Is Valentine's Day an Amateur, Hallmark Holiday?

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2019

When I first became a Christian, I remember a wise older man told me he wasn’t going to church on Easter. I was surprised, especially in my newfound excitement about the faith.

“What? Why not?” I asked.

“It’s amateur day,” he said. “People go who never go any other day of the year and really aren’t serious about it. So, it is too crowded and I just stay home with God.”

I walked away thinking, “weird.” But there was a point to it ... sometimes “special days” take on a meaning to people as if they are the essence of what they are meant to symbolize and commemorate. Easter should be a day that symbolizes what we realized each and every 365 days: we have a risen Savior. He is alive every day. And then on that day, we celebrate the reality that we have all the year long.

Now, about Valentine’s day ...

Apart from being a windfall for Hallmark, what is it for us? Hopefully, it is also a symbol for what...

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The Consequences of Making Decisions Based on Emotion

Uncategorized Jan 29, 2019

In a very real way, we have more than one brain. Or, at least more than one system in our brain. One of them “thinks” emotionally, and subjectively, and the other more logically and with reason and judgment. On a good day, they are partners and work together. It would not be far off to say that they “inform” each other and add to the decision-making of each other. In a balanced character, they are good friends and work a little like a small committee.

But like any other committee, this one is subject to “takeovers” as well as harmony. In a real committee, one member may be more powerful than the others and overtake the process and end up calling all the shots. Our brains can work that way too. If the emotional side becomes overpowering, we can be vulnerable to making some really bad decisions that show poor judgment.

The integrated character, as a pattern, does not do that. He or she, over the long haul, maintains balance between strong emotions...

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Being Angry isn’t a ‘Bad’ Thing

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2019

There’s a lot of confusion about anger in our society. It’s usually seen as a negative emotion that someone needs to “get control” over. And in some instances, that is true. It can be destructive, but are we really giving it a chance to listen to what our anger tells us.

In the last 30 years or so, we have seen a big swing in the way anger is perceived. Back then, it was almost all seen as something bad.

We all know what it feels like to be on the wrong end of someone’s rage attack. Because of this, many people were very out of touch with what they were feeling, and a lot of anger went hidden and suppressed. It did not mean that people were not angry, it just meant that the people weren’t given  very helpful ways to work it out, especially people who had been really hurt in life and were sitting on a lot of pain and anger. They were often times just stuck with it.

About the same time, the world of psychiatry was getting into the...

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Your Response When Your Significant Other Hurts You

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2019

Please note: The following article addresses general conflicts of boundaries, feelings and attitudes in relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help from local law enforcement, as well as a counselor, safe place and/or support group.

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Each and every one of us will hurt other people, even the people we love the most. We all get it wrong sometimes, and that will often cause hurt. Partners in good relationship realize this, and as a result, they develop the following attitudes and practices that preserve the connection, even when one has hurt the other.

Accept the fact that your significant other will sometimes do things that hurt you. When you accept this fact, you’ll be able to deal with the hurts when they come, and those hurts won’t destroy the connection and the love you share.

Hang on to the things that you love about your significant other, even when he/she disappoints you. Do not label your significant other as “all bad.” They...

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Having the Difficult Conversation to Request Change

Uncategorized Jan 06, 2019

My friend was struggling over what to do with her boyfriend of over a year. She was very attached to him, and “loved him deeply,” as she said over and over in our conversations.

“Then why the struggle?” I asked.

“He is not the kind of man I want to start a family with. I love him and love to be with him. He has the purest heart I have ever seen, and I love that about him. He is the smartest person I have ever known, and I love that about him. But he has no drive in life. He just gets by on his smarts and has no real initiative or plans for the future. He is a lot like a college student, not thinking much past the weekend,” she said. “I need someone who will take charge and who will be a strong hus­band and father. I don’t need a little boy that I ‘mother’ all the time.”

“Give me some examples.”

“Well, he is so talented that he gets freelance work and makes enough to live working about...

