temporal needs. Please bless me with the courage to ask the hard, uncomfortable, heartbreaking questions. Please, please tell me when to speak and what to say, when to be silent and what to pray.

the Word:
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV)

the lyric.
“Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like You have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours.

Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause, as I walk from earth into eternity.”

March 18, 2014 Posted by | books, christian living, devotions, four minutes with God, pragmatic communion, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

sarcasm: religious and political poison.

sarcasm and stupidityReading too much on the internet today and keep thinking one thing:

Sarcasm is an ineffective persuasive technique.

It’s condescending, arrogant, divisive and shuts down dialog. It’s too often used by people in a manner to indicate that an issue is simple and anyone who doesn’t see the simplicity and logic of their side of an argument is an idiot to be ridiculed and dismissed.

Seriously.

If these issues were simple,
they wouldn’t be so controversial.

Anyone who uses trite, flippant sarcasm to make a point – especially without even acknowledging any opposing points of view – loses credibility with me

- and my interest in any discussion with them about how stupid the other guy’s point of view is

- regardless of whether I am the other guy or am aligned in opinion with the person wielding the sarcasm.

sarcasm puppets and crayons

March 6, 2014 Posted by | christian living, intentional living, pinterest, pragmatic communication, status updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 02/8/14 – 02/14/14 (one floor done, dependent tasks & Scooba)

This is only a partial compilation. I waited 3 weeks after posting to create this facebook fragments and some of my facebook posts are already MIA. Which is why I do these posts.
_____________

Saturday, February 8, 2014
If the Holy Spirit prompts you to step into a stranger’s life and offer to help them, don’t fight the prompt. Turn around and go back if your initial reaction was to rationalize your way past the opportunity. Risk rejection. Even if there’s no chance you’ll ever find out what comes of it. And make sure you give God the credit for prompting you, or the person you help will just think you did it all on your own.
#loveGodloveothers #Luke1027

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Sunday, February 9, 2014
Check it out. We started laying the flooring last night. It looks beautiful, but it was a S L O W start. And there will be no cooking in this kitchen until the floor in the living room is laid. Every. square. inch. is covered with the contents of the giant armoire.

Allure flooring partially installed

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I was a little curious about what’s going on at the old Borders in Oviedo.
Looks like the property was purchased by BJ’s Restaurants in January.

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I HATE dependant tasks. HATE them, I tell you.
#thehomeprojectthatwillneverend

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Just went upstairs to find PinkGirl.
Me: “Do not “Like” your mother’s facebook posts when you are supposed to be in bed.”
(laughter)
Me: “Seriously, Facebook just sold you out. Go. To. Bed.”

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Monday, February 10, 2014
The flooring is down! But the dependent tasks continue. I just want to put the furniture in the living room already! But the manufacturer recommendation is to clean it and “polish” it (with their proprietary polish, of course). I was going to let Scooba clean the floor while I paint the one remaining wall (the wall that the giant armoire has been up against all this time) but it appears I left Scooba’s battery in him after he cleaned my kitchen floor the last time, so he will be charging while I paint, cause ya KNOW I am NOT cleaning a floor by hand when I have him to do it for me. The green towels are covering the exposed transition area that will continue into the next room…after we empty it.
Do you hear someone wimpering? it’s me.

Allure flooring partially complete in living roomjpg

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Favorite Q&A about Roomba on Amazon:
Q: “I have 6 cats, a pot bellied pig, and two small dogs in the house. Can a roombah handle those?”
A: “I have no idea, and I don’t want to imagine.”

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2nd Favorite Q&A about Roomba on Amazon:
Q: “How do you store it?”
A: “Mine docs herself along a low traffic wall, but honestly, she does more cleaning than anyone else in the house… she could dock by the front door & I’d thank her every time I stepped over her. “

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You know what happens when you paint the inside of a window frame? You get an up close look at the window. The 26 year old energy inefficient, thin as paper window you elected NOT to replace a few years ago when you replaced all the windows upstairs with those kickin double panes. One thing at a time.
#thehomeprojectthatwillneverend

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I was going to get Scooba started on the floor before I pick PinkGirl up from school.
Am I mean enough?
#lazycat #sunbeam

lazy cat in sunbeam

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How tired am I? I gotta get these books off my kitchen table. Three dependent tasks for that.
1. Move a giant loveseat through a doorway that would be blocked by bookcases if they were in place.
2. Move temporary bookcases into place.
3. Put all the books on the shelves.
(in alphabetical order by author’s last name of course – and there’s twice as many books than you see in this photo)
After we finish the flooring connection with the next room, we can put together the new bookcases and so I can move these books again.
That won’t be tonight.
or tomorrow.
or the next day…
#thehomeprojectthatwillneverend

stack of books on table

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Today’s agenda. Some might call it rearranging furniture. I call it purging and reconstructing the contents of a perfectly “fine” room in the middle of a major home project. In my own defense…yeah. I got nothin.
photos to come.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014
You know what word I don’t use often enough?
“Remarkable: worthy of attention; striking.”

