Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

Random: 09.30.09

I’m joining in at Random Dozen over at 2nd Cup of Coffee because I LOVED the first question!!! Serious flashback. And the weather here tonight was cool and breezy. I love autumn.

1. Tell me the absolute best way to watch a movie.
At a DRIVE-IN! In the back of a pick-up truck, in the cool brisk air of autumn, curled up with blankets and pillows, eating popcorn covered in that orange salt they use in commercial popcorn makers. (If you go to the drive-in with a friend, don’t go to the bathroom without taking the car keys with you. Some people might think it’s SOOOO funny to move the truck while you’re gone.)

2. Do you ever think about your own funeral? If so, do you have specific ideas about how you would like it to be?
Well, NOW I have. The only thing that came to mind was the music. So much to choose from. These days, How You Live by Point of Grace (see youtube video in #12 below).

3. Are you more of a giver or a taker?
Giver. But I’m trying to learn to be a receiver. Trying to ask for help when I need it. Feels weird. Learning to ask for blessings. Feels GREAT.

4. Vacations: planned activities and schedules, or play it by ear?
Both. Certain things planned, empty spots left empty.

5. What is one often overlooked item in your home that needs to be cleaned regularly?
One? I’m sorry. I can’t think of one.

6. Name a cause that means a lot to you.
The cause of Christ. It’s the foundation of my priorities and my priorities drive my daily choices.

7. Do you eat a regular old peanut butter jelly sandwich, or do you customize it? And by the way, jelly or no jelly?
Has to be crunchy peanut butter. And seedless blackberry low sugar jam. On thick, heavy, soft wheat bread. If I don’t have any skim milk in the house, I won’t even bother making the sandwich. Not worth it. Somebody told me I need to try peanut butter and olives. I don’t know . . .

8. If we were having a conversation in person, how would I know if you were nervous?
I wouldn’t say very much. I would be distracted.

9. Do you have an elaborate bedtime routine, or just the basics of tooth brushing and jammies?
No routine. Although, my skin is changing and peeling and breaking out (what’s THAT about?) I need to STICK to my skin care routine. Knowing what to do and having the product doesn’t mean I use it every day. Also trying to stop reading NON-fiction at bedtime. I don’t need to be learning anything when I’m trying to get sleepy.

10. Have you ever regretted something you wrote on your blog?
Can’t think of anything. I would probably delete it if I did.

11. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a famous person or celebrity? Did you agree?
A long time ago, I was told I looked like Mariel Hemingway. I never saw it.

12. If you were going to dedicate a song to a loved one or friend, what would the song be and to whom would it be dedicated?
To my kids. Two songs: “Anyway” by Martina McBride and “Turn up the Music” by Point of Grace.

Join in the Random Dozen Carnival hosted by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee!

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

what I learned this week. 09-30-09

I need to listen to that still, small voice I hear. Even when it makes no sense.

God can bless me by asking me to give away my van. He can bless me beyond my wildest imagination.

I can be happy – really HAPPY – even when I have no vehicle and no plan for how to get one.

The biggest thing I learned this week?

Blessings require change. And faith. And courage.

To find out what others learned this week, check out What I Learned this Week hosted by Musings of a Housewife.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | christian living, intentional living, learning curve | 2 Comments

blessings require change.

Oh, that You would bless me indeed . . .
I Chronicles 4:10a NKJV

I don’t like change. I don’t like flux. Flux is that place between what was and what will be. I hate flux. It’s yet another lesson in faith and patience. You’d think I would have learned faith and patience by now. But no.

I mentioned in my last post that, on Friday evening, September 18th, my van was rear ended and that (thank you, God) no one was hurt. That’s only part of the story. The “Isn’t my husband great” part of the story. The rest of the story is the “Isn’t GOD GREAT!!!” part of the story.

I’ve been praying the Prayer of Jabez since Friday, August 7th.

“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.” 1 Chronicles 4:10

I read the original book by Bruce Wilkinson and prayed the prayer a few years ago, but I was praying “God, bless me.” with my palms open, waiting. I was praying “God, bless me, indeed!” while rubbing my fingers against my thumb. You know, the “money” gesture. God took one look at my heart and said, “NO.”