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The Power of Healthy Connections in Your Life

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2018

Your flight lands, and the flight attendant says “It is now safe to use your mobile phones.” You turn yours on, and what is the first thing that happens? There is a little message at the top that says “Searching ...” Or “Searching for connection ...” Or “Searching for network ...”

Until the phone connects with the network, nothing happens. But, when it connects, miracles occur, in the invisible world. The phones capabilities are now empowered to be all they were created to be. Not only that, they can even get better. They can download updates to make them better than they were, or fix bugs in the software. Or they can download apps to be able to do things they couldn’t do before. And beyond that, they can connect to the entire world, all of its information and knowledge, help and skill, to enable better performance. And from this connection, it goes on and on.

But ... without that connection to the right network, they will never...

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The Effects of Being Disconnected from Others

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

If you want to find out if you’re disconnected from others, just ask the ones who depend on you. Ask them if they feel needed, valued, listened to, taken into your confidence. If so, that is not you.

But, while you might be someone who is not totally cut off from your own connection chip, it is possible that you are disconnected from others from your own needs. This is very common for high performers, leaders, and people who accomplish things. Circumstances or life for whatever reason has taught you that you have to do life or leadership on your own. You, in very practical ways, do not allow yourself to need anyone. And although you care about others and give to them, you are doing that from a disconnected place in relation to your own needs. You are giving out, but not taking much in.

Sometimes this is the natural path by which someone even gets into leadership: A kid is a doer. He or she might even be the sibling who is the family hero or star. The one that kind of takes...

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How to Care for Yourself After a Divorce 

Uncategorized Nov 07, 2018

Divorce is, by definition, a loss. In fact, one of the Hebrew words for divorce speaks of “cutting or severing a bond.” Something has been lost. The loss is real, genuine, and deep, and it must be grieved. 

Grief is accepting the reality of what is. It is internalizing the reality of the severing of the marriage bond on both the intellectual and emotional levels of the heart. That is grief’s job and purpose – to allow us to come to terms with the way things really are, so that we can move on. Grief is a gift. Without it, we would all be condemned to a life of continually denying reality, arguing or protesting against reality, and never growing from the realities we experience. 

When you allow yourself to embrace the sadness and shed the tears for what you have truly lost through divorce, then you can move on to a new phase of life when grief tells you it is time. It is important to note that those who have not fully grieved the losses of...

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Here's Why You Feel Stuck, So Let's Change That

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2018

Do you ever feel like you're stuck on a path that's not leading you where you feel you ought to be going? Sometimes we can get stuck in these comfortable grooves, which because they are familiar, feel safe, but maybe aren't actually all that good for us.

Change is hard. Often, change carries a fair amount of risk, and risk is something many of us avoid like the plague. However, it's important to consider when taking a risk might be worth it. Likewise, ponder whether what you need to gain a fresh perspective on your life, goals or relationships is just the right kind of change.

Part of recognizing this opportunity to improve your circumstances is just seeing the needs you have. You have to regularly undertake a self-evaluation and question whether your needs are being met, and whether you're going the direction you want to be going. If you're not, it may be time for a change.

Be vulnerable, be open. Other people often cannot see that you need emotional support, or that you're...

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Don’t Keep Going Back to Failed Relationships

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2018

Have you ever had a relationship where you weren’t getting what you needed or wanted? Or one where you were getting things that you didn’t want? Certainly you have. The question is, what did you do? Did you try to continually figure out what to do right, so you would get what you need? Did that work? We’ll explore the common human dynamic of trying harder with people when it isn’t going to work and talk about a better way to get what you need.

This is the story of the Coke machine. I want you to think about a vending machine for a moment. What do you do with a vending machine? You approach the machine, and there’s a little slot where you put your money, and there are all these choices...Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc. You need something from the machine! You need something to drink! So you think, “AH! Finally. I found the Coke.”

So you approach the machine. You reach inside your pocket (note: this inside is important, because I’m...

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