Pragmatic Communion

pragmatic living in the presence of God

two minutes with God: Proverbs 27:17

a Quote:
“We all need someone in our lives at times to coach us to greater and greater levels of excellence in our chosen areas of pursuit.”

“Come to the edge, He said. They said, We are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them . . . and they flew.” Guillaume Apollinaire

(from The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen)

my Prayer:
Lord, please lead me to anyone who can honestly and objectively guide me to greater levels of excellence in my pursuits to nurture my family, serve in ministry and achieve competence in my career. Please help me to discern and listen to the voices that come from you and to discard the lies Satan tries to tell me in an effort to throw me off your path for my life. If you would strike Satan mute, that would be perfect, Lord. (sigh) But I know that’s not how you work, so please bless me with discernment.

Thank you for the determination to work harder when I come face to face with the reality that I’m not as good at something as I think I am. Please Lord, help me to acknowledge my strengths and to remember that when I discount them, I discount your blessings in my life. Please help me to be satisfied with my work when I do well, instead of constantly critiquing myself.

the Word:
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbts 27:17 (NIV)

the lyric.
“But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid!’ The voice of truth says, ‘This is for My glory.’ Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”
Voice of Truth (youtube link) by Casting Crowns (amazon link)


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

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January 28, 2011 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, music, prayer, professional growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

two minutes with God: Proverbs 25:11

a Quote:
“You are a guardian of the human spirit. You have the power to manipulate and coerce if you want to. You can avoid and ignore if you choose. But can also ennoble and inspire. You can lift up and appeal to all that is good and honorable and holy. You can remind fallible and finite people around you that they hold their lives and calling as a sacred trust, that their best efforts matter, that their worst failures will be one day redeemed.”
Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them
by John Ortberg

my Prayer:
Lord, please allow me to deliver messages of truth from you. Please send me to lift up those who are being discouraged and lied to by the enemy. Please use me right where I am to trample those lies. I pray for discernment so that I will be confident in the prompting of your Holy Spirit. Please equip me for this service and bless my intentions by keeping me out of your way. I pray not only for opportunities to deliver your messages, but I pray that I will get the messages right and not contaminate them by my own finite reasoning and self-focused will.

Lord, please bring faith-filled encouragers into my own life when I falter and get confused, sidetracked or paralyzed for fear of taking steps outside your will.

the Word:
The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.
Proverbs 25:11 (NCV)

the lyric.
“But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!” The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory” Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”
The Voice of Truth
by Casting Crowns


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

November 10, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, prayer, professional growth, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m not willing to trade


Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her.
Proverbs 3:13-18, NKJV

Last time, I wrote about my realization that this season of my life is “next” and about my decision to stop actively pursuing whatever may come after that. The reason for this post is to expand on one thing I wrote: “Continuing in a great career which still allows me to be engaged in my family’s daily life is NEXT.”

I do have a great career. While working a full time job, I started as a part time independent computer consultant and trainer in 1994 and incorporated as Pragmatic Computing (PC, Inc. – isn’t that cute) in 1st quarter of 1996. Then I rode the Y2K wave all the way into the new century. As companies upgraded their time and billing software, they upgraded their productivity software – and I did everything I could to make sure I was there to help. Monday through Thursday I scheduled classes for staff in the mornings and afternoons and for attorneys in the evenings. Fridays would usually be spent “floating” around the company assisting and troubleshooting. Countless hours at home and between classes were spent creating curriculum, arranging facility and computer rentals, learning every nook and cranny of the software I was teaching and preparing books and handouts for in class time. I longed for the weeks when I trained at companies other than law firms, because I got the evenings off! I had thrown myself into my career and achieved things I never thought I could. I generated an income I never thought I would. After a few years, I was physically and emotionally worn OUT and missed my family. I had discovered the price for all this “success” was too high and that I had defined success by worldly standards that I didn’t really buy into. My journal entries from that time in my life spells it out. This demanding, consuming schedule was NOT something I wanted for my family.

So, rather than ramp up our lifestyle to match our income, my husband and I stayed steady, made what we hoped were wise financial choices and prepared for me to cut back at work to focus on our family. I was able to cut WAY back on my business for the last five years. I retained a few of my favorite clients and only accepted new clients by referral. On average, I worked 10 to 20 hours per month. It was the right decision for our family at the time.