Years passed. I got another book, “Beyond Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson. In it, he addressed the critics of the the Prayer of Jabez. Specifically, he addressed the idea that the Prayer of Jabez promoted prosperity theology. He explained. I understood. Since then, August 7th, I’ve been praying:

“Lord, bless me with wisdom and discernment. Bless me with compassion and empathy and kindness. Please bless me with patience. Please bless me with the gift of humble service. Please bless my words and my actions. Bless me with an ability to see opportunities to serve you. Please bless me with the motivation and courage to be immediately obedient when those opportunities are presented to me. Please bless me in any way you choose.”

The morning of September 18, the day the van was rear ended, I wrote this in my prayer journal:

“Lord, if it’s your will, somehow get the NewChurchFamily a dependable vehicle. If your will – our van and allow us to somehow obtain another vehicle. I don’t know where this prayer is coming from Lord, but I’m praying it anyway. Your will. I want to help if I can. Please show me how.”

Less than 12 hours later, FirstHusband (who hardly ever drives my van) was rear-ended on the Florida turnpike in evening traffic.

Um. God? That’s not exactly what I had in mind.

Long story short? Friday morning a week after my prayer, the insurance company called me: “Mrs. Mills, I’m sorry to inform you that your vehicle has been declared a total loss. The estimate to repair the vehicle is $5,1xx and the vehicle has been valued at $4,837. blah, blah, blah – When can we arrange for pickup of the vehicle?”

No more van. But I already knew that. I think I knew that on Friday the 18th, when I prayed for God to show me how I could help.

My insurance company was telling me that they would no longer insure my vehicle under my name. For the savings of around $300, they were telling me that my van was actually just a bunch of salvageable parts which – at the moment – just happened to be connected and operating as a functioning vehicle. They wanted to come and pick it up. Then they would sell it at auction and, most likely it would be stripped for parts.

That didn’t’ work for me.

So I said: “That doesn’t work for me. I need to retain the vehicle and transfer the title to a family who needs it. How do I retain the vehicle?”

LRep (the insurance guy): “You could retain the vehicle for a fee of 20 percent of it’s value, but it would not have a transferable title. The State of Florida doesn’t allow transfer of title on a vehicle that has been declared a total loss.”

Me: “20 percent would be over $800. I don’t have $800. And I need to transfer the title. Can I settle for less than the estimated repair cost? Can I settle for the value of the van?”

LRep: “I’m sorry, Mrs. Mills, the State of Florida won’t allow us to settle for a partial repair, it has to be a complete repair . . . blah, blah, blah.”

Me: LRep? I’m trying to . . . I need to . . . (oh for crying out loud) LRep, can I ask, are you a Christian?

LRep: “Yes, ma’am.”

Me: “Great, then I can just explain this to you.”

So I did. I explained how, for the last 7 days, people and circumstances have led to this moment. How, after the estimator left my house Thursday afternoon without cutting me a check, I knew they were going to total the van. How a friend already told me what the value of the van was and it would be declared a total loss. How, on Thursday, FirstHusband took the van to a paint and body guy – a guy we used to go to church with 15 years ago – a preferred provider for our insurance company – and asked him how much it would cost to make the van legal and safe, but not perfect, and how he said “about $500.” How the family in our church had a 3 year old, a 1 year old and that she was pregnant with twins. How they currently didn’t have a vehicle that all 6 of them could ride in when they brought those babies home from the hospital NEXT MONTH. I told LRep what I prayed on Friday morning. I told him how God had given me an opportunity to serve and I felt a responsibility to follow it all the way through until the opportunity completely fell apart.

Then I asked: “So, that’s the situation. LRep, you do this all the time. How do I solve this problem?”

LRep: (pause) “Well, you need a detailed estimate to completely repair the van, which is lower than the value of the van. I’ll submit that estimate the adjuster for review along with your request to re-classify your van from “total loss” to “completely repairable.”

Me: Like . . . an estimate for $4836?

LRep: Theoretically.


Me: “LRep, who is the decision maker? Can I speak directly with them?”

LRep: “Yes, ma’am.”

LRep is so polite. Little southern accent going . . . he put me on hold. For more than a few minutes. He was talking to the decision maker. Explaining what the pushy woman on the phone wanted. While I prayed. Gave the entire upcoming conversation to God. I’m just trying to obey. He’s the one who’s gonna make this happen. Or not.

KAdjuster picks up: “This is Kadjustor.”

She did not have a good attitude. She was short. Curt. Abrupt. Businesslike.