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“I love looking at the snow.
on facebook.
from Florida.”

love looking at the snow on facebook from florida

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Chest congestion. Sinus congestion. (sounds better than “I have a cold.”)
If I was smart, I would load up on meds & go to bed…after I just do this one more thing…

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Thursday, February 13, 2014
Two paws up for the new living room floor.
#lazycats #sunbeam
(I suppose that should be 8 paws up)

lazy can in a sunbeam collage

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“I think that’s a little bit of what it’s like when you are Christian. We have a genuine desire to please the Lord and to trust Him and to love others, but we can’t do it. However, when we fail our Father steps in and does the task for us. Our weaknesses only serve to display to us (and sometimes others) the love that God has for us.”
(To read Jeff’s full post, entitled “Selfishly Selfish” CLICK HERE)

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Friday, February 14, 2014
Bob the cat just brought me a live lizard. He put it down in front of me.
and it ran under the couch.
yay.

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“Only at the point where the insufficiency of natural strength is faced, felt and admitted does divine empowering begin.”
J.I. Packer

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PinkGirl, watching Tangled. again.
“If you told me I could NEVER leave some tower, I’d be like, “NO!” She could just throw her hair down and go see the floating lights all by herself. Why does she even need Flynn Ryder?”

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

February 27, 2014 Posted by | fragments, poor me some whine, pragmatic commotion, status updates | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the living room makeover. the library.

If you missed Part I and Part II of this living room makeover, CLICK HERE and HERE to see those photos.

This weekend, we’re installing baseboard in the game room, and hopefully we’ll reload all the furniture in that room and finish laying the new flooring in the kitchen. But this is what we did LAST night!

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Check out my very own LIBRARY wall!

and yes, those shelves block off an opening between two rooms, but we LIKE it that way. The other side is what the floor plan called the formal dining room, but we’ve used it as a play room/game room for over 10 years. The books on these shelves will provide a sound barrier between the two rooms that I’ve wanted for a very long time!

There’s plenty of time to have a formal dining room. After my kids grow up. maybe. (more likely it will turn into a workout room.)

We have SO much to do this weekend. But FirstHusband is using power tools and doing math with a protractor to calculate baseboard angles, so I’m rearranging books in my new library! Here’s a WIP shot:

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Check back. More photos to come.

February 22, 2014 Posted by | books, clean house, freakishly organized, home sweet home, poor me some whine | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the living room makeover. during and after

If you missed Part I of this living room makeover, CLICK HERE to see those photos.

Here’s the last photo from the first post:

(the grey is the moisture barrier)
the living room makeover - moisture barrier2

While I waited for the flooring to ship (delayed due to the snow and ice), I did some painting and we made few small changes:

Before:
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After:
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We’re changing ALL of the beige toggles to white rockers. ALL of them. (and of course, the beige outlets to white)
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Painting most of the downstairs Behr “Pecan Sandie” in Satin.
We painted the original boring beige back in 1996.
and (to the left of the window) the “big red wall” is GONE.
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In my defense, I am short and this valance was WAY over my head. Taking it down to paint put it in vacuum reach.

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And FINALLY, the flooring was delivered!

DSC_0146

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And the fun began…
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Four hours later… (it was a hard learning curve)
flooring after four hours

The next day went MUCH faster.
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When we got to the last row, we said a little prayer:
Lord, we are so tired. please. please let it be a perfect fit.
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God is merciful. And we are so. grateful.
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We only had to fill in a graduated triangular section in the very. last. corner.
Can you see it? Go ahead. Click the photo to zoom in. My husband is SO good.
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and the FLOOR is finished. In this room.
The green towels are covering the transition into the NEXT room.
yay.
And we have yet to get the rest of the furniture into place.
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Bob the Cat approves. #lazycat #sunbeam
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Next up? Finish painting and put some furniture in here. And of course, the adjoining rooms.

Check back. More photos to come.

February 15, 2014 Posted by | clean house, home sweet home, poor me some whine | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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