Last month, my daughter entered kindergarten and, armed with my family’s support, I believe we all are ready for my business to constitute a larger percentage of our lives. This time, I have a very different idea of success and have defined limitations for work which I fully intend to keep. So, I’m putting more time and effort into my existing business. But this time, I’m not willing to sacrifice what is important to my family for financial gain or career advancement. While those things would be wonderful, I’m not willing to trade my life (and my family’s life) for them. I’m still only accepting new clients by referral. I’ve gotten some new referrals and some of my current, but inactive clients have been calling. My hours are picking up, seemingly all on their own, but, barring a RARE exception here and there, I limit my work time to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, while my kids are at school.

We’ll see how I do. I’m very determined now, but I haven’t had to turn down any work yet. That will be the real test of my resolve.

The scripture at the beginning of this post was from the NKJV. But I also like what “The Message” has to say:

You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. Her manner is beautiful, her life wonderfully complete. She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her. Hold her tight-and be blessed! Proverbs 3:13-18, The Message

September 11, 2006 Posted by | god's will, moms, professional growth, spiritual growth | Leave a comment

why now?


When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV

So why now? Why, after decades of compartmentalizing my life, do I decide to remove all the structural lines separating my professional and personal life and see what I get? If I combine so many seemingly unrelated aspects of my education, skills, work (and life) experiences with my faith, won’t it make me appear unfocused? Will it make me appear as if I’m trying to do so many things at once that I couldn’t possibly do any of them well? Will allowing current and potential business contacts to see my personal life (and my faith) make them uncomfortable? Will exposing my personal life (and my faith) damage my credibility as a business woman? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to stick to the old adage? Business is business.

I stopped talking openly about my faith at work in the 1980’s when I got my first “career” job. I was young, surrounded by people who were more educated, more sophisticated and more wealthy. Lacking a formal education, with minimal skills, I wasn’t confident in my abilities in the workplace and was new to my faith. I was intimidated. I remember asking to take vacation so I could chaperone a youth mission trip and becoming engaged in a conversation where I found myself defending my faith when faced with the opinion “You’re young! What are you doing wasting your vacation time?” Over time, I learned to avoid conversations in which the intellectually minded attempted to convince me that my faith was idealistic and . . . wrong.

Later, as I began my career in information technology support, most of my colleagues were men. I found I was more comfortable adopting a typical masculine communication style – mostly report talk, not rapport talk. Business is business.

Over time, I let my guard down and have engaged in many workplace conversations about faith in God – but only with clients and colleagues with whom I had an established relationship.

So why expose my faith so openly now? I’ve been thinking about it and believe there are a number of reasons – some I’m not even sure I know yet.

  • I’m more educated now and the journey to attain the degrees was more life changing than the actual papers I received when I graduated.
  • My skills and experience in the workplace have increased and expanded. I’m more involved in training now, which required developing more diverse interpersonal skills.
  • My role as a wife and mother have taught me more than I ever imagined.
  • Years of teaching business and professional communication at UCF facilitated practical application of so many communication theories in my daily life.
  • I’m more confident now, not afraid of what people think and not motivated to gain approval by meeting someone else’s expectations when they are counterproductive to my goals. I understand that I will never get everyone I meet to like me and I’m okay with that. To each his own.

The bottom line is: This is me. All of me. Combining ALL my education, skills, experience ( in work and life) and goals (personal and professional) with my faith is having unexpected and interesting results:

  • I’m finding new ways to apply my formal (and informal) education across all areas of my life.
  • I’m motivated to learn even more while actively looking for ways to incorporate new knowledge in both my business and personal life.
  • I’m identifying skills I’ve not recognized before because they weren’t practical or necessary when my life was organized in neat little boxes. (Okay NOT so neat, but still – boxes)
  • My faith is growing stronger as I recognize more and more practical applications of biblical truths.
  • I’m gaining wisdom and making better decisions because I’m developing a conscious understanding of my personal, family and professional goals and mapping out the steps I need to take to achieve them.

So why now? Synergy.

What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying and the most exciting part.

The creative process is also the most terrifying part because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or where it is going to lead. It takes an enormous amount of internal security to begin with the spirit of adventure, the spirit of discovery, the spirit of creativity. Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness.

Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

November 10, 2005 Posted by | books, god's will, professional growth, spiritual growth, witnessing | Leave a comment