I led with: “LRep has explained . . . ”

Kadjuster: “Yes, I know. He told me.”

(Lord, I’m giving this conversation to you.)

Me: “I need to make sure I understand what I need to do, but I also need to confirm that it is legal, ethical and honest. If it’s not, I don’t want to pursue this any further.”

There was a noticeable pause.

Then Kadjuster’s attitude changed completely. She was friendly. Encouraging. She explained the steps again, assured me that everything was in fact, legal, ethical and honest. My paint and body guy needed to submit an estimate for repair that was under the value of the vehicle. She offered to fax the insurance company’s detailed estimate to him to use as a guide. She assured me that my paint and body guy would not be obligated to actually perform the repairs to the vehicle according to his estimate. The title on the van would be transferable. I could use the insurance check toward the purchase another vehicle. Legal. Ethical. Honest.

Me: “Then you would review the new estimate and consider my request?

Kadjustor: “Absolutely.”

She called me back that afternoon. It’s a van again – not salvage! I got the check in the mail today. I already told the NewChurchFamily at their baby shower on Sunday. They arrived late due to car trouble. The $500 repairs are also covered. (I’m not stingy with the giving opportunities.) I’m supposed to take my van to my paint and body guy next week. God blessed me – and my family – BIG – by giving me an opportunity to give away my van! Never would have come up with that on my own.

What am I going to drive? Dunno. I’m in flux. That place I usually hate – between what was and what will be.

And I’m on such a God high – I don’t even care.

(For a follow-up to this story, check out blessings require change. part 2.)

God’s providence is not in baskets lowered from the sky, but through the hands of those
who love him. The lad without food and without shoes made the proper answer to the
cruel-minded woman who asked, ‘But if God loved you, wouldn’t he have sent you food and shoes?’
The boy replied, ‘God told someone, but they forgot.
George Buttrick

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

I blinked.

And then it was September 22nd.

Holy WHIRLWIND, Batman!

There’s so much going on right now. Here’s one thing:

honda damage

No one was hurt!!! It could have been so much worse. We’re looking at it as a blessing!

FirstHusband was on the Florida Turnpike in my van, on his way to FavoriteSon’s “away” football game on Friday night. We had decided the two hour drive there, the two hour game and the two hour drive back was too much to ask of PinkGirl considering none of her friends would be going to game either. So PinkGirl and I were home. FirstHusband called about 5:30 p.m. and said:

“No one was hurt, I’m fine, but I just got rear-ended. I’ve gotta go.”

Sometimes, the man KNOWS how to start a sentence. I hung up and thought, rear-ended. No big deal. He’s fine. He drives a Ford F250, so if he’s fine, it’s probably fine. Small aircraft can hit that thing and bounce off.

Then I remembered. He was driving MY van. oh.

Then the texts/phone calls begin.

Text from FirstHusband: “Your registration is expired.”

Me: (to myself) CRUD-OLA! Happy flippin birthday to me, I FORGOT to renew my tag! (text to FirstHusband) “I’M SO SORRY!”

Him: “No worries.”

Me: (to God) “I know we deserve the consequence, Lord, but please don’t let the ticket for an expired tag be too expensive!!!”

Phone Call from FirstHusband:
“Where’s your insurance card?”

Me: “In my purse.”

Him: “Not in your van?”

Me: “No, I carry them with me. With my license.”

Him: “I keep mine in my glove compartment.”

Me: “You don’t carry mine in case you drive the van? I carry yours in case I drive the truck.”

So, FirstHusband is on the Florida Turnpike, over an hour away, with a smashed van, waiting on the Florida Highway Patrol to arrive – withOUT proof of insurance and with an expired tag.

And he’s not mad. Gotta love him.

While waiting on the FHP officer, he called and told me what happened. There was a three car accident ahead and traffic on the Turnpike came to a stop. The guy in front of him barely made the stop. HE barely made the stop. Both he and the guy in front of him looked in their rear view mirrors and knew the guy behind FirstHusband was NOT going to make the stop. They both inched forward as far as they could and FirstHusband stood on the brake to (hopefully) keep from hitting the guy in front of him (didn’t work). At the last minute, somehow, the guy ended up on the right side of the van instead of directly behind it, so no full rear impact. AND the guy didn’t hit the traffic in the lane to the right. No one was hurt, everyone was in a pleasant mood and a woman who worked for the Department of Transportation was two cars ahead, so she hung around and told everyone what they needed to do.

Like I said before – it was a BLESSING. I’ve prayed “Thank you, God” more than a few times since Friday night.

And, instead of a citation with a fine, the officer gave FirstHusband a citation and a form to fill out. We had 30 days to mail copies of the proof of insurance and renewed registration to the clerk of the court. It’s in the mailbox right now.

FirstHusband, Later that Night:
“In 19 years of marriage, we just learned something new about each other today. You carry both our insurance cards with you and I keep mine in my truck. I thought you kept yours in your van. Neither way is wrong, I just can’t believe after 19 years, we just figured this out about each other.”

Now we figure out what to do about the van, but that’s another story and it’s WHALE of a SALE time! I’ve got to go shop alphabetize books!

September 22, 2009 Posted by | books, christian living, poor me some whine, vehicles | 2 Comments

7 Quick Takes: 09.12.09

1. I can’t think of anyone sweeter to spend my birthday with than PinkGirl. Notice her calendar entry for Wednesday:

PinkGirl Tooth Pulled

I had a plan for Wednesday, but when PinkGirl woke up with a swollen face (abscessed tooth), my schedule for the day changed completely. By 8:30 a.m., we were at the pediatric dentist, by 9:00 a.m. we had seen the x-ray, decided on extraction (baby tooth) and PinkGirl was breathing “ice cream air.” After pausing twice for hugs and soothing from mom, my brave girl had a little white box containing the “dead tooth.”

Her plan? Put the box under her pillow and make mom PROMISE not to do anything. (Dad was on travel.) If the tooth was still there in the morning, then she would KNOW there is no tooth fairy. BUT. If the tooth fairy DIDN’T come:

“Mom, go ahead and do it, but LIE to me. I don’t want the magic to be over.”

“You bet.”

After our previous discussion about the tooth fairy, she didn’t really have to ask me twice. I had already recruited her big brother to assist me so that I could honestly tell her that I didn’t do anything with the tooth.

2. FavoriteSon and I both forgot about the tooth that night.

No worries, the Tooth Fairy gets a second – and third – and fourth . . . chance. PinkGirl has decided that I must have scared him/her off when I checked on her before going to bed. But before we could give the tooth fairy another shot, we had to find the tooth. Which she took to school on Thursday to show all her classmates. Her “Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth!!!” speech was undoubtedly compelling.

Friday, we found the little tooth box in the bowels of the van. FavoriteSon did his thing with the gold dollar and the note. This morning (Saturday), PinkGirl told me she forgot to put the tooth under the pillow. FavoriteSon retrieved the note but couldn’t find the gold dollar. Wimp. I found it. Tonight? Saturday night? She forgot it again. She’s already in bed. I’m thinking she KNOWS. But the gold dollar and the note are ready if she decides to put the tooth under her pillow.

3. I’m finding routine difficult to attain right now. My lack of blogging is an obvious sign. I’ve been working a lot. Time consuming client projects with learning curves. And invoicing, which is good. FirstHusband has been traveling a LOT. New school schedule. Three round trips to school per day. (drop off, pickup PinkGirl, pickup FavoriteSon) Learning a boatload of new songs for praise team. Busy. I know LOTS of other people going through the same thing. BUSY.

Hopefully, I’m busy with the things that support my goals. I’m trying to make sure I’m not busy with stuff I don’t care about, but I’m not confident. I’ve got to examine my to do list and start saying no to stuff. For instance. I want to sing at a Disney Candlelight performance with my church choir. I want to feel the power and goosebumps that come with singing the Hallelujah Chorus at DISNEY. I want to sing in my church’s Christmas Cantata. I want to ring handbells with my church handbell choir. And I already sing on the 9:30 praise team, work part time and barely keep my head above water as a home manager (a.k.a. homemaker, housewife, etc.) Seriously. (excuse me, note to self.) JULIE!!!! WHAT are you thinking? Make a decision. You do all of those things – You are going to seriously suck at all of those things. Choose on purpose, for crying out loud. Do some things WELL instead of doing all of those things “good enough.” Or NOT nearly good at all. (okay. I’m done with the note to self.)

I HATE “good enough.” And I REALLY hate not good at all.

4. Online Christmas Shopping. Got some Swaptree swaps in process right now. Got some book requests to ship out. Sold a book on Amazon and had to ship it out – and in the process choked my paypal multi-order shipping tool and had to use INTERNET EXPLORER instead of Firefox. Ewww.

Tangent . . . This is one of those things I’m changing because it requires me to be busy doing stuff that doesn’t support my goals. I used to buy some books just to sell, but it just takes too much time. Time I want to spend on other things. Researching pricing, listing, packaging, shipping, organizing . . . Besides, I’m trying to declutter and the listed books take up too much space. I just sold a book that was listed for more than a year. For a whopping profit of $13 (after deducting amazon fees, postage and the price I paid for the book). What’s the hourly wage for that work, I wonder? And I stored that stupid book for more than a YEAR. I need to go through my listings and delete the ones that have been there for a long time. I’ll just donate them to the Whale of a Sale (see #6, below).

Bought a few cool, unique presents for the kids on ebay. I want to be nearly done with the Christmas shopping before December 1st.

5. Raccoons vs. FirstHusband, part . . . oh who the heck knows? THIS time, it’s the prevention of bird feeder destruction. My bird feeders were picked off one by one, left for dead by the very creatures who benefited from their provisions. Lying in pieces on the ground, empty. FirstHusband theorized they were climbing on the bird feeders and they were too heavy for the chains. I theorized that raccoons joined forces and bounced on the bird feeders, enjoying a little raccoon bungee jumping

So FirstHusband got some heavier chain. After first considering tow chain, he settled on 90 lb chain. Good news. Four days later, all the bird feeders are still hanging – except for the suet feeder. The CHAIN for the suet feeder is still hanging in the tree. The suet feeder itself? On the ground. Broken. And one suet cake gone. I said:

“There’s one suet cake out there on the ground. I should get it before the raccoons do.

FirstHusband: “They earned it.”

It appears FirstHusband underestimated the tenacity and teeth of his foe(s). Originally, the suet feeder had a rope to hang from. Then wire. This time, he had FOUR fishing line leaders. Took the raccoons two nights to chew through them.

suet feeder leader

FirstHusband’s turn. Should be interesting.

6. Church rummage sale, the “Whale of a Sale” is about to begin. We unload the storage unit on Saturday, spend two weeks setting it up in the gym and then, the first Friday and Saturday of October, the WHALE!!! I’m the book lady. I take off nearly two weeks of work and pre-shop set up the book section. Freakishly organized.

Whale HB Ficton

Whale PB Fiction

Whale Dictionary

I buy nearly $100 in books every year. I guess, in full disclosure, I should mention that hardbacks are $1.00 and paperbacks/kids books are 50 cents – and, that I don’t load up on books to sell either. I resell fiction after I read it, but most are for me and my family. My family! Yes. That’s it. I buy GIFTS. Lots of GIFTS. yeah. that’s it. GIFTS.

7. Labor Day is RIGHT. I’d like to say we did some yardwork, but in reality, we were CLEARING LAND. This:

yard waste

Came from here:


and here:


and here:


and here:


We also trimmed three trees – holy cow, THAT was a lot of work in and of itself. Our yard waste pickup requires the branches to be bound. And we removed a LOT of branches. They were blocking a big portion of our view and there were some branches actually touching the ground.

trees and birdfeeders

And FirstHusband fixed my water pump fountain:

pump fountain

Now, thanks to his thoughtfulness and amazing fix-it ability, I’ve had lunch on my back porch this week enjoying the peaceful sound of trickling water. Gotta love him.

Join in with your own 7 Quick Take Friday post at Conversion Diary hosted by Jennifer!

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

carve my name into some cheddar cheese.

Anita Renfroe singing “Before I Eat.”

Ya know, since my hysterectomy, I have NO idea where I am in my cycle. So there’s no disproving that snacking and irritability aren’t hormonally driven. Food for thought.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

September 11, 2009 Posted by | laugh!, music, women, youtube | , , , | 1 Comment

Then Sings My Soul Saturday: Desert Song

This week’s new praise song for our 9:30 a.m. praise and worship service! I can’t stop thanking God for letting me sing it!!! So beautiful.

For more Saturday music, check out Then Sings My Soul Saturday every Saturday hosted by Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

September 5, 2009 Posted by | christian living, music, youtube | , , | 4 Comments



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